Saturday, August 29, 2009

FRAMILY


FRAMILY is a word that I made up just the other day. Ta da! How do you like it? I've never heard the word before which makes it original to me, but I don't have such a big head as to fancy that I am the first to dream it up. In fact, I'm betting that somebody is out there this very moment jumping up and down waving their hands in the air saying, "Oo! Oo! I got it first! That's my word! SO, STOP STEALING IT, LADY!" Alas, I get so distracted sometimes . . .

Well, here is my own definition of FRAMILY: Friends who serve as angels, rescuers, listeners, helpers, partners in bearing of burdens, companions in sharing joy; friends who choose not to pass judgment, will stand by you when the clouds loom large, sacrifice while expecting nothing in return, rejoice in accomplishments not of their own making, care for others as if they were family since not one single speck of family, not one! do you hear me? is near but is, rather, exactly 1,230 very, very, very long miles away to the west. That is FRAMILY.

My most heartfelt thanks to not only this framily (see pic) with whom we had a blast visiting over lunch recently, but to the many other framilies who immediately took us under their wings when we moved into their neck of the woods in the Land of Lincoln and basically kept ME (yeah, I was the bawl baby of the family) from drowning while we lived away from any of our official, bona fide, licensed, legal, certified, or legitimate family members all those loads and loads of years. I will forever be in your debt. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And if any of you are reading this thinking, "Hm. I wonder if she means me?" Yes. The answer is yes. Thank you all.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cue the Chirping Crickets

Gee, it sure seemed awfully quiet around here after I delivered Kimball to his mommy and dad this afternoon.
But on the other hand, you should see the creme brulee he whipped up for us! Oo la la! Well. Someday he'll have that mastered, I'm almost positive. Especially the part about caramelizing the sugar with the butane torch. Actually, I am now having some second thoughts about that since his little hands did have a bit of a struggle hanging onto the unwieldy canister of that torch. Better give that one a bit of contemplation. Mmm, well, it's probably best not to repeat that near-miss. I guess. Yeah, probably not. Poll: Do you think singed eyebrows enhance or detract from a baby's visage?



Monday, August 24, 2009

The Picnic: Practically Perfect in Every Way


(Click on pic to feel the love . . .)


A few weeks back I decided the weather was too alluring to let it go to waste by hanging out with the ol' A/C as our dining companion. We grabbed a blanket, we grabbed sandwiches, we grabbed my mom ("say now! loosen your grip a bit, won't you?"), we rustled up an adorable baby boy and his mama and dad, and headed to a beautiful city park up on the east bench in Provo.

The weather was gor-G-ous, the chatter was light, the entertainment provided by Kimball was spontaneous and hilarious. (I didn't give Kimball enough notice to properly prepare anything so he ad libbed.) It was one of those occasions that I consider what could almost be heaven on earth. As I sat there on the soft blanket in the shade, I thought that perhaps the only thing amiss was not having Sean there lending his wonderful hearty laugh to the conversation. But as soon as that thought came to my head, another swooped in after, and I thought, whoa up! I wouldn't want Sean to be anywhere else than where he is right now, serving so happily and selflessly for the sake of others. So in the end, the evening really was quite near perfection itself.




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Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Top Five Fave For Christian


To set Christian off on the right foot for his first day back to school (wah, wah! from me; yipee! from him), I made one of his favorite home-cooked meals for dinner the night before. (At least he says it is one of his favs, and yes, he knows who to kiss up to. He is one charming guy . . . .) And by coincidence, it is the same meal I refer to at the end of this post. I knew you were all secretly coveting the recipe, so I've decided to share. My guess is that this recipe has been going around and around for a couple or three generations. I bet your grandma used to make this, right? Well, it may be as old as dirt (not referring to any particular grandma, to be sure), but it stays in circulation for good reason. Enjoy!

PORCUPINE MEATBALLS WITH ORANGE GRAVY

1 lb. ground beef
2 handfuls of white rice
3-4 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup dehydrated onions
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cans cream of tomato soup
1 1/2 soup cans water

Mix beef, rice, flour, onions, salt, and pepper together in bowl. Form into walnut-size balls (or a tad larger). Do not overwork the meat. In a pressure cooker, heat the soup and water to a rolling boil. Add the meatballs and secure the lid. When the pressure valve pops up, turn heat to medium or medium-low and put the regulator thingy on top. Is that what it's called? Sorry, but I don't know my pressure cooker terminology very well :( (Hey, I'm just happy I haven't blown up our house using this thing.) Continue to cook for 20 minutes while maintaining a slow, steady rocking motion of the regulator thingy. Remove from heat and allow the pressure to decrease on its own. This will take another 20 minutes or so. After the pressure valve has dropped, carefully remove the lid and spoon out the meatballs. The remaining liquid magically becomes the orange gravy which is so delicious served over mashed potatoes. Yum, yum!

By the by, the corn in the photo above is courtesy of Farmer Dave. The cost was around $20 per ear. Despite growing approximately 15 stalks of corn, poor Farmer Dave has been able to harvest exactly two (dos) (zwei) (deux) (tvÄ) ears.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reading is FUNdamental!

I think most of you are shrewd enough to notice that at times I can be very verbose, garrulous, effusive, and well, . . . in a word, . . . long-winded. Wait. Is that really just one word, or would it be considered one and one-half words? I know. I know! I can hear you screaming at your monitor that, NOBODY REALLY CARES--JUST GET ON WITH IT!!! Okay. Fine. As I was saying, just look at the length of some of my posts--what I could say in five words takes me 314. I love words. I eat them up. Crossword puzzles and cryptoquotes make me hyperventilate. Especially if I have a competitor.

So yeah. (Now, that was profound.) For the past three months or so, I have been on a ridiculous reading jag, staying up much too late and causing the neighbors to talk:

"Look. Her light is still on, and it's after ten o'clock. In. The. PM!"

"Oh, glory be! Do ya think we should be concerned?"

"Well, if I see her wearing that Harry Potter getup yet one more time, I'm callin' the bishop. I think he should know. Her being in the primary and all . . . ."

Anywho. (This is going somewhere, I promise you that. Hang on one minute more. Or two.) I have recently come to the conclusion that there are certain people whose reading recommendations I can totally trust. I won't say anything about, well, The Others. And now I am going to try very rigorously and ardently to be succinct. (That means I'm going to try really, really, really, really hard to make it snappy.) Here are my recent reads of the last two or three-ish months and my reviews:
Loved it.


Loved it again, all 1152 pages of it.
(The miniseries continues to age well.)



Spectacular.



Loved it. (Thanks, Denise!)




Simply magical. The end.




Adored it. (Thank you, LA!)





Surprised myself by not really loving it.
The characters were, for the most part, quite shallow and narcissistic.
And wordy. How annoying!




THE MALTESE FALCON

Didn't love it. I guess this is more guy-lit than generally appeals to my taste.
Lots of bang-bang, blood, perishing, yada, yada.
(Thanks anyway, Dave.)



So now. Now! With all of this reading, I am feeling like I just sauntered through the food court at the mall inhaling some of my old favorite aromas while experiencing some new tastes as well--some delicious, some not so appealing (but not horrible; the really horrible ones didn't make my list because I didn't make it past the first few chapters [trust me, I have reasons]). I am now indulging in a long-time favorite, "Emma." Rereading anything by Jane Austen feels like I have exited the food court at the mall and just walked into my mother's house where I am greeted with the marvelous and comforting bouquet of her perfectly prepared porcupine meatballs, mashed potatoes and orange gravy. And homemade bread. Mmmmmm, it's all so good.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Caption Contest Update

The captions offered so far for the Cap'n Crunch Caption Contest have been sterling! Good job, guys! (For more details about the contest and to read the captions submitted so far, click here.) You still have a few more days to submit your entry to try to win the unbelievably awesome plunder of a box of original Cap'n Crunch.

And here is some more good news: You may submit more than one entry; and, you may submit anonymously as long as you keep it, ahem, kind. If you submitted anonymously and your caption is the winner, just email me at www.captioncontest@gmail.com, and I'll ship off your loot to you faster than you can say, "Ahoy, matey!" Remember, you have until midnight, August 19, 2009!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sean Shall Be Shod in New Shoes Shortly!

Now say that fast, three times!




From Sean, a couple of weeks back:
I have to ask a favor of you guys. In a matter of days, I will no longer have any shoes with soles on them. And I can't find any place here that sells shoes in my size. I don't know if you could send me some shoes or if you even want to try? I don't know if the store where we bought them still has the information that we left them about a year ago but maybe you can see what you can do and then write me next week? If they do have the info, you can send them in a size or half-size smaller if you want because due to the "weight loss" the shoes that I have now fit me kind of loose. Thanks...we do a lot of walking.

Oh, bless his heart.  
So I did contact the store, Mr. Mac, (and I'm naming names here) where we bought Sean's shoes for his mission paying a pretty penny for each pair. The store manager was very gracious and said that if we could supply him with a photo of Sean's shoes to check whether the wear and tear was a manufacturing problem, he would replace the shoes for free.  Unfortunately, Sean is currently residing in one of the poorest nations in the entire solar system, and the computers at his neighborhood internet cafe' do not do photos. Shucks!  And I say shucks! not just for the lack of photos of the shoes, but shucks! for the lack of photos of Sean!!!  For all I know, he has taken to dressing like Mr. Furley of Three's Company and has begun sporting a toupee'.  Well, you know I'm just kidding, but, really, it has been months, months(!!!) I tell you, since we had a photo of Elder Sean.   And it would be nice to know that he isn't wearing the one-piece jumpsuit ala Don Knotts.  I'm just sayin'.
So back to my original train of thought (I thought you'd never ask).  Upon learning that I couldn't obtain a photo of the tired out shoes, the manager at Mr. Mac just handed me a pair of new shoes, which smelled so leathery and manly, and told me that he would give these to me and would go one better by giving me another free pair when I brought in the photo of Sean's worn-down-to-nothing-but-holes shoes.
Ha!  I have had a thing for new shoes all of my life, and now I love them even more, especially when they are worn by my darling boy.  Thank you, Mister Mac.  You're a good man.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's a Caption Contest!



Your caption here


What is your caption for this photo? A box of Capn' Crunch (only the best cereal ever) is the loot that will be sent to the author of the creme de la creme caption. BTW, that's Capn' Crunch without crunchberries, to be precise. Crunchberries are just plain wrong. And yucky.

And, so yeah, be kind. Let's all give Dave a big hand for subjecting himself to ridicule for the sake of our own personal entertainment. Rah, rah!

And now for the fine print: The grand prize winner shouldn't have to pay for postage and handling of prize booty . . . but I'm not promising anything there. jk. Really. All contestants must meet the following eligibility requirements: a) must be a living human being (no cats, ferrets, weasels or dead Chicago voters may enter contest); b) must be residing within the U.S. as well as within the "real world" and not some parallel universe in their own mind; and, c) winner must agree to not ever sue the sponsors of this contest if a snake head is found inside the winner's box of booty. (We're not doing a TGIFer. Click here for the sordid details of that.) Good luck!
Entry deadline is Wednesday, August 19, 2009, or whenever everyone tires of thinking about this nonsense.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bubbly Baby Boy



Bubble Photo Shoot
***
Taken on location at Grandmama's
Photographed by Christian using a Nikon D80 Camera
Shoot concept, bubble blowing, and baby wrangling by Deon
Editing by Christian and Deon
Absolute adorableness by Kimball
***
Come now, does it get much more precious than this?


***

Which do you suppose will burst first--
bubble or baby?
***


A few more pics from the afternoon . . .




After you click on this photograph to enlarge it,
look on the right side of the photo to see small remnants of a popped bubble.
Beautiful job, Christian.


(Kimball ended up with so much soap in his hair from the bubbles that I imagine Ashley was somewhat puzzled when she washed Kimball's hair later that night and watched in alarm as he suddenly sprouted a soapy afro after she poured water on his little head. Sorry, Ash. Now you know. It may also explain why Kimball had little thought bubbles coming out of his mouth and hovering above his head when he babbled . . . .)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Proofreaders? Nah, Who Needs 'Em?

(Click to enlarge)


Does anyone else notice the mild irony of a newspaper running an article spotlighting one of its own reporters who is being nationally recognized as " . . . representing the best of our craft [newspaper reporting] . . . " but is being given the short shrift by his own kind? And it's not like this headline is minuscule; just look at the size of that typeface. Glaring. Glaring is a good vocabulary word which comes in handy at a time like this. Well, I'm sure the reporter's mother must be very proud of him even if his editor isn't so much.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

So . . . Then . . . What's Going to Happen to Us?

Ever heard of a darling 1963 Disney movie called, "The Son of Flubber" starring Fred MacMurray and Keenan Wynn? (And DO NOT get this hilarious movie confused with that horrid remake starring Mr. Annoying Robin Williams. Blasphemy! Go wash your mouth out with soap if you say that you have watched that yuckity-yuck. And while you're at it, go wash your eyes out with soap too. And your ears. There ought to be a law against that sort of thing.)

Anyway, in the movie, the town's produce is bombarded with "flubbergas" causing everything from carrots to cabbage to grow to ginormous proportions. From our very own yard, Dave harvested our version of the result of vegetation being hit by flubbergas. Notice that it stretches from Dave's toes to well above his well-coiffed head. This, my friend, is the stock of a DANDELION. And unless Dave has suddenly turned into the Incredible Shrinking Man while I wasn't paying attention, this dandelion is one wickedly freaky bit of nature, and I'm not touching it with a ten-foot pole.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Screaming in Park City!












Thanks to my sis and her employer, we had the currrrazzzyfun opportunity to go up to Park City with family and friends and shriek our way down the Alpine Slide after enjoying a comida muy deliciosa at an outdoor cantina. Two of our friends were visiting from "across the pond" and their gorgeous British accents added an extra helping of posh and sophistication to the shrieking. (It was lovely to see them again; they have got to be two of the most gracious and kindest people I know.) I have to admit that I was most likely the slowest one down the track, hence the last one down the track, and the loudest one down the track. (Grandma Bea and Kimball stayed at the bottom of the hill and were thus spared the sensation of having their eardrums pierced with an ice pick courtesy of me.)

An interesting observation of skiers and/or alpine sliders worthy of some sort of psychoanalysis: A plethora of unmentionables as well as tons of colorful Mardi Gras beads were dangling throughout the top branches of the very tallest pine trees that we passed as we rode the ski lift up the mountain. Obviously, some sort of social statement. Who wants to take it on?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

He's Got Great Chops!


I can't claim that I wasn't forewarned about what I have decided to term "The Drummer's Fidget." Another drummer's mother (Hey! Cool name for a rock band--ANOTHER DRUMMER'S MOTHER) told me that once Christian began drumming in earnest it would come to this (see comic strip below). Amen, sister! Ever since Christian began drumming those many years ago, he's been rat-a-tat-tat-ing on almost every surface available, including our HT's bald head. Jk. But I think the temptation is always there. Truth be told, I love it. It is a little bit like putting a bell around your cow's neck; you always know where your loved one is grazing.


Christian drummed his little heart out this morning marching in the last parade of the season. Yippee yi ya! That would be Christian's sentiment, not mine. Me? I love casually sitting in the coolness provided by the shade of a big elm tree along the parade route, offering the band my complete and total support by trying to wrestle as many pieces of saltwater taffy away from those little tots who are scrambling to get their haul of it while the (un)dignified city council hurls the candy directly at onlookers' faces. DON'T THEY KNOW THEY COULD PUT SOMEONE'S EYE OUT? (They are just asking for a lawsuit, if you want my opinion.)

Anyway, the band is now moving into their show season where expectations run extremely high. AFHS has taken state every year since Utah achieved statehood (or pretty nearly), and I don't think the band director is going to allow his enduring tradition of winning to die while on his watch. So, if everyone can be patient with The Drummer's Fidget a bit longer, we are good to go, Houston.
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