*Photo courtesy of some personal website that stole it from the Walt Disney Company.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I’m in the process of making dressing for the Thanksgiving meal we’ll have at mama’s tomorrow, and I can’t stop thinking about grandma. Grandma made the best dressing in the whole world. Not stuffing, dressing. Stuffing was a little frou frou for us. As a kid, I regularly perched myself on that wobbly kitchen stool and watched her mix up cornbread and bread with onion, celery, spices, broth and of all things, chicken noodle soup until she had it just the way she wanted it. Then I would wait eagerly for that savory smell to start drifting from the oven. Dressing has always been one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal.
There’s a hierarchy to the assignment of dishes for the Thanksgiving meal, with the cooking of the turkey and dressing left to the senior members of the family. When you’re a newlywed or a new in-law who has to prove her culinary worth, you’re usually assigned something foolproof like corn or rolls, and you work your way up the casserole ladder each year until you reach the pinnacle of the spread, which is the turkey. Dressing, however, is right up there under the turkey. Screw it up, and your one shot at captain’s bars in the Thanksgiving army is over. You’ll be busted down to green bean private faster than you can say French’s Fried Onions.
I graduated to dressing duty a couple of years ago, which was a little earlier than I expected, but I think mama was just overwhelmed enough that year to delegate that duty. And since no one else jumped at the chance, I said, “Me, me, me!” Now, I didn’t mess up the dressing that year, but my dressing was just okay. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t set the world on fire. Its popularity level was somewhere between Bristol Palin (thank heavens the viewers of DWTS did the right thing) and a TSA pat down. Since then, I have continued to tweak it in hopes of making it really good one day. I don’t have any hope of it ever being as good as Grandma’s, but I’ll try. And as I mix that cornbread and fixin’s tonight, I’ll be seeing Grandma in her apron standing in front of that stove with that banged up baking pan wishing she was here to teach me how to graduate to captain.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
I know I’m a drag on your wish to be fully independent right now. And that 18th birthday that looms ahead has you thinking that the whole world will change on December 30th and that suddenly you will make your own rules and live your life solely as you want to. As the woman who squeezed you from my womb and nurtured you the last eighteen years, I have to tell you in the sweetest, most loving way I know….that’s not going to happen. Not just yet. Why? You see, my job is not to make you happy. My job is to turn you into a loving, compassionate, productive citizen, and my job isn’t done. You think it is. And we’re getting close to that point, but we’re not quite there yet. And sometimes my job requires me to make and enforce rules that you don’t like.
Oh, I know you think I’m holding on too tight. I thought my parents did too when I was your age. I know you curse me under your breath when I tell you that you can’t stay out until 2am or that a certain boy is not coming anywhere near our house. I know you sometimes count the hours until you’re living in your own dorm room or apartment and you don’t have to worry about me or your dad enforcing a curfew or asking where you’ve been all evening. And I know that you think we’re stricter than everyone else’s parents. I know because I was once there too. And while I hate that it makes you angry, I know that one day several years from now, you will understand that I was right. Seriously, you will, and you'll thank me for nixing the tattoo. It doesn’t make any sense now, but one day it will.
You’re strong. You’re smart, and you’re very independent. But there are still those times when I see glimmers of a middle schooler or a young girl who doesn’t always know how to handle herself. God gives me signs these days that for a little while longer your dad and I need to keep shaping you and molding you into the person YOU want to be. My love for you is big enough to withstand your anger over the boundaries we set for you because I know that one day when you’re about thirty; you’ll be glad that we kept you from turning into one of THOSE girls. Rest assured, the day when I put my foot against your tail feathers and shove you out of the nest is rapidly coming, and more freedoms are just around the corner. But for now, my wings are still wrapped around your stubborn little being with the knowledge that one day you will understand. And be glad.
PS-You can have the iPod back tonight.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Up close, frost can be a wonderful thing. It's a little like snow in that it comes in different shapes. Did you know that? It can hang in big clumps like the salt crystals on a tub of homemade ice cream.
What was really interesting to watch was they way it literally melted in front of my eyes in the bright sunshine. One second it was there. The next it was almost gone.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
We are rapidly winding down on the construction of the garage and pool. The pool is done, and I’ll show you a picture of that in another post, but the garage is still a work in progress. It is under roof, and the stairs have been built. Every day when I come home Hubby has to show me around and give me an update. I’ve never seen a grown man be so excited about anything; except for that time he thought he saw Cameron Diaz at the Memphis Airport. The last couple of days I’ve missed taking pictures of the work because it’s been dark when I get home, but I’ve been documenting each step of the construction, and I’ll share some of those pictures with you soon. It’s very exciting. Bottom line? We should be done by the first week of December.
We had some illness in our house in recent days. Teen Angel had some kind of twelve hour stomach bug that took her out of school for one day. She swears it’s because I fed her an undercooked pork chop. She’s full of hooey. It was perfectly cooked with just the right amount of color in the very center. I’m just sharing my side of the story now because she keeps acting like she had trichinosis. Hubby had a cold which turned into the cold from hell and then into a sinus infection. I made that diagnosis a full 24 hours before he went to the doctor based on the description of that piece of lung he coughed up yesterday morning. The doctor confirmed my diagnosis this morning, gave Hubby a shot in the butt and a whole bunch of medicine. Hubby declared a new rule last night. He says from now on he’s going to call the doctor if he has an illness that lasts more than three days. It took only twenty years for him to declare me right on that issue. Why do men fight going to the doctor? So far, I’ve managed to stay well, but I keep washing my hands and picking up the remote control with my shirt sleeve. I also rinse my sinuses daily with the joy that is known as the Netti pot. I know it sounds gross, but it really does work. You just have to get past that gunk that winds up in the sink.
The anxiety that always surfaces in Hubby’s family during the holidays has already begun. I’ll refrain from elaborating on that, but let’s just say those folks keep me on my knees in prayer. Sometimes my eye twitches, too. Is there a twelve step program for surviving the holidays with people who drive you crazy?
I’ve not been a very good blogging buddy lately. I just haven’t had much time to comment. Because of my job, I head up our city’s big Christmas light display, and I’m all HOLY MOTHER OF MABEL IT’S ALMOST TIME TO TURN ON THE FREAKIN’ LIGHTS WILL WE GET EVERYTHING READY IN TIME right now, so my blog reading time is short. Rest assured, I am keeping up with the fun happenings at your blogs. Forgive me for not giving my two cents worth on your various posts. As if my opinion was needed.
I bought a new camera yesterday. An independent film maker who lives here is selling a bunch of photography gear that’s only slightly used. While there was a lot of eye candy and tempting stuff to buy, I had only a certain amount of money. I could either buy a nice camera that was similar to mine and still afford that big lens I’ve been saving for or I could buy a Mack daddy camera and start saving all over again for that lens. After two days of lens, camera, lens, camera, lens, camera, I decided I wanted the lens more. I decided to buy the smaller camera which is still a step up from my other camera and is a great camera. It’s in pristine shape with plenty of bells and whistles, and I now have a backup camera for shooting special events and don’t have to change lenses so much. Only 632 more items on my wish list to go!
I have to turn in an order tomorrow for Teen Angel’s graduation invitations. Be still my heart.
And I tried that cranberry pie over at the Pioneer Woman’s place last night. It was awesome. I recommend some sweetened whipped cream with it though. Or some ice cream. Or some crème anglese. Eating it plain, straight out of the pan with a knife works, too. In fact, I think it could work as a meal in itself.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Definition: 1. to hypnotize.
2. to spellbind; fascinate.
3. to compel by fascination.
Origin: 1820–30; mesmer(ism) + -ize
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I am the electronics technician at our house. My husband knows nothing about electronics. He literally visits four sites on the internet, and all of those have shortcuts on his desktop. He only discovered the joys of Craigs List two weeks ago and has managed to show me every item for sale in a twelve county area. One. At. A. Time. Lord help us if I get hit by a bus and he has to work our online bill payments, and his knowledge of the inner knowledge of anything computer or satellite related could fit in a thimble. But don’t tell him that because he kinda thinks otherwise. Oy, the issues that caused in our marriage.
His role in setting up television service at our new house was calling Dish Network and telling them he wanted something that included all of the HBO channels. As any of you with satellite television know, you have to spend a lot of time on your own trying to figure out the system before you can convince a technician to come to your house to help you. After days of frustration, we ended up calling a neighbor who used to work for Dish and paying him $100 to straighten out the four TV’s in our house and hooking up the DVD player. There is one glitch. The remote for Teen Angel’s TV still turns the channels in the exercise room too, so she and I duke it out with our remotes on the rare rainy Saturday that I’m on the treadmill and she’s home. We can deal with that though.
Because I spent thirteen years working in television news, I am apparently the most qualified person in our house to deal with technical difficulties relating to the TV. I won that job by default, only I never applied for it. And I didn’t work in the ENGINEERING part of the TV station; I worked in the NEWS department. That means the only thing I know about restoring service is turning off the receiver, counting to ten and then turning it back on. However, I can write you a two minute story on the dangers of satellite TV and what you need to know to protect your family from them. Complete with web links.
I tried the whole turning the receiver off and back on thing four times before calling Dish the other night because I knew that was the first thing tech support was going to advise me to do. I tried a couple of other tricks too, to no avail. I finally gave up, called and started praying for patience as soon as the phone started ringing. Over the past year, I’ve figured out how to maneuver past the voicemail options that require you to talk to the system as if you’re talking to a real human. Who cannot hear you clearly or understand English. After shouting loudly and slowly, “Watson, come to my office,” I got a nice lady on the line who ran through the usual paces and bumped me up to “Advanced Tech Support”, which I think translates into, “Woo, lady, I’ve done all I can do for you.”
To make a long story short, I spent another fifteen minutes on the phone with a guy who directed me to stand on my head, hold my tongue just right and clap my hands until the signal returned. I’m still not sure what the real problem was as there didn’t seem to be one thing that really did the trick. Except maybe the part where I clicked my heels together three times and kept repeating, “I wish this *#$@ thing would work.” The really funny part came when I asked him how I could prevent this kind of problem in the future since the receiver seems to be fine when we turn off the TV and then it simply loses its signal before we turn it on again, for no weather related reason. His explanation? Very often pets in the home step on the remote and change the settings, which makes no sense in our case since the settings he was talking about are on the side of our TV, AND Hubby very often sets the remote on the fireplace mantle when we’re gone. I said, “Seriously? The dog ate my TV?” and the technician cheerfully said, “Yes”. So I hung up, looked at the dog and said, “Dude! If you don’t quit changin' the channels while we’re gone, you’re gonna be wearin’ your butt for a hat.”
Monday, November 15, 2010
That’s what happens when your 46 year old bladder has to make a pit stop at the restroom before you leave and it takes you so long to get out of the bathroom you end up hanging around long enough to catch the performers when they mosey into the lobby. And I’m not namin’ any names, but one of us may have pushed her way toward the front of the picture line.
I’m not one to rant and rave about shows. Okay, yes I am. But I have to tell you this show is fantastic. As in all caps and exclamation points FANTASTIC!! I’ve seen a lot of good theater in the past twenty years, but this was something incredible. I don’t even know how to describe it to you, but I can tell you that everyone I know who saw their show this week felt the same way. It was funny. It was joyful, and you didn’t want it to end. There is great drumming. There’s the paint splattering and paper dropping and lots and lots of laughs. It's high energy and full of surprises. My personal favorite was the rock star moves bit. You get to exercise rock star move #6 and exercise your keister, your fanny, your badonkadonk, your own personal following. And if you’re in the right spot in the audience you might get a purse full of chewed up marshmallows.
But the underlying theme of the whole show is about making connections with people, and I love how the fact that the performers are blue, a color not in the racial palette unless you’re sitting on an iceberg in Antarctica, takes away any of the hesitation some folks have about interacting with a stranger that looks waaaay different than them.
You MUST go see this show if it’s anywhere near you. It’s good fun for the whole family and worth the price of admission. I laughed so hard I snorted, and when I walked out of the theater, I felt like all my burdens had disappeared. It’s THAT good. Besides, you haven’t been hugged until you’ve been hugged by a Blue Man.
Here’s a YouTube video to give you an idea of what the performance is like, but honestly, it just doesn’t do it justice. Just go see the show. I dare you not to shake your own personal following.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
When I took the picture, I was standing across the street from him waiting to catch some pictures of my coworkers who were walking in the parade. I always include the pictures in the company newsletter I write. I had noticed the boy and his group of school children earlier and had smiled as they chanted, “U-S-A” and anxiously awaited the start of the parade. Their signs told me they had traveled from a school about forty minutes from here. Once the parade started, my eyes were trained on the oncoming vehicles and walkers. However, at one point I glanced back over my shoulder to see what was happening in the other direction. Honestly, I think it’s a habit from running in traffic every day and needing to know what’s going on in all directions. As I looked to my rear left, I saw an elderly man in uniform stopping in the street. In front of him was the little boy in mid-salute. With a determined look on his face, the child kept his hand at his forehead until the gentleman saluted back. With one chance at a picture, I quickly raised the old Nikon, focused and snapped, praying the camera settings would handle the shade. One take. No more. It happened that quickly. I got lucky and got a great picture. I don’t even know if anyone else in the crowd realized what happened.
I posted the picture on FaceBook Thursday night and got a wonderful response. Apparently, the salute tugged at other folks’ hearts as much as it did mine. Well, a FaceBook friend of mine who is a real estate agent and travels all over this end of the state posted the picture on his wall. And a FaceBook friend of his who edits the hometown newspaper where the little boy in the picture lives recognized the boy. She tagged his mother so mom could see it on FaceBook. And there mom was, crying on a Friday morning over her little boy’s patriotism and respect for a man he didn’t know but for some reason chose to single out of the crowd and honor with his heartfelt salute. To make a long story short, after some emails and FaceBook friend requests I sent the picture to the mom and to the newspaper editor who asked to print the picture next week. I now know that the little boy wants to join the military when he grows up and understands the sacrifice of veterans because of his uncle’s service in Iraq.
I’m thrilled the picture made so many folks feel so good, and I’m amazed at how small the world can be sometimes. Mama was right. You just never know who you’re going to touch with your own actions. But mostly, I’m just happy to see a member of the younger generation appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers and sailors. It just makes my heart glow.
Please do not ask me how many times I’ve shed a tear over that dadgum picture in the last 24 hours.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
It’s the children. They do it to me every time. With their cute little faces and enthusiasm. School buses roll into our downtown area right before the parade, unloading hundreds of children who line the parade route and wave and shout words of thanks to the veterans walking and riding by.