Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lovely Turn of Events

This morning I got on the road and started heading north. My ultimate destination is Philadelphia but it's a 12 hour drive and after my last time driving too long by myself (re: car crash) it seemed wise to break up the trip. I chose Staunton, Virginia as my a little more than halfway mark. About an hour east of Staunton I have a friend. She and I went to high school together. In fact, we were roommates. I haven't seen her in, hmm, three years. I couldn't quite bring myself to drive an extra hour to stay the night with her and her family but I did hope we could meet up somewhere half way between her house and my hotel room. In the end we met much closer to me than her place...but she knew the restaurant and so there you go. We met at T-Bone Jack's Steakhouse. I had the country chicken. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. I some how pictured the elements of the dish more mixed together. The chicken was moist the gravy well seasoned. Nothing too extraordinary but since I did not stop at any fast food place for lunch during my 7 1/2 hour drive I was hungry and wiped my plate clean.
This is pretty much not a good photograph of any of these peeps...but it's the only one I took...The bigger of the little 'uns I have met once before...when he was less than a year old. The littler I have never met. Sweet kids. Happy to have me give them peanuts and talk about shoes. It was nice to see J. most of all.
Thanks for coming all the way to see me on a school night!

Sunday Cousinly Dinner

On Sunday my parents and I drove down the mountain (I don't care that it's technically a plateau...you have to drive up something to get on the plateau and I say that it's a mountain) into the valley to have dinner at our cousin's. It was the beginning of a colder, rainier couple of days and throughout our time there it went from drizzle to hard rain. Boo. But before that I got to take a couple of photographs with the twilight.

Abby the dog in the green.
The cousin smokes a mean salmon.
His wife makes a tasty salad. There was cheese too...and cracked pepper Triscuits (I had never tried this variety though I am particularly fond of the garlic and herb Triscuit). And asparagus.

And fresh strawberries! Lightly sugared and drizzled with cacao. All fresh and good food and a fair amount of wine to boot.
Thank you kindly for a wonderful evening and meal.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dinner Party

On Saturday my parents hosted a get together in honor of one of their friends' birthday. I helped but marginally. I put together mozzarella, tomato and basil bites and sauteed a load of onions and garlic for my mother's main dish. My mother made sour dough bread and another friend made some kind of chicken casserole.

The chicken casserole maker also made the most lovely chocolate cake...and apple bread pudding with lemon sauce.
There was a really great 4-5 year old helper who willingly waited to eat his own sweets until after he put whipped cream on everyone else's cake and then brought plates to people. This is a very cool little dude. He was born at roughly the same time I graduated from college so that, when I came down to Tennessee for a graduation party it was paired with his christening celebration. Since then I've gotten to babysit every once and a while. I'm telling you, really great kid.
You know what else was great? All the homemade dessert!


My mother made a tomato sauce a few days back. Put it on top of some pasta and voila, dinner.

Avocado and Grossbeak

Last week my father made dinner. It included a lovely plate of avocado chunks spritzed with key lime juice. Yummy.
Last week, also, a new variety of bird started appearing at the feeders: a Red Throated Grossbeak (or something to that effect). None of the birds would allow me to take a photograph of their rich red chest/throat area...but believe me...it's there.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Next Step

The suggestions for my new car's names have often made me laugh out loud. And I thank all those who participated in the first part of this endeavor. If you were late to this game but would still like to suggest a few, I'm happy to hear them. As of now, though, I find myself in a particular bind...one of the suggestions is the perfect fit (ha) for me. So instead of allowing you to name the car, I'm allowing you the honor of giving the car a nickname. I know. Not as much fun. But Jen's suggestion of Duckie really stuck with me. You know Duckie from Pretty in Pink? Always loyal to Molly Ringwald, faithfully her friend and desperately in love with her....an awesome lipsyncher/dancer in record stores and goofy, goofy, goofy. I believe I'd like this car to be my Duckie. Always there and always trying to please even when I'm not as considerate.
But Duckie should have an alias, a qualifier, an AKA. And that, I'll need some help with....the poll will tell you which made the final cut but I'd like to take a minute to honorably mention a few.

Blanche I liked because then the car would always be reliant on the kindness of strangers...which is nice...except that our world is falling apart and people aren't always so kind...and didn't Blanche sell her body for money? Not necessarily the best character trait in a car...lack of loyalty. And she was crazy.

I liked Seth Firebird and Seth Pomerengay. It was tough to only include one on the poll...though even including one makes me feel vaguely uncomfortable...except for how funny it is. See, these are both direct references to a friend from high school. So, yeah, both funny and weird at the same time. I almost want to combine the two: Pomerengay Firebird.

Ride Whore was nice because, well, I call a lot of things whores. All of your mothers, for example. Also, Meow Cat's full name had whore in it (Meow Cat aka Meow Cat Slut Whore).

Pliny the elder references something I don't understand but it has a certain ring to it.

Yoshi was nice because it reminded me of the countless hours I played Super Ninendo when a youth. How he pooped/laid eggs and weren't they always an extra life? Who doesn't need extra lives? If my car pooped extra lives that would be kind of cool.

Black Hole Where My Money Goes is too true for comfort. I'd like to forget it.

W. Somerset your mom is another great play on sounds and on my own personality...ie that I like to refer everything back to your mother.

Jane Fonda was also clever.

The slew of Frenchy suggestions were fun in the way they sounded and the meanings many of them had.

In fact, so many of them were great, and I wish I could just have them all. Alas, I cannot.

Let the voting begin!


Yesterday my mother's friend invited us over for a quick walk through her wildflower garden. We accepted and we walked. I don't know the name of any of these flowers, but I don't mind.


On Wednesday my mother and I went to the Hair Gallery for haircuts. I think Rita, the lady who did both of our cuts, did a really great job. People always talk about how hard it is to cut curly hair but extremely straight, limited body hair has its own set of challenges. The other thing that made her such a great cutter was her ability to infer from my rather vague direction what I might want. What I said: I hardly ever use products, so I can't have a hair cut that needs to be styled every day. I'd like something that kind of frames my face. Shorter in the front than the back but maybe shorter in the back too? At no point did I say that I wanted bangs...but I kind of did...and she did it just right. Though she did put some plumper in my hair that made it feel like death and look a little housewifey. I'll take photos without the plumper some time later this week.

My mother likes the photograph below because I'm smiling. I find it so obvious that it's a fake smile that it's strange.

My father had a haircut c/o Rita in the last week or so which means the whole nuclear family has nice, fresh hair.

Car Waiting Lunch

On Tuesday my mother and I went to Huntsville to get a car. After driving it to make sure the fit was it I had to fill out paperwork. Then the paper work had to be reviewed and approved. There was a bit of a wait for the approval...there was only one guy doing them on that day...so my mother and I went to Surin of Thailand restaurant for lunch. Both of our meals were on the lunch menu and came with complimentary coconut lemongrass soup. The soup was pretty good, though I don't understand the impulse of throwing in a few raw mushroom slices. I'd be happier with straw mushrooms or not mushrooms at all.
My mother had a salad with shrimp and chicken. It had that great sweet rice vinegar sauce that I like so much.
I had some pork dish, the name of which I forget. It claimed to be spicy...but it wasn't. Not too bad, not too good either. They also had sushi but I didn't try it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dog a Do

The last dog I had a part of owning (though I went away to high school and then college so it was not a very large share of ownership) was Sam. Sam was a handsome, super sweet, black and white English Springer Spaniel. Above is Dandy, a liver and white Springer. For two days this week I walked Dandy around town. We walked around a lake, we walked through a little park, he pulled mercilessly and I tugged back ineffectively. It was a problem.

Book Club Tea Party

On Monday my mother hosted a bunch of ladies for their monthly book club meet up. They sat and chatted about the book, kind of, while I slaved away making sandwiches. I didn't slave.

The book, something like Three Swans, is a memoir tracking three generations of Chinese women. So the refreshments had a bit of a theme.

My mother made a phenomenal poppy seed cake...with lemon, maybe?
My mother also made a walnut spread with scallions and red onions. I faithfully buttered, spread and de-crustified about twenty of those kind of sandwiches.
My contribution was a prawn sandwich. Shrimp with a lime, cilantro mayonnaise on white bread...also decrustified. I was inspired by C's bachelorette party in terms of the prawns.
Cute little egg rolls, not handmade I'm afraid.

And a few other little treats...and coffee and tea, of course.
Don't forget to add suggestions to the car list!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Say Hello To My Little Friend

Yesterday I did it. I got it done. I bought a car. Here is me attempting to shake hands with the car.
This is me showing off the rear of the car.
This is me driving the car...not really, it's a set-up.
This is me getting intimate with the car.
Now, all that's left, is naming the car. Here is my plan: I am going to encourage you, dear reader, to give me a good number of suggestions for names in the comments section. After collecting these suggestions and filtering out those I loathe, I will put a new poll up on the side of this blog (see: What Should I Do poll as example) and you, sweet reader, will be allowed to vote. Let's get this done, shall we?

A note: my last car (see the wreckage at your right) was named Lola, after The Kinks' song..you know because she walked like a woman but talked like a man.