Monday, August 29, 2005

Dreams - - Illustration Friday

Here's my submission for Illustration Friday's topic "Dreams". It's based upon a dream I had long, long ago. I was probably 10 or so. The figure being chased..me!... has been aged a bit too. :-)

New Orleans

My heart goes out to the people of New Orleans today. I'm hoping for the best, but fearing the worst with Katrina. I heard that they were using the SuperDome as a refuge from the storm last night. I thought I couldn't think of a worse place to stay as a wide open roof = disaster waiting to happen in my view. This morning, I heard that part of the roof had blown off. How scary! Anyway, I hope that the damage or flooding doesn't get worse down there.

When we took our trip to Texas this spring, it initially was planned as a trip to New Orleans. I was in NOLA for Mardi Gras about 5 or 6 years ago. I liked it a lot, but really felt that I wasn't able to see the true nature of the city, so I had always planned on going back during non-Mardi Gras times. I'm hoping that it will still be there in close to its original splendor when I do make it back.

In a related thought, last night, the thought occurred to me that if I were Bill Gates or one of the Walmart clan or _______insert billionaire name here, that I would have a staff of 100+ "do-gooders" whom I would pay handsomely, of course. When disasters were to strike or after disasters happen, I would send the staff off to clean-up, assist with evacuations, etc. They could be dispatched quickly on the private planes from my fleet. On "normal" days, they would be sent to inner city areas or rural areas to do clean up activities, painting, rebuild structures, etc. It would be like my own private Peace Corps. But, no politics. No middle man. Just me, sending out my extended hands to "do good" whatever that might be? How cool would that be?

Granola

Who knew you could make granola? Well, turns out it’s fabulously nummy and easy to make at home! I found my recipe here: FoodNetwork.com. It takes about an hour and a half to bake, so a little time consuming with that, but throwing all of the ingredients together was easy squeezy. So, yeah, next stop…I’m going to make Fruit Loops. ;-)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Fat Joke?!

I go into my favorite restaurant in town. The woman at the front says, "How many?" I say, "Five." She says, "Name?" I say my last name. She says, "Orca-son?" Now, I know I'm fat, but c'mon...killer-whale size? I really wanted to say, "Is that some sort of fat joke???" but I didn't. I'm sure it wasn't, it just struck me as awfully funny. I'm officially changing my name to "Catherine Orca-Son", just so ya know.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Internal Terrorists

It looks like we’ve got a terrorist within our borders that should be dealt with swiftly. Pat Robertson has called for the assassination of a foreign government official. How is this any different than Bin Laden or _______(insert your favorite terror monger here) calling for death to the Prez of the US or other political heads of state?  Homeland Security officials should do their job and eliminate Mr. Robertson from the premises.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Two more creations!

Ya'll are going to think I'm a jam nut. Not really a huge fan of jam. I like it, but rarely eat it. That being said, I LOVE creating it and gifting it! Today's creations -- Raspberry-Banana and Raspberry-Pineapple. The Raspberry-Banana seemed a little weak on the banana smell. I haven't tasted it, but just while it was cooking, I couldn't really pick out the scent. I more than doubled the amount of banana and still...the raspberries are too strong. Maybe it will have a decent taste. The second concoction -- Raspineapple, smelled wonderful while it was getting cooked. I altered the recipe quite a bit since I had the pineapple in it's own juice rather than in syrup as the recipe called for...oh, and it was strawberry/pineapple, not raspberry. I ended up using an entire 20 oz can of pineapple combined with enough squished raspberries to make 3-1/2 cups fruit. Add in 7 cups of sugar and pectin. Voila! Jam! If you've never attempted making jam, and are curious as to how to start, drop me a line and I'll get ya going. Last summer I made 27 different varieties of jam. Yeah, a lot of different kinds from conserves to butters to plain old jam. We live on a big chunk of land with an orchard producing apples, pears, peaches, apricots, and plums. In addition, we have the raspberries and the other garden products -- peppers, tomatoes, herbs, etc. I gifted a lot of them for Christmas which was a blast as well as an economical, eco-friendly idea.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Twine!

My friend Kimmmmmmy and I have been contacted by a documentary film group about having our photos from the Big Girl, Big Stuff Tours appear in a documentary about the World's Largest Twine Ball (built by one man) in Darwin, Minnesota. Apparently the the guy who's in charge of the twine ball museum remembered and mentioned us when he was getting interviewed. (How could he forget us? We're just so darned cute! :-) ) Sounds like .32 minutes of fame is in our future. We'll see. I could also see us landing on the cutting room floor, too!

Uncharted Territory

We've created a first... Raspberry-Lime Jam. Ivan came up with the idea for the fruit combo. I googled and googled online for a recipe last week. Nuttin'. Normally you can find pretty much any dang recipe you can imagine online. Hasn't anyone tried this combo before? Apparently not. So, with our abundance of raspberries, I set out to make this new flavor. I decided on using just under four cups of raspberries along with the zest and juice of four limes. The smell of it cooking was lovely and very "fresh".

Last night we took it to a friend's house for its "maiden voyage" at their "scone night". (If you're not from Utah, you probably are picturing different scones than what we have here. In Utah, scones are basically just deep fried regular bread dough. Not sweet like doughnuts.) Anyway, the raspberry-lime was a huge hit. Yay! Peach butter was too, but that was one from last year. (It's sooooo last year. ;-) )

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Whirring about in my head

Just a few things that have been in my mind, but not yet put into my blog. It’s funny when something unusual happens in my life or I get a “what the heck” idea in my head, I feel I have to write it down. It’s nice to have an online journal or blog to do just that. It’s great fun to look back and remember those particular moments.

From this weekend:

The Buzz Ivan and I went on a mini-road trip to Wyoming. It was so much cooler up there than in the Wasatch valley and just a gorgeous day in general too. While we were driving just past Evanston, WY, we had our windows partially rolled down. I was happily drinking a frapuccino-type drink from the local convenience store when all of a sudden…SMACK… “Aaaack!” I screamed. I had been hit. Quickly my brain tried to figure it out…did my drink “burp up” through the straw? Did I get hit by a rock? I look down and see a dead bee. I had been smacked just above the eye by a wayward bee. It died on impact. How did it maneuver it’s way in to get hit by my big fat head? Just very strange. (I know, I write a lot about insects in my blog, but I swear I have more run-ins with them now than I ever did in my life.) Luckily, I survived the accident.

Pair of Genes We stopped near a ghost town about 20 minutes outside of Evanston. A nearly idyllic area for free range cattle – lots of gently rolling hills, streams, and lots of grasses. I watched a herd of cows and their calves for a little while. It was nearing sunset, and they got up, one by one and followed the Queen cow down the knoll. What was curious to me was that after each cow, followed a calf that looked identical to it’s mother. Black cow, black calf, dark brown cow, dark brown calf, black body white face cow, black body white face calf. Eight different pairings, each had an identical momma cow/calf component. Where’s the bull in all of this? I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything about genetics, but I thought dominant/recessive genes play a roll. Given that there were 8 pairs of identical cows/calves, does that mean that the bull was completely recessive? Is that possible? For the father bull, I can only picture some sad-sack, depressed bull. He’s small, about 5 feet tall, probably blond fur. He keeps his head to the grass at all times, except when he’s called to “perform”. Hmmm..maybe I’m getting depressive confused with recessive? But seriously, if you were completely made of recessive genes, is there any point in reproducing? Just made me go “hmmmm…”

Odd feeling… Ivan sent me this link. It is cool and disturbing. The mixture of technological “wow” combined with an uneasy pit in my stomach. Ick. Cool. Ick. Oh, you can "save" her by clicking and dragging her. Set her on a bubble. Help will be along shortly. You've done your job.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Explosions!

Two exploding things to talk about in Utah…a truck that was carrying something like 35 THOUSAND pounds of explosives blew up yesterday. When the truck carrying the explosives got in an accident, the truck exploded, taking out a huge chunk of roadway in a canyon south of here. 35 THOUSAND pounds of explosive? It could be just me, but maybe they should be carrying smaller loads of explosives? Eh? What do I know?

I’ll tell you what I know! Cans of soda put in the freezer for more than just a few minutes can and do explode. I put a can of Coke in the freezer to chill it down so that it was going to be a full-fledged frosty beverage. It’s warm here. Who wants room-temp Coke in the summer?! Anyway, I put it in the freezer and promptly forgot about it. Turns out I didn’t really want a soda to drink, eh? (See the weaning from soda entirely *is* working…kinda…well, somewhat.) If you’ve never experienced the exploding soda can, let me tell you… the aftermath is really pretty cool albeit a pain in the arse to clean up. The can must have exploded when most of the contents were already frozen. The top of the freezer had coke slush on it. If it was only liquid when it came out, I figure that would have dripped down. Looking in the can itself, the sides were completely solid, but there was a wormhole of sorts through the center of the explosion. Almost as if a creature leapt from the bottom of the can and out the top. Kinda cool. Really!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Empty -- Illustration Friday

What’s more empty than having a loved one die? That’s my concept for this week’s Illustration Friday topic. I spent about an hour and ten minutes on it. Very close to my goal time. I’m enjoying learning more about Flash as I work on these, too.  

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bit!

I was sitting outside last night for a few minutes and *something* bit me, once on each arm. The resulting welts were large, white, itchy and shaped much like an alien ant farm. (What does that look like? I don’t know, but if I did, I would imagine it would look like the welts on my arms.) This morning, the welts are gone, but I have extra large painful bumps that are about two inches across. Will I die from this? Only time will tell. If I do die, I’ll let you know. There are so many ways to blog on Blogger.com, that I’m sure they have a post-mortem communication option.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Illustration Friday

I missed a week, but I’m back on the horse after vacation. This week’s topic? Aging. Initially, I thought of depicting wrinkles, aging men/women, etc, but with a little more thought…*everything* ages. From the minute it’s created, it’s aging. Here's this week's submission.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Random Strokes

Don’t ya love it when you get a random self-esteem boost from a stranger? On the flight back to Utah, this cute 21 year old girl started chatting me up from across the aisle. During the course of the conversation, she asks me what part of Utah I live in, and then proceeded to ask me if I have roommates. Well, I said I live with my husband and two of his daughters. She gave me a really odd look and then she then proceeded to ask me how old I was. I told her 37. She was floored. Yes, she thought I was her age. Hehehe. Hehehe. Gotta love that. I proceeded to tell her that the fat plumps up the wrinkles. She didn’t believe me. You and I know it’s true!!

Yay! I'm a professional photographer!

I sold my first photo at istockphoto.com! Yay! Yay! Huzzah and all that!

Artificial Sweetners

Sucralose aka Splenda is showing up in so many non-diet products these days, that I'm starting to wonder if there is a conspiracy going on. The other day, while Ivan and I were traveling through northern Minnesota, we stopped to pick up a couple of frosty beverages at the convenience store to cool us down while we were on the road. I picked out a couple of V8 Splash bottles. Bought them and we were on our way. Ivan takes a drink of the first one and says, "This has artificial sweetners in it." He's definitely got a "tongue" for finding them! So, I taste it. Sure enough, it's got that slightly off taste that only artificial sweetners can provide. I look at the ingredient list. Carrots, high fructose corn syrup, fruity bits and whatnot were all listed. The very last ingredient -- Sucralose. What the fuck? (The effenheimer is definitely needed here.) It's loaded with corn syrup...why, oh, why do they need to add sucralose?!?! Grrrrrrrrrr. I swear regular V8 Splash didn't have this before. ( I just checked out their website...sure enough, they "reformulated" it. Blech.) Only the diet version had the artificial sweetner. What's scary is that I bet most people who drink this, and many other products, don't even know that sucralose was even an artificial sweetner. With the "-ose" suffix, it sounds like any other natural sugar substance. Unfortunately not. What would be the point of adding sucralose to an already heavily sweetened drink? Are things just not sweet enough? Or are the food manufacturers trying to adjust our palate's senses so that we crave the fake? Something is fishy in any event. I say that every product that uses an artificial sweetner, should SAY that it's an artificially sweetened product. That way, those of us who wish to avoid it, can do so easily.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Feelin' Safe?

For those of you who travel by plane often, I'm sure you're aware of the new security measures being taken at our airports. One new item that I don't recall when I flew to Dallas last April is the "Cleared" TSA sticker that was applied to my bag's standard luggage tag. I've heard that all pieces of luggage must pass through x-ray monitors now. I'm assuming that the "cleared" sticker is ~proof~ that the bag is safe.

What scares me is that it reminds me of the early 90s when I worked for a company that virus scanned floppy disks and then applied "clean" stickers on them. Sure, it makes sense that the disk was clean at that point, but what people failed to realize at that time was that the sticker represented that the disk was clean only at the time it was checked. If an individual took that disk to a computer that had a boot virus, for instance, the disk would be infected, yet still bear the "clean" sticker. It was a naive sense of security for a relatively naive time, technologically speaking. The same idea was used for individuals carrying a "HIV-free" card several years later -- again, a dumb and naive idea for a new concept in feeling secure.

Now, our bags are scanned and stickered. The stickers have the tear-perfs on them to show if the sticker has been tampered, but the silly thing is that the stickers are put on the tag that goes around the handle, not around the parts of the bag that could be opened. What's the point? If my bag, which has been "cleared" by someone at check-in, but then tampered with by someone in luggage handling, and then the final handler who puts the luggage on the plane double checks to see that the bag has been "cleared", has no idea of the tampering that took place when the bags changed hands and innocently lets the bag pass. Methinks there ought to be a better way. Maybe the scanning of the bags should take place immediately before they're put on the plane? Or maybe at check-in and again directly before boarding? If not that, maybe we shouldn't be wasting money on stickers that give a false sense of security??

Minnesota

I’m back from my trip to Minnesota. It was a whirlwind tour. I worked full time while I was up there and socialized full time, too. I was able to catch up a bit with family, friends, co-workers as well as pack in a weekend trip up to Grand Marais with Ivan. (By the way, if you ever make it up to Grand Marais, make sure you stop in for a slice of pizza at Sven & Ole’s. *the best* pizza along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Who knew that the Scandinavians could make a decent pie?? )
I'm tired from the adventure, but ever so grateful to be able to get back there once in a while. I wish I could get back more often.
Thanks to all of you who made time to see Ivan and me. I love you all!

Clothing Wonders

Shirring, also known as “rouching” on clothing. (I think that’s how it’s spelled anyway.) Why, oh, why do clothing manufacturers use this technique on shirts? Much less, why on fat chick clothing? It’s not hiding anything. It’s, instead, providing additional rolls to an already rolls-a-plenty body. Ugh. Not to mention that it just looks cheap’n’ugly. Ugh.

I'll be commenting on fashion from time to time. Not that I'm a fashion know-it-all, by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm hoping at some point someone who is in the industry will actually listen. Eh. I'm sure it won't make any difference, but dang it's fun to point out uglee fashions that are being offered out there.

Oh, since I'm on the subject of clothing, I had an opportunity to stop by a Catherine's store in Minneapolis. (We don't have Catherine's in Utah.) It's been a while since I've done any shopping at Catherine's, but it's almost like time hasn't past. Every year at this time, without fail, they have their dress-the-fat-lady-in-4th-of-July-wear selection. It's always on the wall displays in the store, not just hidden in the clearance racks. Not sure why, but there it is, in all of it's glory -- the stripes and stars blazing in red-white-n-blue on camp shirts. At least 4 varieties of prints, too. It is August, right? The 4th-of-July fest is long since over, but apparently patriotism lives deep within the fat chick's heart. Don't burn the flag...instead wear it in your armpits!