Monday, December 7, 2009

Catching Up with the Newly Semi-employed Biddy

So I’m a bad blogger. Commitment issues, much? Ok, so here’s a lovely edition of Catch Up:

Last month I spent a couple of weeks living out of suitcases and sleeping on futons starting with a trip to Birmingham for an interview (Gasp! A step to employment? Oh yes.). The interview was for an internship with Lewis Communications. They have a media planner/buyer who will be going on maternity leave the beginning of the year and will need someone to come in to assist while she is on leave. Interview was in the morning and that evening they had offered me the position. Cried a lot. What? I’m emotional. I know it’s only short term, but I have a good feeling that something permanent is going to come my way because of this. Fingers crossed and itchy sheeted, extended stay hotel here I come!

And not that it needs to be said, but the biddy status will remain in tact even when I'm up in Birmingham. I can't imagine a better way to unwinding from a long day at work than crocheting and enjoying a nice book on tape.

After a side trip to Tuscaloosa for Big Bad Wolves BBQ nachos and Scene it domination with my dear Adrienne, I headed to Atlanta to be with Sister and celebrate Thanksgiving with the family. But before the turkey, there was New Moon. Oh, New Moon. Wow. In a word: Horrific. BUT. I was with Sister, and that meant horrific was transformed into hilarious. Oh you want an example? Ok then. The werewolves are popping out of the woods about to pounce and I slowly lean over and whisper…

It’s the nothing…

Who doesn’t love a little NeverEnding Story humor? Ya wanna know one really good thing about Twilight? Taylor Lautner. Mmm. Yeah I know. He’s 17. I don’t care. You can’t make me feel bad. Gah, you’ve got to know that Robert Pattinson’s wonky nipples felt bad about themselves next to Taylor’s 12-pack. I can’t resist. Let’s have a looks shall we?

Man I miss Tiger Beat.

Thanksgiving was awesome. Waddled for the next few days. Iron Bowl was intense, stressful and finally joyful. The Rockette’s Christmas Spectacular lived up to its name (Um, spectacular). After two weeks sans sheets and private bathroom, I finally made the long journey home to Troy. (And I say “long,” not because I hate driving and even the 45 minute trek to Montgomery makes me wanna take a nap, but because I was stuck in traffic for about an hour right outside of Atlanta. All of I-85 heard me sing the first and majority of second act of the Secret Garden. Although, I think they’re all better off because of it.)

So now, the house is officially decked out for the holidays and Budgetary Christmas '09 is in full force. Everyone should expect homemade ornaments of yarn, glue and glitter (or egg cartons, pipe cleaners and jingle bells. Your preference).

Recipe Corner

Have a couple of awesome recipes to share.

Tuscan Macaroni and Cheese Bake: Made this for Katie to keep her from going to the Y, thus forcing spending more time with me :) Got the recipe from one of my favorite cooking blogs, “My Kitchen Cafe” and it’s definitely going in the recipe box (Yeah, I have a recipe box. I’m now well-equipped with an arsenal of recipes to hook myself a man…As long as that man loves baked goods.

http://mykitchencafe.blogspot.com/2009/11/tuscan-macaroni-and-cheese-bake.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

Basil Parmesan Dip: Sister made this for the fam while we invaded her one-bedroom apartment for about four days…Good sport. Anyway, it was de-licious. Make it.

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/in-season/uses-for-basil-00400000049915/page3.html

Giant Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies: Oh m’gah. These are ginormous, chewy, buttery and delicious. I substituted cranberries for cherries and I’m pretty sure that made them even more wonderful. Seriously. You can’t go wrong with these.

http://www.gigicakes.net/2009/11/giant-cranberry-oatmeal-cookies.html


Farmville Update: So I shut down the farm. No idea if they auctioned off my topiaries or sent my horse to the glue factory, I just know that Facebook is no longer a stressful place.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I’m gonna be evicted from Farmville.

I was never what one might call a “dainty” child. I was covered in dirt for the majority of my preschool years, my bangs forever plastered to my forehead as a result of hard play and delighted exhaustion and I was never more comfortable than when I was in my own bare feet (actually, that’s still true).

One of my favorite childhood memories is playing on Granny and Bop Bop’s farm. I remember digging potatoes, snapping peas and riding the tractor with my grandpa (again, mostly barefoot). I still wholeheartedly believe that if you point at a fruit or vegetable with your index finger it’ll fall off the vine. I have no idea if this is a widespread farmer’s tale, but it was taught like the gospel at our house. I’ll still curl up my finger to point at any growing thing…Ah, good ol’ behavioral conditioning.

I didn’t have much career ambition as a kid, but one thing I really wanted was to have my own farm and sell my fruits and vegetables in my very own roadside stand. Yeah. This was a significant part of my life, but I still don’t think of myself as a country girl. Don’t understand that one.

Anyway, back to present day. Obama is president; Michael Jackson is dead, and Farmville is sweeping the nation. I never got Farmville. You have a fake farm. You plant things. You can buy cows and pagodas. I mean, in what real farm do you grow rice, pineapples, cherry trees, pattypan squash and raise bunnies all in the same place? It’s ludicrous! My Farmville started completely accidentally. I was spending the weekend with my friend Su (the one with the awesome dip and Farmville extraordinaire). She signed into Farmville while accidentally logged onto my name and bought a baby turkey that she wanted. Afterwards when she returned to a completely barren farm, she realized what she had done. My farm was born. I still don’t understand it. You send presents like chicken coops to your “neighbors” and fertilize their crops. When the time comes you’re supposed to harvest your crops and you earn coins and XPs (still don’t know what those are) and you can buy seeds, hay bales and garden gnomes with your coinage.

But now that I’m in it, I don’t know how to get out of it. I’ve got “neighbors” that send me things, so obviously I feel obligated to do the same. No one likes a snotty neighbor. And I get the whole harvesting concept. It makes sense to pick the strawberries when they’re ready, but you also have to harvest your turkey. What? Like, is it going to be ready to harvest on Thanksgiving? Do you have to slaughter it? This game is taking a dark dark turn…I found out that when you “harvest” your turkey you collect its feathers. Who would want these? How is Farmer Mellie going to make money by selling feathers? Should I be bartering them instead for glass beads and bits of twine? Are they distributed to elementary school children so they can dress up and unintentionally mock the American Indian? Who knows…

Anyway, I’m hanging on to the farm for now but I spent the majority of my budget stocking up on artichoke plants because they take four days to grow and I’m really not responsible enough to harvest every four hours, but I'm just waiting for that eviction notice to show up on my farm. "You are not motivated. You have not purchased an elephant yet. Get the hell out of our town." Now when someone gifts me a roadside stand, I might get into this game. Who doesn’t love a childhood dream come true?

Who put the DIP in the dip da dip da dip?

I have a go-to dip and it’s served me well for years (all thanks to Sushannah). It’s a block of cream cheese, can of chicken and packet of ranch seasoning. Pretty much the easiest thing on the planet and absolutely delicious. But I think I’ve found a new one…

Mediterranean Dip

1 block cream cheese

½ cup chopped roasted red peppers

¼ cup kalamata olives

¼ cup grated Romano cheese

1 clove minced garlic

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Just mix and refrigerate and serve on melba toast (I toasted up some French bread with garlic and basil and…yeah. I vote that’s better than melba toast.).

It’s got a little pimento cheese twang because of all the roasted red peppers, which makes me think it would be great toasted…What? You’ve never had pimento cheese toast? Um. It’s the only way one should eat pimento cheese. Ever.

Bon App├ętit! (Said as always in a the style a la Meryl Streep a la Julia Child)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I blame it on Mandy Patinkin and Daisy Eagan…

I was seven years old the first time I saw a Broadway musical. The entire Bassett clan made its way to Atlanta’s Fox Theatre to see the Secret Garden and that’s where the obsession began. I don’t think I ever felt so fancy in my life. It was one of those “lacy ankle socks and patent leather shoes” occasions, you know? I’d never seen a bigger or more ornately beautiful building in my little life. We found our seats and I settled in, giddy with anticipation. That excitement was only momentarily ebbed when a woman with a hat that would shame Carmen Miranda sat down right in front of me. I spent the rest of the night propped up on my knees peering over her shoulder, and discovered my love of musical theatre. The Secret Garden soundtrack didn’t leave our boombox for at least a year and Mandy Patinkin (Archibald Craven) and Daisy Eagan (Mary) became household names. For years I desperately wanted hazel eyes so I could be like Lily in the song…(it’s not the OBC, but you get the idea).



Since then, musicals have been a, ahem, significant part of my life (Do you know how many collective hours I've spent on YouTube watching Tony footage? Neither do I, but I bet it's a lot)…but it wasn’t until recently that I truly expanded my collection from the good ol’ standards (Secret Garden, Phantom of the Opera, My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, etc…) to something well, more expansive. Oh you want to know all of my musicals? You want to take a tour inside my musicals CD case? (Yeah I have one…Don’t judge). I’d be happy to share:

A Chorus Line*
Avenue Q**
Billy Elliot
Chicago
Hairspray
In the Heights**
Jane Eyre
Jersey Boys**
Legally Blonde
Les Miserables**
Mama Mia
My Fair Lady
Next to Normal*
Peter Pan
Phantom of the Opera
Ragtime*
Rent
Rock of Ages
Secret Garden*
Shrek**
Spamalot*
Spring Awakening
Thoroughly Modern Millie*
West Side Story
Wicked**
The Wild Party
Young Frankenstein

*Listen to on regular basis
**Kick you in the crotch spit on your neck fantastic
(no star) Still frickin awesome

And those are just the ones in the book, people… And yeah they’re in alphabetical order. As is my DVD collection. Don’t judge. That’s my job here!

Last weekend I got the highlight of the year. Seriously, this was better than finishing grad school. Sister calls me bright and early Saturday morning saying that (Time out: she and her friend, EA have season tickets to Broadway Across America at the Fox. Time in.), EA can’t make it to their show Sunday, which just happens to be In the Heights. Oh m’gah. One of my recent faves. Needless to say, I shower, pack a bag and book it to Atlanta to not only catch the LSU game (hell yeah) but to see the best show I’ve ever seen! After they performed the first number Sunday night, I looked over to Sister and just mouthed “AWESOME.” (She could tell I said it in all caps…What?)

I’ve got to say, I was giddy after finally seeing Wicked last year since I’d been listening to the music for so long, but I swear, Heights made me ridiculously uber-giddy. Hands down, this was the best performance I’d ever seen. Wicked may have won if I’d seen the OBC, but things being the way they are, Heights totally wins. Ok great. Now I have a desire to sell coffee in the barrio. And rap about it. No pare, sigue sigue! Hasta luego!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dracula? Was he in the Sookie prequal?

Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Rings, 1984, Dracula, Catcher in the Rye, Catch 22, Grapes of Wrath, Brave New World, Treasure Island, Moby Dick, In Cold Blood, Lord of the Flies, Last of the Mohicans, anything Hemmingway

Guess who hasn’t read any of those. Ding ding ding! That would be me. Sadly, I consider myself relatively well-read (I mean, I can make Of Mice and Men jokes and read Don Quixote in Spanish. I read…But still). Every time I’ve gotten a good break of time off from school I’ve decided I’m going to catch up on all the required reading I should have done a long time ago. Do I ever? Nope. So you’d think now that I’m back home I’d actually do something about it, right? I have a stack of books just waiting to be read: As I Lay Dying, Picture of Dorian Gray, Tis, Wolf at the Table, Ellen Burstyn’s biography. Ok…the last one is just for pure pleasure, but what have I spent my little “vacation” reading instead?

Sookie Stackhouse.

I got absolutely, completely and overwhelming obsessed with finishing this series. For those unfamiliar, Sookie’s a small-town Louisiana barmaid and telepath. The only minds she can’t read are vampires’. Oh yes. Another outlet for the recent vampire trend. But I’ve got to make sure you know these came out way before the Twilight series, and yep I read those too, but you can definitely see similarities between the two series (except there's no "change me into a vampire" nonsense and Harris' are the perfect length). It’s almost as if Stephanie Meyers read the Sookie books and thought “Huh. How could I rewrite this to make it lame and full of tweens? I’ll make the bar a school and replace the sex with a longing look and flared nostrils. Oh, and make it as long as Ulysses.” (*Zack Morris Time Out*: I read the Twilight books in about a week and thought they were pretty awesome. I got sucked in. I didn’t pick up on the ridiculous factor til I tried to read them again. Which I couldn’t. Oo just like pulling teeth. *Time In*)

I think one of the best parts about reading the Sookie books is HBO’s True Blood (based on the series). I actually read the first book over a year ago before the show came out, and I tell ya, being on the “I know how this storyline is going to turn out” bandwagon is awesome. And now that I’ve read all the books out I can honestly critique, pick apart and judge the show. The power that comes with knowing that a character would never “actually” do or say something from the show and then telling people about it is intoxicating. Example: Sam would never be interested in another girl besides Sookie and Bill would never propose! And I can say that with utmost authority. (*Time Out* Still love the show. It’s awesome. Catch up on the first two seasons, come chat with me and I’ll tell ya what should have happened. *Time In*)

The real problem is that Charlaine Harris hasn’t finished the series…Yay for more Sookie. Boo hiss boo for no closure. She’s got a book of Sookie short stories out now which I’m reading in bookstores when I get a chance. Because I’m poor and can’t afford new release hardback books…And they have comfy chairs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tis the season...For all things pumpkin

Let’s kick off my jobless-isms with my wicked culinary skills, shall we? I found a recipe for carrot cake pancakes with cream cheese sauce. While I thought it sounded delicious, my mom wasn’t too keen on veggies in her pancakes, so our recipe morphed into the illustrious pumpkin pancakes with sliced bananas and cream cheese sauce. Ooooh yum. And they were nothing but easy.

You start with your standard Bisquick pancake recipe (2 c. Bisquick, 1 c. milk, 2 eggs), to that you’ll add about half a cup of brown sugar, 1/3 c. canned pumpkin, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon and a splash of rum extract.

The sauce is just half a block of cream cheese, 1½ c powdered sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla and about 2-4 T milk mixed well.

We served them up with banana slices drizzled with the cream cheese sauce, and I tell ya. These made me wanna go nom nom nom.


So it was Halloween last week. I’ve never been a fan of the ever-present “girl dressed as the slutty version of a fuzzy animal” costume (obviously demonstrated by my Legends of the Hidden Temple costume from a few years ago), so I decided to celebrate privately this year. Well, that reason plus the fact that my social life has decreased incredibly since I’ve moved back home... But yeah, anywho. I’m still cool.

Halloween Eve I had an overwhelming urge to carve a pumpkin. And not just any pumpkin; an Office inspired pumpkin. Anyone who’s spent more than 30 minutes with me knows what a huge Office fan I am. Own all seasons, quote it like a champ, am the one they make those episode commentaries for, and when the Target dollar section went Office-centric it was like Christmas. Back on track: I found these awesome Office stencils on Office Tally (http://www.officetally.com/the-office-halloween-ideas/2) and I couldn’t not use them. And so I present to you: Andy Bernard and Dwight Schrute. Ri-dit-dit-dah-doo!

Of course, me being me, I was a complete struggle. Because I waited so late to actually get into the spirit, I had to scour the town to find a store that hadn't disposed of its pumpkin display, so my starter pumpkin was just a teeny bit sad. I think the carving process took a good three hours to get done. Pretty sure it took half an hour just to cut the lid off. Whoops. Also, I don’t plan ahead so I had no fancy carving tools…Did have a lemon peeler though. But it worked in a pinch, so I can’t really complain. I’m quite the crafty jack-o-lantern-er though; had several eyebrows and nose tips fall off, but with toothpicks and determination you can’t even tell.


And so it begins

Hello and welcome to my mind’s inner workings.

Background: 24. Will receive my MA in advertising and public relations in December. Finally finished my thesis. Back living at home because… Am hopelessly, haplessly and desperately unemployed. But I’m not just unemployed. I’m a new old biddy (© Jennifer Eolin—Awesome comedian and Project Runway blogger extraordinaire. Google her.). What’s a new old biddy you ask? Well. I’m young, like to keep up with trends…BUT. I love handicrafts and hot tea, own (and regularly use) a sleep cardigan, keep a stash of hard candies in my purse and like to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

But you know, the whole “no job” thing isn’t all bad. It’s as if I’m on perma-summer vacation, so the fact that it’s November still hasn’t dawned on me. (Let’s just hope we get a true Alabama winter because my entire cold-weather wardrobe is in storage. In Tuscaloosa.) Anyway, back to why I’m partially ok with not having a job. I have no idea how I could watch as much TV as I do if I were employed. Imagine the Top Chef marathons I would have missed… And my devotion to Biggest Loser, the Office and Glee is nothing but impressive. Quiz me. I’ll prove it.

Recently my sister (aka Sister) asked me what I do with my time since I’ve been back home in Troy for a good four months now. (Wow. Scary.). And I thought, heh, how should I answer this? And decided, what better way than a blog that will hopefully entertain and enlighten? And so it begins. Shows I watch; books I read; food I cook; handicrafts I…craft.

The Unemployed Biddy’s Chronicle.

Enjoy.