Tuesday, May 31, 2011

strangely adorable or adorably strange?

I love this video of Desert by Emilie Simon

One could fall in love with that adorable sprinkling of freckles on her nose, couldn't one?

Très très cute!

Here's the English version:

Monday, May 30, 2011

a break from a task to reflect upon well-being and a bright outlook

I don't go in much for hoo-doo mysticism. I know what I like and I recognize that we naturally notice things we find appealing when they crop up. I don't think that things always work out for the best, and rarer still the way we would like them to (heaven preserve us from what we truly desire), but I do think things work out how they work out and very often, the outcome-- if properly regarded-- is even better than we might have imagined for ourselves. Even through the horrid crap, hopefully we come away with an experience from which we learn and grow.

This weekend has been a wave of hypermania for me, and I've put in some incredible hours to try and render my abode slightly more inviting for guests. Himself has been most gracious and accommodating and has reached all the bits too high for me to swab with a paintbrush, and he's helped in many other ways. As he left here tonight he sweetly offered "what would you like me to do for you first when I get here in the morning." Ah, what might I do with such an offer?? *big grin here*

I finally started listening to music on Pandora on my iPhone, after yonks of urging from my sister.

Anyway, after he left, I was painting the area behind the fridge, up on a stepladder and I was thinking that very much like shooting, painting is such a Zen practice. As if in response to that, Pandora queued up the following track from Sigur Ros, which my yoga instructor has frequently played during cool-down at the end of session. Lovely.

Things work out. One way or another. And there is always beauty and music.

Memorial Day 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Here Sometimes

I love the most recent release from Blonde Redhead. This track is lovely:

I want my yoga teacher to put this in the mix.

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: guess which is my favorite pair???

I moved my favorite velvet goosedown chair into the bedroom for a snuggly reading nook and the puppies fell in love with that perch. :)

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

110 bloody degrees

I'm scared of how hot it will be when summer gets here. Sheesh.

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If eyes are the windows to your soul...

...then are windows the eyes of your house?

I've been talking about the home improvement thingie. Making lots of progress by taking baby steps daily, mean little nibbles on the elephant.

Thursday a man came out to measure the windows, as I mentioned, and Friday I ordered the replacement for 6 of the 14 windows of the house. Yeah, I could have charged the lot, but I couldn't bear the thought of the cumulative weeks' salary that would have cost, so I decided to bite off a little chunk of them in the form of the broken window and its neighbor, the kitchen window that is super-leaky and its neighbor, the bathroom window and the window to the second bedroom. That will leave the remaining 8 to be done either in two groups or in one swell foop when I feel recovered from the expense of the first lot.

I know there will be more than a perceived benefit in the house not leaking like a sieve-- it was 106 degrees here on Friday, even with a wind. Stepping out the front door was like stepping into a hair dryer.

Friday night I finished sealing up the gap between baseboard and floor in my bedroom with expanding foam-- a project begun last winter when icy winds curled up around my ankles when climbing into bed. I'm watching a bump expanding on my left index finger, fearful I've been spider bit-- but surely I'm just being paranoid? I never saw any creepy-crawlies, and I was wearing nitrile gloves most of the time. Well, actually, when I was laying painter's tape along the gap, I could feel the cold air rushing from the room, whooshing past my fingers and under the house. Baby steps, I'm reminding myself.

Now remind me why it's called a money pit?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mom got her stitches and staples out yesterday

*happy dance*

Yesterday was Mom's first checkup with the surgeon since she left the hospital, and he was very pleased with her progress.

I'm so proud of her. It was incredibly bold and brave of her to do both knees at once. I'd heard horror stories about the surgery, and I was very afraid of anything that would endanger her general health or overtax her system, and about 6 months ago I told her my concern, and dropped that subject. When she made her decsion to do both knees, I was at work, it was about 6:45, and she called me and told me she wanted me to know she'd scheduled the surgery, and I very much got the feeling that if I'd told her I was too afraid, she would have done just the one knee. The emotional part of me-- the part that will always be the little girl who cried on her lap after a bad day at school-- was terrified of such a big double-procedure. But in that instant when she told me she wanted to do them both and was asking how I felt about that, something clicked and I realized that it's her body and her call, and she knows what she's willing to go through, and I need to support her in that. I was struck by the realization that when I do something difficult and challenging, my folks will express reservations if they have them, but they support me, and they buoy me in the important and unconditional ways that are so rare in this world. I'm glad I didn't let my initial reservations foster a fear in her. I'm glad she trusted her instincts, because I see again and again that she knows her own business. It's amazing how you are never too old to learn from your parents.

Here's to grace under pressure. :) Here's to my Mom.

Work continues apace on the house. There is so much to be done. I am going to bite the bullet and go ahead and have 4 of my 14 windows replaced(I'd seriously go into hock if I did the whole lot, so baby steps for now). The ones I'll do first are A) the one I broke out to get back in when I'd locked myself out(yes, it was too embarrasing to blog about), and the one right next to that one, and then the two winders in the kitchen. [yes, talking to Himself on Thursday I slipped into Arkansan and said winders*( for windows)]. I had someone come out Thursday to measure them, and was not at all surprised to find that nary a one of the winders was stock measurement.

I have the scaffold up in the living room, awaiting the final wave of beadboard on the ceiling. The bathroom is in a sad, primed-but-not-painted state, and there are cans of paint and tubes of caulk all over the place. Then there's the loveseat hidden under a pile of unfolded laundry. I apologized to the window guy, saying I'm living in a construction zone. He said this was immaculate compared to one he saw yesterday. This was wonderful, because he seemed like a very country guy like you see around here, sort of old-school, and the he whipped out his smart phone and started me showing pictures of a house in full-on tumult mode. It looked like someone had a bunch of crap in a house, and shook the house up like a snowdome. Just toys and clothes and empty food containers and all kinds of stuff, everywhere, in a tumble. I said "wow. that looks like it stinks." He said "you have NO idea" and went on to recount that the woman there had 5 pit bulls and there were feces all over the house and she had little kids living around that, too, so no, my house is in fact, very very clean by comparison.

THAT is scary, but I'll take the ego boost. :P
Did I mention how frelling glad I am that it is Friday???

*rhymes with fenders

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jared Lee Loughner gives wacky yard art a bad name

People love categorizing other people because this enables them to compartmentalize things nicely. The idea of how random other people truly are is a disturbing one, so having some common thread with which to sew things up into a more tidy package helps people tuck that idea away for consideration another time (or not at all).

Being of a slightly off-beat bent, I take umbrage, therefore, at the description of the "shrine" that was an ill-conceived collection of crap in the yard of Jared Lee Loughner.

A sinister skull sitting atop a pot filled with shriveled oranges reveals a chilling occult dimension in the mind of the deranged gunman, Jared Lee Loughner...

Ooh, skulls are sinister, aren't they? Skull imagery is everywhere from rock and roll to high fashion. It's almost goofy how skulls are all over the place. Of course, any healthy person wouldn't be caught dead with one. We'd not be found living without one, either, oddly enough.

Shriveled oranges? Well, mine tend not to get past the fruit fly stage, but I've had some lemons go positively rigid-- coincidence? *shrug* I've also seen dessicated oranges in bags of potpourri at Hobby Lobby. Super-creepy! See also the disused containers in which flowers and herbs are sold. Is that in some way symbolic? Satan's oven-mitts, are those flower pots!

A row of ceremonial candles and a bag of potting soil lay nearby, photos reveal.

Who are you going to believe-- me or your lying eyes? Thanks for that riveting description of what may clearly be observed in the photo.

Okay, I have a bin of potting soil. Ceremonial candles? I see these candles more often in Catholic churches. Why were they not described as liturgical candles? Because "ceremonial" reeks of the eerie stripe of hoodoo mysticism that buttresses the authors' point that the gunman was clearly deranged because of the shrine in the back yard. Of course, the same person would probably argue that these are redundancies, because clearly no sane person would ever have a gun to begin with.

I say this is just some random crap that ended up thrown together in the back yard in a THC-fueled freakout. I say this has exactly nothing to do with him being a nasty person who willingly killed a bunch of people. I think if he were truly obsessive and were enacting some sort of ritual-- demonic or otherwise-- he would have removed the UPC barcodes from the candles.

Then again, they are the mark of the beast, right?

Creepy? Spooky?

Not so much. I'd say murderous asshole who deserves to be held accountable for his crimes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

a busy little bee...

Lots going on this week. I've got a lot to do to the house before company comes, and miles to go before I sleep.

Ever more crashing waves of realization break on the shore as I work on this house. It's a cute house. Its core was well-done. The funny thing-- considering I've had a major renovation house project previously-- is that I naively thought this wasn't THAT big a reno when I bought it. Goodness me, but if I re-do everything here in the way I really think it should be done, this house will be essentially built again, and at a cost of materials no one would ever see back out of the place. Therefore am I led down the primrose path of justifying ethnically engineering the shit out of the place. I'll just try to make less of a pig's ear of the job than the previous owner.

I could recount for you here the myriad ghetto-assed touches which spring forward upon closer inspection like mushrooms after a rainstorm, but that would perhaps try your patience.

There's a lot of paneling here.
In this region of Texas, drywall is bad to crack as houses shift with varying degrees of moisture in the ground due to rainfall or the lack thereof. At first I thought the painted-over paneling was beastly, but I have come to genuinely appreciate that I can paint the ever-lovin' dickens out of it, and it won't crack. In fact, I rather like the painted surface. Is the redneck rubbing off on me?

The paneling in the bathroom was thin plywood paneling with an ever-so-lifelike photocopy of actual wood effect, never having been painted. Quelle horreur. I have a lot of other stuff to accomplish, but I concluded Tuesday that I could bear it no longer, and I whipped out the Zinsser and commenced to cover this offense, with intent to paint over that at the soonest possible moment.

The Zinsser's fumes are foul, but it covers paneling and wood surfaces well. My being vertically challenged, Himself will have to get some of the upper-most bits, but suffice to say I have about put the kibosh on the lion's share of photocopied woodwork in the house, glory be.
Tuesday, my phone line crapped out, that being the phone line I jabber on 40 hours a week for money. Into the office I had to go, because the phone company told me they couldn't send a technician. A couple hours after I arrive at the office, I get word that a technician was at the house and-- lo-and-behold!-- more ethnic engineering had struck again-- someone had lopped off a phone line from the box to the house and it all went wonky in a windstorm Monday night, apparently. They got it all squared away, but I stayed at the office in town, though, because some people begged me to. I'll be there Wednesday, too. Someone came by the veal cube of a vacationing person to talk to me, but I was on the phone and she went away. She came back two hours later to tell me to disinfect the cube. Knowing she actively detests the vacationing regular occupant of that cube, I chuckled. She said "no. seriously. That person has staph. You better disinfect the hell out of this thing."

Remind me again why I wanted to start working from home?

Like I said, miles to go before I sleep.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fairy lights

Got my lights up on the tree house, finally. This tree house deck thingie is under (and around) one of two enormous pecan trees in me back yard. It's really nice, but it's needed a little extra oomph all along, and apparently that oomph was light.

He did the hard work and I gave artistic direction. Got lovely white lights with round frosted bulbs-- I love that look. Sat on the back step late Monday night with Himself, admiring his handyman skills. :) I'm imagining a lot of nice friends here, too, and very soon.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Bonus pups

Praline is lounging on the scaffold, and Chuy is wallowing in his bed on a dead cricket, and all is well.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

...in which we all were Left Behind™

Apparently, May 21 came and went, and we remain unraptured.

I really hate assholes who make up crap to scare people into giving them their money.

Again, I have to quote my sister who said the Mayan 2012 calendar spook thing had a lot more creedence. A year or two ago she told me "the world probably WILL end in 2012, because that's when the truck will be paid off." No auto-payment = the end of the world as we know it.

And I feel fine.

KISS' Gene Simmons: Obama "Has No F***ing Idea What The World Is Like"

KISS' Gene Simmons: Obama "Has No F***ing Idea What The World Is Like"

Haw Haw Haw!

At the same time, there's something a little annoying about the people who voted him in finally having the scales fall away from their eyes. Too little, too late.

Thanks, Gene.

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: snugglies

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mom comes home today

*happy dance*

Mom has made remarkable progress and Dad's on his way to pick her up at the rehab center. Today I'll stay with her and play steppinfetchit, doing things around the house to make it a little more walker-friendly. Hopefully we can array things for easy access and have things nice and comfy for her.

She's progressed beautifully in her recovery, and I know every day she has greater ease of movement. I do see the necessity of having to be away sometimes, especially when recovering from a major surgery like this, but I think there's just got to be a little lift, a boost which comes of being in your own little nest.

Welcome home, Mom.

Love your hair, Adele. I hope you win!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kitteh versus a scary thing

Only a kitteh really really rilly understands how spooky a tennis ball can really be.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why? Why? Why?

Great googly moogly but even I think these shoes/boots (shoots?) are some homely-assed footwear.

From Prada.
Go figure.

These not-pretty things will set you back $1600 worth of pretty pennies. I do expect these will make it all the way through to the markdown rack, though. The shoe part is not cute, and the leg-part is not comely or clever. Frelling YUCK, already!


Thanks for the nightmares, Breda!!! ;P

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I almost hate to say it, but...

I liked Beatrice's hat. Really, I did. I thought she looked very cute, actually. It was odd, but delightful. It was certainly memorable, wasn't it? I think it was far from being the ugliest hat or fascinator at the Royal Wedding™. I absolutely love it having a life of its own, too. :)

This has achieved virtual omnipresence, and is clearly a portal to another dimension. Now I have my Halloween costume all settled! Me and half the drag queens on the planet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taste of the Ozarks

Last week on my way to my folks' house from the hospital, I stopped at Penzey's in Dallas to pick up some seasoning. I probably should wait until the beans are fully cooked to say how tantalizing this flavor is, but if it's half as good as it smells, the beans made with the Ozark Seasoning are going to be amazing. Srsly. Smells wonderful.

I never realized there was a taste to the Ozarks. And if I had thunk of it, I wouldn't have thought there would be notes of cinnamon, ginger or cardamom in there, either. Actually, the smell so far reminds me at least a little of my beloved Cavendar's Greek Seasoning.

Anyway, you'll be getting a report on those beans today. I'll probably be having some for breakfast. Om nom nom!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wanda versus Count Dracula

In Living Color was brilliant, on occasion.

Thanks for wiping your booger on me.

The company I work for is relatively small (but growing), so there's a lot that's done in big corporations that's not done there, and vice-versa. Generally, this is a very good thing, but there's a habit which persists in emails amongst a handful of ladies in my department that baffles me endlessly: the communal booger-wiping of must-forward feel-good emails which admonish the receiver to forward to at least 12 friends in the next 12 minutes or risk 12 months of bad luck, or some variation thereon.

If you delete after reading .... you'll spend a year of ill luck!


Forward this to 12 friends, and I'd better be one of them.

So, you're going to take it personally if I'm not a) forwarding your chain email and b) sending proof of same back to you?

My favorite is the ones which start off with:

You'll have bad luck if you do not forward this after reading.

Oh really? Best not to read it, then. *DELETE*

Gosh, I don't mean to be a stick-in-the-mud. I am really busy, but I am delighted by clever emails and funny things my friends send me in my personal email. Videos, jokes and quirky things from the web delight me, obviously. But the things that MUST be passed along to ensure that ills not befall me? Gosh, I'm so not down with that.

Anyway, I wonder how long that will be tolerated at my job? I hope they don't think I'm rude or anti-social for not playing along, and I'm certainly not going to complain about it to anyone at the company, but I do marvel that so many people are comfortable cluttering up their colleagues' day like that. Every once in a while, someone in the department will forward something genuinely funny that sort of lightens the mood and I'm all for that. But emails involving magical thinking that prosperity may only be ensured by forwarding something not of their own composition are baffling, to say the least...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

jiggity jig.

This week was exhausting, but ultimately rewarding. Mom has her new knees and is in a transitional facility for Physical Therapy to prepare her for getting around on her own at home. We hope to get some idea Monday when she'll be able to go home. If I were betting, I would not be surprised if they release her before the weekend.

She is walking with a walker, but even with that, she does so with better range of movement (and faster) than she was prior to the surgery. I'm really proud of her. :) Looking forward to daily news of her progress, and I'm looking forward to going back home to my folks next weekend. I know they've both been out of sorts for being apart, and I'm looking forward to seeing them both back at home, comfortable and bantering away.

I returned home early this morning to a happy reunion with teh puppehs, but it's the wee hours and they seem impatient for me to go to bed, for some reason. I think I'll accommodate my little darlings.


Sunday, Puppy Sunday: dirty girl edition

Jack Russell Terriers by nature look like such neat, tidy little dogs. They are compact, beautifully formed and they look so smart with their white coats with black/tan accents. That's why it's all the more striking that they LOVE to get all dirty. Or rather, they love whatever activity gets them dirty, and are then oblivious to the filth afterward. In fact, when she gets a good scrubbing after a squirrell kill, Miss Praline seems bewildered that someone would be erasing the evidence of the kill. Warpaint. Makeup. Whatever.

I don't know if you can tell, but in this photo, she's just come in from a proper dirt-wallow out back, and was in full-on wag mode. See: happy. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An errand brought me far north...

So I stopped to luxuriate in the buffet at Pasand at Campbell and Coit. Chicken biryani, tamarind soup, dhosa, vegetable pakoras, malai kofta, chicken masala-- *heaven.*. For dessert, I'll have a bit of gulab jamun while I fish the spicy skin off the top of a nice cup of chai. Yum!!!

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To Mom from one of her cubs

This takes about 8 minutes to watch, but since you're not running around yet, I thought you'd like this video. This little bear is adorable, and her cubs are SOOOO wee and cute!.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogus interruptus

Something strange happened with blogger over the last day or so. *shrug*

Mom on the mend and released from hospital to a rehab facility for more physical therapy. She's a trooper!

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

aw, jeez...

A new App is designed to help a woman see what she'd look like with larger bewbs, and uses 3-D imaging technology to take an existing photo of the person and show them with racks in various stages of enhancement. My bet is that these apps will be purchased more often by admirers of the female form than will it be bought by women shopping for bra size.

Mom update #2

Mom is progressing nicely. As may be expected, walking is painful and difficult, but she can do it. What's really hard is the soreness of the muscles she hasn't used in such a long time. Most of the day yesterday she was quiet and didnt' feel well, but I noticed she wiggled her feet and lifted her legs as she was supposed to. I think she's a real trooper and will work very hard to hasten the recovery. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Knee progress report #1

Mom came through the surgery very well. She had a little nausea whenever they moved her, but I think that stemmed from coming down from the full sedation.

She made several wry quips and she was very aware, but clearly needed rest.

Several people expressed surprise that she opted to have both done at once. This was a little disconcerting, but one MD on rounds said he was impressed that she opted to double-dip, that it was difficult, but that it was a very brave choice. He went on to say that-- faced with the same conditions, he would himself choose to do both at the same time.

The facility she is in is one of the nicest I've ever seen. It's a clean, quiet and very positive environment. All staff seem very caring and committed. I'm tremendously impressed. It's a great comfort to know Mom is being tended by such nice folks.

Rehab starts today and I think Mom will do well. I know it will be a painful process, but she will work very hard to recover. Mom is a very determined person, and I know that the same gritty spirit which inspired her to get both knees done at once will serve her well.

Thanks to all folks who have commented. Your kind words are a comfort and encouragement to us at this time. :)

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dallas traffic: do not miss

Heading up to the hospital, I got on the Dallas north tollway a hair after the police, who blocked it off. Goody.

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Update: was presidential motorcade. Meh.

We can rebuild her. We have the technology.

Mom is getting her new knees today. Huzzah! I dread the discomfort and all the pain she'll have, but she's had that for years with no cartilage in those joints. I'm looking forward to Mom kicking some FemBot arse, soon. YAY, MOM!

Monday, May 09, 2011

(some of) the fruit of Sunday's date with my garden

My trip to Dallas a couple weeks ago yielded some lovely herbs. Here from left to right, I have a blue rosemary, french tarragon, fernleaf dill, thai basil and arp rosemary. I may have overcrowded this thing, actually, and these may not be entirely happy together, so if one of them seems to be failing, I'll quickly move it into its own pot. Still, there's nothing quite like popping out to the front for a handful of goodies to go in the cooking pot, is there? That always feels so rewarding and satisfying to me. :)

In the many-coloured pot that was festooned by the clever, lovely Dallas artist Ann Huey, I have a precious specimen of Odena's Kitchen Thyme. Named for Texas herbalist Odena Brannam, this thyme is from rocky, arid Mount Ararat, Turkey, and brought here by Byron Terry. My guess is that region's soil composition must be very similar to that of north Texas, because this thyme always thrived for me. I always used to purchase it at a delightful nursery called King's Creek Garden Center in Cedar Hill, but I found they'd closed last summer, alas. I despaired of ever finding this wonderful thyme again. I ran into an old favorite plant specialist at another garden center in Midlothian, and she gave me the location of a little herb garden nursery that is not open often, but where she definitely had Odena's Kitchen Thyme. I raced over there, lucky to find her open, and that's the beautiful nursery I posted here a couple weeks ago. Yay! So that's where I obtained the thyme and other herbs for my kitchen.

There I also purchased that rose gernaium I posted with the intense dark magenta blossoms. That is simply called "Old fashioned rose geranium," and here you can see the whole plant in the blue and white Chinese pot.

Sunday I had to work with just one glove-- my right. The left was nowhere to be found. I suspect foul play of the puppeh variety. I hope it's not wending its way through puppy entrails. meh.

It's coming together. I'm starting to feel like this is looking like MY place. :)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Appropriately enough,

Today the robin nesting on my porch became a Mama. :)

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Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

So, big brother and Blowfuzzy von Sassy and I got you those two big Hillbilly-foot planters with the banana-peeling thumby big toes. When you have recovered from the installation of your aftermaket set of knees this week, we'll pick out the perfect plants for these and I'll get them all set up for you.

You're an incredibly dear person and I have learned (and am still learning) much from you. I remember you teaching me how to spot the really fine fabrics on a rack of dozens of bolts at Hancock's in West Memphis. I think I must have been about 8 or 9. You said "feel this. Feel how this seems warmer than the other fabrics? This is silk." You told me not to look at the prices of fabric to judge quality, but to consider the weave, the feel, the way the fabric drapes and to consider its suitability for the garment to be made. Now, flipping through racks of clothing, my eyes and hands go right to the better fabrics because you taught me to use those senses to judge the fibers and construction. On that note, you made so many incredible clothes for us that were impeccably wrought. Perfectionism is a brutal taskmaster, though, and I also remember you ripping out a sleeve to re-pin and sew again until the fabric was perfectly joined. All of the garments I have saved from my younger years were made by you, and no, I didn't just save them to prove I had a 20" waist once. They are beautifully made and will always be precious to me.

Dad always speaks with great pride about how impeccably turned out his children always were. We'd go to visit relatives and cousins would be snotty, unkempt, and he said his babies always looked like little dolls. He said you would scrub us within an inch of our lives and we sparkled like little jewels, all sweet and clean and dressed in nice clothes you'd made. I can always tell that Dad is very proud of the care and fussing you've always done over us. Have I ever thanked you for being so bossy and making me brush my teeth? 45 years running, and I still haven't had a cavity yet. Thanks for no cavities, Mom!

Dad also told me how dazzled he was by your beauty. He said he was working at a garage in Hardy once, and you came to see him and he was putting things away for the day. You were wearing white short shorts ( I note with interest you would not in a million years have allowed me to wear short shorts, Mom, and yes, I thank you for that, too) and he said you started helping him around the shop so he could get out of there. He said those shorts were filthy by the time you got out of there, and I couldn't quite figure out how to ask Dad if they were dirty from handprints. Anyway, an uncle happened by and as you were looking away, that uncle gave dad a grin and a thumb's up. It's always nice when one's family approve of one's choice of spouse!

You and Dad set a very high bar in the cleverness sweeps. You're a brilliant match and you both have an uncanny way of remarking on the world and its goings-on. You banter better than Nick and Nora Charles ever did. You obviously think enough alike to have similar views on most things, and you think differently enough that you can still surprise and delight each other with pithy observations. I think you two are probably to blame for everyone I meet thinking I'm flirting with them, because I learned the art of playful conversation. [That, or, well, I'm a flirt.]

There was the time when I was 4 and we were living in a duplex in Memphis and the mentally ill lady next door sent her little kids out with diaper pins and told them to poke me and big brother in the eyes with them. That was very unsettling, the way you took those diaper pins and went tearing out of the house for a reckoning. You have always been so ladylike, so that was an alarming about-face, and I'll never forget hiding in the house and then chancing a peek out the front door, neighbors looking on as you and the crazy lady cartwheeled around the yard, you having unleashed your inner scrapper with all the hellfire that entails. I shut the door quickly, frightened. This was very strange and I didn't realize until well into adulthood that you'd dished out a serious helping of ass-whooping. You came into the house soon after, shut the door and leaned on the kitchen counter, head facing down, your fists at your temples. Then you uttered disgust as your right fist disgorged an impressive wad of the other lady's hair (I'll bet she still has a bald spot). I also learned a lot from the way you were kind to that lady in later times, and tried to be a help to her. You forgave her and seemed to feel obliged to help her. You taught by example in that way and in too many other ways to name here. You showed that one must fight when compelled, that forgiveness is the gift to the one who forgives, and that when you have an opportunity to help someone, you should do so without prejudice and without expectation of compensation.

You are a decent person with an incredible work ethic. You are contemplative and don't blame others for what you do. You have an ability to keep your mouth shut which would call into question my parentage, as I'm a famous blurter. That I was your baby girl could not be questioned, though, as I clearly look a great deal like you, happily (except that I'm sure I would never have looked as fabulous in hotpants as you obviously did!).

So, thanks for everything, Mom. I love you, and I'm so very, very proud of you and your adorable big toes. :)

**Photo taken May 28, 1965, wherein Mom was about 5 months pregnant with yours truly. :)

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

The Chooch. Chuycabra. Chuychanga. My velvet furboy. He's the cutest little boy-dog ever, and not at all spoiled or vain. When we go walkabout, his little tail curves up and waves jauntily like the flag on the back of a kid's bicycle, chest high and proud, followed by an adorably waggledy-butt.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Look, Ma: no hands!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

amazingly cool jewelry


Return from Victory by Monika Krol

Shamelessly purloined from thecarrotbox.com

I absolutely love this.

A major accomplishment

I made it through this week without asking a particular customer who was guarding the portal to hell while she's up here giving me a hard time.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Ya gotta love Texas.

"Yep. A dolphin on my calf and eyebrows, all in one shack."

h/t to Blowfuzzy von Sassy

Thursday, May 05, 2011

How to torment a dog

I loved this - so adorable! Poor little poochie!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

An open letter to careerbuilder.com

Dear careerbuilder.com:

I confess I was a dewey-eyed optimist when I signed on with you. Hopeful and open to an infinite number of wonderful possibilities career-wise, I dipped my toe in the pool and gave you some of my information, like email address and my professional credentials. You promised lots of exciting professional prospects were on the way. For many moons I searched and finally started to land many interviews in the place out west I longed to move from Dallas. Yes, I went to many interviews, none of which were remotely connected with my contact through careerbuilder.com.

All the while, I kept receiving emails promising exciting new job prospects in the remote burg to which I had moved. I'd open the email only to find it offered additional training for these non-existent jobs. A year ago, I landed a much more satisfying job and the search for other employment has ceased. Alas, the same can not be said of your sad, lying emails.

Tell the truth: you don't know of a single, viable professional prospect in that other town because there are none. It's a small place with a shrinking population because people are moving (get this-- it's an important point here--) to where the melon-farming jobs are to be found.

Call me cynical, but I suspect your true raison d'etre is to generate more students for vocational and diploma-mill type training ventures. I don't believe you actually help most people who sign up with you. True, there may even be an occasional story of someone made good because of careerbuilder.com, but I have a hard time believing that is remotely typical.

You probably won't even know that I've instructed my email to automatically spirit your emails into my junk bin for periodic automatic disposal. I won't know either, because from this moment forward, I won't be thinking of you at all.

Have a nice life,
your former sucker Phlegmmy

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

this belle is wrung out.

Monday night saw my last session of math class. Amazingly, we didn't have the usual battery of homework/quiz. I made an 85 on my 4th of the major exams, and if I make at least a 75 on the final, I'm assured an A.

All that hard work pays off, I suppose, but I sure am wiped out. It would have been even better if I could have swung an A whilst skipping the final! Relief is at hand, in any case. I won't miss going to school for the summer.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Do Muslims belive in hell???

I saw this headline that Weaky-leaks trumpeted that if Bin Laden were to be captured, the result would be the unleashing of hell.

Well, uh, do they believe in hell as in the western sense? I mean, don't they think we already exist in our own depraved infidel hell as it is? [If so, party on!]

And if so, is anyone besides myself sick of the traditions of Christianity being used against the West? I mean, seriously. All those signs in the news from rowdy local protests in Arab nations that are in English? Really? Really??? *yawn*

Roll that beautiful bean footage!

Fancy beanpot, about $1.33 per serving(or $1 if you take more modest serving sizes). Well, fancy if you, like me, hail from Arkansas, and we gots good taste!!!

I've only made beans-beans a few times in my life (a long time ago), and they always seemed to turn to an unpleasant mush. I'd presumed I'm not a big bean fan. Well, these days, I have a better idea about what I like and what constitutes good seasoning. Saturday afternoon, I felt inspired by a text message from my super-thrifty sister (Blowfuzzy von Sassy) to cook a pot of beans. After a hard day working in the garden Saturday, I sat on the porch with Himself, enjoying the very lovely weather and a nice bowl of beans, and wondering why a pot of beans did not become a staple in my fridge a long time ago. Was very cheap, very delicious, and who knew it would get into the 30s overnight and be a dreary, drippy day on Sunday? LEFTOVERS! And they were even better the second time.

I finally figured out a tasty way to use those 3 lb boxes of bacon ends and pieces, and that thrills me, because at $6.00, it's about a sixth the price per pound as premium bacon. It definitely won't pass muster as full-on bacon in tidy little strips, but it sure is great in a pot of beans. I opened the pack, and put a big, heaping handful each into 5 ziploc bags, bunged those into the freezer and there they are for another day, and the remainder were for this pot of beans. Yay!

Phlegmmy's Yee-Haw Beans*

1/2 lb bacon ends and pieces, roughly chopped into smaller bits
2 cloves garlic, crushed
splash of olive oil
*I also used about a tablespoon of coconut oil, for grins

put those in the crock pot on high, along with a couple quarts of water, then dump in the following ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped into large, coarse chunks
2 cups dry red beans, rinsed and hand sorted (pick out the rocks, dangit!)
1 cup dry black beans, rinsed (you may want to use another type, as black beans will make the bacon go all inky-purple, along with the rest of the dish)
1 cup dry white beans, rinsed
1 small tin Hatch green chiles (or more, to taste, or jalapenos, if you prefer)
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (coriander) chopped
Freshly cracked pepper
1 quart stock made with chicken/beef bouillion cubes
1 Tablespoon Cavender's Greek Seasoning without MSG
1 c quinoa (get pre-washed, or plan to soak and rinse this stuff yourself)

Turn the ingredients a bit with a large spoon, making sure the seasonings get mixed in, and that all ingredients are well covered with water, and add more water if needed. After they were cooking a couple hours, I came back, lifted the lid and had to add more water, as some of the beans had absorbed the water and were drydocked on top of the pile. I keep a water filter pitcher handy for just such occasions. I let the lot cook a couple more hours and the pups were losing their minds. This plumb filled up a 7 quart crock pot, so you WILL have enough to feed plenty of folks. Or Paul Bunyan.

I garnished with a little fresh-grated Romano cheese and some more fresh cilantro and I must say this was delicious. As for insulin-friendly cooking, we had a few little crackers left in a packet along with the beans, but something about the quinoa gives a nice, satisfying bite to the bowl, and we really didn't missing having a cornbread or other big starch to go with the meal. I also think mixing this with garlic-ladened yogurt would have a nice, sour-cream effect, but would also be doing nice things for the bacteria in your gut. On that note, even though I didn't soak the beans, there have been no ill after-effects for me, and if Himself has noticed any, he's most genteelly kept his custom of keeping me ignorant of same. Thank you, darling.

And it was even better the second day when it was all drippy and drab. Nice, cheap ready eats to keep around the house. Enjoy!

*Any similarity to bean recipes living or dead is coincidental and purely unintentional

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Hail? No!

Can you see that white stuff peppering the yard? That's hail, probably about the diameter of a nickel. Not good. The skies look eerie, and it's been raining quite a lot... This area is desperate for moisture, and hopefully this storm will help put out some of the wildfires in the region.

I'm safe at home with teh puppehs, and life is good. :) I got up to go look out the window, and the puppies are usually flying out of bed before my feet hit the floor, but I looked back and there were two little heads poking out from the cover, one only evidenced by a black little nose. Maybe the sound scared them, but I didn't raise dumb puppehs-- they know it's safer in bed. :) ...think I'll go back there, too.

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Sunday, Puppy Sunday: napping cheek to cheek

Sorry this one's a bit blurry, but that day they were sleeping butt-to-butt on the back of the sofa as I worked just kept making me giggle. They are so sweet and funny, and apparently, they want to be able to watch me while I work.