Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Big Big Lots Adventure

Today I became a member of the Big Lots Buzz Club. It does not involve a secret handshake, but eventually I'll get 20% off something.

Trina, the apparent winner of the essay contest allowing her to experience the Gold Coast of Hardin County firsthand, needed a few supplies for her last day of rest and relaxation. As we set out this morning, the plan was to get Diet Coke and puzzle books, then to stop by our favorite scratch and dent grocery store.

Instead, we spent entirely too much money at the brand spankin' new Big Lots nearby. It seems I bought something from every department: housewares - a new toilet seat cover (as the one I had spontaneously lost elasticity, not unlike my very own waistline); grocery - dijon mustard at a bargain price; beauty - cocoa butter, face masks and new weird hair clamps (my hair now looks like something from a Dr. Seuss book); pets - two lambswool dog toys - there's a whole lot of squeakin' goin' on. Then there was the Mr. Clean Collector's edition of cleaning products. I suppose this means I must use them...

However, the highlight was Literature. Or maybe it should just be "books." I found the autobiography of the real Marcia Brady. It has rocketed to the top of the book pile for next read. She's the big sister I never had, not destroying my self-esteem with her perfection and boy-magnetism.

Trina found THE BEST BOOK EVER: "Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Times of Some Chickens." It has everything!! Bitterness! Chickens! And Dioramas!!! My fingers are trembling as I write...how could something so all encompassing be only $5?!

Yet that is the beauty of the blogosphere - you now know too. You are no longer deprived.

This has been a public service message from the Bitter Train.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yeast: Good in Bread, Not Bed

This is a picture of the last slice of my new favorite bread:

It's tomato basil bread from Panera. It might even have some sourdough in it, making it even BETTER! If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you may wonder if that is the same darn watermelon in every picture but it is not. This is not the watermelon for the July 4th fete and it is not the watermelon for watermelon's sake watermelon. This watermelon will be made into watermelon lemonade. Yes, it is fantastic.

But that's not what I wanted to tell you. We're talking about this bread. I bought the loaf, which is HUGE for the purpose of having with corn on the cob - butter the bread, put corn on the bread, cover corn, salt corn, eat corn. Eat melted butter with salt on the bread. It's awesome. The rest of the bread has gone toward daubing up salad dressing. The best feta salad dressing in the WORLD!

There they are together. Aren't they beautiful?

Many ingredients make bread wonderful. Without yeast however, it'd just be unleavened bread. While I'm all for manna, it sounded a bit more crunchy. You could hardly butter it up and use it on corn. You couldn't dip it in salad.

Yeast has its place.

It is not in the bedroom.

Recently (as in fifteen minutes ago), I told the story of my husband and how he was a really great home-brewer. He once made a phenomenal batch of mead. He used champagne yeast. However, when it was cold, he'd worry the yeast packet would not stay warm enough. One night, I was getting in bed and there was a lump under the covers. It was not a cat. I asked my husband about it. "Oh that? It's the yeast packet."

I got out of the bed. I then explained to him how women feel about yeast. It is our enemy. We do not like it around us anywhere, particularly at night, in our beds.

I don't think he understood. Only women can appreciate that yeast has its place.

It is not in the bedroom.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I (heart) the Gold Coast

Perhaps there should be an essay contest for "Why I (heart) the Gold Coast."

But I might win. Since I already have the privilege of living here, it wouldn't be fair to others.

Nearly every day, I walk the dogs down the road. As regular readers of this blog will note, interesting things happen on the road. There's the time Sue got chased by Spanky while he had a dead squirrel in his mouth. Or the giant glass pickle jar we found (which is still there). That and many dead things make every walk an adventure.

Today, I am happy to report, was no exception. The first mile was uneventful. It was about 80 degrees and it was just starting to get uncomfortable. Before I turned around to head home, a neighbor came out carrying a plastic grocery store bag filled with "something." The possibilities were dazzling my mind. It was sweet corn - that treasure trove of Ohio goodness. Fresh picked. Today.

He set it on the ground, thinking I'd be walking a bit further. I thanked him profusely and then his giant dog, resembling a very cute furry keg, ambled over to sniff Foster and Tilly. Fortunately, Foster did not start a fight. I had not yet retrieved the bag of corn, and if there was a dog fight, the offer may have been rescinded. I learned the dog's name was "Teddy" (or Ted-D). I worried Teddy was going to pee on the bag of corn. He didn't. Foster did (but only a little).

Maybe it was the McDonald's mocha frappe I had earlier (I had a coupon for a free one - woohoo!), or maybe the two hashbrowns I bought to go with it so I didn't look like a mooch, but that bag of corn suddenly weighed a hundred pounds. I switched to the other hand, the one with the leashes in it. It didn't help.

About that time, I got to another neighbor's driveway, in which a sport utility's engine was running, with a young girl screaming at the young man who had come out of the house. Lots of f-bombs dropping, left and right. And of course, there's me, ambling by with my dogs and dozen ears of free sweet corn. It was hard to look nonchalant. It was also hard to hear every word, which I wanted to hear! From what I gathered, she didn't want to be his friend any more. Ever. Or something like that.

With relief, I passed the house. Only a half mile more to mine. Ugh. Not too much later, the sport ute and driver went zipping by, still yelling, with the young man in the passenger side.

It's entirely possible that this was a sweaty mirage, imagined by the high humidity. Gotta go - I have corn to boil.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Do You Resemble Produce?

An old lady collected potato chips with interesting shapes, like Jay Leno. This is funny.

Being pear shaped or apple shaped has a bearing on your health. Not so funny.

Recently a friend, who will remain nameless, joined a work-out place. Signing in came with the joys of having her measurements taken. This is fun when you're going to be a bridesmaid. It's not fun when you are having it done because you're trying to change the numbers.

Of course, our friend didn't know the kindly woman who carefully measured her. She did recite the findings to said friend. Said friend noted that all numbers seemed pretty much the same, prompting her to blurt, "I knew I was shaped like a brussel sprout!"

The measurement woman was taken aback. Apparently our friend was the first to match her shape with a fruit or vegetable outside the norm.

And one must be careful with produce comparisons. Just yesterday, an old man who likes to fish in my pond (not code) brought cucumbers and zucchini out of his garden to thank me. Why yes, reaching into the back of the truck to retrieve these items was creepy.

One must simply have a sense of humor when dealing with the fruit and vegetables of the world.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bitter Betrothal...

I'm engaged! It's true...and I have a beautiful ring to prove it. I'm very happy and often find myself smiling when all alone as if I were the village idiot. Being engaged has been very fun since our friends and family are very happy for us.

However, there have been a few comments, which, though possibly well meaning just haven't come off too well. For example, is it really necessary to say things like: "Good for you---continuing to believe there is happiness despite the previous two!"

Or "Of course, I'll be at the wedding. I made it to the first two didn't I?"

Or (upon hearing that Chris is moving into my house) "Have you thought about selling that place and getting something nicer?"

Or "Are you changing your name....again???"

And, my personal favorite (from my son) "This is you and Chris, right? Not you and Lynne?"

Ain't love grand?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Fourth on the Fifth

If you saw the previous post about the watermelon and the July 4th get together, then you'll be happy to know that the melon was a darn good floater. When thrown in the pond, it sank down, then popped up with a pleasing splash. Yet somehow, I missed when it fell apart and the ceremonial "flinging of the pieces" took place.

The other news at this year's event is that Trina was extremely ambitious and created a fun "piece" for all to enjoy. The pictures of her are the artist in action, followed by Liz, who gives a nice preview as it was in development. The full picture will be disclosed soon, but you really need to work up to it. Let's just say "it's a keeper."

The Wagner 8 brought a special guest this year. No, it wasn't one of the girls' boyfriends, though they were in tow. Meet Millie:
She's a mini pot-bellied pig and she was the hit of the party (except to Foster). After all the Charlotte's Web and Pork-related jokes (there were many), she still wanted to hang out with us. In the picture, she's sniffing the "Kooky Chicken Swim Party" squeek toy that Trina brought (I think for the dogs, but I like it quite a bit myself). We admired the pig's spunk, particularly when she got tired of Foster barking smack at her and she attacked him, shocking him, and giving us a laugh. She also was particularly cute when she rolled in the sand, then suddenly shoot off in some random direction, prompting yells of "Speed Pig!"

Yeah, we know how to party.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What's Your July 4th Tradition?

Sure, watermelon may be part of your July 4th picnic. It is at my house too. But, it's not what you think.

The ceremonial watermelon doubles as flotation device as well as a tasty snack. Yes, as my friends' children pour into the pond, the watermelon does as well.

Last year, sadly, the watermelon broke. Yet, the ever enterprising children made do by throwing the pieces at each other. My dogs helped on clean up duty (my clean up duty after them wasn't so pretty).