Sunday, December 31, 2006

"Skyrockets in flight ..." Oh, wrong song.

I have black-eyed peas and cabbage on the stove.

Anyway, here's a Happy New Year to you. Or, as Charlie says, "Good tidings."

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Don't ask me why, but Charlie's breast is showing some blood again. It heals a little, he jumps to the floor, or plays too hard, and the wound opens again.

I had an appointment with the vet on Thursday, but the skeleton staff was involved in an emergency surgery when I took him in.

It's up to me to use his antiseptic wash and ointment until I can get him back on Tuesday.

Charlie do not like this kind of treatment. The thing to do is wrap him in a towel to restrain him, then apply the medicines.

Lyman is afraid of him -- both to hold him and to apply the stuff. So the last two days, I've been learning to do this by myself. It can be done. I throw a small bath towel over him, flip him onto his back, then avoid those feet and that beak while I apply the antiseptic solution, then the cream.

Something I plan to do in future is "towel" him once a day or a few times a week. Then it won't be so traumatic when it's necessary. Books I've read in the past have suggested establishing this practice, just for this and other purposes. I neglected doing that -- and now I don't know why.

Take it from me. Go ahead and start young. Make it fun. Give the bird a treat afterward.
Gary Farber posted the New York Times account of James Brown's send-off at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's a shame that I don't have the voice of Emmylou Harris, or nearly anyone else.

(46 seconds)
Excuse me gentle souls, but I'll be damned if Charlie's first words this morning weren't "Good tidings."

Whoever heard a bird say that?

This little boy is bound to embarrass me badly one day.

Monday, December 25, 2006

It understates the case to say that I don't jump on new technology.

I've never owned a Walkman. I rarely use the cellphone. But I might need an Ipod Shuffle.

We gave some to the kids, and I like 'em and can see uses for one. Housework and yardwork come to mind immediately.
Christmas morning is a pretty nasty piece of work this year. It's overcast, drizzly, and chilly for these parts.

To compensate, Charlie's first words this morning were "We wish you a Merry Christmas!" Granted, they might well be his first words on January 6, April 10 and July 22, but they sit well today.

I was sitting here in the dark at about 6 this morning when I heard a low drone. Only occasionally do we hear an airplane or a jet here, so I wondered who was flying so early on Christmas day.

No one. That's Jason snoring on the couch.

I have, I think, managed to contract whatever upper respiratory illness is going around. But the party was Saturday, and our Christmas dinner proper was last night, and there are fixin's for ham sandwiches in the house, little buddies. I'm signing out of the kitchen for a day or two.

UPDATE: Maybe just one more thing.

The day after the food holidays, my mother would always cook a pot of plainly-seasoned (salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil) pinto beans to eat with cornbread. I think I'll do that now. Lyman won't care for them, but I will and my brother will.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Good grief! That's Nancy and Lyman!

(This link will dissolve quickly. It referenced a front-page photo of Nancy in a Santa suit washing Lyman's hair before cutting it.)

Here's a poor scan. The photographer was Marcus Frazier.
Merry Christmas

I have loved the Nevilles since I saw them on stage when I was, what, 22?

Friday, December 22, 2006

This might be the most interesting thing I've seen all season.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I can make biscuits, Auntie Em!

The recipe from Regina Charboneau made 58 with my little cutter.

Do not reroll the scraps, she advises. So I pushed some scraps together and baked a pan. They are light and tasty. Lyman complained that they were overcooked, but honey, that's what happens with scraps.

Lucy says "Two toes up!" She's a bread eater and a bread taster.

She needs the other two for balance.


In keeping with my new New Year's tradition of throwing out what is broken or unused, here is my bicycle.

It's been in storage for years, but Michael aired the tires and it's good as new. Very spiffy, burgundy with gold pin-striping.

If I don't ride it this year, next year it goes to the Sheriff's office. They have a Christmas program to revamp bikes for kids. (This is not an invitation to steal. Gimme a chance here.)

I was on it yesterday, and it do have some effects.

Megabeth laughs.
I am adding Stuart Buck to the blogroll because he is a gentleman, a scholar, a musician, and a family man.

His specialty in music is classical guitar.

I e-mailed him a few days ago to find his recommendations for a classical guitar Christmas album. He suggested this, or this, or this.

I like the Michael Ryan from the clips (it's a bit pluckier), but Ms. Boyd is no slouch.

Mr. Buck has no guitar Christmas music at home. Well, of course not. He plays it himself.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


And here is Lucy.
There is a house in New Orleans they call...

Actually, it's a restaurant on Esplanade called the "Port of Call". Fine hamburgers, stuffed potatoes and steaks, keeps many hours, has a top-notch jukebox and ...

the most interesting women's water closet.

For years, people have been collecting pictures and quotes which were decoupaged onto the walls. Last I saw, some trashies had done some graffiti with markers. I remarked on that to the waitress, and she said they would rectify that.

I receive a little money at Christmas myself, and I like to give a gift to the house.

We have one more wall in the guest room which will need something. I propose a large decoupaged canvas in basic black and white. Price of admission to sleep there is something the guest took from a magazine, a newspaper, a ticket, an e-mail, a receipt, a work notice.

When one canvas is filled (should that ever happen), we'll start another.

I can pay four or five hundred for art, but why can't we make our own?

It's an idea of mine, and Lyman says that's always dangerous.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Where I'm stuck on Christmas giving is the birds.

We have two new toys that we've kept since Lucy's birthday, but those just don't seem very personal.

Perhaps a Sunday New York Times for Charlie, because he likes to shred paper. (For size, not editorial quality, Times haters.) Or perhaps a big city phone book.

Lucy would, I think, like to take a little trip. Just a little one. She's never been to the local mall, for instance.

UPDATE: Ah, hah! I have a Baton Rouge phone directory lined up, due for a newspaper wrapping with big curly newspaper bows.
How many potholders did I make as a little girl? Enough to learn to use cotton loops, for sure, rather than the polyester blends.

How many did you make?

I'd forgotten about these looms until I saw them recently in Natchez.
I was just reading a post at Notes from the trenches.

What caught my eye was a comment from Liz in Australia:
Last Christmas, when finances were really tight, I made up a couple of gift baskets - a big one for the garden (she loves gardening), a smaller one of junk food that I don’t have room for in the grocery budget so she doesn’t get very often. They were a huge hit with her - and no clutter! This year she’s getting a basket of girly stuff (nail polish, hair thingies, etc) as well as another of food.
These were for a nine-year-old daughter. They sound like wonderful gifts to me, whether the budget is tight or not.

Friday, December 15, 2006

And so the holidays go on.

The young woman, E., from Baton Rouge is coming to spend the weekend.

Tomorrow night we are planning a lamb dinner, using this recipe, minus the chick pea salad, adding yellow rice and grilled zucchini.

My brother will be part of that.

And Lyman's younger boy called last night, saying he'll be coming in on next Saturday.

His friend has requested a party at our house that evening, which just means that he wants Lyman to cook. Which means that I help. This is not a problem. It's something of a return to the norm of several years ago with some wives added.

We already have filling for Natchitoches Meat Pies, and, and ... well, something.

UPDATE: Hmmm. We have a half dozen tag-ends of soup in the freezer. Another substantial nosh and a platter of crudites would do the trick.

What about Regina's biscuits with some ham?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I have been working for a week on creating some video for Charlie fans, and this is what we have now. Next year we'll work on Hanukkah. He is still not working well with the camera, so you can glimpse him over behind the swing.

Perhaps as a gift to myself and to you I'll work on all the catchy little effects for movies soon.

I imagine we can expect to have Christmas in July at our house.

(54 seconds long)
I received a Christmas card from my niece in Tennessee with a birth announcement enclosed.

We have another little girl in the family as of November 8.
I dreamed last night that we had moved away from the river to the bank of a small and not very pretty stagnant lake.

I have been threatened, terrified, mortified, delighted, and sexually gratified in dreams, but I don't think I've ever been so disappointed.

UPDATE: I think I can tell you why.

Last night Lyman and I made cream of chicken with artichoke soup.

This morning I called my gay brother to invite him to pick some up. He doesn't cook much, usually eats lunch out, and likes a light meal for supper.

Lyman's Southern Baptist dad came in the afternoon, and asked, "What's left over?" So I heated a bowl of soup for him. He picked up the Baton Rouge Advocate and started to eat.

Charles walked in and greeted us. Lyman's dad said, "Sorry, I'm eating it all up."

Charles sat down at the bar with Big Daddy, whereupon they proceeded to ask about each other, and talk about news. My brother picked up another section of the paper, and the two sat peacefully while I packed things for him.

They conversed some more, with Big Daddy offering Charles another of our satsumas. And so the simple afternoon went on, until it was time for Charles to walk his dog, and Big Daddy to go home to his wife.

And that is how life should be.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Now, for Christmas we're getting ready to roll:

The prime rib is in the freezer for this recipe.

The turtle is in the freezer and Lyman is roasting bones this night for the stock for turtle soup from this book.

Lyman worked up a dandy stuffed potato the other day, and we're still considering vegetables.
Speaking of you, I have a question, you launderers.

What do you consider the best stain treatment out now?

I have used Shout and Spray N' Wash and I'm not particularly happy with either of them.

Do you use something better?
So, how's our progress on teaching Charlie "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"?

We're up to "We we Christmas, and a cute birdie boy."

Works for me, but not necessarily for you.

"You" is a big lack in his vocabulary.
Nothing here. I can't even come up with a gratuitous photo.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Done deal.

The cake was just fine.

I'll grant this is not at all a big deal, but Lor' I do hate to cook in the morning.

UPDATE: Charlie didn't say a word. Didn't even make a noise.
We have a little change of plan.

I literally dropped the squash casserole, so we'll be serving fried okra instead. It's better anyway.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Be still, my heart. Chicken-fried bacon with cream gravy at Sodolak's in Snook, Texas.

(Thank you, Ms. Althouse.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Italian Cream Cake

And here we are, all ready to pack off with my mother-in-law after the lunch on Friday.

As seldom as I bake a cake, it deserves a picture.
Baking an Italian Cream Cake this evening:


1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
2 cup sifted flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3-1/2 oz. coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Cream butter and shortening; add sugar and beat until mixture is smooth. Add egg yolks and beat well. Combine flour and soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla extract. Add coconut and nuts. Fold in egg whites. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until done.


1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 16 oz. box powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth; add sugar and mix well. Add vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread on cool cake.

I usually make at least half again as much frosting for a good cover and fill for the cake.

The ten-inch knife makes quick work of chopping pecans.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Tree 2006

So there you are. That's our Christmas tree.

Don't laugh. This is a potted Leyland Cypress that we plan to use for a tree for a year or two or three, then plant in the yard.

Its little branches are fine and can't take much weight.

Lyman says it's ugly, the ugliest he's ever had. So what? Only my mother thought I was a charmer as a baby. Scroll down this page to see how ugly Lucy was as a baby.

I only hope that when he grows up tall he won't be hit by disease.

That Norfolk Pine in the left background has been the Christmas tree here for four or five years and it's outgrowing the ceiling. Planted outside, the poor thing will freeze some year, probably sooner than later.

UPDATE: Like this morning. It was 21 degrees outside when I woke, up from 18.
I have been working some with Charlie on the first stanza of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".

He has come as far as "We, we, we." Sounds like the little piggy on his way home.

On his own, he has started saying, "Y'all want some veggies?"
I read Michael Malone's First Lady this weekend, and found it a treat.

I'm a sucker for amusing repartee in novels, and Malone has it in spades. Reviewers say his earlier books are better, so I'll be looking him up again.

Interesting that he won an Emmy for his work on the soap opera "One Life to Live."
Christmas cards from our house this year have this motif, found at the shop "One of a Kind" in downtown Natchez.

And the addressed cards are on the box waiting for the mail carrier. Unheard of to have them ready so early, not that we send many.

UPDATE: Just a note that here one can find a full set of engravings of Robert Furber's Twelve Months of Fruits from 1732 for $35,000.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

All right, already!

Kate is complaining that I don't have an RSS feed on this site.

What do I do?

UPDATE: Now, check the index to the left there, and click on the orange icon. Does that work?
Glenda and I went shopping in Natchez on Saturday.

It has a small downtown, but there are shops with lots of decorative items and funky, fad clothes.

For anyone interested, here are a number of photos taken by tourists in Natchez. They capture the flavor of the town pretty well.

I found a perfect silly Tiger fan thing for the "boys" stockings at "Sun, Moon and Stars."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hoot owl

This page needs a little visual relief.

Since my birds wouldn't cooperate, this guy out in the oak tree on the corner will have to stand in.

Hey, Good Lookin!

UPDATE: This one appears to be a Barred Owl, commonly known in the South as the "hoot owl". If it's the one I've been hearing, it has a big voice.

These owls are not at all rare, but I've never seen one in the broad daylight in the front yard, and wouldn't have seen this one if Michael hadn't seen it fly onto its perch here.
Next Friday is our Christmas luncheon. The menu is shrimp cocktail with red sauce, a self-select salad bar (I'm tired of scraping $4 lb. vegetables off people's plates), stuffed bell peppers (well, they are red and green), mashed potatoes, two-cheese squash casserole, garlic bread, and Italian cream cake (MIL's favorite).

They can take it or leave it.

I've gone the route of homemade vinaigrettes to have the diners ask for ranch or Kraft French. Not this year.

UPDATE: My brother said something years ago that I've taken to heart: "I'm tired of beating my head against the wall. Let's beat yours for a change."
Today is Lyman's older son's birthday. He is 39.

Last night's celebration dinner was champagne (not Perrier Jouet), boiled crabs, Oysters Rockefeller and New Orleans style barbecued shrimp.

Chef Tony will complain that we didn't do the BBQ shrimp from scratch, but we've tried a half-dozen recipes that don't produce a product as good as this mix does.

Ben, a long-time friend of both sons came, and his sister E. later. Those handsome kids look alike, with exactly the same distinctive, and I think very attractive, Roman nose.

Well, E. wants a nose job. I think it's totally unnecessary and will actually reduce the quality of her looks, making her more average and less striking. She has a blonde Italian-type beauty. Ben is going into conniptions trying to talk her out of it.

"Come here," he pleaded to me. "Tell her, tell her, she doesn't need to change her nose."

I could only say that if I looked like her, I wouldn't change a thing. Silly girls.
Oh dear, Lucy.

She has another egg this morning.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What a good prospect for kitchen art.

(Thanks, Possum.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Lyman knows his business. How sore can a middle-aged woman stay listening to Aaron Neville?

Buy for "You Send Me," sixties jazz background; "Respect Yourself," with Mavis Staples in background; "Let's Stay Together," because his and Chaka Khan's voices don't mix all that well; and "A Change Is Gonna Come," because he says so.
We have now taken 440 satsumas from the satsuma tree.

There are more.

UPDATE: Final count is 483.
Almost done. I still have the inside of one large bedroom window and the insides of the porch windows.

What isn't sore? Laying floor was easier on the muscles.

It must be all the reaching. Thank goodness we have only one floor.
I'm not quite done total, but I am done today.

Can't say I'm whipped, yet.
Hmmmm. Washing pleated shades.

Hmmmmm. Washing six-foot wide pleated shades.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I got your $4 tacky Dollar Store capris on.

I got your oversized "Splish-Splash" library t-shirt.

I got your sponge wand from Fred's and the soft brush from the hardware.

I got three days of warm weather to wash windows and blinds.
Oh, Lucy.

She has another egg this morning. That's four for November.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Paula Deen said one of my favorite things the other night.

She was working one of her shows and addressed a young woman, "You have a diamond growing out of your nose. Can you teach me how to do that?"
Let's talk about my 10-inch knife.

It would have been much harder cutting a head of cauliflower lengthwise with a smaller one, and it knocked out a minced shallot in seconds.

I still take it out of the block with a little trepidation, but confidence will come.

That bolster WILL become a problem in the long term, but in the meantime it is a nice knife to use.

For all the talk about keeping a knife for a lifetime, it can't and won't happen if a person uses and sharpens it frequently.

TIP: Because I am not confident with the knife, I always settle a large, round object on a clean dishtowel before I even try to cut, to stabilize it and prevent a slip.
Looking for something to serve for the luncheon Friday next, I tried the Two-Cheese Squash Casserole on this page last night.

A small serving would complement the stuffed bell peppers well, and provide that "over-prepared" holiday twist that people seem to like so much.

I'd prefer lightly steamed green beans with butter and lemon, but I'm serving others, aren't I?

Friday, November 24, 2006

I'll take you one better, Dr. Reynolds.

Sarah J. Hale established Thanksgiving as a holiday in this country. She lobbied Lincoln for it, if I remember right. She was editor of Godey's Lady's Book for 40 years.

She lived in a frontier time, and would advise women on the western front in economical ways to make their homes liveable. She provided patterns, so women could dress well.

She was widowed young, with five or six children, and wore black until she died. (It has been said that black was quite flattering to her, too.)

I don't have the paper anymore. My journalism degree is still not entirely worthless.

Men find the silliest things to argue about.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Back off.

We cooked roasted cauliflower according to a recipe in Cook's Illustrated, with a recommended curry sauce.

No, you can't have any.
We just picked another 20 satsumas to send to Lyman's sister. Lyman's parents will be eating there today.

That brings us to 340 that we have picked from the one tree so far, and another 100 or so remain.
I'll tell you one thing I'm NOT thankful for today, and that's turtleneck tops.

When I dressed the other morning to leave town the temperature was in the high '30s. I pulled out a long-time favorite little black turtleneck to layer under a crewneck sweater.

That black fabric up around my chin emphasized every line, wrinkle and incipient sag on my countenance. Applying mascara was a nightmare. Why, I looked like a turtle!

Time to start wearing a warm muffler that can be discarded indoors.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

We'll just be two for Thanksgiving this year.

Chicken stuffed with a rice, sausage and mushroom stuffing, roasted cauliflower, and, um, something else.

No call for pity. We had a boisterous family gathering when Lyman's son visited two weeks ago, and there's plenty ahead for Christmas.

On this holiday, I am thankful for quiet.

And a good one to you, too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I did something I have never before done today. (That I can remember offhand.) I went shopping with a girlfriend.

Glenda showed at 8:30 this morning and we drove to Monroe, LA, to the Pecanland Mall. She was working from her birthday and Christmas list.

There are some fine things about living in a small town in the South, but shopping ain't one of 'em. Oh, I can pop over to Natchez right now and find a lovely Victorian dry sink for your home, but it's harder finding a chic boot. Not that I wear boots.

It has been, I bet, 15 years since I've even looked at clothing for myself at Dillard's. What a sad note for a Dallas girl.

Glenda dropped me off at home at 6:30 this evening.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Three days of trimming and no casualties.

Here is the large oak, trimmed.

We have some very confused and disappointed squirrels around these days.
Go, Radley!


More cool tool.

UPDATE: We rented this thing locally for $175 from Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. until 8 a.m. this Monday morning. We were warned that dropping a log on one of those hydraulic legs could cost about $2,000. The boys avoided that. One of our better buys.

And we will need it again to shave the suckers from a lot of limbs. The boys were too tired to do that this weekend.


Cool tool.

Mickey says, "It beats climbing trees."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

That day of trimming passed without casualties.

Charlie, who usually rises chattering, hasn't had a word to say all morning.

UPDATE: Two days of trimming with no casualties.

Charlie has said about 15 words today, all variations of "Charlie a handsome boy."

Friday, November 17, 2006


What a pretty picture of the birds. Lucy doesn't even look real. They're on the stand on the enclosed porch.

They get along well enough when they're both scared to death. Lots of big noise here today.
Another loquacious grey, with another accent. Thank you, Sylvia.

Oak Tree 2

We have rented a cherry-picker lift, have hired a man with some experience, and impressed Lyman's son to do some trimming on this live oak this weekend, and a few others if they can get to them.

Lyman hasn't shown me all that he wants done, but I know he wants one of the big limbs to come down.

I think we should have an emergency vehicle and a roofer on standby. A few simple thoughts for everyone's safety would be welcome.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Satsuma - 170

My, oh my.

We've now picked 170 satsumas from this tree.

UPDATE: Make that 200. Many more remain.
Oh, Lucy.

She is sitting another egg this morning. That's three for November, too.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

This is a listening tape. Charlie just acts a fool in front of the camera right now, flapping his wings and bobbing his head. I haven't had it out for a while.

He has been working on this for a couple of weeks, and boy, is it hard.

Also, you'll hear "Charlie be good boy" at the end. He has, ahem, found the window frames.

At 1:38, it's longer than I like. Maybe for you, too.
You want a lousy weekend?

I've had a head cold since Lyman's sons left Friday evening. The highpoint of the weekend was an online discussion of proctalgia fugax.

Don't even ask.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Not hardly. I have spoken on the telephone to Terry Oglesby, Fritz Schranck and Peg Britton. And to Aardvark and Mercy in person. Not to speak of the birds' grandparents. What do y'all say to this result?

I have taken this quiz several times, and can't see fit to change my answers anywhere. It's not measuring something that makes my speech Southern, which is probably the drawl. They didn't ask how many syllables any of those words had.
Lucy laid the second egg of the November clutch on the evening of November 11. No time on this one, as I was in the back reading.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Brian Doherty at Reason's Hit and Run has no great love for the South, but the man is fair:

Read here.


Just for kicks, these are my parents with my brothers and sister.

I wasn't around yet.

I think my mother's expression is a reaction to the notion that I might come along.

"Not really," she says.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Alrighty, then. Just about on schedule for November, Lucy laid an egg at 8:28 this evening.

Ripening satsumas

We have picked 120 satsumas from this satsuma tree so far this year, and you can barely tell they've been taken.

Lyman tells me that's not rare on trees in South Louisiana.

What a crop!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The early election slid past me, so today was the first time I voted on one of the big electronic boards where you poke the white square beside your choice.

Provided they register votes properly, they seem a pretty good deal, especially for the elderly who might have a hard time with the old lever machines.

And it twinkled when it registered my vote.

Do you think they'll let me do it again? I like that sound.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I took a book with me across the street today.

John McEvoy was, according to his bio, a Midwest editor and senior correspondent for the Daily Racing Form.

Riders Down is just his second novel, and is as fun as his first, Blind Switch.

I've never cared about the track or horses or horseracing, but like to read his books.

(Just a clue, y'all -- his writing is nothing like that of Dick Francis. I'll read a Francis when nothing more interesting is at hand. McEvoy is sillier and wittier than Francis ever thought of being. Think, maybe, Elmore Leonard as a track man.)
It's a miserable day for a funeral.

It's already rained 0.70 inch with more to come. Miss Alec would probably be pleased with the rain after our dreadful dry summer, but she wouldn't want her girls out in it.

I'm going to sit the house during the ceremonies.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What a terrible loss to the community:
Louise N. Alexander

March 13, 1924 — Nov. 3, 2006

NATCHEZ — Services for Louise N. Alexander, 82, of Vidalia, who died Friday, Nov. 3, 2006, at Natchez Regional Medical Center, will be 1 p.m. Monday at Laird Funeral Home Union Street Chapel with the Rev. Dan Glenn officiating.

Burial will follow at Greenlawn Cemetery under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.

Visitation will be from 3 to 5 p.m. today and from noon until service time Monday at the funeral home.

Mrs. Alexander was born March 13, 1924, in New Orleans, the daughter of Lane and Adele Lyle Nunnery. She enjoyed planning meals for her young people as cafeteria manager of Vidalia High School for 17 years. A resident of Vidalia since 1948, she was known as a surrogate mother or friend to all who knew her, and she will be sadly missed.
She was my neighbor across the street.

When I moved here, she brought over a dish of brownies and fudge and divinity as a welcome to the neighborhood. That was just a foretaste of the sweetness that woman had in her. And did she love to laugh. We'd giggle like schoolgirls together.

She will be missed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I deleted that post because the emotional implications are complex.

Since we were escorted by two squad cars off our property in 2005, I've never felt the same about the place.

Ann and Bill were great helpers through about 4 years, before Hurricane Ivan, but I've never trusted her taste.

They have always been sweet and kind and capable and helpful. And this is the first time they've been back. They have a place in a retirement community at Hilton Head, SC, now.

Today I gave her a gift. And she gave one to me in return. She's a shopper, besides.

She's a sweet girl.

(Not to mention that the post relied on someone else's copyrighted image.)
Speaking of design and decorating, Kate of Kate's Stuff has a good post up today.

Uh oh.
If any of you know of any online sources for proper bedspreads, please pass them on to me.

I'm searching for the traditional throw-style, king-size, with the allowance to tuck a fold under the pillows, in a print that will coordinate with this picture. The room has pale blue walls.

A friend suggested that I talk up one of the local hotel managers to see if I can scrounge up a hotel supplier connection. I'll try this first.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Oh, for goodness' sake.

C. put us in touch with a woman painter who wants and needs work. She does mural work, too.

She can work with white she says, and I do have a portion of wall...
Oh, my.

I've gone and done it.

When we were at the coast I noticed that the blind in the front bedroom wasn't in good repair. Renters have had trouble with these miniblinds for years. I don't know why, but children might factor in somewhere.

Well, I took measurements of that window and brought them home. After some consideration, Lyman and I think that something else might be better. Though they've been rather outdated in the design world, we've been thinking pleated shades might be a way to go.

But for a uniform appearance, we should go with those in the kitchen, too -- but I didn't have measurements for that window.

We knew an owner who would be down there this weekend, and asked if she would be willing to go into the condo and take measurements for us. She agreed. Lyman (God bless him) also asked her to look around and see if anything else needed doing. Baby, let's not make that mistake again.

C. was a manager for a Sally Beauty Supply Store for 25 years. She now calls herself an interior decorator. She makes up flamboyantly, dresses flamboyantly, and decorates flamboyantly. (The only person I know who can wear a boa as part of her daily costume and get away with it.) I think she's a hoot. But my taste and hers do not coincide.

She has come back with a half dozen suggestions for making our condo more attractive -- to her. She wants colors and murals. I happen to like white walls that showcase the art we have in the space. I have been to her condo -- it is maniacal with palms and monkeys and parrots, and all that crap just makes me claustrophobic.

I like the clean, silvery feel of our space. It's not intrusive, and picks up on the clarity and light of the beach. She likes to impose herself on a space. I just want one that lets me be. I want light at the beach. I'm hunkered in a world of color and texture and shade under the oaks at home in Vidalia.

But she is right on some counts. We need to paint the living room and kitchen space, and I desperately need a new bedspread in the front bedroom. That's a "bedspread," kids, not a quilt, or a comforter set.

And I hate to buy one of those considering articles like this one.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The big knife came in today.

I haven't used it yet, but the handle is slightly rubbery, which feels good.

It balances like the Henckels.

We'll see tonight.
These knives are out there if you're feeling sporty.

This desktop is giving up the ghost now that a new one is on order.

I could search up all your phone numbers and tell you this personally in the time it's taking me to type this post.

Monday, October 30, 2006

To overcome my horror at myself, I read a lot about knives today.

One of the reviewers at Amazon is an enthusiastic hobby chef who owns a great many knives. He says the Calphalon compares favorably with the the much more expensive Henckels and Wusthof lines.

But for grinding everyday use and value, many of the writers at Chef Talk praise the Forschner/Victorinox line. Cooks Illustrated likes them, too. These are inexpensive and will wear out, but offer an excellent cutting edge and sharpen easily. These are made by the same people that make the Swiss Army knife.

Some chefs complain about the bolster, i.e. the metal ridge behind the blade, on some models of Henckels and the Calphalon. They say it prevents an even sharpening of the blades and will eventually impede the cutting action of the knives.

Our main collection is a Henckels set with the damnable bolsters. Starting again, I would go with the Forschners, provided they fit my hands.

Another thing the chefs said was to not buy a set. Different lines have different feels in different knives. They also recommend going to a brick and mortar store and handling knives before buying.

So there you go.

That was my distraction from being a flower murderer.

UPDATE: Then there are these.
After hurting my own feelings today by unnecessarily ripping some cosmos plants out of another raised bed, planting tulip bulbs, then overseeding with spinach, I took a nap.

The poor cosmos had a heck of a time of it during this hot, dry summer and were just showing their stuff. Why did I take them up? There was no reason to do such a thing. It's my bed. I love their flowers and they showed themselves willing to go until frost.

I feel like a heel.
And when dawn breaks, and all the the little birds in the CST begin to chirp, cheep, twitter and sing their little arias to the Sun, a husky little voice rises in Vidalia, intoning --

We got the cuties, we got the sweetie pie birds,
Oh, I know,
and the birdies, the birdies, the birdies ...

Sunday, October 29, 2006


We might be running a little late, but Lyman ripped up the zinnias and planted radicchio, Black-seeded Simpson leaf lettuce, radishes, and romaine in one bed.

I love zinnias. It's the first flower I remember.
And in our household, we are talking about the holidays and food.

Our adults only Christmas luncheon is scheduled for December 8 this year, so there's no time like the present.

It seems to become harder every year. Lyman's family doesn't share our eclectic tastes. They like their meat and vegetables cooked to death for one thing. That takes several of our favorites off the plate right there.

For instance, while my sister was here, we cooked this recipe. (The pork only. Lyman doesn't care for turnips or rutabagas, which is another Gore limitation.) We served it with the baked onion below, roasted new potatoes, and grilled asparagus.

We bake it pink, so it's buttery tender.

Well, that's raw meat to Big Daddy, and he says he won't eat raw meat.

Crisp-tender grilled vegetables just aren't cooked, according to Girl. Lyman's sister likes her steaks and chops well done, so I won't sacrifice a good steak or a lamb chop for any of them.

SO we're thinking this year about stuffed bell peppers according to the recipe in this book. They can be prepared ahead of time.

Despite the restrictions against two starches (the peppers include rice), I'm thinking a nice mound of mashed potatoes to go with all that great tomato gravy, and a large green salad, as usual. I'd like one more veg, but I can't come up with one right now. Oh yeah, there are great options, but dammit I won't cook perfectly respectable vegetables to mush.

In our 12 years at this task, we haven't served a bread pudding. That's the search, and the upcoming trials, and I'm not up for all that tasting. I don't eat desserts.

Update: You know, a yellow squash casserole wouldn't be bad with this meal. Southern Living had a good recipe for one a couple of years ago.
Since we're talking now about the holidays and food, let's pass on this recipe that we found in Miss Ruby's Southern Creole & Cajun Cuisine, Peanut Butter Publishing, 1990, which seems to be out of print.

It's billed as Rod's Grilled Onions in the book, but we usually bake them.

1 medium onion
1 beef bouillon cube or beef base equivalent
1 pat butter -- about 1/2 tablespoon here
Cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (375 is not too high.)

Peel the onion. Slice enough off the root end, if necessary, so it sits flat.

Carve a shallow hole in the top of the onion with a sharp paring knife.

Put the bouillon cube or base in the hole, then top with the pat of butter. Sprinkle with cayenne to taste.

Set in a square of foil large enough to bring up and twist at the top for a good seal.

Bake for an hour or so. The longer the onion bakes, the softer it becomes, and the more it resembles a stout onion soup. We like about an hour and a half. I test by squeezing the onion while it's in the oven. When it's soft enough, I take it out.

Then carefully tip the onion and it's juice into a soup bowl, and eat with a spoon.

Wonderful with French bread, and makes a good side for all kinds of meats.

Lyman's son loves this recipe, and has been working on variations, adding garlic or horseradish. He has passed it on to friends, so we're developing a community of baked-onion eaters.

Of course, you multiply the recipe by the number of servings needed.

One of the nifty things about this recipe is that you can walk into the kitchen and start it, then go about your business with the rest of dinner or whatever while it's baking.
Following Chef Tony's advice, I've ordered one of these before the holidays.

He suggested Forschner as a brand, but this comes cheaper through free shipping at Amazon.

Lyman's a little frightened at the thought of me holding one of these in my hand. He feels threatened by the 8-inch I've been using. If he doesn't quit looking over my shoulder when I'm chopping, he should.

Me, I'm working toward a twelve-inch. That'll hold him at bay.
I wonder who has developed the twelve-step program for quitting blogging?

Whoever it was, Kim didn't get the message and started a new blog, Frothing at le Mouse.

She took French in high-school, as I did.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My desktop computer is going is going bonkers.

It drags and loops and carries on something fierce.

Looks like a new one will be a Christmas present. I resent that. To me, a computer is a utility machine, like a vacuum cleaner, or a washing machine (though I like those better).

For Peg Britton, the River Road recipe will be fine for seafood gumbo. Lyman's is better, but I'm too distressed to pass it on. Dane will see another day.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

We've eaten fairly extravagantly in the past week, so tonight we wanted something simple. Forget that we spent a few hours putting this recipe together. It will go much more quickly later.


2 medium onions, chopped
5 ribs celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ pounds ground chuck
2 TBS chili powder
1 TBS black pepper
1 TBS dark brown suger
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 6oz. can tomato paste
¾ cup ketchup
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

Hamburger buns

Brown meat over medium high heat in a large skillet that can be covered. Pour off half of liquid. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and cover pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are wilted. Add garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, brown sugar, and chili powder. Stir well. Cover and cook 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, if too watery remove lid. If too thick, add water. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

This has the right balance of acid and sweet that I remember as a child.

It's been cool and rainy, and, yes, we want comfort food.
I've added some new pictures from the trip, if you're interested.

Here are a few additional pictures of Windsor, focusing on the Corinthian capitals.

Here is a site that shows a photo of the wrought iron stairs and gallery railings of Windsor being used now at Alcorn State University. (Steve McNair went there.) There is a thumbnail on this page that shows an artist's rendering of Windsor as it was.

Here are a few that give more perspective on Christ Church.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

This is not my photo. Seems to come from Missouri, this one.

But there was a Red Goose Shoes sign in Port Gibson.
That was fun in a middle-aged kind of way.

My sister e-mailed to say that she'd arrived home safely at about 3 o'clock yesterday.

All the sights we saw Monday were within an hour's drive of Natchez. I didn't mention driving down the Natchez Trace, visiting Emerald Mound, or stopping at Mount Locust.

I regret not going into the old tavern.

Next time she comes, we plan to go south for an hour or so.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Presbyterian Church

Back to Port Gibson.

The Presbyterian church has an unusual feature which I haven't caught well here. At the tip of the spire is a golden hand with the index finger pointing to God and Heaven.

I hate to say so, out of respect for the church fathers and the proud little town, but it don't look exactly that way from every angle in town. Could be the point, come to think of it.

In Port Gibson, we were served lunch at the Restoration Cafe by a woman whose grandfather's name is the same as our father's. There are a good many Davenports buried in Claiborne County. We might be related. Which would be just fine. She was a good-looking woman and an excellent cook.

In the hall of the cafe was an antique chest that might have served as inspiration for the one I just purchased for the bedroom.

Church Hill

We had time to visit Church Hill. This is a view of the back of Christ Episcopal Church. The front of the church was shadowed.

Church Hill was established as a community in 1790.

It was such a glorious fall day that my ratty little digital camera took postcard pictures.

UPDATE: Here I found that the church itself was established in 1820 and this building was built in 1828. Another source calls the style of the church Gothic Revival.


Charles and I were traveling with this mysterious red-haired woman.

Her laugh is a lot like Carol Burnett's.


Here I am at Windsor.

The scale of these columns amazes me.

So does the width of my hips in this picture. I might need to rethink these relaxed-fit jeans.

UPDATE: Now you know why I always carry the camera. Could Patricia make me look better at Windsor? Not at all. She always must have an advantage.

UPDATE II: Here's your big chance, male readers. You have my permission to say, "Yes, Janis. Those jeans DO make your butt look fat."

Windsor ruins w/Charles

If you come this direction, you should charm, cajole, or hire this man as a tour-guide/driver.

That is my brother Charles standing at the foot of one of the columns left of Windsor, west of Port Gibson, MS, that burned in 1890.

We've had a lovely day visiting areas north of Natchez.

More later.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Good morning, my friends!

And what do you think we should do at 4:30 this chilly Sunday morning?

It being a day of prayer and reflection, we might begin by asking the Lord for tolerance, forgiveness and healing for the poor people we met yesterday at the open house who were drinking "Blue Martinis."

A "Blue Martini" is a godawful concoction made up by high-school kids when their parents carried all the good liquor to the party at John Cheever's house. It consists of blueberry schnapps, curacao and gin, and tastes like blue kerosene. Offered a choice between one and a low-end cabernet wine, I opted for the wine but was misunderstood.

I found a comfortable and handy porch to pour the mess over the side of, but thought it would be rude to dispose of a libation given generously by a hospitable and unknown host in such a manner.

Please, all potential guests, be assured that I will not be offended should you do such a thing with anything comparable served at my home.

I will be long forgetting it.

But the folks who had more than one will surely be longer.

UPDATE: Rigid as I am, I didn't think of the perfect solution at the time, which was to tip a sip over the porch railing periodically, then to excuse myself when the glass was empty.

I learned that from one of Michael's friends.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Now, wait a minute. Lucy has laid another egg.
Good grief!

Tomorrow is Charles' birthday! I had totally forgotten.

So we be alignin' Charles with Lyman's Southern Baptist parents, Patricia Ann, Lyman's Michael and ourselves for a catfish dinner.

It's this time of year.
I have hardware on my closet doors. Yay!!!

And I discussed with him the rest of the furniture.

We're going with this look.

The nightstands will have a shallow drawer, per Lyman's request.

I like the turn of those legs. They might start dancing any minute.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lucy is much better today. She was playing in her drinking cup when I picked her up to go see the doc.

The vet gave her another injection. I was told to dose her with the oral antibiotic and watch over her, to see that she is eating and drinking water, and showing no further symptoms.

We don't think the painting had anything to do with it. She wasn't affected before.

"Real or imagined stress," was the doctor's opinion. I left her last week, you know.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Since I don't have enough to do this week, Lucy presented symptoms of respiratory congestion early this afternoon. I whisked her off to the vet where she received a shot and an oral antibiotic.

I'm to take her in tomorrow so the doctor can make sure she's well-hydrated and the diagnosis is correct.

Lucy will be fine.

The note is that as I was leaving, an old woman and her daughter? niece? came with two dogs. She wanted one bathed and one euthanized. The trick was, the office wasn't familiar with either dog.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lucy laid an egg Friday night, 10/13/06.

Then one tonight, about 8 p.m., 10/16/06.
Today I offer an example of anger making me stupid.

It's no secret that I'm miffed at having to paint these closet doors four days before my sister comes. But I've been at it since yesterday, and I'm coming along.

Lyman asked how I was doing.

J: "I'm working on the front of the doors, and I'm doing fine except for the areas around the hinges."

L: "What's wrong? Did you tape around the hinges?

J: "Duh. What did you just say?"

Now there's tape around the hinges. It should all go much more smoothly now.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kim at Frothing at the Mouse has decided to stop blogging and has deleted her blog.
Can I go back now? We arrived home at 6:30 or so last night.

The closet doors are hanging and ready for a coat or two of paint.

My sister is definitely coming on Friday, events not stalling her. I have a lot of work to do this week.

The lamp came in while I was gone, and looks great. Thank you, Sarah. The dress came in and looks pretty darned good, too, if I say so myself.

On to a new week.

By the way, while Charlie had not six words to say last night, this morning he told me "Charlie is a handsome boy." That's true, baby.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

As I explained to Judy last year, the art in this condo has a narrative that you can elaborate at will.

This woman is the mother of these kids. Possibly this one, too.

They live in the big house.

She is walking to meet her lover (that doesn't exclude the man being her husband) at this cottage while the girl looks after the babies.

She and the man will have lunch together. It might or might not include crab.

Friday, October 13, 2006

On the other hand, S. and her beau came to visit last night. We had drinks and conversed on the balcony. Hard to make life better than that.

She's been a widow for 22 years (her husband died young), and she's newly in love. Her gentleman friend is pleasant to look at and a fine conversationalist. Good luck, and I mean it, S.

And I talked to Tom again today. I worked for Tom as a cocktail waitress in Dallas when I was 23-24. I looked him up when I first came with Lyman to the coast. He worked as banquet manager at the Gulf State Park. But I haven't talked to him again until today.

I thought he was an excellent man to work for. He was always fair, and knew how to put you in your place without being rude. I like Tom.

Lyman and I plan to see him next time we come.

Girl at beach

The good Lord willin' and the water don't rise, we plan to sell this place.

It's a 5-1/2 hour drive here from Vidalia and it seems to get longer every year.

Of all the things here, I want to keep this one.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oct 12, 2006

This is what the Gulf of Mexico looks like when it is not tearing up people's homes and ruining their livelihoods.

Lovely isn't it?

But you know what? I don't like dry sand and I don't like wet clothes. I need a strong man to carry me down to the water's edge so I can skinnydip at midnight.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What's to say?

The weather's good. The condo is in good shape. I have had yet another dreadful restaurant margarita at Cosmo's, a fairly new restaurant on Canal Road.

Not too many monarchs, yet. It's early for many of them here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I talked to my aunt before we left yesterday.

The DHS engraved into the hexagonal gold face stands for Donelton High School, which would have been located about here.

She thinks he was graduated after he completed the ninth grade. Though he was 18 in 1929. That was common in the rural areas those days, she said.

She said she's in pretty good health. Takes a walk every day past the cemetery in Como -- preparing herself for the next step, she said. Complained of how her lovely skin is deteriorating since she turned 90.

She's still sharp, though her memory is not what it was, she claims.

I told my brother what she gave me, but told him to call her himself. She likes to hear from the young'uns.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

How did I get this job?

I have been researching some family history. My big brother wants to know about the ring I sent his son. What do I know? I'm the baby.

My path led me to aunt Thelma, who is now 82. She told me she depended on "Lee," otherwise known as my Daddy, for events from their lives. She referred me to her big sister, 92.

I called just before eight tonight, but she had already retired for the evening. Which is the appropriate phrase in her case. She is just like my grandmother -- a distinguished, capable, and contained woman.

I'll try again, but I don't know when. We're traveling to the coast tomorrow.

If you look at the last page of my photo file, you'll see that I look like my father. I learned that we have more in common from my aunt. He also fainted at the sight of blood.

Born in 1911, he was a touch old for WWII, which he wouldn't have coped with well. He built barracks at home.
I've read Dr. Alice through kitchen hand's site.

I'm adding her to the blogroll because I don't pay enough attention to her.

Remember, you are not excluded from my reading because you are not listed here. I let Possumblog carry the heavy weight.

Here's an interesting post. You never know what she'll talk about.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Charles, my brother, gave two lamp bases to me in 1993.

I had dressed them with off-white pleated conical lampshades that needed replacing. Yesterday I went shopping for shades. We don't have many choices locally -- KMart, Wal-Mart, Fred's. I couldn't find a thing the right size, until...

I found these drum shades at Wal-Mart. Hmmph, I said, I'll give them a try. Hold on to the receipt, and return them if necessary.

The lamps have never looked better. They'll go beside the bed.

Lyman has never cared for the bases. Even he likes them now.

Lyman's grandmother did the little duck box in a ceramics class that she took when she was about 90.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I saw one of these at the salon yesterday.

Pretty cool.
Good morning, everyone! Rise and shine!

It's 6:15 a.m. and I've been up for two hours and 45 minutes. After a busy day I fell asleep last night at 9. At 3:30 I woke.

There will come a time in the not far future, when the new guest room is set up, that I can spend these hours in productive labor. In that room, there will be a chair and light enough to work on handsewing, so I can finish the eternal quilt.

Not today, though. Today I am second-guessing choices.

Now that the queen bed is set up, I see that I have room for a king, or two twins. And after ordering a comforter, I realize that I didn't even consider a chenille bedspread, which would be perfect (but that's a thought I can put away for next summer). The rest will do.

Oh, well, the sheets and the bathrooms are always clean and the food is good. Is it fair to ask for more?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bite my tongue.

Better yet, don't kiss a bird on the beak after you've fed him habanero peppers.
Law, law.

Mark Foley's lawyer is a cynical son-of-a-bitch, or I'm a skeptical bitch, or both.
I went ahead and posted a message to the forum.

When I was growing up, I can remember splits along the perimeter of my thumbnails and there on the outside edge of the nailbed where there is no nail. That was some painful. I can remember sucking up the blood and licking them for comfort.

If people don't want to try it for themselves, they can at least try it for their kids.

Don't get me wrong. We had the usual stash of hand lotion, cold cream, baby oil, Vaseline and Vick's. They don't work.

UPDATE: Good. There's one positive response from the forum.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Left thumb 10/2/06

Let's use this picture of my left thumb as a reference. (That's a still shot from the new camera. My first.)

Something interesting is happening to my thumbnails since I started using the cuticle cream in July. With added moisture in the nails and nailbeds, my thumbnails have relaxed some in their beds. They are not as curled or cramped, or gnarly, for want of a better word, as they were. There's less cracking, and none along the quick, which can be painful.

I'll continue to use the cream religiously, and let's check back in two or three months to see if there's more improvement. If there is, that'll be a message worth adding to the NPS forum.

Something similar is happening with my smallest toenails, too.

Satsuma 2006

This poor satsuma tree can barely hold its branches up under all the fruit.

Big Daddy will be picking them and putting the peelings in my flower pots. You watch.
Now this is pretty darn good.
Did you know that Diane is an excellent writer of instructions?

She sent an e-mail and a handout answering my quilting questions. It's nothing I couldn't share, but it's detailed and might bore you. She included tips that I might not have found after weeks online. So thank you, ma'am.

Between recipes, advice and shopping services, I certainly benefit from my associations online.

I hope I give as good as I get.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

So after all that shopping for dresses, I bought this one.

At that price, it will work for something.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

I've been studying a little about quilts today.

Seems I'll want a low-loft polyester batting, since quilting this piece will entail only "ditch-quilting" the appliques. That means following the seam lines. Miss Diane might have an opinion there.

I'd welcome one on the advisability of using monofilament thread for the quilting. Monofilament is colorless, so there wouldn't be problems where two colors lie together. I've read where machine quilters use it when they have problems with matching, but I haven't read anything about hand-sewing with it. Also, how do competent quilters handle end knots?

I've learned about securing the backing down while stacking the other layers. I think I'll use painters' tape on the floor.

Then there's basting the three layers together before beginning the quilt-stitching proper. Is there any particular thread or technique that eases that process along? I've read that using a small, curved upholstery needle helps. For the quilting itself, I'll be using an old-fashioned wooden oval lap-type frame. Binding should be fairly easy for me, but I'll take some time remembering how to do a mitred corner. I should be done by the end of the decade. Maybe.

Otherwise, work-wise, I've been stuck waiting for the carpenter to install the closet doors. He has cut the old doors down, and will be adding support wood and cabinet-style closures to the door frames so these doors will open from the center, rather than ride along a track. Once those doors are painted, I'll be re-organizing closets and chests, making another run through my clothing, shoes and bags.

All of my things will be located in that room, along with suitcases, cleaning machines, etc.

Then there's the coat closet in the foyer. It's stacked with all kinds of junk. Cheap styro life-saver, anyone?

I've been sitting on my hands for the past two weeks. Sure, there are plenty of other things I could do (like washing windows), but I'm geared to this project now. I don't multi-task as well as I used to.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Quilt top

I could finish this quilt top that I started in 1997 for that room.

UPDATE: This project has been delayed for lots of reasons, but not least because I allowed Lyman to have a say. That stops today. He wanted a snake in the garden.

UPDATE II: I'm figuring out how to work Lucy and Charlie into this motif. With Lucy's coloring, she'll fit fine on that naked curved branch on the right. But Charlie is a problem. I've decided to use the purple instead of grey for his coat, but his white mask brings a level of detail not in keeping with the rest of the piece. I suppose I could show him from the back hanging upside-down somewhere. That would be in character. Hmmmm.
I like these tables, and this table.

The tea tables are not the right size, but I like the simplicity and styling of the legs.

The Madera table is just the size I need for an accent table, maybe an inch high, but that can be tolerated.

I'd prefer both of them without the beveled edge on top.
All greys do not have Southern accents.

Thank you, Mango.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

For the oldest son of the oldest son.

I packed up my father's high school ring to send to my nephew.

It's from the class of '29, Donaldson or Donaldston High School.

His initials are engraved in the band.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I so like this this song.

I heard it on the car radio today.
Today we are trying our hands at Natchitoches Meat Pies.

Chef Tony, or one of you other good cooks, how would you go about freezing these pies?

Next week we plan to try Crabmeat and Cornbread Stuffed Catfish. This one might be a prospect for our Christmas luncheon in December.

UPDATE: Four of us agree that this meat pie recipe makes the best we've had.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Lucy and the "Big Ole Hunky Boy" together.

UPDATE: Lucy is ticked about this tape. It doesn't show her to advantage. She was too busy watching Lyman's son rambling through the house to pay attention to the filming action.
Oh, me?

Shopping online.

We have decided to employ our woodworker friend to build the headboard, bedside tables, and an accent table. I'll finish them. Should have used him for the chest, too, but that's a done deal. Maybe later.

I have been looking at lamps. There are thousands of lamp designs out there, kids, and from curiosity I have looked at most of them. I'll have to say the variety is a lot better than it was 30 years ago. With a move toward "retro" design, you can find lamps suitable for Rob and Laura's (Dick Van Dyke) living room or Shaft's bedroom. The new Asian-derived looks are rife. There are plenty of traditional and formal designs out there, too.

Of course, I was looking for one that has apparently been discontinued.

I bought two of these for the living room from Spiegel about 6 years ago. About a year after that, I started seeing a design that I liked as well or better. It, too, was of wrought iron, and featured small birds sitting on branches just below the linen shade. One of those, either floor or table, would do nicely in the back room. And neither is to be found anywhere.

I'm in no hurry, and the Christmas catalogs will start arriving by the armloads soon. Maybe it will show up there.

In the meantime, I'm amassing a catalog of new possibilities, and I've looked at a lot of interesting things.

Sites I've looked at include, but are not limited to:

Lamps Plus

Shop Table Lamps

Lighting Universe

Lamps USA


So that's where I've been.

UPDATE: Not that I'll ever have a use for it, but I think this one is cool in red.

UPDATE: That link dissolves. The "Galileo" series at Bellacor is the target.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I've been asked to remove this expired Bassett Furniture link by a representative of the company. Must be screwing up their Google results. It's cool.

There you go, Ashley .

Monday, September 18, 2006

I do not like showroom furniture.

Down here, so much of it is huge and ugly.

I saw bedsteads today that wouldn't come through my double front door without scratching the walls. These are not expensive places.

I can't find a thing except sleigh beds and four posters.

On the other hand, Pottery Barn and that crowd make too small. I don't live in a 750 square foot apartment. My guests don't need to wrestle themselves up or down from a bed after a night here. I'll be 50 my next birthday, and my overnight friends are older than that.
We found this chest locally, and bought it.

It's a little lighter than I would have liked, but I think it's a good backbone for the room I'm looking for.

UPDATE: The chest I really want is my mother's, the one I cleaned with Comet when I was four or so. But my niece has that one.
The painting is finished except for the four closet doors.

Those are waiting until the carpenter comes to visit us and sees if we can, without a tremendous lot of difficulty, change away from these bypass rolling doors. They were in the first house I grew up in and I hated them then. Youngsters cannot keep them on track and the ones here were no exception.

If a change will make too much of a mess, we'll change out the tracks and the rollers and keep them. We are all older now. Unless or until grandchildren come along.

I've abandoned the idea of setting up any kind of sewing space in that room. It's just too small.

However, with some rearrangement, I could make a space on the enclosed porch, which has better light anyway. What do I want to sew? And how often? No more than I've done in the past 20 years, the floor should be fine.

I'm using Benjamin Moore Regal Semi-Gloss for this paint work. The stuff goes on like a dream and dries quickly.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

LSU 3, Auburn 7

Delete that expletive.
Floor looks great. If you check here, though, you'll see a problem. That baseboard trim color is not the same as the windows or the door frames, or the doors for that matter.

Which means that I either paint all of those to match, or invest in more paint to cover those baseboards. And since those baseboards look so bright and new, I guess my work is cut out for me.

(Delete that expletive.)

Going that far, I'm arguing for new wall paint, too.

UPDATE 9/17: It's been some years since I've painted window frames. I've forgotten where to begin. I'd suspect that for the cleanest meeting of frame and sill, I should start at the top and work down.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lucy laid the second egg of this clutch at about 7:30 p.m. today.

And my lapse of consciousness at the library the other day cost $608.38 in repairs to the Honda CRV, paid at 10:30 a.m. today. I should be thankful it wasn't an Infiniti.


I've never had my own loofah gourd before.

My friend grew some this year.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Laying the floor slowed down working on the cuts around the angled door frame and the closets. We finally finished with the floor itself yesterday evening.

Today we'll cut and nail quarter-round. We borrowed our carpenter friend's compressor and nail gun, so that should go pretty quickly.

Taping and painting trim will be my job after. The walls are in good shape.

Then we'll be looking for a queen-sized bedstead, two small bedside tables, and a tall chest of drawers. I don't care if they're new. As I've said before, we haven't been watching HGTV for nothing.

A clue?
Lucy laid an egg on the evening of September 11.

Charlie proves that what you say will come back to haunt you. He is both a chunky and handsome thing, so when I have picked him up I have sometimes called him a "hunky boy."

He is now saying, "Charlie a big ole hunky boy."

That's not obscene, but it ain't elegant, either.

Lyman doesn't like it at all. "I wish you hadn't taught him that."

Monday, September 11, 2006

SK Bubba, or since he was outed, Randy Neal, always commemorates this anniversary well. He doesn't fail this year.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lyman is whistling Steppenwolf.

What does that mean?

Friday, September 08, 2006

white closet

Now, that's better.



I know that these closets haven't been painted in 13 years.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Today's craft project is installing a Shaw glueless Versalock floor.

We were fair stymied until we decided to lock the long edge, then tamp with a scrap block from the end. The video instructed otherwise.

It's coming along now. We should be finished with the floor proper sometime Saturday, then there is the 1/4-round to finish. No call to hurry. This room has had more traffic in the past two weeks than in the past ten years.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's not a very happy day.

A friend called yesterday to tell us that another friend, 74, died Monday night. One of a couple, married 46 years.

He had his first heart attack at just about the time I arrived in town, so I didn't have the pleasure of his company as often as I would have liked. He was interesting-looking, smart, curious and funny.

His widow has lonely days ahead.

We attended his memorial service today.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I would think Kitchen Hand is shaking his head in wonder at how a recipe for Brussels sprouts could turn into an argument about the sugar content of cornbread.

Far as I can tell, sir, it's just the Southern way.

For the record, I love Brussels sprouts, even if we don't find them in the stores here often. I caught some funny looks many years ago riding the train from Long Island to New York City one morning with a stalk cradled in my arms.

They also make charming little pig heads.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Here's a natural fruit fly trap.

Yes, I have the funnels in jars with cider vinegar already set up.

More advice.

Another trap.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

sticky paper

Today's craft project is homemade, pesticide-free flypaper.

In the pot at the top of the photo is a thickened syrup made of equal parts sugar, water, and corn syrup (or in this case Log Cabin, since we seem to have no Karo) boiled until it creates a tacky surface on paper.

I am spreading that on brown paper, then will hang the strips to attract our little fruit fly buggers.

Recipe from Carolyn Swicegood at Land of Vos.

UPDATE: That doesn't appear to be working. Into the trash before the sugar ants come along.


Look at what I found in the yard.

That shoe is a size 9. (I never said I had tiny little feet.)


This page needs some visual relief. These are garlic chive blossoms.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fruit flies!

We have never had fruit flies before, but we got 'em now!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Charlie's first words this morning were "I cold."

When I give the birds baths, I always offer to let them stand on a perch in front of their personal fan heater, something like this, to dry. I ask, "Are you cold?" then extend my hand for the bird to step up.

Charlie has picked up the word without a notion of what it means.

How do you teach a bird the concept of cold? Without resorting to the old parrot joke?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Charlie's keel (breast) has healed, but the boy will go to the vet tomorrow.

His flight feathers are coming in.

He took a notion to reach my shoulder yesterday, flew into my middle back, and clung to the shirt I was wearing. That was similar to being hit between the shoulder blades with a thrown football. Go tigers.
Stupid, ditzy woman!

That would be me.

I drove down to the library today and the parking lot was a little cluttered, so I thought I'd swing around in my little car and park in that angled parking space coming in this direction.

I carefully eased around and, without so much noise as a bonk, dented Miss Terry's pretty dark green Honda CRV.

I asked the young librarian who the car belonged to, then hauled my sorry hiney upstairs to apologize to Miss Terry, the extension economist, and give her my information.

Why, Janis, why? Back up a couple of feet, change the angle of the wheel, and leave that woman's car alone.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rain yesterday: 1.85 inches.

And Lucy laid an egg in the evening, August 27.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My big brother nixed the dress. Too much fabric, he said.

He suggested the classic sheath cut a little longer.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I'd rather be an alley cat than a farmer.

Now that the soybean crop has been diminished for lack of rain, the cotton farmers are getting rain as fast as it can fall. They need sunshine.

We had a half-inch yesterday with the sun shining.

Right now it's raining at the rate of 4 inches an hour.

UPDATE: 0.82 inch at 1:13.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's 9:01 on August 24, Lucy is huffing and puffing and...bonk. We have another beautiful Eclectus parrot egg at 9:02.

Since she's learned, she keeps a schedule, laying between 9 and 10 in the evening. I amn't going to pet this one through, either.

The main thing that I was concerned about at the beginning of the year was that she would kill herself laying them. After exploring a lot, and the egg-laying has slowed down, I'm less alarmed.

Lucy is fine and beautiful. She's well-nourished. She just...lays eggs.

UPDATE: At 9:45 she's back on her usual perch to sleep.
We had a quick 0.73 inch of rain today, bringing the month's total to a bit over one inch. It washed things down and gave these poor shrubs and trees some comfort.
Here is a different picture of the Lafayette 148 dress that doesn't look so bulky.

I really like this dress, kids.

It's the shape and flow that appeal to me so much. That could be replicated with the appropriate skirt (of a shape that I could use often) and the right shirt or blouse, with a belt.

I haven't been watching those HGTV cut-rate replications of designer rooms for nothing.