Posts tagged “friends

Sweet Potato Lamb Samosas ~ Book Club Phlebotomy

It was another Saturday night, and another encounter with the Happy Phlebotomist, a human mosquito known for his fanatical devotion to the job and a happiness borders upon sinister. That night he was feeling particularly highbrow, lamenting about the one time he attended a Book Club, the evening ended in a conga line.

Now that’s an affair Sister Madly would consider! Book Clubs these days are bogged down by the most ridiculous of frills- such as cucumber sandwiches and, you know, books- that they have forgotten their humble roots in Cuban dance.

The Happy Phlebotomist (HP) however, was so devastated by the incident that he made an unusually bold declaration: yes, somewhere between depleting people of their life source and pushing natural supplements, he was going to start a book club of his own- a respectable book club, a proper book club. You see, he just loves the smell of books!

You’re not suppose to smell books, Sunshine, you’re suppose to read them; that’s what books are for! No doubt you know there are books which have been banned due to their content- suppose you should happen to huff one of those?

Sure, it’s just a snort here and there, but soon you’ll be wearing thick-rimmed glasses and tying your hair up in a bun, and in no time flat you’re insisting that Oreos are vegan while listening to music on ‘vinyl…’ it’s the gateway drug to hardcore hipsterdom!

It was of no use; soon they will all be card-carrying members of Book Club Phlebotomy, extracting blood and smelling books by candlelight. But even worse than this was that HP was determined to take Sister Madly along with them, handing over the book list and asking her to choose which should be their first:

  • Dianetics
  • Interview with an Exorcist
  • The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
  • Beowulf
  • The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants
  • Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World
  • Atlas Shrugged

What Frankenstein stitched together this literary goulash? It’s enough to reduce anyone to a fetal position in a padded cell- even her spirit animal* is undergoing therapy for the trauma! And though Sister Madly admits that The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants would come in handy when landscaping the backyard, it’s hardly a book she would curl up with at the local coffee shop (mostly because she doesn’t like coffee.)

* Cookie Monster.

HP didn’t understand the fuss. After all, Sister Madly has been known to eat cod now and then- has she ever wondered about its heartbreaking journey from dreamy-eyed minnow to delicious fish ‘n chips? As for the Encyclopedia- why, it’s shorter than War and Peace by a few hundred pages! And just think of all the pointers she’d pick up from the Exorcist…

Exactly what pointers would those be, Sunshine? How to make your own holy water? A DIY crucifix out of dust bunnies and lemon peels? And what makes you think that Sister Madly needs pointers in the first place? Maybe she’s happy with her demons, ever think of that?!?

HP, however, was most accommodating. If Sister Madly didn’t find the list suitable, she- and her demons- were free to add to it.

And that’s just what they did:

  • The Doubtful Debutante
  • All of Them Witches
  • Higgins’ Universal Language
  • Blood on Their Hands: The Crime of It All, A Study of Some Selected Abuses in Sixteenth Century Europe
  • The Isle of Naboombu
  • To Serve Man*
  • Necronomicon

* In the original Kanamit, of course.

HP was absolutely delighted; finally, Sister Madly was showing some enthusiasm for the project! He even went so far as to buy her a pint- that is, until one of the Professors put that PhD- and smart phone thingy- to good use.

“None of these books exist!”

What can she say, Professor? Her devils made her do it.

SWEET POTATO LAMB SAMOSAS

PASTRY

  • 2 sheets Puff Pastry, thawed
  • Egg, beaten

SWEET POTATO

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled, cooked, and cubed
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1-2 chili peppers, chopped (or cayenne to taste)
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas

LAMB

  • 1 LB minced lamb
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • Oil/ghee

* ~ *  FILLING PREPARATION * ~ *

~ SWEET POTATO ~
Heat oil/ghee in pan
Add mustard seeds; roast until seeds start popping all over the kitchen
Add sliced onion; saute until translucent; 5 min
Add turmeric and chilies/cayenne; saute
Add potatoes and peas; stir to coat; approx 2 min
Remove from heat and set aside

~ LAMB ~
Saute chopped onions in oil; 5 min
Add garlic and ginger; saute 2 min
Add cumin, sumac, garam masala, salt/pepper; mix 30 secs
Add lamb; saute until cooked through
Add sweet potato preparation; mix thoroughly
Add stock; simmer until evaporated
Stir in mint; remove from heat

PREPARING SAMOSAS
Preheat the oven to 400*
Roll out pastry sheets and cut into 9 squares (approx 4”x4”ea)
Place a tablespoon of mixture at the center of each square
Fold the pastry over filling to form a triangle
Brush egg wash the top of each samosa
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden

Book of Longing, Leonard Cohen w/Philip Glass

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‘City’ Chicken Skewers ~ The Order of the Cougar and Dutch Baby

When the Professor announced that she was invited to a ‘Cougar and Dutch Baby’ party, Sister Madly concluded that she was being considered for membership to a secret society, and was suitably intrigued.

There was another outsider invited to this gathering of PhD elite: no doubt Josephine was recruited to join the ranks of Cougar which, despite her affinity for leopard print, seemed far-fetched as her boyfriend was only a few months younger than herself. Sister Madly, naturally, was chosen for the Dutch Baby not just for her age, but for the way she cheerfully embraces all the joys of infantile behavior at the expense of others.

However, there was just one flaw: Sister Madly is not Dutch.

Now this should have been fairly obvious, as Sister Madly lacks characteristics common of those who proudly claim a Dutch heritage, such as a passion for Gouda (she is fond of Gouda, but not passionately so) the ability to pronounce Eekhoorntjesbrood without bursting into tears, or deciding to be tall.*

* As Holland is such a small country, the only choice is to be tall- otherwise they would crowd themselves into Belgium.

Still, it’s nice to be included.

But a shadow soon fell over that festive gathering when Josephine produced a package of peculiar purple meat.

“It’s cougar, Sister Madly. It’s the main course.”

Wait- does this mean that Sister Madly was suppose to supply the Dutch Baby? Where was she suppose to dig up one of those without suspicion? It’s not like one finds curly-haired tots growing wild on the side of the road, and she can’t just pop over to Holland on a whim. And since Sister Madly failed on this mission- no doubt, the initiation- does that mean she is to substitute?

Now before you do anything foolish, Sister Madly, let’s think this over: as this society’s name ends with ‘Dutch Baby,’ your sacrifice will most likely be later in the evening, which leaves you with a few hours to plan a spectacular escape…

But this was interrupted when she found herself subjected to that diabolical apparatus known as the ‘Smart Phone’ (a misnomer, no doubt) when the Professor requested that she find the nutritional info on cougar.

Instead, she ended up with the info for Twinkies, which irritated the Professor despite it being well-known that Sister Madly is terribly inept in using Smart Phones. Cougar can’t be much worse than Twinkies, after all.

But since you are so concerned with nutrition, Professor, she must warn you that Sister Madlys are not FDA approved, and come with a Surgeon General’s Warning stating that they are bio-hazardous, processed in a plant that contains gluten, and highly-venomous.

Despite the nutritional uncertainty of cougar meat, the Professors decided to risk it all by preparing a delicacy worthy of any red-blooded, PhD barbarian: Schnitzel.

Throughout the meal Sister Madly should have been planning her escape; rather, she spent the time wondering if the Cougar would have thought twice about eating the alpaca had he known he would end up a Schnitzel. That’s got to be a severe blow to one’s pride…

..and you missed your chance, Sister Madly. Everyone is finished with the cougar, and seem to be eyeing you with famished glee.

Is this the part where you sacrifice the baby, Professor? Do remember that Sister Madly is not Dutch.

The incredulous silence was soon broken by an explanation on how Josephine, who raises alpacas and flocks of terrifying little children, had a few days prior found the fence behind her farm destroyed and one of the alpacas missing.

Well, most of the alpaca…

Typically, when cougar is spotted in a populated district, it is trapped and moved to a wilderness area- unless it proves to be aggressive or has harmed a person or domesticated/farm animal, in which case it is put down. Finding the beast responsible for this attack was relatively simple as it returned to the farm for second breakfast, became most displeased to find it unavailable, and attempted to take out this displeasure on Animal Control.

How convenient for Josephine. But what about the Dutch Baby? It’s not like infants are conveniently breaking into Sister Madly’s apartment and killing her dust bunnies; she simply does not have that luxury.

“It’s a pancake, Sister Madly. It’s baked in an oven in a cast-iron skillet.”

…with babies?

“No, with cinnamon.”

Well, that’s alright then.

CITY CHICKEN SKEWERS

  • 1 cup Panko or pork rinds, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for min. 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 350*
Combine pork, veal, Worcestershire, garlic, sage, marjoram, salt & pepper
Mix Panko/pork rinds with smoked paprika
Form meat into kebabs
Coat kebab in egg, then crumbs
Skewer kebabs
Place on tray and bake for 25-30 min, or until cooked through*

* Try not to overcook kebabs. It will only make you depressed.

THEME SONG: Nobody’s Baby Now, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds


Tom Kha Gai ~ Romancing the Stone

People would take pains to tell her that beauty was only skin-deep, as if a man ever fell for an attractive pair of kidneys ~ Terry Pratchett

The last time Sister Madly went on the prowl was at the Renaissance Faire some years ago. The outcome was less than favorable.

Perhaps unwisely, Sister Madly found herself Romancing the Stone, a quest where one picks a numbered stone from a basket with the goal of finding the individual with the corresponding number from another basket. It is the one weekend at the Faire where the wandering minstrels are drowned out by the sounds of a medieval-love bingo game. Yet despite the pretext of feral romance, this venture was not without risks; she was just as likely to end up with a starry-eyed inamorato as she would this salty gentleman:

Or this one:

Or this:

Yes, even this:

As you can see, the risk was hardly minimal.

But the quest took a dark turn a few hours later when Sister Madly, who had been sharing a pint with the Scotts of Clan Picnic Blanket, noticed that her Stone was missing.

But even more mystifying was how long it took for her to realized that Dum Dums had been left in its place.

Seriously? Sister Madly’s future happiness is to be at the mercy of a corpse-bird in a black negligee? That’s as safe as an ejection seat in a helicopter! The Dodo was an absolute philistine when it came to all-things whimsical; the only reason he would carry a heart-shaped rock was if he was attending a stoning in the square.

Nevertheless, one can’t discredit a fact just because one doesn’t like the reality of it- and judging by the adolescent snickering across the way, Clan Picnic Blanket was a party to this latest bit of skullduggery.

You know, Snickering Scotts, you could have said something when you saw someone pilfering her Stone- you know the Dodo’s fondness for Sock Trafficking; now he’s going to sell her Stone to some little love tart and leave Sister Madly to die an old maid! She might as well go home right now and start collecting kittens.

Then again, how did you not notice the theft, Sister Madly? The patterns in the picnic table were not so interesting to have missed the Big Bird of Creepiness looming over your shoulder. A creature like that should have stuck out like a cactus in a pancake.

While the Scotts freely admitted their part in the theft, they insisted that they were doing her a favor: they didn’t give her Stone to the Dodo to guarantee her spinsterhood, but to secure her a soul mate. Sure, the Dodo had his faults- an unsunny disposition, looks that were in league against him, not to mention that whole ‘plague’ thing- but at least Sister Madly knew what she would be getting herself into, unlike most blind dates. She could still look for the original suitor if she wished, but should she find that suitor, well, unsuitable, she had a backup- how many people can say as much? Just write that number on some random rock, and make all your soul mate dreams come true!

Besides- had she seen the other wandering romantics?

You know, Scott, if Sister Madly had a chalupa, she would so throw it at you right now! She doesn’t take kindly to people who steal her rocks- her vegetables, yes, but not her rocks. And isn’t the reason 2 individuals are set up because they are believed to be compatible?

“Romance isn’t meant to be easy, Sister Madly. Besides, it’s the Dark Ages- you take what you can get!”

No doubt this was intended to console her, as condescending arrogance is wont to do; unfortunately, all Sister Madly heard was a dare…

Yes, the Dark Ages- what a time to be alive!

TOM KHA GAI

  • 6 boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2” ginger, minced
  • 2 chilies, chopped and seeded to taste
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp green curry paste
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
  • (2) 14 oz. cans coconut milk
  • 3-4 cups broth
  • 1/4 cup Thai basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • Ghee/Oil, for sauteing

Saute onion in a stockpot until translucent, 5 min
Add garlic, ginger, and mushrooms; saute, 3-5 min
Add curry paste; mix
Add chicken; stir to coat
Mix in coconut milk, broth, chilies, and fish sauce; bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked; approx 30 min
Mix in lime juice and basil; remove from heat

THEME SONG: Made of Stone, The Stone Roses


Images:

2.) Pinterest
3.) Pinterest
4.) Tumblr
5.) Pinterest
9.) Tumblr


Moroccan Pulled Chicken ~ To Catch a Truant

THE DAY: Tuesday
THE TIME: Morning
THE PLACE: The Boiler Room of Adolescent Purgatory (aka, ‘High School.’)

Sister Madly had been sleeping her way through another Biology lecture when she and her classmates were summoned to the gym- immediately.

Typically these meetings were called to impress upon students the importance of the dress code, to find out who vandalized what, or simply to remind them that card games* were taboo. But this assembly deviated from the usual lectures of teenage impurity: a classmate of Sister Madly’s had walked out of class, and left the building.

* Card games = gambling, which was most ungodly. Even solitaire.

No doubt you are imagining a lovely day in May, an Alpine meadow, and a free-spirited blonde frolicking through the flowers as though she were in an ad for honey butter. But this was not the case; it was early February, and the weather was pure Michigan.

Upon learning of the truancy, the Principal did what any sane, responsible administrator would do: send out a search party consisting of the most responsible and trustworthy individuals…

Freshmen.

The Principal went on to inform Team Truancy that the search was not to extend beyond the sidewalk to the south, the Beltline a block to the east, the Highway a block to the west, and the orchard that bordered the school property to the north. They were Freshmen, after all, and it was important to set boundaries.

Clearly the Principal had never been a teenager, not if he believed the Truant would play hooky so close to school; that’s like running away from home by hiding in the garden. No doubt he expected to find the girl under the bleachers, abusing a pair of prescription sunglasses.

However, being the dutiful, sometimes dress-code abiding Freshman that she was, Sister Madly braved the Michigan tundra in a Search for the Wayward Truant- as far as the Diner next door, that is.

It was a dismal greasy spoon, and it was here that Sister Madly spent the next 2 hours, drinking a cup of what could only be described as “I-Can’t-Believe-This-Is-Cocoa.” It was also here where she watched her fellow classmates scatter willy-nilly, each one not so much slipping along the icy sidewalks as display a general unwillingness to fall on their bums. Sister Madly wanted to believe that she rubbed shoulders with the intellectually elite, but her classmates behaved as though they, too, believed that the Truant would be found somewhere on the property, making angels in the snow.

Face it, Sister Madly- your reality is a bad teen novel written in a spiral-bound notebook, which fell into a puddle and was promptly run over by a bus; no doubt you will find a fabulous disco inside your locker first thing tomorrow morning. The day was fast approaching a level of absurdity normally reserved for fairytales, and would have achieved said status had it contained the trademark moral for which such tales are renown.*

* Such as ‘Don’t eat the old lady’s house;’ or ‘Never trust a spinning wheel.’

But what if this was more than a simple case of truancy? What if the school was behind this? Recently, the psychology class took it upon themselves to convince a boy that he had the flu, making certain suggestions about his appearance and behavior until the boy said he felt sick and went home.* Perhaps this was another such experiment, which is why the science should never be taught by an English teacher… and is that a cop over there?

* The boy later admitted that he took advantage of the situation and spent the day at the movies.

Of course he’s a cop, Sister Madly- what did you think he was? The Maytag Repairman? He isn’t going to believe that you are skipping school because the Principle ordered you to do so… unless you show him The Library Card.

Indeed, here is proof that Sister Madly is the victim of a faulty educational system! She would show her Library Card, which she’s had since kindergarten; she would show him her signature, and how she took certain liberties with the letter ‘E’, averaging 5 or 6 horizontal lines instead of the standard 3. Perhaps if some gentle disciplinarian had told Sister Madly back in the day that she did not have the authority to slaughter the alphabet simply because she wanted to, she would’ve turned out to be an oboe-playing, cheerleading, non-truant poster-child of academia instead of an anti-social little moppet playing hooky from a group sent out to find a girl who was playing hooky.

Her ‘E’ was better than your ‘E’ because hers had more lines.

But before she could execute this most excellent tale of tragic woe, Officer Maytag drew his own conclusions on his way out the door:

“You’ve got to be mental to be out there on a day like this, Luv.”

MOROCCAN PULLED CHICKEN

  •  butter/oil/ghee
  •  2 sweet onions, sliced
  •  6 boneless chicken thighs, whole
  •  1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken broth
  •  3 garlic cloves, minced
  •  1 tbsp ginger, minced -OR- 1 tsp ground
  •  2 bay leaves
  •  2 tsp ground coriander
  •  1 tsp ground cumin
  •  1 tsp ground cinnamon
  •  1 lg pinch saffron, ground
  •  1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  •  1/4 tsp black pepper
  • tortillas/naan/lettuce, to serve

Melt butter/oil in dutch oven
Add onions, stirring to coat
Lower heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally
Continue until onions are caramelized (30-45 min)
Mix in spices, garlic, broth and chicken; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until chicken is cooked (25 min)
With 2 forks, shred chicken in the sauce
Simmer to reduce and thicken (if needed)
Remove bay leaves before serving

THEME SONG: School’s Out, Alice Cooper


Lighthouse Photo by Thomas Zakowski


The Culinary Crime Boss

As of late, Sister Madly has been reluctant to hang around the Professors for fear of catching something nasty, such as a chronic desire to play golf,* or a fatal love of calamari. When she gets restless, she absorbs such diseases like a sponge.

* But not triathlons. Sister Madly is immune to triathlons.

taco-socks-2

But when she was invited over to ‘assist in preparations for the upcoming holiday party’ Sister Madly’s restlessness got the better of her: not only did she accept the invitation, she arrived 3 minutes early- and was greeted at the door by one of the Professors who, quite unexpectedly, presented her with a cigar box.

Certainly this was a lovely gesture on the part of the Professor… a gesture that became lovelier still when Sister Madly discovered that the box did not contain the cigars depicted on the label- those had been enjoyed by person or persons unknown- but a pair of Taco Socks.

Now even though Sister Madly was invited over to ‘assist in preparations for the upcoming holiday party,’ the Professors weren’t actually allowing her to do so. If it hadn’t been for the aforementioned Lovely Gesture, Sister Madly surely would have shuffled off this mortal coil out of uselessness, if not boredom; instead, she was able to pass the time by putting the Taco Socks on the cat,* which resulted in the cat screeching like a banshee and leaping into the compost bucket.

* Sister Madly never quite got the hang of maturity, having bypassed adulthood completely and landing face-first in the middle of dementia.

angry-cook

This wouldn’t have happened, Professor, had you assigned Sister Madly a culinary task.

But the Professors, having decided that Sister Madly was terribly upset, denied her such a task, saying that when one cooks while angry, it comes across in the food.

And just how does one assess the temperament of a cookie, Professor? Is Sister Madly to assume that, if she doesn’t like a particular dish, the cook was angry during its preparation? She wasn’t angry the day she made the wicked little delicacy known as Ham and Banana Hollandaise– a bit puckish, perhaps, but not angry. Sister Madly could have been soaring on a lovely rainbow bliss and that dish still would have tasted like boiled gym socks.

zombie-cookies

It turns out that the Ham and Banana Hollandaise Incident was still a touchy subject for the Professors, the mere mention of which drove them to banish Sister Madly to the corner as though she was a particularly dim-witted child. They weren’t about to allow Sister Madly to help with the baking now as the Professors didn’t want to give their colleagues a batch of dim-witted cookies.

So Sister Madly made her displeasure known through the most passive-aggressive means imaginable: by ripping the heads and limbs off the gingerbread and turning them into zombies.

For the next few hours, Sister Madly served up tray after tray of grotesque little men with missing limbs, bleeding hearts, and x-ed out eyes- indeed, it was more than a culinary masterpiece; it was pure art. Sister Madly was rather pleased with the result- why, she couldn’t have been more pleased if she had ordered a hit on the local bakery like some Culinary Crime Boss…

silhouette

“What are you doing?!”

Well, Professor, she was under the impression that she was doing you all a favor. You said you wanted the gingerbread decorated.

“But zombies? For Christmas?”

Christmas does not discriminate against the undead, Professor, and neither does the Underworld. Besides, you never specified how the gingerbread were to be decorated, so Sister Madly took certain liberties. Just as one can’t get mad at mustard for tasting like mustard, one can’t get mad at Sister Madly for doing Sister Madly things. Seriously, never has she heard such ingratitude- you could very well end up with a gingerbread head in your bed tomorrow morning!

It‘s like this, Professor: even though it may not be what you want, it may be exactly what you need. Taco Socks, for instance; never would Sister Madly have thought that one day her livelihood would depend upon the integrity of a Taco Sock and a few bits of electrical tape, but that is precisely what happened later that night when her windshield wipers became totally incompetent in the middle of a storm.

windshield-wiper-sock

And by Jove, it worked like a dream! Why, with such an ingenious feat of engineering, there is no need to purchase a new set of wiper blades. It is both practical and resourceful, not to mention a daring fashion statement worthy of a Culinary Crime Boss. Just one look at her Taco Sock Wiper Blade and people will say, ‘Aye, now there’s a girl who knows what she is doing!’

And what you are doing, Sister Madly, is repairing your car with tacky neon footwear!

In the end, you did catch something nasty from the Professors, Sister Madly…

Taco Socks.

THEME SONG: You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Rolling Stones


The Mysterious King of Orient-R

The smile that greeted Sister Madly that December day of yesteryear was one she hoped to never see again, for it was the smile that always preceded something disagreeable. And clearly, this was going to be more disagreeable than simply hauling a wagon through the snow to deliver homemade bread to the neighbors.

cocacolanativity

But it ended up being much more ghastly than anything the 8 year-old could have imagined.

It was the Living Nativity.

What made this so disagreeable was that she was living in Michigan at the time- the ideal place to have an outdoor Nativity in the dead of winter; absolutely ideal.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Great Lakes Region in the middle of December, allow Sister Madly to provide you with a brief synopsis:

michigan-winter-3

…as opposed to where she lives now:

snow

It was after a proper period of sulking (and a lecture from her parents) that Sister Madly decided to see this unsolicited obligation as the opportunity to flaunt her most excellent theatrical abilities- after all, who knew what Hollywood guru would be in attendance that night? Her dread was further mollified by the news that she was not to be a shepherd boy as was first thought, but rather, a King.

holy_grail_unipiper

But this was no ordinary Christmas Pageant: there were no lines, indeed no speaking of any kind, not even a song- which was most fortunate for those within earshot, as Sister Madly cannot carry a tune with a forklift.* In fact, there was nothing required of her but to stand perfectly still, and be completely silent. While this ventured dangerously close to mime territory, Sister Madly refused to cross that savage boundary and decided to convey kingly majesty through her presence alone, just as any brilliant thespian would.

* She is not licensed to drive a forklift, either.

So on the appointed evening, Sister Madly, along with her parents and Tallulah (all of whom were, no doubt, plotting to steal her spotlight) found themselves at the First Church of the Middle of Nowhere. There was no sign of the Hollywood Guru, but he most likely wanted to be inconspicuous and hid the Rolls Royce.

puffy-jacket

Now Sister Madly knew better than to expect Broadway quality costumes from a country church, but even her simple expectations proved to be too high. The King’s costume wasn’t so much pulled over her neon, insanely-puffy winter coat (which glowed sweetly beneath the blue fabric like a cartoon x-ray) as Sister Madly was stuffed inside of it. And she had to wear the puffy coat- not for any sensible reason, like the weather, but because it made the robe fit more snugly as the costume was meant for an adult, not an child.

A child… Sister Madly was seriously offended at being lumped into a demographic to which she actually belonged- an indignation that was further provoked when she was told that she would be standing on a milk crate because she was too short. Of all the nerve…

blueberry

While the other Kings wore winter coats as well, they had nowhere near the puffability as her neon monstrosity. Sister Madly was almost perfectly round, and moved with all the grace and speed of an imbalanced washing machine. She looked less like a king and more like Violet the Blueberry in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

It was as terrifying as it was magnificent to behold.

But Sister Madly reminded herself that this wasn’t just a still-life production centered around the Baby Jesus- who was noticeably absent from the Manger- it was an epic tale about a Mysterious King of Orient-R. And Sister Madly, with her plastic jewelry and her arms sticking straight out at her sides, she was that King, chosen to bear the hallowed gift of Murder-

“Myrrh.”

Myrrh? What in tarnation is myrrh?

“It’s a burial spice.”

…because the person’s been murdered?

“Because the person is dead.”

Where does murder fit in?

“It doesn’t.”

…No?

disgusted-otter

So no murder, then. Just gold and something called myrrh…

Wait- what about about Frankenstein? Sister Madly’s wrong about that too, isn’t she? It’s actually Frank-and-Beans?

“Frankincense. Also a spice.”

And just like that, a piece of her childhood slipped away. Gone, now, were the days of Gold, Frankenstein, and Murder; gone was the mysterious land of Orient-R. Sister Madly wasn’t a King, nor royalty of any sort; she was just an 8 year-old moppet in a puffy coat, standing on a milk crate in the midst of a Nativity that sadly lacked a Baby Jesus.

There had better be cocoa afterwards.

THEME SONG: King of Wishful Thinking, Go West


Images:

4) technabob.com


Indigo Children

She thought she was safe that night, when she slipped past a group of protesters into the pub. However, it was here where the real danger was percolating: once again, Sister Madly found herself facing the Happy Phlebotomist.

meet-again-2

Through no fault of her own, Sister Madly found out that much has happened in the life of this cheerful mosquito since their last encounter, including co-authoring a vegan cookbook (which, incidentally, no one has ever seen) as well as making a batch of vintage wine- which should be ready “by the end of the year.”

Sister Madly, however, maintained a healthy level of skepticism. One just can’t call it a ‘vintage’ wine if it hasn’t been made yet; that’s like calling milk ‘butter’ when it’s still inside the cow. Life just doesn’t work that way, no matter how much one prays.

fixed-sink

But the Happy Phlebotomist was quick to point out that wine-making was merely his passion, perhaps something for retirement. In the mean time, he gets by through a lovely regime of Spinning, Zumba, and Hot Yoga, through promoting a line of ‘natural’ supplements, and through phlebotomizing unsuspecting souls.

Now don‘t get her wrong- Sister Madly has nothing against a vegan lifestyle, nor the Spinning/Zumba/Hot Yoga Combo Plate that the Happy Phlebotomist now champions; it’s just that Sister Madly finds no joy in feasting on topsoil or twisting herself into a well-cooked pretzel. Still, she has a hard time believing that anyone who habitually depletes the human race of life-sustaining fluids for a living is as humane as his routine leads one to believe.

lol-amer-cheese

As for the vitamin supplements, one has to be cautious around these products- after all, most of them are not FDA approved, unlike American Imitation Pasteurized Process Cheese Food, which is.

But that didn’t stop the Happy Phlebotomist, who achieved a freakish level of joy when he discussed the many uses of Colloidal Silver- surely even you, Sister Madly, would benefit from this miracle ‘cure-all.’

Sister Madly has to admit that she is not the spring chicken she was last week- why, just the other day, she managed to turn basic strength-training into a most spectacular pageant of twists, flails, and fancy footwork that any respectable jitterbug would envy, and has walked like a hunchback ever since. She also has a fair amount of illogical allergies, becomes exceedingly deranged when life withholds from her a decent amount of sleep, and when it comes to medieval weaponry, Sister Madly has all the self-control of a starving vulture over a zebra carcass.

silver

But while Sister Madly loves to wear silver, she admits that her enthusiasm stops short of drinking it.

“There are some who swear by it.”

Some may swear by it, Jolly Ol’ Blood Extractor, but Sister Madly is more curious about those who don’t. She wants to know what, exactly, she is getting into before she starts melting down her jewelry for breakfast.

Oh, there was a reason, all right, but he was suspiciously evasive about it: any natural remedy has its risks if not used properly, he said, such as stomach upset, headaches, or rendering certain medications ineffective…

“…and then there some people who have been known to turn blue – permanently – but I don’t think it’s something you need to worry about.”

smurf2

Hold it right there, Chipper: you are trying to pitch Sister Madly a miracle supplement whose potential side-effects include turning into a Smurf, and you don’t think that is something she should worry about?*

* A condition known as argyria, caused by prolonged exposure to chemical forms of silver, resulting in a blue or gray discoloration of the skin.

In an effort to reassure her, the Happy Phlebotomist explained that one could reduce the risk of this Technicolor discoloration by becoming nocturnal, as exposure to sunlight increases it. His pathological good cheer quickly escalated to psychotic levels when he realized all the delightful possibilities of promoting a substance that has adverse effects when exposed to the sun, such as creating a package deal consisting of Colloidal Silver and Vitamin D- the latter of which would be lacking in an individual avoiding the sun.

Yes, somewhere there is a world where that idea will work…

To tell you the truth, Sister Madly spends precious little time contemplating what life would be like if she were blue, but even then it didn‘t take her long to reach the conclusion that, if she woke up one morning the color of her recycling bin, she was be apocalyptically cross about it.

another-smurf

Then again, there is something appealing about having a choice of what color one turns after prolonged exposure to the sun. Mother Nature can be so thoughtful, the dear.

In the meantime, Sister Madly will be implementing her own health regimen by routinely disinfecting her insides through pints of lovely, local ciders.

THEME SONG: Mood Indigo, Duke Ellington


The Monastery of Fruit Cake and Honey

Sophistication can be tricky, especially in the art of deciding whether to arrive to an assignation on time, or fashionably late. But what is apparently quite unacceptable is the in-between tardiness that results from staring at a giant mushroom.

giant mushroom

It wasn’t that this tardiness was found to be thoughtless or even rude, but unnatural. Delays involving traffic, bees, and runaway steamrollers have all been overlooked, but the fungus was deemed inexcusable as the Professors seem to be biologically opposed to all things mushroom. In fact, they didn’t seem to believe that Sister Madly saw the mushroom at all, which resulted in a frustration she hadn’t felt since Christmas Eve, when no one believed that Elvis was sitting on her neighbor’s balcony.

So after much discussion, the Professors came to the logical conclusion that Sister Madly would greatly benefit from a week-long retreat at the Trappist Monastery.

To begin with, Sister Madly doesn’t like how this particular monastic order contains the word Trap. No doubt that name exists for a reason, and she’s not too keen on finding out why. Besides, it’s not like she ate the mushroom, although she did form a bond with a hookah-smoking caterpillar over their mutual lack of height.

The Professors cheerfully overlooked these misgivings, determined that Sister Madly would embrace the simple life once she was not only aware of all the thrills…

“You can make creamed honey-”

…but moments of sweet meditation.

“-and fruit cake!”

watermelons

Yes, very few graduates today realize that all of life’s predicaments can be rectified with a bakery and a beehive, as Monastic Fruit Cake Philosophy is only available on a PhD level. Sister Madly herself was ill-equipped upon finishing high school, facing the world with nothing more than knowledge of how to add and subtract papayas, that throwing tea into a harbor results in warfare, and that battery acid eats through shirts.* Had she furthered her education, she might not have been contaminated by Giant Mushroom Awe.

* The understanding of battery acid came about in a household setting rather than the classroom.
(Sorry about that.)

But why a Trappist Monastery? What about the monks who make cider? Why can’t she spend a few days with those fine gentlemen?

silence

The Professors thought the reason was obvious enough: the Monks Who Make Cider live in a little place called The Other Side of the World, which was a wee bit outside of their ‘stay-for-free-but-donations-are-accepted’ budget.

“Besides, Trappist Monks are known for their silence.”

Well, that’s a comfort: the monks will be unable to tattle on Sister Madly when she engages in some very un-monastic rituals, such as swimming in the baptistery and putting toothpaste in the fruit cake. Surely nothing is more infuriating than a gossipy little monk.*

* Or a gossipy tall monk, for that matter.

boring

But wait- would she also be bound by this vow of silence? Not that she’s a chatty little supernova, mind you, but Sister Madly has been known to talk to, with, and amongst herself on occasion. And of course, she simply must reply; not responding to oneself when speaking to oneself is most impolite. But this mandatory silence would be like giving herself the cold shoulder, and Sister Madly might take offense and not speak to herself for days.

“It’s not completely silent; after all, there is a confessor.”

talk to myself

If that is not the essence of ingenuity! No need for the monks to tattle; Sister Madly will be required to tattle on herself! Then she will sulk and call herself names, which will escalate to rumor-spreading and hair-pulling, after which Sister Madly will vow to never tell herself another secret again.

Well son of a biscuit, Sister Madly- you just uncovered the Trap of Trappist! This whole ‘retreat’ is just a ruse on the part of the Professors to thwart future high-jinks and delicious skullduggery, all of which takes a great deal of planning amongst yourself; the Giant Mushroom is just an excuse to implement it. They’re trying to make you just like them, all responsible and early-to-bed. You need to put a stop to this wicked agenda at once!

Professor- did you do something with your hair?

“No…”

That’s what she thought.

THEME SONG: Enjoy the Silence, Depeche Mode


To Steal a Castle and a Gargoyle, Too

Imagine, if you will, the utter joy of waking up one morning to find that a White Castle Sign had blossomed in front of your house overnight.

It almost happened, you know.

white castle

Every now and then, Sister Madly has a birthday; and while some pass quietly into the void, others arrive at the insistence of certain friends and family members who wish to observe the day in the most average way possible, such as the time her Ex surprised her by taking her to the skeletal remains of the last White Castle in the state.*

Oh, how you spoil her!

*18th birthday. Possibly even 19th. But definitely not 20.

Surely here was a place of romance, with its crack pipes and graffitied walls; no doubt many a young couple met fate here in the form of the Zodiac Killer. A leisurely walk through the overgrown parking lot proved to be the highlight of the evening as it led them to where the White Castle Sign lay broken and abandoned amidst the prairie grass.

white castle classic

“And that, Sister Madly, is for you!”

This her Ex said proudly, as though he, himself, had hunted down the elusive White Castle Sign while on safari. Yes, this dedicated young man whom Sister Madly was dating, who stood victorious over that shattered carcass, was nothing more than a Big Game Fast Food poacher at heart.

“The Sign is your present! Happy Birthday!”

Surely her parents would find no fault with this! They were rational individuals after all, of logic and sound mind; that’s why the gargoyle was banished from the house.

gargoyle

See, this was not the first such gift from her Ex. Over Christmas, he presented her with a dismal little gargoyle, the sight of which brought about a fit of laughter from her mother upon encountering it the following morning. Things took a dark turn, however, when her mother decided that the little beast was straight from the devil- things had a habit of becoming evil once her mother had time to think it over. Oh, but Sister Madly could keep the gargoyle- she just couldn’t keep it in the house.

So the winged Yoda was banished to the outdoors, where he would reside under the porch (thus meeting her mother’s ‘out of sight’ requirement) for the next several years.*

*The gargoyle would make a lovely comeback later in life, in which he would be painted gold and used as a trophy for a Murder Mystery in a Box Game.

Her Ex sincerely apologized for having to bring Sister Madly to the White Castle Sign, instead of surprising her with it when he picked her up earlier that evening. In fact, the only reason her Ex did not bring the gift over to her house was that he could not come up with the means to transport such a large Sign at short notice.

zombie gnome

But what was more important to her Ex than the gifts themselves was the method with which they were obtained; he believed that the story and heroics therein made the gift all the more valuable. His original intention was to steal a gargoyle, but the gardens around town were mostly populated with gnomes and those critters scared him silly; now he was stealing for her a White Castle Sign.* Her Ex was certainly generous with things that did not belong to him.

*Sister Madly is aware that pointing to an object and declaring ‘Mine!’ isn’t technically stealing, not until said object is illegally removed. She does some understanding of the law.

joust segway

Now Sister Madly doesn’t mean to sound ungrateful- make no mistake, somewhere deep inside that psychotic little snickerdoodle was a sense of wonder at these shameless attempts of deluded grandeur. She sees no harm in re-gifting a present if you believe someone would truly enjoy the gift, but one does not typically re-gift someone else’s property.

But more importantly-

WHY WOULD SISTER MADLY WANT A WHITE CASTLE SIGN?!?!

“Because you like Medieval things.”

joust segway2

Okay… Sister Madly understands that Medieval history is not everyone’s pint of cider, thus not everyone is attuned to the finer nuances of the Era. However, just as one can’t put wings on Yoda and call him demonic, one can’t write the word ‘castle’ on a post-it note and call it Medieval poetry!

Yet, he was so proud…

And so Sister Madly declined the gift, saying there was no place at the house to put the Sign and her parents would outright murder her if she tried. But she did promise to visit the Sign whenever she got the chance, perhaps even pack it a lovely picnic lunch of Pop Rocks and Pixy Sticks.*

poprocks

*About 3 weeks later, her Ex informed her that someone had removed her White Castle Sign, which “wouldn’t have happened if you had taken it home.”
Amazingly, this relationship did not work out.


To Mistake a Classic for Erotica

They both savored the strange warm glow of being much more ignorant than ordinary people, who were only ignorant of ordinary things ~ Terry Pratchett

“It’s not his hobby, Sister Madly.”

He just said that he loves his job, Professor, and when you love your job, you don’t work a day in your life. By this definition, it IS his hobby.

phlebotomist

Now, Sister Madly has always been wary of anyone the Professors call a ‘friend’ and this time, she had good reason to be: he was chatty and he was happy. Too happy. Frolicking with the tumbleweed happy- and all without a nip of cider. That’s what makes it sinister- that, and the maniacal good cheer with which he announced that he was a phlebotomist.*

*In layman’s terms, a giant mosquito.

Then again, perhaps that is the secret to his sinister happiness: draining a large portion of his blood to the point of mental absurdity in the name of good times. Or perhaps he gets his jollies by mixing blood types like some gruesome, vascular cocktail. Whatever his secret, this psychotic bliss was reinforced later that night simply by coming upon Sister Madly’s copy of Maugham’s Of Human Bondage.

“You like this sort of thing, do you?”

TAB cola 80s

She couldn’t help but wonder what, exactly, the Happy Phlebotomist meant by ‘this sort of thing.’ True, it wasn’t the sort of book her mother would read to a young Sister Madly while they shared a bottle of TAB, but her mother wasn’t one to read her The Runaway Bunny either. Perhaps the Happy Phlebotomist didn’t much care for the author, or perhaps it was the implication that Sister Madly likes to read books out of season. Of Human Bondage always seemed like a book one reads in the winter.

Of course it is possible to read any book at any time of the year, but unless you are some sort of literary rogue, here is a small sample of the appropriate seasonal fare:

Summer:
A Confederacy of Dunces
Bonjour Tristesse
Autumn:
The Magus
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Winter:
Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky
The Moon and Sixpence
Spring:
Three Men in a Boat
Rubaiyat

While the Happy Phlebotomist found this ‘seasonal reading’ slightly baffling, he was a sight more tolerant than the Professors were upon learning that Sister Madly arranges her DVDs according to ambiance instead of alphabetically. She doesn’t understand all the fuss- after all, she knows where to find everything. That’s all that really matters.*

*There are also many people who listen to music according to season- her neighbors, for example. They always listen to Christmas music in the winter. Loudly.

great story

Not that the Professors should cast any stones. Sister Madly has not only seen them eat lettuce, she has seen them enjoy the process– a sure sign that something is not quite right in the head.

Now over the course of her acquaintance with the Professors, they have taken it upon themselves to lend her books that they think she should read, rather than books they think she would enjoy. So it was something of a shock when the Happy Phlebotomist approached her with a copy of The Story of O, for no reason other than “you seem to like this sort of thing.”

And by ‘this sort of thing,’ the Happy Phlebotomist meant erotic literature.

“Since you were reading that book on human bondage…”

of human bondage

Perhaps Sister Madly is just naïve- or perhaps it’s because her hobby isn’t the gleeful draining of blood out of living individuals- but the possibility of Of Human Bondage being some sort of literary porn never once crossed her mind the day she found it in the bookstore. She was just intrigued by a book whose title started with the word ‘Of.’

According to the obligatory new book flip-thru (and later confirmed through the internet) The Story of O was originally published in the 1950‘s and was somewhat influenced by the works of the Marquis de Sade- which is a far, far cry from the themes found in Of Human Bondage.

You see, the title Of Human Bondage is taken from Part IV of Spinoza’s Ethics, entitled “Of Human Bondage, or the Strength of Emotions” in which Spinoza speaks of people’s inability to control their emotions (the emotions themselves, not one’s conscious response to them) which constitutes bondage. The crux of Maugham’s story is the unrequited love of Philip Carey, which binds him to a rather disagreeable* woman- soul ties, and all that.

*Status-seeking, social-climbing, cold-hearted, unfaithful waitress-turned-mistress-turned-hooker-who-contracts-an-STD-most-likely-syphilis type of disagreeable.
Also, she was rude.

runaway bunny

“So it’s about human trafficking?”

Perhaps it was fatigue from reading veins all day, or perhaps it was too much vascular cocktail, but it was obvious that the Happy Phlebotomist was determined not to understand a single word of their conversation. No wonder the Professors were so fond of him.

And so she was about to suggest a book that would do away with his starry-eyed disposition, The Runaway Bunny, as even adults have been known to cry at that story…

… when the Professors interrupted by sending a drink over to her table.

bloody-mary2

A Bloody Mary.

THEME SONG: Sunday Bloody Sunday, U2


The Curious Law of Thermodynamics

In the Madliverse, curiosity not only kills the cat, it buries it at the nearest construction site, fills the hole with cement and makes it the foundation of a fabulous 5-star hotel.

So it was with some trepidation when Sister Madly succumbed to her curiosity and asked Midori, a recent transplant from Japan, the question that had been plaguing her for days:

Dandelions untidy

What language do you think in?

But Midori thought it the most natural question in the world, just as she thought dandelions made the lawn look ‘untidy.’ She also despised the name ‘Chad’- which proved to be most unfortunate as irony would one day find her married to a Chad. Midori was one who could trace her family tree back many, many generations straight through samurai Japan, while Sister Madly’s family tree was once handed her on a yellow post-it and whose branches were as alive and lush as a twig in the dead of winter. This family sapling covered no more than 5 generations and scattered them across Europe, Asia and the Middle East- something which seemed to fascinate Midori.

opium bed 1

That was how the 2 of them found themselves lounging amongst the pillows of the opium bed at Utopia, debating over the proper pronunciation of the word Pączki*- until Management appeared, which resulted in the 3 of them lounging amongst the pillows of that antique opium bed, debating the proper pronunciation of the word Pączki. Similar debates would occur over the pronunciation of Gruyere, Reykjavik, and Jicama during the next several months, just a handful of the words they had both before seen, but had never heard spoken.

There was once an attempt to teach Sister Madly the Japanese language- and she is proud to say, to this day, she can still count to ‘1’ like a champ. Yet Midori steadfastly refused to teach her any Japanese recipes- “What is there to teach? Raw fish is not a cuisine.” In fact, Midori found America’s fondness for deep-frying anything remotely digestible as irrefutable proof that there is, indeed, a god.

*It’s pronounce POONCH-key. Say it: Pączki.

So it came to pass on the eve of Midori’s 22nd birthday that she and Sister Madly found themselves wandering the town, when…

“Oh my god- I’m so old!”

001grimreaper2-2861911258

You know, Sister Madly once looked forward to the day in which she unintentionally frightened small children simply by being old. However, as Midori now finds herself ancient on the eve of her 22nd birthday, one can only concluded that Sister Madly has been laughing in the face of the Grim Reaper since the beginning of June.

Naturally this led them to the roof of the nearest parking garage that night with a roll of SweeTarts and some cider, doing that which all the Ancients find inevitable: discussing the laws of Thermodynamics.

Indeed, Sister Madly was untamable in those days.

But it wasn’t until they arrived back at Midori’s later that night that the conversation took on an entirely new meaning.

“Where’s my porch?”

burn

The question was facetious, really, for one only had to look no further than the charred bits of wood smoldering at their feet to find said porch. Still, one could not help but wonder how the lovely wrap-around porch was suddenly reduced of a pile of charbroiled ashes without at least a note of apology.

That is, everyone except Midori.

“Thermodynamics!”

There was no arguing with this logic, for obviously there had been some thermo involved in the removal of the porch; and there was no arguing that the dynamic of the porch had drastically changed. There was no arguing because of the few too many ciders Sister Madly had consumed not long before, and no longer found the topic remotely interesting.

However, when one removes the wrap-around porch from an old Victorian, one also removes the method of conquering the distance from the lawn to the front door. Fortunately- for Midori, at least- Sister Madly was able to offer up what remained of her strength and her brawn, and attempted to stand en pointe upon a stack of cinder blocks while she hoisted Midori upon her shoulders so she could unlock the front door.

enpointe

This plan went much more smoothly in her mind, for in her mind, Sister Madly was skilled in ballet, had impeccable balance, and was not three sheets to the wind. In reality, her balance was as such that Sister Madly not only toppled Midori multiple times against the door, but multiple times against the doorbell as well- a doorbell that played the first few chords of Beethoven’s Fifth. Bet the landlord regrets that purchase now.

Still, it was the least Sister Madly could do; one simply cannot leave the elderly out in the frigid night air- that would be rude. Especially on her birthday.

*Midori tends to think in the language that she is currently speaking, by the way.


No Pearls in the Citadel

There are those who, when bored, will do whatever possible to see that they are entertained- even if it means arranging the misadventures of a friend. It’s like how a mother will dress her child in a heavy sweater because the mother, herself, is cold.

That is how Sister Madly found herself fleeing the Dodo amidst a flurry of baguettes and day-old cupcakes (they weren’t called the Dark Ages for nothing!) in the hopes of seeking sanctuary in what she thought was the Tower.

black pearls nat geo

However…

“No Pearls in the Citadel!”

So it was a Citadel, for what difference it makes; as for that bit about the pearls- those things are just plain creepy. A pearl is a small, lustrous piece of calcium carbonate that forms around a foreign object- such as a grain of sand or a broken bit of shell- inside a living mollusk. Living. Liv-ing. Face it, folks: wearing a pearl ring is like wearing a kidney stone.

So imagine a young Sister Madly’s disappointment the day she learned that a grain of sand heartlessly shoved into a living creature in the hopes that it produces a bead- and not even a sparkly bead at that- was her birthstone. Had she known this, she would have campaigned her way out of the womb a few days earlier, and settled for an emerald.

“No Pearls in the Citadel!”

plague doctor christopher lovell

There’s also no bat-crazy corpse-bird brandishing medieval pastries in a threatening manner, sir, and right now that’s all she cares about.

But this garnered no sympathy whatsoever from the Guardian of the Pearl (that apparently was not in the Citadel.) No one ever seemed particularly sympathetic to Sister Madly’s plight when it involved the Dodo- true, she made it through those plights without much damage to body and soul, but this was largely due to her own incompetence rather than ability.

You see, Sister Madly was conscripted into the Battle of the Baked Goods by people she called friends, O-Guardian-of-the-Pearl-that-is-Not-in-the-Citadel. And while it’s true that she is currently dodging this draft- and not discreetly- she has a very good reason for doing so: gluten intolerance. Not since the Inquisition has Sister Madly seen such flagrant bigotry- bashing people about the head with loaves of French bread is a terrible mistreatment of gluten.

But more importantly, deep down inside of her shoe, her sock is slipping off.

With this the Guardian of the Citadel sans Pearl sympathized, as he himself must have once suffered the agony of a sock bunching up around the toes. It wasn’t enough to let her into the Citadel, however; that was accomplished by a horrifying tantrum, the likes of which even Sister Madly was unaware that she could achieve.

As she attempted to fix her sock in the safety of the Citadel, she thought back upon the events concerning the Baguettes and the Bird, and wondered if the source of her most spectacular problems were not her enemies, but her friends.*

trigger man

*It was at this moment that Sister Madly, in her attempt to shake out the knotted-up sock, launched the paisley missile straight out the window.

Just as it was no accident that she was drafted into battle, it was no coincidence that she found herself facing the Dodo on that field wielding a rosemary garlic baguette in a brilliant display of Baked Good Justice. Sister Madly, on the other hand… all she had was a little cocktail umbrella some medieval tart had stuck behind her ear-

No throwing socks out of the Citadel!

elise marie syvertsen 2

If a sock wanders off, sir, it is not for Sister Madly to ask it why. Losing a sock to the wild unknown is what being human is all about and that was the Dodo, wasn’t it?

Of course that was the Dodo, Sister Madly- who else would it be? And it was not due to the magic of the universe, coincidence, or synchronicity that he showed up outside your window, but as a result of the prevailing boredom of your very capable ‘friends.’

But don’t rule out the fact that the Dodo was all-too willing to comply.

Paisley?

Laugh it up, Chuckles, but paisley is chic! Besides, no one was suppose to see her socks.

Now, one might expect some clever repartee to ensue, perhaps even to the point of threatening future retribution. But no; instead, she watched the Dodo silently walked away with her paisley sock!!!

Well of all the cheek! Your friends may very-well be the source of your problems, Sister Madly, but your enemies are certainly the backup power unit.

“He’s just contributing to your humanity,” said the Guardian of the Nonexistent Pearl.

… Enemies whose number is ever-growing, and whom Sister Madly informed that until she once again had her sock- or a viable substitute- she would not be leaving the precious Citadel.

That is when a purple Crown Royal bag came flying through the window.

Crown_Royal

Let‘s face it, Sister Madly: the source of all your problems is you.

 *Sister Madly still has no idea what the deal was with the Pearls, other than the fact that there weren’t any in the Citadel.

THEME SONG: Like a Friend, Pulp


 Images:

2) Christopher Lovell
4) Elise Marie Syvertsen


Star Gazing

Cultivate a sense of humor, they said.
From a humorous point of view, this lunch is rather good ~ Jerome K. Jerome

To most denizens of planet Earth, Star Gazing means just that: to gaze up at the stars.

stargazing

To the Ex of her teenage years, however, Star Gazing was a coy little euphemism for old-fashioned making out. Sister Madly discovered that in the most startling way possible.

And to a select few across the pond, there is this little gem:

Sister Madly is torn: she can’t decide if this banquet of vegan nightmares is disgusting, disturbing, or just plain lazy. Look at it: one can almost taste the psychosis that went into its creation. Is this really what God intended?

It‘s not that she is unfamiliar with British cuisine; in fact, she’s had quite a bit of international fare in her lifetime, most of which she enjoyed – except for that steak and kidney concoction, which was basically an autopsy in a pie. But Stargazy? A delicacy of such unapologetic madness must be reserved for a special occasion.

And in no time, that occasion presented itself.

There was yet another party in the works, one with a British Theme, that the Professors not only planned in her absence but expected her to participate in. Worse yet was that they insisted that Sister Madly was present when these plans were made, and she could not talk them out of it.

pub

For the record, Sister Madly was most certainly not present at the planning: never would she have agreed to a shindig whose sole purpose was to get sloshed under the Union Jack- an ironic theme, considering that the Professors’ home base is a British pub and they do just that every weekend. Apparently, the ultimate goal here is to get Sister Madly drunk over the next few days and keep her that way through the Fall. They’ve been trying to do that since December.

Well, two can play at that game, Professor, and Sister Madly has resources you would never have dreamt of. Let‘s see who can hold their liquor the longest when she shows up on your doorstep with a freshly baked Stargazy Pie and Blue Wonderland Mushroom Salad-

“What was that?”

plans

Fiddlesticks, Sister Madly – you didn’t just say that aloud, did you? You need to become aware of the moments that you are speaking your thoughts! One of these days it’s going to backfire. Seriously- revenge is no good when the target knows what’s coming.

“I thought you said something.”

Oh, just like you thought Sister Madly was present when you planned this whole Let‘s-Get-Drunk-In-Merry-Ol’-England Party?

“You were there- quit pretending otherwise.”

Someday, Sister Madly, you’re going to admit that your friendship with these creatures is much like Stargazy Pie: oppressive, unnatural and stuffed with nightmares. You might want to get out before you end up as one of the fishys- which is sooner than you think.

Go back to the Stars, Little One. One of them shines for you.

For the record, Sister Madly has decided against making the pie for the Let‘s-Get-Drunk-In-Merry-Ol’-England Party. It occurred to her that making a treat for a party she is not attending is a waste of time. She will make it for her brother-in-law instead.*

*Sister Madly did attempt this recipe over the weekend: she just skipped a few ingredients {i.e., everything but the cider} and a few directions {i.e., all of them except consuming the cider.} It was a success.

recipe-stargazy3

STARGAZY PIE

  • 2 Shortcrust Pastry/Ready Made Pie Crust
  • 3-5 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 3-5 mackerel or herring, cleaned and gutted w/head heartlessly in tact
  • 6-8 rashers of streaky bacon, rind removed and chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (wear your goggles!)
  • Mustard or horseradish, to taste
  • Generous handful of fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, chives, basil, etc)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (optional)
  • Egg, beaten (for glazing)
  • 6-pack of quality hard cider, divided (1/2 cup – OR – 4 oz. + remaining)
  • Preferred Method of Payment
  • Phone

Consume 1 cider – you’re going to need it
Line pie dish with 1 pastry/crust
Mix 3/4 herbs, breadcrumbs, 1/2 onion, and mustard/horseradish
Stuff the fishys w/herb mixture
Arrange fishys in pie dish w/heads pointing skyward
Scatter remaining onions, herbs, bacon, eggs, and disgust in between the fishys
Season w/salt, pepper, and sadness
Add 1/2 cup cider
Cover dish w/pastry, allowing the fishys’ heads to poke through
Slit pastry in center to allow steam to escape
Make sure fishys are all snuggly in the pie and glaze crust w/egg
Avoid looking into their bleak, sightless eyes
Bake @ 400* for 45-50 minutes
Consume other 5+ ciders

TO SERVE:

Allow pie to cool slightly
Scatter pie crust w/parsley
Bask in the glory of this psychotic delicacy
Dump pie in garbage
Locate Phone and Preferred Method of Payment
Order Chinese *

*Or any delivery-based Take Away. We do not drink and drive.

THEME SONG: I Am the Cosmos, This Mortal Coil


IMAGES:

1) lovethispic.com
2) pinterest
3) yelp
5) pinterest