Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January, I hardly knew ye.



Where did January go?

When I was young, time was endless. So much time, so little to do. As an adult, time seems to pass faster each year. So much to do, so little time.

If I think about it too much, it makes me a little crazy. My Type A comes roaring out and I panic. Will I have time to do everything I'd like to do this month? This year? Before I die? Ohmyshitwhereismylifelistmustfigureoutwhattodonextwait...



I truly do try to make the most of every day since I'm happiest when I'm productive. I love my To Do lists and crossing things off of them. But I also love my downtime...to read, to watch mindless soul sucking television, to catch up on movies, to go to town on pinterest, to nap. A time to every purpose under heaven.
I think downtime is imperative to restoring energy and keeping your soul in good shape. I relish weekends where I can devote one whole day to doing crap all. February 11 and 12, I have my eye on both of you. I'm actually hoping that I don't leave the house that weekend at all. Sometimes you just need that. And when you've got a lot going on, sometimes you have to schedule it.
Sayonara Enero,
SMD

p.s. Friends, if you don't like oatmeal because you don't want to eat sweet shit in the morning, you must try savory oatmeal. It might give you some gas, but it is excellent. Carry on.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The weekend that was

Two new recipes on Friday night: tilapia piccata (based on the flounder piccata from skinnytaste.com) and balsamic roasted cauliflower

+
Perfect poached eggs on Saturday morning

+

A trip to La Mela in NYC's Little Italy for Mindy's birthday (complete with a visit from Kim Van Schoyck)


+
A limo ride back to Penn Station


+
Preparation of this week's soup : a white bean kielbasa stew

+
Finishing the book Ed King, which was totally bizarre, and starting The Last Werewolf

+
Colin's First Birthday Party

+
Purchasing what I need to transition our home to a paper towel-less house

+
Four movies Sunday (Roommates, A Single Man, Bad Teacher and Love and Other Drugs)

=

The weekend that was.

Monday, suck on some soap.

SMD

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Friday, I'm in love. I mean, obsessed. And also on a Vision Quest.

TGIF mofos! Usually when I'm into something, I'm all in. When something is harmless, I let my obsessions run free with the wind in their hair. When something is harmful, I have to cut that shit cold turkey. You know how it goes. So herein lie my current harmless obsessions. What are yours?

First and foremost, is pinterest, where I actually happen upon new obsessions. It's a wonderful cycle. For someone like me who has ripped pages from magazines for years with recipes, ideas for decor/paint color/quotes/parties that I like and may have put them in binders or may have let them loiter in magazine holders like homeless people loiter in train stations, this site is completely awesome. Let me know if you want an invite! I am stephdoyle on there, and I am a pinning fool.


Poached eggs - figuring out how to make them, dreaming about perfecting them, eating them. I finally have the time, tomorrow is the day. Me, a dozen eggs (in case I royally screw the pooch on this adventure), and some poaching. Let's do this.
The Smitten Kitchen Poached Egg
Skinnytaste.com - Awesome recipes. Check it out. You can go right to the site, or you can find a bunch of her stuff on...wait for it...PINTEREST. tra la la la la

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Why the hell haven't I watched this from the get go? I was stuck in Atlanta with the monstrous NeNe Leaks while Lisa Vanderpump flitted around out west, perfect in pink, darling. Something was wrong, but now it's oh so right.


Plotting out every second of my 35th birthday weekend, which is still 48 days away. Since we moved our Niagara trip to 2013, I'm choosing some local Life List things MFD and I can cross off on my 35th...and digging out my certificates to schedule a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, etc.

Making my own everything. I made my own taco seasoning last weekend. On a ranch related note, does anyone know a store where I can get powdered buttermilk, or should I just buy it online? I'm also going to make my own drain cleaner and stain remover. Possibly even laundry detergent. I'm a mad scientist.



Talking about RedBox. MFD and I used to have Netflix, and we used to be so up to date on movies, popular and not. We cancelled that a few years back, and we are woefully behind. RedBox is everywhere, cheap and convenient. Have we used it? No. But I love to talk about using it every other day.



And now a segue into my weekend. One of the best movies of all time is, of course, Vision Quest. Tomorrow we head to NYC's Little Italy to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday at La Mela, one of my favorite places to go and the scene of many wet your pants laughing meals with friends. This glorious family-style (both the food and the wine) restaurant has a poster of Vision Quest in the back room. No shit. In fact, the last time I was there, it inspired me, Michelle, Lil, Laura and KVS to do an impromptou sing-a-long (sans music) to the glorious Vision Quest sound track, including Only the Young and Crazy for You. Vision Quest, you are a cinematic masterpiece. I am as obsessed with you today as I was when I first saw you, all those years ago.


"But all I ever settled for is that we're born to live and then to die, and... we got to do it alone, each in his own way. And I guess that's why we got to love those people who deserve it like there's no tomorrow. 'Cause when you get right down to it - there isn't."~ Louden Swain

Currently obsessing over a good weekend, 

SMD

p.s.: I debated dedicating an entire blog post to this, but thought better of it since it's all over the place already. So please excuse the long post-script that does not match the frivolous tone of the previous portion of this post. I am so proud of my uncle David Ferrara, a teacher and football coach at Neshaminy High School for many years, for standing up to the thuggish and insane leadership of the NFT and not backing down even when his tire was slashed. It takes a lot of balls to stand up from the masses and say "Hey, this is not right," when you know you're going to face retaliation and possible shunning. David, you showed your students that it's important to do the right thing, even when it's not the easy thing; and most importantly you showed that you care about them and their futures, as well as your fellow teachers and the integrity of your profession and your school. As a Neshaminy alumni and supporter of teachers, I thank you. As a niece, I admire your courage and give you my support. I have a lump in my throat reading comments in support of you on Neshaminy Info and Ferraralanders pages on facebook. Especially from your students.
p.p.s: My littlest girlfriend Kit Kat's use of kitchen items this past Saturday:



Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Don't Get It - Volume IV

Cake pops. They require a special machine and sticks, and from what I hear are hard to decorate. And doesn't everyone just want a piece of cake? If I'm making sweets in a ball, they're going to be those no-bake jobbies. Toodleoo, cake pops. Toodleoo.

Why I continue to crowd a schedule like nobody's business. We cannot possibly do everything, and it's exhausting to try. In a year filled with weekend trips, a West Coast trip and a cruise, Niagara Falls got the boot to 2013. See you next year, Falls.

Valentine's Day. Love is every day, people, not just the days Hallmark decides on. Relationships are hard work, daily; you cannot skate in with a bouquet of flowers and a teddy bear and call yourself tops in romance. If you do observe Valentine's Day, please do not purchase a stuffed animal for another adult. I'm serious. Don't do it. If you are single on Valentine's Day, don't be a sad sack. The holiday was invented. Partnership does not automatically equal happiness. If you are recently broken up on Valentine's Day, you're better off alone than with someone who wasn't right for you. Group hug, y'all.


Why is he back? 



What happened here?
Seal, are you angry? You guys renewed your vows every year. What gives?

Kardashian Shows, and why I have been watching them. Is this the first sign of mental illness? 

Ish as an abbreviation/alternate way to say shit. Where did this come from? Who started it? Where did the T go? Why can't we just say shit?

Shoes I've been seeing on Pinterest. What's going on, feet around the world?



Nail art. Most of it is ugly and seriously...not art. Just paint them and be done with it.



The prospect of seeing the E Street Band on tours without the Big Man. 

My heart cries for the people out there who have not seen this movie. 

Damn the man. Save the Empire.

Happy Thursday friends. May it be mercifully quick if you're working for the man.

SMD

p.s. Happy happy birthday to my lovely sister-in-law Melinda Leidy, who is not only a fun, loving and supportive sister-in-law but also one of my great friends. xoxo, can't wait to celebrate with you on Saturday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Hello comrades.

I'm back from the dead, which is how I felt for the past 48 hours. I had a lovely post-weekend blog all prepared for yesterday morning, but alas I felt like shit on a stick and now it is Tuesday. What's been going on?

The Good:
-Friday, I had an early dismissal from a class in which I was the only student (awkward)
-I tried and loved Trader Joe's organic chicken broth (kickass and $1.99 for a carton)
-Saw Black Swan (weird) and Blue Valentine (sad and upsetting) this weekend
-Reorganized my china cabinet
-Tried four new recipes this weekend: Mimi's coffee cake, homemade taco seasoning, and Italian Wedding Soup (skinny version), crimini mushrooms and green beans roasted with balsamic and parm cheese
-Had a kickass time with friends Saturday night

The Bad:
-Still have not swept up from this weekend's soiree
-Today is Tuesday, Tuesdays always suck

The Ugly:
-Stomach virus. I was taken down on Sunday. I thought it was a bad hangover when I woke up at 11. When I woke up at 12 and had the chills, aches, and a fever, I knew it was much worse. I actually used a sick day yesterday, which I never do. I can deal with many things, but an awful stomach virus is not one of them. And of course, my train was a half hour late today, so I stood on the platform, swaying, nauseous, cursing everything.

Still fighting my way back,

SMD

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Can we put this week to bed already?

Hello friends. This week feels so long...the days seem interminable. That, combined with this headache I've had since Monday and a busy week at work have left me me with no direction for today's blog and a smarting reminder that when you vow to blog actively every week, you'd better have your poop in a pile to be able to do so or you will end up with a random shit show that I'm about to expose you to below. And a run on sentence like nobody's business.

My nails represent this week's sad state of affairs. When I was saving this photo to my computer, I named it Sad Nails:


Does this week seem shitty to anyone else? I mean even the regular TV shows were lackluster this week. I watched Gossip Girl in fast forward because the episode sucked so hard, same for last week's Vampire Diaries. I knew who the killer was in 10 seconds on Criminal Minds, and why the hell are they giving the profile so early recently, before they even discuss the case?

Dr. Spencer Reid, I expect more from you.

I also had to put a book to rest. Swamplandia!, I wanted you to be so much better, but I could not get past 55 pages. Sayonara. I followed that disappointment up with Last Night at Chateau Marmont, which was eh at best. I am now settled in to Ed King, and it's holding my attention quite well.

Other bad things from this week:
  • Errands have gone poorly, and seem never ending. Why? How?
  • I dodged human poop in Suburban Station on my way home on Tuesday. Again, why? How?
  • Today I woke up seven minutes after I normally LEAVE for the train station.
  • My driver side door does not want to work properly. It was replaced a few months ago and now has to go back. Damnit.
  • I do not have a winning lottery ticket in my possession.
Good things:
  • Tomorrow I will wear jeans on a working Friday for the first time in more than three years, and this is because I have a class off-site in King of Prussia and I can. Praise you tiny denim-loving baby Jesus.
  • I have not murdered anyone even though I have PMS.
  • I pre-ordered The Bloggess's book today.
  • This weekend is shaping up to be a good one, with plans for lots of movies, new recipes, and times with friends in the mix.
  • Lori and Jack will bring Maxwell home tomorrow!


This concludes my poorly planned post.

Have a wonderful day, unless you've made other plans.

SMD

Monday, January 16, 2012

When Errands Go Awry



I consider myself an efficient errand runner – I group them by location and bang as many as I can out at once. I would love to have a personal organizer/errand running business. Sometimes though, the universe conspires against you, and sends your errand mission off the rails.

Round One

Saturday morning dawned bright and cold. I had grand plans to knock some errands out of the park. My original list was tailor, Clinique counter, Target, jeweler, dry cleaner, Brother’s Pizza.

I was a little late in leaving my house, so on the fly I decided to push the tailor, Clinique counter and Target to Sunday. I made good time and got to the jeweler soon after they opened. I went in and told them I needed my ring redipped and was told they could take it, but would have to send it off premises since the jeweler was out until the end of January. Frigger. I really like him so I said no problem, I’ll come back.

Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride, I sang in my head, and continued on to the dry cleaner. That went ok, but was much more expensive than I was anticipating. Damn you winter coats for all needing to be dry cleaned at once.


I arrived at Brother’s, where the hardy pizza makers looked tired and had not even begun to make the stacks of boxes. I got my pizza, plus a slice for the road because I am a disgusting glutton and cannot resist the lure of Brother’s, and was off, dreaming of a better errand running track record on Sunday.

Round Two

I set this up perfectly. I was at Target at 10:30, went about my business, did not overspend, and was sitting outside of the mall when it opened. I breezed through Boscov to the Clinique counter. I circled it. I circled it again. No chubby stick. What the hell! They didn’t have any in the store. I was a little annoyed, but thought whatever, I can pick it up downtown next week.

On to the tailor, which was…closed. Closed? WTF! Their hours clearly said 11 – 4 on Sundays. I asked on Thursday night if they were open on Sunday, and he said yes, of course. I guess yes of course also means HELL NO. Balls. Balls I say!



Sometimes even the best laid plans can be rolled up, shoved up your nose, and set on fire.

In Other News
I tried Pioneer Woman’s meatloaf this weekend as part of my effort to test drive four new recipes every month. It was unheard of moist for a meatloaf. Not the healthiest meal for sure, but good for a big weekend meal during the winter. It makes a large loaf, so you’ll have lots of leftovers for sandwiches if you try it. I also liked doing it on a broiler pan instead of in a loaf pan. It was hollerific holy shit hot damn good.


In My Next Life
I will have a job where I get bank holidays off. While it was nice to have primo parking at the train station, and to sprawl out on the train instead of being squished like a sardine, it would also be nice to be off today.

Happy MLK Day –

SMD

p.s.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
                          ~Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

p.p.s: my kitchen partner taking care of the starches. Yes, that's plural.


 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Merrily merrily merrily merrily washing's but a dream

Last night was a glorious night for a Wednesday, much like some night gone by was a marvelous night for a moondance. Incidentally, my two least favorite Van Morrison songs are 1. Brown Eyed Girl and 2. Moondance. Radio stations everywhere, please stop playing them. Drunk people in bars, please stop singing them.

And all the night's magic seems to whisper and hush.

But back to my Wednesday night. Last night...

1. I did wash for the first time in nine days. You truly do not appreciate having a washer in your home until your washer breaks. I felt like Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout but instead of not taking the garbage out, I was not taking care of the laundry. I did three loads last night and one load this morning. Good news! Only 208430948 more loads to go until everything is clean, and that's not including MFD's laundry. He does his own.

2. I made two large pots of meaty red sauce to freeze. It smelled absolutely fabulous. There are few things I like to do more in the kitchen than make vats of sauce or soup to eat, freeze and share.

Please excuse the slippers.

3. I watched Modern Family. Always a pisser.

4. In the span of five minutes, I dropped six eggs on the floor, cleaned them up, dropped a cup of milk on the floor, cleaned that up, and said 467 curse words.

5. I was reminded again of the importance of having a strong sense of self worth, and also how imperative it is to have friends who will have your back in a crisis. I thank the universe for my friends every single day. A dear friend of ours is going through a very bad time, and that is always hard to watch.  
                               That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
                                                     ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

This weekend, January will be half over. Say what? I have things to do!

January goals:
1. Make meatloaf. I haven't made it in a while and now I have a hankering for it.
2. Have a Goslingthon: Blue Valentine, Crazy Stupid Love, Ides of March.
3. Make homemade pasta, forcing MFD to use the pasta machine I bought him for Christmas about six years ago that he's never used. He has been waiting for a kitchen with enough space to use it in. You've got one now, my man! Let's do this.
4. Assemble my To Try recipe binder, which will set me up to test at least two new recipes per month for the rest of the year, but preferably four.
5. Convince you, my fine feathered friend, to join me at the Strike Out Cancer and Spare Lives bowling event on Saturday, February 4. It's fun, and it's for a great cause. Pretty please with whatever you want on top, come out and join us! For more information or to buy tickets online, visit http://phillyrelaystrikeoutcancer-esearch.eventbrite.com/?srnk=1. Lanes must be reserved so let me know if you're coming.

Thank God it's Thursday,

SMD



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Walk ten paces, turn left, and dig where X marks the spot

Have you ever been on a treasure hunt in your own house? I took five minutes to go on one last night. Excuse the quality of the photos, I was trying to snap some treasures before The Bachelor came back on.

To me, treasures are things that might seem a little out of place beside your other things, but they have meaning and connections to people and in some cases to times gone by.





In my kitchen cabinets, you can find these spaghetti glasses. My earliest memories have my Pop, who died when I was three, drinking out of these glasses. We used these in the summer at my Grandmom's pool, and she gave them to me when she moved. They are one of my most beloved material items.







Floragold louisa depression glass (in the photo on the left, the tray is the item...the candleholder is Pier 1). Thanks to Ebay and antique shops, I've built a nice collection of this.




When I was a little girl, these sat on a built-in bookshelf at my Grandmom's house. I would get them down and twist them one at a time and bask in the tinkly music. Now they sit on top of a bookshelf in my reading room.









My Dad and Carol just cleaned out the attic, and found a bunch of my childhood items, including my first shoes.






Yes, this is a professional photo. Come on people, I am not that good. This is my great grandmother's (who I called Big Pop Pop's Grandmom. Weird, yes?) pendant. My Gamma lent it to me for my wedding, and I had it pinned inside of my dress. This year for Christmas, she gave it to me. I love it.






I'm not the only one in the house who likes treasures. MFD brought this one home, and I have to say I adore it.








These are some of his treasures from his grandparents that he keeps all together on a shelf.









And this is a photo from this past weekend that I will treasure - my brother rode over an hour home in the back of my dad's car. It was very very amusing.








I love new things, but I also love things with a history, be it my family's, MFD's family's, or plates off of someone's table that I've never met. Nostalgia is a friend of mine.

Be a love and make the best of this shitty and useless day called Tuesday.

Reminiscing,

SMD

p.s. I did something to my Achilles tendon. It flipping HURTS.

p.p.s. My heart is sad for Lori and Jack, who had to put their beloved CJ to sleep this week. I truly can't imagine losing one of my dogs. Thinking of you guys to the north. xoxo

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome back.


Welcome back, train wreck television. Mob Wives, it was good to see you. It's been too long. Renee, stop whining and moaning about the complications of your elective surgery. Elective is the key word. There were risks, you knew about them, and you chose to do it anyway. You grate on my nerves and are not an eighth as fabulous as you think you are. Karen, get over yourself. You are inconsequential unless you are linked with the fabulous D'rita. D'rita, you keep on being you. You are hilarious and fill me with glee. Box it out, girlfriend. Carla, are you still on the show? Do something.



Guidos and guidettes, I will check in with you on Thursday.

And you...oh, you.


The last time I watched The Bachelor, Andrew Firestone was on, I shit you not. This year, it happened to premiere when I was freshly without a Monday night show - The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles don't come back until this summer - and I thought eh, let me get in on this.

I only watched the one season because the very premise of the show is complete madness. You cannot form a lasting relationship that starts out with 25 people chasing 1 person. Will you accept this rose? No, but I will shove it up your ass, you tomcatting rose throwing marauder.

That bachelorette Trista, who is married and has kids with the guy she met on her show, must have a magic hooha or they clicked immediately and she faked liking anyone else. Theirs is the only relationship in the franchise that has ever worked out. Obviously the formula is stupid, but the insane drama, while stupid as well, is also hilarious. This season, the blogger is frightening and the model is a psychotic SWF. I cannot wait to see this shit unfold.

Look, what else am I going to do on a Monday? Or write about on the first Wednesday of the year?

Freezing my ass off (fuck me please do not let the Polar Bear Plunge take place on a day like today),

SMD

p.s. Happy bday yesterday to Laura, today to my aunt Sue, and tomorrow to my father-in-law.

p.p.s. Step right up and cast your vote for Ferko in the Viewer's Choice Awards! http://www.myphl17.com/community/mummers/viewers-choice/

p.p.p.s STEP RIGHT UP in case you want to see the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_vMOBB1JG0
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