Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cookbooks anyone??

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I was cleaning out my pantry and found a cookbook that made me smile.

First, to understand completely, one has to understand there’s a kitchen because it came with the house. I didn’t win the Betty Crocker award like sister Gerri. And even though other sister Nancy didn’t win that award, she must have made a better grade in home economics than I.

I don’t read cookbooks like my friend Kay. I still can’t get that through my diet coke ridden brain and Cheetos stained fingers.

I’ve collected many cookbooks over the years and I’m unsure why. Some were mothers and some I bought from various churches and organizations in towns we’ve lived. And yes, I bought them out of guilt and with hopes these people thought I cooked and with higher hopes they’d never come to dinner.

As I was rearranging and trying to figure out what I was going to do with all these dusty and mostly unused books, I found one in the corner of the pantry, on the floor and behind an unused bread maker. This is how often I use cookbooks. This one in particular made me smile.

It’s by Frankston’s very own GeGe Selman.

I (REALLY) Hate to Cook Cookbook.

I bought this one knowing I would have a familial bond with the author, especially after I met her. And even though her grocery had the neatest shelves ever, I knew she spoke “Alisa cook”.

I must have totally forgotten this bond since it was shoved with all my cookbooks of cooks who must have liked to cook. This particular one had really gone to the wayside.

It must have known I was “really” a lost cause.

I put it in my stack to keep.

There’s a happy ending to this

I made bread in the bread maker. It still had the directions inside. How lucky for me. I made a loaf for communion and no one gagged or keeled over, so it must’ve been okay. Either that or God was smiling favorably on me; or them.

I kept all the cookbooks. I’m not sure why.

I figured if my sisters looked in the pantry they’d see them all lined up in order of height, Ge Ge’s being the tallest.

Of course they are still on the floor and I’m guessing they’ll wonder why they aren’t eye level.

The answer’s easy.

That’s where the Cheetos are.



Friday, February 7, 2014

Dory is a-okay

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

We have early service at our church, then Sunday School and are usually home by 11:45ish because we generally have lunch or a late breakfast.

When we Skype with our son and family in Istanbul, we get home as soon as we can after 11:00 a.m. because of the time difference. It is cutting the edge because of 2 year old Kyla’s bedtime.

This week we caught them late and she was wound up!

Mr. D and I were talking about how she and our older grand’s don’t think one thing about visiting online and how we have kept up and know our grandchildren through modern technology.

Of course we would love to be able to touch and hold, but that’s not been possible; therefore we are thrilled to have the next closet way to visit.

The first thing Kyla did was put her hands palm side up and say “I been naughty. Santa not coming. Going to timeout.”

I tried to not laugh and said “Surely you haven’t been naughty!”

And she said “Yeah.”

Pop came in then and all the attention went to him and I have to say it is fun to watch her perform for him and giggle and play. It is heartwarming because when we do see them again, she will pick up from the last Skype.

“Mom, you can tell she has a lot of you in her.”

“How’s that son?”

“She will be talking nonstop about something and without warning will change the subject and assume you’ll understand what she’s done and follow the topic.”

I got quiet. “Well, what’s wrong with that?”

This is the same kid that told me I reminded him of Dory in “Finding Nemo”.  I had to watch the film before I understood what he meant.

Have you seen the movie? Dory is kind of a dingbat. Oh I know she’s left behind and she loses her memory and doesn’t know where she is going and talks to complete strangers, etc.

I asked him if he thought I was a dingbat and the fact he hesitated was interesting before he said, “Well mom you talk to people you don’t know; you get lost all the time; but you’re not really a dingbat.”

Believe it or not, I took that as a compliment. I had to. What he said was true.

I’ve decided Dory is a rather endearing character.
And so is Kyla.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

The Christmas tree is decorated! I had it up for one week. Just one week and Scrooge had the nerve Saturday to ask if I was saving the tree to decorate next year. Scrooge would be Mr. D.

It boils down to a matter of time.

Time is a powerful word.

I don’t remember a time I haven’t gone through ornaments and remembered the kids, all the towns we’ve lived in and many friends and family. Each time I get more nostalgic.

I hung a ragtag Santa and Christmas tree Jenny made. Santa is glued and little bits of stuffing sticking here and there. The tree was hand sewn and cotton pooches out everywhere.

Josh’s funniest contributions are six cookie dough ornaments that are not Christmas colors. He was six, in Cub Scouts and that was not what he wanted to do. The troop leader apologized for the mess and I told her they weren’t a mess, they were memories.

If either or both of the kids are here they look for these ornaments and others that are parts of their childhood.

Favorites are hung side-by-side like the little brass tricycle hanging just above a small brass baby buggy representing the first Christmas brother welcomed little sister to the tree.

I have Elvis decorations. I know I know. I’m sure if there were Bob Wills’ decorations hubby would have those. I’d even buy them for him. Maybe.

Mice, woodchoppers, and Santa’s – homemade and bought – are not so artfully gracing our little tree.

I stood back admiring half the lights blinking, the other half not; the angel topper lopsided and crooked bows.

It was beautiful.

Yes, time is a powerful word.

Time can pass so slowly one wonders if the kids will ever grow up and leave.

Time then comes to remind you those babes are gone.

They’re busy making memories with their children.

Times spent creating the memories this tree made are well worth the exhaustion I remember feeling while doing this year after year on a much larger tree.

The kids tell stories of inviting friends, making sugar cookies, decorations and mom was sitting right in the middle of them having more fun than they. Dad would come home and admire the goodies and try to ignore the mess.

Christmas is about family and sharing.

Time spent together.

It’s a time to reflect, laugh, and teach the true meaning of Christmas.

Make memories.

Take that time.

It passes.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Guns Up!

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Football is back.

The first thing Mr. D said to me this morning was “Why didn’t you remind me the Cowboys were playing last night?”

I am glad football season is approaching because I love college football and everything that goes with that, but I quit watching pro football years ago when their jewelry became heavier than the football.

Not to mention their less than stellar games played outside the football stadium.

Mr. D has remained faithful to the Cowboys even though that quarterback can be half way decent throughout the season and then drop the ball literally and physically “if” they make it to the playoffs.

Even my Wes Welker couldn’t help the guy.

Now that I have made Cowboy fans everywhere angry and got a chuckle from those who don’t like them – let’s talk Big 12.

I am so excited I can’t stand it!

We haven’t bought season tickets in three years (if you keep up with Texas Tech you will understand I was protesting the lousy coach we got dumped on us). Mr. D never quite felt that sting quite as badly, but by the time that coach got up and walked out even he was saying as an armchair quarterback position he was more accurately calling plays.

We have a young coach who is a former Red Raider. When I hear he is too young at 33, I point out Darrell Royal was 32 when he took over the Longhorns and the rest is history. I know football has changed a lot since then, but hey, I’m optimistic.

Not only did he coach the Heisman Trophy winner last year at A&M he is quite easy on the eyes.

This is where the guys roll their eyes and the ladies perk interest.

He has a five o’clock shadow (Mr. D thinks he needs to shave); wears Oakley’s, and let’s just say he’d be good competition for George Strait’s Wrangler ads.

Mr. D asks, “But can he coach?” Why is he always negative? Of course he knows he can coach and is as excited as I about getting back into that stadium. He just can’t understand how and why I can balance the game with the looks of the coach.

He even asked me if I bought the season tickets to look at the coach or for football.

The answer to that is yes.

What is his point anyway?
Guns Up!


A Dollar's Worth

By Alisa Dollar

Last week I flew to Phoenix to watch oldest grandchild graduate high school. I don't think I will ever understand flight paths. I flew from Lubbock to Austin to Phoenix. Mr. D thinks I scheduled it on purpose because he calls me Pathfinder.

I was to leave at 6:40 p.m. but because of the horrible tornado in Oklahoma, it was 9:40 to finally arrive in Phoenix at 2:30 a.m. their time.

Needless to say there were some very tired, irritated and cranky travelers along the way having been stranded for hours in places many had not planned on doing anything but touch ground.

One of which was Lubbock.

Realizing the South Plains of Texas is an acquired taste, I will readily admit I had to get used to the sky touching the ground even within the city limits. However, it's been my home for most of my adult life.

When finally boarding there was a group of noisy people behind me who were saying loudly how happy they were to get out of this place, it was awful, the airport was awful, the town was boring and the last for best, it was ugly and they wanted to get home.

I've learned in my life to choose battles and when I turned to look at the group of partiers I instantly chose this one.

After staring them down I said, "Just think. You could be in Oklahoma digging through rubble. Poor you. You're stuck in Lubbock."

Needless to say I rained on their parade and hopefully I helped them remember that home truly is where a heart might be.

Memorial Day was just ahead and I couldn't help but think of men and women who gave their lives for this country and then the ravages left in my neighboring state of those who in an instant lost so much.

It's a hard concept to grasp especially since I've not experienced either firsthand.  I can only be reverent to those who have even if it's only being patient for hours of delayed flights.

Elizabeth played the national anthem with two other saxophonists to open their high school graduation ceremony which would begin a new venture into adulthood.

One could hear a pin drop because of its haunting beauty.

Her very proud nana shed tears of joy at the sound which consolidated all of what I felt about home to definition.

We are the home of the brave.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Art of Making Candy

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I’ve found another dying art - candy making.

Little Debbie (the shortest of all Debbie’s I know) called and asked me to help her. I reminded her that my only candy experiment of never-fail fudge—failed.

When I got there she was stirring over a big pot. She’d doubled the recipe and had a big glob of white looking stuff and vigorously stirred.

I looked around and everything was measured, leveled and ready to go. I knew she’d do that because she is that kind of cook. I was thinking maybe this is why my fudge failed.

While she stirred, my job was to watch it boil until it turned a brownish goldish color.

“I sure hope Willie Nelson doesn’t die.”

Debbie laughed and asked what brought that on.

“Remember when I canned that one time Elvis fell off the can and died? Right there on the bathroom floor.”

The nice thing about a longtime friend is that she knew I was serious so she said that Willie was too ornery to kick the bucket and had outlived many of his peers.

Sighing, I continued to watch the boiling matter and screeched when it turned. She politely asked me to hush – which means ‘shut up you’re making me nervous’. It reminded me of mother when I tried to help.

After asking too many questions starting with “why” she sent me to butter the pans and trust me, I didn’t pass go and I didn’t collect two hundred dollars. Debbie was past the frustration point.

In a few minutes, she ran to the table and poured half on each tin. It kind of scared me because she was moving very fast. Generally she’s at a snail’s pace.

I tried very hard to stay out of her way because she tends to get very bossy for such a little person.

We buttered our hands and pulled the mixture till it separated and left it on the table.

All the while she fretted about it not being good because she doubled the recipe.

I on the other hand was having a blast with this pulling and stretching.

This part was fun!

Sampling quite a bit, I told her it was very good. I thought she was being picky.

I learned that candy-makers are perfectionists in their art.

I also learned to appreciate exact timing.

My world is too impatient to make candy.

I’ve always appreciated those who share.

More so now!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Listening to Elks????

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I have a friend who is going to Wyoming this week. Anyone want to guess why?

I thought rodeo, but she doesn’t seem the rodeo type.

I thought maybe her husband was from there and they were visiting family. Nope, diehard Texas boy A&M vet.

When she told me she was going to listen to elks I was flabbergasted.

“Kay, they shoot elks don’t they?” was the question I posed to myself. Keep in mind we are personal messaging on Facebook.

Instead I told her she was the most eclectic friend I had. Seriously, who else has friends that drive to Wyoming to get up early and listen to elks? I didn’t know elks made noises personally.

She replies elks at dawn (that left me out right there) have a haunting musical sound and in Canada it was eerie and primal and magical.

I accept her elk sound knowledge because the only elks I’ve seen are in books, on TV, in movies, and on a plate. They make no noise.

“Are you saying I’m a weirdo?” she asks.

I said no and reminded her she implied the same of what I read and watch on TV and movies.

“Oh, yeah, well there’s that.”

I know Facebook isn’t for everyone. I joined first because one of our students decided I needed to. Now I keep up with my kids and families, my sisters and their families, and many friends.

I didn’t realize how many people I know from writing, places we’ve lived, and from my hometown would pop up asking to be “friends”.

One of these was Kay.

She was a freshman when I was a senior at Luling High School.

Unfortunately, Kay remembers me in a different way than I remember me. It seems I may have been the bus entertainer on basketball out-of-town games.

Whatever, I have loved us getting to know each other as adults. I use the word adults lightly. I even typed it lightly.

The reason?  When I visit with Kay whether on Facebook, phone or text message, I’m immediately transported to a time when life was easy with no responsibilities except make good grades, go to church, and not get caught by parents doing something we weren’t supposed to do.

Wait.  That was me not Kay.

At least that’s what she claims. I just wish I didn’t believe her.

Friends and family regardless of how we connect are our hearts.