National Iced Tea Day



I don’t get too jazzed over most made-up holidays. There are too danged many of them, for one, and for two – most of them just don’t float my boat. But today is different. Today is National Iced Tea Day and that, friends, is something I can support.


As a southerner, I was raised on iced tea. Well, I was mostly raised on sweet tea that could give you a cavity before you’d drained the glass. Now that I’m grown, I forego the sugar and drink my iced tea pure and true. And I love it.


When Mister and I lived in Boston, I was shocked to learn that most restaurants there only served iced tea in the summer. (Can you imagine?) In the winter, one could only order hot tea. Now sometimes that’s fine. But even on cold days, a gal might just want a glass of iced tea. When I found myself in that bizarre restaurant situation during my Boston tenure, I would simply order a cup of hot tea and a glass of ice. Worked every time.


No matter how you take your tea, be it sweet or plain, today I toast you and my favorite cool beverage. Makes me want to sit on a porch and watch the world for a while…

Hidden Meaning



When I was a kid, I had a few recurring dreams. There was one about a witch, a thermometer with a rising temperature and a house on fire. I had it a lot around the age of 5 or 6 and it used to scare the bejeezus out of me. I didn’t understand it as a child, for sure. That dream came back in adulthood, once or twice, and I didn’t get it then, either.


There were also dreams about snakes. Those started around the same age as the witch dream and I always took their meaning to be quite literal. Snakes used to scare the crap out of me. What’s more, they tended to pop up in my waking life on a semi-regular basis. Snakes seemed to be everywhere in the South. In the yard where I played. On the carport by the back door. In the creek where I swam. Crossing the road. As I aged and changed, the snakes stayed the same. I remember being about 10 or 11 and climbing down a ladder from the top of a shed and there was a snake – waiting for me at the ladder’s base. Never mind I had just climbed up the danged ladder a few minutes before. That snake had gotten there and was poised. Don’t believe me? It was looking up at me and coiled, ready to strike. So I did the only thing I could. I waited for the little bastard to leave, which it eventually did. As I recall, I never did go up on that shed again.


Anyhoo… The snake dreams – like the witch dreams – were fairly consistent. I would be going about my business, doing whatever I was doing in my dream, and there would be random snakes spread about. If I was walking through a town, snakes would be on the sidewalk. If I was in a house (familiar or not), snakes would be outside the door, every few feet. Combine the creepy dreams with real-live snakes in my little world, and I was one scared-of-snakes kid.


Over this past weekend I had a snake dream. The scenery was new (I was walking around Boston), but the snakes were the same. And they still gave me the heebies. When I woke, I wondered why that dream had returned, after so many years. So I did some online digging. Most sites repeat the same thoughts: fear of something in reality; unresolved issues; people who are threatening. Those same sites also tend to mention the possibility of shedding skin and some sort of personal growth. While I super-like that last meaning, I don’t necessarily think it applies in the case of my recent snake dream. I’m fairly certain snakes showed up in my dream because of ugliness in reality. I don’t like it, but it happens.


I plan to do some more digging today and hope to come to a better understanding of my snake dream. I’ll share what I find in tomorrow’s post. In the meantime, I doubt I’ll find any explanations for the dream I had last night. It was unsettling and odd, and featured characters from the current season of “House of Cards.” It’s probably fair to blame binge-watching for that dream. Dang.

Southern Knight



When I was a kid, the only version I knew of “Southern Nights” was Glen Campbell’s. And I liked it, sort of, because you could tell there was something to the song itself. Something almost magical. It didn’t matter that Campbell’s production – bouncy and pop-oriented – lacked anything resembling southern ethereal grace. I still somehow knew that song was special, and so I filed it away in my kid memory as a thing to be revisited at another time.


Cut to me as an adult, hearing “Southern Nights” performed by Mr. Allen Toussaint, the song’s writer. In only a few seconds, I understood the power and the beauty of that music. Mr. Toussaint imbued his words and melody with every positive memory I own of the South. His gentle touch on the piano unleashed lightning bugs in the dark, heavy night. His lilting voice triggered a warm breeze through the trees. Though I’d heard the song years earlier, it wasn’t until I heard Mr. Toussaint’s version that I understood the depth and majesty of his work. And I loved it.


On Tuesday morning, Mr. Toussaint passed away after having performed a show in Madrid. He was 77. He left behind a tremendous body of work, 2 children, multiple grandchildren and more positive musical vibes than most of us will ever know.


For me – I am grateful to have the recordings of Mr. Toussaint’s memories. And oh! How I love to listen to that man memorialize

Easter Sunday



Somewhere in the North Georgia Hills, about a jillion relatives are getting together for the annual Easter celebration. Assuming the weather is sweet, there will be a softball game and a gi-normous egg hunt. And no matter what the weather decides to be, there will be more good food than most decent folks can imagine. Mmm…


Anyhoo, here in SoCal, Mister and I will be thinking of the fam in Georgia. We won’t be eating nearly as much as if we were in the South. But we will kick back and enjoy the day. Maybe nosh a little too much. Probably enjoy the beautiful Spring weather.


Here’s hoping your day is lovely, no matter where you are.

Yes, Please



Having lived all over the United States, I’ve developed affinities for various foods and restaurants. Brunswick Stew in the south. Anything from Snuffer’s in Dallas. Lobster and Chowder in New England. Pizza in St. Louis. White Castle. Culpepper’s. Hardee’s. And about a jillion others I’m simply not remembering.


These days, the only way my food memories are brought to life is through travel. When I’m sticking close to home for long stretches of time (which is most of my life), thoughts of those satisfying meals from long ago remain filed away in my brain-hole. But every now and then I hear about a restaurant’s expansion and I get downright giddy.


Enter Steak ‘n Shake. The first L.A. outpost of the mid-western chain is coming to Santa Monica and I am super-excited! I don’t expect to hit that joint all the time, but you can bet your bippy I’ll be heading over once in a while.


Now, if only White Castle would put down roots on the left coast. Oh well, a girl can dream…

And I Quote…



Yesterday found me digging through books, looking for something to read aloud at an evening round-the-fire gathering. Friends were celebrating and asked if guests could bring something to read/share. The parameters were loose, so I could have chosen a poem or a recipe or anything in-between. It was up to me.


Do you ever get something in your brain-hole, and you can’t focus on anything else until that thought/yen/pang/yearning is satisfied? I certainly do. It seems to happen mostly with food. When it does happen, it’s not as if I have to drop everything and pursue that thought. No, I can push it to the side and go about my business. But make no mistake – that thought absolutely will not take its leave until it’s been satisfied. (By the way, I often do the same thing with clothes. If I get an idea of what something should look like, I’m screwed. The odds of finding that very thing are usually against me.)


Anyhoo, back to the reading material. I had gotten it in my head that I wanted to read something from a great book by Michael Lee West, Consuming Passions. (She mixes Southern stories and culture with recipes, to a charming effect.) So naturally I had to find the danged book. I prepared myself for a daunting search through boxes galore, then I did something simple: I checked a book shelf. I can hardly believe it, but the book was right there. Where it belonged. Waiting for me. Ready to be held and beheld. Go figure.


There’s been a lot of “looking for things and not finding them” going on around here lately. And I’m not gonna lie to you – it feels like the responsibility for the whereabouts of so much of what’s sought is placed on me. Sometimes that’s fair, and I accept that. So being able to find something felt really good. What’s more, I put that book away in the first place. Finding it – exactly where it belonged – was lovely.


Opening the book’s pages and reading through them was like hearing from an old friend. How I’ve missed her…

You Can Take The Girl Out of The South…




I knew I was going to a late afternoon movie, then meeting friends for dinner. I knew I would be eating “Crackerjack Shrimp” at Genghis Cohen. I knew this. But I had catfish in the fridge, and I just couldn’t let it sit.


So I made a huge lunch of fried catfish with basil-cream sauce, sauteed veggies and biscuits. (I’m not blogging it, as it isn’t my recipe. But if you get a hankering, here’s the link to the source.)


Then I had to lie down and think about what I’d done. Really, all I thought was that I should have been wearing my stretchy pants. Go figure.