Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tacky Tuesday

Aside from my shoulder hurting like a bitch and this lingering vertigo I am feeling much better today thank you. I may even be able to safely operate a moving vehicle with the Kid securely ensconced inside.

I have to go shopping.

Stir Crazy thy name is Brook.

Plus I need batteries for my bathroom scale.

I admit to obsessively weighing myself.

Naked before bed.

Naked after morning ablutions(I could have just said pee but I am trying to exercise my brain)

Clothed nearly every time I enter that particular room over the course of the day.

I also -because I do have compulsive tendencies-know how much various items of clothing weigh so as not to be alarmed when I appear to have gained 2.6 lbs in 30 minutes.

And the batteries are kaput!


In other news I was able to prepare supper last night for the first time in 8 days-any meal actually. Big Daddy D stepped up and took care of meal times(a combination of eating out, take out, hot dogs, frozen pizza and left overs but hey-we were fed!)while I was incapacitated, and I am thankful.

Spaghetti-actually fusilli with marinara(homemade) and meatballs(from the freezer) was on the menu.

B helped quite a bit-manhandling the huge pot of water and draining the fusilli when it was done, checking on the meatballs and stirring the sauce.

She has almost gotten to the point that she can prepare a simple meal with little supervision. Yay!

Supper was good-though honestly spaghetti is not my most favorite- but it is certainly easy.

And today I have a yummy meatball sub for lunch!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Where did last week go?

I have spent nearly the entire past week in some kind of fog.
I honestly have very little recollection of any of it.
And the snippets of memory I have are unpleasant, at least to me.

The drugs have helped the pain.
I am glad of that.
They have clouded my vision and affected my reason.
I am not glad of that.

I drove one day.
I drove with the Kid in the car with me.
I barely remember that.
So not good.

I know one evening I mixed drugs and alcohol.
I really don't remember much of that either.
Thank god I am not a mean drunk.
(You guys know that Superman joke right?)

I am however raunchy, raucous, and foul mouthed when under the influence.
I am that anyway I know but usually do better keeping it reined in.
I have been under the influence too long.

I am still in pain.
My mind is nearly clear.

I would rather my body hurt than my spirit.

And it's a close thing.

I'm cringing more than a little as I try to remember.
No more drugs.

Friday, March 27, 2009

All typed out

So I started in on my usual routine of reading and responding to "my blogs" and then reading the comments and responding on my own blog.
Now my forearm is twitching like someone hooked me up to a light socket and though it feels funny and not painful I am going to hang up the phone now.
If any of you have talked to me on the phone you'd be laughing by now cause I always find more to say and end up going on for awhile(sometimes an hour).
So if you are interested in today just follow me around the web and read my comments and backtrack here and see what new things I have had to say.
As I said somewhere else and liked it ,
" I'd write more but drugs and pain are battling each other and I am caught in the crossfire."
Catch ya later friends.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Short and sweet

Typing one -handed is hard.
Typing under the influence is funny.
Taking it easy today listening to ambient electronica.
Trippin on pain pills.
I'll be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Me and percoset

Holy crap.
That was really freaky.
My left shoulder has been hurting for few days.
Maybe I slept on it wrong.
I don't know.
Then the Kid half on half off my lap.
Her usual maniac self not sitting still.
Me trying to avoid elbows and head butts.
She can't start daycare soon enough by the way.
Suddenly a terrible pain in my shoulder.
Left arm numb and limp.
Shooting pain up my neck.
I thought I was dying.
Off to the hospital.
I hate hospitals.
EKG is fine.
Pain not going away.
X-Rays show nothing skeletal to point a finger at.
So 8 hours later(all in the emergency area) I have pain pills and a phone number.
And no insurance.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This is gonna hurt

I wrote this in a very angry and hurt frame of mind.
It is a very narrow slice.
It is not the whole of what I feel.
But if I can't be honest with myself-and this is about me here-what's the point?
Notice the "brooksblogbaby" at the very top of your screen.
How I feel is valid.
It doesn't matter what you feel.
You don't have to agree.
You don't have to like it.
Getting buried in you doesn't make me go away.
Ignoring my heart doesn't make it not feel.
I made my choices.
I didn't know then what I know now.
Years of emotional hurt and neglect do take their toll.
Now I want him to feel the pain of trying and failing to capture my interest.
I want to torture him with his failure, grind him under my heel, and leave him to bleed out and feel what it is like to be empty of all the best that you had to give.
I know that is wrong.
I know it and I don't want to be that.
I see the future with him stretching forward in a bleak landscape full of petty battles and cold war detentes.
I see the relationship his parents have and really really don't want that for myself and yet I can see that we have already been following their model.
I remember my mothers terrible past relationships and how she escaped them.
I see her current relationship-the only one I have seen her truly happy in- and would rather have that.
But how?
Can I have that with him?
Do I want to?
I know I am angry.
I know I am sad.
I don't know how to fix things.
I don't know if I want to.
Maybe I am going through a mid life crisis.
Maybe I am depressed.
Maybe I am tired.
Maybe I am tired of wiping the asses of the grown and nearly grown people in my life.
Maybe I am ready to just take care of myself for a change.
Why the fuck should that be classified as a mental illness?
I know for sure that 30 or 40 years ago Big Daddy D could have had me locked up in a loony bin and treated with electric shock therapy for thinking this way.
What the fuck?

Now then, we have talked today about this very stuff-brought up by him and not me.
Strangely enough I am encouraged.
We don't want to fix what we have broken.
We might be interested in building something new.
That is good news.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My my my, my tattoo...

Okay. Take the two top pictures and then combine the best of both and then place the base of the limb at the inside of my left elbow with branches extending down the inside of my forearm, the tips ending at my wrist. Then imagine that the limb has a fork in it and that the second limb branches up to the outside of my upper arm.
You might have to squint your eyes a bit to get the picture but that is OK. I don't want something too stylized like the first forearm pic, or as dark as the second forearm pic and the branch is going in the wrong direction in each of those. The upper arm tattoo pictured above is altogether too dark and masculine for me but it serves for illustrative purposes.
I really love the loose yet realistic style and colors in the acrylic painting and the stamen detail in the photograph.
So that is the idea of what I want. It will cover a lot of area without being heavy and well, it just feels right.
Cherry blossoms have different meanings depending upon which culture you ask, and all of them are appropriate.
In Japan they represent the beauty and transience of life. In China they represent feminine beauty, strength, and grace. There is an element of remembrance in every interpretation and I like that too.
I am ready.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

TMI Thursday #3

Here we go again...
So if I were to be any other animal it would have to be a cat. I absolutely hate the water. I don't like swimming pools, I don't really like baths, and the first solar shower that comes out is mine. Don't get the wrong idea here , every day I do indeed get as mad as a wet cat. I put off the inevitable for as long as possible, but just like a cat I can't stand to be dirty and don't like to sweat either for that matter, but until I can't stand it anymore, I can find many many things to do besides take a shower.
This hasn't changed since back when I was single and dating(and a mom too).
I was dating this one guy, I'll call him Clint cause that was his name, and we had a hot date planned later, when he got off work(he managed a local video store so I didn't expect him til after 9). After I got B to bed I decided that I should shower-for the second time that day-because it had been at least 12 hours since the last one and well you know how that goes. But taking into consideration my dislike for water and the sense that I had plenty of time I started straightening the house. And preparing for my shower.

This entailed a similar mental process to the whole fight or flight thing with me taking off more and more clothes and still cleaning up.
Over the course of an hour or so I ended up naked with no idea what time it was, still not showered, vacuuming the living room rug.

I had been dating Clint for quite awhile and would leave the door unlocked for him.
He still knocked of course but would just walk on in.
With the vacuum going I couldn't hear anything.

Imagine my complete and utter shock and embarrassment when he opened the door and there I was in all my glory, vacuum in hand.

I dropped to the floor like I had been shot, completely mortified.

He, however, thought it was the most awesome thing he had ever seen and assured me I was the fulfilment of every pizza delivery boys dream "and look, I even have a pizza!" he says.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Because that's what Easter is all about...

Ok, Ok.
I moved the Jesus doll beside the Barbie. They were meant to be together don't you think? Though Barbie may be rooting for the tall dark and chocolate professor on the other side. Or heck, maybe she wants 'em both. She could be freakier than we ever knew. Or maybe it's me that is the freaky one since I took the picture and made up the nice stories to go with it. I will keep my imaginings to myself this time. You make up your own.
I hope you can hear me laughing right now.
I am also enjoying my super clean house right now. Suddenly I feel a little free-who knew that knowing there was dust lurking in corners was weighing me down.
Watching these ladies work took me back to my days working on the dude ranch in AZ. I was a maid there, making beds and scrubbing toilets. Gosh, I was all of 19 when I did that.
Ya wanna hear how I ended up in Arizona? It is a twisty tale so buckle in.
Technically an 18 year old can't run away from home but that is essentially what I did. I was attending a small local college and had recently gotten engaged to a young German fellow who I had realized terrified me. There is a bit of a story there but let's just say if I had gone back to Germany with him I would be typing this from the grave I am sure.
So I did the only thing any sane young woman would do and cleaned out my checking and saving accounts -a whopping $500 I believe-drove to a bus station in a neighboring town dropped my dad's truck keys in the mailbox and bought a ticket to Tulsa Oklahoma.
You guys would have done the same, right?
I had dreams of finding a cowboy and falling in love and riding across the range forever(I had a thing for Sam Elliot-still do-that man's voice well, I'd love to "talk"to him on the phone=} ) .
The romance of youth.
Instead I ended up accidentally leaving my teddy bear and favorite boots in a hotel room-what you guys don't travel with your teddies?
Hush now, I still have a way to go with this tale.
With no cowboys turning up in Tulsa I decided(after only 2 or 3 days)that I needed to move on to a smaller-and cheaper- city. Enter Muskogee Oklahoma, located right outside the Western Band of Cherokee's Nation. If I remember right, I decided to turn my attention to snagging me an Indian boy and hey, I am 1/16th Cherokee anyway right?
It was in Muskogee that I discovered temp agencies and can't tell you how grateful I am for the ladies at Kelly Girls who took me under their collective wings. They made sure I had work and helped me find a safe place to stay. They invited me into their lives and, looking back, watched over me until I found my feet.
Dovey and Carmen, wherever you are, Thank You.
I worked at a Coca Cola plant on the Gatorade line-this was when they still used glass bottles- and have not willingly had a sip of Gatorade since(so glad it wasn't a Dr Pepper bottling facility). I worked at a jelly company and at Bush's Best canning factory. If you are going to buy beans or vegetables in a can-BUY THE MOST EXPENSIVE ONES YOU SEE! Seriously. The Bush brand itself is fine too. I worked a few other jobs there, as a nanny, and also a finisher of furniture at a local BareWood store. I even took a job for a brief period of time as a door to door salesperson selling cleaning supplies and made it as far north as Wahoo Nebraska before I got sick of it and got my free bus ticket home-well back to Muskogee anyway.
All this and no cowboys or Indians!
So once again I did what any sane young woman does and answered an ad from the help wanted section at the back of a Western Horseman magazine. Two, actually, and took the job in Arizona before I had heard back from the ranch in Colorado.
The Circle Z Ranch in Patagonia was and may still be a lovely place. I worked for room and board and $350 dollars a month. It was not an especially hard job and I do have some pretty good stories from the four months that it lasted.
Wow. I think I'll save those stories for another time. It's later than I thought- and even though I don't have any cleaning to do- there is still some supper to think about and get started on.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Make mine Grandma Fried!

You know how some foods just take you back? One of those for me is fried chicken. For some reason it has always seemed a scary and slightly dangerous endeavor, one cooking challenge I did not feel up to. That is saying something for me. I am generally intrepid, full of confidence when it comes to preparing food.
And yet, and yet.
Actually I did make fried chicken one time, now that I think about it. I was 12, not yet 13 I know, and had found a recipe that called for a wet batter and deep hot oil. I remember that the chicken turned out just fine but I was disappointed-I thought it would be more like KFC and it was actually like Long John Silver's battered fish fillets. Oh well. I did not have enough experience cooking at that time to make judgment calls based on just reading a recipe. I don't remember what else I fixed that night, probably mashed potatoes and something green but my older sister's boyfriend liked it and that thrilled me to no end.
That one attempt satisfied my desire to cook fried chicken, after all my grandma made it often(and way better) and I could go eat hers anytime-she would make it special if you asked just right. And believe me we asked.
My grandma had a stroke 8 years ago, the day before Maggie was born actually, and hasn't made fried chicken since.
Last night I made fried chicken(for the first time in 'gasp' 25 years) that was almost as good as hers-the only difference being her presence missing from the process. It was crazy good. It was difficult to keep enough back to feed Big Daddy D we liked it so much. I was so amazed and impressed with myself I am sure I was slightly difficult to deal with for several minutes.

Then I looked in the oven at my peach cake and came quickly back to Earth. What a mess! Tasty though.

Grandma Fried Chicken (you know, like Southern fried, only better!)
First melt 2/3 cup or so of solid shortening(I use Crisco though I do know from personal experience that lard is tastier!) in a 10-12" cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Then get started on:
2 1/2-3 lbs of chicken cut up(I got a pack of legs on sale and that worked just fine)liberally seasoned with salt and pepper
Dip the chicken pieces in:
3 eggs, well beaten
Then coat the chicken well in:
1 1/2 cups of AP flour, liberally seasoned with salt and pepper and if you are feeling frisky some cayenne, sage, onion powder and garlic powder-I am always feeling frisky!
Place the chicken in the hot(around 350degrees)oil and let brown on one side-about 5 minutes or so and turn. TURN THE HEAT DOWN TO MEDIUM LOW. Put the lid on your skillet(surely you have a pot lid that will fit) and continue to steam-fry for about 15-20 more minutes til your meat thermometer tells you the temp is close to perfect( a few degrees shy is better than over cause carry over cooking will finish but you can never uncook it you know) and remove to a clean plate.
Pour off most of the oil(you keep your old cans for that right?) trying to keep most of the crusty bits in the skillet. Return skillet to stove and add 2-3 tablespoons of your seasoned flour or fresh if you threw it out the other stuff already, and stir, cooking the flour for a few seconds til lightly browned. Salt and pepper again and then slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly, until your gravy has reached the desired consistency. No measurements here folks but be ready to use up to 2 cups of milk or combination of milk and water-it just varies depending on how much flour you used, how much oil you left in the pan and -believe it or not- the weather.
Serve the chicken and gravy with biscuits and whatever veggies you like-we had rutabagas last night.
Don't you want the recipe for the Peach Cake? It is so good of course you do. And here is your chance to learn from my mistake too!
First off you need to defrost the 2 cups peaches you put up in the freezer 3 summers ago now. If you didn't happen to crazy that year with 2 bushels of the best damn peaches in years then just use some from the freezer section of your grocery store-don't used canned peaches-please please please don't.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Butter! a 10 inch deep dish pie plate-deep dish I am telling you! Just look at the mess above and learn from my thinking that it wouldn't matter!
Sift together in a medium bowl:
1 1/2 cups naturally white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder(again I use aluminum free cause i worry about it)
1 tsp kosher salt(if you have fine grain salt use just 1/2 tsp)
set aside
In your mixer combine at medium low speed:
6 tbsp softened unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
til light and fluffy, then slowly add in at medium speed:
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk-also room temperature
When combined turn mixer to low and then slowly add in the dry ingredients, til just combined.
The batter is thick. Pour into the buttered pie plate and smooth the top.
Layer on the well drained peach slices and sprinkle liberally with more white sugar-up to about 1/4 cup depending on your sweet tooth.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees and then lower temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 50-55 minutes.
Leave it in the pie plate and just scoop out your servings. Delicious eaten warm with whipped cream or ice cream too I would imagine. This keeps unrefrigerated for up to 48 hours though I seriously doubt it will last in any ones house for more than a day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Belly buttons

If you are a mom or have taken care of an infant from birth then these should remind you of something.

They look to me like little belly buttons-well, the little dried up curly part of the belly button that falls off later anyway.

I saw these on the beach and simply could not resist picking them up. As I held them, wet and warm and solid in my fingers, I thought about how they look. How they started, how they ended up the way they did. I was holding all that was left after time and tide had worn away the beautiful delicate parts of these little creatures. The soft tender flesh the first to go. In most cases eaten up because the sea is no place to grow old. With no life inside, the shell is light and with no anchor gets tossed to and fro in the tides, becoming more brittle and worn with each phase of the moon. The larger and stronger the animal the longer the shell can hold up but eventually even the strongest lose form, gradually sanded away until all that is left is that hard little curl, the kiss of the hinge.

And as I rolled these little curls between my fingers and tucked them in my pockets I thought about life. How the hard shell that protects us also kills us. About how living, really living, calls for us to open our shells and expose that tender flesh, and how vulnerable we are to having our tender selves picked at and preyed upon, and still we do it. I thought about how when everything else has been rasped away if we are lucky there will remain that little curl of self, the core of strength in all of us that is the place where connections are formed.

I listened to the ocean, curled tight in a blanket in the dark and wondered if that was how it felt to be in my mothers womb. I thought about my connection to her and then about the connection to my own girls. I thought about belly buttons. And about how they are really scars from the first and biggest loss we ever experience.

I thought about that and a great many other things.Oh, and here is the picture of the Caramelized Onion White Pizza I promised. Looks pretty darn good doesn't it?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend Newsflash

Today I am hungover. Too much to drink two days in a row will do that to me I guess. Wait, make that three days. Holy crap, someone sign me up for AA. Or AAA. I might need some roadside assistance here. On the other hand we as a family have had a very productive weekend. The ENTIRE HOUSE has had a thorough straightening and cleaning, and a bit of paring down too. The Kid's room is clean again(I am only a little ashamed to admit that after all my hard work before Christmas at some point after Christmas she and her little friends demolished it and it just hurt my feelings looking at it so I quit looking at it and did not clean it up til yesterday). Even the Big Girls room is clean. Quick! Someone check and see if they are throwing snowballs in Hell. I have to tell you though, doing all this stuff with a perpetual headache and nausea has not been fun, and I am very thankful for Big Daddy D and B's help. My unthinking dip into the use of alcohol to avoid dealing with a problem has really taken a physical toll. God, what was I thinking?
In other news, the new metal bed frame appears to be indestructible. We did our best to put a hurting on it let, and let me tell you-that thing ain't gonna break without a sledgehammer.
Oh yeah, ballet is back on too. For a while anyway. The teacher is also a realtor and her clients had commandeered the class time and let's face it, the 3-5% commission on a real estate deal beats the $10 she gets from me, so of course she would do her realty thing.
Another headline. Our neighbors down the street have sold their house and will be moving soon-we will be saying good bye to our only friends in the neighborhood and the Kid's best friend will be gone as well.
Hey, maybe this will be the year I win the HGTV Dream Home. I obsessively entered that this year, which amuses me really. I haven't won anything in a long time though so it could be time. HaHa, I'll keep you guys informed. Hahahaha.
We also went to PF Chang's for supper Friday night and that was surprisingly fun. Big Daddy D was in a mood to celebrate and heck I don't blame him. We came home with enough leftovers so I didn't have to cook yesterday and that was nice too.
And well, that is about all I am ready to say right now. There is so much twirly confusion in my mind that even without a hangover I would probably have a headache and a sick tummy right now.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Recipe

Today is a big day at our house.

I will have published my 100th post.

Big Daddy D will have officially filed for bankruptcy.

We (okay it was me)have gotten drunk enough to say what we(I) needed to say.

We(not just me) have had a real discussion about what has happened to our relationship over the past several years-a productive one with no name calling or blame games.

We like each other.

We respect each other.

We like breaking beds together.

We don't know what the future holds.

The choices we have made in our lives have led us to a crossroads, and damn if someone hasn't knocked down the signpost.

When I find that fucker, I might just knock him down.

I do know a few things though. I want to watch the sun set over the Pacific. I want to get a tattoo. I am done pretending that everything is fine.

As Austin Powers would say, "Aaaaand, I'm spent."

On the other hand I made a wonderfully delicious pizza last night and want to share-I even took a picture! I'll show it to you later-I forgot to upload it and I am ready to publish this baby.

Caramelized Onion White Pizza

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

3 onions(partially frozen-you remember that trick right?) sliced very thin

3 anchovy fillets, chopped rather fine(I get mine in a jar and have them in the fridge-they keep a long time)

1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1tsp dried

About a 1/2 cup liquid to deglaze the pan(I used Michelob Ultra Light because that's what I was drinking at the time-I would avoid red wines or heavy stocks, they would overpower the flavor that you're going for here)

Saute the onions in your largest pan-He Man is 14"-in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat stirring CONSTANTLY. When they are about half done add in the anchovies and thyme, keep cooking and stirring until they have become a lovely golden brown, add your liquid to deglaze the pan. Set aside to cool a bit.

I'll take it easy on ya today and recommend you get a tube of Pillsbury Pizza Crust-Thin Crust in the refrigerated biscuit section of your local grocery. Normally I make my own pizza dough but I was out of yeast and before I knew it time and popped out to the store and acquired this(and some yeast for later) and was satisfied with it.

Spread the dough carefully to the edges of a 17x11 inch rimmed baking sheet.

Spread the contents of one 15oz container of ricotta cheese over the dough and salt and pepper to taste.

Spread your caramelized onions over the ricotta, and then sprinkle Parmesan over that-and if you are like me grind even more black pepper over the whole shebang.

Bake for 18-20 minutes

For an even crispier crust prebake your crust according to the package directions, spread your toppings on it and bake for just about 6-8 minutes.

This is delicious, but I will tell you- keep some minty gum on hand or make sure everyone in your house eats a piece!

What I did at the beach...

Well, first I had a last minute change of plans. I did not end up going where I wanted to go, though I did actually end up in a place that I would have wanted to go to if I had known about it. If that doesn't make sense just read it a few more times.

I had wanted to go to Hampton, VA and see the school I went to kindergarten at and maybe find the house I remember so well. Didn't happen. Some things can't be helped but I truly deeply wish I could have gone.

I ended up in/at/on Wrightsville Beach, NC. It is lovely, the beach is lovely, and the weather was perfect. Sunny and mid 70's. Condo on the beach and I left the balcony doors open the entire time I was there(I was on the 3rd floor).

I walked on the beach, man it is covered with shells. I picked up at least 20 different species. I took pictures.

And I cried.
When my tears ran out I was still crying.

It was quite a shock to me, all this crying.

Once the busyiness was gone, and only me and the sound of the waves remained, all I had inside me were tears.
I did not realize that I was unhappy.
Tears for myself. Lost dreams, dead hopes, not quite wasted years. Fear even now reigns in my words and tears once again flow down my face.
I can't put on a smile and pretend that nothing is wrong. I am lost and don't know where to find me.

I am more than this, but what, I don't remember. Where did I lose myself?
I know.
I am not ready to tell me.

I am so afraid.
Of myself.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Well people, tomorrow I will be heading of for parts unknown, all by my lonesome. It's a girls weekend retreat and I am the only girl going.

My mind is so full of schedules, menus, chores, and everyday living all twisting around like fall leaves in a whirlwind, and occasionally it is a swirling vortex of terror.

You know how sometimes you think, "Stop the world I wanna get off!"?

Well, I know the world won't stop for me but I am going to step off the merry-go-round that is my life for a couple of days and try to rediscover the stillness and peace and quiet in myself.

We live in the mountains, which are quite lovely, so I am thinking of heading to the beach for a welcome change of pace.

I found my kindergarten in Hampton Virginia-maybe I'll take a stroll down memory lane and see what Virginia Beach looks like now. Or maybe a little trip to the Outer Banks and the oldest Coast Guard Station...

I don't know where I'll end up, but I do like the idea of just getting in my car and driving til I feel like stopping.

Actually right now a tent in a field wouldn't be all that bad either.

Excuse me, I have laundry to do and a bit of packing as well so I'll be ready to go bright and early!

Ta Ta for now!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Breakfast casserole-Brook Style

Alright, gonna keep it short and sweet I have an ass load of laundry to do today but the house is quiet so I'll bang this out while I have the chance.

Breakfast Casserole

grease/spray a 9x9in baking dish

crumble 4 leftover cheddar biscuits (that you made Sunday even though you wanted pancakes but were out of eggs) in the bottom of the dish

Sprinkle evenly over crumbled biscuits:

1/4-1/3 cups crumbled real bacon(I had some in a jar that I bought for salads and lunches)
1/2 red bell pepper diced(I did like the fresh for this though usually I think jarred roasted peppers are fine for substitutions)
4 small green onions sliced small, whites and greens
4 oz or so sharp cheddar cheese(I crumbled mine in my mini food chopper)

In a bowl-or your liquid measuring cup combine:

1 1/4 cups milk
4 eggs
pinch of salt(I use kosher)
fresh ground black pepper(I probably put in at least 2 tsp-I love black pepper!)

Pour egg mixture over biscuit mixture and let sit, at least 30 minutes (but more like an hour if you leave your sick Big Girl in charge and ask her to preheat the oven and put the casserole in while you are at ballet with the Kid and she forgets cause she is working on another $300 texting bill on her cool new phone and fakes being asleep when you get home *sigh*)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes til the center is set, let cool 5 or 10 minutes-or as long as you can stand it, cause it smells so delicious and supper is an hour late due to previously mentioned Big Girl antics.

So very good. Since my biscuit layer was pretty deep and the egg mixture totalled about 2 cups this turned out more like a savory baked french toast kind of thing, or a bread pudding than other breakfast casseroles I have done. I like it and will definitely make it again.

And it was very good for breakfast this morning too.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Busyness and an update on the Bed Saga

What with earlyish dentist visits, playground activities, sick big girl cozying, ballet dancing, and supper preparations, I have had no time to write til now.

I would like to thank Huff Daddy for his breakfast casserole recipe- I modified it some for our family, but we would have had beans and rice if it weren't for him. And I am zonked. Still not sleeping the night through, and the Kid getting up and crawling in bed with us the past few nights isn't helping. Oh and sleeping with the mattress on the floor is getting old, really old.

I do have an awesome story for you though.

So Big Daddy D goes to Sam's and gets a plain jane universal metal bed frame and lugs it home. I cajole him into setting it up that night before we go to bed. It's 9:30 by the time we get everything cleared out of the way and pull the pieces out of the box. Read the short and sweet directions-which are clear by the way and relatively well illustrated-and hunker down. It only takes a few minutes to realize something just ain't right. Things are not fitting together as shown in figure 1a. Big Daddy D goes for the hammer(that is usually my course of action, and it has worked well in the past) but it is late and for once the Kid is in bed and seemingly asleep so metal banging on metal might be a bit satisfying for us grown ups, but ultimatley detrimental for our longer term goal of actually getting to sleep anytime soon. I assure Big Daddy D that I will call the company and make the return trip to Sam's if neccesary.

You and I both know that if vendors get too many returns the big stores, and I imagine the small ones too, quit carrying their product(s) and most are happy to rectify any unpleasantness without getting the store involved.

So I have to work myself up to place this call. You know, having to deal with phone queues and menus and waiting on hold forever and the transfers is a chore and gets very annoying, very fast.

Imagine my suprise when the phone was answered at the beginning of the second ring-BY A REAL LIVE PERSON! A sweet older lady by the sounds of her voice. She listened to my short story(I really did manage to keep it short!) and she said,

"Hmmm, that line is busy would you like me to have her call you back?"
"Yes, please"
"I'll transfer you to her voicemail."

I left a brief message and hoped for the best-my expectations somewhat higher having actually spoken to someone at the company so quickly.

Suprise number two.

Gail called me back in, I think, less than 45 minutes, not any longer than that. She asked me a few pertinent questions.

"Did you read the instructions?"
"Yes, the rivets were too low to fit in the slots and slide and lock into place."
"But the other side was ok?"
"Um no,(laughing) it was a big CF all the way around last night at 9:30 when we were trying to put it together."
"I see,(chuckles a bit herself) I am glad you didn't have my number last night then."
"Oh, I did. I just decided to wait til today."

A bit more clever banter and she acquired my mailing address and assured me that a new frame or replacement parts would be in the mail the next day(today) and she would let me know the next day by 1 if they wanted the defective pieces back.

Pleasant good byes.

She called me back within 15 minutes(!) to let me know that replacement parts were being sent and to throw away the defective parts since they wouldn't need them back.

How incredibly awesome is that people?

A company that has real people to answer the phone and others to quickly and competently handle customer service issues? A rarity these days to be sure.

So, if you need a bed frame, on customer service alone, I recommend Mantua Bed Frame.

Does anyone know where to take the defective parts for recycling?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Back to life

Back to reality.

Restoring normality in 5...4...3...2...1

Ahhh, there we are.

Yesterday was a funny strange day. Woke up to 5 or so inches of snow and was really looking forward to getting out in it and playing, sliding down the steep hill that is our street. Got busy taking care of the typical morning stuff, looked up at 10 and damn if all the snow wasn't melted on the street and most of the yard.

I think I am going to have to start referring to Baby as the Kid from now on. Yesterday she told me that the snow was in fact frozen water and slyly maneuvered to head out the door because she was thirsty. Not very baby like behavior really, is it?

The Kid eventually went out and played-dressed in only a jacket-no shirt, a ballet skirt-no tights or pants, canvas tennies-no socks, a hat and gloves. Before you gasp in outrage remember our forefathers lived and thrived with much less in the way of insulation and central heat and air. She was fine and still is. She stayed out long enough to throw some snow, eat some snow, yell at neighbors over the fence and burn off some of that cooped up energy that kids(and lets be honest here, adults too)accumulate on snow days. I myself sat outside on the, by then, dry steps in jeans, a thermal shirt and bare feet soaking in the sun. That was really nice by the way. Then we came inside and the Kid had a nice warm bath with her Barbie friends.

I ended up piddling away the afternoon online whilst children's programming alternately amused and bored me, and only occasionally kept the Kid entertained.

Big Daddy D came home with coffee, eggs and YAY a metal bed frame! More on that in a moment.

Since we were all home at the same time I made a weekend recipe for supper.

Broiled Salmon

In a large zip top bag combine:

3 TBSP soy sauce
1 1/2 TBSP honey
1 1/2 TBSP orange juice, or dry sherry(I prefer the OJ but sometimes- like last night- substitutions must be made)
1-2 inches fresh grated ginger(you already know to have this in your freezer and grate it while frozen right?)
A pinch or more to taste of red chili flakes

Smoosh it around to combine and add in:

1lb of salmon fillets-cut into about 4oz pieces(I leave the skin on cause it is good when it gets crispy, people you should try it at least once)

Let marinate at least 30 minutes though an hour is better(I know most people say no more than 30 minutes but trust me on this)

Set your oven to broil

put one of your cooling racks(if you don't have one it's okay this time, but really, you should have one by now) in a rimmed baking sheet and put the salmon flesh side up on the rack.

Reserve the marinade-we'll get back to that.

Broil the salmon on the highest rack in your oven for about 3 minutes, then flip and broil another 3-4 minutes til the skin is nice and crispy.

In the meantime put the reserved marinade in your smallest sauce pan and bring to a boil, reducing it til it has the consistency of say ketchup or bbq sauce. It should be ready by the time the salmon is done. Serve along side.

I serve this with

Chinese Coleslaw

In a large bowl combine:

2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
2-3 Tbsp brown rice vinegar( substitutions can be plain rice vinegar, followed by white vinegar-nothing else provides the right flavor)
1-2 Tbsp sugar
a pinch of red pepper flakes or more to taste

stir til sugar is dissolved

Put into bowl:

One bag of coleslaw mix(preferably one with carrots and red cabbage)
Fresh cilantro-about a third of a bunch, torn into smallish bits

Toss to coat, can be served immediately though I like it to sit a bit and usually make it before I start the salmon.

I'll share a recipe for leftover salmon, maybe tomorrow cause I know you think there is no way to eat salmon the next day or two.

Right now I have to call the bed frame people because ours came with a major manufacturing defect and we slept on the floor again. Not well I might add. I am not happy about that people!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Can you handle the truth?

First I would like to say that I had a bit too much to drink last night. No hangover thank goodness, though we all slept til 9:30 or so this morning. We were at some friends' house for supper and fun and both were accomplished.

Somehow,though, towards the end of the evening our host put in a "Girls Gone Wild" video. I am not sure why he did this, why he thought it would be okay. I found myself watching bits and pieces of this, a little amused, but mostly appalled. These young women in the flush of their youth, many obviously under the influence of alcohol, selling themselves for a t-shirt. We left pretty quickly by the way. I am not a prude, far from it as you have probably figured out by now. But something about this video series disturbs me. On a deep level. My visceral reaction is one of sadness and anger, and I know why.

Why do some men, some people, prey on the naivete of youth?

Time to cover your eyes. Or read on, if you can handle the truth.

As a young woman, 13, 14, 15, I was sexually abused by a trusted pseudo-family member. It was not date rape. He did not beat me or threaten me or my family in any way. I was emotionally vulnerable, completely naive and yes, a horny pubescent teenager. He took complete of advantage of me as only an older more experienced person could. This man did not over power me physically but he surely did in every other way possible. His seduction of me is a blurred thing-I can't in memory put my finger on the first inappropriate look, suggestion, or touch . What I do know is that my virginity was gone in a short time and due to the ever prevalent mindsets of purity, I felt that I no longer had worth as an individual outside of my breasts and vagina. I can't accurately describe my feelings but those of you who have experienced even a moment of abuse will understand. I think one of the worst things, and it will sound weird I know, is that during the period of abuse I never had an orgasm. I somehow thought if I didn't have one that I wasn't all the way a bad girl, that I was not completely under this person's control. This holding back lasted in future relationships-and I have had my share plus one-as a way to maintain distance and control and it took several years for me to realize that in holding back this physical response, I was perpetuating this man's abuse and control over me long after he was in prison doing hard time for his crimes.

Yes he did end up in prison for his crimes. When I became pregnant I finally told the truth about what was happening to me. He was arrested. I did testify. He was convicted, and served hard time in prison.

I served time too, in high school. Being unmarried and staying in school while pregnant in the Deep South was a prison for me. I am no quitter though and persevered despite the pressure to keep my shameful state at home. I suffered through losing most of my friends who could not be associated with the whore that I obviously was. I was too much of a nerd and a straight A student to be ostracized by the faculty, most of whom, I am sure, knew my story. Don't get me wrong, I made new friends and eventually was accepted back into high school society, mostly because I refused to be ashamed and only the weak are prey in that cut throat world.

Eventually, after much soul searching and admittedly cold logical thought, I decided to place my unborn baby for adoption. I realized that barely 15 was no age become a mother and no matter how much I loved my unborn daughter she could have a better life than the one I could provide. She was born January 7, 1987, three weeks overdue(I kept her as long as I could) and I saw her just once, in a drug induced haze as the cord was cut, separating us forever. I found out later that I very nearly died, hemorrhaging because I was over medicated and my uterus could not contract as nature designed it to. By the time I regained consciousness, her parents had whisked her away.

Ah, don't cry.
I have more than survived.
I live, I love, I laugh.
I wonder.
I don't regret.

So, back to "Girls Gone Wild". I saw parts of this video and heard in the voices the cajoling, the pressure, the manipulation that I experienced so many years ago. Those girls were for the most part unsure, uncomfortable at least at first. Sure, most of these girls are of age and some may have set out to flash their tits and asses, but that is not what I was hearing and seeing. I see young women being valued for their body parts and not the wholeness of themselves, not only by the videographers but by themselves and the people around them, not to mention the viewing public. And that public is large. This series of videos has become a multi million dollar business and I tell you I have a problem with it. The lessons taught seem to me to be ones that perpetuate a mindset that fosters abuse.

I have lived it and truly wish others would not.

Only when we value and honor ourselves will others follow suit.