Tuesday, January 31, 2012

3 Hours of Fabulous

How much time do you set aside to meet a fabulous friend for dinner? As much as you need.

It has nothing to do with how long the act of eating a meal may take or how long (or actually how quickly) it takes for the food to arrive from the kitchen, but how little time you have to spend on each topic of conversation. We are not ashamed to ask each other, "What was I saying?"

Talking starts on topic and somehow ends on something completely unrelated and is interrupted by the soup, or the main course, or the idea of dessert, the actual dessert, the wrapped leftovers and a cup of tea. It has nothing to do with the chewing, tasting or feeling so stuffed you can barely move. It is completely about the company, sharing ideas, theories, experiences and hopes and plans for the future.

It has nothing to do with anything except two people with common interests, rooting each other on in life and a fabulous friendship.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Moment at the Table

After the work day, after preparing the food, setting the table and calling every one to dinner, it happens. The family of four are all present and accounted for, present and in the moment, present in body and mind. The meal is a physical requirement, the action of sitting together, side by side around the kitchen table sharing thoughts and recanting the day's activities in one of the fabulous moments I look forward to often. I am aware, intensely aware, that these moments are finite. I sometimes think this heightened level of consciousness will somehow influence my ability to hold on to each second, each tick of the clock, every word and nuance. Yet they slip through and around me like emotional mist. I know it has happened and now is over, the same way I know I must have experienced Christmas at age six, but could no more clearly recall the activity around me. I am left knowing it was simply fabulous.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Planning for a Fabulous Change

Ever wonder who was the person who decided to try things? Like say, milk from a cow or bringing the fire inside to cook on? Once discoveries are made it is sometimes a small jump from one idea to another such as an automatic clothes washing machine to a dishwasher. Then, it seems rules are created or social norms or some such silly restrictions that dictate how or where items should be placed in and around a home. Exceptions may be made due to space constraints or practicality and then suddenly everyone is doing it. Laundry areas were once typically convenient to the kitchen, then banned to the basement and now, some are installed nearest the bed or bathrooms to save steps.

Currently, when you walk in our front door a rarely used living room is on the left, the family room on the right while a straight path will lead to the kitchen and the dining room is behind the living room (left of the kitchen). The layout seems quite practical. Unfortunately, the dining room dimensions are just a smidge tight with a simple table, hutch and guests. In fact, once everyone is seated it is practically impossible for anyone to walk around the edges of the chairs to get back to the kitchen for any forgotten item. Years ago I thought of switching the living and dining rooms for a bit more comfort at the table. Finally, after careful review, measuring and furniture placement options, a potential plan is in place. The only obstacle will be capping the dining room chandelier and replacing it with suitable lighting. The new dining room will simply utilize the existing recessed light fixtures. Trying to contain myself and keep from moving all furniture until just the right lighting is found. Have a feeling it will all be fabulous!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's not Fun Until I can't Breathe

A family dinner with my sister, her family, my family and my mother is always sure to be fun though I always hold my breath a little bit - concerned my sons who are about 10 - 12 years older than their cousins, will say something inappropriate in some way. Like the time my older son thought he should educate his cousins about the fact we all have a wenis. Or how my sons sometimes forget they have more of a PG-13 vocabulary and my nephews are perfectly entitled to a rated G environment. Or, my worry that my sons will let the sarcasm go just a little too far over the edge and they will hurt some one's feelings. Yes, I may still give them a lecture, I mean reminder, to watch their language and stories in the presence of family.

However, most times the fact I cannot breathe and find myself holding my stomach or sides is due to continuous laughter that interferes with the physical function of my lungs. Tonight was no exception. I worry I will have to walk away or take a time out just to be able to keep up physically. The stories and vocabulary were fine, it was the constant laughter that left me breathless. We should all be so lucky to have these problems on a fairly regular basis. What was so funny? Hats. A bit of gas. Faces. Voices. Old pictures. The same things you would probably laugh about with 9 and 11 year old boys. Can't wait to do it all again. Fabulous!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fabulous One on One Lunch

Thankfully, every other Friday I finish work at noon and beat the crazy commuter traffic home. Even more thankfully I can sometimes have lunch with friends or family and on this particular weekend-eve it is my younger son who will share the table with me.

The hard part was deciding.... "What do you want?" "I don't care, what do you feel like?" Back and forth for a few volleys until I finally narrow the field, "I think I really want a real hamburger. Not something that may have been mixed with fillers in some factory (although their are no guarantees I recently learned) but at least believably real looking and fresh. I also think I'd rather eat at home so how about a to-go order from someplace?"

He made the rest of the decisions and I couldn't have been happier. I walked into the kitchen and could immediately smell the sinful scent of beef and french fries. A separate container held toppings of lettuce, tomato, pickles and slices of red onion so I could decide my toppings and the ratio of each - quite a treat. The bun was toasty. The fries were crispy outside and had been seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. My son had a chicken wrap and while I'm sure he found it delicious, I was thoroughly happy with my choice.

We talked about his school, the new young lady he recently brought home (I always sneak in the heavy stuff over a meal) and work. We had each others undivided attention and it felt like I had always hoped being a mother would - fabulous.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Fabulous Bat Cave

It is a cold, dreary, drippy night and the drive home was a bit well, undesirable. People try to use their crazy, "I'm going to race up on you, pass you on the right and be one car ahead of you," moves and as I watch the car's outdoor thermometer drop to below freezing, I wonder if they are simply on some kamikaze suicide mission. Doesn't sound very fabulous. After about 45 minutes of highway driving and avoiding the maniacs, the car seems to move on autopilot off the ramp and rolls to a stop before turning on to "Home Road."

Exhaling, loosening the bit of finger clench on the steering wheel, in just a few more minutes pulling into the driveway and the day will end. In the drive - one click of a button and the garage door opens. It is a powerful, super-hero feeling to have the remote control do all the work while staying warm and dry in the car. It is even more powerful to stay in the car and press the button again, closing the world out behind me and physically begin the evening. In mere moments the transformation will be complete when like Mr. Rogers the day clothes are changed into the home clothes and the bat cave returns to stillness and dark until the morning.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Finding Fabulous and Random Liam Neeson

Part of the thought process behind this blog was based on a bit of, "if you build it, they will come," or the theory that once a person begins to concentrate their attention on the positive aspects of less, the more they will find the "fabulous."

The same theory can be applied to when one buys a new car. Suddenly, every car (or at least every fifth car) the driver passes by is the same model or at least color. And so, every day, I am on the quest for fabulous. Moments are reviewed and replayed, scrutinized and examined to see if they are merely good, routine or truly something noteworthy, extraordinary and worth remembering. This act in itself makes one separate out the unwanted bits since our memories have limited data space and what we want we are likely to keep upfront and handy.

After putting on comfy sleep pants last night and a bit of channel surfing a Liam Neeson movie was playing, "Taken." A fabulous movie. Just a few days ago we watched, "Unknown." Another fabulous movie. He currently has a new film in theaters, "The Grey." Is Liam the new Kevin Bacon? Is he 6 degrees from fabulous?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The "Ah" at the End of the Day

Winter days are shorter simply because we have less hours of daylight. Fair enough. The earth's orbit, blah, blah, blah. The fact of the matter is winter workdays are longer because we are waking up, getting ready and some of us are driving to work in the dark. We then leave with just a few precious moments of daylight for the trip home and then we are in temporary hibernation mode. Well, I am. After dinner there are no long walks, weeding the garden, reading outside or anything. I don't want to go anyplace. But, the most fabulous moment at the end of the day, every day, begins once I put on those magical clothes and though my adult sons probably want to cry when I do it as early as 5:30 p.m. - it's all about the sleep pants. Fabulous!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Thoughts on Camping

Lately, through the power of Internet surfing and rampant Facebook posts I have come across a number of "retro humor" sights and photos with captions like the one above. I have to say, the first time I went camping I was a Scout and slept in a wooden lean-to. I was excited, but have to say I hated it. I was sore and tired the next day, it felt like everything was damp and smelly. It just was not my thing.

At about 13 or 14 years old I tried again. I went camping with my best friend and her family to Kennebunk Port, Maine. The beach, the sand, it looked so much better than my first experience. But, then we slept on the hard ground in a very traditional green tent and the first morning I was cooked eggs in a cast iron skillet over a roaring camp fire. I threw up. Not a great memory.

A bazillion years later we bought a camper. It was originally intended for my husband and older son to take when our son had long distance quad races. We went as a family to a race or two. We went to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for a week. Seemed like this type of camping was growing on me. Camping with a kitchen. Camping with our own shower. Camping with electricity, a television, a bed, this is better.

Last year we went to Lake Placid for a weekend and stayed in a real campground. Wow, we can plug in and not have to listen to the generator all night as a bonus. A pool, games, trails, waterfalls, oh my. A whole new world. Just remember now, when I say I'm camping, for me it is a bit more fabulous when I can flip a switch and have heat or air conditioning as needed.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dancing Queen

Number 2 on the list for top 5 ways to enjoy music alone (car concerts were number one of course) is dancing around your house. Not only is the music loud with a thumping beat, but suddenly having stark white socks on the slippery floor seems like the best idea ever. Sometimes the music may be on with every good intention of cleaning the house to the soundtrack, yet somehow I become sidetracked and end up in the family room auditioning for So you Think you can Dance? with a bit of American Idol thrown in for good measure.

When the boys were little I would grab them by the hand and spin them in circles or pick them up and swing them around with me. Funny, they never dance in public. Have I shocked it out of them? They also tend to avoid the music I used to dance with them to and I wonder if maybe they just don't trust themselves not to bust a move like the "old days." I think it would be really fun to see them bust out to "Can't Touch This," don't you?

My most confused partner has to be the dog. She somehow wants to participate and circles around me with her tail wagging and a bit of a smile, not sure what else to do. In fact, that's kind of how I look when I dance in public, especially with my fabulous husband, we just smile and step in circles.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Definition of a Day Off

Once upon a time, days off were reserved for running around like a crazy person trying to get everything done that simply could not be taken care of during the week. Today was thankfully not one of those days.

Outside the gentle swoosh of falling snowflakes could be heard. Inside the heat creaked and crackled, the tea pot whistled and the mouse clicked as I flipped through home pages on the web. Just to balance things out a bit, three miles on the treadmill with Food Network while thoughts of the past week began to disappear. Time flew by and a 20 + year old Goldie Hawn movie was on and who can resist that giggle? The movie was, "Deceived," and while it was light, on a leisurely day off it was perfect.

Afternoon tea and a book on the couch... don't mind if I do. Gregory Maguire and his tales after the Wizard of Oz are the perfect blend of magical adventure with unique phrases and bits of fantasy. Notes in a notebook for future writing topics. A few emails and text messages.

A bit of an experiment in the kitchen with a new chicken recipe; carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms and a sauce of peanut butter, soy sauce, chicken stock, garlic and ginger served over spaghetti. Slicing and chopping on the wooden butcher block. Stirring and fussing before enjoying. No agenda, no stress, no appointments, no driving, nothing but fabulous.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tattoos, Piercings & Hair Colors

I never really thought when I first held each of my sons that some day one would want a mullet, then later wear short hair with the top bleached out (which I did for him). Years later his brother had blue hair (which I helped with) and a pierced ear (for his 10th birthday in November and he let the hole close just months later) and they would both someday have tattoos.

We've had to discuss droopy drawers, the fact that a hoody is simply not a coat and counsel one that a plain white t-shirt, while classic, is not suitable as a finished look for all occasions. While talking about dressing up, one can identify a range of styles from jeans to khakis to a suit, but the other is 90% jeans, 5% button down shirt with jeans and suits for weddings/funerals only.

With a four year age gap they have spent a substantial portion of their lives in different phases from each other. Tonight, one sits by the other's side at a tattoo studio. It is their fabulous moment in time.

They have evolved with their own sense of style, at their own pace and while I try to balance the fine line of withholding judgment yet maintaining maternal, I feel comfortable and confident standing at their side and introducing them as my sons.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Car Concerts

My first car, the Rustang, was a wonderful (broke down constantly), beautiful (was on fire more than once), pre-owned (with about a bazillion miles), vehicle of freedom and with it began the joy of car concerts. While I may remember more vividly driving to school with my sister when the hood flew up, or the stick that had to be placed just so to hold the hatch up, the fact that I had to bundle up with a blanket during the winter, I could listen to the music I wanted and sing until I thought the windows would shatter.

Over time the cars improved. I have even had the honor of being a new car owner twice! This time around I think my favorite feature is the heated seats, but I must confess, the 5 CD changer and boomability of the stereo are not far behind. I don't think anyone should ever give up their right to blasting something to the level* that your mother (or children) complain, "Turn that down!" every now and then. *For the safety and health of your ears of course this behavior is not recommended.

It's funny how an entire outlook can change when a song you love (and know most of the words to like of course, Born to Run) comes on during an especially dreary drive. And, while most of us may agree or confess under duress to participating in giving a car concert now and then, we are still mostly shy about the idea of other drivers catching us in the act. I'm almost secure enough to just belt it out, after all it's winter, the windows are up and they can't hear me. Fabulous!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Free to Blog

Should the Internet be an open book? If I post something for you, for free, I am providing it for your entertainment or education or to kill time, but I am providing it to you. I am the author and owner and would be upset if I had to lay out millions of dollars to create this little blip for you only to have it pirated by others and given away. Ok, I can live with that theory. Pirating = bad. Napster, bootleg movies, and all other entertainment shoplifting should not be supported.

I do know that when I was someplace between childhood and teenage (tween if you will) I used to put my Panasonic cassette recorder next to the radio so when I heard my favorite song I could try to catch most of it on a blank tape. I never sold the music to anyone, but I'm pretty sure I listened to it with friends. I know I went on to own a VCR many years later and recorded shows and movies, some I loaned to others who did not subscribe to cable, so they could watch them as well. Ok, I will even admit to perhaps a bootleg movie or two having appeared in my home. The man at the flea market was even arrested. Will this kind of behavior stop if the Internet is censored? I don't think so.

I only know a portion about SOPA and PIPA. Guess where I found my information?? The Internet. I wonder if Dee Snider or Metallica will show up in court? For or against? I think it is fabulous that I can sit here and blog about it to you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


A few co-workers knit and one is working on an absolutely beautiful hat with some type of butterfly stitch design. To me, it is quite miraculous what can be produced with some yarn and two sticks, I mean needles. Ever try knitting? I have and it made my grandmother sigh. I'm far too tense and grip the yarn too tightly and the stitches become bunched up and strangled looking. Two co-workers in particular create unique scarves and admire each other's work.

Recently, my younger nephew has also taken up knitting and asked for a weaving loom as well for Christmas. To balance his activities, he also likes to split wood with an axe and go roller skating. He will be a very well rounded individual.

I admire the discipline needed to simply sit still with just a ball of yarn, tools and a plan to produce a customizable and wearable piece of art. I prefer to create art by stringing words together, hooks and phrases or combining ingredients into meals and capture images with a camera. It is still the process, the joy and fabulous moments.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Peak

The morning was cold and well, early. Up at 5:00-ish while the rest of the family sleeps in, the day starts with more dark then light and off and on the road by 6:30. The inside thermometer in the car reads, "4." I blink and think maybe I looked too quickly, maybe it really says 9. Nope, 4.

At work, at my desk and off and running by 7:15. Bleck. Half an hour later, the alarms are going crazy and a building that is also still rubbing the morning sleep away must be evacuated. Co-workers who start at different times arrive among firetrucks and police cars. Must have been tempting for them to just leave.

We joke about making a coffee run or a breakfast run and are told it was possibly a gas leak that set off the alarm. "Maybe we will be sent home," we hope.

Eventually the trucks leave and we receive the all clear signal. Everyone drudges back inside. Back to work.

The cold stays within many of us and it feels like exactly what it is, a cold January Monday, the start of a full long week.

The minutes tick past and with each time I check the clock, I swear it must have stopped. This is the longest, coldest day ever. Finally, it is time to go and I remember I have to get gas. Ugggh. The drive home is uneventful without any memorable occurrences of road rage or other noteworthy happenings.

Home. Home to make dinner without a stove. The recent power surge that blew up our stove and oven has yet to be resolved. Steps must be taken, appointments must be made for a repairman to assess the damage and either agree the unit cannot be repaired, that the motherboard is too expensive or other course of action. In the meantime, the grill and microwave are our friends. But, I am still cold from the morning and rapidly wilting with near exhaustion.

I have learned to boil water in an electric tea pot, pour it in a pot with dry pasta (egg noodles tonight) and cover with a lid so the pasta cooks. I grill some meat and saute mushrooms in a pan. Last night's mixed grilled veggies on the side make it seem like a planned menu rather than a hodge podge of kitchen tricks. The last of the meal is consumed, the conversation trailing off and my husband, a wonderful and understanding man (who had the day off) says, "Go, go put on your pajamas." I wanted to cry in the moment of fabulousness.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"I never allowed my fear to limit me..."

said 50 Cent in his Behind the Music special on VH1.

Am I fan? Yes, mostly. I feel he is far more talented musically than Kanye, he is quite frank and seemingly honest. An unlikely role model? Definitely. Limited appropriate lyrics? Certainly. But behind the scenes he appears to have far less to hide and makes no excuses for some of his past behaviors and choices including selling drugs and associated crimes. We as a society decide which crimes we will forgive among celebrities including dog fighters, child abusers (accused and proven), and suspected murderers. Many popular names are attached to scandals, some forgiven, some banished from favor. This is not about digging up and rehashing the past, it is about finding the courage, strength and determination to push forward. A message most of us should hear more often.

When was the last time you 100% believed in yourself and your choices?

When did you last wake up and say, "Today, I am going to do it. I will reach my goal," and make it happen?

When did you take responsibility for your actions? When did you not blame the other guy, the circumstances, the conditions, the market, or whatever other obstacle seemed to be in the way?

Some of the messages I heard:

1. Figure out what it is you want and go after it. This seems to be a common mantra for those at the top of whatever their games is from actors to athletes.

2. Don't let anyone tell you - you can't. If you believe you can, you must keep going. "Hate it or love it the underdogs on top..." (Ok, loose interpretation)

3. Keep doing it. Get help if you need it, but make sure the help you receive is from the best.

My take away - an extra helping of courage, confidence and determination can't hurt. Being assertive, reaching goals and not letting fear stop me, sounds fabulous.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Evolution of a Hugger

Once upon a time I worked in an environment that involved a lot of senior citizens who though well meaning and generally very nice were constantly hugging, touching, and kissing me on the cheek. I know they were sincere, I know they were simple acts of kindness, but sometimes I would back up, find ways to avoid some of them and eventually simply said, "I'm sorry, I'm not a toucher." Or hugger. Or whatever. And they backed off. I didn't want to hurt anyone in particular's feelings, but I really didn't want that much contact with strangers and so I signed off of it from everyone outside of family for years.

Now, I run into people I care about and though they may have known me through my avoidance years, are surprised when I see them and declare, "It's ok, I hug now." Sometimes I even initiate the hug - who would have thought?

Tonight I was with a large group of people I know in varying degrees and guess what, after all that hugging and a few smooches on the cheek I was fine. Pretty fabulous even.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fridays, Austin Powers and Fun

If everyone had a theme song I would be forced to steal Austin Powers'. In fact, it used to be my ringtone - I'll have to find out how to get that back!

A Friday afternoon after a half-day of work and I am more than ready for the weekend.

Find yourself a theme song and blast it like you were driving your first car! (or borrow Austin's like I am) Fabulous Fun!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Go Ahead, Break the Rules

Who makes some of our social rules and norms anyway? Why do we believe all relationships, friendships or marriages should all fit into some sort of cookie-cutter mold?

Some people are planners, some of us really dislike talking on the telephone or making decisions or committing to an event months away. Others simply can't understand these choices or maybe cannot fathom breaking their rigid routines like Monday Meatloaf and mundane date nights. Or they are so spontaneous they don't know where they will be hour to hour. Tolerance, tolerance, tolerance.

And those crazy hoops to jump through and move-counter-move dances I watch my sons go through with new girlfriends (ah, don't call them girlfriends either!). So much wasted energy. Is it really wrong to call or text 2 days in a row? Really?

The fabulous part of today was calling that person I miss and care about even though I thought it was her turn. I came right out and told her how I was feeling. We lived. We laughed. We're going to work on making some changes. Fabulous!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Daily Planner Predictions

I save the daily planners provided by my place of employment from year to year. I only mark things in them like birthdays, vacation days, and yes, snow days. When I heard the five day forecast earlier this week a brief mention was made about tonight's possible wintry mix and when I checked last year's daily planner I wasn't really that surprised to read that on January 12 last year I stayed home for a snow day. When I get back to that planner I will write down the rest of the snow days I took just to see if I could make a living as a meteorologist just as well as the trained professionals. So, turn your pj's inside out tonight kids before you go to bed and I'll go to sleep dreaming of all those things I promised I'd do last year on the next snow day. A slow start and extra cup of tea in the morning could prove to be fabulous!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Electric Hullabaloo

Making dinner and then like a bad scene out of the old Tom Hanks movie, "Money Pit," a loud pop and poof, no electric. Well, kind of. The kitchen was out, but the computer screen glowed in the family room. Well, no, the microwave still had power, but we had no lights. Ok, deep breath. Check the breaker box. Throw the main. All hands on deck! Call an electrician. Call the power company. Call Ghostbusters! The neighbors have lights.

Half an hour later, after resetting breakers and realizing the lights work upstairs but nothing else is working, a phone call is made to the electric company. Another hour or so later and technicians arrive. A problem with the connection at the pole. Our electric stove though may be a casualty.

Seriously, at the time of the pop, I ran my hand over the wall to see if it was hot and really expected that scene from the movie when the wire sparked and a fire ran down the kitchen wall. Luckily I wasn't roasting a turkey that shot out the window then boomeranged back into a pan. But, I think if pressed I could see my husband doing that maniacal laugh Tom Hanks had over the gaping whole in the floor when the bathtub fell through. Fabulous? Debatable.

Monday, January 9, 2012

We Do

Tonight I looked back at the whole day... from waking up an hour before the alarm (yes, 4 AM!) all the way through to parking myself at the PC. Today, our niece Molly posted about 300 photos from her wedding and I loved looking at each and every one. The funny ones, the smooches, the hugs, the smiles, the dancing, friends and yes, the family.

The advice most marrieds give to those on their wedding day is to try to enjoy each moment as it flies by. The invention of the camera is the best possible way to capture as much of special occasions as possible and can even act as a second set of eyes since no one can see all of it.

Laughing on the dance floor, grabbing those around you and posing for a group shot, hugging or just linking arms, and smiling eyes are all frozen - giving you the feeling you can simply press "play" and be back in the moment.

Looking at the images, over and over, remembering the days leading up to the moment. Your family. My family. Our family.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The best way for my husband and I to tackle the "serious" talks is to just sneak them in out of the blue. After 25 years, we've realized it's better to just jump in and with him recently reaching retirement eligibility at work, we are kind of forced to discuss the future. We were coasting along, raising our sons and then suddenly, they are both in college and we are faced with the idea of possibly moving or investing in a second home...

Here's where the challenge begins. He's thinking of a bizillion or so acres in a desolate area for hunting with a barely livable cabin that we (he really just means him and maybe his brother, nephews or a few friends) could visit while we sell our current home and buy a more retirement friendly house someplace else (yet to be determined). I don't really see a lot of me in that plan.

I see myself lounging on a deck or a three season sunroom, facing a lake or the beach, writing. I'd like to be close enough to some sort of entertainment, decent restaurants and a good hospital. Not too much of a stretch for requirements. I really don't even mention the temperature. I dropped this bomb today while we were on our ritual Sunday morning ride to bring the recyclables and garbage to the dump - romantic, I know.

So now, we've each presented our case. Neither of us is in any hurry as we have to continue working the way we are for now, but we have shown our hands. He will scour the Internet, watching for a way to find huntable land with a large pond he can describe as a small lake and I will slip in the part about the *must be able to drive back to New York clause some other time. Sneaky or fabulous?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Straight vs. Gay Food?

Every Wednesday I visit one of the least likely thought of people in my building, our company librarian, and take the New York Times Dining Section home to read. I may not read it until a leisurely Saturday (such as this morning) or Sunday. I love it. I love the NYTimes just because and though I can read the print version for free, I find it extremely difficult to give up curling in the corner of the couch and turning the giant pages then refolding into reader friendly quarters.

I read of ingredients I will likely never eat (some by choice, others due to unavailability or location), restaurant reviews, gadget reviews and introductions, new chefs, redesigns and this week ideas to turn holiday leftovers into meatballs. Yes, ham balls. Hmmmm. Don't think I could quite pull that off with this traditional family and a husband who is generally squeamish with change. (He also thinks all dishes should have a name so my latest clean-out-the-refrigerator-soup was jokingly referred to as "Wet Soup" - but this could be a blog of it's own...)

In this week's Dining Section, Simon Doonan, who some may recognize from his snarky quips in various VH1 shows or as the "creative ambassador at large for Barney's New York," has written a book and it seems I somehow fit the target demographic. "Gay Men Don't Get Fat." I know, the last you heard, I am not a gay man and while some days a bit bloated (and ok, I put on a few pounds since high school) am not fat, but I love the thought process behind the book.

If boats or cars or other inanimate objects can be feminine and in other languages nouns are masculine or feminine, how far of a leap is to think of food as straight or gay? This is not to bash either side, simply make one aware of the differences and to hear Simon explain it (which is really a better idea then my interpretation) it is witty, entertaining and laughably stereotypically. So, far the sheer light read and a bit of fun, I will likely buy the book and enjoy it as a fabulous moment while curled up, knees to chest, in the corner of the couch with a cup of tea nearby.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Sincerely Yours,

New year + the ideas of personal improvement = trying harder.

With eye contact and sincerity, I looked my friend in the eye and simply told her I admire her ability to start interesting and non-controversial conversations among those she does not necessarily know extremely well.

While it seems easy to compliment a friend about how they look or notice their new haircut or latest purchase, it truly is a different experience entirely to verbalize a trait or quality they possess.

Yes, it was just a moment and maybe it will be forgotten as quickly as the words turned back into silence, but for me, it felt pretty fabulous. Maybe I'll do it again tomorrow...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

OMG Lunch Hour Confessions...

During lunch at my desk, one of life's guilty pleasures for me is checking Facebook and scrolling through celebrity gossip and nonsense headlines. Oh yeah! Katy Perry's divorce, Clay Aiken's new face, Sinead O'Connor's on again off again marriage not even a month in, Justin and Jessica are engaged, Rosie couldn't get in to Diddy's New Year's Eve party - all over it! I do avoid the Kardashian's, Jersey Shore and Housewives though. Surprised? Nah. I grew up when the Star and Enquirer were the print version and I couldn't wait to look through it on grocery shopping day.

While I never believed Elvis was still alive and had an alien love child, I loved the pictures, the clothes and what seemed like an entirely different life than mine. To be clear, I do not agree with stalking maniacal members of the paparazzi and I do think celebrity children should be 100% off limits. Celebs at movie premieres and awards shows though, fair game, part of the job.

So, yes, I could be expanding my mind or at least taking a walk, but instead I am peeking at the latest meaningless trash on Yahoo's OMG. Everyone needs a little junk food for the brain, a break from our real worlds and for me, it's just 15 - 20 minutes. I wonder what Aretha Franklin will wear to her wedding?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Does she or doesn't she...

My younger son (age 19) currently works in my former workplace with a number of my friends and previous co-workers. For him it offers a sense of comfort and familiarity and for me, well, it is a double edged sword.

Today he came home and shared, "Do you know someone you used to work with asked me today if you ever get mad?" My other son recalled when he was asked the same thing by one of his teacher assistants who also happened to be a relative.

I smiled.

He laughed.

We all laughed.

"You have to have a work persona," I laughed.

We all have days when we would love nothing more than to a have a full blown, melt down tantrum but really, is that how you want to be remembered? I've had my moments on the job, just like anyone else and no one can get through with Spock-like behavior, but I think it's nice to not be thought of as the crank pot, lunatic or some other negative adjective. Especially when dealing with the public, as a manager, I was pushed to the limits by people (one who felt it would be best to express her ire to me by giving me not one, but 2 firmly erect middle fingers) but would anger have been the answer?

At home, we tend to just let it all out, right? So do I or don't I? Well, I'm entitled to a little mystery as a part of being fabulous.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Acquired Taste

The average family watches XX hours of television per week and among those hours a high percentage are reality shows, followed by sitcoms, mixed with a few crime/murder/forensic thmes and maybe a music or sports special.

In this house, we specialize.

I have a strong draw to Food Network and the Cooking Channel. Ken enjoys Top Gear on BBC, tonight we also watched an episode of Pass Time on Speed and now Dirty Jobs on Discovery. When/if Bruce is lucky enough to make a selection on the big screen, it's a toss between the Outdoor Network (even though I tell him the deer always dies at the end) or Versus. Colin may be found watching CSI, but he is addicted to Boardwalk Empire. We love to laugh at nonsense ranging from America's Funniest Home Videos to most anything with Rob Dyrdek or classic comedy movies like Animal House or The Blues Brothers.

Does our unique viewing style meaning anything? Probably not.

Does reminding our sons about the fact we mostly grew up with 3 clear channels on a rotating dial with only one set so Dad had a dictatorship like control over our viewing habits have any relevance? Not for a second. Though they find our stories of Sunday's ABC Wide World of Sports amusing.

The funny thing is, when we are all home after dinner, we naturally fall into the family room and somehow work it all out. The sectional couch has room for all to spread out with ease and a different level of tolerance has been built up by each of us. Well, almost. I can't remember the last time I watched a full episode of Uncle Ted's hunting rant, but I'm fairly confident that Bruce has watched a show or two about cooking venison.

We are an acquired taste, just as much as our viewing choices and it is another simple everyday aspect of the day that ends up being a fabulous moment in time.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Solitary Morning Contemplation

Like a swipe of fairy dust, a few delicate patches of frost have formed overnight on the back deck and is the only visual reminder of winter's presence. No piles of snow as the golden sun blasts at the front windows, tunneling into the house, forcing bits of dust to dance.

The rest of the house sleeps, men and the dog quietly and deeply inhale, perhaps exhaling causes a faint and low rumble (mostly from the dog) and I am left to review my dreams.

It is the long, movie-like dreams with many seemingly unconnected acts that cause me the most concern. I try to look back on as much detail as I can remember and see where the pieces fit and I always wonder why some people or names are included in some and others are very much just about me and my own journey. Last night, fragments of high school people, trespassers at my childhood home, unwrapped presents for my deceased father, boxes of personal belongings, one son with a full sleeve tattoo which included a blackened middle finger with a claw, being left behind, walking in pain and becoming turned around in a maze like building for quite awhile before finding my way out all blended together and I try to pick it all apart like a giant knotted ball of yarn. Maybe the message is just on the surface. Maybe the meanings are obvious. Maybe I should try to harness the creativity into putting words together and telling stories. Maybe it is all meaningless and simply snapshots stuck in my subconscious that force their way out in my sleep. And so, I am at the keyboard.

My routine of writing has built in procrastination as I boot up the computer, I know I will first check Facebook and the Yahoo headlines. I often find what I want to see - good news or bad will be noticed first though both certainly exist. Today, I feel motivated by the passion of others. Athletes will practice, foodies will cook, crafters will craft, without a desire to "turn it off." It is a part of them. Far too often I put aside what I want to do in exchange for the tasks I feel I have to complete. Marathon runners do not skip training to ensure the laundry is done. Competition cooks are not likely found cleaning the bathroom on the day of a contest.

And so within a few short minutes (ok, half an hour) the house begins to wake up. Conversation, the telling of my crazy dream, breakfast cereal and the clicking of dog nails on the floor, my concentration has been broken. Or has it? I look out the window at the swipes of frost, still in the shade and know today has begun with a series of fabulous moments and I will look forward to more.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Maddy's Big Adventure

I have worked with people from a variety of cultures who celebrate the start of a new calendar in a number of ways, but for some reason like the concept of starting out fresh and clean. New Year's Eve is frequently spent cleaning up from Christmas and giving the house a bit of a once over. This year, our almost 5 year old Lab, Maddy, seemed like she could use a bit of sprucing up as well and though we've never brought our big dogs in for professional grooming, the time had come.

We stayed local and visited Tracy at The Dog House. Although we love Maddy and her extremely expressive personality, she has never had this experience and typically is not a fan of strange dogs so our concerns were her meeting up with the previous or next appointment. We were happily greeted by just Tracy and loved the wide open space that allowed us to chat and see if our canine family member was going to behave. All was fine.

Maddy's spa experience included washing, pedicure, combing, a bit of stray hair cutting and for us, we were able to chat a bit with Tracy. Most people may feel this is all fairly routine and perhaps a dull part of pet ownership, but for us this was somehow more. Our first yellow Lab, Sandy, developed terminal breast cancer at just five years old. Can you guess who will turn five in just a few short weeks?

Dried, fluffed and buffed, sprayed with a bit of fresh scent and tied with a complimentary rock star bandana, Maddy began to let us know that while she enjoyed everything had had enough.

The fabulous moments were plentiful in this one seemingly ordinary experience. Our emotional and ok, a little spoiled Maddy now looks and smells spectacular, we truly enjoyed spending some time with Tracy and the new year can all begin on the right foot or paw. If only I could be this enthusiastic about cleaning out the refrigerator...