Archives for September 2013

Where The Deer And The Antelope Play In Architecturally Pleasing Habitats

I need to talk a little bit about the eggs.

And I know. We just wrapped up a discussion about pork chops. But I just finished my weekly grocery trip, and I have a few thoughts.

Perhaps I should explain.

When I was growing up, eggs were just eggs. They came in a styrofoam carton that said something persuasive like “EGGS” on the top of it. Or maybe even “Winn-Dixie EGGS.” “Borden EGGS.” Etc. and so on and so forth.

But today, when I was doing my shopping, it occurred to me that I now know more about the eggs I eat than I know about the cashier who checks me out in the grocery store. For example, here is the brand I buy the most:

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I don’t know. I just feel like that’s a lot of information about an egg. I also worry that the egg might feel an unintended sense of pressure since it’s an “excellent” source of three vitamins and only a “good” source of a couple of others. Regardless, it’s like at some point egg distributors decided that eggs need to be overachievers, and by diggity they’re going to herald their merits right there on the carton. Because their eggs don’t just have vitamins and less fat. THEIR EGGS WON AN AWARD FOR SUPERIOR TASTE, PEOPLE.

And listen. Don’t even ask me how or why I started buying the fancy eggs. It’s just that one day I looked over at the regular Publix eggs, and I thought, “Well, these other eggs seem like they must be way more healthy. THEY WON AN AWARD.” And then suddenly I felt like a bad wife and mama because I wasn’t providing my family with the best possible eggs (well, at least the best of the non-organic eggs) – at which point I felt a tiny bit angry because since when did buying eggs become such a stressful proposition? I mean, do you how lots of mamas managed grocery shopping when I was a little kid? They threw their purchases in the cart all devil-may-care like while they visited with other shoppers and their kids ran around the store barefooted. Then the mamas paid at the register, collected their S&H green stamps, asked the five year-old to hold the two-year old in the front seat, and smoked with the windows rolled up all the way home.

All I’m saying is that, as a general rule, detailed nutritional information about eggs was not a source of maternal stress in the 1970s.

So.

Today I picked up a carton of our “normal” eggs (and I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but THEY’VE WON AN AWARD), and I just happened to look at the shelf right above the Eggland’s Best. I never really pay attention to the little cartons of six eggs since I usually buy an 18-egg carton, but a logo caught my eye.

And the closer I looked, the more I was seized by yet another episode of Egg-Related Insecurity.

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I mean, first of all, clearly the chickens that make these eggs are VERY special. They’re cage free, and they live in “sunlit barns and porches.” They not only roam relatively freely; they roam under the cover of natural light, my friends. And next, just look at the nutritional stuff: selenium (no idea what that is), lutein and zea (no idea), not to mention the beloved choline (no idea). Furthermore, each egg has more than double the amount of Omega-3 that’s in the eggs we eat, and it’s actually Omega-3S, a fatty acid improvement that I’m guessing is the handiwork of an intrepid team of designers at Apple.

(By the way, today’s egg experiences have reminded me of this Portlandia video; it cracks me up every single time I watch.)

So I don’t know what’s next. Maybe I’ll switch to organic eggs. Maybe I’ll start buying The Country Hen. Maybe I’ll try to find a local source for eggs (I just watched all six minutes of this video, by the way, and I think what bothers me the most is how utterly fascinated I am by the comparison). Or, who knows? Maybe I’ll go buy some chickens of my own and build them beautiful (SUNLIT!) barns and porches.

The possibilities are endless.

It’s a very eggsciting time.

(I’m so sorry.)

(I couldn’t resist.)

(It was just too easy.)

The Most Disappointing Meat

Before I go to the grocery store every week, I usually try to make out a quick menu based on whatever’s on sale in the meat department. I would love to tell you that it’s because I’m so frugal and thrifty, but the reality is that I choose this approach because I get tired of trying to figure out what to cook. A couple of years ago I figured out that I can just use the weekly ad like a cookbook, and in that sense it’s like Publix makes my meat selections for me. I look to see what meat is on sale, I figure out what I can make with the sale items, and then I make my grocery list. It’s a lovely system.

The only problem – and please know that I am most certainly using the word “problem” in a suburban, first-world context – is that sometimes the on-sale meats are not our favorites. I have managed to navigate our recent anti-chicken crisis by butterflying the chicken breasts (they cook more evenly when they aren’t so thick), so we’re finally all good on the chicken front. The problem, however, is that we’ve recently become iffy about the pork chop. I can’t explain why; it’s just that the last few times I’ve cooked them, I’ve finished supper and thought, “Well, that was pretty much devoid of any flavor whatsoever. Except salt.”

So this past week, pork chops were on sale at Publix. I went back and forth about whether I should add them to my list, but after several minutes of feeling utterly ridiculous because, well, LIGHTEN UP, GLADYS, IT’S A PORK CHOP, I decided that I’d buy some and let them marinate for a day or so. I convinced myself that they’d be overflowing with flavor, that they’d be delicious and tender and the envy of all the other meats. I was happy to have a plan.

Well.

Night before last I covered the pork chops in a chipotle / lime marinade that I’ve also used on chicken. I was fired up. BRING ON THE TASTY. Yesterday afternoon I heated up my favorite skillet, added some olive oil and butter, then seared the pork chops really well on each side before I finished cooking them in the oven. They smelled great, and I was hopeful that we were about to have a pork chop breakthrough.

After we sat down for supper, I cut off a bite of pork chop and prepared myself for A FLAVOR EXPLOSION. But y’all, that pork chop was as bland as the plastic cup of water that’s sitting next to me right now. Except that it wasn’t nearly as refreshing. And after I took a couple of seconds to process the fact that NOT EVEN THE CHIPOTLE COULD SAVE IT, I looked at my husband and said, “Well. I certainly hope you enjoy this bland piece of meat that I have so lovingly prepared for you.”

He took a bite, grinned, and as he pointed as his pork chop, he said, “So. How is it that the animal that gives us something as delicious as bacon also gives us this?”

That is the truth, isn’t it?

So anyway. As for me and my house, we have decided that the pork chop is our least favorite of all the meats. Ham is a close second. And certainly this realization has made us even more appreciative of the bacon. Because the pigs aren’t really working out for us in other meat-related ventures.

And for lo, all these many reasons, the pork chop and I are going on an indefinite break. Sort of like Ross and Rachel in 1997, only without the fringe-y haircut and the assortment of mock short-sleeve turtlenecks from Gap.

What foods have taken a turn for you lately – and not for the better?

I’m Not Here Because I’m There

Hey y’all –

After I mentioned The Blacklist in yesterday’s post, I watched the first episode. And I think it’s safe to say that I am hooked.

I’m so hooked, in fact, that I wrote a post about it for Ree’s blog.

I know it’s early in the season, but I really do think that The Blacklist holds all sorts of promise. Provided, of course, that you’re into spy-ish stuff. And government-y intrigue. And whathaveyou.

Happy Wednesday!

These Things Have Very Little In Common

Well, I really intended to post something once I got home from dotMOM Sunday morning, but after I grabbed the computer and sat down in a comfy chair and then fell asleep sitting straight up, there really wasn’t any time to blog. What with me being unable to stay awake and all.

But the tired was totally worth it. dotMOM Chattanooga was loads of fun – three days filled with wonderful people and great teaching and laughs-o-plenty. I always leave dotMOM feeling encouraged to be a better wife, mama, and friend, and I’m still thinking about so much of what I learned this past weekend. So thumbs up on that front.

Anyhoo.

I slept for a good chunk of Sunday afternoon, and I finally made myself get up to go to church at 6 o’clock. That isn’t nearly as noble as it sounds; I just knew that if I stayed in the bed for even one more minute I was going to find myself wide awake at midnight and then possibly watching a Netflix marathon of Parenthood until it was time to go to work the next morning.

So church it was.

I’m so glad I went, because I would’ve hated to miss our pastor’s beautiful (and also convicting) sermon about love. It’s well worth a listen if you get a chance.

All righty. Here’s a great big helping of unrelated information. You’re so welcome.

– We recorded the new show The Blacklist last night. I am oddly excited about watching it later today because, well, James Spader. He makes everything better.

– Next year dotMOM will be in Nashville. Melanie and I are emceeing again, and we’d love to see you there. I know it’s a little early to mention a conference that’s a year away, but sometimes it’s handy if you can plan a weekend away from home well in advance.

– Melanie looked prettier than ever this past Saturday in Chattanooga. She wore a great sweater coat, a gorgeous turquoise necklace, and last but not least, she rocked the side bun. I don’t really have links for any of that, but I think she should do a side bun video tutorial, and maybe if I tell y’all, you’ll put the pressure on her.

– My hair doesn’t have a prayer for side bun success, by the way. It’s way too short. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t cheer on other women as they strive for side bun excellence.

– I still haven’t found my cream shirt and my black shirt. You can’t even imagine the degree of my crazy.

– There’s a saying in this post of Robin’s that would make a great free printable (with a link back to Robin’s blog, of course) on Pinterest. I would get right on that if I had any design skills at all. But alas, no.

– Several people have told me that Lime Wheat Thins are now a real-live thing. I AM SO INTRIGUED. However comma I have not been able to find them in my local stores. Have any of you tried them?

– I reckon that’s enough unrelated info for one day. Except that I’m currently listening to Amy Grant’s Lead Me On album, and “Faithless Heart” is way deeper than I realized when I was a teenager. It’s been quite the revelation.

Happy Tuesday, everybody.

I Feel Certain I Could Find Them If I Remembered Where I Put Them

Usually I try to be pretty organized when I pack for a trip. I don’t like feeling flustered or digging through my closet or slinging a bunch of stuff in a tote bag at the last minute, so I try to plan, wash, fold, etc. a few days before my departure date. I don’t have the process whittled down to a science or anything like that, but generally I am efficient. Methodical. Unhurried.

But then there was last night.

HAVE MERCY.

All I can figure is that it was a perfect packing storm.

I had a hair appointment late yesterday afternoon, so I knew that I was going to lose some premium packing and planning time. But hair is worth it (hallelujah), and after I finished at the hair place, I decided that I might as well go ahead and get a pedicure. By the time I left the nail salon, it was after 7. I was home by about 7:15, at which point I ate some supper, caught up with my husband, got the boy to bed, and started gathering up clothes that I thought I might want to take to Chattanooga (for dotMOM, by the way – that’s probably a helpful piece of info). It seemed like my clothes were scattered all over the house – some in the laundry room, some in the dirty clothes, some in my closet, some in the clean clothes pile in the guest room – so for about three hours, I walked from room to room, picking up a tank top here and some jeans there and a pair of socks from somewhere else.

By 10:30 my suitcase looked like I was headed to a destination where the primary fashion requirements were a couple of well-worn Life Is Good t-shirts, some yoga pants, jeans, and approximately 84 pairs of earrings.

Just doing my part to keep things sassy, you understand.

Somewhere in the middle of all my inefficiency I thought about a cream-colored top that is great for layering, and I decided that my life would be incomplete if said top didn’t make the trip to Chattanooga. So I looked in my closet – didn’t see it. Looked in the laundry room. Didn’t see it. Looked in the laundry basket. Didn’t see it. Looked in the suitcase to see if I’d packed it for a previous trip and somehow put it in one of the zippered pockets. Didn’t see it. Looked in the closet again. Didn’t see it.

Well. By that point the hunt for the cream-colored shirt had become a full-blown quest. Forget that I needed to wrap up the packing process: clearly my primary mission in life was to FIND THAT SHIRT. So I looked and looked. Then I looked some more. There were about thirty seconds when I forgot about the cream shirt because I remembered that I could also use a black ruffled shirt for the same layering purposes, but then a horrifying thought occurred to me: I DON’T KNOW WHERE THE BLACK SHIRT IS, EITHER.

Oh. It was a festival of crazy.

Long story endless, I spent about two hours trying to find those two shirts. And I never did find either one of them. I don’t know if I left them somewhere, if I put them away in a place where they don’t normally go, if they’re crumpled and lonely at the bottom of a carry-on bag. But I could not find them, and I still haven’t found them. Which doesn’t drive me crazy AT ALL.

It was after 1 when I finally went to sleep, and when my alarm went off at its usual time this morning, I thought for a split second that I’d been unknowingly transported to Thailand. Apparently the iPhone software update created some new settings, and I’ve never heard such an array of Far Eastern chimes in my life. I mean, I appreciate that there are all sorts of new alerts and ring tones, but that new alarm tone was a little disconcerting. Because CHIMES.

However.

I eventually finished packing my suitcase, and I made it to Chattanooga this afternoon, GLORY BE. I’m mighty happy to be here, and after spending time with some sweet friends tonight, I am ready to get some good sleep and hit the ground running tomorrow. With or without the layering options that those two missing shirts would provide.

I’M SURE IT’LL ALL BE FINE.

I’ve almost stopped twitching and everything.

And if you’re at dotMOM this weekend, just know that I’ll be the person who’s trying to figure out how to operate her newly updated phone while wearing shirts that are most definitely not cream or black. Because I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I STILL CAN’T FIND THEM.

(I’m totally over it, by the way.)

(Or at least I will be by tomorrow.)

(Promise.)

Can’t wait to see some of you here in Chattanooga – it’s gonna be good times, y’all!

A Few Favorites

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post about random things I’m enjoying, so I thought tonight seemed like a fine time to pull together a little list. Considering that I didn’t get supper on the table until about an hour later than usual (pre-heated grill, put chicken on grill, went outside to flip chicken, grill was out of gas, moved chicken indoors, located big skillet, etc.), and since for some reason falling behind schedule made me very rattled and jumpy and whathaveyou, I’m hoping this little list-o-favorites will provide a SERENITY NOW moment.

Listen. Every so often a good list can soothe and comfort me. I believe that’s what you call AN ILLUSION OF CONTROL.

NARS Pressed Powder in Flesh

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I bought this powder on a whim this past February, and I’ve used it ever since. Now granted, it’s a little pricey, but it’s my all-time favorite. It’s great over foundation, over tinted moisturizer, or on its own, and if you like a matte (but not thick) finish, you’ll love it, too.

“Call Home” by Noah Guthrie

Noah’s mom Lori has been commenting (and making me laugh) since the early days of this here blog. Last year Lori told me that her son had recorded some music videos for YouTube, and I decided to check them out because, well, I am one nosy individual. At the time Noah was covering songs by other artists, and since I love me a good cover, I was FASCINATED by his talent. Apparently other people were, too, because Noah actually released a studio album last month, and his first single is fantastic. See (and hear) for yourself.

“The Delta 101” by Julia Reed

It’s no secret that I’m wildly sentimental about my home state of Mississippi, and over the last six or so months it seems like I’ve had an inordinate number of conversations about the Mississippi Delta. I’m not from the Delta, but I’ve long been fascinated by it. It’s difficult to explain to people who have never seen or experienced it in person, and that’s one reason why I so appreciate this article by Julia Reed. It’s beautifully written, and it perfectly captures a place that’s quite the character in its own right.

Paradise Valley by John Mayer

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So yeah. Still obsessed with this one.

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara

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I know. I have a new favorite mascara every two months. But I really, really like the brush on this one. And it doesn’t clump at all. And it is EIGHT DOLLARS AND NINETY NINE CENTS.

Wusthof Gourmet Hollow-Edge Santoku Knife, 7″

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My fellas gave me this knife a couple of years ago, and I adore it. I feel certain that I look at it lovingly when I’m chopping or slicing or dicing whatever happens to be on the menu. It is hands-down my favorite kitchen tool, and I use it every single day of my life. I used to think it was ridiculous to spend more than $25 on a knife, but I HAVE LEARNED THE ERROR OF MY WAYS. This knife is a treasure. Whither thou goest, etc.

“Grace” by Beth Moore

If you participated in the Living Proof Live simulcast this past Saturday, you probably remember that Beth read something she’d written about grace at the end of the second session (at least I think it was the second session). I was trying to soak up every word as she read it, and I even thought about trying to write it down, but there just wasn’t time. Well, fortunately for all of us, Beth posted it on her blog today, and it is every bit as gorgeous as I remember. As my friend Elise would say: “if that don’t light your fire, your wood’s wet.” So, so good.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!