Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Can Anyone Sleep On An Airbus Plane?

Every time I get stuck on an Airbus plane, I remember how uncomfortable their seats are. I couldn't get enough sleep last night on the plane, but Prague is so amazing that I have managed to stay awake until almost 8 pm Czech time. Hope to get some pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tuesday in Prague?

One night at the Prague Old Town Hilton has been canceled but I still have high hopes for Tuesday. Trying to fly through Minneapolis. We'll see.

Good Night, Irene - I'll See You In My Dreams

I'll bet the newsmen are just waiting for this storm to leave so they can use the "I'll see you in my dreams" line. Which one do you think will use it first? That new cute CBS guy with all the Oklahoma relatives seems far too cool to be that cliche. Katie Couric would have done it, though. Glad she is done with prime time news. How they could think we would take her seriously after that awful "Runaway Bride" interview is beyond my comprehension. I want her back in daytime.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dear Hurricane Irene - Go Away!

Hurricane Irene - how could you wreck my vacation?? I'm glad they downgraded you. It couldn't happen to a nicer storm. Might get to leave Monday - but that means 1 1/2 less days in Prague, and no day in NYC. We'll find out more tomorrow. How fortuitous that we bought good trip insurance.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Packing - Footnote

I won't start throwing in just one more thing for my trip to the Czech Republic, since it is so easy to slide off down that slippery slope and wind up carrying way too much stuff. But I am almost thinking of bringing my camera instead of buying my usually postcards. It breaks me "don't bring anything worth stealing" rule, though. What to do?? Maybe buy a lighter, smaller, cheaper camera.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Packing For Travel - Czech Republic

I really love to travel - domestic or international - love, love, love it. I have three methods of packing. Car travel means loading up the car with everything I love (almost), food, games, books, electronics, and lots clothes without caring whether I will wear them of not. Domestic air travel means filling small bottles with all the hair and skin care products and only bringing clothes I know I'll wear. International travel means something entirely different to me when it comes to packing than any other blogger I have read. For me, it is all about comfort - which comes from having easily carried belongings - as little as possible while not embarrassing myself or my country. It means packing: one safety pin, one lipstick, one spare pair of easy wash and dry underpanties, (ex-officio brand), tiny bottle of very concentrated hair conditioner, highest spf sunscreen, comb, toothbrush and travel size paste, sliver off a bar of Lush brand soap (which does face, hair, body, and clothes cleansing duty), travel size deodorant, light crinkle style skirt, sandals, and 2 spare t-shirts (dark enough color to stay clean looking). If I'm sharing a room, I will bring some very light weight silk shorts to sleep in with one of the t-shirts. On the plane, I'll wear the pants, walking shoes, light wool socks, top, money belt/pouch holding passport and debit card, and jacket. Add reading material with bookmark made of a passport photocopy and I'm set. (The right brand of wool socks can be worn for a week without even smelling bad, if you air them out every night.) This will all fit in a large purse or backpack and makes riding local trains or changing hotels a breeze. I never take jeans when I'm travelling internationally, since jeans are often OK, but slacks are always OK, so why take the chance of being inappropriate in someone else's country. This time is going to be the exception, since my cousin has spent so much time in the Czech Republic and assures me that woman of a certain age do wear jeans in Prague. But with my curly Czech hair, round Czech face, and 100% Czech last name, (just my mother is French), I really don't want to be mistaken for a local, since I don't speak a word of the Czech language.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In Praise of Non-Organic Brown Rice - New Tulsa Perspective

I like to buy organic foods if possible. In Seattle, I belonged to the Puget Consumer Coop (PCC) for over 30 years. But yesterday, I was shopping in the newest branch of a local chain grocery store (less than a year old) and picked up the organic brown rice. It looked like there was a tiny cotton ball in the corner of the package, so I gave it to a clerk and asked if it might be some kind of bug. Not obvious, but suspicious - so he took the rice to the office to inspect it. No big deal, I just grabbed the next package. I should have paid more attention, since some kind of bug (a moth) flew out from behind the stack, but it wasn't until I noticed that there was rice stuck to the outside of the bag, that I even looked. And yep, that rice was moving around. That was when I dropped the bag on the floor and went to find someone to clean it up. And it wasn't until dinner was ready last night, that I realized I still didn't have the rice and sent John out to a different store with just one instruction - get NON-organic brown rice, please. He never disappoints.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Balti Chicken with Mint Chutney

Dinner tonight was Balti Chicken with Mint Chutney on brown rice with a salad. Recipe inspiration was from Tulsa World (the daily newspaper) and was very quick to make. What wasn't quick was finding the ingredients. One wasn't available in Tulsa, not even from the store recommended by the author of the article, something called "kalonji seeds" which are also called black cumin, but are a totally different spice, not cumin, and maybe not even black. Now, I have no argument with publishing a recipe that you need to do mail order to get the ingredients (see, I am getting Tulsafied) - just don't send me running around to places where they have never heard of them. And where there are baggies filled with dried squid chewies, among other science fiction worthy items pretending to be food. One ingredient in the recipe that I assumed would be easy to find was whole Cardamom. Wrong again. So my recipe is only slightly inspired by Tulsa World's -
Balti Chicken
Combine and let marinate while other ingredients are cooking:
2 lbs Chicken, boneless & skinless, cubed or whole (whole is prettier)
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp lime juice
Fry on medium for 10 minutes:
1 cup chopped yellow onion (2 medium or 1 huge)
2 tbsp olive oil
Add and fry 10 minutes more:
2 sliced tomatoes, peeled
2 tbsp Garam Masala Paste (it's shelved with the Chutney, never did find the powdered)
8 peppercorns
Add Chicken and marinate and cook until Chicken is done
Add and cook 2 minutes more
1/4 cup Cilantro leaves
1/4 cup yogurt
2 sliced Serrano peppers
No pictures since this was eaten within seconds - the smell was so fabulous, we couldn't wait to snap even one picture.
Mint Chutney
Put in blender and blend until smooth:
2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 onion, 1 jalapeno, seeded, 1/2 cup mint leaves, (packed in the cup)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Boot Scooting Boogie

I guess I am taking more time to aclimate to Tulsa than I thought I would. This morning in Water Aeorbics, the music was Brooks and Dunn, and everyone knew the words except me. In Seattle, it would have been the Supremes and I would be the one who could sing the whole song. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring out on my own that you don't keep a spare tube of lipstick in your glove comparment - but this meant that I was the only woman without makeup on in the pool. Some of the ladies even wear chandilier earrings while water exercising. These women have been putting on makeup every day of their lives and they look wonderful. I am in awe. So, I'd better step up my game - buy waterproof makeup, chlorine resistent earrings, and new music. I think I'll wait until after my trip, but I'll be right on it as soon as I get back.

The water aeorbic's group have lots of activies if you still have any energy after 2 hours of bouncing around in the pool. Tomorrow is bowling at 11 am. For this you rent shoes - well, I rent shoes, everyone else has their own. On Monday it's Line Dancing - to Country Music, in your own footwear - preferable Cowboy Boots. I have an abnorally high arch, which means that I might be able to get my foot into a Cowboy Boot, but by the time I do, my foot has swelled just enough that I cannot get my foot out again. At one point, I stuck my foot in the refrigerator to speed up the process of de-swelling so I could get the boots off and return them. Maybe I can get an old pair of Frye Boots like the ones I was wearing in the '70's. Should be close enough.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cracking Eggs

While cracking eggs to scramble today. I was reminded of watching my mother's very elegant gestures when preparing food. After emptying the shell, she would delicately run her middle finger around the inside of the shell, removing the last little bit of egg white clinging to the membrane which coats the shell's interior. I asked my cousin if this was a family thing and she agreed that her mother used the same gesture. And when my mother would cut an apple in half, a rare treat for Southern Californian children, and only eaten on Christmas, (in my family), she could pop out a perfect half sphere of core and seeds with the tip of a paring knife, as beautifully formed as if she'd used a melon baller. Indeed, my mother's hands were so amazing, that if birth control had been perfected in the 1940's, she would have continued as a concert pianist, rather than having 7 children before turning 40. I was 40 before I realized everyone's mother didn't play Ravel's "Pavane pour une Infante défunte", which I think is translated as Princess, and that Bolero is the only Ravel's piece I will listen to on purpose. She loved playing Liszt, but didn't think Chopin was interesting enough - the difference between playing and listening, I guess.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Julia Child!

I think Julia Child means more to me than to a lot of other people because she was my first inkling that nice women could cook French food too. Changed my life!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Teen Aged Idol

I have never "flipped the bird" - not ever. I don't get why a teenage idol like Justin Bieber, with millions of adoring underage fans, would do such a thing. If my young daughter was infatuated with him, this behavior would end any of my funds going his way, (Since my daughter is 25, no worries in that area.) Just a difference of opinion, or moral issue? Don't actually know.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ever Had Fried Blackened Potatoes?

My sister Cie (Claire) responded by email, so she got invited on the trip, too. If she just gets a plane ticket, her room and food is my treat! And Czech food is so wonderful - and filling - and carb-a-lious. Ever had fried blackened potatoes? I'm too tired to tell you how to make them tonighy, but maybe tomorrow. Hint: It takes a cast iron skillet.

A Little Test

When I was living in Seattle, my niece told me that I should start blogging. Very logical, since I was the only one of the family who didn't live in California and it would be a way for them to keep track of what I was doing. I'm pretty sure that they have all forgotten my blog (with good reason, it even bores me to read it sometimes, although it is a lot of fun to write), and that's perfectly fine with me. So the test is - I have a chance to go to my non French grandparent's homeland, the Czech Republic, the last week of this month. I'm not going to call any of them until after I get home, but if one of my family either call or write me about this exciting trip this week, they will have a treat brought back for them from Prague. I love them and would be bringing back mementos for all, but they don't make suitcases big enough for my 6 brothers and sisters, their fabulous spouses, and the 30 or so nieces and nephews to all be shopped for.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Confusion Monday!?

I thought it was Visible Monday - went to Not Dead Yet Style. There it appeared to be Inspiration Monday. Which directed me to Two Birds , a cute website with what looked like my daugher's age women - wearing things that did not inspire me. But I figured since I already had the picture of my outfit, and it had been inspired - not by the very trendy young birds, but by Debbi at She Who Accessorizes Well - I might as well put it up. Chico's Jacket over a plain black tank and skirt.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grilled Salad

There is a very expensive restaurant in Tulsa called Smoke. They have a back room where you can smoke cigars, which may be the reason for the name. Maybe it's called Smoke because they grill anything you can think of. (Twinkies?) John was there for two business dinners last week and couldn't wait to try and recreate their Grilled Romaine Salad. He split a heart of Romaine, washed it and left it to drain and dry. (The drying thing is easier in Tulsa than a lot of other places, since it's been so hot and dry this Summer.) Then he rubbed good olive oil on it and put it on a medium heat grill - turning it a couple of times - for 4 minutes. Dressed it with Ceasar and some Parmesan cheese. Fabulous and different. But not actually better than a plain cold Caesar, the salad that can't be beat.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sunday Fun - How Can The Temperature Swing Over 30 Degrees in 3 Hours?

Today was amazing! It was so hot at 10 am, John and I decided to go to a movie. Actually we picked a movie as the most time we could spend in someone else's air conditioning without getting bored. We saw Captain American, another one of the Avenger movies, which are all leading to a movie next summer, which will probably be called - Avengers. It was so much better than Thor, the last Avenger movie we saw. We also enjoyed Thor, just not as much. Of course, we forgot to wait through all the credits for the little bit at the end that would be tying all these movies together, where Samuel Jackson, complete with eye patch, is featured, and maybe that was what was missing from our complete enjoyment of Thor. OK, enough of Thor. No, not really enough until I mention that Natalie Portman was terrible as a love interest/scientist. So unbelievable. If you are unbelievable in a movie based on a comic book, there is not much more to say.
At 3 pm, it was over 110 degrees, but I had a coupon and decided to go to Ulta anyway for waterproof mascara for water aerobics and to get the great free give-away. And to Michael's to see if the new Halloween punches and papers were in yet. And to CVS, where I had a coupon and wanted some more of their Selam Hayak lipstick. Michael's didn't have any new Halloween punches so I left and took their coupon to JoAnn's, since I could use it there, too. But my point, and I do have one, is that when I left Ulta with my bag of wonderful stuff and my face smeared with mineral blushes, which I resisted buying for now, the sky opened up and poured down rain, punctuating it with simultaneous spears of lightning and explosions of thunder. And the temperature was 77 degrees. That's over 30 degrees differences. (Wait, let me check my math: 110-77=33) Right! The drive home north on Hgy 169 was epic. I felt like I was on a ride at Disneyland - flashes of light in front and to the side, baseball sized raindrops hurtling themselves at the windshield, wipers that could not keep up - drama, drama, drama!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Stuff

Today was a day to get all the little tasks done. Boiling vinegar in the pots and pans that aren't quite shiny enough, sweep the garage. get out the iron and put it right back away, since there is no way I'm going to iron in this heat - all the same things I've been doing for years. What is new in my regime is sharpening the make-up pencils (freezing them first, of course). Living in Seattle, there were few occasions that demanded eye make-up and so it was time to throw away the pencils before they even needed sharpening. In Tulsa, every day seems to require make-up - in fact it feels funny being the only one without it when I forget where I am.
Tonight was great - we went to The Tulsa Arts Council Mystery Dinner with a couple of friends. It was wonderful. Can't say any more - it's a secret until the end of the run. But, if you are competitive, make sure you get a table near the front. If you just want to have fun, park yourself in the rear and laugh all you want.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vital Radiance Melon Lipstick

Remember Vital Radiance Cosmetics? They were great, but way too expensive for drug store brand stuff. I think they were trying to take advantage of us baby boomers. I will be sorry when I run out of their Melon Lipstick, though. The color is perfect and it smells so nice. Does anyone really buy lipstick on auction sites?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fun Tulsa Stuff

There is a nice show on TV called "Explore Tulsa" that has so much neat stuff to do here. Now I am dying to go to the Eloté Cafe and Topeca Coffee - and I hate coffee! (I know I spent decades in Seattle, but I never became a Coffee Drinker.) And since I'm not a fan of Masked Mexican Wrestling, I'll have to make sure not to go to Eloté Cafe on Thursdays. To round it out, there was also a neat piece on a place I've already seen, the Circle Cinema.
Book Smart Tulsa has wonderful events all year round. I hope I can get to the Central Library tomorrow night at 7, for They Shall Run, Harriet Tubman Poems, by Quraysh Ali Lansana.
Tulsa is an amazing and complex place. Good Times!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Accessory Swap

Accessory Swap! Pam had a very interesting idea for swaping accessories and taking pictures of how we would style someone else's stuff. Very fun! I got paired with the absolute Queen of Accessories, Debbi and she sent me some great jewelry. (Could I have been any luckier?) The necklace that I chose to showcase is Yellow Faceted Beads with Pearls. I really liked matching it to my shoes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Peach Cobbler, Again

I got my friend's Peach Cobbler Recipe that I mentioned previously. And I combined it with Serena's recipe, yesterday. I think that I now have a perfect Peach Cobbler recipe. Here is my Seattle friend's recipe which she jokes only serves "one", knowing her audience. (Me.)

2C fresh peaches, cut up, 1 3/4C sugar, 3/4 C flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2C milk, 1 cube butter. Combine peaches and 1 cup of sugar; bring to a boil. Set aside. Combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and milk for a batter. Melt butter in an 8 X 10 inch pan; pour in batter. Place fruit mixture on top of batter. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serena's Grandmother's Recipe: Melt one cube of butter in the pan, mix one cup each of sugar, flour, and milk and add to the pan, top with three cups fruit and cook at 350 for 20 minutes.

I combined 1/2 cup of sugar and 3 cups peaches, brought it to a boil, removed the peaches and boiled the liquid on low heat for 10 more minutes. Put the peaches in an 8" pan and pour the boiled liquid over the peaches. Then I combined 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tsp baking powder. (I always use Rumford brand - it's different and I think it tastes better. When you use whole wheat flour, [King Arthur Brand, if you can find it] you can use twice as much so it raises better, but not get the metalic taste other brands can give.) I cut in 1/2 cup (one cube) cold butter into the flour mixture and then added 1/2 cup milk and dropped spoonfuls over the peaches. Baked at 350 for 30 minutes.

We ate all of the Whole Wheat version and John took the White Flour version to the office, where they had to suffer through eating it without Ice Cream.

PS: Miss Oklahoma's talent is Irish Step Dancing. She is from a town of about 800 people and one of them just happens to be an Irish Step Dance teacher. She is really good!

Accessory Swap Coming Tomorrow!

Accessories Swap! Pam had the original idea for swaping accessories. Check back tomorrow for how we did. I swapped accessories with She Who Accessorizes Well, Debbi.