GTT: Collections


Collections are few and far between with me. When I was younger I had a pretty good collection of snow globes that all started with one with St Nick standing in the center with a kid hugging him. Turn the knob, and “Jolly Old St Nicholas” would play while they spun around in the flurry of fake snow I’d created by shaking the glass.

Well, eventually those were all stuffed into a closet one day, and it is there that they remain. So then I went to college and tried to keep things minimalistic (which btw is now a word thankyouverymuch), so I didn’t collect very many things, aside from poetry books. I was and English major, and that was my passion. Some of the books are more well-worn than others. Mike, the next door neighbor I’d known since I was 9, gave me Jim Morrison’s poetry book for my birthday one year. I devoured it.

If I were to be honest, I’d say books are still the things I like to collect, but I’ve since slowed down with them. I’ve filled a few rows of my shelves in WV with the one I move down here with, or have since purchased, but to be honest, I miss the books on my shelves collecting dust in CT. I think about them almost everyday when I want to read. Much to my…either dismay or like…the jury is still out on this one, I’m also collecting books on teaching because I’m now in a Masters of Education program.

Which leads me to my next collection: STUDENT PAPERS. My desks (yes, I have two) at school are covered in them. My backpack (yes, I have a backpack) is FULL of them. My computer desk? Covered. I have student papers everywhere. I teach 7 subjects, 3 of which require papers to be handed in, be them homework, class work, or late work, and (thankfully) the others are computer classes and a gym class, ergo, no work to hand in. I’m not really sure what I would do if there were more papers.

So, there it is. I’m basically a geek, too.

1.      Snow globes

2.      Poetry books

3.      Student papers

Oh well. That’s what Girl Talk Thursday is all about. It’s okay, be a nerd! We’ll love you anyway! Come over and chat with us!

Moose, Road Kill & Hang Overs

It was Friday night and I was sitting in the smoky Moose Lodge, conversing with the men who belong to the organization. We were discussing the trash along one of the highly traveled roads in town, trying to figure out what to do about the litter. Was there a way that we could all work together to stop the discarded Dairy Queen cups from being thrown out of windows from drivers and passengers alike? Aside from raising public awareness of the sheer amount of garbage that was being wrongfully discarded, there wasn’t much to do about it. So, we took responsibility as humans to help clean up the poor environmental impact of other humans on the mountains.

With a little brain storming, a new volunteer project was born. We had decided that we were going to have a day to clean up garbage along the road the next weekend. We spread the word among the people who were there, and we decorated a few signs to hang around the building. Surely, with the promise of free breakfast and an after-party, we were going to get volunteers.

The day of the clean up arrived, as quickly as the volunteers. We grouped them together, having 6 people start at one end of our route, near Corrine Bottom, and the other 6 start at the Moose. One of our volunteers, Larry, owns a golf cart, and he was the go-between man, busy picking up filled bags of garbage and dropping off water to the people who were working dutifully to clean up their streets. Slowly we crept along, picking up the pieces of discarded garbage, until we stumbled upon a dead deer carcass that had clearly been there for too long.

The first three people who were on the same side gasped as they walked very quickly past it. The other three yelled to us “What’s the ma—OH MY GOSH!” The smell had hit them before they could finish their question. Two of them took off running to pass the smell. One stood still, stuck in the moment. Finally he came to, and walked three steps before bending at the waist and gagging.

“Ohhh maaann…come ON!” the others were yelling. As if smelling dead deer wasn’t bad enough, now they were going to have to deal with the stink of throw-up in the baking sun. Finally, the gagging man straightened up, took a drink of water, and having the look of thankfulness, said “I thought I was going to. But I didn’t. I’m NOT walking past that thing on the way back!”

We all laughed and continued on, picking up trash and eventually meeting up with the other six volunteers on the newly cleaned highway.

Northern Girl, Southern Recipe.

There are some days when I know I’m not a Southern Girl. I know I’ve been raised above the Mason-Dixon Line, and I’ve been desperately trying to master the art of cooking to satisfy both of the VERY different palates in my house. Ryan is born and raised Southern. He calls himself a “Steak and hamburger American” where as I eat “all that other crazy shit” (read: Thai food, seafood, Nepalese). I grew up and remember going out to dinner with my mother to a sushi bar in VA Beach and ordering the GIANT SHRIMP tempura. I mean, these things were honkers…even though I was very small! In college, we used to hit up sushi all the time. My favorite nail salon was located next to The Thai Place, so often I’d go there after my pedi’s. I lived in a coastal state, so of course I love fish.

But since moving, once in a while I’ll cook up a good ol’ Southern dinner. I’ve mastered fried potatoes with smoked sausage (it’s kielbasa in my parent’s house, damn it!) and green bell peppers with onions. All cooked to the greasy “omg I think I should schedule my time in the hospital for cardiac arrest now so later when it happens, I’ll have vacation days” perfection that people down here like. I’ve made cornbread from his mother’s recipe—cornmeal, buttermilk, and water cooked in an iron skillet until golden, then flipped upside down and served. I’m getting pretty good at adjusting to both of our tastes. I love spicy food, whereas he’ll take a little heat, but doesn’t want his chicken covered in red pepper flakes or Cajun seasoning.

Anyway, so last night I tried my hand at biscuits and gravy; which I have never ever attempted before. I started out by pulling The Joy of Cooking from my shelf, opening up to the biscuit recipe, and mixing together flour, baking powder, butter and milk together. I rolled it out, just like the book told me to, and even took the time to brush the tops of the cut biscuits with milk. Pop ‘em in the oven for a fifteen minutes…and this was the result:

WHAT THE HELL!? They look like oversized Pogs! Why didn’t they rise? I just wasted half an hour creating home-made hockey pucks! Whyyy!? So, now I’m standing in the kitchen, trying to scrape them off of the non-greased pan (yeah, thanks for THAT tip too, JOY) and into my metal mixing bowl.

I have sausage in the pan on my stove cooking, and behind that? A pan of bacon. How the crap am I going to focus on not burning bacon, or sausage, and make more edible biscuits!? On my way to the pantry to get everything back out again, I realize I have a box of Bisquick, thank-you-very-much. So I mix two and a half cups of the dry with ½ cup milk, roll them back out into a ¼ inch thick sheet, set to cutting them again. Okay, these are looking awesome better.

I put them in the oven, and keep on with making the gravy. Deglaze the bacon pan with a little bit of milk, then transfer it to the deeper sausage pan. Add flour, and a little butter to create my roux. Add more milk, and the secret ingredient: PEPSI. Oh, I know! It sounds weird, right? But it turns out really well. Still too strong on the Pepsi taste? Add more milk, then a little corn starch.

Now, I know you’re all curious about the end of my biscuits. The 2nd round. The cheater’s easy way out of really working hard to make them.

The result? Well. They only ended up being about 1 inch high. Apparently, I CANNOT for the life of me, make biscuits. We still ate them, anyway. Usually, I’ll eat one biscuit, when they are “normal” but I ended up having two of these, since they were so small. Ryan had three…then two more. Apparently, they were still really good. Also…my gravy was sort of bangin’.

What the hell was I doing wrong?! How do YOU cook your biscuits? Do you cheat and use the canned kind? Any cooking horror stories you want to share?

Save the Tata Feedings!

Let me just start with a Twitter conversation I had yesterday:

One of my friends- oh my god oh my god oh my god..a woman is breast feeding in the office across from me..oh my god..i am so uncomfortable. oh my god.

Me: Why does that make you uncomfortable? She’s just sustaining life the way women have for MILLIONS of years.

My friend: i know it has..that doesnt mean i want to be sitting across from her while she is doing that.

(Update: I asked her where she was when this happened. She was working in a pediatrician’s office!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!)

My first reaction to that? MOVE your seat. Excuse yourself to the bathroom. Read a magazine. Don’t come down on this woman because she is FEEDING HER CHILD with her body. Hell, I’m not even a Mom and this pisses me off. You’d think that there would be some sort of woman-to-woman agreement that we accept each other’s boobs as having the ability to sustain life, and not just as sexual objects. I mean, we hold rallies to “Save the Tata’s” and now, I propose, Save the Tata Feedings!! Nurse until you don’t want to anymore. Nurse until you want your body back. Nurse until your child thinks it’d rather have something else, besides breastmilk.

Or don’t nurse.  Some women cannot produce. Some have babies that are allergic to their milk. Some just don’t think it’s the right choice for them. Which is all fine and good. But the thing is, that no matter what you do, women are poked and prodded; their choices ridiculed, if they breastfeed, and those who can’t, well, they’re looked down upon for feeding their children formula because it isn’t natural, it isn’t as healthy, it doesn’t have the antibodies in it.

MOTHERS CANNOT WIN. Thanks a lot, society.

So, basically, what we’re saying, in America, where we can BUY SEX, go see strippers, buy porn, hook up randomly with strangers, birth babies out of wedlock (or, out of relationship lock, even), we are still opposed to breast feeding. Are you kidding? I mean, seriously? It is just because as young women we look at our breasts as something to make us sexy, so we are grossed out by breastfeeding? I don’t know.


I Have To Pick…

I’m thinking seriously about entering a poetry contest. I should take the time to say now, that though I have been writing it for years, I have never send one of my poems out into the world to be judged against other writers. But this poetry contest was tucked into the pages of my town newspaper, and it struck me. I have to enter, if for no other reason than I just FEEL it. It’s national, so there will be great competition, but, if not now, then when will I enter my works into the world?

Now, I just have to chose between two…all and any opinions are REALLY appreciated.

Monte Cassino- Italy


climb to their deaths with me,

demand they keep going.

Sirens blaring- machine guns clicking – men dropping.

Twenty fell,

In that war-ravaged country.

We fought to control

a monastery.

Thought I’d never fire in the Lord’s house.

I’d never escape that place.

The sweat of every man mixed

in the incense-laden air.

Where crosses hung dutifully over

the dead- bid them to a greater ending

spared them the screams of the injured.

The maker of man

The maker of war.

New Life Church, Englewood Colorado

I heard the gunshots down the hall,

people screaming for help

from the mission house.

I reach for my cross

dangling from my neck.

I take out my gun,

and flick off the safety.

I walk out of the room

with my back to the wall


Sweating through my uniform.

I hear gun fire

coming from the lobby.

Loud, popping noise,

release of bullet from the chamber.

I hear shattering glass.

I hear crying and more shrieks of terror.

The blood on the walls.

I turn the corner,

Aim my gun

at the boy who once knew God.

Home Improvement at My House is a Lot Like Having Tim Allan Guest Star.

Ryan and I are constantly thinking up ideas on how to improve our house. I’m always thinking about how to make it more home-y, how to add color, or which accessories would look nice on the walls. For example, my project that has been on hold for a little while, but really should get picked up again here soon…you know, as soon as I find the time. The living room. SO boring. This is what it looked like before we moved a few more pieces of furniture in:

I’m planning on painting the walls a light tan color, one that compliments the tan on the couch (I know, it’s green in this photo, buried under the bright blue blanket…that has since been replaced with a tan blanket). I found the color, got a little sample can of it, and painted a big strip on the wall, next to the wood paneling. It looks really nice…except now I have a huge strip of paint that hasn’t made it’s way across the room yet. Paint is expensive, and no one here is willing to help me. Nor do we ever make our way to Lowe’s to pick up a billion gallons of the stuff. And I keep meaning to check and see if I can find a color that matches it, only cheaper.

Also, I’m lazy.

Continuing on.

Our driveway was recently redone. The boys ripped up giant blocks out of our front yard, pulling up the walk way, and ripping out a pretty good square of our side yard. To the point where we don’t have one anymore.

All that grass from the edge of my yard/edge of the dirt on the right, to the drive on the left? ALL GONE. All paved.

We had it paved, and to be honest, I think it looks ugly, because it is that nasty blacktop crap, instead of the clean white of cement that I like. ALSO I hate it because it tore up my flower bed, which Ryan and I took the time to spread countless amounts of topsoil on, to mix in with the high-clay content soil. Then we set these cute red brick scalloped boarder thingies. And then we put out lights!

SO cute, but half demolished because of the whole driveway project. Ugh. Clearly, this is pre-driveway.

Lastly, on our list of “things to do” is deal with our bedroom. Which used to just be plain old white and tan; until we got a new bedroom suite a few weeks ago. The problem is, however, the sheer size of this thing. It’s ENOURMOUS. We bought a dresser, and a vanity, both of which are VERY sizable, since Ryan and I have a ton of clothing spread throughout the entire house. A King-sized bed. HUGE heavy wooden bed frame. Absolutely beautiful, though. Red-brown cherry wood…sophisticated with class and modern metal scroll work. *Siiiiigh* And SO comfy. So our solution? No, we aren’t returning it for a smaller set. We’re going to knock out a damn wall!!! See the one on the right, with the closet? Yeah. It’s not going to be there for long.

That’s how we do it in my house. Make the three bedroom, into a two bedroom, and when the day comes, or if it comes, for us to have the pitter-patter of little feet? “We’ll come to that when we need to think about it.”

So; we have a new bed suite. We got a comforter for it, and HE won. It’s a plain tan/gold duvet that covers our feather blanket. So, I’m going to win in the long run, because when it comes to adding color, that’s what I do.

I bought two throw pillows the other day, and we decided on the brick red, chocolate brown, and gold/tan over the chocolate, tan, and sky blue. I think it will be a classic look, and last in the fashion world. I’m pretty excited about this room, since I can decorate it. I’ve always ached for a house that I can paint, that I can color coordinate, and that I can figure out.

Eventually on our list, we’re going to build a two-car garage at the end of the new driveway, and we’re going to expand and rebuild our current kitchen. I’ve been promised an island, lots of space, and granite counter tops. Since I get what I want, yes, I will be holding my breath.

GTT: Books. I Can’t Get Enough.

I’ve always liked to read. At the very least, I read the news online, my monthly Cosmo, and the Food Network Mag when I find myself having $4 in my pocket, at the right place, to spend on it. Right now I’m trying to get through Marine Sniper, but it’s hard sometimes, since I don’t know a whole hell of a lot about the Marines,  or their guns, so some of the information just goes right over my head. I just started The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but I’m only on page three of that. So far, I’m not hooked. We’ll see.  I was an English Major in college, so I read a lot. Actually, I hardly read at all. I read what I wanted to, when I wanted to. Shakespeare and I don’t get along. The only story I read out of an entire $100+ Women Writers before 1900 anthology was “The Yellow Wallpaper.” I just got bored trying to sort through all the of the language of the “Olden Days” and I just wanted a juicy story! I wanted poetry, motion, characters I could, and can, relate to.

Which leads me to my favorite books as of lately. When I still lived with the girls, I didn’t care to be out and about in the house very much, so I read A LOT. I read DRY by Augusten Burroughs, who also wrote A Wolf at the Table which I devoured with in a week of breaking the soft spine, creasing it heavily on the pages I re-read. The Glass Castle is about a family that hails from West Virginia, so of course I bought that one from for like, two dollars or something.

I also read a book…the title of which is escaping me…I really wish I could remember it. One of the workers at Barnes & Noble recommended it to me. Normally, when people say “You’ll really like this book!” I run the other way. But this book was so captivating. I can see the cover…I wish I were at home so I could run to the book shelf and pull it out. Oh well, I’ll have to update with the title later on.

My favorite author is Chuck Palahniuk. He writes these twisted, realist books with unexpected turns. The events are surreal, but they are placed in real time. You can see the characters in Invisible Monsters standing at the top of the Seattle Space Needle, tossing postcards down toward the ground, but you don’t know if the fire at the beginning could have really happened. If you do read Chuck, I would say to SKIP both Snuff and Pygmy. Snuff was okay, but it lacked the usual depth that books like Fight Club, and the dark comedy in Haunted. They just…fell flat. I had a hard time reading the broken third-person English in Pygmy. I went through the whole book, but just didn’t come out really “getting it” in the end. Chuck normally writes these books with some grand ending, some exact turning point when the reader’s mind clicks and there is that moment of “Ohhh! That…that’s really something!”

Even as I’m talking some trash on Chuck’s last two books, I’m online looking for his new novel called Tell-All which apparently hasn’t gotten great reviews…but you know what? I’ll probably end up buying it anyway. I guess once you love an author, you hope they will get out of their “this book is good enough” funk and get back into their REAL writing one day.


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