Friday, December 29, 2006

Drink of the Week



I'm certain this speaks for itself. A votre sante!

Bob Marley, the Comedian


Last night, I had the opportunity to see Bob Marley , the New England comedian, in a special New Year's weekend performance. I've seen him before at a small local venue and have to admit I preferred the former show, however, he still was riotous. The majority of his humor focuses on his experience as a native Mainer, which makes it difficult for people outside of New England to really understand. Now that he is reaching national syndication though, his work has expanded to the point where he's providing two different kinds of shows: one for New Englanders and one for the others. I HIGHLY recommend catching one of his shows or buying one of his DVDs/Cd's. It won't be long before he's "Big Time."

An aside, Allison and I waited until the last minute to decide whether or not we wanted to venture to the show, which meant our procrastination cost us seats together. I actually did not mind sitting apart because we would not have spoken anyway due to the laughter, plus we sat in the first and third rows, which wasn't too shabby.

Allison did get picked on as a result of sitting front center. It was great! Luckily, her mother never shocked her with humping antics or stories. I was relieved she did not get charged by the goat either. Good times!

A Hint of Feminism with a note about Parenting...

My favorite co-worker and I have been talking about parenting a great deal lately because he has two young daughters. His heterodoxy fathering methods are beyond admirable. He's proactive and involved in a way so many other parents are not. I cannot even begin to describe how powerful and meaningful the lessons he teaches his girls are. He believes it is best to prepare them for as much as possible while under the safety of his home. He let's them make mistakes. He does not believe in censorship. They have cell phones, and not the Disney ones. They are allowed to surf the net freely without parental controls. They have IRAs. They have a business they help their father run and so much more. The education he is giving them is priceless because the majority of what they are learning cannot be learned elsewhere. It's actually quite astounding for he is setting them up to succeed tremendously, as they will have many advantages over their peers.

I recently referred him to the book, "The Nurture Assumption" in an attempt to prepare him for the externalities over which he has no control that no doubt will bombard his daughters. The book is written by a psychologist who explores how peers affect development in children. His curiosity was sparked with this suggestion, which led him to Packaging Girlhood , a website written by psychologists for parents who want to understand how they can keep their daughters from the greedy little hands of marketers and negative societal influences of the media. I commend him on taking an initiative to understand how he can use the external influences to educate his daughters. I think anyone who has daughters should definitely explore this site ~ just all the more reason to despise Cosmo magazine and to turn off your TV.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Deepest Sympathy to Salihah



My deepest sympathy to my blog friend Salihah. It is a very very sad week for her, and I hope everyone will join me in sending a little love her way to help her deal with her loss. May she find peace.


"Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight."
~Rossiter Worthington Raymond

Enough of the vicissitudes, pick your vacation:

Ok Muchachos, after briefly conversing about this last night, I've decided it's time to make up our minds for once and for all about which resort we will spend our vacation:

Will it be here:



Cancún

OR



Cabo San Lucas

Cast your vote now. I give you until Jan 3. Then I'm booking the freaking vacation already, even if I have to pay for the hotel rooms myself.

All are welcome to join our four day rendez-vous in the sun.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Rebellious Afternoon with 007

I don't know what has gotten into me lately, but last night, I ate two snickerdoodles and drank a glass of wine for dinner before going to bed at 8 p.m. Then today, I skipped work to go see "Casino Royale," FINALLY. I'll refrain from commenting about all of you who said you would go with me. Like a teenager skipping school, I snuck out the back door and headed to the theater in the next town over to catch the matinee. If you have not seen the movie, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER. I am going to express my opinion right now without holding back details ~ very rare, I know, but I think part of this is because I did not have anyone with whom to talk about the movie when it was over. So here goes:

First, I think Mr. Craig did an excellent job. While I prefer the darker Bonds aesthetically, I give him my blessing as Bond's character. I think he might have been a little too squishy at the end, but all appearances aside, he maintained the aura of Bond quite well. Oh, and he wasn't that bad looking naked, played a mean hand of poker, and enviously exhibited calm, cool, and collected. Craig was exceptionally convincing. He can stay. The girl however, is another story...

When "Vesper" parked her confident butt across from Bond on the train as an ACCOUNTANT for an INTERNATIONAL ENTITY, I was SOOOOOO EXCITED. (Can you tell?) She played Bond's Femme Fatale well, until the shower scene. At which point I decided she could not be a Bond girl if she could not PULL UP HER SKIRT. Seriously muchacha, if you can't take the heat, get the hell of of the kitchen. The Ugandan rebel "freedom" fighters were not stopping by to play Monopoly. I warmed a little to her when she wouldn't give Bond the reserve money after he lost the initial buy- mostly because I became a patriot (YAY CIA!) when the U.S. agent intervened. And there is the tiny detail of her saving his life, but all of that aside, I still think he should have left her in the Italian elevator (not that it mattered). Yes, I did kind of silently yell at him to leave her in the water. Call me a wench, but I just don't take betrayal lightly. Is that all they've got? If this is the best Femme Fatale they could whip up, I honestly think I could play a better Bond Girl (think Hermione Granger meets Lucy Liu). I did like some aspects of her, however, I'm glad she died (harsh, I know, but it's the truth), and I am rather interested to see who the next one is...

The movie was spectacular. Bond did not have as many gadgets as one would have expected, but I think that made the movie more exasperating and believable. I enjoyed both actors. I felt they played their characters extremely well. However much I did not like "Vesper," I did enjoy Eva Green. She was dazzling, remarkable, quite pretty, and high quality, as far as actresses go.

Details: I LOVED the opening credits of the movie with the animated graphics of Bond and the vertiginous cards as a very vintage, yet modern whirl of impressive computer animation. It was very cool. I also enjoyed the fighting in the beginning, especially the scenes in Uganda before Bond arrived at the Embassy. It wasn't completely unbelievable, but it wasn't so far fetched that I wanted to roll my eyes either.

An aside: Since when did trailers show the entire movie instead of just a preview? At what point did they stop becoming snippets? I feel like I don't even need to go see the showcased movies now. Also, when did it become acceptable to show previews for movies to be released in a year? Did I miss something? I know it has been awhile, but honestly, is this necessary?

This movie sparked my curiosity much more about illicit things. I always have been intrigued by such random matters (especially spies, Bond, crazy dangerous things, etc, just ask my dad about the mail box) but now, I'm going to delve deeper into how it all works. Seriously, I want to get invited to a poker game in Montenegro. I saw the Asian lady at the table so I know it can be done...Once again, I'd like to reiterate how much I think I would make an excellent Bond girl...


I highly recommend this film. If you didn't heed my warning and read anyway, GO SEE IT!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas....

Do not ask me about my Christmas for I am glad it's over. I'll show you why as soon as I find the CD necessary to install software on my computer that allows me to transmit pictures from my PDA to the wonderful Adobe Photoshop. I can't even wait.

Despite spending Christmas Eve reading John Grisham's "Skipping Christmas," failing miserably at trying to make four different kinds of cookies because my kitchen is ill-equipped (Meg, I miss you), and eating an experimental trail mix I made for Christmas breakfast, a few good things did occur which made me happy:

1) When I returned from the grocery store on Christmas Eve, Princess Emily ran up to me to declare "I MISSED YOU!" followed with a HUGE hug.

2) My Aunt made me green bean casserole :)

3) I found a very pretty pink shirt in my closet. I bought it last year and for whatever reason had not worn it yet. (This gives a whole new meaning to "Strawberry Surprise".)

4) I found cinnamon chips at the grocery store on Christmas Eve. I can't even tell you how excited this made me (I know there is one person out there who knows exactly what this means). I filled my basket with as many packages as I could without looking like a glutton.

5) After attempting four different kinds of cookies (curses to the cream of tartar, sifter, and "paddle attachment"), I finally found a winner: Snickerdoodle cookies. They are dangerously good.

6) And best of all. Christmas morning I got to play with a modern day Lite Bright. No joke, it was the highlight of my holiday. Once Ryan, Emily, and I finished our picture, I took them to the basement, shut off all the lights, then very dramatically and slowly turned the Lite Bright to face them so they could get the full affect. It was fantastic. At the same time, the muchachos whispered in awe, "Wow." Beyond Priceless.

I hope everyone had a very HAPPY HOLIDAY!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Catching Up...

On Saturday, I traveled to Cambridge to see my dearest friend, Meg. Of course there was an issue upon arrival. Once we left her house, we were locked out for the day, but, she was going home (midwest home) later that evening so we did not think this would be an issue (oh just you wait). We started our adventure together at a fantastic Mexican Restaurant of which I do not recall the name, however, their chili, shrimp and margaritas were fabulous. We lingered over lunch to catch up because I had not seen her in way too long (I'm ok with all of my friends being done with school already). Meg only had one last Christmas present to buy, which was easy enough despite it being the Saturday before the holiday. We passed a jewelry store on our way around the block. Normally, this would not peak our interests but since Meg was told by her love to research what kind of ring she might like we thought now was just as good a time as any to check out the merchandise. I have no clue when it comes to this thing with the exception of the "conflict free" diamonds about which I had read recently at National Geographic. Meg sat down in front of a display case facing a very large and oddly made-up woman wearing an unrecognizable shade of eye make-up who spoke in a very matter-of-fact yet bored tone. As I listened to Meg ask the woman very thoughtful questions about the diamond rings, I could not help but think how very grown up all of this was. The thought of a male wanting to call me his "wife" seems hysterically ridiculous, and since I notoriously giggle at inappropriate times, you can imagine how easy it is not to take me seriously. I can't even get people to call me back, which just makes this foreign idea even more unfathomable. Rightfully so, this is not the case for Meg who curiously eyed all the rings until she rested her eyes upon a very lovely and sparkly ring with exceptional detail set in an "Asher" setting. Meg delicately slid the ring on her finger while asking how much might this dazzling exhibit cost. Very nonchalantly, the woman answered, "$39,000," at which point Meg jerked it off her hand and gave it back to the woman. As the moral support and second opinion, I just balked at the lady. You've got to be kidding me. The economist in me wanted to comment on what a useless, unjustifiable waste of money, but I bit my tongue and followed Meg to the next row of offerings. I mean, I know such extravagance exists I've seen the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, but to keep these gems in the same location as the more commonplace ones makes them seem less extraordinary. After a few more minutes of indulgence, Meg finished her "research" so we could go fetch the car and head to Trader Joe's.

Despite the jam packed parking lot and the frenzied shoppers overflowing from the store, uncharacteristically, I did not hesitate to join the mob. After all, it is a rare occasion I am able to spend 45 glorious minutes gathering good from this marvelous grocery store. While we were checking out, Meg received a telephone call from the airlines regarding her early evening flight. Subsequently, there was a delay that would make her miss her final connection, which was the last flight out that evening. In walks the issue of us being locked out... Since we had no physical location to go, we sat in the parked car while Meg haggled with the United Airlines lady about what could be done about her flight. Our rendez-vous in the car lasted twenty minutes before a rather clueless gentleman hit us. The car lurched forward and luckily, there was nothing in front of us. We both turned around to see exactly how it was possible this man HIT A PARKED CAR WITH PASSENGERS IN IT. Fortunately, his car suffered most of the damage, thank you Newton and very solid bumper. We decided enough fun was had in the Trader Joe's parking lot so we started for Logan International. It's a damn good thing because by the time we got there, we stood in line for over an hour WITHOUT MOVING just to receive "additional services." Naturally, we made friends with the people in line next to us. Very lovely couple with a newborn who didn't cry once. Eventually, Meg and I made it to the counter where Mrs. Stranger (no joke, it was her last name), rather dramatically tried to help Meg. Upon reviewing Meg's driver's license, she first inquired, "Well, at least you have somewhere to stay tonight," at which we laughed. She did not find this as funny as we did, but she did find a way to bring Meg within two hours of her destination. Finally, two hours later, we sorted out the ordeal and headed to the airport bar. After a drink and a snack, I reluctantly saw Meg off. Just after I exited the airport, I saw the bright crescent moon elegantly hanging slightly above the Boston skyline and chuckled to myself thinking, of course, it could not be just an uneventful Saturday with a friend...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Kids say the darndest things...

On Friday nights, I babysit for this intriguing family who lives in a nearby town. Their oldest child, Gabe, is six and can be a handful. I listened to him squirm for fifteen minutes after I put him to bed only to yell up to tell him I could hear him rustling with the books. He yelled down, "Ok," then continued to play with the spiderman toy resting on his headboard. Another fifteen minutes passed as I sat downstairs listening between pages of my book until I was prompted to climb the stairs silently in ninja fashion to catch him in the act. I stumbled into his room to find him playing with his toys despite my request for him to stop. I told him I was going to tell Santa he was being naughty if he did not go to bed like a good little boy. He listened politely, then sincerely and innocently in a manner only children can project, he responded, "But Santa already knows..."
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEVIN :)

Friday, December 22, 2006

"She's a Big Star"...

You know she's one of your best friends when she keeps the gatorade nice and chilled in the fridge. When she clears a path from your bedroom door to the stairs so you don't have to half moon and pray the toys don't attack you on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. When she plays the fashion police by refusing to let you leave the house in "that?" When she makes you laugh so hard you might pee right on the kitchen floor. When she gives you a good talking to even though you don't want to hear it. As a best friend, she watches "the movie" with you a thousand times and still loves it at much as the first. When she pours you a drink when you need one. When she talks you out of doing stupid things. When she calls you at work because she's dying to tell you "what just happened." When she permits and engages in your devout cause to save the environment through recycling, however, ignores your inability to actually take it to the center. When she puts your favorite artwork on your bed when you get home from a very sad trip. When she yells at you when you need it. When she brings home a half gallon of gin for your birthday. When she indulges your love for cupcakes. When she makes you laugh hysterically 95% of the time. When she knows what "raggedy anned" means. When she has sincere sympathy pains. And, you know for sure she's one of your best friends when you take your bra out of your jacket pocket and start swinging it around in very bad cowgirl fashion and she still does not judge you. "Shesabigstar" is one of my best friends, and I am grateful for her presence every day.

The Year In Pictures...

Everyone should check out MSN's THE YEAR IN PICTURES . I voted for the Chinese men playing a board game amidst a disaster. They are completely entrenched in the middle of debris. It's astounding, as most of the pictures are. Check it out.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shortest Day of the Year

For some reason, every year on December 21, I'm moved to celebrate the shortest day of the year. This year, it will be cookies and champagne. I do not mind winter, and I love to celebrate, therefore, I have decided to happily accept the winter solstice as a mini holiday. I'll use this as my official declaration of celebration. Now, if only we could get some snow...

The Phone Call...

It's official, the World Teach Program based out of the Center for International Development at Harvard University called me yesterday to extend an invitation to join their program in Ecuador in March of 2007 as a volunteer. Of course, all of this is contingent upon meeting the VISA requirements but still, it's weird. It's real. It's in two months. I'm not scared. I'm not worried. I'm not doubting my initial decision to apply. However, I am wondering how I'm going to use my creative abilities to raise the money to go, how I'm going to find sponsors, who will take care of my mail while I'm away, who wants my magazine subscriptions until I come back, what is it going to be like, how on Earth am I going to tell my dad (the only person who doesn't know), if people will come visit me, if I'll make a good volunteer, where am I going to put all of my books, how do I write a letter of resignation, and if I can use my toothbrush while I'm there... The thoughts are reeling as I patiently ponder the implications of this adventure. I have three weeks to decide...should I stay or should I go....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Quotation of the day:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Famous Beth...




Voíla! Here she is (see curly blonde left)! Check out the online article at:

Philly Style's Blog

Oh, and the boy is Milo Ventimiglia.

My Best Friend, Beth, is Famous...


Bethy, a.k.a. "B.B.", was sent to the premiere of Rocky Balboa last night in Philadelphia. She is a writer for "Philadelphia Style" magazine and her mission was to interview Sylvester Stallone, which obviously is no small feet for a reporter. She gallantly assumed a position on the red carpet and nonchalantly approached his publicist, who so graciously ordered Sly to come chat with Beth from "Philly Style". Yup, it was that easy because Beth is that good. She stood on the red carpet with her tape recorder and secured a quality interview with THE MAN himself. After accomplishing her goal, she jaunted off into the premiere where she met one of the attractive males stars from the show "Heroes." (I have no idea who he was or anything about the show.) It won't be long before she's a super famous journalist...Johanna and I are especially proud!

Check out the article online or pick up the next issue in print. YAY BETHY!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Drink of the Week


The drink of the week is the fantastic Marques de Tomares 2002 Rioja. I purchased this Saturday at the recommendation of the nice lady at my favorite wine shop. I highly recommend this robust wine for those who enjoy a nice glass of red. You will not be disappointed. I am motivated to learn more about Riojas after experiencing such a delightful wine in this bottle. Definitely check it out.

Mi primera fiesta de español...

Saturday night, I ventured to my first Spanish party with Andrew, Linsday, Michael, and Amy. Of course we were the stereotypical "Americans" by showing up dressed in jeans and lovely sweaters (my excuse was my infamous "limited" wardrobe, yet I did mention to adorn an awesome headband with jingle bells on it courtesy of Mrs. B) but this did not encumber our socializing. I ran into my Spanish teacher, who was super excited to see me there (plus, she's from Ecuador). We chatted about my potential trip to her native country as well as the fantastic empanadas she brought (they lasted less than seven minutes). It was very comforting to know someone at the party other than the people with whom I arrived. The Spanish speaking became easier and easier as the night progressed and the drinks effortlessly left our glasses. This began when the host of the party brought me a glass and asked me if I wanted some champagne to which I answered absolutely. I could not help but think she and I could be the bestest of amigas at that moment. We also sampled some fantastic Argentinian reds, a marvelous Rioja, some Pinot Gris, and a few others later in the evening. I met some interesting chicos son de Costa Rica, who assured me I should have no problems in South America. I also met a very friendly couple who lived in the area and were enjoying their first fiesta as well. The party was a melting pot of people who spoke at various levels, which was really cool. It is kind of like a "Fight Club" in the way that you can only be invited, as there is no advertising and it's kind of secretive. After my first event, I can see why. They probably don't want too many people finding out how much fun the parties are because then the attendence would become too overwhelming for the residential homes. It was a fabulous experience for which I am grateful I could attend. I do not get to practice Spanish very often with the exception of leaving the bars with Linz so this was a nice reprieve from the usual night out. I do believe Linz and Andrew closed the night out there, partying like rockstars until the wee hours of the morning.

I finished out my evening at another more traditional Christmas party where I was able to trade in my headband for a santa hat and my glass for a shiny red solo cup. (I do not recommend doing this, for I ended up sleeping until 1 p.m. on Sunday only to go back to bed at 7:30 p.m. that evening FOR THE NIGHT, and yes, I'm dead serious.) I happily met some new people I do not remember and vaguely recall trying to set my sister up with a friend of my friend. (Of course, I showed him "The pictures" and I'm certain I'll get yelled at for this later.) Needless to say, this weekend was much better than the last.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Famous last words....

"If I had to walk today, I could."

~ Exactly four years later, I finally understand what that means...

Friday, December 15, 2006

My first experience with Sushi...


Our company Christmas party was last night at one of our hotels. We had a pelagic amount of food over the course of the evening despite how few people actually work for the corporate office. One of the tables included in our feast was a sushi table. I curiously ventured over to the display in an attempt to better understand of what this foreign substance consisted. I hovered sheepishly until I was rescued by my boss, an expert in the Japanese food. He explained each and every circular mass until I decided it was safe to try everything but the eel, which he ate without hesitation. I did have enough gumption to eat the California roll, the salmon, the crab, the shrimp, and the tuna (I decided I don't like tuna). I was glad I took this opportunity to get a taste of this very overrated dish. I did not love it but I did not hate it either. They all kind of tasted the same to me, especially with the soy and wasabi. It was nothing spectacular but now all of you people who have hounded me for not trying it can just stop now. I might not enthusiastically run out to a Japanese restaurant, but, after my pleasant experience, I would not shudder with disgust at the suggestion either.

(image courtesy of wischik)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What kind of Food are you?

Unfortunately, I stumbled upon this website: Blogthings where I found this quiz (one of many) to determine what kind of food you are. Turns out, I'm two (I could not decide between two of the questions so I took the quiz twice):




You Are Chinese Food



Exotic yet ordinary.

People think they've had enough of you, but they're back for more in an hour.



and appropriately:




You Are Thai Food



Trendy yet complex.

People seek you out - though they're not sure why.

Recipe of the Week


I went with a tried and true recipe this week:

Chicken Tetrazzini

Instead of vermicelli, I used whole wheat spaghetti. I also substituted Parmesan bread crumbs for the white bread. It was marvelous. Bon Appetit!

(adapted from "Cooking Light")

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Squishy Balls



This might be the BEST DECEMBER EVER because last week, my coworker, Jean, delivered a squishy mesh urchin ball to my desk (see left). She found it while out shopping at lunch and knew I was sad about THE squishy ball. The new ball turns red when you squeeze it. I find it highly entertaining. Unfortunately, so did everyone else in the office. The store selling the balls sold out this week because the employees at our company bought them all for their desks and for stocking stuffers. It was so bad people started searching the Internet for more of them, which happened to be the reason Patricia made my year. Today, she delivered a bright green magic 8 squishy ball to my desk (see right). HOW GLORIOUS! It was even my new favorite color! I <3 Patricia and my brand new squishy magic 8 ball. How awesome are my collegues? YAY! I'm so euphoric I could do a dance for all of you right now :) Happy December.

First Question: "Will next year be better than the last?"
First Answer: "Absolutely"

How fantastic. WOOHOO.

"The Holiday"



Friday night, I saw "The Holiday" in theaters. Cameron Diaz does not do much for me yet by the end of the movie, I found her acceptable. On the other hand, I enjoy Kate Winslet and she performed amazingly throughout the movie. There is something about her that is dazzling and bewitching. I now have a new found respect for Jude Law and would consider giving him a kiss should he ask. Jack Black cracks me up and continues to fire my secret crush on him. Interestingly, I thought the couples were oddly paired but this did not take away from the film. The show was longer than expected, however, this was fine because the characters and plot did not disappoint or drag in any fashion. We laughed hysterically for the majority of the running time. While this was a romantic comedy, it was not too mushy or predictable. The movie contained more depth than would be expected from a film in this genre. "The Holiday" included surprises, lessons, humor, and charm; everything you would want from a lovely holiday film and more. It is reminiscent of "old Hollywood" in a way that makes you nostalgic for a time when pictures were about more than the dollars earned at the box office. Seeing the movie is worth the $9. I do believe we are going to see it again...It's highly entertaining. Go see it!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Family Christmas Party...

I had all I could do to roll out of bed on Sunday, however, I had a little help from my friend Bethy, who decided to call me promptly at 7:15 am for our daily conversation. It turns out she was on her way to get a Christmas tree with her family and thought I'd be gearing up for my family function as well. After a brief conversation with her, I crawled into my roommate's bed to sleep for a little while longer. It did not dawn on me until I actually woke up for the day that I was still fully dressed in the outfit from the day before. While I know I have wardrobe issues, I think they reached a new level at this point.

Around 11:30, I mustered up enough energy to face the "dysfunction junction." This is about the time I was informed I would be the only representative from Michael's family. Despite my constant disappointment, this is not an uncommon occurrence. However, my sister had a valid excuse, as she cut off half her thumb. For personal reasons, I'll refrain from commenting on the others. I trekked the 270 miles north to my Aunt's house on a mountain IN THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE to bask in the niceties of my extended family by myself. I was praying the whole way that my aunt would not produce another concoction.

I should have known how the night was going to turn out by the incident I had on the highway on the way to the party. I was happily singing, dancing, and minding my own business when I looked over to the car on the right only to find three high school boys waving frantically at me while holding up their cell phones. I started laughing hysterically. They followed me for ten miles, speeding up & slowing down, flashing their telephone numbers on paper napkins in the windows. By this point, I was beside myself with embarrassment. I did not want to encourage them in anyway no matter how much I wanted to shout for them to leave me alone. I think I'm going to write a letter to the governor sighting this as an example of why he needs to do something to help provide adolescence in this state with something to do...

I finally arrived at the festivities just in time to receive the heartwarming standard greeting from my favorite Uncle. Formalities do not exist in my family. Nothing is inappropriate and nothing is unacceptable. I cannot convey enough how wrong or utterly mortifying this is. I will however, provide you with an example. The third question in the greeting is always the same:

"So, do you have a boyfriend?"

If the answer is yes, my answer to him is contingent upon who is standing nearby. This time I did not have worry, as my answer did not require stealth. I replied no and then continued on to the food. Of course he followed to inquire further. He wanted to know if I had met someone at least. Because I was out of the earshot (63 miles to be exact) of my immediate family, I decided to answer honestly.

"Well, I did meet this seemingly cool, interesting, and very attractive boy who is a friend of a friend. But the jury is still out, so I'll keep you posted."

BIG MISTAKE.

He smiled and inquired more. "So tell me about him..."

Oh dear, now that I'm here what is the harm in providing small details? "Uh, well, he's from around here, went to college in my hometown, played basketball there. He's funny, nice, smart - he's just finishing law school..."

My uncle interjects, "he played basketball? Is he tall?"

I answer, "he's 6'7". Why?"

My uncle shrieks, "God, now tell me something," hitting my other uncle who turns around, "why is it that these tall men go for the short girls? How does that work? Seriously, what, do you come up to his nipples? I can't imagine what happens in bed, you guys are going at it and he looks down at you all the way down there," providing a demonstration to my other uncle, "Hey baby, how are you doing down there?"

Some one from the other room yells, "Well, at least you're the right height for blow jobs."

OH MY GOD I WISH I WAS KIDDING.

"Uncle Paul, I just met him. There is NO 'When you're in bed.' Do you think you could refrain from the visuals?" I could not even bring myself to respond to my NANA. I do believe my color reached a new shade of red at this point.

He laughed hysterically, yet recalled, "Well, wasn't there another tall one?" while continuing to demonstrate on my other uncle.

What is this? Boot camp for humiliation? My great grandmother rescued me by taking me into the other room where I was more than happy to indulge in horribly boring old lady conversation. We chatted about her 83rd birthday and how she's the coolest woman alive. I have to admit, she has more moxie than anyone I know. However, it didn't take long for this conversation to take a turn for the worse. Paul made his entrance into the living room by asking, "Grammy, what do you know about sex? Seriously, you're a little old..." Wherein she answered, "Oh please, all you have to do is lie down and spread your legs. Anyone can do that." Uhem, may I remind you, she's 83. While everyone else found this highly entertaining, I was about to die, yet again.

As the evening progressed, my other uncle asked me why I didn't bring people to our parties. I told him I felt the answer was self evident, which would be set in concrete after we opened our gifts. We gathered around the tree in front of the glistening pretty bags full of tremendously frightening things. I will spare you the details of last year's party presents. Much to my delight, I ended up with some candles and a snowman box thingy. My Uncle Paul and my third Uncle Wade received far more entertaining presents. The talking and dancing George W. Bush doll who sang a very bad song ended up on the floor strapped to the humping monkey doll. Yes, I am dead serious, and I'm quite certain there are pictures. (Of course my Aunt was the culprit behind these gifts). Both dolls were going at it on the living room floor while everyone laughed hysterically (oh, did I mention one of my uncles was shouting dirty phrases in French?). When I write "everyone", this included: my grandmother, my great grandmother, most of my aunts and uncles, and me. I desperately wish I was joking. I proclaimed that if there was any question as to why I do not bring people to these events, obviously this was the answer. I would be pressed to find anyone with sense of humor enough to withstand this crowd, as I barely can do it myself. (Really, I do love them.)

Luckily, the rest of the evening was calm and joyous. Once again, my aunt made wonderful food and dessert. Despite the embarrassing moments, the company was fairly entertaining and, despite appearances, I did enjoy seeing the family. All of this being said, I do not know if I want to attend the next family event...

After the party, I stopped at my parent's house on my way home. Both were eager for details of the evening they missed. Of course, living vicariously through me was much easier than experiencing the event for themselves. My rendition of the story was modified for fear of questions from my parents, plus, I did not want to provide demonstrations of my uncle. I figure what they don't know can't hurt them. After the debriefing, I headed straight to their bed to sit with the cat and to take a little nap. When I woke up, I ventured to the spot on the floor in front of my dad (usually reserved for the cat) and made him give me a back rub while I listened to my mom chatter. I could not help but think how glad I was that at least they could pretend to be normal....

And you thought I didn't want to get out of bed because of the gin.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rolling with the Homies...

Saturday afternoon, Erin and I were wrapping presents for the muchachos and planning our hot date for the evening when she received a phone call from her friend Jimmy. Apparently, he was bored and looking for someone to entertain him or to organize the festivities. Our plans for the evening took a turn (you could insert "for the worse" here, but you might wait to read the rest before you decide...) right then and there. Erin desperately wanted Chinese food for dinner so we headed over to the disgusting take-out place (no matter how much I love the stuff, I refuse to eat it from there - that is saying something) where Erin devoured a third of her meal while we were in the car waiting for orders from Heidi and Jimmy. Erin took this opportunity to yell at me for my actions regarding a certain boy-girl situation, which led me to make a few phone calls to confirm or discredit her claims regarding my "wrong" behavior (the jury is still out on this one). It was far too early in the evening for this, however, now I was doubting my abilities to communicate with the opposite gender (you could say I'm socially awkward when it comes to boys) thereby prompting me to try to rectify the situation immediately (this did not work, as I think I made the situation worse). In the mean time, the remainder of the Chinese food was safely stowed in the trunk, which allowed us to leave the "Yucky Garden" for Heidi & Jimmy's. Heidi, Jimmy, and Erin were taking me to the horsetrack for the evening to watch racing. The girls figured I needed to be introduced to their favorite past time, not to mention the once in a lifetime experience going to "the track" would provide. (The three of them own/race horses there). I wish I could properly convey what this means...

We arrived at the track and headed staight for the bar. Upon observing the crowd, I was certain we missed a turn somewhere and accidentally landed at the nursing home. We were the youngest there by three decades and two generations. "Sausage party" immediately took on a whole new meaning at that moment. However, the evening progressed quite nicely after a round of drinks until a rather pretentious elderly, I mean older, gentleman approached our corner. He was seeking "luck" and since he had a thing for blondes, he thought we'd bring him some. Picture me quizzically looking around as he mentions "blondes". I was searching for a mirror. Brian looked at me and said, "Sorry honey, I just love the blondes. No offense or anything, you're ok, it's just that they are more fun." I will refrain from commenting here, as I really had all I could do not to break his collarbone. He offered to buy a round of drinks for us. For obvious reasons, I refused and told him I could buy my own drinks. A little later in the evening and a few drinks later, he was offering back rubs to go with his rounds. Erin eagerly volunteered for one. Once he dove right in with is unusually long fingernails and oddly jointed fingers, Erin regretted her zeal. She whispered "help" but we were not going to interfere. She threw herself under the bus this time. The evening just got better and better as the bottomless drinks kept coming and coming (I only had one drink for fear we would never be able to leave). Erin refused to call Brian anything but Frank and she repeatedly bowed at Asian men simultaneously greeting them with "Sayonara." She continued to do this despite all my attempts to get her to stop. Eventually, Brian's son's embarrassment got the best of him thereby prompting him to gather his father to take the old man home (oh and their horse lost). Erin was terribly disappointed because I think she was hoping for an arranged marriage. I took this opportunity to beg the girls to leave for fear I might die right then and there.

FINALLY, we headed downtown to go dancing at the local watering hole. I was in dire need of some drinks after our excusion at the track. Rolling with the (nursing) homies was fun and all, but I do not believe I ever need to experience it again. I was lucky enough to run into a friend of the family who I convinced to entertain me on the dance floor for the evening. He so graciously obliged, which is when I left the girls to drink away my sorrows and to dance the night away. They were fortunate enough to run into some very high quality medical salesmen from Saratoga Springs, NY, who provided ample entertainment for the remainder of the evening. We left the bar shortly after 1 to get some "only-good-when-you've-been-drinking" pizza. Heidi stopped dead in her tracks on the cobblestones, pointed at a man in drag, and informed us that he was her hairdresser. We all busted out laughing as he approached us. The hairdresser greeted Heidi and told her she needs to do something about her hair. This was hysterical not because (s)he said something (I apologize, I do not know the politically correct thing to write here) but because ALL NIGHT LONG Heidi was getting teased about her hair (Jimmy, you're so sweet). Oh and he was dressed in DRAG! This was the highlight of the evening. We consumed an entire super sized pizza, then called it quits. The group had enough excitement for the night. Shockingly, we all made it home safely. Note to self: Gin is almost 50% alcohol so three gin and juices are not necessary...

The best part of the entire evening was when we got home and Erin said:

"He called me supple. I should have knocked him in the willy right there!"

Conclusion: I still know NOTHING about horse racing but I would like to go to the Kentucky Derby at some point, and I would make an excellent bookie.

P.S. It's not necessary to inform me of the one very important fact I left out. I did it for the good of the people.

Friday, December 08, 2006

My Favorite Married Couple..




While the majority of my friends are married or almost married, I do find one couple in particular more wildly entertaining than the rest (I love you all, it's just that I spend more time with these two). Lindsay and Andrew rarely cease to humor or amaze me. When we hang out, it's a trio of friends, as they never make me feel like the third wheel. They have an uncanny ability to make you feel completely at ease and welcome no matter what the situation is. They are always up for an adventure and are affable in the most admirable way. I love them dearly.

Recently, the three of us were sitting in Linz & Andrew's living room enjoying a happy hour with delightful drinks and good eats. We were chatting away and perusing the internet when I mentioned "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" and Diego Luna. Lindsay told me she and Andrew were just talking about who they would leave each other for if a particular actor/actress in Hollywood approached one of them. (Think "Indecent Proposal"). Lindsay is not a Hollywood connoisseur and really does not watch TV, therefore, she did not have an actor in mind. Andrew, on the other hand, was more than eager to announce, yet sheepishly, who his choice was: Scarlett Johanssen. Linz wasn't even sure who she was, and I was appalled because I am NOT A FAN of hers, but Andrew, in his delight, found a picture online to show us. This is when Linsday looked at Andrew in a very dead serious wife kind of way and said," Andrew, you'd leave me for a girl in a cardigan?!?!" Andrew just smiled but did not respond. At that very moment, Linz flung her gorgeous strawberry blonde locks behind her and posed just as Scarlett was posed in the picture (see above). In the most seductive tone she could muster, she said, "How's this?" Andrew and I busted out laughing. It was the best thing I've ever seen. Right then, She was the best wife ever. I think at that very moment, Andrew knew why he married Linsday. I will never forget that amusing glimpse into their world I had the privilege of witnessing.

Of course the fun doesn't stop there. Later in the evening, the three of us went out dancing at the local hole in the wall bar downtown. Naturally, the three of us danced together for awhile, and I'm sure many a people thought Andrew was a pimp or a Mormon, until eventually I broke off to dance by myself (shocking, I know). However, this did not last long, as I was approached by a very attractive and very tall man who actually wanted to dance with me instead of groping me like a few of the other patrons so graciously tried to do earlier (Welcome, Kevin). At the end of the night, I went to the bar to pay the tab, when I overheard Andrew say to Lindsay:

"Hey, Can I get your number?"
She replied, "I don't know, I'm not that kind of girl."
He smiled at her and inquired "What are you doing later?"
Linz smiled back and answered, "Well, I don't know; maybe I should get your number..."
Andrew then asks, "Do you think I could take you home?"

And this goes on for a few minutes; meanwhile I am laughing hysterically. It was just awesome. Kevin looks at me quizzically, then glances back at them. I just smile and tell him not to worry, they are married. Afterward, the three of us went to get pizza, then headed "home" arm in arm conversing in perfect Spanish the entire way...what else did you expect?

I have so much fun with Lindsay and Andrew, it's almost criminal. I cannot express enough how much I love you guys. I hope when I get married, I have as much fun as you guys do and that my friends feel as loved as you make me feel. The two of you make marriage seem as refreshing and entertaining as a playground full of children in the spring. We all should be so lucky...

I can't wait until our next adventure :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Best Day of My Whole Life!!

Today is the best day of my whole life. I just received an email with a recipe for Fortune Cookies! WOOHOO. I can't tell you how excited I am. Of course I'll keep you posted with the results - cross your fingers that it's a good recipe. YAY! I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. :) It looks like the cookie countdown wasn't so bad after all...

Drink of the Week


I finally found a bottle of the Beaujolais Nouveau 2006 to try. This is my pick for drink of the week. It's a fruity red French wine only released once a year on the Third Thursday in November . So hurry up and get yourself a bottle to try before they are all gone. Then we can compare notes.



My favorite toast (Thank you Rob for enlightening me):
"To lying, stealing, cheating, and drinking. If you're going to lie, lie for a friend. If you're going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you're going to drink, drink with friends." ~ Anonymous

Oh, and don't forget my door is always open for friends if you want to share a glass with me.

Salut!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What are you waiting for?

"Act as if it were impossible to fail." ~ Dorothea Brande

On Saturday, I was named the “student of the month” in the adult classes in karate. Mostly for my performance at the tournament, I am sure. I have wanted to participate in martial arts for years, however, I did not get around to taking action about my desire to learn until this summer. One afternoon in August, I was sitting at my desk wondering for what was I waiting? Was it for the “right time,” more money, a better situation, until I was done this or that - why was I waiting? I decided just to dive right in against all my inclinations and fears. What exactly did I have to lose? I called the Martial Arts studio to get additional information, which resulted in starting class that very evening. I cannot tell you how much this experience has positively impacted me. I never imagined winning “student of the month” or first place in a sparring tournament when I started karate. I want to use this as an example to encourage all of you to give it a try; whatever it is in which you would like to become involved, whether it be a class, a hobby, a new cuisine, sky diving, anything you want to do “someday,” JUST DO IT! Of course you have no idea if you’ll like it or be good at it, but there are too many "what ifs". Of course you are afraid you might fail, so what? What if you succeed? Give it a try. Who knows, you might surprise yourself.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"The Economist" writes about Maine

Maine's attempt to brand its lobsters made this week's issue of "The Economist." Apparently, the lobstermen and Senator Olympia Snowe are fighting to protect the industry. Almost 60% of lobsters consumed in the U.S. come from the Pine Tree State, which makes lobstering a very important industry for the economy. Snowe and company are trying to crack down on "fraudulent" lobsters: i.e. restaurants and vendors claiming their disgusting red crustaceans are from Maine when, in fact, they are not. Despite how much I do not like the little scavengers, I am all for the little people protecting their livelihood, especially when it's one of the only forms of sustainable fishing in the world (the lobsters you can keep have to meet very specific requirements, otherwise, back into the deep blue sea they go). Oh, and it's pretty cool they made such an outstanding publication.

Cabot meets Harpoon


For any one who loves beer and cheese or the curious gourmand, introducing Cabot's new Harpoon IPA Beer Cheddar Cheese...this should be interesting.

Christmas Trees...

Saturday afternoon, I marched my roommate (very much against her will) and the muchachos to the Mobil Gas station to purchase a Christmas tree for the holiday. We pulled into the busy lot, evaluated all the visible trees, then had "Frank" grab a six foot pine from the tied up pile. We took a gamble that the tree would be a good one solely based on its height and that it would fit in my very small trunk. Luckily, our house was around the corner and the transportation went off without a hitch. I carried the heavenly smelling conifer up and around the driveway through the front door. The plain old pine found a new home in the corner of our living room. Once the tree was standing, unbundled, and fluffed, it was glorious. The distinguished scent of outdoors delightfully filled our living room. One would have thought I was five years old again as I jumped around with joy. For the first time in four years, I had a Christmas tree. Unfortunately for Erin, the roles were reversed when it came time to decorate. I do not know why I was so reluctant to participate in the festivities of decorating and lighting, but once the lights were out, and the shiny ornaments were delicately laid on the floor, I was moved to participate. I am quite proud of our Christmas spirit this year. It's very nice to be involved in the holidays again. Oh, and our tree looks awesome. YAY! Happy Holidays!!

P.S. I highly recommend the two-toned lights. They add a nice new dimension to the tree.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Why is it so hard to get rid of Pictures?

I was discussing my progress on getting rid of my personal history with a friend today when we came across the subject of pictures. It seems I'm making headway emotionally and mentally, however, I'm having difficulty with the tangible aspects such as pictures. I try not to get too nostalgic or too sentimental, but I do have a tendency to keep things I probably no longer need but, nonetheless, hold a special place in my heart. I cannot help my fondness for certain letters, small tokens that serve as reminders, or for those sneaky and glossy little bastions of my past. As I sat hovering over "the container," I could not help but laugh at the snippets of time caught in a flash and showcased on shiny paper. Each glimpse tells a story about my life, and each moment caught by someone surely has some importance, right? I hang on to these for a reason, for a hope, or is it in vain? Someone certainly will want to see me at age three all decked out in a very fashionable pink jumper suit with HUGE sunglasses and a cap that is too big while posing for Nana in the door, no? Or is it just a reminder not to take myself so seriously? (since then, I have hung the picture up in an effort to humor and embarrass myself, all in good fun of course.) Do I keep these mementos as proof of the people and places I have touched or have touched me? After all, I cannot take the 4 x 6s with me in the end. Why do we need proof of our existence, of the people we love or once loved, of the places we have been, of the events in which we participated? Why is it so hard to get rid of pictures?

Good News at the United Nations

It appears Mr. John Bolton no longer wants his position as the U.S.'s ambassador at the United Nations. He turned in his letter of resignation this past weekend. I think we'll see many people nodding their heads in approval as some one who represents the people a little more in the realm of foreign policy takes his place. It shall be interesting to see what happens.

Quotes of the Weekend:

Lindsay to her Husband, Andrew: "You'd leave me for a girl wearing a cardigan?"

On the telephone:

Sophie: "So I met this great guy tonight..."
Whit: "I know. He's standing right in front of me..."
Sophie: "SHUT UP!"


On the telephone:

Bird: "Oh my God. He wants to go for a drink?!? What do I say? What do I talk about?"
Bonnie: "You'll be fine."
Bird: "I can handle the sex part, but the talking?"

Per Erin:

Rach: "Jesus was looking down on you and didn't like what he saw. Voilá, the phone rings."

Rach: "This is LIFE happening to you."

"Happy Feet"




Saturday night, I had the pleasure of seeing the movie "Happy Feet." I did not pick the movie and actually, knew very little about it other than the format was animated. I usually find entertainment in cartoons and animated pictures, so I was happy to indulge in this choice. "Happy Feet" was spectacular and hilarious. The premise of the film is about a penguin, Mumble, who does not fit in with the rest of his clan. There were three or four themes throughout the story, all of which came together quite nicely at the end. This movie was much like "Finding Nemo" in the sense that besides the obvious appeal to children, it is really a movie for adults with themes about love (the commitment-phobe penguin), being an outsider (wait until you hear him sing), and human interference with nature and how it impacts the global ecosystems. Most of us can relate to at least one of the issue with which Mumble has to deal. I have to say my favorite part of the movie involved Latin penguins and dancing. No one left the theater disappointed, as we all found the movie heart warming and comical. I highly recommend everyone go check it out. Expect to laugh.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Cookie Countdown

Day One Cookie:



Sign up at Cooking Light

You can also find a cookie a day at Food and Wine

A Long December...

Welcome December! YAY! For some reason, I am delighted for this December this year. I'm breaking out the Christmas cds, planning the soirées, organizing the recipes, and lining up the movies. I find myself invigorated and excited for a change. I like it.

Every year in December, I play one song in particular more often than usual: Counting Crows, "A Long December." I have two favorite lines from the song, one of which is "Maybe this year will be better than the last." I can't help but think, for the most part, this past year was a pretty good year, but that is another post altogether. I have a feeling next year no doubt will be better than this past year, and I eagerly look forward to it as I fondly say goodbye to 2006. Happily, I will let my rational exuberance guide the way to 2007.

On another note, as most of you know, I've declared December the month of "Cleaning House," literally and metaphorically. My motivation finally to do this comes from three different sources: books, a one year mark, and the end of year cliché. I recently read two books, "The Zahir" & "The Four Agreements," on which I'll write some thoughts tomorrow. Both of these novels have inspired me to take action on some issues I have been contemplating endlessly, especially the personal history aspect. I am not sure why, but I am extremely energized and moved by the new ideas I have discovered. The one year mark sheds light on the monumental change in my life, which deserves its own conversation (I'll get to that later). The closing of a year is an obvious one. For the first time in a long time, I feel many issues in my life, heart, and mind are slowing resolving themselves. It's nice to be able to close doors and to move forward with a light heart and an open mind. For sure, this means most of you will receive letters, boxes, as well as tokens throughout the month as I tackle my Karma clean up and my year end clean sweep. I have no problem letting go of my personal history as I prepare to embark on new adventures. Let the good times roll!

First Clean Sweep: "THE" container
First holiday 2006 cd: "A 1940s Christmas"
First holiday 2006 movie: "Home Alone"
First holiday 2006 drink: Eggnog spiked however you like it!

Let's dive right in :)

(Good luck to my friends who are embarking on this journey with me. I know we will make great progress and I'm more than willing to help with the motivation. YAY! Bird, boot camp starts tonight my dear!)

"It's actions-not good intentions-that change your life." David Bach

Another Quotation...

While watching a movie about Latin Dancing:

"Can you imagine if he was wearing one of those Mexican Cowboy Hats?"

"You mean a sombrero?"

"Yeah, whatever."

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sunshine and Bicycles

Today is gorgeous. About 60ºF, warm with the sun glistening off the harbor. I love it. It would be the perfect day for us to take a ferry to the Island to ride bikes...

I need a camera..

Favorite Quotations from the Weekend...

"The thought of actually dating someone makes me want to - " ~ Sophie
Interjection - "Throw up? Me too." ~ Whit
"What if we make out? I mean can you imagine...I don't know...." ~ Sophie
"Walk up to that line, and if you feel like you're going to throw up, throw up on the line." ~ Whit


"I wish I could Tivo my life." ~ Whit


"Hold on. Can we talk about your pants?" ~ Bird


"Hello? Hello? Sophie?" ~ Unidentifiable male
"Um, No, sorry, this is Zoë, can I help you?" ~ Sophie
"Click."


Standing in a dark kitchen in the middle of the night with a mouth full of cookie: "Do you want a cookie?"


"Do you think it's a problem that I've had a drink every night for the last eight nights?"
"No one has to know that." said while pouring another drink.


"Oh please, think about it, would you rather have a pedophile or a pervert representing you?" ~ political discussions@ Thanksgiving

You guys crack me up. I wish I had DVDs of all the hysterical moments we have all the time. Ahh, what great memories.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Introducing the Drink & Recipe of the Week

I am instituting a recipe of the week and a drink of the week in an effort to be more adventurous with my culinary endeavors. (Plus, now that I have my wine connoisseur, Chad, to help it will be easier and more fun.) I'll start this week, despite being midweek, because I've already had three fantastic meals, three fabulous wines, and two superb drinks. Oh, and "sharing is caring." So here goes.

Recipe of the week:

ENCHILADAS

1 lb of ground turkey
whole wheat wraps
2-3 garlic cloves
half a white onion
green onions
jalepeños
1 green pepper, diced
spinach (I used frozen, but I don't think it matters)
black olives
corn
mexican cheese mix (lots)
tomatoes, dice them up
tomato sauce
salsa
brown rice
cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder

Cook the rice according to the package. The Uncle Ben's Instant Whole Grain Brown Rice is good. Remember, DO NOT OPEN THE LID to check on the rice. It's fine.

Heat the oven to 350ºF.

In a frying pan, cook the turkey. In another frying pan, throw in the white onions and garlic with a little olive oil. Add the spinach to the onions & garlic. Once the turkey is cooked, drain it, then add the onions, garlic, and spinach to the turkey. Stir it up, then add the green onions, jalepeños, green peppers, olives, corn and diced tomatoes. Once all of it is cooked, add some cheese on top and cook until it's melted. If you like spices, add the cumin, cayenne and chili powder to the meat and veggie mixture as well as a little to the rice once it's done. After the oven is preheated, rice is cooked, and all the frying pan goodies are done, it's time for enchiladas.

Scoop some rice, some cheese, and the mixture onto a wheat wrap. Roll it up and place in a cake pan (you can spray the pan with cooking spray or place some tinfoil on the bottom). Continue to roll and place in the pan until there isn't any room. I think five fit nicely, which means you'll probably have two batches.

In a bowl, mix salsa and tomato sauce. Then pour it over the enchiladas in the pan. Top them with some cheese and olives (or whatever left over veggies you might have or want) and pop them into the oven to bake for 25 minutes or so.

This should make around ten. They reheat well in a toaster oven or oven.

Drink of the week:

Mango Margaritas

Tequila
ice
Mango Mix
a squirt of lime (because I love it)

HAPPY EATING!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Note About My Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday. I know mine was one of the best and strangest. I do feel the need to share one event in particular only because I might still be traumatized by it. Here goes:

We headed north to my aunt's house for turkey day. It was marvelous to see the family and to visit for awhile, as I had not seen some of my relatives in a few months. It was also a pleasure to have my dad travel with me and my sister because he has been in hiding, conveniently during the festivities, for the past few years.

Dinner was sensational. Hats off to my aunt for making such awesome food. We had turkey, ham, green bean casserole (she loves me), broccoli and cheese, three different kinds of potatoes, squash, peas, carrots with bacon - just loads of culinary goodness all tweaked with little twists that are trademarks of Kelley. She doesn't like to make just mashed potatoes; they have to have ranch or something else mixed in them. Same goes for all the entrées. There were hardly any leftovers because we ate pretty much all that was laid out on the table. After dinner, we sat around chatting until my aunt announced she would go get the pumpkin cheesecake. She returned to the dinner table with a kitty litter box which she place in the middle of us with a poop scoop. The entire family looked at her horrified. I asked her why she put it on the table and she just busted out laughing. This was her idea of a practical joke that was awesome. Turns out, it was a kitty litter cake. It was disgusting. Everyone just starting laughing hysterically while trying not to vomit. She did convince a few brave souls to try it, but we made her cut it with a spatula in the other room. It was actually good but I couldn't eat more than two bites, as the association was too strong in my mind (It's just marble cake with cookies, pudding, and tootsie rolls). And here I was thinking, finally, I could bring friends home to meet my family...

However, she did go get the Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake she promised us, so dessert wasn't a complete disaster. Luckily, we all have a good sense of humor and no one got sick. There is always quality entertainment at my family's holidays.

I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Food for thought...

"Let's suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterward, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, while the the other man's face is completely clean. My question is this: Which of the two will wash his face?"

~Paulo Coelho, "The Zahir"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Anniversary

The great poet, Homer, once wrote:

"There is nothing more noble or admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as husband and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends."

Happy Anniversary, Theresa & Fabio. I hope your first anniversary was full of confounding and delighting. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Things I'm Thankful For this Thanksgiving

In no order other than the way in which the following thoughts popped into my head, I present for what I am grateful:

A) Being an American. For as much grief as I give and for as many times I shake my head at the political, societal, and social stupidity of most of my fellow patriots, I am very proud and thankful for being born in this country. For the Love of Fireworks might not exist otherwise. Let freedom ring.

B) The sense of touch. Of all the senses, this is the one for which I am most appreciative, for without it, I would never feel another hand in mine, the fabric of the blankets on a bed as I slip into it, the ringlets I curl with my fingers a thousand times a day, the fresh and crisp winter air fill my lungs, or the hug of some one I love.

C) Stars. They remind me we are all in this together, under one sky. Beyond the air, the invisible barrier, infinity exists- an incomprehensible and humbling truth.

D) Music. Knowing some one out there can put into words the feelings, thoughts, and ideas I cannot helps me deal with whatever I encounter in life. I know no matter how I feel, there is a song to help soothe, energize, or understand the emotions. I am not alone in my thoughts or feelings because an artist can relate and express the garbled matter in an enlightening manner.

E) Books.

F) Family.

G) Friends. I cannot tell you all enough how much I love you and am constantly blessed by your presence in my life.

H) Education. Personal growth and evolution are possible because of the things we learn. This one thing is the reason many lives change for the better and in many cases, is a ticket to freedom.

I) Mail. Sending and receiving mail is a rare delight. I relish each and every letter I receive for there is nothing quite like reaching into the mail box only to discover familiar handwriting on a personal envelope, post card, or decorative paper that is addressed to you. The personal message inside pertains only to you and is an affirmation that someone is thinking of you.

J) Laughter. I am tremendously thankful for all of it whether it be the small giggle, the belly shaking on the floor hysteria, or the sound of some one else's joy. I do not believe there is any sound greater than the sound of laughter.

K) Lastly, I am thankful for every day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The First Thanksgiving

According to the History Channel, the first Thanksgiving included lots and lots of meat, not very many vegetables and a great deal of seafood. The pilgrims had no cakes or pies and shared their meal with at least 90 Native Americans. This Thanksgiving lasted a week where the two groups came together to celebrate festival-style (The only way to go as far as I'm concerned. Every holiday, including birthdays, should last at least a week.) The men hunted fowl, lobsters, seals, and swans, all of which were on the menu. The food was consumed with their hands because they did not have utensils. What you got to eat was determined by your social status, which also determined where you sat at the table. People were not served individually; servers put the food on the table when it was done and GASP, people did not sample everything on the table like we do today, but ate what was closest to them. A great deal of the food was spicy, as the pilgrims roasted and dried their foods after seasoning them with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, and dried fruit, etc. While the colonists ate three meals a day with the biggest being at noon (it was not uncommon to eat what you had for dinner for breakfast), the Indians ate when they were hungry and tended to have pots all about them stewing throughout the day. Much unlike today, "Thanksgiving" was a one time meal. Hard to believe considering the die hard gluttonous once a year Thursday that now encompasses us. However, the raison d'être was the same: they were grateful. I like that part the best.

Honestly, I am not a fan of the Thanksgiving meal, as we've never really celebrated it at my house. Despite mom being an excellent cook, our family traveled to relatives' houses until I went to college, then I traveled to friends' houses that is until this year. For the first time since I was in high school, I will be home for Thanksgiving. I have no idea what is on the menu, only what is not and that is green bean casserole, which is the only thing I really like. I've declared this week "green bean casserole" week so I can try every recipe I can find to see which one I like best. I am open to suggestions. I don't need anything but a small platter of this fantastic casserole and I'm good to go. I happily will leave everything else on the table to the rest of the dinner guests. Stay tuned for the results of my experiments.

I am thankful I will not be traveling this year. I do not have to worry about what I should bring as a gift, how to behave, will his parents like me, what I should wear, spilling gravy all over the kitchen, my skirt, & the fridge, breaking his mother's pitcher, being on time, not bringing enough wine because I was falsely informed, having to rescue some one cornered by the crazy aunt and her son, or not being able to say thank you enough to the Rosenbaum's for yet another wonderful meal (I definitely miss Mrs. R's pineapple stuffing. Yum!) & I won't have to worry about missing the holiday completely because I don't have my own car (true story that isn't funny) or next to whom I have to sit or if I'll get lost on the way to "Uncle" Tim's and lastly, I won't have to worry about the boy I've been dating for roughly three weeks calling me to tell me he and his ex-fiancée are getting back together (luckily, I anticipated this so I was ok with it).

This year, all I have to do is show up. What a wonderful feeling.



HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO
EVERYONE :)


(original artwork by cupcake)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

AMERICAN EXPRESS ADS

The American Express ads intrigue me. I recently read a magazine that included one for the reader to complete. I thought I would share my answers:

My Name: Cupcake
childhood ambition: to be President
fondest memory: watching winter from the kitchen window at home
soundtrack: "Lush Life' by John Coltrane
retreat: bed
wildest dream: to travel the world in one trip
proudest moment: graduating from Villanova
biggest challenge: letting go
alarm clock: my small battery operated Timex square travel clock, which is going on it's sixth year with the same battery
perfect day: the fourth of July
first job: babysitter
indulgence: magazines
last purchase: laundry detergent
favorite movie: "Inventing the Abbotts"
inspiration: my family
My life: is amazing


What would your answers be?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Quotation of the Day...

"No sense in hanging onto a dead horse." - My Aunt Kelley

"Kiss of Debt"

Ah, some recognition college is over priced & over rated, which is a burden to most of our generation. I guess there is some solace in knowing we are not alone in our quandary. However, I find it extremely alarming. Maybe we are just a little too ambitious or optimistic, or even we lacked proper guidance. Who knows? But something is wrong. Personally, I often wonder if it was worth it... Ask me in 28 years.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My first sparring tournament

On Saturday, I had my first experience with a karate sparring tournament. I dawned on my sparkly purple gear (head to toe) and jumped right in figuring I had nothing to lose by participating. The entire dojo spent two weeks preparing for the event, which consisted of three categories: Sparring, Katas (forms), and Self-Defense techniques. I showed up an hour early to warm up and practice with the boys (no other girls were participating from my class). For some reason, I was not nervous or anxious, but excited for the opportunity to learn something and to demonstrate the skills I've spent hours practicing. My state of mind did not change even when I discovered I had to go first for every event because of my rank. Nor when I was told I had to go TWICE each time because the first person sets the precedent and has to go again at the end to see how he or she measures up to the rest of the competition. I saw this as an advantage. The tournament began with the sparring competition - not my strongest event but the one from which I could learn the most. I was paired against my favorite red head - I definitely knew I was not going to beat him because I never had in class and despite my best efforts, I lost 5-2. It was fun though. Sparring happens so fast that you almost have no time to think. I learned the first punch or kick has to be the winning one in order to beat men and boys bigger and stronger than me. Maybe next time. I walked away from sparring with a good feeling about my fighting and on what I needed to work.

Next event was forms. I only have one kata so I didn't really have the option to show off for this event. I knew I had to be perfect in order to beat out the higher ranks with their very impressive katas, not to mention I had practiced pinan one over 100 times so it had better be good. I went out there with energy and power performing the best I had since I learned the kata. I was proud of myself in this category. I felt I did very well considering the competition.

The last event was the most fun and the most rewarding event, Self-defense. The premise was to perform three to five moves against a gang of attackers. Basically, it was a street fight. I had lined up a group of four men from class to attack me in various ways. I ended up using five moves to finish them off. It was spectacular. I also was part of the gang for the other competitors. Of all the events, this was my favorite. Despite competing against each other, we really came together as a group in this event. Everyone performed astoundingly well and impressed even the strictest senseis.

The third event signaled the end of the tournament, which is when the judges compiled our scores and handed out medals and trophies. Many wonderful praises were give to me and my classmates, much to our delight. I applaud all of my fellow classmates for a job well done. I cannot even convey how cool it is to watch the higher ranks strut their stuff. One of the girls is a brown belt who could probably take most of the men I know. It is amazingly inspiring.

So you are wondering, how did I do? Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I won second place for katas, and drum roll, first place for self-defense. Needless to say, I was happy. The medals and trophies are my first adult tokens, which now adorn my bookshelf. I cannot express enough my enjoyment for karate and how much it has positively changed my life. Not only do I love the exercise and the sense of empowerment, but I value the lessons I learn from class and their application in my life outside of the dojo. I have learned tremendously from this experience and look forward to the continuous growth I will gain from martial arts for the rest of my life.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fancy Hotels



(courtesy of travel+leisure.com)

Yesterday, I read an article in T+L about the Frank Gehry grand hotel built in Spain causing a huge commotion. Turns out, it's pretty cool. The Herederos del Marqués de Riscal winery commissioned the architect to build something bold to attract tourist to the sleepy conservative town, well to drink more of their wine, too. Each and every aspect of the hotel pertains to wine. For example, the funky titanium roof represents wine spilling into a glass. Just what I need, one more thing to spark my curiosity..But I find the whimsical design edgy and provocative. I think I will go find a bottle of Riscal Rioja for the weekend...

Did I miss something?

I know my sister's dealings with men are not normal, but since we share a gene pool, I am beginning to wonder if maybe I missed something growing up....

For as long as I can remember, I have always thought of mi hermana as "Helen of Troy". Once I uttered this label out loud, it stuck like glue, and Sunshine has lived up to the title ever since. It became a running family joke, which extended far beyond the walls of our house. In high school, males of all ages came to seek her attention. I never minded being the reference desk or the lead guide in their efforts so long as their intentions were good. Contrary to what most people think of me, I spent the majority of my adolescence in a book, on a court, at friends' houses planning my entrance into academia and avoiding the clichéd high school rituals, or at home playing pool & scrabble with my dad. I was quiet, private, and stuck to my very intimate circle of friends. I was more than happy to watch the circus than actually have to participate. Then, I went off to college...

I never really thought much about the attention men lavished upon my sister until she came to visit me at Villanova. Her entrance onto the drama queen's scene in Bryn Mawr caused such a stir, people are still talking about it. This is when it really hit me. I was use to people asking about her and kindly telling them to get in line, however, I was not use to having boys who supposedly were pursuing my friends complete an about face in my sister's direction. A little awkward, yet manageable. At this point, I began paying a little more attention to "Helen of Troy's" love life. I was astonished by my findings... Not only has she been rescued from the depths of living hell, but she's received numerous gifts, which are lavished unsolicited with alarming regularity, and she actually goes on dates, like real ones. Here's where you can picture me scratching my head...People outside of Hollywood go on dates? Seriously? Let me provide some awe inspiring examples of the gallantry she received this past year alone: a male friend took a day off from work to drive Kristen from New York City to Maine, another boy drove to Maine from New Hampshire to bring her a brand new DVD player with three entire seasons of "Lost" because she happened to mention she loved the show, oh and a fan to help fend off the summer heat while delighting in her new gift. Another gentleman drove to her house in Maine from god knows where to celebrate her birthday with her. Then there's the boy who bought her a car - yup a real live adult car and not a matchbox replica. Let's not forget the one who bought her a bed, sheets, and a hypo-allergenic pillow with a matching pillow case - she has allergies. Ah, and the weekly phone calls from boys from long ago feeling regretful, rejected, or brave calling to profess their undying love. Two pet kittens also made their way into her life as cuddly gifts... I could go on, but I gather you get the point. I mentioned these events are just the ones occurring this year, right? I have failed to point out the best part about all of this: she doesn't even give most of these boys the time of day. Yes, you read correctly. For the most part, their efforts are in vain because she's got exceptionally high standards (rightfully so), which rule out 99% of the suitors. I'm sure she doesn't even tell people the half of it out of politeness to us mortal girls and because she's quite modest about her striking model looks.

Now having described a small snippet of her romantic life, can some one please explain this to me? I don't get it....How does she do it? Boys do this? I do not know another female who experiences these same events in the magnitude or multitude my sister does. Is there some magic skill to which I am not privy? Did my mom or aunts give a lesson on feminine powers of persuasion I must have missed? I never received that memo but then again, maybe I should have ventured away from my reading spot and the scrabble board... If you ask her about it, she just shrugs giving a typical "I don't know" response. Upon hearing the tales, my mom smiles in delight and my father just shakes his head and mutters, "those poor suckers." Meanwhile, I have to think of clever ways to tell the elderly African-American fedora wearing man at the post office I am sorry I don't drink coffee and you're really not my type seeing as though you are AT LEAST 25 years older than me. I am just baffled...Is there something some one isn't telling me? I MUST have missed something.

It probably does not help that boys scare me and I often dance around the subject or avoid them entirely-with good reason I firmly believe. However, in fairness to my observation, she is a model and we are complete opposites, but still, hello, the same gene pool should count for something?!? Right? No??? Shrugging, at least I tried. In awe, I guess I'll just have to sit back, watch, and learn.

Ummm, Yeah

Thursday, November 16, 2006

COLOR ME HUMBLED....

At least once a day I am humbled in some fashion and to various degrees. Today, I'm deeply humbled. If you click on the title, it will bring you to a BBC article about Islamists' debates on Rape Laws in Pakistan. The current Sharia law states a woman was raped only if four men witnessed the crime?!?! Um, If four men witness a rape and do nothing to prevent or stop it, they all should be castrated, at the very least. And to think that isn't the worst part, if she does not have those witnesses, then she is branded with the scarlet letter and persecuted for ADULTERY...hmmmm.....As much as I try, and I've been trying lately out of desperate curiosity, to understand the Islamic world, I cannot fathom laws such as this. No amount of reasoning, intellect, or passion could ever persuade me otherwise. Thankfully, the Prime Minister is trying to change the 27 year old law.

The power of words:

Mukhtar Mai was a victim of a gang rape in an Islamic country. She is now using the power of the Internet and spoken words - she cannot read or write - in conjunction with a BBC reported to write a blog about her life after being attacked. Justice and change are her pursuits.

Her Story

Her blog is in Urdu, unfortunately, but it can be found at

Her Blog

She does have pictures of the women she helps through education.

"Wishlist"

"I wish I was a sailor with someone who waited for me...

I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good
I wish I was the full moon shining off your Camaro's hood...

I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on
I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down

I wish I was a radio song, the one that you turned up
I wish...
I wish..."

-Pearl Jam

I forgot how much I liked this song...