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.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Speaking of Priscilla Davis, there's a great quote in the article mentioned in the comments below. She was asked why she never remarried:
I'm like the Statue of Liberty. Everyone wants to say he's been there, but nobody wants to pay for the upkeep.
Spoken like a true Dallas woman.
Lafayette 148 (the maker of the 2nd dress below at Neiman's) sure do think a lot of its products.

Look at the sale rack.
I have looked at hundreds of dresses, and for my purposes this is the one I like best, and it's a little too long. $49. I was looking for something in the $200 price range.

It can be shawled or belted or scarved. It goes with my jewelry. It has the 3/4 sleeves, the v-neck, the long flowing skirt without bulk. It can be worn with boots (which I don't wear), flats, heels, slings, mules.

I just wonder about the fabric.

And if you wind up searching for a dress, has a huge selection at discount prices.

But I'm not done yet. There's a world of blouses and tops and belts out there. In addition to my pencil skirt, I have a good-looking black knife-pleated skirt (1991).
Oh, my. Look here.

$895 and the model doesn't even look good in it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

101 degrees.'s national map today had a blurb about "showers and storms throughout the South, except for parts of Texas and Louisiana."
I am looking at dresses. My niece will wed in the spring, and I'd like something new to wear.

It is premature to look now. I don't know what time of day the event will be, or yet the month. Yes, I could ask, but where's the drama in that?

It's remarkable just how conservative my taste is and always has been. Part of that is not having pretty legs. But if I had them now, I'd opt for an elegant linen sheath with pearls.

I think this is a great dress if dull in color. But I wouldn't like to wear heels high enough to really carry it off.

My favorite so far is this one, which I could wear well into my 60's with the addition of a scarf. That silhouette allows more variability in heel height.

Here is a great classic. Ballet length has always been good for me.

I don't think I'll be buying from Neiman's. And for spring, I think I'd like something in a brighter color. Just looking around.

I own a perfectly good black pencil skirt (with a proper kick pleat from haberdas-her, not a slit, from 1984) that will look fine with a shell and a jacket, if I want.

UPDATE: The wedding will be in early March, in the evening. The black dress is looking good. Now, if I can find it or something similar for a third of that price, I'll be in good shape. Suggestions?

UPDATE: Looking at the profiles, Terry is right. With my short hair, as opposed to the longer stuff pulled back in a bow, for architecture I need a slimmer profile, but still one that covers the knees. I'm still looking for the black dress. Not a cheap black dress, and one that will go anywhere. No beads, no bows, no embroidery, no lace and no brocade.

I haven't bought a pretty dress since 1990, before I had my hair cut. I wore an 8, last I checked.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Typical, typical.

We spent $50 on several new toys for the birds -- colorful, chewy toys with bells!

Charlie's gone after the paper tag.
Let's have some fun.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Slow days.

Our thermometer showed 102, 103 and 101 degree days this week. A little cloud blew up last evening and dribbled a few drops. Not enough to wet concrete.

Good news at the local library here.

At home, we are up to our belt loops in "big tigers."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

For Diane:

In my teens I sewed a lot. Can't say much for my taste then, anymore. Culottes were big. But I did it.

I am cleaning out a back room, and I turned up with a "Friendship" quilt top. I don't remember whether my mother gave it to me, or I took it when we broke her house down after she died.

Anyway, I came across it and sent it to my quilting sister-in-law. She was thrilled. It has 68 names, I think she told me, including my mother's sisters, sister-in-law, and her mother.

If it was a going-away present (when did you last hear that phrase?), it dates from 1938. It's in excellent shape.
Just to note: Lucy hasn't laid an egg since July 5.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tonight we had a celebration dinner for a young woman who admits to the ripe age of 32. And we invited my brother, who is highly sociable, and likes lamb.

She had much my dinner at my birthday:

Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Scallion from Sarah Moulton on the Food Network:

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion including the green part
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 (1 1/4 pound) trimmed and frenched single rack of lamb (7 or 8 ribs)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mustard

In a small skillet heat the oil over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking, add the red pepper flakes, and cook them, stirring, for 10 seconds. Add the garlic and cook it, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the scallion and the rosemary and cook the mixture, stirring, for 10 seconds. Stir in the bread crumbs and salt and pepper, to taste, and remove the skillet from the heat. Mix the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl, set aside.

Heat an ovenproof skillet over moderately high heat until it is hot and in it brown the lamb, seasoned with salt and pepper, turning it for 5 minutes, or until the sides and the ends are browned evenly. Pour off any fat from the skillet, arrange the lamb, fat and meat side up, and brush with mayonnaise/mustard mixture. Then pat the crumb mixture evenly on the fat and meat side of the lamb.

Bake the lamb in the middle of a preheated 475 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 130 degrees for medium-rare meat. Transfer the lamb to a platter, let it stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

We also ate Mushrooms Mireille from the Plantation Cookbook, a New Orleans Junior League production.

Here is that recipe:

(Stuffed mushrooms)

40 mushrooms, stems removed
1 stick butter
4 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1-1/2 cups crabmeat
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons sherry

Slightly saute mushroom caps in 3 tablespoons butter. Transfer mushrooms to buttered baking dish. Saute green onions in two tablespoons butter; remove from heat and add crabmeat. In another pan cook and stir flour in 3 tablesppons butter for 5 minutes, but do not brown. Heat milk and stir into cooked flour until smooth. Add salt, pepper and sherry, and cook until sauce thickens. Mix in green onions and crabmeat. Correct seasoning. Stuff mushroom caps, sprinkle lightly with paprika, and bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

For this one, we found some substantial mushrooms. I wound up with 2 cups of crab after picking out shell particles. I upped the other ingredients by a third, and could stuff about 30. We're talking large button mushrooms here, not portabellas.

Crudites, grilled asparagus, and red grapes filled out the menu.

UPDATE: For you parents out there. We were talking about teenagers. Our girl said, "I said about five words to my mother when I was a teenager, and they were all rude."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Umm hmmm.

Chef Mojo has a recipe for Fish Tacos on Bill Quick's cooking thread this week.

We've been looking for one of those for a while. After last week's Chicken Vindaloo, I'll certainly give it a try.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Charlie is a big tiger. He is 18 months old today.

UPDATE: Yes, yes, I know the angle could be better. Perhaps I could use some help.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Last time we saw an image like this -- Saturday -- 0.12 inch of rain fell.

What disappointments await us today?

UPDATE: O.47 inch, with a good possibility of more behind. And a leak in the bedroom ceiling.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Charlie and I are working on a deep growl to go with his tigers. He likes this exercise.
The Natchez Democrat has a poll question up today that the editors might like to rethink:
Do you think music is too sexually provocative?

No opinion

Monday, August 07, 2006

I have a couple of readers who cook Indian cuisine.

Surfing around the Internet this morning I found a recipe for Chicken Vindaloo in the comments at Bill Quick's Daily Pundit.

Looks good to me, and I can fake my way through most of it. Take a look at the recipe if you will, and offer a substitute for the black mustard seeds. Yellow seeds I can do. They're often used in pickling and preserving around here.

I've e-mailed Chef Mojo, but he doesn't know me and he's a busy man who might take some time getting back to me.

(Of course Jordana and kitchen hand are idle slumps who can and will leap to my every beck and call. Chef Tony?)

UPDATE: Chef Mojo says yellow seeds are fine. And he didn't list an ingredient -- 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns to be ground with the other spices.
If you want to do something organic and scary for Halloween, consider using pistachio shell halves as fingernails on cakes or cookies. I bet they could be dyed to any desired color with food dye. Of course, they're too tough to eat.

I came upon this idea when a slimy one popped out of the garbage disposal. Arghhh!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lucy likes watermelon

Lucy likes watermelon.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Marketplace had a good crowd this morning.

We arrived after the contest was over and as the demonstration was beginning. On the way to join the group we met Jane, who offered us a roasted garlic-prosciutto-parmesan biscuit. Not a bad way to start the day, even if she didn't place.

Ms. Charboneau showed us the process for making her butter biscuits.

She was strict about the proportion of butter to margarine in the recipe -- 1 butter to 3 margarine -- the butter for richness and the margarine for flakiness.

She combined all ingredients in a stand mixer and gave it only a few turns, just two or three sprints of a second or so, creating a soft, sticky dough with large lumps of butter and margarine.

She turned that onto a floured board, and rolled, folded, turned and rolled again several times. When she was satisfied, she cut them about 3/4 inch thick.

Her product was flaky and rich, with a somewhat crispy bottom. Glenda and I thought they were just a little sweet to use with gravy, but that they'd be lovely with jams and jellies.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

This weekend, eh?

Here's the part that interests me:
Saturday morning activities begin at 8 a.m. at The Main Street Marketplace with the Great River Road Martha White Biscuit Cook-Off.

“I really want to urge people to come on down with a couple of dozens biscuits and enter the contest,” Charboneau said. “It’s fun. And we need lots of participation in this.”

Charboneau will conduct a biscuit-making demonstration following the contest.

All the activities at The Main Street Marketplace are free and open to everyone, she said.
I could use some instruction in biscuit-making.

UPDATE: I could make a couple dozen of my best biscuits and take them to the contest. I bet I'd get some learnin' then.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Something I've not thought about until today is that Lucy's colors are those of my alma mater.

She has a near-perfect SMU coed personality. But it's good for Ole Miss coeds, too.
Charlie is a member of an LSU fan family. All his vets are LSU graduates. So here's a clip for them:

He'll be able to shout with the best of them come the season.

You'll note that this tape records one of the rare times that Charlie has spoken for a minute without talking about himself. But not a second longer.