Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (and a few recipes)

In a week's time, I've been to the gym 7 times, an hour each time. I only lost about 5 pounds, because we ate Italian at Piccola Italia's (my stomach's spiritual Mecca) on Saturday, and my younger brother threw a cookout on Sunday. At least I didn't gain, right? My older brother made these incredible drinks on Sunday that I didn't even try to resist, they were that freakin' good. He called them "Mighty Good", and I'm inclined to agree!

A Mighty Good Drink
large glass w/ice
2 oz orange vodka (I think he might have added more)
a splash of triple sec
fill about three quarters with Tropicana Strawberry-Orange juice
top off with orange juice
garnish with either a giant strawberry or an orange slice.

At our parties everybody brings something to share, which makes the food more eclectic, and helps keep the cost down. Our host provided the ubiquitous burgers and dogs, my "Mighty Good" brother made a bean salad, another guest, Mrs. M. made her famous potato salad, and my mom made strawberry shortcake for dessert. My contribution was a Whore-d'oeuvre, as we like to call them: Caprese Salad. It's an easy thing to whip together, and it's glamour lies in using the best ingredients.

Caprese Salad
On a large platter arrange thin slices of fresh mozzarella
top with thin slices of ripe tomatoes
distribute evenly a generous helping of coarsely chopped fresh basil
sprinkle a bit of garlic powder, salt and pepper over all of it,
then pour very good olive oil over all, and sprinkle a bit of balsamic vinegar over that.
serve with fresh crusty Italian bread

So you can see why I didn't lose much weight this week, although as Bea put it, "think of what we would have gained if we hadn't worked out all week". so it's back to the gym this week, and a diet of salad and more salad. I'm trying to drop enough poundage in the next three weeks, that I can go on vacation and not worry about dieting.

Oh my effing god - what is happening to me? I'm writing about going to the gym! How is that good reading material? Who am I and where did the aliens put my real self? Aaughh!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

As The Pendulum Swings

Well hello!
I'm up out of the cellar today, the black funk having passed tornado-like, leaving flotsam and destruction, but everything important is intact. The husband person has been very supportive and kind lately; I think I might have scared him. I know I scared myself.

I'm reading "Reflections on the Art of Living - A Joseph Campbell Companion" this week, while I wait for my super groovy history book, "Albion's Seed", to arrive. I figured I could use a little perspective refresher, and Joseph Campbell is my kind of guy, having arrived at his personal philosophy via a life-long study of world mythology, and just following his muse. This particular book has an emphasis on the Grail Quest, as it pertains to finding meaning in your individual life. I love the fact that he never talks like some high-falutin' guru, trying to sell you on his version of snake tonic/ spiritual perfection. That always raises my suspicion, along with my hackles. He says things like, "doing what someone else wants you to do, is slave morality", and "if you can see the path you're on, then it isn't your path, it's someone else's". A man who tells us that getting lost is the first step to finding your way - how could I NOT love him?

And speaking of following the crowd, I up and joined a gym today. I know - ME??? Join a gym? After that spiel of going "el solo lobo"? I woke up this morning, pushing maximum density, and thought about going to join a gym. My first reaction was claustrophobic - "I'll be trapped! I'll be joining the crowd, etc." Then my rational, used-to-be-a-slim-girl voice spoke up: "And sitting on your ass, in the house, all during the hot, humid summer, doing Ho-ho curls, is going to do what??"

So I went and joined, and in true Ms. Q fashion, I immediately wanted to go out to lunch for a cheeseburger, because as the Buddha of Juicy Rationalizations (Ms. Q) would say: "I joined the gym, I'm paying the money, won't the weight just come off now?" And I've always laughed at her, but now, now "I'm looking down, Shrek", and I can't see my feet, and it isn't quite as funny. (okay, it's still a little funny, especially when she says it, but then she is a comic genius, or is it just me who thinks that?)

So now I'm a gym-rat. Imagine that, and then let me know how big my ass looks in that work-out gear, or even more likely, how scared the others will be when I show up in bag-lady gear (ass still pushing the boundaries of our neighboring countries), because I'm too cheap to buy sparkly new, perky work-out clothes, replete with matching scrunchy?

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Emo Ranting (And now I'm going to go sulk in my room)

I'm lying here, in a puddle of my own self pity. I can't seem to drag myself out of this funk, shower off the self-indulgent wallowing residue and DO something about all this apathy. My apathy, my husband's apathy, my children's apathy - I can't take it all on, and I don't want to. But neither do they, and the effort of making them just take care of their own pile of stuff to do wears me out, leaves me angry and desolate at the same time.

Don't tell me what to do, even if you mean well. I have enough people telling me what to do right now, and that isn't really helping. I'm introspective enough to figure out what's going on, eventually anyway, and phoenix-like, I'll rise again. But will they? It's hard to fly when someone's hanging onto your wings, crying, "But what'll we have for dinner? Where are my underwear?"

See, need isn't the same thing as love. Need is grasping, clawing, selfish. Love is nurturing, unselfish, giving. We might need to be needed, but it doesn't take the place of love. Love replenishes us, need sucks us dry. Need often tries to pass itself off as love, but it's perpetual hunger always kills what would have thrived with love.

(Wow, was that vague and rambling enough? Dead giveaway that I'm teetering on Batsa right now, isn't it? I wish I could be more concise, more philosophical, more like the duck's back of Buddha, letting all the shit roll off and going "Ohm", but it ain't happening, not right now.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Work? On a day like today?

It's way too nice to spend my day indoors, painting, (Ah Juicy Rationalization, how my procrastinating heart doth love thee!) so gardening was the order of the day. I'm really just tickled that we even have anything other than chickweed in the beds this year, so a lovely Tropicana rose is pretty exciting.
We planted this bed on Jasper's final resting place. We thought the "Jappernese" maple was a nice touch, not only for it's name, but because it's short, scrappy, and red, just like Jasper was. She would have loved posing in among these flowers, no doubt. Alas, poor Chubby.
The stray who showed up last spring and decided to stay is doing well. I named him Simon, but his whole name, at this point, is Simon Snowshoe Ohyeah Fatboy. Also known as Mr. Fuzzy, he is a welcome addition to our declining numbers (ahahahaha! Sorry, I couldn't help it).
Jezebel and Mrs. Puff share a little girl talk on the back fence, because who doesn't love the smell of compost in the morning?
I think this beauty is a Mr. Lincoln. Contrary to the old 70s song, my honey DID promise me a rose garden. It's just a lot harder to deliver when full sun is at a premium in your yard.
I'm working on something right now - I don't know how well you'll like it. My head is already 600 miles away from my body, what with our annual pilgrimage to Pennsylvania coming up, and I thought it might be fun to take advantage of that fixation, combine it with my obsession for historical data and use it to write something fantastical.
Yeeeaahhh, I know - I'm having a hard time picturing that description on the back of a paperback too. But who knows - "could be lunch meat, could be peaches" - Look Who's Talking

Monday, May 11, 2009

Because This Is How Lazy I Am These Days

Hi, this is me, the laziest blogger ever. How lazy can it get, you might ask? I'm posting a letter, fer crying out loud! Granted, I'm going to be a lot perkier when writing the Cuz, because, well, she brings it out in me, kind of like how I desperately need a beer after visiting my deeply religious, teetotalling relatives, or the way I tend to utter random swear words, when passing a particularly large and pompous church. What? Everybody doesn't do that! Seriously?

Anyway, my thanks to the Velveeta Wingnut for her inspiring presence! Oh, and I cut out the parts where I was talking about animals, nudity, sex, and food, in a sort of food processor kind of amalgamation. Because I care.

Hey Woman,
I don't know what the hell my problem is these days - the kitchen is coming along, though I think we're going to hold off on the counter tops until next year, when we can afford to do solid granite, vs trying to lay granite tile. More money, but less bullshit, ya know? But the painting is coming along - about halfway done - the humid weather makes it hard to paint walls, so this week will be another big push to finishing that part. House updates - yikes - I know you
know what I'm saying!

But yeah, I've been in this funk for awhile now. Partly the whole losing several cats this past winter, partly I'm just feeling like a damn ancient whale - fat and old!!! WTF? How does this kind of shit happen? I'm thinking of joining a gym, that's how desperate I am - and I've NEVER joined a gym before. Film at 11.

We're going to be up in PA June 14th-21st, Sunday to Sunday. I want to go up to Buffalo on the 19th of that week, to see my aunt, and take the kids to the Allbright-Knox Art Museum (and hit the grocery store/ butcher shop while I'm there. Oh bright and shining TOPS MARKET, what siren call your aisles sing to me! Oh FEDERAL MEAT MARKET, how I long to stand in silent wonder, gazing at your dazzling array of beautiful meat, to smell your homemade kielbasa and hot dogs!)

BUT I digress -

So when do you want to get together that week? Do you want to go to Kittanning or should we try Butler this time? I've never been to the Butler Historical Society - don't even know if there is one, actually! What are you looking for?

Oh, I knew I had something for you. I found a reference to a Jeremiah Bonner, who was a blacksmith in the Armstrong County area, in the James Whisker book on PA gunsmiths. Isn't he one of your ancestors, or is he just a relative? Either way, I thought it was interesting, and thought it might be pertinent.I'll bring the book with me. I admit, I have a thing for blacksmiths!
By the by, nope, never received the Bowser book. I do remember you ordering it. If your desk is like my desk, it might just have gone to the black hole. I was thinking of dropping into Mechling Books, since they're near Butler. I want to ask them about prices for publishing a couple of different things, about family bible restoration, and maybe pick up a few books from them, if they sell them out of their store, as well as ship them. So if you can't find it, I can
always get a copy from them - I don't think it was a pricey book.

I don't have a ton of research to do this trip, although I could go to Kittanning again. The Snyders I'm tracking seem to have been in Armstrong county by 1800; a Valentine Snyder (nickname, "Felty") in Buffalo Twp (1800 census), and then him and two younger guys in Toby Twp, in 1810, one of which is Peter Snider, which was my grandmother's great great grandfather. So I've tracked back to her 3x great grandfather so far, and then the trail goes to Prussia, which apparently is one of the provinces of the Palatine region. Did you know that? I
sure as hell didn't!

I received an email from a guy in Franklin, PA who actually read the TOY family compilation - go figure! His SIL's grandmother was a first cousin to my grandfather, and she had some info I didn't have. Groovy, even groovier that anybody read and found something in that massive tome! But the goocher is, this guy's last name is SNYDER, which, while it's a lot like SMITH, in terms of commonality, still, he's in the right place to possibly be related. He did sign off with a
"God Bless You", which always puts my pagan neck hairs up, but he might have some useful links, who knows?


Just let me know when and where you want to meet up, m'kay? We just have the parental units going with us this year, so I might even be able to leave the kids with them, unless you WANT me to bring the whole circus, 'cuz your mom's going and she wants to see everybody, or something like that! I'm squeezy either way.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know - I'm supposed to be out in the kitchen, painting right now, dammit! All right, fine - I'm going!


(So do you feel kind of voyeuristic now, dear reader, from getting a peek into my personal correspondence? I feel positively nekkid now - which isn't really as titillating as it sounds, sadly! But I'm working on it!)