Travel Love

I saw the Taj Mahal.

Me, Zolligirl, saw the Taj frickin’ Mahal. How weird is that? It’s especially crazy if you know that I could have lived my entire life in Tennessee and not considered it a loss at all. Tennessee is the bomb as the young folks say. But seriously, traveling is not in my genetic makeup. So how did I get to India? The same way most people do. I left home, went to school in Murfreesboro, did really poorly, followed my parents to Georgia, met a boy, got married, went to church, made friends with Mantamy who believes in stuff like Jesus and traveling, got convinced I should go to India, went, came home, got convinced AGAIN, and voila – the Taj Mahal!

And you know what? It was really cool.

It’s funny how you change as you get older. I heard a pastor on Sunday speak about marrying a girl from Texas and how up until then, he’d had no use for Mexican food. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, good ole country food was all he needed. The first time he tried nachos he didn’t like them. But now, after many years of marriage and Mexican food, he LOVES nachos. Like craves-them-every-single-night loves them. His point was that when you fall in love with someone, your perspective changes. You see things from their point of view, you delight in what delights them. Obviously, I love Mantamy.

Because I met her, my perspective on travel has changed.   And by “met her”, I totally mean “flew first class”.

My growth as a person must be beautiful to behold. Enjoy.

Party On, Einstein!

We had some friends over for dinner last weekend, and as usual, it turned into intellectual debates and conversations about important subjects..

“Strategic oil reserves hold THIS many millions of gallons of oil.”

“No, I think it’s THIS many.”

“That’s what I SAID.”

“On the other hand, a  donor advisement fund is a great way to decrease your tax liability.”

“I concur.”

“Say my arms are the Canis Majoris. It would take an airplane 1100 years to circle it once.”

“I once saw a beet THIS big!”

I imagine it’s the same at Marilyn Vos Savant’s house.

Birthday Palooza

Moon’s birthday isn’t until Wednesday, but we had her party on Sunday with her BFF, Jemi. The girls are getting bigger now, TEN, so we kept it simple. A few games at Mountasia, then off to Jeanette’s house for the girls to play wii, eat dinner, and have birthday brownies.

Jemi got a puppy for her birthday. Best. Present. Ever. The girls kept disappearing to the bathroom to puppy-sit. I think you can tell that the puppy was thrilled with all of the attention.

Just Dance was also a big hit. I had to watch for a long time to get a photo where most of them were doing the same thing.

Every year, Jeanette and I struggle with what to give as a birthday favor. The girls are too big for toys, and most of the stuff they make is junk anyway. I found this 3-D photo idea online and we thought it was cute. Also, cheap. Moon and Jemi were born four days apart ensuring that Jeanette and I will split the cost of everything associated with their parties for as long as we can get by with it.

If you’re having a birthday soon, feel free to use any of these ideas. And also to join our birthday club. We’d be happy to split the cost THREE ways.

Riding High

Once we convinced the girls that, yes, we were ACTUALLY going to Disney, I gave them the speech. The “the moment, you own it, you better never let it go, you only get one shot, not to blow” speech. Okay, that was an Eminem song. What I really said was, “We’re going to Disney, and you better ride what you can while you have the chance.” It might not sell millions of records, but they took it to heart. They rode everything with gusto. EVERYTHING.

Beginning with the airport train to the gate. Hanging on is for sissies!

And we’re off! It was the first time either girl had ridden on an airplane. I told Moon previously that it was just like riding in a car. This photo was taken about thirty seconds before she informed me it was NOTHING like that. She was right. I can TEXT while riding in a car.

The first ride we hit in the park was Aladdin’s Flying Carpets. Neither girl was impressed despite the fact they could have fallen to their DEATHS.

When I was 18, I went to Disney with my parents. This ride, It’s A Small World, was my mother’s favorite. I am much too young and hip to like it. I just went along for the kids. Twice.

The Race Car ride gave the girls a chance to perfect their driving skills. I rode with Rimfire while JD and Moon brought up the rear. Despite the fact that there were HUGE signs imploring people NOT to bump the cars in front of them, a certain person set a terrible example for another certain young child that will one day be driving HIS car and when she wrecks it and gets a ticket for following too closely I think we all know who I’ll blame.

Moon is not a thrill seeker at all, so I was pleasantly surprised that she tried every ride we wanted to do at least once. This was a  roller-coaster called Runaway Train Thunder Mountain Goat or something. Hey, I walked 4 parks for 19 hours, I can’t be expected to remember everything. But this was Moon’s favorite ride and the first thing she wanted to do on Day Two. Which is weird considering THIS is the way she looked the first time she rode it.

Rimfire’s favorite ride was Splash Mountain. Kittens, I’m not going to lie – I hate the feeling of falling. And when I saw the FIVE STORY DROP that is the finale of Splash Mountain, I was hesitant. But I remembered the speech and jumped in the boat. The ride actually lasts about five minutes and includes a few small dips and drops, enough to get your heart racing. And it was during those drops that I developed The Theory. See, I figured that if I held my breath, the feeling in my stomach would lessen. Maybe, just MAYBE, holding my breath would tighten my stomach muscles and the terrible sinking feeling would go away.

And I was ducking so I wouldn’t get wet. And closing my eyes so I wouldn’t see our fatal end.

Moon just thought she was about to die.

The View from the Couch

I had a very exciting day today, and by “exciting”, I mean the opposite of that. I woke up, got Moon off to school, then shivered on the couch for an hour listening to it rain outside. I was trying to work up a good excuse for skipping my Monday morning prayer group. You know that saying, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”? That pretty much sums up my life. Luckily, the women I meet with came up with an excuse FIRST, so I was off the hook.

I spent the next two hours working on my laptop while watching Pride and Prejudice. Again. I may have seen it a few dozen times, but what can I say? Mr. Darcy has bewitched me body and soul, and I…love him and wish never to be parted from him from this day on.

I may have a problem.

After I finished my work, and my movie, I decided to brave the rain and do a little shopping. I bought three Christmas gifts for about 8 dollars total, but it’s the thought that counts, right? I’m pretty sure the gifts will go over well, despite the cheap price tag. Two words – Star. Wars. If you think I’ve seen P & P a bunch, it pales in comparison to how many times JD has seen ALL SIX Star Wars movies.

My husband may have a problem.

I was in my fourth store when I began to think, “I wonder if anyone realizes I’m shopping in my pj’s?” When you’re wearing a heavy coat, you don’t really NEED to wear a bra, amiright? And who can tell the difference between fleece pajama pants, and plain fleece pants? No one!

I came home just in time to help Moon with her schoolwork, tell JD what to cook for dinner, and settle back down on the couch for a few more hours on the laptop. It’s nice to sit and work, while the family watches television together. Moon is on episode 228 of the Andy Griffith Show. Another week or so and she will have seen them all.

My daughter may have a problem.

Let’s see, I’ve watched approximately 78 hours of Pride and Prejudice, JD has seen at LEAST 120 hours of Star Wars, and Moon has logged 114 hours of Andy Griffith. That is AWESOME. Team Tyre loves the classics!

I’ve got no problem with that.

Showing the Kids A Good Time

So Thursday, our niece called to see what we were doing this weekend because she was considering coming for a visit. I told her that other than hanging with Robert Pattison of Twilight fame for some help on his make-out scenes, I was free. Surprisingly, she decided to drive right up.

And then we put her to work.

Hey, it wasn’t like she showed up with a migraine, couldn’t go out to eat cause she threw up in the parking lot, and had to take medication so she could fall into bed in a dead sleep. Oh, yeah, it WAS like that. But if there’s one thing my mother taught me, it’s you can be just as sick working as you can be in bed.

Once she figured out this wasn’t an infirmary ward, she got into the spirit of things.

She’s not riding without a helmet. She’s sitting perfectly still in front of a wind machine.

In an effort to show her a good time, we went to Big Lots, Lowes, church and a rug store. AND a restaurant called Cow Tippers.

Robert Pattinson didn’t actually show up, but she found some hot chocolate on sale at Big Lots, so at least she got something out of the deal.

Moron Test Kitchen – Carrot Casserole

Hear me out on this one. When I was a teenager, my mom went through a “health food” kick. Since we only ate fast food about twice the entire time I was growing up, I don’t know what other kind of kick we were usually on, but at some point, she decided to shake things up a bit. I don’t remember much about it, except one night she made carrot casserole and I LOVED it. I raved about it so much it became a staple of our weekly dinners. Nah, she NEVER made it again. She has claimed through the years that she lost the recipe. Whatever, that’s what Google is for, amiright?

Here’s the recipe as found on

8 cups of sliced carrots,

1 can of cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)

1 small onion

1 4 oz can of mushroom stems and pieces (drained)

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon of butter or margarine

1 cup of soft bread crumbs.

First, I chopped up a bazillion carrots. Later, my sister-in-law mentioned she’d probably just buy a bag of frozen, but the Moron Kitchen doesn’t cut corners! Plus, I never though of that. Put the carrots in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer until tender.

While all that is going on, saute your onions and mushrooms in a tablespoon of butter. I guess I got a little sloppy with the carrots, but flinging them in with the onions didn’t hurt things any. And because we had a bunch of fresh mushrooms, we just cut some up and threw them in with the onions instead of using the canned kind. I might have forgotten to take a picture, but trust me on this.

Once the carrots are tender, drain the water, then throw the onions and mushrooms in the pot. Add 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, the mushroom soup, and mix well. Then pour into a greased 2.5 quart cooking dish and top with bread crumbs.

Throw it all in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes and voila –

Serious YUM. Honestly, I ate 4 helpings! JD liked it, my brother liked it, and my sister-in-law said it made her heart happy!

The actual recipe says it’s only about 140 calories per cup, so it’s light AND delicious. If I had to change anything, I might add another half cup of the soup. I loved the creamy mushroom taste.

Moron Test: A+. It’s so good, I might even make it for my mother next week. Once.

Fully Juiced

Success! Yesterday was day 15 of my 15 day reboot, and I have to admit, I’m pretty happy to be done. Not that it wasn’t good, but I’m ready for a bowl of beans, or maybe a piece of fish. If you’re not familiar with the reboot, the idea comes from the movie – Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. The website,, explained three different programs to get started. I went with the Reboot Entry Program.

Our entry plan is a 15 day journey to wellness. In this plan, you can juice and blend produce as well as eat raw and cooked vegetables and fruits in any order or combination that suits your life. This program is intended for those who are brand new to eating a plant-based diet, those who have recently completed a juice fast or those who would like to participate in a Reboot, but don’t want to exclusively juice, for 5 days. In this program you can juice with eating for the entire time.

The Juice –

I bought my juicer years ago at a yard sale for about 5 bucks. It worked fine, until Day 15 when I broke the handle. I juiced, in various amounts and concoctions – carrots, celery, kale, cucumbers, apples, oranges, pears, lime, ginger, plums, beets, grapes and spinach. Believe it or not, most of it was delicious. The green juice wasn’t my favorite, but it was better than I had expected. Carrots, apples, celery and pears make a yummy drink.

The Food –

I ate all of the above, plus asparagus, olives, artichoke hearts, broccoli, bananas, zucchini, squash, onions, okra, collards, mushrooms, white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Most of the time I ate it raw, but at least one meal would be cooked. Typically I’d juice for breakfast and lunch, then eat a big salad with a baked beet, or asparagus for dinner.

What I Didn’t Have –

Caffeine, Sugar, Bread, Meat, Beans, Nuts, Cheese, Dairy, Eggs or Liquor

Eating Out

I only ate out three times. I ordered a salad and a plain baked potato with a side of salsa at O’Charleys, and the veggie plate at West Cobb Diner. Houston’s was a problem, and I finally had to go with a Caesar salad.

Cheating –

I was really, REALLY good. On day 4, I ate nuts before I realized it was on the forbidden list, and on day 12 I ate black-eyed peas because I forgot! Other than that, I didn’t stray from the diet.

How I Felt-

Week one was HARD. My head throbbed, my face broke out, and I got knots in my muscles. Seriously. I decided on day 2 that if getting off caffeine was that hard, I never wanted to drink it again. By week two, my head had stopped hurting and I actually felt great. GREAT.

I didn’t really miss anything terribly. The hardest days were watching JD eat perfectly grilled salmon, and going to a party where hot wings were prevalent. My brother had a bbq just to torture me, but as long as I had veggies, I was fine. No hard-core cravings!

The Cost –

Kittens, produce ain’t cheap. But I didn’t just think about what I was eating, I thought about what I WASN’T.  A 3 pound bag of apples was 3.29 but a bag of Doritos is close to 4! And while pears may be 2.29 a pound, steak is a lot more. I didn’t go organic, shopping mainly at Costco and Walmart, and I went for the cheaper things like apples over oranges, and celery over pears.

Exercise –

I did my usual amount of exercise, which is to say very little. The first week I didn’t feel like doing any, but after that I walked a few times and did sit-ups as the mood struck me.

The Big Reveal –

So how much did I lose? After two weeks and one day of juicing and eating veggies and fruit ONLY, I lost a total of NINE  pounds. Considering I usually diet for a week and lose .2 pounds, this is EPIC.

Now What?-

Although I started this as a way to lose some weight, now that I have 15 days under my shrinking belt, I want to keep going! Not with the whole program, but I’d like to keep eating better. I’m planning on introducing fish, eggs and beans back in the diet soon, but caffeine is no longer my friend. Sugar – who needs it? Bread, I can take it or leave it. Liquor – okay, let’s not go crazy.

Whew, I’m glad that’s over.

So the record for walking stands at two days in a row. I was prepared to head to the park but J.D. woke up with a little issue I like to call “breathing.”  After his “breathing treatment”, it was too late to go. Which is too bad because I was really thinking this might be the day I tried fast walking.

Maybe later.

After JD started “breathing” again, we went on a photo shoot. I needed some new photos, he’s a great photographer,  all I needed was a good-looking model.

A great bridge partner AND a super-model, I have the best friends. And the best husband. When he’s “breathing”.

Friday Funny

One of my favorite blogs to check out every couple of days is called Catalog Living, It imagines life if the photos in your Pottery Barn catalog were real, actual spaces inhabited by people. An example:

I can’t believe it took us this long to finally frame our twigs, torn book pages, and lucky number 8. (Pottery Barn photo)

or this:

It was just Buster’s luck: finally perfect the cup-on-the-head trick and no one’s there to witness it. (Pier 1)

You’ll never look at your catalog the same.