What do you love about spring? Leave a comment!
What do you love about spring? Leave a comment!
The show’s been hot for several years, but I didn’t start watching it until lately. It didn’t take long to get hooked, since the show’s first season is at about the time my first childhood memories kick in. We were a from a family of teetotalers, so I can’t speak for the drinking. But the hair styles, the furniture, the technology, and the unrestrained smoking are truly a blast from the past.
So are the petticoats.
And that is something I can speak about having been a bit of a petticoat connoisseur way back then. Though that may not be strong enough word to describe my preoccupation with petticoats. My heart’s desire was to have a petticoat poofy enough to make my dresses stick out like the dresses on the front of the patterns Mom bought at the dry good store.
But, to get that kind of poof required several petticoats. My sister and I each had one petticoat like the one pictured below. Rows and rows of gathered netting were stitched to the cotton outer petticoat. But to get quality poof, a second half-petticoat of almost pure netting could be slipped (hence the name slip) under the full petticoat.
Our family, like many others, couldn’t afford two petticoats per daughter. So our full skirts, along with those of most of the girls we knew, had more droop than poof. And that returns the conversation to the subject at hand. When those Mad Med actresses wear shirtwaist dresses with wide skirts, their clothes exhibit maximum poof. We’re talking not just two petticoats. But three. Maybe even four. And I covet every one of them.
Because I have petticoat envy.
And I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact, if the show was casting extras for a crowd scene, I would audition in a heart beat. And I wouldn’t care if it was a non-speaking part. I wouldn’t care if they edited me out of any shot I was in. I wouldn’t care if the pay was lousy. Or nonexistent. As long as I walked away with a picture of me wearing a dress with enough petticoats to achieve maximum poof, I would be happy.
And resolved never to wear an under-petticoat again.
Because, if memory serves me right, those gathered layers of netting were extremely scratchy. So scratchy they went out of fashion and never made a come back. Except as an outside layer of foo-foo, a style which is way cute on a 6-year-old, but not nearly so cute on a 56-year-old.
Then again, it wouldn’t hurt to try one on…
Camp Dorothy is the place to be after a rocky start yesterday. Late Thursday morning, Mom and I thought we had the world by the tail after the doctor’s office completed her appointment and blood draw in record, painless time. We hopped in the car and headed to Ames for lunch.
Mom wanted to go to a restaurant that serves breakfast because a) she hadn’t eaten breakfast because the doc wanted a fasting blood draw, and b) she always wants to eat breakfast when we go out. Mom was practically salivating when we entered the Ames establishment, which shall remain nameless, at noon. We were seated quickly, and things went downhill from there.
Because the camp director decided breakfast is the obvious theme for for this session of Camp Dorothy. To paraphrase what my then three-year-old son said to his daddy the first time they walked to the bottom of a roadside ditch to pee, “Camp Dorothy is gonna be fun!”
What do you call sassy, sweet, tomato dipping sauce? Ketchup? Catsup? Or Bartholomew Cumberbund?
Isn’t that one of the prettiest main dishes you’ve ever seen? Baked Lemon Shrimp, a recipe passed along by my sister, is as easy to make as it is mouth-wateringly lovely. It’s also very healthy and low-cal. Almost too low-cal for the man of steel who polished off the shrimp, the scones, the roasted potato slices, and the roasted green beans that accompanied the meal. (Hey, when the oven’s on, I fill it!)
Here’s the sis’s recipe, which I cut by half. Considering the lack of left overs after supper, next time I’ll make the full recipe!
Baked Lemon Shrimp
2 pounds raw shrimp, with tails (I removed the tails before baking)
1 lemon, sliced thin*
1/4 cup olive oil
several garlic cloves, minced
Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange lemon slices on bottom of a cookie sheet. Spread the shrimp over the lemon. Pour oil over shrimp. Sprinkle minced garlic over all. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
*We did not eat the lemon, but did scoop the juices onto the shrimp. Yum!
Please say I’m not the only person who can think of a host of reasons not to clean the house. Here’s my latest list of reasons to leave the cleaning supplies in the closet and do something else:
10. The house will just get dirty again. Funny, that one never worked with Mom, but I’m a sucker for it every time.
9. I’d rather cook than clean.You can replace the underlined word with what you’d rather do than clean. Don’t overthink it. Just let the answer come to you.
8. The house doesn’t look dirty. At night. When the lights are out. And the drapes are closed, along with my eyes.
7. My allergies are acting up. And if they aren’t, I’ll invent some.
6. The man of steel is not picky about how the house work. To paraphrase Monk, the OCD detective, this lack of motivation is a blessing…and a curse.
5. The weather’s too nice to be cooped up inside. Plus, everyone’s outside, so who’s gonna notice the mess?
4. No one wears white gloves anymore. Man, I hated that commercial. Who gave those white-gloved ladies permission to march into houses and run their gloved fingers along the top of somebody’s door molding, anyway? Talk about an invasion of privacy.
3. I volunteered to host Book Club at the last minute. I love it when that happens. No time to clean.
2. The kids won’t be here until Memorial Day. And
if the house is clean if the house is too clean, they won’t recognize it.
1. I have a book deadline to meet. True, the deadline isn’t until September 1, but a person can never start using an excuse as good as this one too early.
What are your best excuses to not clean the house? Leave a comment so everyone can add to their stash.
Not quite this Jane.
But not quite not this Jane.
Meet this Jane, all grown up.
Jane’s the protagonist of the mystery novel I’ve been writing at the end of each day when my other serious writing is done. Her name is a deliberate harkening back to the Jane of Dick and Jane fame. Because in addition to being the solver of the mystery, Jane is an elementary school teacher.
But not just an ordinary elementary teacher.
She teaches in a country school.
In northwest South Dakota.
Kinda like I did way back when.
Except Jane isn’t exactly like me. For one thing, she’s single when she moves from Iowa to cowboy country in 1978. Which means she’s much more interested in getting to know cowboys up close and personal than I ever was.
Also, she has curly hair.
Plus she’s quite independent for a 21-year-old, fresh out of college.
And she doesn’t mind getting her clothes dirty.
She speaks her mind, too, more than I did way back then. She says all the things I wanted to say but didn’t ’cause nice young ladies didn’t say that kind of thing in 1978. Especially nice young ladies who want to keep teaching school in a very small community where everyone knows what everyone else is doing.
Jane’s not always a nice young lady.
She pokes her nose into places she shouldn’t.
She window peeks.
She sneaks around in pastures populated by bulls.
Even so, Jane’s a fun friend. Sometimes, I pull her out of the messes she gets into. When we’re together, it’s like going out west again. The wide, empty horizon opens before up. We smell the fresh, short-grass prairie air. But without a 15 hour drive to get there. Or 55 miles of gravel on the last stretch of road. Or any need for me to get dirty. Because Jane takes care of those kinds of things. That’s part of what makes her so fun to be with.
Go out west, Jane.
Out west is fun, Jane.
Go, Jane. Go have fun!
My mom raised 3 kids and taught school for 38 years. She’s a mom and a teacher through and through…still asking if I get enough protein and correcting my grammar during our Tuesday visits. The older I get, the more I appreciate the life lessons she taught and is still teaching me. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m passing along some of those lessons to you.
As a teenager, Mom babysat many of her nieces and nephews. Those nieces and nephews open their homes to her whenever we travel back for funerals or reunions. Their love and respect for her is a touching tribute to her influence on their lives.
Mom went back to school to finish her 4 year degree after Dad was diagnosed with MS in the late 1950s. She went on for her Master’s Degree in the mid 1960s. Our lives would have been very different had she not pursued those degrees.
Thanks to this lesson, some of mine never will.
Once you know how to sew, you can also be your own polyester fashion statement. And don’t forget, some of the best buys are found in the remnant bin.
Mom checked out a lot of books and taught her kids to love to read. This photo is a little ironic since I’m selling my books in about the same spot where we checked them out for free when I was a kid.
Teaching is not just a way to support your family. It’s a way to inspire a new generation and help them realize their own potential.
Mom cared for Dad at home from 1959 when he was diagnosed with MS until 1983 when he required nursing home care. Once he moved to the nursing home, Mom visited him daily, unless she was visiting her kids and grandkids, from 1983 until his death in 1997.
Every now and then someone asks why I drive 45 miles to visit Mom Tuesday after Tuesday. The answer is simple. It’s what my mamma taught me.
Love bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:7–8
So what’s on your Mother’s Day shopping or wish list? Leave a comment!
Yup, my hunt continues for a really good, non-dairy egg bake–or strata as it’s know in more refined circles. Today’s recipe, a variation the savory vegetable strata featured here in January, is the best one yet.
This time I used Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream in place of the cheese. It’s made with tofu, but unlike most soy-based cheese shreds, it doesn’t taste like soy. It tastes like sour cream and adds a rich, dairy-like creaminess to the dish. The man of steel, who has patiently taste tasted my egg bake attempts, agrees. Even before he thought to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on his portion, he called it the best yet and gave it an unqualified Hiram Seal of Approval. Okay, enough gushing. On to the recipe…
The Best Non-Dairy Egg Bake Ever
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 pound Italian sausage
3 tablespoons fresh chives cut into small pieces (optional)
5 large slices of whole grain or whole wheat bread, cubed
10 large eggs
2 cups almond or rice milk (or a combination of the two)
1 8 ounce carton Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
10 ounces chopped broccoli, steamed until tender but still firm, or 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
If using fresh broccoli, steam it and set aside to cool. Brown the sausage in a skillet. Drain off fat.
Coat a 9 X 13** baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange bread cubes in the bottom. Arrange sausage on top of bread.
In a large bowl beat the eggs, milk substitute, and sour cream substitute until well-mixed. Add the vegetables and stir. Pour mixture evenly over the bread, so liquid soaks into bread uniformly.
Preheat oven to 350°. Uncover and bake until top forms a light brown crust, 60–70 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 12