Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Visits always give pleasure - if not the arrival, the departure…

We had a visitor last night.

As soon as I said that, I know some of you had a flashback to the last time I had a late night visitor. You probably think I’m going to gross you out with another story about a big, ugly scorpion. Well, I’m not. Because this visitor was not a scorpion, thankgawd!

The dogs woke from a peaceful nap on my lap (yes, the both of them get on my lap, together) when they heard something in the yard. Let me tell you, nothing sets the heart rate going than having 85 pounds worth of dogs suddenly scramble at breakneck speed off your lap, barking madly all the while. They raced out the door and proceeded to barkbarkbarkbarkbark!! at something out there. They were making such a ruckus, I thought I should check it out.

As soon as I went through the door I screamed for CGMan. Boy, he came a-running, probably wishing he had put shoes on, if he was going to have to stomp a scorpion. But this was no scorpion.

I screamed for CGMan to get the broom, at the same time trying to get the dogs to leave it alone so Daddy could get it off the porch. Then, like a good blogger, I said WAIT! Let me get my camera!

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At that point Zoe gave up the fight and hid inside the doorway. Phoebe, however, thought we brought her a baby sister for Christmas and wanted to play with it.

IMG_0200 Here is CGMan, assessing the situation, as I’m taking pictures behind him, saying Don’t kill it! and he was all, I’m not gonna kill it with a damn broom!

Phoebe was still wanting to play with it, but I have managed to get her far enough away for him to swat it with the broom.

 

 

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En garde, marsupial! You have met your match!

It was a couple more pictures minutes before the thing quit playing possum and ran through the yard to the back fence.

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After it was over and we were consoling Phoebe to the fact she couldn’t keep it, CGMan commented that it was kind of small and skinny. I was all, It must be hungry!! to which CGMan immediately starts the mantra- Do. Not. Feed. It.

Oh, but it was too late, I already had my head in the fridge, wondering aloud what do possums eat. I found a few scraggly carrots left over from Thanksgiving and asked him if he thought the possum would like that. He answered, “Dawn. I mean it. Do. Not. Feed. It.” to which I answered with my back as I walked out to the back fence and tossed the carrots out into the woods. Oh? I’m sorry, did you say something? I couldn’t hear you.

I love animals and couldn’t stand the thought that it would be hungry.  But that doesn’t mean I want to feed them on my porch. Oh no, they can stay out in the woods. Sorry, Phoebe.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The one where I woke up on the wrong side of the brain…

There was more than just a perfect turkey when we visited Dawn’s Dad last week. There was a perfect pecan pie. Per-fect! So perfect, I had to make one once we got home, because the 3/4 of the pie at Dawn’s Dad’s house was not enough for CGMan.

CGMan loves many a food. I can’t really remember him saying “No thanks” to anything. And pecan pie is his absolute favorite. Those people who do silly things for a Klondike bar, have nothing on what CGMan will do for a pecan pie.

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I have made pecan pies for this man every year since we’ve been married. I use the secret recipe on the back of the Karo syrup bottle. Well, that just doesn’t compare to a secret family recipe. And hello?? I have been family for 45 years, why am I just now being allowed this recipe?

In my excitement to make a perfect pecan pie, I did not take pictures along the way to share with you. No worries, though. I have already been asked a gazillion times when I am going to make another one. Stay tuned.

One of the things that makes a pecan pie perfect, is it’s presentation. I watched my dad place pecan halves all over the top of the pie. I just knew this was the secret to perfect pie and I set about making mine the same way.

As I was putting on the pecans, I was thinking to myself that it was kinda hard. I kept dropping the pecans and having to dig them out of the pie to reset them on top, side by side. Daddy made it look so easy! I really wanted this to be as perfect a pie as his, so I plodded along.

It wasn’t until I was about half way around, that I realized why I was having such difficulty putting on these stupid pecans. I was doing it just like Daddy did!

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Dawn’s Dad is LEFT HANDED.

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Once I figured that out, it was so much easier to handle those pecans with my right hand.

And yes, I made a perfect pecan pie!

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Take that, peanut brittle!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It isn’t what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart…

I am thankful.

I am thankful for the love of my parents, husband and children. They, each in their very own way, are the bright spots that get me through the days.

I am thankful for the health of my family. It was a tough year, last year. This year everyone has straight- A report cards.

I am thankful for my dogs. Owning a pet is a luxury not everyone can afford, and I am lucky to have two. I can’t imagine a day without a big, slobbery, bulldog kiss and a game of hide and seek with Zoe.

I am thankful for the people who share my life, not because they have to, but because they want to. Whether we live close or far away, my friends have always meant so much to me. I love all of you.

I am thankful to live in a country where I am free to pray where I want, work where I please, and say what I like. I have the freedom to have my little blog and write about whatever moves me which is usually the dogs.

I am thankful for the men and women who volunteer every day to protect those freedoms for me. You guys rock!

And I am thankful for you, my faithful readers, for taking time out of your busy lives to stop in to say hello, offer a shoulder or share a story. It’s hard to remember back to a time when your friends were only the people in your neighborhood. How awesome to be able to reach out, around the world, and make new friends. I am truly blessed.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your day and save me a piece of pie.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake - you can’t learn anything from being perfect…

I am sure there are a good many three of you (Hi, kids!) who think I am perfect. I wish it were so. I honestly do. But really, how fun would that be?

If I were perfect, I wouldn’t have to explain this:

what the hell?

I would spend the morning showing you all kinds of wonderful things, like perfectly shaped Christmas wreaths, of which we hung many.

wreath

Oh, and I would tell you about the fabulously fried turkey we had for dinner. The one that did not burn down the house, as my cynical inner voice predicted.

I might even have shared with you the secret to the best homemade gravy ever.

 

  Psst!

  The secret is teamwork and tarragon.

 

 

 

 

Because most of you are dog lovers, I would have told you all about the two Norwegian Elkhounds who live at Daddy’s house. I would tell you how they are named after Norse gods, Bjorn and Freya. And then I would tell you that Freya likes peanuts, but not scrambled eggs.

But no. You don’t want to hear all about the wonderfulness that is going on at Daddy’s house. You want to know what the hell happened in the kitchen!

Well, it started innocently enough. I was going to learn how to make peanut brittle. I am mostly a cookie baker, but when Daddy suggested peanut brittle,  I thought how hard can it be? (I swear, these words will kill me someday)

We did all the preparations. Actually, since I was the student, I just took the pictures. First you have to butter your pan, so your brittle won’t stick. Then you get your syrup and peanuts to boiling on the stove, making sure you have your candy thermometer. You really need to know the temperature of the brittle before you take it off the stove.

When you take it off the stove, wondering if it’s supposed to smell like burnt marshmallows, you add the baking soda and stir, stir, stir. Because the baking soda makes it explode bubble up, you have to stirstirstirstir to keep it from overflowing the pot. At that point, you’re supposed to pour it into the buttered pan. This is not a good time to remember that you doubled the batch, and buttered only one cookie sheet.

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I jumped in to hold the pot while another cookie sheet was being prepped, but really, there was nothing I could do. The little bit that was in the cookie sheet kept doubling, tripling, quadrupling, gazilliontupling  in size. I could only stand there and watch it happen and pray like mad this wasn’t the “good” cookie sheet. It was like watching a train wreck.

I am thankful that ORMom came through before we even got started and moved the cookie sheet to the cutting board, mumbling something about not pouring that stuff over the counter. Good thinking!

By the time I was able to take these pictures, the brittle had finally stopped expanding and bubbling like a flow of lava from a bad horror film and had pretty much hardened into burnt concrete.

In my infinite wisdom, I would have chucked it all into the trash, cutting board and all, made a cocktail and called it a day. But Daddy actually managed to get all of it cleaned off. I’m in awe.

We’ve analyzed several different theories for  the bizarre reaction of the peanut brittle. We think we may have cooked it too long, bringing it up to a higher temperature than what it said on the recipe that nobody really looked at - hence the burnt marshmallow smell and blackened color. Or it could be the work of angry gods. Who knows?

So there you go people, I am not perfect. Not all of my recipes turn out flawlessly, as I would have you believe.

I am not going to let this get me down. In fact, it has spurred me into action. I am going to make perfect peanut brittle, dammit!   Just not in MY kitchen!

Hey, Wow? you up for a visit from your perfect daughter?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Over the river, and through the scrub….

CGMan and I are headed out on a short road trip to Dallas, where we will help another Christmas loving couple put up their decorations. Hey Dawn’s Dad, we’re on our way! I get my love of Christmas honestly.

Not having anything planned to share today, I set about reading everyone else’s blogs. June over at Bye Bye, Pie read some blog called Hyperbole and a Half, which apparently is a blog that everyone reads. (well, she hasn’t and I haven’t, so I guess that’s not really everybody, is it?) After being pestered about it at work, she finally read it and has said we must all go check it out.

I had never heard of this blog, but then I rarely venture from my favorites list. Not because I don’t appreciate other bloggers. No, if I surfed through all the blogs in blogdom, I know I would find 83472672059 blogs that tickle my fancy and then I would never get anything done. I would be content to sit and read and laugh and then CGMan would starve to death after having run around naked for a month because there were no clean clothes.  And yes, I do the cooking and laundry. He picks up dog poop and pumps gas and other manly stuff. We are the Cleavers.

Anyway, I popped on over to Hyperbole and a Half to check it out because June said so and laughed my butt off. This particular one is about moving day and the two dogs. I’m sure you know that dogs are just hilarious in their own right, but man! can this lady spin a tale.

Since I didn’t really have a post for today, being as how I’m going on a three hour road trip, for which I have not packed anything because I’ve been sitting here not writing a post, I suggest you drop on in at Hyperbole and a Half and read the story about moving day.

I promise, you will laugh. If you did not laugh, I want to hear about it. I won’t believe you, but I’ll want to hear about it.

Here is the link.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chaos, panic and disorder–my work here is done…

My mind is just a jumble of thoughts today.

  • I dreamed in print last night. Swear to chocolate, it was just like I was reading a book.
  • I did it. I put up my Christmas tree. I couldn’t help myself. Every store in town has all their pretty decorations up. Why should only working people get to feel the joy that is Christmas? (okay, even I snorted at that. Retail people and the joy of Christmas really don’t belong in the same sentence, do they?)
  • I bought my Christmas cards a month ago.
  • Why do men feel the need to spit? Everywhere. It’s gross to have to dodge puddles of loogies just to get into the grocery store.
  • I have recently discovered I love the sound of my name. Have you ever noticed how many days can go by before one of your loved ones actually says your name? As a wife (and a darn good one, too. What? I’m just sayin), I have been called Honey, Sweetheart, Snookums and Hey! Cookiemaker. Then one day I heard, “I love you, Dawn”.  It sounded so pretty! I asked him to say it again and he said, “Honey, you know I love you.” Yeah, we’re still working on it.
  • I think I’m going to send Scottish Woman her Christmas card now, just to watch her head explode.
  • I added pieces to my Christmas china pattern this year. Now I need to make something other than cereal for dinner, so we can use them.
  • Because it’s Texas, I planted pansies around the same time I was putting up the Christmas tree.
  • In case you didn’t notice up there at the top – there are 37 shopping cookie baking days until Christmas!

I guess that about empties my mind for today. It’s a crisp, chilly morning so I think I’ll take the dogs for a long walk in the woods. Now that I’m all done decorating. Hee!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The one where Dawn tickles her own funny bone…

Two snakes were hanging out one day,
when the little snake says to the big one, Hey? Are we poisonous?
The big snakes replies, No, we’re not. 
Looking relieved, the little snake says, Oh good, cuz I just bit my lip.

 

2-snakes

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude…

 

VETERANS
By Thomas J. Pickens

They come from many places, those husbands, wives and sons,
They came from town and country to pick up their nation's guns.

They were infantry, clerks and fliers, they fought on oceans blue.
They cooked the food and tended wounds, and built runways, too.

They all came in the their tender age, their condition was the best.
They were all carefree and ready to face the greatest test.

They left their homes and loved ones and went to other lands;
And placed their lives, their limbs, their souls in God’s Almighty Hands.

Each person had a role to play; each life would share the stage;
And in the twinkling of an eye-lash, those youngsters came of age.

All those who went served valiantly, regardless of their task;
And they gave themselves unselfishly, all the country did was ask.

When it all was finally over, they came home to loved one’s arms,
And returned to the lives they left behind in those cities, towns and farms.

But for those who gave the ultimate, God smiled upon their face,
And took them up to be with Him, in His Eternal Place.

And for those who did the suffering, we’re forever in their debt;
And no matter when their war took place, what they did we won’t forget.

This poem was written by Thomas C. Pickens, Jr., Houston, TX.,
who served in the 5th Ranger Battalion, European Theater, WWII

 

For those who have served, or are still serving our country – I humbly Thank You.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday…DST edition

For some, daylight savings time messes up their sleep patterns….

….while others don’t even notice.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It’s caprese, capiche?….

Last night I made lasagna for dinner. The Skater and his new girlfriend came over and I heard it is one of her favorites. Since I want her to like me and all, I thought this would make me a shoe-in for her affections. I was right! She is as refreshing as a tall glass of water, and I will tell you all about her, on another day.

For today, I’m going to share with you this ridiculously easy appetizer. It is the perfect complement for an Italian dinner. They are called Mini Caprese Bites and they look like this:

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I love finger food and I love caprese salad, so this is a win-win recipe for me.
Let’s gather our ingredients!

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  Mozzarella pearls
  fresh basil
  grape tomatoes
  olive oil
  balsamic vinegar
  kosher salt and fresh pepper

 

 

 

You will need some little 4 inch skewers that you can buy at the fancy food stores. Or you can use frilled sandwich picks that you can get anywhere. I go for the cheap and cheerful every time.

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Slice the little tomatoes in half and thread onto the toothpick, placing a cheese pearl in the middle. If you cannot find the fresh mozzarella pearls, you can use larger balls and cut into thirds. The fresh mozzarella tastes best for this dish.

Once you have made as many as you want (I made as many as I had tomatoes) place them in a shallow serving dish. Whisk together together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Drizzle over over the skewers. Thinly slice about 6 basil leaves and sprinkle over the top. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Ta-da! All done!

 

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Honestly, it does not get any easier than this!

Mini Caprese Bites

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
8 oz. container fresh mozzarella pearls or larger cheese balls, cut into thirds
32 frilled toothpicks (or 4” skewers)
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 thinly sliced basil leaves

1. Thread one tomato half, then cheese and another tomatoes half onto each skewer. Place skewers in a shallow serving dish

2. Whisk together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Drizzle oil mixture over skewers; sprinkle with basil and additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I don’t care how poor a man is, if he has family, he is rich…

For the most part, I know I sound all carefree about the fact that I have no more children living at home. I go on and on about my travels, my dinners out and going to the movies any time I want. No need to be home when school lets out and no need for sitters. Oh yes, it is nice.

Don’t let my jaunty enthusiasm for all things kid-less fool you. I miss them.

Really, I do.

It was a little sad on Halloween, not having anyone to check over for hidden rolls of toilet paper before they left the house. Or costumes that need to be double checked to make sure Florence Nightingale wasn’t a clever cover up for slutty go-go girl. Oh, and checking candy. That was always fun. It took them years before they realized that Milky Ways are not poisonous.

Christmas can be a lonely time, too. The dogs are not afraid that I’ll call Santa and tell them how naughty they are. They’re like - go ahead! I was going to mention the fact that the cookies go largely untested, as they come out of the oven, but it seems Skater has an uncanny knack for smelling Mom’s Christmas cookies from the other side of town.

When you think about it, there are no more fairies, tooth or otherwise, no bunnies that deliver chocolate (I miss that guy!) or even homemade Valentine cutouts. Oh, and the last noodle necklace finally disintegrated.

While I miss all that, from time to time, there is one thing about having kids at home, that I miss so very much…

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…finding money in the washing machine. 

Those kids kept mommy in lattes for years. *sniff* I sure miss them. Oh, and the kids, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rooster update…

Thank you all so very much for your kind words and prayers concerning CGMan’s brother, whom he has always called Rooster.

After Rooster spent hours dialyzing and prepping for surgery, it was found the tissue was not a good match. There was no transplant yesterday.

While we know Rooster is bummed out today, at least he is still with us and that is a blessing. He is certainly a fighter and will live to fight another day. Please keep your prayers alive, along with the hope that another match is out there, somewhere.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The only gift is a portion of thyself…

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

This morning, I was going to titillate you with random happenings from the weekend. I know how you long for the zaniness that is suburbia. But I’m going to save it for another day, because we got a phone call this morning.

My belief is that if the phone rings in the middle of the night, it is not going to be good. But this phone call was great news! CGMan’s brother is headed to surgery to get a new kidney! He’s been waiting a long time, so this is wonderful news.

Rather than spend the morning thinking of ways to make you wish you had my oh so exciting life, I’m going to sit here and say a little prayer of thanks, especially to the family who gave the most wonderful of gifts.

I believe if we all send healing thoughts and prayers, it is going to be a great day!

 

This is a good time to remind everyone the importance of being an organ donor. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.