Friday, July 28, 2006

The Best Ever

Scene: Friday night, 6 p.m.

I walk into the living room (laden with bags that carry butter, olives, bleach, and impulse purchases of wine) to candles aglow on the coffee table and a steaming tub of scented water to soak my feet after a long day of work. Also, a martini, awaiting the required 4 olives and a splash of olive juice to sip while I soak my tired feet. The Rev. is good.

"We were married 7 years ago."

"Can you believe it? In fifty years we will be talking about what we did on our wedding day."

"That was one of the best days of my life."

"What do you mean that was one of the best days of your life?"

"I mean that was one of the best days of my life. I've had many."

"No, I think you mean, it was the best day of your life."

"You are so right."

I know he was just saying that to keep the peace.

The highlight of the evening came about an hour later when we were dining al fresco to a dinner of grilled tuna and trout, rice, and squash. I was facing The Rev. and the little fire pit where he had balanced a grill was directly behind him. Butch, one of our cats, and Dixie, our beagle, were both salivating at the scent coming off of the firepit.

"What is our dog doing?"

(I lean over to the right to see what our dog is doing.)

"She just pulled a whole trout off of the grill and is devouring it in the grass."


"You know, Amanda and I coined a new phrase today."

"What was it?"

"That is as classy as boxed wine."

I love my life.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Memory Lane

As everyone is aware, there is a heat wave undulating across our great country. All the talk has centered around the record temperatures that have caused people to shake their thermometers and scratch their heads to make sure they are still in SoCal, where, it is like, totally 74 and sunny all year round. My only comment to that is, "Lie. Big lie."

The warm weather has brought on some rather fond memories, and they have been triggered primarily by one of my senses being assaulted by either temperature or sound, or in some cases, both temperature and sound. When we first moved here, I never heard crickets. Along with the absence of lightening bugs, the missing sound of crickets made me ache for home. Behold, this summer I have been hearing them at night, and they, along with the warm dampness of our summer nights, have lulled me back to nights on my grandmother's farm where the gentle chirping and the sound of the oscillating fan put you to sleep.

The other memory was more jarring. Our little church is not air conditioned (because it's 74 and sunny here) and the heat in the sanctuary was not from The Rev.'s fire and brimstone sermons (he doesn't preach those anyway, he is very conscientous of law and gospel). We have had the past two services in the fellowship hall, where it is air conditioned. I was able to attend the one yesterday, and when I stepped into the room, I was immediately transported back to 1981, when our little church in New Orleans, Lousiana, was worshipping in the parsonage garage. The set-up was exactly the same, and I half expected my mother to appear and take me to task for fidgeting on the folding chair.

I sometimes wish for those days again, and I am so thankful that I have those memories. Except for when I fidget on the folding chair and my mom takes me outside for a spanking.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Things you may not have known about me...

I love getting email, but I don't generally care for when I become the recipient of FW:, FW:, FW:. Are there humorous gems out there? For sure, but I usually don't like to read heartfelt ditties about a field of daisies or smiling at the rain or what a two year old taught me about stopping to smell the roses. It has to do with my patience, and lack of it, and I am sure that there will come a day when I have an appreciation for such things. Until then, know that if you send me one of those forwards, I will probably glance at it for two seconds and then delete it.

My brother sent me and about eighty other people one of those "fun" FW:, FW:, FW:, surveys, to which one of his more acerbic friends called him into to question. I won't go into that here, but I must admit that I appreciated both the survey and the calling out of sending out such fluff. Since I am still recovering from my brain being fried in 117 degree heat, I will post my survey answers for all the Internet to see. It's also because I am too lazy to update my email address book and I have no one to whom I can send it.

Things you may not have known about me....

Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. Hostess at a Ryan's Steakhouse
2. Cashier at an ACE Hardware
3. Preschool teacher at the Memphis Jewish Community Center
4. 9th grade English Teacher for Metro Nashville Public Schools

Four Movies I would watch over and over:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Sixteen Candles
3. Napoleon Dynamite
4. Pirates of the Caribbean

Four places I have lived:
1. Destrehan, Louisiana
2. Memphis, Tennessee
3. Nashville, Tennessee
4.Escondido, California

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. House M.D.
2. CSI: Miami
3. Project Runway
4. Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations"

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Pensacola, Florida
2. Prague, Czech Republic
3. New York, New York
4. Napa Valley, California

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy
2. My husband's smoked brisket or ribs
3. Homemade chicken noodle soup
4. Pecan pie

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. My grandmother's farmhouse in Edna, Texas, circa 1982
2. a picnic in Napa Valley
3. The Crumpet Shop in Seattle, Washington
4. My parent's kitchen table

How would you respond?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

117 Degrees

I knew it was going to be hot in Phoenix, but 117 degrees?

Fortunately, everywhere I went was air-conditioned, and eventually, my body conditioned itself to automatically wince when I stepped outside into a brick wall of heat. People actually complained it was humid. HUMID! I grew up in the South where on any given day from July to September you could steam a bowl of green beans for your supper by just setting them on the porch. I was almost tempted to see if I could bake a cake in my rental car. It was a good trip and I met some fantastic people, but I am happy to be home.

The most welcome feeling, besides my beloved's face and my dog howling at my return, was the cool ocean breeze when I stepped out of the airport.

And now I am inland and back to baking.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stay Tuned

I am off for an unexpected trip to Phoenix, Arizona until next Wednesday. I am sure I will have plenty to share when I get back.

I will miss The Rev. The Rev. will miss me. He gets to park the $5 car for a week and drive the big, air conditioned SUV.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Like I need a reminder that I need to get there more often

I got lost driving to church today. I could say I got turned around and lost my bearings, but I got turned around and had no idea where I was. The city has a stretch of road near our house closed until August, so whenever The Rev. or I need to go to church, we have to turn the opposite direction, drive away from church, and wind our way through a subdivision to get to the main road. The problem started when I missed my turn into the subdivision because I was enthralled. Enthralled by what, I cannot recall, but I missed my turn. I couldn't turn around because I was in a right turn only lane, so I spent about ten minutes exploring neigborhoods near my house that I never knew existed. I come from stock that gets lost easily; my brother's nickname is Magellan, and when we say it we don't say it in a complimentary way. We say it more like, "Good job, Magellan, we just passed the exit we needed to get off at for the fourth time. Do you just like driving back and forth?" So I was Magellan's sister today, getting stuck in dead ends and having to turn around a few times before I got smart and decided to follow an older couple in an enormous Oldsmobile out the neigborhood in which I was aimlessly driving.

Why did I pick them?

They looked like they were going to church.

Friday, July 07, 2006

I don't think they eat this way in Mexico

Scene: Coscto 5 p.m.

"Why are you buying all that fish?"

"It's good for me."

"Yes, but whay are you buying all that fish?"

"I'll have it for dinner tonight."

"I thought I was making taco salad with leftovers tonight."

"Oh, then we need French dressing."

"Who puts French dressing on their taco salad?"

"I do."

"Why are buying all those cherries?"

"Because they are good for me."

"Do we need 4 pounds of cherries?"

"It's part of my new, healthy lifestyle."

"Why are you buying a flat of raspberries?"

(Insert exasperated look here)

"You say healthy lifestyle as you buy a 5 pound bag of tortilla chips to crush on your taco salad that will be covered with ground beef, cheese, black olives, and french dressing?"

I can't be too hard on the guy, considering I had a gin and tonic and a bag of potato chips for dinner the other night.

But French dressing?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

What you see is what you get

I went to the fair and I came home with a sunburn. It was about what I expected, but no Yak-woman. In fact, there was a serious lack of carnival barkers at this fair, but that is probably because the San Diego Fair is held in one of the wealthiest parts of our fair city, and the people who live in the hilltop manses above the fair are okay with having their view marred for a few weeks, but don't want their auditory senses assaulted. I'm sure I could find a city ordinance on the books somewhere.

I happily partook in the delicacy that is known as the deep fried avocado and it wasn't that bad. Coming from a region of the country that fries everything, I wasn't that surprised at what people were willing to eat as long as it had been dipped in batter and submerged in a vat of bubbling oil. I was hoping that I could find some fried dill pickles, but that must be a regional delicacy, sort of like fried cheese curds in Wisconsin. I did get my funnel cake fix for the year, and I am hoping that the damage to my figure and my arteries are not permanent. With all the walking we did, I am sure I kept it to a minimum.

I went in with the impression that this fair would be different than all of the other fairs I have attended, and to some degree is was and to some degree it wasn't. Just like the fairs I have been to in the South, you could purchase an airbrushed t-shirt that proudly states, "Redneck in training." There was also the vast acreage of booths selling everything from toe-rings to pots and pans, and the minute you made eye contact you were drawn into their tractor beam. However, there was a sense of cleanliness to this fair, and they gave you a fork. A FORK to eat your food with. Growing up you ate fair food with your hands, and wax paper was the vessel that transported funnel cake to your gaping maw. I guess culture shock is still relevant, even after living here for nearly two years.

Today I am nursing my sunburn and The Rev. and I are debating what we should do. As little as possible has been the general consensus, and we may celebrate our country's birth with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Something that does not require a fork.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fair Food

I'm off to the San Diego County Fair today, and I am curious to see if it bears any resemblance to the fairs that I grew up with in the South. I think fairs bring out a peculiar culture of people, and I wonder, perchance, if I will catch a glimpse of home in the faces of people happily shoving fried Twinkies in their faces while debating whether or not they should pay money to see the Yak- woman.