Sunday, February 28, 2010

Christiansen's Comments Hinds county Gazette

HCG February 25 2010

That beautiful snow we had, well, it was the cause of me not being here last week. It was beautiful and it was fun, but it was that heavy, moisture laden, kind of snow. There was no wind with it, so it came straight down and what ever it landed on it stuck to. It was the wire snapping kind .…

Here at 201 the wire from the pole to the meter, became quite fat, weighed down with the snow and ice. And I remembered from Katrina that when the wire came away from the meter…It was the home owners responsibility to get it fixed And as the day and the snow wore on, the wire became fatter and fatter…Until, I was afraid it was going to pull away from the meter….I went to imagining., how much getting that wire connected back might cost.

Grandson Garrett, happened to be here for the weekend….. I know we are not suppose to touch the electric wires…. never ever. So he and I went out and threw objects at the wire… potatoes, blocks of wood, the broom to relieve the pressure….It worked!

Don’t know if throwing stuff at a live wire is against the rules or not…But, strictly speaking it wasn’t alive wire anymore….the electricity went out here, very early into the snow event…..Stayed out for over 24 hours….Caused no hardship here…Garrett didn’t seem to mind being severed from TV and the internet….

Also visiting at the time were my grand dogs, Gabby and Tessa…Gab and Tess are no particular breed, they are dogs, that had been abandoned, just needing home. But Daughter Angela is extremely proud of her dogs, she believes her dogs are high-class … high class as any of those doodles, poodles or sheppards…Angela doesn’t mind that they are not a pure breed. When questioned about their background, and lack of pedigree, she lifts her chin, squares her shoulders, puffs out her chest, and declares, “They are designers dogs…. They were designed by God“

Gabby and Tess are the real reason I wasn’t here… They really enjoyed the snow!!!! And the wet snow on top of the already water logged back yard…quickly turned to mud…soupy mud…and they romped and rolled in it…for the three day they were here….of course when they came in the house…they left muddy paw prints everywhere , and believe me they went every where…well, no, they didn’t….I had the living room and dinning rooms blocked off….mother always said, “You need to keep one room neat, in case the preacher comes to visit.“

Oh! they would shake too! causing mud to splatter ….the back door, it was….lets just say this…. my house looked like a crime scene when they left out of here …...But instead of blood ….I had mud….So I had to clean….the floors had to be swept, vacuumed, then mopped…TWICE!

Then ! I discover my computer didn’t work! I called Garrett and fussed at him…I just knew he had messed it up…I had let him touch it…when I bought this computer, I vowed and declared I was not going to let the grandchildren use it.

Well, way on after while, I noticed there were a breaks in the power cord…I called Angela told her the power cord to my computer had breaks….”Looks like it’s been chewed to me.” …..of course she never admitted guilt on the part of her precious dogs, but with out me even asking…she quickly come up with a power cord for my computer. Come to find out, this was not their first taste of computer cord….a while back…they had chewed up Garrett’s.

Angela makes no claims that her dogs are smart….Just the cutest, etc.... etc.... etc...  most lovable...etc...etc....etc..

See you next week, call if you need me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Christiansen's Comments" Hinds County Gazette

HCG February 11 2010

Here is the recipe for the dumplings…some of you have been asking for….

My, “Mrs. Smith’s, Suzanne’s grandmother’s Dumplings” In Mrs. Smith’s own words.


Sift about 3 cups of plain flour in bowl. In the center of the flour put one large tablespoon of shortening,

and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix with spoon until it is like meal- gradually add 1 cup of sweet milk. Mix until dough is smooth and firm enough to handle. Place in refrigerator for a while and when you roll out sprinkle board with flour- roll real thin. Have broth boiling big and drop dumplings in slowly.

Suzanne also remembered her grandmother using this dumpling dough for her chicken pot pies too. Grandma Smith, lined, what Suz described, “as a tube pan without the tube.” she then Poked the crust with a fork, placed it in the oven until it had browned nicely….then Mrs. Smith filled the pan with chicken and dumplings, laid on a top crust…put it back in the oven until the top crust turned brown…..I am going to try it.

God blessed me with incredibility good health, I am almost never puny…In fact, back when I was diagnosed with cancer, John and I were in the oncologist’s office, the doctor was in the mist of explaining the chemo treatments, when abruptly, while looking down at some papers he had in his hands, made this statement, “You are remarkably healthy.” John eyes got big and he made a disbelieving sound…something between a growl and a cough, the doctor hastily added, “well, except for the cancer”.

But a miserable cold has jumped on me, it put me in the bed all day Saturday and a great deal of Sunday. You all, I have begun to question, was I really so sick that I needed to be in bed?…Or has all the rainy, cloudy, chill filled days finally gotten to me?…. Not to mention the brown grass and leafless trees. My projects were finished…The birds weren’t singing.

So did I stay in bed because of the depressing weather? Or because my projects (bookcases in the Ms. Mama room and tile off the ceiling in the Lucille Room) were completed, therefore had no pressing reason to get up? Was it just too easy to gave in and take to the bed?…. And consider this….there were warm, purring cats sleeping at the foot of the bed, that may have some bit of influence on my decision to stay in bed …. Well perhaps not, as I have cats in my bed every morning.

Well, I have a reason to get up and get going now! My sewing machine gave out months ago… Lindsey Noble is sorting and distributing some of her mother and dad’s (Bob and Betty Kemp) things…. getting the house ready to sell….Lindsey gave me Betty’s machine…I am thrilled! I have a curtain to make…then aprons will be next on the agenda . Unless the sun comes out and it warms up…then the plan will have to be hedge trimming.

Call if you need me.

Christiansen's Comments Hinds County Gazette

HCG February, 4, 2010

You all, an unmade bed is not nearly so unattractive… when you have two magnificent cats curled up in the rumple. The timing of my making of the bed, is based solely on when Scout and Harper decide to get up and begin their day… I mention the cats on the bed, because I have the office in a tangle, so I have moved my writing to the “The Lucille Room”. (My bedroom).

The Lucille room is just back together, I was moved out of it, for about two weeks, taking down the acoustical ceiling tile, the wall paper and cheese cloth that was under the tile, in order to expose the beautiful old wood beneath the layers. The walls are the old exposed wood too….so you feel like you are in a cave if you don’t put trim at the wall tops…the ceiling is right at 12 feet…pretty high up for an old person.

Way back, when John and I were looking for a house buy, the realtor showed us a house that belonged to two older ladies …they had always tended to much of the home’s repairs themselves….well, as the realtor told it, when the ladies got up in their 80s, the family, worried for their safety, came and took their ladders away. As I recall, to change a light bulb, they put their heads together and rigged up something to climb on in order to reach the bulb…, there was accident with broken bones…the ladies had to leave their home…..I have never forgotten that story….

The older I get the more careful I am becoming…The thought of falling and breaking bones and having to go stay with daughter Angela while convalescing is enough to make me think cautiously…You all, she would make me do all of the physical therapy mess….no matter how severe the pain.

The morning I planned to begin the work, in the Lucille Room, I went to thinking of those ladies who had to leave their home… And concluded Twelve feet might not so high if you have a really good ladder. I had very sturdy 6 and 8 foot ladders…but my 10 foot, aluminum ladder was sort of quivered when you reach out to pound a nail. I called Gaddis see did they have a good sturdy ladder, Nettie went and checked… they had one… it was quite pricey…I hesitated, but only briefly. It was a no brainer, when suddenly came the mental picture of me having to go to recuperate at Angela’s ….…. Charlie and I scampered out the door, jumped in the truck and went after that ladder…

My bright yellow, heavy duty, Werner ladder is my new best friend…I can pound nails to my hearts content and it does not shake or go to scooting side to side or back and forth..

I was not going to start a new project…not with Spring so close…there is much to do in this yard before Spring arrives. But it turned cold…my new ladder and I conferred we decided to move on in to the office, (The Ms Mama Room” ) and build a set of bookcases, one on each side of the fireplace…we believe we can squeeze in one more home improvement adventure, before the days begin to get warmer.

Yellow Werner, my new ladder, is very cooperative, and supportive when it comes to projecting…I hope we have many happy, productive years ahead of us. And when it comes time for my ladders and I to be separated, I pray Adam and Angela let us make that decision….

I would like, my truck, my lawn mower and my ladders to be with me right to the end.

call if you need me

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Christiansen's Comments Hinds County Gazette

Hinds County Gazette
 January 28 2010
Christiansen's Comments

Remember back several years ago, when I made ambrosia? I added unflavored gelatin to the juices? What a fiasco that turned in to!….I believe received more comments on that column then any other I ever wrote. It felt like I heard from very grandmothers’ child and grandchild south of the Mason Dixon line.

Seems ambrosia is made in a particular way, the southern way, of course. Oranges, maraschino cherries, fresh coconut… a few minor variations are allowed, such as the addition of pineapple and a sprinkle of sugar…But the addition of gelatin was just to much of a violation of a time honored recipe ….The ladies, out of respect for their grandmothers, mothers and old aunties, just could not hold it in, they had to call and let me know where I went wrong. I learned from that incident “Don’t mess with a traditional Southern recipe.” There will be consequences.

To me southern chicken and dumplings tasted just like my mother’s chicken and noodles. Her noodles were eggs, flour, salt and water. Mother’s Dumplings, on the other hand, were fat and fluffy, about the size of tennis balls. Well, Angela immediately up on arrival to the south took to the southern taste. She ate my chicken and noodles, you understand, until she had a taste of southern chicken and dumplings. I tried to make authentic southern dumplings a time or two…then just gave up.

Until very recently, when I made another attempt. Grandson Garrett was always talking about the Chicken and dumpling he had at his grandma Rigby’s. Well, Garrett was coming for the week end, his grandma Rigby passed a couple of years ago….I wanted to surprise him with authentic Chicken and dumplings. I know you can buy frozen dumplings and they are perfectly good, I guess…I don‘t really know. But in for a penny….in for a pound…It was going to be scratch dumplings for this southern culinary adventure..

I was telling my friend Suzanne Harpole of my plan. She said, “my daddy’s mother made the BEST chicken and dumplings,”, she got up from the couch and went to the kitchen and came back with a 3 ring binder that held photocopies of her Grandmother Smith’s hand written recipes.

I said to myself, “ this has got to be an authentic, unadulterated recipe!“ The instructions were very detailed. Suz shared, and that’s the recipe I went by, to concoct Garrett’s surprise meal..

When Garrett arrived, I told him I was making Chicken and dumplings for him…he was skeptical that I could get it right….he went to telling me, again, about the ones he had eaten at his Grandma Rigby’s….he didn’t know how they were made, but he knew what they looked like on his plate….they were kind of thick…and creamy….he didn’t know if there was cream in the broth, but it looked like there could have been.

On after while, I set the bowl of chicken and dumplings down in front of him…he cautiously, like he might be biting in to a live grasshopper, took a tiny bite…then he took a whole bite…and announced, “These are Good!”.

Grandma Rigby, I always suspected was Garrett favorite grandma and I had a feeling her chicken and dumplings were a big part of the reason.   A little afraid of the answer…I asked, “As good as grandma Rigby’s?” .

“Better. Grandma Rigby didn’t make good chicken and dumplings

Shocked I said, “You and your mom were always bragging on the chicken and dumplings you had at the Rigby’s!”

“Mamma Rigby didn’t make them…. aunt Lilith did” Seems Ms Rigby used the flour tortillas for her dumplings. I called Angela to confirm all what Garrett had told me, “Yeah, and Ms Rigby’s Chicken and dumplings were great, right up until she told us about the tortillas.”

So anyway, my attempt at southern chicken and dumplings received a passing grade, from Grandson Garrett. Puffed up, proud as a peacock, and full of such confidence, I decided to go public….. I carried, my “Mrs. Smith, Suzanne’ Grandmother’s Chicken and dumplings” to fellowship club last week…I passed there too!!. …Rave reviews! Really! And I know they were not just being polite, because I found out, in a hurry, from that ambrosia fiasco that southern ladies ….will not hesitate to set you straight when you go to making changes to our revered southern cuisine.

One of these first days, I will undertake the frying of some green tomatoes…we will see how that goes.

Love to all, call if you need me

I hope to have the Lucille Room project finished and be moved back in this week.