Friday, May 29, 2009

Evil stinky fish sauce.

This is fish sauce. It sounds gross, right? I bought it because several recipes I wanted to try required it. As incapable as I am at following recipes, I should have known better. I thought it would be like the letter "K" in the word "know" or "knee" or "knock"...silent, but necessary. I thought WRONG. At least it was wrong for Courtney's-impossible-attempt-at-following-a-recipe meal. I tried it again in a few other dishes and it was just plain awful. I know that it is a staple in some of the restaurant meals I love, but Jared and I agreed to leave this one to the experts.

So as we were packing the last few items from our kitchen at the apartment, I came across a huge bottle of fish sauce (that I bought two months ago when I was under the impression that I would be using it at least once a week as the silently special ingredient that gave my asian dishes that hint of something that made it juuuuuust right) and decided to chuck it and go back to cooking with out it. I resumed cleaning the kitchen; tossing whatever wasn't making it over to the new house into a garbage bag when suddenly... Something smelled like dog food. 'What the heck is that SMELL? Oh good grief! Whoa!' The smell transformed into something waaaay worse. Like an explosion, it was sudden and impactful and caught me off guard. I realized the garbage bag I had been throwing everthing in had a hole in it. Jared passed by. He arched his back as if he were trying to leave his head in the next room while the rest of him walked forward. "Ohhhhh!" he twisted his face. "Wha?" "Fish sauce." Immediately he picked up the bag unknowing of the hole. "Its leaking!" I called, "put it in that box so it doesn't get onto the carpet." He set the bag down and I cleaned the floor trying not to wretch.
A few minutes later he returned to load up the box with more trash and when the box was all full he went to lift it to take it down to the car. But when he went to pick it up, the box began dripping fish sauce! He hurried back to the kitchen to avoid getting it in the carpet, lest our apartment manager think we were hiding a body in the walls. We decided to throw it in a contractor bag. He took alllllll the trash out of the box and loaded it into the contractor bag (which, if you are unfamiliar, is like a huge superman- strengthed garbage bag) and hauled it down to the car and out to the dumpster. My fish sauce woes were over.
Or so I thought. Somehow the fish sauce in its evil mischief wound up leaking onto the carpet in the trunk of my car. When I innocently went to load the babies into the car for a trip to Kohls today, I was assaulted by the smell. I cleaned and cleaned to no avail. Will this stuff just wear off? or will I be living (or dying) by this smell for the life of my car? Does anyone know?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Southern girl

I'm a southern girl.
But not just any southern girl. A southern Louisiana girl.
I came from Jefferson Parish and grew up right outside of New Orleans. Our family used to take the ferry across the Mississippi to walk the French Quarter on Sundays. We'd eat po boys and watch people sing and make fudge. Sometimes daddy would get some alligator on a stick at the Market and us kids would ask for a bite like it were the very first time. One of my favorite things to do was to drive around the city looking at the old worn houses. I'd imagine what stories were born in them. That's what I love about the south...the history, the fantastical stories that weave the fabric of the culture there. History is what gives it it's spirit.
If you look closely, you'll notice my Louisiana roots showing. I say things like "ya'll" and "where ya' at?" and understand it when someone asks "howsya'mamaen'dem'doin'?" I know the proper pronunciation of Tchoupitoulas (chop-it-too-lis) and Burgundy (ber-GUN-dee). "Go" is spelled Geaux and Breax is pronounced "Bro" and yes, i've known tons of Brauds (bros) and Thibideauxs (as well as Geautreauxs, Boudreauxs and Michouds). If I lost you with any of that, then you're most likely not from Louisiana. Give me crawfish in the springtime and King Cake come January. Fry me up some boudin balls and lets go get a snowball for dessert. I need humidity or I feel like a fish out of water and I'm most comfortable at or below sea level. It doesn't matter how much the Saints suck, come football season we root for them. And, most importantly "Geaux Tigers" was a phrase that Sadie learned by age 1.
Yes, I'm a southern Louisiana girl. And you can take the girl out of Louisiana, but you can't take the Louisiana out of the girl.

I realized this truth when we crossed the Atchafalaya Basin on our way to Baton Rouge. Gray clouds billowed across a suffocated sky until they were so full they emptied huge drops of rain on the windshield of the car. It was like a prelude to my tears. Rain! I touched the glass. My eyes swelled and the top of my throat closed shut. Rain pattered the glass...a welcome home round of applause. I missed this place; the people, the culture, the geography. And I didn't know just how much until we came back home after a year in San Antonio. I felt so relaxed, so peaceful. I wanted to soak it up in a way that I never had before. I wanted to appreciate it and revel in it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

House pictures

Here are a few pictures of the house. Do you remember the "before" pictures? The white walls? The dinky light fixtures? The barren room? Scroll back through some older posts around the end of February to have your mind refreshed.
The pictures came out a little dark, but the kitchen is a beautiful yellow-y color.
Jack's being visited by orbs while watching "wow-wow-wubzy." This is Jared's baby. Not the ACTUAL baby. Wait. No. Yes. Jack IS Jared's baby. Don't go starting rumors! I mean the TV is Jared's other baby. He took great time and care to research and find the best tv for the best price. Too bad I didn't take any pictures of the green duct tape he used to hang the surround sound. He put up crown moulding to hide the wires rather than running them behind the wall. It was a win-win. He got surround sound, I got moulding! Now I just have to figure out what to do with all those wires under the tv.

Here's our kitchen. I've ordered knobs for the cabinets. They haven't come in yet and are back ordered, but consider this the "before" picture for that project. I'm so proud of Jared. He (with the help of his Papa) changed out 10 light fixtures and this kitchen faucet! Now i've got the sprayer i've always wanted. Its so nice :)

My good friend Kathleen lovingly gave us her beautiful dining room table. It fits so beautifully into our room. I am a softy for things with meaning and since this came from someone I love, it makes it one of my favorite pieces.

I'm not posting the loft or the bedrooms yet because they don't have their proper furniture in them. Once we get it all in to place, i'll post some pictures of those. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


It seems like more often than not lately, I have been completing tasks in an imaginary sort of way rather than in the likes of reality. Walls have been painted, projects accomplished, phone calls and e-mails returned, thank you notes written, blogs posted. Heck, I've even done imaginary exercise.
I think this is my mind's way of coping with the million and one things I have on my "to-do" list that are NOT getting done in reality. You see, I LIKE the "t0-do" list. It makes me feel productive and organized (things I cannot always call myself). More than liking the actual list, I like crossing things OFF the list. Its a feeling that bubbles up from my stomach and rushes through the tips of my fingers as the pen crosses the paper. The feeling that I did something that says I exist- that I am worth something because I DID something. It is a drug that washes over me and hooks me into marathon errand runs and late night cleaning sessions. It is also what drove me to paint almost my entire house in 5 days. Jared would get home at 7pm. We'd eat and I'd head over to the house by about 8pm and paint. One night I returned home after midnight, showered, attempted to sleep, and when I couldn't I (in my pajamas) drove back to the empty house and painted the kitchen. At 8:30am Jared called.

"We're coming over."

A few minutes later I wondered why he would bring two kids to a house filled with wet walls and paint? This was not a good idea. Why didn't I say anything? I felt guilty for not being with them.
They showed up and disaster took over. Sadie bumped her arm on a wall and got paint on herself. Not liking this, she wiped her arm on our BRAND new sofa and chair. In his attempt to stop her from spreading the paint, Jared grabbed her arm. Her feelings hurt, she burst into tears. Meanwhile, Jack's practicing his standing skills against the wall.

"Why did you come here with two kids?"
"I just wanted to help."
"You DO watching the kids and keeping them out of my way so I can finish painting."
"But I want to help with my hands."

I couldn't help but feel like I had infected Jared with my obsession. I mean, there WAS something in his voice when he called to say they were coming. Something unfamiliar to his usual tone. Something rushed and almost frantic. A sort of worry when he realized I had returned to paint before the sun had come up. It was like he wanted to hurry up the process by helping me so we could return to some semblance of normalcy. He knew I had to finish. He hated that I had to finish.

But I did. I finished the kitchen, painted our bedroom, and we moved in. That was about 3 weeks ago. I crashed for a while. (I suppose if you call doing my everyday chores of being a mother, housekeeper, laundromat, cook, teacher, maid, personal shopper....etc.. crashing) I've made it a point to abstain from my drug. (for now) The "to-do" list runs wild and grows by the day. But at night; in that twilight between laying down and falling asleep, my mind wanders. And in my imaginary world everything is being crossed off the list.