Sunday, November 29, 2009

America vs. The Narrative

Wow, this is good. In the same vein as Theodore Dalrymple on the psychodrama of El Quaeda, Friedman makes one of the problems of East Vs. West clear.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Family Food Network (updated)

Cell phone call overheard by Sis at the Target: "I don't know what she thought bringing that pumpkin pie- like it's the same as sweet potatoes. I mean, if you're gonna bring a pie- just bring a SWEET POTATO PIE!"

Target called me about a week ago to get the recipe for the Brocolli Rice casserole that's been a staple side at our Thanksgiving dinners, ever since my sister brought it home from her sorority at UT. It was one of those dishes that spread like kudzu through the kitchens of middle-class America in the '70's. Today we'd say it went viral.
After I read it to her over the phone, there was a short silence.
"So, this is the worst recipe ever, since it's a heart attack in a casserole."
"Well, sweetheart, it is over thirty years old."
"Ohmigod- there's Cheez Whiz, a stick of butter...Davy cannot possibly eat this."
"You could Google it and see if there's a lo-fat version. Just buy your Cheez Whiz early, or there won't be any left." I said, remembering the year I managed, in one of those slo-mo sequences, to snatch the last jar of that product off the shelf in the HEB before the other woman got it. I'm usually the least aggressive person in the world, but the thought of telling my extended family that there would be no B-R casserole because I wimped out spurred me to action movie lengths. If I'd had a bullwhip, I'd have used it.

She calls a week later to ask if she can use fresh steamed brocolli, instead of frozen and what kind of rice should she buy? It seems, searching the net, that someone has decided to jazz this up with wild rice. That is just wrong, people. It's basmati or Uncle Ben's. But steamed brocolli is okay.
She is also bringing two other things to dinner: Herb-butter bread and our new favorite appetizer. This is a jar of jalapeno fruit jelly, poured over a block of cream cheese, and served with crackers. That's the whole recipe and the boyfriend can't eat that, either.

But he can eat the Herb-butter bread, the recipe for which I copied from, I'm sorry to say, a 1971 copy of S2x and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown. It's nothing but butter turned green with a variety of herbs and garlic salt spread on French/Italian bread. It evaporates the second you take it out of the oven.
It's my second party piece- the first being tacos.

We are going to my brother's for dinner. We will see how a walking Morgan likes the deer heads that terrorized Bubs year before last.
Grateful for so many things, you included. Have a wonderful Day!

Update: my youngest brother's wife brought us a new appetizer: Keebler stackers topped with white cheddar, slices of Granny Smith apples and honey. There was an actual honeycomb, because it's about the presentation. Alas, jalapeno jelly on cream cheese has met it's match and lost.
She also brought this for dessert, to which she added some dried cranberries. Words fail.
Lucky day for us all when Chas needed a legal assistant.
"I don't know how good her skills are, Mom, but she sure is pretty."

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Gratitude

- That Sarah has the best sister in the world. Target has offered her her pick of the furniture she has in storage: "as long as you give it back and don't break it". So, she can use the money she would have spent on a bed, etc. on rent.

-This site. What a great writer. Send all your potential converts here.

-Good theater parents. One mom has sent me three e-mails with a zillion links to possible jammies for her kid.

-That the Yarbs garage sale went well. They made some $$$ and got everything else off the premises- a big load off their minds

-That when you slip up- like yelling at someone you love over a character trait you've consciously chosen to ignore- you can repent and start over again...and again...

-That I never have to play Mario Kart ever- the pace gives me vertigo and I fall off the couch. Someone else will have to deal with the obsession.

-That Bubs can read the whole alphabet and understands symbols, like the "No" sign. There was a little incident in which he asked his dad how to spell "Mom", which he wrote on the door blackboard and then added the symbol. He was mad at her about something- but grasping how that works- genius.

-That there was a spot at St. Catherine's pre-school for Bubs.

-That flannel looks like wool from a distance

and other things too numerous to mention.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

CS update
Finished the Flying Monkey, except for the hat elastic. It is great- of course I stole from the best.
Found a leather ladies's jacket and some brown pants at the GW, so Ralphie's Soldier of Fortune costume will be Indiana Jones. One of the theater mainstays brought in a spare overcoat for The Old Man and a canvas fedora. We'll use the hat, add a white school uniform shirt, properly distressed, and - Instant Costume!

Scut Farkas is mostly done- I altered a fleece lumberjack shirt for his jacket and we have a coonskin cap. He'll get some thrift store jeans for himself. I found an ugly plaid fleece remnant at JA, which I might use for his muffler. We'll see- I might find something better.

Took up a coat that was left over from "Steel Magnolias" for an overcoat for Helen. So, she's complete, except for eyeglasses and a decision on her hair.

I'm using a lot of felt this show, in the fantasy sequences and the department store Santa scene- it has the right cheesy Depression-era feel to it.

Esther Jane, our ingenue character, was a challenge. I was resigned to making her a dress, and was making myself nuts searching for the right print, until I looked into the closet in the sewing room, of all places, where hung the perfect pale blue hand-knit pullover with a navy, white and pink Fair Isle yoke. I think it might have been a thrift purchase of Target's. It's a little large for her, but so what I wanted that we'll cope. She will have a blue flannel skirt to match, a dickey with a ruffled collar and a pink beret and scarf. A pastel heartbreaker.
I'm considering ringlets, but that may be more trouble than it's worth.

Today's goals- JA for fleece, flannel, corduroy, broadcloth, silky solid. Storage for mobcap and Sike's coat and any other useful shirts. Party City for glasses (?) and a white Cowboy hat.
Does Ralph need a western vest? Yes, for his big scene, as Red Ryder, I think.
Gratitude: Nov. 10

Bubs. No explanation needed.
Oh- and the U.S. Marine Corps. Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Days of Gratitude: Catching Up
The Fort Hood atrocity (like Robert Avrech of Seraphic Secret, I refuse to call it a 'tragedy') and the House vote on healthcare slowed me down. But still, I am grateful for:
  • Americans who have not succumbed to PC. Please see the One Cosmos archives for the best take-down of this pathology available.
  • Americans who will not surrender their personal liberties without a fight.
  • Smart people, who are also wise people. I am blessed to know so many on the Net. You know who you are...
  • Even though we have theological differences, being united with Evangelicals and non-lefty Protestants in the Culture War. I am especially grateful for their many excellent women's sites, which are so encouraging.
  • Goodwill, where I found a lot of useful stuff for the show.
  • No divas.
  • That the neighbors, after the death of their ancient kitty, who we would watch when they left town, have a new cat.
  • The creativity and handiness of Sissy- who put together a wonderful personal prop for me for the show. Her unerring eye is invaluable.
  • Every time I leave the house to get into the car, the garden lifts my spirits with its vibrant fall growth. (It also makes me feel a little neglectful, but that's a thought for another day.)
  • Getting to spend a couple of hours with just Miss O. We went to Joann's - oh, fun!- but she likes crafts and loves to discuss Mimi's costuming. She is simply the dearest little girl on earth.
  • Her sister, OTOH, is the funniest. How I treasure our walk up the block on Friday. She is tip-toeing over the acorns on the sidewalk in her little bare feet. (It wasn't that cool, and I refused to wrestle with their heinous baby-gate to go get her shoes. Yes, I'm a terrible grandmother.) "Morgan, let Mimi carry you." "NO!" "Sweetie, you're going to hurt your footies." "NO!" She can do that "NO!" thing for twenty minutes at a time. Miss Independence.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

In Proper Order
What I've learned in the costuming biz, is that there is a Sensible Path from here to there.
First- search costume storage
Second- ransack the thrift stores
Third- Discount stores (Ross, Marshall's, et. al.) and Party City
Fourth- construct from scratch
Rentals are always an option, before Four. And there is Borrowing, but that is usually more trouble than it's worth.

So, I've completed One and am off to the Goodwill today.
From the photo album from the last production of this and what one of the previous cast said, it seems as if the last time they put this on, it was pretty cobbled together, re: costumes. We have a little more time this year and hope to do a better job.

So far, The Old Man and Ralph, who are repeating their roles and costuming themselves for the most part, are done. Ralph, whose daughter was Helen last time, generously donated her outfits, which fit and suit our present Helen perfectly. She needs a pair of glasses and a coat and I can cross her off the list.

There were lots of shirts, coats, hats, scarves and gloves in storage, so outfitting Ralphie and friends will be mostly running up some knickers and picking up some more sweater vests and pullovers. They will have to wear tights, I think, under their knickers, to prevent sock creepage, which they will hate, but Suffer for your art, boys!
Or maybe ladies's trouser socks. We'll see...

There were Elf costumes in storage, but they were not so great and huge. It's a long enough scene that I'm comfortable running up some new ones. Felt, so they look slightly cheesy, as befits a Depression-era department store.
Only one of the fantasy scenes needs a costume from scratch. I found a ladies jacket that will be a wonderful coat for the soap-blindness scene. He will also have a derby and will look like a little Magritte. Leftovers from Prince and the Pauper will be his Shakespeare costume, with a cape and a hat added. We're undecided if his Soldier of Fortune outfit should be Jungle Jim or Indiana Jones, but that can be assembled. So, the only thing we need to construct is the Cowboy suit. This will be only chaps and a Buffalo Bill jacket, but the extensive trimming will be the time-consuming part. This will be fun, and I may see if Joan wants to do it- it's right up her alley- if she has time after re-upholstering the little love seat.

There is a scene in which the Mom appears as a Flying Monkey, so she will need the little jacket and pillbox. I briefly thought about re-cycling the Sword Swallower items from Oliver!, but the vest won't fit: matron vs. teen boy. After four top hats and Luke's Luigi cap, I feel like I've got this hat business down. All in purple and black felt, because the witch is purple and black and the felt was in the materials closet.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Gratitude: November 4

1) Found encouraging amounts of usable items for the show in storage. Thanks, former costumers!
2) The ability to go to Mass any day of the week, if I want to. Went to the 12 noon one at St. Ann's today, since I was in the area.
3) Having know, on-line, this Raccoon. Rest in peace, Ximeze. You will be missed.
Gratitude- Nov. 3

I'm having a little trouble with these posts- not because I find it difficult to be grateful. Instead, I spend most of my time being thankful for things- I'm the type of person who goes to fill up the coffee maker in the morning and thinks "Look at that! Clean water is coming out of our tap! Thank you, Jesus!" "There are new morning glories on the vine!" "It's rained for nine days straight-the lakes are refilling. Whoo-hoo!"
For today:
1) I was able to step in and replace the costumer for "A Christmas Story", who had some family issues. The cast has some of my favorite actors in it- one of whom is almost totally costumed already.
2) We can go to the polls in America without being threatened by violence. In fact, that's so rare that it makes the news when it happens.
3) Grocery stores.

Monday, November 02, 2009

A Month of Thanks
Stole this idea from Sis, who borrowed it from Clover Lane. Thinking of something(s) that make me thankful every day in November.

Nov. 1
1) Even though I had the flu/a bad cold for a solid week, I had access to all the healthcare I could need, if I'd wanted to use it. I refused to give them the satisfaction of being a stat, though, so I have no idea what I really had...
2) Speaking of health care, I have 1 Rep. and 1 Senator who listen to we the people.
3) I used the down time of flu/cold to finish a comfort shawl for church.

Nov. 2
1) Morgan Jane was wearing the tiniest little pigtails in the world this morning. This was heart-crackingly adorable.
2) Sarah has another job at the same theater as before.
3) The agency is going to do Thanksgiving food box distribution on site, in the former Senior Adult Services part of the building.

I didn't necessarily say they'd be BIG things. Though there will be some of those, too.