Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wow...Had To Share

So, since Don and I have become empty nesters, my cooking has become less than exciting. I would put it in the "what can I find to throw together" category. Don doesn't enjoy food. That man actually just eats to survive. I don't get it! I think that there are days that I survive to eat, but that's a whole post in and of itself.

Anyway, yesterday I was browsing through some of the wonderful blogs that I bookmark and save until I can get back to them, and one really caught my eye. The name of the blog is "Pink Parsley", and it's written by a woman named Josie. I'm not kidding when I say that her recipes and accompanying photos are gorgeous!

The recipe that caught my eye yesterday was for Chicken Enchiladas. I have actually never made them. To be honest with you, I've never had an enchilada. I always order burritos when we go out to eat, but the photo that accompanied the recipe was so mouth watering gorgeous that I had to give it a try. The ingredient list was pretty basic. The only things I didn't have on hand were fresh jalapenos, and the corn tortillas. Fresh jalapenos still scare me a little bit, so I opted to use a small can of chopped green chilies that I found in the "Mexican" food aisle, but other than that, I followed the recipe exactly as

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn Energy

Ahhhh......the fresh, crisp feel of Autumn. To me, there's just nothing better. People think I'm crazy when I say that I don't like warm weather, but I really don't. I tend to spend more time in the house in the summer than I do outside, even though we have a home on a lake. Obviously, if we have company I'm more than happy to be out on the pontoon, but our lake isn't the best for swimming, so air conditioning is my friend.

Once it drops below 70 degrees, I am so happy. It's like a whole new energy washes over me. I actually feel like being outside, pulling a few weeds out of the garden, walking the dog. All of the deer flies and mosquitoes that have been buzzing and biting all summer seem to go away. All I hear at night when I walk outside are a few crickets and frogs. It's awesome.

And lets talk about baking and making stews and chili. Y-U-M!! My husband went fishing in Northern Minnesota last weekend, and I spent the whole time eating chili and caramel apples. Heaven!! Well, I didn't exactly eat the whole time, but when I did eat, that was what I had.

So that's all I've got. My blogging brain seems to be a bit empty as of late, but at least I'm happy to say that I am thoroughly enjoying reading all of your blogs, and breathing in the cool, crisp air. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tick.......Tock

Google Images
Is there such a thing as a woman that doesn't constantly feel guilt? In high school, I always felt guilty because I put off doing my homework until early in the morning, especially my creative writing projects. What can I say, my brain just doesn't function at night. I will admit that I still have nightmares about my homework not being done, and I graduated in 1982!! What the heck is up with that? I'm sure some great psychologist has an answer out there, as I'm sure I'm not the only one with that recurring dream.

As a new mom, I always felt guilty because I didn't know if I should be staying home or going back to work. To try to settle the big conflict going on in my head, I went back to work part-time. I decided to work during the evening and some on weekends so my kids wouldn't have to go to daycare, but then I felt guilty for not being around for my husband. I will admit, however, that I did think it was good for him to have that "alone" time with the kiddos. I think that he appreciated me a little more when I got home, except for the times that he was too frazzled to appreciate anything because one of the kids had cried the whole time, or thrown up all over everything. Ugh!

When my last baby started second grade I went to work during the day. The guilt started then because I wasn't home to greet the kids when they got off the bus. After one perverted bus driver started buying gifts for my daughter and dropping her off at the front door (not legal), I changed my hours. That meant working less hours a day, but more days. I'm sure that led to more guilt of some sort.

When the kids got to be older, I felt they needed me around more. They DIDN'T think so, but I knew that they did. I quit my job to be around. It was definitely the right decision, but money was tight. You know what, money still is tight, because I have never gone back. GUILT! The kids moved out, we bought a cabin, I took up photography and started writing blogs, and the rest is history. The guilt I carry at this point is so overwhelming that it isn't even on the charts.

So what is the deal with this guilt business? In some section of my brain I have the ability to rationalize that I keep two homes running, the bills, the laundry, three cats, one dog, a husband, three adult children in touch, and life in general. Yet, as the hours seem to fly by as minutes during the day, and my husband shows up after work at 4:00 and often finds me still in my flannel pants and a t-shirt, I just want to melt into a puddle. I always find myself trying to justify why I still look like hell, as if my husband would expect me to be in a dress and heels. Actually, he would probably appreciate a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, but some days just get away from me. I'm not lazy, but most of what I do doesn't involve leaving my home, except walking Brutus (our dog), and that definitely doesn't involve getting "pretty". Usually just the opposite.

I always swore that I wouldn't be one of those wives that wore sweats and let themselves go, but I find myself getting more and more lax about the amount of time I put in to my "beauty" routine.

Guilt guilt guilt.

Does anyone else out there feel this way?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Would You Like A Frog With Your Coffee?

I had the surprise of my life this morning, and because of it, absolutely no caffeine of any sort was needed to get my heart beating. When I wake up, Brutus (our lab) wakes up. He jumps off the bed, stretches, and heads down the stairs to go outside to take care of his "business". Same routine, every day.

This morning I decided to use the downstairs bathroom while he was outside. I rarely use this bathroom anymore, and actually, it rarely gets used at all since all of the kids moved out. I opened the lid and sleepily got ready to sit down when I heard a splash. I jumped back, looked down and saw THIS.

THIS is not cool!! What the heck? How on earth would a frog get in my toilet? I quickly closed the lid, called my husband to tell him about it and went back to bed to start my day over. Then I started feeling bad.

The animal lover in me came out. What if the poor little guy had been sitting in that water for a week? What if he hadn't had anything to eat? He knows that I know he's sitting in there, and all I did was walk away. Oh brother!! I knew I wasn't going to be able to live with myself for leaving him in the toilet all day until my husband got home, so it was time to gear up and get him out.

I started out by finding my rubber gloves. I'm sorry, but I don't touch slimy things. Just can't do it, especially when they jump! Then I figured I better get a plastic bag, because chances are he would slip right out of my hands, and then I would have the dog and three cats chasing after him, and that would be an absolute circus. I lowered the baggy over him, tipped it to the side a little and he walked right in. He actually seemed quite relieved to be out of there. I can't say that I blame him.


I took the baggy outside, and after resting for a few minutes, he hopped away to freedom, and probably to find some breakfast. Now I just have to figure out how he possibly could have gotten in there, and how to keep it from happening again. I can honestly say that I don't think I will be going to the bathroom in the dark again any time soon!!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

City Mouse....Country Mouse???


Photo from Amazon.com
I have found lately that I am a little bit city and a little bit country. It's times like this that I wish there really were a parallel universe going on at the same time, and I could just jump between them whenever I wanted to without having to drive for two hours!! Or, that I could merge my two worlds in to one. I love them both. And for you science lovers out there, I'm not saying that there aren't parallel universes out there, I just haven't personally seen them.

The country house (lake) offers incredible peace and quiet, warm friends (freaking amazing) and a life without a schedule. We see a lot of our family and friends at the lake that we don't get to see in the city, which can be a little crazy sometimes, but it's always a good thing. And, Brutus, our Golden Lab is beside himself giddy at the lake. He runs from the lake to the woods to his purple plastic pool (not always sure why) and back to the lake. He is so incredibly happy. He gets his little bum in trouble sometimes when he can't control his urge to go after chipmunks, and that always makes me feel bad, but for the most part his life is great! I never feel bad for him, it's always the recipient on the end of his naughtiness that I feel bad for. I have always gotten really embarrassed when one of my own does something naughty that hurts or offends someone else.

The city offers amazing diversity (which has always meant so much to me), great walking paths (we can't walk at the lake in the summer because of the deer flies) and I get to see Don every day. I love having all of the shopping I need just five minutes away, and pizza delivery and great Chinese food!

If I could just figure out how to merge the two. I don't think that the Lai Inn and Pizza Hut want to move out in the boonies with me!!

I guess that for the time being I will just be incredibly thankful that I am lucky enough to get to enjoy both. And, if you have little ones at home, I highly recommend this book. It's adorable. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And We Rocked It Baby!!

Cheap Trick

Photo by Chad Olson
Remember Cheap Trick?  I think I was about fourteen or fifteen years old when they became really famous, and we used to put their album on the record player and turn up the volume. In my head, I was really cool. On the exterior, I was really NOT!! But jump ahead about thirty-two years and stick me in the middle of a Cheap Trick concert, and honey, I still might not be cool, but I didn't look any worse than anyone else there!!

First, let me just say that these guys can still rock it like it was the 70s. I was impressed. For ninety minutes straight they entertained us without so much as an off key note, and there was no lip syncing taking place. The venue was small, only 750 people, so there was no way to fake it. They had people standing right next to the small stage up next to them. Rick, the main guitar player danced across the stage with his various guitars the entire time, constantly throwing his guitar pics out to the audience. The lead singer was amazing, and could definitely teach something to some of today's young singers that rely on the studio to "make" them sound good. These guys sounded as good in person as they did on their albums. Absolutely amazing.

Now lets get to the people. Oh the people! Honestly, that was almost the best part. I actually half expected there to be some younger people there, and there might have been a couple twenty-five year olds, but I would put the audience age between 45-70. Yep, that's right, 70. And the one guy that I'm pretty sure was seventy was one of the people that stood up in front dancing the entire time. He was feeling the music. It just made me wonder what he was like so many years ago. Was he a head banger? A nerd who can finally let it all out? A really cool guy who just happens to look like a sweet grandpa? Who knows, but he was having a great time. Another character that stood out to me was a guy to my left. He kind of looked like Humpty Dumpty, but very very tall. He stood up and shook his arms in the air for most of the concert, and kept holding a lighter up in the air, even though the security guys would come over every time and tell him to STOP. And the funniest of all was a woman who forgot that she was middle aged completely. She was in the middle of the aisle dancing FOR the band. Her high waisted Lee jeans were shaking more than my chicken in a shake-n-bake bag!! The security guys finally made her go to the back of the room to dance because she was so wild. She actually gave the guard the finger and stomped to the back before she went right back to dancing. Other than that, all of us oldies but goodies managed to really enjoy the show.

Gary and Bonnie
Gary and Pam
The best part of all was the road trip we had with our friends. We went with two couples, Pam and Gary, and Bonnie and Gary. We left early in the day, and the girls went in one car and the guys in another. It was a three hour drive to the concert, so we stopped for breakfast, and a little shopping on the way to the hotel. Once we got to the hotel we had just enough time for some cocktails and appetizers in our room before the show. Since we're all young at heart (and the band is just as old, lol!) the show started at 5:00 PM, and was done in plenty of time for us to go out for a nice long dinner. We found a great place with a screened in porch on the lake. It ended up being a super nice long dinner because our waitress seemed to keep forgetting about us. Thankfully we all had a great sense of humor about it, and managed to have more fun with it than anything.

So, cheers to an awesome weekend my friends!! It was great!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

When You Don't Have Clothes.....Your Friends Sure Do Come Through!

The cooler needed a floaty too. :D


Yesterday Don and I were invited to an awesome pontoon party at our friends house, which is on a sweet little lake about a half a mile down from ours. Our "usual" group was all going to be there, and it was proving to be a beautiful, hot day. We had had a little rain, but Don said the radar was clear. I had my swim suit on with a sundress over it, and figured that since it was a boat party, with dinner on the patio afterward, I didn't need to bring extra clothes. Well, I was the only one thinking that!!

We floated out on the water for a couple hours, and in the water, and then the black clouds moved in. When the first rumble of thunder let loose, we decided it was probably time to get out of the water. It was still plenty warm outside, and honestly, by the time we got everything up to the patio it was only a light sprinkle of a rain. Everyone changed in to their dry clothes, but the humidity seemed to be keeping my suit and sundress just as wet as it was when I got out of the water.

Que the girlfriends. My friend Mary and her husband had driven their pontoon home so they could change and drive back to the party. When she came back, she came with pants and a shirt for me. I am considerably taller and bigger than Mary, and I dreaded even beginning to try them on, but she swore they would fit. Mary has recently lost a pretty fair amount of weight, and she has some clothes that no longer fit her. So off I went, and believe it or not, they actually fit. How often can you even go in to a store and find pants that fit?? For me, practically never! Problem was, I still didn't have any underclothes, so I was pretty self conscious about that. Well, our friends Sandy and Russ decided to drive their pontoon boat home and drive back too before it got too dark, and here comes Sandy with a bra. Again, we hadn't talked about it, and the chances of someone elses bra fitting are slim, but in the house I went. It was perfect. I felt SOOOO much better!!

Girlfriends are amazing. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Lessons I Carry In Life

Fair warning, this post is going to be raw and honest, and for some of you reading it, it may cause you to look deep within your self and question some of the things you do, say or think. Things that may cause others to feel a certain way. Also, there is a link at the bottom with a song that is really lovely that you may want to start and listen to as you read this post.
Priscilla in the Sunshine
First, for some reason, my friend Priscilla, who lost her life to ovarian cancer one and a half years ago, has been floating in and out of my mind. She always had a way of doing that, even when she was alive. Priscilla had one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met. My heart fell in love with that woman. She loved so unconditionally and purely. We differed in our beliefs. She had total and unwavering faith in her God. I do not, but we had some of the greatest conversations about faith and life, both of us accepting of the other's views. I often wondered how she could possibly hold on to that faith in the face of what she was going through in her life. I didn't meet Priscilla until she had already been fighting her cancer for a few years. She had two boys, one still in college, and another with a beautiful wife and young children. So much life to live, and she knew that she was going to have to let it all go. I'm sure that there were moments when she was alone with her illness that she was sad or angry, but whenever I saw her, she seemed to have this incredible sense of humor, almost to a fault. She did hate to leave her boys, as any mother can imagine. As we all know, just because they reach the age of eighteen, we never stop being their mother.

Charlie and Priscilla
Here is a good example of her strength and humor. We stopped by her home to take a meatball dinner to her and her husband Charlie. She was talking about a trip in to town that she and Charlie had made, and that she had been thirsty for beer. She said "why not, it isn't like I need to watch my weight anymore". This was actually true. She had lost so much weight from all of the tumors taking up space in her abdomen and making it difficult for her to eat and digest food. At this point, if something sounded good, she should eat or drink it by all means! She then followed up with "we couldn't decide if we should get a six pack or a twelve pack". If I remember the story correctly, she said "we might as well just get a six pack, because I probably won't be around long enough to drink the whole twelve pack". She giggled. All of us felt like crying, but she giggled. I still think that she was trying to make us feel better, and to keep the mood light, but she never ceased to amaze me.

The other thing that she did, besides just being a great friend to talk to, was, she encouraged me to get some abdominal pain checked out that I kept putting off. It turned out that it wasn't anything terribly major, but I did need to have a hysterectomy. She was my support system during that time, and I was forever grateful to her. Every time I would run in to her, it would be the first thing that she would ask me about. Her ovarian cancer started out as just a "pain", and when they operated to remove some endometriosis, they found cancer. It was unexpected, and shocking to say the least.

Priscilla and Bonnie
Two summers ago we had a "floatilla" on our lake with all of our friends. We would tie our pontoon boats together, bring coolers of beverages and enough food to feed an army. We would spend the day on the lake, and after this particular "floatilla" we went back to our home and had a camp fire. Priscilla's husband loved to play his guitar and sing, and we spent the evening basking in his music, and the warmth of our friends. Priscilla was very tired, but she stayed with us the whole day and evening. Charlie had even brought with a small fishing boat so he could take her home if she got too tired, but she stayed. Five months later she was gone.

There is a song, "Hallelujah", and my favorite version of this song is sung by Jeff Buckley. I could always picture Priscilla's husband Charlie singing this song while he strummed along on his guitar. Charlie has a beautiful voice, and he loved to play for Priscilla. I sent him the sheet music and a CD with this song on it. He didn't have time to learn it before Priscilla passed away, but I saw Charlie a few months after Priscilla's funeral, and he said that he had been working on it, and just about had it. I haven't seen him again to have a chance to listen to his music, but I hope to some day. Whenever I hear this song, I always cry. It's a given. Even if it's being sung by someone else, like it is in the Shrek II movie. Yes, I cry during Shrek. Awesome movie!!
                                              Hallelujah, by Jeff Buckley.....So Beautiful
I am not a religious person, but I am spiritual and believe in Karma. Basically, your actions will have a direct effect on the cycle of cause and effect. In Sheri terms, it means "be nice, or it will come back to bite you in the ass". If you live your life according to the Bible, you may live by Luke 6:31,"Do to others as you would have them do to you". Either way, it is an awesome concept to live by. So as I sit here today, with tears stinging my cheeks, my hope is that I can embody even a portion of the lovely kindness that my friend Priscilla showed to the world.       I miss you my friend.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Silly Love

The picture below might look like something naughty, but you know what, it isn't. I shared it because it was funny and silly, and made me smile. My sister in-law Lori took it this past weekend when we were out on the pontoon, and had had a couple (OK, maybe a few) too many cocktails. The weather was warm, the wind was light, the music on the radio was perfect, and I had the giggles. I can't even remember the last time that I had the belly laugh giggles, and it felt fabulous!!

More than anything, I love the way that Don and I are looking at each other. After being married for twenty-six years, those moments don't happen as often, so when they do I treasure them. Plus, I'm still kind of impressed I can get my leg up that high!! lol!

Live, Love and Laugh my friends. It feels great!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Looking forward to.......Summer??


Yep, that's right! It finally feels like summer is starting. My vertigo is gone, and it's time to head to the lake for some fun in the sun. Brutus and the girls and I are heading to the lake to play. Don will join us now and then between work, which is kind of a bummer, but work is busy for him right now and we're just thankful that he has a job, so we aren't going to complain!
My Sweetie Doing What He Loves Most!

By now we have usually had company at least a half a dozen times, but since I was sick for so many weeks we haven't been able to have anyone come to stay. This weekend we get to see Don's brother and wife, and also our son Andrew, his girlfriend and two of their friends. It sounds like a fun 4th of July weekend is in the works.
Gorgeous OUT-law Lori

Don's Brother Ron (teasing Brutus as always!!)




There is a resort across the lake from our cabin that does a lovely fireworks display, so we all tie our pontoon boats together and watch the fireworks out on the lake. It's so much safer than shooting off fireworks of your own. Which leads me to a little tiny rant.




Fireworks (other than the baby ones) are illegal in the state that I live in, and for good reason. It's something I have always been a stickler on. 99% of the people I know think I am nothing more than a grumpy old bore, but having worked in clinics most of my life, I can tell you that the injuries are horrible. And honestly, shooting off fireworks is very often accompanied by drinking. Drinking adults seem to lose their fear or good judgment around young children, and people get hurt. It truly isn't worth it. Every year at the lake, the people across the road from us shoot off professional grade fireworks, and they land on our roof. So every year at the lake my husband has to go up on the roof and spray it down good, and make sure that there aren't any branches or twigs or pine needles to start on fire. At the very least, they should shoot them off over the water. At our annual association meeting, we always bring it up, and every year they seem to get bigger and bigger. I guess that we should maybe ask them to shoot them off, and then maybe they would grow up and stop. Ugh. OK. Point made.

Don And His Parents
So anyway, we're on to more fun stuff. Two weeks from now Don's parents are coming for a visit. They were supposed to come in June, but we had to cancel because I was sick. We're looking forward to their visit too. Hopefully the fish will be biting! Don's dad usually catches a tree. (Just kidding Dick).

Have a great, and safe weekend everyone!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Done Being Crabby.....Whew

So after a nice long weekend alone, I am done being so crabby. I didn't get all of the work done at home that I had hoped, but that would have been a pretty big task. I did manage to get almost caught up on my ironing, which quite frankly, if it wasn't for Pink and Sara Bareilles I would never do it. They have very different musical styles, but I love love love them both!!

I also got through a HUGE paper pile. I shredded and recycled two large brown paper bags worth of "stuff" that wasn't really needed anymore. That decluttered my brain right there. When I have things laying around, and I don't really know exactly what is in the pile, it starts to get me down. I need to tackle my closet too, but I think I will save that one for a rainy or snowy day when I feel like cozying in and letting some soup cook on the stove. Something about having soup simmering all day makes me want to tackle a project like that.

The other great thing about the weekend is that I got to snuggle with my three girls. Two of the cats will tolerate Brutus, but my little Bernice will only come and snuggle when he is gone. It's kind of funny, because she knows the instant that he is out the door, whether it's to go to the lake, or just to go for a walk with Dad. She comes running and demands to be in my lap. If my laptop is sitting on my lap, she will sit right on it. I was sending messages back and forth with my heart daughter Laura from Wales last week, and Bernice had come in to the room and planted her little bottom on my computer. I didn't even realize that she was sending out messages until I looked up and saw a message from Laura saying "What???" I guess a bunch of random numbers and letters didn't make any sense to her. It was pretty funny.

So anyway, I'm a little sorry about the rant in my last post, but I am sure that all of you out there in the blogosphere understand. We kind of seem to be like one big "inexpensive" therapy session at times.

Until next time, have a good one!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Grrrr


You know what?? I actually went to this blog, my new personal feelings blog that was supposed to be about me, and deleted every single post. Why?? For fear that someone would read something and be unhappy with me. Now I'm just mad. Mad at me for being such a wimp, mad at the world for being so judgmental, and mad at the butter on the counter for not softening up fast enough for me to make my bowl of cookie dough, which I plan to sit down and eat to drown my pissy feelings in. And frankly, I might just eat the whole darn bowl. Actually, make that damn bowl, because at this very moment in time, I'm tired of being judged, and I will swear if I want to. It's my blog, and I can.

I want to be me. I want to be free to be me. So there. Damn it. From this point on I will no longer be afraid to speak my mind, or my feelings. I love people for all of their crazy DIVERSE differences my friends, and if you can't accept that, you can't have me.