Of Mice and Mow…


It’s been an interesting week around here. It started with a haircut and ended with a new recipe. In between there was a mouse (or three), a mowing of the lawn and a thrown out back (not mine).

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

My story starts last Friday…Since the Hubs hadn’t seen “The Hunger Games” yet (he wanted to finish the book first) I decided to take him out to dinner and to see the film.  After taking a shower and looking at my hair in the mirror, I thought, “Hmm, bangs?” I took a couple of minutes, thought to myself as I stood there with the scissors “It’ll always grow back”,  took a deep breath and cut a thick fringe of bangs straight across my face.  Here’s a picture:

I’m not a bad girl…I’m a badass girl!

Now, I have to say, I have been having fun with the new look. It almost requires dramatic makeup, which forces me to get my butt in gear in the mornings so I don’t leave the house looking like a tired 15 year old (especially when I wear braids…) and I feel kinda glamorous sporting this dramatic cut and enough eyeliner to make Cleopatra turn as green as the Nile. I was going for a Cleopatra/Anck Su Namun (from the 1999 version of “The Mummy”)kinda vibe. I never thought that other folks might look at the haircut in a different light…

Flash forward to last Tuesday. I was making my rounds doing PR visits at a Cellular Provider that I work with and one of the reps, a very conservative (and very sweet) gal in her 50s tells me, “Ooh, I love the new haircut! Don’t take this the wrong way, but it’s sexy, in a dominatrix kind of way.”

I think people in the next county over heard my jaw as it dropped to the floor.

A couple of things about this situation caused this to happen.

First, when one is in a professional situation, one does not expect to have one’s appearance compared to someone in the, ahem, sex biz (Unless you are in the sex biz, of course. Then all bets are off). Second, when one does hear such a comment, it’s always a shocker when it comes from the most unlikely place imaginable (if you knew this woman, you’d understand my surprise).

Now, I have an arsenal of quick comebacks for any guy that hits me with a cheesy come-on line or obnoxious, unwanted advance. But have a sweet middle aged woman tell me a look like a dominatrix and well, my tongue just freezes up. I stood there and giggled a little, but the snappy comebacks like “Yeah, start promoting my OS or I’m bringing the whip next time!” or “If working as a trainer for this company doesn’t pan out, I’ll have something to fall back on” or “I actually moonlight on weekends. Know anybody who needs a little discipline?”  all came to me much later that day, on the long drive home, while I was still trying to wrap my tiny, little brain around it all.  Sad, huh?  Sadder yet is that, on a whim, I Googled “Dominatrix” and found a ton of pictures of women with hair just like mine! Who knew?!

I was going for this…
…or this…
How did I end up with this?…Hey, I own a pair of those boots…

After thinking about it, I’m choosing to take it as a compliment.  I’m a strong, confident woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone and I own a large collection of very high, very sexy shoes. And while I haven’t beaten any men into submission (lately…) I did do a number on a particularly tough piece of chuck steak a couple of weeks ago…If the stiletto fits…

On Wednesday of last week, the Hubs threw his back out. The night before opening our final show of the semester. Poor kid. He can just think of lifting something the wrong way and his back will go out. I’m happy to report he is doing better, but by Saturday, the lawn had grown so tall that our 6 pound chihuahua, Coco, was detectable only by the movement of the grass as she ran, so I figured I’d take one for the team, and allergies be damned, cut the grass myself.

To my surprise, I liked it.

For someone (such as yours truly) with somewhat OCD tendencies, mowing the lawn is one part empowering and one part therapy. So there I was, hair in braids, trekking across the expanse of our big back yard, happily pushing the mower along.  Up and down. Concentric circles. You name it. I was doing everything but moonwalking the damn thing into crop circles, making sure to cut every section nice and evenly. It is here, about 3/4 of the way through the job that our story takes a tragic turn. The mower started slightly smoking and sputtering. Had I not been so far away, temporarily deafened by the sound and preoccupied with getting every blade perfectly even, I might have heard Gary yelling, “Stop! The grass is too thick!” But alas, I didn’t hear his cries so our poor little John Deere died. Apparently nothing runs like a Deere, except a Deere running from an overgrown lawn. After turning the mower on its side and clearing out about 75 pounds of both fresh and dried grass clippings (turf bricks, anyone?) I thought we were back in business. We were not. Apparently turning a mower on its side displaces the oil, causing it to go on strike. So back into the garage went the mower, with the intent of finishing up on Sunday. Of course Sunday rolled in with cold, monsoon-like rains so in the garage the mower waits, until next weekend. And now we have a nice rectangular shaped section of the yard that looks as if it could hide velociraptors…

“Coco! Stay out of the tall grass!”
“I like this place, Marge. They’ve got a mild climate, a fenced yard for the kids and fresh chihuahua. What’s not to like?”

So now on to the mice.

I should preface this story with something that happened on Tuesday night of last week. It was about, oh, 11pm, when Gary and I went to shut the lights out. As we left the bedroom and entered the living room, Gary suddenly stopped, sprang into a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” style pose and whispered, “Did you see that?” as he trained his eye on the front door. I looked around, squinting toward the front door, wondering what the hell he was talking about. “Um, no, baby, I didn’t see anything.” “I’m sure I saw something.” So we spent the next 15 minutes scouring the living room looking for whatever Gary thought he saw. When we found nothing but dust bunnies, Gary chalked it up to shadows playing tricks on his eyes,  and we gave up our hunt, closed the lights and went to bed.

Fast forward to Friday night, when I found “evidence” (read: poop) of a mouse. I frantically checked all the cupboards to make sure there wasn’t any “evidence” (read: poop and chewed up food). When I was assured that the mouse had not made it’s way into the cupboards, I told Gary that we needed to get a mousetrap the next day.  Of course, neither of us found the idea of neck-snapping, poisoning or tiny guillotines very appealing, so we went with a live trap. We paid our five bucks and went home, anxious to set our snare. When we got back to the house, I opened the package and read the instructions. Pretty simple premise-it works kinda like a seesaw, using the mouses’ weight to close the door of the trap. But “what lures the mouse into the trap?” you may be wondering. According to the package, you use a “mouse attractant”.

Mouse attractant? What the hell is a “mouse attractant”??? A copy of Pent-Mouse magazine? Since I couldn’t find one of those, I settled for a glob of peanut butter (creamy) and set the trap. At 11pm that night, as we were watching a movie in bed, with all the lights off, we heard a rhythmic “click.click.click”. Gary gave me a puzzled look. “Do you have anything in the dryer?” “Nope. That is the trap. We caught him!” So we put on clothes over our PJs and went to investigate. Sure enough, the door of the trap was closed. I lifted it up and felt the slight change in weight. “We got him! Let’s go outside and let him go!” So out we went to the very back of the yard to release the little guy. We opened the door, expecting him to take off like a lunatic, but nothing happened. We looked inside and there he was, all cute with his twitching whiskers and big black appleseed eyes, looking at us as if to say: “Seriously guys, I was in the middle of dinner.” We literally had to shake him out of the thing (gently, of course) he plopped out looked around and just kinda waddled off. We watched him leave, feeling pretty good about saving one of God’s tiny creatures. We got back into the house and I said, “Maybe we should reset the trap, just in case”. So we did, never expecting to catch another. Sunday night rolled around and again, at 11pm, we heard the “click.click.click”. We both looked at each other and got our clothes on, and went to check the trap. Yep, you guessed it. Another mouse. Or maybe it was the same one, fueled on a peanut butter high, looking for more. I cannot be sure. But once again, we were outside, freeing a tiny creature and still feeling good. We reset the trap, again, never thinking we’d catch anything else. Until this morning. Yep, back for thirds. This time, I got video, since this release was in the daytime. Came back in, reset the trap. Blah, blah blah…Fast forward to oh, about an hour and a half ago. When, as I was typing this entry, my husband suddenly sits up in bed and shouts, “Aw hell…” At first I didn’t realize what he was talking about, until I heard it. CLICK.CLICK.CLICK. “You have got to be freakin kidding me” I said as I pulled my yoga pants and sweatshirt on “We may have to start transporting these little suckers to a remote location.” So at 11:40pm we were in the garage, putting shredded paper, assorted seeds and dried fruits and some water into the aquarium I used to keep Hades, my late preying mantis, in. Then we opened up the trap and out plopped the mouse. Now I can’t be sure, but damned if the little dude didn’t look a little fatter. No wonder, with all the peanut butter he’s been chowing down on…So we reset the trap and we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Gary sealed up what we think is the point of entry, so hopefully, the trap will be empty tomorrow morning. If not, we’ll just keep collecting them and release them en masse somewhere far away from the house, preferably a county or two over…

Yep a crazy week here at DBA HQ. But it ended on a high note yesterday, when, at 9:15pm, I suddenly was ravenous. Maybe it was because I forgot dinner. Maybe all the wildlife rescue missions we’ve been undertaking made me work up an appetite. Maybe I just got inspired watching “Chopped-All Stars”.  Maybe it was fate that got me up out of bed and into the kitchen. Whatever it was, it was a good thing because I came up with a new fish dish that will rock your socks! I had some leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge so I used them, but you can make ’em fresh-however you like ’em. This is super quick and easy and healthy too (you can omit the taters and just serve the fish on a bed of spinach if your counting carbs and calories) Here’s what you need for two to four servings (depending on whether you want to serve one or two fillets per person):

Pan Seared Tilapia with Tomato Olive Ragout over Garlic         Sauteed Spinach and Mashed Potatoes

The Badass says:  “You know you’ve got some leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge…Here’s a great way to recycle them as a nice bed for this flavorful fish dish! It’s very healthy and low in fat, so you don’t have to feel as guilty about eating the potatoes.”  Note:  This recipe is enough for 2-4 people.  Since tilapia fillets usually are on the small side, I serve two fillets per person, but you can serve one fillet per person, and stretch this recipe to dinner for four.

Here’s what you need:

4 tilapia fillets

4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 medium tomato (diced)

2 TBS chopped Kalamata olives

1.5 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano

2 cups fresh spinach (this is enough for 2 people-you’ll want 1 cup of raw spinach per person)

1/4 cup white wine (I used white zinfandel)

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper (I used white, but you can use black if you like)

Red pepper flakes-just a few to taste (optional)

About ½ to ¾ cup mashed potatoes per person (you can use leftover mashed potatoes or make a batch up-if you’re making a batch, use about 1 good sized red or Yukon Gold potato per person, plus one extra “for the pot”-example if you’re serving 4 people, cook 4 potatoes)

Here’s what you do:

In a skillet, heat a little olive oil (about 1 TBS) and sauté half the garlic and red pepper flakes (if you like a bit of heat-if not, leave ‘em out) on medium high heat. When the garlic starts to get golden, add the spinach, a bit of salt and pepper (to taste-I start out with just a pinch of each-remember, you can always add a bit more, but you can’t take it away…) Lower the heat to medium, tossing the spinach until it wilts. Remove from heat and set aside.

In another skillet, heat about 2 TBS of olive oil on medium high heat. Season both sides of the fish with a little salt and pepper and  sear for 1 minute on each side, lower heat to medium,  then cook for another 2-3 minutes on each side, until fish is golden, firm to the touch and opaque. Remove from pan and set aside. To the pan, add the rest of the garlic and saute’ until golden. Add tomatoes and olives and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add the oregano. To plate, start with the mashed potatoes, place the spinach on top, followed by the fish and finishing with the tomato-olive ragout on top. Enjoy with the white wine of your choice (that white zin was yummy with this)

***DBA Tip Alert! So you say you don’t like fish, huh? Try substituting boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead. Sear for 2 minutes on each side on high, then lower heat to medium, add about ¾ cup of white wine and cook, covered for another 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink inside.

Who knew something so pretty and yummy could be so easy?

Enjoy!

Well, that’s all for now. I will post an update tomorrow about the mouse situation-keep your fingers crossed that we have no more visitors..wait a minute…was that a click.click.click?….oh no….

Until next time…Have fun and be fearless!

xoxo

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