Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time to consider all those things for which we are thankful. I've got a lot to be thankful for this year.

I am thankful for the 14 years I shared with Nevada, who died on this day last year.

I am thankful for a sound mind, reasonably good health, and great friends like these two.

And these two.

And these two, who are cooking another two.

And these two, too!
And this one, though I seldom see her.

I am thankful for the second guy from the right, even though I've NEVER met him.

I am thankful for that these two are two again, although I have to admit I was ready to kick one of their asses earlier this year. Ha!

I am REALLY thankful for this guy!

I am especially thankful that he can still travel with me, because he is loads of fun on the road.
I am thankful for my family.

I am thankful I got to get to know this guy a little better this year, too, and show him some of the possibilities of life.

I am thankful that I got a divorce and changed my entire outlook on life. Because without that divorce, I'd have never been a woman who could take this....

And make this...

Or tackle this.

Or this.
And succeed.

And I probably would have been better off if I hadn't tackled this....

..although my life would have been poorer for it.

I am thankful I got to see this.

I am thankful for southern Utah and northern Arizona. I am thankful for white sands. I am thankful for the Sierra Nevada, southern Wyoming, and yes, even Idaho. The verdict is still out on southeastern California.

I am thankful for lactase.

I am thankful for my self-confidence, sense of adventure, and "can do" attitude.

I am thankful for my job, my warm bed, my comfortable home, and that at 46, I can still find men who want to date me.

I am thankful for good beer, bordeaux, and strawberry daiquiris. I am especially thankful for the friends worth toasting.

I am thankful for the tolerance, generosity, and companionship of my friends and family.

I am thankful that at my age, I still have a grandparent living.

I am thankful that I had a fantastic father, who was able to give me 27 years of guidance and advice and was a spectacular role model--even though we couldn't be more different. I am especially thankful to him for my dashing good looks.

I am thankful for so many things in my life. But mostly I am thankful for those who make it worth living.

Thanks. It's a wonderful life full of great scenery, great companions and bad hair days.

Let's do it again next year!


Bird' Eye View

Up on the roof for a little Sunday afternoon repair. The work stinks. The angle is ridiculous. But the view is pretty neat.


So I got this idea....

I bought some fabric to make some pillowcases. And the more I got to looking at it, I got an idea for a project.

A bigger project.

I think this fabric would look awesome as my new padded headboard.

Mind you, I don't have any of the tools needed for this project, but I can dream.

And borrow.

Here's my inspiration.

And here's my vision.

So I need a bigger piece of fabric, a large piece of plywood, a lot of upholstery foam, cotton batting, a jigsaw, a staple gun, some spray adhesive, and some elbow grease. Let the borrowing begin!

I see a pattern here....

It's Sunday and I spent another one doing jobs around the house. This time, I am trying to be proactive rather than reactive. I bought and installed heat tape on the cold water line to the kitchen sink, which, as I learned sits directly against the back foundation of the house.

Here we go....I had a bit of a quandry when I started this project. The water pipe feeding the cold water in the kitchen sink had an obvious single pipe ending point. But about 3' from the sink, it broke off into two different pipes. One pipe went straight back, had a shut off valve on it and then went directly into the ground. The other pipe veered off to the right and went through another foundation wall into the crawl space proper. I didn't know which one to put the tape on, so I opted for the one that had the greatest distance above ground. So I went to the right. This you can see in the insulation tape photo. In any event, I put the heat tape around the pipe and then wrapped pipe and tape with 1/2" insulation. For those who are interested, the pipe to the far right in the foam wrap is the hot water delivery. I don't have quite the same issues with the hot water as the cold water.

I had a little insulation left over, so I decided to try to insulate the crawl space "door" as best I could.
And because I am a real girl, with real breasts, I could only reach in about 4' into the space. So despite the fact that I could fit both my shoulders through that opening, my breasts were far too great an obstacle to overcome, and that is why the tail of the heat tape is dangling. Oh, I suppose if I ever get my hands on one of those long-handled grippers that old people use to get into the top cabinets, I can actually fix this the right way. For now, I'm not happy about the dangle--especially the idea that is is reaching the ground--but electrical tape will not stick to stone and we must learn to live within our physical limitations.

I'm just glad no one besides Jake was there to witness the debacle of me backing out of that crawl space.

And what did I get for all my work? The satisfaction of spending my afternoon doing a project that no one can see. Oh well, think of the expense of burst water pipes that I am averting.

I'm speechless

This is the funniest thing I have seen in months. Hands down. Go Shane. Go Shane. Go Shane.


It happens every fall....

Every fall, I get the urge to make savory comfort food. And yes, it does distract me, albeit momentarily, from my never-ending quest for the perfect homemade pizza. But this year this moment of seasonal zen is particularly fun because I found an awesome heavy aluminum dutch oven at an antique store in Benton. I think it's from the 60s. The pan. Not the store.

Isn't she lovely?And such a fine piece of kitchen toolery inspires me to make such amazing concoctions as this one. Venison stew. Yum. I didn't even know I could make venison stew.

I served this with some yeast rolls topped with butter, rosemary, and sea salt. Sea salt is my new seasoning of choice. I'm looking for reasons to use it. If you've never had a roll topped with rosemary, cheat and buy the frozen yeast rolls and just top with said accoutrements.

To. Die. For.

In any event, I think I should get environmental bonus points for removing a deer from the ecosystem. And then eating it. Nom. Nom. Nom.

Oh, and then there's this little gem of a dish. Pintos and cornbread. Or, as my dad used to call them, soup beans. The pintos contain a generous sampling of thick cut carrots and salt pork. Oh, you thought this was a vegetarian dish? Silly you.

And the cornbread must, quite naturally, be prepared in a cracklin' hot cast iron pan generously greased with bacon fat. I think my dependence on the pork industry has just erased my environmentalist brownie points earned with the wild deer meat.

But we can no worry about that now. Notice, if you will, that when I cook like this, the pot seems to always be filled to the brim. That's not why I'm stirring this with tongs. Actually, I don't know why I'm stirring this with tongs. But I made that much so I can portion up the leftovers and freeze them for a day when I'm not feeling so cookworthy. Yeah, right. Like any of this is going to make it to the freezer. Reason #8314 why I will never be skinny.
Dayum, those beans are good. I think I'm ready for another piece of cornbread.

Pass the butter.


Sunday, Muddy Sunday

I spent three hours digging trenches under my house and repairing my sump pump to get rid of the water once and for all. These were the results.

Another Great Adventure Underway

I'm not a big fan of marriage, but weddings are fun.

Saturday, I watched these two beautiful people get married. I wish them well. I thank them for a wonderful day. I will remember this wedding when others are long forgotten.

Not in small part to Liv who, in addition to PhD candidate, can now add ordained minister to her CV.
She gave an excellent introduction to the couple. It was a non-traditional wedding to say the least, but the job got done.

And the little kid dancing with Melissa sure had some moves.