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Thursday, June 30, 2011

More Heron Park Photos

Nothing much to say today, so I thought I'd post a few more pictures from yesterday. After I loaded them on the computer I realized I took over 100 of them.








Pood out pup

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Plentiful Sunshine

 I looked at the weather forecast yesterday, and the words "plentiful sunshine" were used for today. Plentiful...... Sunshine...... could you find two words that go better together?

Plentiful... Is there anything you can put that word in front of that it doesn't sound good? Plentiful money, plentiful hugs, plentiful chocolate, all sound good to me. It is even a fun word to say, p-l-e-n-t-i-f-u-l.


Sunshine... well, who is going to argue with that? This spring and early summer have been so full of gloomy, rainy, gray and dreary days, the word sunshine seems almost magical, even surreal. Having a beautiful, sunshiny day almost makes a person want to break into song. I won't though, I promise. My friends from Walgreens could tell you how painful that can be.

To celebrate our rare abundance of plentiful sunshine, Bazinga and I got into the car and headed out. No exact plan in mind we drove toward Danville. We saw a sign for Heron Park Boardwalk and decided that sounded like a good place to go.

Heron Park is a county park in Vermilion county on the north side of Danville. It is a wetlands preserve. This, in Danville, who knew?

 Bazinga and I took our time walking around on the boardwalk. I was busy taking pictures, which seemed to frustrate him. He wanted to roam and smell and keep moving. I kept stopping and ruining his good time. He ended up hot and thirsty and I had forgot to bring his water bottle. As a result, Bazinga decided that jumping off of the boardwalk into the water, sounded like a marvelous idea. I caught him just before splash down, only the back feet got wet.

After his attempted suicide, Bazinga wanted to rest for a little while and settled down under a bench. I found it necessary to keep a little more of an eye on him, and kept his leash a little shorter.
 It wasn't a huge park, and we had most of it to ourselves. Wednesday mornings are a good time to go to such places. They are usually a little quieter, a little calmer.

We could hear a chorus of bull frogs calling out to each other. We saw bumble bees gathering pollen, dragonflies, um, multiplying. We even heard a large fish jump from the water. Didn't see it though.

By the time we were done with our walk, Bazinga was very hot and very thirsty. Apparently, even little white dogs get over heated. I figured it was time to go home. As we were pulling out of the parking lot I saw a sign for a nature trail across the street. Will have to return on another plentiful sunshine day, with water bottle in hand, and explore that.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Brave and Wonderful Adventures of Mia and Bazinga

Mia and Bazinga were busily sleeping the day away, when suddenly a strange, loud, screeching noise woke them both with a start. "What did you do?" Mia growled at Bazinga.

Bazinga looked at Mia, and just as he was about to answer they heard the noise again. "What is that?" Bazinga asked Mia. They both looked at each other in horror, not knowing what to expect next.

They carefully slunk down the stairs, peaking around the corner to see what was at the bottom. Seeing nothing, they continued down until they reached the living room. There they heard the noise again. Where was it coming from?

They peaked their heads around the corner and looked into the kitchen. The back door had an ominous shadow darkening it. "What is that?!" Bazinga said with a shudder.

They slowly approached, the back door. They hid by the refrigerator waiting to here the sound again. "You go look,"Mia demanded, "you've been out there before. You must know what it is."

Bazinga slowly crept up to the door. His body trembling more and more with each step. He got to the door and stood on his hind legs to see what was going on. As his head rose up to be able to see out, the shadow of the mighty beast on the porch poured over him. He looked up, and up and up. There it was, looming over him, the scariest thing he had ever seen.

He slowly backed away from the door, and slunk back to Mia. "We need a plan," he whispered. He looked around the kitchen, and found a perfect weapon of self defense... a rawhide stick. He picked it up and handed it to Mia. She shoved it back at him. They stared each other down waiting for the other to take the lead. Bang, bang, bang! Came from the back door. They both jumped and turned in terror.

They looked at each other, and with a nod decided to act. They picked up the rawhide, together and ran full speed at the door. They crashed through the door, leaving a huge hole in their wake. They turned to face the intruder. Its shadow covered them. They ran forward to gain the advantage. Suddenly they were lifted from the ground. Entangled in vines and leaves and being poked by tiny spears.

It had truly happened! They had been warned by many and they scoffed at the idea. They now knew that life would never be the same. Out of the shadows, they could now see the evil attacker. It smiled an evil smile at them as it held them high in the air.

It was..... the pumpkin patch! It had taken over the yard and now had its eye on the house. Mia and Bazinga had to do something. They found a way to break free and get back into the house. The pumpkin patch extended a leafy vine in through the hole in the door.

There was but one thing to do. Bazinga, as a diversion, barked ferociously at the intruder. Mia, quietly and sneakily, snuck back over to the door. She took a deep breath, looked back at Bazinga, and stepped toward the gangly arm. She then, rubbed up against it, leaving behind a smothering layer of clingy fur. The pumpkin vine recoiled in disgust. It started coughing and choking. It pulled back out of the house. Bravely, Mia went out after it. She ran thru the patch and left her fur flying throughout the monstrous plant. Bazinga close behind barked and growled until finally the patch returned to the garden and promised never to stretch beyond it again.

Proud of their brave accomplishment, Mia and Bazinga went back into the house. They knew they had just saved the world. They needed a nap!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nature vs. Technology

Yesterday Willie and I spent most of the day outside getting yard work done. He spent a lot of time in the garden clearing an area for the pumpkin patch to expand into. (Personally, I don't think Rossville is big enough.) I finished mowing the back yard.

I only mow the back yard. Willie is a little more particular about how the yard looks, where people can see it. I tend to mow in an erratic, whatever way is easier manner. He mows in a more particular and organized fashion. Therefore, Willie mows the front, I mow the back. He tells me that I don't need to mow at all, but the yard is huge. I don't want him to have to waste his whole day off, picking up after the Mia Tree and then mowing. It is one thing I can do to make his life a little easier. I let him do the weed whacking though, I despise that.

After a day out in nature, we came in to have supper and relax vegging out in front of the TV. Willie and I have different viewing habits. Very different. He likes sports and reality shows, and that weird hoarders show. I like cooking shows, comedies, and old movies. I usually don't mind giving the remote over to him, what I like to watch I can record on the DVR. They aren't like  sporting events that would get ruined if someone told me the score. While he watched what he wanted, I played on the computer. I knew that I had DVR'd the food network show, The Next Food Network Star, and knew I could watch it later.

Today, after the children I babysit left for the day, I settled on the couch and grabbed the remote. This is the first season I have ever gotten into the Next Food Network Star. I have never ever liked reality TV shows. Willie loves Survivor. Sometimes I end up watching that with him. I can't stand watching grown ups act like vengeful little children. After the episode would be over I'd feel, cranky and angry. I don't like feeling that way. I guess that's why I like comedies.

I pulled up the list of shows recorded and highlight Next Food Network Star. I have a few favorites that I would really like to see win, and only two that I really want to see go away. I like watching them plan their meals and adapt when they don't have the ingredients they need. I like watching when they work well together, and kind of like watching them mess up..... they are human.

Watching the episode today, I found myself more than ever wanting one particular person to go home. She was even more annoying and irritating than ever, not why I like to watch the show. They got to the final challenge. They made it look like her dish burned with out her knowing. It came to the part where her dish was about to be served...... THE DAMM DVR STOPPED!!!!! It didn't record the whole episode! What was THAT all about! AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! I am going to have to wait till the rebroadcast now to see what happened! I do know she wasn't sent home. I don't know who was for sure though. I will find out Wednesday I suppose.

Technology, can't live with it, can't run over it with a truck. Well, you can, but then you just have to pay $1,000 to Direct TV.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Mia Tree

 We have a sycamore tree in our yard that is at least 90 years old. It is provides much appreciated shade. Our backyard is usually ten degrees cooler than it is walking  down the sidewalk in front of our house. This is all very nice when you have to go out and mow the backyard.

As much as I love and appreciate this giant tree, I have named it The Mia Tree. It is huge,(like Mia), it is beautiful, (not so much like Mia) and it........ SHEDS!!!!  It sheds as much and as often as Mia.

Every time there is a storm, or strong wind, or a neighbor playing a clarinet, this tree drops branches. This does not make mowing easy or fun.
 It took me two hours to pick up the sticks before I could even think about mowing yesterday. The sticks filled the wheelbarrow twice. And yet... somehow... I was still getting pelted with stick shrapnel  with every step I took. It hit me in the leg, it hit me in the arm, it hit me smack in the middle of the forehead! I was not amused.

Like Mia, who loves to jump up, in the middle of the night, land on my stomach with her 20 pounds of fat, the Mia Tree was bound to torture me. And like Mia, tomorrow the tree will be comforting and nice to have around all over again.

I thought I'd add a weekly picture of the pumpkin patch. If you check back to last Sunday's post, The Best Part of Summer Rains,  you will see how much it has grown this week.  Bazinga is not convinced that it isn't going to eat him.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Monkee Brain

So, that over sized medium ice tea that I had for lunch today, seems to still have a hold of my eyeballs and my brain. My eyeballs seem to have no intention of shutting and my brain just keeps buzzing. I thought I'd come down and blog about what keeps buzzing around in my over stimulated brain cells, maybe then I will be able to go to sleep.

What is it, you may ask, that is keeping me up so late this June night? Is it the equation for a new synthetic fuel made from water, that will make us 100% energy independent by Labor Day? Is it the mapping of the nucleotides of a cell that will lead to a cure for cancer? Or maybe it is a profound prophetic inspiration that will lead to world peace? No, no, nothing like that. What is bebopping along in my caffein distorted mind is how the heck I can finagle my way to get to go see The Monkees in Indy Sunday, (which I guess since it is 2:30 am Saturday morning, is tomorrow.) With the car payment and car insurance due, I just can't see a way clear to go. Knowing this, however, has not settled the mind.

I keep thinking back about my history with The Monkees. Don't get me wrong, the closest I have ever gotten to any of them was when I attended concerts. It surely isn't like I know them personally. Sometimes it feels a little like I do, though.

I grew up with The Monkees. There are three shows I remember watching when I was little. Star Trek, The Smothers Brothers, and The Monkees. I remember being very little when all three were on network primetime. I remember really liking Star Trek, a favorite of my mother's. I remember laughing at the Smothers Brothers. Though I don't remember, now, if I was laughing because I really understood what I was laughing at, or if I was just laughing because every one else was. The Monkees, they were my favorite.

 I would come running in from outdoors, my feet filthy dirty from playing with no shoes on. I'd turn the knob to WHO Channel 13, and plop myself on the rug on the floor. My mother would tell me to scoot back. "You are too close, you are going to ruin your eyes!" She would scold. Scooted back sufficiently to quiet my mother, but still closer than she would have liked, I waited.

BbbbbBbbbdmp! Here we come, walkin down the street.... Would sing out from the TV. I was captivated! I adored Peter Tork! I felt a kindred spirit, not even knowing what a kindred spirit was back then, with Peter. You see, Peter was the only blond in the group, and I was the only blond in my family. I knew that he understood my feelings of separateness, of not quite belonging. The sense of being a bit of a misfit. Even then, I knew, in my heart of hearts that he knew exactly how I felt. He was my hero!

As years went by, The Monkees TV show was  cancelled and relegated to Saturday morning and then after school. I still watched. I still adored Peter! Then one day, puberty started to set in. That was when I discovered DAVY! Davy had beautiful brown eyes. To this day, I am a sucker for a pair of deep brown eyes. A girl can get lost in a pair of soulful brown eyes. I went through my preteens in love with Davy, and Donny Osmond, and Scott Baio, and Mr. Chekov from Star Trek. I'm telling you, it's the brown eyes. Davy got me thru junior high. I was so jealous of Marcia Brady!

High school came, The Monkees were no longer on TV. I kind of forgot about them. I didn't have any albums. In 1967 when they were at their peak, I was five, and in no position to obtain LPs. On I went to discover other music. Styx, Chicago, Genesis, and Barry Manilow. Ah, Barry Manilow, still my absolute favorite solo artist. Just ask my kids, they know most of his songs by heart, involuntarily. I met Willie in high school. We went to homecoming for our first date. We were still together at prom, with the theme of "Looks Like We Made It," my suggestion.

Willie and I stayed together while I was at college, and got married in 1984. In 1985 our first daughter, Valerie was born, and MTV started showing The Monkees reruns again. I was hooked, all over again! I found that I still adored Peter just as much as ever. Davy, well he looked about 16, which at 22, looks like a child. The stars in the eyes thing seemed a bit hokey. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw Micky. I remembered, as a child, telling my mom how much I adored Peter. (Yes, I know I keep using the word adored, but it is truly the only correct way to put it.) She had said that she really liked Micky better. Back then I couldn't see it. At 22, there it was! I started paying attention to Micky. I realized, that man is fricken hilarious! Of all the Monkees, he was truly the backbone of the show. You could tell he had the showman experience and the others played off of him, which worked wonderfully! He may be a comic genius, but because of the absolute silliness of the show, he wasn't taken seriously at the time. He had it all though, timing, faces, voices, pratfalls. He was laugh out loud FUNNY!

As an adult I started buying the albums, and a few cassette tapes that got eaten by my car. I went to the reunion tour concerts. I found myself in Monkee Mania all over again. Which to this day has never worn off. If someone put a gun to my head, and told me I had to pick a favorite Monkee, I couldn't do it. They each hold a different little space in my heart. I still (one more time) adore Peter. I still love Davy's brown eyes. Micky can still make me bust a gut, and I think his voice is wonderful. Mike, well, he never struck a cord with me the way the others did. Maybe he would have, if I had ever seen him in concert with the others, but I never did. Maybe he would have been my thirties, Monkee, we will never know.

Now that I have this all down, maybe my brain will settle down and let me sleep. I have an idea for a picture and may add it tomorrow. For tonight, I'll just say, thank you Davy, Micky and Peter. You have been a part of my life longer than any of us may care to admit. It has been a fun journey. I hope to see you in concert again someday. It just won't be tomorrow. Maybe you'll extend your tour a little and go to Des Moines, Iowa. I could go home for a weekend, and see the show with some friends. And an added benefit would be I'd get to see my granddaughter Kahlen, too. Win Win!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Medium? Drink

The pic is old, but I thought it worked
Do you remember, way back in the day, when you would go to a fast food restaurant and order a medium drink and it was 16 ounces? A small was 12 ounces and a large was 20. I ordered a medium ice tea at Wendy's today for lunch, and it was huge. I can't say it was 32 ounces, but I know it was bigger than 20. Thank goodness I didn't order a large. I wouldn't sleep for days!

When did medium become super sized? For goodness sakes, we can get free refills, why do we have to have cups big enough for Bazinga to swim in? By the time you get a super sized cup Kahlen could swim in it. No need to  buy a kiddie pool, just go to Mac Shack and get a combo meal.

Have you noticed too, that as serving sizes exploded at the fast food shops, clothing sizes for teen girls have gotten smaller and smaller. You go to a Target and look at the T-shirts in their equivalent of a juniors department, and a small would almost fit Kahlen. She could wear it while swimming in her super sized kiddie pool. Hopefully, by the time she is a teenage girl the sanity will return and small drinks will fit in a cup holder and small T-shirts will fit 14 year old girls.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Walminator

Have you ever seen that show on Animal Planet, Chasing Big Foot, or Finding Big Foot, or hunting or something like that. I would like to know one thing, how do I get a job like that? How do I get some TV network to pay me to go "find" something that doesn't exist? I mean, talk about your job security. How can they fire you when you don't find what you are looking for, when what you are looking for is a myth. If they are willing to pay you to look for a myth, then they can't get mad when you never find anything, right? Talk about getting rewarded for failure. I can fail just as quickly and easily as they can, why isn't there someone to pay me for it? 

Maybe I need to create my own mythical creature to find. After all, if I make it up, then no one can tell me that is doesn't exist. Maybe I can get Discovery Channel to pay me to look for it. Let me see, what will my creature be.....

Well, first of all, it will be a creature of discriminating taste. It will only eat in five star restaurants. Therefore, Discovery Channel will have to front all of my meals in all of the finest eateries. My creature will also be very well groomed. He will have nails that grow very quickly and need frequent mani-pedis to keep them at bay. He will need frequent spa treatments to ease his stress levels. I will need to go to these spas myself to try to find him. Since he is a very smart creature, I will, of course, have to endure these same spa treatments to look like a fellow customer, rather than a mighty huntress on the prowl. 

The reason he must be found is that he has a grudge against Walgreens and has threatened damage to their stores. Why, does he hold this grudge? Why does he want to ransack every store he sees? First, they have demeaned him by stealing his color and making their pharmacy techs wear it. At first he was impressed by their choice. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. He is, though, very proud of his grooming. He works very hard to keep the long, midnight blue fur, that covers his body, washed, combed and neatly trimmed. This is very difficult for him, as many spas throw him out in horror until he flashes his wad of inherited greenbacks. When he saw how quickly those midnight blue scrubs became soiled with lint and pill dust it made him sad. 

Second, after seeing on Fox and Friends that women could get pap smears and breast exams at their favorite neighborhood Walgreens, he thought, logically, that he would be able to get his prostate exam their as well. When he went in to the pharmacy counter, with all good intentions, bent over and pulled his pants down, they called the police.  He knew, that when the store manager said again and again, that not only did they NOT do prostate exams, but they do not do breast exams or pap smears either, that he was lying! After all he heard this on FOX AND FRIENDS! They would not lie! They would not mislead or misrepresent the facts to promote their own agenda! How dare the store manager claim to know more about the services offered by his store than Fox and Friends. After all, if it had been a non factual statement, they would have said so. If it was merely a slip of the tongue, and incorrect, they would have made an editorial correction. Right? Of course they would, they are "Fair and Balanced."

Now that you know the depth of the creature's disdain for Walgreens, you can see the urgent need to find him to save Walgreens. If the Discovery Channel will fund it, I will do the dirty work necessary to capture and contain this mighty threat to society!

Do you believe in my midnight blue Walinator? No? Well, fine, I don't believe in Big Foot, or Fox and Friends for that matter. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Think... think..... think.....


I feel a bit like Winnie the Pooh right now. Remember how when he was trying to think of an idea, he would sit on a log, all crunched up. One arm folded into the other, with a hand next to his face. One finger tapping slowly on his temple as he said out loud, "Think, think, think....."

The blankness of the computer screen seems to be mocking me. "Ha, ha," it gleefully taunts. "You have no idea what words to put on here. You, my friend are a hack! Ha, ha..... hahaha...... HA! HA! HAHA HA!"

Stupid blank screen, I'll show you! I'll think of SOMETHING!

Think, think, think........

You will not win you evil, evil screen! I will conquer your emptiness. I will win!


Think, think, think.........

ARRRGGGGGHHHH! My brain hurts! I think I may have popped my last intelligent neuron. Intelligent thought may no longer be possible. I guess that means I have but one last recourse. If I can't form ideas or solve problems any more there is but one thing left for me to do. It is a scary and horrid thought. It makes me shudder to think of the possibility. Please, remember me for how I was and not for what I must become.

With no working neurons left. No hope for useful thinking, I must...... become....... ( I can barely stand the thought...) I must become........ (oh, I feel so nauseous...).

But lets face it, there is only one thing for the fried brained person to do..... I must become..... A..... Politician! There I said it! The only place for a person who can not come up with fresh ideas. The only place for someone who is incapable of intelligent thought. Politics. I can't believe it has come to this.

Oh, wait, what is that I feel? Something sparking in my head. Could it be.... YES! It turns out I still have one neuron left! I'm saved! No politics for me! Having one working neuron makes me OVER QUALIFIED! Phew..... That was a close one!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Dog's Life


Ah, summertime and the liven is easy! Whoever came up with the saying "it's a dog's life," referring to a hard life, never had a Bazinga. If anything in this world ever had an easier life, it would have to be a cat.

Bazinga, I'm sure, would argue the point with me. He works very hard barking at shadows and chasing down bugs. He has to spend a lot of time manicuring the lawn by eating clover blossoms and dandelion puffs. They are crafty creatures, too. He must sneak up on them slowly and slyly and then pounce without warning. Otherwise the sneaky little flowers will surely escape.

He also has found that we are severely lacking in proper holes in the yard. He has no time for it but dig he must. How will we ever prove the existence of China if he never gets there. The archaeologist in him cannot give in to failure. He just needs to make sure to make that right turn at Albuquerque. Bugs Bunny always seems to miss that one. When he does it tends to get him into trouble. Bazinga is smarter though, Bazinga has google maps.

Summer is such a busy time for Bazinga. So many birds to be hunted down and chased from the yard. They are his main distraction. Those and the squirrels. Both have yet to accept the fact that he is a ruthless hunter that will teach them a lesson or two. One day, he will catch one, though. That is the day they will bow down to his mightiness! They will know his wrath and rue the day they ever heard the name Bazinga! Just you wait and see!

Among his many jobs he must take me on several walks a day, he knows I need my exercise. There are many dangers out there, from which he must protect me. There are cars, and the people they spit out. There are light posts and more of those evil, evil shadows. Mostly though, there are the other dogs that must learn that he is the king of them all. Despite the dangers, he knows that if he doesn't get me out into the fresh air that I get crabby. He'd rather deal with the dangers, at least he can get away from those.

Finally, there are the car rides. The wonderful, exciting car rides. There is nothing better than having the wind combing through his hair. The smells, oh the smells! So, many to to take in, so many to discover. Information overload takes hold. The brain shuts down and all that is left is to just experience the ride. Feel the movement, and the air. Give in to the encounter. He does love a long car ride.

Finally, the day light gives way to dusk. The mighty Bazinga  retires to the confines of his house. He still has to chase the cat around, she definitely needs HER exercise. Then, finally, he gets to rest. The long summer day over. Another just a sunrise away.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Best Part of Summer Rains

 It has been cloudy and rainy here almost all day. The last time I took Bazinga out, however the sun was out and filling the sky with light.

As we walked around the house and yard I noticed the delicate filtering of the light through the trees. The air clean and sharp, the rain had done its job.

This isn't going to be a wordy post, just one to show off nature's beauty. One to celebrate the best part of summer rains.





















The every expanding pumpkin patch.

Happy Father's Day!!

On this Father's Day I want to pay tribute to the most important fathers in my life. First, of course, is my father. He is the man who taught me what it is to be a parent. He showed me that expecting children to behave can be done in a thoughtful, caring, loving way. He taught me to be an honest, respectful person. His kindness and gentleness was always evident even when he was scolding me for doing something bad. He never made me feel like I was a bad child, but let me know when I did something unacceptable. He knew how to draw that line. He was a buffer between me and my mom. When she was in a "mood" he would suddenly have to go to the grocery store, and let me go with him.  He always made me feel important, he listened as I babbled on and on as a child. He is my constant, my rock, my hero! I love you, Dad.

Next, Willie. Willie works hard, very hard. He has always had schedules that were unpredictable and had to work many, many evenings. Even with that, he always tried very hard to be there for the kids' concerts, ballgames and track meets. He didn't get to all of them but he enjoyed being there when he did. He loves his children with his entire being and is very proud of each of them. He is a loving man who has taught his children how to love. He was the strength that got us through some tough times and kept me from running screaming. He is the love of my life, and I can't think of a better father for my children or grandpa for Kahlen.

Finally, Shane. He had a rocky start with this whole daddy thing. Personally, I think most men do. He has definitely come out of it though. He has turned into a loving daddy who Kahlen worships. He is still learning and growing as a parent, and has come so far! I'm very proud him! He and Alyssa have started raising a beautiful, happy and loving little girl. The adventure of parenting still mostly ahead of them, they are doing great! Taking each day as it comes. They are doing a wonderful job raising my first grandchild!

So, happy Father's Day to the most important fathers I know!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Listen To The Band!

Yes, those are albums
I saw on Facebook yesterday that my most favorite group EVER is on tour again. Yes, THE MONKEES! I love The Monkees! I really do! I know, I know, naysayers out there will drone on and on about how they didn't play their own instruments and blah blah blah. That may all have been true, but the voices were theirs and certainly the personality they put into their performances were all theirs as well. Plus, it wasn't so much that they couldn't play their own instruments, even way back when, both Mike and Peter were musicians in their own rights, the TV studio just wouldn't allow them to play. So, potato, potAto.

I have loved The Monkees as long as I can remember. I remember watching them when they were on network TV, you know, back when there were only four stations to watch, and you had to get up and twist a knob to change the channel. I watched them after they were canceled and reruns were on on Saturday mornings. I watched them after school. I should know each and every episode by heart. Someday I will own the entire series, I will.

I never saw them in concert when they were in their prime. I was much too young to go to concerts then. The first time I saw them live was in the eighties when they had their first reunion tour. They were only one of the headliners, with Herman's Hermitts and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Those two bands were good too, especially Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. The Monkees, though, they were still awesome! The Monkee romp energy was still there. Mike was, of course, missing in action, but you didn't feel the absence. Micky, Davy and Peter made up for him so smoothly it was like he was never in the band. I saw them two other times, on different tours, years later and the same was true for each. From the seats I was in you couldn't even tell they had aged. Even if you were close enough to see the wrinkles and bellies that the years had given them, their energy and showmanship transported you back to their younger years and you'd forgive the ravages of time.

When I saw they were touring again I had to look up the venues and dates. I was excited to see that they were going to be in Indianapolis, and on a Sunday! Sunday June 26th to be exact. I could do that! It is only about a 90 minute drive from here! Now, to find out ticket prices....... Crash and burn! Reality sets in. Sadly, the tickets are out of my price range, and honestly, if I suddenly had that much money I'd use it to go to Des Moines and see my favorite people in the world, Kahlen and my kids, instead of my favorite group. Gas prices and the lack of a proper job have halted this little fantasy. Bummer. I'd say maybe next time...... But these guys are getting a little long in the tooth, how many next times could they have? I read a Rolling Stone review of their concert last night in New York, I think, and they said it was a great show! Yeah, really, Rolling Stone likes The Monkess now, who'd of thunk?

Barring a miracle of the tickets suddenly appearing in my hand, I don't think I will be going to see The Monkees anytime soon. Maybe, if I fold my arms, think real hard and blink......

Yeah, no, it didn't work. Darn that Jeanie, she made it look so easy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

What to Do?

Willie went back home to Des Moines today for a long weekend full of family and fun. I am very happy for him, he has rarely had chances to go home. He had a nice long weekend worked out and went home for a family reunion. He was so excited that he was up before 5:00 am and out the door quickly.

I am happy for him honest, but very jealous too! I have had many occasions to go home though. I was busy today and will be Monday though and couldn't leave. Since I have had so many times to go home, I didn't want to make him wait till I could leave and then come back early. He deserves a nice long relaxing weekend at home.

That leaves Bazinga, Mia and I on our own for the weekend. Bazinga seems to have decided that total and complete relaxation is the most important item on the agenda. What he doesn't know is that a B-A-T-H is on the agenda as well. That will happen tomorrow.  I'll let him have his illusion of paradise for tonight.

Beyond sleeping the weekend away as my dog and cat seem to think is ideal, I am trying to think of something to do. I have thought about exploring the scary room in the basement. Bazinga and Mia know that is a very bad idea. They are both very sure that there is a monster in there that will eat me. They can't bear to think about that. It completely and thoroughly terrifies them to the core. After all, if I get eaten by the scary room monster tomorrow, who will feed them until Monday when Willie gets back? They have scolded me for being so selfish. Of course, once I throw Bazinga in the bathtub he may decide to feed me to the scary room monster and take his chances till Monday. Such a fickle little fellow. Mia will save me though. Being fed is very important to her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Willie doesn't even know what it is
Ok, first, before we get to the pumpkin patch, does anyone know what the heck this is?

I don't think I have ever seen anything like it. It doesn't look like it is going to bloom. It almost looks like a deformed pepper or some sort of thing like that. I just found it in one of our gardens today. It looks like a long white pepper with a long green beak or something. If you happen to have any idea what it is, please post a comment. If it happens to be poisonous,  please, especially let me know. I'm baby sitting two kids, have Bazinga, and of course when Kahlen comes to visit, to think about.
This is one plant.

Anyway, back to the pumpkin patch. Alyssa is getting married in September. She plans on using fall colors and fall things to decorate. She talked about using miniature pumpkins as part of it. With this in mind, I thought to my self, I'll try planting a small miniature pumpkin patch. A $1 package of seeds is a lot cheaper than a dollar a pumpkin or what ever they are going to go for this fall.

A small pumpkin patch, that was the goal.  I got seeds for both white and orange pumpkins, all miniature ones. I planted a row of seeds that I had started inside in March, and I planted a package each of seeds for both colors. I figured that starting some ahead of time would insure that I would have some that would be ready at the right time.
Bazinga and the pumpkin monster

What I didn't count on was how big the plants would get. Silly me, I thought little pumpkins, little plants.  I seem to be growing the pumpkin patch that took over the world! As you can see one leaf is bigger than Bazinga. I'm starting to have fears that it will soon it will rise up, look me in the eye and in a deep booming voice that rivals that of the devil himself, demand, "FEED ME!" You all know that movie.

We set up two trellises for the plants to grow up on to, I think, perhaps, I have heard them snickering at me about that. I think their plan is to take over the entire yard, starting with my herbs, peppers and tomatoes.  The one year I actually get peppers to grow and they are going to be eaten by  pumpkin patch gremlins! I should start taking daily pictures of the patch, because it is growing so fast, I swear it is twice as big every morning when I go out. I'm starting to fear that I will have enough pumpkins to bury the town of Rossville.

Can they run you out of town if your pumpkin patch starts to eat all of the dogs in the neighborhood? I just hope Linus and Sally don't show up. Charlie Brown will never find them again. They will be DOOMED!

The good news, there are blossoms! Hopefully, that means there will be pumpkins for the wedding, if Alyssa still wants them. She better still want them. If she doesn't she is going to be living off of pumpkin soup for the next 5 years!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Banana Split Cupcakes

 Today I was desperate to find something to do that didn't involve sitting on the couch playing on the computer. I started out mowing the back yard. It felt good to do something that made me tired and sweaty. We have a fairly large back yard so between picking up a wheel barrow full of sticks and mowing, it took me a couple of hours. I was glad to have the time go by.

After I was done, I looked for other things to do. I got some laundry done, cleaned the windows out on the porch and still had time to make go away. I still wanted something to do.
 I had been to the grocery store last week and they had cake mixes on sale. The strawberry cake mix had been calling to me for a few days, so today I decided to make it. I went back and forth about whether to make a cake or cupcakes. I decided on cupcakes so that Willie could take some to work tomorrow.

On the box were a couple of recipes that could be made with the mix. One was just to add chocolate chips to the batter. The other was to cut up the cake and use it in a banana split. I decided to combine the two ideas.
 I got out some frozen strawberries and set them in the strainer to defrost and let some of the juice strain off. I made the cupcake batter and added chocolate chips. After they were done baking I set them to cool.

While they were cooling I made some filling to squeeze in to them.  I had a couple of bananas that were just on the other side of too ripe to eat. I decided to make a butter cream filling with the bananas. I mushed them up with some butter and a whole bunch of powdered sugar. When the cupcakes were cool I poked them with the handle of a wooden spoon. I put the filling in a zipper bag, cut the tip off a corner and squished the filling into the cupcakes. I decided to put them in the fridge to let them set up a while before I frosted them.

For the frosting I beat up the strawberries with ricotta cheese and butter and powdered sugar. I put it in the fridge to set up for a while. I toasted some pecans and put them in a bowl to cool. I frosted the cupcakes and put the pecans on top. I still had some filling left over, so I decided to drizzle some of that on top, too.

They aren't the prettiest cupcakes ever, but the sure taste good!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nothing Interesting

I have had a bit of writer's block lately. Not that I think of myself as a writer, maybe I should call it blogger's block. I haven't done anything interesting lately, so I have nothing interesting to talk about.

The super hot weather has me longing for a grand thunderstorm. Not a destructive one in anyway, we've seen too many of those this year, but a good old NOISY one. The kind that makes Mia jump out of her skin and makes Bazinga cower under the bed.

I would love to just hear the rain pounding on the roof and watch the lightening streak haphazardly through the night sky, back lighting the silhouettes of the trees blowing back and forth. It is just so early in the summer for it to be 100 degrees. I think I just want the storm to break up the monotony of the sameness of the days. I want something different to focus on and the uncertainty of the storm.

Not that I want uncertainty in my life, I'm kind of tired of that.  I would really like a little certainty when it comes to money. I'm kind of tired of the whole paycheck to paycheck thing. I want so bad to be able to help my son and daughter with their weddings. Things will work out, though, somehow, they always do. Just have to keep the faith.

Chance of storms tonight, maybe it will be cooler tomorrow.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bazinga's Birds

You have all heard the old saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." We all have our times when we see something we want, and forget about what we already have. I know I have had that problem myself. I would get fixated on something I thought I just had to have and forget that I already had everything I needed. When I would finally snap out of it I would rationalize it to myself by thinking, "I'm only human." However, I recently have noticed behavior that proves, to me at least, that the bird in the hand syndrome does not only effect humans.

Bazinga, my ever faithful friend is a greedy little fellow. He shares his toys, he doesn't scarf down the food in his bowl the second you put it in, but he is greedy. Maybe greedy isn't the right way to put it.
 Perhaps it is more.... I don't know.

Here's the story... (don't worry, it's not very long)

Bazinga like any dog, loves his treats. I give him a treat when we come in from outside. I make him do a trick for it, give it to him and go on my way. Every once in a while I'll grab an extra treat and have him work on a few tricks. Nothing extravagant, just sit, stay, lay, and "reach for the sky," (which is just sitting up with his front paws in the air.) I'm not one to teach a bunch of tricks, I just want him to listen when I tell him to do something.
Last week, I had him do a trick, and gave him his treat. He took it in his normal thrilled, excited, and exuberant way. You'd swear he was starving. He started chewing on it, and saw that I had another treat in my hand. I told him to sit again. This is what surprised me, he spit out the first, like it was black liquorish, and fixated on the treat in my hand. It was a different kind of treat, so I thought maybe he just liked that type better.

Yesterday, I had two treats again, this time the same kind, and he spit out the first one again and waited for the second one.   I haven't had a lot of dogs in my life, but we did have Wickett for eleven years and I don't remember him doing that. His take on the "bird in the hand" was, "gulp down the bird you have and capture the two in the bush."  If I had more than one treat he would swallow the first whole if he thought he had a chance at a second treat. Which I think is the norm for dogs.

Bazinga gives up what he has in hopes of something better. Is that normal for dogs? I have no idea. When he does spit out his first treat, I pick it up and make him do a new trick for it. He thinks he's getting three treats, I get him to practice an extra command. I think that's a win win. So, I guess, in a way, he gets to have all three birds in his mind.