Monday, December 17, 2007

You Will Not Win, Betty Crocker

It started like any other day. Well, no, not really. It's not just any 'ole Saturday that I wake up and feel adventurous enough to attempt my hand at Christmas candy making, so this was no ordinary Saturday.

I'm up and Adam before 9:00 a.m. and feel that now is as good as time as any to follow my Grandma's advice and make "Easy Divinity." Yes, it's called Easy Divinity. Here's where my story begins.

First of all, whoever named this concoction EASY divinity can bend over, pucker up, and plant one right ... we all know how that age-old saying goes. I begin by mixing all of the wet ingredients. For this task I get out my mixer, which sees daylight approximately 1.25 times a year. Trust me, I did the math. So I begin mixing and all is well. "See, this really IS Easy Divinity." Next up, gradually add 16 ounces of confectioners sugar. Excuse me? Gradually? How gradually, because gradually adding a pound of sugar can be quite a timely process. In my fit of mixing and gradually adding in way more sugar than anyone human being should consume, I realize I need a spatula. I turn off my mixer and open up my utensil drawer only to find I own a whopping one spatula, but not just any spatula. No, have just any plain jane spatula would not made this process entertaining.

I am the proud owner of the tiniest spatula in North America, second only to spatulas found in a barbie cooking set. My spatula is approximately 5 inches long and .75 inches wide. I resume the mixing only to find that it is quite hard to spatulate (a process in which you are using your tiny spatula) the growing glob of glue that has become the pound of sugar. I try and try with my spatula, and Lord knows it was a beautiful rendition of The Little Engine that Could, but bless its heart it just wasn't cut out for a task of monumental proportions. I turn off the mixer and reevaluate my options. Let's pause there.

In all of this stopping and starting of the mixer, have I mentioned that my dog hates, and I mean hates, household appliances that make any sort of loud noise? So imagine if you will, that with each flick of the power switch to my GE hand mixer, my 75lb "puppy" is sent into attack mode. Attack mode in my kitchen. Attack mode in my TINY kitchen, in which said attack mode can lead one's ears to ringing. Let's continue.

After reevaluating my options, and my utensil drawer, I choose a long handled spoon. It's longer than 5 inches, so improvement for sure! This is where things take a turn for the worse. If you're curious as to what happens when you put a spoon into a sticky glob of goop that weighs at least a pound, let me enlighten you. It forms a ball, perfectly molded to the shape of the spoon, which cannot be altered unless the mixer is turned off and you're hands become involved. Once your hands become involved it's all downhill. Yes, "downhill" but only if the hill is covered in fire ants and you've just entered a three-legged race. I now have said sticky goop all over my hands. It's not budging. This goop is in it for the long hall.

I manage to scrape enough of it off of myself and back into the mixer to finish the task. Of course now there is goop on me, the mixer, and the spoon that I gave up on paragraphs ago. I continue my mixing, when I realize that my beautiful mixer that has only been used 1.25 times a year is not quite up to the challenge. The noise coming out of this pitiful machine is making my already ringing ears sad. I've resorted to a method of mixing that involves continuously lifting the beaters out of the bowl every 20 seconds to give them some relief. It's the only way this story is going to have a successful outcome. I'm on the last leg of the mixing; I can just feel it. The noise has gotten more pathetic, but I trudge on. That's when I notice it. Tiny wisps of smoke coming from the mixer. And then? Nothing. The mixer has died. The oh so easy divinity has killed it.

I scrape what I can from the blender into the ball, put on a brave face, and declare that Betty Crocker will not break me! After dropping three dainty little teaspoons of the mixture onto a cookie sheet, I think screw you Betty Crocker and begin to drop heaping tablespoons, cupfulls, whatever on the cookie sheet just to be done with it all.

In the end, the Easy Divinity recipe that was supposed to make me 36 candies yielded around 15. I'm taking them home this weekend and you better believe that my family will say they're the best darn Christmas candy ever. If not, bodily harm will be inflicted; that and they'll be forced to buy me a mixer.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's Been A While, but, Oh B&N, I Still Love You

I went to Barnes and Noble last night all by my lonesome, and remembered why I freaking love that place. And by love, I mean LOVE. My intentions for said shopping trip, was to hit up their fantastic magazine section and snag a few magazines that might inspire me in the upcoming crafting season. Here’s where the love comes in. By the time I had finally quit detouring, I had so many books in my hands that I was concerned, yes concerned, about the additional cost that a magazine would run me; Sad, but oh so very true. I ended up buying two books that I’m pretty darn excited about and making a list of books that I’ll have to buy in the very near future. All in all it was a fantastic trip with the exception of one very noisy patron, no not patron because she left without buying anything, whose image is forever burned in my mind. That’s right, next time I see you lady wearing a faded black blouse and whose hair is black and frizzy, I will ruin the ambiance of whatever store you might be shopping at! Oh yes, vengeance will be mine!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Know a Thing or Two About Duck Tape

I walk into Hobby Lobby, not really knowing what it is that I’m looking for. My Halloween costume needs some altering and I once heard of a fantastic invention, a tape of sorts, that allows you to adhere clothing straight to your skin. I thought this sounded much better than the alternative, which consisted of a hot glue gun and a considerable amount of pain, so I struck off on my mission. I aimlessly walk around the store until I stumble across an aisle that has tape smack dab on the end. How convenient! I begin looking. Scotch tape? No. Gift wrap tape? Funny, but no. Ah….Double Sided tape. There’s the answer, but as I start walking around, clutching my new find, I begin having second thoughts. Is this truly safe? Sure, its yellow packaging looks friendly enough, but will it feel so friendly after I peel it off of my chest? I find a surely well educated Hobby Lobby employee and proceed to begin my interrogation. “I’m looking for something that’s referred to as fabric tape.” A blank stare in return. I continue, “Basically, I need to tape a piece of clothing to my body. Have any ideas?” She hesitates. “You would probably need to use something heavier. Try Masking Tape or Duck Tape. One of those would work.” I try to hide the look that I know is creeping all over my face. “Thanks that’s a really good idea.” I turn and walk away.

I may not be a freaking Martha Stewart, but I sure as heck know better than to stick a piece of duck tape on my body.

By the way, it’s called “Fashion Tape” and you can find it at your friendly neighborhood fabric store.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Night Surprise

Two things our society has embraced: Elvis and Viagra. Hence my excitement when I saw a TV commercial with an attractive older couple dancing to a rendition of “Viva Viagra.” Yes, in some land far away, where geniuses run amuck, someone coined the phrase Viva Viagra. But the fun doesn’t stop there. I noticed on the bottom of the screen, that the makers of Viagra warn about the complications that can occur if you take Viagra while taking nitrates for chest pains. Naturally that made me laugh, because of course I was reminiscing about the first time I saw Something’s Gotta Give. (Geez, what else would it have me reminiscing about?) And as an added bonus, the last words you see on the screen say “See our ad in Golf Magazine.” All in all, I give it four stars out of however many stars are used to rate ridiculous TV. commercials.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Don't Give Up Five Minutes Before the Miracle

This morning The Today Show aired one of the most feel good stories that I have seen in a long time.

A family’s father had just past away, when at the funeral the elderly widow begin to feel terribly ill. After the burial they rushed her to the emergency room, where one of her sons removed all of her jewelry, which happened to be of great sentimental value, and tied the belongings up in a plastic glove as to safeguard them for the duration of her hospital stay. The next day when others in the family asked about the jewelry, the glove was nowhere to be found. Realizing that not only had it been left at the hospital, but that it had also been thrown away, they met a custodian who was more than willing to go above and beyond. After contacting the waste management company responsible for the hospital’s garbage, the family and their newly found friend, Frank, set out to dig through the endless bags of waste. After six hours of digging through the vile trash, the family wanted to give up, but it was Frank who insisted they push on, saying, “Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle.” It was also Frank who pulled the glove out of the trash containing this family’s valuables.

During his interview on the Today Show, Frank was asked why he would go to such extreme links to help this family, whom he had no obligation. He simply responded that he, too, had lost his parents and wanted to help them in a time he knew was already so difficult. He wanted to do for them, what he would have wanted others to do for himself.

This is a beautiful reminder of the good that can be found in one another, even a stranger. A heart like Frank’s is truly touching. This man had no obligation to help these people, and in fact, his helping was probably one of the most selfless things he could have done. Sure, anyone can offer words of encouragement, but not only did this man go and spend six hours digging through garbage for this family, he was the one who encouraged them to push on. Had he not, the family would have forever gone without what they held precious to them and we wouldn’t have such a vivid reminder of what mountains a good person can move.

Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle; it's one of the more inspiring things I've heard in a long time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Week has Gone by

And I still don’t have much to report. The best thing about banking is all of the wonderfully celebrated holidays throughout the year, for instance Columbus Day. The banking community’s celebration of Columbus discovering America made for an excellent three day weekend, and fingers crossed, an excellent four day work week.

This weekend was phenomenal. Bailey’s first birthday party was fabulous, and I still stand amazed at how quickly they turn into smart miniature people. My weekend spent with family was just what the Dr. ordered.

Coming back to Lubbock I find myself in somewhat of a funk. I know that there are many things contributing to said funk, a few more heavy than the others, but what to do about it is where I stand perplexed. For one, I am beyond ready to move out of the tiny apartment that I have called home for the past four years. In essence, I just want to move and move away. I’ve outgrown it, and strangely enough, I mean that in a few senses of the word. I was hoping to possibly have a house before fall came upon us, but I don’t think that will be happening. Not to be a party pooper though, there are worse things than spending your favorite season in an apartment you’re so already well accustomed to. Let’s just hope that my crazy downstairs neighbors find a way to get along and cease the yelling that wakes me up in the middle of pleasant slumbers.

Usually I feel most rejuvenated in the fall. Oddly enough, it’s practically the only season that seems to inspire some sort of inner creativity within me. I find myself wanting to bake, decorate, arrange flowers, and why not, even find a way to make homemade potpourri. However, if I don’t find a shovel and dig myself out of the rut I’ve been in, fall will come and go and pay no attention to the one who loves it most. And I absolutely cannot have that. Way too important things are on the line. For instance, the McMillan family jack-o-lantern extravaganza (and I say family here, because at one point or another they’ll be forced to adopt me).

I think part of my funk is due to fall itself. With my favorite season comes good memories, and on most days those memories are like a nice afghan draped across your body as you lounge around. Not right now. Memories sometimes have a way of forcing us to deal with things we’ve been putting off. Ah, the sooner the better right?

So here’s to fall and for this downer of a blog I’ve written. It looks like I had something to say after all.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Only the Most Ingenious Marketing Ploy Ever!

“Eat all you want and lose weight! We couldn’t say it on T.V. if it weren’t true!”

Well, by all means, pass me the phone and my credit card (probably yours, too). And now that I know “it has to be true” if you hear it on an infomercial, don’t expect me to be out socializing, not when from the comfort of my own home I can be shopping for miracle weight loss drugs!