Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Goodies

(FYI: This is today's screensaver on my computer. I am loving watching all the leaves fall and the chipmunks trying to burrow their way out of all the leaves and jack-o-lanterns!)

I always enjoy being part of Pea's annual Halloween Swap. On Monday, I received my goody box from Laura over at This is Me. What fun! Since I am on limited space here at the house, I decided to decorate the mantel (and my computer screen above).

Look at the Halloween banner she made for me. Isn't it the best? I am loving it. I had made three little Halloween cones for friends and never got them out, so I hung them with Laura's banner. They fit right in as if she knew I had them waiting for something extra to put with them. Thank you Laura. How very special. I've always wanted a banner, really! I've seen folks making them online but have never tried my hand at it--not being the sewer. It made my day fixing up the mantel with her goodies and some ATCs that I received from a swap through Shelley.

I barely had the box open when I spied some of my favorite flavored candy--Tanganilla (to me, orange dreamsicle). YUM. Yes, I have delved into the bag and have helped myself to several already. Look at all the goodies she sent. Look at the sweet little bears. I have them flanking each side of the mantel. I can't wait to use the gorgeous autumn stickers on something fun. I'm going to have fight the kid for the other goodies, I'm sure. Again, thank you Laura for a wonderful box of goodies. I love everything.

Today was another trying day in the kitchen department. Every day never seizes to amaze me. I truly wonder at different parts of the day if these guys have ever done a kitchen before. Today, they put the back splash in. It's a bright white subway tile. When I asked them if I purchased new electrical outlets to replace the old dingy ones, would they install them. They looked at me as if I had asked them to rip the cabinets out. After about ten seconds, the "son" says "Well, you'll have to call the showroom and ask them." I looked at him in disbelief and said (probably with a bright red face) "Forget it, I'll do it myself," and I walked out of the room. I mean, these things may cost about $1.00 each, probably need five replaced. It takes probably two minutes to switch them out. You do the math. After a couple of minutes, they called me into the kitchen and said it was in the "almighty book" and they would do it. Which means, if I hadn't asked about it, it wouldn't have been done, period. Bottom line. I mean, look at the difference between the new light switch and the old outlet. Is that right? No, it's not.


I am so over working with these guys, believe me. It seems that each day is one step forward, two steps back. I actually painted the shelves for the china cabinet tonight just to get it done. The guy routed the plate grooves for me yesterday and put them back in the pantry. It should have been done at the factory. Since it wasn't, the groove was the color of the wood, not the color of the shelf. I pulled them out and asked that they paint them the same color as the shelf. Today, when I asked if they were ready to put back in (so I can finally put my china away), he said "Uh, I don't know." He then walked over and said they were still wet. What? So I looked at them. I asked him if he had used oil paint. Yes. "Did you prime the wood before you painted it? No. Of course not. So tonight, I primed them, painted them and put them back in the cabinet myself. You think I should charge them?

The hub came home, not feeling well but did his annual carving of the pumpkin. Yay. It has truly been a trying two weeks--losing our Roo, fighting with the teenager, kitchen woes, etc. I'm sure it's all weighing heavily on him also which probably wore down his resistance. Poor guy. I know having the house torn up for this long has worn everybody down. It's hard to function when there's no where to find peace. We're all at whit's end, I'm afraid. I'm finding it so hard to function. I'm trying, I truly am. But each day, I am finding it more difficult. It has literally taken me all day to write this post. All day. I started it at 9 a.m. and it's now almost 11 p.m. Now that's scary. SCREAM! Did I scare you again? I scared me that time!

Boo


Did I scare you?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is it Safe to Come Out?

After last week, I'm almost afraid to peek my head out from underneath the covers. I'm happy it's behind me. It's not the same here without Roo following my every step, her happy wag of the tail and just general being here. We had her for twelve years, and it's going to take a while getting used to a house without her. The cats are trying their best to fill her shoes though. Dave is feeling much better this morning and is actually scrapping with Bella. Bella is attacking poor Abby who screams bloody murder each time she does. I'm hoping to get some normalcy back into this haphazard place we call home. Thanks to my friends who helped me collect acorns last weekend by Mobile Bay. This is my fall decor this year, I'm afraid. It does bring a smile to my face though with memories of a wonderful weekend with special friends.

{WARNING: Rant ON}When I found barely any work having been done {in the kitchen} in my eleven-day absence, I just about blew a gasket. Well, actually I did. Maybe even two. As the hub says, "I ripped them a new one," if you get my drift. The entire kitchen could have been finished in that time. Truthfully. And it was supposed to have been. I had been promised the tiling of the back splash would begin that Friday and finished the following Monday. Therefore, I Fedx'd (as in almost $40 to overnight) the switch plates for the light switches. Do you think it was done? Don't think I have to answer that question for ya. Was anything done? Well, one thing. All of my cabinet doors are inset, meaning they are flush with the cabinets. I then ordered panels for all of my appliances so they looked like part of the cabinets. Do you think they were flush? Nope. So, the entire wall of cabinets where the refrigerator is had to be pulled out. Yep. Pulled out. They tried to tell me it was supposed to look like that. The appliance folks told them otherwise. It seems the entire project is three steps forward, ten steps back. My blood pressure goes up just talking about it. Today, they have to come out and move the island because it is not centered with the stove. OMG. They tried to tell me IT was right also because they used the measurements from the ALMIGHTY BOOK. OMG. Do I have IDIOT written on my forehead??? I don't care what the flipping book says, open your eyes and take a look. Do they not eye the stuff also? Guess not. C'mon. Another gasket lost on stupidity. Friday, I had to call them twice to make sure they were coming out. They had promised everything would be finished on Friday. I had to call them TWICE. OMG. They finally arrived and finally connected the dishwasher and ice maker. Do you think they worked? Forgot to take the plug out of the dishwasher drain so my first load never drained, just sat in the muck and dingy water sat in the tub all weekend. Loverly. The ice maker was on all weekend and never produced a cube of ice. It has almost become comical. That is, if I weren't living through it. I threw my hands up on Friday and just began putting things away. Finished or not. Over it. When I put my mixing bowls away, the door wouldn't close. Yep. They are not deep enough (with the inset doors) to fit my mixing bowls. An 11 inch plate? Nope, they don't fit either. When I called the woman, she said "well your plates are too big." Hehe. I could have reached through the phone for her throat. These are plates from Pfaltzgraff. Normal dinner plates that I have had for over 17 years. Tried another set that I had bought from Target several years ago. Again, pretty standard plates. No go. OMG! I then gave her a lesson in kitchen remodeling. 1. If you suggest to a customer they get inset doors, explain to them that normal things like mixing bowls and plates do NOT fit in a 12-inch cabinet because the door takes 3/4 inches of the depth of the cabinets. 2. If a customer orders inset doors and order panels for their appliances, adjustments need to be made, either by the manufacturer of the cabinets or by the designer, that compensates for the panels and makes them flush with the rest of the cabinets. (At this point, the guys have to finagle the wires behind the dishwasher and ice maker in order to push them back to the wall so the doors are flush. What a waste of time.) You can see the dishwasher drawer panels are not flush at this point in the picture above. (They're supposed to look like that--NOT!) They better well be by the end of the day.

I haven't mentioned the countertops, have I? They were installed the day before I left for Riverside. After coming home and ordering a pizza, I noticed the oil was actually staining the Silestone. Yes, Silestone. The substance that has no upkeep whatsoever. I wanted marble or soapstone but the woman talked me out of it--too much upkeep. OMG! Are you kidding me? So the countertop people came back and rubbed and rubbed, brought out the special cleaner I had never heard of--nothing. Then brought out the bottle of alcohol. After really rubbing it, some of the fingerprints came out. Then he wanted to seal it. Seal Silestone? Wha??? He did. He left. The fingerprints are back. I'll be damned if I'm going to walk around with two bottles of cleaner and scrub each finger print that shows up. The manufacturer just happens to be coming in from Italy this week. He's going to bring him by. The kitchen people want to tear it out and start over. OMG. I'm beside myself. Remember Billy Crystal's character on Saturday Night Live, Fernando? "It's not how you feel, darling, it's how you look. And you look marvelous." I guess that's my kitchen. Functional? No. But it will look marvelous. Just shoot me now.

PS I just received a phone call from the appliance folks. The refrigerator that was installed a month ago--yes a whole month--that had a broken shelf has yet to be fixed. They were scheduled to come by this morning (second trip because they didn't have the right parts last time they ordered them) and fix the shelving unit, again. They looked at the parts this morning and figured out they still don't have the right parts. OMG. If I hadn't already shot myself, I would have to do it again. OMG. Pass the Advil, please.{Rant off.}

I kicked myself this morning and am pushing myself to get back into the swing of things. Halloween is a couple of days away. This is my all-time favorite time of year. I need to enjoy it. I am trying to keep a happy face, but last week was just one of those weeks.

Congrats to my Pammy who is a big Red Sox fan. Wooohooo. What a game last night. I stayed up to see if the Rockies could pull out, but it wasn't to be. I was rooting for the Red Sox, but it would have been fun to watch a couple more games. Bet there's some hangovers this morning up Boston way, ya think? How fun for them. Did you see all the players wearing goggles in the locker room when the champagne was flying. How funny is that! I guess it would burn the eyes. Think I'd rather drink the stuff, myself. Pass the bottle please. Please?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

. . . and The Teenager

The teenager had a major ear infection that he let go too long. The antibiotics have kicked in on him too. He also is on the mend. He has always had really bad ear infections. Most folks grow out of them, not this guy. Poor thing.

And Then There's Dave

Dave is doing well, albeit my taking him to the vets everyday in order to get his antibiotics in him helps. He is the only cat I have been unable to get a pill down, or even liquid for that matter. Even the doc has a time. This cat is all muscle.

I think he's ready for Halloween. We call him Cat Frankenstein (pronounced Fraunk-in-steen, of course.)

What a week. I'm glad it's behind us.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Roo Dog

On Wednesday, we let Rootie go. She had quit eating and was having a hard time standing. Her hind legs were weakening by the day. She is in a better place, chasing bunnies.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Missin' My Buds

I hope they don't mind my posting this picture; I told them I wouldn't. But I'm missing them and needed a little lift. It was a week ago today that they all arrived at Riverside. I wish we were all still there, giggling.

This picture is our last day, Sunday, on the Gulf of Mexico. We had about an hour to do some fast shelling. Thank goodness it was cool and windy which kept us mostly out of the water (other than our feet); because we later learned that the red tides were approaching--which you should not swim in.

I will write more about their visit; but I just had to put something up to let them know I'm thinking about them and missing them terribly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Will Be Back Soon

Artwork by Annie James

Made it home safely last night but a lot going on at the homestead. Roo dog is not doing well, Dave is in hospital getting a war wound sewn up, kitchen has barely been touched since I left and the teenager is sick. I will be back as soon as things settle down a tad. Guess I truly am needed at home.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pot Luck @ Val's!

I'm busy cookin' chicken and taters but there's already goodies over at Queenly Things . Who doesn't love a pot luck?? The LA Caviar has already been dropped off to nibble on but there's more to come! How fun!

Rosa's Potato Salad

  • Red potatoes cooked (I threw in two Yukon golds for good luck)
  • Drain and season potatoes with salt and pepper while cooling (again, I use Lawry's salt)
  • Dice onions (I had a sweet, purple and scallions)
  • Mix 1 C of mayo and 1 C of sour cream
  • Mix all ingredients together, chill for a couple of hours

Fried Chicken. Well, I'm sure ya know how to do that! I use Lawry's salt as a seasoning and mom always insisted on Crisco oil. So, that's all I got to say 'bout that.

We have wicked storms hitting all around us (sorry kid--wish you were here). Some tornadoes touched down in Pensacola. I was getting ready to leave and pick up my ingredients this morning when the weather warning came over the radio. Bella and I are set to run to the "bunker" just in case we are told to. It is absolutely pouring down rain. Joy. Let's hope it clears before my bud's get here tomorrow. Hrrrumph.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pink Eyed Peas for L.A. Caviar

I'm beginning to get my cooking going for the weekend when my friends arrive. I'm planning a picnic on the beach and want to get some goodies made and put in the fridge. Today, I'm cooking pink eyed peas for my L.A. (Lower Alabama) Caviar. I found a recipe from LuLu's which is the best I have tasted. Serve it with chips or crackers and you can truly make a meal of it. Yum.

Peas


  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh black-eyed or pink-eyed peas, shelled (3 cups)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 T bacon drippings
  • 2 slices salt pork
  • Dash of salt
  • Ground pepper
Cook 1 1/2 hours until tender.




Lucy Buffet's L.A. Caviar

  • 3 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained (I used fresh pink eyes)
  • 1/4 C chopped red onions
  • 3 T chopped green bell peppers
  • 3 T chopped red bell peppers
  • 3 T chopped yellow bell peppers
  • 1/2 C quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 C chopped parsley
  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • salt and pepper
It's nice having a kitchen again. The house is smelling good. I'm jamming on some Barry White and I feel like I'm dancing in tall cotton. grin. All I need is my loved ones surrounding me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Standing in Tall Cotton

The hub, freshly back from England and China and driving by the local cotton fields blurts out "Standing tall in cotton." What? I had never heard such a remark. I kind of giggled and had to ask the meaning. Supposedly it goes back to cotton growers. When the cotton was tall, it was good for picking. Tall cotton is good cotton. I think it's my favorite new phrase now. I am definitely standing in tall cotton; and I thank my lucky stars.

All summer, so many of us city folk were wondering what all these crops were. Was it soy? Or alfalfa? Nope. Now we know. Cotton. Truthfully, I've never been close to a cotton crop before. Not even a plant. With the hub in the cotton biz and my mother picking it as a young girl, I figured it was high time I stopped and smelled the cotton, so to speak. What an amazing plant. I now see why my mom says it was such hard work picking the stuff. Ouch. If you didn't know, you'd think it was all dead (like the kid thought). The hub taught us a little in cotton growing as we passed each field bursting with white.


Mom says her entire family had to pick cotton just to get by. She remembered when she was still too young to pick being in the fields watching her sisters and brothers pick. When she was old enough, one of her brothers made a special bag, just her size, that she would wear on her chest to put the cotton in. The other bags were way too big for a child her age. Her brothers called her "Smut" because she was so dark from working in the sun as she refused to wear a hat to cover her face. She says she would come home with her fingers numb and bleeding from a day's work. I borrowed the above picture from Wikepedia. It looks like a picture right out of one of her albums, handwriting and all. I can't even imagine what hard work that was for a child in the heat of a Georgia summer.

I was so tempted to pick a boll. Just to feel it, to feel how sticky the plant around the soft cotton is. To imagine how hard it would have been to pick with little fingers as my mom once did. But I didn't. Instead, I picked up a small plant that had fallen over. I brought it home for the kid to see. I put it out on display. An ode to the hub and to my mom. Standing in tall cotton.

We later found it mauled by Bella all over the kitchen. Guess she thinks differently of the stuff.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fall Decor

I am so enjoying decorating for fall down here. Back in Nashville, my house is so extremely blown up, I haven't put any decorations out yet.

The kid and I went out yesterday and explored more of the area. We found a great farmer's market that sold wonderful pumpkins (even the cooking type). The owner gave us quite the pumpkin lesson. It was fascinating to learn about all the types of pumpkins and pumpkin/squash combos. Fun. They also had homemade butter and sausage and good stuff like that. We brought some of that home and we cooked up a good breakfast this morning after the hub arrived home.

This pumpkin is one for cooking. I loved the blue hue and just had to bring it home. It is now home to a little lizard living underneath. He hid when I opened the front door, you can barely see his little feet tucked under it (if you click on the pic).

These are the flowers of the month from my brother. I packed them up and brought them down here. I am so glad I did. The colors are so fall like and I am truly enjoying the beautiful colors.

The hub and kid are relaxing out on the dock. It's good to have the hub back and it's nice to see the two of them catching up.

We all had naps today and are now refreshed for the evening. Pinch me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Annual Shrimp Festival--2007

This was our first time here at this festival; and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I am so happy that we went early on Friday. By the time noon rolled along, it was already getting a little too crowded for the kid's and my taste. It turned out to be the most beautiful day. The high was only in the upper 70s (ƒ) and a cool breeze came off the Gulf.

My being brought up and learning to drive in DC and having to normally hit one of the Smithsonians several times a month, I am accustomed to driving to where I want to go and looking for a parking space there. No stinkin' trolleys for me, no sirree. So, we drove as far as they would let us (a block away from the beach) and the traffic person flagged me to turn. Low and behold, there was a spot right there on the corner, I kid you not. Right where I took this picture. Excellent. Good sign.

There were lots of artsy booths but only a hand full that I was interested in. The isles were full of mostly beachy stuff. I did, however, support the local artist who did this year's poster and brought one of those back to Riverside along with a T-shirt for the hub and kid. I did like the above artist. I would have loved the dragonfly painting. It would have looked perfect at Riverside. Maybe I'll catch her down here again some time.

This was a great booth. Look at all the barnacles. Now that's amazing! I remember having to scrub those suckers (literal) off the boat when I was little. They are tough little buggers.

I took this for Bethy. Her domino art is so lovely, I thought this would give her some ideas on selling her pieces. This booth was hot. Hint hint, Beth!

I loved this artist. Absolutely gorgeous pieces. Johanna Littleton's work reminded me a lot of DeGrazia. My friend Pam (who will be here this weekend) introduced me to him. Her family was from Arizona and he is quite famous there. I would have loved to been able to purchase one of these.

There were several large stages set playing various musics. This large one, sponsored by the place where we visited this summer and saw the Coastal Living Idea House, had a very load rock band playing. In this setting, I preferred Coconut Dave and his steel drums. I could sit and listen to that forever. (After we left, we were at The Wharf and were told that Jimmy Buffet showed up and was playing! Sorry we missed that. He's from these parts so I'm sure he had a good time playing for his "hood.")



Then it was serious eating time. Look at all the choices we had (and then some). I loved all the cajun influenced items. Yum. Now, we don't get this good stuff, even as far south as Nashville! The kid and I were like kids in a candy shop. What to decide on. I decided on a fried shrimp and rice, and the kid got a popcorn shrimp basket. I wanted to get some red beans and rice but I was too full after my large helping. Darn. You'll notice my shrimp and pearl necklace that I wore all day yesterday. I have it hanging on the rear view mirror now.


Before we left, we sat and enjoyed the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. We should have thought ahead and brought some chairs so we could have enjoyed it a little more. Oh well, live and learn. I should always have beach chairs in the car from now on!

As I've sat here typing, I have had the enjoyment of being able to watch a beautiful male cardinal, a blue jay and an unknown bird peek into the window (need to find my bird book!), as close as two arms' lengths away. They have no fear of me sitting here. And now, there is an osprey cawing away. I just can't tell you how peaceful it all is here. Can't wait for the hub to arrive in the morning and be able to chill with us. Yay!!!

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