Ozarks Gothic

Fall has arrived in Missouri and, with it, the various grotesqueries of seasonal allergies.

Fall is the best season, in my completely objective and always true opinion, but it is also the season in which I look the grossest. In the Midwest, you can hope for a long string of days between September and November in which the temperature doesn’t drop below 60 or rise above 75 (i.e. perfect), a specific sort of bright blue sky and slanted golden light, leaves so beautiful they hurt to look at, and tons of mold and ragweed. Which means a red, snotty nose, uncontrollably watery eyes [“I’m not crying” sniff “I’m just…my allergies…” and the more you try to explain it the more you look like you’re actually crying], etc., plus added stomach weight as my stupid lizard brain prepares to hibernate  for the winter (read: move from one heated building to the next…although, in my defense, I am a fairly hardcore cold weather biker and do need that extra weight. Right?).

Fall is my favorite, but also historically the season in which I get the zero-est of dates.

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You know how you wake up from some dreams so deeply effected that it takes hours to shake it completely and remember that this is real life and that was dream life? Two nights ago, I had one of these intense dreams.

ABOUT EATING OUT.

Five days off the restaurant food and I’m acting like one of the ghoul-faced meth addicts you see rolling around on the sidewalks downtown, suffering through some unimaginable state of late-term withdrawal. Perhaps I was eating out more than I even thought. I blame this partially on my own laziness/love of grease and sugar, but primarily on my boyfriend, who doesn’t cook anything but Manwiches and burnt eggs. How did I end up here? Did I or did I not write in my childhood diary that I would one day marry a Professional Chef/Massage Therapist/Ballet Dancer?!

(I was into Baryshnikov in those days. Well, all male dancers: I was a perverted young girl who sat backstage during the Nutcracker,  mesmerized by the men leaping about in their tight tights with their smooth, bulgy, Ken-doll-like crotches. Not much left to the imagination but I still managed to imagine it hilariously wrong, as it turns out. I’ll have to draw you a picture some day.)

Oh, Baryshnikov: learn how to cook and give a good massage and keep wearing those tights and *maybe* I'll consider marrying you.

Oh, Baryshnikov: learn how to cook and give a good massage and keep wearing those tights and *maybe* I’ll consider marrying you.

We were poor-ish when I was a kid. Nothing to write a Southern Gothic novel about or anything, but poor enough that we didn’t have cable, AC, fully functioning heat, new clothes, or foods that you couldn’t buy in bulk (anyone who was raised by hippies knows exactly what I mean when I say “bulk foods.”). The bottom of the old family station wagon had rusted in certain places and if you looked down, you could see the street racing along beneath us. I had a wonderful childhood — a disappointingly wonderful childhood, considering my desire to one day write a Really Good Great Novel — so I’m not playing a tiny violin here. I was fortunate (even if severe mental illness raged through our family like a wildfire off its meds. At least we were creative?). I just say all that so you understand that we RARELY went out to eat. Sometimes if we’d spent the whole day working on our old farmhouse we’d hop in the rusty-bottomed car and get some burgers at Steak n’ Shake or something equally gross-good, and those times were like dream times. Until I grew up and tasted chocolate truffles, I didn’t think that anything could taste as wonderful as the burnt flesh of a cow slathered with thousand island dressing and crushed between two bleached buns. Perhaps that’s why now, as a real adult with small amounts of expendable cash, my eating out has gotten out of control.

In More Food News:  Last night I made lasagna “with” (for) my boyfriend. Have you ever made Italian food and not drank wine with it? It’s surreal. I didn’t realize Italian food could even be digested without a healthy dose of Cabernet to wash it down, but apparently it can be, and maybe it even should be, as you are able to keep your wits about you and don’t try for a fourth helping.

I promise this blog is about more than eating out and the weather… Although, if I’m being honest here, maybe 45% of this blog is about the weather. I like to chat weather. I just do. I was raised in the Ozarks by descendants of farmers and it’s so hard to break from the stereotype.  (Do you know what I had to do to prevent myself from falling into a Winter’s Bone-type scenario and make it instead to where I am today — a classy librarian with a metropolitan apartment with framed pictures on the wall and working heat and decorative pillows?!)

But that still leaves a whole 55% to be about other things: Libraries, Cats I Want, Dogs I Want, Tornadoes (wait, dammit, that’s the weather too), Love and Romance, Special Interest, Miscellany, etc.

Jist hangin' out, like we do in the Ozark Mountains

Jist hangin’ out, like we do in the Ozark Mountains

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