Saturday, December 31, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Fragments

I am trying something new this week, as it is the last Friday of 2011 and it seems that I cannot put together a complete sentence lately.

 Mommy's Idea

According to Mrs. 4444 the host of Friday Fragments; "Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard".


* It is hard to believe 2011 is over, it seems like it just began. 

* I am lost without school, I feel like I am floundering around looking for something to occupy my time.

* My two weeks off of work has flown by without me doing much of anything, thanks to being sick for an entire week. 

* Note to everyone, do not mix cold medicine with cough medicine, while it does allow you to sleep through the night, it does not allow you to function the next day until noon or so!

* Ling's tongue no longer stays in her mouth, witness below:

* Wishing everyone the Happiest of New Year's.  I hope that 2012 brings you nothing but love, peace and prosperity.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Score One for the Humans

Being home all day is interesting.  I get a first hand look at what the dogs, cats, and squirrels do all day.  The dogs are content to lay on the heated blanket and only emerge at semi-regular intervals to relieve themselves.  The cats are smart enough to know that I am home and stand at the door crying until I give in and they come upstairs.

The squirrels on the other hand have been busy at work trying to get to the bird feeder.  I have been out of squirrel food for about a week and it would seem their stores of food have been exhausted.  Yesterday, two squirrels tried and tried to get into the Squirrel Buster Feeder and true to its name, they were unsuccessful.

Readying for attempt #349

It's a good thing I did not eat that extra peanut...
 Human Alert
Attempt #351 - Maybe if I attack it from this angle...
Attempt #353 - maybe from the front...
Attempt #354 - I got it now!
Attempt #355 - wow, hold on!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Recap

Doodle and I are not out braving the masses of people in search of the perfect after Christmas sale items, instead we slept in.  This is more due to the fact we are both fighting a cold, hoping it does not turn into something more sinister; rather than us not being in the spirit of a good bargain. 

Over the weekend, we caught up on some movies we had recorded.  We watched Million Dollar Baby and The Last King of Scotland.  Both of which I would highly recommend, which would explain why they won Academy Awards, oh 4 or 5 years ago.  I am ashamed!

We also tried several new recipes instead the old standbys and quickly came to the conclusion that Bobby Flay's recipes are above our skill level.  While we laughed and enjoyed being in the kitchen together, we were definitely confused on what to do with the extra milk and butter for the potato recipe and ended up with something that I am sure did not resemble what Mr. Flay had in mind, as his final instructions were to fill the center of the potatoes with the homemade queso and somewhere along the line we had mixed ours together.

I hope that whatever you did, it was a joyful weekend filled with love and laughter.

*Smiles

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours, may you have the gift of faith, the blessing of hope and the peace of love at Christmas and always.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

While the weather outside is not frightful, it is definitely the holidays, by the simple fact, we slept in and are now cooking our holiday breakfast casserole.  This has to be one of Doodle's favorite meals and we really only make it on special occasions.  The recipe comes from the Easy Entertaining Cookbook, which can be found on Amazon and has some great recipes, that are you guessed it EASY!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole

2 1/2 cups seasoned croutons
1 pound roll sausage (we use turkey)
4 eggs
2 1/4 cups milk
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 10 oz package of frozen, chopped, thawed and squeezed dry spinach
1 4 oz can mushrooms, chopped
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard or more to taste

Spread croutons on the bottom of a greased 13x9 baking dish.  Crumble sausage into skillet and cook until brown, draining off any grease.  Spread sausage over croutons.  Whisk eggs and milk in a large bowl until blended.  Stir in soup, spinach, mushrooms, cheeses and mustard.  Pour egg mixture over sausage and croutons.  Refrigerate overnight.  Preheat oven to 325.  Bake uncovered 50 to 55 minutes or until set and brown on top. (It always takes mine longer than the recommended cooking time)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

For those of you keeping track, there are...

2 Days, 9 Hours, 35 Minutes, 55 Seconds

Until Christmas!

The Carter Center

Mom and I had the opportunity to visit the Cater Center Museum and Library this week.  Neither of us had been to the Center before and thoroughly enjoyed our time there wandering through the gardens and learning about President Jimmy Carter, his family, and all that the Center has accomplished since he left office. 

"Ultimately, the work of The Carter Center is about helping people achieve better opportunities and watching hope take root where it languished before."—Jimmy Carter

One of the things we found most interesting is the Centers work in eradicating the Guinea Worm in Africa.  In 1986 when the Carter Center began work on this disease, there were over 3.5 million cases, in 2010, there were less than 1800.  

AMAZING

If you are ever in the Atlanta area, the Carter Center is worth a visit.  If you cannot get to the Center, many of their conversations and programs are webcast live.  Take a look at the upcoming schedule and maybe you too will be inspired to help the world.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

It is easier to be wise for others than our ourselves.

~Francois De La Rochefoucauld

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cavalia Review

Guess what I did this morning?

ERASED ALL PHOTOS FROM MY PHONE!

I thought I had saved them to the computer and deleted them from the phone... guess what... I just deleted them.  The pictures from my friends 50th birthday party, the photos from Cavalia... ALL GONE! 

UGH!  That was an expensive lesson in learning how to pull photos from your phone. 

Anywho, mom and I attended the matinee performance of Cavalia Odysseo last Saturday.  It was wonderful, honestly, I had no clue what the story line was, had to read about that online this morning.  Odysseo is suppose to be a dream about what horses think as the seasons unfold and as they journey across the world.  The tent is huge and even bigger than you think when all the curtains are moved.  They also have this great screen that digitally changes the background and even though I knew the stage was not growing the way they moved the clouds into the sky, it felt like I was getting smaller. 

Overall, I enjoyed the show but like the original Cavalia better.  I think because I was able to follow the storyline easier and it made more sense to me.  Also, while I appreciate the acrobats, you can only watch people flip themselves around for so long, I was not there to watch that; but, rather the interaction between the horses and riders. At times it was too much like Cirque du Soleil, which makes sense as the show was founded by Normand Latourelle, who also worked with Cirque.   

The horses were amazingly beautiful and the riders so good it makes me jealous.  At one point we counted 20 horses together in the arena all moving in tandem.  It was an amazing sight.  I told Austin yesterday that he could be in Cavalia, as soon as he begins to like humans, gets over the fact that everything is a horse eating monster, gets use to lights, curtains, acrobats... he gives me a look at says "Keep Dreaming"!




You can visit the Cavalia website here, if the show comes to an area near you, it is worth seeing.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Halleluiah

Yesterday was my last day of work for the next two weeks! 

I am free! 

Free to enjoy my mom visiting, free from the stress of work, and free from thinking about school, which is OVER!   Today mom and I went shopping and then to Cavalia.  A full review and pictures will be forthcoming. 

Happy Holidays everyone and for those of you counting, there are 7 days, 2 hours, 28 minutes and 17 seconds until Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wow

Last night was amazing, I can hardly believe that it is over... officially over!  What an experience, I cannot wait to start a PhD.  I was so impressed with the students that earned their PhD's that I am determined to do so, even if I am 85 when I finish.  Official pictures will be forthcoming but I just had to share my happiness.  Thank you for sticking with my rants and posts about endless reading, I appreciate all the words of encouragement.
~Smiles

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover. 

~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Elf

My own personal holiday joy arrived yesterday... Mom!

I have missed her so much this year and am grateful that she came in for the holidays.  Graduation is tomorrow night, hard to believe.  I am sure Doodle will be snapping pictures, if he can survive the many trips to the airport to gather the rest of the family. 

Our weekend was busy, a friend was turn 50 on Saturday and we threw her a surprise party, so Saturday was filled with cooking, stressing, cooking, and more stressing but in the end, all turned out well!  Her look was priceless when she figured out what was happening.

Yesterday, I cleaned and attempted to de-hair the house as mom is allergic to the cats.  We will see how well I did.  Hope everyone had a most wonderful weekend.

~Smiles

Saturday, December 10, 2011

14 Days 11 Hours 5 Minutes

Blue Room Christmas Tree, White House 2011
Until Christmas and I am still not feeling festive this year.  I did put some of the decorations on the porch and threw the tablecloth on the table... non-ironed of course!  Perhaps I need my own personal elf to decorate... oh Mom! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Iconic Images 2011

As we begin to reflect on 2011, we are reminded this was a year filled with events the world has never seen, from natural disasters, to wars, and riots.  MSN India has a gallery of what they deem are the most iconic images from 2011.  Here are three that brought back memories for me. 
Cairo, Egypt

Occupy Movement
Tsunami aftermath
The entire gallery can be seen MSN India.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Remembering Pearl Harbor

"Everybody knows about Pearl Harbor.  The thing that really fascinated me is that through this tragedy there was this amazing American heroism"

~Michael Bay

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jingle

Yesterday, I met a friend for our annual shopping day.  I believe this is the fourteenth year we have braved the masses to find the perfect holiday gifts.  Back when her children were wee lads and lasses, we would come home with the car loaded, exhausted from searching all day.  Now that the children are teenagers, there is not much shopping to be done, but we still meet, spend the day looking for the perfect holiday decorations and enjoy a relaxing lunch. 

Yesterday, she found (okay, I found it but she bought it!) the perfect snowman.  We had to figure out a way to keep him (Jingle) safe... so, we strapped him in the backseat, where he traveled all day.  We received quite a few strange looks while driving.  Guess people are not use to seeing a snowman strapped in the backseat.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Musings

The holidays are three weeks away. 

I have two weeks left of work and we have not begun to decorate the house.  We are trying to wait for mom to get here next weekend before getting the tree, so she can help.

Today I had to run out to Target... goodness, the masses have descended and all good cheer has flown out the window.   

Sometimes I am in the holiday spirit and sometimes I am not... is that normal?

I am still not sure what all the fuss is about Pinterest?  So it is a bunch of pictures, I really just do not get it! 

I think I'll have another glass of wine and maybe then Pinterest will make sense to me.

~Smiles

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why We Shoot Deer

This was shared by a friend of mine and it made me laugh so hard I cried...enjoy!

Why we shoot deer in the wild (A letter from someone who wants to remain anonymous, who farms, writes well and actually tried this)

I had this idea that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it home.

I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up - 3 of them. I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good hold.

The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it, it took a step away. I put a little tension on the rope .., and then received an education. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

That deer EXPLODED. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer-- no Chance. That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had originally imagined. The only upside is that they do not have as much stamina as many other animals.

A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.

I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual. Despite the gash in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in. I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I had set before hand...kind of like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my rope back.

Did you know that deer bite?

They do! I never in a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when ...... I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and slide off to then let go. A deer bites you and shakes its head--almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it hurts. The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and shaking instead. My method was ineffective.

It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it. While I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope loose.

That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.

Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are surprisingly sharp ... I learned a long time ago that, when an animal -like a horse - strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can escape.

This was not a horse. This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run. The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.

Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a scope......to sort of even the odds!!

All these events are true so help me God... An Educated Farmer

Shahmaran

According to Wikipedia:

Shahmaran is a mythical creature from the folklore of southern, central and eastern Anatolia, Iran and Iraq. The name of Shahmaran comes from words "Shah" and "Maran". "Shah" is the Iranian title for a king, primarily the leader of the Iranians and their land and "Mar" means snake in Kurdish. In plural "Mar-an" means "snakes". A Shahmaran is often depicted as a wise and benign woman with the features of a woman above the waist and those of a serpent below the waist. She is held to be queen of the snakes. When a Shahmaran dies, her spirit passes to her daughter. The legend is that she was in love with a man named Tasmsp, and he was in love with her and he would listen to her stories, but when she had no more stories to tell he went back to his country, and Shahmaran accepted his choice. When Tasmsp came back to his land the king there became very ill and one of the kings helpers told him that the only way to get better is to eat Shahmaran. So they took people one by one into the hamam to see if snake scales would come up and when Tasmsp went he was forced to tell where Shahmaran was hiding when they found her she said that whoever takes a bite from my snake scales will gain the secrets of the world but whoever takes a bite of my head will die at the moment. Tasmsp took a bite of the head and the evil helper took a bite of the scales, but the helper died and Tasmsp was not affected at all. Shahmaran helped her lover and killed her enemy.

In Turkey, Shahmaran is believed to live in the Mediterranean town of Tarsus. A similar legend is told in the Mardin region. In this region she is depicted with famous Shahmaran pictures.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Offically Done!

I am officially finished with school.  I gave my final presentation last night.  I sweated through my shirt, my hands visibly shook, and my voice squeaked but I am DONE!  While most people are counting down to the holidays, I am counting down to graduation; 12 days to go.

Out of curiosity, I looked back at everything that I read in the last 16 months, here are the totals:

28 books read (I was afraid to count the number of pages... might put me over the edge!)
17 papers written

I do not even want to think about the number of trees that were killed in order for me to print out the reams of paper that I consumed.  At least I printed on both sides!

I wonder what my next adventure will be?

Ideas?