Monday, 29 August 2011

A recipe for you...Popcorn 'Cake' Treat Square Candied Thingies...

I don’t know about you guys, but I generally try to keep “real” popcorn in the house. There’s something much more satisfying, and reminiscent of childhood, about fresh popped corn. Sure, microwave popcorn is convenient and smells sinfully delicious as the aroma permeates the air, but let’s face it, it just isn’t the same.

I think that popping your own corn is most likely a thing lost in the past, having given way to the laziness and synthetic butter “flavor” that is microwave popcorn. For me, I never wanted my children to miss that joy and expectation that comes from standing over the stove and waiting for the popcorn to fill the pot until the lid began to rise and the fluffy white kernels spilled over onto the stove.

So, I’m hoping with this recipe that you know how to make “real popcorn”. It just won’t come out quite the same with the microwave stuff. If you don’t know how, you will need to buy the plain microwave corn – unsalted, un-“buttered” and it will take you approximately 2-3 bags of it.

Popcorn “Cake”

1 batch of fresh popped corn (not that microwave crap…the real deal popcorn!)
1 stick butter
1 bag of marshmallows 
Various odd and end ingredients (your choice)

I use the largest pot in my cookware set, the Dutch oven, soup pot, whatever you want to call it, and make a full pot of corn. After popping the corn, remove it to a separate bowl, making sure to discard the last little bit in the bottom of the pot. This is so you don’t have too many un-popped kernels in your treats. Place the pot back on the burner and reduce the heat to med-low.

Drop in your stick of butter and after it melts halfway, add your marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows have completely melted and then remove from the heat. Dump in your popped corn and mix well with a sturdy spoon.

This is where the fun part comes in. You get to add “various odd and end ingredients”. Experiment. Try any combination of M&M’s, nuts, chocolate chips, crushed pretzels, gum drops…the possibilities are endless and as unique to you as your wonderful treat will be when you’re finished.

Press the mixture firmly into a 13x9 buttered casserole, making sure to distribute evenly and fill the corners well. Let cool about 15 minutes and then cut into squares. Keep in a sealed container (if you have any left).

When I made this the other day, I added slivered almonds and candied walnuts. Then, I sprinkled chocolate chips in the bottom of my casserole before pressing in the popcorn mixture. They were gone in 24 hours…

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Sometimes...'s the littlest things that remind
me what a great guy I have...

Friday, 26 August 2011


Oh, Lord have mercy! I am happy dancin’ all over the dang place. I know ya’ll remember that Why I Don’t Sleep At Night post I did a while back.
After tomorrow, no more elbows in my back, no more husband who creates his own heat wave in his sleep heating up my space.
No more!
No more!
No more!
Now wait a minute! Don’t jump the gun.
I ain’t gettin’ a divorce. That’s what Tammy Wynette does….

What am I getting?
I’m getting a KING SIZED BED!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you to my awesomest BFF, Sheryl.
Ok. Sorry. I’m a little excited.
I’ll go take a valium and sleep it off.
Um…yeah….still too excited….valium…right.  I’m on it….

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wednesday's Musings or Finding Myself?

Things I’m thinking today:

Women who wear 3 inch heels and can’t walk in them are really amusing. I enjoy watching their careful steps as their ankles wobble and the heels of their feet slide sideways off the backs of their shoes. For the sake of not sounding sexist, I will also say that I find men who wear 3 inch heels and can’t walk in them equally amusing.
Sometimes, something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast makes me really, really happy. Of course, I love peanut butter. I’ve been known to dip a spoonful right out of the jar and sit down and eat it in front of the TV.
I find it really frustrating when I can’t figure out the next direction to go with my book. I have a beginning and I have an end result. The middle is really stressing me though. I like instant gratification so I find it difficult to weave through all the places between point A and point B. It’s a good thing I’m not making a living off this, huh?
People who say they’re all about their kids when they really aren’t completely piss me off. If your kids were first, you wouldn’t be dumping them off for someone else to deal with while you go out and party several times a week. You also wouldn’t be exposing them to thieves, drunks, and drug addicts on a regular basis. Get a clue. If you need help finding a clue, come see me. I’ll give you one…. Or ten…
For a few weeks now, I’ve been tossing around the idea of a Facebook page for Sapphire Dragonflies; one separate from my personal Facebook. However, after almost four years, I sometimes find myself thinking I’m totally over Facebook and not sure I want to keep up with more than one page.
I am never randomly violent. However, this morning I found myself walking behind a woman who, for a reason that escapes me, I found myself wanting to punch in the back of the head. I felt like I would take great satisfaction in beating the crap out of her. Am I the only one who thinks like this at times?
Based on the first paragraph, the third paragraph, and the previous two paragraphs, in which I mentioned five times that “I found myself” doing something, one would think I spend a lot of time “finding myself”. Interesting, since I’m one of the most totally lost people I know. Some days I wonder if I might hurt myself trying to decide which end of the toothbrush to put the toothpaste on. Really...

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A New Friend, An Old Hurt

I said I would most likely never share any portion of this part of my story. However, something pulled it to mind the other day and I just started typing. Within an hour I had this little memory transformed into print.
For those of you who have experienced domestic abuse, you know it's one of those hurts that never really goes away. While what I experienced with Michael was mild on the abuse scale, it was still incredibly painful and stressful. I didn't stay in the relationship long enough for things to progress to the level they could have. It only lasted about 5 months, but it was long enough for me to be pushed, have my hair pulled, be knocked into walls, to be pinned in a car and told I couldn't leave until I agreed to his demands, to be accused of ridiculous things that never happened, and to find myself in a constant state of checking my every move to make sure I wasn't doing anything that would get his attention.
Even after moving so far away, for months I would check and recheck doors and windows when I was home alone and kept the porch lights on 24/7 so I could see outside whenever I heard a noise. The odd thing about that is, he had no idea where I lived and probably wasn't smart enough to figure it out. But, most fear, in its most overwhelming state, usually has no logic in it at all.
This piece is one of the first of many instances I remember in the early days of my friendship with Don, the man who twelve years after this would become my husband. This was one of the things that cemented our friendship and established the unwavering trust I have in him.

The shrill bell-like sound worked a path through her senses that shouted her anxiety into a tangible presence within the room. A single lamp burned in the corner over the phone, serving only to cast further illumination on the dread she felt. Eyes closed, she took a deep breath, trying to prepare herself for what she knew would come when she answered.
“Do you want me to answer it?” he asked.
She hesitated, not wanting to face the man who was calling. She’d worked so hard to remove him from her life, moving almost five hours away to return to her home state, hoping the distance would be enough to keep him away. As her thoughts wandered to what she knew awaited her on the other end of the line, she couldn’t help but find her wounded spirit leaning towards the temptation to allow her friend to rescue her from her former abuser.
“I don’t know,” she replied.
 “You could always just let it ring.”
“No,” she said, “he’ll just keep calling.” Arms folded, she trembled slightly, and felt her heart slam wildly against her ribs as if it were mocking her need for ‘fight or flight’.
“Then let me answer.”
“Are you sure you don’t mind?” she sighed.  “I don’t think I’ve had enough beer to help me do this today.”
He smiled – that smile that only he could give, the smile that had melted her broken heart just a few short weeks ago. Knowing that anything he said would be ok as long as it spared her from talking to him herself, she didn’t even bother to stay in the room and follow the conversation. She heard just enough as she made her way down the hall to her bedroom.
“Hello?...It doesn’t matter who I am….Whatever man, just leave her alone….She doesn’t want to talk to you…..Go to hell, Michael.”
She climbed into bed shivering, from anxiety more than cold, and wrapped the covers tightly around her, as if the action would somehow hide her from the waking nightmare Michael had brought upon her world. Then, thinking she would sleep alone tonight and no one would know, she let the tears come in silence.
She felt him standing in the doorway before she saw or heard him. She pulled the covers more securely over her head in a feeble attempt to hide the vulnerability of her tears, and closed her eyes more tightly as if the action would somehow will him away before she sniffed or sobbed and gave way to what she felt was weakness.
Michael had taught her that. She had never allowed him to see her cry. She had never backed down, even in her most desperate and painful moments. Weakness would only give affirmation to his need for control.
In silence, he made his way to the bed and lay behind her on top of the comforter. Without a word, her new friend placed his arm around her and pulled her close. At first she tensed, her breaths coming faster, an alert to her anxiety. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She wasn’t supposed to feel safe this close to a male peer. This should hurt. She should be scared.
Then, with solid reassurance, he gently smoothed her hair from her face in a way that willed her to relax. And, as her breathing slowed, the tears fell again.
It would be the last time, for many years to come, that there would be a need for him to hold her while she cried herself to sleep. Michael never called again and, that night, the path to healing cleared.

Monday, 15 August 2011

What a disappointment....

I was really excited about blogging my flea market finds. I got my camera, took my pictures, and headed to the laptop to upload them.

The problem?

They won't upload. I've tried everything but the laptop isn't recognizing the device.

I love all things from the 20's to the 40's. I would have an entire house designed and furnished from this time period if I could.

I wanted to show you a picture of the gorgeous antique vanity with the original matching bench. The matching bench with the beautiful fabric colored seat. The gorgeous vanity that I found for an unheard of low price and they allowed me to layaway.

I wanted to show you pictures of the fantastic little antique collectors food tins I found in perfect condition. They were only a dollar or two a piece and will look too cute on top of my upper cabinets. I found one each for Morton Salt, Nabisco Shredded Wheat, one for graham crackers, and one for brown sugar. These were finds that are usually ten dollars and up, depending on what brands they are.

I wanted to show you the five skeins of designer yarn that I got for the whopping price of TWO DOLLARS!

But my favorite find? You'll think I'm silly. It was a 1976 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that mom bought for me to tide me over until the day I inherit her 1970 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It's in perfect condition and contains many of the recipes that are in hers. I already checked. 

Insert stupid grin here --> :-D

It was that cookbook, with it's lovely red and white checked cover, that gave my mom the basic guideline for perfect spaghetti and meatballs and phenomenal lasagna. It was that cookbook that gave me the base to finally perfect a cornbread recipe. As a teenager I used that cookbook to make cookies, homemade custard and pudding, chocolate cake from scratch, all the things cookbooks don't tell you anymore now that there are mixes for everything. That cookbook was as much a part of my childhood as Golden Dream Barbie, Mrs. Beasley, and Candy Land.

I went home and spent over an hour reading over each and every page, caressing each one like a woman possessed, ready to fly into the kitchen and make something stupendous, all the while keeping my lips tightly sealed lest I drool on the pages and ruin them.

I am happy. My world is complete.

Monday, 8 August 2011

A Goat Named Lucy(fer)

As many of you know, I milk goats and feed chickens for the neighbors when they’re out of town. Usually, it goes without incident and I have the option of keeping the day’s milk and eggs for my trouble. Lately though, I’ve chosen not to keep the spoils—but that’s not really the point here.
Lucy used to be the easy one. She likes to eat. That means she doesn’t have a problem in the world with hopping up on that stanchion to be milked. Until this weekend when she was suddenly overtaken by whatever demons overtake milk goats when they don’t want to be milked.
I had tethered Carmella and she was patiently waiting for Lucy to cooperate so that she too could be milked and have an opportunity to eat. But Lucy had other plans.
It took half an hour to finally lure Lucy up onto the stanchion and she continued to be a pain in my nether regions. Three times she kicked the milk pail over and I had to start over again. Finally, I decided to tether her foot so she couldn’t kick. Her response? She managed to get her head out of the stanchion and just jumped down, kicking the milk pail into my lap on her way down.
I was so frustrated at this point that I took away her food and just put her out into the other gated area. I figured if she wanted to be that way, she just wouldn’t get grain for that morning. Don’t milk? Then you don’t get grain. She was left to graze for the day.
Carmella was my ever cooperative sweetheart, as usual. She hopped up there on her own, let me lock her in, and stayed completely still for the duration of the milking. I didn’t tether her foot because she’s so good about standing there without incident. I was almost done, with a full pail of milk, when a possessed chicken decided to jump up into Carmella’s face and scare her half to death. The result? She kicked her foot and it landed square in the milk pail. Another batch of milk that I had to pour out on the ground.
And that was just Saturday. Sunday was worse. Way worse.
This time, they were both acting weird. It took me ten minutes in awful heat and humidity to catch Carmella so that I could even attempt to worry about Lucy. (Thank goodness all the goats wear collars or I never would have caught her.)
So, there’s Carmella, tethered and patiently waiting for Lucy to cooperate (again) so that she could have her turn for milking and eating. But Lucy was seriously not going to be caught this time. After forty-five minutes of attempting to lure with food, begging, pleading, praying, crying, sighing, nearly giving up, and then crying again, we were at a stand-off. She stood there looking at me, challenging me, and laughing at me while waterfalls of sweat and tears rolled off my body.
Then, I hear the gate at the far end of the yard squeak open and turn to see my super hero husband headed down to check on me. He came in the yard to help. It took us another 20 minutes to catch the demon goat and then she still wouldn’t get on the stanchion. It finally took Don picking her up and putting her on there for me. Then he held her leg so she couldn’t kick or get down and I got a full pail of milk.
On to Carmella. The easy one. Right?
Not this day. She wasn’t getting up there either. In fact, when I led her to the stanchion, she just completely buckled her legs and tried to go to the ground. Again, Don just picked up the darn goat and put her up there so I could milk. Full pail. No problems. But, she wouldn’t eat. She just stood there completely traumatized while I handled my business…err….her business….or….Well, you know….the business at hand.
Now I hate goats. Now I’m not sure I want to be a good neighbor anymore and tend the animals while they’re out of town.
Goats are evil and I think I understand why some people eat them.
But, I'm sure I'll milk them again. Because I really don't hate them. They just hurt my feelings for a minute.

Friday, 5 August 2011

A Night On the Black River

She remembered like it was just yesterday, the cool feel of smooth stones under her bare feet, the sound of tree frogs, the dancing reflection of the stars and the sharp slash of moonlight cutting through the trees and dancing along the rippled surface of the Black River. The condensation from a can of Budweiser trickled along her wrist as she leaned against the back of her truck, looking into the abyss of eyes the color of rich dark chocolate.
It was unusual for there to be no one else there. It was a quiet comparison to typical nights on the river bank when the younger crowd would gather around a fire and have a few beers in the late night hours of summer.
He had a smile that could melt the heart and soul of any bitter old shrew if he were only to turn it on them. But, he wasn’t smiling now, and she wasn’t a bitter old shrew. Instead, he looked at her with something like regret. Probably not so much because of what he was saying, he knew he was doing the right thing, but because he knew what he was saying was hurting her.
She always knew it wouldn’t ever be anything other than what it was. But now he was saying it, and it just hurt so much. The words, with the effect of a dulled blade, scratched and tore at her fragile heart. But, she wouldn’t cry, not as much as a single tear would fall and clue him to the screams of her breaking heart.
What was it with those ridiculous words? That terrible cliché about the friendship being too important to muck it up with romantic notions rang shrilly in her head. She nodded and smiled. She said it was okay. She said she understood.
But, she knew she would go home tonight and cry herself to sleep. And, she knew that somehow, when she saw him again tomorrow, she would suck it up and pretend all was right with the world. That again, they would sit on the banks of the Black River, drinking a Budweiser and listening to the tree frogs, and he would never know how much she hurt for him.
So she lied. She soothed his ego and told him not to worry, that she was fine. She ran barefoot across the river rocks, faking laughter and beckoning him to follow her in for a late night swim. Because he was her best friend, and that friendship was just too important to muck it up with her romantic notions.

Finnish? Seriously?

I don't know what I've done. All of my tabs are in Finnish. I can't fix it. I tried. I even used blogger help. Which, by the way, I found through trial and error and lots of guessing since I can't read frickin' Finnish to know what the heck I'm clicking on.

Any genius' out there who can help me out? Because I'm so not a genius today.

Does "Julkaise Teksti" mean "Post"?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

I Know Your Secret

Tick Tick Tick
I looked up, impatient at the slow progression of the hands around the clock. It was the one class where the teacher assigned seating. Mrs. Roberts with her bone straight hair and wardrobe straight out of a 1970’s resale shop.
Assigned seats didn’t gel with my desire to hide in the back of the class, away from prying eyes that might see all I had to hide. As Mrs. Roberts droned about dangling participles and sentence diagrams, I looked around the room at my peers.
Stacey Fisher with her little upturned nose. I wonder how much of that is natural slant and how much of that is just because it makes it easier for her to look down at everyone. She might pretend to be the perfect little cheerleader but I know the truth.
She thought I didn’t see her that night as she hid in the back seat of that car parked in front of Paul Wisner’s house. No one hangs out in a car in front of Paul Wisner’s house unless they’re waiting on someone to come out with a dime bag. I laughed to myself and wondered what her perfect momma and the local First Perfect Church would think of that if I chose to tell. I wonder too, if her neck ever hurts from holding her chin up like that all the time. Bitch.
And what about Jenny? I wonder what her secrets are. Her mousy brown hair, dotted with bits of white. Only once did I ever get close enough to her to realize those tiny white bits were just the split ends. She has acne, her clothes are always dirty, and she never speaks to anyone. In fact, I can’t even recall who her friends are. Every day she walks around, looking like it’s the last day of her life. Weirdo.
Bobby Mason, that greasy haired jerk who moved here in the fifth grade. He’s always so angry, pushing people out of his way, shoving kids out of their chairs. I remember my friend Derek telling me about all the bruises he always sees across Bobby’s back while changing in gym class. What are his secrets? What in the world does he have to be so pissed about all the time anyway? Loser.
Tick Tick Tick
 Jake Carlisle. How many holes does a person need in his face anyway? I heard his kid brother died in some freak gun accident and Jake was the only other person there. I bet he had something to do with it. I mean, look at him. How can you believe any different of someone who looks like that. What do you want to bet that’s his secret? Freak.
Susan Gates. There’s one for you. I don’t even know how the heck she fits in the chair. She used to have this stupid speech impediment. Some weird kind of lisp thing that made her sound like her tongue was too big for her mouth. The other kids would always make fun of her. She’d sit alone in the cafeteria unwrapping twinkies with those pudgy little sausage fingers. I thought I saw her crying afterwards once. I’m not sure. There’s no way someone like her could have any secrets. Cow.
I mean, yeah sure, I might sound a little judgmental. But hey, it’s not like I’m sharing my thoughts with the rest of the world, you know. What am I hurting if I keep my thoughts to myself?
Tick Tick Tick
At least they can’t see my secret. If I can help it they never will. It’s not like I’m going to be telling anyone, that’s for sure. I mean, if they knew, they might think I’m not so different than them or something; they might start thinking they’re as normal as I am.
Finally, the bell! Maybe I can get out of here before someone reads my mind.
As I approach my locker I see the tiny folded note taped to the front. I bet it’s from Lindsay. Maybe she wants to hang out after school. I juggle my books to free my hands and open the little square of paper. Inside I see four little words; four words that forever change the world as I know it.
I know your secret.

Remembering High School...

High school was strange for me. My recollections are surreal. Like maybe, it might be something that actually happened, but I can’t be too sure. I think of the sights, the sounds, and my distorted view of the world at the time and I wonder if MY reality was actually THE reality.
The high school I attended was smallish. My graduating class was 101 students. Most of us weren’t overly cliquish. Sure, we all had our regular group we kept company with, but, except for one or two, I don’t recall bullies or people who acted like they were too good to talk to you. For the most part, you were you and they were them, and that was okay.
We had kids whose families had money and kids whose families didn’t. We had headbangers, stoners, nerds, jocks, cheerleaders and kids who were just trying to get by. But, overall they didn’t give one another a hard time. In fact, I recall seeing more meanness in the local Baptist church than I ever saw at school, and those church kids were downright ugly and bordered on cruel. But, that’s another story entirely and this post ain’t about church.
But now, thinking on it, I remember kids who were different, kids who didn’t seem to have as much of a crowd as the rest of us, kids who seemed to keep to themselves. Maybe I don’t recall the teasing because I wasn’t a part of it. I wasn’t on the giving end and I wasn’t on the receiving end. I question my perception of the reality I chose to see at the time.
Is that just my ability to go back and look at it with adult eyes, rather than the eyes of an idealistic and naïve teenager? Because it didn’t happen to me, does that mean it didn’t happen? Are there some out there who now look back and think of hell on earth when they think of high school?
I don’t know why all this suddenly seems to matter now or why I suddenly chose to think on it. I can’t change it. I can’t fix it. Besides, I’m not even really sure what version of “it” is even real. Maybe it’s wondering what mark I left on the world back then, or if I made any mark at all.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Holy Cow!!!

Do you ever have one of those really awesome and unexpected things happen that just make you so excited you could dang near pee your pants? I had one of them this morning.
In high school I had a friend. He was my favorite person to talk to and he always made me laugh. He has the best laugh I’ve ever heard. I told him pretty much everything. He laughed with me and at me when I needed it. He told me I was acting stupid when I needed it. He commiserated with me when I needed it. He ticked my mom off when he wrote a raunchy poem in my yearbook. *snicker* (I thought it was funny) I remember she’d frown at me when he called and then I’d roll my eyes as I took the phone.
And then, this morning, I log in to my email to find a message from him! I look like the cat that ate the canary. Or maybe it’s the Cheshire cat, or some other kind of weird widely grinning feline, I don’t know. I was so excited to hear from him after all these years that I couldn’t form an intelligent response to his message. I must have sounded like one of those silly prattling teenage girls gushing all over the place. Seriously, I started the message with, “OMG! OMG! OMG!” I should have finished with, “Like totally, wow!”
You know what else? Dude has read the blog! *waves at S*
So like, I’m gonna take a deep breath here, and be all mature and stuff, you know?
I missed you! Thanks for taking the time to look me up. Thank you, Google. *smiles*
Note: Sorry HS pals. I ain't telling who he is. You know, respecting privacy and stuff.