Thursday, June 27, 2013

Keep It or Kick It

Just like we did twice last year and twice the year before that, we're packing up all our belongings and moving. Thank the Lord we're only switching houses and not states because I really can't be put through the stress of adjusting myself to the layout of yet another new Walmart. 

We began the house hunt on Monday and while we were looking at the second house, I decided that we should be the stars of a new HgTV (or TLC, I'm really not picky) show. I've already made an advertising picture so all the producers need to do is send over a few cameras. Christopher I came up with a name. 

I had never been house hunting before and I decided that as a whole the process is enjoyable. (Until you've looked at 82 houses online and you start to think that living under a bridge might be the easiest option. I can say from experience that all bonus rooms in this town look alike.) My favorite thing about house hunting? Being nosy is accepted, even encouraged. Normally people wouldn't appreciate if I open all their doors or look in all their closets, but Erica the realtor says to look around and I take full advantage of the opportunity.

I'm sure Christopher would agree that the biggest decision in our lives right now is not where we'll live for the next four years, but what we'll be wearing when our show debuts.

Monday, June 24, 2013

of course we both agree that I'm a model big sister

Elizabeth and I are complete opposites in most ways.

She will sing at the top of her lungs in a public restroom while I use the mirror to reapply lip gloss and pretend I have no idea who she is. 

She enjoys sharing her soul in Sunday school while I do my best to get through the whole class without everyone looking at me. (Rabbit trail: I dislike any situation where it is expected that I will share my innermost thoughts and feelings on theology with a group of people. Naturally that is the recipe for a successful Sunday school class so you can imagine the anxiety this situation brings.) 

But we do agree on one thing: there is nothing natural about this pose.

Friday, June 21, 2013

in which Elizabeth shares her view of our big Mississippi trip

It was a day like any other. 

Except it wasn't. 

Because it was the day we drove ten hours to stand in adoration before BooMama herself for ten minutes. And, upon arriving home in practically the middle of the night, we proclaimed to the lightening bugs that yes, even bacon couldn't rival the success of our trip.

I and and my favorite sister Sarah awoke on that fateful Monday morning to the blaring roar of motorcycles racing through the streets of Clarksville, a sure sign that the day's temperature would produce fried eggs on the pavement, sunny side all round.

Sure enough, as Sarah hauled a hefty supply of lunchtime essentials(including three kinds of crackers: "They're just SO GOOD, Squidz.") out to our chariot, a furnace worthy of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo billowed through the opened door and  collided with the heat outside. While this Bible-like temperature transformed Sarah's carefully groomed hair into a jungle housing tan sunglasses, it merely warmed us up for the steamy excitement yet to come. 

"Aren't you even CURIOUS, Squidzen?" She asked, enthusiastically drumming the steering wheel with her palm after we had driven for a few mystery miles with no sign of suspicion from the passenger's seat. Poor child. She does not understand that the sister of her childhood hopes operates under the unwavering conviction that any road trip involving the writer of this blog behind the wheel cannot possibly travel in any other direction than due spectacular. And really, who could experience any kind of anxiety with that sort of destination on the itinerary? 

So, armed with a trusty Yahoo Maps print-out boasting 19 steps and the key to our longevity, we cruised along winding Southern  roads, speeding towards our destination.

After a few miles, it became apparent that, in case of an emergency break-down, any dairy allergies would have to be left on the rumble strip because the only AAA representation for miles around stood lazily chewing their cuds in the corn fields beside the road. We envisioned a million meals comprised of nothing but cornflakes and milk for days and days. The speedometer shot terrifyingly towards  roof of the car as Sarah benevolently taught a spelling lesson."This is how you spell Relief, Squidz: P-O-T-T-Y," and proceeded to explain that Relief must place very low upon the priority list because we were on a greater mission and absolutely couldn't be late and....please pass the crackers-not those, the ones in the silver bag.

It was not until Josh Groban had performed his entire CD twice, the air conditioning had switched on and off so many times the Antarctic turned pale, and every station on the radio, including the static had undergone careful scrutiny, that Sarah began to show signs of inner turmoil. 

"Squidz. What if we're LATE? What if BooMama leaves early and we're not there? Squidz. Don't let me forget to fix my make-up. WHAT IF WE DROVE ALL THIS WAY WE'RE LATE??!?!?!"

I assured her that BooMama could not possibly close up shop before the time etched in stone on her blog, and how could she because she was expecting us. But Sarah's hands began to wave more flamboyantly than usual. The steering wheel seemed lonely. 

In an effort to cage the swooping butterflies of looming time constraints and to distract from the martyrdom of forgoing Relief in the interest of a greater goal, we commenced  a dancing sing-along. I waved my hands wildly in the air, and she shook her shoulders with vibrant energy. Bouncing up and down, we serenaded the exits, singing at the top of our lungs. A pause in the passenger's seat to roll down the window and gasp for air left Sarah performing a solo. Somehow, she managed to seamlessly move from "That's What Makes You Beautiful" to "God Will Take Care of You" in a span of thirty seconds. Greatness on its way to see greatness. 

"Geez, Louize!" Sarah nervously popped two enormous pieces of Wriggley's cinnamon gum into her mouth and spoke to the GPS, engaging in a heart to heart that eventually, FINALLY convinced Louize into bringing us to BooMama's headquarters. 

It has been said that a good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. If the author of that quote sped along through Northern Mississippi with a colorful map in one hand, box of rice crackers in the other, and a sister bubbling over with suspenseful excitement in the driver's seat, and craning his neck to glimpse each and every vital sign and keeping an eye on the car clock, I think he would reconsider.  

As we exited the bookstore on that day marked in highlighter and underlines, Sarah literally glowed with blogging pleasure.

Smiling, I asked,"Well, what did you think?"

Laughing, she said, "It was the best day of my blogging life."

THAT is a good traveler. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I realize some people can tell a story in less than 36,000 words, but I'm not one of them

Monday was a busy day in these parts.

Christopher graduated Air Assault school in the morning and not to make this all about myself, but the 98 degrees plus 876% humidity at the graduation ceremony completely destroyed my hair for the rest of the day.
photo credit goes by Mr. Jenn

Immediately after the graduation Elizabeth and I headed out on a Top Secret Trip to an Unknown Place. Clarification: Elizabeth didn't know our destination but I knew exactly where we were headed .

We stopped at Dunkin Donuts to stock up on beverages before hitting the road because OF COURSE. After paying for my purchase, I walked out the door and left my keys on the counter. It was like the walk of humiliation when I slunk back to pick them up. (Yet another reason to always use the drive-thru.)

I'm not fortunate enough to be gifted in the area of directions, but I choose to go with the old fashioned paper directions instead of the gps. It was a risky move, but with Elizabeth as co-navigator and my coffee by my side, we forged ahead. It was a slow forging though because it took us 45 minutes just to get out of our town. I was worried it was a sign of things to come, but we only got turned around twice which is MOST ASSUREDLY a record in my book. I think my method of questioning Elizabeth every three minutes about when we would turn next was key. Not that that got annoying after five hours.

Elizabeth didn't show the slightest bit of interest in our destination and eventually I couldn't stand it anymore so I made her guess. We were all the way in Mississippi before she learned we were going to a Boo Mama book signing. She turned to look at me said in shock, "She wrote a book?!"

I almost drove off the road.

It was like everything I've ever taught her about blogs was for naught.

I was very nervous that we'd arrive the signing late and stand outside the book store with tears running down our faces. At least my face. Elizabeth was still processing that BooMama even wrote a book. ("But I thought Big Mama wrote a book! I read Boo Mama's blog religiously until I joined Instagram and now I'm so behind!!") The directions took us to a mall and I asked a lady walking to her car if she knew where Reed's bookstore was. She gave us very detailed directions that I did not in the least understand. Just smile and nod, smile and nod was my motto. We eventually found the right store about 45 minutes before the signing was scheduled to end and there Boo Mama was in all her glory.
I wish I could say we were really smooth about the whole introducing ourselves thing, but I cannot. Elizabeth specifically said I shouldn't introduce both of us because Boo Mama might think she didn't know how to talk, but I didn't know what else to say so I was all, "I'm Sarah and this is my sister Elizabeth and we just drove 5 hours to see you and no, I'm not from the south but I loved your book anyway and I've listened to your podcasts and read your blog for years and what else can I say to make me sound like a stalker?" I've always been very smooth.

Boo Mama/Sophie (I never know what to call her) was just as SWEET as can be. So, so nice. She said I didn't have a southern accent and I wanted to kiss her feet. That wouldn't have been stalkerish at all.  (People back home have said I've getting an accent and that's a troubling thing to hear.)
I'm trying not to harbor any jealousy that Elizabeth's book says "happy to meet you and much love" and mine does not. I'm sure the fact that my book was presigned is the only reason she didn't sign mine, "Love, your BFF Sophie". 

Friday, June 14, 2013

here's the photographic proof

I recently bought a new camera. 
Sam is especially enthusiastic about my purchase and wanted to high-five me with his painted hand. (Miracles still happen, folks. The child how whines like his world is crashing down when his fingers get dirty asked to have his hand painted. MIRACLES STILL HAPPEN.)

Since camera's aren't edible, Molly is not too impressed. Protecting her chalk box is much more important. 
(I know. More pictures of other peoples children. Until I have my own children this is the way it's going to be.)

(In related news, I believe the stork is lost.)

(Or it accidentally left the baby with the chain gang in Virginia.)

(Not that I ever get dramatic when it comes to babies.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

meet me in Saint Louis

I have just returned from a trip to St. Louis. And by "just" I mean I got back on Sunday morning. My friend Kim of the Fancy Wedding Atop a Mountain had a bridal shower weekend and a participant of said fancy wedding, I went along for the festivities.

Kim, Ashley (another bridesmaid) and I stayed at her grandmother's apartment. Grandma Betty lives in a very fancy retirement community which is just another way of saying we spent the weekend at a senior citizen hotel. It was a delightful time except for the fact that her mattress was from approximately WW2 and made the floor look as inviting as a Sleep Number bed.

On Friday Grandma took us to the fancy mall. It was so fancy they had a special name for Forever 21- Forever XXI. I can always tell when I'm at an unusually expensive mall when the GREAT CLEARANCE PRICE for a shirt is still in the three digits. Grandma Betty pointed out a pair of black and white shoes and said they matched the dress pants she just bought. Very impressed with her style, I said, "You bought zebra pants? That is so fashionable!" She sighed then replied, "Actually, they make me look more like a cow."

Friday night we went to a fancy dinner at a country club. (Are you noticing a pattern here? There was A LOT OF FANCY going on.) Here I am with the bride to be.
On Saturday we went to the St. Louis Arch. 
We initially planned to visit the zoo, but the powers that be (namely Kim's mom) decided to take us to the arch instead because "there are animals in other places". We ended up seeing an animal after all because we walked into the visitors center and were greeted by a bear. I thought it was a polar bear so I said, "Oh! Look at the polar bear!" in case anyone missed the giant animal in the center of the room. (I try to be helpful whenever I can.) I heard someone behind me snicker but didn't know what they were snickering about until I investigated further and discovered that it wasn't a polar bear. It was a (very light) brown bear. And the person was snickering because some tourist thought that polar bears roamed the streets of St. Louis.  
The same tourist thought she was going to climb stairs to reach the top of the arch, but was informed that once again she was wrong. While climbing 1,076 stairs was an option, she rode up in a little spaceship-looking contraption.
The Mississippi River was flooded and from the very top of the arch we saw that an entire visitor center was under water. 
Saturday night Kim's aunt and uncle hosted another party/shower. It's a pity they couldn't find a more relaxing spot for the event.
Meet Ashley, former contestant on a reality show in which she tried to find her true love. Meet Sarah, aka Paley McPalester.
Kim registered for a set of salt and pepper shakers that cost $265 American dollars. As it wasn't made of pure gold and studded with Swarovski diamonds, I gave her a picnic basket from TarJay Boutique instead. It seemed more practical and less like a break-the-budget gift. 
Next month is the wedding. It's a three day event so I except the fancy to be ABOUNDING AND OVERFLOWING.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

apparently it's Marriage Issues Week over here

It seems I've let you all down with my meat thawing methods.

I appreciate you weighing in and informing me in no uncertain words that MEAT SHOULD NEVER BE THAWED IN WARM WATER! Christopher, who never says anything about blog comments, informed me that more than 7 comments agreed with his methods. He was delighted to think he won this argument. (And to the two of you who said method one was right but go with method two because it's easier, you just got yourselves a new best friend.)

But Christopher didn't really win as I have no intentions of changing my meat thawing methods.

It's not that I want anyone to get sick, it's just that people in my family thaw meat in certain ways and no one (and I do mean NO ONE) has ever gotten sick. In the combined 223 years that my immediate family has been thawing meat, not a one of us has ever gotten so much as a sniffle. Besides, I tried Christopher's method of thawing under cold running water once and it lead to the entire kitchen being flooded. But fret not, people of the internet who one day may eat at my table. My meat is always thoroughly cooked which, in my mind, cancels out any food-borne illnesses. (It's worth noting that I was struck with e.coli during the Great Plague of 2011 and I did not contract it from questionably thawed meat. I'd say how I got it but I like to keep things clean and happy around here.)

You were so helpful in the chicken dilemma that I'd like to bring another issue to your attention. Namely, Christopher is unable to pronounce some names properly.

Example:
Me: "What is your mom's name?"
Christopher: "Ginny."
Me: "What is the name of Katie's sister who's training to be a doula?"
Christopher: "Ginny."

But here's the problem: Katie's sister isn't named Ginny. Her name is Jennie and Christopher is unable to hear the difference between the two. I am constantly (because we frequently have this conversation in hopes he'll see the light) saying that Virginia and Jennifer are totally different names and then I launch into a phonetics lesson. This usually leads us to how he pronounces "lawyer" which eventually leads us into a discussion of the Civil War. It's like everything leads to the Civil War. The Civil War without fail leads to me saying, "Well, my side won!" Christopher then launches into a speech about the dishonorable acts done by the Union to which I reply, "I personally did not do those things! But either way, we still won!"

Sarah and Christopher, still fighting the Civil War after 148 years.

In conclusion (and you were thinking I'd never stop talking), I found this picture this morning and couldn't be more delighted. It's scientific proof that those who live in the portion of the country who did not fare so well during the Civil War (I hope you noticed my diplomatic wording) pronounce "lawyer" differently than my side.

See? It all goes back to the Civil War.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

your vote could save our marriage


Christopher and I often disagree on the proper method of thawing any raw meat, but chicken in particular. Below you will find a description of our methods with NO INDICATION of which method is mine and which is his. Please cast your vote about who you think is (more) correct.

Vote for mine and I'll send you a Macy's gift card. Vote for his and he'll be saying, "See! I told you!" for the next 58 years.

Method One
Remove chicken from freezer at least 24 hours ahead of cooking time. Let it chill out in the refrigerator until thawed and you're ready to cook. If necessary, it is acceptable to run cold water over the chicken to speed up the thawing process. Be sure it is properly thawed before cooking. Clean area surrounding raw chicken with disinfecting wipes.

Method Two
Take chicken out of the freezer the night before you plan on cooking with it. If it's thawed when time to cook it, excellent. If not, run it under warm water to speed things up. 

Method Three
Buy a rotisserie chicken.