Sunday, December 27, 2009

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Of all the nerve! A less fashion-concious member of this household recently suggested that my Christmas footwear looks goofy. Okay so it's different, but there's always the chance I'm starting a new trend.

PJ's and houseshoes

While I sit down to watch my favorite classic holiday film, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, I'll leave this laying around for you to amuse yourself with.

Another Christmas season bites the dust
Erma Bombeck · 1986

Monday, November 30, 2009

On my way – to where the air is sweeeeeet

Most weekday mornings at 9 am, I turn on Sesame Street for Maggie to enjoy its catchy theme song, after which she sits on her own little stool and watches for as long as the average magnificantly brilliant one-year-old can stand (ten minutes or less). It's charming to see its guest stars in classic Sesame Street segments. Today's episode featured environment as its Word On The Street, with Jimmy Fallon giving an outstanding performance as Wild Nature Survivor Guy.

More Sesame Street guest spots worth sharing:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Watch your step around here

Crisis du jour:

Someone's been outside eating grass again.

Let's face it, there will always be those times when the drive to quickly eliminate a distraction will override my otherwise mindful approach to the situation at hand. Last night was one of those times. During Dancing With The Stars Season 9 finale, I thoughtlessly made a dash across the kitchen's tile floor to free a meowing cat that had gotten stuck in the garage. Before making it to the door, I slipped in cat vomit and fell to the floor, twisting my left knee — the same one that was operated on early last Summer. Then to add insult to injury, I was admonished for trying to one-up Kelly Osborne's bold freestyle fall fwd to 3:15. Call me stubborn, but this knee better get better, because no way will I have surgery on it again. Between last Spring's broken hand and this slow-to-heal knee, I've learned that prevention is key.

Speaking of DWTS, Donny Osmond and his curvaceous partner Kim Johnson were crowned the new champions shortly after my fall. I recognized Osmond's chance of winning first place after watching how well he compared to his professional teammates during Week 7's Team Tango:

Paul Simone - DO NOT HIRE THIS MAN - lying sack of shit - Memphis Cordova landscape landscaper landscaping mow mower mowing - CONTROL FREAK

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Unsuccessful, but not fruitless

Seek truth in all things — even when the truth hurts.


Despite good intentions last June for my first watermelon patch, this growth-stunted specimen is its lone survivor. Looking back, I can't help but wonder what inspired me to brag about the spot I'd chosen for planting, which is poorly drained and doesn't receive enough sunlight for growing fruit.

Stunted growth

Although the melon grew only slightly larger than a canteloupe, I sliced it open and discovered it was juicy, sweet and oh-so-tasty.

Friday, September 04, 2009


Why MegaBloks are scattered all over the family room:
Psssst it's not Maggie's fault

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ghost of Fathers Day Past

A greeting from the heart:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Whirlwind afternoon

Crisis du jour:

In the path of a tornado!

No warning siren, and boy was it fast! One minute the Bradford Pear tree was there, then when I looked again it was in pieces on the ground. Very little structure damage in our neighborhood, but the place is a mess of broken trees, some torn up by the roots.

Bradford Pear trees are the first to goBirdhouse askewTorn up by the roots

Thankfully, my brave little ginkgo is standing strong and healthier than ever. It's barely taller than me now, and at ginkgo speed may even reach six feet in several years.Growing like a ginkgo (sloooowwwly)
Maggie's first tornado
Maggie's first tornado

Tags: · "Olive Branch" · "Mississippi" · "tornado" · "Olive Branch tornado"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Here kitty·kitty·kitty

You know those jokes about the little old lady who has ten cats? Well, there's ten cats around here and I'm evidently that lady. Thankfully, we're only fostering Mama's five kittens, most of which are expected to adopt out to permanent homes. My 16-year-old cat — who hates all other felines — is adjusting to life with Lori's three younger cats, two of which are part-Bengal. Her other cat is the strong, silent type who knows how to throw his weight around but wouldn't dream of actually harming anyone.

Otep's favorite spot
atop the fridge

Lording over the kitchen
Mojo's found the softest
blanket in the house

Surrounding herself in comfort

Brother is the self-appointed Keeper Of The Stairs
Another reason to watch your step on the staircase

Good thing I'm a Cat Person, ain't it?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Plan B

Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof.

Julie Moir Messervy

Last summer's edible tomato has encouraged me to grow another tasty treat this season. Before I broke my hand, I'd expected to try tomatoes again. The upside-down planter, though, is a "get dirty" contraption that my cast prevented me from using. Instead, I started off a dozen or so watermelon seeds in a starter tray, then transplanted the five surviving seedlings to a front spot on the west side of the house, where they'll get lots of hot afternoon sun. I hope they're as good as the seed package looked.

Watermelon Sprout

And four months later:

CarlaCarlaCarlaCarla · 10/10/2009
Unsuccessful, but not fruitless

Monday, June 08, 2009

Clown face

Maggie's first Koolaid mustache:

Koolaid mustache

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Day Dream

Never take Ecstasy, beer, Bacardi, weed, Pepto Bismol, Vivarin, Tums, Tagamet HB, Xanax, and Valium in the same day. It makes it difficult to sleep at night.


Another narcotic-induced dream

Okay, so there we were flying down the street, minding our own business, when we came upon a group of Men At Work repairing a leak in a roadside creek. The leak had created all sorts of problems with the purity of the water, so that if the Men At Work came in contact with it something terrible would happen to them. Not immediately, but over time, like they would eventually get a disfiguring and painful skin disease. In spite of this danger, getting into the water to repair the creek was the only way to properly fix it, so two men were up to their chests in it. Since they were both considered unimportant to Society though, their safety was sacrificed for the comfort of more important people.

Nevertheless, we ended up flying through the next creek that we came to. This was a foolish and unnecessary risk, but I wasn't given a choice in the matter. Naturally, I hoped the water in the second creek hadn't been infected with Impure Water Disease. And wouldn't you know it, the one time that my feet touched the muddy creek bed, they each fell on broken glass! Although I couldn't see the glass through the dark water, I could tell that it was thick amber glass from a carelessly discarded beer bottle.

Once back on dry land, I realized that the soles of my feet had matching lacerations, but not much bleeding. I treated them both with rubbing alcohol to help avoid infection and speed healing, but was unsure if I'd be able to at least hobble around or be unable to walk at all.

As soon as my fractured hand healed, I ended up injuring my knee while carrying an armful of kittens around the yard. Last week's surgery to repair a torn meniscus left me with two small incisions on either side of my knee and a promise from the orthopedic surgeon that I'll develop arthritis in that joint one day. Yay meeeeeee!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sitting pretty

Maggie loving her new car seat
Funner than a new toy
All this food consumption means that Maggie's quickly outgrowing her things, and she's ready to graduate to a larger car seat. After comparison shopping, Lori ended up purchasing the least expensive seat available. She wisely chose one that will grow with Maggie, and eventually morph into a booster seat. It even has its own cup holder!

Maggie has evidently learned that anything pink with flowers belongs to her, and she's getting used to it indoors before taking it out for its first ride.

Lori's purchase inspired me to buy one for my own car, the same model but in Basic Blah Black to match my upholstery.

I also invested ten bucks in a big stuffed frog to sit beside me in the passenger seat when Maggie and I are out and about, which prevents her forgetful Gramma Tea from leaving her behind in the back seat.Cheap but effective insurance

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Smackaroni Night

No matter what's on the menu, Maggie prefers to dig in and feed herself. What some might label as messy, I prefer to call independent:

A trick learned from my mother:
When preparing macaroni and cheese, add a drop or two of yellow mustard before adding the cheese. It gives just the right touch of flavor.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Okay, I got sick and tired of wearing this cast. And even though my orthopedic surgeon instructed me to wear it for six weeks until the end of May, I felt as though I'd already had it attached to my arm for six months. So I second guessed him and counted the weeks since surgery on my Palm Pilot and discovered that the surgeon was wrong, I was only three days short of six weeks since my surgery date!

My LBJ momentCo-pay after co-pay after co-pay had encouraged me to choose DIY cast removal techniques, which went smoothly. I'd expected some surgical scarring and sensitive, icky skin. As the afternoon and evening wore on, though, the pain in my hand went from bad to worse. Concerned that losing a few days of cast wear had been a bad idea, I nervously re-counted the weeks on my calendar ... and then realized that it should be worn six weeks from the date it was originally applied, not from the surgery date. Ugh, it's only been four weeks.

So you're thinking I'll go to the orthopedist Monday morning, shell out another insurance co-pay and then admit to the whole gruesome story, right? Not so fast. After a night to sleep on it, the pain and swelling have subsided. And in the meantime, it's as good an excuse as any to rest my hand and enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No more kitten drama!

Crisis du jour:

Whatever's preying on these kittens at night doesn't intend to stop.

Another sleep-deprived night in which unknown assailants harassed Kitty and her litter of kittens has inspired me to lock the babies up overnight in pet taxis. We are, after all, officially fostering them until they're adopted through a local animal rescue organization, and I feel responsible for their safety. With four cats already in the house (mine plus Lori's three), bringing them indoors isn't an option.

Frankly, I think these kittens need a full night's rest after playing so hard during the day. Now that they've discovered life beyond the back porch, their favorite hangout is an overgrown spirea shrub where they hide and plan surprise attacks on one another. I don't expect a single one of my abused cannas to bloom this summer, and that little wheelbarrow with the flowers "spilling out" of it is a complete disaster.

What a mess!
Destroyed canna budsUnsaveable after being chewed on and dug up

* Update on the injured kitten:

After studying animal care on the Internet, Sarah has been applying warm compresses to the kitten's wound each night, which opens it up painlessly and allows more pus to drain (lovely!). Since she and the kitten have really bonded, Sarah's named it Madison has decided to keep this one instead of her first choice.

Besides, she learned from the vet that Ella is a little boy. And not just any little boy. After all the growlies over a dead vole that Mama Kitty drug up on the porch, he's evidently the alpha male of the litter. I left him alone until he stopped batting it around and began chewing it up. Sure, the dishes and food and bedding and kennels on the porch are a mess, but I draw the line at bloody guts all over the place.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A meanie in our midst

Crisis du jour:

An injured kitten

Upon returning home late Sunday, I learned that one of the Siamese-look twins had suffered some injuries the previous night. Sarah found the kitten curled up on the ground Sunday morning, soaking wet with rain and shivering from shock. Since Lori worked at Cat-n-Cow during high school, she shaved the hair from a skin laceration on the kitten's side, then treated it with antiseptic.

Kitten injury

Today's visit to the vet revealed a smaller puncture wound parallel to the one that Lori discovered -- an obvious cat or snake bite. After lots of pus was drained from the area, we returned home with an antibiotic.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day

Spending Mothers Day weekend in LA with my parents was even more relaxing and fun than I'd expected it to be. Since Mother's foot is in a cast, Daddy led us on a Saturday driving tour of the area that included all sorts of sights I'd previously only seen in photos. I hollered, "I've seen this before! I know this spot! This is (fill in the blank)!" so much that it must have seemed like I was trying to be the tour guide. We stopped briefly for a closer look at Sheldon Castle, an unusual historic home in Fairhope.

Naturally, I was treated to authentic Gulf Coast seafood at a place frequented by the locals. My parents are evidently so local that they both ordered chicken instead of fish.

That evening, we settled in to watch Smokey and the Bandit on DVD. Oddly enough, Mother and Daddy had never seen it. Hard to believe it was made thirty years ago. And yes, it's still a fun movie.

Looky what I got for Mothers Day
Happy Mothers Day
Four colorful varieties,
hand planted with love

Friday, May 01, 2009

She's a keeper

Our back-porch kittens are currently six weeks old, and they're cute as buttons. Sarah has introduced them to solid food and litter trained them, and plans are in the works to give four of the five away to good homes.

Sarah with her new kitten Ella

For all her hard work, Sarah's being allowed to keep one favorite. She's chosen a female and named it Ella — perhaps after my Aunt Ella?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The feeling is mutual

Curious youngsters in separate worlds:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


bokeh (boke-uh)

A Japanese term for the subjective aesthetic quality of out-of-focus areas of a photographic image

At first glance, bokeh seems like a clever way to avoid distracting attention from a photo's subject, but it's as important to the overall appearance of a picture much like the "empty spaces" in a flower garden enhance the plants it surrounds. I recently discovered that there's even a flickr group dedicated to Happy Bokeh Wednesday.

LEGO bokeh by flickr member Tim NorrisPink Flower and Green Bokeh by flickr member AgniMaxViolet bokeh by SarahHosta bokeh by Yours Truly

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Exercise with Maggie

This series of 15-second videos demonstrate Lori's version of the world's strongest redneck:

Curls for toned biceps
Flip ... because it's fun

Monday, April 20, 2009

Small successes

I don't blame you if you find it foolish of me to brag about this, but this morning marks the first day my bed has been made since breaking my hand three weeks ago. (And yes, of course the linens have been washed, it just hasn't been made up.) Like opening the Sprite bottle, changing my granddaughter's diaper, and carefully shifting gears with my right hand, it's another reminder that I'm gaining mobility and that things will eventually return to normal.

All made up

Realizing that this injury is simple compared to so many others that my orthopedic surgeon treats, I've repeated this phrase a gazillion times since breaking my hand:

I complained because I had no shoes,
until I met a man who had no feet.

Those covers didn't stay perfectly in place for long. As soon as Maggie and I were able to get Lori to go run errands, she and I played on the neatly made bed til it was all messed up again.

Playing on Gramma T's bedThe cutest thing you ever sawSlobbering on Gramma T's bed
See the 15-second video on YouTube

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Good as new

This afternoon's doctor visit revealed that my hand is healing nicely. I came home wearing a cast that will provide better mobility that the clumsy splint I've worn for the past month.

Okay, it's been only two weeks, but it seems more like a month.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stick to yer ribs

Hey Grandmaw, what's for supper?

A big pile of meatballs, served over wide egg noodles. They sat so heavy on the belly that no one dared go back for seconds.

I tried to pretend that these were Swedish meatballs, but they were really just meatballs in gravy.

Maggie woofed one down in record time:

Friday, April 03, 2009

Spreading their wings

As I walked past the kitchen picture window this afternoon, I caught sight of a hummingbird looking in at me, the season's first.

Hummingbird at the Feeder ·

I'd already prepared for her arrival last month by filling the feeder and hanging it on the back porch, same spot as last year. Several minutes later, I was relieved to see that she'd discovered it in spite of its sun-faded salmon color.

And within the hour I heard the familiar buzz of the summer's first housefly.

Photo: The Daily Green

Thursday, April 02, 2009

This afternoon's visit with the bone doctor:

click to enlargeX-ray on left:
Slight fracture ... simple cast ... fast recovery.
X-ray on right:
Spoke too soon ... reposition metacarpal ... attach pins ... surgery early next week.
click to enlarge

Prior to Tuesday evening's ER visit, I went ahead and asked my husband to cut off the ring that my parents gave me almost thirty years ago. Even without the swelling from my injury, it couldn't have been removed without wire cutters.Sweet Sixteen gift

I expect to visit a jeweler and have it fixed up good-as-new after my hand is all better.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don't try this at home

Crisis du jour:

Another casualty of the tile floor

Fracture 3rd metacarpal

  • Accident: Kicked over the cat's bowl
  • Another accident: Slipped in the spilled water
  • Mistake: Used a fancy one-handed save maneuver
  • Diagnosis: Fracture · 3rd metacarpal
  • Result: 4 - 6 week vacation from blogging

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Watch this, maggots!

Maggie's low crawl demonstration:

It helps to have an important goal to reach. This exercise is in preparation for learning to sneak up on the elusive Mamou Bayou Frog within the year.

From a different angle:

I can taste those tender frog legs already!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

When it's chilly out ...

I'm tolerating the weekend's cold snap by turning to the comforts of wintertime sustenance. After having an afternoon mug of hot cocoa, I used the last of the chili fixin's in the pantry for a stick-to-your-ribs supper.

This dish is slightly more complicated than the other convenience-food meals I've blogged about. I'm particular about enhancing the flavor of everyday ground chuck by adding salt and a little chopped onion while it browns in the pan. After that, most of it's as easy as Mrs. Smith's pie.

Chili Fixins

  • After draining the grease off the cooked meat, add a can of chili beans. Although HOT is pictured here, I prefer MILD. I typically use Bush's, but the brand is unimportant.
  • Tabasco Home Style Chili Starter is a bit chunkier than I like, so I throw it in the blender and run it for 20 seconds or so, then combine it with the other ingredients.
  • Like Uncle Hugh's Gorilla Beans, I fix this in a cast iron skillet for effect, but any old pot or pan will do.
  • Oops, there is one obstacle to this dish that I almost forgot: Tabasco has evidently created the toughest jar seal known to womankind. I always end up getting a man to open the thing for me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Say wut?

Plate fulla hot wings

"So after you and your friend left for her house, I went upstairs to the game room and discovered a plate full of half-eaten hot wings on the floor, along with your empty Mountain D–"

Her (interrupting me):
"But they've only been there since last night!"

Monday, March 23, 2009

She's still my favorite

To those of you who may have wondered if the attention I've given to newborn kittens and others' pets has left my household cat been feeling neglected ...

Have you lost your mind?

In one of her favorite spots

Miss continues to lure me into joining her on the floor several times a day to give her the love that she SO deserves. While she was enjoying my undivided attention this morning, here's what came to mind:

You've become my magnificent obsession
So hows about joinin' my LOVIN' SESSION?

Could you guess?
Song lovin session at 1:42 · complete lyrics

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Like a well-trained dog

From Is she or isn't she? 2/1/2009

Several neighbor mutts stroll through my back yard each day for table scraps. One even has me trained to respond to his bark by showing up at the door with food.

─ CarlaCarlaCarlaCarla

In response to all those reader requests for video footage of the demanding neighborhood dog at my back door

His barking is evidently intended only to get my attention. Once he sees-me-see-him, Cowboy waits patiently while I fetch a hot dog or leftover piece of meat.

So there you have it!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring song

Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.

Lewis Grizzard · 1946-1994
From Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You

While taking a few lame landscape photos yesterday afternoon, I was treated to the happy song of a nearby mockingbird. I only wish this 15-second video shared the blooms' sweet aroma.

The hummingbird feeder has already attracted its first visitor of the year (and it's always a yellow jacket). I'm fixinta sit down with my favorite gardening catalog and begin marking all the new toys I want, starting with the perfect gloves for digging around in the dirt.

Bittersweet reminder ...

My Palm Pilot beeped to notify me of my grandmother's birthday this morning. She passed away at 93 years old last December.

Grandmother Ellington and Carla · circa 1965

Friday, March 20, 2009

Born blonde

Q: What goes MEEWWWWW ... mew MEW ... mew MEW ... mew ... MEW MEW ... mew ... mew mew ?


three blondes · one white · one white-with-black

Kitty's really playing to the camera here:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good mews

Kitty's been especially restless during her mealtime visits for the last several days. What a blessing that Sarah decided to join her on the back porch this evening -- Kitty began laboring before she could even finish her supper.

Sarah suddenly became Kitty's midwife.

She's had two kittens since this photo was taken almost an hour ago. Although Kitty's noticeably thinner already, Sarah thinks she feels about four more.

Last month's related post:

Is she or isn't she?


8:10p With two kittens
With her two new kittens
8:50p Two kittens
Blurry photo of two kittens, but Sarah will kill me if I go back and ask to take more right now.
9:25p Still only two kittens
Sarah made sure kittens One and Two stayed warm as their mother continued to labor.
Kitty's had a difficult time with this, so Sarah deserves a pat on the back for seeing her through it.
9:30p The new mother with her first two kittens
Taking care of her newborn
11:30p Kitty's resting and nursing her five newborns after being moved into a large pet taxi.

I'm intrigued by how well things fell into place tonight:

  • After a pair of neighborhood dogs had shown up to harass Kitty during her supper, she was so hissing-mad that I suggested Sarah come back indoors. She stayed though, and helped Kitty through several hours of difficult labor.
  • Sarah heard and then saw signs of coyotes in the vicinity, possibly attracted to the smell of fresh meat. I suspect the kittens (and perhaps even Kitty) wouldn't have survived the night if she'd chosen to nest in an unsecured spot and have her kittens alone.
  • And to top it off, Sarah's on Spring Break, so there's no concerns about getting to bed for an early morning. How great is that?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bound for the beach

Money-wasting generics that don't do what they're supposed to

I really had this conversation
in Walgreens today

"Don't buy Walgreens-brand sunscreen; it won't work."

"Good, I don't want it to work."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've quickly learned to use Blogger's new follow feature, which enables me to see updates to my favorite blogs each time I sign in. Whenever I add another to the list, I'm taken back to that fateful evening in 1975 when my mother introduced my sister and me to live theater at Playhouse on the Square, and this familiar line goes through my head:


Hint: The Fantasticks

Give up? follow-follow-follow this link

The Fantasticks

And as long as we're there ...
can you stand just 30 more Fantastick seconds?

You can get the Rape Emphatic
You can get the Rape Polite
You can get the Rape With Indians
A very calming sight

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This just in!

All the news that is the news

Among this morning's
breaking news headlines

  • Obama overturns Bush policy on stem cells
  • Merck buying Schering-Plough in a $41 billion dollar deal
  • Nation will face higher unemployment
  • Martha Stewart's puppy dies in kennel blast