25 August 2009

No, I haven't changed this to The Birthday Blog, but...

Happy birthday, Auntie Princess!

Auntie Princess is a tough broad kind-hearted woman with a wit as sharp as a meat slicer. She sends some of the funniest tweets you're ever going to hear on twitter, and she's not telling jokes - she's reporting on her life. Remember, we only have 140 characters.
  • BIL cut pictures out of calendars & put then in a 3 ring binder as bday gift for husbo. How did he not think we would just throw them away?

Because she's a princess, she needs a tiara to wear. This one seemed festive enough for a birthday.

Auntie is as unusual as an armadillo purse. If you are interested in the one shown above, visit Auntie's Etsy Vintage Store and snap it up. She specializes in the unusual.

She's as sassy as a pink vintage shoe.
  • 53 is a prime number, so I guess that means tomorrow I'll be in my prime!!

Sparkly and classic as an art deco chocolate pot.

She makes these beautiful cocardes for the adornment of women who have a taste for vintage. I have one that looks similar to this, although my vintage button has some rhinestones. I love it.

So, happy birthday, Auntie. Thanks for making me laugh!

The funniest thing I've "heard" her say this week?
  • I see drunk people.

24 August 2009

Happy birthday, Lydia!

Last week (was it only last week?) Lydia taught a number of us how a blog hop works, and we had fun writing posts about bacon. Now we decided to use what she taught us to celebrate her birthday. We have been sneaking around behind her back all week.

BTW, Lydia also gave me a lot of pointers on making a banner, so I put together the birthday banner using the cute little blue squirrel that Patricia Monkey drew especially for this occasion. Lydia loves blue. And squirrels and all other baby animals (except monkeys) too. (And if a monkey baby really needed her, I'm sure she'd get over her monkey fears for that instant. That's just the kind of girl she is.)

Lydia loves blue. She understands it. I've been shopping online all week for blue things. Here is the cake I found for her. I'm sure it's yummy inside.

Have you ever noticed how something blue in nature really catches your eye? The sky makes the earth more beautiful, and any little piece of blue among the greens of summer satisfies my craving for beauty. I think of Lydia when I notice a flash of this particular shade.

Lydia seems to have the bluebird of happiness riding on her shoulder. Although she can be fierce at injustice, she is just about the sweetest woman I've ever met. She is always busy, and yet she always has time for others.

I found Lydia some socks that combine two of her favorite things: cats and blue. She loves her furkids Maddie and Splotchy, and she even made Maddie famous by designing a rubber stamp and t-shirts depicting her. I know Lydia likes her toes to be free, but since these are virtual socks, she might wear them on a chilly night.

I recently saw a little squirrel sleeping on a branch. I'd never seen that before. I immediately thought of showing it to Lydia because she loves squirrels. I think blue squirrels are a symbol of creativity for her. Anyway, my photo didn't turn out so well. Someone else, however, took this wonderful shot that shows how a squirrel nap looks. As much as she accomplishes, I'm not sure if Lydia sleeps at all.

Lydia's birthday wouldn't be complete if I didn't include a piece of artwork for her.

Happy birthday, Lydia.
The next stop on the hop is a message from Brown-eyed Pea. Click here.

Birthday greetings from Brown-eyed Pea

You've reached the second stop on the UBlue birthday blog hop. If you didn't start at the beginning, you can go back to Angelique's post here.

What Do You Mean You've Never Met Your Best Friends?
Understanding BLUE

Sometimes I think back and wonder how it all happened?  How did we all meet?  Was it that little BLUE bird on Twitter who flew by each of us and guided us to Follow each other?  Whatever, the details are unimportant. 

 What IS important is the Friendship. The Bonding. The Communion of Like Souls. The Support. The Love.  
And that gets back to the query of How You Can Love Someone You've Never Met.

I found a group of Like People. Caring People who understood that fur creatures are just as beloved as flesh. 
~Witty people who make me laugh everyday. 
~Loving people who cheer me up when I'm sad and give me a hug when I need one.
~Creative People who express their creativity in many ways and know that you not only do not have to color within the lines but it is better to color outside them. And also that squirrels most certainly are BLUE!

And on your birthday, Lydia, you who "like to give giffies", have given us the most wonderful gift of all.
You have taught us to UNDERSTAND BLUE.


The next stop on the UBlue birthday blog hop is Leslie at The Crooked Stamper.

18 August 2009

Castles in my life

I've been lucky enough to have lived near two different castles in my life. It might be commonplace to Europeans, but in America we don't have that many castles. I have had more than my share.

In the very early eighties, I lived in the country near Camdenton, Missouri, at the Dead End of Spencer Creek Road on a defunct turkey farm. Our land backed up to a state park that contained Ha Ha Tonka castle, built by a wealthy businessman, burnt, and never lived in.

The castle sits up on a 250-foot cliff and looks out over Lake of the Ozarks. I used to take the Jaybird there often, because he was fascinated with any place where you were likely to see wildlife and plants and human ruins.

Down the road and around a curve was what the locals called "the slab." An enormous tree was uprooted and lay across what used to be the road; on its side, the tree was taller than I stand. The road was broken into six- and eight-foot pieces, and tossed up into a pile. The first time we came upon this place, Jaybird said, "Oh, wow. Something happened here." I have no idea what it was that had happened, but it was wild and beautiful.

Three or four feet of crystal clear water had gathered in the low areas. We could see the pebbles on the bottom and our feet on the pebbles. You could reach right down and touch crawdads and fish. The trees were so tall that they made a greeny yellow canopy above so even a fair-skinned lass like myself wasn't likely to get sunburned. On a hot afternoon, that place was heaven.

The first time I saw the castle here in Lexington, I had taken a wrong turn in the early morning and out of the fog, away in the distance, was a castle just sitting there. I thought it was a mirage.

This castle was also built by some wealthy person who never lived in it. You hear rumors of it changing hands, and it burnt at least once since I've lived here. I love seeing it sitting out there on the side of Versailles Road, but you can't take a decent photo of it because there's no good place to stop on the busy road. I've heard there's a back way but I don't know it. Supposedly someone is busy turning it into a hotel now.

I like a little magic in my life. What's more magical than a castle?

17 August 2009

The small ideas add up

In my family, we place a high value on Big Ideas, but most of the time it's the small ideas that go the farthest. Mama made a cheese slicer out of a piece of thread, and Dad cut gaskets out of a sheet of cork. We made clothes out of bigger clothes.

Sometimes I forget to look for improvements and continue to do something the same old way, even though it's tedious or obnoxious. I need to remember to look for those small ideas that improve your life in little ways and add up to a small pile of happiness.

For example, I need three keys to get into my office. One opens the door to the building, one opens the door to our area, and one opens my office door. For at least a year I kept the keys on my keyring in an order other than the one in which I used them. Every morning and every evening I would grumble and try one, two, sometimes three keys for every lock I encountered.

I did this for at least a year, fumbling through three nearly identical keys for every lock.

Then one day I had that small idea. I switched the order of the keys to reflect the order in which I would use them. My frustration level plummeted. Such a little thing to make such a big difference.

I also used to have cell phone anxiety. I'd worry all the time: will my battery run out today, will I forget to bring my charger to work, will I leave my charger at work when I need to use my phone at home? I worried more when I decided to give up my land line and use only my cell phone.

Finally one day while I was buying batteries at the Mart of Wal, I saw a phone charger exactly like mine for $15. My gosh, I've been torturing myself foolishly when all I had to do was have one charger at work and one at home! I thought. I bought it and took it to my office. I've probably saved an hour a week not having to obsess about the level of the juice in my phone.

So next time I find myself stressing over some minor irritation, I'm going to look for the small idea that will fix it.

I'll keep you posted.

16 August 2009

Twitter Bacon Blog Hop

Welcome to the first annual Twitter Bacon Blog Hop.

With apologies to my vegetarian friends, I love bacon. I have never been without bacon - sweet and salty, crisp and smokey. I was raised on bacon, and I have also raised bacon.

I would eat these donuts in a minute. You know how the yummy goodness of bacon flares up into culinary delight when paired with a sweet flavor like maple. That's the magic of bacon: it enhances and expands. Like a good partner, bacon makes anything more than it is by itself.

In my family, bacon was a cost-saving measure. Mom could serve a big pan of fresh green beans and new potatoes or soup beans with little slivers of carrot and onion and flavor a whole dish with six slices of bacon. Throw in a skillet of cornbread, and you have a meal.

In my childhood, bacon nearly always came with breakfast, my favorite meal. Mom believed in sending us off to walk the six blocks to school with a hot meal in our bellies: eggs and bacon, waffles and bacon, biscuits and bacon, bacon gravy over toast with little slices of boiled egg. You can taste it, can't you? Waking up to that sizzly smell made me feel as though we were rich, although later I learned that we were not quite poor.

When my mom and my aunts were feeling festive, bacon was always served up as an offering to the gods. Bacon was an appetizer, a garnish, a salad topping, the best part of the baked beans, the "B" in the BLT, a pan-liner for grandma's meatloaf. Party food. We cared nothing for calories or the glycemic index. We liked bacon: wrapped around chicken livers, skewered on kabobs, crumbled on a cheese log, one of the layers in the seven-layer salad, sprinkled on top of the melted Velveeta dip. My mouth is starting to water just thinking of it. Is yours?

As the women in my family grow older, they develop figures that look disturbingly like sparrows or robins, a heavy torso that absorbs the waist and consigns us to a life of fashion separates. Why? Because we love bacon! We make no apologies. I'll even eat that little piece of fatty pork they stick in the pork and beans. Every one of us pours bacon grease into a container and keeps it on the back of the stove until a recipe "calls for it."

I call for it. Bring me bacon! Not turkey bacon.

One more thing.

Dear Red the pig,

When we were feeding you all that good slop and buckets of corn and pig chow and scratching your back with a cob and riding you around the barn, we truly did not know that later that year we would eat you. But even when we found out, we couldn't help ourselves. The universe is a weird place. Thank you for the bacon.


Following is an easy quick recipe you can use to make a tray of what my dad always called horse doovers:

Bacon Scallop Roll-ups

Make as many as you want. People like to eat them.

For each appetizer, place a scallop on a water chestnut and wrap in a half a slice of thin bacon. Secure with a cocktail pick. Place on a metal pan about an inch apart. Bake at about 400 degrees (F) until the bacon is crisp. Place on paper to drain. Serve immediately. Smile as your guests make umm ummmmmmmm sounds and look heavenward.

Click here to visit Sarah's blog, the next post in the first annual Twitter Bacon Blog Hop. If you didn't start at the beginning of the hop, you can go back to Leslie's blog here so you don't miss one moment of bacony goodness.

Thanks to Lydia for getting me out of my blog funk. I'll be back tomorrow.