It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas...


Posted on : 8:17 AM | By : Jennifer

Forget Sees Candies, forget Chukar Cherries, forget homemade fudge. For Christmas 2008, Derrick has already decided what each and every one of you is receiving from the Smith family:

That's right: Garlic and Jalapeno Pickled Asparagus. How, you ask? How could a man as unassuming as my husband come up with such a sophisticated, impressive gift? Well, he actually received a jar of pickled asparagus from a co-worker for his 35th birthday. It was meant as a gag gift, but Derrick took one bite of the jalapeno and garlic concoction and was smitten. He ranted and raved for weeks about how delicious the asparagus was, how it would make a great Christmas gift, and please, please, please couldn't I learn how to can something, just this once? (The nerve! My pantry is full of cans...of pop.)

You all know what a doting wife I am, so of course I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and got the job done. My good friend Cara (who will be partially responsible for any damaged relationships due to this gift) was kind enough to help me with--okay, do most of--the work. She is a true canning/cooking whiz and shared some of her talent with me (thank you, Cara!) Will any of the three people reading this blog think less of me if I tell you that this is the first thing I have ever canned? Ever. I've done freezer jam, but the art of canning has eluded me. Until now. The pickled asparagus has given me a shot of heartburn, I mean, confidence, that has me excited to try canning some peaches in August. But don't worry. We won't burden you at Christmastime with sweet, juicy peaches. We know your family is dying for a bite of Derrick's Special Garlic and Jalapeno Asparagus. We'll keep the peaches for ourselves. Happy Holidays!

Rappin' Rodney


Posted on : 8:30 AM | By : Jennifer

Do any of you remember this song by Rodney Dangerfield, circa 1983? We used to sing it to my dad at the dinner table and thought we were hysterical. Rod was always such a good sport--about everything. So this past week it was fun to honor him for Fathers Day and, more importantly, his 60th birthday! Please forgive the blurry photo--it is a result of my careless photography, not my father's lack of handsomeness, which hasn't diminished a bit over the years! When someone you love has a big b-day, its a nice time to reflect on that person's qualities, and here is a non-inclusive list of my dad's:

successful (in his career and otherwise)
faithful (to church and family)
a leader and example in every way

Some may think this list a bit optimistic, but if you know my dad, you know that it barely scratches the surface. Every girl thinks she has the best dad in the world, but I happen to know that mine really is. Happy Birthday, Rappin' Rodney!
p.s. Here is our attempt to take a picture of ourselves. I know...very adolescent, but Rod was a good sport and played along

Tim Russert


Posted on : 3:16 PM | By : Jennifer

Tim Russert
1950 - 2008

I'm surprised by how sad I am at Tim Russert's sudden passing today. He was my favorite newsperson, and I feel somehow like I just lost an old friend. He always exuded alot of warmth and optimism; very refreshing in the news world. I will miss seeing him on "Meet the Press," especially during this election year. Hats off to him.



Posted on : 2:51 PM | By : Jennifer

Chukar success aside, it's been a rough week

#1: Rachael, my mother, and I had our Spring Piano Recital on Saturday. Rache and Mom played beautifully, but as for me, can you spell s-l-a-u-g-h-t-e-r? I do this every time. No matter how much I practice or how well I know a piece, I cannot play in front of an audience. This time, not only did my hands shake, but my right leg started shaking as I worked the pedal. Of course, the audience was to my right, so they could easily view my shakiness, which made me shake more. My stage fright used to really upset me, but this time I just took it in stride: slaughtered my piece as expected, enjoyed the rest of the recital, then sampled the refreshment table afterwards. So although I'm still making a fool of myself at recitals, I just don't care too much anymore. Now that's progress. (If you look closely at this photo, which was taken just before my song, you can see that I'm smiling to keep from crying. But aren't Rachael and my mom adorable?)

#2: I'm fighting another spring cold (don't even get me started on the one I had in March)

#3: I gained a pound, probably from gorging on Chukar Cherries (that's a whole other post), but let's just use the 'ole female/retention/cyclical standby.

#4: This fall I have to choose between Obama and McCain. Ugh.



Posted on : 2:40 PM | By : Jennifer

The highlight of my week was managing to swipe an entire case of Chukar Cherries using my trusty five-finger discount. Have any of you out there experienced Chukar Cherries? They are, in a word, the bomb. (How cool do I sound saying that?) They are an overpriced little treasure of our underappreciated little region, and I don't buy them too often. You can imagine my delight, then, upon seeing the bountiful open tins set as a centerpiece on each table at Derrick's Psuedo-Fancy Business Thingy.

My dinner companions and I munched happily on the tasty morsels before, during and after our meal, commenting on their tasty morselness and how it was a shame they were so pricey. I mentioned how, although we'd given them as gifts, we always failed to buy any for ourselves. The lovely lady on my left (who is now my new best friend), said "Don't worry, I won't tell anybody if you stuff some in your purse on the way out." HA HA! I laughed, a little too loudly.

Later, when I came huffing and puffing back into the ballroom after the Cricket Episode (please see previous post), everyone was leaving and I decided to grab one more Chukar for the road. My New Best Friend picked up the tin (which was still pretty full, to my surprise) and forced them on me--forced them, I tell you!--saying, "Here, just take them. What are they going to do with all these? You know they'll just throw them out." I hemmed and hawed for almost three seconds, then swiped them and ran. Derrick and I gorged the entire way home--cricket in one hand, Chukars in the other--and I'm happy to report that no caloric label could be found anywhere on the tin. I assauged my guilt by making him take the rest of them to work the next morning. I'm sure his fifteen employees enjoyed the four cherries we had left over.

Want Fries With That?


Posted on : 9:31 PM | By : Jennifer

At 9:00 this evening I found myself, in a dress and heels, standing at the counter of Petco ordering One Large Cricket. The boy cashier eyed me skeptically.

"Just one?"
"Just one."
"Large or small?"
"Large. How much are they?"
"Ten cents."
"I'll take it."

The cashier then calmly stated into the loudspeaker, "One large cricket, please. One large cricket." The request echoed throughout the store, reminding me so much of a burger joint, I wondered if you could order by number (Value Meal #1: One large cricket, two small worms and a Coke...) I was impressed when one minute later, a tiny woman emerged from the back of the store through the crowd, delivering the product to me with a big smile. Efficient, that Petco.

As my order was placed over the intercom, laughter erupted in the line. I didn't see what was so funny, until later Derrick explained to me that they sell crickets in bulk for reptiles to eat, so a customer purchasing just one was a bit of a spectacle. Somehow this did not occur to me at the time of purchase. I just assumed Petco sold crickets for one purpose only: every nine-year old girl needed her own cricket named Lucky to take in a jar to school for Insect Day. Why else would they keep thousands of crickets in stock?

The upside of tonight's rather embarrassing display was that it gave me a brief respite from a psuedo-fancy dinner at the Red Lion that was agony. It was one of Derrick's business thingys complete with a two hour program and slide show--need I say more? You've all been to them. At 8:35 I remembered the promised cricket would only be available until 9:00 (when Petco closes) so I had to jump up and run out on the show. I made it to the car and peeled out before the evil speaker could drag me back in with his long cane. Thank you, Lucky!

Frequenting The Finer Establishments; or, I Spent Way Too Much Time At Rite Aid This Weekend


Posted on : 9:12 PM | By : Jennifer

So you say there's nothing to do in Kennewick? Well, I'll have you know I went to Rite Aid--yes, the old Rite Aid behind Columbia Center Mall--not once, but twice this weekend. I hadn't been in ages, and then suddenly, it was upon me. And oh, was it good.

Friday night found me at a girls night out (yay!) with some friends of mine who work with Derrick and were kind enough to include me in their fun. We started the evening w/dinner (remind me to post later on the female fascination with Applebees appetizers) and then hit "Baby Mama," which was actually pretty funny (I'll give it 3 1/2 stars).

**As I'm typing this, Derrick just shoved his new, fancy shmancy running socks in my face, forcing me to smell them after he took a long run. He exclaimed, "These socks are amazing! Even after I run in them, they smell like they just came out of the dryer!" Smelly or not, I do not appreciated just-ran-in-socks shoved in my face. And please see my last post on the word "amazing."**

Okay. So after Applebee's and before Baby Mama, we wanted treats for the movie, and why should we pay theater prices when we each had a purse large enough to haul in a package of Oreos and a gallon of milk? So we proceeded, and would you believe me if I told you I spent more on candy than I did on dinner? For real.

Saturday came and D. and I headed out for a blessed night alone. Yummy Thai food and some clothes shopping for Derrick left me with a sweet tooth. We wandered through Fuzziwigs in search of something, but I was too cheap to pay the $4.95 for a handful of Runts. We wanted to spend our last hour out browsing Barnes and Noble and I toyed with the option of a gourmet cookie or cake, but again my humble roots kept me from paying four dollars for a Rice Krispie treat. Well, guess what just happens to sit right across the parking lot of B&N?

Oh, the ecstasy! My second trek to the great RA in less than 24 hours, and just as much money spent on junk. We returned to Barnes and Noble with our booty in tow, and I flipped through a book entitled (I'm not kidding here), The Taste of Sweet: Exploring our Relationship with our Favorite Treats. I plopped down in a comfy chair and inhaled a package of Neccos in approximately one minute while I read about our nations obsession with sugar. D. was off browsing his own books, and we reunited just in time to split a Kit Kat before heading home. It was a great night, a great weekend, and good eats at a very good price.