Saturday, December 31, 2011

Let's all have a happy new year!
But Lucy likes it out there. It's 72 degrees today:

Ahem. I have already cleaned Charles Gore's cage. He does not want to go outside. Can you tell?:

Friday, December 30, 2011

Now, the next project is the sluggish sink drain in the master bath.

Since lawyers are a lot cheaper than plumbers around here, Lyman has taken that job on. He has disassembled the drain pipes under the sink and found that the clog is somewhere between drains.

Today we are going to try the Clog Buster to clear the drain. I'm sure this will be fun.

We've used one effectively before in the kitchen. That's after a mishap that left us mopping water for half the night.

UPDATE: Nah. That didn't work. Somewhat improved, but....

Time for Roto-Rooter. Unless you have a suggestion.

We tried an auger, but couldn't get it past an elbow not far past the wall.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I have assembled my three receipts and the address to write a letter to Jenn-Air about this disaster of an oven we bought in 2000.

Those receipts are for repair of two control boards and one set of broken hinges. This double oven cost about 2 grand new.

The right hinge on the upper oven has broken again. It was last repaired in July 2009.

What a disappointing (pos) appliance.

UPDATE: The good news is that the hinge broke the day AFTER Christmas. And there is another usable oven.
Better. These are a quick-dry cotton. I like the non-banded look, even if I don't particularly like the hemmed edges. $4 each on sale:

I bought one towel of this kind ($5) that I'm not crazy about. It's large and dries the body well enough but feels flimsy. I'll use it for swimming.

Reviewers with hair do like the towels for wrapping after a wash. And if I had a house full of kids, it might be nice to have affordable towels that dry quickly in the laundry. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some years ago we had a discussion here about face cloths, wash cloths, flannels and wash rags. These are obviously "wash rags":

Yes, that ugly beige does match the fixtures in our 1962 bathrooms. Lyman's mother let those pass when she and Lyman's Dad built the house. She doesn't know why she didn't choose white, either.

And no, the cloths in the guest bathroom do not look as though they've been chewed by the birds.

Penney's has a 30-70% off sale in bed and bath until the 31st. Here I come!

Monday, December 26, 2011

My gosh, I'm glad there wasn't a bike under the tree for a youngun at my house. It's been raining nonstop for two days now.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

See also The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and thank you Andrew Sullivan.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We have foul weather today -- chilly and rainy across the state. Stay safe, you travelers.

I finished my running yesterday, thank goodness.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today is a shopping day for stocking stuffers. I'll go all over town. Pretty fun work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One of my new swimsuits is this one in the "storm" color.

That crossback makes it easy to get into and out of, and provides support in the pool.

I've never owned a suit this good.

The other is this one in brick red. It's a good-looking suit but not as supportive.

Monday, December 19, 2011

We are home.

I'm glad to be here, but I said "Goodbye" to that pool sadly.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And so ends this day at beautiful Orange Beach:

I left the condo for shopping at 7:15 am. I didn't finish until 3 pm. It wasn't a long list, but I had specs. One place to another until I bought my list.

The swimsuits were a snap. I bought those at Beach Bazaar in Gulf Shores. The nicest and most helpful 19-year-old woman waited on me.
I don't know what I got hold of yesterday, but my eyes were streaming. I rarely have allergic reactions to anything, but something set me off.

Two new things yesterday: microfiber towels and oatmeal soap. I don't have time for that today.

I am taking time today to shop for a new swimsuit here in swimsuit market city. A nice one-piece. The one I have is at least fifteen years old.

UPDATE: Ahem. Maybe two nice one-pieces.

UPDATE II: Has to be the oatmeal soap. Everything else is the same today.

And I am spoiled rotten by this bath-warm salt-water indoor pool.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Today the furniture and carpet cleaners come.
Here's to a new day:
A peaceful vacation, it's not:
He says it's even less peaceful on the scaffold.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

That swim was just dandy. The pool house was empty. I could have shriveled all day in a dead man's float in that blessedly warm water.

Ahem. Now on to getting the HVAC fixed. It was chilly last night.

UPDATE: That wasn't so bad. One of the heater sequencers was sticking. That's been replaced.

Now the new front door is being painted. They've had lousy weather here the past couple of weeks.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's time for a trip to the coast again to prepare for the snowbirds.

That indoor pool sounds really good this week. I hurt all over. This coming February I turn 55, and so can use the pool at the Natchez Senior Center. Never thought I'd look so forward to becoming a senior citizen.

And I let the yoga slide, which was foolish, foolish, foolish. The tape is cued up in the player. All I have to do is turn it on.

I'm taking my brand new Kindle with me. It's an early Christmas present. Isn't that Lyman a sweet boy?

We leave tomorrow morning. I'll be in touch.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The garlic soup went over well. Here is the recipe.

Friday, December 09, 2011

I'm so glad this is over.

What's the menu for next year?
Done. Went off like clockwork: pretty poinsettias, candles on the table, a fire in the grate. A bag of freshly-picked satsumas for the guests, and gingersnaps if desired, then they were gone.
And Lyman says, "You better taste this, you better check that..."

I better move to a single-wide trailer in the woods.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Tonight's recipes: croutons, Bobby Flay's Chipotle Caesar salad dressing (we're doing only the dressing, not the hominy croutons or cheese crisps), and green-chili grit cakes
Today's recipes: gingersnaps and pumpkin chiffon
Ahem. I'm a little behind. (I need a maid the week of this event.) Back to you soon on the cookies.

UPDATE: These gingersnaps are pretty yummy. The orange adds a slight edge of bitterness that might not go over with some folks. Easily left out.

The recipe made just on 4 dozen approx. 2-1/2 inch cookies. Seven minutes didn't get them anywhere in my oven. I settled on 15 minutes.

They're so flavorful I can't eat more than two at a time. And I wish I were serving just these with vanilla ice cream for dessert tomorrow. That would be plenty fine.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

If I've heard "What you doing, Sweet Baby?" once in the past few days, I've heard it a thousand times.

Do parents of young children ever have the impulse to say, "It's none of your d**m business, and you can't help anyway"?
I'll be baking gingersnaps this evening:


1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered cardamom
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup coarsely chopped candied orange peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, cream together the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses, and incorporate well. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture. Mix well, then gently fold in the candied orange peel.

Place dough in the refrigerator until chilled. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, dip the top half of the cookie in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, coating them well. Place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, or until golden brown. Use a spatula to remove the cookies from the sheet and let cool.

Makes 12 to 24 cookies. (Beats me. It's what the recipe says.)
Diane says it's time for cookie exchanges. This is a good cookie that Lyman likes to bake:


1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 12 ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated

In a food processor pulse 1 cup oats until ground fine. In a large bowl stir together ground oats, remaining 1/2 cup whole oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy and beat in vanilla and peanut butter. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and gradually beat in flour mixture. Add chocolate chips and grated chocolate, beating just until combined. Chill cookie dough, covered, at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Form rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten balls slightly.

Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven 15 minutes, or until just pale golden.

Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes and transfer to racks to cool completely.

Makes about 60 cookies.

Dr José A Bowen: Hook, Hants, England

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tonight's recipe: bread machine kneaded French bread

UPDATE: When baking these two loaves I used the same trick the authors use in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I put a shallow baking pan on the rack underneath the loaves where I poured a cup of hot water just before closing the oven door.

The crust was much crisper.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Tonight's recipe: Simple Candied Orange Peel

UPDATE: Very good alone with hot tea, would make a nice gift
Why, yes, I did wash windows the day before a downpour. That or play in the water outdoors in 50 degree weather.

Cleaning this house is thankless and hopeless.

"Charles Gore! Quit chucking bird pellets!"

UPDATE: Ahem. I toddled into the 21st century with a $3 purchase of microfiber towels from Family Dollar. These are better than Magic Sponges.
Busy week of the Christmas luncheon.

Traditional shrimp cocktail
Susan Spicer's garlic soup
Mixed greens with Bobby Flay's chipotle Caesar dressing
Susan Spicer's shrimp with tasso cream over green-chili grit cakes
Pumpkin chiffon with gingersnaps

Off to the store. Not to forget the vitamins.

At least we have decor:

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A picture of Lucy always makes the place look better. This was taken today after cleaning her cage:

UPDATE: Lucy says, "Hey, muscle boys, there's more than one kind of champ from LSU."

Thursday, December 01, 2011

I took ten dozen freshly cut satsumas to Magnolia House today. We're finally making a dent in the produce from the loaded satsuma tree. That brings the picked count on that tree to 320.

Little guy is no better a sharer than the birds, but cuter about it.

Teddy Bear is a North American porcupine at Zooniversity.

(Thanks, Viral Footage.)