Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pick a Peck of Purple Peppers!

Growing vegetables this summer was a grim proposition. We planted potatoes and onions in the spring, and they grew nicely. We planted two tomato plants, which are just now bearing tomatoes. I think we got three during the summer, since it was just too hot for them. And I planted one pepper bush . . . a purple pepper bush.

I have planted purple peppers before and they have given me a few peppers every year. So when it was so hot this year, I somewhat ignored it. Several days ago, I noticed it looked like the leaning tower of Pisa. . . so Monday I went to check on it. Jackpot. I couldn't carry all of the purple peppers. The first batch I gave away 8 and still had 8. Six of those were used for stuffed peppers yesterday. They were delicious, but I discovered that cooking purple peppers turns them green.

Tonight I went out to pick some more, and these are what I got. There are still a few more on the plant, but I suspect there won't be many more after that. I think a purple pepper or two in the salad at Saturday's ball game might just be the good luck we will need to win, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Several months ago, Don purchased a MacBookAir computer to take to Germany with us. I scoffed at the purchase. It seemed silly, but he thought it would allow us to download pictures , check emails, and write about the trip. He was right.

But, what neither he nor I realized were the addictive powers of the MacBookAir. It now sits next to the couch in the family room - which is also where the tv is. Since it boots up so quickly, it is easy to sit down to check email. Unfortunately, then it is too easy to check Facebook,, Diana's blog, Victoria's blog, Samantha's blog . . . you get the idea.

Then of course, while NCIS is on, or NCIS:LA is on, or Hawaii 5-O, or The Mentalist, or Big Bang Theory, or football, we have two addictions coming into play: use the computer while watching tv. As a matter of fact, I am writing this during NCIS:LA. And then there's a new show after that . . . I have to turn the tv off, or nothing will get done this evening!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Being a Wildcat Fan

Being a Wildcat fan isn't easy. Just when you think things are going well, something happens to deflate you . . . as in 1998 Big 12 Conference Championship. And just when everyone thinks the team has no prayer to win, the 'Cats pull off a surprising victory . . . basketball against #1 KU when Jim Wooldridge was coach, for example.

Yesterday was one of the "no prayer to win" times. Nearly every analyst in the nation was picking Miami to clobber the 'Cats. My brother even told me we needed to realize the Las Vegas line was the temperature for the day, and we needed to go play golf. Thank goodness we didn't listen to him. Although the 'Cats kept us nervous throughout the game, they managed to pull out a tough, gritty, nailbiting win against the Miami Hurricanes. Who would have thought it could happen?

Bill did. The team did. All the rest of us of little faith seem to forget that Bill Snyder is on our side. As Mitch Holthus would say, "It was a big, big, big Wildcat win."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Perfect Fall Days.

These are days worth waiting for. After such a horrible summer, suddenly temperatures have moderated, the wind has lessened, and the sky has turned New Mexico blue.

The mornings are cool, but I have refused to wear a jacket. It is such a pleasure to be cold! The afternoons are in the upper 70's - perfect for a walk with the dogs.

Growing up in New Mexico, I took days like this for granted. No more. We don't get many weeks like this, so I have enjoyed this one as much as I can.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The School of St. Jude

I had the opportunity to attend the District Conference for our Rotary district, 5690. It is at those conferences that I have had an opportunity to hear about incredible people doing incredible things.

This year was no exception. When I arrived yesterday, Gemma Sisia, an Aussie, was already speaking about her school, The School of St. Jude, which is located in Tanzania. A daughter of a sheepherder, after graduating from college, she went to Africa to teach. She saw the vast need for a quality education for the poorest of the poor in Tanzania, and she decided to do something about it. At age 24, she began the process of fundraising, including asking Rotary clubs for assistance. The Rotary clubs responded big-time, including traveling to Tanzania to construct buildings for the school.

Her first year, in 2002, she only had three students, and one teacher in one classroom, but now, nine years later, she has 1500 students on three campuses with 800+ boarding students. Yes, that number is right - 1500 students!!! It is an amazing, uplifting story that can be found at this URL: She named the school after St. Jude, the patron saint for hopeless situations. After hearing about the area where the school is located, I believe it was appropriately named.

I am constantly amazed at the stories I hear from Rotarians around the world. There are so many good things going on . . . spread the word!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Vacuum!

Yesterday I got out the dreaded vacuum. Sepia and Babs both hate it. They get on the couch until I get too close, then they leave for another room.

I wondered what Bella would do. She looked at me. "You have got to be kidding me." Then she grabbed Sepia's kong, threw it in the air, jumped on the couch, jumped off the couch, got the kong, threw it again, ran around the house . . . until I turned it off. Then she was just as calm as could be. Turned it on . . . hyper dog. I think the best thing to do when vacuuming if Bella is in the house is to put her outside.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Silly Wabbits!

Well, if I didn't know why Bella was under the deck, I certainly do now (though I knew then too.) What I don't know is whether she loves or hates wabbits. All afternoon she has been on the prowl. First she goes on the deck and sniffs through all of the spaces between the boards. Then she gets in the garden and searches through all of the bushes and under the deck. Then she moves around the gazebo, sniffing all the way. Sometimes she exits to look out into the yard.

I brought her in, fearing she might go under the deck again. So she stood at the window and cried until I let her out again. Now she is sniffing at the deck again. No wonder she is so skinny - she is perpetual motion.

Probably the funniest thing she did today, however, was while we were walking to our house from hers. I had her on her leash, and she smelled a wabbit. Not wanting to go on, she got down on her front paws and stuck her nose into the grass - not to be moved until she had thoroughly vetted the area. "Come on, Bella." Nope. "Let's go Bella." Nope. So I waited until she was convinced no wabbits were in the area, and then we went on. Silly wabbits!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Bella has been visiting this week since her owner is busy, and I could help out. She is a funny, funny dog . . . she reminds me of Ramona, in the Henry Huggins books. She doesn't mean to get in trouble, but somehow it happens. And then she feels bad.

This afternoon she went outside, as she frequently does. I saw her running around and went about my laundry chores. I made a phone call, and then looked out to find Bella. I didn't see her. So I went to the door and called her. No Bella.

Uh oh.

I went outside and called. No Bella. Then I heard a little knock, and I knew where she was . . . I just didn't know where she was. She was somewhere under the deck/gazebo. I kept calling, and I could hear her scrambling around . . . but she wouldn't come out. Well, that's not exactly correct. She couldn't come out. She was in such a tight space, she couldn't maneuver herself to get out from under the deck. Frankly, I don't know how she got under there in the first place, as there really isn't anywhere large enough for her to fit . . . or so I thought.

There was only one thing to do. I changed my clothes, grabbed Don's hammer, and removed one of the boards in the deck, which was one of those things that sounded easy but wasn't so much. Nevertheless, I got one board off, thinking she might be able to crawl out. She was too long, however, and couldn't get any leverage. She could, however, stick her head out of the hole, which assured me she would be all right.

A few minutes later, the second board had been removed, and Bella was free.

If it had been one of my kids, I would have been mad, but how could I be upset with a such a cute face? All I could do was laugh. We are, however, going to make sure she can't get under there again!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Tried To . . .

. . . take a nap today. With Bella in the house, that was easier said than done. After laying on the couch, I had a Bella paw stuck in my face. I held onto her paw until she got tired of sitting there, and then she changed paws. Then she licked my hand. Then she licked my face. Finally she realized I was serious about the nap thing and she lay down beside the couch.

. . . exercise today. I have a series of back exercises to do three times a day. I got down on the floor, only to have Bella lay down next to me. She grabbed my hand, rolled around, and finally she lay on her back. That gave me time to get in one set. Then I had to do a push-up style exercise. Bella tried to join me. Eventually she sat right at my head, watching every push-up.

. . . write this blog. Bella decided she needed to join me on the couch. When she was asked to get down, she rolled over on her back. "Try to get me off this couch," she seemed to say. Eventually she got down, only to lay on my feet.

Bella likes to be involved in every day activities.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How Can It Be?

I have somewhat chronicled writing my book from beginning to end. Several months ago, a friend edited it, and it was much improved after she finished. She made many corrections, and I thought I was good to go. As I began to read it, however, I found a number of mistakes that she didn't catch. I fixed those, and then decided to re-read the book again. The second time through, I found an equal number of corrections. Some of them were simply re-wordings, but many were a missing word, a bad tense . . . but I knew I found them all.

Fast forward several weeks. I received the first draft of the book two weeks ago. I almost didn't read the whole thing, but decided I had better. Man, oh man. How did I miss those corrections? In several cases, the word "a" was missing; or the letter s was missing; or a tense was messed up. Again, I reworded a few things, but the picture below shows all of the post-it notes I used to mark where a correction was to be.

I feel sorry for Jim at Mennonite Press . . . he has to make all of the corrections, and then I have to check them again. Seems like a never-ending process, but I want the book as perfect as it can be! Maybe this will be done by Christmas . . . ha, ha! It had better be done by mid-October! But at the rate I am going, who knows?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

All The Single Wadies!

I love two-year olds! That fact was confirmed last night when I went to visit Parker Alexander.

I have followed Parker on his mother's blog. He will be two in October, and I just had to see him.

I have known for a long time that the 18-month to two-year old stage is especially cute - the dancing baby on Youtube is just one example of youngsters that age. So I wanted to meet Parker again and have him sing to me.

By the time we got to his house, it was almost bedtime, so we didn't get to see quite as much singing as I had hoped. We got a few measures of Baby Baby Oh, but we couldn't get him to sing All the Single Wadies. Too bad. I know it is really funny.

Music was on the tv during our visit and suddenly, in the middle of one of the songs, Parker started displaying his stellar dance moves. I am not sure where he learned them, but he could put most dancers to shame. It was so fun visiting and getting to know this little guy - his family has many fun years ahead of them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Football Drives Me Crazy!

I was so excited about the first football game! It appeared as if our team was going to be pretty good, the stadium was sold out, there were to be fireworks after the game. The weather was great, we had good tailgate food . . . what was there not to like?

And then the game started. Yikes! We fumbled, we missed catches, our punt was blocked, we missed a field goal, our running backs couldn't find holes through the Colonel's defense . . . it was an inauspicious start, to be sure. We were lucky to walk away with a win . . . and we know it.

Here's hoping our next game is better, or it is going to be a long season!!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tailgate Craziness!

For my tailgate parties, I always like to have at least one food that is theme-based. For the 'Huskers it was always easy - something with corn, whether it was cornbread, corn chowder, or corn tortillas. For Texas, Bevo was always easy and steak was always good!

One of my more interesting ideas was when we would play Missouri, I always wanted to eat pancakes with melted butter. I know it is a stretch but when I was a child, one of my favorite stories was about a little African boy named Sam. He had nice new clothes and when he went into the jungle, the tigers would take an article of his clothing instead of attacking him. In the end, the tigers fought and ran around a tree until they turned into melted butter. Then Sam went out to collect the butter and he and his family ate pancakes with melted butter. Isn't that a great way to think of the tigers? As melted butter? I know, I know . . .

So this game presented me with some challenges. Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Well, my first thought was the Revolutionary War, so we are having cherry cobbler for dessert. That's ok. It works. BUT . . .

Along came the Wall Street Journal. Some of my most interesting and fun recipes have come from that newspaper. Last week, I saw a recipe for Corn Ice Cream. Colonels and corn? Well not exactly, but how about Kernels and Corn? So I made some Corn Ice Cream last night. Now we can "Eat the Kernels." Anyway, it is surprisingly good! I can't wait for my tailgate friends to try it!