Friday, December 5, 2008

5:00 Fridays

I might lose some readers this week with my cocktail choice but I'm willing to shake things up a bit and reach wwaaaayyyy out on the proverbial limb.

It's December, when oysters are big, juicy, and plentiful. I'm an oyster snob. They must be fresh and they must be raw. You heard me. Raw. Mac Daddy and I can put away some oysters and bottled beers.

What the hell does this have to do with a 5:00 Friday cocktail for cripe's sake, you ask?

Oyster Shooter

1 small freshly shucked raw oyster with its juice (Whatever you do, do not used an oyster that was shacked up in a tin can.)
1 ounce ice cold Ketel One vodka
Generous dash of Tabasco Sauce
Squeeze of fresh (only fresh!) lemon juice

Pop that oyster into a chilled martini glass or a shot glass. Add the vodka, a generous dose of Tabasco, and squeeze of lemon juice. Drink and gulp, don't sip. A true oyster shooter aficionado lets that little pearly gem slide down his throat without chewing. Me? I'm a chewer.

Let me know what you think of this week's cocktail. Will you try it? Are you gagging right now? Do you think I've lost my mind? Are you scrolling down looking for the real cocktail, thinking this is a joke? Whadya think?

I have many memories of slurping down these suckers at St. Maarten Cafe in my hometown. Well, the memories admittedly got a bit fuzzy after a few of these. Nonetheless, the beauty of the oyster shooter? A cocktail and a snack all in one!

Down the hatch!
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Story of Shame

Did I ever tell you about the time I got sucked into the cool kids' club in high school? Did I ever mention the act that still shames me today, 25 years later?

It was 1984. I was a newbie in a posh boarding school. Read: SNOBBY. I was in school with girls whose last names were on the back pocket of the jeans I wore and the stock certificates my parents squirreled away in the safe deposit box. I was on scholarship.

I was a runt, shy, and lacked self confidence. I wore madras plaid Bermuda shorts and a cable knit sweater with Tretorns and pulled my hair back in a french braid that I painstakingly did myself, craning my head to look in the bathroom mirror behind me. I wore no make up. At the time I regarded Dr. Pepper Bonnie Belle Lip Smackers as makeup. I thought I had a chance of fitting in. I thought those shorts I bought with my allowance in Hilton Head would be my ticket to looking the part.

No chance.

I was still a runt, shy, lacked self confidence. Plus, and even worse, I wasn't rich or fashionable. I was not a somebody. My dad was not a somebody. I did not have hired help. I was mocked. Teased incessantly. To my face. I buried my face in my pillow every afternoon when my roommates were in their riding lesson. I soaked that pillow to its deepest fibers. I blamed my puffy eyes on allergies I did not have.

But I was smart. I got excellent grades, barely opening a book. I got on well with my teachers and knew quickly which ones to avoid. I dabbled in the popular hobby of rule breaking. I got caught drinking wine with some other geeky girls. Together we made the Island of Misfit Toys inhabitants look like red carpet stars. I smoked in the corn field. I left my room after lights out to visit a friend in another dorm. I passed notes in study hall and refused to clean my room. I found myself making friends and silently eeking into the in-crowd.

By no means popular, I at least escaped the blatant teasing and pestering. For this small gift I was thankful. My allergies suddenly cleared up.

Then It happened.

I was in the swing, enjoying my new groove, being invited out over holiday breaks with girls who lived lives I read about in the Style section. I laughed easily with the girls and even ventured out to mixers with neighboring boys' schools. On a field trip one day I got the nod to come sit in the back. A universal rule, no? All the cool kids sit in the back of the bus. I was giddy with delight.

Chanting ensued when Carol, the last girl in line, was taking her first tenuous step onto the rented school bus. Stomping feet chimed in with the chanting. Laughter and jeering broke out in a chaotic din. And I jumped in.

"I feel the earth move under my feet."

50 well bred high school girls were chanting Carole King's words to a fellow student who was less popular than even me. Carol was an exchange student from Kenya. Large by every stretch of the imagination. Amazonesque in her stature, rotund in her girth. Deliberate in her movements.

And we kept on chanting, "I feel the earth move under my feet."

Carole heaved herself up that last step that was a few inches higher than the previous one. She sighed heavily. Maybe even panted.

"I feel the earth move under my feet."

I recall being struck at the horror of such sheer cruelty. Yet I was one of them. My lips were moving, my eyes darting from face to face. While not chanting whole heartedly, I was still among the same filth that made me bury my head in shame and pain all those months. Coming full circle never felt so bad. I ache today at the thought of that scene. Even Hollywood wouldn't do it justice. It. Was. Ugly.

And Carole? She got up on that bus. She looked around, and I swear, she looked every single one of us in the eye before she took her seat. Time slipped to a slow motion cadence. Her look was not cold or distant or sad. She looked at us with pity. She was wise. And confident. And a better girl than I.
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Getting Trashed

I hate litterbugs. Hate them. Hate them. Hate them. I think they should be jailed in a dumpster behind a Slim Jim factory. There is no earthly reason to open up your car window and toss out trash. No matter how small. Cigarette butts included. Do you hear me, smokers? You're polluting our earth enough as it is with your carcinogens that I don't choose to inhale. Oh, don't get me started on how much I abhor smoking. Did you catch that, Mom? But I digress, as I so often do... I cuss like a mother fucker when I see people litter from their car (in my head, of course, my boys will out-cuss me in due time, but I don't need to be the one to teach them this particular habit).

Here are some things that I've spotted on the roadside and in the brush in the last couple weeks. I've been jotting them down in my blog fodder notebook (not while driving, only at red lights and in the car pool line). Note that I usually drive within a five mile radius of my house, and most of it does not involve a freeway. That's means that this crap is littering my neighborhood streets. And my water. And my soil. It is not only unsightly; it is unsafe (and not just because I am gawking at it while trying to write in my little notebook).

Getting Trashed gets a whole new meaning:
  • a pair of boxing gloves
  • one shoe, looked like a sneaker
  • bag of apples
  • ballet slippers
  • pair of twisted up jeans
  • stuffed plastic Hefty bag that I feared contained body parts so I did not stop for closer inspection
  • small wooden crate...perhaps some woodland creature ate the clementines it once housed
  • speakers, really big ones from back in the day that pass for end tables
  • dog leash...in my head the dog once attached to said leash is perfectly happy and safe
  • lawn furniture cushion
  • various mega size soda cups and burger wrappers
  • pillowcase
  • baseball cap
  • backpack (feared explosives were inside so I hightailed it outta there)
  • strap of some sort that looked like a yellow karate belt
  • malt liquor cans, really big ones
  • velveteen Crown Royal bag
  • tube socks
  • sand pail
  • something tangles that looked like pieces of a blow up holiday lawn Santa
  • plastic milk jugs, liter bottles, cans
So I wonder what the story is behind all this lost/littered stuff. Did some fed up minivan mom toss out her daughter's ballet slippers when the whining reached fever pitch? Did the baseball cap blow off some dude's head when a double rig sped by? Did some party animals toss the malt liquor cans in haste when they spotted an under cover cop trailing them?

What do you think? Tell me a story about how one item ended up littering my path.
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