Friday, December 29, 2006

Sheep Saturday

I realized that the sheep had been sorely neglected on my blog lately -

This is Gabriel (in Black) & Tara (in fawn) They were over to visit with Thorson for a couple of weeks between Thanksgiving & Christmas - We're pretty sure he "did his thing" and they have gone back to their home at our friend Nancy's farm. The same day we moved the girls, we moved Thorson to his new home at Karen's. She was very excited about having him come join her flock, although, I haven't heard anything from her for a week. I hope her place is still in one piece...

So, this is who we've go left, - the goofballs - (aka, Gizmo, the Wizard and Cimarron) and 5 of these girls, but, I'm really bad at remembering which ones are which -

I can pick out Pearl & Gwendolyn - they are the "babies" - AnnaDee, Susie & another one, whose name escapes me right now, probably because it is almost midnight - and I still have a few Christmas presents to wrap - We're going to my sister's for an overnighter - to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary & have a belated Christmas with my sisters & their families! So have a great weekend & Happy New Year from the flock at Marietta Shetlands & their shepherd & his wife (that would be me)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Excuse me while I RANT!

So, on Christmas Eve, just checking my email and what did I discover, but an email from the VISA fraud people saying there was a potential problem with my VISA check card. Everyone's worst nightmare, right? Yup - I called them and discovered that someone had cloned my card - ie, they were using a card with my number on it at a WalMart (& I personally don't shop at WalMart!) in Indianapolis, Indiana (!?) What clued the fraud people in was, #1, it was quite a large purchase (over $500) and I happened to be using my card here in town on the very same day - since I only have one card, they felt it was highly unlikely that I'd be able to be in B'ham & Indianapolis at the same time. And the money came right out of my checking account! (well, actually out of my savings account - don't very often have that kind of money in checking) As Emeril would say: "DAMN!!!" - Oh, wait a minute, he says "BAM!!"

So here's what I have to say about this:

#1 - It is scary, but amazing that our purchases are tracked that closely. Shades of Big Brother!
#2 - It pisses me off, because I don't use my check card on line - and I haven't used it anywhere but here in Whatcom county, so that means someone right here in my home town cloned my card!
#3 - When, at the advice of my Credit Union, I called the sheriff to report the "theft of my number" - this proves diligence to the credit bureau people, - the deputy basically said that he'd give me a case number, but they don't have the time or resources to check these kind of problems out - he advised me to call the FBI (?)
#4 - I did call Equifax & put a Fraud watch on my credit account - BTW, that number is 1-800-525-6285 - write it down - it goes directly to their fraud department. Nice lady - tried to "up-sell" me to a paid version, but wasn't rude when I declined. They will contact the other two credit bureaus and the fraud watch is free for 90 days.

The good news? VISA & my Credit Union had the money back in my account by 5:00 p.m. today - I found that quite amazing too - Thanks WECU!

So, I'm glad this happened AFTER I finished my Christmas shopping - it's a pain in the backside, tho, because so few people take checks anymore. I'll just have to tough it out until I get my new card, I guess...

Hope New Years is happier! I still have Leigh's wierd meme, a story about crocheted baby caps and Sheep Saturday - lots of things to write about before the end of the year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Mother Nature finds the best way to decorate
her Christmas trees!
Very Merry Christmas, (or which ever politically correct holiday you choose to celebrate) - to you and yours, from me and mine!
May we all have successful New Years!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Christmas Miracle

Christmas Miracles - they do happen, and right here in Whatcom county. And, yes, this really is a true story - it happened just last week -

My girlfriend from church choir is a hard working gal. She works long hours as a housekiiping supervisor for a large local resort, but I know that the "supervisor" title is mostly glory - a lot of extra work and not much extra money. She drives an early '90's car and lives frugally in a little trailer out in Birch Bay with her pets.

She recently was having some car problems so she went to a local auto service center - the news that she got was not good (especially before Christmas) She need to have the ball joints replaced on her car - it was going to cost almost $350.00. Hastily scribbling some budget figures on the back of an envelope, she told the repair man to go ahead, as she needed her vehicle to be reliable so she could get to work & church - grocery store, etc... Then she turned over the envelope and was dismayed to realize that she was scribbling on the back of her Puget Power bill - there was another "budget" figure she was going to have to figure in.

Then the repair man came back out and told her that he had more bad news - her car needed new bearings too - another $200! Near tears, she told him to go ahead - no good to do one part of the job without the other - she'd put it on her credit card. She was so upset, she didn't even notice the other people who were in the waiting room with her. When her car was finished, she went up to pay the bill. The repair man went over what he had done to her vehicle and indicated to her, very clearly that "this is the amount that will go on your card"

It was only $250.00! When my friend, who thought he was making a mistake, said that she thought it was going to be more, he said "The lady sitting next to you paid $300 on your bill" -"She said she had the means to take care of it"

IS THAT NOT THE COOLEST THING!! It just makes me cry every time I think about it, and I knew that you'd love to hear the story. And may I say "Many blessings" on to the generous lady who helped my friend pay her bill.

I hope you and your family have a fantastic holiday season and a wonderful Christmas!

XOX to you! Tina

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Surveying the "aftermath"

Well, we were lucky - very, very lucky. The storm that hit the Washington coast on Thursday night went mostly to the south of us - oh, we had wind - sustained 30-35 mph with 55 mph gusts, but we had more wind than that (and it was a northeaster, so it was COLD) two weeks ago during that after T'giving storm. Sinda & Neelix decided to do a little walk-about this afternoon - get out and stretch the legs as they've spent waayyy too much time snoozing this past week

I cut Sinda's front nails this morning because they were too sharp and poking me through the covers when we sleep, so I guess she decided that she needed a little pedicure here.

Neelix, on the other hand, like the stand and stretch method of doing his nails. Just don't let dad know he's scratching on that piece of landscaping... hmm, looks like he's been doing it there for a while, doesn't it?

Besides, it's time to go back in the house and find one of his favorite sleeping spots - DH's boot box - don't ask me why, but he really loves that spot.

Happy Weekend Cat Blogging everyone - hop on over to the Kitchen Mage - another Pacific NW blogger & cat lover @ to see the rest of this week's WCB

Next up? I've been tagged with a "Wierd" meme by Leigh from - Wierd? Who me, Wierd? I'm going to have to think about this one...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Welcome new friends -

We've had several new friends visit our blog recently and I want to extend a special welcome to two of them - Rascal - who looks very much like Jaxom, a kitty I had many years ago - and he has a very wicked sense of humor - you can find him at: He also has a sibling named CatZee, who I don't know very well yet, but you can read more about Rascal & CatZee on their blogs.

His human bean is called Leigh - she is a talented weaver & spinner & knitter & crafter - she is working on a Rare Breeds sweater right now that is going to be just delightful when it is finished - she also weaves lace! (and a multitude of other things that I haven't had a chance to explore yet! Check her out at : Leigh's Fiber Journal

I'm at work and need to get back to "it" - we're supposed to have extremely high winds tonight with gusts of 75 - 85 mph! I didn't know if we'd have power to do this tonight - Cheers all. T.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Holy Geography, Bat Man

The following is a short portion of a "cleaned up" (ie. - I took out all the time & dates lines and made each sentence one line) version of an instant message between one of my co-workers (a 19 year old male - aka "AL" ) and a friend of his - (senior in high school, female - aka "HSG") Names have been changed to protect the innocent (or the idiot, I'm not sure which) - but I didn't change any grammar or punctuation - This really has had me shaking my head and among the people I've told about it, most were incredulous, but my sister, who taught middle school for almost 35 years thinks that the young woman was just pulling his leg - you tell me -

HSG: whats new with you
AL: ha not much - just got back from leavenworth in time to catch the last 5min of the football game :-)
HSG: the seahawks? What were you doing in leavenworth? Where is leavenworth?
AL: its on stevens pass - its a bavarian themed mountain town -pretty sweet
HSG: oh! i think i've been there Is there a starbucks that looks like a gingerbread house?
AL: no clue, but its funny cuz it wasn’t themed until like 1960 so no one there is really german - they just kinda pretend to be
HSG: is that what bavarian means? german people?
AL: sorta and austria and other countries in and near the alps
HSG: i thought the alps were on the east coast
AL: ! hahahahahahahhahah.........
HSG: what?
AL: did you ever take geography?
HSG: i took it last year because i took algebra 1 in middle school.
AL: and you dont know where the alps are? sorry i find it funny :-)
HSG: we didn't talk about alps in geometry
AL: ! ? !
HSG: we talked about math
HSG: that's a math class
AL: please tell me your just playing dumb
HSG: i'm really confused now
AL: geography not geometry
HSG: whats the difference oh.. i get it … no i took social studies and us history
AL: LOL you just made my night
HSG: i'm happy to help so... where are the alps?
AL: ever heard of the swiss alps??
HSG: so its in sweden?
AL: sweden?
HSG: what now
AL: sweden are swedish
HSG: aren't swedin called swiss . . .i thought swiss was sweden and cheese
AL: switzerland? ever heard of that?
HSG: i thought they were called dutch - oh no. i'm stupid - thats dutchland
AL: YES - - - NOOO
HSG: no to what
AL: dutchland!??! HAHA
HSG: well i don't know how to spell it - but it's pernounced doichland
AL : you mean deutschland?? which is german.... for german - germany
HSG: germany?
AL: dutch are from holland

They talk a for a little bit about the difference between Dutch, German, Holland, etc and go on with:

HSG : why are they called dutch? why not like holland people?
AL : holland people?
HSG : that would be a whole lot less confusing
AL : its like how germans, austrians and swiss are called bavarians! - the roots of it are way to far back to need to make any sense
HSG : well they should change it now
AL : wow thats very american of you to say
HSG: well it would make a lot more sense to regular people who aren't like obsessed with knowing every country's name

I'll stop here, as it gets a little remedial - for instance, when she refers to Italy as "the boot thing" . . .

Neelix says he's bored of hearing about this poor girl who doesn't know her cheese from her chocolate - and thinks that mom should get on with her life.

While Sinda agrees with mom and thinks it's a very sad reflection of education today - maybe they should have a Geography test on the WASL (that's Washington Assessment of Student Learning, for those of you in other parts of the world - a test that's given to all students, I think three times during their school career, but they eventually will have to pass it in order to graduate from High School)

So, here's a start - see how you stack up on this Third Grade Geography test:

Have fun!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Snow's all gone


Now, work, work, work! Gotta get caught up from being off for 5 days (two for T'giving & 3 from the snow) at the end of the month! Eeekk!


On a good note, there is a new restaurant across the street from where I work - it's called HOT SHOTZ - Martini Bar & Restaurant. They make their own French Fries, which are very delectible! - Just short of exquisite! A mom & daughter - they have taken a pretty funky place, cleaned it up and made it very pleasant. I've been trying to tell everyone about their good food - I've eaten there a couple of times already this week (ok, well, every day this week) & I have already helped them make some menu changes (like add a taco salad) & change the buns that they put their hamburgers on... Wish I drank martinis - their drink menu looks pretty fun too.

(Pretty much...) GONE!

Well, I brought some work "home" from work - so I'd better do it. Either that or catch the last 45 minutes of Medium. Later..............

P.S. - Added these pictures on Thursday eve. - I caught the boys out in the pasture this a.m. before I went to work. Seems like I've been coming & going in the dark this whole week!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging #78

Or, Walking in a Winter Wonderland - As you can see, we've had some wintery weather this past week here in the Pacific NW and we got more than most up in the "fourth corner" - Neelix prefers to meet it head on!

Whilst "Her Royal Serene Highness" Ms. Sinda prefers to watch from the warm confines of the dining room window. (Don't be fooled, she only LOOKS Serene)

If you'd like to see kitties of every shape and size, move on over to The Hidden Paw where Boots & Tess' mom hurried back from SanFrancisco to keep us all in line. I'll bet you guys are glad to have your human back! Thanks for hosting WCB :-)

P.S. This is what Sinda is looking at -
Oh, sheepies, where are you?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ANOTHER Snow Day???!!!

Yup, we're stuck here! The sun came out today, so the girls came out to munch on some snow. My boss called at 7:00 a.m. and said that they had decided to stay closed another day - most of our employees live between 10 & 30 miles away, and alot of them drive company vehicles - better sense to stay off the roads when it's like this -

The cats are starting to get a little testy with one another - well, maybe I should say, more testy than normal...

Oh, and did I mention that we have run out of canned cat food - luckily I have a few tins of tuna and a lot of left over turkey gravy. I also made a pan of cornbread last night -(not the sweet variety, thank heavens) - so this morning "we" had tuna over crumbled cornbread & this afternoon "we" had turkey gravy, warmed oh, so slightly, over, you got it, crumbled cornbread. Actually it went over a lot better than I thought it would, but I don't think the Friskies cat food company has anything to worry about from me.

Neelix ABSOLUTELY had to go outside - this is as far as he got...maybe that cat box doesn't look so bad after all...

The weather man says tomorrow should be just about like today, but they are predicting another 6-8 inches of snow on Thursday night. At this rate we won't be out of here until spring! Oh, well, we'll see what tomorrow brings, huh?

Monday, November 27, 2006


We've had one heck of a snow storm over the past three days - not much on Saturday, started POURING buckets of snow Sunday a.m. at about 6 or so - enough so that by 9:00 a.m. we were canceling church. It snowed like that ALL DAY LONG! Great big fluffy flakes, itty bitty icey flakes.

John has been really worried about the girls that are in with Thorson - There isn't much space in those little bungalows, but I think they will be OK - they are wearing wool you know. Look at all the snow piled up on Thorson's ramada!

Since the store was closed today, I spend the day working on my alarm billing. We have alot to do tomorrow - I hope everyone can get there. I'm not sure that my snow boots fit anymore - so I hope I can get there. But,I'm not going to be sitting around on the porch for a few days, that's for sure!

Here fishy, fishy, fishy...or, maybe we'll go ice skating on the pond - it's down there some where

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What a difference a day makes...

Yesterday -

Today -

8-10" so far - BRRRRR------

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, Cinderella

It starts like this -

And they grow, and they grow, and they grow... (I've heard that the secret mulching ingredient is sheep poop...)

and then, suddenly, the kitchen is full of pumpkins

Ready to go into the oven - I put about 1/4 cup of water in the pan and cover the whole thing with foil - bake at 400 degrees for a couple of hours (until you can stick a fork into it easily)

This one looks pretty nice - better save some seeds for next year!

Out of the oven - those foil turkey roaster pans are great for roasting pumpkin as well.

I use a spoon and scoop the pumpkin off of the skin, put it in my BIG yellow Tupperware bowl (what would we do without that big yellow bowl?) mash it all up, and put two cups into 1 qt. freezer bags (just enough for one pie)
that are flattened out and put into our deep freeze.

Then - TA DA!

This has been dubbed "The Best Yet" by John - & he loves pumpkin pie. I have started making it with part Splenda (tm) because he is trying very hard to cut back on his sugar. Here is the recipe that I have come up with.

The Best Yet Pumpkin Pie

Preheat oven to 365 degrees F. Prepare piecrust for 9" pie or just roll one out of those packages and press into your pieplate. Fold edges under and crimp

2 cups Pumpkin (one 15 oz can or your own from the freezer, thawed, of course)
1/2 cup Splenda
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice (I use Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus - it's the BEST)

3/4 cup low fat evaporated milk (this is 1/2 of a can - I freeze the other half in one of those plastic freezer containers to use later in cream sauces or soups)

2 eggs - beat them a little with a fork first

In a deep bowl, mix all ingredients in order given. You can use more or less spices according to your family's taste. Use a mixer to combine - (I have found that the "fresh" pumpkin needs to be mixed with a mixer to kind of break down the fibers a little - or better yet use a blender - but make sure you put the milk in first so your motor doesn't bog down and put the eggs in very last thing - don't blend them too much)

Pour filling into prepared crust and bake for 50 - 60 minutes - until a knife comes out clean -I've found that the packaged crust needs a lower oven temp (350) and bakes a little longer (on the 60 minute side of things)

Allow to cool before serving. (I like sweetened whipped cream on mine) - John likes Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream - We have much to be thankful for! Enjoy!

Oh, and the Cinderella part - after putting up about 45 pounds of pumpkin (25 for church and 20 for us, so far) EVERY piece of clothing I have worn for the past two weeks has pumpkin on it - Somehow I got it in my eye the other night and I even found pumpkin in my hair one day - eewww - I now know what it would be like if Cinderella missed that midnight deadline and the coach exploded all over her - pumpkin everywhere!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Let the Bidding Begin

Tonight was our Church's Fundraiser Auction. Our theme was "Mardi Gras"

Doesn't it look festive!?

We have a silent auction with all kinds of great buys - I got a pair of fresh water pearl earrings for $26!!! (thank you Theo, for donating them) Glenda is checking out some interesting items while my DH was in charge of the CD player - some blues and the sound track from "The Big Easy" - had 'em dancin' in the aisles...

while Vikki, Vern & Diane are having a heated conversation over something here :-)

I donated a set of hand made cards -

I also helped plan the menu and came up with the recipes for the main dishes. That was a stretch for me to give up control of the cooking, but Malcolm and his crew did a fine job - Doesn't this look yummy! Vikki made the most amazing corn muffins - It's a good thing they were cold - if they'd been warm, I'd have eaten "many" of them. With butter and jalapeno jelly - How good is that! Everyone really enjoyed the dinner - Then we get down to the real business at hand - the live auction.

Our auctioneer for the live auction is our minister, Rev. Nan. and we had some really special items up for auction this year - including this beautiful hand made wall hanging that Shirley L. donated and a new chalice necklace made by Allie E.

The last two years there has been a bidding war between Wanda & Jamie over some beautiful turquoise pieces - a necklace one year and a bracelet the next - Here is John teasing them with this year's piece - A roadrunner pin, Zuni style - Well, you know, two years ago, I let that necklace slip through my fingers, and I decided that this year, that little roadrunner was MINE, MINE, MINE (think the seagulls in "Finding Nemo") - Isn't he cute! Caught Jamie & Wanda by surprise and stole it right out from under their noses! I have several other Zuni pieces that John has given me over the years, so it is just perfect!

I promised Peg that I'd post my recipe for Oven Baked Jambalaya - I found the original on All Recipes.Com ( ) and made a few changes to make it "palatable" to northern European - Icelandic taste buds (ie. it's not quite so spicy as the original) The recipe we used on Saturday was figured to serve 60 and I've reduced it down to serve 6 - as most people don't cook for 60 on a regular basis... Hope you enjoy it.


Veg. oil or Olive oil for frying chicken & vegetables

1 1/2 cups cooked ham, cut in 3/4" dice
1 1/2 cups chicken - thighs & breast tenders
1 1/2 cups kielbasa type sausage, thinly sliced

1/2 ea large sweet onions, diced
1/2 ea large Red bell peppers, chopped
3 ea stalks of celery, chopped
3 ea cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 ea 6 oz. cans of Tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp Creole seasoning - more or less depending on your taste

1 ea 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
2 ea 14 oz cans of Swanson's chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1 Coat bottom of large stock pot or Large skillet with Veg or olive oil Sauté your chicken pieces just to brown them. Set them aside and brown your kielbasa sausage slices and ham - add to the chicken pieces.

2 Coat bottom of same stock pot with veg. or olive oil to sauté your onions, bell peppers & celery. Sauté until the veggies are tender, adding the garlic at the end, taking care not to burn the garlic. After a few minutes add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly. Stir in Creole seasoning blend & juice from tomatoes.. Mix & pour into a roasting pan. Add whole tomatoes (w/juice), squeezing them to break up into pieces. Add your meat and some of the chicken stock.

3 Cover tightly with aluminum foil & Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Serve with Rice - You could also add another can of Chicken broth & put a cup of rice in with the stew before you put it in the oven so it cooks up in to the Jambalaya. To quote Rachel Ray - "Yummo"