Archives for November 2012

A Favorite Wonder Of The World

This past weekend I spent some time working on my Thanksgiving menu and grocery list. There’s a part of me that knows the planning and the list-making should probably feel like a chore, but OH MY WORD I ADORE IT. I mean, it’s fun to plan the menu and all, but making the Thanksgiving grocery list is one of the great joys in my life. I type it and categorize it and arrange it by aisle and basically fall just a hair shy of including charts and footnotes. I even give myself mini-deadlines for certain categories so that I don’t wind up buying two grocery carts of food the week of Thanksgiving.

(I know. The crazy is a lot to take in.)

(Especially that whole “mini-deadlines” thing.)

(But somehow my admittedly CUCKOO GONE CUCKOO INSANE grocery shopping habits keep me calm and easy-breezy during a fairly hectic time of year.)

Anyway, when I was making our menu and trying to think of some easy appetizers that I could basically just assemble and serve while we have family here next week, I remembered one of my all-time favorites. And it occurred to me that I’ve never mentioned it here.

Get ready. Because if you have not tried this particular delicacy, I am about to change your whole life.

Oh. Now listen.

Buy yourself a jar. Pour about half of it over a block of cream cheese. Set out a bowl of Wheat Thins (or whatever cracker you prefer). Then sit back and watch your guests LOSE THEIR DADGUM MINDS over your wondrous appetizer creation.

Seriously. I don’t know what it is, but it’s one of those flavor combinations that works on every single level. It’s sweet and salty and crunchy and creamy and I have to quit talking about it or I’ll have to make some right now and I’M NOT SHARING, EITHER.

So. If you’d like to use this most delicious concoction on a block of cream cheese over the holidays, here’s all the info.

The website: dr-petes.com.

The stores that sell the Dr. Pete’s products: state-by-state store listing.

Now go forth and share cream cheese with praline mustard glaze with all the people you love.

Or, you know, just make a snack for yourself.

There’s nary a morsel of cream cheese-related judgment here.

Playing Catch-Up

All last week I kept thinking, “Well, I should probably write a blog post.” But then I never did. Which is why I’m sitting here on a Sunday afternoon and feeling like I have way too much bloggy ground to cover.

So I think I’ll make a list instead.

Yay, lists!

1) First things first. I got some new pens.

I’m so excited about the pens. I can’t even tell you. They have a structured felt tip, and I’m pretty sure that my life will never, ever be the same. I don’t want to speak too soon, of course, because I know that these things take time, but it’s possible that these pens may even replace my twenty-year obsession with the Sharpie.

2) This past Wednesday morning I was thinking and praying through some stuff, and a song that we used to sing in choir popped in my head. I looked it up on YouTube, and oh my goodness – I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve listened to it in the last few days. WHAT A WORD.

3) The Compassion Bloggers are headed to Peru this week.

You can follow their posts over on the Compassion Bloggers site – and you can follow them on Twitter, too. I can’t wait to read all about it!

4) When we bought this house, it came with an old JennAir cooktop that we vowed and declared to hold on to until it quit working (I am really weird about replacing stuff that still works). The cooktop was the 70s live and in person, with two burners on one side and a grill (complete with fake charcoal) on the other. I only used the grill side once or twice over the last six years, so for better or worse, I have mostly cooked with two burners ever since we’ve lived here. It wasn’t even that big of an adjustment; we just made it work.

But then the big burner decided that it was no longer interested in participating in the cooking fun. Which means I was basically left with the cooktop equivalent of a hotplate.

My new cooktop came in Saturday morning, and after a little research, D decided that he could install it himself. I didn’t bat an eye, mainly because he is detail-oriented and methodical and patient and basically my opposite when it comes to assembling or installing things. He worked all day Saturday, but by last night, I had me a fancy new cooktop. WITH FOUR BURNERS, EVEN.

And this afternoon I made an inaugural pot of taco soup.

Please note that I have not yet finished painting the kitchen cabinets that I started painting way back in the summer. I won’t even bother making my list of excuses. Just know that I’ll definitely finish in the next two weeks because we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house. Nothing like a holiday to put a little fire under your decorative feet.

5) Around 9 o’clock this past Friday night I realized that I was bored. I haven’t felt bored in a really long time, mainly because, well, WRITING A BOOK. But now that the book is finished and I don’t have to think about revisions or edits or anything like that anymore, there’s a little bit more free time around here. Anyway, D fell asleep in his chair pretty early, and the little guy was asleep, and I was absolutely confounded about what to do with my time.

Oh, I know that I could’ve finished painting those kitchen cabinets, but that would’ve been far too productive.

Anyway, I decided to look through some of our DVDs and see if there was anything I wanted to watch. I elected to watch Notting Hill, which is still every bit as good as it was in the late 90s, and then I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which was very entertaining even though I am ancient and fell asleep in the middle of it and had to finish watching it early Saturday morning.

Way to rock it, Mamaw.

6) Speaking of Saturday morning, I had an epiphany about my pillow usage when I was making up our bed.

The epiphany was that my pillow usage is completely out of control.

Seriously. Most of those aren’t even stunt pillows. They’re sleeping pillows. And apparently we like A LOT of sleeping pillow options.

7) I spent some time yesterday trying to plan our Thanksgiving menu. I don’t normally cook a turkey, so I found a Bobby Flay recipe for pork loin that looks really good. The more I think about it, though, the more I wonder if it really goes with our traditional Thanksgiving sides. So – do any of you have a really good recipe for pork loin or pork tenderloin that you’d be willing to share? Thanks in advance for your help.

Have a great week, y’all!

It’s Election Eve…

…and while it has absolutely nothing to do with politics, I cannot stop listening to this song.

That is some goodness right there. I mean, I know that Vince Gill could sing harmony with a billy goat and sound so good that he and the billy goat would both get nominated for some awards, but what I love the most is how easy and laid-back and SWEET, SWEET 70s the whole song is. I’m even crazy about Kelly’s dress, which looks like a 2012 take on something that Donna Fargo would have worn to the CMAs back in 1973.

I have no idea if there were CMA Awards in 1973, much less if Donna Fargo attended. Those were simply hypothetical examples. Please keep in mind that historical accuracy isn’t my strong suit.

Anyway.

My parents and Martha came into town yesterday (Sunday) so that they could go to Grandparents’ Day at the little guy’s school today. I took Mama and Martha to Steinmart(s), and true to their individual preferences, Mama spent the whole time looking at Christmas decorations while Martha spent the whole time looking at jackets. In fact, she had to make sure to get back to my hometown today because tomorrow she’s going to Jackson with her friend Mary Ann to pick up a jacket. She actually found the jacket when she was at a Steinmart somewhere in south Mississippi a few weeks ago, but they didn’t have her size, so the Steinmart people called their stores in Jackson and LO AND BEHOLD one of those stores had a small. And that is why Mary Ann’s daughter went to Steinmart and picked up the jacket and now it’s just waiting for Martha to take it home.

JACKETS.

JACKETS JACKETS JACKETS.

When we were in Steinmart yesterday, Martha found her size in the jacket that she’s picking up tomorrow (are you following this multi-city Steinmart tale? I realize that the details can be a bit confusing), and she tried it on for Mama and me so that we could see how perfectly darlin’ it is. Now that I think about it, she could have just bought it here and saved herself the extra trip to Jackson, but then Mary Ann’s daughter would have to return it, PLUS Martha would miss out on the chance to stop by one or possibly two Steinmart stores in Jackson, and, well, NOT AN OPTION. I mean, they may have gotten in new jackets since Mary Ann’s daughter picked up the other jacket! And you just can’t have too many jackets, you know! Especially around the holidays!

JACKETS JACKETS JACKETS!

We had a great time with everybody here, and it’s always a treat to see A. with his grandpeople. He is almost as tall as Martha now, and HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN? I tried to snap a picture of them together before everybody headed home, but I apparently had the camera set to “extremely blurry.” At least I have a mental image, though. So sweet.

Okay. I’d better wrap up this post. I need to read up on all the constitutional amendments that we’re voting on tomorrow so that all the fancy wording on the ballot doesn’t confuse me. I realize that I don’t write much (or, you know, any) about my political leanings and whatnot, mainly because I don’t think anybody gives a rip, but I will say that I am such a fan of the voting. My parents set such a wonderful, consistent example in that regard, and while I very rarely heard them criticize an elected official, I always saw them voice their opinion through their vote. They taught me to be grateful for the privilege of having a say, and from that perspective I am just as tickled as I can be to participate in election day. I have no idea if I’ll be happy with the outcome of the Presidential race or not, but I do know that I won’t take my vote for granted. Oh no ma’am.

This would be an excellent time for someone to step forward and sing America, the Beautiful. I’ll wave the flag.

Get out there and vote, everybody.

And if you want to make the day extra special, wear a sassy jacket, too.

Seriously.

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time getting ready for trick-or-treaters. I actually took the candy out of the bags and poured all of it into a container (what can I say? I was feeling fancy.), and around 5 o’clock I checked our front stoop to make sure that there were no shoes or garden implements or Nerf swords to get in our visitors’ way. I decided that it would probably be a good idea to turn on the outside lights, especially since little kids sometimes trick-or-treat earlier in the evening, so I stepped back inside, flipped all the switches, and immediately noticed that nothing happened with the lights on either side of our front door. Not even a flicker.

I walked back outside and checked to see if the bulbs were blown, and when I realized they weren’t, I figured I might need to tighten them. We’ve had ish-ahs with our front lights for the last year or so, and we’ve known that we were going to replace them at some point. But since I have apparently turned into a person who is going to sit back and wait for something to BLOW SLAP UP before looking for a replacement, I’ve just been biding my time. I figured that the lights were fine – and since they’re original to the house, I felt a little sentimental and nostalgic about them.

Which, let’s face it, IS WEIRD.

Anyway, I tried to tighten one of the bulbs, but nothing happened, so I moved to the second bulb, and when I tried to tighten it, I heard a loud “POP” behind the light fixture. I thought maybe the bulb had blown, so I walked inside to grab another from the laundry room.

But then I noticed that our foyer looked a little dark.

And the driveway lights weren’t on anymore.

And the lights in the half bath and laundry room weren’t working.

And OH, NO.

Since I like to think that I am very handy (even though I can break just about anything in a fraction of a second, as evidenced by the fact that, well, LIGHTS NOT WORKING), I walked down to the basement and flipped a few switches on the electrical panel. When I couldn’t seem to find a solution to the fact that we were without power on the front side of our house, I quickly implemented plan B, which was to sit down on the couch and catch up on Twitter while I waited for my husband to get home.

Clearly I am very resourceful.

D walked in the door about five minutes later, and he had barely put down his bag before I launched into the issue at hand: “Hey-all-the-lights-in-the-front-of-the-house-blew-out-and-I-can’t-fix-them-even-though-I-went-in-the-basement-and-flipped-some-things-but-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-did-I-mention-that-I-can’t-fix-them?”

“Hi,” he replied. “How are you? Did you have a good day?”

See? That’s how he does me. I try to have a perfectly good freak out about a home improvement something-or-other, and he has the nerve to be calm.

So he walked back outside, took a look at the lights, and quickly uttered seven words I was not expecting to hear: “Um, this light bulb is on fire.”

I present you with Exhibit A.

Well he was not kidding.

And also?

ENOUGH WITH THE HOME REPAIRS.

All I can guess is that our house was built in 1973, and almost 40 years later, it is tired.

Come to think of it, I know exactly how the house feels. I can relate to it on many, many levels.

Anyway, D couldn’t get the lights to come back on, either, so now we’re now adding an electrician to our list of BFFs. Hopefully he’ll get along beautifully with our plumber, our AC guy, and the guy installing our cooktop. I’m thinking of inviting all of them to our Thanksgiving dinner. I hear the cooktop guy makes a mean squash casserole.

I have to say, though, that there have been a couple of things that have made me laugh in the midst of all the house craziness. Here is one of them:

He was George Washington for Halloween. CRACKED ME UP. Plus, I’m grateful that I took this picture mere minutes before the lights went BOOM. It’s a lovely memento of a simpler time when we were unaware of complications with our wiring.

And then, this morning, it was like Ye Olden Days when I was putting Velcro rollers in my hair.

Caroline Ingalls would be so proud, don’t you think?