Tuesday, August 16, 2011

cant have nothin' nice...not even a blog!

Hey Y'all

ok. I apologize. I'm sorry I'm such a blogslacker. I can't believe I havent posted anything in oh, about 8 months. 8 MONTHS ?! Have mercy (as my mom would say).

I have had lots of "Can't have nothing nice" moments over the last 8 months and sadly have not shared them....especially the ones that put me in my place and refresh my outlook on life/my own vanity/ materialism, etc....

Here's a good one that just happened this past Sunday:

Our church, Truth Bible Church (www.truthbiblechurch.com) is currently hosting an out-of-town Associate Pastor candidate and his family. The plan was to have an old fashioned church potluck after Sunday Service to welcome this family. (Think crockpots, casseroles and homemade pot holders) I signed up to bring a "main dish" and a "side dish".

Long story short, since we live so close to the church, I decided it would be better for me to run home between nursery duty and the service to pop the casseroles in the oven and go back right as the service was ending to get them and bring them piping hot to the potluck. The dietitian in me, trained in preventing food temperatures from falling into the "danger zone" (40-140 degrees F) was the one who came up with this genuis idea. The part I forgot to contingency plan for was how to physically get 2-350 degree casseroles from our house to the church- by myself.

So...here's where it happened. I ran home at 12:05- pulled the casseroles from the oven, snapped on the plastic travel lids (or so I thought), put them on baking sheets so I could carry them, one at a time, to the car. The first one I put in the floor board of the front passenger seat...then it started sprinkling. Remember, this is Sunday morning, and as a good Southern girl you better believe I was wearing a dress and heels. So I dash back inside, grab the second casserole/baking sheet/potholder combination and make a run for it. I slid it into the passenger seat, nestled it up next to my favorite leather Coach bag and was on my way.

Watching the clock, I turned Right, Left, Left out of our neighborhood. I mean, what would be more dissapointing than showing up with these cheesy-hashbrown-ham-asparagus-goodnesses and the potluck be over?!?!!? the horror. So, you could say that I sped up a little and made a sharp left onto Smoke Hill Rd. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! OOOOOOH DANG IT!! (it was Sunday, after all) ...the casserole in the passenger seat lid had popped off...and the gooey cheesy essence partially spilled out- onto my favorite, leather Coach bag. Yep, can't have nothin' nice.

I frantically wiped off said cheese goo, parked and ran with my casseroles into the church - much like Scarlett O'hara, I thought (paraphrased) "I'll think about that later". So, later Sunday night after much goings-on, I attempted to clean the grease imprint off my bag. No luck.

Can't have nothin' nice....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

a day in DC

I guess you can have somethin' nice. This past Saturday, Mark and I took a day trip to Washington, DC.

Here was the deal: I had Thursday off due to a snow day. I spent the day feverishly cleaning, grocery planning, doing laundry and ironing (gag, cough, gag). The results? tired wife. bored weiner dog. happy husband...and a weekend on the horizon free of domestic duties !! AND since the new house that we now live in doesn't require regular maintenance or remodeling--we were FREE to do what we want to do on Saturday !

We did a little research and decided to take the metro into the city and wing it from there. The metro is cheap and the museums are free so it was up our alley--not to mention, I wouldn't describe Mark or I as particularly patient people (like that alliteration?) when it comes to traffic or driving in cities. Saturday AM we laced up our sneakers, dropped the wiener off with Uncle Seth and Aunt Katy and cousin Beagle Bailey, and headed to DC. The GPS took us to the Branch Ave station where we easily parked our park in the snowy parking lot (for free on the weekends!), bought $9/ea day passes for the metro and hopped on.

We decided that since we live near DC, we will come often enough to do the sites slowly. Not to mention it was FREEZING (literally, about 34 degrees and snow everywhere) so we wanted to do something inside. We hopped of the metro at Federal Station and popped up right by one of the buildings named for Ronald Reagan. What a great man...anyways...we decided to go see the Museum of American History. We are Americans and thought it would be personal and cool. After a half hearted purse search by a tired security guard, we made our way in.

What to see first? Mark was instantly drawn to huge steam engines and light bulbs made by Thomas Edison. I wanted to see Julia Childs kitchen and a whole display of American First Lady Inaugural dresses. So, we compromised. We saw both. For hours and hours, we looked around displays about 1950's bomb shelters, pop culture, the American President, the US military, the Civil War, and the list goes on. It was great! After a brief hiatus for lunch- at Potbelly Sandwich shop http://www.potbelly.com/Home/Default.aspx we made our way back to the same museum for more. We saw the actual:
  • flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner
  • Lincoln's top hat
  • Michelle Obama's inaugural ball gown and Jimmy Choo shoes
  • the chairs that Grant and Lee sat in at Appomatox Court house
  • Julia Childs kitchen
  • Edisons journal
  • the gold nugget found at Sutters Mill that started the gold rush
  • George Washingtons a)hair, b) field telescope, c) general's coat
and more. Wouldn't want to tell you everything, Go SEE it for YOURSELF!!!

We got kicked out of the museum at 5:30--I was trying to steal the Jimmy Choo's--just kidding, the museum closed and we had to find somewhere to get out of the cold and grab something to eat. After a quick bit of research on Yelp! and Urbanspoon, we decided on Logan Circle. A quick Metro ride later we popped up on 14th. A cold, snowy, windy walk later we made our way to Logans Tavern (after a failed attempt at Churchkey http://www.churchkeydc.com/) ...it was good. We weren't too hungry after our potbelly sandwiches so we went for a light dinner. Appetizer was fried green tomatoes with peach relish *YUM* , then we shared a spinach salad with candied nuts and orange vinagrette, and each had a cup of soup- Clam Chowder for Mark and Crab Bisque for me.

A quick stop by KKD (Krispy Kreme Donuts) for Mark to get his fix and a half dozen donuts (they don't sell them here in MD), we were headed back to Branch Ave via the greenline train. About an hour and a half later we were home with Roscoe. Toured, Tired, Thrilled...it was definitely something nice.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Date Balls

MMMH I love Christmas baking. I actually like the planning, creating, baking part more than the eating part. Seriously. Maybe b/c every time I eat one I have Dietitian-induced guilt. It's almost more of a pleasure to make and give away- or to sit and watch Mark devour the treats and make happy noises. When I eat them, I hear noises too- a noise like a balloon expanding.

In the spirit of Christmas goodies- I thought I would share a favorite. This recipe has been around awhile. These date balls are made by my Mema and my Momma, and now me :)

Yes these are the real ingredients. Butter, sugar....sigh. Good thing Christmas comes once a year!

Date Balls

2 sticks of butter
1c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 # chopped dates (I buy the prechopped ones- no need to be a martyr)

Melt butter in a heavy pot. Think LOW and SLOW. Stir in sugars, vanilla and dates. Melt LOW and SLOW until gooey perfection is reached. No, I don't know what temperature the sugar should be. Make them every year and you will just know.

Remove from heat.

Add 2 c chopped pecans (preferably from Georgia) and 4 c Rice Krispies. Stir. Let cool in fridge about 20-30 mins until cool enough to handle.

Add powdered sugar to gallon zip lock bag. Use teaspoon to help you roll krispies into 1" balls. Drop into powdered sugar and shake.

Save in air tight container.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

silk monster

ok. i can explain the title. ever heard of "pet names"? You know, those annoying names couples call each other (i'm so guilty of this)? or the noises that come out of us when we see cute babies or tiny zoo animals? things like..."goooogly bear!"(from Monsters, Inc.)

well, meet Roscoe P Coltrane. My dogson. Our 10 lb mini dachshund. Sometimes he gets addressed as his given name. Most of the time, he gets called by a pet name. And since he is the cutest dog in the history of all time, he has lots of them.

Roscinator: roscoe +terminator. bc he has exterminated 2 rabbits and 1 mole, so far

Silk monster: from his incredibly silky ears and sometimes he is a monster. and you have to say it like "sillllllk mooonnnstterrr" in a really soft, almost creepy voice

turd tube: he is shaped like a tube. and he poops a lot. outside thankfully. (sorry mom)

tiny/tiny dog: because he is very small (10" high x 32"long)

pooper/poopaloop/pooptastic/poopmonster/poopie: self explanatory (sorry mom)

FLD: funny looking dog

longdogbarksalot: we have fun coming up with "indian names" to describe him

fatty mcfaterson: Roscoe has gained 1 whole pound (10% of his total body wt) in about 6 months since he got neutered

licky mclickerson: he licks our feet a lot

babito: this is my mom's nickname for her granddog

walnut brain: bc that's probably how big it is and he doesn't always use even that much of it

what do you call your spouse/cute baby/child/pet?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the dreaded christmas picture

i am not from a normal family. or maybe, i am from one of the last normal families? what's normal, anyways? Anyways, my mom LOVES Christmas cards. She and my dad have been making the annual fruitcake (another post, another day), taking the annual picture, and mailing the "Harbin's Christmas Letter" for over 30 years. 30 YEARS, people.

So, needless to say I am well acquainted with this activity. First, my participation was involuntary. From birth through at least middle school I participated with little resistance. As evidenced by pictures of us in MATCHING flannel nightgowns, posing on the staircase. Or sitting on a bale of hay with all 6 of us in - you guessed it- matching overalls. As self awareness grew as it usually does in middle and high school, it became much more of an emotional process. I can hear us now (all four kids) " you want me to wear WHAT? THAT?! WHEN? for the Christmas letter?!?" It was hard enough to get 4 teenagers in the same room at the same time, much less matching. Hard like herding rabid cats. So mom wisely gave up on the matching and settled for all of us in the room at the same time.

Why is it SO HARD to get 6 people in the same room, near each other, looking at the camera, all with crest smiles at the same time? We had friends take the picture, professionals, boyfriends- whoever- and it was always the same. 5 people would have the picture nailed and 1 person would blink. or look away. or look cross eyed. or their smile looked more like a mug shot. You could count on it like, well, death and taxes. Then there was the aftermath. Pouring over the pictures to find one suitable enough to send to 590689 of mom and dad's closest friends. Finally after much debate, a picture was selected.....590689 were printed at Walgreens and mailed out with the letter (again, another post).

One would think that after years of this, the farthest thing from my mind would be a "family picture" with my own husband. NOPE. It must be ingrained in me SO DEEP that I do it naturally. Our very first Christmas picture was a breeze- go through the wedding pics, find a great one, mail it out. Mark didn't feel a thing. Christmas #2 not so bad either, I found a great candid of us at a wedding lookin' fancy. This is the easy way! Even Christmas #3 was fairly painless- pictures of a deployment homecoming always tend to turn out well (pure emotion, I guess). Slap one of those on a pre done template from Mac and one-touch ordering and I was done. I began to imagine a life free of the awkward matching family pictures (come one- you know the ones I'm talking about)

But. not. this. year. I guess we have a few ok pictures- Mark was gone a lot this summer on deployment when I was looking the most tan and attractive so no pics then. Then we moved. So that threw us in a tail spin. And then I realized- heck - I need to send my cards out early so everyone can have our address!!! (bc I am a chip off the block and I too LOVE Christmas Cards!!! Don't want someone not having our new address as an excuse! NO SIR!).....but, wait! we don't have a good enough picture.

So here I am, the ironing is done. the plaid shirts laid out on the bed. getting ready to hop in the shower, then curl my hair which I never do, and go attempt to take the CHRISTMAS PICTURE. with a grown man and a 9lb dachshund both of who I'm pretty sure hate having their picture taken.

wish me luck. Can't have nothin' nice.

Monday, November 15, 2010

(Mis) Adventures in Hiking...

So, let me give you an example of "Can't Have Nothin' Nice"

My husband Mark LOVES the outdoors- hike-the-Appalachian-Trail-and-sleep-in-an-abandoned-barn-loves the outdoors. My version of the outdoors involves making sure there is enough ice to keep the shrimp cocktail and bourbon cool until we get to the tailgate. So you can imagine his surprise and delight when after looking at a friends awesome FB pics of hiking, I suggested we find a little state park and hike on Sunday afternoon. You know the kind, a gentle 2-3 miler while enjoying the fall foliage kinda hike.

We googled around on the internet and found a nice state park with a big lake and some trails about 15 mins from our house. Mark ran around gathering boots, backpack, flashlights?, snacks and water bottles. I changed into old jeans and sneakers and we were off....kinda late in the afternoon. 3:30 doesn't seem that late when the sun is blazing overhead, lighting up the beautiful hardwoods with their electric greens, yellows and reds.

We got to the park, paid on the honor system, put Roscoe the dachshund on a long leash and headed to the trail. The 7.5 mile loop around the lake. In the back of my mind, I thought, huh, kinda a long hike considering how early it gets dark these days.....but I didn't want to ruin Mark's outdoor adventure.

We started out at a good clip, walking along, laughing and talking- ooohing and ahhhing over the beautiful forest. I was almost feeling like, "I can DO this!! I am ADVENTUREGIRL!!" We took pics of Roscoe, stopped to look up at the light filtering through the trees....we thought we had gone at LEAST 3-4 miles when we saw a sign post. It said 5.5 miles (we unknowingly started out backwards and it was counting DOWN from 7.5) ...ok so we have only gone 2 miles. And the light was starting to get a little weaker, the air a little cooler. "Huh", Mark said, "we ought to walk faster"...so we did.

We passed another sign post...4 miles... 3.75 miles. Then we passed another hiker on the trail going the other way and he ominously said, "you gonna keep going?...(yea) ..well it's gonna be really dark... Good Luck." GOOD LUCK? What in the world?! At that point the sun was REALLY setting and we were exactly half way around. Either direction was 3.75 miles back to the car. I asked Mark, "do you have the flashlight?" Hmmm...Nope. Left it in the car. Awesome. Suddenly I had visions of the show "I shouldn't be alive" flash through my head. What started out as our nature hike suddenly got a little less fun. Can't have nothin' nice.

Mark looked at me and said, "We need to run." And we took off. Running down the trail in jeans, boots and fleeces. Not exactly prepared for this activity. But also not prepared to lose the trail in the dark and be hanging out in the Maryland woods all ngiht (I am no longer feeling like ADVENTUREGIRL at this point). Running along, watching the mile markers countdown was the only thing that kept me going. 3.5 miles, 3.25 miles...2.75 miles... 2 miles...1.5 miles...by this time I was about to die. Not much of a runner (EVER), much less in jeans, scared to death, in the dark. Then I heard the howling and barking in the distance. I'm sure it was just some farmers dogs barking, right? Whatever. I kept running.

The last 0.5 mile was the longest. Knees burning, sweating like crazy, we made it! Oh blessed crunch of gravel under our feet!! We saw the parking lot! Our car (and the flashlight) waiting for us up ahead. Collapsing in the car, laughing and tired, our adventure was over.

Next time, we decided, we would start earlier in the day. Can't have nothin' nice.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the beginning

OK, ok. I broke down and joined the blogging club. I have put it off and put it off, saying "I'm not a blogger!" and "what do I have to write about?" or "who would read it??"... but after enjoying my friends blogs for years I noticed one thing they all had in common. Memories.

Blogs are the new diaries- the newest ways to scratch messages on rock walls. Macs and keystrokes have replaced pen and ink, but the motivation is the same. People have the need to record their lives (cave paintings, anyone?) and now I feel the same tug.

So, here it is. Good or bad, for what its worth. I'm going to scratch my message on my rock wall.