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You know how the screen of your computer gets dusty, and you have to clean it off. Well, sometimes the inside gets dirty as well, and needs cleaning. Here’s some help with that.
This morning, Terry sat down with his (enormous, quart sized) cup of coffee and sighed “Why does it have to be Tuesday, why can’t it be Thursday?”. Yeah, I know the feeling. Granted, I like the week, when everyone’s gone and I can do what I please (within reason), but work is kicking Terr’s arse right now, and his wrist, the one connected to the broken arm, is doing something *really* weird, painfully so, so bad he actually took a Percocet last night and he NEVER does that. He has an appointment to see the orthopedist tomorrow, and is fearing the worst.
You know how it is, when you’re stressed out it seems like all your problems magnify and expand and grow warts and fangs. Last night he was fretting about his wrist and became fairly sure they’d have to re-break his arm and do the whole damn thing over again.
*sigh* It’s times like these I wish he’d get a job…you know…something hourly, with his name on a patch over his pocket, that he’d work 8 or 10 hours, come home, have a beer on the front porch of his double-wide out in the country, and go fishing on the weekend. We’d eat pintos and collards and play with the babies. He’d be called Pap-Paw and I’d be a box-jawed Mee-Maw and we would be embarrassingly country with our sweet tea and pickup truck, but by Gawd we’d have precious little stress. Like something out of a Flannery O’Conner story, only without the mental illness and racism.
Is it really worth it? I have to wonder. Sure we have The Good Life. We have a big fine house on a golf course, new cars, fine clothes, the whole 9 yards. But I sit back sometimes and look at the stress Terry goes through, the discomfort I keep thinking maybe I’m the one putting him through that with my love of new shit and all. He *is* ambitious, he has made this life for us with his drive and gumption, and I deeply appreciate it. I am his biggest cheerleader, fan, what-have-you. But, I worry about him working himself into a heart attack at 50, or cancer, or some other stress related ailment. Life really was easier to live 20 years ago, in that double-wide out in the country. In some ways. Possibly because I knew it was temporary, that one day we’d have a big fine house. Now that I’m here I don’t know…
If only El Presidente would retire…if only The Jackass would find work elsewhere…if only George would grow a backbone. If Only if only…how long is patience required to wait for the If Onlies to happen? Oh I know. Terry has drawn his line in the sand, that point in time when he has decided If Only hasn’t happened by then, he’s outa there. I’m OK with that. I’m glad he’s done it because once he has, it’s etched in stone, not drawn in the sand. It will mean packing up and moving, which is fine. I like moving. But then I’m with staying here, as long as If Only has happened and Things Improve. Otherwise, I’m looking for a house in Missouri. A nice little 3 bedroom ranch house on 5 acres.
Because he’s nice that way, and because he’d reconnected with many of his old classmates there, Himself decided to ‘friend’ his old high school girlfriend (I almost said ‘sweetheart’ but that would be a gross mischaracterization), and right out of the chute, the very first comment she made was critical of one aspect of his comfortable Captain of Industry lifestyle. It wasn’t “Hi, how are the kids?” or “It’s nice you see you’re still alive”, it was “Cigars! DISGUSTING!” to his comment of spending the evening with a fine cigar and a glass of bourbon. Her next comment was something along the lines of “Cigars are only good if they aren’t lit”. Well, talk about typical. She spent the entire 7 years of their relationship being critical of what he wore, what he drove, how he looked, the house his parents lived in, constant browbeating. Why did he put up with it? You may well ask. I wonder myself, but he’s patient that way, and probably thought she was the best he could do.
Anyway, I decided to see how many women I could get together to say something complimentary about the cigar issue, to leave something on his facebook about it, and it was FANTASTIC! Thank you to all of you who participated. No one said anything ugly to her (I didn’t want that, anyway), it was all just comments about how sexy a good cigar smells, how it smells of success and money, that sort of thing. Great fun! *smack* on her!
And you know what? A good cigar *does* smell fantastic. When he comes in late in the evening, after having a Royal Sterling and a glass of Basil Hayden’s (small batch bourbon), he smells amazing, like a man, smoke and bourbon and a touch of leather…yes. Cheap cigars, no thank you. They can smell righteously nasty. Even some expensive ones smell nasty. He smoked a (what was it…it was Wife Beater Nasty)…Partagas…that’s it. A $10 cigar he got about 1/4 the way through and I forbade him to ever smoke one of those again. BLECH. Fortunately it was a gift, so he didn’t feel an obligation to finish it. Through trial and occasional error he’s found brands that we both approve of. Since I am the one who has to smell him, I get veto powers, and we’ve learned which makes and models suit both of us.
Now, I don’t actually smoke them, myself.
I’ve tried a few times and wind up tasting them for days afterwards. While they taste nice at the time, 3 days later they aren’t. Instead I sit downwind, enjoying the aroma and companionship, and yes, even the…whatd’yacallit…sense of entitlement that comes from knowing he has the White Privilege of enjoying a $15 dessert cigar and bourbon. Because, By God, he’s worked hard for it, and deserves it.
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email me at Rootietoot *at* gmail *dot* com if you are female, on facebook, and willing to participate in a snarky and vindictive prank. It’s harmless and aimed at a particular woman who makes Terry deeply grateful he married me and not her.
I spent yesterday on the couch, I mean ,the whole entire day, watching Netflix movies and drinking hot tea. David fixed dinner (voluntarily, bless him!), Eli dealt with the dogs and cats (bless him!).
Netflix endorsement: Oh yes, love Netflix, both the movies that come in the mail and the Instant Play variety. I watched 4 episodes of Saving Grace (I’ve always been a fan of Holly Hunter) and Watchmen (bleh…I mean, really bleh. Noir at it’s worst. I kept watching it hoping it would improve, that the characters would develop and they didn’t. The best one of the bunch was Dr. Manhattan and he was computer generated and emotionless),
and Law and Order SVU because I really like the characters and how not only is there a legal mystery but the individual characters have stories that you follow. Plus Ice-T, who was a CRAPPY actor at the beginning has improved, and they’re expanding his character as well. That’s what I did all day, in my seersucker croaker sack of a dress, with hot tea and cheese and crackers. I’m craving salt. Love crackers. Triscuits. yes.
So, I’ve discovered that when I have a cold, if I take a day and do absolutely NOTHING I’ll feel better the next day, and I do. Not 100%, still sneezing and blowing, but definitely better. I might even do something today, like breathe all over everyone’s food so they can share in my misery. Spread the love, doncha know. It’s Saturday, so theoretically everyone is home, except that they’re not.
Terry spent Thursday with a production company making a movie of his processes for a safety something-something in Orlando in the Fall, some convention thing with booth babes and all (they didn’t ask me to be a booth babe *pout*), which meant he didn’t get anything done that day, so he’s at work today, doing what he didn’t do then.
#4 is asleep, having stayed up until after midnight, so he could play on the computer and watch a movie. He had been grounded from anything electronic on Tuesday, for not bringing home his homework, and the restriction was up Saturday, which he interpreted as midnight. My word, he’s a literalist like David. At least I know how to handle it now. I’m not even sure if David’s home or not. Now that he’s got that downstairs apartment with it’s own parking place, etc, and I’m not going to violate his privacy by checking up on him, I’ll find out when he wanders in looking for food. he’s 19, folks, time to treat him like an adult, doncha know. Will brought AstroGirl over for supper Wednesday. I like her more and more. She’s calm, and sensible, with a quirky sense of humor.
So today, I’m feeling better, thanks to Sudafed and Tylenol and copious pots of coffee (well, that itty bitty coffee maker, the big percolator is Dead.) So I make and make and make coffee and drink and drink, and it makes me sweat and hyper and yelling at the cats (Gracie crashed the guest room, broke some stuff and I don’t even know why the door was open), but i am feeling SO much better.
One of those lovely, lovely summer colds, bred in the 80% humidity and 100 degree temps of Loveliest South Georgia in August. It’s not bad enough to warrant deepest sympathies and casseroles from the neighbors, nor petty enough to take a Sudafed and ignore. My head feels like a bowling ball, my nose, she runs and runs and runs. I’m going to pull an Aunt Martha soon, and just stuff a tissue up there and leave it. I am debating getting dressed, or not. The bathrobe is comfortable, as is the mussed hair, but so will be the cotton seersucker dress that fits like a croaker sack but is less likely to alarmingly flash the children. However, getting dressed involves climbing the stairs.
The dogs are symathetic, as dogs are. Good dogs. The cats, especially Phleud, seem also to be sympathetic, or that could just be fatigue. It’s hard to tell with cats. He kneaded my shoulders a few minutes ago, but you know cats. Inscrutable creatures, they are.
I am staring at the case of DVDs, wondering what to watch today, as watching is surely all that will get done. #4 reminded me of my stack of coupons, including a few that promise he’ll fix dinner if I’m sick. There are plenty of leftovers in the fridge: london broil and baked potatoes from last night, spaghetti from the night before, and chicken soup, so I won’t have to cook. Even sandwich supplies.
I’m going to go lay on the couch now, and feel sorry for myself, with a heating pad on my back and another one on my face, and listen to the news, about How Awful It Is and How Dare They and For Only $12.99(plus shipping and handing).
Today, David got up early enough to join #4 and me on the porch as we waited for the bus. We all talked about Stuff, stuff that I don’t necessarily understand (quantum physics, even #4 gets it better than I do, but then I can make biscuits from scratch without a recipe) and I realized that my children are surpassing me intellectually. Not only that, I am OK with it. Happy even. Kids are supposed to do that. My dream has always been that my kids would be smarter and more successful than me. Not that I am a piddling near-failure, but that I want my kids to Do Better, to be more educated, to think harder, and stretch more.
Oh, I’ll always want them to come home for food, to say things like “Mom, you’re the best cook I know.” and to be eager to take leftovers home with them. I am not sure how I’ll feel if they marry someone who’s a better cook than I am, but there’s time for that yet. Hopefully I’ll be gracious enough to at least accept it, if not celebrate it. Last night Will and AstroGirl came over for dinner. I made spaghetti (and I make kick-ass sauce, if I say so myself) and fresh, homemade focaccia (and I make kick-ass bread, if I say so myself). I like AstroGirl. She eats. None of this picking at the food thing, but a big bowlful of pasta and 2 chunky bits of bread.
David is making plans to build a wrist computer. He found a motherboard the size of a stick of gum, and is working on the battery power issue, and how to make a comfortable case for it. Hobby Lobby has parts for making plastic jewelry, so I suggested he look there. It’s moldable plastic, you heat with a hair dryer and form. If he can find some that isn’t purple and embedded with glitter, we might be on to something. The whole thing is kind of beyond my ken, but I’m ok with that. He has to use a recipe to make biscuits, and I don’t.
I woke up this morning feeling like I might be coming down with a cold. The timing is awful, for reasons that I won’t elaborate on because this is a PG rated blog.
However, I have my remedies. Cold Cure chicken soup. I don’t have the time or inclination to make a pot of Jewish Penicillin, tho I admit that would be ideal. However, I need the soup now, not tomorrow, and JP requires time and a whole chicken, neither of which I have at the moment. So, Cold Cure soup it is, full of garlic and black pepper and rich in C onions and rich in betacarotene carrots. It simmers even now.
So, to beef up this post and make it look long, I give you a couple of recipes.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
Oven at 400 degrees, grease a cookie sheet. Sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Mix in the buttermilk, add a bit more if the dough is too dry. Dump it on a floured countertop. DO NOT KNEAD. pat the dough out until it’s about an inch-1/2thick, and cut with a glass to make rounds. Put them on the greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until they are golden brown.
Cold Cure Chicken Soup
3 quarts water
2 large chicken breasts
4 carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt
lots of fresh ground black pepper
lots of chopped fresh parsley
Put it all in a big pot, set on the stove to simmer all day. taste and add salt and pepper as needed. You can also add a splash of vinegar and some scrambled eggs to make a sort of hot and sour soup. (By scrambled eggs, I mean scramble some eggs in a bowl, and pour slowly in the boiling soup, stirring constantly. I don’t mean cook scrambled eggs in a skillet and then add them. No. Don’t do that. that would be weird. You’ll want to do it right before you serve it because eggs that cook too long tastes sulfurous.)
1 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons yeast (or a packet)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil (olive oil gives a good flavor, but regular veg oil is fine)
3 cups flour
Mix everything but the flour all together and let it sit 5 minutes or so. Then stir in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time until you get a nice dough. Knead the dough on a foured surface until it is smooth and elastic, or cheat like me and use a stand mixer, letting it go on slow for 5-10 minutes. Roll the dough in oil, put it in a bowl (or use the dough bowl from the mixer), cover and let rise for an hour, until double. Punch the dough down and put it on a greased cookie sheet, spreading it out like you’re making a pizza. Use your fingers to poke dimples all over it. Drizzle some olive oil on it and spread it around. Here’s the creative part: sprinkle the dough with your choice of stuff. Chopped rosemary is nice, minced garlic, salt and pepper, parmesan cheese, whatever. I like to keep it simple and just use kosher salt and cracked pepper, especially if I’m serving it with spaghetti. Let it rise about 20 minutes, then put it in a cool oven and turn the oven on to 375 degrees. It will finish rising as the oven heats up. Bake until golden brown on top. Be sure an put it on the top rack, so the bottom won’t burn. I like to make it on a pizza stone because the heat is nice and even, and it won’t burn, but if you don’t have one a cookie sheet with a layer of tin foil is fine.
Filed under: oh you self indulgent hussy!, product endorsement, what? um...what?
I woke up this morning, as I do every morning, with coffee the first thing on my mind. God bless the inventor of the coffee maker, and also the inventor of the automatic timer, so I can get up to a hot pot of coffee every morning, without having to sit there and stare at it.
Except for this morning, when my beloved percolator didn’t percolate. I poured out a cup of brownish water, in dismay thought maybe I forgot to put grounds in, but upon further review saw that I had, indeed, done it all right, but the percolator was Not Doing It’s Thing.
Frantically, I dug around in the utility room for the drip maker, but all I could find was an inadequate 4 cup device, and had to Make Do. I must have, in a fit of hyper efficiency, given the big drip maker to Goodwill. Can you relate, Jerseychick, to giving away something you don’t think you need then turns out 6 months later that you *do* need it? most egregiously you need it? Well, anyway, I made a paltry 4 cups, made 4 cups more, then 4 cups more, because we all own generous mugs. I also remade a pot full in the percolator, so as to determine the nature of it’s ailment. Terry thinks perhaps it’s not heating properly, because it wasn’t chugging like it’s supposed to, and that is a symptom of said disorder. “Wiring issue” says he. And he, being Who He Is, He Who Can Fix Everything But a Broken Heart and the Crack of Dawn(tm) will take it apart tonight and see what he can do. In the mean time, we’ll make do with the little bitty inadequate drip thing.
I was reading a USAToday article about the latest Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, etc) book, and how it’s supposed to be the Next Great Thing. Now, I’ve never read Dan Brown books, so I can’t speak to that. But it did make me think about books in general. David suggested I get a Kindle, one of those automatic screen book reading things that you can download books from Amazon and all. I am not intrigued. I mean, it seems like a terrific idea. I’m thinking my grandmother would like one because you can adjust the font size to HUGE and she needs that, and she loves to read. For me, however, not so much. I love the tactile aspect of reading. Turning a page is satisfying. Holding it on my knees, putting in the bookmark, and laying on my bedside table has a traditional sort of appeal. I’ve done it all my life, ever since reading Dr. Seuss as a wee one, ever since throwing Nancy Drew across the room because she was such a pansy, and underlining concepts I didn’t understand in Godel, Escher and Bach (pretty much the whole book is underlined at this point). I love to aquire books, to put them on the shelves, and watch those shelves fill up. I’m a sucker at Books a Million. They lay out those books and make them look like delicious candies. I have to avoid it like an addict avoids South College and West Jones. And, when someone recommends something, do I go to the library? No. I go to Amazon and order it, because I am a sucker that way.
Recently I ordered a couple of Ted Dekker novels: Showdown and Saint. I was looking for books where a terribly reprehensible character finds redemption. I am frustrated with current Christian lit because the characters are victims of circumstance, rather than created by their own weak character. I was looking for a character who, because of his own psychological shortcomings, committed heinous acts, then found redemption. What I got was a character who committed heinous acts, because he’d been brainwashed. Ergo, not good enough, in my estimation. Oh, there was a nasty guy in the book, I kept waiting for him (The Englishman) to find redemption somehow. He was a Bad Guy because he was Bad Guy, not because he’d been kidnapped and brainwashed, like The Saint, who did bad things but couldn’t help it. Disappointing, to me. The Showdown was like reading something written by someone who wished he was Stephen King, but lacked that spark, that way with words that Mr King has. Oh well. Now I have 2 Ted Dekker books on my shelf.
Right now I am (re)reading my Flannery O’Connor collection. I like short stories, because I can read one and be ready for sleep. I don’t feel compelled to stay up and keep reading, because I get caught up in the story and want to find out what happens next. A bit ago, I bought a book about a Hmong family who had an epileptic child. Apparently in Hmong culture, epileptics are closer to God, and the medical treatment for them is vastly different than what we in America do. Consequently, there was quite the culture clash between the family, the doctors, and the social services. True story, and very interesting. I’d tell you the name of the book but I can’t call it to mind and I’d have to get out of my chair, climb the stairs and find it….oh ok…hold on.************** ok back...”The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman Fascinating stuff, especially if psychological, medical and cultural things interest you. Another interesting book is “My Lobotomy” by Howard Dully. This guy had the step mother from hell, who, when he was 12, had him lobotomized by an unscrupulous doctor, because he was a handful. What normal 12 year old isn’t a handful? Anyway, he wrote the book when he was 56, and looking for answers. It’s both heartbreaking, that a kid was treated so heinously, and heartwarming, because he made the best of his life in spite of it.
One of the cost-saving issues I have with books is my terribly short memory. Seriously, put that with the way I speed read (and therefore miss about 1/2 of what I’m supposedly “reading”), I can read a book 3 or 4 times before I realize I’ve read it before. And, if I go for more than a year before re-reading it, it’s as if I’ve never read it at all, except for a nebulous feeling I have that I might know this character or that one. I’ve read “Gone With The Wind” probably 20 times, and am always surprised when Scarlett mistreats her husband du jour. It frustrates Terry sometimes, he with the photographic memory (go ahead, ask him what’s on page 459 of his Quantum Mechanics textbook from 25 years ago.), but I find it comforting to go to a book that seems familiar, but introduces something new every time I read it. I always forget about the crazy woman in Jane Eyre (well, except for now, obviously), and the personal shortcomings of the jockey dude in Dick Francis novels. It made for difficulties when I was in school, because I’d read the textbooks the same way I read the novels, but my philosophy was to remember *where* I found the information, rather than the information itself. I’m the same way with the Bible. I can find most anything I need, but don’t ask me to quote it off the cuff. The Baptist in Terry grumbles about that too, but it’s easy for him, with his photographic memory, to memorize things. All I remember is that Leviticus bores me to tears, and Acts tells me I don’t have to worry about eating lobsters anymore. Anything else, I’ll have to look up. That’s why they make those teeny purse sized New Testaments that Gideon’s gave away in the 5th grade.
So, right now I’m in fall-back mode, to my collection of short stories. It’s where I go when I’m not visiting the library (because I’m feeling anti-social and don’t wish to be seen in public), and short on cash for spending on books at Amazon. I have a collection of O.Henry stories, and James Thurber, and a book of essays called “Help! Help! Help!” that’s all about the difficulties one has “these days” finding a decent live-in maid or nanny. It was written in the 1950′s and is extraordinarily outdated, thus very funny. I may even send it to Jerseychick, as she can appreciate the frustrations of getting good help along with me. Maids! They expect so much from their employer! Like an air conditioner in their suite! And a day off! honestly!
So how do you feel about books? Care to recommend something?
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The other day I was watching TV, a show on Food Network called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate (between bread)” All these chef types talking about the best sandwich they ever had. Now, I love a good sandwich, especially one that is put together like a fine recipe, with careful thought given to all the ingredients, especially when some of those ingredients are things like capicola, or hunter’s salami, or the perfect bread. Now, most of the sandwiches these people were talking about were complicated affairs, with 3 or 4 kinds of meats, arugula or some other obscure green, and some fancy-pants kind of aioli (just mayo, with a pedigree). But! There was one that caught my eye. Very simple, and just weird enough to captivate me. I was intrigued! Yes I was! What a strange thing it was! Not only that, I had all the ingredients! Yes I did! So you KNOW what I did…oh yes, tonight I made me one! Now, it’s made at some restaurant, I don’t remember where, and the guy who recommended it, I don’t remember who. So, my apologies for that. But, I did remember the recipe, and here it is:
2 slices good dark pumpernickel bread, toasted
2 tablespoon good unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoon high quality orange marmalade (I think they recommended Polaner, I used Great Value)
5 strips applewood smoked bacon, cooked to crispy
Butter the bread, slather on the marmalade, and layer on the bacon. Top with the other slice of buttered bread.
That’s it! Simple, no? And just peculiar enough to interest me.
Y’know what, it was good! The savory bread with the sweet marmalade and smoky bacon was quite the thing! And, my triglycerides are having a right party as well. *sigh*
It’s green smoothies for you tomorrow, chickie.
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Funny thing happened yesterday, I went across the street to meet the neighbors. I’d already Amy, when her dog got run over a year ago, and finally had a chance to meet Oscar, her husband. Interesting fella, a pugnacious ex-Marine (there’s NO SUCH THING as an EX-MARINE! he shouted) who invited me in, then became embarrassed when I stared at the M-4 on the kitchen counter (it’s a gun, a big fat one)
“Oop,” he said, “been out target practicing…(blush)” well, as much as a Hispanic ex Marine (there’s NO SUCH THING as an EX-MARINE! he shouted) from Miami *can* blush about such things. Then he put it away.
I laughed, and told him I had no issues with his second amendment rights. Tho I did wonder about the 4 kids (one of them mine) running around, with that THING on the kitchen counter.
We talked about guns a bit. I whined about the way my revolver sticks, and he offered to fix it. I covered my face with my hands and wailed “but i don’t even KNOOOOW YOOOU!” so he kindly referred me to a local gunsmith. “Thanks,” I said,” I’d feel better about that.” “But,” he replied,” you DO know where I live.”
So, perhaps I feel a bit safer, knowing a pugnacious ex-Marine (there’s NO SUCH THING as an EX-MARINE! he shouted) lives right across the street, well armed and all.
Amy and I bonded a bit over the whole Dress Blues issue and how Marines surely have the finest uniforms EVER. Yeaaah.
Oscar admitted that his uniform was a closet filler now, as he was too…erm…well….Stocky (yeah, Stocky, that’s the word) for it to fit right anymore.