Little Lunch Date

My four year old cousin Jake tagged along for girls’ lunch at Annie Ruby’s the week before last.  It was me, my sister, Eugene, my cousin Lauren, Grandmother and my mom.  Jake is used to this set-up as my family is overwhelmingly comprised of women.  He certainly kept us entertained.

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As we enjoyed our delicious fare, we asked Jake about what he’s been up to and his Christmas.  Every response started with “well….” and “actually….”  He is very articulate for his age.

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When I asked him what he got for Christmas, he said “one hundred and one hundred presents.”  A couple of other ladies who came up to the table asked him the same question and they got the same response I did.  Jake is a pretty smart cookie so by the end of the afternoon, cousin Lauren had taught him that one hundred plus one hundred is two hundred.

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I asked him if he likes his new baby cousin Vera, which he said he did.  I asked him if she can talk and walk and he said no.  I then asked what she does do and he said “she fusses,” which cracked up the whole table.

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Though the rest of us ordered soup and sandwiches, Jake ordered superman ice cream (which we did not tell his mother…). I was unfamiliar with this flavor of ice cream.  It’s coloring resembles cotton candy, but I tasted it and I’m fairly certain it’s just vanilla ice cream with food coloring.  What a scam!  Jake loved it.

We also got him hooked on orangeades, a drink that has been beloved by my family for generations.  I suppose we should consider it Jake’s initiation.

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On the way back to his grandmother’s house, we drove by a pasture of black cows.  Jake has been around the agricultural community since he was born so I asked him if he knew what kind of cows they were.  He very confidently said, “Angus!” Lauren, Eugene and I were very impressed.

When Jake got out of the truck, he insisted on giving us all hugs and kisses  He then invited us to come to his house and play and even offered to take us to the park.  Jake sure is a ball of energy but we had a fun time with him!

Y’all keep it real,

Sugarlump

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A Very Costly 46 Cents

I’d like to start by saying that I pay most of my bills online as this is my preference for the sake of efficiency, peace of mind and instant gratification.  Two of my utility companies, however, are stuck in the previous century and charge a fee of roughly 10% of my bill to accept payment electronically.  I refuse to pay this outrageous fee given it is significantly higher than the cost of a stamp (even though postage has gone up).

As I went to pay my two paper bills by check (quick poll: how long do you think before checks are obsolete?), I realized I only had one stamp.  No problem, I would stop at the mail center store just down the road from my apartment when I was out running errands.

I pulled into the parking lot for the mail center store toward the end of the day only to find that the store had gone out of business in the month since I had been there last.  If only I had to pay more bills by mail so I could have kept them in business.  It sure was a handy location.

The bills sat in my car for the next few days as a reminder to buy stamps at a less convenient location.

On my lunch break a few days ago, I headed out to McDonald’s for some McNuggets.  I’d had McDonald’s on the brain ever since one of my coworkers ate a sausage biscuit in front of me as my stomach growled, unsatisfied with the oatmeal and blueberries I’d had for breakfast.  Feeling slightly guilty for straying from my healthy choices, I asked if anyone else wanted anything from McDonald’s.  My pregnant boss asked for a medium order of fries.

I went through the drive-thru and headed back toward the office.  When I was almost there, I happened to glance down and notice my bills in the center console.  I figured I might as well stop off and get some stamps while I was out, so I made a U-turn and drove to Fedex Kinko’s.  I waited at the counter for about 5 minutes as the 3 employees decided not to pay attention to me.  When one finally came over, he told me that they don’t sell stamps but the Walgreens across the street does.  So I hopped back in the car and drove over to Walgreens.

I arrived at Walgreens to utter chaos. There were two checkout lines, both manned by people who seemed to have the opposite of a sense of urgency despite the fact that there were about 10 people in line.  I waited in line for nearly 10 minutes as the cashier studied each of the purchases of the people ahead of me.  I was delighted to wait in line on this dreary, raw day as the young boy in front of me, wearing basketball shorts and no coat, proceeded to cough up a lung.

I finally made it through the line and asked the cashier where the nearest mailbox was.  The woman behind me in line suggested I take my bills to Fedex Kinko’s just across the street.

So I headed BACK to Fedex Kinko’s.  A line had formed and the staff seemed flustered.   Seeing a box that said “outgoing packages,” I walked up to the desk and asked one of the employees if she would kindly just toss my bills in the “outgoing packages” box.  She proceeded to tell me that they don’t take regular mail, but there is a mailbox in the shopping center down the road.  Just fabulous.

I headed down the road to the mailbox and dropped off my very irritating bills. I probably wasted at least a gallon of gas and 30 minutes on this adventure for a stamp.  And by the time I got back to work, I had only room temperature French fries to present to a pregnant lady.  It might have been worth that online fee after all.

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Continuing my brilliant success at life, yesterday, I vacuumed up my phone charger.

Y’all be smart,

Sugarlump

Childhood Campfires

When we were little, Papa used to take us grandbabies camping on the top of the hill behind Granny and Papa’s house.  We would haul the kids’ picnic table to the top of the hill (read: Papa would put it in the back of his truck and drive it to the top of the hill for us) and Granny would load us up with hotdogs, buns and marshmallows for a lunch by the campfire.  We always had a big time.  I can smell the marshmallows burning just thinking about it.  Oh man, those were the days.

I recently found some photos of these camping adventures in some old family albums.

Here’s my sister Eugene at age 3, roasting a branch and channeling her inner Pocahontas.  She was wearing her idol’s shirt for good vibes.

On this particular afternoon, it appears I was thrilled to be roughing it in the backyard at the Fisher-Price picnic table.  Cousin Lauren looks significantly less thrilled.

A few minutes later, there was quite a shift in the mood.  Cousin Lauren is proudly displaying a walnut as I manage a smirk and continue to slouch.  My dad would be so displeased with my posture in these pictures.

And, for Pocahontas, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

Here is Pocahontas doing a little interpretive dance after her beverage.  Or maybe she had to go to the bathroom.  Either way, she was really getting the most out of our afternoon in the wilderness.

Always an adventure “camping” with Papa.

Y’all keep it real,

Sugarlump

New York City on Business

My mother and I were just in New York City for a quick business trip before I leave the nest at the end of next week.

Clarification: My mother was in NYC on business and I was there to eat, not for business…….unless you consider eating serious business……which I do.  So, never mind, I am sticking to my story that my mom and I were both there on business.

Side note: My mother would like the record to show that, while on the train from Boston to New York, a fellow passenger asked if we were able to connect to the internet on our laptops.  She informed him that we were indeed connected and asked if he had completed a few steps required to connect.  He had.

Then she suggested he open a browser window and see if that prompted the final step of agreeing to the terms of use policy.  After a few seconds, he confirmed that that “did the trick” and he was connected to the internet. 

My mother then beamed with delight and made some celebratory hand gestures because she had just (successfully) provided technical support.  If you knew my mother (and also knew that my father is in the field of Information technology), you would realize how monumental this moment was in her life.  And with that, we were off to a great start.

Upon de-training in Penn Station, I passed Detective Lionel Fusco from one of my favorite shows “Person of Interest.”   We both played it cool, but it was a pretty big deal.  I would have taken a photo but a) I’m not that quick on my feet and b) I was playing it cool.

After checking into our hotel, my mom and I made our way to Bloomingdale’s.  Here are some pretty flowers they had in the entry:

We didn’t hit it big at Bloomie’s, but we each got a dress.  Actually, it was the same dress, one for me and one for her.  I must have still been on a celebrity-sighting high to have bought matching dresses with my mother (especially after all of the years I was forced against my will to wear matching outfits with my sister), but we will soon be living 1,000 miles apart so I guess I’ll let this one slide.

After leaving Bloomingdales, it wasn’t quite time to eat yet, so we strolled around the city for a little while. There were lots of purty trees in bloom even though the weather had decided to turn back to winter less than a week after the first day of spring (confirming my decision to move to the South):

OK, enough of that.

Now, let’s get down to business:  Eating

Dinner: Dos Caminos

I have been waiting years for this dining experience and boy did I have some high expectations after all of the talk from my parents, friends, and Jessica Simpson about how great this place is.  I am pleased to report that it did not disappoint.  Very tasty guacamole (although I think Rosa Mexicana has a slight edge), delicious tacos pescados and dos enchiladas. Yum.  I just ate a huge lunch, but typing that made me hungry again.  Mexican food does that to me.

Apparently I liked it so much that I forgot to take a picture. But before my voracious appetite took over, I did manage to snap a shot of the best sangria ever.  My mom and I debated over whether to order individual glasses or a pitcher given it was just the two of us.  After a long debate and some number crunching, we decided to go for the pitcher and agreed to just leave the extra if it seemed like too much.

We had no problem polishing it off…

Hey now, don’t judge.  It was a special occasion: my first dinner since the night before.

Lunch: A Voce

Oh my word was this divine.  This wasn’t just really good, fancy-shmancy Italian.  This was exceptionally innovative, light, and yet rich in flavor and texture, and just the right portion size (to keep me from overindulging and feeling ill, although I could have plowed through a few more servings without hesitation).

Thank goodness this was not an all-you-can-eat buffet or I might not have lived to tell about it.

I think I have found my new favorite non-Mexican dish and it is comprised of gorgonzola-filled gnocchi, topped with finely chopped smoked walnuts and tiny cubes of apple, served in a butter sauce.  Soft, creamy, and savory with a hint of sweetness.  Perfection.  My taste buds are still rejoicing and my stomach is growling for more.

(What happened to my gnocchi? Oh, that’s right. I ate it. Darn.)

As we finished our glorious meal, my mother and I promptly made a pact to meet up in NYC every year.  I think this agreement had a lot to do with our determination to dine at this establishment again.  And again. And again and again.

DEE-lish.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump