Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Birthday Girl - The Show Must Go On

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Geek Love

My friend Amy is my own private Book Critic. Because of her I have read some of the best books ever. Some of them include: The Monster of Florence and The Lacuna just to name a couple. But the best so far is hands down "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn.

If the world is a carnival, then we are all side show pass-arounds. After all, when each of us arrived on the scene, naked and covered in blood and goo, we were unique specimens. But soon after our births, a member of The Cult of Normalcy gave us a pamphlet and offered us the opportunity to blend in with the rest of society. Most of us accepted the offer. Loneliness is a scary thing, after all. So here we are trying to live our lives like everyone else, constantly checking the mirror to make sure we look like everyone else, and taking some time out of our day to laugh and gawk at those who have failed miserably at our collective endeavor. If what we see in the mirror doesn't reflect the rest of society, we do things to fix ourselves. It's exhausting work, trying to be like everyone else, but it's worth it because we're not alone and that make us happy, right?

I love Geek Love for reminding me that I'm a freak. I am the only person who popped out of my mother's womb in upstate New York.  There is no one else in this world that has my brain, my heart, and my soul.

I'll finish with a great quote from the book:

There are those whose own vulgar normality is so apparent and stultifying that they strive to escape it. They affect flamboyant behavior and claim originality according to the fashionable eccentricities of their time. They claim brains or talent or indifference to mores in desperate attempts to deny their own mediocrity...

Then there are those who feel their own strangeness and are terrified by it. They struggle toward normalcy. They suffer to exactly that degree that they are unable to appear normal to others, or to convince themselves that their aberration does not exist. These are true freaks, who appear, almost always, conventional and dull
Friday, October 18, 2013

Italy - Un Bel Paese

No. Seriously! It is perhaps one of  the most beautiful places I have EVER been. My husband fantasizes about going to Spain. I mean, Spain sounds OK, I guess. But I just can't take Italy out of my soul. When I think Latin, I never think Spain, I think Italy.

Sometimes in my day dreams, I think of Ischia and the Sorriso Wine - Sorriso means smile. Other times I think of riding a motorino, still others yet, I think of the vast wandering and well tended gardens. And then there is the food....

Today, I did some scouting for our next trip. We are going to Hotel Raya. At 350 Euro's a night, it is a bit dear for our modest budget. But enough already, look at the photos!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

DIY Matchbook Cover

I haven't done a DIY in a while and this morning I was feeling crafty!

I have always thought that the best bathroom deodorant is a freshly lit match. They're inexpensive and effective at covering up even the most offensive odors in the loo.

The unfortunate thing, however, is that the average matchbook is not terribly attractive to set out in a well appointed bathroom.

This little matchbook cover is easy, quick and takes only a few little things you likely have lying around the house.

Materials List:

Matchbooks (you can get them at the grocery store)
wrapping paper
glue stick
writing utensil


  1. Set the matchbook on the straight edge of the wrapping paper.
  2. Pencil mark on the other side of the matchbook.
  3. Trim along the pencil mark you created.
  4. Apply glue to the paper generously, paying special attention to the corners and edges.
  5. Stick paper, pretty side out, around the matchbook.
*Note: if the edge f the paper is in excess, simply trim it to fit.

Try it!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Inspired: Have You Met the Devil?

Have you met the Devil?

I have.

5 Day Work Weeks
An Overdraw
Poor Communication

Please. Add to this list.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

He's Crafty, Too! And All Mine! Caution: Bad Language.

My husband is one of these fellas that works very hard but somehow he makes everything look effortless. This quality is something I both admire and envy. I always feel very lucky that he picked me to walk with him through this crazy human adventure.

He recently built a new fence outside the house. It's gorgeous. Redwood paneling, dog ear fence slats, steel pipes for sturdiness and excellent craftsmanship (he never half asses an engineering project)!

The fence was up for about two day when some little shit came in the wee hours of the night and made some 'art' on his beautiful fence.

When we returned from the Pancake Circus after a delightful greasy spoon breakfast, we were met with a cartoon hand "flipping the bird" at us; spray painted right on the fence. I FREAKED!

My husband in a way that only he can, calmed me down and said it would be easily removed. I relaxed and went on my day while my husband set on his course to fixing the fence.

He would not stop at fixing the fence. He knew instinctively that the same thing would happen again unless measures were taken. So, he (from scratch) made a street light all our own. He is truly a craftsman. And no punk will brave the 100 watt metal halide lamp we have out there as a new security system!

Before: Our super surprise! I was livid. But my sweet husband calm as a cucumber and ready to take this project on.

After:   Bulent went to work with first with pain remover. It did not work as the wood was too porous and absorbed the rattle can artwork like a sponge. So he got out the drill and used a wire brush attachment. That's the final result. As close to pre paint perfection as possible. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

60 is the New Sexy

On New Beauty, they talk about 60 being the new sexy. It's a great post and couldn't be truer. In this day and age, women of all shapes and sizes are represented but true beauty doesn't always come at any age. I myself am an undisclosed age though younger than 60. At 60 a woman has raised her children, contended with difficult men, divorced the difficult man, had a career and likely seen things we younger counter parts haven't. At the end of summer, it seems apropos to post about women in the richness of the new prime.

Below is a photo of Helen Mirren. She is a true beauty at 60. I recently met a lady at Magpie (while getting their sumptuous ice cream sandwich). She was sitting at the counter and I simply had to comment. Her hair was a natural silver, her eyes clear as a sunny day and her skin, flawless. She was "Sexy at 60!" Meet Joy! Her spirit was as youthful as anyone my age - younger even and her warmth unmatched. She was not arrogant or standoffish. She whole heartedly encumbered the elegance, beauty and charm of not only a woman of a certain maturity but of a woman who was delightedly proud and happy to be who she is. I sort of envied her ease, her "joie de vivre," if you will.

I've included the piccie of Ms. Mirren because as a woman of the New Sexy, I hold her in high regard for her accomplishments in her craft and her elegance. I do not, however, know her. I was lucky enough to spend a short stint with Joy. She was, simply put, beautiful!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Inspired - Dead Time


Dead Time

Time moves so slowly it seems
I long to be long like history
The gloom of doom and the scare of fright
Even an average day can seem like a horror
I have a lot of words behind my tongue
I want to scream in this tomb
The office
Thursday, July 25, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On

Thought for the Day

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Buttermilk Ice Cream

I love the taste of Buttermilk. It's probably because of my Grand-dad. He drinks a glass every morning and by my estimation that has kept him going (He's 92)! I like buttermilk so much that sometimes I find myself conjuring up ways that I can use it more often. It's super rich in protein and low in fat, plus it's light, bright sour flavor is refreshing!

My friend Amy who is a trained chef and knows just about everything about the chemistry of food, sent me a recipe for Buttermilk Ice Cream from Smitten Kitchen after I told her about my Buttermilk fantasies. The recipe is great but after working so hard losing 135 pounds I'd like to maintain that so I asked Amy if there was a way I could cut down on calories (She's a real smart ass and told me to get a smaller scoop) she suggested that I use low fat milk and I came up with making a custard base with less eggs. I used 6 eggs instead of 12 that the original recipe called for and I substituted 1 cup of cream for 1 cup of 1% milk instead thereby cutting half the calories! The results were still super creamy and rich and the flavor intense and exciting! I served it with roasted strawberries and sugared Basil flowers. Check this out!

Buttermilk Ice Cream (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

  • 1 Cup Cream
  • 1 Cup Milk (any kind - I used 1%)
  • 2 Cups Buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 Cups sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks (reserve the whites for a super healthy frittata)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch salt
  1. In a large sauce pan combine the cream, milk and 1 cup sugar sugar, stirring over medium heat until it simmers.
  2. Meanwhile whisk together the remaining sugar and egg yolks.
  3. Once the cream/milk simmers remove from heat and drizzle a small amount into the eggs while whisking the eggs. The aim here is to bring the eggs up to an adequate temperature so you don't get scrambled eggs.
  4. Once the eggs have warmed, pour them back into the cream mixture and whisk constantly while turning the heat back on.
  5. Cook on low until the mixture thickens. A good guide for this is if it sticks to the utensil you are using to mix it with, then it's ready...
  6. Add vanilla, buttermilk and salt and continue to whisk.
  7. Remove from heat and cool completely about 1-2 hours in the fridge.
  8. Get out the ice cream maker, add your mixture and in about 35 minutes you will be having a delicious treat!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cow Girl Creamery at the Ferry Building

Charlene and I went to san Francisco recently. Because of the BART strike we thought it would be better to park in Vallejo and take the ferry over. It turned out to be a great idea!!! It was $50 bucks for both of us round trip and it was painless, hassle free comfortable travel and it dropped us off exactly where we wanted to be!!!

Our first stop was Cowgirl Creamery...Cheese is a macro nutrient right? It is when you spend $25 on it!

The first cheese we tasted was Casatica Di Bufala - soft and ripe but citrusy. Totally oozy and gooey and completely palatable all on its own or on a toasty piece of crusty bread and a sliced fig. Easy eating and delicious rind too! Its Buffalo cheese from Lombardia, Italy made from water buffalo milk - a super richly creamed milk which contains twice the cream of cows milk...needless to say this cheese is velvety rich and little goes  along way.


The next and perhaps my favorite is the easy eating goat milk Detroit St. Brick from Michigan.. It's spicy but not chili pepper spicy. It's black pepper spicy and it imparts a truly unforgettable flavor. My mother cooks with pepper. She has always been a supremely sensational chef and her dishes are never lacking in flavor. She hails the black pepper and touts it often as her "secret ingredient." Though it's no secret for me, I can't seem to get enough of the stuff! I bought a sliver of this cheese and savored it every day. I ate it on flat bread I made here myself and coupled it with a hardy (and local) Crispin cider. The black pepper paired with the spiky cider was unmatched! I reccommend trying it. This pair is more my speed. It reminds me of a summer evening bike ride to fireworks or a crispy spring morning when you can smell the dew drops or a breeze coming through your window on a hot night bellowing the curtains in the get the picture. I have romanticized this Michigan cheese with this California cider. It's a superb match!

This whirlwind of cheeses brought us to a yummy smear of Harbison. A creamy, ripe cheese that tastes of the country side and mustard flowers. It's wrapped in bark and Hails from Vermont. And when I say mustard flowers I mean it! I saved this creamy cheese and made a pork roast. I served the pork roast on home made sweet rolls that I smeared with the Harbison and grilled onions. Talk about a hit! There were people at the party who asked why I would waste a fine cheese on a sandwich...let me assure you, this was not any sandwich and certainly not just any cheese and they paired delightfully well and don't try to tell me that your mouth is not watering right now!!!


Challerhocker was the only hard cheese we tasted. It was delish! A swiss cheese that is creamy and dense with some tooth to it. A bright, intense flavor, great all on its own or paired with a buttery chardonnay. It's a washed rind cheese. By the way...this was a lovely cheese but not my favorite on this list.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Details at Disneyland

I have never understood people who say weird things like "I hate Disneyland." I feel like that statement is kin to saying, "Being rich would stink," or "sugar is lame," or "I wish I was ugly." See these are non-statements and all complete lies. Everyone wants to have abundance, everyone loves sugar and no one wants to be ugly! So how can someone not love Disneyland?

When you walk through the gates you are immediately a kid again - no responsibilities or bills, completely innocent, happy about not being at school or work and usually, you are attending with people that you at least like if not love. Again, what about Disneyland could possibly be repellent? 

Walt himself thought of everyone and everything. I don't really care if he was anti-semitic, nor do I care if he treated his staff badly or had major scandals or any other ugly things people throw at me about the history of Walt Disney. Because at the end of the day, some of my fondest memories of childhood were Sunday nights which started with Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom followed by Walt Disney Presents  while we ate Grinders in the family room and everyone loved each other and forgot the woes of the world for a whole two hours a week.

Again, Walt thought of everything. And in the typical Disney style and consistency for high standards, the legacy has continued. Visit the Family Museum, you'll see!

My mom and sister and I recently went for a girls trip to the DLand and CA Adventure. We were lucky enough to stay at the Grand California Hotel and took full advantage of all the amenities! But the thing that struck me most on this trip was the fact that truly no detail goes left undone. These folks think of everything and every detail is pin perfect - right down to artisan made umbrellas - which you can see here.