Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I began to miss days in the midst of crisis' looming and the overwhelming feeling of pressures. Yet, here I sit in an empty family room on a freshly cleaned carpet banging away on the keyboard and watching old episodes of South Park. I have the garage to sweep out, garbage to dispose of, the kitchen to clean, and the bathrooms, odds and ends to throw into the car and I am out of here!
The cat sits in the door way to the kitchen lounging on the mustard colored blanket he has taken to. I feel his confusion. Joe says I assign too many human qualities to him, but I do believe he is also concerned about things. All will end well for him. The past several days have been extremely exciting for him. He has been finding himself allowed outside albeit under supervision. He loved it under the ramp of the moving truck and swatted at all who happened to walk by. As it my nature to always have to know exactly when he is at all times, since he has the annoying habit of running out when no one is looking, he has developed another annoying habit called "Come and Find Me Suckers!". I assign this quality to him, he loves to play and has turned into the all time hide and seek champion. When our voices begin to take on that panicked pitch he will materialize like an apparition, in a nonchalant poise looking at you with slowly blinking green eyes and the touch of a smirk around his mouth.
I am going to unplug the machine and transport it to ....where is this part of Kentucky exactly? That area of Tennessee is called Middle Tennessee and we are a hairs breath from the Tennessee border, but it is West Kentucky. So, it is to the west I go.
And I am going to upgrade to the new Blogger templates so the Header may change. And I may go back to Alphawoman's Blog.
Why? Because I miss her.
All's cool. All's good.
(A Several minutes later! Wow! What a change! But, Ilike it. I will have to work on it. Alpha'a back Baby!!)
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Some people think it is attending the 7th game of the World Series. Others think it is being among the many at the Super Bowl. Some poor souls think it is attending the Masters. And then some will argue it is a front row seat at Wimbledon, the Indy 500, NASCAR, or the World Cup, or the Stanley Cup final game, or the NCAA championship final. Wrong wrong wrong. I am here to tell you it is a breath taking two minutes held on the first Saturday in May in a little old town called "Louavull" on a horse track known as Churchill Downs for a race called The Kentucky Derby.
I attended the 1973 race that is, without doubt, the greatest Horse Race in recent history where Secretariat blasted the mile and a quarter in under two minutes. Over 35 years later, his record stands.
In 1974 I attended the 100th running when Cannonade received the blanket of roses. I was one of a crowd of 165,000 + spectators. We were packed into the infield like the wild animals we were (back then) and no fence could restrain us! At the first turn, we knocked down the fence and rushed the rail. (if you watch to about the 40 second mark you can see me, I am the one with the sunburn).
JUMPING JESUS! Watching the entire race I realized you can see the guys climbing the infamous flag pole!! Whoever - some one, only they know - climbed the pole and "streaked" (flashed/mooned) the entire infield
It was many many years later I returned to the Derby. I thought that the incident at the 100th running would have been forgotten by that time. I believe it was 1987 and I got to see the great horse Alysheba, son of Alydar, who was always a bridesmaid and never the Bride finishing second every single race to the Triple Crown Winner Affirmed!!
People wonder why? Some people do not get horse racing. All I have to say is get to a Derby once (preferably in Millionaire Row) and you will forever understand.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
A quick phone call informed me that I was at the incorrect Budget center and happily we took off for another part of the city.
"I am not going to let myself freak out", I said to my young friend and companion, "I told myself that I am going to have to go with the flow and do what I can, concentrate on one thing at a time.The whole is overwhelming."
"This is what I admire about you, how you can keep it together! I have to have it all planned out and running smoothly. If something goes wrong, I fall to pieces. I think of you when I am in situations...."
I smiled and sat a little straighter knowing that I am a positive influence on this wonderful, successful young adult!
We arrive at the true rental place and survey the several trucks lined up at the front of the parking lot facing the major artery. They did not look too bad and something inside of me relaxed. I felt relieved that the trucks were all 16 footers and not the 24 footer that I had ordered. For the past 24 hours I had dreaded having to drive the Monster Of My Imagination. But, if they did not have a 24 footer I would once again roll with the punches.
The Monster of My Imagination was parked out back.
We discretely waited for the manager to return to the store as I climbed up into the cab and turned on the diesel engine and acted like I was examining all the gages and gear shifters, the brakes.
"Shall I go get the car?" he asked innocently.
"Yes, please. That would be lovely."
As soon as that guy was long gone and my car was humming in wait, we exchanged seats and high tailed it down the road to Project get The Hell Out Of Here!
We arrived at the soon to be Old Homestead Now Rental Property, and immediately realized it was going to be a bitch to maneuver the truck around the residential street and back the Monster into the drive way. A mail box and a lone utility pole were obstacles that posed a major problem.
As I was on the phone giving directions to a hopelessly lost Step Son who was creeping along the streets in the bowels of West Louisville searching for an escape over the River into Indiana perhaps reacting to the panic in his voice, I hysterically scream at the fast approaching 24 foot rental truck (IT WILL COST $50,000 TO REPLACE ONE OF OUR TRUCKS IF YOU DO NOT HAVE IT INSURED!!)
"WATCH OUT FOR THAT TELEPHONE POLE!!!!!!!!!!!!"
So much for my Step Son's ear drums.
So much for my cool under pressure persona. It was a nice illusion while it lasted.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
This is every morning, my life, and this is the next to the last day this perfect spring water color morning will unfold just this way.
I will meet a friend for breakfast. One of my longest long time friends. One from those very first days of college. One that has lasted through the upheavals, the change of course, the husbands, the boyfriends, the fights, the break-up, the coming back together. The friendship is rare as a fine wine. When it resumed, after a long long silence, I thought "why is this woman my friend? Would I be drawn to her now?"
Yet, she knows things about me, the "other" me. That other "me" that I think no longer exists until I am with her. She is still there, maybe not exactly hiding, but just shoved back. Back behind responsibility, behind the pain, behind the growth, behind the maturity. She use to be very skinny, smoke a lot of dope, and drink cheap Boones Farm Strawberry Wine. She was so much fun!
I also got to see my High School BFF this week. Separated by four states it is difficult to see each other often enough. I was hesitant to see her because I have gained 20 pounds. Have you heard anything more ridiculous? Seeing her, picking back up over a bottle of wine, is like going home.
The watercolor day is really beginning. Must go. Bloody Mary's are calling me!
Friday, April 24, 2009
Life is falling apart. I have a truck rented for tomorrow and no one to help fill it up and/or drive it to the destination. It appears that Joe's new immediate boss, knowing that Joe is "moving" this week-end decided to take some vacation days leaving Joe in charge of not one, but two locations!!
I like Joe's immediate boss, but not today. And I may remain angry for sometime. I am in a tight spot. Yet, I am not going to freak out and fought back tears all day long.
My friend is going to help me get the truck and load the furniture. Then, Joe's son will arrive to help later in the day. And hopefully, drive the truck to the final destination.
I have been drinking heavily all day.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I vacillate from feelings of dread to a state of apathy. From rage to fear. From disbelief to surrender. The monstrous amount of responsibilities that sits on my shoulders will crush me if I allow it. Instead, I make lists, revise them, tear them up, begin anew.
Time is running out. Everything is settled in the other new place of residence. I am ashamed to say that I had a hissy fit of sorts at the Water Company, aka City hall. Did I mention I am moving into a town on the outskirts of Clarksville, and the entire population is under 1500? When they told me I could not write a check for the deposit, that I had to present them a Cashiers Check, a Money Order or Cash, or a combination of the three, I just lost it. $150 deposit!!!!! "What kind of water do you all have here? Ponce de Leon water?" she looked at me blankly, "The fountain of youth? That would explain the outrageous deposit! Can't you do a credit check or something?"
And from behind a partition came this voice, "You're in small town now".
I wanted to smack her face. What did that have to do with anything?
It got worse. At the electric company they told me my husbands social security number did not match his name, "That will be $240 please". He raged, not at them at me! I Must have given them the wrong number, they must have key punched it in wrong. This once happened with a credit card. It's the most embarrassing thing ever!!!
Well, I just hope the Social Security office can straighten it out.
Then I argued with the people at AT&T. My Razr is obsolete. Replacing the battery would maybe work for a while, but odds are it would just resume the problem I am having now. No matter how many times I told them it was not the original battery, that I had traded with my husband because he had problems with the battery and that he depended on his cell phone for his work so I traded...they only wanted to sell me a new phone. IE, one not obsolete, one that had a key board and no, they no longer carried flip phones. Obviously, technology has left me behind. I do not text all day and I do not check my e-mail all day, I do not live and die by a PDA.
Two years out of the work force and I am truly a dinosaur. Me and my cell phone.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I jumped out of bed at 5am after trying to sleep with little success. I ran to Kroger to pick up supplies. I found a helium balloon, bright red that proclaimed the announcement "SALE". Since thy used them throughout the store, I thought I could just get it for nothing! No way, $2.99 to purchase their advertising! Nuts! I posted the "YARD SALE" signs in eye grabbing electricfying colors. This was the source of my anxiety the previous night, the placement of the signs. My eyes opened and I sat up in bed and realized we have not a single telephone pole in the area as our lines (cable etc) are all under ground! How am I to advertise and lure people to my house???
Then I calmed myself with my Nine Year Beverage Career training and found plastic straps and a hole puncher and TA-DA my signs were strapped to the street sign's at both ends of the street.
Next, I began to set up. It was approximately 645am and that was when they began to come.
Post it and they will come!
I am sun burnt, exhausted, and so relieved it is over. Now, I just have the move itself to worry about. That should be worse, huh?
Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I also included this patio Coca Cola umbrella I have. My thinking is this, if I have not used it or looked at it or even forgotten I owned it, it goes into the yard sale. The umbrella falls into the last category. It's brand new, never out of the box.
I received an e-mail, "How much are you asking for the umbrella?"
I thought about it and e-mailed back, "$10".
She e-mailed me back, "Is it a patio umbrella!!"
Oh my, I was not asking enough, so I e-mailed back, "From your reaction, I guess I am not asking enough! It is a patio umbrella and I am going to ask $25!"
She e-mailed me back and offered $20 and since I was feeling like a weird sort of two faced Indian Giver person, I said OK. She wrote she was sending her husband over around 8pm.
A little after 8 o'clock here he comes in a little blue pick up truck. He ambles up to the door wearing overalls and a John Deere hat, his face as weathered as an old apple.
"You must be Barb's husband" I said in greeting as he opened his wallet as I opened the door. He stood on the door step, I thought he would come in as I held the door open wide, but he stopped and gave me a charming smile and handed me the $20 as I handed him the umbrella.
"It's brand new" I explained as my fingers tightened around the bill, my first sale!
He began to walk down the step, gave me a wave and said, "Just doing what I'm told" and turns and walks away.
"I wish I had one like you", I said to his retreating back.
My daughter came up behind me and said, "Just like Grandpa. Where did all the good men go? Where are they? Where can I find one?"
I just shook my head, "1940 I guess."
But, my karma for the day was in peril. I had`advertised the maple bed in Memphis, just to get rid of it because it is a king size and just too heavy, too big, just too much for $100. I got a fish on the hook immediately and she met Joe tonight.
"Now she wanted $75 for it..............??????"
So Joe thought it was $75!! Man, she got me good!!
What goes around comes around, never forget it.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
So, I'm going to do WHAT'S FOR DINNER MOMMIE or better known as I'M HUNGRY WOMAN!This is my husbands favorite. Granted, he picks out the chicken and usually leaves the veggies behind so that when I go to warm it up the next day looking forward to some great left over action....it's all veggies! Ha!
This recipe was passed down to me from my good friend Barry in Florida, He was visiting one time and came over and cooked dinner. This was his dish and over the 20 years since, I have perfected it. Perfected it!!
First off, take about one pound (or two if you have a Joe type person lurking about) of chicken breasts and cut them up into big bite size pieces and place them in a bowl or plastic bag and marinate in soy sauce and some minced garlic. You can also toss in some flavored olive oil, Worchesire sauce etc. You can go as wild as you want. I usually marinate for a couple of hours.
Chop up a ton of veggies. I usually chop up...
two medium size zucchinis,
two yellow squash,
one green pepper,
a package of sliced mushrooms (whole if you want to slice them yourself)
a second clove of garlic minced up.
Sometimes I'll throw in broccoli if I have it.
Also have on hand -
one sliced tomato
Swiss cheese, sliced or shredded does not matter. About four slices or 1/2 cup
Salt and pepper to season to taste.
And the magic ingredient Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour...any seasoned flour will do.
Ain't Vegetable's Grand.
Take the marinated chicken and coat it with the Seasoned flour by throwing it all in a bag and shake shake shake.
Take a wok and heat about 1/3 cup of oil until it sizzles. I usually will test it by tossing in a piece of the chicken. When it's hot enough toss in the rest and wok it!! Wok it good!!
It will look like this at first.
Then they will turn a beautiful golden brown as you toss them around to cook evenly.
Add all the veggies except the tomatoes. It will look like a lot, but it cooks down and then it will.......
Cook about five minutes or until the veggies are crunchy not limp....
........look like this! Season to taste with salt and pepper or whatever you like. Maybe hot maybe not.
Add the tomatoes. Isn't that color beautiful!
Then the cheese
Cover and allow cheese to melt. It will look like this when finished!
I serve it over rice. Every so often I will put it over angel hair pasta.
I call it.....I don't have a name for it!! Any suggestions?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I have many memories of the first house I lived in. I believe I was four years old when we moved to Kentucky. The house backed up to a forest, I think. I have a vivid memory of a deer hung over our sand box in the back yard during hunting season. It was not my fathers hobby. My father never handled a gun again after WWII. It was maybe the landlords or someone else who lived in the small grouping of homes.
Several years ago, while driving in the wild back country of Ohio/Indiana I saw the the same image that is seared in my mind from Jefferson Valley. A deer hanging from a tree.
I wonder what they were thinking to expose children to such a horror. I suppose they did not even think about it.
I fell down the stairs, those long concrete stairs that led to the front door. I remember rolling and rolling. I still have a scar at the corner of my right eye from the experience.
My brothers were always fighting, being Irish twins and all. The youngest one, T., was somewhat of a drama-kid even back then. He would run into the house crying and complaining of this or that and my Dad would say, "Let me see the blood. No blood? Hmmmm, you can't be that hurt!"
My mother was busy in the kitchen when T. approached her, hiding his head behind two small hands, sneaked up behind her and yelled, "Look Mom!!BLOOD!!" and exposed the side of his head that had been whacked by a brick thrown by N.!!He was so proud of the blood that no tears were shed.
Other memories are stories that at times I wonder if they are just the tales handed down and told over and over, or if they are memories. I do remember being falsely accused of knocking over a horse jockey, the kind that holds your house number. My other brother N. was the favorite golden child to the family that lived in the house and even though he knocked the jockey over (man that kid must have been stong!)I was the one banished from their house, never to be able to go in the yard again.
A memory or just the story retold and retold?
The Lake would freeze and we would go ice skating on its surface. I do not remember this, but there are pictures of me in a snow suit with mittens and matching hat standing in the drive way balanced on skates. I do remember those skates, they were two blades instead of the regular grown up one blade. I do not remember the actual skating part, but I'm certain we did because my Dad liked to skate.
It snowed a lot up there.
When we left my two brothers and my Mom took the train to Kentucky. I made the trip with my Dad in the car. I was wearing a hat, like all good little girls did back in the day, and I stuck my head out the window and the hat blew off.
Lost forever. Like most of my very early childhood memories.
But not all.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
(My families first Home in Jefferson Valley - circa 1957. My brother T. running out of control down the steep hill that crosses a main highway and then the Lake. Funny the things the mind holds like a snap shot).
I am searching all over the Clarksville area for a house/home to rent. Today I looked at a house very close to Ft. Campbell (which I did not realize was also in Tennessee. Have you ever heard of Ft. Campbell Tennessee?? No, it's Ft. Campbell Kentucky!). I had a difficult time finding the house, as my Garmin was totally off the mark. Thank God I had ripped out the area map with street assignments from the phone book...don't tell anyone. I pulled into the driveway and I immediately knew this house had an unloved look. Not that it was run down or dirty, just it had not a single shrub, tree or flower in the front yard. It looked unadorned and plain. I knew I would not rent it immediately. Walking into the house I knew for certain I would not rent it.
I told the guy that it had very steep stairs to the basement and my husband was a sleep walker and would kill himself.
It was the truth.
I am back at the public library checking out Craigslist...again. The houses I found yesterday are either rented and/or they did not respond to my inquires.
The housing market is tight here with the Army base and all. I need to find the church and go light a candle.
Monday, April 13, 2009
When I turned 16 I was eligible to apply for one of the coveted life guard positions at the Woodemere Pool, the local "watering hole" of the Baby Boomer set. I got the job!! I was thrilled beyond description. It was the best job ever! Not only did I get to tan all day, I also got to blow the whistle at anyone I wanted and yell at them. When it was the top of the hour, the two guards on duty stood and blew their whistles at the same time and everyone cleared the pool. As the last kid shimmied out of the pool and everyone was safely sitting on the side waiting for the ten minute break to end, we (the two lifeguards) would jump or do a magnificent swan dive, into the now empty crystal clear pool.
The more I think about the three years I spent life guarding at Woodemere and the Country Club, I think it warrants more than one post/entry.
After all, this is the place that I suffered through my first crush, Kit, who taught me how to dive. I was terrible. No talent, but because I was 12 and in love, I did what ever dangerous dive he demanded. A back flip and a half gainer where as exotic a dive as I was able to execute. And for the most part I landed on my back, on my face, or some contorted position smacking the water with excruciating force, all in the name of love.
The worst was the back dive off the high dive. But, I loved trying the back dive because he would hold me at the waist as I bent over backwards and then he would ....let go. Down I would plunge, holding my breath as my legs ever so uncooperative would, in slow motion, break the line and sail over my head causing me to do a monumental belly flop. I'm certain it looked as comical as it sounds. And I am double certain it hurt as much as it sounds. And I did it over and over again until I finally did it right.
All for love.
Kit, at 17, also was the manager of the pool and the Coach of the swimming team. I was his star back stroker, because he learned that I was not cut out for diving. I believe to this day that the reason I excelled in swimming for the next five years was I secretly thought winning the Olympic Gold Medal would also win Kit's heart.
By the time I was a lifeguard, he was long gone. Gone to college somewhere, probably married. I had lost interest and moved on. But, he was my first major crush. A living and breathing, blond haired babe with a hot tanned body and the mysterious missing finger to the second knuckle. That imperfection was enough to drive my 12 year old heart to burst with the flush of love and desire.
Forty (40) years later, at my fathers funeral, a gray haired, slightly short, slightly stout, wearing spec's a man in a tan jacket took my hand looked deep into my eyes and said, "I'm Kit H.".
I almost fainted. My heart began to beat wildly and my face flushed to the shade of my red, as red as my back after the high dive disaster incident.
At my age. My my.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Advertures in Baby Sitting
My first form of employment was babysitting, which was the way for most of us Baby Boomers. I worked for fifty cents an hour! I suppose this was fair. A pack of cigarettes cost 25 cents at the machine in Wilson Drugs. It was positioned discretely by the front door so us kids could slip our quarters in the slot, pull the knob and be out the door unapprehended and unseen. So, fifty cents and hour = two packs of ciggies at today's (Kentucky rates) = $10.00/hour, so it was all good back then.
The important things for a 12 year old making fifty cents an hour were modest and worth saving for. Coupled with my allowance, which was also fifty cents a week, I was able to save and purchase record albums (The Beatles, Motown, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Monkees)which were about $3.50 back then. A 45 single was 99 cents. A 16 magazine was 25 cents, Tiger Beat about the same!
So, if I worked two nights on the week-ends, I was rolling in the dough on Monday.
Less the dime I would put in the offering envelopes for the collection at church on Sundays. And more than likely, less the money I could spend at the local store at the end of the street next to ours, Giles Grocery. The Pepsi machine at the front of the store sold soda's for one thin dime.
I baby sat a lot of the local kids, besides my own brothers and sisters (which I was not paid for, included in my allowance) and remain very friendly with their families all these years later. I did not realize how young these couples actually were! Newly graduated from college and beginning a family in "Mayberry". I recently went to a funeral for one of them and confided to one of the sons that I babysat for them and he replied, "And you came back?? I hear we were the holy terror of the town!" and I blurted out, "No body was as bad as WH!!" I realized where I was and very likely he could be standing behind me!! Time has a way of changing a four year old into a late 40 year old! But after a stunned silence (for my part) we laughed.
I think WH was a hand full at school also. I think he may have been expelled. If I also remember correctly, I was their only baby sitter! I was requested by this little demon! Maybe I was the only one who could tolerate, I mean handle him.
He was a handsome cuss, even then.
My babysitting ended when I began to go out with my friends who had cars and we began "Riding around". I had no time for baby sitting then. And fifty cents an hour was not cutting it any longer.
I graduated to other things.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
As you may or may not know, my husband works for the Rail Road industry. Before, he worked for one of the major carries. His job was eliminated and he was forced to leave his cushy desk job and try something else with the company he had been with for over 30 years. And it happened, but we had to relocate to Ft. Wayne while he trained for the position as an Assistant. We were there for two years. At first I hated FW, mainly because it was not home and I missed my family. It grew on me after awhile and I have very fond memories of our brief time there. There was a job opening in Louisville and Joe applied. Holy Moly!! He got the job! We were going home!
Unfortunately, he hated the job. He was working 60 - 72 hours a week. He was being forced to preform his job and also cover for the Yardmaster and he absolutely hated that!! He hated his supervisor and he just hated everything.
Not one to sit around and wait for something to happen, Joe jumped companies! He left the class A carrier and joined a regional Rail Road and immediately (I mean immediately) began to run the line in Memphis.
It was so fast that my head could not take it in. Sell our house? Move? Again?? In less than one year. So we decided to take six months and see what happens.
Six months came and went and I stalled around not really wanting to move to Memphis. Memphis is .... really far away. Six hours. Joe was flying home, I was driving down, we made it work for the past year, but things were being to fall apart. I could not find a job up here, so it made sense to just rent out our house and for me to move down there.
Well, great plans sometime go astray. Life has a way of not cooperating.
Joe was asked to take over the yard in an area much closer to Kentucky. As a matter of fact, a lot of the line is in Kentucky.
So, tomorrow I go with him to Clarksville Tennessee and scope things out, find a house/apartment and move...all in 21 days.
Not only move from here, not I have to move from Memphis too. Since we have two residences (God Help Me!!)
So, that's where it is. It is what it is.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Before I say farewell to the Louisville area I thought I would go around and visit the places I am going to have a hard time leaving behind. As you well know by now, I am a book reader, lover, collector, being my mother’s daughter (as all kids in my family are, we all read, we all have books coming out the wazoo). My very favorite place to find books is the Goodwill Store located on Brownsboro Rd. Why does this store stand head and shoulders above the others? It is the Hoity Toity area of town, that's why.
The books are placed in these huge plastic bins and sit outside the store for lots of good elbow room to sort and dig. I love to get to the bottom of the container, as I am certain there lies the one precious gem I have been looking for.
All the Goodwill’s in the area, on the South side of the River, sell their books for 50 cents! That is fifty cents! I love it. I once pulled out a 1st Edition Steinbeck. The dust jacket is missing (making it almost worthless), but still. I was looking every where for the April 1969 National Geographic magazine. Guess where I found it? Unbelievable. Magical. My last journey found me pawing through the offering when one of the attendants ambled over with a large box of recently donated bounty and let me have first peek.
OMG!! Cookbooks! You almost never get to find a good cook book of any caliber in the bins. They are in high demand and coveted by us thrifters. I scored two much needed local recipe books! (not....I must have 25 books by now!)
I also grabbed up three National Audubon Society Field Guides; Birds, North American Wildflowers, and North American Reptiles & Amphibians! They are bound in various shades of green leather and in mint condition. All First Printing, 1979. $1.50.
I am really going to miss the book bins at Brownsboro Rd.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Check out Thematic Photographic #44 - Edible
Because I fancy myself somewhat of a cook I decided to tell you what I had for dinner last night.
First of all, it's only me. If Joe were home, I'm certain he would indulge me and eat this dish, complaining that it's too rich, too many calories, not diet food etc. etc. etc. In the morning I would find the remains of the dish almost empty in the refrigerator, with the Rubbermaid top not sealed properly a casualty of "sleep eating" (which accompanies sleep walking).
We wonder why we can not loose weight.
I love watching The Food Channel and I love Paula Dean. She was cooking up an Etouffee with her BIL and I thought to myself, "That looks damn good!" I have been tweaking the recipe a little and I must say, last night I licked the bowl.
First off, I made my own fish stock. Yuck you say, and I say yuck too, but man oh man, did it make a difference. I bought a lb. bag of raw shrimp (de-headed and de-veined) at ALDI for under $4, boiled it with some Shrimp Seasoning from Kroger,drained and retained the water (and seasoning mix) and then pulled the tails and shells off and tossed them back into the brine with 1/2 cup onion, 1/2 cup celery, a squirt of lemon juice, a bay leaf and simmered it for about 45 minutes. When I finished that, I strained the fish stock and had about 2 1/2 cups (I did add water to the stock after cooking the Shrimp to make sure I had enough stock).
Take 1/2 stick of butter (Paula uses 1 whole stick y'all) and melt in a heavy pot and add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup Kentucky Kernal season flour to make a roux (since I only used 1/2 stick of butter I only used about 1/2 cup of flour and later on found I had to make more roux with stock from the pot because I thought the Etouffee was not thick enough, but it was actually just right after I added the extra thickening roux). Stir constantly over a low heat until it turns a butterscotch color - maybe 30 minutes.
Chop up the following:
1/2 cup red pepper
1/2 cup green pepper
1 cup celery
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1 cup yellow onion
3/4 cup fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 clove garlic minced
Roux should look like this at the beginning -
And like this at the end of 30 to 45 minutes -
When it looks beautiful like the above, stir in the veggies and bacon.
Then add the following:
1 cup beer
1 cup Half and Half
2 - 2 1/2 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf
a little salt
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 good splash of Red Hot sauce
1 got shot of Worcestershire
Let simmer for 20 - 30 minutes
It will will look like this!!
Almost ready to eat! Now make rice your favorite way - instant, brown, or traditional maybe you should not wait until the end, because you know how long it takes you to make rice, about 30 minutes if not instant.
I cooked the shrimp before so I do not throw it in the pot. I do not like my shrimp to shrivel up. So when it is all finished and done, smells Divine and a taste test tells me it's time, I put the rice on the bottom of the bowl, add the shrimp from my refrigerator and pour the hot Etouffee over all - the shrimp heats up fast!
And TA-DA Plate Licking Good
(disclaimer - Pioneer Woman I am not, my pots are OLD and look like it!)
(You can sub. bottles of Calm Juice, I think Paula used 4 bottles, and Cajun seasoning is red pepper, onion salt, garlic salt, black pepper etc..)
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
My heart began to pound again, my eye lids heavy luring me back to sleep, quickly back to the evil. I forced myself to start praying…”Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee….”, then the Our Father, how did it go about any two people praying together. The cat was laying against my legs (in the center of the bed as always) and I inducted him as the number two, “Our Father who art in Heaven….”
What seemed like an eternity, maybe five minutes, the panic and dread began to abate. The evilness that followed me out of the dream faded until I could turn on the light and check the time.
My mind began to race as I searched for an answer, some soothing ointment to smear over my frantic electrified fears. Why did I feel the presence of evil breathing down my neck?
Last year, after my Dad passed away, I read many books about the afterlife seeking answers and assurances that he was in the arms of God. It lead me to read many books concentrating on paranormal theory and communicating with the decreased. What to do, what not to do. If goodness exists, an after life that hovers just beyond our consciousness, just beyond our touch, so does evil.
My mind quickly recalled the warnings concerning the Ouija board and the dangers of communicating with demons because they are likely to be the ones “passing by” looking for a door. I remembered the day the old Jesuit priest had to leave after noon mass to conduct an exorcism. The examples he gave us of previous exorcisms he had been involved with.
Evil was on my mind as I was reading Thomas H. Cook’s latest book, Master of the Delta. The main character is teaching a class to High School students about the inherent evils that have threaded its way through out our history. Tiberius, the Spanish Horse, the prison ship Minsk, Jack the Ripper, the Jukes lineage which has been blamed for populating the world with the scourge of poisonous, demented, dangerous, criminal personalities, the Salem Witch trials, the Spanish Inquisition. My mind was ablaze with examples of evil people who committed unspeakable crimes against mankind.
No wonder I was having night mares and visions releasing Evil into my bedroom!
Once I was calmed down enough to read, I picked up the book and studied the cover wondering if it should be returned unfinished to the library?
Heavens no! I cracked it open to where I had left off, the demons and evil spirits now faded away, and resumed reading.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
We walked by a bar that looked promising, small with a smattering of customers seated at the bar watching the game. It beckoned me to belly up to the bar. I ordered a Blue Moon. The bartender warned me he did not have orange slices, but he had poured a touch of OJ in … and he nodded towards the gentleman sitting to my left….his, he could do the same for me.
Well okay. I’m actually not picky about fruit in my beer.
I moved over next to the fellow Blue Moon drinker to get a better view of the game on the TV behind the bar…....Just Minding My Own Business….
“Who are you pulling for?” Mr. Blue Moon asked.
“UofL…unfortunately” (I must be one of the few people, outside of Louisville, who refers to the University of Louisville as UofL)…
He frowned and shook his head, “Louisiana?” (LSU!!!!!!!!!!!!!Hell NO!!!) “Oh, Louisville!”
For the next hour or so I learned everything there is to know about Mr. Blue Moon. The most important thing is that his wife was sitting right next to him! Along with his SIL and maybe his wife’s brother. They drive a Chinook, class B vehicle, they travel every week end, they are from Michigan, he searches for wild flowers, and rocks, they go everywhere, they are going to Memphis next, they married in 1975, he was a social worker first got into education after 10 years, wish he’d done it sooner, wife retired two years ago, he could have too if he’d done it sooner….
Joe comes in with Step Daughter, drinks the end of my Blue Moon introduce him to “Jerry” and they leave to shop some more.
……going to the Grand Canyon, have grand kids, love micro breweries, going to write a coffee table book when retire, Coach Calipari will be good for Kentucky, did his post-graduate studying at Michigan State, go to Canada not Mexico though he heard you can live like a king for $1000 a month, the stock market is killing him, they love karaoke, his BIL is a musician and plays the up right bass, they got right on the Ryman Auditorium and sang, stood right where Johnnie Cash stood, got others to come up on stage and sing with them …….
Michigan State wins!!! They stood up and shouted out the Michigan State Fight Song, then a hardy cheer followed by more shouts. It was great!
“Was that too much? He asked me.
“ Hell no, I’m a Kentucky fan.” I had a brief flash back of running wild in the streets of Lexington one night after a monumental win. I recalled waiting at the Blue Grass Airport late at night to welcome the team home AFTER THEY LOST in 1992 (the famous Duke buzzer beater, damn that Christian Laettner). So the four of them shouting singing and prancing around in a Nashville bar in Printers Alley after their team earned a spot in the Last Dance was not a breach of etiquette but fully expected. In Tennessee, we all understood.
They left, to go to a Karaoke bar.
Joe and Step Daughter arrive to collect me.
“He was a trip”, I commented to Joe, “You know, if we lived closer to each other we could be best friends! Too bad.”
“Life is a bitch.”
(Jerry, sorry that UNC squashed you last night, like y'all squashed Louisville. I know how much it sucks).
Monday, April 06, 2009
It's official, I'm depressed, listless, lethargic,uninterested in the things that normally I'm all over, apathetic. And on top of all that, they are talking and making overtures to transfer Joe again!! So, I am in limbo.
Today I tackled the cupboards in the kitchen. Wow! The stuff you unearth that you had no idea you bought...or why?? I imagine I could eat for the rest of the month and not make a single trip to the grocery store!
What can you do with Artichoke & Hearts of Palm Bruschetta? Artichoke Antipasto? Mango Chutney? I found a jar of Grande Reserve Kentucky Extremely Hot Smoking Grill Spiced honey mustard! Yum. Also a lost jug of Caribbean Jerk marinade!I found the box of Irish bar-b-q turf! That stuff rocks. You put it in the grill close to the fire but not on the fire!! Several times I have reached into the cupboard searching around for the box of Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour (since 1810) and cursed because I did not have any! Ta-Da! I did, it was hidden in the pantry along with a long list of other things I forgot about.
I've been cleaning like a woman possessed. For my tenets for the love of God!! I even cleaned out the refrigerator shelf by shelf. Then the oven. It was hopeless. I even took a wire brush and could not remove all the gunk. The self cleaning feature is useless. I committed to buying a new stove.... for the tenets, Jesus Mary and Joseph!
I have about a million books and it makes me want to cry thinking I am going to haul them across country....again!
My yard sale is going to be awesome. Write for details.....