Here, in New Orleans, I have what many neighbors (and a few homeless men) call a little City Farm and everyone wants a piece of
That makes me smile.
I’m happy to swap a few war stories while sharing the bounty.
If you have ever ‘read’ me (HERE- on the blog PERV) you know that I LOVELOVELOVE to grow things- and I’m
kinda good great at it.
But there was a learning curve.
I come from a Zone 6 and I’m now I’m in a Zone 9 ( and we all know that’s a hoot ’cause I’m really a 10 but the USDA Plant Hardiness people don’t know me-yet).
Up North, you set your seed by late May and harvest in September/October. That’s it. One growing season.
Down South, you set your seed any damn time you want to ’cause you can grow nearly all-year-long.
But, I need a break now and again, and I usually take it right about now- July/August.
Because it’s so freakin’ hot out my veggies and I are usually floating in the pool until sunset with a rum cocktail in our hands.
‘What to do? What to dooooo?’ you might ask.
Why, gather ye harvest while one still has full A/C and electrical service before the inevitable ‘brown-outs’ on our ancient grids (did I say that right?) that’s what!
And so I do.
And it is Good…
And the belly of the beast is filled.
Stuffed Blue Peppers
1 pound ground meat (it doesn’t matter what kind, or even a combination)
5 large red/ orange/ yellow peppers
1 large green pepper
1 small onion
1 whole egg & one additional egg yolk.
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon course ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
Your favorite tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350
Cut the tops off of the red peppers and core, removing all of the seeds and the tough inner ribs (There’s a joke here but I just can’t seem to put my hands on it- THERE it is). Put aside.
Core the green pepper and dice. Set aside.
Dice the onion. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together.
In a large bowl mix the ground meat with all of the dry and wet seasonings. Add the eggs. Mix well. Add the diced green pepper and onion. Fold in the blue cheese.Combine but don’t over mix, or the meat won’t be as fork tender as it should be. (Am I right Ladies?)
Stuff the peppers to the top- with your hands. Don’t be afraid.
Place the stuffed peppers in a shallow baking dish, cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil top and continue to bake another 15-20 minutes.
Before serving, drizzle with your favorite tomato sauce and sprinkle with a few more crumbles of blue cheese because your awesome.
Wherever I travel I try to discover how the region truly plays-out their lives: how they work, what are they proud of, in what are they housed, what are the community routines, what do they eat, where are the bars?
You get my point.
When I was a child, the lines between the three divisions of ‘lifestyles’: Urban, Suburban,
Rural Country, were very clear.
Sooty, crowded, vibrant, anything-might-happen, Saks Fifth Avenue CITY verses tar & chip, 1/2 acre plots, cookie-cutter post WWII housing SUBURBAN verses clean air, wheat fields, dirt roads, Biker bar COUNTRY.
Very easy. Life was d-e-l-i-n-e-a-t-e-d.
The COUNTRY fed the SUBURBAN and CITY.
The SUBURBAN supplied the workforce for the CITY.
And the CITY was where you went to go Christmas shopping, and cheat on your wife.
Living was clear to me.
As a child of the SUBURBS I moved easily between my neighbors to each side, having a true knack for milking cows while draped in my mother’s fur coat.
Let’s just say I was always ready for whatever the day brought.
And the other day (while cruising Columbus, Ohio, assisting the Princess on her search for
affordable appropriate housing as she enters Veterinary School at Ohio State), I was ready to delight in the fusion of disparate cultures that is now the norm: Move over boring, super-sized, asphalt gorged, crumbling, sliced bread, my-way-or-the-highway communities. There’s more RURAL goodness in the CITY then there’s ever been…
And Suburbs suck.
59 Spruce St.
A public market, home to dozens of independent local food
Perogies, Brats and Kraut.
I Love the Polish!
Fresh Baked Bread- on premises- which is THE only way to have it.
Decadent desserts- because they SHOULD be.
Does anyone grow chocolate apples?
It is with tear-stained cheeks that I must announce that I will NOT be able to attend this year’s BlogHer14 in San Jose.
However, because I KNOW how excited all of you are that can attend, I thought I would re-post my re-cap from last year’s BlogHer13 in Chicago- ’cause ya never know what you might learn….
I have returned hunched over, hungover, and happy.
I have returned with a slew of new friends, a shitload of swag, and a pocket full of ‘contacts’.
Because I know you all tune-in to absorb my amazing words of wisdom, I’d like to share
Ten Things I Learned
While Interacting With Five Thousand Women
Under A Single Roof.
(Note: I hate lists, but the bloggerverse LOVES them and one of the things I learned was do as the bloggervere says. Sometimes. Sorta like when your mother told you to keep your legs crossed. Like that kinda ‘sometimes’).
So put down your kid. Lock yourself in the car, and listen up.
1. Even though it is widely believed by Americans that yoga pants, a Jimmy Buffet tee-shirt, and neon running shoes are appropriate dress for almost any situation- they are not. Dressing for Success is still an intelligent alternative to being invisible. I’m not talking about wearing a big orange hat (or anything that ridiculous), just maybe a little lipstick, and dry hair, and a bra. No one wants to see your girls getting off the escalator before your cross-trainers.
2. A smile is an excellent way to say ‘hello’ to anyone, and at my age, with the corners of my voluptuous lips turning down into the empty wallets of my jowls, if you have to freeze a facial expression of h-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s and c-o-m-e-h-i-t-h-e-r, do it. Or get a lift before you come. Come to think of it- get a lift in as many places as you can.
3. Find your Tribe, but don’t pigeon hole yourself into just one. Women friends come in many shades of lipstick.
4. Remember your reality when, at a keynote speaker address, most around you are applauding some absofrickinlutely crazy-ass-three second sound byte of impossible inspiration dripping off a seasoned conference pro with a book deal. Clap. Be polite. Don’t leave your brains at the conference.
5. Not everyone you LOVE on-line is going to be a ray of sunshine in person. Some are going to be younger, some older, some louder (blinking meekly), some shy, and to some, you will be invisible. Cut them all (and yourself) a break. This can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you haven’t been out of the house, or out from under diapers, in a few years.
6. Eat well and often. Food is provided. But if you can’t find the time, do not forget the benefits of liquid nutrition- especially if it’s white and chilled.
7. Feel free to NOT speak and listen. For the Love Of God- feel free to do this.
8. Try to ‘take-away’ something from every break-out session, even if the agenda has not been ironed out, rehearsed, coordinated, or is even on point. Seriously- how can you teach someone to write funny? Have you read this post? (I shoulda taken better notes).
9. Don’t be afraid to approach a wise women. We are very friendly.
And, finally, the big number 10, the most important thing of all…
10. Don’t forget who YOU are.
(of Menopause Monday’s)
celebrating Midlife freedom!
(among other things)
The year is 1911.
Picture a young boy: poor, hungry, ignored.
He travels with his sheepherder grandfather, tending the flock.
The young boy is required to take the animals up into the mountains of Oregon, for months on end, alone. Only a make-shift wagon with a canvas top pulled by a mule will be his shelter.
He has some beef jerky, a thermos, a hardwood cookstove, a kerosine lantern, and a few mystery books. A water stained adventure magazine is his favorite.
When he returns the livestock to low ground in the autumn of 1916, he packs a sack and jumps a ride on a train, down the coast to Los Angeles. HoBo style.
He joins the Merchant Marine, and travels, and dreams.
The boy feels the pull of learning, and working several odd jobs and sailoring during the summer months, he, somehow, affords his way through Stanford University.
In 1921, at age 25, he graduates from the College of Law, but will never practice. He has other ideas.
The memory of travel on the High Sea has set his rudder.
In the backyard of a small wood frame house in Los Angeles, the man builds ships. Land ships.
They have all the comforts of home: self contained clean water, cooking, refrigeration, sleeping quarters. Toilets.
They can easily be pulled from a the back of a car. And everyone has a car. They’re the new craze.
A grown man can stand erect within the confines of his own shiny ship. The captain of his own vessel.
People come from far and wide to see the ‘craft’.
He sells them as fast as he can build them- one at a time.
He publishes a small newsletter instructing fellow enthusiasts on how to build their own to accommodate the demand, but his followers would not only prefer he build them- they also want him to guide them in the adventure.
The man forges ahead, finding financing, hiring engineers, developing a manufacturing plant, and setting off on adventures around the world with his land craft. All the while, asking for others to join him.
And they did- to Egypt, Europe, India, as well as, the great American outdoors, which were all backscape for the Wally Byam Caravan Club International group of adventurers, and the making of an iconic American company that would become known as…
And my sister-n-law has one.
And my adventures with her are still unfolding.
With my brother-n-law, Ted Batchelor, holder of the Guinness Book, World record for Most People on Fire Simultaneously. I am NOT Kidding.
I have been on
hundreds millions of vacations.
Europe, South America, Central America, Islands all over the globe,
Canada the Moon, and our own Great Nation have hosted my adventures.
I have enjoyed cities, streams, mountains and majesty.
I am good at traveling.
I choose my clothes to do double duty. They are simple (in classic black/white/grey/brown) and separates that work for day and morph into evening with a touch of jewelry, or a colorful scarf. Shoes are easy- one pair of flats for traveling and city walking (if it’s summer) or Uggs (if it’s not), another pair of flats for either the beach or hiking, and a third for cocktails. Three total.
I always pack a water resistant parka, in a go-with-everything khaki color, that has many pockets and cinches at the waist (ala Katherine Hepburn), or wear my opera length faux fur (depending on the season and the agennnnda).
A collapsable umbrella is at the ready, as is a cross-body multi-sectioned Coach bag that can secret away all one’s necessities- like money, cell phone, passport, and cigarettes. Seriously- does one need anything else?
Reading material, sketch pad/notebook, retractable pens, cosmetics, and medications, are kept in carry-on. I do not travel with my laptop and have yet to purchase a tablet. When I’m ‘out’ I’m ‘OUT’- and I have been: OUT (of my mind it turns OUT).
So I was quite confident recently when I threw caution to the wind and waited until the morning of a flight to get-it-all-together.
Hahaaaaaaaaaaa I rock I’m a pro I rule I’m the best…………….idiot. (You have to hummmm that for total effect).
I forgot 1) CASH, 2) underwear, 3) to call the cat sitter, 4) my boarding passes, and, 5) my cell phone charger.
This is the #1 way to sabotage your vacation:
Here are some other gems…
Don’t assume, just because you’re going to the ‘outback’, you will be able to rent a car without a reservation. In fact, don’t assume there ARE cars. You may find yourself on the back of a pick-up truck, or a bus, which is the same thing in my mind.
Don’t assume that all people that live in the United States are capable of speaking English- even if they think they do. Turns out, purchasing a bag of groceries to accompany your arrival at a private residence, for say, $54.26, becomes…
‘Da bood in da bush lookin’ fine tis dayup.
Dat be fiffor we twa se cen.’
‘Holla sam. U beemers ook shut. U be traaaaaavlin?’
‘What? Traveling? Yes. Thank you. May I just see the
‘Fiffor we twa se cen. Seeeee.’
‘Here you are. Excuse me. I’m a foreigner.’
‘I got dat.’
‘No. Not, not really.’
Don’t assume that your cell phone provider has a ‘tower’ in the area. Be ready with a fist full of change to make land calls from a pay phone…. wait. There are none.
Don’t assume your financial institution isn’t watching you and thinking you are hacking your own account because you are attempting to remove funds from a thus far undiscovered third-world country within the lower Forty-eight. Sometimes calling ahead to notify the bank you will be in Ohio is a good idea. You may have to s-p-e-l-l it.
Don’t assume there are gasoline filling stations along your route, or you may be turning into a rock quarry business on route WherethefuckamI (with a private stash of petrol) and a toothless wonder that drives a hard bargain. Thank God Starbucks has a shop on the corner of every American farm field. I now deliver.
Don’t assume that just because you are in the bread basket of America, where the fields are overflowing with produce and amber waves of grain, that fresh salads are on anyone’s menu. Or that there’s fresh bread. Or a hand-woven basket- anywhere. Starbucks, yes (see above), Walmart, yes. Dollar Store, yes. Fresh lettuce? Not so much.
Don’t assume anything makes sense. Especially traffic lights- in the middle of Nowherewhyisthisevenhere crossroads.
Dont assume there isn’t a sheriff deputy waiting for a city chick to move through that Nowherewhyisthisevenhere traffic light after idling for two minutes on the outskirts of
bumfuckchina his lovely country town.
Don’t assume all sheriff deputies are men.
And, do not assume the people you are visiting are going to stop their life to
pick you up after your rental car is impounded because you can’t prove you have auto insurance because you didn’t take the time to plan and pack for your trip which included not having your insurance card on your person accompany you as you retrace your youthful steps.
Which is fine, because I had a fine day, all by my lonesome, walking the grounds of those that came before me…
and planned better.
The Ladies Friend
A Retail Shop in Historic Burton Village, OHIO
The Law House
Historic Burton Village, OHIO
The Auburn Church
Historic Burton Village, OHIO
The Boughton House
Historic Burton Village, OHIO
The Shanower Library
Historic Burton Village, OHIO