Sunday, March 4, 2018

Two Weeks Of Thankfuls In One

The past couple of weekends have been BUSY, and I didn't even get my TToT written last weekend. It was a good busy, though, because I spent each weekend with one of my kids, and my thankful cup overflowed. Here's how they played out:

Weekend #1 was spent with Kyle in Oklahoma City. 

It seems we have a favorite pizza place everywhere we visit. I think we like pizza. When in Oklahoma City, we always make a trip to Hideaway Pizza (shout out to my friend Melissa for introducing it to us some 8 years ago). We had the Pepperonipalooza pizza, and it was worth every greasy bite.

We ate breakfast at a bakery that wasn't as good as the reviews implied, but the good news was it kept us from overeating doughnuts and pastries.

The Med School Student allowed me to take photos of him AND HE KIND OF SMILED!

We got a tour of the school. It was brief, as he is mostly in the same lecture hall every day, but we got to see his module (the medical students [and there are around 160 of them] are divided into small groups of roughly 20 students each called modules, or "mods," for short). Each mod has a room with desks around the perimeter, and each student is assigned one. Some study there, some eat lunch there, others (like my son) have hardly anything there.

His desk in the "mod."

Hmmm. Which white coat belongs to the
guy who's 6'4"?

Since eating out and having us pay for it and giving us the med school tour was the only thing my son planned for us to do that weekend, it was up to me, the consummate tour manager, to come up with activities, and I found a doozie: The American Pigeon Museum & Library! As goofy as it sounds, it really was interesting. Did you know homing pigeons were used in WWI and WWII to send messages back from the front lines? And that they were dropped by airplanes in special containers (yes, there was a parachute attached) or carried in little harnesses by paratroopers? Admission is FREE, which makes me even thankfuller for finding it (I did leave a donation, however).

In case you didn't believe me.

Been there. Bought the shirt.

Birds of a feather....

We hit a few thrift stores while we were there. I picked up a few OU t-shirts to wear to the gym, and my biggest coup was finding an Arkansas t-shirt deep in Sooner country.

We ate a ginormous lunch/supper at Ted's Cafe Escondido. It's not my favorite Mexican food, but it's an institution in the OKC area (and it now has locations in other cities, including Kansas City, I believe), but the reason to go (besides Kyle saying he REALLY wanted to eat there) is they bring you hot, freshly made tortillas and queso for dipping, and they KEEP THEM COMING throughout the meal AND IT'S FREEEEE!

Before we left town on Sunday morning, we ate at a restaurant named Good Gravy. 40 different kinds of gravy, and biscuits so light you practically had to hold them down with a fork. I went old school and had sausage gravy with my biscuits, but my son had bacon jalapeno and declared it delicious.

Pick your poison.

Weekend #2 was spent in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with Emma:

Emma's sorority held its Moms Weekend last weekend. She and I had been looking forward to it for weeks, so imagine our dismay when the weather forecast was for rain. Not "chance of rain" or "scattered showers" but 100% chance of rain for two days straight. The good news is it took the guesswork out of which shoes to wear, since rainboots were the only feasible choice.

Parking was available in a garage that was only about four blocks from the sorority house. That's the good news. It was full to the brim of student cars, and the only metered spots were taken, so I parked in one of the few open student spaces and hoped for the best. I was neither towed nor ticketed - whew!

Every Friday at the sorority house is Chicken Finger Friday, and that's how we kicked off the weekend. The chicken fingers were crispy and flavorful, there was yummy macaroni and cheese, and, best part, THEY HAD GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE AND IT WASN'T EVEN THANKSGIVING!!! We sat with group of Emma's friends, and I don't think there is anything a whole lot better than listening to a group of girls giggle and talk together. 

We sloshed and slogged our way back to the car and went to the amazing Rick's Bakery for treats and then to see "Greatest Showman" again (5th time for both of us). I want that movie to stay in theaters FOREVER.

Rick's Bakery. This isn't even half of it.

Brunch at the sorority house Saturday morning, and it was lovely! Rumor has it the house mother has given the boot to at least three chefs so far this school year, but I think this one is a keeper. We toured the house (it has three stories and a new addition was just completed this summer that doubled the size of the house) and Emma shopped for her potential room for next school year when she lives in-house.

I look rained on.

It was Bid Day for fraternities that same day, so the boys who went through spring rush found out which house they would be in, followed by parties that started around noon and ended some time around 2 a.m., I believe. Emma thought it would be a hoot if I went to some of the house parties, and we were joined by a couple of other mom and daughter duos. (Bear in mind it is raining BUCKETS while we do this, with some lightning and thunder thrown in.) We were greeted with great enthusiasm by fraternity boys at each house, and I hope their livers survive until they graduate....

Shootin' a little pool at the Phi Delt house.

We are the cool moms.

After the parties, we attended a cookie and cupcake decorating session at Rick's Bakery, and we got to take our creations with us FOR FREE! 

Sugary goodness.

We found a Vietnamese restaurant right by our hotel and had big bowls of pho to warm our bellies after walking around in all that rain. 

Naturally, after all of the Moms Weekend activities had already concluded, Sunday turned out to be warm and sunshiny, but maybe we'll remember this one a little more fondly in years to come as the one where we practically needed hip waders do go from place to place.

Bottom line: great kids, great times. Can't be more thankful than that.

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

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Transfer: A Six Sentence Story

When I left Kansas City, where I grew up, to attend college in a city over 150 miles away, I left behind my sweet friend Meri, who was two years younger than I was; she and I became close friends during my senior year in high school, and before I left for college after a summer of probably too much fun, she promised to come visit me. It took until spring before the right combination of schedules that coincided and Meri's mom agreeing to allow her to ride a Greyhound bus by herself occurred, but finally, the weekend had come that Meri would come to Springfield.

Meri's mom took her to the bus station on a Friday afternoon and put her on a bus headed south; she was to ride it until she got to Joplin, where she would transfer to an eastbound bus and arrive in Springfield around 10:00 that night. I was anxiously awaiting her arrival, but not long before it was time to go to the bus station to pick her up, I got a phone call, and on the line was a sobbing Meri.

"I'm in F-f-f-f-fort S-s-s-s-smith, Arkans-s-s-sas!" she sobbed, "I f-f-f-f-fell as-s-s-sleep and m-m-m-missed my tr-tr-transfer!"

I swear I DID NOT LAUGH at any of this, or at least, not until she safely arrived in Springfield, more than 12 hours later, and I've forgotten how Meri and I spent that (shortened) weekend, but I will never forget her story of waking up in a bus station hundreds of miles beyond where she should have changed buses, then, thanks to the kindness of ticket agents and bus drivers along the way, returned to the original transfer point (successfully changing buses this time) and on to her original destination - me! 

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

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fling: A Six Sentence Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

I Got Candy From A Boy And Other Thankfuls

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

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

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

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

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

No wonder the right one felt funny,

That was Thankful #1. Here are the rest:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poor, poor Pete!

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

1958-ish. Family friend in background.

10. Spring is near! 

Daffodils popped up this weekend and
already have a bud!

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

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Here A Biscuit, There A Biscuit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the recipe:

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

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

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

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

It looked like this:

Look, Mama! It didn't stick!

I recommend you make these and make them soon.

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

Sunday, February 11, 2018

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

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

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

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

On to this week's Ten Things of Thankful!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She has the same coloring as Nora!

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

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

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

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

Ten Things of Thankful

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Pitch: A Six Sentence Story

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

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

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

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

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

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