Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Road Trip!

Did you catch the article in this issue of Southern Living about the Neshoba County Fair? Apparently it's a 119-year-old Mississippi tradition that I'm just hearing about - and what a tradition it is. Those crazy people take the county fair to a whole new level, and does it ever look like fun!

Mississipians come from near and far and simply live at the county fairgrounds for the whole week, in little cabins. The cabins are valued real estate, handed down from generation to generation, they are highly sought after. Sounds like a Derby Box in Kentucky or a cottage in the Assembly in Monteagle.

"Mississippi's Giant Houseparty" sounds right up my alley! Lots of food, friends, music and adult beverages. From what I understand, the kids just run amok, playing in the mud, having water balloon fights, riding rides 'til they drop and eating corndogs. [I read that the parents write their cabin number on their kid's leg with a magic marker, sounds like my kind of supervision.] Can you imagine being a ten-year-old and spending a WEEK at the county fair??

I kept reading about one event that I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around - The Chair Race. Couldn't quite understand What or Why. I still don't actually - but I found it on YouTube!

I don't know about any of you, but I'm thinking that it's dang near worth driving to Neshoba County Mississippi just to witness this event in person!

Monday, June 29, 2009

An Even Trade?

I've been pool sitting for some friends - spending valuable time with the pool, making sure that it doesn't leak, checking out all the floats, ensuring that the water temperature is acceptable...

It's a TOUGH job, I have to water all the plants, feed their dog and the worst torture of all...I have to play with FOUR kittens. Lord.Help.Me. What will people ask me to do next?

I've been thinking of taking Oscar out there and swapping him for a kitten before they get home - I think it would be a great trade, they'd probably even come out ahead. Oscar's already fixed, we've invested LOTS of money in him and those kittens are just Starter Cats; they don't have a clue how they are going to turn out.

Oscar...has a proven track record.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The microwave has gone flop-bott...

The door refuses to shut...no more Orville Redenbocker's...nobody knows how to heat up left-overs without it...the light is on perpetually...and we were banging our heads on the door every time we walked by.

The masking tape was Danny's solution - lovely isn't it?

The afternoon the microwave died, everybody was in the kitchen poking on all the buttons, trying to slam the door and "persuade" it to latch. Then all at once I got it to come on! There was one small problem though - the door was open and I was convinced that I was nuking my insides with radiation. I kept standing there, trying to hold the door shut, yelling for Danny to run to the garage and turn the power off, basically having a melt-down. For some reason, no one else got excited...

You know, they shouldn't put the exhaust fan button so close to the START button on a microwave. That's just not cool. I think I lost a good five years off of my life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reunited and it feels so good!

Nelson has been one forlorn little dog these last few days. His girl, Rea, is out of town, but the worst thing of all, is that the fellow members of the Shih Zhu Brigade have been in the Doggie Stockade while their humans have been on leave. He keeps going over to check to see if they are back and it's really sad to see him come back across the yard when he's discovered that "THEY STILL AREN'T HOME!".

This morning I sprung Scout and Trooper from the stockade - have you ever seen bigger smiles?

Scout and Trooper will have to go back to the Stockade this afternoon, but the warden ain't too bad and the grub'll do.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The things I do for you...

I spent a good bit of Friday morning sitting on the grass in the front yard, in nothing but my sleep shirt trying to take pictures of a pair of Bluebirds. The neighbors don’t think I’m crazy at all – crouched out there on the grass, in my NEON green shirt, with my camera and that big old zoom aimed at the neighbor’s house. The people driving by didn’t even make even make eye contact with me as they passed. One guy drove by twice, (and I was right next to the street), he acted like I wasn’t even there…but YOU know he KNEW.

Syd keeps telling me if I’m not more careful that I’m going to win an all expenses paid vacation to Moccasin Bend – straight jacket included.

You see, the Bluebird’s are nesting in the neighbor’s mailbox – I can see them from my front window. Those Bluebirds fly IN. Those Bluebirds fly OUT. Until you sit in the front yard in a NEON green sleep shirt with a camera, with a huge zoom. Then they just hang out and taunt you so that the neighbors and passers-by think that you are a complete nut case.

Here’s one of the only photos of those stupid birds I was able to snap - and the Bluebird of Happiness didn't even have the decency to look at the camera.

Their nest is in this hole – sorry, people, but I gave up getting a picture of them hanging out on their front porch. You'll just have to close your eyes and imagine it. It's the best I can do.
I'm hiding now - somebody is at the front door for me...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Where was I?

Maybe it just seems that way - but I honestly think that when my girls were small and much more dependent on me, and I had a honest to goodness J.O.B., that our life was much less hectic than it is now. I was on the BALL back then. Doing laundry, cleaning house, getting kids to bed, reading books, mowing the yard, ironing everything that wasn't nailed down. Nowadays I'm like a lost ball in tall weeds. To put it bluntly, I can't seem to get my shit together, guess it doesn't have a thing to do with the time I spend on this computer.

Got Rea off for her trip to Virginia this afternoon; I did iron most of the clothes that I packed for her. It is one of the things that I am prone to do - I love freshly ironed clothes in a suitcase. We referred to the list that "Martha" sent us, however, we did take a few liberties with her suggestions. Let's just say that I didn't pack 14 T-shirts or 7 pairs of pajama pants.

Just in case you were wondering, Oscar's hunting season is going well. He has a new amphibian-of-the-day. It's FROGS. He's 3-3 this week - I found last night's catch at 3:00 this morning and left it on top of Neptune to show the family. Guess what? It was gone at 7:00. Luckily, Nelson snuffed it out by the front door at 8:30. That was a big relief - Oscar just likes to mortally wound frogs, I was worried about finding that little fellow by smelling him in a few days.

Drove by my coon hound buddy twice today. His living conditions aren't wonderful, but I've seen him fully standing now and there is no way he could have stood up in the crate he was in. I'd like to cram his human in that damn crate for a few weeks...just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Little things make the difference

Our small town is several miles from the interstate – there are many routes to take, but my favorite is a windy, short-cut that requires a couple of turns and a narrow bridge that crosses over a small lake nearby. Once I became familiar with this road, it seems that this is the quickest way to I-24; or could just be that it’s the most interesting too – there are lots to see and occupy my mind as I drive.

On the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend we took this route to Kentucky – Danny and Syd were in one car and Rea, Shelley, Nelson and I were in another. Don’t laugh. Sometimes it takes two vehicles for us to get both dogs and all of our accoutrements to the next state. Granted this usually occurs at Christmas, but this time it happened in May too.

Anyhow, at a house, along this route, I noticed a wire dog crate in front of a garage. Inside was what appeared to be a coon hound, with barely room to stand, very little area to move about and it’s only covering a wadded canvas tarp. Weeds were growing up around and in the large crate – it was heartbreaking.

Thinking that surely this was a temporary situation, I planned to look for the dog when I drove back through on Monday. However, due to a wreck, traffic was at a standstill and I got off the interstate in Murfreesboro and sadly, forgot about the dog.

Today, the girls and I went shopping, which involved a drive to the interstate and my first trip by that house since Memorial Day and…

The dog was still there.

Soooo…to be sure I wasn’t seeing things, I turned around to double-check. The dog appeared to be housed in a wire RABBIT HUTCH, no dog-house, no shelter, save a rotted wet tarp. The poor animal was curled up on the bare ground or more likely the wire bottom of the cage. We couldn’t find a house number, but an intersecting road and a nearby church were good landmarks for directions. Syd used her Blackberry to get the number for dispatch at the Sherriff’s department. I called and requested an animal welfare check and…

Three hours later when we drove back by, the dog already had a new pen.

I so regret forgetting about the dog Memorial Day weekend, that poor animal suffered unnecessarily because I failed to remember. What is a little hard to understand though, is why it took someone that lives nearly fifteen miles away, to step up and make a simple phone call to change that dog’s circumstances. It wasn’t hard to do. It didn’t take a lot of time. I didn’t even leave my name. Why on earth didn’t the people who lived across the road bother to reach out and help that poor dog; or someone else in one of the hundreds of other cars driving along just like me?

I truly believe that we can’t go through life always waiting for someone else to take action – caution is good, prudence is great too, but sometimes you just have to jump in and do what you know in your heart is right.

For years I always expected everyone to love animals the way I love them; I have come to accept that not everyone does. However, what I don’t think I will ever accept is people who get animals and then not treat them with the dignity, love and respect they deserve.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Yes - I know it wasn't yesterday. Now. Why didn't somebody tell me that when I panicked on Saturday afternoon, when I saw that sale paper that said "FATHER'S DAY" in big letters? Or better yet, why did my brother AGREE with me that Sunday was Father's Day and I realized that yet again I had failed in the Good Daughter department and didn't have a Hallmark card winging it's way toward Kentucky?

I went through most of Sunday thinking it was Father's Day. I made Danny his favorite dessert, a Key Lime Pie (I'll include the recipe at the bottom) and planned on grilling burgers later on and was chilling on the couch, minding my own business, when somehow I stumbled across the fact that NEXT Sunday is Father's Day.

Danny has had his Father's Day meal - and it was a fine one. I see no reason to prepare another. DO YOU?

Pioneer Woman’s Key Lime Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


18 graham crackers (the 4-section large pieces)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
Crush crackers in a food processor or Ziploc bag. Pour them into a bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter. Press into a pie pan and bake for 5 minutes or until golden and set. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.


1 heaping tablespoon lime zest
1/2 cup lime juice
2 egg yolks
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Mix lime zest, lime juice, and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Add in condensed milk and mix on high until smooth and thick. Pour mixture into crust and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour—more if possible.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream and more grated lime zest.

(I used a prepared graham cracker crust - I don't always go to the trouble of making one.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

I've sunk to a new low...

In the wee hours of each morning, Oscar comes and gets in our bed and he snuggles and purrs and is on his best behaviour - he's a champion suck-up at 6:30 or so, just before his daily pack of Whiskas cat food is opened.

Since he has access to the great outdoors through a cat door, I can depend on a sacrificial offering in the kitchen at least one day a week - usually a pitiful shrew. Although this spring we've already been bestowed a decapitated bluebird, a snake, a live baby rabbit and a young blue jay. I often wonder how I can be so enamoured with a creature that is so cruel.

Oscar terrorizes Nelson and beats him up on a regular basis, poor Shelley is even afraid of him - she gives him a very wide berth. Vivi doesn't put up with his shenanigans and will put him in his place and Ben is too laid back to get upset.

But, the thing that Oscar does that pushes my buttons THE MOST is that he yowls and scratches on the doors to go out ALL.THE.TIME. He has a CAT DOOR. He simply wants to go out the BIG DOOR, then comes right back in the CAT DOOR and REPEATS the process!

I have NEVER mistreated an animal in my life - but I must tell you, after I've had to get up for the fifth time to let him out, I now know the hang-time of a cat before it hits the back deck. I also know that when you try to "show" them how to exit through their cat door, they hang on to the edge with all their claws and little feetsies.

Now days, when I pull in the driveway and old Oscar is lying there, all stretched out on the concrete like he owns the place, it's hard not to fantasize about ending his little feline life.

And my foot gets just a tad twitchy on the accelerator...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm a loser...

So, I've mentioned on more than one occasion that Shelley has chronic halitosis - I can't even begin to describe her breathe here, so I won't even try, and those who are reading here that have the distinct honor of experiencing it, can vouch for it's toxicity.

Each year at her annual exam, the vet suggests that we have her teeth cleaned, but always in an off-handed way. So, we haven't taken him up on his offer because a) Shelley hates going to the vet and b) it's not cheap.

However, Shelley is pushing fourteen years now and a couple of weeks ago it became pretty obvious that a teeth cleaning was a must. I couldn't stand her breathe any longer and had come to the conclusion that she was in some discomfort from her mouth.

Well...now the vet thinks I am a loser pet parent. Shelley had severe (his word) gum disease, abscessed teeth and ended up having five teeth pulled and she is on an antibiotic for fourteen days.

Twenty-four hours and $188 dollars later and her breathe has already improved...she feels better and I'm forgiven.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Beware of Dog

Our Annual Neighbor Yard Sale was Saturday morning - it's a free-for-all that packs our subdivision with cars, people, golf carts and involves quite a bit of neighbors swapping their unwanted crap back and forth between one another. This year was much calmer than in years past; two other subdivisions had their sale on the same day, so at least we didn't have grid-lock on Saturday.

Syd and I had gone through closets, both attics and found bedding, household items, clothes, shoes, comforters and...old Halloween costumes.

Late Friday afternoon we looked over and Rea was squeezing herself into an old Disney Dalmatian costume that fit her some four years ago. It was...quite funny. [But not as funny as watching some unnamed adult squeeze into it the night it was purchased 'lo those many years ago].

And the Dalmatian situation went to the dogs from there - Rea stood in the front yard and BARKED at cars and pedestrians. Eventually, Syd and I got into the spirit and dared her to run with Nelson and bark at the invisible fence line; or go across the street and torment the neurotic golden retriever. But, she got self-conscious by that point and converted back to a twelve-year old girl.

The topping on the cake was on Saturday morning when some new neighbors came by the yard sale to introduce themselves. As they walked up the drive they saw the costumes hanging up and I heard the wife exclaim "I told you that was a dog that waved at us yesterday and not a cow!"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

If You Give a Shih Zhu a Cookie

Last night, before bed, I was doing the usual – gathering up all the shoes that some nameless twelve-year old simply walked out of, throwing away empty drink cans and cleaning up the dirty dishes.

For some reason known only to the above mentioned twelve-year old, there was a small plate, with one, lonely, chocolate chip cookie left sitting on the end table. Instead of tossing the cookie in the trash, I offered it to Nelson – and he acted pretty danged pleased, and trotted off proudly to the other room to eat his prize.

About ten minutes later, Danny came through the Family Room and noticed something lying in Nelson’s basket – it was the cookie, guess it wasn’t really to his liking after all and he thought he’d save it for later. When he noticed us noticing his cooking, he decided that perhaps he’d better act more appreciative, so he scooped it up and carried it to the bedroom and put the cookie in Shelley’s bed.

Once he had deposited the cookie in Shelley’s bed, he spent a great deal of time trying to “bury” it with his nose – and when that didn’t work, he laid there and looked at it until Ben decided to come in and check it out. That just pushed entirely too many buttons. Nelson let Ben sniff his cookie for a good bit, then he lost control and it wasn’t pretty. Fortunately, Ben isn't the excitable type and he merely stepped off the dog bed and preceded to wash himself.

Nelson then he very begrudgingly ate the cookie – you could tell he didn’t like it at all – but he wasn’t going to let that cat have one single crumb.

I don’t think there was any point telling him that cats don’t like chocolate chip cookies either.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Left Brain

I got this link from BooMama - it's a little long, but internets, it's hilarous.

When you get a few, listen here, because, oh help me, Danny is Left Brain!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Water fascinates me, it always has. I love the way it sparkles when it comes out the end of a garden hose and the cool feel of it on my bare feet as I stand on hot concrete. As a child, I would spend hours playing with a bucket full of water or using a number two washtub as a makeshift kiddie pool.

My parents bought their first boat, a little sixteen foot runabout, when I was just four. It was the first of many boats in my life – I learned to water-ski behind that boat when I was seven. Many sweet summer days were spent skimming across the smooth green water of Kentucky Lake on a slalom ski.

I was a teenager before I went to the beach the first time - and saw the Atlantic Ocean. The water was cold, the waves were big, the undertow strong and it was so salty. I loved it instantly. Now, when I go to the beach, I don’t really like to sit in a chair – I like to stand in the surf, about ankle deep. I watch for little fish, dig for coquinas, search for shells, wonder about life and basically just watch the waves go in and go out.

I’m simply mesmerized.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A little Futbol on the Upper Cumberland

Rea's Rec League soccer season was over a few weeks ago and despite a rocky start, she ended up having a good time; she stayed with her team, enjoyed playing for Coach Andrew and we all made new friendships in the process.

We spent this weekend watching a great group of kids play soccer in Cookeville. Coaches Joe and John, from Rea's prior season, organized a team to play in the Kohl's American Cup TSSA/Upper Cumberland Soccer Club tournament.

They started practicing together about three weeks ago - with a completely new team. They were all familiar with one another; each had either played on a team under a different coach or in a different season OR had competed against each other. BUT this current configuration was new to all.

Practice has been fun to watch - Dad's coaching goalies, kids working on drills, then a scrimmage with all hands-on-deck. All Players, two Coaches, four Dads, a spare Sister and an extra Brother...nobody holding back.

Their hard work paid off, they defeated both of their opponents on Saturday and came into the tournament Sunday morning the top-seeded team in their bracket. Their opponents were the Pink Sock Girls, who were playing on their home turf.

But, Rea's team took second place in a hard fought battle. Those kids played their hearts out and took a lot of abuse on the field.

It was interesting, at the beginning of the soccer season Rea was feeling a little self-conscious because of her height. Since this is a tournament team, they were able to balance their players height and size, but even so, they weren't able to stop the Pink Sock Girls.

I'm not sure what they feed those girls on the Upper Cumberland, but I think they drove themselves to the soccer field and Lane Kiffin is scoutin' in all the wrong places.

Just sayin'.