Sunday, December 5, 2010

new neighbors, guilty pleasures, and my sexy sailor

Happy Sunday!  Nothing too exciting to report today.  I took the opportunity to sleep in this morning, which was delightful.

Today I made cookies for the new neighbors (the Chocolate heath cookies I  posted the recipe for previously.)  The townhouse next door has been empty since last July after my chemically imbalanced neighbor moved to a new unit.  I feel bad for her, I truly do.  I also feel really bad about being insensitive to her problems. Unfortunately, the issues I had with her were not an isolated event- her new neighbors are having the same issues.  It is truly sad.

So, as you can guess, I am crossing my fingers these neighbors are nice and normal!  So far so good.  They were very friendly and delighted that I brought them cookies.  I will be so very happy if they DO turn out to be good neighbors!

My new guilty pleasure- The Vampire Diaries.  I rented the first disc out of total boredom with AFN.  I just watched the last disc of Season 1 today.  I checked out CW online to see if I could catch the new episodes.  This is what I got:
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Boo-hoo!!  I wish we had someway to get past all of that being that we are on a military base.  *sigh* Anyway, I am totally in love with Damon on the show.  Normally I find his type to be creepy, but I just love the thing he does with his eyes. *swoon*

I totally judge myself because I am too old to watch this show for liking this high school show, but I just enjoy it.  So who cares?  
Speaking of vampires, I watched Eclipse today (I went out and bought my copy last night.)  I know how it ends, but I still keep hoping that Bella will choose Jacob.  Now if they had Zac Efron playing Edward, I wouldn't be saying that! hee hee

The highlight of my day was receiving this picture from the very talented photographer who took our picture at the Khaki Ball.  Doesn't my sailor look handsome?  I heart this picture!!

I am wearing my new favorite shoes here.  This is the only good picture of me from that night.  I was in a total bad mood and stayed clear of any pictures.  The only other picture I got caught in and was unaware of, I look like someone had told me my dog had just died.  I was so embarrassed!  I also felt uncomfortable in the dress, it was too big in the top and I was afraid of giving everyone a 'show'.  My two other dresses were ruined by the dry cleaner (story for another day.)  
But at least my honey looks good.  The photographer had him take off his glasses, I think that is what did it. 
Have a great Sunday (and good night for my fellow Japanese residents.)

~Nancy

Friday, December 3, 2010

Food Fun Friday- Gyoza

Know what the number one thing (besides sushi), that we looked forward to eating when we arrived in Japan?  Gyoza!!  What is gyoza, you ask?  Basically they are little pot stickers filled with meat and veggies.  They can be steamed or fried.  They are to be eaten while still hot, and dipped in a combination of soy sauce, garlic, oil and red pepper (or any combination thereof.)  


The reason we looked forward to gyoza was because Hubby had made several trips to Japan before we moved here, and each time he brought home packages of frozen gyoza.  It was simply delicious, and we knew it would be even more delicious when eaten fresh.  We were right!  The favorite go to place around here for gyoza is the Gyoza House (also called Mankin) in Sagamihara.  There we order gyoza by the dozen and they bring it out scalding hot and mouth watering.  The gyoza here is a little different here than the typical gyoza sold in other restaurants.  Instead of being pinched into a crescent shape, these are folded into little bundle-like balls.  They cook them in a frying pan and come to our table all stuck together and cozy like they were cooked.  Usually we commence to poking holes to let out the steam so they can cool enough for us to eat.  The first couple are eaten with open mouths as we are trying not to burn our tongues, it is too hard to wait!!  If I could take back three food items with me to the States, it would be gyoza (from Gyoza House), curry rice, and sushi (like they make it here.)


There are several different options for dining, and three floors I believe.  Downstairs they have tables and a long counter.  Before heading upstairs one must remove one's shoes.  Upstairs- they have the low tables where you sit on the floor.  I think the kids enjoy it more.  I still can't get my legs to appreciate sitting on the floor.  Women don't sit cross-legged in Japan.  They demurely sit on folded legs or delicately folded to the side.  It hurts my American legs!!  


We sat at the counter for the first time at our most recent visit.  We were too hungry to wait for a table!


It's 8AM and I am already thinking of lunch!!

we had to wait outside, it was Sunday night, a very busy night for going out to dinner!
someone was grumpy- he needed FOOD!
little balls of goodness!  See the cokes?  I normally don't like regular coke (I am a diet coke kind of gal)- but the cokes here are delish.  I think it is because they don't use high fructose corn syrup in Japan- sugar tastes so much better!
I wish I could get a better picture than this.  Did I mention I am hungry?
where the magic happens.  The guy in the back in steaming the gyoza in a pan.  The red and white stripped package in the forefront is how they wrap the frozen gyoza to take home.  They even give you little miniature bottles of dipping sauce with it.
One thing is for sure, I always end up with garlic breath after eating here!  But it is SO worth it!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Crystal Anniversary

Can you believe I am old enough to have been married for 15 years?
 Me neither! *wink* 


Fifteen years ago I married my Sailor and became a Navy Wife.  Did I think for a second we would be in Japan 15 years later?  No chance!  I had no idea what life would bring, I just knew who I wanted to spend my eternity with. 


 It hasn't been easy.  The Navy makes it hard (like not being together on our 15th anniversary), but I also think it has all made us stronger and more dedicated to each other.  It's true what they say, absence DOES make the heart grow fonder.  I think out of our 15 anniversaries, we have spent 10 together.  It's funny, because last year we didn't really make plans for our anniversary and Hubby apologized.  I told him- that's ok, we will do something big NEXT year.  Here we are, and he is on a big steel box out in the big blue ocean somewhere.  Maybe that was a lesson to us to grab the moments while we can.


I woke up to a really sweet email from him, wishing me happy anniversary.  Sometimes when I think he doesn't have a romantic bone in his body, he surprises me.  As for next year, who knows if he will be home?  But you know what?  That is ok, I still feel loved, and he knows I love him.  That is what counts.


I had to look this up on YouTube, it has been in my head all day.  It totally shows my age, but I don't care, I love this song!




Enjoy!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

best sugar cookie recipe

One of my favorite Christmas memories is making and decorating sugar cookies with my mom.  I could spend hours meticulously decorating each cookie with icing and the little sprinkles my mom gave me to use.  One time the little girl upstairs was hanging out with us and wanted to decorate cookies as well.  I wouldn't let her, I was that stingy with the cookies.  So she found the salt and pepper and decorated her own.  I was furious!  Now it is a fond memory of mine.

And then there was the year when I stayed at my Dad's for Christmas and I went with my step-mom to her mother's house and we made sugar cookies there.  Those were THE best cookies, big and thick and tasty.  yummmm  We ate so many, my dad was disappointed we didn't have many to bring home for him to eat!

Once I grew up and started my own family, I began the quest for the perfect cookie recipe.  I tried the refrigerated crap stuff, yuck!  Everything was hard to roll and too thin.  But 5 years ago I stumbled across this recipe, and have been using it ever since for my sugar cookies.  It is the BEST recipe, I swear.  It makes a lot of cookies, and calls for a pound of butter and 6 cups of sugar.  I wouldn't recommend mixing this by hand, unless you have arms of steel (which I do not posses.)  I really think this recipe was what my KitchenAid was made for.  I use almond extract instead of vanilla (as recommended in the recipe), it is delicious.  You can ice the cookies, or go without- either way they are delicious.  Delicious. Yumm
One of my prized possessions, right up there with my Janome.
my transformer- I plug the KitchenAid in this big heavy box so it works properly
A word of advice to those moving to/living in base housing in Japan- even though the houses are wired so we can use our American appliances- the current still does not flow the same (I forget the technical terms).  Therefore- things like clocks will not always have the correct time, microwaves may not heat food as fast, and things like your KitchenAid may have to work harder.  A long time spouse who has lived many years in Japan (on different bases), warned me that my KitchenAid may even be harmed if I don't get a transformer.  So I bought this big bad heavy thing for $20 at the base thrift store when my sweetie bought me a new (and more powerful) KitchenAid last year for Christmas.  I am just grateful I don't live off-base- then I would have these boxes everywhere!  Hubby told me how as a kid in Germany they had these all over the house, and what a pain it was.


Back to the cookies.  Here is the recipe, you can also find it here at KitchenGifts.com (I don't know these people and have not been compensated for sharing this recipe.)  If you go to the link you can find the printable version as well.


NO FAIL SUGAR COOKIES

This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters.  The dough holds its' shape and won't spread during baking.  Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies.
6 cups flour 
3 tsp. baking powder 
2 cups butter 
2 cups sugar 
2 eggs 
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring (I like almond myself)
1 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little at a time to butter mixture.  Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together. 

Chill for 1 to 2 hours (or see Hint below) 
Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350
degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.  This recipe
can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.
 
HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess -- Rather than wait for your cookie dough to
chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper. 
Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator.  Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all.  By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut.  Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process!  An added bonus is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.

Bake away my readers, bake away!!

if you can't say something nice...

I have been MIA for the last week, I didn't even do my Food Fun Friday post (and I had pictures!)  It's not that I had something bad to say, I just didn't have any happy or positive to say.  I have been in a major funk, folks.  It started with Hubby coming home earlier than planned.  Earlier usually means 'happier', right?  Not when that means he has to leave again- earlier than originally planned.  The result being- he left three days before Thanksgiving, a day which also happened to be my birthday.  Knowing this was going to happen (and my plans were ruined) put me in a big funk.  That, and finding out some people weren't the friends I thought they were.  And- knowing the one true friend I have here, is leaving me next month.  Put that all together and you get one big pity party.

Honestly, I have dealt with being without my hubby many times (deployments) during my birthday/Thanksgiving time.  But I thought he was going to be home this year, and I had made big plans.  When I get let down, I fall hard.  Maybe that is a lack of maturity on my part, I don't know.

I know my readers will be shocked to hear this, and will probably stop reading my blog when I say this: I really don't like Thanksgiving.  I know!  It's so un-American of me.  I have my reasons, I won't get into it.  Anyway.... I tend to get all moody and feeling sorry for myself-ish every November.

I started to blog about it last week, but I didn't because it sounded even more pathetic whiny than what I am writing now.  I know- how can that be??

Let's focus on the positive (and the funny) now- shall we?

1.
My honey made me a birthday cake before he left.  He took Brother with him to the commissary and they bought strawberry cake mix.  Brother said that was my favorite.  I am not sure why he thinks that?  I have never made strawberry cake nor professed any love for it.  But I pretended it was my favorite, they looked so proud of themselves!  They used two boxes of cake mix and three, three- tubs of icing- which they colored a greyish lavender with my Wilton gel food color.  Sissy got to write 'Happy Birthday' on top.  Since there was left-over batter- there were some extra little dome cakes (a pan my Hubby made boob cakes with a couple of years ago- don't ask).

We went out to dinner and had some lovely gyoza (stay tuned for Friday's post).  We came home and found out Brownie (my chocolate lab) also LOVES strawberry cake!  She got the little dome cakes off the counter and ate them!  Hubby was so mad, but I thought it was funny.  Brownie had never done that before, not that I know of anyway!  She had food in her bowl, so the cakes must have been too good to resist!  The good thing is that the main cake was in my pretty glass cake stand, all protected.

The 'cake'.  I could have done without the big '37', but at least they didn't actually put 37 candles on it!


2.
I finally found a new car!  I even bought it all by myself.  If you live here you know that is a big deal.  So let's hope it lasts me the 15 remaining months we have here.

3.
Brother's football team finally got a touchdown last week.  The whole football/cheer/youth sports issue is another reason for my funk.  I will spare you the drama of that one except to say the poor kids have been totally robbed.  Needless to say, Brother's team rarely has enough players to even make a team and has had to borrow players from the other team to even have a game.  So it was great news when they finally got a touchdown!

4.
The tree is up- I did that all by myself as well.  Sissy helped too.  Brother wasn't interested in the tree this year, so Sissy and I went at it.  The excitement in her face when we got out the ornaments was just priceless.  I love that little girl!
Yeah, I know it's got a gangsta lean, but it was the first time I put up a live tree by my little ol' self!
We'll just say the tree has 'attitude'!

not a very good picture (as usual)- but here is one of the ornaments I bought last year at the bazaar.
 Something else to be happy about- bazaars!!
Here's to being cheerful and positive.  Here's to Christmas carols and cookie baking.  Here's to hoping my honey gets home in time for Christmas!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Food Fun Friday- Yakiniku

Happy Friday lovely readers!  I am so so happy for Friday!  Happy even though I can't go to the Beer Garden.  This has just felt like a long week.  How about you, how was your week?  Of course, if you are stateside (or a different part if the world), you are thinking- "Hey, it's only Thursday!"  That is one of the pleasures I take in being in Japan, I get to brag when Friday comes early for me!  But I also spread the joy with my Food Fun Friday, right? *smiles*


Last week Hubby took us to his favorite restaurant here, called Great Viking Restaurant.  Now what kind of food would you think they serve?  {Here is where you discuss amongst yourselves.}

There she is, on the second floor.  Hey, do you see how everyone had backed into their parking spot?  That's how they roll in Japan.  I am learning the art of backing in, though I do get nervous if someone is waiting on me.
It is a yakiniku restaurant.  I thought originally that it was a Japanese thing, but it turns out to be Korean!  I also found out that many Japanese people love Korean food.  I equate it with American's love of Mexican (I am a big fan anyway).


So what is yakiniku, you ask?  It is a "cook it yourself" kind of place.  You get your meats, veggies, and fish, and take them to your booth where a grill awaits you.  It's right in the middle of your table.  Hubby LOVES this place!

The grill on our table.  We've got corn, beef, pork, onion, mini hotdog and yes- that's a baby octopus!  I do not recommend the octopus, by the way.  I do like octopus, but not this way.
I forgot to take a picture of the meat and veggie spread they have, where we go through buffet style to pick out what we are going to grill.  Ok, confession- it was really crowded and I was too embarrassed to take pictures.

They also have plenty of already cooked food to choose from.  They have sushi, ramen, rice (of course), salads, french fries, and a bunch of other things that tend to vary.  And the desserts and ice cream- yummm! Oh, there is a large assortment of different sauces for the meat as well, very delicioso!

It is "all you can eat" at this place.  Basically you pay for the amount of time you plan on eating, if you go over you pay extra.  If you waste food, you pay extra (we did not waste food of course!)  We paid for 60 minutes, which is the smaller amount.  If you have a lot of people, 90 minutes is better since you are sharing a grill.  You can add all you can drink beer as well.  But honestly, I don't know how anyone could drink beer with all that food, where would you find the room?

This place is always busy when we go, sometimes there is a line going out the door and down the stairs.  It is a great place for families to go out to eat.  Last time we saw a table of only kids.  The older kids were helping the younger kids cook their food.  It was very cute, but a little scary too!

Sissy brought her Littlest Pet Shop animals with her.  She had to hide the octopus, however.  She couldn't let him see his brother being cooked on the grill!
Have a great Friday and weekend!!

Cheers!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Better By The Dozen

Someone asked me for this recipe, so I thought- "Hey!  I should put this on my blog!"  It's because I love all my readers and want to spread the joy and calories!


The picture doesn't do them justice, but they are yummy!  I adopted this recipe from Gold Medal Flour's chocolate chip cookie recipe.  My mother in law taught me the trick of adding cocoa and I came up with the Heath bits, so yummy!!  On a side note- I normally use real butter in my cooking.  But for cookies like these I use the Crisco baking sticks, they work really nicely.  And honestly, I never can think to set the butter out to soften in time! *wink*  For my sugar cookies and spritz, I always use real butter!


Chocolate Heath Cookies      
      
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter flavored Crisco and 6 teaspoons of water (or 1 cup of real butter, slightly softened- do not add water)
1 egg
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt (I use Kosher salt)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup Heath milk chocolate toffee bits (you can find them in the baking section)

Preheat oven to 375°

Mix butter, egg, vanilla, unsweetened cocoa, sugar and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl.  Set mixer to stir and gradually add flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix well, the dough should be stiff.  Add chocolate chips and Heath bits, stir to combine.

Drop cookies using a cookie scoop or tablespoon on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes.  The cookies should be hard around the edges, but soft in the middle.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

I don't always bake all the dough- sometimes I will refrigerate to make the next day, or freeze for a rainy day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Colors of Fall

Autumn has finally made an appearance in the land of the rising sun!  While I would rather have warm weather year-round, I do enjoy the beautiful fall colors.  When it isn't raining, it has been beautiful these past couple of weeks.  I thought I would share the joy...


Cherry Tree

Fountain in Hikichidai Park in Yamato

Found these ginormous mums at the park as well.  They were all potted and on display- maybe it was some sort of a competition?   I don't know- but they were beautiful and HUGE!  I am talking as big as a large cantaloupe.

more mum beauty, did I say how BIG they were?

Older gentleman playing shuffleboard (at least that is what it looks like.)

same park, I love how the leaves carpet the ground.

I will be sad when the leaves are gone and winter rears its ugly head.  I am apologize to those who adore winter, but this girl only likes snow on Christmas morning and mountain tops.

Monday, November 15, 2010

BBC book meme

The BBC believes the majority of people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here 

Instructions:
1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Put a "/" next to those books of which you have read part.
3) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen /  
reading it!

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien ()
I never will- I am satisfied to have seen the movies, sorry...

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte x

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling ) 
Only the first one, sorry again...
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 
I will as soon as I get my free copy from Military One Source!!

6 The Bible /
Well, not ALL of it...
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (X)

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (X)
Fond memories of my 7th grade teacher, Dr. Ogden, she rented the movie after we read it, for us to watch.  she should have previewed it- too funny when she tried to fast forward through the sex scene- we just saw it (breasts and all) in high speed!
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman /
Only the first one, but I LOVED it

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (X)

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (X)
My fave author as a girl

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles X


13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller 


14 Complete Works of Shakespeare /
I'll get to that when I decide to major in Shakespeare...

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier X
I think?
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien ( )
see number 2
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (X)


19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (X)
love this book

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 


22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (X)

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens


24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy 


25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams ( )


26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh


27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck /

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (X)


30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame 


31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy X

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (X)


33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (X)


34 Emma - Jane Austen ( )

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen 

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (X)


37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini X


38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
I have not heard of this one...
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (X)

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne ( )


41 Animal Farm - George Orwell ( X)

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (X)

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
In Spanish too!
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery ()


47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood ( )
It's on my TBR list...

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (X)


50 Atonement - Ian McEwan X
NOT my favorite book, ugg
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel ( )

52 Dune - Frank Herbert 


53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen ()
The British love their Jane Austin, don't they?
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon X
GREAT book
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens ( )


58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley 

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon 


60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
I have My Melancholy Whores on my bookshelf- does that count?
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck ( )
Why not East of Eden?  It was an Oprah pick after all... *wink
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov 
How about Reading Lolita in Tehran- I read that one and WISHED I had read the actual Lolita beforehand...
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt 

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (X)
FREAKED me out.
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 
I think I read a Reader's Digest version...  anyone remember those books?

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
It's on my shelf!
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy X

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding 
Really?  While I am sure it is enjoyable, I don't think it belongs on this list.  If you want a British author- why not Jasper Fforde?  At least he extols the virtues of good English literature.

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie 


70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville ( )

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (X)


72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (  )
It is on my shelf too...

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (X)
Loved this book and the Shirley Temple movie...

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
??75 Ulysses - James Joyce 

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath 

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (  )


82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchel


83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X


84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert 

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White (X)


88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom 

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ()
It just doesn't sound very interesting to me, sorry again!
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
Who, what?
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad X

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (x)


93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks


94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole


96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas ( )


98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare ( X)


99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (X)


100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo 
I think I remember the song from French class...

A strange list for sure!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

tired of it all...

When does it end?  Or does it ever end?  
Are we as humans doomed to forever finger point, blame, and bad mouth each other?  I am so tired of it all.  I am tired of feeling like I have to defend my beliefs and views.  I am tired of feeling like my beliefs and views are being trampled.  Or where I am from, or who I associate with, or what my ethnic background is.  I consider myself a liberal conservative.  That means I lean to to the right in the way of supporting the military and a smaller government, but I believe in a woman's right to choose and gay marriage.  I also am in favor of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. I'm a Christian, but I don't believe it is right to instill prayer at school.  If you want your children to pray, send them to private school- OR pray with them at home!


Democrats and Republicans share responsibility in all this mess we are in (economy)- yet they are too busy blaming each other to work together for a solution.


When I was a kid, people went around saying that if you didn't go to church you were a heathen and going to hell.  Now, if you go to church, you are an idiot sheep and are probably from Texas.  By the way, I was born in Texas.  And you won't find me running around screaming "get a rope!" every time someone says or does something I don't agree with.


Somehow it feels like if you take one stance- to the far left or far right- then you have earned the right to judge the other side.  We are all about free speech until someone says something we don't like.  Or, people will abuse their right of free speech to trample on other rights.  For example, the lovely people from that cult church in Kansas who like to protest the funerals of fallen troops.  Yes, they have a right to say whatever they want- even if they are protesting the very people who have defended their rights to say what they want.  But do they have a right to interfere with the right to grieve in private and with respect?  What if people decided to stand outside of schools (but not on school grounds) with signs saying "drinking alcohol is cool!" or "School is dumb, your teachers don't like you."  Are they merely expressing their opinion, or are they interfering with our rights to encourage our children to be good citizens?  How far do we take our rights to free speech?


I read a quote today (sorry I can't remember who said it)- it went something like this:
"A satiated man will look upon a loaf of bread differently than a hungry man."
Are we so satiated that we forgot and/or take for granted what rights we do have?


And then there are the women who bad mouth each other.  One camp says women should stay at home with their children, don't let someone else raise them.  The other says women need a career, only women who are dumb and useless stay at home with their kids.  How about we do what's best for our situation?  How about we support each other?  It's like breast feeding.  I whole heartedly agree that breast feeding is a wonderful thing to do for your child.  But the pressure that is put on women to do so is simply ridiculous.  I don't care how many solutions you can come up with- it is just not going to work for every woman and family.  I think it is lovely that some women nurse for two years, that's great.  But don't judge others because they don't follow suit.


What else can I bitch about?  I know, this is not my usually kind of post.  I try to stay away from politics and anything too controversial.  But is it just me, or have people lost all tolerance for those who don't think the same exact way?  Every time I hear or see someone say "I hate Republicans, or I hate Democrats", I just want to scream.  Know what I hate?  I hate all the energy that is wasted bashing the President- regardless of who holds that position.  How is that productive I ask you?  I am not saying that if one disagrees with the actions and/or policies that President has set forth- that he or she should not say anything.  But let's not take things out of context to suit our own political agenda.  I know- that is the nature of the political beast, isn't it? I am just wasting strokes on the keyboard, aren't I?


I really don't like it when people get so judgmental.  I suppose that makes me a hypocrite- since I am judging them back?  Maybe I am wrong, maybe it is a good thing to judge each other?  What do you think?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Food Fun Friday- Crunky Nude Balls

I'm going to start this post off with a picture- so ya'll don't think I am being dirty:


I found these at Lawson's (it's a convenience store like 7-11).  The title alone said "buy me because I have a funny name and you can put this on your blog".  (Isn't or is it sad that I am always thinking if I can put this or that on my blog?)


"Nude" actually refers to the color of the inside of the little cookies- which is a beige-ish color.  So what else could we call these- "Beige-ish crunky (or crunchy as I believe they were going for) balls"?  Honestly, I couldn't think of a better name than Crunky Nude Balls


Awesome.and.delicious  Oh yes they were!  They were especially delightful to eat in the inebriated state I was in after another wonderful night at the Beer Garden.  Have I mentioned the Beer Garden?  We go every Friday night- Jaime, Jason and I.  It has become our weekly ritual.  It gives us something to look forward to every week.  And tonight I am especially excited.  My hubby will be going with us as well (because he is home)!!  Yay!!


Oh- I thought that was all I had for you- but here is a picture of the delicious Chu-Hi's I bought that same night (but did not drink THAT night- honest!).  Chu-Hi's, not to be confused with hi-chu's- are delightful little cocktails in a can.  They are kind of like wine coolers, but with a little carbonation.  I especially liked the orange whiskey- which I drank at a later date!  Oh- hi-chu's are are little chewy candies- like Starburst- but bigger with more flavors.  I'll get a picture for you next time.  But for now- Chu-Hi's:


Gotta go- Beer Garden is calling...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I don't know much

But I do know:

1. If you have children in school- it is wise to invest in a good quality pencil sharpener.  The cheap ones break easily and kids always need to sharpen their pencils. 

2. Also, be sure to have a good supply of No. 2 pencils on hand, WITH erasers.

3. Stainless steel bottles are better for our health because there are no plastic chemical watchamacallits that cause cancer.  However, they should ONLY be used for water.  Why?  Because stainless steel bottles make the perfect dark environment that mold likes to grow in.  So if they aren't washed out completely, which apparently I did not do, you will be sure to find mold growing inside when left to sit in the cupboard for a month.

4. Drinking water out of a stainless steel bottle containing mold in not a good idea.  It tastes horrible.  Sissy actually swallowed some of the mold by accident.  She is ok, but we were both extremely grossed out and pukey feeling after that.

5. Always inspect the inside of your drinking bottles before using them, no matter how meticulous you were about cleaning them last month.  Why?  See numbers 3 and 4.

6. NaNoWriMo is fun, and I wish I had tried it before now.  And it also makes me think about how many words I am writing.  For example, I was just wondering what the word count is for this post- as if it would count towards the 50,000 required to "win".

7. Homecomings are always wonderful.  Homecomings when your sailor is wearing his dress blues- that is even better!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween

While Hubby couldn't be here, we still had a pretty ok Halloween.  This year I was well prepared with oodles of candy.  Last year I ran out in one hour, I was so not expecting that many trick or treaters!!

I asked- and you said you would like to see my sewing projects, so here you go.  I made Sissy and her BFF matching costumes.  Well- I made them skirts.  They were super easy and super fun.  At times it is good to do a simple and fun project.  There is something to be said for enjoying the completion of a project.  Am I right?

I was inspired by the tail and ears that we found in a Japanese department store.  The little witche's hat is too cute.


I made the fur piece as a belt- but with the sweater (needed to keep warm), we decided to tie it around her shoulders instead.
















Sissy's skirt was orange and black, and her BFF's skirt was purple and black.  I originally planned on doing two different fabrics with the same colors.  But Jaime and I saw the polka dots and I knew they were "it"!
The fur pieces were made from a boa I cut up and sewed ribbons to.  I didn't get a very picture of the girls together unfortunately.  I should have taken a moment and made them step inside where the light was better...



And Brother...  Well he is past the point where he will let me make costumes for him.  I tried to order something for him, but he wasn't inspired enough to tell me what to order.  Today he just grabbed some black capes out of our costume trunk (ie an orange Rubbermaid tote).  He asked me to make him look like a vampire.  I don't have any costume make-up, so I grabbed some powder and black eyeshadow and eyeliner.  I added a little green under his eyes as well.  It wasn't too bad for not having the right tools!

Tonight he cracked me up.  He totally got into "character" and made our front porch into our own haunted house of sorts.
want some candy?
He thought of this all on his own.  The Japanese visitors were so freaked out!  He scared a few people by suddenly opening his eyes and sitting up.  I think next year we will get him a job at the haunted house! ha ha
These guys were taking all kinds of pictures, at first they weren't sure he was real.
Braaaaiiiiins!!  Not to be outdone by the vampire get-up,
Brother discovered that the make-up I put on him doubles as zombie make-up!!
I think next year we are all going as zombies.  We have the walk down and everything!

Hoping you have a wonderful and sweet-filled Halloween!!