Happy Sundry Sunday

Weekend adventures in menus, bargain hunting, fashion, and vitamins. Finished book and found some great sayings. Sharing …..

Menus

Each week is more kookadoodledoo than the last so it is necessary for me to cook on Sunday. Here’s what’s on the menu for next week:

  • Portobella mushrooms stuffed with three cheeses and topped with pancetta
  • Collard greens, slightly braised in garlic, lemon olive oil, and chicken stock, topped with prosciutto
  • Chicken fillets, stuffed with pesto cream cheese, then wrapped in turkey bacon
  • Tuna nicoise pasta salad
  • Potato chips, Fritos, Peeps and caffeine (requires no cooking)

Bargain Hunting

Less than $50, including pashmina. Rah!

After donating most of my closet to Goodwill, I was in a bit of a pickle re: upcoming events. But I am a determined lass (long in the tooth for a lass, but determined). Some of bargains above might go with my favorite bargains below:

Maxi colorblock dress, $78, huge scarf/wrap, $6

Needed yet another outfit, so while at work at Cheeky Vintage, I found a severely cool short black top from who knows where. Then I put it with a Chartreuse raw silk tea-length skirt from the closet of a Parisian or it was made in Paris – whatever! It’s smashing! The photo below does not do the skirt color justice – it is outstanding!

Aucon de vos affaires, mes amis

Vitamins

My dad has been having more back issues, bless his bones. Saint ShayShay suggested Pantothenic acid, which is a big fat word for B5. She swears it unclenched her neck and made her dad jump up and dance a jig after a skiing injury. DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN YOUR MOUTH WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR DOCTOR. That being said, the best price for B5 was at Whole Foods!?! There’s also a whole thing going on (so late to this party) about taking collagen in the form of gelatin pills; supposedly, this activity provides good hair, strong nails and less rickety joints/joint pain. Gelatin (see Knox Unflavored Gelatin), by definition, is made from the proteins derived from the bones and skin of animals (not a veggie situation). All the info I could find said no animals were killed for gelatin. Jury’s out, as far as I am concerned. I mean, the animals weren’t alive when the proteins were derived. Need to take ADHD vitamin and keep nose out of this.

Rules of Civility

Finished this and have changed my mind. Maybe. After finishingThe Paris Wife, set in the 1920’s, it was hard for me to jump into Rules‘ Manhattan of 1938. Places so different, themes so similar … jazz, art, and lots of booze. Please put more emphasis on first two; these books are very good.

Favorite New Sayings

Last Friday, OneKingsLane.com featured all sorts of art. One section, Typography & Letterpress, caught my eye. Word art. These were my favorites:

“The only zen you find at the top of the mountain is the zen you bring up there.”

“Breathe in the future, Breathe out the past.”

“I do believe there is time for another adventure.”

“Go and wake up your luck.”

Off to shake up my luck. It’s already awake.

Later.

Here’s to You, and You, and You

Just getting it off my chesticles:

  • To 32-year-old civil rights lawyer with really long hair: love your job, long hair is cool, dancing at event is fun but anything else, NO CAN DO! Not a fan of Harold and Maude situations. Give Demi Moore a jingle when she gets to feeling better. Caio!
  • To woman who asks me my name despite the fact we’ve met 346 times: none of your business, obviously. Get off the meds, you’ve lost whatever mind you had.
  • To the waiter from hell on his first night: bless your heart. You got a 20% tip because we felt sorry for you. Please, in the name of all diners, seek a new occupation. Art school? Banjo player in Vegas? Anything BUT waiting tables.  Thank you.
  • To the woman who thinks she knows it all: oh no you don’t! Go to the hardware store, buy some duct tape and put it over your mouth. Then go to the compassion store and clear the shelves. Haven’t the faintest where you can get a conscience, but wouldn’t be a bad idea to look into that, either.
  • To my dog: yes, I love you to the moon and back. I take better care of you than I do myself.  But you must stop creeping around eating God knows what in the middle of the night. Waking up to the sound of gagging does not put a festive spin on the day. Thank you.
  • To the woman who used to tidy up my house and empty my liquor cabinet: all is forgiven, it is a heinous job. I would get drunk, too, but alas … you drank me dry. Nevermind.
  • To all the nice friends we ran into at the “no one goes there” restaurant: that was not me in the baseball cap. Evil twin. Swear.
  • To Amazon, Kindle, Nook and other businesses selling/delivering books to iPad, etc.: stop blaming “the publishers” for the inflated book prices. You could do something about this if you wanted to, but you know how lazy we are. Stop It. While the product is convenient, it is usually riddled with weirdo spaces and funky words. STOP IT. Note to self: get up and go to the bookstore. Stop the madness. You should be ashamed of yourself. I am. Over.
  • To the Food Channel: I became an addict a few days after 9/11 … because your spot was all happiness and recipes and a total escape. Please lose “Fat Chef”. No disrespect meant to the plight of the obese but sad doesn’t look good on you. Make a deal with Lifetime or Bravo. Thank you.

Enough ranting.

Off to find my happy pants!

Later.

If It’s Tuesday, I Am Freaky

75 and feeling fine

What freaks you out?

After reading a post about hotels by domermom, I was immediately reminded of things that go ick in the night. Starting with hotels – five-star or no star – hotel rooms freak me out. When I enter one, there are activities I am forced to perform. First, get hanger out of closet and remove bedspread using hanger. Toss anywhere out of view. Not a fan of gizz monsters/leftovers. Unpack socks. Lots of socks. Which come in handy when I need to walk on hotel room floor. There is no way in hell I would put my bare foot down on the carpet. See “leftovers”. Unpack flip-flops – for shower. Flush toilet with foot. I’m freaky that way.

Other Stuff that Gags Me

  • Food troughs, as in all-you-can-eat establishments
  • Sitting in traffic and looking over at the car next to me. The driver is digging for nose gold.
  • My dog trying to cozy up to my minimal chesticles. I didn’t breastfeed my babies; he is freaking me out.
  • Smells: scrambled eggs, wet puppies, ground beef cooking, chicken boiling, cig smoke in cars, b.o., Asiago cheese
  • People scratching their privates in public – get a room
  • Chaos – some people love an environment filled with ringing phones, slamming doors, loud convos – all fine, but not for me
  • Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul (I do this regularly)
  • Intentional disrespect – i.e. ugly scuffle on DWTS last night, Bitches Housewives of Beverly Hills always ganging up on one woman

Enough! Let’s end this on a positive note! Playing Words With Friends the other night, Lady Di used “ergo“; I LOVE that word. Other faves include scathing, magical, lilting, and – when strung together – you have just won 100 billion dollars. Haven’t heard that last one yet. Ergo, I’d best get back to work.

Later.

And One To Grow On…

366 Wishes Candle Set/Red Envelope

Happy New Year! The photo above is part of a candle set I wanted for Christmas. Yes, I do have a new candle company and no, I didn’t make up this idea but I love it anyway. When youngest daughter asked for my Christmas wish list, this was on it. So I taped a picture of it to her forehead, sue me. There is an inspirational word on each of the 366 candles. Burn one a day. LOVE. Anyway, yesterday being last year and all, I chose to burn my “extra” to start the new year off just right. I randomly chose “Laughter“.

Laughter, is there anything better? (Yes, I am well aware of other better things, but let’s just stick with laughter here, ok?).  And that was the perfect word for the last evening of the year. A casual dinner with close friends at home and SO MUCH LAUGHTER. And good food, lots of champagne, and dancing all through the house and out into the backyard. My kind of fun. As a matter of fact, I’ve spent many a New Year’s Eve with these same friends and was reminded of an especially eventful one two decades before.

I was 17 months pregnant with baby #2. Nevertheless, I donned a cocktail tent and high heels and we left all the birthed babies with one  babysitter. When we returned to our friends’ home to fetch baby #1, the sight of the poor woman trying to juggle three very miserable babies (mine was literally tied to her back with a dustrag), made me lose control of myself. We started laughing so hysterically and I was so ridiculously pregnant, well … I had a wee accident. It would have been no biggie but Mick kept shooing me off their Oriental rug like I was a bad poodle. Which made me laugh so hard I channeled a racehorse. Not my most dignified moment nor was the rug ever the same. But it was funny. 

I did mind my manners last night. Or not. But no rug accidents. And I’m not pregnant. Or if I am, it IS a miracle AND the Second Coming. Not to change the subject but my contribution to the dinner was Spinach Gratin, recipe by the Barefoot Contessa.  It is a great recipe and I highly recommend it, but you really must love onions – 4 cups of chopped onions in a recipe that says it serves 8? Good grief … my house still smells like Coney Island.

Sorry I am all over the map as I write this. Main thing is – laugh! I thought of a good way to make myself laugh when I am not feeling it. Watch those crazy laughing baby videos on YouTube. Hilarious!

Dying to know what today’s candle is? Imagination. I don’t know what to think. Have to go light my way and see what pops up.

Later.

*It might seem that I was callous toward the feelings of the babysitter in the incident mentioned above. I was. But she was paid handsomely. And it was a long time ago … just sayin’…

What I Can and Cannot Do: Lessons from 2010

 

I am a living, breathing contradiction. While I really don’t like all this “looking back” on the TV, the radio, the internet, I must review my year as it has been a humdinger in the form of life lessons. And say my blessings. It has been good. And you have to get to good in order to move on to better.

This years started out as bipolar time. Major players in my family were seriously ill and I had the extreme pleasure of participating in my godchild’s wedding festivities which began at noon on January 1st.  Mercifully, the extremes all melded. The ride throughout the following months was not unlike a white water rafting trip, beginner level.

It’s true, you know, about the seasons of life. People come in and out. I used to think that was a bad thing, but I’ve been around long enough to  know otherwise.  I miss the loved ones whose seasons ended this year, but death cannot erase my happy memories of them. As for the others, I can honestly say it’s all good. I’m positive I will forget very important occurrences, but, for now, here’s what I am reminded of:

  • Started this blog in January. There is no way I could have imagined the richness my blog friends have brought to my life. No way. It began as a resource fueled by my need to write. While I love writing, there was no way to know that the pleasures, the friendships, the support, the caring for others and their writing would be the gift.
  • I didn’t even try to “fix” anyone this year. That isn’t my job – because I am nowhere near perfect, because I am not a therapist, because it is an impossible task. If you need fixin’, you must fix yourself. Period.
  • Laughter. I have laughed more this year that I have in the past five. With dear friends in beautiful locales, with dear friends in shit city. With strangers and acquaintances. Love this.
  • Began cooking again. Learned to bake. Practiced the art of Kanzashi until my fingers bled. Learned to step back and take a breath instead of jumping to conclusions. Began the task of clearing away the clutter, in my home and in my heart. Never stop learning.
  • Took a long walk off a short pier in several areas of life: job and personal. No regrets. Leaving what you know, good or bad, for the unknown is scary. But so pregnant with possibilities and opportunities. I am thankful. Very thankful.
  • Take nothing for granted. I try.
  • Just try to love people the best you can. I know my limits. There are those who I can throw my arms around and hang with all day. And there are others I must keep at a distance. But I love them all, anyway.

On December 23rd, I went with my dear friends to participate in a church service and dinner. It was held at The Church Under the Bridge for the homeless. I cannot express how touched I was by the crowd and the individuals I was privileged to meet. The ground is level, indeed. During the service, I sat between two men. Troubled, of course. But educated, kind, courteous, and compassionate. At one point during the evening, it got so cold. The man to my left took his blanket and put it over me so I wouldn’t suffer. Who helped who? Enough said.

As the year comes to an end, I’m full of contradictions. Armed with two editions of The Snark Handbook by Lawrence Dorfman, The Awe-Manac, A Daily Dose of Wonder by Jill Badonsky, a million ideas for my new business – well, I’ve got much to do. And much to do better than before. I will greet the new year as a single woman of a certain age, blessed with friends and family. And I will paint this life with broad, colorful strokes in bold colors, even though I am most certainly stepping out on that wire with no safety net. Just have to see what the day brings. This IS how I roll.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY FRIENDS EVERYWHERE. MAY IT BE THE BEST YET!

Later.

Ha Ha Ho Ho: Friday Mishmash

Cooking up a stew of totally unrelated information. I gotta be me.

Thank God for funny emails. Can’t get enough laughter, especially at this time of year. Don’t you dare slam me if you have PC issues – I didn’t make this one up. Sharing:

“Three men married wives from different countries.  The first man married a woman from China.  He told her she was to do the dishes and clean the house.  It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to a clean house with dishes washed and put away.

The second man married a woman from Italy.  He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning and cooking.  He saw no results the first day.  He saw it was better the second day.  By the third day, the house was clean, the dishes were done and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a woman from Texas.  He ordered her to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed, and hot meals on the table for every meal. The first day he didn’t see anything.  The second day he didn’t see anything.  By the third day, some of the swelling had gone down, he could see a little out of his left eye, and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher.” (compliments of KK)

Now that I want them, I can’t seem to find any of the others that made me laugh.  But I will … maybe.

Got a card from my dear Austin Ann the other day. She so “gets” me. And it’s nice to be gotten – non? Written by the Mincing Mockingbird, the front of it said:

“That’s a crazy idea.

Insane.

It doesn’t make sense.”

“You’ll do it?”

“Of course,” I replied.”

And that’s the way we roll ….

Later.

Current Events Report Card: Yikes!

 

 

With the holidays bearing down on us like an 18-wheeler approaching a Volkswagen at 100 mph, the only item that appears to be in short shrift is time. So I must be quick here because I never like to miss an opportunity to be snarky. The topic today is Current Events.

  • Dancing with the Stars – Grade F-: Jennifer Grey is splendid. That Kyle guy is fine. But this Bristol Palin uproar is totally legit. I have no problem with her as a human but she is no dancer. She is being used and I feel sorry for her. Shame on her mother!

 

  •  Airport Sex/Security Procedures – Grade Incomplete: This is messed up on so many levels. Obviously, those  “In The Know” have information about terrorism that demands major security scrutiny. Hello, people! Staging protests = beyond already hideous lines = people missing planes. I get the point. I have heard the woman who had a security guard search inside her underwear, and stating it was worse than a visit to the gynecologist. I’m sorry but that is beyond acceptable. And the poor man who wore a urological contraption which was broken during his search, flooding his clothing and the floor with urine. And he’s supposed to get on a plane after that? Don’t know what the answer is here. But I will walk to my destination before I will allow a stranger – or a friend – to put their hands in my pants while I’m wearing them. Sheesh! What are we going to do here? 

 

  • Raising Hope – Grade A++++++: Backed into this one accidentally and am so glad I did. This is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time. We all need to laugh. You will laugh if you watch this. No, I am not being paid to say this. Cloris Leachman is hilarious as are all the cast members.
  • Spitting into the Wind – Grade N as in some things Never change: No matter what, I will never, ever, ever, never get used to seeing Christmas decorations in August. With a slight curtsy to Thanksgiving, Christmas is pounded into our lives for way too much of the year. Thanksgiving is a great holiday, too. Would it be too disturbing to focus on one event at a time? Good grief.

That being said, have a great, happy Thanksgiving. And if you don’t do Thanksgiving, have a great, happy week. 

 

I’m putting on my body armor so I can go to the grocery store and purchase ingredients for all the items I must cook. These will be served at my Mother’s house on Thursday. And they better be delicious. Or I will get an F and that doesn’t stand for “Family”.

Gobble, gobble. Later.

 

     

Brain Floats

Have to admit, my brain is floating around more than usual today. Sharing:

My precious -and- very talented – friend, Meg, officially launches lesueur interiors this evening. She has a beautiful website and blog. Check her out at www.lesueurinteriors.com. You won’t be disappointed, you will be inspired! Champagne all around!

Is it just me or should Gleeks be campaigning for Justin Timberlake to appear on Glee? He looks very much like he could be related to Matthew Morrison, “Mr. Schuster”. And he can sing. Just sayin’. (Obviously from photo, I’m not the first to think of these two together; but I saw the photo after I thought this, so there!)

 

I was in Whole Foods the other day when I was struck with a notion. It’s a cool place, I shop there, maybe I should apply for a job. As there are plenty of attractive female employees there, it occurred to me I might be able to cop a job if I grew a beard and had some piercings. Ears already pierced! Beard not a good look. Meh! Before I could wallow in self-pity, a young woman walked in the store. She looked like this:

 

The drawing resembles what would be called the “fat” version of the woman I saw. First, I felt like crying for her as she was beyond anorexic and that is such a horrid disease. If I had to estimate, she might have weighed 75 pounds and stood about 5’6″. As I left, I said a prayer that Whole Foods had heart paddles in case hers said, “I quit” in the vegetable aisle. (Am very familiar with anorexia so no rants, please.) Then I was reminded of my former husband. He could qualify as a manorexic but it’s from extreme exercising. He was a triathelete when we first married and I told him then he looked like Jesus hanging on the cross. A couple of weeks ago, he came by to pick up my youngest daughter and her boyfriend. When I saw him, I said, “Good grief, former husband, eat some food!” Then being the bossy pants I am, I told daughter and beau to take him to the gas station and put the air hose in his mouth until he filled out a bit. Yikes!

Flipping totally over to the other side of the coin, I’ll leave you with a recipe that sounds so gross and is so yummy. I preface this with the fact that I don’t eat anything like this on a yearly basis, but you gotta go crazy sometimes! Really, the mixture of these ingredients will repulse, but the finished product will be gobbled up. Promise!

Tamales and Chicken A La King

12 Johnson’s Colorado tamales

2 cans Swanson’s Chicken A La King

1 12oz can evaporated milk

1 4oz can chopped green chiles

grated cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Grease 9×13 pan. Unwrap tamales and place on bottom of pan. Mix chicken, chiles, and milk. Pour over tamales. Cover top with generous amount of cheddar cheese. Cook for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

Hook’em.

Later.

  

 

Randamonium: Lovely Words & Crazy Curves

I’m a sponge. That is my new career of choice, in this interim between paying positions. Each day brings new ideas, different opinions and the notion that I have a whole lot of learning left to do. This “career” is a luxury and will not last forever. Have been reading quite a bit and some powerful words have literally taken my breath away. Three greats and a snark, to be specific.

  • Have not been a fan of Christopher Hitchens. Ever. Until this morning. His column in the current issue of Vanity Fair is true, and brave, exquisite, and terrifying. I read it twice, and I know I will read it again and again, making copies and passing them to friends. “The Topic of Canceris the header; he has been thrown a very ugly curve ball which he describes in a way that is so simple, so human, so beautiful. I’m rooting for you, Hitch!
  • Started Laura Munson’s This Is Not The Story You Think It Is…” last night. After reading the first page, I knew she’d hit it out of the park and into the next county. This is her memoir and it has me entranced, involved, so much of what she has to say is so well communicated, so amazingly thoughtful, well, I’m halfway through (thanks to a three-hour power outage this afternoon) and I have only torn myself away from this treasure to write this post. She’s got a keen sense of humor, always a plus for me. At the moment, there is one line she wrote that I cannot get out of my mind; it made me feel good, “…Sometimes taking care of yourself means letting yourself be misunderstood…” . More later, but borrow or buy this book. ASAP. It is that good.
  • Rooting through one pile of books, I came upon “Labor Day”  by Joyce Maynard. The most memorable lines in this book, for me, describe loneliness perfectly. She writes, “…you are like one of those ceramic hedgehogs with the plants growing on it that the person who bought it forgot to water. You are like a hamster nobody remembered to feed”. Powerful stuff.
  • Snark On: VF also has an excerpt from “True Prep” by Lisa Birnbach. This is the “update” to her book, “The Official Preppy Handbook”. When she was writing the first book, somehow she got me on the phone. She was very persuasive and I was very young. Her book had a section on “prepster hot spots for each night of the week” for a number of cities. She needed the scoop for my city. RIGHT THAT MINUTE. So, I gave it to her. Bought the book when it was published. And there was all the info I gave her. When I write a book, I hope I acknowledge any and everyone who helped me. Just sayin’. And no, I won’t be reading this latest publication.

The curvy randamonium refers to my daily adventure quest and observations. Anything new, different, ironic:

  •  Last night, my Cooking Partner and I grilled Portobello mushrooms (marinated beforehand with olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and a dash of Worcestershire). Divine.
  • Found 17 gifts today (birthdays, Christmas, layoffs) and didn’t spend $150. These are good gifts, too. Am patting self on back because I’m a great “finder”.  Hey, maybe a new career ……
  • Cooper the dog may get me booted from my home. He is obstinate and determined to do his thing wherever he wants. He always chooses the same place:

Meh!

Later.

Tasty Treasures & Kick-Ass Paper: Oh, the Places I Go

My new agenda includes going on an adventure each day. Obviously, adventures can be simple or far-flung.  Am keeping it simple for now. There are a number of farmer’s markets in my city. So, my plan for this morning was to go to one, then meander wherever the wind blew me. What a great morning!

It was about a ten-minute drive to the market. Little white tents dot the area behind a vibrant shopping behemoth. Under those tents are treats galore! With fans blowing and the tents sheltering vendors and shoppers from the sun, I actually felt comfortable even though it was 9:30 am and already 90-degrees. Live music added to the happy ambience here. Love that! Because I could have a deep conversation with a tree, I spent my time wandering from vendor to vendor, asking questions and hearing stories. Very cool, very peaceful, everything local. Purchases include:

Market Loot

  • Two lovely Portobello mushrooms (am open to any recipe ideas)
  • A sweet round globe of a watermelon (if I were a fruit, I would be a watermelon)
  • Six organic oatmeal/cranberry cookies baked by a Brit with an Australian accent
  • One plastic bear of Orange Blossom honey (my tea will be very happy)
  • One jar of incredible skin balm called “Awakening” by Forrest Glynn Botanicals; the creator is a delightful woman and her products are “Tested on Friends. Not Animals”

There were so many beautiful vegetables, homemade cheeses, marshmallows, and prepared meals by traveling chefs… well, I just had to say, “Stop the Madness” to myself. I can go back next Saturday. Or go to a new market. Or walk a lobster.  Next stop: bookstore.

I. CAN'T. WAIT.

Books are my crack. I am an addict. “My name is Izziedarling and I am a book freak”. No apologies. So excited to score two out of the four book I now own.  Have been after One Day by David Nicholls for months. Same story for Laura Munson’s memoir, This Is Not The Story You Think It Is … A Season of Unlikely Happiness. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Stumbled upon The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart; this looks great … an eccentric tale about a Beefeater living in the Tower of London. Good Grief by Lolly Winston is not new, but it was in the bargain section so …..sold!  This is an “aha” moment for me; when I know not where I am headed, I used to purchase self-help books. In search of answers. Which I never found. And hated the books because they could not do the impossible. May not be sure of my next step, but I haven’t bought a single self-help book. This is an epic win on my journey. Rah me.  Next stop: cupcake shop.

You better be good......

Oh my! There is a paper store right next to the cupcake place. I love and respect paper more than some people I know. Paper Source did not disappoint. Found so many great items, but had to exercise some self-control. So I bought Karma Checks. I can’t wait to use them. Advertised as “60 checks to keep the world in balance”, these come in a little checkbook holder – good/bad karma – 30 each! Examples: Bad karma – “for being aggressively passive-aggressive”, Good karma – “For demonstrating an advanced degree of friendship”. Sold! Walked next door to purchase sweets.

These are pretty; I suck at photography

The cupcake mecca is Sprinkles. Am here because eldest daughter told me about it AND they have key lime cupcakes through the end of the month. While I could care less about klc, I know this flavor will make my cooking partner do a happy dance. Because I don’t want him to have to dance alone, I chose a banana cupcake and a chocolate marshmallow confection. I love sweet endings.

Now I’m brewing tea for my Orange Blossom honey. And trying to decide which adult beverage goes with a cupcake dinner. And making a list of potential karma check recipients. And liking this multi-tasking adventure ….

Later.