Not everyone likes bananas, and for those of you who don't, well, you must come to terms with your own insanity. I love bananas, I think, mostly because there isn't a lazier fruit. You don't even have to wash it. You just wait until the phallic phruit reaches your preferred yellow/spotty balance, peel, and insert into your large face hole.
However, bunches of bananas have a tendency to ripen before Husband and I can eat them, so I put the pieces past their prime in the freezer and then make banana bread whenever the mood strikes. At Christmastime, I make each of my co-workers a full-sized loaf, because it's my mission in life to give all of my acquaintances the gift of diabetes.
As my Christmas gift to you, here is my old family recipe. I don't believe you'll find a better recipe in the whole-wide, banana-loving world.
2 c. sugar 1/2 c. shortening (I use butter-flavored Crisco) 2 eggs 3 c. flour 1/4 tsp. salt 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 9 T. sour milk 3 medium real ripe bananas (When I'm ready to use my frozen bananas, I just set them out on the counter on some paper towel for a few hours to defrost. They don't look very pretty (completely black), but they are safe to eat and have great, deep banana flavor!) 1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)
Cream sugar, shortening, and eggs. Dissolve soda in sour milk.* Add alternately milk and dry ingredients. Add mashed bananas, nuts, and salt. Pour into two loaf pans or 5 smaller ones. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until done at 325 degrees (my oven runs colder, so I usually bake for 1 hour 10 minutes; just make sure a toothpick comes out clean).
*To sour milk, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to milk.
Come on, people. I know you. Every single one of you is smarter, wittier, and intellectually more quick than I am. In other words, all you all do think good.
So why, may I ask, upon my marriage almost five years ago, did no one bring to my attention the ramifications of taking my Husband's name. It begins with "P." People regularly shorten my name to "Kat." My name is "Kat P."
I only realized this last night, when my aunt told me how my name is programmed into her phone.
Yep, you guessed it. And then she laughed.
Seriously, you all should be ashamed of yourselves.
I'm off to the courthouse to locate a name change application now.
I just found an adorable online shop with an adorable name: The Curiosity Shoppe. It doesn't get more cute or more interesting than the items here! Take a peek for yourself.
I don't really want to talk about how much I need these gloves. Hello, my name is KittyMarie, and I have trouble telling right from left. Just ask Husband, who often tells me while driving, "That's the leftiest right I've ever seen." $60.
I adore this simple and sweet heart tote bag. $48.
I love these two tea towels together, but the ship is probably my favorite. Washing dishes can be fun if you have cute towels! $28/each.
This is the "How-Tie" for you inept gentlemen (or ladies, not judging) who...um...don't know how. It's certainly not a skill I've mastered. I personally like zip-up ties. $18.
This is a brooch that looks like a pipe. Love it! And it won't give you lung cancer! Score! $30.
Nearly a week ago I attended my monthly "Bunco Club." It consists of a group of young, local women (all mothers, or soon-to-be mothers, aside from yours truly) who get together at each other's homes for an evening of dice rolling and snacks.
Last Thursday, it was held at my old house. The family that moved in has three young children, and they are expecting a fourth in the spring. I felt a bit apprehensive that afternoon; I wasn't sure if I could go. The last time I left that house, it was almost a year ago, and I was in tears. I didn't want to leave that house; I didn't want life to change.
But, change did occur, and I did end up attending the game night at the house. And I realized how lucky I was to be able to do so. Not many people are able to visit their old homes and see what the new owners have done with the place. The new owners of the farmhouse haven't changed much beyond a ceiling fan in the living room and a shower head in the bathroom, but the place felt different. It was warm, filled with soft couches and a snuffling dog, and lots of sweet (and very polite!) children. The house was full.
When my parents and I lived there, it was tomb-like quiet. If I wasn't watching some nasty television show filled with bleeps (something my dad never failed to comment upon), then very little noise filled the air. We each went about our own projects, and we probably could have gone a few days without seeing one another. It wasn't empty of love or life, it was just empty of humans.
The new family that has made my old house their new home is wonderful. My old playroom is now the father's music room, with his guitars hung across the wall. My old bedroom is now their son's room, with a bunk bed suspended in the air. The old hired man's room is now retrofitted with electricity for the youngest daughter. She likes to listen to conversation below in the kitchen through the floor vent. My parents' old bedroom, the one with the pretty pastel roses, is now the oldest daughter's room. And the parents reside in the spare bedroom - the room we never really had a use for.
I feel lucky because I got to see. I got to understand that the house is now warm and wild and full of life. I got some closure, and the ache isn't as deep now.
I am finally coming up for air after several months straight of nonstop work.
Luckily, I did get to spend some quality time with my couch this weekend. Unluckily, it was because I had food poisoning earrrrly Saturday morning. I don't recall ever being that sick. The body really is quite amazing when it comes to purging bad food. I just wish I hadn't gone with the lemon pepper flavor for my bad fish or the wild rice medley. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the worst thing ever to come back up. Dear God.
But, now I've started eating again, and so I will also start blogging again. It feels good to be able to breathe.
I saw a link to this video the other day, and I can't get it out of my head. I'm not sure I've heard a more beautiful melody in recent memory. I also don't believe I've heard a song that so perfectly matches its title. I wish I could have been married to this song. I wish I could fall asleep to this every night. I wish I could die to this song.
We knew we would lose. For a variety of reasons -- not least that this is a small community, that this is a bad economy, that the factory owner pretty much owns the town -- we knew that the expansion of the factory would be approved. And so it was.
However, the concerns brought up at the advisory council meeting in late October, the precursor to the city council meeting, were heard. The factory VP will do his due diligence to mitigate the noise, and as they dig out the entire hillside (yeah, it's stupid), they will deposit the dirt behind the expansion, creating a berm. On top of this berm they will plant the landscaping. And they will pay for a privacy fence on our and my in-laws' property. This berm (and, of course, fence) will also end up discouraging factory workers from taking a shortcut across our property (something that happens now).
So, we lost, but it's the best possible loss. We shall see what the future holds.
It has morphed from a sad, empty (save for the numerous weeds), ugly space into something streamlined, and beautiful, and blessedly low-maintenance.
Observe, the horror of before:
And the gorgeous after, with plants (with room to grow) and neutral rock.
The little teensy spot on the other side of our garage might be my favorite...it's so cute!
From the road...a house that NO LONGER looks abandoned!
Having this project complete makes me very happy. Please e-mail if you would like the name of our landscaper. He did a wonderful job (in nearly freezing rain, no less), and we hope to expand the landscaping down the sides of our house in a year or so.
P.S. Husband and I can take credit for painting the porch the much more pleasant shade of brown. Let's hope it not only looks lovely, but also staves off the carpenter bees next summer!
Pointing out the obvious: our economy is bad. I read articles that say it's getting better, things are turning around, it is all going to be ok. I don't yet believe those articles. I want industry to grow, people to obtain jobs with adequate compensation, for our world to not seem so gloomy.
So it is with this mindset that I find myself, conversely, fighting against a growing business.
We purchased our house in January 2009, next to my in-laws, who built their dream home and have lived it in for more than a decade. Our home was about to go into foreclosure, and we saved it. We renovated it. We improved its value immensely. We had planned to enjoy our starter nest, to start our family there, until we, too, were able to one day build our own dream home.
So our dismay was great when we learned that the beautiful, natural field behind our house might be sold to a nearby factory, for expansion purposes. They plan to put in a big, bright blue building, with an access road for heavy semitrailers and the new 24-hour staff. All this would be 75 feet from our backyard.
75 feet is a far smaller distance than I'd previously ever thought.
We are already awoken by crashes from this factory dumping their excess at 5 a.m., but they are currently far enough away, and work two ten-hour shifts. It was not much more annoying than the train, whose whistle blows each time it enters town. A mosquito buzzing, a minor inconvenience.
But now they want to put this factory and this road nearly in my backyard. And I am not happy about this. Next door, a playset for the children who live in government subsidized apartments would be just feet away from this access road. A church would become completely landlocked by the factory and access road.
I can't imagine what this will do to the property value of our and my in-laws' homes, and our peace of mind.
So off we went to the city council advisory meeting last week, to explain our position and our concerns. The factory vice president also presented his position, and the advisory committee truly gave him a harder time than I'd expected. They were in a difficult position - we've known many of the members for years, even been taught and mentored by some of them. They don't want to be against economic growth, but they wouldn't want this near their homes either. The meeting was relatively moot as the actual city council itself will come to a decision on November 1. We will be there, too, pleading for an alternative solution.
I don't want to be against economic growth. I don't want to be against the opportunity for job creation. But I don't want a factory in my backyard.
Our backyard extends to the nearest line of small trees in the picture. And then, a factory. We are distraught.
I realize I've had a bout of radio silence here...wow...a whole week with no new posts! Shameful.
Two Mondays ago I came in to work and was greeted by an e-mail from my Dad (yes, he e-mails now. The whole world has gone mad.) that my grandmother had fallen. It turns out she broke her hip.* Life seems to have spiraled from there for yours truly, with commitments and busy days and a giant freelance project coming due.
On a completely frivolous note, I got a new iPhone. New, in this case, is new to me. I received Husband's hand-me-down phone while he grasped the new 4S in his sweaty little hands. I hold no grudge, however. I hated my previous damn phone. And now I can play Tetris! Whenever! I! Want!
Built must have divined my new acquisition, because I just found some beautiful new accoutrements on their site. These are actually for the 4S, but Husband tells me they're practically the same. Swearsies.
*The most stereotypical of elderly injuries. She's currently recuperating in a local nursing home (the same one my dad recuperated in, unfortunately). It looks like she will ride out the winter there, at least. For those who are familiar, let us hope they never let her return home.
Husband and I participated in our final wedding of 2011 on Saturday. My best male friend, Philboy, had stood with the bridal party on my side during our wedding, so I was touched that he included me (and Husband) on his side in his wedding. We have been friends for 8 years (yeah, dude, it's been that long), and he is one of the most intelligent and funny people I know. Lucky for him, he found a partner who is all that and more.
Exhibit A. Gorgeousness personified.
Their ceremony was just the right mix of traditional and modern; religious and irreverent; solemn and celebratory. They wrote their own vows, they symbolized their unity through a sand ceremony, and Philboy was so excited about getting married, he tried to say his "I do's" twice.
Rather than throw sand or blow bubbles, each guest was handed a personalized flag to wave as the newlyweds left the chapel. It was an absolutely adorable touch.
I have to give a special shout-out to my hair (or hairdresser, that is). It wasn't sleek and it was off-center and totally not something I would ever request, but I absolutely loved it. I didn't want to take it out after leaving the reception. 45 hairpins later, however, I will admit my scalp was a bit happy. (And check out the Adonis I conned into posing with me!)
The bride and groom made their own cake topper out of Lego. Behind the little figures is a red heart. It was so sweet and unique!
The bride and groom are honeymooning in Disneyworld (I had to look that up, because I always forget which is in California, and which is in Florida). These adorable hats sat in front of their places at the head table. They wore them as they departed the reception.
The Puritans. We're all a little older, a little wiser, and a little drunker. But we're still all together. I love these people.
This has nothing to do with anything, but what would a wedding be without moustaches? I'm thinking about adding this as a permanent accessory.
Thanks to their wedding reception, I've had LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" stuck in my head for seven days now. At least it isn't "Pussy Control."
Every day I'm shuffling.
This is one of those weddings that I will remember. Not because it was any better (or worse) than any other wedding we've attended recently, but because I know that these people will be in our lives for many years to come. In fact, when they return from their honeymoon, they are going to become our neighbors for awhile. They are two seriously wonderful people, and I am so happy that they found one another. They deserve so much happiness. They are our best friends in our hearts.
I'm a girl that likes nice things. I don't actually own any of them, but I like to think that if I earned a great deal of money (I don't) and wouldn't destroy nice things accidentally upon first touch (I would), that I might have some nice things. It doesn't hurt to look, though!
Today I peeked at the handbags on Stylebop.com. My credit score only allows me to peek, you understand. Not to look, or - gasp - even to dare gaze. Peeking was a mistake. The bags are gorgeous, with price tags to match. Observe:
Seriously, this isn't even a bag. It's a tiny wallet. A Mulberry Holly Slim Zip Black Wallet, to be exact. For $460. But isn't the tree cuuuuuute? Yes, however, if I'm going to spend almost $500 on a clutch, it had better come encrusted with diamonds and some kind of butler service.
This isn't even really a bag. It's a shopper. So you can carry it around and buy more things! Consumerism! Yeay! It is a Marc Jacobs Miss Marc Black Packables Shopper, $65. The cheapest item on this list, and sassy to boot. But...y'alls know you can get yerself a shopper for, like, a buck at Teh Wal Marts, dontcha?
Say it with me. Vah-lehn-teen-o. Chocolate Crocodile Leather Bag, $14,070. I promise I didn't make up that price. I didn't pay that much for the brand new car that I traded in for. Not even close. I wonder how many starving African orphans the cost of that one, single, lone little bag could feed. Let us ponder.
In all honesty, I would never want a $14,000 bag. I would never want a $400 bag. I could never take it out in public. And what's the use of sitting at home on a Friday night, stroking the gorgeous crocodile leather, gazing wistfully out the barred window. You know, at the peasants. No good at all, I tells ya!
But I can still peek and love from afar.
Uhmmm...if you don't mind, now I'm going go to drown in my own envy drool, thankyouverymuch.
Although I will be standing on my dear friend Philboy's side during his wedding this coming Saturday, his beautiful and sweet fiancee included me with her bridesmaids this weekend during her bachelorette party. We painted pottery, ate a fabulous meal, and then debauched. It was a glorious evening.
If you've never had a girl's event at a pottery painting place, I highly recommend it. Everyone gets to do their own piece, and you end up with something to remember the event by.
*Isn't she lovely? Isn't she wonderful?* that was me singing. I cannot wait to see her in wedding regalia!
Both mommies attended the painting and eating portions of the evening (and debarked before the debauch).
Speaking of mommies, I made this for my mommy! I hope it turns out well after firing!
Thanks to the gals for including me! Especially that hottie in the middle!
*Husband pointed out that I'm actually a groomsmatron, which I detest. I need to be ten years older and have several more chins before I will call myself a matron, thankyouverymuch.