Just a little Southern note…

I’ll be out of touch for a couple of weeks so you won’t be finding any posts here because I haven’t found a way to schedule them (feel free to help me out here if you know how.) 

 

I have posts scheduled on my other blog at http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com. I hope you’ll visit there while I’m gone. There are a few Southern stories coming up that I think you’ll enjoy.

Thursdays – Where Truth is the Dare

Question of the Day: Where Truth Is the Dare   [QUES OF THE DAY] [Paperback]

It’s Thursday again – and we all know what that means!

Here is this week’s question.

Truth? or Dare?


What do you keep in a safe place?


When I read this question, my immediate response before contemplating a deep answer was “my heart”. Even after contemplating and attempting to come up with a one of a kind unique answer, I have to stick with my first. I keep my heart in a safe place – most of the time. It comes from experiencing a lot of hurt in my life. It is a defense mechanism for me and it is just who I am.


I look forward to hearing your answers! 



Thank you all for participating.

All Things Southern – Love thy animal as thyself?

   We’ve become “those” people…(hanging my head in shame)

         Last night we dined with friends to celebrate Hubby’s birthday (he’s 52, but I’ll deny until my last breath that I mentioned that fact).

         We normally see each other about once a week or so, and after catching up with the latest news – our upcoming vacation and theirs, we arrived at the restaurant.

         As things normally go here “down on the bayou”, Hubby knew just about everyone in the place – both those coming and going – so there was a lot of conversation floating around. This also happens to be one of our favorite places to have a steak dinner. It is located along Bayou Lafourche and is a piece meal of a building, having been added on to thru the years. Monday night is steak night and people come from up and down the bayou to feast on their delectable steak and potatoes.


Land of the Bayou. My brother-in-law is 6ft.

         Then – it started – Hubby and I have become “those” people. You know the ones – the ones that talk about their dogs – forever! And, as if that’s not enough, we even have pictures of their latest escapades!

         Yes! We have become “those people”. You see, Calypso has been up to her usual escapades and we think she is nothing short of a genius. Of course, we have to share her antics – even if the audience is our captive audience!

Our family
These dogs are not dumb. And, YES I pulled her for a while. I didn’t say humans weren’t.

        This trick worked – for a while. It was even good at keeping unwanted company at bay. The rule was, if you can’t grab hold of the post and swing your little self around it to the porch; you have to visit from the steps. You would be surprised at what folks will do to have a comfortable place to sit and visit. As you can well imagine, there is a lot of swinging going on at our house.       

           Due to Calypso’s puppy chewing, Hubby came up with the brainstorm of hanging a trawl net across the front porch entrance to keep her off the porch (considering how well this turned out – a more apt name might have been “brain-fart”). She has chewed the legs of two very expensive rockers and the side of a table, not to mention knowing on the 6×6’s that actually support the porch roof. You can see that we’ve had to curtail her activities before the house began falling down around or on top of us.

         Lately, it appears that the only beings being kept off the porch are the human kindRyka has gotten quite comfortable with jumping on and off the porch from the side and Calypso…well, Calypso has figured out how to chew and unhook the net from the eyehooks that Hubby installed along the bottom of the porch. Having figured that out, she now knows that she can slip underneath the net and onto the porch. As you can see in the picture, she gets stuck and then she looks around for help. It is impossible for her to gain traction on the concrete steps and nearly impossible for her to claw the porch for traction. Therefore, she spends a lot of time in this particular position – watching Ryka sit on the porch – until she gets tired and backs herself out from under the net, or I take pity on her and work her under the net.

I know there must be a way.
I thought I could get under.
Help! I need help! Stop laughing and help!

         That’s not the only adventure Calypso and Ryka have had this past week. They managed to sashay across a busy, major highway. Those adventures will be coming soon.

         Meanwhile, we Southerners love our animals and treat them as family members. So, be prepared when visiting your Southern neighbors, to feign interest when they start expounding on the virtues and adventures of their “loved ones”.

Do you hold your company prisoner while extolling the current adventures of your animal’s adventures?

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From the Heart – A Southern Staple – Jambalaya!


Goodness! I’ve had an exhausting week and I think my house is going to permanently harbor the stench of cooking onions.

         I cooked a huge batch of jambalaya mix to freeze. While the idea of sitting down to a wonderful plate of “instant” jambalaya sounds enticing, getting it to that point isn’t so great.

         One day I am going to learn to chop and cook the onions in the outside kitchen, then move the process indoors to my kitchen. Seems I have this revelation every time I cook onions. It has obviously yet to stick. I spent the better part of a day chopping many (lots and lots) onions in preparation for cooking. Once I finished up with the onions, I cubed two slabs of honey ham, chopped two packages each of Hillshire Little Smokies and Smoked Sausage. With this huge pile of chopped ingredients taking up residence on my counter, I was ready to begin cooking.

         I tossed the onions into a huge pot and cranked up the fire (I think faster is always better – not so). So, with the candles burning and the windows opened to allow fresh air to penetrate the onion odor infested kitchen, I stirred and stirred and then stared at those onions willing them to brown and caramelize (oh me of little patience). Well, needless to say, no onion will caramelize before its time; and believe when I say – that onion had its own time table!

         The onions finally caramelized and it was time to toss in the chopped meats. Gosh! Once the meat starts browning and blending with the onions, it is slap yo’ mama good let’s have a party time. Oh! My Goodness! You want to just grab a bowl and start dishing it up to eat! After the meat and onions were cooked and a little gravy was forming, I threw in the peeled shrimp. A little more cooking and stirring and then it was “grab a bowl” time.

         I put the rice to cook and sat down to enjoy my bowl of jambalaya mix thinking all is right with the world (and it sure is great to be from the South!)

Ingredients:

10 onions, chopped; 2 packages of Little Smokies and Smoked Sausage, chopped; 2-1/2” slabs of honey ham, 4 cups peeled small shrimp, ½-teaspoon Zatarain’s Liquid Crab Boil

How To:

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the bottom of a heavy pan, add onions and cook until brown and caramelized. (I always sprinkle a little sugar over onions to help in the caramelization.)


Add chopped meat and stir. (See picture – sausage is sliced down center and down center again forming four links – slice – this will give you quarter pieces) Cook down. Drain any grease that has accumulated (sausage has lots of grease.)



Add peeled shrimp and ½ teaspoon liquid crab boil. Stir. Lower fire and let simmer. Add a little water if necessary.

 I do not normally add any additional seasoning because the meat helps to season the dish as well as the liquid crab boil.

To Do:


At this point, you can either cool mixture and freeze or mix in cooked rice and enjoy. The mixture is also great on French bread as a sandwich mix. Enjoy!

*If you have any questions about the recipe, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to clarify.

 

You might also enjoy Hubby’s Southern Pecan Pralines! Nielsen-Massey Madagasgar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

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Procrastination Saturday

So…what have you procrastinated about this week?

On Monday, I mowed grass and bathed the dogs, instead of writing.

On Tuesday, I put ant killer in the yard, instead of writing. (I later wrote two book reviews and my post on “All Things Southern”.

On Wednesday, I slept late due to a late night on Tuesday, and then sat around and read, instead of writing.

On Thursday, I hopped around with a blog hop and visited, instead of writing. (I later wrote my post for “Thursdays – Where Truth is the Dare”, and wrote and pre-schedule a guest post for when I am on vacation.)


SO…what did you procrastinate about this week?

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The five things you wish you’d known about me BEFORE…

The five things you wish you’d known about me BEFORE you became friends with me…

I have been neglectful in acknowledging a few blog awards that I have been given. Sorry guys! I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

 

In April, M.J. Kane awarded me the “Lucky Meme” award. Because I have no manuscript in which to skip to a certain page and give you a preview, I couldn’t accept it. I appreciate it anyway!  Thanks M.J.!

She, by the way, has a fabulous blog that goes along with her book and you should really check out. You can find her here: http://thebutterflymemoirs.blogspot.com/


Darlene Foster, http://darlenefoster.wordpress.com blessed me with the “Beautiful Blogger” award. She is a really sweet woman who has a great blog. Thank you Darlene! It is always nice to know that others are reading your blog and think so highly of you.

I think I qualify for this award, so I’ll give the old college try.

Here are the five or so random things about me that you probably don’t know (I promise that there is a whole lot more than that!)

1. I can beat a dead horse like no body’s mama. (Just ask my poor husband. I make SURE I get my point across AND that I am understood! A few times. Hence – beatin’ that dead horse. Now, if there is ever a reward for that – I guarantee that my name will be leading the pack.)

2.  Like Darlene, I have books in EVERY room of the house. My Hubby said the first thing he would do if I left this world before he did, would be to get rid of all my books as fast as he could (maybe not quite that harsh.) My best friend has already said that she will be here to pick them all up the day after my funeral. Aren’t the people in my life just so sweet? Bless their little hearts! (Yeah, right!)

3.  I have a bag obsession. I am always on the lookout for the best organized bag I can put my hands on. I have yet to find it, so my closet is a little overrun with bags. I have finally designed my own. I just need to find the fabric and sit down and make it.

4.  I love playing with makeup. A girl can just never have too much makeup – well, she can, but don’t tell anyone. There is no way I could ever just slap makeup on and run out of the house. It is a process and I love every minute of it. (Just ask the toe tapping Hubby.) 

5.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know how organized I am, and how much I love white shirts with my jeans. My favorite outfit is a white blouse, jeans, red belt, and red shoes. I could wear the same outfit everyday and be happy as a clam. What you don’t realize is that I actually could, as in I have about 30 white shirts! I am so dead serious. It’s posted on my blog. Go and look. 

Now, that is enough about me. If I admit to anymore, someone will be blackmailing me.

I now have to bestow the award on a few blogs. I always draw a blank at this point. There are so many great blogs around. 

 I hope you’ll check out each of the blogs and tell them hello.
NOW, for the big question – What should I know about you?

Thursday – Where Truth is the Dare

Question of the Day: Where Truth Is the Dare   [QUES OF THE DAY] [Paperback]

It’s Thursday again – and we all know what that means!

Here is this week’s question.

Truth? or Dare?

What are you hoping for?

(Hoping, not trying to make happen.)

I am hoping for my blood platelet count to stabilize and quit fluctuating and increasing. (I have Essential Thrombocythemia; my blood marrow makes too many platelets.)

(Only God can make that happen.)

Thank you all for participating.

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All Things Southern – Blue Plate Mayonnaise

It seems like Blue Plate Mayonnaise is a Southern Thing. Who would have thunk it (is that actually a word)? 


My youngest daughter, Katie-Beth, lives in New York City. She assures me that there is NO Blue Plate Mayonnaise in New York City.


IF there were, she would find it. That, and Zatarain’s New Orleans Traditional Creole Seasoning; which is why she calls her mama when her cupboard is bare. 


Product DetailsMama, living in Southern Louisiana, has an abundant supply at hand, and is all too willing to stock that empty cupboard for her little girl.  So, when we drive up in June, there will be a six month supply of Blue Plate Mayonnaise and Zatarain’s delivered to her doorstep, along with about that much gulf shrimp. So, clear the highways and the by-ways, because South Louisiana is heading to the city with Southern supplies in tow. 

Zatarain's New Orleans Traditional Creole Seasoning - 8 oz.

This only goes to prove that you can the Cajun girl out of South Louisiana, but you can’t take the Cajun out of the girl. 



 

From the Heart – A Mother’s Love

         Another year has gone by and it’s Mother’s Day again. I sit here in anticipation, hoping as I do each year that the phone will ring and when I say hello, this will be the year that my oldest daughter will be on the other end.

         It has been sixteen years since she last wished me Happy Mother’s Day. The pain in my heart increases each year and my breath catches as I try to keep the tears at bay. They fall eventually when I am able to find a moment alone, but for a while, I manage to hold them back. I am good at pretending, which is how I keep the tears at bay. Practice makes perfect as the saying goes. Maybe one day I’ll be perfect.

         It is hard sitting in church watching the mothers and daughters around me. I really have to focus hard during the part of the mass when the priest asks all mothers to stand for a blessing. My Hubby always makes me stand. He tells me that no matter what, I am a mother and I deserve my blessing just as all the other moms do. And, as I stand, my thoughts are not concentrated on the words of the blessings; they wander around in my head unfocused, wondering if I do deserve the blessing.

         About that time, God will grab my attention and help me to focus using happy memories from when my daughters were young, and I realize that He is telling me not to forget that He blessed me with children, and I am a mother and I do deserve my blessing on this Mother’s Day.

        I know this post is a little bit of a downer for what should be a joyous occasion, but there are those us who end up with a little different day. It is not always through fault of our own, it is what life threw at us. I do know, as other mothers do, we always did the best we could with the tools we had at hand. Sure, there are decisions I’d make differently if I knew then what I know today. Unfortunately, life does not always provide us with the opportunity. Nevertheless, I love my children dearly, and I always will; and for that, I do not need their permission (to love them). That is one of life’s little blessings for moms.


I received an email a couple of days ago from AFL informing me that I had won a gift certificate and that my Mother’s Day story would be featured in their newsletter. The story is about my daughter. Here is the link if you would like to read it:

http://www.afterfiftyliving.com/socialcenter/tag_sharedstories/A_SHARED_STORY__A_Rose_in_Bloom/?utm_source=The+TOPS+from+AFL+5-13-12+and+-+a+Happy+Mother%27s+Day%2C+too%21&utm_campaign=Tops+%26+Mother%27s+Day+5-13-12&utm_medium=email

Thank you to all who visited today. I invite you to leave your own thoughts on this Mother’s Day.

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Thrusday – Where Truth is the Dare

Question of the Day: Where Truth Is the Dare   [QUES OF THE DAY] [Paperback]

It’s Thursday again – and we all know what that means!

Here is this week’s question.

Truth? or Dare?


Who came through for you at a time when you really, really needed it?

Ummm…thinking. Actually, it’s a no-brainer. First and foremost, my Hubby has been there for me in my darkest moments. Secondly, my best friend. 

 Thank you all for participating.

I had a short story published in honor of Mother’s Day. One of my daughters and I have a broken relationship. She truly has no idea how much she means to me. The story is about her. I invite you to click the link and read my story.

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All Things Southern – The Cookie

With my impending trip to New York City, I’ve been thinking about how quickly I can sneak out to my favorite cookie shop, Levain Bakery. It is actually one of the first places to which I learned to navigate my way to in the city. It didn’t take me long to learn that I had to simply board the 1 Train and exit at the Columbus stop, and after departing the subway station in to a beautiful park, I head north to 167West 74th Street. Even if I didn’t know the address, I could put my Southern nose into the air and smell my way to the little shop. And, when I say little, I really mean little. I could also just look for the line because it is always out of the door and into the street. You even have to duck to avoid hitting your head as you descend the steps into the little bakery.

Levain Bakery is a tiny little shoppe that sells the best cookies in the world. My favorite cookie is their dark chocolate chocolate chip cookie. That little stinker will fill your hand and the hand of the person standing next to you. Of course, I’m not sharing, I’m just saying. In fact, son-in-law knows not to touch mother-in-law’s cookie. Mother-in-law doesn’t share her cookie with nobody! It has actually become our little joke when we visit. But, if I start with that story, we’ll be here all day and I want to tell you about cookies.

Levain Bakery (here’s the link: http://www.levainbakery.com  ) only makes four different types of cookies; Chocolate Chip Walnut, Oatmeal Raisin, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip, and the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip. They also make a variety of buns, muffins, breads, and rolls. I’m sure that everything they make is good, but I don’t think I’ll ever make it past the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. Most folks come home loaded with souvenirs, me – I come home loaded with cookies.

Out of fairness, Levain Bakery does have two other locations and I would actually prefer you use one of them – only so they don’t run out my cookie before I arrive. Levain Harlem

2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY, 10026 and Levain Hamptons Wainscott, 354 Montauk Hwy, Wainscott Village Shopping Center, Wainscott, NY, 11975. This store is open seasonally.

I was surfing the net one day and found some “Cookie Facts”. Now, just keep in mind, we Southerners like to think we invented everything, and that includes the cookie. So…with that in mind – did you know?:

 Cookie Facts

1) The chocolate chip cookie is the official state cookie of both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. (I need to see if we have a state cookie.)

2) The chocolate chip cookie was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1930 at the Toll House Inn Restaurant in Massachusetts (at that time, Massachusetts was in the South). One of her favorite recipes was for Butter Drop Do cookies. The recipe called for the use of baker’s chocolate and one day Ruth found herself without the needed ingredient. She substituted a semi-sweet chocolate bar cut up into bits. However, unlike the baker’s chocolate the chopped up chocolate bar did not melt completely, the small pieces only softened, thus creating the first known chocolate chip cookie.

3) Americans consume over 2 billion cookies a year, or 300 cookies for each person annually. (That’s less than one a day – I think it should be 365 cookies myself.)

4) The Chocolate Chip is the most popular type of home-baked cookie.

5) Chocolate Chip cookies are Cookie Monster’s favorite. His birthday is November 2nd and his original name was Sid. (Now, this I did not know.)

6) America has designated April 30th as National Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Now that I have given you a little knowledge, let me entice you a bit. These pictures are from the Levain Bakery Site. This time next month, I’ll be eating one of those Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies – I guarantee you!

Chocolate Chip Walnut
Chocolate Chip Walnut
Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip
Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
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Don’t come home a drinkin’…From the Heart Series

         It seems like I’ve been fixated as of late on drinking –as in me starting to drink.

It all began last weekend on the way home from a day at Madewood Plantation, where we attended a crawfish boil hosted by Ameriprise Financial. The Friday evening was spent at a family gathering at a local restaurant in honor on Hubby’s father’s birthday, where maybe half of his family actually acknowledged that I take up space. Then, on Saturday, just as we sat down to enjoy our boiled crawfish, we looked up just in time to see my ex sit down at the next table.

Knowing that on Sunday we were attending a meet and greet of oldest son, Joshua, in-laws-to-be, and we’d also have to deal with Hubby’s ex, I may have mentioned to Hubby I was going to have to start drinking in order to deal with the stress. It was either that or start taking drugs. I thought drinking would taste better.

Then, I really got on a roll. I told him I was going to be a loud, boisterous, happy, drunk. And, as if that weren’t enough, I was going to be a loud, boisterous, happy drunk who told people what she thought of them. By this time, I was absolutely pomaded (French for laughing), so much so that Hubby even started laughing (he doesn’t always laugh at my tirades.) I was so into character that I started a performance of just what a loud, boisterous, happy, drunk (aka me) would do. To try to recreate my antics in writing would be impossible. You’ll just have to use your imagination. It went a little like this:

“Hey! (insert name) You wanta know what I think of you?” (Laughing)

“No.”

“Oh! Sure you do! I’m gonna tell you anyway! (Lots of laughing, loud, boisterous.) …

You sorta had to be there, but believe me, if Hubby was laughing, it must have been funny. I am an introvert so far off the chart that I fell off the chart. I rarely tell people what I’m thinking because I wouldn’t dare want to hurt someone’s feelings. So, that’s why I decided that I would be a loud, slaphappy, boisterous, drunk.

Then, yesterday, as I was adding Vermouth to a pasta dish I was making, I started wondering if I consume enough Vermouth in the guise of “deglazing” to be considered a drunk. Maybe I’ve already started drinking and I haven’t figured it out yet. This dish makes me happy. Ummm.

So…what about you? What is going to drive you to drinking in your life? (You know you can tell me.)

 

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Thursday – Where Truth is the Dare

Question of the Day: Where Truth Is the Dare   [QUES OF THE DAY] [Paperback]

It’s Thursday again – and we all know what that means!

Here is this week’s question.

Truth? or Dare?


What did you finally do that you should have done a lot sooner than you actually did it?


Divorce my first husband. Things might have turned out different for my daughters.



Thank you all for participating.