Thursday, August 31, 2017

Rachel at Credit Card Services

I am in a quandary about what to do with the ever increasing robo calls. Long ago I signed up with the "do not call" system and they abated for a while. And then along came the robot caller.

Rachel with credit card services started calling. While I appreciate her automated honesty that there is nothing wrong with my credit card (no shit!) I am tired of her calls every single day. And the hussy is not only brazen enough to call daily, but the witch changes numbers so that even though I block them religiously she pops up with a new one. And now she has gotten clever enough to use numbers from the same area code with local prefixes.

Next let's throw in the guy from "Microsoft" who calls at least once a week to tell me something is wrong with my computer. Amazing, especially since I have a  Macbook.  He uses local ever changing numbers also.

And we should not forget the guy from the "IRS" who only wants to help me with the lien and outstanding charges the IRS has filed against me. He honestly only wants to help and I understand if I want his help I will be routed to either CVS or Rite-Aid to send E-cards with 5 grand to assure all actions will stop. Did I ever mention TheHub is a CPA?

 Last but not least is the the robo nameless woman who calls me to help with legal issues. It seems that 3 criminal warrants have been filed against me, but she only wants to help in this police matter and if I will go to Rite Aid or CVS and send money to her, all the charges will magically be dropped before I am served. Though I do not have a criminal lawyer, we do have an attorney and I am pretty sure I would call him first and let him refer me to one of his contemporaries who deals in criminal law if I had done something illegal. (Though I will admit sometimes I do drive over the speed limit and I have been known to cut the tags off of pillows and mattresses. Shhhh don't tell anyone!)

And before you think I am an idiot for answering these calls, I don't. Unless I know the number on caller ID I do not answer it, but these suckers leave me messages and I have to cull through them to delete. So if you call me and I don't answer your call, leave a message in your best non-robo voice and I will get back to you. I hate it that voice mail is my only form of defense against the persistent intruders.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fakin' Bakin' Fried Green Tomatoes

For the past two weeks we have been lucky to have the extraordinarily talented, beautiful Girlfriend3 sharing our home. Yeah, we let Son3 come here too, but he is not quite as pretty as she is.  Since she is from the world, Swedish descent, but lived in Switzerland before landing last year in New York, we felt it was our job to expose her to as much Southern Culture (Redneckism) as possible. At the same time we were filling her head with colloquialisms like "I'm fixin to carry Mom to The Pig" (loose translation: In a few minutes I am going to drive to Mom's, pick her up and drive her to the grocery store) we were also filling her stomach with southern foods.

What would be more appropriate for a traditional meal than peas, okra, creamed corn, sliced tomatoes and fried green tomatoes? Except I really no longer fry okra or green tomatoes, so I thought I would share with you an easier and slightly healthier (very slightly) method to oven bake crispy coated green tomatoes.

This is not a recipe as much as it is a method, since the amounts will change based on how many tomatoes you choose to "fry".  First preheat your oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with raised edge twice with Pam and set aside. Slice nice firm green tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Get 3 shallow bowls, one with plain flour, one with a beaten egg, and the third with a mixture (half and half) of corn flour and corn meal. Dredge the tomato slices through the flour, until all are coated. Then dip them in the beaten egg on both sides and dredge in the corn meal/corn flour mixture. Place on the baking sheet and continue until all the slices are coated. Spray the tops of the tomatoes twice with pam and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes. Take them out, spray twice again, then flip each tomato over. Spray the flipped tomatoes once and pop them back in the oven to continue cooking. (My oven took about 8 more minutes) Remove and lightly salt before removing from tray.  Serve piping hot for some down home Alabama goodness.

p.s. You can  "fry your okra in the oven too, just cut it and let it sit for a couple of minutes, coat it with meal and put it in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet that has been heated in the oven for about 3 minutes. (I use olive oil) Then spray the tops of the okra slices about 3 times with Pam. Flip it after about 10 minutes. Spray the flipped sides about 3 times with Pam and continue baking until it is brown and crunchy (About 10 minutes in my oven)

p.p.s She loved the okra but was not crazy about the tomatoes. I just think it was great that she would try things without flinching! They have only been gone an hour and I already miss them!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Filling the Void

I have been away from blogging and am really not back, but I thought I would fill the blogging void by answering the following questions about myself, (It was easy to copy and paste so I swiped this from a Facebook friends post.) I hope some of you will copy and paste it as well and we can have a little getting  to know each other a little better experience.

I am being very honest here!

 What was the last thing you put in your mouth? Chocolate Ice Cream
2. Where was your profile pic taken? Uh, I don't have one.
3. Worst pain you've ever experienced?  Last hour of a natural childbirth
4. Favorite place you've traveled? Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.
5. How late did you stay up last night? 4:00 am
6. If you could move somewhere else, where would it be? I would love to have a 2nd home in Portland, Oregon (Give me 3 years and it will most likely happen)
8. Which of your Blogger friends lives closest to you? Linda @Practical Parsimony lives just an hour North of Birmingham
10. When was the last time you cried? A few days after Dad died
11. Who took your profile photo? Again, I don't have one
12. Who was the last person you took a picture with? Participants at Independence Place
13. What's your favorite season? Autumn
14. If you could have any career, what would it be? Selecting music to be used in films
15. Do you think relationships are ever worth it? Absolutely
16. If you could talk to ANYONE right now who would it be?  Dad and Leonardo Da Vinci
17. Are you a good influence? Depends on whom you ask!
18. Does pineapple belong on pizza? Never! It is pizza blasphemy
19. You have the remote, what channel? NatGeo
20. Whom do you think will play along? I don't think anyone in particular will, but I hope a lot of you do. It only takes a few minutes to complete!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Gone Fishing

Son3 and Girlfriend3 are visiting with us through August. She is from Switzerland and has never been in the south before so we are trying to be good hosts and show her how life truly is here, and it is taking a lot of time, albeit fun time.  While they are here we are also having an extended family, family reunion and I will have some additional family staying with me. I can't wait to see everyone! Throw in a little time at the lake place and my days are disappearing.

As they say, time and tide wait for no one, so I am taking and enjoying this time they are here to the fullest, and one way I have time in the 3-D world is to limit my time on a computer. Please forgive me for not commenting on your blogs. I will still be reading them, but may not comment. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy your posts, I do, but I am choosing family time!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Today I went to my aunts funeral. Uncle Bob and Laura were fortunate to have met each other after the deaths of their respective spouses and spent 30 plus years together until this final separation.  She was a very gracious woman, interested in all of us, and I don't think she ever thought of us as almost family. She embraced us and became part of the tribe.

At the funeral today, I met her daughters who are definitely a reflection of their mother, and I wish I had met them and spent time with both of them before today.

While I was at the service, I listened to the minister who was saying such nice things about Laura and it gave me pause to think what I hope people will remember about me.

First I hope people will remember I laugh__a lot! I find humor is almost everything and I laugh easily, and silently, and often inappropriately. My sons always say they can tell when I find something hysterical because my head is tossed back, my eyes are squinted, my mouth is grinning from ear to ear, my body is shaking with glee and I am not making a sound, except for occasional gasps for air. Don't know why I laugh this way. It just happens. All. The. Time. (All 3 sons do a pretty decent impression of me laughing, but then they crack up while doing it and they are not silent laughers.

I hope they will remember how much I love music, except for contemporary country and western and rap. Give me some old Charlie Pride or Patsy Cline and I am fine with country. This CW cross over stuff drives me insane and reminds me of Barry Manilow songs. It is basically the same song with the same riff and only the words change. (OK add Barry Manilow to music I don't like)

I hope they know I like to watch birds, dragon flies, butterflies, sunsets, moon rises, moving water, fluttering leaves, flowers (except for one particular shade of orange azaleas which truly makes me nauseous) and sunrises. I am a night owl and see very few sunrises so I really do relish seeing them when I am up early enough to enjoy them. I am very thankful for wintertime because sunrise comes at a decent hour! I have been known to sit on the  freezing deck at the lake place wrapped in a blanket just to enjoy the sunrise.

I enjoy theater, movies, kid performances of any kind, small intimate dinners or large parties (but only if there is some space around me. I am kind of insistent on having my very own social air space with no one intruding on it. I am very claustrophobic, and start suffocating if anyone is in "my space'.

I hope they remember I love hearing the bird's songs and children in the neighborhood playing outside. Sometimes I will open the door and sit just to listen to the giggles, yip and yells that come with kid play.

And mostly I hope they remember that I love people, individually and collectively. I love to people watch and appreciate the intricacies and peculiarities of people who are just living life, unaware I am sharing the moment with them. I love people I know who are part of my every day comings and goings. I love my family, both  my "obedient" family (Son 3 had heard the term immediate family when he was in kindergarten, and this was his take on it) as well as my extended family.I love those close friends who serve as a second family, friends who are not quite that close but equally essential, friends I have not seen for  while, old friends I have not seen in years, childhood friends who have come back into my life recently (Yes, you Mary Ann and Charlotte), friends I never see but remember fondly,and this group of Bloggers whom I have come to know even if we do not share a 3-d friendship.

So maybe I need to laugh more often, love more openly, listen to music loudly, dance badly (cause that is how I dance) sing either in or out of tune, and live boldly. We only have a short time on this planet.

Oh yeah, I also hope they remember my favorite word is verklempt!

                                           And I really like this song. It brings me joy

Monday, August 7, 2017

Positively Monday

Today I am positive it is Monday and I am working on my negative attitude!
Last week was a bad week which still had lots of positives but I am busily self absorbed and feeling petty today so I am not counting them and instead just saying I am positively thrilled this is a new week!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Christmas Countdown

I am going to start a " Christmas Countdown" post every other week until Thanksgiving. Some of you are probably much younger than I am and time is not whooshing by as rapidly for you as it is for me. School here begins next week, Halloween junk is already out in stores, I will blink twice, close my eyes and it will be Thanksgiving and I will be in a panic trying to get all the work that goes
into Christmas done so I can simply enjoy the holidays. So I started my Christmas prep accidentally last night.

I was cleaning out a drawer in my kitchen and found last years Christmas cards bundled in the bottom of the drawer. I separated photo cards from regular cards and stuck all the photos on my freezer in the laundry room to enjoy for a bit. Then I took all the remaining cards and separated them into 2 piles. Those that could be turned into boxes and those that couldn't. The latter went into the recycling bin and the former went to my work desk (AKA my kitchen table) to become gift boxes for Christmas. I truly did not mean to begin this project at 2 am, but yes I did it anyway.

I tend to have multi presents for each person in the family and I like everything wrapped and bowed and looking pretty under the tree. Many of the presents I give are either freebies or homemade items and a lot of those are very small items. I would never purchase boxes for them so I make them with leftover cards each year. Since I have many gifts on hand, instead of just storing them, I prefer to have them boxed and taped. Amazingly even though they are adults Sons 1, 2, and 3 are not beyond a little snooping. These boxes help with the peeking issue tremendously.

Begin by opening the card so the inside is showing and place it flat on a work surface. Measure and mark a border using a ruler and ball point pen around the four edges of the back of the card (side with the message). You need to press hard while drawing your line as it will create a scored line for the next step. Do this for the inside front of the card but make it about 1/8 inch larger. Now cut the card at the center seam and you will have the beginnings of a box top and box bottom.

You will have to decide how much you measure based on the design of the card. Some are naturally thicker boxes and some are thinner, just because of the card design. If the card has a border on the design I use it as a natural measurement. If not I just wing it, centering the design of the card (maybe) and make it whatever size I need.

When you do your measuring you will have 4 little squares on the corners of each end of the card pieces. Cut up to your measuring line from the bottom end  and down to the measured line from the top end  and it will create 4 small tabs. (The bottom end will be the end the where the card was signed)
If your card has a vertical design the end will be the shorter side, if it is a horizontal design the end will be the longer side (I have used both types in these photos)

The one at the right is a vertical card, and the one below is a horizontal design.

Now begin the actual assembly part. Fold upwards at the pencil lines to create the 4 sides of a box.

Flatten the card and put dots of glue on the four corners of the top and bottom flaps (See illustration with marked glue spots. The glue placement will be the same for either horizontal or vertical card designs, just remember bottom is always the end the where the card is normally signed)
I highly recommend using a glue stick for this.

Now fold the tab inward and press to adhere the two surfaces. Do this on all four corners and you will now have your box bottom. Do the same for the front of the card making sure to fold toward the inside front of the card so the design will be visible on the top of the box.
Trim as necessary to make everything even and enjoy your free box.

I took a picture of a few of the items I have for Christmas gifts, just so you can see what will fit in these. Here you can see a bracelet and necklace set, retractable tape measure, usb powered computer fan, gift card (I want the Levy's gift card!)  and small  wallet. If you look closely you will notice handwritten notes in the box tops of some of these. Since these will only be given to family members who have already seen all the cards, I am not worried about the greetings. If I were making these to give to random people in my realm I would make them from unused cards leftover from last Christmas or would buy a box of cards with a pretty design from the dollar store.

So now I have a few gifts boxed and taped and stored in my gift closet. All these pretty boxes will need is a tag and then they will be ready to go under the tree, which will free up some time that will be badly needed come December.