Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let's hug it out

Virginia Satir, a noted psychologist, stated that four hugs a day are needed for survival, eight per day for staying calm, and twelve per day for growing stronger. I believe it, and I don't think the statement is narrowly applied.

Here is an article I first saw over a decade ago...


And while I found it certainly a darling photograph and storyline, I couldn't speak to its validity being neither a parent nor a doctor at the time.

However, a dear friend of mine from college who is a parent and a doctor, delivered twin boys fairly early. While they were in NICU, she sent me this photo, to which I added a little welcome to them. And one is clearly embracing the other. Her husband warned that a more precious photo might never have been taken. I concur. And the boys are healthy and happily now at home with their family.

So hugs heal, stabilize, and satisfy an incredible fundamental human need of affection and touch.

And just like Ari Gold, I like to hug it out too.

So I find it quite interesting that primary and secondary schools from Oregon to Connecticut are banning hugs or mandating a three-second rule. Wow.

I understand that the levels of physical contact in your average junior high would make my sorority days look like The Pilgrim's Progress but some schools are adamant that the hug is a just a wiggle away from a dry hump:

Comforting as the hug may be, principals across the country have clamped down. “Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory,” said Noreen Hajinlian, the principal of George G. White School, a junior high school in Hillsdale, N.J., who banned hugging two years ago. “It was needless hugging — they are in the hallways before they go to class. It wasn’t a greeting. It was happening all day.”

Hug as greeting is ok but prolonged hug, not ok. Got it. Now, I may alter my tune when my own child is in the 7th grade hormone-addled game of Twister, or, when we catch him as a teen with one of his girlfriends in what surely looks like a naked frolic but he assures us they were just "hugging".

But for now I am glad children are showing some affection and instilling some actual human contact during their 100+hours a week of texting and mySpacing. And the hugs, well, they seem quite mild compared to what you know they might be dishing out under the bleachers.

I am sure the schools, acting in good faith to protect the children they serve, attempt to make the best decisions possible but in a world of outlandish behavior, bullying, weapons in school, and physical attacks on teachers, the hug, well, it seems uplifiting.

And the hug worked on these babies, and I certainly know they work on me. So here's to getting your four (at least) a day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Puppy Love



Nixon was my first serious "dog relationship." I had dogs my entire adolescence and thought dogs were an easy addition to the family. Yes, dogs are easy, when you are age five to seventeen and you do NOTHING to actually assist in the care-taking of said dog except for the occasional pet or game of fetch here and there.


Nixon was my learning curve, and ultimately my favorite girl.


Way back in the days of cutting my teeth on other serious relationships like college boyfriends, my first serious paramour and I decided to get a dog. Well, let me slightly rephrase. He said he wanted us to get a dog. I said no. He said let's go look. I said no. We went and "looked" and any fool who got in that car in the first place knows how this story ends. That day, with a puppy on my lap, I became a member of the Boxer Fan Club (well, maybe not that day since that little puppy had to go pee pee similar I suppose to what a camel might need to do after holding it in for oh, weeks and since the dam broke and my lap was her current location, there you have it.)

Years later, I felt it was time to resume doggie ownership but as the sole proprietor this time. I had a roommate and every time I would even look at a dog or comment on its cuteness she would say "Ohhhh nooo". I decided to pull the same explanation that I had been subjected to years before. I called her and said I was going to look at puppies. When I got to the breeder, there was only one left. A runt. And she came tearing around that corner barely two pounds but giving it all she's got. She was so tiny I didn't know if she was actually a dog or a mouse in a doggie costume. A friend was with me and when we looked at that face, we knew it was all over. There simply is no "just going to look." We brought her home and she was so little she had to get a kitty collar and a kitty crate. She never made it over 50 pounds but every pound of her was full of love, energy, and sass. Let me explain.

People say that a dog's personality can very often take on attributes of its owner. Oh, say it ain't so. Nixon was the most loving baby girl but oh, did she have a smart mouth. Hmmmmm. I am still waiting for the irony to sink in but something tells me I will be waiting a long time.

She was a back talker. I had never heard such a thing. From a pet. I would tell her no, or to get off the couch (ongoing battle) and she would do it, begrudgingly, and with backtalk like a raaaaawrr raaaaaawrr.

The first time, I could not quite believe what I was hearing. I actually asked her, "Are you sassing me." (Sounds smart, I know.) To which she looked at me as if she couldn't believe I even had to ask. I did find it funny, in an unfunny way. I came home once and she must have been in a deep sleep, because normally, that key would hit the lock and she would fly off that couch and dive into her baby's bed to pretend she was there all along. This day, she only had her front paws on the floor while her butt was all cuddled up on that couch. Oh, and the look of "UH OH" all over her face.

She is the reason people should get dog's in the first place. We had a few mishaps along the route but they made me laugh then (maybe not immediately) and they make me laugh now. When she was six months old, I took her with me on an errand on a cool fall day. Returning to the car I saw a smudge on the window that I could not readily identify. She sat in the driver's seat with a look like "Oh, I MISSED you" on her face. Upon closer inspection, I made an unfortunate discovery.

She had pooped in the car. And then, in haste to get away but with no available escape route, she ran around the car. And around, and around, and around. Nixon Andretti did laps. With poop on paws. It was on the windows, the seats, and a piece even fell in my gym bag. I was mortified. And before you wonder, YES, I took her out to do her business before we left!

I get in the car only upon confirming there was no poop in the driver's seat. At about the second red light, I realized my jeans were taking on water. From the seat. Where she had peed. Goood Lawwwwwd. Oh, I was a pretty picture parked outside my house in the urinate-o-shat mobile. I was so mad at her too. I told her not even to look at me, which she ignored as she tried to cuddle in my lap. Oh, it got cleaned and I couldn't tell anyone who got in the car for months afterward. Now, I find it hysterical and if I could tell you the story in person, I would laugh even harder.

And in another "incident" (Warning: not for those who are squeamish in the tum tum). I got home one day and noticed a distinct scent. Searching high and low, I found nothing. About 20 minutes before I was playing tennis, I took her out to run on the court. She loved it (and I loved watching her bound over the net. With clearance. Superdog!). As she rounded the net, she looked a bit tuckered. As my tennis partner and I looked on, she was suddenly ill. Poor little vomit dog. And then, and only then, did I realize what had happened to the "evidence". I actually had to wrap my nose and mouth in a t-shirt so as to not contribute to the already sickening stench on the tennis court. My partner, laughing his arse off, told me I had to scrub it clean before he would step a foot back on the court. After hauling buckets, brooms, and soap to clean up the mess, did I then counsel sweet young Nixon in no uncertain terms that her circumstances could NEVER be so dire that they would require her to eat her own doo doo. NEVER.

We had big fun. I won't go into all the road trips, the lake, the park, how she would run in these crazy circles like a jackrabbit. Or how every friend I had (including old roommate who never wanted a dog) fell in puppy love with that little girl. She warmed even the hardest of hearts.

And she was a great litmus test. Once, a boy came over to court me, and when he met her he literally tapped her head with one finger, then said, "hmmm, now I smell like dog" and went immediately to wash his hands. She and I looked at each other and knew that would be the last of him.

When we met JohnnyMac, she became completely enamored with him and would only do what was asked of her if it came from him. Once, we were sitting in the living room and she was trying to get on the couch. I told her she had to stay down. She walked around our ottoman to nestle by him and lay her head on JohnnyMac's knee. Those big eyes looking up at him. And don't think he wasn't a sucker for her. Goodness.

I never wanted her on the furniture and devised many schemes to keep her off since each initial scheme failed miserably. Someone told me to put sheets of foil on the couch since animals don't like foil. Eureka! Until she found a way to put her paws on the arm of the chaise, and use her teeth to pull the blanket off the back of the couch OVER the foil so she could nestle right down for a long nap while we were away. Upon discovering this I thought Curses! JohnnyMac asked how I could be mad when my dog was a GENIUS! Touche.

When we were pregnant, and got our new gorgeous king-sized bed, we decided (I decided and JohnnyMac very reluctantly agreed) that Nixon couldn't sleep on the bed anymore. I was concerned she would jump on the bed when the baby came. One night, I came to bed and there is JohnnyMac reading his book, and covered in his 50 pound fur blanket: Nixon. I asked him how that happened and I do love that he acted as if she snuck up there on her own merit like some canine Navy Seal. He also gave mock surprise when he put his book down and pretended he was just noticing her presence. A sucker! I told you!

When our munchkin came into the world, we followed all the steps to help Nixon adapt. And once when I was holding him over my arm, she bounded up and touched his face. I remember being upset with her because it startled me. But she was just trying to get to know him. At that time being such a new parent, I wasn't taking any chances and I wouldn't even let her in the bedroom at night the first month because baby and baby's crib were in our room. She would sleep outside the door and sigh, often and loudly, to let me know her disposition. And her exile didn't last long.

The first month of his life, she started limping. We had no idea why or the source of any injury so we took her immediately to the vet. She was x-rayed and examined. The wise old vet who had been her vet from day one, said there was actually nothing wrong with her. And that it might be her way of getting attention with the new baby.

"So, she's faking an injury?" I asked, incredulously. He laughed and said he could not confirm or deny. She was FAKING IT. And she never limped another day after that.

She got to spend more time with him. And he used to giggle and laugh when she would try to kiss him. I encouraged him to stop opening his mouth when she did kiss him but my words only had so much effect.

I wish they were friends now. I would love seeing them together. And she would love the copious amounts of food that doesn't seem to make it into our munchkin's mouth. And he would love chasing her and trying to catch her little nub as it wagged a thousand beats per minute.


Just after she turned seven, she died unexpectedly as we played in the back yard one day. She was completely healthy and the vet could identify no known cause. I only then understood how people lose a pet and immediately add another pet to their family. You are not trying to replace, but there is a distinct and lonely gap left behind when you lose a pet, and the gap Nixon left is bigger than I could have ever dreamed. I miss her and while I want another dog, I admittedly want one just exactly like her. Sassy mouth and all.

We know we will have another dog one day. A wise girlfriend told me we may not want to have two little bottoms to be cleaning up after at the same time. Now that I am a Boxer Fan Club member, I already know what breed that dog will be. JohnnyMac doesn't get a vote, but who is he kidding, he will be a sucker for the next one too. And our little man will know why they say dog is man's best friend.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Have A Sip Of: Honey Pear Martini


As you may recall, the Honey Pear martini, also known as the Honeyed Pair Martini, (oh, clever play on words) is also known as The Daywrecker. So while you get all hazy-eyed staring at your new summer fling, I will just politely add, you were warned.

This elixir...my oh my....it is simple. And simply out of this world. HiPie and I attempted to make them in Mexico with a bottle of Grey Goose La Poire, some unknown mixture that was promised to be honey, and pieces of lemon. Do not do this. This isn't Second City. Don't improvise. We had to because 1. the La Poire was beckoning 2. I talked up the Honey Pear martini oh so much. 3. They do not sell lemon juice in Mexico. Anywhere.

So here is the delicious mixture. Enjoy every sip.

Honey Pear Martini

Fill your shaker with ice. Add ice and cold water to your martini glasses to chill. (Come on, be fancy with me.) However, I don't recommend flavored sugar rim unless its lemon sugar.

This should make two or three depending on your glass size. We have Reidel 5 oz martini glasses but beware: you don't want to tell people you had eight martinis tomorrow. A 5 oz glass is tiny.

Ingredients:

1/2 pear vodka with a splash of cold water (Count to ten while you pour if you aren't going to measure).

1/4 honey simple syrup* (Directions below but don't worry, its simple.) Count to five while you pour.

1/4 lemon juice (fresh or Real Lemon 100% lemon juice. Count to five while you pour).

Shake it, shake it, shake it. Empty your chilling martini glass and refill with nectar of Aestas.


* To make honey simple syrup. Add 1 c. water to 1. c honey in a saucepan over medium heat until honey is fully incorporated. Do not boil. It will overflow and make a huge mess and you will pissed off before you can enjoy your cocktail and I never want to see that happen.


Let cool completely. Store in squeeze bottle or in tupperware container. Cheers!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Prada Dada

JohnnyMac is superfly. He has been since the day we met. Actually, since before we met. I love that we went out one night with some casual friends, early on in our dating. The wife complimented his attire and said she loved his shoes. He had just bought them at Kenneth Cole in NYC. She laughed and said, "Before he met you, I don't think he even knew what brand he bought."

Oh, I know that's not right.

JohnnyMac loved to bestow on me fabulous clothes and handbags. And JohnnyMac was well coiffed and well presented long before we met. But he is subtle about it.

Unlike our friend in law school, Wrinkle, who only wore clothes emblazoned with logo. And not just a subtle polo horse or Faconnable crest. His poison was Tommy Hilfiger who manufactured shirts and jackets with not only logo but entire name spelled out down the arms and across the back. We used to tease him. Relentlessly.

Hey Wrinkle. I love your shirt. Lacoste?
No, its Hilfiger.
Oh really? Is it?

But JohnnyMac has been cool since he had the Camaro in high school (and a mullet I can absolutely assume. A fact which his mom confirms and he denies). But he was hip then, and he is hip now.

And I love the first time JohnnyMac came home from baby clothes shopping. Forget Gymboree (which I actually don't like a bit) and went straight to Bloomingdales. He is a Prada Dada. I had a habit of overbuying but JohnnyMac only added piles of gold to our son's already over-brimming pot.

My mom recalls that when I was a toddler, I refused to wear socks that didn't match my underwear. Thankfully this is a trend that saw its demise. But I get her assertion, and I know it smacks of truth. And my mom steered me on that initial inclination as she frequently sends boxes full of babyclothes for the Bird from Nordstrom and Macy's. My little brother sent wee man a pair of Diesel jeans. For his 2nd birthday. So the familial influence abounds.

And now we see our tiny son has his own element of style. As I was getting him dressed the other morning, he said, "I don't like that shirt Mommy." Alright Bird. I asked him what he wanted to wear and he hopped down and opened his armoire and pulled down a long sleeve button down. "This one. It's my favorite. It has a horse like Daddy's shirt."

And then he asked for his golf visor, "just like Daddy wears." You've got it, buddy.

Did I mention he is only two? And I think JohnnyMac with his fabulous style is a great influence.
Are we promoting materialism? Of course not. My son wore a paper Varsity Drive In hat for days. Do you know the Varsity Drive In? An Atlanta tradition (oldest drive in on city record) and about as far from haute couture as you can be.)
And we know he will someday want to dress as if matching colors and complimentary patterns are meaningless. Good for him. I will encourage his own creative license. But while he wants to be like Prada Dada, I love it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ouch



What might fall under the "Things you do for love" heading, would surely also fall under the "Are you ________ kidding me" subcategory.

Often while reviewing various online newspapers, I, just like you, encounter news bits that are quite unbelievable. Alas, we know that truth is stranger than fiction because fiction typically must make sense.

In Cairo a few weeks ago, a 25 year old Egyptian man, denied by his parents to marry the girl of his dreams decided that retribution for their narrow minds was his only alternative. His spite of choice? Oh, cutting of his penis.

I think even Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti shuddered beneath their gold encrusted tombs.

And no, I am not fabricating these details. After lobbying his family to marry a woman of a lower social class (which is highly frowned upon in the conservative province of Qena), he reached the last resort. So not only does he cut off his penis, he heats up the knife to do it.

To make the process more expedited and efficient? Ouch.

At the hospital, medical personnel determined the damage was irreversible.

There are so many things wrong with this story. Surely, his pals should have interceded. I guarantee if any friend of mine at that age indicated becoming a eunuch was a near-term plan, we would have staged an intervention.

And he did this at age 25? Are 25 year old men at the pinnacle of their development? Is the penis not the primary source of decision making and thought process for the average man this age? What happens then?

And if you want to teach your Dad a lesson, let me help you make a list of other potentially less painful options.

You can change your name, pretend you don't know him, denounce his bloodline even. You can opt to never step foot in his house again. You can wear a disguise and flee. You can take your wanton love, put it in a suitcase, and hit the street. However, what you should never, never do is take a hot searing knife and dismember your member.

And just to be clear, I am not certain removing your own penis will actually teach your Dad a lesson but I think it is a bit late to make suggestions, isn't it?

And be it to cliche and trite to say that if can literally chop off your own King Tut, well, then at the bare minimum, you have balls. Probably won't get him to the altar, but this is a story for the ages of what you should never, ever do for love.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weekend Wanderlust: Asheville, NC

Just over 150 miles from Atlanta tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains is Asheville, North Carolina. What Frommer's calls one of the top seven places to live in the United States, Asheville is teaming with history and serves as a great weekend getaway.

The childhood home to one of my favorite basketball coaches of all time, Roy Williams, Asheville was also once frequented by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford perhaps the most notable of visitors is George Vanderbilt who built the largest home in America in 1890.

Lush and green, you may have seen glimpses of Asheville in the movies Dirty Dancing, Bull Durham, Patch Adams, Forrest Gump, The Fugitive, and Last of the Mohicans.

With great restaurants, a growing art scene, predominantly great weather and an easy and affable personality, Asheville is a great place for a little weekend wanderlust.


Sleep: We stayed at the Inn on Biltmore Estate and I recommend it. This Four Star / Four Diamond respite has multiple packages available and the accomodations are lovely. With over 200 rooms, a restaurant, and an Irish pub, it is an easy trip to downtown.

Eat: We had a recommendation from a crusty concierge that turned out to be a bust (and included a waiter who told us that Asheville is "not considered to be part of the South." BUT, we hit it big by stumbling across a great Spanish tapas bar called Zambra. Great wine selection, great food, and great service. And I dipped into this incredible butternut squash soup they were serving that night. Perfecto.

The bartender there gave us a great rec for dinner the next night and he was spot on. He told us to ask for a friend of his and we got top notch service and a great bottle of reserve wine to try on our visit to Rezaz Mediterranean Restaurant and Enoteca. Great food and I loved the Argentinian Malbec.

In addition, the top ten booked restaurants in Asheville right now are:

Red Stag Grill-Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville
Corner Kitchen
Savoy
Zambra
Rezaz
Bistro Roca and Antlers Bar
Cucina 24
Table
Vincenzo's Asheville
The Gamekeeper

We also had a fabulous lunch at the Bistro at Biltmore Winery. They showcase food from their own farm, fields, and winery. Fantastic.

Do: You simply must go to see Biltmore Estate. With over 220 rooms, and an 8000 acre backyard, you likely have visited nothing like it. The original purchase was 125,000 acres so George Vanderbilt has vision and it is represented clearly as you tour his home which is still held and maintained by the family. With over 1 million visitors per year, it is such a great view into history. Not only should you take the tour but you should actually get the headset guide and listen. The details you will glean simply can not be picked up without the guide. I know you aren't in sixth grade, trust me, I am the first to shrug a "headset tour" but friends recommended it to us, and I appreciated the volumes of details shared. Original Renoirs, bowls from the Ming Dynasty, and Napoleon's chess set and gaming table he gifted to the Vanderbilts are just some of what you will see. And the indoor pool, bowling alley, and gym were built at original time of construction. George Vanderbilt was incredibly forward thinking.



You should also take the Winery Tour and Tasting. Biltmore Estates bottles their own wine and we are fans of the Limited release Syrah and the Reserve Cabernet. Plus, you have to get a bite at the Bistro at Biltmore Winery while you are there because its sensational. We also caught a cooking demonstration and bought a great cookbook of Recipes from Biltmore.

Other Asheville points of interest:


Crest Mountain

Blue Ridge Parkway

Botanical Gardens at Asheville

Grove Park Inn

North Carolina Arboretum

Smith-McDowell House

Enjoy some weekend wanderlust in Asheville.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

JA of the Day: volume iii


Oh Jenisia William, to pronounce you a jackass does not even begin to cover it. But for the sake of not starting my day with a profanity laced diatribe, JA, while lacking, will have to be adequate. Everyone reading this will know that for today's purpose "JA" actually means something much, much more abominable.

50 minutes south of Atlanta is the city of Barnesville. Barnesville is where Jenisia Williams hopped in her car and drove to her local Walmart for a shopping excursion yesterday. Handbag in hand, because no one would forget their handbag in the car while shopping, she headed into the store for at least twenty minutes.

Do you know what Jenisia did leave in the car? You would never guess because not one single sane, careful, or adequate person would leave this, but go ahead, guess....

Her lip balm? No. Her check card? Wrong again. Her four month old twins? See, I knew you would never guess but in order to be correct, this is the answer you would need to supply.

Thankfully, the infants were not harmed. Surprisingly, considering the internal temperature of the car was 90+ degrees. Jenisia, is this your first day in Georgia? It is clearly not your first day being a completely inhumane person. It is the summertime here in Georgia. You can't leave a bottle of water in your car without concern for it melting.
You make me sad. Because everyone knows, including the Clayton County Police Department, that you did not forget your twin infants in your car. You left them there. Alone and crying furiously. But thankfully their little lungs had so much muscle in them because this is how another shopper was alerted to your crime.

And this shopper waited by the car for a few minutes prior to calling 911 because she clearly believed no one would ever, ever leave their children in a vehicle while shopping at Walmart. Had you been inside a hospital receiving a kidney transplant, you still can not leave your newborns in a vehicle alone. How can you not know this?

Police arrested and charged her with two counts of child cruelty. This seems paltry and insufficient to me.

When she did return to her car, she was shocked and outraged asking "WHERE ARE MY BABIES?!?!?!"

Jenisia. Stop that. Do not display shock and awe that your children were taken away. You have a driver's license, yes? You drove there, yes? My assertion is that anyone who can pass a driver's license exam has the modicum of common sense needed to know that leaving babies in a car, alone, is a very very very very bad idea.

The infants were taken to a local hospital as a precaution, then released to their father while you remain in jail. Let's hope he does not endorse or support your child-rearing techniques. Enjoy jail. I hope you get an extended stay.

Therefore, you are the JA (expletive, expletive, expletive) of the Day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Racy

Who doesn't remember a doe eyed girl proclaiming, "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins" in a national advertising campaign? I am sure you do remember because it was Brooke Shields and it was highly controversial at the time because when it aired in 1980, Brooke Shields was only 15 years old.


Calvin Klein opened his first eponymous store in 1968. He spent the next twenty years growing a brand that would become a world-wide name. During that time the main consistency was eye-catching advertising. Working with famous photographers Bruce Weber and Richard Avedon, the creative license caught people's attention. And Calvin Klein was on everyone's lips.

Often racy, often talked about, and often provoking contention, Calvin Klein has featured the semi-nude bodies of famous personalities from Djimon Hounsou and Kate Moss to Kate Bosworth and Charlize Theron.

Facing bankruptcy in the early 90's, he came back with a vengeance with the marketing of his underwear line and CK One.

And who can forget the infamous Marky Mark (Mark Wahlberg) campaign from that time. I mean, he was grabbing his package after all. On a forty foot billboard in Times Square. Subtle? I don't think subtle is what Calvin had in mind.

Calvin Klein has manufactured a reputation as edgy. The tendency to shock seems par for the course. But is it becoming trite and stale?

Last year, a campaign featuring nude ads of Eva Mendes were banned by numerous mainstream media outlets. The outcome? A percentage of people sought to find the contraband by any means they could. Increased magazine sales for GQ, Elle, W, and Vanity Fair all which featured the ads? Yes.

So that there is current grist over a Calvin Klein ad is not surprising. The newest campaign features a billboard comprised entirely of racy creativity and pure controversy. And its the current cause celebre' for Calvin Klein.

Located on the side of a building in the Soho neighborhood of New York, this billboard features fairly youthful (translation: teenagers?) models wearing only jeans and engaged in all kinds of a loving embrace. A young woman is lying on one young man, while kissing another, while yet another lies just adjacent to them with a look of, well, I think you know that look. Some local residents call it provocative while others call it inappropriate and seedy. Multiple associations focused on families and children are furious at what they call highly sexualized imagery in a high traffic area. It is located very close to a school.


A Calvin Klein spokesperson said the "intention was to create a very sexy campaign that speaks to our targeted demographic."

This isn't the first time people have come out to denounce CK's efforts to get attention. A huge controversy in 1999 with an ad campaign involving young teens was found so offensive and borderline child porn the community and media flexed their muscles to terminate the placement of any of these ads.

Owned by Phillips-Van Heusen since 2002, Calvin maintained heavy involvement with the creative direction until recently. The theme of his thirty year legacy carries on with the ongoing embroilment and chatter about these ads.

Seedy? I don't know. Racy? Of course. Highly sexual? Absolutely. Civilized enough for mainstream media? Its questionable. Appropriate for a neighborhood in which kids walk to school? Well, as a parent, that's dicey.

Is that porridge too hot? Or just right? You decide.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daddy's Day...

Father's Day, unofficially born in 1908 in West Virginia, it apparently wasn't widely received nor embraced as emphatically as its counterpart, Mother's Day. Maybe back then, a Daddy's day consisted only of working and drinking. President Coolidge supported making the holiday official in 1924 but it took over 40 more years and a mandate by President Lyndon Johnson to confirm that Father's Day would be a national holiday. Apparently, not a lot of champions in the Daddy's corner back in the day. Oh, the Daddies really had to work for it.

Oh, times have changed.

I watched a few days ago as our little man handed Daddy all of his "friends" at bedtime and made Daddy hug and kiss each one goodnight. And then he wanted Daddy to have each friend also say goodnight to him. So Daddy held up each animal and said, "Goodnight little man." If our son didn't like the voice he used, he would say "No Daddy, thats not how Mickey Mouse sounds."
And when we started kissing boo boos, JohnnyMac asked me how long I thought this lasted. I assured him it wasnt going to be deep into adolescence but if your son thinks you have some magical elixir springing from your kisses, then by all means, kiss kiss kiss. There may be a point in our son's life when he believes us incapable of fixing any of his problems, boo boo or otherwise. So I will gladly embrace this period of time where all the healing he needs is as simple as a kiss.

And the other night, our little man woke up around midnight. This lone voice in the quiet house, "Daddy, I need you." You become aware of yourself in a keenly different light when you are so needed by someone else.

And the morning in the shower, when our son pointed to Daddy's midsection and said "There's your penis Daddy!" and then grabbed it and gave it a very, very big yank. If you recall the Hot Pepper story, poor JohnnyMac is going to need first aid soon.

And this Daddy has earned his Daddy's Day from that instance alone. And what will JohnnyMac be doing to celebrate? Golfing. Of course. And then watching golf. All day.

If this holiday is a part of your current status men, enjoy. I think it takes a tremendous amount to be a good parent, a good leader, and a good role model. Have a wonderful Father's Day.

And as a tiny tribute to the Daddy in our house, here are some of my favorite photos celebrating fatherhood in this family.





Saturday, June 20, 2009

Take A Bite of: Chicken Fettuccine


the most perfect fettuccine you will ever eat. Growing up, we used to take our boat to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington every summer. And oh how I loved it. My Mom (Momcatt. Me give a nickname? You know by now the answer, of course, is yes.) has been making this for years and would whip it up in the galley of our boat in less than an hour so you know it is an easy option. For many people, just hearing the words "alfredo sauce" is artery-clogging. This sauce is lighter. I omit the butter but to make it true to form, I included it in the recipe. This recipe is truly called San Juan Fettuccine but because my mom put her spin on it so well, I call it Momcatt's Fettuccine. And yes, I still have girlfriends who talk about this excellent dish.
A perfect treat to pair with white wine if you want to make something special. I have been making it for years too and just had to call my mom to clarify the specific amounts of certain ingredients since I merely eyeball at this stage. She remembers making this for us for years, and it never disappointed. Buon Appetito!


San Juan Fettuccine (aka Momcatt's special)
Ingredients:

2 C Fettuccine Pasta (cooked and drained)
1/3 C Butter
1/4 t fresh minced garlic
1/4 t pepper
1 C whipping cream
1/2 C sour cream
1/4 C grated Parmesan
1/4 t seasoning salt (my Mom uses Johnny's)
1/4 pound chopped mushrooms
1/2 medium onion (you can also omit without compromising flavor)
3/4 C diced raw chicken ( I use about 3 half breasts)
3/4 C of sliced or quarter cut zucchini

Directions:
Heat butter, garlic, pepper in a large frying pan. Add onions and mushrooms until sightly brown. Add chicken, zucchini and 1/2 seasoning salt. Sear all raw sides of the chicken. Add Pasta and the remaining seasoning salt. Add whipping cream, sour cream and blend well. Cook 4 or 5 minutes to reduce cream and to thicken the sauce. Add cheese, blend well. Serves 2 or 3.

* Note from my mom: This is the basic recipe. As you well know we usually doubled it and I also often replaced the chicken with seafood. Scallops are a big hit. This was probably one of my very favorite things to make.

I have loved this recipe for years and hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Thanks Mom!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Chuck Taylor UnFan Club


This is from a fashion editorial I saw recently. Besides the very West Side Story choreography which doesn't seem very Vogue to me, I didnt know fashion might include skipping of any sort. That being said, I do love the Marc Jacobs sweater and Gucci jacket but as my eyes scrolled I was stopped by what I assert are the ugliest shoes on earth: Chuck Taylor's.

Now, I fully support creative artistry but, really?

Also known as the Converse All Star, they became known as "Chuck's" when basketball great Chuck Taylor named them his shoe of preference. And yes, I know this shoe is arguably the most notable athletic shoe of all time, the precursor to the Air Jordan, and yes I already know it is also the most successful shoe in history.

You know what else it is? U-G-L-Y. And it ain't go no alibi.

I have seen this shoe on everyone from scientists to five year olds. A friend of mine, and former fashion model, swore by them. I have also spied them on characters on Grey's Anatomy.

Why? Because of the hundreds of thousands of shoes out there, this one got the Pity Award? Can't you just wear a flip flop when in doubt? If flip flops are not an option, I promise you I would rather see the garden clog.

I had to give the Chandler Bing (the heave ho given from one person to another often for very flimsy excuse) to a guy in college who showed up at my door in navy blue Chuck Taylors. Ugh. Because I am shallow? No. Because we all have preferences. And I would rather ride to dinner on a donkey's back then date someone who thinks Chuck Taylor's are a grown up shoe.

And yes, I am sure if I saw yours, I would change my mind. Mmm hmmmm.

And for the record, regarding the photo shoot above: Someone actually suggested there was no better acoutrement to Gucci than a canvas tennis shoes? Excellent!

Be right back, I want to see if my thirteen year old cousin has a hoodie I can wear with my Ferragamos.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Start spreading the news.


This is one of my favorite places. Period.

Ahhh, Central Park. And exponentially more fun when the sun is out. I went running this past weekend in Central Park and between the dogs, babies, cyclists, and other people just dawdling around, it is true people-watching experience. This photo is one of the best I have taken. I want to be a part of it. New York, New York!

As I have emphasized before, NYC is one of my paramour cities. This past weekend, we did a quick getaway. No husbands or babies invited. MarciaGarcia and I got in late on the brink of the weekend and what better way to combat flight delays and thunderstorm warnings then with a refreshing cocktail at one of our favorite little pubs in midtown Manhattan? You know what other pics you won't see? What happens after pints o' plenty. I love this little place called Perfect Pint. We found it years ago by accident and now we commit to the visit. They happen to have a great jukebox and the perfect amount of floor space for impromptu dancing. While Beyonce has never been one of my favorites, I sure got a kick out of Put A Ring On It that night.

There is a common misperception that New Yorkers are rude. Incorrect. If anything, perhaps they have little sympathy for idleness. Maybe some of the tourists, with their brash behavior, make the natives restless.

I am certainly not a native, but even some of the other visitors we encountered made me shake my head and bite my tongue. If you are visiting NYC or any city for that matter, how about a quick overview of things you should and should not do:

When you are trying to get your bearings, by all means ask. If you need to look at a map, do it. NYC is a very big place and can be overwhelming to a lot of people even after visiting once. Where is a great place to study your map? Not in the middle of the sidewalk, especially in Times Square where every tourist goes. Do you know how many other people are using that sidewalk? Thousands. Scooch on over to the side hence you learn what a new york "shiver" really is.

When you are braving the subway for first few times, familiarize yourself with the layout. However, do not think the best place to look at the subway map is in the middle of the stairs heading to the subway. People have plans. Stopping on the middle of the stair case is something you shouldn't do in your own city, let alone in New York. Over five million people ride the subway in NY everyday. Move to the side.

When you are on the subway, notice the quiet. For so many people, there is relatively little ruckus, albeit a few kooks here and there. Why should you notice the quiet, because then you will ascertain the subway is not a good place to call Aunt Mel and tell her all about your big subway trip. Because you can barely get reception in certain places, you will inevitably talk louder. Refrain. People do not like it.

When you are at the hotel, and ever eager to go to your room, stand to the side of the elevator. When it hits the lobby floor, it is likely packed. All of the people inside would love to come out. Do you know why they are delayed? Because you are standing in front of the door shoulder to shoulder with your spouse. With your family in tow. People should not have to say "excuse me" to exit the elevator. This is common sense given that there are elevators in some capacity in virtually every city but yet, I saw it all weekend long.

Of course you should ask people to take your picture. I know more than anyone how many pics this family has of only one of us with our son on our travels. I love asking people to take our family pic and most people are happy to do so. I took multiple pics of people this weekend. You know who to ask for a helping hand? Someone who already has a camera, or someone else that looks like a tourist, or someone casually lollygagging about. Do not ask the man in his Yves Saint Laurent suit hustling by with his cell phone plastered to his ear. He appreciates the constant boost to the NY economy, but he doesn't want to stop and take your picture.

NYC is a metropolis of good food. Take your family to somewhere other than TGI Friday's while you are in New York. If economics are a concern, there are hundreds of restaurants in the blocks around Times Square that will feed you all like Kings without emptying your wallet. Refrain from the chain restaurants. I went to Juniors once out of sheer desperation. It was horrid. If you are looking for neighborhood gems, go to http://www.opentable.com/ and search on the neighborhood of your choice for recommendations, best kept secrets, and restaurants geared for groups.

Do not ask if the "designer" purses in Chinatown are real. If you really could buy a Prada bag for $50.00, do you think they would sell them at Bergdorfs and Saks for $900.00? There is a reason you are getting a $50.00 option. But by all means, enjoy that option. I saw a darling little blonde girl carrying her fake pink Chanel bag with a smile as big as the Hudson. And believe me, the first time I went to NYC, I was all of 15. I saw those piles of pretty bags and asked my Dad if that Gucci bag was only $10.00, shouldn't I have own to take home. He assured me, I should not take the Grucci bag home. Upon closer inspection, I understood. And he took me to Macy's for a SwatchWatch instead.

Bring cash. While all of the yellow cabs in NYC are now required to have credit card machines, that rule doesn't apply everywhere. You don't want to be stuck without cash in New York. Ever.

Wander. Now, you want to mind your location and time of day as you would anywhere. But some of the gems of New York are in the neighborhoods where residents live and play. You can familiarize yourself with the layout of Manhattan before you ever leave. This quick guide will help.

And bring your walking shoes. Of course, you know I recommend both of my favorite walking shoes but regardless, don't plan on walking around NYC all day in unsensible shoes. You will walk more than you know, and I have been with people who made poor shoe choices and ended up barefoot at the end of the night. I don't need to tell you the vast reasons barefoot on the streets of NYC is never, ever good.

If you are looking for a more authentic experience, these few suggestions may help. And really, don't forget your camera. There are incredible pictures just waiting to be taken. A few more form my previous trips.





Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Maternal instinct



This is our little man's first photo shoot. That face! He was graced with a fairly even temperament and an intrinsically happy disposition. He was an obscenely easy newborn. And while he may be getting a bit more bossy now since he turned two, he at least maintains his manners. i.e: Let me do it myself! PLEASE!

The pregnancy was a bit of surprise. By "bit" I mean we had no clue. When birth control companies boast 99% effectiveness, the remainder is obviously based on actual people who use birth control and still get pregnant. Officially, we make up that 1% margin.

I knew I was pregnant about 12 hours after it happened. How I would know this innately, with no previous pregnancies, and zero knowledge about pregnancy in general, well, my acute knowledge suprised everyone. Everyone but me. Maternal instinct apparently starts tout de suite.

When I told JohnnyMac we were late. He simply said, ok. I reiterated we were late. Not late for dinner late, but late for nature late. Again, he simply said ok with calm eyes and voice. He asked me what we should do first. I opted for pregnancy test. I took multiple. All signs pointing to yes. Why I thought a 2nd or 3rd test would actually be the most accurate, I can not say. As if the urine on the first tests was somehow compromised. Or as if I had put the stick outside for a moment and directly in the path of a pregnant dog in the neighborhood. No. The first result was the same as the last result. Large blue plus sign.

I called my Ob-Gyn's office and spoke to her Nurse. The nurse asked me how late I was, and I replied "About 12 hours." The Nurse seriously guffawed (loudly) into the telephone. I don't think she stopped her laughter for several mintues. She cleared her throat and informed me most women don't become concerned until they are four weeks late or more. Four weeks late or more? I told her there would be no patiently waiting four weeks to confirm. She tried to placate me. She suggested home tests and since I had already accomplished this preemptive measure, I shared my results. She then shifted her attention and took me a bit more seriously before responding with a "Hmmmm. There are rarely false positives."

She then asked me how I knew I was late, what kind of tracking did I do. I told her. She asked me how long I kept track, was it for a few weeks, a month? I approximated fifteen years. She laughed. And told me in her two plus decades of being a nurse, she could not recall a patient ever knowing quite that quickly. She told me I would be the talk of the office that day.

Maternal instinct. When it comes, it apparently comes full force.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

City of Angels? Indeed.

I have been fortunate enough to celebrate many a thing in my life. From birthdays to babies to blogging. I have also celebrated many great moments in sports history including but not limited to when my Kansas Jayhawks won the NCAA tournament in 2008. When celebrating, components I might include in the fete might be gifts, tributes, perhaps photos of the moment, and of course, signature cocktails.

What never occurs to me is reckless defiance of all social morays with not a shred of care for danger or consequences.

Of course, recklessness and lawlessness don't occur to you either so you might be trying to see the correlation here. Oh do come closer and I will share.

Before I begin, let me note that I am a big fan of L.A. I have spent numerous weeks there and have always received the gold star treatment (and I am no one that matters in L.A. I assure you.) While many accuse Los Angeles of being trite, fake, shallow, that has not been my experience in any visit.

L.A. is a town that has many a pretty face, and one that proves the earth's crust isn't the only place in which silicone is the second most abundant element. Because I have always had a fabulous time, recent news of antics must be met with a modicum of concern.

After the recent NBA Championship series in which the Lakers beat the Magic, I am certain much celebrating was in store. With not only great play, Phil Jackson also broke Red Auberbach's record with his tenth title win and is now, the winningest coach in NBA Playoffs. Just like Kool and the Gang...celebrate, good times, come on. I am sure the majority of people celebrated in style, after all, who doesn't like a good fizzing champagne geyser.

However, did you know what the other idiots in L.A. were doing? To them, a note:

Dear (certain) Citizens of L.A:

Hark the Kobe Bryant sings....I am sure you were all crazed with excitement. When I am excited, I might go a touch wild too, but you know what I don't do? Light things on fire. If you werent sure what you should do, perhaps look to your knight in basketball armor. What was he doing? Oh, leaping with joy. You know what he wasn't doing? Lighting things on fire. So if the man who helped land the Title was satisfied with merely dancing a jig...why weren't you?


In all your joyful bedlam, you couldn't just high five each other? Even cover your body in purple and gold paint? Even a tattoo of the Lakers logo wouldn't be too fanatic for you true fanatics, would it? But no, you thought good times = fire. Wow.



And the throwing of rocks and bottles at police officers and other people who are also celebrating with you.

And the total destruction of buses.

And the looting of garages.

And throwing of lit fireworks into crowds.

And then more arson.

And then the flipping of the police car. Oh, excuse me: the attempted flipping of the police car.

Here are some wonderful photos of your night time activity. Yours is an interesting version of a victory dance.


Now, while I am an attorney, I am certainly not well versed in police investigation tactics. However, I could give you one or two pieces of advice.

When celebrating, do not act like a complete %@#&*!^ moron. Oh, too late for that?

How about: Do not set property on fire. Especially property that does not belong to you. And then POSE IN FRONT OF YOUR CRIME WITH YOUR BAND OF #&@*^!%$! moron friends and let someone take your picture. How hard will the LAPD have to dig for you? Not too deep when you photograph is on the front the Times, the Sentinel, and the LA Daily News. Good job, smarty.
Clearly, you DO like riots.

In 2000, after the Lakers won their first NBA title in 12 years, you also enjoyed rioting outside Staples Center, with more burning police cars and countless other acts of juvenile thought process. Dozens of people were arrested and injured then.

Stop that. Burning down someone's news stand certainly doesn't make your victory any sweeter. And since only 25 people were arrested that night, there will likely be a knock at your door any minute since you took a PHOTO of yourself breaking the law. Think about it, and maybe just settle for a chest bump next time.

And since your Mayor is going to have a celebration parade despite the city's hurting economy, that ought to be a good time. Normal people: bring your helmets and flame retardant outfits.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pigpen


We have a neighbor, and his nickname is Pigpen. Why? Oh, so many reasons. Pigpen lives alone and produces more bags of trash in one week than we do in a month including the fact we are changing diapers throughout the day. Every day. How do I know? Because Pigpen thinks his front doorway is a Trophy Case for Glad Bags.
This is what I saw after being out of town this weekend. And it reminded of me the hundreds of bags of trash lining the streets of New York at night. JohnnyMac said these bags sat here for three entire days. Eww.

One day while washing my car, Pigpen pulled his 2008 Caddy into his garage. He opened the car door and threw about 5 pounds of garbage onto his garage floor. Said hello to me and went inside. Eww.

Pigpen also has a dog. His dog does not go outside. Where might his doggie go potty you might curiosly ask? In Pigpen's backyard. How do I know? We have been to the house next door a hundred times. Pigpen's backyard is a composter's dream. Eww.

One day Pigpen had his front door open when I pulled up with friends. He better have some serious rappelling gear in order to climb over the piles of trash littering his entire hall. No wonder that dog doesnt go outside. He little legs aren't strong enough to navigate all the debris. I am sure the army of bugs that certainly reside there too love it but I don't. Please keep your moutain of trash bags inside or better yet, in the dumpster which is the perfect storage place for such items. Eww.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Take A Bite Of: 12 Layer Chocolate Cake

Your soon to be favorite birthday gift. This recipe is from Art Smith, personal chef to Oprah for over a decade. The picture alone will make you salivate. Its birthday weekend here for multiple family and friends so what better way to show some love than 12 layers of deliciousness? Buon Appetito!

12 Layer Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
Cake:
Butter, flour, and waxed paper, for coating the pans
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 c. sugar
6 eggs
4 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, sifted 3 times
1 1/2 t. baking powder
pinchs salt
3 c. milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

Icing:
3 c. sugar
1/2 c. high-quality cocoa powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 can (12-ounce) evaporated milk
1 T. vanilla extract

Pecan halves, for garnish (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter four 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with waxed paper, then butter the paper. Flour the pans.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. To the butter and egg mixture, gradually add the flour mixture and milk, alternating between them. Continue to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once the flour and milk are incorporated, add the vanilla extract.

Add 1 cup of batter to each prepared pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until light brown. Remove the layers from the pans and cool on a wire rack, placing the paper side down. Wash the pans. Butter and flour the pans again for the next batch of cakes. Repeat the process until 12 layers are baked.

When all the layers have cooled, make the icing. Combine the sugar, cocoa, butter, and evaporated milk in a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and cool 2 minutes until the icing is thin but spreadable. (This icing becomes thicker as it cools.) Add the vanilla extract.

Remove the waxed paper from each layer. Place one layer of cake on a wire rack and spread with icing. (For easier cleanup, assemble the cake over an edged sheet pan to collect runoff icing.) Add the next layer and ice it. Continue adding and icing layers, then pour remaining icing over the top. Icing that drips down can be used to cover the sides. Garnish with pecan halves, if desired.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fartin' around

Primarily as a tribute to a certain someone's birthday, I write this post. This certain someone shall remain nameless however, she won't care and is already laughing hysterically as she reads this 3,000 miles away. I will let her pass this story along to all of her friends, who will nod knowingly and say, yes....that is so M.

I remember calling someone in my family once and following the typical salutations, I inquired "so what are you doing this morning?" The response was "oh, I'm just fartin" around."

Ummm, what?

Oh, I'm a quick one. I could easily extract the meaning. Let me just ask, why in the world would we take the actual act of "wandering aimlessly with no definitive goal" and instead, turn it into fartin' around? Pray tell. Is that streamlining? Too many words in the former? When asked what you were doing, couldn't just say, "not much?" Is that too boring? Wanted to spice it up a bit?

This fartin' around (and never with the g on the end, of course not) is an odd phrase for multiple reasons. If you were "fartin' around" would you actually tell people? Oh, I know YOU would (M.M.) but for the rest of the population, I am not so confident. This expression is not something you likely hear everday, and trust me, I am not sad about it. If I never heard it again, I wouldn't flinch a bit.

And while we are on the topic, lets just bring up the whole genre of bathroom humor. Here is a tiny speck of opinion: If it comes out an orifice, its not funny. It should be kept behind a closed door. No need to use it as a platform for jovial conversations, jokes, and by all means, don't turn it into what you might think are clever colloquialisms.

Oh yes, I know some people (M.M) just love the emails about farting, pooping, toilet bowls, pull my finger...uh huh...and while I enjoy jokes and parody so very much but I do try to have some tiny parameters around potty humor.

Let's expand. In addition to "fartin' around", here are other expressions I vote to be banned from daily conversation:

sh*t or get off the pot. You find someone's indecision so tiresome that your own brain can not come up with any other suggestion but "sh*t or get off the pot?" Really? In theory, if someone is on the pot, and it is their pot, can they not sit there all day long if they choose? Doing their business, knitting, contemplating life? Isn't the use and duration up to them? However, wouldn't it be more straightforward to simply say "MAKE A DECISION". Doesn't that help everyone? You don't confuse them, and you clean up the airwaves of nonsensical analogies involving poop.

sh*tcanned. What does this mean? Fired? Wasted? When you say "what happened to X" and someone replies "He got sh*tcanned" are we 100% clear on the outcome? How about saying "fired". Or "wasted". See how easy? And no confusion whatsoever.

And potentially my least favorite: sh*ts and giggles. When did this become a response to why you did something? Why did you go to Florida? For sh*ts and giggles? Really, thats why?

Hmmmm. I have had the giggles, and believe me, I see very little synchronicity between the two. Couldn't say you went "for fun", or "on the spur of the moment", oh no, you are motivated by the opportunity to soil yourself and laugh about it.

Next stop, commitment papers.

And while I have no hope or intention of changing some people's lifelong embrace of fart/poop/toilet humor, I can promise you, I will plot and scheme to get M.M. back the first time my son says "pull my finger." Count on it.

And Happy Birthday wonderful M.M. We love you! And the rest of our family and friends will be laughing when they know INSTANTLY who I am writing about...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Prepping for Peachtree

We are less than 1 month from the Peachtree Road Race. Also known as the biggest 10K in the world. You may recall I have had a somewhat symbiotic relationship with the Peachtree Road Race for the past 6 years. This year will be no different, except as always, I hope to improve
my time and NOT be passed by 80 year old men.

So in effort to get ready for Peachtree, I am bumping up that running schedule.
Running is not a favored past time. I like it, but primarily when its over. Except I do get a big charge out of the Peachtree. And physical fitness is part of my daily commitment to myself.

So it is an understatement to confess I wanted to build a statue in my own honor when I ran a 5 minute mile a week ago. I just couldn't believe the watch but I assure you, I looked at it again. And again (and let's be honest...again and again and again.) I am not 16 so running anything less than a 10 minute mile is SHAZAM time for me. I literally felt like a bonafide bad ass.

Until, I tried to run two days ago. In the heat this time, since it will be, oh, 90+ degrees and 100% humidity on July 4. At my park of choice, all the runners are out. So it is motivating, and very telling. But I got my great big inflated running ego out there and I put it to good use. Oh......I see. Now, able body and legs, you turn your back on me. I felt like a sled dog with zero training. Was I still digesting that protein shake? Did someone fill my shorts with sand and lead? What the *@(&!? Baby kittens playing in someone's lawn were outpacing me.

The coup de grace? Being passed by a woman pushing a baby jogger with not one but two TINY babies inside that appeared to be all of, mmmm, about 4 weeks old. I would have tricked myself into believing she was just that nanny except they all had the identical mop of hair. Curses.

Provided I keep at it, I remind myself that I didn't even train the first year and was fine. Oh, it that dissipating youth? And seeing that 5 minute mark on my stop watch? I liken it to seeing a unicorn. Something you swear you really saw but know you will never see again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Enough is enough


I declined to make any snarky comment when I heard a whisper of some new little show on a TV station called TV Land (what is this station by the way?) The show is called "Cougar" and it is only one of the recent examples of capitalizing on a social phenomenon that spotlights 40- something women pursuing 20- something men. The network press included a fascinating tidbit that the 40 year old "star" (loosely defined) is “sure to break all the stereotypes people hold about who ‘cougars’ are.” Unless you can do something to change the overall opinion of "SILLY", I doubt any stereotypes will be evaporated. But this is not a show I will watch, recommend, or discuss again so why comment, right? Commenting only inclinates relevance, yes?

And then last week, I heard Courtney Cox is not only starring in a show show on ABC this fall called "Cougar Town" but she is also the Executive Producer so the onus of "You have got to be kidding" lies quite heavily on her shoulders. So far, it has been highly criticized (of course it has because the premise is ridiculous) but the reasons it is being criticized indicate the script is littered with explicit language, gratuitous references to kinky sex, overabundance of the f-word, and sex with boys as young as 15. Really, Monica Geller? Weren't you on another bad show that was cancelled early called Dirt because the script, dialogue, and premise were so poor? Not learning from mistakes?

I find the use of the word "cougar" to describe sexually active women in their 40's with a penchant for college boys to be trite and overused. I can't imagine these shows or any of the future variations of such theme being entertaining or interesting.

OH, and I think I saw both of these shows the first time they were released under the name "THE GRADUATE."


And since "cougar" is a new slang term, when did this slang term expand to mean sexually active 40-something women who like cleavage, very little intellectual conversation, an abundance of tanning, all with a voracious appetite for the pool boy? Coo coo ka choo Mrs. Robinson, at least you had class. And even Stella, getting her groove back, did it the good old-fashioned way: met a young rascal, got her swerve on, and didn't have to post it to Facebook.

So some 40 year old women like Zac Efron, or that other kid from the Gossip show. Good for them. Why is their a special name for this?

A friend of mine in his last year of medical residency (and 29) told me a few months ago that he had some quality "getting to know you (biblically)" time with one of his mother's friends. I wouldn't call that "Cougar-ish". I would call that "someone will be injured when his Mom discovers this tiny piece of information." I think Cougar-time loses some of its mystique and intrigue for her when it lands on her son's nether region, yes?

Why would any woman actually call herself a "cougar" and laugh about it? Like cougar is a euphemism for "sophisticated" or "savvy". It is neither. The act of being interested in someone two decades your junior isn't novel, just ask Hef (Hugh Hefner) and about 100 other well known men.

Use "cougar" all you want if you can determine a way it can be presented just a touch less desperate. Let's not tart it up for all the calmer, more refined, and more discrete ladies. Can it not be a normal social paradigm that some women like younger men? Can we just leave it at that? Do we have to take it to a predatory level? Or shall we cease with the use of the word cougar that is frankly to the point of ad naseum?

Saturday Night Live does a skit called Cougar Den for a reason. If you think being called a Cougar is your ticket out of mid-life crisis, perhaps watch the clip. And next time you are trolling down at Panama Beach in your tube top, this clip is but a tiny window of what the world is seeing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Incontinence Couture



Let me start by taking the seat furthest away from the mockery section as possible.

Depends makes the "adult absorption brief" which is apparently very, very different from a diaper. How is it different, the jury is out but the company assures it clients the products have no similarities. Hmmm.
However, people have a variety of medical issues, at a variety of ages. And I respect that people need certain items to live a simpler and more pleasant life.

Therefore, you have got to love that Depends says, not only will we make the product, we will sashay them right down that catwalk, baby.

Here, some Chinese women model the new diapers for active seniors, at a park in Beijing a few weeks ago.

If the worry of bladder control has you down, Depends wants you to shrug that bad attitude. Of course, you wouldn't wear yours over your pants but just add your oversized sunglasses and your Jimmy Choo's, and you wear your head high.

But I am not positive this is what Helen Gurley Brown had in mind when she said black goes with everthing.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Take A Bite Of: Peach Mustard Pork Chops



A twist on your regular marinade. Its summer time (almost) in the South and we love our peaches. Here is an interesting and delicious option we made last night. Buon Appetito!


Peach Mustard Pork Chops


Ingredients
4 (1 1/2-inch thick) pork chops
Safflower or corn oil, for brushing
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Directions
Peach-Mustard BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)

Prepare an outdoor grill with a high heat for both direct and indirect grilling. Position a drip pan under the grate on the cooler side of the grill.

Brush the pork chops on both sides with oil and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Grill the chops over the heat until brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Move them to the cool side of the grill and brush with some of the Peach-Mustard BBQ Sauce. Cook the chops, covered, turning and basting with sauce every 5 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted crosswise into the chops registers 140 degrees F, about 15 minutes more. Let rest for 10 minutes.

To serve: Drizzle the chops with more sauce and serve.


Peach-Mustard BBQ Sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 cup peach jam or preserves
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and boil until almost completely reduced and the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 minutes. Whisk in both mustards and the jam or preserves. Simmer, whisking, until jam melts, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bourbon and salt.


Note: Stir in the bourbon at the end to give a big jolt to the sauce. This Southern blend goes great with pork but can also be paired with chicken, duck, or veal. Makes approx: 1 1/4 cups.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Holy Pepper


While in Cabo, our posse of five rolls into a truly authentic Tortilleria on old San Jose del Cabo. So authentic in fact, our college sophomore level of Spanish doesn't get us past pollo, bisteca, and camaron. The entire place is inhabited by only locals except for us. We love authentic cuisine and sought out a place recommended to us and when we came across this joint, oh, even better. Since we were going to end up with who knows what on plates, I did seek the help of two American ex-pats and we end up ordering some of the best food we ate in Mexico.

All great, right?

With the fifteen plates brought to our tables (those boys were hun-gry) came a bowl of peppers. You don't need to be fluent in la lingua to know peppers are peppers and if they have been soaking in some Mexican au jus, you better proceed with caution. We love the spicy, so no one is afraid to test the waters.

Now, JohnnyMac already had a bit of dispute with a pepper on a previous night, and sweat was almost coming out of his eyeballs. The RevDoc chomped down on the same pepper like he was eating a tootsie pop. Barely raised an eyebrow. So JohnnyMac is all set to test from the bowl of jalapenos, cayennes, serranos, and a few mystery peppers.

He plays pepper roulette and takes a bite. We all do. Its probably a serrano which you may know has significantly more capsaicin than your average jalapeno. So on the "Oooooo that's hot" scale (aka Scoville), Serrano will hurt your feelings if you try to be too sassy. And even if you are the world's best pepper eater, and you love spicy food, and you can eat anything, careful, these peppers are not comparable to what you might purchase at your local Publix grocery.

With a few burning, stinging tongues, we enjoy our meal and as JohnnyMac dips back in the bowl of fire, I remind him that no part of his fingers shall touch our precious child's face, arms, legs, or hands. I say this because our son wants nothing more than to sit on Daddy's lap. JohnnyMac mildly scoffs at me as if I need a reminder he didn't just become a Daddy on the way to the Tortilleria.

We are wrapping up, and JohnnyMac goes to take a restroom break but first hits the wash basin sitting on the side of the restaurant. Ahhh, in Mexico when devouring peppers, wash hands FIRST before going to the lav. So smart, Senor!

JohnnyMac returns and we are all midway through some funny story when he blushes ( I think...I wasn't entirely sure but his face got RED). He then excuses himself. When he returns, he painfully admits that he apparently transferred some of that capsaicin from his hand onto his organ. What? I am sorry, what did you do? You got hot pepper on your business?

Now note, when I told The Bean this story, she asked me if perchance JohnnyMac had been drinking all day and forgot what he was doing? Intoxicated? No. Confused? No.

Thorough with his hand-washing? Another NO.

So we watch as JohnnyMac turns eight shades of I-yi-yi-yi-yi because he has peppered up his peeper. My oh MY, the jokes we launched at him couldn't come fast enough. His poor midsection was contorting like a Mexican version of Cirque du Ole' and once I knew it wouldn't fall off, I could do nothing more than laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh.

Now that, is some holy pepper. Pay heed all who follow in these footsteps. Now, an hour later or so I knew he had fully, ahem, recovered when he turned to me and said, "You have my permission to blog about this."

Oh honey, I had half of it written in my head in the first 10 minutes. This gives "en fuego" a whole new meaning.