May 27, 2013

Weekend update

Happy Memorial Day!
Many thanks to all who served and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

I think I've had the perfect weekend ... gardening, cooking/baking and relaxing. We had a movie on the docket for today, but opted for more relaxing.

I thought my gardening bug had all but died so was pleasantly surprised to find myself motivated to do a little digging. I should do more planning though. Most of the "patio plants" I bought last year didn't make it through the rough winter/spring. I tried the easy route and it didn't pay off. I'm still deciding what to do in the back yard - native plants or hostas. Either way I'll do annuals for pops of color but it has been too gloomy to get excited about that. I'm bummed that my prized 'sweet autumn' clematis vine along the back fence died. RIP. Not sure what to do there yet. I have two peonies in the "trough" along the fence with tons of space, but that area doesn't get enough sun so I need to rethink my strategy. Plus I should tie in to the general native vs. hosta plan, shouldn't I? I feel a new obsession coming on to interfere with my summer course in Ethics - landscaping/garden planning.

I cleared out all the leaves and debris in the front yard then planted poppies around the purple clematis trailing up the mailbox. The photo is what they're supposed to look like ... we'll see. Poppies are perennials and don't bloom long so need to throw something else in there. I "cheated" and added 'confetti' mix from Home Depot - each pot is a mix of red verbena, blue Lobelia, and light yellow mini petunia. I bought 7 but need at least three more so will be scrounging other area Home Depots. This is another attempt at the easy route and could be a hit or miss ... again, we'll see. On a whim I got a gardenia tree for the front ramp area. It's an annual here in the arctic, but I'm hoping an open window and warm breeze will equal magical smell in the kitchen this summer. I scored two planters of beautiful multicolor begonias via United Way fundraiser at work. You'll have to imagine it all ... short on photos as my camera pooped out (hopefully just needing to recharge the battery).

For the cooking/baking part of the weekend, I got a bee in my bonnet to make two chicken meatball recipes - though I used turkey instead of chicken. The first was an accident as I actually intended to make the second but got all the ingredients for the first. Got that? These delicious baked meatballs have layers of flavor - pancetta, onion, garlic, parsley. Next time I'll add fresh Parmesan and try as a meatloaf for family dinner. This is definitely going on my appetizer go-to menu. I served with pasta but didn't need it as just a little sauce would have been fine. The weather has been rainy and chilly so I ended up making a hearty soup with these meatballs by adding more chicken stock and cooked wild rice. Half of the meatballs lost their shape and the kale was not a popular chioice. I probably won't make again, but I'm looking forward to leftovers for work lunch tomorrow. Finally, I was inspired by this post to make my first Hummingbird cake. It's dense, moist, flavorful and the cream cheese icing is amazing. If I make again it will be as cupcakes. Hubby said it wasn't that great then proceeded to have three pieces. Three! I think it grew on him :)

May 16, 2013


More evidence of Susie's charmed life -

I just wanted to send a note to my peeps to say what a true pleasure it has been working with all of you. I am out on Medical Leave as of today and am not certain how long I will be out or if I will be given the opportunity (God willing) to come back but this has been a wonderful place to work. The people here are most amazing and I feel so very fortunate to have built such great relationships in my work home. I hope you all feel that same way and can look back and really appreciate how many opportunities we have been given.
What I want to share most is a hope that everyone appreciates your journey here on earth each and everyday. I know it's not always easy but time goes so fast and we forget the special opportunities like hugs, kisses, laughter, tears, learning, eating, playing, vacationing, working, and all the other wonderful earthly pleasures we forget about on a daily basis. If I had one wish for each and every one of you it would be to truly take at least 20 minutes out of every day to appreciate an earthly pleasure. Have lunch or call a friend, read a book, eat a favorite dessert, go for a walk or bike ride, sing a song, make amends, etc. etc. We are here for such a short time so enjoy it while you can.

Well said. May everyone this reaches appreciate the journey.

May 14, 2013

Movie Faves: The '80s

I've been wanting to do a favorite movies post for some time and because I should be writing a paper on intercultural marketing for grad school, I decided to do a top 10 by decade. Actually 11 because I couldn't bear to part with one. And it's your lucky day! I'm give you a favorite quote from each. You're welcome.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - Harrison Ford in a non Star Wars movie ... swoon. I remember my mom renting the VHS to celebrate my first high school job.
Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?

Stripes (1981) - Bill Murray in his prime. Will Farrell is a copy cat. Worthy of two quotes!
Lighten up, Francis.
You know what your problem is? You've never had anybody give you the Aunt Jemima treatment.

The Four Seasons (1981) - The first time I thought middle age didn't look horrific.
The reality is you're married to a middle-aged woman with a a good sense of humor and dry skin!

Terms of Endearment (1983) - Mother-Daughter tearjerker; Shirley Maclaine and Jack Nicholson make this movie.
I like the lights on. Then go home and turn them on.

Sixteen Candles (1984) - John Hughes at his best, my high school years defined and I heart Jake Ryan.
I can't believe my Grandmother actually felt me up.

Back to the Future (1985) - A DeLorean time machine, skateboarding and Huey Lewis and the News music. Always reminds me of my senior year of high school.
Why do you keep calling me Calvin? Well, that is your name, isn't it? Calvin Klein? It's written all over your underwear.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) - Another John Hughes classic. The parade scene rocks!
Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?

Baby Boom (1987) - Quintessential '80s female empowerment; great chemistry between Diane Keaton and Sam Shepherd.
I can't have a baby because I have a 12:30 lunch meeting.

The Princess Bride (1987) - Romance, sword fighting, Andre the Giant.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Bull Durham (1988) - Baseball + Kevin Costner = hit movie.
The rose goes in the front, big guy.

When Harry Met Sally (1989) - Men and women can be friends.
It is so nice when you can sit with someone and not have to talk.

There are so many other greats ... Breakfast Club, Die Hard, Fatal Attraction, Field of Dreams, The Terminator ... but the above are the ones that would accompany me on a desert island. If you haven't seen 'em, you're in for a  real treat!

May 3, 2013


I do not feel charmed. At all. But I have a new goal ... to say that I've led a charmed life. A coworker told me this week that the breast cancer she beat months ago is back. This time in her lungs. And it's terminal. We sat together, laughed, cried and talked about life, death and everything in between. Of all the things we touched on, the most profound to me is when she said she's led a charmed life. How many people can say that?! She has a husband she loves deeply who loves her, two incredible college-age daughters, traveled all over and had amazing experiences. How many people can say they've led a charmed life when faced at the end of theirs? Especially a life cut too short. My new goal is to feel that I've led a charmed life. Maybe it's being more appreciative of what I already have, maybe it's figuring out what's missing or what new experiences would nurture my soul. Or a combination of these. I want to honor Susie by believing I've led a charmed life and I want to be able to say it sooner rather than later.

Are you charmed?