Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You Have Got To See This

Many thanks to Marie who blogs in Deep End of the Gene Pool for this incredible, inspirational video - I will never, EVER, bitch about downward dog again:

Zappos Shopping

I'm on a bag and shoe kick right now - I am resolved not to buy much clothing - I have a closet full of clothes that I can almost get into, and thus will keep on my work out journey to get back into said clothes.  I have invested in a couple of golf outfits, because the old stuff was when I was super thin (for me) and fit.  My closet is still full of gorgeous high heels that I rarely get to wear anymore - generally only if I'm in DC on business and perhaps go out to dinner afterward.  My office is generally casual and my lifestyle has become much more casual than before.  While I don't need any shoes, per se, I still need to indulge once in a while.  That's why I heart Zappos - the quality and selection are great, the customer service rocks and I can indulge all my different personalities (ok, styles).  So...in my usual schizophrenic way, I indulged the girly girl and the earth mother in me.


The girly girl:

Calvin Klein roman sandals:

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Already have  great dark brown hobo bag to match.  When I get girly girl, I like to have my bag match...


The earth mother side of me:




And because I've just about worn out my old Longchamps tote bag, a Kavu messenger bag - big enough to carry around all of my junk, but I can wear it across my body (I also don't feel the need to match):



Stepford Village is having a community yard sale this month, so it's time to clean out all of my bags that are great, but that I just don't carry anymore.  I want to get down to two or three bags that meet 90% of my needs. These are examples of some of the bags lurking in the back of my closet:

Last summer's bag:


From the Wall St. days (yeah, I still have a floppy bow tie somewhere, too).


During my road warrior days:



Which style do think is most fitting for me???

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Neighborhood Bookstores

I don't live in Mt. Airy, a Philadelphia neighborhood, but I wish I did.  I live in the great wash of suburbia, where I can buy ANYTHING within five minutes of my house (although it may take 20 minutes to get there and another fifteen minutes to find a place to park), and this ANYTHING includes a Borders and a Barnes & Noble.  So why do I look forward to going to a tiny bookstore in a Philly neighborhood forty minutes from my neighborhood?  Because my coop is there, they have a "green" home improvement shop, and the Big Blue Marble Bookstore - a small business, a neighborhood bookstore where you may not find 40 copies of the latest best seller, but you will find folks who can tell you about the inventory because they've read almost everything in the store.  They have local poets showcased each month and there is usually a hidden gem found in the tall shelves. It's the type of bookstore that was on every main street 10 to 15 years ago - where the merchants knew what types of books you liked and could make a recommendation for you, or even better, hold a book off to the side when you made your weekly(daily) visit.

I had such a bookstore behind my first house, and I spent many a happy Saturday morning there, finding a wide range of books that I stacked next to my favorite chair and ploughed through when I would get home from work.  What I love about BBM is the lovely rickety-ness of it.  It has multiple floors - it was an old house - and there's a little cafe on the second floor that has a lovely little roof deck where you can sit with a cup of coffee on a nice day.  It's big enough to find books that is off the beaten track, but small enough not to be overwhelming. 

While I appreciate the convenience of the megastores, I just prefer the intimacy of a neighborhood shop.  I am old enough to remember accompanying my mother to Kotlikoff's department store in Camden, NJ, which was really just a two story building that had slanted floors and "sensible" clothing for children.  I remember the Peace Shop across the street from the local pharmacy where my mother worked. It was a jean shop/head shop/poster store owned by two hippies.  I begged for two months to move beyond Sears Toughskins jeans to a pair of hip hugging LandLubber jeans and Earth Shoes that were part of the uniform of the mid '70s.

The notion that your world can be serviced within a several block radius is attractive to me.  I like the idea of not having to use my car to run every errand, but biking in my neck of the woods is dangerous because of all of the locals driving humongous SUV's while chatting on their cell phones.  My sister lives in the city and has lived for years without ever having to learn how to drive.  She can get where she needs by walking, the subway or a cab.  I can understand why so many retirees in my area are moving back to the city - it is convenience, entertainment and quality of life.  I would love to take advantage of that. My goal is to one day move back to what is now called a walkable urban environment  - what I know as a city neighborhood.  My kids are teenagers, not the optimum time to move them, but my head and heart are in the city.  When the youngest graduates, the for sale sign goes up.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekly Wrap Up

Whew....so glad it's Friday. I had to take a business trip this week to host a marketing event for my company in DC, so that shot two days out of the week.  The event was held in a chichi DC restaurant (my company has pretty strict blogging rules, so I will not go into detail).  The food was great, the turnout was excellent and most importantly, we hit a big home run with our sales guys.  Bravo.  Much bonding (and yes....drinking) was done post event and fun was had by all. 

My trainer decided to shake up my work out.  I do not stand still during this work out at all. Constant cardio bursts and very quick, very hard exercises that I do until exhaust.  I walk like Walter Brennan for a few days afterward, so I hope it does the trick and is worth the agony. 

Because I was away during my produce box delivery, I haven't had the chance to see what was in the box.  Mom put it away. It's heavy on the fruits, onions, zucchini and spinach. I'm still eating the leftover veggie stew that I made Monday (yum), and I'll have to pick up some asparagus, portabello and limes.  My juicer should be delivered next week, and we've decided to start making our own yogurt - so much cheaper than the store - I like Face greek yogurt. It's 2 bucks a container - for 5 ounces!!!  I'll make my own for a fraction of the price.

Played a little golf this week - still rusty.  Nuff said about that.

My exciting Friday night - picking up above mentioned produce and pet food at my coop, Weaver's Way in Mt. Airy, then pop over to Big Blue Marble Bookstore (more about that place tomorrow) to see if they have the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen


Now, I am not a vegan - anyone who's read my blog knows my allegiance to lamb stew and short ribs, however, I am trying to figure out ways to have less meat in my diet on a week in, week out basis. It's one of the few ways that really helps me to start taking weight off - that and locking the wine cellar ;-).   Finally, home to the kids, a few rounds of Guitar Hero and then off to bed.  What's your Friday night looking like? (Please let me live vicariously through you!!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Plastic Shopping Bags: An Inconvenient Truth






On Earth Day, I wonder if anyone else feels just a little guilty accepting a plastic bag at the check out counter of Target or the grocery store?  Have you been toting the paper or cloth bags to store regularly?  I try to as much as possible.  I take them to the grocery store on a regular basis, to Barnes and Noble - makes it lot easier to tote books out (I go to B&N each week for my mom - to pick her up paperbacks and magazines. I've been hinting that it would be better for her to go to the library: good for the environment and certainly a lot more economical - but her reply is that cracking the spine of a new book is one of the few pleasures left in her life. Who am I to argue? Just wish we had the same taste in books) to the car.  I've even taken to bringing my trusty bags to Target or other shopping locations to save on plastic.  When it's unavoidable, I stash the bags so that I can drop them in the recycle bin at the grocery store - when I remember to do so.  

A dear friend of mine, Josie, has been carting her own bags for years.  Josie is an old hippie, and was talking being environmentally conscious for as long as I've known her, which has to be at least 30 years.  Josie used to live with my sister, and I remember how we used to tease her for dashing around to gather her shopping bags before we would go to the market.  Josie was forever toting home some treasure she garbage picked.  We ribbed her unmercifully, but she had a good eye and much of what she found created a funky, yet shabby-chic home that people would pay thousands for today.  My daughter's first big girl bed was an old brass trundle that she found on her way home from work one day.  Josie had her foibles, that's for sure. Extremely sensitive to sun, she used to wear hats and long sleeves regardless of temperature and she liked to garden at night.  She'd string Christmas lights at night. She didn't just eat organically, but also would bring her own distilled water to a restaurant in a mason jar, but she has a beautiful heart.  For all of our teasing about her being from the planet Fleon, Josie was, and is, ahead of her time in knowing you have to honor your surroundings and listen to what the earth says. 

I often think of her while taking my own bags into the store.  I don't do it all the time - my sister often says, "it's an inconvenient truth that I keep forgetting to put the damn bags into the car in the first place" - but I try to remember to bring the bags as often as I can.  When I do remember the bags, I see that bringing your own is more common place, but I still find that it garners me a few odd or, more accurately, irritated looks from other shoppers.  Granted, it happens in some stores more than others (it never happens in Whole Foods for example, but happens regularly in the local Shop Rite), and it almost always happens when you're in line - the cashiers start bagging without noticing that there is a stack of cloth bags in front of them. Then you get the exaggerated rolling of eyes before they re-bag. 

Today, I stopped in my local SR on my way home from the gym, and brought my cloth bags in with me. I was just going to run in, but I stopped myself and dug the bags out of the trunk.  I had 10 items, so I headed to the self check out line.  Because the scanners are configured to work with the plastic bags that are hanging there, when you put the bloody cloth bag in the bagging area, it constantly hangs up and informs you to call for assistance.  The person who resets that  machine had to practically stand with me as I finished my order. I was standing there, still sweaty from the gym, my hair half plastered to my head wearing a baggy workout T and an older pair of yoga pants (It is an "I FEEL FAT" day).  I was growing quite frustrated - and when I'm at this point, I either curse like a sailor or laugh.  Chose the latter. Luckily, she was laughing along with me as we agreed that these hellion machines were designed prior to considering anything like global warming.  

While we were standing there chuckling, a slender, impeccably dressed women pushed her cart past us, practically snorting at us for not clearing the aisle for her.  She slammed her products onto the scanner and threw them into the plastic bags sitting on the bagger.  I had just finished my order and was right along side her.  She glanced at me carrying my bags (I had a hand basket, not a shopping cart, so I was carrying the bags).  Now, admittedly, I looked scarily close to a homeless person compared to that woman. I live in Stepford Village, so I was prepared for the "look", but she saw the cloth bags and then glanced back at her plastic bags.  Instead of the look, a fleeting glimpse of what looked like guilt flashed across her face.  I didn't feel pleased, I felt compassion - I get that guilty flash when I see that someone has taken the extra 30 seconds to grab a cloth bag.  Within a nano-second, the irritated look returned and she glided out of the store.  I'm sure by the time she reached her car, she'd forgotten the 40 something woman trodding out of the store, but I hope she remembers that by doing the smallest thing like remembering a shopping bag can help. 

Friday, April 18, 2008

"Welcome to 2008 - Everybody's Miserable"


The above quote is from David Brook's column in the NY Times (Thanks to Peter for sending this to me).  Please read this - David Brook's Op-Ed piece in the NY Times .  While I don't often agree with Mr. Brooks, he tends to be too conservative for my taste, his views are, in the words of my friend Peter, "pragmatic and fact based".  This piece is depressing as hell to read, but spot on in its take on what the vile media, the vicious political in fighting had done to this election.  His points about the apathy and vile party politics and what it's done to the one candidate that might actually inspire real change should make us all very angry.. We are TIRED, we are growing cynical yet again because our process doesn't allow quality to float to the top, it's merely a contest to see who can sink to the lowest common denominator.  

Miss Britt's blog today is another take on this same malaise that is an underlying theme in David Brook's column.  Although she attribute generational disaffection as a factor, I do not think it's entirely a generational thing. I think it's much larger:

  • It's a combination of the dissolving middle class, it's much more difficult just to survive these days - acquisition is too easy, but paying for it is too hard - people are exhausted and want to escape.
  • Media does play a huge part in this - the escapism that is prevalent today (call it disaffection if you will) is not new.  In the Depression and during WWII -people wanted to escape, too.  Life magazine showed the glossy lives of movie stars. Light and "sophisticated" comedies staring Jean Harlow, Cary Grant, Wallace Beery, et al. ruled the day. I think the difference was that you had to leave your house and pay to go see them - therefore it was consumed in smaller doses. Now you have to pay money and leave your house to shut it off.
  • Media part two - the constant barrage of information allows for no editing of information and the demand to have something on the air online or in print gives greater opportunity to spin in larger doses. Again, this is nothing new - William Randolph Hearst, anyone?  Yellow journalism, jingoistic appeals that are scarily similar to what we see today.  We just see more of it.
  • America wants to be proud.  I love this country and have voted in almost every election that I was eligible to vote. I believe that you cannot complain if you do not vote. But as a country that has enjoyed privilege for so long, we've become entitled. Yes, there is a significant population in this country that lives below the poverty line - and many more who are just above - but see the first bullet.  We are bloated and overloaded and from that comes a disease of spirit. 

This is not to say that generational attitudes are entirely absent.  I am a baby boomer - I was born while JFK was still alive, and my parents were most definitely part of the "greatest generation" - my father was a WWII vet.  My parents were very socially aware - the joke in our family was that our holy trinity was JFK, RFK, and MLK.  Like many kids in those days, we had a framed photo of JFK in our house.  My parents made sure we had a "better life" than they did, well how could that not happen? I was born during a time of great growth while they were born just before the Depression.  We had multiple TVs in the house and I had a wonderful room growing up, always had all that I wanted.  I think what was different was that information that came into the house was a shared experience, not a solitary one as it is today.  We were allowed to read the paper at the table, because we were expected to discuss and talk about the days news and events.  We were also supposed to express our opinions (politics was the ONLY thing we could express our opinions about, so we did - a lot).   I came of age in the 70s and 80s (Miss Britt was born in 1980, I graduated from high school in 1980), while there were seeds of narcissism being planted then, people were generally still aware and active - No Nukes, post -Vietnam, Watergate, Middle East peace treaty, the Iran Contra scandal....the list goes on.  Perhaps my contemporaries had similar upbringing.  I never knew a time when we weren't "aware".

I see the generational disparities greatly today, but I also see my mom's generation's influence on my children and how that makes them a bit apart of the general malaise.  Ok...we tend to watch the news more than read the news at dinner, but my mom, at 80, still reads two printed newspapers a day, and she passes along stories to my children and me and we talk about them. My kids have been known to come home from school and pick up her papers and read them.  Because of that, they are pretty outspoken about who they support (and not surprisingly, we're in different camps!) and we talk about it, we argue about it.  We've watched the debates and discussed them.  They are different than most of their friends.  My daughter wants to debate politics at school, but most of her friends are like ....."yeah, right, so dull....." or parrot their parents views.  THAT makes me sad and scared for this country.  That makes me very angry at the disgraceful debate that occurred this week - apathy and bitterness will divide us and we need to see the riches in this country not as material ones, but as the riches of being able to have an opinion in the first place. 

Miss Britt, you have every right to be angry and dammit, you should be angry.  You can be angry and cling to hope - it may be a necessary combination to affect the change we so desperately need.

Starting off on a lighter note

I got this in the mail yesterday:

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From Mandy Bags on Etsy.  It's a bag made of recycled fabrics. It's light, just large enough for managing on the weekdays, when my briefcase takes up all my larger stuff.  My boy Casanova, liked it too...

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Ebby preferred to blend in with the vases:

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Autism and Impulse Control

My son is 17. Emotionally, he's probably about 12 - still enthralled with Pokemon, DragonBall Z and the like.  His body is that of a 17 year old, with the whiskers and skin eruptions and a deep booming voice.  He is autistic. When asked about most stuff that kids his age care about, he is vehement that he's not interested in that stuff.  Emotionally, he may not be, but his hormones are telling him otherwise.  We've tried to talk with him, council him and make him generally aware of what's "socially acceptable" and impact of his actions.  There is so much information for younger children, but for young adults, it's just not there.  He was diagnosed at a relatively young age, prior to the "epidemic", so we've often been in the dark when it comes to education and information, we've just had to negotiate based on the input that was available and pure gut.  It never stops - sometimes I get exhausted from sailing without a compass....or a sail...or other tools than can help on this journey.

Without going into lots of detail, he's had a few incidents where he acted on or said what was in his head, even though he "knew better".  That's a huge problem for autistic kids - there's no control button.  Even though we've explained and his teachers have explained that at his age, the impact is much greater, he literally could not stop himself.  He's innocent enough to think that "sorry" makes everything better - he does not always get consequences -he doesn't think they don't apply to him, he truly doesn't understand them.

This keeps me up at night.  What if one day he does cross the line at the wrong place in an environment where there are no understanding adults, teachers or family?  He's verbal, but when he's in a stressful situation, he melts down and spirals down into a dark and frightening place.  What can we do to protect him? How can we teach him control when the brain simply doesn't work that way? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I need a shower.....

After I indulge my TMZ.com habit, I always feel a little dirty......*LOL*

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Check In Day

About a month ago I started working out with my trainer - the wonderful, yet cruel (well, she DOES make me work) Shari.  We had a check in and......drumroll please......

1" off the boobs

1" off of the shoulders

1" off of the arms

5" off of the waist (YEAH!!!!!)

1" off of the hips

1" off of the thighs

Lost 3% of my body fat

Only a couple of pounds, but the clothes are fitting better and people are noticing that I'm looking a little less thick these days....


To be continued.....

A Little Tax Day Diversion


Not only is it tax day, it is also our school board election day.  Now, that being said, NJ is already the state with the highest property tax rates in the country (no one will ever retire to NJ - believe me), but my school district has a dubious history in voting to kill off open space for yet another soccer field - if you ever want to take out my town, just aim for the 72 soccer fields - you'll wipe out 98% in one fell swoop - but then you'd be left with anarchists like me....and they've voted for things like oh, a pool, when one of the high schools (the one my kid will go to) that houses 2500 students has no air conditioning. Didn't win, but you get the drift - it's difficult as hell to get special education funded (and we're known as one of the better districts for it), but they have a sports facility to die for.  Any way, I wasn't going to use this as my bully pulpit today, but I couldn't resist passing this gem along......Given our district's spending habits, you'll see why I chuckled at this one:

Who wouldn't spend 50 mil on a little "general fun"???

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Adventures in Organic Cooking and a Sloooow Sunday

I used the chard delivered in my produce box to make Chard and Cavatappi with Pecorino and Pine Nuts.  It was delicious - I did take pictures of my progress:

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But....I accidentally deleted the final presentation!  Take my word for it, it was wonderful.  If you'd like the recipe, I'll be happy to email it to you, just send me your email.  I actually made this Thursday.    I used the stems of the chard later in the weekend with a rack of lamb for Sunday dinner - I blanched and roasted them with olive oil and grated parmesan.   Other than that it was a pretty quiet Sunday.  The most exciting thing was rearranging the living room and watching the cats play with a slowly dying balloon:

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Rachel has a weekly assignment called "Life and Times".  She noted that absolutely nothing of any interest happened this weekend.  She was right...(next weekend - the garden starts!)

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Rachel has terrible allergies. I took her to the pediatrician to get her some relief.  As we drove to the drugstore, script in hand, she complained of a headache.


Rachel: " I have a headache, Momma"

Me: "Take some Tylenol when you get home."

Rachel: "I love Tylenol. Lasts for hours and really gets rid of the headache.  Except when I head-bang. Then it feels like my brain is shaking back and forth."

Me: "Well, then don't head-bang, silly".

Rachel: "Mom, you can't ask that of a teenager.  It's like asking a monkey not to throw poo....it's just not gonna happen."

monkey poo

Does A Picture Tell a Thousand Words?


Libby posted a cool little something something on her blog today, so I thought I'd give it a shot:

1. Go to a photo website and don't sign in (I used flickr.com)

2. Type in your answer to the question in the "search" box

3. Use only the first page

4. Copy the html and paste for the answer.


1. First Name

Margo's Famous Foods

2. Favorite color

old woman

3. Celebrity Crush


4. Band you're listening to now

Karrin Allyson Album

5. Favorite movie


6. Favorite Disney Princess


7. Favorite Alcoholic Beverage:


8. Dream Vacation


9. Favorite Dessert

Cheese Plate

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?



Try it and let me know how you did!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

First Experiment....Chili Pork Chops with Caramelized Pineapple Salsa


So, I decided to use the pineapple as my first participant in the adventures of my organic produce box.  First, we started with the salsa:

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I diced half of the pineapple (the other half is for breakfast tomorrow). Then I heated olive oil in a saute pan:

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Heat the oil until it's just starting to smoke, then add the pineapple and brown - takes about 5 to 7 minutes:

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While the pineapple browns, chop half a medium sweet onion fine, a quarter cup of fresh basil and cut a red pepper into strips and then dice.  Note - this time, I didn't have a fresh red pepper and used a jarred roasted pepper, it was just as good, just a different taste.  Toss them into a bowl and squeeze the juice of a lime over top:

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Preheated the oven to 400. Then I made a quick rub with some garlic powder, chili powder and smoked paprika:

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I rubbed that over 1 1/2" thick pork chops, then dusted a little searing flour over top.  Heat a couple of glugs of olive oil and a pat of butter in the pan (used the same pan that I used for the pineapple).  Sear the chops:

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Sear for about three minutes on each side:

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Pop into the oven for about seven minutes to finish (the are just between med. rare to medium - after they sit for a few minutes they will be medium).  I poured a little white wine and veggie stock into the pan to scrape the brown bits then whisked in another small pat of butter - maybe a tsp. I strained the sauce because as you can see the pan had lots of brown bits.  Here's the finished product:

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My mom had to be restrained from licking the plate!

Think Globally, Eat Locally

Many thanks to Cindy over at Figs, Lavender and Cheese, whose writings about local organic produce got me interested in finding a local cooperative.  There are many great co-ops in the Philadelphia area, but most are too far away for it to make sense for me to patronize.  I do belong to Weaver's Way in Mt. Airy, but I can only shop there if I am at the office, which is only a couple of days a week. 


So, anyway, spurred by Cindy's culinary adventures, I found a local coop called Suburban Organics, that will deliver to me on a weekly basis.  I spoke with Shelly, one of the owners - who I might add is a blast to talk to - and set up my order.  Today, I received my first box!!

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They recycle boxes - and they gave it ot me in a wine box (the Mondavi is hidden); think they know me already??????

I eagerly unpacked my box and spread out the contents for all to see:

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Chard, zucchini, green beans, apples, pears, carrots, a pineapple (not local, but they got some from their distributor and they looked great) and a grapefruit.  Casanova was quite interested in watching me unpack

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Ebony couldn't care less......Picture 050


Rachel is waiting for the chard...the fruit is mine...

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Stay tuned as I experiment! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How Can It Be????

****Disclaimer:  This is not meant to be a criticism of anyone's faith or observances. What went on in my little dysfunctional corner of the world has made me a combination of the eternal spiritual wanderer - my family used to joke that I belonged to the Church of the Month Club - and supreme skeptic. I reserve the right to have a skewed view of things due to my 50's parents "mixed marriage" where talking about things was not allowed, but you sure as hell could tease the crap out of someone.******


Now, I'm not the world's most observant Jew.....okay, I'm technically not Jewish at all.. Dad was Jewish and I did go Hebrew school for a year or three, but never finished the conversion.  Then, I married a covert Baptist and we compromised on baptizing the kids Lutheran (my mother's faith and generally all around non offensive in any way to my skeptical point of view...I loved Garrison Keillor).  Over the years, I've tried to reintroduce some of the cultural aspects of my father's faith to my children, but, there were a few things that held firm:

1. Egg rolls on Christmas - even if they were the little LaChoy ones - we had to have them.

2. Easter movies  - well, that's what we called them. When I was a kid, I thought that Cecile B. DeMille wrote the bible - for real.

3. Passover - we did not prepare our home for Passover, but I am lucky enough to have family and friends who are observant and took enough pity on me to invite me to their seders.  My favorite snack was hors devours made with Tam Tams.

Now I hear that this will be the first year that there will be no Tam Tams.  Listen to this link from Bryant Park Project on NPR:


No Tam Tams!!!

For those of you unfamiliar with this little nugget of love, Tam Tams are six sided matzoh crackers that were just made to have a dollop of whitefish or chopped liver (or tuna salad for that matter) tossed on top.  My favorite is Everything Tam Tams with tuna salad.   There's a rabbi selling three boxes of Tam Tams on eBay (for charity).  There will be rampant Tam Tam hoarding - at least according to NPR.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Czar Dictates: Best. News. Ever

The Czar Dictates: Best. News. Ever

My comment to Carl says it all.....

It Makes Me Wonder....

I had good intentions yesterday. It was a kidless weekend. I wanted to start cleaning out my basement - separate what goes from what stays, pick out the lumber needed to build a raised bed for tomatoes, peppers, herbs and green beans.  What did I do? Slept until 11. Laid in bed, reading, Ebbie curled up by my knees. 

This is Ebbie...

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I watched a couple of DVDs that I bought a week or so ago, eating fresh radishes with butter (it's not gross - fresh, and I do mean fresh, radishes are not hot and bitter - they are a bit like watercress - peppery and crisp).   I stayed in my pajamas all day.

Finally, I made lazy woman's minestrone (thank you Nigella) and ate it. In bed.  Now, in my defense, I was out late the night before - visiting my best friend and her husband.  It's an hour drive away so I didn't get home until almost 2.  So my day was shot by the time I woke up. I was completely content to sit there with the kitties, reading a book - Water For Elephants - I realize that I'm a year behind in the best seller list, but I hardly ever get to read for pleasure and when I do have time, my brain is so full that reading a magazine takes effort. 

What makes me wonder is, have I learned to appreciate the luxury of doing nothing, or am I just so overwhelmed by life anymore that I need more time to recharge?  I used to pull days like this maybe four times a year.  Now, it seems that I need them at least every other month, if not once a month.  God knows, I need all the time I can get to stay on top of the housework.  Just to stay on top of ADD kid, Autism kid and declining parent is a full time job.  When I stop to think about house, family and work I sometimes feel like someone is forcing my head under water.  You can usually tell my state of being by the condition of my closet and my garage. Right now, you can barely walk through either.

I've been doing this by myself for a loooong time - it's been 10 years - maybe I'm just tired.  I used to do it all and balance a social life.  It's been so long since I've been on a date, I don't think I would remember if there was a way I was supposed to act.  I've discovered that my tact button broke a few years ago.  I used to be much more politically correct in what I thought or said, now, the five second delay is shot.  At my friend's house, their fifteen year old commented that I didn't censor my comments as much as his parents other friends did.  Our subject matter that night ran from how to get a teenager motivated to politics to the sixties to retirement to....... you get the picture.  His words..."It's usually an R rated conversation when Margo is here".   Ooooh boy. It's bad when the 15 year old calls you on it.  

Friday, April 4, 2008

What Kind of Flower Are You?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

The Little Things in Life

.....Trader Joe's has the same truffle cheese that I found in Downtown Cheese - and it's about half the price! I'd rather support the local vendor, but when I can't get over there and I'm jonesing for it, I have a Plan B...... :-)

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Our ladies league "The Ladies Straight Shooters" kicked off our season with a nine hole scramble, a nine hole stroke play event and a clinic for new golfers. We have 182 members! I think there were fifty or so members when I joined several years ago. It's a fun, fun group. While we have a Division 1 for competitive match play (I play in that one), it's not a cut throat group at all, it's really just a wonderful opportunity for women to enjoy a round of golf and partake in the 19th hole and laugh. I don't think I ever laugh as hard as when I'm out there with my friends. Many of us have become great friends and enjoy each other's company in social events off the course. As usual, forgot the camera, but I'm going to make a point of taking it with me more often. I plan on walking each round as extra exercise. I have a ton of great golf clothes that don't fit (yet) and I need to get back into them!

BTW - due to a new job, my mom's illness and just...life, I didn't play at all last year. My team shot a 40, and I was really happy about that!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Bread Machines

With the cost of bread rising (pardon the pun), I'm thinking of making my own bread - I already have all of the raw ingredients.  Does anyone out there have a particular favorite they would recommend?

Lovely Weekend

I took Friday as a personal day.  I committed to the kids that I would leave the Blackberry at home and we'd take the weekend to do stuff that we'd talked about doing, but schedules or weather prevented.   

*Note - I cannot believe I forgot my camera, so these pictures are courtesy of Flickr*

Friday - We took the Patco train into Philly and walked through Center City by Jefferson Hospital - it was a gorgeous spring day. It was our plan to go to Reading Terminal - a nifty farmer's market that is near City Hall:

city hall 1

For those who aren't familiar with Philadelphia, City Hall is either incredibly beautiful and baroque or ugly as hell.  On the top of the watch tower (which has been restored to its original color - that's why it's much brighter than the main part of the building). A statue of William Penn sits on top of the tower. He has one hand down to his side and the other is held out in front of him.  Picture below courtesy of Paul Everett on Flickr:


william penn 2



*funny local note - if you're driving toward City Hall from the Art Museum area, it looks suspiciously like Mr Penn is, um, excited.   You have to get quite close to City Hall to see it's his hand.  It's been a running joke for a long time in this area.


Anyway, I digress.  We strolled to Reading Terminal:

reading 2

The market is a wonderful mixture of Pennsylvania Dutch, Italian, Korean, Greek, French and Mexican vendors (I'm sure I'm only touching on a third):

reading 1

The market, as always, was bustling:

reading 5

We stopped by my favorite cheese store - Downtown Cheese.  DiBruno's is the most highly rated and well known cheese store in the city - but to me - Downtown meets my needs and I just love the folks that work there, they love what they do - are happy to take you through a 'cheese journey' and happily recommend pairings and give plenty of samples!

reading 4

I bought a cumin scented Gouda and a Monteviore that had black truffles and anchovy ribbons through out - WoW!! We also went to the produce stand and picked up a couple of pieces of fruit to pair with the cheese later.  There are so many choices for lunch, it wound up being too many. It was a little too crowded for the kids so they opted to leave and head to Caribou Cafe for lunch - frankly, it's just because they LOVE it there:

caribou 1

caribou 2

These pictures are courtesy of Caribou's website; it's a beautiful and very authentic bistro. We started with Potato Leek Bisque. The kids had steak frites and I had a duck breast with ligonberry sauce with a potato Lyonnaise and because it was a day off, I enjoyed a Chimay red beer with my lunch.  Yummm.  It was pricey, but the conversation was relaxed and we really enjoyed ourselves.  We skipped desert and walked up Walnut Street to Rittenhouse Square  - a lovely part of the city.  We shopped for clothes (for the kids) at Urban Outfitters and bought some toiletries at Lush.  We then headed over to Samson and back down to Reading for one thing I forgot. All in all I think we walked 25 blocks! We stopped at a little place for gelato - I tried the basil and it was fabulous!  By this time it was late afternoon and we were tuckered out. 


Saturday - errands, haircuts and home made paninis for dinner.  We watched "Across the Universe" on pay per view (no one felt much like moving).

Sunday - Matt decided he'd had enough of the "girls" and elected to stay home.  Rachel and I headed out to the Art Museum to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum. The Art Museum is undergoing a face lift and I forgot my camera, so these pictures are courtesy of various photographers on Flickr:

Art Museum 3

Well, this was the last day of spring break for this area, and most of the schools in the area must have had an assignment to review and comment on this exhibit because the place was wall to wall teenagers.   It took a half an hour to get in.  But it's always worth it because I love this view of the museum:

Art Museum 4

There's a huge Calder mobile hanging in the lobby and a statue of Diana from the old NY Life building. Our favorite parts of the museum are the Asian galleries with it's tea building:

Art Museum Tea House

Picture courtesy of



There was a wonderful exhibit for Lee Miller, a woman who began her photographer just before World War II - her work was amazing.  But the goal of the day was to see Frida:


Despite the crowds (it was on average 6-7 deep at each painting), it was an incredible show - the colors, the collection, getting to see everything up close.  We just loved it - and we're going to play hooky and go back during the week. 

To wrap up the day, we went together to Samosa for Indian food. Rachel and I love it; unfortunately, we're the only ones in the house that do, so it was a great excuse to go to what was one of my favorite places in the city.  Unfortunately, Samosa ain't what it used to be. Most of the dishes, while flavorful, where difficult to distinguish from each other and everything was a bit overcooked.  The day, and the meal, however was saved by the best palak paneer I've had for a long time and dynamite samosas.  Great wrap up to the weekend!


Final note - I'm adjective happy - guess a good weekend will do that to me....;-)