Thursday Thoughts

Speed of Light
If you read my blog, you probably remember that I told you about the “other woman” in Bill’s life – namely, Goggle Home. Thus far, she’s worked out fairly well. She’s not terribly cooperative about music yet; for example, she won’t play a particular song when requested. Instead, if you ask her to play Fight Song (as did Dagny on a recent morning), she will fix you up with what she calls a “Fight Song playlist,”which is a play list that includes many songs, but apparently doesn’t include Fight Song. She’s a bit contrary that way. But let me tell you about the funniest thing she has done thus far. Every morning when Bill comes downstairs, the first thing he does is say, “Hey Google, what’s my day like?” She then commences to say something like this: Good morning, William. The temperature in Denver right now is 26 degrees. The high today will be 48. You have an appointment with Joe Blow at 11:30. However, inexplicably, the other morning after he asked her that question, she did her spiel, but at the end of it, she added Your commute time this morning will be approximately 28 minutes. Hmmm. Now that’s interesting, because he is mostly retired, and even when he did work, for all of the years we’ve been married, and many years prior to that, he’s worked out of his house. Bill and I looked at each other, and I said, “I wonder where she thinks you work?” The next morning, he asked her the daily question, and she did her regular spiel. And this time at the end, she added Your commute time this morning will be approximately 18 minutes. Somehow his commute to wherever she thinks he works was 10 minutes shorter. So it got us to thinking….and led Bill to subsequently ask her this question: “Hey Google, where do I work?” She immediately responded, You work at 9109 E. Elmwood St. in Mesa, AZ. Bill did the math and figured out that to get from Denver to the job she thinks he has in AZ in 18 minutes, he must travel at a speed of somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 mph. As my sister Bec put it when I told her the story, “Apparently Bill is an astronaut.”

My grandmother crocheted and knitted. All of her grandchildren were on the receiving end of all sorts of her handicrafts – afghans, bedsocks, vests, booties, sweaters, and so forth. One of the things she often made was stocking caps, and every single stocking cap she made had a pom-pom on the top. Without fail. Always, always the pom-pom. Except she never called it a pom-pom. She called it a boobly. As in what color boobly do you want on your stocking cap? So that is, of course, what all of her grandkids call, well, booblies. In fact, my brother pointed out during winter NFL football last year that all of the professional football players at a particularly cold game were wearing imgresstocking caps with booblies. “I wonder if Peyton Manning is comfortable wearing a stocking cap with a boobly?” I remember my brother asking me. I was channeling my grandmother yesterday afternoon as I was finishing up some of my Christmas gifts, two of which involve a boobly. I am not too proud to admit that I had a HELL of a time making that boobly. First I didn’t use enough yarn. Then I had trouble tying the yarn together by myself. Once I had my yarn cut and tied, the final step is to trim it up so that it looks full and perky. My friends, I had yarn EVERYWHERE. I don’t even want to think about how much yarn I inhaled. One boobly – ONE SINGLE BOOBLY – took me something like an hour to make, and remake, and remake once again. As I finally tied the boobly on the last hat, I looked to the heavens and recalled that Grammie used to crank out these booblies like nobody’s business. One more thing to admire about the woman.

They Say It’s Your Birthday
Yesterday was my 63rd birthday, and I don’t know how in the hell THAT happened. But I am banking on the fact that you are only as old as you feel, and I feel pretty darn good. My birthday started with breakfast with Dagny and Magnolia and the celebration will conclude on Saturday when Court and the kids come for dinner and make me a birthday cake. Bill took me out for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, a neighborhood Italian restaurant called Farro’s. That restaurant has one of my favorite things to eat – a dish they call Seafood Farro, but which is basically cioppino.


Oh, yum.  And it was as good last night as always. They offer a special deal where when it’s your birthday, you get the percentage that equals your age off of your meal. Smokin’ deal. I asked the server what was the largest percentage they’ve ever had to honor. She told me it was for a woman who was 99 years old.


Saturday Smile: A Couple More Laughs

Bear with me. I have a couple more Peyton Manning clips that made me laugh this week. I’ll stop now. I promise.

Jimmy Fallon makes me laugh, no matter what he does. But there’s this….

A bluegrass band out of Knoxville, Tennessee, called the Punch Brothers did their own tribute to Peyton Manning, and it’s very clever. Click on the link….

This Might Be The Greatest Peyton Manning Tribute Song Ever Written

Have a great weekend.

Super Super Bowl

Jen's dog Tucker shows his Bronco loyalty.

Jen’s dog Tucker shows his Bronco loyalty.

This post was written somewhere around noon on Sunday. Around that time, Cam Newton was practicing dabbing in the full-length mirrors in the locker room and Peyton Manning was checking to make sure his helmet was tight enough on his head to leave red marks and indentations that will still be there as he, his wife, and his twins are enjoying Disneyland. It turned out the way Bronco fans wanted, thanks to our Big D!

At the time I’m writing this post, the game is hours away. I therefore have no knowledge of which team wins. I am ever optimistic of the outcome. Well, I’m optimistic that there WILL BE an outcome. That’s about as optimistic as I get when it comes to football. When Dad would get nervous about a football game, he would move to the kitchen and play Solitaire. I will crochet.

I believe that God isn’t too worried about the Super Bowl, so in my Sunday morning prayers, I prayed that there would be no serious injuries to anyone on either team, that the fans of whichever team won would be grown up and not turn over cars or start trash can fires, and that the stadium and fans attending the game would be spared from hatred by anyone via a terrorist attack.

I will admit, however, that I did put in a little pitch for a Bronco victory. What could it

Addie, Dagny, Maggie, Alastair and Allen root for the Broncos.

Addie, Dagny, Maggie, Alastair and their Uncle Allen root for the Broncos.

hurt? After all, sunrises and sunsets – all created by God – are orange and blue and not powder blue and white.

By time you read my post, the victor will be known, and I will know if my other prayers were answered.

Even with the game hours away, I am certain about a few things. My brother David, his daughter Kacy, and her kids; my sister Bec; and my niece Maggie and her family will be here cheering on the orange and blue, and we will have fun. I am making a variety of appetizers and they are

Kaiya, Cole, and Mylee show their Bronco colors.

Kaiya, Cole, and Mylee show their Bronco colors.

bringing goodies as well, and it will all be yummy. Bill has set up a television in the back yard so that we can watch the game both outside and inside, and as the weather is expected to be in the mid-80s, it will be simply lovely.

When I decided to host the family for the Super Bowl, I began thinking about what I would serve. There are, of course, wings, which are so traditional. Nachos? Mexican food?

But Jen had just told me about something that she said was THE RAGE OF THE INTERNET. (She swears she has a job, but I think she just sits at home and peruses the web all day. She always knows what bloggers are up to at any given point in time.) However, when I looked up the recipe for the thing she said was THE RAGE OF THE INTERNET, I learned that the New York Times was calling this the roast that owns the internet. Despite the fact that it owns the internet, I hadn’t heard of it. What is it?


The original creator of the recipe is a woman named Robin Chapman, who apparently proclaims that the recipe has been in her family for years. I wonder if any of my family recipes could ever be THE (fill in the blank) THAT OWNS THE INTERNET. My grandmothers Swiss Mac and Cheese perhaps?

But, whether the Broncos win or lose, I will leave you with Ms. Chapman’s recipe.

Mississippi Pot Roast

1 chuck roast, 3 – 5 lbs.
1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix
1 packet au jus mix
1 stick butter (not margarine, butter)
5 pepperoncini peppers

Layer all the ingredients in a slow cooker; cook on low for 8 – 10 hours. Shred and serve with your favorite side dish or as a filling for a sandwich.

Nana’s Notes: The roast was good. It would be yummy as a main dish with mashed potatoes or noodles. I served it shredded with crusty rolls.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

Saturday Smile: Go Broncos, Beat Panthers

I love being in Arizona for the winter and missing out on the piles of snow. But I will admit that I have missed being in Denver these past couple of weeks as the sports nation awaits Super Bowl 50. Jen has kept me abreast of the excitement for the most part, but it’s not the same as being there. I will tell you, however, that I have seen Bronco fans come out of the woodwork here in the Valley of the Sun as of late. Bronco jackets, Bronco shoes, Bronco hats, all things Broncos. There are either more Colorado winter visitors than I thought, or Cardinal fans are declaring their post-season loyalty since their beloved team didn’t make it as hoped.

Speaking of the Broncos, you will remember that Bill decided to bake a cake for the festivities, and decorate it using homemade (by him) fondant icing. He carefully sculpted the logo out of his fondant. Here is the final result……

Bill's cake

Here is my personal tribute to the team (and my nail technician definitely looked at me oddly……


And while it appears to be All Things Cam in preparation for the big event, this photo appeared on my Facebook feed, and it made me smile. He may be a football player, but at the end of the day, Peyton is a dad.

Peyton with his son Marshall.

Peyton with his son Marshall.

Have a great weekend, and GO BRONCOS!

Saturday Smile: Super Bowl Smiles

As the countdown to Super Bowl 50 continues, I want to take this opportunity to remind you about one of the many differences in the two participating quarterbacks….

Peyton "I'll Smile When I Get the Job Done" Manning

Peyton “I’ll Smile When I Get the Job Done” Manning


Cam "This Game Makes Me Laugh Out Loud Plus I Am Chewing Gum" Newton

Cam “This Game Makes Me Laugh Out Loud Plus I Am Chewing Gum” Newton

Speaking of the Broncos, this past week, Broncos running back CJ Anderson came to visit Mylee’s kindergarten class, the result of her teacher’s willingness to risk getting arrested as a stalker by dropping off on his front porch some letters that the class had written as part of an exercise teaching them to write letters of persuasion. (As an aside, in Kindergarten, I learned my colors, how to nap on a little rug, and how to be away from my mommy. Times have changed.) The letters were persuasive enough to bring the running back to Willow Creek Elementary. Mylee couldn’t wait to get home to tell her daddy, who is a Broncos fan extraordinaire. Did she know who CJ Anderson was, I asked Court. Well, she knew he must be special because her 19-month-old brother Cole wears a jersey with his name and number.

Cole football jersey 12.15


Mylee with CJ Anderson

Mylee is the one with the arrow pointing to her head. I inserted the arrow. She doesn’t go around with an arrow hovering over her all the time.

Anyhoo, what a nice move on the part of an apparently nice man.

Have a great weekend.

Football Hangover

If you had told me at the beginning of the football season (or really before or after any game during the entire season, because, you see, it’s me we’re talking about) that the Broncos would be in the Super Bowl, I would have called you C-R-A-Z-Y. No way. I’m pretty sure the only game we played this season that we didn’t have to wait until the final whistle to take a breath was against Green Bay. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots were winning handily, game after game after game.

Until they met the Denver Bronco defense the first time during the regular schedule, which presented them with their first loss of the season. And then again on Sunday afternoon when the Bronco defense sent them back to Boston to shovel snow. I’m no expert on football, but I’m telling you that Tom Brady got up Monday morning feeling out of sorts.

tom-bradyWhile I was in the hospital, my niece Maggie brought me my secret vice – entertainment magazines. I’m not sure why I enjoy them so because I probably don’t know 95 percent of the people they talk about. Still, I secretly read them in only a few places — grocery store lines, doctors’ offices, and the hospital. In one such magazine, there was a small blurb about Tom Brady and his gorgeous wife Gisele from which I learned that 80% of Tom and Gisele’s diet consists of vegetables. The perfectly splendid couple eats no white flour, no white sugar, no nightshade vegetables (??????), and no dairy. Brady proudly states that the ice cream he eats is made from avocados. Seriously. Avocados.

So he couldn’t even drown his sorrows Sunday night by eating a big bowl of Bunny Tracks ice cream drenched in hot fudge. Poor Tom. Instead of waving towels in the end zone, Bronco fans should have been waving signs depicting Big Macs.

I certainly didn’t count on a Bronco trip to the Super Bowl, but if it was to happen, I searchdreamed the opponent would be the Arizona Cardinals. I’m a Bronco supporter through and through, but Cardinals have become a team of which I’m fond. And I’m pretty sure Cardinals Coach Bruce Arian eats white flour, white sugar, and ice cream made from real cream. But alas, it was not to be. Instead, the Bronco’s opponent in a couple of weeks will be the ever-smiling Cam Newton.

Now, from what I can tell, Cam Newton is a like-him-or-hate-him kind of guy. Not being a particular follower of the SEC college football division, I don’t have a preconceived idea of the man. And since the Broncos rarely play the Carolina Panthers, I don’t have a knee-jerk negative reaction to them like I do to the Patriots.

cam-newton-86d1093fb4187b39Having said that, if you held my feet to the fire and insisted I give you a gut reaction to Cam Newton, it would be positive in nature. Sure, he’s full of himself. Sure, he does that dance in the end zone that other quarterbacks would never do. (Can you even IMAGINE Peyton Manning doing a dance in the end zone? A fist pump and a smile that looks more like he’s relieving gas pressure is about as much joy as the almost-always-serious Peyton demonstrates.) But Cam seems to be having such FUN. And, in his own words, if opponents don’t like him dancing in the end zone, they should keep him out of the end zone. I can’t say I’m very fond of the towel he seems to always wear over his head, but he has a million dollar smile, and you can take that to the bank. And you’ve got to give credit to someone who can chew gum and become the NFL Most Valuable Player at the same time.

I may or may not be paying my respects to Cam Newton and his team in a couple of weeks, but let the media blitz begin!

And to the Arizona Cardinals, you guys had a helluva season. I can’t wait ‘til next year.

Keeping Score

They should make a law against 11 o’clock morning NFL football games. – President Rutherford B. Hayes

Lemonade Lucy

Lemonade Lucy

I will come clean right off the bat. President Rutherford B. Hayes didn’t actually say those words. I can’t confirm that he actually said any words. Have you ever heard any famous and meaningful quotes from Rutherford B. Hayes? I suspect he had some words with his mother regarding her name selection of Rutherford. And I’m certain he had a few choice words for his wife Lucy, who was referred to as “Lemonade Lucy” because she wouldn’t allow alcohol in the White House. “Lucy, how am I supposed to watch a Redskins game without a pint in my hand?” he might have said.

I’m actually the one to whom the above quote should be attributed. Because seriously? An 11 o’clock game on Sunday morning? And that would be 10 o’clock in the morning in California and Arizona. Heavens to Betsy. One still has sleep crust in the corner of one’s eyes.

Truth be told, I was wide awake at 11 o’clock Sunday morning when the Broncos began playing football against the Cleveland Browns. I just wasn’t sitting in front of my television. Instead, I was sitting at Wellshire Presbyterian Church watching Alastair, Dagny, and Maggie Faith – along with several other children — sing an African hymn to the congregation. Off to the side, Adelaide played the glockenspiel as accompaniment, and quite well. She’s a young woman of many talents, glockenspiel-playing being only one.

I was foresighted enough, however, to set our DVR to record the game so that I could watch it when we got home from church. In fact, I invited Court and his kids to come over to watch the delayed viewing of the game. Court is used to watching recordings of the Broncos since he usually has parent-of-young-children type duties every weekend. He will generally text me something like I am not watching the game live so I will watch the recorded game later. If you text me one thing about the game, I will come over to your house and personally place a flock of plastic flamingos in your front yard. I keep my mouth shut.

But that was the thing. Just as soon as the minister said amen, Bill was out of the church with his cell phone turned on and was determining the status of the game. “Oh my gosh,” he said. “The score is….. .”

“STOP,” I yelled, making the 12 or so senior citizens (who were the only ones besides us in church as the other Presbyterians were at home watching the Broncos game) look up from their walkers. “I don’t want to know the score because I’m going home to watch the game.”

Bill has lots of wonderful traits. Keeping a secret such as the score of the game is not particularly one of them. Still, he did a pretty good job. The trouble was, Alastair was with us, and he asked his papa to show him the score.

“Don’t you dare,” I said to Alastair, just as he opened up his mouth to spill the beans. “I mean it. Don’t you even think about it.”

Well, he could think about nothing else, really.

“The score is an even number to an odd number,” he couldn’t help but tell me. And Ladies and Gentlemen, it took EVERY FIBER OF HIS BEING to keep himself from telling me who was ahead.

But I will tell you a secret. I sometimes read the ending of a book first. And apparently to me, watching football is the same thing. So, while Court was in one room watching the recorded game, I secretly went into the kitchen and watched the end of the game live. I justified it by telling myself that I would enjoy the game so much more if I knew we had won.

Of course, Peyton was being Peyton, so it was a nerve wracking experience to say the least. And seriously, has anyone mentioned to Demaryius Thomas that he’s a wide receiver and is, by definition, supposed to receive the ball and keep it? And maybe even run while carrying it? Sunday I’m not even sure he could have caught the downtown bus. Sorry. I just had to get that off my chest. I am very happy to be 6 and 0, even if our strong safety has scored more points than our highly-paid wide receiver. As far as I’m concerned, a TD is a TD.

Anyhoo, by this time, Court had figured out that I was watching the game live in the kitchen. He had likely also figured out that the game was in overtime because I was in there a long time. I could only pretend to be preparing baked beans for so long. Besides, as hard as I tried, I was unable to prevent myself from letting out mewling sounds when balls were dropped or interceptions were thrown. “I can hear you in there Mom, and I know what you’re doing.”

At the end of it all, the Broncos had another mark on the win side of the scorecard, and Court forgave me for my indiscretions.

Serving a platter of barbecued ribs for Bill’s birthday dinner helped. Take a look at this satisfied group….

McLains and Zierks gathered to celebrate Bill's birthday by eating barbecued ribs! Alyx is present, but taking the photo.

McLains and Zierks gathered to celebrate Bill’s birthday by eating barbecued ribs! Alyx is present, but taking the photo. And by the way, see the enormous platter of ribs? All gone by the end of the meal.

Saturday Smile: It Never Gets Old

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Apologies to my readers who are not Broncos fans. If you, however, are a football fan, you have to admit that the game on Thursday between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs was a good one. I PROMISE I would have said this even if we had lost. I might not have said it if we had lost big. But to tie up the game with less than 40 seconds left makes for exciting football. And then, the icing on the cake for Broncos fans is that on the Chief’s first play after the Broncos tied it up, rather than taking a knee, they ran the ball. A fumble resulted in a touchdown for the Broncos. It was quite exciting. Bill and I were screaming just a little bit.

But here’s what made me smile…..

Peyton Manning is 39 years old and has played I don’t know how many games, but a lot. So he has been interviewed very many times after a game, and many of those interviews were after a win. As many times as I have seen him interviewed, I have never seen him quite as tickled as he was in this interview. Even game analyst Phil Simms, who practically chokes when he has to say something good about the Broncos, pointed out that he has never seen Peyton look this happy in an interview….

Have a good weekend.

Thursday Thoughts

It’s Enough to Raise My Blood Pressure
I went to the doctor Tuesday – a follow-up appointment to a follow-up appointment. My doctors must feel quite guilty about not seeing me when I was having my neck pain issue which eventually led to me being hospitalized because man-oh-man, are they ever being diligent about following up on every little thing. This time they were following up on a concern about my blood pressure (which I realize isn’t a “little thing”). But, as invariably happens, my blood pressure, which hovers around 150/75 when I take it at home, was 110/60. Seriously? I mean, I guess that’s good news, but whose blood pressure is lower when they go to the doctor’s? Mine, I guess. Of course, when I went to the specialist yesterday about my arthritis, my neck felt fine but my blood pressure was high. Sigh.

I Weigh the Same as I Weighed in High School
Since being at my doctor’s office last, they have moved to fancy new digs. Because the move only took place a few weeks ago, they are still having a few issues – where did we put our bandages, which examining room belongs to which doctor, where on earth did I put Mrs. Beauchamp, and so forth. In their former office, they had one of those old-school scales that you stand on and move the little doohickey until it balances. It seemed to work fine. But in an effort to be enviably high-tech, they now have a scale in each examining room, and it is a fancy-dancy digital scale. Except in the room where the medical assistant took me, she couldn’t get the scale to work. It wasn’t some high-tech problem. She simply couldn’t get the AA battery to not fall out when she put the scale on the ground. She tried five or six times to no avail. She finally turned to me and said (and I promise this is true), “Do you know how much you weigh?” Well OF COURSE I do. I weigh 105 lbs! And, by the way, I’m 5’7” tall. Just kidding. I actually told her the truth. But I’m not telling you. And this situation is further proof that old-school is often still the best.

Should My Quarterback Be Able to Feel His Fingers?
I was watching the sports news the other day, and learned an unsettling fact: In a press conference, Peyton Manning told us he has no feeling in the Peyton with glovefingers of his throwing hand. He apparently hasn’t since his neck surgery a couple of years ago but never mentioned it. At least not to me. I find that troubling. Whether your quarterback is throwing from the shotgun, dropping back and tossing from the pocket, or rolling out and throwing a shovel pass, I WANT MY QUARTERBACK TO BE ABLE TO FEEL HIS FINGERS. Apparently that is why he so often wears gloves. And here I thought he was just making a fashion statement.

Half Empty
And speaking of the Broncos, Court – much to my dismay – is predicting a winning Bronco season but not a Super Bowl run. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say. I go into every season assuming we aren’t going to win a single game. The truth of the matter is that I sort of wish we would have a good season with lots of really good games, but not make a run for the Super Bowl. It sort of takes the fun out of watching football, or at least it did last year. Of course, Court’s prediction could have something to do with the fact that Peyton can’t feel his fingers. I wonder if he can feel his face.