Saturday, May 31, 2008

If That Ain't Country: Video Files

So Karen shot 2 videos the other day which I am posting for your enjoyment/amusement. Not sure why one of them is sideways - if anyone can tell me how to flip it - that'd be much appreciated. I figured getting them uploaded and posted was an accomplishement in and of itself.



And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Still Surprising

So after all of this time - Mansour still manages to surprise and delight us. We rolled up to Willow Creek Inn last night at 7:30 - nearly a half hour late. I was exhausted from a long and frenzied week trying to get everything wrapped up for our comany's name change which goes into effect Monday morning and in all honesty - as much as I love Mansour, I would have been happy plopped on the sofa in my PJs with Chinese take-out.

But then Marty and I sat at "our table" and Mansour poured us a glass of wine and I began to unwind. Then came the food. Our first course was bacon wrapped shrimp in some sort of sweet and spicy Asian-inspired sauce. There was soy sauce, ginger, red pepper, something sweet - it was literally the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. Seriously. It was that good. When I told Mansour that he got all modest and said he had just whipped it up there on the spot. It wasn't even an existing recipe. I told him to write down whatever he did so he could serve it to me every time I come because it was so unbelievably delicious. Seriously.

Next was a small cup of a cumin-scented potato soup. Now I confess. I am not a huge fan of cumin. But with Mansour's delicate touch and in combination with whatever other ingredients he used, it was outstanding.

Our third course was a salad - fresh from Mansour's own garden.

Finally came the entree: a signature Mansour ribeye - grilled to perfection and served with a simple side of sauteed snap peas. Yum!

For dessert, we broke off a square of chocolate from an oversized candy bar in Mansour's office. I wasn't paying attention but I think the chocolate may have been Arabic or Spanish. Whatever it was, it was the perfect end to the perfect meal.

And to think that it all happened in Vale, NC...

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

PS Last night Mansour was preparing for a wedding that's happening this afternoon. Check out the gargantuan hunk of meat he was roasting - it's like something you'd see Fred Flinstone eating:

Friday, May 30, 2008

If That Ain't Country: Photo Chronicles

I needed a photo for our new company website and so my friend Karen came over and shot a whole bunch of pix yesterday afternoon of me and my babies in the pasture:

She also shot 2 videos which she instructed me to post but I have no idea a) how to download them off my camera and b) how to post them - although I have been told that You Tube is easy....

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What Were They Thinking?

Sitting here watching TV and have now seen multiple ads promoting E's new reality TV line up of Denise Richards: It's Complicated and Living Lohan - where in role model mom Dina Lohan tries to turn Lindsay's little sis into another drug-addled, kleptomaniac, sexually promiscuous celebrity. I am generally a fan of E! and I feel as though they have been responsible for some clever programming over the years but this is ridiculous.

The only thing complicated about Denise Richards is - well, nothing actually. And promoting Dina Lohan in any capacity simply feels irresponsible.

Trying to think of a clever way to tie this post back to the theme of this blog and can't think of anything so I'll simply say...

If that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

If You Feed Them, They Will Come

Ok - so do I even tell you how busy I've been - hence this posting hiatus? 3 days on the road is too much because I then spend the next 4 playing catch up. Not that I am looking for sympathy here. Just simply trying to tell you where I have been.

Anyways - my biggest joy these days is my growing bond with Peanut, Buster and especially my Prisey. Don't get me wrong - I love my little Lucky and she will always be my special baby, but it's been a little sad that the 3 boys have been so afraid of us and I've always hoped we'd get over that hump.

Well - we have. And it's because of food. Marty always said this would happen - if you feed them, they will come. And so they have. The boys now see me as purveyor of Goat Chow and treats and will willingly approach me - even let me pet them briefly - if they think I have something for them.

And speaking of feeding - let me just say that I have the whole feeding routine down to a science. Our days of dining drama are over. Too much to post from the BB but I'll write about it soon. My how far we've come.

Of course, try giving treats to 7 goats instead of 3 - it's a little more complex - but nothing makes me happier than Prisey eating right from my hand.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

No Longer a NASCAR Neophyte

I watched TWO races tonight kids - two. I watched the 40-lap Showdown and the 100-lap All-Star. From roughly 7:45pm until 11:15 I was glued to SPD. I watched Allmendinger knock out Elliott Sadler and ultimately win the Showdown and then I settled in for the All-Star.

Kyle Busch and his M&M car had a strong lead until his engine blew (still - don't understand exactly why). Then there were numerous lead changes and I was pulling for my boy Jimmie Johnson to win but ultimately, I couldn't be disappointed about Kasey Kahne's victory. Who wouldn't love the fan favorite riding into victory lane?

I'll be at the (horse) track next week when the Coca Cola 600 runs, but I can assure you - there's more NASCAR in my future and I am already contemplating tickets to the infield for the Bank of America 500 in October.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Billy Goats Prefer Blondes

I need a haircut. Desperately. Tomorrow marks 13 weeks since I last got my hair cut and it's definitely starting to look a little ragged around the edges. Unfortunately for me, with the exception of a quick 24-hour trip next weekend (during which time Oscar is out of town), I have no plans to be in New York City until October. Which means I have to accept the fact that I live in North Carolina and that perhaps I ought to find someone down here who can cut my hair.

The problem is, that last time I saw Oscar, he gave me such a good cut, I am pretty sure no one down here - or anywhere for that matter - will come even close.

It's flawed logic. I know. I am basically choosing between what I assume will be a mediocre to average cut or not getting any cut and just letting my hair grow longer and longer and letting it lose all shape and style. The funny thing is, this is not an easy choice for me. And of course - who's to say a haircut down here will even be average or mediocre. It may be great. I see people all the time who don't live in NYC, who don't get their hair cut by Oscar and who still manage to have great looking hair. I think my biggest issue is that Oscar has now been cutting my hair for over 15 years and just knows me, knows what to do, knows what will work. Plus as I just wrote, my last cut was soooooo good, that I don't know if anyone anywhere will even come close.

Meanwhile, Nugget - who when she was born was such a dark shade of brown that we originally thought she was black - is turning blonde! It's like she's getting highlights for the summer or something.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Debating NASCAR

So I am contemplating watching the race on Saturday night. I feel like I have had enough nibbles to commit to a full meal and actually, as it turns out, Saturday night is the All-Star race which is only 100 laps (versus the usual 400 laps) which means I might could get through it all.

If all goes well, I might even watch the Coca-Cola 600 next week. Who knows, I might even drive up there and scalp a ticket.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Different Kind of Country

So - Garden and Gun? Well, it's a different kind of country.

Mint juleps. Race horses. Seersucker. Rare flowers. Real estate on Kiawah. $200 flip flops. Flannery O'Connor. Blackberry Farm. Sailboats. Hand-crafted custom knives. Pig pickin'. Tarpon tournaments. Charleston. And 8 sporting clays that will help you shoot straight and look good doing it (even when you miss).

These are just some of the items touched on in the May/June 2008 issue.

It's high-end luxury with a Southern twist.

It's as if someone turned a Pat Conroy novel into a magazine (which is a fitting analogy seeing as the Prince of Tides himself is a contributing editor).

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Nothing Beats the Point of Purchase

So we were up in Hickory last night to buy flooring, have dinner and pick up some sort of seafood for a surf & turf dinner tonight. So after buying the flooring (gorgeous bamboo - can't wait to get rid of this functional, drab carpet) we opted for dinner first over the grocery store because you know what they say about shopping on an empty stomach.

Ate at Da Vinci. It wasn't bad but I still don't like the red sauce. I need to remember that next time I go.

Anyways, made it to Harris Teeter at a little after 9pm. It was a ghost town and of course the butcher/seafood department was closed and there was nothing out in the display cases. We felt thwarted (our little Teeter here in Lincolnton only carries the most basic seafood - cod, salmon, etc. - and certainly doesn't have lobster tails or jumbo shrimp). But then we found a wonderful employee named Michael Davis who went back into the freezer and pulled 2 lobster tails and wrapped them up even though he wasn't the fishmonger, even though it wasn't his assigned role, even though it was late. Talk about customer service - we need more Michael Davis's in the world.

Then, as we were waiting to check out, I stumbled upon this little gem:

Need I say more?

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Cry Cry Cry

Here's what you never want to hear: your baby crying. Here's what I heard today - heart is breaking.....

....for Peanut - facing "fixing" 6 weeks after his brothers...

.... for Lucky - who still wants to follow us in the house - no matter how long she has been in the pasture...

....for Buster - who finds himself caged on account of his brother's late development...

....for Prisey - my great unexpected miracle who makes me smile and brings me joy daily.

They are all joys. All miracles. All unable to produce any more kids.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Another Escape

Ann-Margaret got out again. Actually, she got out a day or 2 after her first escape but then Marty fixed the fence where we thought she was getting through and there have been no problems. Until today.

I am on the phone with my boss when I hear some baaahing. So I walk to the window to look and see what's going on (baaahing is not typically cause for concern but I am me (read: completely, over the top neurotic) so I like to check on these things) and there's Ann-Margaret wandering around the driveway.

I hang-up the phone (my boss lives on a farm and has horses and a donkey and understands these things) and go flying out the door completely solo and unprepared i.e. without cookies or treats or any other sort of bribe. I spent 5 minutes trying to coax her back in - which was not easy because every time I opened the gate Lucky tried to get out.

I hollered for Marty a few times but he couldn't hear me (so fruitless on my point - as Dierks Benltey sings: What Was I Thinking?).

Eventually, I left Ann-Margaret unattended momentarily, ran to the barn to grab a treat, and then bribed her back into the pasture.

Nothing like some animal drama to kick-start a Monday.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

It Was 2 Years Ago Today

It was 2 years ago today
That Marty and I left NJ
Though packing took us quite a while
We eventually passed the miles
Rollin' on in our U-Haul
We made our way to the South
And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Ok. So for some reason - as I began to write this post, I had the tune to Sgt. Pepper in my head so I had to jot down the above to quiet the singing voices in my head. Apologies - I go on blogging hiatus and come back with mediocre, self-indulgent rhymes.

Anyways, 2 years ago today, Marty and I said goodbye to Hoboken and began the 646.72 mile trek to Lincolnton, NC. We had been out late the night before - first celebrating the publication of my dad's first novel - then saying goodbye to friends and neighbors. We got a bit of a late start leaving because we had way more stuff to pack up than we had anticipated. It was a good thing we had rented a U-Haul and not simply a large SUV as Marty had originally wanted.

Anyways, there were actually 3 of us because Kelly Keeling was in town working with Marty on the End of Ride album. However there were only 2 seats in the U-Haul so I found myself propped on some pillows and swaddled in our comforter seated on the floor between them as we rolled on our way to the Southland.

We stopped that first night in Virginia and visited with Erica and the boys (Daryl was in the desert) and then Friday, May 5th, we pulled into town and neither we nor Lincolnton have been the same since.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

So It is...

So it is that I find myself at the Sandy Monkey in Garden City, SC on a Saturday night. Chose the Monkey because they're a trivia bar and we've seen them in the rankings while playing at Tradewinds. So showed up tonight, met the local trivia hounds and hung out and played (and ranked nationally). When not answering trivia questions, I found myself splitting my attention between 2 TV screens: NASCAR (anybody see that crash? I confess - I am starting to actually enjoy this sport) and bull riding.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...