My Life in Review – last week

I was sitting here trying to remember what I’ve done since last week – haven’t we all had that particular LARGE lapse in memory? And, then, as I am prone to do when working at my dining room table, I looked up and started gazing out the front door. Then, it hit me, at least what I did yesterday.

photo 5Hubby and I spent the bulk of the day outside yesterday working in the yard. It was his birthday and that is one of his favorite things to do – yard work. I know – right? That might (probably, definitely) would NOT be my first choice, but what the hay! Our driveway is lined with crepe myrtles that are sprouting buds, and a few blooms are starting to open, which means they are beginning to droop even lower across the driveway. Driving down the driveway is becoming quite the hazard, especially in our new truck. It’s like getting hit in the head with branches as you drive.

Southern Living posts an article yearly about people like Hubby – only he’s not as bad as he used to be now that the trees are huge – they refer to them as bushwhackers. Yep! That’s what I call them too. He will go out to trim a few wayward branches and the next thing you know, we need the tractor with the trailer to haul all of the branches that have been “trimmed”. That was the kind of day Hubby was having yesterday. He trimmed the twenty or so crepe myrtles down the drive and then went on to the magnolia tree and the red maples, and the pecan trees. Calypso and Ryka were doing their best to stay out from under the fallen branches as they picked shady spots under the very trees he was trimming.

I thought I would get in the action by trimming the azaleas around the front porch. That is a yearly chore we perform after blooming season. The bushes are hardy and grow quickly. Famous last thoughts of mine were something akin to don’t cut the electric cord. I think I managed to trim about four feet before I caught the cord – right after I almost caught my leg. So much for that. Hubby took a break and fixed the cord and after wrapping it in miles of electrical tape, decided it would be safer if I held the cord while he trimmed the azaleas. Smart man!

photo 4 (1) photo 3 (1)You might think that’s the only mishap adventure of the day – sadly (shaking head) it wasn’t. You must admit – I must be married to a Saint in the making. He hooked up the tractor to one of the trailers and was working his way down the drive, stopping to load up the branches when I, otherwise known as “Lucy”, decided to lend a hand. It’s been a while since I’ve driven the tractor and you would think it’s like getting back on a bike – well, maybe for someone else! (Did I tell you that I was banned from driving the tractor after I hit the barn?)

I was making the turn off the drive into the front yard and turned too sharp and came to a grinding halt. What did you expect? Please don’t tell me this surprises you! Do you not follow my blog and adventures? Once again, Hubby to the rescue and after several different attempts (with me giving direction of course) he managed to move the tractor and trailer into a straighter path. This took a little doing because of the deep threads on the tires of the tractor. I never do anything half way. After moving the tractor along, he then filled in the divots left by the tires. He’s so used to my misadventures that he doesn’t even shake his head, although I would bet the house there was some fancy eye-rolling going on under that cap of his.

 

photo 4 photo 3 photo 2 photo 1 photo 2 (1)

 

 

 

 

All Things Southern – Simply put – washing the house

    I know that everyone washes their house, or at the very least hires someone to wash it for them.

    Well, in this Southern household where equality reigns supreme (giggling here), Hubby is the house washer. I had a visit earlier in the day from my very first best friend, who I had not seen in several years, and, after she left, he asked me to help him finish washing the house.

Of course, I said yes with a huge smile on face, but that wasn’t really what I had in mind for an afternoon activity. So, like the good little Southern wife that I claim to be, I went grudgingly out to help.

This is what happened. Hubby did not want me spraying the mixture that he had concocted onto the house…because he wanted it done right.

Hubby did not let me use the scrub brush to make sure all the nooks and crannies were suds properly…because he wanted it done right.

Hubby did not let me rinse the house…because he wanted to make sure that all of the concoction was rinsed off – the right way.

So what was I doing all this time? I was helping, of course! I was sitting on a bench (which I kept moving so I didn’t get wet) watching Hubby wash the house. Pardon me – watching Hubby wash the house “the right way.”

Then, he informed me that he didn’t have to take a bath tonight because he had already been wet, cloroxed, and rinsed. Ummmm

I suppose if I had to guess what my part in “washing the house” was, it was simply to keep Hubby company, at which I excelled.

Has anyone else had this experience?

All Things Southern – Bless her little unfortunate heart

       Yep! That’s about right. My heart is always in the right place; but what I’m doing just seems to get me in trouble.
       It’s the story of my life folks.
       For all you following my stories, you probably remember that about this time last year, I mowed over one of Hubby’s prized fig trees in our little orchard of a back yard. Putting it mildly, he was none too pleased.
       Well, he warned me the other day – now that spring is here and I’m out mowing the yard again – that he replaced the tree. Ummm – news to me. Needless to say, I was standing there with a roller coaster going through my mind wondering if I had already mowed it down. Since he wasn’t jumping up and down and ranting and raving, I assumed that I hadn’t.
       I was out mowing the orchard – back yard – today and noticed this huge picket – actually a tall piece of pvc pipe to be exact. It was marking a very little, teeny-tiny fig tree. That tree would have definitely been history! I’ll be safe as long Ryka and Calypso don’t decide that piece of plastic pvc pipe isn’t their newest toy – or the tree. AND! Get this! Hubby wants to buy me a zero-turn radius mower! Is the man nuts, I ask?! I’m am plenty dangerous enough on a regular lawn mower, I don’t’ need any extra help!
       I’m known for doing good deeds; or maybe I should say that I am known for good deeds gone wrong. It is truly not my fault. I must have had a hell-of-a-good time in a former life, because Karma has definitely got something on me. There is a permanent bite mark on my butt!
       You would think that after being married to me for fourteen years, Hubby would remember that I can not tell which way the wind is blowing – when it comes to knowing which gate to swing open and which to hold open. I inevitably get it the opposite – every single time. He knows this. There-are-just-some-things-I-do-not-get. I just don’t! So…knowing that, why doesn’t he just tell me every time I get out of the car to open the gates, which gate to secure? Hello – how many times must the gate scrape the side of his truck, or him take a gate out with his band wagon or boat trailer, etc. until he gets it? I don’t get it!!!
       Incidentally, he may very well think I do this on purpose.
       Oh, well. There were a few other good deeds gone wrong that I’ve done recently, but on the off chance someone he knows reads my blog, he hasn’t found out about them yet, so I am not going to expound on them. That should keep me safe for a while. They always surface – eventually.
       So – the moral of this little Southern story is: The road to hell is paved with good intentions – usually mine. Bless my little Southern heart!

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?

Related articles

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. 



 

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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All Things Southern – Like Sweet Iced Tea

Sweet Southern Ice Tea


This is for all of you Southern wanna bes. Every Tuesday I will be writing a piece on our Southern culture. Being Southern is all about our traditions. And for me, it all starts with my Gramma’s Sweet Ice Tea. As far back as I can remember, my Gramma always made her Sweet Iced Tea. It was like sipping sunshine on a cloudy day. Here is my version of my Gramma’s tea.


A true Southerner – in my opinion – owns a tea kettle. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but if it whistles, well that is good enough. Fill that kettle with water and set it on the stove to boil. Meanwhile, slice up a couple of Louisiana Sweets and place them in a GLASS pitcher. Do not use plastic. I wouldn’t use a really expensive glass pitcher either. I did this and cracked my favorite crystal pitcher. It’s great to display freshly cut flowers in, but not tea. After the tea is made and slightly cooled, then you may transfer it to a pretty pitcher for serving. Remember, it’s all about presentation too. We Southern Ladies love our “pretty”. 

 

Kettle, 2 Community tea bags, 2 oranges, pitcher (and a clothespin)

 

 

 

Ready for the tea bags and water.

 

Once the water is boiling (the tea kettle whistling), pour the hot water over the oranges and the tea bags. The hot water will draw the sweetness and flavor from the oranges. You may also add a few slices of lemon and sprigs of mint along with the orange slices.

 

I can taste it already!

 

 

Seeping

 Let the tea seep for about ten minutes. Then discard the tea bags and stir in one cup of granulated sugar. Do not, I repeat DO NOT!! use artificial sweeteners. That would be an absolute sin of the worst kind in the South. The whole idea of Sweet Tea darling, is the sweet. After you add the real sugar, then grab a pretty glass (remember – pretty) and fill it with ice and tea. Find yourself a veranda and have a party. Now, that’s what it’s like to be a Southerner!

 

A glass of Sweet Ice Tea? Don’t mind if I do.