Saturday, December 29, 2007

Arkansas At Last!

I made it to Arkansas on the 14th of December. I left after work on Friday to avoid the major winter storm heading into the midwest that next morning. The boys were troopers for the whole thing and were asleep after about 2 hours. Rest stop breaks on the way down were a challenge as they had to get up to get out of the car. Hard to carry both of them and go to the bathroom at the same time. They were understanding, if disoriented, and filed into the bathrooms of the interstate rest areas along the way. Surprisingly, these bathrooms (at least the ones I visited along the way) were some of the cleanest I have ever been in. Cleaner than mine! (which isn't saying much, but quite impressive!!!!)

The kids and I invaded Maria and John's new abode around 2:30 AM indiana time after about 8 hours in the car. The last stretch was carried out in biblical rains that are hard to drive in.

I was sooo glad to see my friends that I realized that the trying midnight trip was worth it!

We visited Maria's work that weekend and had our portrait shot by John in front of the Jonesboro Sun.
As the leadership and moral steadily disinegrates at my current employer, I think the south gets more and more appealing.
How Nahhce!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

linguistics and dialect

I am watching a fascinating PBS documentary on dialect entitled "Do you speak English?"

The only reason it paused long enough to watch it is that I Keep having a discussion with my friend Maria who has recently moved to Arkansas of all places. She says certain words now with a definite Southern Accent and seems upset by it. Well, according to this show, she should be upset! It seems she is ruining the spoken language by stretching all those vowel sounds.

Statistically, the majority of Americans consider this area of the united states (the midwest area of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, etc.) or the 'Midland' dialect area to be the MOST CORRECT spoken english in the nation. While the Southern dialect is considered the LEAST proper way of speaking.

Hmmm. Go figure.
So any tahhhm you need ah refresher course ahhn the spoken wurd, come forah visit.

smash, smash

That dreaded day has finally arrived. The day of Persimmon smashing. That Joyful activity that involves taking those bitter, mouth-dry-ing delights that really are not a bit of good until they have frozen on the tree and rotted enough to fall onto the ground. Several of the darn things have fallen off the tree at "Papaw's" house and he was so kind to save me a few buckets of them.

Rather than see them go to waste, the boys and I set to work. You take the hard stem/leaf nodule off of the top of the fruit and thow the whole thing into the masher/strainer device, given to me in my first year of marraige to Jim by his grandmother, Ruth. Affectionately called Mamaw. Now the story behind this strainer is this, It was HER first strainer, purchase the year she was pregnant with 'Jimmy' (my husbands father). So, the thing has been around the block and still does the job. I am sure this cone strainer has seen thousands of tomatoes, roasted pumpkin, and yes, persimmons.

My youngest Judd has perfected the technique of spinning and pressing the 'Simmons.

He and Jacob have taken turns for the better part of 2 hours, smashing approximately 3 gallons of persimmon fruit into 5 pints of persimmon pulp.
Look out holidays, persimmon pudding is on the menu... again.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Happy Halloween

OH no! It's Luke StyWalker and the Dark Invader!!!

We had a lot of fun and called it an early night.
Jim was a little 'horney' devil, keeping his bad boy biker images with little red horns.

Dior Gowns

Indianapolis Museum of Art currently has a display of Dior Gowns. WOW! I only wish I had these waistlines. Being a bit of a seamstress myself, I really wanted to skip the entire Roman Art display on loan from the Louve. But Jim was interested in that- he says- Personally I know he can't stand the art museum, or 'art' in general. "It's not my thing" he tells me.
I did love the contrast between the velvet and silk as it is draped over the form. Very nice, and crisp!

Ahhh Fall

On a recent trip to Indianapolis to enjoy the Indianapolis Museum of Art, we enjoyed the lovely fall leaf views shown here.
THIS is why we still live in Indiana. (well, that and we have a babysitter here...)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What a Steak!

I might have possibly had the best meal of my life on Monday, October 29th.
at this location:

Ruth's Chris Steak House
9445 Threel Road
96th & Keystone
Indianapolis, IN 46240

My husband and I during some much needed time off cashed in my gift certificate from work at Ruth's Chris Steak house.
After a little trial and error on directions, we finally arrived and were treated as if we were treasured guests.
The staff were understanding and pleasant and knowledgeable about the menu ane wines.
Derek our waiter was indulgent to my silliness and recommended the 'sweetest' red wine he know of on the menu. a Pinot Noir by Greg Norman winerys. The golfer, no really.
I told him (Derek) I was going to be a lot of fun that night, and true to my word, I certainly wasn't stuffy.

The atmosphere was hushed, subdued and elegant. I loved the ballroom dance painting over the fireplace in the 'library' room. It was closed off, not being used at the time, but I could see through the french doors leading to it.
I ordered the blue crab cakes for an appetizer in honor of our desire to visit Maryland again. Initially we had planned on a trip to the east coast during vacation, but that didn't pan out as planned.

Jim and I both had the ribeye: He rare, Myself, medium rare.
Jim had the asparagus with hollendaise sauce. I ordered mine 'orlando' style, were the ribeye is topped with a generous dollop of crab meat and finished off with a few spears of asparagus and bernaise sauce (hollandaise with fresh terregon and white pepper) MMMMmmmmm delightful.

Of course, I couldn't possibly eat the whole 16oz. cut of beef, but I tried. Jim and I both made a valiant effort and then gave up and ordered boxes. As we finished off our bottle of wine, we decided upon dessert. I got to have a terrible bad for me piece of carrot cake (4 layers worth) smothered in a cream cheese frosting. Very nice.
Jim had the creme brule. A first for us. It was so soft and creamy in the middle, and the burnt sugar on top done to perfection!
I couldn't ask for a better night out.

Cheers to good food, good company, and of course- good gift certificates!

(bring your wallet friends, this is a 5 star!!!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

watched pots really do boil

Well, just like a kettle of rapid fire water molecules, my steam vent flipped out and went off on Friday late afternoon at work.
Being who I am, I was very vocal about it. UNfortunately, to my 'newest' boss. Fortunately, the person whom I was really mad at, and most of the other sales staff, had already left for the day.

Being who I am, I can realistically look back and realize what an ASS I had been to my newest boss, and also realize that I have an apology to make for being said ASS and hope he accepts it.

ARRGGHH. I hate it when I am wrong.

Being who I am, I can now rationalize the real stress in my life on that fateful Friday was not, in fact, the late ad and unwillingness of my co-workers to get their own job done... But, the fact that I really want to take vacation time. Clarification: my husband wants me to take vacation time a teensy bit more than I do. ALSO fact, they are shrugging their shoulders about me actually getting said vacation time.

They owe me. 6 days before Oct 31st in fact. I could go to them and argue that:

A. I have earned it.
B. It is not MY fault that they can't pay associates enough to support a taco bell worker.
C. Hence we can't keep anybody with a better work ethic and intelligence than a taco bell worker.
D. It is not MY fault that they fire key associates when they need them at the most critical times.
E. It is not My fault all my staff are green, but starting to actually 'get' it. (get this, my senior designer? has been there 3 months.-- oh, BTW? it's her first paying design job.) the other 2? yup, their first design job too.
F. well, insert my favorite cussword here. I certainly know how to use it, especially in front of my new boss.

OUCH. excuse me while I go mutter around some crow.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Scrubby eating frogs- UNITE!

Ahh yes, the 70's. Who could forget those phsycadelic colors and fun do it yourself ceramic projects?

Here is a wonderful scrubbie eating frog that I found at a yard sale some time ago for about .50 cents. What a deal! I remember my mom haveing one by her sink as I grew up, hers was green. Mine, a more 'sedate' yellow!
Thanks ME from 1973 art class, whoever you are. Your frog is loved!

Croquet Kings!

Swing boys! Swing!

What ever happend to these classic yard games? Don't you remember playing croquet, bacchi (sp?- lawn bowling) and yard darts??? OK I know why they outlawed yard darts, but it was still a great game. "It's all great fun until somebody pokes their eye out!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The American Persimmon

If you have never tried this delicacy, Don't. You will feel like your tougue has been dipped in silica gel for a day and you need to wash it with a scrub brush. Unless -- you wait for the darn things to freeze for winter & fall off the tree nearly half rotton and smushy, you pick off the bugs, you mash them then get rid of the skins, stems and bazillion pumpkin seed size seeds, then take that 'delicacy' and stuff in a bunch of sugar, cream and flour and TA-DAH! You have persimmon pudding.

They do photograph nice however.

More Awards!

Tee Hee, not mine, but my 1st grader Jacob! All elementary students were corralled into the gym for the 6 week awards presentation. Jacob recieved a certificate for 'perfect homework'. I congratulated him. Jacob, being who he is stated, "Mom, everybody gets a homework award." They don't teach gratefulness in school do they?
Jacob is the one with a really REALLY bored attitude on the right in blue.

Indiana Mornings, Indiana Days

Sounds like a Mellancamp song.
I have been fascinated with the corn fields this fall. I am going to try to use these crisp colors in more advertising! I adore the pure sky blue and warm tans. The silhouettes of the corn tassles against the sky are so methodical and will dull your eyes if you try to focus on the endless view of them while driving down the road.

Marshmallows the old fashioned way.

Ahh yes, the 'old fashioned way'. Compared to the microwave or over a gas jet, I suppose the chimnea on the deck could be considered "Old Fashioned".

Well, we used real sticks this time!


Jacob spend most of the day on Monday chasing this 'wonderful' spider around on the southern side of our house. The spider led him on a merry chase for more than an hour before finally standing still for capture.

Poor thing, nearly defense-less at a mere 3.5" across. (Hah!)
Wikipedia describes the wolf spider as:
... members of the family Lycosidae, so named because their method of hunting is to run down their prey. They are robust and agile hunters that rely on good eyesight to hunt, typically at night.

What they fail to mention is that they see soooo well, they jump a foot to the side each time you try to swat it with a broom or stomp it with your foot when it becomes 'feral' and escapes the bug pod.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Montgomery County's best kept secret--- Shhh

During a lunch time excursion with the regular work crowd, we enjoyed a delightful lunch at a local rural eatery called A-Country-A-Fair. Just 8 miles west of Crawfordsville, IN on 32 west, it is a short drive for such wonderful atmosphere.
We had a choice of seating, inside, or on the screned veranda. We chose the veranda. A pleasant breeze blew and the temperatures were mild.
Having been here more than once, I ordered my favorite drink on the menu, Tropical Sangria. Luscious!
the guys, John and Sam ordered cola and tea. Sam ventured to get an appetizer, a flaming greek cheese dish. Served warm and bubbling with side of italian bread slices for dipping. He was nice enough to share.

We enjoyed our appetizer and lunch arrived shortly. I wanted their deliciously seasoned talapia, complete with seared green beans and garlic mashed potatoes. The server was new, but willing to help and pleasant. The management was willing to share a friendly story about her roots in the restaurant biz, and how she traveled from Chicago as a teen, dabbled in the dining rooms in several of the family restaurants and finally landing here in Montgomery County. Over all a pleasant, relaxing experience. The owners family creates all the original art pieces in the dining room and you will find a flair for the eclectic there. By the way, did I mention the home made ice creams?

Today was cherry chocolate chip, and tutti fruitti.
Visit them soon, I'll see you there.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yeah! Awards: shiny objects are so fascinating

Well the design staff at the Journal Review and myself have done it again. We have pretty much closed out the competition in our division of daily cirulation - 6,000 to 14,999 - with our advertising design ideas. Please note that the other 'paper' in Crawfordsville, Indiana was forced to run in the less than 5,999 daily circulation. Go figure, they seem to tell anyone who will listen that their circulation is MUCH higher than that..... I guess some like to be disillusioned about size......

According to the HSPA (hoosier state press association) We have won Major Awards! (cue the fishnet stocking lamp visuals now...) Shaylan Owen was my lead designer at the Journal Review from spring of '06 until just this last Friday, September 21. (Ironically the day of the awards gala in Indianapolis, Indiana.) Shaylan is going on to pursue a higher wage and an "L-shaped" desk at the Bloomington Herald-Times starting Monday, September 24th. Congratulations Shaylan!

A listing of our accomplishements
The Journal Review took home from the event, including 13 first-place awards.

Best Financial institution/Professional Newspaper advertisement:
2nd place for Athena Sport and Fitness Center, 'leave your old body behind", designed by Lauri Shillings, Sold by Mike Boots
1st place for Nelson Jewelers "As One", designed by Shaylan Owen

Best medical Ad
1st place for Dr. Terri Winn, the Kids Dentist "Braces", designed by Shaylan Owen sold by Heidi Stewart

Best Auto Dealer Ad, Color
2nd place for Etter Ford, "Edge", designed by Melissa Dean
1st place for Duke's Gold Speedway 'Overstocked', designed by Lauri Shillings

Best Auto Dealer Ad, Black & White
1st place for Etter ford, "customer appreciation day" designed by Shaylan Owen

Best Real Estate Newspaper Ad
1st place Remax "We've turned 15", designed by Shaylan Owen Sold by Heidi Stewart

Best Classified Ad (non auto, non real estate)
3rd place for Journal review "night owl" designed by Lauri Shillings
2nd place for Forge Industrial Staffing "job fair" designed by Lauri Shillings

Best Misc. Color Newspaper Ad
2nd place, Nelson Jewelers "Diamonds" Designed by Shaylan Owen
1st place, County Market "holiday" designed by Lauri Shillings, sold by Mark Deacon

Best Misc. Black and White Newspaper Ad
2nd place for Vance Tree Farm, designed by Lauri Shillings, sold by Heidi Stewart
1st place for Overlay Proposal, designed by Shaylan Owen

Best Small Space Newspaper Ad
1st place for Creek Jewelers "journey' designed by Shaylan Owen, sold by Mike Boots

Best Multiple Advertiser Page with Common theme
1st place for "Face of Remembrance' veterans tribute, designed by Lauri Shillings

Best Community Wide Special Section (including progress)
2nd place for 'Montgomery County Directory'- Staff contributing
1st place for 'Side Effects'- staff contributing

Best Targeted Newspaper Special Section
1st place for 'Montgomery County Cooks!'

Best in-Paper Promotion
1st place Shaylan Owen for, 'Candid' photo contest

Best Creative Designer- 5,999-14,000 Daily circulation
3rd Place, Lauri Shillings
1st Place, Shaylan Owen

Best Color Newspaper Ad
2nd Place, Shaylan Owen for Nelson Jewelers "as one"

Best Black and White newspaper ad
3rd place, Shaylan Owen for 'Overlay Proposal'
2nd place Shaylan Owen for Remax "We have turned 15"

So, all I have to say is WOW!
I shall have to wallpaper the other half of my 'cubicle' at work with the awards from this year. That should balance out last years...
I must say, I was pretty surprised at the awards banquet that they kept calling our name. For a minute I was a bit embarrassed by the undue attention we were garnering from the other groups.
- I got over that.