Thursday, December 27, 2007


Deep breath in...deep breath out. Focusing on my happy place where I feel loved and safe.


After a holiday flurry of shopping malls, bank card overdraft fees and my big girl pants pinching me in the waist, I can finally take a moment and breathe. It's OK, you can do it too. RELAX PEOPLE. The worst is over.

Today we woke up, looked out the window and saw the above picture out our front door. It's amazing the calm that a good snow brings. It's like the Creator's way of breaking out the bottle of white out and going to town on a messy world.

I wish we all had a big bottle of white out for the screw-ups in our lives. I know the first thing I would ex-husband. Then my husband's ex-wife. Then my job and those pesky neighbors that know too much of our business. A couple of lawyers would be gone too. The war and those stupid holi "duh" car commercials. Oh yeah, and snotty family members who think they are more cultured and better than the rest of us.

Uh hummm. Sorry, Dad's famous Tom and Jerry mix with rum and brandy is starting to kick in.

Well, here's to the New Year and fresh starts. And here's to my new sock monkey flannel pj's with the elastic waist. It happens to be my new apparel for the next few days.

Nothing says sexy slut like flannel sock monkeys. Am I right boys?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Cultural Assimilation

My nephew Jack came all the way from New York to celebrate Christmas in Fortuna.

Less than 24 hours later, he's gone native.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Absolute Best Time to get your Saturday Night....(Revised. Again.)

is after you publicly announce your lack of Saturday Night for all the world to see.

Posting about such a personal matter is bad. Very bad. And naughty. Very, very naughty. You might just get a spanking for posting something like that.

If you're lucky, that is.

Sing it with me.

Bomp chicka bow bow....chicka bomp chicka bow wow.....


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Absolute Best Time to get Your Saturday Night....

Wait....What? Saturday what?

I remember...something about Saturday night.....but it's been so long everything's kind of fuzzy.

Bomp Chicka...Chicka...Chi...Oh, never mind.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My hair looked better in Mexico (Part 1)

Really. It was bouncy and shiny and curly without being frizzy. It was the kind of hair I can't get here no matter how much goop I use in it or how much time I take with it. Maybe it was the humidity; maybe it was the water. All I know is that here I am back in good old Humboldt - and my hair is back to its normal frizzy and unruly state of being, much like my mind.

This is by no means a complete travelogue. Who really wants to be bored with all the details of someone else's vacation? It's just a few selections from the journal I wrote in madly every time we were still, as well as some photos from our time in the Yucatan.

Tuesday, December 4

The smell of jasmine is overwhelming as we sit drinking cafe con leche at a little restaurant in the center of town. The voyage was long and exhausting. We drove to San Francisco, took a bus to the airport, flew to Guadalajara, Mexico City and then Cancun, took a bus to Playa del Carmen and somehow ended up on a slow-moving chicken bus to our final destination. After 30 continuous hours of traveling, we finally arrived in Tulum. Our hostess Janet welcomed us and quickly showed us all we needed to know: which taqueria was pretty but served awful tacos, how to turn on the hot water, the joys of Mexican toilets, and where to find good coffee in the morning. I immediately jumped into a cool shower. Squirrel followed, sweetly attempting to make it our first romantic honeymoon event. I was ridiculously afraid of getting the water in my mouth and couldn't enjoy kissing him.

We walked downtown for dinner but were too tired to do any real exploring, so we ended up eating at a restaurant decidedly geared toward tourists. I watched in horror as the couple across from us poured catsup on their tacos. Our food was mediocre at best, but the cerveza was cheap, ice cold, and at that point the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. Back at the Posada Luna del Sur, we were both asleep by 9.

This afternoon we took a taxi to the beach. I wept when I saw the ocean. Any words I could use to describe the colors and the warmth and the utter beauty would be no different than any other cliche' ever written about the amazing Caribbean waters.

Wednesday, December 5
Today I spent the morning walking through the cemetery, across the main road and through the back streets to where the town butts up against the impassable jungle. The farther I walked, the more smiles and stares I got.

I love the dusty, dirty pueblo with children and turkeys running around and laundry hung on roofs and in backyards. Many of the women here still wear the traditional huipils - white dresses trimmed in beautiful flowered embroidery. There are shrines in every yard to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Christmas lights in the palm trees. As I move by I can hear the lilting voices of the women talking to each other - some inside their houses; some outside. This is the first time that I've deeply wished to know Spanish. I can communicate basic needs, and it hasn't bothered me up to this point that I can't understand the conversations around me. In some ways it's extremely peaceful in its isolation. But I would like to understand the women - to listen in brief passings and perhaps overhear their favorite jokes...or their latest troubles...or what they plan to cook for dinner...or their dreams for their children.

Thursday, December 6
I am sitting under a tree in the heart of the Yucatan jungle waiting while Squirrel is climbing the large pyramid Nohuch Mol. I thought I might want to climb it too when we got here, but by the time we did, and I looked up at the people butt-scooting their way down with barely contained panic, the only thing I could say when Squirrel asked if I would join him was "Hell no!"

I imagined myself becoming a Mayan sacrifice, my body contorting in the air until I landed on the ground with my neck twisted underneath me. Only in this case, instead of being flung gloriously from the top by a warrior, I would have gotten my sandal caught on the edge of a rock, lost my balance and toppled to my death, hitting every stone step on the way down. It's debatable whether the fall or the sheer embarrassment would have killed me first.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hey Anonymous Asshole.....

Yeah, you. You know, you just left a nasty message on my cousin's post. I'm really sorry you have such a miserable life. Actually...that's not true. I couldn't care less. Stay the hell away. Hear me?

I just got done having my bus hijacked by the Mexican military on the way to Cancun for so long (and with a 50-caliber automatic weapon pointed at the bus the entire time) that I missed my flight and had to pay a boatload of extra money for a new one and spent the next two straight days traveling...with oh-my-god-I-got-so-drunk-I-drank-the-water-stomach I am NOT in the mood to put up with your crap.

Go to hell.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bah Humbug...

I know that the gauntlet has been thrown down by my ever talented cousin Kristabel. Normally, would try to rise to the occasion, however, I have other pressing issues at hand.

Burt and I work for the same agency. He is with one union (AFSCME) and I am with another (OEA). As of Friday the 30th, his union went out on strike. Our agency is making this an ugly battle in which no one will emerge without deep scars.

Financially we have planned for a rainy day but with the economy and the coming holidays, our umbrella can only take so much before it turns itself completely inside out from the strain.

I'm not sure how companies/agencies can expect their workforce to take such a large health care hit. Burt loses money each and every year.

So I'm sorry I'm not in the mind frame to entertain. If you are reading this and thinking "What about their Mexico trip when they were 18?", you'll have to wait another day until life returns to, well, whatever it was before.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Decision

Thanks so much for the (mostly) fantastic book suggestions. I've now added many to my already horribly long To-Read List. I guess it just means I'll have to spend a lot more time on warm beaches. So here's what's going in the bag:

On the Right: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. It sounds contemporary, interesting, both Jon and Jen recommended it, and it was already sitting on my shelf.

On the Left: Part 1 of the erotic Sleeping Beauty series written by Anne Rice. Chains and riding crops and sex slaves....what else is there to say? An oldie but a goodie.

And in the Center: Me Write Book....a bigfoot memoir written by the big guy himself - in his own words. This may seem like an odd choice, but truly, this is one of the funniest books I've ever read. I read it over and over again and every single time I end up giggling uncontrollably and snorting wine out my nose. In fact, just so you'll know what I'm talking about, here's a little excerpt for your reading pleasure:

"I get away with murder cause everyone think I fragile since I last of kind and so on. One bad thing about it though that I attract lots poachers. Apparently me gal bladder give Chinese people boners. Funny cause Chinese people give me boner too but Bigfoot digress.

One time poacher try to get Bigfoot organs. He expert Safari hunter and spend weeks stalking me and learning Bigfoot ways. He see my love for Count Chocula and hide in fridge disguise as giant milk carton. Day before he want poach Bigfoot decide go low carb diet so no Chocula. Man freeze to death in fridge.

Bigfoot also have cirrhosis at time so it convenient for me use him for liver transplant donor. Bigfoot enjoy irony."

How totally freaking funny is that?! You all just feel free to express your worry about the state of my mental health in the comments section.

I'm ending this with a challenge for my darling cousin Keri. Hello? Are you there? Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write a story about the last time you and I crossed the border - into Tijuana when we were 18. Remember? Something about donkeys and margaritas and cute Mexican boys and terrible haggling skills. It's all coming back to you, isn't it? Sweet anonymous needs entertaining, so it's up to you. Love you!

So...we're off. See you later. I'll miss you all. But I'll be back in a couple of weeks with plenty of tequila and plenty of stories.

P.S. Damn! How cute do my toes look? (Thanks for the pedicure, Mom!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Need Your Help!

In five days this will be me.

Except my skin is much paler with a lot more freckles. And my assets are much more ample. And the thought of my ample assets spilling out of a bright orange bathing suit top is downright frightening. And I don't have a cute sun hat. And do those look like man hands to you? And if it were really me, there'd be a great big margarita sitting there in the sand. And a cabana boy wearing very tight swim trunks and carrying a bottle of massage oil and a ripe papaya.

Squirrel and I are heading to the Yucatan on Sunday. He's going to be climbing pyramids, learning about Mayan history, trekking in the jungle and snorkeling in the cenotes. I'm going to be eating, drinking, making friends, drunkenly dancing and looking for cheap souvenirs to bring back for Christmas presents. And eating. And drinking.

It may sound like we have very different interests while on this little vacation, but don't worry. It's our honeymoon after all, so the fact that every morning, afternoon and evening is going to be Saturday Night will be the common thread that will hold the whole thing together.

And this is where you come in because while I'm basking in the sun and drinking margaritas, I'll need something delicious to read. I've scoured the shelves of bookstores today and have come up empty. I've looked at my own collection, and while there are plenty of books I probably should have read by now, none of them seem quite right. So I'm now pleading for your advice. Won't you help a girl out? Please? If you don't, I'm afraid Squirrel's going to sneak "50 Simple Things You Can Do to Fight the Right" in my bag. And if you think I'm reading that on the beach, you're crazier than he is.

What would you read?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Need something to do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers?

Here's the answer to your problem.

This is an email I received yesterday through Humboldt Freecycle, a fantastic way to get rid of your junk - or to get some more.

Make too much for Thanksgiving? Don't know what to do with all those leftovers? Let a starving student take them off your hands! You provide the food, I'll provide the containers. I can travel just about anywhere in Arcata that's within a few miles of downtown (on foot). Email or call me at xxx-xxxx . I can pick up Thursday evening or anytime Friday. Anything I can't eat will be shared with other students.

Thanks in advance,

I think anyone willing to take a risk like this definitely deserves to get his wish fulfilled, and believe me, if I didn't live in the middle of nowhere, I'd be donating to the cause. So if you're not a member of Freecycle and you want to help this courageous young man, send me an email, and I'll hook you up.

And's wishing you a long weekend filled with turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes and free of salmonella, hepatitis, errant hairs or other assorted germs and surprises.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What's Cookin' Hotstuff?

With some of the recent flurry surrounding avatars, I decided that maybe this was a good time to get my own. Taking a personal assessment of my, hmmm, assets, I made a brief check off list. Feel free to use this quiz to determine which avatar reflects you. Results may vary.

1. Are you male or female?

Female? Housewife? Got it!!

2. Do you have any hobbies?

No? Try this one:

3. Are you old?

Yes? How about this:

4. Do you smoke?

Yes? This one's pretty good.

5. Are you religious?


6. Are you sexy?

Well, that one's already taken my friends. This concludes the avatar compatibility test. I wish you the best of luck in your hunt. Remember, an avatar says a lot about you, so don't take it lightly.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sorry, Judy Blume

Are you there God? It's me, Kristabel.

I know you're aware that I don't really believe in that whole walking-on-water-rising-from-the-tomb thing, but that doesn't mean I can't still talk to you sometimes, right? This week's been tough, and I think you're the only one who can help me out. So this is your thank you letter - in advance.

About Steve, that guy I kept staring at while eating lunch at the Chinese place yesterday...remember that summer when he used to sneak over to my house in the middle of the night and make out with me through my bedroom window? Remember how he dumped me on the first day of sophomore year for that skinny little blonde girl? Thank you for making sure that he has six screaming kids and a wife with a severe facial hair problem at home. Thank you for causing him to have to live with his mother-in-law who refuses to let anyone watch television unless it's the Lifetime for women channel and who leaves her dentures all over the house.

And about that woman at work who sent me a bitchy email about overdue paperwork and c.c.'d it to my boss....thank you for giving her a really bad haircut, you know like the one Suzy Owsley sported for two years. Thank you for making all of those celery sticks she's always chewing on suddenly have 1,000 calories each so she gains 20 pounds in one week.

And about that rude salesperson who kept gossiping instead of ringing up my cargo pants and then acted like I completely interrupted her and she was doing me a huge favor by taking my money....thank you for making her drink so many Singapore slings that she sings Christina Aguilera's "Dirty" off-key at the Blue Lake casino karaoke night then refuses to get off the stage when the song is over and uses the microphone to tell the entire audience about her husband's erection problems. The bright pink projectile vomiting is only a decision you can make, God, so I'm leaving that one in your capable hands.

Thank you so much.


P.S. I realize you probably think I've got one foot in the handbasket already, but I've gotta tell you, the thought of spending an eternity with Satan is a lot less scary than the thought of spending it with those freaks who speak in tongues and roll around on the floor.
P.P.S. Oh, and that time that the gas station clerk gave me change for $20 when I'd only given him $10, and I kept it? I was really broke at the time, but I feel totally bad about it now.
P.P.P.S. I also realize that this kind of stuff is cake for someone as powerful as you, so just so you're prepared, my next thank you letter will include Darfur, the Iraq war and becoming the filling in a Gulo Gordo - Heraldo sandwich.
P.P.P.P.S. Amen

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Frog Talk

This is the tattoo that is on my right shoulder. Yes, it really is that blurry and please ignore the freckles - unless you think they're cute of course.

I obviously had it done long before tattoos became trendy - and pretty - for girls. It is also probably obvious that it was done by a guy named Bud whose shop was across the street from the liquor store in downtown Rio Dell.

My Aunt Lucy loved my tattoo. She used to look at it when I was running around the house in my underwear trying to get dressed for work and would laugh, "There's a froggy on your back. I want one of those froggies." I would try to tell her how much getting a frog on your back hurt, but she didn't care.

Lucy was born with strawberry blonde hair and a developmental disability. The "experts" thought her mental capacity was about the same as a four-year-old. Although she could recognize letters, she was not able to read. Although she could dress herself, her pants were often on backward and her shoes on the wrong feet.

When, as a very young child, I noticed that Aunt Lucy was different than the other grown-ups I knew, my mom tried to explain it to me. "Your Aunt Lucy is mentally retarded," my mom said very matter-of-factly. "It means her brain is different and she has a harder time learning than some people. But it doesn't mean she's dumb, and it doesn't matter because she's our family and we love her. And we treat her just like anyone else in the family."

My brother Ron and I grew up with Aunt Lucy a constant part of our lives. She lived with my grandma but spent a good part of her time with us, and she was much more like a sister than an aunt. We never thought about it much because it just happened to be the way it was. And Lucy was a lot of fun.

She liked parties and cake with big icing roses just as much as we did. She played card games with us like slapjack, where at the sight of a jack she would hit the backs of our hands so hard they would sting for the rest of the day. She would sing along to the radio even though she didn't get most of the words right and would dance for hours, her bright blue eyes gleaming while her extra large hips moved in a way that no white girl's hips usually can.

Lucy was never afraid to tell us how she felt about us. "Nobody loves you," she'd often tell Ron and me. "Poor you. Nobody loves you." "What's wrong Kristabel, nobody loves you? Poor Kristabel." As soon as the words were out of her mouth she would burst into a fit of laughter. "Lucy loves you!" she'd shout as she encircled us with her arms.

Most of our friends grew to know and love Aunt Lucy, but kids in other places were a different story. They would laugh. Stare. Ask us what was wrong with her. At times Ron and I were her staunch defenders. Once in McDonald's we gave some nasty giggling kids a death glare so long and so powerful that we thought surely their french fries would burst into flames right in front of them making them regret their hurtful remarks.

At other times, we were not her staunch defenders, but were, instead, horrified as any pre-teens could be when, in the midst of watching Grease surrounded by kids from our school, Aunt Lucy stood up and started loudly singing and dancing in the aisle of the Fortuna movie theater. We slunk down in our seats and put our hands over our faces hoping that no one would recognize us.

As I grew older and moved out of my parents' house, Lucy was still a big part of my life and we continued to spend time together. I would sometimes pick her up from her day program, and she would spend the night with me in whatever dumpy little place I happened to be living in.

We always had a good time, and we had a lot of things in common. We both loved art, music and, much to my grandmother's dismay, admiring construction workers. We both also loved the lowly dandelion, rocks, good food and most of all frogs. We each collected frog things, although Lucy's collection was much more extensive than mine. We talked about frogs a lot...wondering what the frogs in the woods were having for dinner and trying to count how many we could hear in the distance. Lucy always told me that every time they croaked, they were really saying "More rain."

One night, while trying to maintain a second job as a pastry chef, I had to decorate a birthday cake for a kid's party while Lucy was spending the night. She sat unusually silent and watched as I carefully placed pink polka dots made from sugar dough all over the cake followed by a sprinkling of edible glitter. She looked at me earnestly and asked, "Can Lucy go to the party?" My heart immediately snapped in two. I tried to explain to her that it wasn't a party I was giving - that it was for someone we didn't know. My explanations didn't matter. To Lucy, there was a fancy cake on the table which meant there was a party somewhere that she should be going to. And it was my fault she wasn't. She refused to visit me for weeks.

Several years ago Lucy began to have problems moving one of her arms. A few months after that she began to have trouble walking and moving most of the rest of her body. She eventually wasn't able to attend her programs anymore and had to spend the majority of her time with my mom, bravely going from one doctor to another and from one test to another to try to find a diagnosis. Finally one day in late summer I was decorating yet another fancy cake when I got the call I'd never expected. "Lucy has ALS - Lou Gehrig's disease," my mom said, her voice shaking with emotion. "We don't know how long she has."

What? What was she saying? It's terminal? She can't be cured? She's not going to get better?

I am a Capricorn, and we don't like it when things are changed without our full approval. Part of my adult life had been spent thinking about, talking about and planning for the day when my grandma was not able to care for Lucy any longer. My mom and I had ideas...things we knew that Lucy had always wanted to do but hadn't been able to yet. We were going to make sure those things happened. Lucy would live with my mom and dad, and if for some reason they weren't able to take care of her, I would. Now what would happen? I couldn't imagine a life without Lucy in it. THIS WAS NOT PART OF THE PLAN, GOD DAMN IT!

Within months, Lucy was completely bedridden. My mom moved in with my grandma and tirelessly took care of Lucy night and day, barely taking time for herself to eat and sleep. I continued to work and visited as often as I could, although it never seemed like enough.

None of us were prepared for the pain we would feel as we watched Lucy struggle with a disease that progressed quicker than we could have imagined. We maintained manic smiles around her, bringing whatever we thought might give her small amounts of happiness, all the while trying to avoid the blame and the guilt and the anger at God or whoever was letting this happen that lay in the cobwebbed corners of the room. My grandma talked to Lucy about "getting better." In the back of her mind, she was always hoping for a call from the doctor saying that there had been a misdiagnosis and her precious daughter would be healed. That call never came.

One day I had a message on the answering machine from my mom asking if I would be down to visit that day. "Lucy wants to see you. She said that she has something to tell you."

My mind spun. What could Lucy possibly need to say to me? Had she been overcome by end-of-life wisdom that she wanted to impart? Was there something about the afterlife that she had seen in a vision? And why me? Was she still mad about missing that birthday party?

I hurried down to Gram's house after work. By then it was late November. It was cold and dark outside, but inside the house a fire was burning and a string of Christmas lights were glowing near Lucy's bed. I sat down, and we talked for awhile and sang a couple of carols. Then I asked her about what my mom had said. "I hear that you want to talk to me about something Lucy." She looked at me seriously. "It's a secret," she said quietly. I leaned down so that my body was practically lying next to hers on the bed and my face was only about an inch away from her lips. "Okay, " I said carefully. "Now you can whisper it to me."

Lucy looked around to make sure that no one else was in the room. She grabbed my hand, closed her eyes, opened her mouth and said loudly....


I looked at her with shock. This is what she wanted to tell me? This was the end-of-life wisdom that I had been expecting? She closed her eyes again and said even louder, "Rrrribbit!"

I looked in her eyes. The corners were crinkled with laughter, and there was a sparkle that had been absent for weeks. I began to giggle.

"Ribbit!" I croaked back at her. "Rrrribbit! Ribitribitribit. Ribbit!"

We talked frog for the next twenty minutes. By the time we were finished I was holding my sides with laughter while the tears ran down my face in a combined stream of overwhelming joy and grief.

Three days later she was gone.

Bear River Valley is a great place for frogs. Sometimes I lie at night listening to the cacophony in the backyard and think about how much Aunt Lucy would have loved this place. It has been three years since she left this world. I hope that the bereavement professionals are correct when they talk about the three year mark being a turning point so that my family is finally able to heal.

To this day her spirit remains infused in almost everything I do, and I try to live the way that she did. I wish on dandelions and pick up pretty rocks. I love people with reckless abandon and embarrass my family often. I sing when I feel like singing and hold grudges when people make me mad.

And eventually, when my life comes to a close, I can only hope that I've lived it so fully and completely that at the very end I can turn to those who love me in the place that makes me the happiest and say the only thing left to say.


Monday, November 12, 2007

You're A Grand Old Flag...

Happy Veteran's Day everyone!! As my family and I sit home today doing various chores and watching Dr. Phil, I just want to take a minute and thank those who have served and continue to serve our country.
I'm sure many of us have military members in our family tree. Have you thanked them lately??
I know I have be remiss in my gratitude. I get so dang frustrated with our administration, that I forget there are real people attached to those numbers lost in the war. We wouldn't be blogging here without them. So, whether you are Republican, Democrat or Independent, count your blessings and wave your flag proudly.
Thank you:
Grand pa P. WWII vet-Navy
Grandpa S. Korean vet- Army
Grandpa C. WWII vet- Marines
Dad-Marine Corp vet
Dad-In Law- Army vet
My little Brother- active Marine Corps

Thursday, November 8, 2007 that you????

I was at the garage the other day and...wait...H? Could it be???
Oh, sorry. I could have sworn that

Yes, that's him for sure...right?

Oh, well maybe?

This guy for sure. I know Heraldo likes to keep it neat and tidy down

OK, that's him.

Please God, tell me that's not him!

I guess we may never know but I'm keeping a look out for Heraldo sightings. He's tricky. Let us know where you've seen him.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Did you hear that?

Overheard at: AA Bar, Eureka

Date: Saturday, November 3, 2007

Time: 11:00 p.m.

Two men are sitting at a table eating the biggest steaks I've ever seen. They're discussing the meth problem in Eureka.

Man #1: Isn't meth what they fed to the Nazis?

Man #2: Yep. Hitler was a big geeterhead.

Man #1: He should've just smoked dope.

Man #2: Maybe then he wouldn't have invaded Poland.

Man #1: He still would've tried to invade Poland, but he would've lost his keys and got distracted so it never would've happened.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Birthday Blog for my little brother

Happy Birthday, you! I can't believe you're 36. It's making me feel all warm and fuzzy and sentimental. I'm getting a little tear in my eye just thinking about it.

It's absolutely amazing how you keep getting older while I just stay my same youthful self. Don't feel bad, though. At least you lost the cheeks. I still have mine.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday full of all the things you love like family, friends, love, laughter and good food. And beer. Lots of beer.

I just know this birthday is going to be even better than the time you got the Smurf shirt

AND the Empire Strikes Back play set!

And just know that the birthday gods must really be smiling upon you....because as hard as I tried....I just couldn't find the photo of you sporting a mullet in your leopard print shirt. You were bad to the bone!

I love you and miss you and can't wait to see you all in December!

With much love,
your big sis Kristabel

P.S. Give you-know-who and you-know-who a big kiss for me.
P.P.S. You look like a monkey.
P.P.P.S. And you smell like one too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Severed Finger Snacks (and maybe a few toes)

I am fortunate to have a job where every couple of months I get to help put on a great big fabulous party. Last Friday was a Halloween extravaganza, so I thought I'd share my very simple recipe for those of you who still need to whip up some scary snacks. These aren't really very gross looking, which is good because even though it's Halloween, you still want people to be able to eat them after you went to all that trouble. Of course, if they don't, that's just more for you....

Here are the ingredients: puff pastry (you buy it in the freezer section and let it thaw,) an egg, some rosemary and some sliced almonds. You want specific amounts? Sorry. My life's an art, not a science. Pay attention, and you'll be alright.

The first thing you want to do is preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then break your egg into a bowl and stir it with a fork to break it up. Add a little bit of water to make a glaze. Get out your pans.

Listen to how bossy I sound! Pretend I've got a riding crop while I give you these instructions - you know you like it.

You can use metal or glass...they both work just fine. For one box of puff pastry, you'll probably need two large pans. One box'll get you about 60 fingers, unless you're like me and drop some on the floor, taste test a few, forget to put on the almonds...then you'll get about 50.

Lay out your puff pastry and cut it into strips - about 10. Then cut each of these strips into 3 giving you somewhere around 30 fingers. Don't worry about making the strips all even and tidy.

Use your hands to round the corners on one end and pinch each strip right in the middle so there's a large raised bump. This will turn into the knuckle. Lay them on your pans and use a pastry brush (your finger will work too) to brush on a thin layer of glaze. Then add an almond to the rounded end. I like to pick through the almonds and find the ones that are the most toenail-like. And since every severed finger (or toe) needs a hairy knuckle, sprinkle on a little rosemary right in the middle. Eeeeeew. At this point you can also sprinkle on a little salt or parmesan cheese if you want more flavor. This, of course, all depends on what kind of wine you like to drink with fingers. I prefer a nice cabernet.

Here is my favorite kitchen minion helping to make the fingers. Look at those hands. You know what they say....big hands....warm heart. Or something like that.

Now stick them in the oven for about 10 minutes. You'll know they're done when they're puffy and golden brown. I like to wait until the toenails also have a funky brown tinge to them as well. Take them out, let them cool a bit and enjoy.

Just imagine how great these look floating in a bowl of tomato soup or sticking out of a bowl of chili.

A whole tray of fingers ready to party:

One last thing. If you get in a hurry and think it'll be okay to wash your glass baking pan right after it comes out of the won't. In fact, it will explode and shatter into about a bazillion pieces and cause your kitchen minion to shriek and your curmudgeonly taste tester to get that wrinkle in the middle of his brow and swear that he will never let you use his kitchen again.


I think a little sweet talkin' and a plate of my famous espresso brownies will help heal the trauma.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

24-08... meet Buxton Meats

Because of the previous post I felt it was time to come around in the circle of life.

My girlfriend Chris owns a seven acre farm. They have had cows, chickens, ducks and a miniature horse all at various points. She is the daughter of a vet and a nurse and has the most kind and lovingly tender heart that I have ever known. For some reason, the animal kingdom (and kids) just naturally gravitate to her. She has even taken in a stray pigeon, nursed it back to health and then set it free. But she is also practical. She gathers eggs for breakfast and would milk the cows if she still had them. Animals are meant to be providers.

Being more of a city girl myself I have a warped sense of the food chain. My food comes from the grocery store or if I'm feeling fairly adventurous I head for a farmer's market.

So when Chris told me that they had a cow that they were taking to the market and did I want half I naively said "of course!"

As I took my kid to the slaughter house to pick up our meat, a strong smell hit me. I'm not sure what the smell of death is but I think that might have been it. I thought about turning around and heading back to Winco's meat dept for something that was recognizable and not so scary. I felt a little pang of guilt for not even knowing it's number, gender or if it had any next of kin to notify.

Unfortunately, our slaughter guy must have sensed "newbie" all over us and grabbed my son to take him "in the back" to see the behind the scenes action.

Five minutes later, Spencer returned a little greener than when he had unwillingly left my side. Quietly he whispered that he had seen pigs, cows, sheep and even a horse hanging fleshless on huge metal hooks.

We quickly gathered up our four boxes of meat and sped home. As I opened up the goods, I began to sort and determine what cut was what and how I might prepare a feast for dinner. We seemed to be filling up the freezer rather rapidly and as I mentally started counting out the packages of hamburger I found that I had slightly underestimated.

One hundred and twenty pounds of ground chuck later I began nervously laughing.

So if you ever get up here to Oregon, stop on by for a spell. I have an extra bedroom and plenty of food. I'll make you anything you'd long as hamburger is in the recipe.

I highly recommend the Cheesy Meatball soup.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's just a little crush

I're all sick of hearing about my gigantic crush on Heraldo. I've professed my adoration of his intellect and wit here, on other blogs and on my long drive home, inserting his name into the sappiest of love songs while I bellow out the open window across the grassy range.

For the record, and just so no one thinks I'm only a one-crush girl (or perhaps a stalker,) I thought I'd tell you about my latest. You see, crushes can be on anyone really. It doesn't mean that I want to spend a hot Saturday night with them necessarily, it just means that I find them fabulous in one way or another. Those of you who are squeezing your eyes shut and shouting, "Liar!" right now; you might have a small point. There are certainly a few crushes who are worthy of a backseat makeout session, but for the most strawberry gloss on the lips or Al Green on the ipod is required.

This has been the latest object of my affection: Number 24-08.

She used to wait by the fence for me everyday and refused to leave until I'd visited with her for a bit. Visiting with Number 24-08 didn't consist of much talking. She's a woman of few words and communicated mainly with her big gentle eyes. Over the past several weeks I'd gotten to know her quite well, and I now understood what she wanted and what she needed: apples. Lots and lots of apples.

I would walk around the yard gingerly picking up every apple that had fallen from the tree, braving the bald-faced hornets that were often lying in wait on the underside. I threw them one by one over the fence, and the second an apple hit the ground, Number 24-08 grabbed it with her huge black tongue and swallowed it in one bite. She did this until she'd eaten them all. The feast always ended sooner than she would've liked.

I stood on the other side of the fence and tried to explain things to her. "That's it, 24-08. There's no more. Only a few fall every day - such is the way of apples. I'm really sorry. Stop looking at me like that. Is that a tear in your eye? Come back tomorrow - there'll be more. I promise!" I always got the feeling that she didn't quite understand. Eventually, after a last effort at sticking her nose through the fence, she ambled off and joined her less ambitious pals in the far pasture.

I've never been one to form a crush on a well-mannered soul. I like the wild ones, the rabble-rousers, the ones my mom always warned me about, and Number 24-08 is no different.

Two weeks ago I awoke with a start to a horrible noise in the middle of the night. Was it thunder? A wild animal on the roof? A strapping ranch hand peeping tom? I groggily climbed out of bed and shone a flashlight out the window to see if I could determine where the sound was coming from. I swept it over the yard - not a thing seemed to be amiss. Was it a dream? I waited a few minutes and hearing nothing, walked back to the bed. I was just about to pull the covers back over my head when there it was again: Bang! Followed by a burst of small explosions. Maybe it was one of the ranchers after a mountain lion. I ran to the window and shone the flashlight into the farthest part of the yard, and there she was: my sweet Number 24-08.

Apparently she had peer-pressured some of her friends into a late night raid. They were ramming their big cow selves just hard enough on the fence to knock it against the tree. If they managed to hit it just right, they were rewarded with a shower of apples for a delicious midnight snack. I threw on a sweatshirt, ran outside and waved my arms at them.

"Number 24-08! You sneaky little thing! How dare you! After all the times I risked being attacked by wasps so you could have your afternoon treat! And this is the way you treat me! Get out of here! And take your lazy good-for-nuthin' cow friends with you!"

Number 24-08 stared at me for a long time. She finally gave one last look, inhaled, snorted loudly, turned her back to me and slowly clomped away. The others followed suit, and not one of them had the decency to show any sort of guilt or regret.

The next morning I surveyed the damage. The hoodlum cows had managed to make a hole in the deer fence just big enough so that those tricky looters were able to get in. The squash plants had been nibbled down to nubs. The cucumbers were ransacked. The tomatoes...I don't even want to talk about the tomatoes.

"Why?" I whispered to myself. "Why do I always fall for the ones with...issues?"

The remaining apples fell to the ground after the last rain. Number 24-08 still came to visit for awhile, but after several days of not getting any apples, she stopped coming.

I saw her on my evening walk tonight, and she looked at me with hardly any recognition at all as she happily munched on some hay. I was almost glad about that. This is ranch land after all, and one day, my sweet but troubled Number 24-08's number will most definitely be up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We'll Drink to That!

Have you had a rough week? Have too many responsibilities and not enough time helped to get your knickers in a complete twist? The Brits have the solution to your troubles. It's National Orgasm Week across the pond, and here at Chocolate Covered Xanax, we see no reason why we shouldn't celebrate as well.

Need a little help? Go buy yourself something pretty and battery-operated at Good Relations.

Need more discretion? South Coast Pleasure can certainly help you out through the mail.

Not into DIY? Then for god's sake get your arse home and have a good old-fashioned shag.

Also, check out this video which explains why, unfortunately, only 12% of women in England are having orgasms. We'd call that a bloody national emergency.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lunchtime Wisdom

Here is today's fortune.

Why does Squirrel have that terrified look on his face?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Once Apron a Time

As a kid my family would spend one or two weekends a month at my Great Grandma Doty's house. She was a large woman with all those grandma curves where they were supposed to be and she could almost suffocate you with her thick arms and amble bosom when she hugged you close. She always seemed to be in the kitchen, wearing an apron and making course after course of food. You NEVER went hungry at Grandma's house.

Her home was a 1920's bungalow with front and side porches, a pull down ladder into the attic and all sorts of nooks and crannies for an 8 year old to hide in.

The house had 4 bedrooms. We distinguished them by color and location. Mom and Dad always took "the red room". It was spacious and had 2 gilded roses matted on velvet in picture frames along with a crushed red velvet bedspread. It seemed very romantic to me and I always felt like my parents got a mini retreat at a fine hotel.

The other two rooms were fought over between my brother and I and any other cousins who happened to be there at the same time. I liked the feel of "the blue room" with its old TV that sometime would get channels I wasn't supposed to watch. But I didn't trust the blue velvet curtain that covered a closet instead of doors. I always thought the ghost of my Great Grandpa who had died in the house might be there. The location wasn't the greatest either. It faced out front, right into the community hospital's ER department. Oh sure, it was fun to watch them wheel in the accident victims but the ambulance's siren at 2 in the morning scared the crap out of me.

My preference was "the green room". It was small, quaint and cozy. It had a big antique trunk, a foot pedal sewing machine and Mexican blankets and wooden bowls on the walls. The bed was a double that suited my size better and the location was right next to "the red room" in case I needed my parents right away. But the best part, the most coveted item within the room was the heater vent. It was one foot square sunk into the carpet of the floor and it was directly above the old oil stove down in the dining room. When you opened the grates you could not only SEE directly below but also HEAR all the adult conversations that took place after bedtime!

I learned many things over the years. And for a while, the parents seemed none the wiser to our covert spying. That was until my little brother thought it would be funny to make noises one night to the unsuspecting aunts and uncles below. After that stunt, the conversations never seemed as juicy. They talked in adult "code" talk and would yell up to us even if we weren't hovering over it.

As the years past and we moved away, grandma grew older but stayed in her little white house. We would come to visit as often as we could. It never seemed to change much except the bedrooms grew smaller and the colors of her whirlygigs and plastic flowers in the front yard faded out. Grandma had on her apron until the day she died.

The bungalow was sold and her belongings divided up between us all. I was given some of her costume jewelry, a big faux fur coat from the 40's, those Mexican wooden bowls and one of her blue gingham aprons. Rarely do I wear or look at those things but when Kristabel told me that she was going to be a part of a holiday bizarre and wanted me to contribute, I knew exactly what to pull out.

Grandma's apron. I'm not sure what it is, but it takes me right back to her house, in the green room looking down on my family.
So I'm makin' aprons for the bazaar. I think that in today's world maybe we could all use those bright colors and soft fabrics that dried many a tear, wiped off the dirt from the garden veggies and cleaned the front window of our own little white houses.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Peace, love and drag queens

I apologize for my slacker blogging ways during the past week. I've just returned from a visit to a very special place where I've been receiving wisdom and re-energizing my spirit in the best possible way I know how: good food, stiff drinks and drag queens.

I was extremely excited several weeks ago when I found out that a conference I was attending for work was taking place in San Francisco and convinced Bumblebee and the Boy-most-likely-to that they should come with me.

I used to live in the city and though I could probably never live there again, I love it still. I worked at a residential hotel in the Tenderloin, lived nearby, and it's still my favorite neighborhood to hang in. The Loin's got the most interesting sights, sounds and smells, the best ethnic restaurants and the stickiest bars, including my very favorite watering hole, Aunt Charlie's Lounge.

It took a little sweet-talkin' to get Boy to agree to hit the lounge with us, but the promise of cheap beer won him over, so last Friday night we headed out for some Indian food, some Pabst Blue Ribbon and a lot of debauchery.

The first stop was Little Delhi on Eddy Street. Our adorable and very sweet waiter Indrajit brought us samosas, paneer naan, malai kofta and lamb saag. It was all delicious and perfectly spiced. There was a large-screen t.v. playing a Bollywood film. Indrajit was quick with the refills and was highly skilled at keeping a straight face and pretending not to listen each time we forgot to stop talking about leather and orgasms while he poured us more water. He even posed for a picture.

After getting completely stuffed at Little Delhi, it was on to Turk Street where Aunt Charlie's Lounge and the Hot Boxxx Girls awaited.

This is not your typical drag queen show. The cover is only $5, and Joe, the manager/bartender pours a cheap, very stiff drink. The bar is dark, tiny and filled with regulars who are a bit rough around the edges - as are the Hot Boxx Girls. Who really wants to look at pretty and perfect queens anyway? These girls have LIVED. They're bawdy; they have teeth missing; their belly buttons are surrounded by flesh as well as hair. You just know that they've got great stories to tell, and the more you see them perform, the more you want to hear those stories.

Gina La Divina, the $65,000 silicone wonder is the absolutely beautiful hostess. She walks through the bar stroking the shoulders and egos of every person there. Vicky Marlane, the woman with the liquid spine, is 73 years old and still shimmying her wrinkles. Daffne, my very favorite performer, is loud, large and exceptionally colorful. The night we were there she sang a song about made her feel so "odd ka"....and pulled an entire bottle of Smirnoff out of her cleavage. Very impressive.

Bobby, the cute choreographer for the show, also performed a couple of numbers. What could be sexier than a cheerleader with hairy armpits, huge nipples and a goatee?

I think my favorite part about seeing the Hot Boxx Girls this time was hearing Boy - a virgin at Aunt Charlie's - exclaim with surprise several times, "Wow! She's hot!"

We had such a good time that we barely noticed all of our money had disappeared into the hands and cleavage of the performers. At 2 a.m., we happily staggered back to The Metropolis. Boy and Bumblebee drifted off to sleep right away, but it took me awhile. I couldn't get the vision of Aurora Style's gorgeous wobbling adam's apple out of my mind's eye. Finally, after about an hour, I drifted off to ruffled neon dreams......backed by the sound of Celine Dion.