Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fling: A Six Sentence Story

It was May of our junior year in high school, and my best friend and I had spent much of the weekend together, going to a movie on Friday night (she had Junior Mints, I had Hot Tamales), then hanging out with a couple of guys from our class (they had different intentions than we did, and not long after one of them flopped onto the backseat and squarely onto Jane's purse, we called it a night). We spent a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at an art fair, even getting a light sunburn as we walked among the booths of paintings and other fine arts, ate dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and drove around in my 1970 Nova (gold, two-door, three-on-a-tree) with the windows down and the music up, and it was close to our curfew of midnight before I was finally heading down a side street in Jane's neighborhood to drop her off at home.

As we neared her house, Jane dug in her purse for her house keys, and as she rummaged around, she cried out, "EWWWWW!!!" and I felt something wet and sticky hit my leg as she tried to fling something from her hand; I immediately grabbed the object and heaved it across the car (grazing Jane's lip as it passed), through the open window and into the darkness, and as soon as it cleared the window, Jane screeched, "WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!"

"IT WAS A MOUSE!" I screamed to her, and she screamed back, "IT WAS MY KEYYYYS!!!"

I stopped the car, trying to understand how that icky, wet, squishy object I threw out the window could be her keys when she said, "My Junior Mints spilled in my purse and Jim must have squished them when he sat on my purse last night and the sun today melted them and NOW MY KEYS ARE OUTSIDE SOMEWHERE IN THE DARK!"

We looked at each other and burst out laughing, and we continued to laugh, as only best friends can, as we got out of the car and began searching through the grass, finally finding the Junior Minty keys in the bushes and then laughing even harder, tears streaming down our faces, when we realized how close those keys came to going through a chain link fence that was the only thing separating us from a rather large and not happy to see us dog, and then, we laughed some more....

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "fling".

Sunday, February 18, 2018

I Got Candy From A Boy And Other Thankfuls

As I started organizing (hah!) thoughts of thankfuls in my head for this week's Ten Things of Thankful, I was positive Valentine's Day had been the previous week. Nope. This one. And here's how it started:

Monday was Valentine party day for my MWF preschool class. I got dressed that morning in black leggings and a sweater and shortish black boots. I came out of my closet and stood in front of my husband IN BROAD DAYLIGHT and asked if I looked all right, since it was party day and there would be parents visiting. He said I did. I mentioned that my right heel felt a little funny as compared to the left one, and he said "Is there something stuck inside your shoe?" I said nothing other than my foot and then I left for work.

I was getting the classroom ready for the day and told my assistant teacher that my right heel had felt funny all morning. She looked down at my feet, told me to turn around, then announced that I was wearing TWO DIFFERENT BOOTS. 

My husband looked RIGHT AT ME that morning and didn't notice a thing. I immediately texted him to say he obviously never really looked at me when I asked him to that morning, and as a result, he needed to bring me a boot so that I would match by the time the parents got there later that morning.

Thankfully, he had not left for work yet, and he was able to bring me a boot, and NO, I DON'T CARE WHICH ONE, JUST BRING ME A DAMN BOOT.

No wonder the right one felt funny,

That was Thankful #1. Here are the rest:

2. My daughter came home for the weekend (she was feeling a little homesick, even though we had just been down to Arkansas to visit her the weekend before), and we had a pleasant, relaxed weekend; however, the freezing rain we got while she was home forced her to stay an extra day and not go back to school until Monday afternoon. Fortunately, the professors in both of the classes she had to miss excused her absence because of the weather.

3. Two days of Valentine parties over and done with, plus I got chocolate from several students and now have it safely tucked away for me, me, ME!

4. This picture, drawn by a five year old boy on a box of chocolates:

It says I love you, followed by a picture of me.

5. Priceline. I got a $100+ hotel room for $53 a night. 

6. I had a message last week from one of the counselors at the high school saying Emma had a scholarship that hadn't been picked up yet and it expired on March 1. I didn't know what she was talking about, but when I reached her, I found out that there was, indeed, a $1,000 scholarship for Emma from the Joplin Schools Foundation. I had no idea she had received this scholarship, and when I called Emma to get some information the school needed to process it, I asked her if she even knew she had received it, and she said Oh, yeah, I knew that. WHAAAT?! I'm very thankful to the counselor for following up on it with us. Every little bit helps!

7. The Winter Olympics. Aren't they fun?

8. Our big ol' boy Pete has had a rough couple of months which led to him having surgery on his arm for a puncture wound. Life finally seemed to be back to normal for him; that is, until the other night when my husband took a step back while in the kitchen directly onto Pete's tail, and when Pete took off after my husband moved his foot, there was a rather large tuft of fur left on the kitchen floor. Now poor Petey has a two inch long bald spot on his tail. A BALD SPOT. I'm thankful (and I'm sure Pete would concur) that my husband didn't land square on Pete's tail and only caught fur, or else we'd have a cat with a tail in a splint right now.

Poor, poor Pete!

9. This picture of my brother, which makes me laugh:

1958-ish. Family friend in background.

10. Spring is near! 

Daffodils popped up this weekend and
already have a bud!

My heart has been so heavy since the latest mass shooting, this time at a high school in Florida. Maybe this time, something will finally be done to bring an end to these. Persist. Resist. Be the change.

Linking up with Josie Two Shoes and her Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Here A Biscuit, There A Biscuit

When I was a kid, my mom (usually) only used bad words for three situations: when she was trying to start our Chevy Bel Air station wagon (ca. 1967), as it had a cold engine even if it were 100 degrees outside; when she tried to get a cake out of a Bundt pan in one piece; and when she had to open canned biscuits by banging them repeatedly on the edge of the counter.

Fortunately, fuel injection came along and cars now start with the turn of the key, cooking sprays like Pam are a vast improvement over the old greasing and flouring method of preparing a Bundt pan, and canned biscuit containers got much easier to open.

I've never been a huge fan of canned biscuits baked as-is, but my mom would bake them for breakfast sometimes (my dad liked them; I preferred homemade biscuits, which meant made with Bisquick, but still way tastier than canned). At some point in the 1980s, though, I learned about monkey bread, which is made with canned biscuits and butter and cinnamon and sugar and is delicious, and I usually kept a couple of cans in my refrigerator for when the monkey bread mood struck.

After I graduated from college, I lived in a little duplex that did not come furnished with a refrigerator. Fortunately, my parents had recently bought a new fridge and gave me their old one. By "old" I mean the kind with one door, freezer on top, and had to be defrosted, which I would do when the ice would get so bad the freezer door would no longer close. The refrigerator served me well, but at some point, the seal around the door needed to be replaced, so my parents came to visit and to help me put on a new seal.

It looked like this except it was white.
The blue is way cooler.

I've never taken a close look at the seal on my current refrigerator to see how it is attached, but the seal on the early 1960s model in my kitchen was screwed on with about 5,000 little screws, more or less. In order to take the screws off, remove the old seal, and screw a new one back on, the door had to be held steady; this is where my mom came in. She sat on the kitchen floor with her back against the cabinets and held the door. It probably took my dad and me an hour to get all those screws removed, fit the new seal around the door, and replace all the screws, and that was with two of us doing it, as my mom sat there with the door about a foot away from her face the entire time and talked to us from behind the door.

I was wearing a sundress that had an open back (it was black with little flowers on it and I got it at Foxmoor Casuals at the mall and I loved it), and I was on the floor, on my knees and bent over so that I could put in the screws along the very bottom of the door. My dad was sitting next to me, and my mom was patiently sitting behind the door, holding it firmly, when there was an explosion. I felt something wet hit my bare back, and I screamed and collapsed onto the floor, convinced I had been shot. There was the sound of wet plops on the floor around me, and my mom was shouting, "What happened?! What happened?!" from her prison behind the door. 

After a pause my dad started laughing, and when I raised up, the something wet fell off my back and landed on the floor. It was biscuit. A canned biscuit. From a can that was in the door of the refrigerator, a door that had been open for an hour. It joined the other biscuits that had rained down and plop, plop, plopped to the floor immediately after the explosion. Turns out I didn't get shot after all....

I was not so badly scarred by the incident that I wouldn't use canned biscuits, but I certainly learned not to store them in the door, especially since they pop open much easier now than they did when I was shot by a whole can of them. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

When my daughter was home from college for Christmas break last month, she decided she wanted monkey bread, and she wanted it badly enough that she went to the store and bought canned biscuits WITH HER OWN MONEY, but time got away from us and I never made them and the canned biscuits languished in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator (what, you think we keep VEGETABLES in there?!). She came home this weekend, and I have to say I made THE BEST monkey bread ever by actually using a recipe. I've always made it by cutting canned biscuits into quarters, dipping each piece in melted butter and rolling in a cinnamon and sugar mixture, and then baking the whole lot. Come to find out, there are real recipes for the stuff (thank you, Google), and I used the first one I came to when I searched (thank you, Pillsbury, even though I used cheap biscuits and not your fancy Grands).

Here's the recipe:

3 cans of biscuits (mine were Great Value)
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. butter or margerine, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray 12-cup fluted tube pan (that means my mom's nemesis, the Bundt pan) with cooking spray.

In a large plastic food storage bag, mix sugar and cinnamon. Cut biscuits into quarters and drop into bag and shake to coat (I did this one can at a time). Place evenly in pan. Melt butter and stir in brown sugar. Pour over biscuit pieces.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan for 10 minutes (I didn't) and invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm (but the leftover ones tasted mighty fine when they were stone cold).

It looked like this:

Look, Mama! It didn't stick!

I recommend you make these and make them soon.

If you would like to read further Biscuit Adventures with Dyanne, please go here and read "That One Time My Brother Really Bugged Me."

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I'll Be Even More Thankful When Winter Is Over!

Have I mentioned that I hate winter? Because I do. Winter should end on December 26, and we should then have a delightfully long spring, with blooming flowers and budding trees and green grass and open windows to let the light breeze dance inside and stir the curtains. 

I say this with great longing, because we are currently immobilized by black ice. For those of you not living in the weather armpit of the nation, black ice is invisible ice covering roads and parking lots and driveways and sidewalks and anything else you might want to walk, drive or step on outside. It was caused by freezing temperatures coupled with misty weather, and it is more treacherous than snow on the roads, because, well, it's invisible and surfaces only look like they are damp or barely wet. And they are far more than that. When the state Department of Transportation salt trucks are sliding off the roads, then that's slick.

It's kind of a bummer that this forced imprisonment didn't happen on a weekday, because we all know that I LOVE getting a snow day, but our preschool Valentine's Day parties are this week, and I want to get them over with enjoy them as scheduled.

On to this week's Ten Things of Thankful!

1. Emma came home for the weekend, and we have had an enjoyable, lazy weekend (we can't go anywhere anyway, but that's not the only reason). 

2. I forgot I had sheets in the washing machine for a week, and when I found them this afternoon, I made the happy discovery that they had not soured and could be put directly into the dryer. 

3. My husband is not a sports fanatic, and I'm thankful for that. I dated a guy once who had an ENTIRE BEDROOM in his house filled with sports memorabilia, mostly baseball. Posters, signed pictures, bobble head dolls, LIFE SIZED CARDBOARD STAND-UPS. (It should have been a clue that there was no future here, but in actuality, I had to be hit over the head a couple of more times before I finally conceded that point.) It's not that my husband doesn't enjoy sports, but he doesn't live and breathe it, and he usually only watches play-offs and bowl game kinds of stuff.

4. That being said, my husband is tickled pink about the Olympics! He is especially into curling and has researched how it is played and strategy and all that. It's cute. I like watching him get silly excited about it (and it will go away and not resurface for four years).

5. I'm thankful for biscuits. More on that later this week.

Flaky, homemade buttermilk biscuits.
They rose sky high, I tell you. Sky high!

6. I used my Movie Pass and went with several friends to see "The Greatest Showman" for the fourth time. Have you seen it yet? It's everything you ever want, it's everything you ever need, and it's here right in front of you. THIS IS THE GREATEST SHOW!

7. I had a six month check-up with my oncologist, and blood work, etc., were all aok. Woot! Woot!

8. My husband got me a sweet pair of blue tooth headphones for Christmas, and I LOVE being able to use them at the gym. I always set my phone on the elliptical machine, and I was really bad about stepping off of the machine with my earbuds still plugged into both the phone and my ears, thus yanking my phone off its perch. 

9. I got to hold an itty bitty baby goat this week. It was three days old, a triplet, and (this is a fun factoid that you may or may not know) mama goat only has two teats, so she gave this little baby the boot (or the hoof). Her owner brought her to work with him at the church where our preschool is held because she had to be bottle fed. If she stayed just that size, I'd want a goat.

She has the same coloring as Nora!

She didn't smell goaty. I assume
that won't last long.

10. Leftover biscuits. Going to have one right now.

How was your week? Did you look for the thankfuls?

Linking up with Josie Two Shoes and her Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.

Ten Things of Thankful

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Pitch: A Six Sentence Story

She heard the rumble of thunder, at first gentle, like a tummy growling, and then louder and more insistent, and just as she stepped out of the kitchen and glanced out the west-facing window in the front room, the heavy, dark clouds moved in. The bright April afternoon turned immediately to an artificial dusk as the clouds swallowed up the sunshine, and a small hand slipped into hers for comfort when a big clap of thunder shook the window.

"It's dark as pitch out there," she said, drawing her son close as the wind lashed at the trees and rain came down in sheets.

"Grandma says that when it's really dark and you say that and I don't know why you both say that," he said, his brow furrowed.

"I say it BECAUSE Grandma says it and because MY Grandma said it, too, and probably her Grandma said it as well, and it reminds me of being little and hearing them talk, and it makes me smile inside."

"I'm going to say it, too, mama, so I'll always smile inside and remember being little, just like you."

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "pitch".

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Little Thankfuls That Add Up To A Lot

When you KNOW you're going to be writing a list of thankfuls for the week, your focus shifts from all the things that could be better about your week to all the things for which you may be thankful. I've mentioned before that I am a hopeless optimist, and it certainly lends itself to coming up with a thankful list. Now here are my Ten Things of Thankful for this week:

1. So many kind comments, both on the blog itself and on Facebook, welcoming me back to the TToT. I cannot tell you how incredibly happy that made me!

2. I found 11 cents on the ground at the gas station when I stopped to get a drink. 

3. Labor intensive preschool crafts that turn out super cute, like this one that I found on Pinterest:

4. Painting the hands of 25 preschooler BRIGHT RED without a single mishap.

5. Our 50th day of pre-k was celebrated with a 50s-themed party. I don't like parties, so my thankful here is that it's over (although I will have to do it again with my T-Th class; it takes longer to get to 50 when you only have class two mornings a week, so it won't be until late March or early April). 

6. I participated in Ivy's Six Sentence Stories this week, which you can read here. It felt so good to see the prompt and have an idea pop into my head. 

7. Movie Pass. Have you heard about this? It's kind of like Netflix, only with movies. For $10 a month, you can go to a movie every single day if you want to. We got our cards in the mail on Thursday, and we have now seen "The Post" (I fell asleep), "The Shape of Water" (I loved it), "Coco" (my husband and daughter sobbed at the end), and "Molly's Game" (which was better than I expected). 

8. So very thankful for helpful cats. Nora helps me do laundry, make my bed, put on make up, tie my shoes, make stuff with paper, load the dishwasher, sweep the floor, take a shower, and, this week, she helped me sew: she laid on the fabric as I was cutting it, bit the thread as it came off the spool, tried to grab the needle and the presser foot as they moved across the fabric, and knocked everything off the sewing table except the actual machine. Good times.

Nora Pearl

9. There's a chance of nasty winter weather on Tuesday afternoon, and with that, there's hope for a snow day. I hate nasty winter weather (I hate WINTER), but a snow day is a gift. THIS JUST IN: SCHOOL IS CANCELED FOR TOMORROW BECAUSE OF THE LIGHT BUT EVIL SNOWFALL WE HAD TODAY!!!

10. My daughter turned 19 today. 19. She's grown into a strong young woman, and I am so proud of her! Happy birthday, Emma Kate! 

How about you? Can you find the thankfuls in ordinary life?

Linking up with Josie Two-Shoes and her Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Dress: A Six Sentence Story

She picked it out with such care, going from bridal shop to bridal shop and trying on dress after dress, each one discarded as too fluffy, too straight, too lacy, not lacy enough, until the salesgirl, frazzled and frustrated, just like each salesgirl at each shop she had visited before, pulled a dress from a rack that was perfection. She left the shop with the dress tucked into a garment bag, and with a soft smile on her face, cradled the dress in her arms on the train ride, rocking slightly and humming to herself as other passengers, looking from her to the store logo on the bag, smiled as well.

The train pulled into the station, and with a quick glance at her wristwatch, she made her way to the ladies room, pulled the dress from the bag, and slipped it over her head, where it fell into place as easily as it had in the dressing room at the bridal shop.

Her soft smile still in place, she walked out of the ladies room, leaving her clothes in a heap on the floor next to the empty garment bag, and serenely walked out the station door and down the street, pausing as she reached the large stone church before pulling open the massive wooden doors and stepping inside. 

She blinked a few times, and as her eyes adjusted to the candlelit sanctuary, she focused  first on all the surprised faces turned her direction and then on him, so handsome in his tuxedo, standing at the front of the church. She rushed down the aisle, and as she neared the alter, she saw his face, his beautiful, dear face, turn to the woman beside him and gather her protectively in his arms before the darkness swirled around her and the floor rose to meet her....

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "dress."