Monday, February 28, 2005

Another of my husband's delicious qualities is the timbre and accent of his voice. His is a deep southern voice that makes women, especially northern women, melt.

When he was arranging our stainless steel kitchen countertops from Stainless Steel Kitchens in Elkhart, Indiana, the girl at the desk would call others to the phone.

When I spoke to her, clearing all our chits for our order, she said, "We're going to miss him."

We're in a different project now -- a little exercise of democracy in a condo association at the coast. Women are calling him all the time.

A little 79-odd woman called him the other day, without any particular message. I think she wanted to hear his voice.

Fritz Schranck called here the day the hurricane hit. He has a fine voice, too.

I posit that there are attorneys and lawyers, then there are counselors at law.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Mercedes McCambridge died. I didn't know until I saw the Oscars. She was Rock Hudson's sister in "Giant".

I was in an automobile accident when I was 21 where I hit the windshield. I was riding in a restored Mustang that didn't have seatbelts. At the the corner of Northwest Highway and Preston Road in Dallas, a Lincoln flew through a left turn lane against the light and walloped the Mustang.

The driver, the cutest little SMU political science major from Dayton, Ohio, suffered a punctured lung and Lord knows what else. It was a first date. We didn't keep up. I was on the other side, and had only a broken arm, apart from lacerations and contusions.

I had been taking acting lessons before, mainly because I was a lunchtime waitress in my own little studio apartment and wanted to see what was so interesting. Even the lessons were a lot of work that would yield not much to me. Yoga is better.

Anyway, when my face healed enough, I enrolled at El Centro Junior College in downtown Dallas in the acting department for a few courses, and found my way into some plays.

I was playing the lead, Molly, in "The Mousetrap", when Ms. McCambridge came to visit children or grandchildren in Dallas, and our director enlisted her as a "play doctor", a critical eye who could come in to improve the performances.

She improved mine.
The crawfish boil was a success. Lyman takes all credit for the food. The eight of us had clean bathrooms and whatnot for my efforts.

Our group likes crawfish spicy. Lyman does that well. And they don't care how small they are, which they were this early in the season.

Everyone needed lotion on their hands this morning.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Life on the farm can be rough, as this story in the Natchez Democrat illustrates.

Friday, February 25, 2005

One of my husband's outstanding qualities is that he is a minor go-to guy for cooking crawfish. He does it as well or better than anyone around.

He's off to the Sykes' farm to pick up a bag right now.

Dahlin', it's time for a crawfish boil.
Lor, lor. A half-million dollars for walking trails in Natchez?

A good power walker can cover the whole downtown in half an hour. They have sidewalks already.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

We have a self-admitted fool for baby girls here.

Are you a fool for baby girls, baby boys, both, or neither?

I get along better with little girls, but the best work I have ever done was as a schoolroom volunteer with a little boy. His parents were having problems and it was showing in his schoolwork.

I would visit his first grade class and we would sit together to work on his reading. He responded very well. He should be about 18 now.

Smiley Anders today:
Who needs Miss Manners?

Leroy Colter says he found this on the Internet, or Spec Lewis sent it.

Anyhow, it's "Redneck Etiquette:"

1. Never take a beer to an interview.

2. Always identify people in your yard before shooting them.

3. It's considered tacky to take a cooler to church.

4. If you have to vacuum the bed, it's time to change the sheets.

5. Even if you're certain that you're included in the will, it's rude to drive a U-Haul to the funeral.
I'm not certain number 3 is valid here, so long as the cooler holds potato salad and banana pudding rather than beer.
Evidently, The Boy partakes of his mama's artistic talent. Is he five yet?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Another thing about birds that I didn't imagine before living with Lucy is that they "turn over" at night, just as we do.

When she sleeps, she tucks her head back over her shoulder and buries her beak in her feathers. From time to time, she'll straighten up, fluff, and tuck it on the other side.

It makes perfect sense, of course. Cats do it, dogs do it and humans do it.

It just never occurred to me that birds might do it, too.

A question for Debra and Craig: Sometimes when Lucy wakes, she'll take a drink of water before she goes back to sleep. What happens in the wild?
The funniest thing I've read about Hunter S. Thompson these past few days was an anecdote in the Washington Times:
One of Mr. Thompson's more colorful antics occurred in 1970, when he ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colo., on the "Freak Power" ticket. The gonzo candidate " whose platform included changing the name of Aspen to "Fat City" and decriminalizing drugs " decided to shave his head, so he could denounce his crew-cut Republican rival as "my long-haired opponent."
Velociman had his annual physical:
I won't lie to you, though: I have the body of a 30 year old. Unfortunately it's in the back of the Blazer, and I don't know what to do with it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It's a great day for cleaning, but the city has a water problem right now, so the water is turned off.

If the water were on, I suspect it might be a good day for shopping, instead.

UPDATE: Still no water at 4 p.m. This is not at all common here.

UPDATE: Ahhh. A leak in the water main forced replacement of a pipe. City workers hope to finish by dark.

UPDATE: Ees dark. 7:30. Still no water.

Achh! There it is!
If current indications are anything to go by, we have the makings of a long, hot summer here. Today is sunny, humid, and the temperature is 73 degrees at 10:53 a.m.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Now there's a trash e-mail with a subject line I can appreciate: "Tequila for your country."

Gracias, Senor.
What is it with the baby boys these days?

Now, Ken Layne and Laura Crane have one.


Sunday, February 20, 2005

If you have a high-speed connection, check out these videos showing a new technology that stops a saw blade before it cuts a finger.

Were I a woodworker, I could bypass a lot of luxuries to buy tools with that capability.

(Found at, the American Home show)

UPDATE: Texas Instruments designed the processing. See here.

I'm so far behind the times. ::sigh::

The White House is looking for a new chef. Here's a piece from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Have you seen any stories on this? Never mind. I googled.

Here's an interesting one, with good quotes:
At the same time, there is a limit to how creative a chef can be at the White House.

"While it is an honor to serve the first family," he said, "it is the same thing, night in and night out, over an extended period. And it's time for me to be exploring all of my creative abilities and not limiting myself."

Even official dinners can be unsatisfying.

"These are not Escoffier dinners," Scheib said in a 1998 interview before a dinner in honor of Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. "You can spin it any way you want, it's still a banquet. How you serve 240 people and have them not think it's another rubber-chicken-circuit dinner, that's the job."
I suppose there might be reasons to want the job, but I can't imagine why, and that's without regard to politics.

If you find something really juicy, please pass it on.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Scott Chaffin has it right here:
Conventions are a declining industry, Wick, because good convention cities are hard to come by these days. There’s Las Vegas, and there’s New Orleans, and there’s…what? Nothing, that’s what. Every other place in America is a bunch of guilt-ridden boomers trying to get rid of reminders of their wastrel younger years. Idiots.

I like cooking fine.

I learned literally at my mother's elbow, dragging around one of those little stepstools one of my brothers made in woodshop, so I was always in the way, and presenting a constant danger that she would flip over one and break her neck.

She never sent me out of the kitchen unless she was in high gear, putting dinner down at 6 p.m. for her family. She'd pass me a handful of our cheap stainless and send me to help set the table. Patricia taught me how to do that.

So I feel pretty darn trivial tonight complaining about cleaning the four - count'em four - utensils used to make a wilted red cabbage slaw: saucepan, skillet, colander and bowl. It's a side dish, for goodness' sake.

Here is the recipe, from FoodTV sometime in the past:


Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less, but needs to chill 1 hour or overnight.

½ cup distilled white vinegar
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
½ head red cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch julienne strips

In a saucepan bring vinegar and water to a boil with sugar, salt, and mustard and simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes.

In a large heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add mustard seeds and sauté until they begin to pop. Stir in cabbage and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add vinegar mixture and simmer vegetables 1 minute.

Drain vegetables in a large fine sieve set over a saucepan and transfer them to a bowl. Boil liquid over moderately high heat until reduced to about 3 tablespoons and stir into vegetables. Chill slaw, covered, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Serves 4.

It's a change from the average for barbecue or fried fish.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Lucy had a terrible day.

We asked a team to come in today to straighten up the yard. Look, I've done this before, and these guys can do in an hour and a half what it would take me three weeks to do. They blew the oak leaves off the roof, drive, patio and sidewalks, vacuumed the leaves and acorns off this acre yard, edged and cut the grass. 65 bucks.

When I did it, my neck popped like a wrestler's. I was dressing to go to one of Lyman's relative's funerals, put a necklace on and looked in the mirror. Ahem. No go.

Lucy is terrified of blowers to the point of being uncontrollable. Her hiding place of choice is the corner under the office counter, behind Lyman's computer tower. Many wires.

Bad day. She's well, but exhausted.
We have received a request.

J-Birds needs help. Go here and offer a suggestion for naming nest boxes for birds.

This is worth forwarding to Natalie Solent. I'll try that. When her computer is back up.
I can't resist excerpting this quote from Pammy's post:
For all those men who say, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. "

Here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why?

Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.
I hope that's okay with you, Pam.
My readers, all ten, should go to this article and debate it.

I picked that up through Joanne Jacobs.

I don't much disagree with many of the solutions, for the poor or disabled. I don't like the premise:
Life happened. We became mothers.
Life didn't "happen" to me. I came into maturity in the '70's when birth control was freely available. I have more reasons than I have mentioned here to not have children. A middle-class woman of the '80's elected to have a child.

Honestly, do these mothers have no memories?

UPDATE: Let me make myself clear. I don't see where it's my responsibility to subsidize your day care, honey, so you can "optimize" yourself. You're a writer for Newsweek.

I'm fit to be tied.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

We have space for something like this.

Here's another one I like, by Roberto Mauricio, from the large collection at Tyler Cowen's personal website.

Louisiana's best of the naive painters was Clementine Hunter.

Check out these prices.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Mother's seven children didn't arise from spontaneous generation. Here is a photo of my father. I don't know his age when it was taken.

They had been married for 52 years when my father died of cancer in 1990.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Concordia Parish is a lovely place to be on Valentine's Day, don't you think?

Best to you on this day.
Smiley Anders at the Baton Rouge Advocate today:
Marvin Borgmeyer likes to collect memorable quotes.

For instance, there are the immortal words of Philadelphia Phillies manager Danny Ozark:

"Half this game is 90 percent mental."

And, says Marvin, "As our school kids prepare for the upcoming geography bee, it is good to remember the famous quote from former Vice President Dan Quayle:

"I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix."
For the first time in, what, three weeks, we have a gorgeous sunny day. And I feel like a vampire.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

If you look at this picture and this picture, you'll see three generations, two champions, so far.
Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution passes along this item about classical music concerts not finding a following among younger listeners.

Just the other day before the Superbowl, I watched Al Roker's show on tailgating before football games. It included a segment on tailgating before the Santa Fe Opera. "White-glove tailgating," it was called, and Lyman said it looked almost as fancy as The Grove at Oxford, MS, before a University of Mississippi football game. (I told them Lucy should be mascot there.)

So there you go. Hire some flatbed trailers and bring out the crystal and candelabra. I might even drive out for that.

I'm fairly certain my life runs in 12-year cycles. Skipping the first one, my second was full of curiosity and travel, living in varied places, and not settling down. The third was taking focus, meeting goals and stabilizing. The fourth was moving to the area, meeting Lyman and establishing a home and family of my own (partly, anyway).

For the past two years, I have been in a light depression, which was, I think, that cycle winding down.

We'll see. This one seems to be starting with an orchid and a greenhouse.

It's not all dead deer and butter beans around here.

Lyman brought me an orchid for my birthday and Valentine's.

How often do you water one?

Dinner decisions can be complicated here because we both like so many things.

The other night Lyman was cooking pork roast, stewed cabbage, and a choice of baby butter beans or field peas with snaps.

"Do you want butter beans or peas?"

"I don't care. I like them both."

"We need to decide something here."

"Okay. Are they in the indoor or outdoor freezer?"

"Both are indoors."

"Is one bag closer to being empty than the other?"

"They're about the same."

"Where are they in the freezer?"

"In the door."

"Are they on the right or the left?"

"They're both on the left."

"Is one higher than the other?"

"The field peas are higher."

"Then let's have those."

Friday, February 11, 2005

This is why a girl can do with a sister:

"It’s your special day and you won’t feel one bit different than you do today. I promise. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!"

Thursday, February 10, 2005

For Possum's Thursday Three:

The first of all computers that I encountered was through my brother, Charles. When he came home from Vietnam he took the money our mother had saved for him and enrolled at the Control Data Institute. That was 1968. He had a template to help him structure diagrams for data flow.

Remedial learning at Reed was Fortran for physics class, 1975. I was fine with vectors, but not computers. Between that and the white mouse, I dropped out. I'll get to the mouse in a future post.

I was hired off a barroom floor in the Magnolia Building in Dallas, 1984, to document the modeler program for an alternative long-distance company. The program had to do with telephonic switching. I documented that sumbitch thing down to tolerance. The computer I started with was a mainframe DataGeneral. The company sold, to the dismay of many young workers, to General Communications in Kansas. I could be in Ellsworth today. The company became a component of Sprint.

Within a year or two, IBM came out with the OfficeWriter. Here comes my worst experience. I had worked through about 40 pages of if-thens elegantly, and the computer wouldn't take it. It was a horrible blow, and I've left lovers with less effect.

The first computer I owned was the beauty in New York's Museum of Modern Art. ATT, wasn't it? 256 K, as I remember. I'm not a good typist, and wouldn't have graduated without it.
I like this line from Mercy:
I didn't bring kids into this world to let other people raise them.
It's the reason I never had children.
I talked to our neighbors today. They are preparing to put one of their dogs down. Mudpie is a chocolate Lab with cancer.

She was thrown out of obedience school, but she's a good, sweet dog nonetheless. I've heard her name a million times. Today she was wearing Mardi Gras beads.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I live too far north. We don't have headlines like this:

Man shot dead on Desire Street.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

I am officially rooting for the Eagles, but the young corner for the Pats, Randall Gay, is from LSU.

UPDATE: Kevin Faulk was one of LSU's, too.

You can go to Radley Balko's site here where I found it, or to J-Birds' site here where I sent it, but don't miss the video performance of Einstein, the African Grey, on Animal Planet.

(That's not Einstein up there, but close enough.)

Saturday, February 05, 2005

If you are interested in Cajun and Creole cuisine, you should start hinting for John Folse's Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine for Valentine's Day.

Chef John Folse is a long-standing ambassador of Louisiana cuisine, and this book is a lavish production. Lyman's sister's family and ours received copies this Christmas.

Scuttlebutt is that the publisher wanted to charge $130 for the book, but Folse insisted it be priced affordably. This edition is priced at $49.95. It weighs 9-3/4 pounds according to our kitchen scale.

Friday, February 04, 2005

This 16-year-old girl was to become my mother.

You don't see it, but her hands were clenched because they were rough. She picked cotton on the family farm.

She would have been 86 on Feb 5.
Lucy isn't the only bird that gets grumpy in gray weather.
'Tis the season of

About this time of year we have large flights of blackbirds that swarm to different locales. This year a flight is spending a lot of time poking around our yard, which is a clear indication that we need to hire a vacuum. (Which is one reason why I won't show pictures.)

We're talking as many as two hundred chatterers in and under the trees. Lucy has not been entirely happy with them.

Our oak trees dropped a terrific crop of acorns this year. The squirrels seem to have been feeding heavily. When one thumps onto the roof it sounds like a bowling ball.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Possum's Thursday Three is about fears and phobias.

There's nothing that rises to a phobia in my makeup. I'm not crazy about heights, I've lost any taste for crowds, and I don't like to wait in line.

So I won't be on a balcony pitching beads at Mardi Gras or waiting in line for four days to lunch at Galatoire's on Friday.

Oh, and I wouldn't bet on it, but I'd like to see the Eagles win. Just rooting for the underdog.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

As far as the State of Address:

I missed most of it. I'll read later.

I did see all of the rebuttal.

Lemme try this again, to deadhead this stupid idea of "the peace that our parents bequeathed to us":

I'm a baby boomer, too, if a late one, 1957, and the only secure environment I knew was the one my parents gave in my own home.

1. Duck and cover drills at school in case of nuclear attack

2. Assassination of a sitting president

3. Assassination of a presidential contender

4. Assassination of Martin Luther King

5. The Vietnam War. My brother went.

6. Riots at the Chicago convention of '68

That was by the time I was eleven. I did not grow up in a golden era of civil polity. So shut up about it already, Nancy, or anybody else.

Or was she talking about the times I would crouch in my mother's closet and inhale her dresses. They always had a faint smell of Tabu.

UPDATE: Bob Schieffer mediating one of the presidential debates brought up that same idea.

Cher, will Pierre C. Shadeaux bring the good news today?

UPDATE: A long spring for South Louisiana.

What kind of belly-crawler would steal a nutria's house?