Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fragments are on a Break

No fragments this week because we took a spontaneous vacation. Left the house this morning and will be in New Orleans tomorrow for a few days. Then back home before the first. We will miss (hopefully) most of the crazy football fans for the sugar bow. I say that since I know quite a few of those fans since OU is playing in it. I'm sure Dan will wear a few OU shirts to support the team but I don't want to tangle with any Alabama people.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Eve of Christmas Eve

As we close out the Eve of Christmas Eve I have just a few thoughts.

Our local family didn't win the Great Christmas Light Fight but it was great that so many people were able to see it. Hopefully people will come see it in person and help donate money to the Regional Food Bank.

I went shopping for last minute stuff today and it was crazy out there. I think everyone had the day off and was shopping or working at a store. It took me 25 minutes to drive one mile at one point but there wasn't any other way. I kept my cool because there wasn't any good getting upset could do. Michaels was having 70% off Christmas stuff so I of course had to buy stuff.

All of the gifts are wrapped and under the tree.

Lots of cooking tomorrow to prep for Christmas. Plus volunteering at church and then attending one. I'm looking forward to the candlelight service.

We've got all sorts of ice now and it won't be going away anytime soon. About an inch of accumulation with lots of trees breaking and power lines down.

These are the crepe myrtles that the neighbor has over the back fence. This one lost a chunk in our backyard and I don't know if it will make it through the melting that will happen.

The lady across the street lost her tree and was lucky her car wasn't hit in the driveway when it crashed. Later on the tree to the left broke off. It seemed that the redbud trees were hit hardest. Our stick tree did fine in the backyard. Thank goodness for new trees without many limbs.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Fragments

It is the week before Christmas and all I have is fragments. So here we go.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

So many stupid criminals this week. First we have the woman locally who was taken to jail on disturbing the peace charges. Then as they were searching her they found drugs in her "body cavities". Nothing like trying to smuggle in drugs in your private parts. Not very smart.

Then there is another criminal who was being arrested on outstanding warrants while at a park enjoying Christmas lights with his girlfriend. But as he was being arrested (with the handcuffs on), he asked the officer if he could continue with what he had planned to do...PROPOSE to his girlfriend. The officer let him and she said yes. Then the criminal asked the officer to get the ring out of his pocket to give to her. I'm not sure if this is just stupid, dumb or a combination of the two.

I successfully made two different batches of chex mix this week on top of everything else so that I could give some out at work. Now this weekend will be other baking to give to neighbors. I still need to finish shopping and I haven't wrapped a single present. Thank goodness others in my home have done some wrapping or the tree would look funny.

Mom is performing in a big Christmas concert this weekend put together by the Mormon church. They invited people of all faiths to join in and she has really enjoyed singing with them. I'm hoping the weather holds off and we don't get the ice like is being predicted so she can not worry about driving.

Today is the last day of work for the holidays. I'm amazed at the number of job offers that we are putting out this week. Not to mention a personnel issue that came out of left field that is not going to be pleasant to deal with. Never a dull moment I guess.

Everyone needs to watch the Christmas Light show on ABC on Christmas Eve. One local family will be on it (Downes). We went last week and it is quite good. You drive up and watch the show in your car (they live on several acres). They collect money and food for the Regional Food Bank. Last year they collected 10,318 pounds of food and $40,000. The show is more than 30 minutes long so well worth driving to it.

I hope that all of you have a Merry Christmas. 

image by bloggertone

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's the week before Christmas Hodgepodge

Joyce is providing us with questions this week and then taking off next week for Christmas. Good for her!

1. Do you believe in miracles?

Of course there are miracles. They come in all fashion. I think most people think of medical miracles but there are so many other ways to have a miracle. God is good.

The most recent miracle was a work colleague who's husband had a massive heart attack. After 7 weeks he finally got to go home from the hospital. So many miracles involved from him being at home when he had the attack (he was scheduled to be out in the woods), to his wife being able to perform CPR while the ambulance got there, to being put into a cold induced coma to help heal his heart. He is a living miracle.

2. What's a recent fad you admit to trying?

I tried to make kale chips and absolutely hated them. I'll skip buying kale from now on.

3. Peppermint-are you a fan? If so, what's your favorite food or beverage containing peppermint?

Peppermint is ok but a little goes a long way. My favorite would be peppermint schnapps in some hot chocolate. Yummy.

4. Break the ice, on thin ice, as cold as ice (emotionally, not literally)...which phrase have you run into most recently? Explain.

When I saw this list I immediately had to think of Foreigner singing Cold as Ice. I don't think that is the answer but it brought back great memories of middle school.

5. Have you ever broken or spilled something in someone else's home? Still friends?

I can't remember breaking or spilling anything at other people's houses but I remember one time we had a party and two little girls decided to get into nail polish in my daughter's bedroom and spilled it all over the carpet. We ended up moving the bed over the spot. We don't see them anymore but the spillage incident doesn't have anything to do with it.

6. 'Tis the week before Christmas...are you feeling more like Buddy the Elf or the Grinch before his heart grew?

I don't think I'm ever like the Grinch so I'm going with Buddy. He's a little more hyper than I ever get but that could be all the sugar he's on.

7. Share a favorite quote relating to Christmas.

Jesus is the reason for the season.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm looking forward to having 10 days off of work. The best part of working for a university!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thank Goodness Friday Fragments

My weekly post that joins with Mrs. 4444 for Friday Fragments.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I'll start off with the stupid criminal. Two men robbed several homes in a nearby county. They were pretty easy to find. The police just followed the footprints in the snow. Guess Oklahomans just aren't used to crime in winter.

Last night was my annual sushi/martini night with a friend. I know it sounds like a weird combination but we always get the special holiday chocolate peppermint martini and they are to die for. The sushi was extra good this year. Now I just have to remember which ones they were so we can order them next time.

This week I spent now one but two days in meetings with powerpoint presentations that were done via videoconference. Both were sufficiently boring to make me wonder what I was even doing there. At least I didn't fall asleep and start snoring. Looking bored was probably bad enough.

The Christmas tree is officially non-topped. We just don't like any of the angels/stars we've bought for the tree so we are going to wait and try again next year. It doesn't look bad without anything on top so I'm ok with that right now.

Yesterday when I filled up with gas the shutoff didn't work. So about 1/2 gallon of gas spilled over the side of my car. I was super lucky and not get any on my clothes or coat. I tried wiping it off with paper towels which helped. Today it's raining so I'm hoping that maybe more will wash off.

This week Year Without a Santa Claus was on. I taped it just so I could watch the Snow Miser/Heat Miser song. I've even kept it with that place on the DVR so I can watch it again. I love Snow Miser but Heat Miser has the better backup dancers. Snow Miser is even my profile pic on Facebook currently.

Whitney comes home today for four weeks. She is working two of them back at school but she can commute to do that.

Wednesday Dan and I took the orientation class at the gym. A personal trainer walks you through machines and gets you set with where to put the settings and you actually do a workout. Two days later and I'm still sore in some places. Guess I really should go back and work the muscles again.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. I'll be spending it at church a lot for the spectacular. I can't wait to see what is in store this year.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Its a Cold, Cold Hodgepodge

1. Are you doing anything special to mark this season of Advent? If so please share.

We got advent devotionals at church and I hate to say it but I haven't opened mine up. Very bad of me I know.

2. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen...and of course you recall, the most famous reindeer of, which reindeer name best describes you this week?

Blitzen...because that sounds like the one who deals with the cold and ice. And really doesn't that describe everyone in the US right now (except Florida)?

3. What's worse-too quiet or too loud? Which have you had more of lately?

Too loud. I can't think when it is too loud. I think having an only child makes you extra sensitive to groups of children and the noise that comes from them.

4. This question comes to you from Zoanna over at A Penchant for Pens-thanks Zo!

When you are administratively gifted, how often do you find yourself not trusting less gifted people to do what they've committed to do? If you are not so gifted that way, but are reliable, how do you feel when the stronger person (in that area) goes ahead and covers it before giving you a chance to come through?

This is one area I excel at. It is difficult to let go and trust others but you have to do it or else you drive yourself crazy. But man when it doesn't get done like you want it to or in the timeframe that you have in mind, yikes.

5. What is your most dreaded task relating to the holidays? Your most looked forward to holiday task?

Dreaded task is putting all the Christmas stuff away. I like seeing lots of twinkling lights on house, on trees, just everywhere.

6. Facebook has released its list of the 'most talked about' topics of 2013. Pope Francis took the number one spot. Does that surprise you? He was followed by election, royal baby, typhoon, and Harlem Shake. Your thoughts? What was yourmost talked about topic in 2013? (Facebook, around the kitchen table, or wherever it is you talk)

Was the Harlem Shake this year? Man I thought it was in 2012. I wonder how they compile these lists. Do they really have a scientific way to figure it out or just make it up as they go? Most talked about would most likely be weather and family.

7. What's something you consider a necessity that others might view as a luxury?

Coloring my hair. I realize that it costs money that many don't have but I have to get it done. In fact Saturday morning I'll be sitting in a chair meeting a new hair stylist.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Christmas Spectacular is at our church this weekend. It is so popular that they have 8 services for it this year. We are going Friday night and then I'm going to usher three more times. I don't know what's in it this year but I'm hoping it continues to live up to the SPECTACULAR names.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hello Early Winter

Day three of school being closed here. Well public schools...not universities. It is finals week.

The main roads have been clear since day two. The neighborhood is getting better except this morning the turn onto the main street was an ice slick. It seems people weren't smart enough to drive straight out and then turn. Why I am smarter than these other people I don't know.

The temperature is going to be a balmy 34 today with sunny skies. That should melt lots of stuff.

And create great icicles off the roof as the snow continues to melt. 

These were hanging off the back porch last night. They have been knocked down so they don't fall and stab the poor dog on the 30 seconds she is outside.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cold Friday Fragments

I'm joining mrs. 4444 for fragment time.

Half-Past Kissin' Time
Stupid criminal is the one who went to a convenience store and announced that he was going to rob the store later. Yes he did and he was caught since the clerk had warned the police and gotten his license plate number. Pretty dumb.

Cold weather here means we are closed. Good news is we had gotten stuff to make gumbo and they told us the day before. Sleep in time.

I finally passed a huge candy crush level and I think I really have hit the level that I'm never going to pass. 356 is going to be the death of,e.

I think our new angel is too big for our tree. Plus have to get used to these white lights. The corner is so bright.

We did get a bunch of snow last night.

And the trash men did come by this morning. I'll cut them some slack for missing the curb.

The neighbor kids are trying to sled but have limited options for hills. They are using the driveway that hasn't been cleared yet. I love how they can have fun with just that little bit.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Joyce came up with some interesting questions this week.

1. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the 2013 word of the year is 'selfie'. Your thoughts? When did you last take a selfie? Do you post them online somewhere? Do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind the lens?

First of all I think that is a stupid word. Once again people do not recognize the brilliance of my own new words such as gunkified. I digress. I think they are silly and have only taken a couple of them myself. The last one was me on the Great Wall of China since I thought I should have a shot of that.

As you can see, not my finest photo. I prefer to be behind the camera but I'm not afraid to have my picture taken.

2. Will you send out Christmas cards this year? If so, are they ready to go? If not, are you glad or sad about leaving that tradition behind?

We haven't sent out cards for several years and I doubt we will this year. In fact when I was unpacking all my Christmas stuff I didn't have any boxes of leftover cards. So I would have to buy them this year and I don't think I'll do that. Last year we really didn't get many in the mail either.

3. Do you trust easily?

I think it depends on the place. I probably trust more in my personal life than in my work life. That seems backwards doesn't it?

4. Pine-cinnamon-peppermint-vanilla (as in sugar cookie)...of those listed, which one is your favorite December scent?

I love three of the four (no pine for me) and I just got some tremendously good smelling cinnamon pine cones at Kirkland's. Really these are the best ones I've ever gotten. So I'll go with that right now. Next week it may switch to vanilla.

5. Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday? Was that by choice or necessity?

I'm writing this on Tuesday so on Monday I probably talked more than listened. Especially at work when I have to explain stuff.

6. What's the last song that got stuck in your head? Sorry if it's back there now : )

Since is is the Christmas season, I'm listening to those songs all day long. So it has to be Heat Miser/SnowMiser.  My favorite cartoon song.

7. Which world explorer (in the whole history of the world) would you most like to have traveled with, and why?

This is the big thinker question of the day. Wow. Maybe Neil Armstrong going to the moon? Although I would be pretty scared about getting into the spacecraft.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The tree is done and I'm off to help my mom set up her tree tonight. Things I've learned with the new tree is that we don't need to have it on the wooden box like the last one and the angel is super big. The tree isn't as big as our old one but all my ornaments look nice on it.

You can't really see the ornaments in the tree with the lights on but they are there.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December is Here

Well a four day weekend and back to work. And can I just say that I really need one more day to finish up the house. But alas I don't have that so will try and cram stuff into my evenings.

Thanksgiving started out at 32 degrees and bundling up for the Turkey Trot to benefit United Way long term tornado relief.

Having never done this before we didn't know what to expect and got there much earlier than we needed to. But we stayed in the car until the race started. It was chilly going but we warmed up. I had two layers on plus gloves and I ended up taking the gloves off at the end. I also ditched Dan within 100 feet of the start as we started weaving through all the people. But that's ok since we both had our music and hadn't really planned on walking together.

Turkey dinner was later than normal but we had good food and good company with both of our mothers visiting.

Friday I did nothing. Really I feel like I wasted the day. But we did learn a new game that my mother-in-law brought...Mexican Train. Its a dominoes game and pretty fun. Other than that...absolutely nothing was accomplished.

Saturday Whitney and I ventured to Walmart and it wasn't crowded at all. Loading my cart full of food seemed ironic after we had just had a big turkey dinner.

All of the decorations were pulled out of the attic.
I seem to keep expanding the box collection and then I still buy more stuff.

The snowmen have gathered together in solidarity. Mr. and Mrs. Claus have since been kicked out of their group and have moved on to a place of honor high atop the entertainment center.

After spending hours decorating the house I was tired and decided to put off the tree until Sunday.

Sunday was super foggy on the drive to church. In fact it was so bad that I would slow down everytime I came to an intersection because I couldn't see the stoplight until I was almost on it. It was a good thing that traffic was light.

Whitney went back to school and then I tackled the tree. I had forgotten how much fluffing you have to do with a new tree. After one hour I had the first section done.

I was getting worried I wouldn't get it done.

Another hour and all of the fluffing was done but then we ran into a big problem. My new angel was much bigger than the one we used to have. And it was too heavy for the top of the tree. Dan googled how to keep the toppers on and ended up calling the store we bought the tree at for suggestions. We ended up getting a dowel to add stability to the top and that seemed to help. And then we have to figure out how to get the angel's dress to lay right so you aren't staring up it and seeing the plastic cone. By now it is after 5 and I've been at this tree for three hours. I just couldn't work up the energy to finish the fluffing, unpack the ornaments and put them on the tree. So there it sits, pulled out from the wall and looking forlorn.

Tonight's task will be to shore up the angel a bit more and add the ornaments. I think we are skipping the garland this year so that helps.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Looks like we survived the turkey dinner so we empty our minds with Mrs. 4444 for Friday Fragments.

Well we did it. We finished the 5k to start Thanksgiving. It was 32 degrees when we left the house but it was sunny. They had more people than they thought which is good but they ran out of tshirts and will have to mail them to us. I finished one minute over my goal but I blame getting stuck behind some slow people on the lap around the park when we were on the sidewalk. Next 5k I hope to be able to run it. This time was just walking. A lot of the walkers ended up stopping halfway because we went back past the finish area and they just stopped. So I know that my place is just wrong.

I am not one of those people to go shopping ... except for online deals. So I'll be decorating the house for Christmas now. That is the official start of the season.

Stupid criminal is from England this week. A man tried to break into a house by climbing in through the bedroom window. He got stuck and had to wait an hour for the owner to notice someone breaking in. The police were called and he was taken to jail. Moral of the story is make sure you know simple physics before robbing a house.

Best part of the turkey dinner is leftovers the next day. I'm not one of those people who need to make it into something else the first time. I like to relive the meal.

We watched the Lady Gaga and Muppet special last night and were extremely underwhelmed. Too much Gaga and not enough Muppets.

It is time to get all the decorations out of the attic and get ready for Christmas!

Hodgepodge - Happy Thankgsiving

Joyce has questions for us all ready for the day before Thanksgiving. Isn't that nice of her?

1. Are you settling for something?

I'm settling for my bathroom counter to still not be fixed. When I realize that it has been broken for 1 1/2 years, I'm really settling. I have to get it fixed in 2014.

2. It wasn't that long ago almost every store in the US locked doors and turned out lights on Thanksgiving Day. This year many will be open all day Thursday, giving shoppers a jump start on 'Black Friday'. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving Day?

I do not shop on Thanksgiving (unless I need chicken broth or something like that) and I certainly won't be shopping on Friday. Most of my shopping anymore is online and it doesn't matter what day or time that is. I think it is ridiculous that people do shop and that stores feel the need to offer these deals. When really you know they are going to offer deals similar to it in just another week because the "Black Friday sales were off". That's because most of us are getting smart enough to know you will run more sales.

3. Speaking of shopping... I saw a recent article on the twelve best shopping cities in the world. In order they are-

New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul.

Ever shopped in any of the cities listed? In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash?

I've only been to one of those cities (Paris) and the only shopping we did there was in food stores or the gift shop inside of a metro station. I was much more interested in seeing the sites than shopping.

4. When did you last dine by candlelight?

Probably when we went to an Italian restaurant in town a few months ago. They have candles on the tables.

5. What do you have too much of?

My family would probably say snowmen but since they keep buying me more and I keep buying more, you can't have enough of them.

6. The Hunger Games...are you a fan? Did you read the book(s)? Will you/have you seen the movie? Will you/have you seen Catching Fire? No spoilers please!

I've never read the books or seen the movie. I'm not into those kind of movies.

7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day. The who, the where, the what...especially the what! As in what's for dinner? If you're one of my International visitors, whose homeland doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (the whole world doesn't ya know!), then still tell us your plans for Thursday.

The day is supposed to start with Dan and I walking a 5K. I'm trying to get excited about it but the thoughts of how cold it is in the mornings is really making me reconsider. The money was for a good cause (United Way long-term tornado recovery) and we get long sleeve tshirts so maybe that's enough.

Whitney is coming home Wednesday from college and both my mom and Dan's mom will be joining us for the day. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, corn, rolls, pumpkin pie are on the menu. I'm thinking we might even start off with a cheese ball (that was when we thought we would be eating later because of the 5K). If we don't do that we will eat a little earlier.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Winter arrived after really only have a couple of weeks of fall. We had freezing rain/sleet and southwest Oklahoma had snow (which they are in a drought so they appreciated I'm sure). I'm hoping fall comes back next week.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Fragments - 6 Days until Turkey Day

Yes I'm counting down to Thanksgiving. And joining Mrs. 4444 for another installment of Friday Fragments.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Who knew that after buying a new Christmas tree the decision about what to put on the top of it would be so hard. Or else maybe I'm just super picky. We bought one new angel and then I ordered another angel so I can decide which one to keep. So many decisions.

Stupid criminal of the week was the man who broke into a house to rob it but cut his arm severely in the process. He proceeded to ask the homeowners of the house he was robbing to help him. Pretty easy to catch him.

I'm pretty excited that an idea I came up with resulted in the hiring of one of our graduate students into a fulltime job when he finished next month. I think that is a good example of paying it forward.

Super cold front came through last night. The wind was whipping around and I was certainly glad to be in my warm house with a blanket. Today my wearing of a sweater to work is appropriate for both outside and inside my freezing cold office.

I have lost all of the weight I was looking to so I can not feel guilty next week on Thanksgiving eating stuffing and pie. Yummy.

And I still need to come up with an appetizer recipe that I can make in the crockpot for earlier in the day and a second dessert. I'd better figure that out today since tomorrow is grocery shopping day. But as Dan says, we live close enough to a store and it isn't like we won't be going again. So if I don't figure it out today I still have time.

If you are travelling next week, please have a safe trip.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hodgepodge - 8 Days Until Thanksgiving

Joining Joyce for this week's questions. I missed last week so need to make up for it.

1. What lesson has failure taught you?
I didn't die from the failure and life kept going. Remember that young ones.

2. What decision are you glad you made?
Going back and getting my master's degree. Best decision with a great job out of it.

3. I've been a little bit surprised to see fully lit and decorated Christmas trees popping up for the past several weeks in friend's Instagram feeds. So tell the truth-is your tree up and decorated, and if so when did that happen? If not, when will you be decking the halls?
Tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving. My new one just came home on Tuesday (thank you honey for picking it up). I can't wait to have it up and decorated.

4. Solitaire-Poker-Rummy-Hearts-Go Fish-Old Maid...which game of cards would you most like to join?
Solitaire, I love all the different variations of that game.

5. This question comes to you courtesy of a Facebook friend, who once upon a time had a blog...When you're feeling stressed do you snack a lot or are you more the 'can't eat' type?
More of a snack person but if you don't have the snack food around you don't snack.

6. Have you ever reviewed a product or service on line? Was your review favorable or less than favorable?
Yes I've reviewed products before. I get free ones to try as a BzzAgent and then I've also reviewed things I've bought. I try and be as honest as I can.

7. What was the best conversation you had yesterday?
I had an IT audit and they pretty much determined that I needed to be excluded from my college because we aren't a risk. Thank goodness that most of my people work on federal government computers which are much more strict than the university.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm still working on my Thanksgiving menu. Since we are doing a 5K first thing in the morning, we will be eating later. I plan on making a couple of appetizers to tide people over and then have an extra side dish with the meal. Maybe I'll go crazy and make two different desserts.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Fragments - What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Joining with Mrs. 4444 for the weekly emptying of all minds of fragments.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I just signed up Dan and I for the 5K Turkey Trot in town. Not that I plan on running (since I've never run and have no way to get ready in two weeks to do it). But I know I can walk it and I had said earlier in the year that I wanted to do a 5K. Now the weather needs to cooperate and not be too cold or rainy.

We picked out a new Christmas tree on Sunday but didn't buy it. We had to go home and measure to see if we could get the taller tree. Which we can't. So now we have to go back and actually pay and pick up the tree. We are being rebels and going with all white lights (something I've never done in my entire life). 

Whitney had an interview for an internship this spring and she got it. So she will be working downtown at a pretty busy advertising/marketing firm and get college credit for it. She will still work some at her regular job at school too. She is up for a promotion to a special team at the visitor center. 

Stupid criminal is another person misusing 911. He kept calling to report domestic disturbance because his neighbors wouldn't drink with him. The police picked him up and made sure no one was drinking with him anymore.

A week of no wine and counting calories is working. I've lost three pounds and just have a couple more to go. Thank goodness because this is getting old quickly.

My Pandora radio station has been playing a lot of different music lately. I'm not sure if I liked something that makes it think I like this stuff or what, but it has been interesting. Certainly nothing that the radio would play.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spinach and Sausage Risotto

We love risotto and I'm always looking for new recipes. I found this one on the Sprouts website and adjusted it slightly.

Spinach and Sausage Risotto
Adapted from Sprouts

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Sprouts Sweet Chicken Sausage, casings removed
1 Sprouts Hot Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach, washed well, tough stems removed, chopped
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Add about 2 ladles of hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 ladle-full at a time, and stir the rice until it’s nearly all absorbed. Continue this process until rice is creamy and tender, about 25 minutes total.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

So how did I adapt this? I changed out the two sausage links for some sweet Italian sausage I had already browned (about 1/2 pound). I also used probably about 2 cups of baby spinach I had chopped up (we like that better than regular spinach). I had 14 ounce cans of Italian diced tomatoes and we probably had about 1 1/2 cups of that mixture left.

The risotto ended up being sweeter than normal ones because of the tomatoes. Dan really liked it and we are keeping the recipe.

Sorry for the quality of the photo. It was dark outside and the risotto was still in the pan.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November Friday Fragments

Mrs. 4444 hosts this weekly bloghop. Check her out.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I'll start off with the stupid criminal of the week. Police were investigating a home burglary when they heard a cell phone ringing. The screen said mom so they answered and asked whose phone it was. She said my son and gave his name. Seems he had dropped it when robbing the house. Police picked him up quite quickly after that.

Did you hear about the NYU student who got stuck between two buildings for two days? He doesn't remember how it happened. Alcohol was involved.

Gas was $2.71 this morning. Can you believe it? I just filled up earlier in the week at $2.78 so I won't need it for awhile. But filling up a tank for $30 sure feels nice.

We had a big event at work this week where several buildings' occupants are invited to mingle. They ran out of food an hour into the event. I appreciate free stuff but they really should have planned it better. I thought it was lower attended than normal too.

I'm trying to lose a few pounds so I decided the best way is to give up my glass of wine at night. Because that always seems to lead to snacking. And I'm drinking hot tea whenever I really get hungry. Both seem to be working. I also restarted using MyFitnessPal to track my calories. 

The leaves are falling off trees here now especially since we've had several rain events. Somehow with us not having any trees in our yard we are going to have to rake. Shouldn't the neighbor whose tree's leaves it is come over and take care of that for us? LOL

I think they need to get rid of Thursday night college football games. The "student athlete" ends up missing three days of classes. How is that good for their grades?

Monday, November 4, 2013

What I Did This Weekend

Yes I actually did stuff this weekend. In fact, I was so busy that I didn't cook or clean or get anything really done.

Saturday I went ahead and volunteered at the National Weather Festival. After never going to it I decided to help out. I sold tshirts for a couple of hours (something I'm very good at doing). The crowds were huge. Thousands of people came to visit. All of the tv stations were there. We had helicopters, fire trucks, mobile command centers, radar trucks. There was even an "ask the expert" booth where several of my friends were answering questions about severe weather. And of course we had the weather friends...which is a group of costumed meteorology students teaching kids about weather. They even have trading cards.

Saturday night I took my mom to see Carousel. It was held in the smaller, more intimate theater...more like a cabaret setting. We were in the front row and it was rather disconcerting to be that close to the actors, especially when they were looking right at you. I don't particularly care for this musical and after seeing it I am reminded why. But mom had a good time and that's what is important.

Sunday we had a fiesta for volunteers at church. By the time I finished that it was 2pm. I did some laundry when I got home and worked out but otherwise did nothing.

I ended the evening watching Revenge. Talk about an ending.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November is Here - Friday Fragments

Mrs. 4444 lets us empty our minds every Friday with Friday Fragments.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

No stupid criminal this week. However even better, I have a stupid human. A man in England legally got his named changed to "Captain Beanie" because he loves baked beans so much. He even has a baked beans museum in his apartment. I will just leave it at that.

It seemed like the number of trick or treaters we had was down this year. Although I did go through most of my candy. So maybe I just can't count or I bought smaller bags this year.

Tomorrow is the National Weather Festival at work. Thousands of people will be at our building learning about severe weather. All of the local tv stations have their meteorologists here doing balloon launches. And as many years as we have had it...I've never attended. Could be weather overload?

I'm taking my mother to see Carousel tomorrow night for her birthday. It is her favorite musical so how lucky for us it was being done by OU on her birthday. 

I got my hair colored yesterday and learned my stylist is moving tomorrow. I finally have fallen in love with a color and now she's going. I know it is in their computer system but I just can't believe it will be the same.

We are having a Mexican fiesta at church Sunday for the volunteers. If we translate "Me gusta dejar el maíz en mis dientes después de comer, de la mazorca." into English we are entered into a drawing for a prize. When I google translate it I get "I like to leave the corn in my teeth after eating corn on the cob." That doesn't sound very appetizing does it? Any ideas of what I'm missing?

Some of the trees here are turning colors but nothing as spectacular as this shot.

I don't know where this is but I wish I could be there.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Goodbye October - It was Nice to See You - Hodgepodge

Last week of October's hodgepodge questions from Joyce. Come join the party.

1. What's something you're dealing with that might be described as tricky?

Trying to figure out where to go for Christmas. We've all taken vacations this year but not all together. So we have grand ideas but a smaller budget.

2. What's your treat of choice?

Peanut M&Ms.

3. Did you/will you carve a jack-o-lantern this month? Which real (living or dead) or fictional 'Jack' would you most like to meet in person? Why?

No jack-o-lanterns for us this year. We haven't done that in a long time. I think the last time we bought a kit so we could make a design and of course we messed it up. I never liked having to clean out the pumpkin and since it stays warm here you can't do them too early or they get moldy.

Jack the Ripper and I would be prepared and catch him. I'd be the world famous sleuth who solved the mystery.

4. In your opinion, what's the grossest sounding word in the English language?


5. When did your heart last skip a beat?

Last year when Dan fell and broke the bathroom sink while cutting open his chin and breaking six teeth. In the middle of the night. A night at the ER and very lucky that he didn't fall a different way and really mess up his head.

6. Monster Mash by Bobby 'Boris' Picket, Michael Jackson's Thriller, Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon, or Ray Parker Jr.'s Ghostbusters...your favorite 'scary' tune?

Thriller of course. So many vivid images of the video. My freshman year of college I remember a group doing a big production of it and I thought wow, this is what college is all about. Yes it was right after the album came out so I'm that old.

7. It was a dark and stormy night when______________________________.

the lights went out and never came back on. (I'm taking this prompt as how to begin a scary book not what really happened.)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Daylight savings time is Sunday so an extra hour of sleep comes my way. Set your clocks back unless you happen to live outside the U.S. or in Arizona.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Fragments

Mrs. 4444 host Friday Fragments and has some really cute photos of her dogs. You should check it out.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I've had to run the heat a few mornings in the house. Yay fall is here!

What is it about new jeans that make you hate wearing them? I bought two pairs and already decided I was returning one before I even wore them. Then the second pair the first time I wore them had that new jean yuck factor. I hoped by washing them it would get some of the stiffness and smell off them but they still smell. The outside is soft but they seem stiffer than my broken in by years of wearing them jeans. Oh how I love broken in jeans. Guess that's why distressed jeans are so popular.

Stupid criminal of the week is the guy who tried to pay his water bill with cocaine. He put it in an envelope and when a mysterious powder substance was found the police were called. After it was determined it was cocaine, he was pretty easy to track down since his address was on the bill.

We keep trying new recipes and nothing is making us go wow. But it is about time to pull out our old staples of comfort food that makes lots of leftovers. And I just need to plan better because the freezer is full of pork and chicken that just has to be thawed to cook with. 

This week I got notice that I need to right a progress report on a grant we got. Nothing strange about that except it is a report on one month but we didn't get the grant until the last day of the month. So I think my report will be "Nothing to report due to not receiving grant". Think the government will accept that?
I wish I lived near wherever this photo was taken. I miss fall leaves.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


It's Wednesday which means hodgpodge time from Joyce. Thanks for another round of questions.

1. When it comes to good manners, what two top your list of most important?

Saying please and thank you. I think if you have those two phrases the rest of good manners comes along for the ride.

2. Let's open a proverbial can of worms...Common Core. Are you familiar with the term (talking education reform in the USA)? If so, care to share your thoughts? In your opinion, what is one of the biggest issues schools (in your home country) face today?

I hate that so many teachers feel like they have to teach for the test. But I think there has to be some kind of standardized test to show where students are in learning. So it is a catch 22 situation.

We have to get more students to get into math and science...especially girls. We fall way behind in that area and the way technology is going, you have to be good in those areas to get ahead in life anymore.

3. Name a celebrity whose fashion sense you admire and share why.

I don't pay attention to celebrities let alone what they wear except for the odd awards shows I watch and most of the time I'm stumped as to why someone would wear what they are wearing.

4. How are you affected by the changing seasons?

I love fall and the return of warmer clothes. But I don't like the dry hands and lips I get so I keep plenty of lotion and chapstick around.

5. Scariest book you've ever read?

I don't read scary books or watch scary movies. Too many other things I do like to spend time on something I don't.

6. What time of day are you most hungry? What's your go-to snack?

About 10:30am. Breakfast has worn off and it isn't lunch time. I keep a variety of snacks in my desk drawer...cereal bars, granola bars, 100 calorie packs. So it changes daily.

7. Do you lean more towards being too needy or too independent? Which do you find harder to deal with in others?

Too independent. It is hard to ask for help. In others the too needy so I distance myself from them.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It is getting to be that time of all the cute baby dress up in costume photos. I never did do that to my child by man are some of these cute.
This is from Cute Baby Costume

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Las Vegas Things To Do

If you've been to Las Vegas, you know there is so much to do that doesn't involve gambling and drinking. Really I promise. This time we went to two things I had never been to before

The first was the Secret Garden at the Mirage. It is a dolphin and cat exhibit that was started when they had Siegfried and Roy's magic show with the white tigers. We had free tickets (otherwise it is a little pricey). The first thing you see is the dolphins. We got there right when they were doing a training session and you really need to try and time it to see that. It wasn't too busy and we were able to get very close to the dolphins.

I didn't even zoom for this picture

Then you go through to see the tigers, lions and leopards. Since it was mid-afternoon they were all sleepy.

The other new thing we did was go see O at the Bellagio. It is a Cirque du Soleil show and wow. No pictures of course but here is the trailer they have so you can see some of the magical things they did.

Of course some of the other things we did were free and spectacular. The conservatory at the Bellagio is amazing. They had it decorated for fall. It had 8,000 mums inside and smelled incredible. They also had giant pumpkins and a talking tree.

You can't miss the fountain show at the Bellagio either.

It was a great vacation and still can't believe that my baby is 21.