Sunday, June 28, 2009

Caprese Salad

The fresh food bonanza continues with a late lunch: fresh mozzarella, a sliced tomato, torn sweet basil leaves with another simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, splenda. I broke my own crunch rule and did not add the toasted pecans that would have been delightful here. Even so, the salad was perfect: cool, sweet, and flavorful even without crunch; a summer garden party in my mouth. Thanks to Christa, for this amazing sweet basil fresh from her garden.


After the Little Taste of Jasmine event yesterday, I took a quick spin through Kroger. As you can imagine, the issue of People pictured at left wasn't something that I was going to be able to walk on by. The magazine quickly joined the prosciutto and vine ripened tomatoes already on the express line check-out counter.

I must report, however, juicy as it looked, it was basically a rehashing of the details we who watch the show are already privy to. In the article Kate says,

"Jon has been asking for this [divorce] for a long time. He does not want to be married to me anymore. No questions asked, he went and hired a lawyer and said, 'You'd better get one.' So I did. I never would've made that step; I never would have done it. But I did, because he told me to do it."

I was immediately queasified with sympathy at the thought of a husband and father of eight minor children advising his wife to "get a lawyer". There's something so heartless and brutal about that, to my mind. For the life of me, I (obviously) cannot stop sympathizing with Kate Gosselin. I have to ask myself if it's normal and the answer comes back: probably not. I am a woman with nothing at all in common with Kate Gosselin.

The situation pushes all my buttons, though: the mother being expected, in the end, to shoulder the most difficult share of the parental burden, the man zipping around in a sports car with freshly pierced ears choosing the strange stuff over the obvious option of keeping his family whole. The fact that the scale is multiplied by an unimaginable factor of eight young children just makes it all the more compelling. And, lastly, following this story, as I've written before, has the totally unexpected effect of causing me to hearken back to my own divorce. I can't stop comparing the two in my mind though there are, literally, no similarities.

And I feel compelled to write about it all in my blog, for heaven's sake.

I have the handy ability to look at things from a completely objective point of view. If I have to. It is an ability that serves me well in many life situations. And it is that ability that I utilized during the dark days of the split from the Yankee Clipper. When I added up the facts of that situation it came up, each time, every single time, that the marriage was at an end. I leaned on the comforting logic of this knowledge. The sadness, regret, heartache, etc. I (whenever possible) packed up in a box, labeled it "divorce" and shoved it under a bed in the in a dusty guest room in the farthest reaches of my psyche.

Jon and Kate's split has had the unexpected and almost bizarre effect of propelling me back to that dark guest room. First leaning against the doorway. Then sitting on the bed. Lifting the box lid with a toe. Peering in. It is a necessary, if painful, process. I've learned through study and experience the body must feel grief and loss, must go through the motions, whether at the time or later. Nature will protect us from the full realization of loss when it is more than we can bear. But has to do the work. Sooner or later.

The good news is that my split technically compares oh-so-favorably to JK8. While my marriage was a bit of a WWF smackdown of used stuffed swordfish stabbing me in the foot, insultingly clean and shiny hair, stolen vehicles (from each other), and threats of hurling underwear off the balcony and into the center of 6th Street, the divorce was more akin to a tea party. "No, you take that, I insist..." "Oh! I wouldn't hear of it, you have it, please..." "Would you mind buying me a replacement TV?" "Why, certainly..." etc.

There may be hope for Jon and Kate as well. The article winds up this way. Kate says:

"I was very encouraged when we did our schedules the other day, because Jon pointed to the July 4 holiday and said, "What are we going to do about that?'" Kate says. "I absolutely cannot imagine not spending every single holiday with my kids. I don't care what it takes. I will be there. So I said, 'I don't know,' and he looked at me and said, 'Together'?" Kate mimics her reaction, raising her eyebrows in shock. I said, 'Yeah? We can have a cookout and fireworks?'" she recalls. For the first time, her voice has a note of giddy, if cautious, enthusiasm. "He said, 'Sure." That's something. We'll see."

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. For all of us.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Little Taste of Jasmine at Roof Bros

Kara McCombs (aka Pecan Pie Porchswing) and David Dzemeredy of SMR PR as well as iList's most recent iDates serve up sushi for Jasmine

If you live in Paducah, and haven't caught on to the Roof Brother's wine tasting every Saturday afternoon at 3pm, you're missing out. And if you weren't there Saturday when, along with wine and beer, Jasmine, Paducah's soon-to-be-open Thai-sushi restaurant, served up free sushi, well, you really missed out. Look for Jasmine's grand opening in Paducah Thursday, July 9th, 4pm at Jordan's crossing. I'm beyond thrilled that Paducah will finally have a Thai food restaurant.

See more of Kara McCombs at BOTRWAT Thursday, July 2nd, 5:30 at di Fratelli.

Business on the Rocks with a Twist

[Okay, so I'm an over-posting fool today. Can I help it there's so much going on?]

It just so happened that the first BOTRWAT occurred on the day the music died. You see here the much hyped "Thriller" tribute--our homage to the late, great, Michael Jackson (I got to take the photo with Mary's magic Nikon! I have camera envy!). Is it not the cutest? Ever? Get the whole scoop, more photos (including yours truly) right here.

As Threatened: Amish Blueberry Muffins

BubbleShare: Share photos - Find great Clip Art Images.

These photos turned out not nearly as well as I'd hoped. It's extremely difficult to hold a still- steaming blueberry muffin, focus and snap photos, and hold off two salivating, wildly enthusiastic canines long enough to get anything in the view finder at all. Still, I'm posting these because I think they're kinda fun.

The girls hardly ever get table food, but the poor dears had paced and slobbered and sniffed and looked at me hopefully throughout the baking process until my cold heart heart melted. The dogs enjoyed two muffins in all; the first they ate, wrapper included (I don't know what I was thinking dangling it before them with the wrapper on--like they're going to unwrap it?). The second muffin Isabelle snagged and swallowed in a mighty gulp. It's a treat division I think is in keeping with their relative sizes. I fed Tallulah a few additional bites that she didn't have to compete for and called it good. The dogs now both doze contentedly.

Here's the incredibly simple recipe (from Allrecipes). It only calls for a half cup of sugar. Very righteous, but not alot of sweetness when spread throughout a dozen muffins. If I were making these for company, I'd consider doubling the sugar to a full cup. I also used considerably more than half a cup of blueberries (though you wouldn't have to).

Blueberry Muffins I

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Servings: 12

The secret to great texture in these delectable, simple muffins is a gentle hand when it comes to mixing.

1 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2.In a large bowl, stir together milk, egg, and oil. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, and blueberries; gently mix the batter with only a few strokes. Spoon batter into cups.
3.Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

And...they're up!

I was surprised to learn at BOTRWAT (where everybody finds out everything), that the hardest working photographer in showbizness, Jill Tanner, by Thursday, had already edited and posted many of the photos of the Wedding of the Year. As promised, see see her awesome natural light (I so hate the flash) work right here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Confidential to Anonymous

I got your message of December, 2007. It was a difficult time for me. I appreciate what you said. Who are you?

Eating (mostly) Amish

While I HATE the hot weather, there's no denying the avalanche of edible bounty it produces. After hearing about the incredible deliciousness of the vine ripened peaches currently sold at roadside stands all over town, I wheeled into one today. Oh. My gosh, ya'll. These babies are juicy and perfectly ripe and impossibly sweet. Chin-dripping delicious.

Also, today, my weekly Amish produce shipment arrived. Here we have cabbage, zucchini, broccoli, new potatoes, scallions, blueberries, cabbage, and beets. All of which I LOVE except. Beets. I've never gotten over those mushy, sliced, stained red things they used to make us eat in first grade. Gag me. Probably fresh beets, like many foods, are entirely different. Still, I cannot seem to overcome my preconceived notion of beets long enough to even attempt cooking the things (they go straight to my Mom).

Obviously, this rice mix isn't straight off the paddy, but it's notable in that I used to have to order Texmati rice blend (it includes white, brown, wild and red rice) from the Amazon grocery. Happily, Kroger now carries it.

The chopped stir fry ingredients. I added a handful of chicken and cashews. I think both salads and stir fry benefit enormously from the addition of a handful of nuts. Obviously, this array would be greatly visually improved by the addition of some contrasting color--a red pepper, perhaps, or grated carrot. But, the goal here is to cook with what I have on hand.

Dinner. I'm planning to bake blueberry muffins for breakfast tomorrow. I have to say, I LOVE this whole concept of once-a-week organic Amish food. While the fact that the food is slow, natural and fresh is great, I also enjoy the fact that I don't have to make decisions about what to eat. On some level, it's such a relief to have nature and the Amish decide that for me. After working all day and going to school and what have you, going to the store is just...kind of overwhelming. There's so much to choose from. I didn't actually realize that aspect of the process had become burdensome until I had this experience. I suppose that makes me the epitome of the ugly, ohmygod...we have, like, too much food! But, if I'm honest, it's true. Too many choices, sometimes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Reminder and a Question

Today's the day, goils. Business on the Rocks w/a Twist. 5:30 at di Fratelli, 211 Broadway, Paducah. Talk shop, drink drinks, woo!

On a darker second post in as many weeks has disappeared. The first time it happened to my Whatever Works post. In it, I'd posted video (from YouTube) of the trailer to this latest Woody Allen movie along with my own commentary. Gone within a couple of days. The second time, just this morning, my last post, recommending "A Life in Pictures", a documentary on the work of Stanley Kubrick, similarly disappeared. Poof! I'm guessing this disappearing act may have something to do with the fact that the two contained video that may not have been licensed for the purpose. I have no way of telling this, of course, when I grab the "embed" code available on nearly all YouTube videos. It sucks, but I could deal with it, except that, along with the video, they take what I've written as well. The writing is gone from my blog as well as from my internal folders. And nary a word from Blogger.

The incident drives the point home that, while all the stuff I post here seems like mine, and feels like mine, it is all subject to the whim of Blogger, the website and free software that makes it all possible. This seems like the world's happiest partnership until they put the smack-down on you. Taken separately, these blog posts are completely insignificant work. Seldom is the time I hold a post in a draft folder over night. For the most part, I write, I hit publish, I forget about it. Taken as a whole, however, it is a near five-year snapshot of my life that I don't have in any other form anywhere else, except held by Blogger. It's something, that if I think about it, at the very least, I'd like to pass along to my son and prospective grandchildren if that proverbial piano falls on my head (and, you know me, it will; and I'll only be sorry I can't blog the details afterward).

Lately, I've gone back and read through some of my archives. Something I've never really done before. While, in practice, I feel like I share only a small (even tiny) fraction of my life here, when I read back I'm surprised at the amount of stuff I HAVE written about. It's a lot. And, in many cases, it's much easier to read between the lines than I would have supposed. There's some Material there, in places. Stuff that, were I to spend any real time on it, I may be able to work into something more. For instance, my marriage. Holy God, what a gold mine of material. Just a first blush thought:

“Searching for Sasquatch and other Stories of a Marriage”

Chapters to include:
-Your Hair is Too Clean and Shiny
-Don’t Meet me in St. Louis (Please)
-This is SO Nacho Cheese
-Thanks for your Honda
-My Chainsaw Fell on your Furniture. Repeatedly.

Even I kinda want to read that book.

I don't have a wrap-up for this because...I don't know. It's certainly my own fault I haven't kept a record of my postings; it would have been easy enough to save them to an external hard drive before publishing or even printing each and throwing it in a notebook. It's still possible, I suppose, to grab it all but...what a bitch. The deletion of my posts just feels so...1984. I have no reason to think that Blogger will ever go away or that it has any particular interest in my very insignificant blog. At the same time, I have to ask myself, for a lot of reasons, is this the best forum for my writing? And also realize that, were I to get serious about it, and put at least as much work in on producing something publishable as I have on tossing off blog posts, I might very well have something in a few short years.

Things that make you go "hmmm".

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's a Heartache

I am severely, sincerely, traumatized by my viewing of tonight's episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8. And, people? I don't have time for this. I need to have memorized--in less than 24 hrs--the locations of such places as Trashkent, the Strait of Hormuz, Asmara, and San'aa. Not to mention? My air conditioner hasn't been working so good (100 degree heat and all) and it finally occurred to me to check the HVAC filter.

Oy vey.

Delicacy forbids me from posting a photo of the state of my air filter. Suffice it to say you could fashion a whole 'nother dog and possibly a kitten or two out of the (dusty gray) fur and fluff caught up in what was left of the tragically over-taxed, nearly unrecognizable filter I removed (after I located it). I was then forced to proceed to Walmart and spend well over a pedicure (it's summer; I consider all expenses in terms of the cost of a pedicure) on replacement filters. Home maintenance ain't for sissies, kids.

The good news? It's been two hours and my thermostat is registering a full three degrees cooler than it was before I dealt with the Filter-o-Filth. (Word to the wise: check your filter this minute if it's been a while. Trust me on this.)

My point is that I have had to deal with all this obscure geography and home maintenance both during and after my viewing of a Very Upsetting Jon & Kate Plus 8.

Very. Upsetting.

The episode began with half an hour chronicling the delivery and installation of a set of "crooked" play houses for the Gosselin kids. It became evident early on in the episode that the marital discord had reached a fever pitch when Jon and Kate had a disagreement over where exactly on the property to situate the play houses. Jon had cleared a spot in the woods hundreds of yards from the house for all four play houses. Kate, meanwhile, had realized the impracticality of locating a play area so far from the house. Such an arrangement would make it nearly impossible for one adult to supervise the children if they weren't absolutely all playing in the houses at the same time. What if some children want to ride bikes while others want to go the play houses, Kate asked? Jon, meanwhile, was having none of it, telling Kate when she called on his cell phone that he had decided where the play houses were going and that that was all there was to it.


It took Kate enlisting the help of the playhouse installers to convince Jon that a location more proximate to the main house was in order.

The last half-hour of the hour-long episode was the most painful. Jon and Kate were interviewed separately. Again, as in episode one, I was completely taken aback by their candor as well as the knowledge of how difficult speaking about a break-up, as it happens, to millions of strange viewers, must be. Both admitted the marriage is at an impasse and that a separation is in order.

The difference in their demeanor's spoke volumes. Kate was resigned, barely composed, sorry, regretful, full of dread and frankly admitting, "I don't want to do this alone." Jon, sporting a new set of some sort of stud earrings (in both ears), was all but jumping off the interview love seat and into the arms of all the (sorry) p---y his notoriety (and new sports car) will buy him . "Recalcitrant" is the word that comes to mind if I have to sum up Jon's demeanor. At one point he stated, "I'm thirty-two years old," in tone barely below a whine. The unspoken implication: I'm too young for this sh!t.

The agreement the Gosselins have, for now, is that the children will continue to live in the house at all times while Jon and Kate take turns manning the helm separately. I don't expect this to last long, however, as Jon intimated that he might "get a job offer". Again, it seems to me, the unspoken subtext is that it would require him to relocate. Clearly, he feels free to do that, despite the unimaginable amount of work and responsibility involved in the rearing of eight children.

It was, perhaps, the most painful TV I've ever watched, certainly the most painful prime time show. It was, literally, impossible for me not to hearken back to my own failure(s) [ouch] in this regard and relive the incredible sense of loss and brokenness one is left with in these situations. Not to mention the incalculable negative impact that such a decision has on the children of a broken union. It is a horror, frankly, and I've never seen it quite so starkly and honestly documented as it was tonight on JK8.

While both Jon and Kate spoke of their situation as a "separation", the episode ended with a black screen and typed words advising the audience that the Gosselins filed for a divorce in Pennsylvania on Monday.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: divorce is like death without the coffin. And that's pretty much how the ending of tonight's episode felt, too.

Can't Get Enough?

Take a look at the Paducah Wedding of the Season through Mary Thorsby's magic lens . Click thru to her flickr set which is amazing and includes much if not all of the guest list. Jill Tanner, Official Photographer--no doubt the hardest working photographer in showbizness this weekend--has a sneak peek. I will link to her full set when it is up.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

They got married in a fever...

BubbleShare: Share photos - Easy Photo Sharing

Photos from the Paducah Wedding of the Year. I think they're pretty self-explanatory.

As always, click photos for larger versions and complete captions at Bubbleshare.

Special Delivery

I didn't find out I was going to The Wedding until yesterday. This gave me less time that usual to ponder the eternal question: what to wear. Complicating matters: it's outdoors. Further complicating matters: it's about a thousand degrees around here these days. A heat index of 98 degrees is predicted for the Big Event.

Because I'd worked an especially long week, I was able to take off work a little early Friday. You can imagine the temptation to spend a close, sweltering afternoon in the soothing cave-like coolness of a few mall dressing rooms was strong, very strong...nearly irresistible. I've been trying to wean myself off this particular addiction for a while (you may recall). My current budget is less than tolerant, not to mention, I have not one but two jam-packed closets up in here.

And, alas, nothing at all to wear to a one hundred degree wedding.

I ultimately resisted the siren's call of retail, righteously making only a pit stop at Petsmart to stock up on a few bags of the girl's favorite treat chewies followed by a quick spin through Books-a-Million. Then it was home to throw up my last post (not really a post at all). I was chopping up a head of Amish cabbage (tastes better than Regular Cabbage) when I first noticed a large, unfamiliar box wrapped in brown paper perched on my kitchen table. Definitely not something that had been there when I left for work.

If you don't know me well, you might wonder how I could have missed a large, strange box sitting on my kitchen table for over an hour. The answer is: I'm a very oblivious person. I never see any one when driving my car, for example. People are always saying, "We waved and waved and you just drove on...etc." I hardly ever notice, say, new construction happening on my usual route to work. I live in my head. What can I say.

Anyhoo, there it was. No doubt my Mom had picked it up and delivered it to my table. It had been shipped priority mail just the day before.

Inside? I wedding outfit: black cotton A-line skirt (petite!) embroidered in patterns of cream and embellished with cream beads. Also, a sleeveless black shell, that under normal circumstances, I would wear under a sweater or jacket, but in this case will have to stand on its own owing to the heat. It fit. Perfectly.

I'll leave it to you to ponder where it might have come from.

(Apologies on the quality of this time to do better!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Place Holder

So I've gone all week without updating. It's flown by. Busy at work, busy with school. You'll be happy to know I can now, with some reliability, locate Estonia on the map. That and several other obscure European and Asian countries. This despite the fact that they've rearranged a whole section of Europe (without my permission) since I last paid any attention. Some time in the sixth grade. Thank you, Geography! (Snore.)

Otherwise, you see above a cocktail napkin that I finally consider worthy of what's become my cocktail napkin mobile. You may recall my Christmas napkins have been floating around the kitchen since my December festivities. Here's the new look:

A little more summery, no? Which is good because, people it is HOT DOWN HERE! Good Lord, my HVAC runs constantly to not much avail.

I'm not sure when I'll be back. Big doin's this weekend.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More Dark Granite

I have one more wall to cover in Dark Granite. I think. I am thrilled with this color. I may have already chosen the contrasting color in the Ralph Lauren paint. I'd link to it, but the online version of the color (Cotswold Breeches) bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to what the color looks like in real life. More soon, I hope.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dark Granite

My latest painting project: the kitchen/living room space. You see here the test patch (click for a larger version). I'm covering the buttery yellow with a velvety gray. "Velvety". It's my favorite descriptor for all my new paint colors. I picked this color the same time I picked the Laurel Mist green that is in the office, over eight months ago.

Unfortunately, the local Home Depot does not offer the tiny sample cans of paint that are so often advertised, so I had to buy a minimum of a quart. Quite a lot to spend on a color that may not ultimately work out ($12). Fortunately, I'm satisfied with the hue. The color is Dark Granite; all the paint is Behr. The paint lady at Home Depot tells me the Paducah store is mere weeks away from carrying the also oft-advertised Behr paint with primer mixed in. I could have used the stuff on this job. While I'm happy with Deep Granite, the bad news is that it is, indeed, going to take two coats to cover to my satisfaction.

My plan isn't to paint all the walls Dark Granite, but to alternate with an as-yet-to-be-selected taupe. I think. We'll have to see if it works in practice the way it does in my head. The gray is too dark, I think, to use throughout the living room/kitchen space. I will use the gray on the walls with large expanses of glass--both are parallel to each other and between I will alternate the other color, beginning with the wall to the left of the test patch. Again, in theory. Though I've looked several times, my beloved Behr does not carry a taupe that suits me and that I think will work in this situation. I checked out the Ralph Lauren colors at Home Depot and there are some shades in the Urban Loft line that looked promising. It has to be a fairly strong taupe to stand up to the granite, I think. We'll see.

It's been my experience that cheaper paint is not a bargain, especially when trying to achieve a more saturated color. One wrong dash of something and, suddenly, you're at the circus. I can spend weeks, even months, pondering a paint color, not to mention ridiculously long stretches in the paint chip aisle. It's a sickness. There are just so many possibilities. And then so many shades. The implications. One thing I don't do anymore is play on the fun online color selectors so many paint lines offer. You simply cannot see the hues on a computer monitor the way they appear in life. Again, found this out the hard way.

My plan is to complete this entire wall tomorrow; though you can't see it here, the wall includes half my cabinets, and I will continue the color into the entry hall. I will post more photos if I complete the job. Or, knowing me, it could be another eight months before I return to the project. Let's hope not.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Simple Amish Supper Salad

My Amish vegetable co-op shipments began some weeks ago. I have to say, the produce doesn't seem to last very long in the crisper drawer--is this a known side effect of organic produce, shorter shelf life?

Above you see tonight's dinner composed of as much Amish stuff as I can cram in and a few odds and ends. Here's the list:

Amish Stuff:
Romaine Lettuce
Leaf Lettuce
Strawberries (sweetened w/a little Splenda)

On Hand:
A few cashews
Handful of frozen grilled chicken (microwaved)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 envelope Splenda
1 dot spicy brown mustard
(Whisk together; pour over salad. Also? Season each individual salad ingredient as if you were going to eat it alone--including the greens. Makes for a much tastier salad.)

Delicious, I must say. I'd rather have had pecans than cashews, and in addition, a nice ripe avocado and some chopped cilantro (okay, and a little feta cheese). But for just a random Wednesday? It was pretty darn delicious.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jon and Kate Plus 8 Plus Anybody but Themselves...

I touched briefly in a recent post on the fact that the first full episode of JK8 chronicled Kate's birthday celebration. I neglected to mention at that time what most of you've probably already learned: that the episode featured the cast of Food Network show show Ace of Cakes, actually the staff of Charm City Cakes, hosting Kate and the Gosselin kids at the bakery. The AofC folks made Kate an amazing pink concoction of a birthday cake and offered the kids a chance to get their hands dirty by decorating eight mini-cakes of their own. Filming, mess, and frosting mayhem ensued. It was a cute concept and took advantage of a great opportunity, I thought. For brief moments, I was able to take my mind off the tragedy that is JK8. For minutes, I could be glad that somebody cared about Kate's birthday, even if her husband didn't.

And then there was episode 2: the 100th episode. This episode found J&K actually home at the same time in the same house celebrating the milestone. With Emeril Lagasse. Yah...BAM!...that guy. The New Orleans chef who burst on the scene some time in the nineties, landed a cooking show, used a lot of garlic, exchanged his starter wife for a trophy wife, and was last seen doing a toothpaste commercial, just sort of randomly showed up in the Gosselin kitchen. There was a flimsy backstory told about how Lagasse was once on an elevator with the Gosselins and, ever since, has harbored a burning desire to cook them dinner (and then eat said dinner with them). And, wow, what do you know, it's a dream come true, the day has finally come! Jon and Kate were actually both in the kitchen at the same time ostensibly helping with the cooking--some sort of stew--cajun, I'm guessing. The whole thing was...uncomfortable. Kate whacked Emeril two good smacks on two separate occasions (on the arm and hand) with a spatula. Emeril didn't take to kindly to the smacking. Jon doesn't like Kate. Jon peeled garlic for the majority of the episode. The kids stirred food sometimes. The gaiety was noticeably forced.

And then. And then. Ya'll? Episode three. You won't believe it, but the cast of American Chopper shows up at the Gosselin house:

American Chopper is reality TV that not even I can watch. It's all about the group of, um, people, you see above repairing (or refurbishing or whatever, building?) motorcycles. The few moments I've watched of the show before flipping on quickly to something else (or commercials) consists of these guys engaging in arguments featuring language so foul that the show's "bleep" button is near-constantly employed. These people sling and throw tools (big tools) violently around their motorcycle shop and at each other. It's all about testosterone. Big, crazy, agressive testosterone.

Episode three features Crazy Testosterone Man in the visor seated at a picnic table with all the innocent, defenseless Gosselin children (look out little Alexis!). Conveniently, CTM has brought his ventriloquist doll and is entertaining the children with it. I think the premise is that he do this while Jon go off with the rest of the Chopper cast and do something manly. Based on my internet research, I believe the episode ends up like this:

I'm embarassed for them. (Not to mention? HELLO? You have eight kids, wear a helmet, fools.)

Whatever happened to going to Chocolate Land? What about that? Whatever happened to just hanging out in the driveway? Maybe a trip to Disneyland? The episode where Jon cooks Korean food? The episode where Kate gets mother's day breakfast in bed? What about "movie night" with popcorn and stuff? Can't we just stay home and play with the dogs and have chicken noodle soup?

Full disclosure: I have not actually seen Episode Three. It airs June 15.
As you might imagine, I'm a little worried about Episode 4. I'm having visions of "Susan Boyle: Gosselin Houseguest". Perhaps the Gosselin children will have a sleepover in Texas with "The Little Couple" (they would all be nearly the same size-woo!). Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar ("18 Kids and Counting") could pay the Gosselins a visit. The Gosselin sextpulets could take turns playing house in Michelle's outsized uterus whilst the couple offers Jon and Kate some conservative marriage counseling. The disturbing reality TV crossover possibilities are endless (LA Ink?).

Thirty. Six. episodes to go.


I was up at 5:30 a.m. this morning. Yah, painful. I'm not a morning person. Upon hitting the back deck as per usual for the girl's morning pee-pee's, my attention was immediately drawn to something unusual about fifteen feet out from the deck in the yard. Two little brown ears:

The dogs, even more discombobulated by the hour than I was, paid no notice as I quickly herded them back in the house, grabbed the camera, and returned alone to begin snapping.

The rabbit was motionless sitting still for long enough for me to snap to my heart's content. As far out as the rabbit was, I had to zoom in to the limit of the lens and then try to snap without moving--much easier to blur in a situation like that. I had to, literally, hold my breath to get a clear shot and, even then, wasn't particularly successful. I was afraid to step off the deck and get any closer, though.
This would turn out to be the best I got (crappy). Eventually, I was forced to stop photographing in favor of getting ready for work. I went out again with the camera just before I left, though, and found our little friend had finally changed positions, having moved some feet further away. The wabbit was more exposed in its new location, but still, resolutely, pointing the wrong way:

Is it just me or does that rabbit look a little swollen? Either he's--or more like she's--been eating REALLY well or we're about to get another little surprise of the newborn kind.

When did my yard become Life's Incubator? I'm far too tense for this.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Healing Hannah

My piece on a great Asian themed fundraising event to be held June 18 at Etcetera Coffeehouse for Healing Hannah Ministries is up at iList Paducah. Read it here. Keep up with all that's going on with Healing Hannah by checking out founder (pictured above), Dawn Greer Choate's Healing Hannah Blog. Scroll through just a few of the items that will be available at the event:

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Quick Update

I can't believe it's already Sunday night. This week has flown. Here's all the excitement that's going on with me.

First, get a load of my refrigerator. Seriously, does it get much more exciting than this? The fact that I'm posting a photo of the newly cleaned awesomeness should give you an indication of just how seldom this happens around these parts. Unfortunately, by the time you get over here and open my refrigerator to stow your wine or beer, I can assure you, it won't look like this anymore. We'll have to pretend there isn't spilled unidentified stuff and outdated go-boxes bursting out all over. It's a skill my friends, for the most part, have perfected by now.

My office continues to be a sea of clutter-free tranquility and, today, I got around to hanging my newly-framed Southern Festival of Books poster. I'm thrilled with the result. I managed to get the poster framed at a half-off frame sale at Hobby Lobby. Luckily, the poster fit perfectly in the frame and worked without a mat. I paid less than $40 for framing and the print was free at the festival last year.

This is my Geography book. Exciting, no? It arrived yesterday from the Amazon Marketplace just in the nick of time for class which starts on Tuesday (I saved fifty percent ordering from Amazon as opposed to buying at the school bookstore). Geography. I can't say I'm looking forward to it, but I doubt it will be tribulation that Astronomy was. Geography will be my only June class then Sociology in July. I've decided to put off Chemistry until the spring, so my fall schedule remains at least partially undecided. August will mark the first anniversary of a solid year of school. I'm a little tired, I'll admit.

Jon and Kate. Oy. You don't need me to tell you the marriage is road kill. The latest People Magazine reports on the investigation by the state of Pennsylvania into whether or not TLC's continuing filming constitutes a breach of child labor laws and details the accusations I reported on here by Paul Peterson of A Minor Consideration. The episodes airing after the season opener found John pointedly skiing in Park City, Utah while Kate celebrated her birthday back home with the kids without him. The Gosselins are contractually obligated to 38 more episodes this season. Not sure even I will have the heart for it.

Otherwise, I spent some time this weekend doing an interview and then writing a feature for iList Paducah on a charity event that will feature Asian art (both large and small scale paintings) including the painting above and jewelry (okay, so I've already bought a necklace) and held in Lowertown on June 18. The piece will publish at iList on Wednesday; sign up here to get on the notify list and be the first to know about all the great events going on around these parts. Otherwise, I will link you to the piece from here on Wednesday.

Friday, June 05, 2009


I have a night time ritual of going about, turning off lights, locking doors, etc. While I'm doing this I always tell the dogs, "Let's go to bed!" Isabelle (usually asleep by this time on her living room pallet) will rouse up and stumble to the bedroom. Tallulah, however, has gotten into the strange habit of waiting until Isabelle and I are both in the bedroom and then climbing up into a living room chair and waiting for me to come and get her.

I have no idea what's up with that. Tallulah knows the ritual. I'm not sure where she's gotten the idea that her assigned role is to wait for me in a chair, but it's been going on for weeks. Isabelle and I will be settling in in the bedroom and I'll realize Tallulah (normally inches away from me at any given moment) is nowhere in evidence. I'll find her huddled in the dark living room alone. Seemingly waiting for me.

Has she gotten it in her head that she's too good to take the day's final journey under her own steam? Does she have a secret desire to sleep in a chair? Is she just confused? I sat down in the floor at eye-level with the dog last night and asked her these questions when I revisited the living room to retrieve her. She didn't have any answers, but seemed awfully interested in the questions. The camera was nearby, so I picked it up and snapped a photo, sans flash, in the darkness. Once auto-corrected, this grainy image emerged:

She seems to want to say something, judging from the alert, inquisitive expression. In truth, she's probably just wishing I'd fry her up a nice, thick strip of bacon.