Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Green Issue Two/Too: Buying thrift for the prom or “Hey, let’s recycle an old building and some old clothes!”

It’s all quite fitting, to have a Second Time Around Prom as a fundraiser for the Pitman Theatre in Gadsden, Alabama. It is an opportunity to recycle in a huge way by preserving an already existing building, a building that is a long-standing part of our community, and is essentially the yin to Emma’s yang on Broad Street. It is also an opportunity to relive (and make better) an event that may (or may not) have played a huge role in your life: the prom. And while we’re recycling that old building and some of our prom memories, why not recycle some old clothing as well?

For your retro-pleasure, a tour of the prom, one outfit at a time (or, what I like to call, “Oh, but it is easy being green):

Tami with be blinding us with her Goodwill purchased, pre-bedazzled, red velour lounge dress (very much like a velour track suit, but in dress form), the kind of dress that looks like it belonged to an overly tanned, very bleached blonde woman who was married to a wealthy man she no longer loved, but refused to divorce because he kept her in the lifestyle to which she was accustomed, which was the lifestyle of strolling ‘round the pool in her stretchy velour bedazzled dress, martini glass aloft in her perfectly manicured hand. Tami says that she feels like she shimmers in her gown, and I reckon I believe her. I am of the understanding that husband Jimmy will be coming as one of the following: the Captain (of Captain and Tennille fame), a combination of Crockett & Tubbs from Miami Vice, or The UniPromer (full-on Ted Kazinsky hoodie, moustache and sunglasses).

How green are your Catoes? Mr. Catoe will be decked out in a retro-fabulous suit from the Ron Burgundy Weatherman Collection purchased at the American Thrift Store in RBC. Word on the street has the Dame keeping it high-classy-green in a vintage dress (perhaps the yellow column dress with the white lace overlay?).

Now, if you were on the street a couple of days ago (Broad St., that is, at approximately 3:30 on Wednesday), you would’ve seen the very “green” suit that Eric had purchased on sale for $3.88 at the American Thrift in RBC. Mr. Wright was kind enough to drop by the spot where Kay Moore (of Downtown Gadsden, Inc., and co-conspirator on the Prom @ the Pitman event), Tami and I were having a bit of coffee from Martha and Junes to let us see said suit. The green suit is actually deep green in color, and we three ladies marveled at its texturedness and fabulousness. Tami’s comments were, “Wow, that’s the most unnatural fiber I’ve ever felt. Think of all the polyesters that died to make that suit.” Some alterations must be made to the pants of the suit, but the jacket fits like it was MADE for him (like, forty years too early *snicker*).

In a very dramatic upset on the prom duds front, Cyndi Nelson, who was striving for a traditional bow-and-sequined-smothered number in any screaming color that she could find, bid her way into ownership of a very classy, frighteningly tasteful (she could even wear it to a REAL formal event) lavender gown from Ebay. At least it still falls into the recycled category. Cyndi bid on the dress, I believe thinking that there was no way that she would win the dress, and was hoping to still locate an explosively ‘80s dress. So far, no dice. Cyndi is going to look gorgeous and normal, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it (but I’m still looking at the thrift stores today, so there’s hope yet). Husband Kenny will be keeping it real in a ‘70’s leisure-ish suit from (again) the American Thrift in RBC. The suit is evidently a nice vintage number from a shop that existed in Gadsden back in the day (I don’t know which day, though). You got to keep greatness from escaping the area…

Sister Vicki cheated a tiny bit by purchasing a new dress from TJMaxx for a whopping $16.99. She will, however, be going slightly green with insert for the neckline that I will be making from a black linen shirt from Eagle Rock Thrift in RBC. Her dress is very mod, a Jackie-O-ish, knee-length metallic black linen sheath, with big wooden beads around the neckline. She will be tres jolie! I will have to let her borrow my very Jackie-O-ish, snap-close black leather handbag (vintage from the defunct no-kill-animal-shelter thrift store in RBC, which I miss terribly).

TMI Alert!!! Some folks may not want to read this paragraph due to the graphic nature of the subject matter. The name of this individual has been altered to protect her identity, but most of you will be able to figure out who it is with no problem whatsoevah! Mandy is proudly recycling her junior-high backless prom dress after having lost a good deal of weight since the birth of her second child. But it seems that the backless part of the dress is giving her all kinds of trouble. Evidently, they just don’t make a backless, strapless bra to fit her sized rack. I could hear her making calls yesterday to all of the local bra hawkers, asking for a backless, strapless in her particular size, to no avail. After much loud sighing and a great deal of exasperation, she decided that she may just go for the white-trash, redneck look of wearing an old white regular bra (yellowed with age) with missing hooks, allowing both the back strap and the shoulder straps to show. In addition to wearing the regular bra, she would perhaps wear the largest granny-panties that she could find, and hike them up so high on her waist, that the bra strap and the panties would meet in the middle of her back. She would then add a black fanny pack that was full of loose cigarettes and sanitary napkins (not the packaged, stick-on-the-underwear kind of pads, but the kind of pads used with the old-fashioned sanitary napkin BELT-youknowhati’msaying women!), so that when she would have to pay for anything, cigarettes and pads would spill out everywhere. She’s also going to stop shaving both her pits and her legs starting today, so she should have a nice winter coat by next Friday. I’m planning on pretending not to know her.

Semi-pro golfer Dave and his lovely wife Brandy will also be recycling. Brandy is evidently going to go green from her own closet due to the fact that they have just returned from a fantastically long, and not-so-cheap vacation at the coast, a vacation that proved quite dangerous for the fast moving Brandy (slow down on those steps girl!). I’ve heard that Dave is in the market for some gently used Duck Head khaki pants, a thin tie and possibly some Ray-Bans…

I am planning to dress as I wish I had back at my senior prom…as a goth girl. I have a lovely two-piece black satin dress (fitted top, with an a-line, ankle length skirt), purchased last year at the Salvation Army for a steal of $6.99. The dress itself is not outlandish at all, and can be used at other events in the future. Hair, makeup and accessories will be the key for me. And because I am so terribly low maintenanced, I will have help on the make-up from dear friend Dame Catoe, and possible some hair pointers from hair-professional Kris (I figure roll the hell out of it, tease it till it cries and use an ozone-depleting amount of Aquanet). My goal is to get my hair to ‘80s Litchfield cheerleader standard, with hair so high, I’ll have to scrunch down in the seat of the car in order to get all of me to fit. Crap, that may not be a good idea, as there will be candles on the tables inside the Pitman and I wouldn’t want to be near an open flame with that kind of hair…all that joking about me looking like Carrie would just be fodder for the paper when the whole place went up in flames because of my freakin’ hair. I really may just have to go Pre-Raphaeilite with a touch of Marilyn Manson make-up.

Just one last thrift store musing before I sign off: Thursday, I took Jolly Green and her son on a tour of the thrift stores of Gadsden and RBC in order to introduce her to my world of economized living (Jolly Green is the Tami from the paragraph about the lounge dress). We had some time to kill between us getting out of work and us having to have her son back at school for a band exhibition w/in two hours, so we had to hustle. The first two thrift stores may have inflicted some major damage on the psyche of Son of Jolly Green, because at one point I thought he was about to pass out from the odor and/or the heat, not to mention the horror of some of the items one can find in these thrift stores. He couldn’t imagine having to purchase underwear or a mattress from a thrift store, so I gently reminded him that we have individuals within our community who couldn’t afford to purchase for themselves anywhere else, so this was really it for them. And I told him to keep in mind that I often had to purchase clothing in shops like this because I couldn’t afford the items that I wanted from name brand stores, but could often find what I wanted at the thrift store if I was patient. At this point, even if I had the money to buy from a department store, I would probably still purchase thrift because I had really grown accustomed to the idea of recycling gently used items. Son of Jolly Green ended up agreeing with me, and even warmed up a bit to the idea of purchasing used until he saw his mom holding up a burgundy three-piece leisure suit intended for his father. Said suit was heavily textured, and had majestic peaked collars reminiscent of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. But the true selling point was the waist of the jacket, which was tailored in the back with a top-stitched, belt-like sash, sporting a panel of not one, but two pleats. It was like a mud flap for the ass. All one would need to complete this ensemble would be a pair of cordovon leather square-toed zip boots, a shiny gold silk shirt unbuttoned to the navel and a silk scarf jauntily tied at the throat…and his dad would look like the landlord for the Three’s Company gang (oh, Mr. Farley). After scraping Son of Jolly Green off of the floor, we left the store sans suit, with our hearts a little lighter with the though of someone other than Jimmy showing up at the Prom in that suit. If anyone out there is interested, go to the Community Thrift Store in Alabama City. Keep an open mind when you enter the building. I have purchased name brand clothing, several vintage cameras, and some nice antiques there. And they are always running 50% off of most items and the staff are incredibly friendly. Think of it as a truck stop with clothes, furniture and household items, but no food or showers.

If you read my last blog, and are interested in another Compact perspective, please read:

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Green Issue

I’m thinking green again, this time because two of my coworkers approached me with a program series proposal on going green in Gadsden. As difficult as some folks may think that prospect would be, it is totally do-able, and the GPL is going to help people make it happen! Brandy and Nicole will be the dynamic duo of this hurculean effort (they’ve been kind enough to ask me to help-hurrah!), with the goal being to inform and assist those community members wanting to be kind to their environment. Go Brandy and Nicole!

When first approached with this idea, I thought back on an article that I had read about a group of American individuals who had decided to sign a contract to not purchase anything new for a year (some exceptions were made). This was a contract based upon the Mayflower Contract, and can be read here (I will post more local "green" soon):

A pledge to go a year without buying anything new
By Kara McGuire, Star Tribune
January 8, 2008
Karen Heimdahl used to be part of the throngs that crowd area malls at Christmas. But this year, bound by the Compact -- a growing social movement in which members vow to buy nothing new for a year -- she hit used book stores and consignment shops. Last Christmas her husband received gadgets from Best Buy. This year he unwrapped a hand-powered coffee grinder that Karen scoured eight antique stores to find.
"Buying new is so much easier," she lamented.
The American economy depends on consumers willing to buy the latest in fashions, furnishings and flat-screen TVs. Indeed, in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, shopping was cast as a patriotic duty, a way to help prevent the economy from tipping into a recession.
But the Compact, started by a group of San Francisco friends as a rebellion against what they see as gluttonous consumerism and its thoughtless destruction of the environment, turns that notion on its head.
Today, with a former vice president as the spokesman for global warming and higher energy prices hitting everyone's pocketbook, some Americans see going green as their new duty, or at the least, a money-saving measure. More mainstream Americans are going beyond recycling to considering their carbon footprint when flying, buying locally and second-hand shopping as an environmental statement.
A KPMG Consumer Survey conducted in December found 88 percent of respondents were very concerned about the environment.
For others, buying less is the harsh reality after years of relying on stock market gains and home appreciation to live beyond their paychecks. With talk of a possible recession, others are spending less to fluff up their cash cushion.
The Compact, named after the creed made by the revolutionaries who sailed here on the Mayflower, started in 2004 with a San Francisco dinner party. The conversation had turned to the downsides of recycling, and the group agreed to a revolutionary idea of its own: to buy nothing new, aside from a small list of exceptions that includes medicine, underwear and cleaning products. They could buy food without restrictions, including eating out.
Officially the Compact has grown from 10 friends around the dinner table to more than 8,700 members of online users groups today. Founding member John Perry figures thousands more are living the Compact life offline, though it's hard to track exact numbers of members and success rates.
"We never set out to start a movement," says Perry, who works in the high-tech industry. A 2006 story by a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, who was a friend of a friend of a Compact member, changed that. The story created buzz around the world. There are about 50 users groups on Yahoo from as far away as Thailand and Australia. One in Minnesota was formed last January and has 41 members, although it's somewhat inactive.
Candles for dad
It was fall of 2006 and Heimdahl was counseling a growing number of Minnesotans having trouble paying their mortgage and credit card debt when she read about the Compact in the news.
"For a while I had been feeling fed up about the consumer nature of our society," said the 31-year-old financial counselor for Lutheran Social Service. "I think part of it is what I do for my job too, seeing a lot of people have debt ... and not having anything to account for it."
Still, she didn't sign up right away. "My first thought was 'well, I don't need to do that, I don't buy much stuff anyway.' But then I realized that was an excuse."
On April 8, 2007, she and her husband were sitting at their desks in their Waconia home. Without a triggering event or much thought of how this would change her life, she signed up for the Compact group online. Although her husband, Andy, was just feet away, she didn't mention her new commitment until later that day. She worried about his reaction, knowing he viewed the Compact as extreme. But he surprised her. "He was actually very supportive."
"I wasn't sure she was going to be able to follow through," said Andy, 33. "In this consumer-driven society it seemed like a nearly impossible task."
It hasn't been easy. The week after she signed up, she picked up a box of candles for her father's birthday party. Driving to the party with her sister, she confessed her sin, which her sister brushed off. It was months before Heimdahl set foot in a big-box store again.
"Every three months is when I tend to have a cheat," she says. After the candles was the gift certificate she bought for a new motorcycle windshield for her husband. She didn't actually buy the item for him, but with the gift certificate, "the intent was there."
Then in September, an out-of-town friend had a baby. The new parents were hosting the Heimdahls and they wanted to show their appreciation. They purchased some wine for their friends, within the guidelines of the Compact. It was the newborn gift that forced Karen to break the rules. "I looked and looked and couldn't find anything [used] and I found this outfit and it was so cute and I caved. I regretted it, but not really," she said. That was her last new purchase. "Maybe I'm getting better."
Repulsed by the dollar bins
Her dedication has impressed her friends and family. Some have said they've made small changes -- like saying no to plastic bags or thinking twice about buying something they wanted but didn't need.
Andy Heimdahl, despite his initial skepticism, has also been living in the Compact spirit, fixing a wheelbarrow instead of buying a new one and making a coffee table for his wife for Christmas.
Heimdahl has changed too. "It's really taught me patience," she said. "Solutions will come if I wait." She found buttons needed for a sweater she knitted at an antique store. She spent more hours searching for the materials to make a compost bin than she cares to remember. She's also learned to garden and cook her bounty. "It's kind of forced me to slow down in some ways, which I really like."
And there's the financial benefit of not spending $10 here and $50 there. The couple retired a loan for their property up north and have more money in savings. "Our pocketbook really looks much better for it," said Andy.
During her time, she's tried not to keep a list of new items she wants, although the first snowfall renewed her desire for new skis and she'd love to get a cold press coffee mug before she and Andy go camping again in the Boundary Waters.
Heimdahl can buy both on April 9, when her Compact ends, but "I'm not going to go out on a shopping spree," she says. And the influence the Compact has had on her habits is here to stay. "Everyone can make minor changes with just a little shift in mentality," says Heimdahl. She used to love Target and enjoyed wandering through the store's abundance of cheap, trendy items. Now a walk by the dollar bins repulses her. "There's all this stuff and so much is unnecessary and disposable."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pardon me boys...

Morning of the Beerfest:
Diener 5K in RBC (not me, E and his friend Natalie). Went down the road a piece to catch the race. Watched as E placed first in his age group (and broke his personal record). I then watched as E had to wrest his trophy outta the figurative hands of another individual when the organizers mistakenly botched up the judging. Funny thing was that E had grumbled about the humidity (rain) earlier and how he just wasn’t feeling it today (I’d like to say that he was whining about it, but he wasn’t). When I mentioned this to mom in between the warm-up and the actual race (I stopped by the liberry), I followed it up with, “Yeah well, if he’s not feeling it, then that means he’s gonna walk away with a medal or something.” Guuuh! See!?!

Within two hours after the race, we were on the road to Beerganooga for the second beertacular Beergrimage of 2008. I was frightened that perhaps this was going to be a normal trip, with rooms in a normal hotel, where we would behave in a normal fashion, but NO, nothing was normal…thankfully nothing will ever be normal when it is tinted with a hint of Fleegan (but what is normal?). The rooms that E had Hotwired for us were in the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel, which I thought was just a quaint way of saying the Chattanooga Hotel. They were in fact rooms at a hotel that’s sole purpose is to showcase the much-loved Chattanooga Choo-Choo, which evidently began running in 1909 and stopped running in 1970. This hotel was not one hotel, but a compound of three hotels divided by old Pullman cars (which you may stay in for a price) and surrounded by a train track that is used by a vintage New Orleans street car, complete with cable. There are restaurants (Dinner in the Diner), gift shops and swimming pools. The front lobby is the old 1908 train station (beautifully domed with floor to ceiling rounded, multi-paned glass windows) that looks out the front on bustling Market Street, and out the back onto the rather mini-Versailles-esque gardens (complete with individual species gardens, water fountains and topiaried plants (boxwoods, wisteria, and sundry other topiariable things). We were in a miniature railway heaven. The rooms themselves were efficient and relatively spacious (two beds, tv armoire, bathroom with loo-vestibule and a small table with two chairs by the sliding-glass doors which opened out onto what E affectionately called the three inch balcony (it was just a decorative iron railing that was almost flush to the building, you know, a pretty way to allow you to look out at the pool, but keep you from falling overboard). E obtained our rooms in this familial paradise for the bargain price of $59 each, plus some change. These same rooms are currently priced online at $139 per night. Suh-weet! Nice job Slim!

Just a bit more on the hotel, and then I’ll move on to the most important part of the trip, the beer. The Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel website touts: It’s a hotel! It’s a song! It’s a train! Now, picture it: two singletons, no children, staying in a child-friendly hotel, full of trains, gardens, snack shops and such…and our friends, the Catoes, parents of le enfante incredible, staying in a swank hotel with a marble bathroom floor and grandiose lob-bay…well, I found myself looking around for the camera at one point because of the hilarity of the situation. The Choo was very nice and was remarkably quiet (except when Kansas Slim was inspired to sing a few verses of the song Chattanooga Choo-Choo), even with rooms that faced out into the swimming lagoon of Hotel Deux that happened to be filled at 10:30PM with tiny little squealing bodies (this was after our return from the Beerfest). Well, it was quiet until about 2:30PM, when the silence was unmercifully broken by some little devils knocking on Eric’s hotel door loud enough to wake me from my slumber next door. I heard the knock in my sleep, heard the ensuing giggles and the slapping of feet as the scamps escaped down the corridor. I didn’t wake at the initial knocking, but snapped to, muttering the word “Children!” when I heard the giggling (a bit like the hospitalized and comatose Dr. Guggenheim in Rushmore when he comes to briefly to mutter the name “Fisher”). I immediately slipped my trusty earplugs into place and slept unmolested the rest of the night.

Check out the splendor with your own two eyes:

The Beer (at least the ones I partook of and remember…my note taking went down the tubes almost immediately)/The Plan (Laura and I would get different beers and sample each others’…we all ultimately ended up sampling each others’ beer …because we roll that way):

New Belgium (Ft. Collins, CO)-They were only offering Fat Tire and Mothership Wit (no La Follie, nor Springboard). I had the Mothership Wit, Laura had the Fat Tire.

Highland Brewing Company (Ashville, NC)-They offered Gaelic Ale, St.Terese's Pale Ale, and the Kashmir IPA . I took the Gaelic Ale, Laura took the St. Terese’s Pale Ale and one of the gentlemen took the Kashmir.

(For all of you other attendees, please leave comments on the beers that you partook of, please. I know the there was some Good People, Magic Hat and Sweet Water, but I’m sure there was more.)

In a crowd of ball-shifting men and high-maintenanced women, the four of us got our beer on. I remember one beer tasting like roses, another tasting like a cream soda Dum-Dums…the rest are a blur. Oh beer, why do you make me forget!?!

The Music:
Sucked (we couldn’t stomach it out until the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies)
We witnessed with our ears and our eyes possibly the most awful attempt at entertainment (I was far more entertained at the dinner table of Mellow Mushroom where the tiniest schmear of hummus was shared by four ravenous individuals and where more pizza than you could shake a stick at disappeared into thin air). I think I may have heard the band play a song about Shake-n-Bake? Maybe I just dreamt it…although we watched some very baked people trying to shake-it to the music. And then, there was the guy with the purple face…

The walk back to the hotel after the beerfest:
Just beautiful! Love the city, especially at night. Nothing like the look, feel and smell of a city at night. The Catoes let us come up to their room for a nightcap of coffee. This was where we witnessed the caressing of the face of one Catoe by the foot of the other Catoe. It was really quite sweet, until the caress-faced Catoe realized what was touching his face and he had a conniption.

The trip home:
Stopped at World Market and purchased some much needed beer. I scored a Rogue Dead Guy Ale pint glass to replace the special Bush & Bull pint glass that I accidentally left in Denver over two years ago, a pint glass that I needed for properly making my Vietnamese coffee. E and I decided that we wanted something ethnic to dine on, something that we couldn’t get back in our Queen City of the Coosa. We thought Greek would be nice, so earlier that morning E did a Google search for Greek restaurants in the area. Mykanos, The Acropolis, and the Cracker Barrel were some of the suggested choices. After looking in vain for the Greek Cracker Barrel, we settled on The Acropolis. We had an equally small schmear of hummus, but for two less people, so it went a tiny bit farther (I did not get my hummus on on this trip, therefore I had to make hummus for dinner tonight). I had lottsa feta and Kalamata olives on my salad. Verrah nice.

I am so certain that I have not done justice to recounting this trip…but I’m tired and must rest my eyes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Still Life: Hatless Little Boy, Crying in Parking Lot

Beerganooga countdown: Approximately 24 hours.

I’ve been getting emails from sis every morning, detailing her trials of dieting (she’s just started the South Beach Diet, and we believe that this will be the lucky one-go fighin’ Vicki!). The one I received this AM had an added bonus feature detailing an incident that involved Nephew and a parking lot. In the hopes that sis won’t mind me sharing this (for commiseration with those who have gone through it already and as a caveat to those with little ones), I am just reprinting the email:

Oh, Carol--the most awful morning occurred today! Alex dropped my hand and ran away from me in the parking lot of Mustard Seeds. I grabbed him so hard I think I left bruises on his little arm. I said, "You do NOT run away from me in parking lots!" And he dropped like a stone. And cried, cried, cried. I had to drag him into the school, he lost his hat on the way, AND he threw a fit all the way down the hall into Ms Sherry's breakfast room. As he was lying in the floor, Ms Sherry said she thought he'd do better if I go ahead and leave. So I told him I loved him and yourgrampawillbehereafterlunch, bye! What a cluster fuck. I cried all the way to work. Carmen had to calm me down.

To which I replied:
Oh Vicki, that is the saddest thing about Alex! I know that he's fine and all, but yeah, what a cluster fuck. I sincerely hate that for you. You have to understand that you are a good mom, and sometimes that is going to happen, regardless of all the parenting that you can do...and you'll loose your shit when it does happen...but be glad that you only lost your shit and he only lost his hat. It could’ve been worse. Parking lots ARE mine fields. People don't watch what they're doing oftentimes, especially when they are in the mindset of the drop-off, pick-up. I mean, it can even happen in your own driveway! I read about it all the time in the Reader's Digest...wait, did I just admit to reading Reader's Digest? D'oh! You’ll all be right as rain…but he’ll probably do it again. You could always quit your job, take Nephew out of school and start homeschooling. And when you’re not homeschooling, you can lock him in his room. I think that could work until he’s eighteen or so.
You know you’re my favorite sister,

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pork sausage patties, two kindsa bacon, ham slices, link sausages and steak.

I’m still stuck in the meat-tacular groovitational pull of Planet 805B. The majesty of the multiple-meat breakfast just got kicked clean overboard.

A number of years ago, the legendary Glencoe cook Lurlene Smith first introduced me to the five-meat breakfast. Before that earth-shattering, bowel-moving day, I had always thought that one meat was sufficient to have on a breakfast plate, especially when you have eggs, biscuits and gravy, and grits to go along with. The daughter of a farming family, Lurlene was not satisfied with one meat at breakfast, cause you never knew who would be stopping by after church, or coming up out of the field to eat. Lurlene liked to serve what the rest of the family lovingly referred to as the five-meat breakfast. The featured meats would be anything from pork products like sausage patties, ham steaks, bacon, link sausage (two different kinds: the small kind that crisped up really well, and the large kielbasa kind that had the skin so tight that when you bit into it, it burst out like the pierced intestine that it resembled) and possibly sliced pork loin (left over from the night before), to ribeye steaks and roast beef (again, left over from the night before). As a neophyte faced with my first five-meat breakfast, I felt overwhelmed and very small in my big-girl breakfast chair. But after two mimosas and a lightening round of “If I hadn’t of married you, I could’ve been a nurse” between Lurlene and her husband of fifty-plus years, I was dizzy and hungry and confused…so I ate…one of everything. And when it didn’t kill me immediately, I ate again…and drank some more. And I thought from that day forward, I would never again allow myself to think that five meats at breakfast was excessive.

So recently, while discussing the upcoming Fleegan Sunday Brunch, I very casually spoke of the five-meat breakfast. Nothing more was mentioned until this past Saturday evening, the eve of the Brunch. Kansas Slim pulled out a piece of paper and began making a grocery list. If I recall correctly, the conversation went a little something like this: “So, what kinds of meat were eaten at the five-meat breakfast? Laura and I were trying to figure them all out.” Dreamily I began to recount the list that I have already detailed above, “Well, there was the entire pork family, bacon, ham, patty sausage…wait, you’re not seriously thinking about doing the five-meat breakfast, are you?!? We don’t have the proper permits and we have to notify the fire department at least a week in advance…” Slim just smiled and started writing. The lure of massive amounts of carnivorous fare was too great. It was to be a cage match between him and the beast.

Sunday: With enough smoke billowing out of the house to cause the smoke alarm next door to go off (hah! Just kidding), Slim cooked not five, but six meats for our brunch (in addition to blueberry pancakes, hashbrown casserole and biscuits...and let's not forget all of the contributions made by the rest of the Fleegans: tasty muffins from the casa de Jones, chess squares from Terica, fruit and champagne that was grown by the Woods *snicker,* facon and champagne from the Catoes, croissants and champagne from Tami Sparks...the food just kept coming). With bodies strewn about the floor of 805B Place, the collective meatsigh that went up after the plates were put down could be heard all the way to Chattanooga (Beerganooga for all you beergrims going on the beergrimage next weekend). Meatku was written to mark the occasion.

There were photos taken of the after, but none of the before. It's like it never happened, like it was a dream. A dream that left a greasy fat scum in the tub after I showered this morning (wow, that's a new gage for meat-a-rificness).

Listening to: Richard Cheese Lounge Against the Machine
Reading: About to start Hunting Mister Heartbreak

Sunday, August 3, 2008

If a tree falls in the woods…

It sounded just like a cartoon tree falling, like a creaky door closing. Even though I was not near a window to see it happen, I scrunched up my shoulders, closed my eyes and waited for the impact. It hit the front of the house. When I did look out, I saw that the large trunk of the sliver maple in the front yard had split from the base of the tree and fallen on the front part of the house. This is what can happen when you have co-dominance in a tree. Two large trunks fork off from the main trunk, forming two weaker trunks rather than one strong trunk. In an ideal horticultural world, you would not allow a tree to do this as it is growing. You would prune off whichever trunk was not growing true and straight while the tree was still young. This tree had been planted over thirty years ago by my grandmother. She had decided one summer that the yard needed some shade, so she went out to the woods and brought up this tiny little stick of a maple, seeing a great shade tree in its future. It was so tiny in fact, it was in great danger of being run over with the lawn mower. So, gran covered it with Vicki’s Barbie VW bus/camper (you all remember it…it’s the yellow one with the sixties stickers all over it and a bike rack on the back door. Barbie and Skipper always had to wear their bellbottoms and haltertops when they rode in the van…). And it grew for over thirty years. And we never pruned it. And yes, it provided massive amounts of shade. I can’t tell you how many seasons changed while I sat at the window of the front attic room looking out at that tree. And it all ended last night in a furious thunder storm. Instead of celebrating the passing of another graduate class, I sought bourbon and cigar solace at the safe house of Kansas Slim, and figuratively (and I suppose, literally) raised a glass to the passing of that beautiful tree. I’m really going to miss it and its shade.

On a much lighter note, the Moxie provided a very entertaining product launch party Friday evening. I was able to hoof it over from class just as the official party ended, and the after-party party began. The Felliniesqueness of what happened between 9 and 10:30 cannot really be described properly here. But, I’m beginning to realize that that is what happens when Fleegans gather together, an entire GadVegas floor show packed into a short amount of time. Good thing there were pictures taken, footage shot and witness seated at Mater’s Pizza across the street, otherwise people might not believe that some of this stuff really happened.

See Moxie photos and live action footage here at:

Reading: Purple Hibiscus
Listening to: Charlie Parker