Thursday, September 30, 2010

Faux Chicken

My lunch today ... my favorite faux meat ... Morningstar Farms Buffalo Wings Veggie Wings. Mmmm ... hot and spicy, with authentic Buffalo Wing flavor (and I should know having lived in Buffalo for 20 years).

Real meat is delicious: steak, chicken, pork, turkey, ham, processed meats filled with nitrates, etc. but the "chik'n" products made by this company really rock, and are great to have on hand for quick meals. Actually, I prefer their products to real processed chicken as I never have to worry about what parts I might bite into : )

from their website

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Yesterday I purchased my first-ever riding helmet. Apparently I have a large head because I needed to buy the L to have it fit comfortably. Hmm.

Anyway, I was surprised at the cost of these very unattractive but protective pieces of equipment. There were quite a few choices in a fairly wide price range of $40-something to over $100, and it took me a while to decide on the Troxel "Dakota". I figured that I should invest in my remaining brain function, so I went for the mid-price model that suits my personality: brown and not flashy.

Wait - I have not blogged about the fact that I am now taking riding lessons! Yes - once a week I get to go to Dream Bo Stables, groom my horse-of-the day, saddle-up and ride, then de-saddle, groom, and leave smelly and happy. I'm in heaven.

And now I have my very own boots ('bought those, too) and helmet.


Hat Day

Ah, Homecoming Week ... one of the joys of never leaving high school ...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Horse Barn, Part I

I have always been crazy about horses.

I never remember a time when I didn't want a horse, and I never remember a time when I didn't dream about horses. Finally, when I was 11, my dad agreed that I was ready and responsible enough for us to begin the process which included taking riding lessons at the B-Bar-B Ranch (!), continuing with my reading "research" on feeding and caring for horses, building a box stall out in our old barn, finding all the necessary brushes and tools under the Christmas tree, and continuing to prove myself mature enough in school and at home.

June 8th, 1980 Morningstar came to live with us. She was a really beautiful buckskin, with lovely dapples and a white star. Unfortunately she was very unsuitable for a green young girl like myself: she was wild and crazy after being cooped up in a barn and neglected for who knows how how many years. How stupid we were, really, to purchase her, but we bought her from my dad's cousin and well it was convenient and seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Meanwhile, I had a wild thing on my little hands, and it was pretty scary.

They say that you can't train animals through love, and mostly I agree, but with Morningstar that is exactly what happened: I loved her into being a good albeit spirited girl. My mom went with me when I would ride her on the nearby high school football field (the players hated what we left behind!) and that first summer Morgey (what we ended up calling her for short?) and I grew into a team. We could never have won any horse shows, but we kicked butt on the trails and dirt roads around my house. We would head out, just her and I, for hours and hours and share my lunch (she would eat my Snack Pack pudding right off my spoon) and get ourselves into all sorts of snafus. Oh, she was a little crazy and easily spooked, but over that first summer and through the next several years until I left for college we loved each other through it all.

During college, my dad took great care of her, and whenever I came home it was like I had never left. Eventually I was gainfully employed so I moved her out to be near me, boarding her at a lovely little farm near Fort Erie, Ontario where I stayed summers. I was able to ride her some and visit her nearly everyday, but she was mostly just so happy to be living with other horses, and she particularly liked the foals that were born on the farm. She was like a Great-Auntie, and she was so content.

January 4th, 1994, Morgey peacefully feel asleep in the snow. Although she was old, I never really thought about losing her, so I was shocked and deeply grief-stricken. She really was the first major loss of a loved one in my life, and her loss made me begin to realize how even the heros in our life are mortal. Since then I have lost my dad and my oma, and it was Morgey leaving me that helped me to deal with losing two of the most important people in my life.

Morningstar visits me in my dreams. Literally. In some dreams I go out to the barn and find her there, fine and healthy, even after all these years. In some dreams we are riding together here on earth but no one can see us because we are actually together in heaven. She and I were meant to be together, I am sure of it, even if that sounds nuts. I know that when I am in heaven someday I will see her again, along with the other pets and people that have helped make me who I am today. Through love.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I am blogging today during my lunch. (My lunch, by the way is delicious: leftover chicken from my dinner last night, along with veggies and cheese.) I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do this during the official school day (blog, not eat lunch) but I am going to be a rebel.

I love my job and I love all the activities that I am involved in, but I really despise the fact that I am never home this time of year. I haven't fed my fish since Sunday because I haven't been home in the daylight since then, and it's not even daylight savings time yet. My house becomes cluttered until Thursday night when we have to tidy in preparation for Sandy's cleaning on Fridays, but other than that it gets a little chaotic for my ocd-ish preferences.

Soooo, when I get home it depresses me to see the lack of order.

I have been working on that, trying to become less particular, and relax despite my less-than-neat surroundings.

I try to focus on my priorities which are family and animals and church and work, not being Martha Stewart.


Now I have to get ready for my photography class tonight.

thee best dressing ever

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Stewardship 2010
We are an Offering

1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
January 1st may be the start of the calendar year, but the fall represents its own time for fresh starts. Those of us impacted by the beginning of the school year certainly feel it, but most others do as well. The lazier days of summer are over, and it is time for us to get focused and back to work, even if we haven’t “officially” been on vacation. In this way, fall represents a new beginning. ‘A time to decide what we need to do more of, and what we need to do less of. It is a time of reflection.
Stewardship requires prayerful reflection. It is through stewardship that we thank God for all His blessings by returning to Him a portion of time and talent He has given to us. All that we have and all that we are comes from God. When we choose to enjoy God's blessings, we are also choosing to accept the responsibilities that come with them. Jesus said, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48)
Each week, we choose what will be done with the 168 hours we have available to us. Good stewardship of time means we will share some of that time with God in prayer, praise and thanksgiving, and some time caring for the needs of others. Each of us are vital members of a community of faith and therefore we are called to be physically present at church and in our ministries. We also need to work to stay mentally present, entering worship with an open mind and spirit to share God’s love through Christ.
How present are you? Spend some time in prayerful reflection about stewardship and your relationship with the Lord. Ask yourself questions like:
How much time do I set aside each week in prayer?

How much time do I set aside each week involvement in volunteer activities?
What are my special skills and talents?
How am I using my talents for the betterment of our parish family and for the community as a whole?
Regardless of what we have been given, we need to be faithful.  It is not the size of our ministry that counts, but what we do with what we have been entrusted. Let this fall be a fresh start for you as you strive to be fully present for the Lord.

…Lord use our voices, Lord use our hands
Lord use our lives, they are Yours
We are an offering…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Why do I love Bear so much?

He's pretty naughty, and he is certainly a bully toward his sister Sophie.


Yet I adore him.

'just before attacking Soph...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The first week of school is under my belt, and it was a very successful start for my students. My favorite students are those that are taking one of my courses for the first time because they aren't quite sure how to take me, and they are genuinely excited about what the course offers. We already have jumped into Photoshop and their energy is fun for me to watch. Yes, that initial attitude eventually wears away to some degree, but by then they are well-trained clay in my hands : )

One little catch to the week: staff drama. Some people are simply horrible divisive trouble-makers, and they make it difficult to do your job. They are toxic and negative, and they pollute the hallways and faculty room.  I try to avoid confrontation, but when these toads begin dragging me into their messes and making me look sloppy because of their mistakes -- well, that is where I draw the line. Sooo, after much spent energy and a couple of meetings, all is in order. For now. This particular character will certainly strike again, but I am ready for her. I am not intimidated just because she started teaching during the Ice Age and just because she thinks she is in charge. Whatever.

I have taken a deep breath, and let it go. Ahhhh...

Sadly, my cousin has also stirred up trouble so there was some family drama on the home front. He is a person who doesn't debate well (he gets angry and then vile like a toddler) so sadly there was no resolution with him and there probably will never be. My only concern is my mother's relationship with her sister as my cousin is hell-bent on driving a wedge between them.

Another deep breath...

All this makes me count my many many blessings:

... Son
.. Husband
... Mom
..... Brother
.. Friends
.... Pets
... Church Family
.. Faith
. Good Health
... Nice Home
.. Job
. Marketable Skills
......... Peace

Another blessing: Knowing that getting dragged into drama gives the other person POWER, and I refuse to let that happen. I am a stubborn German. Don't mess with me because I can easily dismiss you and move happily along.

So, today, I am at peace despite some of the drama spiraling around me. Life is short.

sunset on Lake Ontario a few weeks ago

Monday, September 6, 2010


It's the day before the first day of school and I am feeling very odd.

I am excited,
I am depressed,
I am melancholy,
I am anxious,
I am nervous,
I am confident.

I look around the house and see so many things left undone, despite having so much time off from work. My book, in particular. I fell short of my goal but I am not giving up, and I am climbing back in the saddle of discipline.

This summer did involve some special memories, notably the week in Chicago at the SAIC. So many lovely and talented people are now part of my life, and the inspiration from that week will affect me (and my students) for the foreseeable future.

And I just ordered a kick-ass Pentax camera. Yippee!!!

oooooo! hee hee!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I need a better camera.

It's true.

I'm sick and tired of crappy results, and it is time to make a purchase.

Suggestions are welcome.

Morning Nap

... peacefully sleeping ...

... what's that thing in my face?? ...

... and now I remember my paws are itchy ...


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I. am. ancient.

Here I am, in Niagara University's student union while waiting for my lab to open so I can get in before my class starts, sitting in a cushy chair and sipping an ice coffee. It is the first week of classes, and everyone looks pretty optimistic and fresh, still tan from summer vacation. Like many of the students here, I have my laptop perched on my lap, accessing the internet using the free wi-fi available. Some students are texting while carrying on conversations with the people they are sitting with. Some students are watching the large flat screen tv on the wall.

None of this happened back in the 80's when I was a student on campus -- no ice coffee, no flat tvs, no cushy seats, no mobile devices, no laptops, no internet, no wi-fi.

How old do I seem to them? I remember the "non-traditional" students when I was in college (ie: old and frumpy and asked a lot of questions) and although I am not a student but an instructor I wonder if they see me as old and frumpy. I try to look somewhat current, although I can't nor wouldn't wear the short-shorts currently popular by the dimple-free girls, but I did put on a pair of very cute earrings.


Before I sat down I saw a young man I recognized, and I approached him and yes, he was the little boy from my old neighborhood. He's now a senior in college. His little sister is going to school in New England. I remember these children jumping in our leaf piles, and they are now grown up. He said he didn't recognize me, and I hope it's because now I have long hair. 'Wonder if he noticed my earrings?

I found my portrait using Google