Thursday, July 29, 2010

Classic Southern Writing and Baked Goods

Yesterday I spent my time running errands, going to horseback lessons (which is always a treat,) and staring at the basket of folded clothes which continues to nag me.  Never mind the inch of brown dust in my windowsills and on the furniture which collected while I was away.  I also need to mop the floor (brown dirt of SmallTown, you are my nemesis) but instead I am on here blogging about the fact that I've done nothing about it.


Oh, I forgot. There was one other thing I did yesterday.  That was catch up on my TV viewing, including O'Reilly featuring Laura Ingraham who is smart and witty and lovely, but I'd rather watch Bill.  Sorry, it's like Jay stepping in for Johnny.

I also may or may not have watched a few minutes of Days of Our Lives during my daytime channel surfing.  Within the time it takes me to get a Diet Coke, I was all caught up on Sam's latest saga and the fact that Hope still looks good. 

I'm still so proud of her for losing all that weight and keeping it off and if you find that shallow and unimportant, then you've never struggled with a weight problem or seen the wedding episode where she had to ride the back of Bo's bike with her dress flapping up in the wind. 

Bless her heart.

So today I've decided to get back to the important things in life, regular posting on my blog.

If you are wondering about the donut I mentioned in my last post, it was from The Donut Hole in Destin.  The Donut Hole is not paying me for this endorsement, by the way.  They've already rewarded me plenty with their good key lime pie, huge biscuits, and now the red velvet donut.

It tastes just like red velvet cake, only with the added benefit of not needing a fork. It even has a layer of cream cheese icing on top.  Y'all.  It was better than Krispy Kreme.  That's pretty much all I need to say about that.

On our trip, I decided to pick a good book for the airport, down time in the airplane, and all the moments I was able to put my feet up on the beach and relax.  I say "able" because I have a daughter who likes me to help her build sand sculptures and look for shells and a husband who likes to come report to me about Daughter's sand sculptures and found shells. 

I picked The Help because I had read great reviews from other bloggers.  It was probably the best book I have read in a very long time.  Again, no endorsements.  (I really should make a button to cover that.)  I won't go into the details or the characters, but if you are from the South, you'll love the voices and themes.  Be prepared to cry a little and cheer a lot.

Moving on.

Now that I've delved into the serious issues of life- donuts and Southern novels, I need to get to that layer of brown dust and that irritating folded basket of clothes...


P.S.  A bite of red velvet cake donut while reading The Help would be a great combination.  I wish I'd thought of it earlier myself.  Drat.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On vacations, planes, and housekeeping hang-ups.

We are home.

Our luggage made it.

We made it.

And I have some stories. Oh, the stories.

Some of which include weird people on the plane (not us, although that could be a post,) the best donut I ever had, one of the best books I've read in a mighty long time, my love for water, and the incredible irony of changing seats on the plane.

It's all in my head.  Along with plans to lose the five pounds I gained on the trip.

May I just add that your comments about cleaning motel rooms and cabins made me feel a little more comfortable about leaving my house?  Yes, there is an underground Lysol/Clorox cleaning team out there, folks, and we are keeping the world as germ-free as possible.

Monday, July 19, 2010

You could say it's a wealth of information. Or not.

We traveled right through the Peach State and I didn't manage to blog a thing.  It may have something to do with my lack of Internet access, but I'm just guessing.  I do have some things tucked away in the dusty corners of my brain, so we'll see if I ever get it on the Web.

On Saturday, we arrived at our condo on the beach.  Let me clarify- the condo we rented, not our condo, as I have not won the lottery (you have to play to win) and no rich uncle or aunt in my family has died.  However, what we lack in inheritance, we make up for in crazy.

Where was I?

Oh, yes.  The beach.

So we arrived at the condo I rented from "one of those websites where you save money by renting from the person who owns it" (totally trying to avoid the correct title so as to avoid Google searches.)  We have done so in the past and it saves a lot of money.


There are a few perks you do not receive. 

There is usually no daily maid service. You could be totally caught off guard by something when you arrive.

Now, you do have some negotiating power with a contract, but then you have to be all confrontational and assertive and, unlike many of my sweet Southern friends, I have no problem with that.

So far, the two places we have rented by the person(s) who own them have been fine. They have been clean, but I had to do my own cleaning. 

Then again, I have issues. 

Let me tell you about my issues.  Go ahead and get your second cup of coffee.

I have two clean standards.

1.  Family/Friends/People I Generally Know Or Send Christmas Cards To-  When I visit their house, I feel at home.  I have no issue about clean/neat/tidy.  I feel welcome.  I know them. I love them. I hope they extend the same graciousness to me when they visit my house.  (Don't even ask me how often I vacuum under the bed.)

2. Hotel/Motel/Good Grief, People I Never Met Have Slept and Eaten Here-  Hotel germs are different.  And, I don't mean Forrest Gump, we'll grow to love you kind of different.  I don't know them.  I don't love them.

The thought that someone I don't know has been there and maybe the housekeeper missed a few places makes me twitch a little.  So, unless I am at the Hampton Inn (they even wash the comforter!) I clean the place again. 

Here's the kicker.  The longer I'm there, the deeper I clean.

It's a sickness, really.  But they say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

I always rewash all the dishes before we use them.  I wipe down the microwave, frig., and counters.  And then I sanitize the bathrooms.

Sometimes I use Lysol.  Sometimes I use cleaner with bleach.  It's all about the mood at the time.

That environmentally-friendly stuff is great for the environment but seriously, vacation is no time to be saving the environment.

All of this being said, if you are still here, you are probably sitting there either shaking your head at my insanity or thinking about all those times you stayed in a condo/hotel room and wished you'd had a can of Lysol.

I'm just here to help.

You're welcome.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oh, where do I begin?

I have a multitude of travel tidbits and my mind is swimming with blog fodder.

I will post later, but here are a few little morsels for you.

1.  I had no idea how much I had missed hearing a Southern accent.  It is music to my ears.

2.  The humidity, it is good.

3.  It is downright shameful how much food I've eaten since we arrived in the South.  Tasty, but shameful.

4.  I was sitting at lunch today and saw a woman with skin that was actually dewy.  Note to Hubs:  You have to get me out of New Mexico in time for my skin to eventually return to the dewy.

5. The sound of bugs at night is delightful.

6. I head for southeast Georgia tomorrow.  Red clay and good fried catfish.  It doesn't get any better than that.

7.  On Friday, I saw a gator.  A gator!  I love that.  He welcomed me back home.  At least I think that look was a welcome.  Although it could have been the "you could sooo be my dinner" look as well.  Those gators are so hard to read.

8.  I realized today that I could visit Target in three states by the end of my trip.

9.  I am all about setting goals and reaching them.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Observations From 5-B

Yesterday Daughter and I arrived at the home of my in-laws in South Carolina. It was a cool and breezy 100 degrees.

I've been planning this trip for months.  SmallTown does not have what I'd call a reliable airport (as in the airplanes are so small they look like they need an 8 year-old on the ground with a remote control.) So we always have to drive at least 2 hours to another airport. For some reason, I decided it would be a good idea to fly out of Lubbock at 7:30 AM.  That would be in the morning. 

This meant that I had to be at the airport at 6:30 AM.  In the morning.

My goal was to reach South Carolina before rush hour and before dark.  However, flying out of Lubbock at 7:30 would mean leaving my house at 4:30 (which is also technically in the morning.)

We decided it would be better to drive over the day before, enjoy a good dinner, get a good night's sleep, then head to the airport, as opposed to getting up while the night watchmen were on their coffee breaks.

Hubs left work a little early and I already had our bags packed. We drove to Lubbock and went to Pei Wei for some good Asian food.  That's when it all went very, very bad.

Hubs decided to teach Daughter the art of making a suicide drink at the fountain drink machine.  He apparently only mixed Dr. Pepper and root beer, but mostly Dr. Pepper. The thing about the Doc is that it has caffeine.

By the time we got back to the hotel, Daughter was full of energy, so much so that she had the uncontrollable giggles.  This lasted until 1:00 AM.  In the morning.

We got up at 5:00 AM.  Yes, that would also be IN THE MORNING.

We opened up the Hampton Inn breakfast and I must say that those scrambled eggs taste much better when they are freshly made.  I usually eat them near the end of the breakfast time because I am normally still in the bed and the only way I ever get breakfast and coffee is if Hubs brings it to me while I'm still in my pajamas rubbing my eyes. 

But yesterday the sun and I shared our first cup of coffee together. I looked around for that Jimmy Dean sausage commercial guy, but even he was still asleep.

When we loaded our suitcases in the car, I said,"It's still dark.  This is so wrong."

Hubs drove us to the airport and dropped us off at the curb because of something about a meter running.  Oh, I kid.  He parked and then made me pay for it.

Seriously, I was eternally grateful that he was able to drive us to the airport (which is an act of love and friendship right up there with helping someone move) before returning to SmallTown to go to work.  God love him.  He pulled the suitcases, hoisted them up on the scale, checked our bags.  He basically did all the heavy lifting.

He even waited to make sure we made it through Security because you never know, what with my record and all. 

After we made it to the other side, Daughter decided she needed a water.  I was glad to fork out the twenty bucks to keep her hydrated, so we waited at the Starbucks counter.  A lady dressed like a pilot was ahead of us.  She ordered 4 drinks, all with different dairy and non-dairy contents and types of syrup.  I kept an eye on my gate, wondering if I'd make it and get the water.

I couldn't complain because every girl needs her Starbucks coffee whenever available and heaven forbid for me to get in the way of a pilot who is just trying to keep her crew awake.  (I don't know much about flying regulations, but that seems like it would be at the top.)

We were able to get our water in time and board our plane, which had another pilot and crew, I may add.  I don't know if they were properly caffeinated.

Within 20 minutes of takeoff, the pilot or co-pilot (how do you tell?) walked to the back of the plane to the bathroom.  My first thought was, "Don't they need him up there?" and my next thought was, "Didn't he go before we left?" 

My third thought was,"Maybe he did get a double espresso."

And my last and final thought was,"This is such great blog fodder, if only I can stay awake long enough to write it.  Maybe I should have had the double espresso."

Monday, July 05, 2010

No need for Lat/Long; Just follow your nose.

I've been running around today, getting ready for our trip.  First I was off to the drugstore, then to Wal-mart, then to UPS, which was closed for the holiday that fell on yesterday.  Whatever, Brown.

They know I'm in their clinches and I'll return tomorrow since I do not go to the post office EVER.

I returned to an empty house and unloaded my few packages.  Hubs and Daughter had gone geocaching. Soon, they both waltzed in with Hubs' new GPS (which we gave him for Father's Day) but no geocache treasures.  They were pretty disappointed.

However, they can't blame the new GPS.  It is pretty cool, if I do say so myself.  

Daughter gave me an update on their hunt.  She told me that one location had a lot of grass or brush or something and that they decided it was best "not to stick their hands in there."  That was when I thanked the Good Lord that I married a man with sense.

Then she said they "smelled a rotting carcass, IT SMELLED JUST LIKE A ROTTING CARCASS!"

She said it in all caps for emphasis. 

That was when I thanked the Good Lord that I birthed such an honest and olfactory sensitive child.

And that I was left out of the expedition.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Untold lessons in American History and side dishes.

I was driving home from the grocery store last night feeling like I was dodging cannonballs from the Redcoats.  Everyone in SmallTown decided to set off their fireworks, some of which were very close to the road and to my Honda packed with provisions.  Is this what it was like for Paul Revere while he was trying to make it home with his Diet Coke?

Growing up, we had only sparklers.  The rest were illegal in Georgia.  Living in Florida, most of the fireworks were legal and we always enjoyed our neighbors' fireworks across the beaver pond.

However, living in SmallTown, some of these rockets are a little too close for comfort.  Either that, or I've turned into the neighborhood old lady who runs outside swinging my cane and yelling something about getting off my lawn or I'll go get my shotgun.

Not that I have a cane.

While I was at the grocery store, I ran into a friend who asked me how we were going to celebrate the 4th.

Without hesitation I answered, "Eat."

That's pretty much how we celebrate everything, isn't it?  Even a funeral, which is not a celebration, of course, but requires lots of food. 

Hubs' birthday is also coming up, and Daughter and I will be out of town.  So we thought we'd celebrate this weekend.  My idea is to celebrate his birth with the birth of the country, because that would be festive and easy and, let's face it, the two are close in age.

Oh, I kid.  Our country is still young.

For Hubs' birthday I ordered Corky's BBQ.  Hubs loves ribs.  Good ribs.  He is a rib snob.  I don't judge him.  I feel the same way about coffee.  We are big fans of the Memphis-style BBQ.  Kansas may run a close second, Texas third, and poor East Carolina trails in at the end. 

I just can't get past the vinegar based meat and the idea of eating corn fritters with my BBQ.  I need ketchup and brown sugar and buttered BBQ bread, or even a loaf of light bread on the table. 

(Note:  Light bread is just a plain loaf of sandwich bread, perfect for sopping up sauce that managed to drip off your fingers.  There is nothing light about it.)

You may wonder why I'd pay an arm and a leg to have the FedEx man deliver ribs to Hubs.  We have BBQ restaurants in SmallTown, but nothing compares to Corky's. The only thing better would be to take Hubs to the restaurant itself, which, looking back may have cost just as much as shipping on dry ice.

In the ribs package were beans, pulled pork (for me!) and a fudge pie.  The fudge pie wasn't necessarily a required menu item, but for the small amount of extra money, I couldn't resist.  All I have to do today is make some potato salad. 

Potato salad is a required BBQ menu item.  And, of course, I am using BBQ as a noun here. 

Come to think of it, potato salad shows up on the table for a lot of meals.

When you ask a woman, "What are you taking to the cook-out?" she will answer in one of two ways.

"The men are cooking the meat, so I'm taking potato salad," or "I don't know what to bring, so I think I'll bake a cake."

For those of us who don't bake cakes, we bring that chocolate pudding dessert which has about a million names to include words like "delight" and "death."

Which brings me back to potato salad.

It also makes an appearance at funerals.  Something about mourning the beloved calls out for a Tupperware or an heirloom glass bowl of potatoes smothered in Hellman's mayonnaise.  What else do you eat with the bucket of fried chicken?

I have no idea how my post on Hubs' birthday turned into a tangent of side dishes, except for the fact that pretty much everything in a Southerner's life revolves around food.

Apparently, the same food.

You could call potato salad the Southerner's fruit cake.  It has a long history of showing up at important events.

You know, they say some Loyalist never returned that Tupperware dish of potato salad and that's what really started the Revolution.

Have a Happy 4th!

(Just be sure to return the Tupperware.)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

More things I don't understand: Texting and Grammar of The Whipper Snappers

1. Abbreviating our abbreviations.

"K"-  Short for "OK," which used to be "O.K.," which used to be "Okay." 

Have we gotten so busy that we can't even add that second letter?  One more keystroke, people.

2.  :)  and ;)-  What happened to his nose?

3.  Numbers for letters-  Or should I say Numbers 4 letters?  Texting has gotten so nuts that we are starting to use numbers to abbreviate for words.

4 replaces for.
2 replaces to.
U replaces you.  So, that's not really a number.
Then there's Thanx.  We dropped the "k" and "s."  Why?

4. (Which is really the number 4 and not the word "for" or "fore" if I were writing about golf.)

Abbreviations for entire phrases that really have no literal meaning-

LOL- If I seriously laughed out loud this much, people would be locking me up.
ROTFL- I haven't actually done this since I was 5.

5.  Here are a few of my own.

TLTUEW- Too Lazy To Use Entire Words
FHTS- Forgot How To Spell; used when I have to come up with a new word because I can't spell the original one I wanted to use.

6. Then there are the ones that don't really work.

We can't forget TOTP.

Gotta go 4 now.  U have a good week. K?

TOTL- Turning Off The Laptop.


Would someone please find his nose?  Thanx.