Chickens in the Basement

I love to write and I love to laugh. When I write, I get to the point quick. My stories would fit on the back of a postcard. They usually make me chuckle. And you know what they say, "It's all about me!"

Friday, October 30, 2009

Al and an Ewok Make My Day!

No school today, so Will and I were putzing around the kitchen making sausage rolls and putting away clean dishes. While waiting for them to cook, Will switched on the TV and insisted I come watch.

In preparation for Halloween, The Today Show had a Star Wars Theme. Everyone was dressed as one of the characters. Hoda was dressed as Yoda. Ann was Darth Vader. Meredith was Princess Leah. Matt was Luke Skywalker. Kathy Lee was C3PO. Al Roker was Hans Solo.

Thanks to Google Images for these shots!

During a segment about Creepy Food for Halloween, two Ewoks (I'm assuming they were little people, not little children) came on the set and wreaked havoc! Deviled eggs, martinis and cookies were devoured by the Ewoks. One started channeling Michael Jackson and doing the moon walk. He danced for a few seconds, then ran towards Al, grabbed his leg and proceeded to hump! I laughed so hard, I snorted, cried, and did all of my embarrassing laughing noises!

Thanks Youtube!

I hope you love this as much as I did! Have a wonderful Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Really Close Up!

Ya'll are familiar with my Skippy. He's the baby chick I raised to roosterhood. He lived in my house, then in the garage, and finally in the hen house. He hangs out in the basement with me whenever I'm working on a project. But his favorite spot to see me is on the front porch. Why? Because that is where he and the girls get snacks from the kitchen!

The other day, I was feeding them scraps of cinnamon toast when Skippy's feathers caught the sun. I grabbed my camera and started snapping...

Feathers are different colors on different parts of his body.

His dangly parts keep getting bigger. And, they are warm!

This part feels like old Twizzlers...a little stiff and a little bendy.

Skippy's toes are a little creepy! Thank heavens he has feathers on his feet!

Don't forget to send me your entry for my Snarky sign contest! Look to the left for more details!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Autumn

Nothing says Autumn like the pretty faces of pansies! These are just a few samples of the ones we saw at the Farmer's Market last week. The dark purple one looks like it is made from velvet!

Need more "in your face" autumn photos? Do these pumpkins and yellow daisies do that for you?

The Farmer's Market helped decorate my front porch!

If I had lots of money to spend on Fall decorations, I would have to stop in for a visit at When Pigs Fly on Six Forks Road in Raleigh.

It's not all skeletons and Autumn decor...

I would love to learn how to weld and create my own pieces! One day, I'll have, I just need a teacher!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Snarky Signs Contest

Okay, this is my first attempt at a contest! I'll be adding a sidebar for this soon, so you won't have to scroll through my blog looking for this post. Tell your friends about it. Enter whenever you have a good quote! FYI: I love bathroom humor! On November 15, I'll choose 3 quotes that make me laugh the hardest. I'll paint your sign and mail it to you!

Why a Snarky Sign Contest? I love making signs but am tired of seeing the same ones over and over. The quote has to be short so it will fit on a piece of wood or tin. It can be just one or two words...something you don't expect to see on a sign, or a short sentence. I prefer funny over serious.

I was recently motivated to start painting signs again after I purchased this package of napkins:

I wanted a sign with this quote to hang on my front porch. I painted the words on a broken piece of bead board:

Here's what you do...either send an e-mail with your snarky quote to or click on the comments link below and post it there. I'll collect the entries and list them in the sidebar I'm working on. I hope to have it up by Wednesday. On the 15th, I'll choose the winners. I'll paint their signs, take photos, and post them (on the blog and in the mail!) I hope to have lots of entries to choose from!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Kiss of Death

Whenever I am at a marching band competition and I REALLY like your band's performance, that is your sign to pack the trucks, put away the uniforms and load the kids on the bus. It happens at every performance! What are the judges looking for? Not entertainment, contemporary music and kids having fun!

The school that performed Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen was one of the first groups that I noticed. I wanted to sing along. They played to perfection! It seems everyone in the stands were loving it. Time for awards...crickets...Bohemian who? Nothing!

At the Bands of America competition, one group did a performance on nightmares. Girls dressed as zombies picked up a girl in red pajamas , tossed her up in the air, then chased and haunted her throughout the marching band performance. In the end, she was asleep on the 50 yard line. The zombies hoisted her over their heads and carried her off the field and out of the stadium! Whoohoo's and redneck whistles from me. The judges didn't even toss them a bone!

Last night, Athens Drive High School performed "In a Flash." I've seen it twice. Both times, I got chills. The gist: In a car crash, your life passes before your eyes. What do you see? Your family, the big game, the first dance (the whole band does the Macarena), the ones you love. It is thought provoking, fun, sad, and a cliff-hanger. For high school kids, this is an eye-opening performance. What did they get? 7th place! Why?

If you are a band director watching the crowd instead of your kids performing and you see me dancing, yelling and really getting into your performance, I apologize. You have just received the kiss of death. But, go home in the knowledge that you have thoroughly entertained a 40 something mother who has nothing to give but recognition on her blog!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flying the Friendly Skies

Sunday, I was flying home from Akron, Ohio. I can always pick out who will be sitting next to me as they come down the aisle. This guy was easy to spot! His face was orange with leprosy undertones. Plus, he was huge...not in a fat way. How am I going to look him in the eye without giggling?

Of course, he tossed his bags on the floor beside me and climbed in. Right off the bat, he explained that he was on his way to Canada to visit a company who makes tanning lotion for body builders. He said he didn't usually walk around looking so, well, orange. I hope their expectations are low!

The girl on the other side of me looked like she was having a tough time. Her eyes couldn't stay open and her head fell on her tray table whenever it was safe to have it down. All I could think was the whole plane would have the Swine Flu by the time we got to Detroit! She managed to raise her head and whisper-ask me if I had any Tylenol. Yes, I do. I handed her the bottle and asked if she was really sick. She whispered, "Just hung over." Yea! Not contagious! Booo! We might see groceries!

Back to the Orange Man. Since he is a body builder, he eats loads of protein meals each day. He reached into his backpack and pulled out two bags of tuna and ripped them open. The smell immediately filled the economy class cabin. Miss Hangover rolled her head and her eyes toward Orange Man without lifting it from her tray table. She glared at him and swallowed hard. I immediately began digging in my seat back pocket for the vomit bag! I didn't hand it to her for fear it would produce the expected. However, it was in easy reach and partially open. Orange Man shoveled in tuna like he was eating chocolate cake!

He turned out to be a rather interesting guy and we chatted throughout the short flight. As we were coming in to the Detroit airport, the landing gear came down and we watched through the window as we returned to earth. I said to him, "Wow, that was the smoothest landing I've ever experienced." Then, the tires slammed into the ground disproving what I had just said. I looked at him with shame on my face and said, " You're going to tell everybody in Canada 'I sat next to the stupidest woman on the plane!' aren't you?" That's okay, I'm telling everyone I sat next to an Orange Man!

BONUS! No vomit bags were destroyed during this flight! And, at least my "freak magnet" keeps me entertained! I was too chicken to take any photos!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chickens on Etsy

Yea! I just sold my first thing on Etsy! It was the coolest old clock. When you plug it in, a yellow light makes it look like a fire is actually burning in the fireplace. When I saw this clock at the antique show in Liberty, NC, I knew it had to come home with me. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a permanent spot for it in my house, so it has gone on to someone else's house. It is too fun to put in a closet!

Now, I have to figure out how to link my Etsy shop to my blog. Right now, it just makes my head hurt, so I'll be waiting a day or two until I get to that chore.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Look What was in My Mailbox!

When I got home from Ohio yesterday, there was a pile of mail on the kitchen table awaiting my attention. Since it is usually bills and junk mail, I was thrilled to see a card with real handwriting and Halloween stickers all over it. I was even more thrilled to see it was from my buddy Chris. (We seem to be twins separated at birth about a decade apart! See her blog to see what I mean... But, I digress...

I opened the card which looked to be straight out of the 20's and busted out laughing at what was inside. I think it is best to show you in photos. It required a little bit of preparation...

This is my truck before. I had to wash some dirt off the window.

This is my truck after. Can you see what was added? Need a closer look?

Meet Mudflap Man!

My redneck, old-men auction buddies are going to love this! My husband says he doesn't think he can drive the truck with this on it. My son thinks people passing me are going to think I like fat chicks! All I know is it makes me laugh! Thanks Chris! I think you need to plan a trip to NC. Maybe I need to head to Mississippi. Wonder where the midway mark is?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Way to Go Wakefield!!

11:32 pm... Our Marching Wolverines took 4th place overall (out of 21 bands). They placed first in 4A and all of the kids got medals. WOOHOO! I just got back to my room. The kids won't be here for another hour. I'm hoarse from yelling. My feet won't defrost before next week! At least it did not snow or rain! Balmy would have been better for those of us in the stands, but the cooler temperatures had to have been more comfortable for the marchers. But it's all worth it! I am one proud Motha!

Before they take the field

Will is third from the back on the right

In action!

Friday, October 16, 2009

You're Where?

I'm in Akron, Ohio. Why can't I say that without sounding like the AFLAC duck? Tomorrow, come rain, snow, or 30 degree temps, Wakefield High School Marching Band will be taking the field and competing in the Bands of America Competition.

Was I a good mother who signed up to chaperon, ride the bus for 8 hours, move props, dress the kids, take them bowling and share a room with a stranger? Aw, hell no! I flew, sat next to chatty women on one flight (we trash talked the flight attendants, sports folks, getting married, etc.), sat next to a cute, well-mannered student from Rutgers on the second flight (his mama and daddy would be proud of him for chatting to a middle aged woman for 40 minutes instead of putting in his ear buds and pretending I wasn't there), am staying in a room of my own, driving a rental car and eating with grown ups! Tomorrow, I'll be in the stands wearing my maroon (which will be covered by a tan trench coat, red and black scarf and red gloves), belting out my redneck whistle and cheering for my boy on the trombone.

I'm off to find dinner. Cracker Barrel sure would float my boat!

If you would like a chuckle about marching bands, watch this youtube commercial. Which one do you think didn't want to be in the commercial? It isn't hard to tell...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The other day, I was listening to my favorite morning radio program, Bob and the Showgram. They were playing a game. The loser had to have pink hair extensions put somewhere on their body. Bob had one on his goatee. Mike had some put on his chest hair. Poor John had some attached below the navel. They left his pink extensions long and require him to wear them over the top of his pants.

It turns out that several local hair salons are putting pink extensions in for a $10 donation. The proceeds go to Breast Cancer Research. I got on-line to find out where I could have some pink put in my hair! Salon Kroma is where we wound up.

Since I don't have any daughters to go do crazy stuff with me, my friend Lisa's daughter, Grey, said she would do it with me. She looks so gorgeous all the time, but the pink shows off her really fun personality! Nicole at Salon Kroma put two pink extensions in my hair and one in Grey's.

So, why do this? It's a fun way to remember my sister-in-law, Peatra Martin Mathieson, who would have dyed her whole head pink. She was a practical joker with the best big grin I ever saw. Almost 14 years ago, she lost her battle with breast cancer at the WAY too young age of 33.

So much progress has been made since 1996. This is evident in the friends who are beating the big C. Susie is my good friend and used-to-be business partner. Herceptin keeps this feisty girl in control of her cancer. Janet, my favorite auctioneer, is a huge supporter and fund raiser for Relay for Life. Dee has friends who walk with and in honor of her every year. Bob proves that breast cancer doesn't affect just women! My mom's best friends, Patsy and Annette, are proof that healthy, happy lives do come after cancer.

I asked Grey if she knew anyone who had breast cancer. She did not. In the words of Grey, "I got pink hair in honor of all women who have breast cancer."

Monday, October 12, 2009

One Small Step...

Today, I discovered from a friend whose son saw my son's name on his friends facebook account that my son has a his own facebook account! Did you follow that chain of evidence there? When I asked him about it when he got home from school, he said, "Yea, I've been on a month or two."

"Here's the deal..." I said. "If you want to keep your facebook account, you have to show me how to sign up and friend me."

Ten minutes later, I had my own account and one friend.

So, when my youngest came in the door, I thought I should just make sure he does not have a facebook account. What kind of mother am I? He also has one I didn't know about. I now have two friends!

I have always said I wasn't interested whenever someone brought up the subject of me getting on facebook. As my dad told Tony on the day we got married, "She kissed a lot of toads before she found you!" I'm afraid some of these toads might come hopping along. According to Will, if I don't want to rekindle friendships, just be a bitchy friend (my words, not his) and don't respond.
This photo has nothing to do with facebook. I just love it when Skippy knocks on my front door!

Skippy says, "Got snacks?"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nothing Scary About This!

In 1997, my husband's office was relocating from Bunn, NC to Raleigh. This required us to step up our search for somewhere closer to his new office to live. Tony wanted land. With two young sons, I wouldn't object. We started our search and were disheartened. Power lines seemed to crisscross plots of land bigger than 2 acres. If the land was power line free, it fronted onto a busy highway. Some had been used as illegal dump sites...old cars, refrigerators, piles of paint cans, old tires, etc.

Finally in February, we found an ad in the paper and called the realtor about it. He offered to meet us at the property. It was nearly 5 acres. An old farm house was across the street and a couple of budding subdivisions were in discussion. We walked the hilly property and discovered many downed trees from Hurricane Floyd the year before. Two dry creek beds Y-ed at the base of the property and eventually made its way to Falls Lake. No power lines! No major roads! Some trash, but none requiring a dumpster! We all loved it immediately.

Then, the realtor pointed out something on the property that might be a deal-breaker. In the front, on top of the hill by the road stood a small family cemetery plot. It was surrounded by a chain link fence. Should we purchase the property, the remaining family would be able to visit their ancestors. The visitation would never be a problem for me, but would the cemetery itself?

We agreed to go home and sleep on it. If it was going to bug me, it would be at night. Turns out, that night and none after have ever been haunted by the cemetery. Very few visitors have come, and the ones who have were rather old.

We bought the land, built our house, and have been here for 10 years. The cemetery has been all but neglected...until this year. This will be my new project.

Let me introduce you to the Jackson Family...

Elizabeth and Willis Jackson

This is Willis' foot stone

Robert and Elsie Jackson

Elsie's foot stone

This stone is just to the right of Robert and Elsie's stone. Twins are buried here. Maudie and Wardie. Life must have been so hard and so sad!

Near the twins stone is Emmette's. He lived just over a month.

I can't read this stone, but the peak on top and the moss surrounding it make it one of my favorites!

This stone is so weathered, I can't make out what is written on it.

And this one has broken in half...I hope due to age and not to vandalism. It was already broken when we bought the land.
I can't imagine living here without the cemetery. My goal this year is to make their family plot a beautiful and peaceful place.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Listen to Your Children

This afternoon, Rick went on a walk with me, Terri and the dogs. Along the way, he found a small snail shell. I told him to put it in his pocket. He was afraid he would crush it, so I put it in mine. I'm not sure why we were keeping it.

When we got home, Rick asked if I remembered to get his calculator today. Crap!! He has reminded me three days in a row and needed it to complete his homework. Off to WalMart we went!

Once we located the calculator, we had to then round up a sales person with a key to unlock the clamp holding the calculator in place so no one could steal one. Then, we had to follow him to the check out counter and pay for it immediately so we couldn't steal it.

$106 (I'm not kidding) later, we were headed to the parking lot. I was giving my speech that this calculator has to last him all the way through high school so he has to keep up with it. I reached in my pocket to get my key and came out with a hand full of crunch slimy stuff. What the heck?

My smart-ass boy said, "I told you not to put it in your pocket."

RIP little snail
This blog entry has been approved by my little smart-ass.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chickens in the Basement

I am currently working on an Etsy site with the hopes of getting rid of (ooops! I mean selling) some of the junk (ooops again! I mean treasures) cluttered (Dang it! I mean lovingly stored) in my basement. One thing Etsy recommended was to google your name to see what pops up. I typed in "CHICKENS IN THE BASEMENT". My blog site came up first (YEAAHH!) but was followed by some rather disturbing sites of chickens literally living in basements. Now, I feel as though I need to explain my name and let everyone know that no chickens are or were harmed in the pursuit of my stories for CHICKENS IN THE BASEMENT!

When I first started blogging, I was the proud new mother by default of a cute baby chick. He was shunned by the big chickens in the hen house. The little guy, soon to be named Skippy, lived in our house in a bird cage until he was big enough to move into the hen house and fend for himself. By then, Skippy had imprinted on me and loved to follow me around. (He still does!)

My basement workshop has a door that opens into my backyard. Whenever I was working in the basement, I would leave the door open and Skippy would roam in and out. He would check on my progress, grab a snuggle and a snack, then head back to the yard for worms, bugs and other chickens.

Back to blogging, I wanted a fun name that told a little about me. Bats in the Belfry would have been appropriate for my often dingBATTY behavior, but since I love my chickens and they really do hang out with me in the basement, I decided on Chickens in the Basement.

I'll do anything to avoid working on my Etsy site, it seems. Now that I have all of this off my chest, I have no more excuses! Again, no chickens will ever be harmed in my basement; however, there is no guarantee they won't be embarrassed!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Good Guys Don't Always Wear White

This morning, I decided to take several bags of squished hot dog rolls over to my neighbor's livestock crew. You know the saying, "No good deed goes unpunished?" Well I got my punishment this morning!

The animals always get excited when they see me coming with a trash bag because they know it's leftovers. About 100 ducks and chickens, two llamas, a sheep, a pony and two emus started pushing their heads through the fence and shoving others away so they will be first.

I broke apart the first bag and started handing them out. One of the emus, the black llama and the pony were the hungriest. Did you know an emu can swallow a whole hot dog bun in one gulp? However, I did discover that hamburger buns stick to the roof of their mouths with bun hanging out on either side. Have you ever had to wrestle the head of an emu to pry the bun loose? I have.

I love buns!

So, the big guys were getting their buns whole while I shredded buns for the littler birds. Finally, the white llama and a sheep came over for food. One bun to the sheep...yum! yum! One handed to the white llama and bad attitude all over both of us. She leaned her head forward, rared back and let it fly. Llama spit in my hair and on my shirt. Thank heavens I hadn't had my shower yet or I really would have thrown a hissy fit! Instead, I rared back and pelted her with hot dog buns. I think she won!

The good llama (I'm afraid the white one will spit on my camera!)

I am thankful that it is spit llamas sling instead of something that rhymes with spit! I'm off to the shower!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

YEA, Me!

For the last two afternoons, I have been baking cinnamon tortillas for the marching band bake sale this Saturday. Usually, I cut the flour tortillas like pizza wedges, but, in honor of October and Halloween, I decided to keep the tortillas whole and cut pumpkin faces in the tortillas. There are a couple of problems with baking these in bulk...

1. Only 3 to 4 fit on a cookie sheet at one time. With 80 tortillas and each batch requiring 10 minutes in the oven, I was stuck in the kitchen!

2. After hours of dipping tortillas in canola oil, my hands have a slick, greasy feel. Everything I touch is left with smudgy fingerprints!

3. My house smells like a greasy spoon diner!

The up-side...I smell like cinnamon and the tortilla pumpkins turned out really cute. The photos of them through the ziploc bags give them an eerie look.

WOOOOOO! Very scary!



The big bonus...The fire alarm didn't go off one single time. And, I only had to throw away one cookie sheet of tortillas because they stayed in the oven too long!