Tag Archives: humor

Summer drop-out

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Summer drop-out

Ho-kay; done with the dreams.  Moving on now.

summer beauty

Its summer, the time of year we follow the sun running like fools until we drop in front of the BBQ pit at 8 o’clock at night in our best imitation of Wonder Woman.  No matter it’s not dark for another hour or so, the clock is still ticking and there’s fun to be had.

crazy summer

Well this year I’m opting out.  In honor of my grandmothers’ legacies, I’m going more Southern Lady in the Shade, sweet tea in one hand, sewing needles in the other.  I’m done trying to reach marketing geniuses ideas of summer fun.  I live in south Texas where temperatures are still hovering around 100 degrees at 10:30 at night. Nuff said.

 

Climate change or cyclical anomalies, whatever, never seem to be factored into TV commercials; and it’s a crying shame manufacturers are trying to sell uncontrollable joy and the ultimate outdoor gladiator experience in this kind of heat.

Greed is the sweaty little merchandise king with the leather whip driving this maniacal ship, and I want off!

I’m headed back inside my tortoise shell with the air blasting.  I’m going to OD on Discovery ID Crime and Food Network Cooking shows.  I’m going to sew until Charlotte, my Bernina, screams.  I’m going to quilt until my fingers bleed.  I’m going to make about 1,000 salads and learn my way around Cool Whip cakes and Jello Fluffs.

I’m not going to try to keep up with anyone.

keeping up with summer fashion

I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

aunt bea whatever look

I’m pulling the plug on social politeness.

dont cross me

Stand back girls, I’m going in!

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What if eve had really big bones?

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My dad was a bit of an odd ball; we shared several peculiar habits.  Once he told me he always counted when he climbed stairs.  I was slicing a cucumber; I had 28 pieces already cut when he began talking, had to stop counting to listen.

I write poetry nearly every day.  I always have.  Every so often something comes out of left field.  Most often irreverent work gets published.  That amuses me.  I thought today I’d share a silly poem because it’s something Daddy would appreciate.

And oh, yeah, it was published.

Eve

 

 Original size

 

Some pictures make it look like Eve wore a Size 6.

I wonder if she did.

I wonder if Adam might have expected more for the precious price of a rib.

     What if Eve wore a 16 or 56?  Would it have mattered to the snake?

Do you think he would have gone all slack-jawed and ended up forked-

tongue-tied?     Or maybe relax and lose the mean streak?

What if he had?

My bet is we’d all still be sitting there in that big old lush garden with

everyone getting email at the same address

     and about a ka-zillion relatives would be killing time in a chat room at

www.thisisallthereis.com

What if Eve wore an 18 or 44?

What in heaven’s name does that mean anyway?

Just for fun let’s imagine Adam coming home from another long day hanging with

the Lord to find his little woman trying on leaves,

   and all because silly old Satan let the C-A-T out of the B-A-G   and got Eve all embarrassed

about so much naked flesh.

I don’t believe much would change in the story If Eve was full figured,

          expect maybe she’d drop the fig leaf      for size banana.

another kitchen failure

 auntbeamephoto

Under my Skin

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The face staring back from the mirror looks as perplexed as the one peering in; both convey a deer caught in headlights expression.  Confusion verses the well-oiled gears of an efficient woman, hesitation challenging certainty, and a few lingering questions that can unnerve even the most self-assured person.

another kitchen failure

While it’s difficult to accept the premise that I remain as self-assured today as I was twenty years ago, it is impossible to pretend I feel incompetent in any way in spite of the aftereffects of time.  While the burden of physicality has required a definite down-shift in energy and stamina, the resulting changes have done nothing to deter my positive senses of self-perception and attitude.

In all honesty, I must admit that when Rome first began to crumble and fall, the tendency was to bemoan my losses; however, because I have spent a great deal of time developing a healthy level of self-esteem and self-love, I weather the storm and resist any urge to wallow in self-pity.

crumbling with time

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up: that’s a load of dirty laundry!  I may need a helping hand from time to time but I can still manage.

What lies beneath the skin is the essence of the soul and the soul is circuitously wired to the brain whether or not that brain functions at preferred levels of activity.

Gratefully my brain appears to be in sync with expected norms for my age, but that hasn’t always been the case.  When my brain fell far short of scientific/medical neurological projections and measurements of expected activity, my soul persevered, and its presence and influence perfectly reflected the embodiment of my true and unique identity.

So here I am, still, and always, Aunt Bea in my heart of hearts.  And while I may have had to exchange those cute little granny shoes with the 2 ½  inch heels for a pair of supportive flats, I can still move forward.  No one can be a better me than me.  No one can hold a candle to the intention of my heart and the determination of my hands.

sensible shoes

I know I came into this room for something…what could it be?  Oh, now I remember!  I wanted to look in the mirror and thank myself for being the best I can be today, under the circumstances, knowing what I know and being who I am.

Thanks old chick!

Now I can lose the goofy deer in the headlights look and get back to doing whatever it was I was doing before I decided to drop by my beloved blogging site and do a bit of light housework.

Maintenance, you know, and timing.  And pearls and a nice jersey dress.  And clean underwear.  Always.

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The Agony and Angst of Competition: Cupcake Wars

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this is war baby

I’m a huge fan of the television reality show Cupcake Wars, so when our local bakery, Fat Bottom Girls, was asked to participate, I was ecstatic!  Actually, no one in town except the girls at the bakery even knew about it for the longest time, apparently like most wars, details are illusive, very hush-hush.  But when an airing date was finally announced, Aunt-Bea-Me did a little happy dance in the middle of her kitchen and then bounced to the laundry room to mark the calendar.

Well, I can tell you, the weeks drug on and on, my anticipation growing proportionately; and when the viewing date was so close I could almost taste one of Fat Bottom Girls Salted Caramel cupcakes burst in my inner mouth, I visited their cute, little pink bakery on Central for luck.

I’ve always heard that Hollywood was fickle, and now I can attest to that truth, because on that late day, mid-summer, I was shocked and disappointed to find that the Food Network contacted the Girls to let them know their show had been postponed, a future reschedule date to be announced some time later.

Well, I never….

The harshness of the outer world was mind-boggling.  Here in small town Arkansas, a person is only as good as his word, or the goodies she bakes, so a complete change in war strategies and rules came as a hard blow, shaking my faith in the entertainment world quite a bit.  But like any confident woman, Aunt-Bea-Me knows the true value of a Tim Gunn “Make it work” moment, so I made a plan that would facilitate another mandatory adjustment to change.

In true warrior style, I attacked the challenge using hands on combat, (baking therapy), to hasten and ensure a complete recovery, inventing cupcake after cupcake, each sugar free and more than a trifle dry or redundant.  But like any good soldier, I was steadfast in my determination and committed to the task ahead; that’s when the moist, delicious sugar free Banana Cream Cupcake with Cranberry Compote and Light Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting was born.  This cupcake was a hero!

It wasn’t long after the Sugar Free Banana Cream Cupcake with Cranberry Compote and Light Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting culinary success had led me to recovery from Hollywood’s brutal betrayal, that an announcement went out that our own Fat Bottom Girls had, at last, been rescheduled for national debut!

Will they win or will they go down in flames alongside countless other cupcake geniuses?  I can only guess because that whole war secrecy code thingy is still in full force, in spite of set backs and betrayals.  But pretty soon we will all know!

Turn into the Food Network tonight, Saturday, December 7th, at 7 pm central standard time, and find out!  You can bet your best apron Aunt-Bea-Me will be watching alongside her best friend-husband, Rich, in their basic beige love seat recliner!

 

 

The Spooky Truth (about Getting Old)

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Rich and I recently took our first vacation since 2009; it turned out to be well worth the wait.  For a year I’ve pictured myself living in Eureka Springs, AR.  That’s about a 5 hour drive from our current home in Hot Springs.  I shared my vision with Rich, and he worked hard to make his own, but his feet are set on more solid ground than mine; I’m always in the air, floating like a balloon, drifting one way and then another, swirling in currents just for the fun of it.  I count on Rich to keep me from getting air sick.  He counts on me, to make sure he doesn’t forget how to fly.

I created our Eureka Springs fantasy life from an accumulation of stories I’d read and heard, and I loved the fact that it’s located in the beautiful Ozark mountains..  But mostly it was my own imagination that allowed me to weave an entire story line around the possibility of living in a city I knew virtually nothing about.

fairy tales 2

Eureka Springs hosts a rather large Hippie population and is literally bursting at the seams with artists and chefs, writers and philosophers, entrepreneurs and a vast representation of progressive thinkers aiming their brain power toward Green Energy.  In the story I was writing in my head, these were real pluses.  Thinking about it though, I don’t know what I was thinking; Hot Springs has its own share of the very same sort of people, but I haven’t met many of them.  Whenever we’re out, I see them milling around the historical district, visiting art galleries and antique shops and the new micro-pub that has only recently been installed in one of the old bath houses along Bath House Row.  Rich and I only live about 1/2 mile from the downtown historical district, but I don’t get out nearly as often as I sometimes think I want to.

I say it that way because whenever I have the chance to sit it out, or to dance,( hee hee), I usually choose to stay home and play by myself instead.

dirty dishes

If there was such a thing as a periodic extrovert, I may well be it.  Whenever the question of intro-verses-extrovert is asked, and it has been asked a couple of times, I find myself babbling on and on that I am an exuberant introvert.  (That’s when the crowd usually begins to disperse.)

Like everyone else in the world, I have needs….oh. do. not.get.me.started….but mostly they have to do with all this talk-talk thingy that’s bottled up inside me like a rocket waiting for liftoff.  My passions are my exhaust valves, Aunt-Bea-Me, IttyMac, poetry, and writing, to name a few.  But talk-talk has a deeper side with its need to express, to create, and to share; so I fill that endless pit bolting between projects and hobbies.

I am an extreme housewife; although not actually married to the house, I am it’s most dutiful servant and ardent admirer.  I am an extreme yard-wife as well, flitting from flower bed to flower bed in a flurry of seasonal drama.  I am the mother of a fine herbal garden family that I tend like a neurosurgeon, prodding, plumping, staking and tweaking until the mosquitoes chase me into the house.

This mania to wax and wane between either slipping into a pair of social butterfly wings and taking to the streets, or hunkering down in near apocalyptic isolation fixated on a 24/7 OCD work regiment is what happened to me after the nest emptied.  When both of my little chicks flew away to build nests of their own, a kind of madness took over, and I begin to dig dirt out of one hole to fill another, hardly noticing I had just dug a deeper hole I’d feel compelled to fill.

before the chicks left the nest

Before the chicks flew the coop

another kitchen failure

After I realized I was in an empty nest

But back to Eureka Springs…family stories have my paternal grandmother, MamaMac, back in her few days of great family wealth, visiting the Crescent Hotel and Spa with her good friend Mrs.Gooch, and Mrs. Gooch’s loyal and ever humorous chauffeur, McDuff.

fluffy old girls 1930

Off these two fluffy ladies would go, to indulge their every fantasy, even though through the years, the legend of the Crescent Hotel and Spa had had its ups and downs, eventually descending into a dark and quite horrifying state of affairs .  A snake-oil-salesman-type-fellow had purchased the establishment that had, in its prime, functioned as gathering grounds for wealthy plutocrats in need of vacations. More about the creepy guy later.

The hotel served the public in that capacity for a number of years until it fell victim to hard economical times.  At that point, the Crescent was converted into a college for women.  Eventually it, was purchased by a charlatan who invested in it with the sole intention of converting it once again.  But this conversion would have nothing to do with rest and relaxation or higher education.  Mr. Baker, the unsavory investor, turned the Crescent into a cancer-cure facility.  The man was not a doctor; he was Frankenstein.  Well, you can imagine where this story is going.  Mr. FranenBaker was a particularly cruel ghoul to many trusting, hopeful souls seeking cures for a terrible disease.  Under the watch of his most evil eyes, they suffered and died the most agonizing deaths one might imagine.

Once the nasty business of Dr.FrankenBaker had ceased, once again the Crescent fell into tragic disrepair.

Masters of the Paranormal have long studied this hotel, documenting, if one is of such a mind to believe, much supernatural activity throughout its long, carpeted halls and magnificent architecture.  Matter of fact, the Crescent is currently listed as one of the top ten most haunted hotels in the entire world.  Imagine that, wonder why.

Now why my grandmother and Mrs. Gooch would choose to spend their good money in a place like this is easily answered by the fact of the healing springs that had originally attracted those poor cancer patients to the same grounds years before.  The hotel, having been restored to its original beauty by a non-evil couple in the early 30’s, had regained its prominence in high society; thus, enter Miss Mac, Mrs.Gooch and jovial McDuff, who, of course, was relegated to the servant quarters.

When Rich and I arrived in Eureka Springs, we immediately got lost.  Then fate intervened, landing us squarely in the parking lot of my grandmother’s favorite hotel.  I took one look at the impending, rather menacing, structure with all its bad energy and cauldron of gloomy karma and summed it up, saying…

No. Way.”

crescent16blackandwhite

So off we drove to a place more suited to our less extravagant lifestyle, settling in a quirky pink motel comically named ‘The Land O’ Nod”.  I could hardly contain my laughter as we pulled into the tiny parking space directly in front of our small cabin-esque-sort-of-room, imagining my grandmother rolling over in her grave.

Wonderful things happened to us on our trip.  We loved our room, had the best service we have ever had before, ate amazing locally produced food prepared by chefs from as far away as Chicago, mingled with hippies our own age at the Farmers Market, discussed homeopathic medicine and naturopathic lifestyles with a former cardiologist turned naturopath following a heart attack, walked miles up and down hills visiting shops, (just ask my knees if you don’t believe me), took hundreds of photos, huddled with artists, debated and agreed with local politicians, had an absolutely amazing visit to the Tasting Room for Fresh Harvest where we sampled premium olive oils and balsamic vinegars until we needed to make a fairly  hasty retreat back to the Land O” Nod for emergency pit stops.

And last, but not least, we ventured into the dark night, paying 25 bucks each for the infamous Crescent Hotel and Spa Ghost Tour.

After all was said and done, in spite of all the fun we had together, in spite of the new friends we made, we looked at each other in car driving back through the Ozarks to the Ouachitas, and said unanimously,

“Naw.  That wasn’t it.”

So now we’re back where we started a year ago.. in the planning stages for retirement… but we’d better get a move on it pretty soon because in a couple of months we’ll be 65.  And though the trail ahead is getting shorter for both of us, neither is ready to exchange walking shoes for rocking chairs.

New Recipe: Do No Harm Chicken Parm

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My kitchen has been a science lab for the past few days; sadly, it can be said that one or two of the recipes I’ve concocted, turned it into a crime scene as well.  Truthfully, most the recipes under construction are make-overs.  My daughters love eating my food but complain that I never write down how to prepare the dishes.

 it wasn't THAT bad

Guilty as charged! 

Now that the diabetes plague has settled over our house, it’s important I’m confident that what I mix up isn’t going to explode into glucose and fat, so I’m making a real effort to verify and record the ingredients in the foods I make.  I’m also researching nutritional values.

Rich is a Jersey guy, and Jersey guys love their Italian.  But Rich is also a diabetic, so a great deal of Mama Mia’s Menu is off limits.  To keep a happy home, Aunt-Bea-Me has made Rich’s pallet a priority.  I know the insides of his stomach like I know the floor plan of my own kitchen!

kitchen 1

kitchen 2

kitchen 3

 

Now let’s get this show on the road, ladies and gentlemen:

Do No Harm Chicken Parm (for two)

1-2 teaspoons Olive Oil

2 3 0z skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

Salt to taste

1 egg white beaten in a shallow bowl and set aside

2 Tablespoons Panko, Japanese bread crumbs

Spray Pam (or similar brand)

2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

4 Tablespoons shredded low moisture Mozzarella cheese

1 cup marinara * recipe to follow

2 ounces dry whole grain spaghetti pasta (2 oz. dry pasta = 1 cup cooked pasta)

Marinara Sauce

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1 Tablespoon canned tomato paste

1-2 Tablespoons low sugar ketchup

¼ teaspoon Worchester Sauce

½ teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons honey

A variety of herbs, dried or fresh:

Oregano

Basil

Fennel seed

Rosemary

1  bay leaf

Dried herbs are stronger than fresh.  If you’re using fresh herbs, you’re going to have to use about 3 times more than you would the dry.  Ex: 1 teaspoon dried basil = 3 teaspoons fresh basil.

I grow most of my own herbs and use them fresh in warm months.  Whatever I don’t use, I dry and have handy for cooler months.  Personal tastes vary, but when using fresh herbs for a small recipe like this one,  I normally use about 1 teaspoon of chopped Oregano, I Tablespoon chopped Basil, ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon finely chopped Rosemary, and sometimes I add about 1 teaspoon of chopped Thai Basil, depending on my mood.

Thai Basil and Fennel seeds add a sweet licorice flavor, creating depth.

There are many premixed, ready for use dried Italian-Blend herbs in the market place.  If doing it that way, again, for a small recipe such as this, I think I would recommend starting with a slight Tablespoon, and adding more according to taste.

Mix all ingredients for marinara in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir from time to time as mix comes to a slow simmer.  Cover and simmer on low heat for approximately 15 minutes, stirring periodically. (There’s going to be more sauce than you need for this recipe, so put leftovers in a sealed container, store in the refrigerator, and serve it over turkey meatballs another day.)

Meanwhile as sauce simmers, trim all fat from the chicken breasts.  Place each, one at a time, in a plastic bag. Using a flat meat hammer, pound until chicken breasts are about ½ inch thick.

Preheat oven to 375°.  Add Olive Oil to heavy oven safe frying pan.  (Cast iron is my preference!)  Spread oil evenly.

Dredge each chicken breast in egg white, on one side only, and transfer to frying pan, undredged side down.

Sprinkle each piece of chicken with salt to taste, add ½ teaspoon Lemon Pepper, and 1 Tablespoon Panko. Lightly spray Panko surface with Pam.  (Some bread crumbs may blow off, so be prepared!)  Bake chicken for 15 minutes then remove the pan from the oven and add 1-2 Tablespoons of Marinara Sauce to each piece.  Then add 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese and 2 Tablespoons Mozzarella to each chicken breast.  Return pan to oven, cooking for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and brown.  (Internal temperature should be 160-165°.)    While chicken is baking, prepare spaghetti according to package directions, drain but do not rinse.  Set aside.

parm in a pan

Plate chicken.  Add 1/2 cup cooked spaghetti and cover with 1/4 cup Marinara Sauce. I usually serve our meals on luncheon-sized plates.  It gives an illusion of having more to eat than is actually there.

parm on a plate

 Yumm…

Even though the nutritional values in this dish are good, they’d be better if you skipped eating it altogether.  But in the real world, real people, even diabetics, want to enjoy what they eat.  The American Diabetes Association recommends that 45-60 % of your daily caloric intake should be composed of carbohydrates, and 25-35% of the calories should come from fats. Also recommended is that protein should be approximately 12-20% of your daily Caloric intake.

Nutritional Values per serving:

361 calories, 46 carbs, 5 fats, 34 proteins, 341 sodium and 5.5 sugar

An excellent way to decrease carbs in this dish is to pass on the pasta.  Doing so will reduce Carbs from 46 gm to 17.  To balance this meal, I prepared a lettuce, apple and toasted pine nut salad accompanied by sugar free homemade poppy seed dressing.  it was simply  delish!  

 Aunt-Bea-Me Pearl for today:  If dinner isn’t the only thing cooking in the kitchen, pour yourself a nice glass of sweet tea, and relax!

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Welcome to Aunt-Bea-Me, my world of domestic adventure!

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Hi!  I’m Itty.  I could describe myself in several different ways, but  since I believe our passions and the choices we make every day illustrate our most basic qualities, I have to say that in my heart of hearts, I am and always have been a consummate home maker.  My personality is generally upbeat.  On the surface I sometimes appear to have a tendency to romanticize life, but the fact is, I’m much too practical to actually qualify as a dreamer.

Let’s just say my childhood was rather Bohemian in practice, a lot of moving around, shallow roots, big family loyalty, but nothing that embraced those outside our small inner circle. There was Mom and Dad, my brother and sister, and me.  I used to actually think we were pirates, and our car, the ship we used to travel to new lands in search of treasure.  The truth is I never wanted to find anything more than I already had.  I never wanted to be rich or famous, but the one thing I secretly desired was the planting of deep roots.

Like many Baby Boomers, I grew up watching tame television programs where every messy dilemma was solved in 30 minutes minus commercial breaks.  That’s when I met Aunt Bea, Andy Griffith’s jovial, organized, slightly a-twitter, (surrogate mother to his son, Opie), resident matriarch of the  house.  For me, Aunt Bea epitomized the concept of consistency, thus feeding my hunger for tradition and the roots that held everything else in place.  It wasn’t long until Aunt Bea trumped my list of heroines, that to that point, consisted of Mrs. Santa Clause and Ethyl Mertz.

Aunt-Bea-Me reflects that side of me; anything else I consider remotely descriptive falls terribly short of the bar I set as a child.  My fascination with Pinterest proved there are lots of women interested in reviving the fine arts and treasured traditions of home making.  There is nothing like the satisfaction you feel when creating something yourself; the only thing better is sharing the results of  your creative efforts with the people you love.    So welcome to Aunt-Bea-Me and lets have some fun as I, metaphorically speaking, channel Aunt Bea with all her dizzying energy across these pages.