Friday, November 02, 2012

It's's what?

Lately it seems that every month I'm getting hit up for some donation....breast cancer, relay for life, girl scout cookies, susan g. run, etc.  And November is no different.  But that's ok as it is always for a good cause in my book.  So November is MOVEMBER month.  And you ask what exactly is that?  Well, straight from  their website, here it is....

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo's, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.
Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valor by either throwing their own Movember party or attending one of the infamous Gala Part├ęs held around the world by Movember, for Movember.

The Movember Effect: Awareness & Education, Survivorship, Research
The funds raised in the US support prostate cancer and testicular cancer initiatives. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG Foundation. Together, the three channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with our
strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

So this year, I've had the opportunity to see at least three guys I know or know of that have taken on the cause. 

Marc Montini-Marc's motivation: I was diagnosed with testicular cancer on Oct 11, 2011. Two surgeries and 12 weeks of Chemo later, I am cancer free.

Michael Babbitt-Mike's motivation: Prostate Cancer took my Father's life and I don't want my newborn son to have to ever have to worry about this F*$k#d up disease. Lets have some fun, grow a stache and raise awareness. Everyone knows about the save the boobies campaign and wearing pink. Now its time to give the boys their due. Save the Huevos. In Memory Of David B. Babbitt

Scott Scherbinski-Scott's motivation: to become involved and raise awareness.  NOTE:  This is the first time in 13 years that Scott has shaved his beard.   

As Michael said, 'everyone knows about SAVE the BOOBIES campaign and wearing pink.  Now its time to give the boys their due.  I'm not sure exactly what BOYS he's talking about, but nonetheless, it's a great cause. 

Over the years, I have donated to a lot of causes.  And I have donated to a lot of people who I had no idea who they were, but a friend asked for help with donations so I donated.  Primarily, that is what I am asking you.  Give up starbucks for a week, for some of you that's $50 right there.  And donate to one or all three of these individuals.  


Friday, October 19, 2012

Another food blog post

There are so many food blogs out there such as Skinny Baker Chick (that's what I call her) and that is where I get a lot of my recipes like the stuffed pumpkin from last year.  And I'm going to make that in the next week as well.  But that isn't the point.  People are always saying I have the best recipes, but I hate to break it to you folks, I steal most of those recipes.  I get them from Skinny Baker Chick,, Sunset magazine, and a host of other sites.  If I have something I want to cook-lets say beef ribs-then I just Google (because how else do we get information these days) beef ribs and start looking at recipes.  Or I send Chef Larry a personal message and get the low down.  It pays to have people in the food business.

I work in the middle of nowhere as most people tell me on a daily basis.  At anyone given time, there are 4-10 people living in our little park community.  And I love to cook, but cooking for one is so difficult so I often invite the neighbors over for meals.  Usually I use them as guinea pigs to some meal I am trying.  Last night was no different.  My husband always suggests I try the recipes on him before inviting the entire housing community over to try the food I'm about to attempt to make.  That was definitely the crepe incident at PINN, but they eventually turned out alright....right gang?

Anyway, we have a cookbook called Southwest Slow Cooking we sell in our visitor center.  The photos alone make you want to purchase the book.

On a daily basis, given we have 5 visitors, at least 5 people will pick up the book and look through it.  I used to tell visitors that if they purchased the book they were required to bring back a meal they prepared out of it for taste testing.  Then I picked it up, looked through it, and bought the book.  Shortly thereafter, I went out and bought a slow cooker.  And I've been testing the recipes in the book.  Last night was Flautas De Pollo (photo above) and after posting the above photo on FB, someone wanted the recipe so I'm now sharing it.

Now you are probably wondering how those were made in a slow cooker.  Well in reality, only the chicken and vegetables portion was in the slow cooker and then I prepared the flautas and put them in the oven.

You'll need if you can find the following items:
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 white onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
24 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 block ranchero cheese, crumbled (I couldn't find this so I went with pepper jack)
Nonstick cooking spray
Corn oil (I used vegetable oil as that's what I had)

Place the jalapeno, onion, garlic, and chicken in the slow cooker.  Stir in the oregano, black pepper, and chili powder.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.  (I went with about 5.5 hours).

Turn oven to broil.  Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Remove the chicken and vegetables from the slow cooker.  Shred the chicken with a fork and mix in with the cooked vegetables.  To each tortilla, add 1/2 tablespoon of the chicken mixture (I didn't measure) and a 1/4 tablespoon of the cheese, and then roll tightly.  I interrupt here for a very helpful hint: To keep your tortillas from splitting when rolled is to place 3-4 in an unsealed plastic bag and microwave for 30 seconds.  Put a toothpick through the center of each tortilla to hold it closed and place on the baking pan.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and mixture.  When finished, brush each tortilla with a little corn oil and place the pan in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove when the tortillas are golden brown on top.

I served them up with some corn bread (I made that in the slow cooker the night before), black beans, sour cream, and salsa.  Although mine didn't come out looking like the photo above, I have no doubt they tasted the same.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Small Town Loss

I grew up in what I consider a small town.  Well, at least it was when I was growing up.  I moved from a midwest state into a small, but growing town.  I moved there in 1974 when I was one and the town did not become incorporated until 1978.   We can battle back and forth, but the population at that time was between 5000 and 15,000.  Yep a big difference, but all in all it was small. 

The community technically started as a Army Air Corps rest camp during WWII, but the real start in my eyes was when Mr. McCulloch brought over his manufacturing plant and began to start the growing town.  There was already the lake there dammed up by the Parker Dam, but other than that it was primarily a piece of desert next to some water.  Mr. McCulloch had to bring in people in order to start this wonderful community.   

McCulloch had purchased 11 Lockheed Electras, and formed McCulloch International Airlines, to fly in prospective buyers from all over the country. Splashy magazine ads enticed snow-weary would be customers to take a free flight to Paradise.  When they arrived, they were greeted by one of the Holly salesmen, who taxied them around in the trademark white Jeep.  In all, there were approximately 40 identical vehicles in the fleet, said to be the largest contingent of white Jeeps in the world.--Havasu Magazine

Many of my friends' parents arrived in Lake Havasu that way.  Now, I'm not exactly sure if my father came way of the Electras, but I have to assume he did.  He came out to look at a redi-mix plant since that's what he was doing back in the midwest.  Bet he kicks himself all the time for not purchasing it.  Well, if you know me, then you know what he ended up buying.  Gotta say I enjoyed that rather than I would have a redi-mix plant. 

For the most part, I went to school from kindergarten to 12th grade with the same bunch of people.  Granted some of them went to those other lame elementary schools, but we were all together from 8-12th.  I know some people moved away, but to be honest, we really did not feel your loss.  What I mean by that is that today with facebook, it seems you were always with us.  There were those of you that entered our lives between those 12 years and after putting you in your place, we welcomed you. 

But we have had our share of losses.  And to me being from what I consider a small town, I feel we have had too many.  We have had too many that have died before their prime.  There are too many that have died prior to their 40th birthday.  Crap there were too many that died before their 30th.  And a few before their 20th. 

My question of why will never be answered.  But for a city that supposedly grew by 1,000 each year from 1964-ish,  that is too many for a town of roughly 30,000 by the time I graduated.  And may be other towns have the same number, but I guess when it is your hometown, it hits home. 

The first classmate's funeral I attended was for Nikki.  I remember sitting at that funeral surrounding by friends and enemies (enemies is not the right word, rather people I clearly didn't care for).  I remember that day perfectly like I was sitting there right now.   I remember realizing that I needed to make those enemies my friends because there was only a few thousand of us.  My graduating class was 221/222, which means roughly the entire school during my four years was probably no more than 1200.  Crap some high schools today have that in one graduating class. 

I'm not saying I knew everyone in my high school.  I definitely wasn't friends with all of them.  Because like most schools, there were the clicks, chicks, and jocks.  But in some weird sense, I did know them.  And what I have found over the years is that I've become to know more and more of them because we keep meeting at these memorials. 

I have 364 friends.  Almost one for each day of the year.  Seems like after each one of these memorials, I add a few more.  It isn't that I don't like adding new friends, even though only 120 wished me a happy birthday, but I am sick of doing it after memorials. 

Those that have gone before us watch over us constantly and I am somewhat grateful for that, but I sure in the hell wish they were watching over me standing next to me in person.  Jeff's brother recently wrote-don't forget him.  We won't and we won't ever forget the others as well. 

Am I the only who thinks for a small town, we've lost way too many?

Stay safe my fellow classmates, stay safe.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Big Chill

I believe one of the greatest movies ever made is the Big Chill.  I realize some people don't think so, but I love the movie.  One of those I could watch over and over.  Do you know Kevin Costner is in that movie.  He is Alex.  In the beginning of the movie, the group of friends receive telephone calls and then start preparing to go to a funeral. 

As many if not all of you know that I wear the green and grey to work every day.  I will admit that during the winter, I rarely change my shirt, and hell in the summer I just spray febreze on it.  It is called laziness.  Otherwise I have to take off the name tag, badge, and all the stuff in the pockets and move it all to another shirt.  Um, yea like a 2 minute project, but as I said laziness. 

Every time I prepare my uniform shirt for my Monday after my weekend or a vacation, the beginning of the Big Chill always rolls through my mind.  I do not know why but it always has. 

As you know on January 1, 2012 the National Park Service lost another fine Park Ranger, Margaret Anderson.  I did not go back to work until January 4th, which if you are still a friend of mine on fb, you know it is the greatest day in the world or my birthday. 

As I dressed that day for work and slipped the black elastic band over my badge, I thought back to the beginning of the Big Chill.  I stood there getting dressed looking out the the window to the most beautiful scenery.  The words that flashed through my mind at that moment were not what I expected...

"This might be my last"

It wasn't really a mordid thought, it was just a truth.  However, I do not think Margaret woke up January 1st and thought that. 

I have decided for my birthday and for the rest of my life, I will celebrate every morning that I wake up.  Life is a celebration so CELEBRATE while you have it. 

Peace -  The grey and green

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Envy My Job?

I agree that I have worked in some of the greatest and beautiful locations in the United States.  I can see why you envy my job at times.  Most of the time I post the bonuses of my job...the hikes, the beauty, the quietness, the peace...well technically the good side.  And most other rangers will post the same thing. 

What we don't normally post is the law enforcement side of our job.  We don't talk about getting yelled at by irate visitors because we pulled them over for traveling 60 mph in a 35.  We don't talk about the high speed chases and taking out individuals at gunpoint.  We don't talk about going into the marijuana grow and having shots fired at us.  We don't talk about protecting the park, but in reality protecting the U.S. border (  We don't talk about having to handcuff, search, and take people to jail.  We don't talk about having to search some of the most disgusting vehicles.  We don't talk about having to do CPR on a person for 40 minutes knowing damn well that person is going to die.We don't talk about the 12 hour hike to attempt to find a lost person.  We don't talk about the pucker factor.  Those things aren't beautiful and peaceful to me or you. 

United States Park Rangers handle calls just like the city officers.  Some will say we don't deal with murders, but unfortunately we do....

- Rest in Peace Margaret

- Rest in Peace Kris

- Rest in Peace Joe

- Rest in Peace Steve

- Rest in Peace Kenneth

- Rest in Peace Robert

- Rest in Peace James

- Rest in Peace Karl

Please read each one and remember.  They all hit a cord within me, but Steve's is always on the front of my mind when dealing with visitors for non-violent incidents. 

I only listed the ones I could find in the NPS, but there are many more in the land management field (Forest Service, BLM, State Park Rangers) and honestly any other agencies.  When Brody was shot one year ago, it was amazing how many agencies and individuals who had never met Brody sent him well wishes, prayers, and thoughts.  Even today on Brody's facebook page, there is people who stop by to say a kind word.  The law enforcement world, whether protecting a city or a park, is a family.  The quote below says it all....

"When a police officer is killed, it's not an agency that loses an officer, it's an entire nation." -Chris Cosgriff, ODMP Founder

So I guess I ask you envy my job?