Friday, February 11, 2011

CSI (CAKE Scene Investigators)

I know I know.  I should have written sooner and trust me dear readers I do feel bad but sometimes life gets in the way.  I am here now though and since you have all waited so patiently for the next installment of A Day in the Life.  To apologize for not posting sooner, I will forego torturing my relatives and friends and give you a story about me.  Yes, a goof of my own.  Hope you laugh at me as much as I did.

CSI (CAKE Scene Investigators)

During its first 4 seasons, my favorite show was CSI.  This was before Miami (maybe Miami had one season) and New York.  It was just Grissom and his team doing what they did best.  Solving murders in an hour that would take a real team of Forensic Scientists weeks or years but I digress.

Another fact about me that some may or may not know, I absolutely LOVE Red Velvet cake.  Have you ever looked at the recipe for it though?  The recipe takes about 2 hours to prepare, not including baking time if you make it from scratch. I’m not even sure that includes the homemade Cream Cheese icing but man is it worth it.  (Pause for drooling)  You have no idea how excited I was to walk into a grocery store one day and discover Red Velvet Cake mix.  It was like a sign from heaven and I swear the fluorescent lights of the grocery store all faded except the one over that box.  I bought the cake mix and was in for another surprise when I got home.  There was a marathon of CSI on one of the TV channels.  Could the day get any better?

I get into some comfortable clothes (White T-shirt and jeans), turn the TV up so I can hear it in the kitchen, and start to read the instructions on the cake box which are easy enough.  Take some water, oil, the mix, and eggs and blend them together with a mixer.  Yay,10 minute prep time.  I do not own one of those fancy mixers with the bowl where you can just toss your ingredients in and let it go.  All I own is a simple hand mixer but it works so I’m not complaining.  I wait for a commercial and commence with the beating and blending.  I think the box said to mix for 5 minutes but can’t remember.

As I am mixing, I suddenly notice the cord from my hand mixer has fallen into the bowl.  (I am left handed and have the classic left hander hook) Oops!  I pick it up, wipe it off with my hand, put the excess batter in the bowl and since I am at home, just clean my hand with my T-shirt. Not sanitary but hey, it’s not a restaurant and I am the only one eating the cake.  My cake, my germs.  I keep mixing and something hits my sock.  I look down to discover a bright red splotch on my toe.  Confused, I look up to discover the cord had fallen into the mixer again and as I moved, the cord corrected itself but of course, batter was all over the cord and that is what caused the splatter.  By this time, my mind finally registered the fact that the batter was red…RED, oh heavens. 

I looked at the counter and the batter from the cord had not only dripped on my sock, but the counter, there was a red streak from the dishwasher to the floor, and of course, the floor itself, which I had stepped in by now.  I then remembered how I cleaned the batter.  My white T-shirt was covered in red and I looked like one of the suspects on the TV in the next room.  I was half expecting the Police to come knocking on my door for no reason and discover me in red stained clothes holding a lethal mixer.  You know, I lost interest in the show shortly afterwards.  Wonder why?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Part Four: WATCH THIS!

This tale involves my sister Donna and her, at the time, boyfriend Brian.

The year was 1994.  Bill Clinton was president, gas was only $1.09 per gallon, there was an infamous police chase involving a white Ford Bronco, and most importantly, my sister got her dream car.  A brand new, dark green Chevrolet Camaro.  This car had everything a 20 year old could ever want; power, looks, the eight-ball shaped gear shift, and power.  Donna drove that car until it died and to this day, would love nothing more than to own another Camaro. (She will take donations.)

On one bright spring day, Donna decided to take her car for a drive through the countryside.  At the time, she was dating a guy named Brian.  Brian was a couple of years younger and a bit mischievous.  Picture the Cheshire cat as a handsome man with long hair and you’ve got Brian.  He was in the passenger seat of the car enjoying the nice day as well. (I don’t think he was allowed to drive it.)

If I am not mistaken, this was right after a nice heavy rainstorm at the time of year when all the birds fly back from their winter vacations in the south.    I am not sure how many of you have experienced this but have you ever come across a flock of birds so large that it covers the road as well as the nearby yards and trees?  If you haven’t it’s a sight to see.  Donna and Brian came across one such area as they leisurely rode around.  The birds were using the puddles that had gathered after the rain as a public bath and the entire flock apparently felt it was dirty because there were so many birds, there was no room in the field where the puddles were and birds were standing in the road adding a feathery sheen to the asphalt. 

Donna knew the birds would scatter and fly off as she drove past but Brian suddenly got an idea.  I believe Dr. Suess described it best in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.  Brian got a wonderful, awful idea!  As they drove through the flock of birds Brian goes.  “Watch this.” BBEEEEEPPPPP!!!!!  He laid on the horn as they drove through the now panicked birds.

I am sure you can guess what happens when a flock of around 200 or more birds all gathered in one place get frightened.  Donna said it sounded like very large raindrops on her Camaro’s roof and they could not even see out of the windshield.  She looked over at Brian and the only words out of her mouth were, “You’re washing it!”

Quick nerd thing.  I originally posted this with an s in front of http.  Meaning I was trying to take all of you to a secure site instead of the actual site.  Oops on my part.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Part Three: Thunder and Lighting

This tale takes place a few years before Eric “jumped” from the tree but once again, my little brother takes center stage in this story.  Before I continue, I just want to say that this blog is by no means a way for me to pick on Eric (That’s just a bonus hee hee).  Now!   On to the story.

Warning:  This story contains a geography lesson.  Try to stay awake for one paragraph.

When Eric was 4 or 5 years old, my family lived in a small town called Crossville which sits on top of the Cumberland Plateau and overlooks the Tennessee Valley.  The reason I mention the location is because when tornadoes and other bad storms head east from Nashville, they have a hard time getting over the Cumberland Mountains and usually wear themselves out before they reach the valley.  Since Crossville is on the Plateau, it tends to get hit by some of these storms every now and then.

It was a dark and stormy night (Classic scary story start but good lead in).  Come to think of it, I don’t think it was night.  More like mid-afternoon but there was a pretty severe thunderstorm banging on the doors, windows, floors…you get the picture, it was loud.  Donna, Eric, and I were all huddled close together in the Living Room playing, talking, and acting like siblings (that means fighting).  The TV was on when the dreaded beeps occurred.  What beeps you ask?  This was the early 80’s, before the Internet and Doppler radar.  Back then, the only warning whenever a severe thunderstorm or tornado was in the area was when the television or radio would interrupt programs with 3 loud Emergency Broadcast System beeps, and then you would get information on what was happening.  In our case that day, it was a tornado warning for Cumberland County which included the town of Crossville.  Yep, tornado right over our heads.

Before you grab your ruby slippers and scream for Auntie Em.  When I say tornado, I am not talking about a huge F5 tornado like they have in Kansas that rips through the town shredding it like cheese in a grater.  Most of our tornadoes are small F1s that knock down trees, power lines, and blow tiles off your roof.  They are scary, but rarely devastating.  However, hearing about such a rare severe storm made our three imaginations run wild with ideas about what could happen.

“What if we see a car flying by?”

“Wouldn’t it be neat to fly in the middle of a tornado?”

These are just some of the things that go through a child’s head when they are not used to being in tornadoes.  Eric however, had a more intelligent thought in mind.  “Wouldn’t it be great if the lights went out?”  Someone was listening.  As soon as he said that, a huge bolt of lightning struck nearby and created a blackout in our neighborhood.

I believe that some of the World’s greatest comical moments come from when a person has one of those days where they do not think before they speak.  My mother was having one of those days.  She had been sitting on the couch watching her Soap Operas when Eric made his wish and the lights went out.  She looked up angrily and said, “Oh very cute Eric!”  I still think she blames him for missing her Soaps that day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time to Eat

(This was originally posted on my first blog on Thanksgiving Day.)

Happy Thanksgiving and holiday greetings my friends. The holidays are a great time for friends and family and of course food. Tons and tons of food that come January, we will regret having eaten since it will have added to the weight we resolve to lose by June in order to fit into our bathing suits.

This story is about one of my nearest and dearest friends Kim. Kim and I have known each other since I was a sophomore in high school. She was a year ahead of me but we shared a few classes together. One of those classes was Adult Living taught by Mrs. Barnes (not her real name). In Adult Living, you learned a little bit of home economics, mixed in with normal economics, and child care. It was supposed to help prepare you for adulthood by teaching you the basics of cooking, managing money, and raising kids (stop laughing). Kim did great at managing money and kids but cooking was a different story. The following stories are three instances that I have never let Kim live down.

The first time we got a cooking assignment Kim tried to warn Mrs. Barnes that she had no cooking skills but Mrs. Barnes did not heed the warning. It was a simple task, make sausage balls following a recipe. Okay, seemed easy enough so, Kim, me, and our friend Amy got started. Mrs. Barnes even had all the ingredients laid out for us Well, the recipe called for a jar of Cheez Wiz (6oz). Kim read the recipe to us but what she did not pay attention to (like most other high school kids) was that Mrs. Barnes bought a 12oz jar of Cheez Wiz and only wanted us to use half of it since she had another class later that day. Oops, you guessed it. They were more like cheese balls than sausage balls but, it was kind of a good thing we did double the cheese amount. Mrs. Barnes bought HOT sausage to use. The cheese kind of soothed your burning mouth after you took a bite. The best way to describe the flavor of the sausage? I think some people eat something like it in a circus act. Right before they breathe fire. Man was Mrs. Barnes mad at us for using all of her Cheez Wiz.

Second attempt
A few weeks after the sausage incident, we got to make Chocolate Chip cookies. Yum right? Wrong! Mrs. Barnes bought All Purpose Flour instead of Self-Rising. I do not know how many of you know the difference so here it is. Self-Rising has everything in it, ready to go. All Purpose, you have to add salt and baking soda. Knowing the danger of having Kim read the recipe, I decided to read and help Amy prepare the dough. Kim’s only job was to add the salt and baking soda to the flour. To this day we (Kim and I) have no idea what happened. . The cookies turned out flat, black, and they stuck to the pan so bad it took an S.O.S. pad and a knife to get them off the sheet. I open the oven and immediately break out in tears laughing. Kim and Amy rush over and while Amy is scrubbing away at the “concoction” on the pan, Kim is trying to shut me up and get Mrs. Barnes (who was over with the popular crowd as usual) attention. I think Mrs. Barnes eyes popped out like a cartoon characters when she saw our cookies. How I ever passed that class I will never know.

The final story takes place after we graduated. I had not seen Kim in about a year but knew she went into hair styling. After I ran into her, I was having her do my hair one day and asked if she ever learned to cook. To which she replied with a laugh and this story. It seemed that the night before she ran into me, she was cooking meatballs for her husband following a recipe she had found in a cookbook. Here is the funny part brace yourselves. It was a two page recipe and she only used one page. She told me the dog would not even eat it after it came out of the oven. After I stopped crying from laughing so hard, I asked her. “Kim,” I said. “Didn’t you think it was odd that it was a meatball recipe and they did not come out as well… balls?” I still don’t think she has an answer for that. You will be happy to know that Kim can now cook rather well thanks to some cooking tips from her Mother-in-law.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Part one "I Jumped"

These are a collection of entertaining stories involving people in my life (including myself).  I wanted to make a comic strip called A Day in the Life but have no artistic abilities.  So, I do what I am decent at, create pictures with words.

I jumped
(As told to me by my sister, Donna)
The two best ways to describe my brother, Eric, when he was 10 are adventurous to the point of recklessness, and thin to the point of being bony. Those characteristics are important in this story so keep them in mind.
One of Eric’s favorite things to do as a child was to climb trees to see how high up he could get, or jump off of a tree at a certain height onto the 14ft trampoline in our backyard. On one particular occasion he made it to about 20ft up, lost his footing, and fell. That little adventure cost him six weeks with his arm in a cast. How he only broke one arm and no other bones is either a mystery or miracle, take your pick. My personal theory is that he was so skinny his sweater caught in the wind and he just sort of glided down. He probably would have been fine if he had known how to land.

Six weeks slowly passed as me and Donna unjustly got stuck with his chores. Hey, his arm was broke, not his legs, I have a right to complain.
One week after the cast came off, Donna and Eric were in the backyard and Eric was, once again, climbing trees. His tree of choice this time was a dogwood. Now, I don’t know if you know anything about Dogwood trees so here is a little educational fact. They aren’t big trees and have a lot of branches. Eric got pretty high up and started dangling from a branch about the size of his arm. Donna, being the caring sister she is, tried to warn him.
“You’re going to fall and break your arm again stupid.” I can almost hear her voice.
“No I’m not. Shut up!” Was his reply.

Donna shrugged and turned to walk into the house when she heard the dreaded but predictable, SNAP, WHOOSH, SNAP, CRASH, BOOM! She turned around as fast as she could, expecting to see my brother’s limp body lying beneath a pile of limbs. What she saw instead was Eric standing upright, legs stiff, arms stretched above his head with the broken branch still in his grip.
Eric looked at Donna and with as much pride as he could, said with a straight face. “I jumped!” It has been over 20 years and we still laugh about that.