A Looooong Pause!

October 21, 2009


We will be leaving tomorrow morning for a two-week vacation to Tulsa and then Atlanta.  So, I don’t think I’ll have an opportunity to be in contact with you during that time.

If you visit during that time hoping to be entertained, I recommend any of the blogs on my blogroll to the right and down a little. 

Or, if you’d like to read some “vintage Sandra”, please browse in my archives, also on the right.

May God bless you and keep you safe until we meet here again.


An Unlucky Combination

October 21, 2009


By 8th grade I was all settled into this junior high school thing and it was great!  I had made friends with a group of fun, funny girls  and we had lots of harmless, immature fun, like having slumber parties, endlessly discussing and trading clothes, talking on the phone for hours, teasing, spraying and styling our hair — always trying for a new “look”  (sometimes with unfortunate/comical consequences forever documented by our school pictures), and, of course, flirting with and discussing equally immature boys!  Oh yeah, and studying sometimes.

But one time that is particularly memorable to me was when my friends Karen and Soupie (Susan was her real name) and I stepped over the line and got so wrapped up in a silly idea of something “fun” to do, that we couldn’t see what the consequences might be.

We had an hour for lunch each day and after we ate lunch, we could spend the rest of the hour as free time.  On nice days, most students went outside and just socialized.  But the building was open, so you could come and go as you pleased, and most of the teachers, except for a few who casually patrolled the halls, were in their rooms or the teacher’s lounge enjoying a little free time too.  So, while the halls weren’t totally empty, there were very few people around during this time.

This particular day, as a group of us walked around outside, Karen kept adjusting the crinoline she was wearing under her skirt.  It was an old one handed down to her by her older sister and the waistband was very weak, so it kept hanging down so that you could see it below the hem of her skirt.  It was driving her crazy, so she just decided to take it off.

crinoline  This would have been about 1959 and we still wore crinolines sometimes under our full skirts to make them look, well, fuller

So Karen decided to go into the building to the restroom to take off the offending crinoline and Soupie and I went with her.  But once she had taken it off, now what was she going to do with it?  She thought about throwing it away, but she was afraid to do that without first showing it to her mom to see if it could be fixed.  Our lockers were at the other end of the building and she really didn’t want to walk all the way down there carrying her crinoline.  A real dilemma.  Ah, but that’s what friends are for … I had a “brilliant” idea!

You know that locker that I talked about yesterday that I had struggled to open the year before?  Well, it was just a few steps down the hall from where we were, and I still remembered the combination!  I also knew that Mike, a shy guy in our class, had that locker this year.  Wouldn’t it be hilarious if we hung the crinoline in his locker, and then we could stand across the hall and watch to see his reaction when he opened it!?!  Yes, “brilliant”, Sandra.

So that’s just what we did.  Unfortunately for us, we weren’t very sneaky about it.  A teacher who had a room near-by had noticed us (after we had already put the slip in the locker), and I ‘m sure could  tell we were up to something, so she just watched.  And we were having way too much fun anticipating how funny our little prank was going to be to notice that we were being noticed.  So, we waited in clueless, excited anticipation for Mike to come into the building and return to his locker. 

We didn’t have long to wait.  Soon it was almost time for afternoon classes to start and Mike came to his locker to get his books.  By this time, with lunch time almost over, all the kids were streaming back into the building, so the three giggling girls on the other side of the hall wouldn’t have been obvious to him.  And when he opened his locker and saw the crinoline hanging in it, he stepped back and stood there staring at it with his mouth wide open.  Just as we had hoped, he was dumbfounded.  And across the hall, we were c.r.a.c.k.i.n.g  u.p.  We were soooo clever!

We had about two seconds to revel in our cleverness … before the teacher who had been watching us and now saw what we had done, pounced.  First she walked over to Mike’s locker (as we watched in sudden horror) and took the evidence from the locker and told Mike she would take care of it.  Then she walked directly to the three perps where we  now stood frozen in fear across the hall and escorted us directly to the Principal’s office!

Yikes!  None of us had ever been in trouble like this before.  We were good kids!  And I suppose that’s the reason that in the end  Mr. Armstrong, the Principal,  just gave us a stern talking to and then sent us on to class.  The offending crinoline was put in a paper sack and Karen was told to take it directly to her locker. 

I don’t remember any other punishment.  But that was enough.  We were mortified.  And this experience definitely made us, and of course all our friends who we told about our visit to the Principal’s office, a little smarter about a line that shouldn’t be crossed when we were thinking up fun things to do. 

I like to think we apologized to Mike too, but I honestly don’t remember doing it.  But I’ve seen him at class reunions since, and he still speaks to me, so I guess he didn’t hold a grudge!

 So, the moral to this story is that if you mix three silly, immature girls, an old crinoline, a shy guy, a locker that a year ago I couldn’t have opened on a bet and a sharp-eyed teacher … you get a very unlucky combination … especially for the three silly girls who earned themselves a trip to the Principal’s office!

Unlocking one of the mysteries of 7th grade!

October 20, 2009


When I went to junior high school, which started in seventh grade then, I was overwhelmed.  So many things were different!

It was an older, much bigger school than my grade school had been.  And, for the first time in my life, I now rode a bus to school.  I had never attended a school before that wasn’t within walking distance of my house.

And now I had multiple teachers in different rooms, and different kids in each class.

It was all new and exciting … but parts of it were a little scarey and confusing  too.

In fact, my school career almost ended there.  Yes, I almost had to drop out of school in 7th grade.  And, I might have, if it hadn’t been for Richard.

Here’s the reason.  I could not figure out how to use the combination lock on my newly acquired locker!  I had never had a locker before, and I definitely had never had to use a combination lock before.  So, if I hadn’t learned to open my locker, where, of course, I had to keep the books for all of my classes … well, you can figure it out … I would have flunked!

But along came my knight in shining armor, Richard, a tall, skinny red-headed kid who seemed to have all the confidence in the world compared to my confused, overwhelmed self … and who worked a combination locker like a pro!

And do you know where Richard’s locker was?  Right next to mine!  Now I don’t know if Richard would have returned to his locker after every class otherwise (Some kids were actually organized enough to take the books for several classes at a time!), but for whatever reason that he did in those crucial beginning weeks of 7th grade, I am forever grateful.  Maybe he did it just out of curiosity to see if that ditzy but sometimes funny girl who had the locker next to his would ever figure out how to unlock her locker.

Finally, when Richard got tired of the responsibility he probably felt to go back to his locker after every class so that he could unlock my locker, he actually taught me how to unlock it myself!  Hooray!  I wasn’t going to have to drop out!

I really enjoyed the rest of my school years.  Years that I got to experience only because Richard came to my rescue and taught me one of the most important lessons I learned in 7th grade … how to open the combination lock on a locker.

 Tomorrow:  The story of how learning to use my combination lock got me in trouble!

A Midwestern Toad in a Hole!

October 19, 2009


Recently I was intrigued by a post by my British blogging  friends Lesley and Baz of their version of a traditional English meal, Toad in a Hole.  You can go here and see their post: http://www.cookingwiththejoneses.com/node/836/

So, I had the “brilliant” idea that I would try it for myself, ala the Julie/Julia thing, and then show you the results, good or bad.

Well, you know how you will start out with a simple little plan, like making one dish, and then your mind starts working overtime, and you start adding and adding ideas, and pretty soon you have alot of other stuff going on too?  Yes, that’s exactly what I did.  And I ended up having my Midwestern version of an English meal for Hubby and me for brunch on Saturday.

Here’s the blow by blow of how I went from “Plan A”, making just one dish to try, to “Plan B”, trying to make the experimental dish feel “at home” by surrounding it with my version of an British table.

100_5450r   When I went to the grocery to get the ingredients for Toad in a Hole, I was suddenly inspired to look in the international aisle for something else British I could use to make this more than just a one-dish meal.  What I came up with was a scone mix and lemon curd.

So, I came home and made the scones.  I would serve them with the lemon curd and, hmmm, I wondered if I could make the clotted cream that I had had with them at the tea room ?

I went on allrecipes.com and looked for a recipe for clotted cream.  The recipe I found said to whip heavy cream, and then add sour cream and powdered sugar.  But, you know I’m going to look for a way to make that a little lighter, and with things I had on hand.  So, for my clotted cream I combined light Cool Whip, light sour cream and a packet of Splenda.  It was good, and actually tasted very much like what I remember clotted cream tasting like when I had it at the tea room.

So, our meal would be the egg casserole, I mean, the Toad in a Hole, and scones with clotted cream and lemon curd.

100_5465s   Then I remembered the tablecloth that my long ago British friend, Fiona, had given us for a wedding gift.  This was certainly a good excuse to get it out of the cedar chest and enjoy it again.

100_5478c   We definitely had to have tea with our English meal so I got out this pretty little teapot that DD had given me.

I was on a roll now.  Once I started looking in the china cabinet for things I could add to my English table, I found several things that seemed to fit the look.

100_5480g  Like these salt and pepper shakers my friend Shirley gave us for a wedding gift.  I’ve always loved their pretty shape.

100_5481c   I would use this old glass plate for the scones. 

100_5481cf   I like the way the flowers on the tablecloth “colorized” the design on the plate.

100_5482c   I would need a hot pad for the casserole to set on, so I got out this one that Mama had crocheted at least 50 years ago.

100_5550v   Mama tried to show me how to crochet, but I just wasn’t interested, then.  Now, I wish I had learned.

Hmmm. What about the middle of the table?  It needed something.

100_5547v   I got out this little vase of silk flowers that somehow seemed appropriately British to me.

100_5486  And this pretty little vase that DD brought me from her Venice trip that she had watched being blown.

100_5483v   And in decorating, they always tell you to group odd numbers of items, so for a third part of the centerpiece, I got out this glass hand that my friend Mary had given me when I retired.

100_5499v   Not exactly a typical grouping I guess, but I liked the way they were all in the same color group.

100_5491c   For the tea, I would use one of these that I bought last winter.  Of course, they didn’t need to be on the table, but I did have them setting there for a while, just because I think they are in such pretty tins.

100_5520g   After I made the pot of tea, since I didn’t have a tea cozy, I used a thick kitchen towel.  Now that I see it in a picture, I realize I could have done a much better job of wrapping the pot in the towel if I would have just taken a little more time.    It looks like I just threw the towel on top, doesn’t it.

100_5529y   I was very pleased with how my second batch of scones came out, after I remembered to set the temperature on the oven at the “F” temperature … not the “C” temperature!  The first batch ended up looking and tasting like some pathetic imitation of an under-baked sugar cookie!   These however, in my humble opinion, were perfect!  With my pseudo-clotted cream paired with strawberry preserves or the lemon curd, they were delicious.

So, there you have it … my version of an English brunch.  Oh, wait a minute, I forgot the reason for all this … the Toad in the Hole!

100_5501h   This is a picture of a picture of the authentic Toad in a Hole that I was trying to replicate.

100_5532g   And here’s a picture of mine.  When I saw how the sausage had poked out of the dough during baking, I wondered if that might be the reason for the name.  Maybe someone thought it looked like a toad peeking out of a hole in the ground.  

These are the steps:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees (Faurenheit!).

100_5508v   Brown the sausages.  I used a package of 12 of the small breakfast sausages.  The recipe gives the option of wrapping a piece of bacon around each sausage and pre-baking them for a little while before assembling the casserole.  I will try that next time.

100_5513v   Slice a large white onion and some mushrooms and saute them in olive oil.

100_5515b   Whisk together three large eggs, 3/4 C. milk and 3/4 C. flour until bubbles rise to the top.

100_5514   Put the onion/mushroom combination in the bottom of a pre-heated 9×9 baking dish and put the sausages on top of that.

100_5517v   Pour the egg mixture over the sausages and then cover the top with sliced tomatoes.  Bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

100_5534f   I got worried about it burning so I took it out of the oven, but I probably could have let it bake another few minutes to brown a little more.

100_5538f   The Toad in a Hole was good, although not as spicy as we tend to make our meals.  But still, very good. 

100_5536   And we enjoyed the scones and tea with it.

Needless to say, a little fancier Saturday meal than we usually have, but it was a fun “experiment”.

And, while I was putting all this together, Hubby was out working in the yard.  When he came in, he brought me a little last reminder of summer.

100_5528c   The only thing that would have made it better, would have been if it had been an English rose!

A God-Pleasing Goal

October 18, 2009


Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, ‘Oh no. She’s awake.’” (anonymous)

The kind of Christian I aspire to be.

May God bless you with the wisdom and faith to discern His will and the strength and courage to live it.

I like MY blogging world, thank you!

October 17, 2009


On Thursday, my blogging friend, Beth, at C.Beth blog, did a post about some unkind exchanges on a message board that was discussing, of all things, lollipops!  I was amazed at the tone the commenters used not only about the product but about each other!  You can go here to read Beth’s post.

Reading those comments reminded me once again how thankful I am for my blogging world that is filled with bloggers and commenters who are unerringly polite and supportive to each other (and me!).

I think there may be a few reasons that have kept nasty, mean-spirited people from visiting here. 

~ One is my blogs title.  If someone is looking for smut or topics on the dark side or some topic that will just give them an excuse to rant and say unkind things to other people, I’m guessing they probably aren’t drawn to a blog entitled Add Humor and Faith.

~ I tend to visit blogs and develop friendships with bloggers and commenters who are of the same mind as me, i.e., who appreciate civility, try to see and encourage the good in others and enjoy a good story or a good laugh (or photography!).  And, I very seldom venture out onto the “big, bad” internet in general.  I have specific sites I go to to make purchases, but in general I’m very careful about new sites I visit.  In both cases, I hope that I am limiting my exposure and maybe fly under the radar in the bigger internet world.

I also watch my lauguage!  Not only will you not see swear words here (although, I do tend to use a heart-felt “crapola!” or “rats!” occasionally), but I am careful that I don’t use any specific words that might lead someone putting that certain word into a search engine to my site.  Case in point is the time I wrote about The Flasher (you can read that post here) and was careful not to use the anatomically correct word for the part he was flashing! (That was a little difficult since, after all, it was the focus of the story!)

And, lastly, twice, when I first started blogging, I got a commenter who left comments on a post  that were just a string of filthy words and thoughts.  In both cases, I just marked those comments as Spam and sent them off to the Word Press support group.  Now, it did happen twice, so obviously whatever they did the first time didn’t discourage the sick commenter, but I never heard from him after I sent his second comment to Word Press.  And THAT is one of the big reasons I will probably never leave the Word Press protective umbrella, because they took care of him for me, and I have no idea how, I just know I never heard from him again. (and also they are, without fail, kind and helpful when I ask them really dumb questions about blogging!)

So, thank you fellow bloggers and commenters for making up a wonderful blogging community in which we all can love and laugh and learn.  I am thankful for you.

(Hmmm. I just read back through this.  Is this dry as dirt?  Am I old as dirt?  Points to ponder.)

Happy Saturday!

Mama Remembered: Jimmy’s Speeding Fine

October 16, 2009


  Brother Jimmy at 18   My brother Jimmy at 18.

Brother Jimmy and his car 3   and with his “speedy” car.


An excerpt from Mama’s book I remember:

Our son Jimmy had a Model A Ford that he drove back and forth to school when he was a freshman at Southwest Missouri State.  We lived on the north side of town and SMS was way out south.

One morning when I was looking at the newspaper, I glanced through the list of traffic violations and there was his name, followed by ” $5 – for speeding”.

I waited a day or so to see if he would mention it.  He didn’t.  So I said, “I see you were fined for speeding the other morning.”

He looked at me, disgusted like, and said, “You don’t missing anything, do you?”


I enjoy this story Mama wrote because, even though I was only six or seven at the time, I remember riding in that car when my brother Jimmy owned it because I was fascinated by the fact that there was a hole in the floorboards so that the passenger could look down and see the street through the hole.  That must have been quite the conversation starter on a date!

The year would have been 1952 and, even though I’m not car-saavy enough to be able to tell what year that car was, I’m pretty sure it was o.l.d .  (Update:  Hubby has since told me he thinks it is a 1937.)  So, I’m kind of impressed it was able to go fast enough to deserve a ticket.  Maybe the air flow through the hole in the floor made it more aero-dynamic!

Not just volleyball …

October 15, 2009


… but also a place to learn some of life’s lessons.

Last weekend we went to a volleyball tournament of sixth grade teams in Chicago.  It included two teams from Coco’s school, one of which is coached by DD.  Neither team won it all, but both won some of their games. 

DD says that in fifth and sixth grade, volleyball isn’t about winning.  You are teaching the girls the rules of the game and possibly a love of the game.  Then, if they like it and have an aptitude for it, they can go on to play on competitive teams in the higher grades.  I love that idea.

But, DD and the other coaches at her childrens’ grade school really act out this concept, not just talk it. 

There are eighteen girls in sixth grade who play volleyball, all at varying stages of development of their skills and interest.  That number of girls means that there need to be two teams so that everyone can play.  And, apparently, those two teams are fluid — the girls aren’t always divided up the same way.  I say that because I know that before the Saturday tournament, they were re-divided so that they were as even in talent as possible.  For example, the girls who have developed the skill to serve overhand (including Coco) were divided evenly between the teams.

As we were sitting there watching the teams play it occurred to me that each girl on these teams, no matter what her talent level is, is learning some valuable lessons.  Because the teams aren’t divided as an “A” and “B” team, with the “A” team being the one with all the best players on it, all the girls will experience winning and losing, together and equally. 

In all my years “in the bleachers” I have observed that a team or player who doesn’t have much experience losing, can fall apart if they start losing.  And a team or player who hardly ever wins, may have trouble picturing themselves winning, so sometimes mentally defeat themselves.  But in this grade school’s system all of the players are experiencing the high of winning and the disappointment of losing, and seeing clearly demonstrated that there are time that there are actually more important priorities than winning. 

A great lesson that will hold them in good stead in the future in all areas of their lives, not just volleyball.

Of course, we are proud of Coco, and she is blessed with some natural talent.  But, I am especially proud of our daughter, Coach DD.  When I watch her on the sidelines I see our always competitive daughter very successfully putting her competitiveness aside and just being a great encourager and teacher of young girls who may or may not go on to play the game, but who will hopefully have great memories of their time on her team.

A Laugh for Today … The Cake Ball Video

October 14, 2009


Wellll, the newspaper just arrived, and the article about me cooking isn’t too bad.  But then I went to the newspaper’s website and watched the video of me.  What a hoot!

You can read the full article by clicking on the article’s name in the left hand column words printer friendly above the picture.

 Here is the article and see the video here — your laugh for today!

Hidden Treasures out the car window!

October 13, 2009


On our way home from Chicago, I enjoyed one of my favorite past-times … taking pictures out the car window.  Most of them end up being throw-aways, but I like to look for color in them and then play around with editing to see what I can get.


100_5383   This picture …

100_5383fx   produced this one.


100_5382   From this …

100_5382xs   … came this.


  100_5385   I love these red plants along the highway, but just couldn’t get a picture that really did them justice.  But, editing did give me these …

100_5385c   I like this,

100_5385cs   But I like this even better.


100_5381   Definitely a throw away, right?

100_5381d    But not, in my opinion, after I played with it and got this.


I have found out that editing and cropping pictures are almost as much fun as golf and Sudoku!

If you have pictures like these that you are deleting, you might enjoy doing some creative editing first, just to see what you might get.