Filed under: food
Sweet Daddio’s Plant 1 had their Holiday Potluck Lunch today. He asked me to stop at the Gitten’ Place and git him some Fried Chicken, 50 pc please. So I did, because I’m nice that way and because it will justify some unreasonable demand in the future.
This is where the Hell part comes in.
You drive 30 miles with a 50 piece box of fried chicken in the seat next to you. When you’re hungry and trying to stare size 18 in the eyes. You just try it.
Anyway, once I got there, his assistants were setting up, and they invited me to stay and eat with everyone.
You know what, there’s nothing like a potluck meal. Everyone brings their very best potato salad, macaroni and cheese (most definitely NOT from a box), and the famous Chewy Cake. Yum.
Have you ever noticed how each person brings 1 dish, and yet there ends up being enough food for 3 times as many folks as are there? Have you also ever noticed how the young single men always bring a bag of chips or a jug of Hawaiian punch? And the women all make a bit of a show of getting chips and punch, to make the men feel included? Catherine even remembered to take a plate to the guard out by the road in his little hut.
Anyway, that’s what happened today. I got to see SD’s plant in full swing, and meet the people he talks about, and say hey to the people I already know.
I love a potluck.
I’m trying to work up the (whatever)…to undecorate. Decorating for Christmas is so much more fun than undecorating. De-decorate. Whateveryoucallit. I got a little bit done before I ran out of figurative gas.
This is how it works in the Traditional Household (traditional=husband, wife, kids, WASP sensibilities) Everyone pitches in to get stuff out of boxes and up, on the tree, lights strung around wherever, that sort of thing. There is general merriment, for putting shit out means one will soon get gifts in the form of money, electronics, and food. Then *poof* they evaporate. I start dragging out the boxes to pack everything in and suddenly “I have to be in Pembroke” and “I am planning to meet so-an-so” and “I’m still figuring out my new Wii game”. Even the dogs disappear. Only the cats hang around, and that’s so they can chase down errant shiny balls or dive into the packing peanuts.
And, you know what the funny part is? It happens like this every single year, and every single year I harbor the fond hope that I’ll have help undecorating. You know what would be REALLY cool? Cool beyond belief and imagination? If they would volunteer to do it. OH yeah, that’d be awesome. Phhphht. Right. Why don’t I go ahead and wish for size 12 thighs while I’m at it.
But, that’s ok. It’s what I’m here for, to enable their philosophical parasitism. I’ll even cook them a tasty meal (tonight:roast chicken) without expecting anyone to say “Delicious, Mom! Thanks!” It’s what I do best.
See, I’m sure I could guilt them into helping. I’m pretty good at that. But the thing is, I don’t want to have to do that. I want willingness paired with…something else…something that causes them to notice it needs doing and do it without any sort of coaxing from me.
I know…there’s none more selfish than a teenager, even a well-raised one has his moments. I was the same way when I was their age. But that doesn’t make it any less irritating.
Maybe this is a business opportunity. I could hire myself out to undecorate people’s houses. For a reasonable fee (say, $250/ 4 hours) I’ll come to your house and pack everything away. The lights will be neatly wound and ready for next year, breakables packed in sturdy cartons with peanuts and bubble wrap, all that. That will spare the wife the grief and aggravation of having her kids evaporate, the husband the guilt or tedium of making sure those stupid balls are in the right box, and everyone can go do their thing knowing comfortably next Christmas everything will be well organized.
I think, instead of removing ornaments from the Frasier Fir that sits in the corner, I’ll go have me another cup of tasty coffee. Ethiopian Yergecheffe, tasty stuff, kinda mellow, low acid, almost chocolaty. Yeah. Coffee and another episode of Little House On The Prairie (I got Season 4 for Christmas)
My parents that is. Mom’s still suffering the lingering effects of a cold, so the stay was blissfully short. Pleasant, and short. They brought gifts: new suspenders for Sweet Daddio, a bottle of champagne vinegar and a can of Czech Chicken Rub for me, and money for the boys.
This means the holidays are Almost Officially Over. The tree requires taking down, a task I may rope everyone into this afternoon, or I may wait until after the 1st.
This holiday’s over concept…it pleases me. No more hoopla and hysteria, just nice, lovely and predictable routine. My favorite flavor of activity. Now that company has come and gone, I can reclaim the guest bedroom as my ‘studio’, where the clay lives in this drawer and the tools in that mug and the project du jour rests on it’s slab. I can’t wait to get going on the Next Big Clay Thing.
I’m ready for the garden to start going. Now that it’s almost January, winter is nearly over, and the snow peas will be taking off. The camellias are starting to bloom, with their lovely rose-like flowers, and the narcissus are putting up their fragrant white bundles.
Get this: Dec 28, it is. Dec. 28. Winter. My windows are open and I drove Carmina around with her top down today. Not to rub it in or anything. I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt out of some sense of obligation. I am drinking iced tea.
Christmas was good. It was uneventful, no one was hurt either physically or mentally. We had enough to eat (always good. I remember a Christmas when that wasn’t the case), and plenty to do. SD rested, with 5 days off, and knocked back a few minor projects. I played board games with #4, conversed with #2, text-messaged #3, engaged in tutorials with #1 (I’ve inherited his Mac, and he’s showing me how to use the Adobe Photoshop Pro installed on it). We’ve laughed and smiled and watched Batman movies and eaten Junk Food. I’ve consumed too much rum but I don’t care.
SD has been great, cleaning up the kitchen when I’ve done the cooking, dabbing paint here and there, fixing this and that. Is good to have a man in the house. I don’t care what feminists might say. Is very good to have a man in the house.
Filed under: Uncategorized
So, #3 has decided NOT to drop out of school after all. Apparently he talked to people with actual credibility (in other words: not his parents) and they all encouraged him to stay on and earn his diploma.
I’ll take what I can get, folks.
Filed under: Uncategorized
This is ridiculous. It happens like this every single year, back as long as I can remember. Christmas Day comes, the hysteria and festivities are over by 6 am, and the rest of the day is spent sitting around with my teeth in my mouth, wondering what to do next. Then the craving hits. Every single Christmas, the craving hits. 363 days out of the year I could go cheerfully to the store and get all the salt and sugar laden crap a girl could want. Yet I don’t, because I don’t really want them. Then, Christmas Day, 2 in the afternoon and I’d sell my back teeth for a bag of ruffles and a tub of onion dip. Not even the little gas station up the way is open.
Do I ever plan ahead and have Junque food on hand? No! Of course not! That would require forethought, which I used up on buying stocking stuffers and making cinnamon rolls.
So, instead I’ll sit on the porch swing downwind of Sweet Daddio and his marginally acceptable cigar.
My part (which, being the wife, is the most involved) is done. Packages are wrapped, chocolates are made, and a smoked ham sits quietly in the beer fridge (don’t ask), waiting for a crust of dijon mustard and brown sugar. That will happen Friday, when the Grand-Toots appear.
Now I can relax and put some Dean Martin on the stereo. It’s pretending to be cold outside, so I think a pot of spiced cider is required. Especially since it’s supposed to get up to 80 tomorow. 80! EIGHTY! ON CHRISTMAS EVE IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE EEEIIIIGGGGHHHHTTTYYYY! Ridiculous! Fortunately I have a Christmas themed t-shirt. Hmph. Only in the South. Nuts.
I’m thinking a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls will be in order Christmas morning. Here’s how I manage that: Make the rolls Christmas Eve evening, and put them in the fridge to slow-rise. By Christmas morning, they’re just right, and I throw them in the oven as soon as we get up (at 5 am). By the time the rip-shred of gift opening is done, so are the rools, and we have them with coffee. Perfect. And the house smells awesome.
#1 has said he’ll come over some time Christmas eve, maybe midnight or so. I’ll probably be awake because I am worse than my children about sleeping Christmas Eve. I just can’t do it- I get so excited! Not for myself- wondering what’s in that huge goldwrapped box or the little bitty one, but for the kids and SD-ooh! Will they like that? Will #3 hoot when he opens that box? Will it make them laugh? I love that part of it.
Well, ok that’s not entirely true. I love getting presents. I really do. Especially great big gold wrapped ones and little bitty ones.
Christmas day will be spent rolling around in our pajamas, eating the goodies found in stockings and boxes from aunts, doing nothing until about 1pm, when someone will announce extreme boredom and head off to a friend’s house, or online, or into a book. The theater here opens Christmas Day (What a great idea! I remember as a kid, Dad getting bored and taking us to the theater, only to find it closed. “They should open! Everyone’s bored Chrismas afternoon! It’s good business strategy!”) but I don’t know that there are any movies I want to see. SD came home with a copy of Love, Actually a couple of weeks ago. We might chase #4 down to the gameroom, with his new copy of (***!!) for his Wii and watch that.
Anyway, the whole point is, I am finally relaxed and ready to Feel It. Finally.
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, Disease and infirmity, family, say it isn't so!
So, this morning about 7 I stirred #3 to get up for work. He shuffled out of the bedroom and promptly threw up. Well, ok, thinks I, I guess he ate something that disagreed with him. “Smoked salmon” sez he, “from last night.” “No” think I. “We’d all be sick if that were so.” Nonetheless, he remains pale and greenish and decidedly puny. He calls work and says he’ll be late, then disappears back to his bed. About 10ish I go to see how he is, and strenuously encourage him to get to work.He proceeds to (figuratively, of course) chew off my left arm and attempt to stuff it up my nose. Mom, meet Mr. Hyde. I’m all “WHAT?!” and he’s all “SNARL!” then I go “I want him OUT. NOW. Go find him an apartment NOW. He’s an ungrateful whelp of Satan and I don’t want to deal with this.”
Then…he walks into the room, clutching his head and sobbing, saying his head hurts worse that anything he’s ever felt and he’s sorry he was mean he didn’t know what came over him he just kind of lost control for a bit.
Oh! Nausea, personality change…do you see a ring of light around things? “Yes” Does sound make it worse? “Yes.” Is your neck stiff? “No” Oh dear, you’ve got a migraine.
He is, of course, offended by this. Not at me, but at Life In General, that it should deal him such a hand to play. I do my best, making him drink water (they can be caused or exacerbated by dehydration), and running to the store for Excedrin Migraine, and also finding a camoflauge Santa hat marked 1/2 off. Just the thing to cheer him up a little.
Funny how, when I didn’t know what was going on, I was so very pissed at him, ready to kick him to the curb and wash my hands.As soon as I figured out something was wrong, that was beyond his control, my attitude totally changed. Sympathy kicked in, as well as the mother’s urge to make her baby feel better.
And he is, feeling better. Dosed with Excedrin, a big glass of water and laying in bed with the lights turned off. I’ve only had a migraine once, but it was a doozy. I hope this is the only time he has to deal with it.
Do you ever run up against a wall, can’t think of something original and straight from the heart to give as a gift?
Try coupons. No, don’t go clipping them out of magazines. make your own. Make one for lunch- I give them to my kids, even check them out of school, and take them wherever they want to eat. The are required to give me at least 4 hours notice, but other than that… It’s a nice way to connect with a teenager, with no other family around, just you and him (or her). Another one I like to give is for a homecooked meal. My kids are pretty much on the go all the time, and the older ones just aren’t around for an evening meal. So, I give them a coupon entitling them to the meal of their choice. Anything goes- chicken fried steak and mashed taters or spaghetti and meatballs or Tom yum gai, a jad, and sticky rice. You know they’ll show up for that.
You can give a coupon for anything. Maybe it’s for an hour’s babysitting, or a lawn-raking or snow-blowing. What can you do for someone else, that’s something they’ll really appreciate, especially since they won’t have to dust it.
It also kind of spreads the love out over a year, instead of having the Christmas pile-on and Stress thing.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Filed under: Uncategorized
2 recipes, a savory and a sweet.
Delicious with warm brie, or any other soft mild cheese like fontina or monterey jack.
2-1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Blend together in a bowl, then combine:
1 large egg, beaten
8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened butter (not margarine)
1/2 cup plain yogurt, plus 1/4 cup set aside
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet, stir well to make sure there’s no dry stuff in the bottom of the bowl. It the mix is dry enough to be crumbly, add the extra 1/4 cup yogurt.
Turn the dough on to a floured surface, and knead it several times until well combined. Form into 2- 12 inch logs and put them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees 20-25 minutes until light golden brown and firm to the touch. Reduce the oven temp to 300 degrees. Let the logs rest 10 minutes, then slice on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices. Lay the slices on a cookie sheet, and bake at 300 degrees 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown and crisp.
And now, the sweet.
Cantucci biscotti, mildy altered by me because I never have hazelnuts or Frangelico like the real recipe calls for)
These are so crunchy they should be dunked (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, wine).
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup bourbon or whisky (or Frangelico or Amaretto)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups almonds-toasted and coarsley chopped (or hazelnuts, especially if you are using Frangelico)
Mix dry ingredients (including the nuts) in a large bowl. Mix the eggs and liquids in another bowl. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients gradually, mixing until the dough is stiff.
Shape the dough into 2 logs about 15 inches long and put them on a greased cookie sheet. They will spread, so don’t put them too close to each other.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let the baked logs cool for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven tempurature to 300 degrees.
Using a sharp knife (I like to use a fillet knife), cut the logs into 3/4 inch slices. Place them back on a cookie sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes at 300 degrees.
Store in an airtight container. They will keep for weeks.