Friday, June 29, 2007
HEY EUREKA POLICE DEPT. CAR #44.....
Because you don't look like you're even old enough to drive yet, I've got some helpful tips for you while cruising old town.
* The big word "stop" on that funny-shaped red sign at the corner of Third and E means that you should stop your car.
* When there is a group of people crossing the street in the crosswalk, it is customary to also stop your car then and wait for them to cross.
* It is NOT customary, especially when this group consists of three people with disabilities, to not stop your car but instead swerve around them, missing one by mere inches.
Thanks for your time.
And on another Old Town note: Woooooo hoooooooooo! It's a carnival!
In the empty lot by the boardwalk at 1st and D streets. What a dark, seedy and absolutely perfect place to show some carny love. Who's buying my cotton candy?
Thursday, June 28, 2007
It's a hot one here in Humboldt. Sticky, sultry, almost tropical feeling and most definitely sexy. It's days like this where I have a hard time focusing because my mind is set on one thing, and one thing only.
I've thought about it all morning, fantasized about it through my lunch hour and yearned for it all afternoon. And now I've worked myself into such a frenzy that one man just simply isn't enough. I need two, and I know just the two that I need.
These two men have satisfied and comforted me as only they can through many a heartbreak, regrettable drunken incident and unfortunate wardrobe choice. They're always available, ready, and they never let me down. Many have tried to take their place, but in the end, I always come back to these two.
Their names, you ask? Their first names are all you need to know. Ben. And Jerry.
And this day is suited for nothing else but Ben and Jerry's country peach cobbler ice cream.
With the first spoonful, a refreshing burst of icy peach lingers on my tongue. With the next, a river of juicy peach filling dances down my throat. And the third contains the really good stuff - the true naughty bits - the cinnamon dusted chunks of delectable cobbler crust.
Finally - a delicious climax to a day fraught with sweltering anticipation.
Number of deer seen: 14
Number of times stopped by cows in the road: 3
Number of times stopped by peacocks in the road: 1
Number of fantasies about hot opinionated bloggers: at least 7
Number of curves from Malfunction Junction to Ferndale on Wildcat Road: I stopped counting at 100
Number of coffee spills into cleavage: 3
Number of swear words issued at cattle truck driving 10 miles-an-hour under the speed limit: 5
Number of times wondering, "What the hell are these huge orange things in the highway for, and why do they go all the way to Eureka?": 2
Number of daydreams about cal-trans workers behind huge orange things: 1, well maybe 2, but that last one doesn't really count.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
There is no denying the indisputable truth that whenever my cousin Kris and I get together we are a force to be reckoned with. We are like identical cousins born 11 months apart. We even sound the same (as many boyfriends and husbands found out the hard way). We can go on for hours about the subtle differences in goat cheese and how best to use it in a yummy new recipe or which ABBA member we should dress up as for Halloween (by the way, this year I get to be Agnetha). We crack ourselves up with the crazy ideas (literally millions) that spew forth that we are sure could work if only given a proper chance and a lot of elbow grease.
Now you, dear reader, will be included in this inner circle formerly of two. Here is a condensed version of a recent visit back to the Motherland of Humboldt.
******DISCLAIMER*****To the men in our lives-the following is not a reflection on you or your current/past performances. Any resemblance to the following descriptions is in no way factual but merely coincidental. We love and, more importantly, NEED our "Saturday Nights" (see previous postings).
Keri: You know what would be funny?
Keri: They should make a TV series called "Reality Porn".
Keri: It would be like- "Hey baby, tonight we are gonna do it MISSIONARY STYLE!!! Oh yah, you like it like that!" And then both people get all sweaty and their fat bellies rub together and make that farting sound. At one point they bump their heads together trying to get their underwear off and start cracking up. Then she gets a cramp in her hip as she realizes that she hasn't shaved her legs in 3 or 4 days. It lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes and then she complains that she always has to sleep in the wet spot.
Kris: Oh my God! That would be hilarious!
Keri: I know!!!
At this point, one runs to the bathroom for fear of peeing on herself, the other one pours another Limoncello.
Welcome to the family!!!!
I visited the Old Town Farmer's Market yesterday on my lunch break hoping to find some pie cherries. Over the weekend I saw the movie "Waitress" and have been dying ever since to make an "On-August-11-I'm-going-to-make-a-promise-to-be-with-one-man-
for-the-rest-of-my-life-help-me-Jesus" peach/cherry pie. With lattice top so that you can see the inner mess through the tidy-looking exterior.
One booth had some particularly fine-looking cherries, but they weren't marked, so I asked the grower if any of them were for pie. With a slight lip-curl of distaste he said, "Well...none of them are the kind of cherries that people say you're SUPPOSED to use for pie...but I prefer using a sweeter cherry in a pie anyway; that way I don't have to add any sugar." He doesn't want to use sugar in a pie? What kind of crazy talk is this??!
After work Squirrel strongly suggested that it was about time to go get our marriage license, so we headed over to the courthouse. Just the thought of actually going through this first legal step caused my palms to start sweating immediately, and my lungs began to feel like they were rejecting the oxygen I was trying to get to them.
Being married is something I have experience with but have never actually mastered the skills necessary to be proficient at. My practice marriage, to a man who would go to eight different grocery stores to get the absolute best deal on everything on his shopping list even if it meant driving 30 extra miles, lasted almost four years. My near-miss marriage, to a man who said the phrase "Git-r-done" regularly, was canceled four days after I sent out the invitations. My mother has not yet gotten over the embarrassment.
But I shouldn't let these unfortunate incidents color my world, right? Squirrel is a completely different type of animal. He's smart, witty, open-minded, super cute, kind, brave, eccentric, fun, responsible, curious, plus he's got a huge...
He actually enjoys my quirks and puts up with my mouthy opinions. I knew that Squirrel was perfect for me two weeks after I met him, and I've been waiting for him to figure out how perfect I am for him ever since. And I guess he finally has.
So I took a deep breath and entered the dingy funky-smelling courthouse elevator. We needed to get to the 5th floor, but the highest number on the panel was 4. Huh. We pushed it anyway, the arrow pointed up, and the elevator started to move. Ding. The doors opened, and we almost stepped out into....the basement. We both looked at each other in confusion. Wasn't the arrow pointing up?
The doors closed, and again I pushed the "4" button. The arrow pointed up; there was a slight jolt and then movement. Alright, now we were getting somewhere. Ding. The doors opened on the 2nd floor, but there was no one there to get on. With a heavy sigh coupled with an eyeroll, I wiped the drops from my forehead and pushed the "4" button again with my shaky finger. The doors closed and the arrow pointed up...slight jolt....movement. Ding. The doors opened, and we stepped out into...the basement.
Squirrel looked at me with wry amusement. "I always thought that the people who work here could be described in the phrase, 'the elevator doesn't go to the top floor,' but I didn't realize it described the actual elevator as well." Almost hyperventilating, it occurred to me that perhaps this was a very large sign.
To make a long and convoluted story a little shorter, eventually we got out, got into another elevator followed by an additional elevator and finally found ourselves at the "marriage license" counter on the fifth floor. My usual coping technique during stressful situations is to imagine everyone around me in assless chaps, but in this case it just didn't work.
So panicked I had started to form tears in my eyes, I grabbed Squirrel's hand as the clerk went to print out our documents. "This marriage thing is going to be alright, isn't it?" I whispered to him.
He looked at me with completely confident deep brown eyes and replied, "It's going to be quite a bit better than just alright."
The cherries are still in the fridge, but I haven't made the pie yet. I think it needs a different name.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
At the urging of Carol, I've decided to share the secret family recipe for the yummiest summer drink imaginable - limoncello. Keep in mind that you can make this recipe with vodka, but Keri and I come from a family who pronounces "Willow Creek" as "Willa Crick," so we use 190-proof pure grain alcohol. Sorry boys, we're already taken.
Here you go:
Using a peeler or microplane, remove the peels from twelve organic lemons and 1 organic lime. (You've gotta use organic otherwise the nasty chemicals will leach into your booze. Blech.)
Place the peels into an airtight container like a big mason jar and cover with one 750 ml. bottle of Everclear. Put the jar in a cupboard, let it sit, and shake it occasionally until the alcohol turns bright yellow and the peels have barely any color left in them. With Everclear this usually takes two or three days - with vodka it takes a couple of weeks.
Filter through a coffee filter or cheesecloth into a large bottle or jar and press down to remove all the alcohol and oils that you can from the peels.
Put four cups of sugar and four cups of water in a saucepan. Lightly boil this until the sugar is dissolved. Let this mixture sit until it's cool, then add it to the strained alcohol (if you add it to the alcohol while it's hot, the mixture will turn cloudy.) Some people say that you need to then let this mixture sit for another couple of days, but I don't really see the point in this.
You're all done! You can add filtered water or more simple syrup if it's too strong for you.
Limoncello tastes great straight from the freezer. We add it to lemonade, ice tea, seltzer water and fruit juices. We make a lovely martini with citrus vodka, limoncello and a scoop of lemon sorbet on top (that one's DANGEROUS.) It's also great poured over ice cream, splashed over pound cake and slowly drizzled down someone's sleek muscular abdomen.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Finally - the cupcakes! After our frightening adventures in the wilderness, Keri and I came to a quick conclusion that a little baking therapy was in order. And that it must, of course, include chocolate.
I'm a scratch baking kind of girl - organic butter, high-quality chocolate, real Mexican vanilla. I'd rather have an invasive medical procedure without anesthesia while being preached at by Pat Robertson than serve someone a cake topped with that nasty, tongue-coating frosting made from Crisco. But in this case, instant gratification was definitely more important than gourmet quality.
At our grandparents' house in Samoa, there was always a crystal bowl filled with wrapped candy sitting on the coffee table. Keri's favorite was the triple-layered coconut neapolitans, and mine was the chocolates filled with fruit cream - especially the ones with the delicious orange filling. It was just these candies that I thought of as I opened the cupboard and saw a box of Trader Joe's chocolate orange cake mix. Perfect. I mixed up the cupcakes while Keri whipped up a lovely orange juice glaze. In about a half-hour we were happily licking sweet chocolate crumbs and tart citrus icing off our fingers. That once-uncomfortable feeling of having narrowly escaped tragedy somehow mixed with the lusciousness in our stomachs and became something more akin to a fuzzy daydream.
While much better than typical grocery store cake mixes, Trader Joe's still fell a little flat. The cake itself was a bit dry - possibly due to slight overbaking, but more likely to not having enough additional moistening ingredients. Next time I try it, I'll doctor it up with some sour cream or yogurt and extra vanilla. The real dried orange bits in the cake were delicious, but the chocolate chunks were flat-tasting and sparse. Keri's glaze - a mix of orange juice, confectioner's sugar and water was divine.
I like to make cupcakes in cute little souffle cups. They're sturdy, and you don't have to use muffin tins, so you can bake a lot more at once. My curmudgeonly volunteer taste-tester said that they looked like specimen cups and griped that they weren't as easy to eat as with regular cupcake papers.
You can probably guess who won't be getting any more cupcakes in the near future.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
I have a fantastic view of a notorious watering hole here in my little home-away-from-home in Eureka. Several times a day I see cars driven by men pull into the parking lot. They get out of their cars and knock on the black door located in the back corner. A woman usually answers it, but I can never tell if it's the same woman or several different women. Sometimes the man goes inside. Sometimes the woman comes out and gets in his car. Some people might speculate about what they think is happening here, but I'm just merely making observations. I wonder if I should break out the zoom lens?
We both slammed the doors of the car and sat shakily trying to breathe for several minutes. As soon as I could get a steady hand on the steering wheel, I turned the car around and began the descent back down the mountain. With the windows open and the smell of the evergreen needles wafting in, I could almost forget our narrow escape.
I was just about to turn on some roller-skating-in-the-driveway-in-my-Joan-Jett-headband music when a movement from the woods caught the corner of my eye, and I heard a rustling sound near the edge of the road. Choosing to ignore it, I remained looking straight ahead. And then I heard Keri say the words that every girl loathes to hear while in the dark forest,
"What the FUCK was THAT???"
Apparently, we had disturbed a giant snake in his journey across the road. Keri said that it was about the diameter of a stop sign pole, although my partner Squirrel says that it got bigger every time she told the story. Boys. She watched it rise above the road in a writhing, angry snake dance and slither off into the trees. I looked at her incredulously. "How'd we get to Jurassic Park?"
Rolling up the windows and locking the doors, I continued down the hill and was ecstatic to see the open pasture and my cute little house - where only birds, deer, bats and the occasional mischievous raccoon or possum frolic nearby.
Done with exploring for the day, a little baking therapy was definitely in order.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
- Never, turn on the jets before there is enough water to cover them. (This makes a horrible sound that might, in fact, wake up the sleeping grandpa directly below)
- If bubblebath is going to be used, only put in 1/100th of what you normally would.
I can honestly say that I have never seen so many bubbles in my whole life. Remember when you saw that episode of the Brady Bunch and the bubbles were coming out of the washing machine and Alice was freaking out because they were covering the floor? Well, multiply that by 50. "The Man" and I had to get out on several occasions (covered in a full body suit of white) for fear of bubble asphyxiation. Large arm-filled scoops of the white meringue had to be relocated to the shower. Slippery trails, similar to what is left by a slug, were all over the floor. We eventually decided to shut off the jets, get out, and start our Saturday night. Foreplay is overrated.
Suitably impressed with the graveyard, Keri wanted to see more of this great land, so we headed up the mountain toward Southmayd Ranch. It's an eerie drive - dark, wooded, steep - there is a patch of trees that seems to have been afflicted with a disease at one point as they appear black, dead and decidedly ominous. Once you reach the top of the mountain, the sky opens up, and there is an absolutely gasp-inducing view of the valley below. A small house sits at the top of this road with a deck that juts out over the side of the mountain. The house is very rustic - faded wood siding and a variety of different-sized windows. It looks like it was pieced together from parts of other houses abandoned long ago. There used to be a young couple that lived there, but on this day, there was no sign of life at all. The yard was overgrown, and from the little bit that we could see through the dusty windows, the place looked empty. We stopped the car, and Keri said to me with the persuasiveness of one skilled at peer pressure, "You know you want to break in and look inside."
We opened the gate at the top of the driveway and began walking toward the house. As we got close, I stood on my tiptoes trying to get a look at the inside. Not being able to see much, I continued walking past the house to try to get a look in the side windows. Keri, on the other hand, opened the front gate and began heading down the hill toward the deck. She had decided that the best way to see the house would be to scale the deck and get in through the screen door.
I stood watching her, admiring the fact that her six-foot willowy legs could easily climb the wooden posts while my short and stout ones are chronically planted to the earth. She had just about reached the deck when suddenly a noise came bellowing from the shadows underneath. It sounded like the whoosh of a gas heater being turned on followed by the deepest, most resonant growl I have ever heard, and I got the distinct impression that it was a territorial warning. We both froze in place. My eyes darted around wildly looking for large rocks, sticks, super hero powers or a strapping ranch hand with a big gun, but there was no such luck. Keri turned to me and said with extreme calm, "Did you hear that?" And suddenly we both realized we were definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time. She turned and got out of the yard as quickly as she could, and we both walked back to the car swinging our arms above our heads and talking very loudly, which is what I've always been told to do when accidentally crossing the path of a mountain lion. Of course, we're not sure that it WAS a mountain lion......