Total Pageviews

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Bird on the Desk is Worth....?

By Jody Worsham ,  grinsandgroans ( at)

All rights reserved for Big Bird

During the course of my half century married to biologist turned kineseologist Dr. Hubby, I have come to expect unexpected guests in our home, backyard, and even the bathtub.  One of his undergraduate projects included trapping a nutria, rendering him dead, and plopping him in my freezer until it was ready for skinning.  A note on the refrigerator would have prevented an early morning warning scream that sent the neighbors into their storm cellars.

Then there was the time he returned home late from calling a basketball game in a nearby town.  Two chickens had fallen off the Pilgrim’s Pride truck that was hauling them to the chicken processing plant.  The hens were wandering along the side of the road in the rain. He rescued them and brought them home.  With no readily available chicken coop, he put them in out bathtub.  Again no note to alert me to the fact that we had guests in the bathtub.  He did very thoughtfully, however, hypnotized the chickens (he can really do this) so that they would be still and quiet so as not to awaken me during the night.  The next morning the neighbors again headed for their storm cellars as the early warning signal sounded. 

Our next guest came from Lake Sam Rayburn.  Dr. Hubby’s day fishing trip had lasted longer than expected so I was already asleep when he got home.   Not wanting to return home empty handed without a string of bass or perch, he brought home what he had caught.. live… and put it in the kitchen sink.  I now know grinnels are about as close to a prehistoric fish as you can find in North America.   Again no note.  In the morning when I went into the kitchen to make coffee, I activated the early warning scream.  This time the neighbors called before heading for their storm cellars.

So I was not surprised when the Tween-ager and the seven-year-old came to the house from the Trump Chicken Condos carrying our next house guest.  It seems that one of the recently added twenty-four chicks was being picked on by the other chicks.  She was literally the butt of their beaks.  Since she was missing several tail feathers, nothing would do but separate her from the other birds.  So our next guest found herself in a cardboard box on the desk in the playroom.

My writing lamp was whisked off my desk to provide warmth for the chick.  My ceramic ramekins became the perfect sized feeder and water bowl for this bird.  Today’s newspaper, still unread, became lining for the box.  The shi tzu was not a hospitable hostess and let everyone know it.  She upset the chick so much that it decided to check out early.  Dr. Hubby caught her in mid-flight just as he came in the door.  He didn’t look surprised to see a baby chicken in a box on a desk in the playroom with my reading lamp.

All he said was “What? No note?”

Thursday, November 8, 2012

If the Shoe Fits...

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Dr. Scholl, podiatrists, chiropractors, and bunion pads for my friend Wanda at

I say if the shoe fits, buy it.  If it feels sooo comfortable, buy two pairs.  If there is enough room for your little piggies to do the Happy Dance, buy six pairs.  If you feel like you are walking on clouds, buy a dozen.  If they happen to be stylish…. what the heck, buy one more pair.

You will note that I put stylish at the end of my list.  I know there are those who suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous pointed toes and platform soles for the sake of fashion like my friend Wanda in “The Land of” but I am not one of those.  My philosophy is “No pain, Good Thang”. 

The latest fashion to assault women’s feet are those super high heels with one to two inch or more platform soles.  These shoes are playing havoc with the world as we know it.  The driver’s license bureau is thinking of amending the height portion to read “Height without platforms.”  Insurance companies are hearing as an excuse for accidents “I thought I was pressing the brakes.  If felt like the brakes.”  Instead of digging in their purses for cellphones, they could be answering their shoe like Maxwell Smart.    No need for carry-on luggage; just pack your platforms.  I suspect the chiropractors, podiatrists, and bunion pad makers will see an increase in business over the next several months.  

 Given our current trends in government, you can also expect new government regulations concerning footwear.  Manufactures may have to include warning labels on the shoe boxes: “ Warning: Wearing platform shoes may be hazardous to your health.  Wear at your own risk.”  People wearing the shoes may be required to wear a sign stating “Beware of possible falling body due to shoes.  Maintain at least six foot radius at all times.” 

 With all the inherent dangers, you might expect them to be banned in California, but not so. Rhode Island, maybe.  Hollywood, no.

Ballerinas know the value of a good fitting pair of toe shoes.  Since no two pair ever fit the same, when a good fit is found, they will wear them till they are in shreds and the bare toe box is showing and then weep when they have to replace them. 

I know how they feel.  I once had a pair of Nike shoes that enabled me to walk fifteen New York long blocks with no problem.  They were my shoe of choice whenever taking students to New York.  They became so worn I had to wrap duct tape around them.  I am sure I am the one responsible for the decorative duct tape and trend in teenagers today to decorate everything with duct tape.  However, my students were appalled at their sponsor turned Broadway Bag Lady until we made the trek from the Plaza Hotel to Macy’s Department Store.  By the time we got to Macy’s, they all headed for the shoe department.

I wish I had bought sixty pairs of those shoes.  They stopped making them but I learned my lesson.  Now if I ever find a shoe that is close to being as comfortable as those Nikes, that’s all you will ever see on my feet…at weddings, funerals, church, the ball park, Wal-Mart, presidential inaugural balls...  So be careful if you send me an invitation to something.

 Remember:  Beauty is in the sole of happy Feet,  so if the shoe fits buy several pairs.

 Oh, and Wanda, your platform shoes are definitely stylish and you do look good, , but my Nike clad feet can’t be beat!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Can a No-cook Cook Teach Two Cooks to Cook, if the No-cook Cook can't Cook?

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved in order to be adopted by Betty Crocker

Over the past several years, we have all determined that I can’t cook.  There are numerous fire reports, hospital visits, and petrified casseroles posing as yard art to attest to that fact. 

Now the big question is (see title of this piece) can cooking be taught or is it hereditary?  It is the old nature versus nurture, heredity versus environment debate.  I hold to the theory that good cooking is hereditary.  My mother cannot cook, my grandmother could not cook, and neither can I…hereditary. 

To further support my theory, I offer proof from the adopted seven-year-old and tween-ager.  Both children entered the Spoon and Fork Cooking Contest at our local library.  Why, you say, enter children in a cooking contest when the only reference point they have for good food is school cafeteria food?  To support my theory.

The children each entered the appetizer and salad category for their age group.  The seven-year-old entered Hot Wheels, a cream cheese, picante sauce, pecan, jalapeno mixture rolled up in a flour tortilla, cut into chunks, and an olive stuck in the center, run through with a toothpick.  It’s more of an assembly thing than a cooking thing, but this was his first time out.

The Tween-ager found a recipe for Sunflower Salad made with ramen noodles (cooked), tomatoes, onion, cabbage, sunflower seeds, bacon bits, with a dressing of sunflower oil, sugar, bacon bits, and vinegar.  Assemble, toss, refrigerate.

Ok, I was smart enough to buy two of everything in case, you know, I helped her, whom I did, and we had to do it again, which she did.  In all fairness, it was an honest mistake anybody could have made.  I store my sugar and salt in separate clear plastic canisters and maybe storing them side by side isn’t a good thing and probably those who know how to cook would never do that, and yes, labeling might have been a good idea, but I didn’t.  So the first salad, I like to call it the “practice salad”, was a bit off and a whole lot saltier than it was supposed to be.  In my defense, salt and sugar are both granulated, white, and ok, I was in a hurry and gave her the wrong canister.

As a result, I was banished from the kitchen.  The tween-ager finished the second salad on her own using sugar and without me handing her anything.

I was limited to setting “the stage” for their dishes, something I can do. For the Hot Wheels appetizer, I cut out a racing track from black poster board and hot glued it around the rim of the black serving platter.  Then I hot glued two Hot Wheel racing cars to the track.  I typed the recipe onto card stock and glued two plastic racing flags on to that. Hot Wheels was ready for competition.

The Sunflower Salad needed a silk sunflower in a recycled Starbuck’s mocha frappe bottle.  Her recipe was mounted onto green, yellow, and red plaid wrapping paper backed by card stock and leaned against the silk flower arrangement.  A sunflower cutout was used as a placemat for the salad bowl.  I found a flower looking plastic bowl at Dollar Tree.  I added water to that and froze it.  The salad was placed in a taller bowl and set inside the plastic bowl.  Her salad was supposed to be kept cold.

If the children were influenced by environment, then I felt the judges would need something attractive and interesting to look at while waiting for the paramedics to arrive.  Fortunately my theory held.  My adopted children, because they are adopted, could not inherit my bad cooking gene and no paramedics were summoned to the contest.

Oh, and yes, both children took first place!  Somewhere in their family tree is a branch for Julia Childs, Paula Deen, and Emeril Lagasse.