Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Break

I'm off on Christmas break now. This is the best part of working for a university.

Enjoy time with family and friends. See you all in 2016!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Merry Christmas all the way to hodgepodge land!

Last Hodgepodge for me in 2015. 

1. What's your biggest 'first world' problem?
When the network connection goes down at work and I can't get to my files. I'll just be sitting around doing nothing without those files.

2. Each year Time Magazine names a 'Person of the Year', someone who has 'for better or worse...done the most to influence the events of the year.' It was recently announced they've named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. You can read more about this year's selection here. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year?

I think its a fine choice. She really is a powerful woman (women power!). It could have been George Lucas for creating the Star Wars saga. After all the hoopla the last few months with the new movie coming out.

3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share it's history and how you display the pieces.

I don't have a nativity set and I keep looking for one because I really want one. But they all seem too big or too small or too childlike.

4. Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?

We adopt a couple of foster kids to buy gifts for. Our county had over 800 children in foster care. Can you imagine that?

5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?

Easy question...Whitney. She is so easy to buy for, I really could go crazy.

6. What's the last delicious thing you ate?

Risotto I made on Sunday night. Probably the best batch I've ever made.

7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is________________.

Being kind and generous with your time.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December Hodgepodge

Look at this. I'm actually scheduling a blog post! Joyce is so good in putting out questions, I should be good and answer them!

1. Did you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special Monday night? Who's your favorite Peanuts character and why?

We watched both the anniversary show and the annual Charlie Brown Christmas special. It's an annual tradition for us. I've always said I'm a Lucy but Snoopy is my favorite.

"Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind."~Linus

Would you agree?

I think a pumpkin patch sounds kind of cold so I wouldn't suggest this as a relief for a troubled mind.

2. Describe a sound from your childhood. What does this sound bring to mind?

I really don't have any sounds I associate with childhood.

3. You've won a trip to a winter wonderland...would that excite you? Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which one would you dislike the least)-see the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden's Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland Finland, take a winter wildlife safari in Yellowstone or celebrate Winter Carnival in Quebec?

While I would love dogsledding, I would choose the Aurora Borealis simply because you can't get it just anywhere and it is spectacular.

4. Who or what keeps you humble?

Belief in God as a higher power and knowing that I am unable to control things.

5. What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most? Explain.

Enjoying Christmas lights. There is something serene about sitting in a dark room with just Christmas lights on.

6. Gingerbread-yay or nay? Is making a gingerbread house part of your family holiday tradition?

I'm not a huge gingerbread fan. I think we made one or two houses but only from a kit.

7. What's one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into a new year?

I'd like to get plans for my first three trips of 2016 sorted out.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I finished my third 5K of 2015 on Thanksgiving morning. It was a rainy day but thankfully 60 degrees. The next day was rainy and 33. I doubt I would have done it that day.

After the race was finished. Just a tad bit wet!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What I've Been Up To!

Best way to jump back in is to list the things I've been up to while away from blogging.

1. I turned 50!!!!!!!

August was birthday month here and I turned 50. Here's three generations getting together to celebrate. The funny story was the restaurant knew it was for someone's 50th birthday. My mom and I got there first and they kept telling her happy birthday. She had a great time with that! And so did I!

2. I've traveled many places

In June I went to Washington DC for a quick trip and stopped in at the Smithsonian.

In October I went on two trips.

First up was Miami with a small cruise to Nassau, Bahamas.

The cruise was just a weekend one. I partaked in a martini tasting and Hoda Kotb was on the cruise for the first of her party crasher series. It was just on the Today show last week.

Then just a week later I went to Las Vegas for a conference. It was at the Paris so I ended up with a great view from my room.

The Bellagio was right across the street so I watched quite a few of the fountain shows (which I could see partially from my room too!)

And I ate one of the best meals at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. We went for brunch and it was outstanding. I highly recommend it.

3. Had a major review at work

We had a HUGE review of our major project in August (right before my birthday). It took months of planning and preparing but we received an outstanding rating and a continuation of our $75 million in funding. Yeah for us!

4. Whitney is still looking for a job

No one would have thought it would take so long to find a job after she graduated. She finally got a part-time job at HomeGoods for seasonal work and so she can save some money. She's been so close too many times but we have faith in God that he will open a door for her soon and she can get on her way to adult life. We've enjoyed having her live at home because we know this time will soon come to a close.

5. Planning 2016 vacations

Travel is a big part of our lives. I've already got three trips lines up for the first three months of 2016. January we will be going to New Orleans. February will be New York City. March will be Washington, DC. All for work and I'll be adding in extra fun time for all three! I know in October I will be going to San Antonio for another work trip and there will be at least one more work trip in the fall. I'm very blessed with a job that sends me out on trips.

So there you go. Six months in a nutshell. Hopefully it won't be six months before I post again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hodgepodge - This Means I'm Still Kicking!

So it's been six months since I last wrote. I'm still alive and kicking. More later about what has happened during this time.

1. What's surprised you most about your life, or about life in general?

That I'm still in Oklahoma. I came her to go to college more than 30 years ago and I've never moved. Since I moved so much while a child I never imagined I would live in one place my whole adult life.

2. Among others, these ten words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year...awesomesauce, beer o'clock, brain fart, buttdial, cat cafe (apparently this is a real thing), fatberg (gross-read the definition here), fat shame, hangry,Mx (gender neutral), and skippable.

Your thoughts? In looking over the list, which word do you find most ridiculous? Which word would you never in a million years say out loud? Which word would you be most likely to use in conversation?

Well I've been known to use awesomesauce, buttdial and brain fart before. Ridiculous would be fatberg.

3. Do you like gravy? Is there a food you'd rather not eat unless it comes with gravy? Do you make your own or buy the canned or store-made variety? Turkey and gravy, sausage gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, country ham and red eye gravy, biscuits and chocolate gravy, pot roast and gravy...which one on the list is your favorite?

I love gravy on mashed potatoes. We always make from scratch for Thanksgiving (that's Dan's job).

4. Do you have a plan? Do you need a plan? Have you ever had a plan fall into a trillion pieces? Explain.

I think you always need a plan but need to be flexible on it. Many a planned vacation can come apart if you aren't flexible.

5. November 19 is National Play Monopoly Day. Do you own the original or some version of the game? Do you enjoy playing Monopoly? How likely is it you'll play a game of Monopoly on November 19th? Ever been to Atlantic City? Ever taken a ride on a railroad? Is parking in your town free? Last thing you took a chance on?

Monopoly is not a favorite game of mine. Which is funny since I work with money. I've always found that if you don't compromise on trading properties you can never get ahead in that one so I don't like playing. We have the original game. I've never been to Atlantic City. Only railroad I've been on was the one in Alaska.

6. A song you like that has the word (or some form of the word) thanks in the title, lyrics, or meaning?

I'm terrible on lyrics and titles so nothing comes to mind.

7. In keeping with this month's theme of gratitude....what is something you're taking for granted that when you stop and think about it, you're grateful for?

My health.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

So six months and so much to write about. I hope that I can do a big wrap up and catch people up. Please know that I do read all your blogs still. I have problems when I make comments because I get lots of returned email but I love reading them.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The First Time I ...

So this weekend was a first for me. I mowed the yard. I'm not joking that I've never done it before. Outside + heat = sweating...just isn't going to happen. But Dan's neck still isn't better and there was no way he could mow. He said let's just get the neighbor kid to do it but I was insistent that I could. Plus after 23 inches of rain it needed it badly.

Yes I'm smiling. It was a moment. Thank goodness for self-propelling mowers. For a first time mower I did a pretty good job. I'm smart enough to know though that the trimmer and I were not going to be friends so we still have some pretty tall grass around the house. Its the back yard so nobody but us sees it so I'm not sweating it.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Join me and others along with our hostess Mrs. 4444 in emptying minds of little tidbits in another edition of Friday Fragments.

Field experiment team left today for Kansas. If you see a caravan of radar trucks and vehicles with weird stuff on know you've seen my group.

While waiting outside with the vehicles I noticed our resident geese hanging out and munching on grass. Guess they were the bon voyage party.

All the rain has brought my lilies back to life. I planted these in my mailbox two years ago. Last year they came back but really didn't produce flowers. This year they will be beautiful.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Late Hodgepodge

I wasn't going to do it but then it just called out to me and said "Fill Me In" so I'm filling it in. :)

1. Did you do anything 'memorable' this past weekend?
We watched the sport of weather forecasting. You didn't know that is a sport? Here in Oklahoma it sure is when the weather gets bad. It is a race for which tv station can show a tornado first.

2. Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying-

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."

Your thoughts? Do you somehow acknowledge and appreciate the freedoms you enjoy? Did your upbringing contribute to that sense of appreciation? If you're a parent, are there specific things you do to pass on this sense of responsibility and appreciation to your own children in regard to the freedoms they enjoy?

I think we take freedom for granted in the USA. But it is certainly something that you shouldn't because it can all change on a dime.

3. Loudest noise you've ever heard?

Lightning strike really close to the house.

4. What was the last thing you ate that might be considered 'junk food'? Did you enjoy it?

I had some Reese's peanut butter cups this afternoon that someone brought me as a bribe to help them with a proposal. They were tasty and the bribe helped.

5. When was the last time you were somewhere the crowd felt 'packed in like sardines'?

When we were in London and rode the tube during rush hour. Boy can they pack them in.

6. Are you organized when it comes to packing for a trip? Do you make a list weeks in advance or toss items in last minute? Are you a carry-on only sort of packer or do you need an entire suitcase for your shoes?

I'm pretty good at packing for a trip. I used to make extensive lists but then I started travelling more and just remembered what I needed. I do seem to forget something though each time. I tend to overpack especially on business because I need both business wear in the day and comfy clothes at night.

7. What was the last sporting event you attended in person? Did your team win? Did you care?

I bought Dan a small pack of tickets to the OKC Dodgers (our AAA baseball team). We went to opening night in April and it was packed. The Dodgers won and are really doing well this year.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The rain continues to come down and we are officially the wettest month EVER. Supposedly it should be nice next week. I've enjoyed not being too hot but I can do without the humidity. Even on the days it isn't raining it is so humid that it feels like it is raining.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Fragments

Joining Mrs. 4444 for a fragments edition. Been awhile since I've done one so you know I've got to have some.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

We've had record rain and when I mean record I mean really really wet. In May we are going to set the record for wettest month EVER. Places have been flooding that I've never seen flood. Our lake provides water for the town and it went to the flood drain for the first time since it was built in the 50's. That much rain. And it is supposed to rain for the next seven days. I'm thinking kayaks and canoes will be the only way to get around.
This was our backyard when we got 4 inches of rain. That's a river flowing into the neighbors yard. And a lake in the backyard too. It isn't supposed to look like that.

During all that rain we had a couple of big hail storms. BASEBALL size hail hit the house. Our insurance adjuster has been out and was circling hole after hole on the roof. Waiting to get the whole estimate but I'm sure a new roof will be coming soon. Along with gutters, hot tub cover and hammock.

And the rain has kept the temperatures down. In fact I'm wearing a sweater right now. Which I don't think I've ever worn one this late into May. Feels like a fall day instead of spring here.

Whitney has been home now two weeks and cooked dinner for us every night. She's in major practice mode for when she gets an apartment. She still is looking for a job but a couple of good possibilities are out there. She is so earnest about looking and wants one so bad. I appreciate everything that she has been doing to look for one.

My summer at work just keeps getting busier. We finally got review dates for our main grant and preparing for that will take up a lot of time. Add in a seven week field experiment that starts next week where we are sending about 30 people to Kansas to investigate nighttime thunderstorms and I've been a bit busy at work. I'm not sure it will ever really slow down. I keep telling them no more field experiments but they don't listen. Already planning the next one and it will be a dozy. I'm not looking forward to that one.

And there is my fragments for you. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Tribute to David Letterman

Tonight is David Letterman's last show on television. While over the last few years I have stopped watching a lot of late night tv, I'll miss Dave.

I actually remember when he had a daytime tv show. I was probably one of the few people who watched it but it was on in the summer while I was in high school.

Then he moved to really late night (11:30 where I lived). And the humor was perfect for a college student. Dan and I used to watch him every night. We still talk about things he did way back then.

The Suit of Velcro

Throwing things off the roof

Paul Newman on Letterman's first night in the Ed Sullivan Theater

Every Christmas taking the meatball off the top of tree with a football

Then there are the sayings. I wouldn't give his troubles to a monkey on a rock. All the squirrel/nut jokes. How he adored Johnny Carson.

We still joke about how Dave loves the kids. He did one bit where he asked a kid what his favorite food was and he said lettuce. Next shot had them eating heads of lettuce like they were apples. That still makes me chuckle.

Late night tv was forever changed by Dave. If you watch both Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel and their tributes to Dave you know that their lives were changed by him. 

Happy retirement Dave.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

San Diego

I'm so swamped at work I never was able to talk about my trip to San Diego at the end of April. It was a quick trip for a two day workshop (that was actually productive). A week before the meeting the hotel changed. This turned out to be a win for all because the new hotel was right across from the marina and right next to Little Italy.

I ate a lot of seafood because you know we just don't get good stuff in Oklahoma.

But the greatest part of the location was the fact that Top Chef winner Richard Blais' restaurant Juniper & Ivy was less than a mile from the hotel. I was a little geeked out at that tidbit and planned my eating accordingly.

I'm one of those people that really doesn't mind eating by myself. I travel enough that it has to happen. I made a reservation for one but when I got there they said they had seats at the chef table if I wanted one. I'm not a fool...I of course said yes. Basically I had a view of the seafood section of the kitchen.

Richard Blais is a user of molecular gastronomy. That turned out to be an adventure that I was happy to take. My server was great and she was able to get a lot of things halved so I could try a bunch.

First up was his take on deviled eggs. It was actually an egg meringue. So a little sweet.

Then I ventured into octopus. It was grilled and had an eel sauce glaze. It was cooked to perfection.

Then I moved on to yellowtail tostadas. These were probably the best thing I ate in a long time. In fact I had a half order and then had the other half order.

Then it was dessert time. He made a take on a yodel (you know that chocolate cake with white cream frosting rolled up). This one had liquid nitrogen ice cream in it and then the hard chocolate outside was covered in hot chocolate. Oh my. If I could have licked the plate I would have.

I also had a couple of their crafted cocktails and bought an autographed copy of his cookbook. So I blew my per diem plus more but it was so worth it. I'm happy I was able to go to this restaurant. I really understand how there is a difference in average and highly skilled chefs.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Last weekend my baby graduated college. So proud of her for finishing in four years and graduating cum laude. What a privilege it is to be her mother!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Fragments

Mrs. 4444 hosts this weekly gathering of fragments. Go give her a shoutout!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Lots happening around here. So here goes.

Good news is Whitney has a phone interview next Friday for a dream job. And she may have another interview get set up today. Fingers crossed that something great works out for her.

A lot of excitement at work yesterday and not the good kind. Somebody drove through the security gate at the loading dock and we think committed suicide in his burning car. Sad day. Praying for his family and also for our loading dock guy and the security guard that had to deal with it. We don't know a lot about what happened. But it was on national news because of our building.

We got our refund finally from our missed tour while in London last month. It took a month but I'm so happy to get that refund when it was the company's fault. I have written a review of them on Tripadvisor.

I'm off to San Diego next week for a two day workshop. I'm looking forward to eating at another Top Chef restaurant which just happens to be less than a mile from my hotel. Score a win for me!

We had a tree guy trim back our horribly overgrown bushes. He thinks they will all come back but for the first year they are going to look pretty sparse. It was much cheaper to pay him to cut them back than it would have been to dig them up and start from scratch. I'll live with scruffy looking.

Also time to plant some flower seeds. Last year's experiment with my seeds worked out so well that I'm trying again. I picked a shorter flower so hopefully they won't fall over into the sidewalk this year. 

And with that, I'm done with fragments.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Kickstarting blogging this week.
1. Have you ever had to wear a uniform? If yes, tell us more. Did you love it or hate it?
I had to wear an orange apron over my clothes when I worked at Builders Square. That's the closest I came to a uniform.

2. April 22nd is Earth Day. What is one thing you do personally to be a good steward of planet Earth?
I recycle with our city. They come every two weeks to collect paper, cans, glass, cardboard. It is amazing how much less we have in our normal trash.

3. Brown rice, quinoa, or couscous...your healthy grain of choice? How often are one of the three on your menu at home? Given a choice between white rice, brown rice, wild rice, and fried rice which would you go for?
I like couscous but I don't make it very often. I'm not sure why since it is super easy. Not a big fan of brown rice although some of my frozen lunches now have it. The one time I tried to make quinoa I burned it.

4. In your opinion, who has the best job ever?

5. What's a situation in your life currently requiring patience?
The search for a new boss. I have a feeling it is going to take another year but there isn't anything I can do to make it go faster.

6. Do you live your life around days of the week? Explain.
I think when you work you do. Everything revolves around those days and trying to cram in everything else when you are off.

7. In a nod to the A to Z challenge happening around town this month, what 'R word' best describes your April?
Reflective. My baby is graduating college in three weeks. Oh my.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I thought I had strep throat last week but it turned out to be allergies. I have never had spring allergies. And when I occassionally get them in the fall I never am congested...I just lose my voice. So this time when my throat hurt so bad I thought it was strep. Nope, just those pesky allergies everyone in Oklahoma suffers from.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

London Part Two

We went to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. They were only doing them on odd days in March so we knew the crowds would be bigger. We thought we were getting there early enough but at first it didn't seem so. We went to the Victoria statue in the circle outside of the gates. That gave us a view of the approaching bands and troops. Then they all go behind a gate. The people crushed against the fence may have seen some things but they really wouldn't have a good view. It is a 45 minute ceremony so people started getting bored and left. That opened up the steps right in front of the statue and a perfect view of the gate.

It was diplomatic introduction day so this is the carriage carrying the Venezualan ambassador.

Great view right?

We toured the Royal Mews after the changing of the guard. This is where they have all the carriages and horses. This is the coronation carriage that has been used for hundreds of years. They have to take a wall down to get it out.

We took a boat ride since it was a warmer day and got a great picture of the London Eye. We never made it into there but I'm sure it gives great views of the city.

Of course no trip to London would be complete without a trip to Harrods. I got some cookies for my mom and chocolate for me. Whitney went to the Laduree store and got macarons.

We went to St. Paul's Cathedral. It was huge inside (no pictures allowed). We climbed up to the top of the inside of the dome. That is not for the unhealthy (257 spiral stairs up). 

Other places we visited were the National Gallery (loved the huge Monet Water Lillies), Courtald Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Kensington Palace, Victoria & Albert Museum, Selfridge's and lots of rides on the tube.

We also tried lots of different foods while there. Among my favorites was baconaise (bacon flavored mayonaise for fries), prawn salad sandwiches, and these prawn cocktail flavored chips.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

London - Part One

We spent a week in London in March for spring break. There was so much to see and do that a week isn't enough time.

The weather overall was pretty good. It only rained twice. A lot of the places we visited you couldn't take photos inside so I didn't get as many pictures as I normally take.

We started our first day of touring at the British Museum. It is free to visit (what a bonus for locals).

The Rosetta Stone

They have a huge ancient Egypt collection

Actual pieces from the Parthenon in Greece

My favorite part of this museum was the Asyrian collection but I didn't take any photos. I hadn't really seen pieces from that time period and it was a great collection.

The second day we went to the Tower of London.
They were setting up for the Game of Thrones premiere so had to avoid the tents

What a great tour guide (they hate being called that)

Collection of armor

This was for a child or a dwarf - stories vary on that

We also saw the crown jewels right when they opened but no photos. 
The Tower Bridge

After that we went to the Globe Theater which isn't Shakespeare's original one (that burned down) but a recreation. It had a great museum inside.

I'll have more later.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Alton Brown Live

Last Thursday Dan and I went to see one of my favorite Food Network personalities, Alton Brown, on his Edible Inevitable tour. I bought my tickets as soon as they went on sale and we had great seats. If you don't know who he is, just watch Good Eats, Cuthroat Kitchen or Iron Chef America and you'll know who it is. It was quite a fun evening.

He put together a 2 1/2 hour show. It was a combination of songs, stories, cooking demonstrations. His only requirement it was stuff that no one would let him do on tv. His two cooking demonstrations was making ice cream in 10 seconds using fire extinguishers and cooking a pizza in 3 minutes using a massive pizza oven made from concert lights. Both were highly entertaining.

The evening ended with questions from the audience. I couldn't believe that he had filled the Civic Center so much but all the balconies were full (if you've ever been here you'll know that's a lot of people). Alton has always been a big one for using twitter so all questions were submitted that way. You had to include a selfie.  At intermission is submitted one and it was one of the ones picked! So my selfie shows up on the big screen and I stand up waving my arms like a crazy woman. I asked him what his favorite sabotage was on Cuthroat Kitchen and he said the ones that really make the chefs think like the warped crepe pan or using a wok for stir fry but only upside down. After the show everyone around me loved my question and then someone from work was just two rows ahead of us.

It was a fun evening. Unfortunately you won't be able to catch him since his tour just ended. But if you get the chance I highly recommend it. He was really funny and it was a clean show for all ages.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Fragments

Wow I have returned from the land of travelling and have a short bit to write some fragments. I tried to last week and my Blog app for the ipad wouldn't let me save the post. I thought it was just a small problem so I uninstalled and installed the app and now it won't connect to my blog. Alas no help there and I didn't have the patience to figure it out.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

London was great. Lots of stuff to do but the plane ride to/from is killer. Literally had a 4x5 inch tv screen to watch anything on. 

And as soon as we got home last Friday I turned around and went to Washington DC on Monday morning for a work trip. Jet lag kicked in and it was not a pleasant Tuesday. I won't be doing back to back trips like that again for a long time.

And them I missed out on tornadoes and hail at home plus the trees have all bloomed and gone green. Talk about missing a season.

Obligatory selfie pose from trip.

I'll post more later but wanted to let people know I'm alive and kicking!