Wait? It’s Wednesday?

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Gentle Reader,

So the title should give you some indicia of just how riveting it has been around here.  We’ve got the late January doldrums happening, my “read more, watch less” determination, and then I’ve decided to do a “No Spend February”, which all converge into not a lot in the Blog Interest Scale.

But I do think I’m going to do a “No Spend February”.  Cash flow is unpredictable right now, and I have a lovely apartment full of books, a television, food, and great equipment with which to prepare said food.  Tonight’s dinner?  Papa John’s cheese breadsticks.  Waste.  OH!  And I am blessed with friends to share all of this with.  (Seriously, I only ate half the cheese sticks.  Come on over.)  I’m beginning to wake up to the fact that despite unpredictable cash flow, simply by having a safe roof over my head and reliable transportation, I am so far ahead of at least half of this world’s population.

And when I say “unpredictable cash flow”, that’s not entirely accurate.  It’s very predictable.  Not.  Much.  So I think that the no spending will be healthy both for my wallet and for my soul.

I think I am going to allow myself $50.00 for the month for milk and eggs and the prescription drugs and the fresh fruit type things.  (Listen, I have enough bacon in my freezer to cook up every single vegetable I have right now, but even I know that would be a seriously BAD CHOICE.)  And obviously I will pay my  “have to” obligations/transportation costs (because losing the little blip of income right now would be a Very Bad Thing, indeed).  And I am making two exceptions.  1-A preplanned trip to see family and 2-A preplanned shower I am hosting later in the month.  But I’m going to do those on the cheap, too.  (Listen, I’m half Southern, I have the VAST majority of the things I need for a shower already.)  (Three Deviled Egg plates.)

Anyway, since the Food Stamp Challenge didn’t happen back in October (I never saw anything come out about it–no budget or blogger link-up or anything) I think this is HIGHLY in order and overdue.  I realize this isn’t going to save the world or anything and my doing this doesn’t mean that I am in any way less the typical American, but I hope it will help me count my blessings, appreciate that which I have, not that which I covet, and celebrate things in my heart and in my soul.  (Celebration #1 will hopefully be coming home soon!)  (Seriously, backflips, people.  I started praying for this little girl, this family, back in graduate school.  And I am now almost 3 years out of grad school.)  (Go read her-she’s HILARIOUS, and I’m pretty sure she has some sort of intel file on me because I just think the world of her even though we’ve never actually met in real life.  Feel free to drop her a line and let her know that while I am truly nutters, it’s only in the very best way.)

But please don’t think that I am under any impression that just by making this barely-registering-as-a-sacrifice, I am in any way a better person or a more pious person or anything.  I’m not even going to get in anybody’s face to do it with me.  I’m doing this because I need to work on me.

Plus, 28 whole blog posts ALREADY PLANNED for me!  Woo hoo!  I know, you’re thrilled.



PS-It’s more interesting with a picture, right?Image

The administrative support team here.

Literary Lundi, The Rambling Edition

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Gentle Reader,

I couldn’t think of any other alliteration.  But it’s going somewhere, trust me.  (Lundi=Monday in French.)

So today I was reading about some kind of psychological trick to help people diet.  It involves photographing everything you eat and putting it on Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter.  (What did we do before we had to spend every second of our lives updating other people about what we were doing from behind a computer screen?)

The thinking behind this idea is that it’s like a modern-day food journal with the added element of public shame.  It keeps you accountable.  (I really think that this just serves to legitimize the “photographing your food” trend.)

I can think of NOTHING that would horrify me more, nor bore you more completely.  (Summary-I like buttermilk, there is almost nothing that can’t be improved with the addition of capers, and I try to incorporate legumes into as much as I can because they pair so well with bacon and other pork products.  Done.)

BUT-I do need to eat better, and there are other things about which I need to be accountable.  One of the things that I’ve been working on meaning to work on is less television and more books.  The hives, they are already large.  And I need to get some kind of structure on this here blog before it devolves TOTALLY into a ramble-fest.  And I feel that non-food discussion might be more entertaining.  So Monday shall be devoted to talking about what I have read in the last week.  (Full disclosure: this idea came from a new friend I made this year who is AWESOME, like my cousin who introduced us…Maybe she’ll teach me how to put cover art in here and links like in her “what I’ve been reading” posts.  Or maybe she’ll keep gestating the Looker-In-Cooker and making the World’s Most Awesome Cakes.)  (Seriously, this is one good-lookin’ family.  Shout out to my newly-fringed homegirl, Ava!  Keep it bold, dear.  Auntie Wordie loves it.)

So, on with the recap:

The light:

Catalog Living and Magazine Living.  These MAKE MY DAY.  I do believe I want my very own chair made out of deer antlers and a fuzzy pillow.  Nothing warms a room like repurposed antlers.

The REALLY light:

“Jeneration X”.  Her blog is also linked out to the side (well, it will be after I finish this).  I snort, I howl, I can never read Ms. Lancaster in front of any man, because it would totally spoil my feminine mystique.  And we would totally be BFFs, and she should seriously move down to Texas because: 1-we’re a red state and 2-we believe in monograms.  She’d fit right in.

The Agatha:

Almost done with “The Secret Adversary”.

The Crime Novel:

“Scarpetta”-I thought I was done with Ms. Cornwell, because for awhile her books took a turn into rambling and not very interesting.  (Hello kettle, I’m the pot.  You’re black.)  But I picked her back up, and she’s returning to her old, entertaining formula.

The Self-Improvement:

“Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes.  It totally counts because I’ve read the first page like, seven times.

The Non-Fiction:

“The Wit and Wisdom of Patrick Baude”–Santa gave me this one.  It was the first time I had seen Professor Baude’s picture since graduation, and it makes me simultaneously sad and happy to see his picture and hear his thoughts once more.  I am really, REALLY, only reading this one page at a time because I don’t want it to be done.  The world misses you, Sir.

And, of course, I’m still slogging through “Peter the Great” by Massie.  Headsup, at 928 pages, this one is going to be on the list for awhile…but it’s truly awesome.  As evidenced by the fact that I’m talking about it instead of bacon or Labradors.

And now, a first world problem:  The Kindle.  LURVE.  But I have a giant backlog of books in paper format.  And I’ve taken a look at the Kindle store for them, and most of them are not on the “99 cent special”, so it doesn’t make sense to sell them and download them to my Kindle.  So I’m torn.  I enjoy using my new technology (with some notable exceptions-my books about wine (“The World Atlas of Wine” loses something, I think, on a Kindle screen, as does the Baude book.), the books I use for my work, reference books, things like this) but in order for me to be able to use my new toy to read the latest Preston and Child thriller, I need to clear out my backlog of their other books.  So every night, a fierce battle wages-lights on for paper book reading, lights off to enjoy the precious the Kindle.  Do any of y’all have a “paper versus e-ink” decision making process?  I’d love to hear it.

At any rate-obviously, my troubles are many.  😉

Next Monday, we’ll recap what I finished, what I started, and what I’m still reading…Let’s make it a great week, lambs!



Confessions of A B-String Labrador Person

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Gentle Reader,

While I was at work today, I got this:



In a text message.

Apparently, my dog, bred to leap joyfully into freezing-cold water after a falling duck, to retrieve ANYTHING, ad infinitum, to assist those with sensory differences (they LITERALLY SEE FOR SOME PEOPLE), was so soundly asleep this morning (on the sofa, naturally) and snoring so loudly that Mama had to shake him awake in order to be able to hear her conference call.

Disturbing others, FOUR STATES AWAY.  That’s my boy.  Trained him, loved him, fed him (a lot), snuggled him.  It’s nice to know my efforts weren’t for naught.



PS-The Mighty Hunter also managed to be outsmarted this morning by a baby bluebird that flew into the window.  Proud day, my friends.  Proud day.

On My Mind Grapes

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Gentle Reader,

A little bit more serious today.  This article prompted some discussion between a colleague and myself.

Without getting into the guilt/innocence debate (because it’s moot at this point), this boy deserved better from us.  Not just the people who Do What I Do, but “us” as a people.

My colleague pointed out that this child was executed ten short days after the beginning of the most celebrated liberation campaign in all of modern history.  An operation to bring liberty to a continent long-deprived of it.  If you haven’t read it, Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer stills me.

Meanwhile back here.

That got me thinking about my Papa Jack and my trip over to Normandy to see the beach where he landed along with thousands of other very scared, very brave boys.  Some not much older than the boy in the article.  To help liberate “a suffering humanity”.

I went back there a few summers ago, and on that very beach, I found this:



And this:



And then, to get an idea of his point of view on that day, this:



Children, parents, people, enjoying the beach.  Which really was the whole point of the exercise, now, wasn’t it?

Children not much younger than the boy in the article.



I Have Got It TOTALLY Figured Out

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Gentle Reader,

Far be it from me.  Obviously.  Ken Burns has lots of gold-plated little statuettes that prove that he is clearly more talented at making the television than I.  But I?  Am a consumer of the television arts.  (Sometimes I’m a connoisseur, sometimes I’m the gal in line at the Wal-Mart mashing it into her maw like an open can of Pringles that she hasn’t paid for yet.)

Being a consumer, Ken, let me tell ya.  I love your subject matter.  (I’m not positive that I have the spiritual fortitude to carry through the entirety of your National Parks series because I’m more of an indoor gal, but I’ll give it the college try.)  (Prohibition?  Blew through that because-OBVIOUSLY I WANTED TO GET TO THE END.)  And I am all for bringing better and higher thoughts to the members of my generation and the generation(s) (sigh) after me.  I think it’s great.  But we are not used to sitting still for an hour and a half on the underpinnings of the Civil War.  And I was a history major, fer cryin’ out loud.

I cannot go to the movie theater anymore because I am simply incapable of sitting through any non-“Godfather” movie without a magazine and the internet and the ability to think of something I have to do in the middle and pause the thing while I go do it.

I am not alone here, Ken.

Morgan Freeman’s voice is like verbal whiskey.  Intoxicating, but even if he were to recite love sonnets directly to me for an hour and a half, I’d be conked out halfway thru and the desired result would most certainly not be happening.  He is an EXCELLENT voiceover choice, though.  Well spotted.

So here’s my suggestion.  Let’s get back to presentation basics.  First, you gotta tell us what we’re going to see in this particular installment.  Bullet points, if you will.  (I hope that’s not a bad pun in light of the Civil War subject matter…)  Three things.  No more.

Then show us these three things-snappy, fast paced, with plenty of Mr. Freeman’s voice.  (Only, not snappy with his voice.  You don’t drink whiskey quickly or you regret it later.)

And then, in case we had a twitter emergency in the middle, give us a short synopsis of what you told us in that installment.  To help us remember for the next installment.

And am I alone in thinking that 20 minutes is WAY too short for actual content?  I’m totally okay with longer run times-the English have a way of non-traditional airtimes.  Let’s bring them in to consult (we need only look to the popularity of a little show about an Abbey to see that Americans are TOTES willing to embrace the British concept of television) and figure out the happy medium between 20 minutes in which we learn nothing but laugh a lot, and an hour and a half (AHEM, Mr. Burns) where we would learn a lot if we could keep off the twitter or stay awake.  The staying awake thing is proving more and more of a challenge as I get older.  Being a grownup is ugly sometimes.

So.  Let’s get on this, and I look forward to your next television achievement, Sir.



When Did Life Get So Exciting?

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Gentle Reader,

Hold back–it’s about to get wild up in here.

Last night, I fell asleep while watching a Ken Burns documentary.  In my sweatpants.  On the couch.  At 8:30.

So by my best recollection, the Civil War was started in 1861 by the fact that I had one English class that I had forgotten I had registered for in the last year of grad school and never attended and thus failed and thus I had to go back and retake The Big Exam That People Who Do What I Do Have To Pass.

I assure you, starting a teensy skirmish at Harper’s Ferry is a perfectly reasonable response to that realization.

(Seriously, I cannot be the only thirtysomething that still has the “forgot about that class” nightmare, right?)  (Three years after grad school.)

And today, it’s sunny outside and warmish, and so I’m going to go outside and take care of some mineral buildup on the walls in the back yard.  And then I’m going to come inside and take care of a few hard water stains and make a pot of potato soup.

And to totally blow your mind, I’m gonna do laundry.  And try and remain awake thru that Ken Burns documentary.

But at least my life is more fast paced than Scout The Ranch Cat/Trained Killer’s.





PS-No, I don’t think I’m going to ask her to help with the laundry, because she doesn’t fold the towels right.

Things That Are THE WORST, #492, Things That Are THE BEST, #7

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Gentle Reader,

I’ve got the allergies.  (It is NOT the flu, it is NOT a cold, I am PERFECTLY HEALTHY, despite the fact that The Great Republic is apparently reaching stratospheric levels of influenza infection…)  I’ve done what I had to do for my clients, and I went by Central Market and they’re having their “Sourpalooza” or “Citruspalooza” or “I Can’t Be Bothered to Pay Attention To Advertising Palooza” right now and the upshot is that they had all manner of freshly squeezed citrus juices, and the 17 year old at the checkout said that the new lime juice beverage (had hints of vanilla and was REALLY QUITE LOVELY) and the fresh squeezed orange juice were guaranteed to take care of whatever has taken up residence in my sinuses.  I also picked up buttermilk (detox over, resuming dairy!) and needed some spreadable butter.  And that’s where I discovered it.



Look, when you put butter on such few things as I, it’s worth it to get the good stuff.

(I’ll let you gather yourself.)

But seriously, I LOVE Kerrygold.  Loved it before I spent a summer in its homeland, Ireland, loved it there (THEY MAKE OTHER DAIRY PRODUCTS!!!!!  LOVED THEM, TOO!!!!!!!), still love it now.  And now, they make a spreadable kind!  God’s Mercies are Manifold.

Things That Are THE BEST, indeed.

Now, I’m about to go and, as my third grade teacher so gently put it, “empty my head out” (apparently, grammar wasn’t taught until the fourth grade) and this leads me to Things That Are THE WORST.  I don’t buy the Puffs Plus with Lotion, because-ICK.  (See:  Things That Are THE WORST #491)  I buy the Puffs Plus, and then Mentholatum in serious quantities (I LOVE the Mentholatum…see also:  BooMama).  After using the Puffs, I get down with the Mentholatum and then am a happy soul.

But right now, I’ve used so many Puffs that my nose is Rudolph-esque and I, because God’s Humor is Equally Manifold, have a zit right under my nose.  Every single “Puff”, my nose and my zit get more and more like Rudolph.  And right now, IT HURTS.  Things That Are THE WORST, #492.

I’m going to go see what kind of OTC meds will cure this problem, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.