Let the Good Times Roll

B.B. KingToday, we will drop Scooter off at the kennel for the weekend.

Next, we will take The Young One to Cleveland and put him on a plane to Texas for Spring break.

Then we will go raid Half Price Books.

After that, we will check into the Embassy Suites in downtown Cleveland and take a nap cavort wantonly through our two-room suite.

Then, to cap off the day’s festivities, we will stroll two or three blocks to The House of Blues, where we will eat dinner, drink ourselves silly and be entertained by the legendary B.B. King.

Saturday, we are going to spend a large part of the day at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where we can view a cast of Lucy, then perhaps the Cleveland Museum of Art, and then off to dinner at the Flying Fig (they have a “small plate” of chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates wrapped in bacon, garnished with a roasted red pepper sauce that are to die for).

Let the good times roll.

Have a lovely weekend, y’all.

I Took the Weekend Off from Blogging

Since I write most of my posts the night before, this means I didn’t blog Friday night or Saturday night.  To be perfectly honest, if I weren’t into my second third glass of scotch and waiting for the oven to heat up so I can indulge in a hot apple turnover alá commode, I probably wouldn’t be blogging on a Sunday night.  But, Beloved is on his way out of town again, after a mere 26 hours at home and I don’t want him to be gone.  It was rather nice having him in bed Saturday night, if the truth be told.  I won’t embarrass anyone by going into details about what happened in said bed, since our kids do read my blog – Hi, y’all! – but let’s just say he was as happy to be there as I was to have him.

Melancholy.  I has it.

Blogging is a good way to deal with it.

Anyhoo, Beloved got home at 2:00 p.m. Saturday; that night we had reservations at Podunk’s “only 5 star restaurant” – they have REAL cloth napkins, don’t you know – and tickets to see Ron White at the Podunk Civic Center, which seats all of 4,000 if you put folding chairs on the floor.

Such a bustling metropolis.

Mr. White, for the most part, was quite funny…if you like middle-aged, foul-mouthed Texans with a penchant for Scotch and cigars.  (Oh, wait – that pretty much describes me.  Hmmmm.  Well, at least I no longer smoke.)  Seriously, though, some of his stuff – like a great many other comedians – relied far too much on juvenile sexual humor and a Lenny Bruce-like love of the “F Word”, but for the most part he was truly funny.  His bit about his first encounter with a bidet – with a heated seat, no less – made me laugh until I cried.

I wish we could say we were just as happy with our dinner, but alas, no.  The service sucked (we never saw a bread basket, the waiter didn’t ask us if we wanted anything to drink beyond our initial cocktail orders, didn’t even bother to refill our water glasses and I practcally had to beg for wine to go with our meal), the water and wine glasses were filthy, our appetizers were appallingly undercooked and it took forever for our entreés to arrive (they, surprisingly, were quite good).  Beloved, who never tips under 20%, left less than 10% and reduced the maitre’d to a quivering, blubbering mass of protoplasm when the man asked us how we enjoyed our meal as we left.

Now hush – if you’d paid $120 for a dinner that only included 2 small glasses of single malt scotch, one glass of wine and NO dessert, you’d bite off the head of anyone who asked you how your meal was, too.  It was especially disappointing because 1) we go out so seldom and 2) it was Beloved’s only night home in two weeks.

Oh, well, we had a good time at the show, although we both prefer a smaller venue for stand up comedy, and came home to persue, er, other entertainment.  Which included watching The Incredible Hulk – not bad despite the fact that Liv Tyler completely lived down up to my expectations.  Sunday morning we slept in until 9:00 a.m. (practically unheard of) and then watched Mel Brook’s The Producers with The Young One while I made brunch (eggs, bacon, butter fried potatoes and southwestern spoon bread; you know our arteries just love us, yes they do).  That’s what The Young One gets for asking me what my favorite comedy film is.  And I’m gratified to announce that he laughed all the way through it, including my favorite lines:

“You can’t shoot the actors!  They’re not animals – they’re human beings!”

“Oh yeah?  Have you ever eaten with one?”

Why that is my favorite line is a long story.  I’ll write about it one day.

After that, I fell asleep on the sofa while Beloved watched the Cowboys game.  The fact that I was unconscious for the duration is the only explanation for their 4 point victory.  In fact, I woke up once, briefly, only to have Beloved exclaim, “We’re winning!!  Go back to sleep!!”

So I did.  Gladly.  Do you realize how often I get to take a nap??  Yeah, well, you’d take advantage of it, too.

By 4:15 we were on our way to Cleveland so he could fly to Nebraska.  To make matters worse so much more exciting, we have a chance of snow through Wednesday.

Snow.

I’m so thrilled.

Not.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini

Beloved and I were at a local restaurant the other day, perusing the martini menu, when we came across four that had women’s names.  The waitress told us they were named after the characters in Sex in the City, which I’ve never seen before.  Regardless, the Carrie – a mango infused martini – was wonderful, as was the Charlotte; smooth and chocolate-flavored.  I liked the Charlotte so much that we pestered the waitress to get the recipe for us.  And she did.

So, off we toddled to the liquor store yesterday after work, and Beloved asked me if we should buy everything to make the Charlotte martini.  (Yes, sometimes he asks silly questions.)  One of the ingredients was amaretto, so we bought the Disaronno.  It also called for dark chocolate Godiva liqueur, but we already had white chocolate Godiva at home.  After futzing around with the recipe, Beloved said, “This tastes a little bit like cherry – it must be from the Disaronno.”  I piped up, “Oh, we should put a few drops of kirsch in it, then!”

So we did, and it was sublime.  Here’s the recipe as we made it last night – it is marvelous.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini

serves 2 – or me

2 parts vanilla vodka

1 part Frangelico

1 part white chocolate Godiva liqueur

1 part Disaronno

1 part half and half

splash of kirsch

Mix all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; strain into two chilled martini glasses (or pour one, and put the shaker into the freezer to keep it cold until you’re ready for the rest).

Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole

While I can’t speak for my friends down south, the days of lounging around of a Sunday morning in nothing but a nightshirt or – better yet – pajama bottoms and a sports bra are gone for the year.  Today I’m in a ratty old t-shirt I won’t let Beloved throw away, a pair of sweats and some fuzzy slippers.  And since I’m chilly in the mornings (freezing and blue is coming soon, I’m sorry to say), it’s time to make something a little heartier for brunch, don’t you agree?

Believe it or not, it is based on a (rather bland) WW recipe, so it CAN be made “healthier” but for now, I’m posting the decidedly unhealthy and wickedly delicious version.  It’s fairly simple to prepare and is the epitome of “comfort food.”  It is excellent accompanied with a little salsa.

Oh, if you happen to be in another part of the house doing something you can’t stop in the middle of and the timer on the stove goes off the first time, you might want to forewarn the object of your affections that it still needs work and to cook longer.  If you neglect that minor little detail, hope he doesn’t get salmonella when you come back into the kitchen and find he’s polished off nearly 1/4 of the casserole.

Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole

serves 8, generously

about 2 – 3 pounds potatoes, preferably Yukon Golds

1 1/2 cups frozen sweet kernel corn, thawed

1 pound bulk breakfast sausage

6 eggs

1 cup milk

1 heaping cup cheddar cheese, shredded

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Preheat oven to 375F.  Generously coat an 8 x 11 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

Peel the potatoes and put them through the shredding disk of a food processor – you should have about 4 – 5 cups.  Place the potatoes in a large bowl of ice water to soak and set aside.

While potatoes are soaking, cook the sausage, breaking it up while it cooks, until it is thoroughly browned.  Drain well on paper towels.

Drain the potatoes very well, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and spread over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Layer the corn evenly over the potatoes, and the sausage over the corn.  Whisk the eggs together with the milk and pour evenly over the potatoes/corn/sausage.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and remove the foil.  Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the dish and return to the oven.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is beginning to turn brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

We Put the “Dys” in Dysfunctional

Beloved and I come from rather diverse backgrounds.  Growing up, his family lived in New England and belonged to a country club, where he and his siblings learned to play golf and tennis – mine lived in Texas and had a garage full of motorcycles and guns, where we learned to take aim at and run over each other.

Yeah, he has a nice golf swing, but I can shoot all the pins off a clothesline with an air rifle.

Despite the differences in our upbringings, Beloved and I have a great deal in common.  Our views on politics, religion, child rearing and overall life philosophies are pretty much on the same page.  Which is a good thing – we’ve been together for 10 years and still haven’t killed each other.  We also have similar relationships with our siblings, and we each have a sister who is just absolutely bug-fucking NUTS.

But in a good way.

My whacky-but-lovable sister has one of the most open and generous hearts you could ever hope to encounter – as far as she’s concerned, there is no such thing as a stranger and she will give anyone the shirt off her back.  That being said, she has also been known to beat one of her teenagers – and any other teenager that might get in the way – about the neck and head with a flashlight on the yearly camping trip because he sneaked off with his dad’s bottle of booze and got totally snockered.

(Disclaimer: since it is techinically against the law to have alcohol in a Texas State Park, the liquor was left in the car quite accidentally before the trip took place, because no one in my family would ever break the law by boozing it up on a camping trip at a Texas State Park.  No, ma’am.)

She also has only three volumes – Loud, Very Loud, and You Can Hear Her in the Next Time Zone.  Combine that with the fact that she has absolutely no filter between the mouth and the brain…well, let’s just say a few hours in her presence is an experience you’re not likely to forget any time soon.  In a family that is gregarious to begin with, my sister sets a whole new standard.

Beloved’s whacky-but-lovable sister simply lacks any sense, common or otherwise.  Don’t get me wrong, she really is a sweetheart, but the first time I met her she sat in a large, old fashioned pickle crock that was in her living room for some reason.  And got stuck.  And we had to literally pry her out of it.  Which is hard to do when you’re laughing your ass off.

Why did she sit in it?  I’m not sure.  I don’t think she knew why at the time.  She’s just a goofball that way.

Saturday she decided to grace us with her presence when she came to our house seeking clothes to wear to a 60s Party she was attending that evening.  Now, you must understand that the party began at 8:00 p.m.  She showed up at our house shortly after 3:00 p.m. and we had assembled her a suitable “hippie outfit” from an old tshirt, granny skirt, beads and scarf in about 20 minutes.  Since her husband was at work and her son out doing things that teenage boys do on Saturday afternoons, she decided she had a few minutes to spare so we settled in around our kitchen table to chat for a little while.

Beloved offered her something to drink.  She asked for a beer.  Once in the possession of the beer (which was really a stout), she decided she didn’t like it.  So we opened a bottle of wine.

It pretty much went downhill from there.

A little after 9:00 p.m. (and about 5 glasses of wine later), her husband finally showed up to take her to the party.  Yes, six hours later.  She was just simply having too good a time to go home.  (My good time ran out about 5 hours earlier.)  Uninhibited by nature, the wine only enhanced that quality, and in the six hours she was at our home, she:

  • Announced to everyone that she does not wear underwear
  • Proved it
  • Flashed me her boobs
  • Grabbed my boobs
  • Grabbed Beloved’s crotch
  • Gave the dog a massage
  • Asked me a very personal question about my relationship with the faucet in our guest bathroom (you don’t EVEN want to know; trust me)

Like I said, she had a very good time.

Families.  You gotta love ’em.  Because it’s still illegal to strangle ’em.

Note: While our kids read my blog – and this story will amuse them to no end – neither whacky-but-lovable sister does.  So I should be safe.  Of course, if one of them should happen to run across this, they can always pay me back with a visit on a Saturday afternoon.