Murphy and The Squirrel!

Yesterday, we went to visit my mother in law at her house. We were supposed to exchange Christmas gifts with Mark’s mom and sister, but time has been slipping by, so we thought we had better do it sooner than later!

Mark’s mom loves dogs, and boy did she spoil Angus and Murphy! They each got a little package of treats. We stayed until early evening, then came back home. On the way, Mark wanted to stop by Circuit City to look at computer speakers. We listened to a few different models, and were blown away by a set that were made by Creative. They were $59, but with rebates, ended up costing only $20! We wound up getting a set not only for Michelle, but Ben as well. Their speakers were old and very big. Since their desks are both quite small, every inch of space counts. Mark is also rebuilding a computer for Ben to try to free up some more space on his desk.

I was so disappointed that I had left my camera (FORGOT, more like it!) at home. As we drove, there were so many spectacular pictures I could have taken! The day after we had our ice storm, the sun came out and melted all of the ice from the tree limbs. I wanted so much to take pictures, but as I walked outside, I could hear the icy shrouds dropping from the trees, and some of them were quite large. Short of donning a helmet, it would have been a bit dangerous to frolic in the woods! Apparently, those to the north of us never warmed up as we did that day, and the ice encrusted limbs still glisten and dazzle in the nocturnal illumination… was so cool to see the ice with street lights shining down and lighting it up.

As soon as we arrived home, I was so sleepy, I came upstairs. Murphy folowed right behind, but he was still full of energy! As soon as I flopped on the bed, he rushed under the bed. As my body sank into the bed, molding itself into the mattress, I suddenly heard all sorts of noise under the bed. I groaned as I rose up to take a look….

A couple of years ago, I bought what I thought was the cutest toy for Angus. It was this cute rather realistic looking squirrel with a tag that read American Kennel Club. Well, Murphy has this *urge* to not “kill” the squirrel, but to totally ***strip*** the squirrel of its furry little body! * Oh, and Angus? Visualize a stuffy Scottish man with a thick brogue, thick eyebrows, verra, verra *dignified*, and you have Angus. He just doesn’t “do” toys…..too silly, you know?

If you look closely at the base of the tail, you can see that the poor little guy is missing some of his fluff. Instead of getting upset, I just grabbed Murphy and the squirrel and placed them both on the bed….Murphy began to tear at the poor little squirrel once again, but I protested. Notice the fur lying on the quilt!

When I finally spoke sternly to Murphy about this most unsavorly “habit”, he left the little squirrel alone, but kept an eye on it!

We settled in for a nice winter’s sleep….and the little squirrel rested, too!

Tonight, I came upstairs to read email. I grabbed the laptop and stretched out across the bed. Suddenly, I felt a wet cold nose on my foot. I turned around and there was Murphy….squirrel fixed in his jaws! I giggled as I picked him up, wondering what was next. He placed the squirrel down by my feet and curled into a little ball at my side. It is so funny how these little pets of ours make us laugh at their quirks!

Hopefully, squirrel and I will both be able to REST tonight!

Melancholy Mama….

I have been complaining about all of the Christmas stuff sitting in the hallway, as I was NOT about to place it back into my poor GROANING closet. Behind our closet, actually…we have a crawl space back there, and it is not my idea of fun to crawl back there! In Michelle’s room, Mark had installed some little doors on the crawl space, and one of the spaces is small and JUST the ideal size for Christmas decorations.

Yesterday afternoon, Mark and Ben were out in the garage working together so Michelle decided to clean an area for the Christmas containers in her “cubby”. She worked steadily, and sure made a lot of noise!

I decided to check up and see how she was coming along….I padded up to her room and YIKES! What a shock! The floor was strewn with all sorts of….*junque*! I never thought of Michelle as a packrat, but she has a cubby in her room, then the two crawl spaces off the cubby. Apparently, she has “tucked away” many things there!

She picked up little trinkets….many she has kept since she was 4 or 5 years old! As she talked about all the little doo-dads, I was overcome with the reality of her young womanhood! She carefully sorted through all the things….some were plain junk, others she neatly tucked into a box for the Salvation Army. She pondered if another little girl might enjoy some of her lightly loved little goods.

Michelle finished up and left a small pile of stuff outside her door for the dump. There was a bucket…it had contained cotton candy at one point. She had washed it out and used it for storage for years! There were pieces of plastic from broken toys. Toys that I remember her playing with just a few years ago…..

WHERE has the time gone?


Yesterday, I got out some steaks I had bought at WalMart the other day. They were sliced thinly, and as I pondered what to do with them, I came up with an idea! The whole family loves the McDonald’s Snack Wraps, but with the chicken strips deep fried, we know they aren’t that good for us. I looked in the fridge, and yup…I had all the elements necessary to make steak snack wraps!

You can only imagine the surprise I felt when everyone requested these again TONIGHT! I was impressed! The only BIG difference was that the temp outside was about 30 degrees COLDER! Yes, the thermometer said 10. As in, 10 degrees….fahrenheit!

The poor grill was enshrouded in white. Better than the ice of yesterday morning, I suppose! As it heated up, the snow all disappeared…..Somehow, I cannot imagine these without the steak being grilled outside!!!

As the grill heated up, I sliced red peppers and onions into thin strips. I had little red pepper left, so I really sliced these into small pieces. I then put a little water on the skillet and covered to steam on low just until the onions were softened.

You can see that these steaks were very thinly sliced, as all three were less than 1 1/2″.

Onto the grill for about 8 minutes……

Then, flipped and grilled for another 8 minutes.

While the steaks are cooking, I cut up lettuce into very fine “shreds”. As soon as the steaks are finished cooking, I slice them also into very thin strips and mix with the red peppers and onions.

Here are the ingredients, ready to be made into wraps. I also have a small cup containing Ranch Dressing. (we love using the Litehouse Ranch from Sam’s Club) As much as I hate microwave ovens, I do place the tortilla shell into the micro for about 30 seconds to heat it up nicely…….

Before placing the goodies on, I put about a heaping teaspoon of dressing on and smear it around (finger painting! hehehehe) Then, a small handfull of the meat combo, lettuce, cheese……

And roll it up!

I think it took longer to explain all of this than it did to MAKE them! This is such a simple, yet very satisfying meal!

Bon Appetit!

The One, The Only!

This morning, I went to visit Duane’s blog…it is always so nice to go there. Anyway, he had a link to see how many of “you” there are in the US. Well, apparently, since there are 0 of me living in the US, I must not EXIST! Wow, there is a thought!

I guess I might claim I am the “Genuine Article”, or….if I don’t LIKE what is happening, I can say don’t BOTHER me, as I do not EXIST! hehehehe
Logo There are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Squirrel Bait….

That is what Mark calls me when I get a “radical” idea….like crawling on the ground to take a picture of my poor little Daffodils that made such a galliant showing earlier….I guess it wouldn’t have been so extraordinary, except for the fact that I did it just a short time ago….just before 9pm…in the total darkness! The motion light on the garage that I depended upon must have blown out last night, so I used the little red laser on my camera to spot the Daffodils in the darkness…The drizzle we have been blessed with most of the day has now turned to a fine snow, so I just wanted to see my little posies one more time!

I should have taken a picture after I removed the stick on top of the plant, but I didn’t see it while I was taking the picture. Remember, it was *totally* dark out there! I am truly appreciative of the fact that we have no neighbors in close proximity….I fear my nocturnal habits might cause alarm amongst those who feel less inclined to grope about in the darkness of a cold winter’s night, fiddling with and testing one’s camera!

Icy, Icy, Icy

The weatherman was quite accurate in his prediction for this morning. It is, however, 34 degrees outside now, so much of this ice is falling to the floor of the woods. I wanted to take some pictures, but was not really wanting any lacerations to the head! This morning, when I took Angus and Murphy out, I could hear branches snapping under the excessive weight of the ice on them. I knew what was ahead, as the grass sparkled when I illuminated the area with the outdoor light.

The ice on the roof keeps breaking off and making a terrible sound as it glides down the surface. I was able to take a few pictures from my window. Enjoy…or not!

Weather Looks a Bit Dicey!

This morning when we got up, there was a coating of that glorious ice on all three vehicles. After starting all three and running them for about 15 minutes, the ice broke up pretty well on the glass surfaces.

After salting the walks and cleaning off the trucks the best I could, we loaded up all the stuff to go to the dump. It always takes forever to load all the stuff for the dump, but thankfully, only minutes to unload at the transfer station!

We decided to go out afterward. Mark wanted to take the old (2 wheel drive) truck just to run it, so we did. I was a bit nervous, as the weatherman had been suggesting some really ugly weather this weekend. Poor Mark….as we drove down the driveway, I made a comment about if we were to get stuck somewhere, it is a good thing we have AAA coverage……OK, so it was mean, but I was hungry! We ran to WalMart so we could drop some bags at the Salvation Army truck that is there on the weekends. Then, I needed to run in the store to grab some cheese and a couple other things.

We headed on out to grab some Chinese for a late lunch. Mark and I got Szechuan Chicken, and it was so tasty. After Chinese, we stopped by Tractor Supply to return some RV Antifreeze we didn’t use. We always used the antifreeze in the camper to ready it for the winter. I hated it when we started using the camper in the spring and had to flush out all of the pink antifreeze from the water lines. This year, we bought a little nozzle that attaches to the air compressor, and we blew the water out of the lines. This worked so much EASIER! And, it seemed fast, too!
Thus, all the antifreeze we bought, thinking we would use it, needed to be returned.

After Tractor Supply, Mark wanted to shop at Tops. I wasn’t too keen on shopping, so Mark and Ben went inside, while Michelle and I sat in the truck. As I was sitting in the truck, I reviewed the videos on my cell phone. The kids had taken advantage of the video mode, and I nearly laughed myself silly at the funny shorts they made. The funniest one involved Murphy “telling” me he was sorry he “poopooed” in the car while we left him in there. Michelle put her hand under his beard, and moved his head quite *antimatedly*, as she expressed his deepest remorse for the dirty deed……

After Tops, we went to the Dollar Tree, as Mark had promised Ben he would do so. As we sat waiting for the kids, I got too cold. I told Mark I was going to run inside. I am always amazed at some of the cool things you can find in the dollar stores. I bought Libby crystal glasses that I use for “good” there, as well as many other little odds and ends. This evening, I decided to take a good look at the store….something I don’t often do. I was surprised at many of the things they sell. I think if I had a summer home, I could outfit it with goods from the Dollar Tree! They have more items than ever, and seem to keep getting more and more in!

As we came home, it was dark out…..the secondary country roads looked wet, but as we drove, it was hailing, raining, and freezing….not too much fun! At one point, Mark slowed to a near stop as three deer dashed across the road in front of us. Thankfully, the road crews are out in full force tonight. Mark had no trouble slowing down for the threesome to safely pass. By the time we arrived home, there was a good thick coating of ice on the sidewalk all over again. This weather is the type that makes me happy to be back home, safe in the Bristolwood after venturing out!

I looked at the forecast…..we are under a “Winter Storm Warning” with all kinds of wild weather….mainly that freezing rain and ice. The warning alerted us that we may receive ice of 1/4″ to 1/3″. That reminds me of March of 1991 when we lived in Rochester and got 3/4″ of ice.
It was a total mess, and we were without power for 10 days. Here, we are fairly prepared….we do have a generator that we can use if we need it! That gives me confidence because we do need power to use our water. (well) I will not be too happy if we do get 1/3″ of ice, as that is enough to do more damage to the trees. My heart was broken when I witnessed the mess here in the woods after that ice storm, but actually, the trees are nearly totally recovered, and many dead limbs came down in the storm. The good news is that I do think we are properly prepared no matter what!

I only took ONE photo today…..Mark picked up some really pretty carnations at Tops. I had to “dismiss” my arrangement from December, as the carnations finally turned a sickly yellow color. Some of them still smelled good, but the majority had lost their terrific scent!

Be safe, stay warm and inside!!!!

Why Do Some Days Just Seem *Cruddy"?

This is one of those days that just seems like it would have been better to just stay in bed! We have forgotten to renew Angus’s license and today, I remembered. Mark called the town hall, and the woman there said she would stay a few extra minutes if I hurried. I grabbed my shoes, purse, and checkbook and rushed down. (mind you, our town clerk is available a total of 17 hours a week. This makes it pretty hard to catch her sometimes.)

I got there in about 4 minutes and had not only Angus’s paperwork, but also Murphy’s records so I could license him. Well, Murphy’s rabies vaccine expires in one week…exactly….so she decided I will have to come back AFTER he is vaccinated. Hello??? My dogs (and Murphy is the THIRD since we have lived here) have always been up to date on rabies vaccines. She also reminded me that Angus needs a new vaccine in March. She smiled and said she WOULD renew him, but make SURE I get him to the vet in March.

Mark looked up info on the web, and according to state law, the owner must have a “current” vaccine. Well, if the vaccine is good until next week, it that not “current”? In her defense, the woman was not the “real” clerk. For some reason, she was unable to be there today for her 17 hour-a-week job. I told Mark that apparently this woman was making an “executive decision”.
So, I will just have to make another trip down there after I get Murphy’s shot renewed. Can you tell I am NOT a happy camper?

OK, now that that is off my chest! I did manage to get a few pictures this afternoon. When I got up this morning, the pool cover had water on it, as opposed to ice. Within a couple of hours, the temps fell to just hovering near freezing……

I took this picture of some weeds out behind the house. We had this really wet snow right after just a little freezing rain, and it made everything look so pretty!

The sky was dismal and ugly today….to say it was “gray” would not have been accurate. It was more like “without color”! I smiled as I took this picture….it reminded me of the days of my youth when I was in high school. I had a Yashica camera, and I loved taking black and white pictures with Kodak Tri-X 400 speed film. Everything came out in stark black and white!

Yes, I took my camera with me as Angus and I walked down to the mailbox this afternoon. There was this oak tree….holding its leaves….which were “frosted”.

For those of us living in the northern US….I was always of the mindset that the artificial snow sprayed on fake greens in the stores always looked so junky… just didn’t look like REAL snow. Well, as I looked at some of the weeds growing down by the mailbox, I did a double-take! What?They looked JUST like that artificial stuff!

And lastly, a picture I took of ice crystals on one of the Dwarf Alberta Spruces…..

In posting these pictures, you know, I think I feel better now! If I had stayed in bed, I would have missed out on all of these “magical” Winter Scenes!

Just Some Sillyness

As I was looking through my pictures this morning, this one really caught my eye and made me giggle……One evening, I was just fiddling around with my camera. I set it to “program” mode, which means it goes into point-and-shoot mode. Then I turned the flash off. By the time it focused, it was a slow shutter speed. I moved the camera very slightly upward while taking the picture and the result was something that would cause Jotul and the local fire department to GRIMACE!!! Believe me, the glass on the stove is, and always has been in fine shape!

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