Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Twitpic of 2009

I have been trying to find the time to post at least one more time in 2009 (to add to the measly quantity of posts I've had all year), and since I don't have the energy to do a full-length "Best of 2009..." post, I was looking through some pictures from 2009, specifically ones I've shared on Twitter via Twitpic.

If you ever get a chance to visit one of Bill Clinton's fav f... on Twitpic

I thought I'd used Twitpic more than I did, so this was the best I could come up with. It's from our trip to Martha's Vineyard in July. This place serves the best fried clams. One order is enough to fill you up all day. We did read that it is allegedly one of Bill Clinton's favorite places to eat on the island, so we had to check it out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow = Food

Looking outside, it doesn't seem like yesterday's blizzard delivered quite the amount of snowfall that was originally forecasted for us. It would have only taken a couple of inches for me to happily declare myself snowed in, though.

That makes this a great weekend to follow my first order from the Lehigh Valley Food Coop. This was from my Thursday order, which turned out to be more than I thought.

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, lemons, pears...

Spinach, carrots, apple butter...

Yes, that is a carrot next to the apple butter. Short, fat, funky looking carrots. Word is that they are super sweet. I can't wait to try them.

Brown eggs, which Ali can't wait to try simply because she's always wanted to try a brown egg. I hope she's not disappointed when she can't tell the difference.

There's raw cheddar cheese, and really nice looking broccoli.

Pasta sauce from Butter Valley Harvest, made in Bally, PA.

And some Sumatra coffee beans. Locally roasted and very fresh.

(These were delivered to us on December 17th.)

I am currently planning today's menu, which somehow needs to include most of the fresh things from Thursday's order. Maybe some eggs florentine with home fries for breakfast, broccoli cheddar soup for lunch, and sweet potato pancakes with roasted carrots for dinner.

Let it snow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We Are...

Since baseball season is finally over, my sports focus can go back to football a bit. I haven't been ignoring it, but baseball was a higher priority. I have a good game on Saturday to start with, but it will be stressful.

Speaking of Saturday's game, is there any better uniform in college football than Penn State?

No. Not even close.

And don't even get me started about our mascot.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Phillies vs. Gas House Gorillas

After the Phillies win and Cliff Lee's amazing performance in game 1, I tweeted something about him being like Bugs Bunny. When I said the same thing in my office, all of the 20-somethings had no idea what I was talking about. After my explanation they still didn't know what I meant. This morning, just like every Saturday morning when I was a kid, I watched a little Bugs. I find myself thinking more about baseball than football this morning, which is kind of unusual for the end of October. Here's hoping that Cole Hamels can channel a little Bugs too for tonight's game.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Supersized Trick or Treat

This is what will face the trick or treaters that come to our house on Friday. A big bowl of assorted FULL SIZE candy bars.

I love the looks on the kids' faces when they see them and try to decide which one to pick. And there have only been a few times that I've had to pull the bowl back from someone grabbing multiple bars.

We've always done full-sized bars for Halloween. The good thing about it is I think it provides some extra insurance against our pumpkins being smashed or our house being egged. The down side is that you are stuck with BIG candy leftovers.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

RIP Harley

The cancer finally won, and my Mom and brother finally had to put my Dad's dog, Harley, to sleep yesterday. Harley was a beautiful black lab, with one of the sweetest dispositions of any dog I've ever known. She was an old soul from the beginning; I remember watching her sleep--seemingly constantly--when she was just a couple of years old and thinking that if you didn't know better you'd think she was a senior citizen. With her lazy, easygoing personality, she always, always had a wag of her tail to greet you, and would quickly roll over to beg for a belly rub.

Harley loved everyone, but she definitely was my Dad's dog and had a special bond with him. Wherever they are, I hope they are together.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lee Now

I doubt anyone has a shot of someone with a sign for "Lee Now" from this game back on July 25th.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Homemade Dog Food

For the last few weeks my dogs have been enjoying my version of homemade dog food. My inspiration to start making it for them was my friend Shari and her gorgeous dog Ben:

Ben is HUGE, yet buff. His fur is shiny and soft, his eyes are bright. He is sexy. So after watching him devour the homemade food that Shari makes for him, I decided to give it a try for my freak dogs. (Speaking of freak dogs, interesting to see the comments on my post about my Gypsy's crazy fear of hiccups.)

I considered taking pictures of each step of the process, but it's actually kind of gross. And the smell is pretty nasty too. I suppose that's why the dogs like it so much.

So based off of Shari's recipe and some that I found online, my basic recipe is:

  • 5 lbs of ground beef (80/20, browned and drained.)
  • 3 lbs of chicken livers (Cooked in a pot with just enough water to cover them, then mashed well with a potato masher. Definitely the most disgusting part.)
  • 4 or 5 eggs (Shells included, blended in a blender then cooked in with half of the ground beef when it's nearly done.)
  • Big bag of frozen mixed veggies (Cooked with a little water, then mashed well.)
  • Brown rice

Once it's all cooked and mixed together well it looks pretty much like any other wet dog food:

To serve it we mix in a bit of bone meal, some water to moisten it, and then a few squirts of salmon oil over the top. I do intend to check with my vet soon to make sure she approves, but I think she will. They get 2 meals a day, breakfast and dinner. As fast as they devour it, it's amazing that they haven't choked yet. As soon as one of them empties their bowl, they immediately go to the other's to make sure nothing was left behind.

One of the goals of this is to get a few pounds off of 13 year old Gypsy. She's developed a fairly significant limp on her left front leg and besides possibly her arthritis, the vet has no idea why. Other than that, she's pretty healthy for an old lady. But she definitely could stand to drop some weight. I haven't weighed her since we started, but I think she might have lost a pound or two. This despite the fact that she is so fat and happy after she eats that the next few hours are spent passed out cold.

I should also mention that this has been made MUCH easier thanks to my Mom, who does the actual feeding of the girls every day. And the multiple walks she takes them on each day also are contributing to the bounce they both seem to have in their step lately.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Did My Package Come?

In recognition of the wildly popular National Blog Something From Draft Week 2009, which you probably know as NaBloSoFroDraWe, I decided to finally write this post. It's one of several in my drafts folder about my Dad, and I need to find the time to finish more of them. He has been on my mind a lot lately. First it was because of the one year anniversary of his death, but then it was the trips I took these last couple of weeks. So many of the summer vacations my 10-year old has had included my Dad, which I'm sure is why she brought him up to me multiple times a day while on vacation. (The fact that we saw a ridiculous amount of Coopers on the island was a factor as well. Seriously, they were everywhere. Every color and style.)

You know how some memories are impossible to date? This is one of those. Whenever my Dad came home from work, most days he would ask my Mom "Did my package come?" and she'd always casually say "No." When I was old enough to care, I asked what package he was talking about. Turns out there was no package. Ever.

When my Mom and Dad were first married, money was tight. I guess it was always kind of tight, but that's probably more because of my Mom's thrifty, saving nature. Those qualities were actual very critical, as they were needed to balance out my Dad's nature--to spend it as soon as he had it. So apparently, early in their marriage my Dad's way of dealing with this conflict was to create something that was designed solely to drive my Mom crazy. They were married in January and I was born in December (makes you think for a second, right? Dad loved that too, but that's another post...) so I imagine my Mom was really freaking out about money.

One day my he came home from work and asked her simply "Did my package come?" and she instantly panicked: "Package? What package? What did you order? We can't afford anything! What package is coming?" He just chuckled and said it was nothing to worry about and just let it go. She got really upset, but he remained calm. After doing this every day for a week, I'm sure my Mom was probably about to explode, thinking all week that he spent all this money that she knew nothing about and was sure they couldn't afford.

He finally confessed to her that there was no package; he had just been teasing her. I picture my Mom being absolutely furious at him for a solid 5 minutes, and then not being able to help smiling and just shaking her head. That was a reaction my Dad always got easily--he could always elicit a smile from you shortly after whatever frustration he first caused you. There were always lots of both around him.

Even though the joke was up after a week, the routine of him asking her when he got home from work "Did my package come?"continued for almost as long as I can remember, probably as long as he went to work every day. And after she answered "no" my Mom always just smiled and shook her head.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Midsummers Recap

July 25th is probably technically right smack in the middle of summer, yet somehow it feels like we are in the home stretch. It's been a fairly busy couple of months. I don't have any brilliant ideas for a post, so I think I'll borrow the bulleted list idea--from a blog I really like.

--Heading to our 2nd Phillies game of the season this afternoon. The seats for our last game were directly up from 1st base. WAY up. As in the next to the top row. At least I got a nice shot of the Philly skyline that we were right next to:

philly from 415

--Just got back from a long weekend in Portland, Maine. Highlight of the trip was spending time with my best friends, but a close second was the Wilco show on Friday night. I took a ton of pictures all weekend, with a few shots that I really really like. I was hoping for better shots from the concert, but between my lack of experience with my camera, the crowd, the dark, and the Magic Hat, I didn't get many good shots.

Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band

Better shots from the next couple of days after the concert:

Display at the place we bought much lobster, one of my favorite pics. (I think it would make a great puzzle.)

Lake Harmony

--We're leaving on Monday for Martha's Vineyard for a week. The first thing anyone who has been there says when I say I'm going is "It's beautiful" followed immediately with something like "Bring a sweater!" So I have no high expectations for hot, sunny beach weather. But hopefully I will be able to continue to improve my photography skills and bring back some decent shots.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vote Shane

Cast your vote for the flyin' Hawaiian to grab a spot in the All Star game!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer Concerts

For the first time in a long time, I have a few concerts coming up in my future.

The Decemberists with Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 (Tomorrow, June 6, at the Tower Theatre in Philly. Based on some of the concert reviews I've read, I can't wait to see them. NPR has a recording of a recent concert here, but I'm waiting until after tomorrow to listen to it.)

Wilco (twice in July--first in Wilmington, DE and then in Portland, ME)

After purchasing the Wilco tickets, I started to think about all of the concerts I've been to in my lifetime. Turns out it's not very many. Here are all that I could think of off the top of my head, in approximate reverse chronological order:

Ben Folds (This was maybe 2 years ago at Muhlenberg College. Since my daughter LOVES him, decided to make it her first concert. Only time I regretted that was when he did his remake of a Dr Dre song. Sort of made me feel like a bad parent sitting next to my 8 year old during that. Otherwise, as she was singing along with the rest of the songs, it was good.)

Elvis Costello w/ Laura Cantrell

Indigo Girls
(Twice, I think, first in Baltimore and then in Philly.)
Toad The Wet Sprocket (3 different times, I think, in the late 80's/early 90's. Once was with The Gin Blossoms.)

Robyn Hitchcock w/Mathew Sweet (This one is kind of fuzzy, I'm pretty sure they were together. I think it was for Girlfriend for Sweet and Eye for Robyn, in Washington DC. At least part of that is correct, I'm sure.)

The Pixies w/Love & Rockets (at Penn State)

The Beach Boys (at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, with the roof open. I remember the roof opening part being mentioned in every ad, so I guess it wasn't done very often. Do they still open the roof? I can't believe that place is still used, actually. It seemed way too old 25 years ago.)
Bryan Adams (also at the Civic Arena)
Bruce Springsteen (at 3 Rivers Stadium. My main memory of this show is when Bruce first came out on stage everyone jumped to their feet and the guy behind me dumped his entire beer down my back.)

And my 2 earliest concert memories, both at the Civic Arena with my Dad, when I was pretty little, so presumably in the 70's:

Tony Orlando & Dawn
John Denver

I think if I had to pick a favorite from all of these, it would have to be Tony. Mostly because it is just one of the most vivid memories of my childhood. Also it was just me and my Dad, so just like all memories of things that just the 2 of us did together, it is extra special. Plus, it was Tony in his prime, and I just LOVED him. How could you not? Look at that stache'!

What's your best concert memory? What's your summer concert schedule this year?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I think I have enough summer reading material

This is the stack of books currently on my nightstand, in my que if you will. They are in no particular order, except that I did start "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" and also Harry Potter #1 (with my daughter). I also may have started "Marley and Me" quite a while ago, I'm not sure. After I saw the trailer for the movie for the 113th time, I sort of lost interest.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Best of Twitter

In one of my rare comments, Bone of "If You Only Read ONE BLOG This Year..." was kind enough to point out a typo I had in my sidebar preventing people from getting to my Twitter profile. How he figured out what the typo was specifically I don't know, but I'm glad he did. (And if you've never read his blog, you definitely should check it out, it never disappoints. Do not let the fact that he is a Cowboys fan deter you. If I could get past it, so can you.)

My first thought after fixing the error was to wonder how many witty, interesting things which I had tweeted had people missed out on? Surely there were many. Turns out after reviewing my history, not so much. Now I've only got 195 updates, not nearly as many as others, but still I was a bit disappointed in myself.

The brief, very edited highlights of my tweeting which you may have missed:

@kwerb Think we are finally done hearing about how we booed McNabb at the draft? Me neither.

"Experts say that although every spin is random, over time, the casino is the winner" Gee, really?

Based on the behavior of the bunnies in my neighborhood, it's clear that they've focused on quantity over quality.

Summer concerts, part 2: Wilco, in Portland, in July. With hens.

If it takes 7 consecutive tweets to make your point, please just make it a blog post instead. Thank you.

Ahh, yoga. I've missed you. Wii Fit just can't match the real thing.

Saw probably the worst movie ever made the other day: Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Stars Frampton & the Bee Gees. Just awful.

AP Headline: "Hugh Jackman visit to Mexico City canceled on swine flu concerns." This is big news?

Me to 10 yr old & friend: No, you may not run through the sprinkler, it's April. Yes, you may wash my car wearing your bathing suits.

Your, You're. They are two different words, people. I don't care if you only have 140 characters.

When you need a scarf, gloves, and a blanket, it's too cold for baseball. Minor league baseball, anyway.

Shopping list: margarita mix, limes, and butter. Only a few more hours until the lobster arrives.

Can't get this song out of my head today. Jenny Lewis & Elvis

Is April Fool's over yet? Enough already.

You'll never win the NCAA pool you pick with your heart. Pitt, you've done it to me again.

Not exactly "springing" forward. More like crawling.

Recovering from hooping class, where you are not allowed to say "I can't."

Trying to fix the oven. Making a 3rd dog out of the amount of dog hair that was under the stove.

It's a good thing I learned to drive in Pittsburgh. People here don't have a clue what real winter driving is like.

That's my "Best of" for Twitter. Go on, click over and follow me. It'll get better, I swear.

Friday, April 10, 2009

There's One Main Reason I Don't Think I Could Be a Vegetarian


(Sick quantity of lobster in this shot prepared by Chef Mote, October 2003.)

What do you call a vegetarian who eats seafood? I could do that, I really think I could. I don't think I'd need chicken or pork or beef if I could still have fish.

Seafood just somehow seems morally OK. I mean we're talking about eating things that live in shells that we dig up from the ocean. And big bugs. Plus they are ridiculously delicious.

I could give up things with faces though. Except fish. But is that technically a face? If you cannot see 2 eyes at once maybe it's not a face.

Dylan Moran's take on vegetarianism is one I think I could handle. Except for the part about the faces. (The whole thing is funny, but this is at 2:10.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Twitter and Photocanvas: Part 1

I'm not sure exactly how long I've been on Twitter, but it hasn't been too long. I've only got 50 followers. I think the highest number of followers that anyone I follow has is 486,094. That's Al Gore. For someone with so many followers you'd think he put a little more effort into it. I mean, if you're going to say you are on Twitter and you are famous, at least make an effort. Plus he only follows 7 people, which I'm sure must be one of the biggest discrepancies between followers and followees you'll find.

I'm not sure how most of the people who follow me found me, but clearly they started following me just so I'd follow them. I 'm pretty sure they are the same people who tell you it's rude to not follow people if they follow you. I want to be a polite user of social media, so I dutifully follow them. Some I'm glad I follow, others not so much. A few I have unfollowed because their constant tweets were clogging things up for me. Maybe if my number of followers grows dramatically I'll decide to screw the politeness and only follow people I really want to follow.

This post isn't really supposed to be about Twitter, but the way it came about was because of Twitter. Somehow @photocanvas started following me, so I politely followed him back. Well, a while ago he tweeted:

Attention Bloggers new deal free 8x10 canvas for blog roll link and blog post about the canvas once you receive it first 20 to @ me

So I quickly replied. Something for free, plus a subject for a blog post? Perfect. Plus it's a pretty generic request, just asking for a blog post about something. I've probably already fulfilled the agreement by just what I've already written about it, so I could technically stop here I think.

I would feel pretty guilty about stopping here, though, so I will do a full review. That will be part 2 of this post, since I've had the start of this in my drafts for a few weeks already at this point, plus it's already way long and more about Twitter than the photo canvas. Stay tuned--part 2 coming soon. (My definition of "soon" being a completely subjective and undefined length of time.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Indoor Gardening Isn't Really My Thing

Before you view the picture I took today of one of my indoor plants, I'd first like to refresh your memory of the overflowing bounty that was my vegetable garden of 2008:

And don't forget these:

Given those results, you'd think my indoor plants would look halfway decent. Not so much.

I'm not quite sure how this plant has managed to stay alive for the past 5 years. It's pretty resilient, obviously, since it needs to recover from this near-death state on a regular basis. Once you notice it looking like this, all you ned to do is dump a lot of water on it and within a day it looks normal. Vibrant, even.

Please note that the state of this plant should not be viewed as a reflection of the effectiveness of the aqua globe-(as seen on tv)-that you see. Turns out that you need to fill those with water on a regular basis in order for them to work. Maybe if I had 8 or so in this plant they'd do the job.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Terrifying Hiccups

I don't think that it is uncommon for dogs to be afraid of loud noises. Thunderstorms and July 4th are nightmares for my almost 13-year old mutt Gypsy. She can sense a thunderstorm coming hours before you hear a thing. Once it starts she quivers and pants the entire time--while standing on top of you, no matter if you are sitting in the couch, on a dining room chair, or sleeping in bed. Hitting rumble strips while riding in the car is a close second to thunder and lightning. Luckily the noise is brief and forgotten relatively quickly.

But nothing strikes fear into Gypsy's heart like my 10-year old daughter with a case of the hiccups. Last night I was on the couch, and I heard a faint hiccup from the kitchen. The next thing I knew I had a 55 pound quivering, panting mess climbing onto me. The shaking was so strong that the entire couch was vibrating. Even though I immediately banished the hiccupping kid upstairs, it still took Gyps a good 20 minutes to calm down.

I tried googling to see if the fear of hiccups was something other dogs experience. Apparently lots of dogs and puppies GET hiccups. But if other dogs also are completely terrified when they hear human hiccups, no one is writing about it on the internet. Except me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Blackberry Travels With Me....

My answers to the Plinky question "Describe the contents of your purse." I'm not sure which is more boring: my answers, or no post at all. I'm really just testing Plinky out, so maybe with a better question I'll generate a decent post one of these days.

Because just like everyone else, I think bad things will happen if I don't always have it with me. Just in case.

For ID and credit cards, and my daughter's picture. Certainly not to hold cash.

Can't live without it.

See ibuprofen answer.

Tissues, gum, lipstick, mirror, checkbook
Required contents for most purses I think.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cooper Slap

It's been just over 6 months since my father passed away, and I'm just now starting to feel like I'm ready to write about him. The thought of NOT writing stuff about him has been stressful, because part of me thinks I need to somehow record all of the memories I have of him before they start to fade. Well, I'm happy to say that so far they haven't faded at all. They make me smile, cry, and laugh every single day. When someone isn't around any longer it's amazing how many things remind you of them.

There are just SO many things that make me think of my Dad, I could write a post every day this year about all of them and not be done. But one has been in the front of my mind the last few days, so I thought I'd start with it: the Cooper slap.

A couple of years ago I flew back home to Pittsburgh for a family funeral. My Dad picked me up at the airport. After I finally found him (silly me for not realizing that since a beer is cheaper than a cup of coffee in the airport I should have gone straight to the bar, even if it was 10:30am!) we headed out to the parking garage. As we were pulling out, he suddenly slowed the car down and gave me a light slap on the arm and said "Cooper Slap". He then pointed to the Mini Cooper we were passing, and said that he was updating the old game of punch buggy as Cooper Slap, and was trying to get it to catch on. I just rolled my eyes and shook my head, the standard reaction to many of the strange things that came out of his mouth on a regular basis.

Two days later he and my Mom were driving me back to the airport, this time at night. He was completely caught off guard when I leaned forward from the back seat to slap him on the arm and call out "Cooper slap" as a Mini Cooper passed us. Caught off guard, but then he was just beaming. He leaned over to my Mom in the front seat and said "See, it's catching on!"

Whenever I saw him after this, I was always looking for a Cooper, just like I used to look for punch buggies as a kid. I think that was one of my favorite things about my Dad--the way he could always help you find that silly, child-like happiness. That was one of the biggest traits of his personality (and believe me, his personality was BIG!) and definitely my favorite.

If you took the time to read this, I wonder if the next time you see a Mini Cooper the "Cooper Slap" will pop into your head. If it does, please take a minute to slap the nearest person. It just might catch on after all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Are You Ready For Some...Baseball?

Since football season is over, I'm focusing on happier times and getting ready for baseball. (And let's all be honest: football season is over for everyone except Steelers' fans. The game won't even be worth watching. Plus once the Steelers win it'll be their 6th Superbowl, and the fans will be unbearable to deal with. Gee, you'd never guess that I'm originally from Pittsburgh, would you?)

I actually had to remind myself a few times this fall that the Phillies won the World Series, and that once that happened I should have known that none of my other teams would go all the way. I was looking up trips to the national championship game the week before PSU inexplicably lost to Iowa. Superbowl packages were being scouted out after the Eagles beat the Giants. The World Series win had me actually believing that more championship celebrations were in my future. Oh well.

I was over at the IronPigs stadium earlier today, and even though the field was totally snow covered, it made me a bit hopeful thinking about baseball season.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Camera

So it turns out that Santa is actually pretty good at picking up hints, and he left a wonderful Nikon D60 dSLR camera under the tree for me. It came with 2 dvds and a 1 inch thick manual, so it may be a while until I can do anything special with it. Back in the day I did have a fairly nice camera, so I should remember some things which I can apply to this one. Although half of what I remember involved choosing the right speed film and threading it into the camera. I don't miss that at all. At least changing the lenses seems the same.

Hopefully I will have many good photos to post soon. I'm sure there will be many of sleeping dogs, at least through the winter.

Luna was curled up in a ball sound asleep, until about 8 seconds after I got the camera out.