Poor Pitiful Poppy

She had her operation on Wednesday and is recovering at home.  (Of course we feel badly for her.)

On the couch.

Which she is not allowed to be on.


So CCQ Daughter said, “Where is her blankee with which to cover up?  Where is her soda?”

And so I obliged….

(Note what is says on the can?)

I also obtained a nice, soft toy or two for her to have with which to snuggle.

And CCQ Daughter said, “Does she have a bell to ring when she needs food or is hungry?”

And I said, “Forgetaboutit.  She’d just eat it anyway.”

And so (The Spicy Royal Red Paprika) Poppy is recovering in Regal Splendor, sipping on her soda (oh, not really peoples, she’s a DOG), taking her medications on schedule with peanut butter and eating puppy food and drinking water all she cares to–which ironically is quite a bit.  Also getting peanut butter every 12 hours with her pills.  (It’s almost worth it, she says, to get the peanut butter. )

And sleeping wherever a 42 pound poodle puppy recovering from surgery wants to sleep.  (She’s 6 months old.  I don’t know what we do when she’s 80 pounds and full grown.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.)

How Yard Sales are Saving My Assessment

Or, perhaps the title ought to be, “Seeing is Believing.”

“Here we go again….” Jabber thought, but didn’t say.  “I mean, why say anything?  She’s just off the deep end, anyway, so let her go ahead and write whatever….”

So true.  So true.

Early this morning, I spotted a hummingbird paying a visit to the gazebo.  Alas!  No feeder was in sight.  It was still under the house, not ready at all!  “Note to self,” I thought, “Maybe you can find a better hummingbird feeder or some food for a feeder today at sales.”

I was asking the yard sale spirits to look out for the hummingbirds, but also me and my, ahem,  assessments this morning.  Although I didn’t exactly ASK the YSS, I did THINK about these things.

I needed a new desk chair.  Badly.  I was suffering from the chair we had at the computer desk–not enough padding.

“YOU have enough padding!” Jabber did interject now….

This is true.  But the chair didn’t.  And I love love love to be on the computer, sometimes for a long time, so truly the lack of padding was beginning to give me a pain.  Literally.

As we all know, it is imperative that one clearly states one’s desires before going to yard sales.  Nothing is promised, but it’s much easier if (1) you and your friends and ‘they’ (yard sale spirits YSS) have a clear understanding of what it is you need and/or want, and (2) you are diligent about the search yourself.

Again, nothing is promised.  But I’ll be darned if much of the time, the stuff you wanted to find, you do.  I can not explain this.  But my friends and I will verify that yes, it happens quite often….


I stated my problem clearly to friend Cupcake as we walked a neighborhood sale this morning…I think what I said was, “My sciatic nerve is beginning to really hurt!  I’m sure it’s from the chair I use at the computer.  I need a good, padded one.

Cupcake is a nurse.  (We like to travel with our own medical people, you know, at 111 anything can happen.  Sometimes we have two nurses with us…..Vanna and Cupcake.  But this morning, it was just Cupcake representing the medical team.)  But I digress.

Cupcake said, “Yup!  Sounds like your sciatic nerve.  You need an ergonomically correct chair.  Well, you never know, we might find…..” and we turned the corner to see…..


For $15 each.

Needless to say, we each bought one.

Not only that, as the yard sale spirits often do, they gave us many choices of well-padded, nicely cared for computer chairs at incredibly low prices this morning.  I counted 5 altogether at different sales…the others were brown or black, but ours!  Well, ours are teal and purple–we are nothing if not stylish.  One must keep up one’s appearances and, ahem, one’s ‘assessments’ too….Indeed!



At the very last sale, of course, we found:

  For $2

Both Cupcake and I bought one.

So now you know how the yard sale spirits are helping me help the hummers and saving my assessments.

I couldn’t make this up if I tried.


Checkerboard cake

Grandson wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for his 13th birthday–I wanted to make a checkerboard cake for him, with both chocolate and vanilla cake and chocolate icing.  He was pleased telling me, “Good job, Grandma!”  Well, high praise that!

Sosew sent me a picture of a tri-colored checkered cake a while back…so it’s all her fault!  The cake isn’t difficult, but takes some time and willingness to work with it to get it to turn out well.  Both cakes are 3 layers high, but the three colored cake requires 3 layers, each a different color.  The two-colored checked cake requires 4 layers!  And you could make it 4 layers tall if you wished.

Bake 4 round cakes (two layers of each chocolate and white).  I used what I had on hand:

Before I mixed up the batter, I sprayed and lined the cake pans with wax paper like this:

(Cut round pieces to fit the bottom and strips for around the inside edges.  I always cut slits in the top and bottom pieces of the edge pieces so they will fit snugly around the pan.  In addition, I use oven-safe baking strips designed to fit around cake pans–made from an oven-safe material which one wets and then wraps around the outside of the cake pan.  This keeps the cakes level as they bake.)

Bake your cakes and cool, remove from the pan after cooling a couple of minutes, remove the wax paper, and let cool completely.  Then wrap and freeze the layers separately.

Whip up your frosting–mine is homemade chocolate:  6 Tablespoons butter (softened, whip it first), add 2 2/3 cups of powdered sugar (does not have to be sifted), 1/3 cup milk, 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Mix well.

When frozen (will take an hour or so), remove two layers–one chocolate and one white.  I happened to have this insert, originally designed to allow one to bake a three-different colored or flavored cake together.  But I used it to cut the layers into three circles:

If you do not have one of these cutters improvise!  Freeze the cake layers, then find two bowls/glasses/whatever might work–to get the three circles about even (lay them out on top of your cake pan first).  Lay one bowl/glass upside down on top of your cake and carefully cut around it, remove the bowl/glass and make sure you have cut the circle all the way through the cake.

Cut the white cake layer the same way.  Separate the different circles.  Around the inner portion of the outside chocolate circle, place frosting.  I briefly put the separated sections of the cake back in the freezer.  Cake is much easier to handle and frost when it is frozen.

Insert the next circle and it will adhere to the frosted portion.  Now, frost the inside of that circle:

after frosting, insert the center.

Frost the top of this layer and add the next layer in reverse order.


Do the reverse for the next layer and then repeat this layer for the top/third layer of this cake.

You will have one layer left….a chocolate outer and inner circle and a white centered circle.  Eat it yourself!  Or you can make this a 4 layer cake, but you will likely need to insert some wooden dowels to hold it together if you do.

Frost the entire cake (you might need another batch of frosting).

About Houdini…..

“Oh my goodness!” Jabber said, “Does she even know how to read at her age?”

Yes.  Of course she knows how to read.

Oh, alright.  She doesn’t really.  But she knows how to type!  Here, I’ll show you:

qoeirualksdnfhb’ouj1[029[4u78 8

There!  That is Houdini’s typing.  See?

“What does it mean?” Jabber asked.

Well, it means that she got ahold of the mouse again and then decided to investigate the keyboard, placing her rather large paws on various keys and typing her message.

Houdini is quite clever, as has been previously established.  She continues to elude the seatbelt in the van, having figured out right off the bat how to wiggle out of her entire harness.  The harness remains securely attached to the seatbelt whilst the poodle wanders around in the back of the van.  To date we have not figured out how she does this.  And she only does this when she is alone in the way back seat.  We are hopeful she doesn’t attempt to take over the driving, but we are never sure of this.

We have faithfully maintained security of the front living room and dining room areas from her investigation for months, now.  Of course, she has always figured out ways to get into the area, the latest one being to simply jump over the 2 1/2 foot high fence.  We knew we were doomed then.  But, still, we left the fence up (this is about 25 feet long, by the way, requiring two fences overlapping to keep her out).  The area looked on order of a war zone, with the backs of chairs lined up all along to hold the fencing in place and to prevent further leaps into the zone.

As soon as we mastered that, she figured out how to get through the barricades on either end of the fencing–about four chairs on one side AND a table and on the other, a bench backing up to the fence and the wall.  No problem for Houdini who  (I swear) could get into or out of any predicament.

So we reinforced both ends.

Being bored with the entire situation, she promptly decided to be housebroken.

Of course she did.

She also decided she’d quit chewing on most things, although socks and shoes are still exempt from this ban.  She does love dirty laundry, too, so she is banned for the duration from the laundry room.

And our closet.

She’s figured out how to open the closet doors, so the ban obviously doesn’t work.

Cooking in the kitchen, I have to keep everything in the center of the island.  She now has a long REACH and often puts up her paws to look around and see what is being prepared.  She’d like a bite of some things, I know, so I must keep them safely away.  This does make cooking somewhat problematic.

She’s getting large, but still would like to be a lapdog.  So I have to get down on the floor with her daily, sometimes several times a day, so she can sit on my lap and get hugged, petted and kissed.  She returns the favor.  She quite literally climbs into my lap on the floor–at least as much of her which will fit into my lap.   If I don’t do this, she will literally cry.  There is nothing so pitiful as to hear your now-close-to-45 pound “puppy” give you an “AWWWWWWWW” in a high pitched wine.  I obey.

And today she is at the vet’s receiving her required surgery–she is not destined to be a mother.  However, a career is likely in her future.  We aren’t quite sure what, exactly, but perhaps as a magician?

Houdini before she came to live with us and work her magic.

Houdini today (we call her Poppy, though).

Naming Your Closets and such

“Huh?”  Jabber looked quite perplexed and apoplectic.

“Hey!  Is that a furren word?”  Now Jabber was perplexed, apoplectic and confused to boot.


Oh never mind, Jabber.  It doesn’t matter anyway–I’m just sort of poking fun at you. 

Reading another blog just now, I came across an article with a funny title.  The gist of the article was that this person had closets and he’d named them–and the title of the article was “Defeating Monica.”  This gentleman lives in San Fran and is a renowned interior designer.  It’s “Adventures of the Tartan Scot” website and I occasionally check in to see what he’s been up to lately.

The thought occurred to me that it might be much more entertaining to Jabberwocky if I named various closets and cupboards–this could then induce her to defeat various clutter areas and/or projects with a sense of humor, perhaps, or at the very least she’d have something on whom she could vent her frustration/anger.

I like the idea.

The Princess  Closet is becoming a bit askew, so I shall attack her first–she’s already got a name.

You recall the Princess Closet, don’t you?  Sure you do!


Next up will be Jean-Paul who resides in the guest bath area–he’s always a jumble of miscellaneous towels and overflowing cleaning products.  (Yes, yes.  He’s French.  It IS the French Bathroom, after all….  And yes, his last name is L’armoire.)


(Jean-Paul L’armoire above)

“His last name is “amore”?  Doesn’t that mean ‘to love’ in French?” Jabber asked, always inquisitive and almost always confused.

No.  And Yes.

He has a voracious appetite, too–always eating things.  Some things I KNOW I put on his shelves for safekeeping are simply not there the next time I look.  This I do not understand.


Oh, no.

No, not all the  closets are ladies.  Some are gentlemen.  Some are cute and some aren’t.

I mean, Dentrix who lives in the office is in no way cute.  He’s a mess, to say the least.  He really DOES need to get his act in order and I suppose I’m going to have to help him at that.  Like many men, he’s relatively helpless when it comes to organization.

Dentrix (above)

George, however, is quite a gentleman and keeps his things neat and orderly.  (He was, it is rumored, a butler in a prior life.  But I can’t say for sure.  If he was, it wasn’t in MY prior life.)  This is because he has pull-out shelves which allow me to see what is what and where what is.  George already got a good bath earlier this year, so no need to worry about him.    He and Mr. Peroit often collude in adventures, I’m told.  But not by either of them.


George (above)

So there’s four of my closets named already!  It’s spring cleaning time, after all, ladies and gent mums, so might as well have a little fun and hop to…..

Thumper approves, I’m sure.


Spring Taste Treat–Vidalia Onions

Friend Jeff (Leader’s husband) was selling Vidalia onions to raise money for Shriner’s Children’s hospitals benefit.  They were the REAL DEAL! and came in 10 pound bags.  I bought a bag–actually I thought they were a bargain ($10 per 10 pound bag).

This is a large amount of onions for only two people and a ravenous dog who is not supposed to eat onions! (poisonous to dogs).  I gave some away; I stored a few for a few days in the refrigerator like this:

  wrap in paper towels and store in vegetable bin–but only for a few days!

And I decided to cook some up.

These are a taste treat of late spring–sweet onions flavored in various ways, sautéed and served on top of steaks, on a salad, with burgers or brats or hot dogs–delicious!

To caramelize/sauté:

Peel about 8 onions (these were small), slice and place in a pan with a bit of olive oil and, since I had some basil butter, a bit of that as well.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often.

  Be sure to save the peelings for your compost bin!

About half-way through, I added about 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar and a sprinkling of Thyme (dried)–the Thyme smelled awesome, giving off its aroma in the kitchen as it heated up in the pan with the onions!



I cooked over medium heat, stirring often–some people actually want some burned particles in their caramelized onions, but I prefer them just well cooked.  Here they are, all cooked down and done!

If you want some other flavorings in your caramelized onions, try adding chicken stock, different herbs, or even a bit of beer.

Roasting Onions:

I still had quite a few onions, so decided to roast some in the oven like this:

Peel, cut a small hole in the top of the onions, place in some butter (I used basil butter again), drizzle a bit of olive oil and top with some brown sugar.  Pour in about 1/2 bottle of beer!–Jeff’s suggestion!

(or not.  Or use chicken stock/chicken stock cube or just plain water.  But if you use beer, only use half the bottle.  Drink the rest, but not if it is 8 a.m.  Or maybe even if it IS 8 a.m.  After all, it’s Memorial Day.)

Roast at about 425 for maybe 60 to 90 minutes.  (check with a knife for doneness)

Check for doneness and add more beer/liquid if the pan goes dry.  When they are done, you may serve immediately or reheat later.  Store in refrigerator, covered with aluminum foil.  (Or you may wish to cool and then cover with plastic wrap before you add the aluminum foil so the whole refrigerator doesn’t smell like onions.)

Freezing onions:

Oh my yes, I freeze them all the time!  Cut up the onion, chop and place in plastic bag.  Double bag these or your freezer will smell like onions.  Excellent for sauces, casseroles, egg omelets, any dish you use regular onions in except you likely would not like them served raw (they have been frozen and when thawed are a bit mushy).

Enjoy these onions!  They are a simple and delicious side for a variety of meals.

What did you ask?

Oh!  You want to know how to make basil butter?  Could not be simpler!

Remove two sticks of butter from refrigerator and place in a bowl to soften–I do this generally the night before.  Now, pick some basil from your herb garden.  I have both purple and green basil, so I used both.  Wash and pat dry, pull off the leaves (discard stems into your compost bin).  

Chop up the herbs finely.  Mash the herbs into the softened butter with a fork.

Place in a dish and cover; place in refrigerator.  It is best if you allow it to sit for a day or two so the flavors are able to ‘marry’ together.

Have a pleasant and reflective Memorial Day.  Remember those who have served, who have given so much for the rest of us and the many who are still serving home and abroad.

Persistence is Everything!

“Wait a min’ here…..” Jabber stopped me at the git-go, “I thought LOVE was everything….”

Well, it sort of is and it isn’t.  An’ anyway, Paprika (the Spicy Royal Red variety) has her own take on things.  This being one.  

“I never know what you’re talking about….” Jabber grumbled as she crawled into a corner and cuddled up with Houdini (aka Paprika, aka ‘Poppy’).

Trying to find a clever way to say, “Things my Puppy has taught me (so far anyway)”….so here they are:

1.  It is alright to do what ‘the authorities’ tell you to do so long as it’s what you want to do too.

That is to say:  if you want to go to bed and you prefer to be in your private corner of the bedroom and not be bothered, by all means hop into the kennel, close the door (after you have your bedtime treat) and curl up for a long nap.

Otherwise, tell the authorities “NO!” in no uncertain terms.  Do this by violently shaking your head back and forth as in ‘no’  and giving one sharp ‘word’ (bark) at them.  (Humans are not the only ones who can communicate.)  You may still be overwhelmed and thrown into jail– (they are, after all, stronger than you are)–but at least you got to issue your protest and they KNOW that YOU KNOW…..(and you can talk, too).

2.  The authorities get to do some things you don’t get to do.  It is unfair, but that’s the way it is.

This does not mean you can’t protest, long and loud, which you can, of course.  Let them know you are tired of staying on the floor and you want to be ON the couch.  In fact, you can jump up there when they aren’t looking and grab a nap as long as you’re quiet about it and keep your head down.

In this way, you may be able to use the couch for some period of time without being detected.  However, if they do eventually find you out, there may be a price to pay for your actions.  Then again, if you can run fast enough, maybe not.

3.  Annoy the heck out of them by chewing and nibbling on their hands, feet and shoes.  Ears, too, if they are available.  But most of the time, they are not.

This seems to be most annoying, but they will put up with it as long as they are not damaged in a serious way.  Annoying the authorities is, over time, the best method of subversion.  The authorities are not cruel, by nature, and will tolerate you so long as you don’t damage them.  If you inadvertently do draw blood, expect them to yell and sometimes place you outside the house or in jail.  If you get a chance before one of these occur, lick the wound gently and act sorry.  Seems to work some of the time.  So does running fast.

4.  Act like you don’t understand what they are saying and therefore you can’t obey their demands.  (You are French, or German, after all, how could you speak English?)  Unless, of course, they offer food for you if you do.

Such demands (often irrational) such as “Do NOT eat that paper towel!” can be ignored.  After all, they are only going to throw it out, so why shouldn’t you have it to eat?  (Chew quickly, however.)

5.  You can really irritate the authorities by relieving yourself on a carpet.

This should only be done if you have been unjustly treated on several occasions and/or the authorities have not compensated you duly for your time spent in jail whilst they were off galavanting about in the big box on wheels.  Or, of course, if the carpet has just been cleaned.

6.  Act sneaky.  It will drive the authorities crazy trying to figure out what you have done even though you’ve done nothing.

This needs no explanation.

7.   Be as perky and happy as possible when the authorities return to the house.

Sometimes they will give you a treat for the nice reception.

8.  The authorities are stingy with their food and do not like to share under any conditions.

Therefore, you will have to learn how to steal some things.  Get over your guilt and just do it or do without.

9.  You will not EVER be able to drive.

You don’t have the key.  The authorities have the key.

And you are strapped in the back seat with some sort of contraption and can’t roam freely inside the big box with wheels.   Otherwise, of course, you could and would.

10.  The backyard IS your domain.  Don’t let the authorities forget that.

At times, the authorities will try to rearrange or otherwise mess up your organization outdoors.  Do not allow this.  You are out there more than they are, so you have enough time to put things back in order if they should attempt to take over.  Make them think you are attempting to ‘assist’ them when they try to rearrange things, too.  They will think you are ‘so cute’ which you are, of course.

11.  Like an 800 pound gorilla, if you are big enough, you can sleep anywhere you like.  Ergo, eat your vegetables and grow!

12.  The most effective form of protest is non-violent.  Simply lay down and refuse to move even when the authorities attempt to drag you.

That about does it for now.  I think all these lessons might be used effectively against ‘the authorities’, don’t you?


Bridal Shower

Here is the future bride, my Granddaughter:

Amber is a lovely young woman, our eldest Granddaughter, who is presently a teacher.  He’s a lovely young man, too, and we are so happy for both of them.

Ashley, her sister, is the maid of honor and threw a bridal shower this past weekend at my house–so I have lots of photos.

We had hoped to have the shower outside, but instead we had showers and held it inside.

Some of the guests:


Some of the lovely gifts:



  Kylee is Amber’s niece and will be the flower girl in the wedding.

The food and decorations:  (this was a 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon bridal shower)

Menu:  chicken salad sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls; chips, celery with Buffalo Chicken dip; crackers and cheeses; petit        fours and wedding dress cookies; Mimosas, tea, and ginger Ale.




1.  Groups of 5 dressed one member in a ‘wedding dress’ made out of tissue paper.

2.  Each guest received one of each:  mustache glued onto a popsicle stick and lips glued onto a popsicle stick.  These represented the bride and groom.  The Maid of Honor had previously asked the bride and groom the same questions, but separately.  She read the question out loud to the group along with ONE of the answers.  Each person voted whether the bride or the groom had given that answer.  Example:  How many children do you wish to have?  The answer read was ‘two’.  If the guest thought the bride had given that answer, the guest held up the lips to her mouth.  The guest who made the most correct responses won.  (I didn’t get a photo of the lips and mustaches, but they were quite cute and very clever!)

(Ashley was in charge of decorations and the games.  She also planned the menu.  CCQ Daughter and yours truly did most of the food preparation.)

Here is the group photo:  (I took the photo, so not in it)

(And as Murphy’s Law would have it, the rain stopped right when the party was getting over!)

Empty Nesters

Alas, it seems the little birdies have flown the coop!

Or maybe Mom and Dad moved and just didn’t tell the kids where?

At any rate, the little birds have left.  There were three in that nest.  Sadly, we think, only two of them managed the first flight successfully.   “Houdini” found one on the ground.  She did NOT make it disappear, but rather sadly sniffed and then sympathetically turned her face sideways close to the little bird (now deceased) as if to give it a little farewell hug.  Really was very sweet to see……

(Then again, she may have been ready to ‘roll’ on it.  Really hard to say–I PREFER to think of her as a kind and compassionate Royal, but I do know she is a canine after all, and as they say, canines will be canines.  So I called TMWLH to come dispose of it.)

I try to keep these little episodes in my mind when Houdini decides, at 3:30 a.m., it’s time to get up.  For the morning.  By the time I’ve made a cup of coffee, Houdini is generally asleep on the rug……and I’m wide awake.

So, EARLY this morning, Houdini and I watered the plants and then I watered Houdini………………..who is now taking a nap.  On the rug.




The Mouse House

“The Brocanters decided to go yard sale-ing this morning?” Jabber mildly inquired.

Well…..yes, as a matter of fact.  Some of us did.  Some of us didn’t.  And all of us ate a beautiful breakfast at Sosew’s home which she had prepared for us.

“Well, what’d you buy, what’d you see?” Jabber was now a bit more interested….

Whilst on our journeys from one sale to the next, we viewed a most interesting home–with exquisite deck and furniture.

Yes, this is the house that Jack built:

Turns out that the owner has built all this by himself–it is a hobby of his!  I was amazed….it is truly beautiful work.

And this is the man (I have named Jack) who lives in the house that Jack built:

And this is MOUSE who lives in the house that the man named Jack lives in too–the house that Jack built:

Amazing house–amazing dog and amazing man!  Turns out he does all this woodworking in his spare time, for relaxation.  His real day job is being a computer technology consultant.  And he named his dog ‘Mouse.”  Mouse is a 5 month old St Bernard–a real sweetie.

When we had gone to all the sales we could get to (and some we could not get to), Sosew called and said, “Come over here for breakfast!  I have biscuits…and jam….and coffee.”

Well, wouldn’t you know it, Cupcake, (spoiled as she is), demanded eggs Benedict.  Sometimes we don’t know what to do with Cupcake.  I mean, just yesterday, not knowing what to do with her,  we s t r e t c h e d her, but even THAT didn’t make her happy.  Nope.  She wanted eggs Benedict, of all things……(go ahead and figure out what I mean by ‘stretched her’!  Read on, I’ll tell you at the bottom of this.)

Ignoring her, we contacted Vanna to meet us there, and off we went to Sosew’s.  Guess what we had when we got there?

“Eggs Benedict?” Jabber guessed.


She did serve delicious scrambled eggs, biscuits, sausage and coffee.  It was very good and very fun.  Even Cupcake ate some!

Following that, discussion ensued on various issues of the day:    how was everyone feeling?  What was going on in various households?  How was Girlfriend’s trip?  that sort of thing….

Whoops!  Thumper just realized her PEOPLE were behind her…..

  Thumper and her Musical Group

After that shock receded, Thumper said it was time for a commercial break–from her of course.  This time it was on grout cleaner.

Vanna allowed as how Thumper didn’t really clean, she just bought stuff to clean WITH and told us about it.

Commercial done, time to  leave, and so off we went, happy and full!  Another exciting morning spent at yard sales and bringing home some good treasures!


Stretching Cupcake:  Seems she has a back issue.  Leader suggested that she lay down whilst Leader pulled her from the top and I pulled her by her ankles.  As hard as we could.  Cupcake said it felt good.  )Jabber thought she’d actually grown about 2 inches taller.)

Now, I suppose, we’ll have to be stretching her all the time….but this morning she declined.  I do not know why.

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