Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On A Quest For...Expert Advice

Do you have someone whose advice you could rely upon?  Someone who, when they listen. Unfortunately, role models/mentors are hard to come by, especially for women and I'm a tiny bit old for Miley Cyrus, although I do agree with her on that vampire issue.   So, I read...and, I listen to women who have shown a reasonable amount of wisdom in their writings or dealings concerning life. I am frequently learning from other women who have shared their challenges and overcome large obstacles with dignity, integrity, and grace. Let me share a bit of the expert advice I have gotten from some inspiring women I've never met...listen up...I'm whispering.

I had, like most people, an ongoing obsession for many years with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994).  She was thrust into our lives as our glamorous First Lady at the tender age of 31. She taught us dignity in grief as we all shared the loss of her husband in 1963. In 1968 she shocked the world as she married a Greek shipping tycoon who was 25 years her senior! We thought she had lost her mind and we had lost our courageous heroine.  Not so.  Onassis returned and repurposed (widowed again and a whole lot wealthier) to her beloved New York, settling in as a successful working girl/super mom to two top notch kids. I admire her most for her philosophy on child rearing..."If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much." She died way too soon in 1994 at 65 of lymphatic cancer, but she will forever remain in my mind as the intelligent, cultured, elegant, First Lady/Mom of Camelot. 

Another lady I love to listen to is Joy Behar from The View. I don't think she has a whisper mode, though. I do like how she seems to tell it like it is and always with a dash of humor!   In a recent magazine interview, Behar states that humor is a great way of getting your ideas across to other people in our everyday life of  "ridiculous behavior." I agree, because as the middle child of three girls, each three years apart, I was always using humor to juggle the "ridiculous behavior" among me and my sisters. Funny, they never appreciated the humor I dished out. I think they called it mental anguish, but, thank God the statute of limitations has run out for any civil lawsuits.  Anyway, humor has remained a constant throughout my life, and now it is just one of the ways I communicate with others. Another humorist, I simply adored, was Erma Bombeck (1927-1996) who said, "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'" 

Lastly, another woman I especially admire, heed to, and bought the tshirt from is Martha Stewart.   Martha has pure business savvy in areas such as publishing, broadcasting, and merchandising. I have been listening to this mentor for many years, and long before the entire world knew who she was, I bought her first book, Entertaining, when she was justa' caterer from Connecticut. Check out my love for Martha on the October 21, 2009 post of My Life In the Natural State. MS has taught me that you can certainly prevail thru adversity by continuing to be the very best at what you love to do, and being an obsessive compulsive neurotic in the domestic diva category is a "good thing."

These are only a few of my favorite mentors...none are perfect.  I respect and admire what all of these women have contributed to society. I don't put them on a pedestal, because that means I might be selling myself short.  Wouldn't want to do that. Therefore, I have to believe that I can have all the wisdom, humor, and business savvy that these ladies have because I am continuously seeking knowledge...however, I do recall what Vince Lombardi had to say..."The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."   Guess it wouldn't hurt to throw a little 'will and action' into that steaming pot of knowledge I've been working on all these years.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Responsible Pet Owners

This is a picture of our bossy bird dog named Lady.  She came to stay with us back in 1997 when she was probably about 2 years old.  I remember that day vividly, as I came home and saw her lounging in our front yard. I thought, "Oh, no, another dog for the Hocut household!"  We lived in small town, rural Arkansas at that time and for some reason our street became the 'dump off your dog spot' in Beebe.  Not a lot of responsible dog owners in this neck of the woods! Anyway, I took her to be spayed, dewormed, and all the usual costly vet procedures required of responsible pet owners. Yesterday I had to take Lady to the vet for the last time. She had chronic arthritis and just couldn't get around anymore.  I was able to provide her with pain medication and proper care for most of her life.  I don't think she had been getting that before she chose to live with us. Anyway, we are glad we were able to enrich our lives with the presence of Lady...please be a responsible pet owner.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On A Quest For...The Reason Why

Have you ever wondered, why?  You know, the reason why some things are the way they are and others are the way they are, too.  Gosh, I have pondered the reason why, for a good part of my life. For instance, I don't understood why some people live to be centenarians and others live for only a few seconds. Or why does someone you thought to be a good friend walk right on by you at the mall without speaking?  Or why does a Blue Bunny King Size Crunch with Candy Center Ice Cream Bar, that has 370 calories and 29g of Total Fat, go right to your belly fat when you eat a couple of them?
Or why do the homeless people you see on the street asking for money, just don't get a job? Or why do people walk, shop, eat, and drive around with a cell phone plastered to their ear?  Who are they talking to? Or why does your 'friend' never call to make plans for lunch nor accepts your requests anymore? Or why those Northwest Airline pilots just didn't pause their games to answer the control tower? Or why have some people never lived outside of a nursing home their entire life while others have had a dozen or so homes in their lifetime?

Oh well, your guesses are as good as mine for some of these questions and other baffling scenarios like them.  In fact, we may never know the answer or the reason why, because we are not able to see the total picture. It would be nice to crop and fix the pictures of our lives, but we can't. And the only thing we will know for certain is what we choose to do about the situation. Not, why it is the way it is.  I'm going to visit Fern today, and I know I'm not going to fly Northwest for a good while!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Calculating Estimated Time of Recovery (ETR)

#3 has recently lost his Bubba, and at this time, is going through an extended period of recovery. I can sympathize with him, but cannot empathize, because I have not lost a sibling as of yet.
However, I did wonder how long he would be in this painful interim of existence. Or how long it might be when he would no longer have that stabbing, tortuous thought process of realizing he would no longer be able to talk to his Bubba, as he often did, every Sunday for the last year. Actually, Bubba did most of the talking. Anyway, I then began to think about other estimated times of recovery. They say that the estimated time of recovery for having a facelift ( is usually about two weeks. And the ETR for a stroke ( goes on in phases, and could possibly take weeks to years. This has certainly been true for my Daddy. Wonder how you estimate time of recovery on other things like the loss of a pet or surviving the loss or infidelity of a spouse or getting through the insurmountable death of a child? Gosh, I could go on and on and on...but, I won't.
Some of these things I have suffered through, others I have not, and some I hope I never will. But, a few things I do know for sure...Life's, HANDLE WITH CARE. And it's not the length of these persistent ERTs that matters, rather it's your perseverance during these hard times (and there will be many) that counts.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Slightly Devilish Birthday Surprise

Yes, I'm in the mood! Tomorrow is my birthday and me and #3 are having a dinner party for a few good friends. I've been in a mischievous kind of mood lately, so for this grand event, I have a devilish little curve ball to throw...Lady Di's Strawberry Sliders! I've been making these juicy red zingers for a few years now, as I got the recipe from a good friend who seems to be a little on the wicked side, too. Love her to death, though! One time we made some of these little jewels for our bridge club, and sat back to watch, as the girls, unsuspectingly, chomped into one. They taste like plain ole strawberries at first, until hits you all at once. Giggle, giggle! My bad? Oh, yes I am, and seem to be getting a lot more sinister in my 'old' age. Go ahead, have some fun...make these strawberry sliders and trick and treat your friends or enemies, whomever you prefer! Don't say a word as you serve this sappy treat. Just sit back and watch all the surprised expressions. And do as I do, save the juice to sip from your teacup in a most respectable way. Oh well, #3 's right again, I have always been a little bit on the strange side!

Lady Di's Strawberry Sliders
2 pounds fresh strawberries
1 cup light rum
1 cup vodka
1 cup triple sec
1 cup powdered sugar

Carefully trim the strawberries by gouging out the stem and exposing the hollow center.
Must do this to marinate properly.
Place the berries in a sealed container and sprinkle the powdered sugar all over them.
Add the rest of the tipsy ingredients, seal the container, and jostle for joy.
Refrigerate for at least two days, occasionally tumbling the fruits.
Just prior to serving gently remove the strawberries from their marinade and serve them cold.
Sit back and watch the fireworks!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Kind of OktoberFest

I can feel the excitement in the air as the days begin to shorten, the leaves start to turn different colors, and October, my most endearing month of the year, is rapidly approaching. I think Nathaniel Hawthorne said it best..."I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air." Easy for him to do with no plasma screens, computers, or FB page to to worry with. But, I believe, I do know just what he was thinking...aah, the anticipation of those indescribable October skies bring to my mind a few events I forever associate with my beloved month of October. Yes, I'm gearing up for my kind of Oktoberfest when a bountiful harvest of colorful events are brought to my table, and I am grateful for each one.

First of all, and surely the most important (to me that is), is October 12th, the day Columbus discovered America. Just kidding, that's my birth date too. I remember, as a child, having to share CC's famous date and my elementary school teachers were always asking, each year, if anyone knew what special date this was in history. The answer is not, "My birthday!" However, sometime during this exceptional month, #3 and me plan a birthday trip and this year we are headed to the Lone star state. We will spruce up our cowboy hats at Luskey's Western Stores, belly up to the bar at the White Elephant Saloon, repulse all the vegans and eat a monster steak at Cattlemen's Steak House , and stay at our favorite whorehouse, Miss Molly's Hotel and Tea Room ...all located in the heart of the Historic Stockyards District of Fort Worth, Texas. Love this city...can't wait to see some friends who have recently moved there, too.

Another event that traditionally comes to pass in the month of October is the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show What a whirlwind (usually 7-10 days) of carnival activities, greasy food, great music, rodeo, exhibits, competitions, and oodles of other fun things to do! One of these years, I am going to enter the pickle canning contest, although I'm sure I could never win. Well, maybe with a better attitude, I could. It's never too late to try!

Finally, another event and definitely not the least of my loves, is Halloween, my favorite national holiday. Surely, Halloween is a national holiday, right? There's been so many movies made about this event and one more obnoxious Jason movie is coming soon to a theater near you! Oh well, this is still a fun time in our household. #3 and me usually get dressed in our specially planned Halloween garb and go freak everybody out at George's Majestic Lounge on Dickson Street Will post special Halloween pictures as they come in.

If you are not able to adopt some kind of 'my kind of Oktoberfest' after reading this post, then you are probably never gonna be able to have a little or a lot of fun, and I'm sorry for having to be the one to let you know this. However, thanks for letting me share my favorite time of the year with you and please do tell me yours!

Friday, August 28, 2009

On A Quest For...A Way With Words

I admire people who always speak clearly and effectively. You know those people who have a way with words. I do not have this special gift and forever seem to stumble and stammer when certain occasions arise. Like talking to people. I believe that is why I enjoy writing because I am able to think then do in a more expanded time sequence. I must confess I keep my (well worn) New American Roget's College Thesaurus by my side to look up those word(s) that fail to come easily to me, but I also realize that this useful book cannot help me all the time.

I have often been taught that words are very powerful, so much that they are able to lift one up or bring one down and should never be taken lightly. For instance, the other day, Donna Bragg, NWArkansas 40/29 TV News Anchor, rescinding a statement (quite eloquently I might add) concerning a report in which she had said that a child had "suffered from Down Syndrome." A multitude of viewers were quick to inform Bragg that her word choice of suffer was incorrect and that these children are very happy and indeed do not suffer in any way. I was glad to learn this via Bragg's blunder, and as I researched information for this blog post, I was also inspired to find out that Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who died this week, was a relentless advocate for the National Down Syndrome Society

Anyway, among this discord I am reminded that knowing or finding the best choice of words continues to be an important thing to strive for and easier said than done. And I also know that there will probably always be someone there to help me with this difficult task. That's ok...because I really would love for my words to lift up rather than bring down and I'm always game for learning!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Patrick Henry Hays Senior Citizen Center

Recently, I was able to visit my hometown of North Little Rock, Arkansas. I enjoyed cruising through the expanded infrastructure and stopped often to reminisce at some familiar Levy sightings. Many of my old stomping grounds were long gone, but a few old stand bys (and an impressive new structure) were still there, and I might add, certainly thriving!

For instance, The Spot, a cherished old dairy bar and a place I went on my first date, was now a used car lot. Can't remember much about the date, but I do recall enjoying that coney dog! On the contrary, just down Old Conway Highway, Andy's Dairy Bar was still alive and flourishing with customers scattered all over their parking area. Rudy's Oyster Bar and Cafe was also bustling with business as the longtime favorite Levy watering hole. Hummm...wonder if Rudy still serves 50 cent beer on Wednesdays. Don't ask me how I know this. However, Cancun, the Mexican restaurant and lounge on the corner of Pike and Conway Highway, was nowhere to be found. On around the bend, US Pizza Co., after all these years, as usual was enjoying their cherished prime real estate right in the heart of Levy. I remember when they opened in the 70s and served their famous Salad Supreme with House Dressing in a small pizza pan. But I am curious why Shakey's Pizza Parlor and their amazing pizza did not last through the 80s. One does reflect why some survive and others do not. Anyway, I was really impressed with a new structure built in 2003 named after the mayor of NLR, the Patrick Henry Hays Senior Citizen Center and especially excited about what it had to offer the 13,000 plus members it boasts of having.

The facility looked like a large hospital with its sweeping circular driveway which gave members easy access as they arrived for their various activities. Whether members came for swimming, working out, or socializing the front desk was full of eager volunteers to help or answer any questions. A friendly lady directed me straight to the artist's display for the month of July which just so happened to be my mother, Eloise Montgomery. Mother had worked extremely hard for a good while to get her oil paintings assembled, and the final display was really nice to see. I've posted a few photos of her paintings and I hope you enjoy them as I'm sure plenty of other people did. My brother in law, Kenny Robinette is the artist of the month for August. If you hurry, you might be able to catch some of his amazing photos like the elk in Ponca or the Old Mill, another NLR treasure.

It's nice to see the elderly, as well as the baby boomers taking advantage of this more than ample facility that Mayor Hays has helped to build. Go to his website and check out other great things he has accomplished in NLR. Yes, it's a nice place to live and a nice place to visit and after all these years, I am still able to say"I'm a Levy rat and proud of it!"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

On A Quest For...A Few Honorable People

#3 has been particularly stressed the last few days because of some in house shenanigans at his place of employment. Seems that someone at work got his personal trailer stolen by another someone at work who implicated another someone who works there as a party to the whole dilemma. Got it? The entire event appears to have been caught on tape.

Yes, it is all a bit of befuddling uproar until the police, who have been called in, decipher the whole thing and come to terms with the parties involved. I see possible arrests, lawyers, lawsuits, lost jobs and income in the near future for some people. In the meantime, the trailer has been returned to the wronged party, the so called 'thief' has not returned to work, and the implicated third party keeps denying everything.

How do we get ourselves into anarchy such as this? If these people are guilty, what were they thinking?It's easy to screw up a good part of your life in just a few careless minutes and OMG it's those consequences we must deal with for such a long time thereafter!

I found this YouTube link you might like featuring a really honorable guy, Roger Bannister as he broke the 4 minute mile in 1954. Every time I watch this link, I cry, because I realize it's not what we do or who we are, rather what really counts is striving to do the right thing and do our very best at what we do, and when we do this, the outcome really doesn't matter. Got it?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On a Quest For...A Joyful Hallelujah!

I've lived in the NWArkanasas area for approximately seven years now, and #3 and me, by choice, do not have a local church. It's not that we didn't make an attempt. Actually, when we first arrived in this far away land (I do miss Little Rock), we joined a huge church in downtown Fayetteville (approx 3000 members), but after about one year and a small misunderstanding with the pastor's wife, we withdrew our membership.

The problem arose when, one Sunday, the brotherhood had advertised in a church pamphlet for volunteers to facilitate small group studies. I eagerly filled out the necessary form and put it in the donation plate along with our customary tithe. We really were good church people...honestly! I was so excited because I had done this type of work for my previous churches in the central Arkansas area. Then the call came...from the associate pastor...with instructions from the pastor's wife...who was in charge of these small groups. He apologetically explained that I could not facilitate a small class and couldn't give a reason when I asked him for details. In fact, he was very apologetic and embarrassed about the whole ordeal. I supposed that the other 25 years of church membership in the central Arkansas area did not count at this church and besides, I was just not from around this area. I had never been treated this way before. It really hurt...

But, there is a joyful ending to this story... I'm glad we chose not to belong to this church or other churches in the area, because I've found other ways to express my desire for giving back to the community. For instance, helping with the local Alzheimer's Association has been a great experience because the delightful people within this organization are very grateful for anxious and worthy volunteers! Ah...appreciation and love...WOW! Join us on September 12, 2009 when we have the annual Alzheimer's Memory Walk at the Arvest Ballpark on I540 and see for yourself. Check out the following website for all the details.
Oh, and I'm not really 'church bashing'...just choose what is right for you...that's what we did.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

On A Quest For...The Real Mexico Chiquito Hot Sauce Recipe

The other day my son came in from Charlotte, NC, and the first place we immediately must visit before grandparents, before family, and before got it... was Mexico Chiquito. This great tasting cuisine (sure, you can call it that) has been a staple for me and my family since the 1960s.

I remember my tenth grade Spanish class (taught by Mrs. Bernice Hunt...oops, I meant to say Senora Hunt) visiting the original Mexico Chiquito in Rose City's, Prothro Junction (it was Protho Junction back then.) We had to order everything in Spanish, as well as, talk to each other in Spanish AT ALL TIMES. It was a very quiet meal. I remember ordering the Original Mexican Dinner which continues to be on their menu to this very day. This huge amount of tacos, enchiladas, tamale, cheeses, sauces and guacamole always has and continues to come with a special little tomato juice cocktail (LOVE IT), the wonderful, sweet, sweet, sweet (don't ever spill on your blouse because it will never come out) red punch, and a delightful little saucer of sherbet (which by the way is suppose to settle your bulging stomach.) And, all this is served with their bottomless corn, tortilla chips and famous Mexico Chiquito Hot Sauce.

I had tried for years to duplicate this hot sauce concoction (with inadequate results) until one day, my kids found the true recipe on the Internet...yes, the real McCoy..the Real MacKay...oh, whatever! It is such a simple recipe, I can't believe I couldn't figure it out myself. I always added much more stuff than was necessary. Anyway, I guess I don't know everything (SHOCK)and my kids really are able to teach me something (DOUBLE SHOCK)...if I only listen.

Also, it is nice to be able to enjoy the Mexico Chiquito experience these days in Levy on Camp Robinson Road in North Little Rock along with my other Levy Rat friends. And for those in between visits to the restaurant, here's the true Mexico Chiquito Hot Sauce Recipe (I think): In a food processor put 1 heaping teaspoon of Minced Garlic, 1 medium fresh, Jalapeno Pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon Salt. Process into a paste, then put into a bowl. Lightly process one large can of HUNTS Whole Tomatoes in the processor. Do not liquefy!! Pour the tomatoes into the bowl of paste and mix together. Refrigerate for that true MC taste. Tip: Process and sterilize in quart jars so you are able to ship to love ones who live far away. Enjoy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

On A Quest For...A Teeny Weeny, Little Bitty, Microscopic, Morsel of Courage

The other night, #3 and me had dinner with the neatest couple! Did I just say...neatest? I meant to say something like...coolest or most interesting or very fascinating. Anyway, we all seemed to have a lovely time as we conversed about new and exciting things. Mainly, their interesting lives. Yes, there is a slight bit of covetousness involved here, however, the subject of this post is not to talk about other people and their interesting lifestyle, rather it is to contemplate about how my life has turned drastically dull (did I say...dull? I meant to say something like...boring or deadened or even sluggish to say the least!) and especially to talk about how I really need the courage to continue working on my Bucket List!

I know I've talked about my seasonal depression in past posts, but this is different. I have a big case of the Bucket List Blues. By this I mean, I have no courage to do the things I really want to do before I leave this wonderful place called earth. I'm even scared to get on a plane these days! How do I get this thing called courage? That's all the Cowardly Lion wanted in a place called Oz. This is not a rhetorical question...I really need to know. Where do you get your courage to do the things in life that are most important to you, when the Wizard of Oz is not around to hand out a bowl full of it for all us cowardly lions?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On A Quest For...The Perfect Hair Stylist

This quest has been an ongoing pursuit for the last 40 years and I really don't understand why I am not able to keep a hair stylist for any length of time because I always follow Expected Salon Protocol which includes, but is not limited to the following:

  1. make an appointment every six weeks

  2. arrive on time or often early

  3. whine just a little bit about my screwed up life

  4. act a whole lot interested in their screwed up life

  5. don't drink over three glasses of wine when offered...actually two glasses is risky behavior

  6. always love and compliment the end matter what...everything is fixable...usually

  7. pay with good plastic money and never choke when the price is given

  8. and make a return appointment before you leave.

So what the heck is the problem? I'm not the crazy one here,'s gotta be them! Right?

For instance, this past year, I had been going to a really chic salon off Dickson Street...Shag. My stylist had been showing disinterest for awhile and although she did a good job, I realized our days together were numbered. A few of her annoying tactics included keeping me waiting even though I had arrived on time or early, talking on the phone while she worked on my hair, not asking how I was doing or how I have been, leaving me alone while she steps outside to visit her friends and family for extended periods, not asking me about a return appointment, and the final straw...not personally inviting me to Shag's open house (read about it in the newspaper) at their new location down the street. Yes, women do get upset over petty stuff like this!

Anyway, petty me dusted my feelings off my sleeve and found a great new salon on College Avenue...Genesis. My new stylist is Anna, and she did a great job when I recently visited. I truly hope she and I will be able to continue our relationship for a good while. I also met Bert, another stylist...who actually lives in my neighborhood! She invited me and #3 to her church and genuinely told me to stop by her house anytime! Wow, I am excited about the possibility of these new relationships...One door closes, another opens...Yea! I love real people who sincerely appreciate your business, as well as your friendship. I'm going to Genesis from now on to get my hair done because...Nice matters.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On A Quest For...

Relief from this abominable depression I have had the last few months... I looked at my 'to do' list the other day and man, was that depressing! Instead of exciting entries like my lists of 'to dos' past which may have included: study for anthropology test...swim with the dolphins...Vegas this week end...get a combo (manicure and pedicure) the world...My present day list activity included: pick up Rx at Walgreen's...mail Dr. Shaw a Monica to set up an appointment for annual pest Mother. It's like I've confirmed Dr. Pity and Mr. Boredom as my new best friends on Facebook. Yet, again in another hideous rut!

Depression has run rampant through my life. Having a psychiatrist for a husband(#2) didn't help the dentist's kids never getting their teeth fixed. Anyway, when somber times would inhabit my body and soul, #2 would suggest that I "shrug it off." What happened to the counselling and drugs...couldn't I get some of that...especially at wholesale prices? Not really, because you see, #2 was concerned about his peers in the health care industry and how they discussed people's problems among each other and we surely did not want details of our unhealthy marriage to get around the community! Heaven forbid people think that a well known psychiatrist had troubles in his own home just like everyone else. Ugh...OK, I guess...

But, I must say, #2 was probably correct (as he usually was about almost everything). Because thru the years, I have found that usually after a long, hard, depressing winter (and that we have certainly had this year) I always experience a wonderful euphoria in April or May called spring fever and all is well in my life again. So, instead of being a depressive in need of drugs and therapy, I've self diagnosed myself with a condition called SAD or seasonal affective disorder which is a type of depression triggered by the seasons that may be related to changes in the amount of daylight during different times of the year. This explains why it comes on in the winter (shorter days - less sunlight) and leaves in the spring (longer days - more sunlight). According to about 1/2 million people suffer from SAD and it is more common in women than in men. Also, this disorder decreases as you get older (yea). Some of the symptoms include craving starches (for sure), drop in energy level (a little), irritability and anxiety (#3 can vouch for this), increased sensitivity to social rejection (duh...who isn't), and avoidance of social situations and a loss in the activities you used to enjoy. So right on.

I do miss my exciting past activities that I so eagerly enjoy planning...and I am beginning to feel a tinge of motivation to make plans as spring and summer begin to creep in. Just today I noticed Kenny Chesney was coming to Alltel Arena...I think #3 and I will plan to go. And, I'm really going to work hard at spicing up my 'to do' list...because we all know that it's not what you have done in the past, but what you are doing in the now that matters! In fact, I'm promptly putting 'save the world' back on my list along with 'get a combo'. And Dr. Pity and Mr. Boredom are really gonna have to go!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

On A Quest For...

A Beautiful Day...Anyone living in the NWArkansas area knows that everybody, in these here hills, has been on a quest all winter long for a beautiful day! Finally, yesterday on April 8Th, we had a normal, sunny, beautiful, spring day. But, today on April 9Th we are watching and bracing for more BAD weather which includes isolated storms, tornado watches, and high winds. What is it with this crazy weather, especially the last few of years?

The Ice Storm of 2009 was hard for all of us to handle. Many people would go without power for weeks...ten days for me and #3 at the Turquoise House. The City of Fayetteville has yet to clean up all the storm's debris a couple of months later and is negotiating on having tons of tree mulch disposed of in an environmentally safe way. Good luck with that! The City of Springdale is just going to burn their debris to get rid of it. No tree huggers here. And, I read in the Fayetteville Morning News that the City of Bentonville was presented a $1.5 million bill for their debris removal much to the horror of city officials. Just a slight misunderstanding between these elected officials and the company they contracted with to remove the tree limbs. Nice to know elected dignitaries (unfortunately at the taxpayer's expense) get screwed over too, just like the rest of us happy homeowners...but, shouldn't elected officials or board members or the like be held to a higher standard of knowledge to avoid little mishaps such as these or something like that?

And it was just a year ago, to this exact date, that the Fort Smith/Van Buren area got hit with that really bad hail storm. And then another hard hail hit just a short time later for those poor folks. Although, Fayetteville was spared the baseball size hail, we did not escape the wind damage especially at the Turquoise House, where high winds and Hurricane Ike brought down plenty of 100 plus year old trees throughout all of 2008. Fortunately, no damage to house, cars, animals, or me and #3...must be living right.

Then yesterday, as the temperature rose to the 70s, and I noticed the coalescence of the bright, yellow sun with the newly, budding green foliage, I quickly called #3 and requested that he bring home margarita makings of which we promptly enjoyed on our big deck overlooking the hills of the Ozarks. Glad we got that out of our system...because tonight we could be carried away Todo and Dorothy style! So you see why it is, that all of us up in these here hills just wanted one nice day. And that appears to be all we are gonna get. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On A Quest For...

The Perfect was not so many years ago, I recall, that I was the perfect, little housewife who always got up early with her perfect, not so little, husband and made a perfect pot of coffee before #3 went to his perfect little job and I settled into my perfect little daily housewife routine. Disastrously, these days I have become a shameless, careless, stop at nothing maniac until I get out the door and secure my daily fix...a twenty ounce skinny latte at Arsaga's Espresso Cafe in Fayetteville. Where did it all go wrong? Why am I leaving the house looking really bad with hair tangled, no make up, and frantically plotting (legal) ways to get a jump ahead of the school bus that stops well over a hundred times on Hwy 16 every school day morning? Well, maybe not that many times, but close to. What happened to my perfect little life and that cup of homemade coffee shared with my perfect husband? Hello, my name is Dianne and I'm addicted to skinny lattes.

The girls at Arsaga's relieve my habit at this phase in my life, but it has not always been an easy road to travel. In the past, I resorted to wandering into many coffee shops in the Fayetteville area in the wee hours of the morning to see if they were able to concoct a delicious, creamy, blend of two shots of espresso (perfectly pressed from the perfect fair trade coffee bean) and perfectly steamed low fat milk which is finally topped with about an inch of foam...preferably with an artistic design on top of the drink which is created from pouring the white milky froth over the dark colored espresso. This zany necessity and my road to perdition all started about three years ago when I thought it would be a neat idea to complete my bachelor's degree at the UofA.
Yes, I blame it all on the need for higher education and that 7:30am Spanish class required for my degree plan! Up at 5am, out the door by 6, to the University in heavy traffic (darn those school buses), and spend about 30 minutes on the shuttle bus that would take me from the 6Th Street Parking Lot to the Hill. How could I possibly make a pot of coffee at home with this kind of schedule? So the quest began...first coffee then I started doing the regular latte and ultimately the skinny latte...never ending, always on the move for my latte which kept me alert and kicking as I pursued my degree. #3 would now have to depend on his cup of Joe at the office and as for me, I would get my latte anywhere I could at that hour. Sometimes at Razzi's (UofA student union), or Les Maison Tartes, or a place called Gloria's on Dickson. Then they came to town...Starbucks...and they made a pretty decent latte, but one day I tried Arsaga's and here I am forever hooked! The best around in all the town of Fayetteville!

I have since completed my degree and do not have to get up so early to out maneuver the school bus, but I continue to be dependent on my early morning latte compulsion. At least I am able to couple it with my morning workout routine and all is not too bad a start for the day...if only I could manage to put on some make up and do my hair at that might almost be perfect again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

On a Quest For...

Perfection...something I have continuously strived for my entire life only never to achieve! Sounds pretty dismal, but not really. Because I have ultimately realised that shooting for perfection seems to always bring out my best efforts. And by doing my best...I tend to have no self-judgments or regrets. Furthermore, I refuse to give up, therefore I am forever and always On A Quest For the perfect whatever!

For instance, lately I've been On A Quest For the perfect biscuit. You, my friend, may not even know what the perfect biscuit tastes like because most restaurants, as well as, home cooks these days tend to conveniently purchase those really bad prepackaged or canned things at the grocery store. OK, I've been guilty of that too. But being the persistent imperfect perfectionist (PIP) that I am, I also have been attempting to bake the perfect biscuit for many years.

This dilemma has proven to be a hit and miss type of situation because I'm a RachelRaysortofcook. That means I have been cooking since I was about 12 years old and I do not measure or follow directions very well. Because of this, my biscuits have not always been the rich and flaky creations we all love with tons of real butter and strawberry preserves on the side. Sometimes they are just OK, and many times they are great bird food. Finally, after many years I have discovered the best and closest to perfect recipe for biscuits and will share that with you right now! The secret is to precisely follow the critical areas (emphasized in bold italics) and whatever you do, don't Rachael Ray it!!!


Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into bowl. With your fingers, rub in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. All at once stir in the buttermilk or sour milk and with a spoon mix just until all the ingredients are moistened and a dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead only 4-5 times. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness using a 2 inch cutter, reforming and recutting the scraps. Arrange the biscuits 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven 13-16 minutes, or until they are well risen and the tops are golden brown. *Sour Milk Recipe - Combine 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar with plain milk. Let it set for a few minutes to curdle.

So, my friend, if you haven't yet discovered the perfect biscuit, you are now able to have the best you will ever taste, if you only follow the simple instructions...the hardest thing in the world to do sometimes.