Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I see it all the time as a high school teacher: students not taking responsibility for themselves, parents enabling students, blaming others. Johnny is not failing because he’s not doing his homework or studying for tests and quizzes. No. Johnny is failing because I didn’t tell his parents three separate times, subsequent to the midterm report when his average was a 60, that he’s failing. And therefore it’s not fair that he’s failing. I’m not even kidding. It makes no sense to rational, responsible people. Like me. And you, I hope. And it’s not just in the classroom.

I find it unfortunate that purveyors of hot coffee products need to have printed on their to-go cups Caution: Contents Very Hot. Even Chinet has that printed on their “Comfort Cup” lids—and they don’t sell coffee. They sell cups in the grocery store that people can put their own hot coffee in. I remember well the landmark lawsuit in which a woman sued McDonalds when she burned herself on coffee, as I too had burned myself on coffee once. The only difference is--when I spilled the coffee on my upper thighs because I was holding the cup between my legs to add cream and sugar as Donna pulled away, in a small car with a stick shift, to get us to Newport--I didn’t sue. The blisters hurt, as did the open skin when I swam in the ocean that vacation. But it was my fault. I lived with it.

Apparently now people are obese because they are not being told how many calories are in the food they purchase in restaurants. It’s not a person’s fault if s/he is overweight, maybe with blood pressure running a little high from eating a Beefy 5-Layer Burrito a few times a week for lunch. It’s the restaurant’s fault for not letting a person know up front that it is high and calories, full of fat and sodium. If they posted that nutrition information, that person would surely get the soft chicken taco instead. Really? And a person whose favorite sandwich is a Big Mac will opt for four-piece McNuggets if they knew exactly what the calorie difference is?

I'm sorry. I don’t buy it. Maybe they’d make healthier choices on occasion, but the information is not top secret. Nutrition information is readily available on line and I’m sure from the management of said establishments. Why do we need it posted on the menu board? What’s next? A warning label on the burger wrappers: Caution: eating this burger can make you fat. Or Warning: the beans in this chili may cause flatulence. Has there been a lawsuit yet for not warning that beans cause gas? Well, I farted in my interview and didn’t get the job. I wouldn’t have had the chili beforehand if I knew beans make you fart. I’ve been unemployed and embarrassed ever since.

Now there’s an idea…

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Economy of Words

I try to be positive. Knowing firsthand the power of a compliment, I try to give them freely. I also try to smile a lot. I am not the woman in the grocery store who has steam coming out of her ears when shopping carts nearly collide. Rather, I’m the woman who walks down the aisle and makes eye contact with people and smiles at them—whether or not our carts crash. I talk to the people around me when I eat out at my regular steak place. I even let an older couple whom I see on occasion repeatedly call me Joan the other night without correcting them. I wave people ahead on the road, letting them sneak a left turn in traffic before I take my right, and if I get waved on I make sure I put my hand up in thanks and acknowledgment. I even put my hand up to say thanks after making a lane change in heavy traffic on the highway.

But I am also a teacher, a believer in the educable moment. Even at Lord and Taylor.

I had two coupons this afternoon—one specifically for $15 off any pair of shoes— when I made the pilgrimage to L&T. I browsed through the clearance racks, tried a few things on, but wasn’t really feeling it, so I decided to head upstairs to the shoe department. As I got on the escalator I got on several steps behind a woman I had seen in the woman’s department. Interestingly, I made the recognition because of her pretty pink sweater. She was not a full figured woman herself, but it didn’t faze me when I saw her at the clearance racks. More than anything I noticed her sweater.

As we made our ascent, she turned slightly to her husband, still on the first floor, who had turned his palms up and put his arms out as if to say, Where are you going? Why aren’t you down here looking?

In reply, she filled her cheeks with air and put her arms out in front of her abdomen, barely touching her fingertips— the universal sign of Santa Claus and, apparently in her world, Fatty. She was telling her hubbie she was inadvertently in the fat ladies department and needed to go upstairs.

Oh, yes, she did.

She caught my death stare when she turned around to respond to her whining child who was several steps behind me, wondering where she was going and why without him. She told him not to worry; she’d wait at the top.

As she waited to the side for her son, clearly preferring to run into petites, visibly uncomfortable, I made it to the top. I got off the escalator, turned to her, said “Bitch,” and walked on.

Oh, yes, I did.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Picture This

I am HomeGoods yesterday looking at all the bowls and vases and candle holders and glass curios on the shelving that runs down the entire wall of the department, when suddenly the woman working in the department is my best friend, as I ooh and aah about some of the bowls--too pretty to use. I ask my new best friend, “do you have any plate holders?” and she directs me toward one. Now every time I pick up a bowl or a plate I move things around on the shelf to put it in the display holder to see how it looks.

The moment I put an iridescent purple bowl with an intricately detailed design in the plate holder, I have to ask my new best friend, now four feet away, for her opinion. "Isn't this beautiful?," I ask as I step back to admire it. She puts down what she's doing, walks down the aisle, and agrees. "Oh, yeah," she says, "I need to touch it." At that moment she reaches out and puts the lip of the bowl between her fingers. (See? We understand each other. We could definitely be BFFs.)

As she walks back to her price tag cart I say, "I should know better than to come in here! I always find something I just have to have."

"It's such great stuff," she agrees, and smiles at me, which is the equivalent of a longtime BFF saying “go ahead and buy it.” I refer you to the handbag incident last summer.

When I find myself holding a plate holder and two bowls--the purple one and a turquoise one imprinted with flowers (Hello?!?) she comes back to look at that one, too.

I say, "Seriously, I'm afraid that one day I'll hear a knock on my door and I'll open it to find men with a big roll of bubble wrap, there to talk all my bowls and vases away."

She laughs.

I’m serious.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


It’s hard to have a bad day when first thing in the morning, in my first period class, a student said to me, “Ms. K, you look so cute today.”

“Thanks!” I said, trying not to give away exactly how thrilled I was to receive a compliment. From a 15 year old girl. In my head, the thank you was followed by yay, I pulled it off, and then tell me what exactly so maybe I can do it again. Because…really?!?

My roots could support a giant oak, and I have never been quite sure about my denim jacket. Overall I questioned my entire outfit that morning, thought maybe it was a bit too Friday-ish, despite the black cuffed pants, the white v-neck, and the fact that the jacket is fitted/tailored/non-Levi. Actually, I think that’s why I’m not in love with the jacket. Does it look tailored or just too small, you know? Is my jacket the equivalent of the Incredible Hulk’s capris in the opening sequence? But boxy would be way to cazh, in my opinion. Anyway, the pants and my jewelry are pretty standard, but I haven’t worn a hair clip since September (I know, it’s not hair clip season yet, but between the roots and being overdue for a haircut, which I get taken care of tomorrow, my options were limited) and the jean jacket, though not new, is a spring item. What exactly was cute about me today? I couldn’t ask. I took the compliment and ran with it.

Just moments later, when I tried to boot up my computer—unsuccessfully—multiple times (ditto on the unsuccessfully), only to find out that my hard drive was fried, I didn’t melt down. I looked cute today, after all.

Several class periods later, when I still had no computer to use in my classroom and had to change lesson plans accordingly, I was still in a good mood. I looked cute, of course.

After losing another hour of my life, which I will never get back, to another useless faculty meeting in the band room, I didn’t seethe. I made eye contact with some friends and smiled. I looked cute.

And now I’m home. I didn’t run upstairs and put on my pajamas. Instead I am wondering if maybe I should go some place, maybe shopping, maybe out for a drink. There's still time to look cute, right?

Wow. The power of a compliment.

Pass it on.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


These days I can go days without listening to the radio. I think I listened to music the other night on my way home from Liz’s, but only because she had turned the radio on when she took my car to get milk, but I haven’t since. I love music of different genres, as evidenced by CD collection and my MP3 selection, and I lost count years ago of the concerts to which I have been (which is quite different from not remembering all of the details of concerts I have attended). I don’t dislike music at all. I just don’t need it the way I used to.

There was a time that songs were more than music, and music was my call to rebellion--and maybe an excuse to swear. Oh, the 70s! “Whooo are you? Who, who, who, who? […] Oh, who the f*ck are you?!” “Teenage Wasteland, oh yeah, it’s only teenage wasteland.” Songs were the sound track of coming of age and knowing more than our parents (so we thought); Mama had a squeeze box, and Steve Tyler had a big ten inch…record. “That Smell” by Lynyrd Skynyrd (“you fool, you!”) still brings out my inner burnout and definitely requires a volume crank. And Led Zeppelin? Well, let’s just say that there are a few people in my life who love to say, at least once in the ninth month of the year, Happy Zep-tember. But my favorite was always Peter Frampton, whose double live album was my favorite gift in sixth grade and whom I finally met—yes, met—in the early 90s when I was just about 25. Decades later I am still not embarrassed to love a song whose lyrics included "I don't CARE if they cut my HAIR." Rock. On. It’s always Rock-tober.

My road to feminism was paved with songs by Aretha Franklin—“Respect” and “Natural Woman”. And Helen Reddy gets a shout out, too. I think I can probably still sing every word of  "I am Woman Hear me Roar." There were the songs that moved me, some I became aware of only as I became socially conscious and…well…liberal. If my life were a movie the soundtrack would have played What's Going On by Marvin Gaye, or Wake Up Everybody by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in the background as I took the T to Dorchester to the adolescent clinic at which I worked.

Lest you think I remain permanently ensconced in the 70s, I love to dance to Modern English, “Melt withYou”. When I want to hear passion and emotion in a voice who better to listen to than Eddy Vedder? Even with short hair. Pearl Jam makes me feel. Period. U2 does too. And Live. And others. From decades other than the 70s.

In all the places in between, in all the mixed tapes I made and shared or was given by friends, the songs I sang aloud made me feel like I had a good voice. I hung on to every word to tell me that I’d be okay, that my life would turn out okay. I would find love and be fine, and someday someone would sing a heartfelt song to me, soppy and sappy. Maybe [I] would bring [him] up  or he would hold a boom box over his head to let me know how much he loved me. I could even break a heart if so inclined.

I did turn out okay; things are fine with me. I have found love. I’ve even been sung to in my life. And while music still moves me, transports me to times past and places I’ve been, I am okay with silence. I can sit in the moment, with my own thoughts and words in my head, writing my own song. But I still can't settle on the ten albums (well, CDs) I'd take to that deserted island, or download on my MP3 palyer, so  I Gotta Feeling music will always be a part of my life.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to Donna!

On this special day, when Donna both celebrates her birthday and begins chemotherapy anew, I unabashedly ask all of you who read to send positive thoughts and prayers her way.

As Donna says, "only good can come from positive energy."

Amen. And Happy Birthday.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I am not an infomercial person. I don't “set it and forget it!” nor have I contributed in any way to Ron Popeil’s fortune. I frankly still can’t understand why anyone would buy an appliance to whip an egg in its shell. I have no desire to make my own jerky or boil pasta in the microwave, but I do admit that I once owned a George Forman grill.

I loved it, and I used it fairly often. I think. At some point I draw a blank about my GFG. I don’t know why I stopped using it, or why—when I did—I threw it away. Or did I put it out on the street in one of several boxes I labeled FREE Please Take when I moved? I really have no idea. I hadn’t thought about it in years…until I saw my mother using hers the other day.

My GFG was good for fast and easy food, portioned for one. Since my GFG days I’ve been cooking more and experimenting in the kitchen, and taking more time to prepare meals. As you know, I don’t mind spending hours in the kitchen. Cooking is creating; creating is therapy. But when I saw my mother use hers it occurred to me that having the option to cook quick and easy for just myself once in a while is not a bad idea. Not everything I make has to be restaurant worthy, right? And I know I can just as easily throw a burger in a sauté pan as I can a GFG, but I do remember it being faster. And I remember liking the grill marks. I am all about the grill marks. Too bad I don’t have a grill.

This afternoon, I will have a new George Forman grill. I ordered one a couple of weeks ago (for a whopping $17!) and it’s in. Will it get a [heart] note, or another sharpie-scrawled FREE Please Take? Stay tuned. I'll be sure to let you know.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fiesta for One!

There are days meant for doing projects, rainy days for reading, snow storms for cooking soup. This has been a week full of days that say come out and play!, meant more for having fun than for discipline. It has been bright and sunny and warm, and if I were a runner I'd probably find them perfect for a jog, but I'm not. If I had kids I'd have taken them to the playground, but I don't. It's not quite barbeque season yet, so lawn furniture is still in storage and invites were not in the offing. Outdoor prospects were limited, but the gym was not beckoning. Nor were any indoor projects at home. At all. 

A stretch of sunny days with daily highs near 70 is rare in Connecticut, especially in March. In fact, it feels so good that I could almost think I had died and gone to San Diego....That's it! Today was meant for a margarita!...or two...and half-priced chicken and cheese quesadillas.

How's that for resourceful?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I had a very quiet night last night—but not exactly by choice. I did plan on staying in—making dinner to use some of my bounty of produce from Haymarket, and then reading—but I didn’t plan on being incommunicado.

At about 5 o’clock, as I prepared to prepare to make dinner (yeah, it’s a process), I took my phone out of my purse, thinking it was a bit strange that I hadn’t received any phone calls, or perhaps I hadn’t heard them. I tried to send a quick text, and the mission failed. I got an error message that my text could be saved and sent when digital became available. ??? I tried to make a call, and then I saw Searching SVC on my screen.

I shut off my phone and turned it back on. Searching SVC.

I took my battery out of my phone, and put it back in and turned it back on. Searching SVC.

I went on line for Verizon technical support. They told me to do the things I did that didn’t work. I tried them again anyway. Searching SVC.

Eventually I found an 800 number and thought, well that would suck if I were one of those people who had given up a landline. I wasn't much better off, however, as I am one of those people who rarely uses a landline and therefore leaves the handset off the cradle for days.

I charged my handset for a half hour, and called. About a half hour and two people (one woman, one man)later, my phone was still Searching SVC. After having me go to menus I’ve never seen (and could probably never find again) and selecting acronyms that made no sense to me, they said it sounded like it might be a tower issue, and those take high priority. I’d get an email in fifteen minutes with a ticket number (I did) and then eventually a call on my landline (I didn’t). Again, imagine not having one.

I went to bed around 10. My phone was still Searching SVC.

Although I am grateful that I didn’t get woken in the middle of the night, I am disappointed that I never got a phone call. But at least this morning I had service. While I plan on asking for a $2 credit for the phone service I paid for but didn’t have yesterday, and fixing a wagon about not getting a call, I must say it was nice in a way to have no interruptions last night.

 I may have to make it a point to lose my signal more often. Without Searching SVC.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Appliance Love

Once you get your minds out of the gutter, I'll be here, talking about my immersion blender.

It is not new. By any means. Pu-lease. As I like to say to those with whom I can be completely snobby: I have had a Zyliss cheese grater since circa 1989; I did not ooh and ah over one, and then pay more than I should have for it at a suburban housewives party in 1999. No offense. (I eschew house ware parties with the same conviction I do overpriced silver jewelry parties.) Any gadget that’s out there, I have. If I don’t it is probably because I don’t want it. I want, I buy, or I ask. I do not have an aversion to getting appliances for gifts, and have more than once put an appliance on a Christmas list. I suppose it’s a different ball game asking for a waffle maker from your mom or for an immersion blender from your sister for Christmas than getting a Crockpot from your husband for your birthday, or—worse—your anniversary, but now I’m two topics away from my Braun immersion blender.

For some time it has been packed up in a closet, in a Sterilite box. When I moved I didn't have quite enough cabinet space in my kitchen to keep everything handy, given my dish fetish and tendency to go a little crazy during canned goods sales. Furthermore, before I moved I found I hadn't been using my immersion blender often, afraid to scratch the inside surface of my favorite Calphalon chili pot, which is also my soup pot, pasta pot, and whatever else one might call a 5 quart pot. Hence, I relinquished it to my closet, where it has been out of sight, and also--as they say-- out of mind. When I make my squash and corn chowder I use my regular blender, which did get a kitchen space. As did my hand mixer and my food processor.

But when I made tortilla soup a couple of weeks ago I thought I wanted to give it a partial puree: to impart a creaminess to the clear broth and lighten the color, and to thicken it just enough without making it mush, leaving some chunks of tomato intact before adding some more black beans and corn. But it was my first time making this soup, so I wasn't quite sure. Taking out my regular blender would have meant making a commitment to pureeing. And since it wouldn't all have fit in the carafe, I would have needed to do it in batches, which meant taking out another pot or large bowl and WHOA. Stop. Way too much to do there, I thought. Which is when it occurred to me that it could not have been easier to take out my immersion blender and let it rip….

Well, as Erika might say, Hollah! The soup was delicious; the immersion blender worked well, did not scratch my pot in the process, and was beyond easy to clean.

I’m in love again.

Friday, March 12, 2010

[Heart] Crate and Barrel...

and vases, and Deanna for making me feel okay about it...

When I was in Boston during February vacation I went to Crate and Barrel. Okay, do I even need to tell you that anymore? (Note to Readers: time in Boston means a trip to C&B. Just as I can’t go an entire weekend without going to CVS, I can’t go to Boston without going to C&B.) I saw a lot that I liked, but I resisted. I walked away without buying a thing. Not the little soy pot, the bamboo chop sticks, the lime green tortilla warmer, the mini melamine bowl set. And I survived. Only I had been thinking about a particular vase since the day I left it on Boylston Street. So I went to find it in Greenback Blueback Square.

As I made the descent on the escalator from the furniture store to the house wares retail floor and looked at the bright and beautiful displays, I gasped, put my hand on my chest, and as my eyes filled with tears said aloud, “I could weep.” I remind you I was not seeing a palm tree for the first time in my life (for the record, my reaction was similar) or being reunited with my family after a long, drawn out hostage incident (a scenario with which I cannot claim to have any firsthand experience). I was alone, so God is my witness. I can't help it. I [heart] Crate and Barrel. More than might be normal.

I bought the vase.
And I know I don’t need another vase, but I love vases. I collect them I suppose. And they don’t sit around and collect dust; I use them all. Not all at once, but...The Kona vase is particularly nice because the neck is fairly small (from the side it is narrow), and can hold just a couple of stems nicely. Some vases are for large bunches, some for flowers with long stems, some for flowers with short stems. As Deanna said tonight, sincerely, not patronizing me in the least, “Right, like black shoes. You can never have enough. There’s a perfect black shoe for every occasion.” Exactly. She gets me. We share some of the same afflictions.

I [heart] that, too.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pizza Night

Over the weekend I wanted to cook, and create, but I didn't want it to feel too much like winter--so standing over a pot of chili was not in order. Instead I opened my blinds and my windows and I made pizza. I was out of practice, not having made one in more than a year if I remember correctly, so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get the dough nice and thin, the way I like it, but it was like riding a bike. And I was able to make two pizzas out of one pound of dough.
. For one I caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms while the dough rested at room temperature; the other I topped with fresh mozzarella, sliced garlic, and Roma tomatoes. Both came out delicious.
Unfortunately, I've enjoyed all I can over the last couple of days. Fortunately, since I'm not sure there's a palatable way to use leftover pizza in soup, there's still room in my freezer next to the rotisserie chicken.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Doctor's Orders

I [heart] my endocrinologist. Well, technically she is a nurse practioner in my endocrinology practice but to me, for all intents and purposes, Jennifer is my endocrinologist and she is awesome. She even took me a day late for my appointment last week. How that happened I don’t know but I was ever so grateful for her to take me a day late, and to enter the room with a smile and one of those one-arm-around-my-shoulders squeeze/ encouraging hugs. We laughed at my mistake and she said that when I didn’t show up the day before, she knew it wasn’t like me. See, she’s great, right? She knows me. I’m more than a chart.

She applauded my weight loss, albeit meager, and we went over the results of my blood work. She told me that my levels are low again; I told her that actually came as good news—since after losing 12 pounds in the first couple of months after joining the gym, I have been struggling to lose weight without results. From there she asked if there were any other changes or things I wanted to report and—because I am so comfortable with her—I proceeded to tell her that I feel like I am at the age when I’m not sure what simply can be attributed to my age, or what might be related to my thyroid or something else.

“Like?...” she probed.

“Well, I feel good when I go to the gym, but afterward I am always so achy. I have to pop a handful of ibuprofen. My joints ache lately, especially my hips and knees.”

The nice part was it felt like a conversation I might have with a friend, only she’s a medical professional who told me that Vitamin D deficiency could cause those symptoms as well as the winter doldrums, that it could be more than middle age and my thyroid. She had actually called for that test in my blood work too, but those results weren’t in yet. She said she’d call when those results came in.

She called today, and wouldn’t you know, my Vit D levels are looooww.

You mean it’s not me just being pathetic? It’s not just middle age knocking on my door? And that craving for sunshine I have is more than psychological? Like, I’ll have an excuse to sit by the pool as soon as it opens?

For now, I’ll have to make due with Vitamin D supplements…but I feel better already.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Oscars

One of these days I will host a cocktail party for the Oscars. I'll serve champagne and fancy food and unlike at Super Bowl parties, talking will not be discouraged. I won't scowl when people talk, especially during commercials. The only time silence will be required is when the winners are announced and during the first 15 seconds of each acceptance speech, during which time it becomes abundantly clear if a person is going to be a blithering idiot or show remarkable poise and give a heartfelt speech worth listening to.

That year I will be sure to catch all the nominated best movies in the theatre prior to watching instead of putting them in my Netflix queue the next day, if I hadn’t already put them there after the Golden Globes. Even if it means having to get on ADD medicine to do so. That is, as long as there aren’t 10 films nominated that year.

We won’t be able watch the Barbara Walters special first, of course, since she just did her last Oscar show, but honestly I’d probably be too busy in the kitchen at that point anyway. My goal would be to get a good portion of the food out in time enough to give the red carpet show my undivided attention. The tricky part will be how to text Deanna during the show, without being rude, while I have a house full of people. Of course the party would be extra fabulous if she could be here to be a part of it. It was the Golden Globes after all that solidified our friendship; Deanna and I and awards shows ago way back. But that’s another post.

I may even try to stay up for the entire show that year. I suppose if my guests stay until the bitter end I will not have a choice. If I didn’t have to wake up for school the next day, I wouldn’t care, but I would do it regardless, and suffer the consequences later.

Some people have their life’s work immortalized on film and aspire to win an Oscar. I dream of a day I don't have to wake up for work at 5:30 so that I can have a killer cocktail party on a Sunday night.

And the winner is...

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I got home from a day of work (and a little play) yesterday after 5, almost 5:30, and it was still light out. Wow, I thought. I remember getting excited fairly recently when I noticed it was 4:30 and it wasn't dark. Whoa, when'd that happen?

I got comfortable and turned on the news, and heard the meteorologist say that not only would this be a good weather weekend, but he also noted that next weekend we spring ahead. That means next Friday it will still be light out at 6:30. Oh my goodness!! Could it be that the winter is almost over? Could it be that soon spring will not limited to my new tablecloth and vase of daffodils? Say it isn't so! I guess I wasn't hallucinating when 4 days this week I went out to my car in the daylight and didn't have to defrost my windshield, when the thermometer in my car said the temperature was above freezing.

Ssshhh, if you listen closely you'll hear not only birds singing, but my mood meter revving as my Vitamin D level increases and winter melts away.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Note to Self

I was jonesing for a steak tonight. Or a burger. My Gemini twins had a little debate.

Steak. Juicy Burger. Should I?
You shouldn't.
I'd love to.
You can't. It's neither in your calorie nor cash budget. It's Tuesday. What gives, Joanne?
Bock bock bock...bockbockbockbock BOCK... BOCK!
Oh yeah, chicken.
Chicken, chicken and chicken. Rotisserie chicken palooza. Seriously, how much chicken can a red meat and pork lover be expected to eat before heading Outback?
Oh, stop. You have yummy tarragon chicken salad...and that nice wheat roll that will perk right up after a minute in the toaster...
Um, why do are you talking like Tamara's mother?
Don't be silly....and you have...arugula! That peppery goodness would probably go really well with the sweet anise taste of the tarragon. Crunchy roll, creamy chicken salad. Why go out?

The good twin won. I made myself the sandwich. The arugula was a nice addition indeed and I enjoyed every bite.  As I did the tortilla soup, which I am proud to say was rated "restaurant worthy" by Amy, and delicious by Sheron. The chicken quesadilla, though not earth shattering, was tasty too. I'll take a day off tomorrow and will have the curried chicken salad on Thursday. I'll share some of that too. And I'll be done with it. I think.

Well, next time, maybe you should freeze a little more so you don't have to eat it all week.
Next time maybe I'll freeze most of it.
Have it your way.
If I had it my way I'd have eaten steak.

Spring Facelift

The other day when I was in the supermarket picking up a few things for my rotisserie chicken palooza and my requisite flowers, it wasn't enough to put a $2.50 bunch of daffodils--my second of the season (they only last a week)--in my basket. Right there I decided I needed something more, something to get me through to spring, real spring, not meteorological spring, which apparently began today. I needed something to brighten my room and my spirits besides a bunch of flowers while I wait to open my windows. And I don’t mean Easter tchotchke. (Do you have any idea how happy I am to have found the Miriam Webster spelling for that word?) I needed to bring spring inside.

Now don’t go crazy thinking I went to the hardware store and picked up some paint. If you don’t know me personally, I was the daughter who told my parents, when they built a new, beautiful house after my last college tuition bill was paid, “I don’t have appropriate clothes for painting.” I needed to give my dining room table a facelift: a new, vibrant tablecloth and maybe a new bowl for my 5 pounds of D’anjou pears.

So I left the supermarket, and drove to Marshalls. I hit pay dirt when I found this Italian ceramic bowl (that you can't really see well while it's full of said pears) on clearance for $5.00! Then, even more, with the bowl in my back seat as I drove to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I imagined a buttercup yellow tablecloth. And, wouldn’t you know, it was there! And because I always travel armed with coupons, this microfiber cloth was $15.00 instead of $20.00. Honestly, it’s a little more than I typically like to spend; I usually shop house wares on clearance, but for a grand total of $20 I brightened the room and changed my mood in the process.

With absolutely no manual labor involved.

Monday, March 1, 2010

In Defense of Gel Nails

I bit my nails until after college and then finally I grew them. For years I maintained them myself, alternating between a bright pink (Revlon Pinkish) in summer months, and a color somewhere between red and maroon (Wine with Everything, also Revlon) in the colder months when I didn’t have a tan to pull off the pink. Eventually I changed over to French manicures (Sally Hansen) and have never looked back. Doing my own French manicures, even adding another step to the painting process, was therapeutic. I would paint the tips white without using the guides that came in the box, and would think Damn, I may not have become a doctor, but I have a surgeon’s steady hand. And I have nice nail beds.

When I started teaching, the blackboards and chalk (now obsolete) and air quality in general did a number on my nails (and my respiratory system--but that's another post). They became dry and brittle, and the nail polish would crack like a windshield that followed too close behind a sand truck. So I did what any woman who has grown fond of her nails would do and got gel overlays.

If you’re thinking thick, Jersey Shore acrylics, I ask you to go wash your eyes before continuing to read. Mine don’t look like that at all. My nail technician, Jenny, gets them nice and thin, and I get compliments on them all the time. If they all weren’t the same exact length and they weren’t impeccably perfect (yeah, I know that’s redundant), you might think they are my own. Anyway, like them or not, think they are natural or not, they are mine, and I love them and I won’t get rid of them, especially since they saved my life.

There I was chopping away, doing my rotisserie chicken six ways, when, whoa. My knife slipped while I was slicing, what?...well I don’t even remember that detail, and—had my gel nail not been there—there would have gone my thumb. Seriously. I know I should be more careful, but let's be honest: you have a better chance of seeing Jesus than seeing me stop sipping wine while I cook. So any remote, tiny inklings I may ever have had to get rid of the gels have vanished for good.

Who knew nails could look nice and protect against dismemberment by Santoku?
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