Monday, August 30, 2010

Pregnant Pandemic

In case you don't catch on to a theme, I have a lot dreams about pregnancy and miscarriages and babies dying.  It's sick, I know, and I don't know what the root of the problem is.  But, last night I had yet another pregnancy dream and it was not full of happiness.

The dream started out on campus with several pregnant women getting very sick. After many doctor visits and test, it was determined that these women had a new disease never before discovered and it was catching on rapidly with other pregnant women.  There were so many women out spreading the disease, unknowingly, that they all  had to be quarantined in the fine arts building on campus.  This was turning into a pandemic.  Our Health Services nurse, along with the students in the Nursing Department, spent day and night in the fine arts building caring for these ladies.  Not even their spouses or other family could come visit them in the make-shift hospital. 

I did go over to check the scene out and, while there, I spoke with a woman lying on a gurney who grabbed my hand and pleaded, "You have to help us.  If you don't, no one will."  There were not enough skilled physicians helping the victims and no one else was doing anything productive, so I took it upon myself to do something about the rapidly spreading disease. 

In my office, I picked up the phone and started calling every doctor's office in the country.  "We need some good Christian nurses to take care of these women.  We need God in that place to lift the spirits and nurses and doctors to physically heal them."  After receiving turndown after turndown, I started pleading that they could send any nurses or doctors, they didn't have to be Christians.  I'd find Christian non-nurses to take care of the spiritual healing that needed to be done. 

That's about the point my alarm went off.  Alarming right?  That dream was definitely a doozy and much too realistic.  I don't ever want to have that type of dream again.  Ever.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ski Slope

The strangest thing has happened since I started this blog; I have stopped having cohesive dreams.  Before, they were very story-like, theatrical and dramatic.  Now, I am still dreaming, but only in short bursts and I can only remember little bits.  While this is kind of a plus because they aren't freaking me out so much, I have less things to write about. 

Last night's dream was a lot more in depth, just like the old days. In this dream, I was traveling to Durant to go check out their brand new indoor ski slope.  In reality, there is no ski slope in Durant.  Not even close.  But, in my dream there was and I was going to see what it was all about.

My coworker, Joe, desperately wanted to go, but I didn't want anything to do with him (remember him from "Getting Remarried?"), so I was trying to be real sketchy and secretive about the whole thing. I went to Durant by myself, got all dressed in my insulated white ski jacket, rented my skis and headed to the slope.  I stood at the top of the extremely large hill and gazed at the path before me.  It was not at all what I expected.  It was covered in moguls and dips and turns and was going to be a difficult feat.  I took a deep breath, preparing to go on this ride.  Just then, Joe showed up.  He pulled up right beside me and just grinned his really creepy grin.  I immediately took off, hoping to lose him for good.  I swerved through the moguls, swung around the curves and dipped and ducked with all my might, but Joe still caught up with me.  I started digging my poles into the ground and praying for more speed.  His little beady eyes and disturbing smirk were really beginning to give me the willies. 

Just as he was about to be neck-and-neck with me, Tate came out of nowhere and, upon catching up with Joe,  threw down his poles and shoved Joe with all his might.  The shove sent Joe tumbling ski over head down the slope.  It was a complete yardsale.  Tate and I reached the bottom of the slope and stood over Joe.  I could tell what would happen next was not going to be pretty.  So, I woke up.

I'm sure the part about Joe and Tate stemmed from a conversation Tate and I had at dinner last night.  The ski slope in Durant, though, totally came out of nowhere.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oatmeal Crispy Cookies

I'm absolutely addicted to these cookies.  Seriously.  It's bad.  All my weight gain will definitely stem from these little oatmeal crispy cookies.  I grew up making oatmeal cookies and they were always pretty good.  I discovered this recipe and threw my old one out.  They are super easy to make and I actually keep some dough in the freezer so I don't use it all at once.  The recipe makes around 55 cookies or so, so you may want to put half the dough up for later use, too. 

Okay, they aren't the prettiest cookies.  But, who cares when they are complete and total bliss in your mouth?

1 cup Shortening (Crisco)
1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 cup Sugar
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
3 cups Oats
½ cups Chopped Pecans

Preparation Instructions
In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening with both sugars until well combined.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs together. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Add to the shortening/sugar mixture and mix well.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix carefully into the egg/shortening mixture until well combined. Now add the oats and mix well again. Finally, add the pecans and mix well to combine.

Divide the dough in half and place each half of the dough onto a sheet of waxed paper. Roll the dough into a log, about 1-1/2" in diameter, and then wrap it tightly in the waxed paper. Now you can either chill or freeze the dough until later or you can go ahead and slice the dough evenly into cookie rounds.

When you are ready to bake them, place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until they are golden brown.  If they are frozen, don't worry about thawing them out first, just bake them and extra minute or two. 

BBQ Chicken Pizza

For the last couple of days, all I could think about was how much I wanted homeade pizza.  I'd never made it before, but I wanted it and I was determined to find an awesome recipe to make into my own.  I found a recipe for BBQ Chicken Pizza and it was a definite success!  Here you go:

Crust Ingredients
1 teaspoon Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
1-½ cup Warm Water
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅓ cups Olive Oil

2 Chicken Breasts
BBQ sauce
Fresh Mozzarella
Shredded Parmesan
Parsley (dried or fresh)

Preparation Instructions
Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it.

Note: it’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

When you are ready to make the pizza, grab HALF the pizza dough (recipe makes 2 crusts) and squeeze the dough toward the bottom to form a nice, tight, pulled ball. You can roll out the pizza with a rolling pin if you’d like, but sometimes it’s just as easy to throw it around and pull and stretch till it feels right. And when the crust is nice and thin, lay it on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and spread it with your fingers. Very lightly sprinkle some salt on the crust.

While this is going on, coat the chicken in BBQ sauce and put in the oven for approximately 25 minutes.  When done, chop into small pieces. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Top crust with BBQ sauce, mozzarella slices (can use shredded) and then the BBQ chicken.  Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.  After removing the pizza from the oven, finish it off with parsley and parmesan.  Yum. 

I still have half the crust dough left and Tate is begging me to make Buffalo Chicken Pizza.  It doesn't sound very good to me, but if that's what he wants, that's what he gets . . . on half the pizza.  I'm going to make the other half a regular cheese pizza.  I'll let you know how it turns out!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shot the A/C

Well, if you know me at all, you know I have terrible eye sight. Absolutely awful.  On top of this, my right eye has some kind of allergy that is prohibiting me from wearing contacts or seeing well at all, so I've been stuck wearing my glasses, which doesn't exactly thrill me. 

A couple of nights ago, I decided I was going to shoot my bow using Tate's handy-dandy indoor shooting range.  Tate had spent several days cutting arrows down for my bow and fletching them with purple veins, and I was excited to try them out.  Tate was still working on something in the living room, so he didn't hover over me while I was preparing to shoot.  I thought that I would be able to see just as well with my glasses on as with my contacts, but I was so wrong.  When I tried to focus on the pin and the target, I was having a very hard time making sense of what was what  through all the blurriness.  I focused on what I thought was the middle of the target and let the arrow fly.  Instead of hearing the normal dull thud of the arrow hitting the target, I heard a much louder, sharper ping.  I slowly lowered the bow and looked to the target for my arrow, still hoping, maybe, it was there. 

When I realized that my arrow was not at all on the target -- anywhere -- I let out an exasperated, "Oh, no."  At this point, Tate still didn't know what was going on, so I quietly laid my bow and remaining arrows on the washing machine and tip-toed into the mother-in-law room where the target was located.  I looked around the room for the black-and-white striped arrow and found the purple veins sticking out of the window unit.  Now, before you scoff too much, the target was white and overlapping the window unit, and, interestingly enough, the window unit is not in the window at all, it's mounted in the lower bottom of the wall.  So, for someone who can't see at all, it's easy to get confused.  Luckily, the sawed-off arrow went through the very bottom of the a/c and didn't hurt it. 
Now, I had to tell Tate.  I jerked the arrow out of the a/c frame and shook my head as I saw the split wood.  The tip had been shoved far into the arrow.  I very slowly started to trudge back to the living room.  With my head hanging low and my eyes barely lifting up, I handed Tate the arrow and explained what happened.  Contrary to my prior judgement, he didn't get mad or yell or chastise.  He simply asked, "Are you going to put this on Facebook?"  Of course I didn't put it on Facebook!  Everyone reads Facebook!  I'm sharing it with you, though, because not many read my blog and you get a deeper look into my life, anyway. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blonde Brownies

A couple of nights ago after Tate and I had finished dinner, he asked me to make some dessert.  I was running a little low on groceries, so I scrounged my cookbooks to find something I could make with the ingredients I had on hand.  In the box of recipes my mother-in-law had given me I found a card for Blonde Brownies.  I thought they would definitely be perfect, and they were.  After they came out of the oven, Tate and I inhaled them.  So, be warned, you can't have just one!  Here's the recipe:

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup margarine
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 & grease a 13"x9" pan (If I'd been smart, I would have used my "perfect brownie" pan.  If you don't have one, definitely look into that investment.).  Combine flour, baking powder & salt.  Melt butter, remove from heat.  Stir in sugar, eggs & vanilla.  Mix in dry ingredients & nuts.  Spread into pan & bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Dear Tate

So I've been married, what, nearly five months now. I'm still discovering new things about Tate everyday and he never ceases to amaze me. Everything new he does makes me laugh. A friend once told us if we had a reality show he'd watch it. Tate would be the only amusing thing on the show. I just want to share some of the humorous things he does.
He moved a calf into our backyard. We have seven acres of pasture that this black monster could roam around freely on, but Tate insists she's little enough to get out of the pipe fencing. So, Precious (named by Tate's grandma) rules the backyard, cohabitating the space with Boomer, our lab/pit mix (and no, he ain't pretty) and terrorizing Rumor, my toy poodle, each time she goes out to potty/play. Another thing Precious does? She stands right outside my window at night and moos. Yep. She hasn't been too bad about it since she's settled in, but it still drives me nuts every time.

One night I hopped in the shower after dinner so I could relax the rest of the night and just chill on the couch with my man. --Oh, this story has nothing to do with Precious, by the way.--As I began to lather up my hair with my favorite shampoo I started to smell bleach. I thought surely I was mistaken, but it started to grow stronger. I jumped out of the shower and started yelling for Tate. He ran into the bathroom and I told him that the water smelled like bleach.

Tate smiled a little devilish smile and said, "Huh. So you can smell that?" He had poured bleach into the well to clean it out, but didn't think he had put enough in there to do anything, definitely not smell it, so he didn't bother with telling me. So, I had to finish washing my hair with bleach water.

After I took my bleach shower, I laid on the couch and let Tate administer an ear candle. Now, if you have never done this there are some things you need to know for this story to really be of any use. You stick the candle through a paper plate to catch the ashes and then you lay on your side, light the sucker on fire and let it take off crackling. Someone needs to be there to watch the progress because you can't see what's going on. I mean, it's stuck in your ear.

So, Tate was assigned to watching the candle. I made the mistake of allowing him to watch the Outdoor Channel while I was under his watch. He gets entirely way too into watching someone else shoot a deer. After a little bit I started to feel the heat. I tugged on Tate's shirt and told him my ear was getting really hot. As he turned around, his eyes got huge and he started to move very quickly.

"Get it out! It's on fire!" He scrambled to get the plate away from my hair, which I could see was basically engulfed in flames. And yes, it did get all the way to my hair. Had it not been for my hair still being damp from the bleach shower a little while earlier, all of my hair would have been gone, as well as my scalp. Ouch. After it was over Tate had a good laugh about it. He is no longer allowed to supervise ear candeling or anything to do with fire and me. He did once hold my face over the fire. I wasn't happy about it, but I would have probably left him if I was left with no eyebrows. And by the way, if you've never used an ear candle but are thinking about it, and I definitely suggest it under the right supervision, be sure to cut it open at the end. It's super gross, but you can see all the good work the candle did with extracting your ear wax.

Well, Tate hasn't done anything overly interesting since then, although he is always up to something. He has been getting up at 4:00 a.m. to go to work for a couple of weeks, so he normally beats me home in the afternoons. When I got home around 5:30 yesterday evening, I couldn't find Tate on the couch fletching arrows, so I went to look for him. I found him in the laundry room with bow in hand. He had constructed an indoor (bow) shooting range that stretched from the laundry room, through the "Man Cave" and into the mother-in-law room. Through the maze of doors sat the target, blocked off from sunlight, as Tate had covered all the windows with blankets and perfectly arranged each part.

People keep telling me I should put my foot down, but I think Tate is too cute. Besides, I may take advantage of the setup to get me a chance at this big daddy that we snapped pics of last yar. And, you know, if this is what makes him happy, then I am more than willing oblige. Each moment with Tate is a true adventure and I can't wait to see where each day takes us.

15 Weeks Pregnant

Don't be too schocked or excited, I'm not really 15 weeks pregnant.  I'm not pregnant at all, actually, in real life.  In my dream last night, though, I was indeed 15 weeks with child. 

It all started when I began to have really bad stomache pains and it wasn't anything I had ever experienced before.  Along with some other strange symptoms, the pains were beginning to make me worry about what was going on in my strange little body.   So, I decided to go see my doctor.  Dr. Berty was my physician at the time.  This is funny if you know me because Dr. Berty was the Vice President of my department and just finished her last day at our university on Friday before moving on to a new job.  So, while she is in fact an academic doctor, she is by no means a medical doctor -- in real life, but she was in my dream.  Confusing you yet? 

Anywho .  .  .  I went to visit Dr. Berty at her clinic which was decorated in a hunting lodge theme.  I was later to learn that she shared the clinic with several male doctors who also doubled as hunters.  That's completely irrelevant, but it's something I vividly remember.  So, Dr. Berty ran many tests on me and when she re-entered the room she smiled and said, "Congratulations, you are 15 weeks pregnant."

My jaw dropped to the floor and I was utterly speechless.  I just stared at her in shock and disbelief.  I wanted kids, but not now.  Not this soon.  I looked down at my stomache, and noticed for the first time that my protruding pudge was actually a baby bump.  All this time I had just chalked my slight weight gain to my good cooking.  I was dumbfounded.

Dr. Berty continued, "Now there is a slight problem, which is causing all the stomache pain.  The baby is not sitting right.  I'm going to give you some medicine and some therapy to try.  But, if we can't get that baby to move positions, we are going to have to take it early.  Very early.  If we don't, both you and the baby are at a very high risk of death."  The only thing that I was able to respond with were questions about her qualifications and if I could go back to Dr. Gross because he's the only doctor I trust. 

After she assured me that she could handle the stituation, but she had my blessing if I felt more comfortable with my previous doctor, I continued to stare in sheer incredulity.  I became terrified.  Tears were welling up.  She suggested I call Tate right away to come into the office so she could speak with him, as well.  Now, Tate was with my parents, who were on their way to get me so we could go to a family outing.  So, when they arrived, Tate ran in the office while my parents waited in the car.  Poor Tate had no idea what was going on, so when he heard the news, like me, he stood there in shock.  His bright green eyes nearly tripled in size and his jaw hung open.  He limply slid into the seat beside me and listened intently to Dr. Berty's instructions. 

We slowly exited the doctor's office when the discussion was finished and gathered ourselves into my dad's Chevy pickup.  We were in the clinic so long that my inquisitive parents had to ask what was going on, if everything was okay.  As badly as I wanted to hide the truth from them, I had to come clean.  I recounted the situation just as I had experienced it.  Again, silence overtook the vehicle.  Joy was being experienced, but mixed together with fear, it's hard to do anything but stare blankly at the road ahead.  The news was passed on to my sisters and brother-in-law when we arrived at our destination.  Not much was said, as everyone could sense how distraut Tate and I both were. 

After we left the gathering, Tate and I were dropped off at his parents' house.  There, we discussed the situation, yet again, with his parents, his brother and his wife.  Hugs were being given all around and tears were beginning to be shed.  For the first time that day, I had let the reality of what was happening sink in and my emotions were pass the point of controllable.  I simply looked down at my baby belly and prayed that everything would turn out okay.

That's when I woke up.  I immediately grabbed my stomache and thanked Jesus that the only kind of baby in my belly was a food baby from the awesome comfort meal I had cooked that evening.  And, now my baby fever has surely passed by .  .  . for now, anyway.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to School

For the first time since I was four years old, I did not have my week long dreams about going back to school.  School started today for the 5,000 undergraduate and some 1,000 graduate students.  I am among the graduate students, but it's just not the same as being a full time undergrad.  I'm only taking one measley on-line course, which hardly compares to the 16+/- hours I took every other semester. 

I am watching students, mostly freshmen, scurrying across campus, searching for their classrooms and visiting the Howdy Fair.  I miss being an undergrad so much!!  I just keep sitting at my computer looking back on all of my first days of class.  I loved meeting the new students and catching up with old friends in my classes, as well as getting together with familiar and not-so-familiar instructors.  I really miss some of those instructors.  And those students.  If I had it my way, I'd be a professional student.  Forget an eight-to-five job.  Just pay me to go to class all day!  That would make me very happy.  I love class, but not when I'm working 40+ hours a week.  Just send me back to the good old days when I went to class, went to my wonderful, laid-back student worker job and then on to my organizational activities in the evenings. 

Speaking of organizations, I really miss being so involved in Chi Omega and the Academy of Communication Arts (ACA).  They kept me so busy, but it was always fun and educational in one way or another.  There is a plethera of other activities I was involved in, but those were the most substantial and they made me feel important.  Haha.  I always need someone to need me. I'm needy like that. 

Those are just my thoughts for today.  I actually miss my yearly dreams.  I'd also like to say "Good luck!" to everyone going back to school.  Go to class and make the best out of each day!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chi O vs. Zeta

Although I am a Chi Omega alum and no longer and active member, I still like to be involved in major productions, like Rush Week.  This week I heard a lot of things that were going on, including some banter between our chapter and the Zeta Tau Alphas.  Normally, we get along swimmingly, but Rush Week is completely set apart from the other 51 weeks.  Claws come out and competition is heated.  I actually have several very good friends that are Zetas and I treat them just like any other friends I have.  So, I was kind of shocked to have this dream last night, but I kind of understand where it came from.

The dream started at my parents house, which is the venue of many of my war dreams.  Sure enough, this turned into a war.  We were all armed with rifles of varying calibers, all ultimately deadly.  Suited in our respective Chi O and Zeta shirts, we were at a standoff with each other.  Some girls were staked out in the train car that sits in my parents' yard, while others were sneaking around the old chicken pens; and yet others were stationed on the balconies and roof.  A fire shot and all heck broke loose.  Mintutes of the fighting seemed like hours.  The Zetas were getting absolutely obliterated by our honed sniper skills.  Seriously, I think there are very few Chi Os who have ever even held a gun in real life, but probably more than the Zetas, still.  Anyway, Zetas were dropping like little primped flies all over the property.  After several minutes of conflict, the gunsmoke cleared and both sides retreated to their camps.

I was distraut about the situation since, in essence, we were all Greek and all aimed for the same goal.  And, afterall, it was completely unfair that we were so much better than they were.  So, I decided to form an agreement between the two organizations. 

I gathered together the Chi O president, Bekah, and Dare, a Zeta alum who was one of my very good friends, as well as the Zeta president. The Alpha Gamma Delta president was also present to run interference.  We all sat together at a round walnut table to discuss the issue.  We mulled over the situation for hours and finally agreed that it was best to lay aside all conflicts, set down our firearms and become neutral on the issue so that one person did not get special preference from any outside party.  We all signed the binding contract, shook hands and once again became friendly Greek members working towards the common good.  

Wow, what elaboration on the actual Rush Week events!

Friday, August 13, 2010


I've never claimed to be a jealous person when it comes to my man.  In fact, I'm pretty laid back when it comes to Tate hanging out with anyone.  Basically, I trust him and I have nothing to worry about except . . .

In my dream last night the jealous side of me came out.  There is a girl, who I'll call Marie, that Tate had been friends with far before I came along.  Now, there was a very big age difference in the two and that alone creeped me out.  But they were always fishing and hunting together and all the things that we do together now.  And, they were more than just friends.  They never actually dated, but there was some heavy flirting, talking and some smooching.  This wouldn't bother me if he had just up and forgotten she ever existed when I came in the picture, but they continued to be friends and that little tinge of jealousy would come up and bite me every time I heard her name or saw her perfect little juvenile face.  Fortunately, he didn't even ask to invite her to the wedding, so I know he is forgetting about her.  I mean, I know he loves me very much and he would never ever ever ever do anything wrong.  But, I am a woman, after all, and we all have this feeling towards someone.

Anyway, in my dream last night I had been waiting and waiting on Tate to come home for dinner (which really did happen last night, but he was with my dad -- nothing to worry about there!).  It was getting really late and I called and called, but he never answered.  Finally, I called his parents' house and his mother answered.

Dear, sweet Lori said, "Honey, Tate left his phone here when he came by this afternoon."  I didn't even know he had gone to Wewoka, so I was a little shocked.  I asked her if she knew where he was now and she responded, "Well, Wendy, he went to Marie's a while ago.  I haven't heard from him since."  And for some reason all I remember that happened next was something about an apple pie.  That sounds good, though. 

Random, sorry.  So after the flash of an apple pie I laid on my bed sobbing hysterically late into the hours of the night.  I didn't expect him to come home at all, so when I heard someone fiddling with the door outside, I grabbed the pistol by the bed and hunkered down in the floor on the opposite side of the bed.  I hurriedly loaded the gun and waited for the perpetrator to approach.  As I heard the footsteps nearing, my heart started beating faster and faster.  I slowly turned and raised slowly so I could peek over the bed with pistol in tow.  I saw the shadow coming closer.  Then I realized it was Tate.  No, I didn't shoot him.

I laid the gun down and started crying.  He explained that he had to go pull Marie out of the ditch and then her family invited him over for dinner and he couldn't say no.  He just stayed there with the family and hung out.  That made me feel better, but I would have rather had him at home with me than with that little wannabe man stealer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Meatball Sandwiches

If Tate read my blog, I would not be posting this story and/or recipe.  However, because he doesn't feel the need to know everything about my life, I absolutely have to share this. 

A few weeks ago I made meatball sandwiches, and oh my gosh were they good!  I made more meatballs than I could cook at once, though, so I threw the extras in the freezer for a later date.  Now, since then, these meatballs have come up in conversation more than once, and each time I mentioned that they were uncooked.  So, a couple of nights ago I went to dinner with some friends and didn't make it home to cook for Tate, but I told him the meatballs were in the fridge and they needed to be cooked. 

When I got home Tate asked, "Why didn't you tell me the meatballs were raw?"  Are you catching on to how poorly he listens, yet?  I went on to say that I had in fact told him multiple times that they still needed to be cooked, but it's not that hard to fry them up. 

Here's where the story gets really hilarious.  Tate proceeds to explain that he made himself this awesome meatball sandwich with all the trimmings and it was not until he bit into it that he realized the meat was raw.  Can anyone say "Goooooo!"  Common sense, which I'm discovering is not so common, would have told me as soon as I saw the meatballs which were not brown or smellin' all fatty and good, that they were still raw.  It would not have taken me biting into them to get that.  Everytime I think of biting into raw meat I cringe, and gag a little.  Poor Tate, what would he ever do without my cooking?  I'm sure he'll stick to cans of chili when I'm not around from now on. 

In light of this story, I'm going to share this awesome recipe.  When actually cooked, this has become a household favorite and is super easy.  The meatball recipe is actually my mother-in-law's (I think grammatically correct it should be mother's-in-law, but who cares?), and they are awesome even eaten alone! 


1-1/2 pouds ground beef
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cracker or bread crumbs
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 jar (large) Marinara Sauce
optional spices -- I use parsely, basil and thyme
1 pkg. hamburger buns (you can use rolls for mini "slider" sandwiches)
Sliced Provolone Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Mix meat with beaten eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper and milk. Form into 2" balls and fry slowly in a skillet with olive oil. 
Once cooked thoroughly, pour in jar of marinara and add selected spices; shake pan gently to mix. Put on lid and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, place a slice of Provolone on the bottom of each roll. Spoon about three meatballs with the sauce onto the bottom bun; top with the top bun.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Swing

I just wanted to share one of my fundamentally favorite paintings.  It is by Jean-Honore Fragonard in the Rococo period, I believe.  It's titled "The Swing" and was requested by the Baron. 

I absolutely love the soft colors and swirls of the foliage framing the picture.  The tone alone creates a very romantic and dramatic setting. 

Now, the reason I do not own a copy of this is because of the conotations and story behind it.  I just can't get on board with the scandulous nature behind it.  So, in case you were curious, here's the scoop.

Like I mentioned earlier, this painting was commissioned by the Baron.  The young lady on the swing was to represent his mistress and the man pushing her was a bishop.  The bishop was later replaced with the woman's husband, who is unknowing of the Baron himself sneaking a peek up the woman's dress.  The shoe flying off her foot represents loosing her innocence as she permits the Baron to gaze at her womanhood. The cherub in the garden has a finger placed over his lips as to reference the secret affair taking place.  There are more hidden conotations that I will not explain for the blushing that has already overtaken my face.

Lazy Chile Rellenos

I made Lazy Chile Rellenos for dinner last night, even though they are suited better for breakfast.  I had them again for breakfast this morning and it was the perfect way to start my day.  If you have a picky eater in the house, like my husband who won't eat peppers, half the recipe so you don't have so much left over.  Here's it is:
8 whole peeled green chiles (I get mine at WalMart in a can)
1-1/2 cups Montery Jack cheese, grated (more as needed)
5 eggs
2 cups whole milk
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne.
Cut chilies in half and remove the seeds.  Add a single layer of chilies on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.Top chilies with half the grated cheese. Repeat with another layer of chilies and another layer of cheese.
Pour egg mixture all over the top.  Place into a larger baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Pour in 1/2 inch of water and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until completely set.

Cut into squares and serve with warm corn tortillas!

Triple Homicide

Okay, so this dream I had last night is very distrubing, at least the parts I can remember.  It's mostly a jumbled mess in my head still.  If you don't want to hear a gruesome story, don't read this.

It was around the 4th of July and I was at a retreat with several people I had never met before.  There were four of us girls and two guys. We were all staying in a cabin together that had a couple of rooms.  One of the girls, a very pretty blonde, was dating one of the guys, he had dark curly hair and golden tanned skin.  While at this retreat, though, they were fighting like crazy.  They just couldn't seem to get along.  One night, the boyfriend came into the room I was staying in and asked to stay with me.  I told him that I just didn't think it was a good idea.  He said that he needed another room to stay in.  Although I didn't understand why he couldn't stay in the room with her, I agreed to let him sleep on the floor. 

The next morning, his girlfriend was nowhere to be found.  It sent a shiver up my spine as the police were questioning us all.  The boyfriend swore he had left her in bed, alive, when he came into my room.  They had just had a fight and wanted to crash somewhere else.  The police continued to investigate, but made no arrests.

A couple of days later, we were watching fireworks in the woods when the other man and one of the other girls slipped away to talk privately.  The rest of us ended up leaving them to go back to the cabin and back to bed.  When we went to wake her up in the morning, she was not in bed and the guy she had been with had no idea where she was, that she had come back to the cabin with him.

This was starting to get extremely creepy.  Of course, I left.  I packed my bags immediately and hightailed it out of that eerie little cabin without a word to one person.  It was only a matter of days before I heard that the last girl that had been with us came up missing, as well.  I was very saddened and heartbroken, but I was just glad I got out of there when I could. 

Several weeks later I was at a livestock show helping some kids prepare their lambs for the competition.  I ran out to our trailer to grab some wood shavings and I saw a large white canvas bag. There was definitely something in it, something that was not right, not to mention the strong odor coming from the tack room.  I inched closer to the bag and slowly opened it.  There, inside this white bag, were the mutilated body parts of all three young women who vanished from the retreat. 

I immediately woke up from this dream panicking.  I was so glad to realize it was just a dream, but I was still pretty creeped out since it was still dark in my room and Tate had left for work two hours earlier. And one question keeps circling my mind, how did they keep the bag so white if the body parts were covered in blood?  That's so disgusting, I'm sorry.  And I swear I have no idea what triggered that dream.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chicken Parmigiana Recipe

A couple of days ago I wrote about the dream with my favorite dish, chicken parmigiana. Just for kicks, I thought I'd share the recipe. The mere thought of this meal makes me, and my husband, salivate and I'm sure once you make it, you will understand why. Here we go:

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup All-Purpose flour
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 pkg. spaghetti

Start by placing chicken breasts in large Ziploc bag and pounding them out with the flat side of a meat mallot to about 1/4 to 1/8 in. thick. Next, mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate. Dredge the flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture and set aside.

At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook spaghetti until al dente.

Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.

Now, you can make your own spaghetti sauce in this same pan, or you can be lazy and use jarred spaghetti sauce. I use Lovera's, which is made locally and sold at Wal-Mart, but you can use your favorite sauce and it will still be wonderful! Just pour sauce into the drained pan that you fried the chicken in. Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated parmesan. I once substituted the parmesan for cheddar and it was still wonderful! So, if you don't have the suggested cheese on hand, feel free to use whatever kind of cheese you have available.
Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated.
Place cooked noodles on a plate and place chicken breast on top, but to the side of the pasta (if that makes any sense). Top off the spaghetti with the extra sauce and sprinkle the entire dish with parsley. Serve immediately and brace yourself for some serious compliments!

Last Night

Last night's dream wasn't very interesting.  Mostly about an interview gone south.  So, in lieu of that dream, I'll write about a previous dream.  Now I just have to figure out which one .  .  .

Okay, I think I'll write about the donut dream.  Pretty short, not scary, but kind of hopeful.

So, in this dream I was cooking a lot (kind of like I do in real life) and I created the most amazing donuts I had ever tasted.  The recipe was developed all by happenchance, but one bite of the crispy melt-in-your-mouth goodness would send anyone over the edge into blissful delight.  I had discovered the groundbreaking secret of the most awesome donut baking ever! 

I decided to approach my family about opening a bakery.  In addition to the heavenly donuts, I would also bake and sale cakes and pastries of all sorts.  I was so excited about this new business endeavor.  However, my family was not on the bandwagon just yet.  They were less than enthusiastic and little more than supportive.  No one believed that I could make it in a bakery.

Regardless of my family's hesitation, I opened my own bakery.  It started out very slowly, working horribly late hours and dripping countless buckets of sweat (not into the donuts).  Eventually, my donuts became world renowned and they were indeed named the Best Donuts in the World. 

Take that Mom and Dad!  Haha.  The funny thing is, I don't even like donuts. 
This is kind of what the donuts in my dream looked like.  Only way more tantilizing!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bits & Pieces

Last night I had several dreams and I only remember bits and pieces of each. 

For dinner last night I made chicken parmigiana, my favorite dish to cook, for us and our two guests.  So, my first dream was that I cooked enough chicken parm for six people and one of my guests invited over some of her friends without even asking so there was not enough food for me.  I started crying and Tate hugged me close and asked what was wrong.

"I worked so hard on this meal and there's not enough!" I cried.  "And I'm hungry and tired and don't have the energy to cook anymore!"  I was so mad that she had invited over more people without even asking and it all just built up in me until I exploded.

After that, I dreamt that Tate sent me to Wal-Mart to get him some guns.  While there, I picked up a baby doll for a friend's little girl.  I went to the gun counter and the guy working was confusing me so bad that  I walked off with my phone to call Tate.  When we figured it all out, I went back to the counter, and my basket, and someone had replaced the baby doll with a real baby!

Of course, I freaked out.  Who dumped a baby on me?  That's as far as I can remember of that dream.

Then I dreamt that my frenemy from high school was getting married. Her name is Breezy and she actually did get married sometime in the past year (I wasn't invited).  I have seen pictures of her since then and, as horrible as this is, she had gotten quite portly since her star basketball days.  In this dream, though, she was back to the old Breezy I had always known.  I did get invited to the wedding in my dream and it was held outside on a fall afternoon.  It was absolutely perfect weather.  Breezy walked down the aisle in a corset top dress and a pearl tiara (ugh), but she had the expression of a dead fish on her face.  Maybe it was because she was marrying Chris? 
The next dream was just me pulling up to my Grandma Cookie's house where Tate was working on something.  I was in his truck and I had my dog, Patience, and an Australian shepherd puppy that I was surprising Tate with.  It was a black tri and the cutest little thing I had ever laid eyes on.  When I opened the door of the truck, Patience ran off and the puppy baled out.  We couldn't even enjoy the surprise because we had to go track Patience down.

So the dreams weren't full of excitement last night.  But, that's more than fine with me.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Nazis Take My Kids

The night before last I had a dream about WWI and the Germans.  This is nothing new, but the format was a little different.  Here it goes:

My family and I were all living in Germany when the war began and my father and husband had gone to fight for the cause.  My mother moved in right next door to help out with the garage that Tate owned.  Since he was away, I was working in the garage fixing various things and my two daugthers (I am only 22 and have no children in real life), 15 and eight years old, were helping me, as well.  I don't know the daughters' names, but I can still remember what they looked like and how they were dressed. 

Anyway, we were all working in the garage when a bus full of kids pulled up.  My eight-year-old came up to me and slipped me a palm-sized grenade.  It was gold with one tiny button that would cause the device to explode as soon as the button was released. 

"Throw it under the bus," she said.  "They are coming to take us."

"I can't," I replied.  "There are innocent children in there."

She pleaded, "Mom, do it, please."  Just then, a tall, dark haired, well dressed man and equally attractive woman got out of the van and walked into the garage.

"Hi, ma'am," the well spoken man began, "we are going to take these two young ladies to college.  They will be safe and in a learning environment until the war is over."  I began grillling him with 21 questions about this "college" my children were going to be taken to.  He answered them all suredly, but I knew what was really going on.  He answered the questions with words, but he gave me so much more information with his eyes.  I knew that he was going to take my daughters no matter what I said, and I knew it could end up in a deadly struggle.  I wanted to spare my daughters although I knew it was not a college they were being taken to, but a concentration camp.

My 15-year-old took my hand and said, "It's okay, Mom.  We will just be gone a little while." and smiled at me with the most sincere, innocent gaze in her hazel eyes.  I hesitatingly loaded my daughters on the bus never revealing the truth of the destination of the ride and praying this was not the last time I'd see my everythings. 

I kissed both of my angels on the forehead and tears were rolling down my face as I instructed them to be good, do what the people told them and to always stay smart and strong.  I bit my lip and hugged myself tightly as I watched the bus drive away.  As the bus was rolling out of sight, I ran into my mother's house only a few steps away and collapsed in one huge sobbing heap on the floor as I mourned the nearly inevitable loss of my children.

Nuts, huh?  Try explaining that one to me!

Getting Remarried

Last night I dreamt that after several years of marriage, my husband, Tate, and I decided to call it quits for undisclosed reasons.  After going through this heartbreak, my bosses told me I could not work as  a Recruiter unless I was married.  They forced me to marry my coworker, Joe.  Now, I don't care much for Joe and this is close to the last person on Earth I'd ever choose to marry.

So, as you can imagine, I was not at all enthuised about marrying someone I despised.  I had a nasty look on my face throughout the entire wedding and didn't even kiss him at the end.  We left for our Jamaican honeymoon with about as much excitement as you would expect from someone getting a novacaine shot in their gums. I was sick at the thought of sharing any part of my life away from work with Joe.  I left our room and went to the lobby to cool off.  There I ran into an older woman who I shared my woe with.  She said she was sure that once we became "closer" everything would be fine.  I immediately started upchucking like nobody's business at the shear thought.  This painting, "The Scream" by Edvard Munch (pronounced "Moonk,) pretty much sums up how I felt. 

After I composed myself, I called Tate.  While we never really knew why we called off the marriage, we both agreed it was a huge mistake.  An hour later Tate showed up in the lobby of my Jamaican resort on a tractor in his blue striped polo shirt, dark Cinch jeans and peanut brown Justin boots.  He was dirty from working but had never looked so good to me.  We ran towards eachother and embraced like never before.

After our brief reunion, it was time to break the news to Joe.  This poor shmuck who has never had a chance did not take the news too well, but that was the least of my worries.  Tate and I jumped on the first plane home and spread the news to our families. 

Only weeks later, we had an intimate wedding on the lake at sunset with our immediate families and closest friends.  After the wedding, we all headed to a local diner.  While there, my friend Katie was singing in a '70s girl band.  She was wearing a red wig and used the stage name "Lauren Lou."  I also ran into my friend Sarah (with naturally red hair) who had a little blond haired boy that I was absolutely gaga over!  In addition, many of our friends were there to celebrate our commitment, again, and it was so great to catch up with all the girls that had been such a huge part of my life, and now I felt like my life was finally back to wonderful.

When I woke up from this dream, I rolled over and just clung to Tate.  I gave him a phenomenal head and back rub.  Needless to say, I was even more appreciative of having him in my life than I was when I went to sleep last night.