Monday, June 30, 2008

Cotton Eye Joe Surprise

Clint and I attended a wedding a few weeks ago, in which his daughter, Jennifer, was Maid of Honor. Having met the the bride and groom only twice before, I still choked up during the slideshow that played as the ceremony began. I am a sucker for a wedding.

The reception was fun, but it took me a little while to strong-arm Clint out onto the dance floor. The music was a variety of stuff we could dance to—old-time rock & roll, mixed in with stuff we could not dance to—rap. Hey, we missed the breakdance boat; what can I say?

We got lucky though, and stayed on the floor for 3 or 4 songs, before Clint declared himself in need of a break. Just as we were leaving the floor, banjo music broke out. As I was thinking "whew! Good timing," Clint's eyes grew wide, and he yelled "Cotton Eye Joe!"

I'm still trying to figure out if I dreamed what happened next, even though I have photographic evidence that I did not.

Clint moved onto the dance floor across from Jennifer, and they both began dancing. Only it wasn't just dancing, it was...almost...choreographed! They were kicking up their heels, and doing something like a jig. Or clogging. Or stomping. I don't know what it was called, but it was amazing! Knees were high, heels and hips were flying, and the wedding party circled 'round to cheer them.

And me? I was stunned, STUNNED! I'd never heard of Cotten Eye Joe, let alone know that my very own boyfriend could cut a rug like this! I'd have been every bit as surprised if he'd done 3 backflips and landed in the splits! I hooted and laughed, and took as many pictures as I could before the song ended, and everyone clapped and patted them on the back.

"Pretty fun, huh?" he said, as he moved off the floor.

"Who ARE you, and what have you done with my Clint?!!"

It was a wonderful, jaw-dropping surprise for all of us; I for one, am still shaking my head and laughing.

My question to you: Has anyone in your life ever shocked you by revealing something you did not know about them, or something you did not know they could do?

Public Service Announcement to Central Illinoisians

Fireflies are out!

9 p.m. tonight, or any night for the next week or so: Get into your car, drive a few miles to any given countryside, around 9 p.m. Beanfields are preferable. If you can't find a beanfield around another 1/4 mile down the road. Ah, there's one!

The lightshow will be spectacular.

And free.

Don't miss it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Under Construction

There's something big going in our lives that I haven't updated you with, as of yet. Big, big, BIG!

Since the beginning of May, I've been getting off work at 3:00 and racing to meet Clint at his house, where we proceed to get down and dirty. We work up a sweat and end up coming back to my house, exhausted and sometimes even a little bruised, around 8 or 9 p.m. We find a bite of dinner and proceed to collapse in front of the telly to watch the news.

Wanna see what we're up to?

We are under construction! We are combining our Forces. Strengths. Hearts. Love. Lives. We have torn his country house to bits, and are building a new kitchen, 2 new bathrooms, and a bedroom (aka lovepit).

We are so excited! We began last January, making plans, drawing up blueprints, picking out floors and cabinets and every imaginable fixture needed. Though it's still early, it is finally coming to fruition: Yes! I'm giving up my "City Mouse" ways, and we will be "Country Mice" together, come Autumn.

Here's a view of the back of the house before we started tearing it apart:

And with the new foundation poured in:

Friends join to begin the framing:

Walls! There's the new kitchen!

There's a second level too. Here's the (edited) view from our future bedroom:

The garage will go, and I drew in some deer, to represent...well, the deer that are always prancing around the property, along with bats, skunks, racoons, squirrels, turkey buzzards, barn swallows and spiders. (All spiders will be banned upon moving day.)

The two big squares in the corner will be kitchen windows at a corner sink, that will give us a similar view of the field in the back.

When I say that "we" are building this house, I mean that "Clint" is building it. I'm more the "clean-up crew," in charge of hauling stuff to the burn pile, and in general, trying not to put a nail through my foot, or do anything else that will send me to the ER.

We are told that if a relationship can survive remodeling, it will survive anything.

While Clint moves meticulously around the construction site, I am clumsy, and more often not, the bruised party on the way home each evening. I have been sitting in a cubicle for 20 years, people! My first appointment at the site was to clean up bricks from the demolition. "Just put them in these buckets, and carry them to that pile over there," Clint told me. Oh, hilaaaaaaaaaaarious. I filled the bucket with bricks, went to pick it up, and my arms fell right off.

So, I've learned to drive the tractor/lawn mower thingy, with a wagon behind it. THAT I can do, haul the wagon to the burn pile, unload, and drive back.

I can NOT, however, back the thing up without jack-knifing it. Clint walked me through it a few times before I snapped "Stop telling me how to do it, I don't learn anything that way!" It's confusing: If you want it to go right, you have to turn the wheels left, and then straighten it out, and don't overcorrect, and then go forward again because you've jack-knifed the thing once again.

He watched while I tried to master the thing about 100 more times. How he managed to keep his mouth shut I will never know, because I still can't back that thing up, and I finally told him "Tell me again how to do this, I can't get it!"

Honestly, how he hasn't given in and strangled me is beyond me. While loading lumber onto the trailer at Menard's, for instance, I became impatient, and insisted that I could carry 2 20-foot boards at once, to cut the job in half. He said "Are you sure?" and handed me 2 boards. CLUNK! I dropped those suckers right on the concrete. Well. Never mind. I can't carry 2 at once. Now I know. I didn't know before, but now I do.

Perhaps, they should tell him, "if your relationship can survive Lori helping out on the construction site, it can survive anything."

Cross ya fingers that he'll just keep laughing, folks, and I'll be keeping you posted on our progress!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back to Ft. Benning

Brian and Steven returned to Fort Benning yesterday, after spending 26 days here. Their original plan was to stay 2 weeks, and road-trip for the last half of their leave, but they had such a great time here, that they canceled all road-tripping.

I think back to the 3rd day Brian had been back in the U.S., and as we walked to breakfast together in Fort Benning, he noted "it feels like I haven't even been to Iraq."

It was so easy for me to fall into that mentality, also, while the boys were home. It's somewhat odd, having life "restored" to a place it was before Brian even went to bootcamp. The house is, once again, full of friends. I drag them to work at Mom's house with me, and we grocery shop for tonight's dinner together. Lawn chairs are scattered on the driveway each evening, the foyer is scattered with shoes, the dishwasher run twice a day, versus every 3rd or 4th day. We worked together some, played together a lot, and even—horrors!—got on one another's nerves!

I'll have to admit, and Brian will readily agree, that everyone doing a round of shots was "cute" and "celebratory" on Day #1 of the boys' leave, but by Day #26, it was making me pretty grouchy and crab-tacular. I had no qualms at all dragging two hung-over soldiers out of their beds last Sunday morning, and making them clean up a mess from the night before that I perceived as "over the top." Two less-than-sunny personalities did as I ordered, sorting cans and bottles, hauling garbage to the dumpster, and accompanying me to the recycle station, before I was satisified enough to dismiss them back to their pillows and blankets.

Crabby we all were, but not without acknowledging this much:
It's a luxury to be arguing. Thank GOD, we are here, sniping at one
another, on this Sunday morning. Amen.

By Sunday evening, we were cooking together, and sitting down with the same crew I was harping at on Sunday morning. Brian & Co. set the table, Niece Brandi helped out with garlic bread and salads, and together we sat laughing, party of 8, over chicken alfredo and baked ziti.

Life is good.

Life is good, and the last 26 days weren't the norm, either. The boys have returned to Fort Benning, and will begin training for their next tour. They are to deploy back to Iraq for their 2nd tour within the next 18-24 months.

I am told that, from a Mother's viewpoint, the second tour isn't any easier. Well crap. I guess I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing then: supporting Troops Deployed and Troops at Home. I have care packages to pack and letters to write, and e-mails to answer, and beanies to send off.

I'll get to it then, and in the meantime, one more thank you to this community
  • To those that lined the streets to welcome them home on May 30.
  • To the neighbor that walked down and handed Brian a case of Fat Tire beer last week.
  • To the contractor that stopped Brian in the grocery store and shook his hand.
  • To the waitress at Merry Ann's that told them to come back and see her.
  • To the Viet Nam vet that bought my son a beer last week, telling us "we didn't get this kind of homecoming when I got out."
  • To the neighbors that put up with the late night music coming from my garage.
  • To the local media, for helping us celebrate, and heighten community awareness.
  • To the dozens of people that recognized both of the boys from the paper and TV, and bothered to stop them, shake their hands, and thank them for their service.

I'd love to give every soldier this kind of homecoming.

Thank you for doing it for mine.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Market Report: June 24, 2008

We were in and out early on Saturday morning, but there's no denying that the Farmer's Market is really starting to blossom. I enjoy watching the progression each week, as tables become fuller, and more and more spaces are filled by vendors. There are still a few empty spots left...

but we all know that these will be filled with mountains of green beans, fresh corn, watermelon, and cantaloupe, in the next few weeks.

Greens are greening like crazy, and they're peppered with red and white radishes now.

There are mountains of peas also: snow peas and shelling peas are abundant.

Unfortunately, we got there too late for basil. The basil is what gets me out of bed early on a Saturday morning, and on my way to the market. I'll chop it, freeze it, dry it, and make enough pesto to get me through the winter.

Basil lovers really do have to take advantage of that $2.00 price tag. After paying that, you just can't bring yourself to cough up grocery store prices of $3.99 for a sprig of the stuff, come December.

Side note on Arugula: I don't know if you're familiar with the taste, but the vendor at Blue Moon once described it to us as tasting like "a burnt clutch." He was so on the money that it comes to mind every time I eat the stuff...which is as often as I can.

New potatoes are coming up. Steam these and toss them with a little butter and fresh chives, and you have a side dish from heaven.

Potted and fresh-cut flowers are now blooming like crazy also. I am, unfortunately, too busy this summer to really enjoy either. Admiring them at the market once a week will have to do, and next year, but I'll be taking full advantage!

Clint and I have coined the North end of the market "Pester Alley." Conversations, photo-ops, and thought processes are interrupted with people representing political, religious, and other charitable organizations, asking you to take their literature or sign their petitions. I want to say something affectionate about it, but honestly, it's an annoying loop, week after week. Isn't there a secret handshake or button I can wear to indicate that I got this schpiel last Saturday?

No matter; we rush around it and move on. Because Papa George is back!

Whoo hoo! Fresh Dolmades for breakfast is one of my favorite things about the market. $3 gets you 5.
Breakfast of champions—although I may have to spring for the spinach and feta pie next weekend.

See you there!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Telemarketer or Gypsy?

Dorothy = My Mother, for this blog alone. The name has been changed to protect innocent little old ladies.

I was doing some work around the house and yard at my mother's house tonight, when the phone rang. She was off in the house somewhere, so I answered. A male voice on the other end asked "Dorothy?"

No, I told him, this is Lori.

"Can you put Dorothy on the phone?"

Look. My mom gets phone calls from about 4 people, and the rest are directed to me. She just gives them my phone number, as I've instructed. So I asked who was calling, please. He said "This is Josh," in a clear tone that indicated that it was absolutely none of my business who was calling.

Josh? My cousin Josh? My sister's nephew Josh?

"Josh who?" I asked him.


Feh Schizzle? It's Josh Schizzle? Well, Josh Schizzle, I'm not putting Dorothy on the phone. No way in hell is Dorothy coming to the phone now that you talked to me like that.

"I want to know what you want, Josh," I told him.


I think you called at the right time, Josh Schizzle. Unfortunately, this is the phone I just bought my Mom, to make it easier for her to call us, in case of emergency:

Great in theory, but aurghhhh, no caller I.D.

And this local blog entry posted just today comes to mind, immediately.

So. Josh Schizzle. You think he's someone preying on little old ladies, or just an irritable telemarketer? He spoke with such a tone of familiarity that I questioned my Mom: "have you been talking to anyone on the phone lately?" She swears no.

It was unsettling, this nasty call that I intercepted. What would Josh Schizzle have said to my Mother?! I went straight to Radio Shack and bought a caller ID box to attach to the phone. I gave Mom explicit instructions not to answer the phone to anyone she didn't recognize, and to hang up if she doesn't know who she's talking to. And I'll be checking that caller ID every day, and I'll be keeping an eye out for that stupid Josh Schizzle. Sheisel. Shezzel. However he might spell it, I'll be watching him.

Anyone else had to deal with odd phone calls like this? I mean, if I catch him, what in the heck do I DO with him?! Is "please put us your do not call list" enough?

Research is in order.

Ugh. Crazy people.

*Josh Schizzle's name has not been changed. I'm only protecting the innocent here; the rest can sit on it, Potsy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dogtown Artworks: They Did It Again!

Diane and I headed out to Alto Vineyards last Friday night, for a glass of wine, and more importantly, to say Hey! to our friends Cindy and Kirby Pringle. I blogged about them before, when they published their first book, Happy Tails: Earl and Pearl on the Farm. Cindy and Kirby have just published their second book featuring Earl and Pearl, titled The Call of Nature.

According to the website,
In “Happy Tails: The Call of Nature,” Pearl Barker buys her first computer and cell phone. Soon, she’s an addicted tech-hound. The Barker farm is falling apart and her husband, Earl, decides it’s time for action. He takes Pearl on a vacation to visit his twin sister, Earlene, in order to get Pearl disconnected from technology and reconnected to nature.
Sounds like Cindy and Kirby might have followed me and Clint around for the last year or so to get the storyline for this one. Here are the happy authors at the signing:

That's Cindy on the left, Kirby on the right, in case you're wondering.

As luck would have it, one of the models for the book showed up at the same time we were there. Charlene Anchor, pictured below, portrayed Earl's twin sister, Earlene. Pretty big gig, a starring role!

Here she is as Earlene. Look how convincing she is; she's clearly a natural. Her cat, Andy, on the left, is also looking very dapper, on this page.

As always, click to enlarge.

Share the love, people, these books are adorable. Cindy and Kirby will be at Pages for All Ages on Saturday morning, from 10:30 to noon. Stop by, say hello, take a gander, and start some early Christmas shopping. You'll get your book signed by Cindy, Kirby, Earl, and Pearl.

You can also order the books, or any of their photos for framing, online:

Seriously, each precious page is a work of art that is going to put a smile on your face. You're gonna love it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Market Report: Wheatgrass Juice (6-14-08)

The Farmer's Market on the Square is definitely starting to bustle every Saturday morning. We were there sometime around the 10 a.m. hour, and the crowds were definitely heavier than they have been in weeks past. The Great Harvest Bread Company already had sold out of the giant cookies Clint looks forward to, so we stuck to fresh greens and cilantro this week. There are still a lot of empty spots at the market, but they'll be full soon, and we'll be taking home a lot more.

Local artist Larry Steinbauer is at the market every week, selling the most charming Midwestern t-shirt designs. He goes by "Farmboy Artworks", and he and his t-shirts are hilarious...and on the money. Here are 2 of dozens of his designs:

There's Larry now, no doubt telling his customers that they get a free bag with their purchase. Larry's wife, Mary Tangora, is also an artist, and they own the Wind Water, and Light Gallery in downtown Champaign—one of my favorite places to shop. Stop in and see them, and introduce yourself to their giant cat, Montana.

Popeye Juice

I promised I'd try a shot of this homemade juice at the new sprout booth. I found out Saturday that it's really Wheatgrass Juice. It's really some disgusting looking stuff, all the way around. Here's our shot, being whipped up, straight from actual blades of actual grass!

That grass cud looks disgusting too, doesn't it? Here's the pour.

Its ours now! At $2/oz, we decided to split a shot.

Wheatgrass juice is supposed to prevent everything and cure the rest. According to the literature they gave me, it helps fight the following conditions:
fatigue diabetes arthritis arteriosclerosis acne Exczema constipation anemia mucus build up in intestines thyroid gland problems high cholesterol cancer pancreatic troubles high blood pressure liver troubles premature aging hypoglycemia allergies heart problems
It has a a million-billion vitamins (ok, 92/102), enzymes, antioxidants, and chlorophyll. It increases red blood cell growth, oxygenates the blood, sweetens your breath, and can be used on your skin for poison ivy and sunburn.

Well! Bottoms up, then! Clint goes first, then me.

Well. It has a sweet taste, at first. And tastes sort of like...what? What is it? It's reminiscent of..

grass. That's it! It tastes like grass.

And quite honestly, it's one of the more disgusting liquids I've ever tasted, giving Korean Ginseng Drink a run for it's money. It had an unpleasant aftertaste that lingered for more than 2 hours, and I was nauseous for quite a while after, also, although that could be due to the sudden healthy state of my system.

If the stuff did everything it claims to do, I might consider taking an ounce a day for a month, to see if I'm suddenly perkier, and red-blood cell-ier.

But, I did a bit of online research, and found that most of the information about what all the stuff can do for you is referred to as a "claim"...they claim it will do this for you, but that all claims are unsubstantiated.

The Stanford Daily published this piece: "What Grass Juice: Power Food or Waste of Money?"

Well, at $2/oz (that's $256.00 a gallon, folks), terrible flavor, and no substantiated facts, I'm putting my tickmark in the "waste of money" column.

This concludes this weekend's market report. Catch ya next week!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Speaking of

I was walking into the library this afternoon, when I overheard a little old lady laughing to her little old husband,

"I am so punctilious."

Punctilious! A big word that I'd never heard. I made a mental note to look it up when I got home, and was ever so proud that I even remembered to do so.

Just so you know, "Punctilious" is an adjective, meaning

"extremely attentive to punctillos."




Leave a big word for me in the comments. I'll let you know which ones I know.

Friday, June 13, 2008

10,000 Calorie Mashed Potatoes
& Enjoying My Kid's Time Off

Although we've been busy, I've still been on Cloud #9 for the last couple weeks, since Brian's been home. I'm pleasantly surprised that Brian & Company haven't been eating out for dinner, but prefer to hang out at my house.

Whoopee! We're cookin, baby! Burgers & brats! Italian Beef! Spaghetti! Cajun Chicken! Homemade macaroni and cheese! Kabobs!

Johnny polishes off the Mac & Cheese
(Paula Deen's recipe, modified and baked instead of slow-cooked)

And of course, 10,000-Calorie Mashed Potatoes. I fixed 5 entire pounds of them for the boys Monday night. I asked Brian to pose with the bowl of potatoes that he's waited 9 months for, and just as I took the pic,

It's really good to have him home.

10,000 Calorie Mashed Potatoes

5 lbs of potatoes: don't, for the love of God, peel them! Just chop them coarsely and boil them in water with a little salt

Then mash them with
  • Half & Half
  • At LEAST one stick of butter
  • Sour cream
  • Bacon bits (REAL bacon bits, not bacon-flavored bits. You can buy them or make them yourself)
I began to feel guilty with all of that, and asked Brian if he thought I should add cheese too. He looked at me like I was crazy. "YES!"
  • Cheddar cheese
Add all that until they're as whippy as you'd like.

Loosen the top button on your pants and eat.

Unrelated Note: I always knew how to spell "potatoes" until Dan Quayle screwed it up. It was such a huge issue that now I have "Potatoes Anxiety" every time I type "potatoes," and honest to God, go and look it up on

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tomato Juice, Anyone?

This is Kurt, our maintenance man, hard at work this morning:

I got to work this morning to find the boss-folk not tucked away in their offices, but standing outside in the parking lot. Wayyyyyyy outside in the parking lot, near the street. Curious. I walked on in, contemplating: Parking lot stripes? Landscaping to come?

I opened the door into the building then, and BAM!!!

Apparently the boss got sprayed by a skunk this morning. There's a patch of woodland behind the building, in which our company garden is planted. Bossman didn't think he'd been hit, but it was apparent once he got inside that he's now a human stinkbomb.

Meanwhile, our building reeks. Every door and window is open and every fan this company owns is running—including the restroom fans. I kid you not, the boss left an hour ago and still there are complaints of throats and eyes burning. This is serious, folks!

And funny. Why is stink funny?! We are going to laugh at this at happy hours for years to come.

Back to the serious. I looked up "get rid of skunk scent" on the 'net, and woe is us, it seems like it's virtually impossible. Seems tomato juice only works on the Brady Bunch episode. Lemon juice? No.

There's a "recipe" on the Cooperative Extension website that has mixed results:
  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • and a teaspoon of liquid detergent.
It's followed by a warning, though: Never mix the ingredients in advance as the oxygen in the hydrogen peroxide may be released, causing the container to explode.

Oh, and skunk scent can be re-activated during periods of high humidity, I learned.

90 minutes into the day and I've experienced something new and I'm more knowledgeable than I was when I woke up.

Do YOU have any more skunk facts or experiences to share?

I'm going to go stand by the window while I wait for your response.

*Addendum, and important skunk fact: Wendy has pointed out that tomato juice worked on the Patridge Family, and not the Brady Bunch. My bad.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Attic Fire

My Central Illinois friends will surely still remember the horrendous storms and tornado warnings last Tuesday evening. Just after 11 pm, Clint's parents phoned: their home had been hit by lighting, and the attic had caught fire. They had no electricity, no telephones, and their cell phones would NOT connect to 9-1-1!

We barrelled out of the house, dialing 9-1-1 ourselves, and managing to get through. It was still pouring when we pulled up to find the lights of 4 firetrucks reflecting off of a neighborhood filled with smoke. Mom and Dad W. and Edie-the-Beagle were out of harm's way. I joined them in a backyard gazebo while Clint and his son Craig, a volunteer firefighter, joined the rest of the crew to get control of the flames leaping out of the top of the house.

We sat shivering in the rain for 4 hours before we were given the all-clear to come back into the half of the house that was unaffected by the fire. The other half, however...

It's very odd to watch a house burn, and to have a certain sense of calmness, thinking "This is ok. All that matters is that everyone is ok. Everyone got out of the house." It is what we repeated to one another over and over, throughout the night.

It is a week later, and though everyone is still thankful, it is also extremely unsettling. In a week's time, there have been meetings with Insurance adjusters—did you know you have to deal with two? One for material possessions, and another assessing structural damage. And Contractors—half of the house has to be rebuilt from floor to roof. Cleaners—every item in the house will be removed, restored, cleaned, and returned. Storage Facilities—the stuff has to go somewhere while the contractors work. Temporary housing! Electricians! Utilities! Inventorying! Packing! Calgonnnnnnnnnnn!

You know, this was not my home, my belongings. I've boxed up a few things, and moved a few pieces of furniture, but I have not had to make one phone call or show up for one meeting...and yet even I feel dazed.

I am in state of Sympathy Stupor.

And I'm also in a state of heightened awareness.

Lightning. A ball of fire went straight through the roof, through the ceiling and into the den where Mama W. was sitting in her recliner. I'd always rather enjoyed a good electrical storm, before last Tuesday.

Fire. Having been exposed to approximately ZERO housefires in my life, I was naively entertaining the notion that someone would grab a fire extinguisher when we arrived, and put the pesky thing out. I thought it might be, oh, the size of a basketball or something. Clint, however, was breaking the sound barrier while we drove across town, cursing, "I hate attic fires."

Firefighters. Sounds silly, doesn't it, after being in a relationship with one for a year? But while we scurried further away, Clint and Craig just moved right into that burning building, and removed all of the photos, needlepoints, quilts, afghans, and every other little thing that makes a house a home. It's called "Salvage and Overhaul," and is an important part of a firefighter's training, I learned later.

I got a firsthand glimpse at what Clint does for a living, and what Craig volunteers to do, until he someday steps into his father's shoes. Seriously, under what other circumstances would that ever have happened? It's not like Clint's going to call me and say "hey, baby, I'm heading out to a fire, c'mon out and watch us in action." Nope. I know he's worked a fire when he kisses me good morning after a 24-hour shift, and his moustache smells like smoke.

Home Insurance. Good Godalmighty, make sure you keep your home insurance paid up! All of the damage, repairs, and lost items have been covered by home insurance, thank God!

I am, after witnessing the fire and the aftermath, utterly moved. I think of Clint's parents, and imagine what they felt, watching their son and grandson march in and save the house. And how terribly proud they must be of granddaughter Jennifer and her fiance Bill, driving from St. Louis the very next day, to dig in, cleaning and boxing and trying to restore order, as best it can be restored.

And, after a week of chaos, we return to the word Thankful.

While we continue to do what we can to help the folks settle down and hope that the next 2-3 months of repairs go as smoothly as the first week of restoration procedures, direct your prayers, good vibes, well-wishes and shouts-out to Mom and Pop W. They're hanging in there more graciously than I can imagine I ever would.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

10 Things You Won't Find in My Kitchen

I'm out of work at work! I'm picking up Fightin Mad Mary's lastest meme: 10 things you won't find in my kitchen.
  1. Crisco. You'll be hard pressed to find vegetable oil in my house either, unless I get an urge to bake, which isn't often.
  2. White bread. Well, that was true before I met Clint. But I don't touch the stuff.
  3. Beets. gah! beets!
  4. Garlic powder. I'm a garlic snob; only use fresh.
  5. Fruit Juice. I want to drink the entire bottle, which has about 4000 calories.
  6. "Flavoring" vanilla flavoring, processed cheese food, bacon flavored bits, or any other "food-flavored" food.
  7. Powdered coffees, teas, or creamer. What in the heck would one have to do to cream to get it into a powdered form? Gives me chills to think about.
  8. Low sodium soy sauce. It's just the real stuff with water added. Why pay for 1/2 bottle of water in your soy sauce?
  9. Popsicles: Frozen flavored ice never cranked me.
  10. Grapefruit. If I have to scoop sugar on every bite to make the bitter aftertaste tolerable, I don't see the point.
What will we never find in your house?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Back Due to Popular Demand: The Market Report

I've received hundreds of e-mail asking me to get back to blogging The Market Report, after slacking off last year, worrying that I'd run out of things to say about weekly vegetables.

Big lie. I didn't receive hundreds of email, but Wendy blogged about it, and that's the truth. I decided that there's something new and exciting at the market every week, and I might just as well show you what I see.

More often than not, vegetables aren't what makes me smile. I can't believe I don't know this guy's name, since his music and song make me smile every week. I can't get enough of watching fascinated little bebita's watching him. Plus, is that a new psychedelic tambourine? I'll have to review.

It's been a cold and rainy spring. Gardens are going in late, and I imagine farmers wait out what the home gardeners do. Ready-to-eat produce, right now, consists mostly of asparagus, fresh greens, and strawberries. Asparagus was sold out by the time we got a late start on Saturday (see 2 posts down for explanation).

Fresh greens are a weekly purchase. $6.50 a pound may sound like a lot, but a pound of greens is a LOT off greens. These are not your grocery store greens: they're fresh and crisp a week later, if you can keep from eating them in that time.

If you like strawberries, NOW is the time to get to the farmer's markets. We bought a quart for $5. Eat these fast; there's not a hard, green berry in the bunch. They're fresh and ready to go, and aren't likely to last a week, as the greens do.

Really. Who could wait a week?

There's a sprout booth, which I've only photographed, thus far. Little sprout lawns all laid out, and they'll mow off as much as you want to take home. There was quite a crowd over a sprout-juice machine. It delivered shots of very-green juice, that look...well, honestly, disgusting, but healthy. It looks like Popeye Juice, and I imagine myself having tons of energy, if I can screw up the nerve to do a shot. I'll beat my way to the front of the line next week, try it, and write a review.

A tiger!

I turned Clint on to hot tea & honey during the last sore throat season; it's another one of those subjects he has a hard time living down at the fire station. We'll be stocking up on local honey before next fall.

Support your local honey bee.

This precious lil bebeh gave me a giggle. Good for mama, for keeping him out of the sun. He's going to look so much younger, by the time he's 1.

Here's my fav photo of the week:

That's it for my first report. Tune in later for more market bounty, more pix, and the Popeye Juice report.

I yam what I yam.