Tuesday, November 30, 2010

State Capitols and Lincoln's Home

Over the course of the summer of 2010 our family put a lot of miles on the car.  As long as we were traveling across the country we decided to help Joe with his Citizenship in the Nation Merit badge for Boyscouts by visiting state capitols and historic sites along the way.

Michigan State capitol rotunda.

I loved the flowers at the Michigan State Capitol.

Lincoln's home town Springfield, Illinois.  Don't you love Joe's Union cap?  We got it for him so that he could wear it for hat day at school.  How cool is that!

Lincoln's writing desk.

Lincoln's bed with one of Mary Lincoln's dresses.  The dresses were made with Arsenic back in the day.  Unfortunately they were toxic to the upper class women who wore them.  Many of the women experienced severe mental problems, probably as a result from the toxicity of their clothing.

When we got outside of Lincoln's house we asked the gardeners if we could pick one of the apples from the tree in the yard.  Joe got the apple.  We tried eating it but it was mealy.  It smelled great though.

View of Lincoln's house.

State Capitol of Illinois.

Illinois Rotunda.

Joe and I welcoming the World on behalf of Illinois.

State Capitol of Texas in Austin.

Joe and LBJ.

Rotunda of Texas

Joe and Sam Houston.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Me and Andrew

The theme of today's post is me and Andrew.  Any other people in the pictures are purely coincidental.
This is Andrew when he was only one day old.

Me and Andrew at Mowich Lake.

 Me and Andrew on our way up to Paradise at Mount Rainier. 

Me and Andrew by the big rock at Heart o' The Hills Campground in the Olympics.

Me and Andrew At Sol Duc Hot Springs in the Olympics. 

Megan, Andrew and me on Andrew's Blessing Day.

Me and Andrew on his Blessing Day.

Me and Andrew at the RHS football game.

In case anyone is wondering, I love spending time with my favorite little guy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Every Last Bit

It is the Sunday night after Thanksgiving and I know that this is the last night I can break out the Thanksgiving leftovers and pass them off as a meal without some really crazy inventive work.  I am talking Turkey enchiladas, Turkey artichoke bake, Turkey tortilla soup...  You get it, lots of cooking is involved to disguise the same old thing.  I bought a small enough turkey that we really don't have that much leftover turkey this year.  I have come up with a muffin recipe to use up what might otherwise be thrown out tonight.  I use up that last bit of sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pecan pie.  I could also use up the pumpkin pie but we never have any left. I usually pass the muffins out to a few friends who left town for Thanksgiving and are not burdened with any leftovers.

After Thanksgiving Muffins

1 package of white or yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter or veg oil
2/3 C water

Mix these together with an electric mixer for a few minutes.
Then mix in the following:  (These amounts are suggestions, use what you have.)

1 1/2 cups leftover mashed sweet potatoes
1 or 2 pieces of pecan pie, chopped up
1/2 to 3/4 C cranberry sauce or cranberry relish

Divide the batter into 18 cupcakes.  Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes in a regular oven or 325 for 28 minutes in a convection oven.

I just ate one and I have to admit it was so deliciously good!  Not that anyone needs any more to eat after Thanksgiving, but if you decide to make these you will not be sorry.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Six New Eagles

Tonight I went to the Boy Scouts of America Museum in Irving for an Eagle Court of honor for six young men.  It was a beautiful meeting.  I loved the setting and the wonderful stories about the boys.  It was a great way to honor the boys who have worked so hard for so many years.  Most of the boys had been Cub Scouts while I was Pack Committee chairman years ago.  I remember going to the Scout Museum with that group as part of our D-4 Cub Day camp.  The museum was only partially completed at the time.  It is totally completed tonight.  After the Eagle ceremony we went back in the museum.  Everyone had fun tonight at the electronic Bee Bee range and at the pinewood derby track, along with other activities.  During that Summer camp we also went to the zoo, to Fair Park, to REI for cliff climbing, and out to Grapevine for horseback riding.  I remember that the cost per boy was about $65.  We also had a big picnic celebration at the end of camp and each boy got a framed picture of himself on a horse.  Wow!  These boys have grown up so much.

Some people wondered why I would be so involved in Cubs at that time when I didn't even have a cub of my own in the pack.  I should have had a cub in the group.  I wanted the cub experience to be the very best it could for the boys who would have been Matthew's friends. It was kind of a bitter-sweet night watching the boys getting their Eagle Awards.  I didn't think about it until I was sitting there tonight, but Matthew probably would be getting his Eagle tonight too.  I try not to let my mind wander in that direction too much.  What might have been... 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Line Rules

Getting the good Black Friday deals usually requires an overnighter on a sidewalk outside of the store.  Fortunately we live in Texas so it usually doesn't get so cold that we turn into Popsicles.  It got down to 29 degrees last night.  Poor Bob.  Usually we wait in line together but I opted out last night and came back early in the morning to tag team.  I had to get in at the back of the line probably about a half mile from the door.  Yesterday I left the house at about 3:00 PM and hopped into line at Frys.  Bob came a couple of hours later with a better tent and a propane heater.  There were two small tents ahead of us and three chairs.  I figured that I was about number 10 in line.  No one got in line behind us until after Bob had arrived.  I was surprised when I showed up at 4:30 this morning to find that Bob was about 25th in line.  Bob stayed in his tent all night and didn't notice people letting friends in.  Fortunately Bob got everything he wanted or he might have been really mad at the jerks who saved a spots for ten or more people.  I think there need to be rules for lines.

Here are a few that I suggest:

1.    You are only in line if you are in line.
2.    No saving spots.  If your friends come late they need to go to the back of the line. 
3.    You can take a break to go to the restroom or get food but these should be short breaks.
4.    The first person in line should keep a list of people as they come, up to about the first 25-50 spots.
5.    Drinking alcohol all night leads to problems.  Don't do it.  Liners don't hesitate to call the police to get rid of belligerent drunkards. 
6.    I don't care if we are outside, don't smoke because the people in line next to you can't move.
7.    If you want to listen to media, bring headphones.
8.    Use a restaurant voice throughout the night.  Not everyone cares what you have to say.  Some are trying to sleep.

Here are a few suggestions to get along with your neighbors:

1.    When you get hot food offer to get some for your neighbors.
2.    Offer to watch your neighbor's stuff when he takes potty breaks.
3.    Keep an eye out for people cutting in line in back of you as well as in front of you.
4.    If someone comes and sets up a chair and takes off for hours, move his chair out of the line.  You can do this if you are ahead of the jerk.  You will make yourself a hero to everyone who sets up behind him.
5.  Have a few extra blankets or jackets in your car for the college student who forgets.  He will defend your spot if you take off for a short break.

Some people say that waiting in line for Black Friday deals is stupid, that you can get everything on line for the same price.  I just agree with them.  They should stay home and not compete with me.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday Face

Got up early.  Put the turkey in the oven.  Studied the paper's black Friday ads.  Great Food,  Ate too much.  Then I had pie.

I went out to Frys late this afternoon to get a new laptop for Bob.  I got pretty cold and so I told Bob to bring a better tent and our heater.  He got all of our gear out and set up then he went to Walmart to use the facilities.  While he was gone I was sitting in the car texting my sister.  Then I noticed a bunch of Pakistani men moving toward the line from their cars.  It was pretty cold so most people were sitting in their cars with their tents or chairs set up.  When I saw the men going to ward the line I thought that maybe I should go there too.  As I got up to the line I noticed that one of the men was in my tent.  I gave the man's friends that sort of look, "Why don't you warn your friend to get out of my tent!"  They just looked at me all doe eyed.  I decided that I would confront the intruder.  "Hey, what are you doing in my tent?"  I asked, in a testy, territorial voice.  "Why can't I be in the tent, Bonnie?"  It was Bob.  He had returned while I was busy texting Deanna.  I felt like a jerk.  I also felt relieved.  What would I do other than scold a stranger for getting out of the wind and cold in my tent.  I had to go home to get a few forgotten items.  Then I will be back in line and planning my shopping strategy for the remainder of the day.    

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All is Safely Gathered In

Today I did a chore that I have been putting off for a month or two.  I cleaned out the garden before the first frost.  It took several hours and I ended up with three small watermelons, a bunch of chives, as much basil as I will use in a week, and grocery bag full of green tomatoes.

I baked pies and prepared all of the side dishes for Thanksgiving that could be prepared in advance last night.

I changed the sheets on the beds for out of town visitors and had Joe clean the bathrooms.

Bob picked John up from the airport.  We are so glad that he is home.  He is enjoying the warm weather but that will change in the morning.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hard Retro Rock

On June 14, 2010 Bob, Joe and I went to Hardrock Cafe in Uptown Dallas to celebrate Hardrock's retro day.  The prices were back to 1971 prices!  The lines were long, but what do you expect? 

All of the wait staff was dressed in 1971 attire.  There were a few items for the guests to try.

One of the best parts of the day was the price of the food.  Back in 1971 the most expensive item on the menu was the rib platter.  The cost was $1.10.  Both Bob and I decided to splurge on the good stuff.

Joe couldn't resist ordering the burger for $.79

It was definitely worth the wait! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

JFK, November 22, 1963

The thing about being as old as I am is that I remember a lot of historical events.  When I was a kid they were considered current events.  I was only three and a half on November 22, 1963, the day JFK was assassinated but this is what I remember.  We lived in San Diego, California on the Mira Mar Base.   I remember my mother crying.  She was glued to the TV.  Forget about watching the Micky Mouse Club.  It was pre-empted by news coverage.  This made me really sad because that was the highlight of my day.  I remember my Grandma Bullock calling to tell my mother the news, but she already knew.  I remember crying too because my mother was so sad and I didn't know how to comfort her.  I remember thinking that little Jack was so cute and I would have liked to be his friend.

The next week was Thanksgiving so we went out to Mesa, Arizona to Grandma and Grandpa Bullock's house for Thanksgiving.  They were really sad about the situation but they had a lot of faith in LBJ.  They knew he would work diligently with Congress to pass the reforms JFK worked on during his short presidency  My grandfather was worried about Jackie and her children.  My Grandfather believed the assassination was a communist plot to take over America.

My Grandma and Grandpa Stockam were also distressed about the assassination.  They were so looking forward to voting him out of office in 1964.  They were stuck with LBJ.  They believed he would probably be elected in 1964 out of sympathy.  They were Republicans, but they were Americans first and had faith in the American system that complete regime change could happen peacefully and by the voice of the people, but they knew they would probably have to wait until 1968. They too believed the assassination was a communist plot to take over America.

In October of 1964 my father was transferred from Mira Mar to Atlanta.  We drove across the country.  I remember driving through Dallas and my father pointing out that this was the city where JFK died. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hitting It Out Of The Park

This year before Halloween I was contemplating the politically themed hot button issue I would use to decorate my porch for for our neighborhood slushee party.  I even asked for suggestions on Facebook.  Bob and I considered running a soup kitchen for the unemployed.  I would ask each child how long it has been since he had a job.  A friend suggested using the illegal immigration issue.  This was tempting.  I would ask the kids to see their legal documentation in order to get a slushee.  But then I thought that might get put on the news.  Not that I mind being on the news, I just did not want to explain to a reporter why I was the witch who wouldn't give Mexican kids slushees on the news.  Not that it wouldn't have been entirely entertaining to a certain portion of the population.  No one can say I never edit myself.

I got the idea for a Rally for the Rangers from one of Joe's friends, Sydney.  Halloween happened during the series.  I let the kids try to bat the ball while waiting for slushees.  We gave away over 400 slushees that night.  And some people say that kids don't trick-or-treat anymore.  My question to those people is this.  Are you giving away Smarties? 

Too bad the Rangers did not feel the power of our rally. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

State Fair 2010

This year we were going to be out of town  during the fall State Fair school holiday.  Bob and I decided to go without Joe.  Ordinarily I would have pulled Joe out of school and taken him to the fair anyway, but he was afraid that the 7th grade football coaches would find out about his lack of commitment and that he would not get to start.  I love my kids but it was really fun to go without them to the fair.  I haven't been to a fair without a kid since 1983.

We wore matching Texas shirts.  Twin day at the fair.

We spent most of our time at the car show, trying on expensive sporty cars for size.  No, we didn't walk away with one, though I think I look good in the red convertible.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Second Class Parent Weekend 2010

Back in the middle of September Bob and I flew into Baltimore to join John in Annapolis for Second Class Parent Weekend at the USNA.  We got stuck in a rather long line at the stadium so we missed John's first class.  We made it to Theory of Computing.  Okay, it was technically over my head.  But I got the gist of using language and logic to figure out complex computing issues.  I really enjoyed watching the midshipmen deal with the bum chair.  As they sat down on the bum chair the mid would switch the crappy chair for a good one belonging to a late arriver.  This happened about 4 times before everyone in class showed up and the last guy in got stuck with the bad chair.  Perhaps I am easily entertained.  I enjoyed this professor's teaching style.  He named his variables after the students in the class, particularly those giving answers.  For example, if John were to answer a question, the teacher would put up the correct equation on the board using M as one of the variables, standing for Muir.  This seems like a good way to keep the students engaged in a rather dry discussion.

John in EE class.

John and his lab partner.

This is John's Electrical Engineering teacher.  I absolutely would have loved to have had him as an instructor.  At least four times during the lecture he stopped as if to underline the fact that the following material was to be on the exam.  He also told the mids how 90% of the test takers would go wrong on a particular problem.  This guy was so smart and so good, yet about 4 of the 16 students in the class were sleeping.  My, my, my!  How could you possibly sleep when the teacher is giving you the answers to the test?

After EE we went to lunch in King Hall.  We had steak sandwiches, grilled onions and mushrooms, a pasta shrimp Alfredo dish, salad and vegetables, and red velvet cupcakes.  John assures me that they do not have that great of food for lunch on a daily basis.  We enjoyed talking to the other mids in his company.

After lunch we got to go up to Bancroft Hall and see where John has lived for the past two and a half years.

John with his roommate Anthony and his family from Florida.  Anthony is such a good friend for John.  He is an Information Technology major.

I realized that John had very few pictures of his friends.  He is a guy.  Neither he, nor his friends think, "Hey, lets get some pictures of this."  I decided at least during 2nd Class Parent Weekend that I could take some pictures of John and his buddies.

This was one of the bulletin boards in 7th company.  I enjoyed the art work. 

After our visit to Bancroft it was time for John's Web Programming class.  This class was about double the size of the morning classes so we got to see technology geeks in greater numbers.  I bet there is an exponential equation that explains the ever increasing amount of nerdiness as the number of IT and Computer Science majors increases.  Fortunately they wear uniforms at USNA or I would have been able to take some really disturbing pictures of how people dress who are really way too into computers. 

This is John's Web Programming teacher.   I believe she is Czechoslovakian or Russian.
After classes Friday we watched a formal Parade.  Throwing candy, floats, or clowns would dramatically improve the appeal of the parade.

On Friday night we took John out to Chevy's for Mexican food. We had so many leftovers. But John was grateful. On Sunday night he skipped the traditional worst meal of the week and nuked the full to-go boxes for a wonderful treat. 

Saturday came and we had to get John back to the Academy so that he could make formation for the march over to the football game against Southern Georgia.

Almost all midshipmen are required to attend the football games.  Do you see John in the formation?  He is in the 7th company, tall, dark hair, wearing white.

After the game we joined 7th company for a tailgate party.  Good news!  Navy won the game. 

John and his roommate Ceaser.  Ceaser is from the New York area.  He is really smart and I like that.  He is a chemistry major and is shooting for pre-med.  I appreciate how kind he has been to my son.

We enjoyed talking to Ceaser's parents who were also in town for 2nd Class parent weekend.

How in the heck can you find two UofU fans at USNA?

On Saturday night we bought John a bike so that he could get around a bit more easily.  He has to park his car a couple of miles away from the Academy.  It was a birthday present for a wonderful son.

On Sunday we went to Stake conference.  We met some of the other 2nd class LDS mids.  One is from Arkansas, from the Fort Smith Stake.  It was nice to meet them.  They were so welcoming to John. We also met up with the head coach from USNA, Ken Niamatalolo.  He was just standing around waiting for family members after church so I went up to him and introduced myself.  Of course we had to tell him about how Joe follows Navy football and gets so emotionally involved in the games that he sometimes cries if Navy is losing.  He admitted to doing the same thing.  He invited us to bring Joe to anymore future games.  We took a few minutes to visit John's sponsor family.  They are remodeling their house and have done a lot in the last two years.

After church we didn't have too much time before we had to get on an airplane and head home.  We really enjoyed spending time with John.  We love him and appreciate him.   

About Me

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I am a stay at home mom but the clock is ticking. My husband and I only have one child left at home. I enjoy shopping and finding great bargains.