Sunday, December 21, 2008


Don't know that I'll get lucky enough in Bridgeport this week to have THIS much snow, but if not, I'll just continue to live vicariously through this lucky dog!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Powerful Article About Gay Marriage

Sabine Dukes just posted this link to a Newsweek article on her Facebook page, and it really is a terrific piece that challenges the religious arguments against gay marriage. A very thought-provoking read.

Shoppin' with Ellie

Grocery shopping often feels more like a chore, but when you get to take 4-year-old Ellie, it's more like an adventure! I took Ellie shopping to Trader Joe's and Save Mart a few weeks ago, and she found some leaves along the way.
Inside Trader Joe's, I told Ellie that I would read the things on my list, and she could get them off the shelves and put them in the basket. I quickly realized this wasn't a very bright idea, as I had to pick her up to enable her to reach most things. It was stil an adventure, though, especially in the frozen food aisle. I picked her up and tilted her down into the case to reach for the steel cut oatmeal I love (it's cooked already and frozen in individual pouches -- incredibly healthy in minutes in the microwave!), and while her head was down in the case, she turned back and said in a deep voice, "I'm deep inside now!!!" I cracked up while the other shoppers looked at us like we were crazy.

Back in the car, Ellie sat in the back seat, and picked up a bike wheel I had back there. She used it as her steering wheel, and asked me to tell her each time we were turning so she could help me turn all the way home. Priceless.

Friday, December 5, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog...

..for Facebook. Yup, I've discovered Facebook, and have been spending my internet time there. But never fear, I'll return here soon, after some of the novelty wears off. I need to do an entry on a shopping trip with Ellie and my Turkey Day trip to Tennessee. Promise ... I'll be back!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

David BECOMES Goliath?!

Postin' a little e-mail humor...

Apparently, the statue of David is about to be returned to Florence after spending some time in America...
And his sponsors?...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Giving THANKS a Little Early

We had a pretty scary day here today. After a few weeks of a low-grade fever and flu-like symptoms, Katie brought 3-year-old Sophie to the doctor yesterday to see what was wrong. The doc did a blood test that came back looking odd. He brought Sophie in this morning for a bone marrow biopsy, as he was afraid she had leukemia. Katie and Sophie spent the day at Children's Hospital with poor little Sophie getting poked and prodded all day, and mom Katie lovin' her up.

The tests from the biopsy came back early this evening and are NEGATIVE for leukemia!!! They think that she just has a really bad virus that is finally getting better -- her blood cell counts looked better today than yesterday even. They also did a test to see if she has Mono, and that will come back in a few days. But, NO LEUKEMIA!!! Definitely reason to give early THANKS.
(Now I have to sign off, as we're celebrating with sparkling apple grape cider!
Or, as Sophie says, "Sparkling apple spider!")

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Woulda Been a Nightmare

A friend sent this video to me prior to the election ... Thank goodness this didn't happen!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Now, that's a First Family.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Better than the Cooking Channel

My family has a tradition of cooking Chinese food when we get together; I think it started when my oldest brother, Bill, came home from college at some point with a wok and a Chinese cookbook. Of course, we use a Sunset Magazine Chinese cookbook, so my guess is that it's not traditional Chinese food, but it's always been tasty.

Yesterday, though, I had the opportunity to learn to cook some REAL Chinese food, as Lizhu came over and taught Katie and me to make dumplings -- or potstickers as they're often called. Lizhu is from the city of Lanzhou, which is the capital of the Gansu province in the northwest part of China. She definitely knows how to cook real Chinese food, and shared her secrets with us, which I'll reveal here.

First, we learned that we were not supposed to use this type of ground pork. Silly Americans. Katie had to go back to the store and when she couldn't find plain old ground pork, we settled for ground turkey. (Lizhu said we could use ground pork, turkey, or chicken.)Next, Lizhu cut some Napa cabbage (milder than regular cabbage) and put it in a bowl. She sprinkled a bunch of salt on it and let it sit. The salt draws water out of the cabbage. After it sat for awhile, we squeezed the water out of it -- and there was a bunch!
We added the water-free cabbage to the ground turkey in another bowl. No, that's not all the cabbage. It's just one fistful from squeezing the water out.
Then Lizhu mixed up the cabbage along with about a tablespoon of ginger and about 3 chopped scallions.
Then she taught us how to wrap! We used small round wonton skins. You put a ball of the filling in the middle, fold the skin over and hold it up like a taco, pinching the top middle part of the skin together. Then, working from first one outside edge and then the other, you pinch the two sides together in little pleats until it's closed. It's harder than it looks (and sounds), and there was a significant difference between the aesthetic appeal of the dumplings made by the newbies (Katie and me) and Lizhu!
Lizhu did the one on the far right, and I think we did the other ones. Ours looked more like apple turnovers than potstickers...
Once they were all folded, Lizhu started frying them while Sophie looked on. She coated a fry pan with a little oil, letting them brown on one side and then the other. To make sure the insides were cooked, she put a bit of water in the pan and then covered it; they were finished when the water had cooked away.
And voila! (Is there a Chinese equivalent of "voila"?) Homemade authentic potstickers!
Of course, the best part was eating them!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

In my department at work, there is intense peer pressure to dress up for intense that I had to break out my 24-(gulp!)year-old high school cheerleading uniform today. It fit! (Ok, so I had to use a large safety pin to close the top of the skirt because I couldn't button it, but for gosh sakes, it's 24 years old!!!)
Katie was a little more creative than me, and she transformed into Cleopatra.
We had a potluck at the office. What a crazy bunch, huh?
And another shot when a petite Hannah Montana showed up.
Tonight, Alma invited us all to her house to hang out while hundreds (yes, hundreds) of kids came by her house to trick-or-treat. She lives in an area of Fresno where people from all over bring their kids, and it was a hoot. Lizhu sat at the door for hours handing out candy. Dean, her husband, handed out candy like I would: "One for you...two for me..."
Colleague Rich didn't make it to the office today, but showed up at Alma's in quite the outfit...
...and let Katie's kids know that if they ate all their Halloween candy, their teeth would look like his.
Gary brought Laura, and they were the best looking hippy couple there.
Bullwinkle hung out with Ranger R for a bit.
Until next year .... Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Two Thumbs Up

Just watched this, courtesy of Netflix, and it's a must-see. Beautiful, odd, poignant, and humorously heartwarming all at the same time.
When I first saw that Alan Cummings had a supporting role in it, I was a bit put off. He was a really, really, REALLY bad guy in one of my favorite movies, "Rob Roy," and since seeing him in that, it's been hard for me to see him as any other character. But he does a phenomenal job in this movie as a quirky, good-hearted man, so I was able to get past his previous roles.

I'm no Ebert or Roper, but really ... this is a must-see.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Scared *#@*less

It's almost Halloween, and to get in the mood, I went with some friends to Hobb's Grove, an amazing haunted-ranch-of-sorts in Sanger. Here I am with friend and colleague Lizhu, and her husband Dean, at a sign posted near the entrance to the attractions. We managed to avoid alcohol, but, um, I wasn't as successful avoiding profanity as the night progressed.This sweet young thing greeted us while we were standing in line for the first of three attractions, the Haunted Hay Ride.
Lizhu and Dean were settled in on the hay ride, waiting to go. Once the ride started, we weren't allowed to take pictures. A tractor pulled us around through a bunch of scary scenes, such as a hillbilly village straight out of Deliverance, a mad scientist's laboratory, and a small forest complete with really ugly dudes wielding chainsaws. Of course, they chased the trailer of hay that we were on, and it was plenty scary. But little did we know that it was just a warm-up for the next two attractions.
Safely off the hay ride, we waited in line for the Haunted Forest, and this handsome Barney Fife look-alike hung out and chatted with Katie and me for awhile.
You can't take pictures in the Haunted Forest, either, and I wouldn't have tried anyway because I was too busy running for my life. Two young boys went in ahead of the four of us, and we caught up with them pretty quickly, as they were terrified and asked to "hang out" with us. There seemed to be strength in numbers, and added numbers also gave us more people to push ahead and say, "No, you go first!" It was freaky scary in there -- no kidding. There were zillions of twists and turns and dark entryways that you had to go through, knowing darned well that some scary something-or-other would be on the other side waiting to pounce. Honestly, it went on an on, and we all thought it would never end. Finally, we came through what seemed to be a final clearing. Dean and I were in the lead, and Katie and Lizhu were just a bit behind us. Suddenly, one after another, three scary dudes with chainsaws (perhaps escapees from the hay ride) jumped out at us, and we freaked out, running for the opening that looked like the end. I looked back over my shoulder, only to see both Lizhu and Katie literally cowering on the ground in a heap with two of the chainsaw guys over them. And I turned back around and kept running. Some friend, aye?! Katie had been pushing Lizhu forward, and accidentally pushed her right into a tree root, and they both tripped and fell. Thankfully, they were able to get up and join us on the outside.

Safely out of the forest, but easily 10 years older, we found a picnic table to sit at and catch our breath. And make a decision as to whether we could handle the final attraction, the Haunted House. And this guy joined us at our table. And, no, he didn't have a fun cartoon-like voice. He was just as silent and creepy as he looks here. Thankfully, he seemed to be full of whatever he'd eaten before he met us, and didn't need any more sustenance from our flesh and blood reserves.
And this rat! He was really creepy looking, but had a silly cartoon-like voice, so was fun to talk to for a bit. And, no, my camera didn't give him those glowing red eyes.
The Haunted House (again, no time for pics -- too busy surviving) was also amazing, and there were many points in it where we were in the pitch dark, having to feel around on the walls to figure out where to go next. And at one point, there was a mad scientist holding a bloody brain that he waved in front of us, asking us, "Did you lose this?" Clearly, we had -- why else would we put ourselves through this torture voluntarily?!!!

We made it through the house, and decided that the Forest was by far the most frightening. Lizhu, Katie, and I also realized that Dean had managed to keep at least one of us in front of him throughout all the attractions, and NEVER went first! We decided to get even as we headed through the parking lot to the car, and without his knowing, we slipped away behind some cars while he kept walking. He didn't realize we weren't with him for some time, and had to walk around looking for us for a few minutes -- even trying to call Lizhu on his cell phone -- before we jumped out and scared him. Crazy kids.

With all the haunting over, we settled in for the drive home and realized we were not only exhausted but had sore throats from all the screaming. I think I screamed for 90 minutes straight.

Happy Haunting Season!

Darned Good Sports

Last Thursday, my college (College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology -- CAST) had its annual faculty/staff barbeque. There's typically a theme, and since everyone here at Fresno State is still basking in the glow of our 2008 National Champion baseball team, the theme was baseball. The staff who organized the bbq had posters made of the five top administrators as, yes, pro baseball players, superimposing their heads on the bodies of players. The admins had no idea, and were pretty good sports. In fact, Associate Dean Witte (right below) and Dean Boyer (the next pic) not only posed by their pics for me, but spent the better part of the evening passing out peanuts -- just like at the ballpark.
In case you didn't notice, Dean Boyer's bod is really Barry Bonds. Perfect fit, aye?! Ya gotta love bosses who play along with stuff like this.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Abbey's 8!

My oldest niece, Abbey, turned 8 a couple weeks ago -- I can't believe it. She had a bowling party with the fam, and a great time was had by all. The birthday girl did great and can really sling the bowling ball.Littlest sister Emma bowled, too, but took plenty of time to give Mom Cathy lotsa lovin' on the sidelines.
And 4-year-old sis Alyssa was quite the lane queen as well. The children had their own lane, complete with a ramp to roll their balls down and gutter-guards to keep the ball out of the gutter. I really, really wish there'd been gutter-guards on the adult lane ... all four of my nieces (including the 2-year-olds!) scored higher than me. I scored a measly 70! I don't think the Pro Bowling Tour will be calling me anytime soon. Big brother Bill (Abbey's dad) scored 132 -- he must have cheated.
Youngest niece Lacey also got in on the game, and though the lightest ball was almost bigger than her, she insisted on taking it to the lane all by herself each time.
Once there, though, she was willing to let Mom Missy help her out.
Abbey and her two sisters were stylin' in their bowling shoes. There weren't any small enough for cousin Lacey.
Three champs. (Lacey was a bit camera-shy at this point.) Good times.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy Carving

Yup, still no time to do a real entry. Thought I'd throw this link up, though, so you can get some ideas for pumpkin carving season ...

Extreme Pumpkins

Don't cut yourself.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Love Them Debates

Really, things here in my return-to-a-real-job world are bound to slow down at some point, enough for me to actually change the name of this blog AND more regularly make entries, but in the meantime, some more election year humor. And be sure to check out the merchandise available at the link at the bottom ... I think I'm going to order the thong ...

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska by J Medkeff.