Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In Other News... Snot Cars!

"Scientists and Engineers are corroborating with Doctors to develop an alternative fuel made of snot. With flu season upon us, there are plenty of donors willing to sneeze in to a specially designed tube in exchange for lower fees at their ubiquitous doctor visits. The common cold doesn't have a cure. Instead of fighting the inevitable, we should harness this plentiful source of raw material to solve the energy crisis. When you are at your least energetic, you can still be a productive citizen. Think Green!" Ok, I made it all up, but really, people, someone needs to think outside the tissue box! April Fool's!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Comedy Quotes

If you're not familiar with the work of Steven Wright,
he's the famous erudite scientist who once said: "I
woke up one morning, and all of my stuff had been stolen
and replaced by exact duplicates." His mind sees things
differently than most of us do, to our amazement and
amusement. Here are some of his gems:

1 - I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.
2 - Borrow money from pessimists -- they don't expect
it back.
3 - Half the people you know are below average.
4 - 99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
5 - 82.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
6 - A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts
feel so good.
7 - A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
8 - If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the
9 - All those who believe in psycho kinesis, raise my hand.
10 - The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse
gets the cheese.
11 - I almost had a psychic girlfriend, ..... but she left
me before we met.
12 - OK, so what's the speed of dark?
13 - How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?
14 - If everything seems to be going well, you have
obviously overlooked something.
15 - Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
16 - When everything is coming your way, you're in the
wrong lane.
17 - Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense
to be lazy.
18 - Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off
19 - I intend to live forever.... so far, so good.
20 - If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her
21 - Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into
jet engines.
22 - What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
23 - My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your
brakes, so I made your horn louder."
24 - Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
25 - If at first you don't succeed, destroy all
evidence that you tried.
26 - A conclusion is the place where you got tired of
27 - Experience is something you don't get until just
after you need it.
28 - The hardness of the butter is proportional to the
softness of the bread
29 - To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal
from many is research.
30 - The problem with the gene pool is that there is no
31 - The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll
have to catch up.
32 - The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is
required to be on it.
33 - Everyone has a photographic memory; some just
don't have film.

And an all time favorite-

34 - If your car could travel at the speed of light, would
your headlights work?

(Thanks to Tracey for sending me these! They kinda make you go "Hmmmm..." don't they?)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Eating - Healthy Vs. Delicious?

I've been giving a lot of thought (and even some effort!) in to what I should eat for optimum health, versus what I too often want to eat. Despite the food pyramid, the 5-a-day plan for fruits and vegetables, the 3-a-day plan for dairy products, and the endless diet advice, I sometimes am forced to conclude that there are really only three food groups. These are convenience foods, comfort foods, and foods that are good for me.
Convenience foods are inevitably outrageously priced, but I buy them because I am tired, or in a hurry, or both. Sometimes they are packaged at the grocery store. Just add a microwave and I have something hot to eat. What, exactly, I’m not always sure, and reading the box definitely does not help. Other times I go to a drive-through restaurant and yell into a box, pay a fortune, then pick up my bag containing a meat-like substance on a bun. I woof it down and head to my next task. Although billions of advertising dollars are spent to try to convince me that I am eating a delicious meal, I recognize it for the unhealthy compromise that it is. I can always tell when I am eating convenience food because it tastes like sawdust, and there is nothing left in my purse to buy good food with.
Comfort foods, the ingredients of which often include cream, butter, sugar, and quite possibly chocolate, aren’t usually that expensive. It takes some time to prepare them, and involves considerable clean up as well. But, oh, the smell of cinnamon buns baking in the oven makes the time well spent! A large bowl of mashed potatoes with a pool of melted butter, light, flaky biscuits with home-canned jam, and crispy fried chicken makes me think of my grandmother. Spooning cool ice cream bathed in hot fudge sauce into my mouth brings back my childhood. Biting into a macaroni noodle with cheese oozing out the side is a soothing treat. I lovingly concoct special meals for my family to give them pleasure and to show my love for them. But all that delicious comfort food comes with a price, and with a sigh of regret, I turn to food that is healthy.
For some reason, the term “healthy food” seems to conjure up whatever I hate the most. Hot, smelly spinach, tasteless, naked vegetables, or a tiny piece of broiled, skinless, spiceless chicken seems virtuous. If it is awful, it must be good for me, right? Well, maybe not. I think back to a perfect apple I once ate. I was in Washington, D.C. and apples were abundant at every roadside stand. I bit into one, and I’ve measured every apple against it ever since. It had a thin, red skin that broke crisply under my teeth to reveal firm white flesh crossed with red veins. Bursting with flavor, it was tangy, but not tart. The best peaches were found in Georgia. Perfectly ripe, juice dripping off my elbows as I ate, there could be nothing better. One memorable summer vacation in Indiana, the corn was ripe on my grandparent’s farm, and the tomatoes were huge. I went and pulled the tassels back to reveal the golden kernels underneath, and then I picked as many as I wanted. My family and I husked them, and, stripping off the corn silk, we dropped them in large pots of boiling water. While they cooked, we sliced the juicy red tomatoes and put them on a platter. Some bread and butter rounded out the meal, and we ate our fill, knowing that if we wanted more we had only to go out and pick it.
Perhaps healthy doesn’t have to be tasteless. Most of the healthy foods aren’t that hard to prepare. If I’m willing to wait until something is in season and buy it fresh, I know it will taste wonderful. On reflection, I see that healthy food can be convenient, comfortably delicious, and good for me, too! I'm thinking maybe it is time to begin a vegetable garden...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You Might Be a Floridian If...

You know the four seasons really are: almost summer, summer,
not summer but really hot, and Christmas.

"Down South" means Key West

"Panhandling" means going to Pensacola.

You think no-one over 70 should be allowed to drive.

Flip-flops are everyday wear.

Shoes are for business meetings and church.

No, wait, flip flops are good for church too

Socks are only for bowling

Orange juice from concentrate makes you sick

Sweet tea can be served at any meal.

An alligator once walked through your neighborhood.

You smirk when a game show's "Grand Prize" is a trip to Florida.

You measure distance in minutes.

You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt.

You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls.

You never use an umbrella because you know the rain will be over in
five minutes

All the local festivals are named after a fruit. (Although we do have a Shrimp Festival, and I'm not sure Swamp Cabbage is a fruit...)

A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level.

A good parking place has nothing to do with distance from the store,
but everything to do with shade.

Your winter coat is made of denim

You can tell the difference between fire ant bites and mosquito bites

You're younger than thirty but some of your friends are over 65

It's not "pop." It's "soda" or "coke."

Anything under 70 is chilly.

You've hosted a hurricane party.

You go to a theme park for an afternoon, and know when to get on the
best rides.

You pass on the right and honk at the elderly.

You understand the futility of exterminating cockroaches.

You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee, Withlacoochee, Okahumpka and

You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat than have a
boat yourself.

You've driven through Yeehaw Junction.

Bumper stickers on the pickup in front of you include various fish, the
NRA and a confederate flag.

You were 8 before you realized they made houses without pools.

You were 12 when you first met someone who couldn't swim.

You've worn shorts and used the A/C on Christmas. (We actually ran the A/C once, trying to make it cold enough so we could have a fire in our fireplace).

You know what the "stingray shuffle" is and why it's important!

You could swim before you could read

You have to drive north to get to The South

You know that no other grocery store can compare to Publix.

Every other house had blue roofs in 2004-2005

You know that anything under a Category 3 just isn't worth waking up for.

You dread lovebug season.

You are on a first name basis with the Hurricane list. They aren't Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances...but Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne.

You know what a snowbird is and you hate them. (Well, that might be a bit harsh. We only hate the sheer volume of them clogging the roads!)

You know why flamingos are pink.

You think a six-foot alligator is actually pretty average.

You haven't seen snow.

Tornadoes/Tornado warnings don't scare you, and you laugh when your friends from outside of Florida get scared by lightning.

You eat ice cream cones in the winter, because it's finally cool enough so that it won't melt instantly down your arm

You save your sweater for summer when everyone's A/C is so cold, you are freezing in their houses or cars

(Thank you to my youngest son for sending me this! My sons are true Crackers, not transplanted Hoosiers like me, and will never let me forget it...)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Eating Roses

I was at the grocery recently and found a new little section featuring foreign foods. The one that caught my eye was a small packet labeled Sultan's Turkish Delight! Being a "Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe" fan, I had always wondered what would make Edmund choose Turkish Delight when he could choose anything he liked. This tiny package was a bit expensive, both in price ($1.59) and calories (200), but, like Edmund, I simply couldn't resist.

Later, after lunch, I opened the package and found a small rectangular candy covered in milk chocolate. I bit slowly in to it, revealing a jewel tone raspberry colored filling. I recoiled a bit from the texture, which resembled something between figs and gummy bears. Or maybe gumdrops. Not something I am at all fond of. But at the same time, my mouth filled with the unmistakable fragrance of roses! I read the package. The filling, mostly sugar, was also suffused with rose water. It was hard to discern whether I was truly tasting it, or smelling it. I took another nibble. The chocolate joined together with the roses to form an irresistibly unique sensation. The filling's texture didn't seem so bad. Really, it was almost... good. Another nibble. This time I just let the roses waft through me, the texture setting it off perfectly. I had never eaten anything like it!
Perhaps it is magic food after all. Legend has it a certain sultan, trying to amuse and please his harem, had been experimenting with perfume. Then he decided to turn his hand to candy, and created this seductive delicacy. Perhaps there is more to the story. Perhaps a genie, owing one more wish, was pressed in to service and the candy had special, magical ingredients ideal for soothing the fretful. Maybe you grew up on Arabian Nights, but never truly believed them. If so, you had better avoid anything labeled "A Product of Turkey." Or else you, too, may end up, mouth full of roses, and under the Sultan's spell!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Things I've Done Pictures

I promised I would show some pictures to go with the Things I've Done tag, so here they are. Above is my Grandpa with the small plane he flew for a while. I loved going up in it!

Below I am playing my snare, in about 7th grade. I hated those glasses, but now they are "in."

In 1976, the Bicentennial, my family went to Washington, D.C. Back then you could tour inside the White House, which we did - we toured everything! Below is the Lincoln Memorial.
This is the overnight train, in our case from Florida to Indiana. I am in front. I look scared, but I had a blast.
This isn't the elephant I rode, but it is at Lion Country Safari, passing in front of our car. You drive around through a nature preserve while all these wild animals run free. It's amazing. At the end, there is a park, where you can ride elephants, see baby wild animals, and all sorts of things.
Here's my little brother getting "patted" by Pluto at one of our many Disney trips.
When I was 8 or 9, my step-dad took us out to a hunting cabin he and some friends had deep in the Everglades. Mom loved to drive the swamp buggy. One time she raced my step-dad; he was driving the Land Rover we'd come in. We were so far away from anything, and we had a wonderful time. I'm in the yellow shirt.
We took an amazing trip when I was 14, camping for weeks and hiking through the West. Here is Old Faithful.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reminisce Tag

Stevie tagged me to do a Things I've Done meme. I bolded the things I have done. This was really fun! Care to reminisce with me?

1. Started my own blog (obviously!)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (drums!)
4. Visited Hawaii (my son and parents have)
5. Watched a meteor shower (once right before we got married and once right before our 25th anniversary!)
6. Given more than I can afford to charity (You can't outgive God)
7. Been to Disneyland/world (Disney World, lots of times. It's only a few hours away, we can go up in the morning, stay all day and get home to bed).
8. Climbed a mountain (hiked and camped in the mountains though)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo (or maybe it was a duet. Whatever it was, I don't plan to ever do it again!)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (I was at the beach and the lightning storm was at sea! Or maybe that doesn't count?)
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (had a foster child)
16. Had food poisoning (and heat stroke)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables (my son did for Science one year)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (Both!)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (within the U.S., but my mom went further back and visited Germany)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language (Tried, anyway)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (yep, lots of times, because it doesn't take much at all).
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (my son has, and my other son has been to Greece and Bulgaria, and a third son has been to Las Vegas. I've only been to Canada).
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (too many times!)
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (my hubby used to scuba dive)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (my dad and my uncle have both been in movies).
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (tried, they never will let me)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter (no, but I've flown in my Grandfather's small airplane!)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar (no, but I've eaten escargot and frog legs)
72. Pieced a quilt (my mom does)
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades (in an airboat, swamp buggy and Land Rover, as well as on foot)
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (2 bones! My son broke 2 at one time).
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (no, I don't think we were speeding).
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (not a whole book, but I have been published several times).
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper (and had things I wrote in a newspaper)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I have shot guns, though)
88. Had chickenpox (No one in my family has. I think we're all immune).
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (Margaret Goff Clark, that wrote the children's books. She was at our tiny writer's club because someone knew her, and she liked my story!)
92. Joined a book club (Nope, but did join a writer's club!)
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person (planned to, but ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks instead)
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant (twice!)

(The following I've added)
101. Been on t.v. several times
102. Swam with and touched a manatee
103. Seen 2 sitting U. S. Presidents in person (saw Roy Rogers too, he was adorable!)
104. Ridden on a float in a parade
105. Been waterskiing and snow skiing
106. Done Chinese Fire Drills on a bus
107. Been through hurricanes (and an earthquake)
108. Ridden bareback with no bridle/reins
109. Homeschooled all 3 sons from K-12
110. Graduated on the same day from the same college with my oldest son
111. Lived in a house with no indoor bathroom - we had an outhouse
112. Married Prince Charming and Lived Happily Ever After

Ok, I've done 40 of the 100. I might even have some pics of some of them that I can post later. How about you? If you've read this far, you know you want to do this! Let me know if you do so I can come see it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Charles Dickens Aficianado

My hubby and I just finished watching the entire BBC production of "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens. It was on 3 DVDs in roughly 15 episodes, and we enjoyed every bit. (We had it compliments of Netflix). I am a big Charles Dickens fan. I had seen "A Christmas Carol" in every form known to man, from Albert Finney to Donald Duck, but never read any Dickens, until 9th grade English, where we were compelled to read "Great Expectations" for class. I expected to hate it when I saw that the protagonist's name was Pip. I mean, really! But soon I was lost in the story, and when we had the daily quizzes about such trivia as the color of the vase on the mantel in Chapter One, I had trouble answering because I was pondering Pip's fortune and who supplied it, many, many chapters further on.

When I had finished that book I went on to read, on my own, "Oliver Twist" and "David Copperfield". I began "A Tale of Two Cities" but for some reason never read more than a chapter, and then I was on to another author for a while. But when our youngest son got old enough for Dickens, he was as taken with him as I had been at his age, and he begged and cajoled me to read "A Tale of Two Cities" all the way through. I did, and WOW, what a story! I proceeded to read "A Christmas Carol," "Bleak House," "Nicholas Nickleby" and "Our Mutual Friend," along with a slim volume Dickens had co-written with someone else, called "A House to Let", and I thoroughly enjoyed them all. I intend to continue reading more of his stories, but they are best savoured and not devoured, so I'm taking a breather. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying the theatre productions on DVD or PBS when the chance arises!

Some people seem a bit intimidated by Dickens because his books are usually long, peopled with multiple fully fleshed out characters and often of a somewhat sombre nature. But when he was originally published, it was in the newspapers in the form of serial stories, a segment at a time for weeks and weeks, and not meant to be read all at once! And although the subject matter can be grim at times, it is relieved by humor and a deliciously sly sarcastic wit that shows the best and the worst that humankind has to offer. These books are great character studies, as well as windows in to cultures at different times in England's history. They are very good reads, but also mini-educations! For instance, "Bleak House" exposes the justice system, "Oliver Twist" the charitable institutions, and "A Tale of Two Cities" gives an inside view of the French Revolution in chilling prose to rival any suspense story written today! Every time I go to the library I discover a "brand new" (to me!) treasure left behind by Mr. Charles Dickens and slowly I hope to sample them all. Any other Dickens fans?
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