Tuesday, March 29, 2011


There is it!  A chicken sitting on a can!  Can you see it?  It's that piece of white metal just between the place where the feet SHOULD be. This recipe came to me via a new cookbook I was just sure I needed.  (I added it to the 100+ already on my pantry shelf.)  The magical trick for this delectable edible is what's IN the can.   Stuck right into that chicken's rear is a can of beer!!! 
Yes, I know it seems odd, but as the book stated, if we followed the directions exactly we would be dining on the most delicious chicken known to mankind.

I searched the grocery store over for just the right brand of beer.   Now...just what is the right brand for this occasion?  Is it the Milwaukee, St. Louis or German kind?  Since I know nothing about beer, it was a challenge.  (Personally I think beer tastes like rotten apples, but over 2/3 of America disagrees so who am I to say?)
Also, much to my dismay, you can't buy just ONE can of beer to flavor a chicken, it only comes in 6-packs.  So....I chose the can that seemed a little bit  more  "artistic"  than the others and loaded it into my grocery buggy. I had plans of making this recipe at least SIX times!

When Honeybuns opened the fridge last Sat. he was sure I'd taken up drinking and I let him think that for a while!  It's good to shake him up every so often.

After cleaning the chicken the night before and dropping it into a bowl of  24 oz.  of COCA-COLA for the night, that fowl was ready for the can and the grill.  I propped him/her (?) up on that can and set the grill ablaze.  1 1/2 hours later dinner was ready.

Getting the "chicken with can" OFF the grill was another challenge.  That process alone was another candidate for the Funniest Home Video contest.  We were both armed with tongs, pans, & oven gloves and finally got the thing into the house without dropping it on the concrete patio first.  I'm really sad that the neighbors did not witness that ordeal, it was priceless!  There was much yelling, tossing and a few burned fingers, but we were convinced beyond all doubt that our taste buds would appreciate the effort!

The directions said to let it "rest" for 15 minutes. What's that about?  Has this chicken been working???? Why does it now need a rest??

Getting  it OFF the can was another trick but not quite as traumatic. 

FINALLY, the moment had arrived.  The pre-dinner taste test!  WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!  It tasted  like......

Normal old chicken, nothing extraordinary....just chicken.

Well, that's just great!  Now I have a choice.  I can make FIVE more recipes of this mediocre chicken, or DRINK FIVE cans of beer!
I had no idea that being a gourmet chef would involve so many decisions! It could drive one to drink!

Monday, March 28, 2011


This past Saturday we went to lunch in Tulsa.  No big deal.  When we're out and about around lunchtime on Sat. it's the normal thing to do. This week was different.

As Honeybuns paid the cashier at our favorite buffet, that woman took one look and in a loud voice asked, "Anyone over 60?"
I turned around to see what elderly couple must have been standing behind us.  Getting ready to offer a polite hello to the aged,  I quickly realized there was NO ONE standing behind me.  She was asking ME if I was over 60!! She was offering ME the senior citizen discount!

Honeybuns saw the look of anger, confusion, horror, and disbelief on my face and began laughing out loud!!  Yes, that young twit had the audacity to suggest that one of us, ME, MIGHT be 60 or above. 

I wondered why she would think such a thing!  The view I have of myself certainly wouldn't prompt such a question.  In my mind's eye, I have the taunt olive skin and healthy shiny hair of a 35 year old cutie.  In my imagination I'm still a size 8!  (Yes, I try to stay away from mirrors!) I felt a little pity for the gal, she obviously needed to visit Pearl Vision Center.

After a resounding NO, I recovered from the whole degrading situation and sat down to enjoy lunch.

The waitress  immediately came by to introduce herself and remarked that my outfit reminded her of her MOTHER!  She smiled and declared that her mother often wore polka dots, but that her poor mom had been GONE now several years.  I was speechless.
How does one recover from that?

Honeybuns was having way too much fun with all this senseless chatter!  I'd been insulted twice  and he was having the time of his life.

Since HE'S the one that refuses to dye his gray hair, I often refer to myself  as his trophy wife!  He always gets a good laugh out of that one, too!

Well, for now, that will be the last time we go to that restuarant UNTIL we are truly seniors.  Oh!.....that would be JULY!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Four years ago today this little cutie made her entrance into this world!  I remember holding her tiny body and weeping at the wonder and miracle of Mollie Caroline!

This is my favorite picture of her because it captures her spirit!  She is happy, quick,
funny, and simply delightful. She talks all the time, plays hard, and befriends everyone she meets.  She mesmerizes everyone in her family.   It was HER idea to ride her Shamu in her little blow-up backyard swimming pool.  She was certain she was in the wildest part of the Pacific Ocean as she and her buddy did "whale tricks" just like they do at Sea World.
There is no doubt in my mind that she will grab life and happily hang on for the ride.
It's going to be so fun to watch her tackle her dreams.

We're celebrating Mollie today....declaring this the first annual " Mollie Appreciation Day!"  I'm sending her 1000 hugs and this message, "I love you to the moon and back."

Monday, March 21, 2011


You can't ALWAYS find what you want on the Internet OR at the local shops.   Last week I went hunting for a birdhouse, three actually.  It was time to update the "neighborhood" at our back fence.

After driving for miles, checking every conceivable bird-lovers haunt in Tulsa and the surrounding area I turned to the Internet.  There are plenty to choose from there!  But who in their right mind pays $50 - $750  (plus shipping) for such a dwelling?  No one in this household!

Saturday I showed Honeybuns my ideas for new construction for our feathered friends and he promptly announced he could MAKE THEM!  Yippee!  We were off to Lowe's, our favorite weekend  hang-out!

After two  sunny afternoons of measuring, sawing, painting and fitting the pieces together we have finished the project!  What fun! 

It was a happening!  Neighbors heard the saw buzz and stopped by to see what was going on.  A couple of teen-gers selling something to get themselves on a trip this summer came by and took a look.  They were very impressed!   Joggers and walkers of all shapes and sizes were also curious.  Who knew that a silly little project could create such a stir?

And I'm please to announce that unit #2 and  unit #3 are already occupied!  The bright colors didn't frighten the birds at all.  Are birds color-blind?  One visitor asked if we were trying to attract the  Latino variety?  Or maybe those from South Miami?  Bermuda  builders favor those colors too, I'm told!  I've seen people-houses painted like these in Charleston, S.C. so maybe we'll soon have visitors flying in from that lovely place.

We pride ourselves in being a very interracial, interdenominational, inter-cultural, and inter-chromosomal neighborhood.  Diversity is the spice of life! 

And it's ALWAYS  rewarding to create something (even if it's a bird-house) from an idea!  It's a brief but healthy escape from earthquakes, tsunamis', budgets and wars! 

Perhaps when Honeybuns gets tired of keeping airplanes in the air, he'll turn his talent to CONSTRUCTION and make some birdhouses that will not require applications to Fanny Mae and Fredie Mac!  He'll take orders! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Let's call this BEFORE and AFTER!  Hays loves snowboarding and has been on a team now for several months.  After moving from Branson, MO to Durango, CO and living there just two winters, he's done remarkably well.  He's spent a month of Saturdays and Sundays on the mountain practicing this sport!   He has dreams of following in Shawn White's tracks!

I love it that he's brave and energetic.  I love it that his parents give him the world and all that's in it. I love it that he craves fresh powder and speed!  I love it that he's ALL BOY!

I dont' love the fact that this past Saturday he received the "crash of the year" award.  His jump started off beautifully.  He'd been over those slopes many, many times.  But during this first competition something horrible went wrong.  The nose of his board dipped at the wrong time and he became the new poster boy for the "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."  The video is too painful for this BeBe to watch. 
He jumped into the air, twisted end over end and landed on his right side, HARD! Seeing him laying still in the snow was a heart-stopping experience.  Hearing the by-standers shout, "Hays is down, Hays is down!" nearly did me in.
After hours in the ER it was discovered that he now has 6 broken ribs, a broken collar bone and a vertebrae in his back. 
He's smiling in this picture because  he'd  just been given  several potent modern pain killing drugs. 
(I wish those broken bones were mine INSTEAD of his!! Don't we always wish our children's pain could be transferred to us. )
The Dr. said that his helmet saved his life!

He's healing slowly and he's learning to deal with the pain.  He's ready to go back to school, but his body isn't. His snowboarding season is over for now, but there is no doubt that he'll be back at it next fall. He hears that call to the slopes deep in his soul and he'll answer.

I'm going to try to talk him into CHESS!

Monday, March 14, 2011


I am continually stunned but not surprised by the amount of order, patience and civility exhibited by the Japanese people right now.  Some have lost their homes, jobs, friends and  often family members and yet they weep silently.  Hundreds quietly stand in line waiting for water and food. There is no pushing, wailing, name-calling, or blame placing witnessed. There are no riots in the streets and looting has yet to be seen. Isn't it just amazing?

Before this horrific tragedy occurred their culture was remarkable in this way as well.  Riding their trains, elevators, or airplanes was always a  pleasant experience for us.  Everything they do is orderly. No Japanese would even consider allowing a cell phone to ring, let alone answer it in a crowd.  They never raise their voices in anger, swear or offer obscene gestures while navigating life publicly.  Politeness and patience seem to be in their genes. Their manners are impeccable. Now, their commitment to respect seems to rise to the surface even in their confusion and grief.

I'm so sad for that beautiful land and it's people.  It will take years to recover if they ever do!

We've heard from our friends there and they are fine.  They live in Tokyo and were not in the path of destruction last week.  We are so glad for that news. 

When we asked what they needed the most, their reply was "patience."  If anyone on the planet knows the beauty of that characteristic it is the Japanese people.

I'm wondering if I would react with such poise and strength.  All that devastation puts the petty annoyances of my life into perspective.  Maybe I'll think twice before throwing a hissy fit today!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


This is Bob Barker!  I know, he looks nothing like the guy we watched on The Price is Right all those years!  BUT...there IS a connection between the two.

Andy received this spring horse for Christmas in 1977 from his Grandma Braner.  We were visiting the Illinois relatives for the holidays and he promptly named his new pal, Bob Barker.  (Could it be we were watching way too much television at the time?) 

We were living in Augusta, Georgia then so we loaded up this humongous/space hogging toy and carried him home to live with us temporarily.  We were sure that like any toy,  the interest would wane and he'd be living with some other deserving child in a year or so.

NOT SO!  If you can imagine, THIS has become a family heirloom of sorts.  Andy rode off into many sunsets on Bob Barker, dressed in cowboy boots,  a 10 gallon hat and  a diaper.  When he out grew his trusty steed, Philip saddled up.  Bob Barker trotted right along when we moved back to Illinois.

The boys grew and we moved to Arkansas a few years later.  We boarded Bob at Grandma Braners attic and there he collected a little dust for a few years.  As her Illinois great grandchildren came along he was pulled out of the attic, washed down and a new generation rode for miles.

We moved again and Barker continued to enjoy his life in his Illinois "pasture."  Our boys were grown and in college and had no need of a spring horse.

After we moved to Dallas and  our own grandchildren started arriving we decided that he should once again be welcomed back into our barn. We coaxed him away from the Illinois cousins and once again fashioned a stable for him in a room designed for the grand children's visits.

We have pictures!   Hays, Maggie, Dax, Tiki, Gabby, Gracie, Mollie, and now Thompson have all heard the words "cowboy up." Each one learned to ride at about 18 months. Sometime next year a new baby girl will also feel the thrill of bouncing along the imaginary prairie. Counting the two little Illinois girl cousins, this horse has been ridden by 12 toddlers in his lifetime.  How many horses have such history??

Today he even has a stable mate, Belle, a much larger stuffed filly that loves to race him around the track.  They get along great! The two of them have  even competed at the "Kentucky Derby" ridden by tiny Braner jockeys.  It's a photo finish every time.  Little eyes dance as they circle around the imaginary track in my kitchen.

I'm thinking that the real "Price is Right" Bob Barker should hear this story.  It would surely give him a smile!   These two "Barkers" may not resemble each other, but both instigated much joy in the past 34 years!

Monday, March 7, 2011


THIS is Cousin Gertie! She was just one of many delightful characters that attended a women's retreat at Camp Paron, AR this past weekend. I believe Gertie lives in Hot Springs Village, AR but she may have been just  visiting from parts unknown.  Yes, I did get her permission to post this picture.

Gertie delighted the audience with stories of life with Carmichael, her husband, and words of wisdom that come  from astute discernment and observations.  I'd like to share a few stories here but as they say,  "what happens at Paron, STAYS at Paron."  I'll just sum it up by saying, she has the therapeutic value of Dr. Phil!  I doubt she realizes the future she could have in, say, ...Hollywood!

Gertie and her pals, Trixie and Dixie, Grace, Rosa and Dr. Essie Belle filled the meetings with laughter and realism.  (Church women take themselves waaaaayyy too seriously most of the time.)

There were plenty of serious moments, for sure, but as Julie Andrews has sung,  "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

I had the best time, ever.  Those women know how to put it together.  Their organizational skills, creativity, joy, and friendliness were  contagious.  I was there to "inspire" them!  What a joke!  Watching them work and interact together was the inspiration.

Most everyone in the group was over 50,  a few young daughters were fortunate enough to have been invited by their mothers! 

I came home wondering how I could help connect the love, WISDOM, patience, joy, WISDOM, tolerance, experience,  & WISDOM these retired professional women possess with the "youngsters" of our world that are struggling to find their way.

Maybe a high school right smack dab in the middle of a retirement community, a kindergarten in a nursing home, or a middle school within a Veterans Home would force generations together.  It would be a win-win for the kids, for sure! Honeybuns thinks a technical school to teach young boys could be staffed by retired men, volunteering 3 mornings a week would work.  (I see him donating time training future airplane mechanics one day.)  He's confidant that older, experienced, educated folks NEED to be needed, and that need is greater than the call of the golf course or bridge table.  Being useful and appreciated cannot compete with a game score.

Perhaps there are programs like that already up and running!  If so, they don't get much press.

I DO know that Cousin Gertie, and her buddies, have a lot to offer.   I am thankful I was on the receiving end for a couple of days!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


A couple of days ago I got the strangest e-mail.   It was from a sweet friend and the tone of urgency sent my heart into a flutter. 

The message stated that she had taken a trip to London (she's been known to do that!) and while there her purse was stolen along with all her money, credit cards, identification, etc.  She was receiving some help from the American Embassy but in order to come home she needed cash immediately.  There were phone numbers included where she could be reached and the name of the hotel where she was staying.

My mind began whirling as I set plans in motion to get help to her ASAP!     I would go to the bank, withdraw funds and wire the money to her.  I had visions of myself being in a foreign county in such a predicament and the panic I would feel.  My "kick-it-in-gear and do-something-quick" personality trait surfaced.

Instead of calling her London hotel, I decided to try her cell phone.  I had no hope that it would be answered, it was probably in the stolen purse, right?

On the third ring she calmly answered.  She was NOT in London at all but in her apartment in Dallas, right where she was supposed to be!!    It was all a scam!

Evidently a virus on her computer caused the ruckus and everybody in her address book got that same e-mail requesting money QUICK!

What a mess!  Her phone was ringing non-stop and she had to explain over and over again the truth of the situation.  Hopefully NO ONE called the London hotel, received directions and sent the money.

I'm sure the hackers had a plan to trick whoever might make that call!  I wondered how often they'd succeeded in their plot and how much money they'd received.   The plan must work or they wouldn't bother with it at all!

SO....I started thinking about recent cyber crimes in my world. 

A few months ago we got a call from a credit card company asking if we'd been to New Orleans recently.  Someone there had used my bank card, complete with secret pin number, to send a donation to a well-known news agency in IRAQ!  Nope, didn't know a thing about it.

Not long after that we started getting unexplained "gifts" delivered to the front door via UPS.  One beautiful coffee maker arrived, but since we don't even drink coffee it was suspicious!   Following up with that and a recent credit card statement we learned that someone in San Francisco was using my Visa card to purchase all sorts of things.  How those things got sent to OK is still a mystery!

Then there is the horror of identity theft!  We have not experienced that yet...may just be a matter of time.  But I have a friend that spent years trying to regain her reputation, credit standing and personal peace.

Also, a while back Honeybuns got a call from his company's bank asking why his signature was on a sizable withdrawal from the company account. Sure enough his "John Hancock" and that of the company's bookkeeper had authorized the transaction. Only problem there was that they had NO knowledge of this deal. There is no explanation as to how the crooks obtained those signatures.  The bank was very gracious and replied, "it happens all the time."

IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME!  WOW....rather than a abnormality, we have entered into a new era where cyber crime is really very common.   How the authorities police that action is beyond my pay scale!

So what's our options?  I don't see our society entering some sort of time machine and erasing all this super duper technology....and frankly I wouldn't want that to happen anyway.  I LOVE my iphone, my computer and all the "instant" freedom those things bring to my life.  My sons will text me back in a micro-second but never answer their land line.  Go figure!  (That is SO foreign to baby boomers!) I can send pictures, check the temperature in 10 different cities, verify my location, actually SEE the houses and streets of people I know, play games, listen to music, send out invites to a party, watch world news instantly as it unfolds,  tune into movies or old TV shows,  on and on...the options are never ending.

I love my credit cards too! And the fun and ease of shopping online! Every store, every designer, every quirky item ever invented can be viewed.  I can buy gifts, necessities and lots of non-essentials in the middle of the night in my jammies.  How cool is that?  Amazon.com has my number!  I can research anything known to man with just two clicks and have answers to my medical questions in  the time it takes to say MD!  And don't get me started about Facebook....I love that, too!  I've reconnected with friends of long ago and  am able to communicate all sorts of happenings and news with new buddies as well. And I can see their faces, their cute kids and enter into their world if they allow it.

Nope, I'm not fighting this new life we've been awarded by Bill Gates and all his geeks.  I embrace it.

I think there is going to be crime as long as there are people on the planet.  There are folks that are driven to spend all their time and energy devising illegal plots for illegal gain.  Nothing new under the sun!  Just a new venue, CYBERSPACE!  WOW, those hackers must be really smart to figure it out! (Really! How many people  KNOW where Cyberspace is?!) You 've got to admire the intellect!