Sunday, November 30, 2008

THE POTTERY BARN SUCKS.....or how the Chinese stole Christmas....


So I convinced the neighbor to get up early today......in the cold and the rain.....and go with me to a "Decorating Class" at our local Pottery Barn. Being a good sport she went along with it but I'm sure 10 minutes into the "class" she would have liked to kill me. Now I've been snookered by these folks in the past with their attempt to teach people how to better improve their living arrangements. I swore I would never go back after the last time as the class is truly LAME........this time I got an e-mail stating that they had gotten together with an editor of Real Simple magazine to put on a presentation you would be stupid to miss....Call me dumb, I interpreted the e-mail to mean that an actual person from the magazine would be at the store and give us good info.....maybe a free copy of the magazine.....Hey, when you get me up out of bed on a Sunday morning in the rain I expect some sort of "free goodie".....I could have stayed home and watched the Home Shopping Network because it was nothing more then a big sales pitch......No one from Real Simple just 2 salespeople from P.B. who tried to hawk their Reindeer collection of holiday crap.... Now, I wasn't the only moron in the place, there had to have been 50 women or more who looked shocked after 35 minutes when they handed out our "Goodie Bags" to find 4 paper recipe cards from the magazine and a 10% off coupon......How lame? Very, because the day before I received a 20% off coupon via e-mail....The hour class was reduced to a bit more then a half hour, no one had any questions and the store manager, although very peppy and excited that so many people had showed up, couldn't have revived this group if Tom Selleck showed up to feed us Krispy Kreme doughnuts....


I made my small purchase of a velvet Christmas stocking.....I wasn't about to not use that coupon....and we proceeded on to do further shopping and ofcourse have lunch....At one of my favorite's, Williams Sonoma I picked up a few things for daughter including a cool pair of kitchen shears from Kuhn Rikon of Switzerland....on to LeMadleine for our French lunch......then one more stop of the day.....I picked up for Miss Sophie an adorable "Steiff" horse, you know with the button in the ear. I thought it would be great to bribe her at the airport in 3 weeks so she thinks we're the favorite grandparents.....Ever since we visited Germany in the early 70's I have been a fan of Steiff and although they now make this cheaper version they still are cute......


Okay, I'm home now with my stash and I start unloading the bags to show the Boss what I found....He too likes Steiff so he immediately said "Did they have any more, maybe we should go back and get another"......pulling up the Steiff site on the Internet he tries to find the horse by it's name and asks me to read the name off the famous yellow tag.......No name....just Steiff....this is very unusual, they always have some sort of cute name for all their animals......Upon further inspection (like the back of the tiny tag in it's ear) what do I read......Yes, you guessed it......Made in China......totally disappointed we decide to keep it anyway because it is cute and the price wasn't bad....Then out of the W.S. bag comes the kitchen shears, remember they came from Switzerland......Oh, no they didn't.......Made in China......you have to be kidding. It says right smack dab on the label Kuhn Rikon Switzerland. Nope China......okay, I'm getting kind of tee'd off by now. One more thing to go.....The beautiful velvet stocking.....CHINA........ I don't know about you folks but am I the only one that thinks this is getting out of hand....I will be truly disappointed the day I find out that Tom Selleck isn't an American that he was really born in China.........

Friday, November 28, 2008

50% OFF AND A MASSIVE MIGRAINE..........





While shoppers were going crazy over at the local mall today I took a little trip up to Kennesaw to a lovely gift shop that's going out of business...It's actually a "gift house" called the Rose Cottage....I hit the sale jackpot. Everything in the store and barn in back was on sale for atleast 50% off.....90% of the store had an additional 50 off the 50.....I purchased 22 items for $52.00!!!

The best thing, which is especially what I went to buy, was a set of 6 red Waechtersbach mugs from Germany. I had seen them a few weeks ago and they had only been marked down once. I was happy to see them still sitting on the shelf waiting for me.....I left with two huge bags of stuff and a true "retail high"........there's nothing quite like a good sale, add in a piece of cheesecake and I'm a happy camper.....But I have to admit that at one point in the middle of the ornament aisle I was so overcome with the discounts that my head felt like it was going to explode...The minute I got in the house I reached for the Imitrex.......

Thursday, November 27, 2008

ALL DRESSED UP AN NO WHERE TO GO.......


Don't you just love that tie knot.......He claims it's a "Windsor knot"........I don't know about that but I can tell you that for daughter's wedding he tried to sneak that knot past us claiming with the tuxedo vest you wouldn't be able to see how short it was........at least at the wedding he wore pants......For the past 38 years we have no pictures of the guy from the waist down......Daughter can you verify that?
......................husband wanted everyone to know that it's common knowledge digital pictures add on 10 pounds to the image...........maybe 20.

CREAM PUFFS, NATHAN'S DOGS AND AMAZON.COM......








That was the extent of my Thanksgiving......I've been making cream puffs for years.....So long that it's considered my "signature" dessert...What possessed me to make them this morning with self-rising flour, I just don't know.......first batch into the trash compacter....second batch perfect....... I filled them with a pumpkin-whipped cream filling and I must say they were delish. Much lighter then pumpkin pie but just as flavorful......I was leaving the Walmart the other day when I spied, sitting alone on a shelf, a box of Jello instant pumpkin spice pudding.....with a little sign on the box that said "Limited Edition".....okay, being a collector for over 38 years that intrigued me....But then again it's just pudding.....But it's really good pudding. If you ever see it while your shopping pick it up because it will not disappoint. I mixed the pudding with 1 cup of milk then blended it into a 1/2 pint of whipped up whipping cream. Me and the Boss for sure will be eating all of them by tomorrow morning.....I did send half next door to the Necie family, after all we don't want to indulge too much....calories need to be counted. I hope they enjoyed them as much as we did......On to Nathan's....a day without a hot dog is like a day without sunshine...even if it is a holiday....And while I was munching on the dog I ordered tons of stuff on Amazon.com for the holidays...I love being able to shop from the comfort of my own home and have it shipped to me for free.......and no sales tax!!! I hope your day was just as good....and yes, that really is my husband and no he doesn't leave the house looking like that but right now he is sitting next to me on the couch and he does have an ice pack on his head??? After 38 years all I can do is shake my head........................

Monday, November 24, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING.........







FROM THE NORTH TO THE SOUTH TO THE EAST TO THE WEST....HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!

MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP WITH SOUR CREAM MUFFINS....


Tonight I made a wonderful "cold weather rainy day" soup.....I haven't eaten barley in years, ever since Campbell's discontinued their Scotch Broth soup.....Boy, I used to love eating that with a cream cheese and jelly sandwich.....but back to my soup. It was a bit time consuming but it really came tasty.....To serve with it I made very simple muffins that I actually saw Paula Dean making the other day.....yes, no mayo in these muffins!! It's just self rising flour, melted butter and sour cream, they tasted just like Chick fil A biscuits......The Boss gave his approval and the soup got the thumbs up....I did let it sit a bit in the crock pot after cooking it on the stove just so the tastes blended together.......I think next time I will add some lamb, diced potatoes and rutabaga to try and re-create the Scotch Broth.....
Sour Cream Muffins.....
2 sticks of melted butter
2 cups of self-rising flour
1/2 pint of sour cream
Blend together and put into non-stick muffin pans (you do not need to butter the pan) bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until tops are lightly brown....
recipe makes 12 large muffins.....I sprinkled the tops before baking with McCormick's garlic sea salt and it made them very tasty....

Mushroom Barley Soup
Bring 4 cups of water and 1 cup of pearl barley to a boil, cover and let cook for 30 minutes stirring on occasion, While that's cooking.....Saute in 2 tablespoons of olive oil 2 medium diced onions cook for 5 minutes.....Add 2 stalks of diced celery and 1 large carrot diced to the onion and cook covered another 7 minutes.
Add 20 oz. of sliced button mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes covered. Add 5 cups of chicken broth, salt and pepper and 8 sprigs of fresh thyme cook uncovered for 10 minutes then add the cooked barley and cook another 5 minutes....Add a few splashes of lemon juice and stir. At this point I moved the soup to the pre-heated crock pot and left it simmering on low for about 1/2 hour....

I love McCormick's new grinders, every week they come out with a new flavor to try and the garlic sea salt is great....I also use a tremendous amount of their Italian grind and their black pepper medley....If you haven't tried them yet pick some up next time your at the store, you'll love it....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

MY LAST POST...............a disclaimer.

The "Boss" read my Culture Wars post and said he thought some people might be offended......It was meant to be Satire .......I made fun of people from the North as much as I made fun of people from the South....and I guess you need to be from one of those two places to get the joke......
And one more thing.......in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution on page D2 in a section called the Vent is the following quote..........
ATTENTION, disgruntled Notherners!
We have I-75 and I-85 in Georgia, and both go north. If that does not work for you, go east on I-20 - into the Atlantic Ocean........
I make my point.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

CULTURE WARS.........THE NORTH VS. THE SOUTH.


Ask someone from the North why they moved to the South and 95% will tell you in one word..... weather......tired of cold weather in the Northeast they flock to Southern states in droves. Today may have changed all of that. When I got up to let the Boo Dog out I couldn't believe my eyes......Such a shock to the system I went in and got the camera, the Boss was not going to believe me....Temperature 20 degrees......Now we have had cold weather in past years and even a bit of snow but not in November.......Maybe in February but not November. Heck it was just 80 about 2 weeks ago. But then I thought about it and the "Southern Weather Gods" have finally figured out a way to get us out of their state....See they've been trying for years. They start the minute you drive over the Mason-Dixon Line.....Oh, they want you to think they like us....you'll see Southern Hospitality up the ying yang but I'm here to tell you what's really going on........31 years ago we packed up all our "stuff"...put the dog on a airplane........loaded up our 75' Corvette with the bare minimums.......stuffed in the child and headed to Fort Lauderdale....We lasted there 7 years, after 2 we decided living amongst Northerners in 90 degree heat with snakes and bugs was not our idea of heaven....So we did what alot of people from Jersey do we headed back North.....as far as Georgia. Marietta being the city of choice for many fleeing from the horrors of South Florida. Lovely houses, great taxes, good schools and great weather, heck they have four seasons in Georgia but it never really gets cold......Did we finally find paradise???
My first experience with a Southerner was my very first appointment with a client for some custom window treatments.....I can't remember what the conversation was but I do remember that it ended with "All you Yankees are alike"......Okay, nice to meet you too. This was maybe during our first week here. To say it went downhill from there would be an understatement. Here's some basic examples of how they try to get "us people" out of "their state"......
1.) They try to feed us very bad pizza.......a basic staple to every person from Jersey, this could kill you within a month, if your Italian it could happen sooner...
2.) No signs of a real bakery. Hey, we need "buns" on a Sunday morning, if your from Jersey you gotta have your crumb buns......
3.) What's a Hard Seeded Roll.........none to be found for many many years and when they finally decided to make them, well........let's just say you wouldn't eat an egg sandwich on one.
4.) Who's Taylor Ham.......pre-sliced in a box. This is totally foreign to people from Jersey, it has to be in a roll wrapped in some sort of strange burlap material. The bag boys at the grocery store can even conjure up an insult by saying the following....."What's this stuff (with disgust in their voice)....what do you do with it...eat it?" This coming from a population that thinks Mayonnaise is a delicacy......That includes you Paula Dean....
5.)They try in their sneaky little way to kill us with kindness......like at a four way stop...It goes something like this........Four cars pull up to a 4 way. All at the same time you hear this "You go"..."No you go"....."No you go".....The Husband refers to this as a "Southern Traffic Jam".....You can sit there for 5 minutes while waving goes on, thank you's are given and time is a wasting....
In Jersey it's more like a free-for-all......the guy that pulls up 1/2 second before the other car would mow you down just to be first across the intersection. I don't even want to tell you what goes on at those circles that they have all over the state...You basically close your eyes and pull out hoping a tractor trailer isn't coming.
6.) Another traffic nightmare.....your on a main street going at a good clip and the guy in front of you comes to an unannounced stop just to be nice and let someone pull out of the post office. Nice gesture but I prefer the car waits until it's clear to pull out ......After all people from up North have someplace to go or somewhere to be... We aren't out for a "joy ride" people... We don't leave the house unless we have someplace to be and we don't want people who have all the time in the world getting in front of us.......
7.) They try cursing at us to get us to leave.....your first experience to this kind of bad behavior is puzzling.....your not quite sure what they're saying...... "Dag Gum It"........What in hell did they just say??? It took me years to figure out that it was their "polite" way of using a curse word.....
The people from Jersey think the dialogue on the Soprano's was cleaned up for television.....
8.) Don't get them started about the war........
9.) Yes, that war.
10.) They can't tell the difference between a New Yorker and someone from Jersey. They lump us all into one category.......Loud and Obnoxious.........This isn't fair and if they don't stop we may be forced to move ... People from Jersey are fun loving and "Wacky"....think Danny Devito....People from New York are, well, people from New York....See beginning of story of why we moved from South Florida......
So let's sum this up....they have tried to get us to move by feeding us bad food, and I forgot to mention the fact they there is no sauerkraut in Georgia, these people expect us to put cole slaw on our dogs..........killing us with kindness on the roadways, Making fun of our ethnic food choices....(jeolous).......feeding us bad pastry products and cursing at us using made up words.....We still haven't taken the hint.....Until this morning......
Somewhere in the state of Georgia early this morning possibly at a Waffle House there was a Southerner sitting next to a Northerner when they heard the Northerner say those fateful words......."If we wanted cold weather we would have stayed up North".....response from the Southerner....."Then why don't you move back where you came from"....with a big smile and sarcasim in his voice.......because they love to tell us this....
But.....being from Jersey we have a certain attitude about life.....and we just don't get insulted very easily. We admit we're crazy and that's half the battle....
I do have to add that I'm grateful for three Southern things......
Krispy Kreme doughnuts
Chick Fil A
and my friend and next door neighbor of 24 years...Necie, because without her I
never would have made it past that first week........

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

YOUR TAKING ME WHERE?????????


Poor Boo.....it's getting to be that time of year again and it seems he knows that I was on the phone today with the Ropers over at "Sleepy Hollow Kennel"....the resort for dogs....I put in my reservation for the Boopster to spend his Christmas at the next best thing to a spa.....not really, no play time at this kennel.....Just good "we love your animal as much as you do" care....Upon getting off the phone I told him the good news and he attempted to give me the raspberries......So much for dogs not knowing what's going on.....

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NAME THAT MILKGLASS...............




Today we made the trek south of Atlanta to the Scott's Antique Market....We hadn't been in years because it was always very hoity toity for our taste....Alot of silver and crystal and more jewelry that you can imagine. Wonderful Lakewood Fairgrounds flea market closed last year and we missed spending a Saturday scouting for something we couldn't live without... So I talked the boss into driving down below the airport and after ten minutes walking through building "one" we were ready to leave. The prices were Park Avenue antique shop prices and once again tons of silver and oriental rugs....Not an animal head in site. Scott's is the show that I bought my beloved Moose head at years ago from Mr. Scott himself......We were pretty disgusted that we paid ten bucks to get in and it was the same old same old.....But!!! Scott's has two buildings. One on either side of the interstate. Building "two" used to be the also-ran building....Half filled with not such good stuff....Not today. We figured for our ten spot we should take advantage of both buildings and it didn't disappoint... Our kind of stuff...and lots of it. I picked up a Fenton bowl that I didn't have and then I came upon this beauty......I was dumb struck....which is easy for me. It was sitting on a huge antique hutch and it shouted out to me...."Over here...Buy Me".......I went back to look at it 5 times...Yes, 5 times. The Boss looked at it 3 times.....we left, we went back, we left, we went back.....We made an offer......we left, we came back....offer accepted. I was giddy. I packed it up myself paid the nice man in cash and happily lugged it to the Bug.......I have no idea who it's by or when it's from. If anyone has any idea of who made it please let me know....It's very huge and very heavy. The primary pattern is a pinwheel design and the ladle appears to be a Westmorland... It's very lovely and if I find out it was made last week in China for 20 bucks I don't think I'll be disappointed, it's that nice....... .....What do you think????