Saturday, December 24, 2011


I am personally starting an "ism." I don't care how much money you have - if you got the Lexus in the driveway with the freakin bow on it (hey Cindy!  Who, for the record, I do personally really like!) for Christmas or the JC's delivered your Christmas in a truck because ya'll were "down on yer luck."  This ISM is for you.  It's Do-it-your-own-damn-self-ism!  Don't wait for a hand out.  Don't wait for FEMA to show up.  Don't go to the store to get it if it's possible to make it yourself (which is - as you will soon discover is WAY better than "storebought."  and yes that is one word here.

Damn I get preachy this time of year don't I?  LOL!!!  but really for me Christmas is first about God and Family.  They are similar in that God is worshiped in a special way and family is loved in a special way in this season.  And second - it's about Tradition.  Cookie party for area kids - check.  Tree - check.  Feliz Navidad heard on the radio in a store - check. Christmas soup - check.  Whoppers wrapped and sent to Dad - check.  Stockings - check.  Buying a ton of random shit off the Internet because I was having a blast and a bit too much Merlot and figuring out who the hell to give this stuff to - check and check!

But - for me it's food too.  Not just traditional food though I almost bought a jar of olives just so I could put them on all 8 fingers and wiggle them like we did in the middle of Grandma Andersen's house (why was it never considered Grandpa's house? really he owned it - but it was HER house - lol) Table covered in a fabric my dad got a roll of from somewhere he worked that we cut for every family event that lasted until I graduated college!!!  The table  (tables actually since they were many and not all the same height.) ran the span of their house from kitchen through the living room.  That was a bizarre house and in retrospect I would never have eaten there if I knew then what I know now - but I never ever got sick from anything there and maybe that's why I have a cast iron stomach.  Who knows? 

But the table was set with the GOOD Silverware.  And it was actually.  We didn't have dick on most days but at Christmas we had nice China and nice Silverware to eat on and from.  And on that table were crystal bowls of olives (hello fingers?) and pickels.  The main course was the much maligned CHRISTMAS SOUP that as a child was BARELY food.  It was poison.  BUT it was the precursor to all of the good stuff - so it was tolerated.  AND as the oldest I had it the longest and it sunk the deepest into my soul.  It was the food version of A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD.  Yeah you can't shake that shit. 

Flash to today.  I'm sitting here kid less since we did the marathon halfway to home drive so Tim and his wife Sabrina (who is -  btw an amazing woman who I really really like! not that that changes the price of anything)
can have the kids for Christmas.  Mom is long dead and it's just the man and me and the dogs.  WEIRD.  We are gonna do Sherlock Holmes since we did movieco on our first "alone" Christmas and saw the first one.  A tradition if you can call it that.  I miss my kids - but I get to just be Katie and not Mommy today and actually for the next few days.  Katie likes to cook and experiment and go nuts at the stove and counter top.  I have a beef roast medley in the oven as we speak  and shrimp (hey SARRAH!) going to be an incredible melange of flavors for tonight. 

At the very and I MEAN VERY freakin least - if you do nothing on your own. . . . and I would love to school you in a myriad of doityourowndamnselfism but if you are a newbie to the world outside of big brother I'll be gentle (sort of :D) . . . . Make your own shrimp sauce.  Dear LORD Jesus if you can't make it you are a moron and wouldn't be reading this so this a mute rant.  3 ingredients.  You pick your fire level.  Personally- and there are those who can attest to this - I probably could drink lava and survive so I can't choose for you - BUT it's Ketsup.  Hunts - NO HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) 1 measure - 1/2 measure fresh horseradish.  Grind your own or at the sort of lazy but approved buy it premade but HOT version. and then my personal "yeah that's how I roll" additive - sriracha!!!  I do an equal measure of sriracha that I do ketsup.  That would hurt most mortals.  Pick your level of hot.  You get hot and sweet shrimp mixed.  If you are really nice I may tell you how I make my shrimp.  But you gotta ask nice :D  And then do it yourself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Riffing on a classic

Now.  Let it be noted for the record books.  I CAN play an instrument (flute) and therefore qualify as a musician.  First chair  - thank you very much though I sight read most of my lessons (hey Mr. Hale :D ) but I "so" get how music moves people.  The musicians I personally know and love are my favorite humans on the planet because they make something seemingly out of nothing.  They move the air with their instruments and shape sounds that resonate within the bones of my ears and more importantly my heart and soul.  Even if it's just a voice it moves me.  I can sing pretty well.  But I don't put myself on any pedestal when it comes to singing.  I don't suck.  Mr Oxley said so.  But great? nah.  Above average.  B+ maybe even A- if it's something I REALLY like.  But I don't really consider myself a musician.  I leave that to my beloved ones who can do it and do it really REALLY well.  To the beautiful lady who sits at the piano with no one around and plays and sings to herself and God for hours - you move me.  To the man who held an amazing place in music and still does and still can - I hope you never ever stop believing in what CAN happen just around the corner. 

I have always said it about myself - that I am best with someone Else's original idea and making it something great.  I certainly can write my own original material but I can take your good ideas and make them better.  It's one of the things I rock at.  Don't care if I get credit - it just kind of oozes out of me. 

So - if you've followed anything thus far this fall/winter you know I'm searching for home.  Home for me is a smell - a flavor - a sound.  It is officially Christmas time since I heard Feliz Navidad.  Whew.  Was a bit worried I'd not have Christmas this year since I hadn't heard it until last weekend!

But without Christmas Soup.  it just isn't.  BUT - okay let's be real.  I remember the crap "soup" that was served to us and Dear Lord Jesus in the manger - YUCK.  It was clear broth with MAYBE a string of beef and a half a carrot strip and a celery chunk.  AND then these GIANT sinker dumplings with RAISINS.  I hate raisins.  Always have.  Now they make me ill so shucks.  . . . Can't include them. 

SO - Katie - half way across the country from family needs the familiar but also a tweek.  Here's my Riff on the Andersen/Korn Christmas Soup from my whole life.  Read back from the beef roast post previous.  Roast the living crap out of some beef with bones with marrow.  I had probably 20 lbs of  beefy bony goodness roasted with carrots, celery and onion (mirepoix) I added mushrooms cuz I loves me some fungus.  SO from there I flooded the Roaster with some wine to scrape up the bottom but Got my huge stock pot ready - I poured all of that loveliness into the pot and added about 12 cups of water. 

DUMPLINGS (ala katie)

We've established I hate raisins so all bets are off on that crap

2 6oz packages of panko bread crumbs.  YES I am allergic to wheat.  Yes this will make me sick.  Tough.
8 large eggs.
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp sea salt

Mix and roll into balls as big or small as you want.  I like big balls and I can't deny . . . wait that's butts.  anyway that's what I do.  :D 

Let your dumplings rest in the fridge over night and if you live in WI or actually in VA at night - put your HUGE freaking pot outside.  BRING it back in during the day because temps over 35 are not good.   When you are ready - boil your soup and add dumplings - boil for at least 20 minutes but turn down from to simmer when full boil starts.  These dumplings WILL break apart if you are rough with them so if you don't want a pot of dumpling mush be gentle or remove them each time you want to heat the soup and then add them back.  Obviously they need to be removed from the fridge and put in the soup to reheat. 

I got the best - No.  BEST compliment from my version.  My husband.  A non-family tradition member said. . . AND I QUOTE "yum, that's good soup honey." 

I rock.  No guitar necessary.  Now bring me my whisk bitch. .. . :D

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Roasting bones and cooking rice.

Okay.  again.  if you are reading this -  you either know me, are sleeping with me, or some how tripped onto this blog by accident - (Hi - I'm Katie - I'm slightly weird - very cute - long red hair lol!!!) .  I am a food freak.  I like to make food for others to eat that I can't because I have stupid allergies.  Yeah.  it's complicated.  BUT the food I CAN eat - dear LORD JESUS I'm stupid - anal about.  Okay yeah  - anal and food - not a good combo - but I run a tight ship with my food.

I really hate food made by other's unless it's chinese or thai.  I have done the mexi Cafe Rio thing and thumbs up.  but I don't ever - ever - EVA eat fast food.  I just can't.  I can't eat in a moving vehicle while driving.  Yeah. I'm a freak. I'd rather go hungry rather than eat and drive. Texting? much more important.  Though I only do that at red lights officer. . .

So.  Where the hell am I going with this?  What I am saying is that I have some things down to a science.  I can make perfect.  Yes.  PERFECT. and i would add an f bomb here but I'm not drunk.  Perfect rice.  Jasmine only.  I buy it 20lbs at a crack cuz. . .   I'm me and I can't eat wheat.  SOooooooooo it's rice . . .  a lot.  I can tell you exactly how to make rice but until you have done it everyday for about 20 years it won't be perfect.  Firstly -  You take a measure.  You decide how much you want to make. Pick a vessel.  Put the rice in it but make sure your pot is WAY bigger.  put said amount of rice in vessel.  Wash in cold water.  Rinse. repeat. 6 times. Say happy thoughts and prayers over your rice and DON'T lose a grain or you will fail.  When your rice is assuaged of all evil and unearthly thoughts and weight - double the water of your rice measure.  and turn on high.  Let it come to a slow boil - cover and turn to less than low and go 15 minutes.  Turn off heat and rest 5 minutes.  This is just the recipe - you need to earn your rice merit badge on your own young jedi.  I am just the master.  :D

Roasting bones.  God!  God is in the marrow.  Until you have spread bone marrow on your bread (or in my case rice) and tasted the best that animal had to give - gah! - really - almost an orgasmic food experience - you just don't get "it" when it comes to food.  I will pretty much eat anything if somebody loves it - I'll freakin try it.  I have an American palate  - so,  forgive me,  some things go down hard but I'm not a sympathetic puker or eater = I'll try it!

If you get bone marrow - I am your friend.  serious.  It's better than butter cuz it's not dairy.  It's beefy goodness.  I am sorry - not a pork fan but that's another post.   I LOVES ME some cow.  And venison  - but again that's another post.  Bones.  need roasting.

Oxtails - and parts that have bones (necks et al . . . )   deal LORD roast them.  Marrow is amazing.  I make my beef roast as such.  I buy the biggest bottom round roast at least 4lbs.  Here (Manassas VA) in my Asian market (see below) 3.99  per lb.  I purchased also 20 lbs of beef shank roast and beef neck cuts - 2.19 per lb.  nice bone cuts. LOTS of fat and marrow.  I put it all in my roaster - 2 hrs with nothing but heat 350.  after that add your personal mirepoix.  I add baby carrots 1lb - one chopped onion - 2 lbs mushroom and 2 cups celery and then 3 cups burgundy and 3 cups beef broth.  cover and cook freakin forever.  ok - 4 hrs on 300.  then make rice. 

on a musical note.  if you have access to Iheartradio. make a station based on your favorite band.  omg. 
del amitri radio makes me go back to WLC in the best way.  just saying.  If you actually know me or are sleeping with me  - peace.  I'll do a Christmas blog soon. 

If I can impart any wisdom to anyone out there it's this.  If you find yourself in a city (read more than 1000 live bodies) find the nearest Asian/Hispanic market.  shop there. done.  You will find the freshest ripest best produce and meat available.  If you don't speak their language.  . .  learn it.  Lord you are smart or you wouldn't be HERE. Learn it.  learn enough to get the cuts you want and shop there enough to be known.  I am known. 

Well - um I have waist length FIRE red hair and frankly wear nice clothes that fit my body that can run many miles. Yes.  I make people remember me.  DO likewise.  GET what you want.  It's your money.  Put it in the hands of the people who give you the ingredients to make the food you personally want to eat.  period.  If it's fast food shit you want to eat.  try to make it not vile. 

stepping off of soap box now :D
Now if I can leave you with a thought . . . .  Love the ones you love.  And if someone you love is in pain. . . say a special prayer.  I am with you.  Tim. I am with you.  I'm praying. Sabrina.  you are an amazing woman.

Life is today.  Have good sex if you can - love up on those you love. Say big prayers and small ones - God gets it all and realizes we are just ants with souls.   Peace. 

oh and when you are roasting those bones - - - you can thank me later for what your house smells like.  people will just show up.  uninvited.  yeah.  that's where God is  - deep in the marrow.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Band Aids and Artificial Trees

So driving to my 11 yr old's 6th grade band concert yesterday (yeah a whole lotta flat) My youngest daughter asked me, "Mom, why don't we have a real tree?"  And my immediate response was, "Because I hate the smell and inconvenience of a real tree and I can count on a fake one!"

Wow.  That actually set me back.  My WHOLE life growing up we had "real" aka cut (dead) Christmas trees.  And to me that always seemed wrong.  Maybe that's why I hate cut flowers. I do.  I love roses.  They smell amazing.  So grow them.  Cutting them and shipping them KILLS THEM.  Sorry.  I do love roses.  I hate dead things I guess.  I learned a lot last night.  I strongly dislike people who don't take their screaming 3 yr old out of a concert that other people actually want to hear.  I really wanted to pull out my bitch card and remind them that in America when our unruly child is acting up we do something that respects the other parents in the room but my spanish isn't that profound so I thought they wouldn't get it.  Yeah that's where I LIVE. 

So how does this get better - well I learned a lot about my person - I pretended that an evil (I'm exploding your brain with my thoughts - thanks SHELDON!)  look was gonna cut it - NOPE they just let their stupid kid cry.  It was up to me to either let it ruin my time - or get up and say something or kill them.  And since I don't think I'd like prison food I chose to ignore them and knit.  It did get better and after an hour we were on the road home and I still had no respect for the dumb (fill in the blank) let their stupid kid cry but my child finished and was awesome!  I love being an American but I personally dislike my president and most of the philosophy of the VAST majority of my country.  I don't want a hand out or up or down - If I fall down I better be able to pick my own self up - or hope that I paid the insurance to fix my mistake or accident or whatever.  I like responsibility.  It's empowering.

Band aids -  I have also learned  - are gross.  I discovered that about me.  I like real fixes.  I don't like fake band aids and I HATE real ones.  Band aids in the medical sense -  cover wounds.  They don't fix them - only time -  healing and GOD can do that.   But "band aids" are what you do to sort of fix something today until it bites you in the ass later and THEN you deal with the real problem.  That is dumb.  Drinking too much vodka because your life at home with the person you are married to -  is a band aid.  It's dumb and only really hurts you (and your liver!)  REAL used band aids gross me out because my beloved children think that they are made of gold and everyone should own stock and touch them wherever they choose to shed them!  UGH !!!  YUCK.

Just saying.  I like things I can count on.  Things that I can't lose - forget or ignore.  Tattoos can't be stolen lost or ignored.  But happily CAN be covered.  Piercings are the same.  God rocks and is the same yesterday today and forever.  People are eternal - just need to know where to find them later.  I pick peace and love and joy.  Look for me later - I should be there.  Not believing in anything fake.  :D

Basically - I like the fake things that are fake for a reason and the things that are supposed to be real for a reason.  I guess it's reason that I like.  I am sorry and I know that I will alienate a lot of people when I say I hate useless things - since art is seemingly useless.  BUT since I am a knitter sewer creator and crafter - I just choose things that are like me - MULTITASKING.  I hate things that just collect dust.  If you don't make bread but just sit there waiting to cut a turkey once a year - BYE! (that was a total random dig on my husband keeping the ultimate UNITASKER in the world - a board with spikes and handles to hold a turkey steady while carving it.  - nice idea but HUGE waste of precious kitchen space!)  I make things that are pretty but also DO things. A sweater is pretty AND keeps you warm because your tyrant boss keeps it sub zero in your office?  Knit some matching arm warmers. 

I'm working some chain maille recently.  May be cool.  I like it and it's real and I look cool in it.  Multitasking if I do say so. 

End of day.  I like knowing what I stand on and for.  I know my legs work because I run the hell out of them.  I know MY GOD is awesome because He has told me so.  And I believe a book that has shown over and over again to be true despite PROVEN attempts to debunk it.  And I know that at the end of days I will stand before my Lord and know that HE gets me like no one on earth ever could. 

I like the things you can count on and can't ignore.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Safety Police can bite me . . . .

Or why hot molten liquid is good for you . . .

Okay so I am a wife.  A bitch and a lover . . . oh wait that's a different post.  I'm a mom.  I get the concept of not letting your 5 yr old play with matches or a loaded gun or a hot stove.  Unless it's Christmas time.  HUH? you say.  Only the hot stove part.  The gun is only for New Years Day and if you are Up Nort.  Yeah the Wisconsinite comes out in me in a very stabby way around sturgeon spearing time and when cutting up venison.  Matches are just for fun.  Go light something little Timmy . . . . :D

It seems candy is on my mind.  I'm so freaking homesick it isn't funny.  It's Christmas time and I need need need to make Christmas Soup.  I'm skipping the Beef Knuckle for Oxtails.  (yeah I'm a food whore) BUT the rest is close to the same.  I'm exploring how to make the sinker dumplings that are gluten free.  May need to just be sick for a day but I NEED my soup.  Jesus was actually born in September (Right cuz you didn't know that already?) so CHRISTMAS to me is "celebrating HIS birth" WITH  soup and dangerous candy.

I recently realized just what the hell we Andersen/Wenzel women did each December and it involved a LOT of hot molten syrup sugar things that needed to be watched and then POURED into other things.  Dear LORD I was like 6 helping this happen.  I still have my fingers (excepted for that unexpected Girl Scout molten caramel incident circa 1981) intact.  

I am going to continue the tradition with my girls.  Safety Police be damned.  I bring you - GLASS CANDY!!!!!  AND  DIVINITY!!!!

Glass Candy (yes Kristen you need the actual flavoring :D)

3 cups white sugar
1 cup corn syrup (lite)
1 cup water
walk to Rice's drug store in Winneconne and pick your flavor - oh wait - they aren't there any longer :D  you can get LorAnn's flavors at Michaels/Hobby Lobby/ and your better craft stores.

bring to the hard crack stage (you need a candy thermometer for this 290-300)
Add the flavoring/food color and be prepared to CLEAR YOUR Sinuses !!!!!!!!!!!!  We as Andersen/Wenzel/Owens/Meilehn/Sullivan-Howard's choose Cinnamon as our flavor of choice.  You pick.
Peppermint/Spearmint is not a bad choice.  Butter Rum also an excellent choice - part of my husband picking criterion.  Pour into a buttered 9x13 and let cool.  I put powdered sugar over the butter and over the top.  I'm just weird but it makes it seem to come out easier.  Crack the hell out of it.  enjoy.  SP - bite me.


This only works in LOW humidity - so hello - winter! YOU NEED A CANDY THERMOMETER.  Don't even try if you don't have one.  They are like 4 bucks at Walmart.  Get one.

•3 cups granulated sugar
•1/2 cup light corn syrup
•2/3 cup warm water
•2 egg whites
•1 tsp vanilla extract I've also done almond - pure makes a difference

Read all the way through before you do this - no one wants to be surprised with hot syrup or whipped egg whites - ever.  Just sayin.  Diamonds are an awesome surprise.  Molten syrup - not so much. 


1. Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with foil and spraying it.

2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 250 degrees, firm-ball stage.

3. Beat the egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Slowly pour about half of the sugar syrup into the egg whites, beating constantly.

4. Continue to cook the remaining syrup until it reaches 270 degrees, soft-crack stage.

5. Stream the remaining syrup mixture into the egg whites while the mixer is running. Continue to beat until the candy is thick, shiny and holds its shape.

6. Mix in extract until fully incorporated.

7. Drop by the teaspoonful onto cookie sheet, and let cool until full set.

I have a vintage KitchenAid mixer from the 50's.  It serves me so well and I use it for everything but it doesn't have all of the cool bells and whistles of the new ones.  I like my cracked and peeling  - old black and white one.  It works.  And the safety police have nothing to say. 

Enjoy your Christmas and celebrate your Lord.  He rules.  There really is nothing for us here on this earth if we don't love our sweet people.  Let someone you love know it today.  Life is. now.


Friday, November 25, 2011

It's in the details

Okay so it's the small things that matter and if you don't believe me - you don't drive a car.  or cook.  or are married. 

If your windshield wipers are old and decide that they really don't appreciate their place of work in the universe as the cleansers of your personal vehicular window happiness and rather would prefer a life in Florida or landfill near your home then on the next rain/sleet storm text me how little details matter. 

I could continue on the minutia that clogs up our lives - (aka the shit that really matters) but that would take too long since minutia is kind of personal.  AKA marry the right person.  If he is doing something that makes you want to put an ice pick into his skull ,. . . . you need to choose again - unless prison food excites you.  

I'm sorry.  Details. details. um. details.  yeah they matter.  try typing without punctuation.  it freakin matters.  Get a prescription filled if they can't read EXACTLY what that asshole (I mean genius with too much God complex) wrote in chicken scratch.  Now that's an overstatement since my personal doctor is an East Indian woman who I absolutely adore beyond words but I've had assholes so there you have it . . .

So you know I have to say I'm actually humbled today.  I am being completely sincere in being sorry for Demi.  She's a bit (7 years) older than me and has had an f'ton of work done but she is still gorgeous!!!  BUT she is apparently crazy needy.  I feel that. 

I get being so stupid focused on the MAN  you are with that you lose who you are.  I will never ever want to be that girl again.  BUT I get wanting to appease.  I get wanting to be appealing.  I can't imagine being with a hot actor 15 years younger than me!!!!!!!!!!!  OMG I pick a man 10 years older to assuage ANY doubt on the scale of hotness.  To him.  i rule.  Yeah..  DEMI.  pick again.  Pick better.  It's in the details.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

For those about to EAT - WE SALUTE YOU!!!

I am trying to NOT go all eat pray love on all ya'll but really this year.  .  . . it's hard.  I want to.  I have so much to thank the LORD dear JESUS YaWeH. for.  I have Money that got us out of debt for.  Just a mortgage to pay and daily bills - no past debt.  Nice house to live in -  bedrooms for every kid (3) plus us and then a workout room!!!!  I have a nice job and great people I work with and for.  I may be not paid enough for what I do but I am compensated by being with amazing people and being in charge of my world.  That really does rock.  I have a physical body that still does what I say and qualified for the Boston Marathon.  I sleep a nice sleep with that. 

I have crazy kids who drive me nuts but love me and for the most part listen.  I have an amazing husband who rocks my world and makes me smile in multiple ( :D) ways (yes please!!!)

I will share massive turkey pictures tomorrow - but tonight is just a shout out to those I love.  I love you all and am glad to have you in my life.  People are forever.  Know that.......  "D thanks for forever !!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oxtails and Artichokes

SO if you are reading this - you are either 1) me or 2) not me but someone who knows me.  Therefore you get that I am a weird foodie chick with both a gung ho spirit and food allergies.  I can WANT to eat a lot of crazy shit but can't eat a lot of crazy shit because I can't eat wheat or oats and need lactaid to eat dairy.  BUT really I'm mad fun on the dance floor. 

So this blog is brought to you by the the letter Q and the number 13.  Soundtrack - Queens of the Stone Age - Album rated R.

I am so into old school food with a twist it's not funny.  I love foie gras with a stupid passion and I don't care how many fowl needed to die a fat and happy death to make my pleasure happen.  They are animals.  Yum.

I miss venison and wish I could find me a hunter here in the great state of VA that could knock a few over for me.  Have a boy in mind to ask (hey Zac!)

I love venison - oxtails - artichokes (yeah title and all).  Turnips, carrots, potatoes, sweet and not, parsnips, beets - celeriac - garlic - gotta love the old school  root veg and such (yeah I know garlic - not a root et al ). But it's what you do with it all that speaks to me.  I'd rather die than eat jello,  so very freaking leisure suit Larry, but not everything vintage is bad.  There are some things that just should be classic.  Audrey.  Black tight pants black tight sweater.  Hair pulled back.  classic. yup.

There are just some things that should die a death with rocks piled on top never to come back.  Parachute pants for one.  Neru jackets 2, Hammer pants UGH! 3!!!!!, okay so sue me I'm a child of the 80's.  Bell bottoms are hard but I can do flares so there's hope for me.  (after thought - think Dallas - HUGE hair and shoulder pads - really?  I need to look BIGGER?)

But with food it's different.  I will never make nor eat an aspic.  NOPE.  rather die.  to jello like.  (have we established I hate jello unless there's vodka in it?)

So really - it's hard core with me - either it's basic mac and cheese (no not the box) or grilled cheese with tomato soup or breakfast for dinner or something you would all recognize - spaghetti and such or meat loaf, or it's really something nobody but me really would touch.  Yeah I made Roger eat tongue and he liked it and didn't know it.  BUT besides that.  I'll eat anything if someone has made it and loves it.  I'm the bizarre food girl.  Hell yeah.  If you love and make and EAT it y'own'self - I WILL EAT IT.  Unless there's wheat or dairy in it and I don't have lactaid. Though I have been known to just say f' it and do it anyway.  I won't die - just wish I did.

Dinner tonight is classic root veg, red wine reduction, seared animal (beef) flesh YES - beef burgundy.   AND HELL yeah - cheap ass burgundy!!!  it's reduced so you gotta love the cheap wine.   The kicker is NOT using olive oil but either duck fat or bacon grease.   :D  you will thank me later.  Bacon grease is close to God.  and yes I know it's pig which I don't personally eat but as a gentile I CAN.  You can tell Jesus on me later.  I'm sure he cooks with it too.   Not certain but IMHO HE does.

So at the end of the day.  Jello sucks unless there's vodka.  and vintage is cool if -  well - you think it so.  Unless it's a "members only" jacket and then you are just lame.  Way to go uncle rico!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Running rules - bring a towel

Okay so I have been running as a fun exercise thing since very early on.  Okay so I WAS in track in HS  - though it was hurdles and short distances and then briefly did I do CrossCountry OMG a whole freaking 2 MILES.   If I could put that into bigger caps it would be the size of my head since that's really how I saw that whole   "MILE" thing.

Flash forward to 1986 -  Married to THE Tim - I was working at a software firm as help desk PRE kids.  I thought it would be "fun" to start running on my lunch hour.  Welcome to the world of no toenails and blisters.  I fell in love with being sweaty and tired.   AND then had kids x3.  Jumping rope in my living room kept me home for the peanuts and kept me fit.  Enter the Bucket list.

I decided to run a marathon before the marathon was past my age group.  So being married to THE Roger I let said family know this was in the cards and for the next 8 months Mommy (aka wife) would be preoccupied - focused and otherwise a crazy person until November 12 around noon.  And that is pretty much how it went down.  I over trained - over ran and pretty much began to hate all things running and shoe related.  But still I continued.  I had blisters on my blisters and then it happened.  The end of all things good.  Day light savings time.  Could you shoot me in the freaking head already?  I wanted to crawl into bed and sleep but then it was basically only one week to MARATHON - GOAL - You know the thing you have been training for like FOREVER!!!!  I had lost sleep and almost lost my husband to my methodical "gotta run" philosophy.   It was in my sights and I had trained hard for it.  I was gonna do it - but I really just wanted it over.  I did.  I wanted to be post "first one" so that like a veteran I could talk the talk and move on.  Being a marathon virgin sucks.  You are just "in training" until you cross that line.  THEN you got it.  You are the shit and it matters what you say.  Okay to another runner at least.  But just saying.  It means something to gut it out when your body is screaming at mile 21 that what you are doing is shear madness and unless you stop there will be anarchy.  All systems will stop and you will be a puddle lying in the street - we promise you girlfriend - we are serious and we have such power.  AND then you get a powerade and suddenly all systems go.

BUT that is not what this is about.  This is a call to runners of the world.  Really? you need to farmer snot?  I am from Wisconsin.  I know from snot.  I have run for years.  WITH a towel.  NOW you may say that I've read far too much Douglas Addams - and that may be true - but dear Jesus.  really.  My snot does not need to land on another runner.  bring a towel people.  your ass is full of bottles of weird liquids that frankly as far as I see are futile since there is a water/powerade/ gel break every 2 miles.  You are bouncing like JLO on the dance floor and yet a tissue is not to be seen.  Thanks.  ALSO.  If a girl is approaching you and you are running in an odd fashion - let me pass.  Thanks.  You are scaring me.  Strange man with no shirt and only a speedo.

Frankly it's all good and at mile 25.5 I got to sprint to the finish and felt like a freaking rockstar.  I finished in good enough time to qualify for the Boston.  Hello?  really?  I would NEVER do it but hey - YEAH!  bite me.  I'm good thanks.  Roger is thinking he wants to do the Richmond next year with me.  I say -

bring a towel.  :D

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pia Jesu Domine - Donna AIES Requime - Okay so my Latin is rusty

Let's talk dog smells.  I love love love my animals.  Male, female, human, canine, Guinea pig reptilian oh, Jesus - I love the creatures in our house who are invited to live here.  Spiders are NOT - and will subsequently be squished by the nearest shoe possible.  Thank you. Management.

Now that said. Dogs freaking smell.  I would rather have my left or for that matter right arm cut off than own a fucking cat.  Oh did I type that?  I hate cats.  I just do. Deal.  They're cats - they will form an allegiance against me and I'm ok with that.  I hate them.  They don't need us so let them find food and mice on their freakin own and leave me out of it.  I hate cats.  Not the musical - it was much better than Cats I'd see it again and again . .  . .  .   Sorry. . .

Dogs are dumb and need me.  Or they are smart and STILL need me.  Like men.  Oh did I type that?  LOL! 

I love my dogs.  Even the one I have learned to hate.  She is an ankle bitter and NOT my dog,.  I even love the bitch (yes she is) who has eaten underwear more than she's worth!  But my poor dumb sweet pit boy is hands down my favorite.  My dear sweet Domino.  Dear Jesus could there be a sweeter dumber idiot?  NOPE - Dom you win.  Short bus to school!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

So dinner was sticking the incredibly tough steaks that Roger picked from my crazy store into the crockpot for 8 hrs to make them melting into the mouth good.  crockpots make everything good.  enjoy.  okay so I put into the london broil some burgundy - some jalapenos - garlic onion and green peppers and some water.  Time is the great equalizer. 


Next Saturday is my first marathon.  Nervous. scared. intimadated - ugh.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Drag queens and All Points South

God Bless the Freaks.  I know that this particular sentiment is sooooooo not the best position for a "Christian" to have -  but hey - I am nothing if not honest and really I am not setting myself up to be the posterchild for all things HOLY so really -  bring me your poor and rejected,huddled, bedraggled masses with streaked mascara.. . .  Bring on the freaks I say.  I am just so tired of judging.  I've done too much of it in my 42 years to last a lifetime.  And in that I post a HUGE apology to the God I personally believe in THE Father, Jesus and the most reverend HS!

Judging is the focus of my most recent book idea.  It really is a huge thing with me since when we judge someone else it puts us into a very unique and arrogant position.  DISCLAIMER! - I am absolutely  NOT saying humans should never be in that position.  I'm just saying that when you are - you better be certain your heart - conscience and life are in perfect alignment and if you have ANY thing and I mean ANY FREAKING THING to repent of - DO IT!  Judging puts you where God stands.  It puts you in a position of decision of the fate of someone else.  Even if it's a merely a positional (think job) or stature thing and you are not deciding life or death it's still a big deal in the eternal realm. 

So why the title? 

Miami was a great time for me.  It took me to a great place and also helped me see some things I knew about me but was ignoring.  It was refreshing.  God is awesome.  Forgiving - benevolent - and supreme.  Don't think anything slips HIS notice.  YHWH's got it going on.  I went to a Gospel Brunch with drag queens.  It rocked.  I laughed - sang - cried - clapped and GASP even worshipped a little.  But start to finish - I judged NO ONE.  It was so freeing.  Or maybe that was the champagne that went with it . . . can't say.

BUT - this girl don't know everything.  I know - shocking!  Right?  I don't have it all on paper - together - nailed down.  Life is messy - I used to say "bring paper towel!"   Now I say bring a freaking f'ton of bathtowels!  Life is so simple but we make it so hard.  Humans are dumb.  There's a reason God calls us sheep so very often.  We do so many dumb things on a regular basis . . . .

I'd like to have this amazing recipe for you - all I have is a bright red hand - think bleeding for my dinner . . . . beets rock. 
I made boiled - mashed - beets (the rest went into a vinegar bath with jalapenos and sugar for a few weeks. Hello sweet - spicy pickled beets!!!!)  But peeling beets leaves NO ONE unscathed.    You gotta love a food that makes such a statement.  Beets are so underrated in American cooking.  They are so good for you and also make a hell of a dye for yarn (but that's a different post altogether!)  Beets - like the sun - color the righteous and unrighteous alike!  (okay maybe the scripture mentions rain but I am paraphrasing!)

"Judge not - lest you be judged." 

That scripture always BUGGED me since it was usually wielded by a "non believer" to make whatever "the believer" was going to say -  go away.  Kind of like a cootie shot.  But really it was just a statement from Jesus to "the Believer" to be sure they don't do anything in the world without making sure their personal plate was clean.  People are watching.  THE WORLD is watching you.  HOPING -  PRAYING even that you mess up so that they can then judge you for making a mistake because you are supposed to be perfect.  Well, then.  I've made so freakin many mistakes - bring on the parade of accusers.

BUT.  the difference in me is I've been humbled.  humility is unbeatable.  I can go lower.  Try me.  I've been put in my proverbial "place" and yup - I suck.  In spades.  So judge me.  please.  If you are a Christian I'm telling you to make sure your motives and directives ARE TRUE - if you judge someone because of their actions or behaviors - be SOOOOOOOOOO sure you are right with God because HE really is the only perfect force here. 

My hands are stained red and unless I pour bleach over them they are RED!!!  There's a symbol for ya!  I've been stained  - and I prefer to think of it as THE Blood which covers me BUT then that's an EASTER message and not one for today - just get the fact that like in the book 1984  - Big Brother (aka the world) is watching and you need to be on guard. 

The world is watching.  Don't suck.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The first cut is the deepest

They say you know where you are from by the things that you would want as your last meal.  Me?  If I knew I was saying bye to planet Earth (or "rrrrrrrrrth" as Max Von Sydow said in Flash Gordon) it would be Clifford's fish fry  - Wauwatosa WI - (well worth the google my friends!!!!) I'd eat until I pretty much exploded.  I wouldn't worry about the flour on the fish breading or the grease or my hips expanding beyond their already Germanic proportions - I'd eat the fantastic tangy cole slaw with abandon and take plate after flaky plate of fish - french fries and slaw.  Thank you Jesus.  If there is is no fish fry in heaven I don't want to go. 

Tonight was group - family - crazy contingent that I call kids friends and extras - dinner.  We feed them all happily.  I'm a feeder by nature so hey grab a fork - bring it.  Bring an appetite come to my house you won't leave empty.   My house is going to be the teenage hang out.  I feel it - oh wait it's started already.  That to me is not a bad thing.  I'm slightly smarter than your average 16 yr old so I got a leg up.  Yeah me. 

But the meal. ?

Call it the Holy Trinity plus

Everyone in the south talks about the holy trinity.  Besides Jesus God and the Spirit - we are talking - celery, onion and pepper - to the French it's carrot onion and celery also called mirepoix - I won't start a war so I made peace and just made it all good.  Bacon fat is the great equalizer.   true that.

Bacon fat.  yeah.  Fat is flavor.  I should have that tattooed someplace . . .  :D

But it's true folks - it's the vehicle for which all other things will have tasteful meaning.  It either tastes good and you want to eat it or it's a freakin rice cake and you are eating it because you feel guilty.  I won't eat another thing out of guilt or fear again.  I have lived that life and am done with it.  My body belongs to me and God.  I like me.  I like me at 130 lbs and whereever I end up after running this marathon.  I can not run and eat and run and eat and well - eat.  Whatever.  I like me.  I hate me.  I get me.  I'm bitchy.  I'm real.  I can be ugly and sexy and stupid and genius.  I'm just me.  Hey.  Revelation - I sort of don't suck - what I say is witty and worth publishing (hello  - I want to write a booooooook???) :D

But end of day - I don't look at what I look like anymore to gauge my self worth - I really don't - in fact my clothes don't fit and I'm kind of pissed to have my  favorite skirt not fit right.  I'm just gonna wait til I'm done with this marathon.  There will be another but the first is kind of the litmus test.  Do I want more ?????? I think I do.  I'm kind of hooked.  Disney in January may be the next.  The kids and I have never been to Disney - Tell me that's not cool.

So - what did we have tonight

Southern Mama Roasted Chicken' -
Heat the oven to 500

wash and dry the bird and stuff her full of limes and garlic
salt and pepper the outside and cover her in butter.

stick her in the oven and then turn it down to 350

when she's brown bring her out and put a cup of white wine around her and tent it with foil

bake for at least 1 1/2 hours.

let rest and cut up

I made honey corn bread and the holy trinity plus to add with


Bacon fat

cut up celery
hot pepper

saute until soft - enjoy

I may be a girl from up nort' but I know from good - and you may not be able to fix stupid  - but when you know something is right. . . . . . .  it is.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Manassas Frogmore Stew

Okay I try hard not to be a snob since I come from up country German Danish mutt stock from frickin no where Wisconsin.  I'm German - Danish, Polish, American Indian (Iroquois from NY). So no - I got no "people from" . . .  I'm just a small town girl - living in a lonely world . took the midnight train - going anywhere. . . . "

Journey aside.  It's really all about where you are from. 

I can't be a snob since my mom puts noodles in freakin "chili." 

I don't but it's only one generation off.  I'm tainted. 

That's WI chili.  UGH.  I know from what I speak.  I've been in chili cook off's and kicked ass with my white chicken chili with green salsa!!!  YEA - but the WI aberration called CHILI by my people - NOT.

Terroir - It's a french term - it speaks of where something originated from and where your ingredients are from and the indigenous nature of them both.

Terroir makes Champagne made outside of France _ NOT champagne.....

It's pronounced TER _ WAAAH

I've never had a Belon Oyster - though I thought I had.  I won't try another till I go to Brittany and eat the original there.  Tony (bitch) has had many as have Anne de Belon's dogs.  I want to reincarnate as her dog.  I'd know the good stuff.  I know from good oysters. 

I love raw oysters.  They are as close to truth and sex as there is. 

Terrior is all about where something or someone is from - their foundation - their soil - what fed them as they grew - the sun, the air - the upbringing - all speaks of terroir.

Being from WI I could live a very very long time exploring fish fries and cole slaw and hot pepper jelly and Amish bread and all the crazy shit my people ate at holidays - CHRISTMAS SOUP is a text and blog and post and wrist slashing all it's own.....  don't even get me started on sturgeon spearing.


Frogmore Stew comes from South Carolina and if you have ever been to the midwest - it is sort of similar to a fish boil in it's ingredients.

It contains potatoes - celery - shrimp - blue crab meat - corn - tomatoes -sausage - and hot chili's

You start with your shrimp broth -

I took 3lbs of raw head on shrimp and tore their little heads off :D  The rest of their yumminess will go in out pot.  You can also shell them now or not - if you do save the shells and put them in with the heads.

In your kettle put 8 cups of water with the heads
mix in a cup of white wine
one finely cut up onion
and 2 chopped up stalks of celery
add 2TB either Old Bay or New Orleans Shrimp Boil mix (Bayou Blends is what I used) 
Boil for about 45 minutes - cool slightly

In your stew pot cut up your sausage into bite sized pieces - I used chorizo (made locally hence the Terroir element) - brown it and remove to another place to await being reintroduced later.

I cut up 6 hot serrano chili's and added them to the chorizo grease - then 1 cup chopped celery - 1 cup chopped onion and cook until soft.

Drain your shrimp broth to remove heads and stuff - and add 4 cups to the soup pot - scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any browned sausage and stuff (don't want to lose that!!!) and then add in the rest of your broth.

Once it boils add your crabs two at a time and remove them when they are pink.  I did 6 but you can add or reduce that number as you see fit.  Take your crabs and cool them - pick the roe out of the middle and add to the pot and take the meat out of the claws and reserve til right before serving.

Add in 4 cups of chopped peeled yukon or white (waxy) potatoes. 

let cook about 15 minutes then I took the corn off the cob (3 ears) but you can just break up the cobs and add them to the pot.  add 6 tomatoes that have been skinned and chopped. and bring to a boil. 

add in 1 TB more of your shrimp boil seasoning. put your sausage back in
lastly add the shrimp and crabmeat and boil 3 minutes or so and consume.

It is really quite tasty!!!

Terroir - I may not be from here - but I'm learning what's good.  And this stuff is awesome!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Have you ever seen a shooting star?

Okay - I can ask one better  . . . have you ever known a shooting star?  Now, of course I'm speaking metaphorically since a star is a giant ball of gas - which is probably not someone or something you want to "know" per say - but I've personally known a shooting star and I can tell you - you know when you've been in their presence.  Wayne.  was and will always be to me a shooting star.  He was physically and in personality a shooting star.  There was no way this earth could contain this tornado - this Tasmanian devil - of a human without imploding or at least a small tsunami!  He was that huge in person and persona.  He was pretty much 14 months pregnant the most of the time I knew him and pretty much as tall.

He was addicted to everything - spoke in the Philly accent where he came from and knew the Bible back and forward - inside and out.  He talked with his mouth full - sneezed the biggest booger onto my leg IN CHURCH! - and had a heart the size of Texas in the rain!  He loved out loud - full on - no holds barred.  He was an amazing Christian and a penitent sinner.  He did nothing quietly.  I mean nothing.  He snored - in public - like a freakin freight train and I was pretty good at chucking olives into his open mouth at Thanksgiving dinners (aftermath that is).

And he died from a heart attack on his 48th birthday in the street in front of his house.  Massive corollary.  His heart just exploded basically.  It makes sense - and then it doesn't.  He left behind a new wife and 2 little (under 5 at the time) girls.  He had started over in Southern WI with my then husband and myself who opened our home to him.  He left 3 - almost adult  - kids in PA and wanted to start over.  But it makes sense - physically anyway.

There are people in your life for a season - for a reason - for a purpose  - to show you something or to just be amazing.  Wayne was amazing.  Still is - since I believe people and their unique personalities live forever - somewhere (up or down as it were.)

I personally feel drawn to wanting to be on the shooting star side but choose to be star - light.  I have so many destructive tendencies that would make me a statistic that I get the "tone it down sister"  admonishments.  I get being super introspective to the point of super egoism and outward facing as to being the martyr.  I'm really seeking that balanced middle ground lately  - where my footing is more sure and I know where I'm at.

Coming home from Wayne's funeral I was jacked up on white wine and Vicodin since I'd just had oral surgery.  . . Tim and I came to a wide spot in the freeway and a star went from west to east across the night sky!  We both sucked in enough air to empty the car and I said "bye Wayne!"  He went back home.  So did we.  Very shell shocked and sad to lose someone as large as that.  But he was too big - too much - too - too - too. 

I can settle for just being me I guess.  Too much of anything ends up being sickening.  Balance.  It's a good thing.  I'm a Libra after all.  LOL.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

what price this thing called money?

okay - have you seen the SNL skit where the pawn shop paid full "sentimental value?"  That skit always hit me because - though I am a travel lite and tread softly on this earth person - there are things that mean things to me - mostly from my kids - the random "i lurv yu momy" drawings but there are also some accomplishments that warranted trophies that though I left the actual trophies behind the plaques and insignia still traveled with.  And yes - every term paper I first draft only drafted.  I'm a nerd - so sue me.

I have had nothing and I've been flush with this thing called money. I've had only tombstone pizza and water to eat for what seemed like months because I freakin worked there and they gave it away - and more money than my frugal self can take in... I personally pick this. Being poor sucks.  I've been there.  I've had to choose in the shopping line because I had 25 bucks and still had mouths to feed.  I don't pick that.  I can do it because I can add in my head in the store - still freakin do it though I don't need to - habits break hard.

My son is special.  As in the short bus special.  Asperber's special.  But he's amazing and I want him to be amazing.  I signed him up for a program that deals in Autistic and Asperber youth.  It's not free.  Wait.  It's f'n stupid expensive.  But - if you look at a human success or failure . . .  it's free.  He came home a rock star.  He was full of ideas and talk and willing to take off his sweatshirt (aka security blanket).  UGH!!!  amazing!

My newest favorite show behind Anthony Bourdain(no reservations) - CSI - LV - is Big Bang Theory.  My son is so like Sheldon - lite.  Sorry - I don't watch tv per say so this (yes 5 years in the making!) is new to me -   I only hope he can rise above his lack of social skills - or just knowing when his enthusiasm knocks someone out of his way.  That would personally make me happy - that and closing his mouth when he eats.  But my son is great and is going to be a great person if given the right encouragement and support.  All my kids are going to be amazing and rock in their own right.  Not because they have learned to speak mandarin at 2.5 and were potty trained as fetus' - but because they have a mom who tries.  I fall down a LOT.  I suck as a mom a lot.  But I try.  I get the costume fabric that was asked for and WOW mom this is better than what I was thinking!!!  WOW thanks!.  That is going on my tombstone- thank you. 

I work a very stressful job - okay who doesn't.  But if you take your shit seriously like I do and have that "stupid overachieving but grossly underpaid for what you do gene" - you get that my job is stupid stressful and I would be best to listen to my husband and quit and just write since I'm so amazing and could find another one just like this one in a heartbeat.  Well that may be pandering and oh so true . .  . . :D I don't just leave a job.  But yeah - I'm underpaid because I'm a woman doing a woman's job in a company that pays the 2nd in command a fraction of what they pay the next lowest man.  True that. 

It sucks - but again.  What price money?  I won't pay shit for a purse.  It's a fucking money carrier.  If I've put more into the carrier than is in my wallet . . . . really?  You have been suckered girls.  I won't pay more for a purse than I will pay for shoes - at the thrift store and that's .  . .  15 bucks.  NOW running shoes - another story - RYKA's are my girls and I buy them 3 pair at a time now.  I run on average 13 miles a day.  I love it.  but I burn them out before they look worn. 

I will pay for my son to be his best.  I will sell my left arm to get him to the best place he needs to be.  I've been poor - I've been rich and as far as I'm concerned - Today is rich to me.  I so totally know I'm not rich - we drove through Clinton VA today.  I'm NOT rich.  JC. I'm not rich.  But since I'm wearing good clothes and driving a Volvo that's paid for and we had shrimp and lobster and steak for dinner last night (I found the most amazing Korean grocery store that practically gives it away if you don't mind that no one speaks English) I am still me - but I just care about things that matter to me = pretty much to the exclusive.  I knit because I can - I spin wool because I can and I cook because it feeds my soul.  Beyond that is books (uber necessary) and running.  I run to keep my mind at level set.

It's money - they make more everyday.  It's Roald Dahl and the Bible.  Two amazing sources.  I embrace both.  I get not having it and having it.  I'm sorry but the not - sucks.  Don't want that again.  But I can count in the store if I need to again.     Just sayin.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Have a beer on me. or bread. or a freaking chocolate chip cookie.......

It was my youngest who was patting my arm  - tucking nicely into a gorgeous plate of pancakes in a local IHOP - less doused in syrup than I personally would have chosen but still a good showing but way more butter than I would have picked - who said "I feel so so bad for you mom," before she turned and left my universe for a full 10 minutes.  Yeah - It sucks being me.

Let the record show - I will not starve.  I will not die if I eat wheat.  I will just pray for a fast and swift one.  I bloat like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Garfield Float and wish I was half as sexy.  I cannot eat wheat.  OR dairy - but that is fixable with a healthy dose of very freaking expensive lactaid.  Yes I can have my ala mode without eating the cake too.  UNLESS

you factor in the new wave of really over-manufactured products for people like me (losers) who can't eat the things you normal Americans take for granted.  Bread (nope) Pizza ( I wish) Pasta (don't get me started) Cake - cookies - muffins - cupcakes - pancakes.  Oh pancakes.  How I have missed you.   . . . .

I need a minute. . . . .. .   .

Ugh.  Roger bought me the newest round of "gluten free" cookie mix and let me tell you - I was skeptical.  I had some gluten free stupid expensive pizza a few years ago that sullied me forever.  To say ketsup on a cracker spits in the face of crackers everywhere.  I could have walked through a cow pasture barefoot and my foot licking would have tasted better.  It cost like 17 bucks for a tiny one person piece of shoe leather and shitty almost could call it pizza experience.  Peace out on that one.  SO - the cookies were a stretch.  Going down - not bad  - I was so impressed.  Then came the after.  I have never ever had an after taste on a chocolate chip cookie.  There wasn't enough wine to fix that train wreck. 

I am running a marathon in November - in Richmond VA.  On the 12th to be exact.  The birthday of my sweet Sarrah.  It's hard to run enough to train and put enough back in - so subsequently I've lost 10 lbs since most of you have seen me.  I'm super skinny and you all can hate but I wish I could just eat an entire loaf of bread after running 20 miles.  I do.  I am a carnivore but - dear Jesus I am a girl who loves pasta.  And I'm not bitching really - I am eating - but if someone tells you you can't have something - what do you want?     UMMMMMM - THAT thing. 

I'm telling the world though.  If I become allergic to wine and rice and hot sauce.  , , ,   I'm going to kill myself in a nice and painless way because that's really all I got.  I am from Wisconsin and can't eat cheese or drink beer.  To still be alive is a gift from God.  If my sciencey friends could work on the wheat version of Lactaid - I'd be your best customer.  just sayin.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Signs and Wonders

Red Skies at Night . . .
And I don't mean the Fixx song . . . Red skies at night - sailor's delight.  Red skies in the morning - sailor take warning.  I've lived by that forever.  It works.  Ask any meteorologist - oh wait - they are usually wrong.  Even Jesus talked about reading the sky because it's pretty logical in it's dealings.  (see The Bible - circa -  forever) - God doesn't play dice with the universe (or so Einstein thought)

But of course that being said you either think we are getting better or not - aka ending.  I am personally in the "get the marshmallows cuz this baby is gonna burn" camp.  Hebrews says that Our God is a consuming fire - and that this earth is going away - not in a flood - but in fire.  He is going to make it new - but ultimately we are attached to another plane while wrapped helically around an axis.  aka screwed. 

I know where my ultimate end is and it's pretty amazing - but that's just me and if you should want to join me in my awesome foreverness - I'd love to share some sweetness with you - but if no - by all means - peace out. 

I walked out of work tonight to rain in the south and a rainbow in the north.  Someone said "Oh that means the devil is beating his wife"  . . .  that has got to be some southern logic . . . cuz where I come from a rainbow is a promise.  I hope the devil beats his wife because I know I'm not her.  I hope he beats her a lot because I love promises.  From people and from God.  If you say it - I hope you mean it.  I've been cheated on, lied to and beat up.  I need some good "stand up - I mean it - promises - not kidding - I'm for real - It's the shit - REALLY promises".  To this date only God has come to the table with any cards that stand up to the test of time.  But then - He is perfect.  I grade on the curve.

I asked God to show me a rainbow once and it took him a full 23 seconds to muster one up.  I dare any human who isn't holding a fully running garden hose on a sunny day to top that!!  I got a rainbow in 23 seconds.  That is a God The GOD who freakin cares about you.  I know bad stuff happens every second of every day - but big picture wise that's pretty cool.

There are signs and wonders - big and small every day.  We are just usually too wrapped up in junk to see or appreciate.  I have vowed to be an appreciator.  To get the small and HUGE stuff.  I want to be happy but know every moment of every day can't be the first time you go to Great America as a kid.  Life can't be Space Mountain (not that I would know) but it can be cool.  It can be paying attention to the stuff that happens under our noses every day.  It's the pretty smiles and the lazy curls and the perfectly made coffee that tastes so right.  It's life - right now.  Hurting or healing - it's now.  God is in the details and in the everything.  Forever is a long time.  It's beyond time.  It's beyond a red sky in the morning.  It's not a warning.  Forever is a rainbow.  It's a promise. 

really really.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I trying really hard not to be trite

Dear Jesus - it's been hard lately.  I'm on a nostalgia kick.  I bought cd's from Amazon that Itunes doesn't carry for download.

I remember 8-track.  Paul had one in his 76 Gold edition TA.  Yeah.  That is actually as lame as it sounds.  Because the coolest he got was Uncle Kenny (yeah Kenny Rogers).  Whew.  That was a bullet dodged.  Thanks Tim!!!

Then tapes.  My allowance and subsequently income (yes I was a gas station bitch but I knew my homies and what they smoked when they walked in and they LOVED me!!!) paid for my Ozzy, Motley, Kate Bush, Sinead, REM, Ramones, Meatloaf, Blondie, Frankie, Petshop Boys, Zeppelin, Rush, Depeche Mode habit.

Tim actually was the first to introduce me to the CD.  Holy Hannah!  I actually preferred tapes.  I could dub my own.  From the start I was the compilation queen.  If you have seen my 6th fav movie - Hi Fidelity - you get the sweet art of dubbing a tape (now mp3) for your love or love interest.

What is caressing my ears right this minute?  The album is called Pale - by Toad the Wet Sprocket.  Their name came from Monty Python and it makes me think of college.  I don't miss Wisconsin in the winter.  Really truly. My last job at St. Coletta of WI burnt me on Wisconsin winter til I'm dead.  But I'm sad for a plethora of reasons that those who hold my heart get.  I'll rise from the ashes.  Always do.  I'm a human boomerang.    I'm reading a lot of Robert Service poetry lately.  Mr. Magely - don't know if you are still this side of the green but you inspired a sad lonely little 6th grade girl to think outside Winneconne to India and the Yukon.  Toad also takes me there. 

Hemingway will be calling me soon.  Going to Key West for my birthday.  Gonna toss a few at Sloppy Joes.  May actually try to steal the urinal.  But it looks heavy and we only have a convertible.  May settle for a stolen kitten from his estate. 

Physical wounds heal but it's the psychological ones that tend to be trixie.  They like to be like the sore in your mouth that would heal if only you could quit tonguing it. . . . (FC)

"corporals wife was quite fat . .  was a raving bitch"

In case you think I haven't moved past college - check out skrillex - first of the year (equinox) new favorite music.  gotta see the video.  I'm running a marathon and dubstep is amazing!!! I may be chillaxing on the past but I'm not stupid.  :D  onward baby - onward and upward.  I never stay stuck too long. 

trite.  nope.  just sitting on second base - waiting for the long fly ball out to center for me to slide into third. 

Multiple acts to this play!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

the day I tried to live . . . .

chris cornell could sing the freakin phone book and it would be the best thing I ever heard. . .  just sayin.
coffee. is. good.
vodka with coffee in it is way better.
I am a bitch.
I am a lover.
I am a child.
I am a mother.
Sorry - that was too easy.
so much does depend on a red wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater beside the white chickens.
yeah. wcw. it really doesn't
except in the moment you saw it and it mattered.  I get that. 
I live my life in vingnettes
moments in time - so significant. so real. then gone.
then onward.
just puppets moving until the control returns back to my hand
I think like Ulysses - the significant is multi lingual and complicated and really boring but really cool if you get it.
Dedalus sort of got it.
Not sure if Joyce even got it. but it was his hand. his mind.
I'm not sure if I always get the serendipity.
but I'm always ready.

But oh what mercy sadness brings if God be willing . . .

History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.


If God be willing and the creek don't rise . . . . .

Monday, September 19, 2011

So it comes down to this basic sense

I  have been both bulimic and anorexic.  I'm not proud of either but they were who I was and part of who I am.  We are all a product of our history as much as America is the Revolutionary War - The Civil War - the War of 1812 - and the coward assholes who are burning in MY PERSONAL VERSION OF HELL from 2001.   I have been the phoenix    -  I am the phoenix - I have risen.  ashes.  They taste of the past.  They taste of passion and hurt and things you maybe don't want to remember.  But I know - like no one - that they taste like the past.  Behind me.  I forget nothing but forgive it all.  I forgive because Bitterness rots your bones.  God said it.  Therefore I believe it.  Simple as that.  Call me a fool, but I'm not so dumb as to believe God is dumb.  He kind of created it all so um.  I'm an ant as far as HE is concerned - and yet He's concerned about my everything - so Yeah.  I care. 

But on the basic sense it comes down to two things.  Are you a purger? or a hoarder?  I travel light.  I horde nothing.  NOW don't get me wrong.  I scored a Prada purse for 10 bucks at a thrift store.  COOL.  but I spent 10 bucks. Ask me if - it wouldn't cost me a thing and if I would be able to torch my house and move into an rv and travel the world?  Hand me the gasoline . . . .  nano second.  it's stuff.  I moved away from home at 17 and but for a brief 49 days (yes - 7 weeks ) moved back home to find my center - I've been gone from my home ever since - but for me home is where my red hair collects the most (my desk is pretty covered) Home is people.  Not a place.  Places change and so ultimately do people but people are forever.  My sweet Barbara is my sweet Barbara regardless of place or state.  She just is.  Tanya is Tanya and David is David.  Tim is Tim is Tim is Tim.  Hey Erik.  You are all you.  You just are.  Wayne is with Jesus and that makes me smile.  BUT we just are.  Jim is.  Always will be.  James you hold that place in my heart like no other - you are the WarMachine :D  you always will be.  And Sarrah :D I could say way more about the special people who I love but it just is.  People live forever.  Stuff burns.  Get it?  PEOPLE.  we are the important parts.  The mountain won't cry for you.  The ones who love you and didn't get the full YOU.  They will mourn you. The mountain won't care. Really. 

But at the end of the day.  I travel light.  It's just stuff.  My couch is covered in wax.  Has been for about 6 weeks.  My daughter doused it.  Accident.  Scared to get a new one.  She's a bit too much like me.  Yeah people matter but know what realm you step in for fear of a strange brew!  She is chaos incarnate :D

I guess we figure out who and what we want later in life - and hording actually makes me a bit sick.  I'd rather wrap myself around people and not stuff.  Stuff is gonna burn.  I like being light.  I need things to serve me but I won't serve things.  I have been poor.  I've had onions for dinner.  I am at a much better place but as St. Paul has said and I paraphrase I've been rich and poor and I have learned how to be satisfied with either.  I get it.  I've had f'n nothing and then recently - more than more.  I'm good.  But I'm me.  Damaged - but who isn't.  Who hasn't  been a little scared by people and scarred by life?  Nietzsche has said what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - I disagree.  I don't want my kids almost dead.  I want them strong - but because they were smart to begin with.

I can say with all honesty I walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  But because I made some really dumb choices.  That was MY bad.  Not necessarily God's choice for me.  I had some bad bad things happen early on that I only blame one human for.  And that has come and gone on my scale of blame.  I've done all the forgiving I need to.  He's paid in spades.  The Legacy stops here.  Oh my child. . . . .

But forward. . . . My mistakes - misgivings and miss can't be wrong's...... That is all on me.  I'm not super human and have been prone to a mistake or two.  But.  HUGE missteps?  no.  I make choices from here on out.  I make my way.  And the way for my people.  I really seriously take that as gospel.  It's heavy.
and really really light.  Light as a feather.  really.  light. . . . . . . I will walk onto the fire until it's heat doesn't burn me  - and I will feed the fire - and into the fire I am reunited I am the spark into the night I yearn for comfort . . . into the fire. . .  it's all gonna burn so hold onto the eternal things.  God and people.  the rest?  ashes.  and they taste like the past.  trust me. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

OD'ing on nostalgia

I am sitting in my car going to work and the asshole dj I usually listen to driving into work (cough cough Elliot in the Morning) plays this song while someone on his crew is talking and I am thinking - ugh "I remember that song - it's um - it's um . .. Jesus I know this band.  . . April Wine right?  I used to know them from a hundred years back. . . " and decided - "hey - gonna download the mass of their songs . . . "  and then BAM  . . . .I am in the dark in seventh grade - kind of sweaty - at a dance - hoping Greg or Jeff will notice me in my Izod polo.  Hoping my spikey sort of feathered hair is still BOTH spikey AND feathered.  and that my Levi's are both tight and not so tight because I don't want to look fat and that my nike's are both cooooool and not so worn to look used.  And then WOW......... I'm back in my car.  Actually driving - as a grown up.  As a grown up with kids who could be going to DANCES like what I remember.  Ugh.  It was fucking yesterday.  Really.  My turn is gone.   Over - done - kaput - finished.   I get that and I'm really not bitter. (really - okay a little)  BUT I like me and like who I am today -  - what I am saying is that a song can take me to that place in a heartbeat.

A person of religion once told me that he believed that Lucifer was in charge of music in the heavenly realm before he fell.  I personally believe that.  I know what music does to me.  I know what music does to anyone I personally love.  If music doesn't move you - chances are I don't love you.  Because you don't get IT.  I know what music can do to people.  it's so so so so so so important.  it just is.  if you don't get music you really don't get life.  IMHO   and I know my sweet Barbara is with me.

Until you hear a band you haven't heard in literally 30 years - you won't believe me.  I'm listening to my 7th grade self for the first time since.  Today - Elliot played April Wine and I was like "omg I remember them!!!: instant download on iTunes (yeah today is slightly different) Holy Time WARP.

I woke up to Rainbow this morning so it was slated as slightly nostalgic to being with.  but really.  Sign of the Gypsy Queen?  There was no hope of normal today.

Fortune cookie say - 3 things stay hidden not very long - the sun, the moon and the truth.  yeah.  Nostalgia is not really the truth - but it sure feels like it.  Ugh Jeff  - I loved you.  Winneconne WI class of 1987.  You were my crush.   But of course it's "were".  And I'm pretty sure Jeff and Chris and Alan are happily happy with the SO's.  It's 2011 and I have wrinkles and drive a Volvo SUV.  BUT dear Jesus I swear if I shut my eyes Tight. REALLY tight.  I can feel my Gloria's and my short blond hair. 

It's Trinity's turn to be awkward.  and too WHATEVER.  she is so awesome and I wish she knew it.  I wish my mom thought I was wonderful back then.  Well, Trin.  I think you are amazing.  If I do nothing more in this life than have great kids then I have done something worthy of my oxygen use.  I just want people to get that life is so significant.  All of it.  The music - the art - the books - the whole ride - it's not just a daily grind.  People live forever.  and ever.  It matters.  All of it.  

Love the one you're with.  And live with the one you love.  It's too short not to.  It just is. 

And energy drinks are dumb.  just sayin.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blame it on the 80's

Oh My GAAAAAAWWWWD! I'm so sure!  Like Really?

ok.  yeah.  I talked like that until I read my first E.M. Forrester novel and actually had sex.  Not a huge surprise.  Blame it on the 80's.  We  - children of the 80's - are horribly driven to do (not much more than) be self serving - and love US - our ego's and leg warmers and big hair and BMW's.  Wait - that was just this morning watching St. Elmo's Fire while on the treadmill to train for my marathon in November because I've got kids that need to be on buses - stupid early and it's getting too dark to safely run as a white woman - so it's inside.  To a movie.  Spin the dial - it's st. elmo's fire. 

I would just like to now - as a child of the 80's - apologize for the horrible wardrobe - hair and well pretty much everything.  Reagan was amazing IMHO - but then I am not a stupid democrat who wants to give the world a coke for free . . . .

But - it was not fun.  The hair alone took hours.  HOURS!!!  I have a fuck ton of hair.  AND it took hours to do the Farrah Faucet  Feather THING.  Dear GOD.  And the fashion.  Really?  OMG.  it was bad at best and down right not pretty at worst.  MOM jeans (hello Jordache?  - mom's with the FUPA's and that means fat upper pussy area - for those not so in the know)  tucked into white high top Reebok's with the Velcro tops - oh yeah - and bandannas (RED) tied on the thigh - ala Loverboy - and big boyfriend sweaters to hide all of the McDonald's and BEER - OMG really? 

The music was pretty forgettable.  Millie Vanilli anyone?  But dear Lord that was my growing up.  Red Koolade under my fingernails (wait that was a minute ago since I made for my kids :D ) My first experiences - REM - yes please.  But damn the 80's was warping.  Frankie says Relax -  ? huh?  Relax from being hyper in tune with my lameness?  Relax from not wanting to have sex with the guy who wants to?  WHAT? 

Fast forward to today.  It was painful watching the bad/mediocre acting.  I was frankly embarrassed for my generation  - we  launched the "Brat Pack."  I was not allowed to be a brat.  My family was not rich by any means but we rarely missed a meal.  I had to grudgingly care for my younger two siblings though they were decidedly lamer than I was and totally a downer.  I did not have the "best" clothes - but at no point did I go naked.  My Nike's and Gloria's were cool and I did have a knit rainbow sweater (THAT MAY BE JUST WISCONSIN THOUGH). I had polo's though not Izod.  and my hair was feathered and spiked.  I had Zena jeans and a white tank dress.  More leg warmers than the entire set of Flashdance!    But I'm glad I survived - some did not.

I appreciate timeless fashion.  I buy good - quality pieces from thrift stores for a fraction of the cost.  I look how I want to though decidedly older than I choose to remember.  There are these lines . . . .  ugh.  I want to encourage my kids to be timeless - though at this age it's kind of impossible.  I want them to be unique - one of a kind - trend setters in their own right.  assertive and confident like I never was until now.  At 41 almost 2.  I can still blame it on the 80's can't I?  The Pet Shop Boy's made me.  :D No - it was Frankie - he said Relax.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Can you hear me now?

Static.  It's annoying at best and completely incapacitating at worst.  It basically annoys the fuck out of me if I have to listen to a radio station with the minutest amount of static.  I guess I'm just a snob.  Give me clear channel or give me death. 

But that's not what I'm talking about.  I mean the static that clogs your life your mind your focus.  The shit that gets in the way of where you want to be or what you want to be or who you want to be with.  I have had about 25 years of static.  And frankly.  Honestly - I'm finally listening.  The music is mine.  Not adopted - put upon me because he knew better.  Though frankly some of his music really was better and very good.  Mudvayne - yes.  Wish I'd gone to a concert or two.  Rise Against.  Ya think?  and so on.  But today?  I pick and enjoy and actually share with others the music I've tripped upon and they seem to like it.  Kind of surreal.  The books are from my personal passions and not manufactured.  I have an opinion and if it gets me in hot water I have to support it or shut the hell up.  Static is a life sucker and far - far too many people get sucked up in it. 

I'll tell you the biggest form of static both real and pro ported - I'm typing on it right now.  Ask me which song was popular on the day I was born and I could tell you instantly.  Who sang Do Wah Ditty?  Instantly - Besides Bill Murray in Stripes . . .   Really?  Have you ever parked your car in a parking lot because you had to just get one thing fast in a store and you were in there longer than you had to be and there was this annoying person behind the register and 6 annoying people in front of you and you got a text that was annoying and then you got done and checked out and .  . . couldn't find your car because you were too distracted when you came in?  That is static. 

I'm not really telling you to go all Walden Pond - though a nice relaxing camping trip would rock - but I'm telling you if you aren't paying attention -  being in the moment and living today for today and right now for right now - you are really missing it.  They say God is in the details - and really that is so shallow.  God is way more than details.  He is everything.  Details are in the details.  But people are not details.  We are eternal.  People and God are pretty much it for the forever category as far as I see it - so really what more is there?  If the people special in your life don't get you - all of you - are you really being the person you should be?  If you are too distracted by noise - static - to be focused on the important. . .  really?  What have you got? 

If your job is killing you - change it.  Now.  There are so many better things to do - it's just money.  Life is once.  Make it matter.  If what matters to you is dirty rags - then be the best dirty rag person on the planet.  Do with your whole heart.

But pay attention.  Tune in.  If you can't quite make out the song - something is wrong.  It's your dime.  Make it something you want to listen to.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Where is your passion?

That is, hands down the single most loaded question on the planet for me.  If you know me.  Really know me -  as in inner posse from way the hell back  - you know what that question means and if you are just from recent you know what that question means so all ya'll think you know but it means everything and nothing.  Passion is a topic that has been debated for centuries - nay millenia!  When anyone talks about the "Passion of Christ" it refers to His last days - His suffering and ultimate physical death but also His defeat of all things carnal.  It was what He came here to do.  It was his singular purpose on this earth.  It was His Passion.

Passion is life -  it is art -  it is vision  -  it is what we do because we have to or die - passion is what kills,  - creates a new life and makes us do things we would not ordinarily do.  It makes old men spit because they have to argue their deepest thoughts out loud and mean it, and it's what makes young Marines die for their beliefs. 

What feels like a hundred centuries ago to me but was really only about 10 years ago - my then husband preached for the first and only time in church.  His sermon was titled "where is your passion?"  He was feeling very sick but his thoughts were so well orchestrated and his sermon was amazing.  I'm not being biased (or so I think) but I could have listened to that tape forever.  It was his life at that time out loud.  The thoughts of an incredibly complicated conflicted man - who had seen the face of God and still was human on the direst of levels.  I was busy nursing a baby. His child.  Busy with what was my passion - but not too busy to hear the desperation in his voice.   I knew he was losing it.  Losing his passion. Losing what I knew of him.  And then he was silent.  Something had taken a fire hose to his passion and he was gone. 

BUT like the PHOENIX - I rose from the ashes that was my life and reinvented myself.  I will not be silenced because of who or what I am or believe.  I am me - out loud - full frontal and in living color. 
I threw myself into my passion - creating with my hands - knitting, sewing - making babies. Believing like Midas that what I TOUCHED  would flourish - succeed  - turn to gold. 

I have learned so much on my 41 spins on this globe that has made me who I am and who I am not.  Much like the gardener pruning away at a bush that has randomly sprouted shoots that just don't fit the shape he is creating - parts of me have had to get cut away to get to the heart of who I am.  I have begun the metamorphosis into who I choose to be - and as I face 42 (the meaning of life - thanks DA!) I've uncovered that it's passion.  Life is passion - it's what moves you to really feel.  To not just show up everyday but to actively participate in what it is you are doing.  To be in the moment with everything you have.  To want to be doing what it is you are doing even if it's some trivial thing.  If you are not there - I challenge you to find it.  Find your passion - reinvent yourself.  But remember - life is messy.  Bring a towel. 

My Southern Side

"I heard that in every life a little rain must fall - if there's any truth to this saying - Lord let it be a Southern Rain. . . . " Cowboy Junkies

I am a transplant to this par-tic-ular Land of the Magnolia.  Consequently, I  will never ever truly be 100% Southern. This is good and bad in myriad ways.  I cannot comprehend  - on any level  - the aberration known as "little girl beauty pageants" (seriously? - WTF!!! - IMHO they are nothing more than parades for future whores!) nor can I stomach some of the funky pig parts which seem to appear in the strangest of places (gas station/beauty parlor?) - all deep fried, pickled or briny!  BUT I sincerely adore most of the people I've met and revel in their sincerity and unique take on life.  The South does things so differently than the North would.  This challenges me - and I love that. There are so many amazing wonders both edible and visual to be had -  BUT like all complex things in this life there is aways a dark side.

I'm a white girl and speak just enough Spanish to know I should be offended when called a white bitch in the Hispanic market where I shop. My town is so very racially mixed that I am truly the minority.  The South here is a hard, conflicted, very bipolar South. It's filled with bigots, haters, bitches, gypsys', tramps and thieves. But also a shit-ton of great people. Maybe this is true everywhere in America.  Perhaps.

I love Virginia for so many personal reasons not the least of which because this is where my family has landed.  But because this place - this State is way more than that - it is a "state of mind" - an Historical Juggernaut - that has such presence it's almost otherworldly. The Civil War is still very very real in many people's minds. It actually is a point of conversation that can still get quite heated.  People here have not forgotten for one minute what side won and what side should have.  Living here amongst all of the history is very surreal and humbling.  But don't get me wrong.  As much as I love it there are some down sides. People here cannot fucking drive to save their lives. To say they are bad drivers is like saying Andrew Zimmern likes to eat assholes. REALLY? who freaking teaches drivers ed here? My Drivers Ed teacher Mr. Paulson would die if he wasn't dead already .  As a Midwestern girl I can drive stick shift and actually would prefer it to automatic transmission; can sail through a snow storm with my car still on the road and GO at green lights and stop only at red ones!  I drive 5 over the speed limit in town and more on the freeway.  I signal when I am turning and then make sure it gets turned off.  Anyway enough.

The South has had this strange allure for me from the very first time I saw a magnolia in full bloom. It was a transplanted variety to the north - but it was gorgeous and I was 9.  I instantly knew there was a world outside of the complete hibernation that is Wisconsin. I felt there had to be more than just the  5 months we knew as warmth and the rest of the year relegated to construction and snow. My quest for all things sunny and hot and NOT the north began right then. I began to loathe the cold. No actually what started as loathe ended at full on I FUCKING HATE BEING COLD!!!!!!!!!!!!! It took a few years to ramp into that particular sentiment - but there it is. I remember one particular winter - no kidding - 80 below zero with the wind chill factor. Driving to work - at night - having to plug in my car so that my engine would not freeze. Those of you truly southern will have no idea what I am talking about - (google "block heater") yes I own one. I hate winter. Sooooooooooo I love Virginia. But straight up - I'm not far enough south. This state is gorgeous - yes yes yes - it is for lovers - but for all the talk - it's still cold. A lot.

As much as there are differences there are Burger Kings and Applebees and if I wanted to just live and pretend I was back up north I so so so could. But that is absolutely not who I am and I PERSONALLY live and bloom where I am planted so I live - truly LIVE Auntie Mame style - and embrace what I live in - so this is a nirvana of sorts for me. Food.  Period.  Is different here.  Fresh produce in cheap places. Korean markets - Live seafood for crazy prices - yes please. Why is it always about food for me? well, we need it to live. And more than exist. LIVE! I always come back to this - Food is fuel at it's most basic but it's life at it's most glorious. We have to eat. WE HAVE TO EAT!!!!!! We have to feed ourselves and our children. If you are a feeder you get this - man or woman - you get it. I love it here for the wider - nay, epic expanse of possibilities open to me. Lemon grass. check. Cassava. yeah. Ginger. duh? good Garlic - ya think? OMG yes please! So much to pick from if brave enough to tough it out.  I guess that's different here.  You gotta want it and search it out - but it's really not that hard once you take the first dangerous step out of your comfort zone.

I have my sights set on farther south some day but for now Virginia is sweet home enough that I am a happy Yankee Rose!!!