Friday, October 20, 2017

Party on Mike...

TGIF is an understatement today.

I know I've said that more than once, but this time I mean it...like for realz.
I'm not going to go into the details because they're just not that fun, but instead I will tell you how I've decided to cope with said poopy week:

Party Cake.

I consider myself a bit of a food connoisseur (even though I had to look up the spelling of connoisseur because I've never excelled at the spelling arts), I love to cook and research recipes, I adore the history of food, its origins and how it evolved, I also love a culinary adventure. Even though I'm all for the finer things in food, I'm no snob. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth...it was one of those plastic ones that are slightly bent so toddler hands can hold them, I think? Anyway, even though I do enjoy a gourmet extravaganza in my kitchen, I can also fully appreciate a good old fashioned boxed cake...in particular Party Cake. How could one really argue with Party Cake? The name itself just screams fun.  There's actual fun in it, yes the sprinkles are called "Funfetti!", and while it's a white cake the funfetti is all the colors of the rainbow!!! I mean its literally a party In A Box!

Speaking of things in boxes, to go with the party cake I'm making another favorite around here known as Fun In The Box.

When Michael and I first started dating in the late 90's, after a night of partying on the East Side of Cleveland, there was always a special place at the end of the night known as "Mama's Boy." Mama's Boy was a little hole in the wall that served really some of the best after drinking food I've ever had. It was a hybrid between Chinese food, Soul food and Barbecue, but our favorite item on the menu was Fun In The Box. Fun In The Box consisted of 4 chicken wings served over a bed of French fries, covered in hot sauce, served in a takeout Chinese container. As simple as it sounds it was amazing...and that wasn't just the alcohol talking.

A few weeks ago, after another particularly long and exhausting week I surprised Michael with my homemade version of Fun In The Box as a way to harken back to our simpler times together. A time when we were young and the stakes weren't as high, there weren't as many people depending on us, there wasn't as much to worry about...and Mama's Boy was waiting for us after a night of letting off steam. It was appreciated more than I could have ever expected.

I hope some day far off in the future when another food connoisseur  (I'm going to use it as many times as I can since I took the time to look up the spelling) is researching the origins of food and how it has evolved, they come across this blog, from an unknown middle aged woman...who wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth...and the marriage of Fun In The Box and Party Cake as the only way for anyone to truly combat and shitty week is discovered.


Peace,

V




Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Last time I saw Richard...

Was Detroit in 68 and he told me....

Okay I wasn't alive in 68, but whatevs. I love that song.

While I'm definitely a romantic I'd like to hope I don't end up cynical and drunk, boring someone in some dark cafe, but I wouldn't totally put it past myself?

It's pouring rain outside and my kitchen smells of onions. Not the bad kind though, the good caramelized soon to be French onion soup kind of onions. Just awaiting white wine and beef broth,  and eventually to be topped with a little cognac and cream, and some kind of bread or crouton with melting cheese. I can tell already it's going to be good.

In a little twist on this recipe I've made many times before, I've added some smoked chili flakes that I've become obsessed with. the smokiness is adding something special to the smell that I'm definitely enjoying, something a little camp fiery.

So this is how my days look now. Me at home wth three chihuahuas planning and preparing dinner for my family who are all off on their adventurous days. Its been kind of weird, being alone again. Not bad, but weird not having my children around me all day, needing me, asking for rides to hang out with friends, talking about random things, yelling, being cranky, all that good stuff.
I don't think it's been long enough for me to feel sad about it? or Maybe I won't? I actually kind of enjoy the silence. I think I may be like one of those old ladies that just enjoys puttering around...and little dogs, and flowers, but I'm only 45?

When I was in grade school there was a woman we called the Flower Lady that lived in this retirement community across the campus from our cooperative school. The folks in the community would often work with the children from our school which was really such a lovely thing. One time we went to the Flower Lady's apartment to make pancakes and all I remember about it now is that her breath smelled like pee. Isn't that awful? God, kids are horrible. This lovely elderly woman invited us into her home, made us pancakes, and my takeaway was her breath smelled like urine.
Maybe I don't want to be an old lady puttering around after all? Or maybe I should just invest in some breath mints or some extra strength toothpaste. I mean, dental health has come a long way...

Speaking of dental health, Michael has prescription toothpaste now, so...he's old too! Never as old as me, but I can use store bought toothpaste still, so I have that going for me.
The prescription toothpaste he has is called Clinpro 5000, which whenever I say it kinda makes me happy. I keep imagining at some point looking over at him and all of a sudden he has futuristic teeth, maybe with computer screens in them or flashing lights!! It just sounds like it should do something extra special....I think it might be the "5000" part? In reality I think it's just supposed to help your gums stop receding or something like that, which is cool too...I guess.

I just opened some wine to add to my caramelized onions. Even though I'm just cooking with it I always feel kinda silly opening wine at noon....not like I'm opposed to day drinking or anything, but when its just me and the little dogs there's no one to share it with...and I bought it for cooking so it's not the top shelf stuff I'm used to. Not that I'm opposed to cheap wine or anything, just not during the day. You have to make some rules for yourself when you spend your days alone.

Peace,

V






Thursday, September 5, 2013

My advice to the teenagers I know #FYI ;)

No need for lengthy diatribes about how you're doing it wrong, here are some simple suggestions as an older person who has learned a thing or two.


1. People will judge you for the things you do, say, and post online
2. Don't be judgmental 
3. Be kind
4. Have fun

Peace,
-V

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The pleasures of frivolity.

I was minding my own business, following my usual morning routine: coffee, check email, peruse Facebook, when I came upon a post from a fashion website of a woman riding a bycycle with a Chanel wallet placed lovingly in the basket and the caption, "Very precious cargo" written above it. I of course liked it because I adore most anything Chanel, and because it was kind of silly and fun, and then I made the mistake of reading the one comment so far which said, "So not a necessity!"

 I have come to realize that reading people's comments on Facebook or just about any website I visit is kind of a bad idea. There's always one total sourpuss, wack job, or nutcase that ruins it for everyone...and sometimes there's tons of sourpusses, wack jobs, and nutcases, depending on how controversial the subject matter is.

 Now in the case of the Chanel wallet the commenter wasn't wrong, obviously a designer wallet isn't a necessity? Hell, we could all throw the things we usually carry in our wallets inside a ziplock bag and probably get by just fine? Nobody NEEDS the little items that we use everyday to be beautiful, they simply need to be functional. Why do we really need anything that isn't absolutely necessary? Our homes don't really require decoration, just four walls and a bed, a place to cook and a toilet. Our clothing's only real job is to keep us warm in the winter, and cool in the summer? Let's take it further and also omitt other unnecessary frivolities in life...art...music, and focus all energy on the things that need changing, or are unfair! Think of how awesome the world would be if we all focused only on how to make it better!!

 But, but, but...is it really so wrong to find pleasure in little luxuries?

As we go about our busier, longer days, in which work expectations often far outweigh the moments
of relaxation we are afforded, and human connection seems more, and more challenging as technology becomes more, and, more instrumental to our success, I am going to boldly say that these little unnecessary luxuries have become more important than ever before! We need these things to keep us feeling human!

The little things: a sunset, the flowers on your deck that just started blooming, a great meal shared with good friends, music, art, the perfect gin and tonic, and yes...even the appreciation of the beauty, and fine craftsmanship of a Chanel wallet! These are the things that make life worth living, the things that make people WANT to make the world a better place! All these little frivolous things that are
completely unnecessary make people happy...and that ain't such a bad thing.

As much as a usually refrain from commenting after the sourpusses, on this one occasion I couldn't help myself...

 Peace,
 -V

Friday, June 28, 2013

A rather hairy situation.

I forgot to shave my legs today, which is a rarity for me.

 I have a very regimented personal hygiene routine in which I shave every other day, and wash and style my hair every 3-4 days...because the process of product, blow drying, and flat ironing is just exhausting! When I have a day where I have to both shave, AND wash, and style my hair, I pretty much have to cancel all activities for the day because by the time I'm done I need to get dinner on the table.

Today was a hair day, and because it landed on a day where we had some other things planned I think I may have blanked out the fact that I hadn't shaved yesterday either, and by the time I was dressed and in the car I kept feeling like something was slightly off? It was the prickly hair I kept noticing catching onto my dress!

 Isn't it funny how we live in a culture where, as women, we want thick and lustrous hair...only in certain places? A head of hair that's long, thick. and beautiful is usually preceived as feminine, and yet a leg or underarm of thick hair, not so much. In fact, we've gotten to the point where it's considerd almost offensive on a woman (by some of the more 'shallow' types, that is) to have hair anywhere BUT on your head!!!

 I was getting a mani/pedi a few weeks back, and in the salon I go to they offer waxing as well, the woman next to me who announced rather loudly that "She was here for her regular!" had a waxing appointment as well as a pedi. When the technician asked her if she wanted it "all done?" she took her hand and ran it literally from her forehead to her chest.  Now, she was a darker haired lady who appeared to have very thick and course hair, and I would guess that might make it more difficult to manage unwanted hair....but the idea that one would feel they had to regularly wax from forehead to chest sounds extremely unpleasant to me? Not that I wouldn't do it, I mean, I'm pretty vain, I guess I just felt fortunate that so far I've been able to mannage pretty well with tweezers.

I have had experiences where I've been out in public when I discover a stray hair that I hadn't seen before I left the house, and it's honestly enough to ruin my day! That's why I have my trusty hedgehog pouchette with me at all times. It contains tweezers, nail clippers, a tide to go stick, several shades of lipstick, lip balm, Ibuprofen, Imodium, emergency feminine hygiene products, Aleve, strappy heels, flats for walking, an extra set of underpants, an egg roll, and three crisp one hundred dollar bills....you know, everything a girl needs in order to step foot outside the house! "Dont you think that's a little overkill?", you may ask? Well, just a few weeks back we were in Forever 21 when Michael realized he had a stray nose hair poking out, and if I hadn't had my trusty hedgehog pouchette it could have been a full-on five alarm distaster!! Luckily I discretely passed him the tweezers, and between the frayed cutoffs, and the sheer rayon ombré tank tops, he remedied the situation and none were the wiser! 

Speaking of Forever 21, today I took the kids to H&M which is always an experience.  Don't get me wrong, I like H&M, they have some great deals, I'm a huge fan of their accessories, and they are awesome for my growing children's trendy fashion purchases, but the set-up always leaves a little to be desired for me? Perhaps it's part of getting older, or maybe I'm just a snob, but I like a little inspiration in my shopping experience. At H&M I always kind of feel like I'm digging through piles of lipstick stained dresses, and deodorant streaked shirts! The music usually leaves something to be desired...and there's no mineral water or espresso offered during the shopping experience! Where's my personal shopper, Raoul? The cashmere, the Italian wool? The supple leathers I've grown acustom to?

Sadly it was while we were in H&M that I realized I had forgotten to shave my legs today, so not only was the experience not as enjoyable as I had wanted...but it was hairier than I had wanted too.

 Peace,
 -V

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A cautionary tale.

My dishwasher has been in a bit of a mood lately.

It's been such a good dishwasher for such a long time, no complaining when I run it for the third time in a day, no rolling of the eyes when after a dinner party I fill it so full it can barely breath. Just good old fashioned hard work with nary a peep....until now.
I have a sinking suspicion that the blinking light under the words 'Drain/intake' may be trying to tell me something, and that something is: it's feeling taken for granted.

It's so easy to take things for granted, especially things that go about their days doing the work given to them without complaint. Silently washing dish after dish, just to be unloaded, refilled, and asked to do Yet. Another. Load.

Today while I was washing a sink load of dishes by hand, because I felt like my dishwasher could use a breather, you know...a little 'me' time, my eldest child (I'm not going to name names) was sitting in the kitchen eating his lunch, watching me painstakingly do the job that we usually give to my stainless steel sister, when just as I put the last dish in the dish drainer he walks up behind me and sets his lunch plate right into the momentarily dish-free sink.

Did it not even dawn on him that perhaps his plate would have preferred to be cleaned and placed in the dish drainer next to it's friends?  Or did he simply assume it would get clean on it's own? I suspect that he was probably in his own world of bespoke suits, and hand cobbled shoes, and he couldn't be pulled out of these fantastical places to contemplate the plate his bagel had once been on. Isn't it wonderful being young? Oh to go back to the angst, and rejection...okay, maybe not.

As a grown-up, doing grown-up work it can be easy to take things for granted as well though. Who hasn't taken their health for granted, their income, their current weight...hell just about anything that's stuck around for a year or more I have probably taken for granted! Until it changes, or disappears and all of a sudden you realize how nice that thing was that you never really thought about but assumed would always be there.

You know what I sadly took for granted? A pair of leopard print kitten heels I had back in my teenage years. I was working at a shoe store called Lottie Da! and they had these adorable heels with two little buckles across the toe, teal blue bottoms, and I loved them. I saved up to buy myself a pair, and I wore them a lot! They were fabulous, comfortable and went with just about everything. Then my tastes changed, my shoe collection expanded, and I needed to pack up all belongings and head to college. My leopard print kitten heels with the two little buckles, and the teal bottoms got left behind...never to be seen again.

I've looked for something similar to those shoes for a long time, searched high and low, and I've never found anything quite like them.

I know that's an incredibly sad and heart-wrenching tale, but it's a lesson to all of us to love what we have right now, when we have it! Love your partner, your kids, your dishwasher! And for the Luv-a-gawd, when you have the perfect pair of heels....don't let them get away, or 25 years later it may still haunt your dreams.

Peace,
-V


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's ALIVE!!

Michael Jackson died four years ago today, and in thinking about that I was reminded of a post I had written here that at the time seemed extremely poignant to me. Of course I had to go back and read it to make sure that I was in fact as deep, and thoughtful four years ago as I am today...sadly I think I've become less so. That, or I'm just 4 years older and in a better mood?

 In perusing through some of my old posts though, I was struck with how much I had forgotten about my day to day crankiness, even just a year or two later, which made me feel pretty good about myself...which is really the point I guess in writing a little 'open' diary about ones life? To feel good about yourself? I'm going to say it is! I will also say that it was fun to look back and remember some of the phases that my kids have gone through, and grown out of, a little walk down memory lane....oh how things can change over just a few short years.

 The things that have changed: All the dental technology has changed!

 Michael finally went to the dentist after about 6 years today, and according to him, all the technology has changed.

Other than that, I'm still obsessed with clothing, and food, I still yell at my (now bigger) kids, and I still have days where my mood is questionable at best, shocking...I know.

Moving on....

Tonight I have a beet and heirloom tomato salad planned for dinner. I recently saw an interview (or it may have been on SNL) where Zach Galifinakis said he loved to order beets when he went out to eat so he could tell the waiter, "Thanks for laying down those funky beets." I love that! I mean I loved beets to begin with, but now I love them, and want to serve them, even more!

 Speaking of things I love, we were weren't we? I've become a little obsessed with Kombucha. I know it's complete hippie food, and honestly I'm okay with that, nothing wrong with hippies...although I like showering. To each their own, I say! Anyway, Kombucha has become my favorite afternoon snack primarily because it settles my stomach, is only 60 calories a bottle, and I'm kinda fascinated by the stuff that looks like green snot that floats around in it...because supposedly it's ALIVE! It's like Sea Monkeys for adults!

 I've found and tried a varietal of Kombuchas; There's the champagne of Kombucha that comes in a crappy plastic bottle (um, no), as well as the canned stuff which is far too sweet for my taste. There's the cayenne and lemon one that's all bougie and cost like $75 a bottle (which of course is my favorite), and there's the macro brewed kind you can find everywhere that I'll drink, but only in private so no one will know I'm just like everyone else. There's also the SUPER gingery one that I can only find at the funky market that sells things like those Ice Cube chocolate squares that look fun but taste like wax, and Grape Heads, a low rent second cousin to a Lemon head.

As Kombucha has become my favorite afternoon snack, I've decided I need to get back to my favorite afternoon pastime, which used to be writing a little something everyday about my life, primarily to document the mundane but also to remember the little details, and silly happenings. I will do my best to stick with it in order to keep the memories of my current days alive, just like the ones I read about today of my mood swings, and littler kids, and just like the green snot in my Kombucha.

 Peace, -V