Thursday, January 31, 2008

Smoke Smoke Smoke that cigarette

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Sandi and I am a reformed smoker. (Hello Sandi). When I say I'm a reformed smoker you can take that to the bank. I do not sneak around in the bathroom or on the porch or in the yard hiding to feed my nicotine habit. Oh, I used to smoke alright. Like a chimney. I would put out one cigarette while reaching for another. I would stop on my way home from work and buy a pack of cigarettes even if I had a half pack in my coat pocket. Yes, that's right, coat pocket. No time to be fumbling around in the suitcase I call a purse looking for that life giving nicotine. I had to be able to put my fingers on one at a second's notice. I had to have a lighter that would not fail to flame at the first turn of the wheel. I had stock in the Marlboro Company and single handedly supported entire families of workers for the Zippo Lighter Company. My fingers and teeth were yellow, my white walls at home were yellow. Not a pretty daffodil yellow, an ugly nicotine yellow. Oh yes, I was a smoker. I tried every thing known to man to put down the filthy habit, I used a patch (sometimes two) I chewed the gum, I tried cold turkey. I would announce to the world "This is my last cigarette" as I balled up the half empty pack and tossed it carelessly into the nearest trash container. I always had good intentions. But like the road to hell, my good intentions had filters on each and every turn. If I was lucky enough to have made the now infamous "I have quit smoking" speech at home, I could crawl out of the bed (hoping not to awaken Mac) and into the kitchen and root around in the trash like the crazed addict I had become until I found a piece of broken cigarette large enough to smoke. I wouldn't even make it out of the kitchen, just sitting propped up against the wall, a lighter in one hand and a badly damaged cigarette in the other. Now, Mac had quit smoking in 1999. He made no announcements, called no press conferences, he simply put the last one out and it was over. It is the closest I have ever come to hating him. I remember the day I quit smoking like it was yesterday. It was several days before Christmas, 2002. The week before I had been taken to the hospital with a breathing condition. The condition was, I couldn't. Breathe that is. They gave me breathing treatments, kept me overnight (after announcing that a surgeon would be in to draw fluid from around my lungs...luckily he was a no show) then sent me home. Yep, they sent me home and I was breathing just fine and woohoo, I needed me a cigarette like no body has ever needed a cigarette in their life. Two days later I awakened in a panic, I could not breathe in such a way that I thought perhaps this time I had finally been successful in killing myself. I had hoped that after I retired the stresses I had felt at work would mean that I wouldn't want to smoke quite so much. Luck would be a fine thing. I was on the phone to my cousin (also in Law Enforcement, also a smoker, and on breathing treatments at home!) I begged her to bring her nebulizer kit over ,that I thought I might die. I knew then and there that one way or another I was never going to light a cigarette again as long as I lived. Even the breathing treatment didn't work for long, as at 7 am I awakened Mac and told him I might need to go to the hospital. He took one look at me and bundled me into the car and off we headed to Carolina Pines. They gave me a successful breathing treatment but wouldn't let me go home. I had test after test. The Doctors kept asking if anyone had ever told me that I had had a heart attack. No, no one. They scheduled a stress test an Echo and an EKG. They kept asking that question. Finally, I just told them I suspected I must have because that same question kept coming up. Yes, they said, we believe you have had two events. Uh huh. Two of them. Well, I had the third event while I was on a treadmill the next morning taking a stress test. I remember them helping me onto a gurney, I remember them giving me something to help me relax (can I get a sixpack of that to go?) I remember they were ordering a heliocoptor to fly me to Providence Hospital in Columbia. I don't remember much after that. When I came too there was a Nurse leaning over me telling me I couldn't move my leg for the next four hours and here's something to help you relax (ok, maybe not a sixpack of this one, but hows about one for the road?) Turns out the weather had been to bad to fly, so the siren I kept hearing in my narcotic haze was the ambulance. I learned that women's symptoms of a heart attack are pretty dissimilar to a man's. I learned that I really should have quit smoking the first time I had made the announcement fifteen years earlier. I learned that the only thing worse than a reformed whore is a reformed smoker. I don't smoke, I don't allow anyone to smoke in my home. I nag every smoker I come across, even though I know in my heart that all the time I'm preaching they want to shoot, stab and disembowel me while they're lighting up that smoke for a nice long drag. But people, I tell you this. The inability to draw breath, then find yourself with your chest cracked open while they cut a vein out of your leg to attach to your heart is a mighty strong incentive to stop smoking. Do I want a drag? No. I don't even want to be in the vicinity of a puff. I wish all of you smokers out there the guts to put them down before they put you under.

In the words to an old song:

smoke smoke that cigarette

smoke smoke smoke until you smoke yourself to death

tell Saint Peter at the Golden Gate that you hate to make him wait

but you just gotta have another cigarette!

The Pay it Forward Blessings Award

Miss Brenda of Country Romance From the Heart ( has awarded me the "Blessings" award. I want to thank her for this honor, and an honor it is. I believe it is a Pay it Forward award and I am to award three others with this award that indicates they are blessings in my life. First off, let me say you are ALL blessings in my life. I learn from you, laugh with you, cry with you. I think that makes us friends. You all know what I look like now...and if I can ever get it figured out (with help from my son the Editor) (ever noticed how women talk of their children by their occupations? My son the Doctor, my daughter the Attorney ((attorney sounds much better than ambulance chasing lawyer, doesn't it?)) I am very proud of my Son the Newspaper Editor...and I'm also very proud of my Son the Computer Nerd...hey, I don't know that much about computers, except if not for him the computers at a certain hospital would be up that descriptive creek without the proverbial paddle. Okay?) where was I? Oh, and if I ever get it figured out, I'm going to speak on my blog...and then I am going to encourage each of you to speak as well. We'll have a party of, now Brenda, who's Mom is not doing well and could do with all our prayers, is headed out to the beautiful State of Lousianna, to visit with her parents. I want all of you to right quick now say a little travel prayer for Brenda and her hubby "please God protect my friends on their journey get them to their destination safe and sound"...there, that was easy enough, right?

Now, the three that I want to give the Pay it Forward with Blessings are:

Carol at who gives so much to her family and small unfortunate creatures of God(sorry Guy, I forgot for a minute that you think you're human)

To Cindy at another wonderful person who gives of herself for God's creatures who can't fend for themselves

And I have to give this lovely award to Kathy at for the strength she offers to all of us, by proving to us that we can see to it that cancer is just a word. I love you all...I'm thinking this may be an award we can keep paying forward indefinitely.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Desperadoes Waitin' on a Train

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and she asked me what about England I missed most. I didn't have to think too long, oddly enough. If I'd had on my London Fog , it would have been instinctual to wrap it tightly around me, close my eyes and imagine myself there, at Beaconsfield Station. It's the trains I miss. You could go anywhere in that enchanted world on a train. It was the most wonderful sensation to stand on the platform and watch the train draw down out of the fog and pull up at your feet, the doors opening outward so you could climb aboard. I think that's why I love all the old English movies to this day, especially the Miss Marple stories. There's always a train ready to take you off into some romantic setting and there's always a mystery man just in the next car. It's the sound that invades the cocoon you share with others as the carriage clacks along the railroad tracks and the slight jostling that could put you into a light doze (or heavy sleep) if you're not careful. A train whistle announces a stop just up the line, the lovely scenery rushing by outside the train windows, slowing now, the train coming to a stop and people gathering their belongings together, ready to leap onto the station platform, shouts of "hallllooo" from friends gathered to greet them. There is something different about an English train. I can easily envision our trains being run down by deperadoes on horseback...Frank and Jessie James and their crew. I can not imagine any such indignity being visited upon an English train. The closest thing to a desparado waiting on a train would have been me and our two wild boys. I remember that my sons friends in the village were shocked that their mother could drive. I love to drive. It gives me a sense of freedom and control over my life unlike anything else. But while we lived there, we took advantage of the wonderful transportation system that is peculiar to Britain; Buses, trains ,bicycles, and of course planes ...but it was the train that I learned to love. I loved taking the train into London and getting off in Marylebone Station and looking up at the fretwork and glass overhead. I always fully expected to see Alfred Hitchcock or Cary Grant boarding another train , looking around to make certain they hadn't been seen, as we got off the train that had delivered us safely to our destination. A magical feeling would come over me each and every time. We have a saying, "you can't get there from here." But in Great Britain, there's a direct route to where ever you want to go. However you want to get there. But even yet , I'd take the train.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Sink Sandwich

I have wracked my brain trying to decide what I would write about today. There were so many things on my mind that I couldn't, let us say, get into gear this morning. Mac and I walked around deciding where to put the tomato bed (believe it or not, it's getting time to start the plants from seed and when they are big enough, they'll have to have a summer home.) We've already decided that the only tomatoes we'll grow this year are going to be Mortgage Lifters. We understand that the name comes from the man who perfected the strain and that he sold so many tomatoes he was able to pay off the mortgage on his house. Hence, Mortgage Lifters. I remember the first year we grew them, they were huge, softball sized tomatoes with an outstanding taste. My grandmother would call this a "sink sandwich". After scalding the tomato, removing the skin and slicing it into big slabs, we'd mayo two slices of bread, lay one piece (yes, I do not lie, one piece) of tomato onto one piece of bread allowing it to hang off the sides, add salt and pepper to taste, apply the top piece of bread and then stand over the sink while the juices ran down our hands and into the sink. A Sink Sandwich, see? Do you ever get those little "spit pains" in your mouth when you think of something that is so good and so far out of reach that the only thing your mouth can do is hurt? That's what I am experiencing right now. It's more complicated than "my mouth is watering", you see. It's not a literal pain, but an actual pain, one where you have to close your eyes, get an image in your head of that which is taunting your tastebuds and shake the image away. Image gone, pain gone. But here I am writing about it and the pain stays. I know, I know...there are tomatoes in the grocery store. But they are not good tomatoes. They certainly are not local tomatoes. And they are not our tomatoes. They are hot house tomatoes that can never get soft enough to make a sink sandwich;until they've rotted, that is...and then no longer fit to eat. The past few years we've also grown other types, such as Celebrity (good, not great) and tommy toes (little cherry tomatoes) or others. We do our best to stick with heirloom tomatoes, not hybrids. But I think that is where we are failing. We need to stick with one and only one variety. We need to start our plants earlier and not have so many that should we experience another "Easter Snap", we are unable to save the crop. I wish I had a picture to share with you of me racing against time to throw sheets and tow sacks over plants last year, and then out the next morning to remove them, praying that we were successful. Unfortunately, the drought ended what hopes we had of a good crop of anything, much less tomatoes. But this year, things will be different. I have that feeling. And the only 'maters in the garden are going to be Mortgage Lifters. Hmm. Looks like I made up my mind what I wanted to write about. I'd give nearly anything for a good old sink sandwich right now. Pardon me while I go shake the image out of my head and the spit pain out of my mouth.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Drawing

Well, it's Saturday night and it's now 7:45 pm. I've been on pins and needles for the past two weeks and excited about my giveaway. Tonight, the Mary's were lucky...Mary Isabella in the good old US of A and Mary (Mary Quite Contrary) from across the pond. I'm sorry everyone couldn't be a winner but I'm looking forward to the 500 post giveaway and it'll have to be even more special than this one is. I happen to think this one was very special! Congratulations to the winners. Oh, and by the way, this is my 268th post...500 can't be to far away!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Don't call me Your Highness...Sandi will do

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Empress Sandi the Reticent of Heffton St Mallet
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I don't think I'm all that peculiar. I think that like all little girls, I was born to want to have a title. Did my family treat me like royalty, thus placing me in a position to demand respect or an obligatory curtsy? Absolutely not. My family treated me like the middle child. I was whining "Marcia Marcia Marcia" long before Jan Brady had received the "go away kid, you're bothering me" treatment. Although, to be literal I suppose I would have been whining "Holly Holly Holly". It just seems that parents get so excited when they are preparing the "nest" for the arrival of the first born. There is that shiver of anticipation, who will it look like, who will it be like, who will it like best? And so it's precious little bed is prepared with silks and handmade blankies and feathered with sweet little teddy bears and long earred bunnies. The days pass in a blur of showers and compliments on the glowing on the expectant Mama. The drop in guests are more frequent now, whispering to each other "my heavens, she's as big as the side of a house...when do you suppose the baby will get here?" Like the baby has been anywhere other than right in the room all along. And then WHAM, here it is. The young prince or princess is finally out and about in the world, family and friends oohing an aahing and cuddling and talking baby talk (which is actually a good thing, I hear) and just creating a royal pain in the arse for the future children. Because, you know there's going to be more. And how lucky that Bundle of Joy part deux is a girl, we have all these girl clothes and Princess 1 hides the prettiest of the dresses because they are "mine mine mine". Things go along smoothly with the second little Princess because they know what they are doing now. Any newness (or admit it, mistakes) have already made their appearance or reared their ugly heads. So there is less of what we'll call frantic enthusiasm for baby 2. It's a sort of "been there done that" ease of parenting. Then several years later comes along baby 3 and it's been awhile and the other two are big girls now, and this is a baby. And so begins the middle child syndrome. Uh huh, you guessed it. I'm a middle child. And so finally I get a title and although it may seem a bit peculiar to you, hey, it's better than nothing and curtsying is optional.

An American Idol

I can't remember which season I became addicted to American Idol, but it was the season Clay Aiken came in second. We sat enthralled the first part of the season when all the tryouts were going on, and the world was enamoured of Simon Legree...opps, Simon Cowell. All these young people stood in lines for days. Days, I tell you, not hours. They were all sure that they had a shot at that golden ticket (mind you, this is before I knew what the golden ticket was) to Hollywood. Now, couldn't they look around and see the THOUSANDS of people surrounding them and get a smattering of an idea that possibly, just maybe, their ticket was going to be going home, not Hollywood? I don't consider myself a pessimist, but even I at that age, would have looked around at that lot and said to myself, yeah right...and picked myself up and taken myself to the closest train or bus station. So into the room where the three judges, Randy Paula and Simon sit, they rush. Some are nervous but some are so confident that it's an absolute shock when they open their mouths and what sounds like a cross between a braying donkey and croaking frog emerges. Some of these singers (and that's a stretch, calling them singers) are so bad that I can't see how they ever got in the room except for comic relief. Some come in costumed in the most ridiculous outfits that no one could take them seriously if they even had a halfway decent voice. I can't think that they ever thought they had a shot. So, last night they were in my beloved Charleston (South Carolina) and I was shocked at how little talent emerged. I cringed as the "talent pool" paraded in front of the camera and promptly fell flat on their faces. Mediocre doesn't begin to describe it. My cats sound better. But the thing that is so shocking is that the ones that are so, well there's only one word that fits here, bad, are truly shocked that the judges don't sign them to a contract immediately. They swear (and I wish someone would ask them if they kiss their mothers with that mouth) and cry and rant and rave and are still going on about how the judges will be sorry they missed out on their great talent. Really? You know, I can look at this mess and clearly see it. There's a Grandmother at the root of this whole thing. Each and everyone of them had a Grandma who told them "you're a star baby, you go for it." And believed it. If Grandma is such a believer, then it must be so. God help us if the terrorists ever get hold of a grandma for a recruiter. Our goose will be well and truly cooked.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Buttermilk Pie

This is for Tammy over at Pink Magnolia, who informs me this National Pie week...I'll take her sweet word for it! So, here is my contribution.

You know for the life of me, I can't remember where I got the recipe for Buttermilk Pie, but I am pretty sure it was when we lived in Selma, Alabama. I only make it occasionally (my boys wouldn't touch it once they heard the word "buttermilk" and the older one may have been adventurous enough to try but he heard the word "eggs". ) But I am an adventurous cook and like to bake pies, so of course I just had to bake one. Oh. So good. My Aunt Florence Merriman Sellers used to say of foods she liked that "it leaves a good farewell taste in your mouth." In other words, there is no metalic or funky taste a bit after you've eaten something. Some foods do that, you know. Buttermilk Pie. It leaves a good Farewell Taste in your mouth! And this is how you do it:

3 eggs (or 4 eggs for less sweet version)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour, plus a little for dusting
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 1/2 cups buttermilk for less sweet version)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Beat eggs slightly and add sugar and flour. Then add melted butter and mix well. Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix.
Dust the unbaked pie shell with a little bit of flour. Pour batter into shell, and then sprinkle a little more flour on top.
Bake at 325 degrees until the custard is set, approximately 1 hour.

Now, don't forget to put the coffee on about an hour after you have removed this heavenly Custard Pie from the oven...and invite some friends. I like to play a hand or two of Canasta or even better, several games of Scrabble and then for "afters" I pull out this wonderful treat. We all gather around the table where we can hear Angelic Choirs holding the long "A" while I slice the pie into large chunks to divide among us. I never have a slice left over for the following day. It would be a sin!

Monday, January 21, 2008


My beautiful Lucky Horseshoe...thank you Jenn and Jacqui

It's Monday morning, the weather outside is crisp and cold, the sky is what we call here "Carolina Blue" with not even a wisp of cloud in the sky. I spent my weekend doing nothing. Well, that's not precisely true, it just felt like doing nothing...there was little work involved and very relaxing. First my younger son and his daughter (the little Princess) came over from Florence to spend the day (allowing his wife time alone to do her college homework) and then my older son and his wife joined us. After slicing veggies and shredding cheese (opps, I lie...the cheese was already shredded...I'm so lazy) taking out the lovely sliced turkey and ham, we assembled subs. They were so good, especially the bell peppers piled high with the onion and lettuce. I love bell peppers...I love them raw, I love them stuffed I love them cut up in Spanish Rice...anyway, we had a nice meal and enjoyed each others company. I started getting excited about the giveaway this coming Saturday. I made a decision about it...I intend to separate the American bloggers from the rest of the world bloggers (you know who you are...UK, Australia, New Zealand, and anyone else) and pick two winners. It feels right. If it feels right, do it. I think it was the snow that had me so happy and feeling like a kid...I wish I could send each and everyone of you a gift. I know that when I received my Lucky Horseshoe from Jenn and Jacqui so prettily decorated with ribbons and bows...and my beautifully handpainted tray (with pansies) that I received from Sandy McTier, who is a brilliant artist herself, how happy I was. There's nothing like a gift to bring your spirits up. Especially a gift that someone puts as much work into as my good friends did into these. They are accepted with the deepest thanks.
I just had to enclose a picture of these lovely things and if I ever get smart enough to do it, I intend to post a picture on my sidebar. Sometimes I can be so dense! But I'm learning...happy Monday everyone, now I'm going to go catch up with all of you.
My gorgeous handpainted tray...thank you Sandy

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Giveaway reminder

Taking a little break today, but just wanted to remind everyone who hasn't entered my 250th post celebration, it's a giveaway! Please enter to win, I don't care where you are, it will be shipped to you...and good luck next Saturday! That's when I'll be drawing the name..

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's Good to Be Me

Now Brenda has tagged me with something entirely new. It's another way for me to count my blessings and realize what a wonderful life I have, and therein my children have wonderful lives.

1. No one has a perfect childhood, no one. I can remember wondering why we didn't have Ward and June Cleaver for parents...I can't explain it to you, but it's good to be me because we were loved and not spoiled, and although my parents often misunderstood me, my grandparents never did. How lucky was that?

2. When I was twenty I found the perfect man, or he found me...I guess we found each other. It was a first marriage for us both and we muddled through it, making mistakes along the way, but loving each other completely throughout it. It is good to be me because I see no reason for the situation to change in the very least.

3. I see them collecting coats for children and it is good to be me because I am able to donate coats and my children and granddaughter have never had to go cold or hungry.

4. Although I have health issues, it is good to be me because financially I don't have to choose between getting my medicine this month or buying groceries to feed us for the month.

5. I don't have scads of friends who live nearby, I can tell you their names and still have one hand left. But the four I consider to be my friends I would trust with the deepest darkest secret in my life. And they know who they are. It's good to be me because they will never question that their names are written in my heart.

6. I have two sons and in turn they have given me two daughters. I have one granddaughter. It's good to be me because they are all healthy and intelligent and while I may worry about them, I really have no reason to worry about them.

7. I love to write and have a passion for words, though sometimes when it's wet and cold my fingers get so stiff and painful that it's hard to sit at the keyboard and type. It's good to be me because I am too cantankerous to let it take control and am able to fight through the pain and keep on keeping on.

8. Finally, it's good to be me because I have learned not to let anything get me down...I am strong willed and that in itself is a blessing. I'd like to thank Brenda for reminding me that it's so much better to count your blessings instead of sheep.

I'd like to ask these four to tell us why it's good to be them:
Mary at
Teresa at
Kathy at
Joan over at
and finally, Cassie at

No, I lied, I want to know more about SusieQ at
and Jenn and Jacqui at
and Vee at
and Penny at and that ever so quiet Christine at
You are so interesting, I like to know more about why it is so great being you, that next week I intend to tag 9 more, and keep doing it till I get you all.
I wonder if this is what you might call a prayer chain?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Did anyone see the recent SciFi Mini Series "TinMan"? It's another take on the Wizard of Oz and was quite well produced and imaginative. I can remember reading the Baum books as a child, the old store house being my favorite place to read back then. The advent of the little portable radio allowed me to take my music with me. I love music and like a lot of women I love musicals. I was so excited to hear that the Broadway play "Wicked" was coming to Charlotte and already envisioned the tickets in my hand, one for me, one for Good Sister and one for Evil Sister. The three of us out on the town, dinner first, the play second. The long ride home discussing the action, the music, the players. For his birthday in February, I was planning on giving Mac (WTHF) a free day. No me begging him to go do something he hates (like go to musicals) when I have two perfectly good pals to do it with, he could go fishing or over to his buddy's place and drink beer and watch football or whatever it is men do when they find themselves unsupervised. I was hearing the music to "Wicked" in my mind and reviewing what I knew about it. ...ES has already seen it...she actually saw it on Broadway (Evil Sister rules) and through some miracle talked her better half (anyone called Evil Sister has to have a Better Half, so henceforth, he will be known as BH) into going with her. His "it was pretty good" was grudgingly given, men don't want to admit that they like Musicals unless there's a cowboy a horse and a schoolmarm involved. (Altho after Brokeback Mountain, WTHF doens't seem to enjoy a Cowboy movie like he once did. And he didn't even see it...he just heard what the plotline was and that was that). So, here I am planning a big day for the girls...and then I get the news. "Wicked" is sold out. The show is over a month away, and it's sold out. It's unbelieveable. Is Hannah Montana the star? When should I have tried for the tickets and for crying out loud, how much would I have been paying for them? I shudder to think. Maybe being sold out turned out to be a good thing after least for my wallet.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Call to Vote

I remember when we were little (you know, as in youngsters) our favorite jokes were the "Little Moron Jokes". They always started out "why did the Little Moron" do what ever it was little morons might do. I'm not sure they'd be politically correct these days, but they were awfully funny back then. You know, why did the little moron throw the clock out the window? He wanted to see time fly. Well, it doesn't seem to take even that visual aid for me anymore. It's now January 14th and we're nearly into the middle of the first month of the New Year. Wasn't it just Christmas? I called to make our Doctor's appointments this morning and Mac wanted to know why, he says he isn't sick, so why does he need to see the doctor? I reminded him he needed his blood work done for the Lipitor he takes plus it's been six months and he just needs to go. He's worse than a five year old when it comes to making excuses as to why he doesn't need to go to the doctor. I think he really believes that old "what I don't know won't kill me" line that even I once held onto. I like to check in with my Doctor so that he can reassure me that my health is on a steady course. I'd hate to get on a downhill sled, racing out of control. It's something that every person in this great Nation should be able to do. They should be able to afford to see their doctor, take their meds and not worry about how they are going to be able to feed and clothe themselves and their families. Especially children and the elderly. I've been listening to all that the candidates who are running for President have to say and it seems that everyone of them has a plan. They always have a plan to fix all our ails, don't they? Funny that when they get elected, the plans never materialize or if they do, they fail to work the way they were intended to. I have always felt that if you have a plan that is going to help keep our Country and Her citizens on an even keel, why wait to be elected to public office? Share it with us, pass it on to those who can implement it and if it works who cares who gets the credit for it? Isn't that what Public Service is all about, helping the public? I'm beginning to think it's more about helping themselves, with the public just an afterthought. Does that mean I won't vote? Absolutely not, when the primaries are held this month I'll be right there, trying to pick the best of the lot, hoping I can figure out who is more interested in helping the country instead of helping themselves. So, I'm paying attention to what everyone is saying and trying to sift the wheat from the chaff. It's down to two. Don't forget to vote!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's A Giveaway

I can't believe I've had over 250 postings in blogland...I haven't really been keeping up. But I kept seeing (and winning) some great prizes out there from those of you who were celebrating a milestone. So, it's my turn. I have found something that I think anyone would love to have, since we're all into our gardens (flower or veggie, a garden is a garden). I don't think the picture does it justice, but ladies it's beautiful. And it's light weight, so all my blogging friends no matter where you live, you are eligible for the win. I'll ship anywhere, people. I know a lot of you do your blogging on the side, and you have a business to run...not me...I'm just a wordsmith plying my wares in the ether. So, come in and register for my give away. Tell your friends. You don't have to be a regular reader of my blog, I won't hold it against you...Start today and the deadline is two weeks from tonight. Anyone who comes in will have their name tossed into the hat...

Friday, January 11, 2008

A word from my Sponsor

It appears that this is something like my 251st post...I need to have a giveaway. Sometime tomorrow I'm going to pick something to give to a winner. I'll post it on Saturday night, I the meantime, more words of wisdom from Maxine never hurt anybody. Right girls?

The Dead of Winter

It's 8 in the morning. I have over an hour before I have to get the suitcase I laughingly call my pillbox down and start gulping. And it's raining. Picture me doing a touchdown dance in the end zone. Okay, so that was not a pretty sight...picture me lifting my eyes heavenward, saying thank you. If it would do this all day for about two more weeks (light gentle rain, not the gully washers that others are getting) we might catch up the 18 inches of rain we didn't get this summer. You know, Spring 2007 started out so promising. The mornings were cold, but the afternoons were coolish. Now when I say cold, I mean South Carolina cold, the forties. Afternoon highs were in the high fifties, low sixties. Flower buds were on all the trees, the apple and pear trees, the plum trees and blueberry bushes were all getting ready to set fruit. March was a fond memory April was a dazzler. Right up to the killing frost, or that Cold Snap as the old folk called it. Now, the first night of killing freeze wasn't bad enough, it was the second night and third night that really did us in. Mac and I covered as much as we could with sheets, trying to protect the tender buds. Little did we know that the forty knot winds would come along in the middle of the night of the third day and take every spare sheet I owned to Timbuktu. Short of walking through the garden with a heater, we did all that we could. We listened to the weather man, (you know the one they pay to tell us what we already know...they don't have a clue) looked longingly out at the gardens and hoped for the best. Then the cold and cool went away. Just up and left us in the middle of May and it became hot. And dry. We dragged hoses from the well to the garden to try to save the tomatoes and okra and peas. Our plum trees produced a miracle of two plums. I ate them quickly before Mac could even get a taste. The apple tree that had been so carefully pruned and winter washed the year before bore one apple. One apple. Just enough to get Eve into a hot spot. The blueberries that we were so carefully watering now, no fruit. The Catalpa trees had not one blossom and only a few leaves. I fear they have died. The peach trees grew because we became slaves to them, carrying buckets of water daily to quench their growing thirst. The garden produced squat. Everything sat in the blazing sun and baked. And now we have rain. It's not really the dead of winter, just winter getting started. We've only had a few days of freezing weather so far. I begin to worry about this Global Warming that they're really just now talking about at length. But I seem to remember rumblings of trouble on the horizon when I was a preteen. But no one was listening. Well, we're hoping for a future spring and longing for the drought to end. And now, it's raining. It's been raining for two days. Ah bliss, ah heaven. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it's not the headlight of the train.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tipping like It's 1969

I learned about tipping at an early age. I learned who was tipped and why. I also learned in what amount you tipped. Service Workers, which includes Waitresses, Hairdressers and yes folks, even your Postman (Postie to my British friends) are Service Workers. I know I know, they get paid 92 dollars an hour and why in heck should I give them a tip? Well, for one thing they don't get paid $92 an hour (except in their dreams) , maybe if they're lucky they get $19 an hour. Out of this the Rural Route Delivery persons pay for gas and upkeep of their car. But I'm not here to haul a banner up for the Post Office, but for the Public Service workers in general. When I had my hair done, I worked out fifteen percent of the total in my head (and the Magic Miranda either made out pretty well, or she got cheated...math was never my long suit). When I paid her I included this "gratuity" in to the total. I did this because I was happy with the result. If I had been unhappy I would simply tell her why and if she couldn't fix the problem then I would never darken her door again. A very simple fix for a simple problem. The ones who seem to get the short end of the stick are Food Servers, or Waitresses...different restaurants call them different things, but they are never paid what they are worth. Most restaurants pay about $2.00 an hour (ask any Server) and depend on their patrons to pick up the slack. That's all well and good if you were taught by your parents (or Oprah if etiquette was not included in your upbringing) the proper amount to leave your Waitress. It is 15 percent, people(or more)...of today's money, not the last century's money. I know, I know you only ever left but $2.00 before...but that was in 1969 and dish prices change. I'm not saying you have to tip the people at McDonald's or Burger King, I'm talking real restaurants here. You know, FishFare, The Smokehouse, Gold Nugget, Plyler's , Fatz and the rest of them. Where you sit down to eat and a nice lady or fellow comes and keeps your coffee cup or tea glass filled and takes plates away or brings your food to you. The ones who ask "is everything all right? What can I bring you?" Their work day started on their feet and ends on their feet. It's a grueling job with no benefits and very little pay. So be a it out in your head how much to tip on a thirty dollar tab and leave 15 percent of it for your Server. Be generous, make it 20 percent if the service was you could dream of. You can be sure she or he will be all smiles when you next see her (or him). People tend to remember kindness. Oh, and the tip in this case would be $4.50...little enough, don't you think? So, make it a fiver.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Daily Dose

Yesterday while I was getting away from election junk (you know, the promises, the attacks, the lies) I came in to do my post. I went in to Brenda's quickly because she told me that she had an award for me and I was so touched by this. If you haven't met Brenda, you must go to The Daily Dose...I wish I had the back ground on it, but I'm going to guess that you pass it on to those who may ease your day with either common sense or humor. I hope that my humor is not too blunt, if it's the humor. Since no one ever accused me of having common sense, (or even the sense God promised a goose, as Mama said) I'm going to go with the humor. Brenda and I have a lot in common, actually. We love our families, we love the history of "things" and collecting tea cups and china pieces...our granddaughters are our world...altho she is mighty young to be a grandmother...but just as most of my blogging friends do, she is like a dose of fresh air. She works hard does our Brenda, and gives of herself to those in her care. If I had to have someone go in to care for my Father, I hope I would be able to find someone with Brenda's compassion and ability to lift the spirit, as she does. So, now I'm going to have to decide just who I'm passing this on to. I won't repeat the ones Brenda has chosen. Most definitely Teresa at Living the Life ( , and Kathy at Just a Beach Kat ( ). I think I'll have to say Jeanne at Life or Something like it ( and my heavens, Jenn and Jacqui at and Sue at And I really can't pass up this chance to honor Vee at . I honor all of you, you are all a wonderful daily dose of comfort for me...I think I may do this once a week so I can honor you get prepared prescription is open and I'm getting ready to write on it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Birthday Post


Last night Evil Sister and I were sitting in the den and I said to her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle to keep me alive. That would be no quality of life at all. If that ever happens, just pull the plug." So she got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine. She's such a witch."

Just a quote from long ago to prove that the Maxine in me is alive and well! I had such a great birthday party last night and it was like Christmas all over again. I don't think I've had a birthday party since I was sixteen. I have Evil Sister to thank for that. Her hubby was busy taking pictures and I was sure we were going to be posting them today when he called to talk to his buddy (Mac) and explained that his computer had kicked the bucket. He says it was when he was downloading my pictures that it just up and died. Okay, now I 've known my face to stop trains and a clock or two, but never a computer. I suppose the stress of such beauty was just to much for it to bear. So, his computer now resides in Mac's office where he is busily trying to repair it. When he plugged it in, he called me in to the office and asked if I could tell where the odd noise was coming from. I looked at the big silver box with it's skirt tail up and pointed..."from the computer?" I asked. He gave me one of those "sorry I asked" looks. I really couldn't tell what part of the computer it was coming from and therefore felt no need to complicate things. I was on my way to my computer so I could post the picture of my goodies. ES had prepared her famous "heart attack in a pieplate" (spinach quiche) a lovely seafood dip and artichoke dip. There were several types of crackers and then the cake. The cake had five candles on it and one the guests, Lenore, asked if it was for each decade and was I fifty today. In case you've forgotten Lenore, I adore you! So, I blew out the candles without having to take a second's wonderful what quitting smoking can do for your breathing. Didn't know I smoked? I once smoked like a chimney but it's amazing what an incentive having your chest cracked open can be. I haven't smoked, wanted to smoke, or missed smoking since December 2003, when I had my heart attack followed by triple bypass... (Oddly enough, other peoples smoke now chokes me.) So anyway, I blew out my candles and had a slice of the most divine cake, surrounded by the people I love. Thank you all for a lovely birthday memory. It's one I'll treasure. And I do mean all, my local family and friends and my Blogging Friends.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Magic of Miranda

My friends, her name is Miranda and if she were to run for President....I probably wouldn't vote for her unless it was President of the Mini Spas of the World....because this girl is truly magic, which you shall all see...I found out today that she marries on December 13th and thank Heaven she is not leaving the area, but building a house next door to her mother. It's a Southern Thing. Here are a couple of pictures that Mac took, and please note the eyebrows...also disregard the surgery scars on my neck...I tend to pretend they aren't there. When I had repair done to my vertebrae (three fractured) they went in through the front of my throat...I couldn't sing for over two years...I can sort of sing now, but not the way I could. But, I can walk...walking and croaking like a frog, great things in my estimation. Anyway, I wanted to show you the results, this is the shortest I've had my hair since my working days...but I have to say, I love it!!!

See you all tomorrow, have to go mediate the debates that are going on and keep Mac (WTHF new blogging buddies, that stands for WALLACE TO HIS FAMILY) from kicking in my brand new TV screen....

hugs to all

The Arrival of Winter

It's Saturday morning, not quite 9 a.m. and I have an appointment with Miranda at noon. I should have been able to take care of the make over yesterday were it not for Miranda's trip to the Chiropractor. Well, we don't want her in pain while she is working on me, no distractions must come between the magic of her scissors, the waxing station, and the oh so subtle coloring. I am really looking forward to this. It's almost like going to a spa. I've never been to a spa, but I imagine it's much the same thing except there will be no mud baths or massage therapy. That would be nice, too...I loved playing in mud as a child, little did I know it was theraputic. I thought it was just getting dirty for absolutely no reason. The temperatures in Jefferson have finally plummeted out of the 80's to a more reasonable 25. You don't call 25 degrees reasonable? Well, how about seasonable. It is, after all, winter. Right after the rains came, the fireants made a new appearance. My dear friend Jacqui said she thought they were supposed to go deep for the winter. This was of course before the temperatures of winter had at long last hit us. I told her they were coming up for the moisture. I can only hope that while they were collecting rain water, the temperatures dropped and took care to freeze dry them for the benefit of the birds. It is so frosty out that the air hitting my lungs is painful. So, after a walkabout checking on the birds seed and corn situation, it's back inside to do a bit of housework before I have to leave for Pageland. I am so thankful that winter is finally here. Now, if we could just get some more rain.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A New Look for the New Year

I've been talking about going to the Salon for weeks now and finally, here in a whole new year all together, I'm finally actually going to make it in. I spoke to Miranda today (after sending her an e-mail begging her to answer her phone) to tell her that there had to be some changes. I'm tired of hair hanging in my eyes causing temporary blindness, tired of hair hanging down my neck causing tickling sensations to move up and down my neck. I'm tired of the unibrow that has gathered forces and is threatening to take over my face. I want a new hip look, I want spiky hair that needs lots of mousse and can be done in under three minutes and still look fabulous. I want highlights put in that don't call attention to the gray that has suddenly decided to make an appearance. I want to do this before my birthday next Monday. I'm going to Evil Sister's on Sunday where I will be toasted and cheered and I want to look toastable and cheery. I know I will feel cheery, since it's the first time anyone other than me, has remembered I have a birthday in oh, I'd say about 15 years. Maybe more. Does Mac (WTHF) remember my birthday? Well, no. He sort of wads my birthday in there with Christmas and then if I should say something about it I get "well it was just Christmas". I heard that a lot as a child, too. I didn't understand then and I don't understand now why my birthday should be lumped in with Jesus's birthday. He should be able to have His own birthday and Christmas as well, is my point. And so I jolly well should, too. I know that my birthday present from Mac (WTHF) is going to be terrific this year. Evil Sister has sort of shamed him into it. The best birthday present I got last year was her arrival from New Jersey to live nearby. It's sort of a long lasting birthday present, you know? If I pick up the phone to call her, it's not long distance. If I want to go see her, I don't have to pack a bag or put animals in kennels. If I want to gripe about how I think the world is mistreating me, she doesn't have so far to travel to whip me into shape. Come to think of it, I don't really need anything for my birthday. Just having the people I love know that they are loved is enough. That and a cup of tea. And a new hair style and two eyebrows independent of each other. And highlights in my hair. Yes, it's going to be a pretty pleasant birthday!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Hero Artist

Okay, now we're in a new year and everyone, I'm assuming, has made their New Years Resolutions and broken at least four of them already. That is because it is now January the 2nd and it's expected of you. Mama always told us to make at least twenty, so that if we had at least one not broken by years end, we could consider ourselves successful. I bet everyone has made the old "lose 50 pounds by years end" resolution. That's all very well and good providing you can lose fifty pounds in the four days before December 31st of 2008. I read my darling niece's post(Kari at Livin' Large and nearly lost it. She is to kind to say what I thought, and since she was, I guess I won't. (Suffice it to say, the youngster to whom I refer has some serious character flaws which could be corrected with the aid of a belt.) But anyway, I know that we all love art and my favorite of all is Titian. Titian or Tiziano Vecellio was born in a small alpine village of Pieve di Cadore, now not far from the Austrian border, where his family lived for many years. He was sent to Venice to learn to paint (not houses). I have here some examples of his work. He painted the beauties of his day, most of them flaming redheads, all of them robust and dare I say, busty...earthy lovlies that everyone emulated. And no one dared call them fat! Their very wealthy papas and husband would no doubt have had a few tongues cut out if they had. So, for your viewing pleasure, I present you with real beauty. Do you see anyone who looks as though they live on lettuce and carrots? Do any of them look as though they suffer from a bad case of worms? Maybe we just need to learn how to hero!