March 31, 2011

The Company is Coming ...

The company is coming! Call me Paul Revere, saddle up the horse and give me a dust rag 'cause I've got some cleaning to do. The in-laws (FIL, MIL and SIL) will be arriving this weekend and staying for ten days. It's amazing how the threat thought of company can make you haul yourself off the couch and do some organizing. So far I've tackled the laundry room and the kitchen. My counters are clean enough to eat off of. Ha!

Speaking of kitchen counters, we have a new toy ...

One of Hubby's business contacts sent us a Keurig and it is so cool. I have been buying up K-Cups all over town in different flavors -- hazelnut, mocha, vanilla biscotti, Italian roast. There are a million of 'em. So far the best selection has been at Bed, Bath & Beyond. We received some sample packs with the coffee maker and one included tea; specifically, Celestial Seasonings Mandarin Orange Spice. Yum!

Another fun happening in the kitchen ...

I've been juicing grapefruit like mad. Our tree has produced a beautiful bunch of Ruby Red's and in addition to eating them like oranges with a sprinkling of sugar, I'm putting gallon bags of juice in the freezer.

Hubby got in on the action and started mixing up Greyhounds, which are simply grapefruit juice and vodka ...

Pretty tasty. Unfortunately, after a couple of these, I kind of lose my cleaning and organizing mojo. *sigh* It's not quite as elegant as sipping mint juleps on the veranda, but to quote that spunky Scarlett O'Hara ... Tomorrow is another day.

March 29, 2011

It's Just Tuesday

Tuesday is one of my regular days off of work and I tend to try to get things done. You know what I mean? House stuff, dog stuff, people stuff.

After brewing myself a fragrant cup of Chocolate Glazed Donut flavored coffee (I kid you not) and dining on a sumptuous bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, I visited the dentist. This morning I had that invigorating, eye-watering, deep scaling cleaning done on one side of my mouth (had the other side done a few weeks ago) and a biopsy on my inner cheek because it apparently looks odd. She said she didn't want to scare me but it could be cancer or it could be some kind of auto-immune thing, which I think means I'm allergic to myself!?!? If you have hay fever, you take antihistamines; if you're allergic to dust, you clean; if it's a pet, you might have to part ways with it. I'm lying there thinking Good Luck getting away from yourself, sister. Anyway, I have a few stitches in my cheek that will dissolve on their own and we'll see what the verdict is eventually.

I decided to come home and baby myself, which means doing what I love to do ... knitting and watching TV. Our monthly crafting group, named Frogging Dropped Stitches, has decided to knit and crochet squares for an afghan to donate a la Warm Up America. We're all making 7" x 9" squares in machine washable, acrylic worsted weight yarn. It takes 49 squares to make one afghan: 7 squares in a vertical column by 7 rows. I completed my first 7 squares ...

One of the bonuses of this project is that it doesn't take a lot of yarn to make a square (they give patterns on the Warm Up America site) so you can use a lot of the stash odds and ends you have laying around. I knitted 6 squares and decided to crochet the blue one (on the left in the picture above). If you keep saying you want to learn to knit or crochet, this is a great way to get started. You can work on small pieces that eventually become something big and wonderful, learning new stitch patterns as you go.

I'm also working on an afghan as a gift. I am knitting it in long strips of large squares (the same basic concept as the Warm Up America afghans, except I'm joining each new yarn and knitting the entire vertical strip instead of sewing squares together. When I'm done, I'll have 4 of these strips to connect and crochet around to bring it all together in a pretty, cohesive package ...

I've found a 2-row stitch pattern that I find enjoyable, yet mindless, so I can knit while I watch TV without any problem.

Sand Stitch

Cast on an even number of stitches

Row 1: Slip 1, Purl 1, *Knit 1, Purl 1* - repeat section in asterisks to end of row
Row 2: Slip 1, Knit to end of row

That's it! It looks completely different -- and finished -- on both sides, which I love because I'm not so fond of stitch patterns that have a wrong side that looks wrong. Did that make any sense at all?

Then I decided to watch Julie & Julia, which always, always makes me smile. It's just so much fun! I stretched out on the couch and immediately became a cushion for Louie and Miles. I tried to take a picture with my phone ...

Louie is laying on my chest, Miles is down by my feet and that's Meryl Streep on the screen as Julia Child.

Sore mouth aside, it's a great day!

March 27, 2011

Reading "Night Road" and a Giveaway

I have long been a fan of author Kristin Hannah who has published eighteen novels prior to "Night Road," which is due out on March 29, 2011. As a member of, I was fortunate to be selected by St. Martin's Press to receive an Advance Readers' Edition of "Night Road" for review.

The story is about a well-to-do, close-knit family of four in Washington state: Jude Farraday, her husband Miles, and twins Zach and Mia who are just entering high school. Jude is a very involved and protective mother which, of course, horrifies her kids while showing them how much she loves them.

Another central character is Lexi Baill, a new girl at school who was sent to live with her great aunt after her mother died. Lexi becomes best friends with Mia and, eventually, Zach's girlfriend, and the Farradays become her extended family. Life rolls along nicely until it comes time to select colleges. The Farraday kids have to decide which 4-year college to choose, while Lexi will be lucky to afford community college. Graduation draws near as well as the time when Lexi and Zach will be separating to attend college, tempers flare, passions heat up and a horrifying life-changing event occurs.

The Farraday family is broken and the community is in an uproar. Charges are filed, a trial is held and things go from bad to worse. This is an emotional book, full of real life situations that make you just want to lock your kids up to protect them from all the bad things that could happen to them and the mistakes they could make.

Kristin Hannah

I actually received and read this book a few months ago so I'm behind in reviewing it. I did like the book, although it was a little hard for me to read at the time since it deals with death and how different people cope with it. We had recently lost a neighbor and a family member so reading "Night Road" hit very close to home and made me realize even more how devastating such losses can be to those left behind.

However, I thought "Night Road" was well-written and a good read and I'm going to share the wealth. If you would be interested in receiving my advance readers' copy, just leave one comment - including your email address - and I will draw a winner on Friday, April 1, 2011, that I will mail it to. I will contact the winner by email to get their mailing address (for U.S. entrants only).

Thanks to and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to review "Night Road" and thank you and good luck to everyone who visits my blog and leaves a comment.

March 24, 2011

*$%&^@# Router!

Pardon my French! After slowly losing the signal until it just *blip* disappeared, we finally replaced our router.

I am out of sorts.

With no Internet access, I laid on the love seat in the family room and just took pictures of what I could see ...

Welcome to my world ... yawn!

March 19, 2011

Emergency Calls

I was at work and heard Hubby's ring tone from my cell phone tucked into my purse under the desk. Several other people, including the company founder, were right there and commented on his ring tone which goes something like this (in a radio announcer emergency voice) ...

"Alert! Alert! Your husband is calling!"

Puts a smile on my face every time I hear it.

Since I was at work, I didn't answer it -- then I started wondering if something was wrong. So I apologized and said, "He usually only calls if there's an emergency so let me just check in with him."

No problem.

The emergency?

He wanted to know if he could have my restaurant leftovers so he wouldn't piss me off if I was planning to eat them myself later. He has a long history of outraging everyone who has special leftovers in the refrigerator. The kids used to write all over their take out containers -- "Do Not Eat! This Means You, Dad!"

In 1995, I was at a special event for the grand opening of the fabulous Phoenix Central library (this was long before everyone had cell phones), a woman rushed up to me and said, "You need to call home. There's an emergency!" I about fell off my high heels racing to the nearest phone only to reach our teenage Youngest Daughter who needed to know ...

"Where's the tuna fish?"

Seriously. That was the emergency. *sigh* And don't you suppose it's in the pantry where IT ALWAYS IS?!?!

We have, though, had a true emergency call. A few years ago, same Youngest Daughter, now about 15 years older, was involved in a pretty serious car accident. I was working in our retail store and the accident actually happened nearby. Hubby knew I had a haircut scheduled and he also knew that me racing to the scene of the accident where, by the way, YD was sitting on the curb holding her arm with her snapped-in-half wrist dangling, would not benefit anyone. I'm good in emergencies -- unless they involve my own children. Then I lose my mind.

Hubby assured me he would go straight to the scene, make sure she was taken care of, talk to the police, deal with her car being towed, keep me advised and meet me at the hospital later. He begged me to keep my haircut appointment, which was in just a few minutes.

I remember walking around in a fog, driving to the salon, telling my hair dresser that I had no idea what I was doing there. She cut and styled my hair while I sat with a knot of dread in my stomach. Then I drove myself to the emergency room.

As it turns out, getting to the hospital had taken a while, so they hadn't arrived there much sooner than I did. YD had been transported by ambulance and Hubby had driven there after he had everyone's names and numbers and found out where her car was being taken. She had, thankfully, been given some pain relief so she was groggy. I leaned over her tear-stained face, she opened her eyes, focused on me and said, "Wow, your hair really looks great!"

Oh yeah, that's my kid! She was also truly upset that she was wearing a brand new shirt for the first time that was ruined. They wouldn't let us watch a lot of what went on in the emergency room so we stood outside the curtain and listened and talked to her and encouraged her.

"Mom, *sob* my new shirt got ruined."

"I know, sweetie, we'll get you a new shirt."

"But I loved that shirt and it's the first time I wore it."

"It's okay, we'll just go get another one."

"No, we won't, *sob* because I got it on a clearance rack at Target for $6.00 and it was the last one."

Even the doctors and paramedics were laughing at this.

Of course, there's a lot more to this story including setting her arm in the emergency room (listening to this about brought me to my knees), consultations with an orthopedic surgeon, surgery and months of recovery, helping her shower and use the bathroom, and crying with her during physical therapy. But all the gory details aside, that was the worst emergency call I've ever received about one of my kids. Knocking on wood here!!!

March 14, 2011

Wake Up!

First, let's start off this Monday post by congratulating the winner of the CSN Stores $30 gift code giveaway ... Molly Dunham at Foothill Home Companion. If you haven't read her lovely blog, you are so missing out. She is a talented, creative crafter, an awesome mom and has a wonderful hubby, home and family life. And she's a great read so pop on over and tell her I said "Hi!"

Congratulations, Molly, and happy shopping! I will email you the details.

On the radio this morning, listeners were calling in to tell about the strangest places they've ever fallen asleep. Personally, I haven't done this in any weird spots, but I have a couple of stories about the men in my life ...

When Hubby and I were dating in 1984, he took me to an amazing planetarium for an evening showing of the Beatles Laser Light Show. We are talking classic Beatles songs -- great music, loud music, choreographed to shooting laser lights all across the ceiling. The seats were big comfy captain's chairs that laid back so you could just watch the "sky." It was a fantastic show and the first time I realized that my boyfriend/not yet Hubby would fall asleep during performances. And snore, dear Lord, he snored. During this loud, loud music and crazy, wild, shooting light show. I remember thinking, How cute, he must be exhausted from work. Now I know ... he falls asleep during just about anything and everything, no matter what time of day it is. If we go to a morning movie after he's just woken up refreshed from a good night's sleep, doesn't matter -- he's sound asleep in no time. Actually, he always sees the first and last 10 minutes of any movie, sleeping through the middle. I'm used to it, but the Granddaughter will elbow him hard when she's sitting next to him at the movies and he snores. Makes me laugh. Makes him laugh, too, but we all know he simply can't help it. Turn the lights down and he's a goner.

The other story was from my childhood when my Dad, early one morning during Christmas time, stood in the front room picture window next to the decorated tree drinking a cup of coffee. He fell asleep standing up and knocked our Christmas tree over. I'm not sure what happened next, but I'll bet you a big pile of frankincense and myrrh that Mom wanted to ship him off to the North Pole. I would have!

Maybe it's a guy thing. A man calling in on the radio show this morning said he actually fell asleep standing over a urinal at work while going to the bathroom. The radio hostess asked him if he made a mess, but he said he had his arm braced on the wall until a co-worker came in and woke him up.

Oh boy!

March 8, 2011

What's Cookin' - Egg Salad Sandwiches

Egg Salad is one of those things that seem to evoke strong emotions in people. You either LOVE it or you HATE it. I happen to absolutely LOVE Egg Salad. I've ordered it in a lot of different delis, diners and restaurants and am usually left unsatisfied with their renditions. I've only found one sandwich place that makes it just the way I like it.

I was thinking about Easter (which falls on April 24th this year - seems really late) a few days ago and got this strong hankerin' for Egg Salad. I guess all those boiled eggs popped into my head and just wouldn't go away. Hubby, being the sweetheart that he is, offered to make a grocery store run for me since I only had about eight eggs in the fridge.

I wonder if everyone has their own method for boiling eggs. Our Youngest Daughter still calls me nearly every time she boils eggs because she just can't remember how. Here's my tried and true method.

Place your eggs in a pan and put just enough water so they're almost covered, but not quite.

Heat the water to boiling, then turn down to low, cover with a lid and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Once the timer goes off, move the pan to the sink, fill with cold water and throw in some ice cubes for good measure. Cools the water down faster.

I like to make Egg Salad while the eggs are still warm. Mixes up nicely and tastes so good.

I don't use exact measurements -- just drop things in by spoonful.

Egg Salad

1 dozen boiled, peeled eggs
A scoop of butter (probably a couple of Tablespoons)
A scoop of mayonnaise (probably 1/2 cup)
A squirt of yellow mustard (probably 1 Tablespoon)
Salt and pepper

I use a potato masher to smash the eggs into large chunks.

Stir it all together well and pile on buttered toast.

Our family has always loved having boiled eggs on hand in the fridge. The way I kept the kids from breaking raw eggs by mistake is by penciling an X on the end. Better safe than sorry ...

So are there any other Egg Salad lovers out there?

If you haven't entered my CNS Stores Giveaway, do it now -- it ends Saturday, March 12th!