Monthly Archives: April 2010

So orange I should be in Stillwater

I love personality tests. I think it’s really fun to see how, once I’ve answered all the questions, the results compare to who I really am.

A couple of days ago, several people in my twitter stream were at a conference and they were talking about personalities in colors: green, blue, orange and gold.

I didn’t see the beginning of the conversation so I googled the four colors and personality test. I found this quiz and started answering the questions.

My favorite question on the quiz was:

Do you prefer to make a contribution to others by (a) inspiring them or (b) entertaining them

How do you think I answered it? 🙂

When I finished the quiz, I got my answers. I am orange. Really orange. So orange I should be in Stillwater orange. There’s some blue, green and gold (in that order) there but so far away from the orange.

So what is orange? There’s a little presentation here, but in a nutshell:


  • “Just Do It” Action Oriented.
  • Quick-witted, Charming, Spontaneous
  • Playful. Injects fun into work.
  • Lives In Here & Now. Risk taker. Creative.
  • Enjoys Diversity, Variety, Competition.
  • Multi-tasker, Cheerful, Energetic. Bold.
  • Quick Thinking and Acting. Takes Charge.
  • High Visibility Performer. Accepts Challenges.
  • Enjoys Problem Solving. Negotiator.
  • Performs Well Under Pressure. Resilient.

Famous Oranges: JFK, Amelia Earhart, Lucille Ball, Rhett Butler, FDR, Francis of Assissi, Lee Iacocca, Winston Churchill, Garfield

I love that I’m orange like Garfield.

Take the quiz. It’s fun to see how close they come to who you are. This one identified me pretty well. 🙂

All choked up

Yes, I cry a lot but this is not about crying. It’s about my lawnmower.

We have these amazingly tall dandelions growing in the yard so I finally got time to go after them this morning. I started the lawnmower up as usual. But as I begin to mow I think, “Dude, you sound very unmotivated”.

It’s doing the job but the gusto normally heard in the mower is just not there. I feel like I should be pushing it slow while drinking a martini and listening to sexy music. James Bond style.

I mow a little bit longer thinking it’s weird but that the neighbors probably really appreciate my smooth, almost soundless machine.

Then I want to light a long cigarette to go with my martini and suave machine.

And it hits me: this is going to take all day!

No, thank you.

I called David out and tell him that my machine sounds distinctly unmotivated and, while I can hear the sexy music in my head, it’s really too early for a martini.

He laughs and asks me if I had unchoked the mower. Doesn’t that usually happen automatically? I guess it does but it didn’t this time.

So now, the mower has it’s gusto back. I’m loud, I’m proud. Jammin’ to the headbanging sounds of heavy metal in my head while swilling a beer and belching.

I’m MOG therefore I blog

LOL! I just learned today that I will be the Mother of the Groom for a second time in 2011! Mother of the groom. MOG. Silly sounding, yes?

I’m so happy and so excited about the lives that lie ahead for Brandon and Vanessa and Ryan and Scarlette.

Ryan called us, no let me rephrase that, Ryan woke us up early on a Saturday morning in January to say he had just proposed to Scarelette and she said yes. He was so happy, so excited. I was tired. But also very excited because they have been together for several years and she is very sweet. Because they live in Washington, I’ve only met her once but I look forward to having her as part of the family. Ryan has decided that they should get married on 11-11-11 because 1+1 = 2. So sweet. 🙂

When I texted him to let him know that Brandon had proposed to Vanessa, Ryan said, “Is he trying to one up me?”

Not sure the date of the Brandon /Vanessa wedding but I am so excited to welcome her into the family. She is beautiful, smart and funny. And, most importantly, she is a good audience. We laugh a lot. Vanessa is interesting and knows words. She is a copy editor. I love her. 🙂

And so, I will be a MOG (twice!) in the near future. I am prepared to show up and keep my mouth shut but I draw the line at having to wear beige. Or yellow. Both boys assure me that I won’t have to do the yellow thing. Whew!

I’m excited to meet the families of Vanessa and Scarlette and to see how it all unfolds. Two weddings in a year should be much fun. Does anyone want to help us make it three?

We interrupt your service to bring you frustration

At the end of last year, I looked at our cable bill ($164) and compared it to what they were offering new subscribers ($76) and decided we were being ripped off. So we discontinued it.

I know we installed Direct TV for television programming and I know we got Vonage for the phone because David needs to call Singapore periodically and it is way cheaper with Vonage.

And we got DSL service.

David was gone for a month in March. Just like it always happens when he is gone, our internet went down. I looked out the window and saw the AT&T; guy on the pole and figured he had done something to our service. Was our DSL through AT&T;? I thought it was.

Until I called them.

They had no record of us at all. They couldn’t find us with our landline number. They couldn’t find us with the email address (that I will admit I guessed at – but was correct). Finally, I gave them my social security number and they came up with a very old record that had a phone number on it that we haven’t had for at least four years. Okay, so maybe our DSL wasn’t through AT&T.; Hmmmm.

David was sleeping in Singapore. I was without internet in Bartlesville and no information of any kind as to where we got our service. I had never seen a bill and presumed that he had it directly deducted from our checking account and that the email came to his address as I had never seen it.

I went out to talk to the AT&T; man on the pole. No, he said, there shouldn’t have been anything he did that would affect my service and, in any case, he couldn’t help me. Especially if my service wasn’t with AT&T.;

I was confounded.

What to do? I went back into the office and looked at the Vonage box. I unplugged it and plugged it back in. Voila! Internet! Cool. Our DSL is through Vonage. Little did I know that Vonage doesn’t offer DSL. All I knew was that my internet was working once again.

This morning, I woke up and we had no internet. The page was directed to, you guessed it, AT&T.; What?

Apparently, they disconnected us for failure to pay. What?

Now, mind you, they couldn’t find us in their system. Somehow, though, David managed to get an account number from one person he talked to and they were then able to find our service. We paid the outstanding amount that was due and our internet was finally restored.

I still have no idea why we weren’t billed for four months and I still have no idea why they couldn’t find us in their system. What I do know is that we now have internet, it’s with AT&T;, and they will be emailing future bills to me.

This story is brought to you by the letter I for I’m not an airhead. I could not come up with that story without a little help from the other sponsors of this story the letters A & T.

Operating in the kitchen

When I was a kid, I loved the game Operation. Well, you know how competitive I am, I loved ALL games. Especially ones I could win. (Have I ever mentioned that my friends stopped inviting me to their birthday parties because I’d win all the games?)

But Operation was very challenging and I loved to win, I mean play, it.

I made this amazing beer bread yesterday. It made a LOT of dough so I decided to bake it in the Pullman loaf pans I bought years ago but had never used. I figured it would make two nice-sized Pullman loaves.

I was wrong.

It made two AMAZING loaves of tasty bread but they are small, short in stature, easily lost in the toaster.

I had to toast it, though. It was so awesome as bread that the prospect of eating it toasted with jelly was too good to pass up. And I was right.

But, because the bread is so small, I had to use my tongs to get it out of the toaster. When I have to do this, it makes me feel like I’m playing Operation all over again.

True confession: I have never gotten the toast out without touching the sides of the toaster.

It’s a hard operation. Similar to the spare ribs or writers cramp. The good news is, my tongs are wooden so I can’t shock myself or blow a circuit. No buzzer sounds. But it makes breakfast a little fun by reminding me of childhood competitions.

Now how can I simulate Candyland in the kitchen?

I love my shop vac

I do. It provides me endless hours of amusement and keeps the house clean. I use it for EVERYTHING. For some things, it’s a little heavy duty. I nearly sucked all the keys off my computer keyboard with it. So I won’t try that again.

I wonder how many bugs are inside of it? A common housefly is no match for my shop vac.

But my favorite thing to use it for is, wait for it, cleaning the kitchen counters. Really! 🙂

The counters are black. A great idea aesthetically. Practically, not so much. They always look dirty or dusty because every little thing shows up on them. And then, if you use a wet rag to wipe them off, they seem streaky, so then I have to get the Windex out and polish them. Can you say labor intensive?

Enter the shop vac.

It’s fast, it’s quick, it’s handy and it does a great job and leaves no streaks!

I had a bit of an oatmeal explosion this a.m. I was trying to grind oatmeal to make bread and I got impatient. I have a fabulous blender that grinds like a champ but it doesn’t look like it’s doing anything for a while. So I helped it along and stuck a wooden spoon down into the oats (Do not try this at home!) to help it along. EXPLOSION! Oats were everywhere, counter, floor, stove. LOL! It was funny. And a mess.

So I just sucked it all back up. I almost lost the wooden spoon while I was at it but I managed to grab it before it was sucked all the way inside.

Hungry hungry shop vac. So much fun. 🙂

Pizza! Pizza!

I can’t remember when the tradition in our family of having pizza every Friday night began. I was gifted with The Joy of Cooking at my bridal shower (that I didn’t attend but that’s another post) and I sort of laughed because cooking wasn’t something I thought I would ever do.

After we had been married a couple of years, we re-enlisted to go to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Once we arrived we soon realized that going out for dinner several times a week wasn’t an option. There was one restaurant we could go to, Blue Caribe, but it was run by the Navy and the menu very much resembled the food we could get for free in the chow hall. The one difference is that it was brought to us by waiters as opposed to being collected on the tray as we passed through the line.

I learned how to cook.

I found the pizza dough recipe that we have used ever since in the Joy of Cooking and over the years, all of us has made the dough at one time or another. When the boys were in school and we were all busy, the first person home on Friday would be responsible for making the dough. This recipe is EASY and delicious and we are all pros at pizza dough making. We’ve changed this recipe a little over time and here it is:


Two 12-inch crusts (or one fat one, our choice)

Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (2 1⁄4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

1 1⁄3 cups warm (105° to 115°F) water – we do this in the microwave for 1 min 20 secs.

2 tablespoons olive oil

Knead for 8 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with olive oil and turn it once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place (75° to 85°F) until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 1 large pizza stone and dust with cornmeal (Do this! The cornmeal totally adds to the end result).

Press the dough onto the prepared pizza stone.

Prepare the desired toppings. We usually take an 8 oz can of tomato sauce and spread it on the dough. Sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano and basil, top with cheese and your choice of toppings. David and I love Canadian Bacon and black olives. NOM!

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Greek Easter Bread

I love to bake bread and I’m pretty good at it. Over the years, I’ve learned how to put it together so that I have a beautiful loaf the first time. For some reason, I looked at this complicated recipe and decided I should follow it to the letter. Mistake. The resulting loaf was like a rock. It didn’t rise, and, when toasted, couldn’t even absorb butter spread on it because it was so dense.

I just tossed it in the garbage. I mean literally tossed it and I thought that I might have broken the floor. LOL! I actually moved the garbage can to see if the floor was cracked. It wasn’t and neither was the garbage can but it sure sounded like it could have been.

While the first loaf was baking, I knew it was going to be a disaster so I started making another one. Doing it my way. The new loaf, is big and beautiful and I’m going to guess that the texture is much less like a rock than the first loaf.

Here’s the recipe, changed to reflect how I put it together.

Greek Easter Bread

This sweet, spiced loaf is not only beautiful and delicious, but it is also large enough to feed your whole holiday crowd. Use leftovers to make French toast.

Yield: 20 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups warm water (100° to 110°)
2 tsp dry yeast
5 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg yolk

Combine the flour, allspice, cinnamon, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Heat the water and add to flour along with butter and eggs. Mix for 8 minutes – until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press 2 fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Divide dough into 3 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 14-inch-long rope. Place ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (do not stretch); pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes; pinch loose ends to seal. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg yolk, stirring with a whisk. Brush half of yolk mixture over loaf. Let stand for 5 minutes. Repeat procedure with the remaining yolk mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Gorgeous, impressive and yummy!