30 December 2009

well, hello there!

Earlier in the autumn of the year, Jerry and I decided to spend Christmas with my folks in Arkansas. So after his eldest daughter's cantata, we headed out. I'd had a slight dental mishap earlier in the evening, and shattered my partial. Ugh. So I felt a bit self~conscious as the missing tooth is an incisor, right in the front of my smile. But as Jerry's eldest daughter's mother~in~law pointed out, "your parents loved you the first time you were toothless" and ya just can't argue with logic like that!

This was my first Christmas as a married woman. wow. I had to sit and let that soak in for a minute. as a married woman. wow.

It was about this time last year that I met Jerry, his family, his friends, and his co~workers. And this year has been extremely eventful. I'm not gonna recap here, the entire year, just this past week or so, since the last time I blogged.

Since I've not seen my folks since the wedding, Jerry and I gave them their "thank~you" gifts upon our arrival. They were tokens of appreciation. Mom makes wine, so we had an assortment of bottle~stoppers and corks. Plus, I'd made a buncha wine~bottle bags. And we took some of the muscadine wine from Mississippi's only winery. And some drink~wear...coasters in the shape of flip~flops that attach to your wine~glass base.

The following day, Jerry, my mother, my brother, and I drove up to Fort Smith {an hour and a half away} to Snoopers, a used book~store that we'd heard about. We thought that instead of buying them lots of titles on our own and taking the chance that those weren't what they were wanting or that they'd already read/owned them; well, it just made more sense to let them choose what they wanted and then get them for them.

And we had lunch at a Chinese buffet while we were there. Then, the next day, Jerry went with Dad up to Fayetteville {about three hours} for my dad's eye~appt. They bought some seafood {lobster~tails, scallops, crab, shrimp, oysters} for Christmas eve and Christmas day dinner.

Plus, there were evenings of yahtzee, and days of audio~books, and meeting a few friends of my folks. And there was a light dusting of snow, phone calls to family and friends, and a few short jaunts to town with my mom. All in all, a wonderful visit.

My folks and I have some traditions and one of them is how we do Christmas morning. Most everyone that spends the morning with us once, then returns over the years to experience it again...it's more meaningful and more relaxing than most. We take our time. There is no rush and no frantic tearing into gifts and then it's all over in ten minutes. We enjoy the process.

This year, I played elf and distributed the gifts. This year, my mom did not get out all her decorations {I didn't either, but that's cuz I abhor coming home from away after Christmas and taking all the decorations down and packing them away}, just a simple few touches in the living room. She'd covered a small table with a red cloth and placed her picket~fence with a snowman atop it and then the gifts were all piled around the table on the floor and table~top.

In my family, gift~giving has always been about practical stuff you'd use. Yes, it's stuff that you'd like {that's the fun} but almost always stuff you'd need or use. Growing up, it was almost always the time I'd get my boots {if this was the year I'd get them}, a pair of jeans, some socks/underwear, perhaps a sweater, and always a few books.

My mom always Always ALWAYS gives me a small pocket calender. It's another tradition that we share. Right up there with cookie~baking.

So after a breakfast of french toast and eggs, I with my MSU stocking cap on handed first one gift then another around. Everyone had their coffee {tea for me} and we all watched while a person unwrapped a gift. They usually guessed what it might be beforehand and sometimes were dead~on and sometimes were dead~wrong. There were some gifts that caused surprise and some that were funny and almost always there is a duplicate or two {this year it was Jerry's christmas light sleep pants~~both mom and i got him a pair}. Some gifts get passed around, like Jerry's eldest son's gift to me {my mother insisted that she should keep the pottery piece out of harm's way, cuz I'm a klutz, and altho I thanked her for her thoughtfulness, I did bring it home with me, where it now sits on the dining room table. it was one of the two pieces that he had displayed and won the state's award for}.

After we were done with the gift exchange, Jerry told me that he liked doing things this way and that it makes it seem more appreciated. I agreed. But then this is the way I've done gift~giving since I was a child and cannot imagine not wanting to enjoy the other's excitement and enjoyment any other way moreso.

Altho we enjoyed our time there, it was time for us to come home. On the way, we stopped to eat a late lunch and saw a CNN clip focused on Starkville {there'd been a fire in an apartment and killed three young woman and six small children}. By the time we'd reached home, there had been a few folks calling from away about it {concerned about the location and the individuals involved}.

In other news, Jerry's sons and their wives are coming in tomorrow to ring in the new year with us. Jerry is roasting his turkey and making the traditional coleslaw, cornbread, and black~eyed peas. He enjoys my traditional pork and sauerkraut but I elected not to do that this time as it may be better to wait til it's just the two of us {I've no idea if anyone other than the two of us enjoy pork and sauerkraut}, and just do this area's traditional meal. Altho we decided to go with his turkey instead of the ham.

I baked cookies for Jerry. I had told him that the next time I baked cookies from scratch, I would bake him some sugar~free ones. No, he is not diabetic, but since he has had gastric bypass surgery, he processes heavily sugared foods and drinks {including alcohols} differently and the effect of sugar~bombs can make him faint &/or vomit...not pretty to witness and not pretty to experience.

So I baked a cream~cheese cookie for him that I adapted to sugar~free. The cookies are extremely light and tasty with pecans and walnuts. Very moist. I've a feeling they won't last for long!

And perhaps tomorrow, I'll bake some bread.

So all y'all have a happy new year! be safe and stay warm and dry...it's always better to start the new year healthy and happy!

19 December 2009

Bab's dog, he poops.

This afternoon, Jerry's eldest daughter and her family came over to exchange presents because none of us are going to be here over Christmas. The kids tore into their mountain of wrapped stuff and of all the toys, the one that preoccupied us all the most was Barbie and her pooping dog, Tanner. Jerry swears he didn't realize the dog pooped, but I tell ya, that was the entire theme of this particular Barbie set up.

So there we were, four adults and two kids, fascinated with the pooping dog. There is so much to say, where to start? The poop is magnetic, so when it's not being played with, it can hang out on the fridge.

It comes with a pooper~scooper. Barbie scoops up the poop, deposits it into the trash~can. The back part of the trash~can is actually a detachable treat~box. So then you can sprinkle a few treats into Tanner's food~bowl. Feed Tanner. Let him/her poop. And then start the whole deliciously delightful process all over again!

Cuz the poop truly comes first.

I'm not exactly sure how you get the dog to eat, but I did see it has hinged jaws and I think you either open its mouth with your finger and force~feed it. Or its ears wriggle and I think when you stroke its ears, the mouth opens. Either way, it seems pretty accurate, cuz dude, when I've tried to give my dog a lil pellet of sorts, it requires my pushing the pill half~way down her throat and then holding her mouth shut til she swallows.

But I do know how to get Barbie's dog to poop. And that's the fun part anyway. You push its tail down and when it pops up, the poop falls out its butt.

Then ya do it all over again!

How fun is that?!?

Santa's Ride

There's been so much going on lately that I'm requiring more rest than usual. And last night I said more than a few choice words, repeatedly, because imma ijit and as I was collecting my nightly meds, the top of one bottle went one way, the bottle fell outta my jittery hand and a goodly portion on my Zoloft went down the drain. See, in my old place, I kept my meds in a cabinet in the kitchen and here I keep them in the hah~UGE medicine cabinet in the master bathroom, which has his/her sinks and so when the bottle goes oohpsee outta my hand, the pills roll down the damp sink surface. Since this does not usually happen to me, I haven't taken precautions like opening the bottles over a towel. So now, I'm a lil low on three months worth of Zoloft. Grrrrrrrreat. sigh. It couldn't be one of my PRN for anxiety drugs, now, could it? Those I have extra, but nnnnnnnoooOOOooooo. sigh. So I gotta go on Base after we get back from Arkansas and explain that imma ijit and show them the remaining de~coated pills {the damp sink took that outta shell right off them there pretty blue pills}. Maybe they will be able to help me, or not. I'm just not so sure at this point, but I do have enough for another lil bit anyway, at least to get thru the holidays.


So Jerry got up this morning and donned his Santa Suit! {cuz that's how I now think of it, with caps and an exc!a!mat!on po!nt!} and strapped on his half~helmet and mounted his bike and rode into town, while I buried my head under the comfy covers and snuggled down for a bit of an extension on my long~winter's~nap. Jerry stopped at WalMart and gassed up. Rode thru town twice, did the campus, and in general, just tootled about. Most folks loved it! Lots of parents pointing him out to their kids, lots of camera~phones and folks calling out to him.

One truck pulled up in next to him at a light, and three flannel~bound hunters were in the cab, looking kinda rough from the fight with the deer this morning in the field. One indicated the antlered buck in the bed and hollered, "one less for your sleigh, santa!" Jerry assured them that was alright, he'd have the understudy stand in. Jerry didn't bother explaining that his reindeer are female, as they have better racks than the guys do.

There was one lil boy that just grabbed Jerry's heart and yanked it right outta his chest. He was a lil boy who beamed at Santa and just grinned and grinned and grinned and had all sortsa love for Santa. So Jerry talked with him for a few minutes and then he asked, "have you been a good boy?" Oh yes, the boy assured him with hah~UGE nods. "What would you like for Christmas?" and the boy ducked his head, and very softly said, "big daddy."

The lil boy's mother misted up a lil and she said that his grandfather was big daddy. Jerry told her that is what he called his grandfather too. And she said that he died last month. Jerry hugged the lil boy and then he told the lil boy that there are some things that there are some things that even Santa cannot do much about, but that he {Jerry} had a Big Daddy too and he misses him still. And that that's ok.

While Jerry was telling me about this, his own eyes misted and my throat clogged and I thought that that is just one more reason that I love him so. Jerry always knows just what to say in situations like that. He speaks from the heart, and shares just a bit of himself. It makes others feel so much better.

Jerry said that when his extremities were numb, he came on home. By then I was up, but I'd not run out with the camera in enough time to catch Santa on his ride. So you can take a look at an older pic that's been in the journal before.

The Santa Suit! is put up for another year!

17 December 2009

Weeeeeee Read!

Emerson Family Fun Night was tonight and we celebrated the Wee Read program with door~prizes, hola~hoops, singing, reading, story~time, cookies and drinks, face~painting, and pictures with SANTA!!!!

There were so many funny lil stories that I cannot share them all here. First tho, it was funny when we were driving down because I'd toot the horn and the car next to me would be glaring and I'd point to Jerry sporting his Santa look and then the adults would get all excited and smiling and waving and push their hands up against the windows and act like lil kids. So fun!

After we pulled into park, some of the kids were still in class~rooms and they would run to the windows and one asked why Santa was in a car? The teacher thought fast and said that the reindeer need to save their strength for the big night next week.

The pictures were fun! Most kids just loved it, lit up, ran over to him and climbed up on his lap right away, and some chatted away for the longest time. There was one lil girl who replied "YOU" with a pointed finger into Santa's beard when he asked what she wanted for Christmas.

And some kids came back later in the event to present him with a custom card they had just made. The first one was lil Gina, who quietly whispered into Santa's ear that she just loves him and then she grinned up at him and there were cell~phones and all sorta cams pointed their way right then! And then there was the lil boy who shunned sitting in Santa's lap cuz he is way too old and sooOOooo over the whole Santa thing, only to run up and hug him numerous times as we were leaving.

All in all, great fun!

15 December 2009


I've been tinkering with bread baking lately. No two batches are the same, because there are so many variables that come into play. The temperature of the room {during the risings}, the humidity, the weather outside, and then there is the actual bread itself. Since I never really measure things, my bread is probably more variable than most. But perhaps not, as most folks who bake bread tend to use similar methods, that is they go more by feel of texture and elasticity of the dough. Sometimes the yeast is very active, due to the room's characteristics {even the air flow makes a difference}. Since I love the adventure of bread baking, these differences thrill me!

I've been hankering peanut butter ribbon bread that I made last year {or the year before, time is taffy}. It was just regular {flour, butter, yeast, water, a bit of salt, and some sugar} bread, with some peanut~butter kneaded into the last rising, just before it goes into the loaf~pans. Really good with bananas! {i LOVE peanut~butter and naner sandwiches *grins*}

SO this time, I decided to substitute the peanut~butter into the batch in place of the initial butter into the sponge. The sponge is a slurry~like mixture that you start with. First, you pour a quart of hot water over a stick of butter. Then you mix in about two tablespoons of salt and a fourth of a cup of sugar. And three cups of flour. This is a thicker liquid. This is the base of the sponge.

In the meantime, you mix a smaller quantity of warm water and two tablespoons of yeast together in a glass dish. After you've prepared the slurry above, you should be able to see whether the yeast has indeed been active. You should see lil bubbles forming on the surface of the yeasted water. Also, there is a smell that is very particular to activated yeast. If this is the case, that is your "proof". If not, then you merely need to proof another small bowl of yeast in water rather than throw out the entire sponge you'd have made.

If indeed you've good proof, you add that to the slurry and that is your sponge! Take your time, don't rush anything. Do this by feel. Good bread does not result when you are feeling pressured and harried. Even if you are not too sure of things, don't worry, bread forgives lil differences by still being BREAD.

Once you've added the yeast into the butter/water/salt/sugar mix {the proof has been added to the sponge}, then you add about five pounds flour. If you do this cup by cup, and mix, you will notice the texture changes from a slurry, to a batter, to a dough. Eventually, the dough will be a bit drier than wetter, and when you see that it will hold its form rather than spread formlessly, dump it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Let it rest.

You've been working it pretty hard. It's exhausted. You need to let it rest.

While its resting, wash out your bowl. Dry it thoroughly. Then coat it thickly with butter or shortening. After a short time kneading the dough, just so that you can make sure all the flour and yeast are spread evenly throughout the dough; place the dough in the bowl, and set in a warm spot, cover it with a clean towel. And let it do its thing.

It should rise to about half again its orginal mass. Punch it down, flip the ball of dough in the bowl so that the bottom of the dough is now the top, and cover it again. Let it rise, then dump it out on a lightly floured surface.

Knead it to let the gas escape, while reactivating the yeast. Cut it into loaves, and then knead and shape each individual loaf. Place the loaf of dough into a pan that has been greased. Cover and let it rise for a final time.

Then let it bake at 350~ish. It will rise for a certain extent until the heat of the oven kills the yeast. So be sure to leave some amount above the pan so that there is enough room for the dough to expand. After awhile, check it. If it seems done, firm to the touch, nicely browned; take it out and flip if from the pan. Knock the bottom. If the bread remains firm with a nice hollow sound, then let it cool. If not, then place the loaf back in the oven {you can set the bread directly on the rack}.

I know I skipped lots of detail. But that's basically it! Nice, warm yummy bread!

Oh, wait...I forgot that I was actually telling you about today before I segued into details about bread baking in general! Sillee mee.

Ok, so I used the peanut butter instead of the butter in the sponge. Right from the start all that peanut buttery goodness was distributed and incorporated into the dough and was there thru all the risings and just got better and better. sigh.

I just finished bagging up 18 loaves. Yea!! Tomorrow, I will drop some off for my counselor and thru her, the fellow at her church that helped me last year with some financial difficulties when my car repairs were more than my month's income. I call him Mr. Anonymous, and I continue to appreciate his assistance last year cuz it made a difference to me then, and to me now. He helps many folks in that way, and it boggles my mind that folks accept the help but don't extend a thank~you in return. I know that because last year, I took a plate of cookies to my counselor and gave it to her with a thank~you card for Mr Anonymous because I figured that she knew to ask him, so she'd be able to pass on the gift. Mr Anonymous said that I was the only person to ever thank him in all the years he's been doing that! So this year, I remember how much that made me want to thank him again.

So if you too want some peanut butter bread, just let me know! *wink*

{Kathy, thank you for the wedding gift. Jerry was so excited yesterday that when I walked in the door after my bookgroup, he was all "look what Kathy sent, look what Kathy sent" about the box. So I opened the box and took out the gift still wrapped and let him open that. And we both wanted to thank you very much!}

12 December 2009

yearning for yarn

i love yarn. i don't have the luxury or the wherewithal or the budget to be a yarn~snob so there are many types of yarns i've not even actually seen/felt, let alone tried. it's insane how much a small hank of some yarns can cost!

walmart had been a good source of yarns. there was a nice selection available, from bulky to baby~fine, in amazing color combinations, all sorts of brands, and such. not so the case anymore. sigh.

yes, there are alternatives. they are fewer and fewer, it seems. hobby lobby carries quite a variety, but they are very Very VERY proud of their skeins and tend to charge way more than i'd be willing to pay on a regular basis. i've bought from others who are de~stashing, and that's always hit or miss. besides, i like to see and feel the yarn before i go plunking down coinage. ya know?

since yarn can be made from a hugely diverse amount of materials, you'd think it'd be more readily available. i recently was reading that many renewable vegetative sources have been used. i knew animal fur and hair was fairly tapped out, i mean, you can save your cat fur or your dog hair from grooming and have it spun into yarn that you can then work into garments. even silk worms do their part in the yarny demand. oh! but plant fibers!

sure, we know about cotton and hemp. but did you know that corn and banana leaves are fibrous and used in yarns either blended or solo? even the sea does its bit, sea silk is a lovely soft yarn using the cellulose from kelp {sea~weed}. bamboo is renewable and used in yarns. soy, too.

and there are many yarns made from recycled products. i've used caron's simply soft, which contains a small amount of recycled plastic. we certainly have all sorts of recycled fibers to be considered!

so all that got me thinking...kudzu. we have PLENTY of kudzu. kudzu produces a strong fiber, as it ages. however, the young tender shoots of kudzu would yield a soft silky~smooth fiber that i can only imagine letting run thru my fingers.

wow, whatta win~win that would be!

09 December 2009

tids and bits

Last night, my Jerry and I went to his mother's assisted living home for their Christmas party. There are just under thirty residents and a nice staff that truly cares for them. In addition, there were many friends and family that joined in the celebration. All told, there were two rather large sized rooms filled with folks for the dinner, and afterward, there were four gentlemen from First Baptist who performed vocal treats for us all, including a request from a small child for Rudolf. We all joined in on a few tunes, and it was great fun. My ass was sore from the metal chair by the end of the evening and I noticed that quite a few residents retired to their rooms after dinner, but there was still a packed room of about fifty for the vocalists.

When my Jerry and I got home, we were more than ready to get settled in. And we watched "So ya think ya can dance", a show that I had been watching on a regular basis tho I missed last season and this one to last week. Next week is the finale and tonight we get to see who makes this week's cut and is going on to compete next week.

Today it got up to the low sixties but tonight it's supposed to get down to the low twenties. So all ya'll bundle up, get snuggly with your honey, and have a good night!

08 December 2009

you got questions? i got answers. {the two may be unrelated}

dudes! well here's a few answers to a few questions that folks have been asking...in no particular order.

i've not yet gotten my thank~you notes out and yes, the wedding was about six weeks back so i have no excuse other than my big fat lazy ass hasn't sat down long enough to actually write them and assemble them and post them. that's my plan for the rest of the week. maybe. sigh.

cheater~cookies...i made the name up. i just said, "these are what i call cheater~cookies" cuz they're not made from scratch like so many of the other things i do. use the sixteen ounce {small} container of sour cream per box of dry cake mix. the batter will be moist, do smaller {teaspoon drop} cookies, set at a lower than usual temp {maybe 300~ish} for a longer period {15+ minutes}. the reason is cuz you want the cookie to dry out, without burning the bottom. no greased/floured sheets. trust me on this. do one sheet, then tinker with the temp/size of cookie/time til you find what works for you. and then write it down so you can refer to it later when you decide to do them again. by the way, my mom calls these Big Fat Cookies {cuz when i was a lil kid i used to bake something similar, we cannot find the original recipe for those tho, so that's part of the reason i go with "cheater~cookies" as a name. works for me!}.

and yes, i did bake some for the folks on the coast while i was there. we were thru with one ceremony, but had time before we were going to leave for dinner, so i baked an incredibly rich batch of chocolate chip cookies. cuz i'm the devil and we all know there is a special place in hell reserved for my "eat these calorie~ladened cookies, NOW" sillee self. *winks*

and yes, later that night, i baked a batch of bread. even scaling back on the batch, i still ended up with six rolls, five loaves, and two smaller baby loaves meant for one person's consumption. this batch was not a crusty bread but instead more on the soft, tender side of Parker Rolls {traditional yeast rolls that most folks in the south eat with their sunday dinners}.

and 54.

i think that answers most of the questions that have come my way recently.

06 December 2009


Chilly Willy has made numerous appearances in my journal and yet here he is again...cuz we just got back from the coast to a home of 40 degrees. eeeek!

we went to the coast because my jerry's youngest son's wife was graduating with her bachelor's. she's already a nurse, but having this new degree means that her pay~grade goes up and she is ready to continue with her next level next year.


01 December 2009

~hiatus~ {or not}

It's occurred to me that it's been awhile since my last post, and in the meantime, we've had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a few other things have been going on. Like, my Jerry got all his christmas presents wrapped. He was done with the shopping months ago, well all but one or two things. And my surgery on Monday went well.

So I thought I oughta let folks know that I may be scarce these next few weeks. I can't really to an entire entry at this point covering all sortsa stuffs, and that's what brought to mind that I wanna let folks know that if I don't post for awhile, I'm alright.

The surgery took more outta me than I realized {literally}.

We are planning to go away this coming weekend and I'm thinking that when I get back, I may be a lil more tired than usual.

Gee, even this post is taking me much longer than usual.

So the long and short of it is...I'm alright, not to worry; but may not be posting overly much for awhile.

Or I may be posting just fine as per usual.

Either way, I wanted to wish everyone a very happy last month of the year!!! We're wrapping up fall, heading into winter and soon christmas dinners and trips and specials will be upon us and then the new year starting and then the winter blahs will settle in for lots of folks and so on and so forth.

Time's taffy.