Month: November 2010

  • Ha! I thought this was hilarious! ;^p

    Thanks to my sister, Elaine, for sending it to me:

    Dear Family & Friends,   

     I know that you were eager to accept our family's invitation to Thanksgiving dinner when you found out that the famous Martha Stewart would be joining us.  However, due to scheduling conflicts beyond her control, Ms. Stewart finds that she is unable to grace our table this year.  With that in mind, there will be a few minor changes regarding the meal and decor, as outlined below.  Please be aware of them, and adjust your appetite and dress appropriately. 

    Thank you 

    1) Our driveway will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries.  After several trial runs and two visits from the fire department, it was decided that, no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect. 

    2) Once inside, please note that the entry space will not be decorated with swags of Indian corn and fall foliage.  Instead, we included our dog in decorating by having him track in colorful autumn leaves from the back yard. The mud was his idea. 

    3) The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china, or crystal goblets.  If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork.  Since this is Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the paper SpongeBob dinner plates, the leftover Halloween napkins, and our plastic cup collection. 

    4) Our centerpiece will not be a tower of fresh fruit and flowers.  Instead we will be proudly displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand-crafted from the finest construction paper and pine cones.  The artist assures me it is a turkey, albeit one without wings, legs, or a beak. 

    5) We will be dining somewhat later than planned.  However, our daughter will entertain you while you wait.  I'm sure she will be happy to share every choice comment her mother made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims, stuffing choices, the turkey hotline, and, especially, her husband.  Please remember that most of these comments were made at 7:00AM upon discovering that said husband had only remembered to pull the turkey from the freezer at 6:00 AM, and that the thing was still hard enough to cut diamonds. 

    6) As an accompaniment to our daughter's recital of these events, I will play a recording of Native American tribal drumming.  Curiously, the tribal drumming sounds a great deal like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, but that only enhances the holiday appropriateness.  If our daughter should mention that we don't own a recording of Native American tribal drumming, ignore her.  She's only nine; what does she know? 

    7) A dainty silver bell will not be rung to announce the start of our feast.  We have chosen to keep our traditional method of assembling when the smoke alarm goes off. 

    8) There will be no formal seating arrangement.  When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like.  In the spirit of harmony, we will ask all the children to sit at a separate table.  In a separate room.  Next door.  And I would like to take this opportunity to remind our younger diners that "passing the rolls" is neither a football play nor an excuse to bean your cousin in the head with bread. 

    9) The turkey will not be carved at the table.  I know you have seen the Norman Rockwell image of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers.  Such a scene may occur somewhere in America , but it won't be happening at our dinner table.  For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in the kitchen at a private ceremony.  I stress "private", meaning Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me.  Do not send small, unsuspecting children or older, helpful grandparents into the kitchen to check on my progress.  I have a very large, very sharp knife.  The turkey is unarmed.  It stands to reason that I will eventually win the battle.  When I do, we will eat. 

    10)    For the duration of the meal, we will refer to the gravy by its lesser-known name: Kraft Cheese Sauce.  If a young diner questions you regarding the origins or makeup of the Kraft Cheese Sauce, smile kindly and say that you know the answer, but it's a secret that can't be revealed to them until they are 18. 

    11)    Instead of offering a choice among 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and dog tongue marks.   You still have a choice: take it or leave it. 

    That concludes our list of alterations.  Again, I apologize that Martha will not be joining us this year.  Come to think of it, she probably won't come next year, either. 



  • What is so hard about making hot dogs buns, huh?

    Yes, it's a picayune topic, but I am frustrated with the dry buns - both hot dog and hamburger - packaged under Target's Market Pantry label.  I'll determinedly dig to find the freshest available date but it doesn't appear to make any difference would think the buns are two weeks old.  This afternoon I decided to treat myself to a chili dog, and what a messy affair that turned out to be, as the bun was so dry it literally broke into pieces as I ate it.

    As long as I'm talking about food, let me recommend a couple of liquid coffee creamers, for those who like that sort of thing:  International Delight's Marshmallow Mocha, and the same company's Dark Chocolate Cream Breve Creamer.  Either alone are great, but for a really sumptuous cup of coffee, combine them.  Yum!  silly

  • Okay, I didn't go to the game, but Alex and Beth and the girls came over. ;^)

    Alex had already packed up their van with his nifty portable gas grill and hot dogs, etc., so I graciously permitted them to come on over and cook for me.  silly

    Grilled hot dogs with sauerkraut!  Seriously delish.

    It's been awhile since I've seen darling Lillian, and she has changed so much in the intervening weeks!  She has an elfin look that is enchanting, bless her heart.  I still haven't been able to have both Brielle (born last January) and Lillian (born in August) together, but hopefully this much-anticipated event will occur at Thanksgiving.

    Hannah Handful is now Hannah Toothless, as she's lost three teeth on the bottom, and yesterday afternoon lost a top front tooth!  

    Max was around, to the delight of the girls, including Beth.  She and Max got along famously:

    The above photo doesn't do justice to the expression of utter bliss on Max's face as he got his tummy rubbed.  That was one happy dog.  

    Faith also loves Max, at one point hanging onto his tail as he walked.  Max wasn't pleased with this, and turned to give her a stern, "do you mind...!?!" look, but otherwise refrained from showing displeasure, which I thought quite gentlemanly of him.  He was even willing to be treated as a pillow:

    Victor stopped by, and I got a picture of him with Max, too:

    Max had a good afternoon, all things considered.  The cats were not quite as receptive to Faith's attentions, I fear.  

    After whichever cat that was (either Sarah or Dracula, I can't tell them apart most of the time) leapt off the end table, Faith amused herself by trying to turn the lamp on:

    Those lashes!  What I wouldn't give to have lashes like that!  

    I believe this picture was taken while an advertisement was on for some gadget aimed at men, to help them build muscles in their chest and arms.  Alex was, um, both nonplussed and highly skeptical, as was Lillian:

     I like this photo of Beth and Lillian, only I wish the latter hadn't chosen right that moment to start fussing:

    It's a good photo of darling Beth, though.  And here's one of Hannah and Faith giving each other hugs:

    And TCU did win their game, though not as decisively as one would have expected.  Still, a win is a win, and the Frogs' winning season continues!  laughing

  • Well, I'm sorry I wasn't at the Black Rooster yesterday.

    They decided to open yesterday, instead of Tuesday, but I had other plans and didn't go in.

    This afternoon Marche Ann held a meeting for the front counter people, and I got to hear from her and Khaki (a nickname of "Katherine;" I'm not sure how it's spelled) and Marsha (the two who did show up) about how wild it was!  All the bread sold out, all the cookies, scones, muffins (the pastry chefs were baking like mad things, trying to restock) was amazing, by all accounts.  Busy, busy, busy!

    And the bakery wasn't even supposed to be open.  During the meeting this afternoon several would-be customers came by, to be kindly sent away with encouragement to return on Tuesday.

    I'm really looking forward to Tuesday, though slightly nervous, too.  Working in a food establishment is wholly new to me, so it's uncharted waters.  Of course, Marche Ann's husband, David, is seriously trolling in unchartered waters, he pointed out, as he is a retired pilot with Southwest Airlines, and is now in charge of the operations side of the bakery.  Cash registers?  Employee tax stuff?  All this is new to him.  He's doing a spiffy job, bless his heart.  

    Yesterday I was supposed to be at the TCU game, but bombed out.  It's coming up on the two-year anniversary of my Donald's death and I'm finding it rough.  Harder than last year, actually.  I'm glad there's my job at the Black Rooster starting, not only to provide some much-needed income, but also to keep me busy.  

  • Well, boo-yah! AT&T Uverse and Scripps Networks worked it out.

    Turns out I could have watched FoodNetwork tonight, had I wanted to.

    What I want to know is, how is AT&T going to arrange for me to be able to watch the show I missed during the blackout, eh?  confused


    It's supposed to be turning cooler this weekend, with a high in the low 60's on Saturday for the Froggie game.  To which I'm going!  Yay!  The official tailgating party didn't work out as planned, but Alex and his family are going to bring their hot-dog grill over so we can still grill dogs at home, prior to the game.  Or, in their case, Rusty Regent's memorial service.  If my presence appears to act as a deterrent to a TCU win, I'll leave and return home to finish it out on television.  I'd much prefer they win with me at home than lose with me in the stands.


    The leaves are beginning to turn some fine looking colors this fall!  I'm hoping it will prove to be a festive fall, as far as God-decorated trees go.  happy

  • Pretty soon there won't be any way for me to leave my house without running into construction.

    This afternoon I drove to the SuperTarget on Carroll (and naturally forgot to pick up my prescriptions...ARGH!!!), going east on Harley, then - due to construction further down on Harley and where it meets University - turned north on the street that runs between the Museum of Science and History and Will Rogers, so as to turn back east onto Lancaster.  From Lancaster I turned north onto Norris, so as to turn east on 7th Street.

    Whereupon I discovered 7th Street to be totally messed up, having the top of it scraped away, cones set up along it, and my car - along with another in front of me - directly behind some big street machine.  Which sat, until finally the driver got out and motioned for us to drive around him, into the big area where no cars were.  On the opposite side of the street there was a comparable line of cones, and the traffic stacked up on the outside lane.  For some weird reason, though it was duplicated on the south side of the street, cars heading east were to drive in the big middle part.

    It was extraordinarily badly set up.  No turn lane for turning on to Carroll, and the protected left turn arrow wasn't on.  The only thing I can figure is that the city has literally run out of the large orange-and-white striped barrels usually used to mark temporary lanes, considering how many of the dratted things are already being used on the aforementioned Harley and University (including the TCU section of University), plus Vickery, plus Hulen, plus Camp Bowie, and now 7th Street!

    It's become a frightful headache simply trying to move around west Fort Worth.  Road construction on one or two streets I can understand, but this has reached the point of being farcical.

  • You know, the tendency of our culture to syncretize it and Christianity is appalling.

    A friend of mine pointed out a couple of weeks ago that he hadn't heard as much about those pernicious "hell houses", which are haunted houses intended to portray what hell will be like, and scare people into the gospel.

    Never did approve of those.

    But by golly, now comes THIS by way of Living Social:  "Christmas haunted house".  It is Moxley Manor, described as "a Christmas-themed fright sure to have you blocking up the chimney flue. At Moxley Manor, some of Santa's trusty elves have gone turncoat, and they don't care if you've been naughty or nice -- they just want to get their little Santy claws on you. Get both fear and cheer when you spend just $10 (regularly $20) and pick up two tickets to the NightScare Before Christmas. The North Pole meets hell hole on November 27, December 4, December 11, and December 18 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Let these toy-tooling troublemakers scare your Christmas socks off. You'd better hang on to your reindeer though, because it's going to be a bumpy ride."

    At least the whole thing pertains to the world's Santa Claus and his fictitious elves, but considering our propensity for hauling Christ into every crummy thing we come up with, it's probably only a matter of time before the Christmas story gets worked into it.

    Christmas-themed haunted houses!  Whatever next?

    Wait.  Don't answer that.  

    I don't want to know.

  • Bakers work hard, lemme tell you.

    A bakery is not a serene place, that's for sure.  Buzzers and chimes are going off all the time, as dough finishes rising and baked goods demand to be removed from the oven.  Today was my first time at the Black Rooster, and it was a true eye-opener.  There's a lot of just plain work that goes into baking breads and pastries.  Made me tired to watch Micah and Megan (the two pastry chefs), and Marche Ann (the owner) and Gil (a friend of hers who is here for the pre-opening period to help bake bread).

    Gil is an interesting guy.  He told me that baking bread is a hobby for him, and he's been driving from Addison (where he lives) for the chance to bake bread in the ultracool oven at the Black Rooster.  Apparently it's no ordinary oven.  No sir.  It projects steam, which does something or other to the crust.  Its upper and lower heating elements can be controlled separately.  Whatever, Gil waxed very enthusiastic about this rare opportunity to bake bread in that oven.  

    This afternoon a man came in who said he'd grown up in Europe and had been missing the bread over there.  American bread doesn't have a decent crust, according to him.  Well, Micah handed him a chunk of Pain Fromage (bread with Asagio cheese baked in it, and it's unspeakably delicious), and when he took a bite, his eyes closed, his mouth smiled, and he was the picture of bliss.  Marche Ann's bread has a decent crust.  He was incredulous when he was handed a loaf of bread (the other one available, a type of Italian, as he was having an Italian-style dinner) to take home.  Waved some bills at us, insisting he be allowed to pay for it, only subsiding when it was pointed out we literally weren't yet ready to take money.  He seemed to be afraid that giving bread away like that would undermine the financial stability of the bakery, and he was adamant that he wants us to stay around for a long, long time, as the Black Rooster is where he'll be buying his bread from now on.  Well, starting Tuesday, anyway.

    Dollars to donuts he'll show up tomorrow or the next day to score another loaf.  I hope so!  His enthusiasm was charming, and highly satisfactory.   pleased

    I had my camera with me this afternoon, and took a few photos.  Here's the bakery itself:

    As I said, it's on the corner of Forest Park and Park Hill, readily accessible from either street.  As a matter of no particular interest, that's the Gran Van (as I call the Venture) there on the left.  Micah, one of the pastry chefs and the dear friend who recommended me for my job, is slicing her delectable lemon bars into squares:

    Oh, my goodness, but they're wonderful!  Perfect marriage of sweet and tart.  I like a lemon bar with a bit of a bite to it.  It's made from lemons, after all!  Saw Micah squeezing them.  laughing  And here are Marche Ann, Micah, and Megan all munching on one of Megan's creations:

    To the left, just at the edge, you can see the large, black iron (I think it's iron, at least) rooster that sits regally on top of the counter.  You know, the one thing it occurs to me we might be missing is a "take-a-number" system.  If we're as busy as we devoutly hope and expect to be at times, I can tell you from years of experience in working counters that it's awfully easy to get confused as to who should be waited upon first.  Would such a thing spoil the ambiance Marche Ann has worked hard to create?  Or is it more important to maintain order and good cheer?   Can't decide.  confused  


    This'll get you!  Upon driving west on Park Hill towards University, I decided to turn left on University so I can get to the Kroger on University and Bellaire.  Turned onto University and was immediately greeted with a sign warning its readers that the right lane is closed.  Road Work, you know.

    Except it was the right hand side of University that was closed not open.  What a kerfluffle that caused, as citizens read the sign, looked at the loong line on the right, and declared the sign must be right, then ran into a standing line of cars in the presumed "open" lane.  It was highly annoying, and especially when the reverse trip showed the same erroneously set signs, causing the same snafu.

    Point being, one would think they would have known better, that's all.  

    Took my sleeping pill and am now crashing.  Good night!

  • Writing articles with so many required words and phrases is a challenge.

    It wouldn't be so bad if the requester didn't also demand the article be well written.

    Look, folk, you can have a 600-700 word piece be well written, or you can have it with eight multiple word phrases used six or seven times each, but you cannot have both.  There is no way an article can have that much repetition and be well written.  

    It would also be nice were the standard rule be followed that single digit numbers, especially, are written in word form, not numeric.  Putting "service for 6" (ditto 4 and 8) six times in a 700 word article made me grit my teeth.  Fortunately, if the article actually shows up somewhere it won't have my name on it.  

    So far I've written very little that I'd be willing to claim.  Presumably the idea is to get hits for Google and other search engines, but it still bugs me.

    At about a penny per word, it doesn't pay much, either.  OTOH, something is better than nothing.

    On a cheerful note, I GOT A JOB THIS MORNING!!!  I'm going to work the counter (including operating the expresso machine) at the soon-to-be-opened Black Rooster Bakery.  pleased  It's closed on Sundays and Mondays, and I've Wednesdays off (I'm part-time), so I can still go to my Women's Club meetings, Van Cliburn concerts, church, and so on.  I fear the choir will have to go, as I'd prefer to attend the Women in the Word on Thursday nights.  Starting in January the study will be on Isaiah, one of my very favorite books of the bible.  silly

    And one of the perks of the job is being able to take home the breads and goodies that don't get sold during the day.  Oh my.  laughing

    TCU v. Utah is starting, though on a channel AT&T doesn't carry (along with the FOOD NETWORK, which had better get mended f-a-s-t).  The Oregon game is on ABC, however, so I may tune into that and pray for what would almost qualify as a miracle, i.e. for them to get beaten by Washington.  

    Dad always said any team can beat any other team on any given day, so you never know.  Upsets do happen, and while the Oregon fans would be upset, indeed, I would be tickled pink!

  • No Food Network?!?! AT&T Uverse better sign that contract, and fast.

    Except for a few exceptions (TCU football on Versus, the World Series, that sort of thing) the sole television channel I ever watch is Food Network, mostly on Sunday evenings.  This not watching TV during the week is doubtless why I had to read a story on the net about AT&T Uverse and Scripps Networks not being able to reach an agreement for a new contract, resulting in those channels going dark.  

    This is very annoying.  Surely they will come to an acceptable compromise soon, and I hope it's prior to Sunday night.  

    Tell you something else that frosted my cupcakes today, and that was the ting-a-ling of the Salvation Army bell ringers in front of Wal-Mart this afternoon.  What happened to starting that sort of thing the day after Thanksgiving, eh?  It's bad enough there's tinsel and such popping up all over the place, but starting the Salvation Army collection a few weeks before Thanksgiving is going Too Far, that's what I say.  Felt like a Scroogette, but firmly told the young man ringing the bell that I'll give after Thanksgiving but not one day before.

    Did y'all know that if one has a Fort Worth library card one is able to download certain ebooks?  One doesn't own them; one has two weeks to finish reading them on one's computer (using the Adobe reader).  I thought that was rather cool.

    Tomorrow afternoon - on CBS-College, which Uverse doesn't carry, more's the pity - is the TCU v. Utah game!  Can the Froggies go 10-0?  laughing  The following week I've got tickets for the kids and me to go to the TCU v. San Diego State game, and the plan is to have a tailgate party before it.  Of course, I've no experience with such creatures, so it will be a challenge to make it work out properly, but I'm hoping I can.  Just don't let it rain, that's all!  shocked

    For those who either like to cook, or simply bow to the necessity of it, here is a site I've enjoyed and used recently:  Just A Pinch

    Gonna make some Autumn Pumpkin Bread here pretty soon.  Bought a can of pumpkin just for the purpose, and speaking of that, it was surprising how hard it was to find the darned stuff.  Looked for it in the canned fruit section, but it wasn't there.  Then thought, well, it's actually a squash, which is a vegetable, so looked for it in amongst the canned vegetables.  Nope.  Not there, either.  Wandered back and forth between the two aisles, convinced I must be overlooking them, when it occurred to me to check the baking aisle, and by golly, there it was.

    I really wish grocery stores would standardize where items are located.  It's awfully tiresome trying to figure out where some things are hidden.  bitter