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Archive for July, 2011

Welcome to a regular post that’s usually called “What’s Jay Eating?” You may remember me telling you that all of us go up to my Dad’s place on Tenmile Lake for the Fourth of July weekend. That’s what we all did a few weeks ago. It’s lots of fun–the lake, games, poker, food, beer, ATV’s and what not. There’s a few campground areas on the property where we all camp out. There’s also a boat dock where we hang out and the guys try to catch fish. Why Jay fishes, I’ll never know. He hates fish. I guess it’s a guy thing. We all eat our meals up at the house. Most of those meals consist of hamburger or some other meat. I’m not a huge meat eater—don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of most meat, I just try not to eat too much for health reasons. But the breakfasts. Yum. There’s always lots of eggs, potatoes and your basic breakfast meats—bacon, ham or sausage. This is when I indulge in the meats.

On our first morning I came in to the kitchen to find my Dad making this:

See, his dog Cocoa was recently diagnosed with diabetes and she needs a special diet now. This dish consisted of some fancy-schmancy dog food, served up with some broiled chicken breast—all smashed together. But that’s not too scary. What’s scary is the green pitcher he’s using: (Flashback: Powdered Milk) Yes, after 40 years my Dad still has that pitcher. Poor Cocoa. Well at least that wasn’t the end of the infamous pineapple juice inside that green pitcher. It was just homemade chicken broth. My Dad poured that chicken broth over the mixture and Cocoa was eating like a queen. While Cocoa scarfed that up, here’s what Jay ate:

That’s a bowl of oatmeal that he threw some bacon in. I guess that is either completely disgusting or a morning serving of heaven. And here’s Jay eating it, just to show you I don’t make this stuff up.

What’s that fancy walking stick there with him? More about that later… Not to be outdone, Papa Don made his own concoction later that day. I have to wonder, is this where Jay learned his culinary talents? My Dad served up strawberry shortcake for everyone, except me, I hate strawberries. Yes, I’m weird, whatever…more strawberries for everyone else I say. But Papa Don made his strawberry shortcake fancy. He started with the poundcake, then added his strawberries. Then I think he followed Jay’s lead by scooping chocolate ice cream on top. But then things got out of control. He poured milk into the dish to “soak up into the cake” he said. Soggy cake? “Get thee away Satan!”

And again, just to prove I don’t make this stuff up:

That’s Papa Don eating his soggy strawberry shortcake. There’s almost nothing worse than soggy cake or bread. Just me? Regardless, my Dad and Jay were having fun with their disgusting food concoctions until THIS happened:

That’s Jay’s foot with its fancy new bruise. He got into a fight with his dirt bike and ended up hobbling around in pain the whole weekend. When we finally made it home, we visited the hospital. Yes, we spent the actual Fourth of July in the emergency room:

Jay’s pretty grumpy in this picture. At least nothing was broken. Just badly sprained. And I’m talking about Jay’s ego. It could’ve been worse. And I mean that literally. Here’s the view out of the emergency room window that day. Someone in there that day was certainly pretty unhappy about spending the Fourth of July in the emergency room, only to finally get out of there and try to remember where they parked their car:

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My Dad, the infamous Papa Don, was outnumbered as you know. Four daughters. Never got the chance to name any of us Brian. But he eventually got a son-in-law named Brian, so I guess it all worked out. Although our house was filled with estrogen, Papa Don was determined to throw a little testosterone in wherever he could. He taught us to ride our bikes and threw a ball around with us every once in a while.

I can recall a few Christmas mornings when it was apparent Papa Don had won over Mary Ann in the gift-purchasing department. Instead of finding dolls or Barbies under the tree one year, we found a train set. I have to admit it was pretty cool. Though I’m not sure how fun it was, because Papa Don hogged it. Then another year we found Hot Wheels under the tree. I imagine boys loved the little cars and what-not, but all my sisters and I found exciting were the orange Hot Wheel tracks. Those things were awesome for sibling-whipping. But I did like the trains and cars. I guess I was a bit of a tom-boy growing up. I rode my bike every chance I got, climbed trees and ignored my dolls long enough so that my sisters had to become surrogate mothers to them.

Regardless of whether we were girls or boys, Papa Don made sure he fulfilled his parental duties. Besides playing monster with us every day when he came home from work, Mary Ann made sure he helped out in other ways. For example, dragging four little girls to the spendy beauty salon would be unheard of. (Well, there was that one time when Mary Ann took us to the hairdresser for fancy David Cassidy shag haircuts — the shag haircuts that were glorious until we jumped into our little pool later that afternoon.) The rest of the time we visited “Papa Don’s Discount Salon.” Mom would line us up on the couch, hand Dad the scissors and turn him loose. Tracy would go first. Dad would place her on his lap and get to work with those scissors. He was strictly a Bangs Specialist; he wouldn’t mess with the rest of our hair – that was Mary Ann’s territory. She’d roll our hair up in torture curlers every Sunday night. Papa Don had no formal training in cosmetology as far as I know, so our bangs usually ended up looking something like this:

Yes, if you look closely there are some bangs left there. That’s me on the right and Tracy in the middle holding our younger sister, Coleen. Coleen didn’t have much hair at that time, so she only had to sport the fancy bow. As you can see, what we didn’t have left in bangs, we made up for in curls, thanks to Mary Ann’s torture curlers.

My parents must’ve also figured there was no need for a dentist in our early years. When we had a loose tooth, Papa Don would step in as DDS. Unlike other fancy dentists, he only needed one tool – the dreaded pliers. Yes, the pliers from his tool box. If he saw us wiggling a loose tooth, he’d tell us to go fetch the pliers and come sit up on his lap. We’d go get the pliers and bring them to him, usually crying — or fake-crying just for the drama — and then crawl up on his lap. He’d tell us how the Tooth Fairy would be bringing us some money for the tooth, which would help a little. Then he’d demonstrate how he was going to pull the tooth, just to show us that it wouldn’t be a big deal. He’d place the pliers on the loose tooth and tell us that when we were ready, he’d grab the tooth with the pliers “like this” and then pull it out “like this.” Then he’d tell us to let him know when we were ready. Of course, while we were sitting there drumming up the courage to give him the go-ahead, he’d grin and show us the pliers, already holding our tooth. It was magic. It was complete smoke and mirrors. And it worked every time. Dad would pull our tooth right out from under our eyes, literally, and we never felt anything. Then we’d skip into the kitchen for a popsicle or a serving of tasty jello.

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Mary Ann was big on dessert. Even with our limited budget, we could usually count on something sweet after dinner, even if it was orange-colored jello with canned mandarin oranges swimming around in it. If it was Payday Week, that jello might be a fancy Jello 1-2-3 concoction. Jello 1-2-3 was a sophisticated dessert that consisted of a layer of jello, with a layer of half jello and half whipped cream on top of that, then finished off with a layer of whipped cream. My Mom would create separate little Jello 1-2-3’s in fancy glasses that she’d tip and rest on the wall of the refrigerator while the jello layers set so they would be diagonally delicious.

But you had to clean your plate in order to get dessert. And hopefully dinner wasn’t too late, because she wouldn’t give us sweets too close to bedtime. That would cause nightmares. And we had to be careful what we watched on TV or what we read before bedtime. So Mom had a big book of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes that she’d read to us when we were little. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Guess again. That thing did more damage than three servings of Jello 1-2-3 eaten after 9 p.m.

I’m convinced that the parents of serial killers read their children beddie-bye stories every night consisting of fairy tales, nursery rhymes and other messed-up fable-type crap when they were little. C’mon, these fairly tales weren’t about fairies. They were about scary monsters, wicked witches and blood-thirsty wolves. Crack open one of those classic tales for the kiddies, fill their heads full of terror, then turn out the lights and shut the door. Sweet dreams sweet pea!!

If you don’t believe me, let me remind you of these classic fairy tales and fables:

1. Hansel and Gretel: Witch kidnaps children, witch prepares to eat children, children throw witch in fire.
2. Little Red Riding Hood: Wolf dresses up as Grandma, wolf eats little girl.
3. Peter and the Wolf: Wolf threatens little boy, wolf eats duck. Poor Sonia.
4. The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Little boy fakes wolf attack, little boy fakes wolf attack, little boy fakes wolf attack. Wolf gets sick of being falsely accused and has little boy for dinner with some fava beans.

Resulting nightmare: My little sister Coleen being eaten by a giant wolf in our backyard.

Secondary nightmare: Three werewolves wearing polo shirts and shorts tying me up in the backyard. Luckily I wake up screaming before they eat me. Phew. Wait, this one could be the result of too many Sunday morning viewings of “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.”

5. Snow White: Witch gives girl poisoned apple; girls goes in to a coma.
6. Jack and the Beanstalk: Giant terrifies little boy. Boy goes in to a coma, or gets eaten or thrown in an oven. I can’t remember.

Nursery rhymes were no picnic either. I think the Brothers Grimm were the bastard offspring of Mother Goose.

Let’s review these classics, just for fun:

London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down
London bridge is falling down, my fair lady
Take the key and lock her up, lock her up, lock her up.
Take the key and lock her up, my fair lady.

I guess London Bridge was always in a state of disrepair and constantly being rebuilt? Who knows. I don’t even think the lyrics above are correct — that’s just the way we learned them when we were little. Though I did always wonder, why were they locking HER up? I thought they should’ve locked up my next-door-neighbor best friend Randy for being such a brat.

Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies,
Ashes, ashes, we all fall DOWN!

I don’t know how many times all of us kids held hands and danced around in a circle singing this happy tune, oblivious to the fact that a pocket full of posies was supposedly intended to mask the smell of the Black Plague death surrounding us, and the ashes falling down were the delightful result of cities and bodies burning around us … and then we DIE! Woo-hoo!! Ahh, good times.

Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

Does anyone have the number for Children’s Services?

Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down, and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Wait, maybe someone should call 911 first. Then Children’s Services.

Go tell Aunt Rhodie, go tell Aunt Rhodie,
Go tell Aunt Rhodie the old grey goose is dead.

So much for Christmas dinner kids.

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Yes Virginia, there is a Tooth Fairy. I know this for a fact, because I saw her. I was about eight years old and I was sleeping on the floor of my bedroom. My cousin, Lori, was spending the night, so she got my twin bed. Lori was older than me and pretty and had the cutest red and white striped pj’s with matching top and pants with the feet. My pajamas were a hand-me-down nightgown and I really wanted a pair of those red and white pj’s. Tracy got to stay in her own twin bed that night because she was older. That’s okay, with Lori in the room, Tracy wouldn’t be able to carry out her nightly ritual of sneaking out of her bed, crawling across the floor and jumping up to scare the crap out of me.

On this particular evening I was falling into twilight slumber in my sleeping bag on the floor. The baby tooth I lost that day was safe under my pillow and I was hoping the Tooth Fairy would realize I was on the floor and not in my bed. I was also worried that she’d think I might’ve forgotten my tooth and she’d pass up my house. See, a few months earlier I had a tooth pulled at the dentist and forgot it at the dentist’s office. That night I wrote the Tooth Fairy a heartfelt letter, telling her I was sorry about forgetting my tooth, but could she please come back in a few days after we had the chance to go back to the dentist and pick up my tooth. I put that letter under my pillow that night, and sure enough, she came back a few days later and left a shiny new quarter under my pillow. Yes, that was a molar under my pillow that time. My front teeth were only worth a dime (the equivalent of a bag of Skittles) and that was good enough for me. I don’t know what kids today get; I think it’s about $300, or an X-Box. Of course it’s probably difficult to sneak an X-Box under a sleeping kid’s pillow, so I think the Tooth Fairy resorts to the $300.

So there I was, half-asleep on the floor … and I heard something. Kind of like a fluttering, or my bedroom door opening. I opened one eye and there she was. A huge, glorious butterfly with sparkling wings accented with every color of the rainbow. It was completely magical. I closed my eyes just enough to make her think I was asleep, but kept watching her. She fluttered gracefully down to my pillow for a few seconds, flew up a bit to look at me, and then in a blink she was gone. I remember it like it was yesterday. The next morning I couldn’t talk about anything but the glorious Tooth Fairy. And then I took my dime to the Wagon Wheel to pick up a package of Skittles to start on another cavity.

Tracy missed out on the Tooth Fairy one year. It was a tragic accident. We were sitting at the kitchen table one morning chowing down on some Lucky Charms, that frosted oat cereal with sweet surprises. Tracy bit down on a particularly hard yellow moon or green clover. When she realized it wasn’t a marshmallow, she said to my Mom, “I think there’s an onion in my cereal!” My Mom replied that was ridiculous, and told her to just eat her cereal. So Tracy probably thought, well, whatever’s in my Lucky Charms must be magically delicious, so what the heck. It was hours later that my Mom remembered Tracy had a loose tooth. She checked Tracy’s mouth, and sure enough that tooth was gone. So my sister ate her own tooth. And the Tooth Fairy wasn’t able to bring Tracy her dime because there was no tooth. It’s one thing to search for a kid’s tooth under their pillow, but I don’t blame the beautiful Tooth Fairy for not wanting to search for Tracy’s tooth.

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Well, I have to admit, I’ve been lazy this week. I haven’t come up with a fancy new post for today. Okay, I haven’t actually been lazy; I just haven’t been able to find the time to come up with a snappy new recipe or quirky memory, and Jay is no help. He hasn’t come up with one of his crazy concoctions for weeks.

We’re getting ready to head up to Papa Don’s place for our annual Fourth of July weekend and our evenings have been a little busy. Plus, after writing all day at work, sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge to come up with some groovy dish of Mary Ann’s to make fun of. So I thought I could recycle a few of my older posts for you to look at. Don’t be mad—I’m not a machine people! But I didn’t want to leave you empty-handed, so on top of a few re-features of Friday Night Casserole, I’m also listing a few funny blogs I think you should check out.

Here are three of my favorite FNC posts:

Got Powdered Milk?

Grandma Coen’s Elbow Macaroni & Red Sauce

Shepherd’s Pie

And here are three of my favorite blogs. These bloggers are real, and funny, and real funny.

The Good Greatsby
He finds the time to post something LOL funny almost every day. Plus, he owns a cool smoking jacket.

Accidental Stepmom
She inherited five youngins and raises them with good humor.

Momfog
She has her own five youngins, and plenty of trials, but she rises above it all.

And if that still isn’t enough, look over at the right sidebar at “Dessert.” You are in for a treat.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July! I’ll be thinking of you when I’m up at my Dad’s. No doubt I’ll be taking notes for future posts while I watch Papa Don whip up Beer Pancakes and while jockeying for my position in the kitchen amongst my sisters, Phyllis, babies, dogs, brother-in-laws and other invited guests. All while indulging in fatty food, microbrews and poker. Next Friday’s post oughta be good…

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