Friday, November 27, 2009

My Demented Mind

I love to look for beauty. I love to make a conscious effort to find things to be happy about.

These are pictures taken while flying over Salt Lake City, Utah. Isn't this a gorgeous view?

I was thoroughly enjoying this scenery and contemplating the wonderful events in my life when something else caught my attention. Something unexpected. Something that I needed to share with you, my faithful friends.

I had to wait for just the right angle because my subject was quite squirmy. It took all my patience. I was poised and steady, just waiting for the moment when I could press that shutter button and capture this image that had me enthralled.

Is that not impressive?

Feeling good about my handiwork, I went back to the scenery and solving life's problems.


Monday, November 23, 2009

My Life on November 23

(journaled 11/23 at 6:30 am)

Outside my window... I am thousands of miles above the ground watching the sun rise from above the clouds. The sky has layers of orange and pink and as the sun continues to rise I close my eyes and let it warm my face.

I am thinking... how spectacular this view is and how there will never, ever be another one just like this one.

I am thankful for... first class upgrades even though I’m out of my element.

I am wearing... a navy suit

I am creating... nothing currently, but I bought supplies for the next artsy video

I am going... to Idaho Falls, ID for an overnight work trip.

I am reading... nothing right now. I need a new book.

I am hoping... the guy behind me shuts his trap. Here’s a nugget of advice. If you’re talking to a stranger for 30 minutes and they only respond with one syllable non-words like huh, hmm, yep, etc.; that means they want you to stop talking.

I am hearing... (see above)

On my mind... Friends.

From the kitchen... Since I’m on a business trip I’ll be dining out tonight.

One of my favorite things... Pure Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter bars. Love these better than any real candy bar now. I only work out so I have a reason to eat one.

The rest of the week... Didn’t get the Christmas Tree up last week so it’s going up the second I get home and of course Thanksgiving with the Jims on Thursday.

Pondering these words... The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. It's overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt.
-Leo Buscaglia

A picture to share...

Any time I see a VW bus I think that person must be really cool and I want to hang out with them. I may need to buy one of these some day.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas Eve Guy

I read one time that Joe Garagiola referred to Yogi Berra as a Christmas Eve Guy. He said “There are people like that… every day in their lives is Christmas Eve.”

My Dad is a Christmas Eve Guy. I can’t say what he’s like when I’m not around, like at work or standing in line at the DMV, but I can say for sure that he is the happiest person I have ever known.

And most affectionate.

He’s such a sucker for babies and they adore his cuddly nature.

He’s one of those guys that are overjoyed by the simplest things. He’s my role model for finding happiness in simplicity. While some people seek out material things to find happiness, my Dad can find joy in watching a video about cows grazing. Literally. I’ve seen it. And I don’t think anything makes him happier than simply being with his family.

My job consists of doing a lot of in depth interviews. I am so disturbed by how many people grow up in homes that lack love and affection. I have been incredibly blessed to not only have extremely loving, affectionate parents, but also my husband, grandparents, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. It tears at my heart strings to hear stories of abuse or neglect and I feel just a bit guilty for having such a storybook childhood. Maybe that’s why I’m in this position, to give me perspective on my life. To not take it for granted.

Life is full of lessons if you just open your heart to them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Will Conquer

It turns out it wasn't the baking powder. It's me.

I stink at baking.

I will overcome this affliction. I will learn to bake. I will conquer this thing called "biscuit."

Also, the ornament video is up and running on the Artsy link.

I only went ahead with the posting because I said I would, but I find it really embarrassing, so let's never speak of this again.

Appreciate it.


How To Make Quilted Christmas Ornaments

{Click on video for tutorial}


Monday, November 16, 2009

My Life on November 16, 2009

Outside my window... The sun has just risen and everything is covered in a sparkling layer of frost.

I am thinking... I am so full of love. I don’t know why I have been so richly blessed with the family and friends I have and love, but I will be forever grateful for them. My heart swells.

I am thankful for... Hard times. Even though 2008 and 2009 were extremely hard years, I think they have shaped me into a better person. I notice things now that I might not have 2 years ago and I’m able to find joy in everything around me.

I am wearing... jeans and a T-shirt (Über glam)

I am creating... the video I promised on how to make quilted Christmas ornaments. It’s a lot harder than I thought (and I am mortified at how I look and sound on video).

I am going... to focus on my work for the next several hours.

I am reading... Wordpress for dummies. Still. What does that mean when the books for dummies are still too hard to understand?

I am hoping... 2010 brings normalcy back to our country.

I am hearing... Liesl wimpering for her breakfast.

On my mind... more than I can wrap my head around.

From the kitchen... I just put some blueberry muffins in the oven. Tonight we’re having Big Jim over for some fried fish. I’m also making some homemade biscuits with honey butter to post later (now that I have new baking powder).

One of my favorite things... old photographs.

The rest of the week... dentist appointment tomorrow. Flying to Billings, MT Wednesday. Driving to Missoula, MT on Friday. Somewhere in there I plan on putting my Christmas Tree up!

Pondering these words... Today is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good, but what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it! When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, and not loss; good, and not evil; success, and not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I have paid for it.
(my favorite quote of all times)

A picture to share...

I love you Mom.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Clabber Girl

Last weekend I tried once again to bake something, and once again I screwed it up somehow. I like cooking. I've never claimed to be especially good at it, but I absolutely stink at baking...

Or so I thought.

Last weekend was the third baking recipe that I attempted that didn't rise. With much frustration I asked Jim, "Do you suppose I have a bad batch of baking powder?" He said, "When does it expire?"

I turned it over and saw this.

It expired over TEN years ago which means it was probably purchased when we first got married.

I packed and unpacked this baking powder through 7 moves. Now I can't bear to part with it. She's part of the family. Clabber Girl is like the daughter we never had.

Don't judge me.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

And The Winner Is......

According to, the winner is MARSHA!!!

Marsha said...
I received a mother's ring the year after Matt was born. Dennis and the kids actually kept it a secret, I was so surprised!


Let me know which ornament style you prefer and I'll get them mailed out to you next week.

Thanks to everyone who played!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quilted Christmas Ornament Giveaway

I'm feeling very crafty, givey, and Christmasy lately, so what better than to combine all three?

I am so excited to do a little giveaway!

Here are the details:
I want to give away a set of 10 handmade Christmas ornaments. The winner will be randomly chosen and will get to chose from the following styles...

The Country Quilt Ornaments

The Victorian Ornaments

The Fancy Blingy Ornaments

Chances are pretty good I'll give the remaining 2 sets away at a later date.

To enter just leave a comment telling me one of your favorite Christmas gifts that you've ever given or received. I will leave this open all day Wednesday and announce a winner Thursday.

Good luck!!

One more thing. When I return home this weekend, I plan on making a video tutorial on how to make these yourself!


Monday, November 9, 2009

My Life on November 9, 2009

Outside my window... Is a neighborhood in Westminster, CO (just outside of Denver). It’s a little after 11:00 pm so the streets are vacant and peaceful.

I am thinking... I have to get up really early so I should stop messing around on my computer.

I am thankful for... the delicious bed in this hotel room. It’s like cuddling up onto a big fluffy cloud of comfort.

I am wearing... Sleep clothes, ‘nuff said.

I am creating... a GIVEAWAY which I will try to post tomorrow but I’m actually in meetings all day, every day for the next week, so it’s tricky.

I am going... to sleep. Soon.

I am reading... Wordpress for Dummies (how appropriate)

I am hoping... this week goes by really fast

I am hearing... the distant buzz of the interstate

On my mind... Jim’s redoing all of the tile in the master bath this week and I left the whole thing totally up to him, so I’m anxious to see what it looks like.

From the kitchen... nothing. A week of catering and restaurants (and an additional 7 pounds by Friday).

The rest of the week... meetings, presentations, interviews, etc.

Pondering these words... I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness as it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge. - Og Mandino

A picture to share...

TSA doing a bang up job of keeping our airports safe.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

12 Things

12 things I want to accomplish before the end of 2009....

1. Go ice skating

2. Get Jim to paint pottery with me

3. Create a December Daily album (look, I already started it!)

4. Eat at The Melting Pot fondue restaurant

5. Bake a pie from scratch

6. Do something especially nice for a stranger

7. Take pictures in a photo booth

8. Finish knitting this scarf I started like 2 years ago

9. Send handmade Christmas cards

10. Make 3 Artsy videos

11. Send an anonymous gift to someone

12. Design and create a new website


Friday, November 6, 2009

Happiness Found

There are two general theories concerning happiness. One theory is that some people are naturally born with cheerful dispositions. Another theory is that happiness is something you make a conscious effort to acquire.

I don’t know which one I believe because sometimes I just feel good for no real reason. Other times (like today), I have to push aside my crabby thoughts and look for the good around me.

There was nothing especially wrong with today. No one was mean to me. There were no catastrophes. I wasn’t stressed about anything. I was just a big, grouchy, selfish poop-head. I’m ashamed to admit that when I have so much to be thankful and happy for.

Sometimes, all it takes is a kind word or a smile from someone to change that negative process. You never know when something you say or do can turn a person’s day around. That really encourages me to work harder at saying and doing positive things for others more often. Lucky for me (and those who had to put up with me today) I had two special people who helped me without even knowing it.

Then, once I got to my hotel, I had the urge to jump on the bed.

And that made me very happy.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Living Among Liberals

I am a conservative.

There. I said it.

I am a God-fearing, meat-eating, NRA-supporting, George-Bush-loving conservative.

I can pretty much roll with the punches when dealing with people that have conflicting views from me. I have gay friends. I know people who support abortion. I have dined with vegetarians.

I’ve even been influenced by the hippie spirit of the Northwest. I enjoy alternative music. I wear flowers in my hair. I use canvas grocery bags (inconsistently).

But I draw the line at contributing to the catch and release of bugs. Flies were meant to be swatted. Spiders were meant to be stepped on. It’s the 6th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill, except for flies and spiders. Amen.


Monday, November 2, 2009

A Lesson in Hillbilly Culture

Perhaps a bit of an oxymoron. Part of the charm of country folk is that they are unapologetically uncultured, but we'll get to that in a second.

When we were back home Jim had a full schedule of vehicle repairs and maintenance. On this day he was checking my Dad's power steering pump.

Incidentally, I've observed that the severity of the repair is in direct correlation to the amount of body leaning under the hood.

While Jim was checking out Dad's truck, my oldest brother, Jeffery came over.

I think every cultural group has some sort of tradition that runs deep and is never questioned.

Like Japanese people. We know that they bow to each other in greeting; the deeper and longer the bow, the more respect they're paying to the other person.

In Jewish culture, we know the groom breaks a glass with his foot to signify the remembrance of the fallen temples in Jerusalem.

In Hillbilly culture, it is only proper to share in the "breaking in" of a new firearm. We do this with much pomp and circumstance to represent our support of the Second Amendment (we're a very patriotic group).

So, as is our deep rooted culture, Jeff shared in the shooting of his new gun with his loved ones.

Tradition states Jeff gets first shot.

Jim was honored next.

Since my nephew Jacob isn't old enough to shoot this particular gun yet, he was treated with a ride in the mule to go check the targets (along with my cousin's little ones, Lillie and Buzz Lightyear).

Oh, and we also eat testicles, but that is a tradition I'd prefer not to discuss.


Seared Scallops with Mushroom Cream Sauce

1 quart sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp chopped shallots
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp light vinegar (like apple cider, white wine or red wine)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine (you can substitute more chicken broth)
1 1/2 cups cream (I use half and half to cut the cals)

Heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat until completely melted. Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme.

Saute for 2-3 minutes until the onion and garlic become very fragrant. Add the vinegar and wine. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.

Pour in the broth and cook down until almost completely absorbed again, about 3 minutes.

Add the cream and simmer over medium heat.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce reduces by half.

For the scallops, make sure they are completely dry. Heat another Tbsp of butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Don't add the scallops until the oil is very hot. Season one side with salt and pepper and place the scallop seasoned side down in the hot oil.

Cook until the scallop releases from the pan, around 3-4 minutes. Season the other side and flip.

They should be nice and crusty on the outsides and soft on the insides, like buttah.

Jim wanted steak with his mushroom cream sauce, so we compromised and had surf and turf. Marriages are full of compromises (wink).