A Fair Day

Last weekend Honey and I went to the San Diego Del Mar Fair with our friends Boxer and T (for any person that lived in the SD area for any substantial amount of time prior to 2002 it is still the Del Mar Fair).  The theme this year was “Out of This World”, so we saw little alien and space things sprinkled throughout the day.  It has almost been ten years since my trip there and it’s not for lack of convenience, I used to live within walking distance and usually went one to two times a season.  I didn’t go for the usual reasons, lack of time or money, but really it was just not a priority.  For the last couple of yearswe had have tried to make it a priority but we always ended up backing out, it is ironic that we chose this year to go because now we don’t have the “free parking” at my parent’s place since they moved.  Boxer was kind enough to pick up our tickets at Costco (great deal) and I offered to drive.  From living in the area I know how bad the Fair traffic gets. Cars backed up for over a mile on the 5 in each direction, people never liking the lane that they are in and having to deal with parking in a dirt lot where you know the riled up teenagers will probably attempt donuts in the evening hours.  Damn, I am getting old.

So we arrived at what we thought was 15 minutes before opening, the sky was dark and overcast a perfect “June Gloom” day.  I braced myself mentally when we exited onto Via De La Villa, my foot ready to switch the brake and a milliseconds notice, but what was this?  We sailed through each intersection and into the paved parking lot, we could even see the entrance from our parking space!  We got in line (which was only about 30 people deep) and waited for the gates to open.  Turns out someone (I’m not saying who-and no it was not me) read the opening time wrong and we still had an hour to go.  To be honest I didn’t mind, we stood there talked, we got through security in less than five minutes, and we were some of the first people to go in.

I have never seen the fair so empty! Not even on a weekday.  This continued throughout the day, there were people of course but not the usual sea of people that are usually around on the first Saturday.  For you San Diegans I’ll put it this way, the line for the Ferris Wheel was six people deep at sunset. The morning marine layer faded and gave us a sunny but cool day.  In the past I have primarily gone to Fair for the rides and funnel cake, this year I was with a new crowd and they showed me all the other parts of the fair.  We began at the Botanical exhibit which seemed smaller to all of us (I thought it was just because I was taller). It has changed a lot because of the the increasing trend of water tolerant gardens, but we still got some fun ideas. Then off to the animal section so Honey could see the farm animals.  It also seemed a lot smaller than normal, though we did see llamas, pigs, sheep, cows, a couple of chickens, goats, and more importantly baby goats (so friggin’ cute, and I got to pet one!).  He has at times brought up in all seriousness his desire for having chickens as pets and I think he was hoping that if I saw some nice show chickens I would be more on board with the idea, but we had come on the pigeon week instead of the chicken week.  So we saw some unusual looking pigeons o_O

Baby Goat, sooo cute!

Then off to the dog show, where Boxer and T stayed for several hours but we wandered and ate.  Yes I will admit I had some junk food there.  Every year the Fair tries to outdo itself by finding something new to deep fry, this year I think it was a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich; and while I did have some friend things (3 mozzarella sticks and half of a  funnel cake),  I did not partake of the deep fried stick of butter and or the deep fried Kool Aid. Gross! The other big item was Red Velvet Funnel Cake, which Boxer picked up.  Here’s a tip: it tastes like funnel cake with red dye, they also spooge a big dollop of cream cheese on the top without letting you know.  Not cream cheese frosting, just cream cheese.

I also went on a few rides in the “Fun Zone”, Honey watched patiently from the ground (and even held my purse the sweetie) but he would not go on the rides.  To me this seems unthinkable, how can you go to a Fair and not go on the rides? But when we arrived to the “Fun Zone” I had difficulty finding my favorite rides.  I was sure I was out of practice because everything looked a little (dare I date myself) Xtreme!  Not only would these rides loop you around, it would spin you upside down from 50′ up.  Now I’m no wimp, every year I tried to go on something new that scared me, but this year everything scared me.  I wanted to go on the swing ride, the one that spins you around and gradually gets taller.  I saw one and it had the passengers really high up- like rivaling the Ferris Wheel tall.  I’m old, I know.  I eventually saw the swing ride that I remembered enjoying a few years back.  I walked up with my tickets until I saw a sign that made me make  a beeline back to Honey,  it had came from Neverland Ranch. No thanks, kinda creepy.  Eventually I went on a few rides that got my heart going, not the really tall ones but things that had names like G Force.  Of course I realized it was not the actual rides that were frightening me, it was the creaks and jolts that the ride was making.  I was so scared I was going to fall to my death in some freak amusement ride accident but I kept on going until I ran out of tickets, no way am I too old for the “Fun Zone”.  Honey watched (and probably prayed) from the ground, he also declined to go on Ferris Wheel with me so I went with Boxer.  His girlfriend T didn’t want to go either, so we took pictures of each other crying because we each were “abandoned by our other” and then we text messaged it down to Honey and T.  I would post the picture of Boxer, but taken out of context it looks awful.

They did miss out on this view

Though the fair has changed for us, we stil had a great time and a lot of uncontrollable laughter. It was a sort of a mark of time for me.  I went there as a teenager and young adult, I would have never thought to look at any of the exhibits or go and see farm animals, but I am really happy I went with people that showed me more of something I thought I knew.  Here is my favorite picture of the day, it was accidental, I was just trying to get a picture of the ferris wheel and I got this.  I am calling it A Walk in the Fun Zone.

P.S.  If you want some entertainment go into the Home and Hobby exhibit and see the freakish things people collect.

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The Novel & The Housewife

The Novel

On Monday and Tuesday I wrote for a few hours and added 4,000 words (not including the ones that I found were pointless and then deleted) to my book, taking me to just about 19,000 words total. If I follow my outline perfectly I have just over a third of it done.  Though sometimes while I am writing I find myself moving pass my outline, not throwing it into the wind but finding a different path to get me to my main plot points.

Sometimes when I am about to write I look up famous quotes on writing, just to pump me up before I jump in.  This is also known as procastination, another element of the creative process.  Yesterday I found this one by Ray Bradbury (odd coincidence, that it was yesterday. Rest in Peace Mr. Bradbury) that caused me to stop writing for the day and ponder over it and my main heroine.

Find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!

I believe that is true, even I’ve noticed in my very limited experience that characters sometimes assert their personalities in a way, that make you think- what, I can’t make my character do that, they would never do that!  Even though that was what you had planned for them to do.  I’m not cracking up, I swear. 😛  So Mr. Bradbury got me thinking.  I know the story I want to tell, but in the end what does Angie want?  Her idea of happiness? Forgiveness? Love? Cures to incurable diseases?  Just to sleep in her own bed?  I think I have a better idea now, but I’m still working on it, or rather she hasn’t led me there quite yet.

I hope to get at least another 2,500 down by the weekend.  My problem is that I prefer to write in the morning, but that is the time of day that I want to do everything else.  I want to do yard work first thing in the morning to avoid the heat, I want to hit the shops earlier so they won’t be as crowded, I want to do all of the chores by noon, and I want to exercise first thing in the morning  (also to avoid the heat).  There are only so many hours in the morning, so that means everything has to have their turn.  I have made some compromises and set up a pretty good schedule for the days I write.

Also in proper writing fashion I have been reading a lot, nothing too heavy  just books that sound appealing.  After the first few I decided to read the first novels of writers I liked.  I started with Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jennifer Lawson, then Shopgirl by Steve Martin, then a book that I bought for $.99 on Amazon-that I didn’t like so I won’t name it, then Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.  I found the last book to be quite good, I like the way she tells a story and the images she gives you.  I had read the reviews that made me think it was going to be on the level of “Se7en” for its creepiness,  but either people exaggerated or I am just that desensitized.  It was creepy and provocative at times, but it didn’t give me nightmares or have me pondering the meaning for days.  That book contributed to my desire to keep on avoiding 50 Shades of Grey.  I hear it is “scandelous” and “explicitly erotic” and I fear that if I were to pick it up, that I would say “oh, how cute” and then feel like a freaking perv because I did not blush or feel faint when I read it.  I guess this is what comes from not living in the little bubble I was told to live in.

The Housewife

Since school ended I have been able to devote more time to the house and being all housewifey again.  In addition to the writing I have also caught up with the laundry, ironing, and the overall cleanliness level of the house.  It was never truly out of control, but I always felt I was just barely staying on top of it rather than keeping to the schedule.  And of course it’s warmer now so I have the ceiling fans on most days, which inevitably sends a tumbleweed of cat hair down the hallway right as John walks in the door. Housewife fail. (Really though, I don’t think he cares) =)

Last week I attacked the yard and got it back into shape.  I only have one more palm to dispense with and it is a big one, it will take several battles to win and I might loose some, but in the end I will win the war.  The vegetables are doing pretty well.  The bean bushes are sprouting, the cucumbers are starting to climb the twine lines, the tomatoes are threatening to ripen all at once, and the pumpkins are about to burst out of the protective chicken wire cage I made them when they were just seedlings.  Oh, they grow up so fast. The pictures of the planter box are going to have to wait, we need to make some adjustments so it will hold the six cubic feet of soil we want it to.

As for the food, I must admit I have been resting on my laurels when it comes to my meal planning.  I need to start trying some new recipes and ingredients, especially now that it is pretty much summer around here.  All new things are in season now.  I picked up a Costco sized amount of charcoal in preparation for the occasional outdoor meal, now I just need to pick up some grill worthy meat.

And finally I put a finishing touch on the patio, yes I am obsessed with that color of blue.

A Very, Very Late Mother’s Day Post

During Mother’s Day this year I had my mother, Honey’s mother, and Jen over for lunch.  I made a combination of my mother’s enchilada recipe with Honey’s red sauce.  I tried to incorporate all of the “mothers” I had had in my life into the meal.  Mom’s recipe, Grandma B’s table cloth, my late grandmother’s Iced Tea (which my mom thoroughly enjoyed), with some Australian wine for my mother-in-law.  Due to time limitations and the fact we still had a bunch of wine left from BevMo’s $.05 Sale we chose something we already had to serve with lunch, which H’s Mom loved.

I had made the enchilada’s a few weeks earlier for when we had some neighbor on Cinco de Mayo, it was a hit and when I asked if he would mind if I made again I received no objections.  My mom used to make this every year for dinner on Christmas Eve.  It was a filling and simple dish, so I’m sure it was a nice break in cooking from the holiday feasts.  Her recipe called for a store bought sauce, which I grew up with and associated with the taste but since I like to take things to the next level in cooking now, I asked him for a recipe he found a long time ago.  I thought making the sauce from scratch would be complicated, but it wasn’t!  It takes a little more time but it is so worth it, and the cost is similar to the store bought.  So here are the recipes for you:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Enchilada Sauce:

Ingredients

12 Dried Red Chilies

3 Tbsp oil (I used olive)

1/4 cup Garlic Paste (I used they kind the keep in the produce section, that is refrigerated)

3 Tbsp Flour

1/2 tsp salt

You Will Need:

a pot for 2 qts boiling water

a blender

a skillet

a medium size bowl

Directions:

1. Rinse chiles in cold water & remove stems. (I also remove a good portion of seeds, because I am a spice whimp)

2. Cook in 2 qts of boiling water for 15 minutes.  Do not drain the water, you will need it.

3.Remove a few chiles (I did 3) and place in blender with 1/2 cup of the water the chilies cooked in.  Blend to a paste and empty into your medium size bowl.  Repeat until all chilies are blended.

4. Heat oil in the skillet on medium high level.  Add the garlic paste & flour, stirring until the flour browns.

5.  Add the chili paste, stir continuously until it boils and thickens. Season with salt.  Thin with cooking liquid if you need to (I don’t).  Turn off the heat and start making the enchiladas.

Mom’s Cheese Enchilada Recipe:

Ingredients:

12 Corn Tortillas

1 1/2 lbs Cheddar Cheese (or use the Mexican Cheese mix)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small can of chopped black olives

 Enchilada Sauce from above still in skillet 

You Will Need: 

2-3 qt baking dish

3 qt mixing bowl

microwave (optional)

cheese grater

paper towel

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Chop the onion, grate the cheese.

3.  Mix the cheese, onion, and drained olives into a 3 qt mixing bowl.

4. Microwave the corn tortillas per package directions.  My mom took four tortillas put them on a dinner plate with a wet paper towel wrapped around them and zapped them for 40 seconds.  I do not have a microwave so I put them all on a dinner plate with a wet towel in the preheating oven for three minutes.

5.  Dip warmed tortillas in the red enchilada sauce, so it is completely coated.  Place in baking dish, take a spoon and add 2-3 tbsp of the cheese mixture to the inside of the tortilla and roll it up.  I put an unused measuring cup up to the side to keep it from unrolling.  Repeat until all tortillas are used and the dish is full.

6. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolled up tortillas, then cover in the remaining cheese mixture.

7. Bake at 325 for at least 20 minutes (I like my well baked, so I put in for at least 26 minutes).

8.  Enjoy!