Awhile back Amy got me thinking. One of my friends who was a chef would probably be horrified at some of the things I like to eat, or how I like to eat them. First, I like almost everything. That would be fine if I was still the high-schooler who looked anorexic, but wasn't. From the time I can remember the two things I could not eat were hot dogs and popcorn. I'm guessing at some point in my early childhood I must have gotten violently ill on them, because I couldn't even stand the smell until I was into my late 20's, and even since then I rarely eat either one. When you're a kid this is mortifying. What kid doesn't like popcorn?

Growing up I was allowed to pick my birthday dinner. That remains a tradition in my family with my children to this day. Most kids would probably choose… uh… hot dogs? Me? I wanted stuffed beef heart, liver and onions, beans and cornbread. You know, those "top shelf" kinds of things. For those of you who don't know what "top shelf" means, it may only be one of those "family-isms". At our local grocery, all the 'icky' foods are found in the meat counter's top shelf. Things like heart and liver and tongue and tripe. My daughter noticed that once and it became fact. Anything (even non-food items) that were unsavory became 'top shelf' in our family.

Amy was discussing how she eats her pbj sammies and thinks she's odd for putting doritos in them. That made me think of how I fussy I can get about certain foods and how I must have them prepared. A few: peanut butter and pickles for my sandwich, please. It can be dill or sweet pickles, but that's what I like. I like my cornbread and beans mashed together with catsup on it. I like my fried (easy over?) eggs with yolks soft enough to dip my toast into, and my toast must be buttered completely to the edges… and not too dark. (Hubs says I like warm bread). Yes, I like liver and onions, but it must have the onions and they must be cooked thoroughly. I really do like cooked onion, but hate hate hate (have I mentioned hate) raw onion. I like my steak rare (no, not bloody) but my hamberger medium rare. I don't like my grilled food burnt. A little goes a long way. If I have pancakes, they have to have eggs on top – fried (easy over?) with runny yolks.

Chocolate? I loooove chocolate. All chocolate. Chocolate bars, chocolate cake, m&m's, brownies, fudge. I'm a woman. What can I say? Isn't that a given?

Then there are the rest of the comfort foods. Chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes. Hot beef sandwiches with mashed potatoes and gravy. Cherry pie. Turkey and dressing. Hot chocolate and toast. Mac and cheese. Warm homemade bread slathered with butter. Chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven with an ice-cold glass of milk. French toast with butter and syrup and a side of bacon. Fresh-from-the-field sweet corn slathered with butter and salt. The first summer tomato straight from the garden. Home grown green beans. My family's special ranch salad dressing over crisp greens. Homemade spaghetti made from special family recipe sauce. Lasagne.

Dare I mention the fair food? It's almost time for the Iowa State Fair and although there are some things I like to see there, like the Art displays and the animals, it is really the food that draws me in. The funnel cakes dusted with powdered sugar (I'm not a huge fan of putting fruit on mine, but some swear by it). Corn dogs (yes, I've now accepted hot dogs into my life much to the horror of those people who ask, "do you really know what's IN those?"). Turkey drumsticks grilled by the turkey federation. Roast beef sandwiches in the beef producers' tent. Pork chops at the pork producers booth (my enjoyment of these is only spoiled by the fact you can't eat them with plastic knives and sporks – maybe I should start eating the pork chops on a stick they have now?). Icy cold watermelon. 100% whole milk ice cream.   

…and I wonder why I can't lose weight? Is it lunchtime yet?

Keeping Up

We've all heard the expression "keeping up with the Joneses" and it seems to be human nature to always been doing just that. We all look "up" the ladder of success and see those who have more than we do. More money. More 'stuff'. Happier families. Sexier spouses. Bigger house. Better job. More. Better. Best.

We drool and we whine and we berate ourselves wondering why can't we have a piece of that?

We forget that there is probably someone 'beneath' us on the ladder saying the exact same thing about us. It is a lesson I work hard to remember and to try and remind my husband and kids of. It isn't that I don't want to strive for better, but why can't you be happy with the blessings you have in your life? We all can count many, if only we take our eyes off the 'what if' visions and focus on the 'what is'…

Next time you're feeling down, try the 'what is' game. I guarentee you'll feel better.


Picked this up from Kapgar. Bold the things you've done and give a count at the end. If you want to do it, let me know – I'd love to see your answers! 

  • Bought everyone in the pub/bar a drink – I'm too cheap
  • Climbed a mountain
  • Held a tarantula
  • Taken a candlelit bath with someone
  • Been in love
  • Broken someone’s heart
  • Had my heart broken
  • Done a striptease
  • Bungee jumped
  • Watched a lightning storm at sea
  • Stayed up all night long, and watched the sun rise
  • Seen the Northern Lights
  • Gone to a huge sports game
  • Grown and eaten my own vegetables
  • Slept under the stars
  • Changed a baby’s diaper
  • Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
  • Watched a meteor shower
  • Gotten drunk on champagne
  • Given money to charity
  • Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
  • Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
  • Had a food fight
  • Bet on a winning horse
  • Taken a sick day when I wasn’t ill
  • Had a snowball fight
  • Photocopied my butt or any other intimate body part
  • Held a lamb
  • Gone skinny dipping
  • Taken an ice cold shower
  • Seen a total eclipse
  • Ridden a roller coaster
  • Hit a home run
  • Been arrested
  • Visited all 50 states
  • Taken care of someone who was shit faced
  • Stolen a street/highway sign
  • Backpacked in Europe 
  • Taken a road-trip
  • Taken a midnight walk on the beach
  • Gone sky diving
  • Milked a cow
  • Alphabetized my records/CDs
  • Sung karaoke
  • Lounged around in bed all day
  • Gone scuba diving
  • Danced in the rain
  • Gone to a drive-in theater
  • Started a business
  • Gotten married
  • Been in a movie
  • Crashed a party
  • Gotten divorced
  • Had sex at the office
  • Made cookies from scratch
  • Gotten a tattoo – in progress
  • Been on television
  • Had sex in a public place
  • Got so drunk I don’t remember anything
  • Recorded music
  • Had a one-night stand
  • Bought a house
  • Shaved or waxed off my pubic hair
  • Been on a cruise ship
  • Spoken more than one language fluently
  • Bounced a check
  • Called or written my Congressperson
  • Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
  • Sung loudly by myself in the car
  • Written articles for a large publication
  • Piloted an airplane
  • Helped an animal give birth
  • Been fired or laid off from a job
  • Won money on a TV game show 
  • Broken a bone
  • Ridden a motorcycle
  • Had a body part below the neck pierced
  • Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol 
  • Ridden a horse
  • Had major surgery
  • Had sex on a moving train
  • Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
  • Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
  • Visited all seven continents
  • Eaten sushi
  • Had my picture in the newspaper
  • Parasailed
  • Changed my name – does marriage count?
  • Dyed my hair 
  • Been a DJ
  • Ooooo… only 49. Have I mention I've lived a sheltered life?

    A Bridge to Nowhere

    By now you have all heard about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is not all that far from us and in fact, we've driven across it several times in our trips to the northwoods of Wisconsin snowmobiling, to northern Minnesota vacationing, or when traveling to Minneapolis to the Mall of America. Our son has a friend who lives there that he has not been able to contact, creating much worry.

    Our hearts go out to those people who have lost their lives or lost loved ones in this tragedy. How vividly it brings to mind the old adage about telling the ones you love them that you do – today – not to wait. It can all be gone in a blink of an eye. We all know someone who works in a high-risk job. Friends or family who are firefighters or police officers or, in this day and age, I can even count teachers in that category! But how many of us think driving home from work or going to a ballgame is going to be high-risk behaviour? How many of us drive each and every day without thought to the structural soundness of what we are driving on? Yet, we cannot live in fear every second of every day. We have to have faith that structures will hold and lives will be safe or we'd never leave the house.

    Be safe. Give your loved ones a hug.

    Racer – By Request (**Updated**)


    This is a picture of my youngest sons' racecar.* He changed classes this year from stock car to an "A-mod" modified and so far has been doing pretty well for having a new car in a new class. Last year he won the stock car class at the race track he races at the most, and right now he is only 26 points away from being the points leader in his current class. He usually races at that track on Saturday nights, but occasionally will race at other tracks or go to "special" races they hold.

    Last Thursday night was a special race at his regular track because the county fair was in progress there. It was a large purse ($1000 to win) and that usually draws a larger crowd of drivers. He won his heat race (yay!) but the clouds opened up and it just poured before the regular races could be run, so the race Saturday night was a double feature. They ran the Thursday night 'big' race first, then went ahead with the regular program.

    My son came in 6th in the big race and 4th in his regular race.

    I've gotten better about being able to watch him race. I wasn't going at all because I couldn't stand the tension. I would wait at home for Hubs to call and let me know what had happened and to tell me 'the car is on the trailer' so I could relax and go to sleep. If I go, I've started taking a book so I can distract myself from all the other races. That helps some. I've yet to see anyone actually get injured, although I've seen my share of wrecks – and I'm not stupid. I've heard of plenty of people getting hurt (not always ON the track, sometimes just working on the cars!). I still find myself clenching my jaw and turning into a ramrod-stiff headache-inducing posture during the races. A lot of times we go into the pits, but sometimes we sit in the stands. A couple of weeks ago we were in the stands and one of my sons' friends sat behind me rubbing my neck and screaming "he's okay…he's OKAY" over and over during the whole race! Her intent was great, but her delivery left a little to be desired! LOL!

    Today we are going to go camping overnight for a race tonight. I haven't heard for sure, but I wouldn't doubt that MIL is going. (Feel sorry for me, 'kay?) If I have i-net like I stole had last time, I'll probably be in touch, otherwise it will be a day or two. ** This is an interesting race. Some of the big NASCAR names will be coming "down" and driving cars like my son. It'll be a battle. Keep your fingers crossed!

    * My son has his own website but I don't want anyone from there (which is a pretty public site in the 'extended' family) finding me here, so I'm not going to link up. If you have an interest in his site let me know and I'll send you the link.

    ** Update. Since I wrote this MIL has pulled out her usual bag of tricks. We hadn't talked to her about going camping yet and had gone to a movie last night. After the show Hubs saw he had a call from youngest son. He'd been at the shop getting the car ready to go when she came down to observe. In passing, our son's friend who helps out accidently let it slip we were going to take the RV. MIL says, "Really? I hadn't been told that." She fumes awhile then comes out with, "Well, I guess I just won't be going then." After a bit longer she pipes up, "I AM going." Just like that. Excuse me? What part of you haven't been ASKED yet hasn't sunk into your brain? The thought that Hubs and I might want to have a little bit of alone time never crosses her mind. The only time we've had the RV out without her since we got it was when she was out of town and she got MAD about it. Can you believe that? Like it was hers, or something.

    Hubs was so ticked off about her attitude that we've decided not to camp. Fcuk her. I laughed. She's playing mind games with him and he's playing 'em back – this morning he went to the shop and she shot right down there. He was working on paperwork, and the computer, and she stammers around a bit then asks "What time are we going to the races this afternoon?". He replies, "I haven't even thought about it yet."  He said she hung around for about an hour and a half and never once said a word about camping… I mean, nothing. It's going to be an interesting evening.

    UPDATE August 3: Jon won his heat race, pulling ahead of professional driver Kenny Schrader by a straight-away practically from the start! We got video proof, even! Very exciting for Jon. That put him in the "A-main" race (the big one) where he started 5th row inside. 23 cars, 24 laps. Unfortunately, a few laps into the race Jon got spun-out (right in front of me! yikes!) and was OKAY (as a friend screamed from the top of the car hauler) but had to start at the end. His car by this time just wasn't getting the grip he'd hoped and after a few more laps he decided he was just burning fuel and killing tires, so pulled in. All in all it was fun and he came out a bit ahead on money, so it was good racing.