Sunday, November 28, 2010

Family Dinner Series Weeks Seven and Eight

Family Dinner Series Week Seven was another week of just us three. Me, Uncle Bud and Alias, who from this point forward would prefer to be referred to as Gilbert Hoss.

What up, Hoss?

We had invited one of Gilbert Hoss's friends, but she bailed at the last minute. In fact, she also bailed the week prior. I guess she didn't understand that an invitation to the barn's Family Dinner Series was a highly sought after item, not to be jeopardized with naps and sickness.

You're a very nice girl, Blondie, and I genuinely enjoy spending time with you. But... you are officially off the Tuesday night invite list.

I had a craving for pizza. Not wanting to make my own, and also not wanting to order in, I came up with a Pizza Casserole on the fly. Layers of tortilla, cheese, pepperoni, and grilled veggies. As usual, the boys loved it but honestly, it reminded me of something you eat as a snack in front of football... not a real dinner. Luckily I had some salad and bread on hand to balance things out a bit.

Conclusion? Anything with pepperoni and cheese makes for yummy late-night leftovers!

For Family Dinner Series Week Eight the boys and I went all out in preparation for our most special dinner guests yet. My sister, brother-in-law and two-year old niece Hopper.

Instead of our usual crackers and humus, we snacked on baked brie. Instead of root beers and waters, we indulged in some wine. And in ultimate contrast to the previous week's meal, we had bourbon marinated beef and chicken kabobs, salad, spicy rice, and garlic rolls.

The meal was delicious but most entertaining was little Hopper, who rejected her sassy seat in favor of a grownup chair and spent most of the meal dancing in a crouched position.

"Hey! We have three rules at family dinner," Bud told her. "No hats, cell phones off, and no shaking your bum at the dinner table!"

Usually Uncle Bud has the ability to scare Hopper silly, but the fact that his cell phone rang a minute later, followed quickly by Gilbert Hoss's, must have convinced her that his threat was empty. The bum shaking continued.

Conclusion? The best family dinners often include real family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Uncle Bud on... Physique?

Me: Hey, I got a new job!

Bartender: Yeah, I know, I already heard.

Me: What? How? Who did you hear from?

Bartender: Let's just say a little robin told me.

Later on...

Uncle Bud: Uh, that was me. And I am neither little, nor bird-like.

Friday, November 19, 2010

On cars and Mexican dip.

It strikes me as strange that I have kept this blog for as long as I have without addressing the issue of my Car. Yes. I capitalized Car. Because my Car causes enough problems that it deserves a little extra emphasis. It's not a car, it's my Car. And my Car... is an issue.

I purchased my car, with the help of my parents, in 2002, shortly after I secured a full ride to a small college in Maine. Paying 90% of the cost of my used car seemed like very little compared to the cash my parents put up for my older sister and younger brother's private college educations.

They felt they were making out like bandits.

I too, felt I was making out like a bandit. I had a car! A lower-case, no issue, no payment car!

But the thing about my Car is... it's a volkswagen. No wait. A Volkswagen. Capital V.

Do you know who should own Volkswagens? People who like tinkering with cars.

Do you know who likes tinkering with cars? Yeah, me neither. Not me. That's for sure.

And making the issue exponentially worse, is the fact that while I am not a bad driver, bad things do tend to happen to me while driving.

(Did you see that? That there was called Creative License.)

The list of... issues... I have survived since acquiring my vehicle is... extensive. There was the time I broke down on the Maine Turnpike in a snowstorm and got stranded at a Dunkin Donuts with a rapidly dying cell phone the day after Christmas. There was the time I spun out of control a mere 100 yards from my own driveway and popped two tires on my way off the road. There was the time my clutch gave out on the first stretch of a trip to Vermont and I ended up stranded at my boyfriend's friend's mother's house for the majority of what was supposed to be a wild spring break. Oh, yeah. And there was the time I drove into a building. Different car, sure. But you get what I'm saying.

So... yes. Some of the time the incidents have been at my own fault.

But others? Others have just been Issues. Capital I. And better yet, Continuing Issues.

Like the fact that in order to start my car I have to quickly jerk the steering wheel to the left while turning the ignition to the right. Or the fact that wet weather, despite having installed a brand new distributor cap, still causes my car to require an ample amount of silicone spray before (maybe) starting. Or how about the fact that only half my dash lights up, except for sometimes, when suddenly the other half lights up, and the unexpected brightness of it on a dark ride home is enough to send me into a tailspin. Or there's also the fact that my clutch is lagging.

Let's just say that every time I call my parents at an unscheduled time, they ask what is wrong with the Car.

Which is exactly why I am excited to report that I got a new job. While I do not plan to write about the job (Welcome. You're Fired.) I will say that the pay associated with the position just may be enough to get me approved for a car payment. And as sad as I will be to kiss my little periwinkle whip goodbye, I am very much looking forward to my only car Issues being MY issues.

Oh, right. I mentioned Mexican dip.

Let's just say that not only am I a girl who has trouble keeping a car on the road, but I am also a girl who 90% of the time is transporting a dish of homemade dip. The two qualities do not go well together.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Uncle Bud on Restaurant Work

"When we were growing up, we would get like one super market brand shrimp cocktail platter for everyone. The little one! With the little shrimps! And then we'd all take turns taking one shrimp. And then, when everyone had one, we would each take one more shrimp. And then that would be it. This time there were no restrictions. So I got a little shrimped out."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Uncle Bud on the DMV

"He goes, I just need proof that you're a US Citizen, and I was like, I am. I was just pissed that I had to wait in line for 35 minutes and then this guy thinks I'm not American. Like, Dude. There are very few people more American than me."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Family Dinner Series Week Six

Family Dinner Series Week Six reinforced two lessons.

One, childhood meals make the best family dinners.

And two, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs.

After Uncle Bud requested I make "Pasta and Veg", a staple from our younger years, I called Mom.

"I don't think I even have a recipe for that," she said. "I think I modeled it after something from Bertucci's. It was a fake!"

She told me to get some pasta, parmesan, chicken broth and garlic, and run with it.

I instead found a recipe that included all of those ingredients, and ran with THAT.

The recipe called for one pound of pasta, and because my Tuesday schedule was a little unpredictable (do we all have jobs that are affected by Election Day?) I decided to cook it off the night before. I cooked it, drained it, and tossed it in a bowl with a small amount of olive oil to keep it from sticking. As I wrapped it up, in walked Uncle Bud.

"That's it? Seriously?"

I tried to tell him that a pound of pasta was all the recipe called for but to no avail.

"Bridge. I could eat that by myself."

Alright, fine.

I doubled the recipe.

Well kids, if anyone wants any delicious pasta with grilled veggies, chicken, and a garlicy cream sauce, come on over. Uncle Bud and I both brought it for lunch every day this week, I froze a big container of it, and I still have some left. Oy vey.

Conclusion? One pound of pasta will feed three people. Especially when appetizers include kielbasa. (Thanks, Alias.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

You cursed brat!

You know that part in The Wizard of Oz where the Wicked Witch of the West gets doused with water and starts screaming?

"I'm melting! I'm meeeelting!"

If my barn had a voice, it would sound just like hers.

"I'm leaking! I'm leeeeaaaaking! I'M LEEEEAAAAAKKKKKKING!"

I really hope this rain stops soon.

It's bad for my barn, it's bad for my car, and frankly, it's really bad for my bangs.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Uncle Bud on Reality TV

With Uncle Bud's new xBox, came streaming Netflix. And with streaming Netflix, came my revived obsession with bad television. I have spent a good amount of time recently Keeping Catching Up with the Kardashians, and much to Uncle Bud's dismay, he has caught more than one episode in the process.

The girls do not amuse him.

"You guys are arguing over who gets a Bentley when Bridget and I have to argue over who has to buy toilet paper!"

Pretty sure they can't hear you through the TV there, Bud.

And pretty sure none of them have ever had to worry about buying toilet paper.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Family Dinner Series Weeks Three, Four, and Five

Family Dinner Week Three snuck right up on me, which lead to me falling back on my all-time favorite food. Mexican. We invited my good friend Dan, who is awesome and builds awesome guitars (follow that link!). With him came the two loves of his life, Katherine and Baby Hailey.

I sent a quick text to Alias informing him of the Mexican theme. He brought over some chips, salsa and taquitos for appetizers while I cooked a Mexican Lasagna and mixed up a Taco Salad.

When I realized I had chosen Mexican for the night that our guest roll included a one-year old, I became skeptical, but man oh man did Hailey hold her own. That girl is not afraid of spice! And luckily, as godparents to a one-year old of our own, Uncle Bud and I had a sassy-seat already set up at the dining room table.

Conclusion? No one, not even a one-year old, can say no to a salad with Doritos in it.

By the time Family Dinner Week Four arrived I had fallen into a financial hole so deep I almost boycotted our weekly tradition. Instead, Bud and Alias went shopping and cooked a delicious meal of grilled chicken and steak, spicy rice, and a side salad to rival all that came before it. Then, while I sat on the couch and felt sorry for myself, the boys even set the table!

Conclusion? Whining will, every once in a long while, produce results.

Luckily I got my motivation... and some of my funding... back for Family Dinner Week Five. Uncle Bud had requested an old family favorite from our childhood called Seven Layer Casserole. He even promised to put aside his OCD tendencies that require him to only eat one type of food at a time. Casserole, he wanted! And a Seven Layer one at that.

Conclusion? Do all childhood memories come coated in cream of mushroom soup? YUM.

Stay tuned for more Family Dinners! Perhaps featuring some new guest stars? Alias is already here every night... we're quickly becoming that family with nothing left to talk about...