20 March, 2013

Sound Byte

...you're running every red light/...just relax/safer if we'd hitch-hiked/...give me some slack/Missed a turn a mile back/..alright, where's the map/you know, you could be right/you know, you could be right ....

So I'm teaching Fluffy to drive (I know, right?!) and I let him drive to the Camden Yards light rail station. We talked about the possibility of a processing delay, the time it takes for the words coming out of my mouth to turn into some corrective action by his hands or feet. He agreed that maybe an additional second would be helpful. He's gaining confidence, but is not all that motivated to Get His License. I have weirdly mixed feelings about that. I mean, at 18  (I KNOW, right?) he really ought to have his 'real' license, not a nine month old learner's permit, but he also ought to have had Driver's Ed, which he hasn't.  Myself, I drove for a year and a half on an expired learner's permit, despite having completed Driver's Ed. Well, whatever. If my boy needs Mama to drive him places awhile longer, I'm okay with that.

Anyway, we got to the light rail stop, and I got out of the car, hugged Fluffy and said, "Good job. A little sloppy, but you didn't scare me at all." He patted me and said, "Thanks! That's good, uh, I mean, Oh, Damn. I'll do better next time."

Waitresses, It's My Car

21 September, 2012

Memory Tea

...A B C D/ Can I bring my friend to tea? /E F G H I J/ I love you....


Hey, Mom.
"Hey, what?"
‘Member that iced tea stuff you used to make in summertime? It had Tang and maybe cinnamon?
"Yes, probably."
Probably you remember, or probably cinnamon?
"Probably cinnamon. Remembering? You know better."
So, what else was in it?
"Lemonade mix, I seem to recall."
Right, and instant iced tea. This Lipton instant, is that it?
She shrugs. I pick up the jar. It’s glass, and I can see through the bottom.
Yes. This looks familiar.
She laughs.
What?
"I don’t know how you can look at that when you’re thinking of something I made a hundred years ago and say that it looks familiar."
The tea, it looks powdery. Little fluffy round crystals. That’s what looks familiar.
I show her. She agrees.
"Let me know how it turns out."

It’s not likely that she remembers the proportions, if she ever had any. She may have just taken all the containers, dumped them together and stirred in as much cinnamon as she felt like using, then portioned the whole mess back into the empty containers. That was her style.

I didn't believe that I’d find the recipe online, but doubting the web isn’t a bright thing for me to do. I found several recipes, all very similar.  However, all of them refer to this beverage as a hot drink. I remember my mother mixing it up in pitchers and serving it over ice. I think it was her crunchy granola hippie compromise for soda.

I bought the ingredients, but haven’t mixed them yet. I’m a little afraid that no matter what I do, I won’t capture in my mouth the memory in my mind.
Resee Witherspoon’s version sounds like my mother.
"My grandmother had this spiced tea recipe — it's very southern. You take instant powdered tea, a can of Tang, a can of powdered lemonade, and you mix them all together with some nutmeg and cinnamon. I'm telling you, southern people will know this recipe. And you shake it all up, then you put it in a Mason jar, and put a piece of fabric on top and a piece of ribbon around it. Then, whenever you want, just put two scoops in hot water. It's the most delicious thing in the world."

Read more:
 Reese Witherspoon's Recipe for Spiced Tea - Good Housekeeping 

This one sounded right, and referenced Girl Scout days. 

 
Spice Tea with Tang
1 cup instant iced tea (plain, lemon, sweetened, unsweetened)
2 cups Tang instant breakfast drink
1 tablespoon of allspice or pumpkin pie spice

Mix well and use as is, or add some Jello (lemon, orange, lime,?) instant lemonade mix, or powdered apple cider mix. For a mug: Add one heaping tablespoon of the mix to a mug of boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Drink when it’s cool enough to stand it.

http://chickensintheroad.com/farm-bell-recipes/spice-tea-made-with-tang/


My mother might have learnt it through Girl Scouts, except she was a scout troupe leader in the late ‘70s, and I remember drinking this stuff when we lived in Indiana, in the early '70s. She couldn’t have learned it when she was a Girl Scout, because Tang hadn’t been invented yet.

Yes, whippersnappers, I remember when Tang was invented. Shaddap. Also, it used to come in grape.

This one came up on the Cooks.com recipe search. It has enthusiastic reviews!! Note the enthusiasm!!!

SPICED TANG TEA

1 c. instant tea
14 oz. Tang
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 pkg. lemon flavored Kool Aid
Mix all dry ingredients well. Add 1 cup of sugar to mix or sweeten to taste. Use 2 Tbsp. for 1 cup of hot water.

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,183,152163-254199,00.html
"I had a severe case of bronchitis and lost my voice. My mother-in-law made this for me but substituted allspice for the cloves. Within 2 days I felt so much better and I had my voice back!! I don't know if it's all the vitamin C from the Tang or what but if you're sick this stuff is a definite necessity AND it tastes great!!!"

"This is awesome stuff for sore throat, sickness, and a yummy evening or morning beverage. This has been passed down two generations in my family."


This last one sounds most like what I think I remember, and has suggestions for packaging it as an inexpensive gift for a child’s teacher.

Spiced Tea Mix Recipe

2 cups orange-flavored drink mix (Tang)
1 cup lemon flavored instant tea powder (has sugar mixed in)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
TO MAKE A CUP:  Mix 3 teaspoons of mix to a mug of hot water.  Mmm, enjoy!

Okay, and I lied. I did mix it all up, and taste-tested it both hot and iced. The moment the cinnamon hit the Tang/tea mixture, my nose said, "Ahh! THAT's the stuff!" So. But because I had an array of bakin spices, I fiddled around. The cinnamon's the important bit... to me. The other spices are just gilding.

Here it is:
Memory Spiced Tea Mix
(regular batch)
In large bowl, mix together:
2 Cups Orange Tang
1 Cup Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 Cup Lemonade Mix
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Allspice
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Mace
(This is because I had Mace, which I usually don't and is completely unnecessary and just a bit too posh for this homey little recipe. If you don't have Mace but want the posh version, try 1/2- 1tsp ground nutmeg)
(large batch)
In large bowl, mix together:
3 Cups Orange Tang (one whole container)
1 1/2 Cups Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 1/2 Cups Lemonade Mix
3 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Mace
(this will fit nicely into 2 large Mason jars)
(gigantic no-leftovers batch)
4 22 oz. Mason Jars, with lids, empty and clean (or mix it together then put it in all the empties)
In large bowl, mix together:
2 Containers Orange Tang Powder
1 Jar Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 Container Lemonade Mix
6 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3 tsp Ground Allspice
3 tsp Ground Ginger
3 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Mace

Use 1 -2 heaping Tbsp per glass or mug. Share and enjoy!


If you try any version, let me know how it turns out.

( The Beatles; All Together Now)

10 March, 2012

300 Words

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

I'm embarrassed to even post this as an entry, but I've been delinquent in posting at all. Go on, give me a D+ for it, if you like.

A website asks for a 'writing sample', one that 'demonstrates ability to write concisely on a topic', which, as a matter of fact, I CAN. I just usually don't. Unlike some other writers of my acquaintance, I actively enjoy the process of writing, the language, the mechanics and the unfolding progression of thought as I write. On occasion, I need to write about a thing before I am able to understand how I feel about it.

However, the assignment is 300 words that demonstrate...yadda, yadda. So I must choose a topic, first of all. "Write what you know" is a great idea, unless you're writing science fiction, which by definition is something the author doesn't know. But at this point in my life, I know so much stuff. And a lot of it is purely boring. Also, I am obviously stalling. I'd like to write about something other than cooking or child-rearing or knitting, something that will capture the attention of the site's editors. What do I know that other folk don't know?

whiteface makeup application
stilt walking for beginners
how to build a fire-eating torch
I-Ching readings at parties
preparing for a gig
how to write a murder mystery
sewing a pair of stilt pants

Make sure your hands and face are very clean. Oils left on the skin will interfere with the application of the greasepaint. Place a small amount of the greasepaint in the palm of your non-dominant hand, and rub it gently until it is very soft and pliable. With fingertips or a makeup sponge, apply greasepaint evenly to your face, working symmetrically so as to avoid streaking. Crusted blemishes on your face will be a problem at this point, so simply dab a little glob of makeup on them, and leave them until later. Be sure to work the makeup well into your eyebrows and the 'corners' of your nose- the crease where the sides of your nose meet the lower edge of your cheek. Cover to your hairline, ears and chin, or some predetermined edge. Scrunch your chin up to ensure that you're all covered even when grimacing.

When your face is evenly coated, with your ring and middle fingers covered in white, gently pat all over your face. This works the makeup into your skin and hides your pores. Your makeup should feel tacky, but not thick or goopy. If you've left any blobs of makeup on your blemishes, now is the time to gently and carefully cover them, blending the edges of the makeup blob without disturbing any scabbing you may have. Check the mirror. Do you look good? If so, it's time for powder.

Classically trained clowns like a powder sock, which is a deceptive term. An old gym sock isn't the thing at all. A trouser sock, made of pantyhose material is better, but what you need for a good powder sock is a densely woven material that permits the powder to seep out, without leaving textural marks on your makeup. A child's dress sock is often a good choice, but be sure to only use white socks, as sock dye can bleed onto your powder. Some clowns avoid the sock entirely and simply shake powder onto a puff and pat their faces with the powder-coated puff, or dip large fluffy brushes into a powder box and brush the powder onto the face. These are more wasteful and messy than the sock method, but a novice will wish to try each method to determine personal preference.

Once your face is completely powdered, (tap or stroke your face all over with your fingertips- any stick spots require more powder), you will use a large soft brush to remove the excess. When you make faces in the mirror, you shouldn't have powder flaking off- if you do, brush again.

Check your face again, turning side to side, up and down, and brush your eyebrows back into place. Now you are ready to paint on your details.

Okay. My word processing program says this is 458 words. But it's a start.

24 January, 2012

Tiara Tuesday

...have you seen her all in gold/ like a queen in days of old/ she shoots colors all around/ like a sunset going down/ have you seen a lady fairer?..


1: Tiara Tuesday (TM)
is today; now, everyone

be regal and posh.

2: Tea-filled china cups

sail beneath powdered noses:

pinkies aloft, all!

Tiara Tuesday activities:
Bubble baths. 
Manicures. 
Facials.
Luncheon shall be on china plates, even if luncheon is a taco from Taco Bell. Inappropriate, impractical or downright silly shoes are acceptable and shall be worn on Tiara Tuesdays. Beverages, even non-adult beverages such as milk, apple juice or plain water shall be served in champagne flutes, wine glasses or cut crystal highball tumblers.
Furry jackets or stoles are Tiara Tuesday-approved outerwear. Fluffy boas are optional, but recommended.
Participants are encouraged to bestow something upon another, perhaps un-tiaraed, person. You may bestow a new package of paper upon the copy machine, a regal pat upon your dog, or a lovely smile upon the person in the toll-booth. Identifying an act of bestowance at the time is not necessary (though permissible), but the word should be in your mind as you do it.

It is permissible on Tiara Tuesday to enter every room as if you expect applause.

Things that are glittery or sparkly must be given at least cursory attention on Tiara Tuesdays. Bedazzled belts, besequined berets, metallic threaded camisoles, sparkly eyeshadow, crushed glass in the streets of your city shall be noticed and smiled upon regally, so pay attention.
In conversation, use of superlatives and exotic or obscure words is encouraged.
All hand movements must be accompanied by a lifted pinkie, including but not limited to jar opening, hair brushing, makeup application, nose blowing, door opening, filing, phone answering, tea drinking, tiara adjusting, specatacle wiping, driving and of course, crocheting or knitting.
A Princess Hat (satin cone with organdy scarf attached) is an acceptable substitute for a tiara, though less glittery.

The Princess Principle of Intention:
For those of you whose tiara-deficit state causes you to believe that you mayn’t participate until NEXT Tuesday, please be advised that you are permitted to wear your future tiara Right Now.
That is to say, if you are planning to purchase a tiara, you may behave as though you already have it on your head.
Please contain your gasps of astonishment when you catch glimpses of yourself in mirrors and recall that your tiara is invisible to everyone but you. Astonished gasps are so un-Princess-like.


The Rolling Stones; She's A Rainbow

19 November, 2011

Layered Relationships

...I think you're nice, but I saw something else that I like/ and I think I gotta make you my next ex....

Speaking to the new husband of my ex's second ex, thinking about the new husband of his first ex, and how I met him without knowing he was married to her. Later, her comment was, "Does she have to be friends with ALL of my husbands?"

Ex #2's new husband is quite charming and humorous, and we discussed Schrodinger.

We spoke of the famous imaginary cat, and the popular notion that he is either in the box, or not in the box. This is incorrect, as the cat being in the box is taken as a non-variable. Whether the cat is alive or not is at issue.

However, my friend applied the 'observation changes reality' premise to this theoretical cat, and said that the cat is either looking up or not looking up, and when we open the box to see if the cat is looking up, of course the cat is looking up, because we opened the box.

This is not Shrodinger, nor Quantum Physics. It's more like a foam marshmallow s'more snowman on a sled Christmas ornament, or a shirtless Korean Canadian in a kilt playing electric sitar. (Hi, Andrew!)

I spoke of the stepson of my cousin, trying to find a word. I decided on 'nephew', which describes the emotional connection, though on a literal level is less than accurate.

Though in conversation I refer to multiple brothers-in-law, I in fact only have one. The husbands of my two sisters-in-law have no designation in English, and calling them out-laws confuses people.

Long ago, I met the little girl who was about to become my niece by marriage. I helped her gather some food on a paper plate and we sat down together. She looked at me with her serious little face and asked, "So, are you.... in law?"

I puzzled over this, because people, even four-year-olds, rarely mistake me for a lawyer.

Then I laughed when I realized she was trying to 'place' me in the family.

Yes, I told her. I'm married to your almost step-mommie's brother. I'm an in-law.


(Beyonce; Kick Him Out)

16 November, 2011

Aborted Visit

...travel the world and the seven seas/ everybody's looking for something....

Before I woke this morning, I was in your apartment- not the house I've visited, nor the other dwelling you've described to me, but a first-floor condo unit in a large complex. I knew it was yours because it was the same apartment I'd dreamed before, which I entered, barely knocking, and walked straight into your arms as you stepped from the shower. This time, as I came in, I tripped over a red cloth shopping bag- Target, I think- which contained a pair of shoes and a sweater I'd left behind the last time.

In my dreams, you don't seem partial to locked doors.

You are not here. I can feel your absence.

A young college-aged woman moves from one room to another in the back of the apartment. The front rooms are dark. She is speaking on the phone, but eventually notices me, and asks, "May I help you?" in a slightly hostile tone. I stammer that I've accidentallly entered the wrong apartment. Her face relaxes and she agrees that the units look all alike, and, smiling at me, resumes her phone conversation as I back away towards the door. I grab my bag of clothes and exit, wondering.

Eurythmics; Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

02 November, 2011

Juxtaposition, Again.

...they paved paradise/ and put up a parking lot/ they took all the trees/ and put them in a tree museum/ then they charged the people/ a dollar and a half just to see 'em...


The sun gleams blinding on the flat waters of the harbor. Beyond, twin plumes of steam rise from the stacks of Brandon Shores power plant, floating above the dinosaurian skeletal frames of mechanical monsters.

Nearby, a pair of large rocks protrude from the inlet, covered with birds. White-shirted cormorants glare at the monstrous floating city moored across the way. The lone heron among them tips his prehistoric head disdainfully and flaps away.

Marsh grasses rustle against the light breeze. Somewhere, I know there is a tent almost, but not quite entirely hidden from view. I often wonder about the tent's inhabitant: homeless, semi-homeless, or just living off the grid?

A seagull sounds as it sails overhead. I lock my car and walk into the Wal-Mart.


(Joni Mitchell; Big Yellow Taxi)