Tuesday, September 30, 2008

shrooms: the ultimate groundscore

I love fall. I love all the usual stuff like the changing leaves and cool weather, but it also brings out all kinds of mushrooms...some of which are good to eat!

For the past few years, I've had a good time looking for edible shrooms on my hikes. It's a bit of a scary venture, of course. You have to be sure that you get the right ones or you could end up one of those "idiot stories" on the 6 o'clock news...you know, the stories where people sit back in their recliners and say "what an idiot" when they hear how some hippie died in intestinal agony in the emergency room from eating a curry made with some pretty little mushrooms they found on the trail. Yeah...so I try really hard not to become one of the "idiot stories." We make really good friends with certain mushrooms we know are edible and we stick with them. If we find new ones, we proceed with extreme caution.

Anyway, this time of year, there are lots and lots of shrooms out there. Some are definitely just for looking at, some bear further investigation, and some -- like that nice, fat shelf of Chicken of the Wood we recently found (check out the photo above) -- are most definitely for eating.

We are always looking for oyster mushrooms other good-to-eat varieties, but Chicken of the Wood is the cat-daddy eatin' shroom. It's huge, it's in your face, it's cool-looking and when you cook it up in some olive oil, garlic and white wine it tastes just like very delicate chicken breast. Or at least I'm pretty sure it does -- I've not eaten meat in so long that I'm really pretty much guessing about that. At any rate, it's amazing.

And it's free. It's the ultimate groundscore, in my opinion.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Big Night Out

Last night was a zany departure from the norm for me...I went out for drinks with friends. Woo HOO! Yeah...not that long ago, hanging out at the Westville Pub was all in the course of a day for me, but now it is a rare treat. Scott and Brett and Scott's sis hung out with the Baby Boss for a couple of hours so I could hit the town with my girlfriends.

I had started with pretty ambitious plans: Pump lots of milk to keep Baby Boss satisfied for up to 4 hours or more so we could meet up, have drinks and go see a band somewhere.

Well, for those of you in the non-lactating set, pumping really...um...sucks. You have to sit there for ages with this stupid machine attached to your boob. The machine makes a really monotonous whining noise. The pump makes a really monotonous sucking action on your boob. The baby senses competition and becomes restless...everyone else goes on with their day...the clock ticks endlessly on...and there you sit. I hate it.

But with a night out at stake, I managed to pump a few ounces...enough, I figured, to keep the bottomless pit satisfied for at least a couple of hours.

So me and the girls (and Nelson) ended up out at Westville Pub, which was really pretty awesome. I didn't realize how much I needed to get out and feel like an independent being for a little while. A couple pints of Wedge and a trout quesadilla thrown in didn't hurt.

Weird thing, though...by 9pm we were all getting tired. 9pm. How scary is that? Most bands don't even play 'til after 9. So anyways, Leanne goes for a smoke break and I take the opportunity to call home to check in...and guess what? Baby boss is screaming her fool head off. I mean, that's all I hear when the phone picks up...end-of-the-bloody-world baby shrieks.

She missed the boobs.

So off I go. My wild night on the town over at 9pm. It was okay, though. A couple of hours to sit around and talk trash with my girls and not have to focus on a baby were enough to give me a solid mental boost.

Now I can make it 'til the next mama's night out...in say, 2 or 3 years? Ha! Let's hope not.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What it's like to be 40

Yeah, well, I guess it's about the same as being 39...only you get slightly more interest in your birthday because you are now officially Over the Hill.

So my birthday was sort of odd. I was in a really bad mood -- as in grouchy and ill-tempered in an almost pre-menstrual way from lack of sleep. This was due to the baby deciding the night before to have a big fuss party from 2am on. Not a nice birthday present for mommy, baby. Not nice at all. :-(

Then we had to get gas. Filling up the car used to be a sort of afterthought to all your other daily activities, but these days due to the incomprehensible gas crisis it is like foraging for food in the Ice Age. It takes precedence over every other thing. You are always scanning the internet, networking with people and keeping an eagle-eye out for available gas. Scott took the day off work because he had a meeting about refinancing the house and because he wanted to take me out to lunch and stuff. But our tanks were near empty so he spent the whole morning driving all over Asheville trying to find a station that had some. Luckily, he spotted a gas truck pulling into a station near our house during one of his searches and followed it in, making himself first in line. He then called me and I had to pull the baby (and myself) away from a potentially wonderful nap to go get in the monumental line for the pumps.

Because Scott is awesome and I am loved, I did get to go out to lunch at Salsa's and pick out a box of assorted truffles at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, but the baby fussed all through lunch so I ate by myself while Scott walked her around the restaurant. Phooey. Foiled again by that deceptively adorable baby!

Then we just had a quiet evening -- take out (so I didn't have to cook) and ice cream cake and watching "Harold and Maude" for the first time since college.

It was a really enjoyable birthday other than my own sleep-deprived grumpiness and generalized self-pity. But what got me to thinking it a bit odd was this: Earlier in the day my X called to wish me happy birthday and acted suprised that I wasn't having a party. Hmm...a party. What a novel thought! It actually never even occurred to me, but I guess it would have been a fun thing to do.

But let's face it -- I'm 40. A nap seems more appealing than a round of tequila shots most of the time. Much of that has to do with the fact that I'm keeping up with a new baby and have to get up every morning in drill sargent mode to force a third grader to get ready for school. But maybe I've mellowed just a wee bit...


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Super Deluxe Birthday Premiere!

Tomorrow is my 40th birthday. 40. Forty. Wow. When I write it, it seems so old. I mean, when you're 8 or 9 and imagining your fabulous future with a celebrity spouse, a successful career in international espionage and jet-pack safari vacations to Africa, you never picture yourself being 40. I think 30 was about the outer-limits of my imagination when it came to picturing myself as an Older Person.

I don't really feel 40, though. I guess physically I'm feeling a bit older -- lower back pain, a bit of extra weight around the hips, aching shoulders from carrying my behemoth baby daughter, those odd wiry alien hairs that sprout overnight from my chin and a recent disturbing habit of falling asleep sitting up on the couch like my mother does.

I realize this is very cliche, but in my heart I am still 20. I am still hot. I am still edgy and wild and cool as hell. Too bad your heart is just that....your heart, and not the thing that everyone sees when they look at you.

Oh, well. It's okay. The media says 40 is the new 20 or something like that, right? And anyways, I have so much amazing stuff going on right now: New man, new baby, new house in a very happening town, a totally bizarro 8-year-old son that constantly amazes me, a bunch of oddball animals that keep me laughing...it's all good. Even the bad stuff. It's good.

So I decided to kick off this blog while I'm still officially a 30-something to get this new decade off to a creative start and to celebrate mi vida loca in all its ragged glory. Welcome to my world!