Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hodgepodge-Welcome to May

Joyce gave us some questions this week. If you are here for the Z letter, it is the next post!

1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Are you blooming where you're planted as we begin the month of May?

I keep thinking of my pastor saying you need to be planted in a church. I took a month off from ushering in March and had so many people contact me to find out if I was ok, it was heartwarming. I realized what I needed out of my attendance at church and have adjusted my schedule accordingly. And I continue to usher at my normal time and see all my regulars...who are very happy to see me too.

2. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no big deal, and 10 being full scale panic, rank your fear of spiders.

Maybe a 3? Big spiders are creepy but we normally just get little ones in the house. I'm horrible at killing them because I can never seem to squish them on the carpet with a shoe. I've gotten better in the last couple of years.

3. May is National Salad Month (who knew???)...besides lettuce, what are two must-have ingredients in your favorite salad?

Croutons and fat-free salad dressing.

4. I mentioned on my blog last week that my Daughter1 will be moving to Washington State after she is married. Of the following sites in the Northwest, which would you most like to see in person-Crater Lake (Oregon), Seattle (Washington), Vancouver (British Columbia), San Juan Islands (Washington), Mt. Rainer (Washington) Oregon Coast (Oregon), Mt. St. Helens (Washington), or Olympic National Park (Washington)

I've been to all of those except Mt. St. Helens which I don't really need to see. We've talked about retiring to the Pacific Northwest because of its beauty. I think I would rank them now as Olympic National Park, Oregon Coast and then San Juan Islands for my current visit list. I was in Seattle in the beginning of March.

5. This coming weekend marks the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby...when did you last race (literally or figuratively) to cross a finish line?

A literal finish line was in November when I walked in a 5K race. Figurative finish line is probably when I finished our income taxes.

6. What is something little you love?

Miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

7. Would you say you are more of a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Elaborate.

Definitely visual. I need to see it written down in some form.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Here's my annual severe weather announcement. The people I work with are getting really good at knowing where tornado outbreaks are going to be. The Storm Prediction Center sets outlooks in the future. This past Friday they were talking about tornadoes on Sunday/Monday/Tuesday in the areas they occurred. In fact the Monday ones were almost all in the high risk area they identified. You MUST pay attention if you live in an area that gets a "Particularly Dangerous Storm" notification. They only use that for the big outbreaks. Unfortunately people still aren't taking shelter when they get these notices. Please, please, please, listen to the meteorologists. They are tasked with saving your lives. But only you can act on the information.

I highly recommend that you follow your local NWS office on twitter. Most offices are tweeting actively during severe weather. If you need help finding yours, let me know.

Z - Have Zero Debt

And finally we come to the letter Z. In some ways my bucket list item is fitting to be last. It is to have zero debt.

Debt can be very dangerous. I've seen how not taking care of your finances can hurt you. Thankfully, Dan and I made a very conscious decision to limit our debt. We have a mortgage (which will be paid off in a couple of years) and a car payment (last one in July!). Whenever we buy something, we try and do 90 days same as cash. In the last year we bought a back door for the house, a new oven/stove, box spring/mattress and some furniture. All of it was bought without paying any interest. We always pay our credit card off every month.

Why do we think this is important? First of all, we live within our means. There is no worry that someone is going to be after us for money. Because we don't owe anyone. And then there is the backup that if something catastrophic happened, we have things we can tap into for money.

So in a few years, we will not have any payments on anything. What a wonderful feeling to have!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y - Ride on a Yacht

Almost done with the A-Z challenge. This letter was hard for me. I had to resort to looking at words that start with Y (first time this year for that).

A yacht screams luxury to me. It seems like only rich people have them and I'm not rich. Maybe when I win the lottery some day I'll be rich.

But back to the yacht.
Photo from Business Insider

If you have a yacht, you probably have a captain and people who cook and clean up after you. That sounds like a good deal to me. Who wouldn't want someone to wait on you hand and foot?

Monday, April 28, 2014

X - Pass a Big Examination

Sorry this X letter is giving me fits. So I'm cheating and going with an X sound (exam).

A few years ago, while deciding what I could do to continue my education with my job, it was brought to my attention that there was an exam you could take to become a Certified Research Administrator. Normally this is done by people in a central administration office and not necessarily at the department level. But I sort of function at a higher level than most department administrators and I thought this might be a good idea.

I put it off for a couple of years but then I decided to go for it. I studied with a group. I went to an all day review session before a professional meeting. And then I took the test. 250 questions on all sorts of topics. Most of which I really don't handle (all that medical research is outside my knowledge base).

Best of all was I passed! And with that I get to put three little letters after my name on my email (CRA) and I never have to take the test again. As long as I keep up with continuing education (going to meetings counts!)

This was a big accomplishment and I'm glad I did it.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W - See Wonders of the World

Did you know that there were seven wonders of the ancient world and now that they only one exists, there are seven wonders of the modern world? I have been lucky enough to see one of the new ones.

Ancient World Wonders

Pyramids of Egypt
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Temple of Diana at Ephesus
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Colussus at Rhodes
Pharos at Alexandria

Current World Wonders

Great Wall of China

Last summer I went to China and climbed the wall. That was smog in the pictures (Beijing was horrible when I was there).

Colosseum in Rome
Petra, Jordan
Machu Pichu, Peru
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Taj Mahal, India
Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil

So have you ever seen a wonder of the world?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Fragments

I hadn't planned on this today but decided to go for it. If you are looking for my letter V for A to Z Blog Challenge it is the next post.

Mrs. 4444 is almost up to the 300th episode of Friday Fragments and is having a party. Go check her out.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Today is trash day and the recycle guy came before 7:30am. We aren't supposed to have our stuff out until 7:30. Somehow this is a fail and not on our part. So now we wait two more weeks for them to come by. Normally they come between 10-12. Regular trash doesn't come until after 5 a lot of the time.

Stupid criminal of the week is happened yesterday when officers were trying to serve a warrant on drugs. The guy decided to make a break for it...In an RV! Needless to say this didn't end well with a chase and the RV going into a ditch. (local story...yay us!)

All the tulips have lost their flowers so the university is digging out all the bulbs and anyone can get them. There was a madhouse this morning outside of work with people and plastic bags collecting them. How much money is wasted every year on this practice?

Our garage door keeps deciding it doesn't want to close. This is a problem when you are trying to get to work and am running late. Dan has tried to fix it but since we don't know what is wrong, it is difficult to determine. So a call to the garage door people is in order.

I'm struggling on X and Y for the blog challenge. I need to come up with X today so I can write the post and have it scheduled. I have a feeling I'm going to really stretch to come up with it. Writing with a theme has been most helpful but I haven't spent very much time looking for other people's blogs. I did originally and added a few to my reading list but I should go out and find some more. 

Enjoy some spring weather everyone! It's arts and music festival time so that means storms here. :)

V - Grow Vegetables

I do not have a green thumb. I'll be honest about that. Plus it is so darn hot here in the summer I hate to go outside and sweat. So growing vegetables is pretty far-fetched for me to do. But I would love to have homegrown tomatoes in the summer.

A few years ago we succombed to the Topsy Turvy craze. One thing they didn't tell you was how heavy it got with all the wet dirt in it. We had a heck of a time keeping it hanging. But then we were successful in getting the tomato plant to grow.

And we even got tomatoes to start growing.

But then I overwatered (at least that's what I think happened) and the plant withered and died before I got a ripe tomato. So my experiment failed. :(

I am however successful at growing basil. We usually have three plants so we can have fresh basil all summer.

Last summer we even did thyme and it grew until I was gone for a couple of weeks.

So I guess I'll stick with herbs until I move to a lower temperature summer place.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U - Understand God

As we start to wind down the letters of the alphabet, I'm starting to hit the wall of possibilities on my bucket list. Hence this far-reaching and not accomplishable goal. Understanding God. I'm not dumb enough to think I'll ever understand God. So I will stick with bible studies and going to church and surrounding myself with people who may know just a little bit more than me.

And when I die, then I can learn even more about Him.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T - Learn to Tango

Finally something from my completed bucket list. You would think with everything I've listed I would have accomplished more.

I made it a goal to learn how to tango before I turned 40. There is something sexy, seductive and just plain entertaining about the tango. If you've ever watched ballroom dancing, this is the one that entrances me. The fast leg work, the costumes, the smoldering looks. You know what I mean.

Our university has a ballroom dance club for students and they have open lessons once a week. The community can come. It wasn't expensive at all ($5/week). We learned several ballroom dances (salsa, cha-cha, waltz) but I wanted the tango. Finally, the last four weeks of the semester was the tango.

I learned the basic steps and a turn. That's it. But I can successfully say I've learned the tango!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S - Swim with Dolphins

Dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals there are. And frankly they are darn cute. So I would like to swim with them.

I've seen people swim with them both in Mexico and recently on our trip to Las Vegas. There is just something fascinating about how friendly they are.

I have to say normally I don't want anything touching me in the water. In fact I freak out with the thought of even fish touching me when I've snorkeled so that I wave my hands in front of me to keep them away. But there is something about a dolphin that doesn't make me feel that way.

Have you ever swam with a dolphin?

Monday, April 21, 2014

R - Ride in a RaceCar

It is no secret that I like to go fast. But fast is always better than slow when driving a car. I've been accused of being Danica Patrick on the raceway. (I always drive the speed limit though).

So someday I'd like to ride in a real race car and go fast around a track. I'm not sure I want to drive fast, but I certainly would like to ride in a fast car.

The Texas Motor Speedway is only a couple hours away. They have lots of those driving experiences where you pay to ride in the car with a professional driver. I think I could do that.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q - Quit Biting my Nails

This is probably the first bucket list item I've completed...even before I knew what a bucket list was.

When I was a child I had the worst habit of biting my nails. It was horrible. I would bite them down so far they would bleed. Nothing would make me stop. I knew I wanted to stop and I couldn't.

I wanted nice nails when I got married and they were horrible still. I even tried to do the press on nails but that was still when they looked super fake. And I couldn't make them work.

Finally when I was pregnant my nails started to grow. And I stopped biting them. They still didn't look great, but at least they weren't bleeding anymore.

So about 10 years ago, I decided to get my nails done. I thought I was just going to get a manicure, but instead I got fake nails. And they were beautiful. For awhile I always got them painted red, but then I discovered you could get all sorts of colorful tips.

And then I decided I was spending too much money on them and I hated to waste the time. So I had them taken off. Everyone says your nails get weakened by getting fake ones, and that is true. But by some miracle, my nails recovered quickly. They continued to grow and look good.

Now my problem is that as soon as I get them all to grow out and look nice, I break one. Right now I'm in a nice looking nail state. As soon as this posts, I'm sure I'll break one.

Excuse the shiny skin, I has just put lotion on and have a glare from my office window.

Friday, April 18, 2014

P - Make a Pie Crust from Scratch

I love to cook especially baking. But the one thing I have not mastered that I really want to is making a pie crust from scratch. I've tried but I just can't make it.

I remember one day before Thanksgiving, as I tried to make a pie crust, I ruined it. So I tried again. Ruined it again. I just could not get the right consistency. I ended up crying, throwing in the towel and going to the store to by the ones in the freezer. I've moved on to buying the rolled up ones. But I swore I would never try again. And I haven't for 10 years.

But now I'm feeling more confident in my abilities. I have a food processor so that should help. Maybe this year for Thanksgiving I'll be cooking pies like a pro.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O - One on One Cooking Lesson

As I've gotten older, I'm really enjoying cooking. I am obsessed with Food Network and cooking shows. I tape The Chew everyday and watch it when I get home from work. Every Day. I've started to collect cookbooks even though there are thousands of recipes online. But I really want is to have a one-on-one cooking lesson.

Here I am with Michael Symon. I went to an event and got an autographed cookbook from him. I would definitely take a lesson with him. I do learn a lot watching him cook on tv. I think his style suits my tastes. His most recent cookbook 5 in 5 really is easy to follow. I highly recommend it.

I also like watching Carla Hall cook. I've got one of her cookbooks and I'm not as impressed with her recipes. But I think she can teach people well. Plus she could teach me tomorrow's post (just wait and read).

But maybe I just need to find a local chef to help me with some dishes. I keep thinking that now that I have a Kitchenaid mixer, I should get the pasta attachments. But we don't eat as much pasta as we used to and I'm afraid that would be a waste of money.

I need to learn some knife skills. Dan cringes when he sees me chop. Normally he's the chopper of the family.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N - New York City

New York City - What a wonderous site (or at least that's what I imagine). I promise this is the last of my travel bucket list items. But I love to see the world.

There is so much to see and do in NYC. I can't imagine trying to cram it into a week, but here goes.


Right now I'd love to see either Kinky Boots or Book of Mormon


I can understand why so many New Yorkers eat out. So many choices and they all seem to have tiny apartment kitchens where they store stuff in their ovens. I can see why you would do a lot of burn off the calories.

Statue of Liberty

Come to me, your tired masses yearning to be free. I had some relatives come in through Ellis Island.

Central Park

A big park in the middle of a big city. Wow.

9/11 Memorial

I think this is a day that touched so many of us.

Have you been to NYC? If so, what are my must sees?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M - Drive a Mustang Convertible

Doesn't everyone have a dream car? For me it is a Ford Mustang Convertible. I don't know why I love it so much.

Photo from

First of all, I love the red color. Something about it just says "Hey, come and drive me fast". Then there are the sleek lines and the looks you get when in a cool looking car. Then there is the convertible part. There is something about the thought of driving down a road winding around a beach that makes me want to drive it.

But then there is the practical side of me. Number one, I dislike the sun and my hair blowing around. So when would I put the top down on the car? Second was the price. When I got a new car five years ago, I was able to purchase a new car. Dan encouraged me to test drive the Mustang but I knew I couldn't afford it. I hated to try something that I was going to love and then not be able to get it. So I avoided the Ford dealership totally. I did end up with a Honda Civic coupe which has a sports car feel without the sticker price.

Someday I'm going to drive one of these and not worry about the wind or the sun or anything else.

Did you know it is the 50th anniversary of the Mustang? On Wednesday they are going to put one on top of the Empire State Building.

Have you ever wanted something but been afraid to actually try it because of the cost?

Monday, April 14, 2014

L - Learn CPR

Learning CPR is truly a lifesaving skill. I have yet to possess this skill. I wonder why I haven't taken the time to do a course.

I have to say I'm lucky to have never been in a situation where CPR was needed. And if it was and I knew how to do it, would I panic? Would I stay calm and administer it correctly?

You can even learn it online (while not getting a certification, you can at least view it).

So let's all add this to our list of things to learn.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K - Run a 5K

I have always wanted to do a 5K. I'm not athletic. The thought of sweating gives me chills. But I wanted to do this. I figured I could do this.

Last Thanksgiving, Dan and I walked a Turkey Trot 5K. It was a fundraiser for tornado victims. Good cause. I finished in 45 minutes. Which was about what I figured since I was walking the whole thing.

But I want to run one. I never run. I'm not coordinated enough to run. I realize that I should run some before really committing to running a 5K. But I just can't get up my courage to do so. I like walking on a treadmill.

Have you ever really wanted to do something and know it is feasible, but just can't get yourself motivated?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Fragments

If you are looking for today's A-Z Challenge post, keep reading the next post.

Mrs. 4444 is getting ready to celebrate her 300th Friday Fragment (can you believe that?) and is hosting a giveaway on May 9. Check her out to read about it.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Stupid criminals this week is quite the story. A group of people were in a car. Car gets pulled over and driver is arrested for a DUI. Passenger decides to drive the car. He gets pulled over...DUI. Third passenger decides to drive car. Guess what? He gets pulled over for DUI. I think he wins the award for stupid. He obviously didn't seen the other two guys in the same car get a DUI.

The tulips are still blooming here. The ones at work are gorgeous red ones. My lily plants decided that the winter was not harsh and are coming back in my mailbox planters. So a big win for me.

I'm still ahead in my A-Z posts. So far have written through mid-week next week but I've got to get going so I can still stay ahead. I've got three letters to figure out so my thinking cap will be coming on soon.

My credit union stopped paying interest on savings accounts. They said that no one in our market is paying. Isn't that just sad. I thought we were supposed to be rewarded for saving money. What is this world coming to?

This weekend we are hanging the big mirror that came with the new dresser we bought. We didn't want it attached to the dresser so we are hanging a huge 40 pound mirror on the wall. Thank goodness for youtube help videos we figure out the correct system. I'm sure it is going to look fabulous.

J - Be a Judge of Something

I've never judged anything. Not a talent contest, cooking contest not even on a jury. So just once, I'd like to be a judge...preferably for a cooking contest.

I've often wondered how you become such a judge. If you want to judge a BBQ contest, you have to be certified. I've even looked at it before. But I don't want to pay to be certified to judge BBQ. I'm not into it that much.

Or how do you get to judge the county fair entries for jams and jellies? Do you have to be a past winner? Or maybe a famous chef in your city?

I've even wondered about shows like Top Chef when they have restaurant wars or the big parties that bring in normal people. How do you get to do that? It's not like we will have any show that size come to Oklahoma, but still I'd like to know.

Have you ever judged something?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I - Italy

I most certainly want to go to Italy someday. There is so much to see and do and eat and drink!

Amalfi Coast

Photo from


Photo from


Photo from travelsacrossitaly

Parmesan Cheese


So many things to do. So many delicious foods to eat. I don't think is enough time to explore it all in one trip.

Have you been to Italy? If so, what was your can't miss moment?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


If you are looking for the H post for A-Z, it is the next post.

Joyce has another week's questions for Hodgepodge. Next week she is taking a "spring break". So this will have to tide you over for two weeks.

1. April showers bring May flowers, or so the saying goes. When did you last 'shower' attention on someone or have attention 'showered' on you? Did you love it, or did all that attention make you squirm?

I really can't remember either activity recently. The last time I really remember a lot of attention on me was for my 40th birthday. Dan threw me a party. But that has been (mumble mumble) several years ago.

2. Share a favorite 'spring break' memory. Not talking about just the 'college spring break' thing, but any favorite spring break memory you'd like to share. Keep it family friendly please!

We took a lot of vacations during spring break with it easy for me to take off that week. One of my favorites was our first trip to Disney World. Whitney was in kindergarten and then sense of wonder at meeting the characters still fills my heart with joy.

3. It's National Pecan Month...are you a fan? If so, what's your favorite dish that calls for pecans?

I'm not a fan of pecans. They grow them around here but I just don't like them.

4. 'Put all your eggs in one basket', 'egg on your face', 'rotten egg', 'walk on eggshells', or 'a good egg'...which egg-spression could most recently be applied to your own life?

A good egg. I went to lunch yesterday with someone from church who told me how much she appreciated me ushering and how lost she felt when I took a month off. I felt like a pretty good egg.

5. In my experience___________________________________.

you can start every day fresh and with a renewed spirit.

6. What's a favorite song with the word rain in its title or lyrics?

Purple Rain by Prince. I'm a product of the 80's.

7. What does the word hope mean to you?

Hope is what we all must have when things look dire and full of despair. We must have hope to help us rise above the challenge.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have won the world's most awesome mother award. Justin Timberlake is coming here in December. Presale tickets went on sale yesterday for fan club members. I actually joined the fan club so I could get the tickets early since Whitney wanted to go so bad. (of course I get to go too). I can't believe how expensive tickets are so we are pretty far away but she is a happy girl.

Now just to wait for six months for the concert.