Filed under: Awesomeness, family, food, Hooray!, oh you self indulgent hussy!, Rest and Relaxation, spouse | Tags: a weekend away, Hotlanta, Spouse
I can’t help it. I don’t like surprises and I am not one of those spur-of-the-moment types. I don’t like it when someone just drops in for a chat (unless it’s someone I know VERY well, whom I am confident won’t judge my floors or the pile of laundry) (Jerseechik…)
Because I am not the toothbrush-and-a-pair-of-panties traveler, plans are being made. O yes. Terry’s as non-spontaneous as I am and we both enjoy the process of planning. It’s not a Big Trip as time goes, but it is a Big Trip philosophically.
Thursday is our 26th anniversary,and also CJ’s 21st birthday. Yes, the child had the poor taste to be born on our 5th anniversary but I have forgiven him for that. Due to circumstances outside of ANYONE’S control, Terry has Work Things on Thursday, that will take him out of town until late that night. CJ is off that night, and also 2 nights following, so he is going to my parents’ place in Alabama, where 2 of his brothers (David and #4) are staying for the Summer. Which leaves me and Will here…maybe he and I can go to dinner or something. That decision will be made that day.
Anyway, Terry and I are going to Atlanta on Friday and staying until Sunday. We have a lovely room in a very nice hotel in Buckhead, and plans to visit Our Favorite Places, ones that simply aren’t anywhere else.
Terry wants to go to Highland Woodworking because they sell fancy tools and have great ideas and he needs a couple of bits for a thing so he can do something exotic and make a lovely and unique piece of furniture. This is an endeavor of which I highly approve. Also, I want to watch him in this Grown Man’s Candy Store because it’s fun to see him excited about something.
I want to go to Gail K because I have been saving up all the money I’ve made from sewing so I could spend it there on fine fabrics and interesting buttons. I have a list, and samples of the fabrics I already have so the purchase of matching stuff for blouses and linings can be made. And buttons. They have the best selection of non-typical buttons anywhere, ever. Buttons will be purchased, I guarantee you that.
And also The Dekalb Farmers Market, which is a food lover’s paradise O yes. I have a nice long list of spices and flavorings and grains and cheeses and maybe, just MAYBE, this time they’ll have Westphalian ham. They haven’t had it the last few times we’ve been there, which has been mildly disappointing. The stuff is the Beluga caviar of hams. The Napolean Brandy, the 30 yr Glenfiddich of hams. If they don’t have it, I’ll have to suffer with cappricola instead. O well.
See there, all plotted out, with a hearty breakfast at the hotel (they have what they modestly call “continental breakfast” which actually means there’s a guy standing there to make your custom omelet, and a pastry chef in the back making croissants, and probably a cow and a milkmaid churning butter and creme fraiche. We’ve eaten there before and it ain’t the breakfast you get at Motel 6. Not that there’s anything wrong with a cup of yogurt and a plastic wrapped muffin if you’re hungry and on a tight budget…anyway, now that I’ve offended someone…
We’re planning a trip. I love a trip. I love Atlanta. Even in late July. Which is why God put air conditioning in cars…Or someone did, anyway.
Filed under: *whinge*, family, food, Good grief, Grandparents | Tags: Dealing with a grandparent, responsible adult, What.
I do not like Amarillo, Texas.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
I do like my grandmother, and the only reason she’s in Amarillo is because she’s from Canyon and Amarillo was the closest place with the kind of assisted living she needs.
I do like chicken fried steak and cream gravy and mashed potatoes, and there’s a place in Amarillo that serves a most excellent version of those things.
But other than that, I could go several years without smelling a stockyard when I first walk out of a hotel room, and not miss it.
It wouldn’t bother me a bit if I never walked into a Walmart and saw 3 young men strung out on some kind of drug, harrassing 2 other young men who were apparently not on drugs.
I would not be upset if I never saw another size 20 woman apparently wearing her skinny 12 year old daughter’s spandex camisole.
Ok maybe I am going to say something about it…
It was good to see my grandmother. I am glad I did it.
It is also good to be home, and I am going to be very happy to sleep in my own bed tonight.
Without the whiff of stockyard or the roar of every single diesel tractor-trailer in the country blowing past my little bitty car.
The chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and cream gravy were delicious. Terry had the not-mythical chicken fried corn on the cob. Yes.
Filed under: Dewicate feewings, food | Tags: Being Southern, Coping mechanisms, Oh for pete's sake, solving personal problems
I woke up hungry this morning. Not just “gee, I could eat something” but “WE NEED TO GO TO CRACKER BARREL WHERE I CAN GET THE OLD TIMER’S BREAKFAST WITH EXTRA BISCUITS” which here in the Deepest South, is not called “hungry” but “HONGREE!”
I am never hungry first thing, and certainly never HONGREE. Normally,I am a little bit queasy, and only want hot coffee to wash away the cobwebs.
I am meant to buy groceries this morning. It is a dangerous (and likely expensive) mistake to go to the store HONGREE. It is actually more economical to go to Cracker Barrel and get the Old Timer’s Breakfast (2 eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits, hash brown casserole for $7.99) than it is to wander the aisles of Bi-Lo, blithely tossing anything that looks appealing (marinated mozzerella balls,smoked gouda, proscuitto, croussaints, rib eye steaks, mangoes, orange sherbet, ) into the buggy, and that is exactly what will happen, if I go to the store HONGREE.
I refuse to say I am starving. At 5’5″ tall and on the north end of …well…my weight limit. (sigh)… I am a solid 6-8 weeks of ability to survive in the wild with only clean water being necessary,so I am not starving.
Maybe the HONGER is a result of catharsis. I have been walking on philosophical eggshells (broken lightbulbs, coal cinders) for a very long time. A resolution and a compromise was reached a couple of days ago, forgiveness was given and tears were shed, and…I am breathing again. Maybe that’s why I am hungry.
A couple of days ago I made a loaf of spiced sweet bread. It could have used some currants, but I am out of those. A toasted slice of that, with some butter, is a poor substitute for Old Timer’s Breakfast at Cracker Barrel, but is a tasty poor substitute. Here’s how you make it (bread machine style):
1 cup warm milk
1/4cup softened butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each (ground) cinnamon,allspice, cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups white bread flour
1-1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
Put it all in the bread machine in the order listed, punch the button to start and that’s it.
If you don’t have a bread machine, put it all in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook, and let it mix for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Coat with oil, and let rise (covered) ina warm spot for about 2 hours. Punch down, shape into a loaf and put in an oiled loaf pan (or on cookie sheet,or shape into buns), let rise 45 minutes, and bake at 375 until fragrant and brown. When you take it out of the oven, rub a stick of butter all over the top (but don’t use the whole stick!)
*Edited to add as I hit publish on this post, CJ (he’s 20) came blasting in (he’s never quiet), and offered to take me to breakfast! “IHOP?” he queried. “Cracker Barrel?” I countered. “Sure!” said he.
It would appear he may have inherited his father’s ability to read my mind. It has yet to be determined if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
Filed under: aaawwwww, dogs!, family, food, Good grief, I feel so smart!, In The Southland, oh you self indulgent hussy! | Tags: Being Southern, Coping mechanisms, Dachshunds, Oh for pete's sake, What.
So. Yesterday was full of consequences. (before you worry, no one died, no relationships were ended, and actually this post has nothing to do with anything related to the last 2 posts)
I wear aprons around the house. I am a messy person and wearing a full coverage apron allows me to only wear one change of clothes a day. My aprons always have deep pockets. The one on the left gets bits and pieces of trash that I pick up, and gets emptied several times a day. The one on the right carries my phone and reading glasses. This Is How It Is Done. I also did laundry yesterday, and that included washing the week’s worth of aprons. Monday’s apron somehow didn’t get emptied before washing. As I was removing everything from the dryer, I discovered a very clean and bent to heck pair of reading glasses. “Well,” I thought. “I wonder if I bought the warranty for them. Probably not because I don’t usually have the best judgement when it comes to stuff like that”. A trip to the optician and resulting assurances that I, in an uncharacteristic fit on common sense, DID buy the warranty and they still had those frames in stock so 10 minutes later, I had a a new pair of reading glasses. I needed to go to the store anyway…because…
I had plans to make this ridiculously easy chicken salad for dinner. Seriously…no cooking not even any chopping. However, it requires chow mein noodles- those delicious little fried things that look like dessicated earthworms. Since I was there anyway, I got a bag of noodles. Then I though “hey, self…since you were so smart to get that warranty, you deserve a Treat.” I love Ruffles chips and that onion dip you make from a carton of sour cream and a bag of onion soup mix. O How I Love That Stuff. So, I bought some. A big bag of chips so it could be shared with the Summer Household. And I ate it. So delicious! Not a petite portion either. You know how the thing on the back calls a portion size 2 tablespoons? Is that realistic? No it is not. Not when you love that stuff. Now, as a No Longer 20 Year Old With A Cast Iron Digestive System, I suffered consequences. I knew I’d have them and did not care. And have them I did. I warned Terry, but did not feel guilt, because he has his own issues with hot wings. Sometimes the consequences are worth it.
We have a dog. He name is Rusty (actually we have 4 dogs but this story is mainly about him). He is one year old, and a male wirehaired dachshund. Like most male dogs, he’s loyal to a fault, and Protects Me From Danger. Even though he only weighs 10 pounds. Last night Terry and I were sitting outside, enjoy a late evening adult beverage and commenting on the weather. It is what people do in the Deep South. “It sure is humid tonight.” That sort of thing. Now, we live on a golf course. Our yard is fenced. Every evening at 7:30, a dog and his person, that live on the 12th hole (we are midway down the par-4 10th hole), walk past our fence. All 4 dogs find it necessary to vociferously remind that dog and his person (the dog is a stately old golden retriever) that they (our dogs) are Very Dangerous Indeed and He’d Better Watch Out and If It Weren’t For The Fence There Would Be Carnage. Satisfied that the old dog was sufficiently reminded of his rank in the scheme of things, 3 of the 4 dogs came back to us. We didn’t see Rusty, but didn’t think much of it, assuming he was molesting a golf ball or something. Then we heard mournful wailing. A sad, sad song that alarmed us. It was not the yelping and squealing of pain, but the angst of a broken spirit. We saw Rusty standing in the back of the yard, and called to him. He didn’t move, but was obviously alive because his tail wagged. What we discovered was that, in the excitement of the golden retriever’s evening constitutional, Rusty got his head stuck in the fence. He wasn’t hurt, but was unable to get loose. We laughed, Terry took pictures with his phone, and then we got him loose, no worse for the event.
Now for the ridiculously easy chicken salad, because you know you want to know:
The meat from the other 1/2 of the rotisserie chicken you bought on Sunday, chopped OR 2 cans of chicken, drained
1 can each bamboo shoots, sliced water chestnuts, bean sprouts and baby corn, drained
1 bag of shredded cole slaw mix from the produce section
1/2 cup Asian Sesame Dressing (the bottled stuff)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
A bag of chow mein noodles, or a can of those rice noodles (like chow mein noodles but smaller) either one is fine
Maybe some toasted almond slivers
Mix the chicken and vegs together in a big bowl
Mix together the mayo and salad dressing, pour over the salad and mix together.
Sprinkle the noodles and almonds on top.
See, no cooking.
Granted, I am a Culinary Adventurer. I’ll try most anything, if someone else is paying for it. Even with my last post about being change resistant, I do love to try new food. I am not, however, one of these people wearing black linen and a thumb ring, tkaing tiny tastes of various things and comparing them to other, better things from different restaurants. The fried pickles at Cock of the Walk are so completely different from the fried pickles at Zaxby’s, but both are delicious. Yes. I like the gnocchi soup at Olive Garden. I LOVE the tuna tartar at Emma’s, and the tuna salad at Walker’s Pharmacy and the tuna casserole at Ruth’s.
I like American cheeze. I like Pillsbury crescent rolls from a can. And orange sweet rolls from a can. And margarine on white bread with a sprinkle of sugar. And Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. And strawberry Poptarts (without the frosting, and toasted). I like chicken noodle soup from a can, and I LOVE creamy generic brand peanut butter with it’s slightly scorched taste, spread on cheap saltine crackers and eaten in bed while watching a 1970′s horror movie starring Christopher Lee as a heretic priest.
I like massaman curry from Zab-E-Lee, the dim sum and congee from The Oriental Pearl in Chamblee, and the jellyfishsalad from that Japanese place in that midtown mall in Atlanta. The name escapes me but it was delicious (and I thought, also
corageous coerageo oh heck…brave)
I’ve eaten salted fried grasshoppers (taste like popcorn but twice as crunchy), unidentifiable vegetables in an equally mysterious sauce in a country of which I was not a citizen, and drank something from a bottle labeled YamYam.
I am not afraid of trying new foods. Elk sausage (wow…delicious), wild pig (as long as it’s properly cooked), some colorful fish recently pulled out of the ocean, rock lobsters, crawdads, and even once…possum. Not the cute Australian possum, but the overgrown grey and black rat cousin foul garbage eating possums of the Deep South. Never again. Afterward it occurred to me that one should never eat something that buzzards refuse to eat. Bleh.
I love food. But the term “foodie” has become kind of…i don’t know…overused and even somewhat derogatory. I am not a hipster. I am not a snarky New Yorker with a thumb ring and overdeveloped sense of entitlement (Looking at YOU, Anthony Bourdain). I like to think of myself more like Andrew Zimmern, only…not as adventurous as that. I prefer my animal-based foods to be cooked, due to an ingrained fear of parasites. Mr. Zimmern is a nice man, someone I’d love to have in my kitchen. Mr. Bourdain would make me nervous, then cranky, then irritated and I’d want to put alum in his fermented YamYam juice.
Maybe I am indiscriminate, with my love of Pillsbury products and Kraft foods and General Mills. Maybe I’m just comfortable enough to be able to admit it, that crap foods taste good. There’s a reason why they’ve stayed in business for so long. And while I bake my own breads and make my own salad dressing and grow many of my own vegetables, I don’t do these things out of a sense of superiority (Look at my bread,I’m better than you because my kid’s school sandwich is homemade bread, homemade mixed nut butter, and plum jelly from the tree in the backyard!), I do it because I can, I enjoy it, and it is satisfying. The other mothers, the ones who throw a store bought Lunchables in their kids backpacks, they do other things,far better than I do.
Filed under: church, food, God Stuff, Holidays!, home and hearth | Tags: Easter
I don’t really do a Thing for Easter. The house is not decorated, there are not baskets of candy and stuff for the kids, and I don’t bake a ham or fix a fancy dinner of any sort.
It’s not that I don’t get excited about all that, but…honestly? I celebrate Jesus’s resurrection every Sunday, and doubly so on Communion Sunday (first of the month)…so…no, notsomuch with the annual thing.
All the eggs and bunnies and chicks and pastels and chocolate in the world don’t mean a thing about the Resurrection, to me anyway. And since I am the one in the house to whom all the work of baskets and hams would fall, nope. I am not even sure what we’re going to have for dinner today. I don’t typically cook on Sunday AT ALL, but there is still some sort of cultural pull telling me I am supposed to fix dinner today, since it’s Easter and all. Maybe I’ll make some deviled eggs. We all like those.
The only thing I did, as a bow toward Easter Cultural Mandates, is make a new dress. I needed one anyway, and Terry found this really pretty coral colored linen, and I have a pattern I’ve used a couple of times, for a dress that fits nice and suits my style. And I bought new shoes to go with it. So now I have a new dress. However, it might require wearing some form of pantyhose or stockings, and…no. Also, my ankles are a mess from chiggers gotten at Mom’s. I am incapable of not scratching and now the ankles look a bit like the dachshunds have been gnawing on them. Maybe I can pretend the scratches are some sort of art-nouveau tattoo. Maybe I’ll wear a humongous rose in my hair, so people will notice that, instead of the ankle mess.
Anyway, Easter. Yep. I like it. I like the hymns we sing this day, I like seeing the women in church wearing their new stuff and the little girls who all look like peonies with their puffy skirts and multiple petticoats. They never dress like this any other Sunday, but Easter Sunday brings out the Victorian Stylist in women with daughters.
And about hams…I’ve never understood why we Protestants bake hams for Easter. The books of Acts, and Peter’s vision that released us all from the mandate of Kosher cooking didn’t happen until a while after the Resurrection, so it always seems a little inconsistent and odd that we would bake a ham to celebrate the resurrection of a Rabbi. Lamb seems more appropriate (given that Easter falls with Passover). I don’t particularly care for lamb. I don’t like any sort of baby animal. Not out of preciousness or softheartedness, but baby meat (lamb, veal, suckling pig) tastes weak to me, and if I’m going through the effort of fixing an expensive cut, I want it to taste like something more oomphy than milk.
The school Eli goes to has a Seder right before Spring Break (which coincides with Passover/Easter Week), and after the Seder they serve fried chicken and mac&cheese. Maybe that’s what we’ll have, assuming Bi-Lo is open today. Which is not a safe assumption. Walmart will probably be open but I don’t like their fried chicken and they are inevitably out of it when we get there after church. Pastor Barnes tends to go longer than typical with his sermons, so we don’t get out until after 12:30. His statement on the matter is “I’m going to preach until I’ve said all I say, not until the clock says 11:55.” Which is fine with me.
So anyway, today I will celebrate Christ’s Resurrection as I do every Sunday. I’m glad He did it. I’m overjoyed that God decided the best way for us to be able to relate to Him was to come to Earth as a man, and live among us for 33 years, and experience our frustrations and all the nonsense that comes from being human. It’s a comfort to know that God knows what it’s like.
All things said, I have an excellent family. No one’s dead, and no one’s pregnant. That’s the mantra around here. Anything else is just an inconvenience.
We had a long weekend, 3 days! And Terry in his sweet way, TOOK THE WEEKEND OFF. Let me repeat that. He TOOK THE WEEKEND OFF. That hasn’t happened in a while. Naturally, I took advantage of it.
Friday we drove to my parents place 4 hours away and spent the night. Mom and I bonded (again) over creative stuff. She’s making these cute aprons out of old jeans, and I offered to employ these new machine embroidery skills to fancy um up a little. #4 spent the 3 day weekend there while Terry and I drove to Atlanta Saturday and visited The 2 Happiest Places In The World. No,not Disney. The Dekalb Farmer’s Market and Gail K Fabrics.
At DFM, many ingredients were aquired AND I learned something entirely new that made complete sense but had never occurred to me. The DFM is highly international, catering to all sorts of people fromall over the world, with a heavy emphasis on North Africa and The Middle East. Thus you tend to see many Muslims there. Now, I’ve seen plenty of women in Hijab (the hair covered modest dress bit) but had only seen pictures of women in a niqab (the whole covering thing that’s black, with just a slit for the eyes). Well, there was a family there, and the woman was completely covered in the black niqab. Froma distance I saw her and thought “I wonder if that’s hot” then at one point we were crowded together in a narrow aisle, and I got a good close look at her and what she was wearing. I was amazed…that thing was beautiful! It had a 4 inch wide black embroidered border with beading, and was made of what looked like some kind of lightweight silk so it was very flowy. Talk about Style! AND I learned something new!
So now I’m all stocked up for Christmas baking, and Terry helped me pick out some pretty fabric for a dress at Gail K. The fabric is a supple black knit with tiny white spots,very conservative and just right for Fall. AND it will look great with the red shoes I want.
And…apparently everything went ok while we were gone. Even with 2 of the 3 older boys back in the house. I admit to a bit of trepidation if #3 needs to come back, even though we had room for all 4 boys when we moved here, we don’t anymore having converted one of the bedrooms to my studio and I am NOT giving that up. Perhaps he could sleep under the pool table. Perhaps if he gets in that sort of a crunch, he’ll join the Navy. One can hope.
I just noticed how wrong the picture of the automatic ruffler is. It’s as if someone who wanted to take a pretty picture of it (but had no idea how it actually WORKS) set it up. For those of you who caught the mistake, my apologies. For the rest of you, please do NOT use that photograph as a reference on how to set up a ruffler. How embarassing.
It’s Sunday morning. 10 ’til 7. Terry left for work about 45 minutes ago and I just finished my second cup of coffee. The weather appears to be partly-almost mostly cloudy. Rain would be nice. Perhaps if I turned the sprinkler on the garden, it would. I’ve noticed that when it has been several days since rain, and I decide to water the garden (which has dwindled to one sad patch of basil and arugula, and the herb bed with roses) due to impending crispiness, it decides to rain that evening. Every single time. Terry noticed this as well, and since the river he monitors very closely is WAY LOW, he wants rain, and lots of it. Therefore, he asks hopefully many evenings “did you water today?” However, I am noticing that my neighbors, who do not have herb and rose gardens,do not water. In our drought conditions, I feel very conspicuous and not a small amount guilty for watering frequently. Fortunately, the bits that are being watered are small, so it’s not as if I am running a huge sprinkler for hours and hours over the entire 1/3 acre of lawn.
It’s 4th Sunday, which around here means Potluck Lunch after church! Whee! Our church congregation (about 200 plus students) is divided into 4ths, and each 1/4 meets on 1 Sunday a month for a potluck lunch. It gives us a chance to get to know people better, and you know how there’s something about eating with folks to bring them closer. Anyway, there’s a big crockpot full of chicken and rice waiting to go. The lunches are open to students, who are not asked to bring anything, thus those of us who do bring things are asked to bring lots of whatever. I make enough chicken and rice for 8, even though it’s just 2 of us. Here’s my recipe, developed over years of experimentation:
Crock pot chicken and rice
5 cups chicken broth
1 can evaporated milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups brown rice
2 teaspoons italian seasoning herbs stuff
Mix all this together in a big crockpot
On top of it, put 4 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
Put on the lid, set the crock pot on low and cook for at least 8 hours and up to 10-12.
I put this on in the evening and let it cook all night. Then in the morning, I’ll turn it down to ‘warm’.
You can surely fancy it up by adding garlic, more herbs or even fresh ones, whatever. The evaporated milk makes the rice really creamy.
See, I knew I’d get over it. I always do. When something upsets me, the best course of action is to go ahead and be upset for a while and get it out of my system. Trying to not be upset is a direct route to a bad headache and a rash. And probably way too much alcohol consumption. So, at the risk of upsetting everyone else in the household (O NO! Mom is mad! What did I do wrong!?), last night I had to go right ahead and be pissy. and yes, the response was as expected (O NO!), but by 5am this morning I was fine, able to smile a genuine smile and face the day with a bit of optimism.
The grass is cut. I took that energy generated by Bad Attitude and used a push mower to cut the front 40 meadow. Well ok maybe it’s not that big, maybe it’s less than 1/4 acre, but this Precious Precious Creampuff Princess is averse to sweating, and yet in the interest of burning off some rage, the grass was cut. However, it was tall and requires raking. However, I have 2 bad shoulders, arthritis and a torn rotator cuff that refuses to return to normal, and raking is…well, I can do it for a bit, but then spend the next 2 days incapacitated and unable to lift or carry anything heavier than a cat. So deciding To Rake or Not To Rake…that is the question.
Still no vacation, naturally. However, the prospect of a day at the beach is cheering. Likewise a couple of days with a friend…that will require some discussion with Terry, but I am sure he’ll be ok with it given the circumstances.
25th anniversary coming up. CJ’s 20th birthday on the same day. And it’s all on a Tuesday. Who planned that one? Who has a 25th anniversary on a Tuesday? That’s more of a Friday or Saturday kind of event, don’t you think? I would like to plan a nice dinner for that night, but can’t really because of Terry’s work. He might have to work late. Traditionally I fix the boys anything they want for their birthday dinner. CJ has requested oysters,even raw,but isn’t there some rule about only eating oysters in the months that have ‘r’ in them? There’s no ‘r’ in July and I would hate for my son to die of oyster poisoning, that would ruin things. Plus I totally DON’T cook oysters. I can make oyster stew with those ones from a can…but that’s the extent of my culinary oyster skills. Thus, I plan to take him to Savannah to some place with more experience in fixing them. We’ll do it on Friday or Saturday, because he gets off at 2 and we could go and be back in time for him to have some fun with his friends.
But I still don’t know what to do for our anniversary.