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Archive for October, 2007

We’ve all had it happen. At the last minute, one of the kids (including that biggest of kids, dear husband himself) will say “Oh yeah, we’re supposed to bring something with us.” Um, we are? “Yeah, just a dessert or something.” This, an hour before we’re supposed to be there, and its a 20 minute drive. Or, you have unexpected company for supper…you don’t really have enough prepared, but a dessert will ensure that everyone gets more than enough to eat.

So I have a standard fall-back. Thirty minutes isn’t enough time to do my most-requested dessert (homemade banana pudding), so I go to this one in a crunch. I make sure I always, ALWAYS have at least one can each of peaches in heavy syrup and apple pie filling in the pantry. ALWAYS.

Homemade cobbler (or crisp)

1 large can peaches in syrup OR apple pie filling
1 – 1 1/4 cups sugar
cinnamon (for apple pie filling)
1 stick butter or margerine
3/4 cup flour

*Pour can into baking dish. For peaches, sprinkle 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar over top. For apple pie filling, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Mix
* melt 3/4 stick of butter or margerine. Mix melted butter with 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup flour to make a “crumble” consistency.
*sprinkle crumbles all over the fruit in baking dish to form an even layer. Take remaining butter and dot or sprinkle (if melted) over crumbs.
*bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until topping is crisp and lightly browned.

Preheat your oven then make it and the oven is hot about the same time you’re ready to slide the dish in. At this point, I take the VERY hot baking dish, wrap it in towels, stick it in an insulated bag, and head off to whatever function the dessert was needed for, or for that unexpected company, serve warm, right out of the oven. Its always a huge hit. It takes literally 3-4 minutes to prepare. Fast, easy, and you look like a hero.

For more great Works for Me Wednesday tips, check out Shannon’s blog at Rocks in My Dryer.

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Someone posted this story on my board earlier. I couldn’t decide what to write about, and as a veteran, and a kid who had more fun playing with my cousins’ and neighbors’ G.I. Joe dolls than my own Barbie dolls, this story strikes a nerve.

VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: G.I. Joe was just a toy, wasn’t he?

Hollywood now proposes that in a new live-action movie based on the G.I. Joe toy line, Joe’s — well, “G.I.” — identity needs to be replaced by membership in an “international force based in Brussels.” The IGN Entertainment news site reports Paramount is considering replacing our “real American hero” with “Action Man,” member of an “international operations team.”

Paramount will simply turn Joe’s name into an acronym.

The show biz newspaper Variety reports: “G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer.”

Well, thank goodness the villain — no need to offend anyone by making our villains Arabs, Muslims, or foreign dictators of any stripe these days, though apparently Presbyterians who talk like Scottie on “Star Trek” are still OK — is a double-crossing arms dealer. Otherwise one might be tempted to conclude the geniuses at Paramount believe arms dealing itself is evil.

(Just for the record, what did the quintessential American hero, Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine in “Casablanca,” do before he opened his eponymous cafe? Yep: gun-runner.)

According to reports in Variety and the aforementioned IGN, the producers explain international marketing would simply prove too difficult for a summer, 2009 film about a heroic U.S. soldier. Thus the need to “eliminate Joe’s connection to the U.S. military.”

Well, who cares. G.I. Joe is just a toy, right? He was never real. Right?

On Nov. 15, 2003, an 85-year-old retired Marine Corps colonel died of congestive heart failure at his home in La Quinta, Calif., southeast of Palm Springs. He was a combat veteran of World War II. His name was Mitchell Paige.

It’s hard today to envision — or, for the dwindling few, to remember — what the world looked like on Oct. 25, 1942 — 65 years ago.

The U.S. Navy was not the most powerful fighting force in the Pacific. Not by a long shot. So the Navy basically dumped a few thousand lonely American Marines on the beach at Guadalcanal and high-tailed it out of there.

(You old swabbies can hold the letters. I’ve written elsewhere about the way Bull Halsey rolled the dice on the night of Nov. 13, 1942, violating the stern War College edict against committing capital ships in restricted waters and instead dispatching into the Slot his last two remaining fast battleships, the South Dakota and the Washington, escorted by the only four destroyers with enough fuel in their bunkers to get them there and back. By 11 p.m., with the fire control systems on the South Dakota malfunctioning, with the crews of those American destroyers cheering her on as they treaded water in an inky sea full of flaming wreckage, “At that moment Washington was the entire U.S. Pacific Fleet,” writes naval historian David Lippman. “If this one ship did not stop 14 Japanese ships right then and there, America might lose the war. …” At midnight precisely, facing those impossible odds, the battleship Washington opened up with her 16-inch guns. If you’re reading this in English, you should be able to figure out how she did.)

But the Washington’s one-sided battle with the Kirishima was still weeks in the future. On Oct. 25, Mitchell Paige was back on the God-forsaken malarial jungle island of Guadalcanal.

On Guadalcanal, the Marines struggled to complete an airfield that could threaten the Japanese route to Australia. Admiral Yamamoto knew how dangerous that was. Before long, relentless Japanese counterattacks had driven the supporting U.S. Navy from inshore waters. The Marines were on their own.

As Platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige and his 33 riflemen set about carefully emplacing their four water-cooled .30-caliber Brownings on that hillside, 65 years ago this week — manning their section of the thin khaki line that was expected to defend Henderson Field against the assault of the night of Oct. 25, 1942 — it’s unlikely anyone thought they were about to provide the definitive answer to that most desperate of questions: How many able-bodied U.S. Marines does it take to hold a hill against 2,000 armed and motivated attackers?

But by the time the night was over, “The 29th (Japanese) Infantry Regiment has lost 553 killed or missing and 479 wounded among its 2,554 men,” historian Lippman reports. “The 16th (Japanese) Regiment’s losses are uncounted, but the 164th’s burial parties handled 975 Japanese bodies. … The American estimate of 2,200 Japanese dead is probably too low.”

You’ve already figured out where the Japanese focused their attack, haven’t you? Among the 90 American dead and seriously wounded that night were all the men in Mitchell Paige’s platoon. Every one. As the night of endless attacks wore on, Paige moved up and down his line, pulling his dead and wounded comrades back into their foxholes and firing a few bursts from each of the four Brownings in turn, convincing the Japanese forces down the hill that the positions were still manned.

The citation for Paige’s Medal of Honor picks up the tale: “When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, P/Sgt. Paige, commanding a machine gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire.”

In the end, Sgt. Paige picked up the last of the 40-pound, belt-fed Brownings and did something for which the weapon was never designed. Sgt. Paige walked down the hill toward the place where he could hear the last Japanese survivors rallying to move around his flank, the belt-fed gun cradled under his arm, firing as he went.

Coming up at dawn, battalion executive officer Major Odell M. Conoley was the first to discover how many able-bodied United States Marines it takes to hold a hill against two regiments of motivated, combat-hardened infantrymen who have never known defeat.

On a hill where the bodies were piled like cordwood, Mitchell Paige alone sat upright behind his 30-caliber Browning, waiting to see what the dawn would bring.

The hill had held, because on the hill remained the minimum number of able-bodied United States Marines necessary to hold the position.

And that’s where the unstoppable wave of Japanese conquest finally crested, broke, and began to recede. On an unnamed jungle ridge on an insignificant island no one ever heard of, called Guadalcanal.

When the Hasbro Toy Co. called some years back, asking permission to put the retired colonel’s face on some kid’s doll, Mitchell Paige thought they must be joking.

But they weren’t. That’s his mug, on the little Marine they call “G.I. Joe.” At least, it has been up till now.

Mitchell Paige’s only condition? That G.I. Joe must always remain a United States Marine.

But don’t worry. Far more important for our new movies not to offend anyone in Cairo or Karachi or Paris or Palembang.

After all, it’s only a toy. It doesn’t mean anything.

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the books “Send in the Waco Killers” and “The Black Arrow.” http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?kn=arrow&vci=51238921

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Boy, this has just been a fun week, hasn’t it? I’m trying to be as lighthearted as possible about it all, because I don’t want my blogging to spiral downwards like I myself feel I’m doing right now…SO. Just the facts…M’am. ;)

Yesterday I had three…”episodes.” The first two, I fell, but I caught myself on my bed the first time and only banged my right hip a bit. The second time, I couldn’t catch myself at all. The third time, I had no real warning. I was walking through my bedroom (maybe I need to start sleeping on the couch??) and my legs felt weak. The next thing I knew, my husband was crouched over me, not moving me but lightly touching my shoulder, and my son was screaming from the kitchen, asking if I was ok. Apparently, they heard a loud “thump.” That would be me. My wrist is sore (but not swelling) and I banged my knee.

The pattern I’m seeing is that this is all happening on the right side. I fall to the right. I’m landing (I think) mostly on my back but when I gather myself (i.e. wake up or whatever) I’m more on my right side, and its my right extremities and the right side of my head that are taking the lumps.

Contrary to what you may be thinking…this didn’t happen overnight. I’ve had weak spells for months now. Really, ever since the hospital last year. I went back to work last year against medical advice. There were many, many times as a cashier that I had to leave my register and “gather myself” because I was hot, flushed, weak, staggering, etc. Before I left on my medical leave of absence, I actually would have went down to the floor had not a door greeter and a garden center associate caught and steadied me. They said my face went white as a sheet and I stopped making sense just before I fell.

On the way home from the doctor’s office Tuesday…remember the twitching leg? Justin actually said at one point during the ride “You’re acting like you’re high.” He was frustrated, and I was insulted, but looking back, I think he was just really confused and for him it comes out as frustration. Redneck mentality and all that don’tcha know ;) (hmm that don’tcha know sounds like its from around Minnesota instead of Mississippi lol).

I think the episodes coming closer together may be due to me being so sick the past few weeks, and not sleeping much. I’m worn out and run down. I’m stressing greatly over money because I’m not working. All of this combined probably has my body so out of kilter it doesn’t know whether I’m coming or I’m going.

I’ve been sitting here all day (I’m writing this late Thursday night…the episodes happened Thursday) feeling sorry for myself. I don’t know that I should be driving. Heck I KNOW I shouldn’t be driving, even though these episodes only happen when I’m walking around, not sitting. Now see, there I go lying. Apparently I’ve been having absence seizures a LOT lately according to my husband and kids. I don’t realize it of course. So yeah, I shouldn’t be driving. Anyway. I’ve been sitting here morose, gloomy, melancholy (see the theme here?) and even, yes, sad. No one understands what I’m going through. No one understands the fear I have of them saying “Hey Kandy, you have yet another diagnosis darlin’!” Part of me doesn’t think I could handle that.

Then I read Heather’s blog, and look at her absolutely amazing attitude and faith. I want to be like her when I grow up. Seriously. Because even though I’ve been a believer all of my life, grew up in the church, I’m very very young in my faith. I look at Lynnae and her faith and attitude throughout the financial stress they’ve been dealing with this week, and I wish I could be as confident and faithful as she and Shannon are. I look at my dear “sister” Carrie, and even though she and I are as alike as two peas in a pod, she’s so much stronger in her faith than I am.

I’m breaking the seventh commandment. I covet. I do. I want to be that faithful. I want to be that assured. And then I feel like a terrible person because I’m NOT confident enough to ask the blessing in front of my children. I’m not confident enough to pray aloud, or even to type out a prayer on my blog. I worry about what people will think of my choice of words.

This is very humbling to a gal who never knew the meaning of the word “quit” growing up. I was the “happy go lucky trooper” in basic training. Nothing got to me. I let things roll off me like water off a duck’s back. It never got me down.

I feel like I look too often for a “quick fix”…a wonder drug…a cure all. Hey, if I were a “real” Christian I wouldn’t be so miserable! I know, I KNOW that this isn’t the case. But I do wish I were more faithful. And, when I bow my head to pray…so often I’m at a complete loss of words. I don’t feel worthy.

SO ANYWAY. Today I’ll be going back to my family doctor and hopefully getting my leave of absence extended. Hopefully I’ll find out when my EEG is. Next week is my appointment with my neurologist. I’ll keep ya’ll updated.

Sorry for the “down” tone to this post. I’m feeling…well really frustrated and depressed, and sometimes it does help to get it all out. I’m thankful for this outlet, and for the new friends I’ve made here.

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Ten Rules for Being Human

by Cherie Carter-Scott

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, “life.”
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”
4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here”, you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
10. You will forget all this.

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Tackle It Tuesday

This is the first time I’m participating in Susan and Janice’s Tackle It Tuesday project. I figure I really need something to make me get off my duff and get some things done around the house, and hopefully this will be just the kick in the pants I need. Why? Because I’ll have a few people online looking to see if I completed it, of course LOL.

 

This week I’m going to start small (because I’m still pretty sick and very weak) and work on my bedroom. I need to go through all the clothes that no longer fit, and bag them up to take to my Mom’s (she can wear a lot of them). I need to get my dresser cleaned off and cleaned OUT. I have an annoying habit of walking in, taking my clothes off, putting my jammies on, and tossing my clothes in the doorway to be laundered later. When something doesn’t fit, I just toss it in the general direction of the dresser to “do something with” later. My room looks like a clothing store exploded, and its depressing me. This is going to be a difficult tackle for me, because of all the bending, but I’m going to do my best. I’ll post before (if I’m brave enough) and after pictures later.

What are you tackling this week? Be sure to check out more Tackle It Tuesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

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You get up, start your day, and you feel awful. Flu, cold, general malaise, you just don’t feel like doing anything, right? You get the kids off to school, and realize that while you can skip by without breakfast or lunch for yourself (or without something fancy at least) you HAVE to cook supper for the tribe tonight. What to do? You don’t have the energy to get creative.

My beef stew is good, REALLY good, even though I cheat like crazy making it. You’ll need:

1-2 packages stew meat (dependent on how many you’re feedng)
Lawry’s seasoning
Adolph’s seasoning
1 package Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix (any will work, I prefer Golden)
instant mashed potatoes
salt
pepper
carrots (I prefer the baby carrots…again, another cheat since they’re already peeled and the right size)
small red potatoes

if your stew meat is frozen, do a quick thaw in the microwave. It doesn’t have to be complete, just enough to break the meat apart into large chunks.

Put meat into large crockpot, cover with water until water is 2 inches above meat. Put crockpot on low-medium heat (depending on the cooker, and how long you have before the meal)

add lipton’s onion soup mix, and healthy amounts of Lawry’s and Adolph’s. You can use any seasonings you want really, but for me, the onion soup mix is a must.

let cook 3-4 hours, but be sure to check back after 30 minutes to break all the meat up if it was partially frozen when you put it in.

scrub potatoes under running water with a steel wool, leaving most of the peeling. Add 1-2 potatoes per person, and enough baby carrots to have 3-4 per person or more, depending on how well your family likes carrots. Add more water to cover all the meat and vegetables.

Let cook another hour. When carrots are floating, add 1-2 cups instant mashed potatoes to thicken. Add salt and pepper to season (this is important…your stew may taste perfect, but once you add those potatoes, you WILL need to add more seasoning). Make SURE you stir well while adding potato flakes. You may need more or less depending on how thick or thin you want your stock to be.

Let simmer until ready to serve. I serve mine over rice and cook biscuits to go with it. Its simple, its TASTY, and I haven’t had to worry all day over it, or slave over a stove to make a hearty meal. All total, I spend maybe 10 minutes in total preparation time. The rest of the day, I can either go to work, go back to bed, clean house (ha ha) or whatever.

Its not the way our mothers cooked it, but when my husband loves it (and his mother is the southern version of Julia Child), well then I know it works for me.

For more great Works for Me Wednesday tips, check out Shannon’s blog at Rocks in My Dryer.

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Geaux Saints!!!

We won!!! 28-17!!! I’m sorry Lynnae…I know you were rooting for the Seahawks, but I’m ecstatic. We HAD to win this game…no team has ever gone 0-5 and made it to the post-season. 1-4 is going to be hard enough as it is!

I’m hoping this win will give our team some much-needed momentum. GEAUX SAINTS!

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