Saturday, March 17, 2018

It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day

I love just about anything Jennifer Hudson puts her stamp on, and I don't know how I came across this, but it's apparently a commercial for American Family Insurance.

I don't know anything about the company and I'm not posting this to advertise for them, I just like the idea of a guy playing a song in a park and a singer of this caliber joining in. Sure, it's staged for the commercial, but it's still kinda great.  

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2017: When You Think Of Tuscany
2016: Hitching A Ride
2015: Ocean To Ocean
2014: Where We Go To Squeeze Melons
2013: Yet We're The Ones With All The Rules
2012: There Is No Problem Here
2011: If This Is What Being A Loser Means, Count Me In
2010: The Only Thing It Extends Is The Humiliation Of Having A Small Johnson
2009: Wishing You All A Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig
2008: There Should Be Some Sort Of Award For This
2007: Table Talk
2006: Cats And Grandchildren Make Great Indentured Servants
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Stop And Smell The Makeup

I've always had the good fortune of meeting spectacular people over the years, at every job I've ever held.  Most of my close friends, definitely my best friends, and all of the longest friendships I currently have are with people I've met through work.

When I first met Ed (almost 14 years ago now) I was working at an HOA management company.  I hated the job, the owners of the company, the customers I had to deal with, and the actual work, but the girls I met there were fantastic.  In fact, if it weren't for the girls I worked with, I wouldn't have stayed in the job as long as I did.  They made the work day bearable and one of them became one of my closest friends.

After I went on the road with Ed, contact with many of the girls at this particular job waned as I wasn't in town to participate in lunches or outings, even though they always invited me.  Now we mostly stay in touch through Facebook.  In January, one of them contacted me after learning I got married and asked for my address because she wanted to send me something.  OK, I thought, sure.  I gave her my address.

The second week in February my mother, Ed, and I were sitting in the living room when the doorbell rang.  Ed got up to see what it was and came back in with a giant box that was delivered and said, "You got a wedding gift from so-and-so." 

I was confused because she (name withheld at her request) shares a name with one of my family members and I was thinking, "Why would she (family member) send me a wedding gift in the mail and not just bring it to me in person??"  When I opened the card I realized it wasn't from my family member, it was my old work friend.  I opened the box.

And gasped.

It was FULL of makeup.  The makeup you see in these photos, all from the brand Two Faced.

I was in heaven.  I think I heard angels playing harps. 

Makeup has always been my life.  I live for a day in Sephora.  Or sampling items in ULTA.  I can't walk through a department store without stopping at a makeup counter.  So to say I was bowled over is an understatement.  I was looking at hundreds of dollars worth of product. 

I kept saying, "Oh my god.  Oh. My. God.  I cannot believe this."

It's hard to say this without sounding like I'm judging the gift by its monetary value because really, I'm not.  I appreciate any kind of gift.  But c'mon, I know makeup.  I've been interested in it since childhood.  And as I picked up each item, I couldn't help but blurt out to Ed and my mother, "Oh, my God.  These eyeshadows go for $40!" and "Do you know how much this mascara is??" and, "This is a Nikkie Tutorials kit!".

They had no idea.  And if you don't, this will give you some insight.

Eyeshadow kits ranging from $45.00 to $65.00.  The Chocolate Bar kits smell like chocolate, and the Sweet Peach one smells like peaches!

$19.00 lipsticks.

Better Than Sex mascara for $23.00 (regular and waterproof).

Beautiful heart-shaped blush for $30.00.

Colorful liquid eyeliners at $20.00 each. 

If my step-father knew someone paid twenty dollars for an eyeliner, he'd turn over in his grave.  When he was alive, he almost had an aneurysm when he learned people paid $4.00 for a cup of coffee. 

Eyeshadows, eyeliners, blushes, lipsticks, bronzers, highlighters, lotion, makeup remover, lip primers, mascaras, etc.  There wound up being over $1,300 worth of cosmetics in that box!  What an incredibly generous gift!  It's so fitting that my friend would do something like this.  She's extremely generous and is always thinking of other people.  It's very much who she is.  

In the card, my friend congratulated me on my wedding and said she hopes Ed loves how I look while wearing the makeup.  It's pretty safe to say this wasn't really a "couple" wedding gift.  Sorry, baby.

After talking to her I found out she uses these products for marketing in her business and has an entire closet full of Too Faced.  She later told me that she was inspired to send it to me because she saw my mascara post which made her remember how much she always loved how I did my makeup at work, and she knew I would appreciate the products.  She also said I was welcome to come by anytime if I wanted to pick out something else from her goodie closet.

Are you freaking kidding me??  I'm going to have to dress like a drag queen every day for the next couple of years just to use this stuff. 

So if you see someone at the truck stop looking like this, it's probably me.

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Hours Of Silence

2016: Boot Up
2015: It's Always Pie Day In Shipshewana
2014: Clap Along If You Feel Like A Room Without A Roof
2013: On The Run
2012: The Town Under The Giant Oak Tree
2011: Extra! Extra! Read All About It!
2010: Yeah, Cause Heidi Klum Is So Easy To NOT Notice
2009: Busy Week
2008: Small, Yet Mighty
2007: Zen
2006: Riding The Rusty Rails
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Jewels Of Rodentia

Do you see that little guy up there, standing in the shadow of my blue ceramic birdbath?

That's a round-tailed ground squirrel, and we have them all over our property.

Sure, they're cute.  Those big black glassy eyes, the quick darting movements around the yard, the nibbling on scattered bird seed.  Look how alert this little guy is, standing up on his hind legs.

They are a little bit of a nuisance, though.  They dig holes all over the yard, connecting their tunnels underneath and sometimes creating hazards in the areas we walk.  A lot of the ground is soft and sandy around here and it's a little unsettling when the ground gives way beneath you, no matter how little it throws off your gait because you stepped on and collapsed an underground tunnel.

These little guys are well-adapted to life in the desert, although they're smart enough to stay out of the sun in the late afternoon when it's the hottest.  They live underground for most of the winter - going into torpor, not hibernation - in late August or September, and coming out in January or February. 

That explains why I've been seeing a lot more activity over the last month or so.  Just the other day I watched one of them eat around the entire bottom of this halo cactus.  I was waiting for the bite that was going to topple it on his head but it never came.

Here's the same guy who was eating the cactus, coming back up out of his hole to plan his next move. 

Information from the ADW says, "While active, these squirrels show two peaks in their activity, one in the morning, and one in the late afternoon. This pattern may lower the amount of time S. tereticaudus is exposed to the heat. These squirrels have been shown to have long periods of activity on overcast afternoons. When active, they spend about 50% of their time foraging."

So this is where the post goes in an unexpected direction. 

Squirrel porn.

Ed and I watch these little guys right outside our front living room window.  This week while we were watching I said to Ed, "What is that white fluff they're dragging around?"  I couldn't really get a good look at it because like I said, they're fast.  And small.  And I'm getting old and can't see things that small, that far away.

Ed said, "Those are his balls."

"His balls??" I said.  "No. That can't be right.  They can't possibly be his balls.  Look how big they are.  They're completely out of proportion."

"Well, I think that's what they are," he said.
So I kept watching.  And they dragged those furry white sacks everywhere.  Around cactus, over rocks, flailing behind them as they scampered across the yard.  I had to pay very close attention because it's difficult to follow them when they're moving so quickly, especially when there are several of them, darting around.

I was determined to get a picture of their balls.

And finally, I got this guy.  He came up out of a hole, scurried a few feet, and right behind him....


I'm sure you didn't come here to learn about the breeding habits of round-tailed ground squirrels, but here we are.
So after my conversation with Ed, I Googled "ground squirrel testicles". 

I can't believe I just wrote that sentence. I really hope no one is reviewing my browser history.  And I really hope I don't start getting spam based on that search.  

Anyway, what I discovered is that ground squirrels breed once per year, from January to April.  The breeding season of the Spermophilus Tereticaudus (Round-tailed Ground Squirrel) starts in mid-January with the enlargement of the male's testes.

Hence, the giant furry white sac. 

Geez.  That just looks so uncomfortable.  

According to the breeding information, females were observed to be pregnant from mid-March to late April and then in mid-April, the testes regress, and the males are no longer capable of insemination. 
Wow.  Never in my life did I see myself getting this much information on what's essentially a rodent.

Biology lesson over.

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Oh, The Horror I've Seen

2016: Barbed Badlands
2015: Exotic Tropicals
2014: Eggs, Milk, Bread, And Good Blood Pressure
2013: Clowns Looking For A Place To Live
2012: My Early Version Of Google
2011: Food With Integrity That Fuels Creativity
2010: If Only It Were Dollars Instead Of Miles
2009: The Last Bit Of Winter
2008: Eddie Fr-Eye-Day
2007: Authorized Personnel Only
2006: Stolen Zillow
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Spin Around Town

A few photos as we drove around Puerto Peñasco, Mexico will provide a glimpse into the life of this colorful coastal community. 

Tropical drink vendor.
An interior design company.
The Edificio Municipal (Municipal Building).
A float from the "Vive Peñasco Carnaval" parade that ushered in the Spring Break festivities. 
The Curios Sofía Pottery Shop at the corner of Calle Ignacio Zaragoza and 18 de Septiembre in the Old Port area.
One of the many pharmacies you'll find in town.  
El Delfín Amigable (The Friendly Dolphin) restaurant.
All Mexican towns have innumerable bright buildings.
An elote (grilled Mexican street corn) and churro (fried dough pastry) vendor.
The flag of Mexico.
Ocean toys, bathing suits, souvenirs.

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A Little To The Right

2016: Around Town In 80 Days
2015: The Gold On The Hill
2014: Be Happy You Don't Have A Bolt In Your Head
2013: Seriously Up To Our Ass In Alligators
2012: Such A Fragrant Sprig!
2011: Coast To Coast
2010: The Joke’s On Us
2009: Eddie Monsignor Starbucks Friday
2008: All The Better To Smell You With, My Dear
2007: Neon Railroad
2006: I Left My Heart…
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Columns Of Cacti

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument share 31 miles of international border with Mexico.  It's located on AZ-85, the state highway that runs between Why, Arizona and Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.  On our way through, we stopped at the visitor's center to gather some information and drive through some of the park to take a few pictures. 

Taken from the National Park Service brochure and the NPS website:

The organ pipe is a large cactus rarely found in the United States, although it is common in Mexico.  The monument protects the bulk of its US range.  Like its fellow cacti and other desert inhabitants, the organ pipe is attuned to rhythms of the sun and infrequent rains.  A glutton for heat and light, it grows on warmer slopes where it can absorb the most sun.  This is critical in winter months when severe frosts can kill the cactus.  It blooms in the heat of May, June, and July, opening lavender-white flowers after the sun sets. Organ Pipe Cactus can live to over 150 years of age, and will only produce their first flower near the age of 35.

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Flashback To The South

2016: Debonair
2015: Geographically Centered
2014: Full Brain, Full Belly, Full Wallet
2013: Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo
2012: Honing Her Skills For The Nursing Home
2011: Fire Up The Grill
2010: The Voice Of Tucson Speaks
2009: Crossing Over To The White Side
2008: Eddie Voyager Of The Seas Friday
2007: Indiscriminate Discrimination
2006: Dancing Queen
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Today's Catch

As a complement to yesterday's blue boats, here's a trio of red boats, also found docked with the other commercial fishing boats at the marina in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. 

The commercial fishing industry has taken some hits over the years.  The author of this article, The Fish in Our Foodshed, written in 2014 states, "
As overfishing drives fisheries toward collapse across the Sea of Cortez, connecting fishermen directly to their markets may offer them a more sustainable future."

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2017: Antiques Around EVERY Corner

2016: Flashback Friday
2015: The Rich Coast
2014: Getting Hosed
2013: River Of Grass
2012: Stupid Rock
2011: Crab Rangoon Makes Me Swoon
2010: Bonnie And Clyde Meet Toni And Frank
2009: Finally…A Bib That Is Both Functional And Accurate
2008: Trickling Down
2007: Anonymously Yours,
2006: Over 7,000 Feet Of Pristine Beauty
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Five Spices And A Few Cuties

I was in the mood for a little stir-fry this week but I've had so much chicken, I needed something different.  Beef and broccoli sounded good so I searched the internet and found this recipe for Five-Spice Orange Beef and Broccoli.  It was super easy and reallly delicious. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 pound flank steak, trimmed 
  • 3/4 teaspoon five-spice powder 
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided 
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets 
  • 1 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion 
  • 8 (1-inch) strips orange rind 
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted beef stock 
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice 
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch 
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
  • 1 (8.8-ounce) package precooked white rice 
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions 
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Since it was a last-minute idea, I didn't have a few of the ingredients - beef stock, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, green onions, sesame seeds - but that didn't affect the meal.  I used chicken stock in place of the beef, 2 tablespoons of sugar and white wine to make up for the hoisin and rice vinegar (since hoisin is a sweet and rice vinegar is sweeter than white vinegar).  As for the green onions and sesame seeds, they're just garnish and I can do without them.

Next, there are just three steps to put it all together!

Step 1
Sprinkle steak evenly with five-spice powder, black pepper, and salt.  Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat.Add steak; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove steak from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak across the grain into thin slices.

Step 2
Return pan to high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl. Add broccoli, onion, rind, and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Combine stock and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper) in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add stock mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

Step 3
Spoon 1/2 cup rice onto each of 4 plates; top each serving with 3/4 cup broccoli mixture and 3 ounces beef. Sprinkle evenly with green onions and sesame seeds.

I didn't do the broccoli and beef separately, I mixed the meat in with the broccoli before I served it.  I wanted everything coated with the sauce. 
I will definitely be making this again.  In fact, I'm kinda craving it right now.

Also - I was surprised at how delicious the orange rinds were.  I used Cuties because I had them on hand and they were perfect.  


2012: Looking For A Coffee Fix
2011: Container Port, You Are No Friend Of Mine
2010: Encased In Plastic
2009: No Lifeguard On Duty
2008: Palm Sketches
2007: You Know Who You Are
2006: I Fear The Family
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

The Dove On The Sea Of Cortez

While in Puerto Peñasco last weekend, Ed and I went to an open house named La Paloma Del Mar, The Dove of The Sea. 

Here's the estate site plan from their website:
The estate consists of a beachfront main house, Casa Joya; a large off-beach house, Casa Cabana, and three guest houses; Casa EstrellaCasa Fiesta, and Casa Buena Vista.
The house with its spacious patio is situated right on the beach, with the Sea of Cortez less than 300 feet from your door.  It's beautiful and I can definitely see the appeal of owning or renting a place like this.

There's not much to do in the town of Rocky Point, but if you are stocked up at the house, and your goal is to relax, there's really no reason to go into town.

La Paloma Del Mar is available for either sale or rent.  To buy it, you'll need to fork over $1,750,000.  To rent it, you can check VRBO listing to see if a visit will fit into your budget.

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A Spicy Little Secret

2016: It's Uphill From Here
2015: A Place Of Rare Beauty
2014: Thumbs Up For A Real Bronx Tale
2013: A Mountain City Fit For A Queen
2012: Sprinkle Of Seaweed, Anyone?
2011: Shopping To The Maxx
2010: Ed Unloads An Oil Platform
2009: You Never Know When You Might Need It
2008: Eddie Climbs A Wall Friday
2007: What Showing Off For Your Kids Looks Like
2006: What’s It All About?
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

I Don't Care What You Call Them, These Paws Will Never Touch My Lips

I know there are many countries (and probably my friend Marlaina) who eat the feet (and other parts) parts of a chicken that I'd never even consider buying and would throw away if I found them attached to my chicken.

I don't usually see the unusual parts at my grocery store, but today when I was shopping I saw a package of Chicken Paws.  My brain exploded a little.  Chicken PAWS??

Thank God for Google.  Because Google let me to this.  Gag.

Apparently, the United States Department of Agriculture has specific descriptions for both paws and feet (pages 78 and 79 of this document, designation numbers 71801, 71802, 71803, 71804).  Scrolling through the pages I was amazed at how specific they get with poultry.

But honestly, really, I don't care what you call them.  You couldn't pay me to touch them, let alone eat them.  I don't even think I could bring myself to use them for stock.  I've gotten squeamish in my old age.  I don't like to touch icky stuff.

I'm still traumatized by being forced to try liver when I was a child.

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Spicy Rubs In Bulk

2016: Tiny Life
2015: Where The Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains Meet The Pacific
2014: A Spontaneous Slumber Party And An Italian Feast To Go
2013: Bright Spot On The Mountain
2012: Thinking About Adding A Few More Wheels To The Rig
2011: Cooled By The Ocean
2010: Oh, Mother!
2009: Eddie Adds Culture To His Day
2008: One Armed Bandit
2007: 614
2006: Having A Good Reason
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 05, 2018

The Malecón And More

The Malecón
This past weekend, Ed and I took a trip to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, more commonly known in our neck of the woods by its English name, Rocky Point.

I haven't been to Rocky Point in 35 years.  The only thing I remember about it is an abandoned wooden boat on the beach, and these sweet little bolillo rolls from a local bakery.  I was also 15 years old so had no control over where I went or what I got to see.

We had some time before we were able to check into our hotel so we drove around to see what was happening in town.  We had lunch, checked out the hotel zone, weaved through the streets of the Old Port Fish Market, and drove the street along the malecón (a word used in Spanish-speaking countries, and especially in nations of Latin America, for a stone-built embankment or esplanade along a waterfront).

We were there a few days before they were expecting students to arrive from the U of A, ASU, and NAU for Spring Break.  Rocky Point is known as "Arizona's Beach", as it's the closest beach to these three universities and major Arizona cities like Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma.  The stores along the malecón were ready, stocked with items emblazoned with the invidual college logos.

There were a lot of kids riding ATVs, quads, and side-by-sides.  I definitely wouldn't have wanted to be there for the entire week and the place was crawling with drunk college students, and although I wasn't blown away by the area, I think I might take another trip down there to take advantage of the Sea of Cortez once the weather gets warmer.

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The West Side

2016: The Populace Of Winter
2015: Two If By Sea
2014: Beauty And The Bleak
2013: Don't Even Ask
2012: Click Mouse, Make Money
2011: Buttons Beware. There’s Someone Cuter In Town!
2010: Eddie Dials Up The Lunch Order
2009: Trucking Superhere And Sidekick
2008: I’m Just A Goy In Love With A Boy
2007: When Pork Goes Pornographic
2006: Now Where Did I Put Those Underwear??
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!