Monday, June 29, 2009


You longtime ChockleyBlog readers (all 5 of you) know that when we go to Florida, I wear you down like an Ali jab with pics for days.  And away we go...


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vacation, Had To Get Away

The Chockleys spent last week along idyllic highway 30-A. This was our first family beach trip smack in the middle of official beach season, and we found it was much hotter and more crowded than it is in October. However, it was still less hot and crowded than Memphis was last week, so we were happy to be there.

We stayed in the newish Old Florida Village, across the street from Goatfeathers and about six miles east of Seaside. The location was nice because it wasn't very congested on that end, and also because it was across the street from Goatfeathers. Not only did we spend our life savings on fresh seafood from their market, but we also got two meals to go from their restaurant.

A controversial feature of our lodgings was the pool located directly behind our house. Before we left, several people had advice along the lines of, "I'd never stay in a place with a pool, I'd never get my kids out of it and onto the beach." It proved to be a mixed blessing. Yes, I had trouble getting my kids out of the pool and onto the beach. That's hard for me to understand, because I would rather be on a beach than just about anywhere. I would happily pitch a tent in the sand and spend my nights there if the Walton County authorities would let me. So I did end up alone on the beach a good bit, wistfully watching the other families build sand castles together. But don't cry for me, I was able to finish five books while I was there so the childless beach time was well spent.

The plus side to the pool situation is that Connor loves the pool the way I love the beach, so he was in heaven. Despite the fact that the pool water was around 95 degrees, he wanted to be in it as much as possible. His swimming skills improved, he learned to do a cannonball and other fancy non-diving jumps, and got good at diving for sunken toys even in the "deep" end (5 ft). Chloe's swimming improved over the week too, and by our last night she was ready to swim underwater with no one holding her. It was an impressive developmental leap.

We celebrated Father's Day and Connor's (and Carrie's and Marshall's and Abraham's) birthday while we were there. On Connor's big day, we spent the hot part of the afternoon eating lunch out and going to see "Up," which made me cry like a baby and spawned endless "SQUIRREL!" shouts over the remainder of the vacation. What a great movie! We also did a bit of shopping, from the boutiques around the corner to the giant Goodwill to the Silver Sands outlet mall. (And several trips to Publix, of course.)

Then Saturday morning, we loaded up the cars to head back to reality. I started crying by the time we made it off 30-A and onto 98. This morning, Connor crawled in my bed crying. "I don't want to go back to school yet!" Thankfully, we've got one more day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


What's Connor up to as he turns six? As the pictures can attest, he's turning into a professional athlete. He definitely inherited my competitivenees- as the t-ball season progressed, so did Connor's desire to make outs. (I'd say his desire to win, except that we don't keep score in t-ball. Whatever!) He was occasionally hard on teammates who didn't make plays, but was especially hard on himself when he let a ball get by him in the field. I tried to point out that, say, the third baseman was sitting on the ground filling his glove with dirt, but that didn't make Connor feel any better. And I appreciate that.

Connor's very favorite thing to do is swim. He has become really confident in the water this year, and can jump in and swim with no problem. He can hold his breath underwater and count to 29. We recently spent an evening at a pool together, him in a swimsuit in the water and me in normal clothes watching from a chair on the side. We were both comfortable with this arrangement- I knew I could jump in and save him if necessary, but I also knew it probably wouldn't come to that. As we walked in, I said, "Dude- don't drown, okay?" He rolled his eyes and jumped in. Then I managed to teach him how to do a cannonball from my perch on the chair! He's also working on swimming freestyle and taking a breath mid-stroke. I think that right now he's only gotten as far as taking his face out of the water, but I'm sure someday soon he'll actually take a breath. I'm hoping that next summer he can join a swim team- I've been told that works better than lessons for improving his skill.

Other things he loves these days: reading comic books with his dad, building Lego sets and Bionicles, and did I mention swimming?

I love you, Connor! The first six years have been a lot of fun. Thanks for turning me into a mama and making my life so special!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another Saturday Dinner

Another recent Saturday night dinner...
Bonnie Blue Herbed Goat Cheese spread on a Cucina baguette...
...which tends to make Steph give bedroom eyes.
A new veggie burger recipe with lentils, carrots, red onion, couscous, and an egg:
Corn, walnuts, jalapenos, feta, lime and olive oil
Ok, this is definitely one of my favorite wines right now.  2006 First Class Shiraz, McLaren Vale.  Huge, chocolatey, and slightly sweet, with raspberry, cedar and spice notes.  Finish goes for days.  Knocks you over the head with waves of velvety flavor.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I have read that kids who grow up with lots of pictures of themselves on display in their homes feel loved and confident. My kids are certainly lucky to have Chip as a father, a man who makes sure there are thousands of pictures to be seen at the drop of a hat.

That's not the only thing Chip does right as a father. In fact, I can't think of anything he does wrong. And to top it all off, he's the best looking dad of all the dads I know.

Chip learned his incredible dad skills from his own father, the incomparable Roy Chockley. I'm lucky to have him in my life, not only because he raised a good son for me to marry, but also because he treats me as one of his own. I can't thank him enough for that.

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there. I hope your new ties fit just right, and that your day is all you deserve.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wild Week

It's been crazy around here lately, which means I haven't had time to write. I've managed to fit in plenty of cooking, though, so expect pictures soon from Chip. In the meantime, here's a little update about our wild week.

On Sunday evening, around 5:00, various internet sources told me that Rhodes had decided to go ahead and close campus for Monday, June 15, due to the power outage. They would give us another update around noon on Monday to let us know how things were going for Tuesday. Let me just say, this is the best news I had gotten in weeks! For various reasons, I've been working my butt off and haven't been able to take so much as a long lunch for the past few weeks. I needed that day off like a fat kid needs cake. So upon hearing the news, I jumped up, threw my hands in the air and shouted "GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!!" while running laps around the house. (Our downstairs has a clear circular path- we run a lot of laps.) Then I realized that there was no one downstairs to celebrate with so I ran upstairs and did a few trips up and down the hall before running back downstairs and finally catching my breath. So awesome!

Then Monday morning they changed their minds and decided campus was open after all, taking away our unscheduled free day. But they can never take away the joy of Sunday night!

So we made it through the storm with no damage at all, and yet Tuesday our air conditioner decided to go out anyway. Yeah, that was awesome. We called Roy and his son Elvis at Rock n Roll Heating and Air. We love those guys! They couldn't come out Tuesday night, but they provided a lot of help over the phone, so we decided to wait it out until they could come on Wednesday so that they would get our business. Then Roy's mom got rushed to the hospital! I sure hope she's okay. But that pushed our repair back to Wednesday evening when we had to pay some ungrateful repairman overtime to come fix it. Seriously, this guy bitched and moaned the whole time he was there! I know my attic was ridiculously hot, but it's not like he was there fixing the AC as a personal favor. I'm paying you, dude! Get over it!

Thursday night we had our last t-ball game of the season. I've really been happy with Connor's experience. However, I think I would prefer a once-a-week schedule rather than twice-a-week. Still, I know this isn't our last sports team. I might as well get used to it.

We also went to the Shell on Thursday, along with everyone else in Midtown, to see everyone and be social. No wait, I meant "to see Todd Snider." In any case, we had a great time on the party blanket and must thank our hosts, the Grauers, for all the food and drinks.

And now it's Friday, and all I can say is, "Whew!"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Old Marine Hospital

They say the old Marine Hospital next to the Metal Museum is haunted. I don't know about that, but it was built in 1884, and the cats living inside scared the bejeesus out of me the other day when I went inside.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Things They Said

Connor, on rigid gender roles:
"Uh, can we go outside and play basketball?"
- His reaction to the opening number of the Tonys, which the rest of us were enjoying.

Chloe, on nicknames:
"No, I'm the Farting Machine!"
- Her reaction to being called Sugar Booger

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Insalata Caprese

The first heirloom tomatoes of the season showed up at Whole Foods, which prompted me to make a caprese salad as a first course the other night.

The tomato:

Slice it and throw on some fresh mozzarella, chopped basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, and you get this:

Steph, who would rather eat hot glass than any sort of a tomato, actually gave it a try:

Well, I thought it was delicious.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Someone recently asked me what I was doing with the radishes in my CSA share. I was embarassed to admit that the first batch had become compost. So this week I vowed to do something with them. Thankfully, I was browsing through a Bon Appetit at my mom's house recently and found some inspiration- for the radishes and for those snow peas.

This is as simple as it looks- I blanched some fresh green beans (I am sorry to say that I have no idea which farmer I bought them from- got distracted by Chloe this week), added a couple of slices of proscuitto, radishes cut as thin as I can with my dull-ass knife, and a real simple sherry vinaigrette. Then I shaved some pecorino romano over it, because I basically do that with every meal I eat (see pic below as evidence). And I have to say, it made for an amazing meal.

As for the peas- I put them with pasta and a light ricotta/lemon sauce. It was pretty good, but the flavor of the peas really overpowered all the other flavors. I think, from now on, I'll stick to eating them with a little olive oil, whether raw or sauteed.