Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Buying a Car

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 By

I hate car dealerships, and it's not for the reason you might think. It's because they're dishonest.

Oh, maybe that is the reason you think.

My husband and I sat at a table trying to negotiate the purchase of a certified pre-owned vehicle with a warranty. But the guy just refused to talk price. All he'd talk was monthly payments.

Let me tell you - for those who don't know - how financing a car works:

The dealership gets a lump payment from the financing institution. The bank gets the payments over time. So the dealership wants to keep the total price as high as they can. Because they're not dealing with you over time. They don't get your interest. The bank does.

They will pressure you to put more money down. They'll stretch out the payments until you're old and grey. But they will never lower the price of the car.

Grrrr. A trade-in, for which they probably gave $5,000 at most, they want to price at $15,533. Just $2,000 under the price of the car when it was new. But don't bother to call them out on it, because they'd rather wait for a sucker to come along. They wouldn't budge.

That's cool. Someone else will actually negotiate terms, instead of playing some bullcorn financing game. In the meantime, you've lost our business for good. Thanks for wasting two hours of our time last night.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Just... No.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 By

No,, I don't want to see the two people who signed my guestbook. First, because I think it was probably your webmaster, and your sales manager. And, second, because if any of my old classmates wanted to get in touch with me, they could do it for free on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Linkedin, Plaxo, FriendFeed, or any other of the number of social media sites to which I'm connected. So stop emailing me. I don't want to upgrade to gold.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Son of a Beach...

Emmie's been gone to the beach for three days, and I've already called seven times - not to mention the texts I've sent my sister. She won't be back for two weeks, and I'm losing my mind. I managed to wait until noon on the fourth day to call - a record so far.

"How you doing, Doodle?" I coo.


"How was the beach?"

"It wuz not good. I got a sunburn. An' de wabes be rude to me. Dey make me fratch my leg!" she answers, indignant.

"The waves... were rude? To you?"

"Yes! Dey smash me an' push me an' den da sand come up and mate my leg go on my uvver leg, and den it fratch me."

My sister fumbles the phone and then explains, lest I think my child more injured than irritated: "When the tide was coming in, the waves got a little rough. They kept knocking her down and she took it kind of personal."

I cackle. Oh, yeah. That sounds like Emerson. This is the girl who famously told me that she was not going to ride the Batman ride at Six Flags, and I couldn't make her, because "Iss my world, mama. You juss' lib in it."

She picked that up from me, joking around with her, and took it seriously. I don't make that joke anymore, but I think the attitude might have stuck.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

PR Queen from the Start

Saturday, June 26, 2010 By

We’re enjoying dinner at a local hibachi restaurant. Emmie loves this place because of “da ninja chefs.” She’s clearly anticipating the show, but upon my request, she dutifully slurps her bowl of soup. Her eyebrows rise.

“Dis is some good soop,” she says, delightedly.

I’m pleased. I’ve been working on getting her to eat more healthy broths, where I can work in vegetables without her objecting to the texture. I introduced her to my Ramen for Grown-ups recipe a couple of weeks back, and she has asked for it several times. I wonder if she likes the clear broth of this simple chicken, onion and mushroom soup, or the hodgepodge of savory ingredients I add to my Ramen.

“I’m glad you like it,” I say. “Which do you like better: Do you this soup, or the noodle soup Mommy makes?”

She doesn’t hesistate when she answers: “I lite dem bofe da same.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

How Facebook Has Changed My Life

Friday, June 25, 2010 By

1. Increased (not improved) Punctuation - Facebook has increased the English language's daily quotient of punctuation. Whereas e.e. cummings (despite the two periods in his name) and his poetic ilk tried to do away with it, FB brought back the exclamation points, colons, and parentheses you see every day. My own use of the semicolon has increased so much that my high school English teachers would be proud. And would still mark me down for improper use. Is there such thing as a semi-colon splice?

2. The A-Hole Policy - If Facebook made porn, it would be "The Hills." Thanks, FB, for the overwhelming douchebaggery that is Spencer. And I love to watch you. The overplayed drama that is reality TV has crept into my life, thanks to Facebook.

3. More Friends, Sort of... - If I don't like you, somehow I still have to deal with you, because of the politics of friending. If I'm friends with your friends, but I don't friend you, it's drama. And, ex-boyfriend, if I don't friend you, I'm "clearly not over" you. And if I do? I still want you. Gah! It used to be possible to get completely away from an ex, so long as you didn't have children together. Or, when bored, seeing them again by fantasizing about them, locked forever at whatever age they were when you broke up. Now that I can see their current profiles, they're just as old and fat as everyone else.

4. The Daily Show, with Nobody - Bye-bye, daily newspapers. Everyone read 75% of your stories 48 hours ago. And if you do the math... wait, I don't have to! I'll just ask my FB friends. One of them will do it for me.

5. Pleasure is Business - I don't need to know your business. No, your real business; the one through which you're trying to sell me stuff. I don't want to be its friend. If I did, I would shop there. Now leave me alone, downtown hair salons. If it ain't fixed by the age of 36, not much else can be done. Just leave it alone.

6. Stalking is the New Norm - "Beep! Holla back. Beep! Holla back. Beep! Holla back. Hey, where are you? Why aren't you returning my phone calls? What do you mean you didn't get my email? Your computer wasn't down. I saw your status update!" Argh! I just don't want to talk to you!

7. More Funny - People I didn't know existed have become very entertaining fixtures in my life. I am thankful for that.

8. Even More Funny - People I did know existed, but hardly ever spoke to, have become very entertaining fixtures in my life. I am thankful for that, too.

9. Fewer Consequences - Some of the people I did know existed are miserable. And I am glad for it. And that reminds me that I'm a bad person. So I'm going to go post a sad status update and let people tell me how great I am. Ahhh... much better. Guilt and shame? Going the way of the Dodo. And those are useful emotions, people. They exist for good reason. Go see episodes of "The Hills" and "Real Housewives" for further clarification on that.

10. More Me - Oh, were you talking about yourself? I wasn't listening. I was waiting for time to talk about me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ground Cover and Lantern Light

I have no one to blame but myself.

"Let's go right now!" Scott exclaimed, when he opened his Father's Day gift a day early. It was a 3-person tent, for family vacations. We all love camping... most of the time.

"Sure!" I answered, brightly, faking enthusiasm. I'd spent the night on a pallet beside Emerson's bed, and although it was only noon, I was already looking forward to our queen-sized dream catcher. I also didn't think he would really go through with it.

EHHH! Wrong! Tell the little lady what her consolation prize is!

Sweat and mosquito bites, that's what!

We had a family dinner planned, so we didn't even get to the campsite until after sunset. We set up camp by headlight. We forgot water. An owl on the hunt almost took my head off (time for a hair cut, maybe?). A skunk had marked nearby territory sometime in the past 24 hours. Our site was 280 miles from the bathrooms, and I had a mild stomach bug.

But we were right by the lake. Walking distance to the swimming beach. The site had a water spigot, and we had empty water bottles in our cars. Emmie was happy to run all over the site looking for stuff to burn in the campfire. We could see more constellations than we could name in the sky.

"What planet is that?" Scott pointed.

"Planet Delta," I joked. "It's ready when you are."


"I dunno. Venus, I'd guess. But it could be a star. The dog star? Isn't it seen in summer all crazy bright?"

"It is!" Emmie exclaimed. "It is the dog star! I can see her three puppies!"

And that was when I started to have fun. I could see the brightness in Scott's eyes, the way he moved around the camp with purpose. I saw him breathe deep of the night air, and lookin' all satisfied with himself. My irritation melted. I'd been faking it – quite successfully – until then, but the two of them together were hilarious! Scott trying to teach Em about nature, + Em arguing "But I already know dat" about almost everything. (I mean, it's incredible how much astronomy they covered in Pre-K this year. Bravo to Ms. Bray and Ms. Colbert. ;-D) He’d try to coax her closer to the water, and she’d complain of sharks, and run off to collect more stuff to burn in the campfire. While he wasn’t looking, she gently lobbed a few pine cones at his behind, and giggled to herself.

Of course, it IS June. It wasn’t long until we started peeling off clothes. In fact, I took Emmie to the final bathroom run of the night in just her pull-up – no shirt, no shoes, no problem. She was totally cool with it.

“Hi, der!” she waved cheerfully, as we passed a senior waiting for her spouse on a bench outside the community bathrooms. The lady chuckled and waved back.

And though I brought sleeping clothes, we ended up in just our underwear in the tent… for a while. It got so obnoxious in there, with Scott and Emmie kicking me in the head all night (I mean, really, did I marry the Tasmanian Devil and give birth to his ninja spawn?) that about 3 a.m. I gave up and went to sleep in my car.

But it was worth it to watch the sunrise over the lake, and to be the only ones on the swimming beach for hours that morning. Emmie practiced her swimming, fish bit us on the legs (why do they do that?), we played sea monster, and picked up “sheshells,” as Em called them. It was a beautiful overnight experience – and almost worth the backache I had the next day.

 Just a stupid Blackberry camera shot, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wolf Pack

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 By

I'm getting out of my car at a gas station downtown, when my skirt hikes up a couple of inches. Thanks, booty-licious. Of course, a crowd of coverall-clad construction workers/house painters are milling around nearby.

"Woo!" they start. "Yeah! Alright!"

I blush, and consider fleeing. I have to walk past them to get inside the store. Crap... Instead, I put on my mental armor and clip past them in my heels.

"Just livin' the stereotype, huh, guys?" I grin warmly, making eye contact with as many as possible before breezing into the store.

I pay for my gas and Diet Coke, then step outside to run the gauntlet again. I plan on asking them to please tell their mothers hello from me. I pause. I walk. I pass. They are silent.

But as I approach my car, I hear one lone voice from the pack: "Sorry..."

It's very much appreciated.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Didn't; But I Thought About it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 By

Scott dropped Emmie by the office at 5 p.m., on his way to cover a meeting of the Augusta Commission. Em was excited to be in a new place, but determined to make continuous noise, rifle through things she shouldn't touch, and generally keep me from getting any further work done that day.

I was trying to smile through her behavior. I am, technically, off work at 5 p.m., and she is only 5 years old. Plus, it only takes 22 muscles to smile, and 37 to frown.

Then I realized that it only takes four muscles to reach out and smack her upside the head. Ahhhh. And it only takes 22 muscles to tell you how that thought made me feel.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mad Isn't Bad

Monday, June 21, 2010 By

Emerson is distraught. Tears course down her cheeks. Her eyes squinch in misery. Her mouth wrenches open in a plaintive wail. My eardrums burst.

"My life is ruiiiiiiiinnned! Dis is da wors' day EBBER!"

"I'm sorry, but it's too late to play with ZeQuan," I tell her. Again. A fresh set of tears spill. If she keeps this up, I may need to build an ark.

"Why won't you won't let me play wif him?!"

"It's almost dark outside. And he's not even home, Emerson," I remind her, gently.

"Why not?!!!"

"I don't know. I do know that it's late. Go put on your jammies, please."


(Sigh) She's been like this for 20 minutes now. It is a Meltdown of Epic Proportions. It's not the worst she's ever had, but my sinus infection sure makes it feel like it.

"Go. Now."

It's 8:30. She's been to vacation Bible school, to McDonald's, to her grandmother's, to the library, and now home. There were lots of activities, new and unfamiliar faces, and information about the world that Mommy and Daddy haven't taught her. Some of it might be contradictory. In short, it's been a long, fun-filled, high-energy day. And now she's exhausted.

She runs to her room with a shriek. I know the shriek in my bones. I feel her kick the door like it was my own shins. I am furious at her behavior, but I will the anger back into the Secret Box of Irrational Resentment that lurks in my heart. There it will fester and give root to future guilt trips about all the sacrifices I've made for her, and how long I was in labor. She doesn't need to know it was only about 20 minutes.

"Moooommmm!" she shrieks.

"I'm sorry, but I can't understand you when you talk like that."

"AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" she screams in sheer frustration. I stifle a giggle. I'm a little ashamed to find parts of her wee fury so damn hilarious. But then, when your child is dancing on the tattered remains of your very last nerve, you take your humor where you find it.

She runs back in, eyes blazing, and stands before me. Every cell in her body vibrates with anger. She reminds me of a pro wrestler before a match. All she needs is bad hair, self-tanner, body oil, and a microphone. I inspect her bedtime attire. I shouldn't tell her what I see. I should let it go. But I can't resist seeing her reaction.

"Your nightgown is on backwards."

She yanks open the collar to examine it, then begins keening and trying to yank it off over her head. Problem is, it's a size too small, but she refuses to let us give it to Goodwill. So her head and one arm stay stuck inside, while she hurls her preschool accusations at me.

"I wish I was a grown-up dat mates all my own choices! I wish you nebber tell me what to do! I wish I was a mom, wif a liddle girl, an' ebbry day I let her play wif her friends and do whatebber she want to do!"

I nod in agreement. I remember all those feelings. I say so. She untangles her arm and stops, glaring at me. The nightgown is still stuck on her head, hanging down her back like a red and green plaid flannel wig. It is delicious. I snicker.

That does it. She draws herself up, her 46-inches stretching to 46-and-a-quarter.

"You. NOT. Goeend. Come. To. My... BIRFDAY PARTY!!"

I decide it's time to stop pushing her buttons. One, it's too easy. Two, it's really immature of me. Three, it's not teaching her the right skills. She needs to learn how to manage her emotions when she's upset. And that means starting with helping her to name them.

"Emerson, that feeling you have in your heart right now?"

She stops, her mouth open, and looks at me. She is surprised.

"That feeling is called 'disappointed.' That's how you feel right now. You can't do what you want to do, and you really, really want to. And it makes your heart hurt, and your stomach feel scrunchy."

Her eyebrows shift back on her forehead. In an instant, she transforms from scowling Tasmanian Devil to wide-eyed Pained Preschooler. This is the Emerson I know.

"That's disappointed. And we all feel it. Mommy feels it when she doesn't do well at work. Daddy feels it when he doesn't get to write the story he wanted. And you feel it when you don't get to play with ZeQuan."

Her eyes well up with tears. But there's no wailing this time. Just sadness. She crumples in my lap.

"And that feeling that you don't want to do anything else? That nothing else can make you happy?" she nods, her eyes big, a single tear sliding from her eye into her hair. "That's called 'stubborn.' It's when you close your heart off to every other happy thing, and only want what you want."

"Stubborn," she repeats, thinking about it. I wait. Her eyes return to me. She waits, too. Oh. She must think I have some wisdom, and stuff. All I was trying to get her to do is to be able to name her feelings, and why she feels them, so maybe in the future, she won't spend her time screaming at me.

"Do you want to know how to make those feelings go away?" I ask.

She nods.

"You think of something else that makes you happy, and you do that thing. Then you get a feeling in your heart that is called 'contentment,'" I explain. "When I do badly at work, I snuggle with you. That makes me feel better. When Daddy doesn't get to write his story, he calls a friend and talks about his feelings. That makes him feel better."

"But I only want to play wif ZeQuan," she moans.

"It's not going to happen tonight. You will have to look around you for new things to make you feel happy in your heart again."

She snuggles for a few minutes, then I tell her to go brush her teeth and get her library books. After she shuts off the water, I hear her humming to herself. Then she races into our bedroom, hops up on the bed, and pats her books.

"I feel happy when we read togedder, Mama," she says. She picks a book from the stack and opens it, still humming. I pick up my book and join her in the bed. The book she chooses for me to read is "Zen Shorts," and it just so happens that many of the stories in it deal with letting go of emotions when they're clouding your thinking. It's the perfect bookend to my clumsy attempt at leading her.

"Dis book was too short," she says, frowning, and then brightens. "Less read it again!"


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Just Desserts

Sunday, June 20, 2010 By

I'm at Earth Fare, getting Scott his celebratory creme brulee.

"Now, it doesn't have the crust on it," the lady says to me. "Is that okay?"

I stare. "Well, then, it's just pudding, isn't it?"

She blinks back at me. "So do you want me to fire it?"

"Yes, please."


I hope she didn't spit in it. Oh, well. It's not my dessert.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's Time To Get Her a REAL Watch

Friday, June 18, 2010 By

"Mama!" Emmie runs into the living room. "My ibbissible watch is pointing to sea monkeys! Dat means iss time ta make da SEA MONKEYS!"

"Well, MY invisible watch says it's late, and we're going to make sea monkeys tomorrow," I retort.

She looks at my arm and frowns: "But you not weareend a watch."

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Thursday, June 17, 2010 By

I had the chance to meet a couple of Facebook friends in REAL LIFE recently. "Real life?" What's that? At my last job, I worked so much that I forgot what people looked like face-to-face! So it was quite a shock to run into Sarah Harper Scott and Mary Anne Symms-Schweser for the first time recently (okay, Sarah, I met you back in March, but whatever) and discover that 1) People are pretty nice when you aren't trying to sell them something; and 2) I really like people!

Both of these ladies are whip-smart, funny, opinionated, warm, and full of self-effacing motherhood anecdotes that they're willing to share. Neither of them looks at me like an octopus landed on my head when my "nonsequiterious" stories hop off the tracks and onto the Tangent Express. Heh. Nonsequiterious. I just made a new word. Or a dinosaur.

Q: How many surrealist painters does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Fish.

Yeah. That's how I am. But they don't even blink.

One story really hit home for me. Mary Anne, currently on bed-rest at MCG for the remainder of her second pregnancy, is mom to almost-three-year-old Brooks.

Like any little almost-three-year-old boy, Brooks' favorite thing right now is fire trucks. And one day, during a round of "I love you THIS much," he found a particularly masculine way of expressing his affection for his mom.

"Mama," he declared. "I lub you fire truck."

He loves her as much as he loves fire trucks. I mean, stop and think about that for a second. The excitement and adoration that kids show for fire trucks - and police cars, ambulances, puppies, Santa Claus - is the kind accompanied by squealing, running in circles, and hysterical laughter. We just don't see that kind of behavior (about us, that is) because they're acclimated to having us around. If they ran around screaming and laughing all the time, we'd accidentally-on-purpose shoot them with a tranquilizer gun.

But moms should remember - and I thank Mary Ann for this reminder - that this is how our children see us. Every night, when Mary Ann's husband gathers Brooks to take him home to sleep, while his mom stays at MCG, he whispers, "'member, mama: fire truck." And every morning, he wakes up loving her just as much.

Here's to all the proud fire truck mamas out there. I appreciate so much your strong personalities, your intelligence, and your fierce commitment to your children. When you share your stories, I learn from you. (And blog them. Heh heh.)

Thanks so much! And send Mary Ann some books or something, y'all. She's taking yet another one for the mom team!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Fastest Insult Known to Man

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 By

Hearing a voice, Emmie runs into the kitchen excitedly.

"Oh," she says, upon seeing her father. "I thought there was a guy in here."

"Hey," Scott protests. "I'm a guy! And I'm in here!"

She shrugs. "No."

And trots away.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dizzy Gillespie she ain't...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 By

Augusta, GA. - Emmie is trying to blow up some balloons, and having a really hard time of it. Suddenly, the balloon gets the best of her. The air pressure reverses, inflating her cheeks.

She frowns, and slowly removes the balloon from her mouth.

"I fink I pull my cheek muscles," she moaned.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Should Just Stop Talking

Sunday, June 13, 2010 By

Augusta, GA. - Emmie and I had just arrived at the club pool, when we saw a small dead bird on the ground, near the rocks. She gasped, hand over heart, and looked at me with enormous, sad eyes.

"Mama! What happen to da bird?"

"He died, sweetie." I didn't want to talk to her about the violence inherent in the (system) circle of life, so I hope she thinks of it as sudden and painless.

"An' den he go up to Heaven?"

"Hope so." Good enough explanation for me.

She squatted down to look at it: "An' den God frowed him back down to da ground?"

"What? No! Honey, God didn't throw the bird back down. His body stayed here. He soul went to heaven."

"His soul?"

"His spirit. The invisible force that makes us all alive." [facepalm] That sounds suspiciously like "Star Wars." Sorry, kid. Ask me later when I regrow the brain cells I killed in college.

She gasped again and whirled around, looking for something. "Inbizzible? He'd a ghost?!"

"A gho- no, honey. He's..."

And then I realized: I didn't have any idea what to tell her. I know what to tell her about what happens to the body when we die. But I don't have a formed opinion about what happens to the "rest" of us.

Do I believe in a Heaven? And, if I do, do I believe that the soul of a bird goes to Heaven? Do I believe that birds have souls? Because I know that the Presbyterian Church does not believe that animals have souls. I know that the Catholic Church believes that they do. Those are the two major religious influences in my life (mom, Presbyterian; dad, Catholic). Gee, thanks for the direct contradiction, religious upbringing.

All the rest of my knowledge about these things is purely academic. Augustine. Atman. Moksha. Descartes. Rigpa. 13 Principles of Faith. I don't have an emotional attachment to any of these ideals.

The only idea that inspires any sentiment in me is: "God, that does not forget the sparrow, would not forget a good dog like Jack." But that's from the "Little House on the Prairie" books! Is my belief system forged by pop culture?! Am I going to find myself explaining horcruxes to her?

"You know what, Emmie? I don't think I have all the answers to these questions. But I think that what's in our hearts and minds keeps going, even when the body dies, and that's part of what we call the soul. The soul is the real us, and it lives in the body..." she furrowed her brow at me. She was not interested in a meaninful discourse on the subject.

"... and I'm not making sense. But I hope that you figure out what you believe, because no one really knows for sure what happens. Including Mommy."

"I know," she declared.

"You do?"

"Yes. When we die, we don't die. We go to see Jesus. And he gibs us a big hug and sayed, 'Hullo! You in Heaven!" And den ders friends, and da friends mate you not be lonely. An' ebbrybody is happy all da time. An' ders ice cream an' candy... an' swimming!"

"That would be awesome," I said.

And she grinned: "Less go swim!"


We trotted towards the pool - but she suddenly turned and sprinted back to the bird carcass. She crouched down beside it, and before I could shriek at her not to touch it, I heard her whisper gently to it.

"Bye-bye, little birdie. I sorry you die. We see you later."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pray that you don't get hooked!

Friday, June 11, 2010 By

Augusta, GA. - One of the things I love about living on the South side - besides the inevitable "SouthSIDE" people like to holler (seriously, that never gets old), and the fact that we have our own theme song - is the entrepreneurial spirit evident everywhere you look.

On Saturdays, it's like a Turkish bazaar! On about every corner, there's someone selling their wares to passing traffic. Some of them - like the purse dealer at the corner of 15th and MLK - have a regular spot with regular clientele.

But some pop up only now and then. One of my favorites is Seed Master's Unlimited, at the corner of Lumpkin and Richmond Hill roads. The owner's name is owner Barbara Chaney. Y'all might have seen her booth on Washington Road during Masters Week.

I don't know her story. But I DO know that she makes the most amazing pralines I've ever put in my mouth. She calls the "praylines." I don't know why, except that I pray she'll be there next week, too. Cause I'm gonna need some more real soon.

Chaney may not know much about spelling, but she sure knows desserts. Y'all stop by and try some. You won't regret it!

That's what happens when Paula Deen blows up

Friday, June 11, 2010 By

"Mama, why you stabbeend dose botatoes?"

"If you don't poke holes, they'll blow up in the microwave."

"Why don' you want dem to blow up?"

"Why would you want them to blow up?"

"So it would rain botato salad."

"That is a fantastic idea."

Iron Chef... Harlem?

Friday, June 11, 2010 By

Augusta, Ga./Harlem, Ga. - I got us into it. "Anytime you need us," I said to Lee Ann at Red Oak Manor in Harlem about their Iron Chef competition.

It's a beautiful place, run by beautiful people. The food is good, the property gorgeous. And did I mention the awesome people? Lee Ann messaged me. Did I want to compete? Sure!

Then I changed jobs, and promptly forgot about it. The secret ingredient is corn meal, Lee Ann informed us, about a week early. And I promptly forgot about it again.

"This is what we're cooking on Thursday," Scott told me.

"What's Thursday?" I asked, oblivious.

He glared at me. Then he told me the menu he had devised.

"That sounds horrible," I laughed.

He glared some more. I was being an ass.

"I mean, that's gonna be awesome! They're all going down!"

We were late getting there, so we were late getting started. We didn't know we could prep some dishes in advance - like pre-chopping, or mixing a batter. We were way behind, and first-timers against two well-seasoned teams. It was hot as blazes, and I had no idea what we were doing - besides running around and sweating.

In fact, sweating was maybe the only thing we had in common with the other competitors. Even my SHINS were sweating! But the others had done this before, had prepped a little in advance, and - and this is REALLY important - had brought enough food for everyone. LOL!

But we worked it out. Not enough buttermilk? Mix in some eggs. Not enough fish batter flavoring? Create our own with spices from dry storage. Serving spinach and cantaloupe porridge for the soup course?

"Well, you can't fix that," I thought. "Just send it out and move on to the next thing."

Our fellow competitors were so much fun. We shared beer and wine, tried each others' dishes, laughed at our mistakes. And sweated some more.

Scott and I were definitely out-techniqued. They made fresh pico de gallo. Corn fritters from scratch. Pork medallions that melted in your mouth.

"Oh, we so lost already," I crowed, after tasting something melt-in-your-mouth awesome. And I was okay with that. It was a great experience.

We served up fried green tomatoes with a butternut squash-rice-something on top. The aforementioned Soup of Insanity. Fried fish with mango chutney and asparagus.

In the end, his gamble paid off. He won the People's Choice and Judges' awards. And even more of my respect.

He also won himself more time in our own kitchen. But I'll clean up after him. Just as soon as he buys me the industrial dishwasher they have out there!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Found Dog! Please Call!

Saturday, June 05, 2010 By

Scott found this older male Beagle wandering in the middle of Peach Orchard Rd. Please call us if you recognize him!

UPDATE: While we didn't find this sweet older dog's family, despite going door to door in his suspected neighborhood, we did find him a new family, thanks to Commissioner Jerry Brigham and his son and daughter-in-law. One less to go to animal control.