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The V Files.... Pepper Stomper  
09:01pm 01/04/2008

So I had meant to post the funnier bits of the letters I’d written in years past and call this live journal “On the Receiving End” – but someone else is already using that name, and I can’t find any of my old files.  Screw me, right?  That’s actually serious.  Lost forever is the Tale of the Great Polenta Massacre of 2003.  And the corn gumbo we had to bury in the back yard.  Already the Gospel According to Billie Drake has major holes.


But I did find my treaty on why my veggie lasagna sauce is so heavy in tomatoes… :

August 2004

I thought you might enjoy today's episode of Cooking With Billie, a show that is usually not short on excitement:

            J and I needed to do some yard work yesterday, but it started raining as soon as we went outside and kept raining harder and harder until we gave up.  It rained all night, and for most of the morning as well.  You see, the reason we had to do yard work was because the insurance company needed to take pictures of the house after we removed the "debris" they didn't like.  So I spent the morning cleaning.  While we were away on the trip to Penn all of the tomatoes started to rot, and so I also had to make lasagna sauce.  I was kind of hoping that the nice smells of yummy veggie cooking would help the insurance agent to ignore the knee-high weeds.  Of course, wouldn't you know, he showed up right when I was out in the side yard stomping bell peppers.  That's right.

            "Hello there!" says big-teeth the insurance agent.


            "Make yourself at home" I say.


            At least this time I wasn't talking to my prey, like the time I cornered a fly in the small bathroom with an intimidating "I've got you now!" followed by a barrage of mad swatting.  And at least bell peppers don't spray like, maybe, a tomato would (although I have never had call to stomp tomatoes in the back yard).  Why was Billie stomping her ingredients?

            Well, I've had trouble with this vegetable garden.  For one thing, the tomatoes were rotting on the bush just as soon as they started to turn red.  I solved this problem by picking them green and letting them turn red inside (don't tell my mother).  And mysteriously, the bell peppers were getting these little black burns that made a little hole in each one.  This being my first real veggie garden I had no idea what that meant.  It IS pretty hot where I live.  I wouldn’t put it past my peppers just spontaneously combusting.  What do I know?

            So anyway, I’m collecting veggies and I notice one of the bell peppers has a pincher bug on it.  You know those little red bugs with lots of legs and nasty-looking pinchers on the front end.  Probably the most awful bug in Colorado.  Certainly the bug that disgusts and offends me the most.  I squash the little bugger with a bit of bark, and carefully examine this bell pepper.  It has a pretty deep fold, but I eventually satisfy myself that there are no more pinchers in it.  I carry the load inside and very carefully wash this folded bell pepper.  Then I wash the other peppers and was washing the tomatoes when I happened to glance over at my freshly washed cutting board and spot another pincher clinging to the side.  This got me.  Not only had the revolting little bugs blasphemed my bell pepper, they had dared to desecrate the holy cutting board!


            All right, get that bug squished, scrub the hell out of the cutting board, re-re-wash the folded bell pepper, and then slice it to be sure nothing was hiding in the folds.  Now I’m thinking on my feet.  I turn my wrath on the two other bell peppers, even more suspicious than I was before of those tiny burn holes.  Mulder and Scully and my vegetable garden…  The V Files.

            I cut the first one open, and find black "dirt" inside, and down at the bottom is a pincher bug.  I don't bother to cut the other one open—I headed directly for outside, where I throw my cut half of a pepper on the ground.  The pincher is ejected (no seatbelt) and I grind him out with my shoe (remember, always cook in shoes).  There’s another one in the second half that didn't knock out, so I stomped it!  Bell pepper smeared across the concrete and extinguished the life of the perpetrating insect. The second bell pepper smashed just as easily, killing everything inside.  Uggh.  It may sound like senseless waste, but those bugs had been living and breeding and relieving themselves in my peppers, and no amount of washing could have cleaned that up.

            Better jump on the wreckage again, just to be sure.




             So this is going to be very tomatoey sauce.

            Big-teeth the insurance agent: “Miss Drake…  ?”

            And vegtifiable homicide has nothing to do with my insurable safety as a homeowner.
location: Pueblo, CO
music: Yuji Ohno - Lonely For the Road
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National Insurance Interview  
12:46pm 21/02/2008

London, March 9 2007

So, yesterday was my National Insurance Interview in Camden Town.  That's off the always-fucked-up Northern line caddy corner across Regent's  Park.  No problem, I think to myself, I'll just walk it.  Then I don't have to worry about being pushed off a packed platform and in front of a train (my new fear) and I won't get tube boogers (DEEeeesgusting).  J says he'll walk with me.  Great!  So we set out.  And we walk and we walk and we... you get the picture.  It's only about 2 inches on the map, well it's like two miles in real life.  Jolly good thing we got going early in the morning.  It was so far I was getting leg and knee burn from over exertion.  I still have a full shift of work ahead of me.


The interview is in another one of those British buildings that just don't feel very clean.  Do you want to sit in that chair?  Touch that counter?  NO.


I had all my paper work and was tastefully and classically dressed with my blazer.  But that wasn't enough... no, he had to ask me questions I didn't know.  I mean, come on!  Give a girl a break.  When was I married?  Like I would know!  (Me) Ummm....  May... June....  8, no, the 6th.  (Him)  <Looks at me funny>  (Me) <Trying to think of year, easier because I do know where I was in 2001> 2002.  (Him) You sure?  (Me) ...Yeah.


J tells me after the interview it was June 7 and he adds, "Your Dad's Birthday!"

I'm like, yeah, well, I'm not really sure when that is, either.  Just like I can never remember if mom is January 30 or 31.  That's why I'm writing this stuff down now.


So, next impossible question to answer.  When is your husband's birthday.

(Me) <christ>  Ummmm...  July <No!> <Screwed up face, trying to remember when we got back from the honeymoon>  June... <And the date I can never get> ...23, 1979.  Definitely 1979.

(Interviewer)  <cannot believe this>

(Me) Oh, wait, I have his passport. <pull it out> Oh, June 22, 1979.  <hand passport to interviewer>

(Him) Hmmm.


If this was an interview to be voluntarily given a place in England there is no way I would have been hired.  I probably sounded brain damaged, or deeply unsettled, or like I wasn't really Billie Drake and the fact that I had J's passport just meant he was dead.


They're going to issue me a National Insurance number anyway, in about 6 weeks.  Then I start the Tax ID Number struggle.  I'll get that about when we're leaving.


Then we had to walk two miles back to the flat for me to go to work.  Needless to say, I'm still dead.  Regent's Park is HUGE.



(Or maybe I'm not, I'm just pretending to be her)
location: Camden Town
music: Song For You, Alex Murdoch
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12:40pm 21/02/2008
 London to Venice, April 11 2007

4:15 am Thursday morning J and B are up and mobilized.  We've packed, we've planned breakfast, we've pre-bought Gatwick express tickets online, we've got our passports, we're wearing clean underwear.... We're ON TOP OF IT.  4:25 am we're at Baker Street Station.  The gates are open.  We tap in (new development, they've pretty much done away with paper tickets) we march down the escalators and through the completely empty station.  We make jokes about that, and about joining the 200 feet under club.  We stand on the Bakerloo platform and we wait.  And we wait a little more.  Then we start to wander a bit.  Then one of us reads the station time chart and we see that the first train is at 5:35.  ##&%$@
Didn't we check on that?  #$%^#@, well, let's just leave this part out of our stories about this vacation.  Ok.
4:35 am we're up out of the Baker Station.  We're lucky the turnstyles let us back out again, usually they don't let you come in and out of the same station and we would have had to jump them and pay penalties.  Now we're on the corner of Baker and Marylebone looking for a bus to Victoria.  This isn't the stop... neither is that one...  Here it is!  We're waiting.  This will take longer, but it will be ok.  We're waiting.  We read the station paperwork.  The bus won't come until 5:30.  ^%&@##$!!!!!
Now we're looking for a taxi.  There's one!  Damn, it's got someone in it.  There's o...!  Full, too.  There's an empty one.  We throw ourselves, arms waving, into traffic.  Our taxi driver is a maniac.  Not apparently the worst J has ever had, he tells me, but still scary.  We scream through night time London, cornering with G force, but ultimately arriving in on piece. 

Venice can make anything ok.
location: Baker Street
music: Nothing But a Woman, Robert Cray
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Omen of Evil - Raining Squirrels  
12:28pm 21/02/2008
London, January 21, 2007

It has finally happened.  The END has come.  And come and come and come.  Damn, it just goes on forever.


You see, this morning we were awoken by a squirrel shower.  It rained squirrels from 10:15 to 10:30.  *THUNK*!  skitter, skitter, skitter.  Then again, *THUNK*!  and *THUNK*!  * THUNK*!.  Probably 7 or 8 squirrels fell from nowhere since there are no trees or taller buildings above our roof.  Last time it rained only one squirrel when we were in Pueblo and I don't remember what it indicated, but today I knew it would be something significant. 


I waited.


... then I waited some more.


Then I went shoping and it happened!  My ass is too big!  Holy shit!  There is this dress I've been checking out on the internet and I went to see if it would fit and it doesn't because no matter what size I get it in it would cover my enormous bulbous ass!  What the hell happened?  Where was I?  Did anybody ask me about this first?  Shit!  Fucking raining squirrels!


Beware the raining squirrels and the terrible omens they bring.


An Ass Too Far.  Ass Over the River Kwai.  2 Ass 2 Furious.  Triple Ass ("I see you have three assess tattooed on the back of your neck, well, that's appropriate because...).  Saving Ryan's Ass.  Assablanca.  Casino Roy Ass.  Homeward Ass.  The Little Mer Ass.  Things to Do in Denver When You're Ass.  The Ass That Came in From the Cold.  Fleetwood Ass.


And it was a cute dress, too.  My style.  See:   ?




It was really sexy when you unbuttoned it.  And then buttoned it up.  Hell, it was just a sexy dress.  If it wasn't for the cock sucking squirrel shower.

Evil squirrels.


It's terrifying 

location: London
mood: annoyedannoyed
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