Saturday, November 1, 2014

Roman Holiday

I'm over here, talking Rome and the sweetness of doing nothing.

http://thepedestrianpalate.blogspot.com/2014/11/home-sweet-rome.html

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Think Happy Thoughts

The first weeks of school have passed for both my newly minted High Schooler and her newly minted College student brother.  On a drama scale of 1-10, the weeks have  passed with a 5.5, which around these parts is barely a tremor.  We have been known to wrestle the kracken and come out the other side with few marks and the kracken's lunch money. The first week of Jr HS definitely fell into the kracken category.

Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been a total cake walk.  There were flat tires, tough auditions, unpleasantness at the college book store, crushes on other people's significant others and one truancy call for a study hall skipped in favor of hot pancakes (Can't throw stones on this one. Been there, ate the short stack). For the most part, these were easy tests for us parents.

What is really unique about this school year, is that it is starting off with a little bit of positive feedback.  In prior years, school started with a litany of complaints and spiraled downward from there.  I'm not saying my kids were pessimistic and neurotic, but the only image that is coming into my head is Alvy Singer from Annie Hall.  As a matter of fact, my daughter tends to be somewhat dark, hypochondriacal and a conspiracy theorist. Her obsession with shows about women who kill had made me seriously consider blocking the Investigation Discovery channel and don't even get me started on WebMD.  Unfortunately, most cyber-nanny programs don't have a filter to prevent googling suspected diseases and pictures of skin maladies.

My son on the other hand, has had 12 years of teachers that could only be classified (by his measure) as morons.  That is when he wasn't classifying them as irrational, demanding, nonsensical and irrelevant.  Most often, this was in response to them expecting him to do his homework and pay attention in class. Idiots! 

This year though, I have been told the following pieces of good news, that I can only devour like the positivity starved parent that I am:

- I love my English teacher Ms. Smith.  She's just like Ms. Jones, but crazier.
- I like having time gaps in my schedule so that I can nap in my car instead of the classroom.
- The salad bar at the high school is dank (Paradoxically, in the world of teenagers, this term is good)
- I like that we don't have to worry about all that hand raising nonsense.  If you have an answer, you
  just call it out.

That may not sound like amazing news to you, but I take my good news where I can get it.  And every day that they go off to school without incident I say a silent word of thanks and wish for it to continue through the school year.  Every positive day in class that keeps my daughter from asking me to home school her or put her in a convent is a good day.  And to think, there are only 7 more years of this roller coaster for us.  By then, I will be able to get my carny license and run away to join the circus.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Gifts Just Keep on Rolling in

Do you know how many times a day I ask myself "Where in the world am I ever going to find a good looking wine box for my rare wine?".  Much to my frustration, I am never able to provide myself with an answer.  I have spent countless sleepless nights, searching the internet for fancy and fashionable boxes that I can use to personalize my wine.

Then this comes in from Stephanie.  Stephanie, my angel, you have cured my sleeplessness, answered the query playing on an endless loop in my head and made me a better tennis player.  Much love Stephanie.  Much love.



邀请您观看 Wine box,Wine packaging, Design for wine package Supply 的相册: Wine box
Wine box
2014年7月16日
提供者:Wine box,Wine packaging, Design for wine package Supply
来自 Wine box,Wine packaging, Design for wine package Supply 的消息:
Dear Manager,

Do you want to find good-looking box for your rare wine?

Do you need to personalize your wine by fancy and fashionable box?

Focus Innovation Gifts Company will help you.

Located in Dongguan, China, it is a professional manufacturer and supplier specializing in various kinds of wine box including leather wine box,wooden wine box, paper wine box, tin wine box and neoprene wine box

Welcome your size,color,logo and we are happy to help you.

We are looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Best wishes,
Stephanie

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What's that sound? It definitely isn't Mensa calling to offer membership.

Sometimes I think I'm smart.

Hate when the kids go in my room when I am not home.

Decided to lock the bedroom door.

Great. Except I locked my pocketbook, cell phone and keys inside.

Tried to pick the lock.

Tried every screwdriver in the house.

Flop sweating before work.

Took 30 minutes to get the door open.

Put the magic screwdriver that actually worked in my bag for later.

Late for work.

Came home.

Door still locked.

Good.

Got screwdriver.

Couldn't open the door.

Flop sweating trying to get to my room to relax.

Decided to try opening the door with a credit card.

Finally after 20 min, I got it open.

Sometimes I think I'm smart.

This was not one of those times.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Depression is Not a Choice, Sparky

I knew that there was going to come a day when I had to write this post.  It was really a matter of how long I could keep my mouth shut before exploding.  One of my greatest fears was that I would explode at a well meaning but uninformed friend or family member and I would never want to do that.  But with the tragic death of Robin Williams, mental illness, more specifically depression, is being discussed on an endless loop and the stream of ignorance and misinformation is so deep, it's about to drown us all.

There is nothing that grinds my gears harder than ignorance about mental illness.   There have been several people in my extended family that have wrestled with various different illnesses and as such, I had to educate myself. So when I hear ignorant viewpoints on the subject, my blood boils like the lava in Vesuvius.

For example, when I hear people putting down friends or complaining about family members that struggle with things like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or depression, I get angry. I get angry because someone who is suffering from one of those disorders doesn't need your disdain.  What they do need from you is the following:

1) Support:

Work hard to help that person get the medical and psychiatric support they need.  Make sure (within your power to do so) that they take any prescribed medications as directed by their doctor and help to make sure that they get regular talk therapy sessions in conjunction with their medication.  While it is understood that not everyone has insurance coverage for these things, there are clinics available that work on a sliding scale according to income.

2) Understanding:

The first rule of caring about someone with mental illness is to understand that they are sick.  They may do or say things that are hurtful, inflammatory or just difficult to comprehend.  Try not to personalize it.  It is not about you it's about their mental illness and they may be needing more support (see #1).

3) Love:
At the end of the day, they are your friends, family, loved ones.  Love them as such.

So, with you knowing what your role is and with the 24 hour news cycle spewing misinformation at a rapid clip, let's do some myth busting.

Depression is:
According to the DSM4 (the standard diagnostic manual of the mental health profession), depression is classified as a mood disorder.  A mood disorder is further described as such:
http://allpsych.com/disorders/mood/index.html

And more specifically, major depressive disorder, the kind of depression that is likely to need to be managed throughout your life and carries the threat of suicidal thought and action, is described as follows:
http://allpsych.com/disorders/mood/majordepression.html

Depression is not:
Depression is not a choice. Did you get that?  No? I'll repeat.  Depression is not a choice.  It's not because someone is lazy or just won't pull themselves up by the bootstraps.  Depression is not a time to practice "tough love" so that they "snap out of it".  Depression is an illness.  Would you tell someone with cancer to "snap out of it"?

The Cycle of Misinformation:
On the topic of ignorance,  there were many things that I heard this week that illustrated how far we need to come as a country around the topic of depression and mental illness.  Here are two of the most uninformed comments of the lot:

1) This was from several random news anchors - I'm paraphrasing here:  He had everything to live for, a beautiful family, a great career.  Why would he end his life? 

This comment is ignorant and diminishing as it assumes that  fame and fortune are the antidote to depression.  Again, the cancer analogy works here. Would you ask someone suffering with cancer how their fame and fortune didn't work to stop the tumor from growing?

2) Rush Limbaugh is actually quoted as blaming Robin William's depression on his political leanings. To co-opt someone's tragic mental illness as a means of advancing a political agenda is so morally reprehensible, I can't quite wrap my head around it. I won't dirty this page by quoting his ugliness, ignorance and general stupidity on the topic, but if you want to read it and have your mouth hang open like a trout, go here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/12/rush-limbaugh-robin-williams_n_5673626.html

Getting Help:

Crisis Prevention:
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate support, it is best to get them to the emergency room of your nearest hospital.  If you can't get to them immediately or get them to the hospital, there are suicide prevention hotlines available, such as:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  - 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The signs and symptoms of a crisis situation are defined here:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/learn/warningsigns.aspx

Finding a Psychiatrist/Psychologist:
There is no shortage of practicing therapists and Doctors that can help treat depression.  Finding the right one for you may take some research.  Here are a few avenues to find the right one(s) for you:

1) Ask your medical doctor for a recommendation.
2) Join a support group (these are often run in local hospitals) and ask for referrals.
3) Ask a friend or family member.
4) Consult your local yellow pages or search online for someone in your area.

Let's all work to stop the ignorance, fear and misinformation around mental illness. The world will be a better place for it.





Friday, August 8, 2014

Latest Spam - Telling His Secrets in an ATM Spam

Ever since I started my blog, I have been amazed at two things:

1) How little spam I get.
2) How poorly written and obviously fake the spam that I do get really is.

Allow me to share the latest gem to hit my inbox.  Let's make a couple of assumptions before we read on:

1) This is meant to look like a communication from a bank or other financial institution.
2) It is meant to be crafted with language that will entice me to respond with information.
3) The sender genuinely expects a response.


Urgent Attention,

your atm card has finalize all the necessary arrangement and
your fund $2.5usd is inside atm card this moment your atm
card is in atm card office waiting for your Address were to deliver
it.reconfirm

Your name___
Your country__
Your address___
You’re Age/sex__
Your occupation
Email:atmcardoffice184@yahoo.com)

Best Regards.
Mr.Mgbako Chubby

Now, I am sure that while there are many bankers that sit at their desk in a state of arousal, few that I know use that information as the closing to a written communication.  Well done you, Mr Mgbako and your chubby!  If that alone weren't enough to get me to reply, your promise of  $2.5 USD has me chomping at the bit.  I had been looking for sufficient funds to get a can of soda and a pack of gum.  Sadly, my couch cushions came up empty. You sir, have made my dreams a reality!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 4th. Woot.

This is about as flag-waving as I am going to get, so don't get your hopes up...

Where I live, it rained all day 7/4.   Luckily 7/3 was good and 7/5 is shaping up to be an amazing day.  So far, there have been two highlights of my long weekend.

1) This bitchin chili dog that tasted even more amazing than it looks.


2) This amazing offer that came in from Indonesianjavaville or someplace like that. Gmail has THE BEST spam filter, right?  USA! USA!  USA!

desi gervine gervine.sby@gmail.com

7:06 AM (40 minutes ago)
to deanmdearberrydearfriendsblogdearloridebajyoti.ghdebajyoti.palc.debbiedebbiebanksdebedeborahdebra_gravesdecourcydeden_270783dee_metrodeedeedeep.arjashadeepanwitadeepksharma2410deepti.mathurdeer732defensivendeidre.colsondeirdre.latourdel1458delabelle_beau.
Dear, The General Manager

With Respect
we are a garment company, Surabaya, East Java. Indonesia.
invite your company to cooperate in terms of work uniforms & accessories.
We provide the best service & price
I hope our presence can help and build the road to success together.
 amen....
If there is an urgent matter to discuss please call :

Garment Design Consultant
 Mr. DEAN :
031-838 11719 / (+62) 8785 319 6617


For your attention and cooperation we say thank you.
Yours sincerely & sucess

 Mrs. DESI
0888 0352 6390  PIN BB : 325E5F21

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I'm Over Here

A few years ago, I started a food blog.  I was disillusioned with blogging and it was starting to get tedious, so I figured, hey, I cook, I eat...food blog.  What I found out is that it takes a tremendous amount of work and dedication.  A whole lot goes into the process of sharing recipes, ensuring they are accurate and taking decent enough pictures to represent what you are sharing.

That being said, when I sat down to write my most recent post, I realized that it was far better suited to the old food blog than to this one right here, so I posted over there (for the first time in a long time).  Please take a pop over here to read today's post. 

Thanks and see you there.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thanks Casey

I was driving home from the store on Sunday when a song came on the radio that I had a very unusual reaction to (for me anyway). I started bopping and giggling and waving my hands like I was meeting up with a favorite friend after a losing touch for many years.  While there are many old songs that are still played in heavy rotation, particularly if you listen to the decade channels on satellite radio like I do, some nuggets remain underground like buried treasure. This was definitely one of those nuggets.

I promptly pulled the car over to the curb and found the voice recorder on my phone and recorded a little bit of the song,  I then texted the song over to my most old-school music savvy friend and within seconds she had texted me back the lyrics to the opening two lines of the song.

I sat on the side of the road and let the song play out.  Then a familiar voice came on the radio and announced that I had been listening to "Gimme Dat Ding" by The Pipkins.  I looked at the display of my satellite radio and saw that the title of the show I was listening to was "Casey Casem Tribute", which let me know that Casey Casem had passed away.

In that moment, I felt a mix of sadness and joy as I recalled the decade of the 70's and how much Casey Casem was a part of it and of my childhood memories.   When I was a kid, not a weekend went by that I did not catch an episode of Scooby Do, so that I could see the shenanigans of Shaggy and Scooby.  I didn't know at the time that Shaggy was voiced by Casey Casem, but I knew he was my favorite character. Another weekend fixture was the American Top 40 broadcast, which my mom always had on in the living room, playing nice and loud so that she could hear it while she was working in the kitchen.

It's under truly sad circumstances that the world lost Casey Casem this past weekend.  The illness that he suffered from is one that I have a personal familiarity with, as a close relative of mine is currently battling the same illness.  It is a cruel diagnosis and one that brings unfathomable suffering.  But perhaps even more brutal than the illness itself was the ugly family battle that played out in the press between his current wife and his children from a prior marriage.  It is impossible to understand how family drama was allowed to take center stage in the life of a man that was suffering so greatly.  It was neither a dignified nor fitting closure for someone who brought so much joy and so many memories to so many people.

This week, there are many of us sitting out in the dark, listening to the silky and familiar voice of Casey Casem and recalling milestones of our own lives that he has helped us to mark along the way.   I know that he provided the soundtrack to my childhood and lots of laughs through the original slacker, Shaggy.  And even today, long after his last broadcast, I can be made giddy by a silly song on the radio and comforted by his familiar voice.  Thanks Casey. Thanks for the memories and all the good times.

If you'd like to learn more about Lewy Body Dementia, follow this link.

If you'd like to bop in your seat to the silliest one hit wonder of the seventies, click below.





Saturday, May 31, 2014

Romesick

Not a day goes by where I don't have a pang of longing for the city of Rome.  There have been a handful of cities that have captured my imagination and called me back over and over;  New Orleans, San Francisco, Manhattan, but none have the gravitational pull of Rome.  Sitting here at my computer and thinking about walking out of my apartment door down Via Giubbonari into Campo Di Fiori with the morning's first light, makes me well with tears.  The memory of a taste of cappuccino and cornetto at a local cafe each morning resonates in my memory to the point that I can recall the flavor of the coffee and sense the crunch of the crust and sticky glaze on the outside of the pastry.

One of the great things about living in the orbit of Manhattan is that we can take advantage of the amazing dining and entertainment options that are available.  As you might expect, you can find almost any food of every possible ethnicity in the NYC area.  Cornetti however, proved to be a challenge.  Luckily for me, my husband is a top notch researcher of such things and he found out that there is a restaurant that makes true Italian style cornetti (Pastry similar to a croissant) and bomboloni (The most amazing doughnuts,ever.).  This heavenly place is called Tarralucci e Vino, and the parties are so authentic that you can close your eyes and feel transported to Italy.   As the only known purveyor of these baked delights,  you need to get in early if you want to to be able to choose from the full array of pastry.  Arriving at 10:30 on a Sunday, we found ourselves taking the last three cornetti that they had and none of them were the ones that are filled with the faintly lemon scented pastry cream that is the hallmark of many Italian pastries and my personal favorite. Lesson learned.

That one location, while an option, is still 60 miles from my front door and unfortunately, there is no other bakery closer to home that even knows what a cornetto is.  I knew there had to be another way to get a taste of Rome that didn't involve burning a full tank of gas. It was this very conundrum that got me baking.

Naturally, I took to the Internet to find a recipe.  What I found out pretty quickly is that if you want a recipe for traditional Italian Cornetti, you need to find a recipe that is written by an Italian, in the Italian language. This presented a tiny challenge as my mastery of the Italian language is limited to menu Italian (I can pronounce the hell out of Bucatini all'amatriciana) and "Where is the bathroom?" (It's a survival skill.  I  believe that this is the one question that you should be able to ask in every language.). But I was undeterred by my lack of fluency and luckily, there were many print and video recipes available.  I must have watched 15 videos of Italians in their kitchens making cornetti.  All of them different, none of them seemed to yield a result that looked like what I was craving.  Finally after another dozen or so print recipes and a few more videos, I found what looked like a good one.  The cornetti looked well browned, plump in the middle and flaky.  Bingo!   Armed with plenty of butter and a couple of pounds of good, Caputo 00 flour, I set out to translate this video recipe:



What happened after about 100 viewings was this:






If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, tasted it with my own mouth and felt the crunch under my teeth, I would not have believed it was possible. A little taste of Rome, right in my own kitchen.   I even made a batch of pastry cream to fill them with, which was even more authentic tasting than the cornetti themselves. And while nothing cures Romesickness like a trip to the city itself, this mutes the longing and helps to make the time between visits pass a little more sweetly.





Friday, May 23, 2014

Milestones A-plenty

Milestone is an ugly word to me.  Not because I don't appreciate the key events in life that are significant enough to be considered milestones, but rather the fact that I work on projects in my professional life and milestones are the goal posts of my work.  Given that analogy, I would very often like to kick something through them or better yet, kick the people that prevent me from getting to them on time.

This time of the year is a big deal in terms of personal milestones.  The stretch of time from April through June sees all of our birthdays, my wedding anniversary, mother's day and father's day.  If the Hampton's "season" kicks off on Memorial Day, our family "season" starts April 1st and goes through June with barely a pause.  Dress me in white and call me Diddy.

This year, the month of June takes on additional significance because the milestones that we are celebrating are on steroids.  So roided out in fact, that if they were an athlete, they'd look like this:

Photo Cred: cracked.com
This June will see the following major events:

  • An 18th birthday
  • A High School graduation
  • A 50th Birthday 
  • Senior Prom
  • Senior Wences (Just kidding.  Making sure you were still paying attention after that somewhat distracting picture above.)

One of those events is mine, but I am not going to tell you which one because I am a little embarrassed that it took me this many years to pass gym.

I know that there are people who think that there is some kind of shame involved in turning 50.  I couldn't agree less. The fact of the matter is, I've never felt better, loved life more or had a more adventurous spirit. I find the question of "How do you feel about turning 50?" to be ageist and sexist coming from certain people.  I know that their agenda is that they expect me to be filled with self-loathing over the prospect of getting older.  Sadly, it only exposes their own fear and shallowness as they try to project it on to someone else. I feel bad for people like that, because some day they too will be this old, but they won't be nearly as awesome.

Now I am off to wrap favors for one of the many parties that lay ahead in the month of June.  Here's a small reminder of how good it feels to hit that certain milestone.




Sunday, May 11, 2014

Never too Old for a Poop Joke

One thing that I am certain of as I approach my next birthday, which has an alarmingly big number associated with it, is that I am never going to meet anyone's definition of mature.  One of the things that I am fond of saying (only because it's true) is that I have the sense of humor of a nine year old boy.  There seems to be no limit to the entertainment value that I can mine from a good fart or poop joke.

Two weekends ago my husband and I found ourselves without plans on a Saturday night.  We sat down in the living room and started the evening innocently enough, watching videos of vacation rentals in Rome and dreaming of our next trip to Italy.  About an hour in, the tone of our searching and viewing changed to Japanese game shows.

I was somewhat familiar with Japanese game shows because I remembered seeing clips of them in the past and a report on a news show about how the Japanese like to really push the envelope in terms of participant stunts, to an extreme that leans toward torture.  But even knowing that, I was not prepared for what we found or to laugh so hard that tears streamed down my cheeks.

This may be the most hilarious/sadistic thing I have ever seen.  I think I lost a few IQ points when I watched this, but the sacrifice was well worth it.  This was the best laugh I've had in a long time.  Enjoy...


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nothing Much to Say But "Hi. Hope you are well."

Hey y'all it's your lazy friend diary.  As I look back at the date of my last post, I see that I am pretty much one month gone from my last entry.  So much is going on that keeps me away from the computer these days, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.

Haven't got much to share at the moment because I am too in the thick of it to reflect on it yet.  What I can say is that work is crazy during the week, which drives me hard to have adventures on the weekend. Overall, this leaves me far from my computer.  Sure, I'll drop an occasional tweet because I can do that on my phone from anywhere.  Blogging could theoretically be done from a phone, but not with my sausage fingers. I need the roomy comfort of a full sized, QWERTY keyboard.

So, with this minimal explanation and nothing particularly interesting to say, I leave you with this morsel...from one of my adventures.

Until next time...



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Confessions of a Broadway Nerd

Most of us probably have a somewhat skewed perception of who we are and what information we put out  for others to interpret.  I have always viewed myself as much cooler than I really am, something of a female Fonzie adrift in a sea of Potsies.  But the reality of how inaccurate that statement is assaults me any time I look at myself dressed in my work clothes.  When I catch that unplanned glimpse of myself in the reflection of the glass walls of the data center at work,  I meet with the truth of the matter; which is that I usually look like a harried and style-parched librarian, glasses perched atop of my head, further disheveling my non-hairstyle, wearing baggy dress pants and an unflatteringly boxy blazer.

But in spite of my heinous work wardrobe and perhaps by an act of sheer will, I might have been able to convince people that I am cooler than I really am.  More likely, I have just effectively hidden some of my less cool tendencies from those around me.  However, very recently I let the geeky horse out of the barn and there may not be an opportunity to regain the tiny sliver of cool that I might have had. Here's how it went down...

For the last 15 years, I have been attending Broadway shows at a rate of 2 or 3 a year (sometimes more). Most of these plays have been musicals.   Very often, I buy the soundtrack for these musicals.  I also buy the soundtrack for movie musicals of shows gone by.  For better or for worse, I know every word to every song in South Pacific.  Younger than springtime, am I.  

During a recent trip to New York, one where many bars were visited and many cocktails consumed, I learned that I have a love for Karaoke (something I had vehemently refused to participate in prior to 5 months ago).  Being my maiden voyage at Karaoke and given my natural aversion to it, you would think that I would be careful in my choice of songs, picking only those that would mitigate the amount of humiliation that I exposed myself to.  A sane and sober choice might have included a rock anthem that everyone could sing along to, thereby drowning out the truly terrible quality of  my singing.  But I was neither sane or sober in the moment that I gave in to the Karaoke monster.  Rather than choosing good time singalong songs, I hit the show tunes, hard. I guess you can say that when the microphone hit my hand, my inner Elaine Stritch came out (luckily for everyone, I didn't take my pants off and walk around in my shirt and stockings).

As I started ripping through the Sondheim song book (praise be to Sondheim) and other classic show tunes, looks of confusion came over peoples faces.  The songs I chose were unrecognizable to the mostly twenty-somethings that we were with and as I sang each one, my husband kept repeating the same phrase - "How do you know this?". I would simply shrug my shoulders and tear into the next one.  I gargled and growled through Ladies Who Lunch, I warbled Master of the House from Le Mis,  I croaked my rendition of I'm Still Here from Follies.  Sure, I mixed in some other songs to dilute the potency of the show tunes, but with the first note of All That Jazz, I outed myself as a Broadway Nerd. 

I guess it could have been worse.  I could have been with sober people who actually remember the event. We have done Karaoke together since, and everyone participated willingly, even enthusiastically. The bottom line is that I am happy to be out and proud. I may be a long way from Fonzie, but in my book Patti Lupone is pretty badass too. Just call me Evita.


                                    
Nerd Alert!!! This is my collection of Playbills.  The binder on the left holds around 20. The books on the right are the plays I have seen since I filled the binder a few years ago. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Friend

15 years.   That's a long time.  You can pay off a mortgage, watch a child grow from baby to first date, see a friend's marriage start and end and if you are lucky, you can spend it with someone awesome.

15 years was the gift we got from Spike.  Even though he was an outdoor cat, he cheated the odds and got a 15 year run of it.  We like to say that the things that kept him alive so long were pure moxie and an uncanny ability to look both ways when crossing the street.

Spike lived most of his days on his own terms.  There were no rules for Spike that were not utterly self directed.  He was footloose and fancy free and he liked it just like that.  When he came in the house to warm up, nap and socialize, it was by his own choice.  He accepted pets from the humans an ear nuzzles from both dogs until he tired of them and coolly padded off to a corner of the floor where the heating pipes ran and he could tuck his legs under him so that he looked like a furry, sleeping roast beef.

He took his leave of this world last week when age and kidney failure got the best of him. His last day was awful, but every day that preceded that was joyful and much, much hipper than thou.  So it was with sadness and tears we had to let him go, but there are nothing but smiles and laughs as we look back at what an awesome character and fantastic family member he was.

Spike lived most of his days on his own terms.  How many of us can say the same?








Sunday, February 9, 2014

Good Times Ahead - Thanks Philip Ezeson!

For the longest time now I have found my Gmail account to be extra-super-vigilant about identifying and isolating spam messages.  That is until the last month or so.  Now I find myself the recipient of some of the most ridiculous spammer scammers.  Does anyone fall for this crap?  The grammar alone is a dead giveaway.

Today I want to share one of these recent smoldering turds and to respond in open letter format...that is if the numbnuts that wrote are capable of understanding what an open letter is. 

The spectacular offer sent to me (note that I could not get a normal font after pasting this in. Who knows what kind of internet cooties the original email message was infested with.  I have since fumigated, deleted and burned it.):
Attention Beneficial,

You have been awards (1.500,000,00USD) through money gram department after our finally meeting regarding your fund, All you will do is to contact Money Gram director via E-mail:(money-gram32@admin.in.th)

He will give you direction on how you will be receiving the funds daily. My agreement with them is 5000USD daily until the whole funds is transferred to you,

Contact Money Gram director Mr. Moche Anderson send him your Full information to avoid wrong transfer such as,

Receiver's Name_______________
Address: ________________
Country: _____________
Phone Number: _____________

contact Mr. Moche Anderson or you call him at +229-99221908 as soon as you receive this email and tell him to give you the Reference number.

Thank you.
Regards

My response:

Mr. Philip Ezeson


Dear Mr Philip Ezeson (do you really be easy son or are you
just a tease?),

I am so glad to hear that I have been awards.  Lately, I have
been feeling a little like a Grammy, sometimes an Oscar
and even, on occasion, a bit like a SAG award.
Your astute recognition of this is truly amazing.
I see that 1.5 and many zerosUSD through money gram
department if all I will do is contact Money Gram director
via this reasonably formatted email address - 

money-gram32@admin.in.th.
I anxiously look forward to he give me the direction on how I will be receiving the funds daily.
I was hoping that I could get in all in pennies, delivered via a monkey pushing a wheel barrow.  You have the power to make this happen, this is clear.
 I know this will probably take a long time for the whole funds to be transferred to me, but what a delightful way to receive it.

As for the full information that you requested (to avoid wrong transfer such as, of course), here you go:
Receiver's Name:  Analwartopolus Dingleberry
Address: 901 Yourmoms Bungway
Country:  Lichtenstien
Phone Number: 1(800) URA-DICK

I can't wait to contact Mr. Moche Anderson.  Does he tap dance or have a vineyard?  How is that name pronounced?  Is it Moo-chee  or Mo-chez
or thedevastatingresultsofsyphyllis?  No matter, I will tell him to give me the Reference number and to give his mom a scorching case of the herpes.

A pleasure, as always.
- Beneficial

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Danny DeVito Has Nothing on Me

One of the things that I love about Sorrento is that they are crazy for Limoncello.  Every restaurant, every home, every automobile repair shop, has bottles of this stuff in their freezer.  Every one of them has their own family recipe, handed down from their nonna and they all think theirs is the best.  So much so, that they insist that you taste it.  Better yet, they give it away at the end of the meal, for free.

I can't think of a meal that we had in that town that did not end with complimentary shots of Limoncello for everyone at the table and in some cases, whole bottles were set on the tables with glasses.   This made for long, relaxed dinners and even more relaxed diners.  But this sunny yellow liquor has a dark side.  Some of the members of our travel party over-indulged in the lemony treat, to the tune of some really bizarre behavior and wicked hangovers.  The clip of Danny DeVito below is reminiscent of our visit, yet some how milder (for real).



I am not the biggest fan of Limoncello as I find it to be way too sweet for the most part.  There are some that I have had that I like more than others (funny how I keep trying it), but I am just not into sweet drinks.  What I do like Limoncello for is as a mixer in other drinks or as an ingredient in a recipe.

Being that I am a fussy pain in the ass and because I got a rad Limoncello Set for Christmas, I figured that I should try to make my own.  This will allow me to control the sweetness and the strength of the final beverage and will give me a chance to make a Limoncello that I love.

This morning, armed with a colander full of lemons and a bottle of grain alcohol (aka Everclear - yes, that Everclear.  The stuff that was the root of all your bad decisions in college.), I set out to make some Limoncello.  There are all kinds of recipes with all kinds of recommendations for how long to soak the peels, how much sugar to add, how long to rest the mixed liquor, etc.  I am going by only one thing - my taste buds.  I plan to taste it at 10, 20, 30 and 40 days, until the color and flavor are to my liking.   I will report back here as things progress and will let you know if I find the magic balance of flavor and sweetness that makes me happy.   Until then, here are some pictures of lemons...I warn you, there is nudity involved.

Here are my still dressed, proper lemons, fresh from the bath.


If lemons could blush...


Gorgeous yellow jackets before going in a pool full of the devil's drink

Bad decisions will be made.  I advise you all to steer clear of The View.


At 1 week, the mixture is lemony and light yellow without any bitterness.

One more week of soaking...