Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Photo of the Day

Cloud Gate (a.k.a. The Bean), Chicago, IL, October 2009

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bucket List Revisited

Okay, I've just been looking over my bucket list (click here for Part I and here for Part II), and noticing something . . .

I am in the midst of working on #13! It'll take a while, but the important thing is that I've started it! My two graduate classes this semester (at the U of I) are both English classes: Native American Literature, and Early American Literature I.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - No Theme

This week's Memory Lane Friday is another "No Theme" week.

Well, I've had so much reading for grad school this week (with TWO literature classes, by the way), I haven't really had time to write a blog post for this week's Memory Lane Friday post. By the time I'm finished reading, it's super late, and I'm wiped out.

So, since this week is a "No Theme" week, I'm going to post a few photos and let them tell the story.

 Just outside the front of our house in Alamogordo, New Mexico, February 2007.
We're getting ready to go on a walk on the trail behind our house. 

Here's the view from the trail - we saw this beautiful vista (Sacramento Mountains) from our back yard every day.
While in the kitchen, living room, or master bedroom, we could see this view.

 Liv's enjoying herself. (Note how she's dressed in February in southern New Mexico.)

Here's Daddy on the trail.

See why I sometimes really, really miss my New Mexico home? It was absolutely beautiful there!!

Please come back next week when the theme is "A Hiding Place."

Memory Lane Friday is hosted weekly by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs. Please click on the button below to read her post for this week. And please check out any other bloggers who're participating this week.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This cookie recipe sounds yum-o!

I have a bag of Ocean Spray® Craisins (dried cranberries) that I like putting in my oatmeal.

Anyway, on the back of the pouch, there's a cookie recipe that looks really tasty. I think I'll try it one weekend with Livie.

Here it is:

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 six oz (1-1/4 cups) package Craisins® Dried Cranberries
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. 
  3. Add eggs, mixing well. 
  4. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. 
  5. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. 
  6. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks. 
  7. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. 
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Cool on wire rack. 
Makes approximately 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Reader

Okay, so I've recently started taking graduate classes. One of my classes is Native American Literature. We were assigned James Welch's Winter in the Blood as our first assignment.

Well, we had a quiz yesterday, partly on Winter in the Blood, and partly on last Thursday's lecture.

I'd wanted to get to class early so I could review my notes, the handouts, and the novel. I didn't get there as early as I'd wanted (45 minutes early), but I did get there early enough to review (about 25-30 minutes early).

I was the first one in the classroom. After getting my materials out of my book bag, I started flipping through the book, looking at the notes I'd jotted in the margins.

A few minutes later, another student came in, went to the opposite end of the room, and began reading his copy of Winter in the Blood.

And then my mind started wandering.

My copy of Winter in the Blood was already comfortably worn, like a favorite pair of slippers, even though I'd had the book only a few days.

It seemed like this other student just cracked open his copy. His looked new, just off the bookstore shelf. Mine had dog ears, notes in the margin, a yellow highlight or three, some sticky, colorful tabs to mark the place of something I'd thought was important.

All I could think was, We've got a quiz today and a paper due on Thursday. What the . . .?

I don't think I could study like that . . . anymore. Sure, in high school and college, I studied for English exams like that and still did well . . . but I'm pretty sure I couldn't do that anymore. Plus, I've been stressing out about this quiz, wanting to do well.

I stayed up WAY TOO late Monday night ('til 12:40 AM, to be exact). When my alarm went off at 5:45 AM on Tuesday, my body protested. As hard as I'd tried to get all my studying accomplished before bedtime Monday night, the evening's family obligations were a priority, and I was left to finish my studying at 9 PM Monday evening, after Livie had gone to bed. Of course, studying at that time (after a long hiatus of NOT having to study at night), was harder than I remembered. I'd actually accidentally dozed off for about an hour! Not helpful at all!

So after a few minutes of letting my mind wander, realizing I'd lost a few minutes of time, I glanced back at this other student. Looks like he was further along in the book than I had realized. However, his book still looked brand new, as though he'd just started reading it.

Ah, well. If it works for him, so be it.

Now for the tough part - waiting for our quiz grades.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mexican Spiced Hot Cocoa

Now this recipe has got to be good! You know I'm going to have to try this at home!

Check out Real Simple's Mexican Spiced Hot Cocoa recipe: 

Mexican Spiced Hot Cocoa
Serves 1
Hands-on Time: 05m
Total Time: 05m

  • 1 serving hot cocoa mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)
  • 2 pinches ground chipotle chili pepper
  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened whipped cream
1. Prepare the hot cocoa mix according to the package directions.
2. Mix with half the chipotle and half the cinnamon.
3. Top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with the remaining chipotle and cinnamon.

For a kid-friendly version, omit the chipotle.

Nutritional Information:
Calories 151; Fat 5g; Sat Fat 3g; Cholesterol 10mg;
Sodium 138mg; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 24g;
Sugar 18g; Fiber 1g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 47mg

Friday, January 21, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - An Injury

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "An Injury."

I had an easy time picking an injury to write about, because I've fortunately had only one significant injury - and it happened Monday, May 13, 1985.

I was at the stables that day for a riding lesson with one of my great riding instructors, Deb. It was a beautiful spring day, the day after my youngest brother's birthday, and toward the end of the school year, my eighth grade year.

I clearly remember being dropped off at the stable after school so I could spend the whole afternoon there, taking care of my horse, Chico, taking a lesson, and hanging out with my friends.

There was a lady who boarded her gray horse there, too. I don't remember her name or her horse's  name, but I do remember something remarkable about this lady - she was legally blind - but that did not stop her from using what vision she did have, getting out there to do something fun.

Anyway, I remember talking to her in the tack room when I went in there to get my brushes before heading out and grooming Chico.

I remember tacking Chico up so we could head out to the outdoor arena for our lesson. And I remember working on the flat.

Then we began practicing jumping a course, so we could consistently produce a nice, flowing, smooth round in the show ring. I was enjoying the lesson because we were jumping a lot. It was fun!

And that's about all that I can clearly remember.

The next thing I know, I was in the dimly lit barn office, with Deb and my friend Leslie. I distinctly remember saying, "This is just like the movie International Velvet . . . this is just like Sarah Brown in International Velvet . . . "

While we sat in the office, I also remember getting (seemingly) ridiculous questions from both Deb and Leslie, like, "What's your name?" or "Where are you?" and even "How many fingers am I holding up?" and "What's your home phone number?"

They kept repeating questions, and I kept getting irritated, telling them, "I told you that already."

And then I was suddenly out in the bright sunlight, getting into my grandfather's silver Subaru (this was when my maternal grandparents lived, for a couple years, in our same town).

He and Deb were talking and talking . . . and talking, for what seemed like forever.

I remember trying to close the car door - I was in the front passenger seat, but I found I was having trouble reaching my right arm out to grab the car door. It felt like shards of glass were grinding around in my shoulder every time I tried using my right arm.

And then Deb closed the car door, and my grandfather pulled away from the barn.

As we headed down the dusty dirt road and over a couple sets of train tracks, I was in some major discomfort. The jostling hurt my shoulder and made my head throb.

After a few minutes, we were finally on a paved road, and I was much more comfortable. I don't remember having any kind of conversation with my grandfather. I vaguely remember heading down a familiar street.

The next thing I know, I found myself on a hospital gurney next to a wall with a big "X-RAY" painted on it in navy blue letters. I remember people walking past, peering at me curiously, trying to not be conspicuous about looking at me.

Then I was in a dim room, with lots of friendly faces telling me they were going to have to move me, and it may hurt for a moment. (They were going to move me onto the x-ray table.) Again, these friendly faces kept repeating things to the point where I got irritated, and said (or thought I said), "I heard you the first 10 times. Just move me already!"

And here is another spot where my brain didn't accurately record current events. Immediately (or so it seemed) after being moved onto the x-ray table (and yes, being moved hurt like you-know-what), I found myself alone again, this time in a hospital bed, in a room by myself.

Suddenly a nurse (a male nurse - no Meet the Parents/Meet the Focker jokes, please!) with a shock of vibrant red hair and a full red beard rushed in. He talked as fast as he moved, and then left me alone again. I was a little confused. I had my dirty jeans on, and one of those "wonderful" hospital gowns on top, and was in a hospital bed.

Some time later, and it could've been just few minutes or two hours - I don't know, the red-haired nurse came back in, asking me if I wanted a shot or a pill. Imagining a big ol' 2-ft needle, I opted for the pill. (It was for pain.)

Sometime later, my mom was there. I really had to go to the bathroom, and I asked her to help me sit up (trying to sit up on my own caused sharp pains to blow through my shoulder - I'd already tried it). She said she couldn't; I was confused as to why. A gray-haired woman in a nurse uniform came a little later in to help me sit up and get to the bathroom.

When I came out of the bathroom, I was told I could get dressed, and then this second nurse disappeared.

Well, getting dressed was easier said than done. It hurt trying to get my shirt on. It hurt to bend over in an attempt to get my boots on. Bending over put tremendously painful pressure on my shoulder. I noticed, at some point, that I had a foamy, supportive "strap" going around both shoulders, underneath my arm pits and across the back of my neck - well, just below my neck.

At some point, as I tried to bend over and get my boots on, my dad poked his head in the door. I asked for help. He said he couldn't because he had an emergency to tend to (he's a cardiologist). I wondered why *I* wasn't the emergency! He just poked his head in to see me; seeing that I was sitting up, and getting attempting to get dressed, he realized I was okay - as okay as the circumstances allowed.

After a few minutes of struggling to get my boots on my mom finally came back in. She helped me finish getting dressed, and then we were off.

As we got closer to the house, I remembered there was a "shortcut" with a short, bumpy dirt road. I told her (a few times, I think), to NOT take the dirt road, and go the "long" way, which would actually only add an extra minute or so to our total drive time. All I know is that I was NOT going to go down another bumpy dirt road that day; it hurt too much being jostled.

And then we were home and I was in my room, in my bed, expected to get some rest. My body needed to heal my broken right collar-bone, and my head needed to recover from a concussion, after all.

I'm riding Chico in a show in 1981, 4 years before the accident. Photo © Rick Bate.

Please check back next week, when we have another "No Theme" week.

Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs. Please click on the button below to read her post for this week, as well as any other entries for the week.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I am totally wiped out!

Last week, in my Butterflies and a New Educational Adventure post, I mentioned that I'd be starting graduate classes at the University of Iowa this week. I'd gotten into a class entitled American Literature I, for 3 credit hours. But I needed a second class so I'd have at least 6 hours total this semester.

I'd tried signing up for a Native American Literature class last Thursday during my first visit to the campus, because this is a topic that really interests me.

However, upon finding up that this class was full, I had to show up at the first class on Tuesday, in hopes that there'd be an opening; if enough people had dropped, then I could get the professor to sign the "add" slip and then I could rush it to the registrar's office.

Well, guess what? When I got to the first class on Tuesday morning, I found out that enough people had dropped, so I actually got a spot in the class!! I was SO excited.

Since we got out of class a little bit early the first day, I rushed to the registrar's office to get myself officially added to the roster.

Then I ran back to the same room, where my second class (American Literature I) just so happened to be (and taught by the same professor, by the way).

Anyway, this second class is solely for graduate students (unlike my Native American Literature class, which has both graduate and undergraduate students).

Once this second class started, I immediately wondered if I got myself in over my head, wishing my Uncle Hector were around so I could've gotten his advice before signing up for this particular class.

As the professor began going over the syllabus, and giving an overview of the class, I became very nervous, thinking I'd bitten off more than I could chew. Some of the stuff went way over my head.

Fortunately, there was another student in the class in the same boat - she and I have both recently returned to school after a hiatus; we're also both parents. She'd felt the same way.

I felt a little better, a little more confident about being in this class.

This feeling didn't last long, once she and I went to the book store to get our required books. For both my classes, I have a total of 18 books! I tried to buy as many used books as I could, but not all of them were available as used books. I walked out of the bookstore with a total of $298.48 worth of books!! For TWO classes!

That confident feeling continued to dissipate once I started in on the required readings. It was a big load to take on, and intimidating, to say the least.

But I'd exchanged e-mail addresses with my fellow "older" student, and she was feeling as intimidated as I. Once again, I felt a little better knowing I wasn't alone.

Anyway, today was the second meeting of both of my classes, which obviously meet Tuesdays and Thursdays.

After the first class (Native American Literature), I was even more excited about the subject matter as well as being able to continue with the reading assignments (even though we have a quiz on Tuesday, as well as a paper due on Thursday . . .yes, during week #2).

I was still nervous about the second class, since it would have much more reading to accomplish, and the professor would expect more from us, as it was a graduate student only class.

Once we began discussing the assigned reading, however, my nervousness eased up a bit. I still felt like a dunce, having been out of an academic setting for so long compared to the majority of the class, but it was still a rush, and fun, nonetheless.

When class was over, I walked out of there thinking, Hey, I can do this . . . it's just one reading at a time.

After stopping at the student union for lunch, and a bit of time to myself for reading the assignment for next week, I headed home.

Let me tell you, after commuting (about 45 minutes one way), and two days' worth of classes this week, I am WIPED OUT. My eyes have that scratchy I-stayed-up-too-late-and-I-can't-keep-'em-open feeling. I[m so tired, I almost can't think straight. This is the one drawback - the exhaustion.

And I have yet to put Livie to bed for the night.

I think I'm going to pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow tonight.

It's been an exciting and challenging, yet fun week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - It Happened in Class

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "It Happened in Class."

I've been trying to think of something embarrassing or funny that happened to me in class at some point in my academic career. But since I can't think of anything (maybe I blocked out all the embarrassing stuff), I'm going to write about a fun memory from my astronomy class when I was at Culver Girls Academy (part of Culver Academies).

My senior year, for my science classes, I was taking Astronomy first semester, and Geology second semester, both taught by Dean Carl Steeley.

The year before, a few of my friends from the class of 1988 had taken the same classes their senior year. Now it was my turn.

It was fall semester, so I was in Astronomy class, along with a couple of my classmates from the class of 1989. It was a fun, interesting class - a subject that has always seemed really cool.

Anyway, one day in class, Dean Steeley was telling us about the phases of the moon - you know, waxing crescent (it's partially lit up and looking like it's getting bigger), waning gibbous (it's big, and starting to get smaller), and so forth.

Well, Dean Steeley was bald, okay? And here's the part where he used himself as a prop to demonstrate a concept to the class. It's also my "It Happened in Class" bit, which went something like this . . .

Dean Steeley had an overhead projector in his class, the kind that projects an image from transparencies onto a screen on the wall, via mirrors, lenses, and light. Know the kind? 

He turned it on and had the shiny part of the "arm" facing us, saying something like "Okay, here's the sun." Then he said "My head is the moon . . . see, you can even see the Man in the Moon's face" as he pointed to his head. He then proceeded to walk around the overhead projector, telling us about each phase of the moon, so we could have a visual.

Hahahaha! The "My head is the moon" quote? Classic Dean Steeley. My friends (from both graduating classes of 1988 and 1989) who took his astronomy class still, to this day, remember that day in class (he did the same thing the year before, for my friends in the class of 1988 who took his Astronomy class).

He was such a fun, kind instructor, always keeping the class entertaining.

He passed away within the past few months, which was sad, but inevitable news. So to remember him fondly, I told Livie the story about "My head is the moon," the first full moon after I'd heard that he'd passed away.

Anyway, this particular moment in his class is always a fun one to remember among those of us who took his class.

And to Dean Steeley, "My head is the moon!"

Here's a Chapel view of the Culver campus.
Photo was taken by me in May, 2009.

Please come back next week when the topic is "An Injury."

Memory Lane Friday is hosted weekly by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs. Please click on the button to read her entry for this week, as well as other entries who may have posted.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Butterflies and a New Educational Adventure

Today was a big day.

See, a couple months ago, Andrew and I applied for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits so we could continue our educations; our applications were approved.

That means that we will both have funding for grad school (both tuition and books)!!

The next step, therefore, is to get accepted to a graduate school in the area. One of the closest schools? The University of Iowa, in Iowa City, IA.

Iowa's Old Capitol, now a part of the University of Iowa.

Andrew's idea was to take two graduate courses in the non-degree program to 1.) get back into the school/study habit, and 2.) to establish a pattern of being able to get good grades at the graduate level, in case his GRE scores weren't as good as he'd hoped.

I thought that was a good idea, and was toying with doing the same thing myself.

So today, Andrew was planning on heading down there (about a 45 minute drive) to turn in the required paperwork, as well as dropping off his sealed undergraduate transcript at the graduate school office. Then he could sign up for a couple classes. He'd wanted me to go with him so I could do the same.

Here's Andrew on campus.
Well, I hadn't known until last night that he was planning on doing this, so I didn't have my transcripts sent. I told him I'd have to go down another day.

But since I had a bit of time today, I decided at the last minute, to go with him, just so I'd know exactly where I needed to go when I ended up going next week to drop off my paperwork (which I decided to take with me in the event I had a chance to sit down and finish filling it out).

Guess what? Once there, I realized that classes start NEXT WEEK!!

Good thing I brought my paperwork with me, right? (Except for the VA stuff, which I'll have to take with me next week, and drop off after class).

I got really excited about the prospect of signing up for a couple classes. As I scrolled through the list of English classes, I suddenly thought of my Uncle Hector, who was a professor of English and Linguistics in New Mexico. I missed him, and the opportunity to share my grad school experience with him.

It was a sad moment. I'd told Andrew, "I miss my uncle." He said, "Do this for him!" to which I responded, "I'll do it for me, but I'll keep him in mind."

And then I saw it . . . a class that looked really interesting - one that my uncle would've encouraged me to take - "Native American Literature." Here I was, thinking of my uncle, and voila! Here's a class he would've enjoyed talking about with me.

The computer, by the way, indicated it was still open!! Woo hoo!!

Andrew and I hurriedly finished our paperwork and literally ran over to the registrar's office to add our classes; I wanted to hurry up and sign up for the "Native American Literature" class before it filled up, because I'd found out there was one opening left.

Here's where we ran from one building to the next (from right to left).

Unfortunately, once we got to the registrar's office, I found out the class was full!  

Really?! In the few minutes it took us to run from one building to the neighboring building, the class filled up?!

Ugh. The registrar said I needed to get the slip signed by the professor, and that next week, I could head back to the registrar and see if anyone had dropped it, leaving a spot open for me. She said that if I had time today, maybe I could go to that professor's office and have him sign it now, then I wouldn't have to worry about it next week.

So Andrew and I did just that.

But this is where my second disappointment of the day happened - we found the professor and he said he couldn't sign it this week. I'll have to go to the first class on Tuesday, and if there are people who've dropped the class, he'll sign it then.

Ah, well. If it's meant to be, there'll be a space for me on Tuesday morning, when the first class is held. I'll be disappointed, but hopefully I'll find another class that is just as interesting, right?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Books from 2010

Alright, I'm back! We had some internet issues at home, so I wasn't able to log online for a few days. But we've obviously gotten the problem resolved, so here I am.

Anyway, I've been thinking about this post for a few days. I got this idea from Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs and her "Summarizing 2010 Through the Books I Read" post.

I'm not sure how many books I read in 2010, because I didn't keep track. I checked out a ton of books from the library, therefore I can't just look on the bookshelf and refresh my memory on all the books I read in 2010. Just the ones I actually bought, or borrowed from friends. So I'm working from memory regarding the library books.

However, now that I'm thinking about it, I will start a list of the books I've read this year, as I along, because I think it would be cool to see how many I can read in one year, as well as looking back and reflecting on the kinds of books I've read throughout the year.

Okay, so here's the deal on this post, from Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs:
I first found this Meme from The Raven's Spell, but it originates from The Romantic Life.  I read 81 books in 2010, so this seemed like such a fun thing to do!

Using only titles of books that you read this year (2010), complete the prompts below. Try not to repeat any book titles.

Describe yourself:
The Lion, Nelson DeMille

How do you feel:
No Cats Allowed, Lois Simmie

Describe where you currently live:
Tony Hillerman's Landscape, Anne Hillerman

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Cross Country, James Patterson

Your favorite form of transportation:
Plague Ship, Clive Cussler

Your best friend is:
The Hummingbird's Daughter, Luis Alberto Urrea

You and your friends are:
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

What's the weather like:
The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein

Favorite time of day:
The Night Journal, Elizabeth Crook

What is life to you:
The Blessing Way, Tony Hillerman

Your fear:
The Postcard Killers, James Patterson

What is the best advice you have to give:
A Simple Christmas, Mike Huckabee

Thought for the day:
Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, Vendela Vida

How I would like to die:
In an Instant, Lee and Bob Woodruff

My soul's present condition:
Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

Okay, so a couple of these books overlapped years. For instance, I started one in late 2009, but finished it in early January 2010. And I started a different one in December 2010, but I'm still reading (just about finished with it). So I'm counting those two.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Oma's Birthday!

It's Oma's birthday today, and we're glad to spend it with her. Since my parents are out of town this weekend, Livie and I came to visit. (Andrew is doing his Reserve weekend this weekend, so he couldn't be here.) My Uncle Ralph is here visiting, too.

She's gotten flowers and cards (a handmade one from Olivia) to make her birthday special.

Liv's card has a cake on it saying, "Happy Birthday Oma" along with fireworks and balloons!

Before leaving town, my mom ordered a birthday cake for Oma. It's lemon cake with raspberry filling; Livie and I picked it up at the bakery this morning. Let me tell you, it was hard going into a bakery with a 4-year-old and telling her "We're not getting anything but the cake." There were so many things she wanted to get, but alas, we were just there for the cake. Somehow we made it out of there with the cake and without a dreaded melt-down.

Yes, Oma turns 86 today!
It's a yummy cake, by the way! It's as delish as it looks!

After we brought the cake home, we all went out to lunch; we went to an Italian restaurant called Bravo! Cucina Italiana for lunch.

Oma, not being a big fan of Italian food, ordered a steak, which she devoured. Livie and I shared an entree - spaghettini with meatballs. It was really, really good. Uncle Ralph ordered a pasta dish with shrimp.

After returning home, it was time for cake!! Olivia couldn't wait to help Oma blow out candles. But since I couldn't find any regular candles, we had to use numbered candles (there was a "4" and a "0" from my 40th birthday, which we hadn't used, and a "2" from Livie's 2nd birthday, which also hadn't been used).

Livie decided to use all of them, so she could have three candles to blow out.

 Liv's posing with two of the candles.

Time to finally blow out the candles! Oma's having fun, too!

All in all, it was a fun day for Oma!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Memory Lane Friday - No Theme

This week is another "No Theme" week. So I'm going to write about something I was talking to Livie about earlier this week.

My family has had Pembroke Welsh Corgis since the early '90s. They are great little dogs with big personalities.

Our first Corgi, Foxy (registered name Oakhome Foxy Fancy), was a great girl. She was SO smart, and everyone said she was such a pretty Corgi.

Oakhome Foxy Fancy, circa mid-'90s.

She did AWESOME in obedience classes with me, even earning her AKC Canine Good Citizen award the first time out, even before completing her first basic obedience class. The Canine Good Citizen test, by the way, is to reward dogs and their humans for the dogs' good manners.

Anyway, she had a good, long life with our family, passing away in mid-2006, when Livie was a baby. Needless to say, Livie never met her.

Since she was my favorite dog, Andrew bought me a stuffed animal Corgi that looked just like Foxy. Now that Livie's a little girl and loves playing with stuffed animals, she found my stuffed animal "Foxy" and has claimed it as hers.

Earlier this week as Livie was playing with "Foxy," she was asking me questions about the real Foxy.

So I told her a time from back in the early '90s, when my brothers and I had a funny incident happen with Foxy.

We were at my parents' lake house in Lake Ozark, MO. It was the end of our trip, and we were heading back. My brothers decided to ride back with me and Foxy in my car, leaving my parents to head home alone.

It was approximately a 6 hour drive from the lake house to my parents' house (their regular residence, that is). At some point, about halfway home and around midday, we decided to stop at a McDonald's to use the restrooms and get something to eat.

Well, since Foxy couldn't come in with us, we had to leave her in the car. Right?

As we got out of the car,  I told my brothers to use the men's room as I used the ladies' room and we'd meet at the counter to order our lunches (I was going to buy all our food). I'd also order a plain hamburger for Foxy so she could eat the patty, per my mother's instructions, as well as a cup of water, no ice, since she needed something to drink, too. (This only happened on infrequent road trips, by the way.)

I asked my brothers to crack open the windows, so Foxy could get some fresh air. We'd only be gone, what, 10 minutes or so (just to go to the bathroom and get our food), so I wasn't too worried about her.

However, Foxy didn't understand the plan. As the three of us walked away from the car, she jumped up into the back window, looking like she thought we'd never return . . . or maybe, "How dare you leave me alone?!"

For some reason, we found that image to be hilarious, and we couldn't stop laughing about it. I think it was one of those you had to be there moments, but let me tell you, if I remind my youngest brother Alex, he and I still get a laugh out of it.

Anyway, we got back to the car a few minutes later, and there was Foxy, SO excited to see us. We just had to laugh.

So, here's the rest of the story . . . my brothers began to eat their lunches alfresco, right there at the car (we'd parked kinda at the edge of the parking lot, in as shady a spot as possible). 

I let Foxy out on her leash so we could go to her "bathroom" (a grassy place near the parking lot). Then we went back to the car so I could feed her her hamburger patty, laying it on the burger wrapper on the ground so she could eat it while I ate my own lunch.

Then we got in the car and headed the rest of the way home.

It was a fun, cute incident.
Foxy, circa 1996.

Please come back next week when the theme is "It Happened in Class."

Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs. Please click on the button below to read her post, as well as this week's other entries.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yep, that's my Oma

I can't believe I found a portrait like this!!

Here's my Oma, circa February 1943, when she was 18 years old! She was in a matadora outfit. From what I was told, she supposedly learned the trade, but never actually "fought" - just learned the skills.

And since a picture says a thousand words, I'll let this photo do just that . . .

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Blast From the Past - Horse Show pics

Wow! I found a few horse show photos from way back when . . .

In the first one, I was about 9.5-years-old (April 1980) on a chestnut pony. . . I think her name was Blue Jeans. Looks like a schooling show.
I'm the one right in the middle, leaning to the side, looking at who-knows-what. The pony I was riding looks less than thrilled. I take it I hadn't learned how to pull a mane yet, judging by the pony's bushy, unkempt mane.

The next two are from a show at the Iowa State Fairgrounds a couple years later, sometime in April or May 1982, so I was about 11.5-years-old. 

This time, though, I was riding my own horse, Chico. I vaguely remember that this show was very muddy; it had rained for a few days leading up to this show. So in this first photo, you'll see that I had done up Chico's tail in a "mud tail" so it wouldn't get all gunky and gross from the mud. 

This second photo is also from the same horse show with Chico. I'm not sure why, but it sure looks like I'm biting on my lower lip in this photo.
I even braided him myself. Not bad for a pre-teen who always got impatient and bored braiding manes.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Cardinals

Okay, so I actually caught a couple cardinals in my parents' yard! In a photo, that is:

You can see the male, right there in the middle. Harder to see is the female just above him, slightly to the left. The male is stunningly red, isn't he?!

This was from last year, by the way - around December 29th.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Here are a few photos closing out the end of December 2010:

We're driving down my parents' street. (Actually, we're heading UP the hill at this instant.)

Again, heading down the street from my parents' house.

Making a funny face at Cracker Barrel!

We actually got Oma to go out to lunch with us!

Ice trees in the front yard of my parents' house; the next day, it was 61 degrees and everything melted!

There'll be plenty more photos in 2011!
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