Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Well for this Wordless Wednesday I am once again dipping into my middle son's collection of pictures. I believe the title of this series would be:

A View from a Shoe
A Portrait of an Older Brother in Black and White and Sepia

(See Comments for title discussion)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

10 Superstitions

I was trying to think of a good post for Tuesday when I found Tuesday Ten. Today subject was 10 Superstitions, Traditions, and/or Personality Quirks. My family, specifically my Mom, has lots of Old Wife Sayings that we have grown up reciting.

Here are some I remember.

1. If you spill salt you must throw a pinch of it over your left shoulder.

2. Bragging about a streak of good luck will anger the demons who must then be scared off by knocking on wood. For example, I have not had a car accident in ten years, knock on wood (your head will due in a pinch.)

3. If your palm itches, you will be getting money soon.

4. Never open an umbrella inside the house, it is bad luck.

5. Never enter a house through one door and leave out of a different one. It will cause the luck to run out of the house.

6. While talking a friend and you call them by a different name, it was because the person whose name was spoken was thinking about your friend.

7. If your nose itches, you will be hearing news.

8. Drop a fork? You will have a visitor. (Maybe it is a spoon?)

9. Do you have a ringing in your ears? Someone is talking about you.

10. Things come in threes, good and bad. Do you just have two horrible things happen? Wait for it.

What saying do you have in your family?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Our family tradition has always been Pancakes for breakfast on Sunday Morning.

When our family switched to GFCF and (even more difficult) egg free, pancakes were our biggest challenge. I say challenge because you have never seen anything like two engineers in a kitchen full of ingredients and recipes. (Try making the pancake thinner and turn up the heat. Hmmm, now try cooking it more slowly. What about more baking powder?) When we found the successful combination obsevers might have thought that our favorite team had hit a home run, actually it was a home run and a touch down all in one with high fives flying all around.

You want to know the secret, don't you? You know you do...

Okay we settled on the Pancake and Waffle recipe in this book. There may be newer cookbooks that are great, but this is our go-to book.
Here are our modifications-- we add 2 cups of buckwheat flour or sorghum flour to the dry pancake mix. To replace the egg, we use ground flax seed mixed with water, heated until it becomes the consistency of raw egg (eeww).

The pancakes are cooked on a nonstick skillet at a much lower heat than conventional pancakes.And the results.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Training for a Triathlon

This summer my youngest is determined to race in a triathlon, just like his dad. Today was his first run (1 mile).

He has been on swim team for several years so I think the swim will not be too hard.

Stay tuned for more details.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Day to My Sister

I could not forget my sister's birthday (and remain in the family) so for Thursday, here are Thirteen things about my sister, Chris.

1. She is the proud mother of three and Grandmother of six and 1/2 (Baby due in the fall). One granddaughter is even named for her.

2. When I was born, she was the sister that was glad I was born. (I have the letters that were written to my mom while she was in the hospital as proof.) My other sister wanted a brother or maybe a puppy, my brother just wanted a punching dummy (see below).

3. My sister learned that she could hang out almost anywhere while she was in high school if she took along her baby sister (that's me). So I got to go several high school parties and activities, woohoo.

4. She has always looked young for her age (a blessing now of course). When she was pregnant with her first son she looked so young, my dad refused to go to the mall with her because of all the nasty looks he received from other shoppers.

5. She regularly mixes metaphors and twists sayings so much that we have dubbed these as "Chrisisms".

6. One of her marks of distinction is everyplace she has every worked has gone out of business. (Except were she is working right this minute, cross your fingers)

7. Without any hesitation (or invitation) she and my other sister will sit down at any piano and perform a rousing edition of Heart and Soul.

8. Just to show how much I trust her as a big sister, I allowed her to perform her very first blood draw on ME!

9. She has inadvertently flashed every adult male in the family. (Mr. Geek pointed this out.)

10. I only wish I had a picture of her "comfortable" clothes. (I am searching Chris, be very afraid) that consists of striped socks to her knees, Lycra pants and OLD T-shirt.

Chris is FAMOUS for her food likes and dislikes.

11. She does not like her food to touch. Ever. I mean it. Ever. Just go ahead and get her an extra plate already.

12. She hates nuts, all nuts, yes every single one, except those on Turtle sundaes which she has decided are not really nuts because you KNOW she HATES nuts.

13. Anyone who knows Chris, even virtual strangers, know that she has an EXTREME adversion to cheese sauce that fast food restaurants put on nachos, cheese fries etc. She considers this "Throw up Cheese" and will not hesitate to tell you so.

Too bad I have to stop at Thirteen.

Happy Birthday to my MUCH older Sister!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Garden in April

Yippeee! I think the frost is finally gone!

Here's my garden so far. The perennials in the herb garden (oregano, sage and marjoram) are in the closest garden. You can see how big my lettuce is in the second. The third garden is still full of dead tomato plants (hangs head down in shame).

Here is a closer view of the lettuce!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Brother

My brother lives in a place where he still has dial-up (the horror) so I doubt he reads my blog, so I have free reign to say ANYTHING in honor of this day.


My brother can do anything, he raises Bees for honey, he makes his own wine (both are very yummy.)
He raises and trains dogs for search and rescue.
He was a volunteer fire fighter and was captain.


He spent much of my younger years (at least it felt like years) trying to twist my arm to touch the back of my head.

He used to pratice this wresting move over and over in which he tossed me over his head. (I guess I did learn how to take a fall.)

The UGLY (Nobody knows your secrets like a little sister, heh heh heh)

Once I found that he had taken earthworms and tied them to little sticks so they baked in the sun. I was convinced he was going to be a serial murderer. (I am pretty sure he is not.)

He used to eat Cambell's Condensed Vegetable Soup RIGHT FROM THE CAN and leave the dirty empy can inhis room until it was moldy, eewwwww.

I TOLD you someday, I would get even--- SO THERE!!!
Happy Birthday!

Happy Earth Day

Here is a headline appropriate for the day.

University of Central Florida students freak out when they go tech free

For one week — five days — a class of college students was assigned to unplug and live a tech-free life.

The Rules
No cell phones, iPods, portable CD players, text messaging, e-mail, computers, TVs, DVDs, video games.

The Exceptions
Computers and cell phones could be used for work and school. Land-line phones and radios were OK, too.

So how do you think you would do? Would you even try?

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Lock In

The Geek Family had a busy weekend once again. The highlight was the Lock-in on Friday night.

First let me introduce our youth director. I tried to get a clearer shot, but this is how he moved all night long (for twelve hours). I guess that is why he can keep up with the youth (or even outlast them).

The theme was EXTREME LOCK-IN.

This was extreme sculpting. Can you guess what each of these represent?

We also had a Nerf Dart War (starting at 3 am). I am not sure if the action was moving that fast or if my eyes could no longer focus.

About 5 am, my son gave out.

It was alot of fun and let me say, "I think I am still exhausted!"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shake and Bake

Wow, this morning we were woke up by an earthquake. Those of you in California are probably thinking, "What wimps!", well you probably are right. This is how we handle an earthquake in my house:

Me (feeling the bed shake, grouchily): WHAT are you DOING?

Mr. Geek : It's four thirty. (That explains THAT.)

Then he goes and stands in the door way, alone. I stayed in bed wondering, what did he do to make the bed shake so badly that it didn't stop even when he was gone.

Midwesterns are not good at handling earthquakes.

Here is some random information about my week.

There was much interest in my post on Sunday Dinner, so I decided to take more pictures of our food. I rely completely on freezer meals that I make once a month, freeze and pull out each day for dinner. Saving Dinner is the best, it includes a shopping list and all the recipes. Sometimes even when the recipes don't sound like something we would like, we are pleasantly surprised with a great meal. This meal was one of those. The dinner was Chicken with Apples and Leeks, which reminded me of Kalynne's Week of Leeks . No final picture, but it was so good there were no leftovers.

Tonight is a Lock-In for the Youth at church. Wish me luck. We have so much fun stuff planned - Sand volleyball, two bands are playing, and we are going to play Nerf Dart Tag, a game I stole from Drewpy Drew . (Actually he sent me the directions).

Have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thirteen Things I bought at the International Food Store

We have many small international grocery stores throughout this area, usually specializing in Mexican, Indian-Pakistani, or Chinese items. However we have one large grocery store that carries, I believe, every food available across the world. It is not very close to my house, so I only get there a few times a year. I mainly like to stock up on flours that are not made with wheat, but I love to wander up and down the aisles and see how other parts of the world eat.

I went to that store yesterday, and I couldn't beleive it, I bought exactly thirteen things. That must be a sign I thought so I will share them with you.

First the various flours and cooking basics.

1. 8 Pounds of Rice Flour

2. Glutinous Rice Flour - This is like Rice starch or Sweet rice flour

3. Gram (Besan) Flour - This is Chickpea flour, not Graham Flour.

4. 5 Pounds Rose Rice

5. Ginger Paste - If you like fresh ginger, this is a nifty short cut.

6. Yellow Split Peas

7. Dried Dark Kidney Beans

8. 6 pound can of Chick Peas

Next I bought a few unusual items that we enjoy.

9. Preserved Mango - Dried Mango rolled in sugar and chilis

10. Wasabi Rice Crackers - Crunchy with a real WOW. they are great fun at parties.

And then there are the items that I bought just out of overwhelming curousity

11. Toasted White Chick Peas - They look a bit like corn nuts.

12. Instant Tapioca/Taro - Tapioca Pearls with instant coconot milk. I made this last night and I threw the Taro away (I am not sure how it should have looked after it was cooked but it didn't really taste very good), drained the pearls and mixed with the coconut milk. It was not a pudding consistency like I thought it would be but tasted really good. (The boys HATED it.)

13. Coffee Agar Mix - Can you believe this: Coffee Jello!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Favorite Tree

Please don't tell the other trees in my yard, but this tree is my favorite.

It is a Red Maple and I love the bright orange red leaves in the fall. The red buds in the spring are very pretty too.

But the main reason I love this tree is I found it on final clearance one step before it was trash. I feel a bit like Charlie Brown and Linus when I look at my tree, "All it needed was a little love."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday Dinner

Sometimes when I list my sons' food allergies, people ask, "So what do you eat?"
So this is what we ate last night, Lasagna and Salad. Yum.
To be honest the boys are not much into salads, but Mr. Geek and I enjoyed it.
Saturday night we splurged and had steak and ribs on the grill, with baked potato and asparagus. It was worth barbequing in the cold rain.
See diet restrictions aren't that scary.

Friday, April 11, 2008

How I Learned About Safety

I was an undergraduate in the early eighties, it doesn’t seem that long ago, but in the field of safety education, it was light years ago. We had some general instructions on chemistry laboratory safety to try and keep us from blowing up the lab or each other. There was no talk at all about industrial safety, we had no information on how to stay safe while we were working in our chose field and even more importantly how our role as engineers could keep other people safe.

One of the Safety pages I subscribe asked this question today: How did you learn about safety?

This story is more how I didn’t learn about safety, but it is where I first realized the lack of safety.

My entire engineering safety education consisted of one part of one lecture in one course. (To contrast I teach an entire semester of process safety.) We first watched a video that was primarily about laboratory safety, a humorous video about a klutzy professor in the lab and the problems that ensue.

Then we had the big slide show. I think the guest speaker was from the university safety department, he was a young guy from the rural area and had little or no industrial or engineering experience. This was my one and only safety lecture and I have recreated as best as I can from my imperfect memory.

He began, “We had a bunch of unlabeled compressed gas cylinders. Regulations were in the works that would require all chemical containers to be properly labeled and stored. Also these regulations would require that the contents of these containers would have to be properly treated and if the contents were unknown the material would have to be identified and treated appropriately so as to not be a danger to the environment or the community.”

The italicized words are my addition and were not in the original presentation but they should have been.

For those unfamiliar with compressed gas cylinders, here is what they look like. They can contain anything from helium gas at Chuck E. Cheese, to poisonous chlorine gas at the swimming pool, and various gases used in industry.

He continued proudly, “So we took these unlabeled cylinders to an empty field in the middle of nowhere. And we shot our twenty-two rifles at them. That way any vapor would be released far away from people. And if any materials was corrosive or toxic we made sure we stood upwind, I am sure by the time it the vapor drifted near to people it was diluted enough to be safe.”


Let’s list out what happened shall we…

First- they shot rifles at containers of possibly toxic or flammable materials

They took pictures of the entire event

They brought these pictures in as a slide show to TEACH us about safety.

Even more unbelievable, only one student raised their hand and said, “I don’t think that was a very safe thing to do.” I am sorry to say this student was not me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thirteen Things I tried and couldn't do while my Internet access was down

Yikes, life without the internet was scary this morning. This is what I tried to do this morning only to remember, oh yeah, internet is down (in the order they happened).

1. Check email. Isn't that the first thing we all do?
2. Read all my morning blogs. Hi, how are all of you?
3. Look at picture of house where our company did surveying to finish final report. I had emailed it to transfer it between computers.
4. Find friend's work phone number. It is always in her signature line on every email.
5. Find phone number for restaurant I am planning on meeting friends at next Monday. (What is a phone book?)
6. Look up front page of the newspaper to tell friend the location of a flooded building near her house. I had read the actual "paper" newspaper earlier this morning and I was trying to quote it.
7. Find the heat of vaporization for gasoline. (I am writing an exam for later today.)
8. Look up the story of the rail car accident that was emailed to me the other day. (Would that make an example to use for the exam?)
9. Pay car payment.
10. Renew Libray books.
11. Check and for recaps of Top Chef last night.
12. Read more Blogs, I really miss you all.
13. .... Yeah- the internet is back up!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Two weeks of Spring - Wordless Wednesday

How about now? Can you see my lettuce growing yet?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunday is a Day of Rest?!!?

What did we do on Sunday? Well thanks for asking...

First out of the door was Mr. Geek on his way to the Half Marathon.

It was his first time and he ended up with a respectable time of just over two hours. What is even more incredible is he made it to spinning class at 5am the next morning! Yikes!

Not to be outdone, I was next out the door for a 7:30 am (!!!) band practice.

After Church (where the band played) and Lunch, it was time for the children's activities.

The youngest went horseback riding.

While the middle son had a soccer game..

Followed by youth band practice and youth group.

And how was your Sunday?
(Note: These are not actual photographs from Sunday, because my camera is broken. AAAARGH! I pulled these from the archives.)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Random (and Even More Weird) Thoughts

Manic Mommy started a tag of unimportant facts and began an outpouring of embarrasing situations from everyone.

Meanwhile Drewpy Drew finished his last post with this thought for the day: No matter how many ways you try, there's really only one way to wear a pair or underpants.

So here is an embarassing fact about me:

I love PeeWee Herman. I watched his show every Saturday even though I had no children, just because I liked it. When I read Drew's thought, I IMMEDIATELY thought--

Not if they are GIANT UNDERPANTS!

And then I found this. Enjoy.

OMG, Kathi I forgot all about Jambi. Okay everyone, this continuous rain must stop, repeat after Jambi...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day

For more information check this out.

You might be asking what the previous post had to do with Autism Awareness (Look below for picture). Well the boys in the picture (not the mascot, I don't think, well I can't be sure of course) were diagnosed at age 2 and 3 with Autism and PDD-NOS (a lesser autism spectrum disorder).

At that time, the thought of a "normal" trip to a hockey game was so so far out of the picture.

We were lucky, we were able to get information that lead to the healing of their bodies.

We were lucky, the boys bodies responded to changes in diet (not everyone does).

We were lucky, we were able to find the combinations of supplements that allowed their mind to learn.

We are lucky, the limits placed on my boys are disappearing.

We are lucky, we have come out of the end of the Autism tunnel with an intact family and financial resources, only a bit beat up. (Not many families effected with Autism can say that)

It has taken alot of work by the boys, help and encouragement from friends, and endless support from people I know only from cyberspace.

Thank you to all of the researchers and doctors that are working to make the lives of all of these kids better and healthier.

For those looking for information on the medical treatment of Autism, I highly recommend Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies by Kenneth Bock and Cameron Stauth.

Guess what we did last night?

Blues Hockey!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


A Prayer Thrust forAutism Awareness Month April, 2008
See the details at Children of Destiny or here

Join us and thousands from around the world as we come together in a unified concert of prayer to see the tide of autism turned!

Since the early '90s, autism, which was once considered to be a rare disease, exploded within the human population. With each passing year greater numbers of innocent children are diagnosed. The epidemic has grown to a staggering 1 in every 150 births. Today, as you read this, it is conservatively estimated that over 100 children will be diagnosed with autism worldwide

I believe along with those at Children of Destiny that now is the time to join together in prayer. Together we can see the relentless tide of autism turned back once and for all! The Bible says that God "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Ps. 147:3).