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Monthly Archives: April 2008

Propane and Propane Accessories

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Tuesday was grill-out day for the Marksberry house – first of the season.  We spent the entire evening out on the back deck enjoying the view of the gradually greening hillside.  Last week I bought these Double Impatiens.  I couldn’t resist even though they probably need more shade than they are going to get anywhere in our yard.  I don’t get that excited about plain old impatiens but the double variety remind me of wild roses.

Also last week I bought these new chairs, umbrella, and planter in an effort to pull the look of our deck together a little more.  Last year it reminded me of a circus – our umbrella was pink, orange, and blue striped, there were tiki torches mingling with a strand of malfunctioning Christmas lights, and all the plants were randomly thrown together in mismatched pots.  I’m going for more of a zen feel this year.

This picture actually makes our deck look much less decrepit than it is.  In real life it is stained a fading, dusty blue (I’m still looking for whoever sold the blue stain to the former owners- the same people who also painted the wrought iron rail on the front steps a bright, primary blue) and many of the rails/steps are rotting or loose.  One of our projects this summer will be to repair, power wash, sand, and re-stain the deck a reasonable color.  I’m actually really looking forward to that project.

Our first grill-out of the season featured teryaki chicken kabobs with marinated onions, peppers, and mushrooms.  It was all pretty good but I’m still looking for a marinade recipe that tastes just like the chicken on a stick at Chinese restaurants.  Also, while I can throw together a main dish I usually flunk the side dish category.  Many times the subject of a side dish doesn’t even cross my mind until we sit down and our plates look awfully bare.  This time I did plan one side dish, but it turned out to be disastrous.  I followed a recipe for Korean green beans that sounded really good but didn’t pan out.

To top off the evening Randy and I went for ice cream at what is rapidly becoming our new favorite place – the Dairy Crest in Covington on 17.  Its about ten minutes from our house and though its about the size of a closet, they offer any kind of frozen treat you could want including my favorite – 24 flavors of soft serve every day (magic!) – and – they have a full food menu including chili dogs, hamburgers, fish sandwiches, pizza pockets, onion rings, and fries.  I’m not gonna lie – Randy and I have already eaten dinner there twice this season…………….I think this will be a nice summer.


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So I’ve been tagged by Chris from The Boiled Peanut to post 7 random things about myself.  Normally I think I’m pretty adept at being random, especially at inopportune times – like, say, during meetings.  But of course when asked to be random on the spot I feel all kinds of pressure and as I write this intro paragraph I actually have no idea what my seven random things will be.  This could take a while…

1.  Sprite-a-holism: I take a can of diet soda to bed with me every night, which makes for rather interrupted sleep – traipsing back and forth to the bathroom intermittently.  But my throat and mouth get so dry at night, being unarmed with a beverage is out of the question.  And it has to be a beverage – who wants to drink water?

2.  Undergarments: My undergarments MUST match or at least not clash with my exterior clothing for the day.  This rule is very serious and if I violate it (which I don’t) my mind keeps coming back to it throughout the day and things will just feel slightly off.  The other day I was late leaving the house because I wanted to change my shirt at the last minute but had to coordinate a new shirt that would still match the undergarments I was already wearing.  Its not that disruptive to my life…. 

3.  Deformed: I was born without the wiring for wisdom teeth.  I have no buds, no roots – nothing.  So I will never, as long as I live, grow any wisdom teeth or have to suffer through having them extracted.  I like to think its because I already have enough wisdom without them.

4.  My Name Is Not Susan: Around the age of 8 or 9 I went through a phase in which I was convinced that my middle name was either Susan or Suzanne.  Since Sue (the middle name my parents actually gave me) can be short for either of the fore mentioned names, I deduced that I could use any of them interchangeably.  I have a handful of books from that time period which are inscribed: “This book belongs to Kimberly Suzanne Marksberry”.

5.  Suicide: When I was 10 I won two goldfish at a carnival, which I named Fiz and Bubbles.  A few nights later a tornado swept through our subdivision, though no one in my family even woke up for it.  In the morning I found Fiz (or was it Bubbles?) lying, lifeless on the carpet after an apparent suicide jump.  Or maybe he was trying to get to the basment for shelter.  Or maybe he was sparing himself from the fate he somehow knew awaited him – the fate of any fish with a somewhat forgetful 10 year old as his care-taker.

6.  Addiction: I’m addicted to hand lotion and must apply it several times a day.  I actually start to feel a little anxious if I have to go for more than a couple minutes between washing my hands and applying lotion.  Dry hands, for me, is a fate almost worse than death.

7.  Familiar: I have known my husband for nearly 15 years, which means that we met when we were 14.  Each of us has only really dated one other person, ever – and those relationships were fleeting at best.  We’re best friends and each others favorite person to hang out with.

Whew!  I made it to seven.  I didn’t know this would take so much out of me.  Hopefully I have not revealed too much….(especially about my underwear habbits)…..

By the Slice – Sir Pizza

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Here’s introducing “By the Slice” a new weekly (give or take a few days) feature on The Spotted Elephant.  Because Randy and I are such die-hard project starters – even in our leisure activities – we have decided that the way to have fun on weekends is to go on a mission to eventually eat at every independent pizzaria in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.  And that kind of project is just begging for a blog.  I plan to doccument not only the establishment, but also our adventures on the way to and from these eateries – including any interesting tid-bits about the neighborhoods we visit.

The first entry in “By the Slice” is sort of a major cheat, because the pizzaria featured is not in Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati, but in Lexington, nor is it independent.  Nonetheless, it was new to me and worth blogging about if for nothing else than its sheer quirkiness.  Sir Pizza is a multi-state chain, but there aren’t any franchises near me and I had never been to one before.  I’d seen them in travels and Randy and I always happily referred to them as Sir Pizzalot restaurants – a name which I truly believe is superior. 

I happened upon this particular Sir Pizza(lot) in my recent travels to Lexington with Brooke from Drunken Monkey Knits (links to her post about Lexington and Sir Pizza).  We were in town to attend a book lecture by The Yarn Harlot and when it was time for dinner we chose Sir Pizza – located in a quiet strip mall- over some of the more crowded places near the mall.  We figured it would be an adventure, if nothing else – and we were right.

Stepping into Sir Pizza was like stepping into the land that time forgot.  If I got into a time machine and traveled back to 1981, I would expect to land somewhere that looked like the interior of this restaurant.  All of the booth seats were ripped open, stuffing oozing out after years of faithful service.  The tables were ancient and and leaning.  There was a veritable conservatory in the front sunroom/alcove, full of big plants that probably arrived there as tiny seedlings.  My favorite touch was the “ordering phone” above each table.  I’m assuming they don’t work – but we didn’t try it out. 

I ordered the Royal Feast pizza (or something like that) which the menu described as: “pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms – no substitutions”.  I asked for the pan crust that the menu recommended but was told by our waitress in no uncertain terms, “We don’t have pan crust here.”  Okay – thin crust it is.  Our “sunny” waitress brought us silverware and plates before the food was ready and we were a little surprised by their theme.

Eventually our pizza came and and the waitress apologized for our wait (which wasn’t actually that long), explaining that the chicken for Brooke’s pizza had been frozen and they had to thaw it out.  When I saw my pizza I realized why there was a strict “no substitutions” rule imposed for the Royal Feast.  All of the toppings were mixed together, chopped into teeny-tiny pieces – presumably something they either mix up ahead of time or buy in bulk already pulverized and mixed.  It reminded me of the toppings they put on frozen pizzas or in pizza pockets with one exception being the volume.  I was overwhelmed by toppings and had to scrape half of them off just to be able to pick up a slice.  When I had finished the pizza I was left with the second half of my toppings piled on my plate.  This photo has not been doctored.


This particular trip to Lexington will be remembered for the book lecture we attended, the abundance of trees bursting with billowy white and pink blossoms, the miraculous way in which we got lost and then suddenly found ourselves on the exact road we were looking for.  But most if all I think I’ll associate it with my brief trip back in time to a different world of pizzarias.  Sometimes you just have to do things because you know they will make an interesting story – and I think (hope) this has.

Brighter Days

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I wanted to write a clever and witty post about the children I work with every day.  But its not in me today.  As I came across these pictures I took at Miami Whitewater Forest park in Harrison, Ohio last summer, I was reminded of brighter days than today.  Though I have nothing whitty or insightful to say I figure looking at these pictures might bring a bright spot to this day for me and maybe for others as well.