Sunday, June 29, 2008

Will and Grace and Just Jack!


We all have our furry little children in our lives. They tend to come into our lives prior to having babies and then after the kids are gone, our four legged friends replace the kids. There's several major differences, of course, our furry little friend don't sass us, throw their toys at us or storm out of the room when we refuse to buy them the latest pair of way too expensive sneakers. They just love us unconditionally.
This big guy here is Jack, the oldest of our clan. Jack is a very laid back kind of guy. His mellow personality can be misconstrued as lazy sometimes. Why expend energy if it's not really necessary? Jack is the one of our cats that was raised by a family, which is why I think he is as secure in his own self. Since he's part Maine Coon, he is destined to be large as he weighs in at about 19 pounds. Yes, he's a big boy!
This pretty little girl is Miss Grace Kitty. She entered our lives just 5 years ago when one day, my daughter called me up and explained to me how she found 2 kittens on her patio steps. In the apartment complex she lived in, the maintenance crew found the body of a mother cat who was hit by a car. Are you crying yet? The entire complex was on the look out for her kittens and luckily, my daughter managed to lure two of them. Will you take one, Mom? How could I refuse such a sad story, yes, we'll take her. Grace is timid and non-trusting of those she's unfamiliar with. She is selective who she chooses to love but once you gain that trust, she is lovable and loyal.

And finally, this little guy is Will. He scoped us out and determined we were the family he wanted to adopt. The neighborhood children teased him unmercifully by throwing stones and rocks at him. He took shelter under the street sewers until one cold December evening, I spotted one set of eyes staring in the window of our breakfast room window. I opened the door and he entered the house as if he lived there for years. Will is the most timid of the three. If the Directv repairmen enters the house, you won't find him for days as he hides in places I don't know existed. Even though he is very shy, he is the one that requires the most love, belly rubs and treats!
Amazingly, all three of our cats travel very well in the RV. Last year, we introduced them to several short trips and they managed very well. They all have their favorite places to lay and hide. Grace likes to lay in the window at night. Will sleeps right next to us in bed. Jack, well, he hardly moves much because he must reserve his energy in the event a bug enters his domain.
Yes, our furry children fill a void left when our children fly the nest. They provide much love and are always worth the minor annoyances. We won't trade them at any cost.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Taking on the Challenge of Brisket

Are you a recipe freak? I mean, do you read a recipe and then run out to the store to gather all the ingredients? Sometimes, my mouth drools when reading the ingredients of a recipe. I know, right off the bat whether or not a recipe will be a crowd pleaser.
I do consider myself a good cook, but traveling the US in our RV really restricts my culinary skills. My kitchen is very, very small, so when I read a recipe on Pioneer Woman's blog for brisket, I know my only hope of trying out a new recipe is in a real kitchen. I mean, where would I even fit a brisket in my little fridge?
Here's the status thus far...the brisket is about 11 pounds and currently, all of the flavors are marinading in the refrigerator, beef consume, soy sauce, fresh garlic, fresh lemon juice and hickory liquid smoke. Tomorrow morning, somewhere between the dark of night and sunlight, one of the four adults here will place the brisket in a 300 degree oven. This recipe requires slow roasting for up to 8 hours. My mouth is watering again...can you hear me slurp?
So tell me what was the most challenging recipe you ever undertook and I will share with you the story about when my little sister made my fiance hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls. Hehehehe

Friday, June 27, 2008

In the Land of Blog...

Today, thanks to the DHL man in his cute little shorts, my new replacement battery and charge adapter arrived. Which means to all of my family and friends (all 3 of you!) that I once again will be in the land of blogging.
It's strange how blogging takes over one's life. As I look through the eye piece of my camera, I begin to tell a story in my head. And what makes matter's worse, after taking a photo of our feet in our sandals, my daughter asks me if I'm going to blog this.
So over the next few days, I will once again upload my photos and tell lots of Jack stories for all of you to enjoy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Can It Be True?

Did I finally learn how to do what all my friends incorporate into their blogs? I don't know...let's see. Click here for Fox News

Summer TV is Lame

That time of year is upon us when the weather is great, but it's usually too hot to be outdoors all of the time. Unless you are lucky enough to take a dip in a refreshing pool, one must resort to turning on the boob tube. Yes, I am guilty of that as well.
Fred and I have always liked watching Kitchen Nightmares, but found Hell's Kitchen to be really amazing! Does Gordon Ramsey seem nastier on his US show? How in the world do those chefs manage to keep their cool and refrain from just socking the Brit in the gut? At any decent place of employment, this behavior would not be condoned, but alas, it is a reality TV show and hello....can you say script?
Well, last night's episode finally sent egotistical Jen packing her knives (Oops, that's another show) and walking off into the distance. Jen came across as superior, a liar, and just plain nasty. I'm glad she's gone! Let the cooking begin! What do you think? Please share :)

Feeble Attempt

While staying at this lovely state park setting, I went on a little nature walk yesterday. Nature was calling me enjoy the greenery, trees and the just to take in the sweet smell of the Illinois black dirt. Having been born and raised in Illinois and then moved to Gerogia in 1983, I missed the smell of the rich, farming soil. Nothing is as wonderful than to turn over a spade of dirt and get the shot of what farmer's consider black gold.It is in this rich soil that much of our grain source is grown. Fresh corn on the cob is the best when grown in the farm country in the Mid West.

Back to my ill attempt at photography, I was certain that this would be a great photo, however, the lense on my camera is great for people shots, it is not the preferred method for nature shots. Already owning a great zoom lense, I was hoping against all hopes that it would fit on my Rebel, but no such luck.


Sadly, until such time that allows me to enlarge my photography equipment, I will restrain posting any close up shots.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hibernate? It's Not Winter!

While browsing my favorite blogs, yes, YOURS :), my trusty old Dell Latitude 810 went into hibernate mode. Wait a minute! It's not winter, why the heck do you want to hibernate? Immediately, I get a message that says....Warning, warning, Will Robinson, your battery is about to die!!! Funny, the adapter is plugged into the wall, what are you talking about? But where is the green light on the adapter? Oh O! Yes, my my battery or adapter is kaput! Easy fix, right, I just get on the Dell web site and order what I need. However, we won't be home until Monday of next week so this will put a damper on my ability to update my blog (my new addiction)!
You see, all of my photos reside on my laptop, yes, they are all backed up....whew! Plus, my software for my Rebel is only loaded on my computer. Perhaps I can remedy this if my beloved will allow me to load his laptop. I'll work on this!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To a Brand New Father


aaron hiking
Originally uploaded by seabeagle

Our son-in-law, Aaron, will celebrate his very first Father's Day today, thanks to his lovely wife, Erika. Enjoy this very first experience. We know you will be a very involved father, a good provider and set a very important example for your son Jack, by loving his mother with all your heart. We are very grateful that you are a part of our family.

It is a wise father that knows his own child. - William Shakespeare

Happy Father's Day, Fred


My Fred
Originally uploaded by seabeagle

Today we celebrate Father's Day, a day in which fathers everywhere are honored for their parenting ability and love of their family. A day in which barbecues are held across the country where children both young and grown, travel to be with their Dads.
As your children become parents themselves, the traditional day may change a bit, but the love and commitment for their families only grows as we nurture the fond memories that our husbands, their fathers brought to us over the years.
We may not be with our children this year, but your daughter and son love you more than you will ever know. And I think you are pretty special, too!
All my love,
Your Wife

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jack is 2 Weeks Old

Grampa Fred returned from Atlanta this afternoon with new photos of little Jack. Actually, not so little as at his two week appointment, the little dumpling gained 14 ounces! However, he squirmed so much the nurse could not get a valid measurement on his height so they just gave up! One nurse commented that because he squeaks so much, he's going to be a big talker! Honestly, I think it's nurse mania!
I think all of you will agree that Fred isn't at all enamored with his little grandson as this photo tells the story.
I can see that his mother and father are doing something right. Look at those chubby cheeks? Don't you just want to pinch them and sqeeze that little nose?
How sweet is this? Little baby hand grasping the fingers of his Grampa. A bond so strong that will sustain a lifetime.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Memories of Maui

Family vacations were abundant over the years. Fred and I always managed to expose our children to exciting sights and experiences. We made countless trips to Disney World over the years. Marco Island was a favorite spot for three years in a roll. Numerous beach vacations were great fun. We celebrated Steven's graduation from high school with a Caribbean cruise, and visited Fred's family and our exchange student's family in The Netherlands. All were fabulous times with a lifetime of memories. The one family vacation that was right at the top of my list was our Hawaiian vacation in 2006.
In a rented condo directly on the beachfront, the four of us spent real quality time together. We vacationed with our adult children, Erika 29 and Steven 25. From whale watching to luau's, we managed to cram all of the expected outings into our time. Of course, we frequented all of the great restaurants on the island such as Longhi's, Roy's, Kimo's, Mama's Fish House, Hula Grille and more. Trained in culinary arts, Steven was sure to comment on the many dishes he had and overall, gave two thumbs up on almost every dining experience.
One of the most interesting spots on Maui is the Maui Winery at the Ulupalakua Ranch. Click Here
Ulupalakua (this word reminds me so much of the Umpa Lumpas that I have to giggle) is considered Upcountry on the Island of Maui. Upcountry is located between the beaches and under the ledge of Haleakala. At this point, you can enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view. Right across the street from the historic Ulupalakua Ranch, is the quaintest Post Office/General Store I've ever seen. It is here, that we purchased a simple picnic lunch. After the winery tour, we drove through the winding roads surrounded by farms. These farms produce over 25 different cheeses, all sold on the Island.

If ever I am fortunate enough to live in Hawaii, I would definetly settle in the Ulupalukua area. There is a calmness that overcomes you, a gentle peacefullness that I can recall to this day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My First Attempt at Editing

As I wait to win the lottery which will enable me to purchase Photoshop, I discovered that one of the programs I have on my laptop is Nero. We originally purchased Nero to allow us to burn copies of the wedding. Fred's cousin, Marty, did an excellant job of filming the important parts of the wedding, only to lose the entire day to my stupidity. I accidentally deleted the most important day of my daughter's life in one easy sweep. The camera/recorder did not say "do you really, really, really, really want to delete this wedding, stupid?". In one fell swoop, it was gone. Anyway, I have digressed as I sometimes do.
Quite by accident one day, I opened Nero and noticed that I could view photographs. After playing with the program for more than an hour, this was my end result. Tell me what you think.

Arch Once, Arch Twice, Arch No More

Sitting here at the RV site in East St. Louis, I have a lovely view of the Arch, Gateway to the West. OK, you got me, that is not my photo as I lifted it from the web because I am without camera until Friday when my beloved returns home from meeting his grandson. This stainless steel monument to Thomas Jefferson rises 630 feet about the ground. As a child, I visited family in St Louis almost every summer. Those trips included day trips to Six Flags over Great America, Merrimac Caverns, Busch Stadium to watch the rivals Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals and The Arch. All of the above were memorable experiences except for the 4 minute ride (which seemed to me like 4 hours) to the top of the Arch. The tram seats about 5 people, travels at 4 mph and literally rolls up the arch. I recall a narrative speech, siting the many wonders of this monument, but as I recall, it did not drown out the rattling noise and creaking sounds of expanding steel. Once you arrive at the top of the Arch, you must find your sea legs because the top sways from side to side. In order to look out the windows on either the East or the West viewing sites, you need to lay on your stomach. There's nothing worse than knowing you have to get down as soon as possible only to remember the tram awaits you. Amazingly, I experienced this tram ride once as a child and again as a newlywed. My experience the second time was not nearly as tramatic, but for different reasons. Our little trip included my in-laws and aunt and uncle from The Netherlands. Tanta Corrie, my MIL (mother-in-law's) sister, was absolutely terrified. The entire ride up the Arch she squealed with laughter, but it was more the kind of terrifying laughter that I feared would send her into a coronary at any moment. My days of riding the Arch are over.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Yawn....

It's Saturday night, about 8:23 PM Central time and I feel as though I'm about to drop. OK, I did work today at the show in Collinsville, Illinois, which was amazing! THAT didn't feel like work probably because it is so much fun. As of right now, I am running on empty. My bed is calling me so sweet dreams to all of you.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

This morning, my lovely daughter and grandson drove me to the North Point Marta station so I could return to my husband in St Louis. As I grabbed my bags and kissed them both good bye, I became teary eyed knowing that I was leaving my loved ones behind. After I boarded the train, I was feeling excited about seeing my husband. It seems as though we have been separated for months but in reality, it's only been about 2 weeks.
Marta is the way to go, let me tell you. The train is clean, cool and whisks through the city, leaving cars and traffic behind. For a mere $2.25, it was quite the bargain.
As for Air Tran, they are my new favorite airline. If your departure time is 12:30, you can bet that your plane is pulling away from the gate.
Upon landing, on time, in St Louis, I was greeted by my Fred. :) Again, we choose the Metro to return to the RV.
Steve Martin would be proud!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Animals Approve

Prior to Jack's arrival, Erika and Aaron were sole parents to 3 cats, Allie (big sister to my Grace Kittie), Boyd and lastly, Charlie. Two of these cats belonged to Erika prior to Aaron's arrival into her life.
Here we have a candid shot of the youngest cat, Charlie, checking out the baby. Charlie has already indicated that when the baby monitor begins to squeak, he looks at the new parents and (if animals could talk) says "What's wrong with the baby?"
While I had the wondrous experience of feeding my grandson yesterday, Allie jumped up on the couch, slowly walked over to Jack's head, took a sniff and then proceeded to lick his head. Allie gave her seal of approval.

Great Grandmother Meets Jack for Lunch

Sunday was a grand day! Great Grandmother Theresa and Uncle Steven planned on driving up from Peachtree City to meet the baby. They arrived shortly after noon and made a bee line for the baby. My mom immediately sat down and held little Jack and just gazed happily into the baby's face. Mom was very content and refused any beverage or food until the very end.
Proud Papa supplied Popeye's chicken and all the fixin's for his family to snack on, although I still didn't get what Sprinkles were.

Great Grandmother Theresa (in her brand new blouse from Kohl's) proudly standing besides new mom and dad. My mother says she should have purchased the top in every color.

At first, Uncle Steven didn't want to hold Jack until he was a little older. When new mom Erika asked why not...he responded by saying he didn't want to break him. As you can see, Uncle Steven was quite happy to hold this little new born baby. Don't worry, Uncle Steven, you won't break Jack!

Great Grandmother Theresa, Erika, and Jack pose for this precious photo. Mom refused to eat lunch because it would take away holding the baby. Doesn't everyone look so very happy?





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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Internet Down

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days, but the kids internet service has been down since last Monday. My only avenue for keeping my posting alive was in the hospital, but now that the baby is home, well, you guessed it...no interent. If you are wondering how I managed to accomplish this little task, well, I am at a friend's house. Hopefully by Tuesday, the internet will be up and running by then and I will gleefully add new photos of the baby.