Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Hateful Wii is Still Taunting Mii

Okay, I have almost had enough of the hateful Wii Fit. It still taunts me everyday. If I miss a day, Fuggetaboutit! It questions me. "To busy to exercise yesterday, caro?" "I missed seeing you yesterday." Well I know and you know that's BullS*&t! It didn't miss me. It knows I wasn't too busy to exercise and I was just being a lazy dog. It just wants to judge and point fingers (well if it had fingers). Oh sure when Tom missed a week, all he got was "I see you haven't been around" and that's it. There were no accusations, no recriminations, no evil snarky comments. I think it hates mii (see how clever I am using mii instead of me? HAH!)

Sometimes I walk by the Wii Fit and want to kick it but I refrain from doing it because I refuse to lower myself down to its level. I just don't know why it has to be so hateful and so hurtful.

The other day it asked Tom about me again. I don't like that. It rarely asks me about Tom. I think the evil Wii Fit has it in for me. I wonder if I really start losing weight will I get more positive comments or will it just snark at me any chance it gets. Stay tuned because I got a fantastic opportunity to get fit and lose weight, so Missy Wii Ft is going to have to eat her stinky words. I will let you know what I am doing next week. Because it's time I stop being a little piggy and take my weight loss seriously!

Maybe my Mii will stop looking like a stuffed tamale.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday ~ "I Wish I Knew How To Quit You"

Yes, just like those Brokeback Mountain boys, I wish I knew how to quit Tori Amos. Well, really my Tori Amos T-shirt. I got this baby on Ebay a few years back. It was a great price and now it's my favorite tee. The t-shirt is from Tori's Strange Little Girls tour. I love it and wear it all the time, probably to Tom's horror. He doesn't complain though because he wears and old Costa Rica Imperial Beer t-shirt that is just as bad.

I am sure the mailman was horrified the other day when I opened the door wearing my precious baby. When I reached for the box he was handing me I am sure he saw the holes underneath the arms, the bleach stains and tiny holes in the front. I know he did. I saw it in his eyes the next day. He was judging me for wearing my worn t-shirt. Why did he have to be so hurtful? So hateful?

But I don't care. I won't be judged, damn it! No amount of bleach stains, frayed edges or holes can ever make me quit her. I won't do it. I can't do it. She is beautiful to me.

But, alas, the holes are getting bigger and it's fading fast. But I just can't do it. Don't make me do. Don't judge me for loving it. Oh the humanity.

p.s. It actually looks better in person. The picture is making it look worse. ;0)

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Wear Boots All Summer Long

I have to say that I am fickle. A few weeks ago, I couldn't wait to get out to my garden and look at it. I was weeding like crazy and watching these tiny vegetables grow. I would wait for the day I would go out there and pick them and then eagerly gobble them down. Today, I really didn't care if I went to the garden or not. I did though because I had to go grab the mail so on my way back to the air conditioned house, I stopped and looked around. The squash plants are all but dead due to varmints no doubt. The lettuce is out of control, the carrot tops are huge but every time I pull one out they are tiny. The tomatoes are still running amok. There are tons of tomatoes but they are all green. But the thrill is gone. I think once the tomatoes come in, I might be excited again but today I am ambivalent about the garden.

I think I am also starting to wonder if there will ever be a job available for me here in town. While I love staying home and I am busy with my blogs, garden and other stuff, I miss being able to have somewhere to go everyday. I actually miss working. Yes, I know that sounds freaking nuts but it's true. I also miss the money but that's another matter altogether. I liked working and having new projects and actually being paid for them.

I am also over summer. I have no idea why but the other day it was really cool in the morning and the day was gloomy and it reminded of Fall. It reminded me of pumpkins and leaves falling and I wanted it to be Fall already. So ever since I have been longing for those cool autumn days. I am longing to put on my coat and boots. Thus the title of my post from Nightbird by Stevie Nicks. I totally get what she means. I want to walk outside and feel the cool air on my face. I want the cool breeze to run through my hair and suck in the cold air. That might sound a little weird but Fall is just such a wonderful time for me. I love it.

And the summer became the fall
I was not ready for the winter
It makes no difference at all
'Cause I wear boots all summer long
~ Stevie Nicks

There is nothing enlightening today, just random musings.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

100th Post Giveaway WINNER!! pulled a winner of my 100th Post and it is:


I am so excited because MsLatina is a loyal follower of Carolyn in Carolina and she is one cool chica!!! I know she will be thrilled because she finally gets to try the Costa Rican Salsa Lizano and make my gallo pinto recipe.

I want to thank all my regular followers and all the newbie participants for entering my giveaway. I wish I had more prizes to give away but I don't. But never fear, keep checking back because although I don't do regular giveaways here on this blog, you can go The Art of Random WillyNillyness and enter for goodies there. And who knows when I might get crazy and give away some cool stuff here. I actually have something cool that is "Off the Hook" for a giveaway!!

In the meantime, Congrats to MsLatina! I have emailed you and once I get your info, I will be sending the goodies off to you. And thanks to all who participated. I love getting comments and giving stuff away!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

I Love, Love, Love my New Blog!!

Can I just say that every time I come to my new blog, it makes me smile? I adore it. I am so glad to be rid of the the other design. It was generic and had no personality. Before I actually had to try and be witty and entertaining because there was nothing to see but now I can say whatever and the design is so dazzling it won't matter. LOL But I just love the pink and the flowers and I love my little girl screaming in the headline.

I have been BLAH lately. I wonder if it's the weather because the last week actually felt like the beginning of Fall. It got downright chilly but it's starting to warm up. I and excited because I have had some really interesting opportunities coming up with my blogs and it's sort of cool. We will have to see what happens.

I am patiently waiting for my tomatoes to ripen. I have tons of green ones on the vine but they are all green. Today I saw my friend, Carolyn, and she mentioned it was the cooler weather that might be holding them back. I have to trust her since she has lived here all her life. Me, I have no clue. So I am hoping that's the case because I am dying for fresh tomatoes!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Hi everyone, what do you think? Is this not the cutest blog ever? I want to thank Hannah from Sherbet Blossoms for designing my new site. I love it. I love that she made it pink and I love that she kept my little jumpy screaming girl! I know it will take a while to get used to it but it's just perfect for me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

While looking for a picture for Mostly Wordless Wednesday, I came upon this picture of me and my sister at my Dad's house in Costa Rica last December. I love this picture. It always makes me smile. And boy it shows me how long my hair was!!

Yvonne (although I call her Jackie for some unknown reason except that I am a freak and love giving people nicknames) lives on the other side of the country. You wouldn't think we are sisters because she is like 5 feet tall and 100 lbs. I am about 5 ft. 7 inches tall and don't even think I will tell you my weight but it is certainly a lot more than 100 lbs. But the funny thing is people always tag us as sisters because of our smile. I think that's about the only thing that we actually share look wise. We are total opposites on many things. She is the extrovert; I am the introvert. She is impulsive; I am more cautious. She is hyper; I am laid back. But we do share a lot in common as well. But I guess that's what sisters do. We always didn't get a long but now we do and what I like about our relationship is that she is probably the only other person in the world who has lived many of my same experiences. I have to admit that I always felt like the older sister and if you ask that evil girl, she will say I look older too. She is a little kooky but then so am I. Maybe it's in the genes, who knows. But I love her and her kookiness unconditionally. We are lucky that in our old age, we have remained very close. And I know that we will always be there for each other!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We Had Visitors Again!

We had visitors this weekend. Tom's nephew, Steve, and his friend Jorge (pronounced George though). They came down to visit us from Ohio. They arrived on Friday. Steve is the son of Tom's brother, Jim. He is a really nice guy. I won't say he's a nice kid because I did call him a kid (he's 25) and I don't think he liked that. But anyone that could be my son is a kid to me. The depressing part is that technically even someone who is 30 could be my kid. Now, of course, that would make me a really, really young mom but still. As that threshold of age rises, it's not pretty.

Anyway, Steve has a twin brother, David, and a sister, Amy. Overall, they are great kids and very polite and cool. I think they like Uncle Tom and Aunt Carolyn because we are not your typical type of old folks. We are pretty cool. I say this because we don't have children so we are always pretty lax when kids are around. They had only visited us once before when we lived in Florida. I think the boys were 15 and Amy was like 13. Of course, I am going to ramble about their first trip to visit us.

So anyway, when they came to visit us in Florida they stayed with us a few days. Okay, I think they had fun but we had several incidents that were iffy at best. One day Tom decides to take the kids to the beach, great. I had to work so I didn't go. When they got back they come in and say "Carolyn, Uncle Tom took us to a gay nude beach." I was like WTF? Even I was shocked at this. The thing is that Tom decided to try a new beach where he had never been. I think the sign that said"Clothing Optional" should have tipped them off but it didn't. So they end up getting to the beach and looking around when they notice everyone is nude. And then on further investigation, they notice that there are only nude men on the beach. Very interesting. I had to laugh because I guess that was a good life lesson for them: Never go to the beach with Uncle Tom.

Of course, the fun didn't end there. The night before they were leaving to go back home, I got really, really sick. I woke up only to be land in the Emergency Room with a high fever and non-stop vomiting. While Tom took the kids to the airport, I was being checked into the hospital to get may gallbladder taken out. Fun Times. Funny thing is the kids never came back to visit us again after that trip. Hmmmm, coincidence?

The last time I saw Steve was last year in Ohio when we went up for Thanksgiving. Of course, I was on the couch doped up on drugs after I threw my back out. So it's all sort of blurry. But since I missed Thanksgiving de to my back injury, it was sweet to come the day after Thanksgiving to see me all drugged out at grandma's house.

Actually Steve was supposed to come out last weekend but didn't want to drive the whole trip alone so he waited until this weekend when Jorge could drive with him. Well, we found out that in the end Jorge drove the whole way while Steve slept. Dios Mio! But that's Steve. The boys got here and immediately Tom takes them on the nickel tour of the house. (I am going to digress again. I thought I would warn readers before instead of after from now on.) All guests get a nickel tour when they come visit us. If you ever visit us, you will get the freaking nickel tour of the house. Tom does not discriminate. You can be a child of 5, an old person, someone who has been here before or some random guy of the street, you get the nickel tour.

The nickel tour consists of you being subjected to a walk-though of the house and shown all the funky stuff we own. Tom narrates and I have to follow along to add various stock comments and be the sidekick. You will get a story about our friend Manny from MANO Fine Art and shown his artwork, which rocks by the way. You will see my Day of the Dead Collection and other several weird pieces we picked up in our travels. Next you will see the Red Lady painting by a young Russian artist we met in Vegas. Then you will see the painting of our house in Coral Gables painted by my mom, which is actually quite good for a woman who just started painting about 5 years ago. (see above) Then we run you through the kitchen (nothing to see there) and then down the hallway to see my autographed print of "Life in Hell" done by Matt Groening who is most famous for The Simpsons. You will a picture of men's butts (don't ask) and then shown the guest room and bathroom.

Next will be the Master Bedroom and then the weirdo room that is just filled with boxes, 2 bookcases, an old love seat and my giant Speedy Gonzales plush toy. That leads you out to the sunroom/Cat's room. Next stop the garage but not before you see a print of Old Brecksville, my signed M*A*S*H script sent to me by Larry Gelbart and pictures of Tom's family. At the garage, I am allowed to continue on or stop. I usually stop. From the garage you will be shown the side yard and my garden and then taken around the back to the outside patio/grill area and then the front yard with a view of the river and then the front patio. The house is tiny so it doesn't take that long. One day when I figure out my Flip video camera, I will take you on the nickel tour and post it here on the blog.

So anyway, with the nickel tour done and after some catching up, Tom took Steve and Jorge on the fascinating tour of Jackson County which consists of touring Western Carolina University and Tom's office, scenic downtown Cullowhee, Sylva and then downtown Sylva, followed by Dillsboro and then the drive back to our house down on the road that runs parallel to the river (beautiful drive). When they got back, we went out to dinner. Yes folks, El Pacifico. If you read my blog, you know that all visitors get taken to El Pacifico Mexican Restaurant the first night they are here. It's so freaking delish!!

Usually our guests are our age or older so after dinner we would come home relax, have a few drinks and yak it up. On occasion, we do movie night for the guests. Most are satisfied with this. But when we got home with Steve and Jorge, Steve says I want to do something outside. Okay, we don't do things outside. Well at least I don't. My outside consists of me going out to my car and getting in and then coming back and getting out of the car and coming into the house. My other outside consists of my garden. I tolerate this outside only because I have to for the garden and veggies, otherwise, I don't so outside. So Jorge says he has a Frisbee so they go outside and play Frisbee. Tom joined them but I passed and opted to play a little Wii tennis, INSIDE.

It's then I started to realize then that we might be considered boring. We are homebodies and having young people in the house sort of highlighted the fact that we live a pretty sedate, easy-going existence, which I love but others may find dull. So they played Frisbee, drank beers, smoked cigars and then we went to bed. I think the boys stayed up way late playing Wii and drinking more beers. The next day they didn't get up until 11am.

Luckily, Saturday was a SPECTACULAR day that I even broke my own rules and went outside and not only to the garden. I actually grabbed a cup of coffee because the weather was so much cooler than usual and sat in the sun room and did some reading that wasn't on the computer!! I finally got around to reading Estevan Vega's book The Sacred Sin. Some of you might remember that name. Estevan was the featured author on the Virtual Latino Book Tour I hosted a few weeks ago. The book is fantastic and I really liked. I promised a friend of mine, Barbara, that I would send it to her once I read it. So Babba if you are reading this, expect it soon!!

Technically the sun room isn't outside but we have the windows open so it's like being outside. We just got some new patio furniture out there so it was terrific. The boys went hiking. I didn't join in because we all know I HATE HIKING! We had planned going tubing down the Tuckasegee River but because the weather cooled, they went hiking. Like I said, the day was gorgeous. We had a mini cold front come in so the weather cooled down and the humidity went away. We turned off the A/C and opened the windows and still had them open on Sunday. It almost felt like the beginning of Fall. OMG I can't wait for Fall.

So the boys had a perfect day to hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Richland Balsam and Black Balsam Bald trails. According to the boys, it was fantastic hiking. It really is beautiful around here. Like I said before, this area is great to visit if you enjoy a lot of outdoor activities because there is not much else to do in town. If you like Fall, it is also a great place but for the most part it's pretty low energy.

The night before we found out that Jorge worked at a restaurant so when they got back from their hike, he made us dinner. I had planned on making steak and baked potatoes already but Jorge offered or was guilted into making us dinner. And can I say what a treat that was. I am so NOT used to having anyone cook for me. So to be able to sit back and have someone else cook a great meal was heaven. Luckily, I had everything he needed including corn. Believe it or not, some corn came in and it's absolutely delish. I couldn't believe the corn worked. We are so planting more next year.

First, Jorge made us some bruschetta with some tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil from my garden. He put it on bread and baked it up with Parmesan cheese. Doesn't that look good? It was absolutely delish!! I loved it and saved what was left and then had it for breakfast the next day. Then Jorge baked up some potatoes and corn on the grill and then the steaks. He made a simple rub of just salt, pepper, garlic and onion salt and they were so good. What more do you need? We even ate outside on the back patio for the first time since we lived here. It was a fantastic night with good friends and good food.

We immediately made Jorge our honorary nephew and gave him an open invitation to come visit anytime he wants!! He cooked the whole meal and I really didn't have to do a thing except butter up the corn. There is nothing like having a guest who is a good cook and then have said guest cook! He even tried to help clean up but I said no that Steve and Tom should clean up. Tom did his part but Steve, oh Steve, just ate the remaining corn. You gotta love Steve.

The rest of the night the boys went outside, smoked more cigars, drank bourbon and talked boy stuff. Then one of Steve's friends from Brecksville who now lives in Asheville came down and visited for a while. By this time I was in bed with Tom following close behind. The boys stayed up late again although they had to leave early Sunday.

Sunday came and they rolled out of bed, drank coffee and left. It was really nice of Steve to come down and want to visit us. It was sweet and we had a great time with them here. They were easy-going guests that you don't have to do much for. And I loved that Jorge cooked for us because that was super duper nice of him to do so since he was our guest! Plus, they were a lot of fun and made us laugh. I think Tom had a great time as well. It's nice that he can bond with his nephew.

The rest of Sunday was lazy, how unusual, right? I picked more veggies from the garden. My squash plants are dying and I have no idea why. I don't know if they ran their course or the critters got to them. The tomatoes are totally out of control but there are so many more green tomatoes on the vines. I can't wait until they get ready to eat. I might even get crazy and pick some before they ripen to make Fried Green Tomatoes. YAY!

So that was our adventure this weekend. It was a lot of fun.

Last picture: Steve and Uncle Tom.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Don't Be Surprised

If you come to my blog in the next few days and see a change, it's still my blog. I am getting a blog makeover from Hannah at Sherbet Blossoms and it's going to be freaking cute!!

Also, we have guests this weekend but they are still sleeping so I had the chance to sneak on and let you know that you might be seeing a different Carolyn in Carolina. I will detail the adventures with our guests, Steve (Tom's nephew) and his friend Jorge (pronounced George).

But I wanted to give everyone a head's up!!! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Wise Latina. . .

Okay after watching days of the Judge Sotomayor hearings, I had to laugh at all the GOP senators feigning moral outrage (FMO) at the fact that Judge Sotomayor said that she hoped a wise Latina would make a better decision than a white guy. Well, DUH! We all know that Latinas are wise and always make the best decisions. I mean we are Latinas, hello!!! Okay, I will admit some of us don’t always make the wisest decisions on clothing. Trust me chicas gold lame is never in style. And, JLo, a tube top with a Puerto Rican flag and suspenders is always a fashion DON’T. But anyway, after hearing the phrase "wise Latina" for the 500th time, I knew I had to blog about it.

Okay, some of you are probably saying “right on Carolyn” and some might be saying “shut the hell up” and I know Tom is saying can you just put up more JLo pictures and add Salma Hayek as well. But, this wise Latina just can't keep her mouth shut on the ridiculousness of the whole thing. I mean how many times do you have to ask someone the same question? How many times does she have to explain her comments? UGH! It gets to the point where the senators look like asses for bringing it up over and over again. I am sure she regrets saying that only because it has become such a huge deal. I guess when you have nothing else, because her record is pretty good, you have to beat the freaking dead horse.

I have heard from others that the whole thing is racist and/or sexist. And I think it may very well be in the case of certain senators. I mean here is a woman who has attended the top colleges in this country and graduated with honors and they are totally condecending. But that shouldn't surprise me seeing who are the senators making the remarks. And, I will admit there have been some comments that have crossed the line but, again, look at the senators asking those questions and making those comments and it's not surprising. For the most part though, the hearings haven't been that bad.

I think what makes me more mad than anything else is that this country has become so partisan. These Republicans already know they won't vote for her because they are against everything Obama. Unless it helps them politically, we will see no Republican votes. So as I watch these hearings, I wonder what's the damn point. Just vote how you will vote and stop hogging up news time. When was the last time I heard about Michael Jackson? I mean really folks, I need to know where he will be buried, hello.

All kidding aside, I don't support Judge Sotomayor because she a Latina. I just want a suitable liberal replacement for Souter. I don't want another conservative judge. It's that simple. Now if Obama's nominee was as dumb as a rock, I wouldn't support that but Sotomayor has proven she is one smart woman. It doesn’t matter if she is a Latina and it wouldn't matter if she was white, black or Asian because her record, her resume and her career speak for themselves. She has proven that she is more than qualified for this job and has shown that she can still be classy under pressure. The plus is that she is a Hispanic female. It's always a plus when barriers get broken. It makes it easier for the next person and next generation.

I am very cynical so I expect nonsense and shenanigans from our politicians. I always hope they take the high road but they don’t. And this goes for both sides. Lately, I am only left to hope that one day something will get done in this country. I am really getting sick and tired of no one doing a thing because they have to run for re-election. I am really starting to wonder what these Congresspeople really do. For the past 8 years, Democrats did nothing to stop W when he ran amok and now Republicans are doing anything to roadblock Obama. I thought you ran for higher office for a higher purpose but I guess that's not the case. I wonder if it's too late for me to run for office. I mean, I could really use a trip to Argentina. ;) (hee)

In the end, I have to give it up to the Judge because if someone called me temperamental, told me “I had some splaining to do (Ricky Ricardo),” and treated me like I was some dumb girl, I would have gotten up and said “Mr. Senator, sir, please besa mi culo.” But that’s just me. Lucky for her, Judge Sotomayor showed a little more restraint although I bet she was thinking it in her head.

So this is this “wise Latina’s” sort of rant. It's not that ranty. I think I am losing my edge in my old age or maybe I just stopped caring, who knows. In the end Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed regardless of the attacks. But we will still be left with the problem that our Congress doesn't really represent our best interests. And I am left to wonder how the hell do some of these people actually get elected to office time and time again. It's frightning. I am starting to think it's time for term limits but that will never happen. BOO!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday, okay Mostly Wordy Wednesday

Yeah, sue me. I know I should be blogging more but I am lazy this week. I hurt my foot and I am just not in the mood. There are sometimes that I just don't want to blab. (The peanut gallery would disagree with that but that's how they roll. You know who you are.) Plus, I have gotten sucked in to watching the Judge Sotomayor Supreme Court hearings. And it fascinates me.

The problem with me and news is that ever since I was a little kid, I have loved watching the news. I used to come home from school and watch 2.5 hours of news. I remember when CNN was founded and they had 24 hours of news. I was in hog heaven. The idea of being able to watch news all the time sent chills up my leg.

Anyhow, I have been watching the hearings while cleaning the house because we have guests this weekend. But I can't tear myself away for too long even though I have to go make dinner. It's interesting to watch but it also raises my blood pressure because it makes me wonder how some of these senators got elected in the first place and how partisan this country has become. Also, it shows me how stupid people can be. Some of the things said about her are offensive to me not just as a Latina but a woman but oh well racism and sexism are and always will be alive and well in this country. We saw it during the general election and now I am seeing it again. But that's just what it is. I could ramble more about this but I might save it for another day and another post.

Tom will read this post and first say why is she being lazy and then agree that I am a news nut. I think I almost drove him crazy during the election. And even now I love watching MSNBC all night long but don't. Well, if he's not here I will unless there is something else on. I can watch hours of news and I love it. I watched hours of Michael Jackson coverage and I am not even a huge MJ fan. When disasters strike, you will find me in front of the TV. It's a sickness.

But enough of the news talk. I decided since I am lazy that I was going to post these pictures but now I see that this turned into a post without really meaning it to turn into one. Anyway, this is Katrina and Mr. Death aka the Grim Reaper. We got these babies in Mexico when we lived in Santa Fe. We decided to drive down to Juarez, Mexico one weekend. I think we were a little leery of going down there with all the bad stuff that goes down but we did it anyway. We got a room at the Holiday Inn Express and it was nice and not in a bad neighborhood. We ate some great Mexican food and overall it was a great trip although when we first drove into Juarez we sort of got lost and ended up in an iffy part of town. But once we found the hotel, it was great.

We went to the Central Market on Saturday and went shopping. It was fantastic. For those who don't know, we collect Mexican Folk Art. I always collected it and then Tom started liking it and now we both like it. I love Day of the Dead stuff. The Day of the Dead fascinates me because it is a celebration of death and an honoring of the dead. Instead, of worrying about dying it and fearing, we should embrace because people we are all headed that way! So I collect that and I collect anything with Calla Lillies and anything Frida Kahlo. So this market was fabulous because it was like a big giant candy store. We got some great deals on pots and paper flowers. Tom is a good negotiator. Me, on the other hand, suck balls at it. I hate haggling so I always push Tom into doing it.

In any case, When I saw Katrina, I was in love. I had to have her. I also had to have the Grim Reaper. Don't ask me why but I knew they were coming home with me. They both are made of paper maiche and are about 2 feet high. We have them on on mantle. They go well with my devils and crosses and Native American Folk Art as well. I really love watching people's reaction when they come into the house and see Katrina and the Reaper. People either love them or hate them. But I love them and I am glad I got to share them with you.

My Mostly Wordless Wednesday turned into another diatribe. Dios Mio!

p.s. It's mere coincidence I spoke of death today (this post was actually written on Tuesday and not Wednesday). And I am not sure if I should have left the grim reaper picture up because today my dear friend, D, lost his dad. But in the end, I decided to leave it up. Right? Wrong? I have no idea. I never know what to say when people die. I am not good that way. It's very awkward and I am sure many feel like that. I have really only lost one person who I was close to and that was my abuela Hilda so I have very little experience with death and stuff like this. But I go back to the The Day of the Dead and how we need to celebrate their life and remember the good times. I always think of my granny on the Day of the Dead and remember how much I loved her. Sometimes, I think dying is harder on the living than the dead.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Garden Has Run Amok

The garden has exploded and is running amok. Who knew it would look like this weeks later. The tomato plants are so HUGE and are all getting tangled together. Tom did measure the plot and we gave them enough space but who knew they would turn into mutant tomato plants. I have about 12 plants and more than half already have tiny tomatoes on them.

The squash and cucumber plants have been giving out veggies for the past few weeks. I am sending extras to Tom's office since there is no way we can eat so much squash and/or cucumbers. I did make the best willy-nilly squash casserole the other day. I took the squash and sauteed it in a little butter. Then I added salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and a little celery salt. I mixed in some plain breadcrumbs and then some grated cheese. Mixed it all together and then popped it into the oven. OMG, can you say freaking delish? Well it was freaking delish!!! I still need more recipes though. And I need cucumber recipes because all I ever make with cukes are salads. I love mixing cukes, tomatoes, onions and lemon. Plus, if you have that salad, you can add it to couscous or white rice and it tastes really good. I was never a cuke fan but I have learned to like cucumbers especially fresh cucumbers.

I also have a new nemesis. I found a chewed up cucumber in the garden yesterday. The bunny is too tiny to eat a whole cucumber. He is sticking to my lettuce, I suspect. But we did see some squirrels around the other day but who knows if freaking squirrels eat cucumbers. It could be rats or mice but I never see those around here. And we might have deer around here but I have never seen one. So god only knows. I figure there will be collateral damage in the garden but oh well. Next year, I might fence although Tom is poo pooing that already. BOO!

Aside from that we are going to try the corn today. We harvested 2 ears. My corn plants are tiny though but they have corn, who knew? They aren't even 5 feet tall but we decided to try the corn just in case. Now the corn was a total experiment. I am seeing I need a bigger garden next year. Not in volume but size so I can make sure I have more space to move around. And if I grow squash again, they certainly need more space.

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure. I got my first green onion and carrot. Since I am totally clueless, I have no idea when stuff is ready unless I dig it up like the carrot. It's stumpy but it's a carrot. Look at the mongo cucumbers. I mean I have no idea why they are so damn big. I have seen long cucumbers before but not big fat fatty ones like this. Well at least at grocery stores. A pic of Tom on the phone with his mom and holding the corn. And the other pictures are of my first little green pepper and some heirloom tomatoes!! Can't wait for those.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

100th Post & Special & Unique Giveaway

(me, Tom & my sister, Yvonne in Costa Rica~December 2008)

Wow, I began this blog in January and I am already up to 100 posts. I am not sure why I started a blog but I am glad I did. I think it's because when we moved to Sylva last year there were no jobs for me and I needed something to occupy my time besides surfing the internets and watching TV. I wasn't really sure what I would write about because basically our life if pretty non-eventful. It's not boring but it's certainly not a party every night. But somehow I have managed to write about stuff.

My first post was about insomnia and I still have that. I sometimes stay up way later than I should. After that my next post was about our new president and how amazed I was that he was elected. I waxed poetic about the importance of what had happened. I also posted about our new president and Martin Luther King on MLK day. Months later, I am still glad Obama won and while I don't agree with everything he has done, at least he is trying. He inherited a big old fat mess that I don't think can ever be cleared up but at least it is a welcome change than what we had the last eight years. Thank god those days are over.

Then I began to just talk about my daily life. I started noticing that people who I had never met started following my blog and commenting. It was sort of interesting. There are a few people who always comment and still do and I want to tell them that I truly appreciate that. I always look forward to those comments. After a month or two, I decided to share the link with friends and family. I still am not sure how many of them actually read my blog but I do know of a few who do. What I like about blogging is that if people want to know what I am up to they just need to read my blog. I don't have to email and explain my doings 50 times.

So I have blogged about important stuff, childhood memories, traveling and just plain nonsense. My blog also lets me journal my new life here in the country. I have become a gardener much to the surprise of people who really know me because they know I hate the outdoors. I have shared my stuffed tamale Mii with the world. I also did a cool Latino virtual book tour. I have posted endless pictures of Scout and Shawn much to the chagrin of Shawn who is not amused at having her picture taken. I tell you if I could read her thoughts, I am sure I would be horrified. I also created another blog where I do reviews and giveaways and that has opened up a whole new world. Blogging is a whole world unto itself and I have found some very good cyber friends during the whole experience. Now if I could only make a lot of money doing this, I would be very happy.

So here I am 100 posts in and I hope to reach 200 or 400 or 1000. Who knows. I will just keep writing and posting veggie pictures and telling stories.

So in honor of my 100th post I am hosting a giveaway. I am doing this because it seems to be a tradition in the blogging world. As you loyal readers know because I have mentioned it 5,000,000 times, I am Costa Rican. Though born and raised here in the US, I have a special place in my heart for Costa Rica. So I thought what better giveaway but a gift bag of Costa Rican treats for my readers. I am giving away a cute little tote bag that has Costa Rica written on it. Included in the tote bag will be a bag of authentic Costa Rican coffee (beans), a bag of coffee hard candies, a bag of chocolate covered coffee beans (yes, sounds weird but they are oddly delicious) and some Salsa Lizano. Now those who read my blog know that Salsa Lizano is like the Worcestershire sauce of Costa Rica. It is so good. And I might have other goodies in the bag as well. My sister just came back from Costa Rica and we will see if she has some extra goodies to send me. If she does, I just might pick more winners to get any extra goodies she sends. It's not guaranteed but I might get crazy.

How do you enter for this unique and cool prize? There are a few ways to enter. You must do the first one then you can get the extra entries.

Mandatory Entry:
Comment on this post on why you like my blog or why you would like to win this prize. Hey if you are here just to win the prize, write that.

Extra entries:
Tell me which is your favorite post or picture. (1 entry)
Suggest a topic for me to write about (1 entry)
Tweet about this giveaway (1 entry)
Blog about this giveaway (2 entries)

That's it! Deadline: Friday, July 24th at 11:59 pm EST. I will use to pick a winner so everyone has a chance to win. PLEASE leave an email if your blogger profile does not include it or you don't have a blog. I need a way to contact you. Once a winner is drawn I will contact them and the winner will have 48 hours to reply back before I draw a new winner. Giveaway is open to US residents only who are 18 years of age or older.

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

I have mutant veggies growing in my garden.

BTW this is post #99. My next post will be a kick ass giveaway and my 100th post musings.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Go Steelers!

Okay I could really care less about the Steelers and football but I was in Pittsburgh so I thought I would be try to be cute. Yeah, yeah, I know, whatever Carolyn. At least I got a picture of the president in my post!

We just got back from our trip up to Pittsburgh, PA to visit with Tom's friend Brendan. Tom and Brendan have known each other for about 48 years and they are 50 this year so that's a long time. We haven't seen them in years. The last time we saw them was when we lived in Florida and they were on Miami Beach so we went to have dinner. That was like 6 years ago.

The trip from old Sylva, NC to Pittsburgh, PA takes about 9 hours. We started out early on Thursday. The drive is beautiful because you have to drive through NC, TN, VA, WV and then PA. The trip went smoothly. We really didn't stop anywhere but when we were in West Virginia we did stop to see the New River Gorge (see picture) which was fantastic. But the weather was actually cool. When we arrived in Pittsburgh in tee shirts and shorts, we were chilly. We arrived on Thursday and we had dinner and caught up.

On Friday Brendan and his wife, Janelle, decided to take us down to the what the call the Strip District in downtown Pittsburgh. It was so super cool. It reminded me of the fashion district in downtown LA that has tons of vendors but this district not only had clothes but home shops, restaurants and tons of grocery/food stores. I went nuts because as much as I like living in Sylva, it's not the most diverse place around. So it was a huge culture shock but I loved it. The Strip District is a few blocks long and just filled with so much stuff. You could find anything here. I was able to get some awesome spices at Penzey's Spices. I stopped by a Mexican grocer where they were making fresh tortillas. I got some tomatillo sauce and I finally found some flax seed or linaza to make tea. My granny would always make me linaza for stomach health and I can't find it here in Sylva. All over there were vendors selling every food imaginable. Hot dogs, sausages, pirogies, tacos, shish kabobs, sweets, kettle corn and so much more.

Now I joked about the title of my post but on every corner there were vendors selling Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins merchandise. Yes, Pittsburgh has 2 world champoionship teams so I have to give it up to them but it was overkill. I mean you could get anything and everything with the logos on it. It was crazy. I was told that Pittsburgh people are HARDCORE about their sports teams and I saw it. I wanted to scream Cleveland Rocks! or something but didn't want to killed or beaten to a pulp.

My favorite places were, of course, any store that had food. Besides Penzey Spices, which is amazing, they had wine stores, Asian markets, Middle eastern markets, Italian markets etc. We walked into this amazing shop that had every single type of cheese imaginable. Unfortunately we were so far from home otherwise I would have indulged and bought pounds of it. On the other side of the store, I came across this wall of olive oil. Ahhh, a dream come true. I mean they must have had about 100 different types of olive oil. It was freaking amazing. Also, in that Italian market they had tons of fresh bread and fresh pasta! It was so cool. I told Tom we need to just drive up here with a huge cooler in the car, shop and then drive 9 hours back home. He wasn't open to that.

There were also some funky shops filled with cool things but I only shopped for food stuffs. These days I am tight with the money so I only buy the practical stuff. We walked for a few hours and hit up almost every store. It was a lot of fun. In our conversations, we were talking about the Food Network and food, of course. They mentioned that Lidia Bastianich had a restaurant in downtown in the Strip District. Now some of you may know Lidia from her PBS show a few years ago. She cooks some kick ass Italian food. So you know I was all over that! So after some shopping we walked more to get to the restaurant. I mention the walking because you all know I am lazier than sin and hate walking but I have to say that doing Wii Fit actually helped because I was able to walk for hours and not get winded and super duper tired. Thank you evil Wii Fit.

At Lidia's we had a fabulous lunch. They had a pasta tasting menu that included soup or salad and three all you can eat pastas. Now this isn't like Pizza Hut, this is so gourmet food. The pasta was fantastic. And the service was impeccable. There is nothing like good service and this place had it! It was a really really lovely lunch. After gorging ourselves on pasta, we walked back to the District and stopped at St. Patrick's Church. A little church that has been there for years. It was so pretty and the grounds were especially beautiful. Now I am always afraid that when I walk into a church it will be a scene out of the Omen when Gregory Peck is dragging Damien into the church to kill him and the kid is screaming to beat Jesus. But luckily, that didn't happen and I survived unscathed or would that be the church survived unscathed? LOL

After our lunch we went over to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The Phipps is right across the street from Carnegie Mellon University where Tom went to school. It is a lovely place. They had this awesome glass exhibit that was set in and around the various gardens. It was super cool. Click on the link and check it out. We spent almost 2 hours there just walking around and looking at everything. Afterward, we drove around Carnegie Mellon. What a great University. It is pretty cool. Pittsburgh is sort of cool because the architecture in downtown is really amazing. In and among the newer buildings there are those old buildings you only see in the Northeast. There is also tons of bridges and I just like it. I had been there one other time but we just drove in to see a friend of Tom's and then left so I didn't get to see a lot. I was glad to be able to see more of it and also see where Tom went to school. Since we met at the university of Miami, my alma mater, he knew where I had gone but I never knew what Carnegie looked like. All and all a good day. Later that evening we had dinner and their daughter came home with a friend and again we had a good time just talking and eating.

We left the next morning to get back home since Tom has to work and wanted some time at home. Again, our ride was uneventful. I was lazy and actually slept a lot and that got me out of driving. I felt bad for Tom because he drove the whole way home and I was a bad Carolyn for not driving. We had dinner on the road at this weird little steakhouse near the NC/TN border and when we walked in we almost walked out but we stayed and had a really good inexpensive meal. When we got home the cats were not really that excited to see us.

I went out to see the garden and it is now officially out of control. I have squash out the ying yang. Thank goodness Melody who house sits took a bunch. But the squash is HUGE. I mean almost football size huge. It's very strange. My tomato plants that a month or so ago I thought were dying are out of control. They barely fit in the garden. They still aren't producing but I suspect in about 2 weeks we will have our first tomatoes.

This week will be uneventful. I just need to catch up on reviews, giveaways and job hunting and, of course, gardening. On Friday Tom's nephew, Steve, is coming to visit for a few days. That should be fun because he is pretty cool.

My 100th post is soon. Hopefully this week. I am also hoping to get a new look for my website this month. I hired a designer and she is working on it. I am also having a special giveaway to celebrate my 100th post. It will be a Costa Rican goody bag. A cute tote filled with coffee, chocolate covered coffee beans, coffee hard candies and some of the coveted Salsa Lizano! So stayed tuned!!