Monday, November 28, 2011

Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Another lovely Thanksgiving weekend in the books. On Thanksgiving Eve, MFD and I took that ride over the bridge onto the Jersey side to spend the night at Frank and Amanda's. Many laughs and too many Michelob Ultras for me. I came home way too late smelling like a fire pit.

Thanksgiving day dawned sunny and warm. We took the dogs for a walk (during which I found $5, score), cleaned ourselves up and headed to my Mom's. Dinner and visit one down, we travelled on to the Leidy residence, where Mindy and Andy were hosting their first Thanksgiving in their new home. The day was delightful.

I found five dollars and you did not.
Every year while people are out pepper spraying their fellow man on Black Friday, Peters and I pack up a car, toss Gus and Geege into the backseat, and travel north for three hours until we hit North Woods, the Wentzel home in Bradford County, for the annual second half of Thanksgiving weekend. It is so relaxing and lovely up there, and I am mostly without cell phone service, which is awesome. My dogs absolutely love it, they can frolic freely in the woods and sniff all over God's creation. This year's activities included walks in the woods, wine, a bridge dedication ceremony, stuffing ourselves with Thanksgiving leftovers and at the Chinese buffet, patronizing local businesses on Santa's Sleigh Ride, telling stories, making a shit mess out of a Gingerbread House, loads of laughs and more wine.
This bridge will take us over the creek and through the woods, but not to Grandmother's house

Tranquility and coffee to kick off the day
I'm truly grateful for my family and friends...and that the weekend of food and booze excess is over. Stick a fork in me, I'm done!

These dogs are done too.
Sunday...back to reality. My current reality is interesting for someone with OCD tendencies like myself. When I sit on the living room couch and look into the dining room, I see the side of my pantry, my fridge, my old coffee maker, an empty bookshelf with a bag of contractor trashbags on top of it, a cabinet with potato/onion pullout bins, a handsaw, a broom, a dog toy, dog bowls, a toaster oven, a Phillies hat, a bottle of wine, a bin of dog looks like fucking Hoarders up in here, none of those things belong in that room!

Serenity NOW.
Deep breaths. I know it will be worth it in the end. Last night MFD was singing "Look at this fucking flooooor," and saying "Hon, come here. Look at this," every five minutes as he removed the moldy sub floor. Curse you kitchen leak. Curse you.

So friends, please cut me some slack if I'm teetering on the edge of sanity as we try to get this shit in check over the next three weeks.

Dear tiny crowbar wielding, demo mask wearing, wall scraping, appliance replacing, searching for salt and pepper shakers amongst the rubble baby Jesus: please let this go smoothly, and let us not kill each other in the process. AMEN.

Back to the grind,

p.s. Dear Lowe's: Your appliance sale was stellar. Thank you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I've got plenty to be thankful for...

365 days of the year, I give thanks to the universe for something in my life - big or small. I aim for three things, but some days I'm a miserable bitch and can only come up with one. I truly believe that I won't and shouldn't get anything else, material or immaterial, without acknowledging what I have.

In this month of Thanksgiving, I've loved reading daily status updates detailing what people are thankful for on Facebook. It is so important to be grateful every day for something. We often take for granted the very things that deserve our gratitude: our health, the roof over our head, the heat warming our home, the food in the fridge, the jobs we have to pay for these things. The Essie nail polish that lasts for a long time. You know.

I challenge you to not only say you're grateful, but to live like you are.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. 
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

When my brother Stephen was small, he never said "Thank you" or "thanks." He said "Oh, FANKS" with great emphasis and some snark. It was hilarious. But back to business.

The following list of things I'm grateful for is in no way complete and is totally off the cuff. What's on your list?

I'm grateful...

For my family - the one I was born into and the one I've chosen via friendship and marriage.
For my job, and fellow commuters who make the commute so interesting. 

For our comfortable, clean, lived in home. I was going to put a picture of our real house on here, but it had the address plate in it...why make it so easy for robbers? They should at least have to work to find me.

For Gus and Geege and the unadulterated joy they bring to my life every day.

For my health. Props to Produce Junction for affordable fruits and veg, and Weston Fitness for lunchtime gym classes. Minus 16 pounds and counting. Obviously I will simply strive to maintain in November and December. Back to it January 3.

That I have access to clean, running water.

That I like to cook and don't have to rely on processed packaged foods or eating out all the time unless I am lazy.

For Target.

For sneakers. 
For DVR, the greatest invention of our time.

For sunglasses. My eyes have always been sensitive, even more so after I got LASIK a few years ago. Sunglasses are saviors even on overcast days.

For music - I am a sucker for lyrics, specifically those of Bruce Springsteen, The Counting Crows, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan. I love to belt out some tunes in my hideous voice. My favorite piece of music sans lyrics is the music at the end of Layla.

Having access and means to a bounty of food and drink, but specifically iced tea, steak, cupcakes, hotdogs, mushrooms, hoagies, bacon, strawberries, brussels sprouts, dips (fabulous corn dip tops the list), shrimp cocktail, homemade soup, brie, scrapple, kosher kill pickles, tomatoes, pasta, Brother's Pizza, pie, turkey.
This is Reginald. He was the star of the first Thanksgiving we hosted in November 2011.
Oh herbed butter slathered tasty devil.
For the Jersey Shore - and not the one depicted on MTV. Although that one is amusing, I don't want to spend any time with any of those people or ever go to Karma. This is more my speed -  Ocean City looking towards the Music Pier at sunrise.

That I have the ability and opportunity to travel with MFD. And that he will pose for photos like these to make me laugh. HOLY CRAP also...for my sleep mask. I can't sleep without it. Double bang on this photo.

For my freedom, and those who put themselves on the line so that I can keep it.

That I have the balls to say what I think and stand up for myself and others.

For books. And libraries to house them in.

To have the opportunity to feel like I'm doing SOMETHING in the fight against cancer instead of just losing people to the disease.  Here's to Relay For Life, and specifically to my people who come out and walk beside me every year - Team Random Acts of Kindness.

That I truly and deepy appreciate the lovely floating feeling of contentment and happiness. I know I can only really grasp how great that feeling is because there are times when I've been sad.

For amazing sunsets.

For texting. I detest talking on the phone.

And of course, I'm grateful for those of you who read this blog. I sincerely appreciate it. I hope you find it entertaining and want to share it with your friends. Dear Santa, for Christmas I would like more people to read my ramblings. I have been good sometimes, but I am also mean when it's merited.

I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving week that includes:

-A good pre-Thanksgiving weekend for food shopping, house cleaning, dealing with leaves, and watching 208403984 Thanksgiving-themed shows on the Food Network.
-Wednesday: Early dismissal from toiling for the man on Thanksgiving Eve.
-Thursday: lots of quality family time with nary a ruiner in sight, having so many things you're grateful for that you get tongue tied when asked, and a table sagging under the weight of delicious Thanksgiving temptations.
-A sweet post-Thanksgiving weekend with a few walks to get rid of some of Thursday's excesses, lots of time to sleep in, read, relax, hang out with friends and family,  organize the shit out of something, play scrabble, eat leftovers, snuggle with your dogs/cats, dream, and do whatever else tickles your fancy.

In gratitude,

p.s. I am furious at stores that are open on Thanksgiving or open at midnight. How are those workers supposed to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families? What if you had kids and you had to work on Thanksgiving so someone could get a sweater for $5 for their mom for Christmas?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oh, perfect world.

Obviously, in a truly perfect for ME world, I'd be rich beyond comparison and able to spend my time volunteering and reading on the beach. Besides that, I think a perfect world would be one in which...

Food & Drink
Pizza, pasta, cheese, butter, pies, ribeye steaks, hotdogs, Doritos, and ice cream treats would be the no-cal extremely healthy super foods. Brown rice would be the worst possible food you could eat.


Wine, beer and booze would have no calories, and drinking them would not impair your ability to drive or trigger any asshole genes in anyone.

The Human Condition and Governance
No one would be hungry, dirty, abused, neglected, illiterate, forgotten, lonely, dealing with cancer, or without shelter.

All children would be safe and loved, and no parent would lose a child before their time.
There would be no lazy assholes living off the system.

White men would not rule everything. There truly would be equality for all races, creeds, genders, and sexual orientations. Under this also falls: equal pay for equal work, no legislation on wombs, and no limit to who can marry who as long as the union is age appropriate and both parties are willing.

Violent crime including rape, murder, and child molesting wouldn't exist.

Marijuana is legal, mmkay?

Government officials would turn blue when they told a lie, which they'd only be able to do for a maximum of four years. Welcome to term limits, bitches. Oh, and no more health insurance and pensions for eternity while average Americans pay their own insurance and build their own retirement funds. While you might not like to admit it, that is also being a lazy asshole living off of the system.

Asshole Island would be a place where perpetual asshole ruiners would be sent to make each other miserable and leave the rest of us alone. Alternate name: Island of Misfit Toys - Peters, Lil and I use this one. I was introduced to Asshole Island by my friend Sylvia. I have to say I like it. Asshole is one of my favorite words.

Welcome to Asshole Island. Enjoy your life here, Asshole. 
Work weeks would be four days, weekends three.

Standard American vacation time would be four weeks off to start, as well as a week of sick time. And all of the bank/school holidays.

Everyone would be off from December 23 - January 2. I'm sorry, as the wife of a mummer I must demand this. The last week of late nights and extra practices kill the energy of everyone in the house, not just the one mumming. I need my rest.

My nose would never run.

I'd be able to eat and drink whatever I wanted and be healthy and trim.

I'd be the mistress of a shore compound in Strathmere and make a living writing novels about assholes who have moved away to Asshole Island.

Dog hair would disintegrate when it fell off of dogs.
My dogs would live as long as I did so there was never a day when I didn't come home to them howling with pure joy, Geege running in circles yipping and Gussie bringing me a toy.

90210 (the original) would air continually until I died. Those bastards would never age, Donna would never cease to look like a snail, Kelly would never choose between Brandon and Dylan, Brenda would never stop throwing hissy fits, Valerie would continue to be a conniving asshole, and they'd all be on the show at the same time. Exceptions: I want Steve to have a huge bald spot, and I want Andrea Zuckerman to look her real age while everyone else stays young. Also, Noah shouldn't speak.

I'd never get a zit again.

Clown costumes and horror movies wouldn't exist.

My work attire would be yoga pants, sneakers, and a super soft shirt.

Day dreaming,


p.s. it's only Tuesday? For the love of God.
p.p.s. Thank you Shelby Cohen of this blog for pointing out something I forgot - everyone should have their birthday off.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I smell something burning. Rog, is that your underwear?

Sorry Dee Spencer, it is not Rog's underwear. It's the smell of the weekend getting close.

I personally can't wait. I will finish planting my spring and summer bulbs, do a lot of work for Relay For Life of South Philadelphia, make a kick ass yet healthy creamy cauliflower soup, see a lot of friends, and probably have a hangover on Sunday. Ok definitely on the hangover. I'm not as spry as I used to be. Recovery is not swift.


1. As you can see from the forward, I do not have off tomorrow. In Dream World B, I would have all the bank holidays off. Dream World A is where I win the lottery and have every day off.

Thank you, veterans. I appreciate your courage and your service. We are the land of the free only so long as we are also the home of the brave.

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.  It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die. 
~G.K. Chesterton

Along those lines, happy birthday to the USMC. Semper Fidelis. Thank you.

2. My second day hair is brought to you by got2B fat-tastic dry shampoo. Ladies who say you can't go a day without washing your hair, I feel you. I have oily hair and I said that for 20 some years, until my fabulous stylist Kristi Morgan at Sensational Scissors said really, you CAN go a day or more between washings, and your color will last longer. Now I actually think my hair looks best on the second day I don't wash it. Thank you fat-tastic dry shampoo. Find it at Rite Aid. Once a month they run buy 1 get 1 free sales. I always buy two and am happy as a flipping clam.

3. Today is my little nephew's very first birthday. Happy birthday Jax! I love you.

4.Yesterday five Christmas gifts arrived in the mail. I am officially more than halfway finished Christmas shopping. Tick tock, mofos. Lots of awesome online deals out there.

5. I don't understand why so many movies are being made in 3D. I have motion issues, 3D makes me ill. Stop it, Hollywood.

6. Revenge and Modern Family didn't air this week due to the CMAs. I'm thankful this is my complaint for the day.

7. Dunkin Donuts near Track 1 at Suburban Station, please be speedy with your renovations. Where's a girl to get her morning coffee on Fridays without having to tramp through the urine filled underbelly of the station?

8. Brace yourself - I have not made a dish containing mushrooms this week...and I don't plan to. Earth shattering, I know. Is everyone ok? Counselling will be provided for those who need it. The first person to name the type of mushroom in this photo in a comment will receive a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card in the mail.

9. I'm afraid to go to my sculpting class this afternoon. After class two weeks ago, I couldn't walk downstairs without looking like Forrest Gump with his leg braces on. Nor could I sit on the toilet without bracing myself. TMI? It's my blog. I'm not Bobby Brown but it is  my prerogative.

10. I am lifting this ditty pretty directly from my facebook status this morning. I cannot tell a lie.

I'm confused by the Joe Paterno supporters lamenting over what's being done to him. Most of those statuses say nothing about the victims. What if your kid was the next victim because he didn't do enough? Let's be real - he was the most powerful man in Happy Valley. He could've blown the lid off of this and had it handled another way. For a man who holds so much power, taught conservative family values and is a father himself, he should have done more when he saw nothing was being done by the AD. When there is a far reaching coverup of of this magnitude, EVERYONE must go. When you're the boss, it starts with you. No, he's not going out with his head held high. None of those kids left the showers with theirs up either.
Sandusky is a vile being. Those who stood by and didn't do enough are not in the A+ column. In his FB status, my friend PJ Katz opened with this quote, which is so very relevant to this situation: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." THAT is why Joe, and hopefully the rest of the people who knew about this, are being removed.
To those who say we don't know everything: No, we don't. But we do have 23 pages of a grand jury report that tell us what happened. We do know after that report came out, 20 more victims came forward. We know that Paterno himself says in hindsight he wishes he did more. What more do we need to know? The unwillingness of anyone who witnessed something to follow through and make sure this predator was dealt with appropriately makes them culpable as well. To do what is required of you legally does not in any way mean you did what was required of you morally, and that's what makes you unable to sleep at night.
To PSU alums and students: Your institution is famous for its football program, but it is certainly not defined by it. You have many things to be proud of that don't have anything to do with a football field. Don't take it personally when the world at large puts your icons on blast. Find solace and strength in your numbers. You still ARE Penn State. Current students, go back to class. Learn, grow, make the world a better place.
To those that still want to argue: imagine the boy in the shower was your child, and someone walked in on him being raped and didn't shout or attempt to intervene physically. And the people in power who knew about it didn't follow up to find that boy, or to make sure it didn't happen to another little boy. How staunch are you now in your support of the coaching and administrative staff who had knowledge of these heinous acts? If you say you still support them, I call bullshit.

I simply can't understand the sympathies expressed for the adults who knew about the abuse instead of the victims who endured it. It sickens me.
Blast off,

Monday, November 7, 2011

I scream, you scream, we all scream for mushrooms

You read that right, and not the magic kind either. My facebook peeps know I've been cooking with mushrooms on all burners in my kitchen since mid-October. I am enchanted and possibly obsessed with the funghi.

Since mid October I've made the following:
Rustic Mushroom Tart: this was excellent, but definitely not healthy. I did use skim milk in the bechemal sauce to cut a little bit of fat.


Mushroom Herb Mac & Cheese: This was excellent, and not too heavy.

I just threw this creamy dreamy pasta together with a bit of a veggie ragout: tomatoes, zucchini, onion, garlic, and baby bellas.

Lunch last week - veggie beef barley soup in the crockpot, adapted from my Mom Mom's recipe. The baby bellas stole the show.

By last week, I was recklessly throwing mushrooms into everything. I added baby bellas to this lovely veggie lasagna:

For this week's lunches, I cut the beef and just made mushroom barley soup:

And yesterday while I had the mushroom barley soup going, I made what I thought would land me my mushroom crown of glory: PDub's Burgundy Mushrooms. They cook on the stove top for NINE hours: six with the lid on and three with them off. In the time they were on the stove, I exercised, spent an hour and a half doing yardwork and planting bulbs, packed lunch, cut up veggies, put laundry away, spent 4.5 hours at my neighbor's house drinking wine and shooting the shit with some ladies, and read half of a James Patterson book. That is some serious time on the stove.

I've wanted to make them for years. They were good, but not as good as I expected them to be. MFD loved them over buttery white rice.
Four pounds of button mushrooms

After six hours of cooking with the lid on

After the full nine hours

PDub's mushrooms stuffed with brie are a better bet for me. I've done them with brie and with fontina, I prefer the brie but neither disappoints. They define yum. Serve them as an appetizer at a party this holiday season. Your guests will appreciate them.

I am looking forward to a life partnership with mushrooms. Monday over yet? Good Christ.



p.s. I encountered three slugs at close range during Sunday's yard work. I'm glad I refrained from crapping my pants and screaming like a school girl.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

I'm not talking about private parts, dirty birds.
I'm talking about pet peeves. Things that piss you off.  Most people love to talk about their peeves because it's fun to agree with others about things that really chap your ass and fill your pockets with rage.

Here are mine:

1. Wet pant hems.

2. Repeating. When others do it, or when I have to do it.

3.In the home: shower curtains left open, unmade beds, full trashcans, no ice.

4. Whining.

5. Waiting.
6. Entitlement.

7. Starbucks sizing. I go in for Pumpkin Spice Lattes three times a year, and I always smile widely and say medium or large, because I don't live in an alternate universe in which a not served anywhere coffee cup size (8 oz) = short, a small coffee = Tall, a medium coffee = Grande, and a large coffee = Venti.

8. Repetitive noise. Specifically tapping.

9. Multi-media: Having the TV and radio or two TVs tuned to different stations on at the same time makes me legitimately over the cuckoo's nest insane.

10. When I can't fast forward through commercials On Demand. I'm looking at you, ABC shows.

11. Dancing around issues. Do not blow smoke up my ass. Whatever it is, just say it.

12. Made up or butchered names for kids.While you CAN just throw a y in where an i or an e would be, you shouldn't. Really.

13. Dog owners who don't pick up poop. And people who are mean to dogs.

How could you be mean to them?

14. When I call customer service, enter my phone or account number via keypad, then the human representative asks me for it again. I don't feel like giving it to you again.

What are yours?

Happy Friday!

p.s. Bath & Body Works is running their buy 3 get 3 free sale, great for the holidays.
p.p.s. If you got The Body Shop Groupon a few weeks back, they are having buy 2 get 1 free or buy 1 get 1 half off. Great deal combined with your groupon!
p.p.p.p.infinitys. East Coasters, did you see this sky this morning? BEAUTIFUL!

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