The Big Man is Coming!!!

Bill Clinton is coming to my city!!! Tomorrow morning he will be about 1/2 mile from my office!!!

Lucky Me!!!

My new computer died. No idea why.

The guy at the electronics store said that in the last nine years, he's never seen one just stop working like mine-for no reason and with no warning. The fans were working, the computer sounded like it was booting, but it was transmitting NOTHING to the monitor.

Things like this happen all the time it seems. Outrageous crazy things that you would never believe happen--happen to me, primarily not *good* things.

I should have REALLY good karma-I do good things all the time-I'm not sure why I don't have the best luck in the world.

Hungry Anyone?

It's that time again!!!
Easter dinner at the Ronald McDonald House!!
Last year was a blast and I'm so happy to be doing it again. This is year three for us volunteering there. I'm the coordinator of it-it's a bit of work, but totally worth it. This year we have just 12 people coming. The menu looks good:
  • turkey (for the carnivores)
  • mashed potatoes
  • sweet Potato Casserole
  • green bean casserole
  • two veggie dishes
  • pasta salad
  • broccoli salad
  • creamed corn casserole
  • deviled eggs
  • rolls
  • cake
  • rice krispie treats
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • peanut butter cookies
  • oreo brownie cookies
Sounds like it should be a great meal for us and for the families who are (unfortunately) staying in the RM House this weekend.

Cook for Me

I keep meaning to take a cooking class, but honestly-I just don't LIKE to cook. I don't like to play the tuba, so would it make sense for me to take tuba lessons?
Logical, yes?

I make a variety of dishes for my son, and I do teach him as much as I can about cooking and nutrition. Almost every dish I can make-he can make on his own, which is good. What we're missing though, is key info like what spices go together and having keen senses about sweet or sour or bitter or tart. I don't think I HAVE these. He does somewhat, but maybe it's something you're born with as opposed to a learned behavior? I'll have to look into that...

I'm a mediocre cook, but I've accepted that I will never be an excellent chef. I don't even WANT to be- it's just not something I find enjoyable. I would, however, like more knowledge in the kitchen.

Our favorite meals:
  • 7-layer dip (though I only eat 6 layers, I make a separate pan with 7 for my carnivorous son)
  • Chicken-grilled-with yams and broccoli (we actually have had this twice in the last ten days)
  • Chicken Caesar salad
  • Baked chicken, made with cream of mushroom soup and rice
  • Pasta-just plain old spaghetti
  • Pizza snacks-mini pizzas made on English muffins
  • Thai peanut chicken-chicken cooked in peanut sauce, served over rice (the best food ever)

I need new ones though...
I like recipes that are easy, don't involve a lot of ingredients or spices that I will never use again, and that don't take very long to throw together. I don't want to have to follow precise directions and sift flour and pre-cook part of the meal and then marinate for three days in a pot buried in the backyard.

There is a lady who wrote a recipe book with 800 recipes that need only three ingredients - I'm reserving it from the library now.

When I was newly married, and slightly pregnant, my wonderful Aunt Jean told me: "You gotta learn to cook if you want to keep a man." Luckily, I didn't learn to cook before getting divorced or I might have ended up keeping that one.

My folks gave me this wonderful super deluxe special edition extra-ordinary George Foreman grill for my birthday -and we've barely used the stove since. I quickly learned that you absolutely MUST marinate your meat for a good day before cooking on it-as apparently if you cook a piece of meat within seven minutes, it will dry it out. We made hamburgers and veggie burgers on it as well and it was WAAAAAAAAAAY simpler than firing up the grill. I might try making waffles tomorrow on it. It's awesome and takes away some of my distaste for being in the kitchen.

Read More, Watch Less

I have not been reading much real reason why.

I just read two books this weekend though, both fiction, both well-written. My bus book (that stays in my bag in the car and I only pull out on the bus) is The Butterfly Hunter, about people who have off-the-beaten-path careers. It's very interesting, though I am a bit disappointed that there are no pictures of the people that are interviewed-that would have been nice to have a connection. It need not be a personal photo of them, but even something vaguely connected to them and their crazy career would be nice.

Anyway, this weekend: first was "The Kept Man" by a new author: Jami Attenberg, who apparently writes for the Huffington Post here, which is interesting-I like to feel like I have some access to an authors life. Someday I will write a book and it will point to this blog and all my thousands of readers will visit my blog to feel closer to their new favorite author-me!

The book was good-it's just short of 300 pages, but it's not a standard size book so it's a short 300 pages. I read it in about 6 hours....because the kid overslept again and I was not going to harass him into getting out of bed once again to go bowling. The league is almost over and I have to fight him more and more to wake up early every Saturday to get there on time. He can always post-bowl....and so I slept an extra 30 minutes and then read until almost noon. It was an easy read.

It's about a woman whose husband has a brain aneurysm and goes into a coma and it starts with the story of her life six yrs later, with flashbacks to her life before. It's an interesting subject, the ending wasn' t quite that exciting but it had me interested all the way through.

The other book from this weekend is the new Barbara Delinsky. I'm certain I've read other books by her, but none of her titles sound familiar. She's a New York Times bestselling author, so she has a bit of credibility. The new book was good - very in-depth about a family in turmoil-it's focused around an auto accident but somehow branches out into all these other family issues without getting you lost.

She really is a great writer, I might have to read more of hers. it's a really easy read. I started it this morning and have just about 50 pages left (not reading all day of course-I have things to do ya know).

I read a book last week called Thirteen Reasons Why and the whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking-this would be a good book for kids in high school....and then I finished it and I was reading about the author and it said something about the author and always wanting to write young adult fiction....huh? wait, what?
I enjoyed the book and never caught on that it was meant to be for humans half my age....I guess that means I'm young at heart? There was a very very short sexual descriptive scene which made me question whether it was appropriate for youth, but I guess there are middle schools out there who are having their classes read it since it's such a good story about teen suicide.

The author, Jay Asher, also has a blog (well, an Amazon blog, but a blog nonetheless)-so he's cool too.

Dessert is Served!!!

My son's latest creation:


Unbelievable Detective Work

This is a story about my cousin Kristen.

Basically, my cousin disappeared in October of 1997. She had been a bit of a wild child for a bit and was currently out and about on her own-I don't think her parents knew where she was staying, but she would call them and stay in touch. She had some issues with drugs and breaking the law, but she wasn't a bad person. She was my cousin - we all loved her. I have very vague memories of her, we weren't together that much. Her family lived in Florida, mine was in Illinois. I remember she was funny and got along with all of us, even though my sisters were mean and older, she was just older. She was a kind person and had a great smile.

Anyway, so she disappears and in mid-1998, they read of a body found in the county nearby. The police published a Jane Doe picture and they were certain it was her, but the police insisted it was not.

They never stopped holding out hope and looked for her as much as possible. They even posted happy birthday postings in the paper, just in case she was hiding out from them, she would know they still thought of her and loved her.

And they revisited the police dept with the Jane Doe body and were continually told that it was not Kristen.

Until 2006-when the police came to them and said ---oh, yeah, it IS her.

So the pain and anguish and the unsettling feelings they had for the last eight years , were for nothing. They could have laid her to rest eight years ago. Eight years of not knowing. Eight years of sadness and hope. Eight years of an unsolved mystery that wasn't really that hard to solve.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a strong advocate of the police. I know that there are bad cops and I know that there are bad laws, but I still hold out hope that the police department is overall a good system.

This was absolutely the fault of the police department. They did not do their job. They did not help this family. They were negligent and with such a horrifying outcome at hand, they didn't go above and beyond to make sure they were right in dismissing sweet Aunt Elsie and Uncle Larry. AND even beyond returning Kristen to her family---they haven't done anything (from what we can tell) to find the person who actually killed her!!

Shame, shame, shame on you, Apopka Police Department.


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