Friday, July 31, 2009

Feed Me Fridays: More Garden Goodness

So seriously y'all - I love having a neighbor who has a garden just bursting with fresh veggie and herb goodness (and who's willing to share) because dinners of late have been fantasticredible!

Last Monday was another Girls Night In dinner. I had originally planned to bitchslap my psychotic grill make steak, but after wandering over to Iris's in search of some tomatoes for a salad, I came home LADEN with produce:



Other than the asparagus (which Iris had simply purchased too many at the store) this is all from Iris's garden. And YES - I totally went over there with my little basket because really, that is the sort of thing that one does when one lives in Smalltown USA. One goes to visit one's neighbor with a basket and one stocks up on produce straight from the garden.

Anyways, it was very clear upon returning home that plans for sliced steak with tomato/cuke salad were chucked and that I would be making Pasta Primavera. I mean, really - HOW COULD I NOT?

So what sucks for you dear readers is that when I am in the kitchen and cooking, I am cooking i.e. I am not writing flipping recipes. There's a big difference. And what this means is that I can kinda sorta maybe tell you what I threw in the pot - and you can kinda sorta maybe replicate it. Or not.

Anyways, for last Monday's GNI (that'd be Girls Night In for those of you who don't do acronyms), I started us off with some crostini of sorts. I had some leftover roasted garlic sun-dried tomato pesto so I took a loaf of sourdough bread, cut up some cubes, spread with the pesto, and topped with chunks of really amazing goat cheese from Trader Joe's (and yes - you can totally taste the difference between amazing goat cheese and craptastic goat cheese.) I plunked in the oven at 350 (I think) for about 15 minutes until the bread was toasty and everything was warmed through. The cheese didn't get as melty as I wanted but OMG....SOOOO good. PS - I totally took a before shot:



But totally didn't take any after shot because as soon as those bad boys came out of the oven, we DEVOURED them. Yes. Tastalicious. Mmmhhhmmmm. (*licks lips* *salivates*)

As for the Pasta Primavera, here's a rough idea of what I did:

I sauteed a few small green bell peppers from Iris's garden along with some chopped garlic and sliced red onion, one chopped jalapeno (no seeds) and some sliced yellow squash (also from the garden). Once cooked, I added some chopped artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and chopped fresh tomatoes.

Then I cooked a box of whole wheat fusilli according to package instructions.

I tossed the pasta with the above mentioned veggie mixture and some homemade red sauce. And please don't ask me how I made the sauce because I made it 100 years ago when I went on my muffin baking spree and I was clearly insane. I think I peeled a bunch of fresh tomatoes from Iris's garden, ran them through my awesome-yet-underused tomato press, threw the resulting pap into a pot with some smashed garlic cloves and herbs, and called it a day.

As for the Primavera, I also threw in some leftover grilled chicken, the rest of the awesomtastic goat cheese, some roasted asparagus tips (only 'cuz my oven is insane and they got completely overcooked), some sauteed chard (also from Iris and OMG - chard is like the most insane vegetable ever and quite difficult to cook!), a sprinkle of fresh basil and a handful of grated Parmesan.





Seriously? DELISH!

I think the nice thing about Pasta Primavera is you almost don't need a recipe. Just use whatever you have on hand and whatever you like. It'll be different every time but it will always be yums!

That said, do you want to know the most RANDOM THING EVER? One of the first recipes I ever actually created and wrote down (probably close to 15 years ago) was for Buckwheat Pasta Primavera. It was pretty inspired given that 1) I was visiting my friend L-Belle @ UC-Boulder, 2) it was 4am and 3) I was totally wasted off my ass completely affected by the altitude. And I was totally going to share the recipe with you but Holy Hell, this post has already escaped me and if I write out the entire 2 page recipe (YES - being drunk it being so late and my suffering from "altitude sickness" did nothing to counteract my OCD/detail oriented nature) this post will be 100 pages long. So...if you're really curious for my Awesome-Yet-Random-4-AM-Drunk-Ass-Buckwheat-Pasta-Primavera - let me know and I'll send it to you.

Even better then the fresh garden goodness?

Dessert was strawberries and fresh whipped cream made in my awesome whipped cream maker.



Of course, after the whole "setting myself on fire incident" the other week, I was more than a wee bit nervous attaching the nitrogen can to the whipped cream maker because I was fairly certain that I was going to take out one or possibly both of my eyes and/or decapitate someone. And I pretty much wondered why I didn't just put the cream in the Kitchen-Aid and let that do all of the work, but apparently this meal was all about random kitchen appliances. And lucky for us all, after wasting one little canister of nitrogen, we wound up with this:



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

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Do I Want To Drink 100 Wines? Hell Yeah!

A few weeks ago, the incomparable Miss Mary sent me and KB an email asking us if we wanted to join her in her quest to become a card-carrying member of The Wine Century Club. Essentially the goal is to drink 100 different varietals. Mary said it had to be within a year - I didn't see anything to that effect on the WCC website but then again, I haven't spent as much time on the site as I have in bars and restaurants since her invitation trying to drink as many obscure wines as possible. Oh yeah - and broaden my horizons. And expand my palette. And anything else that sounds rather cultured and highbrow as opposed to my just drinking an assload of wine.

Seriously, I drink wine pretty much daily. Obviously, there's not a huge selection locally where I am and I tend to stick to my faves like Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, any kind of Gun Bun when I can get my grubby little paws on it, and of course, my stash from Childress. But now that I am on a quest to join WCC, I am using every drinks and dinner out as an opportunity to knock another random varietal off my list. Oh - and trips to Trader Joe's. Because they have an awesome selection of random (and cheap) wines.

When I was at the O.Henry in Greensboro a few weeks ago, I ordered a glass of Hondarrabi Zuri, Txakoli, Itsas Mendi, Spain '06. Hondarrabi Zuri is the varietal. Um yeah - had never heard of that one.

Then when I was at a conference the other week at a posh resort in South Carolina, over the course of several days I tried the 2007 Valpolicella Superiore, Zenato, Veneto (a classic Corvina blend which includes Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes), the 2005 Argiano NC Toscana (a Super Tuscan which contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese - none of which I needed but it was a damn good wine), and the Abadia Retuerta Selection Especial Sardon del duero 2001 which is a Tempranillo.

Last week I was down in Greenville, SC and had an awesome dinner at The Wine Cafe at Northampton Wines. I arrived a little bit early so I could check out the retail shop (where I scored a bottle of Gun Bun Mountain Cuvee and no - they don't pay me to pimp their wines - I do it because I am mildly obsessed out of the sheer goodness of my heart and OMG have you tried their wines? SOOOO YUMMY!!!). Anyways, I wound up talking to the owner, Richard, and I told him about my efforts to join The WCC and my ongoing quest to try obscure varietals. He had 2 he was pouring by the glass and he let me sample both. The first was Sartori di Verona, Ferdi, Garganega, Bianco Veronese 2007 which was an Italian white. Garganega is the varietal. The other was from Sardinia - the Sella & Mosca Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva 2005. Richard told me Cannonau was the name of the varietal, but when I looked it up, it turns out that Cannonau is actually Grenache - only apparently the Sardnians call it Cannonau. So not as obscure as I would have hoped, but still another one checked off the list.

Anyways, based on recent tastings, I have so far tried 23 varietals which means I am slightly more than a fifth of the way through. If I were to include varietals that I know I have had in my life but not recently (incl. Barbera, Brachetto, Falanghina, and Gruner Veltliner), the total number would jump to 41. But really - what's the fun in that?

And of course, Miss Mary has already sent scads of emails about all the fun wine tasting parties we will have like this:

I figure we can get a group of varietals that are similar...mostly from a particular country and do tastings perhaps with some hors d'oeuvres or desserts. I was reading Total Wine catalog and think I'll bring back some more Vin Santo; ( mine are very old) and that will be the malvasia and trebbiano right there and a white muscat or moscato. All are wonderful and with homemade biscotti, yumm!

Sadly we both were out of town for the Greek line-up at Corkscrew in Birkdale Village:

Hatzidakis White 2007, Santorini AOC (Assyrtico)
Mitravelas 'Red on Black' 2007, Nemea AOC (Agiorgitiko)
Konstantinos 'Ampelou Gis' Red 2006, Messinia VDP (Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon)
Tatsis 'Angels Peak' Red 2006, Goumenissa AOC (Sinomavaro/Negoska)

But Mary is always thinking one step ahead:

We can have a Greek Mt. Olympus tasting one night!!!

I'll bring the spanikopita and the keftethes. You supply the Moschofilero and the Xynomavro!

So yeah...going forward it's all about Aglianico, Auxerrois, Castelao, Inzolia, Lladoner Pelut, Pigato, Scheurebe, Zweigelt and 70 other varietals. And while neither Scuppernong or Muscadine are on the list (although there is an "other category" seeing as there are 1000s and 1000s of varietals), it's nice to know that The WCC gives a little credit to The South as Catawaba grapes (classified as Vitis labrusca on Wikipedia and described as having a "foxy" flavor) do make the cut.

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

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Don't Do Anything In Moderation. That's Why I Am Signing Up To Run 13.1 Miles. (Or - I'm Insane.)

Moderation is a word I don't understand. Seriously. I can go from 0 to 60 in about 2.5 seconds flat (which would make me a Bugatti Veyron 16.4) and this applies to all areas of my life. I have a tendency to barrel into situations, head first, feet flying, no regard for long-term impact or outcome. Sometimes this works in my favor. Sometimes it doesn't. It just depends on how charming I am the situation.

Anyways, that all said, despite suffering from knee problems due to too much too soon, and then despite another delay because apparently, I like to get kinky with concrete, I have been bit by the running bug. HARD.

How hard? I am SHOUTING OUT TO THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE RIGHT NOW THAT I AM SIGNING UP FOR THE KIAWAH HALF-MARATHON IN DECEMBER. There. It's out. Actually - seriously y'all - this is how I quit smoking (back in 1996 for those of you scratching your head and going - wait - Country Girl - YOU smoke? No. I don't. I used to. I quit April 1, 1996.). I basically told everyone I knew at the time that I was quitting because I figured that it would shame me into honoring my commitment. I mean - how embarrassing is it to promise something and then fall short? Anyways - assuming I don't suffer any more injuries (Lord - please I hope not) - I am signing up for the Kiawah half marathon when registration opens on August 3rd. And hopefully December 12th finds me running through 13.1 gorgeous miles followed by a self-indulgent dinner at the Ocean Room and a hard-earned massage at The Spa at The Sanctuary.

What this means is that running and training are my 2 latest obsessions. Seriously - I am downloading training schedules, scheduling runs and strength training throughout the week, and trying to stretch daily. I am even carbo-loading (hard for me, a recovering carbophobe, but more on that in another post.)

What's awesome is that my co-worker Iron Man (seriously - he's 49 and training for a half Iron Man this year and plans to compete in a full Iron Man next year in France FOR HIS 50th BIRTHDAY! How Bad Ass is that?) is a serious athlete and he's sending me training tips and acting as a coach/mentor/motivator.

Sundays or Mondays are speed training. I am running for a short amount of time (maybe 20 minutes) but I am either doing intervals, pyramids, or just flat out pushing myself HARD. The goal is to get and keep my heart rate at 90%. Speed runs increase cardiac strength, biomechanical efficiency, better running economy, and the psychological toughness that racing demands.

Then Wednesdays or Thursdays are supposed to be an "Easy Run" which for me is my usual 4.5 - 5 mile run at my usual pace (these days just shy of a 9-minute mile).

Saturdays are Long Runs or I call them Endurance Runs. Long Runs are any steady run at or longer than race distance designed to enhance endurance, which enables you to run longer and longer and feel strong doing it. The goal is to keep the pace slower than usual but go for time. This past Saturday I ran for 1 hour and 59 seconds. I ran 6.5 miles at about a 9.4mph pace. It's the longest and farthest I have ever run. It's also almost half a half marathon. It felt AWESOME! Going forward, as per Iron Man, I am to add a few minutes per week to keep building up.

And in between all of this training, I am also going to actually sign up for a few 5Ks and 10Ks to get a feel for the competitive nature of racing. In fact - I signed up for my first 5K the other day - it's in Asheville in September and I can't wait! Of course, when I told Dad I was signing up for a half marathon - he was like: "To win?" And I was like: "Ummm...NO. Just to race and have fun and challenge myself."

So there are some things I have discovered about myself as a runner:

* I like the solitude of running. Sure - I bet it would be great to join a running group and be in training with someone and have someone to actually go through the process with, but when I slip my tootsies into my Mizunos and head to the track, all I want to do is turn on my iPod and tune out. Seriously - the notion of talking while running is foreign to me. And besides, I am sharing this with Iron Man because don't think I don't email him after every run with time, pace, accomplishments, etc. and don't think he doesn't email me back with some sort of "You Go Girl" encouragement.

* I like the control of running at the track. There are those who would probably prefer to keep changing it up and to hit some trails or map out some new routes because the notion of running in constant circles for an hour or more would drive them batty. Not me. I am routine oriented and frankly, in a world that offers us little control, I feel very in control at the track. I know exactly how far I am running, I can (kind of) monitor my pace, and I enjoy the rhythmic slap slap slap of my feet on flat ground. Of course, eventually I will have to venture out into the real world because no marathon is that flat.

* Treadmills are awesome. Seriously. I am on the road alot these days and most hotels - even the rinky dinky ones - have a treadmill. The Hyatt Place I just stayed at had an AWESOME treadmill and I went for an AWESOME 5-mile run. I completely controlled my pace, I could adjust the inclines at will - I had a blast. Again, I know running on a treadmill is very different from real world running but it's good to keep me motivated and active while I am traveling.

So these days I am thinking about investing in some more $9 socks (because OMG - I could almost start to feel the blisters after Saturday's epic run - a problem which plagued a friend of mine when she was training for a 15k), considering a Garmin GPS watch which Iron Man assures me is essential to my training (hint hint hint for anyone wondering what to maybe get me as a birthday present), wondering at what point I need to buy one of those Batman-style utility packs so that I can fuel myself with goo packs and water throughout my long runs, and wondering if the Mizunos I purchased in June will still be in decent shape by the time December rolls around or will I have to buy new ones because the dudes at Run For Your Life told me running shoes need to be replaced every 6 months (especially if you are doing a lot of running which clearly - I will be) only I don't want to get new shoes right before the race so maybe I need to buy new ones in October.

I am also thinking that maybe I am insane. But then again...I am kind of thinking I am pretty Bad Ass myself. What do you think?

Either way, I love a good challenge.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sun-Kissed and Beer-Buzzed

So y'all - I really don't remember the last time I had a free day to do something that was totally fun and just for me. I mean between travel and the never-shrinking To Do Pile of Crap on my desk and projects around the house and this, that and the other thing, I literally can not recall the last time I took a day off and HAD FUN. Even my muffin baking spree while fun, was also work. Can you say dishes?

Anyways, a few days ago I was chatting with Lilsaej and she asked me what I was up to this weekend and I mentioned something about work and how I planned to watch the race on Sunday because Holy hell y'all - I don't think I've caught a race since Mark Martin beat out Jimmie in the final laps at Michigan over a month ago. [We interrupt this blog post to ask you a most important question: Lilsaej and I very much want to go to Bristol in August. Sadly, you can only purchase tickets for both the Friday AND Saturday night races as a combo. We don't give a crap about the Friday night race. If anyone has a lead on SATURDAY NIGHT TIX ONLY - let me know. Thanks!]

Well, since Lilsaej loves NASCAR, she suggested we get together and be girls and watch the race and have some drinks and I said yes at the time, although by the time Saturday rolled around, I was having second thoughts. Mainly because the To Do Tower on my desk was getting insanely high and was in literal danger of toppling onto my wee little head. Saturday night she sent me a message on Facebook saying that she and Bobo had been invited to T's lake house the next day and did I want to go with? She said T had TV and we could watch the race or ride one of the jet skis up to one of the bars on the lake and watch there. I didn't have the heart to tell her that the one time I drove a jet ski, I crashed it. Seriously - I got on, took off and immediately *drove* into some rocks because as someone came to rescue me, I quipped: "Oh - you mean I have to steer too?" Granted - I think I was 10. But whatever. I am still traumatized by that jet skiing incident to this day.

Anyways, Sunday dawned and seeing as I had managed to knock my To Do Tower back down into a To Do Pile, I agreed to go to T's with Lilsaej and Bobo - and you know what y'all? SO GLAD I DID. Here's what my Sunday consisted off:

* A gorgeous view
* Cold beer
* Lots of sun
* A big, comfy, fluffy beach chair
* Cold beer
* Random and assorted snacks that did not constitute a meal but which sustained me enough throughout the day including but not limited to Smartfood, Doritos, Fritos, strawberry cookies, and carrots (bless Lilsaej for thinking to pack a few "healthy" snacks)
* Being dragged around the Lake on a giant inner tube thingy which was actually tough work because you had to cling to it for dear life and then on one of our restarts (Lilsaej and I were on it together) our weight was not evenly distributed and we completely tipped over and I got soaked which was kind of a problem because I had hoped to stay quasi-dry. Yeah - ok. Whatevs.
* Being driven around the Lake on a jet ski by someone who actually knows how to operate one.
* Cold beer
* More sun
* More beer
* Another victory for the #48. Seriously - Lilsaej and I both had the same thought at the same time which was: Hello 103.7 - we can listen to The Brickyard on the radio. And we did - although it was boring for a while because Juan Pablo Montoya was in the lead for most of it and who the Hell gives a crap about him but then he had his pit road penalty and Jimmie pushed up on Martin and I swear for the last 5 laps I was jumping up and down on the deck screaming because OMG - I am such a rougeneck!
* More beer.
* More sun.

Seriously y'all? It was the most fun Sunday I've had in 100 years and so I'd like to thank Lilsaej, Bobo, T, the good people at Frito-Lay, the good people at Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie, Chad and the rest of the #48 team and the inventor of Michelob Ultra for giving me such an awesome Sunday. I didn't even mind the fact the lake was slimy. I was just glad it was gator-free.

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

Monday, July 27, 2009

Loving Letter To A Friend

My beautiful, darling friend* -

Oh pretty girl. Wait - can I still call you girl? Because it seems to me that you have grown up as of late and perhaps girl is an innappropriate moniker. Perhaps you deserve to be called woman. Or grown-up. Or survivor. Because survived you have.

I think of all those nights you called me in tears...near breathless, sobbing, gasping for air and choked.

"I can't do this," you'd weep. "It's too hard."

"Of course you can do this sugar," I'd say as calmly as I could. Because in my heart, I knew you could even if you didn't.

"I can't," you'd moan, the pain of your life bearing down on you with all of the force of a 26-ton submarine.

YES. YOU. CAN.

Oh love. I look at what you've been through and I want to hug you. You have faced your life and that which life has handed you with utter courage and grace and style. I don't think I'd have had the balls to do what you've done, but oh, you are an inspiration.

I want you to know how much I admire you. I want you to know how proud I am of you. I want you to know how much I love you. And I want you to know that I am ALWAYS here for you. No matter what.

It's not always easy to ask for help. And yet ask for help you did.

It's not always easy to do it yourself. And yet at times, you did it on your own, showing an undeniable strength that you did not know you posessed, but of which I was always sure.

My beautiful, darling friend: how much do I love you? I love you so much. I want to hug you always and buy you a martini on Tuesday. I want to go shoe-shopping with you and hold your hand as you listen to the latest batch of bad news.

I am your shoulder. I am your heart. I am here no matter what because gorgeous girl, you are my sister. And there is nothing I wouldn't do for you.

I love you.

xoxo Country Girl

* Names have been ommitted to protect the innocent. And the guilty.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Week In Tweets: July 19 - July 25

I have NO power. Thought it was me. Turns out a bunch of drunks took out a power pole last night. Holy crap universe!
7:18 AM Jul 19th from TwitterBerry

Apparently the universe is trying to beat me to a bloody pulp today. Good thing I have my trusty pink boxing gloves to fight back. #bringit
10:09 AM Jul 19th from web

The stack on my desk? Not shrinking. Window until guests arrive for fresh pasta primavera & requisite vino? Umm...yeah that one's shrinking!
6:06 PM Jul 20th from web

The whip has left the cream......
9:58 PM Jul 20th from TwitterBerry

Sigh.....just had a visit with the Black Halo which is languishing......need an occasion....Sigh again
10:24 PM Jul 20th from TwitterBerry

CRAP! It's 11:45??? Dishes to do, blog post to contend with,,,,CRAP #soflippingtiredithurts
11:46 PM Jul 20th from web

I haven't even looked at Google Reader because I am terrified of what awaits....
11:46 PM Jul 20th from web

Trying to make a highwaisted DKNY pencil skirt that I bought in HS (so um like 1990) work. I just don't know...
8:31 AM Jul 21st from web

So yeah - red DKNY suit may have been a bit much for taking my trash to the dump....
10:18 AM Jul 21st from TwitterBerry

At VZW store waiting to look at Windows Mobile phones. WAITING. Thinking I might just suck it up princess and get an iPhone. #thissux
3:35 PM Jul 21st from TwitterBerry

Apple store is way cooler than VZW. But I kind of feel like a lemming by buying an iPhone.....and did I mentioned the whole WAITING thing?
3:39 PM Jul 21st from TwitterBerry

Really liked the new Blackberry Tour. Really. Wish IT guy hadn't tried to talk me out of BB. Thoughts Twitterverse on BB Tour vs iPhone?
4:37 PM Jul 21st from TwitterBerry

Just dodged a MASSIVE bullet. Phew....
4:55 PM Jul 21st from TwitterBerry

Ew. I don't know what's more disgusting: the dead roach on the floor or the dirty tampon applicator on the floor. It's a toss up.
5:28 PM Jul 21st from TwitterBerry

So yeah - avoid the ladies room at Brueggers/Caribou on Park like the clap. Cuz you mite get the clap. #soflippingnasty
5:29 PM Jul 21st from TwitterBerry

I am being SLICalicious with some awesome women!
6:37 PM Jul 21st from TwitterBerry

So Good Food on Montford totally lives up to its name. Um Good food?? HELL YEAH! Gnochetti are INSANE! OMG!!!
6:47 PM Jul 21st from TwitterBerry

Was deprived an extra hour of sleep for no good reason other then the fact that I am clearly tortured. #ineedmoresleep
6:15 AM Jul 22nd from TwitterBerry

Ack.....my car hates me y'all. Thank heavens for AAA! Keeping my fingers crossed it's not a huge deal.....
9:52 AM Jul 22nd from TwitterBerry

OMG y'all. Thank goodness. Turns out my battery terminal was loose. That's all and explains the crazy, weird problems I've been having.
10:48 AM Jul 22nd from TwitterBerry

Of course, he told me my drive belt was showing signs of wear and ought to be replaced to the tune of $103...I politely declined #upsell
10:49 AM Jul 22nd from TwitterBerry

ACK! I have a rule about not eating Olive Garden. EVER. However - that might change. Apparently they are catering lunch tomorrow...uh-oh
3:04 PM Jul 22nd from TwitterBerry

just delegated. #omgimagenius #whydidntithinkofthissooner
4:46 PM Jul 22nd from web

So y'all...this whole *not sleeping well* thing might be the death of me. Hoping a 4.5 mile run perks me up...
6:09 AM Jul 23rd from web

I am having an insanely good hair day. Insanely good. We'll see what happens when I step out into the SC humidity...
9:41 AM Jul 23rd from web

Ok guys - no need for sub-arctic A/C when it's only 80 degrees......
11:00 AM Jul 23rd from TwitterBerry

Why do people get so excited about salad from Olive Garden? I had a plate of brownish iceberg lettuce w/some fake cheese & italian dressing.
1:44 PM Jul 23rd from TwitterBerry

To say I will be hungry later is an understatement. Iam hungry now.
1:45 PM Jul 23rd from TwitterBerry

Did I mention that I ran 5 miles this morning? And all I had for breakfast was an English muffin?
1:57 PM Jul 23rd from TwitterBerry

My 5:30 cocktail appointment should be *interesting* assuming I don't pass out with the first sip of wine.....
1:58 PM Jul 23rd from TwitterBerry

Still having a fantastic hair day. However - should have brought make-up for touch up before drinks. #ilooktired
5:20 PM Jul 23rd from TwitterBerry

I think supreme exhaustion has finally caught up with me...crawling into bed and praying for 8+ hours of sleep #ineedit
9:34 PM Jul 23rd from web

I lost like, 40 followers. And I am following 2 less tweeps than I remember. What gives Twitter?
7:28 AM Jul 24th from web

I am also following someone I never signed up to follow...so yeah....talk to me Twitter. What is going on?
7:31 AM Jul 24th from web

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMFG!!!!!
10:55 AM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

Sorry for the primal Twitterant all....I need to learn how to delete comments from Blogger. Then future panics can be avoided.
1:45 PM Jul 24th from web

Ignoring the giant stack of To Do on my desk and taking my ass to see Harry Potter 6 #finally
7:05 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

Crap - Coke Zero just spillied in my purse.....WTF??
7:05 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

Ok - there is a river of Coke Zero running through my purse. #sticky #gross BTW - do you know how much is trapped in my Swiss Army knife?
7:12 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

AWESOMETASTIC Previews!!! #sherlockholmes #wherethewildthingsare #fame
7:22 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

Also - craptastic previews #aliensintheattic
7:22 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

Talking, txtng teenagers are sucking the joy out of Friday night movie. Also - why can't they stay in the same chair 4 more than 5 mins?
7:58 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

Oh Joy - boy who bathed in a vat of Axe is sucking face with blonde girl in denim shorts RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
7:59 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

It's like Chinese fire drills in here......up, down, up, down, up, down.....
8:01 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

Movie? Awesome. Audience? Sucky. Talkiest, txtiest, most moving around group ever. Like flipping Grand Central Station....
9:47 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

Damn kids. Remind me to skip Friday nights @ the movies in the future. Yeah - I'm getting old. So what?? *grumble* *grumble*
9:48 PM Jul 24th from TwitterBerry

am carbo-loading in anticipation of my first ever "endurance run" tomorrow. Does wine count?
12:06 AM Jul 25th from web

Sucked it up and downloaded TweetDeck. Um yeah - where the Hell have I been the last 4 months? #stoneages
7:16 AM Jul 25th from TweetDeck

For those who think they have too much to Tweet: stop to Tweet every 6th funny/random thought. That's how you achieve sustainable Tweetage.
8:06 AM Jul 25th from TweetDeck

Of course, y'all are probably not on Twitter. So scratch that last one....
8:06 AM Jul 25th from TweetDeck

Apparently, I just ran 10k. Actually, I think 6.5 miles is more than 10k. So yeah - I'm already halfway to my half marathon pretty much.
10:27 AM Jul 25th from TwitterBerry

Also - nice thing about the track? Yummy eye candy running the stairs.
10:28 AM Jul 25th from TwitterBerry

Dude - you should see the size of the giant, flying, stinging MONSTER I just slaughtered.
12:11 PM Jul 25th from TwitterBerry

My "for emergency use only" labeled fly swatter kinda just took on a whole new meaning.
12:12 PM Jul 25th from TwitterBerry

Sorry. I don't do flaky....
8:10 PM Jul 25th from web

I think it's kind of funny that the last 2 things I printed out were a training schedule for a 1/2 marathon and my To Drink list for WCC...
9:03 PM Jul 25th from web

So yeah. My timing is all kinds of off tonight. And that is making me twitchy*bitchcakes. (Yes I can to be BOTH!).
10:11 PM Jul 25th from web

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

Friday, July 24, 2009

Feed Me Fridays: Pesto 101

Well, by now y'all have probably read about how I set myself aflame and so in theory, you know all about Pesto 101. But just in case you somehow missed out...

Me (on Facebook and Twitter): My neighbors keep dropping off bucketloads of tomatoes and I keep cooking awesome tomatoey things.

Alicat: I have an assload of basil I don't know what to do with.

Me: Pesto.

Alicat: I don't know how to make pesto.

Me: Pesto Party.

Lilsaej: I have chicken. How do I get in on the Pesto Party action?

Me: Show up with the chicken. I'll supply the wine. Alicat has the basil.

BOOM. And your next Feed Me Friday is born.

I purchased Pesto, by Lou Seibert Pappas, about a 100 years ago (for $9.95 by the way - currently available used on Amazon for $75!) and it has proven to be one of the best cookbook purchases of my life if only because of the recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Roasted-Garlic Pesto (more on that later). Seriously - I love all things Italian - including pesto - and this book is chock full of fresh, herby sauces and spreads and recipes that incorporate them.

By way of history, according to Lou Seibert Pappas:

"The word pesto comes from the verb pestare, meaning "to pound or grind," as in a mortar. Traditional Italian cooks always use a mortar to make pesto, preferring the finely minced texture that results."

Um yeah...so I am all about the Cuisinart (even though I totally have a mortar and pestle).

So anyways, once Alicat and Lilsaej arrived, we poured the requisite vino, and I set about teaching them how to make pesto - which frankly - is not that tough.

I took 2 cups of packed fresh basil leaves PLUCKED STRAIGHT FROM ALICAT'S PLANT (can't beat it), 3 Tbsp. of pine nuts, and 2 large garlic cloves which I smashed, threw them into the Cuisinart workbowl and hit On. Once that had all been minced, I added 3 Tbsp. of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (actually - I think I may have steered from tradition and used a Parmesan-Pecorino-Asiago blend - but whatevs) and 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, hit on, and processed til blended. So yeah - that was easy.

The pesto was tossed with some spaghetti and topped with some more grated cheese. YUM.



Now the original overly ambitious plan was also to make a dill pesto, since in theory Alicat had an out of control dill situation - however, she did not bring enough to actually make, but I will share the simple recipe (all of these recipes are from Ms. Pappas):

In a blender or food processor, place 1.5 cups packed fresh dill leaves, 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs, 2 Tbsp. walnuts, pine nuts or pistachios and 2 large garlic cloves, smashed. Whirl until finely minced. Add 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and 2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese and process until blended. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and chill.

This makes about 3/4 cup of pesto and Ms. Pappas suggests using it one of the following ways:

* Shrimp and pineapple appetizer kebabs with a dill pesto and sour cream dip
* Crab cakes with dill pesto
* Sliced cucumbers, yogurt and dill pesto
* Shrimp stuffed avocados topped with dill pesto
* Angel hair pasta with scallops and dill pesto
* Salad Nicoise topped with a dill pesto vinaigrette
* Grilled salmon with dill pesto served with leaf spinach and braised white beans

I had boiled some baby red potatoes and was going to mash them with dill pesto and sour cream and perhaps add a sprinkle of cheese. I'll have to try that next time.

So my most favorite recipe in the world is Ms. Pappas's Sun-Dried Tomato and Roasted-Garlic Pesto. This stuff is heaven and I used to make it all the time, keep it in the fridge, and pretty much eat it with a spoon. I once, because I am mildly insane, made it with TWO whole cloves of garlic. So ummm yeah...unless you're looking to keep vampires away, it's a bit much.

Ingredients:

1 whole head of garlic
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup moist-style sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic chives or green onion tops
2 Tbsp. pistachios or pine nuts
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 325. Slice the top off the head of garlic and place the garlic in a small baking dish; rub it with 2 tsp. of the olive oil. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until soft. Let cool, then squeeze the garlic puree from its papery wrapper directly into a blender or food processor. Add the tomatoes, parsley, garlic chives (which are rare so don't feel bad using green onion tops), and nuts. Whirl until finely minced. Add the remaining oil and cheese, and process until blended. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and chill.



This makes about 1 cup of pesto which is never enough so probably double the recipe because you will want this stuff around always.

It's a versatile condiment that can be used 100 different ways - we simply slathered it all over the grilled chicken (yes - I did manage to finally grill the chicken after scorching the shit out of myself) and on the leftover garlicky-cheesy-tomato muffins that I had saved for dinner. As stated before, it's also perfectly acceptable to eat straight from the bowl with a spoon. No one will judge.

To complete the meal, I also served some sauteed haricots vert (seriously y'all - my local Bi-Lo has haricots vert once a year so don't I think I didn't snatch their overpriced French asses up tout de suite when I saw them) with butter and fresh lemon:



And I made a salad with mixed baby lettuces, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, red onion and some insanely delicious goat cheese from Trader Joe's:



The whole thing looked a little like this:



Ok - well, part of the whole thing. Clearly I failed to get a shot of the entire table. Blame the vino. Or the fact that food porn gets tiring after a while.

Anyways, Pesto 101 was a rousing success (my injuries notwithstanding) and because this is the South, Alicat left her giant ass basil plant with me as a thank you! Don't worry, she has another out of control basil plant at home so there's definitely more pesto in her future. In BOTH of our futures...

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

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Car Hates Me

So I think that my car hates me. Really. My sweet, darling Betty Lou - I recently christened her Betty Lou - wait - are Jews allowed to christen? Whatever - if we aren't then I named her because Jews totally have baby naming ceremonies - at least for girls. Guys just get their wee-wees whacked at 8 days. Anyways...how's that for a total non-sequitor?

AS I WAS SAYING...

Betty Lou HATES me y'all. For serious. It's like she's some kind of crazy, crafty, rebellious teenager out to suck the ever living soul out of torture her poor, aged mother (that'd be me - fast approaching 34 which is really like fast approaching 40 which is actually really ok y'all because OMG I am totally getting better as I get older so as I stare 40 years old square on in the face all I say is BRING IT BABY - wait - another non-sequitor - clearly this is one of those posts that has already gotten away from me...)

Back to my car. My car hates me and this fact has already been extremely well-documented. Would you like to talk about the minor melt down? Or the brakes and calipers that needed replacing? Or the door panel that needed to be re-attached after I ripped it out? Or the new pins and bushings? Or the new wheels? Or the alignment? Or the worn out wheel bearing? Or the fact that I am always twitching about the fact that my car is so flipping dirty and the second I get it scrubbed, it's dirty again within less than 48 hours? Would you? WOULD YOU? (BTW - I am sure I left off about 16 things but when YOU ARE BRINGING YOUR CAR TO THE MECHANIC EVERY OTHER WEEK OMG PEEPS - YOU TEND TO FORGET ABOUT ONE OR 2 THINGS!!!)

Sigh. Ok. So here's the deal. Two weeks ago, I was about 15 minutes into a 100 minute trip to Greensboro when I noticed something very odd: every time I tapped the brakes, the stereo went silent. Just for a fraction of a second but still - I'd tap the brakes, the stereo would go silent and I was all like: OMG - what the Hell is going on??? So I called a friend of mine who knows all about cars (we'll call him Mr. Handsome Truck Man b/c 1) he's handsome and 2) he drives a bad-ass truck) and I was like: Mr. HTM - I'm ON THE ROAD AND MY CAR MIGHT BE BROKEN - HELP! And I explained to him what was going on and he wasn't 100% sure but he said brakes weren't electrical and it sounded like an electrical problem and I would probably most likely make it to Greensboro in one piece. Oh - did I mention I was driving IN A MONSOON???

So halfway through the drive I stopped for gas and when I turned off the car and got out, I went to lock it (because yeah - I totally needed to use the ladies room and stock up on Crack Zero) and OMG - the locks didn't work. Out of nowhere. ACK. Long story short - restarted car, locks started working, clock had randomly reset itself to 1:00 and I'm all like: yeah - total electrical issue. WHICH I THEN PROCEED TO COMPLETELY FORGET ABOUT FOR ALMOST A WEEK BECAUSE MY CAR GOES BACK TO BEHAVING NORMALLY.

Seriously folks. It's like after 1 completely stressful hour where I think I might die (and I'm all like - Country Girl - why did you not turn around and go home and find a mechanic and DEAL because OMG girlfriend you live in your car and you need to be smarter about these things and you can't afford to take chances because sugar you are precious cargo), I went back to singing along with the totally random/bad-ass mix on my iPod and not remembering the fact that my car is mildly psychotic. Ok. So this was 2 weeks ago.

This past Sunday (so 5 days ago) - my car randomly wouldn't start. I was pretty sure it was the Universe trying to punish me (long story) and I was all: Why me? Why me? And my friend Steve said my car simply wasn't all the way in Park and so I put my foot on the brake and knocked it further up into Park and it started and it was all good but OMG...happened again and again over Sunday/Monday...and y'all I am not so stupid that I can't put my car in Park.... and I have literally been sooooooooooooooooooooo epically busy and on the road and traveling and in my car and so yeah- you think I'd find some time to get this looked at OR AT LEAST RENT A CAR but no...I am too stupid/stubborn/something else that begins with the letter S (take your pick) and so I just kept rolling along which brings us to yesterday...

Car started fine yesterday morning in my driveway but as soon as I released the emergency brake, it died. Had to restart. Set out for SC anyways because that's how I roll. Driving down I-85 - we have the whole "brake-tapping/radio-stopping" thing happening. Then we have the new and terrifying exciting whole "brake-tapping/every single light on the dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree" thing happening. Then we make a quick stop and once we put the car in reverse, it randomly dies. AGAIN. Ok Betty Lou. MAMA CAN TAKE A HINT. I HEAR YOU SUGAR...

How clever am I? A hundred years ago when I had way too much time on my hands, I cut out the page from the AAA magazine (I am an AAA member) and put the names and numbers of all the AAA branches in all the cities I travel to/through in my phone. So just on the other side of Spartanburg I call AAA in Greenville and spill my soul to Dan who was very nice and listened to me blather on for 100 minutes about everything and politely suggested I bring it in - which I did. And I was totally 10 minutes late for my first meeting because clearly this was serous business that required my attention. And even though I drive an ancient Chevy Blazer that doesn't exactly have a sophisticated computer or anything, I was kind of afraid that I would need my entire electrical system replaced for like, $764.

Only - as it turns out? You want to know the problem? Loose battery terminal. That was all. Loose battery terminal was making Betty Lou schizo and accounted for every single automotive issue I have been having for the last 2 weeks. Total cost to fix? Less than $40. Thank you Universe and giant hugs to Dan and AAA.

Of course, Dan tried to tell me my drive belt was cracked and that he could replace it for the low, low, low cost of $103. You know what I did??? Over the phone I told Dan that I doubted I replaced the drive belt today. Then I tweeted about it. Then I looked up drive belts on Wikipedia because Holy Hell y'all - I AM SICK OF BEING GIRL WHO GETS TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF/UPSOLD EVERY TIME HER CAR IS ANYWHERE WITHIN SIGHT OF A MECHANICAL MAN. Then...when I picked up the car...I asked Dan if he could show me EXACTLY WHAT WAS WRONG WITH MY DRIVE BELT and so I totally made him get a flashlight and pop the hood and OMG kids...there are like 2 miniscule cracks in the drive belt that you can barely see. I have cracks bigger than that in my heels from wearing flip flops in the pasture. Seriously. It was so EMPOWERING.

Anyways, I am seriously praying that Betty Lou is through her hellion phase and that we can learn to get along because she is completely my livelihood and my life and my main source of getting from Point A to Point B and I really need her to be more cooperative and...ok...clearly once again this post has gotten away from me. So yeah. Let's wrap it up.

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

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tales From The Archives II

Y'all - this little blogger is T-I-R-E-D. And I am once again hitting the road and I got home late last night from a totally fantastic dinner at Good Food on Montford. And so yeah...really, really, really good food at Good Food - seriously y'all? The gnochetti were INSANE and OMG - can't even discuss the ribeye (*swoons*). Before I totally digress...there is packing to be done and WORK and OMG when I walked into Good Food last night one of my friends was like: you LOOK tired. And I was like - yeah - that's never a good sign when people tell you that you LOOK tired. Oh honey - if only you knew how I FELT...

So basically I have stretched myself totally thin these last few weeks and will continue to stretch myself a wee bit thin over the next 1 - 2 more weeks with lots of travel and dinners and parties and it's good and fun and I am not complaining in the slightest but Holy Hell y'all...I am worn. The flip. Out.

And there are actually several subjects I'd really like to write about but I am holding off and cheating and giving you some more Tales From The Archives because it's all I have the strength for right now. And please don't ask why I feel compelled to post every day. Really. 'Cuz I have no idea. And I know if I don't post for a day or even a week y'all will still be here. And yet...here I am posting when I ought to be packing...or better yet sleeping. Chalk it up to my crazy, neurotic OCD I guess.

Anyways, some more tales from the ITAC archives to keep you amused while I let my poor brain recharge it's fried battery:

Signs of The Apocalypse i.e. I Actually Consider Buying Clothes at Wally World

A Random ITAC Saturday

I Spend All Day Obsessively Listening to the Radio

I Totally Earn My Country Girl Status When I CASTRATE Two Goats (Yes - you read that right!)

Neil Diamond Might Be God

I Spend $59.56 In Order to Save $55.90. Work With Me People.

I Didn't Realize That Jello Qualified As A Vegetable

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

PS In addition to tales from the archives, today I am a quasi-contributor/source of inspiration/kinda sorta maybe type of thing over at Miscellaneous Yammering. Stop by and visit. There's whiskey, diamonds, and a caulking gun. I know - right? Who *thinks* like me? Absoultely no one!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Guest Post: Ode To Livermush

So today we are completely fortunate because OMFG we are out of things to write about super duper lucky to have the incredibly handsome and awesome Moriarty on hand to write about the wonders of livermush. I know - livermush. It's way sexier than it sounds. Swear.

this post started out innocently enough. i swear. it started out as a very simple idea. i contacted Country Girl about it over a month ago. i believe i had read one of her blog entries and thought that it might be fun for her to blog about some foods that we have in this particular corner of the universe that other places may not have. so i tweeted her up (does that sound dirty?) and told her that she should blog about livermush. seconds later i got this response- “dude - I don't do livermush.” (So FYI - I totally *don't do* livermush...)

I was flabbergasted...i didn’t know what to say. not eat livermush? this lady loves food. how can she not eat livermush? she will eat tolerate foie gras, which is a the liver of a duck or goose that has been overly fattened by force feeding the animal, but she won’t eat livermush? what the world?

then she offered me a guest spot on itac where i could feel free to wax philosophically on the magical nature of livermush. while i appreciated the offer, i was busy. i politely ignored her. then she hinted at begging. i demurred but i began to think about it. i mean, a post on livermush would be a perfect subject for her blog. who wouldn’t want to hear about livermush? she must have sensed this weakness because to seal the deal she offered to buy me a ginormous pbr. (FYI - This is 100% true. I am not above bribing Guest Bloggers. Future Guest Bloggers - line up and let the madness begin!!) i caved. i mean, who wouldn’t give in at the offer of a ginormous pbr? i began to think about livermush and pbr. mmmm.....but i digress.

if you haven’t ever had livermush, you are beginning to think to yourself “what the hell is livermush? that doesn’t even sound remotely like something i might want to eat.” livermush, according to wikipedia, “is a southern united states foodstuff composed of pig liver, head parts, and cornmeal.” it is fried. it serves as the meat section of the plate in many breakfasts throughout the region. it is very scrumptious. i just had some. i had mine with a slice of bacon and an egg over medium. sometimes i eat livermush on a biscuit, usually a livermush and egg biscuit. you can get these at one of the local gas stations. breakfast from the gas station. life is good. pics to follow.

so anyway, reader, here i am. talking about livermush. this is actually the second post that i have written about livermush. the first draft of this blog was written in surfside beach, sc about a month ago. right after breakfast. it was a much better article than this (trust me) but it ended up being erased by our IT guys. oh well. in the first draft, i was lamenting the fact that i couldn’t get livermush in or around myrtle beach, sc (they only have liver pudding which is not the same, ditto scrapple). livermush is a really regional food. not available a scant four hours away from where i sit and write this. most livermush is made fairly local. my favorite kind is hunter’s livermush and it is made in marion, nc. neese’s also makes a livermush but i prefer hunter’s. regardless of the brand name, it is a culinary sensation. a gastronomic taste explosion. mmm...mmm...good. so anyway, i’m sorry for you if you have never had livermush. if you live in an area that has it, go eat some now. if you live in a place that is sans livermush, i feel sorry for you. visit nc. we have livermush. (that could be the new state tourism tag line).

i actually learned during my research for this article (research for a blog about livermush...i might be the first livermush researcher ever) that shelby, nc has a livermush exposition every year. i can’t believe i have never been. maybe i’ll start this year. but first i have to go cook my daughter breakfast. guess what she’s having...







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

PS A GIANT Thank You to Moriarty for his wondrous musings on this most entertaining of subjects!

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Week In Tweets: July 12 - July 18

Just got my daily dose of Vitamin Z. LOVE that child. Adore.
10:26 AM Jul 12th from web

Blogger is pissing me off right now. Why the hell can't I publish???
12:51 PM Jul 12th from web

BTW...my house smells heavenly...garlicky-herby-cheesy tomato muffins. Yummmmmm.......
2:43 PM Jul 12th from web

Dropped off this basket of goodies for my neighbors. They invited me in for a visit. #lovesmalltownlife
6:48 PM Jul 12th from TwitPic

Then came home to find a yellow rose and piece of jalapeno cornbread on my doorstep from another neighbor. Seriously. #lovesmalltownlife
6:50 PM Jul 12th from web

Just gave myself the world's crappiest pedi...will take 100 hours to dry and will probably still smudge.
10:26 PM Jul 12th from web

So that burning sensation on my forehead? Um yeah. Totally scalded myself with the flat iron this morning. Nice.
11:39 AM Jul 13th from TwitterBerry

Street parking in uptown Charlotte. What are the odds???
12:06 PM Jul 13th from TwitterBerry

And I totally have change. Hot diggity!!!!
12:09 PM Jul 13th from TwitterBerry

Is there a better grocery store than Trader Joe's??? Ummm....No. #traderjoes #rocks
2:25 PM Jul 13th from TwitterBerry

I am totally picking my knee scab. Which is gross - but how psyched am I to have a scab to pick in the first place?
3:41 PM Jul 13th from TwitterBerry

Note to self: when lighting grill make sure flame is on low. Otherwise you singe your arm hair.
8:11 PM Jul 13th from TwitterBerry

So yeah - giant flame ball on my arm was scary. But I am ok. But my arm smells. Like burnt hair.
8:12 PM Jul 13th from TwitterBerry

Should I be shocked that my local Wally World doesn't have iPods?
1:03 PM Jul 14th from TwitterBerry

Just kidding. They totally have iPods!!
1:04 PM Jul 14th from TwitterBerry

Listening to a webinar on using social media to market your business....having a coronary @ the thought of 2 Twitter worlds colliding...
4:13 PM Jul 14th from TwitterBerry

Also, this is why I am not friends with work peeps on Facebook. Or my brother. Though we are Twitter friends. My brother and I that is.
4:15 PM Jul 14th from TwitterBerry

Webinar dude: please don't talk about thinking about your Twittering while *in the shower* That's just wrong. And gross. Cuz you're 62.
4:49 PM Jul 14th from TwitterBerry

I love running the track. It's so rhythmic. And ordered. And controlled.
7:45 PM Jul 14th from TwitterBerry

Also? I love hot guys running the stairs. And boys practicing football. Even though I'm old enough to be their..... extremely older sister.
7:46 PM Jul 14th from TwitterBerry

PS if anyone is wondering, lighting yourself on fire fucking hurts. ALOT. Butimokthxverymuchbainow
7:28 AM Jul 15th from web

I'm at Snappy Lube. So far? Not so snappy. Betting this will result in a Wednesday morning Twitterant.
9:49 AM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

I see 2 guys working on the same car. Words that come to mind to describe them? Slow. Lumbering. Complacent. Lumbering.
9:51 AM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

Oh wait - there's a 3rd guy. He is spry. Definitely has a little hustle in his step this morning. Speaking of - need Coke Zero stat.
9:52 AM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

I have officially been waiting @ Snappy Lube for 15 minutes. I am not pleased. Also, I left my giant stack of unread newspapers @ home.
10:00 AM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

Spry guy just came out and talked to me. I'm feeling mildly hopeful. But only mildly. PS I think Snappy Lube is a sucky name. Just sayin...
10:04 AM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

I take back everything I said. Snappy Lube dude just brought me a chair so I could sit in the sun. He was really quite sweet about it.
10:09 AM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

Everytime I come here they tell me I *need* to fix something. No idea if they are honest or it's an upsell. Wish I understood cars. Sigh...
10:14 AM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

Y'all? There's something wrong when you need 3 hairbrushes and 6 prs shoes for a 3 and 1/2 day trip. #totallyoverpacked
11:56 AM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

Longest. Drive. Ever. And still not done....15 more miles......
4:28 PM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

Kiawah is epic to get to. I need a nap, a chauffeur, a drink and a massage. Not necessarily in that order.
4:56 PM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

OMG. Feels so good to be out of my car and standing.....
5:03 PM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

Did I sound cranky about the drive? Because Holy Kick Ass 1-BR villa - it was totally worth it. I'm. In. Heaven.
6:00 PM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

So apparently David Hasselhoff is alive, sober (?), and judging some sort of reality talent crap on NBC.
8:29 PM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

I won't even mention the geriatric contestant sporting the scary rug and baring his chest hair. #scaryscaryscary #wrongwrongwrong
8:31 PM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

Also - who the Hell orders Amaretto on the rocks @ a bar? Except someone in a DiSaronno commercial? For serious DUDE?? (yes it was a *GUY*)
8:32 PM Jul 15th from TwitterBerry

ACK.I just tweeted a celebrity. I need to be shot. NOW.
10:55 PM Jul 15th from web

Really. Someone shoot me. Unless @NathanFillion responds in which case I will die of my own accord. xoxo (RIP)
11:00 PM Jul 15th from web

Did you know that there are 10 grams of protein in a bagel? As a recovering carbophobe I find this hard to believe.
8:42 AM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

So my views on nutrition are totally being challenged. Did you know that they serve flat Coke at the rest stations during marathons?
10:14 AM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

And sugar is apparently good for you. For serious.
10:14 AM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

I just discovered a giant crack in my Crackberry. And my rollerball is 2 - 3 drops from popping out.
11:21 AM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

July 28 I get $100 off a new phone. I need to make it 2 more weeks. Think I can go 2 weeks w/out dropping my phone? (I don't....)
11:22 AM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

So yeah. Just got randomly sniffed. By an old dude. He said I smelled good. Suppose it's better than being told I reek.
6:37 PM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

So yeah - this bartender is getting the biggest tip ever. I am so well taken care of it's insane.
8:12 PM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

Anorexics eating at expensive restaurants kill me. No butter? WTFF????
8:50 PM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

So yes. Most awesome bartender ever just brought me kick ass truffle and shortbread plate. It's insane. I will be fat. Happy but fat.
8:56 PM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

And yes. I ate them all. All 2 shortbreads. All 3 truffles. Divine.
9:02 PM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

God I'm good. Wait - can I say that out loud?
10:02 PM Jul 16th from TwitterBerry

Crap. It'd be nice to go to bed before midnight. Just once.
12:13 AM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

Did not sleep for crap last night. Scared to look in the mirror. Pretty sure I need spackle and spraypaint for the black holes under my eyes
6:45 AM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

I'm also pretty sure that I will mainline Diet Coke all day long.
6:46 AM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

Looked in the mirror. Worst suspicions confirmed. Send spackle, a spray can and Diet Coke STAT!
7:24 AM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

Holy crap y'all. When it flipping rains, it flipping pours!!!!
2:34 PM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

Giant fluffy beach chair. Ocean views. Ocean breezes. NO sand. All I need is a drink....
3:15 PM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

Seriously y'all? The beach is so much better without sand. And with a waiter.
3:24 PM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

Kinda can't wipe this goofy grin off my face.........
5:13 PM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

Longest. Dullest. Dinner. Ever.
9:38 PM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

Wishes more than anything that I had the power to heal someone else's breaking heart and ease their pain. Sending love from afar...
10:48 PM Jul 17th from web

Good: in bed before 11. Bad: alarm is set for 6am. Likelihood of 8+ hours of sleep ever again? Slim to none.
11:02 PM Jul 17th from TwitterBerry

Why is is that the same shit I packed 3 days ago does not fit in the same bags for the trip home????
7:05 AM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

Yes. I am on my first Diet Coke. I know it's only 7:30. Don't be so judgy.
7:33 AM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

If anybody out there knows how to make 10:15 come any faster, please advise. I am so ready to hit the road and head to my HOME SWEET HOME!!!
9:42 AM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

Need gas, lunch and loo. Stuck in traffic on I-26. HHHHEEEELLLLPPPPP!!!!!!!
12:17 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

5 miles to McDonalds. At 15 mph I might die first.
12:19 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

Holy Hell. This is the busiest fliping gas station-McDonalds-truck stop EVER!!!!!
12:26 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

Holy flipping Hell again. This is going to take 30+ mins. And you know what SUCKS??? I have NO choice. OMG can't flipping cope...
12:28 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

Ps I am so getting fries b/c after this madness, I might *need* them.
12:28 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

More than a little relieved that the ignitor button worked on my grill. Really did not want to try lighting again - even w/ 1 burner on low.
7:45 PM Jul 18th from web

Wait WHAT? Tori Spelling is co-hosting the Today Show? #celebritieswhoshouldntbecelebrities
8:23 PM Jul 18th from web

Granted - it's the crappy 4th hour with Kathie Lee but still... #celebritieswhoshouldntbecelebrities
8:23 PM Jul 18th from web

I think somewhere Pat Weaver just rolled over in his grave and Deborah Norville is going WTF?? #celebritieswhoshouldntbecelebrities
8:25 PM Jul 18th from web

Would like to thank @lilsaej for rescuing me from my sock drawer!
10:42 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

Really? You don't like me? Guess what? I DON'T like you EITHER! #feelingisflippingmutual
10:53 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

Just picked a fight with a drunk redneck. Naturally I lost.
11:20 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

However - as Bob said: look at the bright side - she's got to wake up and look in the mirror.
11:21 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

Also - he said she smelled like she rolled in something. A vat of moonshine and cigarette ashes maybe?
11:22 PM Jul 18th from TwitterBerry

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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In Memoriam: Jett

This week we are postponing My Week in Tweets to Monday in order to pay tribute to an exceptionally sweet and loving puppy.

In Memoriam: Jett
January 1, 2000 - July 19, 2009


Jett's story has already been told by an incredible writer and her best friend. I have no intention of competing so I simply suggest you click here and here to read about the world's most wonderful pup and to learn why it is that I will spend much of today in tears.

I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to write about Jett, so I have decided to tell you about our final walk together. Which wasn't particularly noteworthy - but it's what is top of mind. Of course, at the time I obviously had no idea it would be our final walk together - although I doubt I would have done anything differently. Except maybe spend a few more minutes with my darling and beloved sister.

Jett was a Country Dog. What this means for purposes of this discussion is that basically she required grass in order to "do her business." Living in the Country, the lawn was her toilet so whenever she'd come to the City, unless you walked her up to Central Park, she'd usually pop a few squats and that was it. Or so I was told.

And yet about a year ago or so ago, I took Jett for a quick walk around the block and she took an uncharacteristic big steaming poo in the middle of the sidewalk. Lucky for me I had brought along some paper towels and a baggie to pick it up and dispose of it as NYC law requires. I should have brought 2 baggies because OMG a few feet later, she deposited another (thankfully smaller) pile of poo. Glad I held onto that last paper towel!

Anyways, a few weeks ago I went up to visit the family. Dad and I had a lovely father-daughter weekend together up in the Country (along with Jett) and then the 3 of us trundled into the City for a quick 24-hour tour. Mom and Dad went off to the theater that afternoon and I took off for midtown to meet my best friend for a little shopping and catching up. The plan was to meet up with my sister-in-law and nephew for dinner, and since Mom and Dad had a narrow window between the theater and dinner, they asked me to swing by the apartment and take Jett for a quick walk around the block. No problem.

Once again, I was reminded that as a Country Dog, Jett rarely pooped on the sidewalk. However, having remembered what happened last time the 2 of us went for a walk, I stuffed my pockets with baggies and paper towels. First lesson I learned on our last walk? Never try to walk a dog determined to walk you. That's right. After trying to lead her East on one block (where I remembered she seemed to like it last time), she tugged and tugged and tugged until we headed West on another. Ok. I hear ya' sis.

Second lesson learned on our last walk? Apparently 2 Country Girls cancel each other out - or some such weird metaphysical logic like that - because true to form (at least with me), as we neared the end of our walk Jett took a giant poo on the concrete without a blade of grass in sight. God I was glad I came prepared! And as frustrated as I was (picking up dog poo is not very fun), I was also kind of flattered because I guess it meant she trusted me or something. I don't know. All I know is that our last walk was all ours and it was special and poo or no poo I wouldn't trade it for anything.

My beloved Jett:

















My beautiful, sweet, loving, affectionate, wonderful, amazing, baby sister. You will be missed. So much more than you could ever know.

xoxo Country Girl

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Can You Please Explain Traffic To Me? (And the Universe Has a Party at a Truck Stop in SC)

To Whom It May Concern:

I have a question for you. When I was driving home from the beach today the oddest thing happened that drove me utterly bitchcakes completely baffled me. There I was, driving along I-26 at the posted 70mph speed limit when suddenly I came to a grinding halt on account of all the cars stopped in front of me. After being parked for a few minutes, we started creeping along at 15mph, then inched up to 30 mph and suddenly I was back up to doing 70mph. There were no accidents. No road work. No debris in the middle of the road. And so therefore, I found this to be truly puzzling. What was further puzzling, was that after this first, seemingly odd and random occurrence, it happened again and again and again and again and again over a 30-mile stretch of road. One minute - cruising along at 70mph. The next minute, I'm inching along at 10mph. What gives?

Oh - and also - I am so glad that I decided to stop at the Pilot-McDonald's gas station/truck stop at exit 159 off of I-26 right at 12:30pm today. Really - because apparently the ENTIRE UNIVERSE was there having some sort of party. I am sure you meant to tell me - or perhaps my invitation simply got lost in the mail. As it is, luckily I was appropriately attired in my pretty pink Isaac Mizrahi sundress so I don't feel too bad because you know I would never want to show up at a party with the ENTIRE UNIVERSE underdressed - quel horreur! Seriously - I have never seen so many people in one gas station/truck stop before. And while at first I was mildly peeved, I have to say you did your part because the epic line for the ladies room moved faster then traffic on I-26 at a nice clip and I swear there were magic helper elves in that McDonald's kitchen. Was that a hint of freshly ground pepper on my plain double cheeseburger? Seriously - I have never had one so good.

Oh - you know what else baffled me? At the giant truck stop party, I overheard one man say that the reason for all of the traffic was that people were coming back from the beach. Really? Don't weekends usually end on Sundays? Am I missing something? I know - I sound like a hypocrite because I was technically returning from the beach on a Saturday however I was returning from a work thing so today is still a weekday for me.

Anyways, I know you're super busy with a lot of important things to tend to, but when you get a chance, can you please explain this random start/stop traffic pattern thing to me? And the weekend thing. I'd really, really like to know. Thanks!

xoxo Country Girl


PS To the driver who pulled out across 2 lanes of traffic and directly in front of me on 321 as I was approaching at 60mph: In an attempt to control my road rage, I did not say a word - although I did honk my horn long and loud because OMG did you even have a clue what you did? Anyways, I held my breath because I did not think it would do any good to say anything at the time. And really, I wanted to give it some serious consideration. Well, almost 2 hours have passed and I've given it some thought and I have decided to go ahead and say it, because really, you deserve it: ASSHOLE

PPS To any mechanics out there: on account of the constant stop-and-go traffic on I-26 and the aforementioned asshole, I will probably need new brakes shortly. Who can cut me the best deal?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Feed Me Fridays: Blackberry Pie & Muffin Madness

So my neighbor Steve has a mess of blackberry bushes and he's been bugging me for days to come down and help him pick them and I just haven't had time and I felt kind of bad about it because picking blackberries is totally fun although a bit painful too on account of all those pricker-sticker things. Anyways, he finally just dropped off this



the other day and I promised him I'd bake a pie. And then of course I'm all - not only will I bake a pie but I will photograph it and document it and chronicle it because Hello - it's Feed Me Friday time.

My favorite blackberry pie recipe is from Gourmet and is available online at Epicurious. It's pretty simple - assuming you bag the whole "make your own pie dough" step. Seriously - this has been a personal struggle for me for a long time: to make the dough or to the buy the dough. Making pie dough is not that difficult. Especially if you are aided by a Cuisinart. And I always wanted to be *that* girl - you know the one who picks the blackberries, makes the pie crust FROM SCRATCH (granted, with electronic aid but electronic aid is not a bad thing people...seriously...), bakes the pie and then makes blackberry preserves with the leftover fruit. But at the end of the day, I have learned it is ok to have limitations and my limitation happens to be homemade pie crust. I can make it. Sure. But why would I when Pillsubury refrigerated pie dough is damn flipping good and one quarter of the headache.

Lattice-Top Blackberry Pie Gourmet
July 2000
(Adapted for those who are too lazy clever to make their own pie dough)

Active time: 45 min Start to finish: 2 1/4 hr

Yield: Makes 8 servings

1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough (includes 2 9-inch pieces of dough)
6 cups blackberries (1 3/4 lb)
1 to 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sanding (coarse) or granulated sugar

Place a baking sheet in lower third of oven and preheat to 400°F.

Toss together berries, granulated sugar to taste, cornstarch, butter, lemon juice, water, and tapioca. Let stand, tossing occasionally, 20 minutes.

Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 14-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie plate (4-cup capacity). Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a roughly 16- by 11-inch rectangle. Cut crosswise into 11 (1 1/4-inch-wide) strips with a fluted pastry wheel or a knife.

Stir berry mixture, then spoon evenly into shell. Arrange strips in a tight lattice pattern on top of filling and trim strips close to edge of pan. Roll up and crimp edge. Brush top and edge with egg white and sprinkle all over with sugar.

Bake on hot baking sheet until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. (Check pie after 45 minutes: If edge of crust is browning too quickly, cover edge with foil or a pie crust shield and continue baking.) Cool completely on a rack before serving.

The end result?



Ok. So not my prettiest pie ever. My oven was trending on the hot side and after the first 45 minutes the pie was already very golden brown (God bless pie crust shields) and the fruit had already started exploding everywhere into big, drippy, gooey heaps of blackberry deliciousness. Still, it's not like I was photographing it for a magazine or a contest and at the end of the day, you cut the sucker up anyways. I mean, would you kick this out of bed for eating crackers?



I think not.

Anyways, I still had blackberries left over so on Sunday I decided to make some blackberry muffins. And I couldn't find a blackberry muffin recipe so I basically took this blueberry muffins with crumb topping recipe from Food and Wine and substituted blackberries for the blueberries. Yeah. They were tasty.

And I also still had a crapload of tomatoes leftover so I decided to make tomato muffins because 1) who has ever flipping heard of tomato muffins and 2) I am clearly insane. But as it turns out, if you Google tomato muffins you get a lot of hits and I ultimately wound up using this recipe from Baking Bits only I substituted 2 fresh tomatoes which I seeded, chopped, and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes for the sun dried tomatoes. And yeah - those were freaking tasty too.



And because this is Smalltown USA, I decided to walk over to Iris's to bring her back her basket only this girl doesn't come empty handed and so I dropped off Iris's basket fully loaded because that's how I roll:



And Iris and her hubby were home and she invited me in and we had a lovely little visit because that's apparently what you do on a Sunday and OMG I freaking love small town life. Really.

Fresh homemade pie? Muffins? Sunday visits with the neighbors? God I'm such a Country Girl.

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

PS So FYI...after the insane muffin baking spree on Sunday, I still had half a dozen tomatoes so I totally made homemade tomato sauce. I know. I am in-freaking-sane and also pretty flipping awesome.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dirty Poetry, Sexy Quotes and 80s Videos With Muppets

So I am not here right now. No I am not. I am at the beach for a conference for work (you know - the people who PAY me) and I am pretty certain I will have absolutely no time to devote to my beloved little blog which means I am writing this on TUESDAY and scheduling it for THURSDAY because it's been an epic week at ITAC with shout outs from Childress and guest posts at Miscellaneous Yammering and all sorts of new traffic and Holy Hell y'all - I have readers. And so I Do. Not. Want. To. Disappoint.

So this is kind of a random Grab Bag Thursday because I've already written like 2 other posts and my brain is dead and I really want to write a letter to my car but I am too tired so I am totally stealing from other people's blogs.

I have an awesome friend who has an awesome blog but we don't speak about it publicly and we don't acknowledge said friend or said friend's blog by name because said friend once had a public blog and it kind of lead to trouble so now said friend blogs privately and like me and 3 other people know about it and that's how said friend wants it so don't even ask because I am not telling. Anyways, said friend has a literary streak and more than occasionally awesome poetry gets posted and I really do love poetry but I don't seek it out or anything but I love it and said friend really has awesome taste in poetry and it's always a thrill to discover something new on the blog. Like this kinda-sorta-quasi dirty poem by ee cummings:

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh ... And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

-- ee cummings


Y'all? I totally love this. Really. It's awesome. And it kind of makes me want to write kinda-sorta-quasi dirty poetry too. Only - I don't really have time.

You know what else said friend recently posted? This awesome quote from "The Dying Animal" by Phillip Roth:

"Because only when you fuck is everything that you dislike in life and everything by which you are defeated in life purely, if momentarily, revenged. Only then are you most cleanly alive and most cleanly yourself. It's not the sex that's the corruption - it's the rest. Sex isn't just friction and shallow fun. Sex is also the revenge on death."

Sex is also the revenge on death? GENIUS. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Clearly I need to start reading Phillip Roth.

And lest you think my mind is in the gutter or something, here is an excerpt from My House by Nikki Giovanni that I also fell in love with:

i mean it's my house
and i want to fry pork chops
and bake sweet potatoes
and call them yams
cause i run the kitchen
and i can stand the heat


I want to bake sweet potatoes and call them yams? Woman is genius. I am telling you. Genius.

Oh - and in the spirit of this totally slapdash, arbitrary Thursday post, I'd like to introduce you to Naughty Train Cats. They are awesome. They are funny as hell. And they just released a new video starring Muppet-puppets. And Alicat. And Alicat's cutie-pie BF. And you will watch this and think it's 1984. And it's 5 minutes and 3 seconds that you will totally thank me for. So seriously? What are you waiting for? Go watch it NOW!

So yeah. I think this has been the most random Thursday ever. Dirty poetry and Muppet-puppets. Awesome.

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

PS I just realized that I use the word awesome an insane amount. I might need a new word.

PPS This might be my most intellectual post ever. Despite the presence of Muppet-puppets.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Post Where I Totally Light Myself on Fire (HOLY FUCK THAT HURTS!)

Warning: this post contains extremely foul language. I know. I know. I am trying to quit cursing. But when YOU LIGHT YOURSELF ON FIRE (and no that is not some kind of euphemism or metaphor), somehow *frogfest* and *fudge* don't cut it. Plus, according to Dad, cursing is good for your health. So there.


So let me preface this post by saying I have an unnatural, unhealthy fear of fire. Seriously. I am 34 years old, college educated, extremely bright and yet I live in fear that anything and everything might spontaneously combust at any minute. Seeing as I have never been trapped in a burning building, I have given some serious thought to trying to explain this extremely odd neuroses and I have come up with 2 possible explanations:

1) When I lived in Houston, I worked in a big office building downtown and for whatever reason I was designated to be the fire marshal on our floor and so I had to go to fire marshal training and the only thing I remember is that the guy basically said fire never dies. Let's say you're at home and you pass out fall asleep on the sofa with a lit cigarette in your hand and the ash falls onto the sofa and starts a small fire. You wake up, swat at it with a pillow or douse it with some water and it goes out. And you think everything is fine. But it's not. Because way deep down inside the sofa, some tiny little ember is still burning and when you least expect it the whole sofa will go up in flames (like 4 hours later) and totally burn your house down. Which would really suck.

2) I've seen Backdraft too many times.

Either way, I am pretty certain that anything electrical and/or involving flames is going to ignite, self-combust or in general explode. It's not healthy. That all said...

Monday night was Pesto 101. Seriously. All I had to do was Tweet about the insane tomato bounty being thrust upon me and Alicat was all "I have an assload of basil I don't know what to do with." And I was like "Hello. PESTO!" And she was all "I don't know how to make pesto." And I was like "Hello again. PESTO PARTY." And then Lilsaej chimed in and was all "How do I get in on the action? I have chicken." And the next thing you know we are planning for Pesto 101. (And yes. Pesto 101 is totally the subject of NEXT week's Feed Me Friday because this week it's all about Blackberries and I totally get my Betty Crocker on. And yes - there will be plenty of gratuitous food porn. Both this week and next. I know what you kids like.)

So yes. Pesto does not involve fire and you probably think that I am insane or possibly tipsy and I am neither and I swear I am getting to the part WHERE I TOTALLY LIGHT MYSELF ON FIRE. I mean Holy Fucking Hell y'all. You thought my little sidewalk sex encounter in Asheville was bad? I totally, totally topped myself. Clearly.

Anyways, while pesto does not involve fire, um grilled chicken totally does. And I knew the Char-Broil grill was a little temperamental. It's old. Like 3 years old. And it was a cheapie grill acquired randomly at Lowes to tide us over until we bought a *real* grill. But it's a good grill. And well seasoned. And wee. Like me. And the big grill is too fancy. And so yes, I opted for the ancient, cheap, wee, temperamental grill to grill the chicken. And I also knew that the ignitor doesn't always work and that sometimes you have to use one of those candle lighter thingies. But I was hoping the ignitor would work since it worked on Friday night. But alas. I turned on the propane, turned on the burners, pushed the red button, and....nothing. And I kept pushing the red button hoping the ignitor would work. But it didn't.

You know how they say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results? Well, you know what else is also insane? TRYING TO LIGHT A FUCKING GRILL WITH THE PROPANE ALL THE WAY ON AND BOTH BURNERS ON HIGH! Um - yeah. They didn't teach me *that* at Duke.

So yes, with the propane on full and both burners on high I took my candle lighter thingy and pressed the button and you know what happened? My entire grill BURST INTO A GIANT FLAME BALL WHICH COMPLETELY ENVELOPED MY RIGHT FOREARM AND HOLY FUCKING HELL THAT SONNOFABITCH FUCKING HURT LIKE A MOTHERFUCKINGCOCKSUCKERSHITBAG FUCK FUCK FUCK OOOOOOWWWWWWW.....

Lucky for me, the grill sort of shot out the flame ball and then immediately it subsided so the only damage was that all of the arm hair on my right arm below the elbow was completely singed off. And Alicat, Lilsaej and I were all like: OMFG - did that just totally happen? And it was surreal and I was in shock (and yes I was sober) and in all honesty I am seriously lucky that the damage was minimal because y'all - I could have totally wound up with third degree burns or losing a limb and HOLY FUCKING HELL WHAT KIND OF FUCKING IDIOT LIGHTS THEMSELVES THE FUCK ON FIRE?

And then with the chicken finally on the grill, we went back in the house (where I immediately poured a glass of wine). And Lilsaej was all: "Y'all? Do you smell something burning? Because I still smell it." And I leaned and breathed heavily of my own singed flesh and I said "Darlin' - that's me you smell. That's my burnt singed flesh and hair that's permeating your nostrils." And she was all "Oh." And then I scrubbed my arm with lemony Dial because burnt flesh and arm hair is nasty.

And then Alicat asked me if I was going to Tweet about it. And I was like "No - because that's just wrong." And she started to Tweet about it and I was like "Who am I kidding? I am totally going to Tweet about it. Twice."

So yeah. Today. My arm still kind of hurts because WHEN YOU LIGHT YOURSELF THE FUCK ON FIRE the pain kind of lingers. And I am sort of tingly and aware of how hairless my arm is (not that I have hairy arms or anything but what fine, silky, girlie layer of hair that was once there is now GONE) and once again I say: OMFG someone was looking out for me because it could have been so much worse and really I am truly lucky and fortunate and Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Oh - you know what else totally sucked? Monday morning I fucking burned my forehead with the flat iron. Seriously. Clearly I need help.

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

PS Given the events of Monday, I totally feel like my fear of fire is justified. And healthy.