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So as I mentioned in my Friday Fill-in last friday…this last weekend I was hoping to get some baking done.  I found a recipe for Mountain Dew Cupcakes and decided I had to try them. And I did. They were pretty easy to make and the best part? The cake part of the cupcake? Was really REALLY moist and dense in a good way. None of that dry crumbly crap that many cupcakes end up with. Anyway..I thought they looked pretty too so I thought I would share a picture:

The color of my frosting is a little different than in the original recipe linked above because I only had those NEON! food colorings that were left over from Easter…but still deliciously yummy…especially if you are like me and enjoy yourself a good citrusy treat.

I have always been fascinated by the words and phrases people use.   Now I could go all techinical on you all and tell you about how when I was getting my bachelors I took a general linguistics class that was required by my “concentration” (or what normal people call minors) and ended up loving the class so much I took the next level  Then I would tell you that I was always especially interested in the sociolinguistic aspects of language which studies the effect of society and culture on language and pragmatics.  I won’t go into that more than what I just did because it would probably make about 98% of my readers turn away and think DAMN SHE IS A NERD which I totally am but that is beside the point.

How people pick up certain phrases and then continue to use them fascinates me.  For instance using myself as an example…I pick up dialects very easily.  When I am around my family from the south- I pick up a southern accent and throw out the “yall” phrase a lot.  It drives my mom bonkers when I do this and she will often tell me I sound like a country bumpkin. My mom originally hails from New Jersey and while she doesn’t have an accent to my tender Californian ears she does occassionally slip and will say something like “caw” instead of “car”  and gets mad when I point out these “slips.” They rather embarrass her for some reason.  Another good example is the phrase “I got this” (as in don’t worry about it-I will take care of it…I got this or I got it)…that is something my brother says a lot and I have picked up from him.

Anyway, fairly recently I picked up “I’ll tell you what” and “I’m telling you” in my vocabulary. I don’t have the faintest where they come from.  I have found myself saying them and then when I am right in the middle of saying what ever it is I am going to say I will think to myself, THERE I GO AGAIN! WHAT IS WITH THAT?, which in turn distracts me from what I was saying, so I will end up with “I’m telling you…” with a large gap where I have yet to finish my thought. If I happen to be speaking to my mom she will then snap at me “FINISH THE THOUGHT” because that is something I do to her because she will start a story get distracted and then not finish telling me what she was originally going to say.

I have been paying extra attention to people I am around, even tv shows I watch and they don’t seem to be from any of those sources.  It is driving me crazy. Where did I pick that up from??

Do you ever say things and wonder where you picked them up from or am I the only nut?

All week the media hyped today’s race at the Glen to be a race where Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon were favorites.  One had a considerably better day than the other. But here I go again getting ahead of myself.  Lets start with my new Watkin’s Glen fun fact…pointed out first by NASCAR INSIDER and then mentioned again during the pre-show.  As you know I am fascinated by the ballet of service performed during pit stops…I have mentioned this several times.  Anyway at The Glen the cars actually pull into the pits backwards at this track compared to every other track.  Normally when the car pits, the driver is nearest the wall.  At Watkin’s Glen the driver is farthest from the wall.  This means that everything is done backwards for the pit crews- which is a challenge for all crew members. So that is your Watkin’s Glen fun fact.

Now about the race. Team Home Depot started with some sort of plan judging by their radio communications in which during lap 3 or 4 Tony radioed into his crew chief with the cryptic message of “I am already working on what we talked about.”  Obviously I have no idea what he was working on…but I think he was working hard on being consistent and not overly aggressive- as he seemed to just hang in fourth place…like he was waiting for something…just nailing the turns and avoiding trouble.  The only real trouble Team Home Depot ran into was on lap 24 when Stewart pitted and there was a slight stall when he was leaving the jack.   Even on lap 37 when Tony was slightly tapped by lapped car Robby Gordon, he didn’t spin or over-correct. Luck was on Team Home Depot’s side and he continued on virtually unscathed. Stewart then radios in to Zipadelli that he need help cutting to the right…and then just a few laps later he says he definitely needs help turning to the right. Then at about lap 53 Kyle Busch and Tony are running first second when Kyle agrees to let tony by for his bonus points for leading a lap- and then Tony waves Kyle back around. That is teamwork there.

During Team Home Depot’s last pit stop Tony follows Kyle right into the pits and the team puts on four tires for a flawless pit stop, and nearly beat teammate Kyle Busch out of the pits. Nearly but not quite.  I was not quite sure what the strategy was for Earnhardt to stay out so long- but it ended up biting him in the butt when a debris caution was thrown for gravel on the track.  Or as Tony Eury Jr put it…”A cup of dirt on the track.” Ha that was actually a lot of gravel.  After Earnhardt pits Kyle is again in the lead and Tony is again in second.  At 14 laps to go Newman spins out and ends up rolling right back into the middle of the track, driver-side door to the oncoming track right in the middle of the racing groove.  Several cars nearly t-bone Newman, including very close calls for Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch.  Then with just 8 laps to go there is THE WRECK. It was HUGE. And I bet several drivers will be sore tomorrow.  All in all – 9 drivers were involved and several of those trashcans filled with sand…I forget what they call them…were destroyed.  The race was red flagged for nearly 45 minutes. Those taking incredibly hard hits were: Bobby Labonte (who was sent to the hospital- but later released), David Gilliand, Max Papis, and Dave Blaney. It was a hard hard crash- it looked like David Gilliland and Michael McDowell were bumping and racing hard and McDowell got into Gilliland and that is what started the chain reaction pile up.

After the race finally got back underway, Tony Stewart ended up having to spend his energy fighting off a charging Marcus Ambrose instead of trying to battle Kyle for the lead.  Luckily Tony was able to hold off Ambrose for his second second place finish in two races.  Overall I think Team Home Depot ran a most excellent race both on the track and in the pits.


  • At the beginning of the race when Jeff Gordon was having trouble hearing his crew- they had NASCAR black flag him. That was genius.
  • I have not seen a teammate help another teammate like Sam Hornish did for Ryan Newman in years. That was really cool to see one teammate push the other all the way into the pits like that and risk dropping out of the top 35 in owners points to do it. Color me impressed.
  • Why do they call Carl Edwards “Cousin Carl?” Is there something I am not getting?
  • Speaking of Carl Edwards I just have to tell you this little funny. My mom said to me one night DID YOU HEAR ABOUT CARL EDWARDS??? and I was all ears…so I am WHAT? And she says: HE GOT CAUGHT COMING OUT OF HIS GIRLFRIENDS HOTEL ROOM THE OTHER NIGHT.  (I seriously was waiting for the punch line like…and then he did a backflip…or something like that). Finally I said SO? HE’S YOUNG and SINGLE SO WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL? And my mom looked at me and goes NO HE IS NOT! Turns out…she was talking about John Edwards. Yeah.
  • My final note for this race was while watching and listening to the communication between Greg Zipadelli and Tony Stewart and Mark Roberson I was reminded again why I am sad that Tony and Greg will not be on the same team together next year.  Greg was very encouraging to Tony, telling him that his lap times were good even though he was fighting a car that didn’t want to turn right. Tony telling his crew chief exactly what the car was or wasn’t doing that he needed it to. Mark keeping Tony updated on the track clean up while he sat with his motor off on a different part of the track.  Greg enthusiastically telling Tony to DIG DIG DIG DIG out of the pit box, so enthusiastically that I won’t be surprised if he is hoarse tomorrow.  That kind of thing is going to be hard for both Stewart and Zipadelli to recreate with their new crew chief/driver. And it is definitely something I will miss.

Anyway…I have spent enough time waxing on about what will be next year.  Next week: Michigan.

I have never been big into following sports, except for NASCAR. I mean I loosely follow football- to the point where I have a favorite team…basically one I pulled out of the air as a child…and that is who I root for if they are playing. That is about it.

However, NASCAR is a completely different story. I have been a Tony Stewart fan a long long time. I want nothing more than to see my driver in victory lane every week. I know he wants to be in victory lane every week too- he has all but said that. A lot of people who know me casually would probably be very surprised to find out that I am a very competitive person. Seriously competitive. But trust me- I am sure we will talk about this more next week after I find out how I did at the fair.

That being said it is freaking hard for me as a Tony Stewart fan to have my driver still be winless this far into the season. Every week I fret about him falling out of the chase. He lurks dangerously close to the bottom. A place I don’t like for my Tony to be. I would probably still worry even if he was 6th or 7th….but not as much as I worry about him as a ninth place guy.

It’s been hard to see “my” race team struggle. I have stood in front of my TV more times than I am willing to admit willing Team Home Depot to victory as if that could help. Obviously it doesn’t or we would have won Daytona. My dad seems to have picked Tony as his driver, as have my brother and sister-in-law, and of course my nephew doesn’t have a choice (mom is still the evertrue Junior fan-I don’t think I can convert her. And BFM is still the die hard gordon fan- so much so that I think she may actually bleed dupont paint). Half of his wardrobe is orange! Ok maybe not half but a damn good portion. He’s got 20 stuff up to size 24 mos- and you can be damn sure as soon as they have Stewart-Haas or #14 child wear- I will be ordering it up. But there I go digressing again.

I watch practice times (I try to remember to dvr it so I can actually watch it but that doesn’t always happen). I pay attention to qualifying (I am usually at work so I can’t watch it persay- but I keep track of what is going on best I can via nascar.com and foxsports.com). I actually cheered when my friend called me as I was leaving for lunch yesterday and said QUALIFYING WAS RAINED OUT! Because I knew that means automatically Tony gets to start 9th. That gives Team Home Depot a fighting chance tomorrow at The Glen. Tony has won a lot at the Glen…and I know he likes the track and feels comfortable there. I hope to see him cross that finish line first tomorrow…because we really need a win before we hit the chase and the Glen is as good as place as any to get it!


First is Friday Fill-in #84:

1. You know you’re old when you don’t get carded anymore when you buy alcohol.

2. My heart is divided between racing and writing.

3. To go home is what I need RIGHT NOW!

4. I have felt the sun, I have known the depths of it’s warmth.

5. Gah, won’t these people just go away already.

6. Finish this project  as soon as you can!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to finishing up my laundry and chores, tomorrow my plans include possibly some baking and Sunday, I want to watch Tony Stewart win at Watkins Glen!

And this week I had the MI-5 so this is my LOCAL YOKEL MI-5:

1. If I were coming to visit you- what time of year would you suggest? The best time of year to come here is late September/early October. Its when its the warmest and there aren’t as many tourists getting in the way.

2. Any specific things you would suggest I visit while there? In the immediate area I would suggest The National Steinbeck Museum, The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Lobos State Park, The Wharf in Monterey and possibly Gilroy Gardens.

3. Where should we eat? We would have to eat on the Wharf somewhere…or maybe at Bubba Gumps right on the waters edge.  I would also suggest Robatas in Carmel Valley.  Another must would be a barbeque at my house after a trip to one of the vegetable stands to get some artichokes, asparagus and corn (and strawberries if they are in season).  YUM.

4. Is there anybody I should meet? You would have to see my nephew because I like to show him off:

5. Where else should I visit in your state? Gosh there are so many great places because California is so big. It would depend on you but I definitely suggest HEARST’s CASTLE in San Simeon and Alcatraz in the SF Bay.  I love the ZOO in Santa Barbara and have always wanted to go to the ZOO in San Diego.  If Lisa were coming I would suggest a trip Disneyland, Universal Studios or Knotts Berry Farm because I know she likes Theme parks (same goes for ETS btw).  If you were a race fan we might be able to catch a race at Infineon, The California Speedway or Laguna Seca.  We would definitely be able to find something to do!!

Look- I know you were probably running a little late this morning. I know this because I myself was running a little late after chasing around my beagle trying to convince her that stealing my robe was not a game.   This however does not give you an excuse to NOT look in your mirrors when changing lanes.  Luckily the lane to my left was empty because coming over into my lane with no warning when I am next to you? So NOT COOL.  I was so not in the mood to be sideswiped.

Now I am not a perfect driver. Far from it, since I am always being scolded for not using my directionals when I drive (bad me but I am trying to be better about that).   However you could have ruined my morning and probably your morning by changing lanes without looking. Next time glance in your mirror.

Thanks — AMY

When requested by my boss a couple weeks ago to write down my “process” for a certain aspect of my job, I sat at my computer and just typed out my process in a paragraph and shot it off to him in email- fully expecting never to hear about it again.  This happens every couple years (you would think I would be smart enough to figure out that I really should just save my email and recycle it) -it’s really no big deal.

Today my boss came back to me and told me that what I sent him was a great start (!) and that he was really looking for something far more formal…and so I spent my afternoon formally documenting a process I have spent nearly 10 years (10 years!) perfecting.    When I was halfway through this process my boss came back to me and said something to the effect of “Hey, your process here is good…but I was thinking it might be easier if you did this: blah blah blah.” And his process actually cuts out about three steps off the end and cuts out a middle man.  So I went back and fixed my process document to document my brand new process.

This got me thinking about how I blog.  I usually have all these ideas for things I WANT to write about and usually the strong ones stay with me and the weaker, less developed ideas go POOF in my head because my brain can only handle rolling around a million concepts at a time…add one more and forget about it.  This also happens with my creative writing that I do…and makes it kind of hard for me to actually finish a project.

So I have come up with a semi solution for my blogging ideas…and I will have to come up with a similar idea for my non-blogging writing ideas because somewhere last year? My brain became too full.  Either that or it has something to do with getting older (is that why I am getting more and more jeopardy questions right?? I am just chocked full of useless facts and can’t make some of them go away to make room for more important useless facts).   Anyway- my idea is this: When I get a blogging idea I shall immediately open my wordpress dashboard and create an entry dash out a couple lines, some links and save it in my drafts.   Of course this means that I will have a ton of drafts and I am usually a fan of having NO drafts at all…so that is something I will have to just get over.  I know this seems simple enough…especially considering I am in front of a computer a lot more than I would like to admit.

My big question to you readers is this: I have “non” blogging ideas. Some are writing ideas, some are just regular old ideas about life, and some are things like GET GAS YOU BAFFOON before your call yells at you again for letting it get below 2 gallons (don’t yell at me this doesn’t happen often).  My problem (and it has been this way since I was a child) is that my brain works a lot faster than the rest of me (including my mouth believe it or not) so any given moment I have come up with a grocery list, two story ideas, three blog ideas and a commerical idea.   See where I cam going? Does anyone else have a way that they capture all the ideas firing in their brains?

  • A while ago I bought my sister-in-law a Tony Stewart scrub top (while she was out on maternity leave). She called me today to tell me that she wore her scrub top for the first time today and she had the best day she’s had at work in a really really long time. She attributed it to the shirt. Now she says she can’t wear it too often or the good luck-ness of the shirt will rub off. Cute! She also said that she found out there were more NASCAR fans at the hospital than she would have ever thought. Glad she liked it.
  • After watching Mamma Mia! on Friday I have had DANCING QUEEN running through my head. ABBA…I want my brain back. Thank you.
  • I also saw Swing Vote on Saturday. It was good but in a different way than I thought it would be.
  • My favorite part of this video of the post-race media from Pocono is when someone asks both Tony and Jimmie Johnson to comment on the tire situation from Indy to Pocono…and Tony leans over and says something quickly and quietly to Johnson and then Johnson does ALL the talking. That cracked me up.