Thursday, November 30, 2006


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Walk With Me Wednesday

Some of the knitting blogs I read participate in a weekly photo sharing meme called Walk With Me Wednesday. The object is to go on a walk on Wednesday and post photos of things you see on your walk. Though I most likely won't participate every Wednesday, I thought it would be nice to share with you some Walk With Me posts.

This is the Lost Bluff Hiking trail out at Grenada Lake.

Deer tracks are a common sight, no matter where I walk. These were taken in between the cotton fields down the street from where I live.

OK, now I confess I didn't take those pictures today. I didn't go for a walk today, but I have such a backlog of photos from when I was walking last spring and summer that I won't lack for images to post.

But what did I do today? This:

Yes that is what you think it is--chocolate fudge. I made two batches. One I cut up right away, and the other I will vacuum seal for later on.

And I finished this scarf:

Well, actually, the scarf had been finished long time ago, but I hadn't ever attached the fringe. I don't like doing fringe, so I put it off for a long time. I finally just made myself sit down and do it. Now that it is done, I'm glad it's over with. This was a stash buster scarf made from leftover yarn. I don't have an intended recipient for it just yet. Maybe I'll send it to the Red Scarf Project.

One last thing before you go. If you've a mind to, go help this poor graduate student out with his experiment.

Monday, November 27, 2006

No More Fish

We had a minor tragedy here this morning. I used to keep fish--lots of fish. When I started getting interested in reptiles again, I decided that I would get out of the fish keeping business. As each fish died, I simply wouldn't replace it and once a tank was empty, it could be converted to a herpetarium. That's what I did, and for the last year or so, I've only had 5 little corydoras left in a 10 gallon tank. These are like the immortal fish. I don't think they'll ever die. They've got to be at least 8 years old.

This morning, I discovered that their tank had developed a slow leak. Not wishing to spend the money for a new tank since I wouldn't be keeping fish any more anyway, I gave them to Mike. Actually, I talked to Dennise and asked her if she thought Mike would want them. "Yeah," she replied, "he probably would. He's such a fish-a-holic." So I bagged the little buggers up and took them down there to him. They are now happily swimming in a new tank, and I have more counter space in my kitchen.

I joined a new Knit-A-Long yesterday evening. I love doing dish/washcloths, and so this one seemed just perfect:

This one is a true KAL in that you are sent a few lines of a pattern each day for about a week, and when you are done, you have a beautiful and functional dishcloth. They do two patterns a month, and when they are finished, they post the pattern in its entirety. Since I was way behind for the month, I whipped this one out last night while watching Indianapolis run all over Philadelphia.

It's a poinsettia, if you can't tell from the picture. I had a devil of a time getting a picture that would show the details of this cloth. This one isn't that great, but it is actually the best one I got.

The second pattern for the month is a textured or patterned one. This will be great for using up my cotton stash, which I don't have much of anyway. Well, except for those two cones I bought on clearance...

I finally cashed my birthday checks (my birthday was two weeks ago) and this is what I bought:

It is a vacuum sealer. The first thing I did was to reseal some of the snakes' mice so they would stay fresher longer. This'll be really handy to have around. I'm off to find some more stuff to seal up.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's Beginning

to look a lot like Christmas, at least at B and J's house. We all went over this afternoon and helped them with their tree. J got the lights out and checked them, then put them on the tree.

Cody was supposed to be helping him, after all we told him that doing the lights was a man's job. I don't know where that came from because when I was growing up, my mother always did the lights. After J put the first ornament on the tree--a family tradition in their house, the kids dived in.

This is Brittani, Shelbi, and Cody putting on decorations while B unwraps them.

When Brittani discovered that she couldn't quite reach the top of the tree,

she came up with a rather unique solution. "She's a monkey," said her mother.

Meanwhile, Mike helped in his own way,

and even Katie was invited join in the festivities. J let her in, which was a shock to me.

Annie was sure to keep a close eye on her.

Finally, it was all done.

Dennise mentioned that they had bought a pre-lit tree last year as well. When they got theirs out to put it up this year, half of their lights weren't working either. They just bought lights to put on theirs. Probably what I should have done, because next year, half the lights on my replacement tree probably won't work.

I found out this morning that my co-worker's wife did pass away over the weekend. Her funeral was this afternoon. Keep this family in your thoughts and prayers.



Saturday, November 25, 2006

Skies and Snowflakes

Happy Birthday, Katie! She is 11 years old.

We usually spend the weekend after Thanksgiving putting up our Christmas decorations. It's a little different this year. I bought one of those pre-lit trees last year, and when I got it out yesterday to put it up, I noticed that about half of the lights weren't working. I checked all the bulbs to make sure they weren't loose, checked the fuses, and the wires at the base of each bulb to make sure it was making the connection. When none of that worked, I called the customer service line to see if they had any additional suggestions. They couldn't suggest anything I hadn't already tried, so now they are sending me a new tree.

Our tree is not up, but we did put out some of our other decorations. It was fun doing that in the new house. In our old house, we had put everything in the same place for so long, and this year, we had to figure out where we wanted to put things. Cody actually did most of the decorating, including coming up with this arrangement:

Yesterday I didn't post anything but a picture because I was really tired. I had an appointment for an upper GI yesterday morning, and I couldn't eat or drink anything after midnight. Now, I don't normally spend the wee hours of the morning eating and drinking, but somehow knowing that I couldn't drink anything made me so thirsty. I kept waking up during the night thirsty, even coughing because my throat was so dry. Consequentially, I didn't sleep well and spent the rest of the day in a brain fog. However, you will be pleased to know that my tests showed no abnormalities in my upper digestive system.

While I was waiting for my appointment, I saw one of my co-workers up there. He told me he'd been there all week. His wife has cancer, and apparently she's not doing well at all. Dennis told me he thought she was dying, and that she'd be better off if she did. That must be so hard, to watch someone you love suffer so much that you come to that conclusion. I've never met the wife, but Dennis is such a nice guy. I can't help but feel for him.

And now for some good news. I washed and dried the scarf I made yesterday out of the Red Heart Strata, and it is much softer now. It is not quite long enough for my taste in scarves, but I think my sister in law will like it. Next time, I'll use about a skein and a half and maybe make a hat out of the remainder.

Today I started the Irish Hiking Scarf from Hello Yarns. I'm using some old Sayelle acrylic yarn in Bluebell. I'm pretty sure this yarn has been discontinued, since it came from the bunches of yarn my mother sent me when she cleaned out her stash. This may have been my grandma's yarn, since my mother had gotten all of her yarn when she passed on.

I absolutely adore this pattern, but then I like anything with cables in it. I was disappointed, though, that I couldn't find a good game on to watch while I knitted it. I wanted to watch the Egg Bowl, which is what they call the annual Ole Miss-Miss State game, but it wasn't on. Well, it wasn't on a channel I get anyway. Ole Miss won that one 20-17. I was kind of surprised, because Ole Miss hasn't really had a football team since Eli Manning graduated. For the last couple of years, State has had the better team. Nevertheless, Ole Miss pulled this one out by the skin of their teeth. I ended up watching Tennessee play Kentucky. That was a pretty good game, but it just isn't as exciting when you don't have a dog in the fight.

Now for today's Saturday Sky:

It was a beautiful, cloudless blue, and got so warm that at one point, I turned my air conditioning back on. I think this is the last little bit of fall color we are going to get this year.

Moving on to winter...

Need a Snow Day?

Remember making paper snowflakes? Since it seldom snowed in Southeast Texas where I grew up, I used to make bunches of paper snowflakes and tape them up all over the house. Now you can to it online here. I could spend way too much time on this site. Plus, until the end of the year, they are having their flake-a-thon. That means for each increment of snowflakes made, the owners of the site will donate to the Salvation Army. There is a scale on there. Just mouse over the Flake-A-Thon banner and it will pop up. Now, I'm off to make more flakes. It's fun. You should try it.

I'll warn you, though. It's definitely addictive...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day

You know, I'm a grown woman, and not given to displays of emotion anyway. So why is it that every year when Santa enters Harald Square I still cry? Yes, we do watch the parade. It is one of the highlights of the day. And yes, I really do tear up when Santa makes his appearance. Every year. I am so embarrassed...

And so another Thanksgiving day passes into history. This year had a bit of a somber tone to the day. One of B's best friends lost her husband in an automobile accident Tuesday evening. The visitation was today, and the funeral will be tomorrow. Though we had plenty to be thankful for, Karen was never far from our thoughts. Nor were her two step sons, Joey and Benjy who had already lost their mother several years ago and are now faced with losing their father. Both boys are in their 20's.

Our family dinner was small, with just the four of us. M, D, and the girls spent the day with D's parents. They were going to come over later in the day, but what with Tom's visitation, I don't know if they did.

On the menu: smoked turkey, dressing, broccoli salad, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole, corn, strawberry jello salad, and cranberry sauce.

J carved the turkey, while Cody helped set the table.

And we all enjoyed dinner. For dessert, we had sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and mincemeat pie.

This is what Cody looked like after eating all that food:

and I have to admit, I felt about that way myself.
After dinner, of course there was football and knitting. I only found two games on, but the movie Babe was on, and Cody had never seen it, so we watched that during the Miami-Detroit game. After that, we watched Dallas beat Tampa Bay. It's always a good day when Dallas wins.

While relaxing in front of the TV, I finished Aunt Bonnie's Prayer shawl. This was made with a skein and a half of Red Heart Classic in light mint. It's pretty big, and surprisingly soft. I feel like I should make another one for Karen, though I didn't really know her all that well. I feel like this may be my ministry. Two years ago, a family in my church lost their 17 year old son in a car wreck. I made my very first prayer shawl for Doris. Later on, she told me that of all the expressions of sympathy, all the food given, all the flowers, and prayers offered, that shawl meant more to her than anything else. Flowers die, food gets eaten (or spoiled), visits eventually stop , but a prayer shawl can comfort someone forever.

And I actually got another Lonesome Skein project done.

This scarf was a skein of Red Heart Strata self patterning yarn. I don't remember the name of the colorway, and I've long since discarded the ball band. I bought it because I wanted to see how it knitted up, but I was very disappointed in the texture of the yarn. It is very stiff and coarse. I hope it will soften up a bit when I wash it, but I don't hold much hope of that happening. Still, it's pretty and I have a couple more skeins of that type of yarn in different colorways. Next time I think I'll use bigger needles. That way the knitting will be looser and may feel a bit softer.

A couple of things I've been forgetting to mention. First off, Cody made first chair in first band. First band gets to play slightly harder music than second band. I'm very proud of my little musician.

The doctor's office called yesterday and all the tests they did on me Monday came back ok. My sugar was ok, but my cholesterol was a bit high. I expected that because I forgot that I wasn't supposed to eat. I have to go for an upper GI in the morning, so I'm off to bed now.

Wishing all my readers a very happy Thanksgiving, and even more to be thankful about next year.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Guess Who?

Guess who finally showed up today? That's right. The washing machine repairman. After waiting over a month, it took him about two minutes to fix my machine. It wasn't but a wire that had come loose from the starter switch. I could have told them that. Actually, I probably could have fixed it myself, but I figured that if I tried to work on it I would have voided the warranty.

Funny thing, the guy said he'd have been here long time ago except that they'd been trying and trying to call me and I wouldn't answer the phone. I'm afraid I had to throw the BS flag on that one. I checked my caller ID on both phones, and his number wasn't on either. Then he said they'd been trying to such and such number, which was my cell phone, because they didn't have my home phone number. Again, I had to throw down the BS flag. When I called them way back in October, the girl who answered told me that he'd been trying to call. At that point, I gave them my home phone number, since I can't get cell reception at work. I was thinking they could leave a message if I wasn't home. So they had my home and cell numbers. No excuse there. At least not one I'm buying.

The guy apologized for the confusion, and told me that the one I'd talked to before was his son-in-law Matt. The one who came today owned the business, and Matt had been trying to help him out with it some. From the tone of his voice and the look on his face, I gather he is none too pleased with Matt's help.

No matter, I finally have a working washer again, and put it to use washing Cody's sheets--the only thing left that was dirty, since I'd washed this morning at B and J's house.

After they left, I put together my Sweet Potato Delight, but I won't bake it until in the morning. With the leftover potatoes, I made a sweet potato pie. MMMMM....

Some of you may be wondering why I don't post the recipe of what I made that day. Well, the simple truth is, when I decided to post daily recipes this week, I got my cookbooks out and typed them all in the same day. I just saved each post as a draft, and am publishing it on the appropriate day. So, the posts don't always coincide with what I cooked that day. But no matter. They're there, and that's what counts.

That being said, now for the recipe of the day:

What would Thanksgiving be without pumpkin pie? I usually use the recipe from the back of the Pumpkin can.

Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz) LIBBY'S 100% pure pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

1 unbaked 9 inch deep dish pie shell

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake in a preheated 425' F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350'F; bake 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Since this always makes more filling than the pie crust will hold, I put the rest in custard cups and bake them like a custard. It usually fills up two cups, and they are a big treat around our house.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving everyone, filled with food, football, friends and family. Love to all of you!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Little Chef

Our mission today was to make a pumpkin pie. Cody asked if he could help, and I told him to go for it.

So with minimal supervision and a bit of instruction, my little chef made his first pumpkin pie.

Cody isn't much for cooking, but he does like to bake. He was mighty proud of this pie. Looks good, doesn't it?

Buck paid me the nicest compliment on his blog today. He said,

I strongly suspect Becky is one of those women near and dear to my heart: a Southern cook...and most likely a great Southern cook, from the look of things.

Aww, thanks, Buck. Not to sound braggadocious, but I do a fairly decent job of following a recipe. I've even been known to make up stuff from time to time. I sometimes season meat with the "sniff and dump" method. That is where I take the spices off my shelf, sniff them, and if I think the smell like what I want, I dump some on the meat. (Long years ago, when B was out of town, J came over to my house and asked what I was fixing for lunch. I was making Manwiches, and he started dumping spices and stuff into the meat. It ended up being the awfullest tasting stuff I ever put into my mouth. It was so bad, the dog wouldn't even eat it. J ate a whole plate and didn't complain, but neither did he ask for seconds. He's never helped me cook since.)

Funny thing is, my mother was not a good cook. She cooked everything...well...well done. Hamburgers like hockey pucks. Cookies that had to be soaked in milk to make them soft enough to eat. Roast beef like boot leather. Moreover, she did not want me to help her cook. Not only could I not help, I was not even allowed in the kitchen while she was cooking. She always said it was more work to try to get me to do anything right than to just do it herself. As a result, I didn't learn to cook until I was grown.

I remember having a conversation with my Mammaw when I was about 12. She was appalled that I didn't know how to cook yet. She informed me that her daughters could cook entire meals by that age. What could I tell her?

So I didn't learn to cook until I was grown. I sort of taught myself out of necessity, but I just seem to have a knack for it.

I'm a good cook, like football, and hate to shop--especially for clothes. Who'da thunk I'd still be single after all that?

As you may remember, yesterday I made my first pecan pies. This is the recipe I used. It was printed in the Dear Abby column of the local newspaper some 10 years ago. I've kept it all these years, and finally got around to making it:

Abby's Famous Pecan Pie

9 inch unbaked pie shell
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup pecan halves

Heat oven to 350'.

In a large bowl, combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, salt, and vanilla; mix well. Pour filling into pie crusts sprinkle with pecan halves. Bake at 350' for 45-50 minutes or until center is set.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Checkup Time

No, not for the trees. For me. At the doctor. It was time for my annual physical.

It was actually past time, since I usually do them in April or May. I'd put it off over and over again this year. Life just seemed too busy. I'm mostly healthy. My blood pressure is good, despite everyone on my father's side of the family having high blood pressure. They'll get the results of my other blood work in a few days.

My dad wanted to protect us when we were younger. He didn't want to be a burden to us, but at times like this, I really wish he'd told us about some of his physical problems, especially the kind that tend to run in families. Like diabetes. I know at one time he was told he was borderline diabetic. The last few years of his life, he ate foods formulated for diabetics. He never took insulin, but some diabetes can be controlled by diet. I just wish I knew. My doctor and I are keeping an eye on my sugar, just to be on the safe side, but I wish I knew.

We discussed my suspected allergy to eggs, and I asked the doctor if it was really necessary to get me tested. He said there wasn't because there isn't any shots or anything to treat that. I explained that my concerns were not so much about eating them, but thinking ahead to the future when I would want to take the flu shot. How would it affect me then, and what my options would be. He asked if I'd ever had flu shots before and how I reacted to them. I replied that yes, I'd had to have them while I was in the Navy and got so sick from them. Of course, the corpsmen would always ask if I was allergic to eggs, and I always replied no because I hadn't made that connection yet. I thought I was just getting the flu from the shot, since my symptoms mimic flu symptoms. I can be a bit slow on the uptake sometimes. I also mentioned that I got kind of sick the last time I took aspirin, and he decided to refer me to an allergist. He said aspirin allergies can be a big deal. I guess that's because so many other medications are chemically similar to aspirin. That could also why the ibuprofen I was taking was making my chest and stomach hurt. Anyway, he said I can discuss my concerns with the allergist and decide then whether I really need to be tested, and also what my options on future immunizations are, etc. etc.

After my physical, I decided to get my oil changed since I was already in town. I spent more time doing that than I did at the doctor. Almost three hours I waited...That sort of threw my schedule for the day waaaay off. I did get two pecan pies made. The first one turned out a little dark, so I made another one. It looked a lot better, so we'll save it for Thanksgiving and eat the other one.

While I was dusting my Fall/Thanksgiving decorations, I noticed that Cody had added his unique touch to this fake pumpkin.

Well, the colors match perfectly, so I left it there.

Strawberry Jello Salad
1 box strawberry Jello
1 cup hot water
1 box frozen strawberries
3 bananas, sliced
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
8 oz sour cream
Prepare Jello according to box directions. Let jell slightly. Add strawberries, bananas, and pineapple to jello. Put half the jello into a serving dish. Smooth sour cream over jello and pour remaining jello over sour cream. Chill. I usually double this and it still doesn't last very long.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Dallas Cowboys

hand Peyton Manning and his Indianapolis Colts their first loss of the season. This was a big game around here because, while I am a die hard Cowboy fan, I do like Peyton Manning, too.

Truth be told, I expected the Colts to run all over the Cowboys, but Dallas pulled it out 21-14. The thing is, yesterday when we bought the stockings, I didn't know they were playing each other today.

Cody presented quite a picture yesterday in Wal-mart. He had on a Mississippi State t-shirt and an LSU hat, and was carrying around a Colts stocking and a Cowboys stocking. One of the employees told Cody he needed a new outfit. He said that MS State lost to Arkansas, and LSU was going to lose to Ole Miss later that day. (They didn't, by the way). When we showed him the stockings, he said that the Colts stocking was ok, but I could keep the Dallas one. I told him that I would keep it, thank you very much. I wonder what that man is thinking now.

Some of you may think we are getting a bit carried away, but in our house, even Katie likes football:

In knitting news, I got my sister's scarf blocked and unpinned without any further input from the dog with muddy feet.

This is the staggered fern lace panel from 365 Knitting Stitches a Year Perpetual Calendar with a garter stitch border. What makes this scarf special to me is that I designed (sort of) and started it last summer while Carole was here for my black belt test.

And finally, I bring you the recipe of the day:

Broccoli Casserole
1 cup uncooked rice
1 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 pkg frozen chopped broccoli (thawed)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz Cheez Whiz
Cook rice and set aside. Saute onions and celery in butter. In a casserole dish, mix all ingredients together and cook at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Golly What A Day

I'd actually planned on taking things a bit easy today, but I ended up busier than ever! I won't bore you with the details of lugging four loads of laundry over to B's , or of copying my band night tape onto 5 DVDs so B can take them to Texas only to discover that she'd left early this morning...

No, I'll start when the excitement did--when J came home from hunting with this goodly sized buck. Yes it is a spike (and yes they are legal in MS), but it was a big buck none the less.

J and his younger son M cleaned it,

And Cody gave me this look when I suggested he help.

Today's was a beautiful, cloudless blue. This is what it looked like from B and J's house:

After all that, I came inside and blocked this scarf, which will be my sister's Christmas present.

I nearlykilled lost my dog over this one. I washed the scarf and started pinning it out to dry in the snake/computer room, using about a gazillion pins. I was about 3/4 done when the dog walked in and put two huge muddy footprints right in the middle of said scarf. After a few choice words I'll not repeat here, I unpinned the gazillion pins, rewashed the scarf, and started pinning again. This time, I shut the door despite the supplemental heat for the snakes making the room uncomfortably warm with the door closed.

About the time I got finished, Cody requested that we go shopping in the next town up the highway. Since we needed to get him a long sleeve white t shirt for band anyway and I can't find one in Grenada, we went.

The first place we went to is Wal-mart. Since Batesville is a bigger town than Grenada, they often have things we don't get down here, and well, our Christmas stockings were getting a bit bedraggled anyway...

Baltimore...uh Indianapolis Colts for Cody,

and Dallas Cowboys for me. I'm a die hard Dallas Cowboy fan. Not the Cowboys of today, mind you, but the old Cowboys. The Tom Landry Cowboys. The Cowboys of Roger Staubach and Drew Pearson. The Doomsday Defense Cowboys of Harvey Martin, Randy White, and Ed "Too Tall" Jones. The Cowboys of Back in the Day...
Speaking of back in the day, there was a girl at work yesterday who had a t-shirt on. It said "Back in the Day" and had a picture of Pac-man on it. I had to laugh. I could have a Back in the Day t-shirt with Pong on it. Buck could have one with an abacus on it.
Finally, I finished off the evening making a batch of these cookies:

I just love those cookie stamps. I'd always gotten so frustrated with regular cookie cutters because they never acted like I wanted them to. But these stamps are soooo easy, and turn out just right every time.
For your recipe of the day, this is the recipe I use with my stamped cookies:
Butter Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes with an electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour, one cup at a time, until well blended. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and stamp. Bake at 350' for 8-10 minutes.
These are not really sweet cookies. They're more like a tea cake, but are one of our holiday favorites.


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