Wednesday, November 30, 2005

There are recipes.

When I told Sarah G. "Good luck" in the comments below, I didn't mean for her to fail.

My mother would be irate if I deprived her family of a piece of chocolate pie.

The problem there was that one of our family's recipes was just in my mother's head. She didn't measure.

Before she became desperately ill, my sister, sister-in-law and I cornered her in the kitchen to show us how to make it.

"You need some sugar."

"How much, Mama?"

"Oh, I don't know. Start scooping ... that's enough."

"Where's the cocoa?"

"How much, Mama?"

"Well, a little more."

"You need some flour."

"How much, Mama?"

"Oh, I don't know, show me."


I don't remember not having her chocolate pie in the house, and I'm near 49 years old.

Fat Boy

And still wound up with a fat baby boy.

(Yes, Charlie's a little blurry, but bird pictures are hard to take with my little camera. Except when Lucy is posing.)

He was subject to a campaign over the holidays to teach him to whistle the first few notes of the pregame and touchdown LSU fight song. He wasn't too quick on the draw, but he'll learn.

He is an enthusiastic football fan.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Charlie revels pretty well with us, but he's been in fine form with his big brothers.
I received this e-mail last night:
Just wanted to let you know that I did Grandma's pie recipe justice. It was as good as hers and turned out perfect.
Mama rolled in her grave.

Here are the ingredients for chocolate-meringue pie:

1 cup sugar
6 T cocoa
4 heaping T flour (or cornstarch)
4-1/2 cup milk
4 eggs, separated
1 T orange zest
Dash salt
1/2 stick butter
1 t. vanilla

Mix all ingredients except egg whites, butter & vanilla. Cook over medium heat until thick, yadda, yadda. Stir butter and vanilla into thickened mixture.

Use egg whites for meringue with:

Dash salt
Pinch cream of tartar
4 T sugar

Cook topped pie at 350 degrees until browned.

If you need more instructions, don't try.

UPDATE: Makes a 10-inch pie.
Someone, somewhere is cackling at me as I continue my search for the elusive recipe of the schoolhouse roll.

We ate them during the fifties and sixties.

They were not strictly regional. Scott Chaffin and I had them in Texas, Lyman had them in Louisiana, and Wisconsin friends remember a particularly good roll served in public school lunchrooms there.

So where's the recipe?

UPDATE: I bet only D.C. hostesses get the recipe. Keeps them coming back, you know?

Thursday, November 24, 2005


My table is going to be all boys tonight.


And Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

We had a little birthday party here last night. Michael, his girl, and her two sons came to taste and pick up her cake and gift.

The older one had been hunting yesterday morning. He didn't find any squirrels, but bragged a bit on shooting some birds.

"Hush, boy," I said. "We don't talk that way in this house."
I am posting this recipe for apple-butter pumpkin pie here for easy reference.

UPDATE: This pie is dandy.
Wretched booby boys have my camera, or I would show you the broken ground for the public library extension. Four formidable live oaks were cut to make room, which hurts my feelings.

But we have a lot of live oaks here in town, and only a small library -- a necessary trade, I'd say.

Do you remember the story about the dirty kitchen rug?

This picture has received more hits than any picture (other than one of the two birds) in my flickr file.

Just goes to show that people are most interested when you air dirty laundry, or post dirty pictures.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I'm running a little late on this cake. Give me a really good reason why one bothers to bake this batter.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Now, down to important things.

It's been an overcast day here, so when the sun just appeared through the trees, Charlie jumped out of fear -- the world had suddenly changed.

My sister and I have been exchanging e-mails refining the instructions for Mother's chocolate cream pie, which she is taking to a brother's home in Austin for Thanksgiving.

I have been compiling a grocery list for an Italian cream cake which I'll bake this evening for a birthday girl, and for split pea soup, for a soup-hungry Janis.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tacky woman that I am, I have been following the great OSM launch with undignified interest.

I luv a ole-fashioned blog brawl. But I have no favorites in this foofaraw.

I will note that the website looks like a particularly dull corporate newsletter at this point. Michael, son and local hip-guy-on-campus, says it looks like the "website of a government parts provider."

No big deal in the long run.

I'm just spoiled by Sploid.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I think I might have gone to heaven had I one of these as a little girl.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


CBS has been around, according to this story.

I like this quote:
“The Southern diet has been focused around taste,” Brzezinski said after the morning taping session. “It is like smoking. It is an addiction.”

UPDATE: Yikes! I left Greek cooks out of my comment below. I love Greek food.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Worth a try?

Or this?

We have delicious satsumas on the trees in the yard.
It's 5 a.m. and far too early to do anything very constructive. The birds are asleep here at this end of the house, and Lyman at the other, so the genuinely useful things, like vacuuming, are off-limits.

So I'll contemplate Thanksgiving. Years past, the boys would go to their mother's near Dallas, Lyman and I would go my mother's in Dallas, and Lyman's parents would have dinner with his sister's family, as they will this year.

My mother is now gone, and the boys now prefer to go their mother's after Christmas. My brother, who used to join us in Dallas, is now here. Jason is in Georgia, and will come here for the holiday. Michael is seeing a girl with parents here, and children in Jackson. How this all will come together, I don't know.

This year will be my first Thanksgiving dinner. I still haven't pinned down the hour (or the day, for that matter), or the menu. And I might be counting six at the table. Or not. Or more.

Fried turkey, for sure. Orange-cranberry relish might be nice. Perhaps a special mashed potato, and string beans in a skillet. We have frozen corn we put up this summer. Green salad. Paula Deen presented an apple-butter pumpkin pie on the other night that might be good.

And I still haven't gotten around to homemade dinner rolls. Those might be worth some practice this week.

And cleaning. Lots of cleaning. Where can I send Lyman?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

We saw one of these in red (the young one) at Tacky Jack's. We think it was Kenny Stabler's. What year model is it?

UPDATE: Looks like a '53, the original. I've found $129,000, and worth every penny. It's a cool car.

Here's some story. Maybe it wasn't a '53. Could have been a '54 or '55. Cool enough.
Home again.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Truly can't tell you how much I enjoyed the win over Alabama. In Alabama.

Where I am. Until tomorrow.

Rougher Gulf

Pretty, isn't it?

But it's time to go home. After dinner last night, Lyman and I watched the only episode of Dukes of Hazzard either of us had ever seen, and a documentary on the process of becoming a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader (or DCC as they call themselves).

I cain't be gone that far south for long.

And I just discovered rust on the refrigerator. Noooooooo!
The monarchs are migrating. There aren't so many as in past years, but they're on their way.
So, one day this week we went down to the Caribe to look at a 3-bedroom condo listed at $950,000.

The complex has pretty spectacular amenities. The unit itself was 1700 sq. ft., with high ceilings and upscale appointments.

But this particular unit was carefully decorated with the biggest, darkest, faux West-Indian furniture you can imagine. Windsor Castle didn't have beds so large, dark, or carved. Dark leather living furniture, and safari-type accessories.

The elegant place was thus dark, claustrophobic, and vaguely threatening. I especially disliked the hightailed monkey clamoring across the enormous entertainment center.

All yours, for just a touch under a million, with a near perfect view of the highway.

The place is owned by a plastic surgeon from Mississippi. Remind me to not let the guy work on my body.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thank you, your families and friends.

Gulf of Mexico

Doesn't look so terribly threatening, does it?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Silly girl.

I saw a heron on the little lakefront today shake and straighten his feathers and felt a pang of homesickness for the critters.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oh, and we figured out that the president of the board owns a cool 15% of a condo.
And we found out today that Johnny Williams of The Drifters passed away last year.

"Under the boardwalk, down by the sea ..."
Oh, and did I note that Chris Marr's office has been recently redone? It looks very nice, with some of the most expensive furnishings in Orange Beach.

She hasn't been earning many rentals, so I assume that was done with monies from her property management contract, which she bought with our votes, from our association fees.

God bless the rest of the coast.
Someone, someone heavy, has been bouncing at the foot of the king-sized bed in the second bedroom. The brace in the center has buckled.

We shored it up, further in, with 1 x 4's. Another frame is in order, but we've spent enough money on this trip.

We might just leave, before we find something else wrong.

Have I told you that we haven't stayed here since May 2004?

We tried once, and were threatened with arrest.
Someone punched out the power and volume buttons of the 27" Sharp TV we bought in 2001.

Wal-Mart has a 27" flat-screen Sanyo for $219. It has a great picture.

Good Christmas gift.
We went, with our friends from Wisconsin, to Lulu's for dinner the other night.

I went to the bar to find the waitress to collect our check, and someone said, "I recognize you. You were at the motel with the parrot."

Yes, I was. I recognized them, too. As I recall, they're from Birmingham, here working construction. They live in an RV in a park now.
I left that meeting after the second iteration of "He has given me his word that X will be done by X."

Lyman and I love each other, but we live by an enforceable contract.
So, there was an executive meeting Monday.

If you'll look at my pictures, you'll notice I can punk up. So I spiked my hair, put on my wire-rimmed dark glasses, a tank top and Cruel Girl jeans, and walked down to listen to the Garden Club.

When Miss "That Cruel Night last September" woman said, "You have my assurances that our money is being spent properly," I said, "We don't want your assurances. We want records."

I listened for a few more minutes, and stalked out.

Come to find out, Little Sharon asked one of the other members "who that woman was."

"Oh, that's Janis Gore, the attorney's wife," a member told her.

Did I tell you we won our tiny suit?

Have I told you that the contractor told my elderly couple that his company can't pay for their windows?

Have I told you that I would have rather kicked every ass at that table than look at their faces?

Sure they could have taken me, but it would have been a catfight.

Addendum: Nothing makes you feel so mean as waking up to a pneumatic chisel, or jackhammer, or whatever they're using next door.

Monday, November 07, 2005

OK, you clever readers out there, the digital display of the microwave is malfunctioning, but the rest of the oven is fine.

What to do? Is there something short of replacing the whole thing?

Friday, November 04, 2005

We're packing off for a few days at the coast, number contingent on how long Michael can control the birds. He's staying here with them.

Y'all have a good week.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Here's an interesting Thursday Three from Papa Possum. It's a big 'un for me.

1) If you have a blog, why did you start it? If you don’t have one, do you think you might start one? Why or why not?

I have a degree in journalism. Before I came to the Miss-Lou I worked for six years with community newspapers. I have done everything from selling advertising, to designing pages (can't tell, can you?) to photographing sports. Long hours, low pay and deadlines. I hate deadlines. I don't even like the word.

The thing I like most about blogging, which my father would have delighted in, is that I can reach across this country, or around this world, and tap a shoulder. Kitchen Hand in Australia, or Sean Kinsell in Tokyo, or Colby Cosh in Canada would have been unaccessible to me until the '90's, and I value those far-away connections. And I value, too, my nearer ones.

I like women (keep your Lesbian spam to yourself, please). I read and e-mail some of the most interesting women I've ever met from this desk. Most women are so busy with children or whatever, that you don't know what they think, or what they need.

I like to share. I am a pretty happy girl, these years, for the first time in my life, though this happy part is beginning to take up a good percentage of my time on earth. If I can offer you cheer or comfort, handle it. Life can be hard, but we can cope, can't we?

And I grew up thinking that I would be a writer. Well, I am, aren't I? It's a laboratory for me.

2) What blogs do you read most often?

I read Instapundit and a good part of his blogroll, much of Possum's blogroll, and my own at least once a week. If you're not on my blogroll, it's because you're on theirs.

3) Finally, what do you consider to be the greatest strength(s) and most profound weakness(es) of blogging?

The greatest strength of blogging for me is shown when someone out of the blue finds this place for information. This has happened twice in the past couple of years during the hurricanes. Ms. Woods of Tennessee and Ms. Rendell of Arkansas came to find out what I knew. And I could help.

The great weakness? Partisan bickering is, like, really, really boring.

I started this blog at the instigation of Papa Possum. The boy do like company.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Possum at the Post House.


Possum approaches my brother's porch.

(This house is not on tour, but you're welcome for a martini around 7:30.)
It's Pilgrimage time in Natchez, when some of the old, big houses are open for touring. Possum has gone traveling. Pictures to follow.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

While y'all were piddling with dry ice and bats and spiders, I was into some real scary stuff this weekend.

I read depositions from a lawsuit brought by a member of our condo association against the board a few years ago.

Without getting into details, it concerned the backup of a common drain into a private unit and remediation.

The unit owner sued the condo association for $22,000. The board spent more than $60,000 in legal fees to defend the suit, then recently settled with a payment of $35,000 to the owner.

Get it? The condo association paid more than $100,000 for a $22,000 suit, with most of that money going to a couple good ole Alabama counselors -- one named Craven, "protector of the association's interests."

I call that scary.