Thursday, September 24, 2009

Seeing you in September

I'm heading down to Austin tomorrow after work. It's been three months since I've been down there. Three!! That feels like too long.

I know what the blog is called, but I don't live down there anymore. It does get me down sometimes.

It's totes bat season right now too. Like, the peak. No time for bats, tho. I'm going to Round Top to go antiquing with Stacey! I was going to go for the Antiques Fair last fall, but, you know, I was unemployed. Wah. We're hitting it a weekend early, but there will still be plenty going on.

I'm still trying to hunt me down a spiffy little Hoosier. Wouldn't that be a dream? "Saves steps--and saves time, too." I have just the spot for it in my kitchen. But don't hold your breath ladies. Though I have a job now, the budget is still tight (and the car is small). I've got to find just the right one, at just the right price. It'll happen.

In the meantime, I'll be content with some blue and white crockery or maybe an old, perfectly worn-in quilt to take to the Cool Thursday concerts at the Arboretum. And really, who wouldn't love that?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Okra is OK!

I've been in such a cooking rut this week. After last weekend's baking bonanza (finally made it to the store, but made shortbread cookies and muffins instead of brownies), I haven't cooked any "real food" in a while. So I'm trying to inspire myself by looking at some of the summer yummies I made back in August (and meant to post sooner).

There were about 3 weekends in a row there that I made regular visits to the Dallas Farmers Market. Every time I do that, I berate myself for not going every single weekend - it's so big and so close and there's so much good stuff. One of those weekends, I loaded up on okra. Stewed okra and tomatoes is something I was raised on, so I like to try and make up a batch every summer.

Now, if you weren't raised on okra, you might think it's pretty gross. You've got to be up for the slimy. I can absolutely see why the texture would freak someone out, but me, I don't mind at all.

There isn't really a recipe for this. Just chop up an onion and get it sauteing with some bacon drippings. Due to my desire to cook these occasional dishes from my youth, I've taken to keeping a jar of bacon drippings in my fridge. I mean, if you're southern, you just do it. Don't judge. Also, I think I used a half an onion based on how much okra I had.

Chop up your okra. I dunno, a pound or two? And chop up a tomato. Some take the skin off first but I'm too lazy for that. Put it all in the pot with a little water and salt and pepper, cover and let it cook on low (maybe 10-20 min) until it's just as soft as you like them. Ta daa!

Here's an actual recipe if you need it, since my instructions are pretty sparse. It calls for the liquid from the canned tomato, which I bet makes it quite tasty, tho since okra and tomatoes are in season at just exactly the same time, I figure, why not use a fresh tomato? Then again, your skins are already off. It's your call.

This is one of those few dishes that both my mom (Texas roots) and my dad (Louisiana roots) made for me when I was growing up. So no matter whose house I was at, in the late, hot summer, it was on the menu. Yum.

Anyone else super-excited about the Emmy's tonight? Go, Tina, go!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Semi-hormonal football geek-out

A rainy Saturday, so I have no reason to feel bad about sitting on my couch all day, crocheting, knitting, and watching my beloved college football. I'm such a bum today, I didn't go to pilates this morning. And I wanna bake brownies, but don't feel up for running to the store for some eggs. I'm mean, I'm just completely slumming it. Whatevs.

You might recall last fall's "which team has the hottest quarterback" poll. Almost all of the contenders are back this year, and to replace USC's Sanchez, Pete Carroll has brought us freshman Matt Barkley. Jeeze, Pete. What do you do, recruit based on looks??

Not that I'm complaining. And I guess if that tactic ain't broke, don't fix it. Sanchez did you well. Even got himself a cheesy GQ fashion spread with a hot supermodel when he split with one year of eligibility left to head to the NFL.

Good grief dude, have you no self respect? I'm officially over him. But Mr. Barkley is quite a cute one. Jury is still out on whether the idea of starting a true freshman at quarterback will turn out to be a giant FAIL idea. Good luck kiddo!

It also sorta made my day to see the Herbstreit boys on College Gameday this morning. They're so adorable, all blonde-haired and blue-eyed just like their dad. Sweet.

Okay, I'll stop my semi-hormonal football geek-out now. Anyone wanna fetch me a carton of eggs?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Name that bug

Everyone's lamenting the end of summer these days. I think most of us in Texas are over it though. I mean, I do love summer, don't get me wrong. But as per usual, it's overstayed its welcome here. We're all hot and sweaty and long for a cool breeze. Many of us have sunburned (not me of course). Our forgotten chapsticks have all melted. Our electric bills have broken the bank. Our cats and dogs have shed their coats. And shed them again. Our ovens have been largely overlooked and neglected. Our local ice cream cart man has rung his bell (and we have paid him our dollars). Our kids have returned to school (in wool skirts and blazers no less, poor girls). Our potted plants have bloomed, our herbs have been harvested many times over. And so on.

We're good. It's time.

One of the things I will miss about summer, though, is the sound it makes. Namely, this one.

It's been a particularly noisy summer, as far as these bugs are concerned. I'm not sure what determines that, but when they start humming, I just sigh. What a lovely sound. I would also like to give special recognition to the smell of an incoming summer rainstorm. That is, as long as it doesn't lead to a lightning bolt that puts my computer and modem entirely out of commission. But the smell - that and the humming bugs, I would keep.

So, can anyone identify? So that I might kindly wish these bugs farewell by name, of course, as the cool nights start creeping in. After all, even if your guests have overstayed their welcome, you still must maintain decorum.

Monday, September 7, 2009

High school girls

I work at an old private school. A very old private school. And its halls are lined with photos of the girls who have graduated from this school in its 130+ years. So one day, armed with a camera and inspired by my dear new friend Amy, I took a few pictures of these girls.

In the main entryway, there are photos of some of the earliest classes.

Here is the Class of 1899, all done up in their finest dresses. Party like it's.. oh wait. Yeah, that was probably a much tamer party. But oh, to be 18 in 1899!

Kate and Ethel from the class of 1900. They got a little crazy with the hair accessories that year.

There's a ghost story associated with the class of 1920. One of their dearest, favorite nuns died that year. Everyone had gathered outside for the class photo, including the nuns, but when the picture was developed, there is a nun spotted in the window. If everyone was outside, then who was in the window? It was all agreed - the nun who died.

Can you see her now? Spooky. Or sweet - depends on which way you look at it.

Oh Miss Nellie Kirby, class of 1924. How I love her so. The other girls in her class had fluffed out their hair or worn lace collars or fancy necklaces, but not Nellie. She's like, "Go on vain girls. I'm just me." I suspect she was much beloved, always quick with a joke, a true dry wit.

Oh my goodness, what is going on with Rose? She looks a bit cross. Do you think she was upset that she was 3rd Essayist rather than 2nd or 1st of the class of 1927? Perhaps she was jealous of the valedictorian..

Doryoalace is my favorite girl in the whole hallway of pictures. She was class of 1932. These days, in one visit to Northpark Mall, she'd be spotted by someone and sent off to Paris to walk the runways as a model. Before long, she'd sign a contract to be the face of Estee Lauder. She'd attend fancy parties in New York and hang out with fabulous people.

With such a unique name, I was able to google Miss Watson and found she passed away in 1995 at age 81, still Miss Doryoalace Watson. She was not a fabulous model, but a clerk for the Texas & Pacific Railroad and an art teacher. The only survivor listed is a sister, so I think perhaps she never married. Can you imagine? And such a beauty. I wish I knew more about her.

Oh Winnie. Winnie McBean. Somehow, you get the sense that she was just not amused by her name. Perhaps it was more common in 1934. At any rate, it should be more common now I think. Gone are the days of the Winnies, and we are worse off for it.

There are pictures of a few more girls on my Flickr, and about a bajillion more lining the halls of the school, watching over the class of 2013 (!) as they come rumbling in. Perhaps I'll do a round two someday.

Okay Amy, there's your present. Hope you liked it!