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What Day Is It?!!

I think I’ve mentioned I love Friday the 13th. I’ve always loved Friday the 13th. When I was a kid I simply loved Fridays. Which is strange, because that often meant Friday Night Casserole for dinner. But Fridays after school were also the start of the weekend, and when it was a Pay Day Friday we were able to pick up our favorite fast food or go out to dinner. And then we’d sprawl out on the living room floor to watch our favorite prime-time lineup: “The Brady Bunch,” “Nanny and the Professor” and “The Partridge Family”:

So when I combine Friday with 13, I can’t go wrong; 13 has always been my favorite number. I don’t know why. It’s just awesome. And I’ve won my fair share on the roulette wheel betting on 13 Black. It’s also a baker’s dozen, and you can never go wrong with one extra donut, amiright.

Some people freak out and think Friday the 13th is totally unlucky and scary. Probably because of scary movies. One time after the original “Poltergeist” came out, my sisters and I pulled a prank on my Mom, figuring we’d freak her out when she woke up on Friday the 13th. After she went to bed the night before, we placed dining room chairs on top of the kitchen table and scattered a few around the room. And we opened up a bunch of kitchen cabinet doors. We taped this note to the dining room table, and by the reply she left, you can tell we didn’t scare her one bit:

fri-the-13-note

Anyway, I always look forward to Friday the 13th being a lucky day. They don’t happen that frequently. The last Friday the 13th was in May. And that was the exact day Jay and I received a letter in the mail letting us know we were chosen to be “Wheel of Fortune” contestants. True story; stay tuned.

So don’t sit home like a scaredy-cat on Friday the 13th. Get out there. Go buy a lottery ticket. Ask that special someone out on a date. Send in an audition tape to “Wheel of Fortune.” The next Friday the 13th isn’t until October, so today’s your only chance for another 10 months. Well, if you’re Irish, you have St. Patrick’s Day coming up. You know, luck of the Irish and all that. Plus all the alcohol. So essentially you have another lucky day in just two months.

Of course, if you’re planning a camping trip this weekend at a place called “Camp Crystal Lake” you might want to change your plans.

 

 

I’m trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight but the fridge and cupboards are pretty bare. It’s looking like breakfast for dinner. At the same time, the blog is pretty neglected, so I thought I might find some inspiration in the kitchen to write about. Nope. Sometimes when I can’t think of anything to write about, I look through the wonderful “ABC of Casseroles” cook book to see which recipe I can make fun of.  I found this:

recipe

But to be fair, a lot of people would probably like that rice and beef concoction. Not me, but a lot of people. I can definitely make fun of the casserole’s name though: “Quickie Jumble” Casserole. So … many … jokes. I could mock that ridiculous poem, too, that points out how probably every person waiting to eat one of the dishes inspired by this cookbook will definitely be starving because they’re not gonna eat it.

So I started going through some old papers and found a handwritten recipe of my Mom’s. I thought, Hmm? Seven Seas Casserole? That sounds fun, and a little exotic. Maybe this was some fancy South Pacific-inspired shrimp or lobster bake thing I never knew about that Mary Ann had up her sleeve.

I should’ve known better:

seven-seas-1

seven-seas-2

This could be the Tuna Casserole that Julie always made on “Welcome Back Kotter.” Apparently it’s some fancy recipe from Minute Rice.

I actually remember eating Mom’s Tuna Casserole once. I just never knew there was a fancy name for it; probably to make people wanna try it. My sister, Tracy, always remembered Mom’s Tuna Casserole, and always suggests I write about it, but I never knew a recipe existed. She probably would love it if I actually made this thing, just for old time’s sake. I actually have all of these ingredients on hand. Yeah … I’m still making breakfast for dinner.

Looking for scary things to do on Halloween? Well, if you live in or near Napa, California, you’re in luck. There’s a particularly spooky country road on the outskirts of town that you can explore on All Hallows Eve … if you dare.

 

partrick

 

Partrick Road is a long and winding road that leads out of the Browns Valley area. By day, it’s just another beautiful Napa Valley country road, leading up to gorgeous valley views. But at night, a terrifying secret comes to life.

Partrick Road was a popular spot in the 70s and 80s where teenagers went at night to park and party, make out and what-not. And most of those teenagers were well aware of the mysterious inhabitants that lurked in the trees along Partrick Road, just waiting to prey on innocent young Napans.

So what is this haunted horror that dwells on Partrick Road?

 

 

Did that scare you? Did you even click on it? Never mind. Where was I …

I’m talking about Rebobs. (Every Napan that just read that either got a chill up their spine, or laughed.) If you’ve never heard of Rebobs, well, they’re winged, monkey-like creatures that terrorize anyone who dares to venture onto Partrick Road at night. And these aren’t your mama’s winged monkeys. You think the flying monkeys from “The Wizard of Oz” were scary? Please. Those were just oversized bats in bell hop uniforms. Rebobs are sinister, devilish beings, and no one really knows how they originated. There are a few thoughts on the subject: Mythological creatures. Graveyard ghosts. Mad scientist’s experiment gone awry. Urban Legend (more like Suburban Legend).

Regardless of what Rebobs are exactly, or where they came from, every teenager in town went to Partrick Road at some point to look for them, or more likely to try to scare the crap out of someone else parked up there. Only most people preferred to stay in the safety of their own cars.

When I was in high school, my boyfriend and I drove my little sister and his young nephew up Partrick Road one night to look for Rebobs. We were excellent babysitters. While I stayed in the safety of the car with my baby sister, my boyfriend and his nephew decided they were going to brave a walk up the road. We watched them wander up the road in the dim moonlight until they disappeared around the bend. They were never heard from again.

Ha, just kidding. We heard them sneak up to the car and try to scare us about five minutes later. I won’t say whether they actually did or not. But lucky for us, the Rebobs must’ve been busy attacking some other kids that night.

So what do Rebobs look like? Well, basically like this:

 

rebobs

(photo courtesy of Colin Kaminski)

 

Yes, Rebobs are so well-known around Napa, that Brewmaster Colin Kaminski of the popular restaurant Downtown Joe’s crafted a beer inspired by them. I haven’t had the chance to taste it yet, but I bet it’s dark, mysterious and dangerously delicious. If you’re in Napa and are too scared to check out Partrick Road at night, you could go try Colin’s Rebob Porter on tap, or hang out at any other restaurant, pub or wine bar in town and see something else pretty scary: tourists.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for the day my parents would let me use the phone to call someone. It was such a magical idea, thinking I could talk to someone who wasn’t in the same room with me. When I was nine, I finally got the chance. Of course the only person I could think of to call was my next-door-neighbor, Randy; even though I could simply yell to him out our back door if I wanted to. But I didn’t care, I was gonna get to stick my finger in that fancy rotary dialer and whirl it around seven times to reach Randy. And hopefully no one else would already be on the phone when I lifted the receiver off the hook – we actually had a party line shared with another household back in the day.

Like probably every other family in the early ’70s, our phone was mounted on the kitchen wall. And under the phone was a metal cart with this setting on top:

avocado

I think you know where this is going. Naturally I got that long, curly phone cord wrapped around the toothpicks, and that jar with the avocado tree that was never going to grow crashed onto the floor. That was the end of my phone privileges for a while.

Eventually I was able to talk on the phone again. And I didn’t stop until I was 18. It seems like I lived to talk on the phone, like most kids. Now I hardly ever talk on the phone. There are so many other things to do on it. We may not be the “Jetsons,” or the society envisioned in “Back to the Future II,” but we’re pretty close. Just think of the hundreds of items a single smartphone replaces today. Here’s a sampling:

  • Actual House Phone
  • Camera
  • Video Camera
  • Stereo
  • TV
  • Video Games
  • Wristwatch
  • Computer
  • GPS
  • Tape Recorder
  • Alarm Clock
  • Calculator
  • Flashlight
  • Pedometer
  • Your favorite book(s)
  • Encyclopedias
  • Remote Control
  • Photo Albums
  • Yellow Pages
  • Datebook
  • Calendar
  • Timer
  • Stopwatch
  • Notepad

Not only can you save thousands not buying all that stuff above, but you don’t even have to go to the post office to send a letter, go to the library to do research, call information for a phone number, or even drive to the bank to make a deposit. And not only do our phones carry out a thousand different tasks for us, but they’re also so easy to use a toddler can operate one.

phone

So it’s no wonder we freak out if we lose our phone, or drop it in the toilet (I don’t recommend carrying your phone in your back pocket). Of course, phones still can’t make sandwiches. When I grabbed my phone and asked Google to make me a sandwich … well, try it for yourself.

Okay, that title is just to get your attention. My Grandpa didn’t really make something called Pickle Soup. But I really did eat soup at my grandparent’s house once, and there were pickles in it.

My sisters and I loved visiting my Grandma and Grandpa when I was kid. B.K., as we affectionately called Grandpa, would always want to show us something like the latest project he was working on in his wood shop, and we’d follow along patiently, knowing he’d eventually lead us to his office to give us each a piece of candy. Our cousins lived right down the street, and all of my sisters and cousins would take turns rolling down the small hill in Grandma and Grandpa’s front yard until we’d run in the house itching like crazy from the grass. Grandma would give us each half an aspirin she crushed into a spoon of sugar water while saying “I told you so,” and then we’d sprawl out right in front of B.K.’s living room chair to watch TV. He had a bunch of little human remotes to change the channel, so he didn’t mind. He’d usually watch something like pro wrestling until we begged him to watch something else. Unless Moondog Mayne was wrestling that day – we loved to watch that crazy bastard eat broken glass and goldfish and what-not.

Whenever we’d spend the night, B.K. would tolerate our sleeping bag fort blocking his view to the TV set in the morning. He’d take us out to the orange tree in the backyard so we could pick fresh oranges to make juice for breakfast, which he’d squeeze himself. Grandma would make fried eggs, potatoes and bacon, or, sometimes … mush.

 

 

Grandma did all the cooking at the Coen homestead. For dinner, this usually consisted of elbow macaroni and red sauce, or cube steak, or … well, I actually can’t remember anything else. But whatever she made was awesome, because we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and all the cousins were there and everything was right with the world. Plus, that meant I didn’t have to eat Friday Night Casserole at my house.

Grandma also made the best iced tea on the planet. I’ve never been able to recreate it, or find any place that serves iced tea that comes close to hers. She brewed it on the stove, added plenty of sugar, and then served it in a fancy porcelain pitcher. My cousin Lori said she thinks the tea tasted so good because she would drink it while sitting happily on Grandpa’s lap. I can’t imagine it tasting better than it did, because it was already perfection. But, drinking it while sitting on B.K.’s lap would’ve been heaven. I’m fairly certain I never sat still long enough for that, cuz I’d usually consume about four glasses of tea and then run around the yard in a caffeine-fueled frenzy.

Though Grandma was the cook, I remember B.K. making soup once. His version of soup was very similar to Mary Ann’s idea for Friday Night Casserole. Just grab a pot, add water and toss in all kinds of stuff from the fridge. Actually, B.K.’s soup was actually pretty decent; the time I watched him make it, he used vegetables and hamburger. And he really did throw in a few dill pickles.

B.K. loved to save money in every way possible. He’d drive 10 miles out of his way to save a penny per gallon on gasoline. He rolled his own smokes. He told us stories of how he made his own beer in the bathtub – even after Prohibition ended. My Dad said B.K. glued tire tread on the bottom of Dad’s shoes when the soles were thin, instead of buying new shoes. I can remember B.K. telling us kids stories of how much things cost when he was younger. He said you could get a big bag full of groceries for $4.00. He also told us the story several times about the most economical meal at his favorite diner. B.K. would count off on his fingers everything that came on that plate … “a burger, with cheese, all the fixings, plus chips, and a pickle – all for two bits.” Two bits is old-timer fancy talk for a quarter. B.K. was resourceful and loved saving money. I guess living through the Depression will do that to you. My Dad used to always tell him, “You better spend all that money, or we’ll have to spend it when you’re gone.” I say the same thing to my Dad now. He doesn’t listen; which, I guess is fair, since I never did.

Hey, I just searched “Pickle Soup” on google and it actually exists:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dill-pickle-soup-recipe.html

Holy crap, I hope Jay doesn’t read this post tonight.

 

 

 

Photo by Duncan Hull

Photo by Duncan Hull

 

Most kids these days love to use the phrase “Old School” in reference to something from their younger days. Sorry kids, the real “Old School” relates to my generation (you know, old people who went to high school in the late ’70s and early ’80s), and I don’t really want to share it. Maybe I’m getting cranky. I mean, Marcia Brady just turned 60 today. Have some compassion.

Let me school you on “Old School.”

These are not appropriate “Old School” phrases:

     Dude, your Xbox is so old school!

     Remember MySpace? OMG – SO old school, right?

     Check out these old school Pokemon pogs I found buried in my closet!

These are appropriate “Old School” phrases:

     That Cheech & Chong album is so Old School!

     Remember ‘All Skate’ at the roller rink? Man, Old School.

     Look at these Old School Roller Coaster shoes I found buried in my closet!

So kids, you should probably invent your own nostalgic phrase. And don’t even think about using “Back in the Day” either. Here’s a little list to help you determine whether or not you should use the phrase “Old School” to reference your glory days.

Top Ten Experiences That Allow You to Use the Phrase “Old School”

10. You owned at least one album by Parliament, Journey, The Commodores, AC/DC or The Bee Gees.

9. You watched “American Bandstand” or “Soul Train” – or both.

8. You wore painter’s pants and stuck a comb in the back or side pocket.

7. You wore Dittos (girls) or Angel Flights (guys) to dances.

6. You saw the original “Star Wars” and “Friday the 13th” in the theater.

5. You played Atari Pong on the only TV set in your house.

4. You remember when microwaves came out.

3. You watched Michael Jackson on TV when he still had an afro.

2. You know all the lyrics to “Rapper’s Delight.”

1. You cruised your town’s main drag in your friend’s Pinto while listening to an 8-track tape.

If you can identify with any of these experiences, you can safely use the phrase “Old School” in your vocabulary. If not, the only time you should probably use it is when calling me an Old School Crybaby.

Remember how I actually wrote about (and made) Big Mac Casserole because so many people were searching on that term, and then found my blog? Yeah. Good times. Well, there are still people searching for it, cuz “Big Mac Casserole” shows up in the blog’s search terms like every week. Sometimes every day. What is wrong with these people? It always cracks me up. So I decided to check my “All Time Search Terms” to see how many times people searched on “Big Mac Casserole” and then found my blog. Guess what? People out there searched on it 363 times. That’s 363 houses I never want to have dinner.

So, the list of search terms I found made me laugh out loud. Seriously. I can’t believe the things people search on, and stranger yet, how those terms led them to this blog. Some of the searches were so crazy, I just had to share. Here’s a sampling of some for your reading enjoyment:

Second only to Big Mac Casserole is the search term:

beer can hat

Weighing in at 88 searches. Speechless.

In third place, at 71 searches:

gourmet top ramen

And I thought my Mom was the only one who knew about that Asian sensation.

The rest of the searches fall below a dozen each, but all deserve Honorable Mentions:

cheerios casserole

lucky charms casserole

fruit loop casserole

Well, there’s obviously a lot of stoned college students looking for midnight snack ideas, which leads me to another semi-popular search:

food hangover

Or how about:

vomiting face

Looks like there are several foodies out there:

chicken cacciatore with beer

Yeah, that’s the only way to stomach the chicken cacciatore I’m familiar with.

outhouse casserole

That’s fair.

donny osmonds favorite casserole

Oh, whoops, that may have been my own search.

olympia beer casserole dish

And that would be searches by my family members.

This next search term is one of the strangest ever. I still don’t know how it led to my blog:

colors of the early 60s

Have colors changed since the early 60s?

stories of when I was 13 me and my sister and cousin played I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

Apparently there’s Internet access in prison.

dead dad

I love zombies

mom dressed me as a girl for Halloween

Yep, definitely Internet access in prison.

taller than grandma

daughter taller than me

younger sister outgrew me

Can’t we all just get along.

babies picking their butt

I’m still trying to figure out which tags I’ve ever used that led them here.

scary pitchers

What? Did they mean “pictures?” Oh wait, I know … it’s the dreaded powdered milk pitcher.

are you supposed to chew oyster shooters

And the answer is “No.” I hope they learned that from this post.

tag line for nightclub

Be my guest! Friday Night Casserole sounds like a great idea for a meat market.

awesome book titles

Hey, Friday Night Casserole is already the name of an awesome book-in-progress. Get in line, pal.

dog food snobs

Well, that’s certainly not right. If they’re not gonna eat dog food, they’re certainly not gonna eat anything I write about.

satan casserole

Welcome! You’ve found the right blog.

soggy cake

disgusting casseroles

Again, welcome! I think you’ll find what you’re looking for.

yankee doodle dandy casserole

That’s just the fanciest name for a casserole yet. But I don’t think they found what they were looking for.

And probably my favorite search ever:

can you profit from 70’s casserole dishes

From my experience with this blog, I’d have to say that’s a definite “No.”

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