All posts by verily sherrilee

Directionally challenged, crafty, reading mother of teenager

Here Kitty, Kitty!

I mentioned to YA that I have a trip to Maui in a few months.  She told me I should “swing over” to Lana’i while I’m there to visit the Cat Sanctuary.

Lana’i isn’t that easy to “swing over” to but if it were just me, I’d head on over.

If money/space were no object, how many pets would YOU have?



Strawberry Cheese Toast

You all know I love strawberries. My favorite picking place lost their pick-your-own field in a nasty early spring storm but I went down on Friday to Northfield and got two flats of pre-picked.  It was still cheaper than getting them at the grocery store and much tastier.

After 14 jars of jam, we’re scrambling to get them finished up before they get too mushy. Lots of strawberry shortcake and spinach strawberry salad.  Thinking back to a breakfast that YA ordered at the Highland Grill last January (ricotta and jam on toast), I came up with this recipe this morning:

Strawberry Cheese Toast (for 1)

1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted
2 slices of pepper jack cheese
4 T. strawberries, mashed up a bit
2 T. blueberries

Put slices of cheese on top of the toast. Spread mashed strawberries over the cheese and then sprinkle blueberries on top.

It was fabulous – I’m having it again tomorrow!

What’s one of your favorite summer recipes?

Bear Ballyhoo

I just don’t like meetings very much. If you have information to impart, just send me an email.   I’m particularly bad at brainstorming meetings – you know, where you write down all your outrageous idea on post-it notes, or on huge sheets of paper stuck up on the wall.  The moderator ALWAYS starts out with “every idea is valuable” and warns everyone not to bring up negatives.

This is hard for me. I’m a problem solver and when presented with a problem and possible solutions, my brain immediately starts working through each solution to see if it’s viable, if it could solve the problem.  Of course, most of the ideas that get thrown out at brainstorming meetings are ridiculous and can easily be ruled out as good solutions – but only if you’re allowed to rule them out.  As I’ve never been able to stop my mind from looking for the logistics in brainstorming meetings, I tend to sit quietly, taking notes.  Luckily my boss knows this about me and she rarely asked me to take part in these kinds of sessions.

But boy, Build-a-Bear could have used someone like me in the meeting where they decided to run a “Pay Your Age” promotion one day last week. If you brought in your child, you could get a bear for your child’s age… and even if you were getting the bear for yourself, the cap on the price was $29.  Here’s one of the many news stories from Thursday:

“Pay Your Age” could only have come up during a brainstorming meeting in which everybody had been exhorted to listen to all ideas fairly and not comment. It’s hard to imagine a lot of experienced business people not being able to think through the problems with this marketing ploy unless they were cowed into silence. How could they not know there would be an immediate and huge response to them basically giving the bears away?   How could they not figure out that a few employees in the stores would not be able to handle the crush of customers?  And how could they not think about the natural reactions of people with their kids standing in line for hours, being jostled by the strangers in front and behind them?

Obviously my observations are in hindsight, but I’m pretty sure if I’d been in that brainstorming meeting, my brain would have come up with a lot of reasons why this wouldn’t work – at least in the way it was rolled out. But would I have said anything or just taken a bunch of notes about how stupid meetings are?

So bears. Yea or nay?


For the most part I’m not a fan of new words. I like the words we have and I always have to remind myself that we only have the words we have because at some point somebody made them up.

But every now and then a word comes along that I can embrace wholeheartedly. One of those words is “staycation” – a perfect way to say you are vacationing at home.

Today begins my first day of a nice, long staycation. Because  I’ve been with my company for quite some time, I have a generous number of vacation days and also because of my workload, I don’t get to use too many of them for a chunk of the year.  Now that my big program is out the door, I have to get cracking on these vacation days.  This means a week plus off now, the rest of the Mondays in the summer off and then the entire of State Fair off.

This week though is strictly for hanging out and working on some of the stuff that hasn’t been getting done the last few months – cleaning, straightening, cleaning, yardwork, cleaning. Did I mention cleaning?

On Day One I’m going to make strawberry jam and make some basil-infused oil. I know that doesn’t sound like cleaning, but I do have a mammoth list and it has cleaning projects for every day as well as some of the more fun stuff.

What new word can you embrace?

Family Day

Twenty-three years ago today, a little bundle with a shaved head was put into my arms.

I was half-way around the world, in a hotel in Hufei, China and there were five other bundles being handed off to five other sets of arms at the same time. We spent 8 days in Hufei while all the last bits of paperwork were filled out, signed, stamped and copied (the copier only took one page at a time and after 45 minutes had to sit for a bit to cool down).  Then we headed off to Guangzhou where we had 2 more days of paperwork, but this time U.S. paperwork.

Then the group broke up; Baby and I flew to Hong Kong for an extra day, taking a long taxi drive to the Stanley Market to get a few trinkets, including a Chinese chop with her name carved into it. Then we said goodbye to China and took the long flights to get back to Minnesota.

Most of you know that we celebrate this day every year (usually by going to The Melting Pot). We used to call it “Gotcha Day” since that was when we “got” each other, but when Child was about 10 she announced that she preferred “Family Day”.   She said that “gotcha” made her feel like a package being picked up at the post office.  So now we have Family Day.  Some years we do cards, although never gifts.  I already have the best gift.

Do you have a family tradition that needs re-naming?

Oven Graveyard

My range/oven is dead. After never giving me a minute’s grief in 27 years, it has given up the ghost. The technician came today; two of the three needed parts are no longer made. I can send the board to be “rebuilt” but it’s only a 50/50 chance that it can be fixed and I’ll be without my oven for at least a month.

Got any good appliance shopping advice?


Stamping Heaven

Even though it was Saturday, I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had directions to Canterbury Downs already printed out, a fully charged phone for photos and a huge wad of one dollar bills.  That’s right – time for my favorite stamp show!

I don’t really need to go to a stamp show. Let’s face it, I already own more stamps and paper and ribbons and ink pads than any normal person needs.  All the companies represented at the stamp show have websites (and you know I have them all bookmarked).  But there’s something about being at a convention full of your hobby/passion, surrounded by folks just like you, who understand your desire to see the stamps and paper up close and in person.  And who get all your stamping jokes.

The Early Bird line (for those who purchased their tickets ahead of time online) queued up pretty early. I showed up 20 minutes before opening and was about 40th in line. They actually counted down the last 10 seconds on the sound system before opening; for those of you thinking it, yes I did yell along with the others during the countdown.

This is the stamping show that’s I like best; there are several of my favorite companies there and almost every booth does a “make `n take” (unlike that other not-as-good show that was in town last month). I had my dollar bills in my pocket so I was ready whenever there was a free chair to make a sample; most make `n takes are $1 but a few are $2.  I spent about 5 hours at the show, made 12 cards, chatted with folks either at tables or in line.  I even met the designer who made a 6 x 6 calendar template especially for me back in February!  Didn’t win a door prize (no surprise there) and blew my budget (no surprise there either) but had a glorious time.

What kind of mud does your pig like?