Happy Birthday America!

by Kimberly A. Cook            (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

The high temps keep rolling here in Oregon and it’s going to be a firecracker holiday weekend without any pyrotechnics! I’m going the route of watching the official fireworks shows and not lighting a thing with flames or sparks due to our tinder dry conditions. Let’s all help out our firefighters and neighbors by being safe this Fourth of July!

It’s also a time to consider vets and pets. With National Guard, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans back from deployments, firecrackers and loud booms can be unwelcome reminders and triggers of combat. Heck, my first Fourth of July visiting home after basic training a loud firecracker went off to start the fireworks and I was half way to the ground; reflex training.

Pets of all kinds, dogs and cats particularly, get upset by the noises too and can run off. So watch the sponsored shows and keep the noise out of our neighborhoods.

So, if we don’t fire up sparklers at home, what can we do? Eat! Check out the tiny hamster’s BBQ party! These patriotic pets have the perfect recipe for a fun-filled weekend – picnics!

Have a safe and sane Fourth of July and Happy Quirky Friday!

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Sun, Feta And Pasta – Happy Summer!

by Kimberly A Cook                 (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

With our wacky weather giving us early hot temperatures and then thunderstorms and humidity, the best thing to do is pace ourselves. Or in my case, be lazy. One way I accomplish that is to make salads I love which last for a week. I think calories don’t exist during heat waves, at least according to the ransacking the grocery store ice cream aisle took last Wednesday night.

If I had my way, this would be Feta Greek Salad with pasta, but I am watching my cheese intake. Kinda. Greek Pasta Salad ala Kim!

If I had my way, this would be Feta Cheese Greek Salad with pasta, but I am watching my cheese intake. Kinda. Greek Pasta Salad ala Kim!

Today I’m sharing two fabulous pasta salad recipes. All you have to know how to do is boil water and chop.

Out to dinner with a friend last Thursday night and we explored the joy of making food, knitting and jewelry items that look complicated but are easy. Not lazy, I prefer to call it efficient. These two salads fit the bill, just in time for the long holiday weekend!

The original Shrimp Pasta Salad recipe from a co-worker at the day job is second. I modified her recipe for a Greek Pasta Salad I adore right below. Perfect for hot weather and the coming Fourth of July picnics! Here goes:

Greek Pasta Salad ala Kim

1 package Orzo pasta, 16 oz. – I use Barilla

1 bottle Girard’s Greek Feta vinaigrette

1 Cup chopped celery

1 whole cucumber, chopped

3/4 pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half

6 to 8 ounces of Traditional Feta crumbled cheese

9 Kalamata olives cut in fourths (I found they have ones already halved and pitted, score!)

Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to boil. (I used a 6-Quart pot, but a larger pot works better so you don’t have to watch it all the time.) Add dash of olive oil to boiling water. Cook pasta for 9 to 10 minutes. Drain in strainer using lukewarm water, not cold. Place in 4-Quart bowl. Pour entire bottle of salad dressing over pasta and stir. Cover and place in fridge overnight or for four hours. Chop everything else and mix well.

Original recipe – Shrimp Pasta Salad

1 package Orzo pasta, 16 oz.

1 bottle Girard’s Champagne dressing, lite

1 Cup Chopped celery

1 Cup Sliced green onion

1/2 Cup Mayonnaise (optional)

1 Tablespoon Mustard

1 tablespoon Dill Pickle Relish (I’m a sweet relish girl myself, do what you want)

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 to 3/4 pound Salad Shrimp

Same as above, marinate pasta overnight, then thrown all the ingredients in. Fabulous! This is so simple and looks great too.

Let’s raise a bowl to summer, cheese and pasta!

Photo Alert: To my photographer friends, tonight is the full Thunder Moon so get out there with your cameras between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. and get some great pictures. If you can see the moon, that is! Have fun!

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Conserve Energy, Eat Lying Down!

by Kimberly A. Cook         (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

It’s going to be a scorcher here this weekend in the land of the Douglas fir trees and rain. We’ve got heat warnings, fire weather warnings and low rivers. So I’ve decided to follow the skilled teachings of Nala, a Norwegian Forest Cat/Maine Coon from Norway. In this video her classic moves of eating while lying on the floor must have taken years of practice and study.

Following her lead, the sun tea jar is outside making tea, my beloved air conditioning is set to 75 degrees to not kill it and I plan to eat lunch lying down. Nala can’t be wrong!

Stay cool and be safe in the heat this weekend. Happy Quirky Friday!

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Am I Me Only If The DMV Says So?

by Kimberly A. Cook            (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

I’ve always thought my eye doctor’s parking lot is the craziest to enter and exit when all of us patients with dilated eyes are trying to back up and drive safely when we can’t really see. That was until I tried going to the smaller DMV office since the big one is being remodeled.

Proof! I was out in 30 minutes. Ta Da! And NOBODY is seeing my new picture.

Proof! I was out in 30 minutes. Ta Da! And NOBODY is seeing my new picture.

First I couldn’t figure out how to get into the parking lot. What appeared to be the entrance had an out only arrow. The road I was driving on immediately turned into a dead end with a loopty-loop.

Sling-shoting out the back side of the loopty-loop, I spotted the side street where I needed to take a left hand turn to enter the street then another one to get in the parking lot.

I avoid left-hand turns like the plague, but now I had two in a row. Once I made it into the parking lot I had to stop just two spaces in. Thought I’d entered a demolition derby site. In front of me two cars were trying to back out of spaces at the same time while a yellow-shirted pedestrian who seemed to have no peripheral vision whatsoever stood behind them.

While all I could do was raise my eyebrows, I could tell the backer uppers were newby drivers since they were going three miles per hour backwards. The pedestrian finally noticed the black SUV trying to back over her and moved to the left, directly behind the second car backing up at two miles per hour.

I spotted an open parking space ahead while gangs of new pedestrians walked blindly from their cars across my lane and into the area where folks were waiting for driving tests with their cars. Yellow-shirted gal was roaming in that area so I thought she was either a driver or a tester. I’d actually been looking forward to renewing my driver’s license since the DMV is an awesome place to observe people. My writer heart was so excited and all of this parking lot drama was messing up my mojo.

Finally got parked and inside the building. Didn’t kill or maim anyone. I ‘m pretty sure. Saw the take a number machine. Got number 100 and they were on 85. Score! Waiting time, but not too much, just enough to snoop. Noticed one man having a tantrum about some paperwork license plate issue and the supervisor had come up to help the clerk. You know that’s never good for the citizen when the reinforcements show up.

Then I noticed a sign for the Express Line next to him. How does one get into the Express Line? There was a receptionist after the number machine, but the sign above her said to come up in the order of your numbers if you had questions. Well, the Kaiser Pharmacy staff has trained me well, so I get a number, sit down and wait. By the time I figured out maybe I was supposed to go to the receptionist after all, they called my number.

I haven’t renewed my license since the whole prove who you are rules went into effect, so I’d brought almost every piece of ID I own. I’d raided the fire safe and had my original Social Security card, my Passport, my two DD-214s to get the veteran designation put on my license, my driver’s license and the filled out renewal form from online. I knew I was golden.

“You have a PO Box,” said the clerk.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I’ll need to see a piece of ID with your street address on it, like a utility bill.”

Only piece of ID I didn’t have with me and could not produce. Even if I went back home. “But I have a PO Box since I got hit with ID theft and my utility bill goes to the PO Box,” I replied.

“But I need to see that because you’ve moved.”

“I’ve moved?” By this time I really thought I was losing it. Maybe I had moved without my knowledge.

“You have a sticker,” she said and pointed to my old Driver’s License.

“But I’ve been at the same address since 1998.” I really was having trouble grasping what was happening.

“Oh, let’s check your past licenses.”

Let’s do that, I thought to myself. Teamwork!

“We’re good, you’ve got the same address on your past licenses.”

Big release of tension on my part. I hadn’t moved without my permission. Seems my change of address sticker on my old driver’s license made her assume I had moved but I’d only added the PO Box. She then checked my DD-214.

“Thank you for your service,” she said.

“Sure.” I never know what to reply when people say that to me. “You’re welcome” doesn’t seem quite right and “anytime” is not coming out of my mouth either; twice was enough, thanks.

Got through my eye test fine, paid my money, went to the photo chair and promptly found out I had to have my glasses off for the picture. Rats! I wanted my new purple glasses in my driver’s license photo. I also would’ve put on some eye makeup if I knew my peepers were going to be naked on my license for ten years. Without eye shadow and my glasses I bear a striking resemblance to a ferret. Yikes!

Picture taken, temporary license given and back out the door to try and navigate out of the wacky parking lot. I feel really sorry for the new driver’s in Oregon. Forget the written and driving tests, you’re never going to make it into the parking lot!

P.S. I got the veteran designation put on my driver’s license so I can get discounts at Joann’s and Fred Meyers. Goal!

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Do Dogs Have To Go To The DMV Too?

by Kimberly A. Cook              (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Spent part of the morning at the DMV getting my driver’s license renewed. More about that Tuesday. Don’t worry, it’s a happy ending. However, the scariest part of the trip was trying to get in and out of the crazy parking lot. Wowsa! That got me wondering if maybe we should be licensing some of these doggie drivers instead because they’ve got better skills than some folks I avoided this morning!

Have a great weekend, drive safe out there, and Happy Quirky Friday!


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What Do Plastic File Cabinets, A Cement Rabbit And An Electric Chain Saw Have In Common?

by Kimberly A. Cook          (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

Those are the items I used to cut up the old cedar fence boards in my garage. Having a creative mind really helps when some of my home improvement projects go sideways. Besides using orange extension cords and yellow Caution tape when the fence blew down, I reckoned the leftover cedar boards were perfect for my fireplace. Just not in six-foot lengths.

Bunny working very hard on the job. Bun power!

Bunny working very hard on the job. Bun power!

Those who are keeping track remember the Skill Saw debacle, it worked but was too heavy for my right hand and lower back. In the interest of hoping to be able to use my right hand again, the fabulous recommendations of an electric chain saw from friends on this blog seemed the ticket.

Saturday afternoon I set out to take a shot at getting at least half of the boards cut up. Already had the shiny new Black and Decker electric chain saw. Read the manual. Poured in the bar and chain oil. Geared up with ear plugs, face protector and gloves. Then realized I had a problem. The chain saw requires two hands. Whose going to hold the boards?

Where are the minions when you really need them? Figured I could use the leftover plastic file cabinets stored in the garage to put the boards on and cut between them. Didn’t really work; boards moved and so did the file cabinets. Spotted the wood barrel from my Dad’s shop. Turned it over. Not the best working height, but it was stable. Next I needed something heavy to hold each board.

Bunny! Of my many yard art finds, I have a fabulous cement rabbit heavier than sin who made the perfect bunny wood weight. Bunny did his job, I fired up the new Black and Decker and soon there was cedar sawdust everywhere. I got so inspired I cut up all the wood.

Fours hours later with concerns I might not be able to walk or use my fingers on Sunday, I tidied up the garage, including saving the cedar sawdust. My friend Joann, pyromaniac that she is, uses leftover candles and sawdust to make fireplace starters. Nothing goes to waste! Got all the wood neatly stacked, put bunny back out on the patio and I was done for the day.

Somehow the wood pile looks a lot less impressive when it’s all cut up and stacked. But I’m ready for winter. Right in the middle of summer. Every girl needs her very own electric chain saw. And a cement rabbit!


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Are Your Ready For Some Squirrel Soccer?

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

I’m a big squirrel fan and I know many of you loved the water skiing squirrel. Found this old commercial with a very talented squirrel playing soccer. Outside the U.S. they call it football. I guess that energy drink really did work!

Have a great weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!

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