Signs that I’m growing as a person?

It’s Girl Scout cookie time. 

Talk about a cause that we can all rally behind. 

For years I’ve been a devoted follower/subscriber/supporter. This year was no different. Except for one thing.

My usual lean on Thin Mints has diminished a bit. All of sudden I’ve become a bigger fan of Lemonades. 


It’s shocking. Lemon? Over Chocolate? Could this mean tarts over cake? Pepsi over Coke? Just kidding, I actually can’t tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. I’m a monster. 



I’m also a judger. I’ve always silently but wholeheartedly believed that people who choose lemon dessert over chocolate are somehow…suspicious… up to no good. Or they were Grandmas. Let’s face it – there is a correlation between age and lemon love. There just is. 

So what happened to me? I’m still youngish and kind of full of vigor. I dunno! I can’t explain it. I’m just all about the lemon now.

Maybe it was Beyonce’s last album. Or me finally breaking down my bias and reaching across to the aisle to better understand my fellow humans.

A chocolate fan is not better than a lemon  fan. Lemon lives matter! 

Whatever. Atleast I’m still better then the peanut butter cookie fan. What a freak.

Fire Rooster


Happy Chinese New Year to all!

Remember last year when I was so super excited about the Year of the Monkey?

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Well 2016 lived up to all the hype. Like a monkey it was full of energy, erratic and sometimes scary and full of surprises.

But Rooster. I have high hopes for Rooster. I know I don’t have to capitalize the word Rooster – put your red pens away. But I’m just trying to give it the respect it deserves.


Last year I went to a flea market and found a little monkey holding a banana. I brough him home and put in my kitchen and prayed that he’d bring me luck. And he did.  The monkey may have caused havoc in the world but for my little world – it was a good year.

When I think of 2016 I’ll think of  Kera and all her friends graduating. I’ll think of all the beautiful weddings we were lucky enough to be a part of – Keith and Danielle, Herb and Larry, Marcello and Lorraine, Sweta and Wendall.

I’ll think of my friend Sarah who welcomed little Charlie. I’ll think of my baby boy becoming a teen and celebrating 20 years of marriage with my guy.

That’s what I’ll think about.

So Rooster – Fire Rooster. Sign of dawn and awakening. Sign of hard work and justice. Sign of logic and reason.

I’ve always loved roosters. I know you’re going to think I’m crazy – but I have them all over the house. In fact this past Christmas, my secret Santa even gave me a rooster cookie cutter (Thank you Ty!). I’m not sure I ever thought about why I loved them. But I’ll take some logic, reason and justice. I’ll take being more grounded.

So let’s go people. Time to wake up. Time to get to work. Fire Rooster is here.

 

 

 

Phyllo, fancy parties…and medical marijuana?

Thursday night my husband and I decided to go out on the town! Have dinner, see a late show, like other people do. But a few too many of these went down.

And then, long story short,  I went down too. For 34 hours post night out I was out for the count. Coffee didn’t help. Two disco naps didn’t help. I even tried the hair-of-dog…. it didn’t help.

But last night was our book club – and I was not going to miss it. We had a real, live author coming in. We’re hot like that. The book was the wonderful Smiles and Ductape written by my dear friend April’s sister-in-law, Jesse Torrey (did you follow that?). 

The book is about the family’s journey after their son Jack develops ALD. It’s sad, happy and full of love. We were having a good discussion by the time Jesse started talking about the latest part of Jack’s story. It involves using medical marijuana. And then our little book club lit up…not literally, just conversationally. We had questions, lots and lots of questions. We became Charlie Rose level interviewers. I’ve never seen us come alive like that.  It was hysterical. 

And speaking of getting the munchies (just kidding)…

Usually when I go to someone’s home I like to bring a little bite to eat or some wine or both. My mama brought me up right. But did I mention I was exhausted? And old? Luckily for me my girl is home from college and had plans to meet friends for a “fancy dinner”. She had googled an appetizer she wanted to make and like any good mother I offered to buy her all of the ingredients… and then made her to make some for me to take too. I knew having kids would pay off eventually.

Now I love entertaining. I have for a long time. But in all those years I’ve never used Phyllo. Or is it just phyllo with a lower case p? In any case I’ve never used it/bought it/thought about it.

It was a revelation. Easy. Light. Tasty. How come more people don’t talk about Phyllo/phyllo?? 

Here’s what she made and I stole..

You need: Phyllo/phyllo cups, 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, 4 oz of goat cheese, 1 block of cream cheese, thyme, honey, red seedless grapes and black pepper. 


Fillo!! Wtf?? Which is it?



Combine the room temp cheese and heavy cream and whip


Bake Phyllo/phyllo/fillo shells to crisp up (this is optional because they are already fully cooked but remember she was going for “fancy”)


Fill each with the cheese mix – drizzle with honey, sprinkle in the thyme and black pepper, and finish with half a grape. Or one whole grape if you’re a Rockefeller.


Use fancy Ziploc bag as pastry bag….


And here’s my girl and her crew at their dinner. And then me with half the bookclub with the author (lower right) below. 

I’m sure that’s juice punch in that bowl… ahem.

Christmas past and present and presents and presence

I get a little weepy about things on Christmas morning. Weepy in a good way. Actually I get weepy all the time. There’s an oatmeal commercial that brings me to tears. An oatmeal commercial. True story (and off you goooo…) but I digress. 

With an 18 and a 13 year old it’s not exactly the magic of Santa that I’m trying to keep alive – even though their presents don’t show up under the tree until the night before – it’s the magic of all of us being together doing the same things, creating our family stories. Going into NYC on Christmas Eve to be with family, driving back at midnight, waiting a little bit and then sneaking all the gifts down. Waking up on Christmas Day, opening the gifts, going out for Chinese food and then a movie. This year we added to that day and had the best Christmas dinner with friends (onion pie, lasagna and dessert!). I wish I could slomo the day. Or have it on repeat like A Christmas Story on TBS. It’s 11:18 and I don’t want it to be over yet. 

It all goes by too fast, Ferris Beuller was right. I’m trying very hard to stop and look around. But all I see are babies getting big…so I’m just gonna go right back and live in the past for a bit. Just for a second. It’s my gift to myself. 
I hope you all had a very merry weepy holiday too. 









It’s begining to look a lot like I’m late decorating for Christmas.

Are you still eating Thanksgiving leftovers? Are you still in a turkey coma? I hope everyone had a good holiday. Here’s a couple of pics of the last of our turkey which went into some pies. Our pot pies are one crust only – which caused a lot of controversy in our house at first. No bottom crust? Crazy. But now everyone’s in line.

img_1460img_1467I know it’s December, and I know everyone has moved onto lights and trees and stockings hung by the chimney with care – but I’m a little behind. The leaves are still falling in our neighborhood and my dead mums are still by the front door. And guess what – I don’t really care. The plaque on the door still says Gobble Gobble and my mantle is still living in the past too.

This weekend is it. I’m on it. I need to make the move. The switch. Goodbye rotting, half eaten pumpkins! Hello Christmas. Can’t wait! Well, I mean, I can wait just a little.  I’m not doing it today. I’ll do it tomorrow. When I say weekend I mean Saturday. Sunday tops.

The gobble gobble 

It’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving – my absolute favorite time of year. Who would have guessed that a vegetarian Indian girl who never even really acknowledged the holiday until 1991, would be this obsessed. I hear my husband saying it’s all him. He’s the reason I love it. Maybe. 

First turkey day ever: Milford, PA circa 1991

Memory: Aunt Dee Dee (whose real name is Mary inexplicably) handing me the sausage to cut up for stuffing. First time I ever touched sausage. Good times.

For years we went to her house every year – even right after my little baby girl was born. Speaking of baby girl – she came home for the holiday. On her 18th birthday. We missed cake for breakfast so we did cake at a normal time. 

18. As in a year younger then I was when I went to my first Thanksgiving in Milford. This is some twisted time warp. But she’s home! And by home I mean she’s out with friends but in the same town as us. I’ll take it.

 We also saw some oldies but goodies. Katherine. Howard and Luigi. Santa. And Janey. The picture says it all. It’s blurry. Off center. Everyone’s smiling – even Howard – he’s the bald head floating on top of Janey. (On a side note) Katherine has her tree up. We have neighbors who have lights up. I know it’s tradition but I’m still rocking the pumpkins. I need to hold on to pumpkins people. And that is in no way a diss to Christmas-on-Thanksgiving people. You do you.

So anyway it’s the Tuesday before…Thursday  and all through the house, not a creature was stirr… that’s not true. Creatures are stirring. They’re stirring all over the place. 

Turkey #1 is in the brine! Do you brine? Do you dry rub instead? Do you do none of the above and your turkey comes out better then mine? Don’t tell me.

I brine because I’m a sheep to The Food Network. If Ina tells me to do something – by god I do it. My brine is a combo of mulling ingredients and things I’ve heard are good to dump in there.  Yes that is star anise in there. And yes, also some dried apples and pepper cloves. Citrus? Yep. Onions and garlic? Yep. Good turkey. Nice turkey. What do I care – I’m not eating it! Just kidding..  And now something that has nothing to do with anything but is just as important. I want to share a photo taken by an amazing photographer(among other things) in our town – who as fate would have it just happened to be my baby girls soccer coach in middle school. Small beautiful world. 

He took this pic of the lake in our town. I screenshot (or is it screenshotted? Is that even a word?) it a week ago and have been looking at it ever since. I was totally going to pretend that I took it – but he’s too nice a guy. Thanks Pat for sharing your talent!

 

Thanksgiving week is on – and in the words of Jim Morrison or Mandela or Bobby Flay…the only way out is through. Let’s do this.

The loud apology

I love a good apology. It makes me feel good to hear. I even feel good when I’m the one that’s apologizing –  and I’m always happy when I hear about others mending fences.

I grew up in a quiet house where there was no fighting. Just undercover seething and anger. My husband grew up in a loud house. With lots of raised voices and disagreements. Both not great. When we got married we vowed to be different, we weren’t really. We fought. He yelled, I seethed. And then one of us would apologize, we’d vow to never to do it again (silly) and we’d move on.

When we had kids we vowed again to be different – and we were….for a while. But the reality of life is that you will get mad. You’ll say things you don’t mean. You’ll be hurtful, or will get your feelings hurt. But now the kids are there. They’d hear all the anger, all the harsh things that each of us would say in the heat of the moment. And of course we’d apologize to each other eventually. We’d move on. But it would be done very differently than the fight. It would be done quietly. Softly. Usually out of earshot of the kids. I’m not sure that was the right thing to do.

Wouldn’t it have been great for our kids to hear us apologize as loudly as we fought?  I mean, they figured it out, they knew things were better but they didn’t see how they got better.

Channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw I ask this simple question…”Why aren’t we as loud with our apologies as we are with our fights”?

Although come to think of it – my kids are pretty quick to apologize. And they aren’t ax murderers yet, so maybe it wasn’t all bad.

Ok. Sorry. Nevermind.

I mean SORRY!!!!

 

 

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