Mar 29, 2006

It's It-al-ian!

Calling all pasta lovers.... Want to do away with an evening of watching your carbs and fat? Want to indulge yourself? A bit of indulgence once in a while doesn't hurt, does it? The kid over there doesn't think so! So what am I getting at? Fettucini Alfredo!!


2 med. zucchini, sliced
2 med. yellow squash, sliced
1 c. fresh broccoli flowerets
1/2 c. sliced onion
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1 pkg. (9 oz.) fresh fettucini
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 c. milk
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, cubed
3/4 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pepper

Steam first 4 ingredients 5-7 minutes or until almost crisp tender. in a steamer rack. Add mushrooms, cover and steam an additional minute. Cook pasta according to directions; drain. In large saucepan, stir together cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, butter and milk over low heat until smooth. Add fettuccini and vegetables, toss lightly.

Notes: I made this in about 1/2 hour. I used 1 small zucchini, 1 small summer squash (each sliced and then cut into quarters), the sliced onion, and 1/2 pkg. of frozen broccoli/carrots/cauliflour mix. Didn't have any mushrooms so I omitted them. I used the Kraft grated parmesan cheese -- It worked fine. Be sure to use the grated stuff that looks like cheese and not the powdery stuff. I cooked up about 12oz of pasta. Use a wire whisk to stir the melting cheese/milk. It makes it blend easier. It makes a lot of sauce. (But it was REALLY good!! Mmmmmmmm!) You can make it without the veggies if you want and just have plain Fetuccini Alfredo.

Mar 28, 2006

Can You Resist?

Do you have the willpower? You want to, don't you? Go ahead. Cave In. You're curious, aren't you? Is the suspense killing you? OK then... Click HERE.

Mar 27, 2006

Is It Time To Get Up.... Already?

The alarm goes off. I’m still groggy from the Tylenol PM I took last night. Who put the cotton in my mouth? Slapping around the area of my alarm clock, I finally get the snoozer. Like clockwork, the snooze goes off every 9 minutes and I keep resetting it. Finally, I get up and drag myself to the bathroom, smacking my lips trying to get some saliva to wash the fluff from my tongue. Feels like I’ve been licking a stuffed animal all night. I rarely drink coffee, so showers are like that morning cup of coffee other people use to “wake up”. Didn’t quite do the trick for me today. After letting the dog out, I went back to bed for 45 minutes. Ever try counting backwards from 500 when you want to go back to sleep? Trust me, it works. You have to visualize the big black numbers though. Willy nilly counting without visualization won’t work. I get up for the second time today and decide what to wear. All my “normal” stuff is dirty – Now what? Plaid pants and a white sweater. That’s what. I look like a 70’s reject but I don’t care. I’m clean and neat. I’ll just stay in my cubicle all day.

It was pretty nice over the weekend. Sunny both days! Temps got up to 70 on Sunday. I did some yard work and gardening preparation. Celeste thought she’d help, too, by digging little holes all over the yard. Bad dog! When she wasn’t digging traps for me to trip over, she was on her guard dog post. None of those pesky squirrels will get past her!

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you live in the US and haven’t checked out the Freecycle group in your area, I highly recommend it. It’s a nationwide effort to recycle goods, rather than sending them to the landfills or dumps. How it works is this: Once your membership is approved, you can post things you want to give away, or things that you need. People have given away cars (rare), appliances (working and non-working), clothing, computers, etc. etc. My recent acquisition is 3 gas-powered push lawnmowers. My Dad used to be a small engine repair guy, so I took him along to look at them. He had a truck too. LOL After picking up the lawnmowers, he told me that one of them can be fixed for about $2. The other two are yet to be determined. So for $2, I have a desperately needed lawnmower! Can’t beat that.

Update: I posted a "Wanted" request on my freecycle group for a basketball backboard and hoop. I got 3 responses in the first day!

I started another bookmark for the RR. It’s about 2/3 done. Unfortunately, the 3rd person in the group didn’t fulfill her responsibility so I’ll end up stitching the 3rd bookmark too. I don’t have to, but as coordinator I feel I should make up the slack.

I’ve put a bunch of stuff on ebay again. Most of it is for my brother, but there’s a couple cross stitch books. I have more but after a few hours listing stuff, I get tired of sitting in front of the computer. I had one guy ask me a question about the glove box – “I’m looking for a really nice glove box. Tell me in detail what it is like.” It’s a damn glove box. The ad tells WHAT it is like and there’s even pictures!

Mar 24, 2006

Bookmark Round Robin

I coordinated a bookmark round robin for the I Love Cross Stitch group. How it works is like this: 3 people are assigned to a round robin group. Each person made up a package of 3 bookmarks – One stitched and 2 blanks. The package was then sent to the other two in the group to stitch a bookmark. Once completed, the package is sent back to the original owner. This was my first attempt at coordinating an activity with 20 participants from around the world! So far it has been a success. There have been a lot of beautiful bookmarks created. Well done, ladies!

Here are the bookmarks I have stitched:

Mar 20, 2006


Yes! I never thought it would happen. I got an A on my latest essay in American Literature class. We read Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. The instructor doesn’t want a book report, he wants an essay that ties into the books, poems, and short stories we read. My topic was on the pitfalls of small town living and the stereotypes people have regarding how much better life is. *Happy Dancin! I got an A, I got an A!*

Mar 19, 2006

This That & The Other

Car Troubles – Part III
That rumbling you hear coming down the road, that’s me! I just want to make my presence in the world known. What better way than to drive around a high performance vehicle with a faulty exhaust system? OK… maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. I found out the resonator on my exhaust system has rusted a hole in it. What is a resonator anyway? After some research, I found out it is a component that acts as a 3rd muffler, canceling out certain frequencies to maintain quiet operation in cars. How 'bout that?! Who'da thunk it?!

Another Migraine
Went to bed at 8:30pm last Wed night with a migraine. Imagine someone taking a sharp pencil and stabbing you in the temple over and over and over again. That’s usually what my migraines feel like. Now imagine someone taking a baseball bat to the back of your skull. I had the extreme displeasure of that experience, along with the pencil stabbing – both at the same time! At about 5:30am, I woke up on Thur with the pencil stabbing still going on. In addition, I felt extremely tired and nauseated. I took 4 ibuprofen and went back to bed hoping it’d go away before I had to get up for work. No such luck! I ended up calling in sick and then laying back down. A few hours and a short nap later, I took 3 more ibuprofen which brought everything down to a dull roar. I suppose I should probably shop for something that’s more geared toward migraines.

American Literature
Finished reading Johnny Got His Gun while at the salon getting my hair done. It is a very strange book in the sense it was written as a stream of consciousness narration. That means the reader gets the story as it comes out of the brain of the narrator. Very jumbled and doesn't always make sense. After 3 written essays, 2 novels, 2 short stories, and a dozen poems, I'm maintaining a B grade.

Cooking For Dad
• Bruschetta
• Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
• Basil Carrots
• Hoisin Sauted Green Beans
• Fried Rice
• Parmesan Baked Tilapia
• Chocolate Pudding

It was my Dad's birthday this week. I invited him and my Mom over for a birthday dinner cooked by yours truly. I'm guessing it was a big hit, since my Dad had double helpings over everything! He'd never had bruschetta before and really liked it.

For those of you who don’t know, my stitching signage is “High Priestess Stash Hoarder”. My niece has dubbed herself “Princess Stash Hoarder” since I have taught her how to stitch and took her to the LNS. She is almost finished with her first project, too! It’s a basketball sampler she created herself out of various motifs.

I have finished the last of 3 bookmarks for a bookmark round robin I coordinated for the I Love Cross Stitch group. Twenty people signed up and it has been a great success! I am also working on:

• Comedy/Tragedy bookmark by Leisure Arts
• Japanese Garden by Martina Weber
• Freedom by Stoney Creek
• Treasured Memories Quilt afghan

Do you stitch "over one?" If so, describe your experiences. If not, have you considered it?

If I am using aida, I stitch “over one”. With linens and evenweaves, I stitch “over two”. Some parts of Japanese Garden are stitched “over one”. However, I haven’t gotten that far yet.

Mar 16, 2006

Is Mother Nature PMS'ing?

Geesh, will Mother Nature please make up her mind? Last week the temps reached almost 70. Earlier this week, we had severe thunder/lightning/rain storms. Some places had 2 mile wide tornadoes rip through towns. The thunder was so strong that I could feel my bed vibrate. I’m sure poor little Celeste didn’t know what to think! The other day, it was almost 50 degrees. Today’s high is supposed to be 26. Last night and this morning, it rained for a bit. Now it’s snowing… Forecasters are saying we’ll be getting 4-8”. Now that should be a fun ride… Frozen rain under snow!

Update: Either we were lucky or the forecasters were way off base. My area got an inch of snow, if that. Temps are still below normal for this time of year, but are supposed to warm up.

Mar 15, 2006

Playing the Odds

I get a phone call at work: I hear a big, long sigh... "Guess what your niece did?" At that point, I laugh and ask "What?" That's how the phone call from my sister started out.

Playing the odds... My niece has always been a gutsy type of kid. Picture this: Second to the last game of the basketball season. Before the start of the game, my niece makes a bet with her teammates: "If we lose, you have to do 20 push-ups in front of the crowd. If we win, I will dye my hair orange." Talk about motivation!! When did her mother find out about it? After the game. After the team won. Guess what? Several hours before the last game of the season, my sister dyed her daughter's hair orange. What a mom! It was a temporary color that washes out in 8-10 shampoos. As you can see in the photo, my niece's hair is very dark and the color didn't do much more than give her an orange tint. She made a bet. She played the odds. She lost. She paid her dues. I'm proud to say my niece has integrity! Her team did go onto to win the last game of the season. They started the season by getting slaughtered. They ended the season by doing the slaughtering. Way to go Lady Indians!

Mar 10, 2006

Another Week Gone By

Happy Friday! It’s a bit brisk this morning, but the sun is shining... so all is good! It must’ve rained last night because I found my car with frozen rain drops all over it. The forecasters are calling for 63F temps in the next day or so… along with rain. I noticed yesterday that the outdoor perennials are starting to peek out of the soil.

So how has my week been, you ask? Oh let's see... I started a new novel for Am Lit class on Monday night. It's called Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. It was written about WWI at the start of WW2... and apparently banned until after the war because of it's anti-war sentiments. I’m still wondering to myself: Did the instructor choose this novel because he’s anti-war? Here we are in the middle of the Iraq War, and reading an anti-war novel. Things that make you go Hmmm.... I don't know quite what to make of the book yet. In addition, I'll have to write another 2-3 pg paper over poems we discussed the past 2 weeks from the Spoon River Anthology.

I went to bed Tuesday night with a migraine. I took a tylenol PM to help me sleep. I woke up Wednesday morning with the same migraine. I took 4 ibuprofen and went back to bed for an hour. Then I went to work. Thank goodness, it went away!! Nothing worse than trying to work with a headache, let alone a stabbing migraine.

On Wed night, as I sat at my computer updating my blog, it started raining... then heavier rain... then clunking noise. I looked out the window to see it hailing (the size of marbles) and raining hard. My car was not in the garage... I have a debate. “Do I run out in the rain to put my car away? Do I risk the damage?” What should I do? I did the right thing. I grabbed my coat and ran out into the rain… got pelted by hail... to put my car away. Did I mention the lightning?

I managed to work on my UFO this week: Treasured Memories Afghan quilt. One and a half more quilt designs to be stitched and I'll a second side done. Slow and steady progress. After 4 emails, one posting to the discussion board, and 52 days of waiting… My backordered floss and beads are going to be sent for Japanese Garden. ABC Stitch says that all shops have been backordered on Gloriana floss. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. But that doesn’t explain why the beads which were supposedly to be in a week after I ordered, have not been sent. Seems kinda funny to me that the email I sent a week ago went unanswered, yet today I posted to the discussion board and sent an email. Within 10 minutes of posting, I got a response. That response also said “I notice your posting on the forum, but you are better to either email us here or phone as as the forum is really only read by customers and they are not likely to be able to answer your question.” Well duh... I know customers read the forum. But I also know the store owner reads the forum, too. *sigh*

Mar 9, 2006

House Hunting, Squirrel Phobia, & McDonalds

OK, today's the day I'm really going to do some in-depth discussion about several topics. Grab a snack and a beverage while you sit down and ponder my thoughts along with me.

House Hunt #10
I've been house hunting now going on 9 months or so. Each time I see a house, I think to myself: "Do people really live this way?" Take for instance the home that looked really cute according to the photos taken when it was listed 5yrs earlier... before the current owners took over. I walked in and there was TRASH... yes, TRASH strewn everywhere: On the floors, on the counters, in every room of the house. There were dirty clothes everywhere. Big stains on the carpeting... what carpeting I could see. Cupboard doors were hanging off the hinges... Mattresses half off the bed. Oh and then I made the mistake of entering the bathroom! At some point they had mice. And did they ever have them bad! All of the shelves in the bathroom closet were covered in mice-you-know-what! Not just a few droppings... covered entirely! Did I mention they had pets? Did I mention the entire house smelled like pet urine?? There were other problems I'm not going to go into. Needless to say, I passed. That was home #8, I think. Or maybe #9... whatever.

OK, so that brings me to the house I looked at last night. House #10. My realtor was told it had been rental property and needed some new flooring and that 5 doors were replaced. 5 doors!! I thought it was a bit odd to replace 5 doors... but then again, some renters (self excluded) are a bit... let's say... a bit rough on the furniture. I got there before my realtor, so I walked around the exterior and out to the garage. Accounted for 3 of the doors...LOL What I couldn't figure out is... Why would someone replace a door on the garage when the window RIGHT next to it is broken out? Why I ask?!? As we walk into the 3 season porch, I assess the surroundings. Not bad. I did notice, however a fuse box -- 2 fuses. For what? Dunno. Onward into the kitchen. Nice BIG kitchen... lots 'o counter and cupboard space... appliances go with. Apparently no one had occupied the place in quite some time since there were a lot of dead bugs everywhere. Floors on entire first floor either sagged or were different levels. Now if you like the see-saw effect when you're walking to the kitchen in the middle of the night... Hey, this might be the right home for you! There was a laundry area just off the kitchen. Barely finished... rough... I noticed TWO more fuse boxes (not circuit breaker boxes... FUSE boxes). One was for the dryer. The other was for??? Who knows? Oh, did I mention that most of the rooms either didn't have ceiling lights... and if they did, they were manned by the pull chain? Try finding THAT in the middle of the night! There was a half bath (i.e. just a toilet) between the kitchen and living room. Wouldn't be bad unless you're over 5'6" tall -- That's how tall the door to the bathroom was. Another replacement. That's #4! The main bathroom was upstairs. It has four outlets -- Yay! Oh wait... they're of the 2-prong variety. Code calls for circuit breaker type outlets in bathrooms and kitchens. What a cute little tub! Again, anyone over 5'8" you're outta luck. Either take a bath, squat to shower, or go stinky... take your pick! The bathroom was nice and big, though. Doesn't that count for something?? I never did figure out where the 5th door was. Or, why there were 3 heat ducts in an 8x10 room. Or, what the 4th electrical box was near the furnace in the cellar (not basement... cellar... there's a difference, you know). I didn't know this part until I got home... The property taxes on it were more than the mortgage payment would be. More than what I paid on my other home which was fully renovated inside and out and on 2 acres of land to boot. #10 house was on a lot 66x155, or something like that. All I have to say is... NEXT. I won't even go into highlights of the garage and things I saw in the backyard.

Mickey D's and the Fish Special
I don't know if this special is going on at every McDonald's around the country, but in this area Mickey D has 2 fish sandwiches for $2.42 or something like that. Or, you can get a sandwich and fries, or a sandwich and drink for the same price. I rarely... rarely... rarely... (Did I say rarely?) go to fast food joints. I was in a hurry at lunch time yesterday, so I stopped and saw the special. Thought I'd try it since I like the fish there. I open sandwich wrapper to find a bun with the fish laying half off it and the other bun laying half off the other side. So I pull it apart (in order to put it back together the way a fish sandwich should be!) and I made the most devine discovery! What did I discover, you ask? Do YOU know that the cheese on the fish sandwich is only about 2" x 1½" in size? The fish patty itself is at least 3" square. The cheese doesn't even cover the fish!! What a travesty of fish connoisseurs everywhere! Well, it probably won't keep me from buying a fish sandwich again, but it came as a surprise to me how big.. or should I say... how little... the cheese is. Put some cheese on it, for goodness sake!

Picture in your mind, a sweet 5yr old little girl wearing a bright red sweater. She has big brown inquisitive eyes. Picture also, her 7yr old brother coming toward her with a squirrel in his arms. Excited to show off his new friend. Next thing you know... The girl is screaming. The squirrel reaches out and grabs the side of her sweater and won't let go. The more the brother pulls back, the more the squirrel digs in, and the more the girl screams in terror. In her eyes, a squirrel is attacking her. This is an experience that will stay with her the rest of her life. She will never forget. Heard of traumatic childhood experiences? Well folks, this is one! In hindsight, the squirrel was probably rabid - because how else would a 7yr old boy be able to hold a healthy wild animal??

A 9-1-1 operator receives a call.
911 Operator: "911, what's the emergency?"
A frantic woman (Yes folks, this is the little girl all grown up): "I'm a single woman with 4 young children. There's a RABID squirrel on my front porch and I can't get out!!"
A policeman shows up.
Policeman: "What's the problem, ma'am?"
Woman is now hanging out the upstairs apartment window.
Woman: "There's a rabid squirrel on my front porch and I can't get out!"
Policeman: "What do you want me to do ma'am, shoot it?"
Woman (still hanging out the window): "Yes! I want you to shoot it!"
In reality, the squirrel wasn't really rabid. It was simply a mother protecting her babies in a nearby nest. Needless to say, the policeman didn't shoot the squirrel but did manage to shoo it away. And did he have a story to share with the guys in the locker room at the end of the shift -- about the crazy lady hanging out the window, afraid of a squirrel. Public service, ya gotta love it.

Under normal circumstances, I would probably say: "You've got to be kidding, right?" Both those stories are true. As the case may be, I know that girl who became a woman (No, it is NOT me!). Someone close to me has a mild case of sciruophobia. Sounds scary, doesn't it? LOL You're probably wondering... WHAT IS IT? I'm here to fill you in. It's fear of squirrels. Yes, ladies and gentlemen... there is actually a phobia of squirrels.

Anyone ever see the episode on the Drew Carey Show where Lewis is being attacked by squirrels? In one scene, he comes running out Drew's backdoor, screaming and continues running out the back gate with his back covered in squirrels? LOL I guess that wouldn't be funny to a sciurophobiac now, would it? LOL -- I laugh anyway.

I ponder the thought... What causes a fear of squirrels anyway?

sciurophobia - fear of squirrels. Fear that somewhere, somehow, a squirrel is watching you.

Can be pronounced: ski-ooro-phobia or she-ooro-phobia

Another thought to ponder... Is he really watching you? Or, are you just imagining it?

Mar 5, 2006

Snowy Sunday Morning

What's this I see? White flakes of fluff falling from the sky? It's snowing!! Yesterday was so nice I had a couple windows open in the house. I went to the car wash and the line was so long... Everybody and their brother was washing their car, so I went home. What I want to know is: Where is Spring??!

I spent a good part of Friday cleaning my entire house. I even dusted! I hate dusting -- allergies and all that. Up until now, I've been using a streak-free glass cleaner in a spray can (Ha - No, not to dust with!) that I get at a cleaning supply house for $7/can. Yes, it's a lot of money but when I'm framing photographs for clients, I don't want the frustration of streaked glass. Anyway... I found Powerhouse Glass & Surface Cleaner at Dollar General. It's also in a spray can and it works just as great!! It splatters a bit more than the other stuff, but for $1/can I can live with it. I also tried a new cleaning agent (since all the online frugal groups have suggested it time and again). Ammonia. My gawd! I should've been wearing a gas mask!! Yes, it's cheap -- However, I didn't think it did as good of a job that other cleaners do WITHOUT the intense odor. I couldn't clean more than two minutes at a time using the stuff!

Do you ever go shopping... ha... of course WE ALL go shopping! What I meant to say was: When you're out shopping, do you respect the handicap rules? Do you allow handicap people to pass in front of you in order to get through the aisles? I'm all for handicap spaces and respect the elderly as well as the handicapped. I had an experience yesterday that just irked me to high Heaven! Another customer and I were in the deodarant/shaving aisle at Walmart. A lady in one of the mobilized carts says "Can I get through here?" Both the other customer and I step back to let the lady through and what does she do?? She STOPS right in front of the both of us and peruses the items on the shelf!!! What gives a handicapped person the right to think that just because they're handicapped they can be rude? What would you think if a regular (non-handicapped) person did that??!

I officially met my new neighbors yesterday. She seems like a decent lady and is the type to make sure her 8yr old grandson behaves and listens to people. He seems like your typical rough and tumble 8yr old boy. He should get along just fine with my nephews! She also has a dog -- a chubby Cocker Spaniel. Celeste went crazy barking and carrying on when she saw the new dog. Once she did the butt sniffing (LOL), she was OK and wanted to play.

I stitched up the Stitchers' Scissor Fob, a design by Lorrie Birmingham. It took less than a day to do. I ended up stitching the design the wrong way on the linen, but I didn't feeling like frogging, so I went with it. I also omitted the bow at the bottom. I think it turned out pretty good.

Here's an idea I came up with while shopping for groceries at Aldi's on Saturday. This is a box that the packages of brown sugar come in. I snagged the box and the lid (You're allowed to do that at Aldi's) and used them to haul home some of my groceries. Today, I used contact paper I had on hand and made a new storage box! It's 11W by 13L by 6.5D. With the contact paper, the lid fits snugly. I'm going to use it to store my linen and evenweave fabrics. Not bad for FREE!

UPDATE at 9:20pm -- It snowed, and snowed, and snowed some more. It snowed all day! When it finally stopped, there was at least 3-4" inches on the ground. Again I ask: Where is Spring?!? Celeste, on the other hand, says "Bring it on! I LOVE SNOW!" After being out in the snow... which touches her belly... she was like a little abominable snow doggie. It was caked in her fur and ALL over her little face.

I worked on my UFO... Treasured Memories Quilt afghan. I have a long way to go!