Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Am Woman...Hear Me Roar

It takes 89 steps (all up hill) with an empty dolly to get to the storage shed.
It takes 109 downhill steps to get to the back door with a fully loaded dolly.
(If this situation were reversed, I’d being sprawled in a heap, partially buried in wet leaves with a certain pup licking my face in an attempt to revive me.)

It took 7 round trips (fraught with wet leaves, hidden tree roots, rocks, ditches, etc.) to get all of my stamping supplies transferred from the storage shed to the house.
Or 623 uphill steps.
And 763 downhill steps.
For a grand total of 1,386 steps.

For the sake of perspective, that would be like 69.3 trips up and down your basement stairs. (You should just make it an even 70, because no one wants to hang out on the basement stairs.)

For kicks let’s just say the stairs are rickety and covered w/ wet leaves and while going up the stairs you’re carrying a toddler, and while you’re going down the stairs you’re carrying two toddlers and are accompanied by a Labrador retriever, over whom you’re trying not to trip.

AND someone has turned on the humidifier.
(I look like a 60’s era country-western singer at the moment.)

Anyway, if I did this every day I’m certain I’d have Bonnie Blair thighs.
Thighs of steel are overrated.
I think I’ll go drink a beer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Painting Paneling....

It's not for the weak of heart or spirit....
especially, when the paneling in question is of the cheap, faux wood variety...
but it sure makes a big difference.
I chose to paint it, rather than replace it with drywall, because, would cost a small fortune, and I don't even want to think about the mess and destruction that would entail...been there, not interested in re-visiting!
And, you know what?
I think the "plank wall" look is rather interesting.
I'm strange like that.

Anyway, the before:

and after:

The color on this wall matches the kitchen cabinets in order to tie the kitchen and dining area together. Genius...I know.

I thought I'd snapped a before shot of this wall, but apparently I was mistaken. So, you'll have to use your imagination.

I chose white for this wall, because the kitchen's beadboard stopped to the left of the door, and I wanted to keep the color on that wall consistent. Again...tying the whole thing together.

I'm looking at this picture, thinking that the wall looks really stark compared to the other one...but, and you have to trust me on this, it looks much better in real life and viewed as a whole. Really.

So, there you have it.
Are you getting sick of this before and after nonsense yet?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bruce's Hermitage

Today, because it's such a lovely day, and because the trees are starting to reach their peak, and because a lot of people have been asking about it, Sassy and I have decided to give you a photo tour of the yard. I mean it's not like I don't have anything better to do, right? Riiight!

We have 2 acres, roughly square, with the house situated toward the left front as you face it from the road.

This is the view from the front porch, as you walk out the front door. The fence in the foreground makes no sense, because it encloses nothing and the property extends to the road. Although, that is a pretty steep hill from the fence to the road.

Looking diagonally to the right from the front porch. There is a pond on the other side of the road behind the trees.

Diagonally to the left from the front porch. The Chihuahua house is across the road and can be seen behind the post if you look closely.

Looking to the left from the front porch. Have I mentioned how much I like the front porch?

To the right from the back door and facing the backyard. Note the pup soaking up some rays. The driveway is on the other side of the gate and, ordinarily, the dreaded chicken coop can be seen over the top of the fence.

Following the fence diagonally toward the middle of the property. One of Bruce's rock piles is between the fence and the green bush in the foreground.

Looking toward the center of the yard. In the foreground, the reason for all the rocks...the obligatory pond(s) in progress. You can see the lower pond surrounded by the pavers. At the top of the stream and behind that bush is the second pond. The two ponds will be connected by the stream...the water isn't running right now, but when it!

The "giving tree" (because it holds no less than 8 bird feeders) and yet another rock pile, just to the left of the stream. Oh yeah, there is also the brush pile, which Bruce originally intended to burn, however it's too dry to burn and the birds LOVE it. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to degrade.This picture was actually taken earlier, before the leaves started to turn.

To the left of the back door. The sun was coming in from this direction, so the picture is not as clear as it could be. In the bottom right corner and under the bushes is Sammy's famed hay pile.

The upper pond, looking toward the house.

Diagonally from the far left corner and back toward the front of the property. Note our fuzzy tour guide in the shadows.

Still from the back left corner and looking a little further up the hill and to the left. The small structure in the middle is the well house and the one to the left is the storage shed. There is yet another fence that makes to sense running through the middle of the property...again, it encloses nothing. There is some type of vine growing on it; the leaves resembling grapes, but it's far too shady for grapes.

From the far right corner of the property looking diagonally toward the house...can't see it, can you? If you look toward your left from here you'd see the defunct chicken coop down the path.

From the chicken coop, looking toward the back fence...the storage shed in the middle of the property.

From the chicken coop, looking toward the house.

The driveway comes up from the road and curves to the left beside the house.

So there you have it...and now I really have some other stuff to do.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bathroom Do Over

I've been intending to post these pics for awhile, but when I downloaded them from the camera to the computer every single picture had my finger stuck in the middle of them. And, believe it or not, the second photo session yielded the same results! (I'm a disaster.) So, here we have Round 3.

When I posted the kitchen pictures I mentioned the fact that there was a serious hole-poking problem by a previous resident; so Mr. B advised me to take the pictures of the wall after spackling but prior to sanding, in order to convey just how serious this issue was.

So a few before shots:

This is just one wall in the hall bath. Nearly all the walls in this bathroom looked just like this one:


This is the master bath...again same story. The wall color really wasn't this pumpkin-y:

The color here is more accurate. This is the wall beside the shower and across from the toilet in the master bath. Mr. B's theory is that either they used this wall as a bulletin board or used a push pin to hold back the shower curtain and didn't bother to try to find the same hole each time. My theory involves obsession:

Okay now the after shots. A few things to note:

1. Between the two bathrooms there was only one towel rack. That has been remedied.

2. I painted the master bath first...wasn't pleased with the color (I wanted it to have more tan in it); so for the second bathroom I chose what I thought was going to be more what I had in mind. Got it on the wall, and it's almost the same color as the master bath! Sooo, I may end up painting them over at some point in time, if I absolutely can't take it.

3. I still need to add some decor elements to both bathrooms...I'm working on it, I'm working on it!

Because both bathrooms are small, I was really excited to find a double towel cool is that?

Not terribly exciting here, but at least now the hand towels aren't hanging on the door knobs!

Not an easy picture to take! But I want you to know what a creative genius I am...these light fixtures were an antique-y bronze; they are now a very lovely satin nickel thanks to Rustoleum metallic spray paint. Love it!

So there you have more holes, no more peach!
Next project?
I'm painting paneling!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Of Mice and Men….

And by “Men” I mean teenaged girls…
More specifically…angry teenaged girls.

A few posts ago, I made this statement:

"Mice? Although I respectfully request that they stay outside, and, yeah, I will set out traps and bait to keep them out of my house, you will not find me standing on a kitchen chair screaming my head off if I encounter one. (Okay, so there was one particular incident involving my little sister…but, honestly, that little devil had it coming.)"

The back story is thus:

Many, many years ago, while I was still living in my childhood home, Grandma Ruby came to live with us. As a result, I was promptly evicted from “the pink palace” and sent to the basement to share a bedroom with my younger sister. (No, I’m not bitter…why do you ask?)

Now you should know that for much of our lives my younger sister and I were referred to as ”the girls”. For much of our lives we shared a bedroom. For much of our lives we were dressed alike. For much of our lives we received different versions of the same toys. We were raised as one; and, I’ve said this before, we are variant versions of the same person. Not such a bad thing…like twins, we are connected and share an unspoken communication with one another.

Now, on the fateful night in question, the two of us had just settled into our respective and matching twin beds when we heard it.

A mouse…
rustling around somewhere in our room.

The unspoken decision was to forget him tonight and bring in the “Assassin” tomorrow.

The Assassin was Spook, our very large Siamese cat. Spook was a master at catching a variety of prey, but specialized in mice. He didn’t just catch them and eat them…he toyed with them, he tortured them, and then he ate them.

But, and this is a very big but, the mouse made a very rash and misguided decision. (Probably because he was hopped up on the 50 chocolate candy bars he'd just eaten his way through, which my sister was supposed to be selling to benefit the high school band.)

Picture, if you will, the lights are out, and I’m just about ready to drift away when out of the darkness comes a stream of curse words the likes of which I had no idea my sister even knew, much less would scream at the top of her lungs. Apparently, Mr. Mouse decided that it would be fun to screw with her by running right over the top of her sleepy body.   

(It is interesting to note that in any normal household at least one person might have possibly thought that maybe they should check on us…I mean, seriously, we were not quiet. Perhaps this is why we are so independent…)
The unspoken decision…


Being the self-sufficient and hardy young girls we were/are we waited and we listened…
And fairly soon it became clear that our little terrorist had taken shelter in the trash can.

What happened next was a symphony of teamwork…

A paper bag was somehow procured and slipped over the top of the trash can.
The trash can was then inverted.
The mouse slipped between the outside of the trash can and the inside of the paper bag.
A pair of scissors miraculously appeared.
The mouse was stabbed through the paper bag.
He was then held aloft, carried upstairs (I think there was chanting), and…
just to be sure…
ceremoniously drowned in the bathroom sink.

From that point forward….
no one messed with…
 “The Girls”.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

For baby Olivia...

Those who know me well, know that my “go to” baby/wedding shower gift is what the rubber stamping community has not-so-creatively dubbed the “name frame”. In fact, on occasion my mother has more or less told me that this was the gift I would be giving.

Sooo, when my husband’s assistant recently adopted a baby, and the inevitable office shower was announced, the creative juices began to flow.

Ordinarily, I like to go all matchy-matchy with these things…requesting nursery bedding patterns and color schemes…which I did. Unfortunately, getting specific information just didn't happen, and, as is usual in the décor realm, there are many, many different styles of jungle and farm animals available. Out of desperation I decided to go with color scheme and the crib sheet pattern; which is the only thing I could find based on the baby registry.
So here it is:

I stamped and heat embossed the white polka dots on the green background to match the crib sheet. The rest is based on the pink-green-brown color scheme indicated by the information provided by the new mother.

I used an EK Success punch to, well, punch out the flowers and petals from two different polka dot patterned designer papers. The flowers were then assembled and put together with enameled brads. (All of which I forced my poor mother-in-law along with me to find.) Finally, they were sprayed with a high gloss sealant to provide a little substance and shine. The letters are pre-fabbed chipboard by K & Co. As a side note...the ribbons on the letters are actually a very thin satin ribbon, which look better in real life than they do in the picture. (Obviously, I need help in the photography department.)

The whole she-bang is glued within an inch of its life with the strongest adhesives known to man to ensure that it doesn’t just arbitrarily end up in the bottom of the frame someday. It is also behind glass, but in order to get a decent picture, I waited to put that in place until after the picture was taken. (The very reason you haven’t seen other pictures of these things is because I get so wrapped up in putting the whole production together, I usually get the glass in place before I even think about taking a picture, then there is absolutely no way I’m taking it apart just to get a picture.)

I hope it matches…
I hope she likes it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fear and Loathing in the Chicken Coop

The thing you need to understand about me is that I am not a screaming, shrieking mess of a girl whenever I encounter creepy crawly things.

Snakes? No problem…as long as they do their job.  In fact, I find them rather beautiful.  When Kevin (yes, I name my “regular” critters) turned up in my kitchen early last spring with a slightly injured tail after a bout of warm weather was spoiled by a layer of slush (I suspect the kitties had something to do with the tail), I actually felt bad about tossing him out in the cold. Kevin is a garter snake who had a bad habit of sneaking up on me anytime I was putzing around in our Central-Missouri yard. Changing the bait in the mouse houses…there was Kevin (and if you think about it, it’s really kind of brilliant on his part…shelter and food all in one place); filling the bird feeders…Kevin sunning himself underneath; mowing the lawn...again, Kevin, racing around to avoid being sliced and diced (unlike someone I know, I will not chase down a snake with the lawn mower).

Spiders? They’re safe as long as they stay out of my house. They can be very fascinating…really! (Okay, so I have a problem with black widows, but we do have a history...)

Mice? Although I respectfully request that they stay outside, and, yeah, I will set out traps and bait to keep them out of my house, you will not find me standing on a kitchen chair screaming my head off if I encounter one. (Okay, so there was one particular incident involving my little sister…but, honestly, that little devil had it coming.)

BUT, there is one creature in this world that I will absolutely, positively not tolerate. The one animal on this planet that sends shivers down my spine. The one thing about which I’ve had recurring nightmares. And, this is crazy, but it’s also the one critter I have never seen in the wild.

Do not even think about telling me about what wonderful pets they make. Do not even try to play the Templeton card with me. Do not even attempt to get me to watch the movie, “Ben”. My response will always and forever be, “Oh, hell no!”

This whole issue can probably be traced back to a single statement made by my brother well over 40 years ago... (Yes, Wic, I blame you.)

So, when my husband reported to me that he rousted out one when he was cleaning the chicken coop…my exact words were, “IT MUST GO.” My husband, my hero, promptly drove to the feed store and picked up a trap.

Ironically, the trap caught nothing, but two of these little demons managed to ensnare themselves in a very large barrel, where they eventually died…stinking to high heaven.

Hah! Suffer you little bastards!

From this point forward, if I must, absolutely MUST, go to the chicken coop, I will be armed with one very gorgeous, but protective, dog, and one very sharp pitchfork.

I wonder if that rat snake we evicted from the bird house could be convinced to go mercenary?

My next purchase may very well be an automatic weapon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Douche Bags and the Power of Facebook

I’m sorry…I hate to be so harsh, but I guarantee you will use the same language, or worse, which is what I’m really inclined to do, once you hear the story.

A few weeks ago, I was putting laundry away in our bedroom when I heard a car drive up. Looking at the clock and noticing that it was only 3 pm, I thought that it was awfully early for Mr. B…but then again, he had mentioned an afternoon meeting and maybe he’d had more than enough for this particular Thursday and decided to skip the rest of the day.

I heard footsteps on the porch, but after a few minutes those footsteps headed back toward me. Peering out the window I saw a young man standing just outside that window, looking back to the driveway and appeared to be giving some kind of hand signals to someone else. Me, being me, I stuck my face in the window and asked, “Can I help you?”

Somewhat surprised, he gave me that spiel we’ve all heard before…”We’ve been out delivering to your neighbors and have a lot of leftover meat that we’re giving away….”.  I’m thinking, “Great, I get to deal with this nonsense”, but saying, very firmly, “No…no, thank you.” And as he promptly vacated my porch I thought…”Well that was easier than usual.”

A few minutes later I walked into the kitchen and noticed that Sassy was outside having a conniption. The thing is that Miss Sass doesn’t just bark at any and everything…we’ve come to the conclusion that when she does get worked up there’s probably something we need to investigate. So investigate I did. Keep in mind here that the back forty is enclosed with a 6-foot privacy fence, so I was viewing the activity in the driveway through a quarter inch gap in the gate. What I saw is somewhat puzzling, although not alarming, considering what we have going on in our driveway. (One corner contains a very large pile of very large rocks and in the curve of the driveway there is a very large section of a very large tree that Mr. B decided to take down while I was out of town; which got him the lecture about not doing dangerous stuff while there is no one there to call an ambulance.) Anyway, my quarter inch view revealed another young man standing outside the meat truck directing "porch boy" in backing up his truck. I was thinking, “Okay, there’s plenty of room here, and your truck is not that big, but, whatever…go the hell away before my dog has a stroke.” They left...finally.

A few hours later Mr. B arrived at his usual time and immediately asked, “Why is there a dish of water out front?” Somewhat exasperated and not bothering to hide that exasperation, I sighed, “Remember, I told you I put a dish of water on the front porch for Dolly because she can’t get into the backyard?” (Dolly, like me, prefers the front porch.) He, very patiently, explained, “No, there’s a container of water in the driveway.” I went out to investigate yet again, and, sure enough, there was a water-filled small plastic container in the driveway. And even though I was thinking “WTH?”, I just picked it up, dumped it out, and threw it in the trash.

Another few hours later, I went outside to check on the pup and enjoy the cool evening when I heard a strange mewling coming from somewhere in the direction of the driveway. Thinking it was a strange night bird, I hollered at Mr. B, who was completely oblivious to my call. Hearing it again, it occurred to me exactly what I was hearing…a cat…a kitten to be specific. And then, it all came together…those douche bags had been dumping a kitten in our driveway, and for some stoopid reason their leaving a dish of water made them feel better about themselves. (Guess what, guys? You are still pond scum!)

I grabbed a flashlight and discovered this little muss-muss!

(Please excuse the blurriness of these pictures; kitty boy wouldn't stand still for his portrait session)

As scared as he appeared to be, it didn’t take much coaxing to get him to come to me, and by the time I had him in my hands, he was purring his thanks as only a grateful kitty could. He scored himself a warm bed, some half and half, and some kibble. He also clung to me as if I were his last hope for salvation. 

(For the sake of perspective, you need to know that this tiny little wonder is eating from a salad plate.)

Dolly had an epic hissy fit.

Mr. B was not pleased, but when I outlined my suspicions he added his own theory to the mix. Apparently, a few curvy roads away, there was a sign advertising free kittens. Soooo, we figure the wayward “meat boys” took one of the kittens for whatever reason, had second thoughts a few miles down the road, and decided to leave him at our house, since the driveway is not visible from the front door. JERKS!

Fearing that Dolly would probably kill this little baby, I convinced Mr. B to do the following: 1) Stop at the “free kitten” house to check out the situation, and 2) Check with his co-workers to see if anyone wanted a terribly sweet, fat, adorable, lovable, tiny little kitty boy with the biggest, most soulful blue eyes in the entire world.

One of his co-workers put out a Facebook plea, and within a few hours our little friend had a new home about 40 miles from here. Mr. B delivered the kitty to his co-worker, who, in turn, drove him to his new home.

Have a good life my little fuzzy friend.

You have no idea how lucky you were to be abandoned at our house rather than that Chihuahua invested house across the street. Those dogs are pure evil (and if they ever chase me up my driveway again, I WILL busta cap in their snarly little asses.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Attention Lurkers...

I know you're out there, because, well...Google plus a few other regular readers tell me you are.

And to you I say, "Howdy do and welcome!" (Gettin' my Georgia-thang goin' on...)

Anyway, I'm glad you're here, but I want to ask you a favor...

Could you, pretty please, post a comment every once in awhile?

No, it's not an ego's more of a connection thing. See, I used to be a lurker on several of the blogs I read, but when I took the plunge and commented I managed to make many interesting/talented/funny/inspiring friends, most of whom I wouldn't recognize even if they crawled into bed with me. (Not that I allow strangers in my bed...)

You can comment anonymously or through a variety of on-line venues. You can make up whacky names for yourself, you can relate your own experiences, you can reveal as much or as little about yourself as you feel comfortable.

I promise I won't stalk you, try to sell you something, or forward email to you.

Regardless, though, of whether you do or do not comment, stay tuned, because I have 3 or 4 more posts rattling around in my head!

(Oh, and those ads hanging out on the sidebar? They're there on a trial if you really hate them, let me know and I'll see what I can do).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Radar Love

Recently I’ve heard and read a variety of mothers of young children lamenting the fact that they are never alone in the bathroom. I don’t think there is a mother alive that cannot relate to having the pleasure of a tiny human keep them company while they do their business. Upon reflection, I’m fairly certain it was at least 10 years before my own mother, with four children and one bathroom, got to enjoy a bath without, at some point, a pair of big brown eyes staring at her from the seat of the toilet.

This morning, after reading one such blog post, I headed to the bathroom for a shower and realized that although my own child no longer follows me to the bathroom, I almost always have company. My potty stalker is a blue-eyed, long-tailed, pointy-eared kitty boy named Sam.

Several years ago my husband, daughter and I were enjoying a cool evening on the patio with a fire in the chiminea. Out of nowhere my husband declared to our daughter, “You know, Anna, if your mother were invisible we’d still be able to find her.” We followed his gaze to the patio door where three furry soldiers were standing at attention.

While all our cats have exhibited some sort of pussycat sonar, Sam takes it to a whole new level.

He follows me to the bathroom EVERY time I go in there, regardless of my trip’s purpose. He comes in under the guise of needing a drink of water from his glass on the vanity. Sometimes he drinks…sometimes he doesn’t, but Sammy always sticks around for the duration…usually standing very still and staring at the mirror. 

And it’s not just the bathroom.

Fur Face has some kind of freaky feline GPS going on.

I could go for hours having not seen kitty boy, but he suddenly and silently materializes whenever, and everytime, I do the following:

Get out of bed. (Bam! Sammy at the bedroom door.)
Sit down. (Poof! Sammy in my lap.)
Walk into the Kitchen. (Voilà! Sammy at my feet.)
Enter the backyard while he’s in the front yard. (Presto! Sammy at the back gate.)

It would not surprise me to discover some sort of clandestine Kitty Intelligence Agency feeding info into Sam’s ear via a well disguised ear piece as to my exact location anywhere on the planet.

Either that, or I’ve been chipped.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kitchen...then and now

Well kids, the kitchen is mostly finished. Somehow, a cabinet door beneath the sink is MIA. It's actually a 2-door space, and we have one of the doors, so now we need to find someone to match it. I'm telling you, there was some crazy crap going down in this place before we bought it.

So here are a few before shots of the cabinets. The pictures actually don't capture the complete hideousness, so you'll have to trust me on this. Also, make note of the ug-tastic hardware.

See that hotplate? That is what I used to cook on until the walls and cabinets were finished enough to have appliances times. Notice, too, the paint supplies on the counter and the dishes drying on the side...maddening!

Here's more!

And, yeah, the wallboard...yikes!

And this!

Now, look closely here...see all the little pinholes? This a house-wide problem...someone had issues...just sayin'!

Now...drumroll are the after shots...

Much better, yes?
Say yes...

And, the other side....

The kitchen has a pass-through into the living room, which I love. Sammy also has discovered the couch on the other side of that wall gives him easy counter top access...which I don't love!

Now, when I visited in May, this is one of the very first things I declared that absolutely had to go....

I know, I know...too cheesy for words, right?

Well, that light fixture is now this....

Sorry about that blinding light in the corner...but you gotta admit, this is much better!

Next up on the redo list? The bathrooms! As I told Mr. B a few days ago..."those bathrooms creep me out!" Oh, and the tiny pinholes in the kitchen cabinets? They are NOTHING compared to the pinholes in the walls in the master bath. I just spackled those today. Don't worry, I'll take pictures.

Someday, we'll figure out what we're going to do about the paneling...

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Very Definition of Hell...

Matthew 13:42: "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

And I’m referring to…

Car shopping during the great heat wave of 2011.
Okay, let’s say used car shopping.

The story is thus:

While her father and I were out running amok on the high seas, Anna was here in Georgia babysitting her pets. Before we left, though, we had budgeted some cash with which to replace her car, the fabulous and much celebrated, Little Red, who was becoming a hazard through no fault of its own (insert grumbling and mumbling about idiots who think they’re mechanics).

The plan was to have her look for cars of interest while here, and upon our return she and I would spend some time checking them out. If we found nothing here, I would begrudgingly drive her back to Missouri where we would continue our search.

We drove all over Northwest Georgia and the experience was, well, rather frightening. The big dealers had nothing in our price range, and the used car dealers were seedy little enterprises stocked with cars which very clearly appeared to either be stolen or repossessed. (Baby seats and other personal items still inside). Oh, there was the cute little yellow VW Beetle with a smiley face painted on the side, but they never returned our phone call.

Sooo, off to Missouri we go. Ten hours later, at 5 pm, the thermometer on my car is reading 105 degrees!

The shopping began in earnest the next day. Let me just point out for the record that every car lot in central Missouri is a vast desert of hot, steamy concrete. The whole time I was there the temperature never dipped below 103 degrees.

Okay, so the adventure begins with a cute little red Chevy 5-speed and a nice salesboy, obviously smitten with my daughter, who tries to give her a lesson on the intricacies of getting and maintaining a good credit rating. All the while I can feel my brain starting to sizzle and I’m thinking, “Dude, I just told you we’re paying cash…you’re cute, but cut the crap.” The entire day, and the next, we drove various sauna-like vehicles, all of which were slightly out of our price range. Dehydration and desperation were in the air.

Then, oh then, we found it! A sweet little Toyota Camry, clean as a whistle and perfectly priced. The dealer, a very grandfatherly type, got the AC going for us and hydrated us while the car was prepped for the big test drive. We drove it down the business loop, then hopped on the interstate to check out how it accelerates and handles at higher speeds. It was sweet! We were smiling and happy and high-fiving each other…then, just after we exited and were heading back to the dealership…

I called the dealership…they were on their way. Then…
The dealer, his partner, and a mechanic arrived. Then…
Then the mechanic risked life and limb by yanking out the washer fluid container and dousing the flames.
There was a big scorch mark on the hood.
They apologized all over themselves. 
We forgave them.
Then we took a break.

Now, being the hearty souls we are, and on a whim (and frankly, we were now just a little gun shy when it came to used car lots), we decided to cruise the local Chevy dealer lot. Of course, you absolutely never cruise a car lot and not have a salesperson magically materialize at your window. Actually, he thought he just might have what we’re looking for. We went inside, he brought us water, the other salesboy there flirted with Anna, we told them story of the flaming Camry, and, being properly mortified, they brought us more water. 
Dead end…the perfect car had just been sold.

Okay, now we’re four days into it, it’s Saturday, July 30th and I absolutely have to get back to Georgia, because my Missouri plates are about to expire. On a tip from my mother we drive 30 miles to visit her dealer, who assures her that he has plenty of things in my price range, only to be shown a $12,000 vehicle, and then be told, “No, we have nothing in your price range”. My head is going to explode.

On the way back the conversation turned to VW’s, and I told Anna to get on the I-phone and find a dealer. She says, “Head Motor Company has a Jetta for $3,950”. I said, “Let’s go.” We surprised the salesman by specifically requesting that car, because they had just put it out on the lot that morning. We drove it, we inspected it, I talked him down to $3,500, we bought it.

By the way…
It’s red.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Okay, so here's what I want you to do....

Trust me!

Go get a 3-4 lb. pork butt
1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
(yes, your grocery store does have's in the Hispanic food section in a quiet, unassuming little can)
Half an onion
Brown Sugar
Penzey's Arizona Dreaming spice blend
(If you don't have Penzey's that makes me very sad, but you can fake it w/ some ground chili pepper, onion and garlic powder, lemon peel, paprika, and cocoa)

Plop that roast into your crockpot, dump the can of peppers on top and around the sides, slice up the onion and toss that in there, then sprinkle the top with brown sugar and the spice blend. Let it cook on low all day.

Now, take the roast out, let it cool a bit, then grab a couple of forks and shred that puppy up.
Put that in a deep-sided skillet, sprinkle the top w/ more brown sugar, add about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the crockpot and some of the sliced onion, and, this is important, so listen up...

So, here's where it gets kinky...
take a whole fresh peach, peel it, then dice it up and toss that in the pan with everything else.
(It helps if it's a Georgia peach which you have just purchased straight from the farmer's truck, but we can't all be that lucky)

Put the lid on the pan and let it simmer for awhile.
Then remove the lid and let the liquid boil off.

Serve w/ flour tortillas, fresh tomatoes, homemade pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese, and your favorite sides (we like black beans and Santa Fe rice).

You're welcome!
Love ya madly!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

“I took off for a weekend last month, just to try and recall the whole year...”

Well, actually, it was a week.
And while we’re making confessions…it wasn’t just me.
And it’s quite possible that “recalling” the whole year was not exactly part of the game plan.

However, there were 8 of us who really, really needed a change in attitude.

The whole motley crew consisted of my husband, his mother, brother, two sisters and their spouses (minus one). Incidentally, all of whom I love and respect as dearly as my own flesh and blood. 
(And we all know how I feel about them.)

No, I am not trying to hide...when random strangers take your photo you never know what you're going to get.

On a muggy Saturday afternoon we converged on New Orleans at amazingly close to the same time, considering that we were all coming from different parts of the country. We spent that afternoon, evening and part of the next morning exploring Bourbon Street and the French Quarter.

Huge Ass Beers!

On Sunday we boarded one very big-assed ship docked on the Mississippi River (no, not that one....a much, much, much bigger one) and cruised around the Caribbean for seven days with stops in Costa Maya, Hondura’s Roatan Island, Belize and Cozumel. There were plenty of sunburns, and a great deal of alcohol was consumed (both sanctioned and, ahem, contraband).

In short, a great time was had by all.
Although, there were those innocent bystanders who probably thought we had a little too much fun.
But their opinions matter not.

On day one, before we even set sail, my brother-in-law discovered the Bier Garten (good boy), and it soon became apparent that this is where most of our on-board time would be spent. The advantages of the Bier Garten were many:

  1. Beer and various other intriguing alcoholic concoctions
  2. Food
  3. No crowds
  4. Top Deck (open)
  5. Overlooking the pool
  6. Music (some good; some quite, quite bad)
  7. Close proximity to the potty
  8. Awning for shade or shelter as required
  9. Awesome wait staff (Irma and Antonio rocked, but we had to “fire” Gilly a few times for lack of communication)
  10. Perfect location for heckling the track runners
We quickly staked out our corner of the Bier Garten, rearranging lounge chairs around a few tables, and warning anyone who came to occupy the chairs closest to us that they did so at their own risk. Most of those people were cool, and we enjoyed their company. Others were, shall we say, not. They usually didn’t come back, either.  Interestingly, that spot was always available for us whenever we decided to congregate there (which was often).

Anyway…here are a few snippets and observations (not all of which are my own) acquired during the trip:

The insanity of Bourbon Street is contagious.

Check out my sister-in-law trying to disassociate herself from her own mother and brother! Tsk, tsk!

Musicians south of the border define “harmony” differently than the rest of us.

Somewhere in the world Neil Diamond’s ears are bleeding.

Before you dip it into your amaretto sour, it’s always wise to make sure the pineapple on that skewer the waitress just handed you is not, in fact, cleverly disguised cheese.

For sanity’s sake, one must make peace with the fact that one will, quite simply, spend an entire week with bad hair.

Morning showers are pointless.

Hats are your friend.

Napkins are versatile tools.

Creative hair design is an art form.

So is chair dancing.

There are great number of people in the world who are expertly skilled in working a buffet.

There are in-laws and then there are outlaws (a moniker I proudly share with one of my most favorite people in the entire world.)
Outlaws and damn proud of it!

Sometimes fate hands you an elevator filled with exactly the right group of personalities to make it one of the funniest experiences of your life.

The water the wait staff just spritzed on you under the guise of cooling you off is really disinfectant.

You will only get towel animals from your steward if you don’t immediately gain the reputation as a rebel and malcontent.



No one knows for sure

If you decide to reveal to the entire group that your husband’s Sean Connery impression always makes you laugh, then you must be prepared for everyone else's Sean Connery impression.

Wise men ALWAYS give their wives of 27 years a heads-up BEFORE announcing to a large group of snorkelers, which include children unschooled in snorkeling etiquette, that he and said wife have just spotted a manatee, lest said wife be swamped by those 30 other snorkelers (insert Lisa Look).

The most commonly heard Jimmy Buffett song, both on the ship and off, was “Cheeseburger in Paradise”…HUH?

It is possible, with the proper application of ice, to make those 4 drinks ordered for you at 10 am last the entire day.

Careful drink planning can turn a 7 day cruise into a 14 day cruise.

 “The rum made me do it, mon!”

We met some wonderful people…

Newlyweds Larry and Angela from Arkansas (along w/ their beautiful 16 year old daughter, Demi), the three of whom graced us with the most lovely smiles, and who were brave enough to participate in the pub crawl not just once, but twice. (Not to worry, Demi found better things to do w/ her time.)

Angela, Larry, and Larry
(all from Arkansas)

Newlywed teachers Matt and Heather from Wisconsin with whom Bruce and I shared a bucket of beer, some rum punch, and chair dancing. By the way, Heather is also a shuffleboard shark.

And we must not forget Trisha and her clan from Texas…our Bier Garten buddies.

This trip was just what the doctor ordered.

Thank you, Dr. Grace!

“With these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same.
Through all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn’t laugh we just would go insane.
If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane!”