sipping on a summer read


Summer: leisurely warm time to re-read the classics, books I love and need to revisit, more slowly this time. Instead of gulping it down I’ve sipped on it, reading only a few pages at a sitting, even underlining the tastiest bits.
Shocking how a Kindle e-reader will leave you scrambling for a pen. Usually I point and drag and the tenderest phrases are enveloped in yellow for later perusal. This time I had to find a classic Bic and physically make lines, carefully, because my underscoring isn’t nearly as tidy as Kindle’s.
I may have lost focus on my topic.
Pat Conroy’s “South of Broad” was my Summer Sip. All of July, I savored the words of this modern day tale of love for friends and pride of place in Charleston, USA. In one sentence or less, Conroy’s tale is complex, sweeping, with lots of main players who travel from Charleston to San Francisco and I smell the sea water from both coasts.
Conroy words are delicious.
His story is exhausting, sad, and his dialogue is sharp and witty. Most of my copy of “Broad” is inked, underlining gorgeous phrasing, exquisite wording, and that’s okay. When I re-re-read it next summer, I’ll see how brilliantly I picked my memorable passages.
What’s your best summer read?

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I return to the kitchen


The kitchen is where the cups and ice are kept for refreshing beverages. Cooking in a kitchen is like a meteor shower: infrequent with bright flashes of light followed by the relief of dark because the flames have been extinguished.
Last week in the West, I was given a large zucchini fresh from the Colorado soils. If I thump it’s skin, it sounds happy. What a delightful example of Things I Cannot Grow.
Today it stared at me. “What, are you going to walk by and thump me every day or are you going to cook and eat me?”
To which I replied, “You are cheeky for a fleshy vegetable.”
And the zucchini sneered and prepared to rot because it knew I would never take a knife to it’s beautiful green skin.
Ha! I say to that. Ha! To the knife drawer I go!
And I sliced and diced that mouthy edible fibrous log.
Flipping through the Rolodex of menus in my brain, I realized that of the three, none of them included zucchini, but I wasn’t worried. It’s like chicken, or steak, or chicken fried steak: egg or milk for liquid, flour or cornmeal — or crushed graham crackers, even; look at me go with my bizarre knowledge of culinary ingredients – for breading, right?
Bah to you, Mr. Zucch!
Pouring oil into my skillet, setting the twisty dial thing to a robust “Medium”, I opened the fridge and set aside my requisite ingredients.
Oops, I digress.
I must tell you I was drinking a cold, iced glass of cow milk — oh, I love milk — as I peered into the guts of my Maytag. Side note: I was relishing the last of the milk, but it took me a second to remember that … three, two, one … and there it is.
“Oh, crap,” I thought, staring into the empty Joe’s cup (it’s an Okie tradition to have a full set of thirty of these plastic beauties from Eskimo Joe’s; you, too, may purchase yours online).
“But I have eggs!” my brain continued as my eyes countered with, “No, no you don’t.”
Never one to concede defeat, I looked in the fridge door, where all condiments go to die, and I see two waxed cartons of varied milk-like products. One was Almond Milk.
Voila! Pulling the Almond Milk to the counter I realize that oh, it’s dark chocolate flavored.
Pouring myself a smaller glass of dark chocolate flavored almond milk, I re-open the fridge door to see what other delights I can find.
Vanilla Almond Milk, with a Touch of Honey, in a handy wax covered quart, is staring at me from it’s side pocket in the refrigerator. And it only expired two weeks ago. Yes!
So see? I’m a veritable chef, using the available resources to coat my zucchini disks in preparation for their breading part, which will be…
Corn starch? That doesn’t sound right.
Oo, doesn’t look right, either.
Shuffling through the pantry I don’t find the corn meal I was hoping for, and I don’t have graham crackers, and I considered the bar-b-que potato chips as a crust, but it seemed gauche, even to a chick on the prairie with expired milk bathing her zucchini bits.
I have standards.
So flour it was and gee, that’s dull, but when on the prairie, prairie chickens use flour.
So I dropped veggie pieces into questionable milk, covered the newly powdered food with flour, and fried the crud out of them with vegetable — gasp! — oil, not canola or extra virgin twice-pressed anything.
And ate all of it.
Hey, never let it be said that I don’t commit to my work. If I cooked it, I have to taste it, and doggone it, that rancid milk tasted just fine.
It’s been four hours and seven minutes and I don’t feel even a little bit sick.
I’m a CHEF!!! (Insert the verbal equivalent of a smiley face emoticon here)

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storage sparring out west


Bubs and I watch too much television.

When I went to the gym — all of twice — I watched “Storage Wars”. Because it was playing on the TV screen attached to the only available elliptical and because I didn’t take the time to figure out how to change channels. I didn’t plan to exercise long enough for content to matter.

Thirty minutes later, the show was over and I opted to keep elliptical-ing rather than miss the next episode of “Storage Wars, the Marathon”.

My Wyoming Woodslady is a Storage Warrer. And when in Wyoming, we wanted to do as the Woodslady did. To war!! Elbows and epithets everywhere, please!

Politeness ruled, though. No name calling, no rudeness, no one even invaded another’s personal space. Turned out to be more of a girl fight, or a spat, or a tiff. The newspaper declared the main event to be five rounds — five storage units to auction away to the highest bidder — and to start at promptly 9:30am. “Getchyer seats early for this one, gonna be a doozy.” (I didn’t read the legal notice myself, I’m guessing at the extraneous detail. So really, only five units doesn’t allow for hostility, dang it…

9:25! We were there, the Woodsman, the Woodschild, and we two Okies, standing amidst a most lackluster group of bored, been-here-before jaded Warrers. But Bubs and I had all the anticipation they needed, bring on the bell!

Sure enough, the auctioning started in a language only hummingbirds understand — I heard only low rumbling sounds in staccato bursts of consonants, intermingled with “sold!” before moving to the next unit for sale. Quite expedient, these fast talking auctioneers…

About the third unit, Bubs became disenchanted and antsy. I had to threaten him bodily to prevent him from drawing attention to his restless limbs and inadvertently bidding on a naugahyde couch and ceramic leopard end table for “ngdngdndt” dollars. (Really, I understood only one syllable the auctioneer ever uttered, and that was because of the emphatic sibilant quality of the word “sold”; that’s all I had to go on to tell me to follow the herd to the next chute.)

But while assuring myself that Bubs wouldn’t buy a Star Wars anything, I myself found myself motionlessly but mentally willing a fly to go away and leave my nose in peace. I was one flutter away from flapping a hand into buying a ten by ten unit stuffed with truly ugly pressed cardboard nightstands and a print of Elvis in an unfortunate pantsuit.

By the time our group of bidders reached the fifth and final storage unit my Bubs had not-so-discreetly whispered four times that he was bored and, “this isn’t as exciting as I thought it would be.”

My Woodslady won her bidding scramble on a small unit with eight or ten little things and two inches of dirt to sweep. Painless cleanup and a few quality items to resell and at a mere five bucks — five!! — it was a worthwhile event.

Elapsed time, from parking the car to bidding on five units to cleaning out one of them to peeling away in search of beverages: thirty-two minutes.

And to think I could have accidentally exercised that long.


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