Tag Archives: evil plans

Well, crap. I’m becoming my mother.

My mom has this big worry  that she will die and no one in the family will know how to preserve food. I think it keeps her awake at nights, or used to, up until Little B started showing some interest in the kitchenly arts. Not to be upstaged by my suck-up neice, I spent Labor Day weekend in my mom’s cucina, canning things.

Ok, technically, I jarred things and, honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I always think it is. But there’s a reason I hate canning, believing it to be akin to medieval torture. My mom has always canned stuff from the garden as well as things found in the woods. Nice, right? No, not when you’re forced into summertime slave labor and have to work your child fingers to the bone, peeling and chopping and cold-bathing fruits and veggies, all the while asphyxiating on the toxic fumes of pickle brine. Seriously, it’s a horrible past time, especially if you really want to be outside playing.

It was bad enough Mom sent us to harvest choke- and pin-cherries down in  The Glen — She’d throw us out of the house with margarine tubs and tell us we weren’t allowed back until they were full. Chris would finish in half an hour, drop off his bucket, and go exploring. Noelle, Bedot, and I, though, it took us all day. Know why? Chris put his hand at the top of the cherry-laden limb and pulled downward, dumping everything into the bucket…leaves, twigs…Spike, but we girls, much like Mopsy, Flopsy, and Cottontail or whatever her name was, were very careful in our picking, taking only the ripe and juicy berries from the tree and leaving the shriveled ones, the green ones, the bitter ones for all our woodland friends. Also, we knew we’d have to sort through them later so may as well do the sorting first and save ourselves some time — Anyway, we harvested stuff and that should have been enough, but it wasn’t. We had to help preserve it, too, like we were Laura Ingalls Wilder or something. That, quite naturally, created within all of us a loathing of preserving food. I remember thinking it would be better to starve in the winter than to put up pickled things for those long, dark months. I may have been a slightly melodramatic kid. I really did hate canning, though. Even freezing became tainted simply because it was vaguely related.

Back to this weekend. I had a few extra zucchini hanging around (like a seven thousand) and Mom has a recipe for zucchini relish. Since she was going to have all the canning paraphernalia going anyhow, she asked if I’d like to come over to help her and also make some zucchini relish, myself. Being the amazingly dutiful daughter I am, I said, “Why, yes, that sounds…great.” I grabbed my zukes, along with my neighbor and her things-to-be-canned, and we went to put stuff in jars.

I want to make a big deal out of it, a tale of woe filled with blood and lost limbs but…it was really easy. And fast. Well, my relish was fast. My neighbor’s salsa was not as it was her first time canning ever and also my mom had never made salsa so it became a big experiment but the point here is, it wasn’t like I remembered. It wasn’t a torture session and I didn’t leave crying. I also didn’t get to help my mom with her canning because we ran out of time so I went back the next morning and we worked on the tomatoes. I remembered that I love peeling tomatoes! I could do that all day! (But only for one day out of the year; I wouldn’t want it as my career, or anything) We put up 5 pints of almost-overripe New Girls with basil and they look lovely. They’ll taste lovely when I make them into spaghetti sauce this winter.

These are 2 of my 7 jars of zucchini relish. They contain all of my own zucchini and garlic, some of my own onions and carrots, and storebought peppers because I didn’t grow any this year.

So maybe this canning business isn’t as horrible as my childhood memories tell me it is. Maybe this is something I could do with my mom every year. I’d get to learn how to make her pretty-much-famous sweet relish which I could then add to my collection of heirloom recipes and maybe I’d even bump Little B out of that coveted Favorite Child spot in the process! (ha ha, that’s a little canning humor, there)


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood

Writers, come to me

I have this great plan that will involve lots of help from friends as well as copious amounts of moolah. See, there’s a mansion in my town that’s up for sale, complete with acreage, about a town-block’s worth, and views. It’s lovely, all nestled up against the mountains and it’s only like a million and a half dollars! I am going to win the lottery/get a giant inheritance from an unknown benefactor/go gangbusters on Kickstarter or something equally unlikely that will provide me with piles of cash, then I’m going to buy this mansion and turn it into a writer’s retreat! As in a place for writers to retreat, not a place that teaches writing classes, though, come to think of it, that could be an option as well.

Here’s the mansion that will become my writer’s retreat. It’s so popular that even those evil deer who mug poor townsfolk for their birdseed hang out here.

This is a great idea for several reasons.

Reason 1: I know a lot of authors. They often need help finishing their stories and help could easily come in the form of a quiet room with no distractions and I would totally be able to provide that with my writers retreat.

Reason 2: I stalk many other authors and once the authors I know started telling their author friends about the fabulous place they stayed and all the inspiration they received and the wonderfulness of the quiet mansion in the mountains, said stalked authors would be intrigued enough to want to try it out themselves. In essence, they would PAY me to stalk them! How perfect is that?

Reason 3: Something useful needs to be done with that mansion and making it available to artists would not only bolster my town’s economy somehow but it would also make people care about the mansion and they’d want to help with its upkeep. I don’t really know how that one works but in my mind it does so we’ll go with it.

The mansion would not be open all year, though. Oh no no. It would close to the public from October 1st through January 1st. In October, I’d hire (because I’m rich, remember) costumey and theatery people from the local colleges to decorate the house and grounds for Halloween and then we’d have a ginormous party the night thereof. The whole town would be invited. It probably wouldn’t be very safe because that is not my first priority, but it would be extremely fun.

In November, I’d invite all my friends and family over for Thanksgiving and the cool thing is that I’d have plenty of room for everyone to stay a few days.

In December, we’d have wintertime parties GALORE! I’m pretty sure there’s a festivity for almost every day of that month. We would  celebrate them all, every one. Again, the entire town would be invited. There would be lights and fireplaces and hot spiced cider and a constant supply of freshly-baked cookies. It would be the highlight of everyone’s end-of-year.

See? This is what wintery festiveness will look like.

Seriously. EVERYONE in town will be invited.

I’ve got some of the staff hired already, too. Pam, one of the instigators of this blog, is going to be the overall manager and her son can be the chef. She doesn’t know that yet…well, actually, she does if she just read this. Noelle is going to be the entertainment director and will be in charge of arranging pick-ups and drop-offs of authors at the airport in addition to any fun things they want to do while they’re in town. Gabe can be one of the drivers because it means he can have a nice, new car. Bedot is going to be the hiking tour guide. My favorite nursery will be in charge of the grounds and my mom will be in charge of the indoor plants. I’ve got a lawyer, I’ve got a CPA…I think I’m set. If you want in on this, now is totally the time to sign up either as a guest or as an employee. Let me know your preferences below.


Filed under My journey to writerhood, My Phenomenal Fake Life