Monday, December 31, 2007

She Has my Vote in 2008 Can I count on You to be in Compliance?

Very eloquently put ... don't you think?

Maxine on 'Driver Safety'. 'I can't use the cell phone in the car. I have to keep my hands free for making gestures.'...

Maxine on 'Housework' 'I do my housework in the nude. It gives me an incentive to clean the mirrors as quickly as possible.'

Maxine on 'Lawn Care' 'The key to a nice-looking

lawn is a good mower. I recommend one who is muscular and shirtless.'

Maxine on 'The Perfect Man' 'All I'm looking for is a guy who'll do what I want, when I want, for as long as I want, and then go away. Or wait nearby, like a Dust Buster, charged up and ready when needed.'

Maxine on 'Technology Revolution' 'My idea of rebooting is kicking somebody in the butt twice.'

Maxine on 'Aging' 'Take every birthday with a grain of salt. This works much better if the salt accompanies a Margarita.'

'I'm telling you ... she's the perfect candidate.'

'The only two things we do with greater frequency in middle age are urinate and attend funerals .'

'The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.'

'To err is human; to forgive, highly unlikely.'

'Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have millions of old ladies running around with tattoos and pierced navels?? (Now that's scary!)'

'Money can't buy happiness--but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than a Kia.'

'After a certain age, if you don't wake up aching somewhere . you may be dead.'

Okay, a little levity on the New Year and now on to something much more important...who's bringing the rum to the party? I have the Champagne covered...

Happy New Year Everyone...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hoppin' John and Collard Greens or Ringing in the New Year

(For Joan, who asked)
You know it wasn't just yesterday that I discovered that I really love Southern cooking. I've known it ever since I was big enough to sit up at the table with a chicken leg in one hand and one of Mammy's biscuits in the other. No one can quite make biscuits like our grandmothers, can they, Belles? No matter how much I watched her with that bowl of flour, from step one to step oven, I could never match her for tenderness, flakiness, or just plain goodness. They always came out of the oven exactly the same golden brown every time, the steam rising off them carrying with it the faint sour smell of buttermilk. I was having a discussion with my neighbor, Joanne, about buttermilk. She likes to eat cornbread in buttermilk, just like Mac does (and he loves saltine crackers mixed up in it, too.) I don't like the taste of buttermilk in the raw. I like it in my pancakes or buckwheat cakes. I like it in my biscuits or as a dressing in my slaw...but I don't want a big icy glass of buttermilk with chunks of bread floating in it so you had to eat it with a spoon. No ma'am, I want to cook with it. Anyway, it's the Southern cook that gets the blame for high cholesterol and hardened arteries, for the most part. What made my grandmother's (we called her Mammy) biscuits so doggoned good, you ask? You didn't ask? Well I'm sure you intended to, so here's the answer. It was the lard. It was the soft wheat self rising flour. It was the buttermilk. And it was her hands. She always told me that I overworked the dough, that you just wanted to work it till it held together nicely when you "petted" it into a round. The imprint of her knuckles would always be in that finished product. I can't remember a time when we were children that she wasn't up with the roosters, making a pan of biscuits, frying sidemeat (fat back or streak a lean) a pot of grits on the back of the stove and those wonderful scrambled eggs, soft white swirls of eggwhite like marbling throughout them. My sister Toni was the only one I know of that managed to learn her method of scrambling eggs. Now, here we are coming onto the New Year and we have a custom. We eat Hoppin' John and Collard Greens...Hopping John is simply black eyed peas cooked till they're nicely soft and served over a big fluffy bed of rice, pot likker and all. (Pot likker is the water your food is cooking in.) Some folk like to serve a healthy dollop of chopped onions on top, too. I used to ask Mammy why they called it Hoppin' John and the only answer I ever got was because someone had kicked John in the shin. That was her way of saying she didn't have a clue. I have read about eight or nine theories as to how it got the name, but so far no one really seems to know. If you go by one of the many that Hoppin' John is a Louisiana Patois, an odd adaptation of the Creole French "pois pigeons" or 'pigeon peas', pronounced pwah peeJON. I suppose its not too far from that to "hoppin' John" ...I guess you'd say that where Hoppin' John got it's name is still a mystery. Then there are Collard greens. They're much like cabbage, but not at all like cabbage. They're similar to turnips, but very dissimilar to mustard greens. They have body to them. They are really the only green leafy vegetable I know that requires chewing. And the heads aren't ready to pull till it's had one good frost on it. Freezing sweetens them. Now, the reason we especially eat them on New Years day is for wealth and prosperity. The tradition being that if you eat the Hoppin' john you'll have plenty of coins pass through your fingers, and if you eat collards you'll have folding money in your pocket all the time. It's a wonderful tradition in that if you have Hoppin' John and Collards on your table, you're richer than an awful lot of people who have nothing on their table. And so, once again we will be rich this year. The collards are in the freezer and a bag of dried black eyed peas is always in my cupboard. You never know when a little wealth will come in handy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

And A New Year is in the Works

I can't believe that Christmas is over. It seems like just a few minutes ago that I was still frantically wrapping gifts and cooking and wondering what I had forgotten to do...and it's over. In a way it's like getting a reprieve, because now I can start planning for next Christmas. In less than a week we will be celebrating a new year...2008. I'm certain I was still writing 2006 on my checks way into the fifth month of 2007. And now, I'll be doing the same thing with 2007. I know I'm not alone in that. I read somewhere that the idea of celebrating the New Year started in Babylonia about 4000 years ago. But if I remember correctly the New Year began on the first day of Spring, something about the Vernal Equinox and a crescent moon, or new moon...and that the use of a baby was a Greek thing having to do with wine and the grapes...oh, and New Year Resolutions, that's a Babylonian thing,'re supposed to resolve to return your neighbor's farm tools? Well, something like that. Now of course we make a long list of things to do, like lose weight, quit smoking, stop what ever bad habit we've picked up over the past few years. I don't think the return of a tractor or plow has been on any one's list in a long time. That being said, James, if you're reading this don't forget where you got that socket wrench set. Okay, so while I'm not sure of it's origin or exactly what it means, I do know that I will have to prepare collards and hopping john for New Years day dinner. The collards will bring green folding money, the black eyed peas (cooked in rice) will bring coins. Now, I've been eating collards and hopping john for as long as I can remember on New Year's day, and to what end? While its taste is mighty fine, the only wealth it's brought can not be put in the bank. I have not become rich in the eating of these traditional foods. However, I am rich in the friendships that have come my way, in fact, that is probably more important to me than money. So, Happy New Year greetings will be coming your way...and soon, very very soon!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas....

Taking this opportunity to wish all my friends and family the most tremendous of Holidays...Christmas is upon us and the year is coming to an end. All our mistakes are in the past and we have nothing but good fortunes awaiting us in the New Year...So, I offer you my fondest regards and kindest thoughts for the Season...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas is coming

It's the best part of the day right now. It's not quite six, I'm having my first cup of hot steaming coffee (heavy on the cream, leave off the sugar), I'm the only one up (well, except for Pyewackit, the big fat Siamese cat) and it's still dark out. It's later than 0 dark 30 but earlier than anyone who doesn't have to be up normally is. Like I said, my favorite time of the day. Early. I've addressed and stamped the last of my Christmas cards ready to put in the mail box, wiped down the cabinets and prepared the table for wrapping gifts. I said yesterday that we are absolutely positively and thankfully finished the shopping for the year. I've gone over the list of who I must buy for and I have achieved success. I can't think of a single thing that I have to get and the tree is now ready to receive her packages. Today, I'm making my fudge (and if I hear one more person question the deliciousness of Velveeta fudge, I'm personally bringing you a piece and use it as a gobstop...the divinity has to be made, the Christmas Birthday cake I'll do on Monday...I've bought the eldest son his own personal fruitcake...and I can't help but think that I have forgotten someone. The Granddaugther of course has made out like a bandit again...if Grandpa thinks she should have it, she gets it...I'm pretty sure I have the kids sisters, (all of them, blood sister, then Good Sister and Evil Sister) all have a little something under the tree, Daddy's gift is wrapped and under there...there's vacuuming to do ,chicken to be cooked (for the Chicken and Dumplings) and still it nags. I have forgotten something. One more cup of coffee may help loosen up the thought. I'm not sure, but I think it may be the actual busy-ness of the season that makes our blood flow with excitement. It seems that the closer the day gets, the faster this sled of time hurls itself down the mountainside til WHAM, it hits that barrier of Christmas morning and begins to slow down to a more normal speed. And thus the end of the year is upon us. Just like that. Umm, the second cup of coffee is better than the first. Now I have time to taste it and let it soothe jangled nerves...and there it is. I haven't gotten Mac anything. Well, we bought our usual "big gift for each other" but I usually give him something extra. I know, I know, he has me...but that's more or less the gag gift, so I guess I'll be out and about after all, today. Wish me luck. I want to find just the right thing for the man who beat out Cary Grant in my affections!
Velveeta Fudge for a loved one....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Scream You Scream We All Scream for....fudge?

You know this time of year that the magic takes place and calories disappear, fat grams don't go to your hips, and sugar is just sweet...not fattening. No, really. My sons call it "Mommy Magic". Mommy says it's not there, therefore it IS NOT THERE! Anyway, Evil Sister and I were discussing the cookie exchange from the past weekend (the one I didn't get to attend) and the subject of Velveeta cheese fudge came up. One of the girls had gotten it from a Paula Deen cook book and made it for the CEX. I started laughing because I know this fudge well, as probably does nearly every Southern Girl breathing. Yes people, I have capitalized Southern Girl. We are Proper Ladies. I have already demanded that everyone down here give Evil Sister (ES) the proper respect, for she is after all from...wait for it...South Jersey. So, once I mentioned Velveeta Fudge in the blog rooms, at least one person (to whom I have already forwarded the recipes) has already asked "what is Velveeta Fudge?" Pardon me while I wipe the drool off the keyboard, but just the mere mention of it sets me to salivating. I can no longer enjoy it until I figure out how to make it from Splenda...that pesky Diabetes II, you know. But I still enjoy making things for the rest of the family, if I can't stand over the finished (and sometimes unfinished) product like Paula does, sampling and smacking and ohhhing and just p*ssing me off in general. (Because I can't do that anymore...) So, I am prepared to do what we do in these rooms, I'm prepared to share the recipe. I won't even take credit for it, because my Mama got the recipe off the back of a Velveeta box about thirty years ago, I guess. So, it's easy, it's good and because I know a certain pal in here who is fond of peanut butter fudge, why I even have a recipe for Velveeta PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE! How good is that? Okay, get ready to highlight the heck out of these pages and copy down the recipe that will make you Queen of the Party Scene. (Has anybody ever noticed that when I talk about cooking my Southern accent can be cut with a knife?) That's spelled nyffe...

Velveeta Fudge:

3/4 lb. (12 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product or VELVEETA Made With 2% Milk Reduced Fat Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup (2 sticks) butter

6 squares BAKER'S Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 pkg. (16 oz. each) powdered sugar (about 8 cups)
1-1/2 cups chopped PLANTERS Pecans (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla

PLACE VELVEETA, butter, chocolate and corn syrup in large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 2 min.; stir. Microwave an additional minute; stir until well blended.
ADD chocolate mixture, in batches, to sugar in large bowl, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in pecans and vanilla.
POUR into greased 13x9-inch pan. Smooth top with spatula; cover. Refrigerate several hours or until firm before cutting into 1-inch squares to serve. (For longer storage, wrap tightly and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight before serving.)

Okay, now for the Peanut Butter Velveeta Fudge...

1/2 lb Velveeta cheese

2 lbs powdered sugar

3/4 cup butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup peanut butter

Melt first 3 ingredients together in microwave. Add remaining ingredients. Knead like bread dough until you can no longer see the sugar. Roll candy with a glass. Spread into greased pan. Refrigerate until set. Cut and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Thrill of it all

I love old books. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the way the pages turn. I love the feel of the leatherbound ones because their covers and spines are soft as butter and there is no doubt whatsoever that they are leather. I love the cloth covered books because you can imagine the cotton that made the cloth growing in some field long ago, in Egypt or the United States, picked, cleaned, spun into threads, woven into cloth, so many hands having a part in it's disposition that the very history of the cover itself is intriguing. I love the smell of old books because it takes you back into long time past in a way that a new printing of the same title can't do. I try to read a book a week at the very least, but usually it's two. I'll read a new novel or perception of history, one based on true crime, but alongside it I'll have an old book. I know everyone knows that my absolute favorite is Kipling's "Thy Servant a Dog", it's no secret. It is probably my very favorite of all. When I open the portals of an old book, the feel and smell of it pulls me into the era to which it relates. The first time I read Kidnapped I could feel young David Balfour's story unfolding...feel it as if Mr. Stevenson was sitting in the room and the tale poured out of his pen like silk from the bolt. When we lived in Beaconsfield (Bucks) I absolutely haunted the old Penn Book Store. The books were old but mostly in fine condition. We collected Wm Shakespeare, Mr. Stevenson, Charles Dickens (oh so many of Mr. Dickens) and Rudyard Kipling. It was like mining diamonds. Today I was going through some of the books on a shelf and pulled down The Queens Book of the Red Cross (1939) wherein she had written a personal note to the purchasers of the book and thanking them, for their contribution would be filling the coffers of the Red Cross. Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) was so brave during war time, refusing to leave for the safety of Canada, she stayed with her people, living in the very real terrors of war with her daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. This book means so much to me. It is filled with the works of the best of the time, proving once again how generous and caring are the English. Books. I love the new ones, too. But the old ones are the ones that transport me through time and space. I lovingly look forward to Christmas so that I can open A Christmas Carol for about the one hundredth time in my life. Tonight Marley will come knocking. I'll open the door gladly .

Monday, December 17, 2007

All I want for Christmas is Cary Grant

You didn't know that Jenn and Jacqui over at the Bower Birds Nest ( were miracle workers, did you? Well I've heard that if you wanted a mountain moved to get an Aussie. But wow. I stated somewhere that all I wanted for Christmas was Cary Grant....was he not the perfect man? Yes, I believe he was. I first saw him in Arsenic and Old Lace and when I wasn't laughing my behind off I was drooling over the beauty of a man...I was 12. I haven't matured much since then, sorry to say. So, my sweet Nestlings apparently contacted heaven (for where else could he be?) and I've been sent a gift...Girls, you are simply the best, hands down! Merry Christmas, and thank you for this...I'll treasure it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007 and in person...well sort of

This is for Vee who took the most gorgeous picture of her calico cat. I would like to know how she managed to do it. I have pictures of all of my cats buried somewhere in my older posts, especially my fat Siamese, Pyewackit. Pyewackit would stop everything he's doing to get his picture made. He seems to know what the camera is is and what it does and when it does it. I remember a cartoon from my childhood about a horserace and two horses were nose to nose and it was a "photo finish". So one horse has to stop and grin for the camera! Well, that's Pye, he's a camera hog. But Batgirl, my little calico (I know, they're all little in comparison to Captain Gi-Normus also known as Pye) doesn't like the camera, runs from the camera, hides from it in fact. I wanted to take a picture of her this morning so that another cat lover of many out there, Vee, could compare those luscious kitty faces( I spotted her in the computer room, grabbed the camera and snapped...and she moved. I talked her into posing nicely and snap...and she moved again. I had Mac come in and hold her and she refused to look into that camera...what is with that girl? Mac said she told him I'm trying to steal her soul. Hmm...I'll have to reassure her that her soul is perfectly safe in my hands...I'd let no harm come to it! So,'s a bit of what we went through with young Madame...only wanted one picture you understand...but you know how it is when you're working with a star!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I've Been Tagged

Gee, Brenda over at Country Romance From the Heart ( has tagged me with a Christmas Randoms ...Twelve Random Things about me and Christmas, and you know we all love to talk about ourselves, so this should be fun. I said it should be fun, I didn't say it was going to be fun. But, according to my pal Brenda (and you really must go and see her) the rules are simple and if it's simple then I should be able to do it without to much Hoopla...oh oh, I just read the rules...strike that last bit...

Here are the rules:

1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas

2. Please refer to it as a 'HOOPLA' and not the dreaded 'm'-word (I'm not sure what this means ladies, I'm guessing the ME word, I sure hope it's not the MERRY word!)

3. You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere.

4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.

Okey dokey, here goes:

1. Christmas at my Grandparents house in Chesterfield was so special and I think Mammy and Daddy Dwight (what we called them) had nearly as much fun as we did. We didn't spend nearly enough Christmas's with them.

2. No matter where we lived we always went to see the Christmas lights but the most memorable was when we lived in Tampa, Florida on Davis Island...Clear Water Drive had the Christmas Card Lane, huge Christmas Cards lined Tampa Bay...they were beautiful!

3. We lived in Cleveland Ohio when I was a young teen, the lights in that beautiful city were spectacular (I'm sorry people, but Cleveland is a beautiful city and I would love to read another Cleveland Plain Dealer...)

4. My grandmother used to tell us about how they would make all the Christmas Pies and Cakes for visitors and leave them on the porch in the cool to keep them fresh. It was a couple of weeks work. Family came from all around. I think it may have been the beginning of the "Progressive Christmas Party" tradition.

5. My mother always got so excited about Santa's arrival, that she woke US up, not the other way was usually about three in the about a good nap on Christmas day! It was a tradition I carried on with my own children...excitement is contagious.

6. Mama always had a birthday cake for the Baby was an Angel Food Cake

7. I haven't said Hoopla once, don't know why I should or understand that part of it...but I miss the old tacky way the towns used to string lights right across the street from store to store (see It's a Wonderful Life for example of beautiful tacky decorated town). Now we have very tasteful show flakes and Rudolphs and Santa's...not one gaudy street to make for a Hoopla Christmas...hope that works for was a stretch!

8. When I went to my mother because a classmate in third grade had told me there was no Santa, she gave me the warning I passed on to my sons...when you stop believing in Santa, he stops believing in you...which is why my 30+ sons still expect a Christmas stocking hanging at our house with their names on, really....they do. And Santa still fills them up!

9. Christmas was always a time for family to gather together, parents, children, aunts, uncles,'s always a good time to end old hostilities and mend fences with your neighbors.

10. I think about all the loved ones who have gone before who are celebrating Christmas in Heaven and although we miss them terribly, how happy they must feel...

11. Whew, didn't think I'd ever get this far...if you know someone who is elderly and alone (or an elderly couple) why not invite them for Christmas dinner with your family? If they don't have children nearby, it could be the making of their Holiday. What to give the elderly on a fixed income? Groceries! A gift certificate at the store where they shop. Do they have pets? A large bag of cat or dog food delivered to their door...there are so many things that the elderly could use and would appreciate! But your company, most of all. The most beautiful site in the world is a child sleeping in the arms of an experienced (read Elderly) rocker!

12. Lastly, when we were little Mama used to be able to drop us off at the theater to watch a matinee while she Christmas (I was about 7) we waited outside the theater for Mama to pick us up. There was Christmas Shop right next door and a gloriously beautiful tree top angel in the window. I must have been staring at it with such adoration that it caught the shop keeper's attention. I watched as he took her out of the window and brought it out the door and handed it to me. When Mama picked us up, there I stood clutching that "pretty" and Mama asked my sister Holly where I had gotten it. She told her the man in the shop gave it to me and all Mama wanted to know was "did you say thank you?" I still have her. Her name is Gloria Angel. Merry Christmas...

Okay, that's twelve...

now, I'm going to tag Sue (SusieQ) at Rabbit Run Cottage and Penny at Lavender Hill Studio, I definitely want to tag Kari and Kijsa and Terri at Lakewood Manor. I want to tag Christine at Epiphany Sanctuary because I just want to know more about her, and Vee at A Haven for Vee,too...lets tag Cassie (Mockingbird Hill) and lastly, Joan at Joan's Journeys...I hope you'll all have fun with this...and awaken old memories


Friday, December 14, 2007

The Maxine in us all/or Santa Baby

You know, it seems like just the other day that I was talking about how nice and sweet I am at this time of the year. The Maxine in me just hibernates ,blissfully unaware that I am out and about amongst the public spreading cheer and good will. Santa Baby gave me my gift early this year, because I've been a good girl for most of the 20 minute window to which he is actually paying attention. During that 20 minutes I offended no one, swore at no one, riled no know, good. So, with my brand new present, I had to contact the Dishnetwork people and schedule an appointment for new equipment to be installed. I spoke to Gloria. Gloria was so sweet and I commented on how she had a really Christmasy name. She thanked me and we set up an appointment and everything was going "just swimmingly" (I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, but it seemed like a good spot to use it) and I was offered a morning or evening on Thursday for them to come by. I chose morning (because I'm a morning kind of girl). She told me to hold on so she could check to make sure the equipment that was required was in the warehouse. in warehouse (check) appointment time between 8 and 12 noon (check) and we're all set, by by now, nice talking to you and hang up the phone. So, twenty minutes later Gloria calls back. She was just informed that there really is no vacancy in the morning (the computer was misinformed...) would the afternoon be hunky dorey? Hunky dorey, afternoon will be fine, I'm not picky, I'm nice and "Maxine" is still in hibernation. Mac (WTHF) and I discussed when we would move the old tv set into the guest room and decided on Thursday morning. Tuesday night the confirmation for Thursday came by phone. Wednesday night a very nice young man named Terrance (other than Terrance Stamp, are there really any young men named Terrance? ) called to say that there had been an overbooking and would it be alright if they came on Friday morning? Sure, no problem, Friday morning will be fine. Thursday night I get the confirmation by phone, Friday morning, be there between 8 and noon. So, this morning we disconnected the satelite box, the dvd player, the tv and removed all but the cd player to the spare room. We put in place the brand spanking new Entertainment console and placed upon it the brand new tv...hidef...I told you, I've been a very good girl...and the phone rang. Now, WTHF is outside filling up bird feeders and pruning trees and doing the stuff of the retired gentleman farmer that is expected of him. On the phone once again is Terrance. He wants to speak to me about our appointment. They have just discovered that the equipment we need is not in the warehouse after all and it may be Saturday evening before they can...and Maxine came screaming out of hibernation like a bat out of hell...."WHATTTTTTTTTTTTT? TOMORROW?" Picture me, head spinning around, spitting pea soup and gravelly noises coming from my voice box... "I HAVE DISCONNECTED EVERY WIRE FROM THE BOX AND TV IN HERE WHICH MEANS THERE ISN'T EVEN TV IN THE SPARE ROOM AND YOU TELL ME THAT IT WILL BE TOMORROW?" I heard Terrance gulping for air and he was squeaking when he asked if I wanted to speak to his manager. Did I want to speak to his manager? Oh yes, I wanted to speak to his manager and I'd best not be on hold to long...go find him young man. I just knew that Terrance was wishing he had not made this call and was at that moment yelling for GLORIA...WTHF walked in as I am standing there with one hand on hip, the other holding the phone to my ear and my right foot tapping. He looked at me, mouthed "what" and I told him to stand by, I was about to give an ear full to the Dish people. He beat a hasty retreat (fearing fallout) back to the yard and left me to handle the "Manager". "This is Ramone, Mrs. McBride and I am so sorry about this," he began. "You know, not as sorry as you're going to be Ramone if a Dishnetwork truck isn't pulling up in my yard today," said Maxine..."if your people have mistakenly put my equipment in someone else's house, you'd damn well better go take it back and bring it here". You'd think I would be exhausted by this point, but no. I told him how unhappy I was, very very unhappy and that the last time I had been unhappy, I had left Directv( who was pleading for my return) and they were all to quick to take my money, take a deep breath, and he stopped me. He told me to hold on and let him do some checking. Why, what do you know, magically the equipment has appeared and they will definitely be here this afternoon to honor the committment. Hmm, no more Mrs. Niceguy. Maxine is very much awake, Christmas or

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas in the Sun

When you go to the following link, you will be forgiven for thinking this little school carnival was taking place in, oh I don't know...June? Or maybe August? No, it was 82 degrees out and all the kids on Santa's Good list were allowed to spend the day in the "yard", playing and having a good fun time YESTERDAY. December 12 th...2007...Lord help us, we need some winter!!! So, watch the, what fun they're having. Sigh...all I want is a little chill in the air.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Present, Past and Future

I can't believe that Christmas is just around the corner. I hate it when it approaches at breakneck speed and skids to a stop in front of my doorstep before I'm ready. I'd gladly put off opening presents to be able to let Christmas sneak up on me. Ambush me. Surprise me. But no, it has to get on that downhill racer high up on a mountain top and start whoooshing down on me and I'M NOT READY. I'm not ready for the stores to start putting out their Valentine Candy before Santa reaches the North Pole (come on now, you know they do...they probably pull out all the old Valentines and tutti fruity wrapped candy boxes from years past...I've never seen a day after Valentine's sale, have you? But I've sure bitten into some raunchy candy.) I want the Christmas music playing softly on the radio while I drift off to sleep , the lights on the tree to burn longer, the ornaments to have their day in the sun long enough to make it worth their while. I don't want to have to start taking my decorations down, I seem to have just gotten them up. I want everyone to keep being kind to each other, and dog gone it, before I know it it'll be January and I'll have to start being my naturally bossy self and people won't like me nearly as much as they do during the Yuletide. In fact I'm quite lovable at Christmas. Not so much the rest of the year. Unfortunately, I tend to want things my way. I'm a sort of "my way or the highway" sort of girl, which doesn't make me very popular in most circles. But I'm mellowing with age. I let things slide a bit more than I used to. Laughter has never been a problem with me, but now I'm learning to laugh at myself. It's just that also with age comes the meaning of "time flies". Remember hearing your folks talk about that when you were just a whippersnapper? We couldn't figure out what in the world they were talking about. But now, well now I know. Seems just a few days ago that Kari (my darlin' niece) was worried that she was starting the Christmas Cheer too early...I believe that was back in October...but it seems like yesterday. And here it is, the countdown to Christmas is gaining speed and before you know it, another Christmas Present will step up beside us, another Christmas Past will be behind us and Christmas Future will be beckoning us to hurry and join the fun. Right now I'm just going to enjoy the Christmas Future and watch time fly...that's what time does when you're having fun!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just a Short Funny haha

You know Mac (WTHF) has a favorite saying. It's "there ain't nothing funny about a woman with a gun.) Well, I have found something that really is funny...a loving man with a taser as a gift for his wife. If you can read this without falling down headfirst on the computer table, hurry to the doctor and have your funny bone checked out. This is absolutely the funniest thing I have read in so long that I forced myself to sit up longer than the thirty minutes that I felt like I could. Okay, here goes. This is a Taser Classic...laughing because you don't normally laugh about anything involving a taser...(you know only a guy would do this!)

So Earl who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Taser for their anniversary submitted this (try reading it with a broad southern Larry the Cable Guy or Jeff Foxworthy. You know, I could see Jeff doing this:

Last weekend at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Toni. What I came across was a 100,000-volt pocket/purse- sized taser. The effects of the taser were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on an assailant. The idea is to allow my wife -- who would never consider a gun --adequate time to retreat to safety. WAY TOO COOL!! Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded in two triple-a batteries and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. But then I read (yes, 'read') that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs and I'd know it was working. Awesome!!! (Actually, I have yet to explain to Toni what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave). Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-A batteries, right?!! There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh and blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?? So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and taser in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries. So, I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as if to say, 'don't do it,' reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad. I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION @!@$$!%!@*!! I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, and body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. You should know, if you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a taser,that there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. SON-OF-A-... that hurt like hell!!! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), collected what little wits I had left, sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they up get there??? My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I'm still looking for my testicles!! I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return.

Still in shock,


You know my favorite Dixie Chick song of all time is "Earl's gotta die"...I wonder now if they tried tasering him first....

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Christmas Menagerie

Opening with Maxine can't be a bad thing. Can it? Well, anyway, no tree at my house is complete without Santa Frog....I do love frogs...

And how's about a little trip with an ancient Santa? His pack is all loaded with toys and candy.

And here are some old warriors...I see we located one that is complete....Above see the jolly snowman....below are the Nutcrackers

Move along Paddington, you're drawing a crowd...

So, this is a bit of what I have saved over the years....and yesterday received the most beautiful card handmade by Sissy...I mean Kari...will save it to hang every year because she put so much work into them, I'm afraid she's suffering from Christmas Card Burnout....well, back to the sofa for a bit of a lie down...refusing to give in completely to med effects works sort of...but every so often, I'm just a weakling! Back maybe Tuesday...xo

Friday, December 7, 2007

Trekking thru Cyberspace

I watched 20/20 tonight, an ABC Network news show that comes on every Friday night. I generally watch if there is nothing else to watch (I can suffer from super news saturation) or if they are presenting something in particular that I want to learn more about. Tonight it was the latter rather than the former. They were doing stories on the internet and some of the atrocities (for lack of a better word) that occur in cyber space. I found out that you don't have to leave your home to be victimized, nor does an actual physical assault have to be carried out to make you a victim. Sometimes all it takes is having a computer that is capable of "going online." I remember the first time we hooked up a modem and went on wasn't a very long session because we didn't actually have a server at the time, and we were more or less experimenting with what little knowledge we had. Did I say little? I mean minute. We heard the buzzing sound and tried to connect to my brother's computer. I don't remember if we were actually successful, the noise was so annoying that I left the room. High pitched buzzing makes me nuts. So I'm learning all about this phenomenon we call You Tube. You make a little movie that you think is so great and post it on You Tube for all and sundry to see. You want them to admire your expertise in whatever field you are endeavoring to break into...say mooning the world is your objective, it doesn't take much of a brain to figure out how that's done. Or maybe you want to ride through neighborhoods yelling obscenities or scaring little kids, well all you need is a camera. And a computer. Maybe you want to give that jerk at the local drive through restaurant something to think about, so you order an extra large drink and when it is handed out to you, you return it...minus the cup. Of course you record it for posterity. Now all this time you want everyone to know how smart you are, what a wow of an entertainer you have become with your trusty camera and loyal computer. So you put your name on everything and show your face and talk about how great you felt when you were doing the dirt. The thing is, most of the perpetrators are in their early teens. Their brains haven't developed enough to grasp the concept of forever. They know that Cyberspace is forever. They just don't know what forever means. They haven't matured enough to know that what you thought was so cool and funny at say, fourteen, isn't perceived as quite the done thing when you are forty. And while you may develop memory loss problems, Cyberspace will remember you and all your friends and every vile thing you did to inflict pain on another human being forever. Kids bullying kids online, in their own homes is quite common. It's something that a lot of kids don't know how to handle because they don't want to involve their parents in it. Not on purpose anyway. It's the same as ratting. So how do we as parents get a handle on "cybercrime"in the teen world? Keep that computer out in a public area, learn the lingo (everyone knows that lol means laugh out loud, but there are other shortcuts like "pos" parent over shoulder to warn that a parent is watching). You don't have to be over their shoulder every second, but make sure you walk by them frequently so that they aware you're there. It's the best form of protection, for them. Google your kids names about once a week and don't be surprised if you find it popping up. If you don't know how to google someone, it's quite easy. Just type their name in the google search engine. If their name appears, find out WHY it popped up. The most important thing is to talk to your kids, ask them questions about what they do online, and don't buy that "just doing research for a paper..." that might be exactly what they're doing 3 out of 10 times. If you're lucky. And remind the kids that what they post online today can still be found by colleges they may want to attend later, future employers and yes, political parties should they ever decide to run for office. I don't think I'd be voting for some little jerk who spent his spare time harassing the public rather than assisting it. Most important of all is always to arm yourself with knowledge. And then don't be afraid to use it.

Merry Christmas to my friends

Isn't it amazing how close we can become to the people we "read" regularly out here in blogland? It doesn't happen overnight, but you become involved in your new found friends lives to the point that if one were to say to you "my life is in danger, I need a bolthole" you would welcome this friend with open arms and protect them with all you have in you. You worry about them when you don't see them blog for a length of time, like KatInaFlap, who is dealing with health issues. She was silent for so long that I stopped just making the odd comment on her nearly empty site, but began sending her e_mails to tell her she wasn't forgotten and we needed to hear from her. Cassie has had a spell of just plain rotten luck over at Mockingbird Hill, you go see her, see what some lowlife has pulled on her. But I know that you, just like I, were worried after the last post and we heard NOTHING from her for a week. I thought maybe the "ickies" were back. Now our Abby (SingleChristianGirl) is having health issues and I just want to hug her. She's like another niece to me now, because she started calling me Aunt Sandi, like Kari. I was worried about Kari there for a while, but the difference is, she's blood family, so I can pick up the phone and annoy her nearly anytime...if she doesn't answer, why I just send her an annoying (read threatening) e-mail til she does. Jodie, Kari's daughter-in-law, and my Great Niece who is expecting her baby while she lives in Japan (I will love telling her that "funny she doesn't look Japanese" line...I know, how tacky...who is homesick and depends on the blogs to keep her grounded to home (please yall go see her and give her a warm hug, it's easy to do . Jenn and Jacqui have been so busy moving into that dream nest that I know they must be exhausted. I just want them to take it easy and not stay away from us while they're doing it! The girls, Kari and Kijsa are so talented and also so sweet for sharing their very valuable knowledge of design with us (I'm such a dimbulb, I need all the help I can get!) and each and everything they share is amazing. Likewise Penny, over at Lavender Hill with her artwork. All the sharing that my friends are involved in constantly amazes me. Terri , Brenda, Lisa and Wanda are all so witty with the childhood memories that it takes you back to your own childhood. They help you realize that it's not all Leave it To Beaver or Father Knows Best, that no one had the perfect childhood...Katherine over at KatherinesDream and Kathy at Just a Beach Kat...Rhoda of Southern Hospitality and Sandi at the Whistlestop are such geniuses at making you feel you have done or said something special...the little comments they leave are always sweet and Brit friends are so dear to me, Mary, Jayne and Sophie...Adla, Jenn and Jacqui...Katherine and is quite annoying to me that postage seems to have hit a new high because I have so much I'd love to send the girls...but I'll have to take out a small loan...I intend to have a giveaway in the new year. Actually for my U.S. pals and one for my British pals (this includes Australia, sorry girls you're Brits to me, too!) There's Vee and Joan, new friends who inspire me and Sandy, the artiste...she paints a picture and makes it tell a story...Christine had an Epiphany and now she's sharing with us...Teresa at Living the Life who is so warm and sweet and I found out we have so much in common it's spooky...Jeanne, you need to move South dear girl...I'm sure all that snow and ice can't be good for you. Susie Q at the Rabbit Run is so kind to everyone...including the bunnies (she even adopted a cartoon sweet is that?) These are my bestest buds on line...we're learning more about one another everyday. If the world gets smaller, maybe we can all be friends. Merry Christmas my dear friends, and a Happy New Year!
love to you all...I mean that...and please, if I left you out...will you leave me a comment and tell me? I wouldn't hurt a one of you for world.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

An Introduction to Digby

Having always had animals around me, I was so bereft of their companionship those first few months we were in England, that I had taken to "dognapping" my lovely neighbor dog, Cinda. She was a buff coloured Cocker Spaniel with the most soulful eyes. She loved to go "walkies" and Bubbles (Violet Loxley, the West End Actress), my dear neighbor ("Mum" to Cinda) and I went on walking excursions twice a day. The school bus would pick the boys up at 0:dark30 and after a cup of coffee, off we'd go to Burnham Wood, or Watership Down, or the rugby field. Sometimes in the middle of the day, before the prescribed evening walk, I would go next door and take Cinda on a stroll into the village. She was such a sweet girl, but she only made my "dogless" state more apparent. On January 7th (my birthday), Mac came home early and told me we had an appointment in Gerrard's Cross. He wouldn't tell me with whom or what it was all about, he made me wait. We drove into Gerrard's Cross and out to this huge farm house. I could hear the barking as I exited the car and a beautiful Old English Sheepdog ran out to greet us. She was quite well behaved, offered her paw (I wonder how long it took them to teach her to do that) and then led us up to the door. We were met by the Kennel Master who took us into the large barn where there were 7 puppies in a bed of straw, all romping and rolling over one another. There is nothing sweeter in this world to me than a rambunctious mob of dancing eyed puppies, all fighting to be first at the gate to show off. And show off these young rapscallions did. It took us over an hour to pick out the two puppies we had decided to take. I say "take", but they weren't free. In actuality, the puppy that would be mine had chosen me from the very beginning. As I sat in the straw, she climbed into my lap and fell asleep. The others were all busy pushing and shoving each other and this sweet little one slept on. When I went to stand up, it was just a natural thing to walk out to the car holding her close. I have loved the Old English since the movie "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" with Doris Day and David Niven (highly under rated British actor in my opinion) starring. So Digby was really a dream come true. Her sister, who was dubbed Tanque since she was so much bigger than Digby, was just as lovely but twice as rambunctious. After about two months, seeing that I was overwhelmed, Bubbles spoke to a friend who was in the market for a puppy for their children. So we were left with the one puppy who had stolen my heart from the very beginning. I watched every Barbara Woodhouse show that came on and learned how to easily house break the girl. It was so easy I always told everyone she housebroke herself. Now when Bubbles took Cinda, I had my own lead to handle. She learned so quickly to stop at curbs and believe it or not, look both ways...when I gave the command "over" for crossing the street, off she loped, hind quarters rolling like a great bear. The British are extremely "dog friendly" (actually about any animal) and often shout out as they are driving by to compliment your walking companion. "Lovely Sheepdog" was what I mostly heard. But one day as we strolled along in a nice foursome, Bubbles, Cinda me and Digby, a car slowed and a woman leaned out the window of the car and called out "is it a bitch?" I turned to look behind me, I knew this rude person was certainly not talking to me. Bubbles, seeing the anger building in my face quickly intervened. "She wants to know if Digby is a know, a bitch..." Smiling icily I called back to the woman, " no, she's quite ladylike"which brought Bubbles to a state of near hysteria laughing. A bitch indeed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Going to the Chair

I have decided that I have just the idea to help cure what ails me. I need to go to the chair. The beautician's chair, that is. I need Miranda to do that voodoo that she do do so well. My scalp needs a deep muscle massage, my hair needs an infusion of colour and some style reintroduced
and my eyebrows need separating, one from the other. You know, that eyebrow thing is like getting a mini face lift. I know it's so, I heard Oprah say it on her show once. Every woman in America owes it to herself to get that little bit of extra fur removed from over her eyes. It makes your face look longer, thinner (thinner, that's the best part). Get a little zing in your come hither look. I don't mean stand in front of the mirror making faces while you try to ambush yourself with the tweezers. I almost feel like drawing a line on my brow and then just plucking anything that falls outside of it. Someone once told me that you had to be very careful when plucking your eyebrows because there would come a time when they won't grow back. Please tell me, when is that time when they won't grow back? I think this person knew nothing about the subject matter, or else she just lied. They grow back. And like children returning to the nest, they bring friends. There is so much maintenance to the face that we take for granted when our skin is young and dewy, that we pay for when we are going into menopause, getting on the other side of menopause and pulling away from it tires screeching and smoke blazing...When you're fifty you'll look into the mirror and wonder why you see your mother there, peering back at you. Then it will dawn on you. This is why your mother told you to use the terry cloth wash cloths (or wash rags as we called them. Can't begin to know why, they were bought new every year, to match the garish towels then in fashion and thrown out into the "ragbag" after a year's use. But still, they were wash rags.) That lovely terry cloth kept our skin clean and polished. I don't know when I went to using sponges dipped in noxzema (is that even spelled right?) but when I was finished my face wasn't shiny red, or sparkling was just funny smelling and looked slightly oily, altho the product was "grease free" and we all knew that soap was made of animal fat. So, I'm back to the wash rag and ivory soap, I'm getting my eyebrows plucked so that I look less like the missing link and now, horrors of all horrors, I see that a little lip waxing may be in order...don't want anyone calling me Mr. McBride now, do I? Is it worth it? Well, unless I want to lock myself in the house and never see another living soul, I'd say yes.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Maxine Carol?

For all of the Maxine fans, and those who aren't...have fun with her til I'm up and about...
And believe me, you'll have a good laugh...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree oh Christmas Tree

So, after effects of the meds I take weekly (on Friday night) hit me hard this a.m., but feeling like warmed over death is better than I felt two hours ago. Thought I'd post the pictures of the tree and my outside decorations...I don't have the strength to try to take on one tenth of what Kari and Randey do, but giving that we don't trust each other on ladders, Mac and I feel it looks pretty darned pleasant! As I was putting the ornaments on the tree so many memories came flooding in. I had the wooden ones for when the boys were little, the ones that couldn't be broken. I had about 30 of the small nutcrackers that I bought in Harrods when we lived in England. I gave so many away to friends and family who visited over the years that I only have two left. They are both handicapped now, both having lost their lower legs, one on the right one on the left. I suppose I could make one complete one, but don't like the idea of using one of those brave wooden soldiers as spare parts. Best to have two injured ones than one whole one. I have one glass baby doll who now lives in the china cupboard out of harms way. Trees. They're so much more than what we see.

hugs and love from