Friday, February 25, 2011

Here's Your Sign...

I saw this comedian back in the 1980's. I thought he was just absolutely HILLARIOUS! He was new on the scene, but so funny!
He brought a new phrase into my life--"Here's Your Sign". I think it is the predecessor to "Duh", but Duh doesn't quite cover it.
Bill Engvall is the comedian and if you have never heard him, there is actually a music video on youtube with him in it. Of course, there are tons of videos of him. This is just so funny!
I can't embed it because it isn't allowed on this one, so here is the URL for you to paste into your browser to watch it:
We all have those here's your sign moments. We have all come upon someone with a gas can walking away from a car and say "out of gas?" Or how about the person along the side of the road with the lug wrench in their hands and a tire leaning against the car--don't we go up and say "got a flat?"
I just love to look at the warning labels on items that I purchase...
Blow dryer "Do not use while in the shower"
Lawn mower "Do not use as a hedge trimmer"
Sun Shade for the windshield of your car "Do not drive with shade in place"
Seriously???? It just gives me a chuckle.
So, the other day, we had a break between snow storms. No snow and reasonably dry out. I headed to the car wash because I could no longer see out of the windows of my Durango.
I get to the car wash and find that the automatic is down so I have to use the manual sprayer and just burst out laughing out loud! I admit it has been a while, but I don't remember seeing this the last time I went...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Play That Funky Music...Happy Songs...

I tend towards the Big Band Era and Swing for my main musical taste sprinkled with a bit of cross over country, hip hop (okay just one song!) and contemporary Christian music. One day I may go through some of my favorite songs in those categories. However, today is all about the Funky Music! You know, the music that just makes you get up and shake your tail feathers, or open the roof, roll down the windows, hike the bass and head down the road just for the fun of it! You hum/sing/shout, tap your feet and in general just can't help but enjoy! One just popped up recently and I LOVE it! So, for your reading (and listening pleasure), here are some of the fun and funky tunes that make me go YIPPEEEEE! Given the name of the blog, I will begin with "Play that Funky Music" by Wild Cherry. Don't know if they did anything else and it actuall was on a 45--can you believe it??? And after all this time, I still LOVE this song! Pretty much anything by Weird Al Yankovich is good for at least a laugh! I think the first song by Weird Al of which I was aware was "I'm Fat" comment...
Jive Bunny and the MasterMixers is certainly a good one for parodies of music and a lot of fun!
For those of us who love to dance to a good beat and fun song, who can forget "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees. Did he do anything else? I have NO IDEA~
Phil Driscoll--Love almost anything he does, but "Forever Land" is one of those songs that makes my toes tap!
Steven Curtis Chapman comes into the list with "Dive!" Fun!
Chris Rice brings us the playful Cartoon Song...Do you just love the Smurfs and Scooby Do singing Halleluhia!???
One that I just really enjoy is the Newsboys "Wherever We Go--That's Where the Party's At". This is kind of a motto for me! :)
A single Hip Hop song gets into the first list. Vanilla Ice brings us "Ice Ice Baby" the '05 version.
And the song that made me think of this blog...
Drum Roll please......
Michael Buble' singing "Hollywood!" Oh my gosh! This one comes on the radio and I just have a smile for the rest of the day! Having a bad morning? Listen to Hollywood and the world rights itself!
So, get out the LP, 45, CD or MP3 and enjoy some toe tapping, shake your tail feathers mamma, just can't stop smiling fun!!!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Captain Morgan and the Chicken...

I confess...I am a booze hound!
Oh calm down!! I didn't say lush!
I love to COOK with alcohol!
Back in 1996 Jim and I decided to lose weight. We went on a low fat diet. This was a good thing! We ate 5-6 meals per day--each having protein and veggies and some carbs if you still wanted something. Believe me when I say, with that many meals per day, it is virtually impossible to overeat--but you also had to have very low fat!!! We did lose quite a bit of weight!
Well, fat is a main flavoring in most American diets. Whether it is butter, animal fat, vegetable fat or fat laden gravies, desserts, toppings or even salad dressings!
Needless to say, it was a HUGE change for us during which time I had to learn once again how to cook.
Many of my friends helped out with recipes and one in particular taught me how to take any recipe and make it tasty by switching say oil in a cake or brownie to applesauce. It comes out yummy and lowfat at the same time. We actually liked it better that way!
Oh and I was also introduced to things like beer for pizza crust to add flavor. So, at that point I was certainly a fledgling, but did dabble.
Fast forward to January, 2002. Jim has a heart attack which should have killed him outright. Half of his heart is dead to this day. He amazes the doctors no end! Of course, we know it is a miracle and God has plans for him.
However, not only do you have to watch the dreaded fat, but also sodium! I mean--REALLY!!!!! Take the fat and sodium out of the American diet and you really DON'T have flavor!
So, I tweaked my cooking once again. I began to search out ways to add flavor while not adding fat OR sodium and I enlarged my knowledge of alcohol in cooking. It is GREAT!!!!
I marinate my chicken in vermouth or dry white wine with lemon and pepper while marinating my beef in hearty red wine or add beer along with garlic, onion, fresh ground pepper melange (there truly IS a difference between fresh ground and the stuff in the shaker!), etc.
So one day while watching my new favorite low budget show, RVTV on the recreation channel, they had a Captain Morgan Shrimp recipe. This is compared to Sweet & Sour Shrimp from the restaurant. Now, I change shrimp recipes to chicken because I am quite allergic to shrimp and it isn't a pretty sight if I eat that!
I made my Captain Morgan Chicken tonight and put it over rice that I cooked with carrots and broccoli and it was GOOD! NO! You may NOT use rum extract! Thought I would just get that in for my mom! ;-D
Here is the breakdown (restaurant version/Capt Morgan Version):
Calories 330/110
Fat Grams 23/4
Cholesterol 160/160
Sodium 1,928/300
One assumes that the cholesterol is from the shrimp since it is the same for both recipes. I know you are just chomping at the bit for the recipe so here goes:
This makes about 2 servings:
In a small pan over medium high heat, put 1/4 c brown sugar and 4 oz spiced rum and mix until sugar is melted.
Next, add hot sauce to taste. I used Great Value Louisiana Hot Sauce. Put a lot if you like it more spicy and less if you like less spice. However, it will not be hot because of the sugar, so I went pretty heavy. Just taste as you add it.
Now, add the chicken, shrimp or other meat. I used two small boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into about 1/2 inch squares. Cook until the meat is done--won't take long!
I then added about 1/8 tsp of cornstarch to a little more spiced rum and mixed it in a small cup until smooth and then added it to the pan which thickened the sauce.
Pour it over your choice of cooked rice or add to a salad or as in the RVTV episode, some grilled corn on the cob. You will be surprised!
So, I now have a new man in my life!!!! Welcome Captain...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I LUV My Neti Do YOU???

Does this picture make you yearn for spring?
How about this second picture? Does it make you salivate for summer?
Doesn't this dog look like he is having a great time??? Don't you want to join him in that lovely field of flowers???
Or do these pictures make you want to run for cover and wear a mask?
Do your sinuses ache and make you run for your tissues, inhalers and pills?
All my life, with the changing of the seasons, specifically spring & fall, I had sinus problems.
When the pollen flies and the mold grows, my life becomes miserable. Post nasal drip causes a hacking cough which worsens and makes people around me back away quickly.
My mom accused me of smoking when I was in school during these times because my cough sounded like a hacking smoker's cough.
BTW, I didn't smoke--never have--don't intend to begin now! I can't even begin to imagine how bad my sinus problems would have been if I had started smoking!!!!! Yikes!
In the past I have used antihistamines which made me sleepy, allergy medicines which alternately made me sleepy or jumpy, newer allergy meds like Claritin D and Flonase which helped a lot--for a time.
Like all medications, it seems that these meds had a tendency to be less effective as time went by.
I also had misgivings about taking steroids over long periods of time.
However, without these meds, I hacked so badly that I eventually had to go to the Doctor to get either antibiotics, cough syrup with codeine or both after secondary infections took over. Sleep was elusive as everytime I lay my weary head down, I ended up racked with coughing spasms.
In spring, 2009 while in Florida, NY I met a guy named Mark. It was our turn to run the audio and visual equipment that day at the Warwick Valley Church of the Nazarene where we were attending while in the area.
After hacking for weeks upon weeks, I was sucking down cough drops like candy and trying not to hack on poor Mark. As I always tell people, I told Mark not to worry, it is allergies.
Mark shared with me how he has allergies and was miserable. He tried many medications and all eventually let him down. Then he found a Neti Pot.
He said that once he found that, he was able to discontinue the use of all of his allergy meds except for very rare occasions.
Tell me more!!!!
He said that he uses his Neti Pot daily and after he has been in dusty places or right after mowing the grass when he jumps in the shower. He uses his Neti even in the shower!
Okay, so I had to learn more about this miracle! I went online and googled neti pot. I found everything from pots for sale to videos of people using the pots. Looked harmless enough.
I went and found a Neti Pot at the local CVS pharmacy. It looks like this one. Kind of like a little aladin's lamp. Though no jeannie jumps out of this one--it sure did grant my wish!
They come in many shapes and types. They can be made out of everything from plastic to china and stainless steel to copper. The designs can be varied, but they all work the same way.
Put warm saline in the pot, put it in one nostril and let it run out the other nostril.
Sounds creepy huh?
Actually, it is so soothing when you are finished that you just can't wait until you can neti again! My sinuses felt so fresh and clean and I could BREATHE!!!!
My Neti came with little packets to mix with warm water (NOT TAP and definitely NOT WELL water!!!!) If I still lived in a house on city water, I would use a water filter on my tap and just use that water.
However, I live in a 5th wheel, so I am usually on well water. Not wishing to start a flora factory in my sinuses, I just use drinking water that I get in gallon jugs from Wal-Mart.
My little pot holds about 1 cup of water, so I fill my 2 cup measuring cup with bottled water, pop it in the microwave for about 55 seconds and check it to be sure it isn't hot--you just want body temp. If the water is too cold, it will feel like when you get water up your nose when swimming.
I started by mixing 1 packet of powder into the 2 cups of water. You can go up to 1 packet per cup of water but all of the sites that I read said to start with half a packet per cup to let your delicate tissues in the sinuses get accustomed to the saline solution.
You can also mix up your own saline solution using 8 oz warm water and 1/4 tsp non-iodized salt. Mix until the salt is dissolved and go for it!
I put one pot through each nostril and then snort like a bull!
I couldn't believe it, but by using my neti I sleep better because I can actually breathe through my nose! I can smell better and because of that, food tastes better! Okay, maybe there ARE some downsides--like to my diet!!!! ;-D
Soon after I began using the neti, my cough resolved itself. No hacking, no cough drops, no cough medicine needed! Yeah!!!!
Once the spring season was over in New York, there are really very few allergens, so I eased off of my flonase first and then the Claritin-D. All was good!
Then, we moved the camper to Missouri about 45 miles east of Columbia Missouri. There are PLENTY of allergens in Missouri! But, with my neti pot, I sailed right through the summer and fall--even my winter allergies didn't become an issue once we closed up the 5th wheel windows and buttoned in for the winter!
I mean this thing is a miracle.
My friend Kathy owns the Kan-Do Kampground in which we are living. She was sharing how her allergies were making her miserable and I shared my info on the Neti Pot.
She said to me "you too???" I apparently was not the first to utter those words in her ears. Finally, after she was miserable enough and heard me say the words enough, she broke down and said, "okay, get one! I am so miserable I will try ANYTHING!!!!"
She didn't have to say it twice. I went to Walgreens at the first opportunity and found the little pot version like this one. Isn't it cute????
She is now a convert and loves her neti--she even uses hers in the back yard!!!! I confess that I have never tried mine in the great out of doors, but what the heck! I just might!
She was able to cut down on her allergy meds and even her inhalers for asthma.
She then passed the neti info to her daughter whose son inherited grandma's allergies and asthma.
Her daughter purchased one and used it on Gavin who is 6 years old. She was amazed at what came out of the little guy's sinuses! Since then, Gavin is also breathing easier and able to cut back on his meds!!!! They also used it on him when he got upper respiratory infection--what I like to call the creeping crud--and he didn't even miss a day of school!!!!
One day while on the phone with her daughter, Kathy reported that Gavin quickly said hi to grandma, but had to go because mommy had a cold and he "was making mommy a neti!"
One of Kathy's other children asked what in the world will you be doing next--candleing your ears???? Their kids missed a week of school with the creeping crud...
Oh and yeah--we actually have decided to try the ear candles. When we get to Weavers--an Amish store just west of Jefferson City where we can buy them. After the snow melts--if it ever does!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowmageddon Twenty Eleven

Here in the Snow-me State, we got Snowmageddon twenty eleven.
It was certainly broadcast well in advance and we were quite prepared--well kind of. I mean how many times have the forecasters said it was going to be a huge snow only to have just a dusting.
Of course, there are the times they say it will be a flurry and we get a foot!!!! I have always laughingly said that I worry most about the times that the weatherperson says flurries.
This time, the weatherpeople had it right--nearly to the minute!
I had my water, I had my propane all filled. I filled up my Durango and backed it up to my 5th wheel so I could hook up to it to run the heater fans if the electricity went out for more than 3 days. I had candles, batteries, flashlights--my phone was charged, my MP3 player was charged and filled with books to which I could listen. I had my blankets ready and I had my 3 dogs and one cat to keep me warm. Okay mother nature--do it if you must!!!
And she did! It made me feel like I was in the old Parkay commercial where Mother Nature raises her arms and yells "It's not NICE to fool Mother Nature" and lightning strikes and winds howl...
It started off fairly slowly, but soon, the flakes began to get larger and larger.
In short order, the wind decided to get in on the act and we had white out conditions!
The ring around the tree is my little flower garden. It is about 10 inches high. It gives a good guage of how things went.
It affected many states. It affected many families.
My sister-in-law works in a hospital ICU. She was forced to spend the night at work. Nothing like staying in a hospital!
Through this tree limb, you should be able to see the large sign for Kan-Do Kampground. Uh-no said Mother Nature!
My niece works in another hospital down in St. Louis (a good 50-60 miles one way from here). She also had to stay at work--2 nights before she could get home and her relief workers could get in to work.
My nephew works at yet another hospital in Jefferson City--He was also caught.
This picture shows the view towards the lake and service road--which could not be seen during the snow.
My brother has a trucking company. No loads all week! First the weather was so bad that he could not be on the roads and then the warehouse lot had so much snow that it could not be cleared out.
What a time! The newscasters couldn't go anywhere and being near a major university (Mizzou) with a major publications program, the young broadcasters had some fun and did a special video to Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice.
You can see that my garden disappeared.
We had a little over 20 inches on top of our previous several inches.
I-70 was closed from KC to St. Louis. The first time EVER that it was closed all the way across the state!!!!
The picnic table had a nice layer on it too!
The Durango was getting buried and was a joy to get out when I went to pick up Jim a few days later!
Tank is a really good snow plow for the little dogs though!
Even so, poor little Tango didn't realize the last step was not the ground and went face first into the snow!!!!
Oh, and the weatherman says this is an El Nino year, which is typically mild. Also typical, the 2-3 years AFTER an El Nino year are WORSE!!!!
Thank goodness for Global Warming!!!!

Cabin Fever!!!

In speaking on the phone with mom yesterday in the midst of Snowmageddon, I mentioned to her that I had cabin fever. She seemed surprised and expressed that she is just fine staying inside. I too, can come up with a lot of things to do inside. I am currently working on a quilt made from t-shirts. These reminders of places lived, places visited and other life milestones of our lives make me smile as I cut out the logos while saving them for the time when I have enough to make a king sized quilt. Of course, the t-shirts that I have yet to cut are in a bag under the camper--currently under much snow. I also enjoy scrapbooking and have recently embarked on computer scrapbooking. This combines all of the cute embellishments of paper scrapbooking with the convenience of the computer. Items are layered and stacked while adding shadows for the 3-D effect of paper, but without the need to take up valuable real estate in the camper to store the supplies needed. The page is then printed onto acid free paper or just kept in a "virtual scrapbook", but to me it gives the same feeling of accomplishment. Does this mean that I will scrap the scrapbooking supplies that I currently own? NO WAY!!!!!!! Nothing says you have to do one or the other. I intend to use the supplies that I have, but use them sparingly along with the computer imaging. I have also found that I really enjoy making my own embellishments. This is accomplished with my Paint Shop Pro X3. Just scan an item and remove the background, saving as a .png file and you have future embellishments. And that brings me to another great part of computer scrapbooking--you can use the design over and over again. It isn't used up and you don't have to find a place to keep 10 of one item. I LOVE that in the camper!!!! Any space saving device is really wonderful!!!! Aside from that I have the dogs, the TV with 250 channels (amazing that with that many channels it can often be difficult to find something to watch!!!!), the computer with wi-fi connecting me to friends far and near, a Durango that will go through this snow like butter if last year's 42 inches was any indication, several books waiting for me to crack them open, my camera to take pictures and enjoy them. Heck, I could even break down and clean! I could go on and on. What I really meant by Cabin Fever was not the lack of ability to leave my "cabin" but the lack of ability to ENJOY leaving my nest in frigid, windy sub-zero temps! I get the same way when it is 100 degrees in the summer--even though I enjoy swimming. Getting to the pool when it is hot and humid is just no fun, so I feel cooped up then as well! Nothing is keeping me indoors except the ability to enjoy the freedom of nature when she is a lovely friendly 50 at night and 70-80 in the day. Those halcyon days when one can throw open the curtains, rip off the insulating plastic over the windows, take the dogs for a walk and then sit outside enjoying my morning cup of coffee and lay in the hammock in the evening enjoying the twitter of birds and the scurrying of little animals going about their missions. Thankfully, our favorite prognosticator of spring, Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow this morning--so no new groundhog fur coat this year!!! Spring is on it's way!!! Phil said so...