Tuesday, December 30, 2008

THE PLAN FOR THE NEW YEAR

I have been thinking about the new year coming. I have made decisions - not resolutions, but decisions about how I will make changes. Change is the operative word in the country and for me.

I have started a new blog which can be reached from the sidebar - under the title Feeling Fine in 2009. I am currently laying out my plan and will post follow up entries of my progress - and, if necessary, failures.

If you want to join in - we will make it a group effort!

Friday, December 26, 2008

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND AN OUTING

I note that a few fellow bloggers have been posting each day during the Christmas and Hanukkah festivities. (Congrats Jenn!!) I have barely had the energy to to read a few posts, much less to write one. But I have tried to pay enough attention to record a few highlights. The girls are snuggled on the couch watching the Yule Log channel.




Tom came down with a bug on the evening of the 23rd and did not accompany the rest of us to my sister's home for Christmas Eve dinner. When we can home at about 9, he was entranced by the televised Yule Log. We had a good laugh at him, but then, slowly, we were all drawn in. Particularly because he swore it was live and there was someone tending the fire. He said the fire tender occasionally poked the fire or put new logs on to burn. One by one we snuggled down to watch and after about an hour - the fire tender placed a new log on the fire. We cheered and clapped and got ready for bed.



The next morning Tom and I were up before 6 and hung out listening to holiday music and watching a real fire (the Yule Log broadcast did not resume until 8am.) The kids finally rolled out of bed at about 8:30 and the aftermath may be seen in the photo above. I made a big breakfast and then went "off duty" for the remainder of the day.



Friday morning we popped out of our beds and made a trip to San Francisco to visit the newly remodeled California Academy of Sciences, I had purchased tickets Santa put tickets in our stockings. Along with approximately half the population of the Bay Area, we toured this wonderful new facility, watched the show in the planetarium and toured the aquarium. I found the sea dragons enchanting, but the kids dragged me off to visit the living roof, an acre of native California plants covering the roof of the building. You can see above that it was a lovely day.

We ended our outing at a fun Cuban restaurant called ChaChaCha in the Haight neighborhood. It was colorful, hip and the food was good.
A nice day with my children - and now no plans. Sigh. I hope I can finally relax and get some quality sleep!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MY HOLIDAY LETTER




HOLIDAY GREETINGS FROM THE WALKER FAMILY 2008





This has been a fairly uneventful year for the Walkers. With everything going on in the world around us – a bit of the “same old” at home is actually a good thing.

Maggie and Zac are celebrating their 21st birthday in the photo above. Zac traveled to Philadelphia to spend a few days with his twin. They are both doing well in school, work and relationships. Maggie has not been back to CA for a year and we are very excited to spend time with her – her plans include a couple of trips to the wine country. Zac is excited to finally be taking his upper level math classes and continues his volunteer work for which he was featured in an article in the CSUMB Alumni magazine.

Ally has continued her interest in fashion, friends and social life on and off the web. She has a boyfriend and will be eligible to take driving classes in March. Yikes. She continues to be interested in drama and directed a scene for a program which they performed for her high school and the middle schools in the area.

Tom moved to a nice new office and continues to enjoy his law practice. He has developed a major passion for bikes and takes very long rides around the area. I am still enjoying my work at Kyle Design, I do a lot of writing to market the business and I started blogging, too.

Our very best hopes and wishes for all our friends and family in the New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

HOLIDAY HOME TOUR


WELCOME TO OUR HOME





THE MANTLE AND STOCKINGS MOSTLY MADE BY MY MOM





THIS YEAR A REAL TREE, WITH THE USUAL TOO MANY PRESENTS.






TRYING TO PRETTY UP THE DINING ROOM LIGHT



MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANUKKAH, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
VIST MORE HOLIDAY OPEN HOMES LISTED AT JEN ON THE EDGE



Sunday, December 21, 2008

SUNDAY BAKING

I am skipping the Sunday Supper Post because I spent all weekend making cookies - I will be taking a big platter to share at work tomorrow. Maggie made the gingerbread (double batch) and her sugar cookie dough on Friday night, I made dough for 3 more cookies on Saturday and Sunday I baked all day.


Part of the day I played Christmas music and part of the day we had the Seattle Seahawks football game on. We lived in Bellevue Washington for several years and had season tickets for the Seahawks in the old domed stadium. Our seats were so high up we could touch the ceiling of the dome.


Maggie is drizzling white and dark chocolate on sugar cookies. Zac just wants attention.




I bet they wish they had the dome today because they played in blizzard conditions. We reminisced about living there when it snowed - the kids loved it, I dreaded driving in it. But it was so beautiful and didn't stick around long enough get old.


Anyway. Cookies!!




These thumbprint cookies are rolled in coconut and filled with jam or Nutella. I also make rugelach (with cinnamon, almonds and mini chocolate chips) and gingerbread cookies with and without frosting.




Zac has added a comment here:

Zac is the favorite of the three children, with the most obvious talent, writing and arithmitic skills, and good looks. He derives all this from his mommy, who makes excellent dinners. His dad probably had something to do with it, but not much past adding some DNA to the equation. As for the other two children... lets not go there.

Maggie has added a comment here:

Hilda, the dog, is more likely to be described as the favorite of the three children. Zac is indeed talented(at bringing home laundry from college) has writing and arithmitic skills (but only if that means writing witty math jokes) and good looks (did he mention he has a twin sister? twin. as in looks remarkably similar).

Ally adds:

So now that you've recieved your entertainment for the night, here comes the truth; Ally is, of course, the perfect angel child, who is not only the most popular of the three, but the most attractive. I let my older siblings think they have the looks and the brains, but in reality, they don't stand a chance! But I'm not gonna lie, Hilda's got it going on...

My 3 clowns...

Monday, December 15, 2008

ONE STEP AHEAD OF CHAOS


These last few weeks have strained my planning abilities! During the holiday season I usually leave the house before 7 and roll back home 10-12 hours later. I have been making use of the slow cooker that Tom bought this summer - but really, nothing needs to cook for 10 hours!!


Last week I made a run into Costco for a few things, it is just across the freeway from the studio and is fairly quiet during the early evening hours. I picked up 2 of the roasted chickens and a few other things and tried out the new self service checkout. It was very slick.


I served chicken for dinner with some "smashed" tiny red potatoes and green beans - they cook in minutes. I shredded the meat off the other chicken and put the ingredients for Chicken Tetrazzini out for the next night. I usually put it together and then bake it. But I did a quick stovetop version and added a veggie and dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes.

Doubling things up is a real time saver for me. I always buy 2 of the chickens at Costco and plan 2-3 meals around it. When I am browning ground turkey or beef, I cook double the amount I need and put half of it in the freezer. When I am stuck for a quick meal, I can use it for quesadillas, enchiladas, taco salad, tacos, tostadas, nachos and I think you get the idea.

When I boiled the potatoes for dinner the other night, I boiled extra and put them in the frig for fried potatoes on the weekend. I made extra bacon to go with the leftover chicken from the tetrazzini recipe - so I made quesadillas with chicken, sliced green onions, monterey jack and some crumbled bacon.


I know guess it takes having a fairly large repertoire of recipes, but just think about the things you cook regularly and double up to make the next me that much easier to out together!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

SUNDAY SUPPER


It is a cold and rainy night - sounds like one of those bad novels...and a great night for soup!


TORTELLINI SOUP


1 T butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

28 oz chicken broth

1 9 oz package cheese tortellini

1 14.5 oz can Italian style stewed tomatoes

1 bunch spinach

6 fresh basil leaves chopped, or 1 t dried

Parmesan cheese


Melt butter in heavy, large saucepan over medium heat, add garlic and asute 2 minutes.

Stir in broth and tortellini. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.Season with salt and pepper and simmer until tortellini are tender, about 5 minutes.


Stir in tomatoes, spinach and basil. simer about 5 minutes and serve with parmesan cheese on top.



Friday, December 12, 2008

FRIDAY FILL IN FOR THE FIRST TIME

1. Friends and my sister help keep me sane.

2. Health, it's what I need to focus on.

3. I'm ready for some holiday cheer.

4. Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning is one of my favorite smells. To be honest, it works any day of the year!

5. The oldest ornament I have is 25 years old, purchased when Tom and I had our first tree.

6. Take some champagne, my sisters, and an occasion, mix it all together and you have some outrageous giggling.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to celebrating Tom's birthday and seeing if he likes his gift, tomorrow my plans include making gifts, writing cards and making gingerbread and Sunday, laundry and a good video.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

FEELING THE HOLIDAYS

We are happily busy at work. I am putting in 10 plus hour days ( less than last year which was insanely busy.) I am making it home at a decent hour to get dinner on for Tom and Ally, but not too much else is getting done - I'm pretty tired out.

The excitement of the holidays are beginning to creep up. I am humming Christmas tunes and I have started decorating. (I have to have some nice photos to share on Jen on the Edge's Holiday House Tour on December 20.) I bought supplies to make gingerbread and am trying to finish my homemade gifts.



Soon to be appearing at my house - sisterly hijinks's!

My Maggie is coming home on December 18 and I cannot decorate the tree until she is here. I am under orders. She is a tough but sentimental girl. She wants to unwrap and reminisce over the ornaments. Each year since our children were born we have gotten them an ornament which is symbolic of the year in some way. When they grow up and have their own homes, I will send them all the ornaments to decorate their own trees.

I am feeling that holiday spirit - now I just have to deal with the whole shopping thing, and the cards and the wrapping and the shipping and - oh, well. It will all get done somehow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A CLEAN HOUSE


Today I had professionals come into my home and clean it wthin an inch of it's life.


I am so happy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

SUNDAY SUPPER

People have started shopping - hurrah - so we all went in to the studio today to get a jump on the busy week ahead. I was there at 5am,tuned in the Christmas music channel and pretended I was an elf.

Tonight, a fast and simple but verrrry tasty favorite recipe.



CHICKEN SCAMPI

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed or cut in 1 inch strips
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 T minced parsley
1 t salt
1/4 t oregano
2 cups hot cooked linguine
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Dip chicken in egg, then bread crumbs and fry in mixture of oil and butter, until browned.
Remove from pan.

Add garlic to pan, saute, add broth, wine and seasonings and bring to a boil. Add chicken back to pan, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add pasta to pan and heat through, 5-10 minutes. Serve with cheese.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

MAYBE SHE'S NOT A TOTAL IDIOT


My mom and I had a brief conversation on my birthday and somehow, in that compelled-to- create-friction way that families have, we spoke of politics.


My parents are lifelong Republicans - major Republicans. I heard from my sister that our mom had changed her party affiliation to Democratic and voted for Obama. Since I found it hard to believe, I asked. Turns out she voted for Obama in the primary but couldn't bring herself to vote for him in the election because of his Chicago political connections and "the way they bashed Sarah Palin." I said something like "She is an idiot" and we stopped the conversation shortly thereafter.


But I kept thinking about it. I am not sure Sarah Palin is an idiot. I think she is probably fine as as a local politician, a bit over her head as a governor and way out of her league as a national candidate. The thing I found idiotic about her is that she didn't realize that she was over her head. I am fairly well educated, I suspect I read more than she does and I couldn't have answered some of the questions she was asked - and I am not an idiot. But I know I don't know enough to run for office.


I don't appreciate her fundamentalism, and the obviously failed effect her teachings have had on her own family. I am very concerned about electing people who are determined to promote "God's will" as they define it. Her divisive political views, willingness to support racism and use her sexuality to promote herself are also unsettling.


But bottom line, I was aghast that she said yes to running for VP without any need for thought. Geez, woman, you have a family, including a pregnant daughter and a newborn. A major job in your state and very little national experience - and you didn't take the time to mull it over?


Perhaps it depends on how you define it, but if that kind of thinking isn't idiotic, it's close.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

ONE STEP AHEAD OF CHAOS


Part 2 of my series on menu planning, shopping and organization. I'll post every Monday until I run out of helpful ideas!


Now that the freezer is full, time to pull out the cookbooks and paper for lists. My mom had a small pantry which she carved out of a broom closet. On the door was a pad of paper and a pencil. If you took something out of the pantry, you had to put it on the list to be replaced. Death to you if she counted on a can of Cream of Mushroom soup and they were all gone and not on the list!! I think this is a great method. I keep a list in plain sight and if someone uses something up and doesn't put it on the list, then we may be out of it for a long time.
I plan at least 4 meals in advance. I go through the cook books, make a list of the meals and add needed items to the shopping list. Make sure sides are part of the planning. I post the meals on the frig on a post it, it helps reduce the "What's for dinner?" calls at work!

I also have 3 or so meals that I have as back-up. For instance, the Orange Chicken from Trader Joe's, I have one in the freezer to serve with rice and a veggie. I also make sure I have canned tomatoes and pasta. Tortillas and cheese can be used for many meals. I always have lots of chicken broth on hand.

I buy things like rice in bulk, both brown and white. I get things like rice and pasta sides when they are on sale and keep in the pantry to add to simple chicken breast meals. I buy the fresh tortellini and keep it in the freezer. Tortellini is great with sauce, but also in soup and added to a Caesar salad!
I usually need more fresh veggies and fruit mid-week, so I do an additional menu plan, and shop again.
More organization ideas next week!

IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME

BORN DECEMBER 1, 1953




GRADE SCHOOL 1963



HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION 1972




IN MY PRIME 1982



40TH BIRTHDAY




WITH MAGGIE 2006




If I could turn back time, where would I stop the clock?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

HOT OR NOT






The Daily Beast conducted a poll of 1000 women and found that the majority of them feel that women are not treated "fairly" in the workplace, in politics, in the armed forces and in the media. Only 20% of these women said that they consider themselves feminists and fewer look favorably on their daughters considering themselves feminists. Anyone else see the problem here?




Feminism is the belief in the political, social, and economic equality of women.

If women cannot lay claim to that belief - how do they think the workplace, politics and media will? If women continue to behave as if their "hotness" is their most valuable asset, the attitudes that create these "unfair" environments will continue.

In most television shows, the females are dressed in low cut, figure hugging clothes paired with stiletto heels. If they (the actresses) question the wardrobe, they are told the producers decide what the look should be, whether it is realistic or not. And of course, most of the producers are men.

Even if our girls see these shows and think law enforcement, science, law or medicine seem like great career paths, they are instructed by TV that their appearance is more important than their skills and education. If you think that is going too far, look at the relative attractiveness of most the the male characters to the female characters on the shows you watch. How often are remarks made about the appearance of the women compared to the appearance of the men? I am not saying that there isn't some "beefcake" added to some shows, but that roll is generally a caricature or obviously flawed in some way.



In recent politics, Sarah Palin is the perfect example. At the convention, the first time the country had the opportunity to hear her speak, the cameras kept cutting to men with buttons reading "Hottest VP from the Coldest State." The term MILF was proudly bantered around as if that was just what they wanted for the ticket. A big difference from the way they talked about about Hillary Clinton. That was all about the cankles, that she was a bitch and couldn't control her husband.



I just believe that women are the ones who have to put the brakes on this focus on appearance.


As a young woman you want to show your newly acquired curves and enjoy the attentions of the boys. Later it is part of the dating an mating scene. And I don't think anyone has to succumb to being out of shape and style as you grow older. I just think this obsession with maintaining hottness all the days of your life is perpetuating the belief that our appearance is our primary power.
There is so much more to us than our cleavage. And since, so far, the men remain in charge of most of our media, medicine, law enforcement, politics, military and education. It's time we women elevate the focus from the chest to the brains.

Friday, November 28, 2008

TIME TO MYSELF

Well, it looks like the folks still turned out for Black Friday shopping. I look forward to hearing the numbers in the next few days. In the news shots there were many people, but few bags in their hands.

At 5pm I dropped Ally off at the movies in a shopping center with a few large stores, Circuit City, Bed, Bath & Beyond and TJ Maxx to name a few. There were police out directing traffic, so it must have been busy, but didn't look more crowded than on any other I did a little cyber shopping, but will not venture out to the stores until later in the weekend, if at all.

I went to the gym in the morning and then spent most of the day working on my handmade gifts. I got caught up on my Tivoed shows - Top Chef, Eli Stone and a bit of Oprah.


My traditional pot of post-holiday clam chowder is on the stove, the rolls are in the oven and I still have 2 more days to relax and get things done.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

THANK YOU TO ALL THE WOMEN, FOR ALL YOU DO



We women take on so much. especially at this time of year. We do a LOT for our families, our community and for many of us, the world. I want to say Thank You - because even if the people in your life remember to say it , you can never hear it too often.



Remember to take care of yourselves while you're doing all the things you do for others. Even though your family needs you, your community needs you, and yes, the world needs you, take your vitamins, get plenty of rest and exercise and stay healthy.


And have a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I AM THANKFUL


I am thankful for many things this year. I am thankful that business has increased and we can breath a little easier, in fact we can be nervous about keeping up!

I am thankful for the woman I work for and my co-workers, a nice, dependable, dedicated group of people.

I am thankful that my daughter was invited to spend Thanksgiving with the family of her freshman year roommate. That she has the opportunity to visit a new place and spend time in a family setting.

I am thankful that my son will be joining us for a few days this weekend, that I will get enveloped in his hugs several times.

I am thankful that my youngest has been pleasant so far this week and actually agreed to clean (some of) the house for pay.

I am thankful for my little loving Hilda dog.

I am thankful I am not slaving in the kitchen alone for days to make a meal my family with eat in minutes.

I am thankful we are sharing our Thanksgiving dinner with my sister and her family and for the champagne we will drink while we cook.

I am thankful I will not be at the mall this week.

I am thankful that NaBloPoMo is almost over.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SHOPPING FOR THE HOLIDAY BIRD


We are having Thanksgiving, just the four of us here. I went to the store at about 7:30 on Saturday morning and filled the cart with feasting foods for us. I was in line behind another woman doing the same thing. The clerk was chatting with her as I unloaded my cart. I heard her say "I love you people who shop early. I don't understand those people who wait until Wednesday night to shop."


Just after I emptied my cart, a man came up behind me with just a couple of items. He said to me "Is that already a turkey and Thanksgiving stuff?" I said I have a busy week and wanted to get the shopping done early. He said "Oh, I never even think about it until Wednesday night."


The clerk and I exchanged meaningful looks.

Monday, November 24, 2008

ONE STEP AHEAD OF CHAOS


I was looking around and found a lovely woman called JCK over at Motherscribe. She has the kind of busy life I have had for a long time, though now that the twins are in college, I am down to one teen and spoiled husband in the house.

She is looking for ideas about menu planning, shopping, last minute meals, etc. Plus, they are starting to cluck from all the chicken - actually, so are we, so I won't be much help on that one. But I have a penchant for planning and I will enjoy passing on some things have work for me. Not all of them will work for your family, but maybe it will give you your own inspiration.


My first topic is:

SHOPPING THE BIG BULK STORES

I have a second refrigerator in the garage. My husband is a Diet Coke addict and it is always full, so I do not feel guilty about the extra energy use. It has been an essential for me. If you don't have one, you will have to pick and choose some of these tips.

I usually do this trip once a month or so. I go to Costco when it opens - before the samples are out and the crowds clog the aisles.

The frozen hamburger is already in meal sized portions of 5- 1 lb. "chubs". Pop in the freezer. I also buy ground turkey which is in 1 lb packages.

Buy flank steak. It is relatively inexpensive, lean beef. It usually comes in 2-3 per package. The flank steaks should be laid out flat and put in freezer baggies and frozen. They thaw faster flat and take up very little space. You can also open the baggie and pour in a marinade, put in the frig and it will marinate as it thaws. Flank steak BBQ's in about 10 minutes. If you use it for a recipe, it usually needs to be sliced thin, do that when it is not fully thawed, it's much easier. Same with butterflying it.
I buy stew meat in the winter. Divide the package into 1-1.5 lb. baggies for the freezer. If I have time, I trim and cut the meat before I freeze it so that it is really ready to go when it is thawed. I am new to the slow cooker - but I understand that you can put the meat in frozen for stew, etc. So that would be a big time saver. Freeze flat like the flank steak.

Costco used to have bags of boneless skinless chicken breasts that were not individually packages. No more, at least in my location. If you can get those - this is what I do. Let them mostly defrost, pour off as much water as possible. Pour in about 1/2 cup of inexpensive Italian salad dressing (not one with a lot of flavor) and marinate 6 plus hours.


If you can only get the individually packaged ones, I defrost, open each damned little package and the follow the marinading directions above, only using a large dish. Cook all the breasts on the grill , cool and then individually freeze them on a cookie sheet and then bag them up for the freezer. In nice weather, I cook them at dinner and serve them for that meal and freeze the rest.


If it is the dead of winter and your grill is unusable, use a stove top grill or bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. The cooked chicken is good for salads, casseroles, quesadillas, pasta dishes, panini, etc. an way less expensive that buying pre-cooked chicken.

I also buy eggs in the 24 pack. I hard boil 6 or so for lunches, salads and snacks.

The rest of the stuff is up to the individual family tastes. I don't have a ton of pantry space and rarely buy canned goods or super sized boxes of cereal.


Next Monday - Menu planning and grocery shopping.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

SUNDAY SUPPER


My boy is coming home for a few days - so tonight I am making his favorite Sherry Meatballs. Ally will have a chicken breast. I will also make a berry crisp for dessert.


ZAC'S FAVORITE MEATBALLS


1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup minced onion
1 1/2 t cornstarch
dash allspice
2 eggs, beaten ( may use egg substitute or egg whites only)
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
1 t salt


1/3 cup flour
2 cups water
1/2 sup dry sherry
4 beef bouillon cubes
oil for browning


Combine meat through salt and mix well. Shape into balls, brown in hot oil. Transfer browned meatball to warm plate. when done with browning, add flour to pan drippings (add more oil, if necessary, should equal about 3 T). Whisk in water, sherry, bouillon cubes and add salt as necessary. Cook until smooth. Arrange meatballs in sauce and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. I serve with wide egg noodles, can be served with rice.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

THIS IS HOW TODAY WAS


Blue and gold. Bright and cool. Relaxed and productive.

Friday, November 21, 2008

TGIF - OR TOO POOPED TO POST


It's been a long week. The good news is that we have seen some increased holiday business at work - which is great because stress is bad. And there is a lot of stress about what "the economy" will do to our little company.
I am looking forward to this weekend. I will get the spare room ready for Zac - he will be here for part of the week. I will plan out our holiday meal and lay in beer and groceries for Zac's favorite dinners. I suppose I will have to clean - but then again, Ally is off school all week - perhaps I can pay her to do it!

Tom set up the printer to scan photos - I am looking forward to learning how to do that to add to some of my posts. I have 3-4 drafts working and I will complete a couple of them so I don't have anymore of these rambling posts to meet my 30/30 obligation. That's more good news!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

THE PRINCE OF OUR DREAMS



When I was a girl, the eligible prince was Prince Charles of England. Many girls I whiled away the hours thinking of ways to get to England and meet him and become a princess.


Eventually he married a beautiful, much younger woman and had a family. The first little prince seemed to be a wonderful match for my oldest child, but she had no interest in pursuing him.

Tonight at midnight millions of women, young and old will flock to the theaters to see the young man pictured here play the perfect man - a vampire named Edward. My younger daughter loves the books about this young man, but she remains faithful to:


Rupert Grint of Harry Potter fame. She whiles away the hours thinking of ways to get to England and meet him and become a movie star's wife.





Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PASSING GAS THROUGH THE YEARS


When Sex and the City went into syndication with all the juicy bits cut out, I wasn't so sure it would hold up - but I do enjoy coming across it at odd hours when I am looking for something to watch.


There was one episode where Carrie was with Mr. Big and she passed gas. She acted all humiliated and worried that their relationship would suffer because of this slip. That episode bothered me on many levels. First, I am the oldest of 5 kids. We shared one bathroom and came and went without a lot of concern for personal space and modesty. There was one thing that we all teased about and that was "who let one?" Even the parents got in on it.

It was light hearted and it didn't create any phobias about this very human occurrence. One memorable night, my mom jumped up from the couch, charged over to the sliding glass door, backed her fanny out the door and, by the look on her face, saved us all from certain unpleasantness.

So years later when a good friend turned lover told me, as part of his list of reasons we shouldn't see each other any more, that I was uptight and withholding. In what way? He said I never had gas when I was awake, just when I was asleep - so I must be holding it, therefore not being natural with him. I still think I may be the only woman in the world who was broken up with because I didn't fart enough.

I think of him with some frequency now that I am in menopause, because for some reason, menopause sets the gas production into high gear. Now that I am suitably gassy for him - should I give him a call?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

HAPPY SHOPPING


On my way to and from work, I listen to K-FOG radio. I love the morning show people. They are funny and smart and kind. The lead DJ is Dave Morey. He is a gay man with a personality which frequently makes me want to be an attractive gay man so I could be his boyfriend. Sigh.


Anyway. They were interviewing someone this morning and doing their best to avoid talking about Christmas because "it isn't even Thanksgiving yet." I work in a business where we start talking about Christmas in July. Actually we call it "holidays" because we do not discriminate when it comes to celebrations which involve giving of gifts.
I do understand the rebellion against walking into Costco in August and seeing the gift wrapping, LED wreaths and electronic reindeer. It is disconcerting to think that people buy that stuff so early. Yet - would they haul it out and put it up if people didn't? I doubt it.

I have always attempted to get my shopping done early because I don't enjoy what happens to crowds of people when they are under stress. I would rather avoid the malls in December. So the early start is ok with me.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 17, 2008

8 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME


I am taking Dcup up on her tag offer on the 8 random facts about me meme because I am plumb out of inspiration today.


1. I have 5 red purses and 8 pairs of red shoes (including flip flops).

2. I get a pedicure every 6 weeks all year round.

3. Showers, never baths.

4. I can and do eat pickles, I cannot eat cucumbers.

5. I can't stand lasagna - especially the smell of it.

6. I iron most of my clothes.

7. I can perform simple toilet repairs.

8. There are at least 3 purchases I intend to return in the back of my car. A couple of them have been there for over a year.


I hereby pass the favor of a tag to anyone who is in need.



Sunday, November 16, 2008

SUNDAY SUPPER





This recipe from the Top Chef website. It was done by Antonia on Season 4. I have not been able to find the veggie rice specified in the menu and have made it with the wild & brown rice. Also, I have forgotten to buy the cilantro, substituting 1 minced garlic clove. Sometimes I can't find the mache and make it with a whole package of arugula.



RICE SALAD WITH SKIRT STEAK
1 lb skirt steak
salt & pepper
olive oil
Uncle Ben's 90 second veggie rice (or wild rice w/herbs)
sliced cherry tomatoes
1/4 red onion sliced very thin
1/2 package mache
1/2 package baby arugula
Cilantro to taste
2 egg yolks
2 T rice wine vinegar
sugar
salt & pepper

Vinaigrette:
Blend cilantro, egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar to taste and drizzle of oil
Salad:
Mix greens, onion, tomatoes. Microwave rice and let it cool until warm.

Salt and pepper skirt steak, drizzle with olive oil. Grill to desired degree of doneness. (Usually about 3 minutes per side.)
Dress salad, add rice and sliced steak.



Really good leftovers for lunch...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

PANTRY DINNERS ALL WEEK



I have been attempting to compete in the The Great Subsistence Experiment conceived of by Suburban Correspondent over at The More, The Messier. Her idea was to live off what is on hand for 2 weeks.




Now I admit, my participation is largely because I just didn't feel like going to the store last weekend and because I have been short on cash due to early holiday gift shopping. Also, the pantry and the freezer are very full, so there has to be enough to eat for at least a week of meals. And I'm curious about what is lurking in the back of the cabinet.




THIS IS WHAT I COOKED THIS WEEK:

Monday - Spaghetti and salad
Tuesday - Chicken with Stuffing and broccoli
Wednesday - Tortellini Soup with Spinach and bread
Thursday - Chicken Paprika with noodles and lima beans
Friday - Take out Greek food

Saturday - Turkey Burgers, oven fried zucchini




I plan to go on for a few more days, but went to the store for fruit, veggies, cream cheese, eggs and toilet paper. The pantry doesn't look much different, but the frig is bare and the freezer looks like it's time for a Costco trip.

Friday, November 14, 2008

AN ENCOURAGING WORD


I ran the Kaiser gauntlet today. We finally got to see a specialist about the stomach pain Ally has been experiencing for 2 years. We had to drive for over a hour to get there, then they sent us to the wrong building and floor. Fortunately the GI doc was great and helpful and I am hopeful.


Outside one of the elevators was a little poster with a full page of things to say to "Encourage Your Child". The quick glance I got included "Good job!' "Keep going." and other inane things that it is hard to believe have to be written down.


I have been noticing many parents who seem to be dragging their kids around, speaking to them in the gritted teeth kind of anger and berating them for walking a few feet away in the store. It makes me sad, but I also remember that I was tense with my kids so much of he time, too. When you are in the thick of it - it is hard to see how harmless so much of their behaviour is.


But to make a list of the most simple things? Like people don't already know how to praise or encourage their kids? Then I realized. I've never seen that flyer in the Kaiser where we live. It was posted in Oakland where a largely minority population lives. Their lives are probably a lot more stressful than mine ever was. And if they were raised in the same difficult environment, maybe kind words were few and far between and so those words of encouragement don't come so easily.


So Ally and I both had an enlightening visit to the doctor.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

WHAT IS YOUR FANTASY?



It was a bit slow at work today. It is worrisome, because we are a business which relies on the revenue from the holiday season to help pull us through the slower months.

Today we had time to chat. I have been discussing my daughter's struggles to finalize her major and minor status in school and make decisions about her future career possibilities. So that lead to a discussion of DREAM JOB. Qualifications, references, skills and resources are all set - what would you do?

Co-worker A said she wants Judge Judy's job. She thinks being a judge would mean everyone listens to you and you can ask all the questions you want. Co-worker T said she would be a nature and travel photographer. She would live in a tropical place, but travel the world. She would return home from her travels to write and produce her photos. She wants to meet people and learn about different cultures and traditions. The owner of the company Kyle would do just what she's doing. she has always loved designing and running her own company.

I realize I would want to be a writer - a columnist with unlimited topics so I could travel and write about food and politics and family and whatever strikes my fancy. The thing I learned I loved in law school was research. I would love to follow my interest in something and then write about it - then follow another whim or fancy, learn and write about that.


I love hearing about people's fantasies. One time I was talking to my sister about a fantasy of mine to have a place of my own to go to. Like that song in My Fair Lady - a room somewhere with one enormous chair. She said she has that same fantasy, except her room is all white. We had a laugh that it sounded like her fantasy was to land in an asylum!