Sunday, April 28, 2013

Keeper of the spices

Hello, my name is Ginger and I'm somewhat of a pack rat.  Okay, I pretty much AM a pack rat.  But I'm NOT a hoarder.  There's a difference.  Hoarders keep junk and garbage and don't clean up nothin'.  I keep spices and makeup and clean constantly.  It's not my fault, though!  My mama raised me to not waste stuff and never throw away or get rid of things you can still use.  I keep my house immaculate and there was a method to my madness.  Everything was neat, organized and in tidy little containers.  There was just a LOT of it.  So in my quest to make room for man stuff as well as put my money where my mouth is as far as my wanting us to live more minimalistic in our small condo, I spent the weekend cleaning out cabinets!  Friday, I tackled the kitchen cabinets and was mortified to learn that a bottle of oregano that I STILL used from time to time expired two years before I even moved here.  Which means I brought it with me.  Expired.  And was still using it ten years later.  It was still good!  I promise!!  I threw everything out and was left with nothing but a box of kosher salt, a tin of black pepper, a bottle of iffy lemon pepper and a bottle of vanilla extract.  My spice cabinet was absolutely full.  To the point that you had to close the door real fast to keep stuff from falling out full.  And everything in there was years past their prime.  Oy.

I took down my "good" china with the pretty little blue and pink rosebuds, washed it all, dried it and put it back in a nice, clean cabinet and found all kinds of dishes and bowls and serving platters that I forgot I had!  I cleaned out my pantry and tossed several bottles of vinegar and cooking wines that had seen brighter days and I even organized my candle cabinet.  Yes, I have a candle cabinet.  When the electricity goes out around here, honey, we are set.

Yesterday, I did the bathroom cabinets and medicine cabinets.  I cleared out so much makeup, bath stuff, lotions, hair products (oh, yeah, I pack rat me some hair products, too!), pedicure stuff, you name it, I had it.  But I never used it.  I have all the things I use stored in the other bathroom.  So, I boxed all that stuff up and set it out by the curb on top of the trash can and within ten minutes, it was gone.  The two girls who live two houses down swooped down and got it!  Yay!!  I made one big trip to the Salvation Army Thrift Store and dropped off the rest, mostly household items and kitchen things I don't use anymore.

I cannot tell y'all how free and liberated I feel!!  Just knowing I could pack up both of my bathrooms, towels and all, in fifteen minutes now if I had to makes me happy happy happy!!  I went to the store and got some new spices and seasonings to fill out my sad little spice cabinet and now the things in there are manageable.  I can find what I need without something falling out on my foot and making me talk ugly.   

This was a very productive weekend at the Schneider Condostead!  You'd think my having held on to that stuff so long (years, I'm talking!), it would have been hard for me to part with it.  Nope.  Not at all.  

I have a list of things I want to do before Larry comes home and I'm almost halfway through the list already!  He's only been gone three weeks.  I'm waaaaaay ahead of schedule!!  He called me Wednesday and I told him we only have 8 1/2 months now!  He laughed at that.  It sure was good to hear him laugh.  

Now on to the closet!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

From this day forward

Sunday afternoon, my niece, Jessica, married her sweetheart and best friend, Jimmy.  We were all there to see it!  Ami was wedding planner, director, decorator AND co-photographer and I just have to say that I've never been more proud or more in awe of my baby sister.  She did a fabulous job not just with the beautiful decorations that she painstakingly made by hand and heart but also by holding it all together when it threatened to fall apart.  Amazing girl.

She and Brian were the official photogs for the wedding and I picked a few of my favorites to show on my blog.

The cake!  My mama baked her world-famous-known-all-over-the-land pound cake with butter cream icing wedding cake for our Jessi.  It was her best one ever!

Our girl saying her vows.  My absolute favorite picture of the day!  I was sitting right behind her squalling right along with her mama while this was happening.  It's a good thing we couldn't see her face.  And she couldn't see ours.

The happy couple!

Here's one I took of Jessi checking out her makeup in my car on the way to the wedding.  The wedding was at 2:00.  We got to the park at 2:00.  Talk about a mad dash to the altar!!

No, the ground is NOT covered in snow even though it looks like it here!  When we got to the park, there were people everywhere just millin' around outside.  Jessi didn't want anybody to see her so we just drove around until they moved on out toward the pier.  I snapped this picture when we stopped and she got out for a minute.

It was such a beautiful ceremony and reception!  There was dancing, lots of laughing and lots of crying.  We ate pimento cheese sandwiches and drank Mountain Dew from cans.  We kicked our shoes off and walked around barefoot.  Well, maybe that was just me.  It was crazy, it was sweet, it was even a tad stressful but it was us.  

Jessi and Jimmy, be sweet to each other, be patient with each other, listen to each other.  Be happy!  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weddings, burgers and balloons

Yesterday, I went home to Oglethorpe to meet with my family to discuss the final plans for Jessi's wedding next Sunday.  It's going to be at White Water Park so we met there.  Here we are discussin' things!

Baby Lizzie is such a joy!  A ham, too, as you can see from this picture of her wearing her great-PawPaw's hat.  She held on to that hat and wouldn't turn loose!

She's teething so she wants to chomp on everybody.  Especially their faces.  She goes for the chin.  Brian caught her in the act!  I can't wait to show this picture to her some day.  :D

After we worked out some plans and decided who was gonna do what (wedding planning is exhausting!  And Ami is doing it ALL!!), I went over to Troy's in Montezuma and got lunch.  A bag of their world famous double cheeseburgers and fries.  We might be from a small town without a whole lot going on but let me tell you, Troy's draws folks in from all over!  It was standing room only in there yesterday.  Two lines out the door.  They don't play.  And of course, two sweet little church ladies were perched out front selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts so I got a box of them for dessert.

Brian, Ami and I left for Perry to meet up with Margie after lunch for the Balloon Rally at the fairgrounds, with the Balloon Glow at sundown.  This is us about to go through the gate.  A sweet girl offered to take this picture of us, even though she had a toddler under foot and a baby in a sling on her chest.  Obviously, she has learned to multitask.  :)

Blowing up the balloons.  Ha!

We were more than a little disappointed in the afternoon show.  We thought this was it.  Five balloons.  Plus it was windy, the sun was brutal and there was no shade.  Oh yeah, and bottled water was $3 and the heifer asked me if I wanted a cup of ice to go with it.  Um, yeah, for $3, I want a BAG of ice!  Anyway, we persevered and stuck it out.  It helped a little that we crashed the VIP tent and stole some of their shade.  They never did say anything to us but they didn't have to.  The snooty looks down their noses did all their talking.  It's times like that when you wish you had Phil Robertson with you.  :)

Here I am enjoying the view!

After sunset, more balloons went up!  I counted 12 in all.  They were gorgeous!  After after the sun went down, it was cold to me and the fire from the balloons felt sooooo good.  We got up close and personal.  :)  So personal that Brian's camera got warm! 

We went to Cracker Barrel late and had the rudest waitress you could imagine.  She was a little ticked that it was 9:00 and she was still there.  When she finally came around to ask how we were doing, I'd already sucked the bottom of my tea glass.  And when we asked her for more biscuits (to take home), she was very judgmental about it, saying, "Sure" in a way that meant, "y'all don't need no more biscuits".  She just acted like we were putting her out.  So I asked for more butter and jelly, too.  :)  When she came back and Ami told her we were sorry to trouble her, she went into this tirade of how she was supposed to get off at 8:00, this other girl was supposed to get off at 8:00 and they were made to stay to cover the balloon rally crowd but the manager left and that was his store and blah blah blah.  I was mortified!  You don't tell that to customers!!  Shut up and go get me some more biscuits.  Needless to say, she wasn't living on our tip last night.

We had a wonderful day!!  It was windy, colorful and hilarious!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Free at last!

What a week!  What a wonderful, amazing, incredible, unbelievable, joyous week this has been!  And it's just Wednesday!!

If we're friends on Facebook, you already know.  Larry paroled Monday morning after 36 years in prison.  I know, wow, right??  It don't even make no sense.  After endless parole denials, two back-to-back eight-year set-offs (which mean the Parole Board doesn't have to consider you again for eight years.  Ouch.  Yeah, they hurt.) in 1996 and again in 2004, after everybody told us he'd never get out, he DID.  By nothing but the sheer grace of God, he got out.

We'd been working with The Refuge of Hope down in Quitman for nearly five years.  It's an aftercare facility for parolees.  A place for them to go to get a fresh start, Christian guidance and life skills to help prepare them for life on the outside.  They normally take guys who have nowhere to go and no one to go home to.  They usually don't take married men who have a home and a wife like Larry does.  They accepted us, though, again by the grace of our awesome God.  

Larry got saved at a Kairos weekend five years ago and let me tell you, that was what God was waiting for!  Things started happening for us and boy, they happened fast.  We applied for The Refuge, got accepted and I met with Mr. Andy and Miss Bonnie Squires for supper one night here in Warner Robins.  I immediately fell in love with both of them.  They are such sweet Christian people who genuinely care about their ministry and these guys whose lives they are changing.  

We knew we were going to have to fight.  This was a tough decision for the Parole Board to make.  Larry had two life sentences plus many years from a crime he committed when he was a young man.  It was a tough one.  When he came up for parole last year, they set him off one year and we were overjoyed!!  That was the second best news we could have gotten!  We got a ONE after getting two eights.  We started to get excited a little bit.  :)

Miss Bonnie continued to fight for us, be our cheerleader, our bulldog, to the Board and she convinced them to let Larry come to The Refuge.  Since he'd been in so long, a transitional center was the only option.  

So, on March 11th, in the middle of the night, they woke Larry and told him to pack it up, he was transferring.  He was nervous.  We had been waiting for the Board's decision since January.  The next day, they put him on a bus to the Albany Transitional Center, where he was assigned a bed and began orientation.  He was there four hours.  He was minutes from calling me to tell me he was free when the director came in and told him he couldn't stay, that there had been a mistake. Larry was crushed.  They sent him to Leesburg for the night as a sleeper, then the next morning, they put him on another bus to Wilcox State Prison, telling him only that the Department of Corrections had "jumped the gun" and sent him to the TC prematurely.  The Parole Board had not finalized their decision.

Larry was not able to call those two days but I got a call from the girlfriend of a guy at Central and she told me they'd moved Larry to the TC that morning.  I was hysterical.  Ask my mama and sister.  Thank God they were the only people I told.

Miss Bonnie called me the following morning and told me that it had been a mistake but that she was hot on their tails about it.  I finally got to talk to Larry and was able to calm him down that Thursday, the 14th, and I went to see him that weekend.  We were devastated, we didn't understand what was going on, but we recognized it immediately for what it was.  A test.  God had allowed the devil to test us.  He knew what we would do but the devil did not.  We cried, we were sad, confused and hurt yet we ran to Jesus with it.  

We were at Wilcox for 26 days.  In that time, our faith remained strong and we kept praying and praising God.  We cried, we laughed, we talked about our future.  We prayed together, we had fun together, we drank root beer and had ice cream.  

Miss Bonnie called me on Good Friday and told me it was OVER.  The Board had voted to parole Larry!!  I was on my way to my field trip with my class when I got the call.  How fitting that God would allow us to get this most wonderful of news on Good Friday!

We had the news but we still didn't have a date.  So still we waited.  Until they called Larry up to sign his paperwork and told him the EIGHTH!!  Monday.

So now Larry's at The Refuge and he'll be there until January.  I have SO much to do before then!  There are closets and drawers to clear out and organize to make room for man stuff.  :)  Larry and I have been together for 25 years but obviously, we've never lived together.  I'm going to have a couple of yard sales and make several trips to the Salvation Army.  And then there's the La-Z-Boy that has to be purchased for the living room.  And there's carpets to steam, a deck to clean and water seal and a house to pressure wash.  

I was thinking as I was driving home from work this morning that I am free, too.  I was just thinking about what I need to do Friday after class and it dawned on me that I don't have to go to the bank to get quarters for the vending machines this weekend.  Wow.  I can fill my closet with white shirts now (you other prison wives know what I'm talking about!) and I don't have to fight another blankety-blank guard over one injustice after another.  Ever again.  Double wow.  

I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us!  We have wanted this for so long, it still hasn't really sunk in yet.  Seeing my baby in a pair of blue jeans sho' does help, though.  ;)

Here he is with a Ginger street sign.  My favorite picture of the day!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

If you're wondering what to do with all those leftover Easter eggs in your fridge and you like guacamole, well, here you go.

I made these for lunch today and they are delicious!

Here's how!

  • 6 large eggs, hard boiled
  • 1 medium Haas avocado
  • 2-3 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp red onion, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp diced tomato
  • pinch chili powder (for garnish)


Peel the cooled hard boiled eggs.
Cut the eggs in half horizontally and set the yolks aside.

In a bowl, mash the avocado and 2 whole egg yolks; discard the rest. Mix in lime juice, red onion, jalapeƱo, cilantro, salt and pepper and adjust to taste. Gently fold in tomato.

Scoop heaping spoonfuls of the guacamole into the 12 halved eggs. Sprinkle with a little chili powder for color and arrange on a platter.