Cooking for Studly: Special Thanksgiving Edition

Just when I think I can’t come up with a new way to screw up a meal I manage to surprise myself. Yesterday, I prepared the cornbread for our Thanksgiving dressing. I’ve made hundreds of batches of cornbread over the years, maybe even thousands. It’s pretty much a no-brainer at this point. Bwahaha!

This year I decided to make my cornbread from scratch rather than use one of the handy dandy mixes on the market. And because I’d rather have too much cornbread than too little, I doubled the recipe. Or I thought I did. 

1 1/3 cups of milk? No problem, that’ll be 2 and 2/3 cups.

1 large egg? Easy breezy: 2 eggs.

1/4 cup oil? A little tougher, but my superior mathematics skills came up with 1/2 cup.

So tell me why, when I went to add the cornmeal and sugar I didn’t double those ingredients?

And tell me why I didn’t notice that my batter was a bit on the watery side?

The result was a soufleé-ish concoction with a lovely aroma and squishy texture. I tasted it. Kind of yummy, but not at all suitable for cornbread dressing.

  
So, back to the cupboards for another try. I didn’t double anything this time, mostly because that would’ve meant a trip to the supermarket.

  
It might look a little overdone to some of you, but we like our dressing made from cornbread that is a bit on the dry side. At least that’s what I’ll tell everyone. Just in case, I have a packet of Martha White cornbread mix that I can put to good use.

  
This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for convenience.

Peace, people!

Down and Dirty

The hours I spend at Tallahassee Animal Services as a volunteer are the among the best of my week. Only surprise calls from my grandchildren can top being with the cats and kittens at the shelter.

Each week has its pleasures: cuddling a sweet kitty and feeling it purr against my chest, enticing a morose cat from her perch at the back of a kennel to come closer for a behind-the-ear scratching, watching a hopeful feline leave with his new family. 

But each week has its little messes, too. This past Wednesday I spent some time doing laundry and putting it away. The shelter goes through countless loads of dirty towels, blankets, and cloth toys. Soiled items are placed in an oversized trash bin. 

I grabbed an armful of laundry this week and was rewarded with the icky wet smell and feel that only dog pee can produce. And now I had that smell, too. All over my tee shirt. 

Having successfully loaded the washer I stooped to pick up a substantial piece of fuzz from the floor and realized just in time that it wasn’t fuzz, it was poo. Stinky, relatively new, poo. All in an afternoon’s work. 

Here are just a few of the animals available for loving adoption at Tallahassee Animal Services. Remember, “Don’t Shop, Adopt!”

 

Ben
 
 
Manny
 

 

Sebastian
 
Peace, people!

The Babies

From my friend Janie Christie Heniford:
11.21.15 babies
What’s the best thing you’ve ever done? The most selfless? I am not sure what it is for me. I think maybe leaving my job to be with my mom at the end of her life. Or maybe when i arranged for her to have one gift to open every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas during her last holiday season. They weren’t much, but they were little things chosen by my sister and I that were just for her. That’s the best part. Not a lot of money, but it told her every single day, in a concrete way, that I loved her. It was the next best thing to being there. That’s kind of what I want to ask you to share in tonight.   

The Syrian refugee crisis has been heavy on my mind. Really pulling, and I feel like I need to do something concrete to help. I know they can use monetary donations, but I heard about another program that touched me. We’ve all seen the pictures of kiddos affected by the war. The toddler that washed up on the beach. The little girl with her arms up in surrender. How could I directly help those children? I’m too old to adopt a Syrian orphan or I would.   

There is an organization that was started by a couple of moms in California, called “Carry the Future. They’re collecting baby carriers to give to the families with small children as they cross the border into Greece. It’s truly a huge help. The families who arrive in Greece have many miles to walk to get to help with relocation. Most have 100 miles or more. It’s hard to keep up with the kids, the babies. Most families have more than one small one to keep up with, and also have backpacks withtheir  belongings if they were able to save anything.   

Carry the Future is looking for new or gently used carriers===the buckle type that are easy to figure out and need little instruction on how to wear. They aren’t accepting wraps or slings at this time.   

I’ve found one for just under 10 dollars that is bare bones, and one for about 14 that has a pocket. If they have pockets we can put socks, or toys, or vitamins or such in the pockets. 

I’m asking you to do something that may be the best thing you’ve ever done. Help the children, and help their parents to help them. Regardless of how you feel about refugees in general, please please overcome that, and just help the kids. I’m including a link to the facebook page, as well as the address of the group in California that’s sponsoring this.

 I’m collecting them in Ponca City, (Oklahoma), please consider either sending one on your own to Carry the Future, or if your heart is full, and you have the time, collect in your city as well.   

Thank you friends. I’m a lucky, lucky girl to be able to reach a large number of caring friends so that we can help some sweet babies and families.

https://www.facebook.com/carrythefuture

1. Mail us your clean, gently used structured baby carriers to (PLEASE NO ITEMS OTHER THAN SOFT STRUCTURED BABY CARRIERS such as Bjorns, Ergos, Mei Teis):
C/O CarryTheFuture 

121 W. Lexington Drive 

Suite L 106D 

Glendale CA 91203

**Please don’t send wraps, ring slings or pouches at this time, as they are unsuitable for these circumstances, given that we have to fit the parent in less than 3 minutes with little to no spoken words. Again, please do not send items that aren’t carriers at this time, but feel free to add a small plush toy, protein bar, socks, note, etc. INSIDE the pocket of your carrier if it has a pocket. 

Cheapest way to ship is in a soft polymailer by standard parcel.**
The best price i found for the best value: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Baby-Infant-Newborn-Adjustable-Carrier-Sling-Wrap-Rider-Backpack-Pouch-bag-EA-/281789283168?hash=item419bf33b60:g:NwsAAOSwgQ9V5sKF
If you live in Ponca City, OK,  and would like to donate, please PM me and I’ll arrange to meet you or come to your home to pick up.
Love you all!

   
 

Saving the Cowsills

Science fiction/fantasy is my favorite genre by far. Nothing thrills me like blasting into hyper space or exploring the terrain of a new world from the safety of my own home. 

I just finished the novel, The Three-Body Problem by China’s premier science fiction author, Cixin Liu. I’d love to tell you I read it in the original Chinese, but I only know how to say, not spell, “thank you” in Mandarin. The Three-Body Problem was not light reading, at least not for me. There was all this math-y and science-y stuff. I’m trying to decide if I’m woman enough to tackle the sequels. Three-Body provides a spectacularly different view into Chinese culture, so after a brain break I’m sure I’ll return to the impending Trisolarus invasion.

  
Before Liu’s book, I’d immersed myself in the works of John Scalzi whose Old Man’s War series is a must read for scifi fans. Scalzi’s wit, I suspect, could make a rewriting of the U.S. Tax Code into a pleasurable evening of reading, and I recommend it to everyone, not just those into the genre.

  
Hugh Howey is another scifi writer I’ve become attached to. Not literally because Howey might have me arrested, but his Wool Omnibus is incredibly entertaining, and deals with intriguing social issues. If you suffer from claustrophobia, be warned. The characters don’t get out much.

  
Now anyone who’s still with me might wonder what in heaven’s name all this has to do with the post’s title, “Saving the Cowsills.” As a preteen one of my all-time best friends who I’ll call LA, and I were obsessed with brothers John and Barry Cowsill of the family singing group the Cowsills, upon whom The Partridge Family TV series was based. 

 

The Cowsills. before they were famous I saw them in a cafe in Las Vegas, NM, but couldnt figure out where I’d seen them before. I’ve always considered that my lost chance to impress John.
 
We could tell you darned near anything you wanted to know about the brothers: Eye color, height, birth dates, likes, dislikes, etc. One of the highlights of our young lives was getting to meet our idols after a concert in Canyon, Texas.

At a recent reunion LA gave me a book entitled, I Think I Love You, and insisted that I read it. Sure, I said, thinking it was the last thing a scifi fangirl like me wanted to read, but after tackling The Three-Body Problem my brain truly needed a rest. I picked up LA’s book and dove in. And began giggling like a preteen schoolgirl. 

Written by Allison Pearson, of I Don’t Know How She Does It fame, I Think I Love You perfectly captures the mindset of a young teenaged girl infatuated with a rock idol, in this case David Cassidy of The Partridge Family. The book’s heroine, Petra, is obsessed with David Cassidy, whom I’d always assumed was an amalgam of John and Barry Cowsill. Ah ha!

The Partridge Family. That’s David standing in the back.

I’m not a particularly speedy reader, so I’m savoring the awkwardness and self-consciousness of Petra in something akin to a slow motion retro film. She’s me at 13. She’s pretty much every girl at 13, with the exception of those who somehow seemed to be in on the whole joke from the beginning.

I owe LA a big hug and a thank you for lending me I Think I Love You. It’s been more than a brain break. It’s been a refreshing swim in a pool of Cowsill-stocked memories. One thought goes out to my idol:  John Cowsill, we’d have been so very good together.

I look forward to finding out just what becomes of Petra’s obsession with her hero. He’d best not disappoint her!

Peace, people!

Social Media Storm

In the wake of the horrible terrorist attack in France social media sites are in an uproar. Anger, fear, and hatred fuel the conversations. 

In the midst of a heated debate with someone I don’t even know we both paused. I said something about political arguments not ever changing minds, and I offered a virtual handshake and a hug.

He agreed and posted this:

  Maybe we all need to take a deep breath, and stop second guessing every action from the right and the left. Stop demonizing our leaders and those who seek to lead. 

None of us can grasp the whole picture, yet each of us has an opinion based on the tiny piece we do see. That’s never very productive or helpful.

So I’m stepping up, opening my arms wide, and embracing everyone. Now, don’t crowd in too close, there’s room for everyone. There, there. You, the good looking one, over here….

Seriously, peace, people.

  

Conundrum

I roused myself from bed fairly early Monday morning, showered, drank a couple of cups of coffee, and did my best to look presentable before leaving Doright Manor on a minor shopping expedition. On most days my efforts at self beautification are wasted, and I leave the house looking, at best, like a third generation homeless woman on a epically bad day. 

On this Monday, though, the stars were aligned, the makeup gods full of good will, and I looked really good for a 59-year-old grandmother. Dare I say I was glowing? I blew myself a goodbye kiss in the mirror and took off in search of items Studly Doright wanted for his new diet. (More on that in a future post–if I don’t kill him first.)

 

No, this isn’t me, but if you squint and pretend then it’s almost me.
 
While pushing a cart around Whole Foods I stooped to pick up a can of cranberry sauce from a bottom shelf and felt my back suddenly go “squitch!” I winced in pain and attempted to stand up in the throes of a full blown muscle spasm. Abandoning the cranberry sauce I crab walked to the checkout and paid for the things in my basket. 
 
Again, not me.
 
My face must have reflected the squitching going on in my lumbar region because the lovely young cashier found someone to carry my groceries to the car for me. Truly sometimes age and its accompanying pains have their perks. 

Once in the car I thought in my practical self voice, “Go have a massage.”

My vain self answered, “But, but, your makeup looks so good today! You know that only happens once ever decade or so.”

For a heartbeat I listened to my vain self. Thank goodness I decided to go with practical me, but for a heartbeat I was faced with the ultimate conundrum: Is it better to feel good or to look good? In a perfect world I could do both.

 

This is what I think I look like when getting a massage.

 
This comes closer to the truth.
  
Peace, people!

Janie’s Gift

In the real world I have a lovely friend who has a gift. Janie Christie Heniford writes the most beautiful, inspirational, heart warming posts and shares them on Facebook during the month of November. 

I look forward to these posts. They make me laugh, cry, think, and nod my head in ardent agreement. Today I asked if she’d be okay with me sharing her post on Praying for Eyebrowz. Of course then I wondered if I was savvy enough to do that. 

To my delight, Janie consented. Now let’s see if I can get this done. I’ll be sure to share any comments with Janie. It’s a real pleasure to share Janie’s gift with my readers. Enjoy. And as always, peace, people.

 

Janie’s photo
 
Janie Christie Heniford at Sooner Lake

I am thankful today, for changes. Changes of all kinds, actually. Circumstances. location, mind, weather, leadership, looks, understanding, time, hairstyles, position, jobs, almost everything.  

One of the first times that i can remember thinking about how things change is when i was a young girl. To join the Christian church, one of the things asked of me by our pastor, is, “are you willing to give as much of yourself as you know and understand, to as much of God as you know and understand?”. I was smart enough to realize that i might not know every SINGLE thing in the world, but I thought that I knew God. I did. I knew all that my sweet and untried young self could really know. I grew to realize, of course, that one’s walk with God is dynamic, in as much as our experiences and understanding of life are dynamic.

When Rick and I decided to retire to Oklahoma, we chose it mostly to be near our family, but also because of the seasons here. We found that we missed the definite four seasons. Our circumstances will change some with retirement, a fixed income, a lower income, and hopefully (this is the plan anyway) lower expenses. 

Over the years our health will change, our abilities will change, absolutely our looks will change. It’s all a good thing. It is likely that I will never love the storms here, but as we have weathered the storms in our lives, we will stand fast in the storms here. We will be prepared. We will take precautions. I will learn to accept them as part of my life.  Today as I was out driving, I noticed that I was following right beside the back end of a front. The clouds further out were ominous, but the ones up close were breaking up, beginning to let light through, and a much different pattern than the clouds further out.  Closer they held the promise of sunshine, and beauty. Further out they threatened storms. 

Our lives surely don’t follow a line that is clearcut like a front line. The clouds of life are different day to day, and minute to minute, and the shapes that change are our own. I imagined today, as i watched the clouds, even took pictures of them as they spoke so deeply to me, that maybe that is part of what I have learned about God. There are storms, and there are fresh new beginnings. There must be changes wrought within as we battle the storms, to allow the fresh new starts to come through.  

Yep. Sometimes i figure things out when i travel alone. I’m a lucky, lucky girl to have that opportunity.

Friends I Don’t Know

Thanks to social media and WordPress I’ve become friends with a large number of people who* I’ve never actually met face to face.  (*Should that be whom? I’m sure one of my friends will let me know.)

I enjoy these friendships formed over creative writing, political leanings, and witty comments. In many ways they are as important to me as friendships formed in old-fashioned ways, such as over a shared love of hopscotch in elementary school or while playing hooky together in junior high (not that I ever did that, of course). 

Social media friends tend to be extremely forthright and plain-spoken. If one thinks you’re full of cow manure or a post is weak they’re likely to tell you, knowing they’ll never have to look you in the eye. If a fellow blogger doesn’t “like” or comment on a post their silence might indicate that they didn’t care for the piece or that they didn’t have time to actually read it. The Pollyanna in me always believes it to be the latter.

A friend I don’t know with whom I play Words With Friends (Roy S.) went missing from the game for more than a week, and I began to worry about him. Because the game is our only link, I had no way to inquire after him. Finally this week he played a word and in chat said he’d been unwell for the past few days. Whew! Of course I’d imagined poor Roy S. dangling from a cliff by one hand while trying frantically to type “a-p-r-a-x-i-a” with the other.

Similarly, if I don’t hear or read something from a blogger I follow I start feeling anxious. My imagination goes on overdrive and trust me, in my mind some of you have met spectacular ends. I’m so very relieved when I see a post from your site, and your make-believe death gets saved in my future fiction file.

This leads to the following question: Shouldn’t there be a way of making sure the friends we don’t know are ok? Maybe I’ll invent an app that generates one final note on social media upon one’s death. Something like:

Hey there. Leslie’s dead. She wanted you to know that your support meant so much. Here’s one last poem composed in advance of her demise to be shared on this occasion.

Gone

By Leslie aka Nana 

Life was so wonderful

But my time has come,

No one thought I was sick

Guess they feel pretty dumb.

But I lived a full life

Full of all that is good,

Now sit and weep for me

Like any real friend would.

Leslie knew this wasn’t much of a poem, but, hey she was really sick.

Peace, and good health, people!

  

An Ode To Pimento Cheese

Until this week I hadn’t eaten a pimento cheese sandwich in over 40 years. But for some reason this week I felt this need, nay, this HUNGER for a pimento cheese sandwich.

In pursuit of the perfect pimento cheese, I stopped by my favorite sandwich shop, Chicken Salad Chick, on Monday and purchased a take home container of their pimento cheese.

  
Since then I’ve had a pimento cheese sandwich for dinner each night along with a beer and a sliced apple. Mmmmmm!

In honor of the lowly pimento cheese sandwich I give you this poem:

funny yellow substance
funny little spread
served between two slices
of soft white bread.
oh pimento what are you
veggie, fruit, or bean?
never mind, it matters not
your attributes I’ll sing.

Come to think of it, I’m not really certain what a pimento tastes like. I sure like the cheese part, though.

I found this recipe on Pinterest. Keep in mind I haven’t taste tested it, but if any of my readers try it out let me know what you think.

  
Peace, people!