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Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Just when it felt like life was finally straightening out for us, it fell apart again. So I think it's time for a good flashback kind of entry.

My sister and I were having a discussion on the phone one night about Senior Prom and our odd stories. She had always felt like hers was an exceptionally weird story, but then after talking about it, had to admit mine was even weirder.

*I wanted to include a link to her blog entry about our conversation, but I can't find it right now. The only detail I remember about her Senior Prom was that her date turned out to be gay.

**Also, I would post pictures, but Surfer Pirate's computer and my scanner aren't getting along at the moment and my laptop is possessed.

Bear with me, this is a long story.

In the fall of my senior year, my high school sweetheart broke up with me. I was devastated and heart-broken and convinced the world had ended - just like EVERY girl who's ever had her heart broken for the first time. I had temporarily dated another guy in an attempt to "get over it" (there's another good idea for a flashback entry - that relationship), but by the early spring was still a heart-broken mess.

My buddy Bill and I were at Perkins - THE hangout for teenagers in our town back then. His high school sweetheart had broken up with him just a couple months after my relationship ended. We were both in that trying-to-get-over-it-but-not-really-wanting-to stage, and were discussing how much we missed being with our lost loves. Then the subject of prom came up. Since neither of us wanted to miss the dance, but also couldn't go with the dates we REALLY wanted, we decided the best option was to go together. Perfect solution, right?

Then Easter came. Bill went to Arizona to spend Easter with his mother. While he was there, he had to admit to himself that he'd always kind of been attracted to guys. Once he realized he was bisexual, he wanted his family to know as well. His dad was FURIOUS! He told Bill that he was never welcome back home again and he would no longer pay for his return trip to Montana. So now Bill was trapped in Arizona, wanting to get home with no way to do that. His mother couldn't afford to send him, and his dad refused.***

So now prom was coming, and my date was stuck in Arizona. Meanwhile, my then good friend SLUTricia's prom date quit talking to her (because she's a psycho). She and I decided that we would go stag to the prom, and started making plans to do just that.

SLUTricia and I used to spend our spare time at the mall, shopping for guys. (What else do you do in the mid 90's when you're 18 and single??) About 2 weeks before prom, we had just gotten to the mall and passed by this particularly yummy piece of eye candy. We looked back after passing him to find him looking back at us. We gigggled - as 18 year old girls tend to do - and kept walking. We then went to our favorite mens' store to flirt with our favorite mens' store employee. Eventually Mr Eye Candy came into the store as well. SLUTricia and I had a strict rule - no going after the same guy. We had both spotted Mr Employee at the same time, and it was still yet to be determined who he "belonged" to. We had a long-standing flirtation going with him, and I figured something would happen sooner or later, so I leaned over to SLUTricia and whispered "You can have that guy (Mr Eye Candy) if I can have him (Mr Employee)." She said "Deal."

Over the next hour or so, the 4 of us talked and flirted at the store's counter until Mr Employee had to kick us out in order to close down the store. The then 3 of us sat on a bench outside the store continuing our conversation. Mr Employee finished closing and came out, locking the door behind him. He said "Well... goodnight" and walked away. I was disappointed, but figured I would meet up with him another time. So SLUTricia, Mr Eye Candy and I decided it was time to take our conversation elsewhere. We drove over to, none other than, Perkins.

By the end of that weekend, the two of them were dating. He found out that our prom was coming up and that she didn't have a date. He offered to take her. In one of her few Good Friend moments, she told him that she wouldn't go with him unless he could arrange a date for me as well. He agreed, and plans were made. He had arranged for me to go with one of his Air Force buddies, but I wouldn't be able to meet the guy until the night of the prom. The only clue I had about the guy was when Mr Eye Candy asked if I was prejudiced. Turns out my date was black (I'm not the least bit racist, but I refuse to use the term African American because I think it's stupid. I'm not called English American, am I?)

There was one complication to my blind date. He wouldn't be able to be there the entire night because he had "something he had to do". He would be there for dinner, then would have to leave, but he would be back before the dance was over. That actually worked out quite well for me because when I had planned on going stag, I had decided to spend a good part of the night taking pictures of my friends - for future memory. After all, high school was almost over! I wanted to make sure I would have pictures to preserve my precious friends. PLUS, there was a guy who would be there who was interested in me. He was going with a girl I knew (as a favor to their respective fathers), and she had already told him that she wouldn't slow dance with him. He was planning on slow dancing with me. This solution was perfect for me. I had a date for dinner, had someone to dance with, but also had the freedom to run around taking pictures!

Prom night came. I wore my pretty brown lace dress. It hugged my curves and was very flattering on me while also being modest and sophisticated. SLUTricia came to my house where our dates would pick us up. The guys showed up in their fancy little sports cars, and I was impressed that my date, Mr Chocolate, was really cute. (He was also impressed with me, as proven by the way he's looking at me in one of the pictures my mom took.) We posed for pictures at my house, then drove over to SLUTricia's house to do pictures there. Her mother was acting a little strangely, but plastered a fake smile on her face while she took pictures.

Dinner was pizza at Chuck E Cheese (a prank SLUTricia and I had planned for the guys. The prank fell flat). We took Mr Chocolate back to my house so he could get his car and go do his "something he had to do", then Mr Eye Candy, SLUTricia and I went to the prom. I had a GREAT time, doing just what I'd planned. I took pictures, talked to my friends, danced when I felt like it, and enjoyed having the freedom to run around without worrying about a date. Mr Chocolate finally arrived 20-30 minutes before the dance ended. Finally getting to dance with my date was wonderful, although semi-awkward. Mr Eye Candy had one of those ever so classy jumbo cell phones from the 90's, and Mr Chocolate had it with him while he was gone for his "something he had to do". There was a battle between the guys about who would have to hold the phone while dancing, so it wouldn't get stolen. It was NOT easy to dance with that thing around, trust me.

When the dance ended, I finally got to be alone with Mr Chocolate as we rode in his cute little red sports car. He sang to me as he drove - great voice. We went to (big surprise) PERKINS for an after-dance snack. We hung out and talked until time for my 1am curfew. Around 3 or 4 in the morning, SLUTricia's mom called my house wanting to know if my mom knew where "the girls" were. My mom told her that I'd been asleep for hours, but she would wake me up to ask if I knew where SLUTricia was. The guys lived out of town and hadn't wanted to drive all the way home that late, so they'd gotten motel rooms. I knew that she had planned on going to the motel. (Let's face it. The guys got motel rooms for more than just the drive. There's a reason why I've given the girl the name I did, and Mr Eye Candy was already aware of what she was like. Unfortunately for Mr Chocolate, I wasn't that kind of girl - and he was a complete gentleman.)


SLUTricia and Mr Eye Candy dated for a couple of months until she dumped him for a guy she liked better.

Mr Chocolate and I had a couple of dates here and there, but quite honestly, I was too young for him (he was 25) and he was dating other people. I found out later the "something he had to do" was another date! He had promised another girl that he would take her out that night, long before our blind date was set up. He went to dinner with me, then left to take her to a movie. When the movie was over, he took her home and then met up with us at the prom.

I discovered later that SLUTricia's mom was a BIG racist. She was completely horrified when she saw my date, but did her best to be friendly that night. She told her daughter that we were all going to hell - SLUTricia and Mr Eye Candy for setting up the date, and Mr Chocolate and me for dating someone not of our race.

About 2 years later, I was starting to really understand what kind of friend SLUTricia WASN'T. In the middle of trying to decide if it was even worth keeping her in my life, Mr Eye Candy and I ran into each other. I decided that she hadn't been a good enough friend to keep our "no dating the same guy" rule. Mr Eye Candy got immense joy from showing up with me to her birthday party and getting a chance to insult her in front of everyone. I have to admit I enjoyed it as well. Needless to say, she and I didn't stay friends for much longer.

Oh, and did I mention that SLUTricia was 3 months pregnant with another guy's baby at the time we all went to prom? She gave the baby up for adoption.

***It took us several months, but eventually a bunch of us were able to pool enough money to buy Bill a bus ticket to come home. He had a tough road after that. Since he wasn't welcome at home, he had to find an apartment and get a job. He was working, living on his own, and trying to finish high school all at the same time - with only his friends for moral support. Over the next year, he realized he wasn't bisexual, he was fully gay. I have some really fun memories of going out with him and hearing his take on who the "Bill Worthy" guys were anywhere we went.

I'm sorry we lost contact with each other over the years. I wish I knew what happened to you. There is a rumor that you died, but no details of how that might have happened. I miss you terribly, my friend! If you are still alive and walking this earth, I send a message out into the world for you - come back to us, your friends! We love you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Living in a World of Chaos

Today's first picture is in honor of the cucumber sandwich I had for lunch. It's the English blood in me that craves those suckers. And if you haven't seen the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (where this picture comes from), you must! It's so funny!

As previously mentioned, our lives have been crazy and frustrating lately. I won't go into many details, but one of the main issues is we have to move. Finding housing in our little town right now has been one of the toughest challenges in my life. We've been looking for MONTHS, and still have nothing. Countless houses have seemed to be the perfect fit, and then don't work out for one reason or another.

I've been muddling through, living in limbo, taking pictures I haven't posted anywhere (sorry Mom!) So here's a sort of recap of the more fun things that have been happening around here.

Pirate Baby is now 19 months old! When he was 18 months, I did another set of pictures with Rodney the Rhino.

Caught mid-sneeze. One day he will probably hate me for posting this picture, but it was too funny not to include.

I love this one. I would kill to know what was going on in Pirate Baby's head right then.

Most of the pictures I took that day ended up like this. He just couldn't keep his hands off Rodney!

4th of July, Pirate Baby got his first mohawk.

He hated the process of having it done. It took a lot of gel and water and combing, and then hairspray. He squirmed and squawked, but when it was done and he saw himself in the mirror, he was thrilled!

I can't get over how stinkin' cute this kid is!

Surfer Pirate has Pirate Baby hooked on candy now. ...sigh...

(no pictures of this because they all have Surfer Pirate in them.)

There have also been a lot of canned pastas eaten in our house lately - something I personally can't stand, but Surfer Pirate loves them. The kids seem to like them as well.

(Pirate Munchkin has admitted to me that the canned meats are disgusting, but she tolerates them because she likes the pasta.)

She was enjoying some straight out of the can (gag!) as a snack in front of the tv one day. Pirate Baby decided he needed some, so he climbed up on the couch and sat next to her.

She was kind enough to share. She's a GREAT big sister!

Lots of bonding over food happens at our house.

The other thing these two have been up to is building a "fort" on the couch. All the cushions come off the couch and onto the floor in front of it. Then the whole couch gets lined in soft blankets. They spend HOURS climbing around on it. (I keep meaning to take pictures.) Pirate Baby likes to attack the blankets and bite them. He also really likes to SPLAT his face into the pillows and blankets. Pirate Munchkin says she wants to sleep overnight on the couch like that sometime soon.

Miracle of miracles, Miss Dampier actually allowed Major Stede to sleep in her bed! Very temporarily. It lasted maybe 15 minutes. I knew I had to grab a picture because it will probably never happen again. (Notice all the toys and things scattered around them. Pirate Baby enjoys... um... "decorating" the house.)

Snuggles are a constant thing in our family.

We went to the park a few days ago with a friend who has twins just younger than Pirate Baby. The kids had a great time playing on the playground, and all the babies enjoyed digging in the wood chips.

I love his little feet.

Notice how red his knees are. He knows how to walk. He just doesn't want to. Call it fear of falling down, call it just plain stubborn. Whatever it is, he's content to crawl, and he's darn good at it! I'm sure once he figures out that he would be able to RUN if he would walk, crawling will be a thing of the past.

Pirate Munchkin starts school next week. 3rd Grade! I hope she loves it. That was my favorite grade in elementary school - mostly because I had an amazing teacher who I loved dearly. One of her friends is having a sleep-over tonight as sort of a final bash before the new school year. Poor kiddo had a headache and a fever last night. The headache was still there this morning, and her biggest fear was that she wouldn't feel well enough to go tonight. Some headache medicine fixed that. After she'd been over there a couple hours, the fever and headache were back. She called to see if she could take some medicine at their house and stay the night anyway! This child will NOT let a little headache stop her from a good time! I so love her.

Surfer Pirate started back at the farm for harvest season, so with Pirate Munchkin at her sleepover, it was very quiet here tonight. Pirate Baby was playing with his stroller, so I asked him if he wanted to get in it. He nodded his head and said "Yeahyeahyeah."* As soon as he was in, he started pulling the seatbelt straps over his shoulders. "Did you want to go for a walk?" "Yeahyeahyeah." So off we went. He had a LOVELY time pointing and talking about everything he saw. We stopped to pet the neighbor's dog and cat. We stopped to touch flowers and leaves and berries and enjoyed a nice pond complete with waterfall. We looked at birds and anything else that caught his attention. He was most intrigued by a model car that hangs above a doorway on a building here in town. He loves anything with wheels on it, and I'm sure seeing it hanging in the air was extra interesting.

*His "Yeahyeahyeah." is one of my very favorite things right now. He gets this really happy look on his face, opens his mouth wide and nods his head in an exaggerated way while he says it. It reminds me so much of Muttley from the old Laugh Olympics cartoons. Here's a clip of Muttley so you can see what I mean - he does it at 1:04 in this clip.

Pirate Baby talks a lot. Most of his words can only be distinguished by the first couple letters, but he's getting there. He loves to say "Dah!" repeatedly when petting the dogs. When I get him up in the morning or after his nap, we play a little game. He points at different things in his room and I name them for him. The one he's best at is "Duh!" for his stuffed duck. He also likes to say "Steh!" for stairs as we go down them every day. But he is also gathering phrases and learning appropriate times to use them - storing them in his brain for when it's time. One evening, a food show was on, and he was fascinated by whatever they were making - STARING fixated at the screen. When the show went to commercial, he said "Dang it!" A couple days ago, he heard Surfer Pirate come home. He went crawling as fast as he could across the house, right up to his daddy. He handed him a puzzle piece from one of his animal puzzles. Surfer Pirate said what a nice piece it was and tried to hand it back. Pirate Baby said "Go ahead" and crawled away! As much as he talks to me, it's NOTHING to how much he likes to talk to his dad. At the end of the day, he loves to sit on his daddy's lap and babble on and on about his day. We have no idea what he's saying, but it's apparently very important stuff!

One of his greatest accomplishments now is that he is tall enough to climb into almost all of the chairs in the house. His favorite is to climb into his daddy's big recliner when Surfer Pirate goes outside for a cigarette. He's right there waiting - usually holding the remote control or Surfer Pirate's cell phone - when he gets back. Little stinker.

Most of the day, the tv isn't on. At night when we're gathered as a family, there are two things that are guaranteed to grab his attention. #1 - the theme song from Big Bang Theory. He's loved that theme song for probably a year now. #2 - this Fiat commercial. I don't know if it's the music he likes or the cars jumping in the water. Either way, he loves it.

I think that's about it for what we've been up to. I picked up butter and cream cheese at the grocery store today. Harvest season means fall, and fall means cinnamon rolls! I'll be taking pictures and sharing my recipe when I make them. Beware! These are LOADED with butter, and they're addictive.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This is NOT a Recipe Post

With fall coming, I'm starting to have cravings for my favorite comfort foods. Soups, stews, chili with cornbread and honey butter. That kind of thing.

One of my VERY favorite things to eat for breakfast is hashbrowns, crispy and perfect with a couple fried eggs and maybe some toast.


I'm getting hungry just thinking about that.

For the record, I can't cook hash browns from fresh potatoes to save my life. They always end up mushy and grey.

But one day, I discovered the joy of freeze dried hash browns!! You add just the right amount of water, and they cook up perfectly every single time!!

They don't look like much to begin with, but trust me.

I used to always buy my hashbrowns at Costco. Cheap and easy and simple.

But then I moved to Northern Middle of Nowhere, ND. The nearest Costco is in Canada. And I don't have a passport. (Yes, you need a passport to go to Canada now! I was very surprised to learn that.)

There's a Sam's Club a couple hours away, but I have yet to be able to find my beloved hash browns there.

But one day I thought AMAZON!!! Maybe THEY have them!!

And they did. So for somewhere around $30, I was able to have 3 boxes of my wonderful hash browns shipped directly to my house.


But now I'm out.

And they are WAY too expensive to buy from Amazon right now. :(

Just for the heck of it, I thought I would look at Costco's website to see if they might be cheaper (still would require a membership, but it could be worth my time - something to look into anyway.)

I typed "hash browns" into the search bar, selected the Grocery department and hit enter.

Zero results found.

But under that, it said "Did you mean CASH BROWNS?"



Yes, Costco website. That's EXACTLY what I meant.

Because CASH Browns are something EVERYONE needs in their home, aren't they????

Stupid Costco website.

And I still don't have any hash browns. :'(

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Pirate Queen's Spanish Rice

My ex-husband was Mexican. One of the big advantages of being married to him was that I learned how to make some pretty amazing Mexican foods. While Spanish rice isn't an especially spectacular food, it is a good basic that goes with just about anything.

He always preferred when I cooked, so If he knew how to make something really good, he would teach me how so I could make it every time afterwards. His Spanish rice was good, but he was the first to admit that I actually made it better than he did. It even became the number one item requested for me to bring to family dinners.

I still make this often with my family, and even with a big pan of it, there are rarely any leftovers.

The Pirate Queen's Spanish Rice

You will need:
2 cups white rice*
2-3 Tbsp oil**
6 Cups Water
1 small can Tomato Sauce
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube
1 Tbsp Butter
Seasonings - I use salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin

*I used Calrose Rice this time, but any kind of white rice will work fine.

**We grow canola on the farm, so that's my oil of choice.

You don't actually need to have all of your supplies ready when you start - EXCEPT the water. When the time comes to add the water, you have only seconds to add it before your rice burns. The measuring cup I have in the picture is only actually a 4 cup, but you will need 6 cups.

In a large frying pan (mine is a 12 inch), pour in your rice and oil.

Stir until all the rice is coated in oil. They should all look somewhat clear at this point. Turn the burner on to high and allow the rice to fry while constantly stirring.

This is REALLY important. DO NOT STOP STIRRING until it's time to add the water. The rice can go from perfect to burnt VERY quickly. Trust me in this one. I have had to dump far too many batches in the garbage while I've mastered this rice.

When the rice is ready for the water, the best description I can give you is it will look and smell like popcorn. The rice will mostly all be white now, and some of them will start to look slightly toasted.

Now SLOWLY poor the water over the rice. It will pop and splatter a lot of you pour too fast. Turn the heat down to medium low.

Now add your seasonings. I don't measure seasonings when I cook. I keep each spice container continually shaking as I cover over the surface of the pan twice. Add the bouillon and the butter.

Add the tomato sauce and gently stir all the yummy stuff together. Cover with a lid. Now you can either walk away or you can get the rest of your meal ready.

Ten minutes later, the rice is happily simmering.

Stir the rice - it's best to use a spatula for this. I have used a wooden spoon in the past, but it's best if you can scrape the pan as you stir. By now, the rice should be getting plump. Cover it back up and leave it alone again.

Another ten minutes later, most of the juices will have been absorbed and the rice should be tender. Stir it one more time. At this point, you can turn the burner off, but leave the pan on the burner and cover the rice for about five more minutes.

Dish it up with your favorite Mexican main dishes and enjoy!

Tonight, we had tacos. Normally we would have tomatoes on them, but we were out and I didn't feel like going to the store. Notice how the cheese is UNDER the meat, so it can get melty. And yes, those ARE sliced pickles on my tacos. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it! That's another thing I got from my ex, and now tacos don't taste right without them anymore. Sliced avocado is also really good on tacos, but it's tough to get good avocadoes in Northern Middle of Nowhere, ND.

Monday, August 6, 2012

World's Greatest Basil Chicken

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I'm going to be doing some new things on my blog. I never expected to be a food blogger, but I have to admit that from time to time, my family comes up with some pretty incredible recipes.

{to be read in a movie preview announcer kind of voice}

I've put several things on They're a great website for searching for good things to make, but they have so many recipes to sort through that it can take a long time for something to go on their recipe list. I have a couple of recipes I submitted last November that have been listed as "Waiting for Review" for months! So between my blog and Pinterest, I think I can get some of our good stuff out there in faster time.

For the record, we do NOT claim to be some amazing chefs. Surfer Pirate has always dreamed of going to culinary school, but so far he has no formal training. We just like to tweak things and be creative, and sometimes the things we stumble upon are just too good to keep to ourselves.

Like this chicken recipe.

Surfer Pirate is really good at whipping up amazing things for himself late at night. He'll get a craving for chicken, and next thing I know, he's got some wonderful, juicy barbecue chicken deliciousness. I either am too full at the time to have more than a bite, or he eats this stuff after I'm asleep.

So I always miss out.

A couple weeks ago, I asked him to make one of his wonderful chicken creations for supper. He wasn't in the mood for something along the lines of what he usually makes. So he just started frying up some chicken breasts in a little oil with some seasonings. Then we went outside to enjoy the cooler evening air, and I started fussing with my basil plants on the back porch. I picked off a leaf and said "doesn't that smell amazing?"


He had me pick a few leaves for him for the chicken.

What came from that moment of inspiration was incredible! Juicy and flavorful and just plain amazing! My mom was visiting her sister in Colorado at the time, and when we were talking about our day over the phone that evening, I told her about the chicken. She had me email the recipe to her and they made it the next night. They agreed that it was To Die For!

So here you go. Surfer Pirate's amazing recipe:

World's Greatest Basil Chicken

You will need:
Enough boneless, skinless chicken breasts to fill a large frying pan (we use 6-8 small pieces)
Seasoning to taste - in our case, we used salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and a little ground cumin
Basil leaves (1-2 leaves per piece)*

*Surfer Pirate wants me to stress that it's really important that you use FRESH, STRAIGHT OFF THE PLANT leaves.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into your pan, enough to thickly coat the bottom.

Add your chicken breasts to the pan and sprinkle with your chosen seasonings.

Turn the burner on to medium heat and put the lid on the pan.

Let simmer covered for about 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes are up, add your fresh basil leaves.

*Again, from Surfer Pirate: Do NOT use this many basil leaves. These pictures are from the 2nd batch he made, and the verdict of most of the household members was the basil flavor was too overpowering. You only need 1-2 leaves per piece of chicken.

Cover the pan and let the chicken continue to simmer 20-30 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Your basil will now be dark and wilted.

Add some wonderful, buttery vegetables on the side and ENJOY!

Soon to come, my cinnamon roll recipe, stuffed pepper casserole, and a very simple vanilla cream cheese spread for bagels.