Life in the Turn Lane

I’m not usually given to blogging at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday nights, but I’ve had four cups of coffee this evening and I’m so wired you could hook me up to a Bose sound system. Nor am I normally given to drinking coffee after, oh, 9:00 a.m. but my beloved, who has been out of town on business since Sunday evening, was supposed to arrive at the airport at 11:00 p.m. tonight. Knowing full well from past experience that this means I would be up until at least 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning (if not 2) while he winds down, I felt it might be wise to fortify myself with a little well-timed caffeine.

Of course his flight was canceled and he’s stuck in Atlanta overnight. So here I am, hopped up on French Market coffee, seriously considering baking a lemon chess pie and a loaf of homemade raisin bread. And no, I do not mean with a store-bought crust or with the bread machine.

Actually, I spent the last hour or so calling up every Howard Johnson’s within a 50 mile radius of the Atlanta airport trying to find out if he had a reservation – apparently, the person at the gate shoved a piece of paper saying “Howard Johnson’s” with no phone number, address or directions at him, said it was “about 30 minutes away” and told him to “go there.” Which left me to find out just where “there” was. Silly me, when they told him to “go there” I thought they had made him a reservation, which – of course – they had not. But I did get a good look at the internet reviews for the one closest to the airport; it had about 30 reviews, with a 1 1/2 star rating…out of 5. From what I could gather, calling this place a flea-bag would be a kindness.

Now, I’m not exactly renowned for ability to stomach ickiness and guck and goo (to say nothing of televised surgical procedures) and the reviews were far more descriptive than I cared for, so you can imagine my reaction when he called to say that’s where he was headed. Nor could I have been more relieved when he called back to tell me he was going to another hotel, further away. However, I like to cover my bases, so the minute he checked in to his room he called me (mostly because I nagged him to and he has a strong sense of self-preservation), I asked anxiously, “There aren’t any hookers or drug dealers hanging around, are there?”

“No,” he replied, brightening considerably. “Should I go look for some?”

Yes, friends and neighbors, we are together for a reason.

There’s No Place Like Home

My 21-year-old daughter moved back home, and believe it or not I’m rather relieved, if for no other reason than we won’t have to leave the dog at the kennel if we go out of town.

We feel guilty about leaving him there, and the little bugger knows it. And he plays up to the fact.

First of all, unlike a lot of (obsessive-compulsive) pet owners, we don’t take the dog in the car with us every time we run to the store for a gallon of milk and a can of Drano. For one thing, he’d never leave the car because we run to the grocery store approximately every 24.5 minutes. At any rate, the only time he ever gets to ride in the car is when he either goes to the vet or the kennel. Since he hates both, you’d think he’d get the idea, but just taking him into the garage transports him into paroxysms of joy that will leave your shoes wet if you stand too close to him. Putting him in the car creates a leaping frenzy in the back seat where he batters his skull repeatedly against the windows until you lower them enough to let him hang his head outside.

Once we get to the kennel he’s still pretty happy – he’s outside and on his leash (he’d prefer to be outside without his leash, but he’ll take what he can get). It’s not until we take him inside that he wises up; he immediately turns and tries to run back outside, taking the leash, the nearest display of cute little doggie toys and my arm with him. He then whimpers and stares at us with terrified eyes while we check him in, and as a last act of defiance gives us a look that says, “I’ll remember this” and poops on our shoes.

It’s not that he’s being mistreated, and I do realize that even if I am sobbing hysterically while my husband asks for the umpteenth time, “Oh, will you please stop that!!” It’s just that Scooter doesn’t realize he’s a dog. Nor does he care for the company of other dogs – they don’t let him lay all over their lap and feed him popcorn or bits of tuna fish and Dorito sandwiches while he watches television. They don’t stand at the stove and drop food all over the floor while they cook dinner and they certainly don’t pour the leftover bacon grease all over his dog food.

Once home, the dog can give us the cold shoulder treatment like no one else can – and it affects me worse than the same cold shoulder treatment from anyone else can. With a kid, it’s like “Fine – you’ll run out of peanut butter and AAA batteries eventually, and we’ll see who’s talking to who then!!” But for some reason I find myself following the dog, who is pointedly ignoring me (and looking for a pair of my shoes to destroy) around the house, crooning, “Scooter…Scooooooter….want some cheese? A steak and baked potato? A massage?”

Things do go back to normal eventually, after I’ve sufficiently humbled myself and the dog gains 5 pounds.

Guest Blogging

I love my new blog, and plan to keep it up and expand on it as much as possible (I have delusions of grandeur as far as site traffic goes LOL). My beloved, on the other hand, sometimes commits his opinions to writing, but does not have the wherewithal (read: time) to keep a blog going. So, here it is: Guest Blogging. Guest Blogger: My Hubby.

I know it’s cliché, but it has finally happened!

Something better than sliced bread has finally been invented!

It broke on this morning’s local news channel. It’s called the Mosquitone.

We have all heard of the Dog Whistle, and we have heard about an ultra high frequency sound that drives mosquitoes away. But this one is actually useful!

It’s a VERY annoying high frequency sound that can ONLY be heard by people (I’ll use that term loosely) who are under 25! Adults don’t hear a thing!

Now that site offers a ring tone, but they are severely missing the point! The manufactures suggest it as a practical tool to clear a convention center after a rock and roll concert but even they need some marketing lessons.

Think about it! A noise that annoys children but not adults! It’s like a reverse Wii!

I see HUGE marketing applications of this. How about a surround sound system to keep the Wii out of the living room? Better yet a perimeter fence around the house! I keep child proofing the house, but they keep getting in! THIS is the answer to my prayers. Now when your children run off to lead their own lives you can make sure they do!

To hell with a border fence, string this shit around the entire country!

I bow to the inventor and believe that he/she truly deserves the Nobel Prize!

The Difference Between Men and Women…and the Generation Gap

We watched “Across the Universe” (again) tonight with Tim’s younger daughter.

Tim: It’s a great movie, but it’s historically inaccurate.

Me: It does a wonderful job of interpreting the 6o’s using the Beatles’ music.

Tim: Interpretation, yes.

Me: Most art is about interpretation, dear.


Candied Chicken

When I was in middle school, the band (yes, I was a band geek…a theatre geek and a choir geek, too) sold cookbooks for a fund-raiser. They were inexpensive little things, of course, with cute music “themes.” My parents bought one, naturally, and it went on a shelf somewhere to collect dust, with the rest of my mother’s modest cookbook collection. (Mom could cook when she wanted to – she just rarely wanted to.)

When I grew up, married and moved away from home Mom gladly handed over the majority of her cookbooks, one of which was the fund-raiser book. I don’t think I made many of the recipes, but there was one in there that struck my fancy and has remained in my repertoire since: Candied Chicken.

Not nearly as sweet as the name suggests, it’s a quick, easy and inexpensive sweet-and-sour recipe that lends itself to all sorts of interpretation. Kids love it, as do grown men, and it can be made with inexpensive chicken parts with the skin and bones, or boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. While I make it mostly with boneless, skinless breasts for convenience, it tastes best with bone-in, skin-on chicken parts. I’ll start with the original recipe, then the version for boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

This is very good with homemade mashed potatoes and a nice vegetable.

Candied Chicken
serves 6
1 package of “Pick of the Chick” chicken parts
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup pancake syrup (the really cheap stuff is just fine)
1/2 cup ketchup (again, the really cheap stuff is fine)
1/2 cup plain white vinegar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the syrup, ketchup and vinegar with a whisk; set aside.

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a wide, shallow dish like a pie plate. Heat the oil over high heat in a large, heavy skillet until almost smoking. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then fry in the oil until brown all over, about 3 -5 minutes on each side. Drain briefly on a paper towel, then place, skin side up, in a large shallow baking dish, such as a Pyrex glass 15x10x2 cake pan.

Pour the syrup mixture over the chicken and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when the chicken thighs are pierced with a fork.

Boneless, Skinless Breast Version
serves 6

Heat oven to 350 degrees; mix the pancake syrup, ketchup and vinegar as instructed before.

Place 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a large shallow baking dish, such as a Pyrex glass 15x10x2 cake pan. Pour the syrup mixture over the chicken and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until chicken is done.