Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Here's What's What


I know.



Really, I know.



I'm a slacker. In the worst kind of way.



But here's what's what.



I've been sick.



Does that count?



And go with me here please - when you're sick you don't want to do anything.



Can I get an Amen?



You don't want to blog. You definitely don't want to look at the unkempt condition of your home, or your eyebrows.


You are not yourself.




For heaven's sake people, you don't even want to cook!




Here's what you want to do.




You want to crawl under something.




And not be found.




And well, that's just what I did.




Oh, oh, and wait. I've also been thinking.




A lot.




Did I mention that?




I've tried to stop, but can't.




It's a conundrum.




For me, thinking puts a stop to most everything else.




You see, it's not that I can't multitask - I can. With the best of them.




Problem is, I can only actually think about ONE of the multiple things I'm doing.




Say for example if I am scheduled one day to:



1) Perform brain surgery




and




2) Come up with a dinner menu for 100...






Well,


I think you can obviously see where the old "one topic thinking issue" can cause headaches...



No pun intended.



Here's some of my "Top Thinking Material" from last week.




1) a. How is it that all the guys that frequent the convenience store at 7:30 in the morning where I stop to get a Diet Coke can eat 2 chili dogs that early in the morning?

and

b. Why is it that every single time I stop there (no matter what time of day it is) the nice policeman whose spiffy policeman shoes I spilled Diet Coke all over one morning is ALWAYS there, which causes me to turn bright red and babble incoherently about what a terrible klutz I am?




2) Why does Martha Stewart see the need to offer over 100 different colors of glitter to the world? Why do consumers see the need to buy her 5 different shades of turquoise, for Pete's Sake? And do people not understand how evil glitter is? One time in June I found a piece of green glitter on my neck, and I promise you I had not been anywhere near green glitter since the Christmas before.




3) Why, oh why, are skinny-legged jeans coming back into style? Can someone explain this to me?

And I want you to explain it until I can accept it...




4) And Oh My Goodness, why do people insist on wearing their Bluetooth thingies and carrying on a conversation with their sister and everyone else on earth while they are grocery shopping? I just don't want to hear about your brother-in-law's many transgressions , how awesome your last pedicure was, and how irritated with the manufacturer you are that the last Spanx you bought in "your size" was way too small...


Especially not while I am picking out my tomatoes.




5) And last but not least - (This one clogged up a good 4 or 5 days of thinking)




Why is it when you are already late leaving the house in the morning, and you get about 2 miles away, and realize you forgot something important (like your shoes, let's say) and you turn around and go back that you invariably get behind the School Bus?




That stops 2 times in every block?




And why does that Mother who is sitting in the car with her 7 yr.old daughter waiting at the bus stop feel the need to completely re-braid her daughter's hair right there?


When the bus is waiting?




And there are a billion cars behind the bus?




And why is it that when you finally get back to your house and park in your very own driveway, and run in the house for approximately 37 seconds that you find on coming out of your house that you've now been blocked in your very own driveway by a very large cement truck delivering (I assume cement) to the house under construction across the street?




And why does that particular cement truck driver happen to be particularly grumpy that particular morning?




And why, after all this, when you get to where you are going, do you realize that you are the only one there, because well, someone forgot to send you "the memo" with the change of location.


Which happens to be in the exact opposite direction.


From anything.


And so, I think it's pretty clear that I've been pretty darn busy.

What with the whole "sickness" thing, and the whole "thinking" thing,

by golly,

it's truly a wonder that I accomplish anything.



Or I suppose that you also could go with that first theory.

The one about me being a slacker.

In the worst kind of way...





Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Was Really Wrong about Lyle Lovett

I'm wrong a lot.

About all kinds of different things.

Daily.

Regularly.

Most of the things I'm wrong about are minor in the scheme of things - they might be a big deal right at that moment when I realize the wrongness has happened, (that surely can't be grammatically correct),

like when I got "wings" cut in my hair when I was a senior in high school.

But it grew out, life went on, and I continued my daily wrongness on a regular basis.

But there's one thing

(well maybe several, but I want to keep this specific)

that I was REALLY wrong about.

Lyle Lovett.

Back in the day (I really never use that phrase but it just seems so apropos here) I was in a voice class with Lyle.

Yes, at Texas A&M in the late 70's.

And I just know that right now those of you that know me and my kind of whiney, nasally voice, are saying "well I bet SHE was really the "star" student!"

And that hurts me.

But I'll get over it 'cause I've got a little story,

I daresay a life lesson to share.

For my major I had the option to take either voice or public speaking.

At that time in my life just the words "public speaking" made my brain seize up, my upper lip break out in a sweat, and big red splotches to instantaneously appear over all the parts of my body that unfortunately were not covered with clothing.

Have you ever noticed that?

How the splotches never hide themselves discreetly under your clothes?

Anyway, I took voice.

Me, Patty (my roommate) and Lyle.

And a few other minor players (classmates) that don't have a starring role here.

At the time Lyle was a recognizable face on campus.

He just has that kind of face, no?

And I won't even mention the hair.

When he wasn't in class, he was sitting on the steps or the short wall around the Memorial Student Center playing his guitar and singing. On the weekends he played at the coffee shop in the basement of the MSC.

If I remember correctly, he was a student st A&M for quite a long time, longer than the average four, OK five, six? years.

Let's just assume he spent a lot of time singing, and that kind of got in the way of the old class schedule.

He sat beside me.

He was quiet and polite.

And in my opinion (at the time) odd.

Very odd.

I think I might have once or twice used the adjective "weird".

Please forgive me.

We had to sing songs in front of the class. We had to recite sonnets.

We had to re-recite the sonnets leaving out all the consonants.

Or the vowels,
or whatever the professor decided that he wanted us to leave out.

It was freaky.

And yet Lyle would get up and choose what I thought were the strangest, weirdest, oddest, songs and really seem like he enjoyed doing all those freaky things.

And my wrongness was this-

I thought he had no future in music. I felt sorry for him. I think I even contemplated at one time sitting him down, giving him some advice (which is really a funny thing to call it) and tell him "Lyle, you might want to consider another career, because I'm really, really insightful and smart about things like music, careers, your personal goals, and talent, and well Lyle, it's just not gonna happen for you."

And I was going to say that in my nicest "I'm pretty smart about these things" kind of way.

Well, unfortunately for Lyle, I never worked up the courage to do that.

And for a while I really felt bad about it. I mean look at all the time he was wasting pursuing his doomed dreams.

And look what happened.

He is a multi-gabillionaire.

One of the most popular entertainers of our time.

A music icon.

And what's the moral of this story?

I think it might be that I'm wrong

a lot.

About all kinds of different things.

Daily.

Regularly.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A CORNY STORY

Now, don't stop reading if you're not looking for a cornbread recipe, this is full of fun and life lessons!




Well, here it is as promised.

You're gonna owe me for this.

If you like cornbread (and who doesn't?) you must give this a try.

But if you don't have these two things - don't even think about it.

You must have a well-seasoned, family heirloom, cast iron skillet that was excavated by hand from a crumbling 100 year old farmhouse.

Not really.

You can buy one at Wal-Mart.

Or in a pinch you can use whatever you normally make cornbread in. You do make cornbread don't you? The human need for cornbread is innate, inborn, and natural.

In other words, ya gotta have it.



And butter.

Now don't panic, we don't use the whole pound.

At least not every ounce of it...

OK, you've got the two most important things?

Then let's do it!



Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

If you're using the cast iron, put about a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the skillet and rub it in all over the pan (inside only of course) with a paper towel.

Stick the pan in the oven while it preheats.

Now,

get out your favorite blue Texasware bowl that you scored 3 years ago in Round Top!


Only spend a few minutes admiring your plastic bowl, we have things to do here.

Here's what goes in:

1 c. yellow cornmeal
3/4 c. flour
2 T. sugar (you can use up to 4 T. if you are inclined to the sweet...)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk these all together!

Okie-Dokie, in another (less exciting) bowl,


Put the following:

1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4-1/3 c. sour cream
2 T. vegetable oil

And do you see that little pile of white cheddar cheese I tried to sneak in on you? It's not a part of my original recipe, but I put it in this time.

Because I wanted to.

And mostly because no one told me not to.

I'm unruly that way.

Whisk the liquid ingredients together well, dump them in with the other lucky participants in the blue bowl and stir everything together.
Don't go crazy - just until everything is nicely mixed.


We have now reached the critical,

I daresay the critical and highly strategic steps...

Don't you love doing things that are highly strategic??

With a POTHOLDER remove the preheated cast iron skillet from the oven.

In it put 3 T. vegetable oil and 1/2 stick salted butter!!!!!

Like this...


And yes, as one would suspect, there is a tragic story about me and POTHOLDERS that I will tell you one day when I am heavily medicated...

But, I digress again.

Now RUN to your closet and get your jogging shoes.

You're going to need them.

Again, using the POTHOLDER, put the skillet back in the oven until the butter is all melted and everything is bubbly.

With the POTHOLDER, take the skillet back out and immediately dump the batter in.

It will look messy -


But you see how the butter and oil are bubbling up all around, and over and under!!!

That's why you went and got your jogging shoes.

Now with the POTHOLDER put it back in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. And as you know you must monitor your oven because my oven's 400 degrees may be your oven's 350. They say it isn't true...

But they lie.

Now, put on the shoes and run.

Run like the wind.

Now stop and do 100 jumping jacks.

And run some more (but stay close to the kitchen 'cause you've got to take this glory out of the oven at just the right time).

Now, maybe you've done enough exercise to work off a piece or two... But I don't guarantee
it...

Here's what you get when you use a POTHOLDER to get it out of the oven!




And look at the crust...



And now, now I must run!

Like the wind!

But, if you'd like, tomorrow I can post the recipe for this soup that I served with the cornbread!!!!



Lot's of love,

and I'll see you on the jogging trail!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Night Things

You must get one of these.

Immediately stop whatever you are doing and race, I tell you, race to your nearest "Outdoors" store and buy one.

Stop! Come back!

Wait until after you finish reading this, people! Be patient!

You don't even know what you're getting yet.

So settle down.

But then you must hurry.

It's a trail camera.

A nifty little device that you place outdoors to take pictures of

Who

Knows

What!!!!!!!!!!!

It's a camera equipped with a motion detector, and is commonly used by hunters and other outdoorsmen to keep track of critters, livestock, poachers, and trespassers.

Here's what you do.

Go to the "Outdoors" store.

Approach the counter where the 12 year-old-boy child is masquerading as a 16 year-old employee.

Say to him, "I want one of the camera thingies that you strap on a tree to take pictures of wild pigs and such."

He will stare at you with distant 12 year-old eyes.

Then you will say with authority, "Listen here son, don't you understand technical, outdoor saavy-type talk?"

And then logic will kick in and he will lead you straight to the trail cameras.

Here's what you won't do.

You won't buy the most expensive one because:

1) That's just craziness

2) They have some fancy-schmancy infrared thingie that doesn't make a "flash" and thus won't "technically" scare away the animals. They also pick up motion great distances away, like in outer space, and I suppose would "technically" be the best model to use in case you didn't want to throw the space shuttle off course (you know, the whole flash in the driver's eye thing.)

and MOST IMPORTANTLY

3) You don't want The Chief to get the vapors and pass out if he happens to see the receipt.

You also won't buy the cheapie-cheapie model because it looks like it came out of a Cracker Jack box. And if my mood ring from 7th grade is any indication, things out of a Cracker Jack box will last about two weeks tops.

So you'll get the nice middle of the road model in an attractive camouflage finish.


And you might get lucky and see this!!!!!!!



Gotcha Mr. Raccoon!!!!


And, Oops, I think he may have been thrown a tad off course.




And you'll notice that this is either a huge mutated racoon, or the camera is almost on ground level.





Well, look people.





I wanted to put the camera in this particular area infested by mesquite bushes. Nothing at all in the vicinity to strap the camera to...





And unless you have felt the pain of a mesquite thorn going through your flip-flop or your city-girl New Balance tennis shoes and embed itself two inches deep in the flesh of your heel,





or





lost all feeling in your right hand for three days due to multiple thorn stab wounds while trying to pick the biggest, juiciest berries which always grow under the biggest, baddest mesquite bushes,



you just don't understand the danger.




Mesquite thorns, they are of the devil.




But lest you think Raccoon boy is the star of this show...




Take a look at this...




and this!


And this People!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This, my friends, is a real-life Bobcat in the flesh.

In all of his natural, nocturnal glory.

Oh my goodness, the excitement just makes my heart all aflutter!

So run.

Run and get one.

The possibilities for fun

and, I daresay,

for getting in trouble,

are endless!

Oh and I deleted the picture, but we thought we had definitive photographic evidence of Big Foot,

you know, Sasquatch...

But disappointingly it turned out to be my heavily bearded, long-haired oldest son.

Bummer.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bad Behavior

Do you see these cows? They are where they aren't supposed to be. In other words the aren't where they should be.

They're AWOL,

on the run,

they've gone rogue.

I realize the picture is kind of blurry, but look at the one in the front. The one with the funky, downward curving horns.

She has a reputation 'round these parts - a rep for misbehaving.

But this time she has a posse -

young, impressionable cows that she has led astray.

They know not what they do.


You see, they should all be on the same side of that cattle guard as The Chief''s truck.

Somehow, who knows how, they got in the next pasture.

They have their ways.

They go out in the lake and around fences, they go down in gullies and under fences, they sometimes (like Miss Funky Horns) have the audacity to jump a fence.

But no matter how they get out - they must be retrieved...


So, to get started, we (well, The Chief) has to take the fence apart so they'll have a way back in.

Because, well, of course they can't walk over the cattle guard. (Although some of them do on occasion - but it's tricky and takes a lot of tightrope practice).

Then we go get some of this....



The object of the cow's desire... Range cubes.

Yummm........................

Just the rustle of the paper bag will bring them running.

Sometimes right over you.

Dangerous things, those paper feed sacks.


For a minute, they act uninterested in the rustle.

One little twerp arrogantly turns away...

Then - they can't stand it.

Here they come.

For the cows, it all about the rustle.

OK, they're back in.

The Chief starts to put the fence back together.
I get distracted with this....
And this....



Then The Chief politely suggests that I might want to put the camera away and maybe ...

Help.

A little. Or a lot.

At least some.


And once again, everything was right with the world.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

So I Hate Lists...Is this a Crime?

Let me lay out the situation for you.



Or in this case I think we can call it a "sit-che-a-shun".



I hate lists. Always have, always will.



I know you hyper-organized, OCD types are just cringing.



They just make me nervous, OK? I prefer to float along in blissful denial of all the thousands of things I need to do, could be doing, or should be doing. I just function psychologically better this way.



Besides, I have The Chief.



The Granddaddy of all list-makers.



The man makes lists of lists. He is the King of Listdom. The Grand Poo-Pah of organization.




And, dadgumit he gets a lot done every day. No one, and I repeat no one accomplishes more in a day than the Chief. He was all about "Git 'er Done" before it was casually bandied about by every Tom, Dick and Larry the Cable guy out there.

He's a wonder, really.

And I say all this to illustrate how much of a list-maker I'm not.

Now granted, it gets me in trouble sometimes. I mean on occasion I consider for a fleeting moment that MAYBE I should have made a list to help me remember something, but just

occasionally.

Take for instance the following:

When I go to the grocery store and wander dreamily through the aisles picking up this and that, whatever looks good, without really ever thinking about how all of this great stuff will go together into something that might be let's say...edible.

Or good.

So, when it's time to cook (which you know is absolutely my ALL TIME FAVORITE thing) it's kind of a crap-shoot.

And I'm so sorry I used that term, but I just couldn't think of anything else.

I can think of all kinds of wonderful things to make, but having all of the ingredients is usually just a downright, out and out miracle.

Therefore, being the industrious, pathetic, non-list maker that I am, I am prone to invent things.

Yes, amazing things.

And many times horrible, inedible things.

Last night I wanted to prepare something very tasty for dinner since The Chief had been slaving away accomplishing things in a tough manual labor kind of way all day, and I, on the other hand, had accomplished pretty much nothin'.

Thankfully, I had all the necessary ingredients for Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Soup (which The Chief loves).

So this was good.

But I needed something to go with it.

I had potatoes - no, not with enchilada soup.

I had green beans. Again, no.

I would make cornbread!!! Yes, blessed cornbread. (I've found the secret to the most scrumptious cornbread on the planet- the crispiest, butteriest, crust you can imagine).

But wait.
I needed green. Something green.

Something that looked like I had grown my own greens in the backyard and harvested them with my own little hands and aching back.

I would make cornbread salad! An epiphany!

But wait.

What would I put in this cornbread salad?

I was almost shivering with excitement!

Here's what I gathered up:


"Without a List Cornbread Salad"


4 cups mixed greens
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 c. cubed up Monterey Jack Cheese
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 c. chopped red, orange, or yellow bell pepper (have fun, mix it up!)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
About 3 cups freshly baked homemade scrumptious cornbread, cubed


Gently mix it all together, and then toss with about 1/3-1/2 c. Red Wine Vinaigrette.



***********************************************************************



And although I never convinced him that I grew the greens, or did anything at all even remotely productive that day, he said he might keep me around just for my cornbread!