Friday, January 29, 2010

Vanilla excitement

I am so very very excited. I ordered vanilla beans online. I have been reading reviews for a sundry of places to order from and finally picked one and placed my first order today. I am starting small I only ordered 10 beans but I'm still excited.

Why am I so excited about getting vanilla beans? Well, I'll tell you because I am going to make vanilla extract. From everything I have read it is super simple and one of those things that I have read once you do it you can't go back to store bought extract. We shall see. I hope so because if this succeeds then I will also be gifting homemade extract in the near future. How cool is that? Well, I'm excited and if your not and you see me live and in person then you may want to make a comment or two in that vein because you made well be a recipient of said extract.

I can't wait to get it and I can't wait to make it and I can't wait to try it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mailing lists

I get most of my news from online sources and with regularity sign up for newsletters from different sites. Because of that I receive precisely a bajillion emails daily from an assortment of sources and depending on my mood I read or delete them.

I could be used by someone geeky enough in a scientific study to track the selling of mailing lists. You see I may not know every newsletter I have signed up to receive but I do know which ones I didn't sign up to receive and the one from the major group representing retired people is one of the ones I did NOT sign up for and yet I am getting them with alarming frequency.

I have no phobias about getting older. I realize one should just be plain proud to get there. I do notice things around me all the time that make me think 'Boy, I am getting old' because the telltale signs are everywhere. Children who's birth you witnessed are in high school, driving and some are even in college. I even overheard one of these kids say 'in my day...' What do you mean in my day? This is your day bub! All of these things make me realize the actual number of my age but more telling than that is receiving these newsletters from this group. I mean do they think I am their target market? I'm +10 years away from their membership age. They need to back off. I already opted out and they sent me two TWO Are you sure you want out emails. Yes, I am sure. I am NOT ready for your services yet. Thank. you. very.much.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tea house

Growing up my house was a coffee house. Tea was only had when you went to a Chinese restaurant or you were sick. We drank coffee at all hours and you could always choose between American coffee brewed or instant or Cuban coffee as a shot or with warm milk making it a cafe con leche.

Since then I have had and enjoyed many teas even when healthy both at restaurants and at home but by and large I am still a coffee drinker. I have to be in the mood for tea or sick.

This weekend I was sick specifically my stomach was rebelling against me and my list of things to do. In an effort to remedy this I decided that tea must be had so I sent hubby out to buy Manzanilla. I sent him to a local American grocery store and told him he had to look for a Latin brand that said Manzanilla on it because although the knowledge is in my brain I couldn't find it while I was in the bathroom Saturday morning and didn't have the inclination to google it or call anyone for a translation at that moment. This was not a problem because we live in Miami and sometimes its easier to find something in Spanish than English anyway. He came home with a box of Chamomile with Anise tea. Perfect. This would surely cure what ails me. Over the weekend I had absolutely no coffee. I had six cups of tea over 2 days and it did sooth and calm my tummy. Today I am much better. I did have another cup of tea for breakfast instead of coffee but I think tomorrow I go back to coffee because indeed the tea has done what it needed to do and healed me. Thank goodness!

Friday, January 22, 2010


So did you hear the one about the dad who gave the boys directions to their buddy's house that took them in the opposite direction and made them loop de loop around about 10 miles? Well, that's another story but suffice it to say that if they hadn't done all that driving around the car would have made it all the way home and not died on the way back.

The boys decided to stop and pick up their dinner on the way home which worked out well for the parents who were ordering Chinese. As they sat around chatting and finishing their Honey Chicken the phone rings. If you are a parent of a driving age child you understand that means stop what you are doing until you know the call is meaningless. When you hear 'Where are you?' and 'I'll be right there.' you want to scream at the parent on the phone WTF HAPPENED WHY ARE YOU TELEPATHICALLY TELLING ME AND INSTANTANEOUSLY RESOLVING IT AT THE SAME TIME but you remain calm (read: stuck to your chair) and wait for the end of the call to quickly ask what happened. You are calmly told that the car died on the way home not too far away and that it won't start. Of course, you have more questions and want to jump in the car to their rescue your lack of mechanical knowledge notwithstanding and yet you let the men go with jumper cables in hand to fetch the car and boys because honestly how many people does it take to jump a car. This should be relatively simple and straightforward.

While they are gone the moms exchange their questions and thoughts on what may or may not have happened and may happen and decide to pick up the dinner things silently (because to say it out loud would be inviting disaster) agreeing that they need to be ready for whatever may come. So they pick up, they clean up and they sit and they chat about the day sprinkling the conversation with do you think the started the car and neither one answering or suggesting they call to check on things.

We hear car doors and men's voices and they all 4 walk through the front door the children still eating the remnants of their dinner. They need to call the car service (you know the one, first letter of the alphabet 3 times) because they left the car in the parking lot of a nearby strip shopping center. The women don't grasp all of the details because they are being told out of order but we garner that the car was moved to this new location and now it can't stay there overnight (obviously). The women need to get up and go resolve this now and the men need to relax and watch more football for a bit. More questions get asked and a new plan is hatched to save time and $. Instead of getting it towed home to then tow it again to a shop tomorrow lets get it here tonight ourselves and then tow it tomorrow. Honestly, at that point I was still unclear as to why the car didn't make it all the way when they went out but I didn't push the issue. It is what it is and now we need to deal with it.

(Picture light bulb now) Hubby remembers that he has a rope that can be used to pull the car and as he goes to find it I come to understand that hubby had to push the car with the truck to get it to where it was. I'm still confused but whatever. Now to get it out of the parking lot and to my house the women are clear that a left turn needs to be made on a busy street and are concerned that oncoming traffic may not realize that the car is being pulled and well it wouldn't' be a happy ending. So, it is decided that we will go with them to help. Hubby starts joking, "How many Cubans does it take to push a car?" As I am getting my purse, I am yelling back we are pulling not pushing. I'm thinking maybe that's why the car isn't here they don't know if they are pushing or pulling. (See title for answer)

Here's the plan: Hubby in the truck will be in front pulling the car being driven by other dad. I will drive our car behind the car with my flashers on because the car's flashers probably don't work as the battery is dead. Other mom will have flashlights and stand in the road waving them a la landing an airplane so that oncoming traffic will see the left turning caravan and stop. The children will be in the car with me and are going merely for the educational value of the experience.

Once we get to the parking lot it takes a while to get the car hooked up but it is done. As we begin to execute our plan another flashlight is added so other mom now has two and the boys are concerned about how she's going to get into my car and change their seating so she can get in the back seat without having to walk around the car. They also suggest everyone roll down their windows so we can hear each other yelling. You see how much they are learning.

We wait for the light to change, other mom is flashing the lights in the road, hubby slowly pulls the car up, out and left as I go slowly behind explaining to the boys that enough room needs to be between us so that if the rope snaps there are no injuries. Other mom hops in the back seat and we get through the intersection and home with no more surprises. As we are undoing all the ropes and parking cars and trucks, they can't get the keys out of the cars ignition because its not in park. It's in neutral and since it has no battery they can't change gears. So, after the men had washed up they are told they have to move the truck and jump the car again to get the keys out. Oh for the love of ^&%^*$. Whatever, it's done and we all sit and have some soda and let the men watch the end of their game. The teens joke that something stronger is needed that a soda and I tell them to sit an d put their feet up for a few years and wait for that one.

We chalk it up to a learning experience and give the boys some tips for future reference because these things will happen and the next day the car is towed to the shop for a new alternator and battery. It could have been worse but nevertheless gimme patience. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dots of Doing and Liking

In an effort to keep tabs on my progress with this year's theme of "Do what I like. Like what I do." I think I am going to start a weekly or so entry of a list of Dots to document the abundance of action that will abound this year. Work with me people. Here's the first list:

* I agreed to a Scrap club with some girlfriends. I'm not sure how this will work other than its once a month but I like the friends, I like scrapping and have lots to scrap so it sounds perfect. I have no idea how I am going to schlep all the stuff that I use when scrapping but I am sure that the logistics and details will sort themselves out.

* I took a nap. I realize that this sounds contradictory. I am celebrating the doing of nothing well not nothing but sleeping. What needs to be understood here is twofold. First, I rarely sleep completely and soundly through the entire night. Second, the only time I ever sleep during daylight hours is if I am sick and I am talking really sick. So, I stopped everything (paused really) and took a nap on a Sunday afternoon for a whole 35 minutes! That my friends is (in)action at its best for me.

* I made yummy side dishes for me this week that only I enjoy and let the men stick with the boring stuff I have been making for years. I made wild rice to have with chicken and roasted veggies. I made a lovely mixed greens salad with a lively lemon based dressing and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds on top. I made a pasta salad using whole wheat rotini and marinated artichoke hearts to take to lunch for work that was delish!

* I found my pretty stationary that I haven't used in years. I am planning on writing some letters to some family that I have lost touch with.

* I WENT to scrap club which from now on will be known as S.I.S. and had a blast. I got THREE pages done. I am so happy. I already learned some things that I must take with me next time. I also got lots of inspiration seeing the pages the others were doing.

* I tried a fruitcake and survived. Not only did I survive it was tasty. The thing is I hate fruitcake but this one was touted as the best ever and ya know what it was good. I could eat this without having to pretend to like it because it was good. I want the recipe and will gift it next holiday season.

* Had coffee with some friends that I hadn't seen in a while. It was great catching up in person because even though we email in person is great.

* I chatted with 17. Just the 2 of us caught up on an assortment of things and it was nice. He told me about the trials of prom preparations that SAC is going through and we laughed at some of their ideas and problems. It was very nice sharing time.

* I may not have liked the cold blast we got but I certainly liked curling up under the comforter straight out of the dryer. It was a stroke of genius if I do say so myself!

Here's to Doing what I like and liking what I do!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thawing and other -ings

We are warming up into the 40's and 50's and it should be back in the 80's by the weekend with some rain. I am quite satisfied. South Florida weather is back on track!

I really should have taken pictures of the frost on the car windows and us seeing our breath INdoors and us all bundled up of the sofas. It would have made for a great scrapbook page. But alas, hindsight with a warm functioning brain is 20-20.

I have been filling my calendar with things to do and yet not doing them. There are many activities and events in my local area that I want to attend and I have never been able to for a variety of reasons in the past and realized it once the event is over. So, the new strategy this year is to actually put the items on my calendar so that I know ahead of time and attend. For some reason it's still not working. I haven't gone to the book reading or the farmer's market or the art exhibit that I wanted to go too. I need to do something now to actually go to the things I calendar but I don't know what. There is another exhibit in FTL that I think is still in town. I need to check. There's also a festival this weekend in South Beach that I think would be nice. Unfortunately, there are also things like laundry and groceries that keep getting in the way. I truly need to work on this.

The other thing I need to focus on is the gift making for February birthdays. They will be here in a minute and I haven't started! So, let me calendar planning time for Friday and hopefully I will stick to it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Depp freeze

It has been so cold that I think the part of the brain the Mother Nature used to keep South Florida warm is frozen solid and not working. There were even reports of snow flurries blocks from my house. WTH!?!

Hey! Mother Nature! Yoo Hoo! Remember us? We are in SOUTH FLORIDA where it should be hot and humid. Thank. you. very. much.

Added later: Note that I was soooo cold I couldn't even spell Deep in the title LOL! I'm leaving it for effect. LOL!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Imagine 75

Today Elvis would have been 75 years old. I cannot even imagine what he would be doing in the world today so many things have changed. Would we be following Elvis on Twitter?

He was one of my moms heartthrobs as a teen and therefore we listened to a lot of his music growing up. My brother would play air guitar on his plastic baseball bat with a towel tied around his neck as a cape and I would sing back. We knew ALL the words. We even used to "perform" for family and friends when my parents had dinner parties before we had to go to bed. We always thought we were the highlight of their parties and could only imagine they were bored to tears after we left. Oh my, those were the days. LOL!

Have you ever had one of his famed fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches? I haven't. Hmm... maybe I will this weekend.

Happy Birthday to the King of Rock! I imagine there's quite a party where he is right now and mom is sure to be front and center dancing along.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I am going though and updating my calendar which is now on my phone. I have spent time entering birthdays, anniversaries, and upcoming events. I'm getting all organized and know what's coming up when and now all I have to do is refer to the calendar and make plans accordingly. It sounds simple enough but I forget to do that sometimes. If my gift giving plan has any chance of working I need to make sure I refer to it and plan, plan, plan!

I was happy to see that there is only one anniversary in January and well I think they are going to get a phone call and a card because its just way too soon. The other thing that occurred to me was maybe having them over for dinner on the weekend. That would be nice. I gotta check to see if we are all available this weekend.

I do need to look ahead to next month. As far as I know I have two birthdays. I need to start thinking about what I am going to make them. Hmmm...I think I have some good pictures of one person with different family members. I could do some sort of collage or something and frame it. That's what I will do tonight is look for pictures. Right now I am clueless for the other person. This is going to be hard.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Little things

I know we aren't supposed to sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff. We are supposed to focus on the big picture yadda yadda. But I think its the little things that we have to savor and enjoy in life. It may not be a good day (big picture) but I am sure there's moment or two in there that can make us smile (little stuff). Little things help us get through some of the big stuff.

So, with that in mind I still didn't really come up with a verb for the new year. A friend is using the phrase 'Take a chance'. I like that but it feels to risky for me when I say it out loud so its not for me. Midnight came the toasting, sipping, hugging, kissing, water throwing, grape eating, lentil eating, luggage all happened and I only had "to do things I like". Sounds lame even when I said it out loud to myself later. Like it didn't have enough focus or purpose.

Then I get to work and see my coffee mug that was given to me by another friend a couple of years ago. It says "Do what you like. Like what you do." Now, doesn't that sound purposeful?! And it has two good verbs: Do and Like. I think this is it. I also think that I unknowingly started doing it already. This is so exciting. It feels right.

I already agreed to form a Scrapclub with some girlfriends. So, we come up with meeting once a month to scrap for a few hours. I can't wait to get that rolling because there is much to scrap.

I already went grocery shopping and bought a few items that I like even though my family doesn't. I got a pomegranate, wild rice, spring mix salad greens, and buttermilk. I know it was all healthy until the buttermilk. But I like making a big breakfast on the first of the year and I wanted Buttermilk pancakes, so I made them. I also prefer mixed salad greens to plain iceberg, I also and bored to tears with white rice. So, last night I made wild rice with our regularly scheduled Sunday chicken and brought the leftovers for lunch today.

See, all those things are little things nothing earth shattering there and yet they have brought some very bright spots to my day. So, I think this year's theme is: Do what I like and like what I do.

I am very pleased with my start. Oh yeah, I even took a nap yesterday! How cool is that!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Gift giving

I know, I know we just got over the big gift giving season but I have already started thinking about gift giving for the coming year.

Here's what I am thinking. I want my gifts to be mostly handmade. Yes, I know I have been fighting with the sewing machine but they don't have to all be sewn. I can hand stitch without a problem, cook, paper craft and other crafting too. The trick here, I think, is to plan ahead because it will require time to make the gifts.

There will be exceptions. I can buy books; giving book is always good. Also, I can buy handmade items made by others, its still handmade just not from my hands. Also, I like giving tickets to things like events, shows and other outings. So, maybe its not a handmade thing but its not a big box store purchase. I think that's more the idea. I don't want to give someone another shirt unless I put a design on it myself. I guess the other exception will be my kids and other little kids. My kids invariably get clothes (and they need to keep updating the wardrobe) and little kids it may be more appropriate to give toys. Oh, this is sounding like it won't work. Well, it's an idea and I am going to try it out.

We'll see how far in the year I make it.