Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Busted By The Constitution Cops!

My brother and son both pointed out to me that Nancy Pelosi would not assume the VP mantle if Cheney died or was incapacitated. Sigh.... My son reminded me of the Nixon VP thing where he appointed Ford after Agnew got into some serious trouble with the law. I should have remembered that because Ford died recently and there was a lot written about the fact that he was the only U.S. president never elected to office.

Oh well, you can't be right all the time. I stand corrected.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Welcome To The Extended Stay Inn

That's what we are calling ourselves now.

Well, the turtle is still in our driveway, and last night Kerry's sister and brother-in-law arrived. Doug got to meet more of the family. If he stays long enough he'll meet everyone. I'm really glad that he feels so comfortable here; it means that this is a warm and loving home. I knew Susan and Gary were coming so on Sunday night I made dinner for both Sunday and Monday night. I know, this cooking thing is getting a bit old; but not for me, I'm still on a roll.

We had garlic mashed potatoes, meat loaf and roasted brussel sprouts on Sunday night. I made Monday's dinner early because I was making a platelet donation on Monday afternoon and that always wipes me out. I made my pasta shells stuffed with spinach, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, garlic and onions and smothered in tomato sauce. You can refrigerate it overnight and heat it up the next day. We had garlic bread (I believe in real garlic bread which means lots of butter and a ton of garlic) and salad with blueberries and tomatoes to keep with the 12 best foods concept. We also had edamame (soy beans) for an appetizer. I love them. Doug introduced us to them in the frozen food section of Safeway. Just a bit of time in the microwave and they are ready to eat. Delicious, filling and healthy; can't beat that. I'm really into semi-colons at the moment.

Gary and Susan wanted to go to Reno this morning. As Gary put it, he left some money there last time so wanted to recover it (and he didn't leave it in a safe deposit box). Well, the weather gods said no. It was snowing like crazy on Interstate 80 and people were driving quite crazily so there was an accident and the whole road came to a halt. They finally turned around and headed for Interstate 5 and home to Washington. I wish they had come back to stay with us for another night rather than brave the bad weather in northern California and on into Oregon. They live in Washington about an hour north of Seattle so have quite a trip ahead of them.

I spent most of today working on my taxes. When you are self-employed this is never a fun time of year. I'm determined to get them done before we leave for Costa Rica so I can go and have fun without thinking about returning to finish my taxes. I wish I felt better about how my taxes are being spent.

It's still raining here. We even had some thunder today. Our duck friends Dame Olivia and Sir Laurence have returned from wherever they spend the winter. For those of you who are new to my blog, Olivia decided to lay her eggs on our roof last spring. The first batch hatched out, got down from the roof (I have no idea how) and promptly were eaten by cats, possums, raccoons and bass on our pond. She laid another batch of eggs in the hundred plus degree heat of July. The eggs cooked and so did she. We were really worried that she would die up there when it got to 115 F. We cleaned all her nesting material off the roof so hopefully she won't try again this year.

Something to ponder; if Cheney had been killed in the bomb explosion today, Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House of Representatives, would have become Vice President. I certainly don't want anyone dead but I do enjoy the thought of Nancy and George working together. She would whip his Texas ass. Has anyone noticed how Laura Bush has disappeared from the news? Enough for now; time for leftovers.

Friday, February 23, 2007

One Of My Favorite Men

This is my cousin Dennis. In the winter he and his wife Carole live in Florida and in the summer they can be found in Minneapolis. Not a bad life you say. Well, they worked really hard so they could have one.

Right now he's in Colorado skiing with my brother. This photo arrived today via my brother's cell phone. My brother is another one of my favorite men. Looks like they are at A-Basin, which is closest to my brother's house in Evergreen. I think they are going to Vail over the weekend. Happy Powder!
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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Red Hat Society And a Funeral

Sort of an odd juxtaposition; a society of older women devoted to having fun and the death of one of our members. I didn't know Eva McGuire that well. She didn't come to a lot of functions but when she did she always had fun and she was fun to be around. I didn't know that she had diabetes; I just remember her saying to me that her doctor wanted her to lose weight. Her family found her on the floor of her house. She had been dead for two days. I thought she was probably in her 80s. She was 70; would have been 71 next month. It's a terrible disease.

Our debate among the Red Hatters today was do we wear our hats to a memorial service or not. In the end we decided not to but we did deck ourselves out in our finest Red Hat Society jewelry. I have earrings, bracelet and pin which I work on my sleeve.

This group teaches all of us that it's never too late to have fun. My first lunch with them was at the Olive Garden in Roseville. I ordered a salad with dressing on the side and a diet coke. The woman next to me ordered tiramisu and a glass of cabernet. She looked at me and said, "at a certain point in your life it is good to break the rules." I called the waitress back and changed my order to Tiramisu and a glass of chardonnay.

The hats we wear are outrageous like the ones pictured here. I made mine because my head is so large, plus I have a lot of hair. I'm thinking about remodeling it to make it even more out there. Dykewife's posting today got me thinking about all of this. Women have so many images that we are told to live up to; none of them necessarily good for us as human beings. With the Red Hat ladies I can be as outrageous as I want. The opposite of conforming is acting out. Well, I've done my share of conforming; now I like to act out.

I also thought today about my mother's birth date. She was born exactly one day after women in the United States got the right to vote (Aug. 28, 1920). She was born to it; my grandmother was not. It's truly amazing to me how long women have been subjugated to the society of men. We have much more to offer to the world. Well, I'll get down off my soapbox now. The turtle is returning to our driveway in a little while. He's bringing sushi. He got as far as the Walmart parking lot last night. He left the USB cable for his Trio on my desk. I sent him an e-mail about it; that's when I learned that he was only 10 miles away. But I do get to see Katie again.
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Monday, February 19, 2007

A Picture of Pure Joy

Here's Katie racing with her tennis ball in her mouth. It captures what makes Katie the happiest. She waits patiently for someone to pick up her ball and fling it as far as he or she can. Doug is talking about leaving tomorrow. I will miss them both.
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My Weariness Is Lifting....

This morning I'm finally feeling like my old self, sort of. Yesterday I took Kerry to the airport early in the morning. He's in Palm Desert with his sisters and brother-in-law. I couldn't go due to commitments here. All I did on Sunday was sleep, stare at the television and walk around my garden. I was bone-tired. I told Kerry on the way to the airport that being this popular is really hard on my body. Doug came in from his turtle for some dinner last night. I think he realized how tired I was so didn't stay long. This morning I slept until 9:30. I woke up earlier but decided not to get up and promptly went back to sleep. One more good night sleep should do it. An aerobic walk on the treadmill will help too.

Doug took the picture to the left and below. It's an Annas Hummingbird. They don't migrate so spend a lot of time at my feeders (I have two) all year. Those little tiny black dots on the red feeder are ants. I don't seem to be able to keep them out of the feeders, but the hummers and ants co-exist nicely. I need to make more nectar today. Both feeders are empty plus they have emptied the one for Orioles.

In the photo on the right you can see the iridescent patch of red under the chin. Iridescent feathers mean that you can only see the color when the light strikes those feathers. That's why many people think the hummers are not very colorful.

That's enough bird information for the day. Happy Birthday George Washington. He's 275 years old today.

Friday, February 16, 2007

First Blooming Bulb Of 2007

It's a daffodil that showed its beautiful face yesterday. My guest who lives in the turtle, Doug, took the picture so it's much better than my attempt last year. This year my first bloom occurred just six days later than last year. I attribute that to the frosts we had in January. The nice thing about this bloom is I had forgotten where I'd planted it. I like that about bulbs; they are full of surprises. Last year there was a bush hiding it so it didn't get much attention; it bloomed much later in the spring. Thanks to a family of voles who came through my garden last summer that bush and several others whose roots were eaten, I was left with a barren planting area. I guess there is always a good side to losing plants. Why the vole didn't eat this bulb, is a mystery.
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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Health Update

Nancy called me last night to say that she and her husband were home. He had a TIA or small stroke. They were having a glass of wine and chatting. Her stress level is way over the top so I suggested a massage. She seemed amenable so hopefully she will have one. A good massage can just make your stress melt away. I'm just glad he's okay for now. The doctor said he would probably have more and added another medication in addition to the aspirin he was taking. Dick is a wonderful, lovable man.

Another lesson in enjoying every day.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

The turtle is still in the driveway. He's now estimating Friday for departure. Tonight he's taking us out for sushi, which we all love. Tomorrow night my nephew and his wife and son will be with us for dinner. Doug wants to meet them.

Tonight I was going to do a slow cooker recipe for beef short ribs. I was actually disappointed when Doug wanted to take us out for dinner. That sure is a switch. It used to be that I would do anything to eat out. But I know Doug's heart is in the right place. He appreciates our hospitality.

Last night we watched the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The poor poodles looked so weird. I definitely don't want to come back as one. Tonight we are going to watch a hilarious movie, "Best In Show." It's a spoof on the dog show we saw last night. If you can find it, rent it. The cast had a rough outline for the movie but not much script. It's a lot of hilarious ad-libbing.

I just don't feel like writing much because I'm terribly worried about the husband of a good friend of mine. Nancy had trouble waking Richard up this morning. That's what I heard when I was at Lincoln Arts for a meeting. Nancy is president of our board and I'm her VP and her friend. She called early today to cancel a meeting. Richard has been having problems with remembering things. I've called her home several times and left messages. I don't want to call her cell phone. That just seems too intrusive. So I will worry. Both are seniors in their 70s.

When I'm feeling more up beat I will do a blog on Lincoln Arts. This little town NE of Sacramento has quite an art history. Here's a photo to make you a bit curious about Lincoln Arts. It's a clay sculpture that won a prize in the show last year. We get hundreds of entries from the U.S. and Canada.

I think I'll sign off now and try to occupy my brain with something besides worrying. His bear hugs are one thing I really like about Richard. I hope I get to have another one.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Nest Is Emptying

My brother left this morning for the last day of depositions in Stockton. He flies out of Sacramento around 5 tonight. The turtle is still in the driveway. Doug says he's leaving tomorrow...but Doug is not really into specificity. Knowing Doug, he will leave when he leaves. Sort of the Zen approach to life. Seems to work for him. Meanwhile Kate is trying to look her meanest to deal with the two marauding Jack Russell terriers who live next door. (Yes, I liked Eddie on "Frasier" but Eddie is not like the two who live next door.) The two next door live on ten acres and they still come to poop in our front yard. That's enough about Jack Russell terriers.

Why is it that when men use my computer they feel compelled to change things. My brother added the "seti" site where they are searching for ET. None found so far, plus he added an icon that is quite large that shows the current temperature in Lincoln, the weather forecast for the next few days, the moon phase and the time in analog. I didn't ask for any of these things. Women use my computer and never change a thing. Oh well, maybe men just can't help themselves. My son does the same thing when he's here. He also likes to adjust the color on our TV.

Lots of laundry to do today now that folks are leaving. Our refrigerator has so many leftovers that we won't have to cook for a week.

Today I'm going to do some experimenting with breakfast foods for Kerry. He needs a bit more protein in the morning than he's currently getting. I found a blog with low glycemic recipes. She had a few for breakfast that can be made in larger batches and then frozen. He could take one out the night before and by morning it would be thawed. Bacon and cheese breakfast casserole, broccoli cheese breakfast casserole, egg burritos made with low carb tortillas, and egg muffin sans the muffin are just a few of them. I'm going to try one today and see if he likes them. His diabetes is under control, but he's getting tired of the breakfast he's eating. It's his least favorite meal of the day so I'd like to try to make it interesting and tasty. I'll let you know how they turn out. That way I might not have to nag him about eating breakfast, which he would skip if he could.

No rain in the last 24 hours. The sun is peaking through the clouds. I have one daffodil that I'm sure will open today. It's later than last year, but that's probably due to the cold weather we had in January.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Guy Next Door Is Building An Ark

Yes, it's still raining. We got 1.5 inches of rain yesterday. Who knows what we will get today. My plants look drowned but that's better than parched.

Our visitors are still here. Doug has spent most of the day in his turtle shell (his camper shell is his home and he carries it on the back of his pick up truck like a turtle). Kerry went off to buy more pellets for the pellet stove. For some reason they are in short supply this year. Kerry suspects a conspiracy; I'm not worried. We do have a furnace and a propane tank. Then he went to a photo class.

Richard and Charlotte went out to mail valentine gifts/cards and my MasterCard bill and to shop. We all took turns on the treadmill; well not Doug, Kate or Kerry. Charlotte and Richard are asleep now.

Turns out my brother does not do well in this gray, rainy weather. He's down so not really happy. To help cheer him up we are going to Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ in nearby Rocklin. It's great funky place with wonderful food. The first thing they serve are biscuits with apple butter. Yum. I had ribs last time and will probably do the same this time.

No cooking for me tonight. Last night I made crispy salmon with risotto and oven roasted tomatoes. This time of year you have to pay a lot for good tomatoes. On the list of 12 Best Foods, we had four last night: salmon, spinach that was in the risotto, tomatoes and soy. We had edamame as a snack.

So tonight we are going to the other end of the food spectrum; pork, beef, potatoes, sugar and butter. It's the yin and yang of life.

It's been a wonderfully boring day. Charlotte leaves tomorrow morning. My brother leaves on Monday. Don't know when Doug and Kate leave and don't care if they ever leave.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's Raining...Thank Goodness

I live in northern California where we count on the winter rains to get us through the dry summers. The last time it rained this winter was January 7. It started raining during the night on Tuesday and has been raining off and on since then. I can almost hear my plants sighing. We still need a lot more to catch up for the season.

We have a house full of people; my brother and his wife arrived about 8:30 last night and my friend Doug rolled into the driveway in his truck/camper about 4 in the afternoon. The pace here has quickened, to say the least. Last night we had pasta shells stuffed with ricotta and mozarrella cheeses, spinach and garlic. I drenched them in marinara sauce and baked them for about 45 minutes. Very delicious. Also made garlic bread. This time I roasted the garlic so I could squeeze each clove into the melted butter before I poured it on the bread. Topped it off with parmesan cheese. We also had a salad with watermelon radish slices on it. Weird looking radish. When you cut it open the inside looks just like a watermelon. All the bread was eaten last night. We finished off the pasta shells at lunch.

Tonight we are having pot roast cooked in the crock pot. This is my first crock pot experience. It's the perfect dinner for a rainy night.

Right now Doug is napping in his camper, Katie is asleep on the rug in my office, Charlotte is napping in her room and Kerry is on his computer. My brother is on his way back from Tracy where he had a deposition for a lawsuit in which his company is involved. He's general counsel to the largest maker of mozzarella cheese in the world. No sales to folks like us; just to huge pizza chains, frozen food makers, etc. Unless you need a 5,000 pound bag of cheese, don't call Leprino Foods.

That's all for now. I'm going to knit while the house is still quiet.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Super Bowl Aftermath

Our Super Bowl party was a success once again. Kerry's chili got rave reviews and everyone loved the nuts I had made from recipes on

The last couple left about 11 p.m. I crawled into bed soon after feeling bone-tired. On Monday I never got out of my nightgown. It was a bit chilly in the house so I put on my long-sleeved burnt-orange fleece. I was quite a fashion statement. Pink flowered flannel night gown with lace trimmed sleeves, burnt-orange fleece, my pink and green turtle socks (the turtles are green) and my fuzzy slippers.

Kerry left for school as I was sipping coffee and looking at my computer screen. When he got home I still was not dressed and still looking at my computer screen, although I did put in my contact lenses and brush my teeth. I can't stand my bifocal glasses. It was easy to go to bed Monday night when I had never gotten dressed. Took my lenses out, brushed my teeth, moisturized a bit (that's another whole story) and fell asleep.

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately and find that I am approaching my blog much differently than most. I started my career as a newspaper reporter so tend to look at a blog as a publishing opportunity rather than a diary. I'm going to try to change that a bit. This is my first try.

We are finally supposed to get rain tomorrow and for the next seven days. We really need it. Our place is called "Foxtail Farm" because we usually grow so many of them. Without rain the little buggers are not even peaking above the ground. For those of you not familiar with this flora, it's not a nice plant. I have paid many a vet bill to get the thistles out of various parts of dogs' bodies, both front and back. Don't ask.

My brother and his wife arrive tomorrow for five days. This is a real treat. I haven't spent this much time with him since he was...well I don't know when. He's the one who had the cochlear implant last August. I really like his wife, Charlotte.

My friend Doug with dog Miss Kate (pictured below; what a profile) should arrive tomorrow as well. He doesn't know about the other guests. They will all do fine together. Both have heard about the other for probably 30 years.

The other thing I've noticed in reading so food blogs is "vegans". They are everywhere. I don't object but would like to see equal representation by the meat and potatoes crowd. I'm waiting to find a cook who extols the virtue of steak and baked potatoes with sour cream and butter. I remember many years ago hearing a talk by Narsai David (if you live in the Bay Area you know the name). At the end of his talk, folks were askedquestions. One woman asked for his advice on how to make a low cal, low fat cheesecake. He turned to the woman and said, "Madame, the cheesecake you would like to make is an abomination. Just eat a small piece of the real thing. Don't ever bastardize the beauty of a real cheesecake." Good advice.

That's all for now. I'm going to go knit thanks to patterns supplied by

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Another View Of Costa Rica

Well, it turns out that the Center for Disease Control views Costa Rica as a haven for the malaria mosquito (shown here).

I learned this yesterday at Bloodsource when I went to give platelets. The woman checking my vitals asked if I had any vacation plans this year. I replied, Costa Rica in April. She proceeded to get her book down that lists every country in the world and the CDC assessment of its health risk factors. The only place in Costa Rica that doesn't have a risk is San Jose, the capitol. However, to get to Costa Rica you fly in to the main airport which is in Alajuela; Alajuela is first on the CDC list of places that are considered malarial.

What this all means is that I can't give platelets or whole blood for one year after I return from our trip there. I'm not changing my plans, but it did bum me out. I like the idea of helping someone by donating my platelets. I have enough for several so why not share. But for one year I won't be able to do that. Someone mentioned that I could still volunteer in other capacities. So I took home a sign-up form to be a volunteer. They especially need people to work the bloodmobiles. Once I get accepted as a volunteer then I will have to go through training.

The odd thing is that last time I was in Costa Rica I didn't have any mosquito problems; never even put on my DEET. Oh well, you can't fight the CDC. Besides I would never want to give platelets that could harm someone who is already being harmed by some horrible disease or accident.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Costa Rica Here We Come

On April 1 we will fly to San Jose, Costa Rica to spend 10 wonderful days in this beautiful country. I've been there before but Kerry has not. Originally our friends Einar and Susan were going to go but there schedules are a lot more hectic than ours. They simply couldn't get away. I had enough miles on United for both of us to fly First Classs. That will be fun. We land at 7:25 p.m. so will stay at the Hampton Inn right across the street for the first night. Next day we pick up our Suzuki Vitara and head out for adventures. One place we want to make sure we go is Montezuma. It's located near the tip of Peninsula de Nicoya on the west coast. I didn't get there when I went ten years ago. We discovered Montezuma thanks to a blogger: She owns and operates a cafe called "Organico." Montezuma sounds pretty funky and bohemian, which is fine by us. Lots of birdwatching opportunities in the area. I have 395 birds on my life list. About half of those were seen on my first trip to Costa Rica in 1997. The bird on the left is the Resplendent Quetzal. It lives in the cloud forest near Monteverde. I saw it on my first visit. I think it's the national bird of Costa Rica. It lives on avocados, small ones. The bird swallows the avocado whole, digests everthing but the pit, which is regurgitated all warm and wet; the perfect beginning for a new avocado tree.

The bird on the right is one of many Hummingbirds that make their homes in Costa Rica. I've been close enough to hummers in Costa Rica to actually feel their wings beat against my face. Amazing creatures. This is a violet-winged Hummingbird. The one below is a Snowcap Hummingbird.

Costa Rica is definitely a place to go when you are not in a hurry. Besides the roads are so bad that you really can't get around very fast. If you think you've seen potholes, then I invite you to visit Costa Rica. I think they invented the pothole.
We are very excited. Too bad it's two months away.