Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chicken Boy Day

You all know that tomorrow is
the first day of September.

But I bet you don't know
that it's also Chicken Boy Day.
So named in celebration
of his birthday.

Chicken Boy is a roadside icon,
erected in the 1960's atop
a fried chicken restaurant in Los Angeles.

A twenty-two foot boy
with the head of a chicken
and holding a bucket of deep fried bird-
this fiberglass statue was a famous landmark
on Route 66 for many years.

When the restaurant was closed in 1984,
Ellen Bloom and  her friends
decided that Chicken Boy was worth saving
and made arrangements to have him moved
to her house.

Poor boy!
He laid there for twenty three years.

Ellen kept him all that time.
She knew that there would be a special place
for him someday.

She even began publishing a catalog
which she describes as:
"the Chicken Boy Catalog for a Perfect World--a catalog of gift items including Chicken Boy logo merchandise and things Chicken Boy would be proud to have in his home or give as a lovely hostess gift."

Her gallant efforts helped save and preserve Chicken Boy.
And in the autumn of 2007,
she finally found him a new home.
Chicken Boy now stands proudly once again
atop the rooftop of Future Studio Design & Gallery
on Historic Route 66.

This little story just goes to prove
that even when you think your glory days are over...
even if you've been abandoned for years
and feel forgotten-
there is hope.

Someone will find you
and love you.
And you'll live happily ever after...

Happy Birthday, Chicken Boy!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fashion Foolish

The only thing I hate worse
than scrubbing a messy toilet
or cleaning chili that exploded
in the microwave-
is trying on clothes.

It's a job.
It hurts.
It's like a big chunk of truth
that hits you in the face
and scars you for life.

At least when you get my age-
and my size.
Which is over 50-
and somewhere                                    
between a garden gnome
and the Michelin Man.

It doesn't help that dressing room mirrors
show every single flaw.
Right down to the toe hairs
and middle age zits.

I mean, you really have to love yourself
to stare into one of those mirrors
for more than a three second flash.

But usually that is all it takes for me to decide
if I look like a clown,
a baby,
a goth vampire
or a hundred year old pregnant homeless woman.

Wouldn't it be great if we could
instantly design our own clothing?
To have the perfect fit and style and color
at the click of a button?...

...Instead of spending hours and hours
shuffling and stressing
over racks of segregated sizes
and outlandish fashions-
only to find a pair of fuzzy socks
on the 99 cent table.

Where are the middle-age appropriate styles?
I'm too young for purple elastic stretch pants,
but too old for butt-crack hip huggers.

 Too young for bedazzled tunics,
but too old for tie dyed tanks.

To young for seersucker dusting gowns,  
but too old for see-through teddies.

To young for orthopedic footwear,
but too old for three inch stilettos.

What's a woman to do?

I refuse to wear Winnie the Pooh
on my sweatshirts,
a skull and crossbones on my hoodie,
and a giant rip in the knees of my jeans.

I will not resort to polyester pant suits,
Just My Size jogging pants,
or leather leggings.

I just want to be fashionable
without being foolish.

Until the day comes that I can
look at myself in the dressing room mirror
for more than a second...
till I can feel confident and stylish
with my choice of wardrobe...
till I can walk and breath in new clothes
without pain and suffering
and critical eyes...

I guess I'll go clean the microwave.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Just Say "No"

If one of your kids ever asks for a hedgehog,
say "No".

Trust me on this.

I was being a good mom once upon a time
and said "yes".

And you know how you look back
on on the stupid insane unwise things you've done
and shudder a little?

Well, saying yes to a pet hedgehog
was one of those times I consider
an embarrassment -
and a blemish on my otherwise
nearly perfect  satisfactory record of motherhood.

Oh, the little critters are cute...

But so are baby bears
and panther kittens.

Hedgehogs are surprisingly soft
and curl up into a sweet little ball-
you just want to smooch their little toes.

They seem so innocent and harmless.
What damage could they possibly do?

First of all, the little Rubbermaid tote
we kept "Pokey" in was apparently too shallow-
or Pokey was just a great Houdini-fied hedgehog.

No matter how we tried,
we could not keep him contained.

And like any small varmit
on the run   set free-
he left a trail of poop behind.
A bit larger than a mouse turd,
but luckily smaller than dog doo-doo.

Usually this fecal trail
was the way we discovered his hiding places.
"Fugitive Pokey"  loved to curl up
in the corner of my daughters closet.

So, to keep the peace-
I would round him up-
wipe up the evidence-
and place him in his plastic tote
where he fed on worms and ball-bugs
until his next great escape.

Finally, I put my foot down.
I made the intelligent and mature decision
to be a "bad" mom.

The hedgehog had to go.
No whining.
No deals.
No changing my mind.

The hardest part was finding him.

But when we did,
my son gave him away to a good home
where they thought he was so cute and so sweet-
...and they were so dumb.

Not long after we kicked out  dumped  sacrificed Pokey,
I was cleaning out my daughters closet.

Hanging in the very back
was her senior prom dress.

A three-hundred dollar prom dress.

(Yeah, it was another of those spells
of mother-induced insanity).

It was absolutely gorgeous.
Red- with hand-sewn sequins
that went down one side along a slit up the leg area.
It was fitted at the waist with a heart-shaped neckline
and the lower part was a layered crepe-like material.

I pulled it out and laid it across the bed-
being all nostalgic and everything.

"Ut-Oh," I whispered.

The entire bottom of the dress
had been shredded.
Like a thousand tiny pin pricks.

Pokey Scissorhands had apparently
liked the dress as well as I did.
So much- that he had nested in it
like a sleepy baby
every time that he secured his freedom.

The hardest part was telling my daughter
that her prom dress was now
a Halloween zombie costume.

Good thing Pokey was already gone
or his little prickly neck
would have been choked to death.

So, I'm here today to say this:
Learn from my mistakes.
Heed my warning.
No hedgehogs.

No varmits.

Just stick with puppies
and goldfish.

Your life will be better  for it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Camp Revival

It's been three or four years
since I've been camping.

I remember a few years back
when that was the thing
we wished and waited for-
excited for a three day weekend
or great weather
so that we could pack our gear
and head to the woods.

My sister Linda and  her husband Wayne
were usually our camping buddies-
always prepared to make memories
around the campfire
and to share quiet nights
on the moonlit river.

Yet, it didn't take long
before the drudgery of packing
and planning and piling up the gear
became labor extensive
and well....boring.

The ice always melted,
the potato chips got stale,
and we became sick of
hot dogs on a stick.

Our tents smelled like wet socks,
our sleeping bags were hot and uncomfortable,
and our air mattresses occasionally
begged for mercy
and sprang a leak.

But today I may have discovered hope.

New outdoor products
may be enough to shake
Linda and I from our camping lull.

Infusing these gadgets into
our nature-loving weekends
just might bring back the spark
of camping out.

What could be more fun
than this shark sleeping bag?

 Except maybe a good pillow...

And this next one would really be warm and cozy
on a cold night.
But- I don't think I'd wear it during
hunting season.
(Or mating season, either.)

This design would be nice for
those late night trips to the makeshift bathroom.

But, I'd sure hate to have to run real fast
in that garb!

Hot dogs and chips?
That's a thing of the past with Candwiches!

And generic looking tents?
Not with a new tent tee-pee!

But, I have a sneaky suspicion
that there might be a load limit on that one...

Now, check out this example of
ultimate new camping gear:

These bags are called Sexy Hotness.
Yeah- I don't see it either...
But further research brought new light to the name:

" Centrally located middle zippers allow for access to the erogenous zones. The middle zipper allows for easy walking and airing out your nether regions. With the built-in padded slippers, you never have to get out of your sleeping bag for those pesky middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks."

Okaaaaaayyyyy.... Hmmmmmmm....

On second thought,
maybe camping is not such a great idea.
I think I'd rather be all cozy in my own home
in one of these:
That's what I'm talking about!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

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Monsters and Maxwell House

I'm one of those people
who can't start functioning correctly
the first thing in the morning-
without a cup of Joe.

Luckily, for me (and the bathroom scale)-
I drink it black.
No sugar.
No creamer.
Just hot and fresh
and in my favorite good-luck mug.

Whenever I think of peace and comfort,
I see a cup of coffee.
Right there with the brilliant sunrise,
or the first snowfall,
or days when I am sad.

When I was in high school,
my mother let me have my own
percolator in my bedroom.
(Yeah, she was cool like that.)

It was white with blue flowers
and sat on my ancient hi-fi cabinet-
right next to the 8-track tape player
that my oldest brother John
fabricated for my listening pleasure.

What more could a girl want?
Led Zeppelin and The James Gang
along with a cup of Maxwell House...
Sitting on a soft bed,
writing poetry and dreaming of cute boys,
fashionable shoes, and Friday nights...

I realize that it sounds as though I was a spoiled brat.

But, no.

I shared that room with my little sister, Tina.

(And another thing...
everyone else on the face of the entire earth
had cassette players by then.)

Tina talked in her sleep.
nightmare talking.

She would grab the blanket and sit up in bed-
with her eyes as big around as a quarter pounder-
and stare toward the closet door
with a frightening whimper...

And, of course, who was I to doubt
that something very real and monster-like
lurked among the wire hangers and shoe boxes?

Being there, you would have thought
that Zombies were about to attack-
or maybe some of those scary Puppet-Master dolls.

It was nights like those that made me glad
that I had a little caffeine in me.

I was able stay awake and guard the bed-
ready to throw a copy of "Love Story"
or a leather sandal
toward any supernatural freak
that emerged from the depths of the closet.

Tina was always back asleep in minutes,
snoring like a baby-
while I had goose bumps the size of dimes
and the hair stood on the back of my neck
like a porcupine on steroids.

So, when morning came,
I kicked Tina out,
perked my coffee,
and enjoyed a world without fear.

Through the years,
I've tried Starbucks and iced cappuccino
and lattes.
I sometimes splurge on expensive creamers
and flavored syrups
and sweet International Delights.

But, I always come back to
coffee in black.

And I secretly wish Tina
many sleepless nights...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Encouraging Imagination

I may not have recognized it back then,
but today I realize how much my mom
encouraged our self-expression.

And unlike modern mothers,
there wasn't a push-
or a pull-
or any bias on her part.

She merely smiled and approved
of most every creative venture
that my siblings and I fabricated.

Be it fancy mud pies
or elaborate club houses,
Mom would never turn her nose up
or lecture us about the mess we made-
or criticize the end result of our crude artistry.


In fifth grade I watched a guest speaker
fill a blank canvas full of plump fruits
and dripping candles-
painting shadows and light so realistically
that you felt you could pluck them
from their frame.

I immediately decided that
I wanted to be an artist.

Somehow- I have no idea how-
my parents managed to get me
a set of oil paints.

I was in heaven.

I couldn't wait to recreate
those purple clusters of grapes-
and the fuzzy pink peach-
and hot wax in clumps around a candlestick.

I remember how perfectly ugly it turned out...
An 18x24 painting that my mom promptly
displayed above the living room sofa!
For a long, long time....


Another time I recall the bathroom mirror getting broken
and the pieces were set outside on the back step.

I decided they looked like puzzle pieces,
so I began gluing them to black poster board
to make a mirrored tree.

Mom loved it.

After hanging in Mom's house for years and years,
I now have it stored in my garage-
Still displayed in the broken yard sale frame
she found for it.


Linda and I were young HGTV enthusiasts back then-
before there was such a show.
We occasionally cooked up brilliant ways
to decorate our room-
each time getting a nod of approval from Mom-
and a skeptical cringe from Dad.

One time we cut out hundred of "paper dolls"
from the Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogs-
and glued them all over the walls and ceiling
with home made flour paste.

Another time, we painted red and white stripes
(freehand, of course) on all four walls.
The original plan consisted of a navy blue ceiling
with glow-in-the-dark stars,
but Dad was pretty firm about keeping the ceilings white.

Later, it was neon shades of blue and apple green-
but never again quite as far-out
as paper dolls dancing on the plaster.


We never got in trouble for the times
we waded in a muddy ditch up to our knees,
brought home smelly clams from the creek,
or bent the good encyclopedias to make
houses for our Barbies.

Mom stored all my poems in the Bible.
And read every story I wrote.

She allowed me to spray paint
and glue and glitter
to my hearts content.


Even today, when I'm trying to choose
between the Exotic Eggplant paint
or the Soft Cream for my walls,
I imagine my Mom simply smiling
in a way that says "Follow Your Heart".

Thank you, Mom.
For letting me be a free spirit.
For letting me experiment and dream-
and be who I was meant to be.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Home Base

Although it is only August,
I see the season wind down.

There is a special blueness of the sky-
a perfume in the pine trees-
a bittersweet knowledge that what has been-
will soon no longer be.

It is this time of year
when I draw closer to my home.

I decorate it daily-
if just in my mind.

I find peace in the textures
and keepsakes
that surround me.

I like my bare feet on the carpet.

My blinds open wide to view the deer.

And my glasses wait on a nearby table,
ready for a fresh magazine
to arrive in the mail.

I like listening to music while I dust.
Sometimes it's a soft love song
and I waltz slowly at my task.

Other times,
I crank up the rock and roll
and swing wildly with the vacuum cleaner.

I make my bed.
Press all the wrinkles from the sheets
till they are tight and smooth-
fluff the head dimples from the pillows
and toss on a colorful comforter.

I ignore the thoughts of an early nap.

The house smells like hazelnut coffee.
And last nights casserole.
And the spiced apple candle that
burns to a nub on my desk.

I love my home because it is familiar.

It meshes with my bone
like a graft of memories.
It surrounds me with goodness
and safety
and a place for my dreams.

When it is absolutely quiet here,
I find my own voice.
I know myself.

And everything seems right.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thank You

Today I am celebrating myself.

And 10,000 hits on my blog.

For those of you who are not writers,
it may be difficult to understand
how uplifting and liberating that is.

And it is not the fact that people came here
to read what I had to say that is so amazing,
but- it is the fact that I said something.

-that I sat here almost everyday
and cranked out my heart-
and let it bleed-
without worrying if it spilled out
onto other peoples lives.

I realize that my readers
may not have always liked what I wrote.
How many of us buy a new paperback,
only to abandon it on the nightstand forever?
There are no guarantees-
no prizes-
for having rearranged words into daily stories.

I started this blog as a type of computerized journal.
A place where I could store my thoughts
for safekeeping.
How many spiral notebooks
and one-year diaries of mine
have been lost through the years!

My mother began to write her thoughts on paper
during the final years of her life.
Those six or eight pages are the most precious thing
she could have left me.
They were her.
They were pieces of her heart.

And every time I read them,
her heart beats again.

That is what I hope to accomplish.

My children and my loved ones
will never remember
all the things I said.
But they will always have
the things that I wrote.

when I am gone from this earth-
I hope they delight in reading my blog.
I hope they laugh and cry
and realize that I was not just
a wife and a mother and grandmother-
but that I was a person
who enjoyed life.

My husband rarely reads my blog.
He's peeked at half a dozen-
Sometimes it hurts my feelings
that he doesn't seem to care
what I write.
But, I've come to realize
he cares more about the things I say out loud.

And that's okay.

To me, writing is like blowing my nose
during a nasty cold.
I just gotta get it all out-
and if I don't,
I just get sicker.

Writing helps me breathe.

I once worked at the local newspaper.
I moved up from being a secretary
in the classified ads-
to being a reporter with two weekly columns.

Never once did anyone there
ever tell me that I was doing a good job-
or that they enjoyed my writing-
or that I made them laugh-
or that what I said mattered.

I think that broke my spirit for awhile.

I think I needed reassuring-
a sounding board for my thoughts.
So, I left there.

I quit writing for almost three years.
No journals.
Or diaries.
Maybe an occasional poem
or a jotting of ideas.

But it was like being a prisoner in my own skin.
I swelled with heartache and with joy-
and I began to realize that the only relief valve
was my through my fingertips on the keyboard
or around a pencil.

it does matter that you come here.
That you comment.
That you inspire and encourage me
on this literary journey-
my written legacy.
To help me leave my alphabetic footprints.

I am flattered and grateful.

Thank you.
For helping me face the music every single day.

And to always feel like singing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let's Get Real, Shall We?

No doubt most of you
have noticed the annoying flashing ads
on the margin of your favorite web sites.

I rarely click on them.

They usually want volumes
of personal information
like your blood type,
and PIN numbers on all bank accounts.

But a few weeks ago, I couldn't resist.
I clicked.

I mean- who wouldn't want to know
the trick of having a tiny belly?

I like tricks.
They save time and energy.
They are like super shortcuts
or magic pills.
They make me smile.

So, of course I was curious.

Well, the secret is a tiny berry called Acai.
In pill form, it encorages weight loss
and helps burn calories.

Sounds like my kind of trick.

However, in most cases,
this miracle berry must be used in conjunction
with Colon Cleanse-
a natural herb formula
that eliminates waste from your body.

I thought about this for barely a minute.
Let's get real here, shall we?

It makes you poop.

It takes that delicious pepperoni pizza
and fudge brownie
and flushes them from your system
like they didn't even happen.

The makers of Advanced Colon claim that:
"An average American will eat 4-6 meals/day and have a typical bowel-movement (bm) once a day. This leaves anywhere from 5-8 meals of food sitting in your system at any given time."

To me- that means these colon cleansing agents
are going to make me want to crap my pants
all day long.
How many working people out there have
the time and the opportunity to
run to the toilet 5-8 additional times a day?

Can you imagine the extra expense of toilet paper?
The water bill after continuous flushing?
The consequences of not getting there on time?

Advanced Colon also informs us that:
" It's NOT uncommon for people to carry as much as thirty pounds of toxic waste in their colon. In fact, some bowels, when autopsied, weighed up to 40 pounds with a diameter of 12" (30cms) with only a narrow passage through which feces could be eliminated."

Sick stuff here, people....

Yet- I couldn't help but continue reading.
One guinea pig woman claims to have
lost nine pounds in one week.
And within three weeks she had lost 23 pounds!
She also states that she went down THREE dress sizes
within that time.

Well, I just can't help but think
that Poopy Polly is a liar.

It takes me eighteen months to lose 23 pounds
and at least 100 pounds to drop three dress sizes!
This is no trick- it's a scam!

Eating blueberries all the live-long day,
supplemented with huge portions of Ex-Lax
can pretty much achieve similar results.

the thought of having a tiny belly again
seems somehow worth the extra budgeting
for Super Soft Charmin.

Or Depends.

Monday, August 16, 2010

School Daze, School Daze

Sometimes I almost envy the kids
that are going back to school.

 Sometimes I go down the craft isle at Wal-Mart,
just to smell the Elmer's glue
and the Crayola Crayons
and the woody aroma of fresh pencils.

Sometimes I fantasize about owning
a giant 5-Star college-ruled notebook again-
a colorful array of file folders,
and black fine-tipped ball point pens
that glide across the page
as gracefully as an Olympic skater.

Sometimes I miss the feel of text books
in the crook of my arm-
the strict regimen of schedules
and dealines
and assignments.

Sometimes I think about school desks
and the stiff, upright chairs-
their graffiti measled surfaces
and their cheap Formica tops.

I sometimes dream about my locker-
the ca-chunk as it opened
and the smack as it slammed
and the smell of polished hallways
and disinfected restrooms
and potatoes and peas cooking
in the cafeteria.

I can still hear the squeak of swing sets
and the thump of basketballs
and the whir of a merry-go-round gone wild.

I sometimes miss the anticipation of Christmas break,
the fear of semester exams,
and the kindness of a good teacher.

I miss new school clothes
and new socks
and new shoes that gave me blisters.

I sometimes miss the hum
of the film projector,
slobbering on my desk during
an impromptu nap,
and raising my hand because
I was certain I knew the answer.

I miss doodling in the margins,
highlighting notes in dogeared books,
and listening to the band practice
outside near the football field.

I miss the giggles and the gossip,
the friends and the festivities,
the satisfaction of good grades
and a job well done.

I sometimes miss solar systems
and patchwork globes
and formaldehyde in Biology lab.

I miss art canvas
and potter's wheels
and tempera paints
with bundles of brushes.

I miss yearbook day
and pep assemblies
and field trips.

I miss being young-
full of hope for my future,
and never doubtful of my abilities.

Sometimes I miss school days.

But now I simply watch the yellow bus
kick up dust on the country road-
and pretend it is stopping
at my house next.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Trend Alert ! Trend Alert !

Today I received a very important e-mail.
It was a "trend alert".

I guess someone at American Eagle
must have confused me with
the Olson twins
because I was mistakenly alerted to the fact
that Skinny Leggings are the new fall look.

Hey-I'll just put it out there-
Not many ladies-
even little ones-
look good in Skinny Leggings.

And to all you thin, anorexic beautiful women
who don't believe me-
go suck a hummingbird egg
sip your healthy Vegan shake
read another blog.

I'm not jealous!
Absolutely not!

Whatever gave you that idea?
I just believe that thin women shouldn't
flaunt their skinniness
just as fat women shouldn't flaunt
their bigness.

I got to wondering if
that e-mail was just a scam
to ridicule me.
Some sophisticated designer's
idea of a bad joke.

I can see them all peering into
their tell-all fashion globes
and laughing their bleach-blond heads off.

I've got news for them.

There was once upon a time
that I could have worn skinny leggings.
And looked good in them.

Back B.K. (Before Kids).

Back B.M.M.A.G.T.M.B.
(Before Mars Made A Giant Three Musketeers Bar).

Long, long ago, when I had the giraffe legs
and perky bosom
and a waist so small you could
cinch it with a bread tie-
fashion trends were different.

It was the time of elephant bell-bottoms,
poufy peasant blouses,
thick leg warmers
and cable knit vests.

You could have hidden
a killer whale under that garb
and no one would have been the wiser.

But now that I've menopaused gotten fat blossomed
into a mature woman,
the fashionistas decide
that Skinny Leggings are the new trend.


Life sucks sometimes, don't you think?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Be It Ever So Humble


The year was 1981.

I just had my second child.

And when I say "just"-
I mean Becca was only two days old.

It was then that my husband
bought our very first house.

See it?
Yes- it is true.
The picture above is really the actual thing.

I don't know if I was suffering from
post-postpartum retardation-
or what-
but I was excited as heck.

For some reason,
I wasn't scared, embarrassed,
or even horrified by my new house.

I couldn't wait to start tearing off the wallpaper,
ripping out the floors,
and putting gobs of sweat and tears
into the old farm house.

I have always known that
when my husband
sets his mind on something-
he follows through.
And I knew he wouldn't let
me and the kids move into
some crappy, run down fire hazard.

I just felt lucky to have something
we could call our very own.
We had rented for five years
and it was time to make a move.

Face it- we didn't have much.
We bought some carpet from a classified ad,
found a claw foot tub at a yard sale,
made kitchen cabinets out of barn wood,
and I strung up curtains with old twine.

The place didn't have a bathroom,
so my husband made one out of the porch.
It was the coolest room ever.
(Back then.)

I papered it in green fern wallpaper
(which was very groovy at the time),
and we bought 60 old mirrors from
a hotel that was being demolished in town
and glued them to one entire wall.
With my claw foot tub
and some used curtains,
it became my favorite room.

We have fixed up seven places
since we were married
and I now have a  nice home
of which I am proud-
(but still very humble).

I think it all comes down to this:
It doesn't matter where you live.
As long as it is clean
and full of love
and feels like home.

It was wonderful back then
to be able to stand back
and be proud of what we had accomplished.

There truly is no place like home.

(Our first house and my first daughter Erin. She is 30 years old now.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Killer Tomatoes

My house smells like tomatoes.

And not that great lasagna-pizza
kind of tomato smell.

It's more like a...
stewed-tomato-musty-old-lady smell
that has seeped into my nostrils
to the point of nausea.

Cooked tomatoes kinda smell
like feet that have sweat too long
in wet canvas tennis shoes.

Or sorta like old newspapers
stashed in the basement
next to the leaky pipes.

Yeah- that kinda tomatoey smell.

Maybe it's just me.

Not me that smells funny,
but me that imagines the funny smell.

I've been canning tomatoes
since 9:30 and it's almost 1:00.
Time sure flies when you
are bored out of your gourd
and your entire kitchen
looks like somebody
put a zombie in the microwave
and blew him up.

Plus, it's kinda hard to type
while you have tomato seeds
sticking to your hands and wrists
like some type of freaky garden bling.

I'm new at this.

God forgive me
if I end up canning quarts and quarts
of flavorsome botulism for my loved ones.

But my husband says
the days of throwing tomatoes
over the fence is over.

It's funny how he seems okay
with the twenty pound zucchinis being wasted.
Or the foot long okra.
Or those obese little cucumbers
that grew round instead of long.

Don't get me wrong.
I love tomatoes.
And I believe in preserving food
for the winter ahead.

But I sure wish tomatoes
smelled liked baked apples
or cinnamon donuts
or even Christmas trees.

The old-lady-house-dress-tomato-smell
is just not something Glade
would bottle up
for a refreshing fragrance spritz.

Well, gotta go tend my harvest now.
Then open all the doors and windows
to let the house air out.

I just hope some old-musty-tomato-smelling man
doesn't walk by and mistake it for an invitation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

S'mores for Cindy

Today is S'mores Day
and I'm dedicating this post
to my future daughter-in-law, Cindy.
That girl sure does love her some S'mores!

And who can blame her?
It's the ultimate sandwich.
Crunchy, gooey, chocolaty and sweet.

All you need is graham crackers,
Hershey bars.
a long stick,
and a blazing fire.

Not to mention- plenty of napkins.

S'mores were first introduced
in the Girl Scout Handbook of 1927.
A popular campsite treat,
some say the name came from
children requesting "some more"
after indulging in the melted treat.

I'm not one to play with my food,
but I just had to do some research
on the rest of the S'more's ingredients.

Graham crackers.
Weird story.

Sylvester Graham (1794-1851)
was a health lecturer that believed that:
" intense physical desire, no matter how expressed and regardless of whether you were married or not, was guaranteed to have dire physiological consequences. "
He thought men should
remain virgins until age 30
and then should
make love only once a month.

Graham prescribed a special vegetarian diet
to control lust.
This regimen included "Graham bread,"
made from whole wheat flour.
Graham crackers, which Graham invented in 1829,
were a product of his research.

Today graham crackers
are mostly made with refined white flour
and added sweeteners.
So, I wouldn't count on them
helping with any chastity vows
you may have made.

Before the mid 1800's,
marshmallows were made
using the sap of the Marsh-Mallow plant.
Doctors once extracted medicinal juices
from the Marsh-Mallow plant's roots.
This was cooked with egg whites and sugar,
then whipped into a hardened candy
used to soothe children's sore throats.

Today marshmallows are mostly
modified corn starch
and hold no healing properties whatsoever.

Now, we all know about Hershey bars.
Introduced in 1900 by
Milton S, Hershey,
this 210 calorie,
13 fat gram treat
has consistently sent my weight
soaring wildly for thirty years.

An odd history of ingredients,
but just put them together today
and you have a quick dessert that
will make you lick your lips and fingers
and cry out for "S'more!"

Today I raise my marshmallow stick
and toast to Cindy-
May your day be as sweet as a S'more!

Monday, August 9, 2010

At The End Of The Day

I know I complain a lot.
I'm cynical.
Kinda grouchy sometimes.
Twist events just a tad
in order to make for a good blog.

But, in reality,
I'm actually a very positive person.

That's why today I'm not going to
gripe about how horribly hot it's been.

Or how I've worked my fingers to the bone
stacking firewood.

Or how every insect on the planet
has had a taste of my blood.

(I'm just lucky there aren't vampires in Missouri.
Or else I'd be a walking,
shape-shifting bat zombie
with a hillbilly coffin.)

I'm not going to tell you
how hard the mattress is at the cabin.
Or that my stupid pillow
is just a glorified maxi-pad.
Or that I've fallen in love with
Calamine Lotion,
Deep Woods Off
and fly swatters.

I'm not here today to mention
how crunchy my laundry has been
because we have to line dry it.
Or that- to make matters worse-
some insect laid eggs on every single
piece of clothing while in dried
in the scorching summer sun.

I won't tell you
how I miss the computer
and the internet
and a coffee pot that doesn't leak.

It's been a trying two months.

But it has been worth every sting
and scratch
and sleepless itchy night.

My husband and I have spent the
evenings at the cabin
playing Scrabble
and Mancala
and reading books.

We never read.
We never play board games together.

At least not in our real world.

But, at the cabin,
we connect differently.
We enjoy the silence.
We appreciate nature.
We smile more.

And one special thing
that makes my heart warm-
we have Popsicle breaks.

After an afternoon of sweating
and hard labor,
we sit in the shade on our lawn chairs
and share a double Popsicle.
We don't even talk.
We just stare out into the woods
and the big, blue sky
and rest our minds.

I look over at my husband-
with wood chips in his sweaty hair,
paint splatters on his torn tee shirt,
graying, unshaven whiskers
and blistered hands-
eating a melting Popsicle-
and I suddenly see
the most handsome man in the world.

So, at the end of the day
I really can't complain.

I am blessed beyond measure.