Chicken Marsala and other things

Happy January! Is the new year treating you well so far? Are you deflating slowly from the merriment like I am? Well, I’m trying to atleast. Work goes into hyper speed until…oh about June. Gulp. Here’s what we’ve been up to – a visual tour:

I call this, I spend a lot of time with chicken for a vegetarian.

 

We’ve been trying to cook more often and I went all old school this past weekend with a Chicken Marsala. The way to my husband’s heart is pretty simple – a meat, a gravy, and a noodle. This was an old Martha recipe. Remember when it was just Martha and all her superiority? Miss that.

I took some time off during the holidays from work and I think my husband and I may have seen a movie a day. One of the benefits of our kids getting bigger is that we are no longer tied to a sitter. If we want to go to a movie, we go. The kids manage to survive for a couple of hours. Here’s three of our favorites. Two of these movies aren’t for the faint of heart – and the other is not the love story you would expect.

My daughter, Kera, spent this long weekend at her high school’s senior retreat. Even though my husband and I both went to Catholic schools, neither one of us ever went to a retreat.  We blame Obama. Just kidding. Last night we went to pick her up in the “homecoming” ceremony. It was so raw and emotional. I fully expected the girls to be crying and happy when they walked in, because that’s how I would be. And isn’t it all about me? No? Ok. You’re right. What I didn’t understand was how many young men would walk in that room with tears in their eyes and talk about their emotions. And the mix of kids was also amazing. The sports guy, the cheerleader, the computer geek, the comedian – all together. The entire weekend is called Kairos, which is a Greek word that means “the right” or “the moment”. That’s about all I can tell  you because the cell phone/tv/computer free retreat, is also about how to protect the things that your peers have shared with you. Each group did get to share one thing with the parents – surprisingly it was all boys talking about their experience, except for one, brave, strong, beautiful girl. Guess which one? Yep. Here she is walking in from her “Kai High” as it’s called.


One last thing. For many years I’ve heard funny, crazy, happy, sad, and completely engrosing stories about my mother-in-law’s childhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Old Yorkville. When we lost her too early, I started asking even more questions. Her two sisters and extended family have been filling me in. Initially I was just interested in my mother-in-law’s story, but now I’m obsessed with her mother, Irene. She was a stone cold beauty in every sense of that phrase. I met her just twice. By the time I came into the picture, she had lived a hard life. She didn’t play a huge part in my husband’s childhood, which was dominated by the other grandmother in his life – on his father’s side – Nana. That’s a cool story too. When I first met Joe I didn’t even know he had two grandmothers. I only heard about Nana. I didn’t meet Irene until amost 3 years into our relationship. She was so different than all the other women in his family that I’d met. A little withdrawen and quiet. I was so absorbed with my own little life back then that I really didn’t open up to her at all. Now I’m completely obsessed. Her marriages, her daughthers, her life – I want to know it all. I’ve been bugging everyone to share their stories, and they have. Generously. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet. I do hope to share some of what I learn here (if it’s ok with the family). Here’s a picture of Irene on her wedding day. Makes you want to know more about her doesn’t it?


Writing this blog makes me so happy, but it also requires that the people in my life are ok with what I choose to share. I usually don’t ask permission, but I am careful. It’s a tough line and that I’m constantly pushing. Why do I think you want to know about what I made for dinner or what movies I saw? Because if we were to ever meet, or had a cup of coffee together – that’s what I would ask you. Not because I think what I’m doing is so important – but because it’s a detail of life. And I love all the details that go into a person’s life. Do you agree?

 

 

“The heart wants what the heart wants”

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****SPOILER ALERT****

Walter White. Jesse Pinkman. Saul. The vacuum shop dude. Todd the dementor. The Aryan brothers. Breaking Bad, I miss you already.

Last night was the last episode before the series finale next week, and I’m already distressed. I may or may not run around after next Sunday shouting, “I don’t want it to end bitch!”.

We started our night watching the Emmy’s – but at 9pm, like the good meth-lab soldiers that we are, we switched the channel. It didn’t hurt that the Emmy’s were strangely boring and flat. Neil Patrick Harris – I don’t blame you. I blame the producer who thought Carrie Underwood singing a tribute to the Beatles was a good idea. The Beatles deserved better. I would rather have had Miley twerking “Come Together” – that’s how boring Carrie was. Also – how could Bryan Cranston NOT have won an Emmy? Sorry Jeff Daniels, but we all know you don’t really need to act when you’ve got great writing from A-aron Sorkin (Key and Peele shout-out).

Back to THE BEST SHOW ON TV. Yes. The best. If you don’t agree, you aren’t watching it.

Where do I start? Hank’s dead. Marie isn’t wearing purple anymore. Finn’s principle is not the brightest tool in the shed. Didn’t we all guess Jesse’s attempt to escape would end like that? And don’t even get me started on what happened with Andrea. Really? Todd the maniac shows up at night and knocks on your door and you: 1) open the door and 2) step out on the porch after he lures you with the worst “I’m-going-to-kill-you” line ever?? Sigh.

And Walt. He’s been left out in the cold. Literally and figuratively with only his barrel of money to keep him warm.

The genius of the writing on this show is that even in episodes that aren’t action packed – or as surprising as last week (and really my heart can’t take any more) – there’s always some gold nuggets to walk away with.

Todd and the Aryan gang of ghouls taking a break from death and destruction for some Ben & Jerry’s.

Finn telling his father to “die already”. Devastating.

And my favorite. Jack teasing Todd about his crush on the meth queen by repeating a line used by Woody Allen to describe his messed-up relationship with his step-daughter.  Woody stole that line from Emily Dickinson (in a tweaked way). So in essence….Jack, the white supremacist, Jack the killer of Hank,  Jack quotes Dickinson.

Vince Gilligan will you marry me?

Pop Culture Vulture – Summer ’13 Edition

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I like today’s title because it implies that this is some sort of long-standing series or tradition. That in my archives somewhere you can find Spring ’05 or something.

In reality this is only the 3rd post I’ve ever done on my insatiable appetite for pop culture. Everything from gossip mags to fashion to TV binge watching. Everyone that knows me and loves me forgives this slight flaw. Don’t get me wrong – I also love politics and world news. You and I could talk about the new Pope for hours. We could debate his “reformed views”.

But you know what’s more fun to talk about? These things:

  • Anything on Bravo. Top Chef. Top Chef Masters. Top Chef Losers. All of it. Andy Cohen and team plan their programing just for me, or so it seems. I know I’m repeating myself, I’ve told you this before. But it continues to be a very important part of my life and I think you need to hear it/read it again. The above photo is proof of my devotion. When we were in the cabin this summer, this is what I did the majority of the time there. I meant to write a post about it but I took naps instead. I’ll only highlight my new obsessions – not my oldies but goodies (All the Housewives, All the Million Dollar Listings, etc). I’m loving Below the Deck. What happens when an expensive yacht is chartered for a weekend of fun and sun? Who are the funny/kooky/crazy folks working the ship? Tune-in and find out people. It’s so good. It satisfy’s all my “behind the scenes” obsessions. I don’t really care about the party – I want to know who set the party up, and how, and what went wrong. I have to believe that some of this is staged (I can’t imagine paying $20,000 for a charter and then giving the OK for Bravo to show that I’ve brought an illegal substance onboard?) – but all is forgiven. One of my least favorite, favorite new shows on the channel is Newlyweds: The First Year. It’s kinda….Andy hold your ears…boring. All the couples are boring. I was excited about the Indian Bollywood dancer/singer gal and the beard..er…guy she married..but they are boring too. Once you get over how much of her face is botoxed, there’s really not much there. That brings me to my new classic. It’s Princesses: Long Island. Partly because these gals are in on the joke. Partly because I’d be friends with any of them. I love this show! Here’s a trailer for those who have never heard of it. Get thee to a tv set asap!!
  • Orange is the New Black. Like Game of Thrones, you just have to get through the copious amount of nudity (and all the Lesbian action). We gave it a shot because I was telling someone that my husband and I were sucked into a series on Netflix called Top of the Lake. So my pal suggested that I would also like this new show – which is actually produced by Netflix. Having now watched Orange, I’ve decided that he’s a total nut job. The two shows are completely different. Night and day. Totally. Like there is not one connection to why one person would like one and the other. But the weirdo was right – we love it. Funny. Uncomfortable. Sad. So good.
  • Ray Donovan. There are a ton of things wrong with this show. I can’t stand the woman who plays the wife. Jon Voight is good but the overacting may get annoying after a while. The plots are full of clichés we’ve seen before thanks to The Sopranos and Mad Men and Breaking Bad. But this show has one thing that none of the other shows have. One insanely sexy thing. Liev Schbreiber. I’ve loved him ever since The Daytrippers, Big Night and A Walk on the Moon. Watch all those movies now and then you’ll see why I would watch Liev in literally anything. Or nothing. Ahem.
  • The Bridge. I can’t watch it. I love AMC (or is it FX?) but I’m distracted by Diana Kruger as a Texas cop. Her German accent keeps seeping through and i just can’t look past it. I’m sure it’s a swell show, just not for me.
  • American Ninja Warrior. I have a 9-year-old son. Sometimes I have to watch things for him. All of those times involve some sort of wrestling, karate show. This is the best of the lot. Fun, short, full of action, and most importantly, short. Also I count watching people do physical activity as physical activity. Is that bad?

On another note – I’ve finally convinced my daughter to watch The New Girl and The Mindy Project. She loves them both, like any true child of my loins would and should.

Eat in Chicken

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This is the Susquehanna River, in my hometown, Harrisburg, PA. We took a quick trip over the weekend to visit family and do a joint birthday celebration for my sister and me. Me and my sister. My sister and I. Pick one.

Fun, useless fact: Did you know that Girl, Interrupted was filmed here? This is the Market Bridge, featured many times in the flick.  The movie starred Angelina Jolie  – in her Oscar-winning performance – and Wynona Ryder before her shoplifting days.  And that poor gal Britney Murphy, before her dead days.  The title of the post is an homage to one of her lines in the movie (she’s one of the patients in a mental hospital and is obsessed with owning a home with an “eat in chicken…um..kitchen” She’s also obsessed with eating whole chickens. It was a great movie. This was not a major plot line but I think of this line whenever I see a whole, roasted chicken. Freakish but true).

We came home to the below monsoon.

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Only Boring People Get Bored

Here’s a random list of all the things I’ve been doing/seeing/eating/buying/worrying about/disliking/loving/wanting in the last few weeks:

  • Every year, in prep for the Oscars, my husband and I try to see all the nominated movies (we’re crazy like that).  This year we’re almost there – minus his absolute resolve to NOT see Le Mis.  I saw it. I started crying during the first scene and haven’t stopped since. 
  • I’ve wanted a nutmeg grinder for a long time. Many a day I strolled into Williams Sonoma, coveted and then walked out. It’s not expensive. But then you start thinking about how much nutmeg you actually use in real life and how absurd it is to have a special little grinder for it – and then the $30 may as well be $3,000.  Long grinder story short – my secret santa gave me the damn grinder for Christmas. And I haven’t used it once. And I probably won’t touch it until next November. But I LOVE it and it makes me insanely happy. Insane being the key word. Picture below.
  • My sister-in-law hurt her leg and spent some quality time with us in the begining of January.  She was trapped on our couch with a giant bag of ice  and looking for a new show to watch – we asked if she had ever seen Breaking Bad – she hadn’t. You know what’s better than finding a good show to watch on Netflix? Watching a good show again with someone who hasn’t ever watched it. It’s like tv philanthropy.
  • Downton Abbey started again – oh happy day! Recent favorite Maggie Smith line, “Don’t mistake vulgarity for wit.” I vote for a Lady Grantham spin-off, who’s in?
  • I went formal dress shopping with my teenage daughter. This should be the name of a new horror movie. Just kiddin’…anyhoo.
  • Tried a new hummus recently. Bobbi’s Hummus. It’s basically 3 parts garlic to 1 part chickpea. Lots of lemon and freshly ground pepper. I love you Bobbi, and your heavy garlic hand.
  • I got a pedicure last week for the first time since hurting my foot – which is still a bit sore.  I went to my favorite nail place. Esther runs it. She’s a nice Korean woman who I’ve gotten to know well enough for her to tell me that her real name isn’t Esther and the other two girls aren’t Anna and Tina. Last summer her son came to work in the shop. We call him Tom but you get the point. Tom does all the pedicures. Just thought you should know.
  • I tried giving up bread for 2.5 seconds on Thursday, January 3rd. Epic fail.
  • Legos are the devil.
  • The end.

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