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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011...U R outta here

As we pull the chain on 2011 tonight, here's the rest of my list for 2012:
1.  I'm going to listen more to other people's wisdom-- take what I like and ditch the rest
2.  Anything that doesn't feel right to me or doesn't fit who I am, is out the door
3.  I'm going to spend more time outside in nature just observing
4.  I hope to be able to take mom outside in her wheel chair for walks, when it's warmer
5.  I plan to cultivate more of an attitude of gratitude for all that I have and all that is done for me
6.  I plan to have even more FUN in 2012--smile more, belly laugh more, play more,LOVE MORE

See ya, 2011.  Don't let the door hit ya in the back.


HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Word around the kindergarten world has it that a certain girl and her BFF are Mean Girls at school.  OMG.  Yep, apparently it's true.  I got this from a very reliable source and all I know is what goes around comes around, so this is not going to end well.  That you can be sure of.  Dang, some of life's lessons are tough. It's tough being the "IT GIRLS" but you still have to be nice.  Life has an uncanny way of teaching that lesson so this should be interesting to watch.  With zero experience with little girls, this is a whole new ball game for me.

I got to see the two of them in action the other day and let me just say they were the cutest two fireballs I've ever seen, and the electricity between the two of them is palpable.  I'd hate to be a girl in their class if they didn't like me.  Shoot...I'd wanna play them them, too.  While I was there, they were putting on make-up...some little girl kind of stuff...and I was biting my lips off trying not to laugh.  I'm not sure what all the goo was, but it had glitter in it, and was all over their faces and, and even in their hair.  One had a make up brush and was swishing it all over her eyes, getting ready to go out and take on the world.  Lydia, (EEE-ya), their housekeeper, and I were gurgling, in our attempts to smother our laughter.  All I can say to this is..... Oh, Lordy....little girls.....

And speaking of, here's the latest and greatest from the Smalls:

She's one tough hombre', no???  She's ready to rumble.

Oh, nooooo....

Well, damn.  I just got some distressing news.  That's what happens when you research something...you find out something you did NOT want to know.  But I'd rather know than not know, I suppose.  It appears that the blue and tan dachshund puppies and the Issy ones are prone to all kinds of skin problems as adults, including hair loss, also known as alopecia.   The blues specifically are prone to skin cancers.  Oh, swell.  They both are known to have a shorter life span probably due to all their manipulated genetics.  All of this from one source mind you, but that's sure enough to slam on my brakes.  A naked wiener dog with no fur and skin cancer??  That's a bad visual even for me.  A designer dog just may not be in my future after all.  I'm checking with my Vet to see what they may know.  The good news is, our Vet now has a dog dermatologist on staff due to the increase in dog skin problems in all breeds, so she's (Dr. Reed) going to give me a call next Tuesday, when she's in next. 

Maybe we should have just cloned Wiggles.  :)
I just heard the Star Spangled Banner playing, outside.  No, there is no football or basketball game on TV that I'm aware of and besides, I don't have my TV on.  After much speculation, I think maybe the tree trimmer guys down the block might be listening to their radio.  There is also a house going up down the block--one with no windows on the front--I swear--so maybe it's coming from there.  Who knows.

Today I may need to head to Tamale Detox.  Fred and I tasted all three types of Senora Maria's tamales and they were ummm, umm, gooood.  I bagged up Brian's, and the rest of ours, and put them in the freezer for either New Years or another night I don't want to cook dinner.  I always love having emergency back up dinners for nights I just want to take a load off, play with Sis, and relax.  Wow.  I wanna go to Tamale Heaven when I die.

And speaking of death, I think God is cleaning house here on Earth since I just noticed in the paper that Mr. Bill Sparkman died.  He's buried all my family so it just won't be the same without Mr. Sparkman, and his bowed legs and snappy ties, even though David has been running the show for quite awhile.  I grew up with the Sparkman boys--Alan was my age--and I vividly remember their Christmas card every year with Libby, Mrs. Sparkman, dressed up as Santa.  That happened for awhile until they divorced and I don't know what blew up that relationship--I just know it was bad.  Funny how you remember stuff like that.  Ten minutes ago I could have no more told you Mrs. Sparkman #1's name until I started typing, and then up it came. Just goes to show you what's buried deep in all our brains.  Minutiae.

Since I am feeling a bit zippy this morning I thought I'd start my list of things I am looking forward to in 2012.  2011 while not awful, has not exactly been a blast, so I'm ready to shift gears and get on to 2012.  Here's my list so far and I'll be adding to it daily, as we close out this year.

1.  Trader Joe's will be opening here in mid 2012--a fun place to go snoop and shop
2.  Downtown Abbey will resume with season 2 on KERA
3.  Life will return to normal, whatever that is, after New Years, and I am looking forward to Spring
4.  Possibly a blue and tan puppy could come to live with us--or maybe even a rescue dog--or neither
5.  I am prayerful that both "Snoot" Gingrich and "Ick" Perry fall off the face of the Earth permanently
6.  I am hoping everyone in Congress is fired and we start over with new people
7.  I am looking forward to the end of a lawsuit that's has dragged on w-a-y too long, with a conclusion that is fair to everyone.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Big Goodbye

This morning was sort of  the end of an era.   When I saw the passing of Peggy Railey in the DMN online newspaper,  coupled with the loss yesterday of a friend's dad, it was doubly sad, even though I am thrilled for both.  I can't imagine anything worse than being trapped in a body that no longer works.  They are now free....  Haaaaal-a-looo-yer!! (said like the southern black ladies in church)  You know who I'm talkin' about ....the ones with the big purses and big ol' matching hats.  I just luuuuuve them. 

Today brings the rippage of Christmas past as I remove all things holiday.  Since I didn't go hog wild this year, that should not take real long.  Another Haaal-a-loo-yer.  I actually like taking it down almost more than putting it up.  There's no pressure in the tear down part and it goes ohhhh, so much faster.  Since I was a tad under the weather yesterday, I am behind schedule. 

Avery Caroline Groth is two years old today and I'll be heading over there later today to take her birthday present.  I can't wait to see what Santa brought her now that they are home from California, after visiting the Keka's.  For those not in the know, the Keka's are the cousins on Nicole's side that live there.  Almost all of their names start with a K, so years ago, Hudson just called all of them " Keka", when trying to say Keaton, Kara, etc.  It stuck, so there ya go. 

I learned something you all may already know but I thought in the interest of passing it on, I'd tell you here.  Apparently Socrates was behind this gem and it's called the Test of Three.  You can apply it to anything but it's especially useful for gossip, things you think you know, or any other dark and twisty situation you find yourself in when you are tempted to take the wrong road.  Socrates said to ask "Is what I'm hearing, thinking, etc., True?  And, no, you don't get to say well, yeah based on what I think I know, it is.  It has to pass the smell test.  Unless you saw it happen or heard it said, you don't know.  You just think you do.  OK.  Now, is it "Good?"  If it's not, just put a cork in it.  And lastly, is it "Useful" and by useful, I don't mean would it be to my advantage to blab this all over in order to get back at someone else.  I mean, is it useful to the higher good of everyone.  If not, drop it.  Or write what you really want to say and feed it to the shredder.  Or burn it, if you're a pyro.  The long and short of it is, most stuff won't pass these three levels so if it won't, go do something else.  Like take down your Christmas stuff.

Lastly, for the new year, black eyed peas....  Wwwwhy?  Whose idea was that???  Those things taste awwwwful, I don't care what you do to them.  They used to feed them to cows.  Seriously, they were called cow peas.  With onions, cilantro, lime juice, etc, and some chips....maybe.  Nahhh....I still want to gag.  Not doin' it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Uh, ohhhh...

Naughty
Nice

Christmas 2011

Wrap it up, baby...we're done.  From Price Phillip's unexpected trip to the hospital for a stent, to a very much anticipated Christmas Eve engagement of my precious niece (and my sister's daughter), Suzanne, to her longtime love, Jason, it's been one heck of a Christmas.  My sister spoke to Hudson and Hadley Christmas morning in California, and told Had Aunt Susu and Jason were getting married. Had's first words were "Is Aunt Susu going to get pregnant?"  Whaaaat??  When my sister told me, we both screamed out laughing.  Since all three kids will probably be in the wedding next year, this oughta be one big non-stop howl-fest.  Just thinking about it makes my eyes roll back in my head.  

As anticipated, once Benji saw the picture of the type and color puppy that's still on my list, on went the full court press. Every time there was a lull in the conversation, which around here is almost never, up came the puppy talk.  I heard back from the breeder and she will let me know if she gets a blue boy in a litter due in a couple of weeks. She'll email me and we can come look when the pups are older.  Can I just tell you that's not soon enough for a 27 year old who lives in Nash, with his wife??  Oh, noooo...he wants instant puppy.....sort of like instant oatmeal.  Truth be told, I sorta do, too, as do the rest of us, but that just isn't gonna happen unless we find one somewhere else.  The bad on that is, I don't want to ship a puppy----I want to go get him myself and drive him home.  Flying all alone would just be too traumatic....now, if someone was flying here and would tuck him in a carrier under the seat, well, now we're talking but otherwise...ewww.  And when I say under the seat, I really mean in your lap, snuggled in a blanket, sound asleep.  Or, nestled in your coat pocket, so you can read, and keep him clooooose and warmmmmm. Not thinking that's gonna happen.

On another note, yesterday we received a still warm load of the most sensational tamales from Senora Maria.  And, yeah...I ate a still warm one.  I had to...it's the law.  The tamale law.  This is her annual Christmas gift to us and despite the fact I told her NOT to make a special trip, here she was with, Juan, her smashingly handsome husband.  She just kills me.  And when I say a loooooad, I'm not kidding.  Since we need to divide them three ways, that's several dozen tamales (like 5).  The bag was so heavy I had to lumber to the kitchen with it.  While they cooled off, I made room in the frige.  With left over pasta and a boat load of tamales, our refrigerator smells like the UN.  Very Latino and tres' lovely.  The flavors are chicken and cheese, Rajas (some kind of pepper and cheese), and red chile--all spicy-- and luckily, Benji and Andrea brought a cooler with them, to take back their Christmas booty.  Between pulled pork, tamales, left over lasagna, and a casserole I have for them if they want it, I hope they have freezer space.  If not, no biggie.  They can just take what they have space for.  Ditto Brian. 

 Here's a picture of our dessert from Christmas Eve--a Brandy Ice.  Next time I think I'll do it in a smaller wine glass.  It was the recipe from the newspaper and I think it was easy and really good--a total do ahead.  Holler if you want the recipe.  The vanilla Fat free whipped cream is the shooter kind that's so fun to play with, and tastes sensational.  Brian got it out of the refrigerator and plunked it down on the table so we could all re-shoot as we ate.  He even got his dad to open his mouth, and shot him a mouth full....we are such white trash. 


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chill Christmas cont'd

In a last minute wrap up, here's where things stand in all things Harris:  Benji and Andrea arrived safely last night from Nash.  They hit the town to see pals Brett and others, before Brett leaves for Austin today.  They also had the pleasure of a Sis dog in the bed with them until I got up.  That's what happens when you forget to close the doggie gates--she's gonna come hunt you down.  She and they are now snoozing, separately.  Fred is off shortly to go pick up my lasagna from Holy Ravioli and our salad.  I told you this was my chill Christmas and I wasn't kidding!  All I need to do now is stuff my manicotti and do the garlic bread..  Dessert is done.  I may throw a nap in there this afternoon....who knows. 

Since mom can't be with us in person tonight, I'm using her silver so at least a little part of her is with us.  I'm also using an organza table cloth with tiny embroidery that belonged to my grandmother--mom's mom-- that is meant for a square table and I have a rectangle.  I've used it sort of like a runner and I like it!  Is my table all foo-foo?  No.  Is it good enough?  You betcha.

The puppy hunt news is this: a new litter is due in a few weeks and could possibly produce a blue and tan boy, like in the picture, so we'll see.  The breeder still has an Issy boy, but that makes me wonder why he wasn't chosen when his sibs were.  No matter.  For some reason, I still want a Smurf (blue) dog.  If not, maybe it's not meant to be.  I'm open to whatever is supposed to be. 

Lastly, I am grateful.  I am grateful for all the birds I can hear talking outside even though most of them are grackles and I don't do grackles, but I may go throw out birdseed anyway.  I am grateful Benji and Andrea are here safe, asleep in the next room.  I am grateful mom is alive and still recognizes me today.  I am grateful that while I don't have everything I want, I have everything I need.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanakuh, Happy Kwanza ....Happy However you roll.  And to you and yours, Peace on Earth.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Please, Santa....

Wanna see what's on my Christmas list?  Take a peak at this.  Totally drool worthy, isn't he?  Never mind "Mr. No" has already put the kibosh on my idea or the fact that this dog is so damn expensive it makes my head spin.  As a blue and tan, he's a little more unusual than most, which is why he's more than some people's house payment.   The other problem is that his new mother won't let me have him because he's being kept for breeding stock.  I think he'd make a perfect little blue Smurf  friend for Sis, and since I've been very good, I know I deserve him, but alas, 'tis not to be.  Yes, another little blue man was born a week ago but his price tag is probably the same as the little guy above, and the available little girl on another website is less, because she has a hernia.  Yeah....all I want for Christmas is a puppy with a hernia.  NOT.  Besides, I want a boy puppy anyway.  But since my partner doesn't, that's OK.  With Sis now eleven, we are closer to dog less days than we would be if we start all over with a pup and there is definitely a lot of flexibility in that. 

Yes, we could do a dachshund rescue but unless it's a blue rescue or an Issy (Isabella), the color of a Weimaraner, right now I'm obsessed, and that's all I want.  And if you lean close enough to your screen, you can smell his puppy smell.....and his paws smell like Fritos.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Hang Loose Christmas

I just looked out the window and our trees are racing to drop all their leaves by Christmas.  This is an annual event and one that used to make my perfectionist side go insane.  When you have two trees the size of ours, when they finally start dropping their leaves, the piles of leaves can reach your knees--or higher.  Fred spent last weekend mowing up round one, only to have round two dropping as he mowed.  We are again up to our "bid'ness" in drifts, and today, I just don't really care.  In years past, I would have already called Juan to book a Christmas Eve day blow-a-thon and this year??  Not so much.  If I see the lawn guys tomorrow and can talk them into doing our yard, fine.  If not, oh, well.  I refuse to sweat the small stuff-- or even the big stuff this year.

Instead, this year I'm chillin'.  Christmas is not an Olympic event even though it feels like one after all is said and done.  Seriously, it's just one day and it comes once a year, just like every other day does.  Yes, it's a special day and a fun one.  I'm just trying to keep all of that in perspective.  (With Sis yipping in her sleep right underneath me in her bed as I type, the unimportant stuff just seems to fall away.  OK...now she just growled a little...). I'm planning to focus on the stuff that's really important (animals and loved ones) and the rest will take care of itself.

This is going to be the NO EXPECTATION Christmas for me.  If I don't have any, nothing will disappoint me.  Will I probably burn something in the oven or will my manicotti turn out to be less than stratospheric?  Maybe.  Will Sis and my loved ones make me laugh?  No doubt about it.  Frankly, that's all I want.  I have everything I need.

If I'm not here blogging again before Christmas, which I seriously doubt, make yours a Chill Christmas.  Again, thank you to all of you who read this blog.  You all are the best part of blogging. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's official.  I have lost my ever lovin' mind.  The closet where we keep the ironing board has become the closet that appears to have been filled with a pitch fork.  It's also home to the gift wrapping gear, the flower arranging containers, the 4th of July dec's, and until moments ago some old paint cans.  OMG.  We are hoarders.  Or at least one of us is.  The other one just lacks the energy to follow around behind the hoarder, throwing away what he decides to keep. 

I've been busted numerous times trying to get rid of everything from old hunting shirts (with rips, thank you) to wood poles (I'm serious) he saved from Mr. Hall's barn, that used to be in that open field where Tom Thumb and Barnes & Noble now sit, across from North Park.  How long has that been now.....10-15 years??  C'mon.  He keeps telling me he's going to "make something with them" and he can even say it with a totally straight face, only he's a dead giveaway when he's lying.  Hint: his nose looks weirdly bigger as he tries not to laugh or smile.  If you know him, you can tell. 

Why clean out mania has struck, I'm not sure other than there are just piles of stuff everywhere and with a new year coming, I want to start things off neat and straight, even if I did marry a clutter collector.  Maybe I just need an administrative assistant......yeah....that would work.  Then somebody else could file and organize things, 'cause this throwing away business is a full time job and I'm busy.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thank heaven for other people

Yesterday afternoon while Senora Maria was here ironing and we'd gabbed over all our most important topics, I headed back to Santa's workshop and wrapping room, ie. Benji's room.  What I'd totally forgotten about was how difficult wrapping can be.  Not the actual wrapping part--the part where your black girl love-dog comes in to sniff around through everything, and then lies down in the middle of your just rolled out paper.  Once removed, she sidles back somehow and repeats her performance, with nose licks (yours) and rolls over on her back to be scratched.  Only a Scrooge wouldn't stop and play...and yes, while this encourages the behavior, it's still so endearing that how could you not??  I finally managed to get a few gifts wrapped but the bows don't look too hot.  They are the direct result of Sister snooting my arm mid bow.  Snooting is defined as: using that long nose of hers to raise your forearm right as you need it to do something important, or lifting her blankets with her snoot in order for her to slide underneath them in one smooth motion.  Given that her breath was rather garbagey smelling, I finally gave her a dental chew bone so she'd leave me alone.  Fresh breath and something for her to do?....A real win-win for both of us.

I just realized last night that mom's  pre-Christmas hair appointment falls on Saturday so I grabbed my coffee first thing this morning and called to see about changing it to Friday.  Last year I realized this two weeks prior and got it all organized.  I just hung up with one of the ladies over there and she said "Not to worry.  We've already got her down for Friday at 1:30pm. We're on it".  Glorrrrrry be....they sure are.  I just texted my sister to see if she can take Christmas money to the Edge Salon for mom's nail guy and hair dresser.  Dang...one more thing I almost forgot.  She just texted me back and now we are trying to figure out how much for each one.  Mom was always generous so I pulled out a number that seemed right.  I haven't heard back so that means my sister either agreed or passed out.  Not sure which.  :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Jingle Sis

It's still early, and I could already be in some deep Christmas poo.  I had the idea to change our otherwise cast in cement Christmas Eve dinner menu, and at least one member of our crowd was thinking roasted lamb.  I always do some big old Man Beef type thing--beef tenderloin on the grill, roast lamb, etc., so if the natives are not up for my idea, I could be at Kuby's later today.  My idea, since I always have to play, was to have a "Back to Italy" dinner with homemade manicotti, perhaps a lasagna, salad, garlic bread, and dessert.  No, it's not the usual ta-da, but I thought it might be a fun change.  I'm waiting to hear back from Benji as he's the one who wanted lamb.  My idea may get shot down in flames.

Saturday's Cookie Party was hilarious and Avery finally played with me without crying.  She was still shy at first but after she went upstairs to her Go-Go's tutoring office, where there are all kinds of cool things for kids, and somehow managed to turn on the music on her Go-Go's computer, she was feeling pretty great about herself.  Keep in mind she turns two on the 28th, so none of us are quite sure exactly how she got the music on, but she was pretty thrilled with herself, let me just say.  Several times she could be heard yelling "I did it!".  She held my hand as we went down the stairs, let me help her put away the dominoes she wanted to play with, and even let me hold her.  It was a total no tears event.  Yahoo!  Here's a photo of all the decorators--three little angels.

I mentioned to Fred that Sis really likes her new dog food--finally--and needed another big bag and perhaps, a Christmas suit.  I mentioned I had seen a red and white Jingle Bell collar, complete with jingle paws, and I felt sure every well dressed dog needed one of these.  That's all I said.....the rest was implied.  Sis didn't mind the collar part so much but the jingle paws on each foot.... just... unglued... her, as we knew they would.  You know how dogs chew a bandage on their leg to get it off??...Try four.  We only left them on for a minute or two, but consider us thoroughly entertained. If nothing else, Sis is a really good sport.  Look at that smile.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Giving

Yesterday was one of my most favorite days of the year.  As a Board member of a family Foundation, yesterday was the day we meet every year to....play Santa.... and give away $$$ to charities.  As a Foundation, we are required to give away a certain amount yearly and every member has their baby.  The neat thing is, we are all very respectful of each other and are 100% open to change.  Some long standing recipients got the boot yesterday, and on came two new ones.  Some charities really work hard for a donation and others have gotten a tad bit lazy.  Let me just say that my baby, The Big P,(Parkland) is NOT one of the lazies, and was given a very generous amount yesterday.  I am most grateful for that and know that while the same thing won't necessarily happen every year, I'm sure grateful for everyone's willingness yesterday.  Letters and checks will be mailed out shortly but I was so excited yesterday, I called my Parkland contact and told her, the minute the meeting was over.  She was on my front porch later that afternoon with a little goodie (yum sugar cookies) and a thank you note from The Parkland Foundation.  She and I talk quarterly, and she invites Fred and I to lunch several times a year to hear the most current scoopage on Parkland.  She is now a friend-- and a real delight to know. 

(Pictured above is just one of the reasons I am passionate about The P.  It's the remains of Brian's motorcycle jacket and helmet, post crash.  Everything else was cut off of him, and I later gave it to him in their paper sack, as a "momento".  Boy, when someplace saves your son's life, there's no limit to your gratitude.)

Let me just say that my Christmas is done, baby.  Getting to make that call was it.  I don't need another thing.  My contact did tell me this, which I found especially gratifying.  She said that this city really does care and stand behind Parkland, and if you need a sign of that, get a load of this.  She said in the last three days, over a half of a million dollars has rolled in the door--totally unsolicited--in big donations that were totally unexpected.  Well, hello, generous people of Dallas.  We are about to welcome the most cutting edge, state of the art hospital to our city, made possible by the people of Dallas, for the people of Dallas.  Parkland is no longer "the pits" and the hospital for the scrunge.  Yes, it's in transition with it's new leadership, but hold on tight.  When they are finished building the new one, it's gonna rock your clock, Mary.

I won't go into the list of who got what, but I will say the North Texas Food Bank also got a nice chunk of change to fill up their shelves, and hungry tummies.  Man, oh, man......giving just feels so good.  It's going to be a great Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Code Pink--Peppermint

I just realized I had not sent out my yearly reminder to get your (pink) Peppermint Bluebell for the holidays.  OMG...how could I have forgotten to remind everyone?  I mean it is my job and all.  Anywhoo...you better get on the phone if you want any--and I do mean any.  I scored mine last week.  They were out as usual, but the Bluebell (Santa) man drove in right after my request, and I made off with some serious booty--2 half gallons.  Why 2??  Well, why not??

Now on to other foodie thoughts.  If you haven't seen or tried the enormous Red Velvet, Chocolate, and Carrot cakes at Sam's, stay away or your pants will never zip again.  These babies would serve a herd of people and heaven only knows how many calories they contain per bite.  I tried the Red Velvet and almost swooned.  But be warned...these are not for wimps.  Just lifting one of these cakes would be a work out and freezing one and then trying not to eat it, would be unrealistic at best.

Sam's has also added an in house made, ready to heat and eat area and I tried the stuffed pasta shells.  Whoa.  Really good and for $10, it served us dinner x 2.  Do the math.  El cheapo.  I have the Rotisserie Chicken enchiladas in the freezer and the gal I spoke with said they are seriously good, too.  They have salads, wraps, mashed potatoes, veggies, oh my.  Check it out if you have lots of people coming in or you need to take something for the big Christmas sit down.  I'm all about the easy.

Since Sis has been a shut in for the past few rainy days, she and I just returned from a quick swish down and then around the block.  Not thinking it was all that chilly, I had planned to go further so she'd quit pestering me to play with her.  I do believe it was the s-l-o-w-e-s-t walk we've ever taken. Since Sis needed to sniff every single leaf and individual blade of grass, it took us quite awhile.  I guess the rain washed away lots of other dog's smells so she had to be sure she left a lot of hers behind.  She's now in the den lying in her bed, relaxing, and enjoying being herself.  It would be kind of fun to be her.

Tomorrow is the Cookie Party over at my sister's house for her grands--Hud, Had, and Avery, and no telling who else will show up.  Word has it that her middle son, Harrison, aka Uncle Lizard is coming, if for no other reason that to decorate and eat sugar cookies that we weren't planning to have.  This year the plan is to do Gingerbread houses, BUT when my sister found out Hairball wanted cookies--like from his days of the Cookie Party at my mom's--nothing would do but to have cookies, too.  Dang...isn't Christmas time just the best???

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Last night was interesting.  The door bell rang right after dinner and I opened the door to find three UPS guys with an enormous box, top removed, asking if I was Caroline.  I said "Yep".  They said "Where would you like your chair?"  Huh?  I didn't order a chair.  I ordered 2 chair slip covers and an ottoman slip--not a chair.  I swear...you just can't make this stuff up, so away went the chair, as a 4th UPS guy arrives with two boxes.  Yahooo.  I'm thinking at least all of the slips have arrived.  Not so fast, Kemo Sabe.  I got one full chair slip and the ottoman--another chair slip cover is still out there in UPS cyber world, according to Pottery Barn's, Demarcus.  We agreed  I'm to sit tight and see if it arrives today.  Otherwise, I'm to call him tonight on his direct line.  Yeah...me and Demarcus are tight, baby.  None of that recorded music for me.  I'm just praying I don't have to call tonight.  I'd much rather spend tonight wrapping, watching the tube, and enjoying my new, fresh slips vs haggling on the phone.

 This morning, I opened a gift bag from the same friend who does the cookies and Texas Trash.  Included in the bag were wiener dog post it notes and a notepad, a book on the tiny runt Pink pig who was adopted by a dachshund mom and her pups, a magnet dress up board to dress up your magnetized wiener for any holiday,  and my personal favorite, below.  Yes, this was a before coffee and a shower shot but in all seriousness, I look pretty much the same after, so whatever.  Hope this makes you laugh.  It made me scream out laughing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cats

Cats.  You've gotta love 'um.  They are hilarious and if you've never been around one or gotten to know one, you are really missing out on some fun.  My assistant back at MCDH had a cat with six pads on each foot and was appropriately named Toes.  She always had to be sure her windows were up because Toes liked to sleep in her truck, on her truck, and left footprints all over her windshield letting her know he'd attempted a break in.  Once he fell asleep on her windshield in the sun, and even flipping her windshield wipers on didn't get him to move.

Brian taught Muffin to jump into his arms way back when, after Muff unexpectedly jumped on Brian's back one morning.  Muff learned to jump to all of us except one person, who routinely tortured and pestered him and took great pride in dishing it out.  Muff liked him OK... but knew never to trust this person (Fred) because he was likely to put socks on his back, tie old ribbons around his neck, or try to trap him under the sheets.  Muff was no dummy.  He did like it when Fred would get the kitty wand out and play with him but beyond that, whenever Fred was nearby, Muff slept with one eye open.

When we were first married, we adopted a cat, Burleson, who was a Siamese weirdo.  He was the color of honey butter, hence the name someone gave him.  We thought he might settle in but never did, so Fred stuffed him into a pillowcase, and gave him to some guy and his wife, who really wanted him.  Fred didn't bother to get a car carrier, oh, no,--just grabbed a pillowcase.  I'm not thinking that cat was one bit nicer after he exited that pillow case.

Muff used to love Christmas morning after everything was opened so he could snoop among the boxes and play (chew) with the ribbons and wrapping paper.  If you wanted to watch, you had to go in the kitchen and act like you were doing something else, in order to spy on him.  A couple of times I saw him hunker down in a box only to then shoot out of it, and tear off down the hall.  Then he'd come back, and do it all over again.  The boys or Fred would drape ribbon around his neck--they were decorating him-- Muff would get  scared, and then he'd run like hell, dragging all the ribbons behind himself in a panic.  He was known to do the same thing with plastic sacks.  He'd poke his head through the handle part, get scared and take off, billowing a plastic parachute behind himself.  He'd run until he was either exhausted, got his head out, or one of us (me) rescued him.

Muff was a pretty verbal guy, too.  He was always telling one of us to do this or that.  It was weird because you could always tell what he wanted.  His growl was real deep and throaty and usually meant he was about to open the floodgates on you.  It was always guaranteed to make Fred laugh.  The growl--no the pee part.  I vividly remember the first time Hudson laid eyes on Muff.  Hud was a toddler and looked at me like "what is that?"  The next thing I knew, Hud took off down the hall after Muff, running to our bedroom, trying to slide under the bed, to get a better look at Muff. 

The only downside to cats is the litter box and cat fur.  I absolutely hate both of those so until they breed a pee-less, poop-less, non-shedding, real cat, I'm out.  Hello, stuffed animal.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Purple velvet??

It appears that along with other abilities I have lost, I have lost my roll mojo.  It's not that they are terrible--the texture just isn't quite right.  I think I'm going to give it one more try, and if they don't feel and taste the way they should, I'm just going to "let it go, let it go, let it go"--sung to the tune of Let it Snow.  Sister Schubert makes a great line of rolls and that's gonna have to be enough for me.  And luckily, it is.  Easy, and though it's a real blow to my ego, that's OK, too.  I may  go over to Mary's and watch her do her's when she makes them, and try to figure out what's off, before I give it one last shot.  I'm not going down without a fight.  I've got enough self will in me for three people.

On another topic, I went by to see mom yesterday and to see if the soft fuzzy slipper boots I got, fit.  As is becoming more and more the case, she was on her bed, dead asleep.  I put away other things I'd brought her and tip-toed out.  There were Christmas carols playing in the hall and all of the staff were singing--and mom is in her room sawing logs, sleeping through the whole thing I have to admit it made me laugh.  Her increased need for sleep is really not a great sign, and I know that.  I checked to see how she sleeps at night and was told she sleeps exactly the same way so that answers my question as to whether this might be catch up sleep, due to a sleeping disturbance, which is typical in dementia.  She sleeps just fine.   Ouch.

Despite everything, she still remains her sweet cheerful little frail self.  I never thought I'd ever describe my mom as frail.  To me she was always eight feet tall and bullet proof.  Those days are long gone.  In the front of my mind is the question: is this her last Christmas?  I think it may be or it's likely to be the last Christmas she recognizes me.  If it is, I'll deal with that and I'll try to make it fun and funny.  I may get Sis a Christmas hat or collar and take her over.  Or not.  The bad news is, she's not like Wiggles and mom were---those two were a love affair just like he was with me.  It never bothered me that he was a cheatin' dawg with mom---since he always went home with me, I didn't care.  Ten bucks says he'll be waiting for mom when she leaves this world.

  Boy, I love thinking back about all those memories.  It's the memories that sustain me and make me laugh.  I vividly remember the year I got Wigman a very royal and regal looking purple velvet collar with points on it, sort of like a court jesters. The perfect compliment to a chocolate brown elegant gentleman, or so I thought. Each point had a jingle bell on it and I could hardly wait to put it on him.  We were all there when I slipped it on him and he immediately went into a shame spiral....he was sooo embarrassed he would barely walk, what with all those jingle bells jingling.  We all went to pieces and could not stop laughing  which only embarrassed him more.  Finally, off went the purple collar, and on went the kisses and love for being such a good sport.  I sure miss that old brown hound dog.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Random musings

Holy Kardashian..."Lam-Lam" (Lamar) Odom is a Maverick?  Does that mean which ever Kardashian he is married to will be moving to the Big D?  Frankly, I'm not thinking so.  I'm thinking he'll commute back and forth, keeping a swanky apartment here.  I'm not sure Dallas could handle a full time Kardashian even though Lamar is a really great player.  It could be fun, though, so I'm going to keep an open mind and it sure wouldn't be boring that's for sure.

I've been through enough butter this weekend to assure me I'd never have made it as a Pioneer woman.  If I had to churn that stuff and then cooked with it, awww....hell.....we'd have just gone ahead and starved to damn death.  I've baked and made rolls most of the weekend--hence the buttah.  I've got several pans of rolls on top of the freezer, rising, before I plunge those soft little pillows into a 350 degree oven later.  I don't know what it is about roll dough that just rocks my clock, but that stuff is as soft as a baby's butt and so fun to play around with.  It's kind of sensual, too.  And the smell as they cook is better than just about anything.  Fred doesn't know it yet but I'm going to see if he'll hitch up his sleigh and help me deliver these later this afternoon, hot from the oven.  Since his standard answer is NO, I plan to pay him in rolls

I ran by to see The Smalls yesterday and to drop off a cake for their Christmas present.  They alternate years going to California so I wanted them to have it to eat before Christmas.  Hudson was swinging it around by the cellophane stick up part and bow, and took it immediately to the kitchen to open.  Once open, he cut himself a bid ole chunk, reminding me that "don'tcha remember I like this cake?" to which I said "Sweetie....I don't remember squat these days, and I'm sure glad you do."  Hadley was her usual hilarious self unzipping my 1/4 zip fleece top, in order to get my attention.  When I looked at her like "whaaat?", she did it again.  Avery was fine until she slipped on the stairs, got mad, and screamed and cried.  It wasn't until her mom and I both told her I was not there to babysit, that she broke into big smiles and did the pig snort for me.  Her mom says she's definitely the funniest of the three.  I just have to catch her when she doesn't think I'm there to babysit.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Brings back memories...

I saw this on the Internet yesterday and had to laugh.  Oh, Lordy...remember standing at North Park in the line that wound clear to Ft. Worth, with your kids dressed up and trying to corral them when it was their turn to sit on Santa's lap?  I think after the first time, I filed that away as been there done that, and vowed never to repeat that lunacy ever again.  That kind of psychological scarring just is not worth it even when it is kind of funny.  Admit it...you know it is...until it's your kid.

I remember my senior year at UT, I went to the Mall ( specifically Highland Mall, back in the day) with Becky Baskin, my then roommate, from Midland.  After our shopping marathon, we both decided to have our pictures made sitting on Santa's lap, and then mail it to our parents.  Why??  Who knows but we thought we were hilarious, so there ya go. 

I vividly remember getting home for the Christmas holidays to see it sitting in the tray of Christmas cards mom always kept sitting on the entry hall table by the front door.  My mom later told me that when she showed it to my dad, he laughed for 10 minutes.  I think it became quite a conversation piece which is why they left it lying on the top of the pile.  Ahhhh....the good old days.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thoughts on Growing Older and Wiser

Man...I would not trade where I am in my life for all the money in the Powerball Lottery and that's probably a nice chunk of change right now.  Yes, there are some not so fun trade offs-- physically when my eyes don't literally see like they used to but what they "see" now, as an almost 58 year old, is sure illuminating.  I don't think this "seeing" is possible with out the passage of lots of years and lots of life experience-- some of it really painful.  At least not for me.  Maybe there are some younger "old souls" out there who get wisdom earlier, but that's not been my experience.

Physically, my stamina isn't that of my younger days but the good news is, now I know it and accept it.  When I'm worn out, I don't push harder.  I get in the bed.  And it's lovely.  I don't beat myself up for not knocking off every single thing on my to do list.  Instead I just tell myself "oh, well" and then LMAO being grateful I have a nice warm bed to crawl into.  Sure, I still get stressed out just like every other human being, but today I know when to stop and take care of myself.  Considering that my head is as hard as reinforced concrete and my will is just as strong, this lesson has taken many years for me to actually learn.

Emotionally, I've learned that people I don't care for are just as human as I am, and have their own lessons to learn.  And with some, that means I am better off loving them from a distance.  Spiritually, as long as I can still love them, that's all that matters.  I don't have to like them or pretend like I do.  I just have to be kind.  Today I honestly don't give a rats fanny what other people think of me or my actions.  Everybody is entitled to their opinion--they have theirs, I have mine.  What freedom to live my life, my way, knowing the only person/spirit I am accountable to is God, and since we chat on a regular basis, I'm clear about what He wants and expects from me.  Frankly, what other people think of me is none of my business.  I don't need to know.  Gone are the "shoulds" and "oughts" and the tyranny of other people's opinions.  Buh, bye. 

As we head into this Christmas season, I hope all of you celebrate where you are in your life.  If you aren't feeling free, liberate yourself because you are the only one who can do it for you.  Amidst pain and grief is where all the learning and gifts, are hidden.  No lookey, no findey. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's the reason for the season...giving and cookies!!!

I just got an email saying that from now through Dec. 31, 2011, if you give $$ to the North Texas Food Bank, there is a matching grant that will double your gift up to I think $90,000.  The net effect is, the NTFB will receive $180,000 to feed hungry families.  I've donated and I hope you will too.  And in case you're getting hungry this afternoon, these are the leftovers after my deliveries to neighbors.  Of course, that's not counting the ones I've already snarfed.  I had to be sure they were gift worthy, and it took several tries for me to establish product consistency.  Viennese Crescents are like that only mine aren't crescents.  I tried that last year, for fun, and after cooking them, they ended up looking like old gnarly fingers.  Not real appetizing looking.  Ooof.

Need any fertilizer???

Since yesterday afternoon did not go as planned, the cookies I mentioned did not get made.  Therefore, they are on today's agenda while I putz around the house.  I wasn't feeling too slick yesterday afternoon--not sure why-- so I got in bed instead.  Good call.  Today I feel better--just not 100%. 

A friend and an occasional "lurker" of this blog, sends Moravian cookies to me every year at this time.  She's a super generous gal and is also the sender of the Texas Trash--the Meth of all Chex mixes--but I've discussed that subject before, too.  Anywhoo, back to the cookies.  You've heard me tell before how I have to hide them from Fred (and Brian!) because he/they eat them every year--without fail-- before I get any.  Yesterday they arrived and here's what he tried to sell me: he said because the cookies were addressed to Mr. and Mrs., they were intended for him, too.  I told him " no deal", and to spread what he was attempting to sell me, outside on the yard, 'cause I wasn't buying any.  He then went to plan B: he said "pick the ones you like best, and I'll eat the others".  Damn magnanimous of him, don't you think, considering she's my friend and not his and especially when BOTH flavors are delish.  That's a no lose situation for him.  He should have been a nitpicky attorney so he could argue for a living and get paid to do it.  While he's gone today, I'm gonna hide his, and eat mine.

Sis doesn't know it yet but she just hit a homer.  I found a small amount of less than perfect smelling ground meat in the refrige I'd forgotten about, and Little Miss Limoncello is going to get some tonight, cooked, added to her food.  Somebody needs to eat it and I'm sure not going to.  I figure if the candy didn't kill that garbage disposal we call Sis, this won't hurt her either and will likely shoot her to the moon.  She's already walked into the kitchen to see if by chance, there might be a bite with her name on it, but she left empty handed.  Hey...it IS the Christmas season...even for bad hounds.  Buckle up, Sis.  It's your lucky day.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sad, sad, sad...time for cookies

It was with a great deal of sadness I found out yesterday that my brother's marriage was officially over.  Like in Court.  The Big D.  What a sad state of affairs--no pun intended--especially at this time of year. Just more evidence that I really don't know what The Big Plan is for me or anyone else.  As I watch mom slide even further down the tubes into oblivion, this was just one more sad punch in the gut.  The good news?  I'm not in charge of the world and it will keep spinning with out my help--unless I get in there and start "helping"--and then we're all in for a really messy ride. 

Today I know it's important to feel my feelings and not power shift through them like I used to.  I now give myself the time to feel, and then let the feeling go.  Unacknowledged feelings are the powder keg of humanity.  Just look at the news or the Internet and you will see the wreckage. Remember my waves analogy.  Feelings wash in and wash back out, just like waves.  Let them keep washing in and out until you are finished with each feeling, but make sure you get finished.  Carrying (or dragging) all that unfinished business around with you every day is going to do damage to you mentally, physically, and spiritually, and is going to weigh you down, and ultimately, make you sick.  Real sick.  So don't do it. They call is dis-ease for a reason.

On a happier, more positive and fun note, today I'm making one of my most favorite recipes of cookies that I only allow myself to make once a year.  Why??  You already know the answer.  Too damn good and I will eat them.  They are the original recipe from the New York Times from way back when, and they are Viennese Crescents.  Senora Maria talks about them every year at this time, and since she is probably coming today--I say probably because she just comes what ever day works best for her--I don't care--as long as she comes--and today  I thought it would be fun to surprise her with her favorite cookies (and mine).  A few of these with a fresh, hot cup o' joe will cure any of the worlds problems today.  I can't wait to hear her key in the lock.  :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm worried about myself.  Something is seriously wrong.  I've either been brainwashed after all these years in a predominantly male house hold or my estrogen level is too low to even measure.  Here's the problem: After watching Sons of Guns (Discovery channel) with Fred and Brian Saturday afternoon, I'm like a junkie who needs a fix.  And yeah...it's all guns, and guns doing really wild stuff.  I must have watched 5 or 6 of their shows back to back, and went online today to see a couple more.  This show is beyond hilarious and has all the drama, suspense, and mayhem you could ask for, while firing large weapons.  It's about a company called Red Jacket in Baton Rouge, La., that specializes in weapons--any kind of weapons.  They'll build or rebuild just about anything you're willing to pay for.  Guns, swords, knives, canons--just about anything you can think of, they do.  They even do stuff for SWAT teams and the Police.  One guy came in wanting to shoot a knife out of a gun which is actually illegal, if you have a spring in the gun.  Without a spring, you're good, so I can't wait to see that one.


But it's the people on the show that make it so hilarious.  There's Will, the owner, his daughter, Stephanie, Kris,(right) an apprentice who wants to date the boss's daughter, a welder, and several other gunsmiths and specialists.  They have more fun in 30 minutes than most people have all year. 

One customer paid them $15,000 to make a quad, (as in 4) MG 42 machine guns with a hoist, so he could fire all 4 guns at once and move up and down and left to right as he shoots.  Due to a glitch, not all 4 guns were actually firing as planned when he came to shoot, so they pulled out remote control airplanes, tossed them in  the air, and let him shoot at those.  The name of that show was MEAT CHOPPER GUN.  My next favorite so far is Skeet Football Showdown.  Garret Hartley, kicker of the New Orleans Saints brings in an AR15 that needs fixing and ends up challenging Vince,(left, above) the tatted up gunsmith, to a skeet competition with him kicking a football through the uprights, before Vince can shoot it down.  It's a round of 5-6 kicks and if Garret wins, Vince has to repair the gun for free.  I'm not telling what happens but it's hilarious to watch.  There are gobs of other funnies like the time Kris tries to date the boss's daughter and the time he volunteered to be the target to test the new Tazer part of the Tazer/Shotgun.  Dude....how dumb are you??  I liketa died.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sis update

In the event that anyone might have been worried about her, let me assure you she's sailed through this latest caper even wanting to play and be chased this afternoon.  There's just one very unsettling problem.  A certain someone smells like lemons, from all the Limoncello in the candy....even the top of her head smells like lemons, as do her earsGrrrrross.  I think she's oozing lemon out through her pores.  Serves her right.

Siiiiiiiister.....

Last night after dinner, I went back to the bedroom to get something and turn on the light beside the bed.  I heard a crinkle sound and looked down.  Uh, ohhhhhh.....a candy wrapper on my side and not one I'd eaten, either.  It was also one from Santa's recent shopping excursion.  Even worse.  I lifted up the bed skirt to reveal candy wrappers all over every where and started hollering for Fred and Brian (here doing laundry) to come look.  Here is a shot of what they saw that doesn't do the carnage near justice, but will give you an idea.
If you think you are seeing little beans on the floor, also, you are because they were part of a mix I bought also.  Sis must have had a verrrrrrrry busy afternoon after I left to go to the gym and Fred was gone as well because she pulled everything out of the sack I'd left way too low for an enterprising fat dachshund not to get into.  I can just imagine her nosing in the sack, selecting the first bag of chocolates, tearing open each one, and snarfing them down. Then back for the second bag of chocolate candy, filled with Limoncello, that were to have gone in certain folks stockings for Christmas.  Sort of a little Capri reminder.  Not only did she eat both bags of candy--every single piece--but she started in on a soup mix--hence the beans.  Thank the good Lord she did not make it to the seasoning packet or the hell under my bed would have been muuuuuch worse.

We had all noticed that Sis had seemed a little sleepy after dinner, but just figured she was snoozy due to the weather.  Uh, no.  That would be the Limoncello effect.  Old Sis tied one on.  But the best part was when she was puffing, because her stomach was so bloated with gas.  She was miserable.  Since she'd been confronted and totally busted, she had gone and gotten in her bed.  We all knew dark chocolate could potentially kill her, so we kept an eye on her in addition to giving her some Pepto, for the gas.  She needed a tad more for the remaining gas this morning, but I think old cast iron gut never even barfed.  She's feeling better today but I know she would do it all over again, if opportunity knocked.  Baaaaad girrrrrl.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Capri at Christmas time

"Mr. Mertz" found this shot last night, and sent it to all of  the people who went with us to Capri for the wedding.  For those of you not there, this is a shot of the Piazetta in Capri, all decked out for Christmas.  He no sooner hit send, than his email box blew up with responses from almost everyone who went with us. ( He also put it on FB so you may have seen it there already.)  I'm thinking it was the best Christmas card ever to all those who we now consider "family", if not by blood, then definitely by Capri.  This just gives me such a rush of memories, I can hardly stand myself.  See what you think.
The little dining area covered by the awning off to the left is where we used to go for the best lemon gelato on the planet Earth.  Looking straight ahead where that lighted doorway is, is where we went down a hallway to a crazy little place for dinner, where we had the most overwhelmed waiter on the island.  All he could say was "Prego, prego..." and we wound up laughing as he mopped his brow, sweating and grousing.  On the right hand side were loads of little tables and different places for a quick bite, cocktail, espresso, whatever.  Definitely the best people watching spot, bar none.  I don't even have to close my eyes to be right back there.....and hear O Holy night in the background.  Gorge, no??

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kids....they just slay me

Well who knew....didja know you aren't supposed to sync your IPhone 3 with an updated version of the Itunes software?  Well, Smokey, neither did I, and according to the AT&T tech bunch, that's been the cause of all my Iphone angst lately.  I didn't even have to spend money to get it fixed--I just had to delete my two email accounts and then add them back on.  Well, sure...I knew that.  Didn't you?  From now on, it seems I can sync my computer calendar events to my phone calendar, but no more Itunes computer upgrades for this baby girl or my Iphone will throw yet another rod.  Updated Itunes ain't meant for no 3G phone is whad i'm a sayin'.  A royal pisser but watcha gone do?  And my phone battery having about half the life it used to have?  Due to the upgraded software I can't get off my phone, thank you very much. 

After a recent series of events that I cannot divulge here to protect an unnamed crazy person, it seems that a certain three year old girl has a new threat she likes to hurl, after hearing the unnamed crazy adult, toss it out.  It seems that when she really wants to let you have it, she'll tell you, "You're goin' ta Jail ".  I don't think she even knows what Jail is, but she sure knows it's not a good idea.  I soooo wish I could tell the whole story here but you'd have to 1) put on your Depends first, and then if I printed it here  2) I might actually go to Jail.  Once again, Hadley has brought me to my knees, howling, over the stuff she latches onto and then says.  From the same adult, she has learned a few cuss words, too, so now ya know why I love her so much.  She is just a side of horseradish that's right up my alley.

This afternoon I heard a bunch of catterwallin in the background while on the phone with Nic, and asked what was going on.  In her usual laid back way she said "Ohhhh, Hadley and Avery are fighting...their new thing is, when they fight, they pull each other's hair".  From what I heard, they sounded like two cats in a bag. 
The good news is, it was over in a flash, and everyone still has hair.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Change your mind, change your life

Just now I was on my way home from the alterations lady.  As I mulled over all the things I needed to do vs the ones I really want to do, I glanced up to see if it was my turn to cross the street in my car.  As I looked up, down the street flew one of my friends, on her bicycle, helmet with a tiny rear view mirror, pedaling hell for leather.  I'm talking flying here.  This is also the same gal who a few months back was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer--probably with mets (metastasis).  As I watched her keep on sailing down the block, I sat back in my seat and thought for a second.  Talk about someone who wants to live life and live it fully-- 100%-- for as long as she can, as hard as she can.  Do I live mine like that?  Or, do I just assume I'll wake up tomorrow, Dec. 2, 2011, and schlep on along?

Man...talk about food for thought.  How am I living my life and who am I living it for?  Am I doing what makes my heart sing and what fills me up as a human being or am I dragging that load of "hafta's" around, everyday of my life, and if so, why?  I realized a lot of the things I used to do was because I never realized I had a choice.  No one ever told me I had one, and I sure never had one as a kid, but today as an adult, I do.  And if you are wondering who told me I had one, I'll  let you in on the secret. It was ME. I told ME.  And you can tell you.

I want to live my live with a deliberate sense of joy and appreciation, with a big scoop of laughter on the side.  When I close my eyes at night, I want to look back over my day and hope I made a difference somewhere to someone, even if I just made them think, or laugh, or even roll their eyes.  I want to approach the coming Christmas season with flour in my hair, Sister begging in the kitchen, and cookies in the oven...or bread...or rolls.  I want to smell that smell and lock it in my brain forever.  Because when I cook, I love.

  Ask yourself if you are living the life you really want and if so, great.  If not, what's holding you back?  And is it real or imagined?  Either way, you still have a choice.  You can always do something different.
And that's just how I see it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Land sakes....I've never been so embarrassed in my life.  I just took Sis on a walk and as we walked down one block, a front door opened and out shot a small gray poodle, Precious, who was very intent on getting to know Sis.  My stars...I looked down to see my fat black squirrel killing girl, terrified of a poodle half her size. Sis proceeded to do the "choke your own damn self", on her own leash, trying to get away.  I will say Precious is a mite forward, so no wonder Sis was unglued to the point of squatting, to avoid a cold nose.  Precious doesn't seem to mind any better than Sis, either, as the last thing she does when called, is actually come.  I will tell you she is a lot more fashion forward than Sis, given that she had a small orange feather tied into the fur of each ear, from her last trip to the groomer.  It was a look all right--just not a particularly good one.  Feathers on a dog??  Uh, no.

The Emperor, across the street from us, had a large lightly flocked Christmas tree delivered this morning and dropped off in their front yard.  I thought it was kind of weird that it was left in the yard, but then they do "interesting things" a lot.  As Sis and I returned from our walk, I noticed Penny (the mom), one of the Hispanic maids, and their son, all out front decorating the tree.  It's one of the nicest shaped trees I've seen in a l-o-n-g time--really fat and fluffy-- and I told Penny I had wondered this morning how they were ever going to get it into the house.  She said when they saw it, they liked it so much they went ahead and bought it, and decided to put it outside, knowing they'd never get it through any door they have, into their house.  True that.  The bad news is, she says it's taking a boat load of lights to cover it, but they are almost to the top.  I can't wait to see the finished product.  It's already really beautiful so this should be fun to have across the street for everyone to enjoy.  Neat idea!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A new Security idea?

Yesterday when I made a brief stop at North Park, I was surprised to see two Policemen riding two huge horses throughout the parking lot.  These horses almost seemed like draft horses, only a little bit slimmer.  They definitely got people's attention and one African American guy could not take his eyes off of them.  A car finally had to honk him back to earth.

It's got to be tough on a horse to run full throttle on an asphalt surface, if the need should arise.  Even with shoes on, that's going to be one slippery surface and maybe that's really not the plan anyway.  The plan is just to make you think twice about stealing, or robbing some old lady in her fur coat, like what happened last year.  They have those Police surveillance towers but unless you put a sniper up there--which seems a little anti-Christmas--wonder what they could do instead, that would be cost effective and a crime deterrent?

We have to allow for cars zooming in and out of the parking lot, and fractious, stressed out drivers, so what about electric powered Segways??  There could be tons of them and worst case, if you don't stop running, they run over you.  All of them.  Now, if the perp(s) is armed, and most will be, we're back to the same old problem.  Maybe the answer is robots on Segways.  Now that would be something to see.

And here's one for da 'hood. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Local Tsunami

Saturday afternoon, I was hit with a wig wearing tsunami and not in a good way either.  I had been lying down reading when the doorbell rang, accompanied by some serious banging.  Fred was blowing leaves so I wasn't sure why the doorbell was still ringing.  I opened the door, and that's the last time I got a word in edgewise.  A youngish African American gal immediately went into her spiel on a cleaning products she was selling, and proceeded to spray part of a window, showing me how clean and nice it was...then she blasted past me into the kitchen and showed me how well it worked on stainless steel, telling me she had a stainless steel refrigerator "jes lak dis 'un".  Whaaaat?   And that's why she's going door to door, right?  That big booming career path she's got going has enabled such a purchase.  OK...that's lie #1, I'm thinking.

OK...I am beginning to recover enough to head her towards the front door, when Fred blows through the back door, to make sure I have not been killed my this purple velour sweat suited, pony tailed wig- wearing woman, who has a mouth on her straight outta South Dallas.  Twice she told me "I ain't here to clean yo' hole house", and I'm thinking that's because she's really a serious career woman.  She wanted me to buy one of her bottles of cleaner, and she'd drop it back by.  OK...there it was.  Lie #2.  Honey.....now, I am blonde...but I am not that blonde.  When I told her "I heard ya and no thanks", her lightening fast reply as she shoved off down the block was " Wellll...iffin yo dun 'herd me, then yuda baaa wun", and off she went in a snit, with that wig  a'slidin back and forth on her head.

I swanny.....I did not know what had hit me for about 10 minutes, and thank the good Lord above that old leaf blowing Fred was here, or no telling what might have happened.  When she left, all he could say was what the hell was that??  And I had no answer.

And speaking of fast talking women, it seems Hudson told his mom the other day that "Hadley talks too much to me, mom...make her stop!"  Isn't that hilarious?  His dad said "Yeah...your mom and Hadley need to get... a.... room".  OK...so it's a woman thing.  Deal with it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, Fred and I spent a few hours putting up the Christmas dec's and the lights out front.  Our lights are a little on the skimpy side so we may have to amp it up in that department.  Fred says "no" but then he always says "no"--it doesn't matter what the question is--it's always a "no".  This is a l-o-n-g standing joke around our house and whenever the boys are here and he does it, we all just roll.

  With a roaring fire and Christmas music on, this was not exactly tough duty until the music got cheesy.  It subsequently got the hook.  We did have a few issues: a couple of ornaments hit the floor, the need for more extension cords presented itself, but nothing that a trip to CVS or Walgreens couldn't fix.  My mission today is to take over the removable hanger for mom's door to her room, attach it, and hang her wreath.  That's probably about as Christmasey as she's going to get this year, other than maybe a blooming Christmas cactus.  The danger there is, the staff may over water it like I did mine one year, and you suddenly have blooms all over the floor vs on the plant.  A poinsettia might be a better bet.  Or not.  We'll see.

I ran by yesterday to check in on her and she was on top of her bed, all covered up with a snugly blanket, sound asleep.  Shoot.  They had just brought her back from lunch not five minutes before. One of the staff said a lot of the residents were really tired.  She was sleeping so hard that when I put my hand on her to be sure she was breathing, she didn't move a muscle.  Now that's what I call sleeping.  Good for her.

One of my friends told me she has not cooked a turkey and the whole nine yards for her kids, ever, at their home, so today is the day--she's cooking TG for them and her husband.  I applaud her willingness and effort, and the thought of eating any more turkey is off my list.  I've eaten about all the turkey and leftovers my pants will safely accommodate.  Back to my little eating plan and the treadmill I must go.  Otherwise I'll be in a muu-muu by Christmas. 

This is the time of year when I start seriously thinking about my final donations to charities for the year.  I like to spread it out over the year especially to the North Texas Food Bank because people get hungry all year long.  Ditto Parkland.  People need care all year long.  Last night while watching Rick Steves Christmas in Europe, I called my sister to see if she was OK with me making a donation for mom, to KERA, since they are having their Fund Drive.  Mom LOVES KERA and last year made four different Christmas donations during the Fund Drive, because she would forget she'd done it.  I didn't find out about it until the box from KERA arrived with four sets of the same books and DVD's .....yep...Rick Steves Christmas in Europe.  This year, we're getting just one set.

Friday, November 25, 2011

OOOO, ahhhh.  The best thing about Thanksgiving has to be the leftovers.  OMG...it's like the feast never ends and tastes even better the next day.  I haven't had to unbutton my pants, yet, but if I eat any more tonight I could be in serious trouble.  The years we've gone to the Farm for TG are always fun but there's never any leftovers of the stuff you'd want.  Those Harris-Carter people can eat, let me just tell ya.  The stuff that is left over is still there for a reason, if you get my drift.  Cranberry sauce or some of those weird looking jello salad thingys are not even a "round one" pick for me or mine, so you can bet they aren't going home with us. Noooo siree.

I just had leftover sweet potatoes, green beans, turkey and dressing with gravy, and a piece of chocolate pie and the smile I have on my face almost hurts.  As Fred just said, I went the "full monty."  I think those Harris-Carter people must have rubbed off on me after all these years.

The other thing I wanted to discuss is trains.  Why?  Because I wish we were a nation of train travel like in Europe.  I adore the relaxing ride, the people watching , the space, and watching the country side roll by.  You leave the driving to them and unless you hit  cow or something, or derail for some reason, it's not a bad way to travel.  I don't need the super speedy Japanese trains that move so fast everything is one big blur.  I kind of like to see where I'm going.  Give me a Eurostar(Leisure Select) any day and I'm one happy gal.  Being served lunch is right up my alley.  I don't even mind riding the local if it's clean.  Standard class is just as fun and I always hope people are reading, so I can study them without being noticed.  I have no problem walking to the bar for my own cup of tea or coffee.  It's always nice to stretch your legs and you don't lose any time getting to your destination.

Now, I do remember riding the train in Russia some 35 years ago, and that was one interesting train ride.  There were Russian soldiers, and peasants, and us--and lots of the peasants had chickens in cages on their laps.  The speed of the train was so damn slow, I could have run along beside it, had it not been below zero outside, and the heat inside was oppressive.  Let's just say the air inside was not particularly fresh, what with the chickens, cigarette smoke, and general Russian BO.  But I DO remember it-- and that might be why.  Stinky or otherwise, I still love train travel in Europe. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Turkey Day

Before:

After:            

Food is cooked.  Rolls are made.  Monkey Bread is rising.  Happy, Happy to All.                     

Fatty Fatty 2x4...

Wow.  I just read the article about the man flying on United who had to stand for seven hours due to the over sized man sitting next to him.  The obese man required both armrests to be raised to fit into his seat, and then dunlopped over into half of the other man's seat, to the point that the man with half a seat was unable to fasten his own seat belt.  The man approached the flight attendants and told them of the problem, but was told the flight was full and there was nothing they could do.

Whoa....I said Whoa.  If that happens to me, that plane is NOT leaving the gate without something being done.  I am entitled to sit in the seat I purchased and so is the obese man.  He is not, however, entitled to spill over into my seat, and if he does, he needs to be pulled off the plane, as HE is the problem.  If he requires a seat and a half, the airline needs to require him to purchase just that--actually that would be two seats--but whatever.  If two seats are not available guess who has to get off and catch the next flight?  Yep, he does.

Let's get real here.  If he was that large, he should have been pulled aside at the gate before boarding, and given the information that he would not be allowed to board as he had only purchased one ticket and actually required two.  Everyone is so afraid of offending people who are overweight.  For whatever reason someone is overweight, it's still their problem, and as such, should be treated that way.  And none of this seat belt extender stuff either.  If you can't fit yours around you, then you have to buy two seats, and use those belts.  Everybody will be more comfortable and probably safer, too.

I am not in favor of offending anyone--overweight or thin--and I think it's high time normal sized people spoke up and demanded to be treated fairly.  Can't you just imagine the next Airline lawsuit that will be filed?  It will be for being discriminated against for being normal sized. 

C'mon, Airlines...grow a pair and either protect normal sized people or make larger seats.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today has turned into yet another interesting day.  It's almost my bedtime and I have: been to a family business board meeting, started and run an IV on my sister who is sick, made my dressing and vegetables, took mom her supplies, and was about to brine my turkey when disaster struck.  My brine-ing cooler was AWOL.  The rest I can handle, but my special cooler gone???  No can do.

Interestingly, neither of my sons admit to "lifting" it so regardless, despite attempts to improvise, I just had to have a soft sided cooler so I was able to fast talk Fred into getting me one from Sam's.  Ahhhhhh...my turkey is now swimming in Alton Brown's brine from the Food Network.  It needs to be made ahead and refrigerated so it's icy cold, then gets mixed together with a gallon of cold water and ice.  You brine for an hour per pound of your turkey, and then cook with some of Alton's other "aromatics" stuffed up your bad boy.  It makes for a killer juicy turkey and it's just fun to do, so there ya have it.

Mary brought over some home made rolls this morning for me to let rise and then have for dinner tonight and she may be 82, but, honey, she has not lost her touch with flour and yeast.  Far from it.  They were small little ditties but Fred and I snarfed every single one, and thank heaven there weren't more or we'd have polished off those, too.

Nighty, night to all.  I am whooped.  That's a combo of whupped and pooped.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I don't think I've told you all about one of my bosses at Medical City, way back when, who was almost my age, and Canadian.  Her name was Kathy and she had a hilarious sense of humor.  It was just sometimes hard to tell if she was kidding or serious.  One day she called me into her office and said "Do I look weird to you?"  OK...that's a pretty loaded question.  You know the right answer is "No", but if you're bad like me, you scrunch up your face raising an eyebrow, cock your head, and try not to laugh.  No sooner had she asked, than she yelled out "I look like Marge freaking Simpson...my upper lips is all swollen and my lip is jutting out!!"  And OMG...she did.  We both collapsed in her office wheezing with laughter and decided all she needed was blue hair.  Apparently she had eaten something at lunch or touched something she was allergic to and then touched her face.  The more I tried not to laugh, the worse it got.  (I finally had to go into my office and shut the door but she called me on the phone to tell me she could still hear me.)

This is the same gal who told me she hated Thanksgiving because she didn't like turkey.  I told her because she was living and working in this country, she owed it to America to celebrate Thanksgiving, and that any good Canadian would at least try this custom. So, she did.  She and her family had lobster.  Man, I still miss her.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I love going to the Farm.  You just never know what you're going to find these days.  If it's not a snake on the back porch, it's likely to be just about anything, which brings us to Friday night.  A certain someone would not stop to let me investigate a ginormous smoker in the parking lot of the Church of Christ on Willow, where we turn.  It was belching smoke and a man was standing there in the flood lit parking lot keeping that smoker company.  I have never seen a smoker like this but on we went.  Cut to Saturday and our post King's, lunch cruise around town.  I begged to run by and finally, Fred relented.  Up we drove and shyly asked what was going on.  It turns out that every year the church does a Fund Raiser and smokes brisket, pork butt's, and pork roasts, and sells them to anybody who wants one.   The man mentioned he still had some pork left but that the briskets were all gone.  I look at Fred.  Fred knew he was in deep, deep doo-doo.

Anyway, out we hopped out to find out the scoopage on the smoker pictured here and here's what I know:  This thing is older than I am and was made by some German guy.  It lives in Krum, and rents out, but you better not be going far because the tires on this thing are the originals and look like they are about to blow.  The man said they are 23 ply--whatever the hell that means.  The inside has rotating shelves that circle around and will hold 100 briskets or a combo of meats there of.  It takes 2 cords of wood to cook everything to perfection, and  its an old water tank from WWII.  I swear I'm not making this up.

This thing is so huge, I could have stood up inside it and not touched the ceiling.  The rotating shelves inside used to go in reverse until some guy "worked on it", and goobered up that part.  I would need to stand on a ladder to load this thing and the rub they use on everything is the same one some brisket cooking champion gave them the recipe for, after he quit competing. Note the double doors.  Somebody really knew what they were doing.  And the smell still wafting out from the inside made your mouth water.

Here's the pulled pork from the last pork butt he had, and note the bone in the background.  Boy, how I wished for my latex gloves pulling this stuff.  Yes, you can shred it with forks, but you can't get all the fat out that way and the fat grosses me out.  Yish.

This is who got to have the bone, even though I knew we might pay a high price for letting her have such a num-num bone.  We did. And she did, too. 




Friday, November 18, 2011

BON...get it together

This morning I tried yet again to renew my Nursing license with the BON(Board of Nursing) online, post finger printing, to no avail.  The FP lady told me to give it 3 to 5 days after she electronically transmitted my FP's, which she did last Friday while I watched her.  Swell.  Just another state bureau that isn't quite working up to snuff, as my mom would say.  I'll try again on Monday.

Since I know I'm going to get all busy next week, while it's calm, I wanted to post my list of things I am grateful for.  It's a good exercise for me and usually brings up things I've forgotten about from the deep dark recesses of my brain.
1.  God because he takes such incredible care of me even when I get in his way
2.  For the workers at the Edge that take care of mom--I could NOT do their job
3.  For animals--any of them--because they make me laugh, bring me joy, and let me do dumb stuff to them like bathe them in the kitchen sink, blow them dry, clean their eras, and still love me afterwards
4.  For giving myself permission to be me--not who other people think I should be--it's not always easy but it's worth it on so many levels.
5.  For my children  because they bring me such total joy and make me laugh like nobody else can
6.  Fred -- the list is endless
7.  For following my intuition regularly and listening to it vs. blowing it off
8.  For a new DIL (Andrea) that is beyond anything I could have hoped for
9.  For three smalls that let me be a part of their world and provide me with entertainment par excellence--dead squirrel in the bed, dancing to Put a Ring on It, knowing and singing all the words to Adele's Rolling in the Deep, snort like a pig just because they can, and general things they say and do
10.  For readers of this blog--you all make this fun for me--nobody else would read this but I'm grateful somebody does.

Happy Friday to All and we'll talk about surviving relatives for TG, next week.

  Send your suggestions via my email (mayamon@sbcglobal.net) and I'll compile the list and post next week.  The email idea is to CYA--(cover yo' a**) so you can really say what you want.  I won't ever out you.  The more creative the better and, Massanelli, that means for you to make us all howl with laughter. (You are from Arkansas, so you already have a huge advantage.)

  If you have stories about a relative(s) that drives you nuts, send it, and just don't use the person's name.  This is supposed to be a fun, stress reliever for everyone.  A chance to peek into other people's families.....laugh your a** off, and then be glad for the nuts on your family tree.  :)









Thursday, November 17, 2011

Monkey Bread update

Oh, Hallelujah!!! (spell check says that's right but it still looks weird to me)  It appears that it's actually a small Monkey Bread world, as my very own almost DIL, Nicole, is in the process of getting her mom's recipe for Monkey Bread for me.  I could just scream with joy!!  In fact, though I am not a screamer, I think I just WILL!  It seems that, GiGi, Hud's other grandmother and Nicole's mom, has already made this for them and Hudson is now hooked and loves it.  In fact, Nic says ocassionally he asks her "to call GiGi and ask her to make him some."   Is that not just the best, and exactly what grandmothers were designed to do....make Monkey Bread for small monkeys?? 

Thank you Nic and Shelia for sharing it with me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I can't wait to make it and see how it turns out!

Monkey Bread

My sister called a few days ago wanting a recipe that yanked me back to my teen years.  My grandmother's maid, Virginia, was a cook extraordinaire and made Monkey Bread that sent us to our knees.  Now, this isn't that MB you see on the Internet with the cinnamon and sugar--no, no, noooo.  This is the homemade roll dough, pinched off, rolled between two pale pink palms (Virginia's), dipped into melted butter, and layered in a tube pan the size of a wagon wheel.  (Not really on the size of the pan but considering how much we loved it, it might have been a good idea since we fought to take it home with us after lunch or dinner.)  I can still hear Virginia's shriek of laughter as I'd sneak in the kitchen after lunch to make sure some was left over.  Hey, snooze ya loose.

Once the layers were complete, she'd set it somewhere warm to rise before putting it in the oven and here's where my memory goes dim.  What temp and for how long did she cook the MB...and why do I have a vague memory of a pan of water at the bottom of the oven to keep the bread light and moist and not dry out??  I vividly remember her saying because there was a lot of bread you had to cook it slow at first and then bring up the temp to brown it, but that's about all I remember.  And the worst news of all is, Virginia's gone now and with her went all that MB information, as well as her chocolate meringue pie of death.  I don't think any of it was ever written down anywhere--it was just all in her head and hands.  Sooo, that said, I may try this holiday season to re-create the MB of my youth.  My children and nieces and nephews have never had it and Virginia's legacy will die with her unless I can resurrect her MB.  Oh, lordy...that's a tall order and though it may take me several tries in the cooking department, I'm going to consult with Mary, my next door neighbor, on bread baking and see what she suggests.  And last ditch, I can always go read and see what Miss Julia has to say about bread baking.  She might just know a thing or two.

MB, toasted the next morning, and slathered with butter will cure everything for ingrown toenails to a hangover and possibly more.  Since you tear it apart with your hands to serve yourself, it breaks apart into these soft little pillows of rolls that melt in yo' mouth, baby.  And toasted to crispy??  Worse than Meth...much worse.  One bite and you're hooked.  BAD.

I went to see mom yesterday, and again, she was down the hall with the gang watching TV.  Word is, she likes that enormous TV.  I think the staff likes getting them all out of their rooms, and putting them all together where they can see them, to offer them snacks, etc.  I'm all over that idea.  One of the staff told me mom is the TV Nazi and tells people to be quiet if they yak to much and she can't hear.  While I was there she yelled out "she's gonna KILL you" to the man on TV.  This from the TV Nazi....  It took everything I had to smother my laughter.