Sunday, November 23, 2008

Family Cookbook

I found this web site called It's really cool. You can make your own cookbook, spiral bound with laminated pages and you can add pictures. I starting putting one together for our family and I have 45 recipes so far. I'm waiting for the rest of the family to give me some of their recipes. What's nice about it is that everything will be in one book, not those little sheets of paper stuck here and there that you can never find when you need them.
This is going to be a no-frills cookbook. No oddball spices or cooking methods. Nothing exotic or complicated.
It will contain a lot of butter, sugar and cool whip. I've been having a lot of fun with it and can't wait till it's finished. I'm having a hard time finding pictures of the dishes online so I'll probably have to take my own photos of them. I like cookbooks with PICTURES. If it works out well, there might be a Volume II.
I want to add some personal notes from the family too. I'm hoping this will be a book that will be handed down to our grandchildren. :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving's Coming!

I love Thanksgiving. It comes around every year in November which is one of the best months of the year in Austin. Nice and cool after the long hot summer. We've been having Thanksgiving Dinner at our house for the past 10 years. We host between 16 and 25 family members because we have the big dining room and big table that almost everyone can sit around. It starts the night before with the preparation of the turkey and dressing. Jack and I do the turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and a vegetable with the help of the kids. Everyone else brings something. Mama always makes the gravy. her pineapple cake and the cranberry salad and Aunt LaVerne brings her famous sweet rice. Amy brings pies and Debby brings a salad. It's such a wonderful day because the house takes on that fantastic smell of good food cooking, the sound of laughter and talking and general good will. They family usually arrives around 10:00am and we visit, eat and watch football and then have all of the wonderful desserts and coffee until around 3:00 when everyone is tired and wants to go home. Then we still have time for a nice nap followed by the mandatory turkey sandwich on white bread with Miracle Whip and Ruffles. The next day we get to eat leftovers. By Saturday, we're all ready for some spicy Mexican Food. The great thing is that it's just a day to be together, unlike Christmas which is filled with stress and gifts and lasts for freakin' EVER. The build-up is way too much for the actual event. One of these years we're just going to skip Christmas if the kids will let us.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to next Thursday, the best day of the year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

No Fear

If you've ever watched Fox News for even a short time (which I rarely do, but I sometimes need to know what the neo-cons are saying), you should watch for the number of times they say the word "Fear".
I refuse to live my life in fear. Fear of terrorism, economic ruin, liberals, gays, etc.
I think the Repubican Party has moved from being a fiscally and governmentally conservative party to the party of FEAR. They try to scare the crap out of us at every turn.
I have a hard time understanding how anyone would want to live that way. If we face another attack we will have to deal with it as we have always done. But fear of things like gay marriage while asserting their "right" to buy guns is just ridiculous. I sure feel a lot less threatened by having a homosexual pointed at me than I do with having a gun pointed at me.
I think the only thing I really fear is the super-conservative evangelical types who would have us all drink the kool-ade while they do all kinds of horrible things behind closed doors. If there is evil in this world, and there is, it is more often perpetrated in the name of religion than in any other thing.
So NO FEAR is what I will go with.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Confession: My children were raised on Drive-Thru

I've been watching the news lately about schools banning snack and soft drink machines and even checking kid's lunches to make sure they don't have any snack foods in them. I feel like such a bad mother when I see that stuff.
I confess, I did raise my daughters on fast food. We drove through so many times that the clerks knew who we were and what we wanted. "A #2 plain and dry, meat and cheese only and a upsize the Dr. Pepper to a medium", "A kids fish meal, extra hushpuppy and upsize the drink", "A kids chicken, mashed potatoes with NO gravy and an extra bisquit instead of cole slaw".
A lot of this was because they hated leftovers and the two of them never wanted the same thing. Megan only ate "white" food. Mashed potatoes, chicken, noodles, bread.
And school lunches were a nightmare. Jackie would NOT buy her lunch because the first time she did, she dropped her tray. But she would eat a sandwich and chips. Megan hated sandwiches, vegetables and anything half way nutritious. She wanted something like chips and a Little Debbie cake and a juice box. If I put a sandwich in her lunch she would not eat it.
It was pure torture coupled with the guilt that I felt with not providing a nutritous meal for them. I did, however, make sure they took a multi-vitamin every day.
So they managed to grow up and they're both healthy and happy. What more can I ask for?
I still go to the drive-thru every now and then, but now I ask for a "Senior Meal" for mom.
Wouldn't it be nice to say that I always fed my family fruits, vegetables and protein and watched their sweets intake? Yeah, sure. But if they gag and leave it on their plates, what good does it do?
So I think that checking children's lunchboxes at school is a horrible invasion. You stay out of my freakin' lunch box and I'll stay out of yours. Deal?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Customer Service

I think customer service at a lot of places is really bad. Some places have really good CS though. I've been a little surprised lately to find people who actually talk to me on the phone and try to help solve the problem. I'd like to see businesses get away from the automated menu, at least the extensive ones. I don't mind pushing a button or two but pushing 50 buttons only to be connected to someone who can't help me is pretty frustrating. Why do they ask you to enter your account number and then when you finally get a person, they ask you the same thing again?
I've gotten to the point that I ask for a Supervisor fairly quickly if I don't get what I need. I've also gotten to the point of not being able to keep my mouth shut if someone in a store treats me rudely.
As a rule of thumb, I've found these things to be mostly true:

If you are not getting anywhere on the phone with Customer Service, ask for Steve or Rick. Most every business has a Steve and a Rick, the gay guys who will take care of your issue with no problem. I swear this is true. Try it!

If you're making a doctor's appointment and you get Dolores or Roxanne, DO NOT give them any crap. They can give you an appointment tomorrow or three months from now. Believe me, if you are rude to Dolores or Roxanne, you will never get in to see the doctor.

If you are calling a service person and have to leave a message for Tom, don't expect a call back...ever. If for some reason you really do get to talk to Tom, he will tell you that he'll get back to you but he won't.

Don't bother staying on the phone if you get Misti, Malinda or Tamra, They don't know who they work for nor do they care. They're busy watching the clock waiting for their next break.

Last of all, if you happen to get Ahmed on the phone don't assume that because he sounds Indian and may well be at a call center in India that he doesn't know anything. Listen to him and follow directions. He can help you if you are patient and follow instructions and explain your problem logically. Do not under any circumstances say "I want to talk to an American", because you will end up with Misti, Malinda or Tamra.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Pet Peeves

There are so many things that aggravate me. I should work on being a nicer, more easy-going person. Or not. Anyway, here goes:

People who are completely unaware that there are other shoppers in the grocery store and block the aisles with their baskets.

People who bring 7 people with them to shop. I mean, how many people does it take to go grocery shopping?

Cell phone addicts who can't get that phone off their ear for anything. Especially those who talk loudly.

The certain irritating people that you can't seem to get away from in a store. You try to get away and they always end up in your aisle. It's like they're following you.

Drivers that you can't get away from. You change lanes to try to pass them and they slowly meander across the lanes to stay in front of you going well below the speed limit. They always seem to be going exactly where you're going for the next 10 miles too.

Drivers who decide they need to change lanes while you're stopped at a light. They seem to like blocking both lanes.

People who work in stores who don't know crap about where anything is and are just waiting for their next break. And the cashiers who don't make eye contact with you and are yakking with their buddies about what parties they are going to.

People in parking lots who are oblivous to drivers. They walk down the middle of the parking lanes and pay no attention to where their kids are. It really aggravates me when someone has a baby in a cart and pushes that cart out into the lane of traffic without looking either way.

I have a million of these. I'll add more as I go. :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Am Filled With Hope

I feel so happy that we have elected Barack Obama as our next President. I am filled with hope. It's such a good feeling to know that people are so excited about this change. For the first time in a long time it seems that the rest of the world is in awe and willing to work together. There is so much work and repair to be done. I want him to take office immediately and I hate that we have to wait a few months to clean house and get on with the business of being a nation again. It seems so strange that while the whole world is rejoicing, we have people within this country who are plotting and planning and hating. And I don't mean the people who voted for McCain, but the true haters who would rather see this nation destroyed than have a black man as our President. I wish Barack and his family good will and protection. The weight of the world is now upon his shoulders.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Commercials We Hate

My friend Sue sent me this email today:

Mar, please make them go away!

Billy Mays
selling ANYTHING;

Larry the ShamWow guy who can't make his
offer all day, but seems to anyway;

PediPaws, please make them STOP; and speaking of making them stop, The commercial
with the old couple where the woman says, "He sang outside my window until I
made him stop!" It's so irritating, I can't even recall what they are

I thought I'd expound a bit and add a few of my (ack!) favorites. Here in Austin BILL DICKASON needs to stop selling KIA's and get a regular job where he doesn't yap at us day and night. Those cartoon boogers or snot things (the mucous guys), they just gag me. The Dial-a-slut commercials that come on late at night. OH, and THIS. Have you ever fallen asleep with the tv on in the bedroom and woke up late at night and they're selling sexual devices on some QVC kind of show? OMG that is frightening to wake up to! And that chicken sandwich with barbeque sauce on it that Wendy's has is digusting! If you think of more
, please comment!