Friday, April 30, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  And for me, it doesn't matter what time I get up, I have to have breakfast food.  Cereal, milk, eggs and bacon, pancakes or waffles, bacon, french toast, bacon.  Stuff like that.  Even if I stay up really, really late and then don't get up until 10 or 11 the next "morning" I can't just jump right into lunch.  I have to eat my breakfast!  Which is why, although it is already 11:30, I am eating a bowl of Raisin Nut Bran right now. 

You may be assuming that I stayed up really late or just decided I needed a WHOLE lot of sleep and that I've just woken up.  Not so!  I was up and about at a good hour this morning and have actually been quite productive.  Which I think is the problem.  Somehow or other, between making some important phone calls, mowing the yard and doing the weedeating, and showering, I managed to FORGET TO EAT BREAKFAST.  !!!  How does that happen?  I am NOT the type of girl who skips ANY meal, but most certainly not breakfast.  It's my favorite meal.  It's the only meal where it is perfectly acceptable to have an abundance of sugar and a complete absence of vegetables. 

I was just sitting here wondering why I was so incredibly hungry this early in the afternoon when it dawned on me that I had never eaten breakfast.  It's a wonder I was able to actually get the lawn mown with no sustenance to, uh, sustain me. 

By the way, I've just learned that Breakfast of Champions is a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut.  Huh.  I thought it was Wheaties. 

Wheaties box found here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Feel So Accomplished!

This week I mowed a lawn for the first time in my life.  I even did the weed-eating and edging!  I have never done any of these things, ever.  It's hard to imagine how I could have gone 32 years without once doing so.  When I was a kid, my older brother and I mowed lawns to make money, but he was always the mower and I did the raking.  And at home, either Mom, Dad, or my older brother mowed the lawn.  I was usually the one to clean the pool.  Then when I moved into my own place I didn't have a mower and couldn't afford to buy one.  Luckily my landlord's dad was retired and would come over now and then to do a quick mowing.  And then when I got married and DH and I bought a house, taking care of the yard was his duty. 

But our yard has been looking really ratty lately.  The weeds are growing like wildfire and DH has been too busy to work in the yard.  So yesterday I decided to buck up and make an attempt at wielding those intimidating lawn tools.  I didn't think the weed-eating and edging would be so bad since they are electric.  I figured all I'd have to do is plug them in and press the button, right?  The weed-eating went pretty well although at first I was a little too timid with it. Once I realized that it was okay if the string accidentally hit the fence and wouldn't hurt it, it was easier going.  The edging was crap!  I don't know if it's the edger or if I just don't know quite how to handle it.  I used the weed-eater first to get enough of the grass and weeds out of the way so I could see where to line up the edger.  But the roots were so thick right along the edge of the sidewalk that the edger didn't seem to work so well.  But I eventually got it to look pretty good!  It's a very satisfying feeling. 

And then today I tackled mowing.  This one was the most intimidating because I knew I had to pull that stupid starter line to get it going.  I imagined spending 15 minutes yanking on that thing while nothing happened.  I imagined the neighbors would be outside and would hear me struggling and would secretly laugh at my incompetence.  I also imagined some nice neighbor being kind enough to come to my rescue.  He or she would then compliment me on my beautiful edging and weed-eating, and be even more impressed when I admitted that it was my very first time doing either.

When I first started trying to get the mower started, I thought my fears were going to come true.  Pull, pull, pull, and nothing doing.  I walked away for a minute and came back and tried again.  Still nothing. I had checked the oil and filled the gas tank before trying to start the mower.  I even primed it by pressing the button 3 times just like it said on the side of the mower.  I thought about priming it again, especially since this was the first time the mower had been used since last summer, but worried that it would flood the engine.  Can you do that with a lawnmower?  I just knew that I'd do something wrong and the mower would burst into flames, catch the lawn on fire, and then my house would go down in a towering inferno.  All without ever getting the lawnmower to actually start. 

But after trying the second time to get it running with no luck, I figured priming it again could only help.  And it did!  Worked like a charm, in fact.  It started right up on the first pull after that.  Ha!  I knew I could do this!  After that it was smooth sailing.  Mowing isn't nearly as hard as it looks.  Of course it's only April, so I imagine it would be much less pleasant during the summer when the humidity and temperatures are so high that being outside for more than 2 seconds is unbearable.  I'm so happy with how nice and neat my backyard looks right now!  It's always great to be able to see hard work pay off.  And I only got one blister.  Not bad for my first effort at lawn care. 

Mower found here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring is in the Air!

Winter is finally gone, and Spring is in the air! Well, maybe not in some places.  But it is here in South Carolina.  For those of you who are still only dreaming of Spring, here are some tips for recognizing it.  The first signs will be the little bits of green that start peeking out of the ground, and buds appearing on the branches of flowering trees.  The changes happen quickly around here.  The Bradford Pear trees are always so pretty when they are covered in their white blooms.

But in a couple weeks, the real signs of Spring take over.  Those of you with allergies know what I'm talking about.  Pollen.  You can't escape the tree sperm, folks.  It covers every surface in sight with a sheen of yellow.  I'm lucky enough not to have allergies, but sometimes it gets so heavy in the air that it does cause some sinus problems.  I wait with bated breath all Winter long for the first warm weather that will allow me to turn off the heat and open the windows.  I love that fresh air!  Of course that means everything in my house also gets coated with pollen, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.  I have laminate wood floors, and I can Swiffer them clean in the morning and within a few hours there will already be another layer of pollen covering them.  When my dog Pixie spends a lot of time outdoors, she'll come back inside and she'll look like she's got a green tinge with all that yellow sitting on her black fur!  Poor girl.

But April showers bring May flowers and all that, so every now and then we'll get a good rain (or a big storm like last night) and the world will be washed clean of all the pollen, at least for a little while.  Except of course for the places where it pools and puddles.  Like the lines in the sidewalk of my front yard and the edge of my driveway. 

There is yet another sign of Spring that is hard to ignore.  The mosquitos.  I swear these things are alive and well all during Winter too, but we just don't notice them because we don't have any exposed skin for them to latch onto.  My father-in-law was in town this week, visiting from Oklahoma.  He seemed quite surprised when he saw a few mosquitos during his visit.  He used to live in South Carolina, but apparently his years in OK have caused him to forget how big and bad they get here.  They're practically our state bird. 

I hope all of you out there are enjoying any Spring weather you may be having.  And for the rest of you who are still trapped in Winter, have no fear.  Spring is on the way!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Dynamic Duo Has Done it Again!

On a shopping trip this morning, I wandered into the freezer section to snag a carton of orange sherbet. As I made my way down the aisle I made the dreaded mistake of looking into the other freezer windows.  Uh oh.  Now, I should know by now to keep my eyes straight ahead until I am at my destination.  Just making eye contact with some foods allows them to magically launch themselves into your cart, even without your consent.  Don't lie, I'm sure it's happened to you.  Sure, when your husband or kids are shopping with you, you can blame them for putting things in the cart when you aren't looking.  But my husband rarely grocery shops with me.  And we don't have any kids.  So what other explanation can there be?  Magic, I tell you.  Dark magic!  The kind that lumps all that fluffy stuff on your hips, thighs, and waistlines.  (I'm going to jump on the "nothing is my fault, blame somebody else" bandwagon for this one, folks.)

The duo I am referring to is of course Ben & Jerry's. (Were you expecting someone else?) They have created a Boston Cream Pie ice cream flavor!  "Boston Cream Pie Ice Cream with Yellow Cake Pieces, Fudge Flakes & Swirls of Pastry Cream"  It was impossible to resist, though I did try.  No, really!  I looked away several times before I even opened the freezer door.  I even tried to push my cart down the aisle to escape the clutches of the nefarious Emperors of Ice Cream.  But alas, 'twas not to be.  I was rooted to the spot, though I'm sure my cart at least jiggled some when I tried to run away.  Not since the awesomeness of Pumpkin Cheesecake have I been so drawn to a new ice cream flavor.  I was trapped in the Ben & Jerry's tractor beam with no hope for escape. 

I tried to talk myself out of it.  "$2.98 for a tiny pint of ice cream?", I asked myself.  "You are unemployed you know."  "Do you really need that and orange sherbet?"  But it was too late.  My tastebuds were already jumping for joy in anticipation of trying this yummy new treat.  I'm just surprised that I didn't fall on the carton in a feeding frenzy before making it out of the parking lot. (I didn't have a spoon.) Not only did I make it all the way home, but it was several hours later before I even tasted it.  That's right.  You may now pat me on the back to congratulate me on my willpower.   

You can see all the bits of delicious-osity in this picture, although it still doesn't do it justice. The ice cream may look vanilla, but it is definitely not!  The ice cream tastes just like Boston cream pie!  And then you get to enjoy the bits of yellow cake, the small chunks of chocolate, and the smooth pastry cream swirl.  YUM!  To be honest, there is a distinct possibility that this ice cream tastes even better than real Boston cream pie.  Although it might benefit from just a tiny bit more chocolate.  Because - hello, chocolate!  But I'll have to reserve judgment on that until I get farther into the carton.  It may have a lot more chocolate near the middle and bottom of the container than was on top. 

Oh yeah.  My carton of Ben & Jerry's Boston Cream Pie ice cream has a message to send out.  "Suck it, Yoplait Boston Cream Pie flavor!" 

And did you know that these guys have a Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book?  Oh man, if I only had one of those!