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friday five, turkey edition

Marvin this week:

This is Thanksgiving week in the US of A, the holiday on which immigrant Americans celebrate the poor foresight of the Native Americans who kept their Puritan forebears from starving to death. Which normally means that I could cop out and ask a question like, "Name five things you're thankful for." However, several people on this list are within driving distance of my home and are rumored to have poor impulse control, not to mention the alleged secret stockpiles of explosives and furry porn, so I'll go for something a little different: five separate questions, loosely related (just how loosely depends on how much scotch I manage to drink before I finish thinking them up).

Aside: It occurs to me that these questions betray a definite Anglo-Saxon Christmas-season bias. Please feel free to recast the questions to suit your own holiday traditions.

1. You've just sat down for you favorite holiday meal and you hear a knock on the door. It's Freddie Mercury in a tight white T-shirt and a gold lame halo—he offers to sing for his supper. What song(s) do you request and why? (Not necessarily Queen songs—since Freddie joined the heavenly choir he's been expanding his repertoire.)

Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant." I mean...I mean...we'll all sing in four-part harmony and it'll be a movement.

2. A certain relative or in-law so-and-so—the black sheep of the family, the one who drinks all the beer but never bothers to pay for any—shows up later in the evening. You know the one (assuming it isn't you, of course). What is his (or her, let's be fair) special talent that you secretly envy?

Depends on the side of the family we're talking about. On one, the sheep would be me. On the other, hrm, we don't really have one. I got nothin'.

3. You've been feeding the family dog beneath the table. Fido's digestive tract isn't what it used to be. Which tasty morsel was it that stank up the joint?

Cranberry sauce. It's always the cranberry sauce.

4. Between dinner and desert one needs a pause for digestion and reflection. In what special aid to this process do you like to indulge? Madeira, port, ye olde Sheep Dip, Longbottom Leaf, or something else?

Irish coffee. With a big splash of whiskey and a big blob of whipped cream. Mmmmm.

5. It's time for dessert. You've pudding and hard sauce but no brandy to set the former on fire. But there must be fire. You search the house for a substitute: what will you find and use?

Given how much of a freak Mooch has been this week, I'm using him. All of that blubber should burn real nice.*

*Disclaimer: I would never actually set the cat on fire. But I have pondered it a time or two. And if you knew the Moocher, you would, too. Big old inbred freak he is.

Other friday fivers on the left list...

survivors ready.

Mild spoiler. Very mild.

The Hub and I are taking bets on how long it will take Rupert to rip Jon's arms off after Jon's non-dead grandmother ruse is revealed. In fact, I can hear flesh being torn (and Jon's little girl screams) right now...

What. a. slimeball.

quote of the day

From Harvey Fierstein, via master gardener Ed:

The Bush administration spends billions spreading freedom abroad while at home it devises legislation to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians. What is it with you people, anyway? Are you so insecure about the way you handle marriage that you're scared gay folk will show you up? Trust me, we will make as much of a mess out of matrimony as you do. Just give us a chance.

Read the whole thing here. You can read it for free, but you will have to register for the Times if you haven't already. And registration is also free, fyi, and well worth the minute it takes to establish.

And, my though? If you don't want gay marriage, don't have one. Simple as that.

more inanity

You Are Gilbert From "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?"

You are very giving and self-sacrificing. You're always there to lend a helping hand to family and friends. However, this generous nature often robs you of fulfilling your needs and desires, and may cause you to become resentful. Find a way to balance your kindness with your independence.

Take The Johnny Depp Quiz!

Thanks, Adam. Here's the thing--I don't so much want to know which Depp I'd be (although this is certainly in the top five of the Depp-tacular) but how I could get up close and personal to the Depp flesh. Forty looks better and better. Yum.

thankfully, we have master gardeners

From my gardening guru, Ed:

Not sure of the first one- reminds me a little of a Columbine (Aquilegia),
but I doubt it. I'm more tempted to call it a Meadow Rue (Thalictrum), and
the more I look at the pictures, the more I grow convinced this is what you
have. There are scores of species of this, some if not all of which are
American natives, so you rarely see them listed as invasive. They have
numerous feathery, sometimes droopy, small flowers that usually range from
white to pinkish, and species range from very diminuitive to fairly tall, 4-5

The second one is a weed called Dock (Rumex), sometimes "sheep sorrel". As
with most weeds, it's got it's uses as well as a reputation as invasive. I
found one reference saying it's originally from England, but another one
saying the Native Americans used it - but that may not be mutually exclusive
if N.A. use was after contact with Brits. "They" also say it's found

It will send up stalks 2-4 ft tall with unremarkable flowers that don't look
much different when they go to seed, but these stalks may be dried for
arrangements and provide a nice effect. I've seen some dried stalks died or
sprayed different colors, at a wonderful nursery I visited in Connecticutt,

You should cut the stalks before they dry "on the vine" whether you save or
toss them, to prevent it volunteering everywhere; if saving stalks, you can
get 2 to 3 crops of them per year this way. As for weeding them, they aren't
called "dock" for nothing: their long taproots prevent simple hand-weeding
most of the time.

Medicinally, it's been used for skin conditions, especially itchy ones, for
thousands of years. The only thing I use it for is to treat being stung by
nettles, for which it works better than anything I've tried. (I grow nettles,
too, for tonic teas, chocked full of vitamins and minerals.) You could get
fancy and make poultices and such, but I just take one of the biggest leaves,
split the fattened stem down the middle with my thumbnail, and then rub the
juices onto the irritated skin for immediate and lasting relief. (Of course,
nettle stings themselves are an interesting treatment for arthritis....)
There are also reputed uses for this ingested as tea for bowel problems, with
warnings not to take too much.

They'll grow in just about any conditions, sun/shade, wet/dry, poor soil/rich,
and down here at least, a ring of leaves against the ground will survive all

I only wrote more about Dock cuz I'm more familiar with growing it. I bought
my first Meadow Rue a coupla years ago and started a couple from seed last
year, so my learning curve on these still has a ways to go. I don't know
anything about purported medicinal/herbal uses for Meadow Rue, but
ornamentally, it is far more attractive than dock.

Feel free to paste this into your blog if you want. You'll know for sure if
the 1st plant's Meadow Rue by next summer - if it blooms. I've been growing
mine in a fair amount of shade and getting good blooms, but this is the south,
and many plants will compromise and take shade down here just for the sake of
not scorching in our summers. If yours doesn't bloom and you're interested in
pursuing it, you might try moving it to more sun. At least the foliage is
nice by itself with this one.

To which I say, Ed, you rock. Right now, of course, the last hard freeze killed all of it, but I'll keep my peepers peeled for what happens in the spring. I also have a bit of a hope that the previous owner planted some bulbs back there somewhere. We shall see.

In other news, I keep having these nightmares--no, really, wake up in a sweat and everything--that we have to move again, this time in less than a week. The target city always differs. It was Pittsburgh last night and Houston a few nights previous. Heart-clenching terror throughout the dream which then lingers all morning. I used to be afraid of nuclear war and closet monsters. Now, the sight of some cardboard boxes and U-Haul gives me a case of the howling fantods. Life is strange.

friday five

From Nanette this week.

I work in the music business. Glamorous as this may sound, we are actually just two women in a home office in South Austin. Hipness, youth and cool factor are a common topic of conversation between me and my boss, i'm 35 and she's 39. We often remenisce about our cool groovy old days when we actually went out to see the kind of bands we work with and go to the clubs we talk to everyday and it dawns on us that we are sooo way out of the cool scenes we envision ourselves part of still.
soooo, the topic is - what 5 ages would you like to be and why., either to re-live or that you imgine would be ideal in the future. Hey, if you are so inclined and have a moment to spare, what about throwing in 5 ages you would NEVER want to be again, and why:

1) 20-21. Second and third years in college. Old enough that there was freedom and comfort with the routine of classes, but not old enough that there was real responsibility.
2) 27. The year I started at the Pulse and I had the reckless enthusiasm that made every day in the office giddy fun.
3) 30. It was just a good year, despite my dread of it. Finally felt like I knew what I was doing, for the most part. Still do, usually, but sometimes The Diva throws a wrench into my joie de vivre.
4) 40. I hope things will settle down by then. Unlikely, I know, and change is life's only constant still it would be nice to have a few relatively calm years. I figure 40 may be one of 'em.
5) 90-100 (if I make it that long). I'd like to see how it all turns out, you know?

Years to never do again:

Pretty much 10-18. Sucked massively. Words can not describe their sheer unpleasantness. And, no, I don't want to talk about it.

Other Friday Fivers on the left list...

little tiny peepees

This gem from Teresa Nielsen Hayden about masculinity:

Men still go on being men, and their dangly bits are no more nor less efficacious than they ever were, whether or not their womenfolk agree to go along with the gag. I mean, if the degree to which a man is treated respectfully had a direct influence on his masculinity, middle-aged white execs would be superstuds, and inner-city young black men would be so meek that they’d make Alan Alda look like Rambo.

Her post is in response to Kim du Toit’s argument about the "pussification" of the American male. Rather than recap her cogent argument here, I'd suggest going there and, also, reading the comments. It's good stuff, as well as a good take-down of what du Toit presents.

(At the risk of sounding like a deranged fan, have I mentioned lately that I intend to buy Ms NH a beer should I ever meet her?)

snot, snot, everywhere

Forgive the silence. The weekend started with a visit from Grandpu Martini (that'd be my dad, for those playing at home) and ended with a baby with a very high fever and some vomit. The Diva is now resting comfortably--the fever seems to have broken--and I amnow in the process of doing 9 loads of laundry and scrubbing everything with bleach. Eventually, I will take a nap, since trying to sleep with an impossibly hot child on top of you is difficult, at best. Couple that with the moments of grave terror when you start to think that no one could be that warm and still survive and you have one worn out mama who, additionally, misses her dad terribly. This, too, shall pass and I will once again return to whinging about the DMV and life's other petty irritations.

friday five

Me this week:

Lately, I've been thinking about food. It's something I think about a lot, granted, but this is more about food and place. For me, these conenctions are intense and evocative. The question: if you could travel back to any place you've lived (or, in a pinch, visited) and have just one meal in each location that reminded you of the time you spent there, what would your top five stops and dishes be?

1) Chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans with a dozen of the red-pepper yeast rolls at Threadgill's in Austin, Texas (y'all). As a rule, I avoid cube steak and cream gravy but Eddie Wilson does amazing things with it. For me, Threadgill's (the one on Lamar) is Austin -- a heady mix of southern-fried and Western and music. I dream of this dish and some of my favorite Austinites to eat it with.

2) The Vegetarian (no tomatoes) at Tomato Head in Knoxville. Didn't know I like tofu before I met this sandwich. Mahasti's restaurant is the soul of downtown. And, again, love to have some of my fave Knoxvillians to eat it with.

3) A slice at DiPietros in West View, Pittsburgh. Every other Friday at my elementary school, Papa DiPietro, whose son was also in my grade, would bring in a couple of pies and divvy them up among all of us. Even as an adult, I still love this pizza, but no longer drink orange drink with it.

4) A roast beef sandwich at McKracken's, which is no longer among the living, in Meadville, PA. Many weird and wonderful (mostly weird, truth be told) college events were capped with this cheap meal. No, it wasn't gourmet and generally made with the strangest pressed meat product but the memories can't be topped.

5) Thanksgiving dinner at Shannon and Tori's place in Georgetown. First time I'd ever had a smoked turkey and cornbread dressing. Mmmmmmm. We had a heck of a time--and it was the perfect balm for one of the more unsettled periods of my life.

Honorable mention: Migas at Trudy's. If someone could send me a plate, that'd be great. I can't seem to a) find them anywhere and b) replicate them in my kitchen. Thanks. I'll pay ya back.

Other F5 participants are: Melissa, Adam, Merideth, Will, Chris, Gina, Dave, Craig, Gord, Nanette, Marvin, Rob, Laura, Jon, and Ritu.