Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back Soon

I live in a high-traffic tourist area. And tis the season; for tourist and company. So for the moment I am trapped in the land of fanny packs and tourist traps. Meaning I am entertaining "the relatives". Will be back soon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A dead car, cake interrupted, and screaming hot sloppy joes

It has been one of those kind of days that makes you want to pull your hair out, stomp your foot in disgust, and just throw in the towel. Rinse and repeat.

Company's coming. I like to "put on the dawg" when expecting guests. My house, a 100 year old beauty, really lends itself well to this kind of show. But it is a 13 room old girl and the four of us that call this place home manage to live in every room, every day. Throw into the ring a big black dog that in a week sheds enough hair to make Elvis wigs for everybody, and it all makes for a level of clean, that while it isn't a health hazard, it sure wouldn't get Mr. Cleans approval. I know I should clean a little house everyday (at least that is what I was told when studying home economics), but I am a project kind of girl with at least 3 or 4 going all the time. And they take a lot of my attention. A lot. Add a tiny part-time job, the laundry, the cooking-well cleaning somehow gets overlooked a lot of days. That means getting ready for company finds me in a cleaning "fit".

So, I've been in a fit all week. The whole nine yards. I will spare you the details. Let's just say it involved a lot of Liquid Gold, Swiffer cloths, and it's companion, the Swiffer Mop. I chased one glob of dog hair so big I thought it was a kitten when I first saw it out of the corner of my eye. Who knew a dog with hair only 1/2" long could shed half his body weight in the stuff every day. I think he is secretly embarrassed about it too. He always gets that guilty look dogs are so good at whenever he sees me break out the Swiffer. You know, head kinda down, that slinky bowed back walk as he attempt to hide all 60 pounds of himself from me.

But, I got it done (with help from other residents), and as always, this old place cleans up good. I was looking forward to today. It was to be my shopping and baking day. I have a recipe for a pumpkin spice layer cake with browned butter frosting and today was the day to try it out. All perky from two cans of Coke and two cups of coffee, I grabbed my list and headed out the door for the grocery.My car is not quite so perky. It is dead. Really, really dead. Not even a click when I turn the key. I could call AAA, my husband suggests ,but I decide to just wait til my daughter gets home later in the day, borrow her car and do my shopping then. I'll do my cake baking in the meantime. I get all the dry stuff mixed together, grease and flour the pans, brown the butter, add the pumpkin, the buttermilk and the eggs. Eggs, those were on my shopping list. Because I don't have any eggs! Luckily, I realized this just in time to halt production before the point of no return. Now I decide AAA is a good idea after all. I can at least run to the convenience store and get some eggs, come home and finish my cake. An hour later the guy from AAA pulls up. He has multiple piercings, which would make you think he is really macho to endure all that pain. But the minute he sees my big black dog come charging at him, he jumps back in the truck. I hope he doesn't hear my snorting and snickering. It makes all that dog hair kinda worthwhile. Jasper the big black dog is on the job!. Since I really need that car now what with the state of affairs in my kitchen, I put the dog back in the house so this guy can boost my car. No such luck. My battery is going, going, GONE. When he told me, I seriously toyed with the idea of asking the guy for a ride to the store. I mean he seemed nice enough and all. And I could take Jasper just to make sure he stayed in line. I resisted the temptation and decided to just leave the cake til later. I could at least start something quick and easy for dinner. I love Pioneer Woman's recipe for Sloppy Joes so I threw the ingredients in the pan and since I really like Chili powder , I used the 2 tablespoons she calls for plus a little more. Boy they smelled good! I finally got something right on this day, I am thinking.

Dinner time came and I bit into my buttery-toasted bun dripping with Sloppy Joe filling. That tangy, slightly sweet taste I was anticipating was a little over-shadowed. Actually a lot over-shadowed. I went to the spice cabinet and grabbed the jar labeled "chili powder", opened it and tasted it. Seems the Cayenne pepper had gone undercover as chili powder. An hour later, as I was cruising down the rode in my daughter's car in pursuit of eggs and other edibles, the corners of my mouth were still burning and my nose had such a persistent drip, I was tempted to put a wad of Kleenex in each nostril.

I did get the eggs and the cake was eventually baked. I know it is going to be very good. I know because I licked the bowl and it was dee-lish. And the frosting? Oh Lordy! Browned butter, cream cheese, brown sugar and powdered sugar. How could it not be good? So at least my day ended on a sweeter note.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Little Black Book

Sometimes it doesn't take much to make me happy. Case in point; old-fashioned black composition books. The stores are full of them this time of year and at 25 cents a piece, I can buy all the paper happiness I want. One hundred blank sheets of wordy potential. I love to open a new one and run my hand over the smooth, blank page with all those lines just waiting to be filled. The inside back cover is full of Useful Information. In fact that is what is written at the top. If you are weak in the math department the multiplication table is there for you along with all kinds of conversion charts and different measurment tables. Frankly, I don't see how anyone gets by without one of these little workhorses. I have several beside me right now. I use them for everything. A few nights ago, in an organizing mood, I made out my Thanksgiving menu and shopping list and got it all down in one of my "little black books". Sometimes when I am feeling all crafty I cover them with fancy paper and ephemera and then I call it "my journal"

I usually have one reserved for scrawling out quick thoughts and observations about things that at some point I may want to write about in more detail. While cleaning the table beside my chair I came across one these and looked through it. I had some pretty good stuff written there and some that I am glad the only witness to my musings were me and the paper.

As much as I enjoy the physical aspect of my composition books, I also enjoy writing on my laptop. You can get your thoughts down almost as fast as you think them and if it doesn't "sound right" you can just as quickly erase them. I have found myself missing my blog lately. It can be time-consuming, but it is such a great way to keep family updated. It is also a creative outlet. For me, it is fun to see how I can express something as simple as "I baked a cake today." in a way that makes my readers want to knock on my door and say, "Cake please!" Leave no pharase unadorned, I say.