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Happy Fourth of July!!!

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Happy Fourth of July!

Today I had someone say that this was 'just any day' -- but Marilyn and I STRONG disagree with that. Even if you don't do something special on this day, it is a special day to Americans. Or it should be, anyway...

This is a special day for Marilyn and me. It always has been and always will be. We're very proud to be Americans.

That doesn't mean we can't appreciate that there are people in this country who aren't happy. No does it mean we don't appreciate other nations and support them. But we love this day. We honor this day.

Today we didn't do much of anything. Marilyn started her day by going to the track -- which is always a good way to start your day in our book! (No, I didn't go along. I've been asked that already. But I was having bad leg cramps again this morning... sigh...)

We ate our WONDERFUL banana muffins for breakfast. Yummy! With a nice pot of homemade coffee.

We watched a bunch of TV today. Including one of our all-time favorite movies, "The Great Escape." For those who might not know, this was a 1963 American World War II film based on a book, about a German POW camp and their escape attempts -- starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough.

Steve McQueen was WONDERFUL in this movie. Apparently his role was based on at least three pilots, David M. Jones, John Dortch Lewis and William Ash. He has been credited with having the most significant performance, but there were many wonderful performances and amazing characters that Marilyn and I love!

Critic Leonard Maltin wrote that "the large, international cast is superb, but the standout is McQueen; it's easy to see why this cemented his status as a superstar." McQueen served in the US Marines after WWII, and is credited for saving fellow Marines' lives during an Arctic exercise.

The Great Escape grossed $11.7 million at the box office with a budget of $4 million, and became one of the highest-grossing films of 1963 (despite heavy competition). Plus in the years since its release, its audience has broadened, cementing its status as a cinema classic. It was entered into the 3rd Moscow International Film Festival where McQueen won the Silver Prize for Best Actor.

We watched it BOTH TIMES it was on today -- and we were talking about it. It's so good that we can watch it over and over again. The characters are what matter to us! And these are so interesting...

Anyway, if you've never seen it, I highly recommend it.

I read the book years ago and enjoyed it. But the movie is actually BETTER than the book. Yes, the book is written based on actual events -- and much of the movie is fictional. But that does not detract from the film at all.

I went with my friend June to the Dollar Tree in the afternoon. We went to the one over at Lloyd Center, which is huge and has much more than our small local one (which I also like and shop at). I got a bunch of things and really enjoyed the trip.

June's car had a dead battery and Jim had to jump it before we could go...

I chatted with our friend Shari in the morning, which was nice. It sounded like she had some good plans for today (two picnics!).

After I got back, Marilyn and I took a nap. When I got up I made Mom's Hot Diggity Dogs.

Here's the recipe:
Gloria's Hot Diggitty Dogs

1 package hot dogs (we like Oscar Meyer all beef hot dogs)
In a flat bowl, mix mustard and ketchup (to taste -- whatever variety you prefer)
Using different kinds of mustard and/or ketchup change the flavor, so feel free to experiment!
In another flat bowl, fill with Kellogg's Corn Flake Crumbs (use a lot!)
(You can buy these ready made, or use Corn Flake cereal and crush it)

Preheat your oven at 350'.

Take a sharp knife and carefully cut the skin of each hot dog, one at a time. Go around like a barber pole (spiraling from end to end).

Roll each hotdog in the mustard/ketchup mixure, then immediately coat GENEROUSLY with a the Corn Flake Crumbs. The thicker the coating the better! This is a messy process, but you get better as you go along! As you finish each one, place it gently on a cookie sheet -- leave room between each hot dog.

Bake at 350' for around half an hour. This depends on your oven, but you want these to brown well -- and even get some spots of black. This depends on taste, but you're going for a crunchy exterior and juicy interior!

These don't require buns (but you can serve them that way, if you prefer). They don't require toppings (the mustard and ketchup are already on them!), but again, you can serve them with this.

Mom originally got the recipe from Kellogg's many, many years back. But immediately changed it from ketchup alone to the mustard/ketchup mixture. She also baked it longer than they did, which makes it very crispy (which we've always preferred).


Okay, that's NOT the 'official' recipe. We put it in the Centennial Cookbook back in 2007 -- but for whatever reason I can't find that cookbook! (Yes, I know I have it here somewhere!!!) But that's what I did today, so I just described it. I'll look for the 'real' recipe sometime, but it can't be much different! (smile)

You might not like hot dogs or want to try it, but I included it, just in case...

Marilyn's baked beans were DELICIOUS today. (Her 'secret' ingredient is a splash or two of Pendleton whiskey, by the way! Yummy!) So we ate a lot of baked beans and hot dogs...

Watched Macy's NYC fireworks (twice!), and the local fireworks over in Vancouver, Washington on TV.

Well, that's it for today! I'm off to bed. Wimbledon starts very early!!!

Sweet dreams.
3 sisters elf-ing around, elf 3 sisters

A Little Trouble with LiveJournal -- Plus a Quick Overview of Thursday and Friday...

I actually DID try to blog yesterday (Thursday). But LiveJournal wasn't cooperating, I'm afraid...

It's REALLY, REALLY LATE (!!!), so this will be brief, I'm afraid. Marilyn is sound asleep in the living room, and I need to rouse her and get her to bed (if I can).

Thursday, December 22:
Thursday was a day at the office, working! It was extremely busy for both Marilyn and me. I was dealing with a bunch of IT-related issues.

Steven brought three of his kids (the youngest) in to visit us, which was so nice! Wyatt, Quinn (a girl) and Grace. And naturally I brought out the toy box I keep under my desk and played with them. (smile) I also always let them take toys home, which is exciting to them...

At one point during the day I told Jeff -- well, emailed him the step-by-step instructions -- on how to change the setting on his iPad so he could hear sound when in certain Apps. I'd been through the same thing and finally reasoned it out. He was glad! (I don't blame him.) It's one of those odd things that can happen with the iPad...

Marilyn and I gave Jeff a new Fitbit for Christmas. So I also helped him to set it up! He's go to go again. (woo hoo)

We gave blankets (plus the movie tickets) to Rich and Merlin. And Merlin gave me a recipe that I'm excited to try out!

After work we came home and had dinner, then Marilyn went for her massage therapy (it's all the way out to Donald, Oregon). And I worked on decorating the living room (finally!!!) for Christmas. We were sort of early for the family room, but just never got around to the living room for some reason.

Aside from our brand new Christmas tree, which came with 700 lights! Very pretty even before you decorate it!

It was also garbage night (the real deal). So I was gathering recycling, garbage and composting to get outside. And of course it was RAINING and cold!!! Hahaha.

Marilyn is always very tired and very sore after a session. And she doesn't get back until quite late...

I had a difficult time sleeping, for whatever reason. (sigh) Strange, considering how tired I was!

Friday, December 23:
We went to a (VERY LATE) breakfast with sister Sue (we went and picked her up, as she currently has no car) and our friends June and Jim (who met us at Elmer's). We had a lovely time! (Marilyn was kind enough to pick up the tab.) (Marilyn dropped Sue and me so she could go and get gas, which we needed!)

And June and Jim had some nice birthday gifts for me -- and a card she had made for me! -- too. So sweet.

After breakfast we went and got our 'neighbor gifts' to be ready to give out tomorrow. This year we're giving out tins of popcorn! We haven't done that in many years, so it's sort of an exciting change.

We also drove to try and get a fresh evergreen wreath for inside the front door, but couldn't find one. Too bad. We really wanted the smell...

In the afternoon we went to Hooters to met up with Jeff, who wanted to give us his gifts. We had drinks and ate frickles (deep fried dill pickles) and chicken fingers (yummy!). Another nice visit!

Then we came home and I could barely keep my eyes open (after not sleeping well last night). So I had a VERY LONG NAP.

When I finally got up it was almost midnight! Marilyn had been awake for hours. Hahaha. So we FINALLY got out the decorations for the tree and put them up. It looks wonderful!

We watched "The House Without a Christmas Tree," "The Muppets Christmas Carol," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "The Little Drummer Boy" while we did the decorating.

Time for BED at long last...

Sleep well, friends!!!
church window (stained glass)

First Sunday of Advent -- Plus Saturday and Sunday

Yesterday we DID attend the Seaside Holiday Gift Fair, which is held annually at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center. And we bought several items, both yesterday and again today! These included placemats for year-round (in a nautical pattern) and a set for Christmas. We so enjoyed using our Thanksgiving set that Mom bought so many years ago that these were two easy-to-decide purchases (from two separate women). And we got a new throw for the living room in a wonderful beach pattern! Plus one that has a moose design that will be especially nice for Christmas. We already have it out on the chair behind the sofa and Colin is mad for it. (smile)

There was a necklace Marilyn really loved that I should have bought for her. I still haven't given her a birthday gift or 40th anniversary gift! Yes, I know I'm VERY LATE with both. We need to shop together, as one of the things she wants is pearl earrings. (I gave her some years ago, but they need to be replaced...)

Anyway, the QUALITY of everything at this fair was amazingly high! The best we've seen maybe EVER at any holiday bazaar -- and we've been to tons in our lives! We could have spent a great deal more with all the amazing items available...

Saturday night we went in and played Fascination, including a little bit of Coverall. We didn't win a single game, but we still had fun! And we got ice cream after that (well, sherbet) and then walked on the beach just a bit. It was pretty, but very cold!

Marilyn stayed up most of the night, as she had Davis Cup tennis to watch very early. For those who might not know, Andy helped GB win the Davis Cup, so it was very exciting. She finally went to bed in the early morning hours (I don't recall when). And we both slept in late.

Then we needed to go back to the Fair to pick up one of the items we'd purchased yesterday that the woman was finishing up for us. I ended up buying these beautiful wooden magnets that I'd looked at yesterday. I want Donn to see them, as I think they're items he could easily make! I love that they have really STRONG magnets -- and I look forward to using them!

Tomorrow morning we'll take photos of the Thanksgiving decorations before taking them down. Then we'll at least start putting up Christmas (and we might do it all). The main thing is, of course, to put up the tree -- and we'll watch "The House Without a Christmas Tree" while we do it, which is our tradition. We love that movie! I don't know WHY they don't play it every year. They certainly play a ton of really stupid and/or meaningless Christmas shows, that's for sure...

We did go to the show tonight to see "Victor Frankenstein," with Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott. All four of them were REALLY GOOD in this movie, which was beautifully shot. I'm not sure WHY the critics are so down on this movie! We both found it entertaining. And the acting is first rate. The time period is beautifully portrayed. Sometimes I just don't get it. What didn't they like??? Oh well. If you're into a good horror film, this is worth seeing.

Well, I figure we'll head to be soon. The weather has certainly been WONDERFUL while we've been here. Cold, yes, but dry, with blue skies. But it's supposed to start raining this week...

Today was the FIRST Sunday in Advent for 2015. They call it Stir-Up Sunday. Today the Mass prays: "Stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come." We begin our Advent journey to Christ's birthday, and the Church joins by prayer to beg Christ to come -- to hurry and do not delay. The tradition of many families is to actually create some recipe like a plum pudding, fruit or spice cake. The idea of everybody helping stir this is part of the fun! Then this food is held for eating on Christmas day. (Waiting is another Advent theme.) The actual recipe prepared isn't as important as sharing in the creation -- and making something everyone can enjoy. (So if you hate plum pudding, try something else!) I can't believe Advent is already here!

One of the things I looked for at the Fair was an Advent Calendar. I'd love to have one we could use year in and out. I've even thought about making my own -- but I'm not sure exactly what I want to make...

I know whenever we had these as kids we just loved them! I swear we used to have one years and years ago, but I've no clue what finally happened to it.

Anyway, Advent greetings to all who celebrate! Christmas isn't very far away now!

Oh! Did I mention Marilyn and I are thinking about doing Sing Your Own Messiah again this year? We haven't done it in years and years -- but we always loved it when we did participate.

We should go use our face masks again. (I wonder if we will?)

Good night, dear friends. Sleep well!!!
watson/sherlock, sherlock/watson

"Sherlock Holmes" (yes, again) -- and Friday at the Festival Office

We went to see "Sherlock Holmes" again, getting home past midnight. Again, what a wonderful movie!

Marilyn got her hair done today, while I stayed home and slept in -- then pretty much goofed off after that. (smile)

I've done little at all most of the day, napping a ton and reading. I have been thinking about a story I'd like to write, but that's about it! I've got this 'Western' thing going on lately, on and off, that keeps popping up. Probably from years of reading Western novels. (smile) And movies and TV shows that I love... (Like "3:10 to Yuma.")

When we got home, I made a batch of Coquito, a rum drink that Angel introduced us to when we visited his home during the holidays. He gave me his recipe and I'd found one online. Anyway, I made my own version, which I'll share here!

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I spoke with Jeff who asked me if he was going to be shocked by the cost of IT -- to which I honestly answered 'yes.' The move has impacted us, of course. Plus we have other IT issues we need to address. And it's clearly a year where we'll need equipment (I've already had to buy some), so... I guess Marilyn had given him a 'head's up' that this would be the case, and of course I'm just going to bluntly tell him the truth. Well, we saved money last year, so...

Sue B. insisted on buying lunch for both Marilyn and me (!!!), even though I was there and had my credit card. She's so good to us! We got food next door, and it was quite good!

I was tired and brain dead by the end of the day -- but also really satisfied with what I got done! Some days feel good simply because of what's accomplished. This was a day like that.

We're up now watching the Australian Open, but heading to bed soon.