Friday, December 31, 2004

Stupid story. Tell me about the woman.

(Link via Obscure Store.)

Happy New Year to all y'all,
and comfort to those who grieve.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Possum's Thursday Three this week concerns Christmas gifts:
1) What was the best gift you got (or gave) this year?

Michael was mighty pleased with his donation to Mike the Tiger's habitat, and our young gentleman in Iraq was pleased with the phone cards.

I'll count the painting as a Christmas gift. It always cheers me to look at it.

2) What was the worst gift you got (or gave) this year?

The packs of superglue in the boys' stockings aren't bad of themselves, but they don't exactly sing "Hark, the Herald", either. I bet a tube will be used within a month.

Then there are Lucy's hated wiffle balls.

3) What gift are you going to have to go back and get for yourself because someone forgot to read your list to Santa?

Not exactly a gift, and not exactly going back. Lyman ordered a pair of moccasins for me from a company in Taos. He received an e-mail that they closed during the holidays, and won't reopen until Monday.

I am most disconcerted this year because I have discovered that my feet are too bony to go barefoot anymore. No more wearing just slipper socks around the house in the winter. I'm old!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

"The Deerslayer", as Jason calls it now, is back. About a day and a half turnaround. Small town living can be pretty remarkable.

Original cost of car: $11,000. Cost of repairs: $2200.
Cost of having children at home for the full week of Christmas: Endless.

But they weren't vacationing in Thailand. Costs aside, they're likeable people.

Maybe Craig can help me here. Anyone is welcome to take a shot.

1-1/2 inch wiffle balls with rattling beads inside and a leather thong tied through each end were among the toys in Lucy's can of tricks. She hates them. She attacks them violently with her beak and throws them off the cage, in a not playful way.

She doesn't like other balls either - little balls, big balls, hard balls, soft balls. No balls for Lucy. Is there an explanation?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Rotten Lucy.

She was standing on her playtree today saying "Bye, Bye, Bye Bye" in every singsong intonation we've ever used, laughing after each phrase.

She has still never said it to anyone leaving the house.
Two stories in the Natchez Democrat today about the big blaze yesterday evening that burned a part of the historic black Natchez College. Lyman saw the column of smoke as he was returning from the grocery store on our side of the river.

UPDATE: The cause of the fire was electrical, the Democrat reports.
Do things ever change?

I am a listmaker and notetaker. I always keep a pen and pad handy for shopping needs and answering phones. So when Lyman was to set out for the store yesterday for three items - we follow "the rule of three", which is if there are more than two items to buy, write them down - and I found my pen and pad missing, I asked "Who has my pen and pad?"

"Jason does," Michael said.

"Jason, give those back right now," I said. "I put pens and pads in your stocking. Where are they?"

"I didn't want to mess them up before I got home," he said.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

I said "Merry Christmas" and checked in on the skateboard. It's, like, way cool. Every part is right.

When it came into this house, I was telling the grandmother, Michael and I stood over it a long time and looked at it. I'm 47 and Michael is 37, and we be way too old to take that stuff up now. But there was longing.
We don't do much in the way of babies. I can't say I've had much to do with the buggers since my nieces and nephews were born.

We had a beautiful little six-month-old visitor yesterday - a blue-eyed girl in a red velvet dress. Her parents are tall, rather willowy people. She's built like an ABC block, including a square face with fat little cheeks built for gobbling.

She likes noses and hair.
Mr. Terry, you have possum specials here and here.
Who can blame him, but who will replace him?
Now, about that deer.

After dining on chicken-fried venison steak and brown gravy, Michael started back down to Baton Rouge on Friday night to pick up equipment for a DJ gig at the sports bar in Natchez on Saturday night.

He had rounded a curve in Woodville, MS, driving at 45 miles an hour in a Chevy Cavalier when a buck bounded into the road. He hit the buck and knocked it into the oncoming lane. A couple driving north in a large pickup hit it again. Both Michael and the other driver pulled over.

The poor thing was still not dead, so the driver of the truck put it down with a .22 pistol shot to the head. Police were called. A report was filed.

The driver of the pickup called his dad up here in Ferriday to tell him why he was delayed. His dad told him to load the deer up and bring it on home. So they did.

Big Daddy said, "Shoot. The boy can kill 'em but he don't bring 'em in."

The car is not terribly damaged, and is mechanically fine. It will go in for repair Monday. The boys will take mine back to Baton Rouge, preferably while it's still light.

It could have been much worse. The police told Michael that a woman was driving at about 70 on another part of the road. A deer came through the windshield still alive.

Michael said his was a good-looking deer with a trophy rack. "If I'd shot it, I would have mounted it," he adds.

UPDATE: Mac Thomason points to a pertinent article here.
I think, sometimes, that children can be reared too well. Friday we received a thank-you card from Iraq for the phone cards we sent.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Here's your Christmas card.

We'll deal with the deer hit down the road later.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Last night's party was fun. There were friends and family and a large lot of young men who were Seth and Edward's friends.

It's a shame Lucy couldn't go. Too many people, too cold. But she would have been in Lucy heaven. She's a fool for Seth and young men his age.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

There's the skateboard! Kewl.
It's 29 degrees outside. At this time yesterday it was 68. Where are my longjohns?
I have added this site to my blogroll at the bottom, because if you scroll down a bit you find a conversion device for Fahrenheit to Celsius temperatures.

Kitchen Hand is moving into summer down in Australia as we are moving into winter, and I want to know.

UPDATE: This one is better. I can read his recipes with it, too!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

By way of Ann Althouse, I came across this gallery of children frightened of Santa Claus.

I seem to remember I cried when I met Santa Claus the first time.

Girl's hairdresser has a three-year-old girl. She told her mother that she didn't want scary old Ho Ho to come to her house. "Mommy," she said, "you can go to the store and bring something for me." Convenient, hunh?

Must say, I'm not sure I'd like this fellow in my house, either.

Big Daddy wants some venison. He nagged Lyman to call Bubba, who lives in the country and shoots deer off his back porch.

Bubba bagged a 200 lb. buck the other day and dropped it at the processor. The processor called today to tell us it is ready and the amount of the bill: $253.70.

I hope Big Daddy wants it that much. (We tweaked him up to half.)
Good grief. Our weather is as bad as that in Dallas. We're expecting a high of 72 today, with a drop to 30 tonight and a high of 40 for the next three days.

UPDATE: At 4:45 the temp has already dropped to 42.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

We have been co-opted into the world of Bam Margera and Jeremy Wray.

Skateshack is building a board as I write. They'll ship at five.

It's an Element Fiberlight board with a Jeremy Wray designed logo. Jeremy liked to fly. He's about 30, now.

It's OK, hon. Happens to all of us, or worse.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The things we get into.

One of our friends who does not do computers has gotten into a lurch buying a skateboard for Christmas for her grandson. He wants an Element Featherlight deck, w/who knows what. These things are custom-made these days.

Lyman has spoken to several suppliers. They can't ship by Christmas. He found a little group that will build and get one out tomorrow, but the Featherlight is out of stock. There will be some compromise.

And Lyman will be ordering a custom skateboard for shipment by Christmas.

Why is the Element Featherlight so important? Was it in a movie or something?

I wrote here of e-mailing the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge about how Hurricane Ivan would affect the monarch migration through the Alabama coast.

Biologist Jereme Phillips answered this morning:
Thank you for your interest and concern about the monarch migration after Hurricane Ivan. The peak for the migration of monarch butterflies through the Alabama Gulf coast is typically in early October. As a result, the storm had a major effect on migration this year. We observed only a small fraction of the typical number of butterflies that come through this area since the habitat had changed substantially. In particular, the groundsel tree, which is used by monarchs during their stopover here, was impacted severely by the storm since this species is common in the scrub dunes.

Hopefully the monarchs were able to find other stopover sites this year and in the meantime, the habitat on the refuge has already started its gradual recovery so it will eventually return to its pre-Ivan status as an important component in the migration of these butterflies.
There's not a lot of new information there. I hadn't read before about the role of the groundsel tree during migration. Where did the monarchs go? Did many (out of the norm) die en route? I suppose it will be necessary to collect information from scattered observers to find out more.

I am impressed that he wrote, as I suggested that they set the e-mail aside in the immediate aftermath of the storm, and respond at their convenience. They did. Happy holidays, Bon Secour.

UPDATE: I should have known. Baccharis bushes are the same as groundsel trees.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sometimes I hate cooking for the crowd. Take, for instance, this Christmas. I'd like to splurge and serve rack of lamb prepared this way, which is delicious, or another way. No way.

Lyman's mother likes lamb but will not eat meat that is not cooked dry. I have no idea if the boys care for lamb. Lyman's dad can do without it altogether.

A creamed spinach would be a pleasing side dish. No spinach pleases the papa.

A roasted prime rib might be nice. Same problem as lamb with Lyman's mother.

Lightly sauteed green beans in olive oil with garlic would be a nice side. I can hear it. "They didn't even cook those vegetables!"

Crawfish pie would be good. Girl doesn't eat crawfish. Besides, we'll serve that soon at our annual party.

Yada, yada. On and on.

UPDATE: The crawfish pie recipe is here.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Nate McCord is a grandpa!

Friday, December 17, 2004

I have said that the main street of Vidalia is nothing to crow over. I haven't said that the town is packed with well-kept neighborhoods. It is.

We drove out with Lucy tonight to look at Christmas lights. I'll take the camera next time. Battles are raging. Inflatables abound.

I'll specifically try to put together a simulation of a before and after for the couple down the street. Before, there was a discreet, tasteful garland around the front door, with an exquisite wreath on the door.

A grandson was born a few years ago.

Now there are large, lighted inflatable snowman displays, lights, a huge Christmas tree in the window, and a projection of snowflakes falling down the front of the house.
If you can spare some good thoughts, send them to Peg Britton's family. Her son has suffered a stroke and major complications.

Peg stepped in to mother me long-distance when my own mother died two summers ago, and helped see me through a surgery. Now she needs support.
Silly girl.

A friend of ours has had some trouble with a radiator and a timely repair. She works, so I loaned her my little Escort wagon until her car is restored to her.

We bought the second-hand wagon two Septembers ago for two reasons: it's stupid to fire up a Tahoe to drive five blocks to the library, and sometimes we need a second car, as when I visit Dallas. We tried renting once when I was called out of town. Total cost for a week was $336. Total miles driven was 53.

I doubt that we've put a thousand miles on the wagon yet.

The car has been gone since last Wednesday. I must have imagined 75 short trips that I needed the little car for.

Just ridiculous. And I really need it to drive to Natchez to pay this cable bill that creeped up on me and is due today.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Lucy is just griping away today. I don't know where she learned that.

It's the sort of day when Lyman accuses Debra and Craig of dyeing a fussbudgie and selling her as an eclectus.
Regarding Leyland cypress, we really need a trip down to Forest Hill, Louisiana.
Possumblog's Thursday Three on a Christmas theme:

1) Fake or real Christmas tree? When does it go up? Come down?

Not only real, but living. Since the second year of our marriage, we have kept a series of Norfolk pines as Christmas trees until each outgrew the ceiling. This has always led to them eventually being left out in the cold until they freeze.

This year, we have a 2-foot tall Eldarica pine that can survive such cold as we have, and three or four years down the road be planted in the yard. I don't expect it to live long in this wet climate. We have yet to chase down a Leyland cypress that we can train and replant.

The tree comes in a few days before the annual Christmas luncheon, whenever that is scheduled. It goes back outside around New Year's, depending on the weather.

2) Shopping? Last minute? Gift cards?

We don't do a lot of shopping at this stage of the game. Lyman's sons usually want some sort of electronic something or other that they'd best buy themselves, so they get cash gifts. The rest of us have agreed to not give gifts. Lyman and I don't give each other gifts.

We do stockings for the boys, filled with all sorts of practical things like postage stamps and emery boards and new toothbrushes. This year they have a notice that each will have his name on a brick at the new habitat being built for Mike the Tiger at LSU. Shhh. Don't tell.

Lucy has a can full of little new toys that Lyman ordered some weeks ago, but she likes the ones that he builds best.

3) Where do you celebrate?

At home. This is subject to change as I expect one day these boys will marry and have other commitments.

Lyman's parents will likely eat dinner with Lyman's sister and her family. Their daughter Carol is the youngest and Girl's favorite, even if she won't say so. They'll stop here later in the day.
UPDATE: No, I just got the lowdown. The in-laws will have breakfast with Lyman's sister, spend the early afternoon with his brother, and dine with us in the evening. That's the schedule as laid down by the family patriarch over a stuffed bell pepper left over from last night.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

This woman is in Lyman's sister's neighborhood.

The show airs at 9 p.m. central on ABC this very night.

I won't watch. Tell me how it goes.

UPDATE: I did watch. It didn't turn into a racist fiasco.
Funny thing in our kitchen. We have a 6" chef knife and an 8" chef knife. Lyman always picks the 6" and I always pick the 8". Hmm.
When Lyman and I were first married, Lyman's mother tried and failed a few times to make hot-water cornbread. She'd just forgotten how. She was 75 at the time.

I turned to food critic Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking for a recipe.

After some slight modifications, we came up with something that tasted just like his grandmother's recipe. No surprise, as Mr. Claiborne's mother ran a boarding house in Indianola, Mississippi, just down the road from Winona, Mama Jean's hometown.

If cornbread is on the menu, this is what Lyman wants.


1 cup cornmeal, white or yellow

4 teaspoons sifted flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1-1/4 cup water

Fat for deep-frying

Mix dry ingredients well in a heat-proof mixing bowl.

Bring water to a rolling boil, then pour over dry ingredients, mixing quickly and thoroughly.

Wet hands, and shape patties about 2-1/2 inches round by 1/2 inch thick. (Recipe usually makes nine.)

Drop into deep fat at 360-375 degrees, and cook until golden brown and crisp.

Drain on paper towels.

Serve with greens, beans, soups and stews.
Kenny Smith has a story of shockingly bad customer service from an appliance repair shop.

I read Mr. Smith from time to time, and find it hard to believe that such bad behavior from the business was retaliation for his own.

Monday, December 13, 2004

You have your Christmas Specials, and then there are Christmas specials.

We tuned into Discovery TV today to find a nice nature program, and found ourselves at Orange County Choppers in America, where the papa was charged with building a Santa Claus sleigh chopper. That's a motorcycle, not a kitchen tool.

Pretty cool. Watch the language.

Quote: "I can't be prouder of all the work the guys put into this. I just hope it don't fall apart when me and Mikey get on it."

(Me and Mikey weigh at least 550 together.)
Here on December 13 we are expecting the first freeze of the winter.

Lyman has brought tender plants onto the enclosed porch and picked the remaining 55 satsumas from the tree. Last week he picked 30, and various workers have been picking three or four along for some weeks - a very generous tree.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Here we are.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Lyman thinks this blogging thing is a waste of time until someone like Radley Balko brings up a point of interest.

In his post, Mr. Balko points to a USA Today article about how a Florida tomato growers' association is forbidding the export of an ugly, but good-tasting tomato grown by the Procacci brothers.

Google up Joe+Procacci+tomato. It's news.

Friday, December 10, 2004

So the artist calls yesterday afternoon and says "I have another painting that I finished last night that I like better".

We haul the one we have over this afternoon and compare the two. In fact, we like the new one better, too. Ees more vibrant. This one needs to dry for a few weeks before we take it to Dianne for framing.
Ok. I'm whipped.

Everyone ate every bite of dessert. Go figure.
Hike up.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I've said we watch HGTV.

Tonight there was a feature of a designer redoing a couple's outdated bathroom. The designer removed the tub, put in a luxurious shower with expensively tiled walls and custom glass accents, Venetian plaster walls, granite-topped cherrywood vanities with brushed chrome fixtures, a lovely freestanding cherrywood linen closet, and left a plain white toilet fully exposed in the middle of one wall.

Even our modest bathrooms offer a little privacy.
I find it almost impossible to imagine how a creature can grow from this to one of these.

(Sorry about the pics from another site, Craig.)
Hmmm. I cooked the dried fruit compote I mentioned in another post, and added a bit of rum as recommended by a reader(!). I'll serve a small portion in a small ice cream dish, over Blue Bell natural vanilla, with sweetened whipped cream, garnished with a maraschino cherry or a twist of fresh satsuma from the tree and such safe fresh leaves as I can gather on the property, probably bay.

The effort is a waste. Everyone is going to stuff themselves with shrimp and fried oysters. I know the crowd.
Lorraine Stalians has had a bad run.

She was the franchisee of the McDonald's that burned. Investigators could not find a definite cause for the fire.

Now she is closing the restaurant she built on the Riverwalk a year or so ago. To her credit, she took a big chance.

However, you didn't need to be an accountant or a restaurateur to know that a half-million dollar investment in an upscale restaurant with a base of, say, 35,000 mainly working-class people was going to be a near impossible run in the short term.

In the long term, once the four-lane is complete from Natchez through St. Francisville to Baton Rouge, there's a good chance that Natchez may become a bedroom community for Baton Rouge. The commute would be a little over an hour. There is plenty of pretty land south of town where an upscale community has been developing for the past decade.

There's some serious money in these parts. A Lear jet is parked at the Natchez community airport. But those people are relatively few now, and Lorraine's was not the only restaurant in town.

We seldom dine out locally. We simply eat better and more cheaply at home.

The article reports that Ms. Stalians will be moving to Las Vegas. Best of luck to her.

UPDATE: In the interest of full disclosure, Lyman lost his shirt on the southern development around 1984.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I have been looking at this nearly empty mantel for four years, since I finished the linseed on the panels behind it. A mirror was out of the question. It had nothing pretty to reflect. Ah, but this picture will do very well. Very well.
Cleaning today.

I don't mind cleaning, and sometimes like to clean. It's a cheap, convenient method of immediate gratification. In a world of possibilities, that's a good thing in this house, since my roomies are militant anti-clean activists. To give Lyman credit, he is tidy. We joke that he needs to carry a Dustbuster in a holster, though. Lucy is tidy, too, regarding her cage proper. Is that nutshell empty? Out with it!

Lucy makes cleaning a little harder because certain products are not good for her. Ammonia is one. Bleach is another.

A break comes this afternoon when we have an appointment to look at paintings. (Ain't that an uptown sentence?) The artist whose work I saw at the art show in Natchez was out of town until last Friday. We'll see what Kevin Brodeur has left today.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Christmas cards are done.

Seafood for Friday has been laid in from Tony's Seafood. What an operation these people have. Lyman's dad was off to Baton Rouge on Saturday morning for another purpose. We called on Friday and placed an order. Big Daddy walked in on Saturday morning with an ice chest and was fixed up in minutes.

Somewhere on that site, they report that they have sold 50,000 pounds of crawfish in one day.

We have 1-1/2 gallons of oysters, a pound of backfin crab and 8 pounds of shrimp for cocktail.

Dessert, now. **** dessert.

UPDATE: Why aren't you bringing that food in fresher, you ask? I don't want to spend half a day in Baton Rouge, and the food is stored in the super-cold beer refrigerator, not the one inside.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Here's a clue, barette-makers for baby girls: At Wal-Mart there was a tiny black girl, about three, with at least two dozen small white and clear barettes in her hair. They were small flowers. She looked like her own little snow shower.

You could do simple snowflakes.
After slitting open the bag to the shop-vac and sorting through every tuft of dust, the puzzle piece was not found.

So we fired up a paint program, found some cardboard, and screwed the blade into the Exacto knife. The piece is a little off color, but it will do. (The coloring should have been my job. My patience is stronger than Lyman's, and my sense of color is better, too, but my computer is not printing right now.)

We'll call that our piece of the New York puzzle.

Every picture tells a story, don't it?

Saturday, December 04, 2004


We finished the puzzle and we're missing a piece!!!

Jeez. What a letdown.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Frank Myers in Iraq is having a depressing holiday. There are thousands like him. Perhaps you can help. There are half a dozen ways to help here.

I carried three calling cards for a unit to an undisclosed location the other day. You can also send them to "any service member".

Lucy thinks this puzzle is funny.

When I was talking to my sister the other night, I was reminded that I haven't worked one of these things since before I was 12. Trust me, that was a long time ago.

Last night at about 8 o'clock Lucy settled on the playtree branch where she usually spends her last hour of the waking day. I was at the dinner table across the room.

We set up a call and response. She makes a noise, I make a noise. Then she started ringing the phone. "Hello," I said. "Who is this? Is it Lucy?"

Then she would laugh and laugh. I haven't heard her laugh in a while. What's Christmas without a laughing bird?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I was tucking into a nap the other afternoon. Lyman was in the house. The phone started to ring. In my doze, I was thinking "Lyman, why won't you answer the ****** phone?" After several rings, a little voice said "Harro".

It was Lucy all along. I understand the boys better.