There is a lot of “guess” in this one. No Guess jeans, tho.

Guess who's visiting? My father! He arrived last night. It was kind of a last-minute thing.

Guess who lovFatherdessert_10es to cook? That'd be my father. He is all up in cooking, and has all kinds of cooking gadgets that no one actually needs in real life.

Anyway, since I had to work all morning, and he was here, guess who I made finish off my dessert for me?

Also, I dragged him to Garden Club, where we had a lovely vegetarian lunch. I tried to go heavy on the salad, light on the quiche. And I had unsweetened tea.

See?  You old pal June is doing great. Oh. And I had one bite of the dessert that almost killed us all.

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You’re once. Twice. Three times a lady finger dessert.

Well, that wasn't SO bad. I am, however, only on the first step. I made the dern thing. Now it has to chill overnight. Then I have to dump it upside-down on that serving platter we've heard so much about.

Ingredients_12

Here are the ingredients, minus the lady fingers, which were inexplicably on the piano in the living room. Maybe they were trying to play piano. Cause they're fingers. Get it? BAH!

This is just like I'm writing the Posy Gets Cozy blog, except for the part where she actually knows what she's doing, and all her pictures are really pretty, and there isn't chocolate Twotwosplattered all over her stove top. Also, she probably doesn't use an electric, almond-colored stove from 1978. Nevertheless, won't you enjoy how I am making nonflavored gelatin and also melting chocolate in TWO saucepans? I own TWO saucepans now!

I had to put lady fingers all around my NEW souffle dish, because I did not know such a thing as souffle dishes existed yesterday at this time, but first I had to line the dish with plastic wrap. All I had was violet-colored plastic wrap, and I am desperately hoping it doesn't dLayinladies_2ye my ladies Walnutsifter_2 pink overnight.

Turns out? I actually own a sifter. Marvin's grandmother sent it to me. She probably thought I was over here daily, whipping up delightful meals for her only grandson. I am glad she lived thousands of miles away and never found out what a scandalous wife I am.

Anyway, I was excited to use the sifter, but I discovered ancient walnuts stuck in the bottom. I think I was trying to grind walnuts once. I mean, I hope that's why they're down there. I took the powdered sugar and shook it through a strainer. THAT took forever.

But you know what really took forever? Taking the whipping cream and waiting for peaks to form. I was piqued, but I was seeing no peaks.

200

222

After whipping and swearing and mewling and cursing and calling my mother at work, the stupid stuff looked fairly peak-y, so I said screw it and added the chocolate.

(Until I put these pictures up, I never noticed how much that wall and clock need to be washed.)Ta_daaa

Now this mixture is covered and in my fridge for the night. Please, God, please let it turn out okay tomorrow.

Catz

Now, this is why non-pet people do not want to eat at pet people's houses. Oh, relax. My cats do not like dairy. I knew they wouldn't really lick the beater. I just did that to freak you out.

They won't eat the leftover lady fingers, either. Maybe Marvin will.

Who cracks herself up?Ladyfingers

Lady Fingers

I had lived here two months when I was asked to be a member of the Garden Club. It was the first real invitation I had gotten here that was non-teacher-related, and of course any teacher-related invites were more for Marvin Gardensalad — I was just the trophy wife.

(Whoo! What a trophy. What'd you do, win Most Improved Paper Clip Unfurler? [That was the least exciting thing I could think of. I am exhausted; sue me. You'll see why in a minute.])

The Garden Club was established in my town in 1939. Every month, the members meet and create something foliage-y for the community. One time we planted flowers all around the city — in front of the library, the  historical museum, the court house. One other time, we made Christmas arrangements for people in hospice.

It quickly became evident that I was nowhere near good enough of a human being to be in Garden Club. In the first place, these are true Southern women — genteel, polite, beautiful, well-groomed. I am from the Midwest and I use the "F" word 748 times a day. I have not one, but two tattoos. I can stick my entire fist in my mouth. I doubt any of these women have even tried to see if they could.

Plus, these are actual women. Women who cook, create, plant, and probably even clean. I do none of these things. You need someone who can stick their fist in their mouth? I'm your gal. You want something lovely and womanly? Try Janet Reno. She is WAY more girly than I am.

So, this month, we are having a luncheon with another Garden Club. I do not know if we will rumble for our turf. I am kind of doubting it.

At any rate, one of my fellow members asked if I'd make a dessert for said affair. The dessert was already picked out, it involved lady fingers, and it was "easy." That is what my fellow Garden Club member told me. "Easy." That was the word she used.

"Well, okay, " I said, wanting to be liked at Garden Club. "I don't really know how to, you know, cook, though."

"No, no, you'll have no problem," said the genteel Garden Club member, who as I recall made a stunning hospice arrangement in December. Who made to-die-for truffles at her last party. Whose house looks like a page from Better Southern Homes Than You'll Ever Have & Also Gardens That Are Perfect magazine.

You guys. Yesterday she brought me the lady fingers, and also the recipe. The recipe is this:Cake_i_cannot_make

I am NOT exaggerating for dramatic effect. THIS IS THE DESSERT I AM SUPPOSED TO WHIP UP! The "EASY" DESSERT!

I have never even made instant pudding for dessert! And I am supposed to create this beribboned thing?!?!

I am beginning to think this is some sort of hazing ritual, and when I come in with sunken lady fingers, crying, they will all say, "Ahhh-hahhh! Fooled you! Welcome to Garden Club!"

Oh, I hope so.

I went to evil Wal-Mart just now to get the ingredients. Did you know there is a milk product called "whipping cream"? It is not Cool Whip. It is like some kind of cream. Also? There is something called unflavored gelatin. Why would you want Jello that has no flavor? Do I know?

Oh! Oh! And get this! I have to SIFT powdered sugar. I didn't even know they still MADE powdered sugar, and why do you have to sift it? What do I sift it with? An hourglass?

Also, I had to purchase a souffle bowl, because the recipe just assumes you have one lying around.

And the final hurrah, the thing that sent Marvin and me into hysterics, was that you serve it on a "serving platter." A SERVING PLATTER. I said, "What does THAT mean?" Marvin said, "A platter that you serve food on, maybe?" We really don't know. We bought some flat silver thing and we are hoping for the best.

This thing has to be made tomorrow night. And I can't even EAT any of it, because it has 75 billion Weight Watcher's points!

I am so, SO getting kicked out of Garden Club.

Me? Critical?

Are your loins girded? And no, Kathy Loves Pink, I do not know how one does that.

Here’s the big announcement.

Dcrmom and I have started our own PRODUCT REVIEW SITE!

Woooo! Woo!

Apparently, and I say "apparently" because dcr mom is the organized one and I just float along where she tell me to, we are going to sing the praises or rip apart — like Joe and I were ripped apart — beauty products three days a week.

There is nothing I like more than a beauty product, unless its a clean, simple sentence that gets right to the point.

The site is called Chic Critique, and we spent 72,356 hours deciding on that name. Then dcr mom spent 40 days and 40 nights working with a designer on the logo. Again, I floated along and wrote a review on my favorite foundation primer. Whatev. I think my review comes out Wednesday, but ask dcr. She is the grownup.

Oh, and here is the RSS feed. I again have no idea what that means. But dcrmom put it on her site, so I am doing it again. Later we go for the cyanide tablets.

<a href="http://chic-critique.com/"><img border="0" view&current="nwdesigns3.jpg" = alt="Photobucket" src="http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh70/napwarden/ccbadge.jpg"/></a>

Oh, and let me know if there’s any type of product you want reviewed. Self-tanner? Lipstick? Botox? Because I’d love to try to find the Botox distributor in a town of 3,000. I’m sure I’d live through that.

See you there!

Love, June

Oh, and I lost another 1.1 pound this week! Woo! Only very thin women can chic-ly critique, you know.

I promise I’ll stop talking about puppies after this

The Humane Society called. No, they do not want their something funny back. They actually called.

Meadow got adopted yesterday.

The plan was, I was gonna go there on the 15th and get her, and drive her to Sid Leavitt. But what we told the shelter was, if someone else adopts her beforehand, more power to them.

Oh, no, they said, that probably won't happen. Meadow got spayed on Friday, and she was recovering and unable to be taken home this weekend.

Nevertheless, she got picked by a couple in their 50s. They are willing to wait until she can come home with them. I think it is a testament to how much Meadow rocks that she got picked by three families in the space of a week. And there are at least 30 other dogs at that shelter, including about 10 wriggly little puppies.

So, I am sad for Sid Leavitt and his wife, but I'm glad Meadow has a home. It's been an emotional rolley coaster, as they'd say in Michigan. Well, I'm sorry. But you guys DO say "rolley coaster." I have heard you many times.

You know what else they say in Michigan? "Party store." And when they say "party store," they do not mean the place where you get balloons and streamers and invitations. They mean a corner sort of convenience store where you buy liquor and beef jerky and lottery tickets.

I told this once to an old boyfriend in Seattle, and he said, "Beef jerky and lottery tickets. That's a party for you people?"

Well, yes. Yes, it is.

My grandmother moved to Michigan in the '40s, from West Virginia. She was at the grocery store and she told the grocer to put her stuff in a poke, which apparently means a bag. The grocer had no idea what she meant, and, absolutely humiliated, she never said "poke" when she meant "bag" again.

Anyway.

Today I have to run two miles, which is no big deal for me. I am officially on my Jeff Galloway half-marathon training schedule, and he told me to run two miles today, so I will. And yes, I would jump off a bridge if he told me to.

Why is that always the scenario we come up with? I mean, there are worse things to do than jump off a bridge. You'd probably live if you jumped off a bridge, right? But if you swallowed cyanide tablets, you're doomed. So why don't we say, "If all the other kids popped cyanide tablets, would you?"

Tomorrow, dcrmom and I have a fabulous announcement to make. So gird your loins. Strap yourself in. Go to the party store and get your supplies. The rolley coaster is takin' off!

Pink chair, magenta flowers, red ink

As you may or may not know, depending on how obsessed you are with me (and if you aren't, why not?), in real life, I am a proofreader. I am currently freelancing, because small towns in the South don't have a great need for proofreaders, it turns out.

I do most of my work in this chair. Marvin Gardensalad bought it for mePink_chair  in the year 2000, at this vintage/junk store in Los Feliz, which for those of you unfamiliar with Los Angeles, is a cool part of town where they can charge you 47 times the price of something because you are buying it in Los Feliz.

They told us this chair used to belong to Loni Anderson, and perhaps she'll Google herself, see the chair, and write in and tell us if that is true or untrue. They also claim it was built to fit her body perfectly, which cracks me up because it fits MY body perfectly, and there is no way Loni Anderson and I have the same measurements.

I was a full-time freelancer for four years, so I spent 40+ hours a week in this chair from 2002 until 2006. It is now stained with red ink, and decidedly a less perky shade of pink than it was in 2000, even though I had professional cleaners come and steam it. Sometimes I think about having it recovered, but that costs like 10 million dollars.

Our house in LA was up on a hill overlooking Griffith Park Boulevard, which for those of you not from LA, is a really cool part of town where they can charge you 47 times the rent you'd normally pay because you are on Griffith Park Boulevard. This chair sat in a huge bay window in our dining room.

From my perch, I saw all the Griffith Park action. I called 911 about 60 times from this chair. I was totally Gladys Kravitz. Do you think Gladys and Lenny Kravitz are related?

Fleurs_2

I did not even mean to ramble on so about this chair. I meant to show you my view from this chair, which is this:

Isn't it PRETTY? Look at those beautiful camellias. At least I think those are camellias. It's so serene and lovely out there. Not a single carjacking to be seen.

Last night I went crazy and had FOUR rice cakes, which tipped me over the edge of my Weight Watchers' points. I did take a long walk with Marvin Gardensalad, though, so maybe I broke even. We saw a dead snake and it looked like it had a rattle. I was willyin'.

I guess that's all the news that's fit to publish today. What're y'all doing this weekend?

Grace Kelly, Pooping and Bling

I have been thinking about how incredible the Internet is. A little over a year ago, Marvin said, "Why don't you blog about us not spending any money this year?" and I thought it was the lamest idea ever.

Then I began actually writing posts and people started actually reading them and I realized it was fun. The best part of the experience last year is that you all chipped in and helped that man from last year at Christmastime, and his kids. You sent $600 for that family. I thought that was nothing short of miraculous.

And now, if I didn't have a blog, Meadow would not have been saved. I mean, someone from 500 miles away read my stupid-ass blog, and a dog is getting rescued from my local shelter. And my guilt is assuaged.

Isn't that amazing? It's like I have 500 new friends.

And for those of you who read these posts backwards, or who didn't tune in at the beginning of the week, I adopted a dog and then couldn't keep her. I had posted photos of her and everything, but I was so traumatized that I took the post down. Then, a reader of this blog decided to come from really far away and adopt her himself. The end.

You have all been so nice to me, and I apologize for underestimating you all. I thought everyone would yell at me and try to make me feel actually worse than I did. But that didn't happen at all. Someone recently said reading my commentors is as fun as reading my blog. I heart you guys!

In actual health news, which is the POINT of this whole shebang, because I am suddenly 70 and saying things like "shebang" (and I am not William Hung), I ran really well on the treadmill yesterday. I am getting faster, for shizzle.

1999 called. Wants its phrase back. Is also wondering if you've seen its bling.

I haven't weighed myself lately, as my Weight Watcher's weigh-in day is Monday, so I am trying to play by the rules. I like rules and usually abide by them. Marvin thinks rules are silly, and sees no reason to follow them if they don't suit him. You can imagine how this resulted in tons of fun when we reglazed our bathtub together.

Haven't done my yoga meter Australian woman DVD lately, and must get on it. Also, if you'll recall, I have that whole exercise kit from my bank that I have never even opened. I know it has one of those annoying balls in the kit. Have you seen the picture circulating the Internet where a bunch of people are sitting on those balls and the caption reads, "Don't swallow gum!" It does really look like everyone's poopin' a big bubble.

That is two posts in a row where I have referred to pooping. I am a regular Grace Kelly.

A Doggie Miracle

Well, you are not even gonna believe this. I have been feeling like crap, absolute crap, about Meadow. The other night I woke Marvin Gardensalad up at like 3 a.m. I was sobbing. I said, "Can you reach around me and put your hand on my heart? It just hurts so much."

So he did, because he is a nice husband. Then, two seconds later, he tried to feel me up.

Now, folks, seriously. Why can't men learn that there is a TIME and a PLACE for these sorts of activities?

At any rate, in the midst of all my sadness, I talked to my Aunt Kathy, who said, "You know what you need to do? You need to put it out there in the universe, in present tense, that Meadow has been adopted by a loving family. Just say it out loud and get it out there."

I know I am totally making it sound like my Aunt Kathy smokes the ganja and lives in a commune in Topanga Canyon, but actually she is a middle-aged woman in Vermont. But she did just read The Secret.

So, yesterday I did it. Meadow_16I said out loud, as I sobbed, "Thank you for giving Meadow a good home, with a fenced-in yard, to a loving family who will really care for her."

Today I got an email from one of my faithful readers, Sid Leavitt, who has a readers and writers blog, and who once gave me a nice writeup about my own personal self and my blog. He was particularly taken with how I say classy things like "my own personal self."

Well, GUESS WHAT? He and his wife were willing to drive FIVE HUNDRED MILES to come adopt Meadow. They live in a house, with a fenced-in yard. They had a dog who looked something like Meadow, and she died a while back, and they were really devastated about it. When they saw Meadow's picture the other day, they were smitten. (And could you ignore that piece of black Ruby fur to Meadow's left, there, in the photo? Thanks. Her asthma makes her shed like the Dickens. What does that phrase MEAN?)

So, I called the Humane Society, and if no one adopts her before next weekend,  Marvin and I are going to pick her up, and we are driving halfway to meet Sid Leavitt and his wife!

Meadow will have it made; Sid is retired and his wife is going to retire soon, too. So someone will always be there to love her, and walk her and watch her run around the yard and see if her other ear ever gets straight.

I don't know about you, but I am grinning like a possum eatin' poo off a hairbrush. I just learned that phrase today.

So, you think peanut butter will help?

So, I have had two really depressing days. You?

I can't talk about the dog. We couldn't keep her. I am NOT THAT PERSON who just gets and rejects pets. I really am not.

But please, I am so sad. I can't talk about it. I am only mentioning it now because I got a lot of emails asking me about it.

The good news is, I'm too upset to eat. So I'll bet that weight is coming right off! The bad news is, I don't care. All I can think about is that dog.

My question for today is, what do you do to feel better when you feel crappy? I told Miss Lillie my sad story yesterday, and she said, "Child, you need to go home and make a peanut butter sandwich."

I love to just see what kind of an answer she will come up with.

Today is Ash Wednesday, so I know I'll be kept busy at work. Is anyone giving anything up for Lent?

The other day I had to order communion wafers through a catalog. We get whole wheat. They also make gluten-free. It just never occurred to me where communion wafers come from. It seems like such a sacred thing to order in bulk.

Ugh. My heart is sore. Please don't say anything mean about the dog. If I were reading this about someone else, I'd judge too. But sometimes even the staunchest animal lover screws up.

Episcopalians Gone Wild

Last night, Marvin and I went to a Mardi Gras party given by a member of the church where I am a secretary. It is the first party we have been to in exactly six months — the last one we attended was our going-away party in Los Angeles.

It was so much fun! Who knew your church members could throw down? Everyone came in costume, and there were beads and masks everywhere, and people drank and laughed and told funny stories.

I didn't know that in the South, you actually show up at the party on time. For those of you on the West Coast, you will understand when I tell you the party started at 5:30, so naturally we showed up at 6:45. Yeah. Everyone was there and they'd gotten way into the pork loin already. Fortunately there was enough for us, still.

I did not overindulge and blow my Weight Watchers, in case anyone was worried sick. I had one tiny medallion of pork, and these balls of cheese, spinach and some bread product that I'm certain Gwynneth Paltrow wouldn't be caught dead eating, but man, was it good. Oh, and one chocolate truffle. I recorded it all. The truffle was one point.

And by the way, did you know Weight Watchers counts sex as one activity point?

Also, I had my first experience of small-town, everyone-knows-your-bidness sort of a thing.

Last week, a pharmaceutical company in Raleigh called me, wanting to interview me for a proofreader position. If I got the job, it'd mean I'd move to Raleigh now and Marvin would come along after the school year. The interview was scheduled for Thursday, so I told the rector, my boss, that I would come in on Friday this week instead of Thursday. "Okay!" he said, "What fun thing are you gonna do on Thursday?"

Okay, I am not going to lie to a man of the cloth. I mean, I am not that religious, but come on. You are going to the bowels of hell's hinges for lying to a priest. So I told him.

Well.

If you think everyone at that party didn't ask me about the interview (I didn't even go! I canceled it because it was a contract position, and I thought why am I moving away for a job with no benefits?), and tell me I simply had to stay in Tiny-Town, and that if I needed gay men friends, they all knew of some and they'd hook me up.

I do not even know how they knew I missed gay men. I guess someone read my blog.

Anyway, I really do heart these people. They are great. Not one person here consults a pet psychic, or has told me what they are in therapy for, or has an agent. It is refreshing and delightful and if we do move away this year, I will be remain friends with some of these folks forever.

Oh, and also? I keep forgetting to tell y'all I cut off ALL MY HAIR and it is really, seriously short and it looks cute as hell and everyone told me so last night and I simply must get a photo up for you. Currently I am in my green robe with the pink ball tassels and a green towel on my head, so a photo right now would not be pretty.

Waffling

I'm sitting here in my pink turtleneck and my dark blue sweatpants, which is a delightful combination and I don't look at all like I should be talking to myself and gesturing wildly while I push my shopping cart filled with old baby shoes and cat litter or anything.

While changing clothes for my run, I remembered I hadn't blogged all day, so it seemed like writing in my health blog was a great excuse to put off running.

I have been keeping up with my Weight Watchers really well. Of course, we are on day two, so let's not give me the Weight Watcher Purple Heart or whatever just yet.

Last night, I had a craving for blueberry waffles, and I had points left, so I made some. Marvin Gardensalad decided that blueberry waffles sounded good at 9 p.m., as well, so he started making some, too. I had my waffles all ready, and as I turned toward the living room, and they FLEW off my plate and right onto Marvin's pajamas. The maple syrup sort of froze them in place.

He was pleased.

I am happy to say that he gave me HIS waffles, as he was suddenly out of the mood for them. They were delish. His pajamas thought so, too.

If I hadn't been eating well all day, I would never in a million years have craved blueberry waffles, by the way. It's just not a food I think of.

That is about all I can tell you, except that I had a delightful time today having tea with one of the women in town. I went over there because her husband accidentally got a letter addressed to him at the church. In fact, it referred to him as "reverend," which was news to both of us. Anyway, it was a gray, rainy day here, and when I brought over the letter, she opened the door to her 1920s Craftsman home, and a fire was burning, and there was dark wood everywhere, and a grandfather clock was chiming and oh! you could just curl up there all day.

She made me some really good ginger peach tea, and we had such a good talk. Turns out we both have always wished to go to Mardi Gras and also to Times Square on New Year's Eve.

When I was in college, all my roommates decided at the last minute to get in the car and drive to New Orleans to go to Mardi Gras. I didn't go because I had a QUIZ. A quiz. Is that the saddest thing ever? Not going to Mardi Gras with my housemates is my biggest regret in life. And you know Mardi Gras at 21 would have been way more fun than Mardi Gras at 42.

We talked about how everyone always tells you you really DON'T want to be in Times Square at New Year's, and the same with Mardi Gras, but neither of us think that is true.

She does not, however, share my lifelong dream to have been a go-go dancer in the '60s. I do not know why not.

So I had a good time with "the reverend's" wife. We are still waiting for him to tell us when he snuck in that divinity school.

Okay, I have told you my life story. I guess I have no choice but to run now.