Friday, July 29, 2011


  Say you have some pans - sauce pans, frying pans, big pans, small pans, all different sizes, but the majority are just regular aluminum pans. Nice light pans, good for making macaroni and cheese and heating up a can of soup, or sauteeing some onions or heating up water for pasta.

And say you also have one large cast iron frying pan. And assume that this frying pan is heavy - it's iron after all.

Now, make a guess as to which of these pans I managed to drop on my foot. That's right! Bingo! The heavy, iron one.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fireflies and Haiku

  I love fireflies! They are the cutest little bugs! And July is the perfect month for them! As soon as it gets dark the backyard swarms with the little buggers. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of them for you, but I do have some haiku about them. Enjoy!

Glittering willows
twinkling, sparkling with fireflies
in the darkest night

A hot July night
The heat rises from the ground
like fireflies from the grass


Monday, July 25, 2011

Clap For Me!

  So, remember this post and this one where I went on about chin ups? Well, since you are all so interested in my progress I thought I would share. I did two in a row! That's right. Two Freakin' Chin Ups In A Row! Whooo Hoooo! Very exciting! Clap for me!

And then I haven't done any at all in 4 days. I need to get down to the bar right now before I lose those hard earned muscles.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Actual Marshmallows Were Roasted

  About a month back we all went to my brother and sister-in-law's to celebrate Father's day with my dad and family. And what's Father's day without a nice Father's day bonfire? It's traditional, isn't it? The Father's day bonfire? Well, it should be. Here's what it looked like:

Once the 100 foot flames settled down to a nice toasty 20 foot fire, we got out the roasting sticks. Here's a nice shot of a Cheeto roasting over the open flames. Nothing better than blackened Cheetos, right? Nice and crispy charred on the outside and soft ashy on the inside? Maybe not so much. But worth trying.

And, as a side comment, don't try roasting circus peanuts. They may be vaguely marshmallowy in texture and taste, but don't be fooled. Have you ever wondered what happens when you burn a chunk of plastic over an open flame? Much the same as what happens when you burn a circus peanut over an open flame - noxious fumes and napalm-like orange goo, dripping and oozing and turning quickly into carmelized, bubbling, oil (which bubbled for much longer than was natural). Oh my god! It was frightening. (See, that's why high fructose corn syrup is bad for you! It does the same thing in your stomach. Really.)

On the other hand, actual marshmallows were also roasted and they were delicious, delightful and de-gooey! I ate many!


Friday, July 15, 2011

There's a Moon in My Poppies!

  So, despite my lack of caring we actually have some stuff that's growing in the pots and the garden. Here's some of it:

Our wild black raspberry bushes - this picture is from a couple of weeks ago so they are now ready to eat. Yum!!

And this is a johnny-no-purple. That's what I call the mutant johnny-jump-ups that are just yellow and white, without the distinctive purple coloring.
And here's one of my poppies. This one contains the moon.

And I don't know what these are. I picked them up one day because I thought they were pretty and they seem to like my deck. They are growing like crazy.

And remember these? These are the strongest sunflowers on earth. They are out to prove that 'survival of the fittest' applies to them. There are three of these little beauties. I love the way they follow the sun throughout the day.
And here are some of the tangled up little white flowers. I don't know what these are either. I don't think I planted them. They just appeared a couple of years ago and pop up for a visit every summer.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Like Lasagna - But Cheesier and Less Meaty

  One of my favorite meals is manicotti - that awesome italian creation consisting of tubes of pasta filled with lots and lots and lots of cheese and covered in tomato sauce. Sort of like lasagna, but cheesier and less meaty.

According to wikipedia, canelloni would be the correct name for it if you use those 'manicotti' pasta shells.
But if you make it with crepes, which is my favorite way, the correct term is manicotti.

Whatever you call it, I love it! And while they can also be stuffed with meats, or with cheeses and spinach, my favorite is just with a combination of ricotta cheese, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, an egg, and a little bit of garlic, onion and pepper. Wrap it up in a homemade crepe, nestle it into a pan with its brethren, coat it in tomato sauce, sprinkle it with a little extra mozzarella and parmesan and bake it.

You end up with an extremely fattening, utterly delicious meal! This is what it looks like:


Monday, July 11, 2011

Fuzzy Circle

  So, you know we have a cat. She's very cute. She likes to sleep in strange places. At least they seem strange to me, but I suppose if you're as small as she is, a couch can be intimidating. So instead, a nice box of fuzzy fluffy yarn is very inviting.

And sometimes, when sleeping in a favorite spot, it's fun to make shapes. In this case she settled on 'tight fuzzy circle". And she is the cutest little fuzzy circle I have ever seen. She stayed curled up tight despite all the cooing, oohing, aahhing, and camera snapping.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Messing Up Mom's Toys

 So we had a long weekend due to the good ol' fourth of July. Aaah. Time to relax and slack off. And I did. With gusto. Now don't get me wrong. I didn't completely turn into a sack of laziness, lounging on the couch, eating bon bons and watching TV. In fact, I don't think I actively watched TV at all (and 'actively watched TV' is quite the oxymoron. 'Actively watched TV' means sitting still doing nothing but watching TV. Which I almost never do. When I watch TV I'm almost guaranteed to be doing something else as I keep an eye on the boob tube - like reading, baking, cleaning, etc. )

But I digress. Back to the topic. I did slack off. But just the right amount. My slacking off consisted of a workout each of my three days off, the creation of several desserts, quite a bit of eating, and one of the most fun things - playing with dominos with the kids. This usually involved me sprawled out on the floor yelling at the cat to stay away as I carefully arranged lines of dominos in intricate patterns on the kitchen floor. It also involved a lot of gasping, some "Watch out!ing and a little bit of "holy crap!ing. Like this:

Kids: Mom! Mom! Make another one.
Me: Oh, OK. You twisted my arm. I'll do one more.

I'd settle down, sprawled with my legs and arms in all directions, my hair hanging down, arranging dominos. The kids would proceed to play very close by with the extra dominos - thing like catch, and rocket, and soccer, and jump-the-dominos which involved a lot of heavy acrobatics right next to, and sometimes right over, the delicately balanced domino contraptions. It was very nerve wracking.

Me: Watch out! You're going to knock them all down!
Kids: Oops. It was his fault!
Me: Holy crap! What are you doing?
Kids: Oops. It was his fault!

Either that or it would go like this:

Kids: Mom! Mom! Make another one.
Me: Oh, OK. You twisted my arm. I'll do one more.

I'd settle down, sprawled with my legs and arms in all directions, my hair hanging down, arranging dominos. The kids would promptly disappear, off doing something more fun than watching Mom play, and more fun than getting yelled at while messing up Mom's toys.

Me: Hey, where did everyone go?

But they all came back running when I called out that it was ready. We got many pictures, several videos and many happy and fun memories.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Isn't this fun? Come on! Try it with me!

So, remember this post where I went on ad nauseum about chin-ups? Well, we're seeing progress. The other day I did, (yes, I really did), 4 chin-ups!!!

Now, not all at once or anything. But I did one, then rested a minute or so, then did a second, then rested a minute or so, then did a third! and knew that was it for a while so I did my sets of negatives to strengthen those there lat muscles. Then, a bit later - maybe 10-15 minutes later, I did a fourth! I know, you could care less, but WOW! I'm jazzed about it! Jazzed let me tell you! Pumped! Psyched! Whoo hoo baby! Just a couple of months ago, when I bought that pull-up bar I couldn't do a single one, not even close!

So, to get to the point, if you want to be able to do pullups/chinups, then you need to try to do chin-ups. That is, you need to attempt it and you need to practice. You need to strengthen those muscles that make it possible. Trying a single chin-up every few days won't cut it. (I know. I tried that first.) If you're where I was, unable to do a single one, then do negatives. Do as many as you can every couple of days. I wasn't up there every day all day long. I did my 3 sets of negatives with a 1-2 minute rest between about 3-4 times a week tops. Took maybe 10 minutes, if that. And it made a difference.

So now my next goal is to be able to do two in a row with no rest between. That  means I need to keep practicing. Lots of negatives. I'm up to sets of about 7 - up from 5. Isn't this fun? Come on! Try it with me! You can do it!!