Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Day After

The lovely Michelle Malkin posted these words after the election. Totally agree:
My counsel to you tonight: Please, do not be bitter. Do not fall prey to the Beltway blame game. Do not get mired in small things. Do not become vengeful creatures like our political opponents who voted out of spite instead of love of country. We still have boundless blessings to count — and to secure. I remain a proud, unrepentant believer in the American Dream. And I know you do, too. Freedom will endure because we will keep fighting for it. We can’t afford not to, friends.”
Thank you Mitt Romney. You were first-class, right to the end. You ran an honest and uplifting campaign. Although not in the beginning, you became my choice for President. You were not just a vote against someone else. As I heard on the radio today, "It's hard to run against Santa Claus." You did your best Governor. I am a proud Republican girl right now. :)

P.S. I love this sweet, short and simple post below:

A Good Fight

Monday, November 5, 2012

Am I a woman voter???

It's election eve, and I have a question that I desperately need answered...

What, exactly, is a “woman voter”?

I am a woman, but according to the National Organization of Women, I don't exist. When political pundits and polling data refer to women voters, they aren't talking about me. My feelings are so hurt!

No, not really.

It seems that to be considered a real woman and worthy of any political reference, I should require my contraception be paid for by someone else. I'm not sure who...just not me. And if I get pregnant (because, well...nobody bought me any contraception!), then I want the option of ending my baby's life. A real, unborn baby. A possible future woman herself.

To be considered a real woman voter by the liberal media, I need to scream that there is a war against me (by men, I think?) and that “they” want to take away my rights. Okay, may take away my right to do laundry. Like, what rights are you talking about? No one can take away your right to vote, pursue your dreams, your freedom... and if you are referring to Roe vs. Wade, no President has the power to overturn that. 

I know how women like me are viewed by some on the far-left. We stay in our kitchens all the time, barefoot and pregnant. Well, have you ever tried to be pregnant in your kitchen with high heels on? I have, and I nearly fell over. Kidding aside, we are business owners being put out of business by government regulations. We are soccer moms trading in our sport utility vehicles for smaller cars because of high-gas prices. We are working women who are overtaxed. We are not acknowledged by President Obama. Loud female celebrities say we are "stupid" for voting as we do. We are women who buy our own birth control and have our precious babies and vote. We count, just as much as anyone else.

Tomorrow, on election day, I hope women will get out and vote. ALL WOMEN. Sandra Fluke, Nancy Pelosi, me and everyone in between. We aren't just one big block of same-minded women voters. And we need to respect each other, including those we disagree with. No more name calling over Twitter. Let's be kind to all.

I guess I answered my own question. I am a real woman voter. And it's time to vote!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rest In Peace, Ty Woods.

Husband. Father. Navy SEAL. And...goofy kid in my Math class. High school wrestler I took stats for. 

American patriot who died in Benghazi last week.

Thank you for your service, Ty-Guy.

This is how I will remember him. Go Pioneers!

Little Mister and the First Day

Little Mister, at the Science Museum in the middle of the
day, in the middle of the week. I will really miss that.

I woke up last night at 1:00 a.m..

I had been alternately looking forward to and dreading today. Today is the first day of school ever, for my youngest child. Aka “Little Mister.”

He has been my companion during the day for five and a half years. His little tugs on my shirt, his out-of-the-blue hugs, his “just one more book before nap” days of being my exclusive little buddy have come and gone. So have our Tuesday morning trips to the Zoo, the park, wherever we wanted to go.

He has never seen the inside of a day care. He has only seen me.

Yes, I have unfinished projects I will be working on this year, now that all four of my kiddos are in school. I will volunteer more at the school too. I'm writing a book. Ect, ect, ect.

But I will forever cherish the “toddler years.” Being a Mommy is the Best. Thing. Ever.

Friday, September 7, 2012


No, they don't.

When my eldest child was seven years old, we were shopping at our local grocery store when I noticed they were having a coloring contest. I thought back to my own childhood and the fond memories I had of entering coloring contests, even winning one when I was five. I spent a week coloring my picture and making it perfect. My prize was a huge Easter basket full of candy and treats. I might as well have won a million dollars. Even at a young age, I was proud of my effort and so excited to have been rewarded.

We brought home the Halloween coloring page. It was a picture of a Fall scene with pumpkins, hay stacks and a wagon. I watched as my little girl meticulously selected just the right crayons, colored as closely in the lines as she could and tirelessly worked around the clock for two days. I saw her determination to do her very best.

We turned in her entry and a couple weeks later went back to the store. We were excited to see the winners were posted! As I scanned the display in the age 7-8 category, I was shocked to see the winning entry: There was thick, black crayon markings scribbled across the entire page. That was it. No other colors, no staying in the lines... My child had given 110%, and this was judged the very best and awarded first place. As I looked closer, I saw the fine print listed at the bottom of the page: 

Winner shall be chosen by random drawing.

Winner. Random. 

And so began a change in my thinking about success, equal opportunities, American exceptionalism and wealth.

To be continued...

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Up-Side of Lou Gehrig's Disease...

Robin's high school graduation photo, 1961
At the end of March 2003, my dear uncle Robin Tomlin drove down from his home in Surrey, British Columbia to where I live in the northwestern United States. My father's only sibling was a decorated U.S. Marine who flew more than 1,150 combat missions in Vietnam and was awarded fifty-nine air medals. He had retired a few years earlier after a twenty-five year career with the FBI. I had always been close to Robin. Every summer during high school, I would fly to Albuquerque and stay with his family. In the past few years, we became huge emailers. We were the only Republicans in the family and thus exchanged many of those dreaded political forwards. He was my second Dad. :)

This quick trip was a little different. Robin had just turned sixty in January, and he wasn't aging well. He looked very tired. We took some pictures and I hugged him goodbye. I had been intending to drive up to Canada and visit him, but you know how we get busy. There's always tomorrow, right? Right.

Upon returning to Canada, Robin emailed me. He had been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. He had been diagnosed before he came to visit, yet never said a word.

Lou Gehrig, I thought. 

Lou Gehrig...Pride of the Yankees...wait...WHAT???!!!

Robin receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for Bravery, 1969

I cried for three days. Then I pulled it together, reminding myself that many ALS patients live for five to ten years post-diagnosis.

Robin lived exactly one year longer.

Robin holding me as a baby, 1972. We both look a little unsure of the situation, LOL.

During that year, I did the things which I had been meaning to do, but never got around to. I wrote up some memoirs and sent them to him for his last Christmas of 2003. I wrote about my very first plane trip in 1986. Robin was with me and I recalled sitting in the Portland Airport with him, spilling my hot cocoa all over myself with nervousness. He said that happened to him all the time (nope, it didn't!). We boarded the plane and proceeded to sit on the tarmac for three hours due to a malfunction. We eventually boarded a different Boeing. All the while, Robin reassured me that everything was fine, as though every flight began with a three hour wait on the aircraft with no A/C!

Robin's appointment to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation was one of the final acts of J. Edgar Hoover.

I also made him a huge scrapbook of his life, from his time growing up with my father in Oregon, to his days as a Marine, to serving in the FBI and raising his family. He actually called me and said it was the most beautiful gift he had ever received. I had meant to make that scrapbook years before...

Me (rockin' the 80's Aquanet hair) at age 14 with my cousins Rob, Trent and Uncle Robin.

On March 16, 2004, I was rushing out the door with my three-year-old son when the phone rang. Normally, I would have just left. But I followed my gut instinct and answered the call. It was Robin. His speech was slurred, but we had a wonderful chat. He talked with my son. Then I got back on the line. I told him I had to run, but that I loved him. 

Long pause. 

“I... love... you... too........... Julie............"

A couple days later, he slipped into a coma from which he never awakened.

Robin and his wife Julie, somewhere in British Columbia.
This was taken shortly before he started having symptoms of ALS.

I am so grateful for that year. I'm thankful for the time ALS allowed us to have with Robin. Looking back, the advance warning was a blessing - the "upside" of Lou Gehrig's disease. (Seriously...there is a silver lining in everything!!!) We are all going to die. Some of us will live to be one hundred. Some of us will go suddenly at twenty-three. Either way, there are only so many days allotted to each one of us here, and then that's it. There are no do-overs. Make it count...!

You never know who will be here today and gone tomorrow. I'm grateful for Robin's diagnosis and the reminder of mortality. ALS told me: “You have limited time on Earth left with Robin. It's time to call him more regularly. It's time to write. It's time to do that scrapbook. I will decide when he goes and this is your notice. Consider yourself warned.”

And because of the knowledge of mortality, I cannot stand for there to be "bad blood" between me and anyone else. (Note: If I ever meet President Obama, I will make him dinner and welcome him in my home). I do not want to live with regrets. I don't want to say something hurtful I cannot take back later. I don't want to miss opportunities to love my friends and family.

If there is someone you need to make things right with, please do it! Saying it now will be much more effective than speaking to a gravesite in the future. Make it right even if you are not in the wrong. I guarantee if someone has offended you, they aren't thinking about it anymore. When you forgive and move on, then you are set free. 

Tell people you love them! I believe at the end of our lives we regret that which we do not say, much more than that which we say.

Write that letter. Make that phone call. Create that scrapbook. Say what needs to be said.

Robin, I miss you. I will not give up until you receive the Silver Star you were nominated for! You know me. I'm working on it – but this IS the United States Government I am dealing with. Soooo......ya......... :)

With love always,      


Robin J. Tomlin, Distinguished Flying Cross Link

ALS Association Website

Saturday, August 4, 2012

"You didn't build that..."

I should totally be over this by now. He said it in the middle of July, and it's August 4th. But I just CAN'T let it go. I wonder why...

Maybe it's because the anointed One has never built a business in his entire life. Maybe it's because this so-called “class warfare” was accentuated by the O machine. Maybe it's because he hates capitalism and cannot say it, so he punishes us. He wants to tax business owners to the point that they can't hire anyone. 

There is a perception pushed forth by the Obama administration that business owners are rich and part of the evil 1% (side note: What caused this notion that a financially successful person is greedy? That's another post...). Guess what? Most business owners aren't wealthy. But the question must be asked: Have you ever been hired for a job by a broke welfare-dependent person? Hmmm.......

Where is Barack Obama at 5:00 am when most restaurant owners show up for work? Where is Barack Obama when the books are balanced, and everyone gets paid but the business owner? Where is he during the 80-hour work weeks? Where is he during the first five years when most business owners do not take a paycheck for themselves? He has no clue of the sacrifice and risk!

What about the nausea inducing debt that many entrepreneurs face? Bank loans, second mortgages, little sleep, stress...but they didn't build it? How about when the owner is on vacation and the cell phone rings, and it's a client needing something RIGHT NOW. As the owner, what can they do? Oh, I know: they can pay higher taxes, comply with more government regulations and eventually go broke. Then they get to go on welfare and vote Democrat. Spread your wealth around, because it's not fair that you get to make more money than everybody else. 

So, Mr. President, if we didn't build it...who did? Because it certainly wasn't you. You probably couldn't build a Lincoln Log house as good as my five-year-old son, let alone run a company. Business owners create jobs. Last time I checked, jobs were important...

I recommend everyone read Dinesh D'Souza and see "2016" when it is released in a theater near you. We have a small but distinct window of opportunity over the next few months to stop this speeding train of disastrous liberalism from overtaking America.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against Barack Obama personally, and I'm sure he's very nice. I just disagree with him on guns, abortion, taxes, health care reform, economy, defense, foreign policy, immigration and commerce.

I agree with him that Shrimp Linguini is delicious.

See, I can find common ground. :)


Friday, May 25, 2012

Fresh Salsa is the BEST!

        My seven-year-old really wanted to make something in the kitchen the other day with me. She got on her pink princess apron and was ready to go. We were having an unusual eighty degree day and I really didn't want to we created some salsa. I had never attempted salsa sans tomatoes, but I didn't have any tomatoes so including them wasn't an option.

        Fresh cilantro and fresh lime is mandatory; other than that, why not create your own? Besides Mexican food, fresh salsa is great on fish, chicken, pita chips, time you are shopping, grab some fresh ingredients (kiwis are perfect!) and start chopping and dicing. Yes, it takes time but bring in one of your kids and chat about school and life while you are creating your masterpiece. Remember: The kitchen brings families together. :)

                    Peach-Pineapple Salsa for Summer

1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup diced fresh peaches
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
3/4 cup chopped onions
1- 4 oz can diced green chiles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or more to taste)
1 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

            In a large bowl, combine first 9 ingredients. Cut open lime and squeeze over salsa until all juice is extracted. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Texas Style Glazed BBQ Pork Ribs

There are a hundred different recipes for ribs, and I myself have at least a dozen ways I prepare them. My favorite way involves all-day basting every 30 minutes, usually with beef short ribs. But I love baby backs, spare ribs, St. Louis cuts, ect.

Boneless country-style ribs are very inexpensive and can be prepared without basting. Although some prep ahead of time is necessary, I like this recipe for glazed ribs because the ingredients are very simple and everyone has them. If you want the BBQ flavor, just baste at the end with your favorite barbecue sauce. My kids usually just like them with the glaze; I add the sauce to mine. If you have never made ribs with a dry rub ahead of time, I think you are missing out! You can also grill ribs on the barbie after roasting in the oven for authentic flavor.

Texas Glazed Country-Style Ribs

3-4 lbs Country-Style Pork Ribs
¾ cup white sugar
1/8 cup salt
1 TB ground pepper
1 ½ TB paprika
1 TB garlic powder
*If you like heat, you can add a dash of cayenne, but I never do

Clean ribs and trim any excess fat. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, salt, ground black pepper, paprika and garlic powder. In a 9 x 13 pan (or a gallon zip-loc if the ribs will fit) liberally coat the ribs with ALL the dry rub. Refrigerate for at least eight hours (I usually just put them in the night before).

Put ribs in roasting pan (you can also use a foil covered 9 x 13 but I like the roasting pan better) and heat oven to 275 degrees. This may seem low, but remember that the temperature inside the roasting pan will be much higher. Bake in oven for 3-4 hours, checking every hour to ensure ribs do not become dry. They should be very moist and fall apart. Serve with mashed potatoes, coleslaw and warm rolls.

Note: Sweet sauces tend to work better with pork ribs, and savory with beef. If you want to try a unique BBQ sauce, try this one. It's based off of a famous BBQ restaurant in Montreal Canada called Bar-B-Barn, and contains apple sauce. I thought it was odd the first time I tried it, but it has grown on me. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jamba Juice Pumpkin Smash

I noticed that swimwear is showing up in department stores already. Summer is my favorite season. Where I live, it's our only three months of sun! I'm not quite ready to let go of Fall, though. When K was in town last month, she googled a recipe for Jamba Juice's famous Pumpkin Smash. I've made it several times since and it is soooo good. I did make a couple adjustments, which I will note. This is an easy smoothie to make and will let you enjoy pumpkin season a bit longer.

Pumpkin Smash Smoothie

1 cup almond milk (original version calls for soy milk)
2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin pie mix with the spices (like Libbys). You could double this for extra pumpkin flavor
8-12 ice cubes, depending on how thick you like your smoothies

Pour almond milk into blender. Add pumpkin, frozen yogurt and ice cubes. Blend. So easy!