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2009 in pictures

It’s quiet here this morning.
The falling snow has hushed the world outside.

It’s a beautiful snowy day.

I met a friend this morning for breakfast.
Unfortunately he had to eat and run.

***********

Only a few more hours and we turn the page on 2009. 
We’ve had joys this year. 

Ashlynn was baptized.  What a blessed joy.

I was recognized at work.  A nice pat on the back.
My dorky little story made it as a finalist and placed fourth in a book competition, which means nothing, but it was a fun experience.
We’ve had sorrows.
We lost a precious one–Dustin Shane.
And gained a precious one–Maxx Shane.
And then lost another, my Aunt Frances.
And then lost another, Jason’s Aunt Kala.
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
Summer invited water balloon fights and crazy kids.
 My brother Steve getting pelted with a balloon.
My Crazy Niece Zoie says heck to the balloons and wields the hose instead.
You gotta do what you gotta do.

Autumn brought grapes, goblins, and bengal tigers.
And lots and lots and lots of leaves.
This Christmas was the best ever for me in terms of contentment.
I did manage to get a tree up in the nick of time.
I have many hopes, dreams, and goals for the coming year.
I love new beginnings.
Fresh starts.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:18-19
All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. 
May you have a prosperous 2010.
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Everything you ever wanted to know about a Leek, but were afraid to ask

I’ve been reading this book called “French Women Don’t Get Fat”. I’ve been reading the parts I understand anyway.  It’s a bestseller and I trust that.  The author Mireille Guiliano (pronounce that if you think you’re so smart) claims leeks are magical. 
Leeks. 

If you’re anything like me, perhaps this will help.
They’re hidden on the produce shelf. 
They’re a vegetable. 

The skinny French woman has a soup called “Magical Leek Soup”.   You are supposed to drink leek broth for 48 hours.  Straight. 
Leek Broth, doesn’t that sound yummy?
 If you get hungry, you eat the leeks with a little olive oil drizzled, until the 2nd day’s supper, then you have a little fish or meat with some veggies. I’m thinking fried taters and gravy qualifies after 48 hours of leek broth.

And that my friends is why I’m reading this book.

This 48 hour cleansing is the jump start to a great lifestyle change.  Kinda sounds a little like starvation if you ask me, but who am I to question the French?

Yet, there is something about magical leeks that appeal to me. 

I like magic. 
Birthday candle blowing magic, shooting star wishing magic, genie bottle rubbing magic.

I could use a little magic around here. 

For starters, I’d like to:

Magically-lose-all-my-cellulite.
Magically-have-a-clean-house.
Magically-have-Ed-McMahan-ring-my-doorbell.  Wait.  Is he dead?
Magically-have-Ed-McMahan-return-from-the-dead-and-ring-my-doorbell.

There’s just no limit what these leeks might do for me.

I called the grocery store to make sure they carried them before I ventured out.  They did, they were hidden but they were there.  I was curious to how fresh they were.  I pondered how often people buy these things. 

 I had to watch a video on how to prepare them.

I couldn’t help but wonder where they’ve been all my life.

But truthfully, I didn’t wonder too hard.

I really didn’t think I could handle the Leek Broth.  I know my limitations. Thankfully, the skinny french woman has a recipe on her website http://www.fwdgf.com/ for Leek Mozarella with a lovely picture, so I decided why not get a jumpstart on my new year’s resolution and prepare a healthy vegetable.

I’m thinking anything covered in cheese has got to be tasty.
Anything that looks like a pasta dish from Pizza Hut surely is yum-o.

Evidently the leek is from the onion family. You only use the white part of the vegetable.

Which means all this goes in the trash. Doesn’t that seem like such a waste?  I was half-way raised by my Grannie, who was half-way raised during the Depression. She would have never thrown these out. The skinny French woman says they can be saved and made into stock. But okay, we’re talking about me here.  So into the trash they went.

Then you boil the white parts, after you rinse well, because there’s a lot of dirt in there.  That’s because they’re a vegetable, and vegetables grow in dirt.

Kinda looks like a cross between onions and celery, with a severe case of hypothyroidism.

Here’s the recipe, if’n you’re interested.
INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds leeks, white parts only
1 cup fresh basil leaves (I didn’t have this of course.  We’re talking about me here.)
8 ounces mozzarella
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon wine or sherry vinegar
Salt (preferably freshly ground—fleur de sel works magic) and freshly ground peppe
Yield: 4 Servings
RECIPE
Preheat the broiler.
Clean the leeks thoroughly, and boil in salted water 6 to 10 minutes, until cooked but still firm, then drain.
Put the leeks in a baking dish, and cover with a layer of basil leaves. Cut the mozzarella into 1/4-inch slices, and place atop the basil layer. Put the dish under the preheated broiler, and watch carefully. In 3 to 5 minutes the cheese should start to melt and brown; at this point, remove the dish.
Mix the oil and vinegar and drizzle over the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately with a slice of country bread.

So far, I’ve eaten them twice.  They aren’t terrible.  They ain’t taters and gravy either. 

I’m still waiting for the magic.
So far, I’ve gotten better results from birthday candle blowing and shooting star wishing.

But Wait.  Somebody’s at the door.

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Random thoughts on a Tuesday

It is Tuesday, isn’t it?

The last couple of days a sickness with the ferociousness of the Egyptian plagues came through this household.  It hit Jason about 7 minutes and 34 seconds before it hit me.  I have never been more thankful for a home with two toilets.  I spent the night hugging the commode and praying for Rapture.

Speaking of Heaven, I had the most delicious taste enter my mouth over the holidays.  Well, maybe not the most delicious, but pretty darn close.  Along with the celestial taste came one of those time machine moments and I was transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen, fresh cookies baking, and the Tennessee Waltz playing on the radio.  My amygdala, that little part of my brain that stores memories and emotions, was on fire trying to place the taste of this fine little cookie.  I think that’s the amygadala, if not,  just pretend I’m as smart as I pretend to be.

These cookies are Caramel Wafers.  They came from The Netherlands, their website on their cute little box says http://www.daelmansbanket.com/ but I can’t for the life of me find how to get more of this divine little boogers.

Not on an entirely different note than boogers, my big dog Drew has dribbled, piddled, vomited, and chewed up a curly headed doll in the last hour.  Jason says he can’t handle prosperity.  Afterall, we do have 2 toilets.

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Aperture what?

I got a fancy schmancy camera for Christmas. 

It’s got a lot of initials and numbers on it.

Things like ISO sensitivity, 

and Active D-Lighting, 

3.7,

 1/4, 

AF,

AE-L,

FN.

These initials I savvy.

WTH?

I hate to be a braggart and all, but despite my lack of understanding of this photography lingo and/or settings, I can do some pretty amazing things with it.

Like this.

And this.

I think this one belongs in a gallery or something.

If only I could attain a cooperative model, I’ll be pro in no time.

Help.  Somebody.
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Good Tidings To You

This has been a good Christmas season.  I think I’m taking a liking to it.  I’ve been a Grinch, a Scrooge, and a Humbug most of my adult life.  That started happening after I quit getting so many presents because these little despicable things called “grandchildren” entered the family and stole my thunder and my “baby of the family” status.  But I’m not one bit bitter about it.

We have a white Christmas this year.  Before you have quintessential visions, stop right there.  It’s not a bit pretty.  There isn’t anything pretty about snow blowing 50 mph. 

We had a beautiful communion service last night at church and that is the beautiful part of it all.  Amid all the wrapping paper on the floor, the turkey carcassess, the pine needles stuck in sock feet, pause for a moment (or more) and ponder the miracle and beauty of Christmas.  With all the complicated things in life, this is truly the most simple.

A virgin.
A stable.
A baby boy.
A hope for a lost world.
Emmanuel.

Merry Christmas.

Love,
Angel

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Verizon: We Have a Problem

I discovered this in the bathroom trash can.  Before you judge, let me state this disclaimer.  I’m not a full fledged dumpster diver, yet.  I do know a couple people who are, who may or may not be related to me.  I don’t usually make a habit of digging in the trash, especially the bathroom, but it caught my eye.  Lying there amid the used toilet paper rolls and wads of hair that I pull out of the drain daily, was an innocently folded piece of paper.  A note perhaps?

But after a little more investigating, it becomes evident what this is.
This is not just a note. 
This is a poor kid’s cell phone.
This is not your ordinary cell phone, this is a flip/slider phone. A new design in the cell phone industry.
What are they teaching kids these days in school?????
Questions to ponder:
1.  When is she going to learn to spell you?
2.  Who exactly is kaydin?
3.  Where do you plug this thing in?
WARNING:  A kid who has begged for a cell phone, and been denied because she really has no business with one, might resort to this!
Reminds me of a great story I read once, where a homeschooled teenager wanted a pair of thong panties.  Her mother refused to buy them for her, therefore she was forced to use her creativity and resourcefulness and knitted herself a pair!
Problem solvers!  I just love ’em.
 
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Is Manhood Declining?

I am absolutely loving the new Docker’s Campaign, Wear the Pants.  Click on over to Docker’s to read this “man-ifesto” to get an idea of all this.


And to think they’re catching a little flak from all this.  People are saying this ad is sexist.  Good grief.  I love America, but sometimes I just don’t get it.  Mostly these allegations are coming from women, naturally.  Like these comments:

If people think children are misbehaving and cities are crumbling all because of our “genderless” society, they are sorely mistaken. Sure, we’d love to see men “man up,” but and if they think that great changes will occur when guys put on khakis, well, fine then, try them on and let’s see what happens. As for men being the ones to “wear the pants,” well, we’re sorry to break it to you, but ladies have been wearing pants, voting, working, running homes, and sipping lattes for a long time now. And we like it.

Here’s more:
“The intent of the campaign is to put forth a new definition of masculinity, one that embraces strength and sensitivity and appeals to men who can change a tire AND a diaper,” says Jennifer Sey, Global VP of Marketing for Dockers. “We’re not trying to shame men. We want to make them laugh at themselves and at the state of manhood. And, at the same time, encourage them to dress up, man-up and embody today’s new definition of masculinity.”

Here’s a slideshow I found called “An Emasculating Manhood”

Here’s another link if you’d like to read this person’s opinion.
http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2009/12/07/ad-rant-how-to-stuff-a-manly-man-into-soft-khakis/

Docker’s is just trying to sell khakis. Personally, I wish men would step up and be the men of yesteryear.  I’m interested in your opinion.  What are your thoughts?