Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

I have been lazy lately. I am still really tired from my bout with heatstroke, that or I am just lazy. But I am up every morning watering the garden. I will take a picture next week because I suspect our little plants were still too small to survive the transplant. The squashes and cukes are looking deadish but the peas, beans and corn are holding their own. Luckily, we also planted a lot of seeds to see what would come up but it won't be until next week that we might see the fruits of our labor. My tomatoes are doing so well!! Even the ones I planted from seed are getting big and strong. I decided to put my herbs in containers for easy access and to ensure they survive. This weekend we went and got some starter herbs.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Note to Self and other musings

So my mom and sister left on Saturday. We had a good time. On Thursday we went to downtown Sylva to have lunch. Downtown Sylva is like 4 blocks long and has some shops and stuff. As much as I love it here, I have to say that our downtown is nice but there is really nothing to do there. We had lunch and shopped. We did find a cute store called Life is Good and we got some cute tees.

We also ran into one of the acting teachers who works for Tom. Her class was there doing monologues on the street. My sister and a few other people were fooled but I knew it right away. When you are around the theatre for a while, you can tell. We passed her and then I saw Claire with a bunch of college kids. Claire rocks the house. She is one of my favorite people here in town. She is very down to earth and cool. It says a lot that I like because I am usually very anti-social and don't like people.

After touring scenic downtown Sylva, I drove them to the next town over: Dillsboro. Dillsboro is adorable but small. They have some really cute shops and some cool old hotels. We also stopped by the Riverwood Shops. It'a a collection of little shops. There is a crafts place, a weaver and a few other cute shops. Our friends Karen, Brant and their daughter, Zan, have a pottery shop, Riverwood Pottery, there so I decided to pop in and say hello and show my mom and sister some of their cool stuff. The whole family makes stuff. Zan is a very good friend who I adore because she is like a younger version of me and has that dark sense of humor that I possess. This is one of the pieces she makes. Tom gave me one for my birthday and I adore it. It actually has 3 faces. She also makes the coolest jewelry. Check our their shop.

Then we came back home and relaxed and then went out to dinner when Tom got home. We went to our favorite restaurant: El Pacifico Mexican Restaurant. I like it there and they know us probably because that's the only place in town I can practice my Spanish. Plus, they have good food and I love Mexican food.

The next day we went to Waynesville, which is a town about 25 minutes from where we live. It's really nice there and much bigger than our town and, of course, I forgot to take the camera. DOH! We had lunch and shopped. They have a better downtown there but we didn't buy anything. And then went driving around the area. Right now it's so beautiful because everything is turning green and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. It was warm but not hot and the sun was out. There is a great lake about 20 minutes from our house in Glenville. So we just tooled around and talked. When we all get together we talk a lot. Well they do because I am more of a writer than talker. We came back home and hung out and talked and then went out to dinner again. This time we went to a little restaurant located under a bookstore in town. It's called The Spring Street Cafe. It's very unassuming but they have gourmet food. The chef has to have some formal training because some of the stuff he creates is fabulous! I can't wait until summer because they have the best friend green tomatoes there!! YUMMO

The next they were flying back to Los Angeles, so we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville so they could see the mountains. I actually fell asleep in the car because as I said before, I am not a nature girl and figure if you have seen one tree you have seen them all. But when we got to Asheville, we went downtown and gorged ourselves with Japanese food. Mmmmm California rolls and gyoza. My favorites. We took them to the airport said goodbye and then we went to Sam's Club since we were there already. Then we came home and relaxed.

Now for the Note to Self: Okay, if you are an out-of-shape, middle aged woman who hates the sun and rather live in darkness, don't garden in the middle of the day. I did and I got heat stroke yesterday. It wasn't pretty.

So Sunday Tom says we need to put some of the seedlings into the ground. Fine. I said we can't put the tomatoes in because Karen and Brant said not to put the tomatoes in until Mid May. So we decided to put in the green and yellow squash, the cucumbers, the peas, the Bush beans and corn. I am still thinking that it's still to early but I can't stop Tom when he gets something into his head. So after a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon, we went off to Lowe's to get supplies and then came back to start planting. Well by that time it's noon. So I get my boots and my big hat on and go rake the plot. Then Tom comes to help plant the seedlings. We were out there for a few hours. Once we finished, I felt fine. I took a shower and got on the computer and Tom napped. I started getting a headache but I thought that maybe after we ate I would feel better. We had dinner and then Tom went to work to watch some evaluations or something like that.

I started feeling really UGH around 7pm. I got nauseous and the migraine started. I watched Amazing Race and then had to go to bed and douse myself with rubbing alcohol and fell asleep. I mean, I passed out at 10pm or earlier. It was horrible because I really wanted to throw up but didn't because there is nothing worse, at least for me, than throwing up. This morning I am just wickedly tired but feel so much better. I even went out this morning and water the plot because I was under strict orders to do so.
So I now know better about gardening in full sun. I honestly hate the sun unless I am at a resort by the pool. Maybe I can convince Tom to put a pool in.

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.
1) Tom, Yvonne and mom on our porch - Yes, Tom has jammies on, he doesn't wear plaid pants. I am going to be in trouble for posting that since he now reads the blog.
2) My sister at the river in front of our house
3) Views from the Blue Ridge Parkway - you should see this in Fall - OMG!
4) Tom, Yvonne and Mom on the Blue Ridge Parkway
5) Mom and sis

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I will be MIA for a few days

I will not be posting until the Sunday because my mom and sister are coming to visit for a few days. I will be showing them around the town, which will take not even an hour. :0) And hopefully we will be having a good time. I haven't seen them since December when we were in Costa Rica. But once they leave, I will post about their visit and hopefully have some more pictures to post for your viewing pleasure.

In the meantime, if you like to enter giveaways go to my other blog to enter for some Caress Body Wash. This is good stuff. The Art of Random WillyNillyness

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Darling I Love You but Give Me Park Avenue"

My dream of having a veggie garden is coming to fruition. On Saturday, Tom borrowed a tiller from our friend Luther. Luther works with Tom and he and his wife Glenda helped us get settled last year when we moved here to Sylva. We stayed at Glenda's dad house while looking for a house. And they have been nothing but helpful. So Luther was kind enough to loan Tom the tiller. Luther has all kinds of tools and equipment. He even has a replica Civil War cannon. Yes, I said a cannon. And the cannon works. He actually shoots it off during the Civil War reenactments they do around the area. I got to see the cannon and it's pretty cool.

But I digress, as usual. Tom finally had some weekend time off and he decided to till out the lawn so we can have a garden. So he mapped out the area and grabbed the tiller and started chopping away. Now he thought he was going to do all the work himself but I decided since I really really want a garden I should help out and went out and volunteered. Of course, Tom almost passed out that I would even be outside in the sun.

I have to tell you. Thank god we had that tiller. I didn't realize how much work it would be. I found out that after Tom tilled the plot, that we had to go back and rake away the loose grass pieces and rocks and whatever else was there. Now I have a lot of readers who don't know me from Adam. But I learned that a lot of the lurkers are actually friends of mine who have known me for eons. So these are the people who will read this and say: WTH? Carolyn is actually in the garden doing manual labor. Bless her heart, she has gone insane.
I will be honest here. I am lazy. I hate doing any work that requires me to get dirty or be outdoors. I am a princess when it comes to those things. So it was a damn miracle that I even was out there at all. But I did it. Of course, I had the wrong shoes. Of course, I had on the wrong clothes and, of course, I almost passed out after being in the heat for a while. I even had to put on a baseball cap. I HATE wearing hats. But I went out there and raked and bent down and picked up grass pieces full of beetles and ants and spiders.

At some point I turned to Tom and said I bet he never thought he would see me out here doing this. He agreed. Then somehow we came to the conclusion that this reminded us of the TV show Green Acres. We are the city folks in the country trying to make a go at it. Yeah, I know we aren't on a farm but this will probably be the biggest garden we ever have. But I, like Lisa (Eva Gabor's character), would rather be in a Park Avenue penthouse than tilling the earth but that ain't happening anytime soon. That was a good show. If you haven't seen it you can always pick it up on DVD. It was cheesy but funny and cute. And who didn't love Arnold the Pig? He was the best actor on the show.

Anyhow, we worked for a few hours and still aren't even close to finishing. We (okay Tom) has to till in some fertilizer and stuff into the plot before we can start planting. This week I have to go back out and rake again to make sure we got all the grass out. I have to make rows and Tom has mapped out where the seedlings will go. I am now committed to that little plot of land outside. I am hoping that a few months from now it will yield a substantial amount of veggies to feed us throughout the summer.

There is something very gratifying about eating food you actually grow with your own hands. Plus, nothing beats fresh veggies especially tomatoes. Since I really have no clue as to what I am doing, I am hoping that it all works out. I figure I can't kill everything so there will be some plants that will yield at least enough veggies for a salad or two.

Here are some pictures of our adventures at Green Acres NC. There are before and after pictures of the yard. Some pictures of Tom with the big giant tiller and one of me actually working. I had to prove it to the people who know me well that I am not making all this up.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guilty Pleasures Giveaway Winner

I have to say that I am glad I am not the only one who does or likes weird things. Thanks all for sharing your guilty pleasures with me. There were so many good ones that I decided to do a random drawing to make it fair because there was no way I could just pick one. So I did the slips and had Tom pick one out and here is the winner.

Congratulations to Fizzgig. She is a fellow mustard eater and I appreciate that. Fizz send me your deets at carogonza1 (at) yahoo (dot) com so I can get the card out Monday.

Thanks to all who participated. I will be doing more giveaways soon but on my other blog: The Art of Random WillyNillyness

I love giveaways and I love being able to give stuff away but don't want to use this blog for that so I am going to use that one for that kind of stuff. So go follow or subscribe so you know when I do a giveaway.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Of Rice and Ben (Uncle Ben's that is)

I am writing this post for my very good friend Dion. He reads my blog and suggested I write about rice. But then again the other day he said I write too much about food. I guess all I can say is that is Dion for you. He's a Libra. They go back and forth all the time. It's a Libra thing. :0) Now writing about rice might seem a little weird but there is a lesson to be learned.

First, I will start by professing my love of rice. It is second to my love of potatoes. But I could eat rice anytime and all the time. I think it's because I grew up eating rice that I can't go more than a week without having it. If I don't get it, I crave it.

I hate cooking rice though. I learned by watching my abuela Gilda. I would watch her mince the onions and red bell peppers into this tiny chunks. Then she would saute them in oil, add the rice and saute it all together. Then she would add some achoite (annatto seed) that is sold in a paste from Costa Rica. After sauteing it all together then she would add the water, let it boil and then cover it and it cooked. It came out perfect every time. My mom used the same method and it was equally as yummy.

When I finally left home to go to college and ended up in Miami, I tried cooking rice but it was sort of a chore for me. I lived in this tiny studio apartment with only one of those mini burners for a stove. It was hard cooking with that but somehow I would always manage to cook a really good meal every once in a while. It was then that I got lazy about rice and figured I should just get some Uncle Ben's and make it easier on myself. I went home and cooked it up and it was crap compared to real home-cooked rice. I never bought it again. It tasted like nothing and had a weirdo texture. I tried Minute Rice too and that was horrible as well. I preferred trying to cook it fresh.

But as time went by, I stopped sauteing onions and peppers and using achiote. I ended up just making white rice with salt. It was easier to make. But it was also tricky because it either came out too al dente or too mushy. But rice is rice and it didn't matter because I needed to eat rice.

Back to Dion. I met Dion because he became my neighbor when I lived in that little studio in Miami. He was also a student. We came very good friends and every so often I would feed him. Well one day he came over and was hungry. I just happened to have some leftover chicken and some leftover rice in the fridge. I told him to take the food. Rice gets hard when it goes into the fridge so I told him to take it and sprinkle some water on it and pop it into the microwave because when you do this, it comes back all nice and steamy and, frankly, it's like you had made it fresh. He did it. And to this day, he talks about how I taught him that little trick. So he told me I should blog about it, so I am. I can't believe to this date he remembers that. So there you have it D, the rice trick for all my tens of followers to read. :D

Well back to my rice addiction. So pretty much all I started cooking was white rice and not the yummy Costa Rican rice that I was brought up on. And that was fine because I found rice to be a canvas where I could paint some yumminess. Like potatoes, you can do so much to it. I make real recipes like arroz con pollo or mushroom chicken and rice (and yes I use Campbell's soup for that). But our favorite way to eat it is as a side dish. Tom loves when I make Chicken and wine sauce and he can pour the sauce over it. I like eating it plain with some butter and lemon. I also like eating rice and avocado. You mash the avocado into the rice and add a little salt. OMG so delish. I also like making a fresh salsa with tomatoes, cilantro, onions and lemon and putting it over the rice. We eat that all summer. One of my favorite ways of eating rice is having it with a fried egg and buttered toast. This was a breakfast my grandmother always made me and my sister. And to this day, I still have it every once in a while.

When I lived in Florida and had moved in with Tom who had a real kitchen, rice used to be easy to make. When we moved to Santa Fe, it became really hard to cook because of the altitude and it was so frustrating because it would come out undercooked. My sister had mentioned she had a rice cooker so one day I saw this little Wolfgang Puck rice cooker on HSN on sale and bought. The rice cooker like the bread maker is on of the best damn inventions in the world. It's so easy. Put the rice with some salt in the cooker and push a button and the rice comes out perfectly every time. I love it.

I have met people who don't like rice and I am suspicious of them. I don't understand how you cannot love this little grain of goodness. So eat rice. Sure it's fattening but hell live it up. And to Dion, I hope you enjoyed me sharing the secret to reconstituting rice with the world. That's more of a tip then a lesson. So I guess there was no lesson in today's post. Oh well. . .

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

I stole the title from Sara Bonds from Subjective Beauty because I can't just post pictures without saying something. Firstly, I want to remind you to go enter my surprise giveaway on the previous post. Secondly, look at my babies now. They are getting big and strong and I cannot wait to be able to get them in the ground!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guilty Pleasures (and a surprise giveaway)

On Sunday, I had to drive down to Asheville to pick up Tom from the airport. Luckily, I had his car because I hate driving my mini car on long drives. Well before I started the long trip I was digging through his CD's trying to decide what CD to pop in. As usual, I was going to pop in Scarlet's Walk by Tori Amos because I am a Tori fiend and could listen to her 24/7 if left to my own devices. But when I opened the jewel case that was supposed to be holding Tori, there it was. One of my guilty pleasures: Rick Springfield's Greatest Hits.

Yeah, there I said it. I like Rick Springfield. Sue me. I have liked him since he was on General Hospital and then some. I had all his albums and have seen him in concert a few times. And guess what? If he were to come play up here at the Harrah's casino in Cherokee, I would so be there with bells on! Yeah, I would pay the $15 bucks to see him even though he's like 60 now. What can I say?

So I popped that baby into the player and rocked out all the way to the airport. There is nothing like Rick to get you into a good mood. Of course, Tom doesn't like it so when he got into the car, I switched out the CD to Tori Amos.

So all this got me thinking about those TV shows, movies, food, music that we listen to in secret, in private because we might not want to let others know our little guilty pleasures. So I decided to share 5 of my guilty pleasures with you. And if you share your guilty pleasures with me, I will send you a Starbucks card. Make them good, impress me with your secret! I will look at any entries at the end of the week and pick a winner. Most likely I will to make it fair!

Carolyn's Guilty Pleasures

1) Rick Springfield's Greatest Hits - Love it! Jessie's Girl, I've Done Everything for You, Love Somebody, Living in Oz, Bop till you Drop, need I say more? I can't get enough.

2) 7th Heaven - the continuing adventures of the Camden family. I got into this since I am not working and they run it on the Hallmark Channel. I never watched it before but now I am hooked. Ruthie, Simon, Matt, Mary and Lucy, who could ask for anything more?

3) Tabloids - National Enquirer, the Star, Us magazine. I love reading all the nonsense about the rich and famous. I want to see what they wear, who they date and who's in rehab.

4) French's Yellow Mustard - Sometimes I just eat it on bread, sometimes I eat a teaspoon full.

5) Tearjerkers - Give me Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment, The Color Purple, The Green Mile etc. I love them and if they are on TV, I will watch them. If Tom is watching with me, I tear up. If he is not watching with me, I will sob!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

I was raised Catholic so I know all about Easter. I am a heathen now so I don't celebrate in the religious sense but I still can't give up the tradition of making a special meal for dinner. So today I will be making a ham, hashbrown casserole and some veggie and have a special Easter dinner.

I used to love Easter as a child. I remember when we were little my mom used to make our clothes and she always made me and my sister, Yvonne, special matching Easter dresses. For the longest time we dressed like twins until one day I think my sister rebelled and it stopped. So every Easter my mom would make us special dresses and we would get hats and boy did we look cute if I do say so myself. We each would also get one of those big grocery store Easter baskets filled with candy and funky treats! I loved those baskets and to this day, I wish that I would wake up and find one on the table just for me. I loved those cheapie toys that came in every basket and there was always a stuffed toy. My favorite candy was always the chocolate bunny. I loved eating it's ears first. There is a distinct pleasure of biting off the ears of a bunny. And then even a bigger pleasure of biting the head in one single chomp.

Anyway, we would get up, eat breakfast, get dressed up and then we would go to Church. Everyone showed up to Church on Easter. I remember that the church was standing room only on those days. And the mass always seemed a little longer than usual. After mass the church would have an egg hunt and that was always fun. I remember that we would sometimes have an Easter party at our house so we would hide eggs and do all those sort of things. We would have a big dinner and in the evening, we would ALWAYS watch The Ten Commandments. To this day I still love that movie. I actually watched it last night because it was on ABC. I adore that movie.

I am not a huge fan of Charleston Heston but he was good in that movie. And the movie itself holds up to this day. There is a bit of overacting in some spots. The effects are a little cheesy. I love when Moses comes down off that mountain with hair looking like he just got out of the hairdresser's chair. He looks fierce. It sucks though that Moses didn't get to see the Promised Land. That's harsh. I have to say that its one of my favorite movies of all time. Its also the very first movie I saw at the drive-in. I remember it was a double feature with another religious type movie but I don't remember which one but when Moses parted the Red Sea I was hooked. For a little kid that was pretty damn impressive. Plus, since we had to read the Bible and study religion, it was kind of cool to see it all played out in a movie. God, I also remember how it cool it was to go to the drive in. I wish there were still drive-ins. I loved being able to go in our jammies and have our pillows and blankies. I loved that we got to have a treat from the concession stand. It's funny how those little things stick with you.

Anyway, I went off topic again. So tonight we will have a great meal and celebrate a day that no longer resonates with me on a religious level but it still brings back some wonderful memories of my childhood and it's a good excuse to pig out on a wonderful ham dinner. (like I need an excuse) Plus, Tom comes home today after being away for a week and that's always a good thing. I also found out he reads my blog now so no more gratuitous pictures of Colin Farrell. Rats!

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wow, I am famous!!!

Well okay not like Penelope Cruz famous but I was asked to be a guest blogger by Migdalia over at Latina On A Mission. We had been tweeting about food and I mentioned this recipe, which a lot of my readers are already familiar with, and she asked if I would do a post for her readers. She has a great blog with tons of cool info!

So please go over and read my first Guest Blogger post. I am very excited. And remember to give her a little comment love!! Here is the link. Or hit the button on my sidebar and that will get you there too. I am under the health section because believe it or not, this recipe is good for you!

Muchas Gracias Migdalia for the opportunity to be part of your blog!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

She Harshed My Mellow

Okay I might be a weirdo (no comments from the peanut gallery) but I love to go grocery shopping. It actually relaxes me. I am not sure why I love to stroll the aisles in search of food. I love being in the vegetable and fruit section. I love to touch the tomatoes and squeeze the grapefruit. I love smelling the herbs and the onions. I love the colors and the variety.

I think it might be because the grocery store gives me hope and possibilities. Possibilities of what I can create with those ingredients and hope that I will cook up a wonderful meal that I can hoark down. If you saw me you would know I love food. I am not a skinny minny. And mainly because I love eating anything and everything. I love cooking and eating. So to go to the grocery is my idea of heaven. Just as Tom gets lost in Lowe's or Home Depot, I can roam the grocery store for hours.

Now my grocery store here isn't great but it's just fine. In my little town we actually have 5 grocery stores which is pretty amazing since there is less than 4,000 people here. I hate going when its busy and now that I am not working, I can pretty much go when I like. I think Tom is happy about that because he hates going grocery shopping and now he doesn't ever have to go. The best time to go grocery shopping in my little very religious town is Sunday morning. That's when a lot of people are at church and we heathens can go shop. Usually it's pretty empty and if people are there, you know they are heathens. We always know if we want to see our friend Karen we will find our fellow heathen at Ingles on Sunday morning. LOL

Well today I went to do my weekly shopping. And I am in a good mood because it's sunny and clear and it's so much warmer than the last few days. I was feeling great going into the store. For the most part, I am a pretty happy person. Sure I freak out sometimes and get mad and frustrated and normal stuff like that but most of the time I am pretty mellow and nice. Now don't get me wrong, I can be a really huge bitch if pushed. And don't piss me because I will take you down but usually people never cross the line. But as usual, I digress. I was in the cheese and bakery section feeling up the cheese and groping the buns when this woman comes barreling down the aisle like a bat out of hell. She shoves her cart in front of me and gives me the hairy eyeball although I am not even in her way. She nabs some hummus and storms off. Whatever. I continue on through the bakery and stop and say hello to the baker who knows me well because I always make a stop there to oogle the cakes and pastries but I never buy anything unless I am having a bad day and need to shove a cupcake down my throat.

Next stop, the veggie and fruits. Again, I am lost in the glory of the fresh produce when Ms. Thing comes by and again gives me the hairy eyeball and starts grabbing stuff wily nilly. She moves along but at this point she is starting to annoy me. She almost ran over a little old man because she was in such a hurry. Luckily, the Produce manager is there. He knows me too. So he says hello and we chat about the cilantro. His niceness calms me and I continue my trek. I go a few aisles without any trauma until I hit the frozen food section. The witch from hell is opening and closing the doors like a crazy women. She is angry and mad and I have no idea why. But at this point my mellow has been harshed and I am annoyed.

Now I am not sure if you have ever heard the phrase "Harshed my Mellow" but the first time I heard it I loved it because it said so much. I am not sure where I heard it first but I think it was from the Facebook page of Tom's nephew David. David always has the best Facebook status'. One of my favorites was "David is In Bruges." I loved that it because I think I knew exactly how he felt. If you haven't seen the movie In Bruges, I totally recommend it. Not only because it has my Irish hottie Colin Farrell but because it's a really good dark comedy. And it has Colin Farrell in it, hello!! So I think that's the first time we heard that phrase and then we saw it in a movie and again I can't remember which one but I am sure it had something to do with stoners because I checked the Urban Dictionary and it said the phrase has its origins with people who indulge in the cannabis. And that makes perfect sense. You are totally mellow and then someone comes along to harsh it. GRRR

Here's Colin (sigh) Yeah it's gratuituous, sue me. (hope Tom's not reading the old blog)

So I am now super annoyed and my shopping trip is becoming a chore and not enjoyable. But I hunker on because I needed the ingredients to make a chicken tortilla soup for tonight. YUMMO! So finally I am done with shopping and am going up to the cashier. Ms. "I am having a bad life" pulls up behind another person on line and she is twitchy and still pissy. The checker on that cash register is really slow but super nice. She is young and loves to talk. Usually I go to that lane and chat it up but since my mellow was harshed, I went to another person to get through fast. So Ms. Twitchy is starting to get angrier and angrier by the moment. Then I started to feel sorry for her because I think how sad is it to go through life all pissy at the supermarket. What is her rush? Why is she mad? And then I realize that I am not like that and I am happy that I can go to the grocery store and get what I want and then go back to my lovely little house and make a great meal for myself and I start feeling better. I guess some people just never stop to smell the cabbage or grope the bread or oogle the ice cream and that's pretty sad. It's sad because even if your day is sucky, why have to be so negative around others. We had nothing to do with her mood but she is ruining ours.

So I let it go. I look at this poor woman and hope she has a better day. But secretly I smile because she picked the wrong line and karma is a bitch!! hee Yeah, I might be nice but like I said I can be a bitch and have an evil streak from hell in my soul. :) So I pay up the bill and go to the car and stuff my groceries in the trunk and go home. I am having Chicken Tortilla Soup tonight and it's a beautiful day and my mellow has come back!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Okay it's not totally wordless but I decided to do a Wordless Wednesday and may continue it since I see a lot of people do it. YUMMO!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BRRRR - It's Spring?

I woke up today to a dusting of snow all over. And it's colder than a frog's belly out there. It dipped down into the 20's last night and at the moment it's about 31 degrees. A few days ago, I had the doors and windows open. It was sunny and beautiful. Now it's freezing. Luckily, the sun is out and I am sure whatever bit of snow fell will be gone by afternoon but it sucks having to have the heater on again.
My pictures aren't that great but you will see the snow in April!! The poor mini car is buried under some snow. Thank god I have Tom's car this week since he is out of town. And as I look out of the window, there are flurries falling.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Choosing Eden - Winner Announced

Using the totally scientific method of writing everyone's name on a sheet a paper and then picking it out of a basket, I just picked the winner of Choosing Eden.

The winner is:

PEARL from Fresh & Pure!
Yay Pearl!!

I will be contacting you shortly or you can shoot me an email with your address: carogonza1 (at) yahoo (dot) com. The only thing I ask is that the book gets passed along once you are finished reading it to one of your readers.

Go check out Pearl's site. She is a fabulous writer and her site is so wonderful!!! For those who didn't win keep an eye out in the coming weeks for more giveaways!! Thanks to everyone who participated!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Natural Born Killer

The other day I woke up to check on my seedlings and to my surprise my corn has been chomped and murdered. The only thing left was the baby stalks and no leaves. I was devastated because I am not sure if they will continue growing or if they are gone for good. I wondered what could have done this and then Tom reminded me that we have a killer in the house and the mystery was solved.

The killer is Scout. Scout is a natural born killer. When we got her she was an outdoor cat. After she adopted us, she became an indoor/outdoor cat and finally when we got Shawn we forced her to become an indoor cat. But she never lost her blood lust.

In Florida at our house in Coral Gables, there are tons of geckos all over and our house was no exception. They were everywhere. I didn't mind them because they are so cute and do no harm. They eat bugs and for the most part just hang out. The only thing I hated was maybe waking up and going into the bathroom, turning on the light and seeing one on the wall. It always freaked me out because you just didn't expect it.

When Scout was forced to be inside, we started finding gecko body parts here and there. First it was a tail. Then one day gecko arms. Sometimes we would find a head. She loved killing them under our dining room table and we soon dubbed that area: The Killing Fields. There was nothing we could do because we weren't home during the day to stop the carnage. When we did see geckos in the house Tom and I would try to shoo them out so they could be saved to see another day. Once I saw Scout trying to nab one on the window blinds and I went and grabbed it. And that damn gecko twisted and sunk its teeth into my finger. Now it didn't hurt but damned if that thing wasn't hanging on my thumb. So in the meantime, I have Scout going nuts and trying to jump to grab it. The shock of this little creature chomping my finger freaked me out and I was paralyzed for a second or two. Finally I had to run to the back door with this thing hanging off my finger and trying to fight Scout off. I had to shake it off my finger. No harm, no foul though. It didn't break the skin and I saved it. But I thought that was really ungrateful of it.

If you know anything about geckos, they play dead but that never stopped Scout from chomping off a body part or two. On the other hand, Shawn who came to us probably a few weeks old knows nothing about hunting or killing. She is more of an accidental killer though. She would see the geckos and take a swipe and then they would play dead. But she wouldn't massacre them. She would kill them by beating them to death. I figured she wanted to play but since they were "lifeless" she would continue poking them until they were actually lifeless. Shawn is not the brightest bulb in the bunch. Sometimes we would be able to save them before they got squashed to death by the La Gordita (fatty girl - our nickname for Shawn). We would snatch them up put them outside and a minute or two later that gecko would get up and run.

The carnage didn't stop when we moved to Boynton Beach, FL. It increased. Our house had a screened patio. So the cats would hang out there all day and those poor unsuspecting geckos would wander in and BOOM - Death. It got weird in Boynton Beach. The preferred death zone was still in the Killing Fields. But now it wasn't just gecko arms and legs we would find. Scout became like the kitty version of Jeffrey Dahmer and got more creative and started just eating the bottom half of the gecko. So we would find little gecko torsos around the house. After awhile you become immune to the carnage and just pick them up and throw them out.

In Santa Fe and here in Sylva, there are no geckos so poor Scout has had to stop her killing spree. Luckily, we seem to have no bugs around here except for the occasional spider or ant. But I guess when she saw those poor baby corn stalks, Scout got the blood lust and channeled her inner Freddy and chewed them up. I finally had to move them from the kitchen table and put them on the dryer. Luckily we have one of those front loaders that is too high for her to jump on. I am awaiting to see if they survive . Now I have no proof it was Scout but she does have a history of killing so she is the likely suspect.

Here is a picture of the poor corn plants. They had nice big leaves before the killing.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Scenes from around my house

I thought I would share some of the views I get everyday. There is a fabulous tree out back blooming so I thought I would take some pictures of it before all the blooms fell off since it's been raining a lot lately.

The other views are from my front yard looking out to the river that is across the way. And of course, you see the mountains everywhere. It's quite beautiful here. Enjoy!

P.S. Remember to enter my mini Book Swap Giveaway before Sunday.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools Day and more memories

I have to admit that I never got April Fools Day. Actually I always found it quite annoying even as a little kid. I hated finding stupid stuff in my desk. I hated finding my stuff missing. As I grew older and started working, people at work would pull pranks. There are some people who absolutely live for April Fools, I am not one of them.

Now don't get me wrong. I like some practical jokes but I like well crafted, carefully planned and wonderfully executed pranks. One of the best pranks I pulled lasted almost a year and it happened all by accident. **Warning** LONG STORY but worth it.

I worked at an organization in West Palm Beach for the homeless. It was a great group of people and a great organization that did a lot of good. Well we had a Volunteer Coordinator, Susan. Since she was beloved by the volunteers she would get silly gifts and always had fun stuff in her office. One day I was walking by her office and she had this little monkey hanging on the door. I have no idea what possessed me to take it. I took it and hid it. Well Susan came and raised holy hell about the damn monkey. For some unknown reason she came to me first to complain about the monkey. Well I denied it because it was true, I didn't have the monkey, my other co-worker had it. So the next day we put it back and she was fine.

A few days later someone had taken some of the assorted toys we had in our offices into our break room (don't ask me why-I think our bosses kids were there and they loved taking stuff and playing). Anyway, someone came into my office and asked if they could move the toys into the office and I said yes. So I am sitting at my desk looking at all these stuffed toys and had a brainstorm. I decided that I would take the monkey and one of my stuffed toys and "lose" them. So I called in my co-worker Christy and told her to take the monkey and my spider and some other stuffed toy and hide them. She did. So I left the office and when I got back Susan was raising holy hell again. I told her that the monkey and my other toys were here when I left but I had gone to talk to Christy and now they were gone. I feigned my outrage as well. We walked around quizzing everyone and since no one knew, it was believable.

By this time Christy had told 2 other co-workers, Jan & Laura. So I decided that they needed to be brought in but it had to stop there. I really hadn't planned to make this some long involved thing but I realized that we could get away with a lot of stuff if we kept quiet. So we all plotted to send Susan pictures of the monkey in various locations. Christy took care of that and she also set up an email account for Monkey McBride. We started sending Susan pictures of Monkey McBride and Spidey and the other toy in undisclosed locations, mainly Laura and Christy's houses. When Susan got the emails, she came into my office and accused me of being the kidnapper and I denied it. I said I didn't take the monkey and didn't take the pictures. Technically, I wasn't lying. The good part of all this is that although everyone suspected me (as they should have) no one ever suspected the others. So this also went on for a while and one day we decided to return one of my stuffed toys. When it showed up I pretended I was upset and went and questioned everyone. At that point, people were starting to wonder if I was involved or not.

This nonsense went for awhile. Often we would have the monkey in the office and we would take pictures of it in Susan's office and then send them to her. We also took a picture of the monkey at her Volunteer Thank You party. OMG that was crazy. The theme was A Mad Hatter Tea Party (I was the Cheshire Cat, of course) and her friend had made this elaborate cake/cupcake display and we all had to figure out how to get the monkey on the display without the over 150 people attending seeing us do this. We finally recruited another co-worker dressed as one of the playing cards to sit with Monkey McBride. We swore her to secrecy and she complied. We sent Susan the picture and it drove her nuts. It was brilliant.

She still suspected me so I had to take it up a notch. So I told our other co-worker Jan to take my spider and cut off one of it's legs and post it on my office door. She freaked out but did it. So one morning I come in and freaked out when I found Spidey's leg on my door. I walked around the office and act all outraged and my eyes even teared up. God, I deserved a freaking Oscar for that performance. Meryl Streep had nothing on me!! At that point, Susan and the others started believing I wasn't involved. We had some other pranksters in the office so we would drop hints that it might be others. No one ever suspected Laura or Jan because for the most part they were very quiet and worked hard and never got in trouble. No one suspected Christy because she kept to herself most of the time. But underneath their exteriors lurked an evil and crazy streak. And they turned out to be as evil as I was!! I loved it. As time went on, Spidey lost another leg. To make it more dramatic, I kept the two legs hooked to my desk lamp so people could see how much I cared. hee hee

During this time, Tom and I learned that we would be moving to Santa Fe. So I met with the girls to discuss our options. Should be give Monkey back or would the girls continue the nonsense? We agreed we should continue. I came up with a plan to take Monkey McBride on my trip and then send pictures once I got to Santa Fe and come clean. I was never to implicate Jan, Laura or Christy. I would take the blame. So when Tom and I moved we took Monkey McBride and took pictures. When we got to Santa Fe and settled in, I sent Christy the pictures and we wrote up an email "from" Monkey McBride telling Susan about all his adventures and finally telling her who was behind the kidnapping. In the meantime, the girls and I decided to implicate one of our other co-workers because he loved playing pranks on all of us and he deserved a little payback. So Monkey McBride implicated Derek saying that Carolyn never could have done it alone. I heard that poor Derek had no clue what was going on when Susan went and read him the riot act. hee hee To this day, everyone believes he was involved.

And to this day, no one has any idea that Jan, Laura and Christy were also behind the master plot that is unless they told on themselves and/or they read this blog. I also have to report that Monkey McBride was sent back to Susan and she took him home for safekeeping. I have to say it was a brilliant plot. And we got a lot of mileage out of it.

So playing pranks for one day on April Fools never made sense to me because the best pranks require time and patience and a little help from friends.

Here are pictures of Monkey McBride on his trip. In Tupelo, Mississippi with Elvis, with Spidey at our Santa Fe house and in Alabama.