Friday, August 30, 2013

Grumpy Cat and Friends

Artist Paul Walsh

I thought this was the perfect image to post while I talk about the 2nd annual Internet Cat Video Festival.  Grumpy Cat.  He was one of the celebricats that attended.  Along with Lil Bub.  Oh my God.  The videos were hilarious.  Especially since I don't watch any online.  Here are 5 highlights for Random 5 Friday

1)  Cat's thoughts and dialogue dubbed in French makes their haughty high jinks even more hilarious.  A.K.A.  Henri from le chat Noir.  The angst-filled feline philosopher.

2)  Have you ever seen a home catalog selling bedspreads and such put a cat on the bed as a prop?  Well, what if it wasn't a prop?  And when you received your order the cat was included.  And the cat wouldn't leave that prized spot at the end of the bed come hell or high water.  It was super funny.  The refrigerator included a cat with a sweater.  People are so creative! 

3)   One of the videos was simply a cat that kept pulling off her owner's glasses.  My cat Hana does this to me all the time.  I guess that is why the festival is such a hit.  Everyone can relate.

4)  A cat wearing a shark costume while riding a Roomba, Roomba is a special treat.  

5)  My favorite was another creative mini movie.  We visit a typical house cat whose dialogue montage goes something like this, "My food bowl is now half full.  I fear I'm not long for this world."  The narration was so spot on.  The angst and seriousness of a pampered cat's thoughts had me tearing up with laughter. 

P.S.  You probably didn't notice or care.  But I kicked the August break to the curb this week.  It was fun matching posts to the daily themes.  But it turned out to be a completely lame blog event.  The host never visited participating blogs.  And most participating blogs didn't seem to care either.  Maybe I should start a September Sabbatical linky thingy.  Everyone signs up and posts their links and then you don't see any of us again till October.  Or not.  See you in September.

Happy Labor Day!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rescue me...

Heaven's Gate

This is my old cat Baby.  She is looking out of the entrapment of her yard toward the great beyond.  Actually, she could easily squeeze through the fence.  But if the fence posts were closer we wouldn't see her beautiful sad face.  I'm posting my portrait for the theme rescue.  And declaring this week an official cat week. 

Do you know that the Walker Art Center is hosting the 2nd annual Internet Cat Video Festival this week?  Well, it is.  And over 10,000 furry friends showed up last year.  So many that they had to move it to the State Fair grounds this year.  And I've already got my tickets.  Meow. And one of my cats is already at the State Fair.  My painting Cat on a Blue Stairway is on display at Heritage Square.  Are you curious?  Well, go there and see if you can sniff it out. 

Friday, August 23, 2013


An ode to rum...

1) I had my first rum and coke after a day of white water rafting on the Arkansas river in Colorado.  Some dude in my group brought a whole bottle of Bacardi with him.  I guess he had his priorities straight. Yum.  I was hooked.

2)  One of my favorite college memories is drinking Mai Tais at the Log Jam with my friend Jane on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. 

3)  My husband ordered a One Barrel Rum and Pineapple at Chef Rob's Gourmet Cafe in Hopkins, Belize.  The waitress repeated it in her signature lifetime of cigarettes raspy voice.  Another drinking memory was born.

4) The first time I ordered a rum and coke in Costa Rica, they brought a can of coke and a shot glass filled with rum.  Viva la diferencia!  

5) What could be better than finishing off the award winning Flor de Cana # 5 on our last night in Costa Rica two years ago?  Going to Nicaragua where it is made and ordering a Servicio Completo.  A 1/2 litter of Flor de Cana # 7, coke, limes and a bucket of ice.  All for 5 bucks.  Heaven!

 For more random 5 check out A Rural Journal

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dove Almond Shortbread Cookies

Midday.  That is the time I enjoy dessert.  Everyday.  Without fail.  It is one of life's greatest pleasures.  And we have a standing appointment.  Pleasure and I.  Here is a cookie recipe that I made last winter.

I had some leftover Dove Chocolate with Almonds so I decided to put them in a cookie.  And I picked my Almond Shortbread recipe.  Almond Shortbread and Almond Doves.  It sounded good to me.

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar (plus 1/4 cup for rolling)
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (or both)
1/2 cup almond slivers (I use my coffee bean grinder to grind them into a powder)
1/2 tsp salt
18-20 chopped Dove Chocolates (I used some milk and dark)

Cream the butter and add the sugar, egg and vanilla/almond extracts.  Mix well.  In a separate bowl mix the almonds, flour and salt.  Add to the butter mixture and combine.  Then add the chocolates.

Roll the dough into 1 or 2 logs and generously roll in 1/4 cup (or more) of raw sugar.  Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for a few hours.  Preheat oven to 325.  Slice the logs about 1/4 inch thick and bake for around 12 minutes.  


Tomorrow the theme is Sacred.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Wise Old Owl

This is my something old for the August Break.  A wise old owl.  I think it is actually just a youngster. But you know the timeless saying. I chose this so I could also hook up with Wild Bird Wednesday  I took this photo 2 summers ago.  But it was taken in the same spot as my young fluff ball owls I posted for WBW earlier this summer.  The owls nest by lake Harriet every year.  Everyone loves to see them.  And if you are lucky you'll hear them as well.

Tomorrow the theme is Midday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Taste my Sesame Chicken Noodle Salad

I made this with shrimp for our neighborhood national night out get together this August. And people loved it.  My neighbor asked for the recipe.  So I thought it was a good time to do a new recipe post.  The secret ingredients are lots of mint and basil. And I have enough for the whole neighborhood outside!

The sauce:

3 tbsp sesame oil
2-3 tbsp spicy stir fry sauce (or your favorite Asian sauce if you don't like things spicy))
1-2 tsps jarred ginger
The juice of 1/2 a fresh lime (I used bottled this time because I didn't have fresh on hand.
1/2 tsp sugar

The rest:

4 handfuls spaghetti pasta. At least 1/2 a box. I never measure! I used 1/2 whole grain and 1/2 regular white.  And I broke the length of the noodles 4 times so that they are about two inches long.  Boil in only slightly salty water.
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4-1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
Minced carrots to taste (I used a food processor)
Thinly sliced onions to taste
Thinly sliced peppers or whole pea pods to taste
Minced mint and basil
Cooked diced chicken or shrimp (rinse and pat dry frozen thawed shrimp)

Now combine the sauce and the rest and enjoy a tasty salad.  It is great for several lunches all week. 

Tomorrow the theme is something old

Monday, August 19, 2013

White Bread

I thought my breakfast take on Humpty Dumpty was a good fit for the August Break theme white.  And I'm using it for the theme power.  A power breakfast.  Or the power of the sun proved too much for Mr. Butter.  Either way it works.  Mr. Bread is trying to get Mr. Egg to make a toad in the hole type breakfast.  But where is the frying pan?

Tomorrow the theme is taste.  Again.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Looking Down

The beach is my absolute favorite place to look down.  And there is nothing I like better than feeling the wet sand under my feet while the sun warms my back and the tides wash in and out.  Heaven.  I've collected shells all my life.  And you never know what you'll find on the beach. This is only one photographic journey on one beach stroll.  Out of hundreds.  I'm not sure what the strangest thing I've seen on the beach might be.  Maybe a dead puffer fish?  Or a guy in a thong?  But the prettiest thing might be the words, "Will you marry me?" spelled out in sea shells.  And yes.  It was meant for me!

Tomorrow the theme is White.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Touch. Don't scratch.

This was so darn cute.  They cuddle together all the time.  But the Ikea sink we were installing was the purrfect crib.  Sigh.

Tomorrow the theme is looking down.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My favorite arrangement

Floral.  A theme that most bloggers would have a million photos for.  Hmmm.  Which to choose?  But it is Random 5 Friday along with the August break.  So I decided to pick a flower photo with something to talk about.  Here are 5 random facts about getting married in Jamaica man. 

1)  You don't have to pay for exotic flower arrangements to adorn your table.  The flowers are growing naturally every where.  Nice.

2)  I'm no longer a spinster.  That's what they wrote as my pre-marital status on our marriage licence. Ha!

3)  Bikinis are acceptable wedding attire.  This is cool in my book.

4) Immediately after getting married you can go catamaraning.  At least that is what we did.  

5)  You can get married in sunglasses if you want to!

P.S.  Can you tell I don't buy into wedding formality? 

Tomorrow the theme is touch.  And I've picked a cute one.  So don't forget to touch base.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My new book!

I had good news last week.  Copies of my new book Maya Monkey are on their way.  So I've been waiting by the mailbox.  It's been over a year since I finished the illustrations for Teacher Created Materials  But good grief.  It still hasn't arrived.  Sigh.  But it is available under new products on their website.  Yay!  Hopefully it will come today. The mailman is starting to get the evil eye.

I also have some other book news.  I'm starting my 3rd book.  A graphic novel called, Tales of the Six Shooter Ghost.  It is a complete 180 from my other two books.  It will be a hauntingly good challenge.  

Tomorrow the theme is floral.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I had no choice but to post my beloved owl photo for Stillness.  And since this photo was taken in the heart of winter, the surroundings are also in a state of hibernation. Sleeping, still, quiet and cold.  

I'm also happy that I can hook up with Wild Bird Wednesday  Thanks sleeping owl.

Tomorrow the theme is books.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My far away home

I was at my far away home this weekend.  The place where I grew up.  A quiet farm on the rolling hills of Wisconsin.  We picked blackberries, walked in the woods and smelled the scented air.  I painted this scene of my farm with a fresh coat of snow several years ago.  Now corn towers over our heads and the out buildings are completely covered in vines.  It almost seemed like the earth is slowly reclaiming everything in sight.  It's a jungle out there. 

A stray cat hides in the yard.

Far away and home are the August break themes for yesterday and today.  Tomorrow the theme is stillness.  Fresh is the theme for this week.

P.S. Poppylocke Illustration has a cool giveaway going on.  Be sure to pop over.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cheap Taste

I used to post recipes on my blog.  Savory, sweet and breakfast treats.  (See my savory label)  But I sadly stopped posting them awhile ago.  I also used to take a lot of restaurant photography.  But after reading about how annoyed restaurants were becoming with this practice I stopped.  Now I just document a few yummies from our travels.  Food photography is just too darn hard.  See above.  Sad lighting, weird hind ends hovering over the Gose, and an errant spoon mucking up the presentation of dip.  I'll leave it to the professionals on Pinterest.  Sometimes you just want to dig in, not dig out the camera.

And as far as food goes our cheap tastes usually lead us to happy hours.  My favorite happy hour motto is from the Leaning Tower of Pizza.  "It's leaning hour at the happy tower!"  Love it.  The above happy hour spread is from one of our old haunts.  Herkimer Brew Pub.  All for around 20 bucks. 

Now our favorite local treat is the ingenious combination of food trucks and taprooms.  A glass of Luv Jus and a Midnord Empanada at Harriet Brewing anyone?  Yes please.

5 random things I love about Happy Hour...

1)  I feel like I'm surrounded by my peeps.  This also happens when I see people using hot sauce.

2)  The rail rum and coke tastes different everywhere you go.  Surprise me Bartender.

3)  Another round?  Do you really need to ask?

4)  Downtown there is the holy grail of cheap deals.  At 2:00 p.m. you can get a $2.00 bottle of wine at Vics.    VINO, VINO!  (private joke)

5)  Mini corn dogs at Herkimer!

P.S.  Monday's theme is Far away.  So stay close!

Thursday, August 8, 2013


O.K.  Obviously this isn't a selfie of me.  And I didn't take it.  My husband was mountain biking and took a selfie of the beautiful fall colors in Wisconsin.  Pretty cool.

Tomorrow the theme is Taste.  Yum.  A theme after my own heart.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


America's favorite pastime.  Be there or be square.

P.S. I accidentally flip flopped the diagonal and skyline themes over the last two days.   Oops.  I hope the blog police don't notice.  But tomorrow the theme really is a selfie photo.  Thanks to everyone who has been stopping by during my so called break.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Minneapolis Skyline

I took this photo downtown underneath the Stone Arch Bridge.  I played around with the color levels and really created some extra drama.  Now I love this photo so much I might have to print it and frame it.  And I also love living in Minneapolis.  

Tomorrow the theme is a selfie photo.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Take a close look...

click to enlarge

If you look close up you'll see some unusual markings on these snakes.   I had a lot of fun creating this piece.  And it is still one of my favorites.  I love the black background.  It really makes the snakes and all their parasitic hangers on pop.

I picked this piece for the August Break.  But it also fits the theme hybrid perfectly.  The snakes are a genetic mix of more than one animal.  Does looking at snakes bug you?  Hee, hee.

Tomorrow the theme is skyline.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I love this photo.  My husband made a romantic gesture while we were in Costa Rica 3 years ago.  He wrote our names and date on a sand dollar we'd picked up on the beach.  Then he stashed it in the rafters of our cabana.  Two years later we stayed in the same room.  Was it there?  No.  But we are still in love...

Close up is the theme tomorrow for the August break.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


A yellow door in the charming town of Stockholm, Wisconsin.

Tomorrow the theme is love.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Circle the right answer

Mysterious Jellyfish in Belize

5 Random Circles...

1)  Dark circles under your eyes.

2) Crop circles

3) Circle the wagons

4)  Prayer Circles

5) It has come full circle

Don't spin your wheels.  Head over to Random 5 Fridays  And then circle back to my blog tomorrow for the August Break theme Yellow

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Breakfast Break

Breakfast in Belize

I'm linking up with something new in August.  The August Break.  I'm not sure if I will take much of a break from writing.  Each new photo/theme will need a description.  (August 1st means it is time for breakfast)  But anything new is a break from the usual routine.  And that is always a good thing.  Do you know what else would be good right now?  Breakfast on the beach at Singing Sands in Placencia, Belize.  I have two words.  Fry Jacks.  They are like beignets.  And you can always get them at breakfast in Belize.  And that is a good thing. 

 Stay tuned for a new photo every day this month.  Tomorrow's theme is circles.  Now pass the papaya please.

ABfooter1 The August Break 2013