Sunday, December 23, 2012

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch - the 23rd of Fa La La

So...Christmas is almost here!

I can't say that I got much decorating done this year. Usually, I pull out all of the stops and true to my name, the kitsch comes out in full force. I get it completely honest as my Mom's house is a mind-boggling Christmas wonderland and before her, her Mother had some pretty notoriously over-the-top decorating trends such as hanging red satin balls off of the taxidermy deer head in her living room and putting big red bows on the concrete lions flanking each side of her front door. Oh, and those lions? They'd had a pretty bad paint job and looked like they had Hitler mustaches instead of noses. Even the red ribbons didn't cut down on the shock and awe of those lions.

These adorable crafts that my little niece and nephew made were the only decorations that I got up this year.

Though, they're worth a thousand fancy decorations if you ask me! 

And yep, in the background, there's Mr. Kitten Pants doing his best "Lords a' Leapin'" impression through the fireplace. Thankfully, it's a fake fire so he has lived to see another Christmas day. And thanks to his, exuberant manner, we didn't put up a Christmas tree this year. You see, he loves to eat wires and cords. Most recently, he ate through the stereo speaker wires and straight on through the iPod charging cord. But wait! He didn't stop there, he gnawed through the overpriced laptop cord in quick measure, causing sparks that could have very well set our bed on fire. Oh, Mister Kitten Pants! He's gained quite the alias around here:

Our cute little Christmas Crusher!
Someone get that kitty a fruitcake with a file in it!

Of course, it's all in jest because we'd rather have Mr. Kitten Pants than to have some old needle shedding Christmas tree with it's twinkling lights and glittery ornaments. He's really livened up our house this year. And soon, he'll be old enough to get a job to help support his nasty cord chewing addiction.

Anyway.....gasp. Where was I? Oh! We didn't decorate for Christmas this year but then...

Today, we were in an antique store and lo and behold, I walked into a booth that had the very same Christmas wreath that my late Grandmother had. Not the hitler mustached lion and festooned taxidermy deer Grandmother but my other Grandmother whose house I helped decorate for Christmas like clockwork every year. Each time, the last thing on my to-do list was hanging her glittery white and red wreath on the door.

Now, the sentimental impact of seeing the same wreath as my Grandmother's (which I probably hadn't seen in fifteen years) was enough to make my heart swell to three times it's size (yes, just like the Grinch...gather from that what you will) but just like a hidden DJ had been waiting to drop the needle on the track, "I'll Be Home For Christmas" started playing. And then I started crying. Not a sweet little cry but a blubbering "I'm not going to be able to stop" kind of cry. Mister Kitsch came over and I weep-talked about how my Grandmother used to have the very same wreath and blubber, blubber, blubber, whine. He steered me away from the wreath and out into the aisles and by the time we'd reached the back of the store, I'd been able to turn my emotions down to a low-simmer. (Thanks in part to the next song on the store's sound system being one of those awful manic songs by Mannheim Steamroller which can suck the holiday spirit right out of me.)

Later on, when we were getting ready to leave the store, the Mister turned to me and said, "Do you need to go see about that wreath?" I put up a half-hearted argument about how we couldn't afford it and then he reasoned that since it was my grandmother's wreath, I should have it if it gives me good memories. "Does it give you good memories?" he asked, "..or are they sad ones?" I answered back that I was pretty sure that they were good ones but that I'd have to go stand before the wreath again to see.

We walked through the store and before long, I was in the presence of the wreath again. "Good memories!" I exclaimed as I started to take the wreath down off of the wall. And once again, that DJ called Fate cued up some lump-in-the-throat lyrics to the tune of Bing Crosby warbling softly "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas....just like the ones I used to know...". I snatched that wreath from the wall and said to the Mister, "Let's get out of here fast before I start again!" I was fighting back tears as Bing crooned on and my nose filled up with the scent of plastic Christmas wreath, taking my mind straight back to my Grandmother's December carport door. 

When I placed the wreath on the checkout counter, the two ladies who run the store exclaimed how pretty it was and I whispered, "It's my Grandmother's wreath. It made me start crying in the booth." Instantly, one of the ladies said, "I know how you feel, my Mother is no longer with me" and instantly, the waterworks started flowing from behind her eyes. The other lady swallowed really hard and I could tell that she too could relate to the bittersweet nature of the holiday season. Mr. Kitsch looked trapped amongst the unpredictable sentimentality of the female set. 

Here is a picture of my Grandmother who always had the wreath (along with her brother, Buddy from the Santa Claus Smack-down post).

She wore a lot of corsages and would often stick a bow from a present onto her clothes to add to the festiveness. She really loved Christmas and I had a blast helping her decorate each year, putting red satin balls on her white tree and clipping the plastic candles with crimson lights into her windows. It was all our yearly ritual - the plunking of the knee hugger elf into his large felt boot beside the rotary phone. The taping of the plastic mistletoe over the doorframe. The decoration of the gumdrop tree. And yes, that white wreath with it's little red packages and balls and silver pinecones. 
Here is mine now at the ranch. 

I know that my Grandmother is smiling down on it from the other side (and probably wondering where my plastic mistletoe is and why I'm phoning in Christmas this year). 

This will be my last post before we start immersing ourselves in family gatherings and the ceremonial eating of everything in sight (I'm coming for you, pimento cheese sandwiches!) . I send lots of love and nostalgia to you this holiday season. Many of us have lost loved ones this season and if not, we've seen neighbors across our nation and across the world lose theirs. Take the time to make some memories if you can - and to remember those memories that have already been handed down to you. Sometimes, they linger very near to the surface and if you look or listen very closely, you can remember them just like they were yesterday.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, December 21, 2012

End Times

As you probably know, the Mayan calendar says that the world as we know it is supposed to end today and that we will be plunked into a new civilization.

In case it does (or in case it doesn't), I had to let Skeeter have the last say. I admire her so much and my Dad has always had quite the Skeeter crush - so I can't think of a better send-off as we are propelled off into the mystical ether today.

I'll be wearing a scarf that used to belong to sweet Skeeter herself  - and toasting you all with what hopefully won't be my last sweet tea.

When my grandmother was here with us still, she used to warn her relatives that when she passed away, we were to lay her to rest in the ensemble that she'd picked out and not bury her in one of the outfits that you can buy at the funeral home. Those are open down the back, you see as it makes it easier to dress the dearly departed. She used to exclaim that she didn't want to rise up out of her grave on Judgment Day, only to meet Jesus with her fanny hanging out of the back of her clothes. Can't say that I blame her on that one! I mean, I'm sure that Jesus would understand but even in end times, it probably goes against any suggestion of good etiquette.

Whatever you're up to today, live it like it's your last day on Earth. I'd love for you to do so and I know that Skeeter, my Granny and the Mayans would too.

x's and o's,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'd Be Remiss...

I'd be remiss if I didn't wish my boyfriend, Little Jimmy a happy birthday today. This is birthday number 92 for him and even so, he's still quite the fringe swinging little powder keg. Here's to him!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Everybody Gets A Sugar High for Christmas

Tonight, the Mister and I did some crafting together - a very rare occurrence.  Not since I talked him into painting tiny rabbit faces on marshmallows has he been involved in any crafting with me! A while back, we found little miniature mugs (about an inch wide) and had the idea of getting one for each of his coworkers for Christmas. Miniatures seriously crack us up!

Then we decided that we should make tiny little donuts to go with them.

Mister Kitsch made these wee boxes by hand. 

Hey, wait a minute!

Who's that guy stealing our donuts?!

Aww! It's okay. He's just spreading the holiday love!

Everybody Gets a Sugar High for Christmas. 

  • If you want to make your own tiny donuts, simply drop some Cheerios into a bag or container with powdered sugar (for the powdered donuts) OR cinnamon (for the cake donuts) and shake, shake, shake. A tiny bit of any kind of melted chocolate works great for dipping and sprinkles add an extra flair.  You're only limited by your imagination! 
  • We used a tiny pair of sterile kitchen tweezers for the dipping -and toothpicks to get the chocolate ones off of the tweezers. These are completely edible and stay in the box great. If you want them not to shift around, you can take a tiny bit of white frosting and stick them to the bottom of the box - but try it the easy way first with no frosting. That's what we did. Because we like things crazy easy.  We put waxed paper on the bottom of the boxes to make them more realistic. And just like in that old game Operation: "It takes a very steady hand!" to put them in the box. So have a swig of something if you're a Shakey McShakester.
  • You can also cut out a square on the lid of the box and glue the plastic transparent window from an envelope on so that you can peek through and see the donuts. We were way too lazy to do this part too. 

Credit to this idea goes to the interwebs in general. I've seen several tiny donut tutorials here and there and they seeped into my subconscious. I think that these would be fun to gift to someone with a little knee-hugger elf and a tiny jug of moonshine (patent pending).  We got our donut box template from here at the awesome "What Will We Do Today?" website.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wives with Beehives

Thanks to my friend Dawn for cluing me in to this upcoming TLC show. Should be interesting to see! It's described as "four women whose fashion sense, flair for decorating and moral compasses are inspired by 1950s housewives".

The show will air on December 27th at 10 PM Eastern. The preview makes it look a little too campy for my taste (never thought you'd hear me shun the camp, right?) as TLC often does - so I hope that that they take the time to thoughtfully help viewers understand why some of us have so much admiration for the decades before us.

(Just go to your happy place during the ad. Seems we can't get away from them these days.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Super Slow Motion Holiday Destruction

It's all about the eggnog Flashdance recreation if you ask me. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Santa Claus SmackDown of 1977

This photo is the stuff of legend in my family. It shows my late Great Uncle Buddy being mobbed for candy canes in the Christmas of 1977. It happened at my elementary school after his daughter-in-law talked him into dressing up as Santa Claus and coming in to spread some additional cheer at the conclusion of our school Christmas production of "The Night Before Christmas" as the actors and actresses sang the final song.

What nobody predicted was that the children in the gymnasium would react as if they had been long suffering through a candy famine, flocking to Uncle Buddy and mobbing him as if they were about to draw their last sugar-deprived breaths. As he came through the back swinging gym doors and surprised the crowd with a roaring "Ho! Ho! Ho!", he was met with a sea of clamoring children who in mass exodus jolted from their seats next to their parents and were now scurrying over each other for whatever loot was to be found in Uncle Buddy Santa's velvet bag. As he tried to maneuver away from them, they chased him from the gym floor to the top of the bleachers (and I'm talking waaaaay high up at the top - it's a wonder that nobody was killed) and trampled him for treats. He actually had to fight kids off.  For candy canes! My brother says that all that he can remember is the "roar" of children as they engulfed him and my Mom says that the kids were like a "swarm" - both great words to describe the melee.

Look at this close-up. See how some of the kids have actually snatched ahold of him? 

It had turned all yuletide "The Lord of The Flies" up in there! 

Here are a couple more photos that my Dad dug up for you from the old family albums.
Unlike the photo above, they're all faded and blurry like they were shot from a grassy knoll.

Look at that kid at the very top above wearing the flouncy red and white get-up!
I like how most of the adults are just walking away like "It's your battle to fight, Santa."

Looks like he's finally made it back down to flat ground again as evidenced by the manageable wee shorties surrounding him in the final shot. I bet the jolly old elf had the vapors by this point and his sack was a mere sweat rag.

Thank goodness I wasn't involved in the peppermint induced mob. I was up front on the stage, wearing a cardboard box wrapped to look like a Christmas present. No, I'm not kidding. My mom found photographic proof.

My first and only stage role. Blue turtleneck and blue tights. So 1977. 

I remember that I had to sit down next to the Christmas tree and stay silent and still as if I were an actual inanimate gift box. It was the director's way of allowing more kids to have roles in the play but I still thought that I was a bad-ass for being chosen.  My brother reports that he was the "sound department" and stood dazed in the stage wing, clutching his jingle bells as Uncle Buddy was ensnared. I'm pretty sure that our brush with stardom saved us from being trampled and killed that day. We were always weak and pampered children, never up for quick adrenaline rushes or stick candy moshes. Uncle Buddy's grandson, Marty was on stage too, dressed like a small mouse.

He could only stand there, helplessly wrenching his tail as the mob moved further and further up the bleachers, reducing his beloved grandfather to a bobbing buoy in a sea of children. Those bleachers were no place for tender mice or Christmas presents or little boys with jingle bells. We all knew it.

My Mom says that she remembers that Uncle Buddy's wife was absolutely terrified as it was happening - and Uncle Buddy saying afterwards that he was too - and that he couldn't get away from the kids, try as he might. They were both really shaken by the whole incident. Yay, Christmas.

Uncle Buddy Facts: He was a multi-millionaire who started out poor and made his fortune by building and renting out self-storage units and selling camper trailers. He used to sing Hank Williams songs all of the time and I can remember sing-yodeling along with him, "When she calls me sweeeet Daaaaaddy...such a beautiful dream.." He and his wife Edna had a big cactus garden, a beautiful home surrounded by the lake and a collie dog named Sport. He constantly chewed toothpicks and during the era of wide white belts, had quite the collection. He could cut a mean square dance and at Easter, he hosted egg hunts on his huge lawn where he would make sure that one "prize egg" was full of lots of folding money. Thus, the kids called him "Daddy Rabbit". He always did amazing card tricks and then one day, we realized that he was getting signals from his grandchildren to help him achieve such feats of magic. He was my grandmother's only brother. He never played Santa Claus again.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

I get it honest

I stumbled across this photo of my late great-grandmother opening up her horse clock present in the fifties.


Friday, December 7, 2012

It's 2012. We should all have cameras in our eyes by now anyway.

My trusty little camera has decided to pursue it's own vision and is taking photos like this now. It looks like some kind of cool effect but this is the portrait of it's dying days. 

I can use the Mister's fancy camera anytime that I want but you know how it feels when you lose a trusty friend? That crazy cranky camera has been so many places with me. I document this cyclone as the end of an era. I used to be younger and it used to smell like brand new plastic and promise. 

So long, little friend with your annoying "beep.beep" sound that always alerted store clerks that I was documenting something that I wasn't supposed to be. And your overwhelming weight that ripped the lining from many a cute vintage purse. And your thirty second video capability that proved that I was way behind on technology. 

It was just you and me against the world with our self-portrait shots where my arm was never quite long enough and your three second delay that meant that more than likely, I'd have a story to tell without a photo to accompany it. Even with your delicate nature, I loved you and felt like I could come close to documenting what wanderlust feels like - what strangeness lies in humanity - what curiously fashioned junk store knick-knack would call out to my heart with it's misplaced anthropomorphic empathy next. 
I pour libations into the Earth.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Polly Will Be Missed

Thanks to everyone who posted encouraging words about our new kitty, Polly. And we loved reading your comments about your own experiences with your awesome senior kitties. They gave us a lot of happiness and hope. Unfortunately, our little Polliwog passed away on Saturday morning and it came as a huge shock. We're admittedly heartbroken. It's crazy how in love you can fall with a little creature in the course of less than a week. We miss her like she's been in our home for years. May she rest in peace and hopefully, she'll be in the big cat pile that the Mister and I get clobbered with when we cross over to the other side one day.

Hug your pets super tight for us today and give chin scritches to them all in Polliwog's memory. And if you see a stray that you can help, please do what you can. And maybe even beyond what you think that you can - because you'll find in the end, you'll be blessed just as much as they are.  Polly will appreciate it from her heavenly perch (where we're convinced that sunbeams are plentiful and the laundry baskets are always full of fuzzy, warm towels). If you listen closely, you might even hear her purr in appreciation of your kindness.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, November 23, 2012

Horror Movie Daycare

This one is just too good to wait until Halloween.

Note: This one is really making the rounds today so if the video is too slow, go to their site here for a much faster run time.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hey, Did You Happen To See The Most Random Blog Post in the World?

No? Then here it is. First off, Happy Thanksgiving to my friends who are celebrating today! I am so thankful for so many things but won't make a list here because I'll get all weepy. I will say that I am super thankful for you. It makes my day that you take the time to stop by Ranch Dressing and it's my honor to have you read my posts and/or leave your comments and encouraging (and sometimes pretty hilarious) words. I think the world of y'all!

So don't let a shadow be thrown across my exclamations of affection for you when you read this completely random kinda-sorta Thanksgiving themed post. I never really came up with a concrete idea for a post today. If this post were a pie, it would be the one that never firms up like the recipe says that it should. In other words I'll be serving this post to you, my guests over ice cream and pretending like I meant to make a delicious, warm sauce.

First up, there once was a granny cat named Polliwog....

The other day, she just...found us. This little kitty girl showed up at our back doorstep, about to fall over and die. We got her to the vet and quite truly, I could see the color drain out of the vet's face right before he gave us "the talk" and it sounded like more than likely, she wasn't going to make it out of there. She's full grown but only weighs about three pounds. She's teeny and if you pet her too hard or if the wind blows, she falls over. 

The good news is that she did get to leave the vet's office. She's quite sick and emaciated but now she's on our sun porch. The good news is that she's got a low rumble of a purr that she sometimes lets loose - and she loves tuna. We were definitely not in the market for another kitty but sometimes, fate puts a teeny kitty at death's door - which just so happened to be one block down from our doorstep. We're hoping the best for her and today, she'll be my new Thanksgiving companion. We named her "Pretty Polly" but call her "Polliwog" because we're hoping that she's in a tadpole stage and that soon, she'll be growing into a healthy, happy cat. Only time will tell if we can keep her or if we'll have to find another good home for her, but for now - I'm thankful that the universe let Polly find us.

Next up, I wanted to show you this cute Thanksgiving themed photo put out by an amazing rescue organization called Peace and Paws. 

What those pups are saying is correct -just say no to giving Thanksgiving foods to your pets. Especially bones of any kind. They can kill pets by lodging in their intestines and stomachs. My grandfather's dog, Petie died this way. Just say no, m'kay?  Peace and Paws often posts informative - and sometimes downright hilarious signs modeled by their pups. You can check them out on their Facebook page by clicking here. You'll find many more of their pup photos in their photo section there.

Another one of my favorites:

Twinkle likes to call himself "Black Dog Ninja". 

Here is a handy chart from the folks at The Dogington Post with some other holiday foods that can harm your pets. 

For a listing of more holiday hazards that you should know about to keep your pets safe, please visit this list here provided by the ASPCA. There are so many everyday items that we never think of as hazards for our pets. During the holiday season, be especially careful not to bring poinsettias, ribbons, tinsel or aluminum Christmas trees in to any home where pets roam. Some pets show them no interest but then there are kitties like mine who are out to ingest the entire world one house plant and computer mouse cord at a time!

I've told y'all before that I am a walking public service announcement and it's true. I'd make a whole mess of children a great overprotective Mom but since I have none, I like to protect everyone else in my life. Speaking of which, my brother never responded to my email warning him not to let his kids handle  those dishwasher gel packets. I bet he has a "Jeez Louise" folder for my emails. Hey though, ain't nobody gonna die on my watch!

Speaking of warnings, I laughed for like a million seconds when I saw this headline in bold print in the newspaper this week.

It paints such a pretty picture, doesn't it? Just say "whoa" to turkey washing, my friends. Or at least put it on a stick in the yard and squirt it down with the garden hose or something. It's probably pretty obvious that we're a tofurkey family. I wouldn't have any idea what to do with a real turkey if you put a gun to my head and yelled, "Feed this family of four or you die!"

Speaking of turkeys:

This illustration is being sold at an upcoming estate sale next week. Yep, that's a turkey with a cigarette hanging out of his beep-beep hole, people.

Wait, is that his beep-beep hole or are we looking at the whole other end? I told you...I so don't know turkey! I called the Mister in to look at the photo because during college, he was a meat cutter for a living. He said that he didn't know for sure but did note, "That's the most disturbing thing that I've ever seen in my entire life. That turkey gave up his life for that!" I'd have to agree and though I might take you to the linoleum for an old bottle of floor wax, you won't find me fighting you over ole Chain Smoking Turkey Face at any estate sale.

Speaking of disturbing, I once threw a birthday party with a paper turkey and made the Mister photograph the whole sordid scene. Nope, not grounds for divorce in Tennessee. He checked. 

I did these photos and made a video out of them for my sweet friend, Holly Joy whose birthday gets nearly eclipsed by Thanksgiving every year. As you can tell, it was a rousing party full of excitement and snack cakes. And that when I'm fueled by sugar and booze, I can go from happy to angry drunk in sixty seconds. 

I feel for anyone who has a birthday on or near a holiday. Mine is near July 4th and people always give me fireworks for my birthday. As you may know by now from all of my public service announcements and warnings, chances are good that I'm not going to come within a hundred feet of fireworks. Unless they're those paper chickens that shoot flames out of their butts. Those I like! 

Whatever you're doing today, I hope that you have a grand ole time - and if you're celebrating Thanksgiving, do practice restraint in the areas that need restraint. Take it from ole Eartha.

And for pete's sake, if you're inviting a turkey to your party, stick to theme and buy Wild Turkey and not Jim Beam.

Until next time,
x's and o's (and gobble gobbles!),

p.s. I hope that today and every day, all wishbones go your way. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Foyer - Before & After

We finally finished our foyer. It took over three years but it's done! It's just a tiny little space but it's been a major design conundrum for us since day one. The lighting is weird and the walls needed a lot of work.

Here we are in the foyer when we came to the house on our real estate viewing:

Blurry. That's because it was in the olden days.

Here it is on the day that we closed on the house:

Yep, the flooring was two different colors. Don't even get me started!

Here you'll see the Mister running from the camera. 
This is back when he had energy - as most of us do pre-restoration.

The wall sconce made me sad.  That's the original doorbell but I just don't know why they hung it over the heating vent. Cray-cray. 
Wanna see more of that ceiling light fixture?

Le sigh. I wanted to love that light. I really and truly did.

But even in the daytime, it made our foyer look like a spook house. 
Or a whore house. You pick. 

The walls in the foyer were painted over wallpaper. And not just any wallpaper but fuzzy, flocked wallpaper. It made for an interesting scene. We painted over it but the texture of it drove me absolutely mad. One day, I got the wild idea that I should try and peel it all off. 

Um, as you'll see. Boy was the Mister surprised when he came home!

Even Pip got in on the action.

As you can see, the wallpaper was once pink and green flowers. We also learned during the restoration that all of the trim in our house used to be dark green like the leaves on the flowers. Fancy! (and I'm glad that we weren't the ones that had to cover it with primer)

The walls stayed peeled as you see below - and what we liked to call "historic" for about two years!

I know. I know. I'm mortified now that it took us so long but as you may know, sometimes house repairs don't go as planned. This is what people saw when they came into our front door. Super classy! 

This Spring, we decided to bite the bullet and finally finish it all. We had a drywall guy come in and sand and re-plaster both the foyer and the hall. What a freakin' mess! I swear that Hell must be covered in drywall dust. After much clean-up and weeks and weeks of trying to pick colors (I'll spare you the details and the photos of dozens of paint swatches), we decided on one. We were almost done with the whole thing when I exclaimed to the Mister over dinner, "One more wall to paint and we'll finally be finished with the entire house!" We were as pleased as punch. 

And the Gods laughed. Within a couple of days,  the house flooded and the many months of the kitchen repair ordeal started. I'm pretty sure that I jinxed us. So today, I realized that I have never stopped to appreciate the "after" of it all. You know how that goes sometimes? We just zoom on to the next thing that needs to be done? So here it is. The after!

I know. It's hard to tell anything from photos of a foyer that is too small to photograph. But I thought that I should give it it's due. We found that massive landscape in the darkest corner of an estate sale house basement and purchased it before we even measured it. It had me at "knotty pine frame". We figured that "Sure! It will fit in the car!" but ha! it didn't. We ended up having to tie it to the roof and drive home at a turtle's pace. It's hard to tell here but that thing is about as big as my car. Thank God it even fit on the wall. The furniture piece is a Paul McCobb and the Mister inherited it from his late uncle. We got the 50's ceiling light for a quarter at a junk shop in my hometown. That horse clock was a birthday gift from my Mom. I've always wanted one!

We replaced the hall lights that made me sad with a pair of vintage lights that we found on eBay. I tried to take photos of them for you....but to me, taking photos of lights while they're lit is like trying to get blood from a turnip. And I'm a quitter. There! I said it.

We painted the hall yellow to separate the spaces. There was a lot of debate on the whole "one color? two colors?" issue but in the end, we went for it. We still have the old doorbell but are planning to do some work to it to make it fit in better. Mr. Kitten Pants likes to reach up and swat the chimes, sending the rest of the nervous Nellies hiding for cover under the bed. 

The attached hall was all white before and peeling. At last, it's a nice place to hang my collection of anonymous portraits. I won't go into the details now but I think that this hall is haunted. I once heard a medium say that when we bring home things belonging to other people, they carry residual energy - so we need to be careful. I'm pretty sure that one of these portraits has some serious residual energy!

It would also be a safe bet to say that this looooong hall gets some epic kitty cat raceway action! 

I was getting ready to say something about how we are NOW finished with the restoration but I know that it would be a fool's bet to even go there! Let's just say that home ownership is always a work in progress. An evolution, if you will.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Day That Hollywood Came Calling

As I've mentioned a couple of times lately, I've been recovering from a monster of a wisdom tooth removal surgery. Never in my life have I been through anything like it. Thank God for pain meds and various branches of the Real Housewives franchise. And for a husband who has been doling out mashed potatoes and ice cream like a true pusha' man. A lot of the time, due to the swelling, I haven't been able to talk and since the force of the surgery left me with bruising around my eyes, I've looked like a cross between this:

And this:

And this:

One day last week when I was at the height of the "oh my face!" madness, I was at home drugged out of my mind and napping. The doorbell started ringing and as I was in no shape for chit-chat, I chose to ignore it. Though, in my neighborhood, "ignoring" means peeking out from behind the drapes, hoping to get a description of the person who more than likely is about to kick in your back door and run off with your TV.  The strange thing was the the man who was ringing the bell didn't leave or kick in my back door. He stayed and stayed and walked around the house and then sat in the driveway in his car for about ten minutes. I was thoroughly creeped out. I texted the Mister just in case I was later found abducted (because the kidnapping market is really hot for broke, drooling women these days)  and sat on the edge of the bed until the car finally drove away.  Super creepy.

Later that evening, Mister Kitsch came home and solved the mystery of the strange lurker. It was Hollywood!

Well, a representative at least. Do any of you watch the ABC show "Nashville" on Wednesday nights? I sure do. I can't say that it's "Masterpiece Theater" material but not since the days of two-fisting Cheez-it's with my Granny while watching "The Young and The Restless" have I enjoyed a soap opera so much. Anyway, the door knocker had left a letter on our back door saying that the show was looking for a house to shoot as one of the character's parents' houses - a "middle class home in Austin, Texas" to be exact - and they would like to come take photos of our house so that it could be considered as a location for the show.

Hello! Okay, I was freaking out! There were going to be stars in our house! And how cool would it be for our house to become a star too? I tried not to let my mind wander to the stacks of delicious bagels that would be on the craft service food tables - or the tour buses full of screaming fans who would consequentially pay good money to ride past our house from that day forth. "Will we need to install a security gate?" I wondered before telling myself that if we did, it would have gold music notes inset in it just like Little Jimmy Dickens'.

The Mister called the man who left the letter (who turned out to be the location scout) and he said that he'd been out driving around and had really liked our house. They set up a time the next morning for him to come out and take photos and check out the place. Now, I wanted it to happen. I'm talking...really, really wanted it to happen.  I jumped up out of the bed and started cleaning. And I roped the Mister into cleaning too. My mouth was throbbing and I was sweating blue blazes and my body was screaming, "lay down!" but noooooo....I did what anyone in my position would do. I cleaned and rearranged for hours. And so did the poor Mister who had just worked all day. We were frenzied with excitement and cleaning product fumes. The Mister implored of me to go back to bed but noooooo....instead he got to listen to me bleat-groan out, "It's gonna be just like Southfork!" and "I wonder if any characters will have fake sex in our bedroom? Oh no...they wouldn't do that in their parents' house, right?"

The next morning, we got up at six and got the show on the road again, with me nitpicking everything in the house (which involves shoving way too much stuff into already bulging closets) and the Mister outside doing yard work by seven. I mean, who does that? Poor guy - he doesn't even watch the show but he was so sweet to help me realize my newly-hatched dream of having "Nashville" shot in our house. The location scout was to show up at ten o'clock and around nine, I jumped in the shower and as I got dressed, I was literally sweating like I was in a sauna. My body was revolting and my mouth hurt so bad that I was fighting back tears.  

I was yelping at the Mister to hide everything cat related because "you just know that those stars are allergic to cats! It could blow it for us! We can not let them know that we have cats!!" He was lugging cat trees and scritchety-scratch posts and litter boxes to the garage. The cats were going bonkers trying to figure it all out as I scooped up the rogue fuzzy mice and hid them in vases, my shoes...anywhere that cameras couldn't go. The kitties  couldn't find their food or their water or a pot to piss in. We were now living on a sound stage and that was how it was going to be!

And then it happened. The phone rang. We were a mere thirty minutes away from possible real estate greatness when the location scout informed the Mister that there had been a script change during the night. They no longer needed a parents' house in Texas.

Just like that - kaput. fizzle. fail. They did but now they didn't. Just like that.

When the Mister told me, I slumped against the wall and moaned. He said that the scout noted that since he really liked our house, he would like to come out at another time and shoot it for his book just in case another project came up. As I tightened up my soggy ponytail and looked around at our house which was now cleaner than it had been in years, I could only force out, "but....BUT!'s clean nowwwwww...uhhh" while making a limp Vanna White hand gesture in the direction of a piece of freshly dusted furniture.

In the end, we decided to call the scout back and see if he could still come that day to take photos for his book. I was a little mortified when the Mister told him, "Look...we were up all night cleaning...we'd love if you could come while it's clean..." Sure, I was mortified but it was the truth - and nothing brings out the truth like unnecessary late-night drape vacuuming.  He ended up coming later in the day to take the photos. He was a really nice guy and in the end, it was fun to meet him and to learn more about the location process. And as my luck goes, Mr. Kitten Pants followed him around and was in most every shot. Maybe the old ranch will end up in a show or movie one day. Or maybe not. But we do appreciate how clean our floors are now and will never forget the day that Hollywood came calling....and eventually gave us the ding-dong ditch.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nothing to Worry About

I saw this video late in the middle of last night while tossing and turning and cursing my post-dental-surgery mouth full of woe.

When I woke up this morning, I worried that it had only been a dream...but fortunately, it was proven to be real - and about three years old. I'm nothing if not current.

One of these days, I'm going to make it to Japan and get a big dose of the rockabilly subculture firsthand. The Mister has always wanted to live there. Maybe one day...

I hope that y'all are doing good. I'm still packing chipmunk cheeks and misery. 

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Dental Dance

I got my poor old wisdom teeth ripped willy-nilly from my skull today.

Ohhhhhhhhh Ugggggh. Blarrrrrgh.

I hope that my Vicodin fueled dreams are much like this dental dance:

Note: This video's audio was recorded low so after you click on the video, if the volume is too low, just slide that handy bar to the right of the speaker icon at the bottom left.

Until next time,
x's and ohhhhhh's,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Things are pretty low-key here at the ranch. I think I'm going to completely show my premature senior citizen status tonight by turning the porch light off and tucking in to watch some scary movies - but since I can't let the joy that is Halloween completely slip by, here are some shots from the day.

Oh! And some treats for you! Here are some great Halloween themed links for you to enjoy:

  • Heidi Kenney over at "My Paper Crane" is one of the most creative people that I know of. Go here to see her post on her tour of the Beistle headquarters. You're not going to believe the vintage holiday eye candy in that place! She also designs and sells fabrics and you're going to LOVE this fabric that she's selling with Halloween pillow designs here. In fact, just go to her website, go to the home page and scroll on through because each and every post will leave you oohing and ahhing. I'm sure you'll recognize a lot of her work. She's big on the scene.

  • My friend Jacob recently started a site called "The Carpetbagger" that I urge you to bookmark. He's a Southern transplant who has embraced the intricacies of the South better than anyone that I know. I met him years ago over on Flickr and have never failed to be amazed at the situations that he comes across the photograph on the back roads (and main streets) of the South. Go here to see his most recent posts on The Devil's Funeral ceremony and Christian haunted houses. And while you're there, just keep on scrolling through. He'll have you on the edge of your seat. You're not going to believe that half of the stuff that he comes up with could possibly be real....but it is. Oh, and he has a huge affinity for insane taxidermy, much like myself.

  • Alexa over at "The Swell Life" is another outrageously creative individual. Every year, I can't wait to see what her signature pumpkin is for the Halloween season. This year, she is right on trend with her Honey Boo Boo pumpkin tutorial. Last year, she did a Snookie pumpkin and lo and behold, celebrity gossip mogul Perez Hilton featured it on his site - and Snookie herself even tweeted about it!  "The Swell Life" is another site that I recommend taking a journey through. I guarantee you that you'll be bookmarking some of her ideas to try.

  • "Neato Coolville" (which is currently "Neato Ghoulville" for the Halloween season) is one of the most fun sites around.  Todd Frankin curates one of the most magical collections of things that will make you scream, "Oh! I remember that!" or better yet, gasp in glee because you've never seen such wonders before. From old comics, candies and products from our retro past to movie clips, commercials and found drawings (and everything in between), the posts at "Neato Coolville" will leave you smiling.

  • And this just in: The lovely Ruth over at the ever fascinating and tastebud intriguing MidCentury Menu has recreated the cake recipe that has taunted and teased many of us vintage loving mavens through the decades - the Banana Spook Cake. I'm talking ghosts made out of bananas, people! Skip on over and see!

  • And last one: Are you familiar with Caker Cooking? I recently discovered Brian's site and it's absolutely magical. You KNOW that I love interesting and wacky recipes and that site never fails to delight me. He's pulling stuff right out of those church and community cookbooks that our grannies felt compelled to buy (and contribute to)  and the contents are proving to be pure gold. Right now, there is an apple head doll competition going on - you know... doll heads made from apples. They stare out at you from the pages of old craft books and make you look closer...closer. Go here to see the entries and please vote for your fave! 

Have a fun Halloween, everyone!

Until next time,
x's and o's,