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Maureen Jenkins: UrbanTravelGirl

May 12th, 2009

Yippee! My friend Maureen Jenkins finally started her own travel blog. Yay. Go take a look and leave her a note.

Happy Tuesday, indeed.



hockey, hockey, hockey (spoiler alert)

May 11th, 2009

Did you know that they still have play-off games for the Stanley Cup, even over Mother’s Day weekend? And I do like hockey, so we’ve been watching a LOT of games. Yet, I’m ready for the craziness to stop. Well, not stop. Advance. I’m ready for advanced craziness.

Tonight we’re watching the games in the wrong order, so we just watched the end of the Chicago/Vancouver game. Chicago took it and I was happy cuz I do love the Blackhawks. Now we’re watching the Pittsburgh/Washington game (which was actually earlier this evening) and we do like the Penguins and we do not care for the Capitals and… we’re watching the game. (Edited later to say: Pens lost. But we’ve got one more chance.) And I’m blogging. Not eating snacks because the Wii Fit, she is an evil mistress. With that little teeny voice that boldly tells you, that’s overweight.

We were also watching the school board meeting, at the same time as the games, and Internets, it was like PPS Equity had thrown up on one monitor and More Hockey Less War had thrown up on the other monitor and I could not avert my eyes. By the by, do you realize that Hockey God has not updated his hockey blog since April 21st? Even though it’s play-off season? Probably because it’s play-off season? You need to work on the dedication to hockey over there, big fella. What’s the point of a hockey blog if it goes dormant during peak season? But you know he doesn’t ever give you the big love like I do.

A few things, in no particular order:

* Our neighbors’ big tree lost big branches and no, they did not land on the kids or go through the windows, thank God, but the one did fill up the entire side yard. Also it was scary as hell. Also this random huge storm we had that took down a number of trees in the area — it happened three days after my Grandma died. I am convinced that this storm was the rage of Dear Granny. Lord knows the woman had a temper.

* It bothers me, that she passed right before Mother’s Day. I am of the mind that you have to take the sweet along with the bitter, but it has been rough. The service was four days before Mother’s Day.

* Do you believe in purgatory? I think I do.

* Do you believe there was only one clown in the St. Johns Parade this year? Ronald McDonald. That was it. (This is not him. This is from the Beaterville float, obviously. Did you know they sponsor a stock car? Hockey God is hap-hap-happy about that one.) WTF?? Clowns for Christ, please explain yourselves.

* Do you believe in the J. Geils Band?

* Were you wanting to talk about the St. Johns Parade, which we went to on Saturday, after Lelo told me, and I’m quoting here, that I should “man up” and go? Wacky Mommy TAKES the challenge GOES to the parade and is PSYCHED to find that it was the BEST YEAR EVER. And I go every year so I know. Thanks, Lelo, you were RIGHT ON ABOUT THAT.

* Do you believe that one of the high school bands at the parade (Benson, I think?) played the song “Centerfold” and another band played Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny Jenny”? Do you believe that Teen Moms Rock? HELL TO THE YEAH. We also saw a big pink poodle (not stuffed, live. Dyed pink. Not a great dye job, but eh, who am I to criticize?) KICK about FOUR DOGS’ ASSES along the way as it strutted off leash during the parade. She was all, “I’m off leash, ya bitches. Bite me. No, wait, I’ll bite you.” No, we did not get photos, unfortunately. It was a big blur.

* People, could we perhaps have stuck with this year’s theme of Oregon’s 150th birthday instead of veering toward dog fights and hot teen sex?

* Now I have to post “Jessie’s Girl” for Miz Y. Just cuz. Hot teen sex.

* Sorry, but after watching that J. Geils mess I have to link to Nirvana. Mo’ bettah cheerleaders. Geez, did things change a lot in ten years or what?

The Peabody Hotel

May 8th, 2009

Hmm. Well it’s been another day of getting nothing done around here. You want to hear one of my Dear Granny’s stories? I know you do. (I’m putting all of these in to her cookbook, which will now be a memory book, too, I suppose.)

here’s to love.


“Paul and Virginia got married, Paul’s my brother. They kept it a secret for a couple of months. I don’t know why they kept it a secret, they were just being funny. They sneaked off to Memphis to stay for the weekend at the Peabody Hotel. Well, they was married! Jack went and asked the hotel, was some of his family here? They said yes. So he went to their room, knocks and Paul comes to the door.

Jack asked him, “What are you doing in here with an illegal woman, illegally?”

And Paul said, “This is my wife!”

I liked him, he was quite a character. I think Paul could have killed him, I really do. You could hear him up and down the hallway at the Peabody Hotel. That Jack, he liked to pull tricks on people. He was married to Irene McCarty. She was the oldest McCarty. There were eight or nine of those kids. Miz McCarty was the dearest lady. I loved that lady.”

St. Johns Parade is tomorrow…

May 8th, 2009

and my Lelo is going.

Are you? Are we? Only time will tell…

It’s not a happy Friday over here, you know why? Because I keep picking up the phone to call my Dear Granny is why. Argh, stupid phone.

Nonetheless, I wish you a happy Friday, and to those of you who are mamas — happy Mother’s Day weekend.



My Dear Granny’s Casket Looked Like a Pink Cadillac

May 6th, 2009

The service was today. It was nice. What do you say to describe a funeral service? It was “okay.” It was “no one punched anyone in the nose, isn’t that cool?” “No one cursed at anyone else, righteous!” It was a good service. The ministers did not do the whole thing of, “She was a believer/she wanted you to believe/you are all heathen assholes/repent now or you won’t see her in heaven.”

I don’t like funerals or weddings or baby showers or birthday parties. I want to be a good sport. Supportive. A “partier.” But I just do not like the social things. Also my baby cousin Wacky Cousin 2.0 was cracking me up, and cracking the kids up, and Hockey God was instructing us, Don’t laugh you’ll only encourage him… but I am sorry.

Internets, I had to encourage him. I had to laugh.

He is two. He has blond, curly hair, and huge blue eyes, and was wearing a darling little sweater with patches on the elbows. He is outgoing and he is a nutbar. So when he yelled, “I’m going out the window!” followed by “I just pooped!!!” (which was extra funny because he hadn’t actually pooped he was faking us out, whew, wiping tears from eyes…) (Two-year-old humor, It Rocks.)

My kids were enchanted with him. “He is funny. Isn’t he funny? Then he did the chicken dance with us!” (Why does he know the chicken dance? Because he inherited their Chicken Dance Elmo, that’s why. I wondered where it went. To Wacky Cousin 2.0’s house, that’s where!)

I’m just being flip right now because you know why, I think. Here, I’ll put it in my son’s words:

“She was old and she was ready to die but you weren’t ready for her to go.”

No, I wasn’t. So I will keep on trying to let go, but right now, all I’m thinking about is the time we were spending the weekend with her, me, my sis, my cousin Travis in Corbett, up in the Columbia Gorge where they used to live. I found a recipe in Family Circle or Country Woman or one of her mags, and it included a recipe for the most deluxe chocolate cake I had ever seen. I asked Grandma, Can you make that?

She was all, Sure, run up to the store and get me the stuff. (This little country store my sister and cousins and I loved, right up the road.) So we did. And she baked it. And it was perfect.

That was when I knew: Baking = love.

I miss my Grandma and no, I was not ready for that fancy casket and the hymns and the slide show. No, I was not ready for that at all.

So I’m just going to pretend it was a dream. And because I can’t find a clip from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, where she goes all hysterical laughing at Chuckles the Clown’s funeral and can’t stop laughing, I leave you with this, the opening to my dad and mom’s favorite show…

Wacky Cake, Starlight Yellow Cake, Coconut Cake

May 4th, 2009

Wacky Girl made a delicious homemade coconut cake yesterday, in honor of Dear Granny. We didn’t use her recipe though, we made a Starlight Yellow Cake, instead. WG knows how to use the mixer now, she’s happy. Is already asking for a Kitchen Aid. She stirred in coconut, and we frosted it by breaking apart a big Hershey’s bar, and pressing the pieces onto the cake while it was still warm. The pieces didn’t melt fast enough, so we popped it back into the cooling oven for a couple of minutes. Success — and it tasted like a Mounds bar.

That’s how my Dear Granny used to frost cakes. In either a froth of raw egg whites, or by pressing a Hershey’s Kiss onto an oversized cupcake, or by lining up rows of chocolate squares on a still-warm cake. It’s more of a glaze, really. It’s perfect, and no need for powdered sugar.

Until earlier this evening, when I was googling Wacky Mommy Needs (needs cake, clearly) I was not aware that there is such a creation as a Wacky Cake. Did you know that? Did you know that children like it?

Wacky Cake II

Servings: 12

“Children like this cake.”

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9 inch square pan.
2. Sift together the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, 1/4 cup of the cocoa, the soda, and the salt. Stir in the vinegar, oil, water, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cake cool. Then spread chocolate icing over top.
4. To Make Chocolate Icing: Combine 1 cup of the sugar, 1/4 cup of the cocoa, the milk, and the butter or margarine. Boil for 1 minute. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and continue stirring until partially cool. Spread over cake.

Here is the best recipe — my Dear Granny would make this every year for my birthday:

First get a coconut from the store. (Don’t buy one unless you can shake it and hear the milk inside.) Take scissors or a screwdriver. There are three little eyes at the end of the coconut. Make a hole in it with the scissors or screwdriver. Make a hole and drain the milk out.

Then hit it with a hammer and get the shell off. Take a knife, gouge down in there and get all the pieces of coconut and get them out of the shell. Get all the brown off. You can grate it — that’s how Mama used to do it, but it’s hard on your fingers. I run it through the blender — that flakes the coconut up. Or if you got a food processor you can run it through that. Then I add a couple of tablespoons of sugar on the coconut to sweeten it up.

(You can freeze the coconut, too — it freezes well.)

Then, get a Betty Crocker white cake mix. For the liquid in there — I think it calls for milk — use part coconut milk. Save part of the coconut milk for the frosting. Use egg whites, not whole eggs, or else you’ll have a yellow cake.

You put the oven on 350 degrees. Put your cake in there to bake. It takes about 35 minutes or something like that. It will tell you on the box.

You take one of your pans, a small one, you put a cup of sugar, and pour some coconut milk over the sugar. Cook it until you put a spoon in there and it will kind of clump. Then you have three egg whites, beaten pretty stiff, in the mixer. Turn the mixer on high. As it’s mixing, pour the sugar and coconut milk mixture over the egg whites. It should be pretty thick by then.

Ice your cake with that, then sprinkle coconut all over the top of the cake. That’s it.

(love you, Grandma. nancy)

QOTD: Coleridge

May 4th, 2009

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.”

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge

from the Wikipedia page:

“Coleridge claimed that the poem was inspired by an opium-induced dream (implicit in the poem’s subtitle A Vision in a Dream) but that the composition was interrupted by a person from Porlock. Some have speculated that the vivid imagery of the poem stems from a waking hallucination, most likely opium-induced. Additionally a quotation from William Bartram[1] is believed to have been a source of the poem. There is widespread speculation on the poem’s meaning, some suggesting the author is merely portraying his vision while others insist on a theme or purpose. Others believe it is a poem stressing the beauty of creation, and some read sexual allusions throughout.

Inspiration for this poem also comes from Marco Polo’s description of Shangdu and Kublai Khan from his book Il Milione, which was included in Samuel Purchas’ Pilgrimage, Vol. XI, 231.”

I had a nightmare last night that my Grandma was in Purgatory. She was sitting in a chair, alone, dressed nicely, her make-up on. We talked for a second, but she was distracted. Wouldn’t make eye contact. It’s not what I imagined Purgatory to look like — it was more like a train station. Cold. Sterile. She seemed steady, but a little nervous. Ready to be on her way. I woke up scared and ice cold. This has been harder than I thought it would be. I’m doing what I always do when I lose someone — I’m pretending she’s still here.

The neighbor’s big tree came partially down this weekend — dropped a branch in their driveway, and another branch (and most of the tree’s canopy) in our side yard. It filled up our side yard, with all the foliage. Couldn’t get to front gate or through yard because of it.

We had the strangest storm — it came on fast and dark, tons of rain and hail. All of the pink blossoms from the cherry and plum trees, swirling around like snow. Then it got darker and trees and limbs started falling. Thank God the kids weren’t outside when it happened — we had just been outside a little earlier. Also thank God it didn’t crash through the windows, smash through the roof, do more damage to the fence than it did. (Only a few boards damaged.) I heard a huge riiiiiiiiiiip, creeeeeeeeak, and then crash. It was too scary. I think it was my grandma, raging.


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