Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DipTacular 2011


We are in for a treat.

I have been looking forward to this day for a really long time or maybe the couple of days since Sophie announced her intentions to host what she reverently and with great affection calls DipTacular.  She is a little bit of The Crazy about college football and decided we should celebrate with a recipe extravaganza.

I personally think this is one of the best ideas I've ever heard because when you think about it, can there ever really be enough ways to enjoy cheese combined with the chips?

The answer of course is NO.  

No.  One can never have too many cheesy, dippy options for their snacking pleasure.

That being said, I faced the dilemma of what to share with the class.  After great deliberation I decided to keep my own personal contribution so simple it's downright absurd.

I first tasted this little bit of Heavenly simplicity at my sisters house eons ago, and after the first dipped chip I was hooked.  For life.

This is one of those crazy simple things that people just can't seem to get enough of.  Seriously, I don't think I've ever thrown it together and had any left over.  I'm not even kidding when I say I have seen people lick the bowl.

Anyhoo, here it is.  And I just realized it doesn't even have a name, so let's just call it Robin's Dip after my sister, just to be fair.


The ingredients:

Cream cheese and salsa.

The end.

Officially we use a full jar of salsa and 2 packages of cream cheese but well, I live alone and have no party planned this week. 

Halving the recipe seems the prudent thing to do.

Dump the ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl, kinda like this...

....and heat it up.

And that would be that.  I like to stir it with a whisk every 30 seconds or so and make sure it gets heated thoroughly.  It looks pretty runny at first but thickens up just a bit after a couple of minutes.  And it's still tasty after sitting around for a very long time, which is convenient on a potlucky or tailgate-y sort of afternoon.

Note:  I never, ever claimed to be a food photographer. 

Or a photographer.

I'm just sayin'

Now I'm going to hop back over to Sophie, aka BooMama's bloggy home to find me some new ways to never be svelte again. 

Feel free to come along, it's gonna be a party!

Happy Wednesday :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Can it be Memory Lane when the memories are only a week old?

Can you even believe it's Tuesday again?  I'm greatly uneasy about all this time flying by.  Especially since I'm not at the beach anymore.  I remember back when I was not as old as I am now, and it seemed time mostly flew by when I was on vacation, or taking a nap.  Now it seems to be indiscriminately rushing right past me in a blur even on a Monday.

I don't really know what that means, nor do I know what it has to do with anything.  Other than Can you even believe it's Tuesday again??

Move it along, Renee.  Move it along.

So yesterday was Robin's birthday and I made her cupcakes.

And that is pretty much the extent of fascinating Monday happenings around these parts.

So since that's all I've got I do believe I'll pull out a few more more vacation pictures.  After all, this is my journal for Posterity, and it is my belief that Posterity will appreciate even lame attempts at photojournalism.

There's Donna being all cooperative when I asked her to wave to the camera from our little home-on-the-sand.  You might also note me being all cooperative by taking the photo from far away.  This is why we are friends.  We listen to each other and respect the other's feelings.

or something like that.

p.s.  We were out & about very early, thus the empty beach.

Watching that grandmother get all messy and sandy and sweaty (it was HOT), digging in the sand with her grandchildren made me all kinds of happy....

And the little cherub to the right reached in and ripped my heart clean out of my chest.

Figuratively speaking of course.

She never knew I existed, and we never formally met, but as I watched her run around and play with her little brother and dad, and check in with her mama every few minutes, I missed my little girls so much it actually hurt.  And there was most definitely something about that little blondie-pie that reminded me more than a lot of my little tow-headed Kari Beth.  I may or may not have shed a tear or six and felt all sorrowful about the aforementioned speedy passage of time.

I then managed to comfort myself by thinking of sweet Audrey and Owen, and of course little Doodlebug who is very busy growing at the moment.   

Speaking of which....Doodle, if you chose to be a little blonde cherub like your  mama  I wouldn't mind one little bit.

Finally, I took this one on the beach the night before Irene landed.  It was a downright weird night.  The light was all funky & it was SO WINDY.  No one was allowed in the water because the rip tides were crazy, and the water was more than a little on the wild side.  But it was still kind've a pretty night...and the skies were beautiful!  

This one is looking out in the general direction of the coming storm.  

It might have been my favorite night of all.

I guess that's all for today.  Thanks for indulging me.  If you play your cards right I might just pull out the home movies sometime soon :)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Changing Light and Cool Breezes

Ya see that sweet face on the left?

The one that (in my mind's eye) is approximately seven years old?

Yup.  That's my sister's face.

The sister who allegedly aggravated the ever livin' daylights out of me
for about a hundred years, approximately two-hundred years ago.

That would be the sister who always behaved herself and made me look BAD
because I often did not choose to behave.

The sister who is the sensitive one,

the one who actually remembers all of our childhood exploits,

the wide-open-with-her-heart one.

That very same sister who somewhere along the way became

my friend,

my pal,

my buddy,

my pal,

my sounding board,

and yeah, occasionally my conscience.

That sister.


Today is her birthday!!

And I couldn't be happier that she was, in fact, born.

Happy Birthday, Robin!

I heart ya!

...and I continue to count, especially on birthdays...

(A Thousand Gifts #695-710)

the priceless gift of someone who remembers my memories

letting go

salt in my hair and sand on my toes

changing light and lengthening shadows...shifting seasons

praying for strangers

silent nights and cool breezes and crickets chirping

that just-like-the-first-time amazement when I contemplate the bigness of the oceans and the power of the creator...waves that crash and go no further

giggles over nothing and the friend who "gets it"

seeing love messages left on the sand late at night and feeling happy for people I will never meet

good news from a friend

sweet wedding invitations in the mail

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness it's finest.

We're HOME!!!  Safe and Sound.

Happy Saturday :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Living Outside the Cone of Uncertainty

Just a couple of things.

No, seriously.

First off, we have made the not-at-all difficult choice to stay here at the sea until our originally-planned departure time.

which is not today.

There has been all manner of speculation this week regarding the thoroughly-aggravated Irene, but the consensus around here is that we are outside the Cone of Uncertainty.

Which in layman's terms means it's a good time to be in the Carolina that is not North.

Anyhoo, we've been reassured that things should be merely rainy/windy/floody, and it would be far less pleasant to join the misery that is known as beachy evacuation. I've been there, done that, and perhaps even have the t-shirt tucked away somewhere.

I say all of that to reassure my mama that we're fine. 

Mom, we're fine.

This might be a good time to mention that Donna's mom suggested if things get too windy we should hide under the bed.

Don't think I'm too proud to do that very thing if the windows up here on floor 14 get even a little bit too rattle-y.

I'll keep ya posted.

Quite frankly I'm much more frustrated at the moment with the horrible Internet connection we had yesterday. I am here to tell you that my particular job is decidedly unpleasant when I have time to check my email while waiting for the spell check window to appear. Slow is so much an understatement it's not even an appropriate word.   Let's just say I accomplished not much more than half what I usually do in a workday, and as someone who is paid based on production this means a few less fountain pepsis with extra ice for me this week.

(And this completes the griping-and-complaining portion of our little visit.)

So that's pretty much it for today. We're riding out the biggest storm in evidently a zillion years with our remote control, peanut butter crackers and soda.

and the Internet was slow yesterday.

Here's hoping your whole weekend is just as full of delight.

Happy Friday!

p.s.  All stormy jokes aside, I'm praying for all my east coast friends who are staring down Irene's arrival.  Keep me posted on how y'all are doing!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The View From Here

In case I haven't mentioned it yet today, I'm vacating/recreating beside the sea.  

Thaaat's right.  The very same sea that Irene is either churning or roaring in, depending on which terribly excited! weather man girl person is reporting at the moment.  

I'm going to make this a rather speedy post because I may be recreating but I am also still putting in my 40 hours, so along about 1:43 2:18 in the a-m I am POOPED!  and also ready for bed.

and maybe a bit tired.

Anyway, I just thought I'd pop on real quick and say hello.  As I was sitting in my chair this morning I thought about doing some kind of video for ya of the actual sea, perhaps with some accompanying witty commentary.  Wouldn't that have been fun??

Yeah.  It didn't happen.  My battery was a bit tired and I was more than a bit lazy, so who knows, maybe next time.  I'm also just  going to admit that I did a bit of video on our first  morning here and was quite frankly horrified by my voice on tape.  How is it possible that I can be so completely cool and sophisticated in real life and yet sound like a semi-crazy, over-stimulated country girl when a camera is rolling?  This is an odd phenomenon that I would like to someday research.

And now I can't even believe it, but as is so typical of me I have rambled on for two or six paragraphs about how I don't really have the time to ramble on for two or six paragraphs today. 

A couple of things.

1.  I love eating ice cream in the middle of the afternoon in my bed while watching NCIS.  That's what I was doing this afternoon as I looked over from my bed at Donna in her bed and announced that I LOVE vacation.  This activity is extra-sweet when it follows about 5 hours of sunny, beachy goodness.

2.  I really, really love midnight walks on the beach.  I don't even think I need to elaborate on that one.  Seriously, who doesn't love midnight walks on the beach?  Good stuff is what that is.

In closing I do believe I'll leave you with a couple of pix I've taken so far.   Photographic evidence, if you will, of my aforementioned recreating. 

You know what's weird?  

These pix were all taken on the same day.  I blame all the moodiness on Irene.

Have a happy-happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Few Hours Prior to Phoning Emergency Personnel

Yes, there's a story.  

No, I won't be sharing it on the worldwideweb  :)

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mom's Chicken Salad and Thunder on the Beach


I am now at the beach for the first time in a couple of years.  Those who know me well know of my Great Love for all things sand & surf-y. 

Therefore, I'm happy to inform y'all that I'm quite officially in

My Happy Place.

Geographically speaking, of course.

My buddy, Donna, and I arrived Saturday afternoon, and in the first 24-hour period managed to log in both an 8:30-ish bedtime and a two-hour nap.

There has also been quite a bit of sun and sand.  and reading.

and two trips to the pool.

and also due snacking diligence.

All in all, things are shaping up to be a perfectly pleasant holiday.

...and I'm just SO thankful :)

(A Thousand Gifts #679- 694)

mid afternoon naps
literary junk food
thunder on the beach
sticky sea air
mom's chicken salad
hotel wi-fi
friends keeping an eye on things at home
quick visits
new recipes
poolside lounging
bedside views
gathering storm clouds
summertime fruit
fat raindrops
hot showers

Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Sure Wish I Was There...Doing THAT

This was supposed to be a week full of all things productive.

It has not, in fact, been any thing productive.


I'm not gonna lie...this isn't particularly unusual for me.  It is actually somewhat common in fact.  I don't know, it just seems like life is always more urgent than my plans, and yeah, as a person whose spiritual gift just might be the delightful  hugging people/procrastination combo, it is terribly difficult for me to stay on task.  Any task.

That being the case, I've noticed a pattern in my all-over-the-place-ness.  I have a finite period of time to accomplish a determined goal.  I run around like a crazy person doing things like hanging with my mom at the cath lab and talking on the phone and watching reality TV with a side order of my, you know, job...only to discover it's Thursday. 

And all the stuff on the gotta-get-done list?  Not done. 

I then proceed to run around like a crazy person with a deadline and cram the whole week in approximately 24 hours, give or take a headache or Pepsi or both.

And That, my friends, is what I'm doing today - and quite likely tomorrow as well. 

So are y'all doing anything interesting?  Perhaps lounging by the sea? 


Happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Because I Didn't Have a Blog Then

So I think for the next little while, (likely until I see something shiny and take off on a different tangent direction) on Wednesday mornings I'll start posting some of my favorite pictures from my prebloggy days right here in this very spot.  

You know, sort've an old-news wordless Wednesday.  

A series, if you will.

This week's debut entry?  Who else??  

Miss Audrey in all of her 8-month-old, sun-hatted glory :)  


Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What I did last Saturday

So bright & early-ish Saturday morning Kari & I hit the open road for the day.  Kate & Jeremy had a wedding to attend that evening, so Kari and I volunteered our superb babysitting services.

We had a really nice day together.  There was a copious amount of chatting-things-up while in the car, and yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that I did a large-ish portion of said chatting.  Catching up was needed, and we were UP TO THE CHALLENGE.

Once we got to Kate's the baby-lovin commenced...and it was just as delicious as I remembered from way back two weeks ago.   Owen was snoozing, so we girls headed out to Once Upon a Child to be followed immediately by Chili's.  Kari and I have become somewhat obnoxiously predictable in the whole we-must-go-to-Chili's-every-time-we-come-town department, and I don't care who knows it.  As we pulled into the parking lot Audrey immediately began discussing all the chips(!) and how we would eat a lot of them!

The rest of day consisted mostly of Audrey talking about her "new" baseball glove & practicing her mad skills (seriously y'all, the two-year-old can flat out hit her baseball with her "carrot" with impressive consistency) - and a certain me kissing Owen's chubby cheeks, and knees...and feet.

And then we came home.  without swimming in the above-pictured pool.

Oh!  And it rained!

The end.

(Stay tuned and soon I might just share the riveting tale of how I cleaned out my refrigerator.)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Road Tripping and Baseball Gloves


“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


(A Thousand Gifts #662-678)

chubby fingers holding graham crackers

two-year-old wake-ups, whispers in my face

lunch with my three favorite girls

sweet jeremy hugs

sleeping with my windows open

planning what to pack

"I DID it, naynay!!"

sweet, sweet shayne

loved ones on voice mail

the book of habakkuk

knowing God will lead

the way she says "baseball glove"

chicken on the grill

road-tripping with kari

night sounds

job's fierce faithfulness

sweet, sweet sleep

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Beauty

Okay y'all, it's time for some no-stress writing Friday-style.  Therefore, I'm going to dive right into my write-for-five-minutes-and-then-call-it-a-night assignment. 

And then I'm going to call it a night :)

p.s.  No pictures because Blogger?  Yeah.  Mad at me again.

Here we go!


On Beauty

This is an interesting topic for me today coming right on the heels of seeing The Help yesterday.  One of the things that struck me in the movie was recognizing all the simmering nastiness lying beneath the surface in those pretty, pretty girls...which in turn made them not at all pretty - and frankly rather hard to even look at. 

But then there were other women in the film who were tired and worn down, and certainly without all the trappings that we use to make us more atractive, and I found myself weeping from the beauty of their courage, and strength, and dignity.

That seeming contradiction got me to thinking about different people I've seen lately who do not fit the traditional stereotypes of beautiful at all but draw me in like a moth to a flame.

Like the sweet couple I saw walking ahead of me in the mall last weekend, stooped over with age and life, and most surely living in their 8th or 9th decade.  As they shuffled along, somewhat lost in their own shared world, I saw little physical evidence of the strong young couple they once were.  But when I noticed his arm firmly around her I knew, even without seeing their faces or hearing their story, that he loved her.  Frankly, I can't recall the last time I've seen such a pure expression of love like that in the walls of that local mall...and as the tears sprang up I knew I was staring down at beauty at its very best. 

I don't know a lot in life but this I know for certain.  Beauty is not about blue eyes, or straight shoulders, or even thin waists.

To me, beauty is in the loving.

And loving well?  Exquisite.


Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So I saw The Help and now I have thoughts

So I saw The Help yesterday.  I had never read the book and knew virtually nothing about it other than the general premise - and the fact that the buzz was CUH-RAZY.  Frankly, knowing that it was a bunch of women in the south was enough for me, and when I saw the trailer a few months ago I was sold. 

It also didn't hurt that Dreamworks was involved.  Now I know that at times they've made some choices I didn't agree with, but they have also been known to put out a pretty decent movie once or twice in the full-o-heart category.

All that being said, I can't remember the last time I was this excited about seeing a movie.  Enough so that I once again pulled out my hair dryer and eyeliner and even put on a dress...and headed off to The Cinema. 

Observation #1:  Concessions at The Cinema have reached an all-time high in the category of HIGHWAY ROBBERY.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I did the whole cranky old lady thing when told that my small popcorn with small drink was a total of $10.75.  Seriously, y'all, that's an entree at The Olive Garden, which is where my seat-neighbors were headed after the movie.   And you know how I hate to complain, but the popcorn wasn't even very tasty. 


My very-polite-but-horrified tangent with the popcorn-selling girl did yield some rather interesting information, though.  She told me that the theater makes virtually no money on the actual movie nearly all of their income comes from the goodies at the concessions.  Thus, the insanity.

I always wondered what the rationale was with those exorbitant prices. 

Sometimes it pays to own your cranky.  You just might learn something.

Observation #2:  I went to the 12:45 movie on Wednesday afternoon, and Y'all.  The theater was full.  As in people-coming-in-had-difficulty-finding-a-seat full.  I suspect it was nuts last night.

It was also about 98% women.  All kinds of women.  There was a very elderly woman sitting in front of me and a young woman with her infant in a sling in my row.  I went alone but quickly made friends with a nice widow (who loved the book! and also The Olive Garden!) and her daughter who were sitting beside me.  Fun, fun fun!

Well, fun until the end when I was crying and feeling kind've foolish.  I am such a movie crier.

It's all fun and games until you do the ugly cry in front of the nice lady who'd already read the book and had control of her emotions.

(It looks like this is going to be a long one, folks.  It's 1:24 in the a.m. and I'm tired so I'm extra rambly.  Can't be helped.)

So about the movie itself...

Observation #3:  Evidently cussing was popular in the  1960s.  I always thought my peers invented it, but if this movie is any indication, even back in the olden days when my friends were too young to talk people liked to say very bad words.  This would mean you, Mom & Dad, and your pals.

Who knew.

That being said, and with me officially being on the record of not approving of cussing, I really, really loved the movie. 

It made me feel all kinds of things, often at the same time.  Literally in the same scene I would be laughing at one moment and then feeling kind've broken-hearted the next. 

Hilarious and tragic.

Sorta like life.

I expected it to be mostly funny and less, well...sad.  (I guess this is where reading the book would have had me better prepared.)  It only took about a couple of minutes before I was squirming in my seat.   I loved some of the familiarity with its accompanying nostalgia, but it was not fun at all to see the sheer disrespect that was such a part of that time.  I was really struck by the venom behind the lovely southern manners and pretty dresses.  There is nothing pretty about that kind of thinking and behavior, and I felt like the movie was somewhat unflinching in portraying that, which in turn made me feel very uncomfortable and just sad.  But in a good way.  It's good to be honest about where we were and how we've changed and grown. 

I did feel like it was pretty balanced, though.  Like life, not everyone was venomous, and some of the ones who made poor choices were not particularly evil but mostly weak, and struggling with the complexities of the culture at the time.  There was such pressure from most everyone to keep the status quo. 

I would like to think I would have been like Skeeter and all about standing up and making a difference, but I have to wonder. 

I know I would have been kind because that's the way my heart rolls, but would I have had the courage to inspire change? 

I hope so...

I've rambled on long enough.  In a nutshell for all my buddies who were asking what I thought, here's the skinny.  It's rated PG-13, I'm sure mostly because of the language (and there was one running gag that was a little, umm...coarse). 

I imagine you will giggle quite a bit, squirm now and again...and I dare you to not shed a tear or three.

And you'll likely have a few thoughts of your own.

...and in my opinion, thinking all the thoughts can only lead to better.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Like Maria von Trapp, Only Not

In other words.... A Few of My Favorite Things:  Edition Edibles.

To my great delight it has been The Summer of the Snack-Food Items around these parts.  I don't know if it's because of all The Hot or what, but I've been eating differently these last few months...not so much full of meat and potatoes but rather a lot of things I can (usually) grab by the handful.  

Below are a few of the goodies that I can't seem to get enough of, and I now heartily recommend them to any of you who might be foraging for a snack, perhaps even at this very moment.  

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but suffice it to say they may or may not be good for ya, I can't rightly say.  

I feel it's best that you decide such things for yourself.

...and in the I-don't-know-what-has-gotten-into-me-but-I-can't-seem-to-get-enough-of-it category,

the Pièce de résistance...

Happy Snacking!

p.s.  It would make me multiple shades of happy if you wanted to share your tasty summer favorites.  I am not opposed to trying new and different things.  I'm spontaneous that way.