Thursday, April 23, 2015


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


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


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


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 heard 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


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 glasses 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

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Oven 350.  Prepare 2 8” pans:  Lay a sheet of waxed paper a little bigger than width of pan on cutting board.  Set pan on paper and trace all the way around bottom of pan, close as you can get, with the tip of a paring knife.   Cut out pattern with scissors and drop into bottom of pan.

No greasing or flouring necessary; in the words of the nice lady who taught Amanda the trick:  “Run a knife around the edges and it can’t do nothing but fall out.”   Peel off paper and flip right-side up on rack to cool.

This 8” cake will serve twelve nicely---six if they’re your brothers, and hide it if you want a taste yourself.   This recipe is mighty tasty, like a buttery orange velvet cake, despite its weird ingredients.


Mix dry ingredients, then beat all with mixer for 4 minutes.  Divide between pans.

Bake 25-30 minutes; cool 10, then peel off paper and flip right-side up on rack to cool.   Flat-trim layers by sliding perfectly level serrated knife across top with a little sawing motion.   If layers rise above pan, you can do the leveling slice before taking them out.


1 stick softened butter or Crisco
1 box powdered sugar, sifted
2 or 3 t. Pet Milk
1 t. white vanilla
½ t. butter flavoring (NOT butter-nut).

Cream butter and add half of powdered sugar.   Beat until incorporated, then add other ingredients and whip 8 minutes, til like marshmallow.   You can do two recipes at once, with a heavy duty mixer such as Kitchen-Aid.

Amanda knows that this cake recipe makes two eight-inch layers, which exactly fill the pans when baked.  She follows the Wilton “how many cups of batter per size of pan” for all the tiered cakes---some will hold one, and some 12.   She measured out a whole making of batter once, a cup at a time, and wrote it all down, so it’s just a matter of multiplying.

She does NOT, however, follow their mingy measurements for cutting a cake. 

24 servings out of an eight-inch cake, indeed!   And 56 out of a 12”!  No Mama in five counties would be able to hold up her head if she served such tight-fisted little old portions.  Why, for such diddly-squat hospitality as that to pass muster, there would have to be a great big dessert bar with banana pudding in punchbowls, along with cobblers, pies, three chocolate fountains, and a Krispy Kreme truck arriving at midnight with the HOT NOW light on.

                   PAXTON PEOPLE BLOG

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


We spent part of dinner last night telling Sweetpea about her egg-dyeing past, and saying that on her next birthday she would be turning four.  "NOOOO," she said,  "I'll be EIGHT!"
And in my dismay at that turn of events, or the calendar when Eye certainly wasn't looking, I hearken now back to her first time dyeing eggs, age 2 1/2.   

1. Buy Eggs. Buy a dye kit (or trust to the little battered McCormick box, veteran of four Easters, nine birthday cakes and that unfortunate business with the pink Margaritas).
2. Boil eggs and cool a bit.
3. Get together the dye pack, a bib, the vinyl-covered highchair, the vinegar, a paper-towel-covered tray for drying, and the camera.
4, Cover breakfast table with two black garbage bags, then a layer of paper towels.
5. Go to door to call in Child and her Ganner, to get started.
6. Notice that it’s such a nice day, it would be better for making pictures (and less messy) to do the dyeing outdoors.
7. Get Ganner started on getting out the small lunch table for the patio.
8. Pour about enough vinegar into a small bottle, to save lugging the new gallon up and out.
9. Get the big plastic KoolAid pitcher; put it in a bag with dye-pack, vinegar bottle, a black garbage bag, bib, measuring spoon, wet washcloth, and roll of paper towels.
10. Carry up the items; take them outside and set them on the table.
11. Notice and remember that the table needs a good clean-and-disinfect before using; go in and get the big spray bottle of Orange Pine Sol cleaner; clean tabletop.
12. Running Tag-Team with Ganner, who is busy amusing Child with a new watering can at the expense of her equally new shoes, come back in for high chair. Be thankful once again that it’s tiny and folds up.
13. Set up high chair beside table. Get all items out of bag. Take KoolAid pitcher back into upstairs kitchen for some hot water. Field request from Ganner to bring out the small high-chair with, "You mean THIS one?" Suppress urge to be surly.
14. Hurt finger trying to open dye pack.
15. Ditto, separating the pretty-but-obtuse little plastic tubs. Pour warm water into tubs.
16. Watch it cool while Ganner runs into the house to charge the camera battery. "It'll only take a minute."
17. Watch child slurp all the warm water from the pink tub, one spoon at a time, with the measuring spoon.
18. Drag up a lawn chair and wait.
19. Retrieve and re-fill spilled green tub, which was next on the sip-list.
20. Notice that the little envelope of fizz-tabs seems to have disappeared.
21. Hunt back through all items, including turning sack inside out and looking inside washcloth.
22. Find dye-pack on the ground, stepped-on and smushed into the mud.
23. Turn on hose and wash pack, hoping it’s waterproof.
24. Decide to go ahead and measure vinegar into tubs.
25. Fill four, then relinquish fifth undone, because Child is apparently still thirsty.
26. Go ahead and put fizz tabs into four, making surprisingly nice colors for a kit.
27. Remain happily innocent of how strong those colors ARE.
28. Put one egg in the dye in green tub, just to let Child try it out.
29. Child reaches for egg, dyeing all her fingers.
30. Handwipe and offer the wire apparatus, which is wielded enthusiastically, including an overhand swing of the egg-laden little catapult that woulda done King David proud.
31. Ganner emerges from house, snapping like the Grand-Paparazzi he is.
32. Notice that one of the tabs has not fizzed. Poke it with the measuring spoon and watch as it falls into tiny crumbs. Go into house for trusty old McCormick pink.
33. Get back outside in time to find Child cracking egg on table, then pinching off great shards of the shell. Ganner says it’s OK---he’ll eat it.
34. Child dyes five eggs, which go onto the tray for drying. Child retrieves all five and plonks them into tubs---with the uncanny knack of returning not a one to its original tub.
35. Remove pink egg from green tub; remark that you WONDERED how camo was made.
36. Observe that all five eggs have taken on a decidedly brownish cast, with a few branching over into brindle.
37. Put five more eggs into tubs. Joog them up and down a bit. Remove the most beautiful blue egg in all the history of Paas.
38. See the already-done eggs plonked on top of the eggs in the tubs.
39. Remove what you can, placate wailing child, offer more fresh white eggs into tubs.
40. Run around table and deftly catch egg wobbling for the edge.
41. Get all the khaki/camo eggs onto the tray, with the three once-dyed ones. Notice that Glum Green is this year’s new Pink.
42. Dump dye into the Weatherbush; gather up all items and cram back into sack. Vainly scrub Child’s hands and the splashes on her legs. Remember too late that she's going to dinner with her other Grandparents this evening.
43. Get out her new plastic bathtub, set it on the patio; run into house for a towel, a bathcloth with a little squirt of lavender bubble-bath in it, and a fresh Pull-up.
44. Bring KoolAid pitcher back into up kitchen for hot water; use hose to make water perfect temperature.
45. Let Child play with pouring bubbles back and forth with new watering can until water cools.
46. Scrub most of the residual dye from her hands and legs; bathe her.
47. Wrap her sudsy body in a big towel, bring her indoors, get her dressed for a nap and settle her in her room with three books, a stuffed bear, a Spring breeze through the windows, and the music of all five windchimes.
48. Bring in all the stuff in the yard; empty and wash tub; set in sun to dry.
49. Gently decline offer to sit and look at the 940 pictures Ganner made of the process.
50. Rejoice in the company I keep, and wish I'd been able to find those bunny ears worn by every child dyeing eggs since 1999...