Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Ziegfeld Follies

We made it!  The final post of the 2014 A-Z Challenge!

The Ziegfeld Follies are one of those things that caught my attention by their funky name. 

They were a series of over-the-top Broadway shows that ran between 1907 - 1931 and then a comedy / musical film in 1945 featuring such talent as Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Gene Kelly and Red Skelton (to name a few)

The Broadway show was also known for the "Ziegfeld Girls", a group of beautiful chorus girls (is there such thing as an ugly one??)  

Fanny Brice

Barbara Stanwyck

Dolores Costello

Z is for Zucchini

We made it!  The final A-Z Challenge post of 2014 !!  

MmMmMm I love me some zucchini!

This good stuff can be used in sweet or savory dishes - yay!  In bread or on the grill, or like I made it - simply sauteed in a splash of olive oil and some garlic powder. 

These are low in calories and offer potassium, manganese, vitamins C and B6 and folate. 

What's not to love?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yams

I really don't know the difference between yams and sweet potatoes, so I was tweaked to find this!  
It says it's a yam!

My Weight Watcher leader said you can roast yams until they caramelize themselves, but I chose not to wait that long.  

I cut my yam into thin-ish slices.
 I sprayed them with oil (from my silver WW oil sprayer ), sprinkled with salt & pepper (the Coke cans) and garlic powder, then I sprinkled brown sugar on them. 

Since I was also making spaghetti that night, my oven was pre-hreated at 425 for the garlic bread, so I just put these in at the same time.  

After 15 minutes, I flipped them over - salted, peppered, garlicked & sugared them - then baked for another 7 minutes or so. 

Mr. Picky Randy had a couple after I encouraged him to try, and said he liked them.  Little Miss Picky Angela had half of one, after I gave her "the Look" and said they weren't bad. 

So I count this one as a success.  I hope this works just as well with sweet potatoes!

Y is for Ypsilanti

Woohoo - a legit "Y" post! 

I've never visited Yspilanti, but it is a city in SE Michigan, so let's explore!

Ypsi was settled in 1809 by 3 French explorers. They built a trading post at the crossing of an Indian trail and the Huron River. By 1823, it was a small settlement named Woodruff's Grove - the first settlement in Washentaw County. In 1825, 3 local businessmen combined land and renamed the area Yspilanti after the Greek Patriot General Demetrius Ypsilanti. 

In 1941, the Ford Motor Company built their Willow Run plant in Ypsi and it was immediately converted to wartime production with a B-24 bomber rolling off the line every 55 minutes. 

Ypsi Water Tower
Originally known as the Water Works Sand Pipe, this was a part of the Ypsilanti water system installed in 1889, which included 85,580 feet of pipe.
One of the more interesting water towers I've seen.  I never would have guessed what it was. 

Ypsi Fire Museum

and also is the home of....
It looks like a nice place, with a large historical district and some pretty neat festivals and events. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Friend Makin' Monday - Life Skills

Happy Monday!

Right after I got to work today I got a call from the principal of Miss Angela's school - seems the tensions that have been brewing on her bus finally came to a head this morning and she (among others) have been banned from the bus for 2 weeks.  I can't wait to hear about the driver, too - since I heard she was incompetent b*tch and shouldn't be around people in general, let alone kids! I love listening to teenager's opinions!  Since I heard the story as it developed, she won't be punished horribly on my end - I'm sure she just had enough and expletives flew.

I hope that's the extent of my excitement today!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section over at Miss Sarah's so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Life Skills

1. Do you know how to drive a stick shift?  Yes.  And while I was temporarily assigned to Bahrain (back in 1995) we were given a column-shift mini van as our duty vehicle and no one else could drive it, so I got to shuttle all 3 shifts back & forth every day.  It's sort of fun to drive in a foreign county!

2. Do you know how to jump stat a car?  Yes.

3. Do you know how to perform CPR?  Yes.  My card is expired, but I was all up to date when I was a Girl Scout leader.

4. Do you know how to hang a picture?  Yes.  One of my living room walls is called "the Angela wall" since it has her most recent school picture and all of her recent dance pictures.  I get a professional 5x7 of her in each costume.  I'll have to shuffle them around this year since she's in 9 dances - the most ever!

5. Do you know how to ski?  Nope.  Never wanted to learn.

6. Can you draw a basic map of the world?  Probably.  I'm sure it wouldn't be pretty.

7. Can you do a decent dive into a swimming pool?  Yes.  I've never really tried a diving board, but off the side - yes.
8. Can you open a champagne bottle?  Can't say that I've ever tried.

9. Do you know what to do if you spill red wine on the carpet?  Gasp!  Alcohol abuse!  I'd go check Google!

10. Do you know the proper way to fold a fitted sheet?  People fold sheets????  That's crazy talk.  Psht.  I can fold it good enough.

Now it is your turn!!

X is for Xigua


I bet you've never heard of this one before!  You have, but you probably haven't.  What the heck am I talking about?

Xigua is the Mandarin Chinese word for watermelon!

X is for.....well....X!

(Google Images)

nautical signal flag - Xray

X-wing fighter

What else have I missed?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Watermelon

MmMmMm watermelon...... brings to mind summer cook-outs and warm weather, etc, etc, etc.

It's also good for you!  Very low calorie and full of water (really!  I'd never guessed that)  It's also high in Vitamins A & C.  Watermelon can also help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.   It's also a good source of lycopene. 

 Most importantly - it tastes good!

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Vitamins

Pretty general, huh?  There are at least eleventy-gazillion kinds of vitamins out there on the market.  I personally have never noticed feeling or seeing results when I took certain vitamins (hair, skin & nails - I'm looking at you!)

But one day - I was tired of feeling blah.  I don't know if I was just tired of the long winter or what, since I'm generally a happy, easy going person.  I was feeling anxious & overwhelmed and like the weight of the world was all on me.  So I stopped in CVS looking for some vitamin D, thinking that would help. 

Instead I found St. John's Wort and thought I'd give it a try.  

This is the only thing I've ever taken that I have noticed a difference.  The main thing is that I don't have the crazy, hateful PMS days that I'd get every month.  I would have a day or two in the week before that time of the month when I was quite frankly a huge bitch and I knew it - yet I couldn't seem to do anything about it!  The best I could do was just stay by myself as much as I could and try to keep my mouth shut.   In the 3 months or so that I've been taking this - no bitch days!  I felt it trying to creep up on me earlier this week - so I took an extra tablet & was good to go!  

I'm not a doctor or what-have-you.  Use common sense when taking stuff!!

V is for Victorian Wardian Case

A Victorian Wardian Case is basically a terrarium that was popular in the 19th century. These cases were originally used as as means to transport plants long distances and on ships to keep them alive. 

The Wardian Case was invented by Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward (1791–1868) in London - quite by accident. Dr. Ward had a strong interest in botany, but London's bad air pollution were killing his ferns. 

He had a collection of moth cocoons in glass bottles and he noted in passing that a fern spore and some grass germinated and even bloomed in a sealed glass bottle. He was interested, but didn't eyt see the possibilities. 4 years later, the seal rusted and the fern & grass died. He finally caught on and had a carpenter build him a glazed wooden case and his ferns thrived. 

This also opened up the ability to ship plants to other countries for study and commercial products.  The condensation in the case eliminated the need for watering plants, and the glass case protected the delicate plants from salt spray on the ship. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Utica

Gosh - I was at a loss for what to write for U...then this morning I looked at the side of the school bus my daughter climbs onto every day....UTICA!  Doh!

Utica, MI is an interesting place, since it is a small city with police, fire, library, etc. It's less than 2 square miles in size.  But it is also part of the larger Shelby Township that surrounds it.  It feels almost like a quaint downtown area.  Our school district is Utica Community Schools - one of the largest in the state of Michigan (25 elementary schools, 7 junior highs & 4 high schools).  Where I live in Shelby Township shares the same zip code as Utica.  

The same corner - then & now
Pretty sure this is the same bunch of buildings - but this area was destroyed by fire in 1904 & 1905 so they would be different.  

 The was originally a Methodist church built in 1839.  When I got married in it in 2006, it was called Christ Covenant Church, an inter-denominational church.  

Utica was first settled in May 1817 and went by names like McDougalville, Hog Hollow and Harlow, until people from New York state were attracted to the area and renamed it Utica after their home town. 

U is for Ugli Fruit

Ugli Fruit.   

This was another adventure in grocery shopping. This was one of those things I'd only heard about but had never dreamed to find & consume myself!

I had no idea how to tell of one was good or rotten, so I assumed they were like oranges, since that is what the skin feels like.  According to you believe they have a website????) this fruit is thought to be a hybrid of a Seville orange, a grapefruit & a tangerine.  

The Chapstick is for size comparison.  They're pretty big.

 I was surprised at how easy they peeled.

The sections are huge!!!

They have a very light, but kind of tart, orange flavor - the site calls them tangelos, so I guess that's it.   They're very tasty.  

This recipe was on the website - I'm going to have to try this!  
I'm intrigued!

Ugli Salad with Avocado & Shrimp

One bag of salad mix
12 oz shrimp, cooked, peeled & chilled
2 Ugli fruits, peeled
1 avocado
Poppy seed dressing. 

Separate salad mix into six servings, arrange on salad plates. Divide shrimp among the six plates, placing on top of lettuce. Divide Ugli fruit into sections, and divide evenly between plates, arranging artfully. Peel and slice avocado, and divide among the salad plates. Drizzle with poppy seed dressing. Serve immediately. Six Servings.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Tea

There are all sorts of varieties of teas out there. I'm not a huge coffee fan (unless it is unrecognizable with all the flavoring / cream / sweetener I add), but I do like some tea!

This is the selection I dug out of my kitchen cabinets for this post.  

Tea has many health benefits, too. 

1. The antioxidants in green tea increases the body's ability to burn fat.

2. Drinking tea might reduce the risk of heart attack.

3. The antioxidants in tea might also help protect against a bunch of different cancers.

4. Tea helps fight free radicals.

5. Tea helps keep you hydrated, even with the caffeine.

6. Drinking tea can lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

7. Tea may provide some protection from ultraviolet rays.

8. Tea could keep waist circumference in check. Guess I need to drink some more!!

9. Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking.

10. Tea could be beneficial to people with Type II diabetes.

11. Tea can help the body recover from radiation.

12. Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.

13. Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases.

T is for Taphophile

Hi, my name is Lisa and I am a taphophile.  

Sheesh, that sounds bad!  But the definition is one who is interested in in funerals, gravestone art, epitaphs, cemeteries.  I love to visit old cemeteries and take pictures of the stones and art I find there.  

Don't think I'm alone in my weirdness!  There are lots of pages and groups on Facebook dedicated to cemetery art, and blogs, too.  I include it in my blog, Maple Grove Cemetery.  I can't write about Halloween year-round, so this helps fill in the blanks! 

You have to admit - some of the stones and statues in cemeteries are absolutely fantastic!  I love the history and peace I find when I'm out wandering.  And I find it amazing that these beautiful works of art have been carved out of stone!  Especially the really old ones.

Romeo Cemetery, Romeo MI

Romeo Cemetery

St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery, Utica MI

St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery

Van Hoosen-Jones Cemetery, Rochester Hills MI

Van Hoosen-Jones Cemetery

Van Hoosen-Jones Cemetery
yes, I do get choked up for the little ones. 

Maple Grove Cemetery, Empire MI
(We visited 6 real Maple Grove Cemeteries while on vacation!)

Maple Grove, Empire

Maple Grove, Empire

Oak Hill Cemetery, Pontiac MI

Oak Hill Cemetery

It seems to me that the older cemeteries are the most interesting.  The one my Dad is buried (filed? He's in a mausoleum / file cabinet thingy) is very park-like with pretty statues, but all the stones are flush with the ground.   One day I'd love to go to London to explore Highgate Cemetery - totally on my bucket list!  And also Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA.