Friday, December 26, 2008

This Is Just Gross -- And I Love It

The only thing weirder than someone who owns a brain jello mold is the person who bought it for her! I absolutely love weird. I've had this brain mold for a long time. I only used it once but didn't get the jello solid enough and when I unmolded it, the brain ran all over the plate. I happened to mention the mold to my minister's wife. Two of her children were studying the brain in their enrichment classes and she asked to borrow it. She was successful and got major props from the classes when she showed up with edible brain on a plate. I was talking to another friend who shared a new recipe for a raspberry/cranberry molded salad. It included whole berry cranberry sauce, raspberry jello, pineapple, pecans with sour cream mixed in -- a lovely pinky-purple color. You can see where this is going, can't you? My grandkids were duly impressed -- but they refused to eat it. Too bad, it was really good!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Big Day at the Bird Bath

One of the best buys we ever made was a heated bird bath -- it's better than television. Boy, was it busy today. I counted 14 species -- most I could positively identify: chickadee, cardinal, blue jay, robin, tufted titmouse, house finch, goldfinch, wren, hairy woodpecker, bluebird and junco. Three I'm not sure about -- simply my best guess from poring over the bird book: pine siskin, yellow-rumped warbler and hermit thrush. Anybody else seen any of these or are these outlandish guesses? The other day there were five male cardinals in the trees in the back yard -- looked like God had tied bright scarlet Christmas bows on the bare branches. Today I got this picture of the bird bath -- sorry it's a bit blurry. You can enlarge the picture by clicking on it. You can easily see the cardinal and blue bird and robins. There's a goldfinch tucked behind the robins. Happy birding!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Read All about It

Nice article about my son-in-law Simon Forward in todays "Cornishman." I'm so impressed with his writing -- he really works to craft each sentence and puts them together with such wit. I hope my own style is "breezy" and conversational -- not simply sloppy or slapdash -- but I'm humbled in the presence of a REAL writer!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Squirrel Wars

Jack has an on-going battle with the little critters who regularly raid our bird feeders. We have a squirrel guard on the support pole -- it's about four feet above the ground. One of the more adventuresome squirrels climbed a nearby walnut tree with a branch that aaaallllmmmoooossst
hung over the feeder. The squirrel would venture out as far as he could on the flimsy limb then drop three feet to the feeder, hoping to balance on the slender rods. He was pretty successful until Jack went out with the pole saw and trimmed the tree. Then Jack sat in the kitchen with his cup of coffee and laughed as the squirrel went up and down the trunk looking for his branch. The squirrel has had the last laugh because now he backs up and launches himself at the squirrel guard, hoping to land above it. And, as you can see, he's succeeded! Oh well, squirrels need to eat, too, but at least the obstacle course slows them down.

Partnerhood of the Traveling Pants

Caution: No picture accompanies this entry. Viewing such an image could be hazardous to your sense of humor!

I don't know what possessed me -- I HATE COLD WEATHER -- but I've accepted an invitation to go to Minnesota in January. Well, I actually do know what possessed me. I need a great winter story and the pictures of Grand View Lodge plus the list of activities -- dogsledding, sleigh rides, ice fishing, skiing and snow tubing, snowmobiling and an elegant spa for unwinding -- looked irresistible. So I had to break down and find some insulated pants. They arrived just in time for our bitter cold snap and I came home from walking the dog yesterday morning (it was 16) absolutely toasty. Here's the bad news. Pants big enough to go over my butt are made for people 7 feet tall -- I'm just 25 inches short of that. Talk about a roll-up! And here's worse -- Jack wore them when he walked the dog yesterday afternoon. Needless to say, they looked better on him. Here's a visual for you -- if it snows on me when I'm bundled up in my new ski pants and my down coat, I'm going to look like a walking igloo! But I'll be warm.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

O Christmas Tree....

I finished decorating my Christmas tree last night -- only two weeks later than usual. I love my tree and thoroughly enjoyed putting on each ornament. It seems it's all about me! The decorations reflect things I love most -- my family and travel.

In the close-up, you can see the Arc de Triomphe, a London bus, a Chinese lantern, an Oklahoma bison, a Lake Charles, Louisiana, alligator (that's the magenta ornament in the top center of the photo, and a Scottish bagpiper. There's also a Simpich cloud baby -- souvenir of a Kappa Kappa Gamma Christmas homes tour in Kansas City - about 40 years ago. You can just barely see a little tin frame (from Laredo, Texas) with a picture of my oldest grandson, Calvin. The other two boys, Austin and Alexander also have framed pictures elsewhere on the tree. There's also a little white paper wreath with a picture of my son Jay - made when he was in pre-school.

The tree is dotted with over a dozen jigsaw wreaths with pictures of family members. They're all my favorites, but I especially love the wreath with my mom and dad. Mom's been gone seven years and dad ten, but they're always in my heart and no Christmas would be complete without sweet memories of Christmases past.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Calgon, Take Me Away

I was shivering at my desk yesterday when I got a cruelty email from Padre Island. It was reminding me that South Padre is a real bargain, warm and where I want to be. Yes, they occasionally have a cool day this time of year but all in all it's a great nesting place for snowbirds. And for birders -- from South Padre over to McAllen are some of the best birding spots in the country. Dolphin tours are popular and New Year's fireworks are a real blast. Check out their web site at In the meantime, I'll just grab another blanket and pretend that freezing my butt off will make me thinner!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Griswolds Live in Edmond

My six strings of icicles pale in compari-son to the symphon-y of color and sound at this house! The lights and music are on a motion-sensitive switch so they go on when a car drives up. And believe me, plenty are driving up.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Utensils of My Own

I don't drink coffee, so I feel very left out when I visit restaurants where regular customers have their own coffee cups. But now, I've found my spot. Dot Wo, my favorite local Chinese restaurant has offered special chop sticks to regulars. I have my own little paper container that holds them. Since my name isn't actually on the chop sticks but on the container, I don't want to think too hard about exactly how this works. I mean, I don't want to put the dirty chop sticks back into the little envelope. Our server tonight had a bit of difficulty with the language and couldn't answer my question. Fortunately, the manager came and took chop sticks and paper envelope saying she would take the chop sticks to the kitchen and wash and sterilize them and put them back in the container. Aside from the food being good, I feel so special!