Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Random Thoughts from Gal in the Middle

I saw a couple of things yesterday that made me smile. Well, the first made me shake my head in disbelief (and mild disgust, if I am being completely honest) and the other one made me chuckle.

First, I had a meeting in Broad Ripple - which is a part of Indy that is a bit artsy, with lots of restaurants and bars. Basically it's a hang out place for those people MUCH cooler than I am. After the meeting, my coworker and I headed to Starbucks to debrief and grab my afternoon frou-frou coffee drink (I LOVE the treat receipt).

I happened to glance out the window and what did I see (sorry for the quality, all I had was the camera on my phone)...

Did you just do a double take? I did too. Here's a closer look...

Yes, that's a dog wearing sunglasses. Not only is it wearing sunglasses, the sunglasses are securely placed on its head with what looks to be specially designed headgear.

It blows my mind that we are at a place and time in this country where people are spending who knows what on sunglasses for their DOGS. Yikes.

The second sight I want to tell you about made me chuckle - out loud, by myself, in middle of a store.

I stopped by my local Walgreens for my weekly bargain shopping trip and these caught my eye. After my pirate post yesterday, I seem to have pirates on the brain.

Who knew a pirate's booty is really potato chips? Can you imagine the surprise of a rival pirate when he opens up the treasure chest and instead of jewels and doubloons he finds potato chips?

"ARRRRRGH, ARRRRRRRRRRRE ye serious?" At least, that's what I think he'd say!

I think I may need to get out more. Maybe I'll head to Broad Ripple. I bet someone there would enjoy my pirate jokes.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What is a Pirate's Favorite...

While in Chicago last week for work, my coworkers and I were walking down Navy Pier and passed a group of pirates. What do you call a group of pirates? A booty...a trove (treasure trove, get it)?

I digress...

This encounter led one of my coworkers to share a joke that she and her brother enjoy. It's really the first part of a joke that you can insert your favorite line into.

"What is a pirate's favorite...?" You fill in the blank.

Trying to be the funny aunt, I shared this joke with my two eldest nephews over the weekend. I started off with this one..."What is a pirate's favorite fast food restaurant?"

Now you have to wait for the answer...here's a photo of the red-headed nephew after a dip in the Ohio River over the weekend.

The answer: ARRRRRRRRRby's!

I ran through a few more, such as:

What is a pirate's favorite place to visit in St. Louis?
What is a pirate's favorite kind of socks?
What is a pirate's favorite state?
What is a pirate's favorite lettuce?

Aren't those fun?

Now, the red-head above giggled, but I don't think he really grasped the concept. He kept asking me what a pirate's favorite tree is and the expecting me to come up with the answer. I just couldn't do it. He thought and thought and finally came up with "a beARRRRRy tree." Not quite right, but a valiant effort.

Here's my final pirate joke..."What is a pirate's favorite Bible story?"

If you can't figure out the answers, let me know and I'll share!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Wild Ride

My family has a great place along the Ohio River that we usually spend many summer weekends enjoying the water, summer games, food and family. However, this year life has gotten in the way and this weekend was the first and probably only time I was able to get down there.

Being the cool aunt that I am, I brought my two oldest nephews down with me and met my parents and Lil' Sister, her hubby and my youngest nephew.

The eldest two nephews decided they wanted to go tubing and since their parents were not with us, we said "Why not!" No really, my dad took it pretty easy on them as it was the red-head's first time on the tube.

Here they are waiting to take off...

And we're off...

"Look ma, no hands."

"I'm not sure we should go any faster..."

Outside the wake...

Tubing is such hard work.

A great ride...

Someone was feeling a little left out...

It was a great day. We also took a nice boat ride and stopped in a little cove we know and almost everyone jumped off the boat for a little swim. Personally do NOT swim in the Ohio River. Ever since I saw that fridge floating by, I just can't do it!

On the way back to camp, I snapped a shot of Ashley Judd's house. Or at least that's the rumor my family is trying to start. The house IS in Kentucky and we all know that Ashley Judd is FROM Kentucky.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Remembering My Grandma

I pulled a memory stick out of my purse yesterday (yes, I have at least 3 of them in my purse at all times) to transfer a file for a coworker. I came across a folder named "Kathryn" and it made me pause.

This is the folder I created the day after my grandma passed away on May 14, just 13 days before her 95th birthday. While she'd been in the nursing home for several months and in declining health for a few years, it was still a surprise and a great loss in my life.

I was lucky enough to grow up within 5 minutes of BOTH sets of my grandparents. My sisters and I spent many days on my grandparents' farm while my dad was working. If we weren't outside playing in their yard, we were in the house putting on shows for my grandparents or playing cards (mostly UNO, Old Maid or Skip Bo).

I was also very fortunate to have all four of my grandparents in my life until my late 20s when I lost both my grandpas in a year. And I'm still lucky to have my maternal grandma to stop by and chat with - though I don't do it often enough.

Here are just a few snapshots of my Grandma Kathryn's life.

On her wedding day...

The happy couple...

On the farm with her family...doesn't my grandpa look jaunty?

With a couple of her 17 great-grandchildren...

This final photo is from the last family gathering where my grandma was there with us. She's holding the youngest of her great-grandchildren at the time.

I miss her unconditional love. I miss her cookie jar filled with gum. I miss her.

Smart and Trendy Moms

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Thirty-nine years ago today, a newly graduated young woman married a fresh-faced farmer (with a year of college to complete) in a beautiful Catholic church in a small Indiana town.

He finished his degree at Purdue, she taught school and then they moved back to the farm.

They raised four daughters while acquiring a few gray hairs and sent their girls out on their own. And though the daughters ventured out into the world, three of the four settled close by. Now they have four grandsons to spoil and two more grandbabies on the way (at least one little girl from their baby girl)!

They've supported each other through sickness (a heart attack that was simply the worst experience of her and her daughters' lives) and in health; through the good times and the bad (the loss of both their fathers within a year of each other and his mother earlier this year).

Through it all, they've stayed a unit and have been wonderful role models of a good, strong marriage.

Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!

Your Favorite Daughter
(You know I am!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Get Hooked on Quack...Hee Hee

I won my first giveaway via social media earlier this week and I didn't even have to enter anything!

Maple Leaf Farms - an Indiana-based, family-owned company that has some heavenly duck products - reached 1,000 fans on Facebook on Monday and chose at random two of their fans to receive a t-shirt. I was one of the lucky winners!

The t-shirt came in the mail today. I love mail - packages, envelopes, magazines...Sorry, I got distracted.

Here it is...

Isn't that clever...Get Hooked on Quack! It makes me smile.

If you have a few minutes, I highly suggest heading over to Maple Leaf Farms Facebook page. They have some awesome recipes and also do a lot of random giveaways (can you say "duck for dinner"?!?) for their fans. It looks as if their video contest ends tomorrow but they also have a coupon up there now for 10 percent off an order online at Maple Leaf Farms!

Disclaimer: All of the opinions in this blog post are my own. (Is that a "legal" disclaimer? Just thought I needed to let you know that!)

Smart and Trendy Moms

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who's the Kid under the Hat?

Yesterday, I headed back to the Indiana State Fair to spend a little quality time with my parents and Lil' Sister, her hubby and my sweet, sweet nephew. The weather was perfect (very low humidity) and we had a wonderful time.

Now, you need to know something about my youngest nephew. He loves to wear hats. His daddy is usually wearing one, so I think that has something to do with it. However, he wears them so low that they cover his eyes - and most of his face.

So my photos from the Fair this fine day do NOT show his cute little face and infectious grin.

Oh well, he's still a cutie. Here he's at the Pioneer Village looking at the animals.

"Hey Mama, look at those horns!"

We also visited Little Hands on the Farm. Now, my dad (his papaw) is a farmer so this isn't anything new for my nephew, but it's a fun activity for the little ones and if you have small children, I encourage you to take them through it.

First he grabbed a basket and refused an apron. Then we headed to the grain bin and he picked up a packet of corn and a packet of soybeans. Can you tell which is which?

Then he fed them to the pig - pigs eat BOTH soybeans and corn.

Then he got a NEW Pioneer (seed) hat! And we saw his face for just a minute...and then it was gone!

Then on to a tractor ride with a bit of help from dad.

We then visited the livestock barns. The nephew really enjoyed milking the cow!

At the end of the experience, he had to take his crops to the market to sell...

...he even earned some money!

After a trip to the store, he got to pick from granola bars, milk, juice, string cheese and some other healthy snacks. He chose a granola bar which a bit later melted and made a mess in his stroller!

Another great place for kids at the Indiana State Fair (which ends Sunday, August 22) that can keep them occupied, out of the sun and is FREE to enjoy, is the FFA Pavilion and Young Farmers Building on the north side of the fairgrounds.

Here he combined some beans just like Papaw...

and hooked a fish just like Daddy.

Now, growing up we did NOT ride rides at the State Fair - we didn't even go near the Midway. But...rides were just $2 each yesterday and we guilted my brother-in-law into letting the lil' guy ride a couple. (Last week, I took my oldest nephew to the fair courtesy of Indiana Soybean Alliance and we rode a few rides ourselves. Going Jane even blogs about it today.)

Here is one of the only photos wear you can see his face.

I tried to get a sweet family photo of them but someone was tired of the camera!

Oh well, mom and dad looked good.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Few Random Thoughts

I feel like I've been overdosing on the Indiana State Fair posts lately (though I still have some great stuff to post, so stay tuned) but I haven't been doing much else worthy of posting on here. However, I do have some random items/thoughts that are not worthy of their own posts, but I want to share. So here they are...

Odd mailbox item
Did you notice the magazine above? Destination Weddings...how the heck did my name get on that mailing list? Heck, it's been a while since I've even been on a date...OK, more like forever! And I'm so not planning a wedding, though if I were, I'd totally be trying to win the honeymoon in Kauai. I am absolutely in love with Kauai - I'd marry it if I could!

Cool new penny
OK, I may have gone out of my way on Saturday just to pick up a fountain Coke Zero from the ONLY gas station in town that offers it, but that's a whole other blog post. When I got back my change, I noticed the new 2010 penny. Abe is still on the front but the tails side got an update with the monument being replaced by a shield. I tried to get a photo of it, but I couldn't get my camera to focus, so it's just sitting in the photo above. I wonder who decides when it's time for our money to be redesigned. Anyone?

Disturbing view from the windshield
On my way through town yesterday while sipping on my Coke Zero, I was passed by three guys on motorcycles. Now, these weren't the motorcycle-gang, going for a cruise Harley Davidson type bikes. They were the bikes that as teenagers we so crudely called "cr$#@& rockets." Now I can't even type the word on this family-friendly blog - let's just say it rhymes with botch and leave it at that.

Now these three guys were being idiots...popping wheelies, weaving back and forth in their lane, nothing I hadn't seen before. That is before I caught a glimpse of the handgun strapped in a holster on the belt of one of the riders! I thought maybe I was wrong and that it was just a big cellphone but I looked again and it was definitely a handgun. Who carries a handgun while out joyriding on his motorcyle in smalltown Indiana? Crazy!

My new favorite candy bar
Have you ever tried a candy bar or other food item; fell in love with it; only to fall into a deep depression when said item is no longer available?

This happened to me several years ago when Hersheys offered the Dark Chocolate Mint Kit Kat during the Christmas holiday season. They sold it in small snack-sized servings and I bought as many bags as I could in fear that it was a limited time offering. I was right. I even emailed Hersheys begging them to reconsider and start making them again. I didn't get a response.

Now, I'm a firm believer that mint (especially peppermint) is NOT just for winter/Christmas treats. I order a peppermint mocha at Starbucks throughout the year EXCEPT for the Christmas season when they jack up the price by calling it a "holiday special."

Sorry, I digress.

A few weeks ago, I discovered the Dark Chocolate Kit Kat at my local Walgreens and while it is not as good as the mint ones, it is now my go-to candy bar when I'm in need of a chocolate fix.

This has been "random thoughts by Gal in the Middle."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

If I Had a Hammer...I'd Beg Someone to Take It!

In addition to the animals, food, Midway rides and entertainment, there is something very cool happening at the Indiana State Fair this year.

A house is being built!

That's it in the photo above. If you look really hard, you'll see me to the left of the steps. I'm "holding" a ladder for my coworker - S - as she hammers some trim.

See, isn't she good?

I started out hammering some studs (boards not good-looking men - bummer) inside the house but the very nice volunteer helping me had to start the nails for me, then come back and straighten them out, and then finish them up. I was much better suited for fetching water for the other volunteers, cleaning up the job site and "directing" the other volunteers.


...there I am pointing out some very important detail to my fellow volunteer builders!

Seriously, this is a neat project that I am proud to have given a couple of hours of my time to it, even if my shift was cut short because the build was ahead of schedule and it was scorching hot.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Indianapolis has teamed up with Indiana agriculture (22 companies in all) to do an Ag Build at the Indiana State Fair for a deserving Indianapolis family. The house will be built on the fairgrounds during the 17 days of the fair AND moved to its permanent location after the fair is over. And the coolest part is that the majority of the 350 volunteers are either farmers or employed by ag companies!

Since my shift was cut short, I didn't hang around the Fair for the free roller derby bout at the grandstands. However, I did sample one of the unique new "deep fried" offerings...

That's right, Deep Fried Butter! It even made USA Today - read more here.

Two of my coworkers and I split a batch, which included 4 deep fried, dough-covered balls of butter with a toothpick in the middle!

Cindy Hoye, the executive director of the Indiana State Fair, suggested the cinnamon sugar option. I guess you can get powdered sugar or chocolate syrup ones as well.

Here's what the inside looks like.

They were messy, greasy and, honestly, not anything special. Next time, if I want my fair food "deep fried," I'll stick to the deep fried Oreos or the fried cheese from the Hot Wisconsin Cheese stand.

I'm headed back out to the Indiana State Fair tomorrow morning at 4 a.m. to wrap burritos for the world's largest drive-thru breakfast...yes, 4 a.m. in the MORNING!

If you are near the fairgrounds from 6-8 a.m. Friday morning, drive through and grab a burrito, drink AND a gallon of ethanol-enriched gas for just $3 - all proceeds going towards the 4-H Education Complex renovations!

Smart and Trendy Moms


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