Brown Teeth

When you’re fifteen years old and drinking all day with your best friend, you need a toilet of some sort.

I was in that situation at Botanie Valley, near the village of Lytton, BC. (It’s pronounced “bo-TAN-ny”, by the way. It shouldn’t be confused with botany, the word for the study of plant biology.)

We had been riding dirt bikes all over the valley that afternoon. Beer bottles were a bit tricky to open in 1983 before twist-tops were popular, but thirst forced us to figure out ways on the metal parts of the bikes. Some spillage happened as the bottles had to be upside-down in order to make it work, but we were young and didn’t require as much to get our minds bent, so it was no huge loss.

We managed to avoid being gored by a big black bull somehow, even though when we came face to face with him around a bunch of trees he was snorting in an annoyed way and wasn’t backing off. In my panic, I stalled my bike. With surprising speed, my foot kicked that bike back into power mode and we hauled butt out of there.

Shakira and I were laughing and screaming our way down a hill at full throttle, rejoicing in the hot, hot sun over our escape from the bull, when a chain-link fence appeared in front of us that hadn’t been closed last time we passed through. Our non-lightning reflexes while under the influence of alcohol amazed us both and neither of us hit the wire mesh, but it was only by inches.

Darkness and mosquitoes eventually shut down our riding. Earlier in the daylight, the old wooden outhouse there on her parents’ friends’ remote mountainside property got plenty of use. It was as unappealing as all outhouses were, but not as intimidating as it was in the dark. We were sitting in her parents’ motorhome, drinking and listening to tunes. Tequila sunrises. Slurringly singing the Eagles song by that name, between sips, I said to Shakira, “I need the toilet.”

She said, “Go use the outhouse.”

I said, “Ew, though. It stinks in there.”

She said, “Well, just breathe through your mouth.”

I said, “No, that won’t work. I’ll get brown teeth.”

We laughed till we couldn’t breathe, and eventually I did weave my drunken way through the heaving ground to the outhouse.

And that started what would become an iconic joke between us for the next four decades. Brown teeth! Really, though, picture yourself in an outhouse and breathing through your mouth. It’s like the stink in the air gets trapped in the spaces between your teeth, leaving brown lines in your shallowly breathing grin. That’s what I meant. Not full-on brown TEETH – just the spaces between them.

Well, it was a long time ago, in my wild(er), silly(er), young(er) days.

“Brown teeth of Botanie keep on shinin’…”

(You might say my blogging has gone down the terlit lately…)

From The Just Sayin’ Department: Towels

When you grab a clean towel from a shelf in readiment for a bath or shower, always shake the towel free from its folded (or whatever semblance of folding it is in) state before resting it in its wait for drying duty. Give it a shake and inspect it for insects or spiders. After your bath or shower, before employing the towel, check it once more for insects or spiders.

Just sayin’.

Seriously, though. This is especially important if you dry your laundry outdoors.

Misophonia and fun sounds

Seeing how nobody is likely to read this, I feel free to say that I really enjoy listening to the likes of Sh*ttyflute and Rec0rder Mast3r from Youtube. I find those sounds to be fun and even hilarious. It is not uncommon for me to listen to them in my car when I’m driving alone, but it’s more fun with family members. Some of my kids join me in finding them funny. Some find them annoying and do all they can to make me stop.

I’m talking about covers of known songs that are done so crappily on recorders or “flutes”, they’re GOOD. At least, to my ears.

Yet I can’t handle the sounds of certain computer fans, the Nintendo Wii when it gets left on, the BluRay DVD player being left on, the high pitch of an old TV even after it’s shut off (I have had to unplug them to make the noise stop), and various other noises.

It’s called misophonia and I don’t know what to do about it.

I hear everything that I don’t want to hear. One way to block it out is with loud music, and that’s not always practical. Earplugs help, but then I can’t hear the things I need to hear. Walking alone in a forest is a great escape, but I can’t do that all day.

As I type this blog entry, a couple of my kids are in the living room with some “crappy flute” songs coming out of the TV. It is actually relaxing to me. Why is that? I don’t know.

Here’s a very short favorite: just the startup sound of Windows XP. What a random thing to cover. That cracks me up!

Wasting Coffee

I have heard it said, “Don’t waste your time with crappy coffee.”

I agree.

However, I wasted some time finding a good cup of coffee.

In the summer of 2017, finally allowed to go home after 19 days of evacuation, my family and I were trying to get out of Prince George. The shorter route still had a long section closed due to the forest fires, so we had to take the long way home – 7 hours, instead of 3.5.

I wanted a good cup of coffee to start my drive, but the nearest decent cafe was in downtown PG, 20 minutes away, whereas we were out in College Heights, just leaving my third daughter’s house after saying goodbye.

I had a Tim Hortons gift card, sent to me by my second daughter, and so I took the family to the nearby drive-through to fuel up on treats. I decided to give Tim’s coffee another chance, even though I had a disliking for it. I ordered a small coffee with two honeys and three creams.

I took one sip and scrunched up my face, saying, “Bleah!”

It tasted like there was no sweetener in it at all. I drink coffee for the taste as much as for the perk, and if it ain’t sweet, it ain’t good.

“I need to find some real coffee,” I said.

One of my sons suggested Starbucks. I squinted at him from the driver’s seat and said, “Ewwww?”

“Come on, Mom,” he said. “Give it a try. It might be better than Tim’s.”

“I dunno,” I said. “I had it once before and it was gross.”

“Just try it,” he said.

I went for it. While in the drive-thru lineup, I spotted a garbage can and asked my son to take my Tim’s coffee to it. He got out and did so.

I ordered a coffee with two honeys and some cream. When I took my first sip, the same “bleah” came out of my lips.

On our way out of town, we stopped at a 7-Eleven. While the kids took the dog for a walk, I went straight to the nearest trash can and put that Starbucks coffee into it. Then I went in to 7-Eleven and loaded a cup with my old standby: half full with dark roast, topped up with English toffee cappuccino, amended with four International Delight hazelnut creamers, and cooling it slightly with three of the 18% half-and-halfs (half-and-halves?).

As I walked out of the convenience store, I thought, “If I’m going to drink crap coffee, it might as well taste good!”

At home, I feel good about sticking to organic beans that I grind fresh before each cup, sweetening only with stevia, and cooling it off with cashew milk, but on the road, it seems that 7-Eleven has the best brew for my tastes.

I’m not usually one to throw food away, but those first two coffees were NOT good. I know a lot of people like them, and some might gross out over my choice of 7-Eleven java, but it’s a matter of taste.

Another blog entry with little to no point, but I felt like telling that story.

Recipe Blogs Suck

I’ve got a lot of cookbooks, but the internet is so nice for pinpointing the right recipe in a hurry. However, I must say that I hate it when people bury the recipe under a bunch of unnecessary words. Write about food or post the recipe, but please don’t do both, at least not for my benefit. I’ll scroll through the frivolity until I see a recipe. I can do without the one-word sentences that show up, or the overuse of the phrase “oh-so-whatever”. And please spare me the “sentences” that are comprised of words followed by periods as though to emphasize. They look oh-so-silly.

I. Just. Can’t.


A photo or two is nice to go with the recipe, but I don’t need the step-by-step shots of opening the container, pouring the ingredient, or any other instructional on how to do basic cooking.

Post a recipe or do a food review, but please don’t mix the two.