The deadline approaches. Don’t forget!
This week is chock-full of holidays. Really, take a look at the calendar. We’ve got:
Feb. 10 – Chinese New Year (Year of the Snake)
Feb. 12 – Fat Tuesday (last day of Mardi Gras)
Feb. 13 – Ash Wednesday
Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day
Giving each occasion its due with separate festivities can wear a person out. Unless, of course, you’re closer to age 20 than 40 – then you can probably handle that level of shenanigans. For those with lessening stamina but great enthusiasm, how about combining the best of each:
Chinese New Year
· Fireworks – Traditionally thought to scare away evil spirits. I could use them to scare away stupid people. Some of the folks I’ve been dealing with lately need to either quit being so stupid or leave me alone. I’m flexible. Either option works.
· Cleaning –It’s forbidden. The Chinese believe you’ll sweep your luck away. No housework. Who can’t get on board with that?
· King cake – The Feast of the Epiphany (12 days after Christmas) celebrates the wise men bringing gifts to the Christ child. Baking a cake for these sovereign chaps has long been the NOLA Christian thing to do. And with Mardi Gras officially starting 12 days after Christmas as well, this sweet, baby-bearing confection made of dough, sugar toppings and glittery sprinkles of purple, gold and green just makes sense. The saying goes “you can’t have a Mardi Gras party without a king cake.” And really, why would you want to try?
· Rich, fatty foods (I realize I’ve already won you over here) – Live large in preparation for Lenten fasting.
· Cocktails – Lest we forget. Pick your passion and raise an awfully full glass of everything from hurricanes and sazerac to bourbon milk punch.
Admittedly, a little less on the self-indulgent side but let us not forget that it is actually Catholicism from which the events of Mardi Gras and Carnival evolved.
· Mass - Good for the soul, if not also a convenient way to leave the office for lunch.
· Seafood - Justifies a nice dinner out, not fish sticks.
While the Man will dutifully buy me a token of affection and wait endlessly for a table at a chic restaurant my tolerance for this “holiday” is waning.” It just seems a trifle artificial to judge one’s relationship based on gifts and activities for a manufactured holiday. That said:
· Red – It’s a nice color. Especially for wine.
· Chocolate – Just can’t be beat, even for breakfast, but best if it’s British.
GongXi Fa Cai and Laissez les bons temps rouler.
Peter Roget, of Roget’s Thesaurus fame, was born on this day in 1779.
This resource of synonyms and antonyms for words is more than just a function of right clicking your mouse. No really. It’s a book. And it can help you avoid repetition in your writing.
- Cat (synonym): Kitty, kitty cat, kitten, feline, pussycat, poo-cat, housecat, felis catus.
- Cat (antonym): Dog; and all other lesser domesticated creatures.
Appreciate the value of the Thesaurus and browse one today.
Get organized now before the holidays are here!
No, I am not chauffeuring a group of British mothers around in my car during the first part of the week. Rather, I am now actively participating in the season of autumn.
Today I trekked to Johnson Farms to take advantage of the pre-season mum sale (4 for $20). My enthusiasm for bargain-priced fall foliage was met with curiosity from the staff. Curious to see if I could get all my blooming plants packed into the Mini. I’ll admit, the amount of mobile square footage I had available passed through my mind, but did not remain for long in my pre-frontal cortex – an area of the brain allegedly responsible for rational thought and judgement. Instead I picked out bushy multiples of four (required for the bargain price) with gusto and abandon. The moment of
loading reckoning was witnessed by two staff members and two other shoppers – all impressed with my accomplishment.
In a small way I was kind of surprised. But, it’s also rumored I once carted a palm plant home extended largely through my sun roof so I have experience with loading cargo. If only I could have gotten some corn stalks in there as well……
Autumn was also actively marked in our house by the baking of a fresh apple crisp. This one features Braeburn apples from Weston Red Barn Farm, picked with help from The Man himself as part of celebrating our annivesary. Tin is the traditional wedding gift for 10 years of marriage (yes folks, we’re at that milestone) and aluminum is the material for modern and contemporary couples. Maybe it counts if we eat with new silverware?
What are the things that mark the arrival of fall for you?
Some things were just meant to go together – chocolate and peanut butter, aspirin and hangovers, shoes and more shoes…..the list goes on. And then there is cheese.
Cheese and beer.
I know, you thought I was going to say wine. And believe me; I firmly back the combination of fermented fruit and a little bloomy rind, but this weekend I got to partake in two great KC tastes together: Green Dirt farm cheese and Boulevard Beer.
The culinary adventure began with my friend Pam and I barreling up north to the farm in Weston, Mo. No, make that “historic” Weston, Mo. Despite the furious speed of my Mini Cooper (which Pam thankfully ignored) we were cutting it kind of close. At one point the minutes were ticking away and there were no sheep or green dirt in sight. I was resigning myself to just turning in at a local winery and salvaging the rest of the day with a tasty blend of whatever was available.
Alas, no amount of road construction, threat of a monsoon, my general geographic dysfunction or lack of signage could keep us from our Cheese Appreciation tasting. Eventually we saw the scribble of a brown and white, skinny-legged sheep on a postcard by the ditch. That’s it! A quick u-turn and we made our way down a dirt road, another dirt road and eventually the rustic barn where the local delights were being served.
Fortunately the Boulevard Brewery buddies had a better sense of direction than I and had the drinks lined up to go along with the sheep’s milk cheese. We tried:
- Fresh Rosemary – a soft, tangy spread that was one of my favorites. Paired with Boss Tom’s Golden Bock.
- Bossa – a washed rind version known as a “stinky” cheese. Soft and easily eaten with a spoon, it came together with a fork and a few swallows of Saison-Brett ale.
- Prairie Breeze – a nutty hard cheese that was Pam’s favorite. Unfortunately, it was visiting from the Milton Creamery in Iowa so no purchases at the end. Solace was found with a pairing of Pale Ale.
- Other visiting cheeses included Walloon from Goatsbeard Farm in Harrisburg, Mo., and accompanied by Amber Ale, as well as Bloomsdale from Baetje Farms in Bloomsdale, Mo. And paired with the Doublewide IPA.
A worthwhile treat, indeed. I encourage ‘ewe to appreciate the cheese.
“How much for an order of ribs?”
This line kicks off one of the memorable dialogues from the blaxploitation parody movie, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. The conversation continues with Hammer (portrayed by Isaac Hayes) trying to order just one rib and a dime’s worth of soda.
So, how much for just one rib?
Turns out, the answer is $1.75 – at least at Schloegel’s Woodyard BBQ.
As a born again KC dweller, I’m making a genuine effort to check out the things I missed the first time around and really indulge in the things I already know. With The Man and two friends in tow, Woodyard BBQ ended up being one of the first items on the list.
First and foremost, they’ve got wood <insert raunchy joke> that is used by many locals and restaurants alike. According to the handwritten signs scattered among the stacks of wood chunks it appears they had apple, cherry, something akin to pinot (wine wood maybe??) and pecan – which is apparently considered the “pope” of woods <insert additional raunchy joke>. Fortunately for those who prefer to feast upon the culinary efforts of others, they also have a menu of ready-to-eat items.
Our friend Sean indulged in the one of the house specialties: Burnt End Chili.
While we applauded him for sampling the local flavor we were also glad none of us would be making the drive back to Springpatch with him that night. The rest of us took on a combination of pulled pork, brisket, smoked sausage, smoked turkey, burnt ends and ribs (but not just one). All, in all, pretty good BBQ with the brisket being my personal favorite. I find the best part to be sitting outside on picnic benches mere feet from the smoker. Not only were we surrounded by the succulent smell of smoked meats but we got an extra treat by sampling the chef’s smoked pork chops.
Do you follow the smoke?
I am more than annoyed today.
It’s been a long year. Glad to see it’s the final Friday for all of us. However, there is unfinished business. Here are some remaining mysteries of 2011 to ponder:
- What kind of animal is Gonzo supposed to be – or Goofy for that matter?
- Who are all these strangers requesting to friend me, follow me or get connected? Maybe I’m paranoid, but I’m beginning to think this is a hacker scheme.
- After a certain age does bread turn to dust or liquid? – ok, some of us already know this thanks to the boys at 701 Lois.
- What is it about a keyboard and monitor that attracts a cat so strongly it cannot be ignored?
- Where is Lou Ferrigno?
- When uploading documents via SharePoint why does it always ask if I want to continue? I’ve gone this far, why wouldn’t I go through with it?
- When Romans are not in Rome, do they still do as they always do?
- If you were to Wang Chung, what exactly would you be doing?
What else has left YOU puzzled this year?