1 Apr 2014

Answers PLUS Spotted Dick.

Written by sally @ 11:31 am — Section: sally

• The answers to last week’s quiz are: Tammy Wynette, E-Z Corn Dogs, and all of the above. While E-Z Corn Dogs may not be glamorous, trust that the recipe instructs the reader to “wipe wieners off well,” which is, of course, what kept Tammy’s relationship with George Jones so spicy.

• Spike is starting to read, and lo, it is magical. What I find even more magical is that he is starting to write. While he’s always been fond of putting letters together, now that he is armed with real language, he’s better able to express himself. Like when he’s angry, he can write me a note that says “YOU ARE A LIAR” instead of just writing my name on a piece of paper and then crossing it out. It’s probably wrong that I cherish these angry notes, but I can’t help but be proud!

• Oh, you know how every time you’re on the international aisle of the grocery store you see the can of Spotted Dick and you laugh? I bought one last December and brought it to a party.

sp in can

It’s…a cake in a can. You boil some water, put the can in the pan, and after the allotted time has passed, voila! Canned cake!

sp whole

It was actually kind of good, and let’s be honest: the jokes write themselves.

sp eaten

28 Mar 2014


Written by sally @ 4:30 pm — Section: sally

Internet, did you know that I’ve been Sally Nordaning for TEN YEARS NOW? I think about Little Baby Sally and her little blog posts and ohhh, she was adorable, telling you what she ate for dinner and about all her deep thoughts. Part of that is just how blogging was in 2004, or at least how it was for me. While I no longer think you care about my dinner (that’s for Twitter anyway!), I do still want to tell you about things, even if it’s once a month and hardly anyone comments anymore THANKS A LOT EVERYONE.

Anyway, things:

1. You should follow Dr. Ruth on Twitter.
2. Do you want to read about a lady whose retarded menstruation caused her to kill her lover? Here you go.
3. Spike drew an awesome bad guy the other day: it was just a butt with a mustache and a hat.
4. I have a boyfriend! I referred to him here. I’ve learned to be a little more private online, so I’m afraid I’m not going to tell you much, but I will offer you this quiz and let you come to your own conclusions.

QUESTION ONE. Boyfriend is 4th cousins with which trashy country singer?
a. Tanya Tucker
b. Tammy Wynette
c. Barbara Mandrell
d. Crystal Gayle

BONUS: My favorite hotdog-based recipe in this Trashy Country Singer Cousin’s Cookbook is what?
a. Velveeta-Weenie Casserole
b. Hotdog Pie
c. E-Z Corn Dogs

QUESTION TWO. My favorite thing about him is what?
a. he is hilarious and I get to laugh A LOT
b. nothing fazes him
c. he is sane
d. he has really good hair
e. our first kiss was on my birthday in 1996 on the side of my kind-of-boyfriend’s house
f. his house is cleaner than mine
g. did I mention he’s hilarious?
h. we have many, many friends in common
i. he fixes stuff around my house
j. we hold hands while we sleep

5. I realize that there’s nothing worse than someone on the internet yammering on about their wonderful relationship, but I think once every ten years is appropriate. Hashtag yammer.

28 Feb 2014


Written by sally @ 1:30 pm — Section: sally

I have a pile of magazines in the bathroom, as I believe that is a requirement by law in America (but don’t tell: my other bathroom has 10 issues of the Archie Digest and Morrissey’s Autobiography in it). I subscribe to House Beautiful (the best of all the decorating magazines, as even though everything is super-expensive, it is translatable into Poor People), Real Simple (hokey wisdom, disgusting recipes, cleaning tips), and Vanity Fair (weird blend of current/old movie star profiles and rich people murders/divorces). Spike has shown very little interest in any of these until the other night, when the pile fell over and he saw the January issue of Vanity Fair with Amy Adams on the cover.

Spike: Ewwww, Mommy! Look at this lady!
Me: You think she’s gross? I think she’s pretty.
Spike (with disgust): Ugh, why are her eyes so sparkly? And why are they so blue?
Me: . . .
Spike: And look, you can see her nipples*!
Me: Hmm.
Spike: (staring at magazine) WHY CAN’T I STOP LOOKING AT HER NIPPLES!!??


Later, I took the super-confusing nipples of Amy Adams to another room, and Spike started hollering, “No, that’s MY magazine.” Oh. Okay. So he’s going to be a straight guy.

*He is under the impression that the whole shebang is the nipple. You try correcting him, why don’t you.

19 Feb 2014


Written by sally @ 9:21 am — Section: sally

1. Today is the birthday of the guy I had a crush on for 25 years. I am only now able to admit that that is creepy. The last time I had contact him was several years ago — I’d initiated (again) an email correspondence, but for the first time, I realized that he wasn’t that interesting. It was amazing! We wrote back and forth, not feverishly, not flirtishly, but a few paragraphs about American Idol (it was the season with Katherine McPhee, so apparently that was 2006) or sometimes he would tell me Fun Facts About Boise, where he lived. I made a point of mentioning Larry in my initial email, as I didn’t want him to think I was trying for an interstate love match. While I knew he was married, he never mentioned his wife. Like, ever. I had had a dream that his wife’s name was Margaret Clyffdryffddrrffylyr (she was Welsh, duh) and after telling him this, I asked if he indeed had a Welsh wife. He responded: “I have no Welsh wife.” INTERESTING.

So. The correspondence limped on. I continued to be amazed that I was not that interested in what he had to say. I sent an email on a Wednesday with my deep thoughts about the night before’s American Idol (remember when Katherine McPhee sang “Over the Rainbow” barefoot? gross) and his response was this:

Another Fun Fact About Boise is that in Boise, I have a wife and a daughter and another daughter on the way.

Mmmmm. So. I did respond, and then I never heard from him again, probably because his wife threatened to stab his eyes out or something. While I thought “gah, can’t believe his wife monitors his email,” he totally seems the type to cheat, and probably had done so several times before, so I don’t blame her. They eventually got a divorce and now he is dating the most beautiful human-shaped robot woman I’ve ever seen. Well, seen online. Seen online while stalking Facebook photos, that is.

Anyway, happy birthday to that guy!

2. I started The Goldfinch, but it’s too good of a book for me to read right now. Does that make any sense? I’m busy burning through somewhat terrible library books with unsatisfying endings, and it’s sort of fun. Everyone in Jackson is reading The Resurrectionist because the author is from here, and it’s a decent read. In a perfect world, it would have had another rewrite and edited down the parts in modern time. That’s always the problem with books that dance between two time periods: the older one is almost always far superior to the modern one. I also just read The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood, which deals with Vivian in San Francisco in 1919 and Claire in New England in 1960. Vivan was way more interesting. However, my main problem with that book is that SHE MIXED UP THE CHARACTERS’ NAMES. We were in 1961 and Claire was looking at the ceiling and suddenly her name was Vivian and she was thinking about what to wear to dinner. At first I thought OOH LITERARY DEVICE THERE WILL BE SOMETHING GHOSTY HERE but alas, no. Just an error. An error that distracted me from the plot, which wasn’t the best anyway. Then it happened 4 more times!

I did recently read Our Spoons Came From Woolworth’s by Barbara Comyns, which I loved. I love getting to the end of a book and thinking, “I want every book to be this one.” So basically I want every book to have these factors:
–unhappy marriages
–poor people
–having to eat gross things from tins
–unexpected romance

And I finally read Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, which actually covers many of the 5 Key Factors for Literary Enjoyment above! Oh, but eating gross things from tins does thrill me.

3. I am still watching and loving Couples Therapy.

4. Frank Sinatra Wore Dick Spanx.

5. Spike is almost six. Just think about that for awhile. He is tall and smart and extremely loud. He calls me “woman” in front of other people to be funny. He constantly asks embarrassing questions of everyone we see, like ARE YOU AND MOMMY GETTING MARRIED? or DO YOU HAVE DIARRHEA? Answers: no, yes. He also trying to tell knock knock jokes, and sometimes succeeds. When he goes rogue is when we have trouble. Last night he laid this one on me:

–Knock knock.
–Who’s there?
–Elevator who?

Then I laughed because that was the worst joke, but because I laughed he thought it was a successful joke. I always laugh when I’m not supposed to. Also, there was some subtext regarding elevators and ghost being able to make items float, so that was the train of thought there.

6. Is this enough? I’m rusty at this.

7 Jan 2014

Written by sally @ 4:24 pm — Section: sally

Apparently I didn’t write a damn thing in January!

19 Dec 2013

Hey, BEEP.

Written by sally @ 11:09 am — Section: sally

When we moved into our house nine years ago, my mom gave us a security system as a pre-wedding present. For some reason, even though the company is called Pennington and Trim, I got it into my head that it was called Pennington and Files (?), and so my mom wrote the check to Pennington and Files. It wasn’t an issue, but it stressed me out and then I thought about it so much I couldn’t remember which was right and which was wrong (much like this episode), and now I just mumble “I don’t know, Pennington or something” if I need to refer to the company.


There are smoke alarms hardwired into the security system, which is great and all, except a few weeks ago the one in the hall kept beeping. Not HEY THERE’S A FIRE-level beeping, but in the middle of the night, I’d hear a beep. beep-beep-beep. beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep. And then it would stop. Even though it would wake me up, and then in about 30 minutes Spike would be up for the day at 5 am, and life was ruined, I kept forgetting to call about it.

So last week I remembered to call Pennington and Somebody to ask about it, and sort of got into a fight with a lady about how yes it IS hardwired and no it is NOT flashing red and no the keypad DOES NOT have a code on it, etc. She insisted that it must be a regular smoke alarm that just needs a new 9-volt battery. Fine. Whatever.

That night I got on a stool and took the alarm off the wall. And the second I did, the house alarm started going off! So I learned that HA, I was RIGHT, it is TOTALLY hardwired into the system. But also the beeping was not the smoke alarm. Then I stood there in the hall and thought WHAT THE FUCK ELSE WOULD DO THIS, CONSISTENTLY, EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK, BUT NOT LOUD ENOUGH TO WARN US FROM IMPENDING DEATH?

Then I went into Spike’s room and saw this fucker:


So basically Spike had somehow
a) set his alarm clock to 4:30 am and
b) turned it on and
c) not realizing this, his mom had many discussions with his dad about why the child is no longer sleeping until 6 at least, and let’s not forget
d) his mom is an idiot who got into a fight with the alarm company over a Lego stormtrooper alarm clock.

9 Nov 2013

Garden Club.

Written by sally @ 9:48 pm — Section: sally

One day last summer I went for a walk in my neighborhood after dinner. It was the beginning of the summer, or must’ve been, because I don’t think there’s any way I would willingly stroll about in billion-degree weather otherwise. Yes, now that I think about it it must’ve been in that brief period where we all try to convince ourselves that maybe it’s not SO hot out yet and that the evenings are still coolish.

On my walk, I passed a house on a corner with a gorgeous, yet sparse, purple hibiscus-y/azalea bush in their side yard. Now this bush thing had been blooming for awhile, and most of its blooms were on the ground. I’m just setting this up so you won’t think I’m a monster. So, seeing as it was beautiful, and I was propelling myself through the universe only using the body I was given, I plucked a bloom off the bush. Pluck is not the right word. Plucking is quick, and I kind of had to struggle. I negotiated a bloom off the bush, anyway.

Across the street, at a house with lots of lovely tiger lilies planted precariously close to the street, there was someone idling in a truck that I paid no attention to, but then the truck whipped around and pulled up next to me. The lady inside rolled down her window and asked, “Are you the one who’s been stealing my flowers?”

Let’s pause for a moment and just consider the various options a person could have. Either NO, I have not been stealing your flowers, or YES, I have been stealing your flowers. However, if I were the type to steal flowers, would I also be the type to admit this? And yes — I had just stolen a bloom off a flowering bush. I suppose I fit the profile. I suppose perhaps I should not have been so taken aback by her just flat-out DRIVING UP TO ME and asking HEY ARE YOU THE FLOWER THIEF.

I didn’t have a sassy response. I just said no. Then she said “Ok. Because someone’s been stealing my flowers.” And then she looked at me for a moment and then drove away.

I continued my walk, though now I was holding a TAINTED STOLEN FLOWER and felt like it was a cartoon bag of money with the dollar sign drawn on. I walked. I passed some people walking their dogs, none of whom screamed at me for stealing, and an older lady who smiled at the flower. I turned, I walked some more, I passed the same lady again. “Nice to see you!” we both joked. I kept walking, and I ran into her one more time. “We have to stop meeting like this,” one of us probably said, because look, if you don’t say that kind of stuff to strangers then you might as well just give up. She stopped and asked for directions back to Jefferson Street.

We actually stood there for over an hour talking. By the time we parted, I knew how long she’d been married (35 years), who said I love you first (she did, about four months in, then he straggled along a few months later), the ages/professions/marital status of all three of her sons (one of whom had just moved to Jackson to start his ER residency at UMC), and some stuff about her dogs. If this were a cozy mystery, she and I would become co-owners of a yarn store and solve crimes. Like who the REAL flower thief was! (Probably the owner. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, floral edition.)

Instead, we parted ways, and as I walked home still clutching the bloom I thanked the universe for restoring the balance so quickly.

3 Oct 2013

Just Call Me Sally Pepys.

Written by sally @ 8:45 pm — Section: sally

I’ve already established that I like to re-read old journals, though I inevitably run across some information that gives me goosebumps or makes me nauseous. However, this entry only made me laugh:

August 16, 1997

This felt tip rules. I bought it yesterday in Tupelo at Office Max. I just told [boyfriend] that I was going to draw on his butt with this pen while he’s sleeping. If I get away with it, I get to draw on his butt once a month forever. If he catches me, he gets to write on my butt.


19 Sep 2013

Train of Thought, Complete with Map.

Written by sally @ 9:34 am — Section: sally

1. In 2003 or so, gorjus mailed me a package full of all the crappy mix cds people made for him that he’d accumulated through the years. Some were indeed crappy, but there was one that I really loved. It had the Billy Bragg song “Greetings to the New Brunette (Shirley)” and the Morrissey song “Let the Right One Slip In” and the Queers song “I Can’t Get Over You.”

2. I was living in Birmingham the second time in 2003, and I think have mentioned ad nauseum that Birmingham Part Deux was a real shitstorm: my mom had cancer, the job I moved for disappeared, I had to commute an hour to my OLD job that I left in Tuscaloosa, my car’s air conditioner broke, my apartment was broken into, I thought I was being haunted by my dead friend’s ghost, and no boys liked me. I kept throwing myself at one in particular to no avail. That Queers song was my anthem.

3. I particularly enjoyed that song on my way home from Ann’s house because there was a shortcut where I got to drive up a mountain. It was so fine a drive I’d turn around just to do it again.

4. Last night I was listening to the Queers song on my way to my manfriend’s house* and was imagining driving up the mountain. I could imagine making my way from Ann’s past her friend Julie’s house, then turning onto the road with the main incline but then could not remember which way the road turned and then how I got to my house.

5. Thus, I had to Google maps it to complete my mental drive for the next time I hear the song.

6. Then I had to write a blog post about it.

*The manfriend is actually the dude I threw myself at in 2003. Go figure. Life is weird.

22 Aug 2013

Mr. and Mrs. and Mr. Oh Whatever Your Name Is. You There.

Written by sally @ 1:26 pm — Section: sally

When I married Larry Ferrari, I didn’t take his last name. But then when I was pregnant with Spike, I don’t know, I just imagined this tiny baby getting confused about what my name was and crying a lot. So I changed it to Sally Nordan Ferrari, and I always used it as Sally Nordan Ferrari, never Sally Ferrari, because in real life there is kind of a horrible RHYMING element that is just bad. Think Sally Leebowitz (sah lee lee bo witz).

Then when we divorced, I didn’t have part of the divorce decree change my name back (which, btw, is the easiest/cheapest way to get that done; otherwise it is a separate court shenanigan altogether), but I started using Sally Nordan wherever I could get away with it: at work, socially, ordering items online, etc. I’m Ferrari for medical, legal, or for Spike purposes.

Recently, Spike’s school is attempting to take on the very complicated task of splitting up the Larry+Sally union in their database. Surely we are not the only pair of divorced parents at this school but . . . hell, it’s possible, judging from the way some of the moms act like I have cooties at birthday parties.* Generally I still get mail from the school addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Larry Ferrari. Antiquated, but whatever. However, we are making great strides in 2013 because I received a piece of mail to this very progressive pair:

Mrs. and Mr. Sally Nordan Ferrari

I’ve never seen the Mrs. before the Mr.! It’s so forward-thinking! And to have the woman’s name be the one that they’re BOTH lumped together by! It’s revolutionary!

I have no plans to correct this.

*It’s possible that they think I have cooties for other reasons,** but the cootieness usually happens after a “what does your husband do?” convo.
**One reason could be is that I actually have cooties.

21 Aug 2013

I’m Lovin’ It!

Written by sally @ 9:53 am — Section: sally

I am not sure why I deleted this great post from 2004 about how I went to the health department to get a blood test before I got married, but it made me laugh this morning:


Two other ladies come in and sit a seat away from me. One has a baby; the other is her sister, I think. The one with the baby is very, very bossy. And knowledgeable. A toddler was, well, toddling around, and the bossy woman asked his mother, “How old is your baby?” (20 months) “Your baby is short. My baby is already walking. He’s five months.” Now, this I had to see. She actually stood the five-month old up on the ground, but of course he didn’t do anything but wobble and grip her hands.

Then the bossy woman turns to me and says, “Where you get your books?” “My books?” “Yes, your books.” “Um, Barnes and Noble?” I say. She points at my boots and says, “No, your buhts. Where you get your buhts.” Oh.

The bossy woman then stands her baby up on her lap and tries to make him say “Mickey D’s.” “Can you say ‘Mickey D’s’? Can you say it? Say ‘Mickey D’s,’ baby.” This is straight out of Super-Size Me. I wish Morgan Spurlock were here to see this. Then, in unison, bossy and her sister sing, “I’m lovin’ it.” Then they high five. I am not making this up.

Ok, so here is my favorite thing that happened with the bossy lady. She pulls out a can of Pizzalicious flavored Pringles. Then she feeds some to her five month old baby (you know, the one who can walk and all). Then she offers some to all the other babies in the room. Their mothers let the babies eat Pringles! All except the woman with the “short” baby. She says “no thank you” about five times, and then bossy tries to give the Pringles directly to the kid, and the mother repeats “NO THANK YOU” a few more times. It was awesome. Take that, Pizzalicious!

2 Aug 2013

This Secret Luminous Place.

Written by sally @ 8:44 am — Section: sally

Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Theresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

–from George Saunders’ commencement address to the Syracuse class of 2013. Read it all here and don’t blame me if you get all teary eyed and want to kiss someone.

25 Jun 2013

Not Going to Dollywood Anytime Soon.

Written by sally @ 8:48 am — Section: sally

Spike and I have been listening to a mix cd I made for the car. His favorite song, which he wants to hear over and over, is the Magnetic Fields song “When My Boy Walks Down the Street.” (Hearing him sing along in that kid monotone is awesome.) However, last night Dolly Parton was singing “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” and he made it through most of it until she got to the part where she says something how she wishes she could again kiss your sweet lips.

Spike: I hate this song.
Me: Why? Because she’s talking about kissing?
Spike: No.
Me: Because it’s a girl singer?
Spike: No, I like some girl singers.
Me: Then why?
Spike: I just…hate Texas.

11 Jun 2013

Farid Aziz Just Wants Your Half.

Written by sally @ 10:05 am — Section: sally

Reagan and I are listening to They Might Be Giants. “Ana Ng” is the first song on Lincoln, and we talked about how the little spoken word part is pretty much the only spoken word part of a song — besides Elvis — that is not terrible. One of the Johns sings: “When I was driving once I saw this painted on a bridge” and then a lady says: “I don’t want the world; I just want your half.”

A few days later, in French class, Reagan sits down next to me and says, “I saw your work.” What? I ask. “You know what I mean,” he says. Then our teacher, who hates me, begins the dictée, which I suck at. (Look, if you’re going to have a new character named Farid Aziz, you should tell me that and not count it against me when I write down “furry disease.”)

After class Reagan finally tells me that he saw where I wrote that thing in the boys’ bathroom. WHAT? The line from Ana Ng! I don’t want the world; I just want your half is written on the back of the door in girl handwritinged green Sharpie. He doesn’t believe I didn’t do it. The timing is too good.

It is now 22 years later. He still believes I did it. (I didn’t do it, but I should have.)

7 Jun 2013

Crackers, Newlyweds, Flowers.

Written by sally @ 2:14 pm — Section: sally

1. A few weeks ago Spike and I were at our friendly neighborhood fast food emporium with adjacent child play area. Those little enclosed rooms are always a bit damp and smell like feet. On this day, we had the room to ourselves until a set of boy-girl twins came in. The boy had a package of saltines he was using as a ball [ed. note: children are weird], and he and Spike immediately began tossing it around. The girl sat next to me and asked me a million questions — I love children like this, especially for about 10 minutes.

She wanted to know why Spike talked so loud, if he hurt my ears, if he had any brothers or sisters, if we had a pool, etc. She kept talking about how much Spike and I looked alike, and at one point said, “If you put glasses and lipstick on him, he’d be your little sister! Your son-daughter!”

About this time, the package of mangled saltines were being tossed down the slide, and both boys were in hot pursuit. Spike came out first, grabbed them, and took off with it. “I’ll get you, cracker!” cried his new friend, chasing Spike. Let’s pause to consider that this is a funny thing for any kid to say to another, but also to consider that Spike and his friend are of different races. Also consider that I wrote this down as the girl was asking, “Why are you laughing? What are you writing? Can I play with your phone?”

2. I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading, something that always makes me feel a little adrift. Instead of remedying this, I’m watching a LOT of Sex and the City reruns. Also Newlyweds: The First Year on Bravo, which is some fine television. There are four couples that we see from a few weeks before the wedding through the first year of marriage. There’s your mid-30s Jersey couple who got pregnant on the honeymoon, your Bollywood star and her white guy husband (her dad hates him, like a lot), the black power couple who fight about important things like the furniture a lot, and the gay couple. The gay couple is pretty great, except for the fact that the older one (Jeff) seems like he’s going to burst into flames from embarrassment every minute of the day, and the younger one (Blair) was in a boy band and thus, is very dramatic. It is obvious he is putting on for the cameras, which is at once a) hilarious and b) stressful when you see poor Jeff’s pained face. On this last episode they were arguing about the frequency of their sex having. I sort of squeaked a little as I watched poor Jeff explain he is just as fulfilled holding Blair’s hand and having a nice glass of wine. Blair rolled his eyes, stomped away, and slammed the door. TELEVISION!

3. We had an event at work the other day and a staff member who is good with such things did the flowers. When I say “did the flowers” I mean “created a giant flower ball topiary thing with twinkle lights and lilies and hydrangeas that was five feet across.” So she was late to the actual event. I was talking to one of the guests, who asked where the flower-doer was, and I said, “Oh, she did the flowers for this, so you know, she was pretty much covered head to toe in leaves earlier. She’ll be back after she deflowers herself.”

To both our credit, neither of us laughed, although I blushed.

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