Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knife Obsession


I mentioned that we got a few things from a Cutco booth / vendor at the Poteet Strawberry Festival in a previous post. Well, they came in recently and I'm absolutely happy with them. And, they complete the collection of knives and accessories that I wanted.


Red Super Shears, Traditional Cheese Knife, Petite Santoku Knife

I finally have some kitchen shears. I've been wanting some for eons! I've been making do with knives and whatnot when a perfectly good pair of shears could do the job easier. I wanted the color red just to be selfish. It's mine! Hopefully, my man will not borrow nor steal them for any purpose other than the kitchen. I am hoping that by having the color red, it will deter him from using them because it's such a "girly" color. Ha!

Actually, I'm kidding. I really wanted red handled shears just to be different.

A reminder: we received the cheese knife free for purchasing the shears and Santoku knife.



Here is most of the Cutco knives and accessories that we own. Besides the ones we recently purchased, we have a (from left to right) vegetable peeler, pizza cutter, two trimmers, boning knife, slicer (bread knife), spatula spreader, petite chef's knife, and table knives.

Only one table knife is shown. We have eight total and we received at least three of them free over the course of our history of buying Cutco knives. I also know that one of those trimmers was also free.

The boning knife is missing the tip. But, it's still a good knife. And, I plan on getting it replaced someday. We did misuse the knife trying to hack some frozen hamburger meat back in our early stupid days. I have since wised up. I now divvy up the meat in portion sizes and then freeze them.

Cutco has a "forever replacement service agreement for misuse or abuse" on their knives. Basically, they'll replace a knife at half the current retail price plus shipping, handling and tax. One of these days, I'll send it to Cutco with an explanatory note to get it replaced. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Some of these items are used for multiple purposes. For example, the spatula spreader is also used as a "slice and serve" for cakes, brownies and more. So, I don't need nor want a separate "slice and serve" item.


I keep the knives in this wooden knife block that my man purchased for me eons ago. They all fit beautifully.


And, that wooden block is stored in a drawer in the kitchen island.

Please excuse the mess to the left. I never got around to getting silverware organizers. I didn't want to spend any money on organizer stuff until we got a house of our own. Of course, I didn't think we'd be here for two years either.

Anyway, that block is in a perfect, safe, and out-of-the-way place. I am hoping that whenever we get a house of our own, we will have similar drawers. In fact, I'm hoping that we'll have a similar kitchen. I absolutely love having all the roomy cabinets and drawers not to mention a kitchen island.





Friday, April 23, 2010

Chessie


I've done a couple of posts with Gracie. Now, it is Chessie's turn. Chessie is our elderly cat. She's going on 13 years of age and is a Maine Coon. We've had her since she was 12 weeks old.

The biggest problem with Chessie is that she's tough to take pictures of - very uncooperative. In spite of this, I've managed to get a few pictures recently that were okay. One of these days real soon, I'm going to just focus on her and hope I get a couple decent pictures out of thousands I probably will take. Ha!


April 4, 2010. Kodak EasyShare DX4530

As you can see here, Gracie is NOT alone is demanding attention by getting on the laptop. (picture of Gracie on laptop) Chessie does the same thing. She refused to look at me when I had the camera. Typical.

The following pictures were taken with Dan's camera (a Canon Rebel EOS using a wide angle lens) on the same day I took pictures of Gracie exploring the great outdoors, which was back in January. It was blustery day and she didn't like the wind one bit. So, she stayed inside.


Here she is gazing out the window. I slowly sneaked up on her and then snapped this picture. I was amazed at how well it turned out.

By the way, that is not the windowsill of the house. Chessie does not fit on normal sized windowsills as she is a BIG cat. She's not fat by any means - just big. I talked Dan into making a wider perch for her to lay on. It's basically a nice wide board resting on the windowsill with supports. She loves being in that window the most for obvious reasons.


I turned this into a black and white picture and loved it!


"Put... the camera.... down...........now."

Chessie quickly got annoyed with my presence and/or with the fact that I had a camera. She's looking mighty mean here, isn't she? I dubbed this picture "Evil Cat". Seriously though, she's a very sweet, loving and gentle giant. :-)


This is a very old picture of Chessie -- a signature artist begged me to let her turn into a signature.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pictures posted from Our Long Weekend


I wrote about our long weekend here.

I have updated Pictorial Reminiscence blog with pictures from that weekend. So, if you’re interested, check them out.

Wildflower Drive

Poteet Strawberry Festival

Update on Mother


Mother is having her ups and downs. The last you heard was that she was doing well in physical therapy. Well, she got sick again and did not make any progress. So, her last day of physical therapy was last Friday. She is now in restorative therapy. Most of her therapy will now be done in her room and if she can walk, the therapist will help.

The way I understand it is that if she progresses to a certain point in restorative therapy, they’ll start her up again in Physical therapy.

Anyway, we showed up Saturday and apparently, they’re going to have her walk a bit on the weekends too. They’re getting her to walk in her room and sit in her chair for dinner.

They are also getting her up for both lunch and dinner during the week. She sits in her chair. Let me tell you, she’s a picky eater. So, some times, she’ll eat quite a bit, sometimes a little, and other times, not at all. She was not doing well Sunday morning. I thought maybe it’s because she’s didn’t eat much for lunch and dinner on Saturday. It’s unusual for her to not like anything provided two meals in a row. I know that when I don’t eat properly, I don’t feel well either.

Dan and I got her a tater from Jason’s deli for lunch on Sunday. I was surprised. She ate pretty much the whole thing! She looked and felt better soon afterward. She did real well walking in her room before dinner and sat in her chair for a bit. My brother and his wife took her a sandwich that night for dinner and she ate all that too! I am hoping her appetite is returning because she didn’t want to eat much of anything before – even the stuff from home or from one of her favorite restaurants.

She had a good day Monday -- walked a little. But, today was a bad day. She couldn’t walk much. She got weak and dizzy all of a sudden (while up walking) and felt like throwing up. We have no clue to what’s going on with her. My brother has been trying to get her in to see a cardiologist and see if there is anything he (or she) can do for her. But, as of right now, there is nothing more we can do.

So anyway, I guess she’s going to have good days and bad days. I just hope that she’ll have more good days and less bad days in the near future because I’m still clinging to hope that she’ll return back home.

Mother likes having me there with her in her room. She wants me there most of the day as she hates being left all alone. My brother and/or his wife visit her practically every night. It’s not like she’s there alone all the time. She has people checking up on her. But, I don’t mind because there isn’t much for me to do here anyway. It just concerns me because she doesn’t like me to go anywhere at any time.

I can see that she’s treated well by most everyone at the place she’s in. She’s developed a rapport with a few of the caretakers and even talked to one of them about me “behind my back” while I was there! The way Mom does this is by covering her mouth so that I can’t read her lips. I KNEW they were talking about me and I exclaimed, “are you guys talking about me?!?!?” They were both laughing and having a good time. Angie (the caretaker) refused to look at me but she nodded her head. Mom looked at me and said “nothing, never mind!” Sheesh!

Anyway, I’ll be here the rest of this week and will return home with Dan on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our Long Weekend (April 9 - April 11)


Pictures from the weekend are not quite ready yet. However, I thought I write a short note about it.

We went for a drive last Friday to see wildflowers and ended up at Wildseed Farms. I love that place. We were there between 1½ to 2 hours just exploring and taking pictures. The best time to go is in the spring and early summer. This place has all kinds of things a gardener may want including food such as jams, jellies, sauces, etc., & etc. I think they are on the pricey side, though. You can also buy seeds via catalog, which is currently free. You can quite a variety, including bluebonnets, paintbrushes, sunflowers, and poppies.

We also went for a drive along Willow City Loop. I have to tell you. If you ever get a chance to take a drive along this loop in the springtime when the wildflowers are in full bloom, you have to do it. It’s absolutely mind boggling – thousands and thousands of bluebonnets (not to mention other flowers) in fields, among rocks, along streams, and among cacti. It is absolutely beautiful. The scenery is constantly changing. I’ve never seen anything like that before.

The one thing that was annoying, but I didn’t blame them, is people were stopping, getting out, and taking pictures. This road often passes through private properties and owners ask that you don’t stop or pull over. These people were disrespectful of their requests. You will also need to drive slowly as you may encounter live cattle (we saw some right on the edge of the road).

We went to the Poteet Strawberry Festival Saturday. As always, we left to arrive when the gates open. And, as always, we’re glad we did because the lines of cars to park was awful as the day progressed. I don’t know about you; but, I don’t like sitting in long slow moving lines just to get somewhere.

We had a very good time roaming around on the grounds. We attended a few events such as the fiddle (kids) contest, belly dancing, and pig races. There were quite a few booths selling goods including strawberries. We saw raptors on display and of course, there was the carnival.

We did end up ordering some new Cutco knives. We rarely buy them directly from the website or a seller. We usually buy them via booths and/or vendors. Why? Because you can often get deals and steals via booths and/or vendors. These people want to make sales.

In this case, we purchased red handled kitchen shears, a petite Chefs (Santoku) knife, and a cheese knife. The deal? We got the cheese knife free. This completes my whole wish list collection. Well, I did want the silverware; but, I’m not going to spend that kind of money just for silverware! I am happy with all the knives and related accessories that I have now. I just pray that Cutco doesn’t come out with anything new.

We also purchased a small basket of strawberries before leaving. We just had to get some. Why go to a strawberry festival without getting strawberries? They were delicious.

We mostly relaxed on Sunday and did some cooking in the afternoon. We made pizza dough (Dan took photos) and stored those away in both refrigerator and freezer. We also made Maple Chicken with Skillet Potatoes for dinner.

Overall, I had a very nice long weekend!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Random Pictures from Walking


These pictures were taken with my ancient rinky dinky Kodak EasyShare DX4530 camera while I was out and about walking this past Wednesday and Thursday.


This is in the first alley near our house.


This is my favorite alley/gully to explore on the days when it's dry. They will be turning this into a divided road someday (extending the existing road). There is a vast huge field back behind all the houses. It was wet and overcast on this particular day; so, I didn't go exploring. Instead, I turned around and went walking along the road towards a major Farm Market street. Most of the following pictures were snapped along this road.


A closeup shot of my favorite gully / alley.



Texas Thistle




Primrose Wildflowers



Prairie Verbena



A shot of various flowers near the Farm Market street



I went exploring the neighborhood on Thursday and I came across this house with climbing flowering vines. I was a little nervous taking a picture as there are some paranoid people that don't like seeing people like me with cameras. But, I just had to snap a picture of this one.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"I am Loved" Bracelet


I meant to post this eons ago. But, life has a funny way of messing with your plans. And, I had many plans. They were just postponed. I've been gone for quite some time without feeling like doing much of anything.

Anyway, I found these pictures about the "I am Love" bracelet and just had to post.



Way back in January, Dan received this via mail. It was for a free pearl bracelet from Helzberg Diamonds as a Valentine's Day promotion – no purchase necessary. I told Dan we have to go check it out. I figured it'd be an el cheapo bracelet. But, who cared! It was a free! And, I must confess that I'm a freebie addict.

So, we went to the store the following Sunday (Jan 31st) to check it out. This was the same day that I received a text from my brother saying Mom fell and was in the hospital. This was the beginning of putting my plans on hold for this blog. I ended up going home to Mother's several days after I received word about her. Talk about a mixed bag of memories.

Anyway...



This bracelet turned out to be rather nice! I was amazed and pleased with it. The pearls not perfectly round, which I like. And, guess how much this bracelet was selling for?



Can't you see it? It's that first number circled -- $50.00. That was an absolute shocker! And, we managed to get it for free! I was absolutely thrilled.

I know "I am Loved" – loved by God... And, by my Dan... a very nice thing to have, to wear, and to remind me of that fact from time to time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I iz on ur 'puter limitin ur access




Gracie.

She was a very demanding critter today wanting attention. And, very sneaky. She came up while I was plugging away. I thought she wanted on my lap as usual. Instead, she quickly got on the laptop and laid down before I could protest. I had to laugh, grab my rinky dinky Kodak EasyShare camera that was nearby and take a picture.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Surprise Easter Basket




When I arrived home last night from a long extended stay at Mother's, there was this cutest Easter Basket full of loot waiting for me on the kitchen island. I was pleasantly surprised! Wasn't this sweet of my Dan to think of me?

This is not the original way he organized the basket. I tried to recreate it the way he had it, which looked so lovely. However, I did not succeed. I don't know how he managed to fit it all in a pleasing manner.



The loot! He got me some of my favorite candy and snack mixes, sharpies, replacement blades for my mini utility knife, a cheap movie I have been wanting to see for a long time, and two bamboo trivets.

In case you do not know. I'm an office supply junkie. So the sharpies were wonderful. And, I've been needing some replacement blades (but, I didn't know where to get them). I'm also a lover of anything bamboo. So, receiving the bamboo trivets made my day.

Take a good look at the basket again... The basket has a removable hat – too cute! This will be good to wear when I'm out and about doing yard work. And, purple is my favorite color.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Another Update (Mother)


It’s been a really strange and uplifting week. First, on Sunday, Mother looked at Dan and said “I’m going to get out of here”. That was a shocker because she hadn’t said anything like that in a very long time.

Second, she started to look better Monday morning. Her last dosage of antibiotics was on Sunday. So, it could be that her antibiotics were making her feel ill also. She continued to act more like herself and look healthier throughout the week.

I was all worried and stressed out because I didn’t know how she would handle my slow withdrawal. Surprisingly, she hasn’t said much about my “disappearances” until Wednesday. At first, I showed up early like always because she’s been sick. But, I sighed with relief on Tuesday upon seeing her doing wonderfully. So, I started showing up later in the morning and leaving just before noon. I went shopping Monday and Tuesday while she had therapy.

When I figured that Mom would be fine, I decided to come home (to her house) on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for lunch and to do stuff around the house. I started scanning in slides once again. I also washed her quilt and some of her towels on Thursday. I cleaned out her van on Friday.

My Mother started getting needy Wednesday night and was very much so on Thursday. That worried me. I prayed that she wasn’t getting sick again or something else. She wanted me to stay with her the night. I cannot stay with her and she knows that. And on Friday, she was very much impatient with herself. She said that “she’s never going to get out of here” and “I’m going to die in here”. I had to reassure her and that she must be patient with herself and continue to do well in physical therapy.

My brother is getting the reports from the physical therapists. He’s not much of a communicator (typical man); but, he sent me messages almost every day saying that the therapists were pleased and / or she did well. On Wednesday, he texted me that therapy is going to be extended next week. Yay! We are so pleased and happy.

I’ve been thinking about what could have caused her turnaround in attitude as she now desires to get out of that place once again. It could be that she’s finally feeling better and more like herself. It could be because she knows that I will not be there after Sunday. It could be due to receiving some blessed news – her youngest granddaughter, who is also my niece AND goddaughter, is expecting her first baby. I can hardly wait!

Who knows what the reason is. All that matters is that she’s made a 100% about face and is doing awesome.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to go home tomorrow (Sunday). I’m both excited and scared. I’m excited to return home with Dan. I’m wondering if my cats will remember me. I miss them so much. But, at the same time, I’m worried about Mother. However, she has my brother and his family nearby. If she would just swallow her pride and call him whenever she needs to, she’ll be fine. I pray that she remains healthy. I pray that she continues to do well in therapy.

I do plan on returning home in two weeks. I will return home sooner than that if I’m needed. In the meantime, I’ll take it one day at a time, one week at a time.

Book Review: Bookends




Author: Liz Curtis Higgs
Publisher: Multnomah Books (May 4, 2005), paperback, ISBN: 978-1590524374
Date Published: October 1, 1991
Category: Christian, fiction, romance

Synopsis

Opposites attract? Maybe not.

Emilie Getz and Jonas Fielding are as different as two people—of the same age, with the same faith, living in the same charming Pennsylvania town—could be.

She loves history; he loves new ideas. She sticks to the rules; he likes to break them. She’s into saving relics; he’s into saving souls. The one trait they share is a penchant for controlling every aspect of their lives, including their stubborn hearts.

When Emilie’s search for an archaeological treasure leads her to the one piece of land she can’t have (thanks to Jonas), they choose opposing sides in an engaging battle of wits. Emilie, a no-nonsense sort of woman, is determined to have her way. But Jonas is on a mission as well: He wants to hear Emilie laugh. Often.

I picked up this book at a nearby Mardel on clearance. In fact, I picked up a total of five books (really nine books because two were trilogies) for a total of $8.00.

Bookends is a nice clean read, which is what I like most of the time. Both characters are older than your typical romance novel characters, which is great considering I’m older than your average romance reader. Their issues and struggles are realistic and the courtship is unusual. The storyline has humor throughout. Emilie’s reaffirmation of her relationship with Christ may also appeal to many readers.

My personal rating: 4 out of 5 stars