Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cowboy Poodles and How Things Are Stacking Up

Hey all! How's your week going so far? Mine is completely full of mayhem and unfortunate circumstances. Maybe we'll talk about it tomorrow. So instead..


I found this little dog's portrait at an antique store this past weekend for twenty cents. I love him! This photo is from 1983 so unfortunately, he's cowpokin' at that big ole ranch in the sky now. Bless his sweet little soul. You have no idea how much I want to get a dog lately and this little guy kind of took my emotions over the top. His little bandana. His little smile. I want to make tiny little sandwiches for him. And have him sit next to me on the couch as I yell at the contestants on Wheel of Fortune.

I've had pretty good luck in the past with crazy cute dog portraits in antique stores. Like these guys:

Aww! Those little faces! Those little bows!

I'm sure that they have ear piercing barks but they are SO j'adorable.

And now the crème de la crème:

Hee! I'm not completely sure but...way cute.

And you know that I fell out in the aisle when I found this one!

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

About me

You're so vain. You probably think this blog is about you. You're so vaaaaaain.

I'm stuck in front of the computer with a fairly disgruntled and very bitey cat sleeping on my lap so I thought I'd write a blog post. I've always enjoyed it when bloggers do the lists of fifteen things about themselves and even though it makes me feel vain, I'm going to step out of my wallflower comfort zone and go for it.

1. I'm afraid of cars. I hate driving them. I hate riding in them. I am the bane of existence to any poor person who has to drive a car that I'm a passenger in as I sometimes grab onto the dash and shriek like something caught in a trap.  I'd gladly go back to the days of horse and buggy even though it would take forever to get anywhere. I love going to new places and road trips but the driving part -oh my god. I will not drive the interstate to get anywhere. Even if the interstate route takes twenty minutes and the back road route takes two hours.

2.  I've been to the hospital a lot. The Mister and I once counted the number of visits and found unsurprisingly that he and I have been to the hospital together more than we've been on actual dates. I'm clumsy and apparently have no immune system. And am not a cheap date once you consider co-pays and that I always want Taco Bell when we leave the emergency room.

3. I have embarrassing TV addictions. I'm a bit insane over Criminal Minds. And The Ghost Whisperer.  Even though it drives me crazy that Melinda Gordon always seems to end up in low cut nightgowns in each episode. And that even though she's the "ghost whisperer", she never seems to tell the mortals the important information that the ghosts are asking her to pass on. She always changes their words and abbreviates their messages. She's the Ghost Cliff Noter if you ask me. Still, something about those shows comfort me. Give me a space heater and Criminal Minds, and I'm as happy as a kitten in a shoe.

4. I love documentaries and hate comedy movies. Oh god, slapstick is completely lost on me.

5. I collect vintage postcards of tourists stopping their cars to visit with wild bears. They delight me.

6. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I once owned Bill Monroe's toaster but sold it for fast cash. I can even start crying thinking about it.

7.  I want to be a detective but unfortunately, there's that car thing. There's only so much gumshoeing one can do when taking the bus.

8. Kudzu freaks me out. I always picture dead bodies beneath it. Ditto for big bodies of water.

9. One of my biggest dreams is to read something that I have written on This American Life. In related news, I have a massive Ira Glass crush - but I don't see us ending up together. Only him reading the intro to my story and getting that cute little chuckle in his voice that he sometimes gets when a segment tickles him.

10. When I was a little kid, my Great Aunt died on my birthday and every year after that, my Grandmother would say, "Avis died today" on my birthday.  I'm not sure if it made me weird or put me more in touch with mortality. She even had it on her calendar each year - my birthday written down and then "Avis Died".

11. I was once a Christmas present in a stage version of The Night Before Christmas. I wore a large cardboard box covered in gift wrap. I didn't have any lines but was just well, a box covered in gift wrap. Obviously, the consolation prize for a kid who can't act is to be turned into part of the set. 

12.  I want to travel around and visit churches where snake handling, kerosene drinking and speaking in tongues is in full effect and do a documentary about them. Get to know the members. Go to their homes and talk about things. Exchange pen pal addresses.

13.  It makes me cringe a little when people say the word  "drool". Especially when it's over something like a cute dress or chair. I don't know why but it elicits a serious gag reflex.

14. I worked for eight years in my hometown library and it was my favorite job ever. I dream about working at a library again one day. Actually dream...like when I'm sleeping. Several times a week. I'll happily shelve books or work the circulation desk in my sleep and wake up smiling like a little kid. Or as my Dad says: like I dreamed about "big busted strippers and ponies".

15. While working at that library, a homeless man named Archie was one of my favorite patrons and we'd spend a lot of time chatting.  He had some delusion issues and believed that he was Rudolph Valentino and that I was his daughter. His daughter who was actually so tiny when I was little that I lived in one of his back teeth. He'd point way in the back of his mouth and ask me if I remembered and I'd always say that yes, I did. And that it sure was dark back there.

Ahh...that was fun, wasn't it? Now what you know about me is basically that I'm a little creepy and paranoid and that I'm a bad actor who doesn't like to laugh. I can see the line of people wanting to be friends with me winding around the block now. Single file, people! Single file!

What about you? I'd love to hear!

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Okay...spill it

Which two of you got here by the keyword search "Aunt Bea Naked"?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Love Bug

I meant to get this to y'all yesterday. Hope that you had a great Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Look For The Silver Lining

If you read my post yesterday, you may remember how excited I was about our Tofurkey dinner plans. Alas, the whole thing went awry. It started well enough - The Mister and I predicted that this week would be hectic so we were going to make lots of dishes so that we'd have food for the week. We both cooked for about three hours and then put all of the pots and casserole dishes out as a buffet on the counter. It was an enormous amount of food - I'm talking family reunion proportions. I'd made so many mashed potatoes that my arm ached from mashing them. As I made room in the refrigerator for the leftovers, we talked proudly about how we wouldn't have to cook all week.

We fixed our plates and put them on the dining table and then the Mister went back to get a drink. I heard glass breaking and him screaming, "Oh god!" and ran in to see what happened. He had reached into the cabinet and as he grabbed his favorite glass, it slipped and hit the counter below, exploding into thousands of pieces right into the freshly cooked food, all over the counter and the floor.

Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. So we had to throw all of the food out because we could see tiny glass shards glittering and gleaming in them. The poor Mister. He said that right before he went for the glass, he thought to himself that maybe he should cover all of the food so that it didn't get cold - but unfortunately he didn't. He felt terribly awful as all of the food went into the trash and we spent the next long while with him cleaning up all of the glass and me washing all of the pots, pans and now empty casserole dishes. It was not our finest hour.

To save ourselves, we had to remind each other that at least we got a plate apiece before the food got ruined. And it was terribly yummy. And thankfully, we hadn't been cooking for guests who were about to arrive. And like our Mothers would have told us as children, there are a lot of people who don't even have as much food as we had on our plates. And hey, the crescent rolls were spared.

Here was the soundtrack in my head as I did the dishes:

P.S. - As I was writing this, I heard glass break on the other side of the house. Running towards the scene, I found that our little gremlin cat, Pip had shoved one of my prized cafe china saucers off of the bar where it shattered all over the ceramic floor. Then, she was running amongst the glass, attempting to eat it. Oh yes. Luckily, I got to her in time and I don't think that she got any. THAT was the silver lining in the scenario. And that I happened to remember something that I hadn't thought of in years - whenever someone would break something in front of my Grandmother, she'd say, "You breaking up housekeeping?"

Until next time,
x's and o's (and dishpan hands),

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Yay! Gravy!

Exciting day at the ranch. We're having Tofurkey. That's where tofu pretends unconvincingly to be turkey. And it's amazing. Okay, when I first went vegetarian years ago, I fought against it tooth and nail but now, it's like a holiday when we have it. Maybe it's because I can't remember what real turkey tastes like now but still...an animal's life saved and I get to have gravy. Also fake. But game on.

Before writing this post, I did a little Google search just to see how other people serve their Tofurkey. One particularly thrilling recipe suggested marinating it in whiskey. Because YES.

While on the search, one of the first links that popped up was of this book:

After which I yelled through the house, "Honey? Did you get any yams?"

This photo made me laugh so hard because I'd never considered Tofurkey romantic before. I just love that there is vegetarian erotica. And the Santa hat takes it over the top. Being the intrepid reporter that I am, I delved further into the Amazon link to find out that people who bought this book also bought:

Oh my god. I LOVE it when I'm doing an innocent search for fake meat and end up finding beefcake. Now, I'm sure that you think that you already know what this book is about (and I did too after reading the first page online) but no. Here is the description:

Since moving to Boston, Kyle Slidell has met only a few of his neighbors, including Tobias Rogan. Kyle is very interested in Tobias, and is ecstatic to learn that Tobias wants him too. But his neighbors have a secret: They're werewolves, and Tobias is the pack Alpha. When one of the wolves attacks Kyle in the neighborhood garden one night, Kyle learns the truth in a hurry. Now he's a werewolf too-and since he's vegan, he refuses to eat meat. With Tobias's help and love, Kyle must adjust to his new life and protect himself and his friends from a neighboring pack.

Vegan Werewolf Smut!

There is one more book about veggie burgers and werewolves but as I feel like they're just double-dipping in the same condiment pool, I won't dignify it by including it. That said, I am disappointed that there aren't tons more food related volumes like maybe "Manwich Night", "Porkchops and Applesauce" or a Southern themed one called "Butter My Biscuits" but alas, the world must wait.

In the meantime, here is a little something that the Mister and I made by stitching thirty seven photos together to make a mini film about Tofurkey and gravy (I know..I know...that was the most awkward transition in the history of writing but enjoy! )

Oh and there are no yams included in our film. Totally family friendly.

p.s. I only just now remembered that I'm supposed to be doing Valentine's Day related posts until Tuesday. Looks like that went out the window a couple of days ago. Long week..folks. Long week. I still wish you all hearts and flowers and flying babies with wings.

Until Next Time,
x's and o's,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Man vs Octopus!

Today, we've been doing a lot of waiting around the house and decided that maybe dip was in order. I saw this little Octopus guy over at the ever so fabulous Faith Hope and Charity Shopping's Pinterest a little while ago and loved him. Let's face it - Novelty food sorta kinda rocks.

And we thought we'd give him a shot!

Literally. We decided to take the recipe a little further and add a little Man vs Nature drama:

(I won't tell you how this one ends in case you want to see the movie.)

Dip makes great waves, don't you think?

I tried to talk the Mister into just a wee drop of blue food coloring but he said "Meh".

I just realized that ranch dressing would be on par for this.

The mind wanders.

As far as I can tell, the original source is here. If you'd like to make one for yourself, all you need is dip or hummus, black olives and two orange peppers.

One tip that we learned too late is that it's best to incorporate the butt of the pepper when cutting the strips for tentacles so that there is more curve to them. Also, a larger platter works best to make things look more realistic. If I ever made this for a party, I'd probably use a horizontal platter like they used on the original one and give more room for a sunken boat. Because when you're making wacky food, you can't get too wacky, I say!

Hope that you're having a great Saturday!

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

The Ultimate Fashion Climax

Go here. Just trust me: Men's Jumpsuits in the 70's

The text alone is enough to make me glad that I was just a kid in the seventies and not a single lady.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Week That Is

This has been some week. A loved one passed away suddenly and I haven't been able to mentally regroup. It doesn't help that he lived right next door to us and now, every time that I look out my window, I realize even more that he's gone. The laundry is piling up. The emails are piling up. The kitty cat tumbleweeds are multiplying in size. And I just want to eat cookies. You know how sometimes you just go into a daze? Consider me dazed. And out of cookies.

One of our kitties, Mishka had to see a feline dental specialist on Monday. We had no choice as our regular vets can't seem to fix things and referred us over. I laugh at our naivete' as we guessed how much it would cost when the vet tech left the room to print out our estimate. When she came back with the true estimate, it seemed as if the air got sucked out of the room and I blacked out for a minute. And maybe wondered how much plasma is going for these days. And considered selling my body. I remember saying, "Oh my god..." and throwing my hand up over my mouth. And the vet tech looking very uncomfortable.

The Mister said that we should have known when we saw that they had sleek flat-screen Macs at the check-in counter and not PCs covered in cat hair and post-its like our other vets do. And the place did not smell like pets. AND they kept offering us complimentary beverages. Everyone that we met with said, "Would you like a complimentary beverage from our beverage station?" When we were leaving with Mishka after paying that bill post-surgery, I saw the Mister do a double-take as we passed the beverage station. I asked him after we left, "You were thinking about grabbing something, weren't you?" He said, "Heck yeah! After what we just paid them, I felt like they owed us SOMETHING. ANYTHING. WE DESERVE SOMETHING!" Then he showed me the free pen that he'd accepted from the vet tech. "Got the free pen though!"

Mishka is back home with us now and on some pretty heavy meds as we await her biopsy results. Uggh...the waiting is the worst. The meds have made her the world's sweetest cat and Pip, who she usually attacks seems completely boggled that Mishka isn't trying to wipe her off of the face of the Earth. Thus, she has gained new confidence and now thinks she's queen of the roost. It's become like The Lord of The Flies around here as she fights to assume her dominance. Over me, sadly. She's been climbing my legs and biting me and as a person who only wears skirts, this is wearing thin.

So, things have been less than enjoyable this week at Camp Kitsch. The very first thing that I said when the Mister woke me up this morning wasn't "Good Morning" but instead, "I need a drink." Of course, he knew that this meant sweet tea but still, it shouldn't be the first thing that one thinks as they are drawn out of sleepy town.

I hope that you all have fun weekend plans. Have enough fun for me too, if you would. For my Nashville peeps, there is a free Daniel Johnston show tonight at Lipscomb. If you're a fan, you'll know that this is about as rare as Halley's Comet. Get you some here.

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

From Scrapper to Flapper

Vintage Flip Valentine:

Monday, February 6, 2012

You Can't Always Get What You Want

A little scene of unrequited love from the mantel:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Little Kitties Send Valentines Too

Or so we're told on this old Valentine's Card:

Pets in Pants!

I think that my girls are going to send their valentines to Sterling Cooper, the Siamese Elvis of our neighborhood.

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

It's Got Good Bones

I'm interrupting our regularly scheduled Valentine's Season programming to bring you a delightful new Craigslist ad. This one had me laughing SO hard this morning:


The ad reads: I have a free vintage couch with good bones, but my dogs have destroyed it. There are holes in the cushions, side back, and the seat under the cushions. It also smells. If you'd like it for an upholstery project, sturdy springs, to set on fire, or whatever---come and get it. It's going to the dump tomorrow.

I think that those dogs think that the "good bones" are buried inside of the couch itself!

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

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Playin' With The Queen of Hearts... Knowin' It Ain't Really Smart

Oh Yeaaaaah. Eartha Mae Kitsch.

When I was in elementary school, there was a school-wide contest for Valentine's King and Queen. And unlike most schools which would turn such an event into a painful popularity contest, my school decided to use it as the opportunity to make bank with an equally painful money collecting contest.

It was about pennies, you see. The boy and girl who collected the most pennies won the whole shebang. So off we went! Door to door, for weeks on end with our jars clinking and clanging, collecting pennies with hopes of the crown. I remember how mortified I was and I hated knocking on doors in the Winter cold, explaining to people why I needed their pennies while the heat escaped their homes, warming my cheeks as it passed. I also remember briefly thinking that I was a shoe-in because my Grandfather who was already royalty (the King of Yard Sales) had given me several rolls of pennies that he had stockpiled for his next sale. Until I learned the truth.

The truth was that one of the girls who was competing had a Dad who owned a convenience store. The other contestants and I found this highly unfair for two reasons. The first being that any kid lucky enough to have a convenience store in her family was already royalty. Why, in our minds, she was being greedy by even entering the contest when she lived such a plush life. We imagined that she went to the store every day after school and picked out any snack that she wanted - or maybe even dozens of snacks. In imagination bubbles over our heads, we could see her smirking with her mouth under the cherry ICEE dispenser and eating bags of chips for dinner without her parents even caring.

And in the interest of full disclosure: Since she was the girl with such luck, even though we were jealous, we still all wanted to be her friends. Oh yes, before we are old enough to seek status, we seek snacks. The only time that her position in society wavered was during the Summer when an equally royal kid's family uncovered the neighborhood's only backyard swimming pool for the season.

The second reason that we cried foul? A giant pickle jar. Her Dad placed an enormous pickle jar on the counter next to the cash register with a photo of his daughter, encouraging customers to put their spare pennies in. And they sure did. Her Dad even had to replace the jar at one point. Up, up, up it filled. And as it did, the hopes of the rest of the young female contestants went down, down, down. I also remember some of the parents talking about how wrong it was because none of the other kids were lucky enough to have such a windfall opportunity as a pickle jar with their photo on it.

In the end, I don't remember most of us girls walking up on that stage thinking that we stood a chance. I wish that I could come in now with a heroic beating-the-odds ending to this story where the little people without giant pickle jars and thousands of snack selections prevailed - but alas, she swept the contest. I'm pretty sure that I learned something about connections that day but was still too young to fully understand.

And I didn't care because I still got this sweet consolation trophy.

And I also got to wear the awesome dress that my Mom made for me. It was actually a repeat selection from my Uncle's wedding the previous year. Here's a shot of me wearing it with my Dad in his killer ruffled tuxedo shirt circa 1977.

And wow, I still haven't changed my hair to this very day.

I can't even remember who won King that day and I haven't heard anything about the Valentine Queen in many years. I'm going to have to do what our generation does and look her up on Facebook to see how her life turned out. My guess is that she inherited the convenience store and also has a swimming pool, and most likely doesn't even remember the contest. And unlike me, she can probably look at a penny without thinking about how many more it might take to fill a giant pickle jar to the top.

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

Friday, February 3, 2012

Danny and Annie

If you're a big NPR listener like I am, then you've probably heard the StoryCorps project recordings. And if you're just like me, you've sat in your car crying because they're so damned touching. Here is a description of their mission from the Story Corps website:

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.

As you may know by now, I'm kind of obsessed with learning the stories of people. People that I know and complete strangers, some of which I'll never get to meet. I could listen to them for days and never grow weary. Believe me when I say that all people - no matter who we are - just want someone to listen. Taking the time to ask someone about themselves and their stories is one of the most loving gifts that you can ever give.

I couldn't help but include the following StoryCorps story in my Valentine's Day posts because it's a real tear jerker - and contains some serious food for thought.

It's an animation done by the Rauch Brothers set to the story of Danny and Annie Perasa who were married for twenty seven years until he passed away with pancreatic cancer. The way that Danny spoke of and showed his love for Annie was just beautiful. See what I mean:

Pretty sweet, huh? Yes, I've got my ugly cry going on over here!

It seems that lots of times in life, we get too caught up in the notion of the depictions of love that one would find in a bodice-ripper romance novel or in the movies. Or the flowery kind that goes on line after line in Hallmark cards even though most of us would never come up with those exact words on our own. And it's easy to feel sad when our lives don't seem to match up to all of that. But in the end, love is more about how we weather the storms together and how we work to help each other along. When Danny talked about how Annie would tell him to put his hands on her shoulders each morning - that's love, you see.



If you're interested in sharing your own story or those of family members, neighbors or friends, go here to see when the StoryCorps booth will be in your town or how to rent equipment to record your own story for inclusion. And Nashville peeps, they're coming here in the Spring and those dates are at that link as well. To listen to more stories, go here.

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Burn my clothes, but hurry up!

When my Grandfather passed, my Dad gave me a box of his papers. There were all sorts of things in there from old pay stubs to report cards from when my Dad was a kid. There were also some old photos like this one of my Grandfather from a photo booth when he was young:

There were many photos of him dressed up in dapper suits and posing with different lovely ladies. I have no doubt that he was popular with the girls with his wavy hair and startling ice blue eyes.

And those white buck shoes!

Also in the box were several printed postcards with funny sayings on them. I thought that this one from 1926 might be fitting for Valentine's Day time. I like to imagine that one of his love interests gave it to him or that he kept these in his pocket to make the girls giggle:

Feel free to use any of these lines on your own Valentine's cards this year - especially the ones about hooch and burning clothes. I have a feeling that those sentiments span the decades and are always relevant to young lovers, wherever you are.

The slang here reminds me of one of the best songs ever by the amazing Betty Hutton:

Until next time,
x's and o's (and applesauce),

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fourteen Days of L-O-V-E

And now it's February. The pretty heart shaped chocolates are stockpiled on store shelves. Every other commercial aims to make men think that they're complete jerks if they don't buy jewelry for that special someone. The freak radiation experiment sized teddy bears and monkeys wearing red satin boxer shorts have been in stores for at least two months now. Ah...love. Ain't it grand?

In honor of the holiday, I'm going to challenge myself to do a post a day until Valentine's Day about what I feel is in some way related to love, romance or Valentine's Day. Just to get this party kicked off and to show you that it won't be all lovey dovey hearts and flowers, today's post is a photo of my Great Uncle Rufus and two ladies who I can not identify.

It just screams Valentine's Day to me. I'd love to be able to know what they were each thinking at the exact moment this photo was snapped. I didn't go to prom but I imagine that my face would have been like the lady's on the far right if I had:

"I put on control-top pantyhose for this?"

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