Friday, October 31, 2008

This is Evan, he's my great nephew. Have you ever in your life seen eyes as sweet as these?

Wait, so you are telling me I wasn't supposed to put marker on my face and on the wall?

My big brother Payton made me do it. Yeah, that's my story. Look deeply into my eyes, could these eyes lie?

Mom, help!!!

Dawn and her family.

My niece Dawn and her family took snapshots recently. I don't know what type of lighting they were under, but it was a horrible, nasty, unfriendly light!
She asked if I could make some changes in Photo Shop. And because she told me that I am her favorite aunt of all time, I said, "Of course, I will ease your troubles in any way I can, my dear niece."

These are the before shots.

The light bulbs they were under need to be taken outside and used for target practice!

This is after Photo Shop. I love Photo Shop.

Because her husband made a not so nice comment,

I added this one for Dawn.

Hooligan 2 lost both his front teeth this week. (Pictures to follow in another post.) Unless the tooth/teeth are missing from a darling six year old, I think a missing tooth automatically drops the IQ by about 30 points. Not true, I know, but that is how my mind processes a missing tooth. For instance, would you trust the advice of a Dr. that was missing a tooth?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My skinny 10 speed.

Did I ever tell you the story of my very first major purchase? I didn't? Well, gather around friends, some one grab me a Diet Pepsi from the fridge.

I was around twelve years old and I had a sweaty wad of one dollar bills I had earned babysitting my dear nieces and nephews. I had been saving for months to get a brand spankin' new ten speed bike.

I went to Coast-to-Coast on Main Street and there she was.....bright yellow, with curled down racing handle bars. $98 slapped down on the worn wooden counter and she was mine. Everything about that bike was skinny, from the handle grips all the way to the tires. And the seat, oh man that seat was skinny and so very hard! Who was the sadistic a-hole that designed that bike seat and is he still laughing today when he thinks about the pain that he inflicted on young girls in the mid to late 1970's?

Unfortunately, that bike seat was only the beginning of the pain in store for my twelve year old self. It was a hot summer day, I spent the afternoon at the swimming pool, before joyfully speeding off to my sisters house across town. I was feeling the wind in my face, the ruffles on my one piece were flying behind me when my skinny front tire abruptly slammed down into the grate of a storm drain. I flew through the air, I may even have done a flip, that part is a little hazy. I remember that after sitting up to examine my bloody, gravel encrusted knees and palms, I surreptitiously glanced around to see if any one had witnessed my fall. To my everlasting horror, I saw the picture window in the house to my right was filled with laughing teenage boys vying for the best view of the freak show sitting in the gutter outside their house!

Those boys witnessing and enjoying my misery scarred much deeper than the fall itself. I quickly got up and rode carefully to my sisters and showered the gravel and road grime off my bruised body. Then I broke into my sisters liquor cabinet and drowned my pain in Jack Danial's Tennessee Sipping Whiskey. Thus started the downward spiral that is my life today.

True story, all but the whiskey and the downward spiral bit. I threw that in for dramatic effect. I don't think any of my sisters ever actually owned a liquor cabinet.

I do wish my twelve year old self had flipped those Maassen boys off! One of those boys is now over 50 years old and drives my kids school bus. I think I'll flip him the bird when he drops the boys off after school today! Just kidding....I think.

Have any of you embarrassed yourself in front of others? Care to share? Do you dare to share?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I have received so many reader comments that I believe a reward is in order. As payment for your wonderful participation, I will show you an intricately built, rock wall that I enjoyed looking at last Saturday.

See how the mason transitioned from the red squared off rocks to the rounder more natural looking river rocks. Oh dear, that nice young man is standing in the way. Maybe we can get a better look at the wall in the next shot.

"Um....excuse me, young man. Could you please step aside for just a sec? We are trying to look at that lovely rock hard wall in front of you."

"Yes, hi there. I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm trying to show these nice people that wall. Could you step aside?"

"It would only take a second........ummm..........hello?" Apparently he is going to turn his back and ignore us! I can't believe it, how rude!

My dear readers, I'm sorry I couldn't give you the reward that I intended, what a disappointment for us! I guess we will have come back another day to get a picture of how well built that hunk of wall is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Please start the video above then continue reading my post. Enjoy!

I live for reader comments. Some of my family members read my blog, but they don't comment. I have given them repeated guidance and warnings! Now they must be punished! *evil cackling laughter*

These pictures were made at the following website.

It's very fun, be sure to empty your bladder before starting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You can win a prize!

I love to play with Photo Shop. These are some of the things I've done:

This is when I was angry with Hooligan 1.

This was when I was angry with myself.

I am giving to one of todays commenters, a morphed picture of their choice. Tonight I will choose one person from my (always extensive) list of comments. The winner will email me the photo to be changed. It can be a photo you want 'fixed' in some way, or one to be messed up! The changed photo's before and after will be posted here another day.

Good luck!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Engagement pictures.

My sister Cheryl took engagement pictures of our niece Angela and her fiance Nate, on Saturday. Hooligan 1 and I assisted, I helped pose them and snapped candid shots while Cheryl took the primary pictures on her fancy shmancy camera. H1 carried the camera bags and provided shade for the couple when Cheryl asked him to. H1 also lightened the atmosphere by calling Nate a "Freakin' Beast" after he checked out Nate's muscles.

Cheryl took this one, it's one of my favorites. The first version is straight out of the camera.
I wasn't doing my job very well. She had that small white string on her sweater the entire time and I never noticed it.

I cropped so they are a little closer and the contrast, brightness etc. has been adjusted slightly.

Here I desaturated the colors a little, made her skin appear more porcelain-like. That's what I think it did anyway.

This time, totally black and white.

This is even closer, I went with the porcelain look and faded the color along the edges.


This is the same as # 5, except I didn't fade the edge.

Here I did the desaturation thing, took the string off of her sweater and the shine off his forehead. This is my favorite. I wish we would have gotten his hand on her tummy with her hand over his showing the all important engagement ring! We have it in other shots of this pose but their heads are not together in this lovely way. When posing them I told him to look closely into her ear, then both to close their eyes. Not nearly as romantic as it looks!

OK, so what do you think? Not about the couple, we all know they are freakin' gorgeous, blah, blah, blah...... What do you think about what I did to the different versions of the shot? It's all about me here people. So which do you prefer? Is there something you would have done differently?

Ladies, if I receive enough comments, I may add a full body shot of Nate without a shirt! I snuck a shot of him while he was changing, Cheryl made me do it!

This was when H1 called him a freakin' beast!

Seriously, they do make a gorgeous couple and they are both lovely people, inside as well as out.

Alice Smith on getting older.

Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, surely I can't look that old?'ll love this one...

My name is Alice Smith and I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. I noticed his DDS diploma, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 30-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then?

Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, grey-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School.

"Yes. Yes, I did. I'm a Mustang," He gleamed with pride.

"When did you graduate?" I asked.

He replied, "In 1975. Why do you ask?"

"You were in my class!", I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely. Then, that ugly, old, bald, wrinkled, fat-assed, grey-haired, decrepit, son-of-a-bitch asked, "What did you teach?"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Too cute and too rotten.

Erica found this YouTube video. This kid is unbelievably cute! I love Blue Cross, they pay out over $7,000 a month for my medication alone!

The following commercial gets the message across!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The day I pushed Dad too far!

In honor of my Dads 79th birthday on the 17th, I thought I would feature him on by blog. What a gift, eh? Happy birthday Dad!

My father was slow to anger, but if you made him mad, watch out! His face would turn red and the look in his eyes could burn a hole in you. That look was usually all it took to guarantee instant obedience from us kids. Once in a while, with my older brothers, words that are not appropriate for my blog would spew from his mouth. He rarely punished us physically, but one day I pushed him to his limit.

It was a lovely Saturday afternoon. The entire family was cleaning in the grove of trees north of our house. I was only five years old, but I helped by picking up small branches and carrying them to the burning pile. On one such trip to the pile I noticed an old metal rake head discarded in the tall grass. I picked it up but didn't know what to do with it. I knew it didn't belong on the burn pile. At about that time I realized I had to go to the bathroom.....I had to go bad. I spun around like a discus thrower a couple of times to build momentum, then let the heavy metal rake head fly! I didn't wait to see where it landed, but turned and ran towards the house to use the bathroom.

I heard my brother Rick cry out, but thought nothing of it. Probably just my oldest brother Don clubbing him in the head with a log or something. He he he, Don was always doing fun stuff like that to Rick! As I ran by, my Dad grabbed me and swung me up off the ground and high above his head. "Sonofabitch!", he always yelled it really fast like that and kept his lips pinched tight to his teeth, "Why did you do that?!"

I had been cheerfully running to the bathroom, the next thing I knew, I was seven feet in the air getting yelled at by an extremely angry man! I was so shocked and scared that I lost complete control of my full bladder! I can still distinctly remember watching the pee stream from the right inseam of my little red denim shorts down onto my Dad's head!

He put me down in a hurry! I don't remember much after that. I was told the rake head stuck into my brother Rick's shoulder. The big baby, letting a little five year old girl make him cry! He doesn't even have a scar, didn't need stitches either! While I have been mentally scarred for life!

I hope you never had to go through the trauma of having the pee scared out of you. But, if you have, please contact me. Maybe we could start a support group. "Hi, my name is Lisa, I'm 43 and I peed on my Dad's bald head."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


My niece Shawn died when she was only 29. Our close family felt her loss deeply. We still think of her often and we will miss her always. She left behind a devastated husband, Kelly, and four sons. The youngest boy was a premature newborn in intensive care.

Thousands of people who heard of my nieces death rallied around Kelly and the boys, offering emotional support and endless gifts. Many family members helped out by caring for the boys and doing house cleaning, laundry, meals etc.

We hoped Kelly could eventually find love again, someone to share his life, someone to ease his burdens.

He found Gina. She was only 20 years old and a (self described) spoiled daddy's girl with attitude. We were a bit sceptical at first, but she was just what their family needed. She was loving, but tough with the boys. The boys had grown a bit wild, as you can imagine. They were dealing with their moms sudden death and were lacking consistency. Gina had their family back on track in no time.

Incredibly, Gina became a close friend to Shawn's mom, my second-to-the-oldest sister. They spend a lot of time together. When my sister went with Gina to look at wedding rings, the person assisting them at the jewelry store asked if my sister was Gina's mom. My sister replied, "No, I'm her fiance's mother-in-law. The assistant got a very puzzled look on her face.

After they were married, she and Kelly had a beautiful baby girl and are expecting another baby soon. Gina recently went to her five year high school class reunion as a mother to five children, with a sixth baby on the way! That must have been some kind of record!

Gina took on housecleaning jobs in addition to taking care of her own new family. She came to clean for me when I was at my most fatigued. I called her "Maidzilla." Man, she was tough! I couldn't set down a beverage for fear she would yell at me for making a mess! Seriously, she did a very good job. (I do love to tease her! She is not quite as much of a spoiled daddy's girl, but still has way too much attitude!)

Gina's friendship was such a blessing to my sister. Many new wives in that situation would have wanted to distance Kelly from his first wife's family. My sister could have lost close contact with Kelly and her grandsons, in addition to the terrible loss of her daughter. Gina hasn't let that happen, if she and the kids are not at my sisters home visiting, they are talking on the phone or texting. She has also joined our large extended family without hesitation. Kelly, Gina and their kids are a treasured part of our family.

Tough Hombres!
Kelly and Gina had this picture of the boys taken, (their little girl wouldn't cooperate) when most of our family went on a vacation to the Black Hills this summer. The boys were told not to smile to make the photo look more authentic, they're happy kids normally.

The youngest boy, waiting for the bus on his first day of preschool, with his little sister.

Still patiently waiting!

A big brother joins to wait with him. Is that bus ever coming?


Up the driveway and back to the house. Whew, who knew the bus would take so long! Think I'll have a snack, then a nice little nap.

The third cowboy.

Kelly and his little girl.

The Cowboy and the Diva Cowgirl.

The Confused Diva, hope those boys don't turn her into a spoiled brat like her mom!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Traditional Beef Stew

I love to make a beef stew when the weather turns colder. This is my favorite stew recipe. Serve this with warm tea rolls. Yum!

Traditional Beef Stew

1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 quart water
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 small onion, diced
2 potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Heat large sauce pan to medium-high. Add oil and brown meat. Reduce heat to low, add water, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 1 to 2 hours. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Thicken with a paste made of cornstarch and water. 6 to 8 servings.

What is your ultimate comfort food when the weather gets colder? If your weather doesn't get colder, can I come live with you in January and February?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Change for Niece 'E'

Niece 'E' asked me to Photoshop some changes to her house. She knew what doors, siding, windows etc. she liked, she wanted me to put it all together.



What do you think, will she like this? Do you like these changes? Do you have any ideas to share? The tree is staying, I left it out for purposes of illustration. I may put in some landscaping for her later.

Oh dear....the next picture accidentally uploaded from her camera onto my blog. How did that happen? Very cute picture of her husband and son to warm your heart on a cold Monday!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall colors in Minnesota!

Mom, two sis-in-law and five sisters went on a Girls Weekend Out. We visited Sister 'C's Beautiful Daughter at college. Did some outlet mall shopping and took in the scenery.

Check out the beautiful fall colors!

The pictures were taken by my sister-in-law 'J'.
We were by the Mississippi river in Minnesota.

The colors were incredibly vibrant!

This is my favorite shot, straight up through the tree. I think I may have this one and the one that shows the river, printed and framed.