Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poke Salat

We've been having a typical Spring in the Ozarks, cool and rainy with just a few nice days a week sprinkled in to give you "Spring Fever!" The kind of weather that makes you want to get outside for a nice walk. If you take that stroll in the countryside, you might just see some Dogwood blooms....

Or a Redbud tree showing off!

But if you venture a little farther into the woods, you will find even more treasures!

Every Spring my parents would excitedly plan a trip to the April woods in search for what Daddy called "Indian pokeweed." He had been taught by Grandma Risley, who was half Cherokee of it's medicinal qualities. The shoots are pale green and succulent, often near a fencerow or where there used to be an old homeplace. The Indian poke comes when the morels are growing, when the violets are in bloom and Mayapples are coming up. All through the summer the plants grow tall until June when small greenish white flowers appear, followed by small flat green buttons of berries. The summer days soon make the berries fat, large as a pea and they turn dark purple, almost black. Poisonous to humans, the birds love the berries and eat their fill, only to "broadcast" the seeds later across the fields for next summer! Viewed as a weed by many,Southerners have long recognized its value as a green vegetable!

The Allen Canning Company of Siloam Springs, Arkansas once canned and sold poke, but abandoned it in the spring of 2000. They just couldn’t find enough people to harvest it in quantities to make it worth the bother.

Anti-AIDS drug? In recent times, poke has been found helpful in the treatment of diseases related to a compromised immune system. Even more amazing, new research has revealed that it contains a possible cure for Pediatric Leukemia. The Pokeweed Antiviral Protein, properly administered, kills leukemia cells! In one study, 15 out of 18 participating children attained remission. Studies continue.

Poke Trivia
Poke comes from the Algonquian Indian word "pakon" or "puccoon," referring to a dye plant used for staining.
Poke is sometimes spelled polk. The leaves were reportedly worn by enthusiastic supporters during the campaign of James K. Polk, 11th president of the United States.
Poke contains vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and phosphorus.
Poke contains steroids that resemble cortisone, making it a helpful treatment for skin conditions like psoriases, acne, and fungal infections.
The song Polk Salad Annie by Tony Joe White was later covered by Elvis Presley.
During the War Between the States, soldiers fashioned quills from feathers and used ripe pokeberry juice for ink. Some of these letters can be found in museums today, as legible as they were on the day Sherman burned Atlanta.

I'm including a recipe for Poke Salat (Salad), a springtime dish served in the Ozarks. My parents knew just where the plants grew on the farm and would gather up a "mess" to have with fried fish. There are warnings to take into account if you are going to cook the greens fresh. Consumed raw, poke salad will make you sick as a dog. The stuff that makes you sick is concentrated in the root, stems, and the veins of larger leaves. Mom would only pick the small leaves from a plant no more than knee high. So how does it taste? Some people compare it to asparagus. It's more like spinach I think, but it's a "acquired taste"

Traditional Southern Recipe
· Begin with a “mess” of poke salad: enough leaves to fill a plastic grocery bag.
· Wash and rinse the leaves.
· Add to cook pot and bring to boil. As soon as it’s boiling, drain and refill with water. Do this two more times.
· After boiling and draining three times, squeeze out the excess water.
· Add bacon grease to a skillet on medium heat. Saute in pan just to heat through.
· Salt to taste.
· Optional: cook with a half cup of chopped onions and bacon or country ham.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Could it be the Pickles?

I don't know why I'm dreaming so vividly lately, but last night was even stranger than the Mexican Bathroom Dream! It involved jousting (I had to look up the spelling of that word since it's not one I use a lot) and house hunting. First off, let me tell you I'm not eating pickles at bedtime. I love pickles and they are a part of my lunch almost every day, dills or bread and butter, sour or sweet...I love them all! Mom used to warn me that my late night snacking would cause nightmares so I stick to foods like popcorn or fruit...
no nightmares so far with those.

We watch HGTV's House Hunters so that may be the reason that I incorporated house hunting into my dream. Love the ones where they are looking for a vacation home and that's just what we were doing in my dream. We looked at one that was still occupied and the couple had a little boy. They were arguing and he takes the little boy and leaves suddenly. Then when we go outside they are on this huge black horse in full jousting gear. As the horse takes off in full gallop I am worrying about the little boy falling off. What does this one mean???

I think I'm gonna give up pickles...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Porch Sittin' List

It'a almost time, the days are getting warmer and soon the weather will be perfect for porch sittin'. In some parts of the country, you're lucky enough to leave your outdoor furniture out year round; anytime you desire a "sit-down" they are ready and waiting!

So, in celebration of the season, here’s a list of the 5 things I consider musts to make your porch look welcoming!

Rocking Chairs...Sure, lots of folks have a porch swing or wicker chairs, but nothing says "Come and sit a spell" like a pair of relaxing rocking chairs. Can you even pass by the rockers at The Cracker Barrel without sitting down? Of course not! Add a little table between the chairs for your glasses of iced tea!

Sweet tea...Nothing beats iced tea in the hot summertime. Brew your own or buy it at the grocery store in gallon jugs. A few fresh lemon slices and ice cubes and you have the perfect drink for a lazy afternoon!

Flowers...They add that old fashioned "Grandma's porch" feel. Pots of favorites like red geraniums, begonias or lush green ferns add so much. If you have a rail along the porch, add some flower boxes for a cottage look.

Porch blinds...If you live close to neighbors, a porch blind can give you some privacy. Or maybe the sun makes the porch too hot late in the afternoon, Lowe's and Home Depot carry blinds in all colors, even bamboo for a natural look.

Neighbors/Friends...After you make your space comfy, invite some neighbors or friends for an impromtu visit. No need for invitations, just wave at them as they walk by or you see them out in the yard and say...

"Hey neighbor, come and sit a spell!"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stupid is as stupid does...

Forrest Gump said this on several occasions in the movie when people asked him, "Are you stupid or something?" He always replied, "Stupid is as stupid does. ... Well, last week I did a very stupid thing. Not the first time I've done something stupid, and I'm sure it won't be the last. I lost a checkbook...with checks. The worst part, it was my Mom's Trust account that I am responsible for. After I realized it was gone I was in the biggest panic of my life backtracking the days in my mind. Hard thing to do since I don't have much of a mind anymore.

I searched everywhere, the desk, files that I had used recently, behind the computer, my purse about a zillion times, the kitchen area near the phone where I dump things to be filed later. No luck. Then the car. You go backwards, thinking "Oh I remember my purse flipping off the seat when I had to stop quickly the other day." But it wasn't there either. After Hubby came home we searched his truck thoroughly but it was useless, that checkbook was GONE. I called the bank and they said to come in the next day.

That night I had the worst nightmare. Hubby and I were on vacation in Mexico. I had to use the restroom and when I went inside the floors were dirt. All of the stalls were full but there was a little lady standing beside two convalescent potties(the kind that are bedside in hospitals). She turned one toward me and said in broken Spanish "Go ahead, take this one." The other she was "adjusting" screws on the legs for her own use. Let me say again...this is a dream and it's getting pretty weird!!! OK, I'm perched over the pottie and then her husband is suddenly in the room with us! Strange, but I am in another country so I don't say what I'm thinking which is "What the heck are you doing in here?" Then they start making chit chat with me. I then get my purse, which I have hung on a nail on the wall and start to walk out. All of a sudden I realize my purse weighs nothing! I look inside and my wallet is GONE! I turn around and there they sit at a table (in the restroom)going through my cash and credit cards with big smile on their faces!!! The guy has my husband's Iphone and is playing with it. I demand they give it back and start yelling for the Police. They calmly tell me that it's a holiday so the Police aren't working and take off with my things. That was the end of the dream/nightmare. I was so glad to wake up!

First thing the next morning I went to the bank and Thank God, nothing was missing, no activity on the account other than the few checks I write each month for her care. They simply put a stop on the remaining checks in that checkbook.

Why am I sharing this very personal shortcoming? Just want to tell you be careful. We are all in a big rush anymore, going a million different directions in a day's time. If I had put the checkbook back immediately after getting home this wouldn't have happened.

Stupid CAN be cured after all!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Allergies bad?

For the past two weeks I’ve been blowing my nose, coughing my head off and trying to stay inside away from all of the Oak pollen. We live right smack dab in the middle of a forest with nearly every kind of Oak tree known to mankind all around us. All winter we've been holed up with one snow after another, now it's beautiful outside and I still can't go out. Arrrrg!

I can tell I'm getting better, I'm not blowing all the time. I’ve moved onto the dry cough that hits me as soon as I lay down and try to go to sleep. I've been taking Zyrtec and for the most part it keeps me going during the day. At least it doesn't make me into a walking Zombie like most antihistamines.

Arkansas folklore says that locally made honey is a good natural choice to build up your immune system. Growing up, my parents used natural alternatives when they could to improve our health. I can remember Mom stirring up lemon juice, honey and water for a hot drink when we had colds. They had learned from their parents remedies that worked and were passing it along to the next generation. I'm glad that doctors now recognize the benefits of many foods and share with us that we can improve our health simply by eating the right foods and drinking a glass of wine. Isn't it great that chocolate is now good for us???

I thought you'd like to see some Ozark home remedies for ailments. The ones with the asterisk beside them, our family actually practiced when I was a kid in the 1950's! Some of these go way back and I doubt if they really did help much. But others we now read about in health articles!

Cod Liver Oil helps the stomach with issues of constipation.
*Gargle Salt Water to help a sore throat.
Ginseng is an ole’ timers’ remedy just to keep you feeling good
*Sassafras Tea should be drunk every spring for good health. It boosts the immune system.
*Sunburns can be eased by rubbing thin disc of Cucumber on the burn.
*Bathing in Baking Soda helps poison ivy.
Crisco and Lard can be used as a moisturizer for dry skin.
*Raisins left to soak in Vodka for a few days helps arthritis
Elderberry Wine lowers cholesterol
Bar of Lye Soap under the sheets at the bottom of the bed relieves body aches and pains
Castor Oil for upset stomach
Yellow Pacunne was used for the eyes
*Mullen Tea can help ease cold symptoms
*Vinegar and Honey will prevent and fight infection
Milk and Honey helps head colds
Fennel was taken for pain before Tylenol
Sulfur was taken for persistent colds
*Lemon Juice, Sugar, and Honey are mixed and drank to help with colds and congestion
Mustard Poultice was used by the Ole’ Timers
A thick slice of Potato can be placed on a boil to draw it out
The juice from a Cactus Root also helps on boils or a risen
*Aloe Vera Plant Juice can be applied to burns
*Peppermint Plant which can be found growing around springs helps relieve indigestion
*Garlic helps reduce blood pressure
*Epsom Salt baths help with arthritis and sprains
Willow Bark Tea was used as a pain reliever
Flaxseed was smooth and soft and could be used to get things out of your eye
*Flaxseed can also be ingested to help with constipation (I still buy Uncle Sam's Cereal)
Mineral Oil helps the bowels
*Mineral Oil can also be used to help an earache
Smoke can be blown into the ears to help with an earache.
*Chamomile Tea is a relaxant and helps with headaches and insomnia
Catnip Tea was given to babies as soon as possible after birth to prevent and help with colic

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Amy!

Today is our youngest daughter Amy's birthday,
Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Passing on the Superhighway

We were riding along in the car Saturday, with only small amounts of conversation. You know the scenario, radio on, wife making an effort for small talk, husband replying with "hmm, or yeah, or ok." One word replies. The ride over to my in-laws is about a 20 minute drive, not long enough to discuss anything of depth, but after all it was Saturday and the work week was over, weekend fun should be happening about right now but it wasn't.

I told my husband,

"If this was a first date, it wouldn't be going well!"

I think that kind of woke him up to the fact that I needed a little attention. A little pat of consideration and effort. We've been married 40 years and we're about as comfortable as we can get with each other. We can finish each others' sentences but hey, I don't want to do that. I want him to talk without me having to talk. Does that make any sense? I'm betting you are nodding your head yes!

Dr. Luan Brizendine of the University of California, who's published her findings in "The Female Brain," says the average woman works her way through 20,000 words per day, compared with just 7,000 for the average man. Women also speak more quickly, devote more brainpower to chit-chat - and actually get a buzz out of hearing their own voices! Just the simple act of talking triggers a flood of brain chemicals which give women a rush similar to that felt by heroin addicts when they get a high.

"Women have an 8 lane superhighway for processing emotion, while men have a small country road!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Goldilocks Weather

We have a small time window in Arkansas when the weather allows us to not use heat or air conditioning. It's perfect weather, neither hot or cold, just right... Goldilocks Weather! Our Spring is cool with nights even down into the 30's so planting anything is "iffish" until the last of April. But we do, every year, and every year things get frostbit unless we cover up our gardens like children in the bed. Some people use old quilts or sheets, plastic milk jugs for tomato plants or ready made poly fleece bags out of recycled materials that will protect your plants. Gardeners all over the Ozarks are biding their time, watching the weather and waiting for that perfect time to put out tender seedlings.

The deer on Granny Mountain can't wait to see what kind of "fool-proof" deer deterrent we've bought for this year. Some of the ones we've tried...with little success.

Scented soap: Shave a few bars of strongly-scented soap (such Irish Spring or Cashmere Bouquet) and scatter the shavings around the garden. I think the deer wonder why we aren't putting a shower in for them since we are supplying the soap...

Human hair: Available from barber shops, human hair can be sprinkled around or hung from branches in cheesecloth bags or nylon stockings. Ben, the King (our furry Cocker Spaniel) provides plenty of this...

Predator urine: You can order predator urine sprays (such as fox or coyote), and some gardeners send meat-eating humans outdoors to “mark the territory,” too. Suffice it to say that we've even resorted to this...

Eggs: Mix a beaten egg into a quart of water and spray plants and surrounding areas.Tried this last summer, the deer weren't bothered by the putrid smell of rotten eggs but it ruined my time downwind on the patio!

Baby powder: Sprinkle on or around plants. Haven't tried this one. Will let you know if it works...

Scented fabric softener sheets: Cut into strips and tie to branches or fence posts. We did this for flies and it did help, just didn't work on the deer.

Blood meal: Sprinkle around plants or beds. I use this on my tulips and they ate them down to the ground...I'd say this one definitely doesn't work.

Hot pepper powder or sauce: Spray or sprinkle directly on or around plants. Some gardeners add garlic or curry powder, too. We made this mixture to keep the baby squirrels from chewing on our new decks the first summer. All it did was give them a hankering for Thai food!

Commercial repellent sprays or granules: Available at garden centers, commercial repellents often contain a combination of unpleasant smells and flavors. These work if you have unlimited funds, there's the catch...

Bamboo fountains: Originally designed as “deer chasers” for Japanese gardens, bamboo fountains make a knocking sound when the water dumps out, which serves as a great auditory deterrent. I like this idea, we'll give this a try this summer!

Metal cans or pie pans: Hang in groups where they will reflect light and rattle in a breeze. Great idea, I bet our neighbors will all be jealous and rush out to buy several Mrs. Smith's pies so that they can be copycats!

Dogs: Dogs are great garden protectors if you can keep them safely contained (and if they don’t add to the problem by digging up your garden! After 5 summers, Ben just lays on the driveway...too many deer to chase off.

Trail blocks: Once you’ve located common deer trails, even a wheelbarrow blocking the path can deter them for a day or two. Deer are habitual animals, and they’ll steer clear of an obstacle until they’re sure it’s safe. We built a fence last year to block their favorite path, they love how it made their habitat more "homey" and have eaten all but one of the 5 rose bushes we planted.

Plant netting: Green bird or plant netting can be used to protect shrubs and trees and can be used as row covers for veggie gardens. Drape it directly over the plants or on a simple wood or PVC frame. If you have acreage like us, it's just not practical to drape everything. If I started now I might be finished by the time the first flake of snow fell this winter!

If you have an idea that works...
please share it with all of us who battle the deer!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

America's Got Talent~1944

My sister-in-law sent this great video last week. This sister act from 1944 is amazing!

Have a great weekend....

(Scroll down to the bottom of the blog and turn OFF the Playlist to hear the audio on this YouTube video)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saving Soap

I can always depend on my daughter Stephanie to post the unusual,
the weird, the right in your face, this is my life stuff on Facebook!

Urban Word of the Day~Soap grafting
The act of attaching an almost completely used piece of soap to a new, unused piece because it is now too small to be conveniently used but you also don't want to waste it.

Use in a sentence...
My mum always soap grafts because she doesn't want to waste anything. Soap grafting is good.

(Slowly, without her even noticing, she is turning into me. I have seen her washing out Ziploc bags, wiping off foil...saving soap slivers is next!)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Therapy Session~8 AM

Faerwillow's profile over at Serendipity says
"If i could use one word to describe my life SERENDIPITY seems to fit the space...i stumbled upon my husband during a time i shouldn't have and my story goes on from there...constantly falling or stumbling upon remarkable gifts and people who bring fortune to our lives...when we fall we learn and strive toward the next step."

She is a free spirit who posts insightful poetry, amazing photography and unique art projects. One of the reasons I love her blog is her perception of life events. She shares a lot, the things we often keep deep within us. I often think of blogging as "Free Therapy," and with Serendipity I come away renewed and inspired. She posted this recently and I was a little surprised that an Internet test can reveal so much about little ol' me...

What Tree Did You Fall From?
Find your birthday and its corresponding tree.
Then, see the meaning behind it below.

Do you recognize yourself?

I'm an Elm Tree!

ELM TREE (the Noble-mindedness) - pleasant shape(round is pleasant!), tasteful clothes, modest demands(only the best!), tends not to forgive mistakes(oh dear~how can they know this?), cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey(bossy~me?), honest and faithful partner(to the ends of the Earth!), likes making decisions for others(yes I do!), noble-minded, generous(to a fault!), good sense of humor(a little warped some might say), practical(I do know how to be practical~I just don't practice it often!).

Drop by Serendipity for a visit and tell Faerwillow I said Hello!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Ken!

Today is our SON~in~law's birthday...
Hope you have a great Birthday Ken!

(Scroll down to the Playlist and turn OFF so that you can hear this funny YouTube greeting!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Letter sent up...

If you could write a letter to someone you miss greatly, what would that letter say? My Aunt Joy would have been 86 tomorrow. She was a great influence in many lives, not just mine. She was a good wife and Mother, a doting Grandmother and Aunt, a caregiving Daughter, lifelong friend to many and a devoted Christian. If I could, and if mail was delivered in Heaven I'd send her a letter...
Dear Aunt Joy,

Just a few lines this morning to let you know I'm thinking of you! I can imagine you have been busy since you've arrived in Heaven planting flowers and tending a garden that is free of bugs and weeds! I know how much you loved your garden and putting up the fresh vegetables for your family.

Being at your house was one of my favorite things. From the moment we stepped in the door, you and Daddy would talk non-stop! I now know that's a family trait and I have inherited it big time. I loved when summer vacation rolled around and I would get to spend a whole week at your house. The farm was so different from city life. Besides having my cousins to play with, there were a million things to do. From morning till night the day was busy for you, but I never heard you complain. Now I realize the hard work that it took to care for Grandma, she was in your household from the very start. You shared your marriage, your children and your life with her. When Uncle Wayne would go to work at 4AM you started your day, made his breakfast and his lunch. Then with kids off to school you'd feed chickens, tend a big garden, deliver eggs to customers, check on elderly relatives and come shortcuts there! Always meat and potatoes, vegetables from the garden, hot cornbread or biscuits and dessert. All that hard work was rewarded with a lifetime of living the life many dream of but never achieve. While feeding the chickens you saw the devotion of a mother hen to her chicks. While tending the garden you enjoyed the glorious sunshine and heard the birds singing. You stole many moments of prayer as you counted your blessings. There was abundance in your life; plenty of food, family all around you and your faith made you strong enough to face whatever life delivered.

So even though I'm missing you this morning, I have memories galore! I see you when I make your sugar cookies or when I plant spring flowers. I think of you when our family gathers at the table over the holidays. I can hear your wise words when I have to make hard decisions. And I think of you most often when I see a kindness in the world, when someone shares their life and their talents just because it's the right thing to do.

Love you,
Joy Colleen

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reaching Goals

I count my blessings on a daily basis, too many to count in "one sitting." By that I mean we have a full plate of blessings and only a small serving of worries! Open your eyes and you don't have to look very hard to see others struggling with health problems, financial difficulties or relationship issues. Since December, a hometown friend has been in the hospital after a fall on ice turned his world upside down. Many, many days of not knowing if he was going to make it. Many prayers sent up, no one gave up. He just made progress by putting one foot in front of the other. One day one step backwards, the next day two steps forward. He came home last week after almost 100 days! He still has a lot of rehabilitation ahead of him. Hard work coming back after life knocks you down and out.

It's all about balance in life. If we have too few aims and ambitions, we end up just drifting through life, doing whatever seems easiest. But if we have too many goals and aspirations, we get discouraged. It's human nature to feel as if we aren't making progress fast enough. Sometimes what seems to be that unattainable goal, you've already found!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The American Dream

I read recently of a plan to restore Civil War-era vegetation to Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park's Heritage Garden. Master Gardener Kendra Mattal was online searching for heirloom seeds for the project when she "met" Jere Gettle. In just a few days, 100 varieties of heirloom seeds arrived on her doorstep! The donation was much appreciated and now the seedlings are up and ready to be planted. The garden is being planted behind "Latta House" (a log cabin that was built in 1834) with heritage varieties like Grandfather Kurtz Cowhorn okra, Lincoln peas, Hollow Crown parsnip and Tom Thumb lettuce and heirloom herbs like licorice basil, lemon basil, cinnamon basil and lettuce leaf basil. Old-fashioned hollyhocks, foxglove, poppies as well as flowering cotton and tobacco plants will be placed in flowerbeds around the two story log cabin. There will be some maintenance required with this garden. There was no Roundup back in Civil War time, weeds will have to be pulled! The project will be a step back in time so that we can appreciate how our ancestors lived!

So many people want to get back to the basics and learn how their Grandparents made it through tight times. As the old saying goes, what goes around comes around. Families are coming full circle and getting their hands dirty in the garden again! One of the most unique catalogs I receive is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Located in South Central Missouri near Mansfield, Baker Creek is not your ordinary type of farming business. The Gettle family started the company in 1997 and devoted themselves to preservation of old-time heirloom varieties that have practically disappeared. The unusual seeds are gathered from around the world. The Baker Seed Store is part of a dream that the Gettle's have brought to fruition.

The Gettle's own and operate "Bakersville" at Mansfield, Missouri. An Old Time Mercantile Store, Herbal Apothecary, Bakery, Garden Museum, Blacksmith Shop, Music Halls and Western Jail are there for customers to enjoy while they shop for plants and seeds. They supply free seeds to many of the world's poorest countries, as well as locally in school gardens and other educational projects. An American company with a conscience, I like that!

*Visit Baker Creek Seeds at their website HERE

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Flip Flop Weather

My favorite time of the year has arrived! The day I put away socks and put on my Zorries, my flip flops, my thongs (not to be confused with the strip of cloth that some women now call "panties").

There's a multitude of styles to choose from......

These would be appropriate for our fishing trips!

Perfect for the days you need a little more of a shoe, then back to flip flops!

I love going barefoot too. Don't you love choices?

Friday, April 9, 2010

People Watching

I come from a long line of observers. People who like to "People Watch." Don't pretend you've never done it, we all do it. We do it in every country; in restaurants, at fairs, while we are setting in doctors offices or even when we are at a stoplight. Whether we have time for a long look or a peek, we are all inherently people watchers. We study the way a person looks, their clothes, how they walk, or talk or laugh. And now people watching comes in new and improved forms.

Now we can people watch in the privacy of our own homes with even more details, more clarity.

Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have opened a whole new way to stare at our friends, neighbors and acquaintances without being rude. We know better, Mom told us to never stare. But we just can't help it. Inquiring minds want to know!

On the new social networks it's OK to stare. We can flit around like a social butterfly and never make eye contact. I have touched base with lost friends, 3rd cousins and friends of friends that I wonder, "Now how do I know them?" I can keep up with birthdays that I might have missed, see who went where over the weekend and even take a mini vacation by looking at my neighbors trip to the Bahamas...all in my pj's from my computer chair. I find out about causes and trends, movements and everyday activities. I can go from blah to inspired just by reading a few posts. The world just keeps getting bigger but we still crave each others friendship. Sharing our lives is more complicated than ever, yet it can now be done with a few clicks on our computers. Not the same as setting down for a good visit, but it will have to do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

World's Largest Chicken Fried Steak

I lurk around Twitter when I have spare time. It's one of those sites, at least for me, that sucks me in and pulls me under for a LONG time. The sites I follow are mostly foodie, news and of course friends and family. The best thing about Twitter is that it's very much like a newspaper, giving me quick info and current trends. I love current trends, what's going on, new to the eye stuff.

There was a "tweet" for a new restaurant that boasted the World's Largest Chicken Fried Steak, Cowtown Diner in Fort Worth, Texas. Deep fried and covered in cream gravy, it weighs 10 pounds and packs a whopping 10,000 calories! Who would order such a big meal? Well about 15 orders a month prove it’s a popular item on the menu! Served with family size mashed potatoes, salad and 10 slabs of Texas toast, families share the meal and take some home. College students go together and buy the huge steak that costs $70. The good news is that if you can eat it all by yourself, the meal is FREE! So far, no one has tried to do that. It takes 45 minutes to prepare so you have to order it 24 hours in advance. Served on a pizza pan, the waitresses parade through the restaurant ringing cowbells! Yee-haw!

I always tell Hubby that in Monday morning meetings all across America, companies are deciding what's the next best thing. Restaurants have to continually come up with a twist on the old stand-by's. If they can't come up with new, then they just come up with BIGGER...and in Texas, bigger sells!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Doing nothing...

Hubby took off a couple days last week to work in the yard. We've been adding mulch to all of the flower beds and cleaning up after a long winter. There are leaves to blow, brush to clear and limbs that need to be picked up and added to the firepit stash. We are both looking forward to that day when he retires and we can plan our days around us rather than the 48 short hours in a weekend.

Retirement for some means a busier lifestyle than ever filled to the brim with all of the things you've been waiting to do. We don't have any big plans for retirement. We will travel some, but neither one of us wants a second residence, we love where we live. Hubby golfs occasionally but it's not an obsession. We both love the lake, fishing or just hanging out. There's a mindset to American life that tells us that unless we are busy 24/7, we're not productive human beings... 'Don't just sit there, do something!' Tension and stress are just ongoing facts in most peoples' lives.

I can honestly say our favorite thing to do is "nothing." I'm a little hesitant to admit that out loud, but it's the truth. Before you do anything else today, try not doing anything at all. Give yourself permission to sit down and be still enough that you can hear the clock ticking, or a bee buzzing or the kids playing outside. It's an old-fashioned stress reliever and it doesn't cost a thing!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gathering up Rocks?

Did you ever make a "Mountain out of a Molehill?" We are a typical family who gets their "nose out of joint" from time to time. It's not exactly a mountain that poses the problem; it's the molehills that are the nuisance. It's the little things that "add up," the things that you keep to yourself and then one day the list gets too long and blow up!

I do think it's more our personality than anything else, it's not the moon in it's rotation that makes us a little crazy from time to time. If we lean toward being sensitive, or if we have insecurities that plague our daily life (who doesn't have these???) then we can't help but get a little upside down every once in a while.
My bad days often start out like good days. I charge off to do errands, pay bills and everything else on my list. Along the way I start GATHERING UP ROCKS.
Aunt B. recently named this syndrome. We all do it without even knowing we are doing it. What I mean is that I'm gathering up worries as I make each stop. The cost of living at the grocery store, health worries when I visit Mom at Windcrest, thinking all the while what is left undone at home waiting for me. Then I walk in the door at 5pm with bags of groceries to unpack, dinner to cook and all of the worries swirling around in my head. All it takes is one more rock to make me crack! You know what I mean, Hubby sits down and turns the TV on and all of a sudden you are mad at HIM! Did he cause any of just sit down in his recliner after a hard day! It's funny as I write this, if my daughters are reading this post they will no doubt identify with the feeling. The point is we all have stress. It's the "gathering up rocks" that eventually breaks you, the load gets too heavy.
Take a breath and put down that sack of worries!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pretty in Pink

When we lived on Summit Street in the 1960’s, a pink refrigerator set proudly in my Mom’s kitchen. As proud as I am of my all stainless steel appliances, Mom loved her pink ones. Even the countertop had pink and aqua flecks in the Formica!

Back then, it was a whole world of pink thanks to Mamie Eisenhower. The trend reached it's peak from 1953-1961 when First Lady Mamie chose a pink gown with 2000 pink rhinestones for Ike's Inauguration. Their private quarters at the White House were redecorated in pink, Mamie's favorite. Her bathroom at Gettysburg was pink down to the cotton balls and American women wanted it for their homes too!

When we watch HGTV's "My First Place," the couples are often looking at older homes from that era. Affordable because they need practically everything from new furnace to roof, the kitchens are like a glimpse of my childhood! If a remodeling hasn't taken place in these homes, you see what I remember of that house in Springfield; linoleum floors, flowery wallpaper and Formica countertops edged in steel. Some things, like shag carpeting or paneling date a house terribly. But often when they see the kitchen with it's retro styling and charm from yesteryear, they actually like it. One thing for sure, you will have a one of a kind kitchen that few can duplicate!

Our bathroom wasn't near this fancy, but the sink and tub were also pink with aqua tile accents! I remember the monogramed towels that we weren't allowed to use...EVER!

What do you remember from your childhood kitchen?

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