Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some People Avoid Me Like The Plague, But The Brave Remain

This photo was taken on Valentines Day of the last year I taught school. This is me (tallest) and my Peeps! I love them all! We used to have SO much fun doing mundane everyday things, as well as, everything else. Now we are scattered from Florida to the Left Coast. But we still communicate.

This is one anecdote about us.
We joined my son in collecting and delighting over "Unfortunate Names." One summer day said son called when we were all together sitting around my pool. He had an Unfortunate Name. It was "Pujole" which I believe a baseball player's name. It is pronounced "Pooh Hole."
We spent the rest of the afternoon thinking up perfect first names that could make it even funnier. Like Wendy Pujole, and so on.
Fast forward to one winter day, in a restaurant, having lunch. Someone says, "What was that unfortunate name we were playing with last summer?" No one remembers. The conversation moves on to other equally intellectually uplifting topics.

Except for me. My mind is running through all of the names I can think of.
I WANT to remember.
I no longer hear anything that is being said.
My mind is churning.
Suddenly, it pops into my head and I am SO delighted to have remembered it that I yell, "POOH HOLE!!!"
The restaurant goes silent and I, realizing that I have re-entered the world with an incongruitous shouted word, covered my face.
Someone said, "And, YES, every one in the place IS looking at us right now."
Another one of the girls, just looked at the people staring at us and said, softly,
"Tourettes." and pointed at me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Funny Little Pink Story-Sunday Rerun

It's the 40th Rerun Sunday! Hop on over to Chari's Place for more!
AND on to Memoir Monday!

One summer a girl named Sonja came to visit us from Germany. She was cute and blond and knew classroom English quite well. Rob had met her over there when he was stationed in Ulm.
She brought me these hand-painted glasses
It just so happened that our daughter, Martie, was visiting us from Ohio at the same time. Therefore her friends from high school were almost constantly at our house, keeping us surrounded with clever, jubilant, twenty-something girls.

They lounged by the pool telling riotous stories of past escapades that they had perpetrated and somehow managed to live through. (That summer I learned that I was thankfully kept in the dark during Martie’s coming of age years.)

In telling a story, one of the girls used the term “Driving the Porcelain Bus.” Sonja jumped in with, “Vhat is this ‘Porcelain Bus?’”

The girls immediately began giving Sonja a lesson in the many ways a person can say, “vomit” in American slang, beginning with “Tossing Ones Cookies” and continuing through an impressive list including, Hurl, Make a Sidewalk Pizza, Bark at the Carpet, Pray to the Porcelain God, Yak, Blow Chunks and Call Ralph, Each new entry, complete with explanation, and even some acted-out demos caused all of them to laugh raucously.

Later, after nightfall, they left to go OUT, where ever that is. Martie, who was pregnant with our first grandchild, was the designated driver.

On the way out the door, they revisited the barfing conversation. “Call Ralph? What about ROY!” “Roy” was emoted with breathtaking authenticity. “Don’t forget EARL!” More realistic barf sounds. They continued to Ralph, Roy, Earl, (and someone even added a Buick), all the way out to the car until neighbors began to come out on their porches to see who was being sick in the street.

Much, much later, I woke to the sound of them making snacks and giggling downstairs in the kitchen. When Martie and Sonja came up stairs I called out from my bedroom, “What did you learn tonight, Sonja?”

She replied, “Tonight, I learn…um..I learn…” and then to Martie, “Vhat is this bag?”

I knew exactly what she learned before they said another word. She was speaking of an old-school utensil that came in a festive red color and was used for feminine hygiene.

(Thank you Beverly, for your patience with my inability to deal with Mr. Linky)

Monday, January 18, 2010

She Ain't No Julia Child-Memoir Monday

See Travis for more memories!
Our mom is a writer, not a cook. She never wanted to be a cook. She wanted to be a foreign correspondent. With six children, however, there was a necessity to make food. Mountains of food. Foreign corresponding was out of the question.

Mom made dinners that could be made in bulk, like spaghetti, tuna casserole, chili and macaroni and cheese. Thank goodness these items didn't come in a box back then. Tuna Helper;{shudder}
(Many years later, she was taking care of her grandson, Rob, and she made him some "Mackie-Cheese" in a box and she used water in the cheese powder instead of milk and Rob still talks about the vivid orange macaroni he had that day.)

Another item we had at least once a week was something we called Dog Food or Gravy Train. It was some sort of meat matter in a gravy component. She ladled this material upon toast. Thankfully this recipe has disappeared and can now only be found in the Smithsonian. We also had a cheese sauce served in the same manner now and then.

Dinty Moore Beef stew was a staple in our household. It came in large family-size cans. It was one of my first "recipes." Other canned delights were hash, which she sliced and fried in her big iron skillet, and of course those Chung King dinners with the slimy stuff in one can, the chicken stuff in another and the crunchy stuff in a third.

We LOVED frozen chicken pies. Frozen foods were a rarity back then but there were chicken pies available. We always had them when Dad went out of town on business.
He didn't tolerate frozen foods. Our father was a "foodie" before there was such a thing. It took him a long time to accept new-fangled things.

Porcupine balls was one of our favorite dishes. We liked it when she made these because they were so much fun to talk about, as well as eat. They were meatballs with rice in them. I'm sure there were more ingredients. I shall ask Mama. Perhaps I'll make them when everyone comes to visit.

Mom had this recipe that she found in a magazine for something we called Barf Salad. As I recall it was green Jello with cottage cheese and grated cabbage in it with just enough shredded carrots to add that "already been chewed" look to it. This was her special recipe that she made for all holidays. I can just hear the people at the Ladies' Home Journal Recipe Center saying, "Lets make it green Jello because it will look more like a regurgitated substance."

Drunk meat came along in the later years. It involved a crock pot, a beef brisket, a can of beer and a couple of other ingredients. It was good, but like I said, I missed out on it as a child because of the crock pot part. They weren't invented yet. However, she did have something called a pressure cooker. It was a huge scary sounding device. She always admonished us to keep way back from it. It would clack and hiss and we would look at it with our eyes wide with fear. She used it a lot. She got one for me after I was married and I immediately blew a hole in my ceiling. I recall that the item I was cooking in it coated the sides of the pan completely, with nothing in the middle. It became an ordinary pan after that.

Mom's birthday cakes were legendary. By her own admission they looked like first base after nine innings. Always. They were good though. She rarely made desserts , but when someone came out with a box of envelopes full of stuff that could be turned into a Boston Cream Pie, we had those sometimes.

Mom, my sister, and I were together recently and we talked her into making us a Boston Cream Pie for old time's sake. We had to do some talking! We whined, "You haven't made us one for forty years!"
We got the box.

I wish you could have heard the pie-making process! “How long do I have to stir it? It doesn't say what degrees to ..oh, here it is. You have to let it cool on a wire rack. What is this ‘wire rack’? Cut it in half? Sideways? I forgot how hard it is to cut it into two ...oops one of the parts broke. Another bowl for the inside goo? Good grief. You have to put this little bag of chocolate into hot water for 15 minutes; hot water? How hot? Do I have to boil water for this chocolate or can I just hold it under the faucet? They ought to give clear directions on the box.
OK, here's your damn cake. You can’t cut it for three and a half more minutes."

She says she’s not making us another one of those cakes for forty more years.

Friday, January 15, 2010

If you Aren't Living on the Edge, You Are Taking Up Too Much Room.

- Charlene Williams.

She also said, "If you aren't a little sore when you go to bed at night, then you haven't lived hard enough during the day."

Quite a lady.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Obituary of the Consummate Woman

I want to be just like her when I grow up. (As if I could.)

My daughter in love and I always say, "What would Charlene do?"

We never saw Bob in any field or pasture, mending fences, rounding up cattle, without her right there at his side. She would be standing there in the back of the old pickup truck throwing hay to their herd while Bob drove.

Her energy and knowledge was never-ending. We thought.

I, the Antisocial Queen, loved having them over for dinner and going to plays and concerts with them.
We shared a love of books and crossword puzzles. I couldn't have adjusted to the ranch life without her. She is the one who told us that it wasn't polite to ask a rancher how many cows he owned. Now I'll never know if it's OK to ask about pigs. ☻

I have a feeling there are a lot of things I'll never know now.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Delicious Hors d' Overs

My Bro-in-law made these on New Years Eve. I watched as everyone bit into them and their faces instantly looked like Simon's face did when Susan Boyle began to sing. When I began to hear orgasmic moaning, I decided to try them.
Wish I had taken a picture.
Here is the recipe:


24 pecan halves
24 large pitted dates
a clump of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
a 4 oz, pack of sliced prosciutto
Freshly ground black pepper

What you do:
Heat oven to 350*. Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cool. Raise oven temp to 450*.

Make a slit along along each date. Cut the cheese into slivers. Stuff a pecan half and a sliver of cheese into each date.
Quarter prosciutto slices lengthwise. Wrap each date with a strip of prosciutto.

Place dates on baking sheet; Bake 6 minutes or until prosciutto is crisp and cheese softens.
Finish with a grind of fresh pepper. Serve warm.

Dear God!!! Do they have to make recipes sound so difficult? NO WONDER I don't cook so much. I watched him make them and here is the simple instruction.

Toast some pecans halves stick them into a date along with some really hard cheese. Wrap them up with that skinny Italian ham substance. Bake them until they smell so good that you can't stand it any more. Take em out and stuff them in your face. Try to save some for other people.
Or don't.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Before I Put This Away For Another Year

On this wreath, I put my travel souvenirs.
This is usually all I buy when I travel because they are easy to transport.
It would be difficult to choose any favorites, but I am quite fond of The Rastafarian dude from St. Maartin.
The black bear making a snow angel (from Yellowstone) is cute too.
The Kiwi from New Zealand is special, but he fell off and Lexie ate one of his legs off.
I promise. This is my last holiday post!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I Resolve Not To Resolve

I made a resolution last year to do TEN sit-ups a day, because anyone can do Ten. Measley. Sit-ups. a day, right?
I did it one day. Because it is so far down to the floor and then there is all that getting back up! Grunt. Struggle.
Now there is the added disturbance of Lexie, who feels that the ONLY reason a person would get on the floor would be to become her giant squeeky toy.
Getting up from the floor was bad enough without the puppy licking and nipping at my face. With her exuberant pawing and hanging on to my ear, it is impossible!

So no. No resolutions this year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Little Pink Baby!

Happy Birthday to my First Born! This is Martie and her two young ones in Cancun.
She was the New Year Baby at Palm Harbor Hospital, born just after midnight on January 2nd.
She was two weeks early and she has been early for everything since!
I am SO glad she chose me to be her mama! I am so proud of her. She's an RN at a big hospital in Southern California.
I love you so much!
This dignified young woman once said, in her outdoor voice, I might add, and in church, I might also add, "Mama, we don't never say SHUT UP OR GODDAMN in Sunday School, 'cause it's not nice, huh Mama!" She was three years old. Thus endeth my church life.

See Bev for more pink Saturday posts