Monthly Archives: August 2009

Going to the chapel and I’m gonna’ Ask Sus

Sus, did you attend a wedding this weekend?

Yes, Dear Reader, I surely did. It had been awhile since I had been to one, so naturally I took the opportunity to go shopping for some new threads.  And by new threads I mean clothing that wasn’t imprinted with a corporate logo that I picked up at a giveaway booth at a street festival.

What did you wear?

I wore the only thing that fit..  After trying on approximately 2874878786824 dresses, I found a lovely little sheath dress at Macy’s.  And by lovely I mean that it didn’t cling to all the wrong parts.


Did you already have the accessories to go with the dress?

Silly reader, one knows that one NEVER has EXACTLY the right accessories to wear with something new.  At least that’s what one tells the husband. I did buy the necklace and earrings, but I had the shoes, a killer pair of Stuart Weitzman’s which I purchased a year ago in Chicago that were just looking for the right occasion to wear (although Mr. CPQ said that I could wear them every day if I wanted to and preferably with ..oh, I can’t go there…this is a family blog.)

So, killer shoes, huh?

Yeah, by the time I got to the church I was ready to DIE because they weren’t really broken in yet, plus I had a momentary brain lapse and didn’t think “spike heels + walk in the grass garden wedding = broken neck.   But I took one for the home team as did my other friends who had the same problem I did could commiserate.


I heard it was an outdoor wedding. Isn’t it hot in North Carolina in August?

Why yes, yes it is.

Did you see a fashion violations while you were there?

You mean other than foundational garments gone awry combined with the inappropriate wearing of extensions after the age of 50?



I just couldn’t resist….

Have a nice day.

That’s the way (uh-huh uh-huh) I like it

It’s Friday, and I’m liking…..

1.  That I get to sleep in tomorrow morning.  Can I get an Amen?

2.  That I get to go shopping this morning to buy a new dress to wear to a wedding.

3.  That last night I saw the first promo for the new season of Fringe.

4.  That I get to help a friend with her cooking class tomorrow.  And eat some of what she cooks, too!

5.  That a friend told me that club soda would remove stains from a carpet.  It only took a liter plus two rolls of paper towels to remove the evidence of Travis’ bloody nose the ritualistic animal sacrifice that happened in the boys’ bedroom.

6.  That the coffee fairy showed up this morning.  As he does every single morning.

7.  That I finally have some energy after d.r.a.g.g.i.n.g for the last couple of weeks.

8.  That I was one of the first 250,000 to sign up for the Chick-Fil-A Chicken Wave and I got a free sandwich.  Y’all KNOW how I feel about Chick-Fil-A.

9.  That August is almost over because it’s truly my least favorite month of the year.

10.  That it’s exactly one week until I get to have a bloggy MIRL with Lisa, and Amber.  I’m hoping that Steph and Jen can join up as well because I do love a party and the more people are there, the more it won’t be obvious that I’ve had more than my fair share of pizza.  Could I have used the word “more” one more time?

Apparently, I could.

Have a nice day.

You win some, you lose some

So  I was very excited about fixing and eating my shrimp and grits for supper last night.

That is, until my people started filtering into the kitchen and said, “I don’t like shrimp.”, “Uh, what’s THAT?”, and “No chicken!”  (Travis calls every white protein “chicken”.  Comes in handy when I’m trying to feed him frog legs.)

I kid.

Sort of.


See that pure and utter deliciousness of my shrimp and grits? They are the reason I haven’t lost a blessed pound in the last month even though I’ve been working out hard enough to make my eyelids sweat glow in that sparkly-blue-eyeshadow-you-wore-as-a-sixth-grader way.

Did you have sparkly blue eyeshadow like I did?  I also had a green and purple duo shade that I loved to wear, because nothing says sophisticated middle schooler like a swipe of Crayola across the eyes.  Add a glob of some Bonne Bell Lip Gloss (clear with the rolling ball applicator, please) and I was ready to command the attention of everyone in class.

Oh, I got attention alright.

As in “Do you see what she’s wearing?” whispers, I’m sure.

I’m sure I got whispers in the car pool line yesterday when I showed up wearing clothes that may or may not have matched, blended, or even gone together.  It seemed the thing to do at the time until Mr. CPQ came back home and gave me that little surprised look that he thinks he’s hiding but he’s not.

Oh well.

Better luck next time.

Have a nice day.

There’s still time…

I’ve been in a cooking mood since I watched Julie & Julia Sunday night.

Notice I said “in a cooking mood”, not “I have been cooking.”

Ergo the saltines and peanut butter that passed for lunch yesterday.

But I’m rallying today, channeling my inner Ina Garten,  and using the bits and pieces of stuff in my vegetable bin to throw together one of my favorite suppers that’s quick, easy, and company good. And in case you haven’t decided what’s for dinner at YOUR house, there’s still time to run to the store and pick up an ingredient or two if you don’t keep them stocked.

Here’s what we’re having tonight, and if you don’t like grits, this would probably work over rice.

Or cardboard.

Shrimp and Grits


Whatever the box tells you to do. 

Except add a little more butter or heavy cream because you’re special.

Keep warm.


However much shelled, deveined, raw shrimp your family will need, sprinkled with cajun seasoning (I use 1-2 pounds, sprinkled with Emeril’s)

8 ounces andouille sausauge, sliced

1 cup finely chopped yellow/spanish onion

1/2 cup each chopped red and green bell pepper

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped spring onion (green tops only)

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup heavy cream

In a large skillet, brown andouille sausage in a little vegetable oil and remove once browned.  Add in seasoned shrimp and just barely cook through.  Remove them from the pan as well.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and saute the yellow onion and the green and red bell peppers until soft.  Sprinkle with a little more cajun seasoning and then add in the garlic.  Cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the chicken broth in and let it boil/reduce for 5 minutes.

Add back in the shrimp and andouille, cream, green onions and parsley.  Let it simmer for 3-4 minutes and then serve over the grits.

You’re welcome.

Have  a nice day.

Blame it on Starbucks

I’m a little bit zippy as I type this entry to post in the morning.  I met a friend for dinner at Pei Wei and then went to Starbucks for coffee afterwards because we hadn’t used up all of our words at the restaurant and we still had to discuss important things like the tragic news that the “it” colors for fall are purple and grey/gray and neither of those colors do a thing for me.

Ordering at Starbucks always makes me a little nervous.  I feel like such a poser when I walk in the door because I don’t go in often enough to have a standard order that just rolls off my tongue.

It’s the same way with hamburgers.  I never order them the same way twice in a row.  Somedays I feel like mustard and pickle and other days I feel like mayo and tomato.  Drives Mr. CPQ crazy. It really adds zest to our marriage.

At any rate, I tried the cinnamon dolce latte and in my desire to keep it relatively healthy, I focused on getting the word “skinny” out of my mouth (and trust me, that’s not a word that gets used a whole lot in my personal little microclimate) and I forgot that the word “decaf” would be equally as important seeing as I was tossing this puppy back at 9:00 at night.

Sadly, I don’t even have anything on Tivo to keep me company tonight while I watch the minute hand rock around the clock.  I’m all caught up on back episodes of General Hospital Meet the Press, and the boys’ 115 recorded hours of Max & Ruby and Go Diego Go just aren’t going to cut it.

Speaking of cutting, I’m getting my hair cut, colored, and foiled next week.

Try not to get whiplash from that segue.

I’ve been coloring my own hair to varying degrees of disaster success for the past couple of years, and I’m finally going to bite the bullet and just have a professional take care of it for me. I’m a little bit nervous about it since my hairdresser just got back from Toronto with a new technique that I get to be the guinea pig for that she’s anxious to try on me.  She’s used the terms “umbrella pattern”, “caramel” and “violet” in the same sentence, so who knows what it’s going to look like.

Hey, now that I think about it, isn’t “violet” another word for purple?

I guess I’m going to fashionable this fall after all.

Have a nice day.

You’re so far away

Why was Mr. CPQ  so far removed from me on our date night visit to the store?


Can you see him?  Blue shirt…waaaaaay in the back of the picture…OUTSIDE the store and practically across the parking lot?

Apparently there’s a little known Man Law that required him to not be within 150 yards of…….


Have a nice day.

Things I learned this week

1.  Never, and I mean NEVER, try to bluff your personal trainer into thinking you can handle whatever she’s about to dish out.  Confidence has NO place in the gym.



Talk about your bum knee or that old war injury so she’ll go light on you.

Do NOT casually mention that you used to do similar workouts in high school.  She will take that as a personal affront and will then school you and leave you in a painful heap of unidentifiable quivering flesh in the middle of the gym floor.

Your leg muscles will twitch involuntarily.  Your lungs will crawl out of your esophagus trying to grasp whatever oxygen they can possibly find. You will consider cursing the day you were born on this planet.

You will also be so dad blamed sore that you cannot think coherently or lift your fingers to be able to type your blog post.

You have been warned.

2.  I will do anything for food.

I even faked being a teacher.

I mentioned Wednesday that I had a fun little project going on.  My IRL friend Gretchen is homeschooling this year and I off-handedly offered to do a multi-cultural lesson for her if she wanted me to, and she took me up on it.  Stunned with the realization that I now had to come up with a lesson plan, I went to the market to pick up some typical foods that I ate as a youngster in Guatemala to take to her kids.


Gretchen warned me that her kids were a little hesitant to try new things, but they made a liar out of her.  They tried everything.  And liked it.  And asked if they could keep the goat’s milk caramel at their house.


I also learned these are REALLY cute kids because I wouldn’t leave my caramel with just anybody.

3.  I learned that a week’s worth of gym work can be undone by one visit to Kellie’s house.


Umm, that’s chocolate.

On yeast bread dough.

Go bug Kellie for the recipe or look for Chocolate Swirl Bread in in your mom’s Betty Crocker Cookbook.

You’re welcome.




4.  I learned that it takes more time to write about a sheen-yon than it does to make one.


I also learned that I still want to have a girl.

5.  I learned that I cannot stand to have a list that isn’t numbered to 5 or to 10.

I also learned that I can’t just have one sentence and leave it there without putting some running inane commentary underneath it.

And italics.







Have a nice day.

Reason #4,926 why I love him

I went to Blockbuster last night to return some movies we had checked out over the weekend and seeking to avoid going back to the houseful of rowdy children on a whim, perused the aisles for something to pop in the old DVD player.

Is anyone else ready for the new TV season to begin????

I saw the movie “Fireproof” and grabbed it since apparently I am the last Christian in America that hasn’t seen it and came back home and announced to Mr. CPQ that control of the evening remote had been wrested from his hand and we were watching my movie.

Hmmm…control issues much?

Mr. CPQ had visions of Quantum of Solace in his head, but I must have been giving off some of those  “don’t mess with me” vibes, so he plopped down on the couch to watch it with me.

Surprisingly, we got into the movie  if for no other reason than getting to watch Kirk Cameron in something other than Growing Pains reruns.  And no, the irony is not lost on me that I’m admiring the handsome looks of an actor while I’m watching a movie about protecting my marriage.  But if they had cast Gary Coleman, it just wouldn’t have been the same.

And right at the critical scene when the wife discovers the hero in her husband and comes running back to him, our romantic evening was interrupted by a ginormous “where’d I lose my license plate” cockroach deciding to run across the fireplace.  I, of course, screamed like a little girl and jumped across the couch and I said, “GIT IT!” and my gorgeous hunk o’ husband sprang/sprung off the couch to kill it and in the process pulled some muscles that were already a little tight from a less than pleasant training session with Nadia the Gym Nazi.  After slaying the dragon, I kid you not, he wound up in a big quivering heap in the middle of the floor.

Having already learned a few lessons from the movie, I praised his bug killing prowess and pledged my undying love to him as the vanquisher of all things skittery, and in true Mr. CPQ fashion, he did not fail to make me laugh by waving my sandal his weapon in the air and issuing his somewhat pained battle cry.


Have a nice day.

Nacho ordinary blog post II

Guess where I went today?


Sorry – couldn’t resist.

Yep, once again, I went back to my favorite little Mexican market to pick up some supplies for a fun project that I’m doing today (more on that tomorrow).

Because I’m all about accountability (but not accounting – hello, only class I ever dropped in college), I wanted to let you know that I did, indeed, drink my “co-cola” yesterday.


And that yummy bit of optic orange goodness was the pollo taco with some kind of chile sauce that I got from the scary salad bar that I’m sure wouldn’t pass the health inspection.


The store is different every time I’m there.  This time they’d added a shoe shop.


Cuz nothin’ says “feed the family” like a pink pair of scooters in ostrich.

The funnest part of the day came at checkout when I was treated to being hit on by the checker.  I probably should have been offended, but it’s been years since I’ve been called “guapa” or “mi amor” by a native Spanish speaker, and it slayed me  because this man clearly had poor prospects if he was hitting on the “gringa”  with very bad hair.

Still, it left me with a little spring in my step.

Feeling like a….

hotTamalesBoxHave a nice day.

Blast from the past

I had a little God hug this morning in the form of a memory.  I was walking into the gym watching the man from the linen service unload  hampers of clean towels for delivery inside.  He was standing on the liftgate as it was lowering and on the way down, the gate jerked and a huge cart of clean laundry fell off the side and tumbled into the street.

It reminded me of the times that my friend Lisa and I used to to transport the clean clothes from the laundry facility to our dorm room as a part of our weekly chores that we had to do as boarding school residents.  Many a night the clean clothes would tip out of the baskets because she and I would stack two or three on top of each other so that we wouldn’t have to make more than one trip.

Getting the laundry was the job that Lisa and I frequently requested.  For you see, to get into the laundry room, one had to traverse the storage room.  And the storage room held the secret treasure.

Cases and cases of bottled cokes.

One quirky little rule about boarding school was that we were not allowed to drink cokes during the week. They were a weekend only treat, and even then, we were limited to no more than three, and we had to pay for those on the honor system by dropping our coins into a little coffee can that our dorm-mother set out on the counter in the little kitchenette.  This little system worked well for me, but it was a major problem for Lisa.

Because Lisa was an addict.

A Coke addict.

Lisa came up with a plan by which she could feed her little addiction, and because I’m an enabler, and being the good friend that I am, I went along with it.  If she was needing a little fizz fix, she’d pass me a note in study hall saying “We forgot to get the clothes.”  In case the note was intercepted, the teacher would be none the wiser, but WE  knew that was code for “We’re getting a Coke tonight!”  After study hall, we’d head straight to the storage room, pop the top off a room temperature, dusty Coke bottle, and chug that baby with sweet abandon.

And then, so as not to be accused of stealing, we’d pay for whatever we took during the week on the weekend.

Drove our dorm-mother CRAZY when the empty bottles didn’t match up with the money in the till.

One night Lisa sent me a code note in study hall, but for some reason, I wasn’t going to be able to help her.  She had to ask someone else to go with her because even though she was going to illegally drink hot cokes, she still had to get the laundry, and it was definitely a two person job to make sure the baskets didn’t tip over on the way back to the dorm.

She chose Susie L.

Sweet little Susie L. who had never done a single thing wrong in her whole life.

And so off they went.

Into the storage room.

Grabbed the room-temperature, dusty Coke bottles.

Started drinking them, without thinking of the one critical error they had just made.

They forgot to turn off the light.

A teacher passing by happened to see the light on in the room and popped in to flip it off.

And there she saw two thirteen year old girls.

Vainly trying to hide the bottles behind their back.


Oh the drama.  I was back at the dorm when Lisa and Susie got hauled in for questioning.  Guatemala lies just outside  the reach of Child Protective Services, so Susie got one paddle since it was her first offense, and Lisa got two swats — one for sneaking cokes and one for leading Susie astray.

Over the years, Lisa and I laughed together many times about The Great Laundry Room incident, but today I laughed alone.  My sweet friend died  15 years ago, taken from me suddenly by an aortic dissection as she jogged around a track with a friend.

She was only twenty-four.

It’s amazing how little things like spilled laundry can trigger a memory.

I was grateful for it.

For the laughter.

For the friendship.

For a God who takes away hurt and gives my soul peace.

As I walked into the gym, I made a mental note to add one more thing to my to-do list for the day.

Even if it meant an extra thirty minutes on the treadmill.


Have a Coke and a smile nice day.