Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Zoologist I'm Not

So I've had it with the scorpions and the mice, but at least this one wasn't inside the house.

Vince noticed these prints in our yard the other day, and now I'm becoming more and more curious to what type of animal made them. I thought raccoon, but he told me, "no, no, that looks more like a skunk to me". Well, he's the country boy, and I'm the suburb girl, so really, what do I know? Then just today, the kids were told by the builders across the street that they saw a bear, and were trying to capture photographic or video evidence of it. A bear? Here? As our friend Dave would say, "Are you shitting me?" So now I'm wondering if they were just pulling the kids legs or were they serious in their warnings to the children. Either way, there were either two of these animals, or one fairly large animal since the tracks were spaced a good foot and a half away from each other. And Vince did see a bobcat a couple weeks ago, but even I know enough to know these are not feline. And they don't look like bear tracks either. But the claws are freaking me out. For reference, the tracks are about 3 1/2 inches long, and 1 1/2 inches wide. So, anyone willing to venture a guess?

Monday, June 23, 2008


Who knew it could be used as such a great styling aid?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stupid, Stupid People

This morning I received an e-mail from a friend, with a link to a news story regarding her niece. In her e-mail, she just stated that she wanted to share some news regarding her niece, but had to rush off to jury duty, so she included this link

I hope the link still works, but just in case it doesn't, it is to a local news station in Hawaii where her sister's family lives. The news story tells about how the family went to the beach for a birthday party, where her niece stumbled into some burning coals that someone had covered over with sand, instead of disposing of them properly. Her niece is now in the hospital being treated for second and third degree burns on both her hands, arms, and one leg.

It is criminal. This angers me to no end. The story states that there are disposal receptacles specifically for coals, but for whatever reason, who ever did this, just dumped their coals onto the sand and covered them over.

Stupidity? Laziness? I don't know, but one thing I do. That is what I call a Dumb Ass!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Quiet Time

Possibly my favorite time of day. Right up there with Bed Time, oh and of course Dinner Time. Nothing makes me happier than when 2pm arrives. Sometimes 1pm, depending on the kids behavior that day, but usually 2pm. That means the babies go down for a nap, and Harrison and Sophia have to be doing something quiet. Hence, Quiet Time. Now I will admit that just because the babies are down for a nap doesn't necessarily mean they will go do sleep, but I do not care. They are in their beds for two hours, they can sleep, or they can play, or they can fuss. It is their choice, I'll see them when 4pm rolls around. Quiet Time for me means a chance to get dinner prepped, laundry folded, make some phone calls, or time to just waste on the Internet. But today I have much more relaxing plans. I just finished my delicious lunch of carnitas soft tacos and will be grabbing my current reading selection and heading outside to do a little reading. There is a nice deck chair waiting for me. Granted the deck chair is sitting in the drive way, just outside the garage. Since we don't have a patio, and our yard consists of dirt, the drive way will have to do. But I'm not complaining, the surroundings are still peaceful and relaxing.
Facing East

Facing South

Facing West

So far, I'm really liking the boonies.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Frozen Meat Mystery

I have always been one to plan our meals, shop the food ads to stock up on sale items, and read cooking magazines just for the pure enjoyment of it. I am a foodie. That is no surprise to anyone, I am sure.

In my latest issue from Cook's Illustrated (the best cooking magazine in my opinion), there was a recipe for Carnitas. I love carnitas, but they can be time consuming and involved to make at home. They are usually something I would just order in a Mexican restaurant. But since I currently live in the boonies, miles and miles away from Southern California, and most Texas Mexican restaurants serve "Tex-Mex", carnitas aren't really even a restaurant option anymore. Hence my being thrilled with a easy to follow, not a huge amount of work involved recipe for carnitas. Thank you Cook's Illustrated.

So lately I've been thinking about carnitas and decided to make them this week since I already had the pork in the freezer, and we bought a butt load of avocados at Costco on Saturday. What could be better than carnitas with homemade guacamole and salsa? Throw in a cold beer or margarita, and it's a reason for celebration.

Last night I pulled out a three pound package of pork shoulder, well wrapped in foil, to defrost. Vince was very pleased to hear that that "big package of frozen meat", was going to be used to make Carnitas. To say I've been looking forward to dinner tonight would be an understatement. I even ran out to the grocery store, with four kids in tow, to be sure we had fresh corn tortillas, and tomatoes, cilantro, and serranos for a fresh batch of salsa.

Imagine my surprise this afternoon when I opened that, "big package of frozen meat", to find out that it wasn't pork shoulder after all, but ground beef. Now, I usually wrap my meat in foil, then seal that package in a freezer bag, label and date it. But this package was so big, it wouldn't even fit in a gallon size freezer bag. I now remember thinking, "Oh, I won't forget what that it, it's too big". Yea, right.

So as I stood there, staring at all three pounds of now defrosted ground beef with my mouth hanging slack, realizing that all my pork shoulder was frozen solid, my taste buds thoroughly disappointed, it occurred to me. Tonight, we are having meatloaf. Nothing better than Old-Fashioned Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots & Peas, right? Throw in a good bottle of red wine, and it's a reason for celebration.

Monday, June 09, 2008

And We Couldn't Be More Proud

Annamaria's language skills have really taken off. I'm not sure if it's because she's turned three, and that is just when children really start speaking well, or maybe if it's because we don't let her walk around with her pacifier in her mouth all the time anymore, so we can actually understand the words that are coming out of her mouth. For whatever reason, it's not just her speaking more clearly, she's speaking in complete sentences, and using new words all the time.

Her newest favorite word it "dumb ass", compliments of her father I'm sure. And while I know I should be horrified and embarrassed, a part of me just wants to giggle when I hear her use that word in her cute little voice, and the other part is proud that she uses it correctly.

The first time I heard her use that word, Harrison was being reprimanded for something, to which she added her two cents by calling him a "dumb ass". She was quickly corrected and told that that isn't nice, and we don't call people names. Regardless of the fact that she was right in assessing the situation, but I didn't tell her that part.

The second time I heard her use this word, she was playing with something that was frustrating her, and she accidentally dropped it. She immediately kicked the object and said, "dumb ass!". Once again I told her to not use that word, but it was so cute I had to stifle my laugh.

Then again, just this morning, Harrison (yes, of course it was Harrison), did something that made her mad. So she called him a. . . wait for it . . . yes, a "dumb ass". Harrison came to me, telling on his little sister for her vile language. I think she knew he was going to tell on her, because she followed him, and immediately after he told on her, she responded by telling him, "Harrison you were mean to me, and I didn't like it, you were acting like a "dumb ass". How could he argue with that? And how could I not be proud of my teeny-tiny for standing up for herself? And so eloquently too.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Just Me and My Thoughts

Last Tuesday I had an MRI done to see what is going on with my back. I'm still waiting for the doctor to call me with the results, so I still don't know what going on, but hopefully will soon enough.

When the imaging center called to schedule my appointment, the woman on the phone asked me if I was claustrophobic. Now I wouldn't define myself as classically claustrophobic, but I do not like the idea of being crammed into tight spaces, especially with something very close to my face. I'm really not even very comfortable in the very back of a minivan, but with the window cracked, I do alright. So the woman offered to set me up with the open MRI, which helped put me a bit at ease about the whole thing. Unfortunately, once I was standing there in my scrubs, bra-less and all, I noticed that the contraption I was about to be loaded into was very much indeed sided. Just a great big metal box with a narrow, very narrow, tubal opening. And it was cold, very cold. But did I say anything? Of course I didn't. I never do. Well, I shouldn't say "never". I have a knack for speaking up when I should keep my mouth shut, but not standing up for myself when I should. What can I say? It's a curse. Then just when I'm being inserted into the narrow, narrow tube, the tech guy says, "If you need to get out, just start yelling and kicking your legs. Oh, and this should take about 20 to 25 minutes". Huh? What happened to the 12 to 15 minutes the woman over the phone told me? Was anything she said to me the truth?

I tried keeping my eyes shut, reciting Hail Marys in my head to pass the time. Freezing, with a thin sheet pulled over me, with poorly placed ear plugs in my ears to help keep out the banging, whooping, grinding noises that contraption made. Finally unable to keep my eyes shut any longer, I had to peek. Just how close was my face to the top? Uh, pretty close. But not so close that I'd loose my cool. But I had to keep peeking, just to make sure it wasn't closing in on me or anything. And the time passed, but I had no idea how much time had passed. Then my brain started wondering what would happen if they just forgot me in there. Would I be able to squiggle out? Would I get stuck? What do they do with large people, because honestly I don't think a lot of Americans would fit in there. I wondered if anyone ever sneezed in there. And how did they clean in there? Then my left hand fell asleep. Oh great. But I was told to keep as still as possible, so I didn't want to move my hand to try to get the feeling back, so I just lied there wondering how much longer could this take. What was going to happen if I didn't get to move my hand soon? Would I be able to not move my hand until this was over, because the desire to move it was starting to overcome my will to stay still. And who ever first came up with the idea of using a magnetic field to take internal images? I was going to have to look that up when I get home. And blah, blah, and some more blah blah blah.

Then it occurred to me, that I would not be a good candidate for one of those sensory deprivation tanks that are supposed to help you relax. All the crap my brain kept coming up with was not relaxing, it was stressing me out.

Oh, and Vince killed another scorpion yesterday. This one was in the garage though, no more in the house since the first. But I have warned the children to shake out their shoes before putting them on though, just in case.