People Underestimate the Value of a Good Ramble

Monday, January 31, 2011

Foodies Served Here

I'm a foodie. I love food. I love to cook it. I love to eat it. I like making up recipes and I like to share with others. I even came to the realization lately that most of the pictures in my phone are of food. I happen to think that's perfect normal.

I teach a cooking class, usually once a month, to a small group.  At least it started out small.  It was supposed to just be my nephews' wives, young women who were newly married and now with small children, and had just not necessarily grown up in homes with Italian women who cooked and ate a lot. I'm not saying that non-Italians can't cook, I'm just saying that Italians eat more. Try to deny it. At least all the Italians I know do. We are always planning our next meal, even when we're sitting down to eat the present one.

I mean, I know people who forget to eat. I can't even comprehend that. I can't always remember where my keys are, my bank card password or the date of my wedding anniversary, but I never, ever forget to eat. Never. I have meals planned out days in advance. Cause I don't want to miss any eating.

From the original three invitees, cooking class expanded to include their sisters, and then their sisters-in-law, and finally other friends and family.  There are about 11 or 12 people on the regular list and usually we have about 5 or 6 people in class each month.  In January, two husbands showed up, as well. There's been talk of a couples cooking class.  That could be fun, if I could get my husband to join us, but that's doubtful. He has little to no interest in taking cooking lessons from me.  He does, however, love to eat.

The point of all this.  Well, obviously, food.  Since I've been typing up so many recipes lately, I thought I'd post a few in here.

So, for your eating enjoyment, here's the recipe for my fried rice which we made last cooking class as a side dish for Salmon with a sesame ginger glaze. You can make an entire meal of just this rice by adding cooked, chopped up chicken, pork or tofu and serving it with a side salad and crusty French bread.

Fried Rice

1 large carrot, chopped finely
1/2 sweet onion, chopped finely
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
2 tbsps butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth or water)
1/4 cup frozen peas
2 eggs, scrambled

1.    Saute chopped onion, garlic and carrot in butter. Add soy sauce.
2.    Add rice and stir to coat. Allow to soften slightly. Slowly add 3 cups broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 30 mins, until liquid is mostly absorbed.
3.  Add frozen peas and cooked scrambled eggs. Incorporate into dish and allow to heat through for remaining 5 minutes until all liquid is completely absorbed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Don't Tell People They're Not Good

Clearly Steven (don't you dare call him Steve) Tyler has never watched American Idol before.  His constant insistence that Randy Jackson be nice to everyone, regardless of how terrible they are, is completely opposite the entire spirit of the early audition phase. Making fun of people is the entire point of the show, isn't it? It's not? Then what have I been watching all these years?

Crazy people who think they're good when they suck aside, I must admit that the show has some touching moments.  The adopted-girl-who-lives-on-a-farm story was so adorable, I literally had tears in my eyes when she auditioned. Plus, I loved her parents.  The best part of the night was when she called home to tell her parents the good news:  "Dad, I'm going to Hollywood!" (pause) "Who's gonna pay your way?"

Come on, tell me you don't love a dad like that.

And what about the shirtless country dude in overalls who sang Josh Groban? I'm not even sure what that's about, but he had pretty eyes and I'm glad Steven Tyler is more of a pushover than I thought he would be.

Of course, Randy and Steven both letting the beauty queen through, when JLo gave her a No, was reminiscent of Simon Cowell and Randy giving Bikini Girl a pass to Hollywood when Kara DioGuardi hated her. Well, I hate her, too, but I disliked Kara even more, so that one was a toss up.

So, we're only four episodes in and I have a terrifying confession to make. Steven Tyler is starting to grow on me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

And Continues...Idol Auditions

American Idol auditions continued last night. Apparently, whether anyone wants them to or not. At some point in the evening, I think it may have been when the guy in the Civil War getup was assaulting us with his rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, I started to question my judgment in watching this stuff. Then I questioned my sanity. The jury is still out.

I'm feeling especially exhausted tonight.  Also, I'm positive that my life is not long enough for two hours of American Idol. As the years have gone by, I've never gotten over the the embarrassment I feel when these freaks make idiots of themselves. I've even less patience for it right now.

When watching last week's eps, Laura panicked slightly over the new credits. She hates change and new is always bad in her eyes. But the real question here is why is Adam Lambert the only non-winner whose picture appears. It's true. It's all nine winners and Adam Lambert. What is that about?

Then there's the question of Steven Tyler's age. As we were watching him flirt with all the little girls, my husband asked me to look up how old Steven Tyler is now. He's 62, about to be 63 in March. Again, I say, creepy. But my husband pointed out that he's a rock legend, which apparently makes being a creepy old guy who ogles little girls OK.

I'm sure I'm supposed to discuss who sang, what they sang and who I liked best. But you have other blogs for that, written by people who actually care.  Personally, I'd rather give you some of my favorite lines of the night. When that one quasi-rocker-type dude sang (well, he had long hair, isn't that always the sign of a rocker by Idol standards?) and he came out and told everyone, "Jennifer Lopez said I was her favorite so far." Ryan Seacrest asked him, "How about your singing?" I love Ryan. If nothing else, he makes this show watchable.

Another great line was from that big accountant guy, who called himself a big goon as some sort of play on his last name.  When he was entering the room and Ryan had to tell him how to open the door, and then they guy deadpanned, "That's awkward." Now, maybe I didn't hear that right, but I refuse to go back and listen again, cause I hope I did and I live on hope.

My final comments have to be about Steven Tyler being probably the nicest person on that panel. Who knew?  I mean, seriously, he comes across as creepy and lecherous at first glance, but he was clearly the most compassionate. When Randy Jackson briefly turned into Simon Cowell (see, I mentioned him again) and told some guy his audition was a joke, Steven took him to task for it. Then he was so sweet and kind to that last guy's girlfriend who'd been in an accident. (That was such a sad story, wasn't it? I'm guessing he's this year's Danny Gokey, cause why else did  they need him to be there at the beginning of the show.)

Of course, Tyler also had to be sure to get out of his seat to hug on that one rocker-girl who sang Come Together (thereby neatly combining her love of The Beatles and Aerosmith in one song.) I'm pretty sure that puts him right back into the creepy lecherous old man camp.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Free Enterprise is Alive and Well

I have four nephews. Three of them are married and have children. All of their wives are lovely young ladies,  stay at home moms for their adorable children.  OK, I may be a little biased, but they have the cutest kids.

All three of them are creative as well, and have their own business on the side. Seriously.  If I was a stay at home mom, I'd consider that more than enough work.

Two of my nieces, Colleen and Mandi, have a business designing and creating fashion accessories, like brooches, belts and hats. Their website is My sisters bought me the cutest little hat from them for my birthday. I love hats!

And then just today I received some info about my niece Kristine's new business making soaps and lotions. This is the really good stuff. We all got a little basket for Christmas and it was amazing. She gave me a lavender and basil soap that smells heavenly and some of the lotion, which is thick and creamy and non-greasy, just the way I like I lotion to be.

Kristine's site is not yet up, so I thought I would post a few pics of her stuff here.  If you're interested in buying anything, let me know and I can hook you up.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Phones Are Smarter Than People

As I may have mentioned, we just got new phones. My husband started out as one of those people who didn't think he needed a cell phone. He held out for a while, but eventually gave in. Of course, this was years and years ago. I'm sort of a techie person, so I like to have things.

In any case, once he had a cell phone, he didn't want a belt clip or anything like that.  Too Star Trek for him. Like having a phone clipped on your belt is some sort of pocket protector that proclaims you a geek.

Then, even though I upgraded to a smart phone more than two years ago, he was happy with a more basic model.  He carries it in his pocket. (Which is exactly why he dropped one phone into a can of paint and, later, put the same phone through the wash. But that's another post.)

So this time, when I was ready to upgrade once more, he again stuck by wanting a regular phone.  He was also going to need a Day Runner, he told me, to keep track of all his appointments in his new job.  I tried to tell him that with a smart phone, he could put all his appointments into his calendar and they would be on the phone and on his computer's Google Calendar.  But he had to have a real Day Runner, you know, to write things down and carry around with him.

I patiently explained that since he already carried his cell phone, this way he didn't have to carry around another book, too.  He didn't care. What if I lost the phone, he asked me?  Well, I told him, if you lose the phone, your appointments and all your contacts have already synced with the computer, so you still have everything you need. If you lose a Day Runner, it's all gone for good.  He didn't believe me.  He didn't think it would work.

But ignored him and got him the G2.

The first thing he did was put an appointment into his phone's calendar and then he went to look at his Google Calendar.  Wow, surprisingly, I was right. It did work.

He hasn't mentioned buying a Day Runner since Wednesday.

He's even talking about getting a blue tooth. I'm guessing a belt clip is not far behind.

Idol Continues

Another ep of American Idol to sit through. I could be ironing my husband's shirt right now. Maybe even having oral surgery. But, no, I have to be tortured by bad singing, weird costumes, freaky people and Randy Jackson. Dawg.

Any one have any ideas why Ryan looked so much cuter in the black and white re-takes? Did I miss something? Was that an old clip showing him younger and rounder than now?

So my friend Beau texted me during the show saying that he thinks this is the best season ever. But he's wrong. The best season ever was the first season, when I wasn't watching.

I have so far noticed a lack of people assaulting me through the camera. You know, those failures who are turned away because of their utter suckitude and who don't take it well. They swear and jump around and yell and say stupid things. But now that I think about it, those remarks are usually addressed to Simon and since he's not here...(Note to self: See if it's possible to work Simon Cowell's name into every single post about Idol this year.)

Anyway, not much happened. There was singing and some of it was OK and some was less OK. There was the kid who looks like he's 12. He was decent. If he gets through Hollywood week and they get him a makeover, he could possibly be a Justin Bieber 2.0. Then lots of silly little girls and disgusting old ladies can drool over him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

American Idol, It Sucks and It Sucks You In

So, you may not know this, but I'm kinda known as an American Idol blogger. OK, not really known, so much as I used to blog about it and one or two people read my posts.  Like, mostly people I know.

This year I had determined that I was neither blogging about nor watching AI. Just a simple little life long blood vow.  But this stupid show is like crack. It pulls you back in and makes you watch.  I had even gone back and read through some of my posts from previous years, just to remind myself how much I've grown to hate the show.

It wasn't enough.  Last night, at 8 pm, I found myself right where I never wanted to be. Looking at a newly formed panel of smiling judges. Or, I don't know, maybe they weren't smiling.  Looking at Steven Tyler creeps me out so I mostly kept my eye averted.

If I'm being honest (and, right, no one will say that this year, because Simon is gone!!), I was a bit preoccupied with setting up our new phones last night so I truly wasn't watching as much as I was allowing AI to be background noise.

But even so, I came away with a couple of thoughts that would make the show better as we go forward. That is,  if I even keep watching.

JLo needs to be less wimpy and Steven Tyler needs to be less creepy. Randy can go on being totally irrelevant, though, cause he does that so well.

Wanna See My New Phone?

I got a new phone!!!!

Yes, that is a good reason for a blog post.

I know I've been sadly remiss in my posts lately.  The truth is, I start lots of posts, but then I get busy or distracted or just plain bored with what I'm saying and I walk away.  Maybe some day when I go back to them, those posts will be more interesting and then you can read them.

But right now, the most interesting thing I have to say is that I got a new phone.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Just Another "A Year Has Passed" Post

I'm glad 2010 is over. I'm sure lots of people will be writing posts like this one. Starting a new year makes us all feel retrospective. But I'm just really glad 2010 is over. I was pretty happy to see the backside of 2009, too. I thought 2010 had to be a better year. In some ways, it was and, yet, it wasn't either.

Actually, as I think back over this entire decade, from 2001 to 2010, things haven't been good overall. It seems like one or the other of us was out of work or ill. We had our own business going into 2001 which did very well initially and yet somehow managed to tank a couple of years later, costing us thousands of dollars that we had to struggle to pay back. We had just finished paying that off in 2007, when I became ill and ended up losing my job. Then I had lots of health issues so that  I didn't work for most of 2008.  I went back to work in 2009, but then my husband was laid off and he still isn't back to work full-time.

Last year was also a year of loss.  Two of my cousins, Judy and Marianne, both passed away in 2010, along with my baby girl, Bambi. So the year will always invoke thoughts of sadness.

So, yes, the past decade wasn't my friend but I have high hopes for the new decade to come. And that's the point. Even after all we went through in the past year, the year before that, the year before that, and beyond, even so, I still have hope. Everything worked out and even at the worst of times, we made it through.

We're still here, still together and we have everything we need; food to eat, a beautiful home, a wonderful family, great friends. I'm sure there are more challenges to come in 2011. But I'm ready.