Friday, October 30, 2009

Feed Me Fridays: The Experimental Pie Edition Part II (This Time On a Friday But Not Actually Pie. Just Roll With It Yo. Ok?)

So here's the thing about Momofuko Milk Bar's Crack Pie: it's utterly addictive (duh) and life-changing. Seriously. You know when you bake something and you cream together the butter and the sugar? And then perhaps you get a little bit on your finger and then you lick it off and then you are like: "OH SWEET NECTAR OF THE GODS COME TO MOMMA?" Well imagine if you took that heavenly concoction, added a little cream (cause - you know - it's not rich enough) and a little flour (to hold it all together), threw it in a crust and then baked it. Voila - Crack Pie.

Well seeing as these Momofuko desserts inspired me all kinds of ways, I decided to replicate Crack Pie only somewhere in the process I started thinking about breakfast and suddenly Crack Pie turned into Rise 'N Shine Bars. I think it may have had something to do with the oat crust, and then I started thinking about cereal - maybe because of those sick Momofuko cookies with the cornflakes and the marshmallows - and then I thought about a bunch of things you typically have in the morning and I decided to throw it all together, bind it with my version of a Crack Pie like filling (i.e. copious amounts of butter and sugar) and bake it. Here is the result.

Rise 'N Shine Bars

The ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Make the Toasted Oatmeal Nut Crust:

2 cups of rolled oats
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
2/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Place the oats and the walnuts in a shallow pan and toast in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until brown. Careful not to burn.

In a large bowl mix together the oats, sugar, salt, espresso powder and walnuts. Add the melted butter and gently combine until fully incorporated.

Press the crust into a 12 x 8 baking pan.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until lightly set.

Make the Crack Pie Like filling:

1-1/8 cup brown sugar
1-1/8 cup white sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. flour

In the bowl of a standing mixer combine both sugars, the butter and the salt. Stir on medium until fully incorporated and smooth. Add the cream and stir in on low. Add the flour and stir in on low.

Next comes the assembly. For this you will need 1 banana and assorted breakfast cereals. I used Corn Pops, Raisin Bran Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios but you can use whatever is in your cupboard.

Slice the banana over the crust:

Then sprinkle 1 cup of cereal over the banana. I used 1/3 cup each of Corn Pops, Raisin Bran Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios. Then pour in the crack filling. Then take 1 cup of cereal (I used Corn Pops), crush it and sprinkle over the top. See - looks kind of like a Crack Gratin:

Plunk the whole hot mess in the oven and bake for about 10 - 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 300 and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown and the filling is just set. (Here's where I remind you that I am the proud owner of the world's most schizophrenic oven and so if my baking times seem a little off - that's why. Apologies in advance but trust me - these are so good you won't even notice).

When you pull it out of the oven, here's what it should look like:

It's time's like this I was wish we had Smell-O-Vision. Or Taste-O-Vision because Holy Hell y'all - that shit is awesome.

Let the whole thing cool for several hours. Seriously. I found that about 90% of my crack filling was set but that the outer edges were a little gooey. So yeah. Cool the bars. And once they are cool, stick them in the fridge to firm them up.

Then attempt to cut them into squares (mine did not cut neatly - they were more like weird, sticky, delicious piles) and serve.

Voila. You have a new addiction. You are welcome.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Feed Me Fridays: The Experimental Pie Edition Part I (And I Know It's Not Friday. But It Is Experimental, So Just Roll With It Yo. Ok?)

I am going to blame my brother for this y'all. My awesome older brother whom I totally love and adore and who fathered my darling little nephew whom I also totally love and adore. Anyways, it's all HIS fault that my kitchen turned into Dr. Frankensugar's Lab this past weekend which maybe isn't such a bad thing - I don't know.

So I was up in NYC a few weeks ago for the Jewish holidays and we did Rosh Hashana at my brother and sister-in-law's and for dessert my brother ordered crack from Momofuko Milk Bar. Seriously y'all - crack - only they call it Crack Pie and they call it that with reason because OMG y'all...I would seriously consider selling everything I own and whoring myself out to Mr. Land O' Lakes to eat this on a daily basis. It's that fucking amazing.

Anyways, I was in a cab with mom and she mentioned that when she picked up the Crack Pie (which more on that tomorrow) they also had a Candy Bar Pie which looked incredible and she almost bought it but didn't because in addition to the Crack Pie there were crazy, yummy Momofuko cookies not to mention a more traditional pie (apple) from Little Red Hen. But that got me thinking. Candy Bar Pie. And it being Halloween and all and there being lots of candy around...well, thus the idea for Halloween Pie was born.

Here's what I started with:

And I confess, the idea for the pretzel crust was totally poached from this recipe that was in an issue of Food and Wine earlier this year. (BTW - totally make the actual tart recipe as it is published - it is FAN-FLIPPING-TASTIC). And I thought about trying to change 1 or 2 things but the crust was pretty rocking so follow the crust part of the recipe in Food and Wine. It should look something like this:

And be warned - it's a very sticky dough which is why you need to keep it in the plastic wrap and definitely let it chill for at least 30 minutes. Only - once you roll it out instead of plunking it into a tart pan, plunk it into a 9-inch pie plate. You'll probably have excess dough which is fine. Anyways follow the baking instructions and in theory your crust should come out ok. Mine did not. Mine got overcooked and I will chalk that up to THE SCHIZOPHRENIC OVEN FROM HELL and the end result of an overcooked pie crust is that it takes a chisel and a jackhammer to loose that shit from the pie plate. Sigh...

So yeah. Don't overcook your crust. Or maybe stick with the tart pan. Or scratch the whole pretzel crust and just buy a pre-made crust - I am thinking a cookie crust.

Anyways. While your crust is baking, make the peanut butter-white chocolate stuff. And yes, I am calling it stuff because it's not really cream and it's not really glaze and it's not really mousse it's just a random layer I decided to add last minute.

Melt ¼ cup white chocolate chips with 2 Tbsp. heavy cream. I am lazy and do it in the microwave. Those of you who are more sophisticated might prefer a double boiler. Whatever rocks your world sugar. Anyways, pour the melted mixture into a mixing bowl and add 3 generous Tbsp. of smooth and creamy peanut butter. Beat with an electric mixer until blended. Then add 1 Tbsp. of softened unsalted butter cut into pieces and beat in until mixture is smooth and creamy.

See how yummy "stuff" looks:

While your crust is cooling and your stuff is resting (at room temperature), make what I lovingly call Lazy Girl's Ganache. In an large measuring cup or mixing bowl combine 1-1/3 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and 3 Tbsp. of softened, unsalted butter:

Microwave on high in 20 - 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until you get this:

Next, spread the peanut butter-white chocolate concoction onto the cooled (and hopefully not burned to an ever loving crisp) crust. I find that an offset spatula is the best tool for this:

Next - cut up your Halloween candy Mr. Pitt style. You can use whatever you want. I opted for 1 full Kit Kat (regular size), 1 full Snickers, and half of a Twix (I gave the other half to Sumo when we were out that night and I felt like some weird gramma type fishing half eaten candy out of my purse and giving it to a friend but I am sugar-free all week and the temptation would have been too much.). Scatter the candy onto the peanut butter-white chocolate covered pie crust like so:

Then stick the whole mess in the fridge for about 20 - 30 minutes until it has set.

Remove from the fridge and pour in the bittersweet chocolate ganache and then garnish. I topped mine with a pack of peanut M&Ms but again, you could do whatever.

Stick the whole thing back in the fridge (again) and let it set for a few hours or over night. When you go to serve you probably want to let it sit out at room temperature for a wee bit otherwise you'll need a chain saw to cut through the ganache which is not what you want at all. You want the ganache to be solid, but to have a little bit of give...not too unlike fudge.

So yeah. That's my version of Halloween pie and NO it does not have candy corns (although I love candy corns) and NO it does not have orange frosting. It's really just my riff on Candy Bar Pie only I associate candy with Halloween which is why I named it Halloween pie and...ok...I will shut up now.

BTW - I did not actually try the pie (I rarely eat what I bake to begin with but I am on a self-imposed detox this week which means no sugar, no alcohol and nothing fried) but I was told it was pretty tasty. At least the filling part. No one had a chisel to get the crust loose from the pie plate.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fulfilling My Catholic Schoolgirl Fantasies

I am not a Catholic schoolgirl. Hell - I'm not even Catholic. But there is something about a uniform that I find exceptionally comforting. Also - I have a thing for plaid miniskirts.

But plaid miniskirt obsessions aside, I really do love uniforms and I am the type of girl to walk into a store, find a sweater/dress/skirt/shirt I like and buy 2, 3 or sometimes 4 in different colors/patterns. Two summers ago I found an awesome cotton prairie skirt at The Gap. I bought in bright blue, bright orange, and black. I wore it with assorted colors of the perfect fitted Bella scoopneck tee acquired in bulk from a wholesale distributor. Footwear tended to be Jack Rogers - either in silver or turquoise. All. Summer. Long. This is what I wore.

Last winter I found the perfect off the shoulder sweater at Wal-Mart. I got 3: black, grey and pink. I rotated through them most of the winter (paired with jeans and boots), occasionally interspersing them with my awesome royal purple cashmere cable-knit crewneck picked up at the J. Crew outlet.

If I find a t-shirt I like, you can be sure that I will buy 3 or 4 at a time because let's face it: 1) you can never have too many t-shirts 2) they eventually get stained, torn or stretched out 3) you can never have too many t-shirts and 4) you can never have too many t-shirts. In fact, I just picked up 3 perfect long sleeve tees at Old Navy the other week (one in the most delightful shade of pink - OMG I am obsessed). I would have got more but I am on a budget.

In general, I have seasonal uniforms. In the spring and summer you are apt to find me in sundresses and pretty floral skirts, bare legs and open toed shoes or sandals. In fact, my friend Pixie once asked me if I owned jeans. Do I own them? Hell honey - I live in them 6 months of the year (for the record: Pixie has a year round uniform of jeans, t-shirts and flip flops and in fact - I have never seen her in a skirt or dress except during Halloween).

My uniform these days seems to be either black leggings, jeans, or cords - which OMG - I actually prefer cords to jeans. Only - I can never find cords I like and that fit well. And if I do, they are generally overpriced (Ahem J. Crew) not to mention I usually buy them in idiotic colors like magenta or rust and then I wake up 3 days later and I'm like: why don't I own cords in normal neutral colors like black, chocolate brown, olive green, khaki, and/or stone? Seriously - what the hell was I thinking buying magenta cords?

Anyways - my trip to Old Navy on Saturday was actually pretty sweet because in addition to the amazing, perfect, slightly overpriced long sleeve tees, I scored 2 pairs of awesome Sweetheart cords which are stretchy and feel good and oh yeah are normal colors (charcoal and chocolate) and are long enough to wear with boots but if I get lazy and decide to wear with sneakers no one will know i.e. I don't have to hem them and oh yeah- does anyone else have this problem? Seriously - length of pants leg can be such a challenge when your footwear ranges from flat to 3-inch heel only I can't bring myself to have "flat pants" and "heel pants" so I just kind of flub it somewhere in the middle and I am sure somewhere someone is rolling over in their grave (who I have no idea but someone is) but I just say aw fuck it.

Where was I?

My uniform. These days it consists of leggings or cords, t-shirts and these awesome fitted, Western-style, plaid flannel shirts I found at Target and of which I purchased 3. Actually - I purchased 4 but then returned one. But then I bought a non-flannel, still fitted, Western-Style, plaid shirt at Old Navy so it was kind of a wash. And I am thinking about ordering 1 more online only...well...that seems excessive.

To top it all off I can generally be found bundled in my favorite grey wool wrap sweater (purchased at Old Navy last year during a post-Christmas sale and which I had actually been coveting for months and which I actually got for like 80% off and which I actually wear like all of the time so it falls in the category of REALLY GOOD PURCHASE) and my cheap black Target scarf knotted around my neck like I am a finalist for American Idol fighting off a case of laryngitis or something.

And boots. Or sneakers. Because my fuzzy clogs are gross. But I was thinking today I really need new fuzzy clogs. Or Merrills. Or something flat and lined in fleece that will keep my feet warm because I am perpetually cold.

So darling readers - do you have an adult uniform that gives you comfort?

PS This entire post was written under the influence of Dextromethorphan and Phenylephrine HCl.

PPS I lied. While truthfully I am fighting off a cold, I am not currently on cold medicine other than homemade vegetable soup and Diet Ginger Ale so really I have no excuse for the semi-crazy, rambling nature of this post other than I myself am semi-crazy. Clearly.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Finding My Stride

Since Iron Man told me I was burnt out - and subsequently suggest I dial it back a bit and take at least 2 weeks off - I actually did just the opposite. I went for 2 runs last week. But they were different sorts of runs.

Last Wednesday afternoon was just lovely. Mid to high 60s, sunny, clear sky. I was going to go to the gym and then I thought I'd be foolish NOT to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and so I grabbed my snazzy new Garmin GPS watch and headed to the Rail Trail. I haven't run the Trail in ages - mainly because I was never sure of the distance and measuring various metrics is of the utmost importance to me. But with the Garmin on my wrist I knew it wouldn't be a problem.

I didn't really have a goal when I began my run other than that I wanted to enjoy myself. I wanted to enjoy the feel of the late afternoon sun on my face. I wanted to enjoy the feel of concrete and fallen leaves beneath my new Mizunos. I wanted to enjoy air that wasn't oppressively heavy with humidity. I wanted to enjoy the pretty, tree-lined scenery. I didn't want to think about pace. Or time. Or distance. I just wanted to run. And run I did.

I ran the Trail 3 times. Don't get me wrong - I checked my pace on occasion. And I was conscious of exactly how far I ran (5.3 miles go be exact). But for once I was able to quiet the ultra competitive voices in myhead and just go for a run and enjoy it. Which I did. Until I got home and discovered I was covered in 100s of tiny dead bug carcasses at which point I promptly freaked out. So yeah - it had been buggy and I had been aware of trying NOT to inhale a mouthful of gnats every time I opened my mouth to breathe but it wasn't until I got home and looked in the mirror and it looked like someone had poked me 100s of times with a black ball point pen that I realized I was a living, breathing, walking cemetery for 100s and 100s of gnats. It was GAH-ROSS.

Insect issues aside, I felt so good about Wednesday's run that I decided to give it another whirl on Sunday. And while I didn't want to make it about training, I decided I wanted to go for a long run for several reasons:

1) I NEVER get to go for long runs. Weekends are the only chance I ever have the time and this past weekend I actually had the time.

2) I've had some things on my mind recently and I felt like I really needed to clear my head. I figured what was a better head-clearing remedy than an hour-plus run outside tuning out to my utterly ridiculous mix of pop tunes, rap and cheesy ballads (hello Adam Lambert!).

3) Now that I have my fancy, schmancy Garmin I figured I wouldn't be tied to the Trail or the track and I could run "freestyle" but still track the distance. I know - for someone who wanted to "just have fun" that last bit seems ironic but seriously y'all - I have some OCD issues and knowing distance is kind of critical to my sanity.

I started out on the Trail. Ran it one way and then promptly headed out into downtown Smalltown USA. I ran down to the Park. Then backtracked. Picked up the Trail for a bit. Then veered off again and ran through the South side of downtown and ultimately looped my way back to the top of the Trail.

I started out on my second lap. Ran the Trail again one way. Turned around but then veered off when I could and ran through the West side of town all the way to the high school and to the track that I used to feel so chained to. I looped through another neighborhood and once again made my way back to the Trail.

Can I tell y'all something? The whole being able to run wherever felt SO FLIPPING GOOD. And you know what else? Smalltown USA is HILLY. OMG I was huffing and puffing up some of those bad boys.

My original goal - other than to just have fun - was to run for at least an hour. At some point I switched the goal and decided to go for 10 miles. And you know what? I totally did. It took a lot longer than I thought. I mean seriously - if you look at my time for the 15K I ran the other week (which according to my Garmin I actually ran 9.44 miles that day) and you compare it to the 10 miles I ran on Sunday? Well let's just say that apparently on Sunday I was sloth-like. Then again? I wasn't trying to race. Not another runner. And not myself. My goal was a steady, slow pace to get through an incredible distance on my 2 little legs. That was all. And I did. And it felt really, really good to finally find my stride again because you know what? It's been a while.

Monday, October 26, 2009

HVAC 101

What would you like to know about HVAC because I can probably tell you. Several months ago that was not that case but when you move into a house that has no central heating and it drops below 40 degrees, you quickly learn. You know what else happens? You freeze your ass off and start sleeping in more layers than this dude.

So anyways, what would you like to know? Would you like to know about gas furnaces versus heat pumps? Would you like to know how many BTUs it takes to heat a 1200 s.f. home? Would you like to know that if you plan on adding central a/c you need more BTUs? Would you like to know how much it'll cost to rewire an entire panel? (A shitload) Would you like to know about returns and should you even care about the return panel size? (The answer is no for just heat but yes if you include a/c). Where to change the filter? Can I tell you about efficiency and the difference between an 80% efficient gas furnace versus a 95% efficient gas furnace other than the obvious which is one is more efficient than the other?

What can I tell you about permitting...or not permitting because there are folks who will do it both ways. (For the record - I went the permitted route.)

Can I tell you about t-stats? Or having your ducts wrapped? (BTW you only need them wrapped if you install a/c because that's where the condensation comes from and it can build up and cause leaks, flooding and other water related problems.)

Do you care if you need a double wall pipe? Are 15kw heat strips too much, too little, or just right?

Oh wait. We haven't even discussed the possibility of a gas pack.

Sigh. It's a lot for an economics major who really meant to be an English major but couldn't get her shit together and so she wound up majoring in the one subject where she had enough credits to actually graduate on time which in and of itself is kind of head-scratch-worthy only we won't go there because it's totally another saga post for another blog day.

But at the end of the day I waded through a bunch of crap, made the decision and pulled the trigger.

I wound up with a 95% efficiency, 90,000 BTU Goodman gas furnace. The way I saw it, I already had natural gas at the house, gas prices are supposed to be pretty reasonable this year, and oh yeah, the amount I would have spent on electrical work to install a heat pump could feed a family of 10 in Africa for a year. Or gone towards 2 pairs of Jimmy Choos. It all depends on your priorities.

So yeah. I bought a furnace and it feels pretty damn awesome.

Plus I am sure you are all pleased to know that I have finally stopped sleeping in flannel PJs with wool socks, a hat, an extra sweater and mittens (so sexy - right?) because my wee little house is finally snuggly, toasty, cozy warm.

Of course, for the record - I'll probably add a/c in the spring. All I need to do is drop in a coil, have my ducts wrapped and upsize my return panel.

PS This post is totally dedicated to all of my enginerd friends. I hope I done you ladies proud!

PPS I am assuming that because you are enginerds - totally HOT enginerds BTW - that this is even kind of in your bailiwick.

PPPS I have no idea what bailiwick even means but I just like how it sounds.

PPPS I totally took a picture of the "Antique-This-Hasn't-Worked-in-a-Century-Oil-Furnace" that they removed before putting in my "Oh-My-God-This-Is-What-Heat-Feels-Like-Furnace:"

Now if THAT ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Week In Tweets: October 18 - October 24

Oh dear. Waffle House. Sigh. Smothered. Covered. Chunked. And Diced.
12:28 AM Oct 18th from UberTwitter

Today - laundry, cleaning the house and writing 18,000 blog posts. My life is soooooo glamorous....
11:54 AM Oct 18th from UberTwitter

Now laundry. Soooooo glamourous.....
12:26 PM Oct 18th from web

Cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor. Cleaned the bathroom. Vacuumed. 4 loads of laundry. Made the bed. Just call me Cinderella.
3:06 PM Oct 18th from web

I feel like I dated autumn for about a week and then it broke up with me by Post-It. 32 degrees? WTF Jack Frost?
7:19 AM Oct 19th from UberTwitter

So my ObGyn is booked out UNTIL January. Seriously? WTF?!
10:53 AM Oct 19th from web

Another soul sucking conversation with Citi. I swear I am closing this account. SWEAR.
1:37 PM Oct 19th from web

Why working from home sucks? It's like I am Snacky McSnackerson. #cannotstopsnacking
4:27 PM Oct 19th from web

I am having soup for dinner only I have no crackers. Who the hell doesn't keep crackers in the house? Oh. Apparently me.
8:23 PM Oct 19th from web

However I do have plenty of red wine....
8:23 PM Oct 19th from web

Yahoo spellcheck on my Blackberry is suggesting "c0ck" for "xoxo." Seriously spellcheck? What kind of perv programmed you?
11:49 AM Oct 20th from UberTwitter

Driving on freshly paved highway is awesome. Smelling them pave it makes me want to yak tar.
3:19 PM Oct 20th from UberTwitter

I am thinking that pudding is not a great pre-work out snack. Yet I am craving chocolate....
4:24 PM Oct 21st from UberTwitter

Stripes on AMC. #classic
7:00 PM Oct 21st from UberTwitter

It's not even 8 and I am contemplating bed. I'd say I feel old except I am on my 2nd chocolate pudding of the day.
7:49 PM Oct 21st from web

Is it too early to smash my head on the desk? Is it???
10:05 AM Oct 22nd from web

Lunch: rice cakes and Coke Zero cherry. Likelihood I pass out during my 4pm training session at the gym? Pretty damn high.
1:13 PM Oct 22nd from web

Post-workout: icing my knee and watching old school Bev. Brandon is nearly a TV star, Donna has bad hair and Kelly is sporting denim.
5:37 PM Oct 22nd from UberTwitter

"Hey cheesemeister - stay away from my girl." ACK! Can't decide whether I absolutely love or whether to cringe at the wretched dialogue.
5:41 PM Oct 22nd from UberTwitter

Is it just me or is Jillian Michaels SCARY??
5:48 PM Oct 22nd from UberTwitter

I feel like I am living vicariously through @ModernMatriarch as she drinks her way around the world.
8:54 PM Oct 22nd from web

The only reason the Yankees being down is remotely tolerable is b/c Sumo has me in STICHES. We're talking batteries, duct work and wings.
10:08 PM Oct 22nd from UberTwitter

GO YANKEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
10:20 PM Oct 22nd from UberTwitter

Oddest bathrom ever: 2 toilets, NO dividers, and no toilet paper holders. Only in my town......
10:43 PM Oct 22nd from UberTwitter

Does anybody actually know the lyrics to 99 Luftbalons? In German or English????
11:36 PM Oct 22nd from UberTwitter

Skunk. Ugh.
1:12 AM Oct 23rd from web

My bangs and I are in a power struggle. Sadly - they are winning.
7:30 AM Oct 23rd from web

Cotton fields are in full bloom and look absolutely soft and fluffy and scrumptious. Times like these I wish I had a camera phone.
8:17 AM Oct 23rd from UberTwitter

My neighbor just stopped by with homemade brownies with black walnuts from her very own black walnut trees. YUM! #ilovesmalltownlife
1:37 PM Oct 23rd from web

Getting ready to call it a day, pour some wine, turn on old school Bev and give myself a pedi. #amsoglamourousitspainful
4:52 PM Oct 23rd from web

Brenda's getting a biopsy for breast cancer and Andrea and Steve are getting busy studying for the SATs. #luvoldschool90210
5:28 PM Oct 23rd from UberTwitter

Most. Depressing. Bev. Ever. Except for Steve and Andrea hooking up. That shit was just awesome.
5:42 PM Oct 23rd from UberTwitter

Who knew? Apparently Brussels sprouts are *sexy* and they are so my boyfriend these days...
7:51 PM Oct 23rd from web

Enjoying early morning analysis from my most favorite reverse stalker @Harmzie. Is that perverse?
9:49 AM Oct 24th from UberTwitter

Actually what's perverse is that I have never met @Harmzie in real life AND the entire analysis is being conducted via DM.
9:52 AM Oct 24th from UberTwitter

No sound coming from the new portable speaker I bought for my iPod. Troubleshooting tips include checking the volume. What am I - stupid?
1:00 PM Oct 24th ago from web

Possibility it's not connected right either. Of course - I am wondering if it has something to do with the fact that I have a 4yo iPod mini
1:00 PM Oct 24th ago from web

Parking lot carnivals scare me. More than usual.
2:36 PM Oct 24th ago from UberTwitter

Currently am overwhelmed by the smell of peanut butter.
4:42 PM Oct 24th ago from web

And thats my week in Tweets!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Iron Man called me on Monday to get the scoop on my race results. For about 10 uninterrupted minutes, I told him all about Saturday's saga - although seeing as he is a coworker, I left out the whole "voices in my head" thing. Anyways, I barely paused for breath and when I finally, finally, finally came to the end of my 3-part miniseries (I don't know how to write a short blog post tell a short story), Iron Man spoke. "I can tell you what your problem is in one word," he said calmly, knowingly.

"What?!" I practically screamed all the while trying not to lunge through the phone and shake this critical wisdom from him.

"Burnout," he said matter-of-factly. "Country Girl - you are burnt out."

And I thought about it and then I felt like weeping because OMG he was so spot on right it wasn't even funny.

I am BURNT OUT and in more ways than one.

Take running. I committed to Kiawah back in JULY. That gave me nearly 5 whole months to train. Well - most half marathon training schedules are no more than 12 weeks and with 7 weeks and 1 day still to go, I am WAY AHEAD OF THE GAME. Of course, the irony is that I feel like I have totally abandoned training. Long runs are few and far between. Monday was the first time I had done speed drills since late August. And all this running on the treadmill has me feeling woefully unprepared for running outdoors. Not to mention my knee is acting up although if I re-committed to stretching daily that might help.

Only - I feel like I don't have time to stretch because oh yeah...guess who has a social life again? That's right. After several months of being a homebody, I have been tentatively dipping my big toe into the social whirlpool. Aw fuck it. Who are we kidding? I dove into the pool headfirst and then decided to cross the damn English Channel. Seriously - chalk this up to another "I don't do moderation" moments in my life.

The good news is that I am going out, I am having fun and I adore being with friends. The bad news is that I am on occasion tired, I feel like I am ignoring things that used to be central to my existence (this blog for one thing, other people's blogs for another - do you know what it's like to open up Google Reader and have 48 unread posts? It's suffocating and overwhelming), and I am not taking great care of my body i.e. I am eating crap. I have gained 7 pounds in the last few weeks and while it doesn't make me overweight, let's just say my superskinny wardrobe is starting to feel snug. Because I was superskinny - superskinny even for me. Then again - is it realistic to expect to maintain superskinny status forever? Maybe I should go with something more moderation, sustainability is something I struggle with. I tend to be an all or nothing, black or white, take it or leave it kind of girl. Hence the Burnout.

So yeah. I am burnt out on a lot of things right now and so I am trying to find some balance. It's not easy given my personality but I am trying.

I don't know what it is. It sure as hell ain't country and frankly this whole tagline thing is killing me so maybe this is the post where I give up on the clever taglines and just give you me in the raw. Because that's how I feel. Utterly raw.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Am Not Afraid To Talk To Celebrities

So it's not like Richard Childress and I are TOTAL strangers. We spoke on the phone. Once. And I am very good friends with his business partner. And it was The Partner who suggested - nay who ENCOURAGED me to find Richard while I was at the race on Saturday.

Me: Seriously?

The Partner: Absolutely.

Me: He won't know me from Adam.

The Partner: He'll be delighted.

Me: Ok. (Because apparently I need my head examined or something.)

Anyways, The Partner told me that Richard was usually down in the garages pre-race and to just "hunt him down" and "find him." Frankly I was a wee bit skeptical but by the time we made it down to the garages I was feeling rather bold and so I asked someone working on Kevin Harvick's car if Richard was around. Mind you - I didn't ask like some crazed race fan and I made sure to drop The Partner's name at least 3 times and actually he was pretty nice about the whole thing and said that he hadn't seen Richard that day but it was hit or miss with him and that if I wanted to catch him I should just loiter between the Cheerios hauler and the Shell Penzoil hauler.

Well, I had better things to do than loiter so I decided it wasn't meant to be.

We returned to the garages a few hours later and once again feeling bold and empowered, I asked the first person I found wearing RCR gear if Richard was around as I was friends with The Partner and The Partner had instructed me to find Richard. I got the same answer: Haven't seen him. He's hit or miss. Hang out - you're bound to spot him.

Being the rebel that I am, I decided to wander. And so it was that we found ourselves back on Pit Road. And so it was that one of my race day companions noticed that Richard Childress was on some kind of stage about 100 feet away taking part in some kind of presentation. And suddenly - I WAS ON.

You know how they say that when you're in some kind of life threatening situation or imminent danger your entire body reacts and if forced to you could probably lift an 18 wheeler off of a kitten? So it is when you are faced with the opportunity to accost meet a racing legend and you have exactly 0.02 seconds to get his attention.

I watched people depart the stage one by one. I positioned myself near the ropes that cordoned off the legends from the crazy race fans. Not that I was a crazy race fan. Nope. Was not. I had been instructed to find Richard and introduce myself. In person. Cuz after all - we were kind of old phone chums. So I totally deserved to be where I was.

And then there he was. The man in black. Surrounded by his entourage. Heading off the stage and walking my way. And for the record - there were die hard fans. People who wanted an autograph and stuff. But I prevailed. I did. Because here's what happened:

(It's like we're old friends. I think he remembered our phone conversation.)

Can you HEAR me in these pictures darling readers? Can you HEAR ME NOT SHUT UP? So yeah - I basically blathered on INANELY AND INCESSANTLY for like 90 seconds and really I have no idea what I said other than that I dropped The Partner's name 1800 times and I blamed HIM for making me accost introduce myself to Richard so brazenly and then I may have said something about how fabulous the winery is and how much I love the wines and how much fun I have when I go there and all the while Richard is just rolling along, signing autographs, smiling, being delightfully good natured and eventually, posing for this photo with me:

So yeah. I am totally not afraid to talk to celebrities. Put me in a room with George Clooney any day. I can handle it.

And if that ain't just the most kick ass story ever, I'll kiss your...

PS A BIG thank you to The Kaiser for once in his life getting something right and for doing such a kick ass job of photo-documenting my lovefest with Richard. Smooches Sugar!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Think I May Chuck It All and Become a Pit Bunny: Part 2

The Race - In Photos:

The Big Head Racing Bus.

That's a crapload of coolers. Full of a crapload of beer.

Grandstand seating on top of the BHR bus.

Bunks - for when too much beer creeps up on you. Or because you are camping in the infield for 3 days.

Prefer a hammock? Billy Ray does.

Billy Ray, The Kaiser and Sumo. These are my boys and BTW - they took EXCELLENT care of me!

Me and Sumo kick it off.

Yes that's ME. In front of the #48. The actual car which won the WHOLE race. OMG y'all!

#48's very shiny hauler.

This photo of Harvick's car is a shout out to my friends at Richard Childress Racing. Love Ya!

How could we not take a photo of Gordon's car?

Me standing in JIMMIE'S pit stall. Promptly fainted.

Was revived. And then died. Right there. And went to heaven. Sigh.

Who knew that taping tires to mark the point of reference could be so exciting? But y'all? It really was!

A close up of Jimmie's pit.

The view from the top of Pit Road.

Sumo and Billy Ray loiter near Reutimann's car.

We paused for some of the gorgeous Racing Rock Star's hospitality.

Back to the garages where I once again found myself RIGHT UP NEXT CLOSE TO the #48. The car which actually WON.

The Kaiser in a totally classic Kaiser pose.

My first ever attempt at Cornhole. Solo natch. Cuz I didn't want anyone to see me miss the hole. Like everytime.

The view from the top of the BHR bus at night.

Racing at night is simply lovely.

Me - looking cute but cold on top of the bus.

Me - managing not to fall over the side of the bus.

Y'all have no idea just how close to Turn 3 we actually were. We were THIS close. It rocked.

Final lap before they dropped the flag...

A close up of the winning car...

Billy Ray pokes his face into this photo of Me and The Kaiser. Y'all have no idea how cold I was.

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