Friday Harbor Labs, UW

Come see where Amoeba works.  Dave Hays, a UW film making class student, interviewed Hillary, one of the TAs who works with Charley (Amoeba) and Megan in their “ZooBot” class which is an entire quarter (16 credits: Marine Zoology 5 credits; Marine Botany 5 credits; and a Research Apprenticeship in Intertidal Ecology and Physiology for 6 credits).   Hillary is currently working on her PhD focusing on the study of the interactions of marine organisms with their environment.

That might all sound intimidating, but the video below makes it easy to understand and gives you a glimpse of Amoeba’s working environment.

Stumbling Toward Heaven

One wouldn’t expect a book about cancer to be a laugh-out-loud read, but this one is. In Stumbling Toward Heaven: Cancer, Crashes and Questions, Mike Hamel takes us through his struggles with cancer, God, and the aftermath of his auto accident. This a true story told with unusual candor and brilliant insights, and it isn’t just a book for cancer patients.  If you or anyone you love have ever suffered a life altering catastrophe or struggled over questions of God’s will in your life, you will find this book a heart and soul stirring read.

~*~

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

 

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

Stumbling Toward Heaven: Cancer, Crashes and Questions

CreateSpace (March 24, 2011)

***Special thanks to Mike Hamel for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Mike Hamel is the author of a dozen books and a cancer survivor who lives and writes in the shadow of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.

Visit the author’s website.

 

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Stumbling Toward Heaven is about my struggle with cancer in particular and life in general. It describes in detail what the disease has done to my body and what life before and during treatment has done to my mind, which has never been very stable in the first place. It follows my physical and spiritual journey toward the Valley of the Shadow of Death and beyond. It’s written for everyone who has been impacted by life-threatening catastrophes.

This book is also meant for those who find themselves spiritually “off the reservation” as novelist and cancer survivor Kinky Friedman would say. For a long time I’ve been “out where the (church) buses don’t run”—another Kinkyism—and it’s surprising how many people have wandered out here for one reason or another.

On May 16th, TV News 5 (Colorado) ran a story about Mike. Click HERE to see the interview!

 

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 270 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (March 24, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1461005000
ISBN-13: 978-1461005001

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Good News, It’s Cancer!

July 2, 2008
“I have good news,” Dr. Dillon said, leaning forward on his elbows. “You have cancer. The biopsy shows the lump in your abdomen is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and not an omental tumor as the initial scan suggested.”

Lymphoma is good news indeed. The first time I’d seen the good doctor a few weeks earlier he’d said, “You have a nonspecific mass in your omentum.”

“I didn’t even know I had an omentum,” I replied.

“It’s a fatty covering in the abdomen.”

“How big is the mass?” (“Mass” sounds more benign that “tumor.”)

“About the diameter of a grapefruit,” he said, making a circle with thumbs and forefingers. “The nearby lymph nodes are also enlarged.”

Dr. Dillon had no idea how long the tumor had been growing. I got introduced to it in the spring of 2008. I was getting low-grade cramps after sitting at my computer all day, which I put down to poor posture. Then I woke up two nights in a row with abdominal pain I couldn’t blame on posture or indigestion. That’s when I first felt the hardness in my gut.

The cramps went away about the time I made an appointment with my family physician but the lump remained. I remember kneading my gut on the way to the doctor’s trying to rekindle the pain that had caused me to make the appointment in the first place. Turns out I didn’t have to worry about wasting the doctor’s time; he could feel the abnormality and wouldn’t buy my glib explanation that it was my abs of steel.

“It’s only hard on one side,” he pointed out.

“Okay,” I conceded, “How about ab of steel?”

“How about you get a CT scan,” he countered.

The scan revealed a mass large enough to warrant an immediate trip to a surgeon/oncologist, which is how I wound up at Dr. Dillon’s.

Larry Dillon is a personable man with salt-and-pepper hair, an open face and straightforward manner. During our first visit he had explained to my wife, Susan, and me that the normal course of treatment is a complete surgical resection of the omentum. Before we left he warned about doing research on the Internet because the information on solid omental tumors “will scare you silly.”

He got that right.

I had no problem finding authoritative articles on omental masses. I had hoped it was something Catholics attended during Lent, but no such luck. An article on eMedicine clinically stated that, “Patients with primary malignant tumors of the omentum have a median survival time of only six months. Only 10-20% of patients are alive two years after surgical excision.”1

The word that popped out at me was “survival,” a stark concept for a fifty-six-year-old who had seldom been sick and who had only been in a hospital as a visitor. Till now my closest brushes with mortality had been conducting funerals as a pastor. All that was about to change. Since then I’ve been in and out of hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. I have gone from a high-energy to a high-maintenance lifestyle; from avoiding even aspirin to popping up to twenty pills a day and having lethal doses of toxic chemicals injected directly into my chest.
Scan This, Biopsy That

The transition from diagnosis (determining what’s wrong with a person), to prognosis (discerning how a disease will progress), is facilitated by a plethora of tests. It was a CT scan that sent me to Dr. Dillon. He in turn ordered a biopsy of the mass in my abdomen.

Computed Axial Tomography, aka CAT or CT scan, was invented in 1972 by a British engineer and a South African physicist, both of whom later received Nobel Prizes for their contributions to medicine and science. Tomos is Greek for “slice” and graphia means “without a knife.” The CT scan uses X-rays and computers to examine the body in 3-D, which sure beats exploratory surgery! It allows radiologists to see diseases and abnormalities that, in the past, could only be found by surgeons—or coroners. Thankfully, the procedure is painless, unless you count drinking the contrast solution, which tastes like banana-flavored chalk.

I reported to Memorial Hospital on June 26 for my tumor biopsy. I remember talking to a nurse named Tammy while on the examination table and the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room an hour later. Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and the skills of top-flight professionals, I can truly say the process was painless.

As I looked at my stomach after the biopsy, I noticed the “x” they made before the procedure was an inch below the actual cut. I pointed this out to Tammy, who explained that they’d marked me while I was holding my breath during the scan. Once I was under, I relaxed, hence the change in location. There went my hopes of a malpractice suit. Actually, I was impressed at how personable and professional the medical personnel have treated me) an observation that has held true throughout my treatment).

All I have to show for the biopsy the next day is a small bruise and a slight soreness. I feel pretty upbeat but I’m careful not to get too exuberant or else I’ll pay the price. To an extent, I believe Newton’s Third Law also applies to emotions: “For every feeling, there is an equal and opposite feeling.” Like other natural forces, emotions come finely balanced on a shifting fulcrum.

The hardest part of this ordeal so far has been telling family and friends and hearing the concern and tears in their voices. The possibility of a shortened life hasn’t registered on me yet. I’m not trying to suppress my feelings; they just haven’t gotten too worked up.

Obviously God has entered my thoughts but this crisis hasn’t suddenly cured my inability to pray. For a few years now I’ve suffered from the loss of a sense of God’s presence and shed my evangelical worldview. I’ve been adrift in a spiritual Sargasso Sea, which may have contributed to my getting sick. More on this later.

* * *

“Cancer is a word, not a sentence.”

—John Diamond

Thyme Out

… and oregano, cilantro, dill, mint, peas, beans, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, onions, peppers, plus assorted flowers.

I work about 6 hours per day in the yard. I literally made my garden by pulling one handful of grass at a time and working the soil with a hand spade. I still have a strawberry patch to prep and plant — and then 4 more flower gardens, because I would rather pick flowers than mow. Given my ambitions, I am probably not going to be a good blogger again for quite some time.

Come visit me on Facebook. I usually check in there in the morning, at lunch time and after dinner. I just don’t have the time, energy, or stamina for anything in more than 5 minute bytes. Sorry.

On the plus side, I have a nice tan and I am sleeping really well! I also think my stomach muscles are improving — and it is easy to eat less when I am outside far from the fridge and covered in mud. Not only that, our yard is shaping up nicely.

I will still have to do paid posts and I’ll visit from time to time, but I don’t know when I’ll return to play.

Punny Monday 11.05.16

Welcome to Punny Monday. This is a fun little guessing game meant to spark your imagination and tickle your punny bone. Every Monday I post an original photo and ask my readers to figure out what was going on in my brain (or Amoeba’s) when he/I/we made it. Posting time varies so every time zone occasionally gets a fair shot at being first to see the game.

Here is the image you need to base your guess on:

 

What phrase does this photo represent? EMAIL your answers and leave a comment designed to either help or confuse your fellow game players. The first contestant to EMAIL me the right answer wins a featured link in my blog which will display until next Monday when we’ll play this little game again. Enjoy.

PLEASE, do not write your guess in the comments. It spoils the game for the other players. Your guesses will be shared when the game ends. Oh, and just because someone announces they’ve won, doesn’t mean that they have. Please keep guessing until I post the answers!

~*~

Sated

May 16, 2011, 9:56 a.m. — Bill — Punch Drunk
May 16, 2011, 9:57 a.m. — Barbara — Punch Drunk
May 16, 2011, 10:47 a.m. — Doug — Punched Out
May 16, 2011, 11:01 a.m. — Linda — Punch Drunk
May 16, 2011, 11:09 a.m. — Karen A — Punch Drunk
May 16, 2011, 11:21 a.m. — Jim — Punch Drunk
May 16, 2011, 12:54 p.m. — Kelley — Punch Drunk
May 16, 2011, 3:39 p.m. — Carletta — Punch Drunk
May 16, 2011, 8:29 p.m. — Mumma — Punch Drunk

Thirsty

May 16, 2011, 9:57 a.m. — Barbara — How about a nice Hawaiian punch?; Pleased as punch; Good to the last drop
May 16, 2011, 11:06 a.m. — Peg — Punched Out Cold
May 16, 2011, 11:21 a.m. — Jim — punched down; don’t cry over spilled punch; down for the count; punch out; punched out

The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble

If you have a little time to kill and you’re looking for some light entertainment, you might enjoy The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble. Even though it is the third book in the Mercy Falls series, the story stands on it’s own.

I did find myself getting irritated a couple of times. The author’s hand could clearly been seen in forced and/or unrealistic character reactions. Olivia is firmly convinced that Harrison murdered her sister, and yet she falls in love with him anyway? Not to mention that Olivia didn’t always come off as very lovable. Just the same, I would give the book a 3 out of 5. It was a pleasant read and good for an afternoon’s light entertainment.

~*~

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

 

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

The Lightkeeper’s Ball

Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Colleen Coble’s thirty-five novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers Best, and the 2009 Best Books of Indiana-Fiction award. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Olivia seems to have it all, but her heart yearns for more.

Olivia Stewart’s family is one of the Four Hundred—the highest echelon of society in 1910. When her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Olivia leaves their New York City home for Mercy Falls, California, to determine what befell Eleanor. She suspects Harrison Bennett, the man Eleanor planned to marry. But the more Olivia gets to know him, the more she doubts his guilt—and the more she is drawn to him herself.

When several attempts are made on her life, Olivia turns to Harrison for help. He takes her on a ride in his aeroplane, but then crashes, and they’re forced to spend two days alone together. With her reputation hanging by a thread, Harrison offers to marry her to make the situation right. As a charity ball to rebuild the Mercy Falls lighthouse draws near, she realizes she wants more than a sham engagement—she wants Harrison in her life forever. But her enemy plans to shatter the happiness she is ready to grasp. If Olivia dares to drop her masquerade, she just might see the path to true happiness.

 

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (April 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159554268X
ISBN-13: 978-1595542687

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

The New York brownstone was just half a block down from the Astor mansion on Fifth Avenue, the most prestigious address in the country. The carriage, monogrammed with the Stewart emblem, rattled through the iron gates and came to a halt in front of the ornate doors. Assisted by the doorman, Olivia Stewart descended and rushed for the steps of her home. She was late for tea, and her mother would be furious. Mrs. Astor herself had agreed to join them today.

Olivia handed her hat to the maid, who opened the door. “They’re in the drawing room, Miss Olivia,” Goldia whispered. “Your mama is ready to pace the floor.”

Olivia patted at her hair, straightened her shoulders, and pinned a smile in place as she forced her stride to a ladylike stroll to join the other women. Two women turned to face her as she entered: her mother and Mrs. Astor. They wore identical expressions of disapproval.

“Olivia, there you are,” her mother said. “Sit down before your tea gets cold.”

Olivia pulled off her gloves as she settled into the Queen Anne chair beside Mrs. Astor. “I apologize for my tardiness,” she said. “A lorry filled with tomatoes overturned in the street, and my driver couldn’t get around it.”

Mrs. Astor’s face cleared. “Of course, my dear.” She sipped her tea from the delicate blue-and-white china. “Your dear mother and I were just discussing your prospects. It’s time you married.”

Oh dear. She’d hoped to engage in light conversation that had nothing to do with the fact that she was twenty-five and still unmarried. Her unmarried state distressed her if she let it, but every man her father brought to her wanted only her status. She doubted any of them had ever looked into her soul. “I’m honored you would care about my marital status, Mrs. Astor,” Olivia said.

“Mrs. Astor wants to hold a ball in your honor, Olivia,” her mother gushed. “She has a distant cousin coming to town whom she wants you to meet.”

Mrs. Astor nodded. “I believe you and Matthew would suit. He owns property just down the street.”

Olivia didn’t mistake the reference to the man’s money. Wealth would be sure to impact her mother. She opened her mouth to ask if the man was her age, then closed it at the warning glint in her mother’s eyes.

“He’s been widowed for fifteen years and is long overdue for a suitable wife,” Mrs. Astor said.

Olivia barely suppressed a sigh. So he was another of the decrepit gentlemen who showed up from time to time. “You’re very kind,” she said.

“He’s most suitable,” her mother said. “Most suitable.”

Olivia caught the implication. They spent the next half an hour discussing the date and the location. She tried to enter into the conversation with interest, but all she could do was imagine some gray-whiskered blue blood dancing her around the ballroom. She stifled a sigh of relief when Mrs. Astor took her leave and called for her carriage.

“I’ll be happy when you’re settled, Olivia,” her mother said when they returned to the drawing room. “Mrs. Astor is most kind.”

“She is indeed.” Olivia pleated her skirt with her fingers. “Do you ever wish you could go somewhere incognito, Mother? Where no one has expectations of you because you are a Stewart?”

Her mother put down her saucer with a clatter. “Whatever are you babbling about, my dear?”

“Haven’t you noticed that people look at us differently because we’re Stewarts? How is a man ever to love me for myself when all he sees is what my name can gain him? Men never see inside to the real me. They notice only that I’m a Stewart.”

“Have you been reading those novels again?” Her mother sniffed and narrowed her gaze on Olivia. “Marriage is about making suitable connections. You owe it to your future children to consider the life you give them. Love comes from respect. I would find it quite difficult to respect someone who didn’t have the gumption to make his way in the world. Besides, we need you to marry well. You’re twenty-five years old and I’ve indulged your romantic notions long enough. Heaven knows your sister’s marriage isn’t what I had in mind, essential though it may be. Someone has to keep the family name in good standing.”

Olivia knew what her duty demanded, but she didn’t have to like it. “Do all the suitable men have to be in their dotage?”

Her mother’s eyes sparked fire but before she spoke, Goldia appeared in the doorway. “Mr. Bennett is here, Mrs. Stewart.”

Olivia straightened in her chair. “Show him in. He’ll have news of Eleanor.”

Bennett appeared in the doorway moments later. He shouldn’t have been imposing. He stood only five-foot-three in his shoes, which were always freshly polished. He was slim, nearly gaunt, with a patrician nose and obsidian eyes. He’d always reminded Olivia of a snake about to strike. His expression never betrayed any emotion, and today was no exception. She’d never understood why her father entertained an acquaintance with the man let alone desired their families to be joined.

“Mr. Bennett.” She rose and extended her hand and tried not to flinch as he brushed his lips across it.

“Miss Olivia,” he said, releasing her hand. He moved to her mother’s chair and bowed over her extended hand.

Olivia sank back into her chair. “What do you hear of my sister? I have received no answer to any of my letters.”

He took a seat, steepled his fingers, and leaned forward. “That’s the reason for our meeting today. I fear I have bad news to impart.”

Her pulse thumped erratically against her ribcage. She wetted her lips and drew in a deep breath. “What news of Eleanor?” How bad could it be? Eleanor had gone to marry Harrison, a man she hardly knew. But she was in love with the idea of the Wild West, and therefore more than happy to marry the son of her father’s business partner.

He never blinked. “I shall just have to blurt it out then. I’m sorry to inform you that Eleanor is dead.”

Her mother moaned. Olivia stared at him. “I don’t believe it,” she said.

“I know, it’s a shock.”

There must have been some mistake. She searched his face for some clue that this was a jest. “What happened?”

He didn’t hold her gaze. “She drowned.”

“How?”

“No one knows. I’m sorry.”

Her mother stood and swayed. “What are you saying?” Her voice rose in a shriek. “Eleanor can’t be dead! Are you quite mad?”

He stood and took her arm. “I suggest you lie down, Mrs. Stewart. You’re quite pale.”

Her mother put her hands to her cheeks. “Tell me it isn’t true,” she begged. Then she keeled over in a dead faint.

#
Harrison Bennett tugged on his tie, glanced at his shoes to make sure no speck of dirt marred their perfection, then disembarked from his motorcar in front of the mansion. The cab had rolled up Nob Hill much too quickly for him to gather his courage to face the party. Electric lights pushed back the darkness from the curving brick driveway to the porch with its impressive white pillars. Doormen flanked the double doors at the entry. Through the large windows, he saw the ballroom. Ladies in luxurious gowns and gentlemen in tuxedos danced under glittering chandeliers, and their laughter tinkled on the wind.

His valet, Eugene, exited behind him. “I’ll wait in the kitchen, sir.”

Harrison adjusted his hat and strode with all the confidence he could muster to the front door. “Mr. Harrison Bennett,” he said to the doorman.

The man scanned the paper in his hand. “Welcome, Mr. Bennett. Mr. Rothschild is in the ballroom.”

Harrison thanked him and stepped into the opulent hall papered in gold foil. He went in the direction of the voices with a sense of purpose. This night could change his future. He glanced around the enormous ballroom, and he recognized no one among the glittering gowns and expensive suits. In subtle ways, these nobs would try to keep him in his place. It would take all his gumption not to let them. It was a miracle he’d received an invitation. Only the very wealthy or titled were invited to the Rothschilds’ annual ball in San Francisco. Harrison was determined to do whatever was necessary to secure the contract inside his coat pocket.

A young woman in an evening gown fluttered her lashes at him over the top of her fan. When she lowered it, she approached with a coaxing smile on her lips. “Mr. Bennett, I’d hoped to see you here tonight.”

He struggled to remember her name. Miss Kessler. She’d made her interest in him known at Eleanor’s funeral. Hardly a suitable time. He took her gloved hand and bowed over it. “Miss Kessler. I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”

“I came when I heard you were on the guest list.”

He ignored her brazen remark. “It’s good to see you again. I have some business to attend to. Perhaps later?”

Her eyes darkened and she withdrew her hand. “I shall watch for you,” she said.

And he’d do the same, with the intent to avoid her. “If you’ll excuse me.” He didn’t wait for an answer but strolled through the crowd. He finally spied his host standing in front of a marble fireplace. A flame danced in the eight-foot hearth. Harrison stepped through the crowd to join the four men clustered around the wealthy Rothschild.

The man closest to Harrison was in his fifties and had a curling mustache. “They’ll never get that amendment ratified,” he said. “An income tax! It’s quite ridiculous to expect us to pay something so outrageous.”

A younger man in a gray suit shook his head. “If it means better roads, I’ll gladly write them a check. The potholes outside of town ruined my front axels.”

“We can take care of our own roads,” Rothschild said. “I have no need of the government in my affairs. At least until we’re all using flying machines.” He snickered, then glanced at Harrison. “You look familiar, young man. Have we met?”

Flying machines. Maybe this meeting was something God had arranged. Harrison thrust out his hand. “Harrison Bennett.”

“Claude’s son?”’

Was that distaste in the twist of Rothschild’s mouth? Harrison put confidence into his grip. “Yes, sir.”

“How is your father?”

“Quite well. He’s back in New York by now.”

“I heard about your fiancée’s death. I’m sorry for your loss.”

Harrison managed not to wince. “Thank you.” He pushed away his memories of that terrible day, the day he’d seen Eleanor Stewart for what she really was.

“Your father was most insistent I meet you. He seems to think you have a business proposition I might be interested in.”

Harrison smiled and began to tell the men of the new diamond mines that Bennett and Bennett had found in Africa. A mere week after Mr. Stewart’s passing, Mr. Bennett had renamed the venture to include Harrison. An hour later, he had appointments set up with three of the men as possible investors. His father would be pleased.

Harrison smiled and retraced his steps to toward the front door but was waylaid by four women in brightly colored silk. They swooped around him, and Miss Kessler took him by the hand and led him to a quiet corner.

“Let’s not talk about anything boring like work,” she said, her blue eyes sparkling. “Tell me what you love to do most.”

He glanced at the other women clustered around. “I’m building an aeroplane. I’d like to have it in the air by the time Earth passes through the tail of Halley’s Comet.”

She gasped. “Do you have a death wish, Mr. Bennett? You would be breathing the poisonous fumes directly. No one even knows if the Earth will survive this.”

He’d heard this before. “The scientists I’ve discussed this with believe we shall be just fine,” Harrison said.

“I assume you’ve purchased comet pills?” the blonde closest to him said.

“I have no fear.”

The brunette in red silk smiled. “If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings. Or so I’ve heard the minister say.”

He finally placed the brunette. Her uncle was Rothschild. No wonder she had such contempt for Harrison’s tone. All the nobs cared for were trains and ships. “It’s just a matter of perfecting the machine,” Harrison said. “Someday aeroplanes will be the main mode of transcontinental transportation.”

The brunette laughed. “Transcontinental? My uncle would call it balderdash.”

He glanced at his pocket watch without replying. “I fear I must leave you lovely ladies. Thank you for the conversation.”

He found Eugene in the kitchen and beckoned to his valet.

Eugene put down his coffee cup and followed. “You didn’t stay long, sir,” he said. “Is everything all right?”

Harrison stalked out the door and toward the car. “Are there no visionaries left in the country?”

Eugene followed a step behind. “You spoke of your flying machine?”

“The world is changing, Eugene, right under their noses—and they don’t see it.”

Eugene opened the door for Harrison. “You will show them the future, sir.”

He set his jaw. “I shall indeed.”

“I have a small savings set aside, Mr. Bennett. I’d like to invest in your company. With your permission, of course.”

Eugene’s trust bolstered Harrison’s determination. “I’d be honored to partner with you, Eugene. We are going to change the world.”

 

The Christian Community Women’s Luncheon

Was a success! Everything went without a hitch and the ladies say they had a great time.

Around 55 people attended this year’s CCWL. I was the kitchen facilitator, so all things food fell to my leadership. I am not a micro-manager, as their usual leader is. Many of the women liked having more freedom, but a few of them didn’t. Even so, we all worked together well.

I let the table crew, Gloria, Mary and April, set up and decorate tables. They picked the color-scheme and decorations and had a blast. They also did a lovely job using live tulips and pansies and bright spring colored table clothes.

For lunch we served various salads and asked the women of our church to drop off assorted nice serving bowls (we had 7 tables and served lunch family style at each one). I appointed the table committee to sort the bowls and decide which ones went together for each table. My job was to make the salads and fill the bowls. I had a couple of kitchen helpers. April and Mary also did dishes and kept the coffee and tea pots filled. Peter — the only man in attendance — was my assistant cook and he made the most incredibly gorgeous fruit trays. Pam was in charge of baking the dinner rolls and Kathy put the dessert buffet together. Irene and Candy helped where needed with set up and clean up. All of us did some of the cooking at home and brought things in for salad assembly Tuesday afternoon.

The main meal consisted of Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad (my recipe), Parmesan Pea Salad (Candy’s recipe), and Molded Cranberry Salad (Irene’s recipe). All were great hits. Pastor slipped in the back door and made himself a plate. He had no wish to make an appearance at the lady’s luncheon, but he’d heard there was chicken salad in the kitchen and wanted “a taste”. He took a tiny bit and went to his office — then came back and filled his plate. He now has a standing order for chicken salad whenever I make it.

After the luncheon was over half the women at the banquet flooded into the kitchen to help. That’s how church women are. At one point I said, “Excuse me” to Irene and there was no where for her to move. She said, “What do you want?” And I said, “Since you asked, I think about three more women in the kitchen would be nice.” Irene looked quite startled. Across the room April said, “You know, I think you are right. There are still a few women in the Fellowship Hall. Why don’t we call them in here?” Then Irene said, “Well, if you think the kitchen is too crowded, you could go home and get out of the way of the clean up crew. Your job is over.” I finished packing the fruit to freeze and did just that.

I was in the kitchen from 9:20 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. My feet aren’t used to that any more and they wanted me to sit down! Instead I came home, grabbed some orders and delivered Avon.

~*~

Quilly’s Cranberry-Pecan Chicken Salad

  • 10 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 5 celery ribs, diced
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups chopped, toasted pecans
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard

Stir together chopped cooked chicken; celery ribs, diced; green onions, thinly sliced; toasted pecans; sweetened dried cranberries; mayonnaise; and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill up to 3 days.

~*~

Candy’s Parmesan Pea Salad

  • 2 – 10 oz. pkg. frozen petite peas
  • ½ C celery, chopped
  • 2 T green onions, sliced
  • ½ C sunflower seeds
  • ½ C grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ C cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped
  • ½ C mayonnaise
  • ½ C sour cream

Mix all ingredients. The frozen peas will cool the other ingredients, but it will need a bit of time for them to defrost before it can be served.

~*~

Irene’s Molded Cranberry Salad

  • 6 oz. pkg raspberry Jello
  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 16 oz can cranberry sauce (whole or jellied, but whole adds texture)
  • 8 oz can crushed pineapple
  • ½ C grape juice (or red wine)
  • ¼ C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Dissolve jello in boiling water. Stir in cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple & grape juice. Refrigerate until slightly thickened. Fold in chopped nuts. Pour into mold or 9×13″ dish until set.

11.05.09 Punny Monday

Welcome to Punny Monday. This is a fun little guessing game meant to spark your imagination and tickle your punny bone. Every Monday I post an original photo and ask my readers to figure out what was going on in my brain (or Amoeba’s) when he/I/we made it. Posting time varies so every time zone occasionally gets a fair shot at being first to see the game.

Here is the image you need to base your guess on:

What noun does this photo represent? EMAIL your answers and leave a comment designed to either help or confuse your fellow game players. The first contestant to EMAIL me the right answer wins a featured link in my blog which will display until next Monday when we’ll play this little game again. Enjoy.

PLEASE, do not write your guess in the comments. It spoils the game for the other players. Your guesses will be shared when the game ends. Oh, and just because someone announces they’ve won, doesn’t mean that they have. Please keep guessing until I post the answers!

~*~

Sinners

March 9th, 2011, 9:08 a.m. — Doug — Spiked Punch

March 9th, 2011, 12:32 p.m. — Shelly — Spiked Punch

~*~

Saints

March 9th, 2011, 9:13 a.m. — Nancy — Toenail; Toenails
March 9th, 2011, 9:37 a.m. — Raven — Glass Nails
March 9th, 2011, 9:13 a.m. — Nancy — Toenail; Toenails
March 9th, 2011, 9:54 a.m. — Stacy — Nail Punch
March 9th, 2011, 11:12 a.m. — Linda — Nail Punch

Same Song, Different Virus

Sick again.  Weak trembling.  Spending too much time with john — but at least I have royal seating.

Today a new symptom assailed me — swollen joints.  My knees, elbows and knuckles are puffy, stiff and sore. And an old symptom remains — the stuffy nose and congested lungs.

I am achy and sore and miserable. My eyes burn and even my hair hurts.   You all play nice without me while I crawl into a corner and sleep.

Just keep it down please.

Quilldancing Assignment #5

Your Writing Assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to write a complete story in 500 words or less using the scenario below to kick-start your thinking. Publish your story on your blog May 15th, then come back here and link it to my May 15th story.

Since (traditionally) May is the month of flowers and gardens, your story should include a garden, some kind of critter or creature, and this wonderful log.  (Photo courtesy of SouthLakes Mom.)

Happy Quilldancing!

I’ve Given It All Away!

The prize:

Insulated lunch bag, sandwich makeover recipe booklet, and $3.75 in meat, cheese and mayo coupons provided by Houseparty.com's Kraft Foods Ultimate Sandwich Makeover House Party™.

Four people entered my second chance drawing for this wonderful insulated lunch sack, a sandwich recipe booklet, and the $3.75 cents worth of coupons. (First drawing here: Lunch at Quilly’s.)   Two of the coupons ($1.50 All Natural Big Cheese; $1.50 Oven Roasted Carving Board Meats) were worth about 50% of the product’s original purchase price. The third coupon is for 75 cents off a bottle of deli spiced mayonnaise. Good stuffs.

The Contenders:

Mama Zen’s: Make Your Own (And Keep Your Hands Off Mine!) Sandwich
Kraft Carving Board Roast Beef, a slice of cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, and the Horseradish Dijon.

Tilden’s: Speecy – Spicy Ham Sammich
Seeded rye bread, toasted liberally spread the Sandwich Shop Horseradish and Dijon mayo on the toast. Add some Kraft Big Slice pepper Jack and melt under the broiler. Add some crisp iceberg lettuce, thin sliced red onion and thin sliced beefsteak tomato. Finally top with Oscar Mayer Carving Board Ham and the other piece of toast.

Stacy Lynn’s: Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Homemade bread spread with Kraft Sandwich Shop Mayo’s garlic & herb flavor. Add Oscar Mayer’s Carving Board ham, one large slice of tomato (sandwich size), then Kraft Big Slice Swiss cheese. Spread outside of sandwich with garlic butter and sprinkle with basil then toast till golden and cheese is melty.

Church Lady’s: Ham & Cheese Pretzel Roll Melt
A pretzel roll spread with the horseradish dijon, then topped with the Oscar Myer ham and a slice of Kraft Swiss cheese (toast lightly to melt cheese).

The Winner:

Mama Zen!

Send me your mailing address
and I will get your wonderful insulated lunch sack
and these great, money saving coupons
out to you in the next mail.