Monday, August 29, 2011

What a week it was!…

How many times in your lifetime can you say you’ve experienced TWO natural disasters in ONE WEEK? I hope to never say it again.

With the help of my awesome hurricane preparedness kit, we managed Irene’s visit with no ill effects. I sent the dogs to higher ground,

and we settled in.
Sort of.
Because I had never been in a hurricane before, I had therefore never been to a hurricane party! So we ventured into the city to hang with our friends. We stayed for a couple of hours, listening to the East Coasters and the retired Coasties talk about hurricanes past. Luckily, Irene held back until the middle of the night, so we were able to get home safely, with only rain to worry about.

The next morning, after listening to the winds lash at the house for most of the night, I went outside to check for any destruction. Luckily, the only damage I noticed was the Ohio State grill cover had blown completely off the grill and was flung out into the yard. Hardly worth noting, in my opinion, but CGMan took it as a personal insult from Mother Nature. “The Nuts get no respect” he lamented, as he carefully covered the grill and straightened the logo just so. 

Well. I guess Mother Nature really is a bitch.

Let’s try not to piss her off anymore, m’kay?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Winner, winner, chicken dinner…with pickles!

I have already given away a lot of my pickles to friends and family. When the Girl was here last month, she ate two whole jars. She has always loved pickles and being pregnant just gives her an excuse to claim whole jars for herself.

I also have enough left to add a jar to my hurricane preparedness kit. I never thought I would have to have one of those, but here I am, still suffering PTSD from the earthquake, gathering the ingredients to get me through a hurricane.


Even though I’m busy battening down the hatches and stocking up on tonic water, I did not forget to pick a winner for a jar of my awesome pickles. You guys shared some great stories. My favorite was the little girl, Ferne, who used a straw to suck all the juice out of the pickle.

I used a random number picker and it chose…*insert long, drawn out music*… Anita from Going A Little Coastal! It’s a good thing for her, because her pickles got wiped out by pickle worms. *evil bastards*
At least she had some to get wiped out, unlike poor Zadge, who had a little trouble with her pickles.

Congratulations, Anita!

I’m off now to finish stocking my liquor cabinets and trying to find Phoebe’s life jacket.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chef Dawn en’DeezeĆ©…

Oh boy, did I have some fun last night!

I know this delicacy is not for everyone, but it is a favorite for me and CGMan. One of our first fancy dates was to a French restaurant, where he introduced me to fine dining. It’s easy to see how he won my heart. No dates to Outback for this guy. Anyway, I had never been to a French restaurant before, so was excited to try anything and everything. I loved it all!

From then on, when we see these on the menu, we order some to rekindle the fond memories of our courtship. The best ones we’ve ever had were on our recent trip to New York. We had an early dinner at a French restaurant (which I totally cannot remember the name). I tell you, the French makes these better than anyone.

Last night, I decided it was time to try to make them myself. I was nervous, but I gave it a go.




Do you know, CGMan and Photog Craig, who were keeping me company as I made faces trying to put these together without touching them, were so excited about this evening’s appetizer, that neither took a picture when they came out of the oven? They just dove right in, making all kinds of yummy humming noises. Let me tell you, they were beautiful! Buttery and very garlicky. Mm MMM!

Maybe not as good as the ones in the French restaurant in New York City, but ever so much better than these in Abu Dhabi!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What the hell Wednesday…earthquake?!

I felt the earth move yesterday, and not in the good way.

Washington, DC had an earthquake. That’s right. A fricken earthquake!

Now, I’m no geologist or anything, but earthquakes aren’t from around here, right? That’s a California phenomenon. Like Hollywood and San Francisco. Those things belong in California. People are used to them and know how to deal with the craziness. Here? Not so much.

I lived in California as a young girl and felt only one small earthquake. It was in the night and I felt my bed rock a little bit and that was it. Back to sleep.

This? This was scary. And it was loud. I didn’t know earthquakes made so much noise. At first I thought it was just a plane coming in low. Really, really low. But the noise didn’t stop, it just continued on and on. Then I felt the house move.

I waited for a second, thinking I had vertigo (you know, from all the eyeball exercise I was doing at the computer). It felt jiggly at first, then it started to roll from side to side. That’s when I got up from my desk, still trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

In California, one might have figured out right quick that it was an earthquake. But we don’t have earthquakes here. We have the capital of the nation. That being said, one of my first thoughts was… bomb? What does a bomb sound like? Feel like? OMG, is this a bomb?!

As I rounded the corner, looking for the dogs, who were now running in from outside, I saw the dishes in the china cabinet sloshing around and the chandelier swinging back and forth. That’s when my mind realized this is an earthquake, you idiot!

Okay, I’ve figured out it’s an earthquake…now what? The dogs were looking at me like, “what we do, Mom?” and me, well I had no flippin clue. I quickly thought bathroom and then realized, nope, that’s for tornadoes. I. could. not. remember.

And then it stopped. Just like that.

I looked down at the girls and said, why didn’t you let me know an earthquake was coming?? They were like, Mom. We from Texas. Duh.

At that point, I kind of felt like crying because I was so shook up. I realized the whole thing took about a minute. But it was the longest minute of my life. And I was scared. I don’t remember ever being scared like that.

Thankfully nothing was damaged and no one was hurt at my house. There was a bit of damage in DC and surrounding areas, but nothing major.

Now I can say I am an earthquake survivor. Let me tell you something…that was NOT on my bucket list.

In other news, guess what?

We are expected to be hit by Hurricane Irene over the weekend.

Dawn in DC, experiencing natural disasters since 2011.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

There is no love sincerer than the love of pickles…

I have been asked by many readers, “How goes the farm? We haven’t heard anything lately.” Okay fine, only my dad has asked about my farm (Hi, Daddy!)

I gotta tell you, a farm is a lot of work. Just like a kid. They’re all cute and small in the beginning.


Then they get big and dirty and require more of your attention.


And then… they break your heart.


While it’s true I did get a pretty good crop of pickles, one beet, and some tomatoes, the heat wave we had really took it’s toll on my farm. I learned a good many things during my first season. Things like farms get bugs and you have to watch for them because they are sneaky little bastards. I learned about organic pesticides and such. I also learned that pickles need a deeper space. Eight pickles plants in one little raised bed is not really a good thing. I’m lucky I got as many as I did. In fact, I made just over a case of pickles! Yay for me!

It’s been a great season, but I’m not finished!


My Brussels sprouts are doing great! I’m doing my best to keep the damn bugs off them and it looks like I may get a pretty good crop.

When I picked my one beet a while back, I noticed there was a baby beet right next to it, so I stuck the baby back in the dirt and it’s doing well, too.


There you have it, that is how my farm is doing. I have to say, picking bugs off is not nearly as much fun as watching them grow to produce wonderful things. But it’s all part of the challenge of raising a kid garden, I guess.

So. Who wants a jar of my Inaugural Pickles??
Daddy, put your hand down, you’re already getting a jar.

If you would like to be my guinea pig the first non-family-member-so-you-don’t-have-to-say-anything-nice pickle patron, just leave a comment telling me what you like about pickles, or a pickle memory or even a some advice on how to grow pickles.

The winner, chosen by the online random number thingy, (Sorry, Phoebe the supermodel can’t be trusted not to eat the contestant entries while choosing one) will get to choose from:



1. Bread and butter slices before I learned how to really pack them in.

2. Mystery slices because I forgot to mark the top. I don’t see a dill sprig in it, but I don’t see the onions that I put in the B&B pickles, either. It’s anybody’s guess!

3. Dill spears from some of the larger pickles.



The winner will be announced on Friday.

Good luck! I can’t wait to hear about your love of pickles!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought…

  1. I want my next dog to be blue jean colored. That way I won’t have to sticky roll myself eleventy thousand times a day.
  2. Speaking of dogs, how come they don’t get poison ivy? I see them traipse off through the woods with no ill effects. I make one. step. off the path, BLAM, I’m hit!
  3. Is it wrong to spend an evening perusing an educational toy catalog, looking for possibilities for the grandbabies, only to bookmark three pages of things I want? Things like this and this.
  4. I was so proud of myself for going to the grocery the other day, with a list of the meals I had planned for this week. I wanted to save myself from having to go to the store so often. Day three and so far, I have forgotten a key ingredient for each meal. Doh!
  5. Even though I’ve never, ever, watched the show, I can’t stand Jersey Shore.
  6. It should come as no surprise to you that I am ready to paint another room. I just can’t decide which one. A little small powder room that desperately needs it? Or a bigger room that hasn’t quite found it’s voice?
  7. Without benefit of a DNA test, I have decided, in my infinite dog wisdom, that Zoe is part Dachshund, as well as part Jack Russell.
    That would make her a Dach Russell. Or a Wiener Jack.
  8. And one more thing to make my day…the rat has a little brother. Swell. Just swell.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our ship is not sinking…

The other day I was standing at the sink, doing something I never get tired of doing. No, not washing the dishes, because, really? Who likes to wash dishes? But if I’m going to be washing the dishes, I might as well have something fun, like looking out the window at the critters and birds in my flower garden.

The bunny sure is getting big! He’s so cute.

That pretty yellow flower was probably a weed anyway.

So the other day, I’m standing at the sink, not enjoying washing the dishes, but at least enjoying the view, when I saw a new critter under the bird feeder! I was excited. He is so cute! He’s brownish, with a shortish tail that has a little curl on the end, like maybe it was caught on something. Of course, I had to take his picture, to add to my ever growing critter album.

I think he lives under the giant hostas, because I see him run in there to hide when the guard dogs come outside to take a nap.


I took 3 or 4 hundred pictures of him and hollered to CGMan to come see my new critter! I could tell how excited he was to come over to look, because he gave a big sigh of annoyance excitement as he rose from the La-Z-Boy. 

He stood looking out the window, watching me take pictures, and said, “Ummm, that’s a rat”

Without missing a beat, I reminded him that rats can’t be all bad. I mean, look!

CGMan replied “That’s a mouse”

Okay, what about?
”Yeah, those are mice”

Okay fine, but if rats are so bad, why is this one a gazillionaire?


“Look, that’s a mouse, too.
Rats are not good. Do you really, really, want that rat to get married and have rat babies in our backyard?”

Well, no, not really. But don’t kill it!

Unfortunately for my little rat friend, I’m CGMan is going to have to go to Home Depot to get one of those humane rat trap thingies where the rat goes inside and no one knows what happens to it.

But I’m going to feel really bad if I find out that rat can cook.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends…

             -Walt Whitman

You know what’s funny?

The TV show Modern Family
This cat video
The Hangover movie
Ray Steven’s song The Streak
Words like comeuppance, indubitably, pluck and duty

Oh, and farts.
CGMan thinks farts are funny, as do most men, apparently.

You know what’s not funny?

Having your best friends short sheet your bed. In your own house!
Yes, we are 12.

Truth be told, it really was kinda funny.

Especially because CGMan, who had learned his lesson about being the first one asleep, managed to stay awake until everyone went to bed. However, whilst he was staying awake, he was partaking of the libations, making it impossible for him to notice that he had crawled between “short sheets”. The more he flailed about, the more tangled he became, all the while cursing that something was wrong with the bed. “What the HELL? The bed is broken! I can’t make it work”  It took some effort, but I finally convinced him to get off the bed, so I could remove what looked like his toga, and put the bed back together. At the same time, sending nasty text messages to the basement guest room.

The next morning, it was reported that the Mr. of the duo made sure all the doors were closed and locked in the basement. Just in case. I’m pretty sure they slept comfortable in the knowledge that we are new to the city and wouldn’t know where to hide the bodies anyway.

Oh, for the comforts (and acreage) of the suburbs.

You know what, though? We are thankful to have such devilish good friends. The four of us have shared 15 years of ups and downs, goods and bads and through it all, we have never run out of things to make us laugh.

And really, isn’t that what friends are for?


Monday, August 15, 2011

Out of pocket and in the bucket…

I’m baaaack! Okay, I wasn’t really gone, but I was “out of pocket”, which according to Urban Dictionary, is a term that only in the last year or so has come to mean “unreachable” or “out of touch”. It is also a term that too many shiny shoed bureaucratic sycophants in DC use, so no one really likes it. This I also learned from Urban Dictionary.

I was busy making baby things and generally hanging out with myself. I do that sometimes.

However, just before I crawled into my hole, I crossed quite a few things off my bucket list. You know, I really need to write that list down, considering my memory capacity these days. I don’t want to miss something good, just because I forgot it was on my list.

Anyway, here are the fun things I checked off my list:

I rode a train! A real Amtrak train. The conductor commiserated with CGMan when I was all “Wait! I need to get a picture of the train!”. He laughed and said his mother does the same thing. Every. Time.

I don’t think our friends, who are frequent visitors to New York, were prepared for the enthusiastic traveler I can be. Especially at 6am.


We rode the train to New York City, with my nose pressed against the glass the whole time. Imagine how wonderful it was for me, a person who loves car rides anyway, to be riding along in a train and not having to worry if CGMan sees the squirrel that is getting ready to dart in the road or the fact that there’s a school bus stopped a half a mile ahead! I was in heaven.

CGMan and I have been to NYC before, but I’m not going to count it as my bucket list item because it was cold, and rainy and November. In 2001. Too sad of a time. For bucket list purposes, we’ll use this trip.
I went to New York City!!  (Yes, bucket list items get an exclamation point, otherwise, why have it on your list?)


I was also there once as a girl, not that I’m not still a girl, but I was a young girl. Very young. I took these two pictures with a camera that had real film. The year, 1973. (ack! that’s a long time ago!)


The first picture, for those of you under 30 years old, is a phone booth. When you were lost, you stopped and made a phone call. With a dime. Doesn’t my sister look great in her kicky bell bottoms? The second picture is from the 32nd floor of some high rise. I didn’t count that on my bucket list, either, because at the tender age of 8, I thought I would live forever and didn’t know you had to have a bucket list.

Many people would not think of having this on their bucket list, but it has always been on mine. It was every bit as terrifying exciting as I thought it would be. I rode in a NY taxicab!


I’ve heard it said that your life flashes before your eyes when you ride in a NY cab. Well, my life didn’t flash before me so much as the middle fingers of several other cab drivers, the inside wheel well of a city bus and the freakishly calm face of a bike messenger. There was much jerking, swerving, braking and horn honking.

I was kind of hoping more along the lines of the Cash Cab.



We stayed on Times Square!
We heard a concert at the Lincoln Center! Okay, it was really an outdoor band in the garden of the Lincoln Center, but hey.
We saw a Broadway musical!
We walked through Central Park!
We rode the subway! To Queens!

We ate in Chinatown!


I did not get pooped on by a pigeon! That’s not really a bucket list item, just lucky.


As you can see, there were many New York items on my bucket list. There are a couple more items that were not on my list before, but they are now, and have been checked off.

I walked 20 miles of Manhattan! And 2 in Queens!
This might not seem like a big deal, but it is and should be noted on my list.
“The Suburbanite Walks the City”

The other item that was not on my list, but is now, is him:

I saw the Naked Cowboy!

That was the best picture I got of him, so I stole borrowed this one from Google.



You’re welcome.











He used to have long hair, but I find him so much cuter with the short hair.


There you have it, my friends, my New York Bucket List Extravaganza!

All that in 37 hours!

We had a great time and really owe thanks to Chef Sue and Photog Craig for setting the wheels in motion. You guys are great tour guides. I’d follow you anywhere.

P.S. If you’re into photography, check out the pictures Craig took on his photo blog.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

There aren’t enough days in the weekend, unless you are me…

Do you ever have those days where you spend the whole day thinking it’s one day of the week and then all of a sudden you’re like Wait. Today is so not Saturday! It’s Tuesday, for cryin out loud!

Yep, that was me this morning (and probably again this afternoon). I was sitting here thinking I didn’t need to do anything, you know, like write a blog, clean the bathrooms, or wash at least one of the four piles of laundry, because I was sure it was a beautiful Saturday morning. And NO, we do not do those things on a Saturday. Shut up.

You will be happy to learn that I did, indeed, have a post in mind for today, TUESDAY, so you need not suffer pictures of my dogs my writer’s block.




Okay, I lied.





Alright, the real post for TUESDAY is a recipe. So let’s just call this Tasty Tuesday, shall we? We can pretend I’ve known that since the minute I woke up.

If it really was Saturday and you had a block party to go to, and didn’t have a super cool brother to fly a helicopter over your house to impress the neighbors, you could impress them with this really yummy side dish, “Sunny Vegetable Salad”  I’ll show you how.

Let’s grab the ingredients:


5 cups fresh broccoli florets
5 cups fresh cauliflower florets
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup copped red onion
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sugar
2 TB red wine vinegar
6 bacon strips, crumbled
1/4 cup sunflower seed


Chop the broccoli and cauliflower into bite sized florets and place in large bowl. Chop the onion (or leave it out if you don’t like onion, as I do) and place in the bowl with the shredded cheddar cheese (if for some reason you forgot it was Saturday and thought you had everything you needed for the salad, but didn’t, you can use shredded Mexican Four Cheese – but the cheddar is better) and the raisins.


Save the bacon and sunflower seeds until just before serving.
In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients: mayo, sugar and red wine vinegar.


Toss all together to coat. Cover and put in fridge for at least one hour. Sprinkle with bacon and sunflower seeds just before serving.

Because I was so excited that I gotten buzzed, I totally forgot to take the “after” picture, so will steal one from Taste of Home, which is where I got this recipe a hundred years ago.


This might not surprise some of you, given my recent admission, but just now, just this VERY MINUTE, I realized the sunflower seeds are the reason this is called Sunny Vegetable Salad!  Doh!!

Now that I have remembered that it is, in fact, Tuesday, I now need to get busy doing Tuesday things, like laundry and cleaning.

I am seriously rethinking Tuesday’s duties. Cookie baking and wine tasting? Helloooo Tuesday!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The one where Dawn gets buzzed…

You want to know what is fun? A block party! Our new cul-de-sac in the city had their first ever block party this weekend. It was a wonderful meeting everyone. We talked and drank a gallon and a half of Nantucket Lemonade. There were burgers and dogs (hot dogs, not my dogs), and everyone brought yummy side dishes to share. (I’ll share mine with you later this week.) We have always been about the block party and this was no exception.

As were were sitting around chatting up our new neighbors, I remembered that my brother is on TDY (that’s temporary duty assignment for all you non-military folks) right here in DC. I texted him to see if he wanted to come join the party. He wrote back to say he was very busy doing Coast Guard stuff and would not be able to make it.

I had my doubts about that, because I was married to a Coastie for the last 10 years of his career and I really don’t remember a whole lot of “busy”, unless you count practicing for the unit golf tournament. But hey, maybe that’s just officers. I also doubted his story because I had received this from Coastie bro earlier in the week, showing me just how busy he can be in the Coast Guard:


Apparently, somebody has to break in the new La-Z-boys.

Well, too bad for him and more booze for me. It wasn’t but 20 minutes later that I got a text from my brother that said, “Look up”. Right then, a beautiful, bright orange Coast Guard Dauphin helicopter buzzed our block party! My brother really was working! As they turned around to make another swoop, we all ran out into the court like little kids, waving at the helicopter. Did you ever do that as a kid? I did. Every. Time. If I was a helicopter pilot, I would absolutely fly low over neighborhoods just to watch all the little kids run out to wave at me.

Anyway, it was all very cool and our neighbors were suitably impressed. We were all, “Yeah, we know people”.

The best part? Was this picture that came on my phone a few minutes later:

I hope to goodness he wasn’t hanging out the door to take this!

Thanks, CGBro, for doing a very serious reconnaissance mission over our neighborhood. It’s nice to know the Coast Guard is watching over us. Kind of like “Big Brother” only you’re my little brother. Bah! 

It’s not every day I get buzzed, right alongside my neighbors!

Wordless Wednesday…with some words…

I like wordless Wednesdays. It gives me a chance to show off some pictures that I have cramming up my phone. Let’s see, since you’ve alread...