Wednesday, March 23, 2011
It's Big Ol' Sweet Iced Tea...and Why it is Taking Over the North
Sweet tea is a southern staple, we all know that. People who were raised in a traditional southern household were used to seeing that great, big pitcher of sweet tea goodness sitting on their table at every meal. We love it and can't get enough of it.
Imagine my horror when I moved up here to Chicagoland and found out that my local restaurants didn't have sweet tea on their menus. It was a difficult time for me. Very difficult. Can't. Talk. About. It.
Now however, sixteen years later, southern-based chains with sweet tea have begun to show up around Chicago, and folks are beginning to take notice....and to finally understand what the hoo-hah is all about. We've got Sonic's now you know. Next chain I'm hoping we'll get is a Milo's
, but I'm not holding my breath. That would be an awesome day though...their sweet tea is fabulous!
I took myself to lunch the other day....decided on Famous Dave's BBQ. It is a Wisconsin chain, but the theme is southern BBQ, so they do offer sweet tea. I have to say, it's not bad. Not as sweet as I'd prefer, but very close. I happened to overhear the people next to me ordering their lunches and all four asked for sweet tea. One lady exclaimed (with her Chicago accent), "I love this stuff!" I just nodded to myself, and let myself smirk a little bit.
Today I was craving some Chik Fil-A and drove into Orland Park for my fix. Y'all have to understand, Chicagoland just started getting Chik Fil-A's and I was as happy as a junebug to find one near me! Anyway, I went through the drive-through and ordered my chicken sandwich and waffle fries and large sweet tea, and then remembered (from comedian Anita Renfroe
) that Chik Fil-A offers gallon jugs of that delicious goodness. So, I bought one of those too so I wouldn't have to make more when I got home.
When I drove up to pay, the little Midwestern check-out girl confessed that she was becoming addicted to the stuff. I just smiled and said, "Honey, welcome to the club!"
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Another year gone by...
I can't believe it has been
a whole year since I posted last. It didn't seem that long and a lot has happened in that year. I guess I am not good at juggling multiple hobbies. Sometimes it's hard to deal with one. But in the last year, I have been making jewelry, taking pottery lessons, losing my mother-in-law, struggling with my weight, and dealing with a teen and a pre
It's hard to feel an urge to blog sometimes, but my son has urged me to start up again. I am not writing this so people will flock to my blog, I am writing this for me. Because it makes me feel good. I guess that's how this blog first started anyway. Writing can be therapeutic
Today, looking out at all of the snow, I am really wishing I was in Alabama. Nothing different there. However, I hear that y'all have been getting snow too lately. But a nice place to be down there today would be Lake Guntersville
Imagine a toasty fire in the state park lodge
, hot chocolate, views of the lake...ahhh
. I could really go for that right now.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Today at mass I had a heavy heart and I asked God to lift my burden and lighten my spirits. I have to admit, part of me didn't expect Him to, but He did. How He did it and how I reacted to it surprised me though.
We were sitting in a pew in the balcony over one of the stairwells and I was staring at the wooden handrails. Just staring. All of the sudden it was like I was transported to my childhood and I remembered how much I loved to explore the churches we'd go to.
My dad was a Baptist minister and we attended many different country churches over the years. Whenever we attended a new one, it just called to me to be explored after the service. Hidden stairwells led to cool, basement fellowship halls, kitchens, restrooms, and Sunday school rooms. Some basement walls had wood paneling over them giving the rooms a warm darker look. Some had painted concrete block walls which, in the summer, kept the lower level nice and comfortable if there was no air-conditioning.
My sister and I would play hide-and-seek in the church after the services while my parents were socialising with other parents. Crawling under pews and giggling. we'd eventually get in trouble, but it was always fun while it lasted.
Vacation Bible School was a tradition and we always attended my aunt's church in Warrior, AL. My favorite part was arts and crafts, and snack time when we could mingle with the other kids. Lemon cookies, sugar cookies, Kool
aid, and apple juice were staples and disappeared fast. We would eat at these long concrete tables under the pine trees that had been built for outdoor picnics and potlucks. We'd stand at these tables, there were no benches, and we would stuff our faces in the twilight.
After school was over, we'd play outside in the cool of the evening waiting for our parents to arrive. We'd play touch football in our dresses, or play hide-and-seek (we loved that game) in the graveyard amongst the gravestones.
Today, as I kneeled
there at my pew, I felt experienced all of those memories with all of my senses. And in those brief minutes, I lost all of my worldly
cares and troubles, and felt like a child once again. I still feel the remnants.
Thank you, God.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Where are all the Danged Roadside Attractions?
When I was a kid, almost every Sunday, my mom and dad would take us for a ride around the countryside just to see what was out there. We literally drove hundreds of miles in a month finding new places, new parks, scenery...it's what we did!
Now, when I am visiting the family in Alabama, I love to take my kids for rides through the countryside, just seeing what's out there. We have visited state parks, county parks, museums, and just rode around the state, literally, seeing where the roads would take us. We always found our way home and saw some beautiful scenery. I just can't get enough of it.
Up here in Chicagoland, it isn't as easy to do that. In fact, most state parks in Illinois encircle the city of Chicago and aren't that close. And even if we did try and take a road trip, it's pretty much the same all over - flat corn fields. At least, in the immediate vicinity of a good day's trip. So, would it be worth it to a girl who is used to mountain roads that curve into the horizon? That said, I welcome any tips on places that I can check out. I love Americana. I love back-road atractions, and oddities.
And that brings me to Roadsideamerica.com
If you have never visited this site, I highly recommend it. It will tell you where you can find the weirdest, coolest, and sometimes just plain stupid, sites around the country within a day's trip of your home.
For example, a few places near me are: the McDonald's Museum and 1st Resturant in DesPlains, or the Ferris Bueller glass garage scene location in Highland Park, IL, the silo hidout of Al Capone, or the alley where John Dillinger was shot and killed. Oh wait...here's a good one: A Giant Lady's Leg Sundial in Roselawn, IN at a nudist resort.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
It's All Geography
One of the first things I noticed about Chicagoland when I moved here was, besides how big Lake Michigan is, that it wasn't all that different from other places I've visited. The same traffic jammed the freeways, the same crazy drivers gave you the finger as they passed by your car going 20 miles over the speed limit, the same people were having dinner with their families, the same moon shined brightly in the sky, the same stores were being shopped at, the same...you get the picture.
I learned a lot of new things too.
I had never heard of pirogis before I moved here. Luckily, I had tasted a bagel one summer when my Jewish roomie introduced me to them. I remember her grandfather had a nice forest-green convertible Jaguar. Nice car.
I had never heard of Braunschweiger liverwurst before. My husband loves it. I will do just nicely with corned beef hash.
In Alabama, people have to go hunting for deer in deer season. Here in Chicagoland, you can find whole herds of deer grazing throughout the many fields and forest preserves surrounding the city. They aren't hunted, so they thrive.
My husband had never tasted black-eyed peas with cornbread. Never been exposed to it. He still doesn't like it. that's OK. More for me.
My kids root for Alabama football while their friends only care about the Chicago Bears. We proudly wear our crimson and white clothes amongst the blue and orange.
In Alabama, we never got snow much. Up here, people in the city have to stake claims on parking spots after they shoveled so they will have a place to park when they get home. To steal someone else's plowed spot is to risk your car's paint job.
Up here in Chicagoland, people think my accent is cute. I am always asked, "Where are you from?" Back in Alabama, people think my accent is cute. I am always asked, "Where are you from?" I guess I have an accent somewhere in the middle of southern belle and Chicago gangster.
I know I tend to complain about my whereabouts a lot, but when I think about it. People aren't so different here. People are people, no matter where they are. They are doing the same things, just differently.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Alabama is #1
Of course, I always knew that. Now everyone knows. ;)
I, just like my other fellow Bama fans, spent the other night watching the Championship game between Alabama and Texas. Computer to my left, TV to my right, I kept up a commentary on Facebook, made up of mostly expletives, the entire game.
Texas played well. My fingernails are now stubs.
Anyway, the insanity is over for another year. Thank God and Roll Tide!
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Alabama Snow - haikus
children enjoy the rare treat
No school today, Mom!
Pine trees softly sigh
branches covered by white snow
deer hidden in brush
feet covered by bags
Granny drags her sled uphill
for one day of fun
Y'all feel free to add your own snow haikus in the comment section. I'd love to read them! Remember haikus are made up of lines that are 5 syllables, 7 , then five again.