Monday, March 28, 2016

Sunny Day Cocktails

The most important part of this post is the sunny day part.  Since we only get to see the elusive sun once every 3 weeks or so this time of year, I was busting with cocktail fever since it was actually a weekend day when the sun Gods decided to bestow upon us what we once took for granted.

Dramatic, I know - but oh, so sadly accurate.

The cocktail I settled on was an exercise in experimentation.  I was looking for a something fresh and spring-timey, so champagne with a dose of fruitiness was calling to me.

And the sunshine just made for a fantastic excuse to indulge in day booziness. 

My experiment was a combo of champagne, blueberries and pomegranate.  I can't say it's any specific drink recipe. 
Then again, you can't really mess up a simple champagne cocktail.  I whizzed up some blueberries and Pom in our Nutri-Bullet, and strained the liquid through a mini-strainer.

Cause nobody wants a chunky champagne cocktail, now do they?

Along with our cocktail experimentation, we decided to set the Cricket up in the driveway and go pet it in preparation for our inaugural camping trip next weekend.

That, and bask in the sunshine with booze, that is.

How damn cute is this Cricket?  The Hubby's pretty cute, too.
Cheety had his fair share of sunbathing, too

I have to say - I will miss our backyard view
We puttered around and checked some of the connections for water, etc. and hung out inside just for the hell of it.

It was funny, several of our neighbors came by to check it out.  Well, because it does look pretty unique.

And we do live in the land of camping and outdoorsiness.

The plan is to take our first camping trip with the Cricket next weekend.  Rain or shine - because eff Kodiak.  It's time for spring outdoor fun!

Cheety seemed to be okay with the Cricket, too.  I'm sure he'll cozy right up on the massive road trip this summer.  He won't have much of a choice there!

So, here's to more sunny days in the future.  And cocktails.

Ta-ta for now.

I felt the need to blur out our address.  No need to be completely transparent.
Good Lord, could I be any more corpse-like??

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Birthday, Beverly

Who could possibly forget Ramona?  And Klickitat Street!  I know I never could.

She was one of the first fictional characters I truly connected with as a kid, and I happily devoured all things Beverly Cleary throughout my elementary school years.

Ramona and Beezus?  They were the gateway.  After tearing through everything from Ramona the Pest, to Ramona Quimby, Age 8, to Ramona the Brave, along with all the other Ramona books, I ventured out to some of Cleary's other characters.

From Ramona, I meandered my way through Henry Huggins, Henry and Ribsy, Ellen Tebbits, Socks the cat, hell I even read Otis Spofford!

Beverly Cleary was that author for me.  You know the one.  The author that stirred to life the spark that was the start of a life long love of reading.

Some of you will chuckle at the irony that it wasn't Judy Blume.  (A few of you will understand that statement.)

So, why the sudden attention to Beverly Cleary?  Well, she's rapidly approaching a massive milestone.  Beverly Cleary is on the verge of becoming a centenarian.  She'll turn 100 years old on April 12, 2016.

Photo credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Incredible, right?  What a ripe opportunity for teachers, librarians, and anyone who works with kids to introduce or re-introduce Beverly Cleary to another generation.

If I was still in the classroom, I know I'd be planning a themed unit on my very first favorite author!

On that note, happy birthday Beverly!  From a long-time fan, and one of (I'm sure millions) of life-long readers that were born from your Ramona.

Is there any way to truly thank someone who was one of the driving forces behind my evolution from fledgling reader to full-on book nerd?

How about a sincere thank you for creating readers by sharing your stories and imagination with the world?  For bringing to life characters who would lure in countless young readers year after year.  For being an advocate for literacy.  And for making an indelible mark on my reading life.  Happiest of birthday wishes to you as you teeter at the edge of your one hundredth year, Mrs. Cleary!

So, take a moment to ponder.  Who was that author for you?  I'd love to know!

Ta-ta for now.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Five Favorites

It's that time again.  Time for me to wax poetic about 5 of my favorite things.  Compelling.  I know.  But I stand by the idea that maybe you'll discover something in my silly little list that becomes one of your favorites too!

Or maybe you'll just laugh at my ridiculous pictures.  I'll take either.

1.  Canva  
I have to start with a new favorite online toy I just discovered.  I love it!  My nifty "Five Favorites" graphic at the top of this post is courtesy of Canva.  Consider it super easy graphics for the non-graphic artist types out there.  So, design for the rest of us.  Lots of free templates & it's so fun to play with all the options.

2.  Cheddar 
You know this list wouldn't be complete without something food related.  I'm having a long-term, semi-monogamous relationship with a certain brand of cheddar cheese: Tillamook extra sharp cheddar.  It's from Oregon.  And as I was writing this post, I learned that you can visit the cheese factory!  Holy hell, yes!  I'm head over heels in love with their sharp and extra sharp cheddar.  When you first open a fresh package?  Ohhhhhh, Lordy.
4.  Green Beans
Okay, this is another food favorite.  It's an excellent, complexly flavored green bean recipe that's become a back pocket side dish for me.  It's terrific.  It's a recipe for green beans with caramelized onion vinaigrette from Real Simple.  Such a depth of flavor.  I use balsamic vinegar instead of sherry vinegar because I always have balsamic in my pantry.  And the magic is in that little zip of orange zest.  Don't skip that part!  Recipe can be found here 

3.  Olive Brine
 And of course there must be something booze-related on my list too.  Naturally.  One of my recently discovered favorites has become a necessity in my at home dirty martini experimentation: Dirty Sue.  It's basically olive brine.  It's billed as a "premium olive juice," and I won't dispute them.  Makes for a tasty dirty martini in my book.  But I have overdone it with the brine on a few occasions.  Less than tasty mishaps, but lesson learned!  Easy on the brine. 

5.  Cloud Star's Buddy Wash
This one's a long time favorite. Specifically the lavender and mint scent.  What a great company.  Made in the U.S.A., shampoo plus conditioner, natural ingredients.  They also have quality dog treats.  Love 'em. Nothing gets a Pugbull freshened up and smelling purdy better than a bath with lavender & mint Buddy Wash.

So sad.

So there ya have it. My second iteration of five favorites.  Good stuff! Go try one of them!

Ta-ta for now.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Commencing Number Four in 3, 2...

Fourth what, you may be wondering.  That would be - somehow unbelievably to me - our fourth Coast Guard move.

Fourth!  So in no time at all, we'll be knee deep in boxes, sweaty movers, an ill-at-ease Pugbull, and that fluttery anticipation of a major life overhaul.  Again.

I'm sure it sounds a little implausible, but there's a significant part of me that actually enjoys the chaos and upheaval.

I know, how could I possibly enjoy the sometimes overwhelming disarray with my already ingrained penchant for tidiness?

Simple.  It's that impossible to ignore sense of expectation that comes when you're on the verge of a radical life shift.

It's not just the expectation.  It's knowing that all the changes, and planning, and packing, and travel will usher in a new chapter.

A new chapter that will bring a new home, a new job, a new environment to play in, and lots of other "news."  

Kodiak, Alaska to Sacramento, California?  I'm all in.

Now if I could just squelch the desire to fast forward the next few months.  And tame those damn butterflies in my stomach.

Ta-ta for now.

Photo credit: Famartin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons