Thursday, October 29, 2015


Have you seen this circulating on the internet.  

Hahahahah, oh that's funny.  That will never be me.  I always get out my fall wreath and pumpkins and Halloween decorations. 

My front stoop this year:

Crap.  And thanks to the frost, the flowers are done now, too.  Crap, crap.

Hey, at least I removed the summer flag decorations before I set the pumpkins there.  

Winner Winner

A couple of weeks ago we went to a cash bash banquet to support the local football team. I always joke that if I'm invited or participate, your chances of winning increase. Cash bash, gun bash, lottery bash, football pool.  All of it.

I also joke that every organization needs donators. That's me. 

Along with the chances to win every 15 minutes, they had 35 Chinese auction items, and additional roaming prizes.

I wasn't interested in many of the auction baskets.  Golf items, ceramic decorative bowls, a car washing kit, beaded jewelry.  But I did put my tickets in the movie baskets, gift certificates for local restaurants, wine baskets, sweatshirt basket, golf shirts, and gift certificates for other stores. 

The Chinese auction didn't start until the end of the evening.  At that point, I was look at the dessert table and considering another piece of cake when they started to call the numbers.  It was good white cake, store bought with a thick layer of icing that is so bad for you.

I came back to the table just in time and Walt Kowalski said "Get out your tickets." I was half-heartedly listening to the numbers and looking at my tickets when...

That's my number.
That's my number!
They called my number!

I think I even gave a woo hoo because most of the people on our side of the room turned to look our way!

I won a wine basket.  2 bottles of wine, 2 wine glasses, and a corkscrew.  We have a long weekend coming, I know what we'll be sharing one chilly evening next to the fire. 

Things have improved lately.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


If you know me, you know that I'm not a vending machine person.  I come prepared with snacks, drinks, and usually a lunch. When Walt Kowalski and I first got together, I never went anywhere without snacks and a drink.  Good snacks.  Nuts, berries, fruit, and chocolate. Always chocolate. 

It was healthier and cheaper.  At first, he would say "but if we're hungry we'll just grab something."  Sometimes that's ok.  Other times, I don't want to spend the money on bad food, cheap food, or not good food. 

The 10 minutes it takes me to pack a snack at home is totally worth it.  After a few day trips, and some good snacks of cheese and crackers, nuts and berries, and of course, chocolate, Walt Kowalski is hooked.  Now he even packs the cooler while I'm packing the snacks. 

Today, I was very, very unprepared. (I was tired from splitting wood last night and didn't do my morning prep at night.  We just went to bed.)  I had plans to stop and buy something healthy at the store.  However, the store didn't have what I wanted.  I have my lunch and ate it for breakfast.  

Ok I have a couple of dollars, I'll see what is in the vending machine. 

Much to my surprise...

It's gloves, safety goggles, and lubricants. 

Cool, but disappointing snacks.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


So I mentioned in a previous post that things have just been a little rough lately.  I am certain it really wasn't more rough than every family.  But it just seemed like it was a lot all at once.

It's the small things that add up.  Here are the highlights:

-Work as been crazy busy for both me and Walt Kowalski. I usually take a day and go to the store at lunch, but when work is too busy, I cut my lunch short and skip the store.  I don't like to do that, but it happens. But that means no food at the Cat Ranch.
-The evenings after work have been full of work on the Front House.
-I have been a slacker making dinner, because I haven't been to the grocery store.  Thank goodness for meals I have prepared in advance and frozen. But you just can't freeze a salad.
    (WK: Make it easy tonight. Let's just have a salad. )
    (Me: We have no lettuce.)
    (WK: Nachos?)
    (Me: No cheese No lettuce.  No chips.)
    (WK: Shrimpy pasta?)
    (Me: No shrimp. No Angel hair pasta.)
    (WK: What kind of house are we living in?!?)
-I have neglected my chores at the Cat Ranch, there is laundry and cat fur and things that need put away because we come home and plop things down, eat, shower, and go to bed. 
-The shelf in the glasses cupboard slipped off the plastic clip and fell. Luckily, a tall glass on the shelf below held the shelf above, so the glasses didn't crash and break. Of course it happened in the middle of the night. I heard the clunk, but couldn't find it. I didn't sleep well the rest of the night. We bought new clips, but they weren't large enough to fit securely. I don't want to put anything away until the shelf is secure and clean. So there are glasses sitting everywhere. In the microwave, in the sink, in the dishwasher, in the stove, on the counter.
-The other morning I shuffled out to the kitchen in the dark and on the way I kicked something hard.  I thought it was a magnet that fell off the fridge, but when I turned the light on I found:

A glass coffee carafe has no chance in a porcelain floor. I must not have had it locked in securely when I made coffee the night before and a four-footed-fur must have jumped down from on top of the fridge and knocked it off the counter.

I love running the sweeper at 4:55am.  This coffee pot was only 2 weeks old!  Luckily, the old coffee pot was still in the donate box in the basement. I dragged it out, washed it up and Walt Kowalski had coffee. 

That same morning, I grabbed my bag to go to work only to find that I didn't screw the lid securely onto my water bottle and all of the papers in my bag were soaking wet.  The electric bill is now attached to the gas bill attached to the cable bill.  Thank goodness I pay them online.

But the thing that really pushed me over the edge was coming home from work Friday night. I was  half way home, stopped at red light just down a big hill when all of the lights on my dash flashed, the brake light stayed on, and Little Red jerked. At the next red light I had to press the brakes EXTRA hard to make the car stop.  It stopped, but it took twice the distance as normal! The back bumper of the car in front of me approached way too fast.

Heart racing.  Home is still 20 minutes away.

A panicked call to Walt Kowalski and a stop at the auto parts store for brake fluid that leaked out on to the ground, told me I had brake issues.  We could tow it, but it was now after 5pm on a Friday night and it would be towed to a garage that was closed until Monday morning.

Luckily, the rest of the way home was relatively flat and through construction zones, so I could go slow and put on my flashers when needed. I also had my hand brake if I really needed it. 

The problem with going slow on the highway is that it gives other cars the opportunity to pull out.  Especially in the construction zone. 

I limped my way home to a friend's garage and borrowed Pap's car.  At least I can get to work on Monday while the brakes are getting fixed.  But on the way home from Pap's house, the same thing happened to his car.  All of the lights on the dash flashed, the brake light came on and the brakes were smooshy when pressed.  THE SAME THING HAPPENED IN A SECOND CAR!!! (Had both cars been parked at the same house I would think someone tampered with the brakes.)

I switched out Pap's car for his truck and waited to hear the news about Little Red.

There was good news and bad news. The brake line to the rear brakes was broken.  The reason the brake line was broken is because the frame cracked and was getting worse. The brakes could be fixed, but it wasn't worth fixing the frame on a 16 year-old vehicle with so many miles.

"Drive it carefully. Don't hit too many bumps." was the instructions from the mechanic and Pap. "Don't go over train tracks." Uh, we have to go over train tracks to leave here!

"Don't drive it all." was Walt Kowalski's plan.  He let me drive Big Red and he drove Little Red to work.

I knew a new car was in my future.  Near future. I just didn't think it was in this near of the future. I really didn't want two car payments at the same time. I also didn't have the energy to go car shopping.

Could someone just go pick one out for me?

I knew what I wanted.  We drove a nice model on vacation. I had a few requirements. Good gas mileage. Good traction for winter driving. And the most important feature was that Walt Kowalski had to fit in it comfortably.  He was never comfortable in Little Red.  His knees were always at his chin. 

Here she is:

I like it.  In Little Red, I would have to fill up the tank every 4 days.  Now I get 6 days and some weekend errands before filling up. It is quiet and smooth. 

The rough patch has passed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Soup Season

It is soup season! I still haven't turned the heat on in the house.  I don't think I'll make it without through this coming weekend, though.

This past weekend I slow roasted a piece of beef. Normally, I would save the broth and freeze it for later, but I couldn't wait.

This is the way my grandmother made it. Leave a big hunk of beef, pull it out, shred it, and you can add as much as you'd like to your bowl.

I never used to like peas in my soup.  Then I started making soup.  The peas need to go in the pot last so they are only heated, not cooked within an inch of their life. Same with the corn.



I also made homemade croutons.  AKA What can I do with stale sandwich buns other than give them to the birds? Melted butter, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning. Stir stir stir. Bake.

Delicious. This recipe wasn't healthy. Next time I'll make a healthier version. 

My grandfather always said the soup was too hot to eat.  So he would take his bowl and set it outside, often on the patio stones.  We always used to joke that a chipmunk was going to run by and take a taste.  Now it would be the Yoo Hoo raccoon.  She'd bring her spoon.

Next up...chili, potato, and more chicken noodle.  (our favorite!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


I have been working on a catch-up post, but once again, I have to postpone. I have other civic duties for which to attend.

It was a beautiful day yesterday.

The courthouse is beautiful.  I was told that two of the courtrooms use colors to depict spring and fall. 

Call me Juror #8.