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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jelly of the Month Club, Part Deux

Cows are fed. Water's not froze, but I thought I might be for a short second...then I got back in the truck. For a Southern dog, Newt sure likes the current sub-Artic conditions of home. He also likes to think he's a cow dog, NOT QUITE. He did try hard though. I should be a proud dog mother...proud that he actually knows what a cow is since he is a Blue Heeler that has lived the majority of his life in a back yard in a college town. Okay, all of his life except for Christmas vacations and a few summer trips home.

Christmas. It's Christmas Eve, and I cannnot seem to catch the Christmas Spirit. Guess it's a little late. I do have a piece of advice for everyone that I know and everyone that I don't...DO NOT MOVE, DO NOT PLAN A MOVE, DO NOT RELOCATE ANYWHERE NEAR THE END OF YEAR! It's a crappy experience. The stresses of maintaining life's routines and packing and preparing for a move just kind of squash a girl's Christmas Spirit. I did do some shopping. Nearly everyone has a gift by now. If you don't have a gift, please be patient, maybe your shortage of a Christmas present from Sam will yield in a Valentine, maybe a St. Patty's Day trinket at the rate I'm going.

It is good to be home. Mom and Dad bought a new mattress for the spare bed (aka my old bed) and it is lovely. The tree is beautiful. I didn't get put up any of my decorations this year due to the BIG move, and I think that also put out any spark of a Christmas Spirit.
From time to time, I have been reminded that it's not the presents nor the tree that makes the Season, it is the blessings that have came our way over the course of the previous year--our families, our health, our friends, our homes, and our pets for instance.
  • I am so grateful to have a family and a "family" that loves and supports me no matter how bitter or deranged I have been or no matter how random I get. For instance, I finished up some shopping the other day and bought myself a new green stocking cap with a little bill. I love it. My dad hates it. My mom laughs and turns the other way every time I put it on. It makes me happy for the moment.
  • Anyway, back to blessings...I'm thankful for my health. I'm thankful that my cousin asked me to be in her wedding (which is in one week) and that I stressed out about fitting into my bridesmaids dress, that I started boot camp, that I overhauled my eating habits, and as a result I do feel better about myself and about life and I'm 6+ inches smaller with hopes to continue this shrinking streak!
  • I am so grateful for my many friends. I am especially thankful for their kindness and their encouragement over the course of the past year. Some days I do not know why they hang in there. I am thankful for the 6 people that sacrificed a Thursday last week and helped my parents and I load a moving truck, and I'm thankful for the 6 others who although they live far away sent text messages offering encouragement and saying that they would be there if they could. We have created our own little "family" of sorts and it has been so much fun making memories. Also, not to forget those friends who although we are not as close on the map as we once were, we did leave a mark on one another's hearts.
  • We should all be thankful that we have somewhere warm to sleep at night. I am also a little excited to be out of a miniature duplex and into a real, big girl house. I cannot wait to be settled in. Either way, thankful that Newt and I were in out of the weather and warm (or cool) and dry.
  • Pets. It's amazing the "therapy" that pets offer. Although, mine stresses me and my friends out more than any dog should. I am so thankful for Newt. I am so glad to have become friends with Chad, and grateful to Chad for the gift of Newt, who by the way turned 6 last week (Newt, not Chad). Buy those dogs an extra bone or that cat some new fishy treats this year!

Merry Christmas from the flat lands of Western Nebraska where at 6:45 am it was 1 degree Fahrenheit outside with a breeze and about 2 inches of new snow on the ground. Stay warm this Christmas and remember why this time of year is so very, very Special.

It's the Jelly of the Month Club...The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas...Happy Hanukkah...Happy Kwanzaa...Joy to the World....

Happy Holidays one and all! I didn't realize that it has been soooo long since I last posted. I have a lot to share with you.
1) I have moved. I pulled up stakes and moved. It took a 26 foot Penske truck; 6 very, very dear and wonderful friends; 2 loving parents; 1 case of Coors Light; and one evening at the Dixie Chicken; but I am relocated!
2) I survived my bootcamp workout! In fact, I shrunk my entire self by 6+ inches!
3) Newt the wonder dog and I made it home. In fact, we rode home from Texas in the back seat of my mother's suburban. Brought back memories of show days...dad driving, mom shot gun, and me curled up in the backseat with a book. However, I didn't have the privilege of text messaging in those days, hell, we didn't even have cell phones!...and my spine was much more open to riding like that for hours upon hours.

**Please stand by. I come to you this morning from Dad's desk and it's time to go feed cows.

To be continued....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who is Famous?! We Are!!!

Who is on The Pioneer Woman's blog today?! Brandi, Robynne, and I are! Last week I posted about the three of us road tripping to Austin to the book signing. This morning I wake up to find us on the blog, and we look fabulous!! I promised to write more about our adventure...Here. We. Go.

I would like to mention that I took notes. I find myself doing that quite often, so that I may better tell the world what I have just witnessed.

We arrived @ Book People 3 hours before the signing, and as luck would have it Ree was going to be early and sign books at 6, speak at 7, and sign more books after the talk. We acquired wristbands for the 6 o'clock "showing", bought our books, and perused the book store. I just love book stores--books, people watching, books, nifty little coffee places in the corners, books...I looked over the cookbook, I became very hungry, I added to my ultimate wish list, I was overcome with awe, and I drank the strangest iced tea ever (that's a story for another day). I took a picture of this picture in the cookbook. Who wouldn't want to someday have a pair of handmade spurs made for the father of their children that say "Daddy"?! I personally first need to get a date before I can make any progress towards this, and again, that's all for another day.
Eventually it was time to stand in line for the actual signing and to meet Ree. We were approximately 6 people back in line, thankful that we were ahead of the women with like 10 books to sign and regretful that we were behind the woman with two children whom she did not make mind. At this point my Facebook status read "I may eat my own young." These children were flopping and flailing around on the floor. On a dirty bookstore floor. Two words: Swine. Flu. The mother was encouraging this appalling behavior by taking photos of the wild and woolly little beasts. Finally they opened the doors and we entered the signing room. The oldest of the two out of control youngsters began running and shrieking in circles. At this point Robynne looks at me and shushes me. We finally make it to the head of the line and meet Ree. She's very nice. Her children are precious. And our jaws drop as Marlboro Man enters the room! She signed our books. This is the point where someone on her "staff", okay in her family takes our picture. This happens to be the picture that is posted on The Pioneer Woman today!

Her talk was very casual and very informal and conversational. She admitted her culinary weakness is bread baking. I can make bread. I announced that to the girls. I was contemplating what to pack to take to Oklahoma and be their personal bread baker until she added something about artisan bread. I am not capable of artisan anything. My cakes fall and I fill the hole with frosting. I call my pies "rustic" because the top crust is all lumpy or torn. I like to do casseroles and dips because presentation is not necessarily first priority. I have culinary demons. I have lots of non culinary demons. She also announced that she is writing another book! Another book due out February 14, but I can't remember if she said 2010 or 2011. She's publishing Black Heels!! I loved that she stood on the stage and was real. She told us about her Spanxx. Spanxx by the way is one of the most lovely inventions ever, but you would only know this if you suffer the influence of personal image and/or weight demons. I happen to. I love Spanxx. I told Brandi last night that she just needs to be "fat" (or chunky or fluffy, however you'd like to think about it) for just awhile to better understand my need for a vegetable tray at a party. Fill up on veggies to make yourself feel better about the dietary sins you may later commit. Back to PW...her blog does not lie. There are babies everywhere at her book signings. Babies and cute pregnant women. At the book signing we happened to be at, there were also women who allowed their children to publicly nurse. We didn't like it. We voted. We said that we would never, never ever, sit together in a circle and breastfeed our children, no matter how much we loved one another or how close of friends we were...NO. That really did happen. Front and center in front of the stage in the center of the book store. New topic.....Nikon cameras were everywhere. Nikon should give that woman camera upgrades for life for the marketing she has done for them!!

That's all on the book signing, but that's not the end of our adventure. As we are cruising downtown Austin for a place to have dinner, we pull up to a red light, Robynne is driving and comments "Center of Scientology" (which was directly on our left) as Brandi tells her we cannot go left. Robynne then says, "Oh Lord." I pipe up from the back seat, "Actually, I don't think he's in there."
We get turned around and headed the other direction. We're at another red light when Brandi exclaims, "We passed that naked man on the way to the book store!!" We were facing a men's store with a giant poster of a very pretty, very buff man in is underwear on the window. Robynne and I look at her and laugh as she then states, "Hey, I recognize landmarks." Oh how I'm going to miss times like these as I move on in 7 days! (Again, another post another day)
We find a place for dinner. The Magnolia. We walked in and sat in the waiting area in the front of the restaurant. People are staring. Maybe it was my leather jacket and big hair. Maybe it was Brandi's concho belt. Maybe it was because all of us were carrying leather purses and wearing leather boots. We may never know, but we were getting looked at. Dinner was delicious. Brandi and I ate omelets and drank wine with our eggs. That's right, we did, and it was good!
The ride home was just as eventful as the rest of the trip as we randomly broke out in song. We made up new lyrics for old songs. Brandi discovered karaoke on her phone. I have yet to sing a song to the group. I'm hoping they forget about my "homework" assignment and let it pass!

The trip to the book signing was great! Ree is kind and upbeat and fun. Her children are beautiful, I'm especially fond of the youngest boy. I'm excited to try the recipes in my new cookbook. Brandi and I both made recipes that we found on The Pioneer Woman or Tasty Kitchen for a Christmas party last night. They were a hit! They've become my new go-to place for fun new things to make.

Friday, December 4, 2009

PW Book Signing

Sorry I have been away so long! We'll cover more on this later, as I need to squeeze in a quick blog and get on the road for a quick trip and much needed "therapy" (a steer show and all that goes with it)....I'll be back in town tomorrow afternoon...LOTS TO DO, LOTS TO DO.

Last night, some very dear friends (Brandi and Robynne) and I made the trip to Austin for the Pioneer Woman's book signing. It was SO MUCH FUN! I had never been to a book signing before, and I loved it. We were lucky enough to get in the "before the talk" signing group, so we were lucky enough to escape the madness right after the talk, catch a tasty dinner, and get on the road for home at not too late of an hour. The cookbook is beautiful, Ree is very kind, and her family is charming. I want to be a part of them. The youngest boy...I just love him. I wanted to put him in my purse, but the girls said he wouldn't fit. We also got lucky and Marlboro Man signed our cookbooks too! He also got trapped into taking a picture with us.

Here are the girls and I with Ree and again with Marlboro Man, who by the way signs his real name in the cookbook...unfortunately I cannot tell you confidently what that is, as it's kind of hard to read.

I promise to post a more detailed account of our trip over the weekend. Trust me, there are sooo many more details to include!!! I also promise to give you the ultimate update on Fern, as a lot has happened since my last post and I have goals to cross off and new goals to add, finally!

Friday, October 16, 2009

King Ranch Chicken and Buttermilk Pie

I know that my goals over there read, blog at least 2x per week...still can't cross that one off of my list. Nor, can I cross off don't eat out for a week--eating is such a social activity. Maybe if I wasn't so social AND like eating so much, the number inside my jeans would be much smaller...that and beer is also a social activity...and I like beer and I am social...ANYWAY...

My dear friend Brandi asked for pie baking lessons. We arranged an evening to make said pie. Flavor: Buttermilk. She did very well. We made crust from scratch, and she rolled it out herself. Although, she did get to use the Cuisinart to do the crust. I really wanted to make her use a fork or a pastry blender thingy. She wasn't so much a fan of scooping the lard, but ooooo lard makes such lovely crust. Prior to pie baking she asked for a list of ingredients. I said lard...blah, blah... and she said, Crisco? And, I said no...LARD. Lard makes such amazing crust, but that's another day. Brandi's crust was lovely! She did a really good job and she didn't let me push her out of the way with my impatient take over nature. Yes, I had one of those holy crap I'm my mother moments! We put the pie in the oven and sat down to a supper of Black Box Wine and King Ranch Chicken and Grey's Anatomy....what a good evening! The custard got a little too brown on the top, the crust was a little to brown around the edges, and there was a hole in the middle, but the pie is pretty darn good! That's my least favorite part of a custard pie... you have to wait for it to cool. Needless to say, she had pie and milk for breakfast and I had a piece with my mid-morning coffee. YUMMO!!

King Ranch Chicken. I've still got it--the King Ranch Chicken Magic. You see, my KRC is famous in approximately 6 states. My original recipe came from a good friends mom, but I have amended and adjusted and added to and made it my own. I can't believe I'm doing this...

King Ranch Chicken

4 chicken breasts (or an equal equivalent of chicken)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel
1 small onion diced
Garlic or garlic powder
Crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1/3 large box of Velveeta cubed
Shredded cheddar
Corn tortillas
Jalapeno slices (optional)

Cook chicken and cut into small cubes. In a large bowl, mix cooked and cut chicken with soup, rotel, onion, spices (to taste), and cubed Velveta. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish. Place a thin layer of chicken mixture on the bottom of the pan, cover with a layer of corn tortillas. Continue with another layer of chicken mixture, add a layer of shredded cheese and jalapeno slices (if desired), cover this layer with tortillas. Continue until all of the chicken mixture is used. Top with one final layer of corn tortillas. Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes. Cover the top of the casserole with more shredded cheese and bake until melty.

**note this recipe is not for the faint at heart or the lactose intolerant**

Good luck! Have a great weekend! My weekend consists of a date with my dissertation (I can't get any other kind of date) and a Saturday full of football (the Big 12 has a great day laid out for me!!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday

Pisces
February 19 - March 20
Although it looks as if the next few months should be shaping up to be a great time for you business-wise, dear Pisces, today it might appear hopeless. Mundane, routine, unrewarding tasks may take up a lot of your time on the job today. Nevertheless, don't see this as being engraved in stone; don't let the frustration interfere with your outlook for the future. You are due for advancement in some way!

Let's hope that there's some truth to that!!

Inspiration on a Wednesday:
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday, Monday!

I hope that the day is Great! I hope that I feel this spunky all day! My day didn't start just as I wanted. I had aspirations of waking up and working out. Ummm, no. I slept a little too late for that, but rather than rush I made and ate a good-for-me breakfast and started the iPod and it was tossing out good tunes right and left. A little Fergalicious will get any one's Monday going! Add to that texts messages from two of my absolute favorite people and a pot of good coffee, and it all kind of takes away form my frizzy hair on a humid as hell day and my self image dissatisfaction (note to self: working out this evening!)
Just bought a new CD on iTunes, I really need to quit that. I need to purchase the actual CD, but what to do with all of the plastic cases and liner notes??.... anyway...Ryan Bingham, you make me VERY happy! Ryan, I will be even happier when you play in town on October 30!! Although you are playing at my very least favorite concert venue, I'll handle it. Speaking of good tunes, two of my good friends are playing at a tiny bar this week. I love to listen to both of them play. Hopefully, someday, I can say "I knew them when".
Felt flu-ish over the weekend, but that allowed me to lay in a dark living room and catch up on DVR. I tried computing but reading a screen and a raging headache was a bad combo. Back to the stored shows on the DVR...I'm all caught up and here's what I found:
  • Cougar Town--HILARIOUS!!
  • Modern Family--NOT a MUST WATCH show
  • the forgotten--GOOD stuff, I really liked this show. Way to go Christian Slater
  • Flash Forward--midway through the first episode, I was thinking "no way". Now that I have watched both episodes, I'm hooked. I'm in. I need to make sure that this is set to record series.
The new washer and dryer work great! I so do not like making grown up purchases, but I do love my new Whirlpool W/D! The washer washes and spins all of the water out. I don't have to keep re-spinning like on the machine that was left by my landlord. The new dryer...it drys! It turns on. Unlike the one that was left behind by the landlord. If not for the semi-functional set left by the land lord I would have had to make this purchase, take this leap, three months ago. I am thankful that I'm not on a creek bank slapping my pants up against a rock and rubbing my drawers and my knuckles on a washboard!

Dissertation calls! Need to put all of this positive energy towards that dreaded paper!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Just read that it is World Vegetarian Day today, and that October is Vegetarian Month...its 7:45AM, I think I'll have steak!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

My mother has self help books shipped to my door. Do we have a problem? I think maybe.

Weekend Recommendations (and Pre-Weekend Ramblings)

It's Friday!! Okay, so that really doesn't count when all I have looming ahead of me is DISSERTATION! However, I do I have some weekend recommendations brought about by recent experiences. **please note, any day of the week is fine**

1) Boxed Wine. A recent find is 'The Black Box' boxed wine. One box of wine is equal to 4 bottles of wine. At my local H.E.B. it worked out to $5 and some change/bottle! Score! I tried the Cabernet Sauvignon. Not too shabby. The box claims that wine will stay fresh for up to a month. I say, "Who keeps open wine around that long??!!"

2) Eggs. Eggs were my staple one week recently. I think I ate eggs at least 4x one week. Not just any ol' eggs--I made scrambled eggs with tomato, onion, feta, and basil...scrambled eggs with tomato, bacon, mushrooms, onion and blue cheese...scrambled eggs with pico de galo and cheddar and avocado. The eggs with tomato, basil, onion, and feta were by far my favorite. Don't go thinking I did this in the morning...this was supper! And, I paired it with red wine.

3) Potato Salad. I have mentioned the Pioneer Woman oodles of times on here. She has yet to fail me (knock on wood). A couple of weeks ago I was invited to some friends for a day of food and football. Needless to say, that day the food was much better than the football! They were making pork loin which was delicious, and I decided to make potato salad. I tried the Pioneer Woman's recipe that she posted a while back. It was that or attempt my Grandma Helen's recipe. Man, Helen could make potato salad, cake and sugar cookies...those were her three super kick ass things! I have yet to perfect any of the above. To avoid disappointment and take the opportunity to use my Cuisinart food processor. I am in love. I mean I L-O-V-E the machine. I have chopped veggies, sliced apples for pie, made pie crust, made gram cracker crust for cheesecake and then cheesecake filling, and grated potatoes for potato salad...I love that thing!! I just wish that it came with a setting to clean itself! Anyway, back to the potato salad....it was delicious and very easy. I recommend it! PW Potato Salad Recipe.

4) The roast beef sandwich. I have perfected the grilled sandwich, the roast beef sandwich, the grilled roast beef and cheese sandwich. Picture it: deli roast beef with provolone and blue cheese between two pieces of wheat bread (would have been amazing on rye, but Sara Lee Light bread is my friend, I like rye better but my hiney needs Sara Lee Light) buttered on the outside. Toasted/grilled in the skillet. AMAZING! Served along side mushrooms in au jus. Don't be afraid to dunk in the mushroom juice, don't be afraid...do it...you will be happy that you did.

5) PW Mystery Rolls. Canned flaky biscuits, blue cheese, butter, and twenty minutes. That's all I'm saying about that besides...TRY IT NOW! Soooooo yummmy....even those who are not blue cheese lovers ate them like they were going out of style. Next time I make them, and yes, there will be a next time, I'm using more blue cheese.

6) Fall TV. There are so many new shows out this fall. There are so many good shows back this fall. My DVR is definitely earning its keep!
  • Castle. Love it! Mystery writer, cop, crazy random crime...pretty much makes my Monday!
  • NCIS Not so wild about the spin-off NCIS: LA, but I love the original!
  • The Good Wife I was in love with it before I watched it--Mr. Big from Sex and the City, Carol Hathaway from ER, and Grams from Dawson's Creek, really now....
  • Gray's Anatomy I'm very curious to see where this season takes us...there's a lot going on, lots of changes, I know where I'll be on Thursday nights from 8-9
  • Private Practice Oh my goodness!! The season premiere last night was intense!
I've watched a few other new shows this fall, but the jury's still out or I have yet to watch what's stored in the DVR. (Trauma, Modern Family, Cougartown, The Forgotten, Eastwick, and I know that I am forgetting some)

7) College football!!!! I love fall, it brings cooler temps, changing colors, and Kirk Herbstreet. Oh how I love having coffee every Saturday morning with Kirk and the boys on ESPN Game Day. Which reminds me, I need to check my "College Pick'Ems" and hopefully redeem myself from a lowly 22 pt performance last week. Let's all say something together now, GOOOO BIIIIGGG REEED!!! And now, WRECK 'EM TECH!!!


This post has gotten a lot longer than I had planned. It's Friday and I'm headed home for a little nap, only to wake up and digest some statistics and work on some dissertation. Oh how I long for the end to come. Energy. I need energy and inspiration. I can find both just not when it comes to this dissertation. Damn.

As I continue to forge onward with a dissertation and pray that the right job will come to me and that I don't stumble (too many times) on my chosen path, I leave you with this---what's inside your heart?? What is at your core? What do you love? What is your passion? What inspires you to be at your best?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sorry to have stayed away so long....

Sorry to have stayed away so long! Life's been a crazy roller coaster as of late, and I told myself that we would only blog on "good" days and some days I let myself feel guilty that I was going to blog when I had other things to do. Well, I still have other things to do, but I have a lot of things to share...in fact, my list has outgrown a Post-It...time to get it on "Only Fern"!

For starters, the below horoscope is one that is for my sign, but I stole it from a friend's Facebook page. It's very applicable to my place in this life lately, and it made me go "hmmmm....".

Pisces (Feb. 19–March 20)

Sometimes I wish personality traits were something you could buy over the counter. If I were placing an order for you, I'd get an ounce of patience, a spoonful of confidence, and a maximum dose of perseverance. Those would yield success, whereas right now you're getting frustrated early, putting yourself down too much, and giving up long before you should. Luckily, these traits can be developed, even if you can't pick them up at the neighborhood drugstore. In some cases, it's as "easy" as pretending you have them already. If you can fake confidence, ignore your frustration, and just stick with this as if you were a stubborn Taurus instead of a flexible Pisces, you'll get to where you want to go—and consequently start acquiring those qualities for real.


More importantly...I've set a new personal goal...I'm outta this place at semester's end. I needed to give myself a deadline, I hope and pray to be employed by then, and I'm really, really tired of paying tuition. On the subject of goals, I've added a new box on the left of "Only Fern". I've titled it My 101 in 1001. I found a similar list on a blog that I follow and found a website that I think I have mentioned before--Day Zero. The objective is to create a list of 101 things (goals) that you would like to accomplish in 1001 days (approx. 2.75 years). I have until Thursday, June 28, 2012 to cross off my entire list. I don't have 101 things listed, but I have started. Which is farther along than I am at my attempt to become more physically active. A friend of mine has taken up running. She is doing the Couch to 5k running plan. I checked it out, and it didn't seem all that hard on paper, yes, I printed it out, hung it on the fridge, and that is as far as I've gotten folks. Minor disclaimer (okay, big line of B.S.)--it rained here for days on end). Initially I was impressed with my meager effort, but now it's time to get movin'!

Onto the list on the Post-It...as things have happened that I have found blog worthy, I have made notes on scraps of paper, in my phone, on pages of analysis for this darn dissertation and I condensed most of those I found on a Post-It last week. I have a penchant for Post-Its and should own stock in the company! I love them. I prefer the bright colored ones, but at this point I should also add that the actual Post-It ones are best. The bright colored generic ones don't stick as well to a variety of surfaces....necessary!
  • Hullabaloos Diner, Wellborn, TX. One word: DELICIOUS!!! It is a restored dining car with amazing food! A group of friends and I have taken to meeting there for brunch most weekends. We had stuck with Breakfast until this past weekend branching out into the Lunch menu, which was also yummy. I had the "train wreck fries" and oh my, sooo good. Picture it: french fries, cheddar cheese, bacon, green onions, and blue cheese crumbles with ranch dressing and/or catsup for dipping...oh yeah baby! It was a giant pile of fries, and I failed to eat them all. That is not saying much, as I don't know if we have ever finished anything there in one sitting. The "kitchen sink omelet" is my other fave--3 egg omelet with cheese, mushrooms, onions, jalapenos, bacon, sausage, ham, tomatoes; a side of home fries; and a biscuit---that has kept me fed for 2 days. Anyway, this fantastic little place has been featured on The Food Network's 'Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives' (click on that link for video)
  • A few weeks ago now, some friends and I travelled to a neighboring county fair to catch some great Texas Country and buy beer with poker chips...what can I say, it was a great Saturday night! Pat Green was playing. It was outside. He played some of my favorite "Old School Pat" songs from his early Pre-Nashville albums. Oh a happy place. We had a great place to stand, great view of the stage, out of the crowd, until....some woman climbs onto the wooden platform in front of us next to the guy with all the sound and lights controls and starts shaking her ass....I tried very hard to not let my new view take away from my happy place. I also discovered something about myself that night...I've gotten old. I went there to see Pat and listen to him play not watch rednecks dance and B.S. and try to find others of their kind to procreate with...seriously people--calm down and let the music move you! While on our county fair adventure, the only option for a rest room was a Portapotty...I don't think I've set foot in one of those fiberglass danger zones in like 3-4 years, and I remembered why....EWWWWWWWW!!!! I left the fair grounds thinking that I need a belt buckle with an eagle on it or maybe one that says Bodacious!
  • The coffee at school sucks. There's a coffee pot in the faculty lounge and the coffee tastes terrible! It plain red Folgers grounds, but there's something about it after its brewed with the water here through that coffee system that does it no justice. I try to get my coffee in before I get here and bring a to-go cup for good measure, but some days a trip downstairs is necessary and I am then met with the reminder as to why I don't go there.
  • I love the book "Lonesome Dove" and the movie "Lonesome Dove" and all things "Lonesome Dove"...I have a dog named Newt, I have pencil sketches of Gus and Call hanging on my walls, and I have recently discovered that I have a couple of friends with whom I can have a texting "conversation" that lasts for days that consists solely of "Lonesome Dove" quotations. It makes my heart so happy! Right now on iTunes---the "Lonesome Dove" soundtrack. Happy, happy, happy!
I have lots more, but this is enough for now....stay tuned for Fall TV, Cooking with Fern, and a little Fern Philosophy....

Monday, September 28, 2009

Second question of the day:
About those "cupboard" without solid doors or those that are just open shelves...who is really that organized and how do dishes on the open shelves not get all eww and dusty??
Question of the day:
Why doesn't Chinese food in real life come in cute little boxes like on TV??

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's been a long time, baby!

Wow! I didn't realize how long it has been since my last post! A lot has happened in the month of August--
1) I'm moved into my new place. As of last night, I'm as settled as I'm going to get.
2) I survived Beef Cattle Short Course.
3) My friends and I discovered an excellent breakfast venue.
4) Found a random biker bar and loved it.
5) I survived yet another wedding.
6) I continue my journey down the road of "Find a Job" as I struggle to finish
7) I made my friend Brandi an excellent birthday dinner if I say so myself. Hell, I even did all of the dishes!

I'll post about each of these and try to get caught up. For now, I 'll post about yesterday...The past couple of weeks have been a struggle to say the least. I can be quoted as saying, "I'd leave if I had somewhere to go..." numerous times in the past few days. Well, I'm going to finish with wavering enthusiasm because I started this and I'll finish it. However, finishing will be without the zest I had at the beginning. ANYWAY...going to church always seems to make me feel better. I was up early on Sunday morning. I ate breakfast, drank coffee, got ready--I even had on real slacks and not jeans...AND I was even early to the church...THERE WAS NO CHURCH! For whatever reason the church decided to have a one time deal...cancel 8:30 and 10:45 church and have one service at 9:30. That right there will promote some unholy thoughts! I was very upset! What do I do next...tried to go to HEB (a beautiful, giant grocery store that I will miss very, very much) on a Sunday. I figured that I was in the clear as it was 11:00 on a Sunday morning and folks would be in church (where I wanted to be)...I was definitely not the only one with that idea! That place was a zoo! What saved me was the sampling stations all over the place--I ate and drank (they had wine samples) my way through the entire store. And snow crab legs were on sale for $3.99/lb and I rewarded myself for surviving the trip and gifted myself in an attempt to make me feel better since my plans of Sunday worship had been thwarted. I still haven't eaten them....tonight's agenda...CRAB LEGS! I got busy around the house and ran out of time and wasn't that hungry by dinner time. This weekend I got tired of bare walls and waiting for anything to come around, so I broke down and hung up curtains and hung things on the walls. I didn't get anything new, except for the patio door, just made do with what I have and it's okay. What I have may not be fancy to some, but it's what I have and it makes me happy, for the most part. There were some retched maroon kindof brocade looking solar drape/curtain things hanging on the patio door in the master bedroom...UGLY...and they smelled funny. They have since been replaced by burlap panels that I fashioned myself and without sewing or iron on tape (I couldn't get to either one in the spare room closet if I tried). They're snazzy. Actually, the whole place makes me a notch or two happier now, and I'll take those little bits of happiness when I can get them.

With that, I'll close with a couple of lines from only the BEST movie ever, Lonesome Dove:

Life in San Francisco is still just life. If ya want only one thing too much its likely to be a disappointment. Now, the only healthy way to live, as I see it, is to learn to love all the little everyday things...a sip of good whiskey of an evening or a soft bed or a glass of buttermilk...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

1) I really should have lived in the mid-70's
2) I'm a sucker for a big yellow horse
3) I may never move freely again
4) I strongly dislike living in a maze of boxes

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm hot. I'm tired. I'm ugly. I have 1/2 a living room left to vacuum and I'm done @ Westcreek Lane....and my darn vacuum just started smoking and died...

Monday, July 27, 2009

You know that last pass through a house as you move out?? That one that has you throwing whatever in the same box just to get the hell out of there?? I have that box...it contains a set of knives, 2 dowel rods dog toys, febreeze, kneehighs, a slip (who wears those anymore (besides apparently me) anyways?), coat hangers....
Lord help me!!!! Please God bring me a husband so I never have to do this all alone again. After today, NO MORE HEAVY LIFTING.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just read the funniest thing....
"Vegans complaining about hotdogs is like Amish complaining about gas prices."
Why can't I ever get to fly next to someone famous or facinating or an empty seat?!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I just saw myself @ 90...
BIG teased hair. Sequined jacket. Full make up. Pink pants. Red shoes and bag.
Man (~40yrs) in business suit w/ faux hawk...hmmmm...
As much as I love lime green...lime green pants should be worn by no one!

There is a child crawling on an airport floor...I think that it would be safer for the lil critter to crawl in a horse stall!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm not lost, but I should have been a rodeo queen

Yes, I should have been a rodeo queen.

Not a whole lot has happened to me since my last post. There have been a few Fern-ism's here and there, but nothing too remarkable off hand.

I've been keeping busy with stuff. Packing and readying myself for a move...well, it sucks. I have a moving crew. I have put a deposit down on said moving crew...1 bottle of Seagram's 7 and a 12-pack of Squirt.

Things I have learned since my last post:
  • I am not a fisherman
  • Newt has become addicted to riding in a car
  • Current phase: drinking water out of a glass
  • Lonesome Dove is a Classic (oh wait, I already knew that)
  • I am very Type-A...too Type-A for making Power Point Presentations
  • Children should not have fondant covered cakes for their first birthdays--the cake may be lovely, but its too hard to dive in
  • Ziploc Microwave Steam Bags are the new savior to corn on the cob
  • The new Lean Cuisine Breakfast Panini's are not good, they suck
  • That it is wonderful when an old friend comes back to you...the friendship is different, but its still a good feeling that they are back
  • Sometimes the people you look to the most disappoint you the most, but this can be countered by finding joy and inspiration in others perhaps forgotten or overlooked
I should have been a rodeo queen....don't ask I don't know!! I can assure you that I would have fabulously large hair, amazingly matte make up, wonderfully bright clothing, a tiara that glistened like a 1,006 stars, and pants on underneath my chaps! HA, got you...

I also discovered something amazing today....THE PIONEER WOMAN HAS LAUNCHED AN ALL RECIPE SITE...THE PIONEER WOMAN HAS LAUNCHED AN ALL RECIPE SITE... This is so exciting...I made the steak bites again the other night...delicious. Mom made the potato salad from her 4th of July posts and said that it was nothing less than amazing! The Web site is called Tasty Kitchen. Go there. Dive in. Be merry. Find another version of yourself! I have to admit that I haven't checked out more than the main page, but I couldn't wait to share the news!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baby it's HOT Outside

It's HOT out there! Wait, it was nearly HOT inside my house last night when the stinkin' air conditioner froze up...cross your fingers, she's working again. The dryer's not working, but I maximized efforts and read journal articles at the laundromat yesterday. 9 loads, 3 articles, and lunch in 2.5 hours w/o my iPod)...not too shabby. It was 83 at 8:30 this morning...it's up to 93 now at 10:35...it's predicted to be ~105 again today. That's nearly too hot to drink a beer, too hot to sit in a pool, too hot to sit in the pool with a beer! Is it possible to sweat in the cement pond?

I had a mini epiphany...I should have went to law school.

Readin articles, wonderin where the iPod is, maybe analyzin some data, and tryin to stay cool!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Giggle

Sorry for 2 posts in one day, but this made me giggle. I just took a Facebook quiz "Which Decade Fits Your Personality?" Apparently the 1920's fit me best, and here is my description

You are classy, not afraid to go against the norm, and love to celebrate the joys of life. You love to be in the "right now" of society's latest "new thing" and because of that you exert the latest fashions and put a high priority on having a great time. After all, you deserve it after all the struggles you have gone through in life thus far. You have a little rebel in you, although you don't overtly show it because you keep yourself and your standards classy, sophisticated, and elegant. And chances are, you have a thing for jazz music. You are a perfect combination of lady-like and party animal.

That last sentence is my favorite part!

A Living Nightmare?

I may have nightmares...
My children may not have the privilege of growing up as I did...
My family's livelihood is at stake.

What has happened to this world we live in?! Do people not like to eat anymore? Has the population lost grasp of where their food and clothing comes from?

I just read that the Humane Society of the United States has received license as a higher education granting degree institution! Link

On the same blog (Advocates for Agriculture) that I read nearly everyday, I found a post titled "US Agriculture Can Feed the World". I would like to think that we, American Agriculturists, can feed the world; however, this is becoming a greater challenge each day. I am getting the sense that food production for our own country and other countries is not a priority. Correct me if I am wrong, food is necessary to sustain human life, is it not?

Also this past week, Food, Inc. came out in theaters attacking our food industry. A counter attack has been formed by some titled Safe Food, Inc. To deliver facts to American consumers.

During my rant this morning, I stumbled across this site I Love Farmers--They Feed My Soul. There was a video under one of the tabs on this site which said the following at the end, "Thank a farmer or rancher. They give a lifetime for you and your family." That made my heart skip a beat.

So at night, when you sit down to say your prayers and thank God for your family and your friends and that you may have a house and/or a job and that you may have food on your table and/or clothes on your back...be sure to thank Him for farmers and ranchers.

A few blogs/sites I watch:
If you have any other interesting sites, please share.

Cheers to farmers and ranchers and the food they provide us with!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday, Monday

I had a great weekend. Spent Friday at the Texas State Jr. Hereford Show. Caught up with some old friends, made a few new ones, and got to hang out with the cows (my favorite part...it was cheaper than seeing a shrink).

It was Fun In The Sun on Saturday at the Texas Reds Festival--a celebration of steak and wine! Tried most of the wine and missed the steak. I'm okay with that...I really enjoy the steak that I am capable of at home--Nebraska Beef and Cavender's Greek Seasoning--mmmmm delicious! It was VERY, VERY hot that afternoon, but Brandi and I persevered.
I've had in my possession a Wine for Dummies book. I've made it through a chapter or two, and I've set it aside for one reason or another. I think I need to get it back out. I went through the tasting on Saturday with this attitude "Fern, do you like it?" I answered "yes" to some, "mmm, okay" to many, and "tastes like tank water" to one that I can remember.

The Los Pinos wines (Sweet Rodeo Red and Pinky Tuscandero--the 2 I tried) were 1) tasty, 2) had adorable names and labels (because that is sooo important), and 3) were affordable (around $15...I have this random philosophy of choosing wines between $9 and $16...although I'm not ashamed to say I've found one that's alright at HEB for $6.95--judge me, I don't care!). The Landon Winery had a Super Texan that was amazing! Unfortunately, it won't be in my personal home selection anytime soon at $49.95. However, their Yellow Rose is $12.99. It's a fun white that the girls and I really liked. Inwood had a Tempranillo-Cabernet that was very good, and like the Landon Super Texas won't be in my collection anytime soon.

It was a unique experience. I had never been to anything like it before, and I would certainly go back. I wish that I had investigated the event website more. I would have loved to watched some of the cooking demonstrations!

Sunday. Newt and I hung out in our little house all by our little selves, and it was spectacular. We got caught up around the house, and I had several "revelations", if you will.
  • I want to go to Ireland
  • I want to see Greece
  • NYC is calling my name
  • Why is it that when people fall asleep and wake up on TV and in the movies that they don't ever look truly disheveled? And, why is it that none of them sleep in T-shirts and boxer shorts like most normal people I know?
  • I love the movie PS I Love You and its soundtrack (I happen to own both)

I also have several thoughts on activists groups this morning, but that deserves its own post!

Be sure to check out the Pioneer Woman's site, if you haven't found it yet. It's amazing. She posts great recipes. I've tried a few, and so far, they have all be tasty and have earned me a compliment or two. Her daily posts are fun, but of course I would think that--most focus around ranch life. She has giveaways! Brandi and I try nearly every week to win something. We have yet to win anything. She's also written the story of how she and her husband met and fell in love. I've read all but the last chapter. I keep telling myself that I'll set aside some time to sit down with a good cup of coffee or glass of wine for the final chapter (so far) of Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.

Back to analyzing, tabling, writing, and hoping for a home, a job, and Peace on Earth.


**Note: I have fixed the comment link on here to make it much easier to comment with fewer hoops to jump through.





Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hodge Podge

A hodge podge of thoughts on a Wednesday:
1) My dad is the greatest...but of course I'm supposed to say this. I inherited many things that make me stunningly similar to this little round man, well little and round...there's two things for my list and the way I walk and talk and my hands and legs and feet...he has a kind heart, and I like to think that mine is from time to time, an appreciation for all things outside and good cows and stout horses, fine scotch and starched jeans...HOWEVER, I DID NOT INHERIT HIS PATIENCE, HIS EVER PRESENT FAITH THAT GOOD WILL ALWAYS COME, AND HIS CALM...nope, it's no where that I can find in myself. I do always feel better after I have a mental overflow and call him. How he hasn't choked me before now is a wonder

Let's just say that there was a meltdown of momentous proportion this morning, but after a phone call with Tubby, the course (although still unknown) is a little smoother

2) Emotional eating is something that I have developed or inherited somewhere, and I really need to learn and practice refocusing away from food. My fave Cajun friend offered lunch as a distraction today, and I kindly accepted after 2.5 emotional eruptions. Now, please follow what I am about to say wisely. Take it to heart. Do as I say, not as I do. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FOLLOW A HIGHLY EMOTIONALLY DISTRAUGHT MORNING WITH A PIZZA BUFFET LUNCH! DO NOT TRY TO CHASE ANXIETY AWAY W/ PIZZA. It's 4:38 pm. I am still full. The needle has not left full. It may be Friday before it reaches 1/2 a tank!

What caused all this emotion you say:
  • A sick dog at 4:30 AM...Newt cannot/should not eat pork, just so you know.
  • Not having a plan post August 1
  • Not having a home or gainful employment post August 1
  • During this meltdown I stopped at an ATM machine and left my card in it...not to worry, I promptly realized this...okay, not so promptly that I went back, I was across town...I was close to the bank, so I ran in--canceled the card, withdrew cash, and requested a new one. The little girl at the bank was so sweet, I think that she could feel my negative energy that was escalated to the power of 10.
Good news, I have found a cool twist to my project. I don't have to do anymore data search and/or data entry (praise Jesus!!!!!). Just some formula changes, a couple of new statistical codes, and I may have something that makes me feel useful. Also, I have developed (hopefully) solutions to my morning of problems that begins with no dead pig for Newt.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm Back

Wow...it's been awhile. Not too much has happened since my last post, except LEVI & LAUREN GOT MARRIED. And, it was beautiful! Brandi and I started our wedding weekend Saturday morning. We packed my car and were careful not to forget what Brandi called "the kit". "The kit" consisted of 2 varieties of vodka, bloody mary mix, gin, tonic, lime, 3 varieties of beer, and a bottle of wine. "The kit" came in more than handy!
We were put right to work upon arrival. We helped to haul the last load of stuff to the reception hall, and little did we know what lay ahead. We set the tables with the linens that Lauren's Dad and Levi had spent the two previous days pressing. We got to help decide the best location for the band and the keg. We got to help in the kitchen. Lauren's mom had taken on the responsibility of the reception meal herself. Family friends were cooking the meat and potatoes according to her recipes. The rest of us were frantically preparing hors d'oeuvres and salads. My station was to prepare these delicious little cucumber slices topped with a mixture of cream cheese, blue cheese crumbles, and coarse ground peppercorns and top that with crispy bacon crumbles. DELICIOUS! Brandi could not believe that the family had taken on such a task of doing the entire wedding reception. I however could. Have you met my mother?!
We swept (drug) Lauren away to get dressed. Brandi and I were more wound up than Lauren, which is not surprising. We got the girl all fancy and in her gown and down the isle! They said "I Do". The reception was BEAUTIFUL. The food was DELICIOUS! I am also confident that everyone had a FABULOUS time. If you went away hungry or didn't have any fun, I'd say that it's your fault!
I did learn several things...always pack a kit (my Cajun friend is so wise), do not panic (the wedding cannot start without a bride), and I should not wear a dress with a sash thing that ties in the back. About that last part--I liked my dress and my fancy shoes. It was a major feat I thought to make it in and out of the restroom without leaving the back of my dress in the top of the Spanxx. I did not account for long bow tails in water...yes, that happened...it was clean toilet water, but it nonetheless happened! Leave it to me! ONLY FERN! I also learned that for my dad's sake, should I ever get married, I should decide on a destination wedding!
The wedding was beautiful! The marriage licence was signed! We all had a great time! It was a great weekend!
12+ hours together and this is the only picture of Brandi, Lauren, and I.
Not too much has happened in the world of Fern this week. I've been writing this dissertation and working on a job application. There was big news back home...A FLOOD! Yeah, that doesn't happen often. The rain is very much appreciated, however, the hail and the torrential water is not! Ditches, fences, and roads washed out. Dad no longer has any wheat. It's still raining...2 days later, it's still raining! I wish that I was home to see it...to see that much water, to see creeks that haven't ran in years, to see cows belly deep in grass! Mom has emailed me pictures...here's one in the hills...yes, that's hail on them there hills (it's not sand, it's not snow, it's hail--dad took this the morning after the storm)
Well, it's back to writing for me!
Tonight is fried fish and boiled shrimp...I'm responsible for the salad. Tomorrow is Saturday Stuff (cleaning, laundry, errands, etc.), but my reward is a free concert in the park. One of my favorite artists, Jason Boland. Lawn chairs, ice chests, snacks, friends...it'll be fabulous, I can feel it!
If anyone wants to send me a white buttermilk cake with butter cream icing, it would be appreciated!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I don't thing I'm dealing w/ Mickey Mouse

Last week a pest control man so kindly brought me mouse bait... I get to the office this morning to find that those little bastards have only eaten the bait by my desk! 6 little bait squares and they eat nearly 1/3 to 1/2 of the one by my desk. The pest man told me that one bite and the little feller would be done for. I am hoping and praying that he/she/they have went and found a more romantic place to meet their maker than in one of my desk drawers. I still don't get the full appeal of my desk. When we discovered the mouse issue earlier this Spring, I was the only one with a desk full of mouse poo. All that I had in my cubical, in my desk, were some cough drops and some Midol. Everyone else has cubbys full of snacks! I guess it's like what they say about dogs and how they find the person that tends to like them least to pester first. Damn them little creatures! I have NEVER liked them. Not in my feed room, not in my barn, not in the ranch truck, not at all...and certainly NOT in my cubicle where I spend more time than my house some days!
**As I write this, I sit @ my desk with the iTunes turned up and my feet up on a stool (which I put them on all the time anyway...it's the pits to be short....when I sit at a desk, my feet dangle...don't like it, so one of my students brought me a stool a few years ago.)

Randoms:
  • Dasani water has these new "unsweetened lightly flavored" waters....they are gross! I tried the Lime Essence this morning. Crap I tell you, it's terrible.
  • Agenda for today: mani/pedi's with Lauren and Brandi to celebrate Lauren's entrance into matrimony this weekend. But that's not all...after nails we are headed to La Bodega for some Mex and AMAZING margarita and if we have any spunk left in us, we'll head to Mad Hatters for $2 Teas on Tuesday...mmmmm, too bad we all need to be productive on Wednesday.
  • I have Fiesta Ware. I like to pick my plate color to go with what I'm eating and what suits my mood at the time. It makes me feel festive or special or something...really you are probably thinking that I'm just "special".
  • My new neighbors have a Beagle. The damn thing barks all of the time. I may find a way to choke a Beagle. The continual barking not only annoys me, but it seems to wear on Newts nerves. We can't have Newton upset.
  • The @ home attempt @ spray tanning is alright so far. Not streaky. Not too spotty. My feet are a little weird, but that happens even @ the tanning place. And, I'm so very thankful that no one can see me while I attempt to spray tan myself.
  • Tomorrow night: Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers acoustic!! Get excited, I am.
  • Saturday: Lauren and Levi's Wedding! I'm gonna be fancy, and I'm unusually excited about that. I have a new dress and everything.
  • Next week: We're stock contractors. Okay, not really, but it's fun to say. We have to take some ewes to a County Fair for the Muttin' Bustin'. AND Jason Boland, for free, in the park! I don't know which I'm more excited about.

I almost forgot...I had a job offer this morning! Dad called. They synchronized cows yesterday. They had them separated from their calves, and in a feed lot pen for the night. He got to the ranch this morning and they had tore down the gate and gotten all mixed up again. He and dog waded though the feed lot mud (we had 1+ inches of rain last night, WHOOP!) and didn't manage to get them sorted again, but they are contained. He told me that I could come home and take over...the pay and benefits weren't that snazzy, but the work was steady. I'm keeping my options open!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Look out Betty Crocker!

I tried not one, but three new recipes this weekend! I tried the Steak Bites recipe I posted awhile back. DELICIOUS! I was right...beef in butter cooked in an iron skillet...AMAZING! Mom mentioned a recent "invention", some kind of salad. It sounded good. I tried it. It's good! Cucumber, tomato, purple onion, red bell pepper, with balsamic vinaigrette. I let all of that soak, I guess the correct term would be marinade. When it was time to serve, I added feta. I am a genius...YUMM-O! That was last night. This morning I got the wild hair to make pancakes and bacon. May not sound difficult to some, but I've never made pancakes before in all of my years. It was a mix, don't let me fool you. But, I did use cream (fat free creamer) instead of milk and added a little vanilla. After I poured each pancake in my skillet, I added blueberries. Such a good idea! If you add them after mixing, the berries stay whole and the batter doesn't get all purpley. My maiden voyage into pancakes was a success. No more will I have to traipse to our favorite brunch spot. Ya'll bring me bloody marys, I'll whip up some blueberry pancakes! Late this afternoon, I got the random urge to whip up some fried chicken. I've never made that before either. Like the pancakes, I must have had beginners luck on my side. What a great summery supper....fried chicken, my cucmber etc. salad, and an ear of sweet corn! Of course, I had a glass or two (or three) of Crystal Light lemonade. Sorry that just read like a diet diary (not really like a diet--there was butter and oil and bacon and pancakes). I am so excited about my culinary attempts and their positive outcomes.
It's Sunday night, and it was a good weekend. Nothing special...no wild stories to report...no big crowds, but it was a good weekend. My house is clean. I never made it out to clean the car. Something about 90+ degree weather doesn't make the task that appealing. It has to get done this week...Acura wedding weekend road trip! Lauren's getting married on Saturday. I have a foxy dress, some swanky shoes, Spanxx (man those things rock!), and a can of spray on tanner from Wal-mart that I pray works (I'd appreciate ya'll's prayers as well...) because I really don't want to spend the 20-something bucks to get sprayed at the tanning place. Although it's a somewhat necessary expense...the skin on my feet and legs is past pastey...it's transparent!
Friday night, Brandi made supper, we drank wine, and we watched the movie "New in Town". WATCH IT! I still giggle to think about it!
Have a great week! I have tables to make like you would not believe, but that means there is an end to statistical analysis...if it's not one thing it's another!

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's Friday!

Pisces
February 19 - March 20
Seek out the beautiful and marvelous today, dear Pisces! It is one of those times when the cheap and shoddy just won't do. You need the Rolls Royce to take you to the ball tonight, not the beat-up lemon that barely chugs along. Travel in style and dress as if you are flying first-class all the way. There is a boisterous social element to the day that should make your waking hours pleasurable and possibly very romantic.


I have my horoscope on MyMSN page, which is my internet homepage. This is today's.

Will someone please tell me what this means?!?! Seek out the beautiful and marvelous...well, I shouldn't look in the mirror then! It's a glasses, t-shirt, and tennies day. Yes, mom, I did put on make up (very minimal, but it's there!). The Acura is amazing, and she is not a lemon! Travel in style and dress as if you are flying first-class all the way. We've already covered this...not happening. possibly very romantic...who writes this crap?! I'm not going to sit around and wait, I've got stats to run and tables to make and a job application to file...Fern has things to do, and I'm gonna go do them now! Have a great weekend!

To do this weekend:
  • Clean/Laundry
  • Find shoes for Lauren's Wedding
  • Find Lauren and Levy Wedding Gift
  • Think scientifically and work on this dissertation
  • Clean the Acura

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 Cup Shortening
3/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
3 TBSP Milk
1 TBSP Vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 Cup Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/3 cups (8 oz pkg) Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits, divided

Heat oven to 375 F. Beat shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add egg; beat just until blended. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup toffee bits; reserve remainder for topping. Drop by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet; top each with reserved toffee bits. Bake 7-8 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. About 3 dozen cookies.

  • I use butter instead of shortening and cream instead of milk
  • the Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits are hard to find, but I have had success with the Toffee Bits (1 Cup) and Milk Chocolate Chips (1 Cup)
  • DO NOT OVER BAKE! These seem to over bake really easily

These are delicious! I hope that you enjoy them as much as my friends and I have!

No, I have not Forgotten...

Howdy! I haven't forgotten. Thursday through Sunday last week I took a little "vacation". I was at the barn on campus...preparing for a lamb sale. Yes, it's true. It was great! It's one of my favorite weekends of the entire year, and it's definitely on my top ten things I will miss when/if I ever leave here list! There was four days of good food, good friends, good laughs, and oh yeah, there were sheep. Most everyone worked hard, but we also focused on the food and the fun too. My computer was in the shop, so I really didn't feel overly guilty for playing for 4 days! I slung hash, went on beverage runs, watered sheep, made sheep pens, ran to the mall for sale day wardrobe advice, ran random errands (4 consecutive trips to Tractor Supply)...I was your all-around gal. I even offered to wash sheep. Friday was amazing...we relaxed, we ate, we ate, we ate some more...and of course we had to wash down all of that delicious barbecue (Hops farmers everywhere were thanking us). They made ribs and pork loin and potatoes and jalapeno poppers. I made cookies, yes, the famous Heath Bits Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe to follow at the end of this post). The ribs fell off the bone. The pork loin was stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon...I know, how can anything with added cream cheese and wrapped in bacon not be good! And, my cookies lasted from noon to nightfall. Sunday was Sale Day, and it went well. Sarah and I ran the books and they worked! Everything came out! Closeout was near painless when compared to previous years. It was a decent day. We celebrated Memorial Day and the end of a good week with brisket and sausage and beans and potatoes and German Chocolate Cake and Sangria Wine, etc. My culinary abilities are essentially famous around these parts! (or so I like to think) Don't think I was responsible for all of this food...only the Sangria and the cake on Sunday. It was a FABULOUS four days with my sheep family!

I need to get to making some tables, but a few things first:
  • Don't go shopping when you are hungry--I did last night and came home with a whole rotisserie chicken and some crappy dip
  • Above bullet point reminds me of a quote I read once, "Don't look to find men in a bar, it's like grocery shopping when you are hungry, you bring home things you don't need.
  • I still have a mild obsession with Crystal Light lemonade
  • They put mouse bait out in my office today, which will hopefully alleviate one problem...mice, but create another...dead mice

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Case of the Mondays!

Unfortunately, I have a case of the Mondays...

After a short chat with my major professor, I am bummed. This damn research project may be the death of me... After what seems like years, but is only months, it's not going to be as earth shattering as I'd hoped...no wonder no one wants to hire me... It's true folks, I peaked somewhere around the age of 11.

My computer has a hic-up today...I hope that it is only the crappy network, as I don't want to pay the $35 diagnostic fee + whatever they have to do to it + $50 rush fee because I don't want to/can't really wait 3 to 5 days! I've ran virus scan and will start a de-frag shortly, so wish me luck!! I'd be better off losing a kidney instead of this computer at present.

My weekend started off with a bang and ended with a thud! I spent Friday lunch with Stanley and Johnny D at Wings-n-More...ate too many fried pickle chips, hot wings, chicken fingers, and curly fries...but man was it delicious. The company was absolutely amazing too! Friday night started slow at the Chicken and the longer we were there, the more our little group grew. What started out as an evening saying "We won't stay out too late..." ended late. After a refreshing breakfast of chorizo and eggs on Saturday morning, I started out for a backyard birthday bash at an old friends. I never made it. Torrential rains had me turning around and heading for home. IT WAS HORRIBLE!! I had to drive through water over the road (no less than 3 times). I couldn't turn around because my decision to use the GPS "to see where this takes me" had me on a road without shoulders and a lot of trees and low spots!! I was stressed about the weather, pissed about the party, and all the while I had great hair and makeup! Made it back to town to find some beer and catch the horse race! What a race! Girl power! Sunday left me sleeping in, feeling flu-ish (NO, not the brown bottle kind), doing some laundry, and hanging out with Newt the Best Dog Ever.

Now it's Monday. Back in the Saddle and ready to spur this horse into the finish line, but my horse seems to buck more and spin than run forward. Hell, I'd be happy if this pony would walk out...nope, this dissertation and I are just limpin along!

Good news...
  • THE BEAN IS IN!! Hopefully I'll have a report sooner than later.
  • Lamb Sale is this week! For some reason this has become one of my favorite weekends of the whole year! Good friends. Good sheep. Good food. Cold beer. Really now?? And, I've gotten the wild hair to make Peanut Butter Heath Cookies...they are yummy and famous at the Sheep Unit! If I get industrious (if I remember) I'll put up a recipe. They are one of the things I do really well (I can provide references if necessary!)
  • I SO recommend the Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb Series! (thank you Katy Pat for the recommendation). They are perfect for taking my brain from stats and science to fiction at the end of a crazy day!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Its a GREAT day!!! Wings n More lunch with 2 old friends!!! Fern's heart is smiling!!
Wishing everyone a FABULOUS weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Randoms

It's been awhile since my last post. I've been contemplating how to entertain my following with my bits of wit...okay, that's crap...I've been up to my elbows in data crunching in my cubicle. Oh no, I'm not done, just taking a break.

Over the course of the past week my obsession with Crystal Light Lemonade has also morphed into an extreme like of Diet Lemonade from Chick-fil-A. It's SO good!

It's graduation weekend here, and I am so glad. It's the end of another semester, and the majority of them all go away for the summer! Bliss! No traffic. No waiting in line at the grocery store, at restaurants, anywhere.

I made the most amazing supper the other night, and none of it really went together. I grilled a piece of Tilapia. It was okay. I'm not very good at cooking fish (I've been told that I grill the best steak ever, but fish...no), nor am I very excited about cooking for one. To go with my fish I made steamed broccoli (the new Ziploc steamer bags are AMAZING!), corn on the cob, and sauteed mushrooms. Completely random, but oh so delicious. I confirmed that I need more practice cooking fish, that Tony's seasoning should not be used on fish, and that one should not attempt to eat corn on the cob while on the couch--it makes for a mess. I followed my main course with reduced fat vanilla ice cream and berries...YUM! I've eaten so many strawberries lately, I may just turn into one!

The new bed is still amazing!

I really like this time of year. I really DISLIKE the increasing temperatures and the elevated levels of humidity. But, I do really, really like the season of fresh produce. My fridge is full of fresh fruits and veggies. Heavy on the fruit, and I know that's not as good as the veggies. Man, I just love the berries and the watermelon and the pineapple. Along these lines, I am going to so miss the Farm Patch (a little local produce market) and HEB (only, the best grocery store ever!) should I leave Texas.

Speaking of food...I have found a recipe that I cannot wait to try. It combines two of my absolute favorite things BEEF and BUTTER! I stumbled across it on the Pioneer Woman's site. Check it out--she has a really neat page! Look at this recipe and tell me that your mouth doesn't water.....Steak Bites

Unfortunately I have little to report where the MJF book is concerned...my evenings have went like this...leave school between 7 and 8, get home to eat and decompress with wine and TV, shower and bed. My brain is fried after a day of data!!

I've only eaten out once this week! (Thanks Lauren!) I needed to get away more than I needed to eat!

The Bean is en route to my Wal-mart store!! I'm getting excited!

Have a fabulous weekend! I hope to take a little drive around Texas, and spend some time with an old friend. I also need to find black patent pumps to go with my fancy dress for a wedding on June 6 (thank you Lauren for not making me cut cake!). Then there's always laundry and a quick sprucing up of the casa and playing with Newt (the best dog ever) and moving forward on this darned dissertation!

Peace, Love, and Lemonade!
~Fern

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pisces
February 19 - March 20
Unfortunately you can't measure love the way you would the stock market, dear Pisces. And it's all right if that scares you a little, because you know that you have to work at something if you want to make it happen in your life. We all need to have the courage to try new things. So, yes you will find love in your life, but as to whom you will 'invest' with and how much you will 'invest,' you won't find out until the big day. Be patient, you won't be disappointed.

So that was my horoscope this morning on myMSN...funny, as I made blog notes last night while I was watching Grey's Anatomy (and weeping). The episode focused on "the best day" and how one doesn't know what their "best day" is until it is here and gone, and those "best days" are those that are ordinary and filled with our favorite people and often just little things. I agree with this...and I'm anxious for more "best days". Funny how when you want one...it never shows up, but when you are least expecting it...there it is!! Even funnier is how my horoscope lines up with this....

After Grey's I tuned into the Michael J. Fox "Always Looking Up" special. He is an amazing individual! I especially liked his shout out to the farmer! I was frightened by Bill Murray's freakishly white-blonde hair. While I was scared of the hair, a man with PD was golfing amazingly well...during this golf game MJF says, "It's not about winning, but about accepting yourself." This was appropriate, but hard to swallow. I LIKE TO WIN! I do need to be more accepting of myself, but I like to win!! So, I'm going to set out to win the races I can!! (Which is obviously not the race to get a job, the race to finish a dissertation, the race to have the cleanest most immaculate house, or the slimmest sleekest gal you know)...damn, I'm severely defeated!

During commercials, I read the new Glamour magazine that came in the mail (and playing with Newt) and I read about budgeting...I did so well from January through March, but I fell off of the wagon and it ran me over sometime in March until now. No Starbucks or pedicures and limit the lunches out. More importantly, I learned that hips are in!! I think that they should have put that on the front cover! Lastly...I read that the #1 most romantic line of all time comes from one of my favorite movies, "When Harry Met Sally". I guess I'm still waiting for the rest of my life to start...but I've got a lot to do in the meantime.

Random Friday thoughts....
  • Brandi hates me, as she has discovered The Pioneer Woman site through this blog...if you haven't stopped in to meet the Pioneer Woman, I encourage you to do so...but make sure you have a block of time and a diet coke because you'll be there for awhile
  • I'm walking for a while tonight in Relay for Life in remembrance of Dr. Edwards
  • I have a recently developed obsession with Crystal Light lemonade
  • I ordered The Bean this week and it has been shipped...stay tuned for results and report of The Bean workout
Have a good weekend!
~SFC

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Looking Up!

The day started slow...okay, so I slept later than I wanted to which puts me in an odd kind of a mood. As I'm hurrying out of the house, what should run out from under my car--across my path but this damn black neighborhood cat. I spit (all over myself) right away (darn superstition...who ever told me to spit probably did to make me look like a moron!).

Speaking of morons (oh wait, that's me)...I got a text message from the Putz today and it has totally perked up my morning! Maybe I should explain...one of my oldest and dearest friends and I had an odd obsession with the movie "Grumpy Old Men" while we were in high school. We would literally recite the lines with the actors, and eventually my mother banned us from watching it (okay, so she tried). Somehow through all of this I became the morn, and a naturally she became the putz. We had a rally of texts going this morning that had me belly laughing in my car, which was likely dangerous on several counts. We talked of diets and cancer and peanut butter rolls from the bakery and me too often falling on my hiney...its all intertwined I promise. Scary I know!

I did read the introduction to Always Looking Up before nodding off last night, and honestly, I'll probably have to read it again tonight to get the full effect.

The job hunt is once again frustrating today. I've been informed of this phantom job posting no less than 3 times since I woke up and I CAN'T FIND IT ANYWHERE! (hence phantom...).

One of my students pointed out an ultimate time waster this morning http:\\textsfromlastnight.com. Oh my goodness...it's hilarious! Hit the site if you need some mindless fodder. It is soon to become a fave of graduate students far I wide I would estimate...only to fight with Facebook, You Tube, and FML...or if you are in my office any and all show livestock websites (shows, sales, farm Web pages, etc.)...please do not think that I am guilty of utilizing all of these myself, I am not! However, in an office of seven you see all kinds!

Back to data analysis!!

~SFC

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Always Looking Up...maybe I'll try this


I used to be an upbeat spunky soul...I don't know when or how it happened...okay I might...and I think that cubicle life is taking a small toll on my psyche...not to worry I'M LOOKING FOR SUNSHINE! The other day I was in Target. As I passed by the books, I noticed the new Michael J Fox book Always Looking Up. I bought it. I am in need of new reading material, and I think that I'll start there this evening. I'll let ya know how it goes.

It Brightened My Day


Thank You my "sister" and her family for brightening my day!! I GOT FLOWERS TODAY!!! Trust me, this NEVER happens!! And, they just happen to be one of my "right now" colors...orange! What started out as a "off" day turned up when the flower man came. I didn't sleep well. No, it wasn't the new mattress or my Cinco de Mayo activities of yesterday. I think I just had a lot on my mind. Received yet more rejection in the mail yesterday...I am jobless, soon to be homeless... Also, my dad had a skin cancer spot removed from his neck this morning. They have been telling me that it is not much to worry about...I'm worrying damnit! Its times like this that make me question my Texas-ness. Don't get me wrong, I've loved my time here and the friends and "family" that I have made here, but it sucks being so far from home!

I did get up and get myself together today...haven't done a lot of that lately. And...I have made very little forward progress where my academic life is concerned and that itself is problematic. I have been very easily sidetracked lately and unfocused...funny thing though, I get like this and all of a sudden motivation will hit me and I'll make major progress...why, how does this happen!! I have a potential meeting tomorrow afternoon if not Friday with my major professor...gotta get a move on!!

Long story short...thanks Jamie, Jeff, and girls for the flowers...just what I needed to add some spunk to a crummy day.

Stay tuned...on this evening's agenda...bowling! Also, please watch for a recommended reading list in future postings and Ferns Fave Shows...I know, I need to study more and get a life!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Glory of Catchin Some zzzzzz's

I made a big girl purchase this weekend. I bought a new mattress on Friday. They delivered it on Saturday. I have slept amazingly ever since! It was a very adult purchase, but I was was careful in my research and I tried several stores in town. I did try no less than 5 mattress stores in town, and returned to the first because they 1-were the most reasonable in price and 2-had the friendliest and most helpful staff. I upgraded to a queen, and so far the only difference I've noticed is that there's less room in my room. As I upgraded, I had to upgrade some of my bedding. Through this process I have learned this DO NOT BUY CHEAP SHEETS! The cheap sheets will itch you! I have since replaced the itchy sheets with some that I found that are much softer...no, they are not 500 count Egyptian cotton, but they are cute (brown and cream giraffe print) and sateen finish! This bed purchase, like most things I do was rather dramatic. This should not be surprising to those of you who know me well. Yes, the bed was delivered and assembled by two college students who looked like they should've been working at the local beer joint, but hey--I didn't have to do it myself. After they left I decided that I needed to put it on lifts for more under bed storage space...Amber and Sam came to help me do that and install the bed skirt. The bed was so tall I needed a stool to get there! After two nights of literally climbing into bed and two mornings considering parachuting out of bed, I shopped around for lower bed lifts. I found some and I changed them out myself. Thank goodness I was by myself...that would have been some bad YouTube footage! Last night sleep was AMAZING!!! New sheets on a lower, much better bed...life was good...until the alarm went off! I went to my what seems weekly visit to the chiropractor this morning and my doctors were amazed at the improvement since last week...YAY FOR THE NEW MATTRESS!! And, I about forgot to mention, the fabric covering the mattress has ferns on it...obviously, this bed was meant for me!

The mattress wasn't the only good thing to happen to me this weekend. I cleaned my house, and it was much needed!! In the process I found some things that I forgot that I had. I bagged up some stuff for Goodwill. I also have come to the conclusion that my father may well have a stroke when he discovers how much stuff that I have accumulated that he will have to help me move soon. I also need to join a purse lovers anonymous group (if they have one!).

On Saturday, I had my hair done and my girl did a FABULOUS job. I haven't colored it in nearly a year, and I was feeling in a funk so I did my hair. Its great, if I say so myself! I cleaned some more, bought the needed things for the new bed, and the bed was delivered. Some friends and I cooked dinner that night and it was a great time with good friends and good food! After dinner we were all nearly asleep on the couch watching some movie on TV when the girls went to Walgreen's! At Walgreen's we bought a box of hair dye, a Cosmo, face masks, head bands, and some lip balm, oh yeah, and a bottle of $7 champagne. We dyed Brook's hair while we read the Cosmo aloud and wore our face masks. When Get-Ur-Beauty-On was over...we played Rock band with the guys. I was the singer. Many of you know that I am not a singer...it was not pretty...but, I surprisingly had a great time (I nearly lost my voice). It was a good day, and until then, I hadn't had one in quite awhile.

On Sunday, I slept later than I wanted to (more cleaning), and went to breakfast with friends. I had pancakes and bacon at the Mexican restaurant...delicious! I was also able to indulge on one of my favorite combinations: coffee with chips and salsa. That afternoon, I went to a fish fry hosted for two friends that are getting married next month. It was a GREAT afternoon with good friends, good food, and cold beer!

I really need to get to work on this dissertation that is looming over my head...progress has been really slow as of late. Why is it that inspiration comes in waves, as does productivity??

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Green Movement

I was just shopping. I bought one of the new "green" reusable shopping bags...the clerk bagged up all of my things, including the new reusable shopping bag in plastic bags....hmmmm

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Beginning....

The idea to create a blog began on my trip home for Easter. By the time I reached the airport in Denver, I had a list of things written down that I wanted to include in this first blog. Since then, I haven't had time to get started...I'm making time now. Okay, really, I'm just procrastinating, but we'll get to blogging....

The Classy Traveler

The trip began with me driving to the airport and parking. I have never done this all by myself, therefore, this was a mini-milestone for me. I parked, I gathered my stuff, I had all of my bags attached to one another and was wheeling away towards the shuttle bus stop. Now, I should mention that I was dressed relatively cute, and this is worth mentioning because my typical travel attire usually involves windpants, etc. Once I'm at the bus stop, the bus arrives, Mr. Bus Driver gets off to carry my bag on and allows me up the stairs in front of him...I fall up the stairs...I eat $%#@...face plant...oh yeah...I'm just thankful that it was the stairs and not the isle of the bus. I tried to regain some composure, but the 115% humidity was preventing me from doing so.
I was flying Southwest, therefore, seating was a free-for-all. I didn't know that one can check in online up to 24 hours prior to flight time and not wind up in Boarding Group C...which is where I always seemed to be. Since I was 1) in boarding group C and 2) traveling alone, I had to take any empty seat. I had a choice, between some lady and some guy OR beside a young couple with not one but two babies...I took my chances with the lady and the guy. Should've went with the babies.... They did allow the me the isle seat and didn't make me sit between them, but oh my goodness...they had three children from 10 to approx 16 sitting in front of us that bickered as siblings do...the mother did her best to control them from our row while the dad had headphones on and ignored his wife and kids (frankly, I didn't blame him as they were seeping though my iPod tunes). They then had a picnic on the plane...a picnic of smelly sandwiches! I look to the isle in an attempt to avoid the smelly Subway and find the lady across the isle with her shoes off...EWWWW! I know that it doesn't say anywhere..."don't bring smelly goodies on the plane and don't take your shoes off" but really.... although, it should say in flight attendant manuals everywhere "wear deodorant as not to offend the passengers"! As all of this is happening, I am listening to my iPod and reading a book attempting to maintain, when what comes next on the shuffle setting on the iPod--Rodney Carrington. Granted, I am the only one that can hear him, but I am pretty sure that I blushed and changed the song just so no one else would know that here I sit listening to "Titties and Beer" or other such RC nonsense. The plane lands and all is well until some grouchy old bastard behind me is yelling, "DON'T STOP JUST KEEP GOING!!!" Like I was going to plow over the people in front of me to let his geriatric self off of the plane, excuse me--but NO. I made it to baggage claim and later home where no one was surprised by the tales I had to tell.