I’ve been very, very busy lately and haven’t had much time to write. I had a whole big plan about how I was going to pick my top 12 for American Idol, but I haven’t gotten to that yet… maybe this weekend I’ll get to do it.

Today we were reminiscing about living in New York and the subject of indians came up. I was curious about the names of the tribes that live in the Jamestown area, and I found Maps of Native American Tribes. I learned a bit about the indians that used to live in Florida, too… a very sad story as several of the tribes are now extinct. And I was surprised to learn there are currently 21 different tribes recognized in Arizona. Very cool!

Happy Valentines Day!!

We celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday, by going to see The Golden Compass at Cinema Grill – a theater where Trav gifted me with my favorite flower… hops!! πŸ™‚ How many hops flowers are in a beer, I wonder? After the movie we had a delicious dinner at Carrabba’s which included tiramisu for dessert. MmmmmmmMMMmMMm!!! It was a wonderful day… thank you, dear!

Me rubby valentine

Fun With Food

My mom sent this today – I just love this stuff!! I had been looking for ideas on things to make in addition to Cream Cheese Penguins, and here it is. Thanks, Mom!

What Chefs Do When They Are Bored

I think the next time I have to bring a dish somewhere, I’ll try the frogs and sheep. Also be sure to check out some of the links below the pictures… there’s some funny stuff on there!

The Candidates

Now that it’s getting down to a smaller number of candidates, it’s easier to choose who I would like for our next president, and who I could at least stand. Of the front runners left, Huckabee is the most opposite of my views… I really, really hope he doesn’t get nominated. At least McCain cares about the environment. As for Clinton and Obama, it’s a mix of agree and disagree with what they want to do, so maybe if they were together, it would all even out and be really good.

I’m basing my opinion, in part, on CNN’s Issues – Election Center 2008.

Protecting the Gopher Tortoise

One of the joys of living in Florida’s rural areas is the gopher tortoise. They dig burrows in the sand and munch grass, living a pretty sedate existence (except when their territory gets invaded by another turtle). I was happy to learn that Florida recently reclassified the gopher tortoise as threatened, which means increased protection. Yay!! One of the best results of the reclassification is repeal of a law which said it was OK to bury the tortoises during construction, as long as you paid a fee. Now that’s no longer allowed, thank goodness!!! Defenders of Wildlife has an article – No Tortoise Left Behind – which gives a lot of good info about the plight of and hopes for the recovery of the tortoise population.

Dinner Menu – Feb 2 through Feb 9

Drumroll, please! Here are the dishes we’re planning this week…

The other day I bought some naan bread as an adventure food (we ate it with Tandoori Chicken) and there was some left, so I made some hummus to help use it up. And I found another good recipe which I’ll try after this batch of hummus is gone… Spiced Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Mmmm!!

What Is It?

Any ideas? Take your guess in the comments! There’s a picture of this (at a different angle) elsewhere on the site… if you’ve been reading a while, maybe you’ve seen it. πŸ™‚ If you want to view a larger version, see What Is It, Bigger.

What Is It?

I’ll post the answer later… or when someone has correctly identified it.

Working The Polls

The Florida primary election is today, and I’ve got a job to do! This time I’m an EVID operator – the person who checks your ID as you come in to vote. It’s all computerized with a card swiper and electronic signature pad. Our county has a really great Office of Elections… they do good training and produce expert instructions that are easy to follow, so hopefully we’ll be prepared for any event tomorrow. The lady I’m working with is really nice and has done this before, so we should be good to go!

I already voted… not that it counts for the Presidential preference or anything, but I still feel compelled to exercise my right to vote. And we also have a proposition, an amendment to reduce taxes. It sounds crazy but I voted No, because our state is facing a huge budget shortfall and reducing taxes isn’t going to help. There are better ways to fix the problem – I can’t understand why every politician is all about cutting taxes at a time when our country isn’t doing very well financially. But that’s another topic for another day. Hope you vote in the primaries!!

Our Jester is So Very Entertaining!

When we lived in Columbia, South Carolina, Trav made friends with a feral cat, and eventually she came inside to live with us, along with two of her kids. Jester is the coolest kitty… lots of personality… she talks to us and just generally loves to be near us. We joke that Trav is her bed at night andΒ  sheΒ  does this thing called “Dad surfing” where she stays on top of him as he turns over in bed. It’s amazing to watch, she’s so good at it. πŸ™‚

Here’s a picture of her laying on top of Trav’s monitor – one of her favorite places to be:

Jester on Trav’s Monitor

Happy Birthday, Trav!!!

Trav got Babylon 5Today is the day the love of my life was born, back in ’71. This year the cake of choice is Devil’s Food White-Out Cake – thanks for that recipe, Mom! And he got a really good present this year… the entire series of Babylon 5, purchased on eBay from a delightful seller (and my first buy on there). Doesn’t he look happy?!! πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

Best wishes, my love, for a wonderful day.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Guess where the world’s largest landfill is…? If you said the Pacific Ocean, you would be right. Apparently there’s an area twice the size of Texas that’s filled with trash – mostly plastic. It’s a terrible, huge problem, killing more than 1 million birds and other sea creatures every year, because they eat it, get stuck in it, or feed it to their babies. And because of the way plastic degrades, it’s pretty much impossible to clean it up.

Most of it comes from land, either washed in via storm drains or blown in by the wind. Once the trash enters the water, it’s carried by currents and wind into the patch, where it can drift for many, many years before being eaten, sinking or washing up on the beach.

Here are a couple of places with more information, from HowStuffWorks and a personal account by Charles Moore. It’s rather frightening, and I keep wondering what I can do to help clean up this mess. Maybe that will be my next job?

I’m So Lucky

Here’s what I found on my desk when I got up this morning:

Sweetheart Sweet Tarts

SweetTart Sweethearts, yum! Even after 14 years, Trav still leaves candy for me – how romantic!! I’m very, very lucky and grateful to have Trav in my life.

Understanding People

Scott Young is one of my favorite bloggers – I often find his writing insightful and useful. Here’s a very good article about basic ways people act…

The Critical 7 Rules to Understand People

I’ve been trying for a long time to overcome selfishness and being self-centered, with some success, I think. It’s a wonderful thing to take an interest in others, ask questions, and really listen to the responses. Even if it’s just another shopper at the deli counter who has a recommendation for frozen lasagna (Marie Callendar’s).

And on a related note, here’s another article from Scott about humility. Being humble can open you up to so many new and different things, because you can admit you don’t know it all and can learn something from anyone you meet.


Last night’s debut of American Idol was awesome. I’m sooo glad it’s back on!! They’ve got some great talent already, and also the very most pitiful rejection EVER on the show… this adorable 16 year-old girl auditioned and wasn’t very good but she had a whole sad story of her mother being sick, and when they told her no (in the nicest way), she screwed up her face into the most pitiful pout I’ve seen. Sadder than a pound puppy. She almost made me cry, too!

I’m trying to decide if I should watch it tonight… or ration it out over the next few days… hmmmmmm!

Oh and on a totally unrelated note… check out this video of an unusual friendship.

Exploring PHCC Campus

Today while Bleys was at school, I wandered around campus taking pictures. I wanted to be able to identify the different kinds of turtles in the pond there. When I peeked over the railing, here’s what I found!!


He’s a little alligator, maybe three feet long. He was swimming around with the turtles and when the turtles would push him around, he snapped at them. I look forward to seeing him when I go there. I accompany Bleys because he still has only his permit – hopefully he’ll get his license soon!

Today’s trip netted two new marks in the wildlife book – I saw a small flock of female Hooded Mergansers and identified four different kinds of turtles in the pond, only one of which was in the book and hadn’t been marked before… Florida Soft-shelled Turtle, Florida Red-Bellied Turtle (new), Peninsula Cooter, and Red-Eared Slider (new but not in the book). I also found a really cool document that helps you identify water turtles based on head shape and markings (pdf).

Skull Gate

A while back we went down to St. Petersburg and visited Haslam’s Book Store, where I bought a big stack of 10-cent books. One of them is called “Skull Gate” by Robin W. Bailey, and it’s really good so far – I’m about halfway through in just a few days. The problem was, they put a big X on the cover with marker, and it was coming off on my fingertips. Luckily Trav knew just how to solve it… with a bit of rubbing alcohol it came right off. Thanks, dear!

I definitely want to keep this book to read again. It’s about a female mercenary in a magical world where she has to save the princess, and dark enough to make you wonder if the princess will survive or not. We shall see.