Monday, March 30, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Whew, glad that's over.

7:30 am: Left the house to pick up Eris. Ate a piece of toast and a banana on the way, my version of carb-loading. (I feel the heads in Denver shaking in disbelief.)
Numi, Jubee and Eris, pre-race
8:00-8:30 am: Met Jubee and prepped for the 5k run, a fundraiser for the local schools.

8:30-9:38 am: Ran the 5k. I was at first disappointed in my time but then heard comments about what a difficult course this one was (thanks, Eris). Also, my time was a little slower due to sticking with Jubee and encouraging her through her first race.

Jubee crossing the finish line
9:39 am: Went back to finish with Jubee. For her first race she was incredible! She said she had fun and was planning to do it again. Yay, Jubee!

post-race smiles
9:45-10:15 am: Rushed to see the last half of Little Ms. Eris' first soccer game. She plays with the Pink Angels and is very competitive. Eris and I were cold due to wet layers of clothes under the jackets but still enjoying the endorphins from running the race. Ummm, endorphins...

10:16-1:45 pm: Enjoyed a loooong hot shower and lunch. Ankles feeling kind of wonky.

2:15-3:15 pm: Watched Mr. Eris Jr. play indoor soccer. Wonkiness is spreading north to calves and knees.
4:00-5:30 pm: Drove across town to watch Mr. Eris, Jr. play outdoor soccer. It was chilly but not unbearable. Wonkiness has now worked it's way up to hips and waist. Brain is starting to get a little foggy.

6:30 pm: Finally make it home where I quickly reheat leftovers and bean burritos for dinner. By now I am totally feeling the day's non-stop activities. Time to sit and watch a Jazz game (Happy Birthday, Matt!) and nurse the legs that now feel like limp fettucini.

7:00-9:30 pm: Hopefully the Jazz will have won the game and I will go to bed. Storm is scheduled to arrive late morning. Tomorrow's outing will be total walking, no running. Maybe. Maybe.

$.14 (two pennies courtesy of Eris, which will be the subject of upcoming post.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

The crock pot

A few weeks ago I complained about things blowing up in my house. I'm happy to report that since that time there have been no explosions, no unexplained smoke coming from plugged in appliances and all things computerized are still computing. Oh SFDPH, hopefully I haven't just put a jinx on anything.

This is my new 6 qt. crock pot. Can't really call it new anymore because it has been used nearly non-stop since I lovingly brought it home to join the 2 qt. and 4 qt. crock pots. The freezer is now fully stocked with all kinds of soups, beans and sauces. Three batches of shredded chicken await the transformation to enchiladas, soups and yes, yes, the beloved Chicken Wraps. All of this cooking led to the cleaning out of the freezer where I discovered all kinds of frozen goodies.

The above photo is from a recipe I found for Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup. It just won a 2nd place prize at Athena's workplace Healthy Food Cook-off. I also entered the Quinoa Stuffed Squash which got good results from the judges. Not everyone liked it because it is so unusual. Athena, bless her heart, told me not to bother making it for her when she comes to dinner. Honestly, didn't that girl's mother teach her any manners? Anyway, the winning soup netted a gift certificate for a trendy new restaurant downtown and a cookbook. Zeus will be the recipient because when I got home from the cook-off he had totally cleaned up mess I left in the kitchen. Ah, I love the guy!

By the way, the crock pot has a neat lock-down feature on the lid. I didn't think I would like it but it turned out to be great for transporting in the car.

It's been beastly cold and snowy for two day so a spicy soup sounds good. Supper is ready!


PS. Yesterday was another trip to CEC. Photos can be seen at the Shooting Blog and also at Jodi's Blog.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Yesterday I finally got a long-overdue haircut. I like it short. Short. Since high school it has been short, the shorter the better. My hair is naturally as straight as a pin, not even a slight bend anywhere. Not even a cowlick.

For those of you who were blessed with natural curls, I envy you. Yeah, I know, you hate them. But believe me, spending at least 15 minutes manipulating a curling iron every morning is no picnic, either. And perms, well I used to do that but still ended up with the same 15 minutes to get all those waves to go in the correct direction. (In the photo below (1980's?)my BIL is the victim of my scissors.)

When Athena and Eris were growing up I kept their hair short as well. They both experimented with longer tresses in high school but chopped it off shortly after the children started arriving.

Getting a first haircut can be traumatic, mostly for the parents. The first time I cut off Bubba's curls we all got emotional. Suddenly he looked so much older.

Jubee got a haircut when she tried to trim her own bangs.

But the best haircut of all was two years ago when Little Ms. Eris gave herself the mother-of-all-cuts, a big hunk nearly to the skin right behind her ear. There were lots of tears shed that day by Eris, Little Ms. and even the neighbor/beautician that was asked to repair the damage. (Before and after photos are below.)

Ever since then both Little and Littlest have had fairly short hair, a style that I totally adore. But I do miss the little braids and ribbons that I used to put in their hair on Grandma days.

$1.95 (includes a paper dollar. Yay!)

Update: Requested photo at the Shooting Blog.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Civil Twilight

For the last four years I have been searching for a definition or the name of a very specific kind of light. This light occurs in the mornings 20-30 minutes before sunrise and also in the evenings 20-30 minutes after sunset. It is a magnificent time of day when the light source is not coming from one direction but instead looks like it surrounds the entire world.

The past weekend was spent in a two-day photography seminar in SLC. The first class I attended was titled "Understanding Exposure: The Zone System". I'll spare you all of the details of the class, other than to say that I had heard of this method but didn't know how to use it. Lots of practice ahead..

(back to subject) Just a few minutes into the class the instructor started talking about Civil Twilight and I nearly fell out of my chair. Finally, a name for this phenomenon that I have been experiencing regularly that gives me such delight!

Two things happen at Civil Twilight that I love. In the morning version I watch as the earth wakes up. I am usually outside and shapes suddenly become luminous and vivid. Coins on the ground practically light up because the reflections come from all around, not just the direction of the source. Evening Civil Twilight becomes important to photographers for the same reason. There is an abundance of light and it is a very warm, pleasing color.

Unfortunately, I was unable to capture any images of Civil Twilight last night or today as we have snow again. Mother Nature always has to get her last licks in. The photos in this post are some that have benefited from some post-processing techniques that I learned yesterday.


Saturday, March 21, 2009


Zeus and I just finished watching the movie "March of the Penguins". What a wonderful work of art. I could listen to Morgan Freeman for days and not tire of his voice.

These are my little penguins in the year 1977. Adorable, yes?


Thursday, March 19, 2009

"I'm with... hey, that's not nice!"

As I was searching through my photo albums for some other photos this one popped out from 2003. The look on Bubba's face tells you that some kind of mischief is going on. And of course, Jubee has no clue that the sign pinned to his shirt says

--> --> -->

Athena told me that he is now finished with Driver's Ed and will soon be getting his license.

Is anyone else worried?

$1.33 plus a special lucky penny found by the Princess and sent home to Grandpa Zeus.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Corned beef, cabbage and other lucky stuff

Yesterday my calendar was blank so I finally wandered down to the lair. The repaired lamp was reinstalled on the wall so it was time to get back to work. The laptop was moved back down to the lair as well. I am now surrounded here by all of my favorite toys, except for Zeus who remains upstairs.

Thanks to two ladies who have commented on my blog, Sharyn and Becky, I was inspired to get my Bernina humming along again. (Thanks, ladies!) That closet of beautiful fabrics are not going to get cut and sewn unless I do it. So, I spent the morning finishing the pajama quilt top, including borders. Cleaning and decluttering kept me busy for most of the afternoon. Then last night while watching Big Bang Theory - love it - I actually got another baby quilt top put together, a simple Snowball and 9-patch. I was in this room most of the day and it felt really wonderful.

With warmer weather approaching (had to shed the outerwear while running this morning) the lair becomes the coolest place in our house. In fact, I keep a sweatjacket in the room to put on whenever I come down. I love this room. My lair.

shiny new shoes next to old ones

I hope that you all have had a lucky St. Patrick's Day. The corned beef and cabbage is in the crockpot and I'm going to get new running shoes this afternoon. How lucky can one girl get?

$2.41 and one car-wash token

Update on Zeus: The spa treatments seemed to have worked their magic! The numbers that have steadily climbed for the last six years have gone from over 12 to .002. That is everything we were hoping for, and then some! Gotta love medical science. And a special thanks to all of you for your good vibes and wishes!

Coconut cake and peeps

Happy Birthday, Dad.
You would have been 80 today.
I still miss you.
(Sorry Eris and Athena.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Zeus will eat anything. In 17 years he has never refused anything I made for him. There have been a few things that even I couldn't choke down. A couple of times he has kindly told me not to bother fixing it again, but only after he ate it.

uncooked quinoa

For a couple of months I have been trying to locate quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). It is kind of a grain/cereal/seed that is very high in protein. Finally last week I found it in the health food section of one of our grocery stores.

After an Internet search for a recipe I finally decided to try, Quinoa Stuffed Squash. It was pretty good! Zeus loved it. The addition of tart cherries, maple syrup (partially substituted with Splenda Brown Sugar) and cinnamon made it not only nutritious but yummy!

(If you haven't heard of quinoa before you aren't alone. Even the spellcheck for this post didn't recognize the word.)

$3.32 (highest daily total without paper)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lucky Friday the 13th

I struck gold this morning! When I am running (or walking fast) I usually don't stop to closely examine the round things that I pick up. They just go in my left pocket. Quite often as Zeus is counting the coinage he will tell me that I have a "wheatie" or some other interesting coin. These coins don't go in the "Lucky Penny" jar but are instead kept in a separate place. The best one I have found was a 10 peso coin that required plucking out of a very busy intersection.

This morning I was putting in an extra 30 minutes due to a weigh-in for Team Athena (dismal failure). There was a huge amount of construction on my usual route so I detoured a little and took in a car wash. Whoa! Nice payout!

I didn't even know these things were out. Until I got home I just thought that I'd picked up a car wash token.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dirty snow

March is an interesting month in Utah. The weather can change from 60 degrees one day to 25 degrees the next. In my front yard the crocus are blooming, the daffodils are about a week away and the tulips spikes are barely poking up through the bark.

One thing we can always count on in March is dirty snow. January and February bring large mountains of snow lining the streets and in parking lots. As they melt all that is left is sand, dirt, garbage and sludge. Ugly turns to uglier. All kinds of interesting things can be found in the mounds. Especially gloves. Not pairs, just single gloves, lonely and filthy. A few coins are scattered around waiting to go in my left pocket. But mostly it is just garbage.

Another thing we can count on in Utah is that those large piles of dirty snow will be covered up with more snow once or twice, or three times, which is what happened on Tuesday. Six very wet inches of white spring snow.

If the deer, who seem to have taken up residence in our yard don't eat them first we will be able to enjoy these spring flowers for the next month.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My bedroom

Last night I slept in my bedroom. Not my usual bedroom, but the one that I grew up in. It's been 20 years since I last slept there. ** This room was first shared with my younger sister when our family moved into the house in the early sixties. I was a slob (gross understatement) and she was very neat and orderly (still is). At one time there was a line of tape placed down the middle of the floor so my disgusting mess could be kept on one side. It didn't work and she eventually was given her own room.

** The window looks out onto a tall mountain with only a very small field in between. In school we occasionally had earthquake drills and I worried that the mountain would fall down on me.

** At that time in the early 60's we also had air raid drills. The neighbors down our previous street had built a bomb shelter in their basement during the Cold War and I vividly recall seeing those thick cement walls and canvas cots. Looking out of that bedroom window at night I also worried that some of those stars might be Russian bombers coming to destroy us.

** On the other hand there were a few Christmas Eves that I watched out that window hoping to see Santa's sleigh come across the sky. Although I never spotted him he always managed to make it down our chimney.

** There were bunk beds in the room and I slept in the bottom one. I was sure that no one knew of the hiding place in the box springs above me where I kept all of my secret stuff.

** This room was directly above my parent's bedroom. I could always hear my Dad's snoring.

** Later on in my life I temporarily reclaimed this room while awaiting the birth of Athena. As always it was a total mess until one night I decided to thoroughly clean it. The next day Athena surprised us by arriving a month early. Nesting instinct, anyone?

It was kind of weird to sleep in the room again. It doesn't look anything like it once did. And by the way, that place was as cold as Aunt Elsie's room (a reference for Jan)! By the middle of the night I had piled up two quilts and four afghans on top of me and my feet were still like ice. I missed my down comforter and Zeus.

It was nice to spend the night with Mom. And by the way, she is doing well enough to whip me soundly at a game of cards.

$.24 (parking lot finds)

Addendum: Make sure you stop by Eris' blog to see some great shots of Littlest.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Springing forward with a thud.

Clocks are not my friends today.
This morning the first 30 minutes of my Sunday run was spent in darkness.

That makes it very difficult to find round, shiny objects.
Thanks alot, Benjamin Franklin.
Update: Mom is home and doing well.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Zeus sent me an article yesterday about actively naming one's emotions and consciously dealing with them. The timing was perfect because I've been working on this concept for quite a while.

Buddhism has brought some valuable insights to my stubborn old brain. If I am angry with someone, who really has the problem? The simple answer is "it is MY problem". The other person might not even know that they have irritated me. Or they might not care. I must "own" the anger and then "control" it. The same applies to emotions, including jealousy, love, sadness and all others. It isn't enough to just recognize the feelings, I need to learn to take control rather than let the emotion control me. Sounds simple, eh? Not so much.

I've been working on this for a long time. Zeus and I have great talks about it. Difficult situations are much easier to handle when I can finally take the responsibility for how I am feeling and place it squarely on my own shoulders. The concept that one person cannot change another was hard to grasp but I think I'm finally getting it.

Yesterday I was at a soccer game with the Eris clan. Mr. Eris, Jr. was playing and it was one of the best games of the year even though they lost by one point to an incredible team of girls! Oops, back to the subject.. Littlest Ms. threw one of her brilliant temper tantrums, the likes of which have only been seen by those who knew me when I was three (or four, or five) (or any number you choose). Yep, I remember throwing myself on the ground and kicking my feet when I didn't get my own way. My show-stopping antics are legendary in our family and I readily admit them.

A half-century later I am learning to recognize and own my emotions. Please don't mistake that last sentence for claiming that I don't get angry. I do that often. Too often. The interesting aspect is that it is becoming much easier to control myself and just walk away when the situation calls for it instead of having a classic three-year-old temper tantrum.

I still have a long, long way to go. It's an interesting journey.


Update on Mom: She is still in the hospital due to a few complications. But she is doing well and all Malted Milk Balls are now taken care of. Hopefully she will be back at home tomorrow.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ringers Lactate, STAT!!!

This relaxing spa stuff is getting to be old hat for me. The phone rang this morning at 5:30, never a good sign considering how much distaste I have for phones.

The lovely arm belongs to my Mom. Seems that she has gall stones the size of the niblets pictured in my previous post. Gotta come out.

So here we wait at the other local "spa", waiting for the surgeon to finish up with his seven previous procedures (acckkk!) so he can remove the Malted Milk Balls that are clogging up her system. The accommodations here are not quite as luxurious as our two other outings in the last months. The Diet Coke dispenser is kept behind a door with a menacing "employees only" sign on it. Too bad I don't have my glasses on and can't read it.

I'm ready for a real spa at a sandy beach sipping on a Pina Colada.

Updates will follow.


Update: 10:45 p.m. Gall bladder successfully removed and she is resting comfortably. One Malted Milk Ball remaining. Bracing for possible removal tomorrow. I am now going to put on my fancy spa pjs and try to catch some zzzzs.
The above photo is of the bionic attachment that Mom is wearing tonight on her arm. Plugs and monitors and needles going in and out of multiple places. You would think I would be used to all of the beeps and buzzers by now. Hopefully home tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Milk Duds

These are not Milk Duds. These are not raisins. They are not chocolate-covered peanuts. No, what you see above is deer poop.

In the last two months we have been "treated" to numerous deer sightings at our house, both in the back yard as well as the front. This is unusual as we are not particularly close to the mountains (a mile, maybe?) and there is plenty of grass and vegetation available for them to snack on at higher elevations.

I enjoy watching them walk down the street but I do not appreciate it when they wander across the sidewalk and driveway leaving a trail of poop niblets.


Monday, March 2, 2009

All I wanted..

All I wanted was a nice photo of my grandchildren to put on my desk.