Thursday, December 28, 2006

Candy update...

So it's now 7:30pm and my caramel candies are finally done. I had to lug the pan (which weighed no less than 10 pounds) into the freezer to cool these darn blobs because they would not harden at room temperature, as the fool proof recipe claims. So now they've cooled and I've cut several of them and wrapped them neatly into plastic wrap. I had Tom taste test the first one and as he chewed and chewed, and then chewed some more, he declared that they tasted like Muenster Cheese. But, at least they look good.....

I still have more than 3/4s of the pan to cut through but I have to do it in stages because the caramels start to melt as soon as I cut into them but this will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day. My arms are sore from all this baking.

It's Official!

I am now an Auntie and Tom is an Uncle! Our nephew, Austin Thomas, was born at 5:23 pm and weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces. And my sister in law gave birth au natural!!! No pain killers! He came too fast so there wasn't much time. Mom, Dad and baby are happy and healthy and doing great! We love you guys!!

So far so Goooooood!!

I've finished my first round of holiday candy making and let me tell you, the candies are TERRIFIC! I improvised a LOT on the Reindeer Belly Button recipe. The original recipe called for Pretzel Rings (which no longer exist in the Western Hemisphere) with a hershey kiss in the middle (melted) and then a red or green M&M placed on top. Well that was too boring for me so I spruced them up a bit and used the waffle pretzels with a Caramel Hershey's kiss melted in the middle and then I placed a mini marshmallow on top which I then sprinkled with red and green sprinkles! And they are delicious. The caramel and the chocolate oozes out with each bite. I also made a couple other varieties with M&Ms and Ghiradelli milk chocolates which were also good but the chocolate, caramel marshmallow surprise treat is my favorite.

I'm still working on my second candy project which is taking a little longer than expected. I've been making these candies now for over an hour and once the temp reaches 240 degrees I am supposed to remove the mixture from the stove, stir in some vanilla and smooth to make caramels. Well it appears the longer I bring this goo to a boil the lower the temperature gets! Not quite sure how this is possible. I think it's time to remove from heat. The mixture is now turning a gross brown color. But the house smells soooooo good!!

Now I've removed the mixture from the stove, stirred in the vanilla, poured the goo into a baking pan and sprinkled some chocolate chips on top and swirled them into the mix. It's now starting to look like it could become caramels! Can't wait for it to cool.

And of course during this entire process, my loyal companion has not left my side. I tripped over him a couple times but he doesn't even bat an eye....

One of my favorite Christmas scenes...

I found this photo online while I was searching for holiday recipes. I absolutely love it. Unfortunately I'm not able to enlarge this so you'll have to strain your eyes to see it.

I also loved this photo. Reminds me of Christmas when I was a child.

Anyone know where I can find Pretzel Rings?

So I've returned from the grocery store, ready to start my day of holiday baking (read earlier post as to why I am baking Christmas treats after Christmas) and one of the candies I was going to make requires Pretzel rings. Well I can't find these blasted things anywhere!!! Of course they make Pretzel rods, sticks, twists, minis, nuggets, and waffle shapes but no RINGS!!! So now I am going to have to improvise. I'm not going to be able to make the Reindeer Belly Buttons after all (as seen below).

Instead I bought the waffle looking pretzel pieces so I'm not exactly sure what festive creation I can make out of these. I'll have fun trying no doubt but we'll just see what turns out. Pics will surely follow.

How did you spend Christmas day?

Just had a share a story about our Christmas day. Tom and I were both sick on the couch pretty much the entire day. We were in our pj's and robes and were cuddled up on the couch with: a) blankets; b) a roaring fire in the fireplace, and; c) a new space heater positioned directly on us. FYI...It was almost 80 degrees outside that day. We watched several Christmas movies but of course Tom had the hands free tv set up on the coffee table tuned to Football the whole time (thankfully, without sound).

One of my Christmas presents from Tom was a Stilleto Satellite radio system. I can use it in the car and it's portable so I can carry it with me for walks and use it in the house! I was thrilled because I absolutely despise the radio stations out here. Aside from a few shows on NPR there is not one other station I can stomach, so instead I use my ipod when I want to hear music. Tom was sick and tired of hearing me b*tch and moan about the stations all the time, hence the purchase.

So around 3pm we both start to emerge from our zombie like state on the couch and I ask him if he feels up to installing the system in my car. He says Ok and heads out to the garage armed with all the new gear. He was out there for about a half hour or so, and I decide to come out and see how things are going. He's really tired and in between several sneezes says he'll be ok, just has a few last minute touches to do like hiding cords and positioning suction cups. I tell him that I'll keep him company and he says Ok as long as I don't talk much or ask any questions which I agree to, so while he tinkers away with the system I just sit quietly and watch from the passenger seat. A few minutes later Wrigley appears at the screen door leading to the garage and starts to bark. He doesn't quite understand what we're doing in the car. I get out and let him in the garage and instantly he hops right into the car. He climbs into the back seat and sits down and stares straight ahead. I assume my position in the passenger seat while Tom, now a little frustrated, tweaks and makes a few more adjustments to the radio system.

A few more minutes go by and I see a tail emerge by the screen door as I look beyond the windshield. Chumley has now discovered that his entire family is sitting in the car in the garage. Not wanting him to feel left out, I ask Tom if I can bring him into the car. He says sarcastically, Why not? So I get out of the car and head in to get Chumley. Now Wrigley has hopped to the front seat so Tom has to try and pull him into the back which is no easy task. I'm standing by the passenger door holding a hissing Chumley, also trying to coax Wrigely into the back. Finally he succumbs and sits back down so Chumley and I squeeze into the front. Chumley doesn't seem as thrilled to be in the car as Wrigely but he looks around sniffs some parts of the car and hisses in my face from time to time. What a nice, cozy way to spend Christmas. Tom and I together in the car complete with a goofy dog and a hissing cat. But the hissing gets Wrigley all excited so he tries to make his way to the front yet again. Chumley starts swatting and now he's growling which is my warning that he could blow at any time and bite my face, so I decide his time in the car is now over. I try to control his contorting body and open the door slowly and sneak out of the car. He's now furious and screaming. I rush him into the house and let him bolt out of my arms once inside. I quickly close the screen door and head back into the car.

So it's back to the three of us in the car and Tom says that we have to take the car out of the garage in order to test the signal strength. So we back out of the garage and into the driveway and test the signal. It takes Tom a while to find the right stations to program so Wrigley and I just sit and wait patiently staring straight ahead as if we're on a scenic Sunday drive. I think we may have found a new Christmas tradition...

Still Christmas at my House

It's been almost 2 weeks since I've had this flu and although today I am FINALLY feeling much better I am not going to over do it. But I'm in such a mood to bake/create and since I was confined to bed pretty much the week before Christmas I wasn't able to fully enjoy the preparations. I've scoured old cookbooks and online recipes for some fun holiday candy recipes and aside from my annual Holly Candies, I'm going to make 2 new candies today. One is called Reindeer Belly Buttons and the other one is a recipe for Creamy Caramels. The first one is sooo easy to make it should take no more than 5 minutes but the second one is a bit more challenging. Actually need a candy thermometer for this one and that makes me nervous. Luckily the fire dept is located directly behind our house.

I also looked for vanilla liqueur recipes online but that seems to take weeks or even a month to ferment and I'm just a little too impatient to wait that long. I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor immediately!! Friends of ours like to vacation in Tahiti and they always bring us back a bottle of this AMAZING Tahitian vanilla liqueur and I have had such a craving for it. Since I won't be able to hop a flight to Tahiti anytime soon, I thought I'd try to conjure something up in my own kitchen. Although I really hope this doesn't put me back in bed for another week.

Wish me luck!

Exciting News

We are just a few hours away from becoming an aunt and uncle!! This will be our first time ever so little nephew to be, PREPARE TO BE SPOILED!!!
I already have a bag of goodies in my closet awaiting your arrival unto this world. We are so excited and can't wait to finally meet you!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


I want to apologize to many people who did not receive Christmas cards this year. I got the flu and still have lingering affects from it (been 9 days now!) and was not able to complete my Christmas card list. Most people in California did not receive cards and I am very sorry!

Also as for this post, I'm not able to rotate the picture horizontally for some reason. I tried several times and it works when I open the picture up in my photo program but as soon as I link to my blog it flips. If it wasn't Christmas eve and I had nothing better to do I would sit down at my desk and work on this blasted photo until it was sitting properly. But since I'm still not feeling well and have grocery shopping, stocking stuffer shopping, baking and wrapping to do, I said STUFF IT!! Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

I love this quote...

'Come to the edge', he said.
They said, 'We are afraid'.
'Come to the edge', he said.
They came.
He pushed them and they flew ....

Guillaume Apollinaire.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Here We Come A-wassailing...

So you better turn and run the other way!!

Last night my friends and I went Christmas Caroling at the local hospital. We looked very official, all dressed in festive holiday attire from head to toe, complete with props and candy canes. The only thing missing was singing on key. But we had such a great time and brought smiles to so many people and many laughs among each other. And I'm happy to report that we only had one door shut on us in mid song. We expected a lot more. But luckily many more opened and we were greeted with warm smiles and twinkling eyes. We even had a patient get up out of bed to join us! He had just had his hip replaced after falling off a ladder while putting up Christmas lights. He heard us coming down the hall (probably thought there were a bunch of stray cats running loose in the hospital) and hopped right out of bed and hobbled down the hall with us for several songs. He carried the group and we begged him not to leave us!

I'm hoping to make next year's event an even bigger success with more people. And I promise to choose better music too. And actually number the pages to the song sheets. And bring a harmonica. Oh and probably a bottle or two of wine wouldn't hurt.

For those of you who can't sing, no worries because it's not mandatory. As one nurse told us after she heard our rendition of Jingle Bells, "It's the thought that counts!"

Thank you Aaron, Diane and Kristen for checking your dignity at the door and singing 'til your throats were sore!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Enrique says....


The concert was AMAZING!! Even Tom said it was fun. We had such a great time and met this adorable couple while we stood in line outside for 2 hours and hung out with them the whole night. Tom said that he would go to another Enrique concert as long as we all went together. Enrique fans are really the best!

The venue was very small since this wasn't a typical concert it was just for his fan club fans and tickets sold out in 9 minutes so we were so lucky to get 2 tickets when we did. Thanks Bridget! Enrique sang a couple new songs and they were soooo good. I think his new album comes out in February which means that he should start his tour in March or April so we have more concerts to look forward to!

Thanks Enrique for once again putting on such a terrific show!!! I'll see you again in the Spring! (once the restraining order is lifted)

Yours Truly,
Laura (the Super Fan)

Cheers to the Holiday Season!!!

(more to come....)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How Would You Like to be This Woman???


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said.

The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.

The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.

"It's humorous in a way but you feel sorry for the individual, as well," she said. "It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up."

The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident.

Cat Show Update

Producers and crew are coming back today to shoot the 2nd installment of Chumley. The first was shot on Monday and was very successful however, at the vet's office we had some serious moments of panic. I just couldn't put him through the barrage of blood tests that they required. Chum was extremely upset, and kept hissing (nothing really out of the ordinary) but he was contorting his little body, trying to escape and after I saw that I had somewhat of a breakdown and grabbed him and asked that we stop the whole thing. The producers made some phone calls and got the ok to go on with the show without all the blood tests. I was relieved but I really just wanted to get Chumley home and out of the spotlight. He had quite a day. I know in the long run that blood tests may be necessary for Chumley's health and it's never going to be an easy thing to do but I think I'll wait until it is medically necessary to have those done. It's been quite a while since Chum has had a full work up at the vet and he is definitely in need of one but it's just too traumatic for him I'm too afraid that something could go wrong. The last time I took him to the vet was back in Chicago and he was in a full head muzzle with only his ears poking through and his body was tightly wrapped in a towel. All the doctor did was look in his ears and listen to his heart (through the towel). Then he said, "He looks good" and I get slapped with a bill for $100.

Friday, December 01, 2006

No presents under the tree...

unless we can stop Chumley from peeing all over the tree skirt. I caught him in the act this morning. As far as I know he has NEVER peed on the tree skirt during the 12 years we have had him. This is something completely new. This cat never stops surprising me that's for damn sure. I had just let Wrigley out to do his business and I walked into the living room and there was Chumley all hunch-backed in deep concentration, pissing all over the tree skirt (which is actually one of my favorite tablecloths that I use as a tree skirt for the holidays). It's the only good (read expensive) tablecloth I own. I immediately scream at him and he just looks up at me, squeaks out a few final squirts and then starts pawing at the tree skirt like he does with the litter in his box after he empty his bowels. I am screaming at him to stop and he just continues along like I don't exist. I lunge forward and try to grab him but he darts under my legs and runs into the kitchen, of course right on the countertops. I chase after him and wave my finger into his face (which he HATES) and yell "NO! NO! Noooo Pee Pee under the Christmas Tree!!!" He hisses back at me and swats me so hard with both of his pee paws! This cat has absolutely no fear.

By this time Wrigley is barking obnoxiously at the back door because he can hear me yelling at Chumley. Of course he doesn't want to miss out on all the fun, so I open the door to let him in and he instantly dashes over to the tree and starts sniffing and licking the spot where Chum peed. I have to pry him away with all my strength because I was afraid that he was about to mark this spot as his own.


Literally 10 minutes after I typed that last paragraph Wrigley (while in the living room with me playing with his Kong) dropped his toy and started to hunch over like he was going to take a dump. I screamed at him and rushed him outside but he just peed. He has not had an accident in our house since he was potty trained at 2 months old. Maybe he figures if Chumley thinks this house is one giant cat box, then he's entitled to the same rights. The last thing I want is a battle of the bladders between these two. I hope I don't have to cover our entire house in shower curtains. Now when you walk into our home you are overcome by the fragrance of winter evergreen with just a subtle note of cat pee.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Grab the kleenex...

Today as I watched my sweet puppy asleep by the fire, I thought about how many years we will get to share with him. This made me think about him 10+ years from now and then wonder where we'll all be at that stage in our lives. So of course I got a little teary eyed and just held him tight and tried to stay in the present.

So, anyone else in need of a good cry? Then click on the link below and listen to this song about an aging Golden Retriever.

  • Golden Oldie

  • In case you're not able to listen here are the lyrics:

    Golden Oldie
    (music: Heather T. Strong & lyrics: Kate Connick)

    The calendar betrays my dog.
    So cruel in its measures.
    Old timers, few and far between;
    Golden oldies are real treasures.

    Eyes have gotten cloudy.
    Legs, now stiff and slow.
    Her pretty silver muzzle
    Shimmers like the snow.
    She doesn't have much longer,
    But she doesn't know.
    She doesn't have much longer,
    But she doesn't know.

    Fetch the paper. Fetch the ball.
    Youth can't be retrieved.
    Heart is willing, spirit strong.
    But time won't be deceived.
    It marches on and takes its toll
    The wounded heart will grieve.

    So many lost too early,
    Felled while in their prime.
    So lucky, I, to have been blessed
    With precious, borrowed time.
    She rests beside me on the floor.
    This golden dog, I do adore.
    Thirteen years, but I want more.
    Thirteen years, but I want more.

    Fetch the paper. Fetch the ball.
    Youth can't be retrieved.
    Heart is willing, spirit strong.
    But time won't be deceived.
    It marches on and takes its toll
    The wounded heart will grieve.

    This golden dog has come to be
    An essential part of me.
    The day will come to say goodbye.
    I'll curse the gods and ask them why.
    If only time could be denied.
    If only time could be denied.

    Fetch the paper. Fetch the ball.
    Youth can't be retrieved.
    Heart is willing, spirit strong.
    But time won't be deceived.
    It marches on and takes its toll
    The wounded heart will grieve.
    Until it catches up to us,
    We will not concede.
    Until it catches up to us,
    We will not concede.

    For anyone who's ever loved and lost a pet, I apologize for bringing tears to your eyes. Just love the ones you have while you have them and appreciate each and every day you can. Same goes for people too.

    Not sure what to get the kids for Christmas?

    Well here's an interesting toy set I found while shopping at the discount store Tuesday Morning, (not really ON a Tuesday morning, it was actually a Wednesday afternoon, although I have shopped in the store on a Tuesday morning just so I can say to Tom that I went to Tuesday morning on Tuesday Morning!! I don't know why that makes me laugh, it appears I am the only one that finds it funny. Anyway, back to the toys!

    This particular little doll set caught my eye so I had to buy it. It's from Germany although the loving plastic couple pictured on the box don't really look German to me.

    I was drawn to this box for many reasons. At first glance the woman appears to be holding some sort of a spear. Is she going to use it as a weapon? Or even worse, as some sort of bedroom toy with her husband? It really confused me and I stood there in the store perplexed staring at the box while other shoppers started to stare at me. After careful consideration I convinced myself it was just a giant sized candlestick and headed for check out.

    Then there's the husband...

    He appears somewhat shell shocked as he stands there clutching his red book (a bible perhaps??) as his wife comes at him with the giant candlestick in hand. I guess that's why the next scene on the box shows him ducking for cover...

    This was another picture that caused me some confusion. What the heck is underneath the night stand? Is it a monster sized coffee cup or is it a human waste receptacle because this set does not include a bathroom? I would think if it was some sort of a drinking mug that the toy makers could have at least made this closer to scale. It's big enough to fit over the man's head for pete's sake!

    Then there's the woman apparently getting ready to join her husband in bed but not before she puts HIS slippers away in a drawer. Can't this lazy bastard put his own shit away? And is this the best place to keep slippers? I mean if he has to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night does it really make sense to walk across the cold floor barefoot and stumbling in the dark over to the armoire, then bend over and pull open the heavy drawer to rummage through it's contents until finally, ALAS!! You have your slippers.

    I guess now he can walk over to the toilet mug and do his business. Or maybe THAT'S why they keep it right by the bed. Ok, now I get it.

    There's a Fly in my Bloomers

    I'm not really sure when or even how this started, but my best friend and I have this ongoing joke about gigantic bloomer underwear. Occasionally we mail each other a big pair for birthdays, Christmas, or just unexpectedly to make each other laugh. We also sort of "doctor" them up a little bit by attaching some rather unpleasant items like fake poo, spiders, or anything else disgusting and gooey. So today as I'm about to head out for an afternoon walk I stop to check my mailbox and low and behold, there sits a package from Becky! I'm so excited that I can't wait until after my walk to open it so I tear into it right then and there on my front porch. I pull out the largest pair of woman's underwear I have ever seen! And, they are covered in gigantic fake flies that she hot glued onto the panties! Nice touch! So I'm now laughing out loud sitting on the rocking chair on the porch when I think I hear someone call my name. I have my headphones on (listening to Christmas carols of course) and I look around but don't see anyone so I figure I must have been mistaken. I continue to rummage through the package and pull out more fun stuff, slimey gooey eye ball candy and realistic gummy rats! So now I'm really cracking up and am holding up the giant bloomers in admiration when out of the corner of my eye I see my neighbor coming towards me saying Hello. I quickly fold up the bloomers and cover up the candy and pretend that I'm just going through the mail. I'm convinced it's only a matter of time before the neighbors band together and start a neighborhood watch committee specifically to monitor our house.

    Here's a pic of the underwear for you all to enjoy. And Chumley agreed to pose next to them so you can all get an idea of just how BIG they are. (sorry for the out of focus shot though, Chum only agreed to one photo)

    She even glued the flies to the inside of the panties...

    I will say she is a pro. I'd also like to mention that Becky's Mother actually picked out these particular bloomers for the sole purpose of sending them to me! So it appears that now she has an accomplice. But not to worry, I already have my retaliation panty in the works. I call it O.B.B. (Operation BIG Bloomer). Stay tuned for updates....

    A Cake To Remember...

    Yesterday I had a birthday celebration among friends which then turned into a tree decorating party. Aside from the tree almost toppling over after all the ornaments were hung, it was a very pleasant evening and I am blessed to have such warm and considerate people in my life. My friends had to get creative since the cake was not pre-decorated with frosting but used Happy Birthday candles instead. They didn't have any candles to spell out my first name so instead they just scrambled the letters in Happy Birthday to come up with this:

    For those of you who may not be able to see it, it says "Hapy Birdy Pat". Some even sang "Hapy Birdy Pat" to me. I guess you can understand now why we all get along so well.

    Thank you Mayumi, Aaron, Kristen, Jenn & Jason for making my birthday special. (And for putting up with Wrigley's obnoxious barking and Chumley's teddy bear romps.)


    Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    Find the toothbrush...

    Chumley has a habit of knocking things off our dressers, night stands and countertops so we have to make sure to keep them clear, except for lamps, books and non breakables. So this morning I hear him banging around in my bathroom at 5am! There's really not much he can break in there so I just let him be and try to get back to sleep. When I finally get up this is what I see....

    He managed to slam dunk MY toothbrush right into his shit box. For a split second I actually thought about washing it off, but then changed my mind. We keep a stash of extras for overnight guests so luckily I was able to brush my teeth with a clean brush. I will now use this one to clean the grout in the bathroom which by the way, needs a good scrubbing. So that just saved me from having to buy a new grout brush. Thanks Chumley!!!

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    You've Lived in Minnesota Too Long if...

    I can't focus much today so I'm just going to post an old list that I wrote a few years ago about living in Minnesota.


    1) The morning weatherman states that the high for the day will be in the low 40's and your immediate response is, "Finally!!! T- shirt weather!" (or husband's response...."Great! Convertible weather!")

    2) All of the employees at the local liquor store know you by first name and suggest a frequent buyer card program named in your honor.

    3) A fun night out consists of dinner and a frozen fruity drink at Applebee's followed by a lengthy trip to Home Depot to check out the latest and greatest in snow removal technology.

    4) You have conversations with the squirrels on your patio.

    5) You have shopped in all the 10,000 stores (including kiosks) at the Mall of America at least once.

    6) You no longer laugh hysterically at the sight of your ultra-hip urban husband riding in circles as he tries to figure out how to maneuver the riding lawn mower.

    7) It has become part of your daily routine to put on your thermal underwear, wool socks, 2 sweaters, thick pants, down coat, fur lined boots, hat, scarf, gloves and ear muffs for the trip to the mailbox. And, neighbors are used to hearing you curse and punch said mailbox, if the mail has not yet been delivered.

    8) You have spent the night in a booth at Panera Bread because as you were enjoying your morning muffin, a snow storm hit and you sat there stubbornly and said "I'll just wait this one out a while."

    9) While sitting outside trying to enjoy a warm summer evening, you wonder why it appears as though the neighbor kids are pelting you with grapes. Upon further inspection, you realize that it's just the start of mosquito season.

    10) Your golf deprived husband tries to set up a golf driving range in the garage but quickly abandons that idea after smacking himself repeatedly with the ball as it ricochetts off the walls and floor.

    11) In conversations with others, you are now able to contribute your own personal experience on one or more of the following topics: hunting a deer, hitting a deer, being chased by a deer, or cleaning up deer droppings in your back yard.

    12) You actually begin to think that driving your car into the middle of an ice pond would make for some fun entertainment.

    13) It takes you 2.5 hours to get dressed and ready for a day of skiing, 1.5 hours to drive to the giant "hill", and costs $45 for a lift ticket that you use for approx. 8 minutes, before realizing it is humanly impossible to ski between the months of Nov - March.

    14) You've made the mistake of going to the Mall of America on a weekend day and have spent over an hour searching for your car in the entirely wrong parking structure.

    15) The sight of a snow storm in mid May no longer causes you to fall to your knees and wail like a baby.

    16) Your husband informs you that he's going to participate in the Hot Dog eating contest at the Minnesota State Fair.

    17) Three months out of the year your husband golfs before work, during lunch, after work and putts in the yard before bedtime to make up for the 9 months lost due to frozen earth.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Why Door Stops Were Invented...

    Once we got the dog we realized that we needed to get an industrial sized power vac to pick up all his fur that sheds. So Tom installed one in the garage (it's like the kind you see at car washes) and it has an attached 30 foot hose so we can drag it around the family room and kitchen pretty easily. It works great but I always DREAD using it because I have to prop open the door leading to the garage and it NEVER stays open because of this stupid door stop. Half my time is spent running back to the door to re-prop it open because it always shuts during the vacuuming process and clamps down on the hose.

    So today I'm getting ready to haul out the 30 footer and I use this little piece of wood with a suction on the bottom to prop the door open. The door stays open for all of 3.5 seconds and as I start to drag in the hose, the door slams shut. I struggle with this for quite a while and now several minutes go by and I'm sweating and swearing and I haven't even started to vacuum. I realize that if I remove the stupid door stop then I will be able to open the door completely and then wedge my wood piece all the way under the door so that should secure it better. So I do that. And it works! I'm finally able to start vacuuming and I do it for the first time without the door ever slamming shut!

    I finish vacuuming and return to the garage to store the hose in it's place while the door stays in it's welcoming, wide open position. I think to myself, "Why do we even need a doorstop? This is working out fine. I'll just be extra careful when I come in from the garage, as not to thrust open the door with any force." I decide that this is the way to go and I head back into the house so I can finish cleaning. After a few minutes I'm low on paper towels so I head back into the garage to our supply stash and carry in a bunch of rolls. My arms are pretty full so I'm just able to feel for the doorknob with my hand so I turn to open it and then kick open the door with my foot.

    Big mistake.

    So I'd like to dedicate this blog entry to Osbourn Dorsey who not only invented the doorstop (cir.1878) but also developed improvements for the standard door knob (thanks Google). This leads me to wonder if there exists a doorknob encased in some type of a rubberized coating. I think that's actually a great idea. It's like having two inventions in one! I'm going to have to do a little more Googling on this. But first, I've got some patching up to do.

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    You know it's holiday season when...

    The cat's wearing his light up scarf and the dog's got on the santa hat.

    Although Wrigley looks more like a Shriner than Santa.

    HAPPY START OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON TO ALL!! I know it's early but I just couldn't resist. =)

    Who Loves Cookies?

    I've entered into the world of baking and now selling dog cookies. Here are some pics of the cookies and the packaging. I make a couple different kinds, bigger cookies for big dogs called, "Tender Lovin' Cookies" and then for the more petite canines I make what I call "Dainty Dawgs." The store that is carrying them now loves them and the owner has already asked that I start making more with Christmas packaging. Wrigley has been my taste tester through all of this and he is quite happy with my latest hobby. Actually, so is Chumley.

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Chumley's Toy

    I have a new favorite band....
  • Chumley's Toy

  • (Ok I'm not really into this kind of music but I LOVE the name of the band. I can't wait to order some t-shirts!!)

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Inappropriate Dinner Conversation

    A while ago Tom and I attended a dinner party and were wedged between two guests who started to have this conversation below. "Man 1" is about our age and "Man 2" is quite a few years older....

    Man 1: Dude, your daughter is really growing up.

    Man 2: I know. It's scary.

    Man 1: She's SMOKING!

    Man 2: What? Cigarettes? Did you see her?

    Man 1: No, not smoking smoking. She's smoking HOT!

    Man 2: Oh, I see what you're saying. Ok then.

    Man 1: I saw her the other day and almost didn't recognize her. She must have been coming back from the beach or somethin' 'cause she just had on a tiny little bikini top and skirt and MAN!!

    Man 2: (just nods and takes a large swig of his beer)

    Man 1: And my buddy was over and he said to me, "Damn! I'd hit that!"

    Man 2: Ahhh well, please let your buddy know that she's only 15 years old.

    Man 1: Well she looks at least 19. You know, with the way she's filled out and all.

    Man 2: Yes, I know. I've seen them. HER! I've seen HER blossom over the last year.

    Man 1: Boy, is THAT an understatement!!

    (Man 1's wife now interested in the conversation)

    Man 1's wife: What are you guys talking about?

    Man 1 and Man 2 exchange looks. Sip beers. Say nothing.

    Tom and I finally add to the conversation and in unison blurt out, "Sports."

    Then we politely excuse ourselves and burst into fits of laughter.

    Friday, November 10, 2006


    Ok so I have ANOTHER poo bag story from today, but this time I was not wearing one in my hair. I'm going for my walk and enjoying the unusually foggy day when just up ahead of me is a man and a woman (without a dog) stopped at one of the public poo bag stations. I watch as the man grabs a fist full of blue poo bags and then quickly starts walking away. He tries to wad them up in his hand but there are so many, maybe about 20 or so, that there is no way to conceal them. I pick up the pace a little and as I pass them I look at the man, then I glance down to his hand holding all the bags and I say, "How Rude." I continue walking ahead of them and I'm just so steamed up. So I call Tom so I can vent to him but he's en route to the office and doesn't hear his cell. Then I call my mom at work and I'm talking LOUDLY so the poo bag thief can hear me. By this time I'm pretty far ahead of them and I tell my mom that I just have to confront them.

    So I stop and stay on the phone with my mom as the man and woman approach. I ask them "What are you planning to do with all those bags?" The man keeps walking at a fast pace but the woman stops and says, "Um pardon me?" I ask again, "What are you guys doing with all of those bags?? Those are for people with dogs, so they can pick up their poo along the way. Why did you take so many?" The woman says back to me rather defensively, "Well we use these to pick up poo. We always do this. We're not stealing bags, if that's what you're implying!" I find this extremely hard to believe because who in their right mind picks up other dog's shit as they take their morning stroll? Also I know that the woman is lying because there were a few poo mounds on the side of the grass and even on the sidewalk that they walked right past after stealing the bags.

    By now some other people have stopped to listen to our conversation and this whole time the man is not saying a single word. So now I'm even more worked up because not only are these people thieves, they're pathological liars! Trying to stifle my rage, I take a breath and calmly say, "Well I work for the park district and we've noticed that the bag supply has been going down quite a bit lately and we're just trying to figure out the reasons why." Where that came from I have no idea. I felt like I was on poo patrol. By this time the man is yards away not paying any attention to our conversation and the woman then says, "Well that's not what we're doing. We like to pick up poo as we walk along the lake." I just had to walk away after that. Now I've really heard it all. But I sure hope these people didn't see me the other day when I had the poo bag tied around my ponytail.

    As I went for my stroll this morning, there was a thick heavy fog that settled almost all the way down to the ground. It was hard to see even a few feet ahead and the dense fog cast an eerie silvery white glow all over the neighborhood and the lake. As I walked along I pretended that it wasn't fog, but millions and billions of tiny snow flurries making their way down to earth. Of course it's hard to pretend it's snow when I'm wearing light cotton yoga pants and a short sleeved t-shirt but still I tried to convince myself that it was snowing all around me and it was just unseasonably warm.

    The picture above was taken from our kitchen window on one of the first snowy days in Minnesota. I found it on our big old home computer where we used to store over 5000 photos. About a year and a half ago we had an iPhoto tragedy and it sickens me to say that we lost about 3/4 of those photos. Ok I shouldn't say "lost" but we (alright, "I") accidentally deleted them when I was trying to download the photos onto a disk to free up space on the comptuer. This is one of the few remaining photos we have of our life in Minnesota and looking at it today really takes me back.

    This is the time of year when I miss living in the midwest the most. The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and then Christmas were my favorite time all throughout childhood and even still, today. I love the temperate climate and the outdoor lifestyle living in S. Cal offers but there's just something missing during this time of year. If I could just have a few days of cold crisp windy air, a rainbow of changing leaves, the smell of smoky wood fires burning in all the neighborhood fireplaces and of course a few snow flurries, then my winter craving would be satisfied. But until then I'll just have to play pretend on those foggy mornings as I walk around the lake.