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Location: Upstate, South Carolina, United States

I think that the Meredith Brooks' song, "Bitch," summarizes me rather nicely. Or, if you prefer, X. dell says I'm a life-smart literary scholar with a low BS tolerance...that also works!

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Yeah, one more post before I go!

I have a crazy job history. I thought I'd share:

Fast food woman...first job I ever had. Hated smelling like French fries and be sticky from the grease when I got home.

File clerk at medical supply place....*snore*

Temporary at Duke...some of the jobs were cool (working in the political science department), some were interesting and I learned a lot (prep tech in the medical labs), and some made me want to stab my eye out with a fork just to get out of the job (receptionist at the children's psychiatric ward...kids stealing stuff and yelling in your ear and drawing on your desk while you try to print them their 'event ticket' and answer nonstop ringing phones...you know it's bad when you return from your first break on the first day and your boss there excitedly says, "YOU'RE BACK! Every other temp we've tried has run off at break! Lunch the latest!")

Then, with my English degree, I uhhh...thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. I went back for a few science math classes, lived back with the folks, and worked as a Veterinary Technician at an Animal Hospital. I learned a HELL of a lot, but...I also learned that the animals DIE sometimes! Shit! Why didn't anybody TELL me that before? Haha!

So I went off to graduate school for my master's, and I had a fellowship. Fellowship means no teaching, damnit. I needed more money so I did professional pet sitting. Up until that point, I have to say this one was my favorite job. Well, ok, so the one at the political science department was fun because it was great for my ego...two faculty and four grad students hitting on me non stop! But the pet sitting was great. I walked about 6 miles a day walking dogs, and so I was in fantastic shape! The animals were largely fun. Only time I didn't like it was during a holiday week when I got no sleep. My boss offered me half the business if I stayed and helped her out more. However, we had to move. And honestly, I love spending holidays with my family. Being a petsitter means no more holidays ever.

Finished up the master's degree. Deal was: we move somewhere I can finish up my PhD. Ex went back on that when he found a job that he thought would work well. He wasn't being an ass...he just really wanted that job. And I agreed to do it 'cause I loved him. Oh, and 'cause I'm a moron :)

The first job I could get when we moved was waiting tables.

I...hate...waiting...tables. Which is sad because I was actually pretty good at it. I never have despised a job more than that one, however. If I'm going to be in the food industry, it'll be as the chef. Thanks.

Then came the most disturbing job I ever held: foster care worker for DSS. Let me tell you the bad news. They don't let you kill the pedophiles or the parents who break their kids' bones and make them bleed. SUCKS, doesn't it? And then sometimes you KNOW what needs to be done, but you can't do it, and you trip on the red tape. I cried a LOT on that job...and I'm not a crier by nature. I remember EVERY CHILD I had on that caseload. And worry about them to this day.

Then I did a turn at the office of child support, helping to smack down deadbeat parents to get them to financially support the kids. That one was ok. Not as stressful as DSS...yet still I felt like I was doing good in the world. I guess if I had to do it again, I could.

Then I had a nice surprise! Ariana was wanted, believe me. The ex and I had decided we wanted two kids. But...we weren't at a good point financially, so we decided two years down the road would be better. My ovaries had a different timetable. We adapted. I stayed home.

I was the treasurer for the Mommy's Morning Out program that Ari was enrolled in, and continued after Jared was born. I coordinated the program against my will for a year (nobody else would do it). My parents trained me to be responsible RE: volunteer work, though, so I was happy to help in the long run.

Things went wonky. I obtained a certificate in technical writing just to broaden job options. Guys, the industries of today have no real need for a woman with a master's degree in Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Just thought I'd warn you. Anyway, job market was crap...eventually I was hired as a teacher (adjunct professor) at a school that is referred to here as premiere Technical School. If you say it in a sarcastic tone of voice, it sounds better. I also did and still do tutoring hours in the Writing Center there. In fact, that's how Amanda and I became friends...she was my boss in the WC! And here I remain. I love teaching. I hope I can manage to stay in this field, but I need a "full time" job badly. Full time is when I teach 5 classes and advise students for registration (and get benefits like health ins. plus $15k more a year than I do now), vs. teaching SIX classes, no benefits, $15k less, and that includes the WC hours I'm putting in too. Hell, other schools have FOUR classes as full time. Six is a bitch. Trust me. Otherwise, though, I really love teaching.

Ok, there you have it: my job history. Eclectic, yes?

NOW I will go to bed so I can get up tomorrow and go! Nighty night!

The Horror, The Horror

...so I went to pick up the kids today at the ex's house. OH MY GOD! What a pigsty!The kids even flat out told him, we're glad to be going back to mom's house where it's clean. Ariana opened up my car and screamed out happily, It's clean, it's clean, unlike your car daddy! Rob tried to tell me that he was embarrassed that Ari told a friend of his at a neighbor's house that the house was incredibly messy. Hello? Embarrassed about it? Clean it up! Then she won't say that!

Brrrr. I don't mean he forgot to mop and dust and left some plates in the sink. I mean: crap all over the floor. His empty beer bottles on the kitchen counter. Mold. Gross shit. I reminded him that if DSS were to swoop by, they would not be impressed. He admitted it was the worst ever, and that he would clean it up by the time he gets to see them again. Considering that he has ten days, I expect the place to be tidy indeed.

Perhaps I should send in....THE TERMINATOR to fix his ass!


HAHA! This picture of Alex always amused me because it totally reminds me of the Terminator. Which in turn makes me crack up because Alex is a gentle soul.

I should correct that: Alex is completely laid back and sweet unless you push him too far. A friend of mine called him "indulgent" once. I think that's the perfect word. He is very mellow unless you take advantage of him or threaten somebody he loves. If you do the latter, you'll be lighter a few teeth and some blood! haha

I already miss Alex like crazy, but it'll be worse over the family reunion. I doubt I'll have computer access, so a phonecall before bedtime is all we'll get. Pity him: before bedtime for me means he will have to stay up until 4a to give me a ring! God I can't wait until his visa gets straight. The kids keep asking for him, and I can't stand not having him around.

On another note, I had lunch with Amanda today. We got the giant bowl of queso dip because...we luv cheeeese. The waiter was totally amused these two chicks were ordering the family sized bowl of cheese dip--as if he felt we could never even put a dent in it, being just two of us and female and all. I told Amanda I would feel deep shame if we didn't polish it off.

I feel deep shame. But we came close! You could almost see the bottom! haha! I think we got about 90% of it. GO TEAM AMANDA AND KIRA!

Oh, and the latest cookbook new recipe rocked! It was a gorgonzola cheese, wine, and cream sauce over fettucine. GOD it was great!

Anyway, folks, I'll be at the family reunion for a few days, so if you don't hear from me for a bit, that's why! Seeya!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Great Big Fat Family Reunion

On this Friday, I load up my two small children and we drive to Louisville, Kentucky. Every few years my dad's side of the family has a family reunion, and it's time once again. We always have them on the 4th of July weekend.

Oh, before I forget...the kids! That's Alex right behind them, and me asleep on the sofa. I should dig out a better one of Ariana though. She's sticking her hands in her face on the one Amanda has, and on this one she's doing a totally fake grin. Still, here it is!


I always have mixed feelings when the family reunion comes around. I mean, sure, I'm glad to see everybody and we always have a good time, but I always brood before and afterwards too for a variety of reasons.

To start, this is the first family reunion I will be attending as a divorced woman. God that feels odd. Nearly all my other cousins and such my age and older are married with children, or at least engaged, and they will be attending with their significant others. My love is stuck in France for a few more weeks, so that is not an option.

Then there's my branch of the Mueller family versus the other branches issue. I don't know how it happened, but my particular unit doesn't fit in with the other parts of the family very well. My unit is the "intellectual snob" unit. Yes, some of my cousins have college degrees, but education wasn't smacked into them like it was with us. My dad is a retired orthodontist. He was #2 in his high school class, did two years at Notre Dame pre-dentistry and then did so well there that he went off to dental school without a bachelor's degree completed. Then he was #2 in his dental class and #1 in his orthodontist class. My dad was, in his day, one of only three board certified orthodontists in Florida. He was the one that all the others used as a reference when they had clients they couldn't help. My dad is brilliant. He would have never been happy with anything but a brilliant woman by his side. Therefore, he tracked down my mom with expert hunting skills. She was a math major and eventually got her ultrasound certifications in a variety of specialty areas. We were taught that we could ONLY quit school AFTER we had our bachelor's, and the preference was that we'd go on further. We were to find and marry other intelligent people and breed intelligent, educated babies. So sayeth the parents. It's a totally different mentality from, say, my Aunt M's family (my dad's sister). Aunt M never went to college. She married a farmer and her children were all raised to value the land over education. One of her children actually combined the both--she has a column in the newspaper about landscaping and has a horticulture degree of some sort, plus owns her own successful landscaping business. I remember how different their whole life was from mine when I went out there...one bathroom for the whole family of six. No air conditioning. Roosters crowing, picking fresh produce from the field for lunch or dinner, feeding the pigs, grooming the horses, etc. It was so "neat" for me to visit, but staying would have sent me into culture shock. I feel they pretty much had the same emotions when they came to see US in the "big city" of Tampa. All of my dad's family stayed in Kentucky. Forever. He's the only one who left, and his children took the message and all fled the nest as well. My brother Mark lives in Canada; my sister is in Texas; my brother Ken is in North Carolina.

So, that's the beginning level of isolation I feel.

Secondarily, I don't fit in with my OWN family. Did you catch the part where my mom is a math major and my dad's a retired orthodontist? Yeah. It gets better. Mark is a petroleum engineer. Rose is an electrical engineer. Ken has a degree in chemical engineering, but he went and got his MBA, so he's doing other stuff for Oracle now. What am I?

BA, Duke, English. MA, USC, Medieval and Renaissance Literature.

In high school, my sister was a cheerleader (and valedictorian of her class, mind you). My brothers played football, did wrestling, did track. What did I do?

National Forensics League (speech). Oh, and I read fantasy/science fiction, played dungeons and dragons, wrote stories, and hung out with other geeks.

Both my sister and my brother Ken went to Notre Dame just like dear old dad, too.

I feel like singing Sesame Street: "One of these things is not like the other! One of these things just doesn't belong!"

My whole family has always been registered, card carrying republicans. I have never signed up EVER to EITHER political party because that would imply I approved of either the republicans or the democrats, which I don't. I'm a bit liberal for my family's tastes. My parents and siblings are all very Catholic and devout. I'm a bit of a wild woman *coughs*.

My parents, even though they faced financial hardship when my dad had a stroke and could not practice orthodontics anymore, always were financially comfortable enough to not worry about critical bills. As life went on, they had investments come in and slid back to the upper middle class bracket. My brother Mark is the president of an oil company with 16 patents to his name and is obscenely wealthy. Ken worked for IBM and Oracle and is also obscenely wealthy. My sister is more in the "normal" range of comfort financially. She left work to stay home with the kids, but her husband is still an electrical engineer and does well. They don't have to worry about money; they just can't do a lot of traveling or buying nice cars, etc with the huge family they have (remember: Catholic).

Then there's me. Adjunct instructor teaching salary of $23k a year (including Writing Center hours), supporting two children, with an unemployed ex husband.

On just about every level, I am the freak of the family that doesn't fit in. It makes me sad, but...it makes me happy too.

See, despite all of those differences, my family's got my back. Sure, they took a little too long to come around to my need for a divorce (those Catholic values of 'no divorce' creeping in, mostly). But when they DID realize it was the best thing for me and the kids, they swooped in and helped me out. When I was little, Mark would pick on me like a good big brother, but there was hell to pay if a person tried to pick on ME! I remember one time when he grabbed this one kid and banged him against the wall while he coldly explained how the fellow would never touch me again, or die. My hero! And even though nobody in my family is QUITE the geek I was and am, my brother Ken was the one who tossed me Lord of the Rings to read when I was 12...bought me my first comic books (Spiderman and Daredevil)...and took me to see Star Trek in the theatres. My sister Rose, nine years older than me, told off a really bitchy girl from down the street who was picking on me, and hell she took me on DATES with her! I'm not kidding you. When she was in high school, she was so busy with school, cheerleading, ballet, and her boyfriends that she always made it a point to take me with her on occasional dates so that we'd have time together. I went rollerskating with Roy and his cousin who was also 8 at the time (double date! haha!), and to the movies repeatedly with Judd and her.

My mom, who was always brought up to follow, followed for many years...until I hit my teens and we started having intense discussions about the world. My mom gave me a zest for life and taught me how to REALLY LIVE and enjoy the world; in exchange, she says I taught her to question authority and always hunt for the truth over security. I still remember my dad's eyes flying open wide when she suddenly went on a rant about how the Catholic church should allow women priests and priests to get married...haha! I thought my dad was going to pass out cold!

And my dad! My dad gave me honesty. My dad taught me that it was always best to say what you feel, and to not be subtle about it. "Blunt to the point of pain" is the gift he gave me. He was always there to help me, whether or not it was to drive a uhaul halfway across the country or to assist with a bizarre physics problem. After his stroke, he had no choice but to show all emotions he thought men should hide. We share a big heart with a sharp tongue.

And the rest of the family? Education or not, rural life versus city life, we all have more than just our blood in common. When we get together we joke in a dry, sarcastic manner that almost makes one feel as if it's a bunch of Brits disguised as Kentuckians. We'll sit around and make cracks about Uncle G, family life, jobs, America, and the world. And we laugh. And we sip our wine or chug our beer, and the sun sets slowly...the stars come out...the fireworks let off...the kids slowly collapse on the lawn as the hour gets later and later...we pack up, feeling content...

...and look forward to another event years down the road. My family. Different, yet better because of the differences. They got my back and I got theirs. I'm truly blessed.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Once Upon a Time...

...there was a girl named Kira who was talking to a guy on the net. The guy was the best friend of a friend of hers who apparently "decided" he had to talk to her after seeing a picture of Kira laying around the friend's house. The conversations went well until one night, the Evil Friend of a Friend (EFF) started pressuring the poor, innocent, defenseless Kira for Naughty Pictures of Herself.

The EFF wouldn't take no for an answer and kept up this line of questioning no matter what topic Kira tried to press instead. Kira contemplated her options: she could block him; she could leave msn messenger; or...she could send him a picture!

"OK darling," the innocent, defenseless Kira purred, "I've got a great picture of my pussy for you...here it is..." *send*


EFF sputtered, howled in rage, and then went off the net. Innocent, defenseless Kira snickered and never had to deal with him again.

Meet my one and only cat, Chian (pronounced Key-An)!

The end.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Our Next Pictures!

Ok, so I thought you guys would like to see what I look like as an anorexic...haha! Seriously, I only get "way skinny" when I am depressed. This is a picture of me taken about four years ago, when my son was 9 months old. No, the truck is not mine:


So, let's see, that was August 2001 when I was visiting a friend in Seattle. I actually wore a size 2 back then. Of course, it helps that I'm a midget, too.

And now this one! It's the picture that Hof used to sketch my avatar. I took it with a webcam one night. I can't even remember why I decided to snap it, but it's a fairly recent one (IE, within the past year). This is the part wherein you go, damn Kira, my god you don't look 35 :) HAHA!

And I can tell you WHY I don't.

You are only as old as the man you feel.

There are bonuses to dating younger men, I tell ya...


There. That's enough of that. I'll dig up a good one of the kids later. For now, if you want to see a picture of the kids, you can go to Amanda's blog. She just took one when we were eating cake yesterday (see my Places of Wonder links list for that blog if you don't go there).

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Thighs of Doom

Thighs of Doom

Thighs of Doom

Amanda was helping me here today figure out how to do the pictures on my blog. After showing me a way to do it, we decided to put this picture up to "test" everything.

This is a picture of me and Alex...LOL

Basically, I was with a bunch of friends the July 4th 2002 weekend in Washington DC. All of us were from the geek forum, and we decided to meet because Alex was in the states at that time from France, and another geek named Dex was in the country visiting from Singapore. Shelly lived in Washington DC (Virginia side), and we gathered at her house with two other American geeks. It was a blast! Anyway, I was insisting to said geeks that I may be only 5'2"...I may look to have tiny arm muscles...but my THIGHS OF DOOM would conquor all!

Please note: this was before Alex and I were "together" and an item, so he was trying to be sly here...

Alex hit an estrogen button by stating that I could never wrestle him to the ground and that my thighs of doom were, indeed, not a threat to him whatsoever. He poked at my temper here until...uhhh...well, see, I tackled him. What you see is the end result. I am laughing in the picture. Why am I laughing? Because, if I recall correctly, I was telling him AH HAH! SEE! I got you! Admit defeat and I will release you! His retort was something along the lines of, release? This is what I wanted all along!


Roomates are Evil

I have had the worst luck in my life with roomates. I was reminded of this fact when I just read this morning a post by Laura that involved the idea of not REALLY wanting roomates, although she knew it would be financially wise. I understand. I'm broke right now, and if I took on a roomate, I could save some money. However, then the kids would be with the ex and I would be in jail for murder...because I always get the most crazed roomates a human being could receive.

Even though I had three siblings, I lucked out. My brothers got to share a room; my sister and I had our own. I never had to actually SHARE a room until I went off to Duke (god I hope Hof is not reading today...haha!). I realized that living in a room for a year with another woman could be a nightmare, so I thought I'd be smart and request a girl I had met at this summer program at Duke the previous year. We had gotten along, so I thought it'd be easy.

No, actually, it was a bitch. See, I lived with her a few weeks and she became angry that I had a life outside of her. She told me one night that a roomate would have dinner with her every night and go to bed at the same time as her every night. Hello? HELLO? We aren't dating? In fact, I was dating a guy at the time, and she seemed jealous of him. It was the ex, actually. The ex invited me to his house for the weekend in rural nowhere SC, and I said sure. I thought I would be nice and give my roomie my number there in case there was an emergency and told her when I was leaving and when I would come back. When I got back, she was FURIOUS with me. You see, some guy asked her out that weekend and she was so nervous she went to the bathroom and threw up. "And you weren't HERE for me!" she screamed. Uhhh...

So, I discussed the situation with housing and they moved me into another dorm.

Unfortunately, they moved me in to an open spot with a girl...who already had her roomate move out on her.

This girl, Jill, was an attractive blonde with the personality of an old shoe. She was also a lesbian. That didn't bother me. I mean, just because a guy is heterosexual doesn't mean he wants down my pants, and I felt I wasn't Jill's type, so I went about my business as normal. However, I was wrong and she asked me out after a few months. I turned her down politely, pointing out to her that I had a significant other already, and decided that would nip that one in the bud. No...she was upset with me, so whenever a guy friend called me or stopped by and I wasn't there, she would never give me the message. She'd give me all the messages from the GIRLS who were friends who would stop by though. Frustrating! I complained to my guy friends...can anybody guess their response? Remember, now, these are GUYS...

...all four or five guy friends I complained to only processed the "hot lesbian asked her out" part, and so the immediate response was, "Well, if you change your mind, can we watch????"

I wasn't going to be able to move out a second time in one year, so I gave up and just stuck there. The next year, I thought I'd move in with my closest female friend there, Sarah. We got along GREAT! We'd be FINE, right?

Well, the summer before I went back to school for my second year, her boyfriend broke up with her and she went on total freakout mode. She lost 30 lbs as she wouldn't eat. She couldn't sleep. She sobbed constantly...uh oh.

So we moved in. It started almost immediately. I was not allowed to go out on a date with my boyfriend alone. She had to come too. If I did something with friends without her, she was angry. Very angry. I began to see a side of herself I guess she had saved for her boyfriend, and now I got because I was the closest thing to her. She, on two separate occasions, got so angry at me for going out and doing something without her that she threw objects at my head. One of those objects narrowly missed. It was a thick, heavy, hardback school textbook. I was stunned. Then she started sobbing on me. "Oh, all our friends love you more!" I wonder why.... "Oh, you are more talented than me! No wonder men want you!" uhhhh... "You will leave me, and I will kill myself!" AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

She really did threaten to kill herself if I left, and it was no idyll threat. She described to me the entire method of how she'd do it, a well-thought out plan indeed. Now, as concerned as I was to not have her off herself over me, I also was losing my mind living with her. I felt that I couldn't sacrifice myself on her altar in order to keep her alive, so I went to the psychological services at Duke and explained them the situation. They told me to get out, and we had her name put on a special list so that if she ever called, she'd get an immediate emergency appointment.

Side note: ask Joe how much fun Sarah is to live with. He was in a house with her with a bunch of my friends. Woof.

So I moved out. And then, I moved into the worst situation ever. In fact, it was so bad that I don't even feel like having the energy to describe it. From there I moved out into my own apartment (with boyfriend), and that was that. I decided the firm and fast law of Kira:

If I did not give birth to it nor am sleeping with it, it may not live with me.

I have kept that rule forever onwards, and stick to it to this day, even though it makes life financially harder!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Underwear That's Fun to Wear!

Well, since the last post was talking all about T, I thought this one could be all about A :)

I've been pondering underwear today because I was trying to figure out what to put on with low rider jeans. I have two pairs of low cut underwear, but they are in the wash, so I dug out a thong. I hate thongs...but I'm learning to tolerate them. Why? Well, Alex likes them. 'Nuff said. I always thought the concept of thongs were moronic. I mean, I spent my whole life pulling my underwear OUT of that area...now I'm supposed to intentionally stuff it in? My dad's cousin called it "butt floss" once, and I thought that was appropriate. However, I am much like a male...I will do anything for more sex. Therefore, when Alex told me about his attraction to the things, I bought a few pairs, sucked it up, and started to wear them on occasion.

Who sat down and invented the thong? Sure, there are pants that are so tight or dresses that are like sheathes that I wear, and I don't want pantylines with them. But, you know, I usually solve that by NOT WEARING underwear. Why bother with a piece of string up your crack? Oh, well. I really AM getting used to them. It helps that Alex uses positive reinforcement...sort of like what Hof suggested the women do to the men to get them to wear cologne. It's now gotten to the point wherein I put them on and then feel sexy as a result of the Pavlovian response. Instead of ring a bell, salivate for dinner, it's wear a thong and salivate for dinner. So to speak.

Women have SO many varieties and options for underwear. When I was little, I used to love the big briefs with the character pictures on it. Bright, colorful underwear with my favorite fictional people on them was the best! As I got older, my underwear shrunk. I went for bikinis. They could still be brightly colored, but no more fun people smiling on my hips or crotch. Then, by late teens I started to have an affection for string bikinis.

But let's look at how many choices we've got here: bikinis, string bikinis, briefs, french cut, thongs, g-strings, low riding thong/bikini/etc...wow! What a dizzying aray! A myriad of choices, and every last one of them EXPENSIVE! Even on sale, I stare at women's underwear and choke at the prices. I am always attracted to the most costly pairs too. Aw hell, unfortunately, that's the way my tastes run in general.

How great to be a guy! You can have funky boxers, you can have boxer briefs, you can have briefs. The end. Oh, I suppose you can get those novelty underwears where the front forms an elephant's trunk, but that's not really for day-to-day wear, right? I hope...

I miss those days when I could get She-Ra on my panties. I wonder if there's a market for low rider She-Ra panties in adult sizes? Hmmm...

Ok, those of you who are reading, I want THIS in the comments! What styles of underwear are YOUR favorites to wear? Come on! Inquiring minds want to know! :)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Why Do Men Love Women's Breasts?

Ok, Hof wants blogworld to speculate on this simple yet complex question of why men love women's breasts. I would start out by saying that not ALL men are, however, "breast men." Some are leg men, butt men, etc. Nearly all men, however, can tell you their preferences for a woman's chest size. So, on some level or another, most men do love breasts. Why?

I think for men it starts young. Very young. Look at my son--he's four and has been announcing his love for the almighty titty since he turned 3. I would attribute it to being breastfed too long, but he had already been weened for about a year before he started to pat my breasts reassuringly while I held him. I remember one time being in front of some students and holding Jared, and Jared just reached over and latched on to my breasts. I was trying to be Good Mom and patiently explain to him that a woman's breasts are private and he wasn't supposed to touch them like that. He looked up at me and gave off a wail of, "But Mommy! I LOVE boobies!" Needless to say, all the students laughed. He still has a fixation with breasts. He will gladly bat his toddler eyes at an attractive teen girl, get her to hold him, and then bend down and kiss her tits. Why? BECAUSE HE CAN. My son is smart. He knows that at four, women giggle and think that's funny, but by 16, he'll get slapped. Might as well do it while he can get away with it!

There are a million different speculations on why boobs are so attention grabbing for men. One might be that it's a part of that womanly body type that means a baby can be nourished and tended to--a sort of biological basis. Man sees woman with birthing hips and nice breasts...man concludes in his subconscious that she can have a baby and feed it adequately. Another might be that they're so nice and soft that it's just a matter of comfort. A more graphic reason might be that men can relate to something that can get hard (nipples) that also can, under the right circumstances, ejaculate out white stuff (breastmilk).

There's something positively naughty about ample cleavage showing, and that also might be part of the reason. We don't wander around nude, but some of those shirts we wear with those push 'em up and out bras come close! If I wear the right top, no man looks anywhere but down (and believe me, it's down...I'm 5'2"...nobody looks UP except...uh, my pervert son and other pervert male toddlers!). It's almost as if it's the teaser, the promise of more, the warm up, the appetizer.

I, however, am very glad of The Great Power of The Boobs. A nice scoop necked shirt has gotten me out of a hell of a lot of speeding tickets (uhhh we won't talk about my fixation for driving too fast in my car, 'k?). It has gotten me lots of dates, free drinks, and free meals. Hell, I even get better attention rates from my students thanks to the Almighty Titty! I've had a few of my male students come up to me after the term was over and thank me for wearing interesting tops...and that they showed up for class in part because they wanted to see each day what I was wearing! haha! (please note: I don't wear hooker clothes to teach in...I just have large breasts for a small girl, and nearly all tops end up being tight and low cut due to this issue). I am glad that men love breasts. Life is good.

Hope that helps, Hof!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Food Obsessive Me

Laura brought up her favorite aspect of France/French lifestyle in a comment: their way of eating and enjoying food. I SO agree with her, and I decided my full response to her comments should be an entry all on its own.

My mom was the stay at home mom for all four of us. If I had to think of the biggest gift my mom ever gave me, it was to LIVE life, or to die trying. She laughed loud and often. She bounced from one activity to the next. Something awful would happen, and you would think she should fall apart, but she'd concentrate that she still had one Godiva chocolate truffle left, and that was enough joy to cover all the evil in her life... Anyway, part of my mom's zest for life is her love of good food. I know it comes from her own background. Her parents were both immigrants, and food was essential to their cultures and lifestyles. It started long before she had children.

My poor mom married a good ol' Kentucky boy. My father is brilliant and kind, but his culinary exploits were rather limited. He tells me he was a teen before he even tried pizza. What the hell? My mom would make an elaborate Julia Child chocolate mousse, set it in front of my dad, and he'd munch on it quietly, then say, "Well, that was pretty good for chocolate pudding." I'm surprised she didn't kill him.

She had a bit more control over her four children's tastebuds, and so she raised all four of us to love food with a passion. Here's how it worked in our household: every day brought a new baked goody. Homemade cookies, cakes, brownies, pies...you name it. We never ate store bought cookies or desserts because my mom was always making these delicious ones from scratch. My mom was always the person that was asked to bring dessert to the pot lucks or whatnot that we attended.

We didn't have leftovers typically either, but that was mostly due to the presence of my two older brothers. So, every night we had a new meal...from scratch. I don't recall her ever using a mix for anything when I was growing up. Ever. My mom liked to experiment with foods, so we ate ethnically all over the place. I remember when my brother's fiance lived with us for a few months, she called up her mother and wailed, "It's like eating in a different country every night!" haha! Well, but that was normal for us. Normal for her was standard Polish faire, night in and night out. We did polish. We just also did mexican, chinese, italian, german, french, and cuban too.

I was eight when I started cooking too. I began with breakfast food items (crepes, pancakes, french toast) and also chocolate chip cookies. Within two years, I could cook more foods than most adults could. It was like that with ALL of us. My mom gave us all a thirst for good food that never disappeared. In fact, I was very amused after Alex had been around my family for a while and he remarked, "I had no idea Americans typically made food from scratch for all their meals!" HAHA! I said, no honey....that's just us. My brothers are both excellent cooks, and even though their wives cook too, they will happily take over that kitchen after a 60 hour work week. My sister is an exact duplicate of my mom with the desserts: every single day, a new goody. MMMMMM. And of course, needless to say, I love my food too, as those of you who know me or know me through this blog have already found out.

Family meals were the highlight of the day. Dinner was the only time of the day when we were all gathered together since we all were interested in so many different activities. We laughed, we ate good food, we teased, we ate more food...some of our meals DID go on for hours. In that way, I suppose, I was well-trained for a Frenchman one day.

My ex loved good food, but he loved to eat it FAST. It disgusted him if we went out to eat and it took longer than an hour. I have a few American eating buddies who understand the value of a wonderful, long, delicious meal. But on the whole, that's not a part of our culture. We have probably ten times as many restaurants as the French do. They only have two fast food chains that I know of, and they are hard to find. French, do fast food? It's as Laura says:
ca ne se fait. They just don't do it. They just don't understand it.

Meals are to be savored in France. A three hour dinner is common. The food has courses, yes. I love cheese too much and was scolded a few times in France when I wanted the fromage to come FIRST instead of after the main course...haha! Oh, and for the record, if you want to confuse a Frenchman, call the main course the entree. It's THEIR damned word and we misuse it....the entree would be more like an appetizer, NOT the main course.

Meals are typically served with wine. Gotta love that. My family was fairly big on wine for special occasions or maybe a couple of times a month with dinner, so I was raised with more wine/food pairings ideas than most Americans. It flatters me that my French boyfriend has, at times, allowed ME to be the one to taste the wine at the restaurant because he is comfortable with my knowledge of wine. I'm trying to learn more, though, because there's so much FUN to be had with wine and food pairings...and food is life!

I stopped drinking for a while when the ex went crazy with his drinking. I am betting Laura understands that. Since I left, however, I really savor that glass of wine here and there, and an occasional glass of port or brandy (those are the alcohols I genuinely adore for taste). It's great to be dating a man who likes alcohol, but is not an alcoholic. My liquor cabinet isn't drained when Alex visits...haha! But seriously, alcohol can accentuate the meal you have prepared. For instance, try a nice glass of ruby port with anything dark chocolatey...mmmmm!

It's hard to have a beautiful three hour meal when you have two small children. Yes, chicken nuggets are a staple meal here because that's easy and the kids will eat it. Jared has my adventurous desire to taste new foods, but Ariana is a PILL. I can't get her to try new foods. She eats like ten things in the world and won't touch the rest. My sister keeps telling me she'll grow out of it. I can't wait. I just don't get it: so much good food, and she won't even touch it??? Je ne comprehends pas! However, Alex and I can savor our meals when the ex has the kids. I have a few other good friends who enjoy this, but it's not a typical American deal. Most folks are like the ex: good food, great, but please give it to me in an hour or less.

I remember the first night Alex was in the US. After I picked him up at the airport and we were driving the two hour trek back home, we decided to stop for dinner. He was astounded not only at the copious number of restaurants, but that many of these restaurants repeated themselves (IE, are chains). They do smaller restaurants there, individually run. It was a Friday night, and so of course at 7p, all the restaurants are packed coming out of Charlotte. I pulled over to an Applebee's and we got on the wait list. As we sat outside and waited, he told me seriously that he didn't understand the wait list thing. He said, you have reservations or you just show up, but if they are full, you go to the next restaurant because....those who have tables will be there for three hours. It's a damn long wait! haha!

Since I'm fully addressing the food issue, I thought I'd mention that my love of life and enjoyment of life is so tied up in eating that I can't diet. Right now I'm aware that I can't afford new clothes yet I'm at the max end of my wardrobe capacity, but I won't diet. I'd rather slit my wrists. I've dieted before, and all that succeeds in doing is making me miserable and, hence, those around me miserable. I can't stand low fat products or nasty tasting low cal products. My tastebuds NEED more. The end. If I gain weight from it, so be it.

Sometimes I gain weight through no fault of my own. Being on the pill makes me gain weight; when I was on zoloft, I gained weight. But what am I going to do, get pregnant? Talk about weight gain! And when I was on that damned zoloft, BOY did I freaking need it. Being a few pounds overweight is far superior to being dead, in my humble opinion. If I deprive myself of chocolate, cheese, butter, etc....I might as well be back on zoloft! It's all wrapped up in ME, thanks to how I was raised. FOOD IS LIFE!

That being said, Laura, if you are ever in the Raleigh/Durham area visiting your friends, let me know. I go up there a few times a year to visit my brother (it's a four and a half hour drive from my house), and we can go savor a nice, long, delicious three hour meal together, ok? You are SO right! That love of food, that enjoyment of it, that reverence of it....that's the thing the French do best! I suppose it's part of why Alex and I work...and his "frenchness" that way is why he fits in with MY family, too!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


So I have to throw on clothes because there's a knock at the door. Out of breath, I receive...24 longstem red roses in a lovely vase. There's a card in it, but I already figured out whom they were from... (you can read the post under this one if you want to know why I got flowers today)

He even addressed it "To My Minx," which is his nickname for me...*sniff*

*Goes off now to stare dumbly at her beautiful flowers*

Thank you, my love! You are soooo wonderful! *kiss*

Monday, June 20, 2005

Amanda's Elf Machine

As has been pointed out repeatedly, my brain doesn't work normally. For this simple fact I am grateful as I figure it makes me fun to invite to parties or at least it makes it easy to hold my students' attention. That being said, nowhere better illustrates how unusual your brain may be than dreamland.

I woke up an hour ago. That alone concerns me because I realized that any night I don't take my allergy medicine before bed or have a niiiice glass of wine or brandy, I tend to wake up periodically and have crap sleep. The only way around it is a massage. A massage is in France right now. Bah. Anyway, an hour ago I woke up mumbling about Amanda and elves. I suppose it's more interesting than when I woke up an hour before that and was wailing out loud, "je ne comprehends pas!" which, I believe, is a big sign I've been trying too hard with my French lately.

So, here's the dream: Amanda calls me up and says she has something to show me. Don't ask me why, but when she shows up with the package, she shows up at an economics class I'm taking at a school I've never seen before that moment. Odd since I've never taken an economics class. Hmmm. So, she tells me that since fuzzbusters are illegal in Virginia, if I have this device it scares off the cops. Intrigued, I open up the white, puffy envelope only to find an odd looking piece of plastic. This piece of plastic does not resemble rabbits in the least. I look at her inquiringly, and she tells me solemnly, "This device turns men into elves." Apparently the theory is that the cops are scared because they don't want to become elves, so they'll let you on without a speeding ticket. WTF? Hahaha!

In the dream, I examine the piece of plastic thoroughly. I become very interested in the idea of turning men into Legolas. Yes, Legolas, basically the only thing since Bo Duke that is blonde that I stared at and admired! (I say it like that because I have a fetish for dark hair on guys...the darker, the better...). Amanda discusses with me the relative merits of having more elves in the world. I wake up.

I dare you to analyze THAT one.

My cerviche could be eaten now, but I keep thinking it'd be too decadent to eat cerviche at 6a. Since you don't cook the fish in cerviche, you have to leave it marinading in the lime juice and herb concoction for at least 8 hrs in order for it to "cook" in the non-conventional sense. Damn does it look good. *tummy rumbles* Now I have to pick out another recipe to do next! Two books down, 38 to go.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Things You Will Never See On My Blog!

1) Discussions of guilt or innocence of Michael Jackson and his little boy fetish

2) PB and J sandwiches drizzled with Chocolate

3) Anything written in Japanese Kanji

4) A pastel themed template

5) Is scientology a real religion, and should Katie convert for Tom?

6) Pictures of liposuction being done

7) Chihuahuas dancing in tiny pink skirts

8) The location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body revealed

9) Celibacy: the best thing for planet Earth!

10) Alien probing or Swedish lesbians


The author of said post is not a crack addict nor is on crack. It's just her brain. Be scared. Be very scared....

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Dark Blue Satin Sheets

It’s story time! *hands out popcorn*

A long while back, when Alex and I were just friends (well, at least on MY end we were…haha!), I told him that when I moved out, I was going to buy a specific set of sheets. I had already told Rob that I wanted a divorce by then, but I was having a difficult time moving out of the house due to lack of funds and lack of family support. My very Catholic family doesn’t believe in divorce, so it took Rob acting like an irrational ass one day and screaming his head off at my mom while my dad and I looked on in abject horror for them to finally go, wow, you’re right, he’s changed and you need to get the hell out of there. As a side note, even though I found out much later on that Alex had decided that he had already met the woman he’d marry one day, Alex was very supportive of whatever I had to do at that moment. I remember him telling me that summer, Kira, I give you a 70% chance of moving out because I SEE how your family is not helping you with getting out…meaning, I know you have told Rob you are going to move out, but there’s a chance you can’t due to circumstances. If you move out, he added, you have whatever help of mine you need. If you stay, ditto. It was really nice that he didn’t push me one way or the other but just told me, I’m there for you regardless. So, there it was, six months after I had already said I wanted to get out, and I hadn’t found a job yet so I was stuck at the house. My family didn’t want a divorce, but there I was, fantasizing every day on getting the hell out of there. Part of my fantasy involved how I would FINALLY set up my house the way I wanted it. Rob hated Things. Things were a waste of money. ALL my furniture was hand me downs or assembly stuff except the sofa. Nothing matched. If I wanted something fun like satin sheets for the bed, that was a no no. So, part of my fantasy on moving out involved getting Real, Matching, Adult Furniture and also a set of satin sheets for my New Bed.

I remember sitting down with Alex and showing him this Victoria’s Secret catalogue (Note: if you want a guy friend to sit down and pay attention, flashing him the VS catalogue is a great start!). I turned to the part where they had the sheets for the beds and showed him the satin sheets. Silky, satiny, they just looked so enticing and beautiful and dreamy to have on a bed. “This is what I want,” I told him. “I have always wanted a set of satin sheets, and the second I move out, I’m going to buy a new queen sized bed and get THESE SHEETS!” I remember he was very intrigued, looked at them, and asked me what color I wanted to get.

I don’t like pastels. I don’t own any clothes as far as I know that are pink, orange, or yellow…I MAY have a lavender shirt or two, but that’s probably it. I like REAL colors. Pastels are wishy-washy to me. They scream out, I’m too PUSSY to be a REAL color, so I’ll just sorta give you a TASTE of a color. Yuck. I love bold, dark, deep colors. I love sapphire blue, emerald green, scarlet or maroon, and rich, dark purple. So, naturally, when he asked me what color I wanted, I pointed out the most beautiful bold blue I could find. “Blue!” I told him happily. And that was that.

Fast forward a year and a half later. I moved out. I got my Real, Matching, Adult Furniture mostly because my family tossed money at me. See, in the end, when they realized exactly HOW bad things had gotten and HOW Rob was treating me (oh, and the police showing up on our doorstep with a search warrant for him also helped tremendously), they all panicked, felt guilty for not helping me sooner, and threw money at me. However, it’s a hell of a lot of expenses to start up a new household from scratch. It wasn’t just furniture; I had to buy towels and cups and (well, I took most of the good kitchen stuff, but…) a garbage can and a TV and a computer and and and…you get the idea. I had started working already, so I was getting paychecks, but it wasn’t much of a paycheck. Come on, I’m a teacher. We make shit. I really lucked out on how much help I got when I moved out. One of my best friends since 13 yrs of age, Lee, even sent me money to buy a washer and a dryer. Bellybutton came down from CANADA to help me move, and stayed to assemble and move around what needed to be assembled and moved around. Another side note: nothing funnier than a techie type person setting up your computer for you for the first time and finding AOL pre-loaded on it. The cursing was enormous, as well as the growls of, “We’re getting that crap off of here FIRST THING.” HAHA! Alex and Lee came down to help me set up house too, one after the other: first Bellybutton, then Alex (who couldn’t come earlier because he was finishing up a term school in France), then Lee. But money was really tight, so I had decided to just steal a spare set of sheets from the old house for the queen sized bed I bought, and satin sheets would wait for another year. I NEVER mentioned to Alex about the satin sheets again, though. It was mentioned ONCE…a year and a half previously…and never, ever, brought up again. Not even to say, Alex, gosh, I guess I won’t be getting those sheets.

But he remembered.

It was a traumatic day, the day I started to move out. Even when you know you are doing the right thing, there’s a sense of loss, of death even. It’s the death of the dreams you had with the person you married. It’s depression over wondering why you couldn’t stop the train wreck. I picked up the keys at the apartment complex, sighed as I pulled up to the building, took a first armload of basic items to set up the place, and found…a package right there on the front of the door.

Confused, I figured it must have been for the previous renter. I kneeled down and looked at the box. No, it was addressed to me. Me? Who knew I was here? My family, the ex, a few friends…I gave just about all of them the new address, so I guessed somebody decided to send me a welcoming present for my new apartment. I carried the box inside with the other items I brought up. Hands shaking excitedly, I dug out scissors from my “necessary box” (millionth side note: I have moved enough in my life to pack up what I call a necessary box that has some basic essentials in it you want to unload first to make the rest of the move easy…it always must have scissors in it and things like a roll of toilet paper, etc.). There they were: dark blue satin sheets from Victoria’s Secret. Queen sized. I started to cry...just a few tears down my face in silence as I stared at them blankly.

I STILL can’t believe it. It was just one summer day, a year and a half before that date, that we sat on the sofa and I showed him the catalogue. He remembered the color, the style, the size, and where to order it. He remembered the exact date I would start to move out, and planned ahead of time enough to make sure they were waiting for me when I arrived. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that meant to me….I just can’t… It wasn’t that the damned sheets were so expensive. It was that he REMEMBERED something IMPORTANT to me, long after the fact. I was in his mind. For a year and a half, I was in his mind.

It was then I realized exactly what I meant to him. I was still so nervous about the idea of a man in my life after the marriage went belly up (skittish, really). But hell, what woman could resist a man who was totally patient…NO pressure, nothing…and obviously put her on such an incredibly high priority? My mind was beginning to change on a few issues…

I waited until he came down to see me to put the sheets on the bed. I figured, what the hell? He should be the first to break them in with me after all the effort he went through there….but that’s ANOTHER story. For another day ;)


Today’s French slang!

Enculer les mouches

Literally, it’s to fuck a fly’s ass. LOL

But for slang purposes, it means…to split hairs, to nitpick.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Mmmmm scallops

Ok, so the scallops in ginger sauce over leeks were great! I'm thinking of tackling cerviche next. After all, that's part of my heritage. I damn well can't speak Spanish, but I can cook all sorts of hispanic foods fooking well! Yay for me. I have a "Southwest Cooking" cookbook that had several interesting recipes in it, but this salmon cerviche looked good, and salmon is on sale this week at Publix. Bonus! I picked out a nice rogan josh for the one recipe out of an Indian cookbook, but I want to wait until Alex comes here before I make that one. I think he'd like it a lot, and I don't want him to miss out on it. Three recipes picked out...only 37 or so more to choose! haha!

Today's activity with children: make father's day cards for their daddy since father's day is this Sunday. I let them pick out bags of chocolate at the grocery store to add with their cards because they wanted to give something to Rob. No, the ex would NEVER think of doing this sort of thing for me on Mother's day, but who cares? My kids want to do the right thing, and I'm here to help. Anyway, I was very surprised because Jared suggested that Alex might need a card too since he was also their father. I froze. I said nothing. I gaped like a fish out of water, and then Ariana said, YES! I will make him a card TOO!

Wow. Sniff.

Now, Ariana made the card, but Jared decided that the other thing he put together for Alex a few days ago (that he's still carrying around the house, clutching periodically) could be Alex's father's day present.

It is apparent my children are fully invested in this relationship, so now Alex just has to be aware that he has to stay...or die. Two easy options, and that's it! haha!

Ok, so here's your French slang lesson for the day:

Je parle francais comme une vache espagnole.

It means, literally, I speak french like a spanish cow. But the slang translation is: I murder the french language/speak it poorly.

I figured it was important for somebody just trying to learn the language to know this one!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My Son, World Traveler

If I think happy thoughts, I won't brood on the fact that Alex won't be here in time for my family reunion thanks to a hang up with his visa. I need to not focus on the fact that he's now not going to be here for another 5 weeks or so probably. It makes it harder when my son and daughter ask when he's coming back about three times a day. In fact, my son just made an envelope and tried to write his (jared's) name on it, and put some things in it for Alex. He's clutching it and insisting he's going to hold on to it until Alex arrives because he wants to give it to him as a present. How do you NOT start crying when your four year old son does that and he just can't accept that it'll be a long time before he gets here? What is he going to do, hold on to the envelope for five weeks? Sigh.

Anyway, happy thoughts, happy thoughts....

Ok, so I realized that my son has traveled more at four and a half years of age than most folks do before they die at 80. He REALLY loves to just get up and go. Going anyplace he's not gone before excites him. This is not a boy who will be sitting at home with his wife night after night, watching reruns and eating popcorn. This is a boy who will come home from work, grin at his wife, wave around two tickets to Greece and say, guess where we're going next week hon! haha!

Jared has been to Canada, England, and France. He has been to Washington (primarily Seattle, but we also drove around and saw surrounding areas), Texas, North Carolina, and Florida. He has been all over South Carolina beyond where we live (mostly Charleston, Hilton Head, and Columbia). I guess it never hit me how much he enjoyed all that travel until we came home from France. My son, at midnight, as we loaded up in the car after about 24 hrs of straight train/subway/plane/customs/plane movement, looked like a content little man in his booster seat as I buckled him in. "Mom, that was a great trip. I really enjoyed it," was what he said, or something very similar to it. I had to laugh. But after leaving Florida and my parent's house to come back here, I finally understood how badly he WANTS to go to new places. You see, my parents are right now in China on their dream vacation (45th wedding anniversary, and mom said by the 50th one they probably wouldn't be in as good health to hike out to the Great Wall, etc). When we were loading up in the car, Ariana said, why can't we just STAY with Grammy and PawPaw? I said, because they are going to China! Ari said, oh, ok, and loaded up in the car. Jared then ran over to my mom and clung to her leg. "I wanna stay!" And my mom said, honey, I'm sorry, but you have to head back home now...we'll see you at the family reunion in a month. He pouted. His response was classic: "But...but...I've never BEEN to China!" he cried out. Mom and I laughed. I can't believe that I have a four year old who gets upset because he missed out on a trip to China. Ariana was upset because she wanted to be around her grandparents some more; Jared was upset because he wouldn't get to go to Asia.

My children facinate me. One thing that I think is hilarious is that they are both water babies. I don't mean that they are world-class swimmers. I mean that they LOVE water, have no fear of water, and thrive in it. My daughter can swim. When she was 18 months old, I had to keep constant watch on her because she would try to hurl herself into any body of water she found. Once, she slipped through my grasp and plunged into a river we were sitting near. I jumped in next to her immediately, pulled my completely submerged daughter out of the water, and...she came out laughing. Choking on some water, but laughing. Gees! Of course, with my daughter, it's more of: she fears nothing. I don't know why, but it's just very hard for her to get scared. My son, on the other hand, has a normal range of childhood fears. However, there I was at the apartment pool yesterday, diving this way and that because he can't swim and he was barrelling into the water full blast over and over again. He didn't care if he choked on water. I had those little water wings on him so he wouldn't die before I reached him, but that was the best I could do. And Ariana wonders why I prefer to only take them swimming when I have another adult with me to help!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

No Really, I'm Here

The girl scout camping trip was cancelled due to the weather. Oh well. My kids are going stir crazy nuts as I type. We've already read a million books and played on the ps2. Bedtime is soon, which is good because the rainy weather always makes Ariana and Jared squabble more.

I was shocked to find that Joe actually commented on a blog! *gasp* I was laughing at one of his comments, and now I will explain it to the rest of you. See, Joe was dating a person who wasn't worth him (haven't we all done that one?). She apparently knew she was going to break up with him, but waited until after Christmas because she knew that Joe--good, kindhearted, generous Joe--would most assuredly get her something NICE for the holiday. He did: a set of All-Clad pots.

All-Clad pots are the porsches of the cooking world. I saved up money for years to buy my set, and believe me, they are worth every damned penny. But when this incident happened, I had no All-Clad. None. I thought about it, grinned at Joe and said, "Well, I'll have sex with you for a set of All-Clad, Joe! I mean really, if you're THAT generous with folks you sleep with...I'll do it!" We had a good laugh over it, but the kicker was the next time I saw Joe. He had taken an aluminum pie tin, taped a sign to it that said, "All-Clad," and when I opened up the door, there was Joe grinning at me with the tin. "Will this cut it?" he said, and I laughed my ass off. The joke has continued even with me now having a pretty nice collection of All-Clad (the work of saving for a while...a nice basic set is around $475 I believe...and of course I added on to the nice basic set).

Joe is my culinary god. He is my friend who, without a doubt, knows more about food and such than anybody else...even some folks who supposedly have culinary arts degrees. He makes his own cheese. Really, I think that says it all. When he comes to visit, it's fun because he'll bring a lot of cheese with him and cook with me. What's also cool is that Joe appears to take me out to eat just because he gets such a kick out of watching me enjoy good food. At least, that's my take on it. I remember several times during several meals that I'd look over to see this totally amused look on his face...usually at a moment when I was sort of bouncing on my seat and saying "Mmm mmm mmm" with every bite. Yes, I know how to live life. It scares off lesser mortals. But not Joe! He seems to appreciate that part of my character. I can totally be my enthusiastic self, complete with sarcasm and evil twinkling in my eye, and he likes me anyway. I think a true friend is one you can be yourself around. Joe's exactly that.

Now, since I saw that Angie mentioned cheese and the Publix issue, I have to agree...with those choices, Publix is your best bet for cheese. However, The Fresh Market is NOT the best place in Greenville for cheese! I have found a CHEESE NIRVANA in Greenville! If you need an obscure cheese or unusual cheese for a particular dish, the chain Earth Fare is IT. It has the size cheese selection of an average grocery store in France! I never thought I'd see such a fine selection in the upstate ever. Now, finally, I have a source for Cantal for La Truffade, a wonderful dish I just had in France and want to duplicate at home (easy, easy recipe too). Cantal comes in three levels if I recall correctly, and they sell the middle level. The creamiest one (Cantal entre-deux?) is best for the Truffade, but the middle one should do. The Earth Fare that I went to was near the intersection of I-85 and Pelham Road. It's only convenient from somebody who lives near Clemson/Anderson...if he or she is stopping there on the way back from the greenville/spartanburg airport. It's worth if if you need a specialty cheese though.

I would not walk into Earth Fare and ask for pate, however. They are a hippie-Earth loving-be kind to animals store, and they would be horrifed if you asked for something that involved basically squeezing the necks of ducks and force feeding them until their livers are engorged. Also, no veal for similar animal cruelty reasons. I love pate, even though the ducks are choked. I once read something (and I can't remember where...for all I know it was on another blog!) wherein the woman stated, well, usually that stuff would bother me, but I rationalize it by remembering that DUCKS ARE MEAN! Haha! Ok, that works for me *coughs*. Earth Fare is based in Asheville and has spread out to other places in SC and NC.

Oh god, this reminds me of something else...brown eggs. As all Americans know, our breeds of chicken typically produce white eggs. You pay extra for brown eggs because they are not so common. The first time I took Alex to a grocery store here in America, he stared at the eggs as I checked them. "They're WHITE!" he squeeked out in abject horror. I swear, his reaction was akin to, "Do you have radioactive chickens that produce this horror? Is THIS what your genetically modified foods did to your chickens???" HAHAHAHA! He is now used to the idea of white eggs, but for the record, when the two French girls from his school came over to the US last semester...they reacted in the exact same way! So now I make radioactive chicken jokes.

Before I forget, CONGRATULATIONS AMANDA! Amanda has secured a good job and her whole life is looking up! I'm so happy for you, Amanda. And the job just sounds PERFECT for her talents and skills!

Trivia piece for the day, for Jezzy and Hof who love their Aussie Shiraz...if you get a Shiraz anywhere but from Australia, it'll be called a Syrah. Same grape. Different name. I like Shiraz a fair bit. Joe turned me on to Penfolds (Amanda, Angie, that's the wine I requested at The Olive Garden that night); I also like Lindemans a fair bit. Yellow Tail is nice and cheap and drinkable too, although last on my list of that three.

Ok, time to go get out the water hose to break up the kids from fighting. Sigh.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Ok, two glasses of wine and I'm intoxicated. Sad, sad. But cheap! Which is good considering how broke I am!

I pulled something out of my "wine cellar" (HAHAHAHAHA sorry, it just amuses me to call it a cellar...it's actually two wine racks that can hold a total of 12 bottles) tonight. It's a new wine for me to try. Naturally, after drinking some excellent French wines a month ago, I'm curious to spread out more with French wines. This one is Chateau Picoron, Cotes De Castillon, 2000. Ok, now to tell you what this means via my measley wine knowledge. In America, we tend to talk about wines via their grape varietal (IE, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc.). French wines are labeled by their region, not their grape variety. In this case, the Cotes De Castillon is the region. I think "cotes" is French for "hillsides," but I'm too damn lazy to look it up. Anybody feel free to correct me if you know otherwise. There's a carrot over the 'o' in cotes, but I have an American keyboard and we're back to: I'm too lazy to look up how to add the damn thing. The closest I can get is ^. I think I owe you two more, so ^^. There ya go! This wine ROCKS. I have to guess at the damned grape varietal because, like I said, French wines are done by region and not grape variety. I would guess merlot. I might be guessing wrong, but who cares? It's GOOD. I highly recommend it. It's just very, very drinkable. Nice and fruity and pleasant on the tongue.

So, I've decided now to do an ongoing project for the rest of the year: one new recipe cooked from every cookbook I own. You guys have NO IDEA how long that will take....haha! I think I have about 40 cookbooks. Hum. And I have to pick out things this summer that aren't expensive ingredient wise because I'm broke until the fall. I randomly picked a cookbook off my shelf tonight, and the winner is The French Culinary Institute's Salute to Healthy Cooking. I had to stare at it for a moment because I had NO idea I had any cookbook that contained the word "healthy" in the title. I must have gotten it as a gift! Ok, so I scanned some pages and almost chickened out and did the tomato soup (very cheap ingredients...), but I wanted something more exciting, so I am going for Noix de Saint Jacques au Gingembre Frais. It only requires 8 sea scallops, so I'm thinking I can swing it. Wait, it says I need to throw vermouth in there too....this won't be inexpensive...aw, screw it, I've picked it, and I'm sticking with it. I can eat ramen and tuna the rest of the week! Oh, and the translation for those of you wondering about it: Sea scallops with fresh ginger sauce. As mentioned previously, the French have this hilarious way of calling scallops "saint jacques" instead of the given name of petoncle because of the popularity of that scallop dish. I can't make it tomorrow due to girl scout camping weekend, but my goal is for next week. I have to pick up the scallops the day I cook the recipe (well, if I want it to taste great I do at least...). And I need to buy vermouth. The rest of the ingredients aren't bad. Looks tasty, too. Note: the 1 cup of nonfat sour cream it calls for WILL be substituted for full fat, yes my god it's good sour cream. I don't "do" nonfat. I would rather have two teaspoons of something orgasmic than two TONS of cardboard SHITE (no Kira, tell us what you really feel!).

I've given it a lot of thought, and yes, this is exactly the construction for a perfect summer!

1) Read
2) Good wine
3) Good food
4) Play with kids
5) Sleep
6) Joie de vivre!

The only thing that could make it better would be for Joe to show up with a Huge Ass Bag O' Gourmet Cheese (folks, last time he came, he gave me a SEVERAL POUND BLOCK of parmesan reggiano!) and come cook with me. Yes, Joe, since I know you read my blog but never post here....that's a hint ;)

Signing off now! WEEEEEE!

I need...

...to get off my lazy ass and learn how to now take the blogroll I set up and put it on my site, plus use the link function I activated on my account. But I haven't done it yet. I'm too busy talking to Alex and doing the things listed in the bottom post. I only have two more days to sort it out before I lose time again. On Friday night, I get to take Ariana camping with some Girl Scouts! Woohoo! I'll be in the woods until Sunday, and then at that point I'll have both of them for a while so I won't get much done.

Hmmm since tonight is my last night to drink for a bit, I should guzzle up some wine and sit down and mess with my blog. That doesn't sound right. Hum. Well, you know what I mean.

I especially need to link up to Hof's site since he was so kind as to do this sketch that I now have. If I knew what the hell I was doing, I'd also show you guys the original picture so you would know what he based it on. But I don't. Know what the hell I'm doing, that is.

Sadly, I used to be very up on techie stuff and was an excellent programmer in high school (Basic, Pascal, Fortran Watfiv). Then I went off to Duke and lo, I had a crap teacher in computers who poisoned me so badly that I didn't go near a computer except to type up papers for FIVE YEARS. Then when I came back to using computers, it was just for computer games. It's a mental block that I should try and get over. I mean, I stared at the coding out of curiosity one day and thought, well, it's all got a beginning tag and and end tag, for each command/function, how hard could that be to learn? It seems very logical. I should be able to really do funky stuff if I just would sit down and LEARN how to do it...

...I'll add it to the list...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Trying to Overload My Brain

This unexpected time of unemployment has made me get a bit overzealous about that long list of "things I'd do if I just had the time." Of course my house is already clean. Once that was done, the next step was to short-circuit my brain with too much information by reading to death. I noticed as I continue to read that I'm not remembering as much as I typically would if I focused on one subject, but I'm rotating between four and reluctant to give any of them up at all.

First topic, as you know: learning French. As I predicted, I'm finding it MUCH easier to read and write than to speak it. It's a slow, snail's pace, but I've learned a little and feel confident to learn more by the time the fall term starts up again.

Second topic: wine. My parents were always wine lovers, and they raised me to enjoy them. However, other than a few odd facts and pieces of knowledge, I really don't "know" enough about something I enjoy so much. I am reading this facinating book called Making Sense of Wine by Matt Kramer. He goes into great depth on how wines were once made and how they are now made in modern times...I love it! He goes into great detail about some of the chemistry and reactions, though, and my brain is resisting remembering those details. It screams at me, "Just remember that you need yeast for fermentation, and that yeasts have different flavors in different areas, and sometimes can impart slightly different flavors...drop the rest, idiot!" But but but I WANT to remember!

Third topic: food. That one's a constant. I am considering picking out a cookbook and working my way through it, cooking every item in it every other night until I'm done. I read an interesting article once written by this woman who did that with one of Julia Childs' cookbooks, and I found it facinating. Meanwhile, I have to read the contenders over and over again to decide, right? RIGHT?

Fourth topic: French culture and history. It's hard to understand some of the way their country is structured because it's so different from the US' setup. But I need to learn all about the love of my life's lands, right? Plus, it's all just so damned facinating. I could pick up a book on ANY culture different from America's and find it intriguing.

So my mind resists. It protests. It tells me, stop stop stop too much, too much!

I read an article that showed research that a woman's brain loses an average of 12 IQ points after having kids. I'm wondering if in my case it's the "memory" portion of my brain that went bye-bye. Still, I need to enjoy my summer...and learning is fun to me...so we'll just let my brain stay fried!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Little Freudian Slip

Ok, I should give some background to this incident so that you guys can fully understand it. Even though I was raised by conservative Christians, I was taught to use proper names for body parts and functions. My mom is the daughter of a surgeon and a nurse; my dad is a retired orthodontist. Need I say more? Therefore, I had the only two year olds around who used the words penis, vagina, and urinate.

Further background: it's a long damn drive from Tampa, Florida back to the upstate of South Carolina. The kids like to talk to me periodically, although I'm rather relieved when they let me drive and entertain each other. They DO periodically go for each other's throat (Angie, back me up on this...they can love each other and kill each other simulaneously! haha!), but on the whole they usually are good at playing together in the car. Anyway, this incident took place after I had already driven about 9 hours in the car, with about an hour and a half from home. The drive takes longer with children. I should think that needs no explanation.

Ok, so Ariana and Jared are playing rock/scissors/paper. Ariana is a little frustrated because Jared is frequently winning the games. Suddenly I hear from the backseat of the car, "GOD! God beats rock!" which confuses Jared who insists if she can pull out the god card, he can say he has a spiky plant that defeats god. Ari insists then that god beats EVERYTHING and asks me for backup. I chuckle. "Well, yeah, god sorta trumps all. I'm not sure that's a fair one to use, Ari, because in rock/scissors/paper, each one can be defeated by another of the items." Jared insists that there MUST be something that could defeat god, and Ari gives her response (you gotta LOVE this girl's spunk):

"OH YEAH! Of course! GODDESS always beats GOD!"

At that point mom starts laughing a LOT at Ariana's girl power moment.

Jared then insists that he's goddess and so he can beat ari's god. I said, well, actually, if you want to be technical, Jared, you can't be a goddess because you are male...the penis prevents you from being goddess. You'd have to be god. He insists to me that he CAN be a goddess, and that he IS a goddess. I meant to repeat some form of what I already said, I SWEAR I did!!! You DO believe me, right???? But I truncated what I said by accident, as tired as I was. And here's my freudian slip moment:

"No! You can't be a goddess! Penis is god!"

There is silence in the car for approximately two seconds before Ariana starts laughing so hard I thought she'd vomit. "Penis...*gasp*...is...*gasp* GOD! AHAHAHAHAHA!" she says over and over again for what seemed like eternity.

Mom stayed out of the rest of the discussion.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Abbott and Costello Moments

I don't know how many of you remember Abbott and Costello. They were before my time, but I saw re-runs all the time when I was a child and they amused me (so did The Three Stooges and The Little Rascals). There's a famous skit between those two comedians called, "Who's on First?" Today, my son and I unwittingly had a tribute to this talented duo. It began with Jared asking me a simple yet complex question: "Mommy, is today tomorrow?" Blinking, I stared at him and replied, "Er, no, today is today. Tomorrow is tomorrow." Frowning, he responded, "But yesterday Grammy said that tomorrow would be today!" I held my head to keep it from exploding, then retorted, "Yes, on Thursday night Grammy said that when you went to bed, the next day was tomorrow and that day was Friday. But now it's Friday, and now is today." A gleam in his eye--one of those gleams that lets me know either he's proud of his thoughts or he's proud to frustrate his mother--twinkles and then he chortles, "But Friday was tomorrow, so if it's Friday, it's tomorrow! Today is tomorrow!" Sighing, clutching my head more, I groaned, "Well, if you want to be profound about it, Jared, all todays were once tomorrows, and so every day is today and tomorrow." And then, nodding like the little philosopher he is, he looked up at me solemnly and said, "Yes. See? Today is tomorrow. I told you! And tomorrow will be today too." KAPOW! And then I cleaned up the mess that was my brain exploding on the walls as he scampered off to play.


This week is an excellent week, and I would like to share with you all why (and remember, I have to share with you without making any sort of spacing/paragraph break since my dad's computer is funky): AMANDA HAS HAD TWO OF HER SHORT STORIES ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION!!!! Now, that's just great news all on its own. For any of you who have seen her writings before, you already realize she's very talented and this was just a matter of time. But wait, there's more, not sold in any store! Free with your ginsu knives today, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you also: ANGIE IS ESCAPING ROBOTO AND GETTING TO TEACH AGAIN AT THE SAME TIME!!!! Woohoo! Do you see the beauty of all this, folks? It's the damned harmonic convergence of goodness! Celebrate, party, scream, screw! It's the week of wonderfulness! YEEE-HAW!