Thursday, December 31, 2009

Y'all have a happy and prosperous new year.

Maybe I'll have a few glasses of wine and work out the moves to the Pharaonic Chicken dance.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pharaonic Chicken? If you say so.

Let's give it a try anyway.

UPDATE: It's a keeper. Not for people who don't like lemon. Those slightly exotic Middle Eastern flavors delight me every time. Wilted spinach went well with it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Don't let me forget about this scalloped potato recipe.

My, my, Lucy, but that dish was good. I did increase the dry mustard to 1/2 teaspoon, and used a lot more black pepper, but that had nothing to do with the creaminess of the sauce or the infusion of green onion flavor.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Hope you had a happy Christmas day.
Merry Christmas, y'all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aren't these little guys cute? And pricey.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What a face!

Masked Booby is the cutline, pic by Theodore Cross

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hissssss. I used correct procedures this time and still had to whirl that batter in the food processor to make it smooth. I'm doing the sweet potato cheesecake again for the Christmas luncheon on Friday.

This year's menu: shrimp cocktail, shrimp and corn soup maque choux style, Caesar salad, braised beef short ribs with mashed potatoes, and cheesecake with whipped cream.

Yeah, yeah, two shrimp dishes. This family loves shrimp. And the soup is a top notch dish from John Folse, similar to gumbo.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Let's get into the sweet potato cheesecake. It was something of a mess, but everyone said it tasted delicious.

The biggest problem was that it was lumpy, and that was because I am not much experienced in the baking of cheesecakes. And it's possible that the editors of the mag are even less.

The recipe:


2 c. graham cracker crumbs, crushed
1/4 c. cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 c. melted butter

Combine and press into 10" springform pan


3 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
4 large eggs
3 egg yolks
3 tbs. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 c. whipping cream
1-1/2 c. mashed sweet potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat cream cheese, sugar and eggs until smooth; beat in the flour, cinnamon and ginger. Beat cream and well-mashed sweet potatoes on med. speed of hand-held mixer just until well-combined. Add to cream-cheese mixture. Pour batter into the prepared crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 275 degrees and bake one hour longer. Turn heat off and leave in the oven to cool for several hours, or cool on a wire rack. Top with whipped cream or caramel sauce.

So there it is. I checked other recipes for ingredients, but not technique. I added a more than generous teaspoon of vanilla and a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg.

Subsequent reading do say, beat that cream cheese until creamy smooth by itself, then add the sugar until thoroughly combined, then add those eggs one at a time until the whole mass is smooth. That's how you avoid lumps.

Lumpy still? Spin the batter through a food processor or blender until it smooths out.

I also thought the center wasn't set as well as could be. Do you cheesecake bakers have a solution for that?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

It's been quiet around here. Nothing to write home about. We'll be having dinner today so Lyman's younger son and his lady friend can be back on the road to Georgia tomorrow. She'll be working on Black Friday.

I did enjoy Wolf Hall, and am looking forward to the sequel.

Yesterday, I tried a sweet potato cheesecake recipe from a small magazine we receive from an electrical utility in Alabama. We'll let you know.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Frozen strawberries in syrup were packaged in a waxed box with metal ends in the early sixties.

I remember sitting on the linoleum floor in front of the console TV set with the nearly round screen, eating thawed strawberries from the box, and watching Soupy Sales on a Saturday morning.

RIP, Mr. Sales.

UPDATE: There were Roadrunner cartoons after, then American Bandstand, then the event worth waiting for -- ABC's Wide World of Sports.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Lucy has decided that she prefers my left hand to step up. She's also left-footed now.

She's doing great in the new cage. I need to power up the the Panasonic to give you pictures.

The little Vivitar doesn't do the job for her.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dinner party!

Charles (the brother) has a 65th birthday coming up, and the lovely Liza, Michael's lady friend, is coming into her mid-thirties soon. Marsha, Charles' friend, turned 60 last month. Time for dinner.

The menu:

Oysters Rockefeller from this book

Salad from Antoine's cookbook, with mixed greens, blanched asparagus, hearts of palm, avocado, marinated artichokes, tomato and vinaigrette

Boeuf en daube -- served on mashed potatoes

Cherry pie

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

There is a pretty woman under there.

Quite the getup, eh? And she was still cold.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My sister, the Harley girl. She rode in a troupe with other couples from Dallas to Oklahoma this weekend.

My trip was on a Kawasaki. Which I did once. Which was enough.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

If you had told me as late as 45 years old that I would spend a Sunday watching a small animal's reaction to a cage, I would have laughed out loud at you.

Lucy is smart and tough. What a girl.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I have been in touch with a couple of rescue organizations about Lucy's rehab. Again, keep the perches low and food and water dishes within easy reach. For a while at least, put something soft at the bottom of the cage so she doesn't go bonk. Cover slick perches with Vetrap. (3M is too cool for its shirts.) Try to find a cage wider than high, which is easier said than done, though I have one, and Charles (the bird) will fight to a feathery death to keep it for himself.

Lucy's new cage is not particularly high, but it looks like a palace to her.

It has rope perches, cholla perches, and a nice platform perch to sleep on or to hide under. Horizontal bars for climbing. So far, she pretty much hates it, but that's about half an hour's stay with no treats.

The birds and I have been burning up my credit card for online purchases.

Lucy and I are slowly coming back to a point of trust where she doesn't feel the need to chew my hands up when I touch her.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I have been telling Lucy that we have a new cage for her coming. It arrived late this afternoon. She can barely stand aside to let us put it together.

I put a new perch in Charles' cage and he won't even go over there.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lucy has healed so well that the doctor took out stitches today. She has been released from this episode. Yea, Lucy!

MORE: And Charles (the brother) had cataract surgery on the other eye today in Jackson. Everything went fine.

Monday, September 28, 2009

And here's our girl today, ten days after surgery. Only one more dose of antibiotic to go.

Sutures come out in four days. The local vet will do that.

MORE: I still think that Ole Miss was foolish not to adopt the female Eclectus as a mascot. This little girl is some kind of formidable when riled. Scares grown men.

So what if the Eclectus isn't local. Are tigers local to Louisiana?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

For the birds:


Charles Gore, the Grey, has decided that it's his responsibility to sleep in the corner of his cage closest to Lucy's cage. Standing guard? Bird solidarity?
I liked William Safire.

I can't think of anyone like him now.
She is vocalizing today, in her random way, which all sounds good.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oh. Why the gloves?

Lucy is taking meds orally from a syringe. This entails wrapping her in a towel and holding her head firmly in one hand, without strangling her, and administering with another.

MORE: Today, Sunday, we have three more doses. I wonder how long it will be before she trusts me with a step-up command again?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lucy is furious with me. I have to remove soiled towels from her cage immediately (runs around five or six or seven or eight daily) and medicate her twice a day.

I am now wearing a pair of knit gloves inside a pair of leather gloves to handle her for the efforts. She sharpens her beak nightly.

It was coming.

Kiddo, I didn't throw you against the wall or slam you to the ground. It was an accident.

Now I know how my mother felt when I came home after being hit by a car (that, slick as a snake, I ran in front of).
What a brilliant effort, Boozle! I'd bet at least one of her owners is a singer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I have a thesis for Max.

Post-surgery care and rehabilitation of the companion parrot after amputation of one leg mid-femur.

What I can find on the Internet, and the vet student can find on the vet-med database, is to keep the perches low and in good reach of food and water. And that's about it.

There is some mention of horizontal bars on cages for a beak-oriented bird like Lucy. And that IS it.

Adrienne researched for me. She went all over. Basically, "Give 'em a place to perch and feed'em and they'll be fine," was what she found.

Parrots are a big industry, and I'd like more information. Maybe Max and I can make it our thesis.

MORE: Shhhhhhh. Lucy is perched and tucked.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lucy is home. She murmured all the way.

She really wanted to be up where she could see, but that's hard on a girl who's been sitting flat all week.

First thing she did at home was work her way onto her cage's perch and promptly learned how to turn around. What a girl!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Adrienne tells me that Lucy is doing fine. Her appetite is good. She is not paying any attention to the incision, so no need for a collar so far.

I talked to her on the phone again. She likes that.

Tomorrow, then.

Friday, September 18, 2009

And here's our girl, one day after surgery, perched on Dr. Schnellbacher. Thank you for the picture, Adrienne.
Rats! I started to Baton Rouge with plenty of time, but had to turn around because the car was vibrating so. Bad tire.

I can't get there in time for visiting hours. But I did talk to Lucy on the telephone. We'll pick her up on Monday.
Adrian from the clinic called. Lucy is alert and adapting already.

She told me that animals don't have the hang-ups that humans do regarding disabilities. They just pick up and go on.

Terrific news.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

They are amputating Lucy's leg. It wouldn't take the pins. Her egg-laying has taken a toll on her bones. Apparently, she hasn't been getting enough calcium. Yes, it's my fault.

Dr. Schnellbacher just called. He said birds can have a decent quality of life with one leg. They learn to use their beaks more.

Or they could put her down.

This house has been so empty without her.

Oh, my poor Lucy.

UPDATE: The doc called back to report that Lucy came through the surgery fine. We can visit her tomorrow afternoon.

She's bound to be one pissed-off princess, but I'm reading on the parrot fora that many birds adapt quickly and well. We'll have a lot to learn.
Nothing from the doctors at LSU so far.

The students who call in the evenings tell me that Lucy has an admirer in the clinic -- a male Eclectus named "Joe." He's been chirping and singing since he first saw her.
Altogether now, "If I had a hammer..."

Mary Travers has died.

This was the album that was introduced at my house when I was seven or so.

I always wanted to hear the "beautiful grace" that the man with the long chain on said.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Had a call from LSU. The orthopedists will be coming in on Thursday. She has a distal break. The doctor said that they might go to fusion, which might cause Lucy to be lame.

"Do the best you can," I told him. "She's a good, courageous girl."
Lucy is going to college -- LSU to be precise -- to have a broken leg pinned.

The break is near the hip, and Dr. Debbie doesn't feel confident doing the surgery. Something lower on the leg might be a different story.

Lucy was standing on her parrot tower and took fright-flight at something outside. Apparently she hit the wall or a corner of the wall at a bad angle. (Better guess is the corner of the black TV that was cocked out at an angle.)

My poor, beautiful, sweet girlybird.

UPDATE: Michael, the love of her life, Lyman's son, took her. He knows the way. I'd still be driving. The docs down there say she'll be fine eventually. They'll operate today or Thursday.

Birds. Not for the weak-hearted. Or the poor.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Interesting medical comments at TalkLeft regarding salicylate intoxication.

According to the doctor commenting there, aspirin is a source of salicylate, but a more powerful source is oil of wintergreen, used in baking and candy-making, liniments, and apparently, aromatherapy.

Watch the little ones around that stuff.

And here's a note to watch use of pain-killing rubs containing methyl salicylate (Bengay, Icy Hot, Deep Heat, for example) when using warfarin.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Use the university, Chris. Not that I ever did much with it, recluse as I am, but you're all there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

One of the benefits that yoga gives me (and I am not trying to convert here, mind, any other upward reaching exercise will do) is to put my arms in other directions than they usually go.

I was a waitress in my 20s. The reach was always down. I'd get dizzy reaching up or backward. Mothering, the reach is down. Most of housecleaning, the reach is down. Walking, the reach is flat, running, the reach is flat. Computer work, the reach is flat.

The yoga that I'm doing raises arms for good lengths of time.

What I see at the assisted living center is a lot of 85-90+-year-old women who can't even reach up. They've trained their muscles down. They'd have had a hard time reaching up when they were 62.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Strictly Tabu.

Never know what will send you on a jaunt to the past. Today it was Sarah's post that mentioned that her son really, really doesn't like piano practice.

That reminded me of Ed Hagen. (Third from left.) Jazz was a part of the Dallas scene in those days.

He was playing Lionel Hampton while The Ramones were gearing up.

Strictly Tabu was pink flamingos. Admit it, everybody loves them.
Now there was a practical benefit to yoga.

The lights in the guest bath needed cleaning. We're talking six bulbs and six globes with an awkward screw fitting. Lots of reaching up on tiptoes.

All that "bending, stretching, twisting and squeezing" as Wai Lana says, made it a snap. (Not to mention that the exercises are carving my waistline down. Welcome enough, but that's a side benefit.)

I sent for her Hello Fitness series of DVDs, which is intermediate level. I watched one yesterday. Now is the time to be careful. I don't want to "pop my mesh" as opposed to "bust a gut" after that femoral-inguinal hernia surgery in what, 2004?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Charles, the bird, likes the song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

He's working at putting that "sweetie pie bird" in there.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Yes, I will weigh in on the health care issue.

I found myself caring for a nearly dead person because the technicians weren't good.

The Mayo Clinic, when it came down to Charles' illness, evaluated slides taken from labs in Natchez and Jackson that were too thick, the infectious disease doctor said, and the poor staining masked the illness.

Dr. Dreiling at the VA, the other hematologist, said that there were markers for Hodgkins. That was the end of his comment.

UPDATE: Reed-Sternberg cell. I'm looking at you, kid.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A cute, funny thing happened at the dollar store today.

A young woman was at the register with a tiny girl toddler. The baby had a piece of candy in her hand.

When it came time to scan the candy, the little one resisted giving the candy up, so her mom just picked her up and held her over the counter so the checker could scan the piece. No muss, no fuss.

Not a bad way to avoid a scene.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Travis, Lyman's father, had a Patsy Cline CD in his car:

What a voice.

Monday, August 03, 2009

It's the small things.

From the time Lyman's dad retired at 79, until just several months ago, we had a reliable visitor, sometimes once, sometimes twice, sometimes four times a day through the years.

The late afternoon visit always started with "What's for supper?" Not that he would stay, but he might like to expect a portion the next day.

Last night we were cooking boiled shrimp, and for the first time in fifteen years, we didn't cook a least a portion the way he would have liked it. He didn't care for it as spicy as we do.

That was the first big click in "missing."

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Lucy looks low when she is ready to lay. She does have an egg.

But for two or three days prior, she looks like she feels right lousy.

I really wonder if I should let her go to a breeder. It would grieve me greatly to let her go, but she seems so set on a little nekkid birdie or two.

This has been going on for what, four years? Lucy turned eight this July.
Yoga, yoga, yoga.

I lost a week of practice because Lyman's sons were here. I need to rethink this not having televisions in the bedrooms. Lyman's younger will not sleep without TV noise. I find that a shame for his sake, and a disruption of my schedule.

I don't need a bigger house. I need enough money to put them up in a hotel room.

Few things tick me off more than waking to a television carrying on in the house, or someone in my morning space.

Monday, July 27, 2009

So, in the course of conversation last night, I said something about the bird Charlie. The bird looked up and said, "Charles."

I stand corrected. Jeez.
Lyman's boys like breakfast. I don't.

But to keep them from spending $30 on omelets this morning, I baked this casserole.

That's a keeper.

And I'm giving up trying to make a good biscuit. Mary B makes a big, fluffy, gravy-ready biscuit in 20 minutes.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I spoke to Miss Betty yesterday, and the absolute word on Southern funeral attire is that it's not improper to wear open-toed shoes.

By observation, a woman can slso wear trousers without gathering ill-opinion.

Also, by observation, if you can can away with it physically, uncovered shoulders are fine, too. No sloppy, swaggy flesh, thanks.

That was in a Southern Baptist church in Vidalia.

I don't know about Natchez.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lyman's father died peacefully this morning near 7:30.

UPDATE: For locals who would like to make a gesture, in lieu of flowers send donations to:

Streams of Life Food Ministry
10140 Whiteoak
Baton Rouge, LA 70815

Streams of Life

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just watching the lead-in tape before the overall yoga session, I discovered that I was doing one of the asanas wrong.

In this "asana" she told me to lift my legs to a 45 degree angle. So I lift my legs to a 45 degree angle off the floor and proceed with instructions.

In the pictures, she is lifting her legs to a 45 degree angle on the other side of her body, which is over her head. She's coming from the other end of the axis.

I'd call that a 135 degree angle.

In all, I like it better, the getting up on my shoulders, but we need some agreement about geometry.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Charlie's newest phrase is "Oh, no!" Remember Mr. Bill?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Oh, so now everything carries guilt?

At the MSN homepage today there is a "Guiltless Guacamole Recipe."

My first thought was "What are those people adding to their guacamole? Olive oil? Mayonnaise? Tequila?"

One regular guacamole recipe looks like this.

Let's look again at the recommended recipe. White beans in guacamole to cut fat?

Sorry, kids. Use the full fruit and eat the beans on the side. Eat less, if it bothers you that !@*%$#@ much.

Where do y'all come from?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I posted this at Althouse:
I fault Sarah Palin for having the poor judgment to accept a nomination that would bring young, unwed, pregnant Bristol onto the public stage.

How many times have we heard the term "teenage pregnancy" in the last say, 40 years, as something to be contained?

Now everyone's supposed to say, "Well, that's cool," then pay for her delivery and the support of the child in the Naval Observatory?

Hell, I didn't like the way the Bush girls dressed at the 2004 convention. Some occasions demand some formality, and a nomination to the presidency or vice-presidency is one of them.

But, back to to my topic, you can't break with a social narrative (call it a more, if no longer a taboo) that hard and not expect criticism.

Should that have applied to Trig? Not at all. None of us has control over our genes.
Have at it.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Lucy rarely speaks anymore, but yesterday while I was reading in the bedroom and Lyman was doing errands, she belted out a wonderful array of natural bird calls -- the kind you hear above the rain forest down home with clacking and monkeys.

The girl gone native.
OK, birds. Which tape do we want to run today?

Charlie started to chant along with the singer at the end of one tape the other day. Will he start chanting yoga meditation mantras?

The toning tape? Oh.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

If Governor Mark Sanford's sons were a few years older, I can imagine them pulling on his suit sleeves and saying, "Dad, Dad, it might be a good idea not to talk about this now."

It would be hard to reconcile with a man who stated in public that his lover was his "soul mate," but he would be making efforts to fall back in love with me.

That limb he's sitting on would look awfully fragile to me about then. Especially if I were a Skil heiress. Bzzzzzzzzzt.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The first of the great summer meals tonight: fresh-shelled purple-hull peas cooked with a bit of bacon, fresh sliced tomatoes, fresh sliced cucumbers, a bit of ham and buttermilk cornbread.

Summer Southern Sunday Supper.

Friday, June 26, 2009

That toning workout was fine until yesterday. Then I was sore enough that I laid off a day from the yoga. Today I went back to the beginning tape.

For this beginning phase I need to establish a rhythm. Maybe alternating the first tape and the relaxation tape for three days, then the toning tape, then a day off. Until I am stronger.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meh. That toning workout wasn't so bad until the part where you lie flat on the floor, lift both legs together then turn them in circles, first clockwise, then counter-clockwise.

And of course, there was a balance exercise, at which I suck. Never mind which one.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This morning I did Wai Lana's relaxation workout. These exercises concentrate on the spine.

The scissors (non-bypass) and sidelifts look a lot like regular calisthenics, just done more slowly and with more concentration on breathing. Then there were a few backbends and such. Don't be too optimistic. These exercises take some effort. Relaxation comes afterward.

Then there's that tree pose that troubles me so. What's so frustrating is that I used to rest standing with my opposite foot inside my thigh, like Australian aborigines.

(Is aborigine considered a slur now?)

Yeah, yeah, I'll get to that toning workout. Sometime.

Namaste, y'all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

This recipe from Peg Britton went over well here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Maurice built this accent table for our bedroom.

This is my first scratch stain project. I'll be doing some sanding, using a pre-stain conditioner, staining to spec with oil-based red mahogany stain with maybe a coat of walnut, and finishing with polyurethane.

The wood is maple. It's 98 degrees outside.

UPDATE: It's Father's Day. My dad, Joseph the carpenter, has been gone since 1990. Here's my card to you, Daddy.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rats, I'm late.

Happy Father's Day, all you pops out there!

I had breakfast with my father-in-law at 7:30 this morning at the assisted living center.

He's a good dad, and he's been good to me, too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I spent a while this morning with Wai Lana after finally buying a new DVD/VCR player. (I found a refurbished Sony at Amazon for $56.00 total.)

I've had these tapes, wrapped, for years. The first tape is a little different from my lessons, but offers a good overall body workout with a mild challenge or two I haven't tried before. My balance is still dreadful.

The birds think I'm nuts. Lucy might even speak again. "WHAT you DOIN, Janis?" I'll practice in their room, which is the great room.

And yes, it's been February since I had lessons. No, I haven't been practicing.

Namaste, y'all.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Being a weirdo myself, with the prospect ahead of replacing a 12/13/14-year-old Ford Escort Wagon, I'm edging toward the Kia Soul econobox.

Reviewers are saying it averages about 30 mpg in mixed driving, which is better than any of the comparable makes and models.

And it's certainly no uglier and more practical than my second-hand First Car with that deluxe plaid interior. Daddy was co-signer, and thought it was just the thing to teach me not to invest my ego into automobiles.

Mine was that tangerine color, and had a white vinyl roof. My sister said it would have been perfect in lime green.

I guess the lesson took.

UPDATE: I don't like those blind spots in the back corners -- the "D post" as the writers call it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I like Ms. McNeal's work. This is the first I've seen of it. Of course, I don't get out much.
Based on this article, I'd agree with the commenter at Outside the Beltway that here is a case of "Suicide by Security Guard."

But more interesting is the language of white separatist sympathizer John De Nugent:
"The responsible white separatist community condemns this," he said. "It makes us look bad."
How very PC.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Diane, who makes some effort to be discreet on the web, has ricocheted off the "outing" post to create a short list of etiquette rules for bloggers and commenters.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Via Glenn Reynolds, who I hardly think needs a link from the likes of me, Mr. Whelan apologizes.

Good for him, but gracious, does one have to be so Victorian?

UPDATE: Mr. Whelan has been so very prickly in his language, I was interested in reading this note from Big Tent Democrat at Anonymous Liberal's site:
It is certainly to Ed's credit (strangely enough I am friendly with him despite having had raging arguments with him on and offline. This action was clearly out of character for him imo) that he apologized.
UPDATE: Now Jack Dunphy, pseudonymous writer for the National Review, has a post up. After this brouhaha, I do hope people will abide by his wishes.
If I haven't told you before, I love a good blog brawl.

I agree with Mr. McQuain.

I'd hope my niece never shows up with this guy for dinner. Mr. Whelan didn't do anything illegal, immoral or even unethical -- just what in the South we'd call "tacky," or my mother would call "ugly."

There was nothing illegal, immoral or unethical about Al barfing on that bridesmaid's dress at Zee's wedding, but he still won't be invited to any more of Zee's parties. Poor guy didn't have the charm to carry that off. Few do.

And I'm surprised. The National Review is an institution, and the bloggers there have never before confronted adversaries that way. I'd say Kathryn Jean Lopez has endured some of the most brutal, hateful and hurtful commentary I've ever read. I'm sure it's on her radar, but she goes her merry way, as the other bloggers have.

Mr. Whelan seems to be the kind of lawyer who likes to win, and thinks he's gained a point. But he'll learn, like my husband the lawyer, that winning isn't everything.

UPDATE: Gary Farber has a good rundown of the controversy. While I do not subscribe to some of his language, his links are good.

And yes, I do think that Mr. Whelan sounds like a pompous prick. Do not fail to read Mr. Whelan's posts. "I can, therefore I will."

Monday, June 01, 2009

La sis is off to Great Lakes, IL, this Thursday to attend my niece's graduation from Navy basic training.

Good for the girls.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

In keeping with the river theme this week, you can go here to see a short videoscan of the Mississippi. It hit its high for this spring yesterday.

Lyman wanted something to show friends in Ohio and New York.

I guess I could have loosened that creaky tripod.

Major Davis has a fine Southern epitaph.

UPDATE: This stone makes me think of the other song I played on Memorial Day.

This picture was taken farther downstream, a piece down the road from the cemeteries. The river crested last week.

This is one view of the Mississippi River from the new section of the Natchez National Cemetery.

Had Charles not lived last year -- and there were times we thought he might not -- he wanted his ashes buried up here as close to the river as possible. And still does, when his time comes.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wait a minute. We have a big stainless steel steam pan that Lyman uses for ribs which will work a lot better than those Hefty disposable casserole pans for assembly and transport.

It's Big Daddy's 90th birthday tomorrow. He doesn't like cake, so it's scratch banana pudding for all 25 residents at the assisted living center and whatever guests arrive.

Staff, too. Lyman's brother is bringing some pies.

UPDATE: Kitchen hand, the recipe I'll be using is a lot like this one.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How far ahead can I make banana pudding with baked meringue before serving? I'm serving 20 30 at 3 1 p.m. on Saturday.

It's a shame that I should have to ask this question about a Southern staple.

UPDATE: Vidalia good cook Dot Ware suggests assembling the pudding up to meringue the day before, then whipping up and baking the meringue on top in the morning. That's a plan.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A curried cauliflower side that will go into the "keepers" file:

1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (10-oz.) packages fresh cauliflower florets
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt

Cook curry powder and red pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 1 minute. Add cauliflower, onion, and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is crisp-tender. Reduce heat to low; add 6 Tbsp. water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or just until cauliflower is tender.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Just a pretty song for Memorial Day:

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm willing to eschew disposable shopping bags -- except for the few plastic ones that I reuse as liners in bathroom trash cans, or the big paper bags that we use in the truck for trash.

What I would prefer is the old-style European expanding string bag like, perhaps, these. As a retail clerk in the past, I'd prefer something that makes the management more comfortable than the canvas and other opaque bags that can conceal shoplifting.

I also don't want to pay a premium price for something that's "eco-friendly," or pay shipping for something that should come at the dollar store for about four bucks.

(Thanks, kitchen hand.)
The Internet wouldn't connect this morning, so I took some time to write a short letter to enclose with a card for my niece at Navy boot camp. Last night I couldn't think of a thing to say.

She had a bad go there for a bit when she developed tendonitis in her foot. She tells her mother that running in boots is killing.

Graduation is scheduled for June 5.

UPDATE: Far as I know, she's the first woman in the family to do military service. She's 24.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A vibrating mascara brush?

I rarely make it through a makeup session without having to dab away mistakes with a still one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dr. Alice has a fun little exercise up.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Your result for The Commonly Confused Words Test...

English Genius

You scored 100% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 100% Advanced, and 100% Expert!

You did so extremely well, even I can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly! Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

Take The Commonly Confused Words Test at HelloQuizzy

All well and good, but there was no question regarding "lead" and "led."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Now there's a new one for me: Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Saturday, May 16, 2009

From a Slate article on what successful women wanted to be when they grew up:
Judith Martin, Miss Manners

One day when I was a little girl with blonde ringlets, my father said, "I can picture you as an old lady, wearing high collars and a bun and tyrannizing over future generations."

And I thought to myself, "My daddy understands me."
I lifted this video from Ann Althouse:
Cat and parrot

Not a chance I'd take, but dear all the same.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


(I've adopted this from Charlie. He says it out of the blue. It means he's still around but doesn't have much to say.

Oh, excuse me. That's Charles.

He never liked the diminutive.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lyman's mother sometimes gets chilly in her new environment where she can't run the thermostat up and down at will.

So I found a soft, pretty throw for Mother's Day in a pearl blue. She likes blues.

And a pretty, girly card.

Happy Mother's Day, Girl.

(Maybe my wicked stepmother's day present can be one in rust. Or that deep, deep red. Yes, the red.)

UPDATE: Had to settle for that cozy rust. Matches our patio table at the beach.
Happy Mother's Day to you moms out there.

And a story to warm you by the fire.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Now then, if you want perfect 4mm beads, the workers at Good Wood have them for you. Buy in lots of 25,000.

How do they do that? Make perfect 4mm beads, I mean.
This beading business is seductive. Yesterday at the craft store I saw some about 8mm tinily painted white beads that beg to be made into earrings.

No, Janis. No, no.
And if you have a need for beads, try That's where I found the natural beads with no minimum order and no fuss.

Oddly enough, these beads for rosaries made the best match in blue.

The shells are coming from an eBay seller.

All for just over $15, which is cheaper than a trip to Baton Rouge.

UPDATE: eebeads just shipped.
Well, maybe Nancy's find wasn't such a good one after all. I still thank her profusely for the effort.

Trim India is an exporter. The minimum order I can make is 96.xx yards, and I must pay shipping from India. I could trim every pillow in the complex with that amount of fringe, and send some to all my readers for yours, too.

So, on my first day at home, a lazy one, I looked all over the Internets for proper wooden beads and shells. Let me tell you, hons, there are bazillions of both out there.

Then yesterday I visited our local craft store, which doesn't have the right beads, but had plenty that I could finger to determine the sizes I need. 6mm on the blues, and 4mm for the plains.

The shells are small Ark seashells, about 1/2 inch. Those are usually sold in bulk by weight or volume.

Might as well order.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Natchez has taken a weather beating during the past year or so. Here's the latest.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Time to go home. Never did swim.

UPDATE: And home again, home again, jiggety, jiggety, jiggety, jiggety jog.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Y'all, I cleaned this tabletop with LA Awesome cleaner earlier today, but it didn't do enough, so applied some Dollar General bathroom cleaner with bleach. It turned the top this mottled orange color.

What can I do?

UPDATE: I've talked to Jim at Werzalit, the maker of the tabletop. He's going to ask his tech guys and get back to me.

Target kept the same pattern, all right, but changed the quality of the flatware. The pieces to the left in each pair are the new stuff, on the right the old.

The new stuff has been hollowed out on the back to use less metal. Look closely at those salad forks.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Yo, mama. I have a new bestest friend. Nancy found this fringe. If I dye the middle beads, there won't be a nickel's worth of difference.

Whatever you want, sweet Nancy. "How did you do that," I asked. "I used to be a librarian. I know how to find things," she said. She hadn't seen the fringe. She worked on a description.

I'll take a couple of strands off the ends of the pillows to fill in the gaps, and hunky dory for the summer. Buy a couple yards for safekeeping.
Oh, a topic so I can toss this list.

Along 63, a mile or two from the intersection with I-10, is Heritage Funeral Home. It's a small building. On the front lawn, to the right of the building, is a selection of stone markers for graves.

Couldn't they put them somewhere else, as in behind and to the right? They aren't marking Aunt Tilda's grave there.

This Panasonic camera has a nice zoom. I took this photo from the balcony.

When Candy told me about the pillows she designed for the love seat, I thought, "Trouble on the seashore."

Those beads and shells beg to be tugged at, chewed on, and picked off.

So I went to the shop where she had the pillows made to find more trim. Nada. "It's an old trim that we won't be having anymore."

So it looks like a trip to Michaels in Pensacola for craft supplies this afternoon. If I can find the parts, it should be easy enough to add the missing strands. If I can find the parts.

UPDATE: The other thing I can do is clip them all off. The pillows won't look "bad" without them, just not as much fun.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I came in from shopping today desperate for a Bloody Mary, so I went across the street to Bubba's Seafood, and had a pretty darned good one.

They use a mix made and bottled here at Orange Beach -- this one. The bartender kicked it up a bit with a splash of Tabasco.

I picked up a cheap toaster today at Walmart that was hot enough to burn my finger when I touched the exterior while it was working. That goes back. It's plainly dangerous.

Toaster shopping might be hard. I want a trim, white two-slice toaster that won't take up much counter space. Most that I see are bulky.

I found some good plastic glasses today that I didn't have to spend six bucks apiece for, but the short glasses are broad for little hands. I might go to a dollar store to pick up a cheerful few for young'uns. We have regulars from Denham Springs, LA, with little ones.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Water glasses. The rental agency requires 1-1/2 times the number of guests (6) in the number of glasses.

We have 10 glasses, 3 of one set, 3 of another, and four that I don't recognize. I think I'll pop for a set of 6 8 nice plastic ones in both water and short sizes for the summer.

I have about 10 short/rocks/juice glasses of mixed heritage, too.

UPDATE: The toaster works, but looks pretty ratty. Replace.

Need more flatware. I hope Target still carries the same pattern. (Yeah, right.)

Baking sheets look dreadful. Replace.

Let's see: lamp finials, new lamp socket with working switch, try for a different cheap DVD player for the bedroom and leave the Memorex in the box to return to Office Depot, discard the DVD player in the living room that the snowbirds left in place after they took the one out of the bedroom when the one in the front room quit working, spot paint that nick in the bathroom and the blue in the hall, corners.

Call Chem-Dry to clean and and ScotchGuard the chair and sofa and...

pop a beer. Milwaukee's Best, if you must know.

On the good side, the man who has been working for us did a great job installing the HDTV (with DVD player) in the other bedroom on the wall and a brand new water heater, which could save a ton of misery not too many years hence. Money, too.

So that bedside drawer wasn't off-track after all. This vial was stuck behind it.

Hubba, hubba.

Nice day.
I did find the cap for the washing machine agitator in one of the lower kitchen cabinets. What it was doing there...
Okay, what happened to the lamp finial in the second bedroom?

Here's one with more background for you.

Possum, hon, I find your interest in swimsuits a little odd, but who am I to say? Here you are.

Do you want a pic of Lyman's, too?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bad news is you should be seeing pictures of sunset at the beach to relieve the text of this blog.

Our bird-sitter got held up in Dallas. He went bonk.

But tomorrow evening, you can help me count knives and spoons, or at least butt-test the Dr. Strap chairs on the balcony.

If you have any energy, you might pick up a Magic Eraser and help me with the scuff marks on the walls. And count those water glasses.

And, Mr. Possum, we had that new water heater installed.

I did, ahem, tidy myself up to fit into a swimsuit. Might be nice to go for a swim.
Good news on wheels.

My brother, Charles, drove up alone in his car. Today is the first day he has been behind the wheel since February of last year.

So one successful cataract surgery down, another to go.

Still cancer free, and the spots on his lungs are a bacterial infection being treated with antibiotics.
Kate's family photo

Kate's little girl, Niamh, recently turned 1 year old. Kate mentioned in a post that she and Lars and the baby were signing to one another about certain needs and desires.

"I'd like to hear more," I asked.

Here is her response (scroll up), and I think it's right interesting.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Criminy, I'm stupid.

That's the third time I've stepped into the fireants beside the greenhouse. You'd think I'd learn.

I've also been plucking at my "Susan Boyle" eyebrows. Brooke Shields did more for my self-esteem than any ten other actresses.

UPDATE: I found one hair in my right eyebrow that is as long and longer than the hair on my head. Granted, I wear my hair as short as a man's, but still.

And I can't carry a tune in a bucket.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

This side sweep is an attractive look, but how is a girl supposed to keep it there during the course of the evening?

I don't have a clue. Do you?
The parents were installed at the assisted living facility on Monday. So far, so good.

I spent quite a bit of time there in the days running up to their arrival, and can vouch for the kindness and decency of the people on the ground.

And I ate lunch (dinner, really, the big meal of the day) with Big Daddy on Monday. The food is good home cooking.

It's a safe, comfortable, pretty place for as long as it lasts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

For a little mindless fun, go here and vote for the person who wears the garment best.

Catherine, Catherine, you is bustin' out all ovah.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My sister's daughter has joined the Navy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Girl's kids should have their butts kicked. I include myself in that number.

She required a physical before entering the assisted living facility (yes, that's on again, but Lyman's sister thinks she has escape plans). Since her current doctor wasn't available to see her in a hurry, we used another.

Well, the sis checks with the pharmacy where the parents purchase their drugs and found that the prescription for the medication for Alzheimer's or dementia that was prescribed who knows when hasn't been filled since December of 2007.

Thing was, we weren't seeing her on a daily basis and didn't know the extent of her disability, and Big Daddy was covering for her. At this point, she needs supervision for her reasons as much as Big Daddy does for his, and refuses to admit that anything is wrong.
Lucy just laid an egg. She makes a little labor noise like a small sneeze.
New vocabulary: pulse oximeter

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Charlie is lying on his back on the bottom of the cage, holding his tail with his left foot and grooming the toes of the right one. This has happened many times, but I can't show you a picture. He always gets up first.

Aside: Maybe a bird imitating Mr. Wolf is a weagle?
Well, that lasted until the absolute reversal this morning.

None of us has dealt with a dementia patient before, except for the brother-in-law who saw Parkinson's Dementia in the months before his mother's death.

We all gonna be institutionalized before this is over.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

You could have knocked both of us over with a canary wing. Lyman's sister and I took Girl to the assisted living center -- and she accepted it!

As we were leaving she said, "I've been scrubbing and cooking for all these years, and I think I am ready to sit my butt down and let other people do it for me. This will be like living in a plush hotel."

You go, Girl!
In e-mail:
A woman was walking along a deserted beach one day when she saw an old bottle.

She picked it up and while she was rubbing the sand off, smoke arose from it and a genie appeared. The amazed woman said, "Oh I know what this is all about I get three wishes!!!"

The genie said, "Nope, sorry, three-wish genies are a storybook myth. I'm a one wish genie. So...what'll it be?"

The woman did not hesitate. She said, "I want world peace. See this map? I want all these countries to stop fighting. This will bring world peace and harmony."

The genie looked at the map and exclaimed, "Lady, be reasonable. These countries have been at war for thousands of years. I'm out of shape after being in a bottle for five hundred years. I'm good but not THAT good! It's just not possible, make another wish and please be reasonable."

The woman thought for a minute and said, "Well, I've never been able to find the right man. You know, one that's considerate and fun, likes to cook and helps with the house cleaning, is great in bed, helps with the kids, and gets along with my family. Doesn't watch sports all the time, and is faithful. That is what I wish for ..... the perfect man."

The genie let out a sigh and said, "Let me see the f****** map."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Well, at least she isn't Lyman's mom.

(Thanks, Obscure Store.)
What a mess. I was telling Lyman's sister this morning that if I should ever remarry, I'll make sure the parents have already passed on. She laughed, as I meant her to.

We have a very ill elderly gentleman on our hands (thank goodness there are a number of them, the hands) and a cantankerous and demented (as in showing definite and repeated signs of senile dementia) 24 kt. gold magnolia. 24 kt. gold, you'll recall, isn't very stout.

She doesn't want any aides at her house, and she flips and cries at the idea of a nursing home. Fact is, she can't take care of him. She thinks she can still cook, but really can't anymore. Yikes, the salt alone could kill him. She can't remember medications. She needs supervision herself.

There's a third option here in Natchez, an assisted living facility where the two can be together, at least for a while. We're pursuing that.

UPDATE: This is the point (and the only point) where I'd like to have a huge house with a private wing where I could put them. Built to ADA standards. With housekeepers and cooks and nurses. I still have to repaint the doorframes in this one where the wheelchair knocked the paint off.

UPDATE II: It was Good Friday last year when I rode with Charles to his sojourn in Jackson.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ahem. Another brother and his wife will be visiting this weekend. They won't be sleeping here, but I expect them to be in and out quite a bit, with dinner planned here for Friday night.

I am scrubbing my white-painted cabinets after, ah, considerable neglect.

So, how about a musical number?:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lucy's video of her "desire dance" is running toward 3,000 views. A commenter there suggests that we go see Nisha playing basketball. Here we go:

And here's a nice one of Nisha doing a trick with her canine "siblings":

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Well, by gosh, ain't that cool?

I pureed that pot of soup in about two minutes of interrupted use, washed the blade, don't see any melting or cracks in the plastic blade housing.

I couldn't have set the food processor up in that amount of time. I have to bring it from the pantry, take out the excess parts, set the proper blade, then start the puree process.

Gee, I might have a new kitchen buddy.

UPDATE: As for the cauliflower soup? It might be good with absolutely top-notch ingredients, but we'll leave it off. We used a boxed chicken stock and 18 buck a pound parmesan. The cauliflower tastes better roasted.

No more Dave Lieberman recipes. He was a private chef. He either had access to top-notch ingredients, or cooked for the sort of Northern toothless gentry who never gave a damn what they ate in the first place and possibly had poor digestion. Or both. Doesn't matter. He's fired here.

Those women, of course, like Helen Gurley Brown, barely eat at all. Maybe a portion of poached fish with a naked salad. (Yes, I know she's not proper gentry.)
This recipe is in the Cuisinart SmartStick reviews at Amazon. I'll store it here.

Garlic Soup

Into a covered skillet place:
one head of garlic unpeeled
10 baby carrots diced
one potato diced
5 pieces of cauliflower
Put plenty of EVOO over all the veggies and the garlic.
Put in oven at 300 degrees for 1 hour.
Remove from oven -let cool- squeeze garlic out of paper skins and discard skins.
Put all into a 2 quart boiler with 2 cups chicken or beef broth and simmer 10 minutes. Using your stick blender reduce everything to a pureed soup. Note if you want a thicker soup reduce the amount of broth or add a cup of cooked rice and puree. Add salt and pepper---Enjoy!Optional:1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp cayenne.
Let's talk about kitchen stuff.

First, the circuit board on the Jenn-Air double oven has gone out again and the right hinge on the top oven needs repair. It's not ten years old and cost over two grand back in 2000. Now circuit boards I can understand, but I've never heard of a hinge going bad on any oven except from my brother, who had the same problem with the narrower version of the same oven. We (Lyman, myself and my brother) plan to never buy Jenn-Air anything again. This was supposed to a one-shot deal that would see us through decades.

The two Forschner Fibrox knives that we bought in November, this 7" santoku and this 10" chef, are pleasures to use. They sharpen nicely, and their light feel is a real plus for me. I put up my Calphalon and never reach for the comparable Henckels anymore.

Yesterday we caved and bought an immersion blender because we want to try this recipe. I'd like to look into more cream soups, too.

We've considered one time and again but finally jumped. I read hundreds of reviews and wound up buying this one because it was the only one on the shelf at Walmart or Kmart. I didn't want to pay the price at Belk's for something that I want to try out. So we'll see.

UPDATE: A note on these immersion blenders -- parents love them for making baby food, and one pet owner uses his to make a wet food for a cat who has lost his teeth.

Then there's the poor soul with the wired jaw. And soapmakers. Who knew there were so many soapmakers?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Eagle, weagle."

Some people can talk their greys into an "eagle" stance, with the wings spread and the head lowered as befits a large predatory bird.

We aren't making much progress here. But Charles Gore can say "eagle."

Many times. Everyday.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We made this recipe, and it is the blandest thing that has come out of our kitchen in ages. How you can use so many spices and come up with something so dreary beats me.

But I love this 4-star review:
Okay, the reviews alarmed me, but with a few changes, this recipe is delicious. I used 1 tablespoon curry, 1 tablespoon garam masala, a rounded 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, and I nixed the rest of the spices. I used about 2 cups whole milk yogurt, but no half and half. I added 2 large tomatoes (pretty!), seeded and chopped. I finished it with a bunch of chopped cilantro and served it over brown rice. So good.
Laurie, hon, that's a different recipe.

We made it in concert with another recipe on the cooking show and never looked at the reviews. It was panned.

I've found that I'm not crazy about cream-based Indian food except for some soups. Give me my vindaloo anyday.

UPDATE: And that $15 liter of olive oil that I bought in Jackson today? Rancid. Down the drain.

And the old gentleman, my father-in-law? In swift decline. Death is not imminent, but coming.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I washed and pressed that dress to take to Girl so it might distract her some.

Her 89-year-old husband of 67 years marriage is in the hospital in Jackson with heart problems that the doctors can't do much more for than medicate.

All done.

Need more fabric.

This particular fabric dries quickly on a rack. I was waiting for the household dryer, and it half dried in the half-hour I was waiting. It was completely dry in ten minutes in the dryer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How is that dress coming?

The sleeves are in and the placket and facing are done. Now I need to gather the neckline (remembering to measure properly), attach the bias band round the neck, attach the snaps, add the pockets and hem.

I'd say machine sewing the bias over the gathers is the hardest thing left. It's easy to overlap those gathers in the stitching.

Then, of course, there's matching up those snaps.

UPDATE: I bought a SnapSetter, known at my house as "Whack-a-Snap," and find the plier ("gripper snapper") from Dritz more convenient.

I ran into some problems on the last snap, and think it must have had to do with the snaps themselves. Both tools left two sharp prongs on the perimeter of the bottom part. Three tries past, a set of parts from a different batch worked fine.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's to be a rainy, cool weekend, so I'm planning to sew Girl's next duster.

I don't mind the sewing, but chasing my fingertips with the steam iron on folds always gives me pause.

Even on such a simple garment there are plenty of folds as I'm doing a "clean finish" on the seams.

UPDATE: Now where did all those pins go? I know I had enough pins in the cushion to pin down all the pattern pieces last time.

And, do they make the tiny drop-headed pins in metal anymore? I only see the round glass- or plastic-headed pins. Not a big matter, I have a box of flat-head pins.

Today I bought another pin cushion and a pair of small scissors for trimming threads to keep next to the machine. Last time, I was up, down and all around searching for one or the other.

"Pin cushion" -- that looks and sounds downright archaic.

NOTE: Cut the interfacing on left front to 1-1/8" 1-3/8", trim cloth facing, fold and stitch down.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Valentine bouquet is late this year. How I love tulips.
If I were a trendy girl, I'd jump on this bag.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Did a quick turnaround to Jackson today to find out that the two spots on my brother's lungs are not malignant or otherwise threatening, and the Hodgkins appears to be in remission. He finished chemotherapy treatments in December. He'll undergo monthly monitoring for a while.

Finally, he can get on with cataract surgery. That was planned long before the major breakdown last year at this time, and has been put off. The steroids used in his treatment made them worse.

He's eager to be able to read and drive again.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Good grief.

If you're going to run a sequence of famous mother-daughter lookalikes, how can you exclude Laura and Jenna Bush?

Diana Ross and Tracee Ross don't necessarily even look related, except for the hair.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

House of jewels. I like the Art Nouveau sense of this photograph.

Photo and plants are Lyman's son, Michael's, work.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I hate to think what will happen to these two. Young men, do not pull your guns during Mardi Gras.

That worked out so well, let's do it again. Again, $2 a yard at Walmart.

I want some larger, flashier prints. (And new patterns. I can set in a sleeve, I'm sure.) Something more "young and vibrant," as Girl has said. The texture of the Hawaiian poly/cottons is too "hard" for the purpose, much to my disappointment. They are 65% poly/35% cotton. The Walmart fabrics are 50/50, from India. Is there a technical problem?

Just because she'd like something soft and wrinkle-free doesn't mean that she's lost her senses of color and drama. She liked Elvis Presley and Paul Newman. And she's still alive.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mercy, what has happened to us?

Do you know what my older sister got from her gentleman friend on Valentine's Day? A new helmet and leather gloves for riding the Harley.

And I'm sewing geriatric clothing.

But then, pleasing Girl might be the wilder ride.

The hem is not sewn in yet, but this blog needs some visual relief.

The pockets are used for tissues, so I stuck one in there because they disappear into the print. And this photo's tint is a little green on my monitor.

Compare to this one.


She does want the sleeves shortened a bit, but that's no trouble. And next time I'll draw that neckline just a little tighter, but it's not an alteration issue on this garment.

She loved the fabric and the colors. And something new.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Alrighty, then.

I've gathered and bound the neckline with a self-fabric tape (I hope, bias) -- forgetting, like the rusty sew-er I am, to measure the distance from front sleeve seams to back sleeve seams, and front sleeve seams to front. It's plain good luck that I'm only about 1/8 inch off, which is invisible in a garment like this. Not so in flat construction.

Now I have pockets, snaps and a hem to finish.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I bought a "gripper snapper" today. (I paid $8.22 at Wal-mart.)

It worked fine for me with a little practice, but I have small hands. Lyman would throw it across the room before a minute was up.

I do think that if this dress is successfully received, I will spring for the Snap Source snap setter. And just look at all the snaps!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I have a question, seamstresses.

Instead of using elastic in the neckline of the dress (view A), I'm doing stationary gathers, with a bias binding.

Shouldn't those gathers over the shoulders be a little looser than those on the front and back?

And, (I should have thought of this earlier) shouldn't I stitch the left front facing down an inch or so from the edge to help support the base of the snaps?

Monday, February 16, 2009

I spent a day oiling my sewing machine and adjusting tensions to accommodate that soft fabric.

I have one sleeve in, and the other ready to go. I'm not really having trouble, just flipping a bunch of switches in my memory to move this project along.

People sew wedding dresses faster than I am making this little ten-seamed thing.
Let's link here for this:

That might be something homeschoolers would like on President's Day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My sister sent this today:

This little guy has "feather duster syndrome" and won't live long. The feathers don't stop growing and cause wasting. Poor cute birdie.
I don't get around much, you know, so I was fascinated by the moving electric candle flames in the chandeliers at the restaurant earlier this week. (Could be some other company, I didn't ask.)

Apparently, they jiggle in response to air currents. Realistic effect.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's a little more staid than I wanted. The background is a little bluer than this picture shows, but in a large swath, like a dress, it will be cheerful enough.

I've spent the afternoon figuring out the proper size to cut the dress. (The pattern I have runs from 8 to 14 on different lines, I've settled on a 12 based on her bustline, which is at least two sizes up from any ready to wear that she would buy. For goodness' sake, don't tell. It's the way patterns go, and one of the reasons I don't have a clue how to sew anymore.) And just where I need extensions in the pattern, etc.

I'd warn neighbors to keep all young children at least a block away from this house for the next several days, or longer. Language restrictions apply.
Okay, then. Some people think I shouldn't shop at Wal-mart.

So I go online and check through hundreds of patterns of material looking for an appropriate poly/cotton print to make a woman's duster. From one place I receive five samples, and none will do.

So I trot over to the local fabric shop, and poly/cotton prints are thin on the ground.

I visit Wal-mart, and find about 10 possibilities, some as low a $2 a yard. So I buy a cheerful little blue print for two bucks a yard to practice my rusty skills, launder it, and have just the soft wash and wear fabric I wanted in the first place.

What's a girl to do?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mmmm. Bacon and tomato sandwiches coming right up.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

My favorite pose in the heart opening sequence was something like this, with the legs spread wider, the elbows on the ground, and the hands clasped together in front.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I "unwound my spine" from 5 to 7 last night. Did that ever feel good. Today I have an "absolute beginners" class from 12:30 to 2:30.

I think I'll nix the "slow deep stretches" this afternoon, opting instead for "heart openers" from 1 to 3 tomorrow. I tend to slouch at the computer. I always tend to slouch. I think those yoga postures would be more beneficial in the short run. The inside stride postures will help me balance in the long run, but that's not tomorrow.

UPDATE: Speaking of postures, how do you like the pigeon posture?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I like this fabric, but look at the size of the print! That little woman would be all eat up with birds. No go, but I like looking at it.

Do any readers have recommendations for shopping for fabric online? I'm looking for lightweight wash'nwear cotton/poly blends.

And what about these 97% cotton 3% lycra blends? I read that they resist wrinkles, but they don't qualify as washn'wear, do they?

UPDATE: This might be a good choice.

And I sort of like this one. A little cutesy, but not too childlike.

This one might look better made up than it does here. I do like the tiny white flowers. But lavendar gets on my nerves.

This one is cheerful. Though it might do better for kitchen curtains. I like the little blue morning glories.

There are tons of batik prints out there that would be fun, but they're almost all 100% cotton or rayon and would wrinkle too badly, I'd think.

And there are some Hawaiian fabrics. This one might be pretty for the purpose. I haven't even looked at their shipping costs.

UPDATE: I went shopping before thinking of sewing, and for her size, I could find this, and these. She has been bitching about the offerings in petite sizes for years, and with cause.

UPDATE: And I like this little group to no purpose at all.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I love these fifties styles.

How about a nice forties brunch coat?

Attention shoppers!

This is one of my MIL's dusters. A favorite. I just put the hem back in it. You can see how worn it is. She needs new ones.

Note the short raglan sleeves, the open neckline and the snap closure. The label on this one reads Smart Time. She doesn't like anything up around the neck, and has a hard time with buttons because of arthritis in her hands. Nothing that goes over the head. It might mess up her hair. I don't think I could sell her on a zipper, either.

But petites are hard to find (and I mean 4'10" here), I'd say a size eight. So if you have a clue, let me know. Please.

I'd like to find a pattern so I could sew them as needed. They'd be easy to stitch up and fun enough to make.

UPDATE: Could I adapt this blouse pattern?

And can I remember how to use what we called in my mother's house a "gripper snapper"?

How to sew a shirt placket.

She'll be 89 on March 5. She wears these at home. When she goes out, she's in full makeup, proper hair and street clothes.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ahem, the tree posture. My balance needs work -- lots of work. (Not watching hard, I picked her out of a hundred models. Our body types are the same right down to those skinny ankles and long feet. So, it can be done.)

Getting the hang of some of the complex sequences will take some time, too.


UPDATE: Remind me take a thick towel or a small blanket next week. Yoga mats are thin, and I have the bony knees.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's store Ree's recipe for enchiladas here with a note that commenters 253 and 368 offer recipes for homemade enchilada sauce rather than canned.

I have not tried these. But I might soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The most expensive January tomatoes in the northern hemisphere. The Caruso variety.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oh, dear. I've signed up for three yoga classes from the Culver City, CA, teacher that I mentioned before. And there is a Power Flow class at 9:30 a.m. that I can go to this Wednesday. This past Saturday's class was cancelled, too.

I'm looking forward, but how much of this can I put up with?
This is the worst Yoga mat that I have ever owned....the worst. Anytime I do updog or downdog the mat actually begins stretching beneath me. This is just terrible.
Lordy, lordy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sarah Palin's lovely campaign wardrobe is in garbage bags at RNC headquarters, according to that site.

Tell you what to do. Ship them to RNC headquarters in Dallas, TX. There are plenty of good-looking Republican women in Dallas or who can make their way to Dallas who'll be glad to contribute to charity and get a bargain on high dollar fashions. Have an auction.

Get Laura Bush involved. She'll be living there. One of her causes is the welfare of women in Afghanistan. Let her distribute the proceeds.
In the mail from Lyman's cousin Tommy:
One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweat-shirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, "What setting do I use on the washing machine?"

"It depends," I replied. "What does it say on your shirt?"

He yelled back, "University of Oklahoma."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pantone's color for 2009.

(Thanks, commenter at Deep Glamour.)

UPDATE: And there it is on a kitchen wall.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh, Ms. Obama. That ball gown is awful in a different way from the election day dress.

It puts thirty pounds on her and she's kicking the skirt away. What a frothy vanilla mess. She can't dance in it, and hates it.

Jason Wu, what did she do to make you so mad?

Here's an incomplete photo.

Full length.

I agree with the commenter at the LA Times blog:
Her gown tonight made her look too heavy and "fluffy." The main problem is that it was not functional. This was supposed to be a ball gown. HELLO -- you are supposed to be able to dance in a ball gown!

I'm an educator in fashion design, and I give it C-. Every single shot of the First Lady on television showed her fiddling with the dress. She shouldn't have to tug on it all night long. Form, function and fashion must work together.

Posted by: Diane | January 20, 2009 at 11:12 PM

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yikes! Look at that price.

Didn't I see those on sale at Payless for $12.99 at the end of the summer?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I bounced up, showered, and arrived ahead of time for the 8:30 yoga class to find it had been cancelled this week. Rats.

There won't be another until 6 a.m. Wednesday. I don't plan to leave my house before 6 a.m. on any morning unless it's burning.

However, a guest teacher is coming into town the weekend of February 6, and is offering five two-hour courses. I think I'll spring for the Absolute Beginners class, Unwind the Spine, and Backbends: Heart Openers. Or may be I'll opt for Hip Openers and Slow Deep Stretches.

Cultivate Strength is for more advanced practitioners.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Reeboks! Oh, I have found you.

My first pair was on sale at Dillard's in Dallas for $38 in 1991. They trod the Great Wall, then wore out sometime in the late '90s, then the style went missing as far as I could see.

What a great city walking shoe it was, and not bad looking (or discreet, at least). I'm thrilled to find them again.

UPDATE: Lyman's son says these look like something that Pat Benatar wore with Spandex minidresses. I did not do that, skinny legs and all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yes, I know about the lousy light. And Lyman's sigh of satisfaction when he puts down his coffee cup.

But catching Lucy ringing the bell on tape is harder than you'd think.

One day when Charles was here, he had a chatty visitor, then Lyman's hard-of-hearing (thus loud-talking) parents stopped in, Charlie was whistling and whooping, and Lucy was ringing the bell nonstop for several minutes. It was a circus.

I left the room.
"Loose" for "lose" is the new culprit in sloppy Internet spelling.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yoga. Yoga. Yoga.

I can't touch my palms to the floor anymore. My weight's the same, but I am stiffening up.

There are at least three programs in Natchez, and I'm starting on one Saturday morning.

This won't do.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Did a little housekeeping in the blogroll. Kim and Paul Palubicki have gone missing. News of the Weird has been incorporated into the Weird Universe site.

Carol Ferensak's home page for NPS was closed down in October when AOL closed all Hometown sites. She'll look for another host when she has free time.
Poor bird.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My brother came by to pick up oxtail stew for tomorrow, and greens and peas for today.

He'd found a serious ding in the doorframe above the driver's side window in his car.

Unless someone walked up and whacked it hard with a small ball-peen hammer, it's a bet that a bullet from one of those New Year's Eve shots into the air hit it.

I doubt that Longfellow would approve. Especially if it hit his car, or lamb.
I picked this recipe off of a Southern Living message board. This is as good a place as any to store it.

Oven Baked Beef Stew

1 Tbsp. oil
2 lb. stew meat, cut in 1½" cubes
1/3 c. flour or 1/4 c. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. marjoram
12 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
10 oz. beef or vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups cube peeled potatoes
1 cup sliced celery
4 medium carrots, sliced
3 small onions, quartered
1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 325Âș. Heat oil in 4 quart Dutch oven over medium. Brown beef cubes in oil. Add flour, salt, garlic powder, marjoram and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, broth and wine; mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Cover; bake for 2 hours or until meat is tender, stirring twice during baking.

I usually add fresh green beans during the last hour of baking, and frozen corn if I have it. I love my stew loaded with veggies. -30-

(Thanks, luvmyhunny.)
Happy New Year to you and yours!

To steal a quote from a commenter I read today, "May your burdens be light even if they aren't few."

The black-eyed peas are soaking, and I'll strip the collard greens soon, to have with a platter of hot water cornbread and grilled chicken.

The menu follows southern tradition.

Hoppin John I will not cook. I tried that many years ago and had a miserable year afterward. Leave that to the Carolinians.

When I was growing up in Texas, my mother's menu always included black-eyed peas, cabbage and corn.

Do you have a New Year's tradition?