RTT: It’s All About Beloved. Mostly. And Pirates. And Robotic Ducks. With Some Elbows Thrown In.

Random Tuesday Thoughts

I’ve been slathering both of my elbows with lotion on a daily basis for the last week, and they still have dandruff.  What’s with that?

I know I’ve always been a little flaky, but this is just too much.

~~~~~~

Saturday, Beloved and I went to the locally nursery to pick up a couple of houseplants.  The man is so optimistic – we have all of one houseplant I haven’t managed to kill yet.  But, we picked out a pink polka dot plant, a chocolate drop plant, a lovely ivy and some huge purple thing that we can’t decide where to put it.

Sunday he left for Louisiana for a week, leaving me to care for it all.

“Well,” he said, “that’s what you get for not killing the dog.”

Well, he has a point there.

~~~~~~

Beloved came home from Home Depot recently with a bag of male goodies and a bemused look on his face.  Rifling through the bag, I saw that he’d purchased a new nozzle for the garden hose out front.  Which, frankly, thrilled me because the old one leaked like a sieve and every time I had to water the plants out front I ended up looking like a reject from a wet t-shirt contest.

I commented on the new nozzle, which is just like the one on the garden hose out back, and his bemused expression became more pronounced.

“Yeah,” he said.  “I settled on that one; does anyone really need seven therapeutic massage settings on their garden hose?”

~~~~~~

We were getting ready for work the other morning, when Beloved asked me, “What’s shakin’, bacon?”

Hmmm…probably not the best choice of words when speaking to your wife.

“Did you just call me bacon?”

“Uh….yeah.  But I LIKE bacon, bacon is GOOOOOOD.”

Uh-huh.  Nice save, even if it did have a slight edge of desperation.

~~~~~~

I was going through some old papers and such the other day, when I ran across an old homework assignment of The Young One’s from 5th or 6th grade.  He was given several words that could be used as both a noun and verb, and he was to use each in a sentence.  Here are a couple of examples:

Duck

Duck!  There’s a flying robotic duck on the loose!

Hand

Hand over me hand, you scallywag!!

Okay, I’m ready for him to come home now…

~~~~~~

For more Random (albeit Belovedless) Tuesday Thoughts, visit Keely over at The Un-Mom.

Coffee Toffee Ice Cream

Coffee Toffee Ice CreamI did an amazingly stupid thing yesterday and fell off of the bottom step of our back porch trying to untangle my poor retarded dog who can’t figure out that we won’t have to leash him if he’ll just stay in the damn back yard.  In the process of falling off the bottom step of the back porch, I twisted my left ankle and sprained the bejebus out of it,  mostly because I was genetically cursed with weak ankles – this is approximately the 3,469th time I’ve sprained this particular ankle since I was 5 years old.

But still.

Ouch.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.  I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m glad I didn’t sprain my stupid ankle on Friday when I made what is probably the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted – coffee ice cream with crushed Heath bars in it.  This particular batch of ice cream was made at the behest of Beloved, who’s favorite ice cream flavor is Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch.

Well, it used to be.  This stuff puts it to shame.

Don’t have an ice cream maker?  Don’t sweat it – go here for instructions on how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.

Coffee Toffee Ice Cream

makes 1 quart

1 cup whole milk

Pinch of kosher salt

3/4 cup sugar

1½ – 2 tablespoons good quality instant coffee

2 cups heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

3 standard size Heath (or other chocolate-covered toffee) bars, broken into small pieces

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan until nearly, but not quite, boiling.  Whisk in the instant coffee, stirring until it has completely dissolved.

To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Gradually pour some of the hot milk/coffee mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour.  This will temper the eggs and help keep them from cooking into “scrambled” eggs as you make the custard.  Scrape the warmed yolks and milk/coffee mixture back into the saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.  Strain the custard into the heavy cream; discard the solids. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly.

Place the Heath bars into a heavy zip-lock bag; break into small pieces with a rolling pin or heavy-bottomed glass.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Add the toffee pieces during the last 5 minutes of freezing.

Take My Flamingo…Please

FlamingosJust a disclaimer before I dive head-first into this post:  since it’s been some 30 years since the events I’m about to relate took place, I’m fairly certain the statute of limitations is up on this one.  Otherwise, I’d keep my lip zipped.

Yeah.

While I’ll probably never be able to tell stories like Anne over at 20th Century Woman and Jane over at Gaston Studios (both absolutely marvelous and fascinating blogs; if you don’t read them you really, really should), I’ve met a character or two over the years and have a story or two to go along with them.  One of my favorite characters is a life-long friend of Only Brother – in the interest of protecting the guilty I’ll call him (the friend, not the brother):

Englebert.

Hey, I could have chosen Humperdink.

Anyhoo, Englebert and Only Brother met in middle school and hit it right off, mostly because they shared a lot of common interests, but also because Only Brother is the only son in a family full of exceedingly strong-minded sisters (there are three of us), and Englebert was an only child.  Only Brother immediately adopted Englebert as well as Englebert’s doting, widowed mother, and practically moved in with them to escape all of the estrogen.  To say nothing of the flying hairbrushes.

One day I’ll have to have him guest post and tell the story of how he got that scar on his eyebrow.

But I digress.  Englebert was a very intelligent, very witty and very eccentric young man.  He had a potbellied pig for a pet long before it became fashionable in the early 90s, had a shrine to George Lucas in his bedroom, was a computer geek before the term became common and was artistically gifted as well as possessed of a vivid imagination and mischievous sense of humor.

Actually, mischievous is a bit of an understatement – the kid loved pranks and practical jokes, and some of them were not only hysterically funny, but elaborate beyond belief.

About the time Only Brother started attending the local community college, the plastic lawn flamingos in my mother’s neighborhood began to disappear.  While most of the neighbors got together for drinks to celebrate, the tasteless twits owners of the flamingos were left disgruntled, writing it off as rotten teenagers playing a joke, and went and bought new lawn flamingos.

They disappeared too.

Only this time, a couple of days after the second set of flamingos vanished, a note appeared in the mail boxes of the people with the bare lawns.

A note demanding ransom.

A note warning of dire consequences if the ransom was not paid.

Most of the owners of the erstwhile tacky decor, while pissed at what was, yes, blatant theft, disregarded the note.  Many simply went out and bought yet more plastic lawn flamingos.

Those disappeared too.

And when the note came this time, it was accompanied by a video tape.  A video tape of a person or persons, just off screen, beating the plastic lawn flamingos with sticks and long-handled brooms.  (For the record, they were not beating the flamingos hard enough to break them – they were just sort of whacking at them.)

I would never have guessed that smacking a plastic lawn flamingo with a stick and capturing it on video tape was a Federal offense, but it wasn’t long after the tapes were delivered that the FBI showed up at the local community college and started asking questions.  Now, everyone knew who’d done it, and if they didn’t know for sure they certainly suspected – who else could it have been?  But no one said anything, and once the FBI made an appearance the flamingos remained where they were, much to the dismay of the neighbors, and the notes and video tapes stopped as well.

I guess there’s no better deterrent for that kind of activity than having your buddy, who is working hard to get his Associates Degree in canine dental hygiene, say, “Dood!  The Feds are after you!”

This Place is a Zoo

And Washington D.C. has a very good zoo, indeed.

Parrot

I’m not sure what kind of parrot this is, but he’s very pretty.

Fuzzy Blue Bird

I don’t know the name of this guy, either, so I call him “Fuzzy Blue Bird.”

Meerkat

The Young One was so taken with the meerkats that he bought a stuffed one in the souvenir shop.

Seal

I am a fan of seals, myself.

Orangutang

The big cats were scarce during our visit, but the orangutangs were all out and about.

Gorillas

The gorillas were very obliging, as well.

Gorilla

One of my favorite photographs from the visit.

This guy, though, stole the show.

Giant Panda

Meet Mr. Giant Panda.

Giant Panda

Okay, y’all can wake up now.

Hello?  Helloooooo…

There’s Something Rotten in the State of Texas

JealousyThis week’s Spin Cycle is about jealousy.  I, myself, am not a jealous person by nature – it’s never really bothered me when my significant other, past or present, has looked at or confessed that he found another woman attractive.  I don’t worry or dwell on what Beloved is doing or who he is with when he’s out of town on business.  I don’t expect – or want – to be the end all and be all of any one man’s existence.

I don’t like jealous men, either; I don’t want to be hovered over, or have to account for my every move, or constantly reassure someone that I love them.  While I enjoy romance as much as the next woman, being sappy, eternally love-struck and joined at the hip holds no interest for me.

Insecurity is NOT attractive, to say nothing of sexy.  I’m sorry, but it isn’t – it’s fucking annoying is what it is.

My not-so-jealous nature extends to my status as a second wife.  Beloved has a very personal history with his first wife: they had the big church wedding.  They bought the first home.  They went to Hawaii together for the first time.  They conceived children together and he was in the delivery room with her when their daughters were born.  There’s a lot of history there, and that’s okay – they were, after all, married for 17 years.

I’ve recently discovered that this is definitely not always the case – apparently jealousy on the second wife’s part is very common, even when the first marriage ended acrimoniously.  There are tons and tons of blogs and forums and websites out there documenting how the second wife, even knowing her husband hates his first wife with a pink and purple passion, is still jealous.  Because of that shared history.

I don’t claim to understand it.  In fact, recent events have caused me to ponder the subject at more length than I ever expected to.  To say that I am taken aback is something of an understatement.

I recently had reason to speak with my ex-husband on the phone; this is remarkable only when you consider the fact we have not communicated in any way, shape, form or fashion in the last four years.  As a little background:  my ex-husband remarried a few years ago, to a young woman who is only a couple of years older than Oldest Son; they have a small child (about 2, I think) and are expecting another.  Which is all fine; in fact, it is wonderful.  I have had no issues with his Current Wife – any issues I have, and they are numerous, are all with the ex.

During the course of our conversation, which was very calm and civil (I made an effort to keep it so, and he seemed equally determined to make sure it didn’t degenerate into a shouting match), Ex-Husband made mention of a card that he was under the impression I sent when their daughter was born.  When I questioned about the content of the card, he admitted that it “wasn’t very nice.”  Further inquiries led to the revelation that this card was sent to his current wife’s place of business.

When I told Ex-Husband I had no idea where Current Wife was employed he said, “But what about when you talked with her on the phone?”

I have not spoken to Current Wife since before Darling Daughter graduated from high school in 2005, and I’ve never spoken with her at her work.

In the days since that conversation took place, I’ve pondered it a great deal.  Conversations with Current Wife at her place of business that never occurred.  An ugly card received when their daughter was born that I did not send.  The realization that since we discovered they were expecting their daughter, not only has Ex-Husband ceased any and all contact with Oldest Son and Darling Daughter, but so has his family.

There is something rotten in the state of Texas.

I can understand her need to vilify me, I really can.  But to lie about me – and apparently my kids – to the point where he and his family cut the children out of their lives so completely is simply incomprehensible to me.  All so she can pretend like we don’t exist and that shared history never happened?

If anyone understands that, let me know.  Not so you can explain it to me, but so I can block you from my site because you’re a cruel, pathetic asshole and I don’t want to be associated with you.