On the Road Again

After an extended and unanticipated bone-chilling stay at Hampshire, we were finally able to hit the highway and head to Cedar Hill State Park for a warm weekend away. The historic winter blast took a toll on residents of all 254 Texas counties, but we fared better than many. At least when our pipes burst, the break occurred under the house, so we avoided a lot of the water damage reported in the news. The inability of the Texas power infrastructure to withstand extreme winter conditions and meet demand were hard lessons to learn. Texas deregulation and energy policies were not something we paid much attention to in the past, we’re sorry to say, but will certainly be something we focus on in the future. This idea of energy independence was designed to line the pockets of the rich and screw over the people who either don’t understand or don’t pay much attention to how things work. More than just the Texas power grid was exposed for its flaws.

One source of anxiety was not knowing whether the winter blast had taken a toll on Cloud 9, which we had only hastily prepared for temporary sub-freezing (not extended sub-zero) temperatures. We weren’t able to check it out until we had enough of a thaw to hook up the water line and test the plumbing system. Thankfully, we didn’t experience any damage to the water lines, but we did notice a slight leak in our fresh-water tank (we’re hoping some Flex Seal will solve the problem). In any event, it wasn’t enough to prevent us from a much-needed weekender.

We arrived on Friday and enjoyed our typical pursuits. After Date Night dinner, we continued watching “Vine Talk,” a PBS series (now ended) featuring Stanley Tucci, who leads a panel of celebrity guests through a blind taste test and compares their choice with that of a studio audience. The show’s premise was intriguing enough to capture our attention, and we’re fans of Tucci, so it seemed like a good bet. Although Tucci was an affable (if sometimes stiff) host, we thought there was too much time spent on celebrity chatter and not enough on discussion of the featured wines and regions.

On Sunday, we enjoyed prosciutto and provolone tortellini with Italian chicken sausage, spinach, and tomatoes while watching the Golden Globes. Because a cold rain threatened Monday’s departure, we opted to stay through the week and “commute” to Hampshire for our workdays. That meant having meals prepared in advance and brought to Cloud 9, including roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and peas on Monday; a fantastic chili with turkey on Tuesday; a casserole with chicken, broccoli and cheese on Wednesday; and an excellent swordfish steak and pasta with zucchini, squash, and tomatoes on Thursday. We were also able to conclude our “Vine Talk” marathon, and begin a new series, “Royal Recipes,” a showcase of foods inspired by the British royal family from George IV to the present day.

Fresh off Sasha Baron Cohen’s wins at the Golden Globes, we decided to spend some time watching his two Borat mocumentaries.

We were surprised at how much we enjoyed the 2006 cringe comedy, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” which introduced us to his sexist, anti-Semitic Kazakh journalist character Borat Sagdiyev, who traveled throughout the United States testing the patience of unsuspecting Americans from New York City to Los Angeles. We actually thought it was a better film than the 2020 sequel, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” with the exception of the now-infamous scene involving Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and the personal lawyer to former president Donald Trump. Talk about a cringe comedy!