I mustache you a question. Would you please remove this atrocity from my vicinity and stop pretending that I make puns?
Posts Tagged ‘cats’
“I believe I heard the sound of a bag of Greenies being opened. No? You say it’s a bag of croutons? Well, I happen to know that the croutons are stored next to the Greenies, so let’s just break those out while you’re standing there.”
I eat a lot of salad, so we play this game several nights a week. I pretend to be fooled by his charade, and he enjoys outsmarting me. Everybody wins.
Posted in Christmas, Crafts, tagged Atlanta, Atlanta driving, canvas, canvas projects, cats, Christmas decor, Christmas decorations, Christmas light canvas, Christmas lights, Christmas stencils, Christmas tree, Christmas tree cats, painting projects, Pinterest, stencils, zombies on December 5, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
True story: I haven’t had a Christmas tree since 1995 because I adopted two cats in 1996. Two trouble-seeking cats who pursued destruction with an unimaginable ferocity.
It’s possible I could have put up a tree last year, when the cat count was down to one 15-year-old feline who didn’t seem quite as keen on mischief as he once was. Once you get out of the habit of NOT having a tree, however, it’s a lot of trouble to get back in the spirit.
For weeks, I meant to buy a blank canvas, but honestly it’s hard to convince myself to drive around in Atlanta unless I’m LEAVING Atlanta. So if I can’t buy something at Publix, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens or Moes Southwest Grill, I usually find that I can get by without it.
Luckily, my apartment complex parks a big Dumpster in the parking garage on my floor for folks who just can’t manage to haul their cast-offs to the first floor as they’re moving in or out. I spotted two canvases leaning against a big pile of flattened boxes one morning when I darted in to put my trash in the chute.
I think it must be ex-boyfriend art. I mean, the canvases are in great shape, other than what’s painted on them. The one on the left is almost passable, except the longer you look at that big purple flower, the more uneasy and antsy it makes you. Or maybe it’s just me. Art. You know. It’s weird.
I suspect I was supposed to paint over the old paintings with gesso, but all I had was some leftover beige ceiling paint and some red latex from another project. Two nights, two coats of paint.
I kind of doubted my ability to complete a random shape like the writer of the original post did, so I looked for stencils to trace. I found a swoopy, modern-looking tree stencil at Altogether Christmas and ended up drawing it freehand on the back of the larger canvas with a pencil.
First, however, I attempted to estimate how many “levels” the tree should have, based on the number of lights I had (150) and a rough estimate of how far apart the lights would go. And then I gave up and just drew a big swoopy tree.
While watching “The Walking Dead” (holidays! guts! zombies!), I punched holes approximately 1 inch apart along the pencil lines with a sharp kitchen knife (the original writer used an awl, and I’m pretty sure I don’t own one). An awl would have probably made it easier to make standard-sized holes; instead, I had to use my own somewhat distracted judgment. Ideally, I think, the holes should be ever so slightly smaller than the light bulbs being punched through the back. Any bigger and the bulbs won’t stay in without tape (or, I guess, glue); too small and you may stand a change of breaking the bulb trying to force it through.
I had about 20 lights left over when I was done punching holes. Considering the big mess of wires draped along the back of the canvas, a few extra lights don’t really make much of a difference.
The original instructions advised me to secure each light with hot glue, but that seemed like a lot of trouble. It also seemed incredibly permanent, and I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to change any bulbs that burned out if they were glued in. Sure enough, after I unplugged the strand and moved the finished product across the room, none of the red bulbs worked when I plugged the lights back in.
While I don’t pretend to understand Christmas lights, I did remember that I had a small baggie of replacement bulbs. I guess I replaced the right bulb (first red one on the strand), because everything worked again afterwards.
It’s not much to look at in daylight, but it’s absolutely magical after dark. And, above all else, the holidays should be magical.
Onward, then, to the eggnog. Oh, and I guess I have another canvas to light up.
Posted in Cats, CSA, Eats, Photographs, tagged cats, cooking, CSA, English peas, farm, food, grandmother, grandparents, microwave corn, mississippi, peas with garlic, photograph, saute peas, sauteed English peas, sauteed peas, steamed beans, steamed corn, Williams-Sonoma recipes, Yang on July 2, 2012 | 1 Comment »
I was excited and a little leery when I found a bagful of fresh English peas in my latest CSA box.
As confirmed by my CSA representative, English peas are extremely sensitive to hot weather, so they would have never had a chance on my grandparents’ farm in South Mississippi. Therefore, the only English peas I’ve ever eaten have come straight out of the can, slightly mushy and pretty bland. Meh.
Since the record-breaking heat in North Alabama/South Tennessee was making it clear that this would be the only fresh English peas I would get this year, I knew I had to make the most of them.
I don’t mean this as an insult to my Southern ancestry, but at some point cooks in the South started boiling vegetables into a salty mush. I remember the first time I ever had a string bean that had been briefly steamed, and thus still held a bit of natural sweetness and a light crunch. (Truly, it would have been considered underdone at my grandmother’s house.) Corn on the cob became a whole new experience for me when I discovered that I could simply wrap individual ears in waxed paper and microwave them for a few minutes, leaving sweet and crunchy kernels that needed neither salt nor butter.
I was determined not to turn these peas into mush.
I found inspiration at Williams-Sonoma’s website: Sautéed English Peas with Garlic and Sesame. Unfortunately, I didn’t have sesame seeds or sesame oil in my pantry, so I had to wing it. I also don’t know how many pounds of peas I started with; Williams-Sonoma recommended two garlic cloves for 3 pounds of unshelled English peas. Do the math for the amount of peas you have, or just use a couple of cloves of garlic.
There are few vegetable recipes that wouldn’t be made better with a couple of cloves of garlic.
The husband was at first stunned by the color of the peas when I removed the lid from the pan; the short cooking time had left the peas a brilliant green. The texture was magnificent; they weren’t crunchy or chewy, but they weren’t mushy either. The garlic flavor burst through with every bite, but not in an overwhelming way.
Sautéed English Peas with Garlic
- Fresh English peas, shelled
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl 2/3 full with ice water. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the peas and immediately plunge them into the ice water. Let stand for two minutes and drain.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant but not brown, about 30 seconds.
Add the peas, salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing and stirring occasionally, until the peas are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately.
Yang hasn’t given up his photobombing duties; here, he inspects the bowl of English peas mid-shoot.
Yang deftly took ownership of my green jacket in December after I left it on the bed after boot camp early one morning. It’s an actual cat place now, as in “Yang’s been on green jacket since lunch.” (And it’s not even the green jacket. It’s simply green jacket, like Atlanta or Birmingham.)
He likes green jacket to be spread out on the foot of our bed, and he often demands that we escort him there from various parts of the house. He does not object to the laundering of green jacket, although I have to move quickly to get it back in place in a timely manner.
It’s good to be the cat at Casa Shaggerty.
Posted in As Pictured Below, Cats, Home, Photographs, tagged As Pictured Below, bouquets, cats, floral arrangement, flower arrangement, flowers, home, photograph, vases on November 25, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
The secondary flowers from large bouquets usually last longer than the main flowers. When broken down into sub-bouquets, they stand on their own as quirky little arrangements.
There will be no setting up a cute stuffed animal/real animal shot with Yang, a light sleeper who dislikes such hijinks.