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To make sense of what I do …

Sometimes in order to make sense of what I do, I turn to the words of some of the most illustrious writers, their thoughts on the process. Here are a few of my favorite quotes…

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.” —Allen Ginsberg

Very true, Mr. Ginsberg. And thank you for Howl, which is best read aloud, says my cousin Christopher, after drinking bourbon.

 

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It Could Always be Worse

Posted by on Apr 4, 2013 in Blog | 27 comments

Leaving Key West

Leaving Key West

Welcome 2013 Ultimate Blog Party! Grab a glass of vino and come have a laugh with me. Or at me, as the case may be…:)   Home from vacation. Boo. When it comes to flying, I am a count-your-blessings kind of gal. What I mean is, any flight that lands safely is a pretty good flight. What happens on board is often less than delightful, but it could always be worse. There was the flight when I was pregnant and stuck next to a man who was drinking heavily and wouldn’t stop touching my belly while telling me stories of his near-death experiences. There was the flight when I checked all my baggage and therefore had no change of clothes, and my daughter dumped her sprite in my lap. Not on my leg, not on my knees, but you know where, and we had a connecting flight. Yay, embarrassing and uncomfortable. The story of my life, really.

 

This trip home was, to say the lease, grueling. We arrived in Tampa expecting the briefest of  layovers before our connecting flight home to Philadelphia. The brief layover turned into a three-hour delay. Three hours, with a seven-year-old. Thank you gods of technology, because we plugged her in. She watched movies and stayed happy. The grown ups? Not so much. Hubby was patient. I can’t leave that alone and appreciate it, so I felt the need to remind him that it could always be worse. He looked at me skeptically. A moment later I reached into my purse and said “oh $%#&! Where are the car keys? Didn’t you put them in my bag like I asked you to?” He went pale, and started yammering on about how I never asked him to do that, and why would I take them out of my bag, we’ll never get home from the airport! I smiled sweetly. “See? It could be worse!” He seemed a bit miffed.

 

When our plane finally took off it was jam packed. There’s the same amount of space regardless of how many seats are filled, but it feels smaller and more cramped when every seat is filled, and someone seated nearby has tummy trouble. And what I mean by that is, someone sitting very close to us was having severe tummy trouble, and there was no escape. What is one to do, in this situation? You can’t exactly open a window, on a plane, or discreetly move away from the fumes. Sir, airport food does not agree with you! And it didn’t stop. Every new onslaught prompted my daughter to yelp rather loudly “oh MAN. Who cut the cheese?” I eyed the overhead containing the oxygen masks. Surely this was a good time for them? Maybe I could pry it open while the flight attendents were in their seats, due to the terrible turbulence we were also experiencing.

 

The flight landed safely, though. That’s what’s important. And our vacation was lovely, despite a blistering sunburn we all got on our first day. My daughter was old enough for her own bike, this year, rather than one of us having to maneuver the bike with the attached tagalong (which is awkward and heavy and we fell down a lot), and my daughter prefers the company of my mother, in Key West, so hubby and I were able to get out on the town for some night life. And now we’re home. It’s hard to go from bougainvilla and warm, salty breezes to the cold and the litter, but we do what we must. And it could always be worse. Tell me, what was your worst travel experience EVER? Please share.

Stuffed #$&*%$(#^$@# Pork Chops.

Posted by on Apr 2, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off

We just returned from vacation in Key West. Hubby is pestering me to post my blog about the trip and our grueling trip home. I will, tomorrow. Tonight I want to vent about dinner. I bought stuffed pork chops. They were on sale. They looked like most of the work had already been done. I figured, throw them in a pan, what could go wrong? I even hauled out The Joy of Cooking – how can anyone go wrong following a recipe to the letter from The Joy of Cooking?? I did follow the stuffed pork chop recipe. I did. I followed it exactly. I laid my perfectly browned on the outside stuffed pork chops on plates, and cut a chunk of mine off for my wee daughter.

It was raw in the middle. RAW. Why?

I hastily put the chops back in the hot pan, and covered it. Several minutes later, I again plated them, and cut into the other one. Still not cooked. WHY? WHY? At this point I could feel a tantrum coming on, so I threw them in the microwave. They came out cooked this time. Cooked into $#$&%# stuffed bricks. I carried them in and dropped them on the table in front of my family, and yelled “enjoy your stuffed bricks! Let’s say grace!”

My daughter bowed her head. “I’m grateful for the stuffed bricks.”

Hubby: ”I’m grateful for my family.”

Me, still kindof yelling: ”Yes, we should enjoy each other’s company before the food poisoning sets in!”

Welcome To My Blog

Posted by on Mar 17, 2013 in Blog | 3 comments

Welcome To My Blog

Intro to me. First, welcome! Second, please visit my “About Me” tab if you want the basics. And now, on with the rambling.

With the exception of writing, it seems that everything I want to be great at, that I enjoy doing and think I should be successful doing, I’m not good at, at all. Let me rephrase, I suck. At a lot of things. I run because I am terrible at all sports. I love tennis. I would love to get my girlfriends together for doubles and have it be a fair match, but I usually drop the ball or miss it when I try to serve, and it’s all downhill from there. And let’s face it, if we’re going to carve time out of our busy schedules for a few hours, it’s going to involve cocktails. Not sports.

Tonight, I plan to make chicken marsala for my husband and daughter, simply because I saw a lovely, glossy photo of a successful chicken marsala dish in a magazine, and I was affected by it. It was so beautifully photographed, with its adorable roasted red potatoes and mushrooms sliding down the sides on some kind of golden sauce, that it made me believe that I will be able to cook this dish, and I don’t have any marsala wine but I can use up what’s left in this Pinot Grigio bottle, and wow my family with the simple elegance and deliciousness of it all…Hubby saw the magazine on the counter, open to that picture, and visibly stiffened.

“Honey, plain baked chicken is fine. You don’t have to go to, er, all this trouble.”

“It’s no trouble. Wait, you think it’s going to be awful. That’s what you’re really saying.”

“No, no, I just think it’s a weeknight, you have a lot of other things to do…”

“I’M MAKING IT.”

He slinks away, obviously planning out a late night snack in his head. Something that will be edible and involve peanut butter (I know him well). Hmph.

Perhaps he is remembering last Thanksgiving, when I decided to make a special Thanksgiving feast just for my immediate family, a few days before the extended family celebration, where we do not cook a thing. The damn turkey would not defrost all the way, no matter how long I left it out. Are there degrees of frozen? It was seriously on the kitchen counter for days. Then I reached in the wrong end trying to find the giblets, couldn’t find any (after freezer-burning my hand), and baked them, in their bag, in the bird. Then I couldn’t find the round plastic lid to the sea salt canister. Turns out I baked that in the bird as well. I have no idea how it got in there, I swear. The level of horrendousness of the side dishes didn’t matter after Hubby pulled the salt lid and the bag of giblets out of the correct end of the turkey. We drank enough wine to make it irrelevant.

Anyway. My point is, I want to be athletic, and I want to be able to wow people with my culinary panache. And there are many other things at which I want to excel and just never will. But I keep trying. Perhaps as my daughter chokes down my latest attempt, she will take away that life lesson…?

What the .....?

What the …..?

What the hell am I doing ?

What the hell am I doing ?

Not bad .....

Not bad …..

The “Chicken Pinot Grigio” turned out okay. Well, half of it came out okay. And what I mean by okay is Gordon Ramsey (and my husband, if he dared) would probably have some choice words to say, but my daughter, who thinks I have mental problems (who is aware of my mental problems?) and therefore kindly props me up constantly, said “this is the best chicken EVER.” So there.