Monday, December 27, 2010

Last Christmas, I made you a pie

In case you missed the memo, I'm kind of into baking. As in, I dream about opening a bakery one day -- I may even have a name for my bakery picked out. (The first three letters of my last name are PIE, after all)

Problem is, once you start getting into baking, you become accustomed to your own tools. Because I don't settle for mediocre baked goods -- I use a digital scale to measure flour, people. And right now, I don't have access to my kitchen (it's still in a trailer in the driveway). This is all to say that to me, the idea of making pie crust without a rolling pin, pastry blender, food processor, or digital scale is ... well ... it's just not happening.

So for Christmas I ... I ... this is hard to admit.

I used store-bought crust.

Which I then filled with delicious Martha Stewart chocolate pecan filling. And when I had to use 4 oz of chocolate chips from my 12 oz bag, I made do.

The pie, by the way, was pretty good. But the crust about made me gag. Cardboard. I've heard that Whole Foods makes a good pie crust, but there ain't no Whole Foods out here. I have my choice between a crappy Food Lion and Wal-Mart. And, I hate to admit this, but I prefer the Wal-Mart. (I can't believe I'm already a Wal-Mart shopper. The south really does change you.)

Otherwise, my dinner was splendid. And while I know this will pain certain of my family members, I have to admit this: I've never really loooved mashed potatoes. They're, you know, fine. I guess. Just a vehicle for getting gravy into my gullet, really. But mashed SWEET potatoes? With hot milk and butter and salt and pepper and a few tablespoons of brown sugar and absolutely no effing marshmallows? Creamy, fluffy, delicious. I'm never going back.

And another thing. Please don't even try telling me that my dog isn't basically the prettiest dog ever. (And lately, shockingly, she's been a downright good girl. Probably because we keep shipping her off to live with strangers and then not returning for a week. I'm guessing she's afraid that next time, we won't come back to get her, which I suppose is a reasonable fear.)

Poor Kaya. She's the sweet one, but just not as photogenic. Always in the shadow of little sister. In other news, Roomie and I have decided that Atta Boy food is totally sexist. So we're going to make our own dog food, called Atta bitch.

In other random Christmas news, how rad are those vintage Season's Greetings glasses? I kind of love them. (Note, too, the hand-hewn, salvaged cypress bar top. Ahem.)

And guess who woke up to a actual show falling out of the sky and sticking to the ground the day after Christmas?

Of course, it was a mess of slush by noon. Whatever. I'm hoping for more snow, but mostly because folks here are so terrified of snow they're apt to shut down roads and businesses, so I could actually get a snow day. It'd be a nice change from Bend, where they run school buses across sheets of ice in blizzards, and where I worked for the newspaper. The actual apocalypse wouldn't get me out of work. In fact, the apocalypse would sell some damn papers. They'd probably call us all in on our days off to cover that shit.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reasons for not blogging

Here's me: I get up before dawn every day (on a rare occasion even early enough to go to the gym) and then leave the house while the rest of the household members are just waking. Then I drive 1 hour and 15 minutes to work. Then, they still expect me to work all day (seriously!). After all that, I have to drive back home. Guess how long that takes? Yeah. A long freaking time. Next up: Cooking dinner. (Please don't make me explain why I cook dinner for Roomie despite my horrific days. Trust me, he's more than earning his keep). Then there's eating. Then dishes. After all that, I'm ready for bed. Except I'm poor right now, so I've been doing some freelance writing to make extra cash. So before I go to bed, I work on that.

I know. Woe is me. I'm the big dummy who decided to move across the country, thus deliberately making my life harder. Boo and a bigole hoo.

However. I have upsides to report. Writing freelance trivia stories is the SHIT, compared with writing for a newspaper. I mean, it's trivia. Definition: trivial. So it doesn't have to be timely. No one has ever asked me for a nut graf. And attribution?  Not really a huge whoop. It's HEAVEN compared with newspaper writing.

Also, my mom and dad sent me a box the size of a medium-sized dog. The box was stuffed with gifts and hand made cookies, candies and dessert breads. The box gushed love. The stuff was practically seeping out of the seams. I didn't know you could mail love like that. I thought it was restricted, like mailing paint thinner.

Oh, also. I had a birthday. I'm 30. I went to Charleston. In Charleston, I did some fun stuff, like saw sea turtles. Right up close and personal in little tanks at the sea turtle hospital at the Charleston aquarium. We were instructed not to put our hands on the edges of the tanks, lest they snap off our fingers. They were hungry.

Hewo wittle turtle! OK, I kid. This sucker was like 250 pounds.

This was the scotch sampler at this sweet cigar bar upstairs from a tobacco shop in Charleston. I like scotch. Scotch, scotch, scotch.

I also like a crab shack that has buckets set into the table for your crab shells. It's just damn convenient. (And yes, his sweater says "COMPASSION" because he's the BEST kind of hippie. The kind who's nice and likes animals, but still eats them, and who also smells good.)

And another thing that's maybe small but perhaps also worth mentioning. Things? For me? Since moving? Pretty hard. But the guy I moved here for with? Totally, 100%, worth it. Seriously. Want to know how strong your relationship is? Try living together with your partner in his parent's living room for awhile.

Actually, you know what? Don't do that. It's terrible.

In other news, here is a weird thing about the south: Girls here are really into monograming everything. I'd been told this more than once before I figured something out. I'd seen cars all over the place with these stickers across the back windows. The stickers were usually pink, curling cursive letters. Three letters. I kept thinking they must be letters signifying high schools or sororities. But that's because I'm stupid. You've figured it out, haven't you? Yes. Girls here monogram their CARS. With big stickers in ugly, overly-feminine fonts.

And no, I didn't get one for my birthday.

Oh, one more thing about southern girls: If they don't like you, they can be MEAN. And, well, if you're doubting my sincerity, let's say I'm a pretty keen judge of mean, having practiced the art misself. I'll say this: I'd think long and hard before starting any sort of shit with these southern girls. That is, if you're given the chance to avoid it. I'm not entirely convinced it's possible.

Related note: I have a new favorite new phrase, one I'd love to try out in a sentence: "Now, I don't mean to be ugly, but ..." and then say something suuuper mean/insulting/likely to start a fist- and/or knife-fight.

So that's it for now.

God bless America.

Wait, no! Sorry! I mean, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dear South Carolinians,

I think I hate you. Well, not all of you. I just think I hate it when you drive. Because when you drive, you are so dumb. For real.

You know what most Oregonians hear when someone in the next lane turns on a turn signal?

"Hey man, can you let me over?"

And most Oregonians then say, "Sure buddy. Come on."

Then they take their foot off the gas.

Then the person with the turn signal on gets over. Sometimes they give a little wave.

Seriously. Most of the time, this is the way it works. You hear that South Carolina? I'm not making this up. We have something called a "courtesy wave" out west. Check it out.

Here's what it seems South Carolinians (or is this all east coasters?) hear when they see a turn signal:

"Hey. I'm about to get over. You don't want that. HIT THE GAS! NOW! FAST! BEFORE I CAN GET OVER!"

No, seriously, assholes. You were fine going 55. Why the eff do you need to go 75 in the right lane now that I have my turn signal on? Should I stop using turn signals? Why are you doing this to me? Why are you all such jerks?

Also, stop honking all the time. Y'all honk more than I do, and I'm a jerk by Oregon standards. For instance, you, lady in front of Ruby Tuesday last week: We are all going to get salad bar. I was waiting for a pedestrian to cross. I had my signal on. Do you know what that meant in that situation? It meant, "Hey, man. I'm about to park. Gimme a second, OK buddy?" It did not mean "Hey! I'm in your way! I intend to remain in your way unless you HONK AT ME ANGRILY!"

And by the way, I think it's funny when people out here act incredulous when I tell them that I moved HERE from the west coast? Like the west coast is some unattainable land of milk and honey. And I get it. Yes, the west coast is rad and very far away from here. But do you know part of the reason the west coast is rad? ... Yes, the mountains, sure. OK, yes, the rugged pacific Northwest. And I guess the relative lack of humidity is amazing. Oh, and all the liberals.

But you know what I'm starting to think really makes all the difference in the quality of life?

Well, truth be told, it's our vegetables. Collard greens are gross. And what you people do to lima beans should be illegal. I mean, I don't know how you eat that stuff. Seriously, I'm guessing people out here just don't eat a lot of real vegetables. I mean, are y'all kind of stopped up all the time? Is that why you're such grumps on the road?

But other than that: The courtesy wave is what makes my home so very, very special. Try it. If someone in traffic does something nice to you, give 'em a little wave. Of course, first, you'll have to get someone to LET YOU THE FUCK OVER.

So, good luck with that, I guess.