Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's Like a Party Every Saturday

My Saturday so far: the dump, the junkyard(where I managed to snap this picture without being too conspicuous about my documenting of Redneck America), and . . . tulips. Next up: shearing sheep. The excitement is all too much.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Enough with the Words--Have Some Photos

Let's Talk Fashion

Or rather, my lack thereof.

There was a time, a brief but uncomfortable time, when I wore pantyhose every day. I used to work in politics (AND NEVER, EVER WILL AGAIN--was that emphatic enough?) and I had to dress up to impress all the important (and lecherous and stupid) state senators . Wearing pantyhose in the 110 degree Phoenix heat was bad enough, but the worst part was the heels every day. I think it permanently crippled me.

My next job didn't have a dress code. In fact, the president of the company regularly wandered around barefoot, which I found quite disgusting. I really hope he didn't go into the bathroom barefoot. ANYWAY, even though I didn't have to dress up, I usually dressed fairly nicely. I never wore my running shoes to work, for example, which was a common practice among my colleagues. Mostly this was because I had nice clothes left over from my more professional days, so I kept wearing them. But also, I like to dress nicely. Makes me more confident. And that's a big help when you're working as a proofreader and your primary duty is pointing out other people's mistakes. Proofreaders are very popular. Snort.

ANYWAY AGAIN, now that I don't work outside the house, and do an awful lot of manual labor around the house, my clothes have gotten pretty pathetic. Jeans and sweatshirts feature heavily. Shoe shopping now involves satisfying one criteria: Shoes that won't sink into the ground. That pretty much rules out heels. Not that I'm crying over that. But the problem is, people are always coming to our house. UPS, various family members, visitors to see the sheep, workmen, total strangers who want to exclaim about our peonies by the road (that actually happened), the list goes on and on. And I feel at a disadvantage when I greet them wearing, as I am today, jeans with a patch on the butt, a stained t-shirt, and a really geeky straw hat. How am I supposed to feel confident in that?

I have two options, as I see it: Refuse to do any work outside so I can wear heels and non-denim pants, or barricade the driveway so no one can come up it.

I'm thinking barricade. Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Electrified Salami Revisited

The Electrified Salami post was one of the most commented-on posts I've written so far. But I just know you're all thinking (because I can hear the voices in your head as well as my own), "Sure, electrified luncheon meat is all very amusing, but did it work, or was it just for the entertainment value?"

Let me assure you, it was both effective and entertaining. I can't tell you what a relief it is to be able to leave the dogs out to play and not run to the front porch every time someone honks their horn on the road. The dogs are out being picturesque on the front lawn right now, gazing majestically out at the road, but I know they're not in the road. And for this, I will always be grateful to the hot salami ("hot salami," snicker). And to A., whose evil mind hatched the plot to begin with.

The question that people always ask us when we tell this story (and we've told it a lot, because there's just something inherently funny about salami, especially salami with a current) is, "So, will your dogs still eat salami?" The answer to that is most emphatically YES. They almost took my fingers off along with the salami when I tested them on this, so I'm seeing no hesitation. And that makes me happy, because I was feeling a little guilty about depriving the dogs of the pleasures of salami (wait, isn't that what we did when we spayed them? AHAHAHAHA!!) (The inappropriate salami jokes are really never ending, aren't they?).

I think I should end this post now before I say anything else about salami that I'll regret in the morning.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Meditation and Manual Labor

A random (and I do mean random) selection of thoughts that flitted through my head as I push-mowed this morning:
  • I wonder what I should post about this morning.
  • I bet everyone would love to hear about the voices in my head while I mow!
  • I should've put sunscreen on my shoulders.
  • How many insects are being chopped up in the mower blades at this very moment?
  • Too bad you can't eat grass clippings--roughage and protein all in one, if you count the pulverized insects.
  • What should I make for dinner?
  • Stuffed portobello mushrooms. And risotto, but only if I feel like it.
  • Oops. Running over sticks is not so good for the blade, as I recall.
  • Ew. Smelly. (While mowing the dog pen and all the turds hidden in the grass.)
  • Damn, another stick.
  • Is there a flat piece of land anywhere on this damned property?
  • No, no there is not.
  • Jesus, I am so out of shape.
  • Black walnuts are probably not good for the blade either. Perhaps I should have raked first.
  • Were there wild onions in the middle of the lawn last year?
  • I wonder how much the neighbors pay the guy who mows their lawn.

Answer to that last one: too much. Which is why I have a long summer of mowing ahead with only my thoughts for company. God help me.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm Not Worthy

Remember the Dutch Baby? Impressive, right? Y'all*, that was amateur hour compared to the display the MiL and her sisters created yesterday for their mother's birthday tea. I may be prone to exaggeration at times (shocking!), but I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that this went way beyond any fancy catered event I have ever attended. And to prove it, here's the food roll call (and a photo, which is once again pathetically bad):

Quiche Lorraine, vegetarian quiche, pork/venison/mushroom pies, pastry puffs stuffed with chicken salad, egg salad sandwiches, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, biscuits (this was my sole contribution--go me!) with butter and homemade raspberry jam (oh, I guess I made this too, last summer), cranberry bread, fruit cake, apricot cookies, shortbread, chocolate cake, coconut cupcakes, AND cheesecake. Plus coffee and tea. And beer and red wine and white wine and sherry, because we want our alcohol, even at a tea.

Keep in mind, please, that none of this was store-bought; pie shells, cheesecake, breads--everything was from scratch. These women do not mess around.

Once again, I see that there's no way I'm ever going to be this kind of domestic goddess. The MiL has announced her intention of having a big party for her 60th birthday. But no pressure, right?You think I could get her sisters to cater it for me?

*A note about the use of the word "y'all" in blogs: I've seen it used by people who are so clearly not Southern and would never use this word in real life, but have picked it up as some sort of blogging style. This really bugs me. So I feel the need to establish my credentials: My mother is from New Orleans and I spent the first 5 years of my life in the Deep South. I don't have the accent, but I do use "y'all" in my everyday speech. For which I take some shit up here in Yankee country, but it's how I talk, so it's how I write too, sometimes. I feel better having explained myself. Because I'm sure you really cared.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Landed Gentry

That's us. Excuse me while I go laugh myself sick in the corner with all the dust bunnies.

We may live like rednecks most of the time, but when called upon, we put on a good show. Our house is cold and constantly in need of repairs, but it comes with some great perks. Antique furniture and china overflowing the cupboards, for instance. These sorts of things are the benefits of living in a house occupied by the family for 6 generations. So if we put a modest amount of effort into cleaning up the worst of the pet fur and stow away the stacks of magazines and books that normally breed like rabbits around here, the house looks really impressive. Impressive enough to fool people for a few hours anyway.

Which is all we need today, as we get ready for a rather large birthday tea the MiL is hosting for her mother's 85th birthday. Only the MiL is courageous enough to host over 50 people here, and feed them all. My inclination would be to put out some chips and dip and call it a day, because I'm lazy like that. But of course, the MiL is on a whole other level. She's making little pastry puffs with chicken salad in them, for chrissake. It's a good thing one of us has some class.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go clear away the sheep tail docking equipment that's been sitting in the dining room for a month now. Classy indeed. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, what my life has become . . .