Thursday, April 23, 2015

LIFE AS I KNOW IT



This is post #1111---gotta be some kinda meaning in there.   Linking to Beverly's PINK SATURDAY.



The downstairs kitchen---it’s one of the reasons we bought this house---the other two being The Tree in the back yard, and our wonderful neighbor Honey, who chatted over the gate each time we came to look at the house.  We’ve had some water coming in every couple of years with the heaviest rains, and slowly, the footing of the cabinets is melting away, leaving them to sag and become slow and draggy.








See the slope of drawers and doors, with that widening wedge of space between cabinet and countertop.







The coffee-corner, which will be enlarged a teense by having the new countertop extended to the wall, and sort of floated over the ice machine.



The widening gap is even more visible in this one, and some time ago, the sag caused the dishwasher door to scrape against the underside of countertop, making it harder and harder to open.   Knowing we were going to be remodeling in the next year, I had 2 2x4s cut to the height of the counter, and spanged them into place with a little rubber sledgehammer.  I designed a foundation of PVC for the new counters to rest on, high and dry.





Turn the corner, where all the sugars and salts and handy things live.
 





I really, really love my big old sink, but Chris says let’s get all new, so a twin will be coming to replace her.  I hope she’s as easy to shine.  



Scrubby Duck is not replaceable, nor are the brush and two bottles, one of Dawn and the other a mixture of two parts Sam’s pearly hand soap to one part Dawn, mixed into a wonderful creamy green-apple hand wash.








Only the top cabinets and hood will be replaced here---I couldn’t part with Miss Frankie, she of the shiny red earbobs and slightly disheveled hemline, where I’ve scrubbed all the paint off her ankles.





The colour I’d really love---it looks almost edible, as if you'd made panna cotta with strawberries and peaches.



And why does THIS:





Sometimes turn out like THIS:







Why is it that we think fruit the appropriate art for a kitchen?   This lot will be going back to Goodwill, whence it came, with the exception of the big top one. 




Don’t think I can part with it, though it will be a bit dark in all senses, for the new colour scheme.  The signature says C. JOHN, but I’ve always thought it should read F. KRUGER.






Almost, but not quite:   the countertops and all cabinets will be bright white, and the pink a very subdued “Fifties Pink” of all those clips and snips and nostalgic photos I’ve been collecting. 



My windows are bigger, and there will be pretty little curtains.  All to come,  nine light-years worth of work away.





-


While I just sit here dreaming.   

Moire non,



I hope you'll drop in on my new blog:    PAXTON PEOPLE

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

THE JOYS OF GANJINHOOD



Having someone who never gets bored spending the entire day in your company, sharing Pet Shop friends and making cupcakes.





The charming cupcake molds were some that I won in a drawing from Jacqueline of PURPLE CHOCOLAT HOME---she of the wonderful cooking and decorating, endless patience in pursuit of perfection, and thousands of wonderful ideas of things to create.






Seeing those former little green hands neatly and expertly tending the dyepots, all by herself.





Having a talented tablescaper always at your beck.





Who also creates unusual and interesting recipes, colorful and delicious,
right there at table.  Who knew that applesauce, pinched-up quesadilla and corn chips would be the NEXT THING.





To decorate your favorite dessert at the Chinese buffet, with the uncanny ability to re-create the Sydney Opera House from a single fortune cookie,


 

And someone who knows you so well, she can capture the essence of YOU in ink in three seconds flat.

  DisneyWorld pales.



Monday, April 20, 2015

JOTTINGS ON MY PHONE








I LIKE PULLING UP STUFF---RADISHES, CARROTS, TURNIPS, AND ESPECIALLY DIGGING POTATOES.   Those all are ever-so-much easer than picking stuff—beans and peas and even squash and cucumbers, with their stickery leaves and penchant for hiding the best specimens beneath the most verdure.

And it’s MUCH more fun---the thrill of the pull, the dropping of little clods of earth to reveal the yea or nay of the find:   a nicely developed carrot, golden and plump, a glowing little red juicy radish, or a tee-ninecy sad thread of root, not yet caught on to that growth thing.   You never know just what you’ll get, like one of those tangle-of-ribbons things at a bridal shower, where you pull the grosgrain, knotting up with that lady you nod to at PTA, and finally realizing that HER ribbon has the little gold ring on the end, and yours has the plastic spoon.

  MSW photo

Thursday, April 16, 2015

WATCH YOUR STEP


Since those long-ago hot Mississippi days, squatting in grubby shorts and bare feet with a close-up view of whatever small wildlife crossed the lawn or flowerbeds or chicken yard, I’ve been fascinated by the low-down creatures. The right-on-the-ground (or beneath, for many of those interesting hours were spent fishing for doodlebugs with a spit-and-dirt broomstraw, or digging for fishin’ worms for Mr. Shug with the “little shovel” way before I knew the word trowel), the close-to-the-earth little beings held the allure of all things small to me.

Roly-polies and ants going about their little bustly business, a grasshopper poised to spring when I moved, or a praying mantis turning her head to contemplate my face with those wise, all-seeing eyes---those were endlessly attractive, in both the magnetic sense, and the beautiful one.   I loved the shapes and colours and tiny perfections of wing and limb, the minuscule feet made exactly for their purpose, the faceted eyes of big ole horseflies, the great honor of having an iridescent dragonfly light upon my outstretched hand.  The cosmic secret of cicadas emerging by the calendar, with a whole seventeen years of life in that still, dark hibernaculum—-that will ever be a mystery great as the sun’s call to seed.  





And snails---I’d never offer a hand to a snail, for I knew that salt from my skin would cause her harm, but I thought them some of the most beautiful creatures, especially with the sun igniting their translucent shells.   Carrying that home around for escape and rest, and those marvelous little antennae to periscope out to check the air—those were magic and science and all good talents in one, to me. 

 Once, I heart Art Linkletter ask a little girl, “What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?”  And the answer was, “A lady snail with her shell on.”   I kind of think so, too.

I fed a moth, once, I remember, having found it inside Mammaw’s screendoor on a Summer’s night.  It was sitting there like an immobile velvety arrowhead, and I imagined it to be looking out at the moon, longing for that light.  I was so cautious of “knocking off the powder” and making it unable to fly, that I slid a piece of paper beneath and opened the door to take it out for release.   Instead, it walked right over and up onto the back of my left hand, just confidently sitting right there.  Since I had seen pictures of moths feeding from flowers, with those unimaginably long tongues like minute party-rollups that you blow in and out in such cheerful colours, in my ten-year-old confidence, I decided to see if I could feed her.

Maneuvering over to the table, hoping she wouldn’t fly away into the house, I got the tiniest pinch from the sugar-bowl and dropped a few crystals onto my skin, right in front of her face.   No movement for quite a time, and so I put my finger beneath the faucet, and dropped a small drop onto the sugar.   In a moment, something happened to convey that here, indeed, was a treat; her head lifted, and her magical tongue unscrolled from beneath, like unrolling a ribbon small as a sewing-thread.   I still don’t understand if she lapped it up like a kitty, or if her tongue was hollow like a straw that she sipped through, but that homemade nectar disappeared like magic.   I could feel that almost microscopic touch, light as kittens' breath, as she licked the sweetness from my skin.

I took her back out into the night of the back yard, and she stepped from my hand onto the leaves of the gardenia bush, where I left her to go on with her pursuits.  It was a magical moment that I’ll always remember, and anytime I see one stranded on the inside of the screendoor, before I send it on its way, I’m tempted to offer a sip from the sugar-bowl.



Internet photo

Monday, April 13, 2015

ROOK, BRIDGE AND PAMINNA CHEESE



I was reminded yesterday on another blog, of the writer’s remembrance of helping her Mother prepare for afternoon ROOK parties.   She told of the pimiento cheese spread they made for sandwiches, even gave the recipe (sounded lovely---lots of SHARP Cheddar, grated fine on the big box grater, as it should be), and showed the slightly-worn box of little cutters used for the fancy sandwiches.   They were in “card shapes” of heart, diamond, spade and puppy-foot, as well as a neat little crescent moon, which I don’t suppose symbolized anything, for it looked like a little lagniappe bit of filler to fit the box.

In our area, my parents’ Rook parties were for an evening at the big round breakfast-room table, with nibbles and snacks, including Paminna Cheese in one form or another---in sandwiches, not quite so dainty as the above, or in a bowl or neat mound or mold surrounded by Premiums or Ritz, or nestled into the niche of short cuts of celery, crisp and cold against that smooth, tangy spread.   Rook was for four, and seldom were there extra tables---just another couple invited to play for a couple of hours, as the big frosty glassed of iced tea or maybe beer were set right onto the table, carefully out of harm’s way amongst the lively slap-down of trumps or that elusive bird.    Coffee was started somewhere later in the game, and I’d get the dessert cut and all served up onto little plates---my homemade Pound Cake or Coconut Cake, or chess pie---nothing too elaborate or messy amongst the cards and ashtrays and cups.  

My folks never played Bridge---I think my Mother felt it a little above them, for most of our neighbors were of the Country Club set and the Bridge and Garden and Civic clubs, whereas Mother belonged only to Home Demonstration and Missionary Society, and Daddy’s only organization was Masons.   I think she thought that the ladies of Wednesday Bridge or Thursday Bridge had their own social level, their own topics of conversation like fashion and travel and social connections in Memphis and Greenville and Jackson, whereas in our home, it was also books, but cooking and sewing, crosswords and Monopoly, and the people we knew were mostly like us---once-a-year-Rock City types, not Hawaii or Rome.

And Jeanne, our diagonal neighbor---she of the beauty shop permanents and the subscription to Seventeen, of the Saturday afternoons spent one-foot-languidly-moving the big porch swing as she sat with her petticoated-skirt spread out and a whole icy pitcher of lemonade next to her glass, would sometimes allow me to come over whilst her Mother and Daddy hosted BRIDGE.  (Personally I’ve always thought that she wanted to show off a bit, or that she was bored, for the only TV was in the Living Room, and she was at loose ends for the afternoon).


Several times a month, the half-dozen cars would line their drive on weekday afternoons, a sure sign that the Wednesday Afternoon or the Thursday Afternoon Bridge Club was in residence, with Mattie bringing out the little cream-cheese-and-pecan sandwiches and the Bridge Mix and coffee, and later, the Manhattans. (And them a mere two houses from the Baptist Church).   I was fascinated by even the term Bridge Mix---just think of having a special candy for such a circumscribed use---and loved the thought of it as much as the few nibbles offered to me over the years at my friend Jeanne’s house.

In Summer, we'd hide and watch all the festivities, braving the clots of smoke to listen and giggle from the hall. We also got to scavenge at the limp, leftover trays of dainties when they went back to the kitchen. That's where I first saw "checkerboard sandwiches"---a tooo-twee concoction involving spreading crustless white bread with good sharp heavy pimiento cheese, stacking them someway criss-cross, and making a pattern that you cut down through, stack again, rotating each one ninety degrees, and cut again, so that the slices laid on the luncheon plate are little yellow and white checkerboards.






Like this, only with bright-orange Paminna Cheese spread, and white bread.

Quite striking and a lotta trouble, plus you had to have a fork to eat the thing, so they must have broken for refreshments instead of munching out of hand like we always did at our cutthroat games of Rook or Monopoly.


And I still cannot pass that Brach’s display in the grocery store---the one with all the little sections and scoops and bags-for-filling, without thinking of that elusive, too-fancy-for-us Bridge Mix.




                                                                         My PAXTON PEOPLE Blog