Monday, September 22, 2008

Tripped out

Growing up my Mom and Dad were friends with one couple, Rodger and Nancy Schmidt. Rodger and Nancy lived in town and we lived outside of town in the pink asbestos tile house on Route 1. The Schmidt's would come over and play cards, or Mom and Dad would go over there and just hang out, sometimes we would all go over as a family. Rodger was a Forestry agent and Nancy worked in the office of a paper company in town.

Nancy and Mom decided to join Weight Watchers and commit to go to the meetings each week to help each other out. My wife does Weight Watchers today and let me tell you it has come a LONG way from 1975. Mom had to weigh every single item she put in her mouth which mostly consisted of tuna fish. I don't think that Mom stayed in it for long.

On one of the night's that Mom and Nancy were at their meetings, Dad and Rodger were tasked with keeping my sister and I alive until they got home. There was a Monday night movie coming on and Sis and I were looking forward to watching it. Dad and Rodger were going to hang out in the kitchen and talk about whatever they talked about. Sis and I wanted to munch on some popcorn, so Dad decided to pop us some popcorn. We popped the corn on the stove until I was a teenager. We had a glass bowl that we used for our popcorn because it held a batch of corn perfectly.

Our house was set up like a shotgun house. When you came in the front door you were immediately in the living room, my sister's room was to the right of that. If you kept walking straight through the living room you were in what we used as a family room, and then just beyond that was the kitchen. Mom and Dad's room was off the family room and our only bathroom connected Sis's room and Mom and Dad's room. I had a teeny tiny room off my parent's room. Our TV was in the living room.

Our kitchen table was up against the wall, which meant we always had to move it out for us to eat dinner. It was right by the door that led to the family room. Rodger was sitting at the place where Dad always sat with his legs stretched out, arms folded. Rodger always kind of grossed me out because he produced an inordinate amount of spit and usually had this white spit string connected to his top and bottom lip. As he talked it would stretch out then go back down. Not fun to watch but unavoidable to stare at!
I had the bowl of popcorn and was walking into the living room all ready for the movie. As I was walking Rodger moved his foot and tripped me. I am not graceful and do not rally from those kinds of things with any type of agility which mean I fell face forward with the popcorn bowl in hand. The bowl broke and apparently I slit my left arm through a big piece of glass, cutting it.

My left pinkie had a gash from the first crease to about a 1/2 inch into my palm. My elbow was opened up like a smile, white bone sticking out and all, about 8 inches. "Oh my God, Son!" "Oh crap!"


"What happened...oh no, Mom's going to kill you."

"Get the damn towels now!!!"

"[Rodger] I'm so sorry are you ok?"

The heavy trail of blood from the kitchen into the family room was now pooling up and towel after towel was not stopping the bleeding. I think I was in shock because I don't remember ever crying one time. Maybe I should go with pure toughness and true grit? Who'd believe that, I was is shock."

"Lesa you stay here for your Mom. Rodger go start the car we have to go to the hospital. RODGER GO GET THE CAR!!"

"Right car, on my way."

"Daddy is he going to die? I'm scared Dad."
"Sis it's going to be OK, just wait here for Mom and tell her what happened. We'll be home as soon as we can."

We lived about 20-25 minutes outside of town and arrived in about 8 minutes. We lived in a small town and our hospital didn't really have an emergency room. Rodger pulled up to the South entrance. At this entrance of the hospital you had to climb two flights of stairs to get to the floor that led to the after hours care place. Dad made those 50 plus steps in about three bounds. He wasn't going to lose his only son, still bleeding like crazy.
Mom and Nancy showed up from their meeting and walked into the house to find my sister on the couch pale and a stream of blood that led from the front door to the kitchen with a large pool of blood in the family room. My Mom's first thought was that a robber had broken in and killed me and Dad while Rodger hid in the closet and sis hid under her bed. Mom's good at keeping a calm head and not jumping to conclusions like...say...murder--NOT.

"Oh my God...what happened here!"

" is hurt bad...he cut his arm and bled and bled."

"Where is he where's your Dad."

"At the hospital."

I was rushed into an exam room and the Doctor on call was called. It was Dr. Olive, the resident allergist. He was a full fledged Doctor, but didn't really work on anything other than allergies. As he walked in he saw me and said, "what happened here.?"

"He and cut his arm when the bowl broke he was carrying. Is he going to be ok?"

"Oh yes, we'll take care of him."
"It's going to be ok, bud. The doctor's going to fix you up."

I always and still do have complete and total lack of fear when I'm with my Dad. He takes every care and concern away and i just feel safe and invincible. Dad was stroking my hair back and holding my hand. I was on the crunchy paper of the exam table just bleeding.

The doctor came back in and put three shots directly into the open wound on my elbow and two shots in my pinkie. "Let's give this a minute to deaden then I'll come back to stitch you up." When he came back in he told Dad I should turn away and look at him until it was sowed up. The beauty part of this is that I watched the whole thing in the reflection of my Dad's glasses.
I wore a bandage for about two weeks or more, maybe more. Dr. Olive did a really bad job stitching up my pinkie and now I can't completely close my pinkie and you can see a fold at the bend of my pinkie right at the palm. There are times that my pinkie will tingle and feel like it's asleep. I don't want to get surgery done to fix it because I fear it might make it worse.

As a 5 year old who just went through this horrible thing, it made it all better when my Robba took me to McDonald's for a Big Mac and fries...royal treatment for a royally horrible experience.

The pictures are of my elbow scar and pinkie scar as of today. As you look at my hand that is as far as I can close my pinkie to my ring finger, you can also see the crease, I wasn't bending my finger in this shot.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Suasage Cheddar Chowder

This is the time of year when the mood for soup hits. Head on over to Spoon by Spoon for a great soup, Sausage Cheddar Chowder.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Down...Set...Munch! Munch! Munch!

I'm still trying to get Spoon by Spoon integrated into my brain, so bare with me and come on over to see about a great dip--I'm not talking about my Sister either, although she is a dip and a great person so she's a great dip too, just not one that we'll talk about here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I spring you spring we all spring for scoops!

Come over to Spoon by Spoon and find out what all the fuss is about.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I have a new friend

It's Spoon by Spoon my new blog dedicated to nothing but food. I may go on a tear about a restaurant, post a recipe, talk about spring loaded scoops, food stuff. I'm excited about it, too. I hope to do a series, inspired by other blogs called, "cook the book", in which I cook recipes from my favorite cookbooks. I love cookbooks and reading them is a delight.

I've posted my first recipe there and hope you stop by. Tell your friends about me too, love to have them join the fun. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm SO buying a ticket!

I just don't know how much more I can take. It all started when I was awarded a great...award for my blog from Sherri at Tied Up In Ribbons which was so, so nice. Then, if that weren't enough, by the blessings of cyberfriendships and networking, Cindy who owns the Dove's Nest in Waxahacie, TX awarded me a cookbook from her restaurant that I've been wanting for ever. I was thrilled to know that this cookbook is on it's way to ME from THE author! Too much to handle, just too much. That book is in the care and custody of the USPS and I hope I am not among the casualties of dropped mail. I can't wait!

I had mentioned that I should buy a lottery ticket because the week was just so fun and wonderfully going my way. Well, hang on to your hat because it gets better!

This afternoon as I was eating my BowlAppetite! for lunch all the ladies, except one who is home with a migraine--ouch sorry for that and hope you are feeling better Jamie--, came into my office and handed me an envelope. I was wondering what was going wasn't my birthday or my anniversary...I hadn't been fired (I didn't think) so it was all very curious. The card was a thank you for the support, friendship and work I do with them as part of our team. Very sweet card. But, there was waiting inside a beautiful piece of paper which read:

Will, You are a star with us!! You will soon be receiving the latest and greatest cookbook of all times--BAREFOOT CONTESSA BACK TO BASICS.
Can you believe it. Can you believe how sweet and awesome and kind that was of them to think of me and enough to buy me that book. It's being released on 10/28 and I can not wait to get it. I just can't wait. The good thing is I'll have already read and digested the Dove's Nest and be all geared up for another book.

I'm so buying a ticket this week. This is just great, absolutely great. I'm thrilled, beyond words thrilled that these two babies are coming home with me--soon.

I have decided to launch (listen to me say the word, launch like some mogul) a new blog called, "Spoon by Spoon" which will be a blog dedicated to nothing but cooking and cooking related duke. [Duke is what I say to mean stuff pertaining to] I hope to get some good pictures of food, the process of making said wonderful food, and just chat about it. I love reading food blogs and love even more cooking and such. I plan to definitely make recipes out of each of these wonderful books, and think I may work my way through the cookbook I wrote. There are just so many great recipes out there to make.

Now, here's the question...friends. How does one who has two blogs make each on connectible? Is that even a word? When I post on Spoon by Spoon I'll just post and have a link on Teensyand the boys? Two blogs, what am I thinking.

If I win the lottery, the next blog post will be from the Homestead in Hot Springs, VA. This is my dream vacation. I went there about 10 years ago and man oh man was it nice. I still remember everything about it and have longed to return. It's just wonderful and beautiful and the food...oh the food was delicious. It's my #1 spot for a dream vacation. I'll be staying in the presidential suite or a month long vacation. Kendra will be at the Spa having all kinds of people rub her in ways she's only dreamed of. That girl loves a massage! Pedicures, manicures, those rock things...she'll be in hog heaven. Me, I'll be wandering and eating, watching people and wondering how a place like this can actually exist.
Hasn't this been a fun week! It's not even over yet and it's a fun week.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'd like to thank the Academy

Actually I'd Like to thank Sherri from Tied Up In Ribbons for honoring my blog with it's very first award! I have to tell you that this has been a banner week for my blog. First I was given this award, which is awesome. I'm not used to getting awards so this was something that really touched me. Thanks Sherri for reading my posts and even more for remembering me enough to give me an award. How great was that? Second, I found out that the author of the cookbook I've been wanting for over ten years is actually coming to my house. That's right the author read my post and is sending me the cookbook! That's two, count them, TWO wonderful things to happen all in a week. Maybe I should decide to buy a lottery ticket this week...hmmm.

Awards don't usually come my way. I can remember in grade school getting these awards for most polite and stuff like that, but never anything given to me based on effort or merit. The fact that I wasn't a jerk and actually feel compelled to be nice and not ugly brought me that award. I lived most of my grade school life scared to death of people and socializing. I was a really shy kid and didn't really ever mix it up with a group. If a group of kids were playing in a center I never felt the compulsion to join them. It just wasn't in me. As a matter of fact, to this day I don't walk up to a full table and join in, it's just not in me. I would rather sit at an empty table and let those who join in, join in. That's kind of a freaky thing isn't it, or is it? I'm not very extroverted. There are aspects of my job which require me to be extroverted, but it is certainly not natural. I have total empathy and instant compassion for those children who just don't fit in or find it hard to assimilate to a setting--they are me and I get it.

When I was in 5th grade we had a spirit week type thing and one of the days was Best Dressed. It was on the last day of the week and the whole school was in an assembly for those who made the cut for best dressed. I decided to wear a suit. I went all out, no holds barred on this day. I even took a bath! This suit was a heavy weave, double polyester job. Light tan plaid, with a dark brown matching plaid tie. I thought I was the epitome of style and fashion. As a matter of fact I even wore brown socks! I think every single person in the school was shocked by the fact that I bathed, had socks that weren't white, and wore a tie! I was 10 and wearing a school...WHAT WAS I THINKING.

I have this memory of me standing on the stage in front of the entire school thinking, "why in God's name did I do this... I never in a million years thought I would be picked" The faculty panel had us all walk up and show them our attire. One teacher asked to see my tie more closely so I leaned down and held the tie out so he could see it. Turns out the kids in school who made fun of me had a whole arsenal of ammunition after that and really poured on the torment. I was used to being made fun of, it really didn't bother me because I really could have cared less about what they thought of me. Had I care I would have been devastated, but I really had no desire to be in their company or their friend and their opinion of me didn't matter one iota. Looking back I can see how that drove them crazy, my indifference to their stupidity, because I never reacted to them. I didn't know I was doing the right thing, I just didn't care if they were here or there they meant nothing to me.

I wound up winning for best dressed 5th grade boy. The honor bestowed upon me was just that, the honor of being best dressed boy. No name in the shiny new car or life time supply of Rice-A-Roni, just the title. I felt a sense of pride deep within, just knowing that I had accomplished something made me feel great.

Now that I am an adult I find that I'm more sensitive to what others think about me. I've really ridden a roller coaster in my relationship to this blog and those who read. There was a phase when I felt that comments would identify this blog as a making it's place in cyberspace. I'm beyond that, sort of. I also signed up for Google Analytics which is this cool little widget thing that shows page views, what posts are most popular (Playing Opossum is the most viewed-who knew), etc. I haven't ever hit the 40 mark on visits, but I'm into the 500's on views, so that's kind of good. I'm resigned to being a blogger for the sake of telling stories and know that there are tens of people who read this blog weekly if not checking it daily. So I tell the stories that come to me and I'll have a great time doing it. I just need to channel that part of me in 5th grade that was immune to the taunts of others because I wasn't influence by them in any way.

Having said all of that I would like to share with you my TOP 5 Favorite Blogs, and hope that you will stop by and visit them soon. They really are great.

5. Ramblings of a Frantic Home Cook

This blog is a hoot. I love the way she writes and really love the food she makes. I have adopted her Amish Snickerdoodles as the snickerdoodle recipe of choice. Snickerdoodles are one of the most sentimental cookies in my life, my Mom's favorite, and the recipe I've always made is the recipe I know she loves. These babies, though, bumped them right out of the place. This is a great food blog. As a matter of fact, I would like to make my blog a little more food oriented, if that's ok.
4. Memaw Bakes Memories
This blog is great, too. I love how Memaw writes and even more that fact that she is doing her part to call us to be better people, on account. Her posts are all about her life and what's going on in her world. She has poignant posts, funny posts, general things about her life, but she digs deep to make her writing meaningful. I can tell she is pouring out her soul and connecting to her audience. I don't really know how Memaw found my space, but she commented which led me to go to her blog--we had the same format for a while-and I've been hooked ever since. She's in my Google reader and I always read her posts, usually try to go visit her blog and comment when I can. But I do read every post the minute I know it's up. Memaw is also the winner of my only Giveaway-ever. She won a cookbook that I wrote. When you visit, say I said hello.

3. Author Suzanne McMinn (Chickens in the Road)
I can't say what attracts me to this blog, but I really can't stop reading it. Suzanne McMinn is an author (aren't you glad I have the uncanny ability to point out the obvious? You are welcome) who writes romance novels. This website is dedicated to her journey back to her family homestead and her homestead state. She lived in a 100 year old farmhouse for a while and built her own home, which is really nice. Now she tells the ups and downs of establishing a farm--out of nothing. I get a kick out of reading her stories involving the addition of chickens, goats, a huge dog named Coco, and also the rest of the stories about her children. One very interesting thing about her is that she identifies her regular stars by number (Her sons, 15 & 17, her friend 51, and then Princess--the only girl child). It's a kick. The recipes that she posts sound good, and are really nostalgic Appalachian recipes that touch a part of my history with food. My Granny was an Appalachian cook. She is curious but I think, if I knew here we'd be friends. It's a lot of fun and a great place to see--she posts daily. I found her via my #1 favorite place to go. She sponsored a link on this page and the name was curious. One visit later I was hooked.
2. Posie Gets Cozy
I really want to be Andy and Alicia's friend or relative. She has the most exquisite writing style and I find myself reading her posts over and over. I was completely crushed when her dog, Audrie, contracted cancer and passed away suddenly. It just ripped my heart out. This was her baby, her child, and I mourned with her as she wrapper her heart around the grief she felt. She is the most accomplished seamstress, kneedleworker, quilter I have ever seen. It's just a great website. She also posts delicious food recipes, and has some super interesting crafts that I really wish I could make. When Mildred first directed me to her blog, Andy Paulson did a guest post about egg rolls I still want to make, I read posts from the very beginning to current and haven't missed a day or a post yet. As a matter of fact it was Andy Paulson's post about egg rolls that inspired Mildred to want to post which made me want to post and so it's all Andy Paulson's fault/credit that I'm blogging. Worth your time, even if you find you aren't interested in her craft. She writes the most beautiful posts, I love her wording. It is her craft at writing that I admire the most.

1. Confessions of a Pioneer Woman
This is my hands down absolute favorite blog--hands down. I've followed this blog ever since I knew blogs existed. I've read every post, studied every picture, salivated over every recipe. Her blog has been radically transformed from several sites to one mammoth site that is amazing. She incorporates a cooking page, photography page, home and garden page, and general page. I love reading about her punks, her husband who she adores, and her antics. She has led quite a life let me tell you. She has a way of telling a story that draws you in and connects you to her life. You may as well be sitting on her leather sofa in the middle of her ranch drinking coffee, it's that familiar. I've laughed out loud which I don't do often when reading. She hosts contests and I always enter hoping to win, but when over 10,000 people enter her contest your chances are slim and none! I get keyed up when I know I'll be away from the computer for a couple of days because I'll miss the Pioneer Woman! I'm hooked, like a fish. It's really great.

There are many other blogs I read, I really need to put that thing on the side of blogs I like so you can go shop around. It's really fun to browse blog land. You can copy that award to your page, if you want, or not.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Still holding my breath

My enthusiasm over Ina's cookbook release, next month is overshadowed by the MOST amazing surprise and I am just thrilled! In this post I mentioned my long, long, standing desire to possess, "The Dove's Nest" cookbook. It's one of those things I have no clue why I never bought it because I have wanted it for years.

Last night, as I was reading through email posts, after a VERY long day, I was shocked to see three comments on my blog posts!!! Comments...on my blog? Memaw is really the faithful lone commenter on my posts, so to have three was just amazing. [Thanks Memaw for dropping a comment my way, for some reason it does matter to me to have comments left, even though it's not why I write, it is certainly something that I look forward to.]

Two comments left were from Sherri, who has been reading my posts for quite some time, came by way of Mildred. Her blog is great, she's super talented and her new blog format is Awesome. Click on over and see all of her amazing work, it's really cool. I've added her to my Google Reader--can I just say I love that thing!-and will be reading her pages for faithfully. The third post/comment blew me away and made me tear up! It was from...are you ready for this? It was from the Owner of the Dove's Nest and this is what she had to say:

"I am Cindy Burch, the owner and author of The Doves Nest Restaurant and cookbook in Waxahachie, Texas. A friend sent me the link to your blog and I am thrilled that you love my recipes. As a thank you for posting my book on your blog site, I would love to send you your very own copy. Please send me your address and I will ship a copy to you ASAP. Thanks again and I hope you can visit us in Waxahahcie soon. We were listed in the May issue of Southern Living as one of the best exits off Interstate 35...from Oklahoma to Laredo. So come on down....."
I have to say I was stunned and moved to tears. This is me who NEVER has this happen. I'm just absolutely positively thrilled and excited that I'm getting this cookbook! And it's coming from the author, who will put it in an envelope and mail it and send it to me!!! I just can't believe it. So, I will now eat my words and say...I'M GOING TO WAXAHACIE,TX JUST TO EAT AT THE DOVE'S NEST! I can't wait to go. First on my list is to, locate Waxahacie, then the rest is down hill from there.

Sherri at Tied up in Ribbons also gave me an award for my blog...its' a good month for this blog! I'm trying to figure out the etiquette to accepting awards and all that, I'm really new to blog land and I don't want to offend the hand full of people who read my posts. Sherri, how do I do it? What do I do? Show me the way.

I will for sure be telling you ALL about this book when I get it. I'm holding my breath!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Who let the DOGS out...

Last night Titus and I went to a Pizza Party for a program Country Lane Elementary has called "Watch D.O.G.S.". I first saw this when we were filling out the myriad of papers and forms at Orientation--there were a lot of papers! I saw this D.O.G.S. and was immediately curious and signed up to be part of it. The Country Lane PTA is sponsoring this program but gave no other information about what it was. All I knew is that fathers and father figures were encouraged to volunteer one day a year to work with the school.

It was really great to see Titus get all excited upon seeing his new friends. Friends whose parents I didn't know, friends who did not attend the church where I work, friends...honest to goodness classmates. It was cool. He was running around the room, "Dad, there's Gracie...can I go say hi?" "Sure." "Dad, there's Connor...can I go say hi?" "Sure." "Dad move over Connor wants to sit by me." "Ok" I got to meet Patrick, Connor's Dad. Titus was working the room and living it up. I also heard other kids call his name and wave, he enthusiastically waved back and said hi. There was a part of me that was sad that I am missing this part of Titus life, but the other part of me was really, really excited that he was being himself and working the crowd.

I digressed. Back to Watch D.O.G.S. This is a national initiative sponsored by the website. The acronym stands for Dad's Of Great Students. Basically this program was inspired by a father whose child was in the horrible Jonesboro, Arkansas school shooting and wanted to do something. You can read about the nightmare on that campus here. This Dad started a program in which Father's and Father figures work one day of the school year and patrol the school, added security basically.

It's just one more feather in the cap for this school. I'm very impressed with all of the efforts that this school is going to to make themselves rise and be an empowering place in which students and families are called to be more, expect more, and do more in their town. It's a warm blanket in this cold world.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Meet the Teacher

Last night Kendra and I went to our very first meet the teacher night at Country Lane. We were anxious to "meet" the teacher to say the least, well I was but I'm so easily keyed up by new experiences it's laughable. We got there twenty minutes early and didn't go to the room because we didn't want to interfere.

It's not been the smoothest start to our public school experience, but we are holding out hopes that the hill won't be quite as steep as it's been. It's nothing that the school has done, just the way we, well ok Titus, are adjusting to a school environment and the rules that come.

Mrs. Dunnam is teaching Titus, and has been very impressive. We have been in an almost daily email conversation with her about how we can help improve the adjustments Titus is making in class, at home. After last night I was even MORE impressed with her and saw the passion she had for teaching kids. My love for this school increased exponentially after last night--I'm so please that we live in the area that allows us to go to Country Lane.

One of the most impressive elements of our school is their Expectations curriculum which is being taught school wide. Here is the description of the expectation model, from the Country Lane wed page:

" The Great Expectations® teaching methodology is an eclectic approach to teaching that encompasses the very best of what is known about teaching today. Drawing from many learning theories, teachers do whatever it takes to teach students through an integrated holistic method. Students become self-directed learners, productive citizens, effective communicators, critical thinkers, and cooperative contributors in the classroom as well as society."
The basic tenants of this model, again taught school-wide are:

"All Children Can Learn

Building Self-Esteem

Climate of Mutual Respect

High Expectations

Teacher Attitude and Responsibility

Teacher Knowledge and Skill"

Is it just me, or is this impressive? I'm very impressed with this teaching model. Mrs. Dunnam said that every student will learn eight expectations and be able to recite them, as they will be living them. As a minister, I know that anything I want children to really, honestly, learn must be modeled before it's absorbed, applied, and implemented into their life.

I really can't say I remember my school, South Elementary, being concerned about this--character development. I have good memories of my school and loved it, but just don't remember ever hearing about citizenship and responsibility, etc. I'm so glad that my children will be influence by educators and in an environment in which accountability for actions, attitudes and expectations are clearly in place and modeled by all staff.

Kendra and I are looking forward to being involved with this school and will most likely be neck deep involved before too long, but that energy will not be wasted because I know this school is more concerned about Titus being a good human than it is about a test score. What a relief.