Friday, October 29, 2010

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

I am not a huge fan of Halloween, especially since I'm too old to go begging for candy! I don't have much use for the night. Gory, scarry movies? Gory, scarry costumes? Haunted houses? No, thank you, don't need 'em.

However, I do have a good Halloween story! I'll say right up front, that I don't believe in ghosts, however, that doesn't mean that I have not had a weird experience, or two.

My son, JT, won't let me discuss anything that even remotely hints of g-h-o-s-t-s. He's had his own freaky experiences. And, Awesome Daughter has had some weirdo things happen to her. As far as I know, son, BD, has not had any experiences.

So, here's what happened...We had not been in our house very long, probably less than a year. Now, as far as houses go, this one was not that old.  It was built the year I was born, BUT, BUT, 20 years ago, it was a fairly young house. On this particular night, (actually, early in the morning) I was having a terrible time sleeping. I could not get comfortable for anything. Finally, I decided tht the only thing that sounded appealing was laying down on the floor. (For someone who likes a nice, soft, comfy bed, this was highly unusual!) There was not much floor space in our bedroom, so I grabbed my pillow, and extra blanket, and went out to lay down on the living room floor. I laid on my stomach, covered up, snuggled into my pillow, and instantly felt comfortable. I no sooner got situated and ready to doze off, when it happened. 

One of the kiddos was up. Are you kidding me? It was waaaay to early. I could hear whoever it was coming down the stairs, one stair at a time. No, no, no! Go back to sleep! I am not getting up. So, I decided that I would fake that I was alseep, and ignore them. Maybe then, they would go back to bed. 

One by one, I heard the footsteps come down the stairs. I heard, and felt them walking around me as I laid on the floor. I kept faking my sleep, and it worked. They must have got up on the couch and went to sleep. Good. 

When I woke up, I was surprised to see that I was alone in the living room. Whoever it was, must have gone back to bed. Good, hopefully, they will all sleep in on this Saturday morning.

Later, as each one came downstairs, I questioned them. "Did you wake up early and come downstairs?"  JT said, "No." BD said, "No." That left Jennee. Her answer was "no" as well.  "Well, one of you must have because I heard you come down."  They all looked at me like I was cuckoo (again!) 

Although, it was a little freaky, I probably would have forgotten about the incident, except for what happened next . . . . . 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Try it, You'll like it! Tuesday - Homemade Laundry Detergent

Yeah, you're not going to want to eat this! However, you may save yourself some money if you make your own laundry detergent. It's simple, makes a good bit, and does a decent job of getting your clothes clean. You should be able to find everything you need at the grocery store. My initial costs were something like, $2.50 for the Fels Naptha, $7 for washing soda, $9 for borax, and $5 for the giant-sized bag of baking soda. I got my giant sized bag of baking soda at Costco.You will be able to get quite a few batches of detergent out of this. I re-used my empty laundry detergent container. If you are interested in a recipe for dry detergent, check out here.

You will need:
1 bar Fels Naptha soap, shaved
4 cups hot water to melt the soap
3 gallons hot water
1 cup borax
2 cups washing soda
1 cup baking soda
1 large container about 4-5 gallon size

 Grate the soap into a saucepan. You can use a box grater or food processor.

Add 4 cups hot water to the pan. Simmer on low until the soap melts completely into the water.

Add borax, washing soda and baking soda to the hot water. Simmer on low until it dissolves with the soap. If the mixture is not melting, add a little more water.

Keep an eye on it so it doesn't get all bubbly and almost  overflow onto the stove! Yikes! Almost had a disaster!

 Add 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container

 Add the mixture to the hot water.

 Mix with a large spoon until it completely dissolves.

 Let it cool overnight. It will turn into a thick, goopy gel. I gave it another good stirring after it was cool to break down some of the globs. I have a front loading machine, and I use about 1/2 cup per load

Have a happy laundry day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

We left Colorado Springs, Pike's Peak, and Garden of the Gods. Our next stop was the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  But first, here are a few "drive by" pictures.

We look kind of silly, but, check out the view!

It's a long way down!

I love the  blue sky!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

To Dye or Not to Dye!

I have struggled long and hard with this question, and have decided to share my vast wealth of knowledge on this subject. (Lucky you!)

When I was a mere "child" in my 30's, my dear MIL used to tell me that I had more gray hair than she did! Now, I'm not denying that I had gray hair, just not as much as she did. It became the family joke. Ha. Ha. The truth was, that I was graying showing my wisdom  much more than Hubby was. (You can probably imagine how annoying that was!)

I finally decided that I did not want people to think I was his mother, and started having my hair colored.  I didn't mind it at first, because I could go on the  four month plan. And, I could justify the cost since it happened so "rarely". But, then I noticed that four months wasn't working, and moved it up to the "every other haircut" plan. But, even that went by the wayside, and I succumbed to every seven weeks "cut and color". Business was good, but even so, I hated plunking down way too much money to get my hair back to its natural color of dark brown. It was also irritating to see the wrong color showing itself only two weeks later. But, what irritated me the most, was that there was nary a gray hair on Hubby's head! Believe me, I checked on a regular basis. Still do.

Several years ago, I seriously considered just "going gray". I let it grow out a little, just to see how far gone I was, but my beautician talked me into coloring, saying I would look 60 if I didn't. Ouch. Since I was only 50, I wasn't ready to age myself 10 years. And, my vanity would get pumped up when people would shockingly say, "You're a grandmother?? No way!!"  I  tried to answer humbly, "Yes. Yes, I am." Thinking: I know I look much too young. Thank you for confirming my opinion.

But, then, we sold our business, the economy tanked, an suddenly we found ourselves saving every dime we could. Bye, bye professional hair coloring, hello home coloring.

I quickly discovered that I didn't like home coloring, and was back to the age old question--dye or not dye?

I finally decided to not dye. I'm halfway to 60, so big deal if I age myself five years.

Now the question was, how do I go from brown to gray silver white natural, gracefully? I could just see the top half of my head natural, and the bottom half, brown. Not a pretty sight. Luckily, for me, "hot flash city" kicked in. The only hair style that I could tolerate was a ponytail--even in sub-zero weather! (I'm totally loving the non-maintence of a pony tail!)  So, it might have looked ridiculous, but I couldn't tell.  I have been amazed at how long it is taking to totally grow out--over a year now.

But, even though I no longer receive shocked comments about being a grandmother, and even though Hubby still has a long way to go to catch up with me (grrrrr), and even though family members have asked if I'm OK with my decision (really!) and even though I may look 60, and even though I'm still kind of (ok, very) shocked when I see a photo--I am OK with my decision. I think gray silver white  my natural color suits me.

Proverbs 20:29
"The glory of young men is their strength; gray hair is the splendor of the old."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

The woman who wrote "America the Beautiful" was inspired to write the song while visiting Pike's Peak

The journey West continues. Today, we're at Pike's Peak and Garden of the Gods.
When we started our trip, the temperature was in the 70's

I love that name!

Someone actually lives halfway up the mountain. They maintain the tracks or something.  Their "driveway" is 20 miles long, and grocery shopping day is a seven hour ordeal!

The temperature was a balmy 34 degrees! Altitude: 14,110 feet. I was definitely feeling it after only about 15 minutes.

View from Pike's Peak

Next stop, Garden of the Gods

That's a mighty big rock
Kissing Camels fornation

Kissing in the sunshine

Monday, October 18, 2010

Top 10 Movies About Writing

I must admit  that I had second thoughts about joining this bloghop. The reason? I could only think of three movies about writing. My problem? I was not thinking out of the box, as usual.  However, after being encouraged and prodded and possibly looking at some other lists, I may be able to come up with a list of ten movies about writing.

1. Something's Gotta Give - Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson
I love this movie and can't believe it was not in my original three! My brain needed some jarring. As a playwright, "Erica" can plan the perfect revenge for a broken heart. This movie makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it.

2. Little Women - Winona Ryder - I need to get the updated version on DVD. I still have it on video,
which means it's been quite a while since I've seen it. I love Jo's spirit, and I always cry at the end when Jo, manuscript in hand, runs to catch up with her friend, puts her hand in his and says "You'll never be alone.." (tearing up, sniff)

3.  Finding Forrester - Sean Connery and that voice, gives me goosebumps.

4.  Becoming Jane - Anne Hathaway - The untold romance that inspired the novels of one of the world's most celebrated authors, Jane Austen. She wrote "Pride and Prejudice" which is also a great book/movie by the way.

5.  Bridget Jones' Diary - Renee Zellwinger - She endures so much humiliation, and writes in all down in her diary.

6.  Princess Diaries - Anne Hathaway - Since I'm in the diary writing mode...Who hasn't dreamed, at least once, of being a princess, and writing it all down in her diary??

7.  Hans Christian Anderson - Danny Kaye - This movie did come out before I was born...just so you know. When I learned this was the movie about the guy who wrote "Ugly Duckling", I was hooked. And, the fact that all the stories were put to music, well, I just loved this movie.

8.  Her Alibi - Tom Selleck - (other than the fact that I have a crush on Tom Selleck) Mystery novelist Phillip Blackwood has writer's block. He hits the courtrooms for inspiration--and is zapped with a doozy. A mysterious Romanian beauty arraigned for murder arouses both his creative and amourous impulses. Is she guilty?  Funny movie!

9.  The Notebook - Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams - a heartwarming and heartbreaking story

10. Christmas in Connecticut - Barbara Stanwick - This is an oldie but a goodie, and in black and white. (And much more charming than the re-make with Diane Cannon). Elizabeth Lane writes articles for a woman's magazine, but she makes up a lot of stuff that cause problems when her editor wants her to invite a wounded but recovering soldier to her home for Christmas.

11. *Bonus** Wow! I can't believe I came up with 11, and more are creeping into my brain.
Singin' in the Rain - There's music, dancing (Gene Kelly- I love him!), movie actors transitioning from silent to talkies, and a little bit of script writing. " 'I love you, I love you, I love you' "Who wrote that script?' "  One of my all time favorite movies, so I had to include it somehow!

Well, there's my list, join the bloghop and share your ten favorite movies about writing.

Friday, October 15, 2010

We'll Leave the Light On For Ya!

Since October is the month of scarriness and horror, I thought I'd share a scarry story, which may or may not be true, depending on whether or not it makes me look like an idiot. Obviously, if I look like an idiot, I made the whoe thing up. Because if there's one thing I'm not, it's an idiot. Ah-hem.

Once upon a time...Hubby used to work some crazy, third-shift-type hours for a local dairy business. (Yes, my children were fathered by "The Milkman".) These crazy hours meant that he usually went to bed at the same time the kiddos did. I declared (to myself) that Friday nights would be My Night. I didn't go out and party, because I am not a party girl was too tired for that stuff. Oh no. On My Night, I indulged in my guilty pleasure of watching "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest". (I might or might not have also indulged in ice cream, cookies, chips and/or popcorn. But, I digress.)

One other important side note: I had recently read in a magazine that a good safety precaution was to leave your porch light on if you were home alone. This was to discourage a bad person from coming to your house because they would think you were expecting company. It made sense to me, so I started leaving my porch light on.

So, on this particular Friday night, everyone was in bed, my porch light was on (third night in a row. It was working!), I had settled down to watch "Dallas", and was pondering what snack I should indulge in.

I heard a knock on the door.

What in the world? Who is knocking on my door? And, why?

It's pitch dark outside--except for my porch light.

I go to the door, and open it.  Oh yes. I did.  I was curious, OK? I know, I know, curiosity killed the cat.

There stood a black girl, in her 20's. She looked scarred. "I'm running away from my boyfriend. He's trying to beat me up. Can I come in?"

(Remember, this may or may not have happened...something something....I'm an idiot.)

"Yeah, come on in", I may or may not have said, closing the door, AND LOCKING IT, AND TURNING OFF THE LIGHT.  Hey, I did not want some big ol' mean boyfriend stopping by!

She came in and sat down on my couch.  "Are you here alone?"

"No. No, I'm not. My husband and three babies are upstairs sleeping."

"Will your husband drive me to the police station?"

"I'm sure he will. I'll go get him."  I leave her sitting on the couch. She seems nervous, but then, she just had a harrowing experience with that bad boyfriend.

Hubby is in a deep, deep sleep. "Hubby! Wake up! There's a black girl in our living room. Her boyfriend tried to beat her up. Can you take her to the police station?"

"Heck. no. As soon as I'm in the car with her, she'll cry 'rape'.

"So. You won't take her to the police station? I said you would."

"No." And, with that he was back to sleep. Or, maybe I should say, still asleep.

I was pretty sure nothing I said registered in his brain. He didn't seem a bit concerned that there was a stranger in our house. This was very uncharacteristic of him.

I went back downstairs and said, "Sorry, he won't take you." She sat there for a few minutes, then said she had to go.

I heard a voice say, "Are you sure?"

And, with that, she was out the door, which I promptly locked, and kept the porch light off!

After that episode, I felt a little freaked out watching TV all alone, so I went upstairs to bed.

But, first, I checked on the kiddos. I thought I heard some voices outside, and saw some flickering lights.

I walked over to the window, and the block was swarming with police. "I hope they find that nasty boyfriend", I thought as I curled up next to Hubby, who was snoring loudly.

The next morning, I was talking with my neighbor about the excitement.

"Some girl escaped from jail..."    cough, cough.....excuse me??    ..."She was over at the neighbor's asking for drugs, he told her to 'beat it'!   ex-cuse me??  SHE?   SHE??   Not, HE??

"She was at--IN--my house!! Said her boyfriend was after her..." My voice trails off.  Maybe I've said too much already.  I didn't dare ask WHY she was in jail.

So, don't believe everything you read in a magazine. Leaving the porch light on will not keep the bad people away!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Try it, You'll like it! Tuesday - Peach and Raspberry Crisp

With the cooler temperatures coming on, I thought I'd share this yummy dessert with you. I love, love, LOVE the topping, and would almost just as soon eat it without the peaches. It's easy and yummy, my top two criteria!

Yes, this does have peaches in it!
Peach and Raspberry Crisp  
2qts. of home canned peaches 
1 orange, zested
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups plus 2 - 3 TBSP. flour
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, diced OR (I use 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup coconut oil, hardened)

Drain peaches and place in a large bowl. Add the orange zest, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the raspberries. All the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour.  Pour the peaches into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, cold diced butter and coconut oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed untl the butter is pea-sized and mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of peaches and raspberries. NOTE: This makes a lot, and it may be a struggle to get it all on, but don't waste a drop, and pile it all on! Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve. One scoop of ice cream looks mighty purty with that!

I've also made this without the raspberries, and using blueberries. Yum, yum, and yum!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

While They Were Out!

Hubby and I have returned from a "While You Were Out" weekend. No, we did not get the makeover; we did the makeover.

SIL has been wanting to re-do her living room. It's hasn't seen change in 25 years. BIL is not a fan of change, and has been reluctant to take that first step. But, in spite of BILs reluctance, SIL and I found a paint color for her walls. It's a beautiful plum color; quite a change from the stripey-cream wallpaper that has graced the walls for a very long time.

They had a vacation planned, and it seemed a good idea for us to come out while the house was empty, and make the transformation! We would be steaming off wallpaper, patching holes, washing the walls, priming, and finally, painting. They also have a small bathroom which needed patched, primed, and painted.

I was a little concerned about how someone who didn't like change would like coming home to a completely different living room. I was also concerned about getting finished in the alloted time. They planned to be home Sunday afternoon, and we couldn't get started until Friday morning. My biggest concern was that the wallpaper would not come off easily.  The wallpaper cooperated, and came off like a breeze. Hubby followed behind me, washing down walls and filling holes.

We decided to save time by having the primer tinted a dark color, hoping we would only need one coat of wall color. Unfortunately, the primer did not cooperate. Apparently, there was still some glue residue on the walls which kept the primer from sticking properly. YIKES!! This required putting on two coats of primer--not saving any time at all. And, to make it more stressful, the paint was not drying quickly. We had to locate every fan we could find to hurry up the process.

Understandably, SIL kept calling to see how we were progressing, then called to say they would be arriving Saturday evening and not Sunday. They couldn't wait to see it. "Ummm, we may not be done if you get here too early!"  Panic is setting in.

When they arrived home, the paint was barely dry, and the furniture was just moved back. I was just painting the final strokes in the bathroom when they walked in.

SIL loved it and is ready to re-do the kitchen. BIL was less enthusiastic, but appeared to like it. He needs time to adjust.  I think it looks nice. Here's some before and after pictures. I have to say that the pictures make the walls look a lot more purple than they really are.

My pictures refuse to line up the way I want them, and it's getting late, but, you get the idea.

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