Wednesday, July 30, 2008

JammiesFest Day Three: Saturday, July 19th

(this is for Zayrina, who's drugged out of her little post-surgical mind)

When the dogs woke me up, Rob was already up and had started the coffee and retreated to the back yard with coffee, book and pipe. Imp was up not long after me, as was Jay. Mallie & Dampy were up but being non-morning people, needed some quiet time to caffeinate. Jay & Imp went for a walk, and while they were gone, I cleaned up the kitchen, got dressed and had more coffee than was good for me. I decided just to cook the pound of bacon that was in the fridge all at once in the oven, and Jay & Imp returned from their power walk just as it was done.

At one point that morning, Bigfoot got itchy and decided he needed to carpet-surf. That's a fairly ordinary part of any day, but it was a little different that Saturday. The spot of carpet Bigfoot picked for his all-over bodyscritch was already occupied. He flopped down on top of the bikini'd chicken and went to town with the rolling around. I thought Littlefoot's head was going to explode as he tried to figure out why he could hear the chicken but couldn't find it anywhere. I'd loved to have gotten it on video, but my camera was nowhere near.

After breakfast, people showered, dressed, we discussed what we were going to do for the day, and then got the caravan moving. Jay needed to mail a check for a parking ticket he'd gotten the night before (they just missed the expiration on their parking meter!) and I was out of stamps, so he & Mallie were going to go to the post office and meet Imp, Dampy, Rob & I at the West Point Market. Rob noted the fancy tobacco store across the street from the market, and said he'd be putting that on his "To-Do" list for JammiesFest 2009. We had fun bipping around the market looking at things, tasting things and buying things.

When Imp was stocked up on Choya plum wine (careful, Imp, the website talks :P) and the rest of us were stocked up on all sorts of yummy things, we loaded it all in the cooler Jay had put in the car (smart man!) and headed off to Mariachi Coco for lunch. We had the white cheese dip that Imp was having dreams about and a lovely lunch. Imp was sweet enough to treat everyone as her birthday present to me, and after lunch Dampy gave me a gorgeous collection of bath products from Thymes. I've been drooling over their stuff since Mallie discovered them in Tahoe last year, but couldn't afford any of it. Now I've got lovely smellies to try!

Jay & Imp had another long walk after lunch, and I got the lemon pound cake and green bean salad made for dinner. When Jay & Imp got back, Imp played the "Adjectives" song from School House Rock that Mallie & I were singing because of my grumpy father, and somehow this led to a discussion and the finding of YouTube videos for "Fish Heads." Ack! Now I've got the damn earworm again!

After Jay had cleaned up (and was looking SEX-AY in his Utilikilt), he headed outside to start up the grills. Unfortunately, despite the fact that I'd taken the steaks out of the freezer the night before and out of the refrigerator that morning, they weren't completely thawed, so cooking them took a little longer than we'd planned. Jay earned himself a ton of good karma for being out there slaving over two hot grills in the almost 90º heat, that's for sure.

Mallie had made tiaras for the ladies, and everyone looked amazing all dressed up. Maresche and Khover were a bit late, but that worked out well with the meat taking some extra time. When they did arrive, they looked lovely as well, and both of them brought me great presents. Maresche actually got two Lush products that make her nauseous (Aura Suavis and Marathon) for me, and Khover got me an Ice Hotel and three adorable little bunnies from Squishable.

Khover liked the Kir Royale, but loved the May Wine, and Maresche said that next year, she'll have a beer and Khover can drive. The dinner was a success, both foodwise and in terms of my friends liking one another. The only minor failure was that we didn't get a group shot of everyone dressed up, because Imp & Mallie got out of their finery while I was out saying goodbye to Maresche & Khover. Brats! On the other hand, they did both compliment me on my dress, so they're forgiven. *blush*

Next year, though, we are definitely doing the dinner again.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

JammiesFest Day Two: Friday, July 18th

The dogs woke me up at six again, but Rob and Jay weren't far behind me. We all had coffee, then Jay went on his walk, Rob went out back with his pipe and his book, and I tidied up the kitchen a bit and then took my shower and got dressed. When Mallie woke up, she agreed to come out to my parents' house with me and pick up Dad's little propane grill. We talked about nearly everything on the way there, and when we got to the house, Mallie spent a few minutes admiring Flannel Jammies' gardening skills.

Mind you, it was somewhere between eleven and eleven-fifteen in the morning when we got there. The grill was on the porch as promised, but I knocked and then unlocked the front door. I knew Mom was up at the lake, but Dad was still there. I called his name, and received a growl from upstairs in return. "I'm still in bed!" I closed the door, re-locked it, grabbed the grille and told Mallie she wouldn't get to say hi to Plaid Jammies on this trip.

Once in the car, Mallie agreed with me that it was not too early in the morning to be knocking on family doors, and somehow, in our ensuing conversation, I wound up singing three lines from my favorite School House Rock cartoon.

"He was a hairy bear. He was a scary bear. We beat a hasty retreat from his lair."

All true!

At lunch, Bigfoot demonstrated to Jay that not only do dogs eat tomatoes, they also eat cucumbers. After lunch, Rob was on his way out to the smoking area with one of my books in his hand, and he said something about enjoying it. When asked which book it was, he replied that it was "Proven Guilty," which is the eighth book in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. Three voices spoke as one to tell him to put it back and start with book one, but Rob had already started and he is stubborn. ;)

Mallie & Jay were having dinner with a friend in Cleveland Heights, so after some showering and primping (they both looked gorgeous, sexy and wonderful), they headed out around three o'clock. Forty minutes later, Imp and Dampy arrived. After finding out that Imp's air mattress is a twin, I made an executive decision and told Imp that she & Dampy would share my bed and I would sleep on the air mattress in the living room where Mallie & Jay's mattress was. After some discussion, we decided to graze for dinner rather than going out, and I put together the green bean salad and showed Imp & Dampy where everything was.

Because I had informed Imp about the Barefoot Formal dinner at a time when she had a lot going on, she hadn't processed the information and so hadn't packed a dress for Saturday night. After dinner, she & Dampy & I zipped up the street to the local Goodwill, where we looked at prom dresses, wedding dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, etc. Imp found a neat dress--a slim column of black velvet, with a diamond pattern in lines of raspberry glitter and satin trim and crossover straps. Joy of joys, it fit her and the sign said the formals were $10. When we got to the register, the cashier said that the green tag items were half off, so the dress would cost "half of ten." Finding what you're looking for when you are shopping is good, finding it at a reasonable price is better, and being surprised at the register by finding out it's half of ten is best of all!

For the rest of the evening, the four of us hung out around the house. Jay & Mallie got home around elevenish, and not only had they had a good time, they'd found a bookstore they liked in Cleveland Heights. In addition to books, they got the most obnoxious dog toy ever. It's a rubber chicken wearing a purple & white polka-dot bikini, and it makes a noise which sounds as if the chicken had swallowed a kazoo and was now attempting to fart it out.

Littlefoot adores it.

Friday night ended with wine, laughter, odd chicken noises and good companionship.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JammiesFest Day One: Thursday, July 17th

Mallie and Jay arrived in the wee hours Thursday morning, and insisted on giving me my birthday presents right away. After the presentness and much petting of spoiled puppehs, they set up their air mattress and went to sleep.

Said spoiled puppehs woke me at six, so I let them out and fed them, then snagged a book and a cup of coffee and retired to the breezeway, where I remained until Jay was up and around. Jay had some coffee and then set out on one of his power walks. Mallie & I went to my favorite nursery, which was having an end-of-season sale. I got three butterfly bushes, two tricolor sweet potato vines and two lavender petunias, and Mallie got two Munstead lavender, two ruffled double petunias bicolored in red & white and two dark purple violas.

After showers, we blitzed through two office supply stores, Mallie & I drooling and Jay shopping quite seriously for something-or-other. We then had Thai food for lunch and headed off to the West Point Market. We got booze, snacks, chocolate and lots and lots of cheese.

When we got home, I took a short nap, then headed out to get Rob at the bus station. When we got back to the house, Jay was cooking thick-cut peppered bacon and slicing tomatoes for BLTs. I sliced the dill bread, washed & dried the lettuce and then went to sit and chat with Rob & Mallie while Jay cooked. As we were sitting there, I heard Jay say, "Dogs don't eat tomatoes." I grinned and asked "Which one ya got there?"

It was, of course, Bigfoot, who demonstrated that some dogs do eat tomatoes by snarfing down a slice of the big tomatoes Jay & Mallie had brought and then following up with two of the grape tomatoes I had for the green bean salad. The BLTs were splendid, even if Jay's world view was a little shocked. ;)

After a little bit of yakking, we all had an early bedtime. Three of us were short on sleep and one had spent nine hours on a bus, so we were pretty ready to chill out. Jay & Mallie moved their air mattress into the living room so Rob could have the guest bed, and after a final let out of the dogs, everyone could sleep in peace.

It's hard for me to explain how truly wonderful it is for me to go to sleep knowing that some of my favorite people in the whole world are under the same roof. I slept very well, and Friday was even better than Thursday...

Monday, July 21, 2008

The JammiesFest Cookbook

Flannel Jammies' Dill Bread

5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Dill--6 tablespoons if fresh, 3 if dried
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
16 ounces cottage cheese
2 large or 3 small eggs
½ cup warm water
½ teaspoon sugar
2 packets yeast

Sift 4½ cups flour with baking soda, salt & dill.

Heat the cottage cheese in microwave until just warm enough to melt the butter. Stir butter into margarine, allow mixture to cool.

Add eggs to cooled cottage cheese mixture and stir well.

Rinse a one cup measure with warm water, then add the ½ cup very warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm water and immediately add sugar. Stir so yeast dissolves, then add to cottage cheese mixture.

Add yeast/cottage cheese mixture to dry ingredients. Let rise for one hour. Grease & flour two standard loaf pans. Spread remaining ½ cup flour on work surface. Remove bread dough from bowl and knead thoroughly. Divide dough in half, shape each half into a loaf and place in prepared pans. Allow to rise for another hour, then bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.

Lemon Pound Cake

1 lemon cake mix
1 instant lemon pudding mix
4 eggs
½ cup cold water
½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
Confectioner's sugar

Grease & flour a bundt or angel food cake pan. Combine cake mix, pudding, eggs, water & oil in a large bowl. Mix on low speed until ingredients are blended, then on high speed for two minutes (450 strokes by hand). Pour cake batter into pan, bake at 325º for 45 minutes.

Remove cake from pan, and cool slightly on wire rack. Pour lemon juice into a small mixing bowl, and stir in confectioner's sugar until you have a thick glaze.

When cake is no longer hot but still warm, transfer to cake plate and drizzle glaze over top of cake. Serve with sliced strawberries or blueberries or raspberries.

Italian Green Bean Salad

2 pounds fresh green beans
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
12 ounces fresh ciliegne mozzarella or feta cheese
5-6 large fresh basil leaves
1-2 cups Italian salad dressing

Wash and trim green beans, add to pot of boiling water and cook five minutes or until bright green and still crisp. Drain beans and run cold water over them until they are completely cooled.

In large salad bowl, toss beans, cheese & tomatoes. Chop or snip basil leaves into mixture. Add salad dressing and toss until everything is coated. Add salt & pepper to taste, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Picnic Potatoes

1 bag frozen hash browns, southern style (cubed potatoes)
1 family-sized can cream of anything soup
2 cups cheddar cheese
16 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons onion powder or dried chopped onions
1 tablespoon garlic powder
5-6 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped fine (if using garlic chives, omit the garlic powder)
Parmesan cheese (the only time you'll want the cheap stuff in the cardboard container)

Combine all ingredients except the Parmesan in a large mixing bowl. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan, pour in potato mixture. Shake Parmesan over the top until it is evenly covered. Bake at 350º for one hour or until Parmesan has formed a golden-brown crust.

Kir Royales

Creme de Cassis (black currant liqueur) or black raspberry liqueur
Champagne or Asti Spumante

Chill champagne or asti thoroughly. Pour ½ shot glass of liqueur into champagne flute. Tilt flute and slowly pour in champagne. Repeat as necessary. ;)

Maibowle (May Wine) (Courtesy of Jay)

2 bottles riesling
1 pint fresh/ripe strawberries - sliced
big handful of fresh sweet-woodruff

Put berries and woodruff into a pitcher
Pour in both bottles of wine
Let sit overnight or 24 hours

Serve Chilled

(note, if strawberries aren't -very- ripe, they can be prepped after slicing with powdered sugar and let to sit for a few hours before making May Wine)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mean ol' Scott

has tagged me.

The meme:

* Write a six-word memoir.

* Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like.

* Link to the person who tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogsphere.

* Tag 5 more blogs with links.

* Don’t forget to leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

The memoir:

I painted my brothers with lipstick.

The visual:

I am tagging Zayrina, Fluffykins, Becs, Queen Mediocretia and the Alpaca.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Et tu, Rooter?

*sigh* Today was going well--the guest bedroom and the living room are both clean, and I have time still to tackle the kitchen, bathroom and study. Unfortunately, I cracked the pretty glass pitcher I was saving for Jay's Riesling conconcoction, so it looks as if he'll be making that in my tacky plastic pitcher again. :(

When I sat down on the breezeway for a break, I happened to look out the windows to the front yard, and saw a sleek brown head. I stood up, and Rooter, my resident groundhog, gallumphed away and flowed down into the culvert.

I should mention I've been losing lavender plants, and now I know who the culprit is.

*double sigh*

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Three grocery stores, two liquor stores and

one convenience store and I have most of the necessary items for JammiesFest 2008. I've stopped using the ticker because it's dated for Monday and JammiesFest won't actually start until Wednesday and I'm too lazy to make a new one and change all the old blog entries. :P

Supplies laid in:

A bottle of Creme de Cassis
A bottle of Creme de Black Raspberry
A big bottle of Asti Spumante
Four pounds of flank steak, resting comfortably in the freezer, one rubbed with black pepper and pesto and the other with black pepper and garlic
Five pounds of thick-cut, peppered bacon
The ingredients for two loaves of dill bread
The ingredients for a lemon pound cake
One bag salt & pepper kettle-cooked potato chips
One bag Tuscan cheddar potato chips
One large case of Diet Pepsi
One bag garlic bagel chips
English muffins

Supplies to be bought on Wednesday:


The cleaning will commence tomorrow, and possibly even a B A T H for Bigfoot. On Monday, I plan to take it easy, maybe do a craft project or play mad scientist. On Tuesday I'm going to finish up the cleaning & laundry, and on Wednesday I'll shop for perishables and vacuum and put the final touches on Casa de Jammies. :)

Monday, July 07, 2008

No more relying on Snopes

A while back, Snopes ran a badly-researched article on the book & movie versions of The Golden Compass. I wrote to them about it (actually, I sent them a thoughtful and amazing post written at the Lush message board by a poster named Shelby), and while they didn't precisely fix the entire article, they did remove some of the more blatant errors and the proof that they had relied on abstracts as opposed to reading the books.

Today, when I was reading about the Kitty Genovese event, I ran across an article from Snopes about an urban legend about a rape during Scream Session week.

I was surprised and dismayed to find that Snopes reiterates the Kitty Genovese urban legend, and really upset to get an e-mail in response to my comment which basically said, "Look up the references if you don't believe us." Upon taking another look at the article, I note that the only reference is to the scream session legend, they have nothing cited to back up their figure on the Genovese case.

You'd think they'd try to not propagate more urban legends.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

What a day!

In three weeks, my niece Princess Mathgeek will be visiting my parents for an extended stay. My nephews will join the Princess and Plaid & Flannel Jammies at the Lakeside house for two weeks. Flannel Jammies' sister and four of her six grandchildren will be there also. In August, Plaid Jammies' sister and her family will be at Ogelbay, WV, so the senior Jammies and the younger Pickypants will take part in that reunion.

Two years ago, one of my cousins made family t-shirts for all the kids at Lakeside, and Mom decided she wanted to make two sets of shirts, one for Lakeside and one for Ogelbay. She bought the shirts a while back, and we bought an assortment of iron-on transfer paper. The store didn't have 20 sheets of any one kind, so we wound up with three different brands.

Today, I went out to Mom & Dad's and after I helped Mom weed the front bed where all her roses are and admired her new plant hanger, I tasted-tested the pulled pork and two different sauces she made to take to the Lake (verdict--both sauces were on the bland side but the pork was extremely tender).

After lunch, we loaded the paper into an ink-jet printer, printed off adorable pictures of ice cream cones, sombreros, and logos for the two resorts. Unfortunately, while the small pieces ironed on just fine, the larger pieces refused to melt and we wound up wasting three t-shirts and a lot of printer ink. Fortunately, Mom and I always have fun when we're working together, even if we're both horribly frustrated. I left about an hour after I intended to, having missed both my nap and dinner.

On my way home, I stopped and got gas, and thanks to having yesterday off, I spent about $11 less than I usually do to fill my tank. I figured I would treat myself to Arby's as an antidote to all the frustration. I pulled into the parking lot of the dying little shopping plaza near me, but on my way to the Arby's drive-through, I saw that the guy who sets up a seasonal plant-selling area was having a clearance sale.

I wound up spending $13 and getting two burgundy sweet potato vines, six white petunias, two midnight purple salvias, and eighteen snapdragons. I still haven't eaten dinner because I planted everything and then watered, but a low-blood sugar headache is a pretty cheap price to pay. :)

Oh, and Dad thinks Mom will have better luck using Epson's own iron-on transfer paper, so I saved everything to a folder on his desktop and Mom's going to try again.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Flannel Jammies knows EVERYONE

Last night, I had my first bath in weeks, and it was lovely--all geranium goodness. Then this morning, my car started coughing and hesitating, so rather than tackle the interstate, I came home, called work and called Saturn to see if they could get me in. They were booked for the next two weeks, so they suggested I call the dealership in Middleburg Heights. So let's see--I call the dealership because I'm worried about getting safely to Independence, and you tell me to go someplace even farther away than that. Not helpful, guys.

The place where I had my brakes done in April has a new owner, and he's not honoring the previous owner's warranties, so I sure as hell wasn't going there. In looking at, I found a place about two blocks from here, and they happened to be open at seven thirty in the morning, so I locked up the car and took it down there. The guy I spoke with brought me home as a test drive, and said he'd call me as soon as he knew what was wrong.

When he did, the $1000 I'd saved by going with Clearwater instead of Culligan went right out the window. Well, most of it--I needed a tuneup, sparkplugs and the big spendy bit was a new EGR valve, to the tune of $870.00. *sigh*

I called Mom to let her know what was going on, and turns out that the owner's daughter was a former student of hers. This happens all the time--we will be at a restaurant and a server or the hostess or maitre d' will be a former student. We go to the Ohio Mart and we run into dozens of former students, former colleagues, former clients. It's amazing and a little humbling to see how very many people remember her with pleasure. Someday, I hope that I will have had a positive effect on lots of people, if not that many.