Tuesday, March 29, 2011



On Saturday, March 19, 2011, we celebrated the first birthday of our baby-baby, Luna Pixiedust! 

{Truth be told, we have no idea of her actual birth date b/c she showed up on our front porch in late August.  At her first vet appointment, I learned that she was about 6 months old (they could tell from her teeth), even tho they at first estimated about 4 months from her weight (only 4 lbs.).} 

We picked March 19th b/c it was the full moon for the month (Luna was named as such b/c she came to us within days of the full moon in August) ... and then we learned it was a Super Full Moon ~~ even more special for our Luna!!!  We like to give our kids "cake" with a candle and by cake, I mean, a small container of moist cat food.  Each cat gets his/her own and then we might mix them up to share.  This year, we gave Luna and her big sister, Isis, a can of Iams (different flavors).  They each dug in and then I grabbed a couple plates and scooped out a bit of each, so they could have variety.  Isis wasted no time in cleaning her plate.  She then went over to "help" her little sister ... eventually, cleaning Luna's plate, too!!!  Here is a pic of the girlies sharing:

Isis (11) & Luna (1)

Here is Miss Luna Pixiedust at 1 year

Isn't she beautiful?!

I cannot believe how much I love this little peanut!  At first, she was really, really a handful and I was bound & determined, on more than one occasion, to be rid of her.  The Universe had other ideas, tho, and I am so glad my attempts were foiled.  She has helped to heal my heart from the loss of our boy, Caesar, for sho!  And I think Isis enjoys the exercise that Luna wants to give her!!! 


We also celebrated a birthday  for one of my great aunts.  Aunt Teresa turned 85.  She is my paternal grandmother's sister.  {My grandma, unfortunately, has not been with us since the early 1980's (passing away around 50), when I was 9 or 10.  I didn't get to really know her and it's a bummer.}

We sort of "crashed" the little birthday gathering in South Bend b/c my cousin, Mona, who lives in Florida, but grew up in New York (Ithaca, to be exact), was going to be there with her daughter.  (Aunt Teresa is Mona's grandma.) 

Mona and I met at her aunt, Erma's, wedding in 1986.  We had both begun our freshman year of high school.  We didn't know of the other's existence until that fateful nite, where we chatted a bit and hung out (apparently from some strong prodding by my dad).  We took an instant liking for each other and became pen pals (her in Ithaca and me in Crown Point) ... and I mean real pen pals here, folks!  This is WAY, WAY before the internet ~~ we used real paper and pens and envelopes and stamps and had to wait days for the letters to arrive!!!  Over all of these years, we have only been together 4 times, but we are closer than anyone could have ever imagined or hoped.  We didn't grow up together, yet we have so much in common.  We are always learning things about each other and are still shocked when we realize our similarities!!!  I love her like a sister (truth be told ... she and I are closer and have more in common than I do with my actual sisters) ~~ and she is an only child, so I hope I am like a sister for her, too!  My only wish is that we could live by one another.  We would so enjoy hanging out with Mona, her husband, Mike, and their daughter, Eislinn.

Cousins, Pen pals, Friends, Sisters since September 13, 1986!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Almond Butter (Attempt #1)

My first almond butter!

A couple weeks ago we found out that Chris is allergic to peanuts!  UGH!  We could not have been more surprised at this revelation as we were eating peanut butter daily!!  Chris kept a jar at work, I keep a jar at work and we have a jar at home (plus 1 or 2 stockpiled).  I eat it in my oatmeal and on toast; Chris made PB & J at work several times a week.  It was almost devastating!!!  (He doesn't have such a high allergy that he needs to carry an epi-pen, etc., but it may have been causing some G/I issues that he wants to avoid.) 

However, the alternative, a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, would have been FAR worse ... and costly!! I cannot imagine giving up pasta, bread, crackers, baked goods ... so many, many things.  We would either have to buy the special "gluten-free" alternatives and/or make our own.  YIKES!  I would have changed my diet along with Chris, but, man, that would have been so immensely life-altering!  We are foodies and the limitations would have been so very sad! 

I have been wanting to make Almond Butter for awhile ... after reading about it on a blog or two.  So, even tho Chris can eat peanuts and peanut butter, this was the perfect excuse.  I had no recipe to reference.  I used almonds, a bit of olive oil and a bit of almond milk.  I think I should have only used the almond milk, but I forgot we had it until after adding the olive oil.  It wasn't great, but it is pretty good.  Chris has been eating it (maybe he is just being nice...) and I would like to try my hand at some more.  Make some with cinnamon and maple, possibly even pumpkin (my fave!!).

I also got him some Soy Butter.  Not really a true PB substitute.

We looked at Maranatha Almond Butter at Costco, but it says there may be peanuts and we are trying our best to avoid the allergen whenever possible. 

Here are some links for AB recipes that I want to master:


And  Pecan Butter, too:

Today is the 9th anniversary of my father's passing, yet I am at peace.  Today is filled with both joy & nostalgia as I remember our life together.  I love you and miss you, Dad!  (Always did and always will...)

Share your love today.  Then you will know that they know how you really feel and you won't have to wonder that they knew when you can no longer tell them. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

A few good reads!

Wanted to share some book recommendations with ya!  I am a voracious reader!  I have 2 library cards (one for the city where I live and one for the city where I work), so that I am always able to pop in and look for the next best read!! 

Last year (or was it maybe 2 years ago), I devoured The Devil in the White City.  WOW!!!  This is a 2-fer: there are 2 stories in one here.  It is alot of reading ... very wordy ~~ I LOVED IT!!!.  The World's Fair in Chicago paired with a gruesome serial killer ~~ okay, sure!  I live near Chicago and am very interested in its history.  Cracker Jacks, the Ferris Wheel and Tesla's electric current all made debuts at the Chicago World's Fair ... who knew?  Certainly not me. 

It seems the book is going to be made into a movie starring Leonardo Dicaprio as the nefarious doctor/serial killer. 

Curious side note: last year, while on a haunted tour in the Irvington section of Indianapolis, we stood right in front of one of the houses the "good doctor" briefly occupied and where the bones of child victims were found.  How surprised was I??!!

Another Chicago history book, Sin in the Second City tells the tale of the Everleigh Club and other "houses of ill repute".  Still ringing true today, Chicago politics played a HUGE part in the "success" of the red-light operations.  The buildings that housed the Everleigh Club still stand today and I think I will have to make a point to detour in that direction on one of our next Chicago trips.  Just to stand there and look to my left and to my right and know that reformers, prostitutes, madams, "johns" and the boys in blue, sometimes side-by-side, paraded up and down this very street! 

Currently, I am reading American Rose, the story of Rose Louise Hovick as she becomes Gypsy Rose Lee.  I know a movie, Gypsy, was made some time ago and I have no idea how close to her real story it is, but I now want to give it a watch.  (Gonna have to see if our library has a copy...) 

And I would love to learn the art of burlesque.  Yep, I said ART ... if you don't believe me, then maybe you should check out Dita Von Teese, probably the most well-known burlesque performer today.  Good fun!!

Friday, March 18, 2011


One of our LA Boxing instructors will be making his UFC debut tomorrow!! 

Eddie Wineland, first WEC Bantamweight champ, takes on Urijah Faber in the Co-Main Event at UFC 128. 

We will be watching Eddie (~WIN!!~) at a local BW3 with some friends from LA Boxing.  I am anxious, excited, proud!!

The winner of this fight should get a title shot against Dominic Cruz.  AND, hopefully, the winner also gets the opportunity to be a coach on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.

We also have another trainer, Jake Rosenbaum, headed out to be with Eddie and to tryout for the next season of TUF.  We want Eddie to win tomorrow nite, become the TUF coach and have Jake on his team!!  How amazing would that be for both of them?!  (And all of us vicariously...)

So, if you aren't in Faber's corner, please cheer on our friend, EDDIE WINELAND!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011


My Johnny does it again!  His signature quirkiness brings Rango to life!!! 

There's even a "cameo" by Hunter S. Thompson (Johnny's good friend from his "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas" days and the upcoming "Rum Diaries").

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