Friday, September 30, 2005

Only In The South

First of all, let me just say, I'm a Southern Living magazine, FoodTV junkie. I love looking at recipes and trying to balance nutrition with flavor in planning meals. I even like watching someone prepare something I'd never make...like Emeril, whose food we love, having eaten The Best Meal Of Our Lives at his restaurant in New Orleans, "NOLA". But Emeril's recipes, as those of most Southern cooks, are designed to KILL you. I've known this for years, what with the deep-fried everything, the hamhocks, the very much butter and eggs and cream in every dessert, and the breakfasts during which you can feel your arteries hardening.

As such, I should not have been very surprised to see the full-page ad for the following product in the current issue of Oxford American magazine*, but somehow, I was. It's the Bacon Of The Month Club. That's right. I gotta wonder if their ads appear in The New Yorker magazine. I rather doubt it. Of course, in those New York delis, you will be served sandwiches so stuffed with cured meats that, in order to complete them(in the words of the late Mitch Hedberg) you'd need a loaf of bread and several more people.

Even knowing all this, I had to HOWL when my Memphis buddy (another "freakin' POODLE person) Melissa forwarded me this recipe from Paula Deen's FoodTV show. It's called Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding With Butter Rum Sauce. She's had it, and says it's the dessert equivalent of crack. (I doubt very much that Melissa has had any personal experience with the consumption of crack, but the analogy was hers, not mine.)

Just a preview of ingredients (if you want to make this dish, and you've had a recent cardiac workup, the entire recipe is linked above) to give you an idea--This smallish dish contains a couple dozen Krispy Kremes, condensed milk, eggs, butter, confectioner's sugar, and RUM, among other things. For when deep-fried, sugar-glazed donuts are just NOT DEADLY ENOUGH.

*If you do not get Oxford American magazine, well...you should. It's good writing, good photographs and other art, and good reviews, especially of first novels and other literature you might not stumble across in the mainstream. The current issue, the music issue, is worth the price for the included CD alone.

I'm "IT", Dang It

And I was dodging and ducking for all I was worth! At least this is an easy one. Margalit is who got me. I'll get her back, don't worry. Bwahahahahahaaaaaaa.


The Rules:

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same.

So here's mine--5th sentence, 23rd post:

Bella: "Yes, I is! SEE?"


So now I gotta tag. OK, with apologies beforehand if this annoys you, I tag:

Nita
Michelle W.
Leslie
Anne Glamore

and jenB, specifically because I know it WILL annoy YOU.

I'm done, no tag-backs!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

An Obscene Irony

I didn't mean for this to turn into "political day" (and really, this post is more about sociology than politics, so hang with me for a minute), but I've been reading about Dr. Ben Marble. If you don't know who he is, well, he's a 35- year-old Emergency Room physician with a newborn baby (born in Katrina's aftermath), whose home in Gulfport, Mississippi was destroyed by Katrina. He's also a musician, and an artist, and something of a political scholar-- a Renaissance man.

The reason that Dr. Marble is a little more well-known now than before the hurricane is that he is "that guy" who, during an impromptu "pep rally" pitstop by Vice President Dick Cheney in Gulfport on Sept.8, yelled at the Vice President, "GO **** YOURSELF, MR. CHENEY!" During the ensuing shocked lull, he had a chance to repeat himself, adding a bonus expletive--but, it should be noted, always referring to the Veep as "Mr. Cheney." There is video available in which the heckling can be clearly heard. He left pretty abruptly at that point, citing a "wild look" in the eyes of some Secret Service agents, and walked back to his home to start packing up what he could salvage. He was later greeting 8-10 men armed with M-16s at his home, who handcuffed and questioned him, then released him. You can read all about it in Dr. Marble's own words in an excellent interview HERE (disclaimer--this is a pointedly liberal website, but the words you are interested in are those of Dr. Marble, who strikes me as a very rational, reasoned, compassionate person).

NOW--the whole reason I think this story is funny, and worth mentioning, is what happened during Ben Marbles' departure from the Vice-Presidential photo-op: A CNN reporter asked Mr. Cheney, concerning the outburst, "Are you getting a lot of that, Mr. Vice President?" And here's the punchline: Cheney said--pay attention, now--"First time I've heard it." Is he getting senile already? Has he already forgotten June 22, 2004, on the very day the Senate passed the "Defense of Decency Act" (irony abounds in this story), when he very decisively told Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), on the Senate floor, and live on C-SPAN, to...you guessed it: "GO **** YOURSELF!" It seems Sen. Leahy had had the temerity to bring up Cheney-sensitive topics such as Halliburton's no-bid contracts in Iraq and Cheney's ties to (*cough* evil!) Halliburton (in case you didn't know, Cheney being "no longer on the payroll" at Halliburton is kind of cancelled out by the deferred payments, but that's a whole other kettle of fish), among other things. Dr. Marble's words may have been "profane", but they were carefully chosen to make a point, as he was well aware of the infamous Cheney/Leahy Senate exchange. Dr. Marble has lost pretty much everything to Katrina, has a wife and newborn infant to care for, and has worked exhaustively in Gulfport's E.R.s, which were seeing 500-plus patients per shift post-Katrina. If you'd like to help out a good doctor who gave everything and lost everything during a disastrous storm, or if you just really like the idea of telling Dick Cheney to take a flying leap, or if you just have enough money to burn a wet mule and need to get some of it out of your way, you may make donations to Ben Marble via PayPal, by sending money to the email address clone9@yahoo.com. You can also email Dr. Marble at that address, or better yet, visit his new website, where he answers many questions and hosts a non-partisan discussion forum.

And It Happened In Texas ?

Well, yeah...but maybe not for much longer, eh? I'm sure that if he's removed, another of the Borg/Ceylon/Pod People (pick your own favorite science fiction metaphor) will slip right in and take his place. But still, this was a shocker for me. I really am surprised. Here's a timeline of Delay's illustrious career. He seems to have been teflon up 'til now. Wonder if the tide is turning for him?

See this site for a wonderful collection of quotes from He Who Is The Federal Government and He Who Is The Constitution.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

So it's Autumn Now?!? Prove It!
















So I guess we'll say a very figurative goodbye to summer now, a few days late, but what difference does that make down HERE? As brilliant and talented friend Jeff pointed out, Little Rock, Arkansas, is on the same global latitude as Tikrit, Iraq. Yeah. Oh, well...for those of you have have 4 seasons instead of just our two, "HOT" and "MUDDY BUT NOT-SO-HOT", here are the last of the happy splashing pool pictures.

Get Ready...

Get Set...

And...CATCH! Well, after a fashion, anyway.

Are you sure about this?

You betcha. Daddy will always catch you, Sweet One.


Nice Save

Alex was home for his lunch break. He said hi, then relaxed in his recliner while Bella and I folded laundry (meaning, I fold, she unfolds, tries to fold, I say "Good job!" and re-fold when she's not looking) and did other chores in the back of the house. When he left, he called out, "Gotta go, 'bye!" I called, "Aren't you going to come say goodbye to us?", and he said, "Sorry, I'm late--bye!"

So almost immediately, the phone rings, and I think, "Aw, he's calling to say something sweet since he had to run out like that"...but I can't find it. Finally locate the faintly ringing phone--Bella is sitting on it. By then, it's too late, the answering machine has picked up, and he's hung up. I call right back, but get his voice mail, because now (I find out later) he's already talking to his mom. After a few more minutes, I call him back, mainly to tell him about Sue's comment on the "Oh, The Love" post.

ME: "Hey, how come you didn't answer your phone when I called you right back after you called here?"

ALEX: "I was talking to my mom."

ME: "Oh. Well, what did you want when you called me?"

ALEX : "Nothing."

ME: "Um, OK, the better answer to that question would have been, "I just wanted to tell you how much I love you, since I left in such a rush witout even seeing you."

ALEX: (Without missing even half a beat) "Ah-HA! I tricked you! THAT is what I was REALLY going to say! Gotcha!"

ME: (sighing) "Yes, you are quite the tricksy one."

Goober. Loveable goober.

Can You Spot The Faulty Logic?

Setting: Late at night, a married couple's bedroom (names withheld--*cough*), some time after the lights have been out.


"Well, I'm WIDE awake. Would you hand me one of my Ambien from the night-table, please?"

"NO. Go to sleep!"

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Favorite Husband


Just watched "My Favorite Wife" (Cary Grant...*sigh*), which is a good, good thing. Of course, we had lots of "How long would you wait for me before giving me up for dead?" chatter. Alex swears his undying loyalty and describes his years of searching and pining away for his long-lost wife...then add, "Shoot, you'd be remarried the day after I disappeared."


ME: (laughing) "I WOULD NOT!!"

ALEX: (grinning) "Yeah...If I was even late getting home from work, y'all would be in the house having coffee, looking surprised to see me."

ME: "You are SO full of crap."

ALEX: "You love me."

ME: "I sure do."

Sudsy

Since the whole depression/anxiety/monkeying with meds thing, I just haven't been up to doing the things I normally love to do. Soapmaking is one of those things. And they are lovely soaps, truly. So mild and kind to your skin, compared to store-bought "detergent bars." Plus the creative process is just so amazing. You start with a bunch of oils like olive, avocado, evening primrose, wheat germ, coconut, sweet almond, etc., and butters (not Land O' Lakes, I mean like shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, etc.), some lye crystals, and a liquid. You can use almost any liquid in soapmaking. Water, tea, milk, cream, even beer or wine. If you like, you can add fragrance oils or essential oils, Ground herbs, oat flour, honey, and even colorants if desired. Somehow, by some amazing process, if you do it all just right, stirring and monitoring temperatures, and pouring at *just* the right time, this mixture saponifies, and you have SOAP. Sometimes I like to be creative, like with these bars I made for Valentine's Day. The "base" bar was scented with cherry-almond fragrance oil, and the heart-shaped embeds, which I hand-milled from a plain white batch, and colored, leaving white pieces in the mix, were scented with strawberry fragrance oil. It made a nice soap.


But most of the time, I prefer simple, nice-to-your-skin (or hair--we do shampoo bars for people and pets) goodness. The saponification process has never stopped being magical to me. That just stirring these molecules around so that they will contact and bind with each other to form another substance is awesome. I love the stirring, I love the pouring--here's a batch of a very rich full goat's milk soap that has just been poured into one of my favorite posessions, my Upland soap mold: Isn't it beautiful? Then you cover your soap--unless it contains milk, honey, or oats, or other things that are "heaters", but especially milk of any kind...and the process continues. If you check on it later, you will find what we call the "gel phase", pictured (albeit blurrily) here: Once soap has gelled into all corners of the mold, it's time to unwrap/uncover it and let it cool. Soap does not have to gel to be good soap, and many people who make milk soap don't allow it to gel, so they'll get a lighter, creamier color that way. Many people believe that the gel process gives the soap a smoother texture. Me, I live in Arkansas, so I don't have much choice. My soap gels whether I want it to or not!

My favorite, very favorite part of soapmaking, I think, is the slicing. I have a fabulous custom-made cutter from an Arkansas artisan, and it just slices perfect bars every time. I love getting to see how the texture looks, the color, the feel, and especially if there were swirls, that is exciting to unveil! Here is this same batch I've been showing, after cutting:

It was a very rich formula with lots of shea and cocoa butter and rich oils like avocado (my favorite soaping oil, I think) and jojoba. It was made with goat's milk as the only liquid, and raw organic silk fibers were dissolved into the milk/lye mixture. I called it "Silky Milky", and actually kept most of it for myself, it was that nice!

Hopefully I can get back to it soon, but first I have to clear out the 800-odd bars that are in my tiny house right now. I am thinking of doing a flat-rate "grab-box" sale on my website, with a random (or maybe two or three choices of selections) in each box, for a bargain price on my website, just to move 'em out. (Those of you who are waiting on specific things, like Carrot Facial Bars and Oatmeal Cookie soap--Hi, Mildred!--I think I still have all your requests covered. Just gotta get 'em out.)

If any of you have gotten this far, you are obviously either very bored or a hobby junkie! Bless your hearts.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

An Eclectic Child

I sent Bella off yesterday with my mother and my gorgeous, brilliant nephew for some delightful dining out, followed by (unbeknownst to us) a grandmotherly-indulgent shopping spree. I sent her out in a little green dress (it was one of those days that she insisted on a dress), nothing too fancy, but cute. This is what I got back--oh, and the dress had fiberoptics that twinkle, mind you:

















Along with THIS: She dances, she sings. Over and over and OVER again. Alex and I called my mom to thank her for such a thoughtful gift that she chose, over such silly (and silent) choices such as, oh, puzzles, paints, books, etc. She just chuckled and said something about "grandparents' revenge."

Contrast that to this tableau from today:She is sitting in her daddy's giant recliner, having refused to get dressed at ALL, eating a peanut butter sandwich, and watching the big-screen TV. What is she watching? Why, the NFL, of course. Jacksonville Jaguars (go, Matt jones, our homeboy!) vs. New York Jets.

Oh, well, at least she has varied and balanced interests, right?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Optimism

As we're (and again, by that I mean mostly Alex, bless his regal heart) sticking our fingers down the throat of this house, inducing it to purge all its clutter, Alex came across this item: This was the rack that held several beginner's wooden puzzles--actually a very cool gift for Bella from Alex's sister a Christmas or birthday ago. But as is the way of things with many pieces, one by one the puzzles lost their bits, and went the way of so many puzzles before them. I told Alex, "You can get rid of this, the puzzles that went in it are scattered hither and yon by now."

Alex: "I thought we might be able to use it for something."

Me: "Whatever on earth?"

Alex: "You could put trays of fresh-baked cookies in there to cool."

He's so cute.

Oh, The Love...(TMI Warning)

I just mentioned to Alex how terribly constipated I am today (since the bowel surgery, it's common--my life is a delicate balance between Benefiber, enemas, and Lomotil). He immediately responded, "Oh, hey, I got something for you," turned around, and came back with THIS: Thank, you, dear, for your concern, but, um aside from the horror of the idea of a home colonoscopy, THAT THING HAS SPIKES. Ha, ha, good one, Darling. If you do visit the "Zip-It Clean" drain cleaner website, from the link above, please do click on the "Best Clog Ever" page. I can't stop shuddering. The reason Alex bought the thing is that our bathroom sink has been stopped up, and, well...that shouldn't be. So we rightly assumed that Bella must be shoving stuff down there. So far we (and as usual in situations like this, by "we" I mean, "Alex") have recovered: cotton balls, macaroni, an adult-size toothbrush, and a mechanical pencil. That's my girl.

In other news, we're experiencing some tornadic activity in the state (is it wrong to so enjoy a word that means something so terrible? Tornadic), and flash flood watches, so we're hunkering down. I'm very shallow, because my biggest concern right now is that it will storm here badly enough that the satellites for both our modem and our DirecTV go out. I am a woman of depth, no?

I'm going to try to accomplish something visible now, because my lollygagging is still equal to Alex's actual WORKING. Oops. Have I mentioned that he's a GIFT FROM GOD?

Friday, September 23, 2005

And...Horsiefest!

Housework BLOWS. Admittedly, Alex is doing at least 90% of it, but I still hate my ten with a passion.

And now I bring you...cuteness for cuteness' sake. Almost 3 mos. old, and we're trying to come up with a "Phantom of the Opera" name because of his facial marking. Suggestions welcome. All I've come up with so far is "Music ofthe Night".




He gets his chrome from his daddy, who is still here and loving life at age 24:
















This is another daughter of his, and her yearling colt:
And this is his sire, Genuine/+:

And oh, my GOSH--if you want to see some beautiful horse photography, check out this page on my RL friend Lisa's website. As my 3-year-old would say (unfortunately), "HOWY CWAP!" Lisa is SO talented! While you're there, feel free to browse around, but I had not seen this page, and can't believe how amazing and dramatic her pictures are!

I really, REALLY should be cleaning.

Interesting

Just stumbled across this quote recently, and don't remember having seen it before. No editorial, I just find it interesting, since we know that Karl Rove was already a part of his life by then.

"You know, I could run for governor but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that's not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public
office."-- George W. Bush, 1989

Thursday, September 22, 2005

In Which My Husband Is MAGNIFICENT


I gotta give it to him. Get Alex in just the right mood and into a pair of Playtex Living Gloves, and that man is a cleaning machine. A tornado. Mr. Clean, but without the ambiguously gay vibe. He cleaned today, for hours on end, with the vigor of a Tasmanian devil. Whereas I, by contrast, performed about 1/5 of my single assigned task, with the vigor of, oh...let's say a banana slug. I have possibly seen too many Hitchcock movies, but I did have a moment of slight concern when I saw his pre-housecleaning shopping list: rubber gloves, large contractor trash bags, bleach, rope, shop towels...until I got to the Cascade and the air freshener, I was a little worried. I mean, I have been a handful to deal with lately.

We still have a lot to do, in which I will have to actually participate, over the next couple of days, but Alex made an amazing start, and for that, I am forever grateful to him. Tomorrow, I have many poodles to clean and clip, and much bedroom to clean, organize, and clear stuff out for donation. And the lovely scrubbing of the bathroom. Can I say I really hate this? I really hate this. And I'm kinda hating that Alex is so much better at sticking with it than I am. But hey, at least he's sticking with me. He is my helpmate. Ain't that Biblical? I'm thinking that, technically, I'm supposed to be his, but it works both ways, right?

Men, let me just tell you a secret about your women. Bring them flowers? Very sweet and touching. Candy? Again, a thoughtful gesture, and depending on her emotional state, possibly contains an element of self-protection, especially if it's fine chocolate. Take her out for a night on the town? Shows your spontaneous side, and even better if you plan everything ahead of time and she has to make no decisions beyond what to wear. BUT--take it from me--clean the house that you and your woman share? Mop the floors, scrub the toilet, dust vacuum, etc., all without being asked...and you are elevated to the Mount Olympus of ROMANCE. That's right, in ALL CAPS. ROMANCE. Try it and see if I'm not right. There's no way you're not getting rewarded for that. She will, as I am about to do, at LEAST watch "The Outlaw Josie Wales" with you without complaining. At least.

IT BEGINS....

The horror. The trepidation. The (for me) clumsiness--Alex moves like a cat. It is deep, serious, CLEANING TIME. Not the regular scrub-the-toilet, dust the shelves, mop the floors kind of cleaning, but the down-to-the nitty-gritty, scrubbing-with-a-toothbrush-in-the-corners CLEANING. Ugh. The dogs are in hiding, Mom has whisked Bella away to get her out from underfoot...we have all our supplies, and at least the minimal first-aid supplies that I'm sure will be required (again, for me), and THERE ARE JUST NO MORE EXCUSES. Here we go, into the fray. Pray for us. Weep for us. Check on us later and make sure we made it out alive.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

At Least I'm A Strong Something

You are a

Social Moderate
(55% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(16% permissive)

You are best described as a:
Strong Democrat
You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.




Link: The Politics Test

I like this test a LOT more than the last one, which was pretty lame. This gets down to basic, personal values, and instead of black/white answers, gives you 4 degrees of agree/disagree. Well worth the time, and interesting and educational to see what famous people you identify with. (Interesting, but not surprising, to me that our president is more of a "capitalist" than a "Republican". Dead-center Republican was Ronald Reagan, and dead-center Democrat is either Hillary Clinton or Bono--it's hard to tell from the illustration. Dead center of dead center--that is, the closest to a total "Centrist" is John Kerry. Ghandi represents socialism, Osama Bin Laden and Stalin [and the Pope, for a good part] represent "totalitarianism". The "anarchist" is the Unabomber, and I think Bill O'Reilly is the "fascist". It looks like an empty space for "libertarianism", unless you count part of Adam Sandler.??? )

The "permissive" percentages are neat too--for example, my 55% means that I'm almost dead center on social issues. I'd like to see my economic permissiveness a little more moderate, because on one end of the spectrum you have child labor, and on the other, communism. But darn it, I just want everyone to eat, have shelter, and have medicine, even if I have to help subsidize it! Is that so wrong?


In other news, The oddest sentence I've spoken today: "Bella--don't throw macaroni salad at me!"

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Two Things

First of all, I may have stumbled onto a fabulous money-making opportunity. The Google ads that appear in this sidebar (and on Google search pages, and just about everywhere) work by scanning the content of your text, and putting up ads for relevant products. Genius. If you've ever noticed, though, there are two categories of Google ads that aren't exactly honed to perfection. These are the ones for booksellers, like Amazon, and the ones for eBay. They just plug whatever your context word is into a form ad, so if you're searching, say, iPods, you'll get Google ads that say "Find iPods on eBay" and "Find books about iPods at Amazon." You get the drift.

So I posted the other night about Bella's bedtime tantrum. Ever since then (you may even be seeing it now), the Google ads on my sidebar have been for parenting websites, child behavior books...and this one, which I dearly love:

"Temper Tantrum--Great deals on Temper Tantrum--Shop on eBay and Save!"

I AM GOING TO BE RICH.

"Temper Tantrum" is apparently a marketable product, and I seem to have an endless supply for the forseeable future. The Child can earn her own college fund! I am going to start putting up for sale ads right away...I'll start the bidding low to engage interest. My only quandary is how to ship the Temper Tantrum? I'm guessing it would have to be in an airtight container, lest it lose any of its fury and annoying capabilities en route to its new owner. The demographic for Temper Tantrum is wide open, too. Empty Nest Syndrome? Buy some Temper Tantrum and you won't be so sad! Getting sentimental because your kids are growing up too fast? Buy some Temper Tantrum and revisit those younger days. Impressionable teenagers, facing intense peer pressure to be sexually active? Buy a LOT of Temper Tantrum and lock them in their rooms with it as a form of pre-emptive birth control...heck, I could cross-market Temper Tantrum as "Abstinence Enforcer".

So if you need some Temper Tantrum, you know where to go. Don't bother with eBay, just contact me directly. I will hook you UP.


In other news, I have a new favorite Google search that brought someone to this site. It refers to this post of mine, and hey--it's such a bizarre search that I am in the #2 position on Google! Whoo-Hoo!! And whoever you are, searching for the crappy slippers, I hope you come back! Be my friend!

Subterfuge

Bella is sick with the allergy junk today, and I'm still....whatever I am. So this morning, we were both cranky and a little groggy and out of sorts, and looking a little scary. Well, I looked scary. She just looked a little rumpled and frowny and snotty. At about 9:30, we heard the driveway alarm go off. Bella ran into the kitchen to look out the big window there, calling out, "Daddy's here! Daddy's here!" I peeked out and recognized the elderly Jehovah's Witness couple who circulate this area every so often. I grabbed Bella by the hand, and, as any reasonable person would do, ran back to the bedroom with her to hide until they got tired and went away.

The front door happens to be right next to the giant bedroom window, so it was a race. Fortunately, these folks walk slowly, and the bedroom blinds were already closed. So I got Bella into the bedroom, muted the television, and whispered conspiratorily to her, "OK, we're playing a game. We have to be quiet and HIDE." This is what I had in mind: I should have been able to predict her response to this, cooperative child that she is...it was to RUN to the window, grab the blinds, pull them apart a good foot and a half, and holler, "WHO'S HERE?" All my attempts to pull her away and quiet her were met with more noise and resistance. Finally, I said the magic words, "dinosaur game!" and got her attention, and started pulling up the internet page where you can match up dinosaur parts.

This hushed her up, but by that time, the JW's were onto us.

These people are tenacious. They must have knocked on the door 11 times, and waited at least 10 minutes before making their slooooow way back to their car and leaving. Got to teach the kid about subterfuge. At this rate, she'll never make it at Quantico.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Who Makes The WORST Analogies Ever?

My husband. Now, he's a smart guy. A really smart guy. He can do almost anything, figure out any riddle or brain-teaser, work his way through any sort of problem. There are two things, however, that he can't do to save his life: Anagrams and analogies. I mean, his analogies are terrible. Always. Every time. I will offer just one example:

Just now, he attempted an analogy comparing Pamela Anderson's breasts (actually, the irony of that stupid commercial where she has them on display as usual, and then says to the camera, "Hey, my face is up here")....wait for it...........to A MONKEY ON A TRICYCLE.
I can't imagine where he was going with that, but he gave up mid-way, mercifully. Bless his heart, I swear he can do anything else.