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I Hate Green Beans: September 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Meet the Family: Johnny Ray

He loves his tractor.

He carries matches around in a Mason jar so he can burn things.

He kills snakes...

...with his machete

Love you Daddy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

I attended my sister's high school football game this weekend, and a cheerleader from the opposing team was holding up this sign.

In her defense, the crowd had milk cartons full of rocks that sounded really loud and annoying when they shook them.

The girls were super excited when the student section "got into the cheer" by chanting, SHAKE YOUR JUGS! SHAKE YOUR JUGS!

I think a "bless her heart" is in order.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Visual Proof

This is why I hate green beans.

Look...even the one sad little carrot is trying to get away from them, sacrificing himself by touching the ham juice.

(I'm at the hospital just hours after my dear friend Rebecca had her new baby girl...and this is what I take a picture of. I'm such a good friend.)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Here's to VODKA!

I'm back from the Ukraine and feeling a little groggy. Yes, the flight home was 11 hours and yes the pregnant women who sat both in front of me and back of me threw up different parts of the flight, but that's neither here nor there.

I think my body is still trying to filter out the Vodka. And there was a lot of it.

On my last night in town, the guys from the Ukraine facility wanted to treat the Americans to a traditional Russian dinner. There were 10 of us all together at the back of a restaurant in the small town of Stryi.

Here is a breakdown of nationalities at our table:
1 Ukraine guy
2 Russian
3 Brits
1 dude from Ghana
3 Americans--me being the only girl

I am seated at the middle of the long table with my American colleagues at either side of me. I'm directly across from the Ukraine guy who happens to be the General Manager of the facility. He motions for the waiter to come over to pour a round of Vodka shots.

I had already been warned that these people drink Vodka like water. I had also been warned that it is an insult to not drink with them, so if offered, you'd better partake.

Ukraine guy stands up and toasts everyone at the table. He talks about the wonderful relationship between them and the US and it proud to call us partners. This goes on for about five minutes. In this five minutes, waiter boy has placed a plate of "something" at each end of the table. I'm no expert, but it looked like slugs.

Our host concludes his salute by saying that it is Russian tradition to chase the Vodka shot. On this special celebratory occasion, we will be chasing the shot with herring. And onions.

Lord help me right now. That was my first thought. Seriously.

He lifts his glass and toasts the table. We all slam our drinks back and spike the herring with our fork. Down the hatch.

All I can say is THANK GOODNESS the Vodka tasted like rubbing alcohol, because it burned the taste of the oily, slimy herring in my mouth. It may have burned a few taste buds too, but I'm good with that at this point.

Everyone cheers and high fives as waiter boy brings a plate of cucumbers, tomatoes and red bell peppers. I start munching away. I'm professional. I can get through this, even though I can't stand tomatoes. We all know I have the appetite of a sophisticated fourth grader, but I pressed through for the good of the company.

All of the sudden, waiter boy starts making his rounds filling up the Vodka shots again. What in the world? Number two Russian guy stands up and makes a toast. It too lasts forever. We cheer. We toast. We take the shot. We all suck in know what I mean...and then eat some more oily herring.

And then comes the questionable deli meat. Being the smart eater I am, I choose the two lightest meats. I convince myself they surely come from Louis Rich and chant mentally in my head, "It's turkey and ham. It's turkey and ham. It's turkey and ham." I gobble it up in three bites, ignoring the funny smell. I soon notice a plate has been thrust in my face. It's full of rolled up bacon.

You may be thinking to yourself, "Oh good! Something she recognizes. Everyone loves bacon!"

Dear friend. We are in the Ukraine. It's bacon fat. Fat. The fat of bacon. All white. Fat. Bacon fat.

My Ukraine friend who is across from me is holding the plate with a huge smile. "It's good for you!"

Good to clog my arteries, but WHAT THE HECK! And where's my Vodka shot? OH THERE IT IS!

Waiter boy comes over with the third shot. It helps to dissolve the roll of bacon that has lodged in my throat, so this is a welcome shot!

It is the beginning of the fourth course when I realize that we toast each round. I try to get the attention of my waiter friend, but my arms are too heavy to lift. He finally realizes that my joints are paralyzed from the Vodka and comes over to see what I need. I ask for bottled water. After looking at me like I'm from another planet, he finally brings one over.

Everyone is diving in to the potato ravioli (not the real name, but what I called them) and luckily they don't notice me putting water in my shot glass. The next course comes and I'm ready to toast EVERYONE! By the end of the night, the Russians are toasting the Vodka. The Brits are toasting the Americans who carry guns, and the Americans are toasting the Revolutionary War. Good times.

All together there were seven courses. I had four Vodka shots and three water. I slept good that night. And also have the feeling that my insides have been cleansed.

And it's a good thing my insides were cleaned out, because I later found out that that deli meat was donkey tongue.

I think I threw up a little in my mouth just typing that sentence.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm in the Ukraine

I'm in the Ukraine for work. It doesn't matter that I've been traipsing around a rig yard all morning long and it's 54 degrees and raining. It doesn't matter that I'm tired from an eight hour plane ride from New Jersey to Germany with a seven-month old baby in the seat next to me. It doesn't matter that I haven't had a Dr Pepper in 48 hours. It doesn't matter that I just had pigeon for lunch and think I might hurl all over this desk.

What matters is that I'm gaining life-long lessons and learning about new cultures. Yeah. That's it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Appetite of a Fourth Grader

I’ll try anything once. Usually that is all it takes for me to choose never to eat that particular food again. It’s not picky…it’s knowing what you want in life. And I know that everything and anything…is better with cheese. Or ranch.

On the last day of my business trip to California, the district manager took me to a nice restaurant on the beach in Ventura. It was a seafood restaurant to be exact. My Daddy owns a seafood restaurant. You can imagine that I’m pretty sick of seafood since I’ve been eating it for the entirety of my life.

Oh who am I kidding? Did I eat catfish at Daddy’s place? No. I ate hush puppies and pinto beans. I can tolerate fish, but I generally try to stay away from anything crustaceous. This we know.

But being the big/grown-up/mature person that I am, I did not flinch when he ordered an appetizer for both of us.

Muscles and clams.

I didn’t even cringe when he pointed out that the seaweed adds a robust flavor.

I had to watch my host closely, as he stabbed his muscle aggressively with his fork, in order to pretend that I knew how to eat these things. Silly me thought they would slip off of the shell with ease. No, no. You have to pull the slippery sucker away from his mother shell as it holds on tightly (with what can ONLY be described as an umbilical cord) for dear life.

Then you dunk the “meat” into some sauce and let it slide down your throat.

Needless to say, I ate a ton of bread with my appetizer.

At least the view was great!