Friday, November 26, 2010

...And My House Still Smells Like Bacon

You may remember me mentioning yesterday that I almost burned my house down making those asparagus spears wrapped in bacon for Thanksgiving dinner. No lie. See, I'm not the most careful person in the world. I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants mostly. I don't really see danger when I should and I probably don't take some things seriously when I should. I like living my life like that, I'd rather be a free spirit than be so tightly wound that I die of a heart attack at 50. That said, there are times when I know I should be more careful. And yesterday morning was one of those times.

I got up early so I could make my asparagus to take to Mama and Daddy's for dinner along with some green beans, Brussels sprouts and an apple cheese pie. I wrapped my asparagus spears in the bacon and put them on a cookie sheet (a FLAT cookie sheet), put them in the oven on 400 degrees and went to take my shower. When I came back into the kitchen, white smoke was rolling out of my oven! I opened the oven door and bacon grease was ALL OVER THE BOTTOM OF THE OVEN and I freaked out. The FIRST thing I did was go and Google "bacon grease oven fires" and guess what? They happen. A lot. Seems bacon fat is highly flammable (who knew?) and if it gets anywhere near the oven's element, it could very easily start a fire. Duh. I turned the temp down on the oven and took the cookie sheet out, trying to be careful not to spill even more grease onto the oven's floor. By this time, the fire alarm in the hallway was screaming YOU IDIOT YOU IDIOT over and over at me and I was scared to death. The oven was too hot to try to get the grease up so I moved the asparagus over to a cookie sheet WITH SIDES LIKE THE RECIPE SAID and prayed while they finished cooking. It all turned out beautifully. The asparagus was awesome and my oven didn't catch on fire. Lesson learned. That won't happen again. But, see, it takes things like that to get my attention. Drives my sister nuts.

I waited until my oven was ice cold before I left to go home to Mama's. While I waited, I fanned the fire alarm with towels and it finally shut up. God, that thing could wake the dead. And that ain't no bad thing since I'm the one it would be waking.

SO. I come home last night and start working to clean the oven. NO WAY could I go to bed with that thing all nasty like that. I wouldn't sleep a wink. I had some Easy Off way back in the cabinet under the sink and although I hate using it 'cause it makes me cough and gag and sneeze and it's terrible for the environment, I knew a mess like that called for Easy Off. I followed the directions and sprayed it in my oven, left it for the 20 minutes and came back. Most of the gunk came off but there was this one spot about the size of my hand that was still there. I tried scraping it with my fingernail. Nothing. I sprayed it with some more Easy Off and even though I turned my head away from it, I still coughed up half a kidney. I waited and still, that patch would not budge. I gave up on it, grabbed my bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Countertop Spray (in yummy Lemon Verbena, my favorite!!) and I cleaned up the door and any residue left behind by the Easy Off and was about to call it a night when I thought "what the heck?" and I sprayed that spot with Clean Day, too.

Guess what again??? When I wiped it lightly with my sponge, that crusty, dried, baked-on bacon grease spot came right up!!! I knew this stuff was awesome. I use it every day cleaning stuff and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. All of the Mrs. Meyer's products are made with natural essential oils, are biodegradable, phosphate-free and are never tested on animals. I use the whole line and I love every single thing. I like the Lemon Verbena the best and it makes my house smell so good and clean and fresh. I never dreamed my little bottle of Countertop Spray would cut baked-on grease, though.

Go ahead, little bottle of Countertop Spray.
Take a bow.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Super Fabulous Schneider Christmas Tree of 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had such a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! All of my family was together except for Jessica, she was with her boyfriend's family. We missed her but that's what happens when you're in a relationship. You have to share family time. I told her I expected her there Christmas! Brian's mama and daddy and nieces were with us and it was great to just be together and laugh and EAT!! We had a feast! Here are just a few pictures of not even half the stuff we had. We all came home with armfuls of stuff, both from today and from Mama and Daddy's freezer, barbecue, fresh peaches and corn from the summer. I am set for the winter now!

This right here was the star of the show.
Mama's dressing!

Juicy turkey, already cut up and ready when we got there!

Giblet gravy and fried sweet corn

Bacon wrapped asparagus that I made
(and 'bout burned my house down making but that's another story!)

Twice-baked potatoes that Daddy made

The dessert bar (the pies were on another table!)

Daddy's 'nana puddin'

And this is the grand finale, Mama and Daddy's beautiful bird tree
Ami and I decorated it this afternoon. I think it turned out great!!

I am so thankful for so many things. My family, my parents who have been married 45 years and are so in love with each other, me, my brother and my sister; my brother and my sister-in-law who gave me my niece and nephew, the children that have filled in for my missing babies over the years; my sweet sister and brother-in-law, who I honestly would be lost without. I'm thankful for Maw, my 87-year-old grandma, who I have to go visit in a nursing home now but I thank Jesus every day that I can still go see her and tell her I love her. I'm thankful for my precious husband, who is my biggest supporter and greatest love. I'm also thankful for stretchy pajama pants after a day like this one!! Gobble gobble!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

We're having our Thanksgiving luncheon at work tomorrow and I decided I'd try this different spin on the cheese ball.

A chocolate chip cheese ball.


This is how you make it!

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 c confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c chopped pecans

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in confectioner's sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for two hours.

Shape chilled cream cheese mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic and chill in the refrigerator another hour.

Roll the cheese ball in chopped pecans and serve.

I'm serving mine with chocolate Teddy Grahams. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Seven Most Favorite Movies

My friend, Kim, did a blog that I'm totally stealing for mine. It was really hard for me to pick just seven but here goes!

Y'all all know I love my Forrest. The first time I saw this movie was on VHS with Ami and Brian at Mama and Daddy's house, I guess it was 1995 or 1996. I've seen it a hundred times since then. I love it, love it, love it. In my humble opinion, Forrest Gump is THE greatest movie ever made. It has everything. Drama, comedy, heart-wrenching sadness, a lot of history and some really great music. It's perfect! I could watch it every day. It's almost impossible for me to pick my favorite quote because there are so many that I love but I think I'll say it's Forrest saying, "My mama always said you gotta put the past behind you before you can move on and I think that's what my running was all about."

I dare anybody to get through Steel Magnolias without squalling. I dare ya!! Who can get through Shelby's funeral at all?? Not me. M'Lynn's grief-stricken "I can jog all the way to Texas and back but my daughter can't! She never could!" just kills me. Again, so many favorite quotes but my very favorite is Shelby, bless her heart, saying, "I'd rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special." Yeah, me, too, Shelby. Me, too.

Oh, this little movie right here. Fried Green Tomatoes. Idgie with her wild little self and Ruth, sweet gentle little thing she was, along with Evelyn and Mrs. Threadgoode (who I swore for years was Idgie!), tell the perfect story of love, friendship and tragedy. I love to go to Juliette to the Whistlestop Cafe where this movie was filmed and get a plate of yummy tomatoes and a barbecue sammich (the secret's in the sauce!) and just walk around and feel the presence of these girls and their story. I'm telling you, Idgie and Ruth are there.

I accidentally stumbled upon Almost Famous. I rented it one weekend at Blockbuster and I was hooked from the very first scene! Now it is one of my very favorites. It's about a teenage boy who goes on the road with a 70's rock band called Stillwater (great name!) to do a story for Rolling Stone magazine. Kate Hudson absolutely steals this movie (more about that in my #5 movie choice! Ha!) as Penny Lane, a band groupie, or Band-Aid, as they call her. She is incredible in this movie. My favorite part is the plane scene. There's nothing like bad turbulance to make you tell everything you know. Super cool movie!

Steal This Movie is the story of 60's activist Abbie Hoffman. The movie begins in 1977, after Abbie had gone underground to avoid jail for a drug arrest that he was totally framed for. He contacts a reporter to get the true story out hoping he'll be vindicated and as the interview between him and the reporter progresses, we see his life in flashbacks, from his early, early civil rights days through the trial of the Chicago Eight. We meet his wife, Anita, and baby son, america, who were struggling to survive during Abbie's absence, living on welfare in a cheap apartment in New York and we meet Johanna, Abbie's "wife" from his underground life. This is the part that really got me. Anita and america go to visit Abbie and Johanna and they all sleep under the same roof together. I don't think I'd be wanting to sleep on a sofa with my husband in the next room with another woman. I'm just sayin'. This is a great movie if you love Abbie Hoffman and what he stood for. And I do!

The Stand. Stephen King's greatest work as far as this girl is concerned. Ooooo woooo, this is an awesome movie!! It'll take you all of one Sunday to watch it but it is so worth it. A superflu kills off millions of people, leaving only a handful alive. And cute li'l Gary Sinise be one of them! :) The few survivors are pulled between strong forces of good and evil, all of them driven by dreams to a central location. The good ones go to Mother Abagail out in Nebraska, the bad ones, to Randall Flagg (the dang DEBIL!!), out in Las Vegas. This movie is so incredible, I can't even begin to describe it here. You just have to see it if you haven't. My most favorite part is at the very end when Flagg's about to kill Ralph and Larry and the hand of God comes down and wraps around that nuclear missile. Man, I LOVE that!!! Mother Abagail says from heaven, "You done good, boys. Come on home."

This mess right here. Raising Arizona. It is hilarious!! I watch this movie when I've had a bad day or just feel bad. I'll put this movie on and it always, always, always makes me feel better and laugh my butt off. It's about a couple who can't have a baby and, well, you know the rest. My favorite part is when H. I. goes into the store to get some Huggies and "whatever cash you got" and Ed's out in the car with baby Nathan, sees him in there robbing the place, gets out of the car, calls him a few choice SOBs and then leaves his butt there! LOVE this movie!!!

So there are seven of mine. Your turn!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Well, It's Not Bell's Palsy...

...and it's not a tumor either! I got my MRI results today and after completely flipping out when the nurse told me on the phone that there was "an area of concern" and hysterically calling Ami and Brian to ask them if they'd meet me at the doctor's office, I learned that I am gonna be just fine. It's not Bell's Palsy, although the feeling is basically the same. Bell's affects the 7th cranial nerve in the face, the nerve that controls muscle movement. The problem with me is in my 5th, right where it exits my brainstem. Seems a viral infection with nothing better to do attacked that nerve and got it all inflamed. That inflammation showed up on my scan around the nerve and that's where my numbness is coming from. There is no mass or lesion or tumor.

Doc said one of two things happened. Either my immune system attacked the virus, stomped on it and killed it and then overcompensated and attacked the nerve thinking it was still damaged OR the nerve is still trying to heal. I'm going with the nerve is still trying to heal 'cause that other thing is just retarded.

So what do we do now? We wait until the nerve heals and my numbness goes away. About six weeks after my symptoms cease, I'll have another MRI (joy) and we'll see how things look in there then.

In the meantime, I'm going to read everything I can get my hands on that has anything to do with nerve damage and regeneration. Whatever it takes, more rest, less stress, more chocolate, whatever it takes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Just Hope I Don't Trip The Shoplifting Alarm At Target

I had my brain MRI today and since I'm feeling a little wonky tonight, I Googled "brain MRI side effects". Wonky is one of them. I've been having tremors for about an hour and I feel like my thoughts are all jumbled. Weird, man.

Since I laid there in that poster tube for an hour and a half, my brain is magnetic! I better stay out of Target for a couple of days, huh?

I didn't love the MRI. I didn't even like it enough to become friends. It was horrible.

It looked just like dis right heah. My head was in a cage just like this one and me, my head and the cage all went into that little bitty hole, deep into that tunnel until just my knees were sticking out. I had two foam wedges on either side of my head to hold it in place but I still managed to move it during the process and that caused me to need another FOUR sets of images. 'Cause I "lifted my fanny", he said. Well, golleeeee, my fanny gets a little fidgety when it lays still for an hour!! Don't yours?? After about 45 minutes, he pulled me out and injected the dye in my arm and actually fussed at me for moving my head WHEN HE WAS TALKING TO ME. I don't know about you but my mama and daddy raised me right and when somebody's talking to me, I LOOK AT THEM.

So, anyway, after another 45 minutes, it was over and he told me "everything looked fine and he was giving me an A-" because I messed his pictures up with my fanny. Whatever. I sat up on the table and felt a little dizzy but once I was up and walking around, I was okay. Since I've been home, though, I've been nauseated and shaking. Dr. Google says that's normal and will pass.

I should have the results by the end of the week. I'll let y'all know!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Famous San Francisco Fog

I found this beautiful little video and I just loved it! The music makes me happy!! I'm gonna get there someday...and walk Haight-Ashbury with a flower in my hair.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans' Day!!

I spent the day lovin' on my baby.
He always says he just "drove a truck"
but I am SO proud of him
for his service to our country.
He's my hero!
I hope you thanked a veteran today!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ring My Bell? One Mo' Time?

So. How y'all durrin'? Me? I'm thinking I've got Bell's Palsy again. You wouldn't know it to look at me, though. My face has no outward signs at all this time. I had it for three weeks last summer and had the telltale Bell's muscle weakness and droopiness of my face. I took some steroids, dosed up on Vitamin B12 and waited it out. I was completely recovered in three weeks. About six weeks ago, the right side of my chin started being very sensitive to water coming from the showerhead. I didn't think much of it. I usually don't. It takes an anvil to the head for me to get concerned. Then about four weeks ago, I woke up with the whole right side of my face from my eye down completely numb. There was none of the Bell's droopiness and there has been none since. It's not getting worse, it's just the same every day. I went to my family doctor and my dentist to try to narrow some things down. It's not any of my teeth but my dentist said it may be my TMJ that's inflamed and pressing on a nerve. She said it could be a "perfect storm" of Bell's, TMJ and my chronic sinus flare-ups. Lucky me.

I have numbness, tingling, twitching and ear pain on that side. All of my teeth on that side, top and bottom, feel like they need root canals. This ain't been fun.

Last Monday, I went to a neurologist who performed a very thorough examination on me that included watching me walk and testing my balance, tapping on every bone in my body and having me make faces at him. He said everything looked good but that I absolutely had a little asymmetry to my face. I think I can see it. Larry spent the better part of this weekend staring at my face trying to see what I was talking about but he couldn't see any change. Nobody knows the details of my face better than Larry does but he thinks I'm the most beautiful thing he's ever seen so he's a little blind to my flaws.

We did a bunch of bloodwork last week and it all came back normal. I'm scheduled to have an MRI of my brain next Monday just to rule out a tumor. Since I don't have the main Bell's Palsy symptom of muscle weakness in the face, we've got to rule out the bad stuff and then figure out where to go from there.

I know it's Bell's. Just a milder version of it. And for that I am SO thankful! Gobble gobble!!

Don't Forget To Change Your Clocks!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Elijah and His Hoecake

Have you ever had a hoecake? Mama used to make them for us all the time when I was growing up and I haven't had one in years. Larry went to a revival service this week and the message was from 1 Kings about Elijah and the widow. She had just enough flour and oil to prepare one last meal for her and her son and after it was eaten, they were going to starve to death because they had no more food. Elijah asked her to prepare a small amount for him first and if she did, the Lord would supply all the flour and oil she'd need until the next rain. Larry was telling me about this and I said, "She made him a hoecake!" and to my surprise, Larry said that was exactly what the preacher that night had said. He'd called it a hoecake, too! Now, my baby's a Yankee, bless his heart, and he ain't never had a hoecake before. I've spent the better part of this week with my mouth watering just thinking about them. We even had a discussion on Facebook about them!

So by golly, I made me some today! Just three 'cause I'm really not supposed to eat cornmeal but I didn't think this little bit would hurt.

I used Paula Deen's recipe and they turned out great!!

1 cup cornmeal mix
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup hot water
A tbsp bacon grease (but I used canola oil)
Oil for frying

Mix everything together and pour into a hot skillet (I used my cast iron!) with just enough oil on the bottom for frying. Fry until crispy around the edges and soft in the middle. Yum yum!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Weekend

I spent this weekend at Ami and Brian's house sitting for my kitty nieces. We had so much fun together!! Those four girls are a hoot!! I had a quiet, peaceful, restful weekend filled with candy, scary movies (thanks, Brian!), a few monsters and cuddly kitties. Saturday, I participated in Lake Wildwood's Trunk-or-Treat and I LOVED it. That was the first time I'd ever done that and I really enjoyed myself. It was a blast and we had such a great turnout! Here are a few pics from the day!
The loot!!

Trick-or-treaters, young and old!

The good folks out at LWW offered haunted boat rides around 6:00 and since I was out of candy, I got in line to go on one!

Beautiful view from the boat

They had the boats decorated so scary and they played spooky music for us on the trip!
As soon as we got out to the beach, we got attacked by three scary monsters!!

But they weren't really scary. They gave us candy!!

And then they waved goodbye to us!! They were so cute!!
Hope all of you had a great Halloween!!