Thursday, December 24, 2009

Trey Cooper

Beautiful perfect blessing, Trey Cooper, was born December 21st, 2009 at 4:56 Eastern. He weighed 8 pounds 14.6 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. He came out looking like a perfect baby who had been around for a few weeks. He was strong and robust and you couldn't look at him without falling completely in love.

Just look at this baby at the ripe old age of 6 minutes:

And here he is at exactly 2 hours of age.

The most recent pictures I have of this beautiful boy were taken at a little over 18 hours old. It doesn't seem like it would be possible but I think he's getting more beautiful by the hour.

And now I can't stop praying and thanking God for this gift. At my age and with my experience, no one knows better than I do that these miracles can't be taken for granted. Trey is here. That makes the grandchild count 11 boys and 7 girls. And one great grandson for good measure. We are truly blessed.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Best Early Christmas Present EVER!

I'm back. Back to Indiana, back to my blog, and back to my old routine - at least for a couple of hours. That's when some of our Christmas family will start arriving. But that's not what I'm here to talk about at all. (Although having the kids and their families come home IS the GREATEST on-time Christmas present ever.)

Friday we went to Louisville. Sarah, our youngest was having strong, regular contractions off and on for several days. We (Beth and I) just couldn't take a chance on missing the labor and delivery that we felt so honored to be invited to. We spent the weekend walking and shopping and timing contractions that came and went at the whim of Somebody with a great sense of humor. We were relaxed, though, knowing that Monday would be "B" day since, at 1 day short of 41 weeks, she was scheduled to be induced.

Monday morning she went in and even the machines clocked regular, close and strong contractions. The doctor broke her water and that was the closest she came to be induced. One thing about Sarah...she labors beautifully.

Here she is at about 4 centimeters. (She was 3 to 4 centimeters and 80% effaced when she arrived.)
Here she is in the throes of the greatest agony she had experienced ever ... and at 5 centimeters:

And here she is about a half hour before the birth but an hour or so after her epidural.

And here she is with the greatest early Christmas present EVER 13 minutes after he arrived:

And again at 39 minutes post birth:

Does my daughter know how to have a baby or what!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bedroom Talk in Your Sixties

I said: Good night, Harry. I love you.

He said: WHAT?

Me: I SAID, "Good night, Harry. I LOVE you."

Him: Oh, Good night, Kid. I love YOU.


Him: I said, "Good night, Kid. I love YOU."

Me: Oh........ Wow, we really are getting old.

Him: WHAT?

Me: I said, "we really are getting old".

Him: lol

Two minutes of silence later:

Him (out of the blue): WHAT?


Him: I was just messing with you.

Me: lol softly ('til I fell asleep).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter In The Koi Pond

Well, they're all settled down for a long winter's nap.

I don't think they really sleep all winter but who knows. I do know that their metabolism slows way down and that they just kind of sit there on the bottom where it's warmest. The disc that you see attached to the pole is a heater. Its function is to keep at least a hole open in the ice where gasses can escape.

I kind of cross my fingers that in a few months when winter's hold starts to loosen, I'll see the koi begin to stir and explore. After that it won't be long until it gets warm and they're all friendly and fun again.

From here, though, the winter seems interminable. I can hardly bear to think ahead about the next three months in the koi pond. It's just too dreary. Maybe I'll start a countdown of days until Spring starts to appear; but I'd have to start with about 120 and that's too long.

It's a good thing we have the holidays to get us through these first few, dark days of winter or I don't think we'd ever smile. At least in a week or so the days will start getting longer and that will help some.

Yes, I'll think about that for now.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

When You're Late

Sometimes you're late because you didn't plan ahead. And I've read that sometimes you're late because you're aggressive and controlling. But the most significant 'late' is the 'late' that is out of your control.

It's a fact that in this day and age, any pregnancy site will tell you that you're full term at 37 weeks. Therefore it usually doesn't take a lot of persuasion to have your obstetrician induce labor any time between 37 and 40 weeks or even to have your obstetrician promote inducing before 40 weeks. In fact, when is the last time you've heard of someone delivering her baby two or more weeks late. It's almost unheard of now. But back in the day it happened more often than than today's young mothers would ever believe. In fact, the rule of thumb, if I remember right, was that a pregnancy lasts an average of 40 weeks. That means that as many babies were born after 40 weeks as were born before 40 weeks. Now, though, most women don't reach that 40 week mark much less pass it because it's become so common to induce labor when it's convenient not only for the obstetrician but for the baby's family as well. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. In fact there's probably a lot of merit to this system. That's really not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the joys of pregnancy.

There are a lot of us that thoroughly enjoy being pregnant. I don't know if it's the anticipation, the miracle of carrying that new life within, or just the loving attention we get from almost everyone when we're 'with child' that makes it such a special time; but to them it's a wonderous interval in their lives. So it's this select group of women, who love being pregnant, that I'm talking about in this post. We spend such a relatively short part of our lives in this marvelous realm. If we only have two children, we get 18 months on average of pregnancy out of our entire lives. That's not much. And only 12 months, at the most, when it's apparent to outsiders that we're carrying something (or more accurately someone) special inside.

These women love and embrace their pregnancies and are fully aware that these months of pregnancy are but fleeting moments in the grand scheme of things.

It's just that as we approach and then pass our full-term date (37 weeks), Mother Nature starts to play tricks on us. The anticipation and excitement start to get the best of us. And the well meaning but endless amazement of our friends and acquaintances start to make us weary. Questions like, "anything happening?, how are you feeling?, still pregnant?! yada? yada? yada?. To the person asking the question it's just one small comment or inquiry but to the pregnant person, it's an endless string of questions with only a negative response possible and all these negatives soon take the positive out of a beautiful experience.

Part of what makes the last days and weeks of pregnancy so difficult is the mystery. When will it happen? It could be any minute, and you're so excited that you can hardly wait. And at this point our friends and family become even more concerned and interested and frequency of the inquiries actually increases.

The reason for this is that it's such a fleeting time. We ooh and aah over a newborn that we happen to see because we so seldom see a brand new baby. This stage in an infant's life is so very short. And we get just as interested in a full term pregnancy mom because, once again, that time period is so short. You really don't see a full term mom very often. So they garner extra attention.

And for this, I apologize. I apologize to every pregnant woman that I've inquired about their upcoming birth status. I really love them all and I have the warmest feelings for them but I suspect a smile would suffice.

So, Sarah, despite me and everyone elses best wishes and inquiries, I hope you can enjoy every fleeting, waning moment of this pregnancy. The miracle that you are experiencing should not be diminished by anyone elses curiosity or plans or longing to see and hold YOUR baby. Ignore us and revel in the miracle with which you're being blessed. Embrace every moment because before you know it, this special time of carrying your baby, every moment of every day and night, will pass. Granted the transition will be beautiful but don't let anything keep you from relishing and savoring each moment you have left in this picture perfect pregnancy.

You Capture - Lines

There are all kinds of lines in our life - some good, some not so good. The good ones are so beneficial to us that we couldn't function very well without them. Still others are just whimsical. Here are some of the lines that are essential.

All the photos were taken in a snowstorm with lots of wind and cold. This one was without a flash:

This one with a flash:

Obviously the flash can't overlook a snowflake. Here's another perspective of the same lines.

You don't have to look up to see important lines either.

And I can't leave out the more whimsical lines - the line of wild animals that frequently parades around our house and one accidental 'line' shot.

Weather conditions weren't conducive to a steady hand but they did help create strange lines.

And then there are the seasonal lines that don't have anything to do with shopping:

Obviously this one wasn't taken in a snowstorm. I deleted the one that was and ran out in the -17 wind chill to capture these candy canes.

Really? I went overboard in a post about lines? Sorry. I guess I was looking for THE great shot. I'll bet somebody else found it though. Visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry to see other perspectives and ideas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Very Good Night

Whenever I get blog blocked, I have to remind myself that this entire blog effort is a journal. A place for me to look back on my journey into and through (hopefully) the sixties. That's when I realize that there are unspecial moments and events that I want to remember. Like tonight.

Our granddaughter, her husband, and Superbaby are still with us which is great! Unfortunately though things have been so chaotic that we really haven't had an entire evening together. They're often invited to her dad's for dinner and don't get back until Superbaby's bedtime. This is fine and we're happy with the arrangement however it goes; but I forgot how great it is to have them here for dinner.

I forgot that my granddaughter will always help get dinner on the table (the reason that seems foreign to me is that yesterday she was just an adorably spoiled little 3-year-old) and that our grandson-in-law will do whatever he can to help. And how pleasant it is for us all to sit around the table and eat a home-cooked meal and how much I love showing them a new recipe or meal for them to add to their repertoire of meals and dishes. And then afterwards everybody pitches in with the clean-up and takes turns playing with Superbaby.

That's when I realize yet again that it just doesn't get any better than this.

And it doesn't hurt to look outside at the miserable weather and remind myself that I don't have to walk 9 or 10 miles in it tomorrow and that I can take all the time I want tonight to enjoy my family because I don't have to start getting everything ready for work tomorrow.

Life is unbelievably sweet and I'm unbelievably thankful.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Helter Skelter

I've spent a lot of really fun time in the last few months trying to organize my time. I haven't been altogether successful but it's been a blast trying.

Now though, I realize that my little somewhat organized schedule was actually very precarious. All it took were a couple little, tiny wrinkles to make everything discombobulated.

Let's start with one of my very favorite events. I have a family staying with me for maybe even two weeks. I love that so much. It's amazing to have a 10 1/2 month old in the house; not to mention my oldest granddaughter and her husband. Since she spent many of her younger years in this house, it feels just right to have her under this roof again.

But it has shaken my routine just a little. Now when I might be taking pictures or writing a post or most importantly reading the posts that I love to keep up with, I'm playing with Superbaby:

(Just because he's on his knees, don't get the impression he's a typical baby. In the next picture he was sticking his butt in the air and standing up straight. Right after that he's was off and running AND he dances.) Anyway, I digress.

We've also had to winterize the pond. After Mr. Right finished redirecting the hoses, Mrs. Right (that would be me of course) had to rake every leaf and pick every single one out of the net to keep any from landing in the pond over winter.

But the most important thing and the number one reason that I'm discombobulated has nothing to do with my visitors or the pond. I'm completely distracted right now by my youngest daughter, Sarah. We've already had one false alarm that had Beth and I traveling for several hours, only to turn around and head home. That wasn't Sarah's fault either. She gave us the facts and we made the decision to head down there. She's been very symptomatic and I'm starting to think it had a lot to do with the full moon. She's also 38 1/2 weeks and after her OB exam last week, her doctor stated that her water might break. Surely no doctor would ever say that unless there's something really impressive going on down there right?

The difficulty is that it's a solid 4 1/2 hour drive and Beth and I are blessed enough to be invited into the delivery room. So I'm kind of living out of my bags and trying to keep everything half ready to walk out the door and welcome our new grandbaby.

And that's about ALL I can think about right now.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Well, it's over. And we did it.

We had mashed potatoes, turkey, pork tenderloin filets, sweet potatoes, corn pudding, green bean casserole, radishes and onions, and desserts that included cheese cake and tollhouse pie.

This is pretty much what we have every year but this year we changed it up a little bit. We went easy, breezy, and a tiny bit sleazy. The mashed potatoes were cooked, mashed, and seasoned when I bought them. So were the sweet potatoes (the best Mr. Right ever ate). I made the corn pudding from scratch but it was the best we'd had in years because I finally had the original recipe. (That page has been missing from my ancient recipe book for a long time but a few weeks ago I found a website that replaces missing pages at a very reasonable price and I finally have it back in its rightful place.) Beth brought the brown 'n serves, the green bean casserole, and the tollhouse pie. Amy made the cheesecake and was on hand to help with what little we still had to do from morning til night.

And we tried the 500 degree turkey roasting recipe. Two hours. That's it. While it rested and its carving process was begun, we heated the ready-made potatoes and casseroles. And it was golden. Perfection! Easy.

I intend to do this every year. Because Thanksgiving is about family and good eats and it doesn't have to include a solid day of back breaking, everything from scratch, labor.

Now I finally know that for sure.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You Capture - Food II

This week's You Capture assignment was FOOD. Yum. And it so happened that this past weekend I took a trip to Kentucky and had dinner with daughter #4 and she knows how to find the restaurants!

The entree:

That was good, and I enjoyed every single shrimp, but the dessert? The dessert was the best I ever had:

And this photo is just to prove that I did share it......or at least I let Sarah grab what she could between my lightning fast (while still savoring with eyes closed) bites:

For more food captures or to post your own, go to ishouldbefoldinglaundry.

500 Degrees and Roasting

Mr. Right and I were shopping Monday evening for our holiday feast. Previously we've tended to shop the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving but, now that I'm retired, I have to admit we're getting better!

Anyway, while we shopped, he mentioned that he had heard on the radio that many people are now roasting their turkeys at 500 degrees. According to these guys, the turkeys come out crisp on the outside and tender and moist on the inside AND they only have to bake for a couple of hours or even less depending on the size of the bird.

I'm going to try it for sure. I've often wished I had more than one oven especially on holidays like Thanksgiving. Since that doesn't seem to be an option, cutting the roasting time from 5 or 6 hours to 1 or 2 will definitely free up some oven time.

I promise to record how it turns out including pictures! No matter what.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Eyes Really Do Deceive Me

Many years ago, when I was a bartender in a small neighborhood tavern, one of my regular customers told me he was overweight because he didn't perceive himself as overweight. Interesting.

Ever since I retired, I've battled, or at least sparred with, my weight. When I was working, I was walking about 9 miles a day and I could eat whatever I wanted to. When I retired, I didn't walk at all but I ate whatever I wanted to. I realized this was a problem so I started walking everyday (almost....when I felt like it.....and had time.....and wasn't traveling.....or feeling uninspired). And I started to watch what I ate. Really.....I watched every single bite that I put in my mouth.

And I gained weight steadily. I gained a solid 15 to 20 pounds in just a couple of months. I didn't like it and I was pretty self conscious about it but I didn't feel like I looked that bad.

Then, this weekend, as I drove along on my way to Kentucky, for some reason I happened to look down. And there it was. A great big entity bulging out of my seat belt. It was shocking. And in quick succession I had two other enlightening moments. Before I left on Sunday, Sarah took a picture of me with the kids. Unfortunately when I downloaded them, I let Mr. Right look over my shoulder to view them and there it was again. Where on earth did that come from?

Holy Cow! I didn't know.

Later in the evening, I was enjoying a few Quakes (you know, little cheddar rice cakes that are low in fat and calories unless you eat 5,000 of them which I habitually do). For some reason, I sat down at Mr. Right's computer and there in his monitor, which was off, was a reflection of my giant entity. And my big big shoulders. I actually felt kind of confused. Was that really me? And suddenly the Quakes didn't taste as good and I wasn't craving them like I had been.

So how do I deceive myself? I think that when I step in front of a mirror I subconsciously prepare myself. I look where it's safer to look and maybe I stand a little straighter, pull my stomach in a little, and try to put a pleasant look on my face.

It's just when I'm not prepared that I see what my eyes have been keeping from me. And maybe, if I would perceive myself as I really am, I could win this sparring match with my weight gain. And maybe even turn it into a battle that I could win.

Don't get me wrong. I still love being 63 and retired and life is still sweet. I'm just starting to realize it could be a lot sweeter.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Zoom Zoom

This weekend I got to zoom down to Louisville to spend some time with my youngest daughter. She's 36 weeks pregnant and, on her doctor's advice, stayed home while her husband and children visited his family about two and a half hours away.

Being "large with child" (this does not mean she is large only the part of her carrying the baby is large - she's still small) makes things more difficult for her which in turn makes things more sweet for me because I was NEEDED. I could be so helpful. This time could go toward making up for all the time that I can't spend time with her because she's 300 miles away. I could help her get ready for Christmas, we could shop together, and best of all we could have lunches and dinners together. It was the BEST!

Then on Saturday night and Sunday morning I got to spend some time with two of my precious grandchildren that I just don't get to see enough of.

So I zoomed down there in 4 hours on Friday and zoomed back in 4 hours on Sunday. I got to take advantage of the blessing of being retired and the 'new to us car' that we hadn't taken on a long road trip yet. I did it all by myself and felt good about every moment of it.

Life is sweet when you're sixty-three.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

You Capture - Sunrise Sunset

I absolutely LOVED the You Capture subject this week because I absolutely love taking pictures of the sunrise and especially the sunset (you know, because it's so much more accessible). Anyway, unfortunately it's been one crazy week (think wedding, fake Thanksgiving dinner, etc.) and I didn't even look at the subject until Tuesday. And ever since, the weather in this area has been so dismal that I was lucky to get any pictures at all. They're not great but I got pictures that I wouldn't have gotten without this You Capture assignment so it's all good. Oh and it's all sunset.

What's really crazy is that all these pictures are of the same sunset taken within about 10 minutes of each other.

For much more beautiful sunrise sunset shots, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry and consider joining the fun.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mary! Duck Your Head!

Of course, that frisbie was nowhere near Mary's sweet little head but it did seem to line up alarmingly well in the picture.

Saturday was a beautiful day for being outside or for being saucy and flirtatious for your husband.

Brian might not look like he was impressed with her incredible sense of style but he was just being shy.

Beth did a post today about finding out the sex of her baby and it included a rare picture of me that I don't hate. Thanks, Beth. If this doesn't prove that she's a great photographic editor, nothing will.

And I saw this interesting note in the paper last night. On this date in 1909 the same newspaper included this note: Football in the county took its toll on Saturday. Two were killed, four were fatally injured, and 16 were seriously injured.

WOW! I guess today's safety equipment has an even bigger impact that I could have imagined. And we can only be grateful that those four people who were fatally injured, weren't killed. Whew! Seriously though, can this be right? Football would have been even more dangerous than war, right? Yikes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Look How Far We've Come!

I was editing vacation pictures from last summer and ran across this shot. Not only do I think it's beautiful, but I think it says a lot!

Don't you?
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Veteran's Day

Wednesday was Veteran's Day. Mr. Right always says that that's the day when all the Veteran's have to work. This cynical observation probably had it's roots in the fact that every Veteran's Day I would have the day off and I'm not a veteran while he had to work and he is a veteran.

Wednesday he came home from work and said that he had seen on the internet that veterans could eat free at Applebee's. We looked into it a little and the article said that there were a variety of documents one could take with them to prove that they had served in the military..papers like the DD214 which is the discharge document from active service. Well, nobody carries that around especially after almost 40 years. So I called Applebee's to see if our local restaurant was participating in this event and the manager who answered the phone assured me that they were. Then I asked what proof we had to bring and he pointed out some of the documents that were listed online. Since we didn't have any of those handy, I said how about his membership card from the American Legion where you have to be a veteran to belong and he replied, "Sure, I'll take that". How agreeable.

The impressive thing about this 'free veterans dinner' offer turned out to be not the offer itself so much but with what class Applebee's conducted this event.

First of all we were in there a couple of weeks ago and were surprised to see them decorating extensively for Veteran's Day. There were flags, red white and blue lights, and bunting everywhere so obviously it was a big deal for them. When we arrived, we were seated immediately and the service was exemplary. The dinner was delicious and I especially love the wonderful Weight Watchers friendly meals that they offer. Even if you're not doing Weight Watchers, it's a healthy alternative to most calorie and fat packed meals. Anyway, we had a wonderful meal which we appreciated very much given it was half price and we went home.

Since that evening, we've heard of several other restaurants that offered free meals for veterans and I think that is a wonderful thing. Even ex-servicemen from Mr. Right's era, when you didn't enter the service because you were brave and patriotic but because you were drafted and you didn't have a choice, were honored. I'm impressed that these restaurants recognize the value of the service regardless of why it was served; just that it WAS served and served honorably.

Hats off to Applebee's and every other restaurant that showed their appreciation for the men and women or once did or are now helping to keep our country free.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Is Our Backyard Stubborn?

I like to mow-rake. Its much more fun than raking and I think it's good for the lawn because the nutrients stay right here rather than getting shipped off to a landfill. And mow-raking works well as long as you don't get too far behind because of unseasonably cold, wet weather like happened to us a couple of weeks ago in the front yard.

We didn't have that problem in our tree-filled back yard because for some reason the trees in the back yard can't let go of their leaves in a timely manner.

About a week ago we mow-raked the back yard and it wasn't that bad because so many leaves remained in the trees. Then our mower went on the fritz and we had to impose on my brother to fix it for us. Yesterday we got it back and I mow-raked almost the entire back yard. There was just a 15 foot strip across the back that I couldn't get to before dark and exhaustion set in.

So this morning I went out to finish and it was raining - not water - but leaves. I had to keep going because if they get too deep, mow-raking can't be done and I didn't want to real rake.

Then I looked around. Look at our neighbors' trees.

The only tree he has left with leaves on the one hanging over our back yard.

Now look at ours.
And watch while I mow-rake what I just mow-raked last night.

And look where I just mow-raked a few minutes ago.

Now what does this have to do with 'Musing of the Sixties'?

I'll tell you. This morning I got to take my grandchildren to school while their mom went to the doctor for a very important appointment.

Then I came home and played on my computer for awhile.

Then I mow-raked and, while I was at it, fooled around taking pictures and writing a post for my blog.

I could do all this because I'm in my sixties and most importantly, retired. I really don't care when our leaves fall. I just thought it was interesting and I wanted to talk about it.

So I did. Because I can. Whenever I want. This is the life.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You Capture - Photographer's Choice

You wouldn't think this subject would be a struggle but it was for me. At least until I got going. Beth's goal at ishouldbefoldinglaundry is to get us out there taking pictures and she's done it again. Once I realized that the object was to capture interesting or good quality photos, I looked around my house and stepped outside the back door and viola!

First my eyes fell on my new 'breakfast of champions' formulated to fit my new goals and, hopefully, lifestyle. I set up my shot, clicked, and cropped and came up with this. It's not too exciting but it's a picture I wouldn't have attempted without You Capture.

Then I remembered that I had not fed my koi babies and thought I'd try to capture their 'breakfast of champions' formulated by me from a variety of koi foods and a coffee grinder:

It only followed that I capture some of the babies who thrive on this strange concoction. Anyone who looked at my blog from the very end of June until the middle of July or so will be amazed at how they've changed from tiny little threads to real potential koi. (This picture was harder than it looks and required me to turn off the flash and use my tripod.)

Taking the baby koi shots reminded my of their moms and dads hunkering down for the winter under their protective netting which is designed to keep out leaves, debris, and predators. My poor camera was begging me to tell it whether I was trying to get the leaves, the net, or the koi underneath and I didn't know how to tell it the koi. So it did the best it could. I have so much to learn.

And then I turned to the obvious. Even though most of the beautiful leaves are now on the ground, there's still beauty (and a few leaves in the trees) out there for me to capture.

I love Beth's You Capture series because it forces me to evolve in my photography and I get to look at so many amazing pictures that other bloggers have taken. It's awesome! So visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry to share in the fun. You'll never regret it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Busy Day, Disappointment, and Triumph

Today my sister and I went shopping. It wasn't your everyday shopping either. We were shopping for a wedding dress for her and a maid-of-honor dress for me. This is her second marriage and we're all very happy for her. And I'm especially excited that I get to be her attendant. When she got married for the first time over forty years ago, I wasn't able to be here. Mr. Right was in the Air Force and we were stationed in the southern tip of New Mexico. Unfortunately, money was tight and I had a new job so a quick flight to Indiana was out of the question. Truly, it broke my heart.

She's my only sister and we're only a couple of years apart in age. We've always been very close. I never could have foreseen that I might not be there when she got married.

Now, this second, small wedding is only a little over a week away and I'm a little nervous and very excited.

Shopping was a bit of a trial since I've packed on about twenty pounds since I retired but I'm determined to not let it put a damper on the occasion. And I think I've finally got my mind right on changing the weight gain into weight loss. We'll see.

So we had a busy day, I was disappointed that nothing fit, but I'm still optimistic and determined to change that weight problem around.

And ultimately, nothing could be sweeter than her wedding and my part in it. After forty years, It's time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mediterranean Salad - Yum

My cousin recently sent me an email with an alert. It seems she bought a bag of Dole Mediterranean Salad. The ingredients are healthy and sound so appealing....a blend of escarole, leaf lettuce, radicchio, and endive.

But, fortunately, my cousin is a conscientious, meticulous type person. She buys 'ready to eat' salads and washes the ingredients before serving them.

Who does that?

As it turns out, it's a good thing she does because the ingredient list should have read....a blend of escarole, leaf lettuce, radicchio, endive, and green stinkbug. Because that's what was in there. Are you cringing? I am. Especially because the color of the bug blends so nicely with the other ingredients.

Now I'm squinting and wondering how many green stink bugs I've eaten in my life. oh no.

So here's your fair warning. Wash and carefully check your ready-made salads because all the ingredients might not be listed on the package.

But there is good news. The 'ready to eat' salad mix didn't have any preservatives in it. So there you go.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Is Amazing

I got home this morning after having breakfast with my sister and saw what looked like a large truck for hauling leaves at the end of our block. I had no idea it was that time of year already. I honestly believed that the trees in our front yard were dropping their leaves incredibly fast and early. And I thought this early leaf drop was precipitated by record-breaking cold temperatures, wind, and lots and lots of rain.

So within just a few days the front yard was about knee deep in wet leaves.

Normally, I prefer to mow rake. In other words, use a mulching blade on our lawn mower to make the leaves virtually disappear, while enriching the soil at the same time; but with leaves about a foot deep and wet, mow raking (I think I invented that term. lol) was an impossibility. I had raked and bagged two large garbage cans and 3 huge, tightly stuffed bags of leaves and hadn't even made a dent.

Therefore, when I saw that truck at the end of the block, I panicked. I reasoned that if I could just get a few bushels of leaves out to the street, it would be that many that I wouldn't have to bag or leave laying in the street alongside the lawn for another week or more, since the city picks up leaves by area. If we were the first area, we might not get another pick up until some time in November.

So I'd rake a few strokes, gather an enormous armload of leaves between the large rake head and my other arm and dash it out to the street. I had a fairly respectable pile for a short period of work when two people got out of a pickup truck that was part of the leaf pick up crew. They were carrying big, POWERFUL leaf blowers and they walked into my yard, up to my house, and started blowing leaves out to the street.

The leaves were so deep that they'd kick them along in places because there were too many to blow so I kept carrying loads out to the street. In about twenty minutes, these two angelic city employees and I had our front yard clear of leaves - no small feat when there were so many! Then the rest of the crew helped blow them into the front loader so they could be dumped into their truck. Here they are just finishing up:

And I was the most grateful citizen in town.

I gave them all the pop and water I had in the refrigerator, a box of Ritz Crackers, and the big bag of really good Halloween candy that had been earmarked for beggar's night. I just needed to find a way to tangibly show my appreciation.

Unfortunately, I couldn't take a picture until they were virtually finished because it might not have seemed right to stand around taking pictures while they did all the work; and that's a shame because it's hard to adequately describe the mountain of leaves that they moved in a short period of time. And a picture would have astounded everyone almost as much as this story.

These people didn't have to help me but I suspect that my neighbors, with two leaf blowers were trying to get their lawn done and the city employees wanted to give them a chance to finish so while they were waiting, they helped me.

I'm speechless with gratitude and impressed beyond measure. What wonderful people!