Friday, October 31, 2008

EEEEK! Pumpkin Carnage!

What did these poor pumpkins ever do to us?

One day they are sitting in their patch with all their pumpkin friends. They are basking in the warm summer sun, growing fat and happy from the warmth of the season and the water their farmer has so lovingly(so they think) given them.

Then one day, out of the blue, Whack! They are cut off, severed from the vine, all ties to what they had known sheared away.

They are hauled away, first in farm trucks, then in semi trucks, and then in SUV's only to end up on the kitchen tables of people intent on making lanterns of them.

Men, women and children, carving tools in hand descend upon the poor orange squash. Helplessly it sits there as it's stem is cut off and it's insides are scooped out with spoons, spatulas and dirty hands.

The carnage continues as the poor pumpkin is carved and cut, minced and mutilated - until at last it is over. The pumpkin that once sat so proud, orange, happy and warm in his patch is reduced to nothing but a shell -- with a silly face.

Just when it seemed that the poor pumpkin has suffered enough, it is hammered with another blow. The same men, women and children that had so brutally gouged a face into it's side, smile with joy as photos of the battered pumpkin are taken to place in scrapbooks as memories of this day of pumpkin carnage.

Once nightfall comes, poor pumpkin is put out in the cold, all alone, while his humiliation is illuminated for all in the night to see by the small candle that has been placed inside him.

I'm sure glad I'm not a pumpkin!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rant Revisited.....

Well, my rant from the other day has come to a happy resolution.

Before I go any further....I must clarify. I did not intend to paint my amazing, handsome, incredible, smart, dashing, sophisticated, loving, caring, considerate, awesome, dapper.....(KISS!KISS!) husband in a poor light. He truly is amazing and went the extra mile to help our daughter recover her losses. After the emotional dust of me going into fighting mode for my daughter, we calmly discussed many options about how to proceed. We came up with a compromise that satisfied both of our positions, and all was well.

On to the happy resolution. Luckily, we didn't have to implement our compromise. Because my hubby had purchased it online for her, our credit card insurance covered the replacement cost of the item. She is able to replace it. But, I'm sure her lesson learned is to consider the risk in taking high value items with you to public places. She will not make the same mistake twice!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not Such a Rave Review....

I must admit that my post yesterday did not necessarily paint my corner of the desert southwest in a very good light.

Even though I am not a "desert girl" at heart, I do have to admit that sometimes it can be very beautiful.

I am lucky enough to work at a botanical gardens. The following are a few pictures of desert plants that are showcased there.

This photo is of an agave. As you can see, at this time of year it really is a lovely plant to look at. It stays green all year and provides an amazing amount of character to the desert landscape. Beyond that, there are many different types of agave, some huge, some small, some with variegated coloring and a variety of leaf shapes.

This amazing cactus is called a saguaro. They are native to the Sonoran Desert and can live to be 200 years old. They are not only beautiful and majestic, but also are home to various birds that nest in them.

This tree is a Palo Verde tree. It has green bark and sparse leaves. In the spring and usually after rains and warming spells, it blooms with amazing yellow blossoms that fill the tree - tough on my allergies, but easy on my eyes.

The top three photos are of plant life that can be found where I live. The next photos are of gorgeous wild flowers that can be found the "high-country."

So, I might not always rave about how much I enjoy the desert, but, just as in the rest of life, there is some beauty in everything.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Autumn!

Happy Autumn!

Yes I know that the fall is almost half over, but here in my part of the desert southwest, we don't have much of an autumn.

We don't have any trees that change from green to beautiful reds and burnt oranges. We don't have the piles of fall leaves on the ground.

What we do have are cactus that shrivel, ocotillo that lose their leaves, and ragweed pollen that would choke a giraffe - does that make sense?

Anyway, as October is drawing to a close, our days are VERY SLOWLY getting cooler. Today's daytime temperature was only 94 degrees. Our evening temperatures are falling into the low 60's. It is almost time to put away our tank tops and shorts and take out our t-shirts and capri pants and enjoy very comfortable weather.

With turkey day just around the corner, we can finally get into the spirit of Autumn.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Rant Already?

I can't believe it....

Only my second post and I already have a rant!

Today at school, my daughter had her i-pod stolen out of her zipped backpack.

Now I know many of you will say "Why did she have an i-pod at school?"

The school (a high school) allows students to carry electronics between classes and some teachers even allow use in class during quite work or free time. She she also rides the bus home and listens to it then. She was not doing anything against the rules and she was not negligent as it was put away in her backpack. It was taken during the one time in one class that she was separated from her backpack for doing required lab work. The school does not provide lockers, so the kids keep their stuff with them all day.

I am just floored that someone would have the guts to go into her pack and take it. I am even more upset because of how hard she worked to purchase it. Yes.....I said purchase it. We did not buy it for her or give it to her as a gift. She worked diligently for two years to save the money to purchase it. We have always believed in teaching our kids the value of money - and she truly stepped up to the plate by saving money, looking at her purchase options, and then finding the best price......all to have some one steal it from her.

She is completely crushed. Not because of losing the i-pod, but because all of the hard work she put into getting it is wiped away.

I think hubby and I should help her replace it to show her we value the hard work she put into saving for it. My hubby thinks it should just be a tough life lesson. What do you think?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

OK...Since Goulash is a Food...Let's Start There

Welcome to my first official post on Daily Goulash...

This is a place for me to rant, rave, post, complain - what ever I feel like doing. It's sort of undefined, kind of like goulash. I mean, who really knows what goulash is? I know it's a mixture of something, but I'm sure if you asked different people, you'd get different answers about what it is. (If you know what goulash really is, please feel free to leave a comment, and I will gladly clarify.)

Since goulash is made in the kitchen, I thought I'd start with a post about something made from in the kitchen -cake! I love to make cakes! I love to be able to express myself with how I decorate them. It is very therapeutic, and a way for me to feel a sense of accomplishment when I see my completed piece of art.

Here are some pictures of some of my favorite culinary attempts at cake greatness.

My nephew loved this one for his 9th birthday. It really impressed his friends.
I used regular icing techniques as well as colorflow.

Another birthday cake using butter cream icing.

My first attempt at using rolled fondant. This cake was for my daughter's 14th birthday. She loved it!

Another attempt at rolled fondant for my mother-in-law's and daughter's joint birthday celebration. I wised up this time and used a pasta roller to roll out the fondant.

So this is just a little bit about me in a nut shell....or should I say cake pan.

Daily Goulash

Welcome to my blog, Daily Goulash.

You will get an insight into me, my life, my opinions and my world through daily rants, stories and miscellaneous postings. Thanks for stopping by!