Saturday, February 25, 2012

You Can't Take Me Anywhere

My sixth grade art teacher told my mother, "She sure is a fly-by-night." I take issue with that. The dictionary says that a fly-by-night is someone who is unreliable or untrustworthy. Not true! I am completely trustworthy, have a conscience of steel, and you can always rely on do something ditzy. I prefer scatterbrained. That is how my brain has always felt, all over the place, a 52 pick up of signals telling me, "But you need to do this, and this, and this, and you want to make this, and oh, isn't that pretty, and uh-oh you missed the turn." There are always so many things that I would love to do in each day that I require myself to keep a numbered list, prioritized, with my fun things at the bottom. Even with this crutch, however, I do many ditzy things each and every day - always have. My mother would say it's a short-term memory problem caused by a cardiac arrest when I was eight. But this does not hold water, as my daughter, Christina, is exactly like me - even worse. In fact, I should have her make a list for me because some are really funny. Just one...She did all her errands uptown one day to finally look into the rear view mirror and notice that one lens was totally missing from her dark sunglasses. She had wondered why people were looking at her funny. I, myself, am used to it. I have gone to the bank, chatted with tellers and customers, only to return home and see that I have a cherry red Crystal Lite mustache. Once at Oak Brook Mall in Chicago, I bought earrings and sat waiting for my friend on a bench outside. Numerous people walked by and looked at me, I thought with approval. I was thinking, "Oh how I fit into the city environment. They think I'm cool." They were all smiling at me and I smiled back, my confidence growing. Then my friend came out of the store, burst out laughing, and said, "What are you DOING? Look at yourself!" She whipped out a purse mirror, and there I was, wearing my sophisticated new earrings--one sporting a large, dangling price tag. (No Minnie Pearl jokes please, I've heard them all.) There are simply too many incidents to report here, such is my life. Remind me to tell about exercising at Curves, the Amish hat, Starbuck's line, and many more that I hope my friends will remind me of so that I can record them for posterity.

Last week's escapade took place at a CAbi party. In case you are not aware of these events, they are private fashion parties featuring clothing from the designer, Carol Anderson. (Carol Anderson by invitation = CAbi.)
Now usually I dress in linens, natural cottons, comfy clothes, comfy shoes that Johnny and Timmy hate, and I generally order without trying on from J.Jill and Garnet Hill. I fill in with U.S. made pieces from The Wooden Hanger in Urbana, IL and pick up cotton tees at Target. Once in a great while I add an Elaine Fisher jacket and I feel I'm good to go. So...I wanted to attend this party because I love the woman who was hosting. She's been a dear, loyal friend to me and to Metamorphosis Montessori school. In my usual way, I was behind on laundry, washed a load of clothes, and sat down in the studio to make a bracelet. Time got away from me, and I realized in panic that my ride would be here in just a few minutes. My clothes were not dry. My closet selection was lousy, thus I kept cramming outfits on and throwing them off. After this I was sweating and my make-up would not stick to my face. My hair would not go into my usual knot and I looked like a school marm. Then the big shocker - NO clean underwear! I put on a pair of my husband's white Hanes with a big old wasteband. I had no choice. I should have worn one of the Fisher jackets, but Jim told me to go with another in black. (Tell me why I listened to a man whose idea of fashion when I met him was black fur pants, and red corduroys that zipped from waste to ankle.) Here came my ride, I threw on Ugg boots and we were off.

Arriving, I am introduced to very stylish women in little golden ballet flats, tall heeled boots, perfect make-up and very trendy clothing. I can't wait for a glass of wine. Or four. Seated, and gulping, I note that my jacket has lots of dog hair on it, then glance down at my matronly Ugg boots, and notice, right on the outside of the heel: Chicken Poop. No, I did not muck out the coop in my boots, but Swizzlestick, who thinks she is human and knows we have food in our house, keeps pecking at the front door. Obviously, she had shat, shitten, beshit, upon my front stoop, and of course, I stepped in it. (My friend will read this and Lysol every inch of her house, retracing my steps.)

Thank you Swizzlestick!

Cody's Chicken Coop by invitation

Here I am with my friends, pickin' up cowboys on a Saturday night. 

In short, although most of these clothes are not a good choice for me, as I play on the school playground each day, and work with children who wipe mucous on my skirt, they are indeed beautifully cut, and very flattering to the female figure. There were Ship's Ahoy blouses, and Dreamy Drapers, Palazzos and talk of pairing up and trending. But I had not thought this through. I was just going to buy a cardigan, and not try on so that the three inches of white men's waistband sticking up above my jeggings waist would not be detected. That's not how they do it at these parties. Women are whipping clothes on and off in front of each other and everyone, especially the presenter, wants to see how you look! I wish you could have seen me trying to get into these sweaters without raising my arms high enough to show Jim's jockeys!
I BOUGHT THE DREAMY DRAPER! Super soft and comfy. 
the DOTTI CARDI because it's really cute and looks like it's inside out because it is hand-stamped. 

I do hope my friend invites me again someday, it truly was fun. And I promise to lay my clothes and shoes out days in advance, because I may be ditzy, but I am totally trustworthy.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Good Egg

Eggs are really good for you.

Fact: Eggs are a good source of nutrients. One egg contains 6 grams of protein and some healthful unsaturated fats. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect against vision loss. (Harvard Publications)

Those sillies who started the egg scare didn't know that it's saturated fat that makes your body produce high cholesterol --not foods that are high cholesterol. And this quote is from Web MD, but I believe they are correct with their data:

One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.
The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults. And brain development and memory may be enhanced by the choline content of eggs.
I've always known that eggs are good for you because my Papa told me when I was a child. And he ate eggs every day as long as I knew him. He lived to be 86, had a mind like a steel trap, and proved it by quoting Cubs stats to anyone who would listen as he lay dying of pneumonia. My dad's egg dishes were created in a variety of ways - all of them containing several globs of butter. He and my mother taught me to make over-easies, sunny-side up, and, my favorite to make, basted. I loved watching pretty little skin form on top as I splished the hot butter over the yolks. But best of all, papa taught me how to scramble an egg, and this recipe was a popular hit at Cafe Cody. My dad said, "You don't add milk to an egg and pre-mix it, that's a coddled egg." He said this with a pinched face, and as a child I understood that people who coddle their eggs were not, in his judgment, quite right.

Plenty of our cafe customers commented on our scrambled eggs. One elderly woman had to come back to the kitchen and tell me that "those" eggs were just like the ones of her childhood. "You can still see the yellow, and the white, and that's how a scrambled egg's supposed to  be," she said crankily. I liked her. So here's how you scramble a proper egg...

Heat a small saute pan over medium heat. (My dad did not call them saute pans, they were "frying" pans.) Plop in a Tablespoon of butter and let it sizzle down--do not let it brown. As soon as it's done melting add your eggs. (2 from free range chickens) Now you might say, "I'll get eggshell in my eggs." Not so if you crack correctly, not on the side of something like the pan or counter, but crack on a flat surface. Let your eggs sit there a few seconds as the albumen begins turning white. Not too long, just long enough. Add plenty of salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Then take a wooden spoon and gently fold the eggs about, wait a few seconds, do it again, and a couple more times without turning them into a homogenized lump of jaundiced "fowlness" that would be an insult to poultry everywhere. They should be slightly shiny, with streaks of white and plenty of sunny yellow. At the cafe, a #1 was egg and homemade bread toast, #2 was eggs, bacon or ham, and homemade toast, #3 was eggs, toast, and our mashed potato pancakes, and #4 was a combo of 2 and 3.

My dad would throw anything into a scrambled egg...salami, bologna, fried potatoes, onion... That's probably why I started making "scramlettes." We served a variety of these at the cafe with ingredients like: Sauteed red pepper, onion, mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese and other cheeses, fried potatoes, chorizo, on and on. Just scramble 2 or three eggs and when they are almost done, throw what you like right in. This has always been one of my favorite dinners, and I relish the fact that I can step outside, get eggs from my girls, and in summer, gather good greens, tomatoes and whatever from my garden, and make a complete, healthy meal.

Are you wondering about those eggs pictured up top? In order from left to right they were laid by:
Swizzlestick, Marigold, Etta, Carmella, Etta, Bijoux,
Hattie, Imogene, Hattie, Etta, Acorn, and Florence

Swizzlestick, Carmella, Bijoux, Florence and Imogene came from a breeding program. I truthfully have no idea what these guys are thinking when trying to outdo other programs with egg size. When these girls arrived, they were all laying "nuclear eggs." I've never seen eggs so big. One measured 8 inches in circumference longways! Are they creating "Frankenchickens?" Poor things, I don't know how they pass the eggs. Gradually I am seeing their egg size decrease a little, but not so with poor Carmella, who laid the big blue egg. I wish my dad could see these girls running about the back yard, while marveling at their eggs as he scrambled some - the right way!

p.s. I'm following this blog that I like very much. Check it out!  TILLY'S NEST