I would invite y’all over for cookies….but someone ate them all,
My Mother tells me that I always had girl friends in high school,
I was just too stupid to realize it.
Like my friend Deanna;
For Christmas our sophomore year she gave me one of the best presents I’ve ever received. A fleece sweat suit with “JIM SUIT” in iron-on letters across the chest and my last name “ANGUS” running down the pant leg. In the years before “JUICY” or “PINK” guys on the track team would label the butts of their track pants with their last names so everyone trailing behind them would know who was in the lead. She knew that I was fascinated by this fact. But since my last name is one letter bonus of a none-too-pleasant anatomical term, Deanna decided that the leg, and not the seat, was a better place for ANgUS to be placed.
I think she made a wise decision.
To this day, Deanna is the only person ever to draw me, and in a flattering way no less. I still have it too, framed in the hallway next too James Dean.
We sat next to each other in class (so we could pass notes back and forth), ate lunch together every day, and talked on the phone for a few hours every night before we fell asleep. So we were friends, Right?
When it came time for our Sophomore Valentine’s Dance, Deanna was the obvious choice for a date. And why not? She would be fun.
But for some unknown reason, I got the idea to double date with someone.
Like my friend Pete;
Pete played guitar in a band. The freaking guitar. I could barely play a clarinet. I don’t remember his band’s name, them ever playing any gigs, or even who the lead singer was. All I do remember was the 4 of them always doing photo shoots. Lots of photo shoots. (It wasn’t even a challenge to find this one on my hard drive) That’s Pete in the middle – always the Sharp Dressed Man – in the cropped silver jacket trying desperately to look like Simon Le Bon.
(Trina, do you recognize that little guy in the white sweatshirt?)
Ohhh, and did I mention that Pete was the best-smelling guy I knew?
My only suit came from Chess King, or Merry Go Round….or one of those other 80’s men’s stores that sounded like a party game. It was unlined with brown and maroon stripes and a double-breasted jacket that buttoned real low. I wore it with an inch-wide bow tie and the dressiest shoes that I owned at the time……Bass Weejun penny loafers (unpolished apparently).
I thought I looked like Kevin Bacon in Footloose.
Deanna and I met at the dance at pretty much exactly the same time. She had a card for me….I didn’t have one for her. I didn’t realize that we were doing that. We hung out with a gaggle of our mutual friends, drank punch, and danced a little. We had our picture taken by the photographer. And can you believe this? I can’t find it. Me. I keep everything.
(Insert photo of Deanna and Me at the Dance, when I find it)
I thought we were having a pretty good time, at least until we separated from the heard.
I didn’t have my driver’s license yet, and wouldn’t for another 5 years, but that’s a story in itself, so after the dance my Mother drove me and Deanna, and Pete and his date Penny, (How come I’d never heard of Penny before?) to my favorite restaurant at the time…….Chili’s.
My Mother slipped me a 20 (I’m sure in 1963 it would have bought a magnificent steak dinner, a carriage ride once around the park and a pack of smokes. In 1985 it barely bought 2 burgers and a shared order of fries.) and we 4 minors were led to a back both while my mother occupied herself at the bar with a book and – I know she will deny this – a pack of smokes.
Our waitress and Deanna knew each other – from church, I think – so Pete seized the opportunity and boldly ordered us a round of strawberry margaritas. I think he was probably joking, or maybe just testing the waters, but she gave him a little smile and brought us actual strawberry margaritas. Not the “virgin” kind that I was expecting.
WOW. That had never happened before.
I wasn’t sure quite what to do with my margarita, but Pete and Penny certainly did. They had both torpedoed theirs and were slurping up the remaining strawberry pulp in seconds. Pete belched like he was calling the hogs to dinner and Penny, (who was this chick anyway?), started giggling.
(I should take a moment to explain here, that contrary to being Catholic, at age 16 I was not a very experienced drinker. I was still miles away from the champion that I am today. 2 beers then would usually put me to sleep, and I know for a fact that I’d never had tequila before that night. “Strawberry-Alcohol” did NOT sound appealing to me. Don’t think it did to Deanna either.)
Pete, his confidence tequila-enhanced, bellowed across the restaurant for another round. While Deanna and I were still twirling at our first ones with our straws, Pete and Penny had guzzled down their second margaritas (were they immune to the brain-freeze?) and both helped themselves to our untouched seconds without even asking.
We didn’t care.
I don’t remember any of us eating, at all. But we should have because by now Pete and Penny were both drunk. The kind of drunk that 16-year-olds get from drinking 3 Chili’s strawberry margaritas in about 8 minutes. I’m not really sure just what the alcohol content was, but it must have been a lot because Penny couldn’t stop giggling. And the more Pete drank, the louder he got. He was wildly gesturing all the details about the 3rd time he was almost arrested when he knocked his water into Deanna’s lap. That’s when I realized that maybe we should go before the “going” got any messier.
I threw down my 20, rustled up my mother and herded everyone out to her Cadillac…….and the car wouldn’t start.
Of course it wouldn’t.
My Mother called a friend on the pay phone by the restrooms, (yeah, they used to have those) and after a very long 20 minutes of Pete explaining exactly how to get high off of silver spray paint my Mom’s friend Shirley pulled up in her van.
But It wasn’t a regular van, it was a kind of service van with no seats, just a love seat in the very back…….With the adults in the 2 front seats, we 4 kids piled into the back of the van and squeezed ourselves onto the 2-person love seat, Deanna and I book-ending the tipsy twins…..From somewhere a blanket had appeared and Pete/Penny were immediately buried under it. Why, oh why, was there a blanket in the back of that van? From under the thin fabric we heard slurping, something snapped, more slurping, Pete belched, Penny giggled, and then we heard what sounded like one of them breathing with the assistance of a scuba tank. Darth Vader-esque. I had no idea who.
Deanna and I didn’t say much. What was there to talk about at this point? We just each concentrated on what was outside our respective windows for the rest of the ride.
Luckily for her, her house was the first stop.
I got out of the van with her and cautiously walked her to the front door (I knew enough to do that), I nervously bent down (headed in the right direction here) and planted her with a tremendous “goodnight…….hug.”
If that wasn’t just the cherry on top of her evening.
Without saying a word, Deanna went inside and flipped off the porch light.
What the hell was that? Was I crazy? Nervous? Aware that my Mother and her friend were pretending not to watch us? Possibly gay?
Maybe a little of all of the above.
I was sulking back to the van when Pete hollered out the window, “Dude, why didn’t you kiss her? You know she wanted it”. At what point did my teen angst suddenly become more interesting to him than what he was being offered under that blanket?
I sunk into the love seat next to the 2 of them, who had returned to their unseen slurping/breathing/giggling rhythm, and endured the rest of the ride.
This is when I realized that I left the card Deanna gave me at Chili’s.
Deanna never drew me again after that night, she definitely put me in her “friend column”. I didn’t blame her one bit. I know now, even if I didn’t know then, that wasn’t exactly the evening that she was expecting.
We joked about that night at our last class reunion, even recreated the missing dance photo.
I don’t remember Pete ever smelling good after that night.
I few years ago, he and I reconnected on Facebook, he’s divorced and living in Colorado now, and I reminded him of that fateful night in my life………and how I’ve been telling the story ever since.
He remembered none of it.
Of course he didn’t.
You read that right…..
C. O. T. T. A. G. E………Cottage
Apparently we live in a cottage.
According to Wikipedia; A cottage is, typically, a small, charming house.
Sounds about right.
Anyhoo, check out our Cottage of the Month feature at The Old Painted Cotttage.
Pretty good home tour……
Just reminds me that we need to work on a bathroom….soon.
In the days before toys were based on cartoons, sci-fi movies, and breakfast cereals…….toy makers had to actually be creative.
In 1903, Albert Schoenhut debuted his Humpty Dumpty clown toy. He modeled the toy after the popular play and clown at the time, Humpty Dumpty. Until that time, Schoenhut made toy pianos, dolls and wooden blocks. His toy clown was so successful that within a year he had snowballed into a complete line of circus toys. The Humpty Dumpty Toy Circus. Over the next 30 years, Schoenhut continued to build his circus line to include a ringmaster, lion tamers, carnival wagons, tents, a complete orchestra, minstrels and acrobats, way too many clowns and a full menagerie of exotic animals. Almost all of the figures were fully poseable with slots in their feet so they could climb ladders, swing on trapeze, or ride on the back of a mount.
(There were hundreds of traveling circuses crisscrossing the country then; reaching their peak in popularity in about 1910.
At the turn of the century, in rural areas of the United States, there were no movie theaters, zoos, or television. Long distance travel was much more expensive and dangerous than it is today, and people weren’t exposed to the exotic very often. That is, until the circus came to town. Early circus were much like museums are today. They exposed rural people to the unusual, the fanciful and the amazing. The arrival of a circus to town meant that the entire town would shut down, school and work postponed, and everyone flocked to the street for the expected parade.)
Unfortunately, the Schoenhut company wasn’t strong enough to last through the depression, and closed forever in 1935.
I’ve been fascinated by these toys since I first saw a few figures in an antique store cabinet.
When I stumbled on some images from this fantastic toy line, I just new I had to share them with y’all.
About a year ago, one of my followers, Kim, sent me a vintage European grain sack that she had acquired, didn’t need, and knew that I would find a use for.
(I love the word “Follower”, it has a slight Jim Jones sound to it)
I’m sure she thought I’d make a few more pillows. But I have another plan.
Here’s our victim….
If you aren’t familiar with European grain sacks, they are usually a heavy woven flax linen. The stripes, different on every bag, are a way to quickly identify what was in each bag and the farm from which it came.
This one is pretty thick – the thicker, the better BTW – so I use sharp scissors to cut the bag down to from 44 inches deep to about 24 inches.
I want a deep bag.
I turn the bag inside out, and fold down about an inch from the newly cut top, and use a hot iron to press the flap flat.
I’ve had this scrap yardage of khaki/blue linen lying around the garage. No real purpose for it, I can just never throw anything away.
No worries, because now it has an actual purpose. I thought it would make a great lining for my bag.
I fold a piece in half and run a stitch up each side.
I turn this one inside out, so the raw edges are inside, and I now have 2 sacks about the same size. (18 inches X 21 inches)
Now, I slip the blue linen sack over the grain sack, like a pillow case, and tuck the edge under the flap.
I pin it down and give it a quick stitch around the entire edge.
Then I fold the edge down once more, but about 2 inches this time.
Once more, using a really hot iron I press the edge down.
I stitch this edge down to. It’s thick. Broke 2 needles on my sewing machine doing this.
Flip the whole thing right-side out and I’m left with a linen-lined grain sack with a thick top edge.
For the bag strap…..we went to Wally World.
I know, I know….they are the Evil Empire of stores, and their customers seem to dress like every day is Halloween in New Orleans, but I knew we’d find cheap leather belts there.
And in (Ahem, as I clear my throat) VERY large sizes.
Like, size 48,
In a beautiful Cuoio leather color. I even like the brushed stainless buckle.
16 bucks each.
Because I need 2 … and up until this point I haven’t spent a penny … 32 bucks is pretty good deal.
I use tin snips to cut the buckle off one of the belts, that leaves me with a 52 inch strap with a row of holes. The other belt I cut down to 12 inches with the buckle still attached.
I buckle the 2 together to make one long, 63 inch, belt.
I draw out 4 holes in each end of my belt strap and use a hammer and nail to poke holes.
I line the holes up with the edge of my bag and mark their locations with a pen.
See? All my holes will be centered on the double thick edge of the sack.
I use the same big nail and a hammer to make holes on each mark through the layers of fabric.
To attach the strap, we asked ourselves, “What would Ron Swanson do?” Ron would be a man, and think that there was already way too much sewing involved in this project. Pretty sure he would use nuts and bolts.
1/4 inch bolts, 3/4 inch long.
I want a pretty tight connection, so I screwed these into the leather….
….and pushed each through the holes I made in the sack….I won’t lie, this took some work.
When they finally did poke through, I attached each with a washer and bolt.
Did this 4 times for each strap
Ron Swanson would be proud.
Don’t know about where you live, but in Dallas our city council passed a new proposal encouraging retailers to charge for one-time-use to bags.
Way to go.
Feels like we live in a REAL city now. Where everybody rides a bike and recycles.
We have decided to make a conscious effort to bring our own bags to the grocery store.
This one is plenty big and deep. Perfect size for Jamie to run to the grocery store for ice cream and beer…….I mean, baguettes and bottled water.
Wanna make your own? And we certainly hope that we’ve inspired you to.
Ebay and Etsy both offer European grain sacks for sale. Expect to pay anywhere from 15 – 30 bones. The rest is up to you.
I’m willing to bet that about right now Kim wants hers back……
(well she ain’t gettin’ it)
Thanks again Kim. Told ya I’d do something cool with it.
I first heard of these cupcakes a few years ago.
They sound straight out of a 1960’s Junior League Cookbook. Where every recipe called for a can of soup.
But they aren’t. I borrowed this recipe from the Food Network, but tweaked it just slightly to make it a little easier.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Butter (1 Stick – Room Temperature)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Can of Tomato Soup (10 Ounces)
- 2 Cups of Flour
- 1/2 TSP Salt
- 1 TSP Baking Soda
- 2 TSP Baking Powder
- 1/2 TSP Cinnamon
- 1/2 TSP Nutmeg
- 1/2 TSP Cloves
You probably have all that on hand already. I did.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a standard cupcake pan with liners.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, eggs, and butter.
Shift together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) in a bowl.
With the mixer on low, alternate between adding the tomato soup and the flour mixture to the sugar/eggs/butter.
Don’t over mix it, just make sure the dry ingredients are throughly combined.
The batter is a beautiful spicy-color when it’s throughly mixed.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake until the cupcake springs back when touched, about 22 minutes.
Now for the frosting.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 1/2 Cups of Confectioner’s Sugar
Blend the 3 together and pipe onto the tops of the completely cooled cupcakes.
These couldn’t be easier………
As comforting as a bowl of tomato soup on a cold, dreary winter day….
Only in sweet, sweet (But, not too sweet) cupcake form.
January is by far the saddest month of the year.
All the holiday decorating that we feverishly do the weekend after Thanksgiving, has to come down, get boxed up and stored……
Saddest month of the year, (Hugh Sigh)
So where does it go in a small house?
The big vintage ornament wreath has been a tradition of mine for the past 15 years.
The ornaments are individually hooked onto a chicken wire wreath form every year…one at a time.
They come down the same way. One at a time.
We box them up in the boxes they came in, or between layers of bubble wrap, then fill tubs. 6 tubs to be exact.
The tubs stack in the attic. Now this is a little controversial because glass ornaments need to be kept somewhere where the temperature is constant…..or they will age faster. I actually kind of like the age spots they get. Makes them look “loved”.
So the attic is fine.
But not for the glass Radko ornaments on the tree……
I don’t want them to age at all.
I fill mixing bowls with them as we take them off the tree.
Then these guys are individually bubble wrapped and stashed inside the banquet in the kitchen.
Once the cushion and pillows are in place….no one would ever know that they were sitting on top of a few hundred ornaments.
Everything that isn’t a glass ornament; bubble lights, reflectors, plastic clip-on birds, spinners, and glittery balls, are bagged and boxed.
The tree itself is wrapped in white sheets and stashed in this perfect, but odd, little space on the side of the chimney in the garage.
Jamie has the outside lights down to an exact science.
He removes all the bulbs from the light strands – this keeps them from breaking – and every strand goes in a labled ziploc.
Same with the garland around the front door….
The lights and berries are bagged and labeled….
…and these tubs fit perfectly on the shelves we built over the garage door.
Organized Hoarding at it’s finest.