Friday, January 30, 2009

New Coats!!

My kids wear coats during the winter and when it's cold in the fall or spring... oh... ok - they wear coats as long as it's not blazing hot outside! I am very lucky to have a talented seamstress not too far from my house. I pick out the fabric and supplies and take them to her house and she calls me when the coats are done. I have always done solid color coats for my guys, but a few weeks ago, I got a wild hair and decided that they needed bright patterned coats. Kathy (my seamstress) wanted photos for her records and we really needed to play a bit with the studio equipment, so here are the results. Robin declined to play along - he's a bit of an "Eeyore" in front of the camera sometimes, but his coat is very pretty too - red and blue stars on a blue background. Frank and Betty, on the other hand, see the camera and instantly ooze cuteness. So here's Frank:
and Betty:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Eagles Are Back!!

Well, the Bald Eagles are back. Every winter, they come south (yep - who'd a thunk it? Iowa is SOUTH!) and fish in our open rivers until Canada thaws enough for them to head back home in the spring. Here in Cedar Rapids, they hang around the roller dam and a couple other places that have open water for them to fish. Right now, things are fairly well frozen and their open water is pretty limited, so they are all cluster around it and have to share. This guy was sitting in his tree Wednesday south of the roller dam along with a couple other mature eagles waiting their turns.

Across the river (hey - they are always across the river - as far away from the camera as possible!) there were quite a few hanging out (you can count nine in this shot):
Now, if you think that is a lot of eagles, you need to check out these photos: The other place they like to feed is an area just north of the roller dam by Cargill. Several geese and ducks have died and are providing some "carcass" feeding for the eagles. These immature eagles have been eating quite well. Sometimes the ice is a little tricky for those big raptor claws:
The crows like to get in on the action too:
This guy was alone and was a little nervous about someone flying above him and possibly chasing him away from his lunch.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Have you ever heard of No? Well, let me explain... My sister got me an awesome pair of boots for Christmas. I wore them around the house for a few days, but they were a bit too large, so Sunday night I called Zappos to inquire about exchanging them for a smaller size. The gentleman that answered was soooooooo nice!! These guys could give lessons in customer service for sure! He told me that Zappos would send me a smaller pair of boots and since I was a "first time customer", they would send the boots "express" and that I would have them by Wednesday at the latest. Okey dokey!! That was 8:30 Sunday night. When I came home for lunch on Monday at noon, the boots were sitting at my front door!! Now that is FAST!!! Here are the boots - aren't they awesome? They are so warm and cuddly!

My sister told me this site was trouble! LOL. I think she's right - I went back to the site and ordered myself a pair of Salomon running shoes for agility. Aren't they awesome?
So, head your little self on over to You won't regret it. They have free shipping both ways, great customer service, good prices and a fantastic selection!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The best thing I ever taught a dog...

The best thing I ever taught a dog was to teach Robin to pick up whatever I dropped. "Pick it up" will get you just about anything. Within reason, of course. Coins and flat objects are not easy. Paper can be picked up, but don't expect it back in the same condition as when you dropped it! Sometimes it takes a little "pawing" to get it up enough to be picked up. Something really heavy is probably out of the question. But, otherwise, game on!
I have gotten him pretty much to the point where he will pick up anything I drop automatically - sometimes I will say "oops" to remind him that mama is a total klutz and needs help. (oh yea... before you get any ideas, I do NOT regularly drink coke - I am a diet Pepsi girl all the way!)
Now don't think that Robin does this all for free - there is ALWAYS some little treat or goodie for him - after all - no one works for free, and I'd like him to continue doing this! Now I just have to work on these two and teach them how to pick things up for me...

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Brian and I are going to (as soon as he is back to normal after his back surgery) try to get a studio set up in our house to take some portraits of the kids. We got the backdrops set up and snapped a quick shot of them before the surgery. They are sitting on the ottoman from my big chair - I don't like the way that looks, but it was just a quick test shot. They are so cute and innocent, but you should see some of the faces they make!!
Ok - Frank is rather cute in this shot - he totally LOVES having Betty clean his ears.
Betty is totally zoning in on Frank's chewie and he is pretending like he doesn't know, but he so knows... And gives her the "ugly face":
Of course, he was easily distracted and Betty got the chewie - and is a little worried that I might decide I need a little "chewie time".
Robin never makes "ugly face", but he sure knows how to roll his eyes and give that "you're crusin' for a brusin'" look. (that's his bowl that Frank is checking out!!)
Until next time... Toodles!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I AM a cook!!

Brian had surgery yesterday (this has nothing to do with cooking, but I am getting to that). He had a herniated disc in his lower back. The surgery was yesterday and hopefully he'll be feeling better soon.

Soooooo.... I spent the night in the hospital with him and today at lunch time, they told me I could order lunch with Brian. They had a VERY nice menu (leather cover - fancy looking!) that described what was available. I kept it simple. I had the "Baked Macaroni and Cheese". It was KRAFT mac and cheese!!!!!!! And, as Brian put it, "It probably cost us $50!" I didn't really expect home made mac and cheese, but seriously!! And just so you know... Brian ordered the "Lightly breaded chicken strips". If you're interested in those, you can pick them up in the freezer section at Wal-Mart. Now I am not opposed to either one of these things, BUT call it what it is!! Don't dress it up with words and expect me to swallow it without knowing! So, compared to the hospital, I AM a cook!

Sorry there are no pictures... if I would have taken my camera, I would have food shots for ya! But, maybe (if we're lucky) Brian will let me take pictures of the seven staples in his back!


No pictures right now as I am not at home (disconnected from my beloved external hard drive that contains, well, everything!).

Inquiring minds want to know...

The pork chops were a great success. The Italian dressing gave the chops and the potatoes just a little bit of a tangy taste - very yummy! I think there might even be one leftover in the fridge right now! The only thing I would probably do differently is add chicken broth instead of water to the dressing to cook them in the crock pot.

Frank didn't eat the cheesecake (but he sure wanted to!). He and Betty and Robin sure enjoyed licking the plate when I was done though.

I am planning a pot roast for this weekend... we'll see how that goes!


Saturday, January 3, 2009

I am NOT a cook!

If you know me, you know that I am NOT a cook in any way, shape, or form. I am domestically challenged (at least that's my excuse). However... I received a crock pot a couple years ago in a Christmas gift exchange. I am afraid to say, my friend Tammy used it before I did. I left it sitting in a box for almost two years until she borrowed it. So last week I got a wild hair and decided to make chicken and noodles in the crock pot for a New Year's Eve gathering at our house. Well, what do you know - they turned out really good! Who'd a thunk it? So, I thought I would see if I could manage to make another meal without causing any trips to the hospital. I picked up four huge, gorgeous butterfly pork chops at Fareway. They are marinating overnight in a "Zesty Italian Dressing" (Kraft's words - not mine!).They will be joined in the crock pot by these tasty lookin' taters:
Now... I canNOT be expected to be domestic more than one day per week, so tonight's fare is a frozen pizza. I have just noticed though, that my PEPPERONI pizza contains pork, chicken and beef. I expected the pork and beef, but chicken? Whatever.It really looked better on the package... not nearly as good in real life. I really need to cook more. Can you see the grease on this thing? I used to LIVE on this stuff. I think I'm getting old.
Let me explain something. I am food aggressive. I do NOT share well. There were six pieces of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake leftover from our little gathering. That means (in my mind, at least) three pieces for me and three for Brian. So, imagine my surprise when I got home and there were only four left the day after the party. I explained, in no uncertain terms, that this meant he had ONE piece left and he had better enjoy it. Food aggressive, remember? I savor my food. I make it last. That means one piece of cheesecake each day, eaten slowly, keeping an eye on Brian the whole time, prepared to gulp and stab him with my fork if needed. So here you have it - the last piece of cheesecake and it was soooooooo good!
Keep your fingers crossed that those chops turn out!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Top Ten Photos of 2008

So here I am again - trying to be a "good blogger"... I decided that it would be fun to post my favorite shots from 2008. So (insert your mental drum roll here, please!) here are my own person top ten favorites for 2008:
#10: This is Betty (in front) and Frank in my very favorite chair.
#9: Frank was going to town on this bully stick and I just managed to catch this :-)
#8: Betty - I love this photo of her in the snow. I took some liberties with in in CS3 and erased all the footprints around here save the one for her front right foot. I just love the shadow.
#7: I am not sure why, but I just love this photo of Frank rolling in the grass. It's just fun.
#6: Robin trying to sleep in the grass. I say trying, because he originally had his collar on, then I took it off because I didn't want it in the photo, then I got down on my stomach and got in his face for this photo. Obviously, the camera doesn't bother him (nothing really does). #5: This profile of Betty is one of my very favorite shots of her. Period. Just simple and cool. #4: So I am a little twisted - I think they have cute butts. And they were lined up so nice.
#3: Robin laying in the back yard - he just looks so thoughtful.
#2: Seriously - who doesn't love a dog in a hat? OK - Frank has a few items of clothing and he likes to play dress up. He humors me, and I will continue to dress him up as long as he plays along. Don't be surprised if you see a post just from Frank some day.
#1: The 2008 Christmas photo. I love, love, love this shot!! I had it blown up to 11x14
and it's hanging in my lab at work.