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Sunday, March 29, 2009

That was great!

My son is a storyteller. He's not a good storyteller, though. His stories tend to end with the saying "That was great!" and are usually something like this:

"Hey, Mom?"


"Remember that one time when we were at the store and the stuff fell off the shelf but nobody had touched it and we all looked at it and I was like 'Wow! Did you see that? That stuff fell off the shelf without anybody even touching it!' and Annie was like 'Yeah I saw it too. It fell right off the shelf and nobody was anywhere near it' and then you just looked at us and said 'Pick it up.'?"


"That was great!"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Strange and Wonderful

I think one of the greatest things about my family is how we are impulsive and do the unexpected, and that's Ok. Just today, Jim offered to get me a new grill for Mother's Day. Not flowers, not a trip for dinner, not any of the traditional gifts. I loved it. I laughed and said, "That's what I was getting you for Father's Day!"

One of the places we are definitely strange is in our choice of pets. When we were younger, we had a cat who would play fetch. He was named Thud (he wasn't very graceful). Ever since then, we've always carefully selected and named our pets so that they would live up to his bizarre standard.

First came a female Rottweiler from the local shelter. Her name is Bill Smith. (It's a family name.)

Second came an English Bulldog. A little female dog who acts like a cat. She looks like a wrinkly old man and therefore bears the name Daisy.

Finally comes our newest addition. A cat with the name of a dog. Meet Rufus.
Once he's feeling a bit more comfortable and comes out of his cat box, I'll take a better picture of him for you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Insult to injury

As if it's not bad enough that I have become host to a parasitic little heart monitor, that I have pimples, that I have an AWFUL cold and fever, that I haven't eaten a real meal since Saturday's lunch, that I am already behind in my grading, that my school has an evaluation team coming in this week to interview us all about the wonders of our jobs.....

You'd think that would be enough things to cram into 4 days time!







Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! My ears are all wet and squishy and itchy now! Fooey.

PS My fever broke, so that's good! Right! Bright spot? Anyone?

PPS There really can't BE a bright spot when you're out of Q-tips. Am I right? Of COURSE I am.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why I'm not posting right now.

Hi, everybody.

I've missed writing and reading your blogs lately, but I've been having some health problems again, and it's interfering with my online activities. This is, I must admit, fairly low on the importance scale behind boring things like work and family and cooking and sleeping and going for walks.... dull stuff, you know? Nothing fun there!

Haha. Just kidding about the fun-ness, of course!

So the long and the short of things is that I've been having some troubles with heart palpitations. As a result I'm very tired, and have been visiting the doctor and the ER and fun places like that. I also have a lot of grading to do. I was just starting to catch up, too! :(

No worries: many of the big scary things have been ruled out. No heart damage or attacks, no lung damage, no thyroid problems, no pleurisy...

But for the meantime, if you don't see me around, you know why. I'll be sure to pop in now and then ('cause it's hard to stay away, right?) but if I'm not showing up in your comments or at our weekly check-in's at least now you know why!

See you on the flip side!

And please, feel free to cheer yourself up with some Weird Al Polka. It works for me. Every time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's the end of the world as we know it!

(and I DON'T feel fine, btw)

I feel shocked, stunned, angry, and a little bit sad. Do you know what building this is? That's right, it's the Willis Tower.

What? What's that? No, no it's the Sears Tower, you say? WRONG.

It's the Willis Tower. Or, it soon will be, anyway.

(This very well could be the 4th horseman of the apocolypse's summer penthouse.)


Why do they have to change stuff?

I mean really.

Who wants to go and visit the Willis Tower? All you're gonna hear is random people sayin', "Whatchu talkin' 'bout?!"

Who cares if Sears isn't there anymore? They didn't rename the Chrysler building "the Abu Dhabi Investment Council building" after Chrysler left.

We'll miss you, Sears Tower, so much that we probably will refuse to admit that your name ever changed and will continue to call you the Sears Tower, and when international tourists come visit and ask to be taken to the tallest skyscraper in our land, we'll say, "Oh, yes, the Sears Tower !" and we'll smile nostalgically and point them in the right direction, and they won't care because they'll still be calling you the Sears Tower, too, and somewhere, way up high in the sky, so important that they've disappeared from the reality of life down below, there will be an administrator shouting, "IT'S THE WILLIS TOWER!" but all we'll hear is the whistling of the Chicago breeze around your twin spires.

And then we'll go eat pizza.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No I'm not.

Yes, I am.

I am in denial. I am approaching my 1-year-with-celiac-disease mark. I am craving a peanut butter sandwich. I am sad. I am tired of not eating muffins. I am tired of cupcakes that taste like cornbread even though there's no corn in the recipe. I am happy to feel (mostly) better. I am tired of "Oh, wait, you can't. Sorry." I am refusing to believe that something is wrong with me today. I am refusing to write my traditional post about having celiac disease.

THEREFORE, I shall play picture tag with my Uncle Chuck.

1. On my next birthday, I will be
one of the numbers in that picture.

2. I would like to travel to
Cavin, Ireland.

3. My favorite food is

ribeye steak.

4. My favorite place is
snug in a hug.

5. My nickname is
apparently the name of a line of pet care products.

6. My favorite color is

7. My college major was
secondary education.

8. The name of my love is


9. My hobby is
the written word.

10. My bad habit is
probably pretty obvious.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Oriental chicken and broccoli cheese casserole-thingy

Look, don't EVER put me in charge of naming stuff in a cookbook, okay? Okay.

Having said, that, here's a yummy recipe. If you haven't discovered it yet, I cook like a grandma, so expect no measurements!

Here we go.


Oriental Chicken:
1. Mix Sesame oil, oriental curry, and ginger together. Brush on chicken while it bakes, basting occasionally. TIP: for more intense flavors, marinate chicken with the mixture in a ziploc for a while (30 minutes to a day). I use a ziploc because then you can use less marinade.

2. Put chicken in oven to cook and start broccoli dish.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole-Thingy:
1. You need fresh broccoli, cream sauce mix, and cheese.

2. Make cream sauce. (See previous recipe for instructions if you don't have your own. The sauce instructions are at the end of the post.)
3. While sauce cooks, chop broccoli. I used I head from the produce section: stems and pieces. Put in a small baking dish.

4. Add cheese over top of broccoli.
5. Finally, pour sauce over broccoli and cheese. Toss in oven with chicken to cook. They should finish up about the same time.

6. Top with more cheese once casserole is cooked, if you wish. (I did.) This small dish served average-sized side portions for 2 adults and 2 children.



Weight: 174#
Change: Down 2#

I am within 10 pounds of my first mini-goal of 165, and I think I should make it soon. Yay!

I have exercised several days this past week and a half: sledding two days, family walks two days, increased activity at home - chores, etc. Haven't started the situp or pushup challenges, though I still plan to.

Working on your health and/or weight? Come join us at One Weigh at a Time.

Monday, March 9, 2009

100th Post Celebratory Bonanza

Whee. The end.


Just kidding. In all honesty, that WAS going to be my post. It really was, but then I found out about El's and John's Profound Picture Prize Giveaway to support some good charities, to honor the memory of their stillborn son Eli, and to help raise funds for their son Seth's cochlear implants. Their little Seth is the adorabl-est!

(Isn't he SO cute?)

For a $10 donation, you'll be entered in a raffle for this package:
  • A Nikon or Canon SLR Camera
  • A 4Gb Memory Card
  • Camera Strap
  • Photo Bag
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 7
  • A 12x18 canvas print from IPrintCanvas

The two charities which will be benefiting from this raffle are Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and Rhyan's Hope. You can find out more about the giveaway and these charities at El's blog Profoundly Seth.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Has Arrived

Two days ago, I looked out my window, and perched on the branch right in front of me was a fat little robin, but that's not the sign of spring's arrival around here. I can always tell when winter's over because the tree frogs start singing.

The bulbs will come up any old time that it gets warm. In fact, the tulips have been trying to bloom for over a month now. But here's a secret: flowers are dumb. Beautiful, but dumb. :)

But frogs? Frogs are smart. And all through the county, the frogs are singing their high, sweet song. Up and down my street, I can hear them trilling away, beautifully. The frogs have become my favorite sign of spring.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why it's Great to Procrastinate

Oh, how I love to put things off!
To meet deadlines just makes me scoff.
I'd rather save the work for later,
And go play now!

................................Don't be a hater.
You know you're jealous of my scheme.
You wish YOU could flounce and preen
And run and play and button mash
And fight the zombies - hack and slash!
You wish YOU could be chore free,
Come outside, play ball like me.

Never have to work again, but rock
A fancy inter-web scam and lock
Away the ties forever. Never wear
another pair of hose or itchy underwear.
Never have to go to work
On days when coffee just won't perk.
Yes, my pals, delay is great.
Always just procrastinate!

And all of this, I have to say
Makes me sad on this fine day.
Because it's sunny, warm, and mild:
A Heaven for my inner child.
But I can't go and frolic with you.
Tomorrow morning grades are due.

(c) Mikki Black, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009


First off, I have to give a shout out to my buddy Erica for her first(?) sledding go-round. She's from Louisiana and was super excited about sledding and snow and everything. She told me - a bit sheepishly - that she had to use a laundry basket because there was nowhere to buy a sled, but I find no shame in that. Around here, I've seen sleds, toboggans, sheets of cardboard in bags, inner tubes, trashcan lids, all kinds of things. I say, who cares? If it slides, it's good!

Here are a couple more pics and videos of our sledding adventures. Enjoy!

Video of Jimmy and Annie trying out a new jump.

Video of a toboggan run from the front "seat".

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's for Dinner Wednesday (gluten-free style)

I don't know if you've noticed my sidebar link for What's for Dinner Wednesday's, but a bunch of us GF bloggers have banded together in a weekly recipe exchange. So if you're eating gluten free or just want some yummy recipes, swing on by Linda's blog, The Gluten-Free Homemaker, for some yummy food ideas.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow Days in March

Snow Days are lovely fun, and now that I live in near-tropical (-snort!-) Virginia, any snow is a good reason for the school district to take the day off. Today is a lovely, cold, snow-white day. The roads are fine by now (10AM), I'm sure, as I can see administrators and such showing up for work at the school behind my house. Teachers and students, however, have today off.

Yesterday I did not post as promised because I was busy with sledding trips and grading papers, but here is what I woke up to on Monday:

The snow, still gently falling, a hush over the whole neighborhood...

The kids ate breakfast in triple layered clothing and bolted out the door as soon as they were done.

This beautiful, serene scene was ravaged by snowball fights, dog tracks, whitewashings, and the like moments later.

Daisy wanted no part of the festivities and, when I tried to get her to go outside, went straight to bed instead.

Can't blame her, really, she's so short the snow was all the way up to her belly. When we got to this snow drift up against a small rise between the playing fields, she completely disappeared! The kids are standing in it in this photo below. The snow had piled up against the hill in such a way that we didn't realize there wasn't a hill there until it was too late. Daisy leaped for the hill and -poof!- gone. Jim tossed her to the top, and when she landed - on her belly, or course - she disappeared again. It was a great day for her, once we convinced her to go out.

The kids were pretty pleased with the snow drift, too. They had no idea such a thing was possible. The wind was blowing the top layers of snow all over the place, and they just loved it. They said it looked like mist and fog and sand and all sorts of things. Jimmy wanted to know: If the wind blew hard enough, could we have a sandstorm made of snow?

More pics of the sledding trips later, but here's a shot of the hill, the track, and the football field where we sled. It's the last glimpse of sun from the top of the sledding hill yesterday:



Well, it's that time again over at One Weigh at a Time.

Time to check in. I have gained. I am back a little bit from my peak this week, but due to my run-in with some gluten, I had quite a bit of internal inflammation and what not. I'm currently resting at 176#

In line with my goal to put some regular exercise into my life and to add to the muscle strength to support my back, I am doing several new things.
  • Starting back up with regular trips to the gym -- soon (right? right.)
  • Doing the 200 situps challenge (situps and back stretches are dr's orders!)
  • Contemplating the 100 pushups challenge (see the sidebar for links on these two challenges)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm dreaming of a white random-day-in-march!?


This my friends is what we call a surprise storm. Yes, we are under a winter storm warning - 6-10 inches forecast. It's amazing! The snow didn't start to stick until the sun went down, but it's beginning to pile up. I can't wait to see what we wake up to in the AM! I'll put up some pictures for you.

On a side note, go wish my mom a happy anniversary! She and my absolutely great step-dad have been married 17 years now, but only 4 real anniversaries. (They got married on leap year!)
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