A blog about "nothing"!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Photo(s) of the Week, November 24, 2014-and taking a break!

One thing I really miss about our old house is putting up bird feeders.  Sure, we could put them up here, but the neighbor behind us feeds squirrels.  When they are done eating at her house, they like to come empty our feeders.  Uh, I don't think so!  Nevermind.  I do remember seeing a feeder for sale that flings the squirrels when they get on it, that could be rather entertaining...

I'm taking a break from writing on this blog for a couple of weeks for a number of reasons.  First off, we've had several family issues come up that have left us kind of reeling.  As a result, we are way behind on getting ready for the holidays.  Then when I went to look for photos to share for December, I realized I didn't have anything!  I don't take many photos in December and what I do take is mostly family events.  On that note, I guess I will see you after the new year. 
So...Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My latest "guilty pleasure"

We all have them, guilty pleasures that maybe we do or maybe we don't want to admit.  My husband laughs at me over this one, but I'm finding out that there are quite a few people who are admitting this one lately.  What is it??? The television show Masterchef Junior.

Masterchef Junior is based off the cooking show Masterchef, the difference being that all of the contestants are kids.  They have gone through an audition process of sorts, narrowed down to 24, and then before the airing of the first show, down to 16.  Each week they are presented with several different cooking challenges and at the end of show, several are eliminated. 

First off, I have to admit that I was a bit nervous since Gordon Ramsay is one of the hosts.  If you are even the least bit familiar with him, you know that he can be a bit intense, nasty and has a foul mouth.  Even with all of that, I am a big fan of his, and I usually prefer to watch the British versions of his shows as opposed to the American ones, they tend not to be as caustic, I really think that the producers of the American versions tend to push that over the top persona.  Not necessary IMHO, he's a talented chef with a great personality for TV.  And I was very pleased to see that we get NONE of that nasty side on this show.  He's joined by the two other judges from the original Masterchef, and both of them are also very pleasant.  It's nice to see a different side to this kind of television.

The real stars of the show though are the kids.  At first I couldn't quite grasp why I was so hooked on this show until I read an article on it at the NPR website.  They really pinned it down quite well-these kids are actually nice to each other!  There is none of the backstabbing, badmouthing behavior that seems to be so prevalent on the majority of reality television shows.  When one of them is having a bad time with something, the others seem genuinely concerned about their colleagues.  They all realize that while it is a competition, there is something else to it too, and they all seem to get along quite well.  They also seem to be very well balanced kids, none of that bratty Veruca Salt "I want it now" behavior. 

The other thing that blows my mind completely is the level of cooking ability these kids have.  The set up for the competitions is pretty much the same as most other cooking shows of this type, and these kids DO NOT disappoint.  Some of the stuff that they have made has left me completely speechless.  I wouldn't even try and make some of the things these kids have cooked even if I had a whole day to make it, and they are on a time limit!  Their knowledge of ingredients, technique and equipment is mind blowing.  This particular season the participants are aged 8  - 12, and they all seem to have an extensive knowledge of the kitchen.  The most recent episode had one of the girls decide to use truffle butter in her recipe.  She's 9.  When I was 9 I barely knew the difference between butter and margarine!

At the moment it would be difficult to pick out who the winner is going to be, these kids are really talented.  After last nights elimination we are down to 8.  I'm not going to say too much more about the eliminations in case you haven't seen the show, but I do believe we definitely have the top 8 competing.  Not that the other kids weren't good, but these ones just have that little bit of extra something that it takes. 

I will say that I'm super excited that my favorite of the group from the very beginning is still in it.  Abby is only 8, making her the youngest competitor from both seasons.  She's just cute as a button, says she has been cooking since she was 2 (wow!) and has the confidence to pull it off.  She reminds me of an American Girl doll come to life, maybe that's why I like her so much.

I didn't watch the first season of this, but once this one is over with, I probably will go back and see it.  In case you want to watch, the entire first season is currently available on HuluPlus and season 2 is partially available as well, episodes are posted for the free version approximately one week after airing.  Just be prepared to be completely amazed at the cooking skills of these kids. I know I am. 

Photo from the Masterchef Junior Website
Masterchef Junior Airs Tuesdays at 8:00PM on Fox, with a repeat airing on Fridays at 8:00PM in some markets.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This is just gross

I'm not a germ-a-phobe.  In fact, I think some people are far too obsessed about germs and that the general obsession with anti-bacterial soaps and such are creating more harm than good.  However, a recent segment on the Today show grossed even me, the non germ-a-phobe out. 

Lots of reports have been done about the places in hotel rooms that have the most germs.  This one took it to a different level.  They rented a room and then made it appear as though they had stayed there.  They messed up the linens, poured soda pop in a glass and drank it, then left.  Before they left they had set up hidden cameras to record just what the cleaning personnel did.

Cleaning personnel-that's a joke and a half.  They did strip the sheets as requested by the card the reporter left behind.  But they left the dirty pillow cases on!!!!  I know in my own home that the pillow cases are by far the dirtiest thing when I change my own bed.  You sweat on them, hair oils accumulate, most people drool, etc-yuck.

It gets better though.  When cleaning the bathroom, they put the dirty glasses in the sink and ran water in them.  That's it, no soap, sanitizer, didn't wash them at all.  Then they proceeded to dry them-WITH A DIRTY TOWEL THEY PICKED UP OFF THE FLOOR!!!!!!!!!  I was totally grossed out at that point.  In the one video they had used this towel to wipe off the toilet before hand and then wiped the counter off as well.  OMFG.  And not a cleaning supply in sight.

Of course, when confronted with this, the hotel management claimed it was an "isolated incident".  Isolated my ass.  They checked several chains and this was an issue at quite a few.  Makes me never want to stay in a hotel again.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  Basic hygiene practices escape a lot of people.  Common sense does too.  A few times when my washer or dryer have been out of commission, I've found myself at the laundromat.  Some of the stuff people put in the washers together is just unbelievable.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen dish towels mixed in with underwear.  I couldn't help but think "thank god I'll never be going to that person's home to eat".

Bet Jeff Rossen was wishing he hadn't drank the Coke out of that glass!

If you would like to see the full report, go to http://www.today.com/money/hotel-maids-how-much-how-little-do-they-really-clean-1D80287464

Monday, November 17, 2014

Photo of the Week, November 17, 2014

I needed a good laugh and when I came across this photo, it definitely fit the bill!  Do you know about Flat Stanley???  If you don't, it's a project based on a children's book, "Flat Stanley" is mailed to different locations around the world and the recipient takes photos of him touring the area and experiencing different things.  I was a host for a Flat Stanley from Texas a few years ago, this particular Stanley got to do a number of things from shopping, touring the local college and learning about city government.  Here he is with a friend of mine, getting a ride in an electric company bucket truck!  I think it's a wonderful way to encourage reading and also learn about geography amongst other things.  Whoever thought of this deserves a huge thumbs up in my opinion.

Very cruddy week for so many reasons here, one of which is snow, lots and lots of snow.  It is coming down as I type and supposed to continue.  Tomorrow is supposed to be bitter cold too.  This is just too early, I'm so not ready.  This isn't supposed to happen until the weekend after Thanksgiving and only then so the deer hunters can track easier.  Blech!!!  Crazy part is it's going to warm up by the end of the week and be typical autumn weather.  I can't keep up anymore. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Just who thought this was a good idea?????

It's that time of year again, the season where we are hit smack in the face with everything Christmas.  It seems like it gets earlier and earlier each year and sometimes I think it gets tackier each year as well.  I'm somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas too.  Give me a nice tree, stockings, a beautiful wreath and maybe a few knick knack type things and I'm good.  As my sister-in-law said yesterday-"We don't do cute."  No inflatable Santa on our lawn. 

I can accept most of this stuff if other want people want to do it.  I'm very much a "live and let live" kind of person, as long as what someone else is doing isn't hurting anyone.  We have a house in our neighborhood that tends to go a bit overboard for just about any holiday, but I don't make a big deal about it.  I just choose not to look at it as I drive past. 

There is one thing that happens this time of year though that drives me bananas beyond belief...cinnamon pine cones.  They start appearing in retail and grocery stores about now and honestly, I'd like to find the person who thought these damned things up and shove them up their...you know where.  These things are HORRIBLE!!!  I literally have to hold my breath when I'm in the vicinity of a display, and even then I can still smell them.  Unfortunately it's one of those things that once you get it in your nasal passages, it's hard to get rid of.

While I just hate the smell of these "things", I know that there are other people who experience severe reactions to them too.  I have had family members and friends who suffer from problems brought on by overwhelming fragrances, and these damned things most definitely qualify.  I also question the toxicity issue with these as I don't even think the scent on them is real cinnamon, but some sort of artificial liquid.  None of which can be healthy for anyone or anything.

Here's my question--who actually buys these????  I don't know of a single person in my circle of friends and family who likes these, and when you are in the store, I hear nothing but complaints.  I don't know about you, but if I wanted pinecones bad enough, I am sure that I could visit any number of people and pick some out of the yard.  I know, you're thinking "oh, those probably have bugs and such in them."  Well guess what???  Those ones that you buy in the stores aren't bug free either, there was an incident about 10 or so years ago with them, they were advising people to either throw them out in a sealed bag or put them in a Ziploc type bag in the freezer to kill the little critters.  Serious concerns about if they thrived and reproduced, they could wipe out a specific species of tree here in the US.  Ick.  I think I'd rather have bugs from my native country rather than ones brought in from other places in the world, thank you.  But really, I'd rather not have them period. 

My other question-why can't they be put in sealed bags to sell?  Then if someone really felt that they needed to buy them, they still could, without attacking the olfactory system of those who don't like the smell.  We put other things in bags to keep odors in or out, to me this would be the perfect item for a well sealed bag.

I'm done, I've said my piece.  I hate these things with a passion.  I walked past a box of them today while stopping to get milk and about gagged, and it wasn't even a very big display of them.  I just can't help but think that these can't possibly be healthy at all.  If you see a woman at the store holding her breath or her nose during the holiday season, it might be me. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Photo of the Week, November 10, 2014

This is one of my favorite photos of our dog Gilligan, sunbathing in our dining room.  He loved finding a spot of sunlight and on this particular day, the light was just perfect.  I think he slept there for several hours!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Photo of the Week, November 3, 2014

I thought I would share some colors of fall with everyone!  It is my favorite time of year, but when the weather is as hit and miss as it is around here, you never know what you are going to get.  The year I took these particular pictures it was especially pretty.  We've had a very pretty season here this year so far, it's probably getting close to the end, but you never know.  Some areas in the east had snow over the weekend, yuck!  They had threatened some here, but it missed us, thank heavens.