Mr. Pants’ Guide to Fancy Cooking ©

Welcome to Mr. Pants’ Guide to Fancy Cooking © .

Today’s tip: When using a bowl to make oatmeal, check to see if it’s the same bowl Mo used last night to make spicy Spanish rice. If so, consider washing it first.

We hope you enjoyed this installment of Mr. Pants’ Guide to Fancy Cooking ©.

Tune in next time for Mr. Pants’ new recipe for Oatmeal Fiesta.

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 So many different things could have happened,
but this one did.
Our fortune as fragile as a finger bone,
as inevitable as the moon meanwhile rising,
as light as his lips against my hand, folded in his.

— kate

If I were writing a script for the perfect wedding, it would surely include a farm, a foul-tempered rooster, three dogs, and homemade beer. There would be a bet between the bride and her mom, who was officiating the ceremony, over who would go longest without crying.

It would feature people in suits and kilts and khakis and baseball caps and freshly pressed jeans. Of course there would be a VW bus with a photo booth in it, and homemade beer. I might have mentioned that one already.

There would be shy people from Texas, a pack of loving Minnesotans, flowers picked moments ago from the field next to the makeshift altar. Brothers and sisters and proud parents and aunts and uncles and faithful friends would come from all over the country to share the day.

There would be drama, of course. The groom would suffer a blowout shortly before the ceremony, forcing him into too-big shoes stuffed with newspaper. The bride would be directing the preparations with the precision of a Super Bowl quarterback right up till the time she tossed aside her T-shirt to dive into her gown, an operation going down to the wire. The empty field would turn into a wedding site in just a few hours with the precision of a Grateful Dead concert sans twirling dancers. The twirling dancers would come later.

There would be a procession with flower girls who never quite got the hang of it, a wedding party that couldn’t stop smiling, and a bride and groom who had been living three decades or so just so they would get to this very moment.

I’d throw in some funny but heartfelt exchanges between the mom and the daughter about how they were never going to get through this without sobbing through the whole thing. And then I would cry happy tears with them.

The bride and groom would exchange the perfect vows. He would promise to love her forever and take care of her dog, who sat nearby in the wedding party; she would say she looked forward to their conversations. A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short, the French author Andre Maurois said. I like that a lot. Marriage isn’t a piece of paper; it’s a best friend for life.

The mom, having forgotten to say it through all three rehearsals, would knock it out of the park at the end and proudly announce, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, I present for the first time: Kate and Ivan Durrant!” The crowd would go wild.

A chicken would cross the road while the guests lined up on both sides to shower the new couple with flower petals. It needed to get to the other side, I suppose. Meals would be eaten, toasts would be made, soup would be spectacular, cake would be cut. The bride and groom would dance to a Slaid Cleaves song. I love you more than Texas, she would proclaim. I grudgingly would admit it’s true. The crowd would sway all night to Paul Simon and Robert Earl Keen. Dogs would wander casually across the dance floor. The sun would go down. The spirit of family and friends would not.

And then, at the end of their first day of creating this new thing they would spend the rest of their lives figuring out, the couple would live the first day of happily ever after. Sure, it’s kind of a sappy ending, but it’s my script. I’m a sucker for Hallmark.

It would be a pretty great movie.

The end.

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owl be home for christmas

We’re loading the car in the deep, dark Pacific Northwest.  It’s a little before 4 a.m. Not a creature is stirring. And then Mo spots a creature that is not stirring.

It’s sitting on the roof across from us. And it’s huge.

The street is dark, which is apparently what happens around here a little before 4 a.m. But we can see the silhouette clearly, and some sort of animal is perched on the house. I assume it’s watching us.

It looks like maybe a big owl. Mo says it has to be a large cat. But cats aren’t this big, and it appears to be on its hind legs. It looks like an owl to me, although I’m more used to the burrowing ones who hang out on the running path, and not these monstrocities that apparently grow in the PNW.

It doesn’t move as we load the car, so I’m guessing it’s not in attack mode. We stare a while longer, and then I make my move.

Newly emboldened by having asked wedding guests to move forward the previous day, I flex my newfound leadership skills and walk out into the street. I creep forward quietly, step by step. I’m wearing Piranhas, so my stealth strategy is flawless. I get almost to the curb, and then I can see it.

A satellite dish.

It appears not to be interested in attacking us, but you never know. We gingerly shut the doors and I drive slowly past with the lights out.

We drive down a small country road full of foreboding shadows before finally reaching the bright lights of the freeway, where any wildlife is summarily flattened by 18-wheelers. We board our plane and get the heck out of this strange land.

People really should keep their satellites on a leash.

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it’s likely just a misdemeanor

dear kate:

In my defense, they should never leave Sharpies just lying around in places that sell caffeine. Irresponsible.

We were in Macy’s yesterday when Mo said “I need a pen.” Which means basically, “I’m breathing, so I need to draw.” I looked around the coffee shop and found a Sharpie up front. Mo proceeded to draw on the weekly newspaper, her paper coffee cup, the little cardboard things that go around the cup, and anything else that moved. Needless to say, I sat perfectly still. And that was that.

But then I noticed they had replaced the poster we stole a couple of weeks ago from out front. Given that no mention of your wedding was anywhere to be found on the bulletin board, I added it. We laughed and went on our way.

Unfortunately, our way appeared to be going to various posters around town. And for some reason, the Sharpie came along with us. We were discreet as to not be arrested for vandalism, and it seemed sort of funny at the time. But then we laugh whenever see see my poodle keychain, so we set a pretty low bar.

And then we went home. Well, OK, first we went to a bar. But it was a pretty low one.

While driving home, I started to think, since there’s nothing much else to do on the I-17 drive from Flag to PHX. “Kate and Ivan.” “Wedding.” “Oregon.” “June 30.”

When I got home, I googled it. Sure enough, you’re the first thing that pops up. This means two things:

  1. You’re totally going to get busted for this.
  2. Hmmm. I guess there isn’t really a No. 2. I just love a good list.

Anyhow, sorry about your impending arrest. It seemed like a good plan at the time, and I promise to visit you in jail, unless the Fat Gray Cat Larkspurs are playing in town at the same time.

In conclusion:

  1. Carry some bail money tucked into your wedding dress. And please don’t bring my name up. Thanks.
  2. Maybe never go to the Monte Vista lounge again. They’re looking for you.
  3. Avoid yodelers. Not because of the disparaging remark on the sign. I just find it’s a good motto in life.

see you tomorrow,
unk g

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farm trucks

I got an ol’ used car
and it runs just like a top
I get the feelin’ it ain’t
Ever gonna stop
— the prophets clark and crowell

I own an ’88 honda civic. it’s old and battered, like me. 250,000 miles. it’s time for a new car. lots of little issues and increasingly worrisome to drive. money isn’t a problem, and technology over 30 years has made new cars an entirely different creature, clearly worth the investment.

but i truly love this car. we’ve been friends for half my life, from the day it was a baby car.

i’m looking at buying a new honda fit. nudge under $20,000. bluetooth, fancy things like “air bags” and “air conditioning” and “power steering” as well as rear view camera and gizmo to keep you in your lane and the assurance that it’s new so you don’t have to worry about the wheels falling off on the daily 15 mile freeway commute.

but then it hits me. what if i took the money and got my car restored instead? an ’88 honda is like an old farm truck. motor, transmission wheels and a seat. not complicated at all. i am lucky enough to have a mechanic i trust who also restores cars. he says he can do the whole thing. interior, exterior, mechanical stuff.

i’m guessing it will cost almost as much as buying a new car, and an ’88 honda in mint condition is worth about 700 bucks.

but i don’t want a new car. i want my car. i don’t want to abandon an old friend until i must.

my head says it’s time for a new car.

my heart says i already know the answer.

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the quotable mo sheppo, part 22

“Do you want to take something for dinner? I have some stuff you won’t like!”

This is why I love her so. It’s also why I’m often hungry.

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it’s a snap

Snap, thump, run.

One guy, one ball, one trash can. He snaps, hits the can, runs to get the ball, runs back. He does this over and over and over and over and over and over and over. It’s just me and a long snapper on a 107-degree day.

Snap, thump, run. Such dedication and mental toughness. It looks so easy when you see it in the game in September. It looks so hard when you see it on a field in June. He repeats the little one-man parade forever, eventually collapsing on the field in a pool of sweat.

A minute later, he gets up and starts again.

Snap, thump, run. Repeat as necessary.

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