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about Time...

Thursday, August 29, 2013
I long ago learned that Time is the most valuable commodity any of us have, and should be the most treasured, carefully guarded. But how is it that we seem to be so willing to squander it, and do such a poor job of husbandry?

Several years ago, I decided I did not see enough of my daughters, who live out of town, and at such a distance that visits have to be planned, organized, deliberated and deliberate. So I do that: get myself organized in a deliberate manner. The one who lives the greatest distance brings her calendar in the fall, and we plan a weekend for each month of the year, when I will travel to visit. Whereupon, we laugh, eat, amuse ourselves (a remarkably, stunningly easy task), sit around and laugh at pets and each other, possibly play a hilarious game of 'spoons' with a deck of playing cards and unsuspecting friends/relatives.

And make frequent ninety-minute trips north to visit the other daughter, who seems to be conveniently located on the way to most any other place I have any desire to go. So I do see them quite often - not nearly enough for my preference. But I can mostly keep myself occupied with daily activities, such as a part-time, tedious jobette, yard work, volunteerism, lunching with friends in between travels.

I was just thinking about Time. And know that how we spend our days is how we ultimately spend our lives... Occasionally wishing mine had been more productive, and remembering how frustrated my Dad could get over my 'lack of motivation' (which is probably the best way he could describe the fact that I seemingly had zero ambition for climbing the ladder of success - whatever that definition of 'success' might be.) I think his on-going concern was partially due to looking at life from a male perspective, and the way society evaluates/judges 'success'. But as it turned out, I think I did turn out. Ok.

The thing I never thought of : (until a friend brought it to my attention yesterday) what a sweet gift Time can be to give away, to invest in unadulterated frittering. I go to see friends and family because I can, because I want to, because I desire to stay connected, because these are the people I want to spend time with. But I had  not considered what it may/might mean to those people to have my undivided attention. The suggestion was to consider the effect of my willingness to devote pieces of my life to these people I care about. In the process of living, what our church family calls 'doing life together', I discover that time-sharing, investing of myself in other people is a two way street. And as we all know... you generally get out of life what you are willing to put into it.

I begin considering what giving little pieces of myself away could mean to those I care most about. And it is such a sweet gift, to be able to give, and hopefully: equally, and in the same spirit, received. It occured to me over the past weekend, as I was piddling around the yard, that it very rare for anyone to come to see me, drive down my street for the specific purpose of turning into my drive way. And to know someone is coming, have the opportunity to anticipate the gift of another person's time and interest makes it easier to understand what a highly valued commodity mine is.

So: thanks for coming to see me.

Friday morning...

It seems that my phone will start ringing at 5:58 a.m., looking for warm bodies to go into random classrooms as substitute teachers - on the mornings I cannot make the commitment. And on the mornings, when for some unlikely uncommon happenstance, I do not have anything else on the agenda for the entire day - no one has need of my monkey-wrangling skills.

Pretty sure I can get over lack of demand - lots of things that can use my attention here on the home front. And if I had been seriously wanting a Fill In-Day Labor job, I would have been looking on the website last night when there were probably slots open for people who think (before spending an exhausting day in the classroom with two dozen wild Indians, at varying points along the warpath) they want the work. A friend who retired from the public school system after 24 years back in June looks ten years younger following a relaxing summer and the delightful prospect of being happily unemployed.

a quick trip south...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I've been to south GA, and back in the past twenty-four hours. Left home after work on Tuesday, and drove down to Q-town. Got there well after dark, fumbled around for my key, and went straight to bed. In a house, that, according to the thermostat was 83 degrees. But I turned on my little Dollar General fan, and fell into bed.

After a little bowl of oatmeal, I coated up with bug repellant (four days too late) and started on several hours of yard work. Stopped to visit with a seldom seen neighbor. Cleaned up quite a bit of tree trash, and got sufficiently hot to feel like I'd done a good day's work. No bush-whacking, but a lot of weed spraying and limb cleaning up. Remembering how my dad would pay my daughters a penny a piece to pick up pine cones that were continually falling from all the trees in the front yard. If I am remembering correctly, they quickly lost interest in the money making project, as soon as they had enough to go to the store for some small, lusted-for trinket or candy. I'm wishing someone had been willing to pay me a penny per pine cone today - I'd be rolling in copper. An annoyance to roll, and hardly seems worth the effort when a roll of copper is only worth fifty cents. But exchanged for Real Money, it eventually adds up.

Amazingly, when I am there, out in mosquito land, in the brushy areas that should be completely infested with all manner of bugs, I have yet to get any bites. I always take the precaution of putting Avon SOS on my arms, legs, back of neck, but am still surprised that I have not had anything 'surprise' me. Have yet to encounter Mr. No-Shoulders, or anything that makes me suddenly, startlingly, unexpectedly, completely quit working for the rest of the day. Even with my apparently magnetically attractive self that seems to be an environment where creepy crawly things thrive on digging into my skin and having a nice nourishing sip of my all-American, healthy red blood.

Went to Lowndes County, had a nice visit with K. and L., who live in Ousley. And got back home at approximately the same time I left town yesterday.

various and sundry infestations...

I hope something really interesting happens in my life before December 31, so this one will not go down in history as the year of the bug. In case you have been woefully missing an update on the millipedes: just when you wanted to believe those reports were relegated to the scrap-pile of history.Well - me too! I thought that particular crisis was over, as I only find little curliques of the little worms, peacefully deceased, lying on corners and along baseboards on the floor - all over the house, but still, thankfully deceased, nonetheless. I pick several up every day, that are so far gone, I don't even bother to flush them, just put them in the trash.

And those dang chiggers are still excellent company, keeping me busy scratching every thing from ankles to groin  Do females even have 'groins? I've only heard about 'groin' problems in relation to guys and sporting mishaps.It sounds so unsanitary, it should be a four letter word. Honestly, I have so many - even I don't believe it when I say 'over a hundred!'

And... as if we weren't buggy enough: when I was sweeping in the kitchen earlier in the week, and picked up the recycling basket in the pantry: there was a whole, complete, intact dessicated frog under it. How did that happen, you might ask? Me too, as I have no idea. I am completely baffled - as well as totally grossed out. It was one of the little tree frogs, you might see clinging to windows after rain, but still freaky to find flattened under the plastic basket. Fortunately, I already had my broom in hand, and dustpan nearby. That was so ick.

Country's Midnight Run

Monday, August 26, 2013
There is this local, well-established Bar-b-que restaurant that sponsors a foot race on the last Saturday in August every year. It's been going on for about thirty years, with proceeds going to programs that support the vision impaired. In recent years, they have branched out to sponsor 'beep ball' competitions with balls and bases that beep for the vision impaired to play soft ball. And golf for the visually impaired, with the blind paired up with a sighted person who talks them through their game, as well as sighted scoring team. I volunteered one year to help score, pretty interesting, though once was enough - I'm not much interested in golf. Over the years, the number of participants in the race has grown, from practically nothing when they first started sponsoring the Midnight Run, to literally thousands of runners this past Saturday. As you might assume, from the name of the race, it takes starts at midnight, due to the heat.

I started doing it ... oh, I'd guess about twenty years ago... and taking my kids by the time they got in middle school. The idea of wandering around - legitimately- in the middle of the night was a great novelty. I have continued to do it every August, supporting a good cause and being a good sport. My friend, who can usually be persuaded into stuff I dream up, told me last year that she was done with that. So, sadly me, with no partner to walk in the dark with - though the whole course is lined with little candle-lit luminaria to light the way.

But I thought I wasn't done just yet. So I sent in my entry fee, and started practicing resting up so I could get myself to the midtown area, and walk the 3 + mile course again this year. I had a really hard time finding the enthusiasm to want go: not due to the crazy timing, but because of the huge crowd. There were about 2500 people entered in the event last year, and I am sure even more runners this time. And at least that many people just milling around in the streets, parking lots, neighborhoods, wandering aimlessly, imbibing copiously, acting crazy. It was not the fact that I would probably be in the last 100 to finish - but the wading through the crowd before, during and after it was over that persuaded me to just go to bed early.

misery-able, part 2

Yeah - I'm still scratching, and yes, the chiggers are still driving me crazy. But after having time to think about what I wrote in part uno, I was so amused when I thought of a much better title, I felt compelled to write more about my personal infestation. Wishing I had spent a bit more time in the process of coming up with a title:' the hostess with the mostess' (being the person who has the tastiest ankles that are covered and consumed by the bugs that are keeping me clawing at my person, scraping the skin off.)

I've been applying some stuff I bought at the store on Sunday, and it works pretty good, on a temporary basis - but entirely too expensive to fill the tub with. I coated down with it, and then a goodly layer of bug repellant and did more stick picking-up. Increasing my row of little 'beaver lodge', near the street for the city to pick up with the truck that has the big grabber thing.

And some tree trimming. I cut back some azaleas, and dug up some of those vines that are mean as snakes. The things that have the big underground tubers that are so gratifying when you dig up: some as big as my cats. Big dangerously thorny vines, that grow up into everything they can find to attach to, and climb as high as the tree tops. I think it is smilax, but not the tame, thorn-less mild-manner kind people use to decorate wedding candlabra and receptions with.

In doing the very satisfying digging that resulted in huge tubers, I also dug up monstrously big earth worms. So big they should have been small snakes. Honestly, I am not making this up. Out there in the leaf mulch that has never been disturbed, they are so well fed and happy (and probably reproducing like.... earthworms?) they are as big around as my pinky finger, and at least eight inches long. Huge. I'm thinking of advertising them on Craig's list, but they won't be still long enough to take a photo.

tis' miserablly miserable...

Sunday, August 25, 2013
I am not one to tell of  my own foolishness. But I am ready for some sympathy, so it's time to tell about an unexpected side effect of a harmless little endeavor yesterday. I'm pretty sure there's a moral in this somewhere, I'll just need an objective eye to discern what the educational benefit should be.

I like the idea of laundry hanging on the clothesline. Growing up in the era of everyone putting clothes out on the line to dry, I must have hung miles of laundry on the line, and brought in hundreds of dry items of clothing, a required chore as a kid. When my own little people appeared, grew to the age of backyard fun,  I thought there should be a fence to keep them from rolling down the hill and into the creek. I also requested a clothesline, to hang out wet laundry. Love the feel and smell of sheets, pillowcases and towels that have dried out in the sunshine and open air. Love crunchy crisp clothes when they have that wonderful outdoors/sunshine aroma.

But have sadly found myself moving laundry from the washer to the adjacent clothes dryer, and onto hangers. Completely skipping that out the back door step. Rarely even thinking: 'hmmmm, I'll just take this damp stuff and clothespins and trek out in the back yard'. But on occasion will take some item that might just need a breath of fresh air out and let it sun on the line for several hours.  This I did yesteday with bedding.

And bedding got full of redbugs while hanging on the line. I spent the night scratching. Miserably miserable.

I have more bug bites than I can count. So many that it would not even be any fun to play connect the dots. I have scratched and scratched and scratched. And applied lots of lotion, then go right back to scratching. Thinking of the friend, when her kids would get bug bits, she would say 'just pat it', when nothing is as gratifying as ripping the skin right off.

Needless to say, after a day at work, I came straight home and started washing bedding, putting things in the dryer. Hoping to sizzle the bite out of the redbugs, that have become bed bugs. I am still scratching. I even hope some of the bites are from fireants, that might have happened while I was working the the yard yesterday.Pretty certain the vast majority of the dozens and dozens of little red dots, raised into welts I have all over my legs and personal places are those uninvited, unwanted, aggravating, invisible chiggers.

Funny, sort of.... Especially if it did not happen to you.Aggravatingly aggravating:  Oh, my - Yes!

cookies...with peanut butter!

Saturday, August 24, 2013
I'm the person who nearly never cooks any more. With one person to feed, he mostly has to go along with whatever I take a notion to put on the table. There is the option of leaving home to go find something more appealing or palatable, he generally eats what ever shows up to avoid having to get in the car and make a trip up the road to fast food.

But I made a pan of cookies yesterday, after nearly passing out from the heat. To take to a monthly covered dish dinner a friend and I attend at various churches here in town. I had not made this in a while, but figured Everyone Likes Peanutbutter, so pan would hopefully be empty when I picked it up afterward. Plus, when I took it out of the oven, I scattered a half-bag of chocolate chips on it, to let soften and spread. How can you not like that combo.? I only ate one, after I brought the six left-over squares back home - and my taste-buds announced: Reese's peanutbutter cups!

I tried my best to give the leftover away, to anyone who would take a few or a dozen before I came home, knowing that the guy here would feel the weight-y  obligation to consume all the ones that had not been consumed at the potluck dinner. There were not many left - and I discovered that number diminished by half when I got up this morning - so we must have mice with opposeable thumbs who can open and close tupperware containers up on a middle shelf in the pantry.

Peanut Butter Squares

Beat together 2 cups granulated sugar
                     3 eggs
                     1/4 cup (1/2 stick) oleo.
Add: 1 cup peanut butter
         1 tsp. vanilla
Stir in 2 cups self-rising flour
Batter will be stiff. Spread in 9x13 inch pan, dip hands or spoon into water to smooth into corners. Bake 300 degrees for 45 min, until set and golden. Bakes about 40 squares.
Note: I decreased the sugar: using 1 1/2 cups the last time I made it, and 1 1/3 when I did it yesterday. Depends on how you like your peanut butter cookies, I guess. I'd say use the 1 1/2 rather than cut back more.
And sprinkled about half of a bag of semi-sweet choc. chips on when I took it out of oven, let sit a bit, then spread out the choc. to cover the cookies. Cut them will the choc. was still slightly warm.
I've thought of making this with Splenda, but I know you are supposed to add some certain/unknown amount of powdered milk to help with volume when you sub. the artificial sweetener for people who could go into diabetic distress from eating a pan of cookies with two cups of granulated sugar and no noticeable self control.
My only sheet cake pan (wonder where the aluminum one got off to?) is a glass casserole, that is probably not quite  9 x13 size, so my cookies were a little thicker than you would get with metal pan. But very good, and required lots of finger-licking with the gooey choc. on top.

working in the august heat...

I've been doing some yard work in the past couple of days. Picking up limbs and tree trash from recent weeks of windy weather and storms. Living on a big wooded lot, with lots of trees, therefore lots of likelihood of copious amounts of wind-fallen trash. Some too big for me to  move, so I will have to wait for the guy who can jerk the rope on the chainsaw to  make it more manageable.

But all the smaller stuff, and there is a lot, since I have not been out there in months to keep up with the mess: has been piled in the wheelbarrow and trundled up to the street for city pickup. So many little stacks of limbs there along the edge of the road, it looks like a community of beavers has relocated, and built a row of lodges in a little row - kinda like housing complex for water rodents, but on the pinnacle of local high ground.

Started on this project yesterday - foolishly waiting til' it got unbelievably hot to get out there and load up the wheelbarrow. So I'd get so hot I should have passed out, and stop, come in, cool off, and go back for more misery. So hot, that when I quit, I'd been at it so long, and gotten so dehydrated, I had a headache for the rest of the day.

I know it looks a Lot Better, but the sad part is that no one else can see what is not there anymore, so all the work I've devoted to cleaning up doesn't 'show'. And pretty annoyed when I think of several years ago, we spent a pile of money on getting house painted, up-dated to put it on the market. The whole goal of all that renovation was to think about moving to someplace with No Yard. And here we sit. With a Big Yard, and a tired yard-worker.

family (not mine) history footnote...

This is the follow up to the last blog about varieties of familial forms of punishment is the story from a friend of what his dad did to him when he was obstreporous. Setting the scene: this was back in the fifties, in the era long before there were security lights all over the planet, creating light pollution so badly no one on this side of the Missisippi River knows what the night time sky looks like (outside of the programs at the local planetarium.) So, when it got dark, it got Really Dark at night, like the inside of the closet, except for starlight. Unless the moon was reflecting light to make things visible after the sun went down. And they lived 'way out in the country, miles from any possibility of paved thoroughfares and street lights.

His dad would take his very sharp folding pocket knife out of his pocket, and give it to this little kid, and say 'go out and cut a switch': After the sun went down. They lived in one of those old houses that you might still, rarely see out in the country that was built up on brick piers, several feet off the ground, to provide ventilation under the building. To get in, you had to climb a number of steps, and you can imagine what sort of things would be lurking under the steps to grab your ankles when you went out in the dark. Then there are all the other creeping things squatting just under the edge of the house, eyes glittering, mouth full of sharp teeth, dripping with saliva, in anticipation of a small child for a snack.

This kid is terrified of the dark - and all the things that it might hold that would love to gobble him up. But he has to go out in the yard and cut a switch to bring back to his dad. When he gets back in the house, amazed to have survived, back in the land of the living, he gives his dad the branch his trembling hands cut from the nearest shrub. His dad does not whale away with the branch, but just props it up in the corner of the room, with a warning. Giving him the stink-eye, while telling him if he chooses not to shape up, there will be consequences. Poor little guy never even has the switch applied to his backside- just the traumatic process of going out there in the dark is sufficient punishment to get him to completely overhaul his behavior.

And all those things he imagined would pounce on him, creeping around under the steps and dark shadowed recesses of the house - simply vanish with the first rays of light in the morning... to skulk back into place, waiting for a tasty tidbit to tremblingly trip down the back steps again for their voracious appetites.

another family history footnote...

I was in Quitman this week, and had a conversation with a friend about some specific aspects of growing up in south GA. This may be something that is universal or possibly generic in the way of parental guidance. I don't know about that, but I can report on 'discipline theory' of my childhood and there was no hesitation at all with sparing the rod, so to speak. I can only relate what I know, from my own experience as well as what I have heard from others.

Some of you, dear readers (sounds like Miss Manners!), have heard the story before, but in the interest of preserving things for posterity, it bears repeating.The topic started with my hopeless ineptness with math, something I have readily admitted to all  my adult life. It was such a relief to realize that my brain works differently and that the fact that I never learned to multiply is something that I can just accept, without feeling second class.  I am to the point that I know I have 'gifts', things that I do well, enjoy, feel a sense of accomplishment with, and can take pride in - none of which include numbers.

I'd wager that most of the people my age, who did have great math skills have become so dependent on technology, post-slide-rule and hand held calculator era, that their times tables have got a great deal of rust build-up. My brother is the guy who loved his slide rule so much when they got swept away by computers, he built a frame for his with a little metal piece attached: that says 'in case of emergency, break glass'. I think there will be a time, when the grid goes down (some expect/anticipate zombie apocalypse), and it will be a good thing to have around.

I was out sick one day in the fifth grade (loved my fifth grade teacher!) and the class started to learn the multiplication tables without me. So I got behind, and somehow never caught up. No matter how long my dad sat with me at the dining room table, and went over those hideous facts, they would not stick in my head. (So - that's how I know it's wired differently.) I know he got very frustrated with our little homemade flash cards, and the tediousness of going over and over the same ground that he thought had been thoroughly plowed. But it just was not something that came easily to me. Now: words - that's a different matter altogether!

So I have a clear picture in my head of the last time my dad took his belt off and used it on me. I don't believe there were many occasions this happened - probably more with my brother- but he was obviously at his wits end with me and math. I brought home a report card when I was in the tenth grade. There was an F in geometry. I simply did not understand it, did not have the building blocks, or the knowledge to grasp something so abstract, to say nothing of confusing. And to this day, don't know why he thought he could whale that knowledge into me. I guess that is what parents did to kids when they did not know what else to do?

I also have a clear memory of  my brother, knowing he was in serious hot water, over something or other - padding the back pockets of his blue jeans, in anticipation of the belting he knew he would get when our dad got  home.

And... I remember being at the dinner/lunch table at my grandmother's house, at a time when anyone who showed up when she rang the little bell was welcome to sit down, squeeze in for the meal. She and her oldest daughter lived in adjacent houses. So there was always a crowd - especially in the summer, when my brother and I were occasionally farmed out for the day to amuse ourselves with cousins. This particular remembered incident was when one of the cousins, about my age, got so unruly, he was instructed to go outside, next door to their house, and pick a switch off the bush by the back door, (thin little deadly branches off the spirea shrub) and bring it to be used on bare legs. Horrifying to the uninitiated: the idea of having to 'pick your own switch'!

Funny/ironic to be remembering this now as I think my aunt was a proponent of the Dr. Spock school of child-rearing. And believe he was in favor of calmly sitting them down for a discussion of acceptable behavior rather than administering instanteous corporal punishment. Looking back, I propose to cousins: we need to come up with some sort of measurement/scale to evaluate childhood trauma and decide how/which would be rated as the absolute worst form of punishment - even though I suspect all my relatives and I suffered would be considered pretty mild by today's standards.

My friend, the guy I was having this conversation with about parental discipline- another story....

completely out of character....

Thursday, August 22, 2013
...is the fact that I had nearly nothing on my calendar for today... Since you know how busy I can appear to be, the idea of having a day not 'filled with opportunities' might be cause for alarm.

It has not been a complete bust: I went with spouse-person to a dr. appt. this morning, and had the usual 45 minute wait, mostly sitting reading last years' Field and Stream about all the new lures that are promising for the high rollers - no one else can afford them. And if you can afford to buy custom designed fishing lures, you are also the guy who pays big bucks for guides to take you to the best spots and do all the work,and get you the monster catch, to have the trophy up on your wall. Plus - I know you can hardly wait: you can buy top of the line rifles for hunting big horn sheep that will set you back thousands of $$$s.

Any-way - mostly uneventful day. Other than cooling my heels in the waiting room, and a quick trip by to drop off the Rx at the pharmacy, I've been at home all day... well, yesh - I guess I am alarmed about today too.

family footnote to the 624 mile round trip...

Monday, August 19, 2013
When we were amusing ourselves on the Island, someone asked if I had been before. And have I ever...
Many times over the years, but not recently. In  recent years, 'the beach' was in a completely different direction: south to the FL panhandle, rather than due west from south GA to the Golden Isles.

When I was young, my Dad served in the National Guard, and was expected to spend two weeks each summer on active duty, training with fellow members of the Guard from Brooks County. Their destination would be what he referred to as 'Camp Swampy' (possibly a reference to the shenanigans seen in the newspaper comic strip Beetle Bailey?) Ft. Stewart is near Hinesville, GA, and not far distant from Savannah, on the coast. The members of the Brooks home-guard would load up all their motor pool vehicles and drive north-east to spend two weeks practicing their skills on the reservation property of Ft. Stewart.  Over that weekend between those two weeks of Army business, my dad would come and visit his family at St. Simon's Island.

My grandmother Benson had a cousin who lived in middle GA, and owned a cottage a block or so from the beach. My mom, my brother and I would go and stay for the two weeks my dad was on active duty, and expect my dad to come on the weekend. There were often other people there: the cousin of my grandmother (as well as Grandma), Ruth Rogers, along with an assortment her children and grandkids who would be about the age to engage in high-jinks with my brother and I. Nothing bad, just kid stuff. The worst I can remember is my brother telling me he'd put crabs in my bed: which I now know was not true. He was probably as fearful of getting pinched as I was! And the sneaky suspicion that the guys were peering down at me in the (enclosed) outside shower, as I stood out there in the great outdoors in my 'all-together'. And they giggling, pleased with themselves for being so nefarious, observed from an upstairs bedroom window while I was trying to get the sand out of my crack.

I was curious about the cottage, and drove by: still there, with little visible change, other than the upstairs sleeping porch has been enclosed, weatherized. I don't know if the Rogers family still owns it, but it did look occupied when I passed by. Lots of memories there: thinking of my dad, who never, ever went barefoot, getting the tops of his feet and legs sunburned (before the idea or invention of sunscreen) when he would put on the swim-trunks he wore one weekend each year. Then having to put on socks and his lace up boots over tender skin to get back to the woods and 'work' of another week of Army-ing.

624 mile round trip...

Sunday, August 18, 2013
You know that saying about the postal delivery service and their determination to get the mail out, no matter what circumstances bar the way? Like hurricanes, tornadoes, alligators (as in... up to your - - - when you were hoping to drain the swamp), bridges washed out, buffalo migration, etc? I've had some of that while traveling last week. NO-thing as dramatic as hip deep in alligators, but lots of water that likely qualifies as flash flooding in parts of GA. Those same parts that were panting from drought conditions last summer.

I got up early on Thursday to drive to Savannah, planning to get there around 10'ish. To have lunch with a family friend who currently resides in a nursing home on Abercorn Street. Her son and daughter-in-law took us to a local bar-b-cue establishment, where we enjoyed a good meal and visit. After spending some time chatting with her about people we have in common from south Georgia, I got on the road headed south.

The plan: after having invited myself along for a bit of vaca in the Golden Isles, the cousins from ATL would arrive late on Thursday, with me meeting the gang at a rented condo. Lots of intermittent rain along the coastal drive. I left the interstate to drive less traveled route with scenic views of rivers flowing toward the Atlantic Ocean, through expanses of tidal marshland, and great old gnarled, long limbed live oaks bearded with copious strands of Spanish moss. While everything changes, nothing does. And once you get there, your blood pressure lowers, your heart rate drops, you are begin to feel your life moving at a slower pace, everything becomes immersed in the tidal movement, sloooowly slowing down - you are starting to feel verrrry sleeeepy....

I wondered out loud what it is about being near the beach that makes you think of naps. You're getting slower and slower and your metabolism just seems to force you to go lay down for a bit... And before you know it your eyes are closing.... Research convinced us that it has something to do with the effect of negative ions being released by the wave action, something to do with salt water? In reality, it took Very Little Convincing: you're getting verrry sleeeepy....

The misc.cousins showed up, we settled in a nice small condo space. I transported ingredients for blueberry muffings (berries from my back yard) across the state, so we had fresh 'homemade' baked goods for breakfast. Did a bit of beach walking, wading, splashing, getting ample sand in one's cracks, on an overcast, but not rainy day. Roaming around the Village, checking out Neptune park, with a fishing pier and public facilities after a lunch overlooking the ocean.

They had shrimp for supper when we went to visit the auntie. I did not.

We went to the next island over, to visit the turtle rescue program. Pretty interesting. Not only do they rehab injured sea turtles of all varieties,they try to identify and protect turtle nests from a variety of predators, after the females come ashore to lay eggs. I guess we would think they are not very good mothers, as the eggs, are buried under the sand and abandoned. Interesting tid-bit: females hatch when the dozens of eggs incubating in the sand are at a higher temp.so the saying in turtle reproduction goes: girls are hot, boys are cool.  The turtle program also supports efforts to help preserve the land terrapin population. Which explains the signs along the causeway through the marshes, connecting the islands to the mainland: "Terrapin x-ing". Lots of tortoise stuff going on over there. Check it out at: www.georgiaseaturtlecenter.org

I got home Sat. night just in time to flop into bed.

first day of school....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I had my first day of  "back to school" today. When I found that I would not be doing my usual, working at Publix, I thought: hmmm... wonder if I could find a job doing a bit of substitute teaching? And oddlly enough, while I was just beginning to have that thought, my phone rang. Looking for a sub. teacher at a magnet school in the mid town area, so I took it. Thinking: magnet school - that should be a pretty good situation for spending the day. But:  a) I did not factor in that in reality it's still the first week of the new school year, since they started last Wednesday, and b)  It's apparently been so long since I have done that, I'd forgotten how much fun it is not.

I'm not certain what the difference between chaos and bedlam is, according to Webster - but I'd guess that the first week of school, especially in the lower grades, is likely a combination of the two. 'It'/the overall experience was mostly not a word that should be spoken aloud around small children. I had the teacher thank me profusely when I walked in the classroom at about 8:05, and again when we were getting their bookbags packed up to leave in the afternoon.

There was a little boy, cute, sweet, pinchable (though I was tempted, I did not, nor did I bring him home with me!) who was apparently in his first school experience. Period. He gave the impression of being so competely lost, I don't think he had ever been in a classroom. Anywhere. I can understand a mom not wanting to let one go, to put them in any sort of day care program if they can stay at home. But in this day of prepping for first grade, to not have a kid learn all that stuff they are expected to know before they get class assignments as a five year old, you are doing that little person a dis-service.

Sadly - you gotta put them in pre-school to get ready for pre-K, and put them in pre-K to get them ready for Kindergarten. By the time they are in K, they need to know their colors, shapes, letters, numbers, and should be able to recognize their printed names, even if they cannot actually write it. This sweet little guy was so out of his league- he didn't know what it meant to go stand in line, and had a really hard time with sitting in a chair.

There were some of the little boys who were apparently spring-loaded, and would pop up like 'whack-a-mole' as soon as your attention was diverted - which is mostly normal for that age.But when the others, who have been more influenced by civilization, see that behavior, and realize the teacher is practicing the 'ignore it and it will go away' theory of behavior management - it's not a fun place, and every one struggles.

But it's over, and I think I survived. I must have caught the 'crazy bug', as I gave the teacher my name and number. I also gave her an adult hug halfway through the day - as she looked like she was in desperate need. And told her she would possibly be bald if I had not shown up. She vehemently agreed.

cutting up the cantaloupe...

Sunday, August 11, 2013
Then when the 'turtles' were all sitting there on my cutting board, as I started to slice the outside off, to get them to the place where there is absolutely no green showing, not the least little bit of rind left, I got to thinking about that email someone recently sent with clips of animals doing funny thingss. There is one with a cat sitting up on it's back legs, with front paws on the table. The cat is watching hands move little walnut shells around. You know: the 'shell game', as in There Is A Sucker Born Every Minute, a la P.T.Barnum.

Where there is a pea under one, and your eyes have to be quick enough to keep up with the constant motion, and try to watch the one you think has the pea. To guess the right one of the three when the shells stop getting stirred to and fro.There must have been a cat treat under one of the three shells as the cat, amazingly, made the right choice, when the hands stopped moving the shells around. And I hope enjoyed the reward. It was pretty amusing to recall, even while doing that onerous task, as I thought about that smart, wily feline. While I was standing there, with six or eight halves of cantaloupe, waiting for me to peel and cube - I kept smiling to myself as I thought about that cat, giving the shells the stink eye, while determined not to be out-smarted by a human, and remarkably:  making the right choice!

the interesting, amusing part...

When you cut the melon in half, especially the cantaloupe, and 'gut it' using a scoop to get the seeds and membranes from the center out, then you flip it over, so the flat part is down on the cutting board. Before you cut all the rind off, and cube it: they look sort of, similar to, some what like turtles. Kinda funny to have a half dozen of them sitting there on the cutting board at the same time. Makes me think of a a former employer who used to enjoy saying, in reference to his teenaged slow-moving, possibly lazy, one-speed only delivery drivers: '...and he's off! like a herd of turtles!'

And standing there at the sink, pulling grapes off the stem, in huge quantities. Bags and bags and bags of bunches of grapes to fill a bin for the fruit salad makers to use in decorating the top of each bowl of cut fruit. As I was going through the bin full, looking to be sure I had pulled all the stems off all the grapes,stirring and stirring:  it made me think about my mom, sitting on the porch with a dish-pan full of peas in her lap. When she would get through with the shelling, she would stir and stir the peas to cull out the ones that were spotty and be sure she had none left in the bottom of the big porcelain dishpan that she had overlooked, not yet shelled.

So - did I get a little weepy standing there over the grapes, thinking about pea-shelling on the back porch? Well, yea... sorta.

'are we having fun yet?'...

...is what I have been asking myself the past couple of days at work. And I'm pretty sure I knew the answer long before I asked the question. At work for 7 1/2 hours on Saturday, and over 8 hours today, with most of that spent standing in place cutting up fruit for the BOGO of the week: mixed fruit salad bowls, consisting of cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew melon, a couple of cubes of pineapple, a smattering of grapes and one strawberry cut in half.

I spent, literally, hours and hours yesterday, cutting up, literally, dozens and dozens of cantaloupe and honeydew, and cubing pineapple, plus pulling grapes off the bunch/stem by the gallon, and quarts and quarts of strawberries halved to complete the mix. The only thing I don't do is manhandle the watermelons, which are so difficult to pick up it's like a greased pig contest (or a soapy baby in the kitchen sink) when they are wet. Plus they are just too big  and heavy for me to cut in half - so I tell 'em 'I don't do watermelons'. Which leaves me doing every thing else to prep and put the cut cubes in big containers. The bins we use for the prepped melons and pineapple are as large as you would use to store clothing or Christmas decorations in your basement or attic. When I get one full of (name your melon choice), someone will come and take it away from me, and tell me to start on a different one.It went on like that for - honestly - hours yesterday.

Alice and I agreed that we want the name and address of 'whoever' it is on a corporate level that came up with the bright idea for having the assorted fruit bowls as a BOGO item. But there is probably someone at every single one of the 1,000 plus stores that would like the same information, after nearly a week of trying to keep up with demand. It's been so overwhelming that people who never do prep stuff for the fresh fruit bar have been putting on the waterproof aprons (which are also 'stickyproof' - to keep from being soaked with sticky juice from the pineapple and melons - like small children will do to a kitchen floor with apple juice) and hairnets to dig in and try to stay ahead of the demand... which apparently we have barely been able to do from one day to the next.

Thankfully the new adv. comes out in the newspaper on Wednesday, so only two more days of that sticky mess.

an odd little historical anecdote...

I was someplace recently with a daughter, sitting down to a meal, and someone said: if you sit over there, you will not have to get up to go to the kitchen. My response was that I was always the first one to sit down in the house where I grew up, as it was all bench seating, and anyone who scootched in first, was definitely safe from having to get up for requested items. F. questioned me about my response - and honestly, it's been so long since the era of scootching I'd put it to rest in the dusty, neglected, ignored corners of my memory.

The table was ample for the  four of us, two parents, and older brother and myself. And it was homemade, built by my dad, in a trestle-style. Made of wood, with a plywood top, eventually covered with Formica in a wood grain. Now that I think of it, I clearly remember sitting facing my brother, who obviously would scoot in on the bench before our Dad would sit down. My mom and I were sitting with backs against a wall that no longer exists. My Dad and brother were opposite, the two of them facing the blank wall. So my mom and I had the view of the kitchen, with cupboards lining the wall, along with stove. This is how I learned to always close cupboard doors, to not have to look at them gaping wide while sitting and eating a meal.

The bench went around three sides of the table, so the person who was sitting at the end, with back towards the big wide window was most definitely corralled. If you were at the end and needed to get out, everyone between you and freedom had to get up - or if you were small enough, you could slip down off the bench and wend your way out under, through all the legs between your person and freedom. Which happened often, as you can imagine how little people eat, loose patience, and are ready to wiggle on to the next activity long before adults, with their civility, manners, conversations will allow them to dash out the door.

In the many years since the Era of Scootching, my dad took the wall out, removed the benches, did away with the large rectangular table, and hand built a round one that sat in the same spot for many years. I have the clearest memory of seeing the two of them sitting at the round pine table. Drinking coffee and looking out the kitchen window, watching hummingbirds, busily swooping around feeders and a red-blooming honeysuckle vine he planted right by the window to attract the birds for their enjoyment.

Beauty-full downtown Cave Spring, GA

When I went with the assorted cousins on the road trip last Friday, the town that is closest to where the in-laws live, nearly in Alabama, is Cave Spring (be sure you do not at an 's' to either of these words - always singular). A wee small village, with less commerce, from the little I saw, than that struggling burg in south GA where my family resided for many years. But pretty in a small town way.

After we had lunch and a visit with the llamas who were enjoying the afternoon shade, we went into town to the park and enjoy the beauty. It seems that 'Rolater Park' owns itself, like that tree you might have heard of in Athens GA that was somehow legally deeded to itself. I've never heard about this type thing occurring anywhere else, but would like to think:  it is not an occurrance that only happens in the south. The rest of the world thinks we are a bunch of loony red-necks any way, and hearing about property that holds it's own deed, just makes us sound even more hopelessly hopeless. The twenty-nine acres was donated to the city by a Dr. Rolater with the understanding that the property would always be public property and never developed for commercial use. At one time, there were buildings (several still standing, and renovated, occasionally in use) on the acreage that were part of a state facility/school for the deaf. Now a renovated meeting hall remains, along with a pretty little brick church and a large home (formerly dorm space) refurbished and open as a Bed and Breakfast Inn.

Any way, it was a really pretty park, just a block from the downtown area. Lots of activity going on in the swimming pool (shaped like the GA state outline0 filled with lots of kids from the Cedartown Boys and Girls Club, plus various locals. The pool water is supplied by the spring, so I imagine the water is seriously cold. Kinda like that pool in south GA that I remember going to over many summers that would now feel like glacier-fed ice water. The one we saw on Friday was obviously thoroughly enjoyed by the mob of kids that were splashing and shouting in the distance. I was told that the water is not treated in any way, but that the pool is drained once a week and refilled by the running water from the spring to keep it relatively clean. You can imagine that there might be various forms of wildlife inhabiting the pool, so always the opportunity for surprised when you jump in. The bottom is solid, has had concrete poured and graveled over, rather than what one might find in a farm pond, or creek that wends it way out of the mountains. I did  not get close enough to the pool to observe the water clarity, but suspect when there are not bodies in keeping the water stirred it, it would be relatively clear, being spring fed.

The rest of the group I was with went in the cave (Cave Spring, right?) but I was more than willing to wait for their reappearance while I sat on a bench. Caves not being my thing, I was  not the least bit curious about the origin of the spring. But you can imagine how cool it must have been going inside the crevice into the hill from which the spring springs forth. I would surmise that the spring being used as a water source for locals goes back hundreds of years, before recorded history. We saw families filling gallon plastic jugs at the source to take home for drinking water, and it is the local water supply.

It was just so pretty and spacious, with vast open areas of neatly trimmed lawn, and tidy picnic shelters over wooden tables. A few groups using the facility, with kids running around, and adults sitting in the shade of the covered pavillions. Just so park-like, open and welcoming. A pretty place to visit, with ducks paddling in the pond, burbling stream of crystal clear water constantly flowing through, inviting feet to step into the pebbled bottom and cool off. So welcoming and park-like.

Looking for llamas....

Saturday, August 10, 2013
After working on Thursday, I got my ducks in a row to drive up to Decatur in the late afternoon. If there is traveling to be done going some distance, I try to spread it out over more than one day to prevent 'asleep at the wheel' (though I can't recall the rest of that particular song.). The cousin who lives in N. Decatur was going on a little road trip on Friday, and, as usual, in order to go someplace interesting, I had invited myself along.

There are in-laws who live to the west of Rome, out in the country, nearly to the Alabama line, in a (modern day) log cabin.  She, L., is very much into therapy animals. And was recently in Decatur for some training of therapy dogs, which is how I had the opportunity to pester her with questions and learn so much about both the process of getting animals certified as 'therapeutic'. This family enjoys rural life with an assortment of livestock, including a number of large German Shepherd dogs, chickens, horses, cows and llamas. I think most of the dogs are 'professional', with experience as either show dogs or trained to visit public places like nursing homes and schools as therapy animals.And a couple of dogs that live outside in pens that are rescues.

I was so intrigued by the idea of llamas being therapy animals - and actually just llamas in general, when the crowd in Decatur started talking of making a trip to west Georgia, I was hoping to go along. So we went on a llama visit. They are really interesting: just to look at. Apparently will domesticate very well, to the point of coming in the house, as they will only 'do their business' where it has been done previously. Which means they apparently have the ability to hold it until it is convenient to make a deposit at the right time and place.
The pair we saw on Friday had recently been shorn/clipped, with a full coat only around their heads, so looked a lot lighter, smaller, more delicate than one with a thick insulating coat would appear. We fed them a few carrots, that the little llama mouths very politely took from fingers.

One of the two (both females - much more tractable than males) are halter trained, and apparently much more docile and agreeable when they have their halters on. They also have 'costumes' with 'clothing' and hats they will agree to wear when in public, and are often attendees at parades and other events with crowds of people. I'm thinking they would probably be reluctant to do the 'dress up' routine and a feel pretty silly wearing articles of clothing, but must be really agreeable to be so willing to Play the Fool for humans. You have to admit that seeing one strolling down the street dressed as a person would certainly be eye-catching and traffic-stopping. L. said one of the 'girls' is probably already ready to be certified as a therapy animal. Think about walking into a nursing care facility to visit a family member and encountering a well-dressed llama in the hallway??!

reading while driving...

Saturday, August 3, 2013
Not all that dangerous, when the books are on CDs. It keeps me amused during the lulls when there is nothing except sleep-inducing music on the public radio stations. And provides excellent fodder for blogging.

The book I just finished was obviously written by a Brit. I was entertained as much by some of the unique phrasing and expressions as the story line. The title is 'Sight Unseen', author: Robert Goddard. Mine was a talking book, with about eight or nine discs - probably an hour or so each, so that all adds up to about eight hours driving time. There was plenty of that on Friday when I went to SC and halfway back. A pretty good tale, with a very surprising ending.

Though I will never be accused of texting while driving (typing with ones' thumbs has to be the most tedious thing on the planet!), I confess to trying to write down some of the amusing things I heard when the book was being read. Just things you'd never hear locally, especially in the south, where we rarely encounter the 'proper' King's English. Sometimes it just the pronunciation, more than the terminology, that caught my attention: like pronouncing the word for the place where people are buried as 'symmetry'.

They apparently do not wear pants, as the word 'trousers' cropped up occasionally (and under that are the 'knickers'). When they ride bikes, and need to leave it someplace, the wheeled device is left in the 'cycle rack', after being removed from the 'carriage way'. If they are making a call on a portable phone, it is not called a 'cell', but a 'mo-bile', and if you have to leave a message when there is no one there, it is left on the 'answer phone'. When you stop by a friends' house, instead of knocking on the door, you might use the 'bell-push' to try to get someone's attention. Should you want to send your friend correspondence, you would 'post' it in the 'letter box'. And if you receive mail, you 'sort through the post' when you look at your correspondence. You don't wear athletic shoes, or tennis shoes, you have 'trainers' on your feet, and if you do strenuous exercise, you will then need some 'warming off' instead of cooling down.

If you need to travel, and do not own a vehicle, you get a 'hired car', and would, of course, need to put 'petrol' in the tank, and leave it in the 'car park' when you stop. When you hope for a discount price, you ask for a 'knock-down rate', and when you go to get your purchase, you 'collect' your items.Going out at night, don't forget your 'torch' (flashlight) so you can see in the dark. Be wary of encountering 'nutters' (crazy people), and careful to not find yourself 'gob smacked' in a sticky situation. Traveling, you would put your large suitcases in the 'hold luggage' if your bags are to be checked.

I'm sure they think we are hilarious too... especially with our drawling accents!

recipe for chicken cheese casserole...

Alternately known as 'canned goods casserole' found in Mom's Majik Mox that arrived in TN on Friday.

Quick and Easy Chicken/Rice Casserole

1/2 large onion (I used Lots more!) and/or diced celery/bell pepper
2 T. butter
1(6 to 10 oz.) can white meat chicken
! can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheeze
1 c. rice
pepper to taste (1/2 to 1/4 tsp.)

Cook onion (and other veg. if desired) in butter in microwave for 1 min. on high.
In medium casserole dish, put can of chicken (undrained), stir to separate chunks.
Stir in other ingredients. Bake 350 at least 30 min., until rice is done. Stir before serving.

Some people do not like celery, and comment in the addition/inclusion with great enthusiasm. I'm always looking for more vegetables on my fork, so I would certainly add extra of the onions, celery and some diced bell pepper would be good... or shredded carrots if you want to make it colorful. Factor in, Me: the person who was always smuggling vegetables into things, where ever it might be sufficiently disguised to be consumed by the people who adamantly oppose consuming vegetables in any form. How about adding in some of that prolifically reproducing zucchini - shredded, to sort of, possibly, vaguely look like ... noodles? pasta?

Did you read "Cold Mountain"...

...by Charles Frazier?  I remember there was a lot of talk, and it was prolifically reviewed, when it was first published years ago. Embarassedly, I admit I do not remember much in the way of details of the story. But do recall it was mostly about a man's journey home following the end of the Civil War. Amazing to think that the vast majority of those who fought, and lived to tell about their experience, in that war were young men who walked every where they went. Trekking on foot, carrying all their possessions on their backs, getting from places like southern Alabama and Florida to central Pennsylvania, Virginia and home again on worn out shoe leather, or bare feet.

I recently read another book by the same author, that was so good, so interesting, so well written, with amazing details, thoroughly researched, I did not want it to end. Part of the reason it was so enjoyable is that it was a 'talking book', and was read by the actor Will Patton. Pretty long, as there were at least a dozen cd's in the case, but a very good story. The lead character in the book, whose name happened to also be Will, was living in the Indian territories in north Georgia and east Alabama before the 'removal', when native Cherokees were forced from their homes and land to the mid-west.Frazier tells of a remarkably full, long colorful life, with richly detailed experiences, tales of travel to Oklahoma, and back east to Washington. Even though he was made up from whole cloth, Will was so imaginatively described and beautifully wrought in words, it was as if I had walked along through his life, envisioning the people he encountered and the all the changes he witnessed, and geography he travelled.

I imagine that Frazier does a tremendous amount of reading, traveling, doing research and note taking before he begins to write. The documentation of the daily details of the lives of (invented) people who lived two hundred years ago was so precise, so clearly described, the book was a delight. "Thirteen Moons" was long, no telling how many miles I drove while reading/listening, but a wonderful traveling companion.

In my next life, I might apply for a job as a Book Reviewer... probably not a very good one, as I rarely find one that is so difficult as to be unreadable, or does not capture my attention enough for me to finish. I'm going to be the reviewer that finds something to recommend in every thing I read. Even though it does occasionally occur in my completely random reading choices. I have, at times, started one I can't wade through - and only in recent years have been able to say to myself: 'you don't have to write a report - so no, you don't have to read something so tedious it is annoying.' And: 'yes, you can return it to the library with your bookmark/post-it note stuck at half-way through...'

motoring across the border...

I got up at 3:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Deliberately. So certain that I needed to get up in the middle of the night, I set two alarm clocks to be sure I did not miss out on roaming around in the wee hours. I've tried to use the alarm on my phone, and have set it in the past.  But don't know how to turn it off/delete, so once it is set to wake me at 4 or 5 a.m., it continues for all eternity, once I get it started: therefore not an option for waking up.

I needed to take a shower before getting on the road. I don't think anyone can fully understand how anxious big-city traffic makes me feel. How stressed I get when I find myself driving in a situation where there are literally hundreds of other motorists around me, whizzing by at frightening speeds on highways that are six lanes across, all heading in the same direction - with most apparently having left the starting point/house running ten minutes behind.

I was headed to South Carolina, and wanted desperately to be well outside the 285 perimeter before everyone else - all three million of them - got out on the roads headed to work/school/criminal activity. So I figured if I left home by 4 a.m., I could be out on I-85 headed towards SC by 6'ish. I usually try to get to Greenville around 10 o'clock, and leave there around 4 to head back to Decatur.

But this time, instead of heading back towards GA when I left my pen-pal's house, I went to visit a cousin who a recently relocated to Greenville. She will be teaching in the education department of a small college nearby. I went to see her new abode (literally new - just completed huge apartment complex.) The family of one human and two cats seems to be pretty well settled in, though there are still plenty of boxes for feline amusement.  We went to get a bite to eat before I had to start back south.

One should always fill up with gas before leaving SC, as the prices there are usually anywhere from twenty to forty cents lower than GA. Got back to Decatur about dark, and surprisingly not falling- down tired. But I did sleep really good last night.

mom's majick mox...

Here's the real story on the box...

She loves to get that box of cosmetics every month. She has always, as long as she has been self-propelled, had a fascination with things to decorate with - putting things on her face and painting her nails as soon as she could get the containers open. I have highly amusing photos of a three year old with brilliant blue eyeshadow in copious amounts generously applied across the top 1/3 of her face. A little girl who loved to plunder in her grandma's purse with the red lip color as her goal. So when her sister discovers Birch Box and has an assortment of new products, mostly in sample size, mailed to her every month, it is an anxiously awaited Big Deal upon arrival.

In an effort to get more information, from someone who stays very busy with her job, and life in general,  decided it would be interesting/amusing to send surprises in the same vein, to possibly help with a ongoing problem (ie: not enough time to plan a meal) plus get a response. So I have been reading recipe books, and have actually been doing so cooking: a rarity at my house, as I have been on strike for several years.   Looking for good things to eat that are fairly simple, with ingredients I could send, along with the recipe for assembly.

I'd read about something similar to the Birch Box in magazine months ago, and thought: that's a great idea, since it was food related. You could sign up and get a box once every four weeks that would supply a 'hard to find' ingredient, along with the recipe for some new dish to try. Plus some music to accompany the meal.

I was profoundly unimpressed with the thought of someone else choosing the music. And equally unimpressed with the idea of paying for the one exotic ingredient (with the recipient scrambling around to get everything else to complete the dish.) And especially unimpressed with the cost of all that stuff that was both superfluous and undesirable. So: I thought: DIY (with a bit of prompting from the sister/professional chef.)

Keep reading - you will be very amused when you get to the punch line ...

I've been reading, and testing. Tried out a really good recipe for a tomato casserole. That was so tasty I've actually made it twice. Once for us two as the guinea pigs, and again to take to a covered dish dinner. And in the interest of 'inquiring minds want to know', have found several other recipes that bear further research as I have perused cookbooks in recent weeks.

The one I copied, and actually practiced at home, taking it on a test drive before sending it in a box, was a chicken casserole. So I put three cans in the mail, along with a zip bag with a cup of rice, and the recipe. The receipent  would have to add perishables: cheese, onion and celery (if one so chooses to add something she finds so objectionable as celery!).  It was pretty good when we had it at home, and make enough leftovers for another meal...which would be useful for a family of two when taking a meal in a lunch box to work, to have for grab and go.

The reason it is called 'mom's majick mox' is because the idea started with the Birch Box, but it is from Mom. And it is majick in the sense that with the addition of some perishable ingredients, it turns into something you can put in the oven, on the table, and in your mouth. Plus it does come in a box, but the word 'box' needs to start with 'm' to be sufficiently alliterative.

I think I have written before about what a treasure I have found hand written recipes to be: when I go looking in my box of 3 x 5 cards for something I want to reproduce. And find the card, with handwritten recipe, from people who are not around to write, share recipes, or the end product any longer. So - in addition to something good to eat, there is the added bonus of the little 3 x 5 card that will linger for posterity long after the writer is gone...

The punch line is that the crazy mama mailed groceries - and the expense of the postage was even greater than the cost of the canned goods. Well worth the amusement generated in the process....