You can't take the country out

April 27, 2011

My husband, for those who don't know, grew up in Iowa.  He grew up on a  farm (really!) growing corn and hogs and plus this one lady wrote a great book about their library cat.

And also, in case you didn't know, my husband has a twin brother.

My husband and his twin, Frick and Frack to you, have been farming corn since they were knee high to a grasshopper, or something like that:

But now we live in southern California.  And Frick has come out to live in California, too.

So what did these two boys do?

They planted corn in our backyard with a tractor that's what.

It just goes to show -- you can take the boys out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boys.

The Thing that Lives in my Lamp

April 24, 2011

Today's blog is brought to you by:  The thing that lives in the hanging lamp in the front entryway of our rental house.

We moved into this house last fall, and I am ashamed to admit that I have known about the thing in the lamp since shortly after we moved in.  I was just too lazy to do anything about it, you see.

Which reminds me of the Easter card I bought for Chris at the grocery store tonight, that I only just now realized I left on top of the self-checkout machine.  Crap.

I should explain that the card had a picture of a lady sitting in front of a Christmas tree.  The tree had a bit of what I would call an excessive amount of tinsel, but that's besides the point.  When you opened the card, it read, "Mary Lou realized it was Easter, and you know what that means.. time to take down the Christmas tree."

I thought this was hilarious, because one April in 2007 I was that person. 

But enough about my intermittent tendency towards procrastination.  We were discussing the thing in the lamp.  I took some pictures for you.  They are not very good pictures, but you'll get the idea.

It looks like some bit of mutant fern.  Or a really, really, really large centipede.  
Here's what I know:
1) It's not alive, because it hasn't moved or changed since the first time I noticed it.
2) I can't reach it without a ladder.  Which we don't have.
3) I am not even about to attempt standing on a chair and trying to fish it out with my hand without being able to see what it is first.

Which leaves us with what I don't know:
1) Whatever the hell it is.

And what do YOU think it is?

Memoir Monday: How NOT to rent a car in France

April 11, 2011

It's time for a Memoir Monday!  This one is entitled:

How (not) to rent a car in France. In 6 easy steps.

When I was 19, I spent a semester in France. The university I attended was just about 2 hours west of Paris, so at one point, my best friend and I decided that it would be a good idea to rent a car and drive to Paris.

Step 1: You must be 25 to rent a car in Paris. If you are not 25, play dumb until the last minute when the rental car guy asks for your driver’s license/passport/international ID card. At that point it’s too late and he already went through the paperwork hassle. Bring a friend who’s 25 and SWEAR that friend will be doing all the driving.

Step 2: Be prepared to look very uncool. You will not be driving incognito, my friend.

Step 3: Learn to drive a stick shift. It is preferable if you learn to drive a stick shift before you rent the car. It is also preferable if you have more stick-shift driving experience than twenty minutes in your friend’s dad’s 1957 Chevy with a 3-in-the-tree stick shift that stalls out halfway across town.

Step 4: Learn to drive in a roundabout.  It helps if you've completed Step 3 first.  If you don't know, wing it.  Pretend you are a master of the roundabout. Don’t be all scared like “I’ve never driven in a roundabout or anywhere in the continent of Europe or hell, I’ve never driven a stick shift.” Instead be like, “Haha roundabout, take that! Those other cars will move, I'm almost sure of it.”

Step 5: If you get lost, at night time, and you pull into someone’s driveway to turn around, and then you back out, make sure there is no oncoming traffic in case your clever manipulation of the stick shift results in the car stalling out crossways in the middle of the road while your passengers stare in horror at a set of oncoming headlights… (don’t worry, we got it started again in the nick of time)

Step 6: Book a hotel room in advance. Otherwise you may end up at a little hovel next to the "nude dancing girls" venue because it's the only one that still has rooms available.

And a bonus:

When you return the car to the rental place a few days later, intact and unscratched, make sure to go home and say your prayers.

Sometimes you don't even need the Sniff Test

April 07, 2011

Chris makes fun of me often for my very lax perception of food that can still be considered "edible."  Maybe had I ever had food poisoning I would be a lot more cautious, but the fact of the matter is, if it looks okay and smells good, I'll probably still eat it.   We call this the "Sniff Test."

Today, however, I met a food for which I did not even need to employ my superior deductive powers of smell.

I dug the bottle lime juice out of the back of the fridge for a recipe that I was trying to follow.  I poured the required ounces into a shot glass (hey, I didn't have anything else to measure by!).  (And also, I may have been making myself a margarita.)

The lime juice sat in the shot glass, a sickly brown color.

"Hmmm," I thought to myself, "is lime juice supposed to be this color when it comes out of the bottle?"

I asked my dad.

"I don't know," he replied, "why don't you taste it?"

(Good idea, dad!  Rancid lime juice smells the same as good lime juice, so why don't I taste it?!  I can see we are both geniuses when it comes to the analytical methods in which we can determine the consumptive value of food.)

I stuck my pinkie finger in the glass and tasted a tiny bit.

It tasted funny.

I looked at the bottom of the bottle:

Oh, yeah, that's a definite FAIL.

No sniff test required.  Although, in retrospect, a taste test probably wasn't required, either.

Warrior Dash

So, Chris and I are doing this thing.

It is called the Warrior Dash.

I am woefully out of shape.

That's really all I have to say about that.

(Except that it's a competition, Chris and Payson against myself and Payson's wife.  My only hope is that they are less prepared than us.  Which is a possibility- although I can't discount sheer determination on their part, either.)