Sunday, October 12, 2008

The I Meme

For all of you non bloggers, reading this blog only because you are connected to me in some way, let me explain what a meme is. In science, a Meme (pronounced to rhyme with “theme”) is a self-propagating unit of thought that is spread from one host to another. Richard Dawkins invented the term as a kind of idea-gene. Like genes, as Memes spread they mutate or die. Only the fittest Memes survive.

For bloggers, Memes have become synonymous with internet quizzes, surveys, and novelties people link to and pass around on their blogs, forums and via email. Things like the “which superhero are you most like” test.

I found this meme on another blog and decided I wanted to answer the questions and post them here. But, being my usual non-conformist self I have added a few questions and omitted those I did not want to answer. I am not going to tag anyone but feel free to use the meme.

The I Meme:

I am: often invisible to those around me.
I live: in a small rural town that is rapidly becoming a big city.
I laugh: until I pee my pants or stop breathing.
I think: I would have been happier as a member of my mother’s generation.
I know: I am one of the luckiest people on the planet.
I want: my life to be validated by something that will be remembered long after I am gone.
I have: more than I need and all that I could possibly hope for.
I wish: I could relive the last day in my first husband's life.
I hate: people who think they know it all and pretend to be better than they actually are .
I hide: all of my written journals.
I pray: every day for health and happiness for those I love.
I burn: candles whenever I am home alone.
I rode: a ferry around Staten Island.
I sometimes: like to eat peanut butter from the jar.
I hurt: most when those I love are hurting.
I save: old greeting cards, useless CD’s, pens & pencils and dozens of other items.
I miss: my job but am thankful I do not have to go there ever again.
I fear: for the quality of the world that we will leave our grandchildren.
I applaud: all those who have the ability to put others first.
I wait: for the day when I can afford to travel the world, but, I know it will never come.
I need: to work harder at improving my spelling.
I made: my first plane trip at age 60.
I don’t: watch television news programs.
I take: life one day at a time.
I believe: in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and in all things magical.
I drive: my husband nuts with the amount of time I spend on the PC.
I forgive: my father for naming me Rita, but I still wish he had named me Betty.
I hope: I live long enough to see world peace.
I feel: each of us needs to take a greater part in helping to shape the lives of young people.
I hear: everything around me but I actually take in very little of what I hear.
I smell: roses and immediately get transported back to the capital building rose garden in Montgomery, Alabama.
I crave: donuts and chocolate.
I search: every store for all the bargains.
I wonder: when I will get my fifteen minutes of fame.
I regret: that I have let some very important people in my life slip away without telling them how I felt.
I love: to spend days seeking adventures with my dear Frank.
I ache: all over due to my fibromyalgia.
I am not: the person most people perceive me to be.
I imagine: the world would be a better place if we could all agree to disagree and respect that decision.
I believe: the world is teetering on the edge of no return.
I dance: only in my dreams.
I sing: only for infants.
I cry: at the drop of a feather.
I don’t always: do my dishes as soon as the meal is over.
I fight: tooth and nail for those I care about.
I write: because it keeps me sane.
I win: anytime I can avoid raising my voice in anger.
I lose: every time I let my temper get out of control.
I am never: going to cook fried chicken again.
I never: go swimming in the river.
I need: to learn to be more like my mother.
I cherish: Aunt Ceal’s ruby ring.
I expect: too much of myself.
I had: the security code for a bank vault.
I always: try to do the moral or Christian thing regardless of other’s opinions.
I confuse: my nephews Adam and Nation.
I listen: to children at play.
I can: usually be found: sitting at my computer
I am scared: that I will have no one to care for me in my old age
I need: serenity and harmony in my life before all other things
I am happy: when Frank smiles at me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Different or Silly street names

The “Old Salt” and I have spent a lot of time lately traveling on back roads to out of the way places. We have seen some pretty spectacular vistas, and some quaint small towns that showed they had declined in the past but were rebuilding and hoped for a promising future.

One of the small towns we drove through recently did not use first, second, third etc. to name its streets. Instead they were just a simple “One St.”, “Two St.”, “ Three St.” and so on. This very small town also happened to be named after a woman named Martha. I found that rather endearing considering the neighboring town on the opposite side of the Missouri river is named for the first president of the United States, who we all know had a wife named Martha.

This past weekend we were on our way to a family reunion being held at a remote facility that served as a Christian youth camp during the summer. Despite having perfect directions, we still managed to make several wrong turns on the winding country roads. At one point, realizing we had passed our turn, we looked for a place to safely turn around. Just so happens the gravel road we picked was named Horse Feathers Lane . Can you imagine the reaction the residents of that road must get each time they give their address.

I have seen photographs of streets with funny names posted on the web. I have occasionally wondered “ what were they thinking” when I came across some location with an usual name and wished I could discover the history of the name. I think having the job of naming things would be the most perfect job.

A Google search indicates 22,500,000 web pages devoted to the topic of "strange street names" while lists 25,560 books on the same theme. I guess I am not the only one fascinated by such things.

The first house my first husband and I purchased as newlyweds back in 1966 was on a street named Lullaby Lane, The next street over was Rhythm Lane and it connected with Bridal Vale Court. We received a fair amount of good natured ribbing from our friends over that. They liked to remind us that if the Catholic newlyweds were not careful using the rhythm method of birth control they would be singing lullabies real soon.

I once lived near a large subdivision of very similar homes called Hickory Hollow. Residents of that community were constantly writing letters of complaint to the city fathers and the newspapers because of problems with getting things delivered to them. Delivery drivers often drove in circles looking for the correct street until they just gave up and left without making the delivery. Mail delivery was seldom correct or in a timely manner. Pizza restaurants refused to deliver there. UPS left packages on the wrong doorstep. And, if you were expecting an ambulance or the police you needed to stand on the curb with a flag to be sure you were found. All because every street had the word hickory in the name and no one could keep them straight. Hickory Glenn, Hickory Dale or Hickory Way, it did not matter, because the look alike houses made all the street names sound alike.

Regardless of the silly or unusual names for streets, I got off the original intent for this post and that was to show you some of the photo’s I have taken during our gallivanting the last few weeks. Hope you like them.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

What's Gooey Butter Cake?

What's Gooey Butter Cake?

 It's a scrumptious only-in-St. Louis treat served for breakfast, lunch or dinner,  ala mode or plain. What could be more sensuous and decadent than a gooey dessert, the kind that when you bite into it drips down your chin? And when it comes to gooey desserts, perhaps the champion is the aptly named gooey butter cake, though, surprisingly, it is little known outside my home region. Perhaps that's because the gooey butter cake was invented here in St. Louis and possibly because the recipe has been understandably safeguarded ever since.

Like many a delicacy, fudge, brownies and chocolate chip cookies among them, the gooey butter cake was created by accident. Sometime in the 1930s, legend has it, a German baker in St. Louis inadvertently put too much sugar into his cake batter and was too thrifty to waste it, so he just baked it anyway.
The glutinous result was a hit and today there's hardly a bakery in St. Louis or the surrounding region that doesn't offer a version. The old Heimburger Bakery on South Lindbergh was especially famous for it.

You can find Gooey Butter Cake in bakeries all over the St. Louis area, but what's someone from out-of-town to do? Here's the answer. Enjoy making one of St. Louis' popular, quirky foods.

There appear to be at least two different approaches to making gooey butter cake at home. One starts with a yeast-based dough over which a filling consisting chiefly of butter, sugar, milk and often corn syrup is poured. Similar to Philadelphia German butter cake, this may well have been the original version. More recently a version starting with a packaged cake mix has become popular. Its filling consists mainly of cream cheese and powdered sugar.

Bon Appetit!

Recipe attached.

1/2 cup butter
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 - 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 t almond extract
4 cups of confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease one 9x13 cake pan. Melt butter. Empty cake mix into a large bowl. Stir melted butter, along with one egg, into the cake mix. Press mixture into pan. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, almond extract, confectioners sugar and the remaining two eggs. Beat for three minutes with an electric mixer set on medium high speed. Spread over top of the cake mixture in the pan. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until golden brown on top. Allow cake to cool. Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar. (Cake will be gooey on the top, so don't over bake!)

"This a very rich cake, but mmmmmmmm so good. Best when eaten with milk or coffee. You can also make it a Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake if desired. Just use a chocolate cake mix in place of the yellow."