Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cooking a Porcupine

I am always on the lookout for blog topic ideas so you can imagine I was thrilled this morning as I was looking through the index of my Betty Crocker cookbook for the pancake recipe and I came to the following item:

  • Porcupines, 29

"Shut the front door!", I said to myself. "A recipe for cooking porcupines in my 1978 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook?" Now THAT's what I call a blog topic.

I was running late for my walk with Becca (making pancakes from scratch slowed me down a bit), so I didn't have time to look at the recipe until later that day. But my mind did not stop working.

  • Will Betty Crocker tell me how to remove the quills? Will there be another use for them?

  • Where does one get porcupine?

  • Does it taste like chicken?

  • Is porcupine red meat?
I'm not exactly accomplished as a chef. I do best with large, bulleted font. For some reason, my IQ drops in half in the kitchen. I'll look at a recipe, move 1 step to the mixing bowl/chopping block/whatever and, by the time I get there I've forgotten the instruction.

It's hard to believe, but my skills have worsened since I've started using reading glasses. I was making pancakes a couple weeks ago from a mix and the recipe called for 1 egg, 1/2 cup of oil, and 2 cups of milk (or so I thought).

Before I finish this story I must note that I have an uncanny ability to discover that I'm missing an ingredient to a recipe while I'm in the middle of preparing the food....EVEN IF I'VE JUST RETURNED FROM THE GROCERY STORE TO PURCHASE THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE RECIPE.

Back to the pancakes. I poured the milk into the measuring cup and saw that I only had about 1 3/4 cups of milk. Being the creative genius that I am, I added 1/4 cup of water to the measuring cup, silently commending myself for reducing the fat content of this breakfast.

I'm not sure why decided to put my reading glasses on, but when I did I quickly noticed that the recipe called for 2 cups of MIX, not MILK. Crap. But being the creative, cheapskate that I am, I poured the diluted milk back into the carton, silently commending myself for making skim milk, and reducing the fat content of a future breakfast of cereal.

I digress. Back to the recipe for porcupine. When I returned from my walk, I went right for the cookbook. I turned to page 29 to review the porcupine recipe. I read the recipe once. I read it again. Are you kidding me? The recipe for Porcupine does not include porcupine.

I feel cheated.

But then again, would I really want to know how to cook porcupine?

And besides...I'd probably hurt myself trying.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Burying St. Joseph

A friend of mine has been trying to sell her house with little success. With the economy in the toilet, it's a buyer's market and no buyers are shopping at her house.

I think she should bring out the big guy. The most famous real estate mogul of all time. No, not Donald Trump. She needs Joseph. And she needs to bury him in her yard, like all Catholics desperate to sell their homes.

A number of years ago my husband and I were trying to sell our very small starter the Wisconsin.
  • We had no dishwasher (not counting me).
  • We had a toddler who would have won the gold if toy hurdling were an Olympic event.
  • We had a dog that shed the equivalent of an alpaca ever 3 weeks, and a vacuum cleaner on its last breath.
  • We had realtors who were kind enough to give us 4 1/2 minute advance notice of showings.
The first week on the market was fine. Dave and I would entertain ourselves by using the baby monitor to eavesdrop on the conversations potential buyers were having with their realtors. But after 6-weeks or so, things started to get desperate. It was time to invite the patron saint of home and family to take a nap in our frozen yard.
So I brought out my nativity set and attempted to pick out Joseph from the other guys. After close inspection, I was able to eliminate the shepherds (they were the ones holding onto brown candy canes). I figured the kings were the ones holding the presents. The remaining guy was looking down lovingly, presumably at a new baby. Bingo!
Next step...bury him in the yard. This is no easy task with 2 feet of snow over frozen earth. But did we want to sell the house? YES!
I put on my parka, grabbed the shovel and my man Joe and after about 20 minutes of hard labor he was buried. And I was confident that we'd have an offer by the end of the week.
A week passed... no offer. I mentioned this to a friend of mine at work and she started asking specific questions like:
  • "Did you bury him in the front yard or the back yard?"
  • "Was his head pointing down or up?"
  • "Which direction was he looking?"
Crap! I had no idea that you not only had to bury St. Joseph in your yard, but there were specific procedures you had to follow as part of the burial. According to my friend (who had just sold her house with Joe's help), you have to bury him in the front yard, between the For Sale sign and the house, with his head pointing down and his face looking at the house. And she informed me that he should be wrapped in a cloth, and a paper towel is not a cloth. This was getting very complicated.
I wasn't certain how I had originally stuck Joe in the ground, but I knew for sure he was in the wrong place and chances were that he wasn't facing the right way. But, did I want to sell the house? YES!
I put on my parka, grabbed the shovel and a 'cloth' and was lucky enough to find the spot where Joe was resting. I moved him to another spot in the yard, wrapped him in the cloth and stuck him head down facing the house.
Did the house sell? Yes. My husband tells me it's because we put on a new roof, but I know better.
St. Joseph should have gotten at least half the commission.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Passing Notes in Math Class

I went to my daughter’s high school orientation today and one of the speakers talked about cell phone texting in class. Apparently, texting during class is the modern day equivalent of passing notes.


I was in Mrs. Truxes 7th grade math class. Mrs.Truxes had cankles larger than her thighs . In fact, if she had wanted to, she could have used her legs as an illustration of an isosceles triangle.

Enough math stuff.

Did I mention that I was a goodie-goodie? I never, ever, EVER got in trouble in school. Until that day in Mrs. Truxes’ math class.

I had a very important question that I wanted to ask Paula Lipton. It could not wait until the end of class. Paula was sitting right next to me. If I whispered to her, Mrs. Truxes would certainly hear. I didn’t know sign language, and even if I did, Paula didn’t know sign language. My options were limited.

Logical thinking prevailed:
1. I needed to ask Paula a question.
2. I had to ask it during math class.
3. I couldn’t use my voice.
4. I couldn’t use sign language.

I really had no choice. I had to pass a note.

My pulse was racing. I took out a sheet of paper, wrote the message, and carefully, quietly folded it into a small rectangle. Then I very nervously passed it to Paula, while Mrs. Truxes was facing the front of the room.

Did I mention that Paula was not a goodie-goodie? Not only was she not a goodie-goodie, she liked to live life on the edge. She was very experienced at breaking classroom rules, including note passing. I nearly wet my pants as she very noisily opened up my rectangle, wrote a response and passed it back to me, without even looking to see which direction Mrs. Truxes was facing!

Well, needless to say, Mrs. Truxes happened to be facing the classroom and she waddled down the aisle to my desk, picked up the note, READ IT TO THE CLASS, and said something to the effect of “Be careful not to drop the soap while you’re in detention today, you juvenile delinquents.”

Detention? Oh my gosh! I had heard of detention before, but knew nothing about it. (This was before The Breakfast Club.) I had no idea what to expect.

I was beet red when I entered the detention room. I was literally shaking in my knee sox and loafers. I saw Paula and sat down next to her. The other students in the room looked at me curiously when I arrived, but put their heads back on their desks for their detention naps.

The detention monitor told us no talking and began to read a book. Wow. I wondered… is this all it is? It’s just a study hall.

After a few minutes I very confidently passed a note to Paula that said, “Detention isn’t too bad!”

Of course, in today’s world, I would have texted ‘dtenson isnt 2 bd’.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pew Choreography

A few of my friends are in rehearsals for The King and I and I've noticed some facebook comments regarding the fact that they have to kneel for extended time period and their knees are complaining.

I've seen the movie- it's about this Siamese king with many wives and even more children who hires a sassy English teacher for the kids. (Sort of like an Asian version of the Sound of Music with polygamy.) The bald headed king marches around with his arms crossed over his buff chest. (Sort of like how my husband describes the Golds Gym locker room without the singing.)

I have a lot of empathy for my friends, and hope they wear knee pads under their costumes. That should help. Kneeling for extended periods of time is difficult, especially if you're not Catholic.

I have a lot of kneeling experience and am very pleased to share the following pew strageties that I've developed over a lifetime of attending Catholic church.

The 1st, and easiest move is what I call the 'Shuffle Knee'. You start out by distributing your weight evenly between both knees. After a while, you lift one knee at a time to give the other a break. If you keep your body perpendicular to the floor - and don't lean over in agony - this should be every effective on stage.

The 'Butt Plie' works quite well if your Mom's not kneeling next to you. In this move you very slowly ease your butt back toward the pew bench. (This move was never successful for me when I was growing up, since my Mother had pew radar, in addition to eyes on all sides of her head.) Since I don't believe there will be a bench on the set, this move will probably not work.

Another popular kneeler move is what I call the 'Heel Squat' which involves shrinking down to sit on your heels while maintaining your height. Again, this move was never effective for me as a child, but I've observed its success numerous time with other lucky kneelers - especially if the father was in charge.

This move would have to be carefully choreographed on stage, but could be especially effective if the actors were of varying heights while kneeling, and were not adjacent to each other. Yes! I think it could work!

Here's some sample Lou Pew choroegrahy:

'Getting to know you' (Becca Heel Sqaut Down (HSD))
'Getting to know all about you'
'Getting to know you' (Becca: HSU; Ruth:HSD)
'Getting to like you'
'Getting to hope you like me' (Ruth: HSU; Laura HSD)

Et-cetera, Et-cetera, Et-cetera.

And if the cast needs some extra practice, they can join me at 10:30 mass any Sunday!