Category Archives: Food

The Cabin

When a miller-moth commits suicide in my Gentleman Jack, I transform into a huntress like you’ve never seen.

It’s Friday of Labor Day weekend, the last “un-official” weekend of summer in the US and as tradition holds, my family goes to The Cabin. Lucky for me, I am still in the States on my whirlwind vacation and am able to bring Charlie here for her first Cabin experience. I haven’t been to this place in over two years and while nothing has really changed, aside from the motion sensor lights my dad installed last weekend, the raw beauty of this place has stricken me in yet another new way.

All week I have been organizing, making lists, and gathering my supplies for this trip. It used to be so simple. Pack duffel bag: check. Pack firearms and ammo: check. Pack fishing pole: check. Pack adult beverages and cheeky snacks: check. This trip was different, I had to plan how much food I would need for Charlie because Tajmagrocery (King Soopers HGH version) and/ or Whole Foods is a fair distance away. Not to mention packing her 90 bajiollion necessities and trying to remember my own tooth brush is a feat in and of itself. Thankfully, the weather was forecasted to be so ridiculously hot on the Front Range that they closed school because the green movement has halted air conditioning of many schools. I say thankfully because that meant I had my awesome helper, JoLee, all day.

JoJo Beans, aka Auntie JoJo, has been so excited to help with Charlie at any moment. Which comes in really handy when my beloved Lucas goes back to Oz for work. Bath time is easier, I have a diaper changing assistant, and dinner time entertainment has never been better. That sister of mine is worth her weight in gold, even if she is twice and tall and half as heavy as an eight year-old should be. We spent the day lunching, shopping, getting fuel, and driving to The Cabin.

As we wove our way through the hills of the Eastern Rockies in Northern Colorado and Wyoming and Jason Boland played thanks to my iPod, I was taken aback at the majestic quality these peaks have. For many years I had a steadily growing appreciation for their pristine beauty but I realized today; I had been taking it for granted for so many years. This part of America is just like the rest, it’s absolutely different from any other place in the country. From the bright red dirt roads, to the evergreen pines, to the herds of speed goats munching away on grass in the distance, there has never been a place like it on earth. Wait, what’s a speed goat you ask? It’s an antelope.

A twinge of sadness pulled at my heart strings as we made our way to the place I’ve know for more than 20 years. I was sad for all the time I don’t get to spend here anymore. I was sad that I didn’t get to bring Lucas here for Charlie’s first trip. I was sad knowing I have to leave it all again very soon.

What I wasn’t sad about was the 15+ miller-moths I killed.

After we chowed down on Granny’s chicken and noodles, and I finally got that adorable little girl to sleep, I settled in for a bit of reading on my Kindle app and a night cap. If you know me, you know I appreciate whiskey. But never scotch- I have taste buds. Having been out of this place for so long I forgot about the moths. Perhaps I repressed that terrible memory of those shriek inducing creatures. Nevertheless, I overcame my lifelong fear of those nasty little winged devils and I’m pretty sure I’m now widely feared in the moth community. Deeply engrossed in my chapter about businesses that go small again and survive, I found myself being kamikaze bombed by some fluttering assassin. Luckily both Charlie and JoLee were fast asleep and missed out on my myriad of red colored words, which were whispered ever so harshly. I settled back in only to find myself whipping my ponytail around Tourette’s style and checking my little drink for bugs. When one finally appeared in my cup, it was on like Donkey Kong. I may have dated myself with that last bit but if you know what I mean you’re just as old. I marched for the flashlight and fly swatter. In the first few minutes I had successfully exterminated eight of those dusty, wretched, idiotic wannabe butterflies. Nobody messes with my charcoal mellowed fire water and lives to talk about it.

In the morning, 6:30am to be exact, when my little darling roused me from my slumber, I expected the floor to be littered with my casualties of the previous evening. I was surprised that they seemed to disappear through the night, even the bodies I thought I would have to look out for when I’m on my way to the portable crib seem to have vanished. Perhaps I made a bigger creature’s thanksgiving dinner come early- as long as he or she does not crawl or fly on me in the night we are cool.

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The highlight of my morning here at the cabin was first the sunrise rolling over the eastern hills. Although, when I snapped this photo of Charlie, my entire year was made.

The magic in this place is held in my heart and the hearts of my family. Our simple place, made with a huge amount of sweat, blood, and over eating, is so special we rarely share it with outsiders. I’ve seen my father, grandfather, and uncles all work until their backs were sore and their brows dripped. I’ve seen my grandmother sweep the floors of this place until she needed a new broom. I’ve watched as we raced toward Laramie after a lightening strike burned my family and electrocuted the dog. I’ve seen where that lightening blew a hole out the back side of this cabin. I remember when my Dad cried out after a face to face encounter with a little cinnamon bear. I remember my own encounter with a large bull Moose, and when my friend wrecked on a motorbike. I recall the drama of my new jeans being dunked in the black mud of the creek bed when I fell off my cousin’s four wheeler, and when a bumble bee and I went fisticuffs. I remember when we trailered the horses up here to round up a few renegade cows in October- I have never been colder and more like Encinio Man in my life. I remember the dirt tracks for our hot wheels, and the copious amounts of Tang we all drank. But most of all, I will remember the feeling of this place. The way the sounds echo off the trees down below and how the screen door sounds.

As I waited for my Dad and Grandma to secure the doors and get in their trucks, I took a moment to drive around the property and soak it all in. Nothing has changed here, but so much of me has. I’m ever so grateful that I can still recognize this place and it’s magic.

xxOHM

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It’s My Party And You’ll Celebrate If I Want You To

It’s all about me. That’s why I coerce my Australian friends and family to participate in American holidays. I lure them to our house with Thanksgiving dinners and All-American Fourth of July feasts. I also appreciate how Pandora Radio has a Fourth of July station which I played all-day-long! The only thing that makes it seem like pretend to me is that it’s bloody cold during Independence Day, and hot as Hades on Thanksgiving. This Independence Day was also a first for me, not because it was my first abroad, but because my lovely sister-in-law brought me a present. It was Jack Daniels, she hit the perfect present bulls-eye with that one!

It’s also all about Charlie, that’s why I dressed her up in red, white, and blue courtesy of my friend Vanessa who got her this cute Stars and Stripes jumpsuit. I want her to feel connected to both countries because I know it’s not easy being a citizen of the world.

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She will hate me one day for this outfit but I don’t care!

I think we all want to feel like we belong somewhere, or to something. That’s why we are so patriotic, join clubs and groups, accept the “membership” cards for various stores, and never, ever actually cut ties with our families no matter how crazy they make us. We all crave community, and lucky for my people, they get fed. Maybe it’s just how mothers show love, but I think it’s how Americans show love as well. We feed. (Perhaps that’s why most of America is working on a new level for the BMI scale!) I know each time I have a get together with my American family I leave with a food baby. Keeping with tradition, I subjected my Independence Day guests to Ribs, Chicken Wings (and Teradactyle sized drumsticks), Tater Salad, Fruit Pizza, and some red, white, and blue strawberries I made. Check out my Pinterest for these recipes, I will attempt at remembering to post them on the Tasties page here as well.

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Yes, that’s the fruit pizza, similar to the one I made at Easter. Yum-O!

I originally planned on getting this amazing pulled pork from Costco but of course they didn’t have any, in any aisle, because believe you me I checked! I also had to trim the chicken bicep off the wings, who knows if that’s what they’re actually called but I’m running with it. And when I say trim, I mean I had to cut the wing skin, grab the joint and twist like the poor chicken had offended my grandmother and my name was Tony Soprano. (Side note, may James Gandolfini rest in peace.)

Earlier I was chatting with my friend Lauren who is also an American living in Oz, and we were discussing how sad it makes us to see the photos online of our favorite pastimes. She taught me a new phrase, FOMO, to which I was befuddled. Apparently it’s “Fear Of Missing Out”. That girl is a genius, because I’m cursed and she put a name on it. I have FOMO over things back in the US, and now I’ll have that about things happening in Australia. I’m visualizing summers here, and summers back in the US. Now THAT’S a dream come true!

Very soon, less than two weeks soon, we will be hopping on a few airplanes and will eventually land in Denver. I can hardly wait to see my family again, let them chase Charlie for a bit, because I’m a little worn out, and enjoy a nice cold Fat Tire. Look out America, I’m coming for you!

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Here I am in Vail last US summer, enjoying a Fat Tire.

xxOHM

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