Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Try It Out Tuesday"

This has absolutely nothing to do with reading or with writing, but my family is engaging on a little adventure, and I thought it might be fun to write about it. With school starting up, I made my annual resolution to make a menu since knowing what to cook for supper each night really helps to eliminate stress (and also cuts down on the grocery bill, and cuts down on the amount of food growing fuzzy white or black or green stuff in my refrigerator!). While I was writing out the first menu, I seemed to be planning for the same stuff as always. I was looking through a cookbook for a recipe and saw a picture of a Crab Louis Salad. "That looks good," I thought, then, "Why don't I make that?" And thus was born the idea for "Try It Out Tuesday."

Every Tuesday night this school year, we are going to try some entirely new recipe that we've never eaten before. My hope is to get some things I can add to the menu rotation -- and to experience some interesting new tastes. Last week, I did make the Crab Louis Salad (with imitation crab, of course - this IS Arkansas, after all). The guys in the family liked it really well; I was only so-so about it, but would eat it again. My daughter didn't eat hers at all.

Tonight we tried Irish Tacos, a recipe I found from an app on my phone (All Recipes Dinner Spinner). It was really simple to make, which is nice after a day at school. Basically, the taco is made of corned beef, coleslaw, and a simple yogurt sauce on a warmed tortilla. I used thin-sliced corned beef sandwich meat (I didn't want to invest in the $20 corned beef roast in case we didn't like it), which I cut into thin strips and warmed. The yogurt sauce called for fresh cilantro, which I think I would have liked in the dish, but I no longer have a cilantro plant thanks to the drought this summer. The sauce has a pretty aggressive taste on its own, and I was afraid at first that it would overpower the taco. However, when the three tastes were layered in the taco, they blended together nicely so that nothing was overpowering.

My husband and I both liked the tacos (of course, my husband is very easy to please; he claims it comes from growing up in a family of 12 children, lol). My son pronounced them "too sour"; my daughter took two bites and quit. I'm 0-for-2 with her on "Try It Out" night so far! Maybe I should have her pick next week's recipe....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Facing the "Ick" Factor

A few months ago, I read an interesting blog post on Frances Hunter's American Heroes Blog that talked about William Clark and his two wives (sequential, not concurrent, by the way). Clark met the girls who became his wives when they were tweens (11 and 14, to be specific) and he was "just past 30," according to the blog. He eventually married the younger of the girls, Julia Hancock, when he was 37 and she was 16. As the blog author said, "...we may recoil with a certain ick factor today...."

The book I just finished had a similar "ick factor."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oh, The Irony!

One thing I forgot while I was writing my sad little post about our missing dog last night - not all dog stories have sad endings! I should have remembered Lassie Come-Home, since I read (and loved) it when I was a kid. Tracy pulled a Lassie today, reappearing in the yard just as mysteriously as she disappeared. She's limping a little, and she really went after the food in her bowl, but otherwise, she seems absolutely normal.

How I wish she would pull a Martha (from Martha Speaks) so she could fill us in on where she's been! Did she follow our neighbor when he came to fix his fence Friday and get lost, spending the last three days wandering in the bottomlands along the creek? Was she dog-napped and only now managed to escape? Was she abducted by aliens and released after their examination of this earthly life form was complete? Was she being a drama queen who got jealous of our attention to the cats and ran away from home for a couple of days? Did she just need a little time alone? She's not saying, so I guess it will always be a mystery.

The biggest irony is, my daughter reported there's a new dog hanging around the place, and my husband said he saw a strange truck pass very slowly earlier in the evening. Probably someone has dumped an unwanted dog on us (again). So we are going to go from having no dog on the farm to having two (although maybe this dog will take up with one of our neighbors, hope, hope.....).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

If There's a Dog on the Cover, It Ends Sad

The title of this post is "advice" my son has given my daughter before about books. He is, of course, referring to books like Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows that just tear your heart out when the dog dies at the end. Well, this weekend, we had our own sad ending for our faithful dog of 13 years, Tracy.

When a dog gets to be that old, you know you won't have much more time with them. What's weird is that Tracy wasn't sick. She just disappeared Friday. She went for a walk with me Friday morning, but when we came home from a long day at band practice and uniform fittings, she wasn't there to greet us by trying to climb into the vehicle, as she normally does. We haven't seen her since. Because Tracy wasn't the type of dog to run around the neighborhood, we're pretty sure something has happened to her.

But what? As I said, she stayed around the yard most of the time. We checked the ditches up and down our country road, in case she might have wandered out to the road and been hit by a car - nothing. We looked in the horse pasture, because she had recently decided it's great fun to bark at the horse, who usually bucks and kicks in response. We thought maybe she was foolish enough to bark at him within kicking distance, but there was no sign of her. We wondered if maybe she went visiting our neighbor's little dog (who comes by pretty regularly), but he showed up today briefly, looking for her, I guess. She hadn't been sick, just a little arthritic in one hip. I guess it will always be a mystery. The sad thing is, we lost another dog last summer in almost the same fashion - she just disappeared.

So, in the best "dog story" fashion, here are a few words about Tracy. She came to us as a puppy from the local shelter, the only pet we've chosen for ourselves (all the other dogs we've had over the years were dumped off along our country road and chose us). As a puppy, she was a chewer - I remember she pulled a quilt off the clothesline once and tore a hole in it that I had to mend. When we got a second dog, she quit chewing on things and chewed on him instead. She was always curious, getting up from her comfortable "cool" spot even on these dreadfully hot days this summer to come with me to the clothesline or the barn. Many dogs get grumpy as they get older; Tracy seemed to get sweeter and more loving. She would "talk" to us by whining, especially to my husband, who I think was her favorite.

Several times already today, I've looked for her when I went outside. It's going to be lonely around here without her.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ok, I'll Play

There's a trending topic on Twitter today (I know, the second Twitter-inspired post in as many days) that is #bookswithalettermissing. The idea is to remove one letter from a book title and then give a one-sentence blurb of the reimagined work. There have been some funny ones. I can't resist! I love words and word games, so I went to my own book shelf and came up with the following:
The Itch of Blackbird Pond - An outbreak of hives cripples a small community
No Shame, No Ear - an unauthorized biography of Vincent Van Gogh
Lice in Love and War - a treatise on the impact of parasites in human history
The Log Winter - Tales from a lumber camp
Ever 1793 - Science-fiction time warp tale
Where the Lilies Loom - Another science-fiction tale set in a valley of overgrown vegetation
The First for Years - The romantic tale of a woman's return to dating

Ok, ok, I'll restrain myself! Can you come up with some?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Trouble with "Romance"

This tweet appeared in my Twitter feed today:
editrixanica Anica Mrose Rissi Do you repeatedly mention the color of a character's eyes, or oft remind us of a signature hairstyle or defining feature? Well, stop it.
I laughed when I read it, because it reminded me of something I kept thinking while I was reading a book at the beginning of July.