Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"What's this word mean?"

As a child, if you asked your mom or dad, or teacher, "What's this word mean?", they likely said, "Go look it up in the dictionary."

And no kid who asked that question EVER wanted to take the time to do that. Otherwise, they wouldn't have asked in the first place, right? They were impatient to know, so they could get their homework done. Or understand the sentence they just read in whatever they were reading. Probably a good book. Maybe one by Madeleine L'Engle. She never wrote "down" to kids.

I'm pretty sure Ms L'Engle never used the "most looked up word" on Dictionary.com this year. The "most looked up word" on Dictionary.com was actually not even in my Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Are you ready for it?

It is cal·li·pyg·i·an (kāl'ə-pĭj'ē-ən), an adjective meaning having beautifully proportioned buttocks.
Seriously, I'm not kidding. What teacher would put this word on the weekly vocabulary list? And how does a person use this word in a sentence?
I wonder if that guy is attracted to callipygian women?
I joined a gym so I could become a callipygian woman.

It sounds like a nationality, doesn't it? Or a body of water

[From Greek kallipugos : kalli-, beautiful (from kallos, beauty) + pugē, buttocks.]
Word Origin & Historycallipygian
"of, pertaining to, or having beautiful buttocks," 1800, from Gk. kallipygos, name of a statue of Aphrodite, from kalli-, combining form of kallos "beauty" + pyge "rump, buttocks." Sir Thomas Browne (1646) refers to "Callipygæ and women largely composed behinde."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

Just out of curiosity, I used the reverse dictionary and looked up every other body part I could think of to see if there was a special term for a "well shaped _______". There is not. Only the buttocks have the special privilege to have a word for their perfection.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Making Fabric Covered Boxes

The shoe boxes with flip lids that my sons' shoes come in make great storage boxes. I decided to buy some cheap fabric to cover them and make them suitable for use somewhere other than a closet. I chose a patterned fabric that came in many colors because I'm all about color coding and I wanted them to be coordinated. It's much quicker than reading a label, though I'll probably put some kind of temporary labels on them.
After an attempt to fit the fabric around an intact box, I realized the project would go faster and look more professional if I took the box apart, so that it would lie flat and I could make a pattern for it. These boxes don't use glue at all; they fit together using only slots.

First, I traced around the box on some paper that had been used as filler in a parcel we received. I cut out the paper pattern and pinned it on the fabric, then cut out the fabric.

Then I used double sided tape to attach the fabric to the shoebox. Pull the edges tight for a nice smooth look. I tried to have a generous half inch of fabric on the inside edges, so as not to be short somewhere. You can always trim off the extra. Here is the box about halfway completed.

After you've taped all the edges, reassemble the box. I am very pleased with how my first two turned out. Now I have turquise, purple, blue and pink to do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Green Christmas

I found some pretty fabrics today that I thought would be great for wrapping Christmas presents. No sewing needed.
I bought a yard and a quarter of each of the three fabrics. Just cut on the lengthwise fold line down the middle of the fabric and get two wrapping pieces. Each piece will cover a normal size clothing box. Perhaps leave one or two of them uncut to cover large boxes.
Wrap around the box until you've used all the fabric. If it wraps around three times...who cares. And two of the three are black backgrounds, so the recipient can't see through. Tape, and put a ribbon around it!
No wrapping paper to gather up on Christmas morning and no waste going to the landfill. Just fold it up and put in your wrapping paper box til next year. My family will love this.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Meeting Pioneer Woman

Yesterday, I got to meet Pioneer Woman aka Ree Drummond in Denver at The Tattered Cover for her first book signing outside her home state. And her mother-in-law, Nan and sister-in-law, Missy.

PW held a thirty minute Q & A session, then got down to business signing books. In the Q& A we learned that Ree is going to publish a book on her romance with Marlboro Man. Yeah!

It was no surprise to all PW's fans that hundreds of people-- I heard the figure of 500 tossed around--showed up, but the bookstore was caught off guard . The bookstore ran out of books sometime after I bought mine ...whew, I would have been upset if I hadn't been able to buy a book. All seats were taken by the time I arrived, so people lined the walls and filled the stairways on either side of the room. An employee said they would have picked their bigger store had they known.

I did not get my book signed til 11 PM. I did not mind the 3 hour wait though. I passed the time very pleasantly talking with Blair and Tara, whom I met at the signing. And I also got to speak with Nan and Missy for a while. (I'm kicking myself now because I didn't think to ask them to sign my book and magazine.) I had Ree sign my cookbook and the People magazine that had an article about her and her family. She did not rush anybody through the line even though it was getting very late. (There were probably 40 people after me, so she was there til at least midnight I'm sure.)
The cookbook is absolutely gorgeous with lots of yummy recipes and has lots of beautiful photos of Ree's family too. Thanks , Ree!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Magic of Kale

Dietary experts are always saying, "Eat lots of dark greens." I recently noticed that my skin seemed to improve when I ate kale. Was it my imagination that kale helped? I did an internet search for "nutrition of kale" and came up with this great site...


Not only did it tell me all the vitamins, minerals, calories and percents of fats, carbs and proteins, but it also provided the glycemic load AND inflammation factor. Kale has an extremely high anti-inflammation factor. So it was not my imagination. Kale was helping the psoriasis calm down. A magic food. I must eat more of it.

I'm not real crazy about plain kale, raw or cooked, so I came up with this simple one dish recipe to make it tastey. Baked chicken on a bed of kale and whatever other veggies you like. I use chicken with the bone in and skin on because of all the wonderful flavor the kale soaks up comes from the bone and skin. I don't eat the skin, ( I feed it to the dog), but it really keeps the chicken from drying out.

Chicken and Kale

Lightly oil the bottom of your roasting pan. I use extra virgin olive oil because that is the only oil I ever use. Wash the kale and cut away the thick middle stem. Chop into bite-size pieces. Fill the bottom of the pan with the kale. It cooks down like spinach, so be generous.

Lay any other veggies you are using on top of the kale. I used zucchini coins here. Then lay your washed and seasoned chicken pieces on top. I season with garlic powder, dried basil, and salt. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chicken pieces, cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F. or whatever temperature you normally bake your chicken at for about an hour. I remove the foil after approximately 45 minutes so the skin will brown.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

M Stands for Mountain

I had to deliver a couple of items to Number Three Son at college this week. He's only been there for three weeks and misses driving and riding in a car. We made him leave his car at home for several reasons.

a.) He has no need of a car. He has to walk all of about 100 feet from his dorm to the dining cafe. It is a small campus and it takes him less than 5 minutes to walk to any of his classes.

b.) He won't waste time and gas driving around when he should be studying.

c.) We can use the money saved by removing his car from insurance to put toward his college costs.

d.) He won't be "drifting" around the hairpin curves of Lookout Mountain in his car. This wasn't one of the reasons we ever considered, but it is now that I've driven this road!

Lookout Mountain is where Buffalo Bill is buried. In the thirty years we have lived in this state, we have never visited his gravesite. Every time we'd see the exit on I-70 we think, "We should go visit that sometime."

So when we finished the task I came to campus for, he asked if we could just drive somewhere, even just around town, but immediately suggested we take a drive up the mountain to the whitewashed "M" made of thousands of stones near the top. The road they had had to walk up, with a ten pound rock to add to the M three weeks before, part of freshman orientation. Good idea, let's go.

The M can be seen from miles away, even at night, as it is lit up. And it looks high up. But it doesn't look nearly as high up when you are at the bottom, as it does when you are at the top looking down on the campus, ...and downtown Denver and probably Colorado Springs on a clear day. I don't think I have ever driven on such a steep mountain. I lost count of how many bikers I saw pedaling up the mountain road. Number Three Son said he heard it is about a 38% grade mountain. I just call it Sheer Dropoff from one side of the "hairpin curve" to the other.

This view is from the first pullout I stopped at. ( Click on the photo to see details.) See the tiny litle red and white sign in the distance... behind the athletic fields? That's the famous Coors Brewery. If you build a brewery, a college will come.

That group of buildings in the upper left corner is downtown Denver. Those are tall office buildings. They look like kids' toy buildings blocks from half way up the mountain.

This is the view from the place where Buffalo Bill is buried. You are truly at cloud level here... gazing down at plateaus, towns, cities, and roads like a map brought to life. We never did actually see the grave site because we ran out of time. Son had to get back to campus for a meeting. Next time we'll see it and the Boettcher Mansion, which is further up the mountain.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Memorizing Bible Verses

The older I get the less I tolerate tool noise, so I trim the grass edges by hand. While carrying out this chore along side flower beds, I get to enjoy the flowers and check for any disease or bug problems, but it can get a bit boring when cutting the grass next to sidewalks, the patio or the cement garage foundation. I used to try to talk on the phone, but sometimes no one is available to talk or the conversation ends before or extends beyond the chore. What to do?

Resume Beth Moore's Bible Memory Verse Challenge to memorize 24 verses (2 per month) in a year. We pick our own verses so they have personal application or meaning to us. I'm not very good at sitting myself down to do scripture memory, but I am finding myself looking forward to cutting the grass now because I get to work on my memory verses. In fact, I think of it as memorizing time and I just happen to be getting the grass cut at the same time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Favorite Garden

Aspen Garden  27 May 2007

My "Aspen Garden" on 26 May 2007

In the autumn of 2006, I killed the front lawn so we could start over with better soil, less watering, a sprinkler system and a new fescue grass, called Rescue Fescue. Anyway, I didn't get the seed into the soil until October 2007, so this garden was the only pretty thing to look at in our front yard that year.

A few years after we moved to this house I started a garden journal in a plain little spiral notebook...the kind school kids use. I wanted something simple that I could tape pictures in and write about the failures and successes of each season. It's a great history of my front and back yards because I have added gardens, transplanted perennials and ripped out bushes and trees. It is also wonderful to look at during the winter when everything has died, or looks dead, in the case of perennials.

I still have the garden journal notebook, but have not kept up with the entries since I bought a digital camera in 2001. I rarely make prints of digital photos. I would like to get back to it, but in the meantime this blog will serve as my garden journal.

My yard is an ever changing palette for the art of gardening. Many times all these changes have frustrated me. I accepted that plants and trees die, but I wished I could just figure out a plan that worked and be done with it. Not make so much work for myself. And now I am trying to reduce the numbers of plants, etc because I have other interests and less energy than I did in my younger days. It's difficult for me to rip out a healthy baby 'volunteer' plant. It breaks my heart to do that, but I remind myself that the garden will be prettier if I keep it under control and it will mean less work in autumn when everything is going to seed.

In this garden that I call the "Aspen Garden" I planted a half dozen lupines or so many years ago. The originals have died, but 'volunteers' have taken their place. Three years ago I did not have many lupines, but last year I didn't have time to pull up the volunteers and I'm so happy to see the new colors this year...pinks and lavenders. Just gorgeous! I lost the blue columbines under one of the aspens and that was okay because the flowers quickly became covered in sticky sap dripping from the aphids that were feasting on the aspen leaves and then fluffy 'cotton' from the neighbors cottonwood trees stuck to the flower petals. Very ugly. This happened for several years. Ants 'farm' the aphids and it's difficult to get rid of the ants.

Aspen Garden  30 May 2008

My "Aspen Garden" on 30 May 2008

The grass has come in, along with a lot of volunteer Johnny Jump Ups, that came from ONE garden. I decided to let them grow along with the grass. It looked like a mountain meadow to me. I pulled them up when the seed began to mature. It was a one time experiment.

Cloudy Aspen Garden  26 May 2009

"Aspen Garden" under clouds 26 May 2009

I think this is my favorite year for this garden. It just keeps getting better and better. I have gotten the best ever close ups with my macro lens.

Sunny Aspen Garden   27 May 2009

"Aspen Garden" under the sun 27 May 2009

Sun dappled petals are so beautiful. I am easily transported to a fairy tale scene when I sit on the front patio overlooking this garden

Three Colors of Lupines  27 May 2009

Three colors of lupines 27 May 2009

Love this color combo.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009



Tulips are one of my favorite flowers. Each Spring I am obsessed with taking pictures of them. I love this shot, though it is not my fave from today's photo shoot. My favorite is being saved for My Flower Book. About a week ago I learned that Snapfish and other photo websites will make actual hardbound or spiral books of your photos for you! I am making it my mission to put together my best flower photos for my own book this year. So much fun! The hard part will be picking out the best ones.



Here's another favorite. Johnny Jump Ups. They "volunteer" like crazy. The year before last, I let them go to seed in our newly re-seeded grass, so last Spring I had a "meadow" for a front yard. It was a beautiful one time experiment. The most common color has the deep, deep purple top petals. I love the pale mutated pastel ones though...so delicate looking.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Fever

It was a warm Spring day today, so I decided a visit to my local nursery would be wonderful for my soul. I didn't intend to buy anything, but I found a very pretty colored glass wasp trap, which I couldn't pass up.

Wasp Catcher

The past couple of years we have had a bad problem with wasps taking up residence in our bunny cages. We don't have bunnies anymore, but I'm not ready to say "We will never have bunnies again." and so I'm not going to get rid of the cages. But I don't want wasps either. The cages sit behind the clothes lines and last year I could only use one line of the clothes lines because of the wasps and the volunteer sunflowers that grew under the clotheslines. Got stung once. The sunflowers attracted the wasps I'm sure, but I love to photograph the little yellow finches that come to feed on the sunflowers, and the bees and ladybugs too.


Ladybug on Sunflower

Speaking of ladybugs, I also found a cute little ladybug windspinner for the pergola and two packets of sweet pea seeds that I couldn't resist. I love the smell of sweet peas.


I seem to be on a garden accessories binge lately. Last week I bought wind chimes, something I've always been afraid would annoy me after a while. So far they are not.


A garden stake that glows in the dark and a sectional fence for the strawberry garden might have also been purchased.

Dragon Fly Stake

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Emily P's Recital

Last night I had the pleasure of hearing Emily P play the violin and piano at her "unofficial" senior recital, which took place at her church. She has been taking violin lessons since the age of three, and piano since the age of eight, of course she is very good at both. She is a member of several honor orchestras and has played in our city's symphony. Her mother is a violin teacher, though she did not teach her daughter. That never works very well.

Emily and her mom

Emily played seven pieces, and had all but the last one, "Tarantella", a duet with her mother, memorized. I really like that piece, but my favorite was "The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba". It struck me while mother and daughter were playing together, what a blessing it is for them to share the gift and beauty of making music together. To create something at the same time, to blend in perfect harmony. It is certainly something rare and precious in this day and age, a mother and daughter bonding through classical music.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pastel Mints Medicine

Pastel Mints

I bought a box of pastel mints today that were marked down to half price. I am not in the habit of buying candy or keeping it around the house, mostly because I have no self-control when it comes to sweets. None. Two of my boys still live at home. At Halloween, I buy candy early while the selection is good, then I give the unopened bags of candy to them for safe keeping. LOL I buy their favorites because they get to eat whatever is leftover, and anymore, we don't get many Trick or Treaters.

On a sidenote, Youngest Son was disappointed that Halloween fell on a Friday last year since he didn't get to dress up and go beg for candy because he had a football game to play in. Just as well...people look a little askance at a 6'2" 'kid' Trick or Treating.

Anyway, back to the story. Mom bought me a crystal candy dish some years ago. I have it filled with dried hollyhock flowers. My mom never kept candy out in the open either. She'd hide chocolate up in a kitchen cupboard. But my youngest sister aka a Chocolate Bloodhound, would find it. When we were very young, and one of us needed a St Joseph's orange flavored baby aspirin, which we LOVED, she would open up another aspirin bottle for the "well" kid. It held pastel mint "medicine" and she gave one mint to the well kid. We knew it wasn't medicine, but it kept everybody happy.

Here's a picture of my sister and me at about the ages of four and two, when we were given "pastel mint medicine". I'm the dark haired one on the right.


P.S. I've eaten almost the whole jar of mints while typing this...that's 130 g of sugar! Ugh! I'm getting a headache and going into a coma now. Goodbye.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring Garden Chores Begin


This is my strawberry garden, ...rather messy after winter. We threw some old cyclone fencing and a broken trellis across it for the winter because our dog was having territory issues with the dogs next door and would tear through my strawberries, leaving torn up plants in her wake. The dead vines hanging on the trellises are perennial sweet peas.

Actually, this is the second version of a strawberry garden I planted probably 18 years ago. The first one never thrived as it was shaded by a big cottonwood tree AND tree roots interfered with the whole garden concept. Impossible to dig and plant around tree roots. Those plants died out and the garden was abandoned.

Then the cottonwood's lead branch was destroyed in the October Blizzard of 1994. The tree began to slowly die, though we kept it for a long while because my boys loved to climb it AND one end of a zip line was attached to it. A few years ago we had the tree cut down. Meanwhile, on the other side of the backyard, my neighbor's strawberry plants had migrated under the fence into my border garden. But our side of the fence was very shady and again the strawberry plants didn't produce much fruit.

Last year, I decided to transplant a bunch of those 'volunteers' to my old strawberry garden, which now sits in the sun most of the day. I put in as much compost as my compost bins had produced, to enrich the soil and started anew.

I was rewarded with the tastiest strawberries I've ever had in my life. The flavor is intense and sweet. Now, I simply cannot abide even the organic strawberries that our local supermarket carries. "My" strawberries have the deepest, most solid red color I've ever seen. I have no idea what name they are called, but who cares. They taste great.


Below is what the perennial sweet peas look like in summer...I left these that I had planted in interim years "between strawberry gardens" because they are so beautiful . I tie them to the trellises. I'd like them planted somewhere else because they throw a million seeds that volunteer, but right now I don't know where to put them.

Perennial Pink Sweet Peas

Here is the garden all cleaned up an hour or so later.


Can't wait to eat some of these strawberries in a couple of months!

P.S. The blue metal drum there off to the left... it's full of compost from the local sewage treatment plant. It is deemed safe for kitchen gardens, but I just can't bring myself to use it on them. I do use it on the lawn and flower gardens though. Powerful stuff...a little goes a long way,...the flowers love it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thirteen Minutes

Number One son flew into the Big City early this afternoon and took an airport shuttle to our town where I picked him up at the bus stop drop off. A few mintues after we arrived home he said he wanted to get a hair cut and he thought he would just run to the hair salon because it was such a nice day (40 degrees and sunny). The hair salon is basically a 1.75 miles round trip, straight down the street that intersects ours, in a strip mall. One and three-quarters of a mile,...remember that. It takes me about twenty mintues to walk each way, or at least it did when I last walked it years ago. I guessed I had about a half hour or more to get a few things done before he arrrived back home if he didn't have to wait at the salon. I figured mid afternoon would probably be pretty slow there. He wore blue jeans and a t-shirt and took off with his long strided jog. He stands well over six feet. THIRTEEN MINUTES later I look out the front door glass storm door and see him jogging up our sidewalk ...and I can see his hair has been cut or rather shaved in his case. He wears a very short military type cut. He did run cross-country in high school, but never even made varsity team. I said, "You only left THIRTEEN MINUTES ago!" He just chuckled and said,"Well, I just ran into the salon and she took out the hedge trimmers, cut my hair, I paid, and ran back home. But now what do I do?"

Gee, I don't know, why don't you negotiate World Peace in the next fifteen minutes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Favorites

I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance almost two years ago. My body is taking a long time to heal from a lifetime of abuse from putting what it considers a poison into it. I get really tired of having to take so many supplements to heal it. I often forget to take several of them, so my New Year's Resolution is to make a chart with what I'm supposed to take. One of the ones I "forget" is EFAs because I dislike the taste of flax oil, hemp oil and fish oils.

I want to share my new favorite nutrient supplement. I think I'm addicted.

Barlean's Omega Swirl Lemon Zest flavor, an Omeqa-3 Fish Oil supplement, made with pharmaceutical grade cod liver oil. I bought it by mistake as I was looking for a flax seed oil supplement and this was positioned in the middle of a long line of flax oil supplements. It claims to taste like a smoothie. I think it taste like some of the best lemon meringue pie filling I ever had, in liquid form. It is very thick and rich and I could easily overdose by drinking the whole 16 oz bottle at once, but

A. I don't know if you can overdose on it, but I'd rather not chance it and
B. it costs about $24 a bottle at the place I buy it

Anyway, my diet is so restricted that it is like dessert to me. I LOVE it.

And because I know people will wonder, no I'm not receiving any compensation from Barlean's. They don't even know I exist.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Past, Present and Future

Number Three Son...this 18 year old child of mine...some days, next Fall when he goes off to college cannot come soon enough...he argues against or puts down EVERY single thing I say and according to him, every reason I have for doing something is beyond STUPID. He has always been the child who talked to me the most, shared the events of his day with me... and nowadays is so contentious that I don't want to try to converse with him because I know it is going to stress me, something I really don't need with my health issues. It just makes things worse. But I miss the young boy who was easy to please and thought I was smart and capable.

Last week, he slipped up when he asked me for some information and I replied that I did not know (it was something along the lines of how many hours HE worked last year or some other activity where I was not present, information he needed for filling out a scholarship application). Anyway, I said, "How could you expect *me* to know that information, *I* wasn't there, you were." BTW, I was sitting at this computer in one room, and he was in his bedroom. And I heard him answer quietly, "Because you're a genius." I'm sure he didn't think I could hear him since he always accuses me of being deaf. I said, "WHAT did you say?" "Nothing, nothing." LOL

Somedays, it takes all my self control not to grab the iron skillet and whack him upside the head as hard as I can. But then there is his fun-loving side that he shows everyday, such as this. He is obsessed with the movie and character of Forrest Gump. He walks around the house quoting all the different kinds of shrimp in his best Forrest immitation. It drives us nuts and my DH and I end up shouting "Shut UP!" He has worn a crew cut hairstyle since second grade and has worn it extra high and tight lately, resembling the Forrest Gump hairstyle.

And yesterday,...he came home for lunch and changed clothes. He put on his Bubba Gump Shrimp Company baseball cap and dressed in white slacks, an old short sleeve plaid shirt of his dad's, a belt, and running shoes...
and went back to his fourth block class...AP Calculus.

Forrest Gump in Calculus class. LOL
He said his teacher, Mr Z, just looked at him and couldn't stop laughing.

I will miss him terribly when he leaves home. And sigh with relief.