Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What a glossy, rich gravy makes from this oxtail recipe.

I'm leaving out the sugar snap peas, and dropping in a handful of frozen English peas. Less sweet.

If the coming year is anything like the last, best to have a sturdy beginning.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ain't that cool.

The daughter of the boys' friend wheeled up this afternoon on a Triton (with her dad right behind her.) Grandma and Granddad popped for one for each of two cousins.

I want a big one.
I'm listening to Christmas music on where you can pick your genre.

Classical, for now.

Maybe I can find some Cajun music for dinner, which will be fried catfish today. Yes, Lyman's dad is coming and that's his request.

Merry Christmas, y'all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I have one stuffed animal that was given to me by an aunt when I was hit by a car 49 years ago, and I want no more.

But I've enjoyed looking at the toys from Fiesta, brought to my attention over at Possumblog.

How about this cutie?

I like the owls, too, and the kiwi.

Today, the part from Sears should arrive, which is remarkable since I just ordered on Sunday and asked for standard shipping. I'll call that a gift.

To you, a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah, or whatever you choose.

In bird news, Lucy has an egg today. When I sing "We wish you a merry Christmas" to Charles Gore, he responds with "oom papa papa papa oom mau." He's never sensed a need for a second "mau."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

$12.42 from Sears' online parts.

The front support for the vegetable crisper in the fridge is defunct.

Friday, December 19, 2008

We just changed cell phone plans. We were with Cingular, which was sucked into AT&T.

Lyman's son told us about a "seeing eye phone" available from Centennial for seniors over 55 (Lyman is 62 -- I'm a young, vibrant 51), which has a larger screen and large keys, but doesn't do pictures or the Internet, or other excess uses for which we have no need. $29.95 a month, for which we will have excess minutes.

We had more than 4,000 rollover minutes from AT&T. I asked if we could donate those minutes to the military. No, AT&T does not participate in such a program.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I got nothing, so here's a sweet picture of Niamh (Neeve) from Kate in the snowlands.

We put together the Christmas luncheon for the folks yesterday. This year's menu was shrimp cocktail, turtle soup, Caesar salad, fried shrimp and oysters with french fries (Lyman's dad's request -- he's growing older and weaker, and is trying to cram as much fried seafood as he can get into his last times) and sweet potato bread pudding with rum sauce and whipped cream.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Ann Althouse is having some fun today.

She's expanded on a post by Orin Kerr about Lawrence Welk shows.

For my part, the costumes in the original clip put up by Mr. Kerr are cheesy, but the routine appears to be standard ballroom dance fare. (Though that little leap to the shoulder at the end nearly took them both down.)

And I'm with Ms. Althouse, that roomful of musicians had probably forgotten more about "toking" than Brewer and Shipley had learned yet.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Peg Britton's husband and best friend has died.

Rest in peace, Mr. Britton.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Click to view my Personality Profile page

(Thanks, Diane.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We're not the only ones who know what a female Soloman Island Eclectus looks like.

Needs work on the beak.

(Thanks, Ms. Althouse.)
That little boy has beets on his plate.

(I love pickled beets, and I never think to buy them. Both my grandmothers canned them.)

I wonder if Batman won that battle, too?
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Since I'm all butch, let's talk about my new kitchen knife.

I now have one of these, on Chef Tony's recommendation, supplemented by good opinions from Cook's Illustrated.

Mine came from Amazon, at just below $22, last week.

It's a light knife for its size, but with a sharper blade out of the box than the expensive Henckels set we bought years ago. The Calphalon was a good looking knife, and sharpened all right, but was some heavy over time.

If you'd like to try a large knife, it's a good way to go.

And as I'm so masculine, I used the Dremel to widen the the upper portion of the slot in our wooden knife block to accommodate its width.

Yeah, yeah, I'm gnarly.
I've been picking up books by Ed Gorman at the library.

The ones I've read are in the mystery/crime genre. His books are unapologetically short, good reads.

But I bring him up because his blog offers plenty of recommendations of television shows, films and books by other authors that he likes.

The political novel, Sleeping Dogs, on the home page of his site intrigues me.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Now that's interesting.

How did they ever come up with that analysis?

(Thanks, Tim Blair, who comes up 73% female.)

UPDATE: Maybe I was stuck in a time warp. Now they're saying my blog has a 58% probability of being written by a woman. That sounds about right. If you hadn't seen this before, it was estimated at 93% male written.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For the bird watchers who come here:

Bird Dance-Off videos from

Monday, November 17, 2008

A little off-color Christmas humor from Mostly Cajun.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I am still a member of the Nail-Patella Syndrome message board. Amidst a lot of serious talk about DIY dialysis and surgeries to help children walk, a young woman was inquiring about a cosmetic fix for her legs. She doesn't like having ugly legs. Who does?

But it brought to mind this old song, which I posted to the board:

Lyman said he doesn't remember it. I said I do, because I've always had skinny legs.

He says I'm paranoid.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The maker told me some people use these as placecard holders for holiday parties, then "happies" for the guests when they leave.

Silly turkeys. Kids would love them.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Our very own Phil Spector done dark.

The treat is oyster Rockefeller soup from Artist's Palate.

I looked at this headline and thought, well, Lousiana has the Sugar Bowl, and Florida has the Orange Bowl, and Dallas has the Cotton Bowl, so what does El Paso, Texas, have to do with spaghetti?

Let's talk glamour.

Yesterday Lyman disconnected the toilet seat in the master bath and took it to LCR.

The old American Standard seat is available, but we need to match "1962 beige." We dashed back over with 15 minutes to spare to pick a color.

While they have plenty of options, beige is a booger to match.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sometimes Louisiana Amendments just look a little weird. We have a whole list for every major election.

Scroll down to number 6 and tell me someone isn't looking for some favors.

That's beyond weird. That's ugly. Or "explain me different."
For a little entertainment, how about some upside-down dogs?

Is anything too silly for the Internet?

(Thanks, Big Arm Woman.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

If Sarah Palin does have to give all her clothes back after the election, concerned citizens should take up a collection to keep that red suit and those boots for her. (See picture 10.)

Five thousand women are going to buy that ensemble and not come near looking as good as she does in it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The recipe for eggless Caesar dressing that we served last night came from a little magazine called "Diabetes & You" from Walgreen's pharmacy. None of us is diabetic, but the dressing is plenty tasty:

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together lemon juice, anchovies, garlic and mustard in a large bowl; slowly whisk in oil. Stir in cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lettuce, toss and serve.

We had spare cheese to grate over and the pepper mill at the ready for anyone who wanted more.

This will go onto the Christmas brunch menu, along with the sweet potato bread pudding. This bread pudding is much lighter than many, more like a custard.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Big birthday celebration today -- my brother turned 64.

Tonight's menu: Osso Buco Milanese, linguine marinara, Caesar salad, and sweet potato bread pudding with rum sauce.

At his last weigh-in in Jackson, Charles was up to 169.2 pounds, up from 140 when he was released from the nursing home in June.

He walks with a cane. He signed a lease for a different house today, one that doesn't have such a long flight of steps to the entry, and will resume his own life on November 1.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Dustbuster died.

So on to the Internet for some research. After reading about a thousand reviews, I decided on one of these, based mainly on information here.

I bought it at Sears, where the price was $59.99. KMart has the Shark SV736 at $39.99, but carpet and upholstery are not the main culprits around here. Bird area and bathrooms, the office and kitchen are the places that need the frequent quick swipe.

The main complaint I'm reading about hand-held vacs now is that the batteries don't last long. After a year or so, the batteries won't recharge. This B&D has a two year warranty, so wish me luck.

Just testing this morning. Will it suck up mosquitos and fruitflies?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Trying something new this evening.

Great aroma.

UPDATE: That's a keeper in our household. We found it in a sample issue of the magazine Cuisine at home.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What does Tom Wolfe have to say about the current meltdown?

The boys and girls are just fine.
All right, already.

But who called the margin? Where, particularly, did the liquidity fail?

Someones, somewhere, called in the debt. Who did it?

Teach me.

UPDATE: What exactly was it that tripped the trigger in the last month? Quarterly reports?

Something happened to pitch everyone into a panic. I've been watching this at the New York Times and no one says right off what set things off. Something did.

UPDATE: Four quarterly losses, I think I'm reading.
Paulson and Lockhart unveiled a four-part plan to come to the aid of the agencies, which have sustained combined losses of $14 billion in the past four quarters.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fendi for Spring.

Look at that hair. I can do that!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can't think of a better time to repost this cartoon.

(Thanks, Tim Blair, for such a repeatedly useful bit.)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I have a question.

Lyman's younger son called to ask "Is there a word for the overcooked rice at the bottom of the pan?" He was with a group of friends, and one thought there was such a word, and that it might begin with a "p".

I said that I thought I'd heard of at least one, but I couldn't recall.

I've been researching today. Iranian cookery has the term "tahdeeg," but that is an intentional effect, as is "socarrat" in paella cookery.

Seems Louisiana or South Carolina, the states where cooks used rice in recipes before the advent of Asian or Latin influence, should have a term or terms.

Do you know anything about such a thing, regardless of origin?

I always liked the chewy stuff.

UPDATE: Chef Mojo here offers "pegao" from Puerto Rico. A reader there offers "okoge" from Japan.

I found "concon" from the Dominican Republic.

UPDATE: Ah, Mostly Cajun says "gratin" for the Cajuns.

What about the Carolinas?

UPDATE: I'm still missing anything from the Carolinas. It's there somewhere, I'm convinced.

So I've e-mailed the Culinary Institute of Charleston.

What's the harm? So they might ignore me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sorry, we've been to Jackson for a bone marrow aspiration.

So, catching a greasy hog by the tail, Charles asks, "Where is Miss Piggy on the lipstick issue?"

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Lyman's son, Michael, has always thought he'd like to run a food establishment.

He's working with a man who's on contract to Cleco electic. They're in Alexandria now. He's waking in the morning to feed 600-800 people breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I was a waitress in food establishments and learned that wouldn't be my career.

He showed up yesterday for a day off. His clothes stank, his feet hurt, and he was appalled by theft and waste.

Welcome to the big world.

The big oak was walloped by Gustav.

But nothing else was damaged.

Read the Louisiana links at left to find worse.

Family friends with a three-week-old baby are at the coastal condo for an electric fix. They aren't expecting electricity in their area of Baton Rouge for a couple of weeks.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Here is a report on what we might expect locally from Gustav. The hurricane has degraded to a Cat 2, though, and effects might be lighter than previously expected.

It's fair to expect that we'll lose power for a short while. Ms. Alexander used to complain that we'd lose power anytime a cloud came over.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Good Lord. Maybe they should have given the the Clinton campaign some say in the convention.

Nothing better to rouse the blue collar guys than a sailboat skimming across Nantucket Bay.

Ted Kennedy is "Still the One".

UPDATE: Charles said last night: "When are they going to bring on the big speakers? I can't stay up much past ten."

I know Denver is on mountain time, but I'm wrapping things up by 8:30 central and have my nose stuffed in a book by nine most nights. Ted Kennedy came on at 8:30 central, 9:30 in the east, with Michelle Obama much later.

The only thing that kept me up was the new HDTV. Lyman had to have it for the upcoming football season. Anderson Cooper needed a shave. He was developing a shadow on his upper lip.

So I couldn't help but think of the guy who drove here two hours from Winnfield, installed a new dish in the rain, then drove back two hours to Winnfield to the office, then home for some supper and relaxation. That's your conscientious blue-collar worker, too tired to watch past nine.

Have they scheduled the other major speakers as late?

On the other hand, people with school-aged kids can't catch a breath before that time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This is a chemotherapy day.

It starts at 5:30 and ends at about 5:30, too. Charles has another driver today, so I won't be attending.

He and his driver will arrive in Jackson at about nine. After having a breakfast of biscuits and sausage here they were on the road at seven.

At the hospital, they'll claim one of the wheelchairs and set Charles aside in the lobby while Brian parks. Charles can walk with a walker now, but hospital corridors tire a healthy person. Then it's off to the blood lab for an extraction done by some of the best stickers you'll ever see. Take a ticket and wait in line. A number and a set of labels come to you. Poke, label and done. Then to check-in for the cancer clinic.

At check-in they confirm the patient identity and take vitals: temperature, blood pressure and weight.

Then to the clinic lobby where they'll wait to see a doctor. In two trips, I could see that it was a familiar place. The receptionist has ongoing conversations with the patients she knows.

After about four hours at the hospital, treatment will start, which takes about an hour and a half. The chemotherapy nurse (the last one was a man who spent about half an hour slowly injecting a red drug into the the IV tube close to the port), then the IV drugs will start.

Last time it took about an hour and 45 minutes. Then there's lunch in Jackson, then the drive home.

It's a long day.

And it's a good hospital, if slow. I like the doctors and the nurses and the helpful people in the halls.

I was a little confused when I took Charles to the hospital the first time, when they kept him. The doctor had given me a card, so I emailed him. I had an answer within an hour and a half, signed with his first name.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Oh, for goodness' sake.

Now that 28,000 sq. ft. house makes some sense.
Small griefs.

The dust bit the rugs.

They needed replacing. The ones I liked so much, and in budget. But they were seven years old under hard use.

I couldn't find anything in the market comparable, so here we are.

They look great, but I think I'll regret the purchase soon.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Jordana and I like zinnias.

They're generous.

The greenery (before you ask) is Japanese arrow cane that we planted as a vision and sound brake between neighbors. It works.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Charles is now doing well.

His white blood cell count was too low for chemotherapy on Tuesday, but he's scheduled for next week. Another 5:30 wakeup and two hour drive to Jackson.

When he went in on July 10, his weight was 140.8 pounds. When he went in on July 29 his weight was 158. His average weight healthy and target is about 180. I know that he weighed 154 in March. We're getting somewhere.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh, my. Let's not show this site to Lyman.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


When I picked Charles up after chemotherapy today in Jackson, one of the doctors started to give me a lecture about keeping an eye on Charles' calcium level and being sure to bring him in if it ticks up a point or two.

I said I didn't need a lecture, to give it to the boys in emergency, the ones who sent us home after one liter of fluid when I was there with Charles on July 4.

Now everyone is on the same page, I think, and I plan to keep them on their toes. Dammit.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Starbucks is having some problems.

I've been reading the gossip. What I'm not seeing on the gossip site is the possibility that the Starbucks entity has run its course. It's been out there for how many years, 20? Well, that's about right for a popular trend.

Let's face it, the people buying grand venti macchiato caramels with extra whip never liked coffee in the first place. Starbucks didn't thrive on a $2 espresso. When gas goes to 4 bucks a gallon, a bag of Chips Ahoy does the trick at less expense.

I'd guess it's seen its day.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Now Charles is at the VA hospital in Jackson undergoing more testing and treatment for hypercalcemia, which mainly entails hydration.

He went in for chemotherapy and the doctors didn't like the look of his current failure to thrive.

Good. That's why I took him to urgent care there on July 4.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

For Papa Possum, Happy Birthday!
Took a little ride to Vicksburg today with my brother. Pulled into the Kentucky Fried Chicken parking lot two blocks from the hematologist's office to answer a phone call.

It was the doctor's nurse telling me that we didn't need to come in after all, that chemotherapy is scheduled tomorrow at the Veterans Hospital in Jackson. We have to be there at 9 a.m.

That was an hour-and-a-half drive up there.

Tomorrow's run is two hours one way.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Ah! We've had a visit from the fish fairy. That's a redfish tail.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Interesting semi-sports news.

(Thanks, OTB Sports.)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I don't care for the song, but Merle Haggard is a handsome old dog. That's the kind of man's face I find attractive.

Here's Mr. Haggard as a child. He looks like Brando's Stanley Kowalski in "Streetcar Named Desire."

(Thanks, Mr. Walker.)

Monday, June 30, 2008

What really pisses me off here is that homosexuals are being thrown out of the services right and left. My brother had no choice. He served under the draft for Vietnam.

Now that he has Hodgkins (care of Mayo Cinic) they're dragging their feet.

Hard, isn't it, when you choose to send men or women to war?

UPDATE: Now that's better. 18 approved visits to a local rehab center. Only two weeks lost here.

Hell, yes, I'm cranky. We loaned Charles $10,000 for the nursing home because no one else was forthcoming. Time is a factor here, y'all. And my back hurts, right buttock and thigh.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Trouble here.

I don't know whether it's depression or something medical, but I'm getting no cooperation out of my brother.

This won't do.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ye gads.

I was at the desk at the nursing home receiving instructions from Charles' nurse when the buzzer started buzzing and a man started screaming for a nurse.

After another nurse went to his room, I suppose, he started to yell.

"What have I done to deserve this?"

Charles said he hoped it wasn't the new admit who had a leg amputated from complications of diabetes.

Fat chance it wasn't, I think.

Charles has the crud, feels lousy. He has a low temperature. Pneumonia wouldn't be welcome about now, but a possibility.

UPDATE: Nah, nah. He had a pneumonia shot.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Charles went to the hospital in Jackson on March 21.

He's coming here from the nursing home tomorrow. He's up to using a walker now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Radio XM40 notes:

Allman Brothers, Back Where It All Begins

I wanted to throw back the sunroof on the G35 and ride the road.

I could use a much cheaper car, but I'm not so sure I want to do without satellite radio anymore.

The son says to wait until XM and Sirius merge, as they are almost sure to do.
Lucy is making a honking noise sometimes during her mating ritual which sounds like she's playing a kazoo.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I have a question.

On I-20, in Vicksburg, and approaching the center of Jackson, MS, the A designated exits (such as 40A) go south and the Bs go north. Is that true all along I-20? All along east-west interstates?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Lucy laid an egg during her bath today.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

This guy must search for Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
So is Al Gore totally out of the question as VP? Would it be such a step back for him? It couldn't be sweetened in any way with him in mind?
Al Gore was vice-president for eight years before, narrowly missed becoming president in 2000, and is now making money hand over fist doing things he believes in and loves.

Why would anyone think he'd volunteer to run as Obama's VP?

That is crazy talk.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Charles Gore is saying "Oak" today. That's part of his address.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Decrepit old men be dragging me down.

Cataract surgery for a left, and only working, eye today for Lyman -- successful so far

Dr. in Vicksburg working at getting Charles into VA at level required -- so, so

Charlie says "Charles Gore" thirty-five times.

Monday, June 02, 2008

This one is good, too.

I added two cans of Rotel tomatoes, and used chicken broth rather than water to cover the pork. Only 1 tablespoon of chipotle in adobo.

I doubt that it's particularly authentic, but it was tasty and easy to cook.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

My, my, folks. This recipe is dandy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The image with this story reminds me of something.

And no, it's still not finished.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rats! I think I have a stress fracture in my left foot.

It's happened before.

But not on a Memorial Day weekend.

UPDATE: Just a bruise, I think now, but I can't think when I bonked something.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'll continue to insist that the best life advice was given to me by a scarf clerk at Dillard's department store.

I had somehow not paid my bill, and she was directing me to the credit department.

She told me to exit the escalator upstairs, then to "not go straight, but go forward."

She meant that I should dodge the display at the top of the stairs.

"Don't go straight, go forward," has become a tenet.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I have a happy story, too.

Lyman's son, Michael, and I went to bring Charles to Natchez from Jackson yesterday. He'll spend several days in a nursing home there for physical rehabilitation.

It's a heck of a lot easier to attend to someone's needs when he's eight minutes away.
My sister sent this happy story.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blog writers and commenters aren't even trying anymore.

Once again:

"I led the dog by his leash down the sidewalk." Not l-e-a-d

"The PETA protesters observed us with disdain." Not d-i-s-t-a-i-n

I'm not always right when I write, but I'm not always wrong, either.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Been talking to the local Veteran's Service Officer today. The VA bureaucracy is just below the IRS for efficiency and compassion. Mind, the local service officer is top-notch.

Now for a quote from the back of Shellie Tomlinson's book, Suck your Stomach In & Put Some Color On!: What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters That the Rest of Y'all Should Know Too:
Hickey my hind end, give that boy a pacifier!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hell, no wonder the middle class is feeling that they don't have enough.

This year, on HGTV, a family has a tract $650,000 house, that needs $300,000 worth of improvements to make it comfortable for a family.

We used to be taught paint solutions to small houses.

The economy isn't that screwed, it's that everyone thinks every child needs a cell phone, a laptop, and a new SUV to carry them around.

Yo, kids, we just middle class.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Here's one for Kate.
I hope Ms. Tomlinson's book signing wasn't rained out. At about 2 p.m. it began to pour here. An inch and a half of rain fell.

I arrived at 12:30, splitting the difference between the noon mentioned at Shellie's site and the 1 p.m. stated at Turning Pages' site. She was just driving up as I was reaching for the door handle.

She's just what she appears to be at All Things Southern. I'm glad I met her. But I didn't have my color on, and so sadly, missed a photo opportunity.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shellie Tomlinson of All Things Southern will be at Turning Pages tomorrow, 1-3 p.m, to sign her new book, Suck Your Stomach In & Put Some Color On!

I think I'll go. She's a funny girl.

Today I'm off to Jackson for a short visit with the brother.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Drats! Tim's site was always good for a little entertainment. Commenters had fun there.

I wonder how many sacks of crawfish have been cooked in Louisiana during this Mother's Day weekend?

Lyman and Michael cooked this one yesterday.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I used to go there in the late 70s. Good job, Empire!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Nuzzle, nuzzle, kiss, kiss, a whispered "Hot-Water Cornbread," and I just got myself a pretty blue dress. Lyman likes blues. And hot-water cornbread.

Yes, ladies, I'm shameless. Happy Mother's Day.
Windows without crosspieces 1
Wild birds -1

What a depressing morning. Yesterday I cleaned the birds' window so they could see out.

This morning a wild bird flew into it and broke its neck, I guess. Poor little thing. Or a real dummy. Maybe he didn't have a chance in life. It's the first time that's happened.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I received a comment on Lucy's "Hormonal Lucy" video today.

The owner of a Red-Sided Eclectus says he doesn't think her behavior is hormonal but "begging" behavior.

I have $500 in vet bills and thirty Eclectus eggshells that say this guy or gal should keep they opinions to themselves.

Lucy's middle name ain't "Faberge" for nothing.
Oh, dear. A pretty dress in a gorgeous color.

Where was it last year when I was looking for a dress for a wedding?

I could compete with Lucy in that dress. Well, maybe not.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A really pretty picture of a mother and child. Thanks, Kate!

I do have to wonder about that Irish name, Niamh, pronounced "neeve." Those old bards were heavily into the mead when they came up with that spelling, hunh?
Charles reports that the doctor says that if he can get on his feet with a walker this week, he'll come home by the weekend.

This is the seventh week he has been in hospital. (Useful English usage here, since he's been in two hospitals during this time.)

Our brother from Euless, in the Dallas metro area, is going to visit today.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I shocked Charlie by shouting a loud "No!" at him for biting me hard while I was delivering a food dish.

Charlie was so hurt that Lucy is preening his head. Shush, don't say anything.
And I've started using Mean Green as the main laundry stain remover and laundry additive. It works as well as dedicated products at half the price.
You know something is amiss when a woman walks out of the dollar store with two gallons of Mean Green cleaner concentrate.

The Viking rangetop and vent hood are fire hazards.

If Lyman could or would clean half as well as he cooks, I'd consider myself a lucky woman, indeed.
Lucy has finally had it with sitting eggs. It never works for her.

She still lays them -- had one this morning -- but now she eats them.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Lyman's running for the board at the condo. One of the old guard is livid.

Sorry. Suck it up. She should be glad I'm not running. Lyman is tactful.

UPDATE: He was elected. Oh, my.
Just for women.

But it's Lucinda Faberge who has sheer star power.

I've looked at my videos. Hers has more views than any of Charlie's, without saying a single word.

Yeah, yeah.

The birds are hanging around.

What will I do when Charlie says, "Charles feels like French panties"?

Silk, you know. The boy has a good texture.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The woman who has cut my hair for nearly fifteen years is a natural redhead -- milky skin, freckles and all.

When I started the car to go to the shop salon, this song came on.
Have you seen Julian Beever's drawings?

Someone sent us a few in an e-mail.
Spiegel does smart marketing.

I like the 40s Mom look, but I wouldn't last ten minutes on those heels.

That's a great pair of trousers for the 60s Mom.

The 50s Mom (me) look doesn't do a lot for me. It's been a while since I wore bows, and I don't do brown.

UPDATE: Interesting, that tight neck for the 50s Mom. Does that mean she hasn't made it to the plastic surgeon yet, or that she hasn't yet decided to let the crepe all hang out like the 60s Mom?
More life on the Mississippi.

A real morning charmer, eh?

I have an appointment for a haircut at noon 1:30. I wish I had Sigourney Weaver's or Natalie Portman's head.

I challenge YOU to post a picture of "bedhead."
Speaking of good lines, there are a couple in Ray's comment over at Mostly Cajun:
I happen to know John and i know that he is so tight that when birds fly over him they say Cheap Cheap. Copper wire was invented when John and his dad was fighting over a penny.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I spoke to my MIL this morning.

She knows a bit about long-distance nursing. She did it for her mother in Monroe, until MamaJ moved to Vidalia.

She said, "I worry about you, Janis. Looking after someone that way wears a person down. You look like a bar of laundry soap after a long day's washing."

Great line, Girl.
Let's look in on Kate and the new baby.

Hey, Kate! You make a lovely pair.
Summer's new neutrals.

I'd be a dead washout in those colors.
On North 55 in Jackson, near the Northside exit, sits a huge Kroger grocery store.

Near the deli-bakery section is a set of short aisles dedicated to foreign foods -- marked English, French, Asian, Indian, Brazilian, Mediterranean, etc.

So I took the opportunity to purchase a jar of Branston pickle and a couple of packs of McVitie's digestive biscuits. Expensive, yes, but cheaper than a trip to England.

Then a can of tahini for hummous, and some oyster sauce and hoisin for Asian food.

Sometimes I do like to shop.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The current health news is that Charles' red blood cell count is normal, the white cell count is low, but coming up, and the platelet level is normal.

Remission, kids. We're talking remission.
XM radio 40 notes:

Santana, Europa

Rolling Stones, Before They Make Me Run

Sunday, April 27, 2008

So, I helped Charles with his lunch (he has a bad left index finger right now), unwrapping utensils and cutting ham with a plastic knife and fork, then sat down to read the Clarion-Ledger.

I like to check on Judith Martin and the Dear A's to "put my finger on the pulse of the nation."

Behold this item:
DEAR ABBY: A friend and I attended a bridal shower of a friend's daughter. After the young woman opened her gifts, we were escorted to another room where blank note cards were strewn on a coffee table, surrounded by envelopes and stamps. The hostess instructed us to write on these folded cards our names and what we had given the bride-to-be.

The hostess told us to write: "Dear Mary (using our own names, of course), Thank you for the nice afghan" (or whatever we had given), and place the card in one of the envelopes. We were then told to address and stamp the envelopes, but not to seal them so (I assume) the "too busy" bride-to-be could sign her name.

As I foolishly followed these ridiculous instructions, I was tempted to thank myself for the 30-minute drive I had made in each direction to purchase a gift, and the 45-minute drive I made to attend the shower.

How stupid are we going to feel when the "thank-yous," in our own handwriting, show up in the mail? My son says I should refuse the letter.

And do you want to know the "topper"? I asked the bride-to-be before leaving when her wedding was. Get this -- it's in two days. I am not even invited to the wedding!

What's wrong with this generation? Please shed some light on this. Thanks, Abby. I feel better now that I've vented -- stupid, but better. -- FEELING USED IN KANSAS

DEAR FEELING USED: Nothing is wrong with "this generation." What you have described is a family that never learned basic good manners. Rather than an "afghan" -- or whatever your gift was -- the bride-to-be would have been better served to have received a book on etiquette.
Boy's getting a real jewel there. Of course, he could be just as nice. A couple of barracudas swimming off together into the sunset.

Taken with permission

Mennonite Disaster Service
Well, I'll be. There's a group of Amish volunteers in the lobby this morning from northern Indiana. They're on their way to New Orleans to do construction for a week. Lucky New Orleans.

A Mennonite is driving.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

XM radio 40 notes:

Blind Faith, Acoustic Jam

The Soul Survivors, Expressway to Your Heart

Friday, April 25, 2008

In my medical frame of mind, I found this post from Hit & Run funny.

I especially like the symbol for "amnesia."
I'm chillin' at a Super8 Motel in Jackson. Just a few doors south is an okay Mexican place called Mambo's. The food was edible (nothing to brag too loud about), but the staff was friendly, and it's something of a joint, and that's my kind of place.

A baby was banging on a table, a toddler was running around, and construction workers were grabbing a drink and takeout before going home -- perfect for a woman eating alone in a strange neighborhood.

On the top shelf at the bar is a tequila called Hornitos, which I find a little frightening. I declined to try it.

The brother could be doing better. I'm working on that.

UPDATE: "Hornitos" are actually agave ovens, according to the site. You explain that to the frat boys.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

In the mail:
Last year I replaced all the windows in my house with that expensive double-pane energy efficient kind, and today, I got a call from the contractor who installed them.. He was complaining that the work had been completed a whole year ago and I still hadn't paid for them.

Helllooooo? Just because I'm blond doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid. So, I told him just what his fast talking sales guy had told me last year, that in ONE YEAR these windows would pay for themselves!

Helllooooo? It's been a year, I told him.

There was only silence at the other end of the line, so I finally just hung up. He never called back. Guess I won that stupid argument.

I bet he felt like an idiot.
Prima donnas. I live in a houseful and now I'm talking to one long-distance.

I'm converting and joining a convent. A silent one.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Charles was transferred to a long-term acute care facility in Jackson last Thursday, and is now experiencing a bout of hospital psychosis.

UPDATE: I could do with a lot less drama in my current life.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I must be the only person in the world having a hard time finding a notary in Jackson, MS. The secretary of state's office tells me there are thousands in Jackson, but probably not one who would visit the hospital to notarize the document granting Charles' power of attorney to me. Not without better knowledge of the parties involved.

You Are Chardonnay

Fresh, spirited, and classic - you have many facets to your personality.

You can be sweet and light. Or deep and complex.

You have a little bit of something to offer everyone... no wonder you're so popular.

Approachable and never smug, you are easy to get to know (and love!).

Deep down you are: Dependable and modest

Your partying style: Understated and polite

Your company is enjoyed best with: Cold or wild meat

But I like to drink reds.

(Thanks, Tony.)
The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi just pissed me off.

The Major Dude and I have been looking for some pastoral counseling and simple visits for Charles since Thursday, and after five calls I just got handed off to St. Phillips, where the priest was on vacation and the woman at the desk is an insensitive bitch.


You wonder why I don't like churches.

UPDATE: And hell, no, the boy don't need a Southern Baptist. But at least they'd show up.
A lovely and sharp acoustic guitar number with harmonica is David Bromberg's "Dehlia". From this album.
Wait now, the Irish song comes from that Jewish boy, David Bromberg.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I, ahem, sent off my membership fee for AARP.

Now I'm a big girl like my brothers and sister.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I turned up with a lovely Irish tune on my Ipod with guitar, fiddle and pipes, and I don't have a clue where it came from. If you purchase tunes from Itunes, do they throw in a freebie sometimes?

That's not on Eric Clapton's "Unplugged," is it?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I also like Paul Simon. He worked with Hugh Masekela.
More Life on the Mississippi.
Here's the definitive version of that song by Sammi Smith.
Try this on.

And this one. One of my favorite country western songs.
Isn't that pretty?

Neat comment below:
Years ago when I was in the Merchant Navy trans Pacific we were acompianied by a huge Albatross who stayed with us for days.
I remember the 2nd Mate playing this over the Tannoy system when the bird appeared. magic.
Charles' car has XM radio. I've been listening to number 40, "Deep Tracks."

Yesterday I heard Ry Cooder, JJ Cale, and the original Fleetwood Mac's Oh, Well. Pre-Stevie Nicks.
I can't help it bout the shape I'm in,
I can't sing, I ain't pretty, and my legs are thin,

But don't ask me what I think of you. I might not give the answer that you want me to.
You're out there, Mr. Green, and I remember. I was 10 or 11 when you were doing the hard work. What a smile.

Here is Ray, the Major Dude, at the exhibit of the USS Cairo.

He is 68. He left home at 17, in August of the year I was born, to join the Coast Guard. He was stationed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, after retirement, he has become a honcho in the Coast Guard Auxilliary patrolling the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon.

Guess he liked it, hunh?

Friday, April 18, 2008

My camera and skills do not do justice to the vistas from areas of the park at Vicksburg National Military Park.

The canopy covers the remains of the USS Cairo, an ironclad sunk in the Yazoo River.

One of the artifacts from the boat was a medicine bottle marked "M'Leans Strengthening Cordial." I'd like to order a case, please.
And I'm home, for the while.

Please, send thoughts and prayers for this one. I bet you'd like him, too.
The Major Dude will be lifting off for Portland soon.

It's back down to Charles and me, and I need to go home, too. It's been a busy week and we could both use some rest.

God, help the man. Hold his heart up, and maybe his body will follow. Amen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Since Charles had a favorite lady visitor from Baton Rouge today (the pretty mother of his godchildren), the Major Dude and I split for Vicksburg to visit the battlefield park.

For nearly 15 years I've lived in the Natchez area, just a little more than an hour from Vicksburg, and have never visited the site. What a beautiful, peaceful and sobering experience.

My brother is a history buff and called it one of the experiences of a lifetime. The boy just don't make it down south too often.

For dinner, we had steaks at Crechale's. Reviewer Curtis Smith here is obviously an undiscerning dumbbunny.

Anybody who can't appreciate a jukebox with Ray Price, Gene Autry, Pete Fountain and Artie Shaw best stick to McDonald's.

Oh, and Floyd Cramer's "Last Date," just one of the greatest songs ever.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Big Brother, the Major Dude from Oregon, is with my sister, looking after the brother in Jackson. I'm down home talking to birds for the night.

It's funny to see Charles treated like the little brother he is to the Major Dude.

He's dangling the Infiniti keys in Charles' face. "I like your nice little car."

Sort of a shame to take it away from him. He loves cars.

Any major dude will tell you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Take a look here, and tell me if you have any experience with something similar.

Charles is in a bind. His beard has grown out hunter-style, and his Braun shaver-trimmer just can't handle the bulk. He wants one tool to substitute for now, for heavy trimming, then tidying up. This looks like it might fill the bill.

What do you think?

UPDATE: I went with this one which I found at Wal-mart, along with half a dozen cold-aids. They carried Wahls, but not that particular model, and this one had the widest shaving blade amongst the rest.

Hey, he don't like it, he can give it back. I might need it in a few years. Or, ahem, I might like to put on a bathing suit.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Recent vocabulary extensions:
PICC line



Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Well, rats. I've caught the cold that's going round.

What I get for hanging around in hospitals and circulating with the folks at gas stations, after living as a virtual recluse in our little burg.
Just go on over to Scott Chaffin's, play that second video, and smile.
Something else to attend to:
What is the relationship between the VA disability compensation program and the Agent Orange Veteran Payment Program?

There is no connection. The Agent Orange Veteran Payment Program was established as a result of settlement of a class action lawsuit brought by Vietnam veterans and their families against the manufacturers of Agent Orange. The application forms, claims processing, eligibility criteria, etc., of these two programs are completely different. For additional information about the class action lawsuit and benefits from its settlement, see Agent Orange Brief, A2, call toll-free 1-800-225-4712, and/or write to the Agent Orange Veteran Payment Program, P.O. Box 110, Hartford, Connecticut 06104.
From here.

UPDATE: No, no. That program closed in 1997.
Life on the Mississippi.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I'd forgotten how much I liked Herb Alpert before Lyman whistled one of his tunes. A commenter at Youtube says he's 73 now:

Kate is in labor.

Good luck and best to you. Go, girls!

UPDATE: And the new one is here!
Sean Kinsell calls me "confidently idiosyncratic." Should I use that as a tagline?
And here's for all of you:

A little more Chuck Mangione. I'd nearly forgotten him. A rat of a boyfriend introduced me to him in about 1979 1976:

Sunday, April 06, 2008

And here's your modern Herb Alpert:

More from Chuck Mangione:

And a little mood music from Mr. Masekela:

Great rhythm to floss your teeth by.
As of yesterday, Charles had shown no ill effects from the chemotherapy, and several positive ones. If he continues to improve, he might be released early this week.

I've asked, and Charles agrees, that he goes to a rehab facility for a few days before coming home, for work with physical therapists to help him find his feet with confidence. He is weak, weak, weak.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I'm off to Jackson for a day or two right after I pick up a Red Bull. The stuff works for me.
Sounds like things are looking up. My brother asked if he had his Dopp kit at the hospital. He wants to clean up some.

That's good in more ways than one.
I don't shop a lot, but when the Lands' End catalog came this week, there were a couple of things I found potentially useful.

One is a pair of these in boring, conservative gray for yardwork. Should I have bought lime green?

The other is three of these, since I've worn the daylights out of the similar v-necks I bought a couple of years ago. They're good tees, and buying three, they cost $7 each.

These tees are cut reasonably, so I needn't worry about bra straps or underarm gaps.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

And it don't matter what I'm going through, they is still taxes to figure. Don't let me forget that damned bedspread and refrigerator and furniture.

Oops, Jordana.

The azaleas are peaking now. The whole South is gorgeous with them.
Calm down, girl! Down, down, girl.

I have been "a churning urn of burning funk" for a month now. I've lost nine pounds.

That won't help Charles get well.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The doctors are starting chemotherapy today. It's dangerous for Charles in his condition, but they've got to get the lymphoma into remission soon. They're using only 30% of a normal dose of drugs.

Time to read the 23rd Psalm.

UPDATE: MD Anderson wouldn't take him without a $150,000 deposit up front. Charles' insurance is inpatient care only. He pays for his own outpatient services. And they would be expected to come in near the above figure.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The doctors in Jackson assure me now, after several days' observation and strengthening, that they can treat my brother wiith chemotherapy.

I'm still anxious, but happy.

If I'm ever sick, please make sure I go to that little hospital.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just a note, you psychologically disfunctional drivers in Jackson -- if you jack with me, I'm driving an Infiniti G35S, not a Ford Escort Wagon.

I'll blow your doors off then cut you off, you halfwits.

I didn't spend thirty years in Dallas for nothing, snotwads.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I don't know what's going on. I'm back in Jackson tomorrow. But the VA says we might have a case of Agent Orange contamination.

UPDATE: This is all a nightmare.
Thirty years later, I still love this song

And this one.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And the ride just got wilder. Charles has a 20% (hematologist guesstimate) chance of surviving chemotherapy. He needs a bone marrow transplant, which means a different kind of trip to Houston and MD Anderson.

UPDATE: Yes, I know a lawyer.

UPDATEII: Lyman reminds me that local doctors have a finding from Duke confirming sarcoidosis.

Monday, March 24, 2008

This has been a roller coaster of a month, kids. I'm about whipped.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Yes, kids, I've been in Jackson.

Big Charles (the bird, Charlie, won't go by that name anymore. He prefers Charles, always did, so Little Charles. We all Tennessee Williams in my family), continued to decline. We hiked down an ambulance and went to the local emergency room.

Taking Peg Britton's advice, I didn't leave his side, and found myself at the same hospital he was in before.

Barely known to me, the doctors had been working in his absence, and we have a new diagnosis -- Hodgkins lymphoma, from the Mayo Clinic.

Charles has a rare presentation, where it went straight to the bone, thus the confusion. But it isn't that rare, it's exactly the disease that killed that son of a bitch my grandfather (the one who kept my pretty mother in the cotton field).

I gave the doctors a ton of necessary information, and now we have a treatment protocol. They're happy, and so am I.

I'm back in Jackson on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

What can you do at 4:30 in the morning other than look at silly cat pix? But I had to send this one on to my sister.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I made it to Nancy just in time before her ski trip to have my shaggy hair cut.

So, I'm going to Houston with a sleek haircut and a fast car.
Somebody is emailing from Spain telling me I need to insert a clock on my blog.

"We need to be diferents and creatives."

Look, Hon, I'm going to drive for the first time in Houston in ten or so days, God willing. That's plenty diferents and creatives for me, you know?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Charles is doing okay. His fever came down and he's been resting, but damn if I can get him to take much in the way of fluid. How easily he forgets how lousy he felt Saturday night.

Low fevers and fatigue are symptoms of sarcoidosis. And the Prednisone screws up his sleep, as it does for so many others.

When did you last see a pair of bronzed baby shoes?

These were Lyman's first shoes, dating from 1946.

(I threw mine away. They were bonded to an ashtray base. And chipped around the tops where I'd picked at them as a child.)
As part of my current course of at-home nurse's training, we have a patient presenting loss of energy and appetite, and a fever of 101.2. I gave Tylenol. The ICU nurse said her standard for medication is 101.4, but the nurses in emergency couldn't understand why she hadn't suggested it at about 100.6.

We already have a call in to the primary care physician and a bag packed for emergency if necessary.

Lord, please, help me to remember to put a sweater in the car. The hospital is &*%$#&@! cold.

Monday, March 17, 2008

And hey, send up a prayer or a thought for Peg Britton if you have any to spare.

UPDATE: Peg's son, Dane, 56, died last night, March 18.
What's a little night in the emergency room between friends?

Charles was looking and acting peaked (peke-ed) Saturday evening, so I tapped on the door of the ICU nurse across the street. (Do I have resources, or what? I didn't even think of the nursing director next door.) She was kind enough to come take a look and suggested that he at least needed to go to an after hours clinic.

So Charles and I spent Saturday night in the emergency room. As it turned out, all his results were good, except for his hydration level. A couple of liters of IV fluids and a hefty shot of steroids later, he was asking what was on offer to eat. At 3:30 in the morning.

Then he was bright and bushy-tailed at 9 in the morning while I felt like I'd been run over by a tour bus.

Family values, indeed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Charles and I have been teaching each other about interdental devices.

I like his Oral B Ultrafloss because it's substantial and rough.

He likes our Doctor's Brushpicks for his bridgework.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sometimes, it's just not about you or me.

A Ms. E. Carroll wrote an email to me about three weeks ago. She was this pretty girl's mother.

Per her advice, we are going to Houston for an appointment on the 31st of this month.

She found me through this blog. When you get past the garbage, that's what blogging can do.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

He didn't see the rheumatologist. Her representative took us aside, and said that after reviewing his file, the doctor couldn't figure out why the doc at CMMC had referred Charles to her. She could see nothing that she could do in her specialty. Seeing her would be a waste of resources.

Of course, she didn't review the file until this morning, so that was a wasted trip.

Except -- listen now -- for lunch at Schimmel's. I haven't tasted food that good since Gabrielle's in New Orleans. Simple food cooked really well. Charles had Cajun shrimp over grits. I had a fried Florentine chicken with cheese sauce, accompanied by exquisite mashed potatoes and speckled butterbeans for $12.95.

I make a lot of mashed potatoes and butterbeans, but believe me, they never taste like those.

So for Charles, Houston is the next destination. There's a specialty clinic for sarcoidosis there associated with the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Good morning, earlybirds.

Here we are at the Cabot Lodge in misty Jackson. ( shows the rain stopping by 9 a.m.) Lyman and his son stayed here when Lyman's father was in hospital up here.

It's a nice place. The Colombian Supremo coffee you can make by the cup in the bathroom is quite good. But then, it's five on a rainy morning. It would all be good.

There were complimentary cocktails and popcorn in the huge lounge area last night for a couple of hours, ending at 7:30 p.m. Wireless Internet access in the rooms free of charge.

Charles finds the facilities comfortable and easy to navigate.

Dinner last night was take-out Mideastern fare from the Aladdin Mediterranean Grill, located nearby, a few blocks up North State Street and just around the corner on Lakeland Drive. Charles had four lamb chops on a plate with salad and baba ganuj that were plenty tasty, and I had a falafel plate with hummous and salad that was just fine. Dolmas and foul (a fava bean dip) were appetizers. All for about $32, which we considered more than fair.

Checkout here is at noon. We need to decide whether to pack up and be ready to leave from the doctor's office, or return here for a rest before we go. I think we'll leave our things here. I can always leave Charles in the car while I run in and grab our things if he wants to move on.

I've found everyone friendly and helpful here so far.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My brother and I are off to, ahem, Jackson for the night so we can keep an 8:15 a.m. appointment tomorrow with a rheumatologist.

He'll be making further treatment decisions regarding the sarcoidosis.

Le frere is doing quite well considering that he was taken to Jackson presenting symptoms of RENAL FAILURE ::blink::, something I only learned from reading the attending physician's report among the papers in the four (4) manilla envelopes of documentation regarding his case.

Must say, I'm glad I didn't see confirmation that we nearly lost him before now.

His system was shutting down because his platelet count was too low to maintain his body's integrity.

Live and learn, hunh?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Time for a pancake countdown!

How many minutes after I eat a short stack of Betty Crocker recipe pancakes do I have to lie down for a nap?

I estimate 20 max.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Kids, yesterday it was 70 degrees outside. This afternoon it's sleeting.

Charlie has picked his Native American nickname -- "Charlie Big Toes."

UPDATE: And snowing.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I missed my mother-in-law's birthday yesterday. She turned 88. So I called her this morning. Part of the conversation went like this:

MIL: I don't feel 88.

J: How do you know? You've only been 88 one day.

MIL: I see those other people who are 88 and they're old. I mean old and feeble. I know I'm old, and I look old, but I don't feel old.

And she sounded like a 27-year-old. (Though she insists on 18.)
The big brother is doing very well.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

At 51, I have finally learned how to cook a good scrambled egg.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Talk about good!

Daube is something of a traditional New Orleans dish. The beef is so richly flavored, I'm convinced that it was cooked just so to make a little beef go a long way.

The satisfaction with the food grew into a sense of fat repletion.

My honey cooked this for the first time this week, giving further good reason to keep coming home.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Diane puts up her menu plan for a month from time to time. I thought I'd offer a simple, quick and tasty dish that would be easy to prepare after a work day. We found the recipe in the Baton Rouge Advocate food page.


1-1/4 lb. round or sirloin steak, 1 inch thick
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 medium onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (we use fresh garlic + salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (we use fresh minced ginger)
2 medium bell peppers, cut into 3/4 inch strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 medium tomatoes
salt and pepper

1) Trim fat from beef; cut into 2 x 1 x 1/4 inch strips. Heat oil in large skillet. Add beef and cook, turning frequently, until brown, about 5 minutes.

2) Stir in water, onion, garlic salt and ginger. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes for round steak, or 5 to 8 minutes for sirloin. Add green pepper strips during last 5 minutes of simmering.

3) Cook rice.(Out of order when using standard rice. Recipe calls for instant. Ha!)

4) Blend cornstarch and soy sauce; stir into beef mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.

5) Cut each tomato into eighths and place on beef mixture. Cover; cook over low heat just until tomatoes are heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve with rice.

Makes four servings.

Notes: When we cooked the beef, much water cooked out. Better to use higher heat and brown small batches, but if it should happen to you, drain the beef when cooked, reserve the liquid, then add enough water to make one cup to complete the recipe. Lyman thinks half of onion should be reserved and added at same time as green pepper for crunchiness. Also add more tomatoes, perhaps double, fresh ones especially, if available. If you use canned tomatoes, drain the tomatoes well, reserving the liquid, and use this liquid as you would your water.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Which Beatles song are you?
Your Result: Here Comes the Sun

You're an optimistic to the core, and you usually ride out tough times with the future in mind. Winter is your least favorite time of year. Your positive attitude is not overbearing, and others welcome your encouragement.

The Space Between
Hey Jude
Eleanor Rigby
All You Need is Love
Twist and Shout
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
Yellow Submarine
Which Beatles song are you?
Quizzes for MySpace

(Thanks, Tony.)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

This page needs some art. So here's a brand new picture of Lucy and Charlie.

He's still trying to convince her to preen his head. Lucy still will have none of it. Dominance, you know.

Something that I'd like to tape is the sound of Charlie surfing the Internet. He has that "blip" down pat.
Every comment I try to leave today is being disallowed for some reason or other.

So, Jordana, I've been reading one of Jonathon Gash's "Lovejoy" novels, and he writes reverentially about the Dulwich Picture Gallery's collection of old masters.

If other readers don't know, Jordana is in London for a goodly stay with her favorite gentleman and four and half children.

Dr. Fooms, Kim's brother, is reading Nero Wolfe novels. Great fun and best done while munching Peanut Butter M&Ms. No milk, though. It puts me right to sleep. (Talk about staid.)
I certainly hope we haven't left anything in Jackson we can't do without, because I don't think I could stand that boring drive a third time this week.

Geez, I've become staid in my second half-century.

UPDATE: Ohhhh. So THAT'S where you adjust the lumbar support for that car seat. That addresses a sore point.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Charles is doing so well that he's coming home.

I'll be taking the G35 tomorrow. My brother says I'll love driving the car. My sister says to remember to stop in Jackson.
I am putting this reference to the National Institutes of Health site for sarcoidosis here for my easy reference. It's comprehensive and succinct.

I'm spending a lot of time here to get a handle on what other people are experiencing.

One sufferer who keeps a blog says "Imagine having the flu every day for a year."

Friday, February 22, 2008

If the doctors can't find a way to arrest Charles' sarcoidosis, it will kill him outright.

I spoke to his doctor tonight. Charles is being pumped with an intravenous steroid. He said he's never seen such an aggressive case. The doc is considering methotrexate, which depresses bone marrow production, where Charles is having problems anyway.

It's a quandary.
Charles needs his service number from the Army to finish his application for VA benefits. His current insurance does not pay for outpatient care and this upcoming therapy will be very expensive. How can I find his service number zippy-like, pronto, chop-chop and quickly?

He has done everything else, but became too sick to continue.

He was in the early waves of draftees in the 60's.

If I fill out and send in an SF180 it might take weeks.

UPDATE: Never mind. I did an evetsrec request after I got enough information out of him.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The doctors in Jackson think the bro's wonky liver numbers are a result of the sarcoidosis, and have concluded the prednisone is not working. They are considering intravenous cyclophosphamide as the next therapy.
My brother is feeling better, but he isn't happy in the hospital in Jackson. I'm not there. The attending ER physician here and Charles said it wasn't necessary.

The ambulance was used for comfortable transport for the 2-1/2 hour drive. It didn't take off speeding and blaring to the ICU.

He was transported so he could be evaluated by the folks up there. They have better facilities and labs than we do here.

They aren't any more efficient, though, and he's some frustrated. A lot of hurry-up-and-wait, which he swore he wouldn't submit to after being in the army.

That's what he gets for swearing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Charles is on his way to a hospital in Jackson in an ambulance.

He woke up terribly weak today and asked to go to the hospital here. They transferred him up to Jackson because his liver indicators are a mess. No wonder, considering the fistful of pills he takes everyday.

He had to give up the dogs. They've come to live with a family in Vidalia with a big fenced back yard. They're in heaven.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

This recipe has about a million calories, but Charles needs them. It's good. I'll try to get some down him tomorrow.


Serves: 6


1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets, cut in strips
8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 teaspoons Cajun-style blackened seasoning
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup sliced green onions
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 pound small, peeled shrimp
1/2 cup butter
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of shrimp soup
Cajun seasoning (Tony Chachere’s or other brand)

Sprinkle catfish strips with blackened fish seasoning. Spread catfish with mayonnaise. Place in a shallow dish, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons butter until it begins to sizzle.
Sear the fish strips until golden, turning once. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish, and arrange fish in a single layer.

In the same skillet, heat remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Cook and stir mushrooms in butter until golden. Stir in parsley, green onions, and shrimp. Reduce heat to low, and cook until shrimp are pink and tender. Add Cajun seasonioning to taste. Stir in cream of shrimp soup, and blend well. Ladle soup mixture over fish in baking dish.

Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
Hope you never come down with sarcoidosis.

It kicked my brother to the curb again this week. He didn't need hospitalization, but he did need someone in attendance, to get his fluids down and some food into his system, and to tidy and clean and generally make life a little less miserable. He was in no shape to help himself, and he wound up in worse shape than he had to be because he didn't call on me to help sooner.

I can't read minds. Now I know better. Maybe he does, too.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm off to attend to family values.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I don't think I ever saw The Animals in performance.

So I was taken aback to watch the video here and find a group of boys so young I'd think twice about loaning them the car keys.

Who knew? Maybe you.
you are lightcyan

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.

Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
the html color quiz

(Thanks, Tony.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

He made it!

Charlie is three years old today, toes and all.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I've been painting, and I'm tired, so tonight we're trying Taco Soup.

The recipe I have uses a can of black beans in place of one of the pintos, and that's about all the difference.

So we'll see.

UPDATE: Wouldn't be my first choice with time and energy on my side, but tasty enough for something that can be put together in a quarter of an hour. Beats fast food anyday.
Lucy had another egg yesterday morning.

Charlie has a birthday tomorrow. He'll be three years old, if he doesn't die from being kept overnight in the back bedroom away from paint fumes and out of the center of attention.

Friday, February 08, 2008

From commenter austinexpat at The New Republic's blog, The Plank:
By choosing to cast his campaign as a "movement", Obama may be jeopardizing his ability to act as a "mere politician" if that turns out to be necessary. "Forget everything I said about Hillary Clinton being part of the problem, and go vote for her"? How many of those people shouting "YES WE CAN!" on cue are going to be ready to hear that message? When you've promised them a ticket to Paradise, how many people are willing to accept Sheboygan as an alternate destination? (My italics.)
I read Douglas Coupland's The Gum Thief during the past week.

I found his writing fun, full of unexpected turns of phrase and fresh observations.

The epistolary structure of the novel was perfect for a blog reader.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

There's an egg for Lucy tonight.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I've long thought there would have been no place for me in Lyman's life had he a daughter.
What birds choose to talk about.

While Charlie was confined to his cage he would often walk upside down from the top. That gave me an opportunity to play with his toes.

Now a new and often heard phrase here is "I got toes."

Another observation is that candidates sound an awful lot like parrots.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I watched most of the debate last night between Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama.

I have to wonder if Obama adopts that arrogant "teacher's pet" pose around Michelle Obama often. My guess is no. It makes me want to thump him.

Hillary looks good in turquoise jewelry. She carried her own smugness, too. She reminded me of Barbara Walters all evening. Did she watch tapes?

At the end of the evening, as Ms. Clinton began to rise, Mr. Obama pulled her chair away as a gentleman should. That will play well in the south. It does with me.

But I read a comment somewhere that the courtesy underscored her status as a woman and was effectively a putdown.

What's the matter with people? I'm all for handsome, elegant men working the chairs for me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy anniversary, chere!

It's a special kind of face that looks like Magic Johnson, Manuel Noriega and Claudia Schiffer (67%). Must be all the right parts in the right places.

I do have an 83% match with Beyonce Knowles, and I'll take that anyday.

(Thanks, Jordana. Click anywhere on the panel to do your own.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Radley Balko says that the mild growl against the Time headline (see below) is so much PC.

Let's try another major headline: "External auditors review La Raza finances: Spic and span."

UPDATE: Mr. Balko responds this way. Which is none.
Peg Britton emailed me yesterday evening to tell me she'd just seen Parrots in the Land of Oz on PBS.

So I checked the local Louisiana Public Broadcasting schedule. I woke at 2 a.m. this morning to catch the show. It will air again at 2 a.m. on February 3.

There was a segment on the Australian Eclectus, which is Lucy's close cousin. The show focused on one pair they'd been watching for some time. The female has seven of those handsome green boys servicing her, both sexually and bringing food to the nest during confinement. However, 19 of 24 chicks they've observed were offspring of the same mate.

What she might not know is that he attends four other females, too. Which might explain why he roams a territory of 40 square miles searching for food.

It would seem that Lucy's, ah, sexual proclivities are in order.

There were segments on budgerigars, galahs (finally heard that pronunciation), a few cockatoos (destructive to farm crops), cockatiels, some parrots who survive on the southern coast. The Palm cockatoo rated a long segment because it is the oldest parrot in Australia and uses a tool -- the male uses a stick to beat on the nest. Apparently the female can tell by the sound whether a nest might be worth looking into. Then he sometimes shreds the stick into the nest for nesting materials.

The show was worth an hour in the middle of the night. You might prefer to use a recorder. Thanks, Peg.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Likely true. Can't you hear the snickers in the background?

UPDATE: One of the problems with the headline was the ambiguity of "Obama's Rout." That could mean the rout by Obama or the rout of Obama.

I won't accept that the rarely used "rejiggers" was innocent. It cleverly combines the pejoratives "jig" and "nigger" to describe the result of a racially charged contest in which African-Americans played a large role.

As Mr. Van der Leun suggests, one of the editors was probably feeling his or her oats on Saturday evening. Or do the editors of Time not keep up with the news?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tony Woodlief would be proud of that boy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Some months back, my brother's doctor revised his diagnosis from histoplasmosis to sarcoidosis. Not before he'd spent $1200 on antifungal medication.

My brother landed in the hospital again this weekend suffering from dehydration and anemia, after several days of fevers and sweats.

Another round now of CT scans and bone marrow tests, with the addition of a GI scope for ulcers -- caused, if they exist, by the prednisone used to treat the sarcoidosis.

Poor guy. He has never been ill before. Prior to all this he'd spent an overnight in the hospital with a broken arm when he was 12 years old. And he is a lousy patient. Big baby.