Thursday, July 31, 2008

Funeral Food

The Surveyor has lost two family members in as many weeks - a cousin and an aunt. Today we will celebrate the life of Aunt Jean. She was a teeny, tiny woman who was always ready for a great big hug!

After the church service,the family will gather to share memories and a meal. The bucolic setting in which the home place is nestled will entice many to stay and visit just a little longer than originally planned, because it's hard to say goodbye.

The food will be brought in one or two dishes at a time. Each prepared with love. It will appear to be more food than the family could possibly eat, but there will be few leftovers. The cast of characters will include fried chicken, potato salad, fresh vegetables in a rainbow of colors, and desserts that will tempt everyone to just skip the "real food" altogether.

In an attempt to inject a bit of levity into this otherwise dismal day, I have decided to share with you the dish that I prepared. My mom has fixed this dish on such occasions for as long as I can remember. It's one of my favorites.

5 Bean Salad
Sorry the recipe ran together - I fought this thing one too many times, and I finally gave up!

1 can french cut green beans 1/2 cup chopped onion

1 can LeSeur peas 1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 can wax beans 1 1/2 cups sugar

1 can baby butter beans 1 cup vinegar

1 can wax beans 1/2 cup oil

1 can white shoe peg corn Salt & Pepper to taste

1 small jar pimentos

Drain canned ingredients and empty into a large bowl.

Stir in chopped onion and green pepper.
Add salt and pepper.

Combine sugar, vinegar and oil in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until boiling.

Did I tell you how much I like this set of salt and pepper shakers?? Are you still reading this recipe?

Pour the heated mixture over the vegetables. Stir well. Season with additional salt and pepper. I use more pepper than salt.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. This will give the flavors a chance to blend.

Serve cold. Perfect for an outside meal on a 95 degree day.

If you leave a comment today, please tell me what your go-to dish is when you need to prepare funeral food. I am curious to see if different foods are customary in different parts of the country, or, if it's mostly the same throughout. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shout Out To Mom x 2

When I checked my comments this morning, there was one from a blogger that I didn't recognize. For me, that was an exciting moment because I had already read the comments from my seven readers. (I love you all!) This was a NEW ONE! Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was my friend who accompanied me to the beach!

She is one cool chick. I must warn you though, she is a gadget/technology addict. This girl travels with a remote controlled GPS system named Sophia, a satellite radio system which also has a remote, and a slider phone. I kept waiting for the secret panel behind the dashboard to drop down and offer me a snack and a drink. She knows that I am technologically challenged, and I believe she's saving some features to scare me with on our next trip.

I hope that all seven of you will go over and leave a comment for my friend. In time, she too will crave the comments and all of the bloggy love. She just doesn't realize it yet!

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hillbilly Surprise!

Last week at the beach, my friend introduced me to a new beverage. She called it a "Redneck Surprise". Based on personal experience, I thought it tasted more like a "Hillbilly Surprise". You may call it whatever you like.

You mix two parts Mountain Dew...
...with one part Malibu Rum.
You may want to reverse the ratios based on your personal taste.

This drink is best served over crushed ice. In an insulated cup. With a straw. At the beach.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just Beachy!

Snow White and I snuck out of town for a couple of days last week. We hit the beach for an "all girls" getaway! A statue of King Neptune greeted us upon arrival. The girl in the photo was so overcome by his grandeur that she had to rest for a moment. I was impressed with his abs. This is a sunrise view from our balcony. It makes me want to go back TODAY! Would you like to join me?

Snow White and her friend Cheerleader Girl took about a hundred pictures of themselves. I thought this one was especially cute. (SW is on the right.)

Our motto for the trip was, "Don't Worry, Be Happy!"

Not everything at the beach was beautiful. Our first day there, these two plopped down in front of the girls for a couple of hours. They put on quite a show - it seems that they each required an excessive amount of tanning oil. We were happy when they finally left, and we had a clear view of the ocean.

We were starstruck when King Neptune himself casually strolled by!

I'm already trying to figure out when we can make time to return to the beach. No matter how long you stay, it's never long enough.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's Not A Backhoe!

The Swamp Dust arrived last week, and The Surveyor and I were ready to use it on a little Low Country Boil. Sans crawfish. We headed for Lowe's to pick up one of these...

...because we didn't have a big enough pot at home. Plus, we wanted one of the really cool Bayou Classic pots that real Cajuns use. It's our fantasy, don't judge.

The Surveyor took this beauty out of the box, and began to look over the "Care and Use Instructions". He's good that way. It's just how he rolls. The very first instruction said, "SOBER adult operation ONLY! The use of alcohol, prescription or nonprescription drugs may impair your ability to properly assemble or safely operate appliance". They really know how to take the fun out of EVERYTHING, don't they?

It's NOT a backhoe, people. It's a stockpot!

Once we stopped laughing, we threw caution to the wind and had a drink while the corn, potatoes and onions were cooking. Fortunately, no one was injured.

I did hide all of the prescription drugs - just in case things got out of hand!
Celebrity Sighting: The Surveyor spotted Chris Brown and Rihanna at our local gym this afternoon! How cool is that?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Made Simple

When my sisters and I were little, we were quite capable of amusing ourselves in the summer. The great outdoors offered endless opportunities, and we didn't need transportation to find them. It took SO long to hook the dinosaurs up to the chariot, and you never knew when one of those cement wheels was going to chip away and ruin your outing. It was just better to stay home.

We didn't have cell phones, we had phones made of tin cans and yarn. There were no video games, there were books and board games. Dance, Dance Revolution wasn't even in the conception phase, but we sure had the moves when we were jumping off of bales of hay in the barn. There wasn't room for a kitchen set; however, the roots of the huge oak tree offered countless ways to prepare and serve acorn-studded mud pies to a group of friends. We would even offer to push them in the tree swing. (Not OFF of the swing.)

Once in a while, Mr. Slate would let Dad off of work a little early. We would rush to meet him at the door and BEG him to turn on the sprinklers. It was more fun than going to the pool - and we didn't have to hook up the dinosaurs. While Dad grilled up some Brontosaurus burgers, we took turns running through those glorious little droplets of cool H2O. We may have even played nice. At least for a little while. When dinner was ready, we would wrap ourselves in beach towels and head over to the picnic table. As we ate, we would see the first flickerings of the lightning bugs coming out for their nightly visit. Our evening was usually topped off with either watermelon or ice cream. It didn't really matter which.

Life was good, and simple.

What are YOUR favorite childhood summer memories?

Monday, July 21, 2008


I have been struggling with insomnia for the past few nights. Falling asleep is not the problem. In fact, I would dare say that I am asleep before my head hits the pillow. The problem arises in the middle of the night. When everyone else is snoring. Including the dog. Not kidding.

The first scenario begins with a dream that I am floating in or on water. Translated by Sigmund Freud - I need to use the bathroom, and it's the only way to rouse me from my sleep-induced coma. This usually occurs around 2:00 a.m. I get up, use the bathroom, get a drink of water (maybe this is where I am making my mistake!) and go back to bed. My mind begins to race 100 miles per hour. I'm afraid I will oversleep in the morning, that I have forgotten to mail a bill in on time, or that I have never completed my To-Do List from 2006. My attention then turns to The Surveyor. Anger builds inside of me as I listen to the sound of his blissful snoring, um, sleep. I then proceed to watch the clock. 2:10, 2:11, 2:25, 2:47, 3:18...... I am usually asleep before 3:30 rolls around. But not always.

The second scenario goes something like this. There is a loud THUMP that results in me sitting bolt upright in bed. Heart pounding. Reaching for the .357. I look down, and the cat is sitting beside the bed. She has thrown caution to the wind and has launched her body against the closet doors. She is now beginning to call me - "MaMa", "MeowMeow", etc. Because of my extensive training, I understand that she is requesting to be let outside. I get up and go to the door. She, on the other hand, has decided that it's a good time for her to get a late night snack. I get back into bed because I know she will need at least ten minutes to finish her "snack". Ten minutes later, she is calling me from the kitchen. Once again, I get up and go to the door. This time, she pauses and does a visual perimeter sweep. Once she has determined that the enemy is asleep (unlike me!), she runs out of the door. I take advantage of the fact that I am already up, and go ahead and use the bathroom. The water dream is not my favorite. I get back into bed AGAIN and repeat the same count-down-to-sleep process outlined in the first scenario.

After much contemplation, I have come up with a solution to this problem. I just need to shoot the cat and insert a catheter!!!!

(I am just kidding about the cat. PLEASE don't send me hate mail.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

New Addition

This is the newest addition to our family. This photo was taken last month at my SIL's birthday party. The little beauty is her granddaughter. The Surveyor's great niece.

She slept through most of the party, but I couldn't take my eyes off of her. I'm sure you can see why:) Those little toes are the cutest things I've ever seen!

Don't you just want to sop her up with a biscuit??

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Cast And A Crazy Straw

I present to you.........The Surveyor, circa 1972. Isn't he adorable? A real ladies man at the ripe old age of seven!

Let's begin with the cast. Construction was complete on the new elementary school in Small Town, USA. The kids were all excited about moving into their new digs. NEW PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT - YIIPPEEE! The monkey bars were calling his name.

On this particular day, the children chose to play tag - ON THE MONKEY BARS. Well, The Surveyor decided to practice his Spider Man moves, and crawled through the top bars. His plan was to ease himself down to the ground. As we all know, things don't always go according to plan.

The next thing he knew, he was lying on the ground with his armed pinned underneath his little body. The teacher said he was fine, the principal said he was fine, the nurse said he was fine.

The doctor, however, said he had a fracture. That's where the cast came in.

Now, about the straw. There is no better way to enjoy a chocolate milkshake than to sip it through a Crazy Straw. Remember those?

This particular relic, um really cool straw, came to him compliments of Shakey's Pizza. Did you ever go to Shakey's? They had a little area where you could stand and watch the guys in the barber shop quartet hats toss pizza. In addition, they gave all of the kids Crazy Straws. I have no idea if the pizza was any good. We were in it for the straws.

I never had a blue straw, only red. The Surveyor had both. He was spoiled.

I would also like to point out his pants, as if you hadn't already noticed them. Don't they just SCREAM 1972?

Thanks for stopping by for a little trip back in time. For more laughs, run on over to the Sincerely 'Fro Me To You carnival at We Are THAT Family. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Last night was quite traumatic for The Surveyor, a.k.a. Cool Breeze. After work, he headed west to attend the funeral home visitation for a cousin who passed away this week. He was cruising down the hilly country road in that daze that only those who have driven such a road can fathom. The sun was in his eyes, and Led Zeppelin was cranked up on the radio. (That's where the Cool Breeze part comes in!!!)

All of a sudden, there was a huge THUD on the passenger side of his truck. He had no idea what had hit him. Never saw it coming. Birdzilla!

Actually, it was a turkey. According to the Bird Man, it most likely flew out of a creek bed and right into the truck.

Stupid bird.

In this photo you can see what happened to the antenna. It used to be straight. What you can't see is how much damage it did to the door - between the windshield and the passenger window. Must have been a big sucker.

He knew it was Birdzilla. She left her calling card on the antenna. Some might call it a feather.

I can only imagine what Cool Breeze was calling it when he realized what had hit him!

This incident has created a dilemma for us. Do we report it to the insurance company? If so, do I have enough photographic evidence to PROVE a turkey flew into the side of the truck? Will they laugh? Will they triple my rates if I file a claim? We have just added a teenage driver to our policy - can we afford the 327% premium increase when our policy comes up for renewal?

Why couldn't he have just hit a deer? Like normal people.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer's Bounty

I hadn't planned to post today. There are just too many other things that I need to get done. Fortunately, I have learned to keep my camera handy.

I went to the bank to pay my payroll taxes, ran a few errands and returned to the office to find this............

Aren't they beautiful? One of our clients had these beautiful baskets delivered to the office. No occasion - he just wanted to share. I'm sure his garden is producing faster than he can consume. I love country people! Even if you don't have a garden, you can always count on getting some fresh veggies in the summer.

I've only peeked about half way down into the basket. I found tomatoes, corn, squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, cantaloupe, red potatoes and cabbage. Who knows what else is hiding in the bottom!

I'll be stopping at the grocery store on the way home to pick up some bread. Tomato sandwich, anyone?

Monday, July 14, 2008

What Happened To My Weekend?

Where do the weekends go? I'm sitting at work right now trying to figure out how two days could have gotten away from me so quickly. Am I being punished? Monday is NOT my favorite day of the week.

Sure, I remember doing all of the usual things: laundry, dinner, dishes, repeat; however, I don't recall actually DOING anything. Maybe that's the whole point of the weekend, and I just missed the point.

I did have a little of this......

I also sat by the pool and enjoyed my view of this.........

These didn't get planted, but they didn't seem to mind.........

Perhaps I didn't miss the point.

How was YOUR weekend?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Swamp Dust

In my neck of the woods, Old Bay is THE seafood seasoning of choice. Always has been, always will be. The aroma alone floods my mind with a lifetime of memories: bushels of bright orange steamed crabs waiting to be picked , pots of boiling shrimp with the pickling spice holding on for dear life, long summer days spent beach side with my fellow River Rats. The list is endless. You get the point. Old Bay is a staple. Not too long ago, Cool Breeze took a little trip down to Louisiana. Well, it seems that his Bayou Buddies have come up with something to rival my beloved Old Bay ........... Swamp Dust.

Last weekend, we invited one of these Cajuns to come over for a pool party. He cooked up some corn, potatoes and onions in a big outdoor pot. We didn't have any crawfish, so the vegetables flew solo this time. I was horrified to see him sprinkling this orange impostor on my vegetables. WHAT? NO OLD BAY? It was sacrilegious. I HAD to have a taste - just to make sure it was awful.
I just ordered a 2 lb. bag this morning. It will arrive next week.
Don't tell anybody.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Scenes From A Photo Booth

Remember the old photo booths? There was something magical about being able to go in, close the curtain, and emerge a few minutes later with a strip of pictures to remind you just how silly you were!

I can't recall the last time I saw one of these booths. In the age of digital cameras and camera phones, I suppose they have become obsolete. What a shame.

These photos were taken in 1974, give or take a year. We were so tan that it must have been during our annual beach vacation. The faces I was making lead me to believe that I must have had a major sugar buzz going on. It was the only way I could stay awake long enough to watch Saturday Night Live.

I am the tall goofy looking kid. Both of my sisters have long since grown to tower over me. They are also really skinny. I love them despite all of that.

My middle sister is making the cutest faces! I'm not sure why she wouldn't show her teeth. Perhaps the front ones were missing. I'll ask her later. I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was wearing a dress. It's all she would wear back then. Now, not so much.

I'm also not sure why my baby sister has scrapes all over her face. Probably the result of a wave-riding fiasco earlier in the week. She, too, is making really cute faces. What the heck was my problem??

After you leave a comment, check out more retro hilarity at the Sincerely 'Fro Me To You carnival hosted by We Are THAT Family. You don't want to miss it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Battle Of The Shopping Lists

It's time for another episode of "What Would Martha Do?" over at OK, Where Was I?

I need to pause for a commercial break, and send out a BIG THANK YOU to Jenn over at A Country Girl's Ramblings for teaching me how to link to other sites on my posts :) Thanks Jenn!

Welcome back to the show. In the July 2008 edition of Martha Stewart Living, there is a photo of Martha's shopping list. Page 10. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

Is she for real?

Martha's List: Hand painted, Eco-friendly, bound journal with 100% recycled paper $45.00; Luxurious designer pen that will write upside down and in three languages $75.00; Decorative herbs special ordered from the Orient $22.00; Useless crap on her list $Not worth the paper it's written on.

Let's take a peek at MY grocery list, shall we?

My List: Scrap paper found in the bottom of the kitchen junk drawer $Free; Designer pen handed out by the Wal-Mart greeter (it came with a smiley face sticker) $Free; Decorative Equal packets and Crystal Light lemonade packs $Not free, but available at Food Lion; Sensible items on my list $Priceless.

OK, I've shown you mine, now you show me yours. Or at least tell me about it. What does YOUR shopping list look like?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Times Are A Changin'

I mentioned in a previous post that our annual family reunion was held recently. I always enjoy the gathering. You can't go wrong with good food, family and friends!

There was one major change this year - my grandmother wasn't there to join us. She passed away New Year's Eve at the age of 95.

One of my uncles did a fantastic job of setting the mood at the beginning of the reunion. He told us that, although we all missed Grandma terribly, we were there to celebrate the legacy of Grandma and PaPa. They would have wanted us to continue the tradition. He pointed out that it should be a joyous time, not a time of sorrow or sadness. He was right.

You can always count on some things to stay the same at our reunions. Little boys on tractors..... A beautiful garden out back.....

Cousins having fun just hanging out.....

Even though so much remains the same, there is always a little something to create a stir. This year, there was a little crack.....

Can't wait to see what next year brings!

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Dog Is Uppity

I made a startling discovery over the weekend. My dog has become uppity. I should have seen the signs over the past few months, but I was too caught up in my own little world to notice.

The story begins with my cat. She is quite the hunter. We can count on her to surprise us with little "gifts" several times each week. Up until now, she has been content with mice and moles. After watching countless hours of the Olympic Trials over the weekend, she became inspired to up the ante. Or should I say bounty?We awoke Sunday morning to discover the carnage. There were two rather large balls of fur just a foot or two from the porch. Upon closer inspection, we discoverd that she had brought us a squirrel AND a rabbit. She made the Olympic Hunting team. I'm sure she'll be bringing home the gold. We are so proud.

I chose not to photograph the evidence. Didn't want anyone to lose their breakfast.

Back to my dog. This should have been the first indication that he was becoming uppity. He insists on walking in front of his owners. He and The Surveyor spent some quality time together Saturday evening, and my dog pranced out front the entire time. Never looked back. Acts like he owns the place.

He also feels entitled to a nice soft bed to sleep in every night. He gets a little uptight when I move his bed to vacuum around it. I guess he's afraid I'm not going to put it back in the exact spot he prefers.

When my dog finally got out of bed Sunday morning, he started out with a leisurely breakfast...and a little begging. He finally gathered enough energy to drag himself outside to use the bathroom. Just to humor us.

This dog has been known to eat most anything. He won't eat muskrat or red cabbage, but who will? Sometimes he will bury dead things three or four times before eating them, but they ALWAYS get eaten. He is not wasteful.

Well, as you have probably guessed, he eventually discovered the treasure that his buddy had brought home for his eating enjoyment. I fully expected him to have both of the poor critters eaten in a matter of seconds. Surprise, Surprise...............he turned his nose up at the squirrel and went for the rabbit. I was appalled! All good country dogs LOVE squirrel. MY dog loves HOSSENFEFFER!

The next thing you know, he will be on a hunger strike. Demanding only free-range chicken and organic vegetables. Where will the madness end?

It's a good thing he's so cute.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

He Shall Be Called "The Surveyor"

Thanks to all of you who stopped by and voted Thursday. The results are in, and "The Surveyor" has won by an overwhelming majority.

It was suggested that I refer to him as "Cool Breeze" once in a while - just to make him happy. Well, I decided that was a wonderful suggestion. The Surveyor, I mean Cool Breeze, agreed :)

We have overnight guests, so I will have to keep this short and sweet. Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday weekend.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

Today, as we celebrate our independence, please remember those who are serving, and have served, in our armed forces. My step father served in Vietnam. I am thankful for him, and I make sure he knows that.

I also have uncles who served in the military. They did not experience combat, but they served nonetheless. For that, I am thankful.

I can't imagine what our lives would be like if it weren't for the people who voluntarily put their lives on the line for our freedom.

To my family members who served: I love you. To those I do not know: Thank you.

Later today, we will be celebrating at our house with family and friends. A little swimming, a little grill food, and lots of laughter! What are you doing to celebrate?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Glory Days - Episode One: The Camaro

In celebration of the "Sincerely 'Fro Me to You" carnival at, The Surveyor has asked me to do this post about his Camaro. Not just any Camaro, mind you, his 1969 Camaro. She was his first love, and he will never forget her.

This photo was taken in the summer of 1984. The only reason I recall the date is because it is printed on the back of the picture. That summer, we must have put a thousand miles on her. Trips to the beach, riding around and looking for friends to hang out with, doing donuts in the school parking lot, driving REALLY fast with my girlfriends in the car (Hey, they dared me to. It wasn't MY idea) - those were the days.

Eventually, adult responsibilities forced The Surveyor to sell his beloved. We had a mortgage, two dogs and a baby. There wasn't much room left in our lives for the old girl. She had been sitting in the yard, neglected, for quite a while. It was a sad day when she drove away for the last time. I believe there were tears.

The Surveyor is currently watching the internet in hopes of finding a new love. Evidently, '69 Camaros have become collector's items, and we will need to take out a second mortgage and sell our child when he finds one he would like to purchase. He's not giving up hope!

By the way, did I ever tell you about the time I auditioned for a White Snake video? Or was it "Flashdance"?

Before you leave, don't forget to VOTE. The Surveyor has asked that he now be referred to as "Cool Breeze" on this site. I originally decided to name him The Surveyor because, well, he's a land surveyor. Duh! We have a friend who has called him Cool Breeze forever, and he just likes that name better than the one his loving wife chose for him. I told him that I would put it out there for a vote, and we would go with the majority. Fair enough. I'll post the results tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by. Do you know of anyone who would trade a '69 Camaro for land surveying services? Just asking.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Smart Way To Solve The Trash Crisis

Today I am posting to help a friend in need. Take a minute to read her story at (Please don't banish me from the blogosphere. I STILL haven't figured out how to shorten these darn links. Feel free to leave instructions in my comment section. Just don't curse me! Please.)

Now that you understand her plight, you will realize that the information I am about to reveal will set her free from the humiliation of having a thousand bags of trash in the back yard. She will feel so liberated that she will call Martha and invite her over for a plastic cup of wine.

A woman like Martha Stewart couldn't possibly understand the importance of passing along efficient trash disposal advice. She has a staff of 50 to dispose of her trash. I'll bet she doesn't even touch trash. Hers or anyone else's.

My family has never had a problem getting rid of those pesky bags. We've never had to rely on others to do our dirty work because we have a secret. The secret has been handed down for generations. We all have one of these...........
Yep. That's it. In all of it's glory. THE BURN BARREL. Ain't she a beaut? When the piles start to accumulate, you just toss the bags in here and set a match to them. It's really nice in the winter because it warms you right up. One word of caution - be sure to remove all aerosol cans from the trash before lighting. If not removed, these cans will explode. Guaranteed. Not that it's ever happened to me before. It's just what I've been told.

It's a good idea to stay with the barrel while it's burning, at least until the flames die down. You may be wondering what in the world you are supposed to do to fight the boredom while you watch trash burn. I have a solution for that as well...................

You throw horseshoes.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hey, Grandpa! What's for Supper?

Our annual family reunion was held last Saturday. Snow White and I stopped by this little country store on our way to the farm. When I was growing up, the store was called "Lum's", but now it is called "The Country Market". That's appropriate. My grandfather used to take us to Lum's on a fairly regular basis. We could get glass bottled soft drinks from the iced down Coke cooler, hand dipped ice cream, Moon Pies and penny candy. Yes, folks, you could buy candy for a penny back then. When dinosaurs roamed the earth. Lum would put our candy in a tiny brown paper bag, roll the top of the bag so that nothing fell out, and say, "Thanks, Boop"! I just loved him.

I don't recall Grandma ever going with us on these excursions. I honestly think that PaPa used us as an excuse to run out on a hot summer say and get a Brown Mule. It was his favorite ice cream bar.

I was sorry that I hadn't stopped in the night before. Look at that take-out dinner menu. They had me at "Pork Chops Smothered in Onions and Gravy"! It's hard to see the bottom of the sign, but dinner also included your choice of two veggies, your choice of dessert, a roll and I believe iced tea. Sweet. Total cost for this stick-to-your-ribs meal? 8 bucks. A country bargain.