Saturday, October 22, 2011

Japanese Dish Soap

I'll put the moral first this time: Don't try two strange new products at the same time.

Especially if one is supposed to be edible and the other isn't.
I don't know how my new, flowery-scented Gain dish detergent got into the vegetable pan on the counter. I do know that it is nearly invisible, and that it didn't catch my attention at all as I added the bag of new "Japanese" vegetables and turned on the heat.
"What's that smell?" asked Claye, as she came in and began to ice the glasses.
"Japanese vegetables. I think they must have some kind of crop over there that we don't eat here," I replied, "Still, Asian food is supposed to be healthier so I suppose it can't hurt."

She looked at the package. "Hmm. There's nothing Asian about these vegetables. There all American."
I was a little defensive. After all, I was the cook here. "I'm sure they've put some kind of flowery spice in them. Don't Asians use flowers to scent their food?"

She was hesitant, "Well yes."
"Ok. We'll try it."
So we served it along with lunch.

I ate one bite and dumped the rest down the disposal. Too bad if I'm not open to foreign foods.
Claye ate a little more, not because she is of an accepting nature, but she was willing to make an exception for Japanese cuisine, because she likes Japanese art and music.

Turtle ate all of his, because he is the man of the house and has to be the leader in courageous acts, and because he "actually enjoys trying new foods of all cultures".

Still, we kept talking about it, puzzling over the strange tastes of other peoples. Then we read the label on the vegetable package and found nothing unusual--no "other spices", not even "foreign flavorings".

It was then, that my brain finally started working properly and I grabbed up the new bottle of detergent.
Sure enough. Same pungent smell. Flowery. Soapy.
I think even the Japanese would have spit it out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Can't Think of Anything but Chicken Fried Steak

Well because the cafeteria served it for lunch today--the real deal, not some pre-fried soy substitute. I'm sure they had all the trimmings as well--mashed potatoes, cream gravy and a vegetable and maybe even dessert. Normally I can ignore lunch, hide out in my room and eat a package of tuna or a teaspoon of peanut butter substitute. Normally, it's easy to stay on my diet. Today they chicken fried that steak. Its aroma filled the halls. Its aroma still fills the halls. I'm hungry. Next hour the lesson is about Jonah and that large fish. I hate fish. Why didn't the prophets use a chicken fried steak example? On second thought, why didn't I say: "Oh forget the diet!" and go eat chicken-fried steak?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Festival in a Small Oklahoma Town

 I just put in a very full Saturday at the Pumpkin Festival listening to the  incessant chirruping of these maddening little creatures, since their stand was next to ours. As senior sponsor, I supervised a booth dedicated to the sale of schenetka and pumpkin rolls. That is to say, I helped set up, then spent most of my time running errands until time to take the booths down and clean up.

We sold over seventy dozen schenetka and I have no idea how many pumpkin rolls.  Everybody seemed to have lots of mad money to spend.

They bought food and souvenirs--even totally useless ones like little bags of red Oklahoma dirt, which was sold by the chamber of commerce for a dollar, rendering  a great return. (Because of the drought, dirt is more abundant than ever this year, and tiny snack bags don't cost much.)

 Claye was asked to run a demonstrator booth, showing people how to spin pots and letting them try it. This was a good idea for her, as well, because she needs students, and this was a way to advertise. Turtle was there to field questions from parents, while the children enjoyed playing in the clay.

One little girl was particularly interested. She seemed oblivious to the crowds around, relishing the feel of the clay beneath her hands with a kind of intense blissfulness.

All morning, strange people strode fearlessly about the courthouse square.  Everybody seemed to be sporting something unique--face paint, ponytails, pet dogs awaiting the dog show, children dressed for the parade, or even unusual tattoos.

Of course there was a parade, hailed by the mighty sirens of two firetrucks and a police car. Important people in the community were given a ride aloft, from whence they could hurl candy to their proud fans.  There seemed to have been no entry requirements. The high school band marched proudly, trying to drown out the "righteous riders" a motorcycle "gang" who laughed as they reved rebellious-sounding engines; parents carried children in costumes, people walked their dogs proudly by like floats--full of fluff and bark. 
There were old cars, decorated wagons, unicycles and even a tractor or two. Yes, that's Fred driving this beautiful John Deere green one.

There's nothing quite like proud sounding trumpets on a clear, cool morning.

And it's a good thing this horse didn't come by until later, because those trumpeters would not have been able to watch their steps.

Even the town mayor participated, singing for a couple of hours-- country songs, newly-composed ballads, and old hippie songs revived and sung with completely intelligible lyrics.
It was a kid-friendly place. Lots of them rode the barrel train or threw frisbees out on the courthouse lawn.

And there were toys for older folks too...old cars they remembered driving, way back when cars were a new invention. There was a stunt-driver, who drove his four-wheeler up a ramp and did stunts in the air, high above the cheering crowds.

My own students did an especially fine job, selling the schenetka and representing our school with smiles and lots of lively conversation with customers. I didn't have to sit and supervise--a job I loathe--but was able to dash madly too and fro like an uncharacteristically substantial humming bird who flits more than she flutters.
I saw several children of former students. Here's Sunshine and Stormy who have switched characters since I last wrote about them. Sunshine refused to give me a hug, so Stormy gave me two.
As the day wore on, I saw many revelers growing quiet and seeking quiet bubbles amid the crowd.

This little girl waved at me from her elegant perch on the courthouse porch.
The weather was perfect, the atmosphere benign and peaceful, but I'm exhausted and still recovering from the raucously continuous chirruping of those perky little parakeets.