Monday, December 25, 2006


Get it? Yule BLOG? :-)

Hey, check out my "pottyscape" (yes, that IS a word now that Sandra Lee on the Food Network tosses around "tablescape" like it's in the OED).

The bathroom window shelf, View One.

The bathroom window shelf, View Two.

Closeup attempt of cute new antique day/date thingy.

Hmm. This one isn't any better...but check out the little reindeer from Courtney & Kelsey! (I added them to the pottyscape the very night they gave them to me.)

BTW, I found the PERFECT place to do my Christmas shopping...the Elmwood Antique Mall on South Seventh Street. I went there the other day and had the whole place to myself, except for the welder who followed me from booth to booth, unsuccessfully flirting. (Men do not flirt with me; men flirt with my sister. I don't know WHAT was wrong that poor guy..."A" for Effort, though...)

He did have some interesting stories, truth be told. (He nearly lost his thumb last month while roping a calf in Colorado! He's in the middle of a Houston lawsuit! Etc.!) If we ever need a welder, he'll be our guy.

Oh, and the bargains! One booth had everything marked down half-price, and I bought EIGHT place settings of Christmas dishes for only $15! (Microwave AND dishwasher safe!) They're beautiful, and we used them the other night for the Coq au Vin feast.

Cute, huh? (The bread plate is sitting ON the dinner plate...4-piece place setting.)

And the little day/date thingy from the photos above (that will stay set on Christmas Day all year long)? Only TWO dollars!

Oh, wait...there was one other person there...a hilarious, nicotine-addicted, potty-mouthed grandmother who nearly made me faint the first time she dropped a Curse Bomb. (Oh, wait. There was one college kid, too. And that was all. The whole time I was there....three other people in a giant antique mall. No traffic, no crowds...a parking space close to the door...and a coffee shop across the street.)

Sandra von Newlywed (adorable blog at recently found a great place to shop in San Francisco that served its mall-avoiding Christmas customers hot cider with a shot of Grand Marnier and whipped cream. Yum! The Elmwood Mall isn't quite that generous, but it was a lot of fun..and I'll bet Sandra & Clayton couldn't pick up 32 dishes for $15 at the hoity-toity cider-serving boutique. :-)

Long live the Antique Mall!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


…and Happy TENTH Anniversary to us!

Last night’s dinner was amazing…the best of my (admittedly few) culinary adventures. And here’s the funny part--I didn’t even know that Courtney and Kelsey and Ayden were coming until I was in the shower, about thirty minutes before they arrived. It turned out great, though, because I was showering while the chicken baked, and the Pear Crisp & Spoon Rolls were warming in the lower oven.

Spoon Rolls & Pear/Cranberry Crisp
(Yes, I know *someone* obviously sampled both of these...had to make sure they were yummy...)

Coq au Vin and Rosemary Nuts in the top oven

Here’s the menu (I shopped and cooked for days):

3 Vegetarian Appetizers:
Eggplant Caviar (served with whole wheat pita chips)
Red Pepper Hummus (served with garlic pita chips)
Rosemary Nuts (BIG hit!)

Mojitos (Mike made 3 adult versions and one alcohol-free one for Kelsey)

Coq au Vin (made with red wine and fresh mushrooms)
Broccoli Crowns
Spoon Rolls (my grandmother’s recipe)

Pear and Cranberry Crisp

Served with LOVE!
(Hey, check out my Christmas manicure! In the middle of all the grocery shopping and cooking, I totally destressed at Kellen's Nails. Now I'm stressing about how to keep them pretty with all of this cooking and dishwashing...)

The only thing on the menu not homemade was the hummus, which I bought with a coupon so I’m still happy with it. Oh, and Grandma Fowler’s spoon rolls were not at all Sugar Busters-friendly…which is weird because my grandmother was an insulin-dependent diabetic. I *did* use whole-wheat flour and will play with it more in the future. It involves yeast, though, so the sugar probably has to stay. (Is that right? Doesn’t yeast need sugar?)

Proud "Pop"

Proud "Grammy"

So, anyway, I’m tucked in my recliner the next morning with an iced coffee, May Bee’s snuggled in her wicker basket, and Misha’s hiding in her Happy Kennel. (We played ball in the cold, barren backyard until the girls got into a fight.) Our cozy morning was interrupted when NPR did a story on the most-hated Christmas carols and played dogs barking “Jingle Bells” and then some krazy-with-a-K cat carol; May Bee hated those songs, too, and couldn’t relax until Bing came back on.

At the moment, KACU is playing a live feed from King’s College in Cambridge--the annual carol service. It’s BEAUTIFUL! One man flies from Dallas each year to wait in line for DAYS for the free concert. (For a touching BBC story about the annual queue and how one reporter gave away his ticket, go to !)

Merry Christmas…and may God bless us, every one!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

I love my job…

…because kids are WAY more fun than grownups. (I can’t imagine spending my day with adults…and their weird hang-ups and issues and office politics. Ick.) At least with moody teenagers/preteens, you can take one look at their faces and know exactly where you stand! Every episode of The Office reminds me of how lucky teachers are to spend their days with the young ones...

Maybe it’s more fun to spend the day with kids because I have an immature sense of humor (anything related to *The Potty* cracks me up), and sixth graders usually laugh at my NOT-FUNNY-AT-ALL jokes.

For example:

Last week, student volunteers came up the teaching computer and showed the class how to navigate to various web sites by typing URLs in the address bar. (You would *not believe* how many struggling students lack this skill.) One student successfully demonstrated to the class how to get to, and one of the Latest News headlines projected up on the enormous library screen read “Dog Saves 91-Year-Old Owner from Deadly Gas” (see capture below).

I remarked to the class that my dog actually *HAS* deadly gas…and they about fell out of their chairs. (Middle schoolers make every day wonderful. Well, almost every day…)

In a related story, I accidentally cracked myself up this weekend. As I stirred a crockpot full of lentil soup, May Bee let a particularly “deadly” one rip on my shoes. Misha and I ran for our lives as I called out over my shoulder, “UGH! May Bee! No soup for you!”

“NO SOUP FOR YOU?!?” (HA! Get it? Season seven of Seinfeld?) I laughed hysterically…42 on the outside, but not on the inside…

More proof that the humor part of my brain is stuck in sixth grade--the “Poopsmith Song” has played on this laptop more than a hundred times. I can’t get enough of it.

Mele Kalikmaka,
the eternal adolescent

P.S. For more info on 91 year-old Rose Cappola and her noble terrier, see or .

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Be of good cheer!

Merry, MERRY Christmas!

This would melt even Scrooge's ice-cold heart...

Okay, this goes out to my friends Brian and Melanie, who live 2,000 miles away from each other (Texas & New Hampshire), but sent me nearly identical holiday questionnaires on the same day. (I blended them, added my own answers, and pasted below.)

Holiday Edition of Getting To Know Your Friends!

Welcome to the 2006 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends! You know the drill. Highlight, copy, and paste (not forward) and change my answers to your answers. Be sure to send back to me. Enjoy!! Everyone has time for a few moments of fun! Don't be a scrooge!!!

NAME: Kristy

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Sugar-free hot chocolate, baby!! And maybe a sip of my husband's spiked egg nog on Christmas Eve...

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? He prefers gift bags he can’t spindle or mutilate...but when he DOES wrap, he bungles it *exactly* as bad as I do. Hmmm…

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? No lights on the house/white lights on the tree...but if I could ever afford strings of those colored bubble lights that used to decorate my childhood tree, we'd go retro in a heartbeat!

4. Do you hang mistletoe? HA! I have a tattered old ball of fake, plastic mistletoe I bought on eBay because it reminded me of the one my mother hung in my childhood. It came complete with a similar red elf perched on top, and I just hung it from the entryway chandelier yesterday.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Right after Thanksgiving. Usually.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? If my hips would let me, I'd consume nothing but stuffing and egg nog until New Year's Eve. (Oh, with the occasional handful of holiday green & red peanut M&Ms!)

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Going to bed and running down the stairs when we heard Santa's sleigh bells. (We "just missed" him every year!)

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? WHAT TRUTH about Santa? What are you implying?!? Because as long as he's not a cult leader, Communist, or cheating on Mrs. Claus, he's okay in my book…

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Just A gift? Try ALL gifts!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? I do it by myself, if Bethany's not here to help me. And I always put on my favorite version of _A Christmas Carol_ before I get started: the 1951 Alastair Sim version. (There is none higher. One reviewer on Amazon called it "the desert-island choice of the many versions," and it is THE favorite version of movie critics Leonard Maltin and Gene Shalit.)

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it! There aren't enough words to describe the love I had for snow while growing up in New Hampshire. (In my native Texas, however, snow comes in sideways. And stings. But I *still* love it.)

12. Can you ice skate? I took ice skating in college and got an A...but I'd probably break a hip if I tried now.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My yellow stereo with detachable speakers! I can't tell you how many times my record player spun the Fowler girls’ favorite record, _Summer of '72_!!!

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Pie...either pumpkin or Jeff Davis.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Opening gifts on Christmas Eve...right after the kids "just missed" Santa and his sleigh as they passed over the neighbor's house.

17. Least favorite tradition? Fudge. I HATE fudge.

19. What tops your tree? A scary Santa that gives Bethany the creeps.

20. Which do you prefer: Giving or Receiving? Giving, hands down. I look all year for the perfect gifts...

21. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night, Silent Night (ACTUALLY, ALL OF THE TRADITIONAL SONGS!)*

*This was Melanie's answer, and it suits me, too.

22. Candy Canes? Ick.

23. Favorite Christmas movie? See #10 where I gushed about my love for the 1951 Alastair Sim version of _A Christmas Carol_; this is the one I used to show my classes after we finished reading the shortened version of the novel that was in our HBJ Literature textbook. (It was the one shortened by Dickens himself for his public readings...back before we were all made stupid by TV. It took several hours to read aloud, and I'd give up egg nog forever if I could hear Dickens himself perform this masterpiece in person. They say Dickens sometimes used to faint afterwards because he would throw himself so fully into his dramatic readings...) Oh, and you can't beat those old Christmas specials like Frosty and Rudolph...although having Rudolph meet the Abominable Snowman in the Land of Misfit Toys is a little too '60s psychedelic and weird, isn't it? Kind of like that one crazy scene in the old _Willie Wonka_ movie where Gene Wilder recites that scary poem in the tunnel! What was Hollywood thinking? (Oh, well. At least they kept the comforting voice of folk singer Burl Ives so we weren't complete freaked out.)

24. Sending Christmas cards? I usually do, but I’m not so sure about this year. If I run into a bunch of time this weekend, maybe.

25. Any present you’re really hoping for this year? Peace on Earth. And a new washing machine.

Merry Christmas. God bless us, every one...