Monday, May 31, 2010

If I Ever Leave This World Alive

Last night Scot and I were watching The 2010 National Memorial Day Concert on PBS. It was co-hosted by Gary Sinise, or as I still like to call him, Lt. Dan. The music was pretty decent, with Brad Paisley and Lionel Richie(yeah, I dig him) among the stars.

Part of the program gave voice to a new generation of young widows, women who lost their military spouses in Iraq or Afghanistan. A very attractive blonde gave a lengthy reading about what it was like to be a widow, at 22. This modern-day account was countered by Blythe Danner reading a Vietnam widows account of facing life alone at the tender age of 19. Sobering. Sickening. And yet these womens touching testimonies were so strong and full of composure.

Fallen military men (and women) pay the ultimate price for freedom for all of us. And when they leave this earth, their broken-hearted families mourn their absences for years.
So, thank you military, and military families. I raise my glass to you all.

I want to share with you what I think is the best Irish drinking ditty about life, death and all that goes with it. If I was presenting at the PBS gig, I would have probably just shown up with this song blaring from a boom box, all Lloyd Dobler style.

Here's the words - the video is a little Euro-distracting.

"If I Ever Leave This World Alive" Flogging Molly

If I ever leave this world alive
I'll thank for all the things you did in my life
If I ever leave this world alive
I'll come back down and sit beside your
feet tonight
Wherever I am you'll always be
More than just a memory
If I ever leave this world alive

If I ever leave this world alive
I'll take on all the sadness
That I left behind
If I ever leave this world alive
The madness that you feel will soon subside
So in a word don't shed a tear
I'll be here when it all gets weird
If I ever leave this world alive

So when in doubt just call my name
Just before you go insane
If I ever leave this world
Hey I may never leave this world
But if I ever leave this world alive

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right
Yeah should be alright

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bucket List

Here it is. More for me, than for you. Good mental work.

1. Learn chain-maille for beading.
2. retire to San Francisco
3. Adopt more pound dogs.
4. find the perfect spaghetti bolognese recipe. I've tried over two dozen. Some have come close, but...
5. see my children graduate college
6. go back to where St. John, where I honeymooned 12 years ago.
6. run a full marathon
7. have something published
8. learn to play the piano
9. learn calligraphy
10. learn to like vegetables
11. see the Great Wall of China
12. return to the hotel in Hawaii where Scot and I got engaged
13. become a respiratory therapist
14. age gracefully
15. fill my children with self-confidence
16. reassure the afraid
17. bring a dog on an airplane trip, under the seat
18. show my children the world
19. give my husband reasons to believe that while I am costly, I am worth it.
20. learn to forgive, better.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Damn Fine Pasta Dish brought to us courtesy of the internets...

Here's that really good pasta recipe I promised you. I made it for my mom the other night and she was really impressed. This is the same woman that was happy I made it through college.

Here's the back story. As if you give a hoot or even asked. But I find it amusing in our high-tech world.

11 1/2 years ago I was a flight attendant. I would spend three nights a week away from home, usually in Orange County, Chicago, San Diego, or Vegas. One day I was on the treadmill at the hotel gym in Sacramento, watching a local news broadcast. A local chef came on and prepared a great looking pasta dish. I returned home and told Scot the TV channel and city where I had seen the recipe made.

The next day, he returned home with the printed recipe. He had gone to work, looked up this station's website (WHAT???) and printed the recipe for me. He might as well handed me a bar of gold. I was dumbfounded. Where was the recipe? Was it floating inside the computer? How did he find this website on this so-called information super highway? How did he get directions to this site?

. Shortly after this event I had a complete meltdown where I infamously screamed "the Internet is passing me by!!!!!!" I was so perplexed by technology, yet so hungry to understand it. Some years later, it finally sunk in. I think. Scot loves to sarcastically repeat my whine when I'm completing a flying-fingers order on Amazon.

On to the recipe. I've been making it all these years. It was as delicious as it looked on the 12- inch gym TV. I have Scot to thank for finding it inside that big electronic box that sat on his office desk, all those years ago.

Pasta Creole Chicken

2 pieces boneless/skinless, cooked chicken breast
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh garlic
1/4 cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream (I use fat-free half-n-half. I have used both and there is NO diff. in richness or flavor)
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. chili pepper flakes
2 cups cooked penne pasta

- Heat olive oil in pan. Add onion, green and red pepper, and garlic. Stir and cook approximately 1/2 minutes.

-Add red wine, salt and pepper, heavy cream (FF half-n-half), and marinara. - cook over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes to thicken sauce. Add sliced chicken, cayenne pepper and chili flakes. Stir in cooked pasta.

- serves 2.

My notes: I've served it over every kind of pasta. I've added more cayenne for spicier people, and I've tripled the recipe. The FF half-n-half works great. The wine MAKES it!!! They will think you slaved all day; tell them you did.

Six Feet Under Finale Scene

I have been inspired by Jen ->
She shared the final scene of LOST with all of us.

I was a faithful viewer to Six Feet Under from 2001-2005.

Here's the story behind the final scene; in a nutshell. Three siblings, Claire (the girl leaving in the car; she's going off to art school), Nate (Peter Crause) and David ( Showtimes's Dexter). The three of them help operate the family's funeral home.

Nate died during the final season of the show. 10 seconds into the clip, he tells Claire "you can't take a picture of it, it's already gone." He's also shown in Claire's side mirror as she leaves. For the rest of the clip, you see the other main characters from the show as they die, followed by their name and dates of birth and death. Many times a fallen loved one is standing nearby, to offer comfort. As the matriarch dies in her hospital bed, her deceased husband is seen sitting in the corner of the room, smoking a cigarette. It sounds crass to read, but when viewed has a hauntingly effective way of showing us that although we may exit this world completely alone, a loved one is waiting for us, on the other side.

Extremely powerful. Beautiful song. Please watch it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tequila you with kindness

Some of the drug ads I see on TV these days have me doing a second listen. A good one is for one of the erectile dysfunction meds. They advise, "If you have an erection that lasts four hours or more, call your doctor. " I once heard a comedian do a riff on that saying if he had an erection that lasted four hours, he would call every chick in his address book!

My favorite is for the asthma medication Advair. In the ad, they say this, "Advair may lead to asthma-related death." WHAT? Well, that seems counter-intuitive. Give me some of that for my mild asthma and maybe we'll just knock then whole breathing issue right out of me; I will simply breathe no more.

The below spoof for tequila is done with an actress who has one of the smooth and silky voices of pharmaceutical commercials. It had me laughing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dinner Divine

I've been following Weight Watchers again for the last 3 weeks.  I have good days and bad.  Thursday was bad.  Yeah,  4 margaritas,  25 jumbo shrimp, and a bowl of chips are not countable points.  But tonight,  I was pretty good.

I've been getting into turkey burgers.  I really/shouldn't/can't have beef,  so I'm doing turkey.  And it's starting to be so good that I'm not even missing ground beef anymore.

  Terriyaki Turkey Burgers:

1 lb. lean turkey
3 tbs. panko bread crumbs
1 tb. original terriyaki sauce (the thin,  not-too-sweet stuff)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon fresh or powd. garlic
1/8 teaspoon cajun spice
fresh pepper

We cooked the burgs in 4 oz. portions.

Topped it all with pineapple slices,  (whole pineapples are only $1 at Fry's right now!!!),  dill pickles, and terriyaki mayo (2 tbs. light mayo mixed with 1 tsp. terriyaki and a shake of white pepper)

Eat with  Kettle Brand BAKED potato chips in Salt-n-Vinegar. Have you had these?  Have you?  Holy cow.  65% less fat than regular chips and they actually feel and taste like chips.  Not that baked crap Lays puts out.

Oh,  and I had two Fat Tire Skinny Dip summer beers.  They are a light beer weighing in at a slim 110 calories.  Tons of flavor,  with only 2 Weight Watchers points. 

It was fantastic.  Delicious. And I  have no remorse.  Didn't have the corn pictured,  but it looks pretty darn good, no?

Tomorrow,  I will share one of my favorite recipes with you all.  I made it last night after a long hiatus and remembered again why I love it so...

Good night dear friends. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Inside the Actor's Studio Questionnaire

Liz, over there on the margin (not that she is stuffed in the margin, I just don't know how to link her in here) challenged us Lady Bloggers to fill out James Lipton's questionnaire. It's the same list of questions he asks every celebrity. Even though I think Lipton is a bit of an intense freak, props to his question; they really get you thinking!

1. What is your favorite word? arrabiata
2. What is your least favorite word? necrosis  (no,  change that -  cancer)
3. What turns you on? sense of humor
4. What turns you off? self-absorbed people
5. What sound or noise do you love? children laughing
6. What sound or noise do you hate? cell phones ringing
7. What is your favorite curse word? A tie; Mother F@#ker, Douche Nozzle
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? columnist
9. What profession would you not like to do? Air Traffic Controller-"OOPS, didn't see that!"
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates- "Here's your beer, and take this one for your dad. He's been waiting for you by the pool."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Going Beady...

I'm starting to shake and sweat. I'm heading to my favorite bead store, Scottsdale Bead Supply. I've gathered some dimes, nickles, and quarters to spend on new beads. I will probably spend an hour or two browsing the large wall racks of semi-precious stones and Swarovski crystals. I tell myself constantly I am not Laura from The Glass Menagerie, as I lovingly gaze and fondle my bead collection.

I need a job.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Photo Retrospective

Top Photo : Seville, Spain, 1983
Middle Photo: Pisa, Italy, 1995
Bottom Photo: Madeira , Portugal, 2010

The restaurant in Seville overlooked a beautiful valley. We sat at the hilltop restaurant and took in the vast views which included a meandering river and dusty mountains. My mom, dad, and Tim (a recent high school graduate) sucked down a pitcher of sangria. In typical Spanish "manana" service, we waited for the check that never came. We waited so long that we eventually got up and left without paying. A moment of scampering scandal turned into panic when the rental car wouldn't start. After a few moments of nervous laughing, the car turned over and we raced down the hill.

The first photo resurfaced shortly before our trip to Italy in the fall of 1995. I purposely set up the second shot to replicate the Seville photo. Right down to the hand placement. We were sitting at the base of the Tower of Pisa. As the evening wore on and the drinks kept coming, we began to think we could actually see the monument leaning towards us more and more.

The third photo was an attempt to recreate the top two photos. Before boarding the cruise ship, we plopped down at a scenic marina bar and had ourselves a local beer. Or two or three, as the picture shows. We were down a man for this photo op, but as I sat there and posed one thought popped into my head; life changes. It might be different, but it's still worth documenting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday, Nora Ruby

She was born on a Tuesday, so the name is even more fitting. We sing The Beatles song to the girl all the time.

Last week she turned 6. Sometimes I don't know if it's been the longest six years of my life, or if it's flying by; all depends on whether or not her crying days of colic are fresh in my mind, or if she's being the angel baby she is now.

All she wants to do is please. She is lovely, sweet, kind, and funny. She has moments of being extremely high-maintenance, but I think any person worth spending time with deserves your TLC.

Last week she was looking hard at me when I came out of my bedroom.

"You look 20," she said.

I love that kid.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

There are places I remember, All my life

Madeira, Portugal

I can recall falling off the plastic coffee table in the family room when I was four (I still think the only thing that saved my skull was the shag carpeting). The first day of kindergarten is seared into my Fear Vault. I can moderately recall parts of my wedding day, although I can pinpoint the row on the airplane, returning from a trip to Chicago, when I realized I wanted to marry Scot. Better yet, I can tell you everything Scot and I saw, did, touched, ate, and smelled in Chicago.

I will forever remember the entire day I spent in Madeira, Portugal. It wasn't one magical moment, but a bunch of precious sensory nuggets, strung into ten sparkly, shiny hours of one day.

That's why I think we should all travel more. Our souls need to be reawakened at the beauty the world has to offer. Grass is greener on the other side, children's laughter is sweeter, and the beer, it does taste better.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Wherever we went on the ship, "Ears" were there.

"EARS" got attention. The bride was brought up on stage during Jason Bishop's magic show and was also a finalist in the masquerade mask contest. She wore her mask in conjunction with the ears. Oh sure, it's cute to wear you Mickey Bride-Do, and Mickey Groom Hat; on the day you get married. This couple got married in Disney World, the week before the cruise. They were never without their headgear; they wore them in the theater, at dinner, by the pool, in formal portraits.


Yes, there are worse things. But funnier....?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I could write a book...

It was fantastic. The ports were great. The food... well, I gained 5 pounds. So, where do I begin? There is so much to say that my mind has formed a back log of wonderfully sludgy thoughts. Here's one.

I like Disney. Always have. Adults that love Disney seem to be missing something in their life. Like a father. Or a true sense of reality. Over 400 of the 1500 passengers on our cruise were Disney Bloggers. They constantly wore a lanyard that displayed their log-in ID. Such as Tinker22 or MickeyMe2U. Some were overweight, most were men, all were weird. In that "Chester" sort-of way. On "Pirates of the Caribbean" night, I spotted no less than 10 men in full pirate regalia. Costumes that they put in a suitcase; highly coveted suitcase space that the average man might covet for oh... I don't know.... shoes or dress pants?

The stateroom doors on the ship are metal. Previous Hard Core Disney Cruisers know this and fill their suitcases with door decorations. There were several occasions when I was returning from dinner (half-crocked) that I had to remind myself I wasn't in my dorm hall. These weren't sorority decorated doors. I was on a Disney cruise.

For a week, I stared at our neighbors door and looked at the name tags. The names were something like "Barbara" "Lori" and for certain, "Disneyana".

"Is that a joke?" I asked Scot. Upon further examination of the cabin's self-made fabric mailbox, I could tell the room was inhabited by a family. Two women with hyphenated names, and a daughter. Was the daughter Disneyana? And was that really her name?

My family had a sick compulsion to turn door magnets upside-down, switch mailboxes out, and commit other mischievous acts which would be looked down upon by the Disney Cult. I blame my brother for this; he started it. One evening the girls and I returned to the room before Scot, who had the key. My kids started turning "Disneyana's" magnets around. I stifled a giggle and told the kids to knock it off. Suddenly, the neighbors door flew upon; we were caught with Jasmine in our hot little hands.

"Hi!" I managed in a pleading jovial voice.
"The kids and I were just enjoying your door," I stammered.
"Hello" the neighbor said curtly.
I was not getting out of this unscathed. At this point I had nothing to lose with her, and and could only fulfill my curiosity.
"Is there someone in your room/ really/ named "Disneyana?" I asked.
"Yes, that's my daughter. We named her Disneyana," she said.
"Woooowwww... won ..won...wonderful, " I stammered.

With that, I turned on my heel and made for the elevators. I had been caught. But she had named her daughter Disneyana. Surely a call to CPS could have been in order.
We were even.