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 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!