Thursday, April 30, 2009

Staples of Southern Food: Pyrex dishes and third helpings

Through the years, I've learned a few things about my people. First of all, I call them my people. Not everyone does that.

My people taught me a lot. Some taught me through example and others taught me through direct instruction. (Thank you, Mama and Granny.)

Most of what they taught me involves food. No big surprise there.

Here are a few things I have learned.

1. A rule in our family is that no one can ever leave hungry.

They don't necessarily have to arrive hungry. This means that anyone who arrives on the property and sits down for more than 15 minutes must be offered a drink, then some food. If they come for a meal it is mandatory to prepare at least twice as much than can be consumed.

2. This should have been number one. A Southern woman's number one fear is to run out of food. Some people could blame this on The War or The Depression. Who really knows.

I can tell you this, the only thing worse thing than running out of food is not looking natural at your funeral. This makes sense because most Southern women would rather die than suffer from the humiliation of company not having a third helping of broccoli casserole.

3. Southern women are not allowed to sit down while people are visiting. Once the meal is on the table, it is proper to sit long enough to share in the blessing, but the Southern woman must be in a seat close to the kitchen. In every Southern woman's chair is a hidden spring that makes her hop up and down and fetch tea and more rolls for everyone.

And butter, of course.

4. Southern women love to make things in Pyrex dishes. We give them as wedding gifts in sets of various sizes. After many years of keeping (no kidding) about 8 Pyrex dishes, I decided I didn't need them all. Even if a person has two ovens, there is a limit to the number of casseroles I can bake all at once.

I kept a few of them and donated the rest. Somewhere in a Goodwill store there is a Southern woman blowing the dust off a 9 x 11 and saying to herself, "Jackpot!"

5. All Southern women have at least 2 recipes for broccoli casserole. Some of us prefer Cheese Whiz and others prefer shredded cheddar. You can see us at the church potluck sitting on opposite sides of the fellowship hall.

6. We also like to make a 7 layer salad. Salad is a misleading name because layered salad includes mayonnaise, bacon and sugar. If we could put butter on it and keep the iceberg lettuce from wilting we would.

7. You could make the layered salad in a 9 x 11 or in a nice trifle bowl, another common wedding gift for the Southern bride.

And that, my friend, is just a taste of the many food rules of my people.

In case you're wondering, I prefer shredded cheddar. Medium, not mild or too sharp, and freshly grated.

(Edited to add: I don't have two ovens. If I did, I would have kept all of my Pyrex dishes.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Politically Incorrect Recipes: Ribs and Beans

I've vowed to make something different for dinner around here, trying new recipes and pulling out the old ones from my recipe box. My poor family is getting tired of pot roast and baked chicken.

Planning dinner should be stress free. Goodness knows I've got enough to worry about with the swine flu.

Now the government says that I'm not supposed to call it the swine flu because people are afraid to eat pork. Those poor pig farmers are feeling the pain of the swine phobia even though the professionals tell us we can't get the swine flu from consuming pork.

So we are supposed to refer to the Swine Flu as the Mexican Flu which means now I'm just afraid to eat tacos.

Don't start emailing me, Sensitive Reader. That last phrase is known as sarcasm and, unlike pork, it is served up quite regularly here at This Ain't New York.

Here are a few recipes I made last week that were delish. Depending on the relationship you have with your butcher, they are Virus Free.

Jalapeno Ribs with Baked Beans
AKA "Support The Frightened Pig Farmer While Contributing to Global Warming Dinner"

Sweet Jalapeno Ribs (Crock pot Recipe)

3 pounds country-style pork ribs, trimmed
1 medium onion, chopped
salt, pepper, garlic powder (or your favorite seasonings)
1 (10 oz) jar red pepper jelly
1 cup A-1 steak sauce

Sprinkle ribs with equal amounts of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Rub in seasonings all over ribs. Place ribs under broiler 18-20 minutes with oven door partially open. Turn once. (Watch them carefully so they do not burn.)

Meanwhile,combine jelly and A-1 on med heat in a saucepan. Stir until just blended and jelly is melted.

Place browned ribs and onion in crock pot. Pour jelly/A-1 sauce over ribs. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 9-10 hours, or until ribs are fork tender.

Once ribs are done, begin cooking beans.

Baked Beans

2 (16 oz) cans pinto beans, drained
4 slices bacon, cut up in bite size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbs. mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
rib meat

Cook bacon and onions together until onions are soft. (It is easier if you cut up the bacon before cooking.) Pour off excess grease. Mix in remaining ingredients, along with 1/4 cup of cooked, shredded rib meat. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly.

Serve with ribs and a huge piece of cornbread.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hi from the edge of the earth.

Well. This little writer's block has turned into a full blown bloggy break. I just wanted to check in and let y'all know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

And, by the way, why do we still say that? We've known hundreds of years that the earth isn't flat and that it isn't possible to actually fall of of the planet. Maybe it's time to update the phrase.

I'm just sayin.'

Of course, I'm not the one who will be coming up with a new phrase anytime soon, what with all the writer's block and all.

And y'all, my neck has been sore and stiff for a whole day. I woke up with it yesterday and thought it was just one of those weird sleep things. But it won't go away and now I think I might have the swine flu. Which is not a good thing because the thought of catching something from a hog just sends shivers up my spine.

And that would mean I have both aches and chills. So there you go. I'm just waiting for the fever to spike and you'll see me sporting one of those surgical masks.

Since I have thrown good segues off the edge of the earth, let me go ahead and say this. It irks me to see people wearing those surgical masks incorrectly.

Hello! Mr. Businessman on the subway! It is supposed to cover your nose, too. This isn't an episode of ER where you just kick in the door and hold the mask loosely up to your face so that you can yell at the med student.

There. I feel better.

Except for this crick in my neck.

I'll see y'all tomorrow...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Compassion Bloggers: India

All this week you can read about what the Compassion Blog Team is doing in India. Be sure to check their main page to read all of their posts.

Please pray for the bloggers. Pray for their safe travel and health.

Pray for their hearts. The poverty in India is difficult to even imagine. They are witnessing it firsthand and that can be a hard task indeed. What they will see is unfathomable.

Most of all, pray for the children they will meet and for the many more who will be sponsored through the words and images these bloggers will share.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Look! At Post!

Don't get too excited.

I sat down at the computer several times this week to write something. I got nothin.' Really.

Unless you want to hear me rant on somethingorother or hear about how I made Rachael Ray's shish kabobs but not really the shish because I used beef and shish is lamb. (I learned that from Rachael. I thought it was all the same.)

I guess I could post the recipe for the beef kabobs but then that would be even less exciting. I'll save that for another day. I have a few recipes I'd like to share with you and I'll just post them all at once.

It'll be like a little bloggy cookbooklet.

It has been a long week, even though nothing really exciting has happened. Then again, that's how life is. Living. Sometimes something funny happens which (for us) immediately becomes blog fodder or sometimes we learn a lesson that we'd like to share.

Most of the time, however, life is just living. Taking the kids to school, going to work, shopping for groceries, buying birthday gifts, cooking dinner, doing laundry, and yes, scooping the litter box.

If I ever resort to blogging about the litter box, please email me a message begging me to stop.

I do have one little thing to add to this otherwise snoozeville post. I am lovin' 24 and I am hatin' that Tony totally betrayed me.

Tony, if you're out there, you can just talk to the hand- the one that scoops the litter box.

Y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Because this is my Father's world.

This post was originally published April 18, 2008.

For you people who did not attend or do not plan to attend some kind of Earth Day or Arbor Day or Earth Day/Arbor Day Combo (do not have children in elementary school), um... can I come live with you?

Daughter's class had a field trip to A Combo today and I agreed to go along. You see, my field trip attendance streak is something akin to Seinfeld's vomit streak and I do not want to mess it up. I have not missed a single field trip since she was the tender age of three thankyouverymuch.

I've been to aquariums, museums, the pumpkin patch, the rodeo, McDonald's, the theatre, and many, many playgrounds with lots of sand.

Oh, and the rodeo and McDonald's was a combo of its own; the McDonald's visit included a drug bust.

Try being a chaperon on that trip and explaining to the moms who were at work or at the spa or wherever they were why we had to literally form a human wall between barefoot children playing in the human gerbil play equipment and guys from the hood being patted down by the Police.

And yelling, "LEAVE your Keds in the shoe cubbies, kids! Someone might start shooting!"

Or why you chose to sit in the booth because it provided more bullet protection.

Big Kindergarten Fun.

A field trip is like going through rush in a sorority that no one wants to pledge.

By now, I should be a Kappa Delta Mama Jama.

Here's the thing. I love spending time with my child, but I am also paranoid. I can always picture that some creepy person is out there. They are lurking in the shadows or behind the slide and I am going to be there to protect my child. Therefore, I must go to help the poor teacher who has obviously lost her mind.

Plus, you never know when you need to form a Human Wall.

So, today was no exception. I joined the class, along with several other parents, as we toured the Earth Day/Arbor Day Combo and learned how to care for the Earth.

You might be surprised, but I could be considered a crunchy conservative. I believe in God and I vote conservatively, but I still want to protect wildlife and take care of the planet because I believe in the God Who created it.

I'm just sayin.'

The exhibits today were excellent. I learned a lot. Daughter learned a lot. It was a lot of fun and no one was arrested. At least, not to my knowledge.

After all of the instruction on saving the birds from balloons and how to measure the diameter of a tree, I made sure daughter was lined up for the bus and I left to get ready for Girl Scouts.

We had our own little Combo event to take care of; we planted flowers at school.

The girls were so sweet and it was all going well until our little smart third grader found a baby bird, fallen from the nest. Everyone rushed to comfort him and we watched as he opened his tiny bird mouth, gasping for air.

We wrapped him in a pillowcase to keep him warm, thanks to the quick response of our other troop leader. She also phoned a local wildlife rescue agent who was ready to take the baby. His nest was on the edge of the roof, too high for us to return him.

So, we watched. His breaths became more labored and the girls peered over him. The grown-ups there just glanced at each other, knowing what was about to happen. And then it did. The little bird stopped breathing completely.

The girls had been playing and planting their seedlings. I didn't want to upset them right then and there, so I ushered them over to another activity and promised to watch over the bird.

I quietly took him to the car, still wrapped, planning to bury him when we got home.

I did finally tell the Scouts what happened. Most of them handled it very well. I assured them that they did help the little bird. They were with him when he died.

We came home and daughter watched as I dug a deep hole in the back yard. Her two friends next door joined us, and we buried the tiny baby bird. One by one they gingerly placed small stones in the fresh dirt and we stood over the spot in respect for a tiny, precious life.

It was surreal. Watching the end of a life given by The Creator after spending the day celebrating His Creation.

A day of celebrating His Creation with booths run by people wearing flip flops and hoping that they know The One who created the planet they are desperately trying to save.

And that through His Creation they will see that they are the ones He is so desperately trying and wanting to save.

Yeah, I'd say it was A Combo kind of day.

Works For Me: Eleven Times Table Trick

You're at the right blog, in case you thought you were lost. This is still me. The I Don't Do Math me.

But I have to share this little gem of math trickery with you! It is gold.


Your kids will love you for this one.

Here's how to multiply 11 by a two digit number without your old Trig calculator.

Sample Problem- 11 x 23

Take the original number (23) and imagine a space between the two digits.



Now add the two numbers together and put them in the middle:


That is it - you have the answer:


If the numbers in the middle add up to a 2 digit number, just insert the second number and add 1 to the first: (This sounds more complicated, but will make sense once you try it.)

Sample problem- 11 x 99



Answer: 1089

Sample Problem 2- 11 x 89



Answer: 979

Math without math. What's next?

I'll still stick with English but, my word, this is cool. Even for a grammar geek.

Check out more tips over at We Are THAT Family.

Monday, April 20, 2009

You could say "Copy That" if only you weren't surrounded by all that copyrighted material.

The strangest epiphanies can happen over some good chips and salsa.

My daughter and I were out for dinner with Nancy and her sweet girl. The four of us were munching on tamales and sopapillas when the subject of the library came up.

"My Mom would never take me to the library," my poor, neglected child said with a sigh and a giggle.

So I asked Nancy to pay the check and then I ran to the car and sobbed.

Not really. They hadn't brought us the check yet.

I answered the pitiful comment, "I really need to get over that... besides, I still like the bookstore."

My child's reading skills are where they should be so she is obviously getting some good reading material from somewhere. The somewhere is the library from which Hubs checks out the books.

Let me tell you something about Hubs. He is quite comfortable in the library which is more than I can say about his feelings concerning buffet lines. In fact, he used to work there.

I married a librarian.

He is going to run in here screaming if I don't go ahead and set this straight. Technically, he was a college grad awaiting another job who worked at the library. Temporarily. For a full year.

As you can see, my aversion to libraries is ironic considering who I married. Let me add here that Hubs never once worked for the post office although he was allowed to go in the back, behind the counter and find a letter he had just mailed in order to put more postage on it.

The other night Hubs decided to tap into my borderline psychosis by explaining to me the many duties of a librarian, specifically the Reference Librarian.

Apparently, the Reference Librarian is an expert in her field. One must undergo tedious instruction and certification for this title. She has skills that others dream of.

In his words, "she is like the Special Forces of Librarians."

Hubs decided to google Reference Librarian and found some terms and definitions on Wikipedia that must have been written by the Book-stacking Black Ops themselves.

Here are a few:

Librarians are experts in the contents and arrangement of their collections, as well as how information is organized outside the library.

Wow. I can't even find my keys.

Library users are encouraged not to be shy about asking a reference librarian for help. Even though most librarians stay busy when not serving a patron, their primary duty when they are at the desk is to assist library users.

Really. I thought they were there to make me feel organizationally inferior.

Using a structured reference interview, the librarian works with the library user to clarify their needs and determine what information sources will fill them.

I'm so glad the reference interview is structured. The library itself is just a total mess.

To borrow a medical analogy, reference librarians diagnose and treat information deficiencies.

But do they always wash their hands between readers?

Here are a few skills that a Master's Degree in Library Science will provide. (Unlike those Bachelor Degree Librarians, the Physician's Assistants of Book Stacking.)

The librarian can look up a brief, factual answer to a specific question.

The librarian can use the catalogue to find out whether the library owns an item with a particular title or author, or that contains a short story, chapter, song, or poem with a particular title, or to compile a list of books by a particular author or on a particular subject.

Not that they are particular.

And here is my favorite skill of the Reference Librarian, one which I've never experienced personally.

The librarian can often take the library user directly to the shelves with books on a certain topic without using the catalogue.

Which is like the Jack Bauer of Librarians. You know, without the violence and all.

So I guess if I could start to see the library the same way I see the CIA or the FBI or my family doctor then maybe I could get over my aversion and my child would not be so deprived of literary access.

Nah. I think Hubs' Wikipedia search backfired. Now I just see the library as an exam room with torture devices.

Kind of makes waterboarding sound like a trip to the bookstore.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday's Fav Five #2

Susanne hosts Friday's Fav Five every week. She is faithful to help us all make a list and we know that I need help with that, don't we?!

1. Easter. The meaning, the promises, the One we celebrate. No words can really describe.

2. My family's silliness.

Mama always says, "It's never boring at your house." That is her nice way of saying that we're crazy. I love that my husband puts up with my poor organization and that Wal-mart is just 5 minutes from my house. He often quotes Brighton Beach Memoirs- "All I'm trained to do is go to the store."

Lucky for me, that's not true. He takes out the trash, too.


3. Tuesday Mornings. I have coffee with a friend and then Bible study with a great group of ladies who love The Lord and His Word. That combination is really getting hard to find these days.

Sometimes we only love the part of The Word that refers to love and forgiveness and not all the ugly, convicting sin part. Easter is a reminder for me that Christ died on the cross so that I would be forgiven because goodness knows I needed forgiveness. He knew how terrible I would be but suffered for my sake anyway. Without understanding the ugly, convicting sin part of the Bible, I can't really appreciate or understand the love and forgiveness.

I'm grateful to be part of Bible study where we strive to know all of God's Word. It's really a blessing.

4. On a much lighter note! I'm getting into gear with Linda's encouragement. I'm walking and enjoying it. I'm also learning more about Hubs' music interest because I've been using his MP3 player.

I had no idea he listened to Black Eyed Peas. Unless it is a subliminal message for me to cook some.

5. The fact that we never really went back to tea. :>)

And is it just me or would it not have been cool for Starbucks to give away coffee on Tax Day? Not that it would help me here.

I could just live vicariously through all of you who have access to a real Starbucks. My daughter calls our local coffee shop the "Secondhand Starbucks." It cracks me up!

Please know that they aren't serving used coffee.

At least not as far as I know.

Have a great weekend!

Thanks, Susanne. I needed that.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Such A Time As This

I'm over at the Internet Cafe today, writing about God's purpose and timing.

Ever wonder why you are where you are in your life? I know I have. Ever wonder if you can truly make a difference in this world we live in? You can. Through Him.

Grab a cup of coffee and meet me at the Cafe. See you there!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So they say I'm a radical.

People had tea bags pinned to their clothing. Small flags waved. I saw Harley t-shirts, American Legion caps, cowboy boots and designer handbags. The faces were unfamiliar, but I felt like I'd known them all my life.

Retired couples stood hand in hand, some of them settled on park benches. Moms brought their young children. Citizens of all ages and backgrounds stood in front of our county's courthouse for our local TEA Party, proclaiming protests and holding homemade signs. The phrases were all different but the messages were the same.

Listen up, Big Brother. We the People are not happy.

Someone took the stage- a trailer of hay bales parked behind a GM pick-up truck.

We prayed. Right there. In front of a government building.

Then a man stood and led us all in the pledge of allegiance to our flag. Men removed their hats, we placed our hands on our hearts, and joined together in a sacred promise. My country's flag waved in the New Mexico wind and it was in that moment that I knew I was part of something. Something big. Something small, but something.

Speakers began to take the mic.

No more big spending.

We're taxed enough.

Stop signing bills you haven't read.

I've paid my taxes, Congressman. Have you?

We signed petitions. We wrote messages to Washington with Sharpie pens on massive posters.

Not a single person burned a flag or a bra or a poster of a public figure. No one yelled obscenities (not that I heard.) People were opinionated, very opinionated. People spoke with passion but no one was violent or obscene.

No one was anti-American.

Instead, they spoke against the path their country is on, the methods their government is using and the arrogance their officials display. Someone quoted Reagan, then Jefferson, then Lincoln. We clapped and cheered. Some of us even hooted and hollered.

It was a protest against big government spending. It was a demonstration for so much more- for freedom, capitalism, fair taxation, life, liberty, fiscal responsibility, our troops, our veterans, our children, and our future.

Within an hour, the rally was over. I left with a new spring in my step. I am not alone. There are people out there who think like me, who still believe in their country even when they are disappointed in their country's leadership.

This entire post is probably sounding a bit sappy but there's really no other way to share this. I'm just being honest.

This morning there are bloggers and reporters who want you to believe that the majority of the protesters at these TEA Parties were irrational and dangerous. I am sure that there were some out there who acted inappropriately, but I think they are the small minority.

I'm glad that there are still people who are willing to stand up for something. Today I made a promise to myself, to my own child and to my country, to stand with them.

If that makes me a radical, or just plain nuts, so be it. Besides, I didn't need Homeland Security to tell me I'm nuts. I already knew that.

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." - Thomas Jefferson

Just a note...

I'm back from our local TEA party and I promise a real post later. I need to organize my thoughts and facts so that I can write something other than, "It was awesome" and "It rocked."

You know, stuff like that.

An update soon...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I've always been a coffee drinker anyway.

If you've read this blog long enough, you know I can be a bit, um, shall we say opinionated? You may be shocked to know that most of the time I've used restraint.

Yeah, I know.

But I decided a long time ago that the blog would not be my forum for rants or tantrums unless it involved a good discussion concerning self-rising flour or sending a timely thank-you note.

I have a family. I have a daughter. And I have just a wee bit of paranoia.

Watching 24 hasn't helped.

But today I wanted to share with you where I will be tomorrow, April 15, the Big Day for Big Brother.

I'm going to a Tea Party.

When all of the hoopla began, I wasn't sure I wanted to take part. I am opinionated. I can be emotional, but most of the time I try to logically respond to those opinions and emotions. I thought when the day came for the underground conservatives to make a public outcry, I would just sit it out.

I've changed my mind.

People are talking. People are blogging. And even if they don't want to admit it, our government is paying attention.

They make think we're crazy or stubborn or radical. Maybe we're a nice mix of all three.

We complain that they don't understand us, that we're being ignored, but how can we expect them to listen if we never have anything to say?

If you are interested in attending a Tea Party tomorrow or just learning what they are all about, I encourage you to read for yourselves. The great thing about this country is that we have the freedom to gather together and speak our minds or stay home and sit it out. At least, we do for now.

After a lot of thought and worry and a private tantrum or two, I've decide to go to our local rally. Maybe I'm crazy or stubborn or radical. Maybe I'm a nice mix of all three, but I'll be there with my strong cup of coffee in one hand and my country's flag in the other.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The best way to a woman's heart is through the self check-out line.

I hope y'all had a wonderful Easter with your family. We had a nice weekend of being silly, playing games, lounging and eating. But, mostly eating.

When a holiday is approaching, I usually plan my menu in advance. I'll add or change a few things at the last minute, but I usually know ahead of time what I am going to cook.

This time, I couldn't decide on our Easter dinner menu until the very last minute. (And by dinner, I mean lunch, because I'm Southern and the meal was on a Sunday. That's a whole other post.)

I grew up eating ham and potato salad on Easter. Mama knows how to make a good ham. I think it is one of her specialties. I didn't inherit her expertise. Besides, ham is not at the top of Hubs' food list, my daughter can take it or leave it, and the salt just makes me bloat.

So, I went with something else.

Turkey and dressing.

Yeah, I know. It's not November. But my family can eat turkey and dressing any time of year. I can eat dressing any time of day. I love it. The homemade kind. Cornbread made the night before. Homemade chicken stock. The kind of dressing that's so good it will make you slap your mama.

Good thing my mama is five states away.

I went to THE grocery store on Saturday with all of the other last minute planners. I was joined by patient husbands who are only trained to go to the store and buy things like "one can of chicken broth" and "all-purpose flour" only to go home and get yelled at because they bought the off brand of broth and some freakish organic, unbleached flour which will not work for a pound cake!

Bless their untrained hearts.

I filled the last cart in the store with everything I needed for our Easter dinner and headed home to cook.

Sunday morning we got up, checked what the Easter bunny had brought for our daughter, then headed to church. I have to say it was one of the best Easter worship experiences I've had.

We returned home and I realized that I should have started cooking that morning. It's a good thing the Easter bunny visited or else we would have starved. Those peanut M & M's are packed with essential protein.

In the meantime, I was getting everything ready for us to color eggs and have an egg hunt. I had forgotten to get some plastic eggs at the store the day before in my hurried attempt to escape the crowd.

Hubs went to Wal-mart. He returned with plastic eggs, a half-eaten bag of Doritoes and the final season of Seinfeld. He must have known how long it would take me to cook that turkey breast.

While he was gone, I realized that I had used all the white vinegar in a load of laundry a few days earlier. We were going to have to have pastel eggs.

Hubs offered to go to the store again.

Oh, yes he did. I think it gives him a chance to practice at self check-out.

Our Easter dinner (which is usually lunch) was an early supper, but no one seemed to mind because they were allowed to eat Easter candy when normally I would say it was going to spoil their dinner/supper.

We finally ate two days' worth of cooking in a manner of fifteen minutes.

As we cleared the table, Hubs said,"Thanks for making a dinner that was all complicated."

Which is his tender way of telling me he appreciates the hard work.

He's a grateful man with an incredible appetite for Doritoes and Peanut M&M's, remarkable speed at self check-out, and patience for a wife with poor list-making skills.

Bless his trained heart.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter

I'll be taking a long blog break this weekend to spend time with my family in celebration of Easter.

May all of you have a wonderful Resurrection Day this Sunday!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A lesson on rising costs in the dairy aisle.

I learn a lot in the grocery store.

If I'm standing at the check-out line, I learn everything there is to know about Jennifer Anniston's latest love triangles, Valerie Bertinelli's bikini comeback, and the fact that I never want to suscribe to a few magazines which shall remain nameless.

I learn that milk costs an arm and a leg yet somehow I manage to afford my Diet Coke.

I learn about people. I learn about me.

Today I was looking over my grocery list, noticing the other women pushing their way down the aisles. Some of them were about my age. Others were older ladies with freshly done hair and polyester pants. Some of the ladies were younger with kids in tow.

One of them in particular caught my attention.

I was looking at the milk. Yep. $ Arm and a Leg.

She was looking at yogurt. She had two young girls with her. One looked to be about two and the other, five or six years old. From all appearances, another baby could be born any day now.

This mom was on her cell phone. From her side of the conversation, I could tell she was chatting with a close friend. In between sentences, she leaned down, politely asked her friend to "hold on" and corrected her kids.

"Stop whining."

"Yes, you can have one of those."

I retrieved my milk from the cooler and moved on my way.

We met again several times. Each time she was still on the phone. I could hear her two year-old become louder and louder, whinier and whinier. As her cries echoed in a crescendo through the store, the mom became more and more exasperated.

"What's wrong with you? Be quiet."

She wasn't angry or mean. She wasn't abusive or neglectful. She was just busy.

I wanted to tell her,"Hang up and listen to your children. They are crying out for your attention, even while you browse the potato chips!"

Then I thought to myself how she may have been with them all day. Her conversation with a friend could be her break. I don't really know what her day has been like. After all, she has a two year-old, a five year-old, and one on the way.

I considered my own time with my daughter. The many days I felt tired with a two year-old at the hem of my capri pants. The moments in the grocery store when I just wanted to be able to shop alone. To think before I buy that carton of milk for an arm and a leg.

I thought about the times I've been on a computer or in front of the TV when she walked in the room. The moments I just needed a minute, but the minutes turned into hours.

We all need a break sometimes. We need rest. We need quiet. But those quiet breaks should be chosen carefully.

The moments we miss now could be the ones we cherish later. I don't want to miss a thing.

I want my daughter to know I love her, to know I'm here for her, to know she takes priority over a phone call or a blog post.

One day she may need to come to me for something extremely important. It may be about boys or drugs or her relationship with Jesus. It may just be about math.

Whatever the matter is, I want her to know I'm fully and completely available. I never want to put her on hold.

What could happen if I don't give her my time when she needs me? What would that cost? It may cost a good grade on a math test, our close relationship as mother and daughter, or even her life.

If the time I take with her costs me a phone call, a nap, or a fleeting blog entry, it's worth it.

She's worth it.

I never want to forget that.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Checking google searches

Several of you asked how I find the google searches for my blog. I'll try to explain the best I can.

First, you need to have some sort of site tracker. I use site meter. Without that, there really is no way to track the people that visit your blog unless you are Chloe on 24. I'm sure that technically there is a way, but my very limited computer mind doesn't know how.

If you do use site meter, go to your summary page. Look to the left for the tracking section. Click on "By Referrals."

This should take you to a list of all the most recent referrals to your blog. It will show a list of "referring URL's." You may recognize some of your regular readers here. For example, if I visited your blog from my site, you would see my URL on the list.

A referring URL from a google search will have google in the URL. To see a detailed description, click on the link.

This should take you to the page that popped up when your reader did a google search. You should see your blog somewhere on the page.

If you have any other questions, leave a comment or send me an email. I hope this helps!

A Day in SmallTown

I have no doubt that God has a sense of humor. He must. And if He doesn't, then I'm in big trouble. Humor is what gets me through the day. Laughter releases tensions and sadness in one big snort.

And sometimes that snort is through my nose.

My day started out meeting my sweet friend at our local coffee shop. I also believe that, in addition to a sense of humor, God may also appreciate good coffee. Or at least He appreciates that I need it. I'm so thankful He gives us the desires of our hearts because sometimes my desire involves a good espresso and steamed half and half.

The folks at the coffee shop know me. They know I like a breve and they know that sometimes I need a large AKA Molto. (I love that.)

The two regulars always comment that they don't recognize me when I come in. They are used to my side profile at the drive thru. Proof of why a mug shot always includes both the side and front profiles.

After my friend ordered her skinny latte, I ordered my molto (notsoskinny.) Coffee is my splurge. I've cut back since Linda has inspired me to move but, coffee is where I am going to indulge.

The two of us caught up on all of the exciting things we've done in SmallTown over the last week, like ride by cows, then headed to our morning Bible Study. It was awesome, as usual.

Since I was all dolled up with nowhere else to go, I thought I'd get a few errands done. So I drove to Wal-mart Express Lube for an oil change. It was my intention to have the oil changed and do a little Easter shopping all in one stop.

Genius, right?

The wait for an oil change was 2 hours. I'd hate to know how long it takes at the regular place that doesn't offer express.

So I left and drove to a little shop I've found here with cute gifts, in search of a particular basket stuffer- MissMatched socks. All they had were the adult and women sizes which I found interesting. I am pretty sure that women are adults and since I can't picture men wearing MissMatched socks, the women are the only adults wearing them. I hope.

I asked about the girls' sizes and the cashier said, "We are all out. We had a rush for those at Christmas."

(insert thoughtful pause)

"Sooo.... you're not going to order any more?"

"Let me check."

The manager walked out.

"She's looking for the kids' MissMatched socks. Are we ordering anymore?"

"No. We don't sell enough of them. We sell more of the women's socks."


(insert disappointment)

I left with confusion and wonder over the thought that the little kids in SmallTown don't wear polka dotted socks but the grown women do. And they don't match.

After no oil change, and no goodies for my child's Easter basket, I climbed back in the Honda and just laughed out loud. Thus is life in SmallTown. You have to go with the flow even when sometimes there is no flow.

There was still time before I had to pick up my daughter from school. Surely I could get at least one errand done. Surely there was an Easter basket goodie out there. I headed to the local craft store convinced that I'd find something. A cheaply made weaving kit. An overpriced piece of sofa art. Anything.

I found a few things. Stickers. Craft supplies. And even a cheaply made weaving kit, which I didn't buy.

My day was done. I'd pretty much accomplished nothing, except for writing a blog post about Little MissMatched socks. I hear that some folks get hits from companies when they mention them a lot on their blogs and sometimes they even get free stuff in the mail.

And since my most recent google search involved Martha White cornmeal dancing, please indulge me...

Little MissMatched socks
Little MissMatched socks
Little MissMatched socks

My plan today? Revist the express lube and plan to spend 2 hours at Wal-mart.

And look for that email from Little MissMatched socks.


Monday, April 06, 2009

More Funny Google Searches

I am often amused at the way people find my blog.

The most popular searches are:

Wal-mart Hubcaps
Do women in New York wear pantyhose?
Charleston Green
How to unstop a sink

My new favorite is-

Martha White cornmeal dancing

Good cornmeal gives occasion to dance, but if there is a special one, I'd like to know.

Friday, April 03, 2009

I've been hanging out with Maggie far too long.

So, it has been over a week since Linda began her challenge to get us moving for 30 minutes, 5 times a week.

It took me 9 days but I finally moved.

I started walking this evening, my tried and true exercise of choice. The wind nearly blew me away. Maybe if I walk against it, it will burn more calories.

My plan is to keep this up, hopefully every day, not just the five. If I skip a day, I tend to let another day go, then another. Before you know it, I'm back to being a sloth.

It's no fun being a sloth.

Have a great weekend. If you see me on the sidewalk, honk!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

It even reminds me to feed Little Ricky.

Excitement arrived today. I signed it in on a greasy clipboard.

Today was delivery day for my new washing machine. The appliance guys moved my old tired machine to the garage, hoisted the new one into the laundry room, hooked up the hoses, and then they were on their way.

I had no idea how high-tech this thing is until it rested next to my old dryer. This thing. It is FANCY.

There are buttons and settings and quiet controls. I can choose whether the buttons beep or don't beep. I can pre-select things I never knew I wanted to select in the first place. And this is not even the high-end model.

I couldn't wait for the appliance guys to drive away so that I could try it out.

It's official. I've become Lucy Ricardo.

If only I could call Ethel to come over and we could try out my new washer. But then we'd just do something crazy with the buttons, and the hoses would pop off, sending water shooting up in the air and all over Ricky's brand new suit.

Then I'd have some explainin' to do.

Instead, since I don't have a neighbor named Ethel, I'm not married to a Cuban, and I don't hang out around the house in high heels, I think I'll just do a load of laundry. Or two.

I may throw some red socks in with a load of whites to see if this machine is as smart as at looks. You know. Just for kicks.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Works for Me Backwards Edition: Catalog Shopping

Today is a backwards edition of WFMW, a day when we get to ask each other for tips. I love these because I can always use some help!

Y'all know that I pretty much live in the middle of nowhere. We have a small mall. (Sears and JCPenney share a wall. Not really, but you get the picture.)

Most of the small shops here are for teenagers who don't eat. Only my daughter's Barbies could find something in there.

The closest shopping is at least a 2 hour drive away. I can't really do that on a regular basis.

I am going to have to depend on catalog shopping, something I dread. I need to try on clothes most of the time. Or at least deal with a company with easy returns.

So, what catalog stores do you love?

Who has the best shipping deals?

Great return policies?

Which ones usually have clothing that runs true to size?

A woman in SmallTown and her worn out yoga pants need your help.