Saturday, August 30, 2008

Masked Bandit Discovered!

First we noticed food was missing. Then, after we tried to secure the food better, the vandalism began. Finally, last night, we caught the thief red-handed. Late last night we heard soft noises on the back porch and when we got there, a masked bandit in a thick, grey coat, in the very act of stuffing food in to his mouth, froze and gazed at us in fearful surprise at being caught. We froze too, and he suddenly had the presence of mind to make his escape. He turned to run off, and just before he disappeared from sight, he turned and looked me right in the eye so plaintively that my heart melted.

Perhaps I've been reading too much Dickens lately, but when someone is stealing food only, one assumes abject hunger drove him to it. And then, the little fellow was so cute - for he was small, although perhaps fully grown. But obviously, something must be done. So we are no longer going to be able to keep the cat food on the back porch. Kitty doesn't like to come in any more, but with such a desperate character afoot, perhaps she'll think better of it. And then the raccoon will have to find an honest way to feed himself!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Super Commenters, Unite!

Wowsa, another award! Nothing like a Frog Super-Hero to save the day! This is from the lovely and generous Carol at Charli and Me, who honors me with her special notice, and entertains me with her blog posts.

I'm supposed to pick 7 of my closest blog buddies to pass on the honors to, but I just can't do it. Everyone leaves such sweet, interesting, kind and much appreciated comments here that you all truly deserve this award, so I pass it on to all of you! (and there are at least eight commenters!)

So friends... this frog's for you.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Death by Pudding

I want to share a really scrumptious recipe with you, called Oreo Pudding. I must warn you, though, this is one rich dessert! Not to mention it's addictive, so it's probably best to make it for a family reunion, church potluck, boy scout troupe, or any other large enough gathering that you won't go in to a sugar coma nibbling on it by yourself! Also, it is really important to make it at least 24 hours before you want to serve it, maybe more, because it needs to set and chill thoroughly. If you have a child to make it with, they will love crushing the Oreos for you, too, as long as you don't mind them licking off their hands between every cookie. Ok, here it is! And I promise you, it's worth it.

Oreo Pudding

1 small pkg. of Oreo cookies, crushed
1 large container of Cool Whip (12 oz)
1 8-oz pkg. of cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 small boxes vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk

Mix last five ingredients together with an electric mixer or a whisk. Layer with crushed Oreos and pudding mixture. Top with crushed Oreos. Chill in fridge very, very thoroughly, for a day or two. Serve in small dessert dishes. Share!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Awards, Awards, and More Awards!

Look, beautiful awards! Carol at Charli and Me has the most fun blog, I love it and I bet you would too. And she's generous! She shared this Kreativ Blogger award with those who visit her blog regularly, which I am happy to do. I would like to pass this on to

Anne at Nikkipolani because she has a beautiful, creative blog for sure.

She also shared this award, called A Perfect Blend of Friendship, which is just darling and so appropo for the new friendships I am forming in blogland! Who knew there were so many lovely people in the world? This one goes to

Kathy at Destination Sanctification for being an instant and enduring friend!

Then there was this Tree of Happiness award. Notice, "It is scarcely a small plant, which depends on you to grow firmly and strongly. Plant it on your heart, water it with smiles and kindness, feel the aroma of it's flowers, savor the sweetness of it's fruits and protection under it's shade whom you love." And along with posting it, I am required to share 6 things I am happy about right now! The only hard thing about that is that there are so many more things to share! I think I'll do like those who are told they have 3 wishes are said to do - the first thing I am happy about is, all the bazillions of things that I am happy about! Here are some others...

1) The love and care of my precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
2) My wonderful, amazing, talented, funny, loving, protective husband and sons
3) Being spared the wrath of Fay
4) New flooring throughout the house
5) Being surprised last night by my hubby, with tickets to the Percussion Summit!!! (More about that later)
6) New friends reaching out to me with a cyber hug, putting a smile on my face on a day when they don't even know how badly I needed it! (August 21st is a sad, melancholy day for me - let's just say for now that it is a memorial day. Finding out yesterday about these awards was - well, good timing)

This one I am sharing with Cheryl at Cherdecor for always looking on the positive side of things!

And last but not least, "I love your blog" award is from both Carol, my kind new friend whose blog I also love and from Louise, of Home is Where the Heart Is fame! Louise has such a wonderful blog and everybody loves her blog, so it was quite an honor to receive this from two such illustrious ladies!

This one has the usual rules, linking to those that gave it to you and passing it on being the most important parts - and I would like to pass it on especially to an "old" friend of a few months,

Daffy Tracey at Approaching 40

and a new friend,

Betsy of My Five Men

both of whom have warm, friendly blogs and warm, friendly personalities!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

All's Well That Ends Well

Now back to our regularly scheduled lives... Fay has gone away, without leaving heartache in her wake. Ok, I'll quit now. My parents are fine, though they got it worse than we did, rocking in their little RV and hearing of tornados a few miles away. Today all is back to normal. That's the weird thing about hurricanes anyway, it's not afterwards that's a problem, unless they nail us. It's not during either, which is usually pretty exhilarating. It's before!

There is nothing straightforward about preparing for a possible hurricane. We have days of warnings, sure, but hurricanes are notoriously rebellious, going where they will and not where anyone thought they would. That makes running from them a dicey proposition. You must board up your house, provide for your pets, miss work, head out in to murderous traffic on one of the few roads out of Florida, and figure out where to go, and hope there is an available hotel room. Going south or east means possibly getting hit worse than if you stay put, but going north could have the same effect, not to mention the thing could miss Florida altogether and you've missed work for nothing. Plus there are the unexpected things, like this Monday when a tanker exploded north of Tampa, closing down northbound I-75, the main evacuation route.

Or you can stay home. Which is frankly far preferable, but exhausting none the less. We were running around trying to get the right amount of bottled water and canned food for at least 3 days, which doesn't sound like a big deal, except I didn't know if it would just be the 2 of us, or if any of our sons would come, not to mention the grandparents. We had to fill the car tank, because there isn't always gas after a storm, but lines were very, very long. The station we were at was out of regular gas, but we were able to get premium. Next, batteries - Walmart was out completely, but BJ's had plenty. We had to decide whether or not to try to run the generator if the power went out. We didn't have a generator when Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan and Wilma hit, but then we got one and this is our first opportunity to use it. It's not an easy decision, because not only does it cost $40 a day in gas to run it, but more people died from carbon monoxide poisoning from their generators than from any of the 5 hurricanes I mentioned. The heat was oppressive too, the air still and heavy. Monday I spent cleaning up the yard and porches of possible projectiles, doing laundry and dishes in case there was no water or electricity for a few days or weeks afterwards, making ice, cleaning house, cooking food that might spoil, checking on family, and a million other details that needed tending to. At one point, I grabbed the carton of ice cream, removed the lid, poured syrup inside and began eating. Hey, cleaning out the freezer is an essential hurricane-preparedness task! Plus storms make me hungry.

Storm day was actually kind of cozy. Very dark skies, lots and lots of rain and strong wind, and much cooler temperatures, added to our exhaustion from preparing, made it a good day to laze around taking video of cows in rain, among other activities, like eating! Thankfully there was no real harm done, so today we are rather sluggishly trying to get up to speed - and burn off all the calories Tropical Storm Fay brought with her! They say there is another one forming - but I don't want to think about it. Maybe tomorrow, said Scarlett.

Thank you once again for your prayers and well wishes!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cows Weather Tropical Storm Fay

I feel a little like the optimist that jumped from the 80-story building. At every floor, he yelled to his friends, "All right so far!"

We are fine. In the first place, Fay is a Tropical Storm, not a hurricane. Big difference. We are having some interesting gusts with copious amounts of sometimes horizontal rain. But the house isn't shaking, and our neighbor's roof shingles aren't peeling off, like in Wilma. The power was off for a while, but obviously, it's on now, here anyway. There are traffic lights out, power lines down, and debris like limbs and things in the roads, also flooded roads. But as I plan to stay put, that doesn't affect me at the moment.

It has been raining and blowing too hard to have the front door open, but we have a somewhat sheltered back porch, and if we sit far enough back we can watch the storm. While we were doing so, these poor cows came plodding across the sodden pasture. They looked so miserable we felt sorry for them, and my husband couldn't resist taking some video, which we sent in to the local t.v. station.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and good wishes, they mean a lot to me. YOU mean a lot to me! I am a little worried about my parents, who went to the East Coast in their RV, and are possibly getting this worse over there. Once I hear from them, I'll feel better. More later!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

All Things Considered...

I may be computer-less for a while. Don't know exactly when, but it seems inevitable. First of all, our incredibly handy and talented middle son is putting in new flooring for us all over the whole house, and at some point the computers will be disconnected and shoved in a corner for a while. But it is possible that before that happens, Tropical Storm Fay could develop in to a hurricane and smash right in to us, which almost by definition equals no power. So if I am MIA that is why.

We are preparing, and I'm trying not to grouse. Luckily I'm married to a genius :) and he's building special frames for the windows that we can just slide clear hurricane panels in to, so we'll be able to do it even when the boys aren't around to come help us - but this year he's still in the process. Yesterday all three of our wonderful sons came over to help. The plywood is harder to put up, plus it makes the inside of the house dark and cave-like. So I really like the ones with the clear panels!

I'll keep on keepin' on as long as possible, and if I'm out for a while, that's why. And at some point I'll show -n-tell about all the projects going on around here!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cute Award for Embarrassing Songs!

Here's a cool little award from Charli and Me, whose site I think you would all really enjoy, to all her readers who will post about 5 songs they are embarrassed that they sing! Well, I'm not much of a singer. I do sing solo - so low nobody can hear me, that is! When I was growing up, my mother sang a lot. In fact, I used to think she could come up with a song for any and every occasion! No matter what happened, especially if I was embarrassed, she'd start singing some song about it! A real, existing song, not one she made up. Sometimes it was hilarious - for instance, when she was doing it to embarrass my sister - but sometimes it was just plain adding insult to injury! But although I always enjoyed singing in the church choir, and I like singing hymns around the house, I am not apt to burst in to song along with the radio. So my songs aren't so much embarrassing for me to sing, as they are embarrassing that I like to hear them sung!

1. I have always liked the song "Build Me Up, Buttercup," I don't know why, and I don't even know who sings it. If I ever have an albino python for a pet, which I won't because I'd rather have my husband and I can't have both, I would name it Buttercup.

2. Whenever we wanted to run off our teenage children and their friends, we would put Zydeco on, especially their classic song entitled "Don't Mess With My Toot Toot!"

3. My mom taught me a song when I was young called "The Cannibal King." I sometimes sang it at family gatherings with my cousin. We were obnoxious. Now I'm embarrassed about it.

4. There's a certain song by Rod Stewart... but I'm too embarrassed to tell you about it.

5. A long time ago a friend taught me a ridiculous version of "We Three Kings" that involved exploding cigars. In a moment of silliness, I taught it to my kids. Now I am embarrassed that every Christmas when that beautiful song is sung, we are all snickering like fools.

How 'bout it? Are you willing to embarrass yourself in order to acquire this adorable award? Hmmmm????

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stop and Smell the Roses

It's easy to lament the thorns on the roses... but do you ever think how amazing it is that there are roses among the thorns?

It's just a Monday in August. Take a moment to stop and smell the roses! It's a good way to follow the exhortation, "Be still, and know that I am God." See how He says "I love you" ?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Service With a Smile

Remember when service was an integral part of the shopping experience? Say you went to get gas in your car. Young men would literally run out to fill your tank, wash your windows, put air in your tires, and smile happily because you were gracing their place of business. If you went to a restaurant, someone greeted you, led you to a clean table, brought you water without being asked, and smiled warmly at you because you were gracing their place of business. Clothes or shoes shopping - someone rushed over to see if they could help you in any way at all, sat you down to put the contemplated shoe on your foot, Cinderella-style, or came to the dressing room door to see if they could fetch another size or color for you - yep, all with a smile.

Well, that's the way fond nostalgia remembers it anyway, especially in comparison with the recent past, when surly clerks glared at you for taking up space in their department, if they glanced your way at all. They shrugged their shoulders at your difficulties, ran from your approach, didn't know where anything was and didn't care to look or inquire of their clueless co-workers, and certainly did not smile at you for choosing their store to shop in. The attitude often seemed to be, Of all the stores in all the shopping centers in all the towns in our State, why'd ya have to come bother me!

But now times are tough. There are so many shops, so few shoppers! Gone are the days when the stores needed the employees badly enough to overlook certain deficiences, like promptness, courtesy, attention to customers. I have been becoming more and more aware that clerks all over town are - yes - SMILING at me! Asking me if they can help me, and then actually doing so! Rushing over to help me without even being asked! Giving unsolicited assistance with knowledge and courtesy! I actually enjoy shopping again. The whole atmosphere has changed, and I don't know whether the formerly surly ones are beginning to truly appreciate their jobs, or whether they have been let go and the hard-working, knowledgeable, friendly clerks that were always there somewhere are being given a chance to shine. I just know I really appreciate the new attitude toward customers, and I, for one, want to give a very sincere "Thank You!" to all of you in the often thankless service industry.
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