Monday, September 29, 2014

Okay, Marianne…I’ll bite.

(This is Marianne’s city, which just happens to be my favorite city in the USA.  And Marianne took me to a bathroom so that I could get this picture.  This is something that only REAL friends will do for you.  That and meet you at a Cracker Barrel along the highway.)
1. What are you wearing?
Oh hay-seuss. I cannot stop laughing because that is like the sketchiest question ever.
2. Ever been in love?
Um…I’m married. Does that count?
3. Ever have a terrible break-up?
Yep. Maybe even more than my fair share. I hope that all those guys who dumped me are suffering. I hope all the guys I dumped are happy. I’m totally cool/bitter that way.
4. How tall are you?
Let’s put it this way: I prefer to think of myself as “vertically challenged.”
5. How much do you weigh?
How much do you want me to kick your a$$?
6. Any tattoos?
Not a fan of needles.
7. Any piercings?
Ears, but only one hole apiece.(Needle issue.) I thought about getting the belly button done when I was young and cute, but I got over it. I also got over the desire to have my belly pierced.
8. OTP (One true pair, favorite fictional couple?)
Marianne said Catherine and Heathcliff. Really? Not sure I’m buying that, Mare, mainly because I really don’t like Catherine. I much prefer Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars, or Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley or anyone in Jane’s world.
9. Favorite Show?
Please don’t make me choose.  It’s like choosing a favorite child.  I am a television ‘ho.
10. Favorite Bands?
I am a huge fan of what they used to call “bubblegum” music.  Do the Archies count, even though they were not even people?  

11. Something you miss?
I’ll be honest.  I am totally with Marianne on this one.  I miss Pudding Pops.  Those things were the $hiz.
12. Favorite Song?
”Build Me Up, Buttercup” by The Foundations.  It has been my theme song since the eighth grade.
13. How old are you?
The eighth grade was 40 years ago.
14. Zodiac sign?
“Mind the Gap”
15. Quality to look for in a partner?
When I was younger, a gold Amex.  Now…a pulse.
16. Favorite Quote?
“Are you sure this is Akron?  Because that sign said ‘Ashtabula.’” Pete Galbraith, 1979.
17. Favorite Actor?
Hmmmmm….Buddy Ebsen?  Fess Parker?  Dick York?  So many to choose from…
18. Favorite Color?
Depends.  I wear a lot of aqua, but I wouldn’t want an aqua car.
19. Loud music or soft?
Am I dancing?  Because you need to crank it.  Am I talking to someone?  Then I like just enough.
20. Where do you go when you are sad?
In a perfect world, if I am sad then Hawaii would probably make me happy.  Otherwise, I would go home and drink.
21.  How long does it take you to shower?
Alone?  Not long.
22.  How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Just inside of fifteen minutes.  There isn’t a lot to distract me at 5 am.
23. Ever been in a physical fight?
No, but it’s on my bucket list.
24. Turn on?
I never really understood this phrase.  Do you mean something that makes me happy, or something that makes me horny?  If it’s the latter, then nothing.  See number 13.  #Iamtoooldforthatcrap
25. Turn-off?
People who take themselves too seriously.  There are times to be serious, but not many of them. Choose wisely.
26. The reason I started blogging?
I don’t have many real-life friends, so I thought maybe I’d find some on the internet.  Have you heard of the internet?  It’s really awesome.
27. Fears?
Breaking a hip, because I know they’ll just put me down.  See #13.
28. Last thing that made you cry?
Any one of a dozen things they post on Upworthy.  Despite my snarky wit, I am a sentimental slob.  Please don’t blow my cover.
29. Last time you said you loved someone?
Every day, multiple times a day. I am a sentimental slob.
30. Meaning behind the name of your blog (Kirb Appeal)?
One of the perks of having so many boyfriends is that once in awhile, you get a good idea that you can steal.  One of them once said that I had “Kirb Appeal,” so I stole the idea.
31. Last book you read?
My book club read Big Little Lies.
32. Book you are currently reading?
Almost finished with the latest by Anna Quindlen (whom I love!), Still Life With Bread Crumbs.
33. Last show you watched?
Syracuse vs. Notre Dame.  Welcome to my world.
34. Last person you talked to?
The cats. It annoys the heck outta them.
35. The relationship between you and the person you just texted?
Texting?  Is that what my children do instead of calling me?  Do they not understand I need to HEAR a VOICE?!?
36. Favorite food?
Is there any bad food, really?
37. Place you want to visit?
Well, I’ve never been to Spain, but I kinda like the music.  I’d fit in with the insane ladies.
38. Last place you were?
The bathroom.
39.  Do you have a crush?
I do.  It’s orange.
40. Last time you kissed someone?
I kiss the cats all. the. time.
Last time you were insulted?
Someone called me “stupid” recently, which was a first.  Most of the time, people say “You think you’re so smart,” to which I answer “Why, yes.  Yes, I do.”
 42. Favorite flavor of sweet?
I love pie.  Is pie a flavor?
43. What instruments do you play?
I can make the clarinet sound like a dying rodent.
44. Favorite piece of jewelry?
I have a charm bracelet for which I have been collecting charms since 1967.
45. Last sport you played?
Professional hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs. *snort*
46. Last song you sang?
“Just a small town girl…livin’ in a lone-lee wuh-urld…she took the midnight train goin’ eh-nee-where…”
47. Favorite chat up line?
48. Have you ever used it?
49.  Last time you hung out with anyone?
Are you including cats?
50. Who should answer these questions next?

I guess that depends on who will hate me the least.  Here we go, and PLEASE don’t feel obligated, because we all have Halloween to get ready for, and that requires TABLESCAPES!
*Teen Wolf at What We Keep
*Young Cassie at Primitive and Proper
*Sistah Bliss at Bliss Ranch 
     *Upstate Andrea at Maybe it's Just Me
*Anyone else who would like to (I hate to be exclusive).

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Persona (And if you are singing that to a tune by The Knack, bonus points!)

**If you are here for the tour and the Canadian Maple Leaf table...please scroll down to the next post!  I didn't realize it would not show up when you stopped by from the beautiful home of Stone Gable.  Sorry. You can read this post too, if you like, but it doesn't have any project. Just true confessions.*

Buck Russell: I don't think I want to know a six-year-old who isn't a dreamer, or a sillyheart. And I sure don't want to know one who takes their student career seriously. I don't have a college degree. I don't even have a job. But I know a good kid when I see one. Because they're ALL good kids, until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they're no good. You so much as scowl at my niece, or any other kid in this school, and I hear about it, and I'm coming looking for you!

(Thanks, Teen Wolf, for reminding me that my silly heart is what makes me, me.)

Where do I start? (And this will be a lengthy post, so you can bear with me or not.  But if you are a new reader, I’d love for you to continue.  It will explain some stuff.)

I had already written a good chunk of this post before the mess hit the fan, but then I decided to go back and start again because it was the right thing to do.  (And I can’t get the font to match, so maybe you can tell which is part of the old post and which is part of the rewrite.) 

I think it’s time we talk.

Some of you (maybe only those of you who were English majors) might know about literary persona.  A literary persona is the narrator (character) who tells the story.  A persona gives the story it’s “voice.”  It’s a make-believe person who tells a story.

Like me.

Let me be perfectly honest here: I write my blog.  People are only able to guest post because I love them and I invite them and I know my readers will “get” them.  There is nothing on my blog which I do not personally endorse.

But the owls are not what they seem. (Ten points for you if you get the Twin Peaks reference.)

log lady
(This is the Log Lady.  I currently wear glasses exactly like these.  What can I say?  Fashion is on a 20 year cycle. I'm waiting for "mom jeans" to come back.)

Like a Drag Queen on Facebook, I have to assume an alternate personality.  Why? My life is boring.  If I told you what really goes on…well, there wouldn’t be a reason to read this blog, and it would be absolutely no fun to write.  In the spirit of entertaining myself (and maybe a couple of readers), I developed (as the narrator of the story) a persona.

A persona makes the story a LOT more interesting.  A persona has a distinct personality and voice.  A persona can make friends or enemies.  Here’s why I developed a persona, instead of writing as myself:

(This is the one thing I actually got invited to this summer. Thanks, theatre peeps!)

My persona is WAAAYYY cooler than I am.  My persona is a borderline alcoholic. In reality, I have a “one and done” limit, unless it’s a special occasion, and even then it’s “two and through.” Those of you who believe I am on Bourbon Street collecting beads for my drunken escapades will undoubtedly be disappointed.  My persona is a hard-a$$ who will steal things and then get mouthy with the cops.  In reality, I don’t even speed because I’m still recovering from a ticket I got in 2002.  My persona has ridiculous conversations and harebrained ideas and so much fun she can hardly stand it.  And she’s funny as heck.

And then there’s me.

I am a peripheral person.  I am the annoying girl who used to sit next to you in Social Studies class…the one who tried to get your attention by cracking jokes or knowing all the answers.  The one who sat in the cafeteria by herself with a book, after she stopped by your table to sing a chorus of "Downtown" by Petula Clark.  You know…the one who was always on the fringes, but never in the mix.  No date for the prom, Saturday nights spent babysitting….the "weird" one.

(Now, before you feel bad about this, don’t.  I am an introvert, so a lot of socializing leaves me both exhausted and anxious. When I get with other people in real life, all I can think of is how I am saying or doing the wrong thing and how dorky I am and how I will never be invited to anything again, which is pretty much true. It's stressful. Also, as a writer, being on the fringes gives me the opportunity to observe without being involved.  The first rule of being an annoying girl is “Don’t Get Involved...because everyone thinks you’re a dork.”)

(This is the dorky trio.  Our baby is the ‘cool’ one. She lives and works in Manhattan, with other cool people.)

I always believed that I had a talent as a writer and story-teller and  believed the blog was the perfect place to showcase that. After all, I’d kept a journal for almost ten years, and this was like a journal, right?  But while my journal (1973-1982) was full of real-life teenage drama, my grown-up life was laughably dull. Nearly everything is embellished or is inspired by something that happened to someone else and may be grounded in reality but is not reality itself.  Because humor is organic, and writing is a process that occurs at a later date.  And for some of my readers, like Mr. Thicke, those lines were blurred.  Who is this old broad anyway?

This old broad is someone who has become reliant on her online friends to bring a little joy to her day.  This old broad lives a fairly solitary life with a part-time husband and two cats.  She has a crappy old house that needs fixing beyond her skill level (and was supposed to be done by now, because the husband was supposed to be RETIRED by now but then they sweetened the pot so that he would stay, yet no one is working on this HORRIBLE HOUSE except for a few DIYs here and there, which is like a drop of rain in an overflowing bucket and then there are all these MICE), and a job that is more often frustrating than not, trying to teach literature to teenagers who can't or don't want to read because they would rather play with cellphones, which is ENCOURAGED by the county because they can't afford to put more computers in the classrooms.  And now she has folks telling her that she’s a bad person, even when it’s her persona causing all the trouble.

Trust me, these ladies (and Bliss and Cassie and Lynn and Linda and Tina and Suzan and the list goes on and on) would not be friends with someone who is a criminal. (Okay…maybe someone who just commits SMALL crimes, but that’s neither here nor there.) But they will embrace (figuratively) a woman who is still that dorky annoying girl, even though she pretends to be something else.

What I write has its roots in reality, but like the annoying girl that I am, I can’t leave it alone.  I have to tell a story.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Some of my peeps are getting together

For a little fall fun!


One of the things I love most about fall are the leaves.  I decided to use leaves as my inspiration for a DIY.  (I’ve done this before, as some of you might know.)

I found a little side table with a plain pine top at a yard sale for a few dollars.  I found some maple leaf clip art on line, I taped it on top of the table, and used a ballpoint pen to trace the outline, which showed up in the pine.
maple leaf clip art
(from Google images)
I used MMS Tricycle paint to paint the leaf and the stripes, which I taped off.

I used MMS Grain Sack for the white, then waxed the entire thing.
The base had a very northwoodsy vibe to it, and I like the way it looks with the top.
…and after!
(The takeaway from this is to trace with a pen on soft wood and you can color it in!)

I would love for you to visit each of the other blogs who are participating with me
in the Fetsival of Fall, hosted by The Everyday Home blog and Barb Garrett.
Each day will be a different theme, and I am sure you will
love seeing all the great projects presented each day -
so please come back and see what's new.
Monday: Fall Crafts
Tuesday: Fall Recipes
Wednesday: Fall DIY
Thursday: Fall Decor
Friday: Fall Home Tours


Monday, September 22, 2014

Between a rock and...well, you know

 I’ve got stones.

(photo courtesy of lonestone)

I grew up on a very Great Lake, and I wanted to bring a little bit of home to our homes here in NC.  One way to do this is with the great stones that form the threshold between the land and lake. 

In my last house, these stones formed a ring around a very large cutting garden.  (I hope that garden is still there…I planted it over the course of about five summers and it was a ton of time and money.  I am afraid to drive by the old house, just in case it has all gone to heck. I would be sad and would have to come home and have wine.)

This house has gardens already lined with cool old handmade brick, so stones were not necessary.  How could I bring a little bit of the lake to Brandywine?

Enter one really ugly fireplace, faced in red brick. (It’s in an ugly basement, so it’s hard to even see the fireplace ugliness.  Ugly on top of ugly, multiplied by ugly.)  If we covered some of that brick in stones….
The first step in this project was to get enough stones.  This is tricky.  Why? These are NY stones and I live in NC.  Then there’s the dilemma of having to get my hands on enough of them to cover the fireplace.  I knew I could probably buy some at a gravel place, but I had a budget, and that budget was $0.

Enter my mom.  Every summer she says “When are you coming up here?” and every summer (and sometimes fall and sometimes winter) I go.  I loaded two huge buckets and a couple of boxes into the back of my SUV and headed north to my lake. This is where it gets tricky.

Apparently, over the last 2 decades, the threshold between the land and the lake is getting narrower.  This isn’t necessarily a problem, except at the causeway.  If they don’t do something, pretty soon we’re going to have cottagers on an island that wasn’t an island when they bought the cottage.  So the state has been bringing in more rocks in order to shore up the shoreline.

And you can get arrested and fined for taking stones.

When my mom informed me of this, I considered making it a covert operation, driving down to the shore in the dead of night, smearing my face with coal dust and wearing all black.  And then I remembered that I didn’t heat with coal, so the dust was a no-go.  Plus, at night they padlock the roadway that leads down to the stones.  Unless I wanted to walk about a mile back and forth a bunch of times to get those suckers, I was not going to be able to collect the stones at night.  I was just going to have to wing it.

Enter my SUV.  With NC plates.  I could go down to the shore, load stones in my buckets and boxes, and claim that I was from out of state and ignorant of any illegality. I had to do some recon to see if there were any signs posted with regard to stone gathering, and then it was time to put my plan into action.  I drove down the causeway, parked my SUV on the side closest to the water, popped the hatch, and started taking handfuls of stones from the beach to the buckets.  This went on for about fifteen minutes, and I had one bucket full and had begun on the other.

Enter the truck driven by the young man from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  He was approximately twelve years of age.

“Ma’am?” (Okay, I know he was trying to be nice, but I cringe at the use of ma’am.  It means I’m old.)
“Ma’am, what are you doing?”
“I’m collecting nice rocks to take back to North Carolina with me.” (I am saying this in my southern accent, which most southerners would say I sound like south Pennsylvania.  But to someone from central NY, it’s probably ‘south’ enough.)
“You can’t take those rocks.”
“Is this private property? I’m sorry.  I thought this was a public beach.” (I knew full well it hasn’t ever been private property.  It’s always been “The end of Port Bay,” which means anyone can go there and do whatever.  And many high school kids do whatever there.)
“It is public, ma’am, but you can’t take those stones.  It’s illegal.”
“Really?  There are all kinds of these stones here.  Why would it be illegal to take them?”
“We’re trying to preserve this strip, ma’am.  We’re bringing in new rocks all the time.  You can’t take them.”
“What is the punishment for taking them?  And I don’t see any signs about this.  I believe you’re pulling my leg.”
“No ma’am, it’s just common knowledge.”
I look around.  “Son, I’m from North Carolina.  How would I know that I can’t take these stones?  And how do I even know you have any authority to tell me?  I’m very disappointed in all this.  I drove all the way here to see this lake that everyone says is so great, and I’m not sure, but this looks like the ocean to me, and I’ve already seen an ocean.  And now I can’t even take a few stones as souvenirs.  I am so disappointed in this trip.”  With that, I shut the trunk and got in my car.
The poor boy was so flummoxed, he didn’t even bother to get out of his truck to see how many stones I had. 
While he was pulling his truck off ahead and to the side, I managed to maneuver mine back onto the road and up the hill as fast as I could safely go. 

I was an outlaw with a bucket of stones.


(Of course, as soon as the resurfacing with the stone was done, DL had to put a big television over it, so now you can’t even enjoy the handiwork!)

(A close-up)

In case you’re wondering, I did fill the second bucket and the smaller boxes.  But I can’t tell you where, because then the stones might disappear and it’ll become illegal.  Let’s just say it’s another place where the high schoolers do whatever.)

If you ever need stones, I know a secret place.  Just make sure to bring along your southern accent.

I would love for you to visit each of the other blogs who are participating with me
in the Fetsival of Fall, hosted by The Everyday Home blog and Barb Garrett.
Each day will be a different theme, and I am sure you will
love seeing all the great projects presented each day -
so please come back and see what's new.
Monday: Fall Crafts
Tuesday: Fall Recipes
Wednesday: Fall DIY
Thursday: Fall Decor
Friday: Fall Home Tours

Friday, September 19, 2014

Here are a few great drink recipes for you to enjoy this fall!  (This is a rerun from last year, and folks loved 'em!)

Recipe #1-- Autumn Cooler
Ingredients:  Jack Daniels, Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, apple cider, hard (alcoholic) cider, and sugar and cinnamon.

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1.  I mixed some sugar and cinnamon on a little plate.  I dampened the rim of a martini glass with some of the apple cider, then dipped the rim in the mix of sugar and cinnamon.  (It’s good if you can do this about ten minutes ahead of time, to give the sugar rim a chance to ‘set.’  It gives it a nice little crunchy texture, like a sugar cube.)

2.  Mix 1 teaspoon of Jack and 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon Whiskey in the bottom of the glass. 

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3.  Then, add 1/3 cup of apple cider.  (I used homemade, which we get from one of DL’s buddies named Gary.  Gary has an orchard and presses his own cider and the stuff is good!)

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4.  I stir it, then top it off with the hard cider, and there it is!
(Kelly---that ‘Raven’ towel is for you!)

Now, for bigger parties--
I have a punch bowl.  Somewhere.  Attic?  Basement?  It doesn’t really matter, as there aren’t a whole lot of ‘real’ parties going on here.  But if you have real friends and want to entertain them all, here is a recipe that is good for the punchbowl:
Recipe #2—Pear Mist

blogging photos 019

Ingredients: Captain Morgan spiced Rum, Peach Schnapps, Seltzer, and Pear Juice. 
If you do a punch bowl thing, then you just do this in “parts”--

--Equal parts schnapps and rum (I used one of those little silver cups—I think it’s a jigger?)

--Four parts (four jiggers) of pear.

--Finish off the glass with seltzer water.

blogging photos 023

You can make this suitable for a punch bowl, just multiplying the amount, keeping the proportions the same.  (ie: 8 oz. rum, 8 oz. schnapps, 32 oz. pear, topped off with seltzer!)

Thank you so much for stopping by!






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Walkabout Wednesday in the UK

Those of you who follow me on Facebook might remember that for our 31st anniversary, DL was in the UK for business, while I was stuck here, teaching English/Language Arts to recalcitrant high schoolers.

Meanwhile, he was in “Godric’s Hollow,” taking in the local color:

swan hotel
lavenham harry potter birthplace

…and staying at this hotel in Ireland:

slieve russell

Monday, September 15, 2014

A little Fall, y’all!


In a little “between” time before I Halloween stuff up, I am including apples on my mantel.

I found some canvas apples at a little store near my mom’s house, and I fell in love with them.


At a yard sale, I found a plastic apple.  Not crazy that it was gray, I decided to paint it.


I mixed up some Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Tricycle, and added a little more water.  I liked a little bit of the gray showing through.


… A little green on the leaf, some taupe on the stem, et voila!