October 29, 2009

What a difference a year can make

This was our life a year ago.

It stills makes me uneasy to think about and to see again.

On October 28, 2008, our house in Little Rock was broken into. It was in the middle of the day. Thankfully, Porter just happened to be at the vet that afternoon, and Grace was still at home when we arrived. We were so thankful on so many levels, but the harsh reality of what happened to us took a long time to set in, and even longer to get over.

Somehow we survived the past year, and have found ourselves in an even better spot today, with a wonderful house, two great jobs, two hilarious pets and a much closer relationship with each other.  In no way is this supposed to get preachy, but we all must keep in mind that it's not going to be difficult forever.

October 27, 2009

The Mayfly

Are you familiar with the mayfly?

According to Wilkpedia:
Mayflies are insects which belong to the Order Ephemeroptera (from the Greek ephemeros = "short-lived", pteron = "wing", referring to the short life span of adults). They have been placed into an ancient group of insects termed the Palaeoptera, which also contains dragonflies and damselflies. They are aquatic insects whose immature stage (called naiad or, colloquially, nymph) usually lasts one year in freshwater. The adults are short-lived, from a few minutes to a few days depending on the species. About 2,500 species are known worldwide, including about 630 species in North America. Common names for mayflies include "dayfly", "shadfly", "Green Bay Flies", "lake fly", "fishfly,"[2] "midgee", "June bug", and "Canadian Soldier." The mayfly belongs to group 1 taxa, or pollution–sensitive animals. This means if mayflies are in or around the water, the water should be of a good quality.
There are some very important aspects to this definition. "aquatic insects," "630 species in North America" and "if mayflies are in or around the water, the water should be of good quality."

Today on our Sunday afternoon bike ride, Chris and I proved many of these facts. 1. There are a heck lot of mayflies in Memphis. 2. They hatch on the water, or near it, and 3. apparently the Mississippi River is "of good quality."

We struck out from our house on a bike ride and rode down the main street toward the water. We crossed over to the park, and began riding happily down the boardwalk. Within minutes, swarms of mayflies were attaching our nasal passages, eyes, and everything else. I, of course, immediately began whining and freaking out. Par, really, for my course.

As we began to realize what was happening, we looked around and saw all the runners, families playing with their children and dogs swatting incessantly around their faces. When I unfocused my eyes, I could see the swarms and swarms of mayflies EVERYWHERE.

It was like a bomb went off. I immediately signaled to Chris to retreat. We peddled as fast as we could  back down the promenade and across the main street--mostly with our eyes and mouths closed.

When we reached the other side of the street, we looked at each other and realized that both of us were covered in flies. Seriously, we were covered in bugs!

We immediately began brushing each other off and the bugs were flying. At this point, my lovely Sunday bike ride was turning toward ugly.

We brushed each other off, and began riding back into the neighborhood. We took the back route and still made our destination of Miss Cordelia's.

After buying groceries, we rode, very fast, home through the neighborhoods, and far away from the water.

This is a reenactment. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Disclaimer: We may not have experienced Mayflies, given that it is October....but it was crazy people!

October 14, 2009

Fun With Frittatas

The other day I was perusing my food blogs and stumbled upon a link to this recipe. It lays out the recipe for a zucchini frittata. At that moment I realized how much I love frittatas. Mom used to make them a lot, and I may or may not have eaten them during that stage in my life, but I know now that I love them.

I had what was sure to be my last zucchinis of the season from the farmers' market at home, eggs from when I made cookies last week and of course the staples of onions and Parmesan cheese. Who could cook anything without those? I also have a full thyme plant, which I grew from a stem from one of those grocery store packets.

I ran the zucchini across the mandoline-like blade of my grater and followed suit with the onions, threw them in a skillet to saute, added the thyme, then the scrambled eggs and baked it in the oven. When it was almost done, I poured some grated cheese on top and put it back in underneath the broiler. It was delicious!

Now that I remember how much I love frittatas, I'm going to make lots of variations. You can use anything you like. The blog mentions potatoes instead of zucchinis. I'm also thinking about a spinach, bacon and onion, maybe even add some tomatoes. Any ingredients would work. It's like a healthier pizza option!

October 5, 2009

Well Officer you are right, my tags are expired

Saturday morning I was headed to the Farmers' Market to donate my time, energy and Saturday morning. I turned out of our little neighborhood, and was turning onto the main strip on the island. Their was a cop at the stop sign, and I thought to myself, "how nice that he is patrolling the crosswalk, because no one seems to stop for pedestrians."

I took my left-hand turn and continued on. Several seconds, maybe a minute, later I noticed the police officer was behind me with his blue lights flashing. Um, Me? I definitely wasn't speeding so  I thought maybe he wanted to get past me. I looked for a place to pull over, but the strip has grass on one side that leads to the water and the houses on the left. I didn't want to ruin any grass (my association fees pay that) so I continued on to the next street intersection.

At this point, I realized he was actually after me because he put his sirens on. Um, what? So, I pulled off on the first available street. I was quite frazzled because even though I knew I wasn't speeding, I couldn't imagine what he wanted with me. I actually hit the curb as I pulled over, and then feared he would site me as drunk at 9:55 am.

He got out of his car. "Ma'am, have you never been pulled over before?"

Well, I really hadn't except the time in high school when I was leaving the senior breakfast, and a police office pulled me over because I had writing on the back of my windshield.

"Well, no, officer," I said. "I haven't been pulled over before. Could you tell?"

"Yeah I can tell. Usually, you just need to pull off to the side of the road."

In an effort not to cause a fight about how I pay for the upkeep of the grass in this neighborhood, I just apologized again, and said how I had not been pulled over before.

"Do you know you're driving on expired tags?"

Oh crap. I have moved three times in the past six or eight months, and I realized that it was entirely possible I was driving on expired tags. How did I expect Arkansas to find me in Tennessee? It was on my list of grown-up things to do, but I really hadn't thought to double check it.

"Oh, really?!?" I said, in my lime green farmers' market volunteer t-shirt. "I just moved here."

"uh huh"

About that time, another police officer pulled in, because apparently it takes two Memphis police officers to pull over a petite white girl in a Volvo for expired tags at 10 in the morning.

This second police officer was a woman, and began talking to the first police officer about the "detail" she was on the previous night. Ummmm, I am usually a huge Law & Order fan, but at this point I was way late for the farmers' market, and not sure what was to become of me.

After a while of the girl cop telling the first-man-on-the-scene guy cop about her detail job, he sauntered back to my car. "The good thing is this ticket isn't going to cost you anything," he says.

"oh wonderful!" I say.

"The bad things is that it's a mandatory court appearance for December 9th."

Ummmmmm, what? I have to go to court? My law-abiding, never-had-a-traffic-ticket or broken the law in anyway person?

"Ok, " I say. "Where can I go to get new tags?"

At this point, the guy and girl cop have a conversation, really without me, where they discuss which offices have license plate services, which have inspection services (which is required in TN) and which are closest to downtown.

After another 10 minutes of this conversation, I politely tell them that I, being the new person in town, will just mapquest it, and I thanked them for their time.

So yes. I have a date in court. With a judge. The guy police officer told me that if I get my new tags before December 9th, and then appear in court, the judge will throw the case out. So why you ask do I still have to go to court on that date? Because there may be a little too much red tape in this country. I mean, come on!

Status report as of Monday: I have purchased and received my new TN license plate and tags. I will continue to wait until Dec. 9th until I can tell a judge this. Maybe I'll call the court house just to ask if anyone can assuage this injustice. I doubt it.

October 1, 2009

Why the blog world is amazing

So as a blogger, I follow many other blogs. And, as someone who loves food, cooking food, shopping for food, and all things real-food related, I follow a lot of food blogs. One that I have mentioned on my blog before is www.marxfoods.com. They offer amazingly unique food selections, and their blog is always filled with great recipe ideas.
Well the other day, they had a give away that asked readers to answer a certain question pertaining to another food blog. I was familiar with this and so I left a comment with the answer. Turns out I won! Check out the wining blog here, and be sure to click on "Comments" if you can't see my actual comment.

So, what did I win? I box full of goodie!!

I received a large box filled with a variety of specialty salts, dried chilies and dried mushrooms. The quantity of these high-quality food products blew my mind! All for leaving a comment on a blog.

My box contained a kitchen-island full of goodies!
You can see the packets all lined up of dried chilies in every variety, flavored salts and natural salts from different areas of the world, and plenty of dried mushrooms.

Some of the highlights from my box include:
14 varieties of salt.

One of which is Lime Salt. There is also espresso salt, pink Himalayan salt, Smoked Sea Salt and Ginger salt.

There are more dried chiles than I know what to do with, but I'm excited to start experimenting. The latest blog post on MarxFoods.com talks about how to use Ghost Chilies to make spicy vodka. Yeah, I have Ghost Chilies.

And, last but not least, I have all kinds of wonderful mushrooms. Look at these dried black trumpet mushrooms! I can't wait to find just the right recipe for these guys.

So this is why the blog world is so great. Marxfoods.com is really cool for all their unique recipes, and you can actually order all kinds of amazingly exotic foods.
I'll start experimenting with all my great ingredients, and keep you posted!!

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