Filed under: Cars, family, friends IRL, Hooray!, Rest and Relaxation, spouse, Uncategorized
We’re planning this trip I’ve been rattling on about. We’re driving, in Carmina with the top down (when it’s not raining) from here to Amarillo, and back again via the Panhandle, Oklahoma and Kansas via Route 66 and it’s myriad novelties. The Long Way Home and all that.
Thing is, Sweet Daddio and I are about as spontaneous an a long-distance adoption. We are trying so very hard to not make hotel reservations, and it’s causing tremors and constipation. We are trying to figure out where to stop for the night, and then we remember thag being spontaneous involves stopping when you want to, not where you PLAN to. For instance, we might stop in El Dorado, Arkansas. Might, mind you, being all spontaneous and stuff, we don’t know for sure. Just in case, tho, SD asked me to look up hotels there. Not that we’d make a reservation or anything, just to, y’know…just in case we might stop there. To know our options.
Poor SD. He’s being teased for his inability to jump in blindfolded. This friend he has owns a motorcycle, and as such understands the concept of throwing a toothbrush in a saddlebag and disappearing for a couple of weeks. He has expressed amazement and disbelief at our plans, asking SD if he’s really ok with it, and SD says *twitch twitch shudder twitch* “of course I am, you don’t think I can, do you? *twitch*
We’re trying tho. really we are. We’re not sure which hotel in Texarkana we’re going to stay in, or if we’re going to go through Turkey to get a picture of the Bob Wills memorial. We’ll jsut decide that when the time comes.
To clarify: by ‘Low Mainentance’ I don’t mean in the philosophical sense, as one of those girlfriends a fellow never has to buy for, and is happiest watching football and providing endless nachoes for the boyfriend’s buddies. Oh no, not that kind at all.
I define ‘low mainentance’ as being able to walk in from the backyard, after having spent 1-1/2 hours cutting grass and developing a pungent aroma, and 15 minutes later being ready for a date. Mind you, not a date to the Opera, or a meal at Four Seasons, but a date nonetheless. Yes, in a mere 15 minutes, I showered, dressed and fixed my hair (thank you, Nathan, for a terrific cut!) and am all set to meet #3 at the theater for 90 minutes of mayhem.
Low Mainentance means, to me, a no-fuss approach to living. I don’t wear makeup. My reasoning is this: If I never wear it, and everyone is used to seeing me without it, then no one thinks I’m ill if they see me without it. It’s just Rootie, who never wears makeup. I’m outside and all enough that my skin has a bit of a tan, so there’s no pastiness involved. My undereye dark circles are hidden by tinted glasses, and lipstick does nothing for me at all. Chapstick, maybe, if it’s been dry, but colored lipstick makes me feel clownish.
I have a friend, whom I like very, very much, who never ever leaves the house without a full face of makeup. She is quite pretty and does a fine job with it, but one day, her kids were sick, and I ran into her at the store, sans makeup. She honestly looked like she’d climbed out of a crypt, all because I was unused to seeing her looking anything less than perfect.
I do not iron my clothes. In this climate, that would be silly. Most of what I wear is either linen, cotton, or a blend of the 2. Wrinkle heaven, to be sure. But iron? Why? Go outside in this humidity and 15 minutes later the clothes look exactly as they did before you ironed. A pointless exercise, to be sure. If the clothes are egregiously wrinkled, due to being forgotten in the bottom of a laundry basket for a couple of days, just go outside in this humidity and 15 minutes later… you get the picture. Wrinkled clothes are cooler, as well.
Ha. Even Eva Longoria does it.
Think of seersucker. It’s what every man over the age of 50 wears around here. It’s cotton, and it’s cool. It has built in wrinkles that keep the fabric away from your skin and airflow ensues. I apply that same methodology to linen and cotton. It’s cool outside in the 95 degrees, and keeps you from freezing at the movie theater where they inexplicably keep the thermostat set on “meat locker”.
My hope is to be a 1-woman fashion statement. By eschewing the makeup, which is quite uncomfortable in my climate (have you ever seen what happens to foundation when you sweat? You look like your face is sliding off), and keeping the iron hidden behind the spare rolls of toilet paper, I hope to start a fashion revolution that frees women up from the tyranny of being gorgeous for no apparent reason, and causes humanity to realize that a happy and comfortable woman is the most beautiful one of all.
Well, ok, so Eva Longoria beat me to it, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this fight.
Now this is easy-peasy.
Delicious, too, and good for you. #4 liked it alot, and he doesn’t like anything that isn’t deep fried and covered in cheese.
2 cups frozen mango chunks (or pineapple, or peach, or any other frozen fruit)
2 cups water
2 inch sprig of mint
2 tablespoons sugar
dash of salt
Whizz it up in the blender until nice and smooth and drink through a straw quickly, so everyone can watch your head implode.
In other news, I am having a philosophical pillow fight on USAToday.com, over the advantages and disadvantages of living in a Hurricane Prone Region. I swear,the preconceived notions people have about Southerners would be irritating if they weren’t so funny.
Today is the very first day of Summer Vacation 2009. We have 2 months to cram in all the laziness, cold salads and swimming we can. 2 months of sloppy clothes, flipflops and top down on the car. Grilled foods, meals outside midst the gnats, skeeters, and panting dogs. For Sweet Daddio, summer means really, truly unreasonable working conditions, coolers full of ice and gatorade for the employees, bosses whining about the cost of gatorade powder and running fans (versus the costs of ambulance rides and hospital stays for heat exhaustion? Not to mention down-time due to employees inability to work because of said hospitality issues). Truly, the working conditions of a Deep South textile finishing plant are brutal. It can’t really be helped. One can’t air condition a place like that, because the equipment requires steam, heat, steam and more heat to produce the product. When fans are produced, they get stolen on 3rd shift, when they’re chained in place, the chains are cut and fans stolen, when they are mounted high on a wall, they still disappear. What’s one to do? A textile mill isn’t exactly a peaceful Ashram. The people working there can be good people. They can also be ex-convicts, sociopaths, and the like. It’s a good-paying job, relative to the region and general employment conditions. 3 major companies have closed in the past year. 2 have had serious lay-offs, except for SD’s company, which is expanding and hiring. This is good for people, but it’s still a tough place to work in the summertime.
The good news is, the Boss in Chicago (owner of the company) put his foot down and announced that There Would Be 2 Paid Weeks Off In July. They deserve it. People have been working super hard recently, with with the expansions and all. 6 days a week, 12 hour shifts. They totally deserve it. SD is planning a watermelon cutting the last day before shut-down. He wanted to do a barbeque, the money is there to pay for a total shin-dig, but his Boss, El Presidente, vetoed the idea because it would cost too much (the money is there in a special kitty, just for the employees to use for this very purpose. It’s the profits from the vending machines, employee money to start with and all), and the employees might, y’know, start to think they deserve it or something. Can’t have that, doncha know.
Yes, El Presidente takes the concept of asshole to staggering heights. in his defense, his daughter is getting married with a high dollar wedding(according to his wife, they’ve spent about $40,000 so far) in the works, and his wife has gone WAY (according to him, could be $10, could be as much as $1000) over budget, so he’s stressing about money and holding onto it wherever he can, even at work which has nothing to do with the wedding. I’m trying to be charitable here, folks. This guy make Scrooge look like Fezziwig, and you can be sure that he has $40,000 stashed in one of his many Swiss bank accounts and it won’t affect his bottom line in the least. Enough on him.
One of my favorite hobbies (this is VERY loosely connected, but connected nonetheless…really) is looking at real estate in other parts of the country. I like to find a place that looks perfect, and instruct SD to find a job in the area. Just the other day I came across a place in Paris, Texas. Ok, Paris is in the middle of farkin’ NOWHERE. Even more so than Statesboro. It’s claim to fame is a miniature Eiffel Tower with a red cowboy hat on top. How twee! How very…um…Texas! Texans take their Texaness very, very seriously. I know this because I am kin to half the state. 3 counties are named after my ancestors. I have the right to belong to all those Daughters of This n That Grande Dame societies and wear a sash in the parades. Yet, I have been gone from that state long enough (we moved to Oklahoma when I was 6 weeks old, but I still have the right to claim it) that I can look at all the people trying to fly a Lone Star flag bigger than their neighbors to be deeply amused by it. One of the things I noticed about real estate in Texas is that nearly everyone has a big metal Lone Star somewhere on their house. Maybe outside by the front door, maybe over the fireplace. As if having that star gave them the privilege of living there. As if anyone other than a native Texan would live in Paris to begin with.
Anyway, poking around the real estate listings in Paris led me to this…this…PLACE. This perfect, perfect piece of land with the perfect, perfect house. Oh my word, hose me down I’m having a flop-sweat. 10 acres with mature trees. Not a pine to be seen. Pecans, oaks and sycamores. 2 outbuildings including an 18×24 hardwired shop building. With windows. A 1900 sq foot house, with a kitchen, dining room and living room and NO WALLS between them. Anyone who knows me at all knows how I hate walls between main rooms. Hate them. 2 fireplaces, a hottub on the patio, a fenced area perfect for a herd of wienerdogs or horses. And, just barely outside the city (*snicker) limits. It’s downside: carpeting everywhere except the kitchen area and bathrooms. White carpet. I hate carpet, but it is certainly dealwithable. Kinda…y’know…I hate to be mean…but the wallpaper is…er…not my style. Y’know..big fat cabbage roses and lacy borders. All over the place. It would have to come down tut suite and immediately. However, it is also dealwithable. Cosmetics are just cosmetic. All that matters is layout, plumbing and wiring. everything else is gravy. Except for those trees. Oh my heavenly word, those amazing trees.
Care to guess the price? go one. Take a guess. Nice house, trees, shop buildings and 10 acres. $150,000. Pick your jaw off the floor and go find SD a job in Paris Texas. Because El Presidente doesn’t live there, and I’m kin to half the state.
Filed under: Uncategorized
O yes! and it was fun, too, really, not in that sarcastic “well…THAT was fun, o yea” Rootie sort of way. I went up to the school, to impose my uninvited self on the cookout. I took one look at the 6 HomeGrown Women ™ standing around fanning the hotdog plates and turned immediately right into #4′s classroom, to offer my services to the teacher, instead. She was happy to oblige.
It was a real eye opening treat, like a big warm pan of fresh rice-krispie treats, to really watch #4′s class interact with each other. Seriously. My heart is suddenly lightened and I am filled with sunshine and happiness. Absolutely. I spent 2 hours on the playground, supervising children and giving instruction about the proper way to drop ice down someone’s back for maximum effect (you ask them first to tuck their shirt in the back, all innocent like) and the superior way to eat a honeybun. I learned that is is possible for a 4th grade girl to sit still long enough (6 hours, she said) for her aunt to braid her hair into 500 tiny, tiny braids. I also learned that looks can be deceiving, as I observed 2 very proper, dainty Southern Belle type girls get into a righteous Sprite-Burping contest. If only their mothers knew.
I also learned something very interesting. #4 has friends. Lots of them. More than I had in 4th grade by far. I watched them run around and lay on the sand to see who could lay still the longest (not as tedious as it seems, given each and everyone of them is ADHD as a fruit fly). The kid who has been nasty? Yeah, that one? He pretty much spent the entire time sitting on top of the monkey bars, alone and sulking. The adult part of me felt sorry for him, wanted to go over and talk to him so he wouldn’t look so lonely. The bit that still remembers middle school just let him sit there.
Yesterday #4 announced that he wanted to make Mrs. Lewis a loaf of banana bread as a gift for the end of the year. And, I let him. I supervised but by golly he did all the work. The measuring, the mashing, everything but taking it out of the oven. It smelled fantastic and I had to endure pouting from Sweet Daddio when he discovered that he couldn’t have any for breakfast this morning. Sorry honey, but there were only enough bananas to make one loaf and I only have 1 loaf pan anyway. Mrs. Lewis wrote #4 a sweet thank you note, which he read out loud on the way to the car. “Dear #4, Thank you so much for the banana bread. It was annoying having you in my class this year…” “WHAT?” #4 said, “Annoying??” She had written in cursive, and he read “amazing” as “annoying”. I love a 4th grader.
So, school is over for the year. #4 is done. He has his report card (A/B Honor Roll! Quite the step up from first semester when he was barely squeaking by), has all his shi…er…stuff from his desk, and has permission from the teacher to Not Show Up tomorrow. They aren’t going to do anything but watch movies anyway.
Let the Summer Fun commence! YAY
Today is the day of the 4th grade cookout. About 2 weeks ago a letter was sent home asking for volunteers to help with it. Naturally, since I’ve got all kinds of time for such things, I signed up, with phone numbers and best hours to call (anytime) and everything. No response. ok, I thought, maybe she’s waiting until the last minute. I called her number listed on the signup sheet and left a message that I was able to help in whatever capacity she needed. No response. ok, maybe she’s waiting until the last minute. I swear, I was being as charitable as I could be. All sorts of benefit of the doubt and all.
Never mind that I have, for the last 4 years, signed up to volunteer for everything they asked for. Every single thing. And never been called back.
Hope Springs Eternal and all that. Plus, I am not terribly aggressive when it comes to such things. I offer, and I figure if they want or need me, they’ll get back, right?
So, yesterday 3-ish, I got a phone call. The Caller ID announced that it was the person in charge of volunteers for the cookout. Great! I thought, Finally! So, I answered and heard…a touch of background noise, and *click*. She hung up on me. Ok, I thought, um…I didn’t know what to think. Call her back? No. I’m not going to do that. Why not? Because. I’m not. I’m tired of signing and signing and signing, and not being someone’s cousin or sister in law or whatever and therefore being unworthy of contacting.
I am probably completely misinterpreting. She probably has a 3 yr old who was trying to stuff a peanut butter sandwich in the VCR and had to hang up suddenly. But after 4 years of trying and not being accepted, I’m tired of it. It’s not even as if I insert myself into society and offend everyone around me, I can’t even get that close to it! I walk up to people and try to start a conversation and I get “Oh, excuse me, I want to go talk to my sister over on the other side of the football field.” The only people in this town who have accepted my overtures toward sociability are the teachers themselves, who love volunteers and probably would take me if I had a criminal record and no teeth.
I’ve tried the old Southern standby of Bible studies, at 3 different churches, with 3 similar results: “you’re not from around here?” and “who are your people?” and “You don’t homeschool your kids???”
I know, I’ve whined about this before but since it’s my party I’ll cry if I want to. I’m just fed up with trying so damn hard and nothing ever seems to work. I’ve tried getting up with Sweet Daddio’s boss’s wife, but my God, that woman is so ditsy it’s like having a conversation with a bag of cotton candy. I try to get up with my Ethiopean friend, but she has 2 preschool children and her hands are very full, so that doesn’t happen as often as either of us would like.
I don’t know if it’s simply the culture of this town or what. I didn’t have this problem when we lived in Monroeville, even tho it had 5000 people, compared to the 30,000 here in Statesboro. It was easy to make friends there. Here, I dunno. Not so much. 4 years we’ve been here now. I’ve learned how to be friends with myself, because between this peculiar Statesboro culture, and SD working 12 hours a day, I’m about the only person there is to talk to around here.
#2 woke up this morning with a stuffy nose and sore throat. At least he’s off work and won’t be barking all over people’s Double Bacon Cheeseburgers at the local DQ. So, because I am a Good Mother ™ and Love Him So ™, I made him a pot of chicken soup.
Now, I love chicken soup, especially homemade. It’s a superior food, good for nearly everything. I love Jewish Penicillin, but didn’t want 24 hours for the results. I love chicken noodle, just the basic chicken broth with pasta type, and I love mine own Cold Cure soup.
Perhaps it’s not actually a cold cure soup, but it does make you feel better. Yes it does. Anything with this much pepper and garlic in it would wake a corpse and make them chuckle.
Here you go!
Cold Cure Chicken Soup
2 fresh chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons course ground pepper (or more)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 green onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon minced garlic (or more)
4 cups water
1 medium sized carrot, grated
1/4 cup orzo pasta
Get a medium sized pot and put the oil in it. Get it nice and hot and throw the chicken chunks in. Add the salt and pepper. Turn the heat down just a little, and cook the chicken until all the juices evaporate, and the chicken gets a nice brown crust on it. Don’t stir it too often, or the crust won’t develop. It’s important for the flavor to do this. Once the chicken is well cooked through and crusty, add the garlic and onion. Cook just a bit longer, to kinda get the harsh flavor of the onion and garlic out of the way. Add the water, and scrape the pot real well to get all the bits off the bottom. (sometimes, if I’m feeling really reckless, I’ll use white wine to deglaze the pan…yum)
Stir in the carrot and pasta (I use orzo, but egg noodles or broken up spaghetti, whatever you have, will work just fine. Use a good handful if you’re using a larger size pasta), let simmer until the pasta is cooked. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you need.
I vary this recipe based on what’s handy. Sometimes I add fresh peas in with the pasta, sometimes I’ll chop up a handful of parsley, or use a regular yellow onion instead of green ones. It’s also tasty to add a handful of spinach right at the end, but the kids aren’t fond of it so I don’t do it if I’m fixing it for them.
The most important ingredients are the garlic and pepper. They’ll clear your head.
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, Disease and infirmity, family, Good grief, Hooray!, Uncategorized
Have you ever had one of Those Days? You know the kind, where you wake up inexplicably cheerful, expecting certain discomfort and even pain and it’s not there at all? And even better, you feel like singing a bit, humming as your pour the coffee and laughing at the predictable antics of your dogs even when ordinarily you’d just be irritated by them.
And there is it, my Wednesday That Feels Like Tuesday Because Monday Was Sunday. It’s scary for me, a little, when I’m feeling really, really good like this. Is it a harbinger of things to come? am I standing on the precapise…precipise…uh…y’know…cliff edge… of a potential upcoming hypomania, fun as hell but dangerous and destructive? Or do I just feel good today? There’s a certain feeling of existential carbonation that comes with impending hypomania, a fizziness in the pit of my stomach and giggling in my brain. I’m kinda feeling that this morning. Maybe I’ll be able to to work it out.
Part of the problem with this is that I really need to go buy #4 some summer clothes. Shopping is Not Good when I’m feeling this way because it’s so easy to get carried away. Oh! Lookit that pretty skirt! Oh! Shoes! Oh! I need one of those for the trip! Oh! OH! But, due to his general lack of free time, I am loathe to ask Sweet Daddio to do it. Maybe if I medicate myself a bit before we go, I can stick to the boys department and shorts w/ t-shirts. He needs sandals, too, and rubber boots. Oh!
The thing of it is, this morning, I woke up in No Pain. The back doesn’t hurt a bit, and even though I am right in the middle of That Time of the Month, I’m not having any cramps. Go figure. Even the hands don’t ache despite the weather that says they should. Truly, truly, I feel as though I could run up and down the stairs several times without any repercussions.
I guess the problem with all this is that relentless evaluation of moods that is required by bipolar disorder. Is it real? Am I fixing to loop out or am I simply cheerful like a normal person? I am in the middle of a medication change, and so need to be extra vigilant where moods are concerned. The Good Dr. H. told me once that with my particular flavor of disorder, it’s better to keep me a teeny bit depressed, rather than allow happiness to spool out of control. I get that, so when I am really, really cheerful, humming as I pour the coffee and slathering hugs on the kids, I get worried, as worried as I can anyway, considering the mental condition.
Mostly I want to enjoy it. I want to roll with it and be happy like a normal person. It’s like riding a wave, surfing. I’m on my board paddling out to meet a fantastic wave that I could either ride until it reaches the shore, where I meet the beach and go eat a leaf full of poi, or I could wipe out, be tossed around and cracked on the head by my board, to sink eternally and be eaten by a shark. The problem is, riding out to meet the wave in inherently optimistic. One never expects to be cracked on the head and eaten. Ok, maybe in my case it’s not that dramatic. Let’s look for a different analogy.
It’s like planting a garden, perhaps. You plant a seed, assuming it’s a cucumber. In 8 weeks you expect to pick a cucumber off the vine and eat it with a tomato and a sprinkle of rice vinegar. However, it turns out to be a kudzu seed instead, and in 8 weeks it has engulfed your entire house and eaten your lawnmower. You buy a goat to eat the kudzu, thus pissing off the neighbors, who already think you’re weird. Or it might be a wild blackberry, full of thorns and daring anyone to come near. With a snake underneath. Yeah, that analogy is more myspeed than the surfing thing. Tho it does certainly feel rather like a wild ride. Perhaps early on you see the seed sprouting, and realize it’s not a cucumber, so you pull it up. It smashes your anticipation of a cucumber salad, but also prevents the risk of being overrun by something that can only be controlled by a goat. So what do you do?
Do you risk it? Or do you decide to dispense with the happiness because of it’s potential for destruction? Or, do you go find an understanding therapist who’ll talk you down just enough to let you feel good, but not so much that you end up spending 6 weeks watching Law&Order reruns instead of pulling weeds?
Or do you submerge yourself in the happy task of planning an 8 day trip through Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas on Route 66, stopping at sundry sites and taking a million photographs? Right now, I’ll settle for the trip planning, because Plans Are Good.
Filed under: food
Over at The Red Umbrella, Bella Rum has posted about The Green Smoothie Movement. I was intrigued, and decided to play with the concept. Now, I think the whole idea is rawther…y’know…kind of Hallelujah Acres or something, and I am indeed fond of my fried Chinese with sweet sauce and white rice diet, but the inner Organic Hippie felt it was worth a try.
So, here’s my own Green Smoothie, pronounced “Wow! That’s Delicious!” by #2, who’s favorite restaurant is Chong Wa at the Mall and their Bourbon Chicken w/Egg roll.
Green Smoothie- makes 1
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 big handful beet greens (from the garden, it’s what I had. Spinach would work ,I think)
1 sprig mint (y’know, about 2 inches worth) or a tea made from just mint-maybe 2 tablespoons, if you need some more liquid
1 teaspoon of sugar
dash of salt
Blend it all in a good blender until it’s smooth.
It’s pretty, too, with the yellow pineapple and greens making it this fresh spring green color. The mint is delicious with the pineapple, and it doesn’t taste at all beety. There is a sort of green thing going on with the flavor, but nothing overwhelming. I think I could even get #4 to drink this, provided I didn’t tell him where the green came from. It would be good with a banana in it as well, or maybe mangoes. I’m thinking the pineapple works because it has a strong enough flavor to overcome the greens. If you want protein in it, add a scoop of soy powder.
I’m thinking the Green Smoothie might be a grand way to sneak a sureptitious vegetable into Sweet Daddio’s diet as well. Do a little intestinal regulation, doncha know.
This thing was so tasty I might have to make one for lunch as well.
I took a picture but Bella’s is prettier so go look at hers.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I thought about reopening the Rootie’s Kitchen website, just for recipes, but I think I like putting them here instead. This way, if I can’t come up with a compelling blog topic, I can always put up a recipe. Nice back-up plan, no?