Lumpia! In pictures

The story of lumpia in pictures.

First you prep the ingredients
Shredded carrots (2.5 ish lbs), chopped green onions (1 bundle), garlic (1 whole clove), a dozen eggs-separated (2 or 3 whole eggs go into the mix), and some soy sauce.
Reserve the egg whites. They will be used later.
Mix in the meat. Here it is 5.5 pounds of ground pork.
Time to get messy. Each roll takes about that much filling. Close to a standard ice cream scoop.
Personally, I prefer to work with the spring roll wraps. Start at the corner
Roll tightly towards the center
Fold the sides in
Continue rolling. This is where the egg whites come in handy. You will dip that last corner in the egg white to glue the roll closed.
Line them up carefully. Try not to let them touch.
If you are planning to freeze them, it’s a good idea to let them sit for a few minutes to let the egg white set.
They freeze well at this point. You can thaw them out to fry later.
Or get them straight into 350ish degree oil
Fry until golden
Wait until they are cool enough to eat and enjoy.

The Horrible Hot Tub Story




Is this thing still on?

Spent the weekend with dear friends which always does my soul good. Maybe not my waistline, but certainly my soul. At the close of the weekend, OldNFO admonished me to “throw something up on the blog once in a while.” One shouldn’t ignore such things, and it just so happens that I realized I have story often told in person that has yet to be told here.

One of the *cough* amenities that was included when we purchased our house was a hot tub. Said hot tub promptly shelled its pump a few months after we signed the mortgage and became a large, fiberglass tub of misery, gook, and breeding mosquitoes. Sure we drained it and kept it covered, but somehow rain and detritus would find its way in so I made it a practice to thrown in chlorine tabs and some bleach from time to time in an attempt to keep the mosquitoes and mystery odors under control. My brother promised that one day, he was coming to get the thing and fix it up just as soon as he had a place to put it.

Fast forward to a lovely Saturday in early fall. A perfect day for a cookout. The weather guessers had predicted it and so we had invited everyone over to partake in some grilled goodness in our backyard. Hubby went off to gather the meat, and I headed out to the backyard to make it ready for the festivities.

That’s when the smell hit me. Assuming the storms had created some sort of unholy concoction in the hot tub, I grabbed a gallon of bleach and poured it in without lifting more than just the very corner of the hot tub cover.

I swear to you, the tub belched out a green, putrid cloud of evil. It then laughed at my attempt to sterilize whatever was hidden inside and have a nice, normal gathering of my parents, grandparents, in-laws, and their parents. The trees recoiled in disgust. That’s when I knew.

I had to open the tub.

Horror. Pure horror awaited inside.

Starlings. 21 nasty, dirty, garbage eating starlings had apparently sought shelter from the storm inside the hot tub, where they drowned. I found 21 dead and rotting starlings. They were bloated and most of the feathers had fallen off.

What to do? I’ve got people coming over and a tub of rotting death to greet them. It’s not like I could just throw them in the trash.

So I did the only rational thing, I dug a hole. A large hole.

Remember how I told you that hubby had gone for supplies and meat? This is the point in the story where he returns triumphantly only to find his mud-coated wife standing in a 3 foot deep hole with a crazed look on her face and holding a shovel.

“Honey?” he inquired.

“I have to bury the bodies.”

In that moment, he knew I’d snapped. Had our guests arrived too early? Or was it the neighbors with the yippy dog?

I muttered something about the f*ing birds and proceeded to ladle Satan’s chicken soup out of the hot tub and into the hole. Hubby, wisely, went back into the house.

With the birds neatly buried, we went on to have a lovely picnic with the family, but I couldn’t eat chicken for months. The hot tub has since been cut into pieces and left out for large trash pick up. I took special glee in watching the garbage truck crush its remains.

How’s The View From That High Horse?

Because I think you’re missing the details. While you throw accusations of insensitivity at me you’re stomping on sacred ground.

And don’t you dare try to offer me your comfort and sympathy now. You don’t deserve the warm and fuzzy feelings of that. Yes, I dared to state that pets aren’t the same as children. That was so very harsh of me. Do you need a safe space?

That’s cute. You’re going to lecture me on how hard Mother’s Day is for some people. Did it ever occur to you that I may be one of those people? Oh that’s right, you can’t see past your sanctimony. You can trot right on out on that high horse of yours.

Complicated. Yeah. I’m supposed to play your silly games and pretend that your love for your dog is equal to my grief for the child I lost before they ever took a breath. On Mother’s Day, I might add.

I hear you, just scroll past and ignore it if it bothers you that much. I see how well that worked out for you. No, you decided I must need to be informed and educated and put in my place. Here’s your freaking medal.

As if I could compare stroking my cat’s fur as he breathed his last to my friend that held her child’s hand as she lost her battle to cancer. That would monstrous. I’d be a terrible human being for even hinting at such.

Right. I’m insensitive. I’m a horrible person.

Why don’t you go ahead and explain how insensitive I am to the 85-year-old woman I held as she made the heart-wrenching decision to turn off her daughter’s life support? Indeed, she took great solace in caring for the cats her daughter left behind, but she’d trade them all for another moment with her daughter.

Go on. I’ll wait.

Emerson, the cat, came into our lives during a period of intense turmoil, and he was and still is a source of tremendous comfort. I needed to nurture something. I needed the unconditional love in return and he gave it and then some. He continues to do so today. He has been there for more of my ugly sobbing than I care to get into. It would be doing him an injustice to treat him as a replacement for a child. He’s no surrogate. He’s far more sensitive than you, actually.

Some day, far sooner than I’ll be ready, he’ll be gone. It’s my job and responsibility to make sure that process goes as peacefully and painlessly as possible. I will weep. The grief will be intense and include more of those ugly sobs.

Trust me, I get it that our pets can bring great comfort and solace in the face of pain and difficulty. That relationship is wonderful, special, and not the same as parenthood. Funny how no one seems to have noticed that I didn’t even say it was less. I only said it was different.

Am I a good person? Well my dog thinks so, anyway. My real friends do to. Me? Well, I try to be. Really, I think that’s all any of us can do.

KaBoom! A Place for Play

Today seems the right day to tell this story, the one year anniversary of Amy’s overcoming.


I’m not wearing that bracelet anymore. I wanted it to do something more. Something different than just becoming a thing that I wore or a keepsake in my jewelry box. Her memory deserves something special.

The answer started with a huge puddle of mud.

Which would soon become a playground, but we had a long way to go and a lot of work to get there.

There was a mountain of mulch

This hole seemed like a good spot

Mud and all

A little help from some friends.

And a swing-set is born.

Add some concrete

And a little on your host.

The overcomer bracelet became a permanent part of a place built for laughter and joy. It rests in the concrete at the base of the swing-set.

I’d like to think Amy would approve.

Goodbye, My Friend


Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to share your burden for a time. The only thing worse than watching your tender heart crushed under the weight of so much would have been to think you’d carried it all alone. I’m so sorry it wasn’t enough.

These last few days, I’ve sat and reread years of conversations with you over text and instant messages. Yes, even the one from 5am on a Saturday. You shared your heart with me and trusted me with struggles I can’t begin to comprehend. I’ve always been far more comfortable in my skin than you ever were in yours. But I loved you just the same.

We shared a love of shooting stuff, both with guns and cameras. We shared random Dr. Who references and discussed deep philosophical concepts. I knew of your heartaches and your moments of joy. You spent so much time caring about everyone else, that I think you forgot to care about yourself.

I lied to you. I said, “Love you too. I think you’re going to be just fine.”

I didn’t think you’d be fine. I hoped beyond hope that you would, but I was so very afraid that you wouldn’t be. Sometimes, I hate being right. I wish you could have seen yourself through my eyes. Maybe, in some moments, you did. Compassionate and funny, smart and creative.  And most of all, my friend. I don’t waste my time with worthless people.

Thank you for being a part of my story and allowing me to be a part of yours.  Thank you for reaching out to me when you were hurting and giving me the chance to speak love into your life. I had hoped to share more chapters in our stories, but it wasn’t meant to be. Even knowing how the story ends, I wouldn’t trade our time together to be spared the pain of your loss.

Goodbye, my friend.

My Brother is a Grandpa

But I got to hold his granddaughter before he did. It’s what bratty little sisters have to do.

Grace Marie

I don’t know when my brother got old enough to be a grandpa, but there you have it. Hilariously, he’s going to be a daddy again in about 9 weeks. But we all know it’s the aunties that are the favorites anyway 😉

Grace Marie entered the world on Saturday, April 9th weighing in at a mere 5 pounds and 6 ounces. Haven’t held a baby that small in just over 17 years.

He’s grown a bit since then, but Teenbot was only 5 pounds 12 ounces when he came into the world. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday.

She even wiggled out a tiny foot just like her big cousin used to do.

Just wait until she figures out that her great uncle is actually the EvylRobot.

Life moves forward into new adventures.

Life is Crazy and Beautiful

So as you may have seen elsewhere around the interwebs, we spent our weekend with our tribe. Our chosen family. Phlegmfest.

Saturday night sitting in OldNFO‘s living room, I was reminiscing with Christina.  I remarked that here in this room sit some of my very favorite people on the planet and it all started with a little shindig she threw some years back. We’d never met, but since Jim suggested she invite us, she did. I think he may have left out the part where he hadn’t met the Evylrobot and me.

But we figured, what the hell. Let’s take a road trip. What could possibly go wrong? I went to my boss to request the time off. He granted it and conversationally asked, “So what do you have planned?”

“Oh, erm. We’re going out of state to meet people from the internet. With guns.”

He gave me the look. You know the one.

Best crazy idea ever.

Never in a million years would I have thought that party would lead all the wild places that it has. Because of that weekend, I have since found myself dressed in a vinyl catsuit standing in a room cheering on the waxing of a friend. We’ve presented a pink gorilla to none other than Lawdog, himself, and we’ve traded puns with Peter and Dot. We’ve killed and eaten some of FarmDad‘s chickens. We’ve spent our lives south of the Mason Dixon, but it took GayCynic to make grits we actually enjoy. I’ve had my intoxication levels evaluated by Matt G, and gone antiquing with the divine miss Phlegmmy.

It was a pleasure, as always, to spend the weekend with this ragtag group of mischief makers. My soul is replenished by the laughter of my friends. Those of the tribe that didn’t make it, know that you were missed, and we look forward to being in your company soon. Hopefully no one will wind up in the emergency room next time.

Since We’re All Talking Lyrical Revisions

I thought I’d take the opportunity to break out an oldie from back in 2010. Reposted in full. It’s my content, I can do what I want 😉

So a few of the gun bloggers decided to re-write some holiday classics. And I decided to sing them.

Oh yes I did. Remember, I’m a professional.

First up, Tam and Bobbi’s re-write of The Christmas Song

Michael joined me for Rudolph the Tasty Reindeer. Mostly my re-write with some GBC help.

And finally, Jay’s 12 Days of Gunnie Christmas.

Yep, I skipped day 6 altogether and then totally flubbed 12. 3rd take. Sorry, I wasn’t doing it again. That one is freaking long!

Hmm, I’ve got better recording equipment now. Maybe I should revisit these.

Go visit Squeaky for The Fun Show song. You know what it takes to be a well-trained vocalist? A lot of work, dedication, and madness. Probably an extra helping or two of madness. How many of you had teachers reach out and press on your diaphragm? Or hand you a chalk board to carry around to communicate because they’ve put you on a week of vocal rest (no talking at all)? And don’t even get me started on vocal drills and warm-ups*.

Yeah, I know exactly how hard Squeaky worked to be the vocalist she is, and she did this as a gift for a friend. To have someone rip off her labor of love is unforgivable. And not only hers, but Tam’s words and Ambulance Driver’s work. Not that I’ve ever sent any traffic to the site which will not be named, but I ask that you spread the word and starve them of attention.

And don’t forget, Dan Zimmerman. Intellectual Property Thief. Dead Hooker Magazine.

*Just try saying “One black bug bled black bug blood; the other black bug bled blue,” repeatedly. Get faster each time. One of my voice teachers had me sing it.