Saturday, July 31, 2010

Synonyms: Listlessness, Tedium, Lassitude, Languor. Glad we cleared that up.

After we had exhausted every version of "U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi" and run out of people to embarrass via the "My name is [XYZ], YEAH, I love [boyfriend at the time], YEAH, and we're gonna win!, YEAH, alright, alright, alright," singing extravaganza, we would often resort to an invariably classy, tasteful, and mature game of "Would you rather..." ("we" being any random assortment of early-mid 90s Cumberland County ball players, cheerleaders, and/or Beta Convention attendees). I distinctly remember Stacy Melton and Lisa Morgan definitively stating that they would choose sliding down a hill of razorblades, only to fall into a pool of alcohol, over kissing some poor soul who had done nothing to invite participation in said ultimatum. True, having DVD players in cars, ipods and cell phones in pockets, and playstations in each bedroom may be turning kids into A.D.D monsters, but look at the bright side: at least most aren't playing "Would you rather" when they are supposed to be sitting silently and thinking about why the team lost.

Point 1: And I say this as a non-parent - ask me again in a few years and I may be too busy operating my van's multi-disk blue-ray player to answer - I still think I would prefer my kids play horribly mean, but creative and imaginative, games with each other (especially "Who Brought the Skunk?") than sit mesmerized by digital imagery for hours upon hours.

Point 2: I have played sports my entire life and I love being outdoors. I truly enjoy taking Lucy and Willie for evening walks. I like working with my hands and feeling as though I have actually accomplished something over the course of the day. If I sit around the house too long, watching TV or playing on the Internet, ennui takes over. With all this being said, however, I firmly believe that anyone who says that they enjoy exercise is a liar. [Clarification of "exercise" - the stuff that falls outside of games/competitions/activities - instead, the daily grind of treadmills, ellipticals, push-ups, etc.] Sure, we can bear it because it's good for us; it can occasionally be slightly less than painful because it gives us an opportunity to hang out with our friends; upon finishing, we know that we, both physically and mentally, feel better (I have always said that merely getting dressed [the build-up] is the hardest part; once ready, it doesn't seem quite so bad). BUT, "enjoy" is a bit of a stretch ("stretch"... get it? hilarious). Exercise, purely for the sake of exercise, blows.

The burdensome nature of exercise is on my mind this morning because for the past two days I have spent hours contemplating the type of exercise I should do, berating myself for not selecting any of the debated options, and then guilting myself for nonetheless partaking of birthday cake and county fair biscotti. While the logical solution is to merely buckle down and do something, I have a better idea. Rather than simply putting on my running shoes and some invariably mismatched work-out gear, I choose to play "Would you rather" on Pillow Book instead.

On this particular morning, here's all the stuff I would choose over exercise:
- Slide down a hill of razorblades into a pool of alcohol
- Ride on a school bus filled with song-singing middle and high schoolers
- Replace my crown molding with a border depicting basket-carrying forest animals
- Go to a Ke$ha concert
- Smile and wink at shoppers who leave their buggies in the middle of parking lots
- Make, and subsequently wear, pants with any number of phrases across the butt
- Wear glitter makeup
- Watch Inception again and pretend that it actually blows my mind
- Become an avid Farmville player
- Drive Nicholasville Road for 2 hours straight. In Dad's hoopie.
- Talk on the phone to every person in my call log...About lots of unimportant things that don't really need to be discussed.
- Stab myself in the leg with a fork
- Get a bowl-cut. Again.
- Walk on Centre's campus on a really windy day. With my bowl cut.
- Sit in a recliner with a snake
- Mess up my kitchen and not clean it until tomorrow
- Try on clothes in Abercrombie
- Cut my Avett Brothers shirts and make do-rags
- Watch a Seinfeld marathon that features Kramer and George only

_______________________________________________________
This recipe is available on the blog of one of Lindsey's former co-workers. If you get a chance, check it out: Adventures in a Small Town http://myadventuresinasmalltown.blogspot.com/2010/07/breath.html. Mine have not been sitting for 30 days yet...I'll give you an update in a couple of weeks.

Sweet Pickles (1 jar)
Small Whole Cucumbers
1 cup white distilled vinegar
2 Tbsp pickling spice
1/2 Tbsp Alum
1/2 Tbsp canning salt
Enough water to finish filling the jar

Place as many cucumbers in jar as possible. Place all ingredients in jar finishing with vinegar and then filling jar to the rim with water & place on lid and ring (these do not need to seal).

Let cucumbers set for 30 days.

On day 30:
Drain jar.
Rinse pickles and slice.
Return to jar and add 1 heaping cup of sugar.
Shake jars for 3-4 days to finish.
________________________________________________________
I will be starting a new job on Monday. I hope to continue writing on Pillow Book 2-3 times/week, but if any of you are interested in contributing, please let me know. It would be wonderful to have co-authors.

Monday, July 26, 2010

You Can Take the Girl Out of the Glasgow Scottie Band...

Ben Ashby had a Rainbow Brite doll for sell and he didn't even know it.

Ben, a former student who owns CHANDLERclark, a website company specializing in vintage and folk art collectibles, is a pretty phenomenal young man - interesting, creative, self-aware, and artsy (but not in a pretentious, "I'm so cool because I study existentialism and stack trashcans on one another and proceed to title it 'the secret to life,'" sort of way). Nonetheless, he has an inescapably noticeable, and rather unfortunate, flaw...Ben is not a child of the 80s. He probably had no idea what I was talking about when I discussed the way in which Lindsey, all on her own, so arrogantly criticized Kristi Melton's Axl Rose impersonation. Ben wasn't familiar with Debbie Gibson. His mother probably has no pictures of a 3rd grade Ben, sporting a rat-tail or mullet, tucked away in dust-covered photo albums. Therefore, when I posted a comment, equal parts classy and creative, under the picture of previously-mentioned doll (if I'm not mistaken, it was something along the lines of "love me some Rainbow Brite"), he initially responded with confusion, and then with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql3qvz4yjfo&feature=related (sorry, embedding is not possible; you'll have to copy and paste). YouTube had allowed him his only possible access to my childhood world - a world filled with multi-colored ponies, Care Bear stares, Nanny's green and white leg warmers, and Smurfette's narcissism.

You know you're getting old when you start saying, fairly often, "they just don't make 'em like they used to." It does not matter if talking about cartoons or clothes (I'm convinced that a pair of decently-fitting jeans no longer actually exist), the undergirding belief is simply: "things used to be better." [Related grammar issue: Never mind that "they" and "them or 'em" are nondescript space fillers, most grammarians now agree that ending a sentence with a preposition is occasionally okay. While there is no set "rule," basically one should just stick with the "would normal people talk like that?" policy. Ex. "What did you step on?" works (as opposed to: "On what did you step?"); "where is it located at?" does not - "at" is completely unnecessary].

SO, this is me being old. Last night I pilfered through Mom's attic, looking for some of my favorite toys from childhood. While I did not find the coveted Rainbow Brite doll that I loved so dearly, I did round up some of my other playmates and time wasters. The 80s were a glorious era.
Bet you can't guess which one Leigh Ann probably dressed and which one I worked on.
The forerunner to "Juicy" pants. Left to right: The Cabbage Patch doll that could go in the bathtub (ironically, she had big dirt spots on her face); Belinda, my first Cabbage Patch doll, is wearing one of the dresses that a local woman made for my and Leigh's dolls; Abagail, my My Child; and Sabina...guess what her stomach felt like.
Care Bear Cousin and Baby Minnie. Minnie was what I used to hold when Mom would pop the stys I often got around my eyes. Ahh, good times.
Tickles and Giggles. This is arguably the scariest doll ever made. I loved her.
Grover was always my favorite Sesame Street character. "Otis Lee, got no hair, but he don't care, good ole Otis Lee" (we would often substitute "Curtis Lee," convinced we were incredibly witty).
Even though I often called home about 9:30, asking Mom or Dad to come pick me up from friends' houses, I was rather fond of my overnight bag.
The "Princess of Power" herself, She-Ra.
We always took really good care of our toys.
Strawberry Shortcake and her naked friends.

And, finally, one of our favorite toys, best displayed not with still photography, but with a demonstration...
video

Friday, July 23, 2010

"You know what really chaps my ass though? I spent my life savings turning my van into a dog."

Usually on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, I wake up with a pretty good idea of what I want to talk about on Pillow Book; I've been inspired by something I've read, a photo that caught my attention, a conversation of interest, or a funny memory worth sharing. Today, however, I am having a little trouble staying focused. And I'm frustrated. I want introspection and am getting awesome/unawesome lists. I crave intellectualism, yet am wearing the Single Ladies' leotard in my mind. I seek enlightenment even as I debate whether Harvey prefers dog food or bird seed. Possible topics have thus not only been fleeting, but they've been dumb. No really, I'll prove it. Here is my brainstorm list (with any graphics described in parentheses).

I promise - 1) all of this is actually written down AND, 2) I am not leaving out things that actually make sense for the sake of substantiating my "dumb" claim.
...
-Write on myself (followed by a sad face - He is frowning. And crying.)
-Handkerchiefs (followed by a check mark)
-Books with good acknowledgments
-FB convo about Def Leppard
-Gooty/gooty v. gootie/gootie
-Stomach noises - what are they?
-Opening curtains in the morning
-Photo caption contest
-Tightrope
-Why I like the fair
-Napkins matter

Okay, so instead of trying to artificially manufacture some blog entry that seems meaningful or analytical, I choose to just give in. Here's your task: Try to figure out the back story behind or an explanation for as many of these as you can. C'mon, it might be fun:).

I'll get you started...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Two Things Create a Woman, Pretty Dresses and Love Letters"

Gustave Flaubert, a mid to late 19th-century French author, is most well known for his first published novel, Madame Bovary. While in his 20s, Flaubert fell in love with Louise Colet, a poet whom he never married, but who nonetheless seemed to shape much of what he wrote and more generally speaking, his willingness (or lack thereof), in the years that followed, to seek anything beyond platonic relationships. He is on my mind this morning for three reasons: 1) Vivian Swift quotes him in her travel journal, When Wanderers Cease to Roam - one of my favorite reads of all time; 2) I have been thinking about the sustainability of love - why do some people stay with us no matter how circumstances change?; and 3) after doing a little research, it seems Flaubert, a skilled author who could legitimately be classified both as romantic and realist, was painstakingly devoted to finding just the right word. - you have probably heard me mention that semantics will be the death of me.

The quote of interest: "He had never seen anything to compare with her. What was her name, her home, her life, her past? He longed to know the furniture in her room, all the pretty dresses she had ever worn." Sentimental Education, 1869

Today, let's all assume that someone is inescapably thinking this exact same thing about each of us.
_______________________________________________________
Orange is the new green.
...
Butternut & Sweet Potato Bisque
Servings: 4
This sounds a little fancy, but trust me, it isn't. The soup is both delicious and fairly easy to make (obviously, this is just my opinion, but I honestly think it would please a diverse array of palettes; the flavors subtly blend, tastefully avoiding the sometimes inevitable "love it or hate it" response to less commonly used vegetables). Additionally, if you're like me and are yearning for fall, this might sooth your summer heartache. Plus, it's orange. ...:)

Ingredients
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1 medium sweet potato, cooked, peeled and cubed (I used new potatoes)
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger (I used dry)
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds and gooey stuff (as if cleaning a pumpkin). Sprinkle butter or olive oil, salt and pepper on both halves. Put about an inch of water in a baking pan and then place squash, cut side up, in the pan. Bake for about 75 minutes. If using sweet potato, cook at the same time (since I used the small, red new potatoes, I just peeled and cooked them on the stovetop about 40 minutes into the squash cook time).
2. When the squash and sweet potato have cooled a bit, scoop out the good stuff and put the peelings in the compost pile.

3. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown. I also added celery...just because I really like celery.

4. Add squash, sweet potato, corn, ginger, brown sugar, coriander, salt, pepper, and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until squash is tender (15-20 minutes).

5. With slotted spoon, transfer solids to food processor or blender and process to a smooth puree. Return puree to saucepan and stir to blend with liquid remaining in pan. Serve hot. (You might consider adding sour cream, cheese, fresh herbs, or cream fraiche on top). Served in an oddly-shaped bowl that I made in a wheel-throwing class and alongside fresh tomatoes from Andy's garden and a couple of pieces of Mom's sourdough bread.
***
Knock, knock?

Who's there?

Orange.

Orange, who?

Orange you glad you aren't the 13-year-old daughter of this driver?
***
Orange Slice Cookies
I recommend this recipe - the dough has an easy-to-work-with consistency, the cookies definitely have a unique flavor, but are quite tasty (especially right out of the oven), and there is a versatility about them that escapes denser, chocolaty desserts (could be an after-supper dessert with a glass of milk or a quick breakfast alongside tea or coffee). And, to state the obvious, it's hard to go wrong with brown sugar, shortening, butter, coconut, and gummy balls of sugar-coated candy. The dancing fruit on the package, a welcomed act of deceit that just may coerce you into believing that rays of sunshine and Vitamin C are the key ingredients, is an added bonus.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup orange slice candies, finely snipped (If you figure out an easy way to cut orange slices, let me know)
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, cream sugars with shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir to blend. Stir dry mixture into the creamed mixture. Stir in oats, orange slice candy, and coconut. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes (I baked mine about 18), until lightly browned. Remove to wire rack to cool.
*In theory, this should make 36 cookies; I ended up with 26 or 27 I think.

Monday, July 19, 2010

We Still Need A Chairman for the Beard Growing Contest

And, my long-held desire and well-intentioned scheme to make Burkesville a little more Stars Hollow-esque begins. ...

You might remember me mentioning Gilmore Girls on here before - the quality character development, the witty writing, the love stories of interest. I'm fairly certain, however, that when I have discussed in the past, I've neglected the one component that inspires viewers to care about individual characters, specific scripts, and the weekly plots (Ever type or say a word and it just looks or sounds wrong to you even though you know you spelled/said it correctly? "Plots" looks funny to me). I don't think I've ever really explored the sense of community in Stars Hollow, the fictitious town where these relationships are built and these smartly sarcastic conversations take place.

Because this is a t.v. show and because I know some of you are thinking "she does know this town doesn't exist, right?" I will keep my metaphorical and psychoanalytical explanations in check. I just want to briefly mention why I have said, since I started watching this series, "One day I want to live in a town just like this." In Stars Hollow, people attend town meetings where everything from the town troubadour to building permits for historic renovations is discussed. There is a town troubadour. People buy makeup and stationary at the local shops on the square. Diners used to be hardware stores. There are festivals every month. It always seems like fall. People walk when they need to get somewhere. There is a local theater (a projector in someone's house, comfy couches and a few chairs), a dance studio, and a used bookstore. There are entrepreneurs and dreamers just as there are mechanics and market owners. People are sarcastic and occasionally surly, but never mean. Characters don't have to leave the town to seem completely fulfilled.

When I attended the Burkesville Bicentennial organizational meeting last Friday, it felt a little like fall to me. I love that so many people, and people representing a wide swath of interests, professions, and ages, cared enough to come. I enjoyed the funny jabs at one another when discussing possible chairmen for the stagecoach, muzzleloading, and clogging committees. I appreciated that most people seemed to know me even though I haven't lived in Burkesville (full-time) since high school. I was reminded of all the talent and skill represented in our community. I got to talk about tasks and activities with Misty Dubre, a high school classmate - and the local Zumba instructor extraordinaire - in ways we haven't since 1998. I, with great pleasure, was forced to remember late summer nights watching people like Lori Melton, Carol Cary, and LaCosta Smith perform on the Cumberland Queen. I had and have the chance to help plan a festival.

I will have more information on this festival (which will be held in late October) as well as the Bluegrass Festival (mid-September) in the coming months. If anyone is interested, there is another Bicentennial meeting on Thursday at noon at JD's Restaurant (used to be the gas station at the intersection of 90 and south 61).
___________________________________________________
On Friday, I also came across a genuine Cumberland County gem. And by "came across," I mean I went in after Leigh Ann told me both who the owner was and why I should stop by; I believe it was something to the effect of "I know how you love to pilfer [or maybe it was piddle]"...both in fact quite accurate. Well, let me tell you, even if Freda Crawford wasn't family, I would still, without hesitation, go back to Main Street 210. This somewhat unassuming consignment and retail store in the Houchens complex is such a welcomed addition to the Cumberland County business community. The shop, which opened in July 2009, is much larger than the storefront suggests; Freda, and her sister, Robin, have tastefully decorated and arranged (there is plenty to look at, but also plenty of room to walk - a rarity in similar shops) five rooms with new, vintage, and consignment items. They have furniture (quirky, unique pieces, but very traditional cabinets, tables, and bookcases as well), a huge collection of dishes and china, home decor odds and ends, and jewelry and apparel accessories. Trust me, take the time to go in and explore...you'll like what you see.

Hours:
Wednesday-Friday: 10-6, Saturday: 9-2

Contact Information:
210 North Main Street
Burkesville, KY 42717
270-864-1653 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 270-864-1653 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Here's a few shots from inside the shop. The captions are taken from the transcript of the informal interview Freda was kind enough to grant me.
What was your motivation to open Main Street 210?
For about 15 years I have wanted to open a furniture consignment store just to offer our fine local citizens with some quality items with a cost that is affordable. Our mission is to give back to the community. Burkesville has been good to us.
How often to you get new stuff in?
We receive merchandise weekly.
What types of pieces are you typically looking for?
We look for items that people really can use, or as we say "needful" items..ha!
Do you allow local people to bring in stuff and you resale?
Yes, local people are our first concern. We just ask that items be clean and in good shape. We have advertised in Albany and Columbia. We love new consignors. Also, we would like to add that calling for an appointment to bring items in would be great.
Any other comments you'd like to include?
If anyone is looking for a particular item, we keep a running list of that, so when it comes it we give that person a call to see if it's the right fit.


Friday, July 16, 2010

The Baha Men May Have Won a Grammy, but that doesn't mean saying "Who Let the Dogs Out" is clever or funny

Lucy and Willie showing Isabella a thing or two. C'mon, admit it, this is cute.

I often hear people say, "You never know how much you'll love your kids until you have them." (I may have, in all actuality, heard that once or twice in my life; hyperbole never hurt anyone). Well, I don't know about kids, but I sure feel that way about my utterly untrained, of unknown breed, completely cost ineffective dogs, Lucy and Willie Turner. Or, as also affectionately referred: "Luce" (pronounced "loose"), "Lucy Lou," "Lucy Baby," "Willis," "Will Pickle," "Mr. Pickleton," "Pickle Sticks."

I grew up around dogs. But, these were "outside dogs." Even some of our favorites - Dottie (bet you can't guess the origin of that name), Butterscotch, Emma, Waffle - ventured in the house only when Leigh Ann, Adrienne, or I created a diversion with spilled milk or a fistfight. On the rare occasion, said distraction provided just enough time for the pup of choice to stealthily tiptoe, with reckless abandon, past the house despot. Otherwise, Jackie was having none of it. Mom didn't care that Waffle was afraid of thunderstorms or that we liked Dottie more than we liked each other.

Fast forward 20 years:
- Lucy, Willie, and Tucker (Mom and Dad's Yorkie-poo) occasionally take up too much space in the bed.
- Lucy and Willie have a permanent water bowl that attaches to the back of the passenger seat. And seat belts.
- Tucker goes to a place called "Doggone Classy" for monthly groomings. I had Lucy's teeth professionally cleaned.
- I take Lucy and Willie to puppy day care on days when Heartland is holding themed parties...Examples: "Superbowl Extravagance," "Easter Egg Hunt," "Fall Festival."
- One of my favorite Christmas pictures of all time is of Santa holding Lucy and Willie (who, naturally, are in Elf costumes).
- Tucker gets his food microwaved, allowing the expensive wet dog food to coat the also expensive, dry dog food.
- At the last vet visit, Dr. Rowland, who is one of the nicest men you can imagine, had to fuss on me a bit. Lucy had gained some weight (I shall just leave it at "some") because I had been giving her excessive homemade dog treats and table scraps (Is it still considered "scraps" if the food is in fact cooked solely for them? So I may scramble them a few eggs now and then, big deal).

Bet Dottie, Scotch, and Emma read L,W, and T's Facebook statuses and also think "oh, shut the hell up".

I truly love my dogs like they are my children. I love to see them get excited when I drive up. I love that I can fuss on them and then five minutes later, all is forgotten and they want to sit in my lap. I love that Willie gives "good Willie bites" first thing in the morning. I love that Lucy was my first dog. I love that they love Isaiah and he, them. I love that they really do seem to think of Mom and Dad as Nonna and Pa. I appreciate that they have been with me through some of the most horrible moments of my life, always cuddling with me when intuiting that I was sad or hurt. I love that they have shared most of the best moments.
This was discovered laying beside Lucy and Willie's food bowls a few days ago. I first suspected that someone had helped them with it. I then remembered how smart and capable they are.

So, today is a tribute to Lucy and Willie Turner.







It seems many of the Pillow Book followers are also "dog people." Here is Alexus and her dog, Buster. I adore these pictures.


____________________________________________________
Dessert for those trying to use up stuff in their freezer and/or refrigerator

Ingredients:

Puff pastry crust
Peach & Strawberry preserves
Cheesecake filling of your choice (I just grabbed a recipe online)
Crushed almonds/pecans

Directions/Rationale:
I decided to throw this together because 1) I had a puff pastry and some cream cheese that needed to be used and 2) I had homemade peach and strawberry preserves that were too delicious not to share.

Preheat oven to 400. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray.

I rolled out the puff pastry crust and used a pizza cutter to divide into 12 squares. I then shaped each piece into the muffin pan. Egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes or so (golden brown).

Remove crusts from pan and allow to cool. Put spoonful of preserve/jam in each cup and refrigerate.

Put together cheesecake filling and bake. (I just put mine in a buttered pie plate - no crust).

Allow cheesecake to cool. Remove pastry crusts from refrigerator. Use ice cream scoop to dollop cheesecake mixture on top of crust and preserves. Top with nuts of choice.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I actually put mine in the freezer for a bit).

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Mind Told Me I Should Proceed With Caution, But My Heart Said Go Ahead and Make a Bid on That

A brief background story, followed by a few scholarly conclusions, capped with sage words of advice...

While I 1) have vast experience with the CCHS radio fundraiser and 2) I did attend a car auction once with dad and Tack Branham (when I got the little, blue Ford Ranger I drove in high school), I had never been to a property auction prior to this past weekend. Andy had been planning on attending the Casey Fork extravaganza for several days (looking for bike equipment), but I was a little hesitant; I spend too much money when I go pilfering through the Dollar Store (Pam has even commented on my random purchases before - last visit it was a plunger, cereal, and conditioner I think). What would the excitement of an auction inspire me to load into Lucy and Willie's Elantra playground? But alas, my desire to both clean my house and to squelch buying irrationality were both eclipsed by the lure of Colonel Joe's voice. Andy called, asking for lunch money (the Mennonite community sold pies, homemade ice cream, BBQ chicken and pork plates that looked ridiculously good) and the auction called, asking for my unadulterated support.

Conclusions:
1. Bryant Realty can hold an auction like nobody's business. There were a ton of items up for bid, but Jeremy, Jeffrey, Ryan, and Joe got through things quickly, in organized fashion, and seemed to have a little fun with it. The two ladies in the number and "check-out" trailer were friendly and efficient.
2. Four big saw horses for $5 is a steal.
3. I should've got into a bidding war with the joker who got the dog house for $20. I don't care that he was roughly 12 years old.
4. Who knew a tiller would go for about $2000? I realize that's not a conclusion.
5. I should've spent less time walking around looking at garden tools, tandem bikes, and kitchen furniture and more time eating pecan pie.

Advice:
Auctions are awesome. That is all.
***
Andy picked up lots of necessities. Here's a sampling (I will then follow with a description of the most exciting purchase...)
A feeder and waterer for the chicken coop. I think.
Basically a hand tiller for gardening. Some guy tried to bid against him. Yeah, better luck next time, fool.
I have a Wal-Mart bike that has been ridden maybe two times in the past year. This apparently is a really nice bike rack that good ol' purple passion will never be on.
Who doesn't love a grab bag?! Andy got this box o' bike tools for $5.

AND NOW, for the most exciting expenditure of the day...
A PALLET FULL OF BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT!!!! Do either of us have bees? No.
Would love to hear your thoughts: What do you think is running through his mind?
I urged him to also purchase the sign. Once again, necessity. Oh, and by the way, if you go to www.honey.com you can read about the Save the Honey Bear campaign as well as get a good recipe for canning peaches. That's not a joke or euphemism.
These are obviously the sanded wood implements that secure the combs to the foundations and supers. Or, they are the wood things that I thought looked like a cute city skyline.
This seems important.
Success!

And now, a little instructional video...
video

Friday, July 9, 2010

"It All Started With Two Brothers, an Old Van, and a Dream"

Anytime one feels as though they must eat their words, I suppose the first step is simply acknowledgement of wrongdoing. And so, I begin today with an admission, a cathartic explanation that will surely make me seem like the most surly 29 year old you know. ...

In the past, when I've seen people post things like "Loving Life!!!" or "I am so blessed!!!!" or "[Insert any really positive comment that also includes a heart made from a 3 and a greater-than symbol]," my immediate, though, perhaps to my credit, usually unspoken, response was "oh, shut the hell up." No, nevermind, that's mean even if I never said it.

BUT, as I sit here this morning I feel inclined to use some mathematical symbols and exclamation points. It has just been a really fun week. And thus, to make amends to all of those whom I have secretly cursed, rolled my eyes at, and wished mud thrown upon, I will do those things that I typically hate: 1) use cliche-filled sentences - This is me eating crow, finishing with humble pie, and then swallowing alongside my pride.; 2) be optimistic - A bunch more people will add to Monday's story to which only Andy, Kristi, and Mandi have contributed thus far.; 3) while pictorially describing my week, I will be sure to incorporate a bunch of grammatical marks that will most likely annoy me again next week.: ...
Early in the week, Andy and I accidentally stumbled across this jack-of-all-trades store in Columbia. I don't remember the road number, but if coming from Burkesville, go 3/4 way around the square and follow that road for about 2 miles or so. It will be on your right. If I've said "I really wish I could lift weights, buy a Jesus-themed bracelet, and eat a buffalo burger all at the same place" once, I've said it a million times. (Oh, and the food actually was fantastic - he had a buffalo slawburger and I had the grilled chicken/pepperjack/pineapple sandwich. !!!)
Every time I go in a gas station, anything with absolutely no nutritional value seems like the perfect snack - hot pockets, push-ups, honey buns, slush puppies, yoohoos, coconut donuts. When we stopped at the gas station by the Columbia Wal-Mart, however, I, for the first time, found a little treat that is both marginally good for me and super delicious. What a day. I <3 chocolate milk.
In the middle of the week, Andy and I hauled hay for a friend of his in western Kentucky. Although I grew up on a farm, never in my life have I had the pleasure of loading hay onto a wagon and then arranging said hay in a loft that is far too high for my tiny-bit-scared-of-heights sensibilities. But, you know what? I actually kind of enjoyed it. If you get a chance, go back and read Caroline's post from a few months ago about the joy of working with your hands, getting a bit dirty, and feeling like you've accomplished something. Getting paid really well and having some nice battle scars didn't hurt either (because I refused to wear long sleeves, fearful of funny tan lines. ...)



After playing lots of Wii and wasting a few hours on the Internet yesterday, we decided to preserve some stuff from his garden. A brief trip to Whipples and a good dish washing of his great grandmother's canner later, we began pickling okra and banana peppers. While this is the basic recipe that we decided to use, we did add some secret ingredients that may - because I have vowed to be super excited and optimistic - make it even more awesome than the recipe creators imagined!!!!

PICKLED OKRA
4 or 4 1/2 lbs. sm. okra pods
7 cloves garlic
7 hot peppers
7 tsp. dill seeds
1 qt. vinegar
1 c. water
1/2 c. pickling salt

Wash okra well. Drain and set aside. Place 1 clove garlic and 1 hot pepper into each of 7 hot sterilized pint jars. Pack jars firmly with okra, leaving 1/2 inch head space; add 1 teaspoon dill seed to each. Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a large saucepan; bring to a boil and pour over okra. Screw metal bands on tightly. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Let pickles stand at least 5 weeks before opening. This is really hot. You may want to cut the amount of spices used.
_____________________________________________________
And, I leave you today with a reference to Monday's blog entry. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the inspiration for a collaborative story came from Mandi Wheat and the little ditties we would create in high school English class. Well, lo and behold if Miss Wheat did not come across one of our originals. She emailed me this last night...:)

It was Freaky & Scary but Oh So Cool
Story by Senior English Class 1997/1998

(Corey Garner) It seems like it was the day before tomorrow when it all happened. It was sort of freaky and scary but oh so cool.

(Mandi Wheat) I walked home after school and unlocked the door. I walked in, sat down with a Pepsi and a bag of chips and watched the Greased Pig Channel.

(? Not sure?) As the show came on, a squiggly chill of satisfaction filled my once empty soul. The show made my toes wiggle along with my monkey shivering.

(Liza Turner) All of the sudden, Mr. Bright and Janet Jackson, dressed head to toe in flannel leotards, busted through my door and shouted Got Milk? I got really mad and told them to shut their big, fat, ugly mouths and then shot them in the elbow because they caused me to miss the ending of Run for the Roses…Greased Pig Style.

(? Not sure…Either Lindsey or Melissa…I think) After they ran off I settled down to some re-runs, of course on the best channel. (Greased Pig) I began to feel sleepy and soon I was dreaming. I was dancing like a chicken to “You can’t touch this.” It was so real the lights were flashing and I was a star!

Just for kicks:) - http://www.lifeisgood.com/