Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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Just popping in to wish everyone a Happy Holiday! I am relaxing with Stud Muffin and the dogs, anticipating some snow today.

I know I have been kinda quiet absent around here. Just trying to decompress from the semester. Of course, they couldn't let us too relaxed, so they have already thrown a 9 chapter assignment at us to be turned in before the semester even starts.

But there is some good news! I interviewed for and was offered an internship in the Neurology department of the local teaching hospital. I am equally excited and terrified, considering the patients on this unit have had strokes, spinal injuries, brain tumor and the like. It will go a long way toward connecting up all the dots between classroom lectures and real-life nursing.

So I am taking advantage of what may be the last real "down time" I have for the next year to kick back, sit before the fire, read a few novels and just enjoying "being."

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday with family and friends, eaten some treats, and are getting ready for the New Year. Once the revelry is over, you may start your aneurysms! I will be there with the bedpan and clean sheets to help you out!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Please pardon the interruption!

We interrupt our regularly schedule programming to TRY and survive the final exam for Maternal/Child nursing on Friday! I just need to memorize all of this

and have it all for immediate recall. Whaddya think? Possible? After that, I will be the hap-, hap- happiest a**hole this side of the nuthouse! Holy sh*t! Pass the Tylenol! (Name that movie!)

We will return to our regular programming as soon as we finish with women's nether regions and the aliens that come out of them. And excavate the kitchen, fold the mountain of laundry pitched on a spare bed, and have a bonfire with all the papers and notes.

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Then maybe we will have something else to report. Like an undercover expose on my life in a padded room or 1001 ways to decorate dust bunnies for Christmas. Truly juicy stuff!

Thank you for your patience. It is more than I have at the moment!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My new love

It's okay... Stud Muffin has been informed and has reluctantly accepted it.

When the doctor "suggested" (those should be air quotes) that I might want to lower my triglycerides by avoiding anything with fructose in it and increasing foods that are good for clearing triglycerides, I took to the Internet. Well, after I stomped around the house loudly proclaiming that it WASN'T FAIR and didn't the cholesterol gods recognize that I had lost 30 pounds lately?!?

Anyway, fructose. It's in EVERYTHING sold on a supermarket shelf except fresh foods and ingredients that require you do something with them to turn them into FOOD. It's in stuff that tastes sweet, stuff that tastes salty, stuff that doesn't taste like anything at all, and definitely anything that tastes GOOD.

Then there is the food that is supposed to help reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in particular. That includes everything that tastes like sauteed cow pies (don't ask) and is nothing fit for human consumption. Most people know that oatmeal is good for lowering cholesterol, but if it isn't in the form of a cookie with chocolate chunks, I'm not eating it! I might add it to the bath water or make a facial mask out of it (yeah, right! Me having a facial?? *Snort*) but it isn't passing my lips!

About to give up and resign myself to dying alone and without cookies, I determined to try some of the greens mentioned in the articles. I am not a fan of cooked greens, but I will eat almost anything in a salad. Mustard and collard greens didn't seem too promising, but I did find a way to eat kale without cooking it into something resembling something out of the bottom of a fish tank.

Raw kale salad. How simple is that?? A couple of articles mentioned that kale is a bit difficult to digest and is stiff enough to stucco a house with, but I did find some helpful information on overcoming this drawback. So here comes the salad preparations. Ready?

Get yourself some kale. Go for the dark green stuff, not the yellowish stuff. Or, if you are like me and have limited shopping venues, you take what you can get and be thankful.

Anyway, after you strip the curly kale leaves from the stem (don't eat this part!), give it a rinse and a spin.

Then, and here is the key to eating kale raw, massage it in a bowl with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

Go ahead and really work the knots out of it's muscles (and ignore the world's puffiest looking hand...yikes!) Slap it on the bootae once or twice for good measure until it is slightly wilted and glistening. On the plus side, your oil is already on the salad, and your hands get a nice moisturizing too!

Add some other lettuce so they don't feel left out, splash with balsamic vinegar then top with whatever floats your boat.

On mine I put some sliced marinated steak (slightly warmed), chopped teardrop tomatoes, feta cheese and croutons. Yes, I know the croutons have fructose, but a GIRL'S GOTTA LIVE!

Arrange nicely on a plate and take a picture. Then throw it back into the mixing bowl, because who are you kidding?? You aren't nearly graceful enough the eat a big salad from a plate without spilling it! Better to eat straight from the trough than embarrass yourself in front of the dogs (who hope that you use the plate!)

Ah. My love! You are tasty and have enough body to stand up to Shiatsu massage and not turn to squish. You will put me on the path to health, vim and vigor, and whatever else the doctor insists I need. I am quite giddy with having made your acquaintance. Let's hang out frequently...k?

Oh, and if you could talk to fructose when you get a chance. I really need it to get out of some food, any food. Well, any food that tastes good. It can go into oatmeal for all I care.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fantasy vs Reality

This is my fantasy fall morning vignette. Outside on a crisp morning, raking leaves for garden mulch, with a sweet canine by my side.

Never mind that it was mind-numbingly cold out. And raw-feeling. Never mind that said canine was eviscerating yet another "indestructible" (read: expensive) dog toy.

Never mind that the other canine-in-residence kept running through the leaf piles looking for a forest critter.

This was my fantasy vignette.

And this is my reality...

This is what greeting me as I stumbled out for coffee this morning I seriously thought about getting back into bed and staying there!

I have 4 weeks left in the semester and still have 5 exams worth 62% of my grade to complete. Needless to say, I spend a lot, most, all of my time right here.

But I did do some raking this morning. I got to live the "dream" for a little while today. This is how it looked before I started.

This is how it looked when I finished. I will not show you how I looked when it was finished!

Now, I could tell you that I raked and bagged all these leaves, but that would be a bold-faced lie. I eventually gave up and got out the riding mower to chop the leaves and blow them off of the grass. I have never driven this new mower before and it was quite an experience when I thought I was pressing the brake pedal, only to find myself launching backwards towards a ditch! Guess what?? There is NO brake pedal on this machine!! But you can lurch around in reverse if you jam down hard on the "other" pedal!

So, I "mowed" the leaves and then realized that before I winterized the machine and put away, I needed to wash under the deck to get all the grass stuff out. That required getting out the hose and playing with water in 40 degree weather. ARG! But I did it and it is tucked away for the season down in the shop.

I have also spent some time getting the "new" guest room ready for Thanksgiving visitors. Courtney and her boyfriend, Clint, are coming down for St Louis to spend time working having fun on the farm! Stud Muffin moved his office down from above the garage, so the guest room moved upstairs.

I still need to bring in another pillow and a few pictures. I wish another table would fit next to the bed, but, alas, there isn't enough wall space to accommodate it

The bathroom needed a storage/decorative rack, so I put one together. Not quite thrilled with the open rod shelves, but it works!

Consider yourselves officially updated!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Redneck dog house

Yeah... I know! I don"t have much time to blog these days, and my hours are getting even longer. Since I will at school for longer lectures (they "own" us so they get to do that!) I needed a way to leave the pampered dogs outside while I'm gone. Even though they usually go back to bed after their breakfast, eventually they need to use the facilities and I won't be at their beck and call!

Studly and I looked around at the available ready-made options and weren't happy with any. I would need two houses, which were very expensive for a plastic box with a hole into the side for a door, and after the cold, windy winter is over, I would have to find someplace to store them.

Enter the redneck straw bale house for dogs!

Eight bales of straw, a couple of thick moving blankets, two dog beds and a few chunks of wood and some clamps.

I tucked the blanket up better after I took this!

Don't you think they'll be cozy?? They probably wouldn't have used separate houses, so now they can be together.

When the weather improves, I can use the straw in the garden and put the rest away. leaving only the beds for their royal comfort.

Speaking of beds, I have been working a little bit, most days, to rake leaves to cover the raised beds. I found, this past spring, the the leaf blanket really helped improve the soil and prevent the weeds from getting a foothold (or would that be "roothold"?)

I still have bell peppers growing in the ever-cooling weather!

There is some basil left, but it is succumbing to the frosty nights. The black in the photo isn't a shadow, it's frozen basil. I will probably try to harvest and save some of the seeds for next season. Then again, I may not!

The grape vine is going to need protection, but I need to do some research to find out if I only need to wrap the root ball, or cover the entire vine with a sheet. No doubt, I'll have to go with the uglier solution, cuz that's how I roll!

As the day is cloudy and we are expecting rain soon, I have Taco Soup in the crockpot for dinner, after which I might just crawl into the redneck dog house and try it out for a nap!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BBQ Festival

The weekend before last, Stud Muffin and I went to our county BBQ festival. We went on Saturday morning, so we missed most of the entertainment, but saw what was really important....carnival food! They had blocked off Main Street, so we walked around a bit, popped in to some vendor booths, said hi to a few folks and ate.

Some of you movie buffs might recognize the county courthouse. It was used in the movie "Walking Tall". That's all I know about it.

Even though it was morning, they were already frying some apple pies and churning ice cream. I don't think I've ever seen an ice cream churn run by a John Deere engine before! Gotta love the county! Why crank it yourself, when you have a tractor engine handy? I can always go for a dessert maker you can tow behind your truck!

As we ate our pies and ice cream, we watched the dog show on the courthouse front lawn. I did take some pictures, but they were too fuzzy (or someone walked in front as I clicked!) so you'll have to imagine. Dogs of all sizes, from giant to microscopic were paraded around in groups and ribbons were awarded. They had a category for "Best Dressed". One little doggie had on a Tennessee Vols cheerleading outfit. Kinda disturbing!

Too bad we were around for the Prettiest Pig contest. I'm sure that was a hoot! They had a whole spread in the local newspaper last week, showing pictures of the little kids who entered the tractor pull (lawn tractor, I think) and our County Clerk winning the pig calling contest for the umpteeth year in a row. The fire department was a big hit with it's fire truck. I wonder if our friend Rick brought his personal fire truck and sprayed people with his hook-and-ladder equipment?

All in all, it was a fun way to spend a few minutes eating enjoying a warm fall morning and admiring our sophistication. I mean, where else can you get this?

The other side of the booth advertised deep fried Twinkies too! The newspaper made fun of it all with a cartoon of a booth selling deep fried butter. I wouldn't put it past them around here. We'll deep fry just about anything!

Unfortunately, when we went to get actual BBQ ribs and chicken, the ribs weren't going to be ready for a while yet. So what if it was before noon! They had maybe 6 huge smoker-BBQs running. You'd think a few ribs wouldn't be too much to add (to my waistline.)

So, we left without the ribs and chicken, but had fun anyway! It wasn't as big or fancy as festival in other counties, but it was local and sweet, and makes you appreciate small town living!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tough Topics

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I am still trying to find some balance in my life. (Don't I look great in that photo?) My current schedule of 3 school days in a row and 4 days off is helping somewhat. I should mention the "days off" only means that my caboose doesn't have to be uptown in a lecture hall. I still have two study groups I work with (one for pediatric clinicals and one for lectures,) and reams of homework. But still.

I took my camera out when I worked in the garden last week. See the pretty pictures? Do you see the basket of pears I picked or the bucket full of cucumbers? No?!? Maybe it is because the battery was dead and the lens wouldn't even open. So I worked while the camera charged. Then there wasn't anything to show you because I pulled all of the cucumber vines out and ate brought in all the pears.

The last few weeks have presented some difficult nursing lectures. Domestic abuse of pregnant women, including a horrifying personal story from the instructor, full color abortion photos (so we will know what options to unwanted pregnancy can be offered in what time frame) and yesterday, stories of baby deliveries that went sadly oh-so-wrong. All things I must know how to handle, but I sure don't want to hear about.

Needless to say, I've been kinda wrecked after these sessions. So I have been offsetting those with a little yarn play.

I have started a ripple crochet blanket. Just a small throw to take the chill off. I loved going to the store and fondling the yarn, trying to find the right combination of colors. Sadly, our local Hobby Lobby has shrunk it's yarn department, so choices weren't terrific, but I got two shades of green, beige, white and berry. I was hoping for something softer, but couldn't come up with enough colors in the right weight.

But who cares! I'm playing with yarn again!!

Today is the annual BBQ festival in our little town. We are planning on attending after heading uptown to the Saturday Farmer's Market this morning. I plan to take my (now charged) camera an snap a few pics. Let's hope I remember to bring it. Too bad I've been so busy this year, otherwise, I could have had an entry for the "Prettiest Pig" contest!

So that about it from here. The weather has been absolutely perfect lately and I wish everyone still baking in the summer heat could share it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I wish...

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I wish that I had something interesting to post here. Or that I had a picture of something to show you.

I wish that I had more time to work around my house and property instead of schoolwork. All. The. Time.

I wish my eyes didn't fly open EVERY SINGLE MORNING AT 2 OR 3 AM!

I wish that someone in my class didn't announce that she still breast feeds her 8 year old son! I am thoroughly disturbed at all the ramifications there!

I wish chocolate chip cookies didn't taste so good and that healthy, diet food did!

I wish that retention of students who aren't interested in doing the work wasn't so important that the rest of us are forced to HANDWRITE and turn in endless assignments instead of spending the time studying in a way that works for us individually.

I hope they don't start pinning paperwork to the back of our shirts like they did when we were in Kindergarten.

I hope that I don't come down with any nasty snot-streaming condition after I have my first clinical at the hospital pediatric ward today. I think the cooties are more virulent at 6:30 AM when I have to start my shift!

I hope that my husband will still love me after the 15th frozen pizza/leftover whatever/make-it-yourself meal or the upteenth time in a week that I NEED to go to sleep at 8 PM.

I hope that Courtney can come down from St Louis for more weekend visits! I love those even if we have to spend part of the time doing homework.

I hope Liz has decided that she misses us and is moving home to be closer to her Mommy!

I hope someone is still out there in the blogosphere. (((((Hello??))))) (((hello??))) (((Is anybody out there??))) ((...out there?))

Friday, August 27, 2010

Well, that was fast!

Okay, so it hasn't been the whole 3 weeks of break yet. But, the nursing department has decided to sneak an extra week into the fall semester by posting 3067 required assignments on the discussion board so we can turn them in on the first day of class. *Sigh* And I thought we would only have to be ready for the mandatory dosage calculation exam on the first day.

Anyway, I am trying to "make hay while the suns shines" except I don't need or have any hay. But I do try to get outside and work every morning as the sun is rising. Mostly, I have been try to get more weed barrier and mulch down in the beds opposite the house.

Last summer, I did one side of the garden walkway, although the spring rains took away most of the mulch. This summer, I am working on the other side. I have gotten almost to the end of the row, where we placed straw bales in an attempt to control the rain runoff.

I needed to replace a shrub that died, but it took a few trips out to locate one I wanted. I was going to plant it yesterday morning, but the ground is just like concrete!! So I brought over the hose and am soaking the dirt. Maybe I can dig it in today. Notice the Sassy has brought me a toy to play with as I chisel away at the ground ineffectively!

I think I will have just enough mulch left to finish this area and maybe fill in some bald spots on the other side.

The garden is pretty much spent for the season. I still have the cucumbers-gone-wild plant trying to choke out the basil.

And the last bell pepper is ready to come into the house.

The strawberries have been scorched by the sun, so I got out the shade cover for them. I need to read up on whether I should give them one last go of fertilizer before winter.

There are plenty of weeds to pull, and many more after that!

I am also trying to repair/preparing the roads for the coming winter rains. I had a truckload (about 25 tons) of grainy rock and sand type of mix called "chert" delivered the other day. Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours moving it up the incline and smoothing it with the box blade.

I am still learning about using the box blade, but I think I am doing a fine job. Besides, any job that Stud Muffin doesn't have to do it a good job!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

It just may be...

that I have too many lemon cucumbers coming off of just one plant!!

There's like 20 in that bowl!

And they're huge!

Stud Muffin is quite amused. Especially since he doesn't like cucumbers!

Excuse me, I have to find some unlocked cars to dispose of some produce. Back soon!

Sunday, August 15, 2010