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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Young Guns Receive an A and a Gold Star

I had no idea people would get so jacked up about ranking the state's Governors in this great nation of ours, but they have today.  Cato Institute's Policy Report with individual report cards for each Governor (and why they received this grade) is all over the news!

Well, it came to no surprise to me that Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty were two of just four Governors who got an A.  Cato Institute is a libertarian-leaning group and most of the liberal blogs try to paint them as some crazy-thinking outsiders.  Personally, I think we all are leaning towards a libertarian way of thinking these days, no matter what party we belong to.  This group of Governors have overcome adversity, balanced their state's budgets without taxing anyone too badly, so I I'd like to add a little gold star to their 'A' report card.  

Both Jindal and Pawlenty are apart of my favorite new group of politicians: 'The Young Guns' and we are going to hear a lot more from this group.  Not an "in your face, Obama sort of way"; they quietly, seriously go about tackling today's most important issues.  Or they are busy taking care of their areas during natural catastrophes with little help from the federal government.

Bobby Jindal, 55th and current Governor of the...Image via WikipediaTim PawlentyImage via Wikipedia

I could get used to seeing either one of these faces in a regular fashion, if you know what I am thinking.  Wonder how the current administration is going to try and sling the usual mud at these two.  I imagine they were getting pretty tired of talking smack about John Boehner by now..........................................

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Anyway, my underwear's hats off to both of you for doing such a great job in these trying times.  Hope to see more of you in the very near future...................... 

It would be a real...............................OBUMMER if that doesn't happen!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Comfortable Cousins

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Only the Brave (?) Tailgate for the ASU-Oregon Game

Across the country, folks were bringing out the bar-be-ques to tailgate before their favorite college team played football this past Saturday.  Some schools are known for their elaborate food spreads  and table decorations.  Some schools have you park in the parking lots and others have grassy areas to set up.  Some people leave their homes around 9 am and stay all day, eating and drinking and listening to other ball games on the radio.  It's a time-honored tradition that many people look forward to every Fall Season.  But, you haven't truly tailgated (see top 12 spots in related article below) until you have done so in Tempe, Arizona at Arizona State University!   Or should I say....until you have SURVIVED a tailgate party at ASU!
The group next to us was already in full swing.  They are a younger group with a terrific set-up.  Several tables of food, games were set up and they had fun maroon ASU chairs and an ASU tablecloth for their friends to enjoy.  My favorite part?

The stuffed-animal DUCK, hanging from the tree!  Very cute.

On the other side of our tailgate set-up are some serious tailgating pros:

Here is their Master Chef.  He has gone with a Mexican food menu and the whole area smells delicious!  I think he is grilling some quesadillas in this picture.  Yummy.

And you cannot forget the beans and chips!

And here's a picture of our group.  One of the things I like most about tailgate parties is how you get multi-generational families together.  Here we have three different families, who's kids or the parents who have attended ASU at one time or another, all meeting for the first time at the tailgate party.

Sometimes, you have people or children join your group and you don't know them at all.  This one boy was seen at everyone's table at one time or another:

And of course, you have the roaming college kids who "are starved" and politely ask if they can have some chicken or chips and salsa.  Who could refuse them?

This year we are styling with this custom ASU bean toss game that Andy and Kim gave us for Christmas.
I like to make a unique, frozen drink for the ladies who chose not to drink a beer.  This week, I made a Kiwifruit Caipiroska (similar to the Brazilian caipirinha only replacing the usual cachaca with vodka) which was light and refreshing, compliments of  Here is the recipe:

Pulse 6 peeled kiwifruits in a food processor until chopped and fruit is extracted.  Strain fruit through a fine sieve; discard solids. Transfer to a pitcher or blender. Stir in 3 cups tonic (I used 2 cups of a sparkling orange drink and 1 cup tonic), 1 cup limeade and 1/2 cup vodka.  Fill with ice cubes and blend.  Garnish with peeled kiwifruit slices.
But I have to say, we came up with the most creative way to stay cool and refreshed during the hot weather.....we placed out foil roasters with ice water for people to soak their in feet while sitting.  It cooled us down and was absolutely delightful, I must say.

Don't we look cool..............okay, maybe I should say.........refreshed.?!  But when the sun is so bright and hot (see the background), no one really cares! It's a new tradition that I plan on doing for every game when the temperatures are over 100 degrees.  Because, my son was right, it's fun to tailgate before the football games.  It's fun to watch the police motorcade bringing the buses of football players into the stadium.  It's fun to listen to the band play before the game:

It's fun to be with friends (old and new), eating and drinking and dreaming of your team beating a highly-ranked team.  (Oregon ended up beating us due to come costly mistakes, but it wasn't a blowout).

It's too hot for football and tailgating but it's something you get used to in Arizona.  The game was long and when we were driving home, it was still very warm:

Yes, you ARE reading that right, just after midnight and still 91 degrees!  Ouch!

Did you tailgate this weekend?  What did you cook?  What made your tailgate special?  I'd love to hear your ideas.  And be sure to join us before the ASU-Stanford game in November.  (I will be missing the game on October 30th as we will be tailgating with my daughter at Dickinson for parents weekend!)
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chase or Bank of America?

So today, I am deciding which bank to rob so that we can help pay for Andy and Kim's wedding.  I am leaning towards B of A because Chase has those delicious peanut butter cookies sitting out just for me and everyone in my branch are super nice, too.  Seriously, weddings are big business and you can spend a fortune if you are not careful.

You may be surprised to hear that so far I am being the quintessential perfect Mother of the Groom.....keeping quiet and planning the rehearsal dinner.  But, I love hearing the details from Kim and her Mom. 

I am thinking about an ASU-theme for the rehearsal dinner.  Wonder why.........

  Which reminds me, is it really going to be 103 degrees on Saturday?  What kind of tailgate party can you do at that temperature?  I vote for heading to one of the cute restaurants along Mill Avenue.  Andy tells me there is a new Irish bar that could be fun.  And before the ASU-NAU game, we discovered a little place off Mill that made delicious nachos.  The tailgate party on the lawn is just going to have to wait until the temperatures are under 100 degrees. That's where I draw the line.  Too bad really, as I had planned to roam the various tailgate groups and take pictures for a 'Tailgate Blog Post'. 

Perfectly planned my afternoon to be driving on construction-ridden Pima Road at precisely the exact ten minutes that it rained today.  You see, I am still keeping up with the promise to my daughter that I would be better at sending little care packages to her during junior year in college.  Half the time, the mailing costs are equivalent to the costs of the contents in the package, but no matter.  Laura loves getting matter what I throw in the box.  Last time, it was a costume for one of the many sorority theme parties she attends.  "Mommy, can you find me red devil horns and maybe a red tail?"  Of course I can....I am always still looking for the worm you know!  The cute guy at the counter of Mailboxes, etc. knows me and has the slip made up before I can get my credit card out. "Is Laura a devil?", he says.  "No, she is a perfect little angel", I say rather too quickly.

Thank goodness for Facebook, because I get to see bits and pieces of Laura's college life because we are "friends".  Not to brag or anything, but here are some pictures she took this past week during an environmental science lab in the woods: 


Wait, who's this new guy in the woods with my daughter?...................

That's probably her "lab partner", right?  See, that is the difficult part about being Facebook friends.......a little knowledge can be dangerous!

It's about time for this empty nest Mom to go take a nap, as I am fallen back into the pattern of waking up at 4 or 4:30 am each morning and now at 5 pm, I am dead.  Night-night!
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why We Clean Our Homes and Party Planning

Secondo Pia's negative of the image on the Shr...Image via Wikipedia
I am now planning a 60th Wedding Anniversary party for my husband's parents to be held in my backyard in about a month.  Thank goodness, we have decided to host the party here, as it will make me clean this pig-sty of a home.

My windows are so dirty I thought I saw Jesus in them the other day.  In my defense though, I thought the dirt was actually  acting as a shield from the blazing Arizona summer sun....therefore using less electricity to cool my house down.  See, there is a method to my madness.

Architect at his drawing board. This wood engr...Image via Wikipedia
There is a bit of a problem with the party, though.  I was told that the guest count was 60 and I had down a basic layout of the party and had just figured out how I could fit that number of people in my backyard when I then learned that number did not include the 20 extra family members!  Back to the drawing board.

It would be nice to have a household of people in the house again.  My empty nest home has three very sad and lonely bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms just dying to be filled with out-of-town family members!  But as family politics come into play, the rooms may remain empty.  I cannot worry about family politics anymore than Federal politics; I am just one person in a sea of people with opinions and ideals. But I will still scrub and clean each room.....just in case.

I decided to take the covers off the cushions of my outdoor furniture this weekend, and wash/bleach them before the big event.  What a fiasco!  It took about an hour to actually get them off; they are very tight.  Then, the filling has basically disintegrated so putting the covers back on was a major task, taking two people and another hour of labor on Labor Day to get them back on. A few of the cushions now look like I have stuffed the neighbor's cat into the cover or something equally as lumpy!  These are expensive Gloster cushions, too.  Just goes to show you how very brutal our weather is here in sunny Arizona.

Writing this blog post is actually my little stall tactic.  I need to contact the caterer, the guitarist and the photographer.  I need to find more rectangle tables to borrow.  I need to do another layout.  I need to decide on the food and wine to be served.  Minor details, really.  But thanks for allowing me that extra twenty minutes before the real work begins.  And, wish me luck.....

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Golfing During War Time

President Barack Obama plays basketball with s...Image via Wikipedia
The question for the day is "what exactly is an appropriate activity for a President to do on his "off-hours" (more about this term later) when the nation is at war?"  The question is rather timely as our current President-in-Chief has a great fondness for the game and has devoted a great deal of time to his favorite golf. 

To start answering this question, I first look into my personal life experience, which is not nor will probably never be, in the public sector.  My husband's business has gone through four difficult years due to economic factors including going through and successfully getting out of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  This has been our 'wartime' experiment.  If things were not handled correctly and with serious attention, people (or rather their jobs) would be killed. My husband has worked 6-7 days a week doing everything possible to stay afloat, to keep the company viable and to get the company back on its feet.  We took little vacation time (partially to save money, but more to stay focused, rested and available to handle all the mess) and spent very little time on activities such as golf or basketball for that matter.  It was important to do so for his employees and for his investors and the time has paid off.

Looking to history, I see that President Bush only took vacations to Camp David and to the ranch in Crawford, Texas during the war years.  To my knowledge, he did not golf during this time frame either.  

Frankly, I have nothing against the actual game of golf, but it does take a significant amount of time, unlike, say, basketball.  For the time factor alone, I say, it's probably not your best choice of activities for a President to do, except on rare occasions. 

But I have to say, if I had a son or daughter over in Iraq or Afghanistan today, I'd be pissed off right now.  "Who the hell does he think he is and why isn't he spending every waking hour working to keep my child alive and out of harm's way!" is what I'd be saying. In fact, I AM saying that even though my own flesh and blood aren't fighting for this country.  Shame on you, President Obama!

As an aside, does anyone else find it humorous that during his election all we heard about is his interest in playing a little b-ball and never heard a peep about Obama being a bratty golf enthusiast?! Of course, for all we know, he may be hooking up for some street ball with his buddies after the golf game is over! 

I cannot give you a definitive answer or number to my question above except to state that the amount of golf our President is playing during war time is OUTRAGEOUSLY HIGH!  The media and the public should be furious.  Someone said this week that he has played more golf already that any other President in history...war or no war!  If this is true, then why isn't this top news?  I know, we all know the answer to that question.

One thing I learned while staying in the Washington, DC area this summer......on those rare occasions when Obama isn't on a vacation or trip to Europe, we plays golf at the military base, located near the capital.  When he decides to play all the veterans who were scheduled to play are required to stop play and go to the clubhouse or go home until Barack has finished his round.  That makes me mad.  It's probably one of those nice perks we give to men and women who risk their lives for us and he just barrels in and does what he pleases without any thought to their day!  How obnoxious is that?!

During war time, "off hours" should be a term not often used by the President of the USA.  He should be careful not  to abuse his position and enjoy so much free time.  So many people in our country have zero "off-hours" these days.....or have they TOO many "off hours" due to the fact they have been laid-off and cannot find a job (don't get me started....)

I wish our President would take his job seriously, like my husband did. 
I wish he cared. 
I wish his term was up and we never had to see his photo op in a golf cart again!!

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