Archive for January, 2013

Sugah’s Mothuh & The Georgetown Rice Steamuh, Part 2; Or the Steamuh Secret Society

January 30, 2013

I really thought that Sugah was making up another one.  Turns out, he’s not, but I’ve discovuhed that he is a membuh of a cult.  Never fear, it’s not the kind of cult that makes you an outcast of society, but a cult, nonetheless.

He extolled the virtues of a rice steamuh that could not be found.  So naturally I blogged about it.  I heard from enough folks to make me believe that such a thing existed.

Reader Linda S. knew exactly what he was talking about, and said that their steamuh was always a’steamin’ when she was growing up.  Reader Dawn said that she found one in a hardware/variety-type store on the outskirts of Hampton, SC.  I had suspected that there might be one in Wiggins Hardware in Estill, which might be considered on the outskirts of Hampton, so I contacted Suguh’s cousin Bett.  She didn’t know about Wiggins, but had heard that Dobson’s on the Luray-Hampton Road might have one.  Reader David gave me three links to a steamuh up around Charleston way, which meant a day trip, and Sugah couldn’t wait for that.  Rose in Garnett said that she has one that belonged to an elderly lady that she used to care for who is now deceased, and that it makes the most perfect rice.

Sugah called Wiggins, and asked for an old-timey rice steamuh.  (He actually used the word “old-timey”.)  The man said they had a rice steamuh, but it was not the old-timey WearEver.  No matter.  We set off for Wiggins.






The steamuh was exactly like Sugah had described it.  There were no perforations on the bottom of the insert basket, only on the sides, otherwise the rice would fall through.

The man in Wiggins Hardware said that he was unable to get rice steamuhs for 25 years until recently.  He said he even ships them up North.  He uses a rice steamuh himself, and sometimes puts shrimp in the basket to steam it, but I’m not clear if he steams the shrimp in with the rice at the same time.

We had a little extra time so to satisfy my curiosity we drove on out to Dobson’s on the Luray-Hampton highway.  We didn’t even need to go into the store, for there in the window was the exact same rice steamuh.

So yay for the rice steamuh, and thank you to all you folks for all your help!

Trimming The Crape Myrtles in Laurel Grove; Or, Oh Icy Hot I Heart You

January 24, 2013

Sugar and I were at Laurel Grove Cemetery last July in 2012.  He noted that the crape myrtles needed attention.  The Spanish moss was choking them.

This observation was made right after the city workers came through and cut everything that didn’t require the use of a ladder to reach.

When I was a little girl, I remember hearing people talk about how beautiful their crape myrtles were.  It didn’t mean anything to me until I moved to SC and saw extensive landscaping with crape myrtles.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.

So these crape myrtles in the Lawton-Jones plot in Laurel Grove have not bloomed since I’ve been going there with Sugar for the past few years.  It was time for some Sugary action.


Here’s a “Before” shot. The crape myrtles are at the center of this photo at the back of the lot.


Sugar has brought along a step-ladder. It’s the kind of ladder that has a tray at the top of it, like for setting objects like paint cans or tools.


He’s finished the first, biggest crape myrtle on the right, and he’s starting in on the second, and last, tree. I’m dragging branches and debris outside the fence to the front of the lot where the city workers can haul it off.


Why, yes, he IS standing on the tray. The one that says on it, “This is not a step. Do not stand or sit.” He says he’s done it before.


One of the canes splinters off, and I show Sugar that we have a wooden stake in case any vampires show up.

Right after the vampire remark, a city worker drives by in a dump truck.  He looks horrified at what he sees.  He turns the truck around, and stops in front of the gate.  After greeting Sugar with some perceptive remark, like “Cutting some crape myrtles today?”, he tells Sugar that we will be responsible for removing the debris.


Sugar tells him that clearly we cannot do this, because it is the city’s responsibility to maintain and remove the debris, but the crape myrtles have not been maintained, which is why we are there today, and we are in a  van (but if we only had a dump truck, oh, hey, look what YOU are driving.)

The man says that the city will only remove what they cut down, and Sugar reminds him that this lot is PERPETUAL CARE, and that the services have been paid for in perpetuity.  He then threw out the “L” word.  “I’m a Lawton, and these are my people.”

The man left.

The man returned with his business card.  It seems that although he works for the city of Savannah, he also has a landscaping business on the side.  “Hey, man, I’ve got to work on the side.  I work for the city.”  Which does nothing to increase our sympathy for his case.

He then told us that his crew could have done the work.  Here’s where the information gets so sketchy that it boggles the mind.  He meant his crew for his side business, not his crew for the city who are already paid to maintain the grounds, but his crew that he employs so that Sugar would have to pay him so that he could hire his crew.

He said that he could consult with Sugar in the future, and give him a quote for pruning the crape myrtles, and could we please take our snips and cut the trimmings down short so that they will fit into a dump truck or a front-end loader.

I point out to the man that someone cut everything back about 6 months ago, and left debris, and we didn’t want to be held responsible for leaving something that someone else left.  He said that he personally cut everything back himself, and that he had left the stuff on the ground (that incidentally was still there).

Boggled?  I know I am.

Clearly we are in the wrong business.


Sugar clips the clippings.


This isn’t all.


We cut everything that we could with the loppers.


If you are not familiar with crape myrtles, they bloom on new wood. They are generally cut back before spring happens and the shoots start to grow.


It looks stark and just wrong somehow, cutting those little darlings back so severely.


These trees will thank Sugar come June.


That’s my jacket hanging on the fence.


And the “After” shot. There’s light in that far right corner now.


Sugar wanted a shot inside the fence.


This was once a huge oleander. City workerman cut it back.


Here’s a pile of debris next to the oleander that I pointed out had been here since last July. Mr. Workerman said that he did that. Why would anyone want to hire him?

 And now it’s time to go to the Distillery and have a beer some lunch.  Happy pruning!

Sugar’s Mother & The Georgetown Rice Steamuh

January 22, 2013

Sugar has decided that he wants to cook and eat more rice.  He wants to get a device that his mother used for forty years.  It’s called a Georgetown Rice Steamuh.

I’ve googled it, looked in kitchen shops, checked out Target, called Kitchens on the Square, and I cannot find a Georgetown Rice Steamuh.

He thinks this might now involve a trip to Charleston and antique shops thereabout.  Has anyone ever heard of a Georgetown Rice Steamuh?

I think he’s making this up.

Sugar’s Good Deed

January 21, 2013

Sugar’s BabyDaughter knows a family that needs a good deed, and she proceeded to hammer away at Sugar until he agreed.

They have a dog, which you probably already guessed, and the dog is on a chain.  They really want the dog to be in the house, but he’s an un-neutered male, and he marks territory.

I was surprised to learn that the dog is a Pomeranian.

Really, a Pomeranian, on a chain?

Poms are little guys, although they can act quite ferocious, and the accompanying chain for this particular Pom is a lightweight chain, like the kind we might use for hanging a porch swing.

The house is not completely surrounded by the chain-link fence, but the fence begins at the front right corner of the house by the front door, and encircles most of the lot in a clockwise fashion, and ends about halfway on the right side of the house.  The house is an old one, and was inherited by the current residents.  The original front gate was set into brick pillars, and the original latch system that was set into one of the pillars broke off many years ago, and there’s no good system for securing the gate.

The dog learned that he could push on the front gate, and be gone in search of a girlfriend in an instant.  The owners couldn’t keep him in the house, couldn’t keep him in the yard, and the chain system seemed to be the only solution.

A dog on a chain can easily drop to the bottom of the list of things that need to be taken care of.  The chain was secured to a large trash can in a freestanding garage that had no front door, so the dog had shelter and water, but not much else.  He had a crate to sleep in, but no bedding because he would destroy any bedding that he was given.

Sugar surveyed the situation, and all parties agreed that a gate on the far left side of the house could be added between the house and the existing fence.


As luck would have it, the hole that Sugar dug next to the house could only be dug so far down until he found the concrete footing.  He chipped away at the footing with a metal bar and his five-pound sledge until there was room for the pole to go deeper.


There’s the trusty red and white cooler that goes with us on every day trip.  We got there about 10:15 AM and it was already HOT.  This event happened while we were having that hot spell that lasted several days and got up into the 70’s every single day.


Next, a bag of concrete mix get dumped into a kitty litter bucket for mixing and adding to support the gate post, which you can see has been inserted into the hole next to the house.


Then he adds the other gate post in the hole next to the fence.


The bricks stacked around the base of the pole give an extra element of support while the concrete dries.

We left, and went back the next day.  The owners were not there, but had given us permission to go on the property and finish the job.  (We?  Sugar did all the work.  I stood around and fanned myself.)



After hanging the gate and making some minor adjustments, we stood back and admired the work.


There was a gap between the gate post on the left and the fence, so Sugar took a section of hardware cloth to patch over the gap.  No one was home by the time he finished, so keep your fingers crossed that the dog gets off the chain!

Errol and His Baby

January 13, 2013

Errol the cat has a baby.

It’s not a real baby, but it’s definitely Errol’s baby.

Errol is white with black splotty markings.  His baby is a black and white panda bear finger puppet.

They live at Sugar’s grooming and boarding business along with two other cats, Gerald and Car-E.

Today, Sugar and I pulled a morning shift.  He did the dogs; I did the cats.  I fed and scooped and swept, and for an extra special treat, I took a bag of cat treats, poured a few out on the floor for the cats to enjoy immediately, and poured the rest into the food bowl and into the reservoir of the self-feeder.

When we got ready to leave, Sugar went back into the cat room to say good bye to the cats, and he called out for me to bring the camera.

There on the floor next to a few pieces of treats was Errol’s baby.




Errol acts nonchalant.  "Baby?  What Baby?"

Errol acts nonchalant. “Baby? What Baby?”

Car-E is not impressed that Errol's baby is not eating the treats because he is just an ungrateful baby.

Car-E is not impressed that Errol’s baby is not eating the treats because he is just an ungrateful baby.

Gerald:  "Yes, that's Errol's baby alright."

Gerald: “Yes, that’s Errol’s baby alright.”

Happy baby.  Daddy Errol showed him the love.

Happy baby. Daddy Errol showed him the love.


Later in the afternoon when we returned, Errol’s baby was nowhere to be found.  Errol moves his baby around to different parts of the building, and you never know where the baby will pop up.

January 13, 2013

If you are not reading Kate Shrewsday’s blog, then really, I can’t imagine why, unless you don’t know that she exists. That, or you have no desire to live on the cutting edge of history. Your choice.
LilSis, you will love this latest blog post.

Kate Shrewsday


When a publisher says yes, what a magical moment that must be.

All the self-doubt and striving vanish, however fleetingly, because someone has agreed to pay you for the tale you have woven.

The Great Unpublished tell the tales of those moments to give themselves hope: tales of repeated rejections, insane numbers of times a manuscript is returned, followed by that one Yes which changes everything.

Here is just such a fairytale.

Smith and Elder had started in the late 18th century as a stationer’s in Fenchurch Street, London, but had long become established as a publishing company by the time a battered package arrived on its doorstep some time in June 1847. It was addressed unequivocally to the firm: but George Smith, who recalled it with crystal clarity when he wrote an account for the Cornhill Magazine in 1900, said that the names of three or four other publishing…

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Kiss That Adagio Good-bye!

January 12, 2013

Once upon a time, I picked out a “good” china pattern.

It didn’t get used very much.  I used it once for Thanksgiving in 1978 for a making-of-the-peace meal for my mother-in-law, which is another story, but if any of you have ever had a mother-in-law, then just make up your own story.  You know what I’m talking about.

I used it a few more random times for birthday meals.  Once, Satan himself put his plate into the microwave oven.  He had never before actually handled any dishes at all in any form during his tenure, but his mother was there and apparently he was trying to impress her with his worldly skills about how to nuke food.  Unfortunately, the china was rimmed with a silvery metallic trim, and sparks flew in the microwave, along with great popping sounds.  Instead of turning off the microwave, the devil himself became mesmerized with the light show while I flew across the room and prevented the room from exploding.  Or me.  Was that me that was exploding?

It hardly matters.

Fast forward to today.  I’ve carted that nine sets of good china through hell and half of Georgia.  And I’m done.  I like that china just fine, but I think it’s time to set it free.



























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The pattern is Noritake’s “Adagio”, 1978-1994.  If you are interested, take a look at my Etsy shop, Catcatcher Corner.

(Cat added for scale.  No cats were harmed in the making of this blog post.)

A Brilliant New Design, Or So Says YoursTruly

January 11, 2013

I want to keep my hands warm when I’m outside, but I want to be able to use my fingers and hands when I want to.

Gloves and mittens weren’t the answer.  I tend to drop things, and my gloves and mittens would need to be tied to me somehow.

If only I had some sort of handwarmer.







I took a #5 circular needle, a short one about 16 inches long, and I took some yummy Manos del Uruguay “Maxima” kettle-dyed yarn, and I cast on 56 stitches, joined to make a circle, and I knitted a simple ribbed tube, knitting 4 stitches, then purling 4 stitches.  Round and round endlessly until it was about 18 inches long, or about as long as it is from my fingertip to my elbow.

When I’m wearing a coat, I can tuck each hand into an opposite end, sort of like that rabbit muff that my godmother gave me when I was little.  Only this one is not on a string, and I can pull it off and stuff it in my pocket.

I’m actually pretty proud of myself.

I Shall Never Speak Of This Again, Part 2

January 10, 2013

A reader kindly pointed out how odd it was that the felted slipper didn’t shrink in length *AT ALL*.

That’s because I left out part of the recipe.

Here’s the “before” slipper.

I'd call this about 6ish inches high.

I’d call this about 6ish inches high.

It's about 14 inches long, so it actually shrank about 2 inches.

It’s about 14 inches long, so it actually shrank about 2 inches.

I was dog-sitting for a client.  She has a nice tile floor.

I was dog-sitting for a client. She has a nice tile floor.

Stupid recipe.  I bet Martha Stewart doesn’t have these issues.

I Shall Never Speak Of This Again. At Least, Not Today.

January 10, 2013

Sometimes things work out great.

Sometimes, they do not.

It’s like that recipe that works the first time you try it.

Then there’s that recipe.  You know the one, the one that doesn’t work *AT ALL*, and yet you keep trying it, maybe tweaking it a little here, or changing the proportions there, or attempting it only in the dark of the moon, complete with cursing and muttering and slinging of utensils.

Maybe that last one is just me.


I’m continually amazed that knitted projects turn out at all.  Everyone has those UFOs, those UnFinishedObjects that seem to be doomed from the start.  We can’t throw them away.  We can’t bear to part with them, in spite of the fact that keeping them around is a reminder of our ineptitude.  We have TIME invested in them, and a bit of materials, and perhaps a memory or two.

Sometimes the fear of UFOs cause us not to start a new project.  It’s just going to fail anyway.  You’d think that we’d learn from the last UFO.

Maybe that last one is just me.


LilSis has cold feet.  At least that’s what she says, so she needs some slippers.  I found an awesome slipper pattern online.  It was put online by a woman whose mother knitted countless pairs for decades.

I had all the ingredients and the right utensils.  I knitted blithely along until I realized that LilSis needed to have BigFoot-sized feet to wear these gunboats.

It takes a while for me to catch on, and that’s just not regarding knitting.  I rally onwards to the finish line, only to realize that the finish line is actually somewhere else.

IMG_2729 (2)

Not to be deterred, I decided since this was such a whopper – it’s about 12″ long – that I’d knit the next one in wool and felt it.  Seemed like such a grand plan.  Sigh.


Why, yes, that IS twelve inches long. That sucker didn’t shorten. Instead of a slipper, we have a torpedo cozy.


What a waste of wool yarn.


I have a bad feeling that when the children come to clean out my things when I go to the home, they’ll find this torpedo cozy, and they’ll wonder what it was supposed to be.


Now you see why I’m not publishing a cookbook.