Easter 1977: The year before we blended flowers and plaid.
The year that at least one of us didn’t want his photo taken in suspender shorts.
Posted in As Pictured Below, Cats, Family, Home, Photographs, Uncategorized, tagged Amazing Otters, animal books, Animals of the High Mountains, Animals that Build their Homes, As Pictured Below, books, Books for Young Explorers, brother, cat books, Cats: Little Tigers in Your House, childhood, children's books, kitten books, Paddy Paws, sibling rivalry, Toddly on April 23, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
On Sunday, I posted this photo to Facebook, noting that I had owned this book since I was 2 1/2 years old.
It took a friend approximately three minutes to name two of the kittens (Paddy Paws and Toddly) featured in the tale. He also quickly found a link to the series, titled Books for Young Explorers, on LibraryThing.
Looking at the inscription date — December 1974 — and considering the fact that the book was from a branch of the family with whom we did not usually exchange Christmas gifts, I can only reason that this book was offered to me as a consolation prize after my little brother was born.
A kitten would have been more appreciated.
My real question is how I didn’t manage to obtain this entire series. Because a quick look at some of the titles (Amazing Otters, Animals of the High Mountains, Animals that Build their Homes) tells me that this series was written specifically for me and my kind.
It’s made it through a lot of moves and book purges, I think because I love the title so much: Little Tigers in Your Home. I also must admit, however, that flipping through page after page of kitten photos never gets old.
Ah, the Easters of yesteryear, when parents dressed and primped their children for church like prize hogs at the county fair.
I recall that this dress was not as itchy as other Easter dresses I was subjected to.
I still think that a plaid vest calls for a bow tie, whether you’re a toddler, a time lord or a literature professor.
Because once you get a little brother, you’ll never have your picture taken by yourself in your Easter finery again.
Posted in As Pictured Below, Family, tagged 1970s, As Pictured Below, brother, childhood, childhood fears, fair, fear of goats, goats, photo scanning, postaday2011, Scancafe, snakes, Spider-Man, Three Billy Goats Gruff on April 6, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Why is Spider-Man holding a snake, you might ask?
Because the 1970s made NO SENSE, I would reply. Of all the things that we might do at the fair, my brother and I chose to sit on a bench with a guy dressed as Spider-Man holding a snake.
Also note that while I had just overcome a crippling fear of goats that came about after a tragic misreading of Three Billy Goats Gruff, I apparently had no fear of snakes AT ALL.
Posted in Do One Thing, Home, tagged brother, do one, duvet, duvet cover, family, garage, garage organization, guest bedroom, home, husband, kitchen organization, mother-in-law, Nashville, pantry, postaday2011, Target, Volkswagen Vanagon on March 11, 2011 | 1 Comment »
Day 65: Finally hung up the curtain rod for the long-suffering wall hanging that we’ve owned for years. It came into our possession when my husband bought a Volkswagen Vanagon back in the late 1990s. (Apparently, it’s traditional to include a gift when you sell a Vanagon — the husband left a waterbed mattress in one that he sold before we were married.)
Anyway, it doesn’t really go with anything, but it doesn’t really NOT go with anything, either. It’s handmade and unique, and I love the stylized creatures that now brighten the upstairs hallway.
Also this week:
Day 63: Made an epic find at Target. I was planning to buy a duvet and duvet cover for the guest bedroom, since I’ve found that combination imminently easier to care for than a comforter, bedspread or quilt. With the mother-in-law set to arrive later this month, it was finally time to ditch the cat-hair-laden comforter.
Anyway, I found the EXACT items I was looking for in the clearance section for half price. Woot!
Day 64: Attempted, yet again, to move the garage shelf, only to find that there was a HUGE, unwieldy pile of green wire for the robotic mower blocking the way. I spent a good 30 minutes untangling the wire and wrapping it around an empty paper towel tube.
Can it be unwrapped easily without retangling itself? I don’t care.
Day 66: Finally managed to move the garage shelf into its new place without getting hit in the head with the surfboard again or finding another tragic tangle of green wire.
Day 67: Cleared a few things out of the kitchen pantry, including a canister of breadcrumbs that expired in April 2010. It’s rather amazing how things accumulate so quickly in there.
Days 68 and 69: I spent these two days driving to Nashville, hanging out with my brother at work and then hanging out while he had knee surgery, and then driving back. Family trumps home improvement, every time.
Posted in Eats, Photographs, Travel, tagged Atlanta, Ben & Jerry's, Big Wheel, biscuits, brother, childhood, cooking, cream cheese icing, dogs, exploration, family, farm, grandchildren, grandfather, grandmother, ice, ice cream, ice cream freezer, Irwin Street Market, Jake's Ice Cream, kitchen, Lowe Mill, Nutella, pie crust, potatoes, red velvet cake, strawberries, woods on October 21, 2010 | 1 Comment »
When I was a child, a visit to my grandparents was a magical event. They had a farm with gardens, cows, tractors and sometimes even horses. My brother and I were transformed into free-range children, loosed to explore the edge of the woods, climb big hills of red clay and ride the Big Wheel up and down grassy slopes, dodging excited dogs and fallen tree branches along the way.
The food was also an adventure. I can’t think of my grandmother without picturing her in the kitchen, mixing biscuits by hand, cutting up potatoes or rolling out a pie crust.
One of the culinary experiences we looked forward to the most was homemade ice cream. My grandmother always kept one of those old-fashioned hand-crank wooden barrels on the back porch; once it was deemed hot enough outside, she would make a ton of ice (or get someone to pick up a couple of bags on the way back from town), gather the salt, make the ice cream base and prep the grandkids for hard labor.
Because if we wanted ice cream so badly, we were going to have to work for it, turning the crank until the mixture thickened so much that we our little arms just couldn’t turn it anymore and our grandfather had to come to our rescue and finish the job for us.
The ice cream always came out thick and delicious, not as firm as it would be after a couple of hours in the freezer, but good enough to eat without having to wait. And while we were good kids, waiting for ice cream after all that work was not on our list of things to do.
Fast forward to the late 1990s, when I my husband gifted me with an electric ice cream freezer. I was disappointed when my first batch emerged from the canister not merely soft, but soupy. When the second and third batches did the same thing, I packed the freezer away and gave up.
(Yes, you can buy hand-crank ice cream freezers, but they make way more ice cream than two people [these two people, anyway] can eat, and we don’t have any readily available child labor.)
I was on the verge of tossing the freezer a couple of years ago when I gave it one more chance and it redeemed itself with a recipe for strawberry ice cream from the Ben & Jerry’s recipe book. Alas, that’s the only ice cream recipe that emerges from the maker ready to eat.
I’m ready to give it another go, however, because the Red Velvet ice cream from Jake’s Ice Cream in Atlanta is everything I’ve tried to accomplish in homemade ice cream and more. It was like a fresh piece of cake, cream cheese icing and all, mashed up in a scoop of ice cream. Only it had all been frozen together at once, without the cake drying out or freezing into crunchy, unsatisfying bits.
We visited the Irwin Street Market location of Jake’s, a former warehouse housing several creative food vendors. The building’s got kind of a Lowe Mill feel, for any Huntsvillians reading, only on a smaller scale.
The husband had the Nutella flavor, which I don’t even SEE on the menu. Jake must spend his days dreaming up awesome new flavors. I want Jake’s job.
Anyway, I’m trying to decide whether to dump a measure of red velvet cake and cream cheese icing into my unpredictable (or, I guess, quite predictable) ice cream maker or just mash some cake and ice cream together toddler birthday party style. It’s a win either way, right?