Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week O' Concerts!

This photo really sums it up.

Let's start at the beginning, a very good place to start:

Sunday: fun.
Grog Spot- Cleveland Heights

This tiny little venue couldn't hold much more than 300 people which made for a lovely intimate little show.

The opening acts were wonderful. Jarrod Gorbel (weird huh?) sang with little fanfare than his female companion, a guitar, and violin. His lyrics were intense and gut wrenching and I really liked it.

Steel Train followed. They had a much different vibe, sound and presence. Lots of band members, lots of instruments, lots of over the top, borderline try-hard, crowd interaction. They weren't bad, not even a little, just kind of hyper intense.

And then it was time for fun. And they were. The crowd, average age 21, were fully into the band, though not so much their former incarnation The Format. Nevertheless, for a Sunday night everyone was super amped for them.

They sounded really good, record good.

I may or may not have cried during The Gambler. Don't judge me until you've heard it. And then once you've listened to it, if you didn't cry you are clearly either a) a bad person b) have never loved someone enough. That is all.

Monday: Band of Horses
House of Blues, Cleveland

Opening acts made me want to leave, stab out my ear drums, claw out my eyes, and cry. SO BAD. What were you thinking BoH?

Josh Roberts needs Prozac, he sat on the stage with his guitar and droned on and on and on. The only relief we got was when Ben (lead singer of BoH) came onstage and sang a duet. During one of Roberts' songs he repeated a lyric 16 times in the row. 16. It wasn't a good lyric.

Also, something to note, if you have to apologize to the audience for how slow and awful your songs are, then maybe just don't sing them... I'm just saying.

It was bad. We used that opportunity to leave our super deluxe close seats in the pit to go up to the balcony. Someone was feeling a little crowded and didn't want to stand for the next few hours.

We got upstairs just in time for Brad to take the stage. I want you to try to picture in your head the sidekick from My Name is Earl, put a long long long black stringy wig on him, and a black fedora. Then picture him dancing like the lead singer from Mighty Mighty Bosstones. And then sitting at a piano and singing a desperate attempt at mimicking the great Meatloaf.


This is what he really looks like:

It was actually worse than the first act, I really didn't realize that was possible, and yet, it was.

After a lengthy pause for all of the audience to wrap up their facebooking, texting, reading, vomming, anything to distract them from the unpalatable opening bands the Horses took the stage.

As bad as the first acts were they were twice as amazing and wonderful in every way.

It's a like Cinderella, she is pretty and nice and great on her own, but when you compare her to her harridan step sisters she ends up angelic in nature and beauty. This was kind of like the effect the craptastic Josh and Brad did for the Horses.

We had managed to secure a stool against the railing of the House of Blues' balcony so one of us was sitting and the other stood behind with an unobstructed view of the glory and wonder that was before us.

They sounded so sick. This is why I don't listen to the crap on the radio, real bands have musicians. People with real talent that sound great in their living room, the studio and the stage. It was such a great show.

They were super funny, bringing out a local competitive yo-yo artist (?) to do his thing during two of their songs, and again, sounded so so so good. I finally got to listen to them as loud as I always want to.

Thursday: The Temper Trap
Newport Music Hall, Columbus

The opening acts were odd... not really the music we listen to.

The Hundred in Hands reminded me of Jarrod Gorbel, only in that it was a male female duo on stage. HiH featured a female vocalist that was beautiful and had a ridiculous voice, but the most affected dancing and stage presence, it made me want to kick her in the shins. The guitarist was sick though, and they did sound great, it was just tough to watch her to convulse.

Then was Delphic. Oh, they are good. Again, nothing I'd typically listen to, but man, they were really good. I got a little confused when I asked the merch guy what their name was and was fully convinced for a hour or so they were called Delphonic and almost bought their cd because Delphonic doesn't have their album on iTunes (because they were a band from the 60s that didn't do too much), but fortunately my buddy fixed that one for me in my head.

We had a bit of an issue with being really tired from work and thinking that sitting in one of the six chairs ringing the pit was a good idea. It wasn't. There was a minorly negative interaction with a terribly annoying pair of humans, but that didn't affect the awesomeness that was The Temper Trap.

They are very polished, very professional. They aren't much one for interacting with the audience, they just play and play and play, but they sounded really good.

We ended up behind the sound guy with a very unobstructed view of the stage for the super deluxe highlight of the show when the lead singer poured water on his drum and then just tore into it during the big musical crescendo with strobe lights flashing. It sound small and cheesy. It wasn't, they were so non-flashy, non-interactive, this was a really big change and really cool. Jaw dropping even.

Friday: Guster
Newport Music Hall, Columbus

The opening act was okay, I was super exhausted from walking all over Columbus and might have fallen asleep while they were playing, not because they were bad or particularly sleep inducing, I was just really tired. It was all guys, they were in plaid flannel, they played rock or something.

Now, before we go any further I need to talk to you about the first time I saw Guster. It was April of last year, in Austin, we were 2 people away from the stage. It was warm out, and we were fully surrounded by Gusteroids that were having a fantastic time. It was easily one of the best nights and trips of my life.

So, I was a little nervous. How could they possibly compare to that?

I'm a silly little rabbit though. They came out and played and we sang from our perches in the balcony along the railing and had a super tremendous time.

They may be my favorite, I'm not going to say anything definitively, but they play such an excellent show. Really amazing songs, that sound good no matter if you are listening to them at home or at a show. I love them so much.

It was a long and tiring week, but I am thrilled to death that we had this opportunity and took it.

Now get thyself to iTunes and get some of this super hot music I just told you about!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lazy Lion

I have been terribly busy. And terribly lazy.

For those of you that are bombarded by my FB status updates and Gowalla check-ins you'll know that I have been working. A lot.

6 and 7 day work weeks for the two months that I have been here. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. We came up here to make and save money, so this is all helping to that end, but it leaves little time for much else.

That said, we took our first weekend off together!

OU was playing the Cincinnati Binturongs in Cincinnati so we drove down to watch the game. We had planned on hitting the road bright and early at 8 am. That didn't happen. Not even close. Between getting dog food and taking the kids to overnight camp and packing, showering and taking early morning bubble baths we didn't get on the highway until very close to 10.

We wanted to make some southward progress before stopping for break-feast so we hopped on the highway and put the pedal to the metal. (proverbially speaking mother, no speed limits were broken) We exited a short while later, after all, breakfast is only served until 10:30 at McDonald's, to an epic road block of fire engines and fire trucks and whatnot. It looked as if there were a chemical spill in Nowhere, Ohio.

Nope, just a parade. Come on guys, we just want a burrito here.

Back on the highway and we were really starting to push the far side of 10:30 at that point...within a couple of miles the golden arches beckoned again, and none too soon, because there was a serious build up of traffic all of a sudden.

Burritos ordered, but not eaten (somebody had ants in his sweatpants), we loaded back up. Then came decision time, do we patiently sit through the cleanup and rubbernecking of the rollover accident or do we employ our iphone's map skills and take rural routes... And the winner is, better to go 50 mph through tiny little towns than sit for any length of time on the interstate. Which shouldn't that be intra-state?

But I digress.

Ohio is interesting in that their towns don't bleed into each other like they do in Oklahoma. OKC basically engulfs Moore, even stretches all the way down to Norman. You can't not be in a city for a long, long time in the metro. Here, there are medium to big cities/towns and then nothing in between. Very strange.

That said, it sets the stage for lots and lots of rural routes and state highways and well maintained two-lane roads.

I can't begin to express how much fun that was for me. We were off the interstate for 45 minutes-ish, meandering through the countryside. We saw apple orchards, in fact the apple orchard that was featured at our fancy Cleveland restaurant The Flying Fig, corn fields, soy bean fields, legion of vertical gas wells, old barns, farmhouses, hills, plains, trees, and trees, and trees.

Views that made me want to get out and walk that entire route with a camera in hand.

No traffic, no road rage, no frustration for other drivers, the 14 year old driving the tractor notwithstanding, no jockeying for position on the road. Just laughs, smiles and wide eyes.

The highlight had to have been cresting a little hill/curve to be greeted with the only oncoming traffic we encountered- ye olde horse and buggy! A lovely little Amish mother with her under five Amish-ette. Obviously I have seen loads of Amish in NE Ohio, and at the Ag Fair there were some buggies hither and yon, but to see one on a road as we zoomed by in a Passat was somehow a little bit more magical for me.

We finally got back on the disgustingly grey, concrete and anti-magical highway and made it to Cinci, which a lovely little city, like New York, but smaller, cleaner and with fewer pedestrians, and had a super deluxe, fabulous time at the game.

Can't wait for our next adventure.
Best life ever.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Life is good; then again, I do have the best life ever...

That said, it is not without bumps in ye olde road (I really love superfluous Es at the ends of words). Three major-minor or minor-major incidents include (in order of occurence) Chief Wampum, Explorocat and That's What You Get.

Chief Wampum- One, of the legion, of the things that has to be done when moving cross country is to find new services; such as a new salon/barber. I started where anyone my age starts: google. Salon E (terrible name=red flag?) had an excellent review and has been around for several decades and it is a father/daughter business; good idea, right?


Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

I arrive home after a self-induced annoyingly impotent attempt to set up natural gas service to find my buddy freshly- and closely- shorn. As he turned to flee my yuck, that had resulted from driving to the wrong address (oddly, Salon E's) I saw the scalping of 2010. Ernie's daughter, remember owner/operator father/daughter team, hereafter to be known as Chief Wampum is, how shall I say it... oh, I know: TERRIBLE at her job.

Rather than cutting his hair- like Calley did, with actual scissors- she, Chief Wampum used electric trimmers. Think about what Ron Artest did to his hair in the playoffs, the razor designs. Now think about how that looks when it is unintentionally done.

My angst and yuck was such that I told my buddy to saddle up, as we were immediately and directly heading to Salon E. He had no idea there was a problem, Chief Wampum had neglected to show him the back of his head. RED FLAG!

Upon entering the receptionist had a curiously confused face to see my buddy so soon after his haircut, a word which here means scalping, until I spun him around to show her the hack job and explained that he hadn't seen the damage yet. Receptionist takes us back to Chief Wampum, Chief Wampum shows him his brutally bad cut (meanwhile receptionist has already pulled cash for his full refund), trying to explain "that's where the bones are." No, that is where your lack of ability and integrity are. See ya Salon E!

Explorocat- Cats don't like change. The really don't like being drugged two days in a row and driven cross country to be plopped down in a creaky, old house that has had a barrage of activity in it. Mali really doesn't like that. In the interest of her safety we kept this indoor/outdoor feline friend confined to the innards of 1733. Then last Saturday she snuck out the slow-to-close back door, but came back within 20 minutes. So when she wanted out later that evening I happily complied. And when we left for dinner (walking trip) and she was posted up on Jeepy we thought, good work Mali!

But then she was gone.

The next day she was gone. All told she was MIA for about 30 hours. Maybe more, I haven't really done the math on that. Monday morning she appeared before we went to work, which is good because my internal panic meter was beginning to rise like Shuttle Endeavour. Hopefully that was a one-off and we'll not lose her again.

That's What You Get- Super cute little house came with stove and mickey mike, but no fridge. Craigslist, which is where we found super cute little house, found us a fridge for $200 (including delivery). It is used, big, white and ugly. The antithesis of what we had at the manse, but it keeps food cold and arrived day 2 of Ohio and those were both high on the priority list.

So, I was placing the lodge skillets and stainless steel pan on top of the fridge when the stainless lid slipped off, fell behind the fridge, hitting lord knows what (I know what it hit- I'm just trying to build suspense) just as the fridge sparked and died.

I called Jon, fridge salesman, and he informed me that as it was an as-is sale, he didn't know what the problem was nor did he care. It's fine. I called Terry instead. I don't know Terry, at least I didnt' at the time, but we had a good chat as I was preparing dinner for my buddy and myself and he was fixing the chill chest. Turns out the lid slid between the plug and outlet causing it to trip the breaker. No worries there.

However, Terry did point out several fridge offenses. Ranging from annoying, lazy, improper and illegal. Great. Oh well, it was a $200 fridge, and it isn't actually broken- yet.

These minor-major or major-minor (I can't decide which more accurately describes the semi-severity of the aforementioned scenarios) moments are the taxes in my paycheck. Unavoidable, yucky, but a small part of the best life ever.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Quilt Thyself!

I have found a quilt shop which will bind and quilt my crimson and cream situation that has been in linen limbo for several years now. Merry Christmas self!

I have also found a Quilt Shoppe Hoppe (i added the double p + e)! It is essentially a quilt pattern poker run. Each of the 12 shops will have a pattern for 1 12" square and the material available (pattern= free, material=5 American). Each shop will also have an example of their version of the finished quilt. (Everyone uses the same fabric, but not in the same way) Once you find a version you like you can purchase the finishing kit (12 American).

This is good news because the NFL Sunday Ticket is also a part of our lives in OH and I will certainly need something to do this season!

Best souvenir ever?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

To the Fullest

My buddy and I have been given this opportunity to live elsewhere for a year and I, quite frankly, am super amped about it. We've decided that we are going to take full advantage of this opportunity and experience all that Ohio has to offer.

Our immediate agenda includes staying up to watch for Aurora Borealis tonight (thank you solar flares!) and an Avett Brothers concert this Friday in Cleveland.

Long term plans include Cedar Point Amusement Park (#1 on several theme park ranking lists), the Pro-Football Hall of Fame, the A Christmas Story house (which b t dub Randy is guiding tours through August, as well as hosting dinners at a Chinese restaurant!), a tour of Amish country, more than a few jaunts to featured/revered restaurants, the river tour in the Falls, as well as a hike through the Falls' gorge.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

1 Week Deep in Ohio

Warning: this isn't going to read well. i'm too tired for that. i'm also typing this at Buzzi's laundromat because we don't have internet, or a washer and dryer. it isn't pretty but it has all the pertinent details.

House- Jarrod did an absolutely amazing job picking a house for us. The house itself is really super cute. Little bitty rooms and the steepest staircase ever to the finished attic and semi-finished basement. The neighborhood is amazing, so many beautiful and tall trees. Our neighbors (Mary and Ron, Sue, Lois and Tom, Tammy and Nala [mastiff]) are so nice. The look out for each other, and now us and our four-leggeds. We are 2 blocks away on the North from an Italian restaurant that is so tiny and yummy and cute. It reminds me of Joe's Taverna but with fried calamari and pizza. 2 blocks away on the South we have a 70 year old art deco inspired bar that has an eclectic menu and terrific bloody marys.

Job- I work at Kenyon Energy, Jarrod's company, as a secretary. It is a big change from teaching. I talk to only adults and they are all in full control of their actions, minds, and bodily fluids. It is a lot of fun.

Ohio- This place is amazing. First of all, the climate is fantastic. Humid, even more so than Oklahoma, but cool. Our hottest day was 94. That said, the winters are supposed to be horrific. Ever the optimist I choose to believe that I can bundle up sufficiently to avoid turning into a popsicle. Fingers crossed. The scenery is breathtaking. We live next to a river that has a hiking trail and river tour, both of which are in our future.

This little adventure is fun and exciting and I am thrilled beyond measure to get this opportunity to do something fully different than our real lives for a bit.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Today was my first (full) day in our home without my buddy. Blessedly I have had things to do to keep me occupied. Unlike yesterday, when he left at 10 and I retired to the bed until 7. No, it's fine. Today's adventures included working out (thanks Jill and Barbara!), riding my bike to Cheever's to celebrate my mother's birthday- is it terrible I don't know how old she is? yes?- and then a girl's (again with my mother) trip to the OCMA to see the Sketch to Screen exhibit. My buddy and I had plans to date night it to that, but he decided that instead he would get a job and move to Ohio!

That wasn't bitter, truly, just funny. In a million years I would have never imagined this to be part of my life.

So, starting this week I am packing up the contents of the manse, after some intense photo sessions, and waiting none too patiently for the phone call to let me know he found a house.

I feel terrible, my buddy has to work a full day, at a new job no less, and then dedicate what few daylight hours he has remaining to finding us a house. But, the minute he does I can move all of our worldly possessions and our four-footeds up there and we can start this next grand adventure!

We have looked at several houses online via craigslist (which is full of jerks trying to rip off your identity and steal all of your money- all the while posting pictures of really cute houses to lure you in) and of course one, none jerky listing, has fully captured my heart. To the point that I would pay more rent than they are asking just so we could guarantee that we get it. It is in Akron in the Highland Square area. Quarter sawn oak floors, leaded glass windows, surrounding a brick fireplace? Be still my heart.

Despite my visceral reaction to this house and longing to live in Highland Square, I am more than content to let my buddy have carte blanche when picking our semi-temporary home. He, of course, is drawn to the finished basements/attics, a term which here reads, home theatre room, with an eye to hardwood floors. I however can be swayed by something as simple as a built in hutch in the beamed ceiling dining room.

Regardless of where we end up physically, it will be the most amazing home in Ohio because our furry family will be there together. While obviously I don't want to leave my family, friends, manse or OKC, if I am being fully honest, I am really excited to have this time to do something totally out of character, for both of us, while we have the ability to do so. Once it is done, we will come home and settle in to real life, but for now, we will embark on some version of Eat, Pray, Love- with an obvious concentration of eating and loving!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!

We leave soon for Las Vegas (I've been instructed by my buddy that no one under 60 calls it Sin City... except, obviously, me)! I'm both excited and anxious.

Excited because so many of our amazing friends are going to be there to celebrate the Lambley union, and because as it is my first time to go their I am super amped to explore a new city. Though it should be noted that my exploration is going to be limited to the Wynn.

Anxious because I've never been there and I really don't know what to expect. It is a bit overwhelming.

I'm trying to focus on the brunch we are having at the Wynn, and leaving all the other details (flights, layovers, cabs, bags, etc) to someone else to sort out!

Friday, May 28, 2010


I'm kind of overwhelmed with love and appreciation for my family. Those hiccups in life that make you pause and reflect on you and yours...

A father that champions for you despite the fact that your actions warrant an old-fashioned lecture rather than him fighting like Mike Tyson for you (save the ear biting).

A mother that was always, is and remains the most beautiful person in my life- inside and out. The paradigm of all that is balanced and good.

The moments spent with my created family- my buddy and our four-footeds- that are still and quiet and cozy where everyone has a bit of them touching someone else and the moments where the rabies epidemic manifests and a manic joy and frivolity fill our space.

A family to which I don't actually belong to, but have the opportunity to accompany and commune that is so different than mine, yet so fantastic and full and fun.

In the words of one of the greatest singer songwriters ever (after John and Gordon- Denver and Lightfoot; obviously), Dave Matthews, "Yes Indeed!"

Yes indeed- best life ever.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hurricane Thyself!

This weekend we co-hosted a wedding shower for some of our dear friends with the rest of our dear friends. It was a crawfish boil replete with authentic Pat O'Brien's Hurricanes!

One of our co-hostesses offered, with their blessing, her parent's house as the location for our festivities. Never was there a better party spot than that house! Pool, hot tub, covered seating, fantastic kitchen, game room upstairs, and more. It was perfect.

The weather cooperated in a most un-Oklahoma like fashion as we began the party outside. The groom, who hosts a crawfish boil each year at his house, was in charge of the cooking. I stayed very far away from that process. I'm not into purging crawfish, or dropping their living bodies into the boiling vat of water and spices. That said. they were yum!

If you've never been to a crawfish boil, which I hadn't, you are really missing out. It is so much fun! Everyone gathers around the table and dives in to the too hot to be touching and too spicy to be eating food. It is a free for all of head sucking, corn eating and sweat dripping. Fabulous in every way.

For 10 hours we drank, ate, laughed, slept (okay, I was the only one to take a nap on the diving board-or at all) and had an amazing time prepping for the Lambley wedding.

This group of people that were gathered together to celebrate the upcoming nuptials are friends of my buddy. Over the past year and some months though, through countless games days, trips to the lake and Louie's Too I have fully fallen for this group of people. Some of the funniest, fun and most faithful friends I have ever witnessed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day came a little late for my mother this year, at least from her curly headed child. My buddy and I were in the car driving back from Ft. Worth during my family's big MD feast which was apparently amazing; steak au poivre with a cherry brandy reduction or some such thing! Boom!
Well, we blew it and missed it, and more importantly I didn't get to have that meal o' mother- no not eating my mom, that is both illegal and gross. Rather, a meal in honor of my mom and all of the wonder and glory that she represents.
So we had K&A over for a little late spring grilled chicken dinner. I got a bit nervous for two reasons. 1) undercooked chicken kills people however, overcooked chicken makes you wish you were dead. 2) tornados of America were literally ripping through the area (at large)

The storms passed though, and I was able to grill in the hot, muggy, wet blanket that was post- storm Oklahoma. However, my initial fears were valid and realized...the chicken (bbq, sezchuan, ponzo, or jalapeno jelly) was, in parts on some pieces, pink. Like a steak cooked medium. This wasn't steak, this was CHICKEN. eek. Blessedly my paranoia prompted me to warn everyone of our plate o' salmonella so everyone did a quick spot check and anything that was steak-ish (in cook temp) got a quick trip through the old mickey-mike.

My buddy and I had a great night with the fam, and dinner was good-really it was. Chicken, roasted potatoes with garlic and onion, smothered green beans and grilled corn on the cob! More importantly, we all had a nice time together, conversation was great and good times were had by all!

Happy late Mother's Day, belatedly, Mother. I love you so much. You are my favorite.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fish and Chips!

So my buddy fully made dinner tonight. Okay, I did the grocery shopping and the recipe part of it, but he definitely manned the fryer while the fish was cooking...

For a couple of weeks now he has been saving an episode of Tyler Florence on our DVR. It was the episode where Tyler made English style fish 'n chips and a shrimp bisque. The shrimp bisque looked sick. I can't wait to make it, but me thinks it does not belong on the same newspaper as my fried cod!

We sat down and watched it together and of course I was sold immediately. First of all let it be known that i am fully obsessed with fried fish. The Filet o' Fish (extra tartar sauce) from McDonald's is one of my favorites. I try to make it to LJS, Long John Silver's, at least once but no more than two times a year. Chances are if you take me to a restaurant and they offer fish and chips on their menu, I'm ordering it. Meal 1 in Hawaii, fish and chips, every time I go to BJ's, fish and chips. I'm fully obsessed.

So seeing Tyler's crispy, golden brown fish was a no brainer. Then he really started speaking to my soul. Of course he made his own tarter sauce. I'm a condiment person. I'd be willing to bet that a solid 1/3 of the contents of our refrigerator is various condiments of one flavor or another. This sauce was so simple, and looked fantastic. Double sold.

So after leaving work early today to take that paddle-footed one to the vet for her shots, I left her in my buddy's oh, so capable hands to make a trip to the seafood market. I always get it confused, location wise, with my meat market. Without fail I drive 30 blocks north on Western before it dawns on me, okay until I saw Kamp's (meat), Avalon is on May. Unbelievable. I dash (as quickly as one can on Britton at rush hour) over to May, skirt death turning left into the fish market and approach the counter for some cod.

Holy lord in heaven. Cod is not tilapia. Cod is apparently the K.C. strip of the sea. 1 lb. of flesh later (literally and figuratively) this cod, which I affectionately named Bindi, and I head to that semi-mythical place of wonder and glory that is known to some as the Belle Isle Wal-mart. Capers, lemon juice (not a single lemon to be found in the store) and other sundries secured I make my way to the manse.

So, dovetailing is not my strength, nor is picking the appropriate sized vessel for my cooking/serving endeavors and this recipe called for a touch of finesse in both departments. I did my best. Oil on, tartar sauce made and marrying, potatoes sliced and par-fried. That isn't a word, but these were double fried, the first round was a lower temp to cook the insides, the second go around is hotter to put a nice crisp on them. Par-fried, like parboiled-but not. Then came the batter preparation, which included soda water.

Enter buddy. I opted to fry outside on our grill as we have a burner on our super hot new grill and I didn't really want to smell like fried oil for the next 8 weeks, but that means also There is no counter space to speak of. He started as the official batter bowl holder but by the end of it he was fully frying fish and transferring it to the hottish oven to hold while we fried the rest up.

15 minutes and some beauty shots later we were settled at the table, Paddlefoot and the Mexican enjoying the Spring evening, ready to dig in. It was pretty delightful.

Kudos to my buddy for dinner tonight. It was super fab.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Best Life Ever

It is my mantra. I say it to myself, as if to will it to be true. And yet, it is a wanton task.

It already is.

Maybe then it is a celebration of what is and what surely is to come.

The inspiration for this fully self-indulgent mess of words: my dining room table.

"My" dining room table, by all rights our, is actually my parent's. It is the table at which I grew up, and once again it resides at the Manse of Glory. Upon our entry to my once, and once again, home my parents gave(?) it to us as we lacked a table and entertained a very formidable and blatantly apparent dining space.

It is not the provenance of said table that incites this monologue, rather the contents, or goods it supports. My buddy's computer, and he at the helm, our address book with the people we love the most and who in turn love us, an unsolicited, though somewhat exciting, magazine entitled "get married," the receipt from my buddy's nephew's b-day shirt, my phone, the watch my father gifted me, the glue I use when I stamp, the last set of cards my mother and I made, today's mail, my keys, a hot robin's egg blue shirt, his phone, and his convocation RSVP.

These are the contents of my life. These are the minutiae that make up our day to day.

This-this is the best life ever.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I'm so not even close to having a baby, despite that Edgar Allen Poe perpetually swinging pendulum-like biological clock that tick-tocks away, and every single day that i don't use them my eggs degrade. Every single day I move one infinitesimally small step away from the perfect baby every mother hopes for. It is that fear that creeps into my head in the small of the night, or the still of the day. Unexpected, unbidden and unwanted... i don't want to be that girl that fears this. I am bigger than this, I am more than this. I need this to not be a part of my life. The fear/worry or the possible reality of this, not for me or anyone.
I hate being Debbie-Downer (no pun intended), I never intended this forum to be a soapbox for my self-indulgent twattle that centers around my self pity. But here it is nonetheless.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Augustine Spots LIke a Cow

I started this entry, by start I mean I uploaded the picture, several days ago. But, upon that very moment that pictured sad/sweet-eyed creature relieved herself on our floors for the 6,529th time and I had to set down my trusty Mac to clean up after her. When I had finally retired back to my once refuge, the couch, I had nothing but vitriolic feelings for that hound, and as such have left this until this moment.

Now that she has mastered the art of ringing a bell to be let outside, though not yet the connection between needing to do so before she attends to her bodily functions, and is safely (?) running amok betwixt the far too tall shade grass and fallen pecans, I have a free moment to address all that is Augustine Spots Like a Cow Rowe.

Once the imminency of Two Socks' all too soon end was made horrifically and sorrowfully apparent we finalized the installation of our newest four-legged. Being the impulsive creature that I am, any number or type of canine could have found sanctuary at the Manse at the close of that nasty business if it had not been for our plans.

My buddy had decided that he wanted a Basset Hound and had found a breeder in Webber's Falls, a small town in Northeastern Oklahoma. All that was left was to wait for a new litter to be born as we needed, apparently, first choice. My compulsive checking of the website resulted in us being the first to respond to the, at that time, latest posting of a litter, born February 14th. We originally picked the cutest of the two boys, but as the weeks passed we opted for a little lady to fill the proverbial shoes of our Red Dog.

Enter Augustine. The breeder (Okie Dokie Bassets) was really great at putting up pictures every couple of weeks of the litter, and as they grew so too did our giddy anticipation. After 7 weeks of waiting, one of the world's most horrendous drives (Steak n' Shake you are no friend of mine) and nearly meeting our end ala Deliverance via our misguided turns into random eastern Oklahoman private drives we arrived at our destination. Greeted roundly by the baying, barking, whining and general commotion that is assuredly to be assigned to packs of Bassets, Linda, heretofore known as "the breeder," brought out a sack of potatoes. That is to say she brought out our little, lumpy, dead weight rectangular prism of fur.

The rabbit soft fur and soulful eyes disarmed me immediately. The puppy breath was like a Mike Tyson hit. I was done.

She was the picture of perfection night one. Sleeping soundly, giving skunky kisses, and liberating her bladder on grass or dirt only.

Little liar.

That was not to be the case in subsequent days and all too short nights. Our veterinarian (Classen View= amazing) summed it up prophetically: "there's a reason they are so cute..." You could set footage of this little one to a two-note symphony, think Roy Scheider 1975, and feel the hairs on the back of your neck rise as your immediate misfortune was suddenly realized.

She is a monster.

At her unveiling to my very disapproving and more that a little judgmental father, she did the most unholy thing on his hardwood floors. Terrible in every way.

That said, she has learned to ring the bell, climb up and down the stairs to the couch, plays with our little Mexican, and is still soft like a rabbit.

I love her. I'm mildly obsessed with her. At 4:40 when she wakes me up I am glad to pull her from crate to bed; and am instantly soothed by the sound of her breath, the rise and fall of her chest and luxuriously soft coat that rests on me as I quickly fall back into a deep and restful sleep.

I'm still not to sure about this corn-chip scented breed in general, but this little paddle-footed lady is just about the cutest thing I've met.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Amish" Friendship Bread

I got a bag of "Amish" Friendship Bread starter, note the quotations...the recipe calls for a box of vanilla instant pudding, me thinks that is not super Amish.

Regardless, I was super excited to play with my living starter-and super nervous. I found a blog all about the bread with loads and loads of questions that the moderator answered. 4 years worth of questions about this bread!

I was really interested in finding a savory version of the recipe, I'm not a huge cakey-sweet eater, and was super amped to find a cheesy option! Basically you subbed out the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla for cheddar and some more flour. Served with marinara sauce= yum!

I did a great job keeping my starter alive, squishing my bag, feeding it mid-week and de-airing my bag. Tonight however was baking night. EEK! I'm a horrendous baker. Like terrible. I have actually made inedible break-n-bake cookies. How does that even work? Part of my problem is my inherent inability to follow instructions. With cooking it isn't that big of a deal, but in baking, that is a no-no.

So I did two things that were not on the recipe. 1) I used applesauce instead of oil. It called for 1 CUP of oil. Sweet dear baby Jesus, no sir. The blog said that the applesauce switch was perfectly fine. We'll see. 2) I did not use 2 loaf pans. I don't have 2 loaf pans. Instead I used a bundt pan. As a result I had my bread in the oven for almost 2 hours instead of the one...

SO nervous. I don't mess up many things when I'm cooking. I had an incident with some shrimp I didn't devein, some fried chicken that was super salty and then my disastrous attempt at ravioli; but overall I'm a pretty decent cook. Baking however is not my forte (pronounced fort or four NOT for-tay) and I'm wicked nervous about this.

We'll know how it went in 5 minutes. It'll be time to slice and taste. Fingers crossed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pan's First Hike!

My heart is all full up! It has been over a year since I have been on a hike, but Saturday brought an end to that drought.

My sweet little Two Socks loved to go hiking, but sadly she wasn't up to that in her last few years. As such I just didn't go, I felt terrible taking Pan and leaving her behind, so we all sat it out.

Since it is now just Pan, and the weather is being cooperative, it is time to put my Coleman's back on!

I wasn't sure how the little guy was going to do, he is small of body and sometimes of spirit. He can't help it of course, I'd have some fear and such if I weighed seven pounds too! That said, I had planned on taking him out to Red Rock Canyon, but opted not since that is an hour away and I didn't know how long he would last. So we settled on a lake trail in Arcadia about 20 minutes away.

He did great! He stayed with me the entire time, never going more than fifteen feet away at any given time, always making sure we were in eye sight of each other, and was a pretty great little trail dog. He did bark at and try to run after some mountain bikers, but he came back when I called him and didn't chase after them once they rode past. We walked for about an hour, maybe around four miles, up and down, over rocks and through water. Pan was a trooper!

The walk itself was interesting. Being so close to the city I could hear highway traffic which was distracting, but there were also the sounds of birds! The trees were still bare and brown, but I found some patches of green and even some little wildflowers. It was an odd juxtaposition throughout.

It was so nice being outside. It made me long for the days of my childhood when I knew I had a week at summer camp, and then in high school and college when I had the opportunity to spend my entire summer at camp. As that is no longer an option I'll settle for day trips right now, until I can recruit my buddy into some camping, filling up my insides with the glory and wonder that is the great outdoors.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thunder Up!

I heart our basketball team. When the Hornets were here I was a fan, I still hang my Hornet Christmas ornament on the tree every year. That said, the fan-dom I exhibited for the Hornets pales in comparison for my obsession with the Thunder.

To be fair, I love the team a lot. Russell and I had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory last month. (okay, he came in by himself and sat at the round top facing our booth) James Harden, Thabo Sefalosha, Jeff Green and of course Kevin Durant are all delightful.

They are super fun to watch (thanks Mother for the tickets) and have had an unbelievably hot season.

But, that is not why I am super stalker-friendly for the Thunder. I have three words for you: Rumble the Bison. His Teenwolf-ness is nostalgia inducing, his dancing is super impressive. His obvious sense of humor and charisma are so charming and winning.

I want Rumble to by my boyfriend.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nectar of the Gods

This isn't a throw-back bottle, nor is it a bottle found in the back of my grandma's cupboard. No friends, this is a Dublin Dr. Pepper. So named for the town in which it is bottled, Dublin, Texas.

Other than the name, glass bottle and fun graphic design this is a regular Dr. Pepper. Oh, wait, there is one more thing. Dublin Dr. Pepper follows the original recipe. What does that mean? Sugar. Pure cane sugar. There is no high fructose corn syrup in the glass wonderland you see before you; rather the sweet delight that is sugar.

For those of you that have never had one, let me tell you, it is life changing. Dr. Pepper is sweet, out of all of the leading brands I'd wager that it is the sweetest of all. That said, Dublin Dr. Pepper takes that sweet to a heavenly plane.

To put it into standardized test form:
Diet DP:Regular DP as Regular DP:Dublin DP

I'm obsessed with it. I had my first bottle by chance and without any knowledge of the sugar situation in Tuttle, Oklahoma. That is relevant because it illustrates how oddly distributed Dublin Dr. Pepper is. I can't get a bottle in OKC, but Tuttle (super small town) has them in spades. After some research I learned that was because of limited distribution rights.

This little guy came from Pop's in Arcadia (also a really small town), OK. Now that I have found some place relatively close by I can drink them quickly, with carefree and reckless abandon sans fear that it may be my last bottle.

I feel like the world should know about this.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh, Gilad!

So I am portly; akin to Anna Nicole, before she started taking TrimSpa, and Al Roker, pre-gastric bypass.

I'm not bragging, far from it. I'm as grossed out at myself as I am of the 1,000 lb man mowing through a 2-liter.

I want to go to the gym, but sleep is oh, so seductive. As of this week I haven't been able to bring myself to get up early enough to get to the gym, or even to work on time. It's fine.

So in order to stave of the self-loathing I have turned to the fitness channel. Yep, I am doing tv aerobics. It is as glorious as it sounds.

I dabble in a variety of shows, thank you DVR, but my mainstay is Total Body Sculpt with Gilad. If you have ever seen the Dana Carvey/Kevin Nealon sketches with Hans and Franz; "I want to pump.... you up!" you have witnessed the glory of Gilad. I swear I think he was the inspiration for those sketches. In yesterday's episode (which included 24 squat jumps that made me cry) he said, and I swear it is true, "I'm here to out!" It was amazing.

Obviously I feel like a complete idiot doing this. I'm in socks in my bedroom doing these semi-ridiculous biometric (his word) exercises that actual take effort on my part with my buddy popping his head in to mock me in facial and verbal expression. Awful in every way.

The only thing more embarrassing than me "working out" with Gilad is my burgeoning girth. So I shall embarrass myself, to myself, for a while longer until my jeans button and I don't fear blowing the ass out when I sit, or walk or even just take a deep breath.

Oh, another horrific-ness that accompanies this situation is the fact that Gilad does his show on Waikiki Beach. The entire time his abs and Diamond Head are just laughing at me from the 80 degree, trade wind cooled, oceanside wonder that is Hawai'i.

Best/worst part of my day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Potatoes Two Ways

I'm obsessed with potatoes. I like them baked, fried, mashed, smashed, au gratin, diced, sliced, crinkle cut, yellow, purple, and baking. I am to potatoes what Bubba was to shrimp.

So this week we had our snow storm (bracketed by 70 degree days) on the first day of spring which read to me as: make some soup buddy! So I did. Once upon a time I used to make classic potato soup. I used heavy cream, three different types of pork, and it was lovely. In college one of my coworkers introduced me to a super quick, equally bad for you, but in a cheaper way, version of potato soup. This involved a quart of whole milk, a log of velveeta and the addition of broccoli.

This weekend I opted for a combination of the two. In lieu of cream I stuck to the velveeta and whole milk with the glorious salty heaven that is salt pork and bacon. I threw in some broccoli so I could justify eating two bowls and then I proceeded to gorge myself on soup. I have managed to save enough to take to school with me to tomorrow for lunch. I wish I hadn't. I get a little soup drunk when I eat this, I don't want the kids to see me like that...

I also attempted a new way to play with potatoes. My latest Everyday Food came with what at first glance seemed like a little nugget of heaven. Potato Croquettes, which was a reader friendly way to say fried mashed potatoes. I'm in.

I boiled my potato, drained and then began my mashing process. Loads of butter, heaps and mounds of cheese and a splash of milk. Eek. I think the splash of milk was not a good choice-we'll get to that. These were the best mashed potatoes that had entered my mouth. I wanted to go full blown eating disorder and hide in the closet until the bowl was clean. But I didn't. Yay! Restraint!

Time to batter. It was a form, flour, egg wash, and bread crumb situation. Enter the milk trauma. My mashed were runny, and sticky, not a consistency that rendered a forming process gracefully. I did a test run, it didn't go well, fried her up and served her to my buddy. My once delectable mashed potatoes were bland and boring now. Though piping hot and fried... Okay more cheese, a lot more cheese, and a better forming plan. And the addition of some chopped jalapenos to cut the creamy blandness and we were back in business.

They were okay. I think sauteed onions and some sort of herb situation is needed. There needs to be something sharp, almost acidic inside these little bundles of fried starch. Or maybe some bacon...

I'm not thrilled with them, but I'm not giving up on them either. That is how much I love my little carbohydrate laden friends.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Handle With Care

My mother loaned this book to me, as she does with most of the books I read. I kind of want to kick her for that.

Don't get me wrong, I knew, in part at least, what I was getting myself into with this. Jodi Picoult likes to rip out your heart, score it with a cheese grater and sprinkle lemon juice on top. As if that weren't enough, as you are licking your wounds she sucker punches you, every time, leaving you gasping for air like a trout on a stringer.

Note: If you have seen My Sister's Keeper and think you have a clue as to what it means to read one of her stories, you are sadly mistaken. I never bothered to see it, due to my love for the story and my unwillingness to taint my memory of it and the lackluster (at best) reviews it received; however if you did see it please do your best to forget it and read the book.

As for Handle With Care, I was crying on the first page. Weeping silently on the couch as my buddy watched basketball. My mother took weeks to read it because she would get so emotionally overwrought that she had to step away. I took a slightly different approach. I would pour into this book hoping against hope to desensitize myself to the pain coating each page. It didn't work. Not even close.

When something particularly gut wrenching would happen I would invariably make a noise of some sort. A groan or gasp or whimper that would alert my buddy to the impending recitation that he in no way welcomed. It began page one (as did the tears if you'll recall) and he told me not to tell him one more word from or about the book. It was that heavy. Needless to say I couldn't stop. The final words from the book and that I subjected him to prompted him to tell me that I was never allowed, under any circumstances, to read another word by Jodi Picoult to him ever again.

This book is amazing.

Things break all the time. Glass, and dishes, and fingernails. Cars, and contracts and potato chips. You can break a record, a horse, a dollar. You can break the ice. There are coffee breaks and lunch breaks and prison breaks. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Chains can be broken. So can silence, and fever.
For the last two months of my pregnancy, I made lists of these things, in the hopes that it could make your birth easier.
Promises break.
Hearts break.

Two Socks Like a Little Indian

Two Socks is the best good girl dog ever. I got her in October 2001 and night one she had me calling my mother in tears/laughter. That little red dog had been laying on my leg and blegh, yacked all over me. I was wearing linen pants and had no idea what to do to clean it appropriately.

Thus began my life with that little lady.

We lived in a tiny little apartment (360 sq feet), and then a few years later a tiny little house (900 sq feet) and the last couple of years of her life we were in a palatial home together. No matter what house we were in she was the best companion one could ask for.

She didn't bark very much, but when she did it was tough getting her to settle back down! All or nothing was that little lady. Not much of a barker, but she did have a yodel/dying goat scream that she unleashed when she thought she was being treated unfairly. If her brother got to go on a walk and she didn't (it is hard to walk 2 dogs at once...) this horrendous, unearthly squeal/whine/cry would ring out. Poor miserable, mistreated little girl.

She loved to eat, and had a big palate. Veggies and fruits were her friends, and she loved to get down on a bone. I mean seriously, those compressed rawhides were gone with the quickness in her jaws. Her other great love in life was sleeping. Just like her mom, she was a napper. And we did quite a bit of it in our time together.

She was practically perfect in every way. I miss her every day.

Spring Break Snow

First of all, Oklahoma weather, you are taking it too far. We get it. You are mercurial, unpredictable, and ever-changing, trust me we know. Enough already. It was 70 yesterday, I had the back door open so the four-footed ones could come and go at their leisure, today we have forced Pan into a hoodie and Mali has been holed up in the dog house and refusing to hang out in the climate controlled interior that we are enjoying.

That said I love that we are cool again because I can justify making myself some potato soup! I'm really excited for what is on the menu today. We started with venison breakfast burritos, we are going to have wings and potato skins for lunch and then some shrimp pasta* for dinner. *I'm going to try spaghetti squash instead of pasta with mine. I'm more than a little nervous about that. I'm not too sure when I plan on eating my soup, but I'll figure it out.

The countdown is on! 20+ days until we get to bring Augie home. I'm excited and more than a little nervous. It has been a long time since I have potty trained a puppy, and I'm freaking out about the sleeping situation. Pan, the most spoiled creature to have walked the planet, sleeps under the covers with us. Augie, however, will be way to big for that kind of sleep situation when she grows up, so starting her on the bed seems like a bad idea...