Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting excited...

I am still working on my Christmas post, but I have been a bit nomadic these last two weeks due to my current living situation. Hopefully, I can finish my Christmas post before New Years...but don't count on it.

Anyway...I checked out my new place and it's perfect for what I need; in my price range, two bedrooms, a dining room, a smaller kitchen (big frown), gas stove (big smile) and a backyard with a patio. It's in a nice area we call East Sacramento, near a park and the local state college. I should be all moved in by the third week of January. Something to know about me...I am kind of like a missile; once my target is in sight, I am completely locked in.

I'll be keeping you posted...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Year, new life

Well, this year will mark much change in my life. Craig and I have decided to part ways. It was time, perhaps past the time. Although it is disappointing that my relationship was less than a successful one, I learned a lot about myself and found that I am stronger than I thought I was. Now the harder part; Nadine and Jerry Lee will go with Craig as they are truly his dogs. If we stood on opposite ends of a football field and I dressed myself in ribeye steaks marinated in peanut butter from head to toe, they would still go to Craig. I may be deluded, but I am not that deluded.

Change can be a scary thing, but I am feeling not one scintilla of fear, just excitement. This is my opportunity to chase my dreams and focus on myself. As your classic co-dependent, I have spent a great deal of my time and energy making sure everyone had the ability to chase their goals. Now at the cusp of turning 40, I am allowing myself to be selfish. Of course, as most of my friends and family know, it will be next to IMPOSSIBLE for me to be selfish with them. I love spoiling them…now I just have more time to do so. However, I am going to focus on my pursuits to the best of my ability. A friend suggested that I get a passport to have on hand, just in case. He could be on to something. After all, luck is when opportunity meets preparation. …

So, there will be some big transitions in the coming months; a purging of old things, embracing new things, moving to a new domicile, a big birthday, and a few trips already in the works. I am not looking back, I am not holding on to any regret. And I already have friends and family ready to step in to make these transitions easier.

And this time, my New Year’s resolutions will be obtainable.… to be open to everything that life has to offer, spend more time with my friends and family, and allow myself to be happy, just because.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Twelve Steps...

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable

I am obsessed. Yes, and for once, it does not revolve around the holy trinity of coffee, vodka and Patrick Dempsey. I am a products junkie. To be more precise, I am a beauty product junkie. And like any good addict, I have learned to acquire beyond my means and I have acquired quite A LOT…not junk, but the good stuff! Case in point, my bathroom, and the hall closet, and another hall closet, and the spare bedroom/office and my purse, and my ALWAYS fully packed Samsonite toiletry bag (for those impromptu weekends), and my car, and my cubicle at work and the list goes on and on; all of these places are either packed or close to being packed with all my purchases, those planned and those purchased on impulse. Impulse buys are like one night stands…totally wrong, completely delicious and will most likely involve a walk of shame. I even have some products delivered right to my front door on a regularly scheduled basis, thank you Philosophy. Normally, I do not acknowledge much less address my addiction. But the other day, it stared me straight in the face.

I do my very best to stay away from my church…or my churches; Ulta and Sephora. One cannot succumb to the seduction of one’s passions, if not in the vicinity to do so… And if one does succumb the rationalization is easy... For it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Words that every good Catholic lives by…

Since I refuse to step foot in a mall during the month of December, I elected to go to ULTA. ( I am currently researching religions that don’t require me to go into debt to add wrapped boxes under a tree that was planted for the sole purpose to be chopped down and drugged into my home…all this in the name of someone’s birthday…I’m just saying) Anyway, I went to ULTA under the pretense that I was nearly out of the BEST product in the whole world, Smashbox’s Photofinish. There it was, in a convenient boxed set at $15.00 over the normal price for the addition of two other products that I didn’t even know that I needed until I walked in the door. And for my purchase, they gave me a gift valued at $22.00; my biggest addiction, lipstick. Oh yeah, being bad feels oh so good… Thank you, Ulta, thank you. While there, I picked up the world’s best lash curler, brow tech wax, a sample of perfume and some other bibble bobble that I could not live without which was promptly placed in my basket. $90 or so dollars later, I left excited as a schoolgirl to get home and “play” with my purchases.

So, the other day I was cleaning house and went to the bathroom to finally put my new precious babies away in the drawer when I realized there wasn’t any room. What? How can this be? Let me see, if I take out these two shower gels and put them in the shower… Oh, wait…there are already 7 different shower gels there. Well, let me just put them on the back shelf of the tub…oh wait, there are already 4 different bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Okay, well I will just put it in the bath basket… No, no I won’t. You guessed it; the micro-dermabrasion set, various shaving creams, bath salts, sugar scrubs and bath oils are all living there. Fine, I will just put them in the hall closet…this, the closet that currently houses 2 full sets of the skincare line that I use, 5 backup bottles of Bath and Body anti-bacterial hand soaps in various scents, guest soap bars, back up toothbrushes and toothpastes, and 2 HUGE unopened bath baskets I won for enduring some god awful bridal shower at Luau Gardens…scary!

What can I say? I enjoy being a girl…my body is my temple and I pay it the attention that it deserves. Isn’t that what Jesus said or something like that??? I really need to place the blame entirely where it belongs, my mother and her immortal words... “A man does not want an unkempt woman”. See, all her fault.

However, despite my mother’s lack of contrition for her part in all this, I realized that I may need some serious help. I have beauty products in every nook and cranny of my home, my life. I had actually hid some and forgot and then later “found” when they came crashing down on my head when I was cleaning out the office closet. Sensuality Jasmine Vanilla body wash can give a mighty nasty bump on one’s head. Seriously, I could never wash, moisturize, condition or make up myself as much as it would take to use up every product I currently owned. In fact, it is quite possible that if any of these items were purchased on credit, I may still be paying for them.

Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a beauty product-aholic. I have been an addict for nearly 40 years.

Hi Michelle, welcome.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It is the 7 week count down to my total domination… Even if by some cosmic malfunction of the universe, I happen to lose the challenge, I have still made plans for rewards of my own. After all, I have been a very good girl this year…

Behold my thinspiration dresses and shoes. Yes, Victoria’s Secret and BCBG are just a few of my favorite things. The rest are a secret….shhh.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Sorry I have been neglectful to my blog…it’s a love/hate thing. See, all my relationships are dysfunctional… At least the first step is acknowledging the problem. That’s usually as far as I get with the 12 step approach. After 40 years, not quite sure what the other steps are since I can’t seem to get off of this one. There you go…I acknowledged that problem too.

Anyway, what has happened in the last four weeks…Retail Therapy, Happy Hour, Thanksgiving, Dog Sitting, Baby Shower, and Bout with the Flu? Yep, that’s about it. Trust me; I have saved you all a GREAT deal of time in not writing about all these trivial events. But, I will try to cover Thanksgiving, Dog Sitting and the Baby Shower. You will have to use your imagination for the others.

After years and years of emotionally charged, door slamming, stressful Thanksgiving get togethers, my family has finally gotten to a point (by eliminating the bad elements) where it is something to look forward to. So, it was turkey two ways (smoked and fried). I knew we were off to a good start when I was promptly handed a Bloody Mary when I walked in the door. Do we all know each other or what?? And let me tell you, my BEAUTIFUL cousin Erin makes a mean Bloody Mary. Much turkey and wine were consumed and fun was had by all…Thank you my precious family…I really am thankful for their continual support and love for me. These guys are the best of the bunch!

The family and beautiful Erin...the Bloody Mary Master

The boys on dish duty

The gluttony never ends...

As for the Dog Sitting...Barkley is currently staying with us. As he has put on some pounds, he has been enrolled in Doggie Fat Camp…he thought he was on vacation. His father will barely recognize him and I will be grateful for the weight loss as Barkley is convinced he is a lap dog. Personally, I think he looks like Winston Churchill with a butt-hurt face. Poor little fella looks like he could use a drink or two.

Belly up to the bar Barkley....

Finally, we come to the Baby Shower. Our friend Graham is expecting a daughter in January. Although the situation is unconventional, it is still a reason to celebrate…however; we really don’t need a reason. Breathing and having a pulse would work too. Nothing like a drunken baby shower to welcome the impending new arrival… And boy do we know how to bring it! The baby might as well know what’s in store for her… Daddy’s friends will be mixing the drinks, not changing the diapers. We offer our own unique kind of support.

Tanya's not so subtle hint to Graham to keep his fellas in check

Let the drinks and conversations flow

and flow

A little game of Pin the Pacifier on the Baby

George is loving the game...or maybe most of his Saturday evenings are spent blindfolded in the arms of a lady...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ready, set...NO!

Okay…I NEVER put goals on my blog because if I don’t obtained them and I am the only one to know…it’s like I never failed. You know, the whole “if a tree falls in a forest” theory. Plus, I hate to fail at anything. I rarely attempt or take on anything new unless I can guarantee myself that I will succeed.

I have organized a weight loss challenge at work. For $20.00 buy in, you must lose the largest percentage of your body weight by February 4, 2009. The kick off was November 4th and the pot is almost at $500.00. I already have my camera lens picked out when I claim my prize.

Now, I really don’t have a lot of weight to lose. I have been steadily dropping weight over the last few months by changing my eating habits and infrequent yoga sessions. I have a goal of 20 pounds to lose…not too much, but those are the hardest pounds to get off.

So, this is where it gets scary. Because, I am PAINFULLY aware that the only way to lose these last pounds will be an exercise program… And Craig has been suggesting that I take up spinning and even suggested creating a program for me to follow. Really? Why am I not surprised??? Yesterday he gave me an electrolyte sample and in his words, I quote… “Here…so you can use after your next intense workout”. This utter from the lips of a man that sings the praises of three intense workouts a day. I can barely eat three meals a day… I think he should join a support group or a 12 step program; this type of thinking CANNOT be healthy.

Anyway, this all feels like treacherous territory that I am unwilling to venture into… I have no problem working with personal trainers, yoga teachers, fitness instructors, etc….but having people I am close to act in this capacity makes me uncomfortable. Besides, I have the alpha position in a relationship for the first time in my life and I don’t think I want to take orders from him even if it’s for my health or $500.00. Add a few zeros on that figure and I may change my mind. MAYBE.

Monday, October 27, 2008

seoul food

Our friend Tim occassionally comes to visit us during his work travels. It's his chance to unwind and participate in some mild debauchery; to remember what life was like as a single minded single. I try to come up with a menu that is diverse and completely different from any I have prepared for him. This time around I opted for a Korean menu of Pork and Rib eye Bulgogi, Chicken and Beef Short Rib Kalbi, Korean pancakes, steamed Miso spinach, Kimchi, seasoned tofu, plenty of spice and a disturbing amount of wine...

The meat is grilled and served with lettuce leaves, steamed rice, kimchi and Kochujang (red pepper paste; aka-Korean Ketchup). The Kochujang is sweet and very spicy...we use it on everything. I love a menu that includes plenty of spice and allows me to indulge in Kimchi. Fermented spicy cabbage is not for the faint of heart and now I can add fermented spicy tofu to my list of loves.

The preparation of the meat is a very simple process. I am lucky to have a Korean market in town and they sell the meat already sliced for my purpose. The pork and rib eye are just barely frozen then sliced thin. The short ribs are a HUGE bargin and are sliced thin with the bone in. In most Asian markets you can find the Korean BBQ Bulgogi Marinade already prepared in the jar. For the short ribs and the chicken (boneless, skinless thighs), I place them in a Ziploc bag, pour the marinade over, toss and refrigerate overnight.

For the rib eye and t
he pork, I went spicy. To the marinade, I added a couple of tablespoons of the Kochujang, mixed well and made a Ziploc bag for each. I prepared this about 3 hours before I planned to cook it and left it at room temperature until I was ready to proceed. I cooked all the meat out on my grill. For the rib eye and pork, I laid down two disposable foil trays directly on the grill and stir fried. And in my usual fashion, I served a HUGE platter loaded with meat...convenient for loading directly to my guests' plates.

Monday, October 20, 2008


A good way to start the work week. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


as in shoes. The last you had all seen my toes, they were in dire straights. Swollen, black and blue is not how I usually present my lower digits. To cheer them and me up, I decided to dress them up. Here are my new lovelies. Darling, aren’t they? I think I'm in love...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Prost! Ouch?

So, Friday marked Oktoberfest and we were ready to get our drink on. Our motley crew consisted of me, Tina, Rick, Tanya, Kevin, Chris, and Sally. Craig was down with the stomach flu...We were joined later by Kelly and Jeff. Of course, there are always a few losers who fail to make the party and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. I will say no more...

As the professional drinkers that you know and love, Tanya and I got there before the doors opened so we could claim the best table. You know, the table near the beer, food, bathrooms and the smoking area.

So, the evening went as it always does....drink beer, eat food, drink more beer, eat more food, dance the chicken dance, drink more beer, down shots of Jaggermeister with a gaggle of lesbians in designer eye wear, dance the polka, drink more beer.

All was going well until the end of the evening... While breaking a sweat on the dance floor, I took a spill on some beer that had been spilled. In fact, when I think back, it was really just a blip on my memory of the evening. After leaving the dance floor and settling back at the table, I somehow found myself in the middle of a fight...man "with chair as weapon" attacks large group, unfortunate me in the middle. Luckily, Chris (the only sober one) grabbed the offender and held him until the law showed up. Finally, the police on hand had something to do besides flirt with women on the way to the bathroom. They quickly hauled off the chair wielding bandit...

It was a good evening and when I arrived at home, I noticed how much my foot was hurting. After I removed my boots, I looked down to see that two of my toes were swollen, bruised and throbbing. How does one tell the difference between sprained and broken toes? Nonetheless, I spent the rest of the weekend with my foot elevated and my toes on ice. Now that's how to party.

Happiness...a full room of beer drinking fun loving people...

This guy was amazing...he's twice my age and moves a hell of alot better than I...

Kevin...smiling in anticipation of the Chicken Dance.

Yummy...and the sauerkraut was so good. I could have eaten a plate full of it...

Tanya and Chris make quite the pair.

Awh...aren't they cute?

Rick is having a great time...although next time, a DD will be planned so another pitcher can be ordered.

What follows is a series of pictures that find Kevin surrounded by a bevy of Lesbians urging his consumption of Jagger shots.

And he lives to tell the tale....

Tina was kind enough to pick up some ginger cookies for her kids. I wonder if she told them where her cookies had been????

A couple of tarts holding a couple of cookies.

A fond farewell to Oktoberfest 2008...it was fun

The only casualty of the night...my two toes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Inevitably…as the season changes and the days shorten, I move to pursuits of comfort food, fires and good books. As a child, I remember rainy fall days cooped up in the house. I would head to my room and bury my nose into a book to wait out the weather but would be called out by the aromas coming from the kitchen. Even though times could be rocky in my home, my mother always made wonderful food. My indoctrination into food and cooking was one of diligence and a commitment to the ‘old way’ of doing things.

My great uncle would send her dry chilies from Mexico and as she had always done, my mother would burn her hands as she blanched them in boiling water and delicately removed their skins. If we were lucky to get fresh chilies, she would char them in the oven. My mother was not one to rely on convenience when it came to preparing food. It was one of those funny quirks of my mother’s…. She had two food processors, but chose to ground her chilies and garlic for her Roja sauce in a Molcajete just as my grandmother did.

In our home, the stove would have several pots going at one time. As always, my mom had a huge pot of pinto beans simmering away. Of course, that pot was preceded by the long and arduous process of ‘picking and sorting beans’. My mother would sit me at the kitchen table with two bowls, a bag of dried beans and a paper towel. In small manageable amounts, the beans would be poured on the towel and sifted through to remove any stones or imperfect legumes that happen to find themselves in the bag. One bowl for the undesirables and one bowl for the perfectly picked…It was pointless to take any shortcuts, for my mother would just scoop up my sifted pile, pour it out on the towel and direct me to start over. It was admirable; frustrating, but admirable. And although my mother was far from perfect, she nurtured and loved me through her cooking.

So, in gearing up for autumn, I went looking for some of my favorite recipes and I stumbled across a dog-eared recipe card for my mother’s spaghetti sauce. There it was typed with the new typewriter I received for my birthday. Some ingredients didn’t even make it on the card. There weren’t any instructions either; those were saved to my memory… Hands down, my mother had the best spaghetti sauce I had ever eaten…at least I thought so. I pleaded with her to show me how to make it and on one of those rainy days…we set out to do just that.

First she showed me how to dice an onion; first vertically, then horizontally and finally sliced crosswise. Then she pulled out the head of garlic and placed it in a kitchen towel. She tightly wound the towel and banged it against the counter; like magic, all the cloves separated. Next she grabbed a saucer and pushed down on the garlic cloves; the papery skins loosened and fell off. Since the garlic was small, my mother fearing a trip to the emergency room minced it herself.

The hardest part of this lesson was the dry ingredients. My mother NEVER measured anything. So on that day, I made her pour the ingredients in her hand and I would then take the measuring spoons to determine a quantifiable amount. However, some ingredients remained in their “handful” measurement. Over the course of my lesson she bestowed her hints and tricks; added sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese to help thicken the sauce; wine added at the end to retain the flavor. This would be my first foray into writing recipes.

I always thought that one day, my mother and I would be in my kitchen preparing food, but that day never came. I often find myself in the kitchen wondering what she would think of my cooking, would she be proud, would she recognize that I still follow her instruction? And when I prepare lentils, I take out two bowls and a paper towel and head to the kitchen table.

Friday, September 19, 2008


It's about time... Dinner, is poured.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

fig-ment part deux

For some reason, lamb has become a ghost in the city... I couldn’t find a leg of lamb to save my life. All my usual haunts were out, weren’t on order or were taken off the order list. I thought that veal was the only politically volatile meat. Perhaps things have changed… However, once I get an idea in my head, I cannot rest until I can see it through. So, lack of lamb required a journey to Whole Foods. Unfortunately, I don’t live anywhere near one…actually, that could be a good thing. They don’t call it Whole Paycheck for nothing… So, lamb and fig skewers were on the menu.

Grilled Lamb and Fig Skewers

For mint-pepper glaze:
2/3 cup apricot jam
1/3 cup pomegranate syrup
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

For lamb:
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
12 fresh figs, halved vertically
1/4 cup olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly coarse-ground black pepper

Make mint-pepper glaze
In small saucepan over moderate heat, stir together jam, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest. Bring to boil, then lower heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes. Stir in mint and set aside.

Prepare grill for cooking
If using charcoal grill, open vents on bottom, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 4 to 5 seconds. If using gas grill, preheat burners on high with hood closed 10 minutes, then turn down to moderately high.

Prep lamb
In large bowl, toss together lamb, figs, and olive oil. Add garlic, ground cumin and coriander, salt, and pepper, and toss gently to combine. Thread lamb cubes and figs onto skewers.

Grill lamb
Cook lamb to slightly less than desired doneness (cubes will continue to cook after being removed from grill), turning once and brushing with glaze during last 30 seconds of grilling on each side, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.

We served our skewers with a green salad dressed with a balsamic dressing, slivered almonds and crumbled goat cheese. With whole wheat pita bread and hummus on the side.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


We had some company on Saturday night and I didn’t feel like making one of those meals that required all items to be timed perfectly with lavish presentation. I had just been to a baby shower luncheon and really just wanted to take a nap. So, I went retro…casserole. I have a recipe for baked ziti that seems to be a hit.

Baked Ziti with Tomatoes and Spinach

½ pound of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (preferably pork)
½ pound of hot Italian sausage casings removed (preferably pork)
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
28 ounce can of peeled and diced tomatoes with juice (I use Muir Glen)
4 ounces of prepared pesto sauce
Marsala wine

1 pound of freshly cooked penne or ziti pasta (I used whole wheat)
6-10 ounces of spinach leaves
8-ounces of cubed mozzarella cheese
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)

Heave heavy large saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté onion and garlic until soft; add sausage and cooked thoroughly, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and juices to pan. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Add Marsala wine to taste to cut the acidity of the tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375 º. Lightly oil 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish. Combine pasta, spinach, mozzarella and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Stir in hot tomato sauce. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 2/3 Parmesan cheese over. Bake until sauce bubbles and cheeses melt, about 20 minutes.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Okay…I need a laugh to end the work week. Tanya and I decided to go get a couple of slices for lunch. We work downtown, so the majority of parking consists of parallel action. I have many talents (varying degrees of expertise); cooking, photography, writing, entertaining. Parallel parking however, is not one of them. Somewhere near my 80th adjustment to get myself in the spot, Tanya compared me to Austin Powers. That was it…. I completely lost it and laughed so hard that no noise escaped. I just shook... It was utterly painful and hilarious. She actually had to get out of the car to direct my 81st attempt. Apparently, we could take this act on the road as we were providing much comic relief to the passersby.

Need a cake baked, I’m your girl. You need a picture taken, I am your girl. You need me to write you a research paper, I’m your girl. You need to plan a birthday party, I’m your girl.

You need me to parallel park, you might want to consider public transportation

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

fig-ment of my imagination

Well, this whole ‘fig’ crop that we were the lucky recipients of, required me to do a little fig research. Do I want to make preserves? Do I want to make tapenade? Do I want to grill them with lamb? Do I just want to sit down with my lovely little fig friends and a log of goat cheese and just devour??? For the first part of my fig fantasy, I opted to make pizza…

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza

Ball of pizza dough (I picked up a whole wheat one at Trader Joes)
Extra virgin olive oil and unsalted sweet butter
1-clove of garlic
2-sweet onions (Maui, Vidalia, etc) sliced crosswise
½ log of goat cheese
12-16 fresh figs (preferably Black Mission) sliced in half lengthwise
2-thin pieces of Proscuitto sliced in chiffonade style
chiffonade of fresh basil

Preheat oven to 450

Slice the onions. In a heavy bottom pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat. Sauté the onions until caramelized, approximately 20-30 minutes. Turn as needed.

Crush garlic clove and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well to incorporate the garlic into the oil.

Allow the dough to rest at room temperature on a floured surface for 20 minutes. Roll dough out to a 12-inch diameter. Place on pizza stone in oven for 5-7 minutes to lightly crisp the crust.

Remove the crust from the oven and brush with garlic olive oil. Crumble goat cheese and spread onions over crust. Add the figs and proscuitto over the cheese and onions.

Bake pizza an additional 10-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Allow pizza to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes and add fresh basil before serving

Monday, September 1, 2008


During these summer months, Craig's bike rides run the river route on the Delta. Into Clarksburg, 5 miles outside of Sacramento, you will find wineries and breezy Delta living. Lucky for me, Craig has discovered a couple of Black Mission Fig trees and has come home with figs in hand. We aren't sure if they are technically on someone's property...but I think the only crime we would be guilty of is allowing those figs to die on the tree, never to be enjoyed....

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I found one of the doves outside last night and I couldn't interpret what this look meant...

But, I think I know what this one meant....

"You've killed my child, prepare to die..."

Images of the Hitchcock film, The Birds flashed in my mind. I opted to go inside.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


We planted tomatoes this spring and our crop is finally producing mass quantities…we can barely keep up. And, we should have some tomatillos in the next month…perfect for making my Posole. With our recent harvest, I made some good use of my tomatoes. First off I made some Pico de Gallo which I could eat right out of the bowl. For dinner last night, we had Roasted Trout. Summer may not be my favorite season, but it’s my favorite time of year for produce.

Pico de Gallo

1 pound plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
6 tablespoons (packed) chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chilies
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; toss to blend well. Drizzle olive oil to taste to add richness. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand at least 30 minutes for flavors to develop.

Roasted Trout with Tomatoes, Shiitake Mushrooms and Ginger

Nonstick cooking spray
2 whole rainbow trout (about 12 ounces each), cleaned, boned, butterflied

2 green onions, chopped
2 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons Ponzu
2 teaspoons dark roasted sesame oil
Fresh cilantro sprigs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Open fish like a book and arrange, skin side down, on prepared baking sheet.

Mix next 5 ingredients in bowl. Sprinkle mixture over fish, drizzle with the Ponzu and sesame oil, then top with cilantro sprigs. Bake uncovered until fish is opaque in center, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


So this weekend, we headed to my cousin Tina’s house for a BBQ. She lives some 40 miles from me in the foothills of Northern California. For fun, Craig decided to cycle and meet me there. Let me repeat that…

FOR FUN…Craig decided to cycle and meet me there. Whatever...

FOR FUN…I decided to drive there with cocktail ingredients in hand; Absolut Citron,Triple Sec and lemons.

Once I arrived, I immediately took possession of the martini shaker and proceeded to knock out a few drinks. Cocktails happily in hand, we joined the fellas (my cousin’s husband Rick and their friend Larry) in the living room. For some reason, they were watching a 10 year old James Bond movie. You know, the one where Denise Richards was the nuclear physicist named Christmas Snow. Or was it the one with some other hot chick cast as the brainiac. Does it even matter?

As the drinks continued, we made our way to the pool and chatted while the guys cooled off with a swim. At some point, Tina and I headed back to the kitchen to skewer kabobs and make more drinks… Eventually, Larry’s wife Susie showed up and she was promptly handed a martini. She had some catching up to do.

The guys joined us back in the house and we all started to wonder when Craig would make it up here…and then we saw him coming down the hill. So, all of us liquor lubricated nuts made our way outside to jump up and cheer. Kind of a low-rent Tour De France… The guys went up to welcome Craig and commented; “You look so…bicycle-y.”

When we settled down to eat dinner, my 70 year old aunt joined us. And since the rest of us were in such good “spirits”, she quickly picked up on our energy. However, at some point, the topic of sex came up and my aunt made sexual comments about her daughter and son-in-law (Tina and Rick) and then asked some sex question of Rick. And then there were some other gnarly sex words that came out of her mouth but all I could see were her lips moving in slow motion...

(Insert index fingers into ears and shake your head back and forth while chanting, “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA”…LOUDLY.)

I looked at my aunt and said calmly, “You need to stop talking now. And no more vodka for you…You have lost your dinner talking privileges.”

If you ever need to sober up…QUICKLY, just have your parents or someone in that age vicinity attempt some sex banter. It’s against the laws of nature…

Friday, August 15, 2008


As many of you know…I have had the sincere pleasure of having Tanya as my cubicle neighbor at work for nearly two years. And in that time, she has become one of my dearest friends; the source of a guaranteed laugh on those rough days. She’s been gunning for a promotional position and was offered and ultimately accepted a promotion to work in a city an hour outside where we live. And although I am totally thrilled that she got the job she wanted, I have been in a bit of denial that she won’t be a part of my “everyday life”. And I have bigger issues than just her lack of presence…

Who is going to partner with me in our utter contempt of Brangelina…okay, mostly just Angelina because we are still on Team Jen (even though we are still confused about the whole John Mayer thing)?

Who am I going to obsess with at 8:00 in the morning about our lunch plans? It does after all; take SEVERAL hours to decide what we will do. Because THIS is the most important decision of any day… We once spent the greater part of a day trying to find a restaurant that served authentic German potato dumplings. Doesn’t everyone? (By the way, we are still looking)

Who else other than me thinks that when people are whispering within earshot, they MUST be talking about us? Isn’t it ALWAYS about us?

Who else, other than me believes that every shampoo, hair serum, conditioner, gel, whatever purchased is going to magically turn our natural curly, frizzy hair into that of the “Oh, Great Evil One”…that bitch, Angelina. It never happens, but we continue to purchase our little “bottles of hope” despite our track record. Damn you Angie!!!

Who am I going to share all of my Jerry Lee and Nadine stories and have the other person actually show interest? Most people give me the standard patronizing, “Oh wow, really?” Kind of the same response I give when people tell me stories about their children. Brutal honesty.

And on the topic of children, who else other than me finds it completely reasonable that there be segregation of adults and children for almost every activity (especially Disneyland)? As we have both said, our tubes tie themselves on the first note of a child’s wail. Why pretend? After all, Tanya is my only friend that was selfless enough to not ruin MY social life by having a child. Thank you.

Who else, other than me, wants to kidnap David Duchovny and hold him as our personal sex slave for eternity, or until the novelty wears off…whatever comes first.

Who else, other than me, thinks vodka is a food group? Shut up…yes it is!

Who else other than me thinks the most perfect evening consists of sitting our ass, with our dogs, on the sofa, a TiVo fully loaded with Forensic Files and a cocktail in hand?

Who else other than me can find the humor in almost ever situation and in some situations where perhaps we should not…? Unless the situation is detrimental to us…then, not so funny.

And, there are very few people other than Tanya that can completely relate to my relationship with my dysfunctional parents (especially our contentious relationships with our mothers), always listen, never judge and make me laugh despite the utter seriousness of the situation. She is part of a network of friends that have filled in those family relationship gaps and created a family that is there of choice, not obligation.

So, it is with great sadness that I accept the inevitable…

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This past weekend, my cousin and I got together to goof around and hang out with each other. Her husband, a Boy Scout troop leader was having an 8-hour training meeting at their home, so we needed to find away to occupy ourselves. We decided to head to the town of Folsom and check out their historic district (essentially, the tourist trap). God forbid, we were tourists…But years ago, my cousin and I both worked for my mom when she owned a shop there, so we had some connection to the place.

The main street

After browsing a few shops we made a lunch stop at a Mexican restaurant for fajitas and margaritas.

Hello, lover...

Afterwards, we ended up in the candy shop and spent some time there watching them make fudge and brittle.

And for our patience, we were rewarded with spoonfuls of fudge...

During our wait, we check out the the lovely lady making candy on the other side of the shop. We wondered how much a gig like this paid…how bad can life be surrounded by chocolate?

All and all a fun little outing…as usual with us two!