...because everything is funny when it's happening to someone else!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tank Does Dollywood

I never did update after our trip to Tennessee.  I was worried that Dollywood would disappoint, but it did not.

For an amusement park, it's really not bad!  Clean, safe and well-run, we found the park to be a lot of fun.  The other patrons were polite and waiting in lines wasn't unpleasant at all.  (I'm too tired to do it, but just assume there's a snarky remark here about the jackasses at Six Flags Over Georgia)

Tankie rode his first rollercoaster, Blazing Fury, and got a bit unnerved.  Ever the Tankster, he didn't miss a beat before requesting to ride it again.  Shawn was thrilled to see him tackling his fear head-on.

Didn't take many photos, as we wanted to ride the water rides and I left the backpack in one of the lockers.  Here's a pic of Tankie looking longingly at the toy cars in one of the shops:

And here he is, enjoying his first ice cream cone.  Apparently, ice cream makes you nutso.

So, a great time was had by all and it was a good introduction for Tank into the world of thrill rides.  We'll definitely go back.

Note:  Shawn wants it noted that he questions the logic of putting an all-you-can-eat country buffet in a theme park.  The good news is, nobody hurled.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My arch-nemesis, Betty Crocker

So, it's Memorial Day weekend, here on Gilligan's Island.  We're going to the house of some friends across the street for dinner tomorrow and I volunteered to bring a dessert.

Those of you who know me, are laughing right now.

It's not that I can't cook, per se.  It's just that I don't.  And when I do try, strange things happen.  I've had accomplished culinary artists provide me with a "foolproof recipe", supervise my every move and be rendered speechless by the ensuing tragedy.  It would be funny except that I am hungry.

When we were waiting and hoping for a child, people didn't ask what we'd name a son or daughter, but what we'd feed them. 

I do manage to keep us all alive, but it's usually only because I rely heavily on processed and pre-packaged foods.  I'm working on that, but two jobs and two houses and an active little dude all add up to me not having a ton of time to LEARN how to cook.  As I explained to my sister, the Farm Maven, I don't have a repertoire of recipes available to me.  There was silence on her end of the line as she digested this news.

Then, always the Fixer, she began to recite a "foolproof and easy" recipe for a dessert that I could take over to our friends' tomorrow.  After the seventh ingredient, my eyes rolled back in my head and I started looking at the tubs of cookie dough at Kroger.  Seriously...who has the TIME?!

But, in Country Living this month, there was an easy-peasy recipe for petit-fours.  THREE ingredients:  pound cake purchased from the grocery store, confectioner's sugar and water.  I CAN DO THAT, I thought to myself!  AND IT WILL BE SO PRETTY, JUST LIKE THE MAGAZINE PHOTO!

Damn you, Country Living, you deceitful wench!

First of all,  in order to pour the icing over the cake, I needed cooling racks to set the cakes on.  I do have them, I swear...but they're at the Taj MaHell.  Not wanting to buy something I already had and DEFINITELY not wanting to go to the store on the Saturday before Memorial Day in a seaside community...I improvised.

With spaghetti noodles.

(Hey, it actually worked.  Don't be a hater)

So, cooling rack dilemma solved, I got started.  My next disaster  minor setback was that the ratio in the recipe was all wrong.  Two cups sifted confectioner's sugar and four tablespoons water does NOT make a "60-second frosting."  It makes a six-hour hot mess.


I kept adding more and more sugar until it finally reached a consistency somewhere between snot and cement.  As you can see, it didn't neatly cascade down the cakes, but instead just made a couple of uneven streaks and called it a day.

I sliced up TWO poundcakes and used so much sugar that I only got about a third of the dang things glazed before I ran out.  So, I DID have to go to the stupid store on the Saturday before Memorial Day, in a seaside community.  Tank was a good sport and went along for the ride, which was good because...like he had a choice, right??

Since he was such a good boy, he was allowed to pick a Matchbox car as a prize.  I believe he chose most wisely:

A Hong Kong Phooey car.  Awesome on a number of levels.

Sadly, the awesomeness ends right there.  The petit-fours experiment was abandoned and all the Rhesus monkeys were set free, before more harm could come to them.

I've decided to take a no-bake pie tomorrow.

I know what you're thinking...no way she can eff that up.



The Farm Maven read the above and had this to say:  "Well, if nothing else, you can be proud that you've managed to somehow reach this point in your life without actually learning to cook."

We celebrate the small victories here, folks.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Before You Gorge on Burgers

It's Memorial Day weekend--woooohooooo!

Before you get all crazy with the baked beans and potato salad, humor me a bit and give a look to this video. 

And here's your quick history lesson to get you started:
Pretty much every country has a memorial to unknown/unidentified fallen soldiers.  The main one in the US is the Tomb of the Unknowns/Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery--either name is fine, as it has never been officially named. 

Quick factoid:  Arlington is built on property once owned by the family of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  What else was built on land once held by his family?  Well, I'll give you a hint:  it's just outside of Washington DC and was named for the family's old homeplace in England...Langley.  (If you're not a spy geek, Langley, VA is the home of CIA headquarters.)

The Tomb of the Unknowns holds the remains of a WWI soldier killed in France, who was not identified and whose remains are unlikely ever to be identified.  It is a memorial to all soldiers whose remains have not been identified and returned to the family for proper burial.  The last line of the inscription on the Tomb reads "Known But to God."  Other remains were added later, to represent the fallen in later wars.

Since 1937, the Tomb has been guarded 24/7/365.  During inclement weather, during a hurricane of all things, the soldiers guarding the Tomb have refused to leave their post and to take cover. 

It is the highest honor to serve as a Sentinel at the Tomb.  Sentinels are selected from the ranks of the 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and undergo rigorous training.  The Sentinel does not wear any indicator of rank, so that he does not outrank the Unknown, whatever his rank had been.

Tourists flock to see the Changing of the Guard...a wonderfully precise military exercise that's well worth your time if you happen to be in the DC area.

So, here's your video link.  This is 9 minutes long...but if you can't dedicate 9 minutes of your life to someone who fought and died for it (guilt, much?)....skip to about 4:30 to get past the inspection of the Sentinels.  Contrary to some smart-ass remarks you'll hear, it is not disrespectful for the Sentinel to wear the sunglasses; the glare off the marble is so intense, he could not see otherwise and he DOES have duties other than just marchng back and forth in front of the tomb.  Sadly, it's his job also to keep punk-ass individuals from defacing or damaging the Tomb, or just in general acting disrespectfully.

So, without further ado-be-do-be-do, here's the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Now, go have a great weekend!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Headlines Make Me Gassy

So, I'm reading the news online and a headline grabs my attention:  "Man Has Trouble Paying Child Support For 30 Kids."  Seems this THIRTY-THREE YEAR OLD man has 30 children by 11 different women and...hold on to your hats, folks...he can't manage to pay child support on his minimum wage.  I'm not making this up!

Hey, I've got a idea...give me two #2 pencils and a rubber band.  We can stop him at 30.

And then I read an update on the Univeristy of West Georgia grad student who's battling necrotizing fascitis (flesh-eating bacteria).  This young woman is extremely sick and just learned that not only has she lost one leg to the hip, but she will lose both hands and her other foot.  Her response?  "Let's get it done."  I am just amazed at her resilience.  I find it hard to believe that I would find anywhere near that level of strength, if I were in her situation.  What an inspiration.  And you know the really sad thing?  I bet she doesn't end up with 30 kids.  She would probably do a good job of it; teach them perseverance, determination, the value of education.  Oh, heavens no, we can't have THOSE kind of people procreating!

Who'm I kidding?  No grad student can afford kids....they have to go get a job and get taxed at damn near 50% of their earnings to support the 30 kids the other guy has.   Between Shawn and me, we have four jobs (1 full time and 3 part time)...and we can comfortably provide for probably two kids, max. 

Man. If only I didn't work...then maybe I could afford more kids!

Can you tell I'm in a MOOD?

Well, that's what happens when I stop posting for a long time.  All the angst gets built up inside until I either get a big pimple on my chin or a gas attack.  It's really best that I vent my angsty opinions regularly.  And by "best", I mean for me.

We're at the Taj, but just for tonight.  Heading up to the mountains tomorrow to take Tankie to Dollywood.  I have only been once, the summer before he was born, but I remember being astounded at how clean the place was and how I didn't have to spend the whole day looking at random strangers' underpants sticking up out of their droopy-ass pants.  And no little punk-a thugs were spitting in the water that gets recycled up for shooting at the people on the water rides (big shout-out there to Six Flags Over Atlanta--The Nastiest Place on Earth!).  I'd forgotten how nice life can be when nobody's pissing you off every 30 seconds.   For the sake of all the innocent Tennesseans, please pray fervently that Dollywood hasn't gone thuggy.  I am a hair's breadth from going off on somebody for breathing too loud.

No new projects here.  We came last weekend and worked in the yard and I snagged 2 twin beds off my SIL Bobbie...painted them white and now they're in Tank's room and he is happily snuggled into one of his Big Boy Beds!  I'll get a photo of those soon, once I clean up the massive chaos that I created when I rearranged all his furniture.

Well, that's it for now.  I'm ready to turn in for the night and gear up for the big Tank Goes to Dollywood adventure.

Hoping the Mood fairy passes by your house without dropping in...