I love the annual task of tossing out the old date book and starting a brand new BLANK one.
It's always kind of weird to look back at some of the stuff I had to do.
Some of the thing I listed for the week of July 14:
Tape Project Runway Finish book order form Asparagus/sesame oil Call Babs [my agent] Driving range Call Samoset [that's the place where we go for Thanksgiving buffet. See how I plan ahead? Hey, that place gets booked early....] Key - garage? [I have no idea what that means] Dentist Brochures Lesson with Norman [golf]
The only one I apparently did not do is: Iowa seating. That means the airline seating for my trip to Iowa City.
Recipe for making a slightly blurry slideshow entitled: One Year in Two Minutes (okay, okay...One Year in Two Minutes and Seven Seconds)
1 part snowstorm 2 parts procrastination 1 part geek 2 heaping helpings of iMovie tutorials 1 handful of random photos taken throughout the year 1 large dose of iTunes 3 failed attempts to upload to YouTube 1 hour reading fascinating live blogging by New School students who had taken over a school building in protest and seeing a video that had been uploaded using Blogger (and therefore rethinking the YouTube strategy) 1 part Blogger Help 15 minutes waiting on seemingly-eternally long upload 1 dash of wondering why some of the photos are so blurry but then saying "oh, well"
Combine all. Curse a little bit. Stir, cook and enjoy.
....well, okay, one person - but, hey, she's very popular (Hey, Maria!)
My grandmother's fabulous Red Velvet Cake.
It is really good - very moist and so beautiful. I used to make it in a heart-shaped cake pan for Valentine's Day. It's really pretty for Christmas, too.
As for the Mystery Icing - well, it's a mystery to me how my grandmother got hers to turn out so much better than mine. Mine is always grainy from the sugar. You might try Jennifer's suggestion about the confectioners sugar.
I hope these are legible. I could have typed up the recipe, but it's just so much more fun to see it in the original, I think. And now, we are all waiting - spoons ready - for the Brownie You Eat With a Spoon recipe.
But I make it exactly the way my grandmother made it (except I cut it in half and add peanuts, per my notes at the top of the recipe below).
One of my most cherished possessions is a little black notebook filled with handwritten recipes that my grandmother gave me almost forty years ago. (In fact, during a recent family discussion about what we would grab in the event of a house fire, that little notebook was one of my items.)
Here is her recipe for Chex mix:
The pecans she used came from the pecan trees in her yard. She gathered every one of them herself and cracked them with a nutcracker which I now own and picked out the nut halves with a little nut pick that I now own.
I recently looked at the recipe on the back of the Chex box. Of course, they don't use Cheerios. And they use "bite size" pretzels instead of pretzel sticks. And they use BAGEL CHIPS (blasphemy).
But the worst thing is that they tell you to cook it IN THE MICROWAVE.
Notice that my grandmother cooks it in a very low oven for two hours.
Here is my grandmother. Her name was Ethel. Doesn't she look like an Ethel?
She always looked exactly like this. No older. No younger. Same style of dress. Same style of shoes. Same hairdo.
She lived in North Carolina her whole life.
The little notebook she gave me is mostly very Southern recipes.
Red Velvet cake. (You can see it is very much used - stained with red food coloring.): Note: This is not the entire recipe. If anyone is actually considering making it, I'm happy to send the rest.)
Her "salads" were the old Southern standby: congealed salads. She had many varieties.
Here's what you do - you put the Reqall phone number on your cellphone (but if you put it on speed dial, you have to remember what the speed dial number is, and that's a problem. Heh... But I used the number 4 - as in 4-get. Get it?).
Then you call the number and just say whatever it is you want to remember.
Then when you get home, you'll have an email reminding you!
Or you can call the Reqall number again and it will tell you what you said.
If you say the word "buy" - it puts it into your "shopping list" on the web site (in addition to sending an email to you).
So, if I'm driving and thinking - and I think of something I want to remember or buy - I just call the Reqall number and then I can forget about it.
(Oh yeah...I would have forgotten about it anyway. Oh well....)
Trying to write a book while doing school visits is challenging.
This is my new office.
Today I noticed the title changes I've made.
Porkchop Dreams was pretty good but had nothing to do with the story (heh!). Porchop dreams, by the way, is my term for those doggie dreams that dogs have when they yip and twitch in their dreams. They must be dreaming about porkchops, don't you think?
And Dear Owen is so boring - and also has nothing to do with the story.
This probably sounds weird, but in most cases, for me, the title comes before the actual story. I might have a hazy idea of the story, but not until I think of the title does it become clearer. That was the case with The Short, Sad Life of Tooley Graham.