Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Live for Lifetime

So a shout out to the genius folks responsible for programming at Lifetime. I find myself tuning into Channel 27 more and more these days and the stuff they are promoting looks fab!

I was so excited for Poison Ivy IV: The Secret Society although I wondered how it could possible compare to the dreamy drama of the original Poison Ivy: Drew Barrymore - so evil, Sara Gilbert - so glum, Cheryl Ladd - so frail and Tom Skerrit so paternal. Of course, I may never now because PI4 aired on LMN - a channel I don't get BY CHOICE. Well - sort of. The package that includes LMN also includes SoapNet and I CANNOT under ANY circumstance subscribe to SoapNet otherwise I will sit around all day and watch 90210 and Melrose reruns (yes I am soon to be 33) and if I intend to have any sort of a life whatsoever I need to not be hooked on the teen soaps of my youth. Of course, I am terribly excited for the new 90210 and found myself looking online at the cast photos posted on Yahoo recently. All I can say is that I am so glad they found a reason to put Rob Estes back on TV (I've loved him ever since Silk Stalkings although one has to wonder what ever happened to Mitzi Kapture?) and Kelly Taylor is no Mrs. Teasley. Anyways, I have not seen PI4 yet but I keep hoping it moves from LMN to Lifetime eventually so I can relish in it.

Then there's the Fab 5 about some Texas cheerleading scandal. Seriously - how many cheerleading scandals can they have in Texas? I remember the one from ages ago where the mom of one girl who didn't make a squad tried to kill another girl who did and HBO made a movie starring Holly Hunter and it was highly entertaining. Nonetheless, the previews for this seem to be highly entertaining as well and so it's all set to Tivo this weekend.

Then the other day I caught sight of a new preview for a movie coming in September starring Shirley MacLaine as Coco Chanel. SHIRLEY MACLAINE AS COCO CHANEL PEOPLE. It doesn't get any more genius than this!

Not to mention the endless re-runs of Fraiser, Will & Grace and Golden Girls. I just love that Rose and all of her goofy St. Olaf stories involving vikings and farm animals.

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

To Bee or Not To Bee

Ok - so I JUST watched Bee Movie on Sunday and as far as I am concerned, all bees can talk and are funny and loveable not to mention critical to the environment. And in real life, I am well aware of what's going on with honey bees dying and the fact that Haagen Daaz created Honey Bee Vanilla ice cream to thank the bees for all of their hard work. So let's just say - I am sympathetic to bees. Except when they start nesting in my donkey's stall.

I noticed the hive when I went to put some vaseline on poor Dixie's nose (which is newly raw in other places leading me to believe that she is not suffering from bridle rash but rather some other sort of ailment). It wasn't there yesterday but toay it was - a small little hive with about 10 black & yellow striped insects buzzing around.

So here was my dilemna - Kill the bastards (natural instinct) or let them live (curse you Jerry Seinfeld)?

In the end, instinct won out. I grabbed a can of wasp & hornet killer that you can spray from up to 27 feet away, and I hosed the hive. Of course, I don't even really think they were bees...they were too big. They were probably yellow jackets. In which case I don't feel quite so bad.

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tire Pressure and Bridle Rash

So I had a very interesting morning which started at 6:40am when I went out to the garage to check the air pressure in my tires. Why you ask? Because I am 100%, completely paranoid about not having enough air in my tires and when I was driving home from Spartanburg yesterday my car felt kind of "wobbly" or at the very least "wonky and not right" and I always tend to attribute that to air pressure. Plus, I drive on radials which have a tendency to look "flat" even though they really aren't.

Of course, last time my car felt "wobbly/wonky" my tires were indeed low - in fact 1 tire only had 10 psi (they are supposed to have 40). Amazing I made it home from Greenville that day without a blow out.

Anyways, after that incident, in order to take control of my paranoia, I got a quick lesson on how to use a tire gauge. So I went to the garage this morning and checked the 2 tires that looked low and what do you know - they were both at 20 psi. Given that I just had them filled about 4 1/2 weeks ago, that was an indication to me that they both had a slow leak.

So I hopped in the car and drove up to the tire place in Maiden, assuming they would be open at 7am. They weren't and after waiting for 10 minutes I drove into town and found myself at Griffin Tire. They took me at 7:22 (even though they didn't open until 7:30) and Terry accompanied me to my car where he checked my tires with my gauge. Oops - apparently I didn't press the gauge quite hard enough and in fact all of my tires were over 32 psi. So much for low tires and slow leaks. Still - after listening to Terry's sales pitch, I am considering switching to nitrogen in my tires because the smaller molecules make for much less contraction and expansion and therefore less leakage.

Then, I got home and went to let Dixie out and noticed a big raw sore on her nose. I panicked because I didn't know how she got it or if it hurt or it was infected or anything and so I ran into the house and woke up Marty who sleepily but calmly told me that it was probably a little irritation from the bridle and to put some Vaseline on it and not to worry. I did and then called Carl for a second opinion because even though I am Country, I am also neurotic.

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Know It's Supposed to be Dark at the Movies...

So last night Marty and I went to see the 7pm showing of Mamma Mia at the 8-plex we love so much in Lincolnton (So as it turns out - I have never written about the genius of going to movies in Lincolnton. I was all set to link back to earlier comments but none seem to exist!).

The first problem was that when we arrived, a sign on the box office window apologized for the broken air conditioner in the Mamma Mia theater (as well as one of the Dark Knight theaters). Given the extreme heat, Marty and I were reluctant so I quickly pulled out my Blackberry to see if we could catch an alternate show in Hickory or Gastonia. There was a 7:40 in Gastonia but I really love the Lincolnton theater (it's virtually empty and they have really good popcorn and sodium-laden flavored salts and seasonings like ranch, white cheddar, and nacho that you can sprinkle on your popcorn). We debated going to see Dark Knight instead but I kind of had my heart set on Mamma Mia. We debated blowing off the movies and going to dinner, but I really had my heart set on popcorn as an entree, and so we asked the girl behind the window just how hot it was in the theater.

She assured it wasn't that bad and even offered to let us step inside and feel for ourselves. We did and it wasn't that bad. Seriously. It just wasn't completely frigid (so much for the sweater I brought) so we bought tickets, a large popcorn, and settled in for the show.

Now one of the genius things about going to the movies in Lincolnton is that the theaters are rarely crowded. Even when we went and saw Shrek 3 and Harry Potter 5 on opening day, the theaters were maybe at 60% capacity. Usually, there are less than 10 people in the theater when we go - I don't know if it's the movies we choose to see or the times of day we go but it's a highly pleasant experience. In fact, when we went to see Ratatouille back when it was in the theaters, we went to a 9:30pm showing on a Sunday night - not a popular time for an animated film. We were nearly the only ones in the theater -there was one man and his daughter.

Still, Marty and I have never been completely solo in the theater until last night. Between the film and the lack of a/c, I wasn't surprised.

Early on in the film, we heard some rumbling. Marty thought it may have been thunder. I wasn't aware we were expecting storms and thought maybe it was something else. Guess who was wrong? A few minutes later the lights flickered in a power surge and then.....the theater went completely dark. First time ever that's happened to me. Given the severity of the storm, we had to restart the film twice (not restart as in from the beginning but restart as in get the power back on and get the film up and running).

All in all, it made for an interesting night at the movies.

As for the film, I have seen the musical at least twice on Broadway and listen to the soundtrack on my iPod occasionally so I enjoyed it. Plus, it has goats.

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

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sophie's Choice: The Sequel



So I don't believe that Meryl Streep ever made a sequel to the critically-acclaimed, 1982 film that landed her an Oscar (her only one as far as I know) but today I once again found myself in the position of having to make a difficult decision.

Meet the newest visitor to the Paris farm:



Isn't he sweet looking?



He showed up on Saturday night but I didn't get my hands on him until this morning. He might be 4 weeks old and he probably weighs less than 6 oz. Seriously - he fit into the palm of my hand. Way too young to be separated from his mama and his litter mates...

Anyways - it was in my compassionate nature to care for him for a little bit - give him some milk, some food, and try to find him a good home. Or at least get him to where he was big enough and healthy enough and strong enough to survive outdoors as a barn cat because seriously - doesn't every farm need a barn cat?

But Marty would have none of it. He said we didn't need another cat - frankly we didn't need another animal of any sort - and that while he would support a barn cat, he didn't think that I had the emotional stamina. Something about 6 months from now, below freezing temperatures and this little one meowing at the door looking for a warm place to sleep.

I asked everybody I knew if they would take him but nobody would/could. I tried to find a no-kill shelter that was accepting strays - none were. They were all full. At the end of the day, my only choices were:

1) to send him to Lincoln County Animal Control and hope that he got adopted otherwise he would be "humanely" terminated (talk about an oxymoron)

2) to keep him here until I could find someone to take him

3) to keep him here until Marty fell in love with his sweet face

I was going to push for option number 2 but then I made the mistake of calling my large animal vet. The receptionist there told me that you have to beware of stray cats and kittens because they can have rabies...among other diseases. It is rare but a few years ago, a stray kitten showed up at their door. They took it in, gave it shots (after all, they had resources) and everything was fine until one day this sweet, docile kitten went crazy and died. Turned out it had rabies.

"But don't you have to be bitten or scratched in order to get rabies?" I inquired.

Apparently not. Saliva is sufficient. So suddenly - the threat this little, harmless, innocent looking furball posed to me, Marty and our entire family (2 cats, 7 pygmies and 1 miniature donkey) became significantly more meaningful. The fact that I had picked him up and held him in my hand, carried him into the house - all seemed potentially hazardous.

I dropped him off at Lincoln County Animal Control at around 4:40pm. I hated to do it. The sheriff on duty and I even talked about it because it is my dream one day, if I ever have enough money and can find the right piece of property, to open up an animal rescue/shelter for all of the strays and unwanted animals in the world. Seriously. But I couldn't take the risk with this little one and our family, and Marty and I just aren't able to commit to any more kids right now.

I confess, I don't feel good about my decision. I am just hoping that because he is so cute he finds a family soon. Any local readers out there - stop by Lincoln County Animal Control and take a look at this fella and take him home:



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

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gastronomy in Gastonia

As it turns out, this past Tuesday night, Marty and I had one of our best meals ever since we moved down here and it was at a restaurant in Gastonia of all places.

Not that this should be a huge shocker because Gastonia is a decent sized city and is considered part of the Charlotte MSA. But 2 years ago when we first moved down I Googled "fine dining AND Gastonia" and pretty much got zero results and then never really gave it a second try. But some people I met at a work event mentioned Lotus to me a few weeks ago and Marty and I finally gave it a whirl and it was worth it.

It's definitely fusion with lots of Asian influences (they even have a sushi bar)and some Italian and some American locavore/fresh from the farm touches. In fact, my only complaint was that it was a little too fusion - I would have liked to have felt like it took one direction more than any other, but everything was delicious.

I started with pork and chicken potstickers which were leaps and bounds better than any Chinese take-out dumplings around these parts. Marty started with a tempura softshell crab which he said was delicious (I'll take his word for it - I don't like crab) and a California roll which he said was good enough to inspire him to order only sushi the next time he came.

I had the Ashley Farms chicken as an entree - although the summer version is served with a pea and carrot risotto and honeyed pearl onions (as opposed to the version on the website). Marty had a Kobe-style filet with grilled asparagus and butter & herb roasted potatoes. That all said - there were about 12 other things we both wanted to try.

Dessert was homemade doughnuts with a trio of dipping sauces. Yum.

I give them a lot of credit for their wine list. Not too many obvious choices from California. Instead they had an eclectic list with selections from Chile, Argentina, and South Africa to name a few.

Our waiter was good in that he was earnest and knowledgeable and tried hard. But in his attempt to "space everything out" our simple Tuesday night supper turned into a 3-hour epic meal. Dessert alone took 40 minutes to appear.

Also - Marty was not fond of the decor - high ceilings, lots of open space - which he found too casual for the caliber of cuisine. I didn't mind so much - I think there's little room in the world these days for white tablecloths and traditional French service.

Still, at the end of the day, it was a delightful surprise, completely unexpected and utterly delicious. When you come for a visit, just remind us to take you to that restaurant in Gastoney.

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

Sunday, July 13, 2008

If That Ain't Country: Photo Chronicles




So I was asked about miss Dixie Mae and I guess it has been a while since I have written about my little mule. Hard to believe but she will be 1 year old on August 1st and she has really grown up and shedded out i.e. shedded the fuzzy hair she had when she was a baby so that she is now all sleek and smooth. See?





And since I was out there this morning with the camera, I snapped some shots of all of my babies:


Little Lucky looking like her precious little self.



Elvis and Nugget eyeing me for treats.



Peanut and Buster - 2 little rascals if there ever were....



My handsome Prisey.



Ann-Margaret will always be my little girl even though she is a mother of 4.



Elvis still rules the roost.



Lucky stops to scratch.


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

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Neighborly Thing To Do



Sorry guys. I don't know where I have been. I don't think I have had much to comment on recently. If there's anything you'd like to hear about - please let me know. I seem to have run out of topics - Country or otherwise (although I have contemplated a second post on Saved By The Bell...)

Meanwhile, our friend and neighbor Steve stopped by on Thursday with a mess of blackberries that he had picked from his blackberry bushes. I took a big old bowl full and this afternoon I made a blackberry-nectarine pie.





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

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Confessions

I have something to confess. I downloaded Better As a Memory Than as Your Man by Kenny Chesney yesterday. I also downloaded As Good As I Once Was by Toby Keith. Those weren't the only 2 songs I downloaded but those are the 2 that I feel conflicted about. Granted - I like/enjoy the songs - otherwise I wouldn't have downloaded them. But I don't really like the singers.

For starters, I've never understood Kenny's immense popularity since I don't think he's that talented. In the realm of country, my cousin Kelly Paris can outsing Kenny every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I also don't understand why women clamor after him - I could never be with a man whose ass was smaller than mine.

As for Toby Keith - he's sort of a guilty pleasure. When I was downloading the song, I was looking at a bunch of other songs on the album (35 Greatest Hits or something like that) and I knew and liked more than a handful. I don't know what this says about me, but I can tell you that it makes me feel conflicted. Even moreso than my newfound love of NASCAR.

Oh yeah - you know what I am watching tonight.

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

Friday, July 04, 2008

Freedom is Never Free

As you celebrate today with hot dogs and beer and swimming and ice cream and fireworks, pause for a moment to remember what it is we are actually celebrating. This made its way to my in-box yesterday and I thought it was worth sharing:

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants; nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his Ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown , Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

Remember: freedom is never free!


That's totally Country. This Country! Happy Independence Day!

What Were Stoller and Leiber Thinking?

So I have no idea what Mike Stoller & Jerry Leiber were thinking when they wrote the song Poison Ivy because seriously, poison ivy (or oak or sumac) is NOTHING to celebrate.

We have some serious poison something here and let me tell you what - it sucks!

I had poison ivy once before. I think I was 14 or 15. I was spending the summer at Longacre Farm in PA. I got poison ivy a week or so before I was due to come home and as it turned out, I was highly allergic. I also remember getting stung by a bee on the middle finger of my left hand around the same time and by the time I arrived home I was swollen and red and itchy and all in pretty miserable. I crawled into bed in a dark, air conditioned room, took a lot of Benadryl and didn't emerge for a week.

Unfortunately, I can't spend the next week in a Benadryl-induced haze which sucks because I might scratch myself to death.

To be fair, Marty has it worse than I do. He's had it in various patched on his arms for the last few weeks. Mine emerged on Tuesday night along the back of my right shoulder and behind my neck. What I don't get is where it came from. I am thinking it came from when I let Lucky nuzzle my neck a few days ago since I think the goats like to eat it. The oil was probably on her nose and she probably rubbed it on me.

So far it hasn't spread but every time I get an itch, I panic.

I even resorted to a tried and true Southern method for curing poison ivy - I put Clorox on it! Seriously.

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