Leopard Shoes and a 22

I discovered something about myself on Thanksgiving this year and surprisingly it has nothing to do with food.

It has to do with weaponry.

I like to shoot guns.

But only at inanimate targets.

Don’t worry, I didn’t shoot a turkey.

I don’t even like turkey that much.

I’m more of a side dish kind of girl…

…Who likes to shoot guns.

I’m not really sure how we got on the topic, but I asked Uncle Brian if there were any guns I could shoot for fun.  After our noon Thanksgiving meal, he came back with a 22 rifle.  We piled into Papa’s truck and headed to one of the farms to do some damage.

Figuratively speaking, anyway.

When we got to the farm, my dad set up a very sophisticated 100ft target: a bucket on a stick.

We like to keep things simple in my family.

My cousins Lauren and Kristen shot first as I had not a clue what I was doing and thought I would benefit from watching them shoot a few rounds.

When it was my turn, I picked up the rifle, spent about 5 minutes trying to get my grip/stance/hair (joke) just right and then slowly pulled the trigger.

Click.

There were no shells left in the rifle.

Man, was that anti-climactic.

Uncle Brian reloaded the gun and I took a couple of shots.  In all of the shots we took, the bucket never moved.  We went to check it out and discovered several holes in the bucket (dear Liza, dear Liza), but the mystery remains who actually hit the target.

I asked for a different target that I could actually tell if I hit so my dad set up a small, empty water bottle.  Having had some trouble getting comfortable shooting with my right hand given that my left eye is dominant, I decided to test out shooting lefty even though I’m right-handed.

Please take note of my highly appropriate attire for this activity.

I set up the shot amidst a cloud of skepticism from my family.

I pulled the trigger and wouldn’t you know I hit that dang bottle on my first lefty shot?

Here’s my trophy shot.  The bullet hole was right smack in the middle of the bottle.  I nailed that sucker.

Cousin Lauren nailed another sucker.

We set up some more targets and I managed to continue with a decent success rate shooting lefty.

That was fun.

Watch out.  I’m armed and dangerous and fabulous now.

Y’all be careful,

Sugarlump

Showing Cattle

Yet another gem from the childhood summer adventures of cousins Lauren and Emily, here we have documentation of our days showing cattle.

In preparation for our debut at the fair, Granny took us to the big city of Bowling Green to get some matching outfits.  We landed on these precious denim vests, black shorts and black boots. Naturally, we chose to coordinate our socks with our t-shirts.  And in case you missed them, we were wearing gigantic black bows.  We kind of had a double layer Oreo thing going with the black and white.  Granny added a nice touch by sewing little sunflower patches onto our vests.  I think they really pulled the look together.

Here we are posing with our trophy cow. She was just thrilled to have a couple of little girls around.

This young lady certainly wasn’t going anywhere with all of us anchoring her rope.  We were so much help.  For all I know, this cow might have been a young man.

That’s my dad in the red cap.

I can’t help but notice that this calf and I have nearly the same leg shape: knobby.

Man was I happy to be there.

We don’t seem to have any pictures of me and Lauren showing our calves individually.  Poor cousin Lauren got a wild one and I think he stepped on her foot a time or two.  She persevered.

Granny and Eugene cheered us on from the stands as we won a few ribbons for our efforts.   The event concluded with a celebratory Sippy cup of apple juice.

Today, cousin Lauren turned 22.  In the 17 years since these photos were taken, she has learned a tremendous amount about cattle and showing them.  Regrettably, the same cannot be said for me.  Maybe someday we’ll get back out there in our sunflower vests and cousin Lauren can give me a few pointers.

Happy Birthday, Lauren!  I will always treasure our summer adventures.

Y’all hurry back,

Sugarlump

Big Stuff

I was big stuff when I was little.

Here I am showing the foundation of my childhood home in Philadelphia who’s boss.   (The reality is that my dad probably asked me to go stand out in the middle of the foundation for a sense of scale.)

Prior to living in Philadelphia, we lived in Maryland, where my sister and I were born.  Here I am standing at the front door ready to head out for doubles.  I always hiked up one pant leg for good measure.

I don’t know what I am waving around in my hand in this photo.  My hypothesis is that it was a VHS that I wanted my dad to come put in the VCR in the sunroom.

After my baby doll had worn out her welcome, I used her as a pillow when watching TV on the floor.  I was a very resourceful toddler.

When I was even smaller, I used to help Papa check on the cattle.

I was taller than Papa.

Granny and I would sit on the front walk and have serious discussions about all kinds of things…like Barbie, Barney, and the Berenstain bears.

I even wrote letters to Granny before I could read.  Here is one written the year my sister, who is now a junior in college, was born.  It appears that I wrote largely in code, except for Granny’s name.

Man, I sure got my money’s worth out of childhood.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Sweet Tooth

I have a serious sweet tooth.  Actually, I like sweets so much that I would say I have sweet teeth.  I think I have 4.  Sweet teeth that is.  Not 4 teeth.  I have a lot more than 4 teeth in case you were getting the wrong idea.  However, if I continue to eat so many sweets, my teeth may start to fall out and I may someday have only 4 teeth.  But let’s not think about that.

I have no idea where I got my sweet tooth.  It might have to do with the fact that there are a lot of excellent, and I mean top-notch, bakers in my family.   As you can see, I served as designated bowl-licker as a toddler.  I’ve excelled in this role over the years.

I was often quite involved in the baking process so it was only natural that I wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

I was very adventurous in trying new sweets, like Papa’s ice cream Popsicle.

My grandparents made the mistake of building cabinets accessible to toddlers.  If you couldn’t find me, I was likely in the cabinet, foraging for cookies.

I sure love me some sweets.  I also, however, really like savory food.  I guess what it boils down to is that I just don’t like bland food.  Can you blame me?

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I once had a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie at a local restaurant in the town I grew up in.

It changed my life forever.

After that day, it became my mission to perfect a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe.

It took many a flop for me to get to where I am today.  I tried several recipes I found online and none was peanut-buttery enough.  So I tinkered with this and that and I think I’ve got a good thing going.   The trick is to put in A LOT of peanut butter.  Shocking, I know.  Also, take the cookies out of the oven before they look done.  I mean it. If you leave them in there until they look done, they will turn into bricks.  And no one likes to eat peanut butter chocolate chip bricks.

If you want to become instantly popular among your younger sister’s high school pals, I would suggest making these cookies.  After I made the cookies for the youngsters the first time, I was hit up for a double batch almost every time they came over.  I nearly broke my mixer once when I received a triple batch request.

There were never any cookies left by the time Eugene’s friends went home.

Here’s how to become instantly popular among your sister’s friends:

Assemble butter, peanut butter, sugar, light brown sugar, eggs, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips but NOT vanilla extract.  I don’t know what that was doing there.

Ingredients (recap):

1)      1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

2)      ¾ cup of peanut butter

3)      1/3 cup of light brown sugar

4)      2/3 cup of sugar

5)      1 egg

6)      1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

7)      ½ teaspoon baking powder

8)      ½ teaspoon baking soda

9)      ¼ teaspoon salt

10)   1 cup chocolate chips (preferably 60% bittersweet)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Measure out the first 4 ingredients and throw them into a mixing bowl.

I would highly recommend spraying your measuring cup with cooking spray to help that peanut butter slide right into the bowl.  Keep a spatula handy in case the peanut butter gets pesky.

Cream the butter, peanut butter and white and brown sugars until light in color.

Add the egg and mix until incorporated.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix until just combined.

Stir in chocolate chips by hand.  I would have taken a picture but I was stirring.

Drop the dough onto a baking sheet using a large spring-loaded cookie/ice-cream scoop for even cookies.  Press down to flatten the cookies to ¾” thick.  The cookies should be about 3″ in diameter.  If you only have a medium size cookie/ice-cream scoop like the one pictured above, your cookies will be about 2″ in diameter.    Press any straggler dough into the sides of the cookies so they look prettier and more uniform when they come out of the oven.

Bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on your scoop size) or until just barely starting to brown.  The cookies will look underdone.  Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet and then serve or finish cooling them on wire rack.

I tidied up the edges of the dough for the cookies on the left and neglected to do so for the batch on the right.  The ones on the left are much more attractive.   However, I over-baked the cookies on the left and the ones on the right were just right.  You really have the watch these suckers.  The MOMENT you see just a hint of brown on the cookies, remove them from the oven to cool IMMEDIATELY.

I mean it.

You’ll thank me.

Y’all eat up,

Sugarlump

Childhood Campfires

When we were little, Papa used to take us grandbabies camping on the top of the hill behind Granny and Papa’s house.  We would haul the kids’ picnic table to the top of the hill (read: Papa would put it in the back of his truck and drive it to the top of the hill for us) and Granny would load us up with hotdogs, buns and marshmallows for a lunch by the campfire.  We always had a big time.  I can smell the marshmallows burning just thinking about it.  Oh man, those were the days.

I recently found some photos of these camping adventures in some old family albums.

Here’s my sister Eugene at age 3, roasting a branch and channeling her inner Pocahontas.  She was wearing her idol’s shirt for good vibes.

On this particular afternoon, it appears I was thrilled to be roughing it in the backyard at the Fisher-Price picnic table.  Cousin Lauren looks significantly less thrilled.

A few minutes later, there was quite a shift in the mood.  Cousin Lauren is proudly displaying a walnut as I manage a smirk and continue to slouch.  My dad would be so displeased with my posture in these pictures.

And, for Pocahontas, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

Here is Pocahontas doing a little interpretive dance after her beverage.  Or maybe she had to go to the bathroom.  Either way, she was really getting the most out of our afternoon in the wilderness.

Always an adventure “camping” with Papa.

Y’all keep it real,

Sugarlump

Young and Fabulous

I’ve been going through old family photo albums lately.  Now I know why people take so many pictures and put them in albums: it’s absolutely hilarious to look back in time.

While looking through these old albums, I discovered that when I was young I was pretty fabulous.

I wore hot pink jelly flats, floral tops and patterned band aids.   I must have been subscribing to the “more is more” philosophy of dress.

This shot was taken at the front row of fashion week…in Granny and Papa’s den.

I wore sunglasses in the house and Mary Jane’s on a regular basis.  In hindsight, I might have opted for some sheer black stockings instead of the white tights, but we all fall victim to toddler fashion trends at some point in our lives.

Hopefully, it’s while we’re toddlers.

I wore sunglasses at night.  My theory on this obviously practical choice is that posing in my sunglasses after my bath prolonged having to go to bed.  My mom was eating it up.  It was genius.

I rocked white faux fur.  The paparazzi (my dad) caught me leaving the house in it Easter morning of what looks to be 1991.

This was my parents’ first home, purchased in the era of the high-teen mortgage rates.  And, bless their hearts, they still managed to keep me stylin’.

I wish I were as fabulous now as I was then.   I’m not sure that I could pull off any of these things now.

More to come on the first decade on my life.  Brace yourselves.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Dynamic Duo

When we were little, cousin Lauren and I were a seriously dynamic duo. Every time I would come to visit, we got into all sorts of things at Granny and Papa’s. We had miniature chairs (which I believe had been … Continue reading

Melon-y Felony

I don’t know where to start. These are watermelon outfits. MATCHING watermelon outfits, no less. Granny loved to have her babies dressed in matching outfits.  Why these outfits had to feature large watermelons and candy-cane striped legging-shorts, I’m not sure. … Continue reading

Rainy Day Reflections

Rainy days inspire in me a spirit of reflection.   Today, I found myself deep in thought about recent events in my life and those coming up.  Rainy days also provide me with great clarity on the things right before my eyes.  Here are the thoughts that came to mind while sitting at a traffic light on my way home:

  1. I think it’s time for new windshield wipers.
  2. I love October.  There is relief from the heat of summer and the holiday season is just around the corner.
  3. I survived big girl Sunday school yesterday.  I had been talking about going for weeks, but had some irrational fear that I would be put on the spot to recite the bible in its entirety.  When I told Grandmother I was a little scared to go, she reminded me that this year I moved 1000 miles away from my home of 13 years on my own to a city where I knew no one.  She thought I could manage a new Sunday school class.  She was right.
  4. I can’t wait to wear boots.
  5. The new season of Dexter began last night.  Per usual, I had nightmares after watching it, even though I love it and subject myself to it willingly.  I woke up at 6:23AM in a panic and almost got up out of bed to make sure my deadbolts were locked.  My alarm clock was due to go off in 37 minutes and the sun was going to rise momentarily, so I decided I was probably safe and rolled over.
  6. I wore a sweater to work today and I didn’t sweat.   I guess Fall is actually here.
  7. I was asking one of my clients today if she had any pets other than her golden retriever.  She said, “Only peeves.”  For a moment, I racked my brain, trying to recall if that is a type of fish or rodent, and then I burst out laughing.  People are funny.
  8. I’m hosting Christmas at my apartment this year for my immediate family.   I’m so excited that I can hardly keep it together.
  9. I think I’m going to grow my hair out.  It’s currently just below my shoulders and I’m at that crossroads where I need to decide if I’m going to have it shaped to my normal just –above-the-shoulders-do or if I’m going to grow it out and become dangerous with a curling iron.
  10. My clients’ almost-two-year-old daughter said my name today.  She was also calling her overalls her “backpack,” so this was a pretty big deal.

Y’all stay dry,

Sugarlump