Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas milk for all!

So here it is the day before Christmas Eve and no one is at their computers reading my blog. What happens next? I have the time to blog and so you see that we are not on the same wavelength that way.

We are having a surprise mystery guest at our house for Christmas this year and I am going to reveal everything to you after she arrives. We’ve made a little room just for her and have bought her special, favorite food.

Last weekend when the grandkids spent the night, I introduced them to Christmas Milk! [whispering] It's eggnog. Shhhhhh

I thought they might really like it, but I wouldn’t even try eggnog until I was in my 30s because obviously it is NOG made from EGGS that you want me to DRINK.

How utterly disgusting.

So I asked them if they knew about the special milk the dairy makes only at Christmas and Easter. I had the quart in my hand when I asked and you know how once in a great while you say just the right words and it’s really amazing that you didn’t screw it all up?

That’s what happened. They swarmed me. They got off their chairs and walked away from their supper and actually came over to me like I was the Pied Piper.

I said that it is very rich, which is the way grown-ups describe something that will give you a tummy-ache if you have too much. I asked if they’d like to try it and they nodded like little birds.

It was so much fun!

I poured them each a small amount, maybe an ounce. They took it and inhaled. Oren shouted that it tastes just like melted vanilla ice cream because Oren shouts when he is excited! Kena shouted because she always shouts and has no volume control that it tastes like pudding and can she please drink more!

I gave them each a little more and then more again the next day. I’ve bought another quart for Christmas Day and so help me the first person who calls it eggnog dies in a bloody battle.

Make some toast and raise your glass to Christmas Milk.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nature Notes - Afternoon nap

Visit Michelle at the interesting Nature Notes Thursday to see the world around you.

Outside my office window, I see hawks and vultures, squirrels and raccoons and of course, deer. One warm afternoon this week, when the weak sun was shining for all it's worth, I looked outside and saw four deer. Three were resting.
There are all four deer in the photo below. Can you find them?

Sometimes, no matter who is looking, if you itch, you need to scratch.
In the photo below, you can see detail in her face. My camera doesn't shoot well with the zoom this far out, but I think this time it did a good job.

Is it time yet?

Whereas the holidays sometimes aren't as chipper and perky as they're "supposed" to do, the closer Christmas gets this year, the better I feel. That's really saying something as I was feeling a little down just last week. I think too much and I let things get in the way. But I have so much to be happy about and thankful for!

This song sums it up and I can't hear it enough this year. Hope it makes you smile.

Go ahead, give it a spin. The words are really fun!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Actuarial nightmare, indeed

I was storing the gingerbread house in the oven, right? Didn't want the cats licking it to death before Christmas, right? Perfectly acceptable. I wrote a note that said "Gingerbread house in the oven."

The note was stuck in the little slot where the buttons are for turning the oven on. Handy system. No one turns the oven on to preheat without first removing the house.

Until someone puts the note in the oven with the gingerbread house.

The white plastic base melted flat. LOOK at the chimney now!! I am an arteest, no? I aim for realism in my work. I had made the flames shooting from the chimney, now you see the result.

The candy cane melted down to the fallen, drunken gingerbread man. He is now pinned down to the ground and won't be getting up anytime in the next century.

Trying to make the best of the roofline, I used a broken candy cane for decoration. Just more ice dams. I told you they would ruin the roof.

Somebody's gonna pay.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nature Notes

Visit Michelle at the uplifting Nature Notes Thursday to learn something new!

There was frost on everything this morning and I thought this was pretty. I took it on my cell phone and that didn't do it justice, naturally.

Nature (an excerpt)
Henry David Thoreau

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity, so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand. Nothing is cheap and coarse, neither dewdrops nor snowflakes...What a world we live in, where myriads of these little disks, so beautiful to the most prying eyes, are whirled down on every traveler's coat, the observant and the unobservant, on the restless squirrel's fur, on the far-stretching fields and forests, the wooded dells and the mountain tops.

Gingerbread House at Salisbury House

I went to a wonderful mansion here in town called Salisbury House. It was featured once on the old A&E television show America's Castles. It's a really amazing building with 17 bedrooms, a gym, a bowling alley and all sorts of neat features from early 20th century. Tonight I went with Julie to the gingerbread house workshop.

See the glasses of red wine? It was creativity juice.

By the way, could I look more like my grandmother?

In this photo, we are clearly just getting underway. I'm really pleased with mine and was satisfied the entire time. I had made a gingerbread house my senior year in high school and I knew that it was going to be cute no matter what I did. Same with Julie's. It's candy! What's not to love?

Oh and they offered wine and extra royal frosting and yummy appetizers and treats. I may have overindulged. There was an artichoke dip and eclairs. How could I not indulge?

Here is my finished house. The chimney has fire sprouting from it. The whole house is a homeowner's insurance agent's nightmare. Do you see the pine tree lurking behind the snowman? The ice dams ruining the roof?

Do you see the slip and fall claim?

The gingerbread man got clumsy and tripped while cutting through the yard. That's a snowdrift at his feet.

I didn't outline my windows, but I did hang wreaths in them. Plus I did a little landscaping and double-plus just look at that snowman's red hat!! He looks like a sailor to me.
After the houses were built and we were fully snacked, we walked around the house. It's really beautiful, but it was built from materials that Carl Weeks had brought over from England. The house is mostly stone-even the floors. And the windows are single-pane glass in metal frames and I've just lived in the Midwest too long not to wonder how you heat a house like that!!
I had a fantastic time this evening. Thanks, Julie!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Room Freshener

I am a little shy of home fragrance products because I worry about indoor pollution and my cats' wee lungs. So in the office thusly or in a pan on a stove burner I simmer herbs, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract or orange peels. It smells nice in here!

Pearl Harbor Day and Eeyore's saga

I woke up and walked into the kitchen this morning. I saw the victim of a crime:

Eeyore is one of the plush Christmas ornaments for the bottom of the tree. Since cats live here, there aren't any hazardous ornaments down there. Fourteen years ago, I started this tradition because that August I had found a darling little abandoned kitten in the shrubs outside my apartment. I consider her to be the likely culprit. Here's her mug shot from this morning. Pardon her fuzzy edges; she just woke up:

Lily's first Christmas was the year she adopted Eeyore. She pulled him off the tree one day when she was marginally larger than himself. I put him back on the tree. She pulled him off. I put him on. She pulled him off and I finally got the message when I found Eeyore's nose in her water bowl in the kitchen. She had adopted a baby! For years she loved this little fellow like her kitten. She would carry him around by his scruff and lick him at bathtime. If I put Eeyore on the edge of the couch, she would watch him like a hawk and make little concerned meows until he was back on the floor.

Here is Eeyore all these years later. He's been loved on by a couple cats now and his nose has been mended where the stuffing started coming out from many baths and all the water he's had.

Here is the original replacement Eeyore, still safely on the tree. I'm not sure why the embellished, gift-bearing Eeyore was chosen this year, but mostly the mystery is why Eeyore? There's Tigger and Kanga and Pooh on the tree, but they get left alone. This is the first year I can remember the other Eeyore being pulled to safety off the dangerous dangly branches of the tree.

Also, today is Pearl Harbor Day. Not a day that will live in infamy since some schools never mention it. Enter Facebook where a number of us have posted a little memorial for the event. I hope it does some good for the next generation. It's a reminder that no matter how large a country's landmass, the battle can come to us.

I think that's an important reminder for the world we live in today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

List maker

I'm a list maker. I have a system. I write things down in a numbered list. I cross it off when it's done.

Then things get complicated and messy. So the things not crossed off get circled because they are things I need to do now. If something is a priority above all the rest, there's a star. Nothing on this list has a star.

That means I was busy.

I highlight things to do after the circles. In orange things are circled that need to move to a new list.

So I'm just about ready for Thanksgiving. This list has been retired. There is a new, neat list of last-minute items next to me. I love my list. I love it so much I wrote a blog post about it. I love lists so much, I broke a month-long blog spell to talk about a stupid list.

Last Sunday, this young man went to the grocery store with me. We bought a 2-liter bottle of soda and a pack of gum. His brother gave him a hard time and made him cry. Or I made him cry. I'm not sure. Maybe because I thought the argument would blow over. At any rate, he sat in the back seat and cried. His brother got out of the car and I tried to talk to him. I asked him what was wrong. He sat there and cried for awhile and then he got out of the car. But not before he twice threw the pack of gum at the front of the car. I gave him the option of his talking it out or me talking about anger and his behavior.

He got the speech about being angry and throwing things.

But I kept the speech short and sweet. I said it wasn't appropriate behavior and really just left it there. He got out of the car and I drove off. It stinks when they are upset, but I am learning to let the chips fall where they fall.

This morning I showed up at his school for something called Breakfast Buddies. I walked into his classroom to get him and when he saw me he smiled. He got up and made his way from the back of the room. Halfway through, he started talking to me.

"Mrs. Caron?" he said.

"Hey bud," I replied.

He got closer and said, "I'm sorry." I thought maybe he was thinking that he was supposed to call me the night before Breakfast Buddies and I almost got my mouth open to ask him or express my confusion when he said...

"I'm sorry about Sunday afternoon in your car."

I accepted his apology and tried not to float down the steps to the lunchroom.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dona Nobis Pacem

We hope for peace in the world, but it is often difficult just get peace within.
Be quiet for awhile today.

Nature Notes - Autumn leaves

Visit Michelle at the uplifting Nature Notes Thursday to see the one-legged chickadee!

Last weekend while we were on a bike-riding, rolling down grassy hills, trying to injure ourselves safari, the kids saw three big piles of leaves in a neighbor's unfenced yard. The rake was still there as a sign that the leaf raker had only just stepped away from the piles to get a refreshing glass of water and a snack.

The kids immediately asked if they could run into the piles of leaves and jump around. I said the owner of the house owner's teenaged son had spent far too much time making three enticing huge piles of backyard temptation leaves and he probably wouldn't appreciate our destruction idea of fun.

Everyone was disappointed including me!

Gathering Leaves
by Robert Frost
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who's to say where
The harvest shall stop?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Des Moines Half Marathon recap

I ran the half marathon yesterday morning. I worked really hard for it and I'm really proud of the outcome.

I was shooting for a 2:10 time and I crossed the finish line in 2:12! It was a really good run and the weather was perfect. The only problem came around mile 11 or so when my hamstring started to act up. I stopped to stretch it, which was a mistake because when I stood up, it seized up on me.

It was a really good day and although I'm a little sore today, it was all worth it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nature Notes: Who's peeking at me?

Visit Michelle at the fascinating Nature Notes Thursday to learn something new.

I would love to tell you that this little bird, which I believe is a female goldfinch, was posing for me this morning. I would love to tell you that she stayed in one spot long enough for a decent photo.
But she didn't. She came and went. She flitted and skittered. She marched up and down the length of the windowsill. She came right up to the glass and looked at me. I just snapped photos like I knew what I was doing and was as surprised as you are that I got some good shots.

It was a beautiful fall morning today, one in a long streak that we completely deserve given the perfectly awful weather we've had for more than 12 months.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The moral of this story: steak knives are deceptive?

I made soup. The soup required straining, so I bought a strainer. I’ll be taking the strainer back to Target because I didn’t strain the soup. That’s one of those final little steps you have to do if you are serving guests, isn’t it? I am just me eating it as is. Cooking is simpler and I’m $8.99 richer.

After I shared with you all my canned meeet recipes, my friend Pippa sent me an email right away telling me how disgusted she was begging me for more. Pippa is from Georgia, so I am including in today’s post a recipe called Dixie Dandy Bake.

The Dixie Dandy Bake is super spectacular enough to be featured on the cover of this cookbook. It's the delicacy item in the lower left corner looking a lot like a meatloaf with cling peach slices on top surrounded by tomatoes and drizzled in a glaze of heavy syrup.

Those crazy folks down in Dixie!

Dixie Dandy Bake
1 1-pound can applesauce
¼ teaspoon ginger
2 12-ounce cans luncheon meat
1 8-ounce can pineapple slices
1 1-pound 2-ounce can sweet potatoes
* * *
½ cup apricot jam
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water

Combine applesauce and ginger; spread in 10x6x1-1/2 inch baking dish. Slice each loaf of luncheon meat 3 times on the diagonal, cutting only ¾ of the way through.
Halve pineapple slices; insert in cuts in meat. Place meat atop applesauce; arrange sweet potatoes around meat. Combine remaining ingredients. Spread over meat, pineapple and potatoes. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

I’m now keenly aware that in the 1960s in the United States, there were no fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy or meat. Were they trying to rid the country of a stockpile of canned goods from the war? Was it all from bomb shelter rations? Someone tell me. Here is another hot dog recipe to have your family rushing to the dinner table.

Go meat!

Cheese Franks
1 pound (8 to 10) frankfurters
* * *
1 6-ounce roll process cheese food: pepper, garlic, smoky or bacon flavor
1 3-ounce package corn chips, coarsely crushed (about 1 cup)

Split frankfurters lengthwise, cutting only about ¾ the way through. Place in a shallow baking dish or jellyroll pan. Spread cut surfaces with cheese food; sprinkle cheese generously with crushed corn chips. Bake in moderate over (350) until heated through, about 15 minutes. Serves 4 or 5.

I’m thinking about cooking my way through the Better Homes and Garden Creative Cooking Library like that woman did for Julia Childs’ cookbook and then made a vast fortune from a book and movie. Can’t you see it? Who should play me in the movie? Helen Hunt? Sarah Jessica Parker? Those are the stars I’ve been compared to most often.


You won’t believe what they suggest you do to bologna, which I prefer spelling like this: baloney. Yes, I have a preference about how to spell it, pronounce it and eat it. Yes, I am willing to eat it on the rare occasion. I eat it fried to death in a hot skillet and served on white bread with mayo and lettuce. That’s all my brother Mike’s fault because he was in charge of me for a few summers and had to feed me.

Clearly he took that job seriously. Well, OK. He was pretty good at looking after me. OK, at any rate he was good at feeding me.

Oh! and since we are blaming our brothers and talking about food all at once I will tell you a story.

When I was a kid, we ate supper together every night. I don’t remember there being exceptions to that. When I was in elementary school, I didn’t get grounded for being late to the table, although reality kicked into high gear once yours truly got into junior high.

I was playing with Belinda Butcher, she of the Parisian mother/Butcher Hollow connection fame of late. I never heard my mother call. Heaven only knows what we were so engrossed in that I totally missed supper.

I wasn’t just late, I completely missed supper.

My brother John’s bedroom was a spare room that was behind the garage and connected to the dining room in our three-bedroom ranch. His bedroom was the “fourth” and my parents let him paint the walls black. Oh, our rooms are a whole ‘nother story. One room had the prettiest wallpaper and the other was bigger and Mike and I changed rooms incessantly.

Back to suppertime.

John was in his room and heard me come into the kitchen and he told me my plate was in the oven. I took it out of the oven and I asked him what it was. He said it was some sort of steak. I ate it all and I swear I even remember sitting alone at the table with a steak knife cutting through the meat. I liked it and since I was incredibly busy that day, I’m sure I was famished. Moreover, I also remember sitting there wondering if I was going to be in trouble (probably the first time I had never shown up for supper) and what I missed (my family make do without moi? Impossible!)

If I remember this right everyone was more than a little amazed that I had eaten my entire supper. I will spare you the suspense: it was liver, not steak.

My lying brother was very clever, but I liked the liver and will eat it to this day.

The moral of the story is that if you lay out steak knives, no one will suspect they aren’t eating steak: It’s the power of suggestion.

I dare you to make the Dixie Dandy (Steak) Bake and serve it for supper tonight.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I need a break

It feels a little like life has had a jolly time kicking me around the last couple days. So to lift my spirits, I am going to make let you all enjoy my 1963 Better Homes and Gardens Barbecues and Picnics cookbook: The newest in barbecuing! 135 recipes for cookouts, porch suppers, picnics.

And then I'll include something from Cooking with Cheese.

You come here for excitement, right?

Strap yourself in. The first recipe is strange enough that I believe it could taste pretty interesting, but in the 21st century it is probably illegal to cook it.

Nutty Pups
A new favorite for all ages
Broil franks to suit yourself. Serve in hot toasted buns spread with chunk-style peanut butter. Great when made with Frank Wrap-ups. Pass pickle relish.

I adore peanut butter and pickle sandwiches and this seems a little like that. I've heard of people who eat peanut butter and baloney. Not much different. Frankly, I know you are burning with desire to know about the Frank Wrap-ups.

Frank Wrap-ups
Slit frankfurters lengthwise to about 1/4 inch from each end; stuff with pickle relish and wrap each with a bacon strip, anchoring ends with toothpicks. Broil over hot coals, turning once, till filling is hot and bacon crisped. (Remember to remove toothpicks anchoring bacon.)

I know there must be a joke in there about removing the toothpicks, but I'm distracted. Those wrap-ups seem like a whole lotta work and how is the pickle relish going to stay inside the hot dog? Also on the rare occasion when I have tried the bacon-wrapped hot dog thing, the bacon doesn't actually cook to crispy. Is it just me?

OK, so back in 1963, canned luncheon meeet was either still very popular or the Spam/Armour folks paid for lots of recipes judging from the number of times canned luncheon meeet is mentioned in these books. Here are some fun ones for your next party.

Get your spit ready!

Cheese-frosted Luncheon Meat
Anchor canned luncheon meat on a spit. Blend 2 parts triple-use cheese spread and 1 part Dijon-style prepared mustard; slather on all sides of meat. Grill over hot coals till golden brown. Slice and serve with dill pickle slices on toasted rolls. Pass extra sauce.

Thread 1-1/2 inch squares of canned luncheon meat on skewers with quartered orange slices (cut thick, with peel on) and canned sweet potatoes. Broil over slow coals; turn often and brush with glaze. Glaze: Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup vinegar, and 1 tablespoon prepared mustard; simmer uncovered 10 minutes.

"Canned luncheon meeet" sounds like a polite way of saying something else like telling someone you have to go "down the hall" when really you need to piddle.

Next up is Cooking with Cheese from 1966, which you can see from the photo that cooking is spelled with a lowercase C and cheese is in caps. Clever typography to catch your eye. I have a number of these cookbooks and they all have something going on to get your attention. I go to jumble sales and I can't pass these things up. Maybe they're all over the country, but they are published here in Des Moines, so they're e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e around this town.

Here are two dips for that meeet party I'm convinced you're planning and not inviting me to.

Low-calorie dip
1 12-ounce carton (1.5 cups) cream-style cottage cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspon salad-spice-and-herb mix
In electric blender or mixer, blend all ingredients until almost smooth. Chill. Garnish with snippets of parsley. Pass celery and carrot sticks. Makes about 1-1/2 cups dip.

Dip Away Diet Dip
Beat one 12-ounce carton small curd cream-style cottage cheese, 1-1/2 teaspoons instant minced onion and 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt with electric mixer. Chill. Stir in 1 tablespoon finely chopped canned pimiento or snipped parsley. Serve with relish sticks.

If you make anything, let me know! I'm going to go ice my hamstring, chew my fingernails and stare blankly.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Once again let's talk about dogs

I went for a run today. The morning air was lovely and soft and I was awake, but since the weather has been so nice all week, I decided I would run at lunchtime.

Remember how I started this training stuff back in August when it was 152 degrees outside at 0600? Apparently there’s no difference between 75 degrees and 152 degrees. It was not a pleasant run.

I was reminded that my grandchildren would say, “You git what you git and you don’t throw a fit.”

Besides the heat and the sunshine, my feet were turning 360 degrees on my ankles and my legs were full of lead. I’m saying my legs felt heavy. Like logs made of lead. Leaden Lincoln Logs with a small, rusty hinge in the middle for knees. My shoulders were hunched up around my ears and I felt like one of those runners or swimmers who try really hard and make a lot of noise, but don’t seem to actually move forward.

About a half-mile into this stupidity, a small Pomeranian in a driveway across the street caught my eye. Caught my ear, too. He was bark, bark, barking at me and edging his way down the driveway to the street. A young man in the driveway called to the dog, but the dog ignored him. The guy seemed pretty calm about it, but I think at the same time we both realized the UPS truck was coming down the road.

I turned and saw the truck and the space/time continuum split down the middle so time would slow down. It probably all happened in a few seconds, but it seems to me even now it was at least several minutes. The dog came off the end of the driveway. Young man seemed pretty calm even when the truck came up alongside me. He probably wasn't really calm, ya think? I stopped. I saw the dog stop in the middle of the road. He finally focused on the truck rather than on the runner.

It’s too bad I didn’t have an apron on. I’ve read in books of old women who get distressed and throw their apron over their head. That was me without the apron. I threw my arms over my face and covered my head like I was in a 1950s nuclear bomb drill. I turned around away from the truck and slid my hands over my ears. I am not the sort of person who can bear to watch destruction of flesh and blood, but once the deal is done I am not typically fainthearted.

Immediately I turned around to see what needed to be done and I saw the dog intact on all fours, albeit clumsy and disoriented. Clearly shaken and wobbly, the dog trotted over to the curb closest to the owner.

Angry and relieved, I shouted at the young man. I swore a wee bit and called him ‘dude’ and that is the laughable part of all this. I shouted, “Damn, dude. Put the dog on a leash before he bites someone or gets killed.”

Note the order of my priorities – bites someone (hello? Like ME obviously) or gets killed. I heart dogs, I sincerely and deeply heart dogs and Pomeranians are my favorite little dog, but apparently I still come first.

Plus? I said ‘dude’ and that makes me laugh at myself. At the time, I was so angry I ran off up to the end of the cul-de-sac. I heard him shout after me, “He isn’t going to bite anyone!”

Good comeback, dude.

I made my way back around to that side of the street. I saw the dog run into the backyard with the young man behind him. The driver did the same thing and stopped in front of the house. He walked to the backyard with me right on his heels. He asked if the dog was ok and the kid said he thought so.

The dog had oil on his back, but everything seemed sound. Of course, he still should go to the vet. I just walked up to them, interrupted and apologized for snapping at him. The only other thing I said was this and it is true:

No one thinks their dog will do that, but dogs don’t like runners.

Even if they seem to be ok with most runners, you never know what will set a dog off. Is it the color of my shirt? Am I breathing too hard? Running slower or faster than other runners? Is there a child in the yard? Is the wind blowing the wrong way? I mean, they’re dogs…they’re animals. They do what they do and what they do can be a little unpredictable.

Large dogs can do a lot of damage, but a small dog can easily bite into a calf or thigh muscle and then we're all going to be extremely unhappy.

Even if your dog is a completely under your control, a runner doesn’t know that. So shorten the leash when we run by, OK?

Nature Notes - Morning Light

Visit Michelle at the intelligent Nature Notes Thursday to learn something new.

Something I really love about autumn is the angle and softness of the light in the morning. I took the first shot and then about 10 minutes later, I took the second shot this morning. Went out on the deck in my robe for all of you.
In the photo above, the trees at the very top of the photo look as though they have turned golden, but that is the sunlight coming up over the houses. In reality, those trees are all still green.

With my limited photography skills and little point and shoot camera, these photos simply don't do it justice. It is one of my favorite things in nature, this morning light. It's also one of my favorite things about Christmas and Easter mornings.

All's Blue
Robert Browning
I find earth not gray but rosy,
Heaven not grim but fair of hue.
Do I stoop? I pluck a posy.
Do I stand and stare? All's blue.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name

I thought I was the only person who hadn't heard this song. The video annoys me, but I love the song and I listen to it way too much. So since a number of you have asked me what I'm talking about, here's the Ting Tings. Katie, the singer, started to rant about the music industry people not knowing her name. At least that's what the Google machine told me.

Lyrics from what appears to be their official site in case you're like me and can't stand not knowing the lyrics:
Go Back to List

Four letter word just to get me along
It's a difficulty and I'm biting on my tongue
I Keep stalling, keeping it together
People around I gotto find something to say
Holding back everyday the same
Don't wanna be a loner
Listen to me
I never say anything at all
So with nothing to consider they forget my name

They call me hell
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane
That's not my name...
They call me quiet
But I'm a riot
Always the same
That's not my name...

I miss the catch when they throw me the ball
I'm the last drip standing up against the wall
Keep falling, these heels that keep me boring
Getting clamped up and sitting on the fence
So alone all the time and I lock myself away
Listen to me
Thought I'm dressed up out ‘n all
With everything considered they forget my name

They call me hell
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane
That's not my name...
They call me quiet
But I'm a riot
Always the same
That's not my name...

Are you calling me darling
Are you calling me bird...

Twelve for Tuesday: a dozen pointless thoughts

1. I saw a co-worker shake, shake, shaking salt onto her frozen dinner from a box today. I almost gagged. She’ll be dead before she’s 25, but so well preserved, we can prop her up in a lifelike position at her computer and divide up her paycheck for a year.

2. I’ve been listening to spa music on iTunes. I launched iTunes and have not allowed myself to listen to the stupid Ting Tings song. It’s calling my name, though. (edit: I gave in and listened to it)

3. There were men and bright lights and welding in my driveway when I got home last night around 8:00 pm. The welder is attached directly to the fuse box. The door of the fuse box is off and covered with a huge sheet of cardboard. The stove is disconnected. I dare not run the sweeper as if that was gonna happen and there was equipment and debris everywhere. They continued welding until 10:30 pm. Knowing better than to involve myself in something like this, I went to bed and fell asleep without feeling any need to play hostess. The camper is still not completely fixed, so they will all show up for the party again tonight. They are none of them beer-drinking men apparently. My stash of Harp was untouched. Of course, the fact that I put it in a vegetable bin may account for this.

4. Speaking of vegetables, I need to know how to divide rhubarb because have you seen my rhubarb plant? I have room now for it some of it to live elsewhere in my garden.

5. I also have decided to buy some pumpkins for the front porch because a neighbor has done that and I am jealous. I always think of it as a huge waste of money and pumpkins. I would rather stir delicious pumpkin into a glass of orange/banana/pineapple juice and sip through a straw. don’t judge! But this year I am feeling festive...until it comes time for me to actually pay for it implement my plan...we’ll see.

6. A gaggle of co-workers has signed up for the 5K event in conjunction with the Des Moines Marathon next month. I think this is great! I’m beginning to feel a little left out of the camaraderie, but wouldn’t go from my half to their 5K for all the tea in China. I hope they will be there cheering me on at the beginning since we start only 30 minutes earlier.

7. Here is perhaps the biggest reason why I love the Des Moines Marathon: “The IMT Des Moines Marathon course is open for 7 hours. This allows for a 16 minute per mile pace for the Marathon. Race day services such as course marshals, aid stations, bike support and entertainment have been asked to prepare for a 7 hour day. They have been asked to provide as much support for the last walker as the first elite runner that passes by on the course.” (emphasis is mine) “The IMT Des Moines Marathon will not pack up and leave you. Members of the Mercy Medical Center first aid stations and sag wagons along with the Bike Iowa support team will remain on the course until every athlete crosses the finish line, receives a finisher medal, official time and post race nourishment.”

That’s for the full marathon – all 26.2 miles. That makes this race accessible for almost anyone and I think that’s really fantastic. [swelling with pride] None of this can be said for the local running group…

8. Rhubarb division is not always successful, but dividing hostas is and I have a boatload of hostas that need to be divided. If you are interested in adopting hosta offspring early next year, please let me know. Well, technically we can do it now if you want.

9. I lead a study group for people who want to learn Irish which is surely the most difficult language on the planet after Chinese and it’s loads of fun. Tonight we are learning how to greet people and we’re making flash cards. Just saying hello involves 14 phrases and that doesn’t include things like ‘I will see you later,’ ‘Take it easy’ and other casual phrases you might like to use.

10. I have Christmas shopping well in hand. That’s what I always think and then sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But I think I am doing well this year for reelz. I will send Christmas cards this year and that requires some time in October or November so it is done and over with and ready for mailing.

11. I love chutney.

12. I have a hankerin’ to go overboard and sign up for the five races I found this morning for the rest of the year. There’s a chocolate race on Halloween, a Jingle Jog, an off-road race, a race at the state fairgrounds and of course the one on January 1 at o’dark thirty in the morning at 17 degrees. Dumb, but fun. The coffee was freezing, it was so ridiculously cold that morning. It’s the sort of thing that was just a wafer-thin, tiny little slice of heaven at the time, but in looking back it was a lot of fun and you just can’t wait to do it again. I think I’ll sign up for that one for sure.

Monday, September 27, 2010


I was listening to country music on the radio in my office because the classical music station won’t come in today. I’m not listening to iTunes because I cannot listen to the Ting Tings sing That’s Not My Name again without jumping through my plate glass window. And I have no willpower when it comes to that song. I have just turned off the radio because every song on the country station seems to be about something painful and I do not have the room in my life for pain.

As for pain, I’m not in pain. I’m just saying who needs all that extra pretend-angst when I need not look further than two feet in front of me to see it in real life. So now I am sitting in silence. Did you know that Country & Western is only Country and has been since, I think, the 60s? Yes, they dropped the Western. You have not heard Western music in a long time.

Speaking of country music, which we were for a change actually speaking of something I start talking about, I heard part of an interview yesterday morning. It was with Loretta Lynn and it sounded fairly recent. She’s still a feisty creature! She said she only watched Coal Miner’s Daughter three times and then stopped because it was too difficult to watch. The interviewer asked if it was difficult because it was too close to life or because they didn’t get it right.

She said it was too close to life. She also said she was almost on the plane that went down with Patsy Cline aboard. Patsy had offered her $50 to go on the job with her, but she was offered another job for $75 and she took the better pay. She also said that Sissy Spacek had spent a year with her before filming the movie and she wanted to kill Sissy by the time it was over. She was laughing, so I think probably Sissy isn’t offended by the remark. Well, she was laughing, but she was serious, just plumb serious, folks.

Also, did you know that I grew up in Dayton with a girl whose father was from Butcher Hollow, KY which is the place Loretta Lynn lived in? I don’t think it exists now, but Paintsville was nearby. There is a Butcher Hollow Road. When her daddy spoke it, it went like this: Butcher Holler. At any rate, I have referred to this family recently. She’s the girl whose mom was from Paris. Remember? I said something like, “What a match!” but I am too lazy to go back and look for that. I could tell a couple stories about Belinda. I think she was the reason I ever got into trouble. We must have spent every waking minute together for a couple years, because most of life’s memories in Huber Heights, OH include her.

Back to Loretta.

Loretta talked about going into radio stations and how they would make her wait forever and how rude Ralph Emery was to her. He told her he didn’t like her style and she said she wanted to punch him. The interviewer mentioned that some of her songs were banned and she said, “If a song was banned, I never spent a penny on it. I knew it would go straight to the top if I left it alone.”

Then they played the song Your Lookin’ at Country, which is a good song and I have been singing it to myself for more than 24 hours now.

I have no idea how this turned into a post about my close, personal friend Loretta.

I ran the Capital Pursuit 10-mile race yesterday morning. After getting the children ready for church because obviously I am the only person capable of getting the children ready. No wonder some women get like that. I am getting like that – like I am the only one who can take care of the kids. It may be due to the fact that I am the only one, in point of fact, taking care of the kids.

Now I get it.

Oh, that sounds so bitter. I don’t mean it like that. Well, do I? I know many mothers who go through the same thing. OK, well anyway. They were not hungry, disheveled or naked when they arrived at church. I would have heard otherwise. So that’s another victory.

As I said, I ran the race. I did so in 10:07 minute miles. That’s pretty good and I’m pretty pleased with myself. Between taking care of the kids every Sunday morning and learning how to run, I may become insufferable rather quickly.

Shut up.

I’ll bet Loretta wrote a song about this sort of thing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nature Notes - things are changing around here

Visit Michelle at the intelligent Nature Notes Thursday to learn something new.

I hadn't been seeing many changes like other bloggers, but now they're coming at me pretty fast. The one I notice most is the darkness because getting out to run in the morning has become more challenging. The penstemon in my garden is fading, the rhubarb is dying back, the peony bushes are completely shriveled up.

But there are other things going gangbusters! Well, two things. Can two things be gangbusters?

My hibiscus, which was a birthday present last year from my lovely niece, is crazy every morning. The rose bush I planted in the front yard hasn't received any memo about autumn, either. I need to put rose pruning into the google machine and see what it spits out because it is now reaching out to grab any one who dares walk to the front door. Next I expect to see it embrace people in its thorny but loving arms.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lost: One week in time

Last week is a blur. It started with food poisoning and missing two days of work. It ended with me running zero miles. In between there was a lot of work at work, a wedding rehearsal, a big party, a wedding, a reception and a little brunch the following morning. I had the grandkids overnight, too. So I let them sleep in on Sunday morning and we all still got to the brunch on time. So many details about the wedding and the kids and the reception - it went well, we all had fun, everything was wonderful, the rain on the wedding day was biblical from morning to the end of the evening at 11:00 pm. I'll put up more photos if/when I get them.

Me and my niece. She's such a sweetie.

I brought a bag of toys knowing nothing would hold interest for a long time. Everything was played with more than once and all the snacks were eaten. It was a good idea.
The bride with her cousin.
Me and my grandkids.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Taking care of animals old skool

I went for a long run and a walk/run/walk through old parts of town yesterday and I stopped with my camera in my favorite neighborhood. It is full of hills and surprises. My friend Cindy and I had discovered a fountain last month in a small patch of grass separating two streets in this residential area. This fountain is new to the neighborhood, so I snapped a photo on my cell phone and did a little research. What I discovered was interesting, but I can't find any information on Des Moines' fountain. I don't know who is responsible for the placement and slow restoration.

Here is one of the lion's head spigots from which water once flowed. These fountains were given to cities across the country by the Humane Alliance about 100 years ago. The top trough was for horses, particularly working horses pulling carts and such. The bottom trough was for dogs and any other animals.

You can see that the bottom of this fountain isn't going to function with water anymore. I see no place for water to flow into those little arches at the bottom. The photos will show you what they originally looked like. There's a photo online of this in what is probably the original placement and it has cups at the bottom of each arch where a dog could stick its nose. The photo makes it look like this was near Waveland Cemetery, but the site (linked below) says Des Moines had two fountains. One at Pennsylvania near Grand Avenue and another at West 8th and Cherry Streets. I don't know which one this is or what happened to the other. Again, I can't find local information on this fountain.

From another web site that admits it took information from the web site through the link below, here is a summary: "Fountains (watering troughs) similar to this one were constructed in Vinalhaven, Maine (an island off the coast from Rockland) and presented to cities by the National Humane Alliance. Mr. Hermon Lee Ensign left his fortune to the Humane Alliance, which he founded to carry out his ideas for the welfare of animals. His childhood love of animals grew and became the dominating interest of his life. He acquired his fortune through twenty years in the advertising business. He created a “new” form of newspaper advertising – headline reading advertisement. The fountains, which are not all identical, are made of granite and weigh approximately five tons. The large horse bowls are six foot across and the fountains are over six feet tall. At the base, there are four small water bowls for dogs, cats and other small animals. Most of them have dates from 1906 to 1911. In total, at least 70 fountains were distributed across the U.S. and one was discovered in Mexico. This is one of the few that have been restored." Taken from

Take a look at this page to see if your community had one that has a photo included in the gallery. There is the info on this page and then another link toward the bottom with a more complete listing:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spicy Thursday < Spicy Friday

Yesterday I went to lunch with a vendor who happens to be from India. We went to a Thai restaurant close to the office. He ordered vegetable fried rice, four stars, no egg, no tomato. I thought, "Oh I love fried rice!" and since I always want what other people are eating, I said I wanted the same thing but I’ll take his egg.

The waitress, not in any way, shape, or form an ESL student at any point in her lifetime or her parent’s lifetime, looked at me. Pencil poised above her order pad, she took a breath and blinked. “So, you want meat?”

I smiled this smile I have that if you know me in real life, you have seen. It is the smile that says, “I’m going to be patient with you now” and I become very polite. I explained that I didn’t want meat, I would like an extra egg in my fried rice.

She blinked.

I smiled.

My dining companion took over. He explained that he wanted the vegetable fried rice with no egg, but I like egg so I wanted an extra egg, but no meat.

“So you want the fried rice with no egg?”

Now I don’t want anyone to think this was a slack-jawed, glassy eyed, hunchbacked and barefooted child from the wild mountains of Iowa. No indeed, she seemed pretty sharp and within her eyes I could see wit and the starry light of intelligence.

We were frustrating her.

I said, with a friendly wave of my left hand, “Let’s start over completely. I want the vegetable fried rice with no meat.” I paused. “And then if it is OK, I would like an extra egg scrambled into the fried rice.”

She said ok and quickly jotted something in waitress shorthand on her pad. I assumed it was waitress shorthand for “pick it off the floor and spit in it with a side of cucumber” but I was willing to take my risks.

Lunch arrived and we dug in. I quickly realized I had gotten vegetable fried rice with tomatoes, no meat and no extra egg. It was also FOUR STARS.

Hot is what I mean.

I’m telling you about spicy.


My dining friend looked at me and said, “Oh my, no. Caron you cannot eat that.” I laughed and said I would give it a try. He was very concerned as he added crushed up chili pepper compote to make his four-star rice even hotter. “Are you going to be ok with that?” he asked. I breathed in through my mouth and nodded.

I ate most of it and brought leftovers back to the office. I finished it mid-afternoon. I didn’t feel great all evening, which is a twisted way of saying I wish I hadn't, but it wasn't enough to kill me. I woke up in the middle of the night with a wee headache.

I went for a three-mile run this morning before work and that’s when it really hit me. I could feel that dang spice in my nose, throat and eyes. It was ugly, but I made it the whole three miles before bursting into the house and jumping into the shower as fast as possible. Obviously another running victory.

Eat wisely, folks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In the still of the night

Visit Michelle at the friendly Nature Notes Thursday , where Michelle may be on hiatus but we all gather to learn and share.

Running needs a little more discipline these days as my mornings get shorter and my evenings get shorter. I don't run unless there's some light in the sky, so lunchtime is beginning to look better and better. Here's my observation: it's dark more.

To Night by Arthur Symons

I have loved wind and light,
And the bright sea,
But, holy and most secret Night,
Not as I love and have loved thee.

God, like all highest things,
Hides light in shade,
And in the night his visitings
To sleep and dreams are clearliest made.

Love, that knows all things well,
Loves the night best;
Joys whereof daylight dares not tell
Are his, and the diviner rest.

And Life, whom day shows plain
Its prison-bars,
Feels the close wall and the hard chain
Fade when the darkness brings the stars.

Night by Alcman
(written about 650 BC)
Over the drowsy earth still night prevails;
Calm sleep the mountain tops and shady vales
The rugged cliffs and hollow glens,
The cattle on the hill. Deep in the sea
The countless finny race and monster brood
Tranquil repose. Even the busy bee
Forgets her daily toil. The silent wood,
No more with noisy hum of insects rings;
And all the feathered tribes, by gentle sleep subdued,
Roost in the glade and hang their drooping wings.