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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Down in the Dumps

This post is not what you think because I am not depressed or anything like that. I am writing because I am happy I didn't have to go down to the dump today. Yes folks, every Saturday is dump day. Well around here is not actually a dump. It's more like the "recycling" center.

This is how small my town is. We have no garbage service from the city or county or anything. Now we can pay for someone to come and take our trash and although we know this service exists, we can't find it in the phone book, go figure. I even chased down one of the trucks one day to get a phone number but I lost it when he went up a little street and disappeared probably into a holler or something. He probably thought I was some deranged nut stalking him or something. So since no one comes to pick up our trash, we have to take it to get "recycled."

It's not fun. Luckily, Tom does most of it but when we have tons of trash, I get dragged along to help out. Now he knows I am no help except to tell him he missed a box or a bag in the back of the car but he insists. And I do have to admit that the dump is a great place to socialize. Every time we go we see someone we know. We chat and then go on our way. When we do meet up with someone we know, I like to try and see what kind of trash they have to get some info. Yes, I am nosy, I admit it. But since we have to separate trash we can see if they have bought something new by the boxes they dump or if they are boozers (bless their hearts) by the bottles they dump etc. But mainly, it's a chore I hate.

Today I was saved. Now we had TONS of trash because last week Tom was out of town and I didn't go to the dump. My bad. But I got away with it. :) So this week we had double the trash and we had tons of boxes. But we got up later than usual and then I made breakfast and by the time it was trash time it was too late for me to go since Tom had to go to Asheville (an hour away) for a meeting. WOOHOO. So I "helped" him get the trash in the car. Yeah I carried 3 boxes out to the car and sort of pretended I was arranging them for a long time, sue me! But I got out of it because I said "OMG honey you are going to be late. You better just go and I will go next week." Well he is out of town again next week so that means no trash because my lazy big butt won't do it.

Maybe one day we will get a trash service but for now I have to plot ways of avoiding it!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Well Bless Your Heart . .

Or bless my heart or her heart or his heart. This is something else I have learned here in the South. Using this phrase is very common here. You can use to say something nice like: Bless your heart, for these lovely flowers. Or bless your heart for the pie you baked me, etc. But I learned that “bless her/his heart” is mainly used in another way.

I learned (from our realtor and my friend Carolyn) that you can say any nasty old thing about anyone as long as you say "Bless his/her heart" at the beginning or end of the sentence. For example: "Bless his heart, he’s just a big old drunk." "Bless her heart, she’s as big as a house." "Bless their heart, their children look like monkeys." Now if you said: "Her daddy is lazy and her mother is a tramp," that’s a no-no. But if you say "her daddy is lazy and her mother is a tramp, bless her heart." It’s perfectly acceptable.

I love the South, bless its heart.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Going Native

I hope this post doesn't offend anyone because it's not meant to offend. But I was just thinking that I have lived here for 10 months and I really love it although it's very different from anywhere else I lived.

I worked temporarily at the university here for a few months and met some really cool people one of which was a woman named Carolyn (yes just like me) who was born and raised here. So while there she tried to get me to "talk country" as much as possible. Now being a huge To Kill Mockingbird fan I have picked up some of the lingo from the book. I always say things like "the cat was yelling to beat Jesus." I call ghosts "haints." Sometimes I slip into a little country drawl but I used to do this when I lived in Florida. Again, I am sticking to the story that I was reincarnated and used to be a Southern Belle because I always have had an affinity for the South!

Well we were outside one day and Carolyn says "it's colder than a frog's belly." That made me laugh and she explained that frog bellies are cold. After that day, she tried to teach me country. One day I was sitting in her office and some of the university maintenance crew came in. Carolyn knows everyone in the world so they were chatting and she mentioned that I had no idea what colder than a frog's belly meant. So at that point I was subjected to questioning. Did I know what a holler was? I did. They made me say y'all. Now when I tried I was told I was not holding the all long enough. It was actually quite enlightening and fun. But I am still the city girl. So to reciprocate I tried teaching Carolyn a little Spanish but that didn't really work out. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Okay I am not a Peeping Tom

But as we were driving home tonight from eating Mexican food - YUMMO - I was telling Tom I had nothing to blog about. But as we drove past all the houses in downtown Webster (all 15 of them) I realized I did have something to talk about.

I love driving or walking past houses at night and looking into people's windows. Okay, I don't go up to the house and look in the window. I am not some creepy perv but sometimes when you drive or walk by you catch this nano-second glimpses into someone else's live. It' harder when you are in a car but when we lived in Coral Gables, we used to take walks at night because it was so safe and we Coral Gables is the most charming place. And we would walk and talk and every so often someone had the drapes open and you caught them eating dinner, or watching the evening news or talking. Sometimes no one was there but the TV was on. Or maybe the dog or cat was in the window. Sometimes it was a little child looking out and every so often our eyes would meet and they would wave. Sometimes I saw some gorgeous art work on the wall. Sometimes I saw some tacky furniture. Sometimes you would see an empty room. So today as we were driving, I was looking out the window and was looking. I didn't see much in my nan-second. But it made me wonder how insulated we really are.

There are so many people out there and we never will get to meet them. We never know what goes on in the houses of our neighbors (and that might be a good thing sometimes). People live and die everyday and we cross them for a second and then they are gone. I see their painting but will never know their name. And then I wondered what do people see when they pass our house. Luckily the only exposed window or door is in our dining room and we never eat there. But if the light is one, what do they see or think when they pass my house. They might see lights but nothing else and I think that's good.

But honestly, I am not peeping just observing, just glimpsing into someone else's lives.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I decided that this is a journal not a blog

Yesterday's post had me thinking more about the blog as a journal for me. Some of the comments people made gave me hope that maybe I should tell stories. They also made me think more about my childhood. I actually had a great childhood, it wasn't until me and my sister got older that life became more complicated. But doesn't that happen to everyone's family? I mean, I always meet people who have problems and always feel like it is just them. But from my experience, everybody's family has some sort of something going on and no family is ever perfect.

I was lucky. My parents did the best they could when we got older and although there were issues, I realized one day that parents are people too and they are just trying to deal with problems like any other human being. It was when I decided that my parents were not perfect that everything became clear and problems were resolved. Now I get along very well with them and it's just not the fact that they live in Costa Rica but that helps! I get along really well with my sister as well. That wasn't always the case when we were teenagers but I think all siblings go through issues. But I realized that your siblings are the only other people who actually lived through the good and bad so there are those shared experiences that others don't know about. So I am happy that me and my sister became close because I know so many people who don't even talk to their siblings and haven't for years! That is really really weird to me.

I realize that me and my sister were really lucky that we were born in the US. Remember my family is from Costa Rica and except for a few cousins and my uncle who live in the US, the rest of the family is in Costa Rica. So if we had been born there, our lives would be so different than it is now. We have had so many more opportunities in terms of being women here in the US. Most of our female cousins got married and had children at a young age. We had the choice not to do that and did. Many of them never went to college. In fact, not very many of our family ever went to college. My dad did but never finished and my mom didn't. I went to college and graduated but it wasn't until I was 26 years old that I decided to do so. And then it was hard and I worked while going to school but it was the best thing I did. And I am one of the few family members on either side of the family with a degree.

But our lives would have been very different if my parents had decided to move back. I figured if my mom hadn't married my dad and had stayed in Costa Rica, I wouldn't be me so it wouldn't matter so if they had moved back then that would have made the difference. Luckily, they didn't. It was hard for them because they worked in factories and worked really hard to make it here. They knew little English and now that I am older, I realize how hard it must have really been for them and I admire what they did because we didn't have a lot but we always had enough. We had a house and we always had food to eat and we traveled and we had everything we needed when we were little. Most of all we had a stable childhood and not a lot of traumas. As I got older, I realized that most of the people I know who have a lot of problems and issues now as adults didn't have that stability when they were children so I thank my parents for that.

I really wish I could remember every detail of my childhood. I only know that it was good and I loved it. We had a pretty good life back then. I have certain very strong memories and then some random vague dreamy ones. Some of the memories are stories that the family retells over and over and over and over again. Somehow the impression is that I was a little bully when I was little but I totally deny that. I am lucky I have the family album. A lot of those pictures always trigger memories of that day long forgotten. Maybe I will go through it again and write down some of those memories here. Since I decided that this will be my very public journal.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just random thoughts. . .

I haven't been much in the mood to blog lately. Maybe that will change in a few days. I am just in a quiet time phase. Sometimes I just don't want to talk or see other people.

I actually love being alone sometimes. I have always been that way ever since I was little. I would spend hours alone playing or talking with my "imaginary" friends. Now I say "imaginary" because they were there for me and not imaginary but people just don't get that little kids do see things we don't see when we grow up and are told that these things don't exist. WHen I think about it, I used to not sleep sometimes when I was little either. I remember when it rained or there was a lightning storm, I would sneak out of bed and watch the storm. I remember one night my mom telling me not to do that but I would still do it. I loved it.

I grew up in LA and we would always have the Santa Ana winds and I would sneak up to the roof of our garage and sit there for hours feeling the wind whip around me. I still on occasion go outside when there is a huge windstorm. When we lived in Santa Fe, we would get real doozies but the problem with Santa Fe is that it was always so dry and dusty that I had to stop going out to feel the wind. When we lived in Florida, well after living through 3 hurricanes I don't have to tell you about huge winds! Here in NC, it gets windy. The other day we had a big storm and it broke my gazing ball. I need a new one now. But it's too cold to go outside and feel the wind.

Of course I went off on a ramble but it is a random thoughts post so I guess I can do that. So anyway, I just wanted to say that I was not in the mood to blog. But I guessed I just blogged. See more random willy-nillyness on my part. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's late

but I have insomnia again. It comes and goes and today it's here. UGH I wish I could sleep. Bad part is I can't sleep in because my cats DO NOT allow it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Takes a Licking but keeps on Ticking . . . well sort of

Today I had to go to Walmart. Now I am not a huge Walmart fan but in my little town, it's the biggest store around except for Lowe's and that's it. Anyway, I go and decide to also do some grocery shopping since I am already there. I do my shopping, come home and start unloading groceries. Now our house, see the picture on the blog, has a side porch next to the garage and that's where the front door is. There are four steps up and then the door. So I start unloading stuff and I notice I am tracking water into the house but today is a beautiful day. I realize that the welcome mat is probably totally wet from a huge storm we had yesterday. The storm was strong blowing the rain sideways. Now I haven't seen sideways rain for a long time. The last time was probably one of the 3 hurricanes we went through while living in Florida. Yes, 3. One day I might discuss the hurricanes. We actually lived through Andrew. My story is interesting but Tom's story is scary. Suffice it to say, he ended up in the bathtub with a mattress over his head holding his friend's cat while the roof caved in. He was in the eye of the storm. We hadn't met so I was living elsewhere where it hit hard but not that bad.

Anyway I digress as usual. So I notice the water and I think, hmmm I better be careful. The kiss of death. SO I am on my last load of groceries and I am going down the stairs and I feel my ankle buckle. What's weird is that everything went into slow motion, I felt the ankle, I realized I was going to fall or not but in the end I fell. Luckily, I had jeans and my big coat on. I am falling and thought crap I better not break anything as I went down. I went limp and sort of rolled down the 3 stairs. I landed pretty hard. If you knew me I am not a skinny minny so thank god for the extra fatty layer!!! I landed on my knee and my wrist and arm. But I was able to get and look around to make sure no one saw me hit the ground. And nothing got broken. Thank goodness.

I have a scrape and probably a bruise and my back is sore but that is to be expected. The reason is because about 6 years ago I fractured my back and tailbone and it gets a little sore when I twist it and stuff. But it gives me a good excuse to do nothing and let the housework slide for a few days.

So I am consoling myself with some neosporin, rubbing alcohol and a piece of chocolate!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Food that comforts and brings back memories. . .

I was born and raised in the US but my parents are Costa Rican. So when we were little we were pretty much raised speaking Spanish at home and following the Costa Rican traditions and culture. As I had mentioned before in my Turkey post, we didn't celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving until my sister and I were in middle school. I do remember though that on some Thanksgivings, when we were small, my parents would take us to Downtown Los Angeles to Clifton's Cafeteria. We loved going there because it was huge and there was just loads and loads of food all over much of it stuff we never had at home. It was always fun and it's one of those memories that sticks in your head.

We stopped going there when we decided that because we were Americans, we should celebrate Thanksgiving. I remember the first year. My mom and I figured out how to cook a turkey thanks to Galloping Gourmet. It was good. And from that day forward, we began having Thanksgiving every year. But this post is not about Turkey or Thanksgiving. It's actually about a meal I made over the weekend but you know me, I ramble and go off track a little so bear with me.

We grew up pretty much eating rice, beans, tortillas, potatoes and meats. Costa Rican food isn't like other Hispanic food like Mexican or Cuban food that is very distinctive to their region. It's pretty plain. Now there are a few dishes that are very Costa Rican like gallo pinto (rice and beans), tamales, arroz con pollo (rice and chicken), casado (translation: married and is a plate served with a meat, rice, beans, plantains, and fried egg and it varies) and olla de carne. If you visit Costa Rica (and you should) you can find all types of food. We went in December and we had some excellent Japanese food.

Sometimes I feel the need to eat something that brings back old memories and comforts me to the soul. When I have to cook something like that I make Olla de Carne (Costa Rican Beef Stew). My granny, Gilda, used to make the best one around. Olla de Carne varies on how it is made. My granny used to use short ribs and oxtails. I personally prefer oxtails when I make it and, let me tell you, that it's a chore finding oxtails here in old Sylva, NC. But the other day, we had gone to Sam's Club in Asheville to get supplies and damned if they didn't have oxtails. So I bought some knowing that Tom would be out of town. Tom refuses to eat oxtail, so I always make this when he is not home.

So, I know you are asking how the heck do you make this weird oxtail soup. It's actually quite easy but requires a lot of cooking. It's basically the meat cooked in water with stuff. I make mine with onions, garlic, bay leaves, cilantro, salt, pepper and other spices. The traditional stew requires you add yuca (cassava), potatoes, carrots, corn, sweet potatoes, green plantains and sometimes other veggies. Anyway, you cook all this together. It is served separately. The soup goes in a bowl and the veggies and meat on a platter and then you can add it to your broth. It is also served with rice that you add into the soup.

I remember when we used to go to Costa Rica my other grandmother, Anita, used to make this and serve it up for us and it was heaven. There would be platters of food on the table and the family would all get together and eat. One day I will go into my family because it's HUGE. I must have over 100 first cousins. But I digress. So Olla de Carne always makes me think of home and family and comforts me.

So when I get the chance and Tom is out of town, I am all over Olla de Carne. But unlike the traditional soup, I cut mine back. This is exactly what I do when I make tamales. Costa Rican tamales have everything but the kitchen sink in them. I hated that when I was little so my granny and mom would make me special one with just the good stuff. And I do the same with this soup. I just make it with meat and potatoes and if I have corn I use it. And I always use oxtails because I love them. I know many would go ooky. But they are so tasty.

So this weekend I made my oxtail soup. I made some rice in my rice cooker. Can I tell you that the rice cooker is the best thing? It's as good as the bread maker. I cooked the oxtail for hours, added the potatoes and then feasted like a queen. It was divine. I had it yesterday and today and I will have some tomorrow. And it made me think of the family and especially my beloved granny, Gilda, who taught me to cook this and who I always remember when I cook. I was comforted.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Favorite Art (Hanging in my House)

I thought I would share my favorite painting. This painting is from a Miami artist called MANO. The painting is titled La Patona. A loose translation is: the big-footed girl. It hangs above our mantle and is the main focus of our living room. We fell in love with this painting the minute we saw it , so we bought it.

The artist is a great guy who we adore. His wife is one of my good friends and she is like a sister to me. We met when we worked together at a museum in Miami. We used to do a lot of events and she would always bring in these great pictures to use on her invitations and programs. One day I asked where she found these and she told me it was a local artist and friend of hers. I asked if she would have the artist create some art for a program I was doing and she agreed. I remember it was a wine event so Mano made me two funky wine glasses and everyone loved the program. I also use to coordinate an annual auction at the museum and asked her to see if the artist was willing to donate a painting. That's when she came clean and told me it was her hubby. I couldn't believe it. But it didn't matter who it was because the paintings were so good and I had to have a painting for the auction. So the day of the auction comes and I am all ready to get myself a new painting and I didn't. The painting was our best seller and there was no way I could afford it.

Mano continued painting and he found an audience. Now they have their own art gallery in Coral Gables, FL. They do all sorts of art shows all over the country. He has continued growing as an artist and does so many more things. I am so proud that we own one of the first of Mano's paintings.

We also have 4 others (below, one not pictured). The two on the left were a set we bought with La Patona and are unnamed. The one on the right is called La Princessa, the Princess in English, and was gifted to me by Mano and his wife for a birthday. I love it.

We hope to acquire more Mano's but he is so popular now that they are out of our price range. But at least we still have four original painting and we also have a limited edition Christmas print (not pictured) so we are doing pretty good on the Mano collection. We actually have decorated around La Patona at our last 2 houses. Our house in Florida had white walls and it was so boring that we decided to get crazy and we painted the walls burgundy and orange because it made La Patona stand out more. We did the same in our house in Santa Fe. We were also lucky to have enough wall space in Santa Fe where we had a whole Mano wall. Luckily this house has the red wall already so it was perfect for her and perfect for the other 4 paintings.

So if you have time and like La Patona as much as we do, go take a look at his website: http://www.manofineart.com/. He has some wonderful stuff to look at and I think you'll enjoy poking around his site.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Hi all! Happy Valentine's Day! I hope it's a good one!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Some of My Favorite Books

My Top Three books of all time are:
To Kill A Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee
One Hundred Years of Solitude ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Fountainhead ~ Ayn Rand

I love reading so I have a lot of other books I adore but these are the ones I couldn't live with. What can you say about To Kill A Mockingbird? It's just one of the best stories in the world. I love it and read it at least 3 times a year. Yeah, that's excessive but I never get bored.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is such a great epic novel about this Latin American family and its trial and tribulations. I remember when I first read this book I was surprised that many of the stories and themes in the book paralleled my own family. My grandmother, Gilda, and my second cousin, Flora, used to tell us wonderful tales of when they were children growing up in Costa Rica and was they included strange stories about spirits and supernatural, of unique and weird relatives who did strange and weird stuff. And reading this book always reminds me of them and life in Latin America.

The Fountainhead is just a good story with some moral tales interwoven into it. Now I am not a huge follower of Ayn Rand at all but this book and Atlas Shrugged have some good points about how we need to live our life. I think I love Fountainhead so much because in the end Howard doesn't give in and keeps his ideals and principles together. Plus, I think she captures the world and a lot of what she writes about is relevant even now. I love the characters too. When I read it, I just connected to it.

I have tons of other favorites like:
  • Walden - Henry Thoreau - this book changed my life, literally
  • House of the Spirits ~ Isabel Allende - in fact I love all of her stuff. She is so wonderful. I worship her!!
  • Mama Day ~ Gloria Naylor - if you haven't heard of this go get it. It's fabulous
  • The Joy Luck Club ~ Amy Tan - sort of the Asian One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • The Elementals - Michael McDowell - this is a weird creepy book about a southern family and the supernatural. I don't even know how I got it but I read it and read it every year
  • Imagining Argentina - Lawrence Thornton - As you see I love my magical realism and this book captures some of that
  • The Green Mile - Stephen King - Okay I admit I came to Stephen King late in life. I was a book snob before and never read his stuff because it was for the masses. That is until I read The Green Mile. And after reading this fabulous wonderful book, I had to read more of this stuff. I thought how can this man who wrote one of the best books ever go wrong? He can't and I love his stuff.
  • The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingslover - What a book! OMG
  • Sun Signs - Linda Goodman - one of the best books on astrology. At least what it says about me is dead on.
I list these off the top of my head. I read anything and everything and I am no longer a book snob. I will read anything including the stuff for the masses. I especially like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series books, hilarious and fun. And I have more favorites but these are the books in my library that I will never get rid of and always have a copy of. I wish I could list all the books I have loved but it would take up pages.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Two Favorite Cats

Well they are my favorites because they are my only two cats.
Scout
This is Scout. Yes, she was named for Scout Finch from to "To Kill a Mockingbird" which is my favorite all time book. Scout came to us about 14 years ago when we lived in Florida. She showed up one day while Tom was outside smoking a cigar. That night she let us pet her but that's about it. The next morning she showed up again at the back door. Tom warned me not to feed her but an hour later he was putting cereal in a bowl and I was like What the heck are you doing? I said maybe some ham would be better. After that Scout adopted up. She was pretty much a mess when we got her. She was about 9 months old and pregnant and anemic. Well we had to go get a kitty abortion because she might not have lived if she had the cats and, frankly, we didn't want kittens. So little by little we let her into the house and she became our kitty. This is funny because both Tom and I hated cats and didn't want one. But somehow we were meant to be her parents. She is sweet but still after all these years very skittish. She loved being an indoor/outdoor cat but she got beat up all the time. She when we got our next cat, we made her an indoor cat. She hated that.


Shawn

This is Shawn aka Damien. Actually her name was supposed to be Buffy, yes after the Vampire Slayer, which is one of my favorite TV shows. Then her names was changed to Tori after Tori Amos my favorite singer but Tom complained and after a lot of back and forth, we had his friend Martha choose and she chose Shawn after Shawn Colvin whose music Tom was into at the time. I guess it was only fair since I names Scout. But after 13 years, we think Damien would have been better. She is feisty and nutty. Tom actually found her in Florida as well when we lived in Coral Gables. He went for a walk and said she was just lying there in the middle of the sidewalk. He kept walking but on his way back home, she was still there. He felt bad and brought her home. I tend to think she must have hypnotized like vampires do to humans when they are about to strike but that's just me. Anyway, I was home and he says "I have a surprise for you." So I turned around and he had this tiny, ugly, mangy ball of matted fur in the palm of his hand (that's how tiny she was). My first reaction was WTH? Okay, I cleaned up it up because I don't want to be a potty mouth. But there she was. She was hideous. But we had to keep her. She was a mess too but the doc fixed her up. She actually is a pretty cat now but god was she ugly then. But she has had the most health problems. From diabetes (now cured) to having a kitty eye tuck. Yes, she got plastic surgery and I can't. I need all sorts of it but Shawnie got it. She had curled eyelids, very rare in cats but of course she had them. She is sweet sometimes or when she wants something but luckily for us she sleeps a lot so her antics only happen for a few hours a day.
Shawn has broken so much stuff, ruined furniture and has made poor Scout's life a living hell. I think Scout liked being an only child. She beats her, pokes her and eats her food. For us not being cat people, we have learned to love the cats and can't imagine not having them. They have traveled a lot and lived in Florida, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and now North Carolina. I think they miss Florida. Aside from that, they have been good cats and never scratch or bite or cause too much havoc. Now that they are older they are more calm and we like that.
So there you have it. Two of my favorite things.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Filling in the Blanks

Okay since I am thinking I am not that verbose, although I know a few people would argue with me about that, I am going to start posting pictures of some of my favorite things. Okay, that is if I figure out how to use the camera and actually post them because my laptop is iffy. But I can log onto Tom's laptop and post from there if I have to.

I will also be sharing random stories about my childhood etc. Like I owe you the Thanksgiving story and how I didn't celebrate it until I was older. I just have to get motivated because like I said before, I am lazy and have to force myself to share!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thanks

Since I haven't really figured out how to personally email everyone, I wanted to blog a thank you to all who came by and wished me a Happy Birthday. I really appreciated it. And thanks to all of you who keep coming back and reading my random willy-nillyness!

Friday, February 6, 2009

I AM OLD

Okay today is my birthday and I am 45. I'm getting old. Where the hell does the time go?

Oh Grit(s)

Okay like I said before, I am a city girl born and raised in LA and not Louisiana but the City of Angels. My parents are from Costa Rica and the first place in the south I ever lived was Miami and we all know that Miami is not the south but it's own little country. Don't get me wrong I loved Miami! But it's not the South.

Well for some unknown reason, I have always wanted to live in the south. I suspect that I, in a previous life, was a southern belle. The first time I drove through the south was when I moved to Miami. I loved it. Then we traveled around the south when we traveled to see Tom's family. And again I loved it. The first time I landed in Charleston, SC, I knew it was there that I wanted to live. Now it hasn't happened but if I ever win that lottery, I am so there in one of those big fancy southern houses with the porches and willow trees.

I never had Southern food growing up but the first time I tried collard greens and fried green tomatoes, I fell in love. I am crazy about the food and that includes grits. So now that I live in the South, well as far north as the south is. Hell, it is N. Carolina, I have been appreciating the food even more. I have mastered fried chicken but I am in desperate need of a fryer to do it justice. I am iffy on collard greens but I can buy them canned (OMG, I know blasphemy) and they are delish. Now I could never ever buy collard greens in a can in LA, Santa Fe or Miami! I tried fried green tomatoes and they were good. SO yesterday I found a box of grits I had bought and said hell I will make these today.

I never did before because I remembered the first time Tom tried them, he didn't like them. I think it was a texture thing. And I think it takes some getting used to but I plowed on and thought well if he doesn't like them oh well. So I make the cheese grits and my god they were heaven!!! Heaven, I say. They were creamy and the cheese gave them a great cheesy taste. SO I give Tom some and he actually liked them. He said he would eat them again. So now I am making sure that grits become a part of our meals. My next attempt will be Shrimp & Grits. I saw a great recipe on the Tyler Florence show and also Paula Deen made a great dish as well. Tom had no idea about Shrimp & grits so I will have to show him.

I think I love grits because the texture reminds me of the masa (dough) that we use to make tamales. And I remember when I was little I would love eating just the masa. In fact, my mom made me special tamales with just masa, rice and meat. Nothing else. Now that sounds like regular Mexican tamales but Costa Rican tamales require a lot of stuff and I hated it. Costa RIcans add meat, raisins, prunes, olives, carrots, red pepper, peas and other stuff. While tasty, I thought all the filling took away the taste of the masa.

So here I am a big city hispanic girl making grits! And making bread and trying to cook pies. This summer I will be canning. I've come a long way.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wow Blogging is Hard Work

I forget that I have a blog sometimes and then remember when I get a nice comment from someone who has found me.

So I will try to write but sometimes I get busy and can't.

It is nice to write stuff down though and tell stories about my life. I might have to start a list of topics to discuss or do one of those 25 random things about me posts. There are a lot of random things about me. :)

But I go and lurk around others blogs and they write all the time and I envy that. I guess you just have to make that commitment to write every day and try to be funny or interesting. When and if I figure out how to post pictures, I will. I just haven't figured all this out.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's snowing

I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with snow. I grew up in California and it only snowed once while I lived there. And it was like the world was ending because it never happens. Well it does but in the mountains. We would go to the snow but I had never seen snow fall.

Then I went away to college and lived in Florida. Well, enough said.

The first time I saw snow fall was in Cleveland, OH while we were visiting Tom's family. It was beautiful and cold and I loved how it blanketed the landscape but on the other hand it was slippery and dirty after a few days.

When we lived in State College, PA, we only spent one winter there and it snowed but I think I tried to block that out of my head so I don't remember it all that well. It's weird.

Then we moved to Santa Fe and it snowed there. Not a lot of enough. I have a tiny little car and I had to drive in the smow once and it was horrible. The car is so light that it had no traction and I slid out. Nothing happened but it was scary. Luckily my co-worker and friend, KJ lived close by and she would give me a ride to and from work anytime it snowed!! So there was only a few more times I had to drive in the snow. I would drive like 2 miles an hour, white knuckled and never blinking. I can't get used to it. It scare the beejesus out me. Now in NC where we live it has snowed every so often and it is snowing today. Luckily, I have no where to go.

But I love the snow because it's like a white wash on the landscape and it is beautiful as it falls. It floats and spins and it makes me happy to watch it fall. I think we won't have any stick today and it might tonight but who knows. It's weird here. We are in the mountains close to TN but it seems to snow more in Asheville than here. I am sure we will wake up to snow on the ground tomorrow and again I will be stuck in the house but that's okay. Poor Tom has to go to work but he grew up in Cleveland so he is used to it.

But now I am happy to see the white flakes outside my window covering the year and disappearing into the river that runs in front of our house. There is something so peaceful about snow falling.