Sunday, September 11, 2011

Easiest Black Bean Soup Ever

Now that we're finally getting some cooler weather, I had to make my favorite, super-easy, black bean soup. If you want to try it, here you go:

Brown 1-lb of ground beef, or turkey, with 1 small chopped onion
Drain the fat, if there is any
Stir in:
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 can Beef Broth
1 can Black Beans
and 1 Cup corn

Simmer for about an hour

Don't burn your tongue - enjoy.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Scrapbooking - and Life - Tips



It's the picture and the story behind the picture that should be the focus
• Keep it simple and stick to the basics. All you really need for scrapbooking is paper, archival pens, cutting tool, adhesives, a few – very few – embellishments like brads, ribbons, stickers, and most important –you need your pictures - it should be about the pictures and the stories behind them. Your pages will come out cleaner, lighter and more pleasing to the eye. And you won’t spend a fortune on shinola you don’t need.

• Don’t fall prey to the hype from advertisers and pushers. This includes conventions and scrapbook stores. I’ve bought more stuff than I will EVER use, just because I wandered aimlessly in stores and just ‘had to buy’ something that was so cute – and who knows how long they will have this particular cute thing. I’ve gone to conventions where there are rows and rows of booths with people telling me why I absolutely needed this awesome, life-changing gadget.

• Be aware that once you fill your space with tons of STUFF that you’d have to live 4 lifetimes to use, it bogs you down, it causes inertia, and the wonderful experience of creating now becomes a burden, causing you to not want to do it anymore, producing even more heaviness in you because so much of your hard earned money is sitting there tied up in what now has become just so much obvious waste.

Just as in life, if you follow tip # 1, you’ll create, you’ll enjoy it more, and it will be a pleasant experience. I’m currently paring my scrapbook supplies down to the basics. I can’t even begin to know how much money I had tied up. I was more engaged in the accumulation of STUFF that I lost sight of the reason I started scrapbooking. I won’t make this mistake again. A hobby should bring joy, not stress and immobility.

• Keep it light and remember, as in all of life, to ENJOY the EXPERIENCE!



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Balance

Even in my younger, thinner days, I'd never have been able to balance on shoes like these! I see lots of young ladies walking in heels way too high for them, teetering and walking awkwardly, not realizing the shoes, they just had to have to make them look sexy and cool, are doing just the opposite for them.

I've looked for balance most of my life, teetering, making adjustments and awkwardly centering myself once again. Today I began a de-cluttering project in my house, and I am once again looking for balance in ridding myself of things that bring no value to my life while keeping those things that are necessary, bring beauty, peace, joy and sentimentality into it. I've read, and enjoyed, many essays written by self-proclaimed minimalists. Many say not to worry if you offend loved ones by ridding yourself of things they've given to you. I find that those gifts do bring me joy because they were given in love. Anything taken to an extreme cannot bring balance. 

So...off I go, back to my de-cluttering project, hopefully in balance.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I Love Sunday Mornings

I love a good Sunday morning that includes coffee, newspaper reading and some backyard visitors. You can't beat it!

 Hummingbirds hit the sweet stuff.
 My neighbors' dog tells me 'hello' while peaking under the fence boards that obviously need to be replaced - but then how could we say our good mornings?
A bunny stops by to wiggle his nose at me and then scurries away.

What a great way to start the day!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hotter'n a Firecracker

Long stretch of early heat wave

We talk an awful lot about the weather here in Oklahoma - not always because we are especially bad at coming up with topics to discuss - but because it's just so fascinating - from heaters to air conditioners in a day's time. Storms that scare the dickens out of you, followed by gorgeous rainbows and sapphire skies with friendly fluffy white clouds.

Now we'll be talking about how early the hot weather has hit. "Didn't even get a glimpse of Spring this year.", and my favorite,  "Hot enough for you?"   Arrrrggghhhhh.

Oh well, bring it on, Summer. I'm ready for you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Another Tip for Training Your Beans

(Hey, Brian - that's a picture of you on my computer.)

Yesterday Mom took me to the Vet's office because I had a urinary tract infection, and I tell you what - I didn't like it - nope, not one bit. On our last visit, there was actually some blood shed -- I'm Still sorry about that, Mom!  Now you know that I do not advocate violence, especially against the hand that feeds me. I was just so scared and stressed that I reacted without any thought of the consequences.

But...I have to admit there were definitely some payoffs. The human beans were very aware of the possibilities of more stress leading to more chomping down on tender skin. They were most accommodating and handled me quite gingerly, with utmost care.  I have to admit - I'm smiling the Cheshire Cat smile just thinking of how the beans were all - you know -- "It's okay sweet baby... we won't hurt you... you're such a good girl.."  A few hisses and swats of the paw was all it took and they were fawning all over me.

But, that's not even the best part.  Here are my favorite payoffs:

#1
Vet Tech:  Should we try to take a temperature reading? 
Vet:  No, I don't think it's necessary. 
Hahaha - gotta' love that one. 

#2
Vet Tech: What about a fecal sample?
 Vet: No, no.. let's not chance it - no need to put her through that right now.
Yeah, sure Doc.. you don't want to put ME through that..

Like I said, I don't advocate violence to train your human beans, but sometimes it only takes one accidental blood letting to remind them who's the boss.

I wish you good feline health, and a well-trained staff.

~Hugs and Purrs from Angel~

Saturday, May 28, 2011

WooHoo for Extra Ketchup

Like many others, I’ve reconnected with some childhood friends through Facebook. Even though we lived in the same town, and continued through the same school system until high school graduation, many of those friendships started and ended without us ever knowing why. So when my one-time schoolmate, Debby, ‘friended me’ I was happy to reconnect.

When I learned that Debby had written a play that was going to be performed in a dinner theater production in my hometown – which Debby still calls home – I couldn’t wait to go see it. The premise of the play was right up my alley, too – “Extra Ketchup, Hot Flashes and Rum” centered around two 50-something friends who had a lot of shared excess baggage to try to unpack and sort through together. The women in the menopausal phase of their lives were hilarious and, trust me, I could relate! These gals were discovering some of the freedoms that come with being over 50. As for me, I consider it exploring and embracing my inner bitch.

The playbill promised that as viewers we would laugh, cry and maybe even pee our pants – and, indeed I could have benefited from a Poise pad. What a huge release laughter can be...

It was also awfully nice to see my childhood pal again after all these years . Thanks, social media!

The acting and directing were excellent, and the play had two sold out performances; and there is welcome talk of an encore presentation.

Congratulations, Debby! Keep up the good writing.

Casper Provides Proof Positive

I humbly submit photographic evidence that dogs are not all that smart -- definitely not smarter than cats. As a cat myself, this may seem to be a biased point of view. I have nothing against animals of the canine persuasion - some of my best friends have been dogs. It's just a fact of nature - not right or wrong, good or bad - it just is what it is.
Not many cats would even get on a motorcycle, and if for some reason they found themselves in a situation where it became vitally necessary, they would not do so without a helmet, for crying out loud.  Geeze Louise, what is this brown beauty thinking...

Tootles all - Have a Safe Weekend!
~~Casper~~

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

After the Storms

Last night a large line of severe storms cut through central Oklahoma. One large tornado ripped across a portion of Chickasha, where my son, daughter-in-law and grand-babies live, so there were some tense moments until I received a welcome text with those two beautiful words, "we're okay".  The town was hit pretty hard but the damage began about a mile away from my kids.

When storms are approaching, the news stations here in Tulsa have continuous weather coverage. Anybody who lives in Tornado Alley knows how to read those radars pretty well, and we can speak the weather lingo fluently. So... my night consisted of three hours in front of the TV tracking the storms and trying to decide when and if I needed to take cover.  Thankfully no tornadoes developed in Tulsa.



This evening, on my commute back home from work, I saw this rainbow - - suppose it's nature's pretty peace offering following the ugliness of a particularly stormy night?

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love spring.  But, I also HATE the tornadoes and the frequent severe and destructive storms that come along with spring here in the heartland. The tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri - our neighbors 110 miles to the east of Tulsa - has effected all of us. We carry in our hearts that draining feeling of helplessness. We want to offer aid and hope, but how? We can pray our most fervent and powerful prayers, and we can donate to those who are prepared and able to go to Joplin to provide shelter, food, clothes, comfort, support, and anything else that is needed, such as the American Red Cross.
And for all of us animal lovers, we don't want to forget the fine people dedicated to helping the frightened, injured and displaced pets, such as the The Joplin Humane Society.

My heart aches for all the people who are suffering in the aftermath.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers


I love Spring!  Shopping for flowers with my best bud (unintentional pun) is always lots of fun and we have some beautiful landscape nurseries to enjoy here in Tulsa. This one is Southwood - my favorite.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Before and After

I'm fascinated with those Before and After photos taken for all kinds of makeovers -- weight loss, make-up, cosmetic surgery, home makeovers, landscaping.... you know what I'm talking about. So here's my B&A contribution....

BEFORE:
 Last month - it took me two days to shovel all the snow off my sidewalk and driveway.
AFTER:

Today - my neighbor's tulip tree is full of beautiful blooms,



and people in the park were flying kites, tossing Frisbees and walking in 84-degree temps.



I've noticed this year I didn't really dread the winter as much as usual, and you know, even though we had record low temperatures, and record snowfalls, it didn't seem so bad.  I guess I'm starting to get the hang of that accepting, and making the best, of those things I can't change.  I actually found myself enjoying coming home from work at 6:30, when it was already dark. I could snuggle up in sweats and hibernate away.  And I did!! --didn't even blog, check emails or (arrrgghhh) check Facebook much, but I read a bit, watched TV and enjoyed the peacefulness of the evenings.
Now, it's Spring -- I've started back walking in the park, and I've even begun to get a smidgen of desire to work in the yard.
Hope all my friends will forgive me for not being a very faithful blogger -- working it only as the spirit moves me...  :)

Happy Spring Everyone!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
Neil Gaiman, 2001 (via emphasisadded)

I can't wait to see what is in store for this coming year. It's exciting to imagine what wonderful experiences we will create for ourselves and others. I resolve to go through 2011 - mindfully - experiencing life!