Speaking of Car Salesman and Lawnmowers

The Doublewide Husband and I went to a car lot to win a lawnmower and came home with a car. Not a free car, mind you.

So, you know those fliers you get in the mail from local car salespeople touting their “gigantic sale” or “low prices bound to beat the guy down the street” — sometimes the postcard will have a little cheap metal key (or other cheapo thing) attached. It might say something like, “you may have already won — come on down and see if your number matches the winning number on our board!”

Well, we scratched off some boxes on the scratch-off part of the card and, low and behold, we had two matching boxes with pictures of cherries on them.

We’re in the money! We’re in the money!

We just knew a new John Deere was in our immediate future. I could picture it gliding across the yard cutting the tall grass with perfection. (ok – we have a lawnmower, but it’s not a John Deere)

So off we go to the dealership to present our winning card and work out the arrangements to haul the loot home. Dreams of a new lawnmower danced in our heads all the way down the road. I won’t keep you in suspense. We did not win a lawnmower.  Surprise…. surprise!

As soon as we pulled on the lot and parked, a little sales guy was ready to whisk us away to his office to get some information. He was smooth — said it was for marketing purposes. I’m sure it was required for their whole weekend promotional thing, but still. I have to add that we were sort of willing participants, because we were already kinda sorta looking for a new vehicle. My old car, Harold, had a LOT of miles on him and it was time to say goodbye. We just didn’t plan on it being so soon.

Once our sales guy had the information he needed we walked out on the lot to look over the offerings. They were featuring one car that I didn’t care for, but we took it for a test drive anyway. I instantly felt like I was sitting down in a bucket and that confirmed the featured car wasn’t for me.

Eventually we made our way over to the preowned side of the lot. They say “preowned” now – – it seems that there are no more “used” cars out there. Sure enough, we found one we liked and took it for a spin. I liked it so well, I almost drove it home — along with our little sales guy in the backseat!

Back at the lot, we worked out a deal and signed on the dotted line. The new vehicle was ours to drive home. Elvis the Equinox officially became part of the family. The Doublewide husband and I left happy with our purchase. Our car shopping journey ended quickly.

I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom – it’s up to you whether you listen or not.  Beware of car sales promotional cards that arrive in the mail and little car sales guys who tell you that you’ve for sure won something like he’s had that line on repeat all weekend. You’ll leave the lot with a $2 bill and a new vehicle.

 

 

 

Progressive Eating with Old Friends

Old friends are good for reminding you of your weird outfits and hairdos from college days.

They’re also good for a day of shopping and eating appetizers, shopping and stopping for dessert, shopping while touring and tasting olive oils…and eating some more.

Saturday, three of my besties (I’ll call them Greg and the two Kims) and I met in Abingdon, VA, a little gem in our backyard. If you’re in or around Southwest Virginia, make it a point to take a trek there. (no, the town of  Abingdon didn’t pay me to say that) (if they want to compensate me for the mention, I won’t say no 😬)

Needless to say, it was a wonderful weekend. I came home very full and toting two bottles of olive oil- so I am now healthier. I haven’t yet opened the butter-flavored oil nor the blood orange-flavored oil, but I already look healthier with the two bottles prominently displayed on my kitchen counter. So there’s that.

You need good friends who will indulge your whims as you indulge theirs – eating dessert first is a must. Well, the bakery was right there next to the antique store. You can’t possibly pass that up. Always eat dessert first! And eat a lot of it. (and get the cake with tons of cream cheese icing)

We finally decided to have a late lunch/early dinner at a neat little eclectic cafe. A bacon/egg and cheddar cheese on grilled sour dough, humongous cheesy burger on brioche bun, grilled chicken breast on grilled sour dough and tasty fish tacos later, we were full to the gills and needed to be wheeled out to the car in individual wheelbarrows.

I’m joking about the wheelbarrow curbside service, but that would have helped us get down the front steps easier. Maybe restaurants should consider that.

Now our selfies taken at several points of interest will stand the test of time on social media and provide memories for the rest of our lives. The wonderful food has since digested, which means we can meet for dinner again soon. Woo hoo!

The next food-day adventure is already in the planning stages. Stay tuned! I’m sure I’ll give a detailed report on everything when it happens.

 

I Can Cook – Peanut Butter and Jelly

Don’t ask me to cook a gourmet meal in 20 minutes. I would fail miserably.

There’s a show on Food Network, some kind of cooking challenge, where the chefs have about 20 minutes to cook a gourmet meal that looks good and is edible.

I can make eggs and bacon in 20 minutes. That’s about it.

They use things like octopus (blech…..) and squid ink noodles (I thought ink was poison). Where are the beans and taters?? I seriously couldn’t be a food show judge — half the stuff they make isn’t anything I would touch!

I have graduated from hamburgers, though. Some years ago, my menu consisted mainly of hamburgers and fries. Now I’ll eat things like cauliflower, snap peas and even squash. I prefer my squash fried, though.

It’s interesting to see what the chefs come up with as they scurry around making up their dish as they go and grabbing ingredients to fix it all. I’d spend all my time in the potato aisle. You can make potatoes for any occassion and not fix the same thing twice.

Something else I’m good at making — a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have to have just the right peanut butter. None of that stuff they used to put in the giveaway boxes my papaw got once a month. It was a big ol tin can of peanut butter — and, let me tell you, it would stick to  your ribs. That was some of the thickest peanut butter I’ve ever encountered.

Now that I’ve given my age away….

I don’t think they do those boxes any more. Nothing wrong with being the recipient of a giveaway box! That was some of the best cheese. It was a big long block of cheese, and made the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever.

Now where was I? Oh yeah — I’m good at making (and eating) all the stuff you probably won’t see on a tv cooking show.

I can make pretty good hamburger helper, grilled cheese (as mentioned above), meatloaf and mac and cheese (a necessary food group).There ya go, Food Network people. That’s real food!

Now you know, there’s nothing to worry about if you can’t cook or eat like the people on tv. I seriously used to worry about that — like I was a castoff because I didn’t eat fancy food. Now that was just crazy.  Southern grandma food is in — just ask the Cracker Barrel gang.

That’s where I could do a competition and win — or at least make it to the finals. Cracker Barrel food war is right up my alley. My between-college-semesters job at The Biscuit Company would come handy! I can make homemade biscuits with the best of ’em – and eat my share of them.

Since most of my topics include food, maybe I need to consider changing the name of this blog to The Doublewide Kitchen, or something like that. Most of the fun times in my life include food –either making and eating it or going somewhere to eat.

I tried something different the other day that I had in mind I wanted to make – it was kind of a banana pudding cobbler. The end result: it was good while fresh, but don’t try to save any for the next day. Sometimes my concoctions turn out ok and sometimes… well…

Anyway – in case you want to try it — I don’t mind sharing the recipe. If you try it with your own spin, let me know how it turns out:

Doublewide Banana Pudding Cobbler

2 large boxes, vanilla pudding mix (I used the cook and serve, but you don’t have to)

2 medium to large bananas (cut up in a bowl – squirt some lemon juice on to keep them from turning brown)

1 box, yellow cake mix

1 stick butter — melted

9X10 glass baking dish — or metal cake pan will do

How to make: prepare pudding according to the package directions and spread in baking dish. Then put the sliced banana pieces in the pudding — try to spread them evenly throughout. Next sprinkle the yellow cake mix over the pudding and bananas. Finish by drizzling the melted butter evenly over the cake mix. Bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour — or when the conglomeration browns. Mine only took 30 minutes, but all ovens vary.

Top with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Like I said, mine turned out pretty good. It was not so good the next day after sitting over night in the refrigerator. You be the judge.

Happy eating! Look for more of my “homemade concoctions” from time to time as I get weird food ideas and decide to see of they’re actually edible.

(Post and recipe first shared on Wisdom from the Doublewide 6/2/2019)

 

 

 

 

Do the Oatmeal Mash

One of my favorite things to do is to create unique food combinations. I’m not talking gourmet here, just average things. Take oatmeal, for instance. You can combine dozens of things with it to add some “umph”.

This week I created an oatmeal “mashup”.  I went to the kitchen at work to make my breakfast, complete with the usual dash of cinnamon and turmeric. What do my wondering eyes spy sitting on the community table?

Apple pie.

There were cupcakes on the table, too. I can resist a cupcake, but I cannot pass up the yummy, flaky, apple-y goodness of apple pie.

I had to be strong. Visions of healthy new year resolutions danced in my head. Stick to the oatmeal – it’s the best choice. I looked at the pie, knowing that’s what I really wanted. Forget the oatmeal – I’ll clean out my arteries another day!

Wait a minute. Why not combine the oatmeal and the apple pie?  Hmmmm…..

So, guess what I did?! I fixed my bowl of oatmeal and put a piece of pie in it. I stirred it  up to incorporate (fancy tv chef word) the apples into the oatmeal. Viola! I think I hit on the next new breakfast craze!

My unique concoction was pretty good.

I like that word — unique. Not weirdo “unique”, just unique. That seems to be missing in our society these days. When the latest fashion, movie or game catches on – look out. Everybody will be wearing it, watching it and playing it. Then you’ll see copycat versions of it popping up everywhere.

It took me awhile, but I finally realized that it’s ok to not follow the crowd – I’m an original one-of-a-kind. (I know some of you are saying “thank the Lord”)

It’s alright if I’ve not seen the latest movie or played the latest and greatest video game.  The earth is not going to tilt and fall off its axis if I’m not involved in the latest “big thing”.

It’s ok for you to be you.  You are an original, too. Say you’re a little quirky? Well, okay!

If another person is razing you because you don’t fit their mold, that’s not okay.  Is someone harassing you for not going along with the crowd? Politely tell ’em to take a hike.  Better yet, challenge them to cultivate their own uniqueness. Don’t be afraid to stand up and say you’re just fine the way you are – with your own favorite things, your hairdo or the clothes you wear,  whatever.

You and I have diverse talents and ideas meant to be used in the world for good. So, go be who God created you to be and I’ll do the same.

I  believe we can do great things together – kind of like oatmeal and apple pie.

 

I’m not always so nice when I drive. I admit it.

There’s something about being behind the wheel, trying to get where I’m going. I tend to see other drivers as the cars they’re in or I identify them by the county on their tag. I either yell at the Lexus or the F-150, or at Sullivan County, Greene County, what in the world are doing on my highway, North Carolina? … you get the picture.

It usually goes a little like this:

“Come on! Let’s get a move on!

“Hello — I’m right here! Road hog!

“Alright, Ford, the light’s green… you can go anytime.”

It’s easy to yell at somebody if you see them as a hunk of metal or an entire region of the country going down the road.

Turn that perspective around.

What would it be like if we drove invisible cars…? We would be able to see everybody around us much better – they wouldn’t be behind tinted windows and doors. Yikes! That means I would have to keep my car clean. Oops. It currently looks like a rolling Salvation Army resale store. Need a shirt, pants or pair of shoes? Just be careful opening the doors!

I think I would definitely see people with a different attitude if I could see them that clearly. I don’t think I would yell and rant … quite so much.

The nicer me would surely be there behind the wheel, smiling and waving them on. I know I would be a lot more thoughtful.

We’re all in the same boat.. er.. car.

Aren’t you glad that Jesus, even after seeing us with all our junk in the trunk, loves us unconditionally? I sure am. I’m glad He gently reminds me that I need to be nice and treat people more like He does.

He knows everything about us. He knows our beginning and our end and accepts us. He sure won’t leave you the same — you can’t stay the same old you after encountering Him.   You’ll see the world around you differently.

You might even be a better driver.  I know I’m going to be more thoughtful when I go down the road.

Now, outta my way! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Just Drive

Get Your Cheesecake Here!

 

The cheesecake in the coffee shop was two dollars.

Only two dollars.

It’s normally four, making it easier to “just say no”. I can get a whole pie at the grocery store for four dollars! This sudden cheesecake sale made temptation harder to resist. It was only. two. dollars. They had cinnamon and pumpkin (my favs), and every piece behind the glass that separated us was calling my name.

Yes, little ones. I hear you, but I really shouldn’t.

Right when I was turning a corner to officially cut down on the sugar in my life. Cheesecake.

On sale. Cheap.

This was not just ordinary cheesecake, either – it was CHEESECAKE FACTORY cheesecake. Need I say more? (See what I was up against?!)

I did get plain ol coffee, no added sugar, to go with my slice of pumpkin with whipped cream on top. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

Then again … you have to wonder… why is the cheesecake on sale in the first place? Is it old? Did it come from the Island of Misfit Desserts?

I think it was probably left over holiday cheesecake that they needed to sell off. It had  been in the freezer awhile and they finally were like, “We can’t keep this till next year — might as well sell it half price today and move it outta here.”

Yes, ma’am, I was in the right place at the right time.

There have been many other times I was in the right place just when I needed to be there. Those moments don’t just happen, ya know.

God orchestrates those “right place, right times” in our lives. If we will give Him our fears and dreads –  and let go of needing to know everything all the time.

Release the strangle hold. You don’t have to control everything.

Guilty as charged. I have tendency to want to make things happen in my life myself – you know, be His little helper. My plans aren’t nearly as good as God’s plans for me.

His ways are above mine and I know He has nothing but the best in store for me.

You too!

He wants to see us succeed, big time. It’s true.

So relax and have a piece of cheesecake. Have faith. Trust. Let The Lord work His plan in your life today.

You’ll be amazed at what He will do.

 

 

 

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Glamorous

The life of a star isn’t all botox and cocktail parties. It takes lot of hard work to make it look easy.

I should know, after all, I got to be a star for a day. Well, sort of a star. For a little bit — actually I was the helper, but I’m immortalized in film. So there’s that.

I didn’t realize how much planning, filming, retakes and outtakes are involved in making a five minute (or less) video. Then there’s the editing to be done.

I was helping my friend, Liz Bushong, who is a designer and tablescape expert, shoot a fun video on how to make Valentine treats.

We got our dialogue down, supplies ready, lighting just right — and  “action”! The camera was set just right, picture checked ….  then we flubbed up the lines. I was the top flubber, but I finally relaxed a little and got used to being in front of the camera.

We were making a Valentine “box of chocolates” with brownies, icing and candy. We had to taste test everything, of course. Decorating brownies requires making sure they’re “fit to eat” and the icing has to be just right.

I can testify that it was all good- and I may or may not have gone home on a sugar high that day…

We had fun, that’s for sure. Laughing is good for what ails ya and we laughed – a lot! I have a couple of “bloopers” that I’ll share on my fb site – connie clyburn.

So, my debut acting stint didn’t last long. If this one gets good reviews, I might try it again sometime. I wonder what Wisdom from the Doublewide would look like on film….

Ohhh — now I’m really dreaming. I could get my own half-hour show, kinda like Reba. The characters on the show would visit the doublewide for biscuits and gravy, with a side of advice.

Maybe the TBN network would be interested.

Ok – see ya later! I’ve got to get started writing the pilot!