Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday baking

This past Saturday was the Annual Liquid Lunch/Dirty Santa party that we (the group of wimmins I hang out with) have every year to celebrate the season.  We generally meet at our favorite watering hole (Heroes on Hwy 21) and eat, drink, act merry, and try to scam the best gift out of the gift swap.  Lots of the ladies bring little goodie bags or treats for everyone as well.  This year, the lovely Lisa McCord brought a rum cake.  It was ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY the most awesome rum cake I have ever had.  As we were completely WRECKING that cake, we repeatedly asked Lisa to make sure to send us the recipe for it.  She obliged us, which in turn, enables me to share with you:

1 Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Cake Mix

1 box of instant vanilla pudding mix

½ cup of veg. Oil

½ cup of water

½ cup of rum (I used dark and actually did less water and more rum)

4 large eggs

¼ cup of chopped pecans

Mix first 5 ingredients and then add eggs 1 at a time until blended.

Spray bunt pan with baking spray and sprinkle the pecans in the bottom, pour cake mix in pan and bake at 350 deg for about 45 minutes.

1 stick of butter

1 cup of sugar

¼ cup of water

¼ cup of rum (again, I used dark and added more rum)

Cook above ingredients to a boil and pour over cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.  Let the glaze soak into the cake and then turn cake out on to plate and enjoy!!

Someone made the comment: I bet it would be even more awesome if you replaced ALL the water with rum…I quickly hit the REPLY TO ALL with this dire warning:

No! For the love of God, NO!!! Don’t you remember the peanut butter rum cookie debacle of 2009?
And felt compelled to share the following story with my friends (The following is from an old email that went out to a few of my friends and co-workers):

Me: Gah! What is that SMELL????

Jeff: Okay, there’s something I need to tell you…

These types of discussions never end well.

I swear to God…my life is a sitcom. Last night, I took a good ol' Ambien and went to bed around midnight (I haven't slept well this whole week with everything going on.)
Jeff was still up watching TV, having a rum & coke. Something on the TV makes him decide that what he really needs (RIGHT NOW!!!) is some peanut butter cookies. Sadly, we do not have any in the pantry…so he looks up a recipe on the internet for something simple...finds one that's basically Bisquick, peanut butter, brown sugar and water. "Water?" he thinks. "Water sucks. You know what's better than water....rum." So he makes a batch of peanut butter cookie dough substituting rum for water. He said that everything was fine until he cracked the oven door to look at them. They went "whoosh" & caught fire. It's a wonder he didn't burn the house down. We have a new more drunk baking without supervision after midnight. I don't think I'm being unreasonable here. Luckily, he is bald, so at least his HEAD didn’t catch on fire along with the cookies (which incidentally did not look much like cookies…more like biscuits…burnt biscuits…that reeked of rum).

Anyway, without further ado…BEHOLD! Jeff’s peanut butter-rum cookies!!! At least he plated them nicely:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My House is a Zoo

...and the newest family member is A MONKEY.

You guys have met Maxx:
Well, that was Maxx a few weeks ago.  This is Maxx now:
So yeah...he's grown some.  He has also gotten exponentially more rotten.  I was on a business trip last week.  I left on a red-eye Monday morning...Monday afternoon, the hubby came home to this:

That's about half a box of Puffs (with lotion) strewn about my kitchen.  Eviscerating facial tissues is obviously a very happy, fun time...

Unfortunately, it wasn't a happy, fun time that lasted, so Maxx moved on to other things.  Such as:

Knocking the junk-bowl off the counter and going through its contents.  I hope I'm not the only one out there with a junk's a location that we keep all sorts of flotsam around the house ties, chapstick, handcream, approximately 78-zillion bobby pins, lip gloss, etc.
Usually, the household inhabitants wait a full 24-hours when I'm out of town to go completely feral.  Maxx set a new record for under 12 hours.

Jeff cleaned up his mess, and tried to kitten-proof the kitchen to keep the chaos at bay.  However, Maxx made one last bid for anarchy by jimmying open the door to the pantry and helping himself to some 12-grain baked goodness:

This cat may be the end of him.

I had barely posted this when I heard  a suspicious noise in the foyer...I walked in there and saw:

That's an old-fashioned pencil sharpener that I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW we owned...complete with pencil shavings.  I don't know where the little turd found it.
In his defense, though, the stinker is as sweet as pie:

"I helps you blog."

Friday, November 2, 2012


This year, I have perhaps over-shared my daughter’s cheering season on Facebook a tich too much…but I figure, “Hey, it’s not like holding a gun to anyone’s head & making them look.”  I mean, no one has rolled their eyes at me and TOLD me to cut it out with all the pom-poms already, but I’m not oblivious to the fact that every week I post a good 20-30 pictures of her…doing basically the same things (jumping, clapping, kicking) in a rotation of about 5 different uniforms.  But in much the same way as I was when she was a baby…I find myself UNABLE to not show her off. (She was the prettiest baby EVER, and I have the pictures to prove it.)
Luckily, I have wonderful friends who put up with me & patiently look at all eleventy billion photos.  I even have some who seem to enjoy them, and will occasionally comment.  One comment that I’ve heard A LOT this year, and that really surprised me was, “She looks so much like you!”  Because, really, her whole life, I thought she took after Jeff.   I have illustrative proof of this as well:

That’s Jeff on the left & his mini-me on the right…both at around age 5 or 6.
However the other week, even my mother…who ALWAYS used to comment on how much the kiddo looked like my husband (she used to joke, “Who knew Jeff would look so cute in a dress!”) told me that she’s been looking more & more like me as she’s gotten older.  Some of this can be attributed to the fact that her coloring has darkened, I’m sure.

But the whole thing does remind me of an article I read years and years ago about how children resembled their fathers more when they are babies…so they wouldn’t eat them or something.  I mean, biologically, if you just pushed the little pot-roast out of your veryown body, you KNOW you’re the mom…and you’re certain that you’re genetically invested.  The father, on the other hand, needs some reassurance when the little monkey has been up 23 hours straight with colic.
So I guess I’m just wondering if this shift in “resemblance” is another survival mechanism as she’s well into her teen years?  Now that the whole “carried-her-around-in-my-body-for-9-months” thing threatens to be overwhelmed by the “if-I-have-to-tell-her-one-more-time-to-clean-her-room-so-help-me-GOD!” thing…am I needing a reminder (evolutionarily-speaking) that she’s my genetic legacy?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oh! My epiglottis!

I stayed home from work today to go to the doctor.  I had what I thought was strep throat.  I started having a sore throat Tuesday…by Wednesday evening; I had gross, oozy looking ulcer things on the back of my throat and my uvula.  Very un-cool.  I went to the local doc-in-a-box, had a blood draw and strep swab.  The doctor declared strep-negative & said it was a viral infection.  He gave me a steroid shot, an antibiotic (afraid that the oozy pustules might get a bacterial infection) and prescription for “Magic Mouthwash.” True story.

My lovely daughter, home for fall break, offered to drop the prescription off for me.  I was a little jazzed about getting something that was forreal called “Magic Mouthwash” to be honest with you.  I was thinking it was probably made from rainbows and fairy dust or something.  Last month, I went to a managers’ meeting in Kentucky and this pub we went to had a drink called a “Pixie Stick.” It was purple and awesome and could kick your butt in record time (haven’t had Everclear in 25 years, probably, but funny how you can still pick up the taste of it in anything.) I was hoping that “Magic Mouthwash” was going to be something like that…powerful, yet whimsical (and might stain my tongue an unholy color).

The first pharmacy the child went to said that they didn’t have all of the “ingredients” for my concoction, but directed her to a nearby store that did.  She dropped off the Rx and was told to come back in about an hour and a half to pick it up.  She got way-laid at her orthodontist appointment, so I headed over to pick up my “Magic Mouthwash” myself.

“Magic Mouthwash” does not taste magical.  At all.  It tastes like a combination of Cepastat, Maalox, and monkey spit (I assume.)  And that’s because IT IS.  Wikipedia states that “The most popular formulation of magic mouthwash contains viscous lidocaine as a topical anestetic, diphenhydramine as an anti-inflammatory and Maalox (no lie) to help coat the tissues in the mouth.”  I’m guessing that “diphenhydramine” is the Latin word for “monkey spit.”  It does numb the mouth though…AFTER you get a full 5 seconds of wanting to rip your own tongue out and then rinse your mouth with bleach.  The numbing lasts for quite awhile too.  I’m afraid that nothing is going to taste right for the next week, though.  Can someone please bring me some Everclear?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pretty Fly for a White Girl

So, the other day, the child and I are out and about, goofing off…and something happens (don’t remember…it could have been anything) that causes Daughter to roll her eyes at me in a way indicating that I am perhaps the LAMEST person on the planet. To which I replied…”Nu-uh, honey…I am SO fly.”
She just looked at me and said, “You’re what?”
“I’m FLY.”
“Do you mean fie?  Because that’s what people say, Mom.  Not fly, fie.”
“No they don’t. The saying is “fly,” as in the Fly Girls.”
“The Fly Girls? From In Living Color? Jennifer Lopez?  J-Lo? You don’t know who the Fly Girls are?”
“Must’ve been some old show…”
I’m thinking that she is somehow tragically mistaken…like how she thought that her Papaw saying “10-4” as an affirmative was kind of code that the two of them had and was not known by the rest of the world.  So, I go to my old stand-by
And although “fly” is there as “cool, in style,” “fie” is also in there…apparently it is a shortened version of “fine.”
This public service announcement was brought to you by Mothers Who Are Old and Lame.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Scratch my itch...or not

Every year about this time, Jeff gets this flaky patch on his back.  It’s like seasonal-related-super-duper-localized eczema.  I’ve known him since he was 16, and it’s been the same thing every year…the spot is about the size of a quarter and it’s on his left scapula (shoulder blade). (God, why did I say scapula if I was just going to put shoulder blade in parenthesis?) It appears in the fall, and he battles it all winter.  Over the course of the cooler seasons, he will ask me to scratch his flaky-itchy-spot eleventy-jillion times. His itchy scapula-rot made its annual appearance yesterday, and it reminded me of an amusing Jeff-story…
So Jeff has a best friend, Brad.  Back in the days before Brad settled down & got married & had kids, he used to hang around the house quite a bit, particularly on the weekends.  He’d come over, watch TV or play video games with Jeff…and then inevitably, he’d call for a Wal-mart run.  Brad didn’t like to do his weekly dog food/shampoo/detergent/whatever-stocking when it was crowded…but he also didn’t like doing it alone.  It wasn’t unusual on your average Saturday night at 11:17 p.m. to see the two of them pulling into the local Wally-World parking lot.  If I caught them before they left the house, I’d send Jeff with a list of whatever I needed too, so I didn’t mind in the least.  Did I mention that the two of them could bicker like an old married couple?  They’d come home from a Wal-mart trip, and Jeff would joke that he was sure everyone working 3rd shift there thought he & Brad were a “couple.” (To quote the Seinfeld episode…”not that there’s anything wrong with that.”)
Well, it so happened one year when Jeff’s eczema (or whatever it is) flared up…he was having an AWFUL time with it, and decided to resort to actually treating it.  Unfortunately, for two weeks running, every time I was in Wal-mart, they were out of Cortizone cream, and nothing else seemed to be helping.  Cue the weekly boys-night-out to the store…
Jeff decided since he was already in the store, he’d see if they’d gotten any more Cortizone in…and as he rounded the corner into the Health and Beauty section, he saw a nice, middle-aged woman stocking the shelves.  As a matter-of-fact, in her hand was the red box with the very visible yellow “10% Cort…” on it.  Jeff, being the theatrical guy he his…runs up to her, takes both her hands, looks into her eyes and said fervently, “Oh, thank GOD!!! You have no idea how much I need this!” while Brad waits patiently at the end of the aisle.  With a bewildered look on her face, the nice stocking-room lady slowly and carefully handed Jeff the cream and told him to “Have a good night.”  The guys finished up their shopping and headed to the register.  It wasn’t until Jeff handed his purchase to the cashier that he stopped to fully read the box:

Yes, that says exactly what you think it does.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Short, but horrible

Once upon a time, the world was new and the words "chemise" and "mossy oak" existed far, far away from one another.  Sadly, that age of innocence and purity has passed.  Now we have this unholy union:

What the hell, people?  Is there really a market for camo lingerie?  WHY?  I don't even get it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Adventures with Jelly

Any kitchen experiment that ends with me having to 409 my shoes to stop myself from making sticky sounds when I walk should probably be considered a failure.

Last year I was introduced to a wonderful substance…fruit pepper jelly.  My friend, Janet Tyson Prosser owns a little wine store and she gets in neat little gifts and gourmet snack-y things.  You can check her out at:!/pages/Tyson-Fine-Wines-and-Things/110813115687199.  She has a wine tasting event every Thursday from 5:30-7:30, and I try to go as often as I can.  It’s a great opportunity to sample wines I’d never have the guts to buy for myself and she always has some of her gourmet treats out for us to snack on.  Last year, she started carrying a line of pepper jellies: pineapple pepper jelly, apple-walnut pepper jelly, blueberry pepper jelly…and my all-time favorite, scuppernong pepper jelly.  For those of you who don’t know what a scuppernong is, it’s a type of domesticated muscadine.  For those of you who don’t know what a muscadine is…it’s a subspecies of grape found in the Southeast.  Here’s a picture:
The golden/green ones are scuppernongs.  The purple are muscadines.  ANYWAY, after sampling some of the pepper jellies at Janet’s store, I bought some of the scuppernong.  For $8.99 a half-pint.  It was DELICIOUS…but it seemed to me to be one of those things that I could just make myself.  After all, my Dad has a cultivated scuppernong vine in his back yard (he makes some kick-ass scuppernong wine that is always in high demand in the community.)  I figured that when fall got close and the scuppernongs got ripe, I’d make my own.  So I called my Daddy (he’s still Daddy when I want something) and asked if I could have some scuppernongs…he went a step further and told me that as long as he was juicing for his wine…he’d just set me aside some of the juice.  “Woohoo!!!  This is looking easier and easier!” I thought to myself.


Back in the day, I remember my Granny and Me-maw and Aunts preparing to make jelly with a grim determination of an army unit preparing to go off to war.  I remember them strategizing who was to do what, who was buying or bringing what, who was manning which station.  And they made jelly in an all-out, all-day campaign. In my ignorance, I assumed it was because of the sheer quantities of jelly they prepared.  Now I know that if you’re going to make jelly, you need to make a BUNCH just to make it worth your while.

I went by my dad’s this week and picked up my juice.  He had it in a white, opaque orange juice gallon jug.  Not even bothering to look at it, I brought it home & stuck it in the refrigerator to await the weekend when I could make my jelly.  I went to the store & got jelly jars, lids and rings ($15 for a dozen).  I also picked up a jelly making equipment kit at my friend Leslie’s insistence that the jar-picker-upper was a must-have (kit=$16). Then I got some Sure Jell ($3) and some sugar ($2).  The peppers were free, as a co-worker had brought some to work from his garden.  I had a variety of jalapenos, pablano and banana peppers to work with.

Okie-dokie, then.  All set for jelly-makin time!  I had my recipe…I had my equipment…I had my juice.  Oh, wait.  I open the container of “juice” to find that it was really sort of pulp.  No matter!  I’d just go back to the Sure Jell recipe and use the grape jelly recommendations of cooking it off & then straining it through cheesecloth.  Wait, no cheesecloth.  I send Jeff to the store for cheesecloth (two packets, $9/each=$18).  By this time, I have my scuppernong/pepper pulp simmering nicely and I look through the recipe again.  Crap.  I need some lemon juice and vinegar (lemons are 3/$1…so add another dollar to the running total, plus another buck for the vinegar.)  I’ve now spent $56 ($61.60 after tax).

I start to strain my pulp into my really big Pampered Chef mixing/measuring bowl, and some of the (scalding hot) juice gets all over the counter because slow-pouring it from my pan makes it go all down the side.  Fine.  I get a ladle and (slowly) ladle it into the strainer that I’ve lined with cheesecloth.  I finally get it all strained but it still looks really cloudy, so I get out a bowl, open the second packet of cheesecloth and re-strain.  I had thought that since the Pampered Chef mixing bowl had a handle and spout, I could just pour it back through the strainer and skip the ladling.  I’m still pouring too fast or too slow or something and hot liquid flows onto the counter and into the floor as I’m getting it in the strainer.  Also onto my flip-flop clad foot.  Shit!  That’s hot!  But the juice looks much clearer.  So okay!  I discard the steamy, drippy, gross cheesecloth/pulp mass and move on to the next step…putting the sugar and Sure Jell (this is just fruit pectin) into my scuppernong/pepper juice.  I get the juice up to a rolling boil and take a portion of the sugar and mix it in with the pectin in a bowl and add it to the juice.  It immediately forms into gooey clumps.  I don’t know if I had the juice too hot or too cold or what…but I stir and stir and stir and mash the clumps to the side of the pot with my spoon until I get all of the clumps worked out.  I get it back up to a boil and add the rest of the sugar.  More stirring.  It needs to get to a rolling boil & stay that way for EXACTLY one minute.  I get the mixture boiling and start moving my jars close.  Oh, and I need to rinse my sticky ladle.  I turn my back for ONE SECOND and everything is boiling out everywhere.  Crap, crap, crap.  I get it back under control, but the stovetop is a disaster area.  I remove the pot of liquid magma from the heat and start ladling it into jars.  I can’t decide if I’m filling the jars too full, or not full enough…so I go back to the Sure Jell instructions…and knock a half-full jar of hot jelly-crap over.  It runs down the cabinet facing, onto the floor and into the floor vent.  I can’t stop to do anything about it because the instructions stressed that successful jelly-setting and jar-sealing depended on getting this last part done QUICKLY.  I throw some paper-towels down to hopefully contain the spread and continue to fill jelly jars.  I have enough for eight.

I hurriedly put lids and rings on, screw down tight and transfer the jars to the hot, almost-boiling water bath I have prepared.  I consult the directions again. “…should have one to two inches of water covering the tops of the jars…” Shit.  My water barely covers the jars and I’m out of room in the pan I’ve chosen.  I go to my pan cabinet, and start slinging things out of it to get to my big stock-pot waaaaaayyy in the back.  I lift the jars out of their bath (Leslie’s right, this would have been a bitch without the jar-lifting-thingy), transfer the water into my stockpot and start running hot water to add to it momentarily.  I put the jars back in, add scalding hot water from the sink (I get my right hand this time) and check the instructions for time in the bath.  “Bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes.”  Whew.  I can start cleaning up the spreading jelly catastrophe on the cabinet/floor while it’s doing that.  I get the bulk of the congealed mass in the floor up with paper towels, and head for the garage for my Wet-Jet Swiffer.  “Smooch, smooch, smoosh….” That’s the sound I’m making with every footstep.  I stop, take my flip-flops off & get the Swiffer.  I start over by the juice-spill counter when I realize that nothing is coming out of my Wet-Jet and I’m basically just pushing juice around. Crap again!  The Swiffer is out of cleaner!  I go back to the garage, get a refill and clean that area.  I change out the Swiffer pad and start on the area of the jelly spill…not gonna work.  This mess is too much for a Swiffer, so I get a roll of paper towels, 409 and get on my hands and knees to start to clean that up.  I’ve about got that done when the timer goes off.  “Jeff!!!! Will you throw me down a towel???” Because, you know, I wouldn’t want to drip water anywhere when I pull the jars out of the water bath.  I get the jars out, set them on the towel and turn off the stove.  I finally get a chance to spray and clean the bottom of my shoes and put them back on (I’ve been barefoot for the last half-hour).  I get all of the pots, pans, dishes, cutting board, chopper, measuring cups, mixing bowls and utensils into the dish washer and begin to wipe down the counters and cabinet fronts, where they’ve been polluted with juice, pulp and/or jelly.

Here’s what I’ve got to show for it:

And I don’t even know if they are all gonna seal correctly.  I’ll have to wait ‘til they cool to see if the tops still “pop” when you push on them.  I ended up with eight jars of pepper jelly (I hope…if they all set and if they all seal). I spent $61.60 (which, BTW, is $7.70 a jar) and three hours of my life getting to this point.  This had better be some damn good jelly.  Otherwise, Janet is gonna have a heyday teasing me everytime I come crawling back to buy pepper jelly at her store. (Word of advice...just go see Janet for pepper jelly.  Mine doesn't even have labels.)

P.S. My daughter just came through the kitchen to see what I was typing and asked, “Why’s the whole floor in there sticky?” So I guess I’m going to need to revisit with another Swiffer pass.

Friday, September 21, 2012


I am never “fostering” anything again.  Meet the fifth cat of my household:

Because my friend Jenn is a dirty, rotten, no-‘count LIAR that said if I’d just “foster” him overnight, she’d take him to her mother’s.  Of course, he came into the house and burrowed his cute, fuzzy little ass into the very soul of every other member of the household (except Izby:

who HAAAAAATES him.  Izby's been the littlest and cutest for too long to relinquish).
Jeff asked me three times last night, “Can’t we just keep him?”
Simba, the 70 lbGolden Retriever, just wants to carry him around in his mouth (which actually doesn’t seem to bother him, even if he ends up very, very slobbery) He is the coolest, most laid-back little dude you’ve ever seen.  Unfortunately, I have to name him soon before he starts answering to “little turd,” which is what Jeff has been calling him.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Attention to detail

Here's the inspirational quote today in my Franklin DayPlanner:

What went through my head when I flipped over to today & saw the quote?

"Hmmmm, how about that? I never knew Ludacris was so deep."

It was SEVERAL minutes later that my brain tossed up, "Wait. Franklin-Covey is quoting the artist who gave us "Chicken and Beer?""  Then I took a closer look and saw that the quote was from LUCRETIUS.  That Franklin-Covey would quote a first century Roman philosopher seems a little more in line with their MO.

(To be fair to Luda, he was featured in my February Food & Wine magazine-apparently, he has a freaking AWESOME Singaporean resturant in Atlanta-so he IS more refined and cultured than perhaps his album entitled "Word of Mouf" might suggest.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I SAID, "I'll Fly Away!"

Yeah, so I've had this blog less than two months and already, I'm phoning one in. I wrote this a few years ago, but everything in it is still applicable.

Okay, so recently, I had to go to a funeral.  And it reminded me that I have some things that I feel adamant about regarding what should (and shouldn’t) happen in the event of my untimely death.

First and foremost…the funeral.  See, I have this relative, Connie, that is both my second cousin and my great-aunt.  And do NOT start with the dueling banjos…it’s not like that.  My dad’s Uncle David is the same age as my dad…which is a little weird, but not un-heard of.  They were very close growing up…like brothers.  Anyway, when my mom & dad were newly married, they decided to fix my mom’s first cousin (Connie) up with my dad’s uncle David.  So, you see, nothing incestuous there at all.  However, this woman has been related to BOTH sides of my family for the last….oh, 35 years or something.  Consequently, she has been at every relative’s funeral that I can ever recall.  And Connie, God love her, is one of those Southern Baptist women from a very small Southern Baptist church (Mineral Springs Baptist…Pell City, AL) where someone, at some time, told her she “has the voice of an angel.”  But not really.  You know the woman in the choir that sings over everyone else and adds her own dips and sweeps to the notes?  She’s that woman.  And she insists that whoever just died LOVED to hear her sing and so to pay tribute, she is going sing the dearly-departed’s favorite hymn.  Which is always “Beulah Land.”  Now, I LOVE me some old gospel music…particularly the old Southern spirituals where you may even get a little hand-clapping going on.  But “Beulah Land?”  I may despise it more than any other song on the planet, including “We Built This City” by Jefferson Starship.  And guys…besides having notes in it that Connie can use to shatter glass and bend metal, it is depressing as hell.  I don’t know why she loves it; I think she thinks it showcases her talent.  And is DETERMINED to sing it whenever possible.

Case in point…my maternal grandmother’s funeral.  My Granny Mildred died after a LONG bout with Alzheimer’s.  I don’t think she was even conscious the last week or two she was alive.  Mom told me that a couple of days before she died, this quartet of sweet little old black ladies came by who were going around the nursing home, singing to the patients.  She said they sang, “I’ll Fly Away” to my grandmother (BTW, that IS my favorite hymn) and she smiled in her sleep.  So when Connie approached my mother about singing at Granny Mildred’s funeral (Granny was Connie’s aunt) Mom told her she could if she’d sing “I’ll Fly Away.”  And do you know what happened???  Bitch stood up at the funeral and sang “Beulah Land.”  Now, it is not often that Jeff is the voice of reason for me (soooo the role reversal)…but this was one of those times that he laid his hand on my arm and restrained me from jumping up and snatching that woman bald-headed.

So, to conclude…no “Beulah Land” at my funeral.  I really have no idea how this will be accomplished, because no one has ever thwarted this woman before.  But do as you must.  You know, I have harped on this point incessantly for years and years…to the point where friends of long standing have been sort of conditioned about it.  My friend, Annette, and her mother, Judy are both part of a social group I am in…we’re all tight-knit and we’ve all had discussions regarding our final wishes.  Annette and Judy were actually attending a funeral of a relative of theirs a couple of years ago, when “Beulah Land” came on as the background music at the funeral home.  Annette started frantically looking around, halfway got up off her pew & was preparing to tackle her some Connie when Judy reminded her that the conditions did not warrant.

Following the funeral, there will be a meeting of the planning committee to find Jeff a new wife, complete with lots and lots of wine.  The criteria for a new wife for Jeff will be dependant on whether or not our daughter has reached adulthood.  If she’s still a minor, acceptance criteria will revolve primarily on how well the new woman will love and nurture my child…and if she gets along with Jeff, that’s good too.  If the kiddo's out of college & on her own, I don’t care if the committee picks him out a fluffy little hoochie that will spend all of the insurance money.

One final thing…should Jeff and I BOTH perish in some tragic accident…I will need someone to go over to my house and empty out the bottom middle drawer of my dresser in my bedroom.  The contents of said drawer will never be discussed within earshot of my child or my mother (you should probably leave my sister in the dark as well.)  Please let me know if you have any questions regarding these instructions.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ashamed of Myself

So I went to a doctor’s appointment this past Wednesday, and among other things, I was VERY unhappy with the numbers their scales threw up at me.  I didn’t get out of the parking lot before I had texted the hubby and the child to let them know that I was declaring diet jihad. We were all going to start eating right. AND we were going to start getting some exercise. AND I wasn’t going to consume empty calories of wine in the evenings…at least not weeknight evenings.
Wednesday evening and Thursday breakfast and lunch went okay.  I had accessed my free calorie counter app (MyFitnessPal…it’s neat and very helpful) I had recorded my embarrassing weight and had dutifully logged in every bite I had eaten.  The plan for dinner Thursday night was tacos…but I was planning on forgoing the taco shell and just having a salad with minimal (and very lean 96/4) meat, Weight Watcher’s lowfat cheese, salsa but lots of lettuce and veggies.  I got home, prepared the meat and waited for the kid to get home from her cheerleading practice. And waited. And waited.  Finally I texted her, “Where are you? I’m starving!” “Be right there. Had to pick something up.” Two minutes later, she walks in the door carrying this:

Yeah. I whole box of assorted donuts from the JUST OPENED Dunkin Donuts in our town.  We had been seeing the progression of the construction, but did not know they had opened…and they were selling them as fast as they could make them which meant that they were extremely, mouthwateringly fresh. “Well this isn’t good for the diet,” I said. “We’ll walk it off later,” replied my enabling child.  After dinner and a donut, she begs to go to the tanning bed. (I know, I know…we only go about once a week though, and she IS in a cheerleading outfit and honestly, you pick your battles.) So we head off to the tanning bed.  Afterward, we decide to make a run to Target for various sundries…I’ve got my sister’s birthday coming up and a friend’s that I’m meeting up with on Saturday. I buy cards and decide to get a bottle of wine for the friend.  Target stocks a decent variety of wines…particularly with cute labels and I notice a new brand called “Smarty Pants.” Very cute!  I buy a white and a red. Then we head back to the house.
We unload our Target haul, and I put the wine in the (empty) wine rack in the kitchen.  Jeff is coming in the door at about the same time we are…and for whatever reason, this spins the dogs up and they start zooming around the house like a bunch of heathens.  We go upstairs to take our shoes off and put on our comfy clothes and they come barreling upstairs with us.  The cha-weenie (Libby) is chasing the Golden Retriever (Simba) up onto our bed where they do a little wrasslin’ before careening down the hallway and into Jeff’s gameroom, where the kiddo has some neatly stacked piles of freshly laundered clothes.  Yay! Is obstacle course! Jeff turns to me and says, “You’re gonna have to take them out back and let them run off some of this energy.”  Because when they get excited like this, usually you just have to take them out to the backyard where they can chase each other around for a few laps and cause minimal damage.  I holler, “Let’s go guys!” and head downstairs, carefully staying to the inside of the stairwell as they come galloping past me, excited because they LOVE this game.  They hit the tile in the foyer and go skidding around the corner into the kitchen. I’m not completely down the stairs when I hear the crash…
Somehow, they had hit the wine rack in such a way that they knocked the bottle of red (of course it was the red) out…the bottle had the neck broken off, there was a good ¼ of a bottle of wine seeping on the tile and headed for an HVAC vent, but the bottle was right side up otherwise.  You know how in the movies someone will hold the neck and smash the bottle so that they can use the jagged glass to shank someone?  It was like that, except in reverse. The kiddo grabbed the bottle and set it in the sink, I lunged for Simba so that he wouldn’t get cut or anything, Libby quickly retreated to the sofa in the living room with her tail between her legs…happy-funtime was over.
After mopping up the wine, locating the broken off wine bottle neck under the hutch and moving the remaining unbroken bottle of wine to a safer location, the kiddo went over and looked at the bottle in the sink. “Hey mom, there’s most of the wine still in the bottle. What are you going to do with it?” “Well, it probably has glass in it, I guess I’ll just pour it out.” “Really, you’re going to waste this whole thing?”  So then, I did something that I really, really feel I should be embarrassed about:

There was nothing really to do after that but pour myself a couple (or three and a half) glasses of wine (out of a measuring cup). Sigh.  Needless to say, we did not go for our walk.  To sum the evening up, instead of eating a light, healthy salad followed by a brisk, calorie-burning walk, I ate donuts, went to the tanning bed and drank almost an entire bottle of wine.  Biggest diet fail ever.

“I’m sorry I am helping destroy your health, Momma. I’m ashamed too.”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hopped up on goofballs

This past weekend was spent reveling in the glory of a holiday weekend.  Also, we got to get together at my step-brother’s house to celebrate my stepmom’s b’day.  I had access to a pool, good food and a deeeeeelightful cocktail that my sister-in-law makes.  I don’t think it has a name, so I’m just gonna start calling them Diana-slammers.  You get a tumbler of ice, pour in a healthy dose of Malibu black rum, a dash of pineapple juice and some V-8 diet fruit blend fusion stuff.  They go down reeeeaaaaallll easy.  Our get-together started around 1:00 in the afternoon.  We played around in the pool, grilled some burgers and dogs…and I had about eleventy-five Diana-slammers.  Around 6:30 or so, we gathered our things, Jeff poured me into the van and we went on back to the homestead.  I had a whole Diana-slammer to enjoy once I got back to the house….so I did.  I got my Kindle, my little fan that I take outside with me on humid nights, my folded blanket, my phone and settled in to read a little while.  About an hour later, I decide that it would be a great idea if I went to bed super, super early so that I’d feel invigorated and refreshed and would have the energy to cajole my family to go to church! I’d finished my eleventy-sixth cocktail by this point, and went inside to get me an Ambien and a glass of wine.  You know, to wash the Ambien down with.
Fast forward to 9:30 the next morning. I wake up (actually feeling quite spry, which is a little surprising, considering) and go downstairs.  I find a neat little stack consisting of my Kindle, some Kleenex, my phone and a cigarette pack sitting on the kitchen counter.  “Hmmm…” I think to myself, “now why didn’t I plug up my Kindle or my phone last night?”  APPARENTLY, Jeff had come upstairs around 8:30 and found me passed out on our bed…with toenail clippers in my hand and, he claims, toe nail clippings all over the comforter.  I really don’t remember making any decision to pedicure myself AT ALL.  But my toenails were indeed clipped (BRUTALLY in a couple of places) and I’m just thankful that he was kind enough to gather all of my stuff up off of the front porch before going to bed.  In the future, I will have to remember not to mix Diana-slammers with my drugs.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Aplology in Order

So Friday I posted my heart-wrenching tale of the "one who got away." By that, I meant the awesomely fantastic concrete monkey I saw outside a local antique store.  I was really, really upset about it.  I called Jeff repeatedly and begged him to please, please tell me that he really had him safe and sound and that there wasn't really another family out there getting to bask in the awesome that was MY MONKEY.  He'd tell me that he was really, really sorry...that he'd go back to the antique store and see if there was any way to contact whoever they'd gotten the monkey from....
Then I came home to THIS:

He'd even gotten Prometheus a landscaping stone to sit on and a plant to hold. He got a cactus-y thing that he hopes I won't kill because I have a very, very horrible black thumb., sometimes I buy myself a plant because I want so badly to have one and not kill it...but it just isn't I've taken to buying plants with someone already in mind to give it to to keep it from dying.  I'm usually okay with a plant for a few days...maybe up to a week.  That's when I will relinquish the plant to either my Mother-in-Law or to my good friend Jacquie.  Maybe I'll be luckier with this cactus-y thing.  It only needs "very infrequent" watering and it's not in a place where I can easily run over it with the car (this is actually a concern...true time, my step-mother gave me a bunch of ferns.  She told me that they'd need "misting" one day, it was raining a light mist and I thought "Oh, goody! Natural misting for my ferns!"  I set them in the driveway because it was level and I didn't want them tipping over.  30 minutes later, I was cooking spaghetti, realized I was out of margarine for the garlic bread, hopped in my car and...yeah, you get the picture.) Anyway, we'll hope for the best for the poor helpless cactus.  Prometheus may end up holding a bowl of rocks or something.  It WILL NOT take away from the awesome, I assure you.
On another note, my daughter thinks Prometheus is creepy as hell.  She refuses to see how cool he makes our house...she just insists that he looks like he'll come alive and murder us all in our sleep.  Even though he doesn't have a key to the door.  I have to admit that it took me a few days of catching a glimpse of him through the front door side lights while coming down the stairs before I got used to him.  But I do love him, and I just KNOW that we have increased our cultural cred with the whole neighborhood.  Or that the neighbors now think that I have the ability to place ancient Hindu curses on them.  One of the two.

Also...I'm never playing poker with Jeff.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sad, sad day

So this morning, I had breakfast with Jeff at IHOP.  I was sitting there eating my delicious buttered-with-some-type-of-unwholesome-product toast when I. SAW. HIM:

Isn't he wonderful?  Isn't he breathtaking? He was next door at the antiques shop.  After paying our tab at IHOP, we went for a closer look. The store wasn't even open yet...he was just one of the things that they left outside 24/7.  His tag said he was marked down from $149 to $129. I fell instantly and totally in love with him.   Jeff liked the monkey...but not exactly worth the money.  Keep in mind that this is the man who had zero respect for my dancing bears painting:
Which I had absolutely COVETED for years at my friend Lori's house.  Fortunately for me, Lori bequethed me my portrait of the conga-line of bears  (it's actually called The Bear Dance by William Holbrook Beard, and is actual ART thankyouverymuch) so it didn't cost me anything.

When I went to work the next day, I decided I'd call and see if there was any bargaining room on the monkey...I hadn't stopped thinking about him since our parting.  I got the manager on the line...and he said he thought they could reduce the price to $99.  Then he asked me to hold on...he needed to go get the code on the tag.  When he came back he told me THE MONKEY WAS GONE!

I called Jeff & told him that my monkey was sold & asked him if he had, by chance purchased this delightful creature for me.  To which he replied, "Did I buy you a $130 monkey? Uh, no."
Am inconsolable.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Out here at my work, we have an animal problem.  We are located close to a) the county landfill and b) the county animal shelter (no, I don't work in a's complicated). We have lots of strays that make their way down to our location because irresponsible people are constantly dropping off their unwanted pets nearby.  There are several of co-worker, Jan, my bestie, Annette, a lady up at HR & myself that have kind of unofficially made ourselves into a sort of impromptu rescue group.  We have each adopted at least one animal abandoned around here into our own households (mine: a cha-weenie named Libby & I lurve her) and have found homes for literally DOZENS of other cats and dogs.  The puppies and kittens are easiest. Some of the harder-to-adopt animals we have at least found non-kill shelters to take them to...even if we've had to transport them to larger cities.
Despite all of our efforts, however, these past couple of months, we've seen an dramatic increase in feral know, it only takes TWO and then you've got them exponentially multiplying.  We'd been making sure they weren't going hungry, but apparently once they weren't STARVING, they had the health and energy to start making new feral kittens. What to do?  We finally found an organization that loaned us some traps (S.A.F.E.) and had a vet they worked with to spay/neuter these animals.  Okie-dokie, then.  We bait and set some traps up, and five minutes later...woohoo!  We have our first vasectomy volunteer!  (actually, castration candidate is more accurate.) Unfortunately, we failed to consider how to transport Mr. Hellcat once in his have-a-heart trap. (note to anyone who might try this at home...use dry food to bait your trap.  When they realize they can't get out, they go bat-shit crazy & there's nothing like the smell of cat-piss combined with the smell of wet cat food. They will have both All. Over. Them.)
Now, I hope that I have effectively illustrated for you that I am totally commited to do my best for these poor animals...I feel like I certainly do my duty to king and country when it comes to taking care of God's little creatures...but I do drive a nice, sporty little zippy-zoom Volvo.  And I love my Volvo.  I certainly didn't relish the thought of the interior (my pretty, pretty carmel leather interior) being befouled by the stench of this beast.  Thankfully, upon further review, I couldn't have gotten the trap/cage into the backseat anyway.  So, I call the hubby.  And he agrees to come with the van & transport our captive to the vet.  I rounded up some gloves (no telling what kind of exotic bacteria is living under those claws, just waiting on someone's long-suffering husband to come within striking distance) and then sat in my office and waited for Jeff to show up.  And waited. And waited.  Finally, I sent him a text:

Me: "Hey. You comin to get this cat? Vet closes at 5."

Jeff: "Slash and I are already out the gate."

Me: "Slash?"

Jeff: "Yeah, as in "I'd like to SLASH you across the eyeballs."...this is one mean-looking mofo cat."

Then I don't hear from him for a bit until I get:

"Slash has been dropped off, and the van is once again urine-free."

So, Jeff's done his good-hubby deed for the week.

A much less virile Slash was picked up and released the next day.  We're currently trying to get some of the others trapped & fixed.  We got two calicos yesterday & shipped those girls off before they could get knocked up.  We're trying to find someone in need of some barn cats (I think Slash in particular looks like a mighty fierce mouser). For the interim we're just trying halt the multiplication factor.

Jan (after we set Slash free): The vet says he's notching their ears so he'll know that he's fixed them
Me: Ummmm....isn't the lack of balls a pretty good indication?
Jan:'d think.

So, anyone in need of a barn cat...or Slash!-a vicious guard cat, please let me know.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I have been told repeatedly that I should start a blog.  Soooo...I am finally going to give it a shot.  To kick things off...I am going to make my first post one of my all-time favorite happened years (like, 9 years) ago, but still, it never gets old:

So, as it happened, Jeff and I found ourselves with a whole week without the monkey.  For the very first time since she was born, we were going to go on vacation…just the two of us.  Our beloved off-spring had decided that she wanted to go to summer camp...a real live summer camp with horses and archery and cabins and everything.  We were a little afraid to let her know we were going to the beach while she was at summer camp, so we just kinda, sorta didn’t tell her that little fact before dropping her off in the hills of Mentone, AL with about 60 other squeally little monkey girl-children.  After getting her settled in, we loaded back into the car, dropped back by the house for OUR luggage and headed South.

Six hours later, we are on the sugar sands of the Gulf of Mexico, in Panama City Beach, Florida…my favorite place in all of the world.  Some folks prefer the more reserved Destin, or even Gulf Shores.  Not us…the people watchin’ doesn’t get any better than in PCB.  And anyway, it’s where we got married, so we have a soft spot for it.  There may be other reasons I’m drawn there as well.  I was once on vacation with my mom, her husband, my clan, as well as my sister’s brood in Destin.  I made the comment that even though this was really pretty and all…I just really preferred Panama City and was just sad as I can be when I don’t get down there once a year.  My mom just ever so casually says, “Well, that’s probably because you were conceived there.”  I mean ICK!!  I try not to think about it, nor about the salmon-like way I am drawn down to the coast every year, but it is what it is.

Anyhoo…Jeff and I made it down there without incident for our first kid-free beach trip we’d had in oh…about 9 years.  We get our bags to the room and commenced at once to frolicking.  We went down to the beach for a little while (it was late afternoon).  We went to a FABULOUS dinner…where it didn’t matter how long we had to wait, we just sipped something frozen…no little impatient kiddo, who can only think of getting back to the pool, or going putt-putting or SOMETHING besides waiting on a table.  We ate great seafood ‘til we were just about to POP.  Then when we got back to the hotel, we decided to fix ourselves a couple of adult-type beverages and go relax in the hot tub until the food had digested enough for us to settle in for bed and prepare for our first WHOLE day of lolling around the beach and people watching.

Well, we relaxed in the hot tub, drank our big girl and big boy drinks, and relaxed some more.  By and by, the drinks needed a re-fill so we DID, and before too long, it seemed like a good idea to go back up to the room.  Well, once we got ready to go to sleep (which was not IMMEDIATELY after we got back to the room, if you know what I mean) I changed into my warm weather PJs (shorts and tank top).  Jeff decided just to put his swim trunks where they’d dry over night, and come to bed nekkid.  He happens to have a heidel hernia, and a reflux esophagus, so in a couple of hours, that Pina Colada we had downstairs is starting to give him some serious heartburn.  He gets up, shuffles on into the bathroom half-asleep and gets him some Tums or Gaviscon or something I’ve packed, and checks the time.  It’s about 2:00-2:30 a.m.

If you have ever been to Panama City Beach, you know that they have “the strip” or “the Miracle Strip” that runs along the beach.  It is a favorite pastime of the ga-jillions of recent high school graduates and/or college students to ride up and down the strip acting like fools and hollerin’ at each other.  No one knows why.  They basically keep this up for all night long, then go sleep in their hotel rooms where they are usually piled 20 deep in some cases, and then repeat the process all over again once the sun goes back down.  Some will actually stagger out into the 3:00 afternoon sunlight, blinking and squinting for a little sun and surf, but many come to the beach just to ride up and down US Hwy 98, a.k.a. “the strip”. 

Jeff, being the people watcher that he is, got to wondering at 2:00-2:30 in the a.m. if there was much activity going on down on the strip.  The hotel we were staying in is configured in an arch, with balconies on the ocean side in every room, and open air walkways on the other side facing the strip.  The walkways have a half-wall, a little more than waist-high to keep folks from falling off. 

So, Jeff opens the door that leads out onto the walkway, but because he is in the doorway, the half-wall is blocking his view of the strip.  He steps out into the walkway a little more, keeping his heel in the doorway to keep the door open and looks again.  He still can’t see, so he stretches a little, then a little more, then a leettle more, then…ka-chump.  The door slips past his heel and closes…locked.

Riiiight about that time, he discovers (or maybe realizes is the word I want here) that the coastal breeze is blowing on parts of his anatomy that strictly speaking, it has never blown before.  This is when my dear hubby remembers that he took his swim trunks off & hung them up to dry before coming to bed and was right at that moment butt-nekkid.  Outside of his hotel room.  Of his LOCKED hotel room.  On the road side of the hotel room.  In Panama City Beach.  At once he commences to banging on the door, like I’m going to hear him.  Let us remember that I had indulged in a couple of frozen cocktails and had participated in some mildly strenuous exercise before retiring.  Also, I was alllll the way back towards the ocean side of the hotel room with the air conditioning unit blasting away so that I could snuggle under the blankets like I like to do.   I was out cold.  There wasn’t NUTHIN going to disturb my rest.  And deep down, Jeff knows this, but he has to hope, so he bangs away for awhile longer before resigning himself to the fact that it’s just not going to be that easy.

At this point, he looks around and tries to rationally assess his circumstances.  Is there a door mat?  No.  Have they delivered the paper outside the door, from which he could origami himself a pair of briefs? No.  Is there anything at the vestibule by the elevators that he could arrange to cover himself?  Actually, yes, there are some palm fronds.  Unfortunately, there are also cameras at the elevators that feed directly to the hotel lobby where they are sure to notice a nekkid man denuding their palm fronds.  What to do?

Well, right then, a security guard comes strolling along the curve of the building and spots my husband, who while he was pondering his situation had kind of pressed himself into the doorway to make himself as un-obvious as possible.  Though how un-obvious you can be while standing butt-nekkid outside your hotel room is still a matter of debate.  At any rate, the security guard makes eye contact with my hubby and says, “Well, shit,” or something like that and TURNS ON HIS HEEL and starts to go the other direction.  Hoping, no doubt that on his next circuit, this situation will have resolved itself without his intervention.  Jeff is in a panic.  He’s had his bare ass to the wind for over 15 minutes now and has run out of options.  “DUDE!” he says, “PLEASE come back!”  The guards sighs, slumps his shoulders and comes back to confront my butt nekkid husband.  “WHAT!!??!!” he says, “are you doing?”  So Jeff tries to succinctly explain his situation…wet swim trunks…heartburn….looking at the strip…comatose wife…and asks him can he PLEASE just let him back in the room?  All the while demurely covering his nether-like regions with his hands as best he can.  The security guard gives another long-suffering sigh and says into his walkie-talkie, “Can I get someone up here with an all-pass?”  He makes eye-contact with Jeff again, briefly, “And a towel?”  So they stand there, NOT making eye-contact, NOT making small talk until finally, two more security guards come around the bend.  Sure enough, one of them is carrying a towel.  Grinning like a FOOL, but carrying a towel.  Jeff gratefully receives the towel and wraps it around him while the others avert their eyes.

He explains the situation to the newly arrived, they call down to the front desk, Jeff’s able to answer a few questions to prove that yes, this is his room, no, he is not some pervo, yes, he is sober, and they finally let him back in.  He later told me that without thinking, he had put his hand out to shake theirs to say “thanks.”  The grinning, towel carrying security guard just looked at his hand and said, “That’s okay, dude.”  Jeff realized that his hands had only moments before been ah, shielding himself…so he just says, “Ah, well, thanks again,” and goes inside. He drops the towel, finds himself a pair of boxers in the suitcase (little late for THAT, don’t you think?) and crawls back into bed.  He doesn’t even wake me.  It’s been such a harrowing experience that he’s not really ready to relive it.

The next morning, after we wake up, he recounts the whole tale to me as I stare at him in disbelief.  Surely he is making this up?  But no, I can tell by the shell-shocked look on his face that it really happened, and that he can’t even see the humor in it yet.  I wanted to call the front desk and ask who the !@#$ let a nekkid man into my room last night, but he wouldn’t let me.  On the way down to the lobby, we passed the grinnin’ towel guard (whose name was coincidentally, Jeff), who waved and shook his head at my Jeff, and I just about laughed myself sick at him for the rest of the vacation.  We’d be lying on the beach, sunning like lizards, and I’d look over at him start chuckling. “Shuddup, it’s not that funny,” he’d say.  Oh, contraire, mon freire. I could not WAIT to share this hilarious story with my nearest and dearest.

My sister bought him one of those terry cloth wrap-around velcro’d things you wear when you get out of the shower with instructions that he take it on all upcoming vacations.  My bunco group nearly all peed themselves when I related the tale.  My beautiful and talented best friend, Annette, who writes for the local paper, wrote a news story about the Nekkid Man of the Holiday Inn Sunspree, and pretended to have found the story on the AP website.  Jeff was a pretty good sport about the whole thing by this time.  He does want me to add one positive side effect of this whole ordeal…

You know the dream that everyone has of showing up for work or school or whatever without any clothes on?  He assures me that this experience has cured him of ever having a dream like that again. As I said, it's been years since the event, and he swears he hasn’t had a single one.