November 30th, 2009

Ring-A-Ling

Tis the season for the tinkle tinkle of bells. And ringing cell phones. Regarding cell phones, I resisted having one, fought it nail and tooth, but finally caved in a few years back when the kids got so busy with activities I couldn’t keep track of them anymore. It did make my life easier, although I once called my oldest daughter when I woke on a Sunday morning, sleepy-eyed at 3:00 a.m. and didn’t see her car out front.

She picked up and in a gravelly voice said, “What?”

“Where are you? It’s three a.m.!”

“I’m upstairs in bed, mom. Why the heck are you calling me?”

She was mad.

“Sorry.” I hung up before she could sting me with her sleepy words. I then peered out the front window again and spotted her car, winking in the moonlight. The bushes had obstructed the view. My eyes had been a bit blurry when I’d checked.

Okay, so first you go through the baby stage, waking at all hours to rock and feed the soft sweeties warm bottles. Then the toddler stage, when they are out of the crib and sometimes wander about the house at odd hours. I once found my front door wide open in the middle of the night, my OLDEST (once again) across the street in the neighbor’s bushes, sitting and staring at the stars. She was a sleepwalker.

After years of sleep deprivation, parents get a slight break, a reprieve to rest back up for those teenage years. As those of you with kids who drive know, you get very little shut eye until you’re sure they are safe at home in warm beds. Even when they do text or call, a mother still sleeps with one eye open until they’re home. Now the two oldest are out the door, living their own lives, and I don’t worry what time they get in, because if I did, I’d be a walking zombie. But our youngest will get her drivers license soon, and the hoopla will begin all over again.

Joy to the world.

But really, thank God for cell phones. They’ve saved me time and worry, but certainly not money. Really though, can you put a price tag on piece of mind? Just ask a mother.

Here’s another thing I like about cell phones: the ring tones. You can pick something totally original and annoying. My first ring tone was Michael Jackson’s, Thriller, which inspired me to break out in the moonwalk whenever someone called me. I did that once and got it out of my system. Because I like dancing way too much, I changed it. Let’s see, I’ve had Kiss From A Rose, by Seal, Don’t Stop Believing, by Journey and Clocks, by Coldplay.

I’ve recently come up with something new, mainly to entertain myself. If you can guess what it is, I’ll send you a little gift from Texas. No armadillo’s, I swear.

Here are two little clues in the song: COLD and STAY. Good luck!

Btw…what’s your ring tone?


November 14th, 2009

A Sweet Season

Thanksgiving will be here soon and Christmas won’t lag far behind. It’s the hap, happiest season of all. That is, if you’re not half-dead from shopping, decorating, entertaining, Christmas card writing and baking by the time it arrives. Oh, never mind. It’s the happiest time of the year, dang it! I’ve learned to trim and not stress. Get an early start.

Yes, I say this every year, but this time I really mean it.  The older I get, the more sense this makes.  They didn’t call the wise men wise for nothing.  I’m actually very thankful I can shop and bake and share.  So many this year will need all the extra everything we can give due to the economy.

Here’s something cheap and lovely. Ribbon candy. Not only is it yummy, but I love its jazzy looks. I’ve been known to dangle the candy on our tree branches, which mysteriously disappears, one piece at a time.  It’s also dazzling in a glass bowl. If you don’t snatch it early, you’re not likely to have it, though.  Hint: you can find it at Wally World, that colorful, shiny candy in pretty little boxes.

Now, I don’t make the stuff. It looks like a job for Martha S. She could not only whip that candy up, but sell the heck out of it, too.  Thankfully, people expect a lot less from me, and I’m quite charmed with that.  Christmas cookies are easy.

These pumpkin cookies with ginger cream cheese frosting are one of my Christmas favorites.  I make them every year, giving them to neighbors, friends, the mail man, and on and on.  One year the waste management guys even left me a new trash can lid the day I left the cookies out for them. It might sound stupid, but I was so excited to get that lid. I really needed one.  Anyway, the cookies look right special wrapped in clear cellophane and dolled up with curly ribbon.

Homemade gifts are the best kind.  Please raise your hand if you’d prefer a lovely package of homemade goodies over something you don’t need or want, let alone remember what you received a month later?  Me, me, over here!

Okay, then. Tis the season to share.

This recipe calls for raisins and just in case you don’t know how to plump them, it’s easy. They do add pizazz.  Here’s how: Boil two cups of water and add however many raisins you want to add to your recipe. Boil for about three minutes then drain with cold water. The raisins will be so soft they’ll melt on your tongue. Promise.

Now to the cookies.

Pumpkin Cookies with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies.

2 ½ cups flour, ½ tsp. baking soda, ¼ tsp. salt, 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed, ½ cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup butter, softened, 1 large egg, 1 cup canned pumpkin, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 cup raisins

In medium bowl, combine first 4 ingredients.  In mixer bowl, combine and mix sugars, then add butter and beat well. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix again. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix until light and fluffy. At low speed, blend in the flour mixture.  Add raisins, mixing only until well blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cookies test done when touched in center. Cool before frosting.

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

3 ounces cream cheese, at room temp 4 tablespoons butter, room temp 1/8 tsp. ground ginger 2 to 2 ½ cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons- or more- milk

Beat cream cheese, butter and ginger together until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and thin with milk to proper spreading consistency. Spread on cookies and eat!


November 6th, 2009

Long-Haired Freaky People

And the sign said long-haired freaky people need not apply, so I tucked my hair up under my  hat and went in to ask him why. He said you look like fine, upstanding young man, I think you’ll do. So I took off my hat and said imagine that, ha, me working for you. Sign, sign everywhere a sign, blocking up the scenery, breaking my mind, do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

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Remember this song? Just in case you’ve forgotten, I’ll jolt your memory. Signs, by the Five Man Electrical Band.

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This is the time of year when we get pinched with nostalgia, or NOS-TA-LODGE-Ah, as my daughter used to pronounce it.  Old pictures are good for that, and so are the holidays.  Oh, the luck, or not, to have stumbled onto these pictures right now, tucked in a dusty book, put together by my mom long ago.  My daughters said I looked like a hippie in this one. Yeah, I see it. Slap a ring of daises round my head and deck me out in bell-bottoms and you could have tossed me smack into Woodstock. My name might have been Milky Way or Sunshine Rose. I still can’t believe I missed that. Man, I shoulda been there. Cool bands. Flower power. A bad moon rising. The whole she-bang.

I would have been a fab hippie. Peace out.

No psychedelic drugs for me. I’m partial to natural highs. It’s cool, man, it’s all cool. Most likely I would have been the hippie making sure all other hippies were well fed and didn’t wander off looking for Alice in Wonderland. “Nice fro, dude, nice fro. Now get the heck back over here, you’re missing Purple Haze.” I would have said something like that.

Okay, so I was too young to go. And my parents certainly didn’t drag us there.  I really do love them for that. I hated getting dirty even at a young age.  Woodstock rain and mud would have given me fits.  My white vinyl Go-Go Boots would have never survived it. I shined those suckers every night and propped them next to my bed, sparkle, sparkle, pretty.

Even though I wouldn’t have won any beauty contests, it’s fun going back in time, yes?  Somewhere in your closet, or under your bed is your own box or book of memories.  Maybe it’s time to blow the dust off and tip-toe back.

Meanwhile, I must go get my membership card to get inside...Hu!


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Eleven-year-old Marnie Evans longs to be precious. She wishes on stars for parents who adore her, even though her family is dysfunctional. She also believes that jack rabbits and a boot-wearing Texas angel show her mysterious signs of things to come. Continue Reading


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