Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"... And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever."

Can I rethink my vote?

Last night I changed the regular incandescent bulb in the lamp over the puzzle to a GE Reveal which helps to distinguish the evening shades of purple.

I sorted the types of pieces. You got your 2 knobs parallel, 2 knobs perpendicular, 3 knobs u-shape, all knobs, no knobs.

Lucy has expressed great interest in helping to finish it. If it goes on much longer, I might just let her help. She'll make those pieces fit.

Ah, but the boys want us to glue it down and give it to them. "What!?" I said. "What do you want that for?"

Lyman ordered puzzle glue from Jigsaw Jungle.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

So when did John Cougar start looking like an insurance salesman?

Roy Orbison could get away with it.
I have to set to and finish this jigsaw puzzle on the dining table. The table needs to be cleared before 8 December.

Every remaining piece is some shade of purple and there are about 200 left. I managed to place 6 pieces a day or two ago.
O, lucky day!

I stopped into the art show in the Natchez Convention Center and found a painter whose work is right up my alley. He wasn't present, but his nearly abstract landscapes are just what I had in mind to go over the fireplace.

He's local.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The kids are sharing a house in Baton Rouge.

Michael told me today that they have a lot of empty wall space. We walked around the house and found three small framed things that they can have right now.

When I was about 25 I worked in downtown Dallas. To amuse myself I took art classes at El Centro Junior College. I kept my portfolio, and dragged some things out that they could use. I never had any talent, but I have always liked color and line. My favorite boy is Matisse. I'm right fond of David Hockney.

I came across a charcoal that I did in second year drawing. It made me laugh.

I shared that Saturday morning class with at least two skilled draftspersons. One woman had been drawing for about six years. A 55-year-old man had been drawing since he was nine. The teacher announced that he was making a change in his approach that year. He would assign each of his students a theme. The woman's theme was "kitchen utensils". The man's theme was "trees". Others in the class had mailboxes, or public transportation, or some other mundane thing.

He turned to me and said, "Your theme is the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."

I eventually withdrew from the class, but not before I'd done a piece or two.

As I told Jason, that's the sort of thing you can't make up.
The boys and their grandfather are watching LSU play Arkansas.

At halftime they flipped channels to see what's happening between Texas and A&M. Within a second or two the announcer said, "When it comes time for nut cuttin' ..."

Michael said, "Nut cuttin'? Did he just say nut cuttin' on national TV?"

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

That's timely. The temperature finally dropped to 50. The boys will have a crackling fire to greet them when they come in.
I know one thing to be thankful for this holiday. Our power is on.

A large neighborhood in Natchez is without power and it includes Lyman's sister's house.

Tornados hit Jena and Olla, about an hour from here, ripping up a high school and other buildings, and killing several people one. ("Several" came from my father-in-law.)

Time to count blessings. Many to you.

UPDATE: Details here and here.
Lucy's sleep was disturbed last night, and she is letting us know with huge, noisy yawns. Some of them are real and some are for show.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Perks you up a little to hear the tornado siren go off. Lucy is in the hall and she ain't pleased none.

There's another one.

12:40 a.m. Lucy is back in place. No further problems expected. Night, y'all.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Silly marketers.

A very pretty card on good cream-colored paper with calligraphic typography arrived today. It was addressed to me, in my maiden name, which is the dead giveaway that it came from Cingular Wireless.

The lovely card inside, with an onionskin overleaf, announces that Cingular Wireless and AT&T Wireless are joining together. Cute, kids.

So why didn't you send me a postcard and save me some money?

Friday, November 19, 2004

The woman who cut my hair yesterday asked if we had a Christmas tree up yet.

Thanksgiving hasn't passed. Why would I have a tree decorated already?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

It rained all day in Dallas yesterday. Reporters at the weather channel said that there were 300 auto accidents reported.

One of those was a silver car that plowed into an SUV on Campbell Road. The female driver was taken to the hospital. My sister has a silver car and drives on Campbell Road. No, it wasn't her.

"They don't slow down at all," she said.
This one might be nice.
This dessert might be nice. Worth a try?
The son of our friend who lived up the street and died on the 9th worked on one of the Queens as a bartender. Six weeks on and two off, 12 hours a day. I think "Stairway to Heaven" was a tribute from his boat.

Maybe we're not greatly progressive, but the South can be sweet.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Go to kitchen hand's site to read a happy story of recovery of a lost bird.
The calliope player on one of the steamboat Queens has added "Stairway to Heaven" to the repertoire, tucked in between "Camptown Races" and "Dixie".
So, once you've retrieved the money from the beavers, how do you dry it?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

If I had a girl to buy for of make-up age, I'd give her a starter set of bareMinerals cosmetics for Christmas.

They are light, comfortable and natural-looking. I gave my sister the foundation and veil when I went to Dallas. She is hooked, too.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Beavers weave stolen cash into a dam near Baton Rouge.

That's a provocative headline from nola.com.
What to do? What to do?

We've decided the menu for the family, adults only, Christmas luncheon on December 10: shrimp cocktail, fried oysters, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and a salad of mixed greens with blanched carrots, green beans, asparagus, sliced radishes and balsamic vinaigrette. Garlic bread.

But so far, no dessert. In recent years, we have served apple-cranberry pie, chocolate mousse, and sweet potato flan. I prefer something light.

Do you cooks have suggestions?

UPDATE: I'm not crazy about desserts. If it were left to me, we'd have a bottle or two of sparkling vouvray with fruit sliced for dipping. This is, however, a non-alcoholic crowd, a couple of whom will return to work in the afternoon.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

I told my sister that Lucy has been quiet the past few days. I think it's a combination of cooler weather, gray skies, and exhaustion from watching and hearing the boys come and go in the yard while framing the greenhouse.

I also told her that the Johnsons' African grey, Olivia, died Friday.

She said, "You didn't tell Lucy, did you? She knew her, you know."

No, we didn't tell Lucy.
How about a health tip from Dallas?

I called my sister today. She is recovering well from surgery earlier this year, but she still has complaints about stomach upsets when she tries foods heavier than soups and yoghurt.

She reports that 3-4 ounces of aloe vera juice mixed with fruit juice settles her better than any medication.

When I was there, I bought a gallon of 95% aloe vera from the pharmacy at Albertson's for about $12.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

After looking more closely at the greenhouse frame, we've decided to leave the metal studs raw. It is not unsightly, and will be covered by trim on the outside.

My biggest concern is mildew, which is an ongoing problem with the white paint on our house. The trim on this house was washed down with bleach in August and is already graying.

And while the first paint job would be easy enough, if costly, others down the years would be tedious.

Best to leave it alone.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Finally, a little Fall. 56 degrees outside. Lyman has had a fire laid for a month. Maybe he gets to light it today. The bright-line rule here is 50 degrees.
I just came up with this really cool new slogan for the Democratic party: "I have a dream, that one day ..."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Hmmmm. "Highbrow hussy." Southerners can turn a phrase.

Lucy carries on that way sometimes.
Smart aleck kids.

Most of the framing for the greenhouse is done. The young carpenters used metal studs for squareness and sturdiness. They need to be painted white.

A young man came by this morning to estimate the paint job.

"What kind of job do you want? You can slap a coat of paint on anything."

"We were thinking a primer coat and two coats of latex enamel."

"We'll have to wipe it down with vinegar to neutralize the surface and ..."

"Yeah, yeah. I know a little about painting. I painted our kitchen cabinets. By rights, this should be my job."

"Jesse would be gray before you could finish this job by yourself."


He's right.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Let's clear a little something up here. My "reality based" view is not equivalent to yours.

I was the last and accidental child in a family of seven, who came out of the north Texas tenant farms. My daddy was a carpenter, and a good one. My mother was a housewife and mother. She worked from dawn into the night, and none of her children saw "want" in that they missed shoes or coats or good meals.

I went to school in the tempestuous years of the sixties in Dallas, and I have excellent recollections of years under black authority figures aka teachers: Mrs. Bradford, Miss Gibson, Mrs. Woods, Mrs. Waterhouse, Mr. Williams, Miss Eva (she was an art teacher, and asked us to call her that. She taught me about Picasso's blue and rose periods).

In 1966, I was a white Cinderella to a black Prince Charming. It has always disappointed me that the boy couldn't dance. Didn't have a lick of rhythm. We had to forego the waltz.

We rolled and roiled in all that time. I went to Dallas public schools, graduated a year early, and still have better SAT scores than the last three presidential candidates.

I resent being called ignorant, racist and homophobic.

P.S. Taken from Mr. Scott Chaffin: Kids, get off my lawn.
One son of the wonderful gentleman who taught me how to can tomatoes died today. He successfully fought HIV for several years and finally died of stomach cancer.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Lyman is 58, I'm 47, Michael is 36 and Jason is 29. We're all pretty clear in our family who Santa is.

So I ordered my Christmas gift from Amazon today. The Best of the Staples Singers and the Ultimate Collection of the Temptations are coming my way.

Respect yourself.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Let's try it this way: Say it with me now. "Janis, the southerner, will not vote for John Edwards for president."

It's not personal (not in the sense that I'm in debt to the guy). He's a real cute boy. But I'm not anywhere up to all that fighting on this side of the water.

And wish his wife well.
Christmas gifts!

If you have a cook on your list, you could do worse than this one.

We received a copy two days ago along with another for a friend. One of the best things about this book is that the writers describe testing processes for recipes. Why, for instance, did a group of gourmet cooks choose potato chips to coat baked salmon?
Now, moving right along.

There is a lovely new young'un among us, name of Beatrix.

I was watering the concrete this weekend to help cure the foundation of a new greenhouse, since we don't have enough greenhouse gases here. 16' x 24'. It looks a little small, but will have to serve.

Much to Mr. Wolcott's satisfaction, I have sent a check for $4000 to the condo association to pay for repairs at the beach, and am not likely to see any income until August of next year. That should account for about another $10,000. As I said before, we love you, too.

Peg, the damn sky is not going to fall. Your own friend Jesse voted for Bush. Does your candidate Josh have national aspirations? We're waiting.

Lucy, aka Garbanzo Girl, is just fine.
I was in New York, and attended the ticker-tape parade (which was by then rolls of computer paper) downtown, when the hostages came home.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

By way of Glenn Reynolds, I came upon this column by Richard Cohen.

There plainly ain't nothin' like a Northerner trying to come up with a person for a Southerner to vote for.

He suggests Al Gore or John Edwards as models, who are Democrats I could not pull a lever for. Mr. Gore was a sincere enough guy, I suppose, but I always thought he was a little edgy, and not in a good way. Edwards, for all his narrative and brilliant smile, makes my cream curdle.

I rather liked Senator Kerry. He was distinguished, not as wooden as Gore, and might in fact prove to be an interesting man in conversation. I ignored all the laughable photos. But, as he presented himself, his resume was thin and his positions were hard to pin.

Not that President Bush is better. I am no fan girl.

Democratic candidates from other parts of the country are fine with me, if not with Bubba. They don't have to be redneck gun-toters to get my vote.

Send me somebody interesting who is not Senator Clinton. I can't bear her either. You don't have to be a southerner to have a little charm.

And believe me, if the girl with the 8 mil book advance in Chappaqua starts talking about two Americas, I'll load a shotgun with rock salt.
Oh, for goodness' sake. New Yorkers wouldn't want it any other way.

I lived there from '79 to '82 '83 and not a thing has changed.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

No, Mr. Sullivan, gay activists thought this would be the perfect year to push for a new initiative. Talk about blowback. I suspect they've put rights back at least ten years.

UPDATE: And I don't necessarily think that all these marriage amendments really signal hatred of homosexuals. Certainly, there are some who are vicious, but I think the vote partly comes down to a basic embarrassment about a public discussion of sex, period. For all the Cosmo covers, Playboys, Screw magazines, and Jerry Springer shows, most Americans maintain a sort of prudish discretion about sex.

Good or bad? I don't know. But the network suffered mightily when the halftime show for the Superbowl revealed Janet Jackson's breast.

UPDATE: I asked Mr. Kinsell his take on the topic. His response is here.
It would be very poor manners for the Bush campaign to declare victory now. Don't do it. Don't think of it. If he does, it will be the total abrogation of propriety, and the influence of the crazy idiots who run these campaigns. Don't go there.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

D'oh, the 18-29 youth vote didn't turn up.

I've called the boys for years to tell them to call their mother on Mother's Day.
2000 lawyer David Boies, looking older and considerably cleaner than 4 years ago, made an excellent point about needing to reduce long lines at polling places.

How would they solve that problem without getting into large expense? I was reading in The Baton Rouge Advocate that turnout in the last two elections was not more than 62 percent statewide. Yet to see what it is this year, but as I said earlier, they were predicting above 70 percent.
So what is this extended advertisement-interview with Vanessa Kerry on MSNBC before the polls have closed in the west? Will there be a balance?

Mike McCurry now urging people to go vote. Balance anyone?
Among the reasons that I added Radley Balko to the blogroll is this post.
Here's an interesting note: Election Day Blog from The Baton Rouge Advocate

UPDATE: Five posts. She's a young thing, with other responsibilities. Did she vote?
It is rainy here today, though not cold, a nasty day for the octagenarian parents to be in the weather. Luckily, mother-in-law has a standing hair appointment for Wednesdays.

I don't have a clue as to how that will affect turnout here. A week or so ago, the secretary of state said it appeared that turnout would be well above 70 percent.

After long consideration, I finally pulled the lever for Bush. Had the state been in contention, I might have gone the other way. I do hate the Federal Marriage Amendment, and I do think government should be as transparent as possible. I don't think the Bush administration thought out the Iraq situation well enough. It could be that Kerry's election could calm the world.

The endorsement that put me into the Bush column is this one.

So there you are.

I was sitting here with a cup of coffee before I realized that I didn't vote on whether to continue a particular tax for schools. That would have been a "yes". I just forgot to. I imagine it will pass without me.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I just received the funniest spam e-mail from a guy who "learned from the Internet that you are interested in tents".

Don't be silly, honey. I'm interested in a foie gras dinner at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans.
Why, yes, that was me watering the concrete in the backyard Saturday. Why do you ask?
You can disagree with the facts, but only a man named Radley could write this so well.

That's Radley Balko, libertarian blogger.