Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Peanut Butter Fudge & The Food Pyramid

Dear Sir or Madam:
Upon viewing the food pyramid I find no section assigned to Peanut Butter Fudge. I am sure this was an unintentional omission. It is difficult to decide which of the current groups Peanut Butter Fudge might be labeled. Since it contains proteins and healthy legumes one would think to count it among the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, and Nuts group, but I find that section a little too small to encourage the consumption of a healthy amount of Peanut Butter Fudge. Could you please dedicate a level on the food pyramid to Peanut Butter Fudge? A large section toward the wider end if you don't mind. Thank you.


Friday, December 26, 2008

December 26. .. The Peaceful Side of Christmas

December 26 is my favorite day of the year. Yesterday, Christmas Day, is over. I cooked everything I was supposed to cook. Made everything I was supposed to make. Mailed everything I was supposed to mail. Went every place I was supposed to go. Wrapped everything I was supposed to wrap. Saw everyone I was supposed to see. Opened everything I was supposed to open. And now I have landed, settled to earth like a snowflake from the wind tossed heights of holiday flurries. If Townsend, TN is the "Peaceful Side of the Smokies" then December 26 is definitely the peaceful side of Christmas. It is a lovely continuation of the holidays, a tradition worth keeping: a day of peace. And while I hope Christmas was wonderful, I wish you all a beautiful, peaceful December 26. I am certain you earned it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sacrificial Self-Preservation

I often describe myself as a stay-at-home, on-the-go homeschooling mom to three pretty terrific kids. This is our ninth year homeschooling. When acquaintances profess that they are impressed with this, I always warn them that there is nothing remotely impressive about it. I do it for self-preservation.

We almost joined a co-op at the beginning of this school year. It sounded so promising ... art classes, English classes, plays. Plus I really like the other moms and know many of the kids. Then they wanted me to teach a class. Fine. I could do that. But it didn’t stop there ... suddenly there were mom meetings, family meetings, cookouts, field trips, teacher meetings. Someone signed me up for the annual staff associative co-administrative ambassador coordinator wizard. (Yes, I warned them that I knew nothin' about birthin’ no darn annuals.) And then told me that in addition to this I would have to take part in fund raisers and volunteer as class “helper” for another class. There were even whispers of mandatory things. Mandatory?

Uhhhhhh, no thanks. I grabbed the oars and paddled our homeschool fannies right out of that little lagoon! I would've had to sacrifice my favorite homeschool value of simplicity to take part in that co-op.

Recently I was asked by another homeschool mom if I took part in many of the activities with the groups in this area. I answered honestly, "No. The main reason I homeschool is so I don't have to do stuff like that ... " She was relieved since she rather thought the same thing, and you can imagine that this was a big relief to me.

I have been through years in public schools, and while I am definitely not one of those homeschool nazi moms who thinks everyone should homeschool or that public schools are bad, I have experienced that run-ragged-ness brought on by parent groups and fund raisers and Fall Festivals, Winter Festivals, Spring Flings, dances, standardized tests, Field Days, teacher appreciation luncheons, etc. One year, I cried for a week after school was out because I was worn out ... and just think about my kids! And in the area I live in each of my kids would be in separate schools. So, I’d have to multiply the above list by three!

Nothing is simple in this world. I realize that. But shouldn’t it be? I admit that I homeschool for the simplicity of it. There is nothing heroic about it. It’s just plain old self-preservation.

Is there something wrong with me?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Magic

The magic of Thanksgiving is an enigma even more mysterious than Santa, the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny. Most will blissfully wander through their entire lives in the dark, never giving thought to the who or the why of it, comfortable in the knowledge that it is dependable and everlasting. If you live to be one hundred, it will appear one hundred times. Oh, but for a privileged few of us, the brave and the strong, the magic is unveiled. If your reading this, you are probably one of the select. And you know, like I know...That at four o'clock on the fourth Thursday of November, after the parades and football games, after your friends and relatives have arrived, after a couple of glasses of wine, when the "others" wander into the dining room and settle in front of their plates... We know, that those seventeen dishes of scrumptious Thanksgiving fare, four desserts and homemade cornucopia didn't just appear out of thin air.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day Nine...

Delirium has set in. My husband has lost fourteen pounds, my kid's cheeks are looking hollow, but pioneer stock will tell and I was built for harsh winters. On these, the days leading to our celebration of Thanksgiving, I feel certain that, had I been around, I would have been at that first feast. Long, disease filled ocean crossings, unforgiving seasons and lack of food would not have done me in. I'm like those little frogs that can hibernate for years until the rains come again, then spring to life, hardy and robust.

My husband has hid the scale, he says I don't need it that I look like the day he married me. He's lying because he wants toast with his butter for breakfast tomorrow. It won't work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day Three...

Day three of my low carb diet

I've lost my will to live. My "all the bacon and eggs you can eat" high is gone. My house is bereft of sugar, flour, pasta, rice, and potatoes. Freezer burned won-ton wrappers are starting to look yummy to me. I've been straining my brain trying to figure out how to make chocolate out of Splenda and pork rinds (please forward your recipes). My kids have taken to eating their PB&J in their rooms out of fear. But I did have a break through today- I was able to get my wedding rings on...

Friday, September 19, 2008

The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

You never know when it might happen. You just wake up one morning, you have breakfast, you get dressed, you plan to go about your day. But, you know today is special, different somehow, you can feel it in the air. You drive into town, it's better today, the air smells fresh, a south wind has blown in during the night sending all the dust and VB boxes toward Adelaide, the sun is shining, your coffee is a double mocha with no calories. Your hair is perfect, your new Capri's take ten pounds off and your husband has the day off from work so you don't even have any kids tagging along. You put on make-up, today is a big day after all, and meet your friends. Then, at exactly 8:00 am NT time (8:15 for everyone else) it happens...Your very first Target opens.

<--this is the the line to get in.

This is some crazy lady who wouldn't get out of the

We're still waiting on the Cinnabon and the Starbucks, but Target, well Target is a great start. Way to go Alice!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nancy Drew, Shame On You ...

I decided to read the kids a Nancy Drew book. I grabbed my copy of The Mystery At Lilac Inn off the bookshelf. It is imprinted with a copyright from 1930, so it is one of the originals it would seem. A few pages into it, my son announced that he knew what would happen next - the dinosaurs would go extinct. I think it was the way the characters "alighted" from "roadsters" on their way to "luncheons" that gave him the impression that the book was a bit antiquated. It wasn't long after that I read my way into some alarmingly racist references. I was appalled, stared at the page for a moment, and then slammed the book back on the shelf announcing that we would find something else to read that was less offensive. The kids alternately stared at me, each other, and their own eyebrows even as they sported "Elvis lips". My son said, "Sure." And he scrambled away from the table to grab a basketball and head outside.

Augh! I had saved these books from my childhood to share with my own daughter. The more I thought about it the more bothered I became, so I did a little Nancy Drew Racism Googling. I found this:

As the mother of rather colorful children with skin of various shades of browns I guess I might be more sensitive than most, and oddly when I read the books myself as a child I never noticed these offenses. Either I sped-read my way over them or was so caught up in the mystery that I missed them. Maybe in the innocence of childhood I just didn't "get it". My older eyes, my older heart, my mothering mind caught them, and I am saddened.


This isn't the first classic that has gone unfinished in my house. Some I have read and tried to leave out the offensive parts with intolerant references to skin colors and ethnicities. That is a difficult way to read a book aloud. I have heard that Nancy's books have been revised to modernize her haughty ways, but I'm afraid to try them. If any of you have read updated Nancy Drew mysteries please let me know your impressions.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Aloha My Friend!!!

Is Hawaii treating you well, I've been so worried? Your not bored? Not homesick? Not overbaked? Let me catch you up: Wednesday---Nothing; Thursday-Tripoley at Bibian's, I didn't loose every ten cent piece I took and someone made lemon squares; Friday---Nothing; Saturday-Farah's home--yeah! She brought Krispy Kremes; Sunday---Nothing. There you go, all caught up.

If you feel like sending gifts, Farah needs a new thong bikini and I need a Muumuu to wear to the LMNOP Ball next month, something in black, I think, because black is so slimming, maybe with a splash of color so I don't blend into the background. A lovely flamingo pattern might look flash, or maybe some colorful fish, I'll trust your judgement.

We miss you, keep in touch.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So Much Shame....

For any of my Australian friends who had the misfortune of witnessing that train wreck on channel 108 last night called America's Next Top Model, please believe me when I say....I AM A CANADIAN. I invoke my rights as a conscientious objector to ALL American reality TV and hereby claim my oak leaf. I denounce all ownership to Jerry, Oprah, Rachael, Judge Judy, the Kardashians, Hugh and the girls, and the entire cast and crew of The Simple Life, gag. For all my American friends, there's plenty of room here on higher ground, I'm saving you all a place. Join me! Don't dither! Run! Run I say!


Saturday, July 5, 2008

My Mind Warped History & Rethinking things

Yesterday was Independence Day in the ol’USA. Some refer to it as the birthday of America which is misleading as there was a long labor that lasted something like eight years (1775-1783) before the delivery of America. July 4th is really just the date that fifty-six men signed America’s birth certificate ... one of the most monumental work of words ever written: The Declaration of Independence. Except that didn’t really happen as most of the men actually signed the thing in August and had declared the intent to be independent on July 2.

Are you confused yet? Just think of it as the way it usually goes with a pregnancy or meal planning - some folks like to define their participation by being present at the Big Bang conception (“Hey, let’s dine on something light yet fruity” or “There you go, I did my part so proceedeth hasty like and birth me a young’un!”) and the receiving end of the labor and delivery line (“Boy, that was some fine pear tart I just ate!” or “Look, I have a kid!”)... everything else ” (like pregnancy, war, grocery shopping, making crusts) is of minor importance.

Thomas Jefferson drew this beautiful document up, I believed, with great wisdom, ink made of elderberry juice, and a pointy bird feather on a fat piece of unlined parchment in the comfort of his study at Monticello on a sunny afternoon as he smiled upon his children playing Marco Polo upon the green lawn just outside the window near his desk. Sigh. But it doesn’t look like it happened that way. For one reason Jefferson’s children at the time were still in diapers. He also undoubtedly had access to India ink which was really invented by the Chinese, but let's don't get started on that. I read that someone's clerk probably was responsible for the actual handwriting of the Declaration version we are familiar with ... the version that wasn’t even ordered by congress until July 19, 1776. I was more than a little miffed at this revelation.

Which brings me to the real point I was working toward. Come Monday, I was just fixing to use this as a homeschooling force:

“Look, you capable yet somewhat slacker children who would like to take 13 days to write simple essays, this Jefferson fellow whipped this up in one sitting without college-ruled notebook paper or an eraser! And would you look at that fine penmanship?” (Notice I wasn’t bringing up the oddly capitalized words).

And now, realizing that I had absorbed most of my history knowledge during the highly romanticized U.S. Bicentennial Era of my childhood and not during the great opportunity of having a bonafide historian as a high school history instructor, I will have to rethink my uplifting speech to include some actual truths. Hopefully I will come up with something as inspiring that will spare my children from wondering 30 some years later how they had gotten everything so wrong ... like me. Hey, even if Jefferson didn't handwrite that courageous document up so lovely like -someone DID - right? And Jefferson was the mastermind - right? You might want to wish me luck : )

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

-Ate Words I Hate

I find certain word families offensive, is that allowed? It's probably not politically correct, holding an entire word family responsible for a few bad apples, but, much like the "Cooking Code Words" of my friend, certain word families make me cringe. The -ate words come to mind first.

Aggravate-What one child does to another forcing the parent into time-outs. At one minute per year of age, I'm now up to a pretty refreshing nap now.

Dominate-Let's not.

Assimilate-Okay, this one reminds me of Star Trek-the Next Generation episodes with those people from Hell Raisers in them.

Penetrate-Self explanatory and the real reason I'll never write a romance novel.

Imitate-No good has ever come from this.

Irrigate-In my experience, always involves wounds, iodine and my cat Ginger after a night out.

Elevate-At least it's not broken...

Castigate-Even sounds painful.

Delegate-To keep passing all the yucky work off until it gets to the person at the end of the line, that would be me.

Obligate-Involves a marker that may be called in at anytime, usually procured when someone has your kids for a sleepover. Two sleepovers without a return invite will result in a state of '"obligation" which is to be avoided at all costs.

Irritate-See aggravate.

Mediate-A Skill forced on parents while driving 70 mph down the highway.

Emulate-See imitate.

Estimate-Okay, maybe I'll let this one pass. After all, it does allow you to put your "ideal" weight on your DL without technically committing fraud.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Trouble With Chickens...

It all started out as just good fun, doesn't it always, but Rhett had to take it too far. Tuesday was nice, coffee with the girls. Then he did a little shopping.
Saturday we attended a BBQ for some lovely people new to our community. Later that night Rhett and his friend Pia were thrown out of Bojangles for laughing at the band.

I begged him to save his money, but once he'd emptied his bank account he headed straight for the casino. Our friend Bibian went along to keep him out of trouble, I see now I should have also sent someone to keep Bibi out of trouble. Bibi did, however,snap some lovely pictures of him being thrown out of the casino by security...

Like many other chooks gone wild, Rhett ended up in the river, that's the third time this week. Rhett's grounded now, so tonight he'll be going to bed early-- under a Texas star.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Working Title: Her Shiny Knight

Chapter One

"AAAhhhh" Gilli-Anna screamed for the fiftieth time. She'd been riding her father's destrier in a circle around the castle since she'd broken her fast that morning. Would her father's no brain knights ever discover her missing and come to her rescue? What did a fair maiden have to do these days to find herself a hunka-hunka burnin' love? Thunderhoof, her father's horse, was definitely getting as bored as she and had for the last ten minutes been rambling ever so slyly toward the copse of trees at the edge of the forest. If I can make it to that deciduous I'll use that low hanging limb to knock the crazy lassie off and be home in time for tea, Thunderhoof thought to himself, edging ever closer to freedom.

The Silver Wolf, as he was called by his enemies and more than a few of the ladies about the kingdom because of his mane of auburn waves that never seemed to stay in the perfect feather he worked so hard on each morning and the sterling silver armour he wore that took an army of squires to keep polished to perfection, was charging toward victory in his quest to oust the evil Sir Gruntel from his family home. Sir Gruntel had waited until The Wolf had left to do his part in the Crusades and had seized the opportunity to move onto the lands he had coveted since childhood. Wolf's castle boasted the tallest towers and the deepest dungeons of any in the North , a thing a man could be proud of for sure. He'd feared something like this might happen and had been careful to leave his keys with his most trusted friend, Friar Dan, but he must have left a window open or something. Ugh, he'd wracked his brain and couldn't figure out which one, oh well, it was done now and there was nothing for it but to undo it. In his fury to get home he'd almost missed the blushing maiden being rubbed off her destrier by one of his fine pine trees. He stopped a little sharp and several of his knights in tow had flown off their horses and into the meadow, squires came running from all directions to re-perch their masters onto their war beasts before the dampness of the morning dew on the lavender fields started to rust their chain mail.

Gilli-Anna lay sprawled in a perfect X on the edge of the tree line. Had her skirts not been over her head she would have noticed the audience she had attracted. After several long moments, she caught her breath and sat up thinking to give Thunderhoof the dressing down of his life, "Thunderhoof! You no good..." Thunderhoof was sprinting towards the keep at that moment and Gilli-Anna looked across his departing flanks and into the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. Had she not then been temporarily blinded by the mid morning sun reflecting off his overly polished armour, it would have been love at first sight...

Outback Dictionary

Snag-A food substance with the appearance of a breakfast link sausage, the size of a hotdog and the taste of absolutely nothing. Usually found wrapped in white bread and drowned in tomato sauce.

Damper-Food prepared and consumed in the outback. Usually involves kangaroo steaks and beer.

Trolley-A grocery cart with four wheels that turn 360 degrees in both directions. Widely believed to be used only in stores that Americans frequent for the entertainment of the locals.

Yank-Any American.


Beanie-Knitted winter cap possibly resembling a bird house, a valcano or a potted plant. Usually hand-made in the desert and sold at a festival.

Jumper-Sweater or sweatshirt



Fringe- Bangs

Morning Tea-Mid-day snack

Afternoon Tea-Early dinner



Bobs your uncle-Whatever you want

How long is a piece of string?-How should I know?

Good on ya!-Aren't you clever

Fair dinkum-Pretty good

Grog-Beeya (or Beer)

'Heaps' good-Very satisfactory

Trod-You stepped on it


Garbo-Garbage guy

Rego-The seven thousand million dollars a year you must pay for the priviledge of driving. You get a stylish red sticker in exchange for your childs college fund.

NT time-Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not on Tuesdays, Not on Thursdays

to be continued....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Working Title: Hey Baby What's Shaking

I've decided to write my own novel. I've read a few, so how hard can it be? Titling, I think, will be the hardest part, they're always so clever aren't they? Maybe Ro can help me with that one, in the meantime we're going to call it Hey Baby, What's Shaking?

Chapter One

Aaahhh, Delphina sighed as she waved at the car pulling away from the curb. The last one out of the nest, time for me, finally. Delphina had been happy to put her life on hold for the last thirty-four years to raise her seven brothers and sister after her parents had been so tragically cut down in their prime in an ugly skiing accident on Lake Okeechobee in the summer of '74. She herself had been only two at the time but someone had to take charge and keep the family together, and that someone had been her. Now with little Willie finally off the study the mating habits of the African Dung Beetle, Delphina could really start her life. First things first, she had to find a man and get rid of that pesky maidenhead that's been bothering her so much lately. Now, where to look?

Fabian was bored with life as a multi-billionaire sexy playboy professional athlete celebrity. He'd driven the fastest cars and even faster women and was tired of seeing his face, along with the latest super model de jour, on the cover of The Twiddler, the infamous celebrity rag. His father had just that morning threatened to cut him off without a penny if he didn't settle down and start producing heirs this very minute. Darn, Why didn't he finish that degree in wildlife management while he'd had the chance? Eight years at Oxford and another four at Harvard and nothing to show for it but a few varsity jackets and a hat with a propeller on it. He needed a wife and fast. Now where to find one?

Just then, as Fabian screeched his hundred thousand dollar Italian sports car around the corner on two wheels, Delphina was stepping off the curb...It was kismet.
To be continued...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What Do They Know?

I'm very disturbed by all the junk email I receive each day. I'm even more disturbed by the things these people think I need. The Pottery Barn has been trying to sell me new patio furniture--for the beach house I don't yet have, no less--for months now. How do they know that my current patio furniture is faded and used and in dire need of tossing to the curb? And really, how many secrets does Victoria think I need? Does she have superpowers that tell her when someone's unmentionables drawer has become unusually light due to wear and tear? I can't begin to imagine where on earth the Gap got the idea that I could possibly ever need a pair of ultra low-rise gauchos. I remember when acceptable rise gauchos were in style and I'm pretty sure the accessories to those, white leather roller skates with multiple pom-pons in a rainbow of colors and Dr. Pepper lip gloss, are hard to come by these days. I would never be caught dead in a pair of gauchos without the proper accessories. I'm really sorry to tell The Little Red School House, because I think that's such a cute name, that even at 65% off I could never get my kids Hooked on Phonics, but thanks for asking, again. Crate and Barrel, I love ya, but the last thing you mailed to me came in such an unreasonably sized box that Australia could not believe it was just eight iced tea glasses and held it in customs, presumably in a bomb proof room, until I'd forgotten I'd ordered it. It was quite a nice surprise when I did get it but six months is a long time to wait for a glass of tea. PB Teens recently took over for PB Kids as my top offender, I find this disturbing on so many levels because my kids just had a birthday, how did they know we had moved on from butterfly canopies to furry ipod docks? Scary, right? And to Spiro or Juan or Caesar or Donald, no I don't now nor will I ever need Viagra for one dollar, you must be nuts. Where do these people get their information?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

That's Right Scarlet, I Have The Rooster....

To whom it may concern,

When people go on extended vacations to foreign lands (Texas) where they will be eating exotic foods (Chili Cheese fries), staying in fashionable locations (Fun Valley) and shopping at exclusive stores (Target) they really should be careful who they leave their keys with.

That's right chick, I have the rooster and I'm sending him on parade. If you want him back sober and single you'll leave a bag of Peppermint Patties in a location to be disclosed at a later time. Don't disappoint me.


Oh, Scarlet, tomorrow is another day after all...

I'm a very busy woman. I have things to do. I have children to educate, laundry to fold, dinners to plan. I have an AWOL garden man I may have to hunt down with my superpowers and force to mow my yard. I have exercise tapes to avoid and years of reading I'm behind on. I haven't called my mother this week. I've forgotten where I left my fuzzy slippers so I'm wearing socks and that throws off my chi. But right now I can't think about all that because I have to go to my friends house and "borrow" her chicken...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Happy Stacker?

My name is Rowena, and I am a stacker.

I have stacks of everything from mail to plates to picture frames to a patrillion and twelve issues of National Geographic and Oprah's magazine (I am a subscriber of neither).

I am on my 572nd homeschool organizational plan, and once again I am relying heavily on stacks. Now I like organization - no, change that: I love organization. There should be a place for everything. Is it ok if that place is a stack?

Stacking is hereditary. I am not sure if it is a dominate trait, but I know it can be a learned trait as well. My mom was a terrific stacker. It seems I either learned or inherited from one of the best. Some people only have the piling gene. Piling isn't nearly as organized, and it distresses me.

Please do not confuse stacking with piling. Piling is a weak and dangerous form of stacking. It seems to be two of my children's preferred method of storing stuff. My daughter's room is currently edged with piles (must keep the dance floor clear!). My second son's piles are practically volcanic. They flow, spew, and erupt. My eldest son, bless him, has some fine stacking skills in development, so it appears that the stacks will keep coming.

The Happy Stacker Poem.

I am a happy stacker. I happily stack, stack, stack
And if my stack should come unstacked, I happily stack it back.

I am such a happy stacker that I have learned to stack
A stack that stacks up four feet high - No stacking skills I lack!

I'm a happy stacker and I stack stacks everywhere
At any place in my house a stack is all stacked there.

I'm a stacker collector. I appreciate a good stack.
If I get tired of seeing a certain stack I upend it in a sack.

Whenever I have to move it will be a cinch to pack-
Just open up a box lid and stack and stack and stack..

I have tried other methods like file and tote and rack
But this happy stacker always returns to the stack.

happy stacking to you all!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Current Situation...

Dear Sirs,

I am applying for the job of Queen of the Universe. I understand that the position is open while the current Queen is heavily drugged following a difficult childbirth and the pursuant toddler years. My current situation, though rewarding, does not bestow upon me the proper amount of respect or, in my opinion, reverence.

First, I am a three Michelin star chef capable of taking on Gordon Ramsey and boys who can puke up anything too salty, too spicy or too mushy. I earned my stars while in Australia where my steering wheel was on the wrong side to go through the drive-thru at McDonald's.

I have a PhD in girl psychology and boy/husband psychotherapy. I can interpret the multiple meanings behind door slamming, humphing, pouting and cuddling and react with the appropriate amount of eye rolling, deep breathing or hugs and kisses. I can look a grown man in the eye and tell him that he is absolutely right there is no reason why, after eighteen years of marriage, he should know where we keep the sheets. I can also assure him he's not going senile, he never knew.

I am an Olympic qualified rock climber, long distance swimmer and I can drive a grocery cart with wheels that go in four different directions.

I can parallel park a SUV in a motorcycle parking space in a ten minute zone and buy groceries, pick up a package at the Post, run by the chemist for an eight dollar box of Epsom salts and return in time.

I have lived through a nine year old learning the violin.

I have pants in four different sizes in my closet.

I know the location of all five elevators in Alice Springs, Australia.

I can design award winning evening wear for Beanie Babies.

I have trekked through jungles, pilgrimaged across deserts, climbed mountains, white watered rafted, and been to the world's largest mall.

I once went back in time where I became the muse for travelling bards who wrote prose to my beauty and grace and my wispy waist.

I have coffee every Tuesday with an interesting assortment of ladies from four different countries that also have nothing else to do on Tuesday.

I will require a one month paid vacation in September 2012 and nights, weekends, holiday (both American and Australian) and Tuesday mornings off with pay.

Thank you for your consideration, I can be reached at the Yeperenye Shopping Center each Tuesday from 8:15 until 10:00.

Kind Regards,
Edwina Honoria Eloisa Daphne Hyacinth Featherbottom-Smythe

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Should Have Been Born in..

Do you ever wonder what time period you should have been born in? I mean, we all might of been better off in the Rubenesque Period when women were adored for their curves but strictly speaking I've never been that fond of laying around naked on a chaise. The Regency Period may have been interesting, women were getting a little more independent, but then there was all that frocking going on. One frock for morning, another frock for luncheon, a different frock for walking than riding through the park sidesaddle, a 'gentlemen might be calling' frock, a frock for night time entertaining, fancy ball frocks, meeting the king frocks, ugh, too many frocks, and whale bone stays, and chemises and pantaloons-or worse, no pantaloons. Let's think on that one. The Medieval Period could have been nice, you probably only owned one frock, but you had to drink beer or wine at every meal. I don't think there was a choice between red or white and I'm pretty sure all the beer was domestic. And you never knew when a bard might show up and hang around for a season, then share all your business around the kingdom in the form of poetry or song. Had I been born in that time I've no doubt I would have been the person to invent the chamber pot because I won't even walk the fifteen feet to my mailbox in the rain, I'm sure not hauling my fanny to the outhouse, down stone cold steps, over the moat and around the dog pens in the snow. I live in the outback and I'll admit to piddling behind a rock or two but I draw the line at visiting any port-a-loos. Unless, of course, I would have been the person in charge of emptying the chamber pots, then I might have to rethink that. There's always those crazy Romans, conquering the world, could've lived just about anywhere you fancied and they were clean at least. Might have found yourself the prize of one of those big strapping gladiators, it has some appeal and togas could hide a multitude of sins if you had been overly fond of the baklava, but well, the Roman Empire, we all know how that ends. Maybe the 1950's were the way to go. After the invention of the Hoover but before the Internet. You could have worn pearls and high heels while you baked after-school cookies. Just enough technology to make your life easy but not so much your kids had one up on you. Oh, they all have their appeal, which would you choose?


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tripoley and Covered Dishes

One Thursday each month I get together with a group of ladies and play a game called Tripoley. This game consists of cards and dimes (or their equivalent in your current situation--right now we're using ten cent pieces) and is a combination of poker and maybe rummy? Anyway, you win by drawing certain cards and getting the opportunity to play them. I never win. If I take three dollars I come home with nothing, if I take a hundred dollars, I come home with nothing. The rest of the ladies show up with jars of coins from previous games, mine comes in the plastic baggies the banks here give you with your coin order. When you run out of money you should quit the game but my particular case is so pitiful that other people donate money to me. Last night I lost all of my money and then all the pity money I received. I really only go for the buffet and it's a good thing.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lord Trout, The First Lady, The Fish Club, And Miracles

My husband, Lord Trout, is currently the president of a local chapter of Trout Unlimited. This TU chapter is a fine organization dedicated to conservation, preservation, and restoration of trout streams in the area. Still I irreverently refer to it as The Fish Club. His presidency, however, makes me a First Lady ... The First Lady of Trout, I suppose.

Being the First Lady means a couple of things:

1) I am privileged to have a scepter fashioned from a fly rod standing watch in a bedroom corner

2) I am witness to Trout Miracles.

Now, a Trout Miracle can take many forms with the most common form being Lord Trout's ability to get off work on time just about any time a meeting of The Fish Club is taking place. I never cease to be amazed at this phenomenon, and I am astounded each time he squeaks in before dark to gather presidential supplies and head to a town 20-30 minuted away to preside over a gathering of fellow fisherpeople. Lord Trout rarely makes it home from work in time for a decent supper or to watch his beloved nerd news shows, so you can see just what a miracle it is that he can accomplish the aforementioned feat.

Another thing I've noticed is the assumption on the part of others that I share Lord Trout's love of fish tricking ways. Ironically, considering I am the First Lady and all and mothering a new generation of fishermen, I have absolutely no desire to catch fish. Fly fishing is an art form of sorts developed to trick fish into biting fake bugs. Somehow I consider myself above that. I could change my mind if my family is ever starving and in need of trout flesh nourishment, but as long as I am married to a guy who thinks this is fun, why bother? Right? And as long as there are unread books, songs to sing, cross stitch patterns to bring home and never use, toenails to paint, and shopping to perform, I cannot imagine spending a whole day in the pursuit of tricking fish. But, Lord Trout, more power to ya, Honey!


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cooking Code Words

Having only recently discovered the joys of watching all the terrific cooking shows on television, I had to figure out a way to quickly identify recipes that would not work for me. So I came up with a short list of warning ingredients. I call them code words. At the mention of any of these words I can quickly recognize that chances are good that I will never be preparing a specific recipe.

Capers: Ewww. Pity the poor, hungry soul who once became brave enough to pickle and eat this.... this ... whatever it is. And more pity to the person who figured out that it was the perfect compliment to smashed up goose liver.

Anchovies: Admittedly, I do not believe I have ever tried one. I have smelled them, however, and I am relatively certain that there will not be an attempt to use them in any recipe in my kitchen. Why use a little, dead, stinky fish when you could use, say, oh, some moldy play dough instead?

Rack of Ribs: Exactly whose ribs are we talking about here? Cow? Pig? Goat? Iguana? Hippo? Can’t imagine there is really a lot of good eatin’ in a rack of ribs.

Zest: Come on, people. If Mother Nature had intended for us to eat bitter scrapings of orange skin she wouldn’t have given us thumbs to help peel all that stuff off our oranges. Right? Notice it is also the name of a deodorant soap.

Pork Loin: Loin is a turn off word. I think the word loin is used in the Bible in connection with other words like “girdeth” and “thy”. Anyone in this house looking for loin will have to go somewhere else.

Mint: Mint is for chewing gum and mouthwash. I will use mint if I am making chewing gum or mouthwash.

Fresh Basil: I have yet to meet anyone in real life who has eaten fresh basil. It is a lovely green, however, so I may employ it after living proof that it can be tolerated. If you eat anchovies please do not send your fresh basil testimonial. You obviously cannot be trusted.

Clove(s) of Garlic: Have you all never smelled yourselves after you’ve eaten that stuff? Have you ever smelled anyone else after they have eaten that stuff? For the sake of the world, I beg you, nix any recipe requiring more than a benign sprinkle of garlic in it's weakest form.

Gorgonzola: Is that a carnival ride? I do occasionally enjoy some nice bleu cheese. Can’t you just call it bleu cheese?

Mussels: I think they could possibly be endangered here in the foothills of the Smokies. One might go to prison or be threatened with hefty fines for eating an endangered species. Plus they don’t actually look like food. They look like a cross between Pinocchio’s shoes and The Little Mermaid’s bra.

Pine nuts: Not totally sure what these are, but it seems to me that we should leave them to the squirrels. Maybe then the squirrels will stay out of our bird feeders. Sounds like a decent enough trade to me.

Leg of Lamb: Correct me if I am wrong here, but don’t lambs need their legs? I have to wonder how they might caper about the meadows without their legs ...? Hey, I have an idea! Why don’t we let them keep their legs and let them get all wooly, shave them, and make ourselves some socks?!

Sherry: I went to high school with her. She was weird.

This list will expand as my cooking channel viewing progresses. I do hope that my comments and observations will also help you.

Friday, May 30, 2008

"Well,that's what you look like."

Down the hallway, in the living room, on walls, under glass, live my childhood and that of my siblings. Horrible gap toothed grins, home hair cuts, and scraped noses and chins tell the sad and humiliating story. I block it out for most of the year but at some point, we all must go home and there they are. A chronological exhibit of bad fashion, big hair and periwinkle eye shadow, thirteen years of abuse of the most heinous kind, the school picture. On display are bell bottomed polyester pant suits, yellow hush puppy sweaters, yoked jeans, school band uniforms, curly bobs, electric blue mascara, turned-up collars, t-shirts over oxfords, pin stripes and Member's Only jackets. Why? Why? I ask myself. Because parents only see the best in their children? Because no matter how ridiculously high your bangs are or how much blusher you've caked on your cheeks, they are proud? A sign of the unconditional love of a parent for their child. I smile. "Mom, why do you still keep all these horrid pictures up after all these years?" Mom just looks around, "Well," She says "I'm sorry, but that's what you looked like."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm not proud of it but there it is...

I have a confession to make. I read romance novels. There I said it. Before now, I have been forced by societal prejudices to hide this flaw in my character, however the new me is at peace with herself. Dimpled thighs, purse fetish, romance novels, that's who I am. None the less, I don't openly acknowledge my reading habits. I like to read in bed at night, tucked away from prying eyes. In public, I have a lovely grape colored paperback cover up- it's like a bathrobe for your book. It was sent to me by a good friend, and fellow fallen woman (we'll call her Lou Anne) to dress my novels in. From a distance I could be reading War and Peace or the manual to my camcorder, no one knows. My new favorite format is ebook. I can store hundreds of heaving bosom novels on my palm pilot and read away in movie theatres, on airplanes, even at boring dinner events. I keep a copy of The Kite Runner on my palm pilot turned to page 72 so that I can flip to it when people feel the need to read over my shoulder (how very rude,) I've never read The Kite Runner (well except page 72) but I hear it's a good book and I'll get to it when they stop publishing romance novels . There are many reasons why I choose romance to read in my "off" time. One, the all important happy ending. It's a forgone conclusion in romance novels that the hero and heroine will fall in love, live to a ripe old age, have many children (all of whom behave admirably and marry well) and die in each others arms. Two, I home school my children and I must offset Genghis Khan and the Mongol horde and long division with something. Three, I never have to wait my turn. No one else in my family is ever reading a Julie Garwood when I want it. Four, it makes my husband, who has never missed an episode of Stargate and named one of our children after a Star Trek the Next Generation actress, feel very superior. He asks for so little, I let him have that. And last, and most important, have you looked at some of those covers? Not the ones with half dressed Earls and blushing maids with petticoats askew, but the ones with bulging muscles and naked male chests?

Now, I used to be a romance snob, only historical novels were good enough for me. Contemporary, blech, how very common. Paranormal, palease, that was for those who couldn't commit.I mean, is it romance or sci-fi? And as we all know, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that someone might get thrown back to 1200 A.D. Scotland and find the man of her dreams whereas shape shifters, ghosts and vampires are just plain silly. Oh, how wrong I was. Did you know that highlanders sometimes get catapulted into the future and are possessed by demons and all they need, bless their hearts, is the love of a good woman to turn their lives around and save the world to boot? And my new secret joy? J.R. Ward's the Black Dagger Brotherhood, contemporary, paranormal, and great covers. I've got the next installment on pre-order. I've even been known to pick up a series romance because of the man chest on the cover. Okay, maybe I wouldn't "pick it up" but I've ordered more than a few from Amazon I tell you. My mother would probably deny it to her grave but she also reads romance novels. Maybe it runs in the genes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ten Signs You've Been in the Outback Too Long

1) You own more than three green Woolies shopping bags and you've used them at one time or another as a picnic basket, carry-on luggage and/or a purse.

2) You know what a snag is and you'll eat it in a pinch.

3) You've taken a Kangaroo and Damper cooking class.

4) You know someone who knows someone who saw their FIRST alien here.

5) You now drive on the left even when your the only person on the road.

6) You've gone shopping in your bedroom slippers and not been bothered.

7) You've had to wait for a camel to vacate the roadway.

8) You've recently been on holiday, put your rubbish in a bin, or had to ask for extra serviettes.

9) You've forgotten what Velveeta tastes like.

10) You've had more than one packet of ranch dressing confiscated by Australian Customs.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Was a Disco Ball Diva.......

This past weekend marked the beginning of the 'Ball Crawl' season in the southern hemisphere. For the next several months there will be a half dozen such events that may, and in some instances must, be attended. For me this means that not only will I be forced to eat banquet food, keep an even tan and do way more hair maintenance than I'm comfortable with but that I also must wedge myself into formal wear. Now, possibly due to the excessive use of biscuits (the cookie kind), scones (the biscuit kind) and iced coffee that is very refreshing and comes in 2 litre bottles, I seem to have outgrown, a wee bit, my very favorite black dress. Six weeks ago marked the beginning of panic mode. I took up kick boxing, jogging and green tea. I detoxed, low carb'd and weight watched. I purchased steel belted neck to knees 'slimming' underclothes. Once a week my daughter would follow me into the bedroom and try to look encouraging while she zipped me into my sparkly black dress. First to the waistline, then to the middle of my back, and finally all the way up. Aaahhh, I'd done it. Fit like a glove. And had I been able to breath I would have looked stunning. In the end I wore my silver dress, the one that makes me look like a disco ball (some of you may remember it.) Now I've gotta go because I have kick boxing tonight and my instructor, the former Ms. Tinyweight Boxing Champion of Europe (that might not be her exact title) saw me putting extra butter on my toast at coffee on Tuesday and is probably at this moment calculating how many push-ups it'll take to make me regret it. When I can lift my arms again I'm going to kick my husbands butt for letting me outgrow that sparkly black dress.....

If I die would someone please scatter my ashes through the heather in my Scotland??? I don't mind waiting until 2012...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Homophone Replacement Therapy

Homophone Replacement Therapy

I can cannot count the many times I have caught myself committing typo by using the wrong homophone. I am ashamed. All my language arts teachers that are no longer walking among us must be clapping erasers in their graves wondering how I have wandered so far from the grammar way and ended up here ... in apparent homophone confusion. Can they ever forgive me? To help explain the situation, I have come up with this:

Unfortunately, due to recent brain cell overload compounded by the electronic age, my writing skills have fallen victim to a bout of Thinking Faster Than I Can Type Syndrome. As a direct result, I have come down with a condition resulting in a breakdown in homophone balance. Hopefully after a few weeks under the care of a competent dictionary I will be far enough along in Homophone Replacement Therapy for my fingers to differentiate between their and there and they’re, your and you’re, won and one, no and know, etc. Meanwhile, should self-editing miss some of my frequent misspells due fingers-brain homophone confusion, please try to overlook them or kindly prompt me to fix the problem. Thank you.