Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: The Matchmakers

The other day I was feeling miserable and picked up a book I'd brought home from the library, and was delighted I did. One of Debbie Macomber's first books that's been reissued, THE MATCHMAKERS is a sweet romance that made me feel better reading it.

The story is about two lonely people. One a widow who's son wants her to find him a new father, the other a bitter divorced man who's daughter wants the same thing. These two children contrive to throw their parents together and to, hopefully, make all their dreams come true.

Like most of Macomber's books, this one is set in Seattle in the fall and holiday season. The story isn't really deep, it doesn't ask much of you beyond coming along for the ride, but I found it to be an enchanting little book (I read it in an afternoon) and found the characters and situations realistic. None of that the governess falls for the rich prince situation here!

Anyway, if you're looking for a good story to make you feel good when you're battling, as I was, a headache or a cold, I'd recommend THE MATCHMAKERS. It'll make you forget your troubles for awhile.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chorizo Mexican Rice

This is a favorite at our house. Tonight we're celebrating a birthday and having a Mexican dinner. Stan is making his famous cheese and onion enchilladas, and I'm making this fabulous rice dish to accompany it. I first got this recipe in 1981 and have been making it ever since. It's very easy, and the taste is not like you'll find in any restaurant. (Please keep in mind that at higher altitudes it may cook faster.)


CHORIZO MEXICAN RICE

1 lb. chorizo (pork or beef) (I prefer pork)
¼ cup lard (or shortening)
2 cups uncooked rice
½ cup minced onion
1/3 cup tomato puree
4 cups regular strength beef or chicken broth

Skin chorizo and brown in lard. Mash with a fork; remove and reserve.

Brown rice and onion in the same fat. Add chorizo back in with tomato puree, and stock. Cover.

Cook on top of range over medium heat for roughly 2 hours, or in a 350ยบ oven for 2-3 hours, until rice is fluffy.

Note: you need to check it periodically, stopping cooking when the consistency you like is reached. Add more stock if needed; and you may add salt to taste if desired.
Serves: A Lot!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND

People everywhere confuse what they read in the newspapers with news.
A.J. Liebling
American Journalist
1904-1963

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A New Blog

Just to let you know, I have started a new blog to spotlight my writing.

It's called Plotting It Out and you can access it on the Blog List on this blog.

I hope you'll visit it, read the first short story I've posted there, and offer feedback and support as I work on becoming a published author.

Thanks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just Thinking

This has been a tough decade. Not only for my family, bur for everyone I know. And you know what I've decided? You know that old saying, "only the good die young"? Well, that's just a dumb saying as far as I'm concerned. But I do believe that the good are tested to the limit of their capabilities. And those of us who are trying to do the right thing, to live well and honorably, helping each other and serving others, I think we're all being put on the block right now.

Things are hard, but I also believe that as long as we view things with a positive and hopeful heart we will be alright. Remember that song from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town?" I think it says it all .......

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn
You mean that it's just my election
To vote for a chance to be reborn

Jules Bass
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” 1970

Friday, September 18, 2009

A THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain
1835 - 1910

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm Hooked!

I've made no secret of the fact that I love Pokemon. Yes I do. I love playing my Game Boy, but there aren't many games that I am that interested in outside of Pokemon and the Golden Sun games.

But my kids have now introduced me to Professor Layton, and I AM HOOKED!! It is a "mystery" game played by solving puzzles, and it is addicting. I think it's probably good for my grey cells to be challenged like this too.

For example, one puzzle said that baby mice can reproduce every two months and have five babies. (I'm paraphrasing here.) If you brought a baby mouse home, how many mice would you have in a year?

Sometimes I have to ask AJ or Kevin for help because the solution eludes me, even after looking at the hints! It's sad, but I console myself by telling myself that there are worse addictions in life. I'm not sure what, exactly ........

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spousal Support

My sweet husband Stanley! He is the best. He always supports me in whatever endeavor that I take on, be it sewing Halloween costumes, teaching a Relief Society Class or working at becoming a published writer.

Since my falls last year and the increase in my arthritis, most things are difficult for me. Especially sitting in the basement on the office chair and working on the computer. My joints ache so that I can only sit for a short time. Not conducive to writing, let me tell you. I haven't written anything new since last August.

But Stan gave me my birthday present early. He bought me a notebook computer. It's very simple, nothing special on it like a DVD R/W or anything like that. Just the Word program and a keyboard and a port for my flash drive. I'm in heaven!

Now I can write anywhere and anytime I want to. I've started my fourth book, and it feels SO GOOD to be writing again! Happy happy me!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lucky Us!

Stan and I recently came into a little extra money. Seems that for the past five years his company has only been paying straight time for overtime and have now upgraded him so he'll receive time and half. They paid him the difference for the past two years and we got the money (or what was left after they took HALF for taxes!) last week.

Yipee! We can fix the cars, get the boys some new shoes and slacks for fall, and maybe take the family out for dinner. Yeah, right ....

First my chair, which is a recliner so that my poor achy joints can have relief, broke. There went some of the money to pay for that. Then the garage door broke and there went another huge chunk. Then the jeep, which I'd estimated would cost $300 to fix wound up costing $1,000!

But, Lucky Us! I feel so blessed. First of all, we had the money to fix the jeep so it's ready for winter and Stan's long drives out to the base in the middle of nowhere. Secondly, the garage door broke with the van outside so we still had it to use while we waited five days for someone to come fix it. And the chair was an easy repair job and we didn't have to buy a new one.

No, we don't have any left to fix the van, but we'll start saving up and Stan has a couple of OT days coming up in October. I feel very blessed, very much like we are being looked after. And when you have so much good happening to you, how can you be upset by the small stuff?

After all .... it's all small stuff, isn't it?

Friday, September 11, 2009

A THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND

A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things - a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about the optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.
Josh Grogan
Marley and Me, 2005
For Daisy
March 21, 1996-September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Marching Band

I don't know if you heard about this or not, but my youngest son Kevin is in the marching band at his high school. They were preparing for the parade at the State Fair and marching through the neighborhoods so they could build up their stamina and learn how to march on streets.

People came out to cheer and to film and applaud them as they went. But three people, THREE, called the district superintendent and complained (about what I can only imagine!) and the superintendent, instead of supporting our children, called off all future practicing in the streets.

It makes me very angry. We talk all the time about wanting our children to be involved in activities that will make them better people and when they do this happens? This is after school, not during babies naptimes, they aren't standing on someone's lawn playing, they are moving down the street. What about a diesel truck or a motorcycle? Do we ban them?

The thing I wonder the most is, if this was an athletic team out galloping down the street (which we have had on our street) would the superintendent have backed down for the sports program? There are other things our children are involved in that need our support as much as sports and we need to step up to the plate and let them know we have their backs.

If you agree with me, write or call the district office of the Falcon District 49 and let them know. We should let the Sand Creek High School Scorpion Marching Band practice.

And by the way... at the State Fair they came in first in their division (5A) and won third place overall. So those naysayers didn't slay them this time!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meet Jasper!

We have another new member of the family! We adopted a ten week old Australian Shepherd mix and have named him Jasper. He's a cutie pie, and has already added a lot to our family.


I didn't want to have a home without dogs in it when Daisy leaves us on Friday. It would feel way to lonely and empty. We adopted Max last month, and now Jasper, and it feels complete now to have them with us.

Daisy is really cute about the new additions. She sits regally and puts up with their shenanigans, but you can see she thinks they're annoying. I appreciate her patience. As we fuss over her and give her hugs, walks and treats she seems to eat it all up.

The new puppies won't take her place, but they'll certainly make her passing easier for us.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Getting Ready for Goodbye

This is our last weekend with Daisy. We've finally made the decision to put her down and release her from the discomfort she's been feeling for the last year or so.

It's been hard to arrive at this point. She's a sweet little dog and we're all going to miss her. But her life has really telescoped in on her lately and we were finally able to say that we wanted more for her.

So we're spending a lot of time with her, giving her special treats (eating is her favorite pasttime) and calling off her diet which we imposed on her in an effort to alleviate her pain from arthritis. She can't see, can barely hear, has difficulty walking and falls down a lot. Next Friday she'll be back with Jake, whom we lost March 2007, and was her best friend. She's been a good friend, a good dog and a sweet little companion. She will be missed, but not before we have a week to remember!

Friday, September 4, 2009

A THOUGHT FOR THE WEEKEND

Focus on your goals and don't worry about the obstacles! Obstacles should be viewed as chances to prove we really want to go where we are going.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Book Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns

I just finished an amazing novel. A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, written by Khaled Hosseini is written with such passion and depth and insight it was amazing to me that a man wrote it. His insight into women's emotions and how they think was truly inspired.

This is the story of two women who live in Afghanistan from the late 1950s until 2007. From vastly different backgrounds, they both wind up in the same place and learn to love and rely on each other in a way neither of them have before.

Reading about the the wars and dissentions, the changes that this lovely country has endured over the years brought tears to my eyes. The women there have gone through so much, put up with such sorrows and indignities that it makes you respect them in such a way as to view them as heroines. I cannot imagine, nor would I pretend to say I know, what their lives have been like and how they have made it through such hardships.

This story, these women, were so real to me that their names and faces swirl around in my mind even though I have put the book down. I find it hard to believe these people don't truly exist.

But the one overriding emotion that gripped me as I read Hosseini's novel was one of gratitude. My heart is so full of thanks that I have been given the opportunities, freedoms and life that I have; that I need not fear for my life or the lives of my children or family. That I can and do have an education, the ability to express my opinion, am able to travel about freely without fear of recrimination, and most of all, that I may feel/believe/think whatever way I wish.

I'm glad I found and read this book. My eyes and heart have been opened and touched.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Visit with the Parents

We just finished a wonderful visit with my parents. They came from California and stayed for about 11 days. (Hence my lack of posting on the blog!)

We visited the Celestial Seasonings plant in Boulder, the Air Force Academy, Woodland Park and all over town. My dad, who runs the Family History Center in their hometown of Los Banos, spent some time with me setting my PAF back up since I lost everything in the computer crash. My mom and I had a lot of long talks, went over all her genealogy, and made copies of a bunch of old photos that I just love.

We also worked on a special present for my nephew Eric who is getting married the 26th. That was a blast too!

Here are some pictures of our visit to Gunther Toody's, where AJ works, for their Burger Night. We had a blast! And some pictures from our last breakfast together at Einstein's before they took off for home.

Here are my sweet parents at Gunther Toody's Diner!

This is my mother and me at the Diner.

Kevin and Stan having fun.


My father, for whom AJ is named, enjoying being together at the diner.


Stan and I at Einstein's Bagel shop.


My mother and the boys.


My father and the boys.