Friday, July 31, 2009

Our Canada Trip, Day 1

Our first day took us from Washington, DC to Westover AFB in Chicopee, Massachusetts. This is a beautifully maintained sleepy little base. Their mission is supporting C-5's coming in and out. The base has a long, proud history. Here are some photos of how they show that pride in their mission and the Air Force.

The first two photos show the banners
they have around base. Does anyone know what the date refers to on the blue one?

The next photo on the left shows their mission. I call it "pardon my tail feathers."

The next two photos are from the club. We stopped by there to grab wi-fi.

And finally, the Scout indulges his mother's desire for a 'funny photo.' The things we do for our moms.

More tomorrow!

Take This Tune #1

A new meme to participate in! Jamie is initiating a new idea today. She'll post a video of a musical performance and the lyrics on Friday and by Monday, wants us to post whatever it inspires us to do/write! To play, click here!

Some of the photo memes have gotten very busy, and a LOT of commercial sites are participating in those now, so I may not do as many of those and will redirect my attention to the roads less traveled.

I already have some ideas for this meme for Monday. Join me!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Three Word Thursday

Three Word Thursday is back! Yippee! Here's an update of Alice and Brian's story. First, the words:

Sevidical - (Adjective) Speaking in a harsh or cruel manner.

Morsicant – (Adjective) Producing the sensation of repeated biting

Veteratorian – subtle

Next, the rules. Go to see Quilly and follow her directions!

Finally, the story:

A month had passed since Brian’s arrest, but nothing had come from the D.A.’s office. Every few days one of the investigators would call Alice and have her bring Brian back for more questions. None of them made any sense and the constant harassment prevented him from being able to focus on work or anything else. Alice’s experience as a defense attorney told her that the longer the DA’s office had to bring charges, the worse it would be for Brian so she decided to nose around on her own and headed over to the hospital.

Alice’s former roommate Liz worked in the pathology lab. As she poked her head in the door, Alice sang out, “hey Liz, can I buy you lunch?” Liz flashed a bright smile and answered, “What a veteratorian way to squeeze my secrets out, Alice! But sure, I’ll let you buy me lunch.”

The two women drew admiring glances as they chatted in the dining room of the hospital. Alice was willowy with reddish brown hair and sparkling green eyes. Liz was Brazilian with creamy latte skin and shining black hair, except where she had a bright pink streak in it. She called the streak her "rebellion." Her entire personality vibrated through the way she used her hands while she talked. One of Alice’s favorite things about her friend was Liz’s determination to use every English word she ever read or heard. It made for some fun conversations as Alice, normally the word weirdo in her social group, tried to keep up.

After catching up on everything else in their lives, Liz leaned forward and asked, “So, what’s up with Brian? Is he dating? Do I have a chance?”

Alice swallowed suddenly. She answered, “Liz, Brian is being investigated for murdering Marina. You and I both know he couldn’t possibly have done such a thing, but as you can imagine, it makes him pretty poor company right now.”

Liz drew back in shock. “What kind of a fool District Attorney would think that of Brian? They must not have ever known true love if they think Brian could ever hurt Marina! They certainly must have never seen him with her!”

Alice replied, “Yes, I agree with you but they’re saying it has something to do with arsenic and something to do with deaths here at the hospital.”

Liz let out a torrent of Portuguese swearing directed at the hospital administrators. Alice recognized the sevidical tone and word choices but the tirade was more than her time living with Liz had made her able to understand. “What? Speak English! I can’t follow you that quickly!” she appealed to Liz.

Midstream Liz switched to English. “Those idiots! The deaths connected with arsenic have all been accounted for. The arsenic was not a cause, but a by product of some herbal concoctions those poor people had been encouraged by family members to try. Apparently the administrators haven’t notified the D.A.’s office. But I don’t understand the connection with Brian!”

Alice responded, “They told us they found arsenic in Marina’s body and they think Brian put it there. Brian admitted that Marina would have tried anything at the end. But he kept hoping for a miracle, so he would not have given her anything that would hasten it.”

“Well I’m going to do something about this today!” declared Liz. “I’m going to the administrator this afternoon and stand there while he makes the phone call. How would he like it if his beloved had died and he was accused of murdering her? Poor Brian! He must feel like the DA’s office is trying to make him feel morsicant – like those little fish with big teeth in the Amazon are surrounding him!”

Alice grinned. “They’re called piranhas, Liz, and you’re right. He can’t focus and can’t really move forward because they keep hassling him.”

At this Liz threw her napkin down on the tray, stood up, said, “thanks for lunch” and charged off towards the administrator’s office. Alice chuckled, “I almost feel a little bit sorry for him, but I’m glad this part is in the hands of the Brazilian beauty!” She took out her phone to call Brian to tell him things were moving in his direction for a change. As she flipped the phone open a pair of hands came from behind her to cover her eyes, and a very familiar sensuous voice asked, “Guess who?”

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Done Traveling

Just back from Canada. Long drive. Beautiful country (okay, the small part of it we saw). More later.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Seeing Mee-mee

We are traveling this week. Yesterday we stopped to see my Grandmother. She lives in MA and is amazing. I won't tell you how old she is, but let's just say she won't see 90 again. She looks fabulous and is as sharp as ever.

Here's a photo of three generations of amazing women!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Missin' my scout

It is too quiet around here. Our Boy Scout is at camp. When he's gone we realize how much space his body takes up now, how much noise (mostly whistling) he makes, and most important, how much joy he interjects into every day. Even his sister is missing one to argue or bike with. What will we do when they go to college? Yikes!


Monday, July 13, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Another young neighbor with his Tae Kwon Do school performing a demonstration
at our Reston Festival yesterday. They did an amazing job in the heat and bright sunshine!
Kudos and LOTS of red!

To play with us, click the Ruby Tuesday badge! Thanks to Mary the Teach for hosting so faithfully week after week!


Mellow Yellow

My little neighbor and his very cool Mellow Yellow Bike! I've cropped his face for privacy reasons. By the way, his mom runs a great foundation called Supply Our Schools. It's 'wedding registry meets school supplies.' It allows teachers in the most underserved districts the ability to supply their classrooms without digging into their own pockets. It is funded by donors from more privileged areas. My neighbor takes no salary from the foundation -- just does this because she wants to help kids and teachers in poor areas. She has over 7000 students lined up for the fall -- and she's in need of donors. If this appeals to you at all, you can go to her website at and read all about it!

If you want to know more about how to participate in Mellow Yellow Monday, click the badge! Thanks to Drowsy Monkey for inviting us!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Memorial Services

Yesterday I went to a memorial service for a friend's mother, AMP. She had just turned 92 when she died, and up to the week she got sick, was continuing to create beautiful things for her church Vacation Bible School. You can be sure that at 92 she no longer had kids or grandkids who were participants, thus driving her involvement. No, she simply had a talent to offer and did so.

I didn't know her well, but I remember seeing her at our Community Bible Study class. Most mornings we begin with a time of corporate worship in the small sanctuary. She would wait patiently, visiting with those who visited with her, and once the music began, would sing along. Not stuck in the past with traditional hymns, she also enjoyed the contemporary Christian music we sang. One might argue that at her age, she had every right to sit back and wait to be served by others. But AMP knew one of the secrets of life. As we serve others, we stay alive! As we give, we stay connected!

This memorial service was a celebration, for this lady was a believer in Christ, so everyone who celebrated there who also believes in Christ know where she is today. Probably directing art projects for the mansion with many rooms!

I contrast her dignified passing and celebration with the media circus that surrounded Michael Jackson's death. True, a celebrity (which Michael was) will necessarily receive coverage in proportion to his perceived importance by the media. And Michael was the consummate showman, so he would probably have approved of the sound and light extravaganza. But sadly, Michael died as he had lived -- surrounded by the trappings of success and excess, with few he could trust. Many came to laud him at the service, many performed (and I'll be less than cynical and hypothesize they did it in tribute rather than for their own needs). However, were there any lessons people took away from it? Was anyone truly inspired by it to live differently?

The whole time I knew her, AMP's daughter regularly went to take her mother wherever she needed to go. Despite AMP not always being the kindest person to her daughter, my friend loved her mother and showed it through her continuous actions of faithful service. It didn't matter if the woman was caustic, my friend just loved...And when AMP got sick, my friend and her brother dropped everything they were doing, and just came to be with their mom. Period. Nothing else mattered than that AMP was not alone.

The priest yesterday spoke about that -- how these days our busy lives mean that we have to 'fit in' a parent or grandparent death around our schedule, and how he admired what my friend and her brother had done. And this is another way in which AMP's service differed from Michael Jackson's. It was very inspiring. As AMP gave, as her children gave and continue to give to others, we see a pattern in which others matter more than self. Rather than wrapping ourselves in our wounds and hurts, to reach out and give to others is the liberation we seek!

I am resolved to love more -- especially those who do their darndest to be unlovable! I am resolved to forgive more -- especially to those who do things that the world would call unforgivable. And I am resolved to speak with my Creator more, and get His advice on how to serve others.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Watching these two in the canoe is almost as funny as a Marx Brothers movie. He is on a mission to chase geese to splash them and she is laughing so hard she has trouble paddling. On land they don't always get along, but in the canoe they seem to be able to work things out. As the second photo shows, he is also determined to be drill team leader with his paddle. He has always been a ham, and the canoe seems to bring it out in force!

Just for grins, here's the video version if you want to see it:

Participate in this meme by going to Mary/The Teach's blog!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday Photo

My neighbor wages an endless war against those who fail to control their pets. This is her latest salvo. I apologize for it not being too sharp -- I had to take it in a hurry AND I was laughing. I wonder if the dogs can read it.



Sunday, July 5, 2009

Crockpot Cooking

I'm wondering whether it is worth continuing to use the crock pot except for stews in the winter time. No matter how spicy it is when it goes in, it all seems to taste about the same at the end. Yesterday I tried a recipe for boneless pork ribs that sounded wonderful and smelled great and tasted . . . okay. Does anybody know the secret to matching the flavor to the smell?

On the other hand, I made a blueberry cheesecake the other day that is awesome. Here's the recipe and a photo of what's is going fast!


PUREE:1 1/2 c. blueberries
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 9 crackers)
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. sugar 1 container (8 oz.) sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 lg. eggs, at room temp.
2 tbsp. flour

BLUEBERRY PUREE: Combine berries, sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Puree in blender with lemon juice. Cool completely.

CRUST: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with double layer of 18" heavy-duty foil. Spray inside of pan with cooking spray. Pulse graham cracker pieces and sugar in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about 15 2-second pulses. Transfer to a bowl and add melted butter; mix well. Press evenly into prepared pan and bake 10 minutes. Cool.

FILLING: Beat cream cheese in mixer bowl until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and beat until completely smooth. Scrape sides. Beat in sour cream and vanilla. Scrape sides. At low speed, beat in eggs one at a time, then flour just until blended. Pour batter over crust. Carefully drizzle blueberry puree over batter. Swirl knife through batter to marbleize.

To bake, you'll create a bath for your cheesecake to cook in. Place the springform pan, wrapped in double layer of heavy duty foil, in larger baking pan. Place on oven rack. Pour boiling water into larger pan 1 inch up side of springform pan. Bake 1 1/4 hours or until just set. (Be sure to check so you don't overcook) Turn oven off; let stand in oven 1 hour. Remove pan from water bath. Remove foil; cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Makes 12 servings.

Absolutely scrrumptious!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Colorful Fourth

Today has been experiment day around here. I got up early and started some dough for Chinese Pork Buns. Made the filler yesterday so flavors could meld overnight. Once the dough was started (it needed to rise), I went back to my latest project -- painting the guest room.

The most tedious part of painting is taping and then cutting in, but since I was using a dark color, and had already painted 3 walls in a light color, I wanted to take the time to do so. Plus, I was painting on already painted paneling so I wasn't sure how it was going to take the paint. So it took about the first hour to tape, remove switchplate and vent cover, and cut in the color. The paneling was finished at the top and in the corners with trim (prior owners' choice) so the cutting in was a challenge! I could have ripped out the paneling, but I had visions of dry wall repair, etc. Hey, it's only a guest room!

I thought I'd made a huge mistake when I poured the paint into the tray. The color is called "Medieval Gold" and it looked like something I used to have to clean up during the diaper years. However, on the wall and dry, it looks really good!

After the dough had risen for 3 hours I came back upstairs and assembled the pork buns. Then into the steamer. Well...they tasted great but didn't look like anything I'd pay money for. So, back to getting the frozen ones but I'll have a whole new appreciation for the work behind them.

I've got some Island Style Ribs cooking in the crockpot, the teen girl is baking some raspberry brownies for the neighborhood get together later. All in all, a nice Saturday!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

23 Weeks?

My son had an orthodontist appointment yesterday and my iPod Touch was out of juice so I had to read the magazines. Eschewing Highlights magazine for something less mature, I picked up People. It was the May 18, 2009 issue. I flipped through and came upon a VERY interesting article.

It profiled six young people who, when they were born, were micro-preemies. Their names and data:

Born at 23 weeks; 1 lb. 8 oz.

Born at 25 weeks; 1 lb. 13 oz.

Born at 24½ weeks; 1 lb. 13 oz.

Born at 26 weeks; 2 lbs. 2 oz.

Born at 25 weeks; 1 lb. 14 oz.

Born at 24 weeks; 1 lb. 4 oz.

They range in age now from 18 to 22. All of them defied enormous odds against their very survival, and even greater odds against having the vibrant lives they each live today.

So...taking the earliest born, what if someone had decided back in 1989 that April Palo was a "fetus" at 23 weeks and not a "child?"

Here's the whole article about these amazing young people and the gifted doctor and excellent hospital that lies behind their stories. This article should stop and make us think about what we're saying when we advocate that abortion has nothing to do with killing a child.

Is it a fetus if it's not wanted, but a child if it is? I think we need to be careful what kind of bright lines we draw in life. They might just be the line that cuts off someone else's oxygen.

Photo from People Magazine