Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cornbread

I can’t believe this... I have made the best better! The recipe for cornbread I have comes from a small diner back when they were allowed to share recipes. While it has always served its purpose-- being both bread and made of corn, it never, well, it never just blew my doors off and no one ever said, “THAT! That, my dear, is the best damn cornbread ever!”
Until today. Today, they shouted from the rooftops, "The best cornbread is found at Senate Square! The best cornbread is in the Cagles kitchen!"
Might I share with you my new and improved recipe for cornbread. Just don’t tell anybody. My grandfather always said, “Don’t tell your friends your secrets, so you won’t fear them when they are enemies....”
So, Super Secret Cornbread.... 
1 cup, sifted, AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup self rising cornmeal (I don’t know if this is a common thing, but it was all the store had)
1 cup milk (if doubling, do 1.5 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup Wesson “Best Blend” oil
1/2 cup sour cream
Mis all until just combined and pour into a greased cast iron skillet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
Give it a shot. And then shoot the lights out, because, WOW... I am probably talking this up to much and you’re going to hate it. That's okay, I love it and it is not even out of the oven yet.


--update-- While excellent, I forgot to put in the 1 tsp. of salt... so, I will try that next time and be totally prepared to be blown away.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's been a busy few days...


 We started early in our jammies...




We got dressed and made our way up to the Library of Congress and were only "shushed" once. She ran around the square, we read books, and made friends.


And then we got tired at the LoC and decided to sit a while. Eileen was looking for the chicken and ran around saying, "BAH BAHHHHH"


And, now she started thinking about rallying... and then the rain set in. Cold walk home.


The next day, we went to the Capitol.


And Eileen wanted a picnic.


But, apparently there had been a shooting at the Pentagon the day before, so the cop behind her suspected terrorist activity.


So, Eileen posed her own personal sit-in.


And won.


Until she got bored and moved on.


The next day... we got our first big-girl car seat. I was totally upsold on the Britax because it would be, "The easiest of all to install." Well, if this one was the easiest, I would hate to see the hardest. Not to be messed with.


But, she looks cute in it, albeit hacked off.


Next, Husband got off of work early and after E's nap (and Husband's), we wanted to show her the rockets.


She was more interested in her dress.


And walking.


A lot of walking.


Not so much on the rockets.


But, she was kinda enthralled with the vibrating floor.


Until she decided it was time to get out.


And then rethought her decision.


But then rethought the rethought.


And this was moments before the FOAF (fit of all fits) that caused the Cagles to leaves


So, we decided to burn off some energy at the Nerd Convention going on this weekend.


And Eileen cooled her jets.


And started to run...


Until she went head first into the gravel... she looks a little sad today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Talky talky talk...

Right now, Eileen is at my feet, holding onto my knee and saying, “OHHHHHH DOO-DLES!”
Yep, Mickey Mouse is on. 
Her language is developing exponentially. At first, it was just, “Uh-Ohhhhhhh” when she dropped something, whether by accident or purpose.
Now...
Shoes and juice are the same word, but unless she is pointing at her feet, we know to get a cup. It is something like, Shouice.
Hot Dog. That means it is time to find a Mickey Mouse episode.
La-La... this is for Elmo.
Mamamamamamama.
Da-DA? 
LEEN! That is what she calls her cousin, Tellis. When Tellis sees Eileen, she [Tellis] says, “I-LEEN! LEEN! LEEN! LEEN! LEEN!” Now, when E wants to see T on my phone or computer, she says, “Leen?”
Pup-py. I am not a dog person, but Eileen, goodness! She is such a puppy person. Husband has already assured her that there will be many puppies in her future.
Choo-Choo. We live behind Union Station and have become accustomed to the rumble of the trains. When Will gets home, he will take Eileen out to the deck to see the trains coming and going. She loves this.


Chicken, BAHHH... this is by far the greatest thing ever. Ange & Woody have chickens in the backyard and when she stayed with them for a few weeks, they would check the chickens every day. Out of nowhere, she started saying, “Chick-chick. BAH BAH BAH,” Because that is what chickens say.
HI.
Bye.
Aye. We have started discussing our letters and can’t get past Aye.
Two. We like to count. “Eileen, let’s count, okay? Oneeeee,” I say. “TWO!” she screams, with glee. “Threeeeee,” I respond. “TWO!” she screams again with glee. When she hears the word ‘one,’ even if it is ‘no one’ ... she says, “TWO.”
ball.
Nonononononononono. Can’t just say NO, it has to be nononononono.
Dude. -- This is Tommy, my FIL.
Cooka. -- This is Debbie, my MIL.
Wa-dude -- This is Woody.
We have nothing for PETF as of yet.
Dank You. She is very polite and says Thank you.
Crack. Cracker, her staple food.
We also do some sign language-- more, all done, drink, eat, and yes. 
She also can answer simple yes & no questions-
“Do you want to get down?” a nod.
“Are you ready for a bath?” a shake.
“Do you think you are allowed to play with that electrical cord?” a nod.
“Do you have a dirty diaper?” a big shake, which usually means a nod.
“Do you want to see her Andrew? (her boyfriend)” a nod.
“Are you hungry?” nod.
“Okay, go load up...” and she takes off running for her chair.
But, probably the neatest ever was this past weekend. I was going out with some new girls, Kappa alums, and Eileen was with me as I was getting dressed. I fished out my Steve Madden snakeskin flats, tres cool. Eileen went back into my closet and fished out my Tony Llama, ass-kickin’ cowboy boots... 
“Really, Eileen? Do you think these would look better?” A nod.
I take off the flats and put on the boots.
“Eileen, what do you think? Do these look cooler than the flats?” A vehement nod and she takes off running. Of course, this is coming from the girl who thinks the aluminum foil hats we make are the sassiest things ever.
Three picture messages to three friends much more fashionable than I... and she was right. It’s so cool having a daughter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One flew over the cuckoos's nest

Eileen and I are jet setters. Well, not really, but we have dominated the ATL and the Charlotte airports. My slip-on shoes somewhat compensate for the fact that it takes 5 bins for all of our travel necessities. Shoes, and yes, they make E take off her shoes as well, computer, bag, diaper bag, and the dastardly stroller. Not to mention the sippy cups and food... "I have liquid" immediately prompts two TSA men in blue to put me through the body scanner, our goods to be swabbed, tested, and approved, and the otherwise chaos level takes on a whole new high when a baby is involved.

All of these things are comical to me, as I hold the knowledge that Eileen is a great traveler. She is cool as the flight takes off and usually falls asleep in my lap, snoring for the duration.

Twice she has flaked. Twice. Out of probably 10 legs of 5 trips, twice she has fallen out with no repair. This last time though, I learned a little something for when I am an old lady flying around.

Allow me to share my knowledge...

- Ignore the baby. Just ignore them. You, an absolute stranger, cannot possibly calm down the screaming baby in the mother's arms. Can't. You. Just. Can't. And, while the mother appreciates your effort to save everyone else. Just don't bother, it is only going to hack off the baby more.

- As a stranger, you cannot possibly diagnose what is wrong with the baby, so please... don't try. And, if the mother has heard enough and says, "It's not her ears," please.... for the love of all things lovely, do not say, "Well, you are wrong. It is her ears." Seriously?! SERIOUSLY? I had no idea you were a pediatrician who used a otoscope to see that. OHHHHH, wait.... Husband's a pediatrician and he showed me how to decompress her ears, so no. It's not her ears. Thanks for playing.

- Be awesome. With a baby screaming, all the mother and the baby want to do is get off the _____ airplane, because that will be the only thing that can calm everyone down-- a change of scenery. So, be awesome... let the baby off the plane early. Just wait an extra second and tell people to stop, so the baby can relocate. You will be so remembered for your kindness; someone will probably blog about you.

- Be awesome. Don't just offer to grab a bag and help down the aisle... just do it, and say something witty like, "Your shoes are busy enough, allow me to take this for you." You'll be so remembered that someone will probably blog about you.

- As a stewardess, we sincerely appreciate offers of butter cookies and watering down the apple juice.

We are flying at about 80% and I think that is pretty awesome, especially since it is just me and her!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My new Indian name is Sitting Duck



Few things now are not a production. However, I can get to the Wachovia in about 15 minutes after strapping on my kicks and pressing the elevator button for down.

Let's talk about my last trip to Safeway. Not "last" as in "I'll be going next week" but "last" as in "no more." 

Safeway is a grocery store here that I equate to Bi-Lo. It's nicer than the one at DV, but the clientele is just as shady. They take coupons, bonus cards, and e-pons, so I am a happy camper and bi-weekly make the trek in my Tahoe with reusable grocery bags-- this is me saving $.25 per trip with the $2 per bag bags... it makes since to me on some level if I do not think about it too much. Fortunately though, I have a fabulous friend who mailed me some & hung on to the free ones from Comcast and Savannah River Banking Co.

Safeway... they have chicken for $1.99/pound. Regular price. Who does that? Their Diet Cokes are still $5.49/12 pack and butter is $4.76 a pound, but it is give and take, right? This past week, I spent $167.76, saved $72.55 (only $9 of which were from coupons... last time I am clipping) and consumed 1.5 hours of my time. Mr. Clifton had to bag each item bit by bit taking a total of 22 minutes to place all $167 of groceries in my 6 bags. Yes, you saw that correctly. SIX. Winding through the aisles, my mind wandered to all my grocery store trips and how much I used to love all things Publix. Still do, but there is new level of unfun with the Safeway. Finally complete with my box of wine (don't judge me. My husband works 100 hours a week and Eileen is only so much company after 6), 2 packs of chicken, and the makings for the rest of our meals, me and my coupons head to checkout station 2.

All of my groceries are placed on the conveyer belt before the cashier starts to ring them up. I have no idea why. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing.... and one by one I hand her the coupons. Oh, did you think I could just give her the stack? No. One. at. a. time. As she is ringing them up, the groceries are stacking up on the other side. As I step over to start my bagging, the cashier stops and tells me not to bag the groceries, she has already paged Jeff to come help. Jeff doesn't show, however the line gets longer and longer of people behind me and I am waiting and waiting for this ding dong cashier to scan each coupon individually. Finally Mr. Clifton, starts his very slow bagging process and then ...

Lurch shows up.

No kidding, this guy was like a Black Munster... which should not be that hard to picture since it was a black and white tv show. Black Lurch gets in the back of the line with his buddy and immediately starts screaming... at me. For taking too long and he needs to f-ing leave. now. The cashier starts screaming at him to take it somewhere else. The 4 people behind me start screaming at the cashier because they did not see BL, as I shall call him. BL pushed the old lady out of the way... I say she was old, she was older than me. and the cashier told his friend to get control of him. Friend swipes his EBT card for a sandwich and pulls out a nickel for his grocery bag and tells the cashier that he will get a handle on the situation. His phone rings around his neck and he presses his bluetooth to answer it. I've heard of people like this, but never seen (EBT + nice phone + b'tooth=pisses me off)

BL walks up to me, 102 year old Mr. Clifton, and my $167 worth of groceries and asks me, "How ya goin' get all 'dem food home?" ... "I'm driving," looking him directly in the eye, as I learned on Crocodile Dundee that you have to look 'em in the eye so they won't see your fear.

Mr. Clifton, for the love of PETE... pack faster.

BL, Friend, and some other scary guy walk off and are hanging out by the door... that I am going to have to go through... woah, slow down, Mr. Clifton.... don't start picking up two things at once now. 

Bing

Bing

Bing

three more people check out

And here I am, little white girl waiting. Or, Sitting Duck as I like to be called now.

Parking validated, I push my groceries out and head home.

To unpack my six bags, I park my car... open my tailgate.... pull out all 6 bags... close the tailgate... take 4 bags to the door... go back... take 2 bags to the door... open the door with my fob... pass the bags into the elevator lobby... press the button... wait... elevator dings... move the bags to the car doors... doors open... press the hold button and put all 6 bags on the elevator, praying that no one presses the up  button between P2 & 7... up 9 floors.... DING... press HOLD and pull all 6 bags out to the hallway... step out....2 by 2 take the bags to the door... unlock the door and 2 by 2 bring the bags into the kitchen................. now, imagine doing that with a stroller.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I wish I knew


This is my great-grandfathers grave. It's in Arlington. How do you get to be the guy who gets a "big" grave in Arlington? Or, how do you get to bury your 71 spinster daughter at the same plot with you and your wife? He's in Section 1 and I was really impressed to find him during the midst of a military funeral 500 yards away.  So many questions. No answers from Google.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Oil Spill of 2010

Oh, you think that this has something to do with the Gulf? 

Nope, it has to do with the "pink bathroom" ... Eileen's bathroom, to be precise. The room where I went out and actually purchased coordinating rugs, towels, and shower curtains instead of recycling from the old house.

In her bathroom, there are her toys, her bath seat, and her bath soap. It is a precious place where any girl would love to play with her rubber duckies, get a bath, and otherwise wind down her day.

Until the oil spill.

I'm trying to make this place more of a home and less of an apartment. For instance, I painted an accent wall in the dining "area" (note the lack of the word "room") a vivacious blue. Liquid Blue from Sherwin Williams, it's pretty awesome. On it is hanging my portrait painting from Angie, a white fish platter, and some valuable painting the Cagles gave us that I have promised to never sell. It looks good. So, once I stretched my legs and got the brushes out, there was no stopping me and my creativity. 

After painting the blue, mild in comparison to the colors of Raymond Ave, Husband gave me approval to do something with the Navajo White backsplash. Stainless steel paint? Nah, too many other stainless steel appliances. Chalkboard paint? Nah, too annoying to have to get under the cabinet to actually utilize. Painting a pattern of checks? HAH, really? I have no patience for that, according to Said Husband (he's so right). Round and round with colors, ideas, stick-on mirror tiles, until... I found... the coolest thing ever...

Magnetic Paint. 

Sweet Goodness, for $20, I bought a quart of ... no lie... magnetic primer. Two to three coats of the very dark paint, let it dry, and then I can paint whatever color I want on top of it. 

The morning after a rousing game of Bunko, Eileen and I shuttled off to the Home Depot with the other 250 illegal immigrants to find paint. Magnetic paint, Egg Yolk yellow (from the Martha Stewart line, which I am finding harder and harder to hate as I get closer and closer to 30), and I am out the door and back home. 

Things are going really well. I am not a horrible painter, I'm actually quite good... unless it involves prep work. I do not tape up edges, I do not do trim, I do not do ceilings, I do not remove plates; I do carry a wet rag with me and clean up messes as I go. Brilliance. So, the paint is going on and my hands are tied behind my back, otherwise a magnet would already be in my hand. Layer one, layer two, LAYER THREE (something that always escapes my efforts), and it's done. It's awesome. Magnets stick to the wall. So cool. So very cool.

Being Wife of The Year, Eileen and I start to clean up our mess, because, really, what is smarter than a painting project with a 16 month old in her newest smocked dress?? I dump the magnetic paint tray in her bathtub and start wiping it out. Paint gets on her rubber duckies and I **toss** them into the sink set into the granite counter tops. I miss. Whatever, right? Just toss them in the sink and get back to them. Letting the water run into the tray and the blackened water splatter everywhere, I turn my attention to the ducks.

I start washing them and the paint... the paint just smears, everywhere. It's all over the little guys and I cannot seem to remove it. Eileen is looking up at me with a cracker in both hands and these sad, puppy dog eyes as if to ask, "mom? What's up with my buddies? Why are they covered in black paint?"

She starts crying. Of course she starts crying, because I cannot touch her with my hands in paint. The water is still splattering in the tub up the shower curtain and I am looking around wondering why in the hell can I not get this paint off the damn ducks.

And then.

And then.

And then.

And then, I started to speaking in tongues. 

The reason the ______ paint was not coming off the _______ ducks, the tub, the bath seat, was because OIL AND WATER DO NOT MIX. It was NOT latex based primer. It was oil based primer. And I could not move as it appeared I was wearing black gloves. 

Will was up the street studying at a coffee house for his _______ test and here I was, with a baby. Crying. And no way to get in touch with him with an absolute disaster on my hands, literally.

I manage to get MY PINKY clean and make my way, with the crying baby to the iPhone (that has no service). I kick it to the ground to the window and voice dial husband. 

"It's not an emergency. Everyone is fine. But I need you upstairs right now."

"What happened?"

"I cannot explain it. But, please, come home now."

Will walked in the door and I was standing there with a crying baby at my feet holding one of her blackened ducks up to me, wanting me to make it better.

We have no paint thinner. We have no nail polish remover. WE HAVE NOTHING. Because, really, why would we? We live in a tiny apartment and space is limited. Why would we need such things?

Will pulls out the vinegar and the Goof off, takes the lids off and hands them to me. 

Long, long, long story short... we get it off of almost everything except the ducks, my fingernails, and her bath seat.

When it was all clean, Will and I walk into our bathroom and... having all dignity lost at this point, he has to undress me, put me in the shower and hand me the 409 to clean myself up. Just for the record, the Method cleaning supplies are much gentler on the skin and do not hurt nearly as much as 409, Goof Off, or Vinegar. Just for your knowledge.

I wear nail polish now. Because I am that kind of girl.