Monday, December 28, 2009

End of the Holiday Weekend Wrap Up

The past week has been crazy busy, and full of eating. I'm still trying to load video to share, but I do have some images to put up.

Christmas was extended for 3 days this year - Christmas Eve was spent at The Dude's Aunt's house for an open house where I discovered Peppadew stuffed with a mix of cream cheese and creme fraise. Heaven in a bite, and like potato chips, I could not eat just one! We started a new tradition this year at the request of The Oldest, to open one present Christmas Eve, only I got to pick what present it was, and I borrowed my Sister-In-Law's idea to make it Christmas pajamas. The Youngest was pissed off because he was thinking it would be a toy, and kept asking if he'd be allowed to stay up late to play with it.
Christmas morning was thankfully a bit later this year (7:00) than last year (4:48). Both sets of In-Laws were over at 7:30 for bacon, cinnabon, and english muffins, oh, and gifts. The Boys had fun opening all of their gifts, and got a Wii from Oma and Opa. They've been playing and fighting about it since, and it was taken away all day yesterday after breakfast and an unfortunate choking incident. Today is a bit smoother, with only words exchanged. The oldest likes Rabid Rabbits, and The Youngest likes Lego Indiana Jones, and Star Wars, so that is what they argue about. I think I'll be adding a timer to what they play, and of course they will be really upset when school is back in session and they can't play during the week, because it goes with no screen time on school nights. The Oldest got his video camera from Santa and has taped at least 24 hours of mundane household things. The Youngest got the Lego Star Wars Battle of Endor set (890 pieces), which I finally finished helping him put together last night!
Christmas dinner was at my folks with sis and the nephews, and an aunt. My uncle has been in the hospital since early last week. He went in for some tests in preparation for a kidney transplant, but they found he had to have a triple by-pass. That happened on the 26th, and he's recovering well. That is the uncle who was a body builder in the 70's, lifted with Arnold, and fashions himself as Uncle Buck. We don't agree politically, but our conversations are always lively, and he always challenges me to have well thought out arguments, and all of my facts before we talk.
The 26th was dinner with The Dude's family, more nephews, and another great meal. We ended up playing Wii ski, and it was hysterically funny to play and to watch as the 3 bros hit the slopes! While the cousins were playing they would ski up to one another at the lifts and visit - as if they weren't standing next to each other the entire time - it had me laughing! That and one of the nephews was saying the others should slow down and look at the beautiful scenery!
Yesterday I took The Boys to Toys R Us to use their Christmas money and we ended up with a couple of Wii games, another Nerf Gun, that is insanely huge and automatic, and I bought myself Brain Age for DS. We also picked up batteries for the Nerf gun and a Slot Car track which is now on the floor of their room. Oh, and I have an eye twitch from too much screen time. And I'm sore from Wii boxing, skiing and Rabid Rabbit dancing.
Here is a slide show which includes the result of adding room temperature water to a 400 degree pyrex dish.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My annual putting hats on anything that isn't nailed down post

So last year I adopted the tradition of my dear friend and started putting hats on the pictures around my house. This year I added several portraits, and even made mouse ear hats for in-laws who love Disney.

Scuba Santas:

The Boys getting into the holiday spirit:

Even Parrots get into the act:

Cousins looking festive:

An Old Family Photo, updated:

Dear friends:

The Dude and I:

And if you can name this image, you win a WHATZIT prize, no fair if you were with me when I bought it, or at the event where it was purchased - really this is more for Gordon, and a little bit for Bagman...

More to come on the aftermath of Christmas :-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A funeral for a friend

The weekend (yes last weekend) soared by in a blur of Fudge and Irish Cream making, A Birthday Party for The Oldest and his best friend, which was really fun for almost all attendees, and will be shared more as I get my shit together. For those of you who know me IRL, you can stop laughing now...

Monday I was considering not attending the funeral. AJ was not a particularly close friend of mine, though I did think of her often, and she was one of the most kind hearted and generous people I've known. She was at one time, a very high powered executive in Silicon Valley, and also very down to earth. She'd had cancer, and been dying of it for the entire time I'd known her, and at age 47, lost that battle on December 12th. Her funeral mass was at St. Joseph's Cathedral in San Jose, and well attended. I was unable to stay for the reception, and on one hand was glad for that, but on the other I wish I could have stayed.
You see, AJ was a friend in a group that I've kind of fallen away from due to several factors, most of which could have been avoided or mended by me. It is my level of maturity (or lack there of) that has caused much of the falling away. I fairly sure all of our common friends would likely welcome my friendship again (and some have stuck with me despite all of the shit), but I really don't know if that is true. I also don't know if I am ready to open myself up to all of it again, revisit old wounds that are still painful, and risk losing dear, dear friends again. I am so scared in fact, that just typing this has me crying into my keyboard. Sometimes it takes the death of a loved one to open such doorways of opportunity. Do I let it shut quietly, or do I throw it open wide and just grow up already? I can't lick my wounds indefinitely, nor hide in the background. I think it's time for some New Year's reaching out and apologizing. Some of these relationships may restart, some may not, but none will if I just sit on my hands.
AJ wrote a poem that was printed in the memorial, as well as read at the service:

Something Good

Wouldn't this old world be better
If the folks we meet would say:
"I know something good about you,"
and then treat us just that way?
Wouldn't life be lots more sunny
If we praise good we see;
For there's such a lot of goodness
In the worst of you and me
Wouldn't it be nice to practice
Just this way of thinking, too;
"You know something good about me
I know something good about You."

I think she was on to something, and I'm here to say I know something good about you.
Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Town Shoot Out - My Town Dressed for Christmas

This week's shoot out theme is courtesy of the My Town Blogger Team "The idea for this week’s topic came from the need to fit our Town-Shoot-Out to how busy we are this month and what we are busy doing. There is not any of us that don’t admire how our town celebrates the Christmas Season – it becomes just a matter of carrying our cameras in our back pocket so while we go about shopping or to tree lighting ceremonies or going to school plays or pageants, or watching our children and grandchildren participate in the church choir, we can snap some photos to share. GingerV"
I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here or here.

I drove around looking at the usual places that have good diplays and usually their neighbors also have really nice lights. What I found out, is that a week before Christmas, and not many people are decorating, or if so, not as extensively. I think it might be due to the economy, and being a target for theft. Last week my neighbor across the street has his garage broken into, and there has been a rash of thefts at the office. However, I did find some lights ablaze in my neighborhood:

The inflatable yard decor is very popular around here, where it is likely to rain a bit, but not snow at Christmas.

The Tree in front of the Dublin Public Library:

The Dublin City Tree - In Front of Civic Center.

Then I took a short drive to Pleasanton, where I grew up, and the home of Bob's World 1, which is down the street from my folks:

Bob's Garage:

Another nearby home:

This is Bob's World 2, also in Pleasanton, and the home of a 9 hole miniature golf course, turned into a Winter Wonderland:

Trees in synch with Christmas music:

Out buildings full of train sets:

Lighted Penguins in bikini tops and hula skirts:

An Angel to bid you safe journey:

And I couldn't resist a self portrait on my way out:

Happy weekend all!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sherpa Mom

Mark of The Butler and Bagman Chronicles inspired me with his post yesterday and so I am going to relate the tales of my own Sherpa life. The Boys affectionately call me Sherpa Mom because I always end up juggling backpacks, jackets, science projects, permission slips, hats, gloves, lunch boxes, books and sharing items on our walk to and from school. Plus I usually have a cup of coffee in the morning and a bottle of water in the afternoon (just kidding, it's really a margarita ;-)).
This is my laptop case for when I drive to work. It holds lots of other suff too, like magazines, files, notebooks and all cords for connectivity, including an inverter just in case I'm stranded in my car during the 5 mile drive to the office...

This is my bike, on which I commute, loaded down with both paniers stuffed - laptop in one and clothes in the other. capping it off is my ice chest for lunch and snacks. I also take the ice chest when I drive.

No day at the office is complete without a cup of coffee, and even when I ride my bike, I have it when I get there!

My current camera back pack - behind it is my secondary bag, both of which I need to carry everywhere for those shots I keep missing. It holds Dramamine for those windy roads, Model release forms, extra battery packs, motrin, lenses, filters, cleaners, flashes and memory, sharpies and business cards. The secondary bag holds my other camera body and other lenses, etc.

Of course, I'm really coveting this bag:

And my single consession to being a mom- a purse. Of course when I'm on the bike, or out on a shoot, I just throw my wallet in another bag.

What all of this allows for is:
1 - Really strong legs from peddling all this weight around.
2 - The ability to carry 10 bags of groceries at a time, plus an 8 pack of bathroom tissue, and a 12 pack of soda.
3 - I can pack efficiently nearly anything, no matter the shape or size.
4 - Wrapping weird size/shaped presents is a snap!
5 - No matter how efficient I think I am, there is almost always something left behind, neccessitating a trip back to the house or office.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just found this, and it seriously made my night!

So much so, that I had to call The Dude in from the other room to watch it!

Laugh of today and maybe a bit of weekend wrap up

Today's laugh is courtesy of This is Why Your Hold Time is So Long. Some of my favorites are lambasted, but I get the point, and my favorite paragraph/rant on a Christmas song, "Yes, they know its Christmas. You can’t avoid it. Agnostic Eskimo tribes living on Pluto who’ve only seen Earth in a telescope know it’s Christmas, and even they think it’s stupid that you put the Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving, or as they call it, SpardleFeast."

The weekend raced by yet again with working in The Boy's classroom, mid-day Dentist appointments and watching a play on Friday Afternoon.

Saturday was start of laundry, grocery shopping, picking up my Nephews, bringing all four boys to my folks for their Christmas Party with friends, and driving around to look at Christmas lights, which was really fun.
Sunday was finishing laundry and doing nearly ALL of my Christmas shopping. I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck! I actually did about 30 more minutes today of shopping, but part of that was for the tour shirts (more to come).
I only really have The Dude and a few relations to shop for. I also have 150 Christmas cards to address and mail. GAH! Oh, and I need to get all four of us together on a day that isn't POURING and take a family portrait. To do that, I have to also pick out what everyone will wear. Last year's was ok, but I looked like a Polar Bear with red on top. I made a batch of Hot Cocoa Mix, and still need to make my Irish Cream and Fudge... At least I have all of the containers for all of the goodies. OK, off to print mailing labels for the cards so I can address them tomorrow while in a live training class - wheee!
Since I'm taking the final 2 weeks off of work, I also have a BUTTLOAD of things to get caught up on before Friday, which explains why I am still sitting at a computer this late at night, having just completed something I'd scheduled for noon today.  :-P

And now for a new classic on my Christmas show list:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I know it's already Saturday

Or Sunday, depending on where you might live, and I'll be working on my shoot out due yesterday. But now I have to stand over one kid so he will do his math homework.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More slice of life with boys

So, this weekend brought more boy drama that really makes me just sigh and kind of laugh (now that it's Thursday).
We bought an iPod nano for The Oldest as a Birthday present (although the shuffle is still missing - hello Carol, could you help me out here?)

The thing is, it has video capability, which he really loves, but makes Christmas tough for me because he'd already asked Santa for an actual video camera. So he had it for less than 8 hours and wanted to show me a video he'd taken. When he started the video though, he covered the screen and said he didn't want me to see that part. I asked why and The Youngest volunteered that it was video of his penis. Yes, you read that right. The Oldest video taped The Youngest's penis. great. I took the ipod, handed it to their father (The Dude), and told him to explain to The Boys why this was inappropriate. Instead, he grounded them to seperate rooms and was so angry he couldn't talk to them all day. After about an hour, I talked to them seperately and together, and had to ask what they were thinking. The already know it is not ok to ask to see anyone's private area, or show anyone their own. Yet, somehow doing both and taping it slipped through that filter. So now that's cleared up, and the ipod is taken away, has been wiped clean, reset to factory settings, and I removed the video camera option from the menu. And now I'm considering talking to Santa about allowing the video camera at Christmas.
Also this weekend? The Youngest called The Oldest "Fucker" and got a bar of soap in his mouth for 30 seconds. While that was a great deterent for The Oldest a while ago, I'm not sure that will work for The Youungest, but we'll see.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Picking up from my last post. Saturday we went to a Christmas party while Sis watched The Boys. I lost my Bunco virginity, and it was pretty fun, but high stress because men play bunco differently than women do. There were mostly men at the party, and I didn't get to an all women table until the last table, and I could like it, if that's how relaxing it really is. The men just roll, roll, roll as fast as humanly possible, while the women chat and visit and roll between words. There was also a white elephant gift exchange that I had to leave during because I'd lost track of time, and needed to pick up The Boys. Ended up visiting with Sis, and didn't get home until midnight. The Boys went right to sleep, but I stayed up until about 1:30 finishing cleaning and putting away laundry. I was going to just get up early Sunday, but I'm glad I got it out of the way, given my history with waking up early ;-)
Then 4:30 in the morning happened. The Dog came into our room, and his stomach was making the most horrid and LOUD sounds - We could actually hear it when he was in the living room, and our door was shut. The Dude thought that The Dog was chasing some animal in our room, that The Cat had caught. But The Cat was asleep, and we soon discovered that it was a stomach thing. The Dude went out to the livingroom to sit with The Dog for about 45 minutes, until the sounds mostly subsided, but we were all a little freaked out. I did some Reiki on The Dog, and we all went back to sleep for a few hours.
We were up at 7:30 getting ready for The Oldest's Birthday Brunch with family. Had to get my egg dish in the oven, and The Dude had to pick up a box of coffee. The Party was a success, the food was perfect, and The Oldest felt just as special as his day! Following brunch, we all headed to watch The Oldest perform in a Christmas play which was just as funny, and cute as it had been on Friday! Everyone enjoyed themselves, and we had the rest of the day to ourselves. For me it meant bringing The Oldest back for the closing show, and The Dude and The Youngest stayed home.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Busy Times, busy times

The entire time leading up to Christmas in our family is completely crazy. So no My Town Shoot Out for this week, but the theme is My Favorite Things, and had this going through my head all week:

My laugh for today is courtesy of Granny on the Web.

Yesterday I worked in The Boys' classroom. The 2nd and 3rd graders worked on ceramic projects, which is one of my favorite parts of teaching art. It was also the book fair at the school, and I brought boiling water so that the class could sell hot chocolate. Ended up buying a couple of books for each boy, hot chocolate, a couple of cupcakes, and a pencil sharpener.
Last night was the final dress rehearsal and opening night for the Christmas Play that The Oldest is in. It went very well, and was really funny and cute. The Youngest nearly fell out of his chair on a few occassions, laughing. Spent most of today doing laundry, cleaning and preparing for the family birthday party brunch Sunday morning, and then we are all going to watch the play. Tonight, we are headed to the Christmas party of a friend, and The Boys are headed to Sis' for a few hours.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to The Oldest. He turns 9 today and is a great kid! I love him to pieces, and he is growing into himself more every day. He also drives me out of my mind at times, but mostly he's totally awesome, and really fun to talk to.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tableau Tuesday of a different kind

Today is World AIDS Day. I have raised tens of thousands of dollars over decades to help those living with AIDS, and to find a cure. Despite what you may think about anyone other than yourself, AIDS affects us all. It can strike your family, your friends, the future leader of your country, and there is an entire generation of people for whom AIDS has taken the best and brightest of their lives, and their countries. I wanted to post something, and picked a slideshow of flickr photos that are not mine, but are tagged with AIDS quilt.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Care for each other, love each other, and remember our loved ones who have died and are dying of AIDS today.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Laugh of the day and random things

Today's laugh comes from Granny on the Web.

My ass bones hurt. Why? you very well may inquire, and I will tell that it was not some wild sexcapade reminiscent of the 70's swing scene (when I was in actuality a small child, and not participating in those sorts of activities). I FINALLY got the use of a bicycle locker at work. This means I can lock up my bike in a more secure manner, eliminating the need to strip off everything of value, and it takes me far less time to dismount and get to my desk! The distance is only a bit over 4 miles each way. It took me 30 minutes this morning, sans coffee in 45 degree weather, and only 20 minutes to get home. It was warmer coming home, but I think it's mostly because I got a dismissive look from a 20 something hipster doofus, as I sat upon my commuter bike, panniers stuffed, and coffee cup holder on the handle bar. So I kept up with him the entire way - humph, there ya go sonny boy! I'll have to get a photo, as I'm sure the humor of that alone may brighten someone's day!

I've had some extremely disturbing and recurring dreams this weekend. I think it was due to Barry's recent post. My dreamscape is filled with dying, paralyzed and already dead dogs, and dogs left to die, and a huge pile of bones on the beach. I've had the dream 3 nights running, and I know I've had it in the past as well. Need to go the dream meanings website and check on it.
OK - for Dog: If the dog is dead or dying, then it indicates a loss of a good friend. Alternatively, it represents a deterioration of your instincts.
Beach: To see the beach in your dream, symbolizes the meeting between your two states of mind. The sand is symbolic of the rational and mental processes while the water signifies the irrational, unsteady, and emotional aspects of yourself. It is a place of transition between the physical/material and the spiritual.
Bones: To see bones in your dream, suggests the discovery of your personal, family, or cultural secrets. It is also symbolic of your underlying strengths that you have not yet recognized. Consider the symbolism of getting to the "bare bones" or the significance of "having a bone to pick with someone."
Paralyzed: symbolically, dreaming that you are paralyzed may mean you are feeling helpless or pinned down in some aspects or circumstances of your waking life. You may feel unable to deal with a situation or that you can't do or change anything. Alternatively, the dream suggests that you are feeling emotionally paralyzed. You are having difficulties expressing your feelings.
Well, I can probably get to what this is all about, and what it requires, which is more work on listening to myself, and paying closer attention to all that is going on around me. I know where I need to go, I know my path, and I think I've wandered a bit too far into the woods - time to get back on track!

Overheard the boys using the word "tussle", as in "Are you trying to tussle with me?" No doubt a modified version of "Are you talkin' to me?"

Today The Oldest is wearing his banana costume and a Santa Hat, declaring himself Banana Clause.

Done with the majority of decorations inside - still need to do my santa hats all around, and the outdoor decor will get up when The Dude gets around to it (maybe next week). Invitations are out for The Oldest's 9th parties (yes, you read that right). One for family, and one for school friends, which I will post about at some other time.

Having last week off of work completely rocked, but having to go back today? Not. So. Much. Though riding in made me feel like I was doing something good for myself, and provided a nice mental break. The boys feel the same way, as all 3 of them were doing homework after school today and acting less than delighted by the task. I think we need a more Zen like attitude, or is that Pennsylvania Dutch? ( I get my "doing simple things simply and using the task and time for meditation/prayer" stuff mixed up.)

Oh, and I have a splitting headache because The Boys have been listening to this Looney Tunes animated musical ornaments thing that I've had FOREVER. Think this:

but with each character having been split apart with the added ability to hang on the tree. It cycles through 21 holiday classics, and makes my head hurt. We listened all Sunday while decorating the tree, and for 2 hours after school today.

Oh, and I'm totally loving this show. It's the message that I love, not necessarily the people they run into, though that is entertaining as it's own commentary on society.

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Town Shoot Out - Faces/Smiles

This week's shoot out theme is courtesy of Sarah of Cottage Garden Studios. "I am really thrilled to offer up the theme this week "Faces and Smiles". I am a Mom of five, artist and teacher. Running my own preschool... I get lots of opportunities to shoot happy faces. I have discovered that I have a passion for catching faces when folks are not looking, fun, candid shots. I live in North Idaho, Coeur d Alene. It is a tourist area... we have a wonderful lake for summer fun and winter skiing is just a short drive away. With all of the summer fun here, I get lots of wonderful chances for people shots. I hope that you have some fun with this one!! I can't wait to see all of the faces from your town! Let Fly with the smiling faces."
I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here!

I Still have no internet connecion to the computer with all of my photos, so you are getting whatever I can gather on line.

The Youngest:
The Oldest:

From J9 and stuff
Happy Weekend All!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

To all of my friends and family, and all of the people who encourage me to be a better mom, spouse, lover of life, child of the universe, and overall human. I am grateful for my relationship with you, no matter how often we speak, nor how far apart we are in any aspect.

And my wish for the planet:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Things that make me laugh

Today, there are 2. The first is Mark's account of Owl stalking here.

The Second was courtesy of Dorthy Snarker, and The Boys and I watched it repeatedly - favorite lyric change? "I see a little silhouetto of a clam."

Happy Wednesday all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Overheard boy conversations, and other distracting crap

I have this week off of work. Of course, that doesn't mean I actually get nice relaxing days or nights, but at least I don't have the head splitting thing going on for that part of my brain dedicated to Phone Company IT. The Youngest has been struck with a 2 day flu, just like his brother last week. Only instead of puking in the hallway/trashcan at school, he has puked in his bed. Yes, you read that right. In. His. Bed. On the top bunk. In the middle of the night (it was really 5:30, but I'd already been up twice for the dog and cat, so it felt much worse). He also puked on the living room floor. According to all male members of the house, the splatter pattern was the size of an extra large pizza. The fact that this is their thought process has me disturbed. Maybe they will be CSI guys when they grow up... Or Dexter. The Dude, while purchasing our new modem was talked into ordering U-Verse, which was successfully installed today (knock on wood). Because U-Verse techs make it very clear in the install plan that they DO NOT move furniture, I got to move our TV cabinet, desk, and a dresser, which also means I got to perform the archeological dig on findings under said items. Found a DS that was lost for the past 9 months. Was actually looking for the postage stamp sized iPod shuffle that's been lost for a week. Reorganized the office/playroom in anticipation of the Christmas, and also hoping to find the shuffle. Still on the list for this week - renovating the floor plan of the master bedroom, tearing apart The Boys' room in search of the shuffle, and decorating for Christmas (but not until Friday). Oh, and The Cat got her ass handed to her in a fight, and has not one, but two infected punctures on two different paws. I got one over the weekend, and didn't even notice the other until today. Pus removal, draining, reopening a wound, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, q-tips, and shredded arms/legs have been the cherry on the proverbial sundae of this week. The Dude hasn't had any relaxing time either. On top of his normal jobs, he got to climb under the house to ground outlets for U-Verse, and discovered water under the house which will set him on another project entirely.
Overheard so far this week from The Boys while cleaning their room (I made them dump out and sort their 3 bins of duplos/legos also in hopes of finding the iPod):
The Oldest: I'm going to help you with your pile.
The Youngest: Don't touch my pile, I'm getting it done!
The Oldest: Then stop dilly dallying, and get yours done!
The Youngest: I have tiny hands!
The Oldest: Well apparently, you have tiny hands and I haven't been dilly dallying, so I'm already done with mine.
The Youngest: I'm not dilly dallying, MOM!

And that's when it deteriorated, but not before I was laughing! They are 8 and 6, and having a conversation that includes the word apparently, and the phrase dilly dally! I'm amazed they can go from that to armpit farts, to dog poop in under a minute!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Corn Chowder Recipe

I have fiddled with this recipe to the point of exhaustion, but tonight I finally found the combo that works, and here it is, and it REALLY hits the spot on a cold blustery day!

From J9 and stuff
J9’s Corn Chowder

Recipe for a 3 qt. Crock Pot

16 oz. Frozen Corn
Garlic Salt and Chili Powder to taste
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1 Medium Yellow Onion – roughly chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper – roughly chopped
1 Yellow Bell Pepper – roughly chopped
4 Medium Potatoes – peeled and cubed
4 c. Vegetable Broth
1 can sweet corn – drained
1 can creamed corn

Place frozen corn on cookie sheet, season lightly with garlic salt and chilli powder, and place under broiler, until browned, turning once.

While corn is browning, in saucepan on Medium heat, sauté onion in 1Tbsp. of oil, until translucent. Add Red and Yellow Bell Pepper, and sauté until peppers are slightly soft, and onions begin to brown.

Add Potatoes to crock pot. Once corn is browned, add to crock pot. Add Peppers and Onions to crock pot. Add Vegetable Broth to crock pot. Cook on low for 8-9 hours, or high 4-5 hours.

Use your immersion blender to blend the chowder – how smooth depends on how you like it. Alternately, you can use a blender and blend in small batches – be very careful when blending hot liquids! I prefer some chunks of potato, so I blend only slightly. Once all is blended, add the cans of corn (kernels and creamed), and leave on low for at least another 15 minutes.

I serve with toasted bread (sourdough if I have it), and this will serve 8 people generously, or 12 as an appetizer.

Nutritional information for 8 servings of 1.5 cups:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 229.4
Total Fat 3.1 g
   Saturated Fat 0.3 g
   Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g
   Monounsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 710.7 mg
Potassium 733.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.8 g
   Dietary Fiber 6.0 g
   Sugars 7.4 g
Protein 5.9 g
Vitamin A 11.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 26.1 %
Vitamin C 156.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.9 %
Calcium 2.3 %
Copper 9.7 %
Folate 14.8 %
Iron 9.8 %
Magnesium 12.4 %
Manganese 17.3 %
Niacin 12.8 %
Pantothenic Acid  7.7 %
Phosphorus 13.2 %
Riboflavin 7.0 %
Selenium 1.5 %
Thiamin 10.8 %
Zinc 5.6 %

My Town Shoot Out - My Town's Premier Attraction

This week's shoot out theme is courtesy of Kent of it's never too late. "Since we all live in such different places, I thought a good theme might be to show what your hometown is most noted for. For example, the town where I grew up is Greensburg, Kansas, the town now most famous for being blown away by a tornado in May of 2007. So a photo set of tornado damage, or maybe some of the incredible rebuilding effort would be appropriate. Before the tornado though, this little town was most noted for having "The World's Largest Hand Dug Well". It was advertised on billboard signs, and even on the city signs as you entered town along highway 54. So that would be the picture I'd use if I still lived there. All towns have something they are known for. I guess a picture of a big apple might suffice if you live in New York City. Or if you lived in Atlanta, the 'Big Chicken' would work.The way to inspire yourself is to think, "If someone local saw your picture, would they recognize the subject as being from your hometown"? Happy shooting this week, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's hometown."
I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here!

This week, I was going to feature the St. Patrick's day parade photos of the last few years, as Dublin has 2 distinct areas, and if you didn't venture too far in town, you may not recognize them... Of course, then I had a sick kiddo, and my modem crashed for a full day, and now the modem works but not the LAN, and my pics are on the other computer, so no dice for this week :(

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Work should not make you cry - really

There are things worth crying over, A loved one dies (this includes pets), your heart is broken, you are run over by a truck, etc. Work is not one of the myriad of things that should cause you to cry. At least MY work shouldn't. I suppose if your work is something you are completely passionate about and is a matter of life and death, then when your day falls to shit at work, you have every right to cry. My job is not like that at all. I am a cubicle dweller in a large corporation. My work does not affect people's lives, and my job sucks. I am good at about half of what I am supposed to be doing and I suck at the other half. Of course the halves actually add up to about 80 hours a week, if I were to do them the way they should be done. I don't get paid for 80 hours a week, nor can I carve out that kind of time, unless I cut out sleeping all together.
Yesterday was a horrible day. As I stated on Monday, there is this space survey thing going on and driving everyone insane and paranoia keeps ramping up. Yesterday I was unable to go to the office because The Oldest puked in the hallway at school, just as the day was beginning and I was on my way to the office. He came home with me and laid on the couch ALL DAY. He wasn't his usual talkative self, just a sluggish and sick kid. He didn't throw up the rest of the day, drank fluids, and had toast for dinner, which he kept down. He fell asleep at 6:30 and didn't wake up for 12 hours. I was planning on having him stay home with The Dude today as a precaution, but The Dude proclaimed him fit for school. Guess what? The nurse called for someone to pick him up as he was running a slight fever (99.7), and his only complaint had been that The Dude packed him orange juice instead of apple juice to drink with lunch...
So, I was stressed because I missed an entire day of the dude walking around and checking my cube, which may mean I get a smaller cube, or a cube mate, or something... Then I was getting nasty grams from EVERYONE related to the part of my job I suck at because I didn't have something listed appropriately, didn't do the status reports for the residents of at least 3 Bolgie in the Ninth Circle of Hell on time, and wasn't able to remember something said in a phone conversation 3 months ago... Then my e-mail froze while in the middle of looking for a solution for another person's problem, causing me to freak out, and the person to threaten escalation to my boss for not responding immediately to an INTANT MESSAGE request that was marked urgent because her boss needed the information... And the answer was in my e-mail. And I had to reboot several times, wiping out several of my calendar entries in the recovery process, for which I will undoubtedly be lambasted. At one point in the midst of all of this, I just started crying from the stress. I was bawling and IMing a coworker who was able to talk me down, and told me to take a break and remember that my priority is my sick kid, not the wasteland known as my job. So I did just that, and you know what? I felt better. I was able to reprioritize my work, and some of it didn't get done yesterday. I got more nasty grams today about those same things, but I'm trying deep breathing exercises, and writing about it helps too. Because The Oldest came home at lunch, the afternoon play date was rescheduled, which made The Youngest completely melt down on the way home, even after I stayed an HOUR at school to let him play... And that was considered my lunch hour, BTW.
The ONE good work related thing that happened today is I got a key to a bike locker, which will be nice! I will no longer have to strip my bike of all valuables (computer, paniers, bungees, seat) before entering the building which will save at least 10 minutes each morning and afternoon. The ladies in Real Estate (in the basement) were really very nice too!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Evening Weekend Wrap Up

OMFG - This weekend FLEW by! Let's see if I can ACTUALLY capture everything we did...

Friday - Had a good counseling session where I felt like I got alot out of my system that I was surprised I'd been holding onto. Worked in The Boys' classroom making ceramics and turkey feathers with Kindy's and Firsts. Was supposed to go to Pub Grub and my High School vs. the cross town rival Football game with The Dude and a bunch of people he was friends with during HS, and reconnected with at his 25th reunion over the summer. Yes, I'm back to calling my Husband "The Dude". Calling him "MDH" was causing too much confusion, and I got quite a few not so pleasant guesses for what the "D" stood for. Early afternoon he got a text from another friend who asked for a ride home from the airport at 6:00 that night. SFO. Friday night. 1 hour drive time with no accidents. So, instead of going to dinner with people I really do not know, I did the airport run. Some time alone in the car, and a few laps around SFO, and we were on our way back with the family, and their 10 bags, and stories of their cruise and Honduras. Pretty uneventful overall, and they were very thankful. Got home around 8:00 and decided since I only went to the HS football games that I was required to attend as a part of the band, and not a one in the intervening 20+ years, I would skip it. Add to that, The Dude calling to tell me that I would have to park at least a mile away, and it was about 40 degrees out at the time, and a salad and a cup of tea sounded like just what I needed. I even went to my folks' to pick up The Boys early. They were in the middle of watching Babes in Toyland, so I stayed through the end, despite being admonished for my kids not knowing enough nursery rhymes... So The Boys ended up going to bed after 10:00. The Dude went out after the game to continue with his friends.

Saturday morning was spent cleaning and doing laundry and fielding questions about how much more time there was before a birthday party. Duke The Dog was acting weird, puking about 8 times over the course of the morning, drinking all his water, but not eating a thing, and panting at odd times. Not going anywhere, but out to puke, and shakily walking back to his bed. I was really worried about him. Bowling Birthday party was 3:00 - 5:00, and a cousin's Sleepover Birthday party started at 6:00. The Dude went to the bowling party, then napped due to his late Friday night. When I got home after dropping The Boys for the Sleepover, I sat with Duke because I was afraid it was his kidneys and it was also his last day with us. I did Reiki on him, only to discover it wasn't his kidneys at all, it was his intestines - he ate something that caused all of the problems. I tried to get him to eat a dish of rise, cut up hot dog and tuna, but he wouldn't even lift his head to sniff it, though the cat was wanting it! The Dude sat with Duke when he woke up, and we watched some TV before retiring for the night.

Sunday morning Duke was back to his tail wagging, face licking self and scarfed the rice/hot dog/tuna mix first thing! The Dude had a late morning soccer game, so I took scooters and picked up The Boys from the Sleepover, where they had a BLAST! We went to the soccer game and rode scooters. The Youngest even dropped into the skate park next to the field, and everyone was really cool about it. I was tempted to try a ripstick, but regained my mind in quick order. Following the game, The Boys and I picked up lunch for them and went to a nephew's soccer division championship match, where they were shut out. They were pretty bummed out, but had a great season. We got home, unpacked and repacked the boys for a sleepover at Oma's. C arrived at 4:00, and we all piled in the car. Dropped off The Boys, picked up D&J, and headed to Santa Cruz for a concert by Great Big Sea. On the way, we found out they weren't going to go on until 9:00, and we were all dutifully indignant about having such a late Sunday night. Then we realized we were sounding geriatric and decided to just suck it up and move on! We met J&M at Taqueria Los Pericos and had a GREAT dinner, but needed something sweet to end it and went to Saturn Cafe - that was our fatal flaw really. The Mini Madness is humongous, the coffee was great, and we were all suffering intestinal distress the rest of the night! The concert was awesome - 4th row, in a smallish venue - the guys sounded great, and Alan's beard makes him look like a Rankin & Bass character.

Never heard of Great Big Sea? Then you must be new to my blog, because I've written about them before, several times probably. If you have a chance to go to one of their shows - go! It is very high energy and fun!
I'm embedding one of my current favorites songs at the end - take a listen!

Today I went to the office because Corporate Real Estate is doing some sort of space usage survey where they are paying a person to walk by our cubicles every hour and see if we are there, and working. Big Brother meets Corporate Bureaucracy at its best. Now everyone is FREAKING out, thinking if they even visit the restroom their boss is going to think they took early leave or long lunch. That would be ridiculous, no one on the West Coast takes or otherwise gets a lunch because we are in MEETINGS with East Coast and India at all hours of the day and night. Which also happens to necessitate our working from home while barely awake at said hours. This week should be filled with even more paranoia than usual, I'm sure productivity will be just dandy...

And now some Music Monday for you!

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Town Shoot Out - Places of Worship

This week's shoot out theme is courtesy of Rebecca of The Dusty Cellar. "This week I picked places of worship because I was thinking that so many churches & synagogues (etc.), have such interesting architecture and symbolism both indoors and out. In addition, there is often much history surrounding the older buildings used for worship as well, adding to the interest. Whether simple or ornate they are often designed to speak to the soul. But by all means get creative and go beyond just buildings and architecture if you'd like!"
I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here!

I admit it, I'm recycling this post from February. I don't have any pics I like better than these, and it's likely only a handful of the MTSO gang has even seen them ;-)

This is St. Philip Lutheran Church, built between 1962 and 1964. I love the stained galss and was actually hoping for a night shot from outside while the lights are on. Alas, timing and weather were not on my side this week.
This is the original St. Raymonds Catholic Church built in 1859. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and holds the honor as the oldest Catholic Church building in Alameda or Contra Costa Counties. It is now used for weddings and city events, and the old school buildings are now the Heritage Center. The old cemetary is still the only one in dublin, and has the graves of the three peopl who dies while building the church, as well as recently departed residents.
This is the new St. Raymonds. It was build between 1976 and 1977 and also houses a school for Kindergarten through 8th grade. Interestingly it was dedicated by Bishop John S. Cummins who I met and had worked with my parents.
This is John Knox Presbyterian Church. This church was named for the Scottish reformer. I'm sure it was built in the 1960's or 70's, though I could not find information pertaining to its history on line.

This is Resurrection Lutheran Church - that's right 2 Lutheran Churches within about 10 miles of each other. This Church houses a Preschool and infant care center. I thought this photo looked nearly black and white to begin with, so I removed what little color there was, and I think it's rather striking.

This is Church of Christ. I had to shoot this across the freeway, as there is no way to get the entire place in a shot in front of the church. I would guess this was built in the 1980's as I remember it going up, when I was old enough to notice.

There are a few other churches in Dublin, but I either did not like my shots, or they are behind gated entryways, and thus inaccesible.

Happy Friday the 13th all! And if you are itching for a tattoo, but have so little cash it isn't funny, you need to check your local tattoo shop - lots of them run $13 specials today (add $7 tip), but lines can take FOREVER, so go early!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

This one goes to Erin over at The Erin O'Brien Owner's Manual for Human Beings. Read her post today, especially if you are like me and trying to be frugal, and not always succeeding, but not because of you, because of the outside forces, the "THEY" in your lives.
The quote?
"some half-ass suburban housewife Jenga game"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring our Veterans

Thank-you to all of our military personnel for your past, present and future sacrifice. On this day I think back to the months I spent within two local National Cemeteries taking photos for this book. All work was voluntary for all photographers involved, and all proceeds go to charity. If you have a Veteran on your mind today, thank that person, and if you need a Christmas gift for them, buy this book as a thanks. If you want me to sign it, I am happy to do so, just contact me to make arrangements.
And now some of my photos, a few of which made it into the book:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tableau Tuesday 11/10/2009

All photos were taken this weekend around the Berkeley Marina and Adventure Playground. We all had a really fun time together, and I love spending time just the four of us - which is far too rare.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday Evening Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend, we were all trying to recover from the colds we've had.
That didn't stop us from the last soccer game of the season and end of season party, a birthday party and another day at Adventure Playground - pics to come Tuesday!

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Town Shoot Outs - Skylines

This week's shoot out theme is courtesy of Kate of growth spurt, "My topic is up to bat this week and I picked Skylines. One of my favorite things to see when I go to a new city is the look of their skyline - and for me, skylines can be the look of a small-town Main Street or the giant buildings of a huge city's downtown or a field full of corn. What is the "skyline" that you think of when someone mentions your town?"

I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here!

I will not have a contribution this week. We all have colds and I am totally not motivated o go out and shoot anything.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Evening Weekend Wrap Up

Another INSANELY busy weekend...
Friday was Halloween Party at The Boys' school, starting with a parade after lunch, and continuing with food and games at school. Everyone had a great time and the weather was fantastic! Following school, we headed to the 9th Birthday of a friend, which was themed around "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". Everyone was in costumes, and the party transitioned to a Halloween Party 3 hours later. For a couple of hours in the middle of the parties I left for Happy Hour with some friends, and returned to the party refreshed and looking forward to kids running amok. Finally talked The Boys into going home around 9:00.
Saturday, The Youngest had an early soccer game, after which we ran to get candy for later. The Youngest had another Birthday Party, and I took The Oldest to play mini golf. It was a nice Mommy and Me day for us, and we had just enough time to get home, carve pumpkins, get dressed, eat dinner and get out the door for Trick or Treating. We walked for 2 hours with friends all around our neighborhoods, and by the end a few of the kids were whinning about sore feet and being tired. I mapped it tonight, and we walked 2 1/4 miles! That's pretty far for The Youngest, and The Oldest didn't complain at all. We ended up home at 9:00 again, which helped them sleep in until 7:00 this morning, but they were really dragging all day.
Today was laundry and grocery shopping, and claening. Oma and Opa brought over additional toy shelves (made by Opa) to add to what The Boys already have, so I emptied out the 4 shelf unit and washed it down, and now it is 2, 3 shelf units. I also had The Boys help me clean the playroom and look for The Oldest's iPod shuffle. We didn't find it, and I had to ask his best friend where they put it down on Tuesday when they were playing. He says the playroom, so it's my turn tomorrow to tear it apart and look bid by bin, shelf by shelf. GAH! The Boys fell asleep on the couch by 8:15, so they should be back to normal sleep tomorrow, just in time for school.

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Town Shoot Out - Park Landscapes

I'm coming, I'm coming!  I'm Late, I'm Late, for a very important date!!!!

This week's shoot out theme is courtesy of JarieLyn of Write Place! Write Chick! "When I think of park landscapes, I think about the design of an entire park. This could be a local park or a state park. A park landscape not only includes trees, plants, grass, ponds and bushes but also could include functionality such as playgrounds, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, skateboard parks, tennis courts, swimming pools, etc. Some parks also have decorative items scattered about such as statues, monuments, benches, courtyards, buildings, etc. What makes the parks in your town special and/or fun? Tell us in pictures what it is about your park(s) that captivates you. ... here is a photo of one of the state parks located in my town of Las Vegas, Nevada."
I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here!

that date was Halloween, and these are why:

And this year's Pumpkins:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And with every silver lining, there comes a cloud...

Despite, or perhaps due to my overwhelming positive and grateful attitude last night, I received a completely surreal phone message this morning from a person sharing my first name, who is also a photographer who has recently trademarked our nick name combined with anything photography related. She wants me to change the name of my Photo business so that there is not confussion. Of course, I am only one of many businesses with that name, but it still feels like I am being told I cannot be who I am (which of course is not true). I don't deny that she should have the trademark (though if consulted, I would have before hand), and it isn't my primary source of income, but still...

So the conundrum today is - What Do I Call My Photography Business?
I'll post a poll on the right with some of my thoughts, and may add others that come in here.

BTW - it is J9Photo

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So Shines A Good Deed In A Weary World

So today my mood has been bolstered by a few good deeds. Some dear friends have offered their timeshare for a family vacation which we desperately need, and today I received a much needed validation from my boss at work that I am doing my job well. At this point I'm just barely holding it together, and every time someone says or does something nice, I nearly burst into tears. It's been a rough time for a while, and some days it seems overwhelming. Other days it seems like just so much background noise. And still other days I weep just thinking about how lucky I am to be surrounded by love and support, and how wonderful The Boys are, how smart and funny and handsome they are, and all around great kids. They are really sweet and beautiful souls, and I can only try to make sure that any actions I take, or words I say will lead them to the future they are supposed to live, a happy and healthy life full of love. I know it is likely that at some point they will need therapy, and I'm ok with that, as long as it helps them work through any difficulties. I know I need therapy on occassion, and because of my therapist, I am better prepared to help my boys work through any current drama with friends, or each other.
I am getting a piercing, likely in my right ear - maybe an Auricle, or a Pinna. This is to celebrate my weight loss of over 10% from my starting weight. In celebration of getting to my goal and staying there for 6 months, I will be getting another tattoo. I want an Ambigram of Karma going around my ankle, but haven't found one where I like the way it reads, and I've been woring on my own design for it as well. I am celebrating me.
I know this is a rambling post, and don't hold me to any sort of sanity this late at night!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Evening Weekend Wrap Up

The weekend is over, and I'm pooped!
Friday, The Boys had a field trip to the pumpkin patch/corn maze where it was over 80 degrees after having rained early in the week, making for a humid maze, where my hair frizzed and I sweated while following a group of 3 boys, only one of whom was mine. We then went to the pumpkin patch part of the day where they found a corn pit, which is basically a GIANT sand box with dried corn instead of sand. A bit easier to get out of hair/clothes/shoes. Following the field trip, we went home, and I loaded the moon, clouds, trees and fortune teller booth and headed to the school to set up for Halloween Fun Night (HFN). I was doing that until 10 that night, came home and went to bed.
Saturday I was back at the school at 10am to continue setting up. I had to leave at 1:30 for The Youngest's soccer game. I got back home at 4:30, changed into costume and went back to work HFN selling tickets at the door. MDH and The Boys came over to HFN at about 5:30, and my folks were there with one of my nephews. The cafeteria looked great, the Haunted House was a HUGE success, and the dinner was yummy! The raffle baskets were as popular as ever, and the cake walk was epic! I also stayed to clean up until about 10pm. When I got home, I found out that the neighbor and friend of The Youngest was having a Birthday Party the next day...
Sunday The Boys and I went to continue the HFN cleanup from 10:00 to 2:00. After that, I dropped them at the house and ran for the Birthday present, where I also picked up 3 other presents for upcomming parties. I was revelling in the quiet solitude of a kid free experience for that amount of time! Because of all the activity, I had to cram all of the laundry into Sunday night - bleh. The boys were wiped out, I'm still pretty tired, and we all have a full week ahead, 2 more birthday parties this weekend, a Halloween party at school, trick - or - treating, pumpkin carving - you get the idea!

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Town Shoot Out - Classics of Childhood

This week's shoot out theme is courtesy of Ellisa of a thousand words... "What are your childhood memories made of? A game? A park? A special place you used to visit? OR Look around you. Watch for places and things you'd like your children to remember. Or maybe you see children creating memories as we speak. What will be the thing they remember as classic?"
I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here!

My weekend was spent almost exclusively at The Boys' school for Halloween Fun Night, which was great again this year! More on that maybe in the morning.

I was thinking classic games from my childhood, along with wondering what The Boys will think are classics when they are older.

Nothing more classic than your first haircut at a real barbershop while sitting on dad's lap! (The Youngest)

Or losing your two front teeth! (The Oldest)

Or if your mom is a photographer and also happens to think that you resemble Alfalfa and Spanky, then she makes you dress like them so that she can get some pictures that she will likely torture you with when you are a surly teen!

And finally, a classic from my childhood, that I have been fortunate enough to share with The Boys:

Good week all!