Little Lunch Date

My four year old cousin Jake tagged along for girls’ lunch at Annie Ruby’s the week before last.  It was me, my sister, Eugene, my cousin Lauren, Grandmother and my mom.  Jake is used to this set-up as my family is overwhelmingly comprised of women.  He certainly kept us entertained.

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As we enjoyed our delicious fare, we asked Jake about what he’s been up to and his Christmas.  Every response started with “well….” and “actually….”  He is very articulate for his age.

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When I asked him what he got for Christmas, he said “one hundred and one hundred presents.”  A couple of other ladies who came up to the table asked him the same question and they got the same response I did.  Jake is a pretty smart cookie so by the end of the afternoon, cousin Lauren had taught him that one hundred plus one hundred is two hundred.

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I asked him if he likes his new baby cousin Vera, which he said he did.  I asked him if she can talk and walk and he said no.  I then asked what she does do and he said “she fusses,” which cracked up the whole table.

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Though the rest of us ordered soup and sandwiches, Jake ordered superman ice cream (which we did not tell his mother…). I was unfamiliar with this flavor of ice cream.  It’s coloring resembles cotton candy, but I tasted it and I’m fairly certain it’s just vanilla ice cream with food coloring.  What a scam!  Jake loved it.

We also got him hooked on orangeades, a drink that has been beloved by my family for generations.  I suppose we should consider it Jake’s initiation.

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On the way back to his grandmother’s house, we drove by a pasture of black cows.  Jake has been around the agricultural community since he was born so I asked him if he knew what kind of cows they were.  He very confidently said, “Angus!” Lauren, Eugene and I were very impressed.

When Jake got out of the truck, he insisted on giving us all hugs and kisses  He then invited us to come to his house and play and even offered to take us to the park.  Jake sure is a ball of energy but we had a fun time with him!

Y’all keep it real,

Sugarlump

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Ladies’ Lunch

In recent years, my mom and some of her good childhood friends have gotten together for a ladies’ lunch with all daughters, mothers, aunts, and sisters invited, too.  And absolutely no boys allowed.  It would be rude to invite them anyway because we have to talk about them.  Or at least the ladies want to hear from the daughters about any boyfriends on the scene.

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Although we got together for lunch, Glenda, this year’s host, had prepared quite a delicious feast: baked ham, green beans and potatoes, candied fried apples, butternut squash, cranberry sauce and rolls.  It was positively scrumptious and beautiful.  Glenda had set the table with lovely pieces of china and vintage dishes.

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Served alongside the food were lots of great stories about growing up together and how much the small town has changed.  There was quite a discussion about how hitch-hiking was no big deal back in the day, the new art gallery in town, and big personalities that everybody knew and loved.

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And, in true southern fashion, there were just as many desserts as there were dishes for the main meal.  Among them were jam cake with both dough icing (my favorite) and caramel icing (my mom’s favorite), chocolate cake, bourbon balls, coconuts balls, peanut brittle, cookies and more.

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I love my mom’s face in this picture.  I think she was saying, “Don’t be eying that caramel iced jam cake, lady.”  Just kidding. I think.

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We shared lots of laughs over good memories.  There were some really good ones, but if I told you about them I’d have to kill you.  Or at least I might not be invited back to ladies lunch.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Crafty Cousins

Christmas Eve night, the Dyer girls got crafty.  My cousin Kristen had bought a gingerbread house kit at Sam’s club for $5 on a whim and asked us if we’d like to entertain ourselves by putting it together.  Of course we did!

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We sat around Granny and Papa’s table and giggled and cut up like old times as we took a stab at confectionery construction.  We’ve had some good times and crazy conversations at that table.  One thing is for sure: what happens at Granny and Papa’s table stays at Granny and Papa’s table.

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Though we were certainly enjoying ourselves, we took our craft very seriously, too.  We worked hard to get the walls and roof pieces to stick together.  We even enlisted the pepper and jam containers sitting on the table to hold the pieces in place as they set.  We soon discovered that our “mortar” (icing) wasn’t exactly of the highest quality.  I had the bright idea to use marshmallow creme as a binding agent because, as I recalled, it sticks to EVERYTHING.  It wasn’t exactly easy to control, unfortunately, so one side of the house looked like it had insulation bursting out between the roof and the walls.  Rookie mistake.  We kept that side concealed from our photographer.

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The kit also came with fondant (or fon-DANT! if you’re my enthusiastic cousin Kristen) to make the doors and windows.

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It was looking a little rough there for a while, but with the addition of the windows, bushes, random peppermints adornments, layer upon layer of frosting that tasted like joint compound but didn’t act like it, and dusted flour (an improvised touch) it really came together.  You could barely tell it was homemade.  Ha.

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Papa did say it was the prettiest house he’d ever seen.   It was charming in a very haphazard, out of plumb kind of way.

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This is where the $5 cost came into play.

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Not 5 minutes after we completed the house, disaster struck and it toppled to its death on the way to the dining room table from the kitchen table.  No one was sadder than Granny.  She almost cried for us.  We took it pretty well.

For next year, we’ve vowed to make our own superglue-infused icing and construct the house out of graham crackers instead of gingerbread so the walls and roof aren’t so heavy.  Just wait for it.  It will be epic.  And we’ll have Papa write us a State Farm homeowners’ policy just in case.

Y’all come back,

Sugarlump

Hi, I’m Awkward.

I would like to start out by saying that I manage to function fairly well in society.  For the most part.  And then there are evenings like the one the day after Christmas that one might liken to an electrical short.

The night was off to a good start when my immediate family and my aunt, uncle and cousins agreed to meet up at the local Mexican joint in Burkesville called El Rey.  This happens to be one of my favorite Mexican spots, which might come as a surprise to most culinary connoisseurs considering the other dining choices in the one stoplight town are Subway, Annie Ruby’s, Jones Restaurant and Pizza Hut.   As far as I’m concerned, between my grandmothers’ cooking, Annie Ruby’s, and El Rey, my days would be full and bright.

I ordered a number 5 combo, which is two enchiladas any way you like ’em and what else but rice and beans.  I went for chicken with verde sauce.  Excellent choice if I do say so myself.  My cousin Lauren got fajitas with shrimp and beef that looked like everything you could ever hope for in something hot and sizzling, my sister ordered fajitas nachos, which I think is a genius concept, and my cousin Kristen got chicken, cheese, and rice, a dish that has recently won me over.  I couldn’t see far enough down the table to drool over whatever my parents, aunt and uncle ordered, but I’m sure all of their dishes didn’t disappoint.

I had nearly eaten a basket of warm tortilla chips all by myself when my food arrived.  I don’t know what came over me, but I couldn’t get enough of that salsa.  Though I’m sure I was beyond full at that point, I wolfed down my enchiladas as if I were being timed.  I’m usually among the slowest of eaters.  I can offer no explanation for why I continued to consume Mexican food as if my stomach were a bottomless pit.  I sat back, thoroughly satisfied when our waiter came by to ask if I was finished.  In what can only be described as a state of delirium induced by my bulging stomach, I responded, “I’m funnnyeah.”

I casually looked around the table to see if my cousins and sister had heard what I just said.  Indeed, they had.  They promptly started laughing hysterically as soon as the waiter had cleared my plate.  I think the sound that came out of my mouth was the unfortunate, bigamous marriage of “finished,” “done” and “yes.”  This was funny for the next few hours.  I’m always happy to provide entertainment with the meal.

After our Mexican feast, Eugene, Lauren and I went to Glasgow to see Anchorman II.  Now, every time I’ve ever been to this cinema, the approximately 50 seat theaters are about 1/7 full.  We were a few minutes late, but figured the previews would still be playing and we would have our choice of seats.  Wrong! We opened the door to the theater to find it packed full, with 2 open seats on the far left of the front row, which was approximately 4 feet behind the 25 foot screen.  This sent us into a fit of giggles as we shuffled to the front of the theater and I sat on the edge of Eugene’s seat with my head craned back so far that I was sure I would need a neck brace immediately following the movie.  Every minute for the first 5 minutes of this, one of us would get tickled over our movie-watching arrangement.  By the grace of God, not far into the movie, a few people in the far right front row of the theater decided seeing Anchorman II from 4 feet away wasn’t worth scoliosis and left. Instantly recognizing out moment of opportunity, Eugene, Lauren and I scurried across the front of the theater to the right side where we could each enjoy the movie from our own seat.  We were still so close that the screen was nearly out of focus, but I have to say, at such close range, every inch I could scoot back made a remarkable difference.  Due to our intimate range from the screen, however, there were times during the movie when it was unclear whether we were so close that the image was distorted or if the actors were truly making funny faces.

On the way home from the movie, Eugene and Lauren had a few more good laughs over my mangled attempt at English from dinner.  Miraculously, I had full range of motion in my neck the following morning.

I’m funnnyeah.

Bye,

Sugarlump

Inherited Mischief

I’ve recently taken an interest in target shooting.  Most people who know me find this surprising/troubling.  Not to worry, you skeptics, I only care to shoot inanimate objects.

Uncle Santa gave me, my sister and cousins each a box of shells and some targets for Christmas.  I think it’s one of my favorite gifts ever.  Maybe next year I’ll ask for a gun.  Watch out.

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I was so excited to go out shooting the day after Christmas, but the weather was most uncooperative.  A nice rotation of rain/sleet/snow carried on all day so my box of shells is still unopened.

Christmas night, as we were discussing our plans for the following day, Granny shared with us that she didn’t want her girls shooting guns.  My dad called her out on this immediately because she shot guns all the time growing up.  She said that didn’t matter; she still didn’t want us shooting guns.  My dad overruled her on a count of hypocrisy.

All four of us are also adults and can shoot a gun even if our Granny doesn’t want us to, but we didn’t dare bring that up.  We are and always will be her “babies” even though we’re no longer 2, 3, 5 and 7 like she thinks we are.

It’s no secret that my Granny was somewhat of a mischievous child.  Shooting guns was just the beginning.  We asked Granny to tell us some stories that night and it wasn’t long before we were all laughing so hard it hurt.  There were some really good ones that involved playing hooky.

We asked Granny what she did when she skipped school one day for an entire day.

Granny: “Well, we had never seen a trial.”

Family in unison: “You skipped school to go to the courthouse?!?!”

Granny: “Yes, and we sat there all day and there wasn’t even a trial so we just went back to school.”

After we all died laughing, we just sat there for a few minutes processing Granny’s rather unusual item on her bucket list that warranted skipping school.

The next story was even better.

One day in high school, several couples who were “courting” decided to leave school without permission.

Granny said, “Now, our principle was a mean old man and he stuttered. “

Upon being caught, the couples were ordered back to school.  They walked down the hall, past the principle, who had a habit of pulling up his britches when he was mad.

Granny stood up and hiked up her pants in the front using her forearms, imitating the principle.

We all just about lost it and waited for the punchline with the stutter.

Granny said, “He was so mad, he didn’t say a word.”

We all sat there for a minute and then questioned Granny as to what the fact that he stuttered had to do with the story if he never even said anything.

She just wanted us to know that about him, evidently.

That made us laugh even harder.

Granny always calls us the craziest bunch of young’ins.   I wonder where we got that from.

Y’all mind your Grannies,

Sugarlump

60th Anniversary Party

This year marks my Granny and Papa’s 80th birthdays and 60th wedding anniversary.  A celebration was most definitely in order.  We put together an “open house” type party at their church and served cake and punch.

The happy couple in front of the treats.

Aunt Vickie had the cake and cupcakes made.  They were beautiful and delicious.

As we were setting up for the party, we had a bit of an incident.  I was in the kitchen with Lauren and Aunt Vickie and I was looking for a lighter to light candles in the function hall.  I opened the drawer on the left to find a lighter for the candles.  As I opened the drawer, a mouse popped out and ran into the back of the cabinet.  Cousin Lauren, Aunt Vickie and I shrieked as I nearly jumped out of my skin and back about 5 feet.  I don’t remember how it happened in my state of shock, but the drawer was then somehow closed.   Aunt Vickie, Cousin Lauren and I agreed that we had not hallucinated, that the tissue paper in the drawer had been shredded by the little creature, and that we would pull it together and carry on with the festivities after this traumatic event.  That is all I would like to say about that.

All we could find to light the candles was a box of small matches.  I wasn’t about to open any more drawers in the kitchen.   I already said enough about that.

We nominated Uncle Brian to light the candles since he seemed to have more of a handle on how not to burn himself instead of the candle.

Caramelized mums.   Approximately 9 minutes after poor Uncle Brian lit all 24 candles, we had to blow them out so we didn’t burn the place down.  So much for the ambiance.

Aunt Vickie had a beautiful throw made with pictures of Granny and Papa when they were first “courting” and married.  I know they will treasure it.

Nobody wanted to sit at the tables until cake was served.  We had a full perimeter.

Before we served the cake, my dad thanked everyone for coming and decided to ask Granny and Papa a few questions about getting married.  My Mom had been asking them about it before everyone arrived and we all thought the stories were worth sharing because my grandparents actually eloped.

The Wedding/Elopement:

The story goes that Granny and Papa were out and about in Burkesville on a Saturday night as was typical.  Granny’s parents had even seen them around town and were pleased to see that they were having a good time (little did they know what was cooking…).  Granny and Papa knew of a minister in the county who would marry them so they took two of their friends as witnesses and had the minister marry them that evening.

My dad asked Granny to talk about what the minister said at the wedding and Granny said she can’t remember because she was just focused on saying “I do.”

My dad then asked how much the wedding cost, to which Papa replied that it was “very expensive.”  The minister didn’t officially charge anything to marry them but apparently would take $10.  Papa has decided that that $10 was “money well spent.”

Given that my Papa was such an obedient son and respectful person, it’s still hard for all of us to believe that they eloped.  When asked whose idea it was to elope, Papa pointed at Granny and everybody just laughed. 

The story gets even more interesting because they kept their marriage a secret for 6 weeks.  One day my Papa walked into Granny’s parent’s house to see Granny and Mammie, Granny’s mother, confronted him, saying she knew he would put off telling them as long as he could (evidently, Granny had spilled the beans but neglected to let Papa know that the secret was out).  Papa said he didn’t know if he should “faint or go blind.”

It was great to hear them tell those stories.  I hadn’t even heard some of the details before. 

And then it was time to eat and visit!

Quite a turnout as you can tell by the cake.  And Granny was worried no one would come.

I was in charge of cutting this cake.  Didn’t I do a beautiful job?

(Not.)

Granny and Papa and their boys, Uncle Brian and my dad.

Granny and Papa and the full squad: sons, daughters-in-law, and grandbabies (3 out of 4).

Only 3 of the 4 grandchildren have been at each their 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries.  At the 40th, Kristen wasn’t born yet, at the 50th, I had just started high school and couldn’t miss that much school to travel from Boston to Kentucky.  And during the 60th, my sister, Eugene, was missing because she is currently studying abroad. Let the record show that cousin Lauren has perfect attendance.

Apparently, we were in need of some bossing.  It was her party after all.

She realized I had caught her in the act.

This is so adorable, I can’t stand it.

This is equally adorable.  Clearly, if there’s one thing my family knows how to do, it’s how to laugh.

The party was full of reunion of old friends and extended family, storytelling, and laughter.   Granny and Papa seemed to have a great time and really enjoyed seeing everybody who came. 

Congratulations on 80 years of life and 60 years of life together, Granny and Papa!  We all love you very much.

Y’all give each other some sugar,

Sugarlump

Things I Never Tire Of

Things of which I never tire:

1)      Sunsets

2)      Laughter

3)      Shoes

4)      Floor plans

5)      Chocolate

6)      Family and close friends

7)      Mystery

8)      Sitting on a porch

9)      The unconditional love of my little furballs

10)   Mexican food

In an ideal moment, I would be sitting on a porch of a home I designed the floor plan of, with family and friends, furballs at my feet, eating Mexican food followed by something chocolate, while laughing in a fabulous pair of shoes, pondering the great mystery that is life, as the sun sets.

 

Y’all keep it real,

Sugarlump

The Addictive Blog Award

Thank you to Peggy Isaacs for nominating me for the Addictive Blog award.  I’m so glad someone else enjoys my little furballs as much as I do!

Award Rules:

  1. Thank the person awarding you.
  2. Share a little about why you blog and how the journey started.
  3. Paste the blog award on your page.
  4. Nominate 10 other bloggers you feel deserve the award.

Why I blog:

I started this blog as a way to capture sweet memories and experiences in my life and share them with my family and friends.  I was inspired by the Pioneer Woman, who I first discovered on the Food Network and whose blog I now read religiously.  Even though I’m not a huge fan of writing, somehow writing posts (to go along with the absurd amount of pictures I now take) has turned into a sort of ritual of reflection through storytelling.  It makes me feel more connected and appreciative.

Somewhat coincidentally, I started this blog just before I moved to a new place on my own and it has been a great way for my family and friends to keep tabs on me and see what I’m up to in my new hometown of Nashville.

Unexpectedly, I have met some wonderful bloggers through this journey, who make my day when they “like” my post or leave a kind comment.

I don’t know where I’d be without this blog.

Blogs I find Addicting:

  1. http://thesimplecountrylife.com/
  2. http://annewheaton.co.uk/about/
  3. http://auburnmeadowfarm.com/blog/
  4. http://thehappyfiles.wordpress.com/
  5. http://texascatny.wordpress.com/
  6. http://icanhas.cheezburger.com/
  7. http://thecatniptimes.wordpress.com/
  8. http://littlemiao.wordpress.com/
  9. http://mecookyummyoneday.wordpress.com/
  10. http://homestead101.wordpress.com/

Thank you to my nominees for making me smile, laugh, scratch my head and reevaluate my life on a regular basis.  I’m hooked.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump