Sunday, May 31, 2009

I know what you're saying... you're saying, "Awww yeah.. THAT'S it"

The spirit of Florida's panhandle lies not in it's white sand beaches or its famous Emerald Coast. The military presence dotting the coastline has little influence on the underlying culture of the region. This Panhandle possesses a timelessness that no outside pressure dilutes. Oh no. It is, dare I say, an ever-fixed mark that looks on hurricanes and is never shaken.

To understand the true essence of this area of the country, travel down Avalon Highway in Milton to a major cultural center and prepare to have all your wildest stereotypes confirmed. The Hus and I, along with some good friends, recently experienced this most redneck of entertainments. At the Southern Raceway.

While paying for tickets, our friends stood behind a pregnant girl smoking a cigarette.
Paul showcases the boiled peanuts. They look like something else.

The Hus and I enjoy betting money on things. Since it is only between the two of us, we're really not gambling, seeing as the money belongs to both of us anyway. That being said, we placed bets on the cars for several of the races. Jon currently owes me $14,001.

Guess where we sat...

Rule: whenever a wreck occurs, so does mass cheering. I really think it's a rule.

During one of the races the Hus' car (remember the betting) was harassing my car, driving into his bumper, etc, eventually causing an accident between the two. So the driver from MY car got out, ran over to the HUS' car, grabbed the top of the door and swung his foot in to kick said driver in the face. He then proceeded to punch him until the officials (on four-wheelers, of course) pulled him out. I cannot describe the cheering in the stands. It was world-series-esque. The punched-out driver was allowed to finish the race, but mine was not. Mine got kicked out.

But as the Hus said at the time, "Better to get revenge than a measly two hundred dollars."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two Good Green Things

One: A Lieutenant in a flight suit.
Monday, the Hus got promoted by default. He says they promoted him because he was still breathing. I think it's because he looks so good in a flight suit. Either way, I sewed the insignia on over the weekend, but we had ourselves a 2 minutes ceremony at home, where I placed his new patch (with his new rank) on the velcro of his suit and we said, "Yaaay!".

Then he kissed me and left for a normal day of work. Which was flying a helicopter.

Two: Basil, fresh from our garden, picked within minutes of adding to a favorite pasta dish. Nothing smells better than that.

I get this one from Giada DeLaurentis' Everyday Italian, so it's not original, but it's soooo good. I changed some of the quantities, to what we have available and what I think tastes better.

Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Basil-Pine Nut Sauce

Small Package pine nuts
2 (9 ounce) packages of Buitoni Wild Mushroom Angiolotti
1/2 stick of butter (her's calls for a whole stick, but mine is less fatty)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp freshly grated black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I upped this from "a pinch")
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

Heat oven to low broil and place pine nuts in oven, on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until light brown, about 3 minutes (keep close watch on these - they burn fast!)

Boil large pot salted water, add angiolotti and boil until cooked - they'll puff up and float. About 5 minutes. Drain.

Use hot pot from pasta to melt butter on medium. When it's melted, add basil leaves, cut into pieces, and cook until butter browns and basil gets crispish. (2 minutes). Stir in salt & pepper & nutmeg. Add cooked ravioli and toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with parmesan and pine nuts sprinkled on top.

This whole recipe takes about 20 minutes, at most, to make and it super simple. I keep the fresh pasta in the freezer for whenever I don't feel like cooking much. Pair it with a salad and you have a meal!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's All in the Nose

So, new place of work. I am working with stationery: designing, ordering, assembling, etc. for Nancy's Haute Affairs, an event planning, catering, stationery-generating spot in Pensacola. It is very fun.

I say that to say this:

I was walking through the kitchen today, when I got stopped by Josh, one of the chefs.

"Can I ask you a weird question?"

"Sure," I said, stopping mid-stride.

"Are you a Jewish Girl?"

I think I laughed, "No, I'm an Italian Girl.... it's the nose isn't it?"

Josh was very diplomatic with his answer, "Well, it's your hair and skin color... and the nose."

Comment not on the size of my Cyrano de Bergerac appendage. I have accepted it. It would, I believe, enable me to be a very good spy.

If I could learn Hebrew or Italian.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Cathedral in Seville has a Rose Window

I answered the knock to find to middle aged women smiling at me... with pamphlets. Oh crap.

"Can we leave this pamphlet with you? It answers some basic questions that you can find in your Bible..."

"Are you Jehovah's Witnesses?"

"Yes," they answered simultaneously and with bigger smiles.


What I should have said was, "You want me to look in my Bible? My Bible says Jesus is the only way to God. Do you really want to point me there? My God is big enough that He didn't change His mind and have to send a second testament."

What I should have said was, "If I do, will it increase your chances of getting to heaven?"

What I said was, "No thank you, but have a nice night." Because I was thinking about making dinner and, frankly, I was surprised to see female Jehovah's Witnesses at my door.

I always think of the right thing to say after the fact. During the fact, being put on the spot, I default and politely retreat.

The good thing about blind people wandering the streets of Pensacola is that it reminds me of the truth. That Jesus Christ is God. That He died to free me from the curse of death. And that my salvation and righteousness is found in Him alone. Not having to earn my freedom sure makes life easier.

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. The only thing that counts is the new Creation."

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm Sorry My Posts Don't Have Pictures Lately. I'll Work on it.

Either I am too tall, or the lights in Pensacola are oddly placed, because whenever I roll up to a stoplight (and yes, I do stop at the white line), I have to crane my neck down to peer up so that I can see when the light changes to green. It's annoying.

Also, I worked nursery on Sunday and was approached by a four-year-old, who informed me that she wasn't sure if her daddy (who was very tall, indeed, she said) was taller than me, because, you see, my skirt was so long that I must be very tall. Even taller than her father, perchance.

Maybe it's me. Maybe it's the stoplights and empire-waisted, floor-length dresses. Maybe I like it that way.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I've Got it All Together

Early this morning our friends left for San Diego, then Japan. It was sad enough, but then, when they were walking away from our apartment, Johnny said, "Bye, Butters", very quietly and his words trailed off.


When I walked back into the apartment, I thought I could find my way back to bed without turning on the lights. That's how I found myself face to face with our bookcase.


This morning on my way to work, I was late (surprise) and so I brought breakfast with me in the car. A loaf of whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread, eaten piece by untoasted, unbuttered piece, driving along Scenic Highway.

More funny than sad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Marriage Advice in the Form of Towels

Several weeks ago, I wandered into Bed Bath & Beyond to ogle the expensive towels. As it so happened, they were on sale - 40% off. As it also so happened, I had millions of 20% off coupons which never expire sitting, waiting for such an occasion. I immediately acted.

"Honey?" I said, "I have very good news"

*As a side note to newly married women, it is wise to make potential expenditures sound like good news and also say "we" when you might really mean "I".

"You know how we have been wanting white towels? The better to clean them? ...Yes you do... Remember, we wanted them... Also, you know how our current towels are developing strings and not staying together nicely?...."

And with the generosity of an over-the-phone Hus, I got my expensive white towels, half off. I washed and folded them and they sat unused for weeks, while I enjoyed their fluffy clean shapes in my otherwise boring linen closet. Despite my doubts as to their absorbency (how practical can pure comfort be?), they wick like a dream and are even softer wrapped around me, now that I can bear to use them.

Some may think it silly to be so excited about towels, but my dear friends [read: women], aren't we supposed to find joy in the little things? What about you? What simple/luxurious things in your house do you love enough to write about?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hormones and the Discovery Channel

Today the Hus and I watched a National Geographic program about the human footprint called "Preserve our Planet". We humans are so inconvenient to the poor earth. The program points out statistics about how much stuff humans (especially Americans) consume, how many natural resources we plunder, etc. The Hus and I soon realized that the only solution to the problems presented -the only decent thing to do - would be to crawl into the woods and die. Really, it's the only way to fix the problem.

"Our love of paper" brings us to kill trees, which keeps them from absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We send cards, wrap presents and read newspapers. Oh, the waste. And don't even think about turning on your computer to read the news or pay bills or send paperless e-cards, thus saving tons of paper every year. Do you know the amount of energy and all the natural resources it takes to build a computer? And do you realize that, really, computers control us? They control our stoplights, our schedules, our jobs. "We bring nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it, but while we're here, we will help transform it.", says the program's narrator. So, folks. Crawl into the woods and die. There are no other options.

The poundage of bananas and oranges an American eats over the course of a lifetime is astounding. How could we ravage those poor (renewable!) South American banana trees like that? All the food we eat is ridiculous. The energy and water it takes to process it to make it edible is much too much. Crawl. Die.

And seriously, our houses? These places we live in for shelter and warmth use enough wood (which comes from trees, remember) to span the Golden Gate Bridge, when placed next to each other, end to end. Lots of siding and windows and bathroom fixtures and enough paint to fill one and a half bathtubs - 30 gallons! Waste, waste, waste. If only we did not require shelter. Those pesky basic needs of life. Off to woods to die, I suppose.

In my sarcasm, please do not read an environment killer. I recycle. I turn off lights and unplug plugs when not in use. I plan on composting when we live somewhere where I can do so. I make my own pasta sauce and we grow our own herbs. But, really, National Geographic doesn't think it's enough. I'm still using up precious resources that I can't give back when I croak.

So crawl into the woods and die. And while you're at it, be so good as to strip and cover yourself with a few feet of dirt, so you compost faster.