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December 26, 2012

Ode to a Layered Salad

Oh layered salad, how I love thee
With thy crunchy lettuce and celery
Sweet peas and shredded cheddar
Tang of vinegar and cream of mayo
Melded with yellow orb of boiled egg
You masquerade as health
(it is called salad after all)
But are full of not nutritiousness
And that makes me love you all the more
Especially the second day

December 16, 2012

The DNA Test

December 3rd was a big day - the DNA test from was in the post - WHOOOO HOOOO!!

Anon CP received hers awhile ago. But for reasons we will not disclose here, (due to our Southern lady likeness), she had repeat the test. She got her second test the day after I got mine. So now we are just two days apart.

This week Ancestry sent me an email indicating they had my sample and it would be six-eight weeks before the results came back.

I am seriously excited about getting the results. I wish my parents were alive (and coherent), they both would have been really interested in this.

Amazing Grace

Thought we all needed some grace today, whether we are believers or not.

Pluck your own meaning from the definition. And your own favorite from the versions below.

We have bagpipes (of course), accompanied by beautiful photos of Scotland:

Judy Collins with the Harlem Boys Choir:

In Cherokee:

And finally, my current favorite by Tim Eriksen:

December 15, 2012

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

As I tried to sleep last night, my head was atumble with:

The photo of the boy in the plaid jacket with his hands over his mouth, his sister (I imagine) behind him, head down, arms around him.

I pictured scenes in bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens. The crying multiplied by twenty-seven multiplied by grandparents multiplied by aunts and uncles, multiplied by siblings, spouses, cousins, friends, teachers, towns, cities, the world.

Then back to the living rooms: the crying headache, the swollen eyes, the hoarseness from screaming why, the numbness after there are no more tears, the heartache for which there is no remedy. The checking and re-checking of bedrooms just one more time - in case this is a dream. The hoping for a miracle. The smelling of clothes, the looking at pictures, the phone calls. The repeating of the day, the pounding of reality with one more news story. The guilt of fights, no I-love-yous because of a rush. The sorrow of parents for everything done or not done. Never to be undone. Finally the anguished sleep by small beds.

The horror of "shopping" for a coffin; planning funerals, flowers, casseroles. The future of driving past the school, but no-one to pick up.

The holidays tainted, the joys of the season dashed. The not knowing what to say if yours was one who came home. More guilt, wondering why them and not us, but glad just the same. The fear of laughing or smiling. The counseling to come.

Heaven help us.

November 25, 2012

More of the Same

A dear friend mentioned recently that she wished I was writing more blog posts.

Well, here goes.

As the calendar speeds closer and closer to the one year anniversary of my mother's death, I become both more agitated and more quiet inside.
I shall confess here to a little magical thinking - when the year is up... POOF! I will be able to take off my figurative "widow weeds" and move on.

The difference in the grieving process between my parents is so...well, different. Silly me for thinking they would be the same.

The edge of grief that is my father's death is dull and rarely causes pain anymore. Could it be because his, though sudden, was expected? He had an incurable cancer, there was no question it would kill him. Maybe it's because it's been 13 years.
Just yesterday, the song "Addicted to Love" came over the airwaves while I was shopping and it made me smile - because my dad knew and liked that song from his late nights watching VH1.

My mother's march to death was sad and slow and destroyed every bit of the person she used to be.
This grief regularly dropkicks me.
At the costume jewelry section in Kohl's, at restaurants where we used to eat, sometimes passing neighborhoods we used to drive through looking at houses.
Boston Terriers. Beaded Christmas ornaments. Cookie books. The smell of coconut custard. Jello salad. Barbie dolls. Old school script handwriting. Fabric stores. Tea with milk. When I'm driving (Your father would have gone then.).
Everywhere. Every day.

October 7, 2012


That's how I feel.

A rudderless, pall covered, grumpy, sad, orphan.


It occurred to me yesterday that this birthday coming up is the first since becoming an orphan. (Funny how I think of orphans as being young, but the term applies to anyone without parents.) It never entered my head until yesterday that this would have the potential for extra sadness.

But now that it has, it doesn't surprise me. The person who gave birth to me, who loved me when I was sick, healthy, mean, kind, stupid, or stunningly brilliant, is gone. It doesn't matter that she was gone before she moved up here.

The cord is truly cut now.

September 3, 2012

Some Advice, Part Two

This really isn't advice.

Instead these fall under the "Who Knew?" category:

- If your loved one dies in a state they're not being buried in - call the funeral home who is in charge of the arrangements. They in turn contact a local funeral home to collect the body and transport it across state lines. Apparently it's less expensive this way. (We shelled out around $1300 for the transport. Can't imagine how much it would have been otherwise.)
Make sure those instructions and phone numbers are in the file if your parent is in a skilled nursing facility or the like.

- Death Certificates - Some institutions (banks) want a "sanitized" (no cause of death listed) version; order
copies of both sanitized and non-sanitized.  Durham County only issues non-sanitized. Nothing you can do about it.

- Death certificates cost money. (It makes sense when you think about it, so do birth certificates.) I think they were $10 each. It's one more expense tacked on to the funeral cost (the funeral home orders them). (And can I interject right here what a rip off I think the whole funeral business is?)
So when the cable company (!!) wants one to turn off the account - they don't get one - unless they want to pay for it. Some places will record  it and return it if you include a self addressed stamped envelope.

Some Advice, Part One

Many of my friends are now orphans, Some are not.

One friend has both parents who are still able to live independently for the most part and who are willing to accept more help - but the visit to the lawyer's office hasn't been made.

Another friend has a mother who will not relinquish her grip on her affairs, so her children are left in the lurch, unable to do what they long to do - take care of their mother.

When my mother put me on her bank account years ago, I thought it was silly. Later I was thankful for her foresight. Being a signer on the account meant I could enable auto bill pay for her accounts when she started to forget to pay things and I could keep an eye on the account to make sure the evil boyfriend was not taking financial advantage.

Mom also wasn't afraid to talk about things that some people might find "morbid" - tombstones, caskets, and living wills. One of the first things we did after I moved back to Florida was to drive to Valdosta, GA where she picked out their headstone. She made and paid for her funeral arrangements. (We have a family cemetery, so the burial plot was taken care of.)

The year after my father died, Mom and I watched the PBS series On Our Own Terms with Bill Moyers; we would discuss each episode afterward over the phone. The series opened up dialogue and gave me insight into what she wanted for her end of life care. I highly recommend watching it or at the very least, reading the discussion guide here (requires Adobe Reader):

So, my advice?

  1. Do. It. Now. Especially if your parents are on board
  2. If they're not on board - download the discussion guide above, put on your big girl/boy Underoos and have a talk
  3. Get on the bank account
  4. Draw up a will; should include a living will  
  5. Know what their wishes are regarding medical procedures (see above) AND
  6. Have a DNR (do not resuscitate) and a Do Not Treat (they are NOT the same thing) order, if that's what has been agreed upon. All healthcare providers should have copies. If your parent(s) is in an assisted living facility, make sure they have a copy. Some post the DNR over the bed. 
  7. Power of attorney (can talk to doctors; make medical/financial decisions): If you're the POA, you'll need a copy of the will (which includes the POA) because you'll be sending it all over creation.
  8. Do. It. Now.

I Can Haz Chicken?

While scarfing down some rotisserie chicken from Sam's Club, I looked over and saw this face:

It's blurry because I was laughing so hard. In case you can't tell, that's his tongue sticking out.

Food Truck Rodeo

Yesterday several of us went to the Food Truck Rodeo at Durham's Central Park. Many of the trucks were under the pavilion, a nice alternative to the sweltering sidewalk on a hot sticky day. Wonder if that's why the longest lines were for those trucks...hmmmmm.

Food Truck Rodeo, Foster Street, Durham
We did a preliminary stroll, looking for the Duckfat Tater Tot truck, because those tots are some major goodness (the buffalo chicken slider is damn good too). Alas, our search was in vain.

So good!
We decided on The Sausage Wagon and Chirba Chirba. Chirba Chirba's line was loooooong, so we split up to stand in both lines. I decided on the spicy Italian sausage; they very nicely deleted the peppers from the onions! (green peppers are gross). The mustard was not as spicy as I remember, but still good. We climbed the hill to the park behind the pavilion, just in time for a butterfly bench by Vega Metals to become available, and stuffed our faces with dumplings and sausage while plotting our dessert. 

When Atkins becomes a lifestyle, you blow off certain carbs in exchange for others. As I didn't eat the bun with my sausage, my eye was on the mauve truck containing Sweet Stacey Cakes. Those of us in the relatively short cupcake line were happy we weren't in line for the crepe truck - that line was crazy. 

I choose a Lemon Lavender and a Cheerwine Velvet (their take on red velvet). While I liked the Cheerwine Velvet (ate all of it), I preferred the Lemon Lavender. I am not a big fan of frosting and didn't eat most of it. 
The others headed off to the ice cream line at The Parlour. I wasn't going to get anything, but when I saw the flavours... a scoop each of Salted Caramel and Brown Sugar Peach topped with salted caramel whipped cream. The peach was the best, fresh and just lightly sweet. 

Afterward I felt shaky from all the sugar and too full. If I do it again, I'll get the Lemon cupcake (take off the frosting) and one scoop of the peach ice cream. (in my defense I offered to share both cupcakes and someone else ate 1/2 the lemon - so there.)

Recently I read an article on the food truck movement in Durham; the writer felt it was too trendy, expensive, and a little precious. 

It is hard (and messy) to stand and eat, but it's also a fun way to sample a lot of food, as long as you have time to stand in line - a group is great if you're willing to split up for a bit. (Observation: the only people in line at the Raw Food truck, were young thin white females. Just sayin...) 

Several of the trucks now have store fronts - Only  Burger and Daisy Cakes to name two. I overheard that The Parlour is next, thanks to KickStarter

Some rodeo tips: start early, wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and bring cash - some of the trucks don't take credit cards. 

August 23, 2012

The Tattoo Transformation

I've been enamored with tattoos for a long time. It could be the Pict in me and those blood memories. (here's science to back that up!)

During a day in Oakland, my then husband and I passed by a tattoo shop. The tattoo-er and tattoo-ee allowed us to watch the process. (The then husband had a tattoo.) I was fascinated.

When I turned 35, the bug really bit me; I spent the next three years doing impromptu interviews with anyone who had a interesting tattoo, getting recommendations for artists, and visiting tattoo shops. Three years later, when someone gave me $100 and told me to spend it on something I really wanted, I marched off to the local tattoo artist and got a Celtic knot (did you think it would be anything else?) on my back. Later in Ireland, I got some weird tribal design - all I could get for ten pounds. The two were not related in any way design wise and over the years, the knot closed up and the color faded.

FYI - knots and such need to be fairly large and have lots of space, so that they don't close up over time. The Boy's first tattoo is a good example of what to do.

Several years ago I went as a friend's "tat buddy" when she got her first at Dogstar Tattoo in Durham. I had stopped in Dogstar a few years earlier and had not liked the "vibe"; was pleasantly surprised to find it changed. The artist was the owner, Kathryn. I liked her immediately; she's soft spoken and has a very calm, peaceful manner about her. I also liked her ideas on cover-ups for the two tattoos I had.

I made an loose appointment for March 2010 but that date came and went.
Then last July I had a dream about the raven tattoo.
January 2012 I made another appointment, but no-one called me. I made another one in February - and finally got in for a consultation - in April!
I told Kathryn about the dream and went back in May to see the drawing. The design incorporated the raven, (on the right shoulder as the dream instructed), with seven oak leaves, (one of the seven sacred, or Chieftain, trees of the Irish), and three acorns.

Finally, in June 2012, we started!

The old tattoos

We begin with the stencil.

First session - June 18th

Third session - July 16 (second session July 3, worked on leaves on left)

Fourth session - July 30 - two and a half hours!
Final session - August 20
I go back in a couple of months after it's had a chance to fully heal and see if any touch ups are needed.
It was over what was budgeted, but not by much, and really quite the bargain for a piece of original art.
I'm very happy with it.

August 2, 2012


Yeah, that's right. Bleh. I have been in this Crabby MacCrabberston state for what seems like weeks.
And kind of don't care.

Don't you hate it when chirpy people tell you that you shouldn't have a bad attitude? As if that's going to make a difference. Oh, golly gosh, you're right - I'll stop right now. Thanks chipper pal, you're the best!


What's been happening?
Let's start with the cracked fuel line on the car.

Happened during the day
Discovered it before all the gas drained out of my tank
No-one threw a lit cigarette at me
It wasn't a hole in the gas tank
Work close to the Toyota dealer who could fix it
Know people who have an extra car and let me borrow extra car overnight

Unexpected expense of $231
Found out my power steering is also leaking


Saw the Cat Lady again last week. I hadn't seen her in awhile, so you know, I made up stuff like maybe she got an apartment. But there she was, on the street behind Home Depot. The cat had just jumped out of the car onto the grass. I wondered if I should stop. But then what? What in the world would I say? She intrigues me and horrifies me at the same time.
Horrifies me in the way homeless and/or sick people do sometimes - where I don't know what to say or where to look or what to do with the fear that threatens to choke me, because maybe it is contagious. (please feel free to insert "I" where appropriate, unless of course you never experience that feeling. If you don't, you are a fantastic person. And are probably now wondering why we're friends.)

In the end I just felt depressed as I drove on past. From my house. To work.

Thought about her the rest of the day.

We'll end this post with a happy Beach Boys-eque song.

July 16, 2012

Why I Volunteer At Drag Bingo

About a hundred years ago when I lived in California, a group of us went to dinner the third Saturday of every month. Our ringleader, Marty, gathered up people he liked - smart, funny, talented people (still a mystery how I got in) - mixed us all together, gays, lesbians, and "breeders" alike, and magic happened. There were some hilarious people involved and it was a regular occurrence to have sore ribs the next day from laughing. 

Bill was part of the inner circle and one of the kindest people I've ever known.We instantly connected and took every opportunity to be near each other. We fed each other the most delicious morsels and hung back from the rest of the group to walk together.

Bill had AIDS. It being the late Eighties, miracle drug cocktails hadn't happened yet. You can guess how this story ends. 

I'd like to say that I was there with him holding his hand, being the best friend ever, loving him to the other side. But I couldn't bear to see him wasting away and phoned instead. One time I had a cold and wouldn't visit so as to not compromise his health. In retrospect, that seems a very stupid excuse when someone is dying. Another time I drove to his house only to turn around without going in.

I was a coward.

The years since Bill's death, I have served on committees for AIDS outreach services, walked AIDS walks, served AIDS caregivers and in general tried to redeem myself.

I like to think I'd be braver now.  

July 8, 2012

The Three P's of Pets

We all know what they are.
Let's say them together - pee, poop, and puke.
God help me. Last night as I went around the house cleaning up after three cats, I wondered just where those studies came from - you know, the ones that SWEAR pet ownership lowers your blood pressure.

First of all, I have a high pee-er (I think it's Lillie). She overshoots the side of the box, juuuuusssstttt enough. So there's that. 
Second of all, Finn is a Manx and they can have what I refer to as "The Feature". Meaning they are prone to intestinal issues, to put it delicately. And it results in what I call chocolate drops and/or skid marks, to put it indelicately. Which I find more of AFTER I've steamed cleaned the floor and put away the steam cleaner.

Anyway, it's still hot. Supposed to break this week. Highs in the 80's. Lows in the upper 60's. What a relief!

What the heck is the deal with Blogger?! And the white space behind some sentences? It's kinda pissing me off.

July 1, 2012

My "GrandSmoker"

I don't have any grandchildren. However, The Boy just gave birth, in a manner of speaking, to a 850 pound smoker that he designed and built. I'm so proud. 

His father is creative that way; he made his own patterns and sewed clothes for The Boy when he was a wee bairn. The Boy never followed instructions when putting something together, he looked at the picture of the finished product and went from there. We put together a futon frame once and he had it sorted out while I was still counting all the screws.

Here's a picture of my behemoth "grandsmoker". Feel free to have a cigar for me.

It's Still Hot Y'all

Hopefully this is the last day of triple digit weather for a long while. Those poor folks in Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, and West Virginia who are without power in this heat. Here's hoping the utility companies get you back up in the A/C zone quickly.
We had about fifteen minutes of crazy all-of-a-sudden wind that freaked the cats out and scattered oak tree branches and leaf clusters all over the yard here, but the lights never flickered. Just down the road, people were without power all night. Weird how that works.

To keep cool yesterday, we went to the NC Museum of Art to see El Anatsui, When I Last Wrote To You About Africa. It was fantastic (my new word). He works in clay, wood, paint, and lately, bottle caps. Bottle caps have been hammered and shaped into flat, crushed, square shapes, then bound together with pieces of copper wire. The result is metal that drapes like cloth. He lets each museum display them the way that moves them, allowing them to contribute to the art. I highly recommend seeing it if it comes to your area.

After that we headed back to Chapel Hill for a delicious Indian meal at Mint. I had the meat platter (perfect for the Atkins devotee) and the Kachumber salad: chunks of cucumber and tomatoes, seasoned simply with cilantro and salt (the website says there is onions and a tangy sauce, but I didn't see any onions. There may have been a splash of vinegar). It was delightfully cool and refreshing.
So was the mango mojito. Heh.

June 29, 2012

It's Hot Y'all

I mean it.
104. Tomorrow 105. 
The cats are all wilted over some cool surface - a wood table, the slate hearth, tiled bathroom floor. I'm parked in front and/or under a fan. If I don't exert myself (meaning any old kind of activity) then I'm fine. 

Whenever it gets this hot, I think about women who lived in centuries prior. Having to wear petticoats and slips and long skirts and corsets. Laws. Heaven help you if you were not the rich white lady in the big house who could just sit on the porch all day fanning herself. Because you were working in the fields or the kitchen with all that heat and all those clothes. And sleeping in the top floor of a hot airless house. 

Today let us thank all those people who contributed to the invention of the air conditioner and the microwave.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with "Game of Thrones", a ceiling fan, and a chocolate truffle brownie from Daisy Cakes.

June 19, 2012

In Which We Never Speak of It Again

But that won't happen.
Because death just keeps on a'comin' chickens and dogs and cats and parents and friends and on and on.

They've stopped treating my neighbor's father, the one with a brain tumor. The one that's my age. She said it was probably down to 2-3 weeks.
Sometimes I fall prey to someone else's timeline, someone else's modus operandi, someone else's Bible verse when it comes to grief and sadness. Instead of just listening to myself and being still in the pain. Like labor, when one resists, it's harder.

There's a thin line between sadness and wallowing; between acknowledgement and detachment.

The one thing I do know - the only way out is through.

June 6, 2012

We Are All Creative

I finally subscribed to Bedlam Farm. Not sure why it took me so long.

Chickens, donkeys, dogs, and cats. And art and beauty and creativity. All there in every post.

With sadness I read that Izzy, the dog of the hospice journal, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in April.
(one thing Jon - an archive would be great, so one does not have to click "older posts" forever to get past what one has already read.)

I love how he encourages us all to be creative - because we all are creative.

even when we think we're not.
even when that BIG LOUD critics' voice in our heads tells us we're not.

even when we're on what his wife Maria calls "the shit-train".

even when we think we have nothing to say and no one will ever read this minuscule boring (uh oh shit train thinking) blog.

even then.


Two today:
Of moving back "home" sixteen years ago.
Of Mom dying six months ago (seems kind of wrong to call it an anniversary).

In Which We Talk of Haircuts

Lovely weather we've been having - decidedly not very North Carolina June. There's your snippet of what my cousin and I call Old People Weather Talk - OPWT for short.

Saturday we went out on Jordan Lake for an evening cruise and jackets were needed. It was great.

 Earlier in the day we saw "Snow White and the Huntsman" and except for Charlize Theron's costumes, it was not great.

But I didn't come here to talk about that.

Sunday after a mini Chapel Hill pottery tour excursion with "Myrtle's" daughter "M", we went over to CB; it was the first time I'd been this year. Ms. Myrtle was sitting outside in the courtyard, dressed in a white cable-knit sweater, khaki pants, and white sneakers with black socks. The black socks did not go over well with M, as she had brought over twelve pair of white socks recently. 
The haircut Ms. Myrtle was sporting went over even less well than the socks. Using the word haircut is being extremely generous - this was a hair chop. The part of her hair that used to be bangs (fringe as the Brits say), was sticking straight up in the air, making her look a bit like a ninety year old Mary in "There's Something About Mary". And while this look was funny in the movie, it is not funny on a defenseless elderly person.

Ms. Myrtle was not the only current casualty, another woman said her husband's hair had been butchered. M said several other people's hair looked bad as well. I had to intervene several times with this hairdresser on behalf of Mom's hair.

What gives with this woman!? These folks have so little left, they should be treated with dignity and respect, especially when it comes to things they can no longer do for themselves. They all either look like little children (with bad haircuts) or with the same exact style.

Honestly, I have so many emotions about this, I don't even know how to express them. It pisses me off.

Poor M was so upset she went inside for a bit to recoup. I continued to talk to "Jean" who had recognized me through the window and came out to sit for a bit. There was a story about her father, her husband, and her daughter. We held hands. It was nice. Then it got too hot for her and she went inside, and I chatted with Ms. Myrtle.

"Where is everyone?" she asked, "Is this a story?"
Everyone was beautiful, including the brick building. The man who built it was old or handsome; she wondered which it was.
I offered that perhaps he could be both.
She did not seem to think that likely.
Neither did I.
Not with that haircut.

May 26, 2012

I Don't Know

What to call this post.

I'm in the middle of a major "meh" fest with myself. Feeling dissatisfied, sort of, and stuck, sort of, and yet comfortable, and on top of that, not having a clue what to do different.

Maybe it's part of grieving.

Maybe it's just part of me. The struggle to "find" myself.
(My mother in her demented wisdom would have said, "You're right here.")

"Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it." -- Tallulah Bankhead

I "found" myself in Carrboro on Friday to get my car serviced at the always terrific Auto Logic.
Carrboro was the first town I lived in when I moved to NC and it has that special first-town place in my heart.

I sat outside Weaver Street Market enjoying a coffee and Dwell magazine while Auto Logic did their magic:

This was inside:

The morning was hazy, a bit cool.
Walking over, I saw things I hadn't seen before. Like this fountain:

And these flowers:

And this lovely scene across Weaver Street as I thought about thin women with bearded men who smiled at me inside when I got coffee and seemed chagrined when they saw me outside and the thin woman was next to them:

"Hells Bells" by Cary Ann Hearst:

May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

This is a "Hallmark Holiday". Another made up holiday for what should be everyday, or at the very least, every month. Because, frankly, we're worth it. (Unless you have a "Komodo Dragon" for a mom, as a friend of a friend called hers. Yikes!)

Still, I changed my cover photo on Facebook to this:

I was going to use this one:

but my mother looks too sad. (And a bit like Keely Smith.)

And Not The Sock Monkey's Either

Cousins, that is. My very own real human type cousins.

It all started with this picture:

And through a days-long complicated trail that I won't bore you with because it's only interesting if it's YOUR family (and sometimes not even then), I found a new [to me] second cousin, once removed. His grandmother and my great-grandmother were sisters, yet he's younger than me. So weird.
We're related in another more complicated way via my great-grand aunt who married my first cousin twice removed. Family, oh what a tangled web...

Anyway, we are new BFF's.

He was going to call me Friday a week ago, but was in a bad motorcycle accident that night and is still in hospital. Demonstrated his superb southern manners by emailing - while on a morphine drip - to apologize for missing the call!

May 5, 2012

Notes on Today

Walking along Hunt Street in Durham this morning:
semi cool breeze carrying the sounds of people laughing, the jingle of dog's tags, the smell of coffee and earth and strawberries and sunscreen (SPF 45).

Later in Southern Village walking the upper loop alone (the price one pays for being late):
the PERFUME of honeysuckle lit up by the heat, a spray of blood on the sidewalk from a skinned knee or nose, the imprints of shoes in the concrete. The sounds of soccer and hockey and children on swings mingled with this song:

Even later, this charming postcard sized painting was discovered:

Art Everywhere

Hi, it's me. The slacker blogger.

Last week we went on the Durham Art Walk. First we had a snack at Daisy Cakes to fortify us. A chocolate truffle brownie for me.

Cricket Forge was giving these away:

Made of tin. 
Lots of great downtown stuff. A good downtown is the soul of a place.

Both my purchases were leaves - this beautiful photograph of sculptural dead leaves:

And this small metal leaf from Cricket Forge:

Afterward several of us went to Parker and Otis.
No pickle relish in the deviled eggs. Fail.

Lovely day. Lovely company. Lovely art.

April 27, 2012


I am so in love with frittatas, they are quick, easy, full of protein, and the perfect clean-out-your-frig meal.
Make a salad while it's baking and you've got dinner in under 30 minutes.

I loosely followed Art Smith's (Back toThe Table) recipe:
Preheat oven to 350. Saute some veggies of your choice (tonight it was sundried tomatoes, grated zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and a dash of  Italian seasoning), beat 8 eggs, add in some Parmesan cheese (a handful or so), pour the eggs/cheese over the veggies and let set for 3 minutes, then pop in oven for 15 minutes. Voila!

Here's another recipe:

While in Whole Foods this evening gathering my frittata ingredients, I thought I'd pick up some chocolate for dessert. They were out of my favorite, the Chocopologie Hawaiian Sea Salt and Burnt Caramel, but Michelle very kindly (and unexpectedly!) comped me some local (Raleigh) sea salt caramel truffles by Azurelise and they are delightful. I need to write Whole Foods and mention her outstanding customer service.


Zoos and Tattoos

Last weekend brought a trip to the NC Zoo in Ashboro.

Confession #1: My expectation was pretty low.
Unfairly, the expectation was something along the lines of a gas station zoo with pacing cats, poo flinging monkeys, and bear baiting on the side.
But I was so wrong. There was not one cage. They don't have a plethora of animals, but the ones they have are all in quasi-natural environments, or as close as the North Carolina countryside  can come to a savanna (or savannah) in Africa or the forests of Madagascar. After walking close to seven miles, we still had not seen all of the North American portion of the zoo.
All four gorillas were out; the silverback was a particularly handsome and noble looking fellow. Hanging out in the sun with his three girls.
There seemed to be plenty of zoo folks around to stop ijits (there's always at least one) from annoying the animals with dangling bananas and such.

Confession #2: Some folks don't know a monkey (baboon) from an ape* (gorilla, chimpanzee). Fair enough. But how about someone telling their child to look at the monkey - and it's a LEMUR!?
You know what? I judge them. (okay, I judge those other people too.)

Dear god in heaven - at least read the sign. Don't pass your ignoramus-ness down to your children.

The aviary was fantastic, plus we had a break from hearing about "monkeys". These pictures are from the interwebz, but we saw each of them in the flesh:
Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Scarlett Ibis
Red Capped Cardinal

And these little brilliant green birds:
Blue-winged Leafbird
I would love to go back in the fall when the weather's cooler (and it's not Earth Day) and do the whole thing.

On the tattoo front, I finally! got in to see Kathryn at Dogstar Tattoo last Tuesday. Paid my $50 drawing fee and go back in a month to see what she's come up with. A raven on a white oak tree branch is the plan.
I am really excited about it.

Tattoo'd Girls by Wylie Hunter & The Cazadores

"Oooh Lord you know
I love me some tattooed girls
Between their inkstained skin
and their mischievous grins
You know they're givin' my head a whirl"


* Did you know the gibbon is the only ape with a tail?

April 15, 2012

Azalea Festival

Yesterday several of us went to the Azalea Festival in Wilmington.
I had in my head that it was a tour of gardens full of azaleas.
The only azaleas we saw were at a rest stop. And I didn't even take a picture.
It was an arts and crafts fair (a big one) in downtown Wilmington.

It was a gorgeous day, about 70-75. We strolled, we tried on hats, we strolled, we bought stuff (my new pottery BF was there!), we ate, we strolled, we had a glass of wine and dessert, we boat rode, we strolled some more.
In other words, we had a great time.

Tiny cup - almost an egg cup. 

Going up
I would like to go back sometime when there isn't a festival and walk around. The architecture was great.

I'll Be A Monkey's Uncle

This Ancestry thing is crazy - even Sock Monkey Hat is finding  more relatives! Recently two more cousins have come to light:

The coin purse came from Wilmington - didn't even know I had relatives there. The other one was a gift from Steffi. That one could have come from a border state. Hmmmm.

In case you were wondering (I was) - according to When Pigs Fly, "...In 1871 Darwin published the Decent of Man outlining his theory of evolution, sparking controversy that continues today. It seems Darwin’s scribblings not only added yet another excuse to snipe and name call, but also contributed to our English lexicon. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle was originally a sarcastic remark made by non-believers of Darwinism."

April 13, 2012


by Daughter

Shadows settle on the place, that you left.
Our minds are troubled by the emptiness.
Destroy the middle, it's a waste of time.
From the perfect start to the finish line.

And if you're still breathing, you're the lucky ones.
'Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs.
Setting fire to our insides for fun
collecting names of the lovers that went wrong
the lovers that went wrong.

We are the reckless,
we are the wild youth
chasing visions of our futures
one day we'll reveal the truth
that one will die before he gets there.

And if you're still bleeding, you're the lucky ones.
'Cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone.
We're setting fire to our insides for fun.
Collecting pictures from the flood that wrecked our home,
It was a flood that wrecked this...

...and you caused it...
...and you caused it...
...and you caused it...

Well I've lost it all, I'm just a silouhette,
A lifeless face that you'll soon forget,
My eyes are damp from the words you left,
ringing in my head, when you broke my chest.
ringing in my head, when you broke my chest.

And if you're in love, then you are the lucky one,
'cause most of us are bitter over someone.
Setting fire to our insides for fun,
to distract our hearts from ever missing them.
but I'm forever missing him.

and you caused it,
and you caused it,
and you caused it.

Slightly more uplifting - you can listen to an entire album from the Portland, Oregon band Horse Feathers here (I listened three times and pre-bought it on Amazon):

April 7, 2012

A Roller Coaster of a Day

Bright and early, D. and I headed to the Durham Farmer's Market.
A perfect beautiful spring day, cool and sunny.

Here's my score:

Each of those heads of lettuce take up an entire crisper bin. 

The bowl (D. said it looks like it has sugar in it) is by Mark Kozma of Irons in the Fire. He might be my new pottery boyfriend. 
We spent a bit of time with Val who has the cutest Lego themed stuff. Her cake toppers were adorable. 

After harassing Bo at his booth for a few minutes, (he's a wood turner; makes really beautiful bowls and such), we headed over to Parker & Otis for some breakfast. Had what looked to be about four eggs scrambled with asparagus, ham, and cheese. Delicious.

Later this same day, four of us headed up to Cedar Creek Gallery for their Spring Festival.
Yes, I got more pottery.
No, I don't need an intervention.
But thanks for asking!
Then to Butner for the 1970's time warp that is Bob's BBQ.

After that I MOWED MY LAWN instead of taking a nap (that's worth points somewhere, right?). I've not mowed my lawn in four years (because a lovely gentleman is contracted to do it instead).
My neighbor came home while I was in the middle of the job and said, rather incredulously, "What are you doing?! I have never seen you do that!". 
This is my mower:

Makes up for not going on the walk.
Then I went over and hung out with my neighbors for a few minutes and got depressed. My next door neighbor (the incredulous one) was telling me they had to jack up their house.
I need to do that too. As well as get an under the house humidifier and a new water heater and siding or at the very least, new paint. UGH!

Oh, and I received a letter today from the IRS saying they needed more information for Mom's taxes.
More ugh.