Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
A while back I promised this entry, and I got sidetracked by frogs, lists and children, so here it is.
Being a Canadian living in the southeastern United States has posed some interesting challenges for me: accents, a reeeeeally slow pace of life, and food. The food is really different, but I love it nonetheless. So I got to thinking about some of my favourite foods and how they might stack up against each other in a to-the-death cage match.
Pecan Pie vs. Butter Tarts
This was a toughie for me, as I happen to love both of these almost equally well. Truth be told, they're almost the exact same thing, really. They're both sugar based pies, but where pecan pies have (duh!) nuts, butter tarts have raisins. I love butter tarts. I grew up eating these with a cup of tea on the side (heavy on the milk). While I like pecan pie, I don't think I could gorge myself on it the way I can with butter tarts. The crust is different, more like shortbread. And I like mine just a touch runny. And of course, I can't buy them here, so I have to bake them myself. Oh, and for Americans who have no idea what a butter tart is, here's a linky, although I take issue with Wikipedia's ingredient list. I've never seen these made with nuts before.
Winner: BUTTER TARTS.
Greens vs. Boiled Cabbage
Um, okay, no brainer on this one. Greens, be they collard, mustard, or turnip win this one hands down for me. I grew up eating very English food: bangers and mash (sausages and potatoes) with a side of boiled cabbage was a regular weekly occurrence. It's filling, it's tasty, and it's cheap. I've got nothing against boiled cabbage, especially when it's laced with a ton of butter and salt and pepper. But there's something about biting into tender greens, simmered for an hour with a couple of ham hocks or smoked turkey wings, and seasoned with pepper vinegar that just does it for me. And, if I do say so myself, I make some kick-ass greens.
Sweet Tea vs. A Cup of Tea
I can't drink southern sweet tea. Goodness knows I've tried in order to preserve family harmony (and because a lot of times, there's nothing else to drink). But in my opinion, it's like trying to suck watered down corn syrup through a straw. A word of wisdom to my Canadian friends: be careful if you ever come down here and order tea thinking you're going to get a steaming mug. You'll get a tall, ice filled glass covered with the sweetest beverage known to man. I almost choked the first time I tried it. I now order it "unsweet" and risk the hostile stares from other restaurant patrons. For my Southern friends, if you order tea up north, you're likely to be brought a small stainless steel tea pot filled with boiling water and a couple of tea bags tucked in a mug. Just so you know.
Winner: Cup of Tea
Grits vs. Poutine
Okay, my American friends, here's a quick lesson in strange Canadian foods. Poutine (not to be confused with Russian leader Vladimir Putin) originated in Quebec in the 1950's. It consists of french fries, covered in cheese curd, and then topped with brown gravy. I tried to think of something as weird on the southern side, but instead I came up with my favourite divisive food, grits. Poutine is certainly an acquired taste, so is grits. But I've never been able to wrap my head around cheese curds and gravy. I love fries, I love gravy, and I like cheese curds. I even like gravy on fries. But I can't eat them all together. I think it looks gross. Sorry, but I'll take a hot bowl of buttered and salted grits any day. Regular readers know how I love my grits (see some of my earlier posts if you're new here), so I don't think there's any competition.
So I guess I'm really a half and half mixture now of Southerner and Canadian. Do you guys have foods you think I should have compared? The only other thing I can think of that's really uniquely Canadian is ketchup flavoured chips, which you can't buy in the States. If you haven't tried them, they are yummy, and my friend Jill brings them to me whenever she visits. And Jill, we're out of chips, okay?
Monday, June 25, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
- I can cook, and cook well, with whatever happens to be on hand. I inherited this trait from my mom.
- I may be overweight, but I can also lift fifty pounds above my head and hold it there for more than a minute. My child weighs almost forty pounds, and I can hold her up there for a while! Don't ask why I would choose to do this.
- I care. A lot. About everyone and everything. Sometimes this makes me cry and pisses other people off, but I think it makes me a better person.
- I'm intelligent. This gets me into trouble sometimes, usually with other people who don't care how smart I am.
- I am a smart ass. It's fun. Try it sometime, I guarantee endless hours of amusement.
Okay, those are my five, and just like The Rotten Correspondent, I am encouraging you to post five things you like about yourself in the comments section. Maybe next week we'll try things we don't like about ourselves. Or not.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I'm really lucky in who I married, because I have a fantastic mother-in-law. She doesn't read this blog, so I can gush about her all I want.
When I first met Ray's parents, I was more than a bit nervous. He was wrapping up his divorce, we worked together, and I probably must have seemed like a home wrecker. I was terrified, but if Ray's mom hated me, she never let on, and it's been smooth sailing ever since.
It might be because we are similar in many ways. Neither one of us gets really uptight about house work, we're both a little sarcastic, we both like a good drink, and we both like to laugh. We also both wear the same size, which led to us inadvertently swapping a pair of jeans. She was doing a load of wash at her house, and grabbed some of our laundry (we were visiting) to put in with hers. We just happened to have the same pair of jeans in the exact same size. I'm not sure what that says about my husband...
My husbands parents are in town this week, staying on the island getting a bit of much-needed vacation, and we all went out to eat last night. We had a blast at Uncle Bubba's (brother of Paula Deen, try the char grilled oysters!), her, me and my sister-in-law all laughing and carrying on. I'm sure half the restaurant thought we were drunk, but all we'd had was tea. I swear! It just made me realize how very fortunate I am that I get along so well with my husband's family, and that I like spending time with them, and not everyone can say that about their own families, let alone their spouse's!
My MIL is also like me in that she doesn't like to be complimented to much, it embarrasses her. So, I can just say here "Thanks, Diane. You a great Nana to the four-year-old, and thank you for not calling me a hussy when I started dating your son."
May you all be blessed with a great mother-in-law.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Normally, award shows don't do much for me. I've always thought they were an exercise in narcissism for a group of people whom we already pay way to much attention to. Besides, the people who really deserve attention (i.e. the technicians, editors, make-up and costume artists) get their awards at a banquet the night before the big gig, and they never get the recognition I think they deserve.
But I watched the Daytime Emmy Awards Thursday night for two reasons: Bob Barker and Paula Deen.
Bob Barker won for best game show host, right after CBS aired his final Price is Right. I thought Ellen Degeneres did a great job with the presentation. Paula Deen was nominated for and won two awards, and she's our hometown girl. I'm sure she can be ruthless and bitchy, but I just can't help loving that woman. Even if she does use too much butter and sugar.
What really stood out for me during the broadcast, though, were the ads. I realize most daytime programming is aimed at home-makers and stay at home moms. I'm pretty much a "stay-at-home" mom myself. But it's interesting to see what advertisers think of their primary demographic, women aged 25-54.
What would aliens think of women in our society if they only saw the following commercials:
A commercial for an anti-depressant
Covergirl lip colour
medication for Restless Leg Syndrome
Diet Ocean Spray
and Frontline Flea and Tick Medication
It says to me that I am overweight, even though I always feel like I'm dancing a jig. I'm depressed, desperately in need of lipstick to make me feel better, and I also apparently have a hankering for cheaply produced clothing and electronics. Some of the other ads included hair colouring, antacids, various juices, cleaning products and diapers. I and a lot of other women supposedly need a lot of help. If I believed everything I saw in those ads, I might throw myself off the nearest bridge.
I really was just astonished, though, at the number of weight control products that were advertised during the show. Everything from diet food to diet drugs, plus products to make our thighs look slimmer, and our faces look younger. When did it become NOT okay for me to get older? When did the world decide that I can't be one of those apple-faced, ample-hipped grannies, but instead need to be kayaking and rock climbing well into my sixties, skinny as a twig, with a face frozen permanently into an expression of either surprise, or no expression at all? Why does being a woman mean I have to be in competition with everyone else, to be the best mom, the best wife, the best PTA parent?
Saturday, June 16, 2007
1. I'm really good at remembering band names and song lyrics, which you may or may not have guessed from the various post titles on this blog.
Almost every one of them is a song lyric or a song title.
2. I've broken at least six bones in my body, including my fifth metatarsal, my patella, a couple of ribs, and a couple of fingers.
3. I got whiplash in the sixth grade while "chicken fighting".
4. I only recently learned to appreciate brussels sprouts (eat them roasted with olive oil!!)
5. I majored in archaeology, and had a double minor in history and comparative religion, all of which are very helpful in my chosen job of "radio air talent".
6. I'm terrified of large groups, yet I speak to thousands of people at any given time on the weekends.
7. I'm both scared of heights and claustrophobic.
8. I collect cheesy snow-globes, the more plastic and hideous, the
Okay, there are my eight random facts. Don't you feel better knowing them now? Since everyone I know on Blogger has already been tagged, I issue this challenge: for all of you who read this blog but don't have your own accounts, I say you need to post eight random facts about yourself in the comments section here. So, I tag: Gurnal, Jill, Auntie Barbie, and my Dad, who all read, and occasionally comment. I know I'm supposed to tag eight people, but I don't have that many friends. See number six above.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Which really is the title of an instrumental by Lyle Lovett, from the movie Dr. T and The Women. Cruddy movie, good soundtrack.
Anyway, golf carts. We don't have a lot of golf courses here in Effingham County. To be sure, there's tons of them around Savannah proper, but not many out here in the boondocks. But we do have a lot of golf carts. Everywhere I go, I see them parked in front of peoples houses, or see them trundling down winding drives, or cruising down the shoulder of our quaint country lanes. For the longest time I couldn't figure it out. We don't exactly live in a resort area. What the hell are all these people who live in trailers, and have giant stables for their horses, doing toodling around in golf carts?
The answer: getting their mail, and checking their fence lines.
Really, it's kind of brilliant, if you think about it. If you lived at the end of a half mile long drive way, you wouldn't want to walk that every day to get the post, either. It's also a great alternative to using an ATV or your lawn tractor to scope out a property that's bigger than a couple of acres. Most of the people that own them are older, or just don't like the idea of gassing up a vehicle for a quick trip to grab the mail, check on the livestock, or run over to the neighbouring farm to borrow some sorghum. After all, most of these little babies are battery powered, and you can just plug them in to recharge.
When we finally run out of oil, these folks may be the only people left with transportation. I foresee a future not unlike Mad Max, but instead of semi-trucks and motorcycles, rural people will be battling it out with tricked out golf carts instead. Can you imagine vicious golf cart gangs, roving the dilapidated country highways of south Georgia, hijacking generator power to charge their carts? The battle scenes could be spectacular.
Hmmm. Maybe it's time to start scoping out cart dealers now.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
In the interest of full disclosure, I think it's important that I let all of you know that you're being watched while you're here. Well, kind of watched. You may, or may not, have noticed I have a stat counter at the bottom of this blog. Not only does it tell me how many page loads I have, but it also keeps track of where you all are from, and how you found my page. And I say this now only because apparently I've been turning up in Google searches for "John Deere Bathing Suit", which I find incredibly hilarious. (Try it, and see the interesting returns you get, besides me, of course).
As far as I can tell, no one actually makes a John Deere bathing suit. Oh, there are a few listings for bathing suits that come in yellow and green, but nothing with the actual logo on it. So, for the PR companies that have visited this site (you know who you are, and I know you've been here!), take note: there's a whole bunch of people out there (at least the 45 that have clicked on this blog) that want a bikini with the John Deere logo on it.
I've also been turning up in Google searches for Mark Twain, because I used his quote, as well as song lyric searches, because I use song lyrics for the titles of my entries. I'm amused by this, and I also feel sorry for the folks who are inadvertently clicking on this blog thinking they're going to get some good information. But hey, even if you got here by mistake, I hope you stay and read. I'm occasionally amusing, and sometimes irritating. The people who leave comments here are certainly more profound and intelligent than I am on any given day, and they're really the reason you should stick around.
Now I want to let you know, I don't use your information for some evil plot to take over the world, it's more just because I'm curious about who you are, and to see how many people are actually reading my ramblings. Apparently, there are a lot of you, most of whom don't comment. I've had visitors from as far away as Australia and India, and I want all of you to stay. And leave a comment, even if it's just a note to say "hi" and that you found my blog.
That way, I can at least say thank you.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
I never really thought much about Walmart before moving here. Every town in the south seems to have one, but I didn't do a whole lot of shopping there. I'm more of a Target girl, honestly. It seems, though, that I was missing out, because Walmart is an absolute microcosm of whatever town it's in, and you can learn a lot about your small town simply by hanging out at the local Walmart.
First of all, I've learned that everybody, and I mean everybody in Rincon, and the surrounding towns shops at our local Walmart. Why? Well, because aside from the Kroger south of town, and a Food Lion, it's the only place to shop, especially if you need more than groceries. Every time I've been to this one, it's always jam packed. I've always had to wait in line, and the aisles are crammed with people, no matter what the hour, no matter what the day. Sundays after church are probably the worst, and I'll explain more about that in a minute.
Secondly, everybody seems to be related to everyone else. Case in point, Sunday after church, walking down an aisle trying to get bread, and there is a family reunion going on in front of the hot dog buns. Never mind that they all just saw each other a half an hour ago, sitting in the pew across from them. No, it's like they haven't seen each other for years. "Well, Jessie Mae, how are you! How's your Mama and Daddy? Didn't see them this morning at Sunday school. Oh, they were there? Well, my eyes must just be going. You grillin' out today?" And so on. Ten people, all related, and all probably going to see each other again for evening church, hanging out in the bread aisle.
Thirdly, you can wear whatever the hell you want to Walmart. Not long after we got to town, our little family took a shopping trip. We were walking in, and walking out was a woman in pajama pants and bunny slippers. At 2:30 in the afternoon. The four-year-old looks at me and says "How come I can't wear my jammies to the store?" I told her she could when she was older, and I didn't have to be seen in public with her anymore. Also, t-shirts with almost witty saying are very popular here as well. For instance, I saw a man wearing a "Smart Ass University" t-shirt one afternoon as I was browsing for toilet bowl cleaner. I saw the same shirt on a different guy the following week, except he was wearing a John Deere cap, and had his little ones in tow. The best one was probably the two women who were wearing bathing suits (one had on a Confederate Flag bikini) with cover-ups while shopping for beer. The cover-ups, unfortunately, weren't covering up all that much.
The truth is, I think I'm jealous. All of my family live far away, so there's no chance of me and our six shopping carts ever having a reunion in the bread aisle. And I only wish I was bold enough or didn't care enough to wear a bathing suit or pajamas to go shopping (maybe a bikini AND bunny slippers, there's a thought). The good news is, if I ever get up the guts to do it, I can buy the t-shirt, the slippers, the bathing suit, and a John Deere cap at my local Walmart. I'll post pictures when I do.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
It stretched across the entire sky, perfect and complete. I only wish I'd had the equipment to get the whole thing in the picture. And my daughter loved it.
Last night's post was kinda angry and crabby. Hopefully, this makes up for it. I love this song, and I love this guy's voice. His name is Israel Kamakawiwo Ole.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Right now, the Republicans are waging war in a televised debate, giving their basic take on the state of the nation. If I was playing the Republican Debate drinking game at home, I'd be incredibly drunk right now, because "Reagan" has been said at least fourteen times.
I don't like being this way, really. But it's just not my fault that every time Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee claimed that the US was different because it values every American life, I couldn't help adding "Unless you're on death row in Arkansas." And it's also not my fault that I thought Mitt Romney looked like a Ken doll. Or that every time I looked at Rudolph Giuliani, I kept thinking about how he kicked his wife out of the mayoral mansion so he could sleep with his assistant. Or that I think Sen. McCain may have the American flag tattooed on his ass. I asked my husband who some of the other candidates were (there had to have been 13 people up on that stage) and he said "Well, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Grumpy..."
I couldn't take it anymore. I had to leave. Watching the debate violated my "no blood pressure raising television too close to bed-time" rule. And so, I'm sitting here writing, and feeling a little guilty.
I feel guilty, because this blog was not going to have political rants, and I feel bad that I had to get this off my chest. I'm not fond of most of the Democrats either, and I feel guilty that at times like this, I'm glad I can't vote, because I can't think of someone I'd actually want to vote for. And then I get angry with myself, because voting is one of the most important things you can do as a citizen. Despite what the cynics say, it really is your greatest power. I suppose the biggest problem is right now, that the only people we have to vote for are politicians.
The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.- Mark Twain in Eruption
Monday, June 4, 2007
As promised, my recipe for Grilled Shrimp and Grits. I love traditional Shrimp and Grits, but it's not exactly low fat. It has a roux based gravy, and usually has a lot of butter added besides. There's a little butter in this, but only in the grits. The rest of the fat comes from olive oil, which at least is better for your heart. It's a nice summer time meal, and if you've got a side burner on your grill (like I do), you can cook the whole meal outside.
Grilled Shrimp and Grits
(serves 4 normal people, or me and my husband)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup of olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Juice of a lime
1 clove of garlic minced, or 1 tbsp. of bottled minced garlic
Cayenne pepper and salt to taste
4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 large red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Enough Bamboo Skewers for the shrimp and veggies, soaked in water for at LEAST 3 hours (a whole day is better)
1 batch Basic Grits (see earlier post), substitute chicken stock for the water
zest of one lemon, zest of one lime
1 tbsp of butter
Salt to taste.
Prepare your grill, medium heat is best for this.
For the Shrimp:
Whisk together olive oil and lemon and lime juice in a large bowl. Stir in garlic, cayenne, and salt. Toss the shrimp with the dressing, cover and refrigerate. Don't let this marinate for more than 10 minutes or so, because the acid will start to "cook" the shrimp, kind of like ceviche, which is not what we want.
For the Veggies:
Place the peppers and tomatoes in a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat. Thread the peppers onto a couple of the bamboo skewers, and do the same with the tomatoes. Set them on a platter.
Next, take out your shrimp, and thread them on skewers, as well. Place them on a platter, and sprinkle with a little more cayenne, if desired.
Now, using tongs, place your skewers on the grill racks. Since there's so much oil on everything, the kebabs shouldn't stick, but you may want to coat your grill racks with cooking spray. Close the grill lid, and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Flip your skewers, and cook for two minutes more, or until the shrimp are pink and firm, and the peppers and tomatoes are soft. (If you get flare-ups, just turn your gas grill down, or keep a spray bottle of water handy to dampen your charcoal if you use that)
Mix the lemon zest, lime zest, salt and butter into the hot grits. Remove shrimp and veggies from skewers and serve over the grits. Garnish with parsley or tarragon if desired.
I like to drink a wheat beer with this, but a nice crisp pinot grigio works great, too.
Friday, June 1, 2007
It's funny, though, how people react when they lose power. Some folks got mad, and stormed up to the builders office at the front of the subdivision, who, coincidentally, was also without power. The guy across the street was in his garage, flipping every breaker in the box, and asking everyone he saw if their power was out, too. Some people were standing on their front porches looking confused, turning the switches for the porch lights on and off as if doing it a few more times might make the light come on. My husband, brilliant human being that he is, immediately headed to the grocery store to buy bags of ice, and a case of bottled water. He also made sure that the propane tank on our new grill was still fairly full. I think it's why I married him. He's so good at taking care of things.