Just call me Wendy Whiner

August 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

My best friend from Iowa came in to visit this past weekend. We had a great chatty time. I don’t know how my mom put up with us growing up. I can see now how it may have been exhausting to listen to us go on and on and on about pretty much nothing and everything. I could see in my husband’s eyes, he’d never seen me talk so much. Her visit was short. We stayed up too late Friday night because she didn’t get in until about 8pm. I made Ina Garten’s crostini for us to snack on while we enjoyed some wine. Before we knew it, it was 2:30am and time for bed. We had a long walk in the woods to go on, errands to run and finally a date with my patio and more wine and conversation.

Saturday morning, I was up by 7:30, but she slept in which was fine. She deserves it. She’s mommy everyday to five kids! We had our coffee and chatted. We went to the 3.6 mile trail, walked and chatted more. We came back for a quick oatmeal breakfast which was afternoon by now. We were dragging. Tired from the wine and late night, we skimmed off the “fun” errands (buying chalk paint and hitting some antique shops) and went straight to Trader Joe’s. She doesn’t have a TJ’s near her house, so it gave her the opportunity to stock up.

I’d managed to talk my husband into cooking for us that evening. Wrong move. Since he was up and out of the house at 6am for a golf date with his buddy, our former neighbor, I’d assumed he’d be home well before us to get started on the food. My plan was to come home from TJ’s and relax on the pretty patio, with the lovely weather, with my best friend and chat more about nothing and everything.

I texted him about cooking. He texted back that he’d want MG to help him prep. MG is the master of poppers and ribs. Yes, that was the meal we were to have AGAIN because it’s the meal my husband is really close to mastering himself. So, I say fine, MG can come over but I’m not there to entertain him. I’m spending time with my friend while he waits on us like I do when he has his friends over.

My best friend and I manage to get through a mobbed TJ’s and back. It was hard, we were tired and out of it. The only thing that was going to help was a cocktail or Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary was out of the question because we didn’t have the ingredients and were too tired to get them. And, we’re both gluten-free and you can’t just go to any bar and get a real Bloody Mary. They’re all made of mixes with wheat in them! [There will be another post on the search for a gluten-free Bloody Mary another time.]

We arrive to find Jeremy alone, just beginning to prep the food! It’s 4pm. UGH! Where was MG to help? Well, he went home to shower and said he’d be over later. WHAT? He was only allowed to come over and help, we weren’t supposed to be entertaining MG.

I put the goods away and made me and my BFF a gimlet. We’ve both been watching a lot of Mad Men and we happened to have gin and lime in house. The three gimlets worked. We were feeling better, but we also had to help Jeremy prep the jalapeños. We do all of that, Jer gets them on the smoker and BFF and I decide we should drink some water for awhile because it was going to be a long night of waiting for our damn food. Smoking poppers, then ribs meant we weren’t eating anything until about 9pm. We of course had a few snacky things from TJ’s, but we were HUNGRY! This brings me to the other thing I told Jer when he said MG would be coming over. I said, make sure you pick up more food because we’re hungry and if MG is eating with us too, WE NEED MORE FOOD!

Next, I hear that Christopher (another neighbor) was going to hop the fence to have a beer with the guys. Okay. Whatever, just cook me my food.

So, BFF and I fill up on water and chat in the kitchen and suddenly some face is saying hi to me through the window. It’s Rikki! Christopher’s wife. She comes on in and of course I welcome her. She brought herself some snacks. Triscuits and cheese. Not that we can eat them because of the gluten which she knows about and maybe forgot. So now, I have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she doesn’t get Triscuit debris in any of the other food. And of course she’s drunk and all I can see are Triscuits flying everywhere. If you don’t have Celiac disease or aren’t gluten-free, you probably won’t understand this sort of obsessive stress.

A very long blog, shorter, Jer burnt the ribs. Like scorched the ribs. He said because he was being a host and getting everyone beers when the flare up occurred. Eh hem, this is why no one was supposed to be there except my BFF! We had the 16 poppers, but had to share with SIX adults. MG went home around midnight, I thought Christopher and Rikki would follow so I could spend time with my friend who was stuck talking to Rikki all evening. But no! Christopher stuck his iPod into our patio stereo and blasted crappy music, playing DJ. All I could think was, they’re going to go home soon, aren’t they? Nope. I finally said we were tired and needed to go to bed around 2am. BFF and I chatted for about 45 minutes after, went to bed. WOW, this post is long.

My point was it was supposed to be a quiet evening with a friend I never get to spend time with while the hubby waited on us. What we got was a loud evening with people I don’t mind, but didn’t need to see that night, a flooded toilet which leaked through to the basement soaking my clean, folded laundry, and a piece of furniture on the deck that I’d been sanding covered in grease from poppers and burnt ribs. What a mess!

My BFF left the next morning after breakfast.

Poppers & Planning

August 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Thanks to Annie’s persistence we met the other night for dinner. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see her. I did. I enjoy her company.

I had a few bad weeks since we last met, back when I was likely still in shock. I’ve been unable to really do much of anything in public with people since that dinner. I couldn’t respond by email or text or phone to friends or family. I just didn’t want to. The energy it took to think about responding to people was draining. I had nothing to say except the things I already said, knowing I’d hear the same things I’ve already heard. It’ll get better and so on. I know it will get better, but I don’t want to hear it. I’m not sure why.

This is the first week in many that I feel most like myself or the new version of myself missing a piece. I’m grateful for this. Last week I was worried I was never coming back. Afraid the new me was angry, depressed and uninterested in anything going on in the world or in my own life. The new me barely had enough mental energy to go to the grocery store, run errands, cook dinner, or even shower and get dressed in real people clothes. All I’ve managed to do in this state are keep my flowers alive and eat a lot of jalapeño poppers. Too many poppers.

Jer and I split the poppers duties. Often he runs to the store to pick up ingredients we don’t have readily available. The prep and cooking time is long, but it involves us. I handle soaking the skewers and cleaning out the peppers while drinking a glass of very chilled pinot grigio. Jer mixes the cheese and spices, stuffs the peppers and wraps them with bacon. He then slides the skewers through, 4 poppers at a time. He also soaks the wood chips and prepares the grill. Because his job is messy, he misses out on drinking while prepping while I usually end up quite buzzed during the process.

He tends to catch up to my level of intoxication while the poppers smoke. We sit on the patio and admire the beautiful flowers I’ve managed to keep alive during the hottest summer ever. We talk. Sometimes we cry a little. Now we’re beginning to plan. Or I’m beginning to plan and he’s nodding along, unsure of whether to plan. But, we’re planning all the same.

***

Do any of you have great smoker recipes? We’ve only ventured into poppers and ribs so far. I’d love some feedback. Any healthier smoker recipe ideas would be welcome since I’d like to lose a little baby weight before, if we’re lucky, I put on new baby weight.

Smoked Jalapeño Poppers (by Jer)

12 Jalapeño peppers (the bigger, the better for stuffing), cleaned, leave seeds and membrane for heat
4 oz. Monterrey or Colby Jack cheese, shredded
1 package Cream Cheese
1- 2 lbs. Bacon (depends on if you used two strips to wrap poppers, we use 2 strips)
Wood or metal skewers

Mix shredded cheese and cream cheese. Spice to taste with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper and paprika. Stuff gutted jalapeños, wrap tightly with bacon and slide onto soaked wood or metal skewers. We smoke them with a blend of hickory and apple wood for about 2 hours. DELICIOUS!

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