Name the Chicken

I got an honorable mention in Loralee's chicken-naming contest with my entry "Cornelius". Yay for me.

12th man blues

I just got my 12th man e-newsletter and it makes me sad. I don't want to hear about all the fun stuff happening this weekend in Aggieland so just stop Mr. Miles Mark, just stop. I mean, I guess I could unsubscribe to the e-newsletter so it wouldn't get sent to me, but I just don't have it in my heart to do that. It would seem so final and I'm not really ready to let go. So I will just think about all the inconvenient things he mentioned in that letter, like the closure of Houston street, and the Texas Ave construction. Just thinking about not being in all that traffic cheers me up a bit, and to be honest, I never went to a "First Yell" event before (although I always went to the first yell practice) so I probably wouldn't be going tonight, but at least I had the option. Oh, all the options I had back then. We had a young adult/college ice cream social on Wednesday and a young college student mentioned how Logan is a great little college town and inside I was like "No it isn't (said with ghetto accent, oh course). Oh, College Station I miss you.


My Name in the Mud

Boy, I've enjoyed seeing headlines like this all week:
"Craig Says, 'I Am Not Gay'"

My name isn't that common, so it jumps out at me when I see it anywhere, especially in this context.

I also can't help but think of that toe-tapping thing every time I go into the bathroom. Gross.

The question I would like to address now is this: Is Sen. Craig really a hypocrite? That's the charge that's being bandied about. The thought goes that, since he has voted against gay marriage, and engaged in gay conduct, he's being hypocritical. I disagree.

In the literal sense, Craig would be a hypocrite if he went off to Massachusetts and secretly married some guy, and then voted against gay marriage. I think you can be gay but oppose gay marriage; it's probably not all that common, though.

Also, when people promote moral standards, and then break them, liberals love to scream hypocrisy. If that's the case, every Christian is a hypocrite, because we are against sin, but we all do it. Failing to meet your standards isn't being a hypocrite; it's being human.

Now, all this aside, I think Craig should resign. Senators shouldn't engage in that conduct. I think it would serve the GOP if its legislators resigned when caught in these situations, as opposed to Democrats, who merely get re-elected (e.g., William Jefferson, Gerry Studds).

Who Is This?

All of a sudden, I keep seeing articles about this Amy Winehouse person. There was even one in the Logan newspaper. I've never before heard of her. I guess she's a British singer who does drugs or something. But she was planning a US tour, so some of you must have heard of her.

Beat-down Time

Few things bring me more joy than seeing hippie protesters being assaulted by police. This is what occurred in Chile today. The weapons of choice were tear gas (always a favorite) and water cannons. I saw some nightsticks, too, I think.

The subject of the protest is not that relevant, because these groups always have some grievance. But if you're interested, they were protesting against, to quote the BBC, "free-market economic policies."

Here's a photo:


WFMW: Oatmeal isn't just for eating

My First Works For Me Wednesday Post:
My skin has always been very sensitive and when I was younger, my mom would fix me a bath using those Aveeno oatmeal baths packets. They are great for all sorts of skin irritations such dry skin, bug bites, poison ivy, sunburns, etc. But they're expensive ($6.00 for only a few packets!) and since I never really planed on getting bug bites, I never had them on hand when I needed them. But it's just ground up oatmeal and really easy to make yourself.

Start with the oatmeal; instant, quick or slow cook will all work, just don't use flavored packets, that would be icky. I use quick oats because my favorite cookie recipe calls for that type and I have it on hand most of the time. Put it in a food processor or blender and grind it up. The finer you grind it, the better, both it terms of it working, and it the amount of mess you will have afterwards (the small bits go down the drain, the bigger bits have to be cleaned up). I have a little glass jar in my bathroom that hold it so I don't have to make it every time I need it. To use, just put 1/3 to 1/2 cup in the tub with the running water and stir. (And be careful because the tub gets slippery and I once heard about someone killing themselves by slipping in a tub, or maybe someone tried make it look like someone died that way, but really they were murdered, I don't remember... just be careful.)

You can also use the same ground up stuff to make a oatmeal face mask. Just mix a couple tablespoons of ground up oatmeal with a little bit of water till it makes a paste-like goo. I mixed in a little coconut oil into mine and it was delightful. The Quaker Oatmeal website has even more facial mix in ideas on their FAQ page (look under customizing your facial). And that's what works for me.

Stay tuned

I read this blog, and my favorite part is Works For Me Wednesdays (WFMW). On Wednesday, she shares some tip with her readers. It can be about anything, parenting, cleaning, cooking, saving money...just something that works for her. But wait, it gets better. Then she has a program where other people can do the same and all the links are on her post. Every Wednesday, I go there are read all the neat little tips (well, not ALL, sometimes there are a lot!) and it makes me want to post a tip. But I can NEVER think of one on Wednesday. NEVER! Every week, I rack my brain to think of something useful to share but every week, nada. Until Saturday, when I had a glorious epiphany. So stay tuned till tomorrow, when you can read my very own WFMW tip! (I will warn you though, it isn't mind blowing, but that isn't the point of the WFMW tips, they are just little useful tidbits of help. So come back and read it, just don't be disappointed.)


It's My House, Not Yours

I hate homeowners' associations, which may be odd, considering I don't even own a house, much less one within such an association. I resent the idea that a bunch of do-gooders should be able to tell me what I can and cannot do with my property. The purported draw of increased property values is not worth it to me. It's bad enough that the government does this; I don't need a homeowners' association (HA) on my case as well. I'm also not going to pay association fees on top of property taxes. And if I want to paint my house pink, well then I will.

You often hear about HA's when a veteran is forbidden from flying a flag in his yard because of HA rules, or a resident is not allowed to post political signs. An article this week looks at another HA rule: the banning of clotheslines.

You see, a lot of yuppies want to use clotheslines to reduce their carbon footprint or whatever*, and their HA doesn't let them. So residents are going to their state legislatures to try to get them to overrule the HA.

To these owners, I first say, get over the carbon footprint nonsense. Second, that's what you get for living in an HA. You should have thought of this before signing up. Let this be a warning for the rest of you.

*As an aside, while I mock environmentalists, I endorse several of their schemes, but only in the name of saving money. I like clotheslines because they save money on energy. I care about gas mileage for the same reason. I also am stingy with the thermostat. Environmentalism will succeed if it appeals to the pocket book, rather than morality.

My Philosophy on Comments

I just left a comment about commenting and it got me thinking. I want to clarify my views on blogs and the comment section.

I love comments. Not just the "MacKenzie, you are the most fabulous writer and you just crack my up all the time, your blog is the first thing I read every morning." Okay, so I've never actually gotten a comment like that, but a girl can dream. Anyway, I also like comments that disagree with me, at least they thought about my post long enough to disagree. And I really like comments that make me feel like I'm not as weird as I am, you know the ones like "Oh, I do that too" or "Wow, I thought I was the only person who has ever done something that stupid." And while some people don't like anonymous comments, I don't really mind, even though inside my mind is going crazy because I want to know who that person really is.

But as much as I love comments, I don't mind lurkers either. I have heard other bloggers say they find it rude to be a lurker or even to not comment after reading a post (yes, a comment for each post!). But I can't be hypocritical. There are a number of sites that I love to go to and I read them consistently but I have never commented on. Sometimes I found a post funny, but I don't have anything to say about that topic. Or I do, but other people have already said what I would have said. Or, I think they might think I am a weird stalker person with too much time on their hands. Plus, without lurkers, how could I imagine that hundreds of people out there read what I say and adore me. So lurkers perform a valuable service and should not be abused. But if you guys want to comment, I will love that too and I promise I won't think you are a weird stalker person with too much time on your hands, pinky promise.

This post has taught me two things. 1) I am apparently a very happy-go-lucky blogger. Why can't I be that way in real life? 2) I have a strange need for imaginary blog fame and glory. Hmm? I think that is enough self examination for today.


Conspiracy Nuts

Back in the day, I commented on 9/11 conspiracy enthusiasts. This week, the History Channel (my FAVORITE channel) did a show on these theories, and debunked them all. They gave each theory only a cursory debunking; I would have preferred more detail, but I guess two hours was long enough for them.

This got me thinking about JFK conspiracies. As we all know, many doubt that Oswald really killed Kennedy. Conspiracy theories sprouted up shortly after the events in Dallas, just like they did immediately after the events in NYC and the Pentagon (you may recall that the original conspiracy theory was that the Jeeeeeewwwwwwssssss did it). Of course, with the internet, 9/11 theories were able to spread much faster this time around.

I suppose this can only mean that, 40 years from now, people will still claim that someone other than al-Qaeda perpetrated 9/11. Apparently, 70% or so of Americans believe there was a JFK plot; about a third of Americans believe there was a 9/11 conspiracy. One can only hope that this percentage does not increase over time; while JFK theories are plausible, a cursory examination disproves all 9/11 theories. Therefore, there is a direct correlation between ignorance and acceptance of 9/11 theories.

In the past, I have tended to believe that there was some sort of JFK plot. I need to do more research on the subject, but this 9/11 stuff leads me to believe that JFK conspiracies are probably similarly wacky.

More on this here.


Follies or Sins?

Every Thursday our paper's "C" section is the Faith section. They alternate between two different columns. One week there is an article from "An LDS Member's Perspective" and the next week there is one from "A Protestant Perspective." I typically read them and sometimes find them interesting but this week's article from the Mormon perspective caught my attention more than normal.

It starts off "There's a difference between sin and folly. As I see it, sin is deliberate wickedness and folly is every other thoughtless action that keeps us from perfection." Oh, if only that were true. I'll admit, it is sometimes easy to fall into the trap of thinking that way. Especially because the world works that way. The punishment for speeding is not the same as the punishment for selling drugs... and we view that as "fair". And to think otherwise hurts our egos. I certainly don't want to think that because I yell at my husband I am as bad as a woman who steals.

But to God, they are the same. He doesn't draw distinctions between those who aren't perfect because they sometimes get angry, or sometimes forget to think about others, and those that are imperfect because they have embezzled money or lusted after someone else's spouse or even those who have murdered someone. To Him, all these actions are sins that put a barrier between you and Him. Thank goodness that we don't have to be perfect though. Jesus has died for my sins and if I accept that gift he lives within me so that when God judges me, he doesn't see all the black and sinfulness that is within me, he just sees Jesus, his perfect son. Oh happy day!

But this article wants us to justify our imperfections by calling them follies, as if you merely forget to take the trash out instead of admitting that they are sins, times of deliberate disobedience that separate you from God. A perfect example of this occurs later in the article when she quotes the late Mormon leader James E. Faust, "The folly of rehashing long-past hurts..." Oh, the folly of rehashing long-past hurts, I think the Bible calls that unforgiveness, and as I see it, that isn't a folly, that is a sin that can get you in big trouble:

But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15

If doing this, she (and Faust), are rejecting the gift that God is offering, saying "oh, I know I'm not perfect, but you don't need to worry about cleansing these sins, they aren't really sins, just little follies." God doesn't want anyone to go to hell, he really doesn't. He loves all of his creations and wants to be in a relationship with us all, but if you can't accept his gift, you won't be able to have that relationship and that is what I would call one big folly.


Sad Day!

During our move, a tragic event occurred. Our digital camera died. Well, it actually got a glass of water knocked onto it. I am going to say it was the moving fairy that did it because both Craig and I are adamant that it was not us and we don't have a dog or a cat or a toddler to blame it on. We didn't even notice until I bent down to put it in a box and the case was all wet. Then I saw a upside cup next to it and saw a water spot on the carpet. It wouldn't turn on and the screen had condensation in it. As an optimistic person, I was so hopeful that if allowed to dry it might spring back to life (hey, it works with cell phones) but alas, it did not.

I would take a picture of the sad little thing but I don't have a camera to take a picture with! I must admit though, it is not the end of the world because 1) it is only a material possession and 2) I was planning on buying a new digital SLR as soon as I get my first paycheck from my new job. But it was such a nice little camera and so little, making it great for just throwing in your purse (or pocket, if you are Craig) when you don't want to carry the big one or if you aren't sure other people will be bringing their camera and you don't want to look silly. But at a moments need, you could just whip it out and have lots of fun recording moments to later post on your blog. Oh, poor little camera, though you may now be in your watery grave, rest assured, you will be missed.

Thankful Thursday

I naturally have a tendency to whine a little bit. For a variety of reasons, I work really hard on limiting that on here, the main one being, who wants to listen to someone else whine? So I haven't said too much about our apartment, maybe just a slight nab every once in a while. But now that we live somewhere else, mentioning it's faults won't really be whining, it is more of being thankful for what I now have. (At least, that is what I am pretending) So...
  • I am thankful we now live someplace where the tub drains.
  • I am thankful we now live someplace where the sink drains.
  • I am thankful we now live someplace where the toilet flushes.
  • I am thankful we now live someplace where the bathroom and kitchen are not carpeted.
  • I am thankful we now live someplace where there is an air conditioner that works so I don't have to spend my evenings in a 95 degree room.
  • I am thankful for enough space that I can actually hang up all of my clothes (or put them in drawers) instead of keeping them in a rubbermaid container under the bed that I can only take out when the bathroom door is open (it was a tight squeeze).
I am also thankful for some things that are not really based on any negatives of our previous apartment, they are just nice things about our new place so they're a little more thankful that those above.
  • I am thankful for our washing machine. (I hope I will be thankful for clothes dried in the fresh air and sun since we don't have a working dryer.)
  • I am thankful for our back porch and backyard.
  • I am thankful for the extra room so I can set up a sewing and scrapbooking area.
  • I am thankful for wireless internet so I can write in this blog on a nice comfy bed or couch instead of sitting on a dinner room chair.
  • I am thankful for a kitchen that two people can stand in at one time.
  • I am thankful that we can keep gus-gus in a quieter, darker area so that he wakes up early enough at night that I can play with him.
  • I am thankful for the carport so I don't burn my bottom on the seat or my hand on the steering wheel if I want to go anywhere.
  • I will be thankful for the carport so I don't have to scrape snow off my car at 7:30 in the morning.
Before writing this post, I wondered why I didn't feel sad to leave that place. It was the first place we lived together as newlyweds. I thought I should feel nostalgic or something, but I didn't. At this point, that doesn't seem so odd.


Camping, and Cooking, and Cleaning - Oh, my!

So we moved. You may be thinking that they would explain why I haven't posted a lot lately. But no, while I have been busy, I have not been doing the things I should have been doing, like packing or cleaning. What do the BRC decide to do two days before they are moving? Go camping, of course!

You see, our church had a camping trip and I love camping, and I love church so how could we turn that down. We headed out to the site around 1:30 on Saturday and spent a couple hours just sitting and talking fellowshipping with others in our congregation. I had a great time. There were only 5-6 couples there and most of them were older but I had fun. I talked with women about quilting and embroidery. We listened to stories about crazy adventures with RVs in Alaska. Then the boys had to go get cookin' because dinner was potluck, but not just any potluck. A men's dutch oven cook-off. Craig made a Blackberry Cobbler and I have to say it was fantastic. I don't want to say too much because Craig didn't actually get to taste any, it was all gone by the time he went to get dessert. While I don't want to rub it in any more that I have too, I obviously wasn't the only one who thought it was good because he won! We are know the proud owners of a turkey-roaster-thing. I was really impressed by all the dishes though. I never knew you could do so much with a dutch oven and a couple cans of beans. We had beans and sausage, beans and beer and brats, bean chili cheese fries. Only 1 of the main dishes didn't have beans. But they were all very tasty...and full of fiber.

Now, up until this time, the weather was nice and cool and cloudy. But about 6:45 it decided to take a turn for the worse, just in time for the church service. We ended up huddled under the trees speed singing the hymns (and skipping some of the liturgy altogether) but I'm pretty sure God understands. After the service, half the people went home and the other half, the stupid half decided to stick it out.

Luckily our tent is pretty sturdy (yay for wedding presents!) and we didn't get wet at all. I also didn't really sleep at all. The lightning and thunder was loud and bright and just when you got to the point were you were about to be peacefully slumbering, BOOM, there you were, wide awake again.

So Sunday we get back pretty early and unpack and take naps, of course. So did we start preparing to go then? No, well, we packed a few boxes and I thought about what things were going to go where but all from the comfort of my couch of course.

Monday evening - you might be thinking, less than 24 hours till moving time, they must be getting ready now. No, you see, It was my first day of the women's bible study. I had wanted to do it for a while but didn't want to jump in the middle of a study but they just started a new series and I couldn't miss the first week! And Craig had to go fly fishing; he heard all those good tips over the weekend! (Are you getting the desperation through my use of the exclamation point?!)

But when Craig got home at 5:45 on Tuesday night, most things were in boxes, the oven was clean, the tub was clean, and the fridge was clean. We pulled it off. Then we spent the next couple hours loading, unloading, cleaning - pretty much completely draining me of all energy. Right now, all I want to do is take a nap. But that's okay, I don't have to do that again for 3.5 whole months. (I don't even want to think about it - by then it will be snowing, Ahh!)

CRAIG ADDS: Here's the cobbler recipe. It was my first outdoor Dutch oven experience, and I guess it went pretty well, from what I heard. Again, I didn't get any cobbler.

Keep that Beer Outta Here

I just learned today that it is illegal to import alcohol into Utah:
It is illegal under Utah law for anyone other than a licensed dealer to import even the smallest quantities of alcohol.
So I am not allowed to pick up a six-pack of beer (which has a higher alcohol content than Utah grocery store beer, I believe) before I cross the border on my way home from Idaho. Oh well. I don't believe I've broken this law. Yet.


Vick in the Doghouse

With the reported plea bargain agreed to by Michael Vick in the dogfighting case, in which he is expected to serve to a year in jail, there is much speculation that his NFL career is over. Some think the NFL will ban him for life, for gambling if not for animal cruelty.

I, on the other hand, believe we will see Michael Vick on the field in the not-too-distant future. Pro sports is full of criminal athletes, and it is clear that, unless an athlete is physically behind bars, he'll find a place to play if he has talent. And Michael Vick has talent. He may get suspended for a year or so after he gets out of jail, but he'll be back.

I find all the calls to ban Vick from the game permanently interesting. Now, the crimes he is accused of are serious, but they only involved animals. I would say that all but the most minor crimes against people are worse than crimes against an animal. Consider Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. He was involved, not directly but to some extent, in a murder case. He eventually pled guilty to obstruction of justice, and his only punishment from the NFL was a big fine. He's still playing today, and that incident seems to be forgotten. I imagine that, 5-7 years from now, Vick's case will be largely an afterthought, and he'll be playing football every Sunday.


The Rodeo

I told you I would talk about the rodeo, and your patience has not been for naught. In general, I like the idea of a local fair and rodeo; it's so homey. I like this one in particular because it was one of the first things I ever did in Logan and it is the one of only two things I have done here two years in a row (the other being a tubing trip down the canal) because Craig took me last year when I came to visit. This year we also tried out the rodeo. Actually, he wanted to do the rodeo this year but while I like rodeos, I get tired of them pretty early on and I hate to buy tickets and only stay for 1/3-1/2 of the event. But I agreed to try and stay the whole time anyway. But then, Friday morning on his way to work, Craig called into the local radio station and won us two tickets to that night's rodeo! So we got to go to the rodeo and I didn't even have to feel guilty for leaving right after the mutton busting (my favorite event) because we didn't spend any money on the tickets. Craig was excited.
And I have to admit, men being thrown off horses and bulls while the sunset turned the mountains into a pink wonderland reminiscent of planet unicorn did make me happy.

But the best part was that we had enough in our "entertainment" budget to get funnel cake. I love funnel cake. Once, Craig went with me and my brothers to a baseball game and when I saw that they had funnel cake, I tried to ignore it, until Craig asked if it was called funnel cake because it was shaped like a funnel. The poor boy had never tasted one of the great joys of concession foods! I had to fix that. That was the last time I had gotten funnel cake until last week and, as you can see, it was a joyous reunion indeed.
After the rodeo, we explored the fair grounds, taking time to stop by and see the cows and chickens and pet the goats. Not these goats, they weren't very friendly. But at least they had ears, some of the other goats didn't have ears and they were really weird looking.
We also walked through all the canned goods and quilts and don't forget about the home town designs using dried vegetables. Would a local fair be complete without one?
One thing we didn't do was the rides. Neither of us is a real big fan of rides and my mom has instilled within me a proper fear of large portable metal objects that throw people around in the air. Plus, I would rather spend our money on more funnel cakes. Or lemonade. Or candy apples. But I did take a picture of one because they are so pretty and colorful.
I even played around with Photoshop to see what cool things I can do. I like the top one because it is so color intensive. But I like the bottom one because it seems less cluttered. Either way, I love Photoshop...and funnel cakes.


My Mr. Knightley

Someone posed a question in the comment section of a blog I frequent. The question: " Because what's better than Alan Rickman in a costume drama? (Besides, of course, Colin Firth in a costume drama.)"

I give you my answer: Jeremy Northam in a costume drama. I LOVE Jeremy Northam. Heck, I named my cat after him. Well, technically my cat is named after my favorite character that he plays (Mr. Knightley) , but close enough. He is amazing in Emma and really good in both An Ideal Husband and The Winslow Boy. I probably wouldn't even like the Winslow Boy if it wasn't for him but he is just too good not to love.

If you are not into period movies, then you might think he is creepy because he plays lots of different characters, even bad guys. He was the bad guy in The Net. He branched out even more in Happy, Texas, a weird but funny movie where he plays an escaped convict pretending to be a beauty pageant expert. (Alongside Steve Zahn who was also funny, although less cute). He is obviously a very talented actor. And for those who are partial to the Tudors, he will be playing the part of Sir Thomas More in the upcoming TV Show.

Another great point I need to mention is his attractiveness. He is cute in period clothes and regular clothes. A lot of actors that are adorable in period clothes look ghastly when wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but not my Jeremy.

Here is a video of him looking Dashing in Emma.

And here is him looking just as cute in more modern clothing. What more could you ask for?


Spontaneous delights in life

I am not a spontaneous person but last night I was glad that I took a chance and did something unplanned. This past weekend was supposed to be the prime time to go out and watch the Perseid meteor shower but it was cloudy both nights so we didn't ever get to see any. But last night when Craig went to go switch the laundry, he saw one and realized that it was finally not cloudy out. So off we went to go see the show. Even though it was only a little after 10, I was already ready for bed but I quickly grabbed shoes and some bug spray. So there I was in in my flannel pants, Craig's old SPAM t-shirt and Keens. Yes, I was quite the fashion statement but as we are such good law abiding citizens and didn't get pulled over, I don't care. We drove out to Green Canyon and just laid on the hood of the car watching the skies. It was so much fun. In all we probably saw about 10 which is a lot for me because I don't remember ever having seen one before. I'm not sure whether I want to say we saw shooting stars or meteorites. Meteorites sound like more fun, but shooting star sounds more romantic. It was both fun and romantic!

But the best part of the night was how God used it to give me a little bit of an attitude adjustment. I've been in a bit of a funk lately but just being out there with the beauty of God's creation reminded me that I am a part of that creation. It was so amazing to think about the sky and space and all that God created. It reminded me of the 2nd verse of the hymn we sang at church last Sunday, How Great Thou Art.

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

God is great. I'm not a murderer nor have I ever robbed any stores, but when I think about all the little things I have done, I realize that I'm not the great person that I like to think I am. But God created me too and He loves me, unconditionally, more than I could ever deserve, and He wants the best for me. I know that to Him, I am beautiful just like the mountains and the stars are beautiful to Him (and me). When I think about my life that way, it kinda puts things in perspective. If I make my life about glorifying God and praising him, I can't really go wrong. By that I mean, I can go wrong, and I will, but He will still love me. And someday, I will be in heaven, where even the amazing beauty that surrounds me here will pale in comparison. I can't even imagine that but I'm thinking it's gonna be pretty sweet. To summarize: Next time you get the opportunity to do something unexpected, I suggest you take it.


LOL John Edwards

I saw the picture accompanying this article about John Edwards, and I thought that it just cried for an LOLcats-style caption, so I added one. Actually, I made two. Actually, I thought them up and MacKenzie did the work. That's how we do things here.

Here's one:

And here's two:

I'd be interested to know which you prefer. If you'd like to make your own, post it and link to it in the comments, or send it to me and I'll put it up.

My new project

I just got my free 30 day trial of Photoshop Elements and I have to say, it makes me very happy. I think I want to start doing my scrapbooking digitially but I want to practice before making any financial commitments so I am using some free digi scrapbook supplies that I found online to put together the recipes Craig and I use most often. I am making them 4 x 6 so I can (hopefully) get them printed through Walmart.com and put them in an album. I have only completed one recipe card so far and it will probably look pretty familiar but I thought I would share it anyway. This one took a while since I am still getting used to Photoshop and it isn't always obvious how things work but they should go together more quickly now that I have the hang of things.

Credit for the digital paper goes to Marie Stones which I found at http://www.freedigitalscrapbooking.com. Thanks, Marie!

Hasta la Vista, West Nile

Rachel likes to post headlines she finds on Google on occasion. Well, I found something interesting today. The picture probably ain't too clear, but take a look anyway:

Now, the fact that Contra Costa County is fogging mosquitoes doesn't seem all that newsworthy. But look at the accompanying picture. That appears to be Conan the Barbarian. Now, sometimes Google News puts odd illustrations next to headlines, but this takes the cake. However, it all makes sense. The headline of the article attached to that photo is "Schwarzenegger Announces Plan to Fight West Nile."


Some No-Kill Shelters Hurtful to Animals

Two weeks ago, MacKenzie forcefully opined about no-kill shelters. I share the sentiments she expressed then, and so do some animal rights advocates, according to an article today.

Some no-kill shelters have succeeded because they partner with other local facilities. But many no-kill shelters have no backup plan and hang onto animals for months, sometimes years, causing crowding and health problems for the animals.

"I've been to good no-kills, and I've been to bad no-kills," said Jef Hale, the San Antonio shelter's director. "I was at a no-kill in Louisiana and basically what they did is they just put animals in a cage and they just continued to add animals to a cage. ... If we put them in a cage and we don't interact with them, we slowly drive them crazy."

The practice of "warehousing" is a top concern for animal organizations. Animal advocates say they understand that killing the animals is sometimes the only humane way to ease overcrowding.

While I disagree with places, like your local pound, that kill animals after three days or so, I think that, at a certain point, you know that certain dogs are not adoptable. Rather than keeping them chained up for years, I think it's more humane just to put them down in those cases. However, I think the "no-kill" designation can be a feel-good thing, like being "green", that some pursue without considering all of the implications.


Mom's Boy Scout Potluck Cake

I really like reading and viewing other people's recipes so I thought I would share one of my own. This cake is affectionately named "Mom's Boy Scout Potluck Cake" because I remember it mostly from when my mom took it to the many Boy Scout potlucks I attended for my brother. I don't remember what she called it. It is a great potluck cake because you make it in the 9 X 13 pan so it stays all safe from smushing on the trip and because it's really simple. Here is the main cast:
A yellow cake mix, a container of Cool Whip, a bag of heath bits and a can of Hershey's chocolate syrup. You actually only need about half of the Hershey's syrup and heath bits. This is the second of these cakes I have made with the same bag and can. If you can't find the heath bits you can use a couple Skor Bars broken up into bits. That's what we did back in the day, but the pre-broken bits are a lot easier.

See how simple it is, it uses only 4 ingredients! Well, technically you need whatever the box says to turn it from the mix into a pretty yellow cake but I didn't include those because they vary depending on what mix you get. You could also make a cake from scratch if you want to get all fancy but then you would be taking away from the simplicity and this cake doesn't need it, it tastes good enough with the fanciness. So don't try to be Martha Stewart and just make it from a box. If you are an amazingly wonderful wife like me, you can let your husband lick the batter off the beaters although hopefully your husband won't get this creepy look on his face.
Anyway, here is my cake, complete with the is-it-done fork holes. It looks kinda sad right now, but don't give up on it yet.
Now let the cake cool completely. Don't rush this step or you will just make a huge mess. Now comes the fun, stress relieving part. Get out a wooden spoon or spatula, preferable with a small rounded handle bottom. Upon moving here to live with Craig, I threw out all my old wooden spoons and he doesn't own any with rounded handle bottoms so I used the smallest flat one I could find. It doesn't make much of a difference, I just prefer my holes to be round if possible. Now punch holes all over the cake. I start out with a nice pattern, almost as if I were putting cookies on a baking pan, but by the end I have just put holes everywhere. Be as OCD as you like. You don't want to demolish the cake, but the holes are important so don't scrimp either. The picture might help.
Now take out your can of Hershey's syrup. Again, you don't have to use the syrup in the can, but my mom always got the syrup in the can so I always get the syrup in the can. Start by pouring the syrup into all the little holes you made. It doesn't matter if you get syrup outside of the holes so I normally end up with a little connect the dots effect.
Do you see now why the holes are so important! I actually felt that I was a couple holes short so I went back and added a few more.
Now pour even more syrup over the cake. I typically use about 1/2 of the can. It's starting to look yummy now, albeit a little messy.
Now get out that Cool Whip (which should be thawed by the way). Put dollops of it on top of the cake.
Now spread out the dollops into a nice even layer, being careful not to stir up any of the chocolate sauce. It isn't hard but just keep it in mind. You want a nice pretty white top.
Boring, isn't it? Well now, just don't sit there complaining, get out those toffee bits and start sprinkling. It looks better with just a light dusting but it tastes better with a whole lot so naturally, I put a ton on there.
Normally, at this point I would add a thin drizzle of chocolate syrup over the cake. It looks pretty and you can never really have too much chocolate. But as I mentioned before, this was the second cake I made with this same can and I forgot to save any to use on top. So just use your imagination. Now I know that this may have seemed really simple. And it is. But it is also incredible delicious so I dare you to go make it.