Betty Crocker I am not.
I was cooking chili tonight and there was near disaster. I had all the ingredients simmering in a pot on our gas stove. The aroma was wonderful – warm, tantalizing chili spices. I was stirring, and had an oven mitt on my left hand as I steadied the pot because the handles get hot.
Suddenly, the smell changed a little. It was just as I started stirring, so I thought the new smell was the direct result of the stirring. It was at first kind of a sweet smell, and an interesting combination with the warm spices. Kind of like marshmallows on a campfire. Pleasant. Then it started to smell a little more like the campfire itself.
In alarm, I let go of the pot to see what it could be, when I noticed my oven mitt was aflame. I’m talking a tongue of fire 5 inches off the tip of the mitt. I screamed, knocked a can off the counter and waved my mitt around and the fire was immediately extinguished.
The whole time, I felt no heat on my hand. That’s what I call a quality oven mitt. I guess the end of the mitt dangled into the open flame on our gas burner. Thank goodness for good mitts.

Home Again

Lee and I just got back in town from visiting family for the holidays. We had a really good time, despite a rocky start. We were planning to leave as soon as Lee got off work Christmas Eve, headed for Fitzgerald. Several things delayed our start, including some crazy Millie antics I don’t care to repeat – but worst of all, someone put a glass bottle behind the back wheel of Lee’s car while he was parked in the city parking deck. Shortly after he got home, his back tire was completely flat. Who would do that? That is so wrong. It was pouring rain, and we spent probably an hour lying in the mud under the truck trying to get the spare on.
But finally, we were headed out of town. Seeing family was great, though Christmas was a little harder this year because so many things were different. Holidays are full of tradition, and when those traditions can’t happen, it can be tough. But, I still got to see everyone, and that’s what’s important.
Several highlights (other than visiting with family, because that’s an automatic top of the list) included getting and giving lots of good presents, a Christmas night bonfire, beating Lee at least once on his Attack of the Clone Wars game, finishing a book, and playing with Lee’s R2D2 robot. It was so funny – something is wrong with the robot’s head. It’s like it’s on backwards or something. You would tell it to go forward, and it would try, but it would keep running into things. It was like R2D2 was drunk. I had a good laugh.
It was nice to pull into our driveway today. Now we’re taking down the tree, putting up all our loot, and trying to get everything back in order. It’s good to be home, but with lots of nice memories of a Happy Holiday.

Special Gift

Sometimes the best Christmas presents are ones others might not understand. That’s what makes them special. They’re just for you, and they show that the giver thinks you are special, too.


It’s after one o’clock on a Monday afternoon and I’m still in pajamas. That can mean only one of two things. A) I am sick. B) I am off work.
If you chose B, you picked correctly.
How rare in this business to get Christmas off! I have the whole week and I’m very excited about it. Today, I’m cleaning and doing laundry. Might sound like work, but I’m glad to finally have some free time to tackle it all.
Tonight, Lee and I are going to celebrate Christmas by going to eat at a swank restaurant and opening presents. We wanted to have our own little Christmas here at our house before we left for the whirlwind tour of Georgia. I’m looking forward to everything – to tonight, to visiting with family, the whole shabang.
It’s 67 degrees right now, so it doesn’t feel like Christmas outside. But it’s a beautiful day, so I’m going to take Millie to the park and enjoy it.
If i can’t be with you this Christmas, know I’m thinking of you and wishing you well.

Dracula Jr.

I know I shouldn’t gossip, especially about church, but I felt the need to share.
Lee and I were in church Sunday, and the children’s choir was performing. There are tons of cute kids as you might expect, but there is this one kid we’ve seen before who is intriguing. Rather, it’s his hair that is so interesting.
It has more product in it than I think I’ve ever owned. He’s a young kid, not out of elementary school yet, and otherwise a normal looking kid. But he’s got slicked back hair that reminds me of Dracula or something. I mean, it’s slicked like he’s trying out for a part in Grease. It looks constantly wet.
After the choir sang, he sat down with his dad. At that precise moment, things became clearer. His dad had even more product in his hair. The poor child. He is either trying to be like his dad, or has no say and just lets his dad go wild. Dracula and Drac Jr.

Judge, Jury, and Executioner

I do not ever need to be a judge.
Today, Lee and I judged floats for a 4-H parade in Pembroke. There were 8 floats, and we had to walk around them looking very judge-y with a clipboard, scoring them on various categories.
There were a few floats you could tell weren’t in it to win. They threw some hay on a trailer and voila. But there were several pretty good ones that you knew took effort.
Once finished examining the floats, Lee and I averaged our scores. My favorite float was the first place winner, and for that I was relieved. But 2nd and 3rd place were much trickier. We hadn’t scored the same way on a few of them. But we stuck to our averaged figures, and declared the winners.
On the way home, we made the mistake of discussing the entries. After more thought, we decided we might have chosen wrongly. And of course, I could imagine how hard everyone had worked, and the people who designed the floats that didn’t win were surely crushed. I was guilt-ridden. I wanted to turn the car around and declare a mistrial.
I’ve done this before. I judged a speech competition along with a friend, and it was heart-breaking. One of the kids who didn’t win came up to me afterward to ask why. I tried to give him lots of words of praise along with some constructive criticism, and he burst into tears. I will never forget that. He probably doesn’t even remember, but I do.
From now on, if I have to judge anything, I’ll just give everyone a blue ribbon. Much easier that way.

Return of the Clam

I got my laptop back today, and I’m so excited.
I had been having battery problems. It came to a head last week when I was in the car headed back to work from a story in Brunswick, frantically typing my script so my stuff would make it into the newscasts. The battery died unexpectedly after 25 minutes of use. I lost everything. Unfortunate.
So I took it to the computer doctor, and it was really hard handing it over. I was without it for a week.
Finally, yesterday the computer people called and said I had a bad battery. I could buy a new one (with warranty this time) and pick it up.
I couldn’t get it until today, but last night I had a funny dream. I dreamed I was walking to my house with my laptop, affectionately known as Clammy, cradled in my arms, when I was approached by two men.
They wanted Clammy.
I started fighting back. I gripped Clammy to my chest and starting kicking and punching with my one free hand. At one point, one of them clocked me in the face but I didn’t care. I kept kicking and swinging. I even tried reasoning with them. I explained all my Quicken financial documents are on this computer and I couldn’t possibly be without it. They didn’t care. Heartless.
I managed to fend them off, and Lee and I locked ourselves in the house. I knew they were waiting outside though. We couldn’t leave the house with Clammy because they would attack again. We couldn’t leave Clammy in the house though, because they would break in.
Then I woke up.
So far, Clammy made it through the day without being stolen. I had a school board meeting, and Clammy was a champ and helped me through. A few times, I had to leave it on my seat and step away for a second, and I was very nervous. But all was well.
Don’t even think about taking my Clammy. I’ll fight.

Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

It is done. The Christmas tree is up. Let’s just hope it stays that way.
Decorating for Christmas is always much more stressful than I remembered. It’s still fun, but different from the way it was growing up. Then, dad always had to deal with the unpleasantries like getting the tree to sit straight in the stand and unfurling all the lights. I did the fun stuff, like adding ornaments.
Now, it is up to Lee and me to do it all – and getting the tree to be straight in the stand and not fall is no simple task. Many of you have heard about the disaster that was last year. I won’t repeat it now.
This year’s tree went up with considerably less drama. There was still some drama with other decorations though.

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Cruisin’ for a Sales Pitch

I feel slimy and kind of dirty.
A few days ago, a telemarketer called Lee and he did a travel survey. They said we would be entered to win a cruise – and guess what? We won.
All we had to do was go to the travel agency and meet with someone to get our cruise. The company says they’re giving away a few cruises because they’re moving into the area and want to get the word out.
We were told we wouldn’t be expected to buy anything, and would meet one on one with someone – and not about a timeshare.
We were both skeptical, but decided it wouldn’t hurt to attend – and if they asked for a credit card we would run. Literally.

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Christmas Relived

Last night and into this morning, I finally edited my video from last Christmas into a movie. Lee got me a great video camera last Christmas, but we didn’t have the right software to edit videos until we got our laptops recently.
I was really intimidated. You’d think I wouldn’t be intimidated to edit – something I do almost every day. But in some ways it was harder because I already know how to edit in one format, and I get frustrated easily when I try to edit on another format and can’t figure something out. Especially if it’s something I know is simple.
But finally, I started getting it. The imovie program on Apple is great. Neat transitions, titling, etc. It was fun going through all the video from last year too. And now, with this project done, I think the next time I make a movie it’ll be that much easier.