Saturday, May 30, 2009

More Things That Are in My Stomach

What's in my stomach today? Well, it's been a big weekend.

Is there funnel cake (eaten in the sunshine at a real Fair)?


Is there asparagus tip salad with a mint-thyme vinaigrette?


Are there sweet potato biscuits?

Uh huh.

Grilled tenderloin in a rosemary sauce?


Roast beef on Sun-dried tomato bread with KY Bleu sauce?

Of course.

Babycake cupcakes?

I don't see why not.

Lime-buttered shrimp?

You betcha.

There's a lot more that I'm just too dizzy to remember.

This same weekend every year I get to judge a food fundraiser, and the next morning I always go to the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Fair for the second funnel cake of the season (the first is supposed to be at MayFest in case you hadn't heard). Since I judge everything and everyone all day everyday, for fun, it's nice to be invited to do it in a professional capacity.

I go to a lot of fundraisers every year, and this is one of my two favorites.

It's fun to watch all those women dress up and then try to stab each other to death with sporks over that last pan-seared bite of bass (when I sear stuff, it usually IS in a pan, so I don't get that -- does it distinguish it from Bic-seared bass?)

It's more entertaining to watch the men stampede through the doors, frantic that they won't get to drink 65 bucks worth of booze in the allotted time.
(AA: it's not just for losers, buddy.)

Other than that, I don't function well in crowds, so what I love is to go in early and get to talk to the proprietors about their food. Some of the big chains just send waitresses to schlep the chow, but it's nice to meet the Mom & Pop owners and the chefs.

The scene at St. E's the next day is different -- all the alcohol, but add gambling! And a rummage sale. Where everything is a buck a bag. "Awesome" doesn't even begin to describe it.

I only know that because of my Mom. For years, I would've disdained anything that could be purchased by the bag, but after dragging me in there for years, I must admit: she was right and I was wrong.

You can shove ANYthing in that bag: toys, books, toasters, dishes. All for a buck.

Today, I scored maybe six Gap t-shirts, thoughtfully broken in just the way I like em by nice Catholic girls like me; a bunch of paper plate holders; two AnnTaylor skirts; and a VINTAGE hardcover edition of The Thornbirds (!) Which I got mostly so I could say I found it at a Catholic rummage sale.

I nearly bought a big eggplant-colored chair for my office bit it wouldn't fit in my bag and was labeled 30 bucks. I wasn't sure I could get it in the car anyway, and I kept hearing my Mom's voice in the back of my head: "I would not give a DIME over 10 bucks for that."

She could totally say that to a table full of Nuns. But I couldn't.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jon & Kate + Hate

Everybody talks so much about Jon & Kate + 8, I finally had to slow down and look at the car wreck when a marathon aired.

It isn't one of those "there but for the grace of God goes I" impulses -- it's more a "that could NEVER happen to me, so relax and watch the carnage unfold" impulses.

That's the nice thing about my 40s -- people finally believe me when I say (as I did for the first 39 years) that I never had one single moment of wanting to have kids. Not one. My 20s were irritating because people kept insisting I would change my mind. In my 30s, they kept insisting "there's still time!" -- as if it was on my to-do list and I needed to hop to it. By my 40s, everybody kinda got off my back -- though I still hear the occasional "aren't you afraid you'll regret...?" The answer is Nope. I have almost no regrets about anything: all my haircuts and wardrobe choices in the 80s; one boyfriend (out of nearly 30 years of dating, that's not so bad); and, also, I probably should've flossed more when I was younger. That's about it. Oh, and I probably shoulda killed that one crazy-ass stalker when I had the chance.

So anyway, that's why I thought I might find Jon & Kate... Validating.

First off, I was surprised I didn't hate Kate.

Maybe it's because she bears a striking resemblance to one of my favorite friends -- right down to haircut and accent.

Also, she's a little like me -- controlling, bossy, and pretty OCD about how clean things are. She clearly loves to cook and feels pretty strongly about not raising kids on a toxic diet of McNuggets and high fructose corn syrup. That impresses me, because she walks the talk. I could not keep 8 kids alive, much less fed. My values would go right out the window and I'd just put a giant bowl of Fruity Pebbles on the floor and let em have at it. Sooner or later, Child Protective Services would intervene.

I like the way she doesn't indulge fussy eating -- she makes one meal, and that's that. Same rules I grew up with. I never starved. Kids'll eat when they're hungry (unless there's a real medical issue). The rule in our house growing up was we had to taste everything -- one bite -- and if we didn't like it, we were free not to eat it. No alternate meals were made. We were not free to scrunch up our faces and say "ewww, I don't like that" about anything we'd never tasted. We both developed healthy palates, and babyBrother went on to chef school.

I like the way she doesn't let construction crews mess up her house. The moment when she told those guys drilling holes for blinds that they had to hold the vacuum hose underneath the drill? Sheer genius. I practically misted up.

The thing that mystifies me is what prompted a woman like that to have kids at all? But she seems to have genuine affection for them. Inexplicably. Because they seem pretty wretched. They cry. They whine. They shove each other for no reason. They get filthy dirty. Although to be fair, pudding-painting was her idea, and I coulda pretty well told her how THAT was gonna turn out. Ya don't have to be a Mom to know that. Though she rarely seems to cry on camera -- only once that I saw -- on a flight to Utah with all 8 kids. Hell, I was cryin before they took off. She was really melting down too. I finally made out what she was saying: "I'm done. I am done." I have a feeling if she'd had one of those military-issue emergency cyanide capsules to bite down on, she would have.

Everyone seems to feel sorry for Jon, but the hardest part for me is wondering what would've ever prompted anyone to have sex with him the first time, much less twice. Though they did do fertility, so maybe the whole process was in vitro. That would explain a lot.

As unlikeable as the kids are, he's worse. He's whiny. He's sullen. He's immature. He's resentful. He's oblivious. He's thoughtless. And most of all, he seems Weak. The guy can't even back up a van with a trailer attached. He's also Unemployed, having quit his job. Yeah. What a catch.

And why does everyone on the show talk about him "helping" Kate. It's his house, and his kids. How is he "helping" her, exactly? Is he also "babysitting" when he takes care of the pack?

As for how they seem together, it's hard to imagine that they EVER loved each other.

But at least she seems to love those kids. Somebody has to.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I noticed a little more traffic than usual after the last post, and then a few twitter comments.

It turns out, from the title, a few readers were expecting maybe there was something controversial in my stomach. The three top contenders were that 1. I was pregnant. 2. I was making a disclosure about anorexia or bulimia. 3. I had bitten off the Mayor's ear and the remnants of it were winding thru my digestive system.

Answer: None of the above.

"Guess what's in my stomach" was a game we played in college, second in popularity only to "If I Had Five Dollars."

They both seem pretty self-explanatory to me, but I was probably going to write a little more, except I fell asleep mid-sentence.

I only realize it because my Mom (who's visiting this week) came in and pried my hands off the BlackBerry and then wet-napped all the powdered sugr off my, my face, my hands, and the phone.

Apparently, she tried to take the funnelcake outta my hands too, but my sleep-talking protest was, "I'm still eating that!"

She said she just wanted to put it in a ZipLoc to preserve its freshness, but I was having none of it.

Mess with my funnel cake and you risk drawing back a bloody stub.

You'll take it when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

My cold, dead, powdered-sugar-coated fingers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Things That Are in my Stomach

Time to play: Things That are in my Stomach right now.

Most importantly: is there funnel cake?
YES. Yes there is (thanks to cousin Keegan and wife cousin Cara).

Is there blueberry pie?

Is there sesame garlic green beans?

Caesar salad?
You bet.

Goldfish (the crackers) -- uh huh.

Corn pudding? Certainly.

Country ham dip? Mmm-hmm.

And so much more.

I've been through a lot since the crushing disappointment when MayFest failed to deliver the long-promised funnel cakes. (Yes, they were promised. I didn't just HOPE they would be there. Designated representatives SAID they would be there. Apparently, they were misled.)

I wasn't KIDDING about how upset I was. Cousin Keegan and Cousin Cara can tell you all about the FunnelCakeTourette's they were unfortunate enough to witness (as the first arrivals at the fest, they were faced with the overwhelming task of alerting the masses, AND then being the first ones to see me in person to break the news).

Torch wielding villagers had to be amassed to voice the collective displeasure.

I wrote about it all (denial, rage, etc...) but even that wasn't very therapeutic. I wrote about Randy Pausch's three elements of an appropriate apology:

1. What I did was wrong.
2. I'm sorry I hurt you.
3. How do I make this right?

(That was easy; I have it printed on index cards and hand it to everyone I date. For number 3, I usually recommend jewelry, or high-end electronics -- but in this case, a simple offer of a few funnel cakes on the house at a future fest would've more than sufficed.)

My ten-year old niece called on Mother's Day to express solidarity, and to offer this advice: "Bitter Aunt R... I think you need a boyfriend. 'Cause you are wayyyy too wrapped up in this funnel cake thing."

I explained boyfriends come and go, but funnel cakes are forever.


As far as I know, this blog is staying put.

There is a new site --- and I think the print archives of the column will be there -- but I like having a nice low_tech ordinary old blog (ok, six months old) that's for nothin but chatter.