Monday, November 29, 2010

Tis the season....

I hope you all had a great long weekend whether that meant TurkeyFest or BlackFridayShoppaPalooza. I had a fantastic five days with my family. The menu for Thanksgiving turned out beautifully. Oh, except for the turkey. I did at one point call the turkey an inappropriate name. The turkey wanted more time. The turkey said, " I am not predictable." The turkey wanted to ease into our relationship. I despise that turkey. BUT, everything else was gorgeous and it is just one more reason I don't really like turkey. But the hours of cooking were worth the 30 minutes of eating. Believe it. And again, apologies to my Mom who happened to be in the kitchen when I upbraided the turkey.

And the weekend also marked the kick-off of holiday decorating. Since my family was in town, we spent yesterday afternoon decorating the house and tree, and talking to MiniMac about going to see Santa. We are members at Atlanta Botanical Garden which  is also a location of interest because we were married there. Santa was visiting yesterday afternoon so we mentioned it to MiniMac multiple times over the past few weeks. Why the prep? Oh, because our son has NO interest in meeting Santa or engaging in parental paparazzi photo sessions with him either. At one point yesterday he indicated he would say hello to him but did not want to sit on his lap. He already wrote him a letter but I could give it to Santa instead. He would get a photo taken if he sat next to me, and I sat next to Santa. I did not have high hopes of a warm engagement and was fine with simply being outside in a gorgeous venue on a beautiful albeit brisk day.

But the introduction did take place and while my son confirmed my presence was of the utmost importance, the conversation between my son and Santa was one of the best conversations I have heard all year.

As we left, MiniMac shook Santa's hand and said, "It was really nice to meet you. Travel safely..." and my heart bloomed with pride. We highlight the importance of manners and communication in our house and to see our son so readily demonstrate this was awesome. I take my tiny son's hand in mine with a giant smile on my face. We walked away and when we were about 25 feet from Santa, my precious son turned around and yelled back at Santa, "Oh, and NO GIRL TOYS."

Thankfully Santa and his elves laughed uproariously. As did MiniMac's uncle and Grandmother. His Mom still has not a single clue where the "no girl toys" concept derived from but something tells me, this is just the beginning.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I hope your Thanksgiving is this lively....

My family is here today, my menu is ready, and we are going to have a fantastic Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for, there is not a blog post long enough to demonstrate my gratitude. Be safe and well wherever your holidays finds you. And since I can't send you a cocktail, I can share one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories in the event you need some humor injected into your weekend. 

True Story:

During our sophomore year of college, a girlfriend of mine, KK, went home for a week over Thanksgiving break. Her boyfriend was invited home with her for the holiday. Her parents had agreed to this arrangement only if he stayed in the younger brother's room. Right.

Upon his arrival days before Thanksgiving, he placed his overnight bag and backpack in their entryway. Later, in effort to help him take his bags upstairs, KK picked up his backpack by the bottom. Unfortunately it was only partially zipped and overstuffed with books he would never take one look at during the break. Gravity and weight working against her, the zipper flew open and the contents emptied into the foyer. To which her younger brother, about 12 at the time, spied some contraband and shouted, "MOM, ROB HAS RUBBERS IN HIS BAG." KK was mortified as most 19 year-olds would be. Rob's mortification doubled hers. Her Mom, walking in from the kitchen, spied the bedlam as well and then decided Rob could sleep in the basement.

On Thanksgiving, with a slew of family over for dinner, the group has a great dinner as KK’s Mom and Dad are both fantastic cooks. For the dessert bonanza, her five year old little sister presented a pie she had made as a special surprise. Mom assisted in most of the utensil and ingredient assembly. The 5 y.o. called around the corner to ask the Mom where she could locate the main ingredient, pumpkin, which her Mom said “look for the orange can in the cupboard.” Surprise pie made, she was so proud of her creation. When it was cut open and plated, her Dad was the first to sample. After one bite, the Dad halted all other taste-testers. “Honey, what did you use to make the pie?”
“Whip cream!”
“What else?”
“Can you show me the Pumpkin can?”
All eyes at the table ever so curious….the little sister returns from the kitchen with an empty can. Canned pumpkin not the ONLY orange can in the cupboard. Was the surprise the pie itself? Or was the surprise that her sister had made a pie of wet cat food and covered it with Cool Whip?
Thankfully, after the laughter subsided, there were other pies to eat. At least the spilled rubbers in the foyer were forgotten about...

And finally, after dinner and ready to be strewn about the downstairs den watching football and family games, KK’s Mom opens the basement door to let the dog up who had been sequestered during Thanksgiving dinner revelry and Cat Pie a la mode. The dog races up ever so enthusiastically as the family files downstairs. KK’s Father, first in line, is quick to discover someone didn’t leave the guest bathroom door closed and the dog got into and traipsed the garbage can contents about like tinsel on a tree. He was also the first (of many) to discover that certain visiting holiday guests apparently didn’t learn in college that you flush used condoms down the toilet and DO NOT put them in the garbage can wrapped in tissue.

KK instantly wished they were back at the table eating cat food pie. Rob planned to pack his bags and immediately vacate the household. Nothing like observing evidence of someone's active sex life to combat the tryptophan.

What was KK most thankful for that year? When Thanksgiving ended. And of course, in later years, she could appreciate three very memorable stories all of which summarized by her family as the "Poor Rob" weekend. Even long after Rob was but a memory.

I hope your holiday is just as lively.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 simple steps to know if you are Vegas Dirty

Vegas...the world's best free carnival. We had a gorgeous time complete with incredible meals, some gambling luck, some delicious wine. We thoroughly enjoyed an adults only weekend. It is truly a combination of Sin City and the City that Never Sleeps. The hotel and casino business in Vegas is in constant motion. With the opening of City Center and the much anticipated The Cosmopolitan, the draw is no longer a 19.99 room rate and a 3.99 All You Can Eat Buffet. The restaurants are incredible including three 5 Star locations and there are more sommeliers in Vegas than any other US city.

But there is so much more to do than drink, gamble, and participate in shenanigans. I know, I know, many people trek there specifically for those purposes but for the many great people comprising the actual permanent resident population of Las Vegas, sorry. I think it is the many visitors that give Vegas its reputation as a stateside Caligula's playground. We love Wynn, Encore, and Bellagio. Ditto on Palazzo. But we went to see Rod Stewart (who at 65 is still rocking and doing it well) at the Coliseum at Caesar's Palace on night and a few pre-show cocktails and a stroll through the casino presented some serious characters. For most visitors, they might have a little dirty going on under their countenance anyway but when they go to Vegas, all that dirty gets highlighted and magnified. A phenomenon I like to call Vegas Dirty

And listen, I like to prance about and sip extra cocktails on my visits to Vegas just like the average girl. But Vegas Dirty is not about being average. I think Vegas can bring out the dirty in everyone, I after all put on lip gloss before I went to the gym one morning to work out. After brief contemplation, I decided the fact I even went to the gym, IN VEGAS, negated my silly glam move of slapping on shiny gloss at 9 am to go sweat it out in the pilates studio. But I still have a long way to go to get Vegas Dirty.

You are Vegas Dirty if:

1. You wear a bright yellow track suit jacket and matching pants, with the jacket unzipped, no shirt, sunglasses, and a hat on sideways. You also refer to everyone as "Bra" or "Son" and announce sweet sentiments like "I'd hit that..."
PS: Unless you are under the age of 20, in Eminem's music video, or Blossom (or Punky Brewster), wearing a hat on sideways as a grown adult is a universal sign of D-Baggery.

2. You play blackjack with your child in a stroller parked next to you. 

3. Your dress is so short, all your nether world is on display the minute you sit down. I know the Kardashians taught you that but not everyone wants to see your doo dads. 

4. Whatever make up is not left on the pillow from your crawl home to bed at 5 am is not rinsed off when it is time to later start your day but simply slathered over. 

5. You are out at 2 am with your fully awake infant and since you don't want to choose between beer, cigarette, or baby, and you only have two hands, you simply hold baby in one, cocktail in one, and let the cigarette dangle from your mouth.

6.  You agree to a tryst that would likely be illegal in certain countries because you believe "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Just because you saw that mantra on TV does not make it accurate. Don't believe me? Remember seeing The Lion King on TV? Lions don't really talk.

7. You sit down at the black jack table after you have clearly been overserved. You introduce yourself to the dealer first as Kimberly, then as Jessica. And you later knock your drink over before you compliment him on his hair. He is completely bald. When you get up to leave, you leave your shoes behind and proceed through the casino barefoot.

8. You wear a shirt that reads Gold Diggers. Just like wh_res, only smarter. Or if you are a man who wears a shirt emblazoned with The Legend with an arrow pointing to your bits.

9. You are the reason my receipt from one of the boutiques at Wynn included this disclaimer " Undergarments may NOT be returned."

10. You wear a t-shirt that reads Instant Sl_t. Just add alcohol. That is colossally DIRTY.

Allegedly, or what I heard from a friend: You are NOT dirty if you try to instigate some hanky panky while your husband is watching the Patriots game but you are certainly not using womanly wiles to deter him from the game by any means. He offers to turn it off and you say, no need. He is not dirty either for showing his sheer appreciation at being able to engage in aforementioned hanky panky AND watch the Patriots game, he is merely a smart opportunist because this show doesn't go on at home.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Luck be a lady (well, maybe not an actual "lady" but more like a harlot, a super easy, sure thing harlot) tonight

Historically, I am a very lucky person. Right place, right time seems to be a recurring theme. And it is a theme I truly appreciate. And love.

And while I think I am very lucky, this is lucky:

JMac's best friend, Hendo, went to Vegas. He had a standard room at The Hard Rock Hotel. Upon arrival, The Hard Rock Hotel informs Hendo there has been some errorts and there is no room available.As in: No sir, there is not a room available, we are overbooked. Hendo is a formidable man. 6'5 and and a Sales Director. He is personable. He is hilarious.  His case further strengthened his real name is not Hendo. The sorry, no room available soon turned into well, we do have a suite available. A suite? Yes, the Hugh Hefner suite. Two stories and requiring that all temporary tenants sign a waiver. A waiver? Hopefully not against contracting an STD but I didn't ask. But a two story suite? Comped? Now that is luck. 

However, my own lucky recently revisited in the following way: One recent weekend in Florida, at one of our favorite resorts, I am lounging on a chair reading while JMac and MiniMac play in the pool. I discover I have lost one of my diamond earrings. Disheartened to say the least, I do not even know where to begin to find it. I furrow my brow but this clearly produces no luck. HOURS later, as it is my turn to tag in and play with MiniMac in the pool, I step on something. My diamond earring. I stepped on my diamond earring in a giant pool filled with people. HALLELUJAH!  Later, I found the back of the earring in a separate location. More hallelujah. Even our friends sitting next to us could not believe that find. "Go buy a lottery ticket," said one friend.  "I just might," I replied. 

Why is this relevant? Well, JMac and I depart on a plane to the City of Sin also known as Las Vegas in a few hours. An adults-only trip which includes one set of Grandparents taking MiniMac for a long, long weekend. 

Our weekend: sinful, cocktails, sinful cocktails, gorgeous dinners including Carnevina, Strata, and Jean-Georges Steakhouse at Aria. We are seeing Rod Stewart. And we have a fabulous suite at Wynn. Oh, and hopefully we will work in some sleep. (I talk big but I like to go to bed at 10:30. I have to get my strong on.)

MiniMac's weekend: Filled with delight to be at the grandparents.

The Grandparents weekend: Filled with love. And exhaustion. 

AND hopefully during our visit to The Meadows, luck will enter if we save her a seat. And I don't mean luck be a lady, I mean Luck, I hope you are a harlot, a super easy sure thing harlot. That certainly sounds like more fun than toting a rabbit's foot around.

Have a gorgeous weekend. See you Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Walk O' Shame

Back in the day, before I was a wife and mother, I may have had an adventure or two (hundred.) While I was certainly no wild trixie, I was with as much certainty, no daughter of John Winthrop either.

Perchance a few of these adventures caused the inability for me to arrive home safely to my own bed. In college and grad school, I am sure it was primarily from all that studying which led to sleepiness which led to guest over-nighting somewhere. Or it was the cocktails. And the libido. Whichever. Might you too have a memory bank filled with such circumstances? Some memories we reminisce about with a glimmer of joie de vivre. Others, well, more like a going through turbulence on an airplane. You can manage it...but it is not much fun.

The highs and lows of over-nighting which produce the inevitable trajectory back to your own abode. Ahhh, also known as The Walk of Shame. Haven't ever done it? Shine that halo, little angel. You will be one of the few I know.

I was recently chatting with a girlfriend from college. The beauty of good friends, amongst many things, is their ability to recall certain memories of you that you intentionally deleted from both your cortex and your hippocampus. BUT, since such shenanigans are infinitely more humorous to me now, why would I resist sharing? You are right, I won't resist. PS: You have to look at some of your antics and laugh. If you don't, you are likely the only one who has not so in an definitive measure to laugh at myself, here you go:

The Classic Walk of Shame: Sophomore Year of College

My roommate, Action Jackson, and I went to a fraternity formal. We wore ball gowns. We had big hair. (All praise 1990.) We had big fun.

We apparently studied too hard during the day. I got very sleepy at some point. Lights out.

I wake up the next am. In my date's bed. The last time it had been cleaned? Maybe 1980. I am thankfully fully clothed. Royal blue ball gown and all. I actually wore white pantyhose. EGADS. I get shivers thinking about them. Luckily, these were also still on my body. I might have been sleepy but at least I wasn't being a dirty vixen.

Waking up hurts my feelings. I do not feel my best. I feel like a bag of hammers. Must. Exit. IMMEDIATELY. I realize to my dismay, I have no shoes. In the current state, I could not debate the pros and cons of leaving such shoes. Until I recalled the shoes were dyed to match my dress. I can NOT leave blue shoe evidence behind. I search high and low and over many other sleeping bodies. Not a shoe to be seen. I must not tarry.

I haul arse out of there, down stairs, and to the street. I know most of the boys in this fraternity so am highly interested in not being spotted. I get to the street. Nothing says class act like bright blue ball gown with no shoes meandering down the road. I have about 10 fraternities and sororities to pass. MUST MOVE QUICKLY.

As I cross the parking lot, I hear voices exiting the annex where several of the Seniors lived. I duck across the lot hoping the blueness of this dress is so bright that it serves as a distraction from my face. A guy and girl come outside and they are engaged in full on argument. She does not want him to drive her home. He insists. She is mad, he is mad, I am merely dodging bullets here. I scurry, and I do mean scurry, across the street. Seen a rat scurry? This was my method. Only to hear him say in an acid tone, "At least you aren't that girl, walking home BY HERSELF." No one needs a highlighter pen or a spotlight to know that girl he mentions is me.

I tuck my head down and duck in between two buildings. I think I am scot-free when I spy my house nearby. Only to discover, my roommate AND her boyfriend asleep on our daybed in our room. WTF. I quickly change and head to the sleeping dorm but not before seeing this note:

JennyMac: Sorry I left you. You would NOT get up.

drank almost an entire of bottle of vodka. Threw up out T's window. Onto the heads of people below. You actually did an awesome job though singing an entire version of "Blame It On the Rain" by Milli Vanilli. No one believed it was rain. I could not find your shoes. However, someone will. They are bright blue. Don't be mad I left you. T's roommate was pissed you passed out on him and wanted to put a bicycle lock around your neck. I stopped this from happening.  Your BFF, Action Jackson

I promise you NOTHING like this ever happened again. That blue dress went to gown heaven.

The shoes were never recovered. On a post-even visit to that same house, someone asked me if I lost a pair of blue shoes at the formal. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "No. I wasn't wearing blue." Unfortunately, photographic evidence to contrary could not be destroyed. Luckily, there were no pictures of me "sleeping."

AND just to get that image of me in my ugly white pantyhose out of your mind, CONGRATULATIONS to Kristy M. the winner of the Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving Entertaining Book. Email me and I will mail your book. AND please let us know what time you are serving, we would love to see your feast.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wh*re shoes. (She said it, not me.)

I was recently perusing the Sea of Pretty, also known as the shoe paradise formally known as DSW. While there I observed the following:

A 20-something couple walking down the aisles. Or, she was walking and he was trailing miserably. They are in the same trajectory of the aisles as I am so I hear all. He asks when they will be done because he doesn’t want to miss the kick off at Fox. (Fox Sports is a big sports bar in the same shopping sector.) She tells him she has to find a pair of shoes for the wedding that night. Suddenly, a light bulb goes off above his head.  Only he and I see it apparently. He offers to help her pick something out.

He sets about looking and a few minutes later returns with bright red stilettos with about a five inch heel. She reminds him this is her cousin's wedding and will be very conservative. He comes back with a bright silver heel. She shakes her head no. He then picks a black heel that ties around the leg. She tells him they look like whore shoes. He said they are his favorite shoe in the store. She suggests he just leave and she will meet him when she is done. As he turns away from her to exit, he passes me. With the BIGGEST smile on his face imaginable. I think he wanted to high five himself.

I laughed out loud. Why? Because she was duped? No. Because he used powers of manipulation to get his way? No. Because I know something she clearly does not: when shoe shopping, your boyfriend/mate/husband likely NEVER wants to join you? No. Because I think it is crazy to make someone go shopping with you when they clearly don’t want to? Yes.

JMac has an incredible sense of style and is one of the best dressed men I know. He often buys clothes for me. But we STILL do not go shopping together. WHICH, by the way, here is how you tell if someone does not want to go shopping with you in case you missed it the first 100 times you should have noticed:

You: Do you want to go shopping with me?
Them: Ummm. Erggg…. Long pause. Sure. (Stated with a sad tone and a look on the face resembling a scalded dog.)

It is about a lack of enthusiasm. How do you gauge. Try this:

You: Do you want me to parade around the house naked, speaking only to inquire if you want a back rub, another drink or if you are ready for dinner?
The other person: ABSO-F**ING- LUTELY!!!
(That answer contains enthusiasm. PS: Invitation for a shopping venture will never garner that reaction.)

And I laughed because he probably did LOVE those whore shoes. And he just saved himself from many, many future days of shoe shopping.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Take A Bite Of: Mini New York Crumbcakes

You know you needed something delicious to start your morning, didn't you ? There is a chill in the air outside so we need something warm. This recipe will make 24 mini crumb cakes. You can half the recipe easily if you only want one dozen. I used my Chicago Metallics Mini Cheesecake pan with removable bottom. Fill each well 1/2 way and put the crumb topping on thick.  MMMMM..your coffee has a new BFF. From my kitchen to yours, enjoy every bite.

Mini New York Crumbcakes
From the Foster's Market Cookbook.
Topping:1.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups light or dark brown sugar
2 T cinnamon
1 T nutmeg
1 T all spice
2 sticks butter, melted
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and blend well. Stir in the melted butter until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Set aside.
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cup milk
¼ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar to garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in a separate large bowl and whisk until well blended.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture just until the dry ingredients are moist. Do not overmix. Fill each well 1/2 way per above. Follow with crumb topping. Bake 28-25 minutes until cake rises and topping bakes into the batter. Remove from oven and cool slightly in the pan. Try to share at least one or two.  Happy Saturday. Comments off. Go and bake. 
And don't forget to enter my giveaway posted just below.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Four words I love: Thanksgiving, Entertaining, Williams-Sonoma

Fall is my favorite time of year for several reasons. And since it 74 degrees out as I type this, weather in the South contributes to the goodness of Fall. But I love the holidays as well and this year, we will embark on some new traditions as we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house for the first time. Oh, you know I am looking forward to it. We have hosted Christmas multiple times but it is a sign of the times when the grandmothers hand over the reins of Thanksgiving. I am ready to hold them and steer. And my family will be here too which makes Thanksgiving even more fantastic. Two words I love: Thanksgiving and Entertaining. And all the more reason to get the new Le Creuset pot I want. From another place I love: Williams-Sonoma.

However, I think my Mom, who knows my penchance for the cooking, was briefly worried she might be served Rabbit Terrine instead of the standard faire. Worry not, I know better than to mess with the old stand-by lineup of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce. Since this is our inaugural Thanksgiving as head chefs, I am already pouring over menu ideas. And in my litany of great cook books, I have already put together a pretty fabulous lineup. Thanksgiving foods are not necessarily my favorite but with a few modern tweaks on the classics, like Chipotle smashed sweet potatoes, I hope our house full of family will love it. And my Mom has already asked what is for dessert. 

I am looking forward to spending the week with my family who are flying in from various points to see us MiniMac. And since I am full of Thanksgiving cheer, why not share it with you. How do I combine Thanksgiving, Entertaining, and Williams-Sonoma into one great giveaway? Williams-Sonoma did it for me in their fabulous book Thanksgiving Entertaining. 

Full of great recipes like chardonnay gravy, and butternut squash soup (which I will be serving) this book also includes great decor ideas. One of you will win this book as my special toast for you to have a beautiful holiday season. 

Contest starts today and will end Monday. Winner announced Tuesday or Wednesday
How to win? Easy breezy:

1. Be a public follower and leave a comment here (for you non-bloggers, you can leave me a note on FB.) I would LOVE IT if you would share your favorite Thanksgiving dish or recipe. Help me build my arsenal.

Additional Turkey Time love? You know I have some for you:

1. "Like" Let's have a cocktail on Facebook. This easy  (1 entry)
2. Follow me on Twitter like so  (1 entry)
3. Give a little Twitter Turkey call about the giveaway and send me the link. You can do this daily for one entry per day.
4. Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to me. Leave me your link to show the post. (2 entries)
Looking forward to a great holiday season. I hope you are too. 

And Happy Veteran's Day to the tremendous group of men and women who have served our country and to those who don a uniform every day to protect my freedoms. Amen.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Even dumbarses like to recycle...or they don't.

Subtitle: Recycling 101: Not everything goes in the can.

How hip and modern I thought our neighborhood to be. We have recycling containers set up in one location near the western entrance. Fully labeled and clearly marked, this recycling center makes it very easy for all of the home-owners in our neighborhood to recycle glass, plastic, paper, cans, metal, and cardboard boxes. It also saves every single one of us a trip to the nearest recycling center in the city. Twice a year, a benevolent home owner in the neighborhood has a giant dumpster delivered near that same entrance, which is meant to be a great place to put all the other crap that should not go in our garbage cans or the recycling bins.

But apparently, even people who can not read well need a place to live and several of them have moved into our neighborhood. How do I know? Oh, let me tell you. But before I do, let me assert apparently, some people don't know the definition of recycle. OR what I like to call: even dumbarses like to recycle...or they don't.

I am a big proponent of recycling. It is the LEAST we can do. Oh, we have had several interesting debates in our neighborhood because some people believe the recycling company merely comes and picks up all of the contents of the bins and takes them to the nearest dump. I disagree. So do many other neighbors so we all keep on recycling. When the recycle bins is marked like this: GLASS, PLASTIC, ALUMINUM ONLY or PAPER AND MAGAZINES ONLY then I find it astonishing something like an old ratty deflated soccer ball would find its way inside. A fluke? Perhaps. A young rascal playing a prank? Mmmm hmmmm. Maybe one soccer ball was a mistake but here is what else we have seen in the recycling bins in the past 12 months:

Fully assembled lamp
Dead plants (in planters)
Pair of mens running shoes
Broken office chair
Ugly painting
Ears of corn
Wire and linen baskets
Box of packing peanuts
Door (With a fist size hole in it. Watch your temper there, Rocky Balboa.)

Because people are clearly too embarrassed to stick those items in their trash cans to be mocked by the local sanitation workers. Oh, I know. You saw the word "reuse" and you thought SOMEONE would love to reuse your door with a hole or your junky broken office chair. Right. Who collects these things? Rumplestiltskin? A troll living in a hovel? Oh, I know, The Professor on Gilligan's Island so he can build a plane and fly the _____ away from there. None of those people live in my neighborhood. 

BUT, all of those inappropriate items aside, not a single one of those on the list above comes close in comparison to what a group of people discovered at a recycling center in Sweden. Not a broken office chair or an ugly painting. Oh no. They found the head of a dead goat. Who thinks “dead goat” ought to be carted off and deposited with "empty soda bottles" or "empty cardboard boxes from Ikea" is a mystery I will likely never solve. But I certainly hope that particular extra special candy-coated fool never relocates to my neighborhood. Soccer ball or broken office chair I can handle, goat head I can not.

*my second published article on Technorati! Titled Recycling 101: Not everything goes in the can.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I thought this only happened in porn movies...

I used to play on a co-ed flag football team. One day, post-game, celebrating a win and sipping on cold beverages, one of our male team mates, The Wick (a bit of a scoundrel), told us a story about eating a steak off the back of a naked woman one night when he was in Europe. My response: If you pay some people just enough, they will do anything. He asserted she was not "paid" but merely endorsing one of his fantasies. The only thing worse than knowing your friend ate a steak off the back of a naked woman is knowing your friend fantasized about eating a steak off the back of a naked woman.

But he must not be the only person who finds this appealing. Some sassy restaurateurs in Punta Gorda, Florida think naked bodies and food go hand in hand. I support culture, cultural experiences, and cultural differences. Is it avante-garde? Maybe. Is it art? Maybe. It is appealing to me? Well, not exactly. At Torch Bistro, patrons can enjoy their sushi served on (nearly) naked bodies. Really, Torch Bistro? Funny, I like my sushi rolls with sriracha and wasabi. Not bare torso and a side of boob.

Not quite as big as other metro areas offering  naked sushi, Punta Gorda clearly has clientele eager to explore the idea. The practice formally known as nyotaimori is intended to celebrate female beauty. Female models wear thongs, and are covered in painted flowers before they are covered in leaves or seaweed paper. The food is placed upon the leaves or seaweed. The Florida Health Department has no restrictions against naked sushi but only requires that surfaces in contact with food are easily cleaned. The food never actually touches the skin.(Photo from Torch Bistro.)

WHEW! That is a relief. Because anyone eating sushi off  a stranger's body would clearly have cleanliness at the forefront of their mind. Never mind they are eating sushi OFF A STRANGER'S BODY. But, since sushi isn't in everyone's culinary palette maybe, just maybe, served off a painted torso, a few more people might opt to try it out. Torch strives to follow the rules of respecting the sushi models and only chopsticks are allowed to pluck the sushi from the bodies. Because it would be wise to have a few rules regarding naked sushi. For example, people are not allowed to talk to the sushi models. It might just be me, but something tells me I would have zero interest in talking to a person covered in slices of fish.

Unless you are Samantha Jones, I thought this type of antic only occurred in my friend's imagination. Or in his hotel room in Italy. Or in porn movies.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Do these jeans make our closet look fat?

My husband is fully aware I have a proclivity towards shopping. I am not a hang out at the mall type of girl, but I do love fashion. And our closet reflects this or what I call my earnest interest in supporting our economy.  When I first purchased the house, I had one wall of the walk in made into shoe shelves. Beautiful, necessary shoe shelves. About 10 feet high and 10 feet wide. Awesome for me. NOT awesome for the man who would later share that closet. (Clearly, his shoes are not welcome in my shoe shelves.) I have them organized by color, heel height. (Yes, feel free to mock it all you want BUT I know exactly where to find the exact shoe I am looking for, right? Right. Same goes for all the clothes, sorted by color and by sleeve length. NO it is not anal. It is called organized. It might be busy in there but my closet is not going to be a hot mess.)

JohnnyMac has not a single issue with these purchases but years ago began to strongly encourage me to adopt the “one in, one out” policy. My initial response: just because Oprah said it is a good policy, doesn't make it right for everyone! But later, I have responded to this suggestion and have discarded of plenty of things. He said throwing out old lipstick is not the same as one pair of shoes in, one pair of shoes out. I do discard bags of old or unwanted items twice annually, but let us say what he and I consider a “full bag” are not the same thing.

Well, my little brother came in the spring and he loves to team up with JMac and hard time me about my closets. My little brother is very stylish, and also loves to purchase so this is what I call being a hypocrite. He offered to ‘help’ me pare down my closet, especially the shoes. By ‘help’ I imply that he would hold up almost every item of apparel and ask when the last time I wore it. Things not worn in the past six months needed to go. This is not realistic, I asserted. I am not Punky Brewster. I can’t wear 19 items at a time.

As he was pulling things out, I would merely go back and put them in their proper place. And as he is spinning around like a dervish, he discovers this shelf that due to construction, is not immediately visible. On the shelf lies about 30 pairs of jeans. Ironically, I not a frequent jeans wearer but the pairs I have, I love. He called JMac into our room to point out the stash.  For some reason, this was the source of much entertainment for them. Not entertaining like “WOW, you are a denim addict” but more like “WOW, you are a ^#*&^# hoarder.”

Some of these jeans have seen some pretty fantastic days. That is not to be taken lightly. And they all fit, but I have discovered similar to Halloween candy, when I like a little something,  like Earl or Seven, I buy more than needed.  We successfully made additional room in the closet (some of it just moved to one of the other bedroom closets) and a great big bag to donate. I thought to get them both out of my clothes business, I would send them to look at the garage. That turned out worse because the first thing said to me was “ALL of this wrapping paper and bags of ribbon” I offered to make bloody mary’s instead. Bloody Mary’s were a great distraction.

I recently bought a pair of skinny jeans. JMac likes them. I asked if he thought these jeans make our closet look fat. For some reason, he didn’t answer. Must be that his filter for sarcasm was  set to high.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Wonderous World of Haterade

I remember the first time I heard the word Hater. What used to be strictly found in rap songs is now an often heard vocabulary word. Contrary to what might be taught on MTV Cribs, a Hater is not merely someone who envies someone else. A Hater is also someone who just wants to bring people down a notch.

I like to think I could never be such a thing. But I am sure, as with many things, there is sliding scale of Haterville. From someone sweet as candy to the girl that belongs on the Real Housewives of Dirtyville. And as nice as we might be, I think anyone can be susceptible to unsavory behavior from time to time.

And while you aren't quite drinking from the firehose, this is what I like to call having a tiny sip of Haterade. For example: 

You are having a tiny sip of Haterade if you mock Jessica Simpson and her crappy music but still know AND SING all the words to Hit Me Baby One More Time.

Or if you openly criticize people who watch The Hills and The OC but you watch every episode of Gossip Girl AND know all names of all characters.

Ditto if you belittle Harry Potter fans but you yourself are a Twihard.

Or if you can not stand it when people type LOL or LMBO but you LOVE to type OMG and WTF.

Or if you say things like "I can NOT believe any adult would watch High School Musical!" yet you still dance around and sing every word to every song in Grease. Zac Efron is this decade's Danny Zuko. How does that haterade taste?

And you are having a tiny sip of Haterade if you smirk at someone's PRADO bag because its fake, but you bought yours over in Chinatown in NYC for $75.

Or if you are man, lamenting about some "poor musclehead fool" in his "tight tshirt" yet, you go home and stand in front of the mirror flexing, and sucking in your stomach at the same time.  

Or, if you say things like "I can't believe she would date that dolt" knowing you would date him in a hot minute if given the chance.

Or if you roll your eyes in disdain at some woman flashing her ample cleavage, but know full well you have done that before OR would do so frequently if you were built for it.

Or, if you snark at some sassy outfit you see on another woman whilst you and your pals sip your cocktails, and then wear something very similar a week later. Significantly more than a sip of Haterade if you said, "I can't believe she is wearing that..."

Or, if you are a man who loves to yell at the screen during game time about how YOU would NEVER miss that shot/drop that pass/wank that tee shot, yet you pull a ligament doing a simple push-up.

Or, when you give a nonchalant shrug to your neighbor who is ecstatic over the Seven Jeans she bought online for 75% off, and you remark "awww, good for you" but you don't mean it, but then you go home and spend two hours scouring eBay for a similar fabulous deal.

Or, if you despise the office gossip, because gossip is clearly dangerous. But then you think you are only sharing "news" but it is all "news" you preface with "Don't tell anyone I told you this..." 

Or, if you sometimes get a touch sour over your spouse's obsession with sports AND the inordinate amount of time your spouse spends watching/discussing/analyzing relative sporting events, BUT you spend all that time AND more on your shoe purchases, girlfriend chitty-chat, or your blog, well, put down the Haterade.

Better stop now, or I will soon see you snacking on these:

And I am happy to share this post was my first article published by Technorati last week. Thankfully,  Technorati is NOT sipping on haterade. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Are you a hog?

I don’t mean the type chomping on acorns and sauntering through the woods. Let me explain.

I know people who receive things like great treats, awesome deals, information, or fab prizes and they hide those babies under lock and key so they can keep all the goodness to themselves. I know other people who will share whatever they have even if they are down to their last cup of coffee or thumb-sized cookie.  I grew up in a (predominantly) generous family. A lot of the women in my family cook so my history was frequently woven with the sharing of recipes and stories to accompany those recipes. People in my family are also generous with time and what they are willing to invest in other people. This is the model I learned. This is the model I will pass along. I had a previous neighbor who clearly grew up in the household of “share nothing” as if all our resources were precious and it was the Great Depression. No, she was not struggling with finances. She just did not like to share.

Are these behaviors innate? Or are they learned? I am sure you know people who fit into both categories too. The categories I like to title Hoggers and Sharers.  

I think sharing is the best bet. I don’t mean share your knickers or the last bite of pasta on your plate (unless you want to, of course.) I mean the overall general concept of sharing. I think being stingy is par for the course in certain circumstances. Like when you are two years old and haven’t been told yet. I think stingy at the adult level is odd. And sucky.
Listen, if you don’t want to share things with other people, you might have a great reason. My Mom used to hide things from me when I was a kid because well, I liked to explore in her jewelry box and help myself to things I liked. There were many things I liked. I went exploring in her jewelry box often. Perhaps everything fetched out of there did not quite make it back. She declared a brief moratorium on sharing jewelry with JennyMac. But it didn't last because my Mom is a Sharer.

Years ago, I worked with a woman who often brought desserts to the office. By now, you all know I liken myself a baking maven, so I loved seeing (and sampling) her creations. Once for a holiday party, we both made some taste treats well-received by our colleagues. Many people asked for our recipes and once, while sharing mine, she was in earshot.

Her: You just freely give out your recipes?
Me: Yes. (I know I have a weird look on my face as I reply because, after all, the request is for my recipe. Not my liver, or plutonium, or a kilo of heroin.)
Her: That is so generous of you.
Me: I actually got it from a cookbook so….
Her: (whispering conspiratorially) When people ask me for my recipes, I often leave one ingredient out.
Me: Blank stare
Her: Isn’t that coy? She winks.
My mental response: Yes. That is coy. Since apparently coy now means idiotic and juvenile.
Me: (out loud this time) Oh, so you are one of those women?
Her: What women?
Me:  A recipe hog. You don’t want to share the good stuff.
Her: I work really hard on my recipes and I don’t want people copying them.
Me: Good thing Ina Garten doesn’t feel that way! (And then I laughed.)
Her: (Slightly pouty face but thinks I am joking) Those are my recipes!
Me: I totally hear you, Betty Crocker! (I laughed more. And scurried away because I just learned who my least favorite co-worker was: The Hogger.)

Now, if you are hogging Halloween candy, well, that is a different story. I know you are only doing it to protect those around you, whom you love dearly, from getting cavities.