Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Open Question Mardi Gras

Today is Mardi Gras. When I was little, growing up in Mommom Jewel and Pop Byron's little white ranch house, we always had pancakes and sausage for dinner on Fat Tuesday. We used to pour cane syrup all over our plates, which may be why to this day I don't like maple syrup. I think I never acquired the taste for it in childhood, so now it tastes strange and horrible to me. Tonight I'm recreating this dinner with some gluten free mix. It sounds worse than it is. All of the gluten free food tastes good.

After I let my classes out this afternoon my spring break begins. I don't have to be back to work until the 9th and I fully intend to celebrate. Of course I still have some touch ups to do on the thesis and I have to write a thesis document, but that's not a big deal. This weekend I'll be heading over to the Gulf Coast for Spring Training! I'm pretty excited about that. I've lived in Florida forever and have never seen a Spring Training baseball game. I promise I will take and post pictures. I'll also visit Sanibel Island, go shelling and enjoy some fresh, local seafood and beach time. It will be just Husband and me on a little, much needed vacation. Husband needs it more than me. He hasn't had one day off in an entire year and I plan on stuffing him with ice cream and making him lie around doing nothing.

I also plan on generating a lot of writing while I have more free time. I haven't been so good about that lately. Since you guys have helped me so much in the past, I'd like you to help me again. This will be fun. Think of some things you'd like to ask me. What do you want to hear about? What do you wonder about me? What topics would you find interesting? Do you wonder what I think about a certain topic? Do you want me to give you advice on something? (I don't necessarily advise this one.) If you were to interview me what questions would you ask? Go ahead and ask, just keep it clean, polite and within reason , in the comments section. I'll go through the questions and attempt to answer the ones I like best and I will try to answer as many as possible. Try to be very original.

This exercise really works for generating ideas and making me write out of my comfort zone, which is really important for growth as a writer. We did several exercises like this in class last summer in Iowa and I found it extremely helpful when people asked me questions about my life. It ended up uncovering many, many long forgotten memories and being forced to write something that someone else wanted to hear about, made me write about things I may not ordinarily have wanted to on my own. Of course in Iowa, this was done on a smaller scale, with only a couple of people. Here, it will be on a bigger scale with less reciprocation, but I think it will work for me.

Happy Mardi Gras! May you be the one to find the baby hidden in the King Cake.


Unknown said...

I'm not a big fan of maple syrup either.
I like King Syrup, but down here all I can find is Karo..just not hitting on much.

Wide Lawns said...

Yes! It was King Syrup. Karo is corn syrup and King is cane syrup, so they have very different tastes. Corn syrup is bland and icky. Next time I go to Millpond I'll bring you back a bottle of King syrup. We live close so we can arrange to meet somewhere nearby and I'll give it to you.

Unknown said...

I was wondering what kind of bread you eat. I know the stuff made with rice flour is like a rock. I am very interested in your gluten-free experiences.

Anonymous said...

I would love to know what you and your family look like. I have this wierd image in my head of what you look like by your descriptions of your self and your family. I think you are a wonderful writer and like waiter rant it is so much easier to realte to a person once you know what they look like. It almost puts you at the scene of the story. Im sure you get this request often, and I want you to know Im not asking to be creepy, I really wonder what you look like and I think you are much prettier than you describe yourself. I think you cut yourself short alot of the time. Sorry for the babbeling.

saintseester said...

I don't want the baby. That means I have to buy the next king cake! LOL!

beatgrl said...

Pamela's gluten free pancake mix is the best best yummy best. My wheat eating family even likes it better. Super pricey but worth it.

I'm not sure if Kat's question was meant to be a suggestion for your next post, but to answer it from my point of view - just forget about bread if you are gluten free. Substitute mixed greens, potatoes, rice or corn tortillas. Okay, that doesn't work for peanut butter and jelly but there are always,ahem, rice cakes.

My question is, how are south Florida and Millpond reacting to Obama's election?

Angela said...

I wonder how you would have turned out, how you would be now, if you'd have a very traditional, nonexciting upbringing and "normal" extended family members. Because the stuff you share here, well... that's just craziness!

I like you the way you are, mind you: you're interesting, you seem to be very compassionate and understanding and tolerant, which likely is BECAUSE of all the unusual personalities you've grown up with.

Anonymous said...

Could you talk about your writing itself? How you decided to become a writer, how you chose the path you took. Maybe tips for others who want to get into writing?

I really admire your writing style and love your blog. I am just learning about creative writing (I attended AWP in Chicago a couple of weeks ago) and am interested in improving my writing skills.


Anonymous said...

wth is a king cake?!?!

Unknown said...

I'm getting married (and moving in with my husband) in 6 months. But there's a problem; I can't really cook. The only things I can make well are omelettes, sandwiches and desserts. I can cook entrees, but only with details instructions.

I've been reading your blog for a while now and I know that you used to be a chef. I wanted to know if there were any cookbooks with simple and healthy recipes you would recommend.

JoeinVegas said...

Why do you like where you live? If you could move freely to another state or country where would you like to go, if even for just a little while? Or is it too nice and comfortable there?

Anonymous said...

I need some advice. I love my husband and he's a very kind, caring, handsome person. However, we don't have any interests in common. We have been married for 28 years and, for all this time, I feel like I have "put my life on hold" in order to follow his dreams. How can I break free and follow my dreams? Should I get divorced? For the sake of the family, I hate to break things off with a man who has no real faults other than just "different interests." But I hate to go thru life without feeling as if I have fully "lived."

Anonymous said...

On King's Cake...please tell me they are still putting the baby in King's Cake down south. Because I bought a cake today at a local Kansas City bakery and noticed the baby in the *middle* of the ring. When I laughed and asked if there was a baby in the cake too, the bakery employee became very serious. He said that it was a liability to place a choking hazard into their product. WTF IS WRONG WITH THE PLANET?! And I work at a LAW FIRM!

Unknown said...

Well, this is similar to some other requests, which must mean that there's a pattern here:

I'd like to know what kind of foods you regularly eat, how you got to eat those foods, how eating those foods makes you feel, if you've lost any weight, do you have energy from what you eat, etc.

I've been eating about 70% raw vegetarian in the last 6 weeks and I feel awesome, yet I'm constantly searching the 'Net for more info. So, I'd just like to hear your personal experiences with food and what works best for you and why.

Thanks, and I hope you and the Hubs have a terrific time!

Anonymous said...

I want bookshelf pics.

- lowwall

Anonymous said...

And I want updates on the HOA employees and the crazy residents from your "Subservient Worker" blogs.

- lowwall

Anonymous said...

I had no idea King Cake was eaten in the US, too (okay, just in Louisiana and nearby places), until college.

In Mexico we eat the King Cake (which looks/tastes the same) on January 6th (day on which the three magi reach the baby Jesus) and whoever finds the baby inside it has to host the party of the "Candelaria" on Feb 2nd and buy the tamales. There are no purple beads involved, though.

Anonymous said...

I know nobody is asking for my advice, but to Anonymous with the marriage question, do you think that you and your husband could try to cultivate some common interests? Obviously I don't know anything about your relationship, but if different interests is the fatal flaw in your marriage and you're both amenable, you might be able to make common ground and save the 28 year investment. Or even if you don't find anything to do together, you could still do things that interest you and make you feel fulfilled. Volunteer, go back to school, learn photography, or writing or yoga. No one should feel like they have put their whole life on hold.

Wide Lawns: What do you think is the most valuable gift your upbringing has given you?

Where in the world do you want to go most?

What injustice in the world would you like most to correct?

Thanks for the great writing. I'm always glad to see when you've put up a new post.

Christian Marie said...

This sounds like a good excercise for myself as well.

Here is my suggestion for you:

Pick one tangible item from your past- either childhood or adulthood and then write as much as you can about the item. I am betting that new revelations about yourself will come out as a result.

Anonymous said...

I started reading you after you stopped writing about your original topic. Is that still online?
I love your stories (I wrote McDonald's way back as I loved
cheeseburgers with just pickles
and they couldn't ever get it right) I think I was l3 - regardless, I asked ''Why can't you do it all for me'' as that was
there slogan then - we do it all for you'. I explained that the only thing I liked were cheeseburgers and I got back 20 Big Mac vouchers - I gave them away - and to this day I haven't
eaten a big mac and never will.

Any fast foods that you will eat.

Great writing!

Love reading.


Anonymous said...

I would like it if you could write something to yourself, the person you were in the past, and the advice you would give them knowing what you know now, if you understand what I mean? I think I am at that turning point in my life, mid to late 20's, going back to school, newly single, living a new life where anything could happen. I know from your writing that you have had these changes as well so I would like to hear what you think now. Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

...How can I break free and follow my dreams? Should I get divorced? For the sake of the family, I hate to break things off with a man who has no real faults other than just "different interests." But I hate to go thru life without feeling as if I have fully "lived."

Umm, why not pursue your dreams and stay married? Lots of married couples have different interests. If he refuses to give you the support to do the things that interest you, I guess that could be a legit reason for considering divorce. But if he gives you the space to do what you want, leaving him just because he doesn't want to do it with you seems pretty shortsighted.

Maybe you need to tell us what your dreams consist of? If it's moving to Tuscany and starting a B&B, I could see how that could be a difficult thing to reconcile. But if it's spending three weeks in Tuscany during your husband's hunting season, well, find a girlfriend to go with you instead.


Anonymous said...

A few questions:

Do you want to have kids? All your posts previous to the recent health related one made it seem like you didn't want kids ever.

I started reading your blog LITERALLY the day after you posted about quitting blogging so I'm sad I missed out on all the fun archived stories. Why did you decide to make all those old posts private in the first place and are you ever planning on making them public again?

Also, I love your writing and your determination. All those things you wrote about visualizing success for yourself and just believing good things will happen gave me the courage to apply to some really prestigious universities that I thought were out of my league. I got into one of them actually and now I'm a student there! My friends think it's kind of silly that an anonymous blogger inspired me I don't think they realize what a powerful thing sharing life experiences can be, online or otherwise.


Anonymous said...

I found the baby in the king cake yesterday! But I also ate most of it. :)

My aunt and uncle co-owned a house on Sanibel Island, and got to go there two summers in a row. It's hands down the most beautiful place I've ever been to in Florida. I hope you'll share pictures, have a good vacation!

beatgrl said...

I started reading your blog LITERALLY the day after you posted about quitting blogging so I'm sad I missed out on all the fun archived stories
That's the day I started reading too!

Miss Melissa said...

Enjoy your vacation! And as far as questions go, I would like to hear about the monkey. That is, if you haven't blogged about that already and I'm just too new to the game to have read that post. :)

The Meganekko said...

You know, I'm pretty sure she did blog about it already--I just remember there being a story about her parents getting a monkey, and it would mess with her stuff so she hated it--and mattresses. For some reason, I associate mattresses with that one; maybe she mentioned that she was sleeping on just a mattress or something at the time? I'd have to go back and check.

(The same thing actually happened to my dad--his grandfather had a chimp, and (this was in the bad old days when they still had outhouses) when my dad would go out to go to the bathroom at night, the chimp would jump out and scare him shitless. Sorry for the language.)

Anyways, Wide Lawns: I second the "why did you make the old stories private" question and I'd also like updates. I just remember getting on one day and they were gone; I was very sad. I wanted to hear about the untimely, humiliating demise of the Salt Shaker dude. Also, when I write, I feel really self-centered because I mostly write about myself--what I'm feeling, what I'm doing. Is that relatively normal?

Thanks muchly! Hope you have a wunnerful vacation!

The Meganekko said...

Found it! It's the in the June 2007 archive, and it's the last installment of the first kiss storyline. Sweet Jebas. No wonder I remembered those mattresses.

On that note, Wide Lawns, you have got to write a book just covering your eight and ninth grade years. It will be required reading in schools everywhere.

Eric said...

Last night we had a Dutch Baby and sausage.
For those that do not know a dutch baby is a sort of pancake you bake in the oven and cover with fresh fruit, powdered sugar and lemon juice.
In England they call it Shrove Tuesday and have pancake flipping races.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any plans to come back to Iowa?


Michelle in Iowa

Anonymous said...

i read a book recently where women write memoirs about their wedding dresses. They talked about relationships, love, events of the time, ect. I would really like to hear about your wedding dress. And your wedding, if you have time.

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