Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Traditions

My Halloween tradition is to eat fewer than 10 mini candy bars on Halloween. Good news - I am still under 10. Bad news - it's not even 6 pm. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Williams-Sonoma Pie Class

Good use of a Sunday afternoon - watching the cutest guy make a pie. This is Todd of the Utica Square Williams-Sonoma teaching the Technique Class - My Oh My, It's Time For Pie! It's free, and you get a 10% discount on purchases just for attending.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2011 Halloween Cards

Since I had spotty internet access in California this time, I had more time to work on this year's Halloween cards.

BookSmart Tulsa Event Tonight

Back in Tulsa today. Wish I were still in Southern California, since the kids have car problems to sort out, but was excited about the BookSmart Tulsa event tonight. Disappointingly, I just got an email saying that the author of stealing Rembrandts cancelled at the last minute, so tonight's event has been turned into a party of sorts. I will still go, but won't get to ask about the Rembrandt etching theft from the Seattle area that was the last one in the book. The author even made a point of saying that Rembrandt's were slim pickings in the small town outside Seattle. I'm pretty sure it is one owned by the man I was out with the evening I met John. It was a TGIF party at the Washington Athletic Club. When asked, I used to say (truthfully) that I met my husband at a bar. (Not bothering to add "while on a date with another man".) When Nick was in Kindergarten, I was talking with a group of other mothers when the subject of where we had met our husbands was raised. One of the loveliest women I have ever met, Theresa Gallant, said she had met her husband "at a social mixer at a private club". Pretty classy, huh? (Her dad had a winery.) No kidding, she was the real deal. But back to my point, and I do have one. But I'll bet most of you have already guessed - we both met our husbands on the same day in the same room at the WAC. Good times!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fiber The Right Way

Really miss the Trader Joe food markets when I'm in Tulsa. Just one example - these chips of Chocolate. Three grams of fiber per serving! And this weeks Pub Quiz wasn't as sucessful as usual. My daughter, Amanda had to fill in on another team, so the music round was a total bust. But at least one of our team won the email quiz question. The prize is exactly what it looked like - a bacon scented air freshener. Actually made our eyes water.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Suzie Homemaker - She Cooks But Doesn't Clean (Much) (Or Very Well)

I am so good at so many things, that it is important that people get to hear me sing and see the poor quality results of my best efforts at housecleaning. Otherwise, I would have no friends at all. But I had the best luck making this spinach pasta. It had the most perfect elasticity, as you can see by the yards of pasta that my sister is holding right out of the pasta machine. We turned it into Lasagna with all the leftover sausage and sauce from making Ravioli the day before. I steamed 2 pounds of spinach and squeezed it dry (save the water) and pureed it. I put it in the food processor, on top of 2 cups of all purpose flour and 1 cup semolina flour. Added 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Processed it while adding 2 tablespoons of the water from cooking the spinach. Might need more water, just process while adding more of the cooking water until it becomes dough.

My sister Lynne is an amazing thrift shopper. She got this Ravioli attachment for $3. It was so much fun to use. We had some leftover dough from the whole wheat pasta that she made the day before and was going to just throw away, since it was very uncooperative. What a difference a night in the refrigerator can make. Today it made wonderful ravioli. As I do, she grinds her own whole wheat flour. That way it is always fresh and nutritious. She took hard white wheat and ground it fine, added 1 cup semolina flour and 1 cup all purpose flour to 2 cups of the fresh ground whole wheat flour. Added 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and about 1/4 cup water and processed until it formed a ball. Actually did this in an electric stand mixer, since it is such a big batch and such a heavy dough. Kneaded it just a little and put it away for the next day.

Good times!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Feral Cows, Park Rangers, and Ravioli Filling

Feral cows? In Oklahoma, they would just be free lunch, what with everyone having the guns, butchering experience, and taxidermy equipment. But I'm here in Southern California - so, let me explain.
My youngest sister's husband just got a job as a Park Ranger - remember Yogi and Booboo? My brother-in-law Kim is just as cute as Mr. Ranger was. Except that they carry guns and Tasers these days. As part of his contract, he has to live in Chino Hills State Park. My sister Lynne just loves it. You drive forever on what looks like an old riverbed, and then, after 10 miles, there is a beautifully paved road for the last mile up to their house. No cell phone coverage, scant Internet, and total peace. Except for the nighttime, when cows from everywhere come out and play on the dirt/rock road. Even the cougars are afraid of these cows. When I close my eyes, I see their red eyes, burning with the reflected light from my headlights, refusing to budge to let me drive past and then filling in behind me so I can't reverse either. There is one with horns that teases me with the type of lunges typically seen only in the Bull Rings of Spain. I vow to never again drive a red car. It's just not worth antagonizing him.
One of the things my sister and I did was make home made ravioli for dinner for my oldest brother Don and his wife Marya. (She's from the South and the most amazing Bible scholar I know.) It was wonderful. Half had pumpkin filling and the other half had home made pork sausage filling.
I am back in my place in Irvine now, and Lynne come over with the left over food. We rolled out the pasta dough into thin sheets and made beautiful Lasagna with the rest of the sausage. I was amazed at how easy it was to make Italian sausage. I took 3 pounds of pork tenderloin and removed all the fat, ground it in the food processor with 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Could have used cream as well, but my husband is very careful about cholesterol. This was mildly spiced and just hot enough.
Pumpkin raviolli filling was very tedious to make, but would be a great pasta sauce thinned with a cup of cream. I got one of those small sugar pumpkins and peeled and seeded it and cut it into chunks. Then I fried it in 1/3 cup olive oil and 1 cube butter, with one huge white onion, chopped fine, and two cloves of garlic, pressed or minced. Getting everything slightly browned sweetened the pumpkin quite a bit. Then I added spices and cooked it another 30 minutes to thicken it. Spices: 1 teaspoon ground corriander and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Just before taking it off the heat, I added 1/4 cup flour, 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, and 1 tablespoon real maple syrup. I have all these pictures, but my netbook is being stubborn and I'm using my son's computer that doesn't have my photo program on it. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Chanel Holiday Nail Polish Plus Ramblings On The Location Of "Home"

Rouge Carat. I'm hoping this will be a great red with hints of gold - that's what I expect from the name. Since I'm in Southern California, I can just run over to the South Coast Plaza and pick it up if it is. Of course, when I'm in Tulsa, I have Utica Square and the cute little Saks store, but at South Coast, there's a Nordstrom too. And any other designer you can think of. They are decent sized stores with lots of stock, which is pretty exciting after Las Vegas. The Chanel store was having an event with their resort collection. My daughter and I couldn't resist stepping inside, to check out their pale yellow quilted lamb bag which was quite wonderful, in a totally frivolous manner.
Just that morning, I was sitting outside eating oatmeal with John, and an irredescent green humming bird with a ruby throat flew over to drink from the Bird of Paradise blooms, and I felt with utter conviction that I was "home", in a way only my childhood memories can shape the word. And being married to a man born in Seattle, I felt a little sad for him. Seattle could never be home to me; it's very important for the locals that we Californians know that. And here he was, totally bonded to me, but in foreign tertitory. When we are back in Tulsa, we are both in the same boat. Getting directions that include turning where the MacDonald's used to be. Huh? But we both feel very welcome there, which makes up for a lot of shared childhood history.

Pub Quiz Victors Again

Not only did we win first place in a heart-stopping tie breaker round, but our team name - It's a Poor Jersey Shore Cameraman Who Blames the Tools - was listed as one of the best team names on the Geeks_Who_Drink website. But what puzzles me the most was how the team we were tied with (all 6 of them) could be so convinced that "The Gift of the Magi", which was described as an ironic tale, was written by Ray Bradbury. And this was for a cash (gift certificate, at least) prize, in addition to the glory that is First Place. And these people were good enough to tie with us. So who would you attribute "The Ransom of Red Chief" to?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Las Vegas Shopping and Snails

In Las Vegas, for the non-gambler, there is shopping. The Fendi dress is covered in sequins that are silver on one side and metallic granite on the other. They are sewn on in such a fashion that you can turn them over revealing the other color with a light touch, forming patterns or messages. If I had $3000, I could have had this dress. It was the most tempting thing I have seen in years. I know it sounds like a very silly design, but in person it was very elegant. The Chanel duffel coat looks like something I might copy the next time I feel like sewing. I had to scope out the Vintage shop to reassure myself that Chanel used to be made to a higher standard. I was sure that the facings in the back of the earlier dresses matched up exactly, while the current collection let go items that had at least 1/8th inch difference. One of those things that no one can even see when you are wearing it, but for the price, it was a surprise. The neatest thing in the Vintage store was this Hermes Seascape purse with the lighthouse clasp. My mother's sister collects lighthouses, and I had to send this picture to her daughter, in case she had a big Vegas win in her future, so she would know what to buy her mother. The issue of what my cousin Jae gets her mother for Christmas is so terrible that it can occupy an entire year. After traveling to many antique stores searching with her mother for the perfect round table for her dining room (and finding it), my cousin spent an entire year crocheting the most beautiful white tablecloth. It was amazing. Everyone who saw it couldn't wait to hear how her difficult-to- please (French) mother would react to this perfect gift to top off her perfect table. Can you guess? She said, "Now I won't ever be able to get rid of that round table!" Although it was only 2 years later that she gave the table to a new neighbor - the exact location of the tablecloth is still in doubt. On a positive note, we were the only students in Kindergarten to have eaten snails that were cooked first.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Disneyland On A Really Hot Day Is Not For Sissies!

Spent today at Disneyland with my daughter and her boyfriend, Mike and some of his relatives. It was pretty hot, topping out at 102. The Halloween decorations are wonderful. (Except in the Space Mountain, where the ghostly spector chasing you through the Universe is just too scary.) The newly revised Star Tours ride was wonderful, and at least half of the wait was in an airconditioned room. Mike had an app on his phone that gave the wait time for all the rides. It was very accurate. It told us when to head for the Haunted Mansion to enjoy the Nightmare Before Christmas decor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Party At The Ghost Bar

Went to a party at the Ghost Bar in Las Vegas last night. It's on the 55th floor of The Palms and on the patio there is a Plexiglas square that you can stand on and look down. It would have been more amazing if the glass wasn't all scuffed up from people's shoes, but it was still pretty neat. I love heights and usually just settle for bridges and Disneyland rides, but this type of thing could work for me. Word of warning - when you go to the Ladies' Room, don't freak when some silent woman in black creeps up on you. She is the attendant and there is a small space where she sits, that you would never notice until she materializes as if from thin air. I shrieked and refused the towel she held out with my usual "the resources of the planet are being used up at an alarming rate" spiel which was wasted on the ghostly entity which seemed to only understand Spanish.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Perfect Husband

I plan on discussing the notion of "The Perfect Husband" in length during the month of November. But in thinking about the subject, I realize that I have given the impression that I have "The Perfect Husband". This is a picture of John, his friend Frank, and his other friend, Elvis. Not much more to say, is there?

Swans in Las Vegas

Embassy Suites in Las Vegas has a pool in the lobby with the fattest Koi I have ever seen. But the weirdest thing in the pool is the pair of Swans - Elvis and Prisilla.

Friday, October 7, 2011

How Can You Not Love A City Named Montebello?

Over 50 years ago, I lived in the City of Montebello, California. Not a lot of memories, but here are a few: absolute freedom of speeding off on my trike naked down the sidewalk (got spanked for running off, not for naked part); swinging almost to the moon after it had finally cooled off enough to play outside; following my amazing big brothers around; having my father lie on his back and fly us up in the air on the soles of his feet; my mother sewing wonderful twirly dresses for me on an old black Singer; and finding the hugest bug on the toilet one night when I got out of bed to pee.
On later visits to Montebello, I found that it wasn't nearly as wonderful a town for adults as I thought it was for kids. So, with this knowledge, I've decided to approach my time in Tulsa with the same disregard for adult concerns that made Montebello such a fond memory for me. Weather - not wonderful, but I'll wait until nighttime to swing; bugs - unbelievable, so I'll photograph them and marvel at their multitude; (I should note here that for my entire life since the mega beetle on the toilet fiasco, I have always checked the seat for creatures first, a colossal waste of time when viewed cumulatively); recreation - I'll swim as much as possible and get a new bike (which I will ride while dressed - the point at which I start riding naked again is a clear indication that it is time to put me in a home.); and flying - I'll fly off to Southern California whenever necessary (because sometimes it just is).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Women Should Be Treated As Being Just As Valuable As Customers As Men - Or - Hilton Fort Worth Shouldn't Hire Flirty Female Bartenders

I have never written about the wonderfulness that is the Hilton Executive Lounge, which, due to my husband's constant travel and stays at their hotels, I am welcomed into. Up until today, I have considered it a sort of adult Wonka Land, with amazing pastries and sandwiches and drinks and hot tea and snacks like mixed nuts without the peanuts. In Prague, there was a complete afternoon tea, in addition to everything else. And they were spotless and friendly. But I never wrote about them before because in typically French fashion, I took them for granted until I found something to complain about. (I don't really want to be this way, but the hard wiring was done in the womb, I'm afraid). I am in Fort Worth, Texas at the downtown Hilton and just wanted a cup of tea. No problem, I slipped my special key into the elevator and got access to the 15th floor. I used my key again to get into the Executive Lounge. Something was amiss - there were dirty plates on the tables that went with the comfortable chairs, there were no clean forks, and there was NO HOT WATER!!!

Sounds pretty bad, but I understand being overworked and understaffed, so waited politely for the one attendant , who was at the bar. I should have known it would not go well, when she told me after I handed her my cup, the she wasn't going to go get it "right now", implying that I needn't stand by the bar waiting. She then went back to chatting up the two marginal males and I went and sat in the comfy chairs and waited with the dirty dishes. 10 minutes later, she was still chatting and I left, taking with me the $5 tip I would have given her for the water. She of course, came after me telling me that she was now ready to get me my hot water. I told her that I had to leave because I was going downstairs to complain about her. Was I surprised when I got downstairs and was told that the night manager was already upstairs in the Executive Lounge? The attendant was undoubtedly doing damage control, but at least when the manager came down to the lobby, my hot water showed up too. As basically malcontent as I am, I rarely ever publicly register my complaints, since I hate to be seen as malcontent. And I must admit that I don't feel any better about it, but hope my point that women should be treated as being just as valuable as customers as men are, wasn't lost.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Woolaroc Means Woods, Lakes, And Rocks

Mountain Man Encampment at Woolaroc where we wandered, met Smokey the Mule, and had coffee boiled over an open fire (not for me - I'm strictly a Tea person). The guys wearing the dead animals are Trapper, (whose great uncle died at the Alamo) and Roger, and the other guy is John. (Yes, I chose to be married to a guy who wears goofy shirts.) If Tulsa makes me feel like I landed on Mars, this group must be visitors from one of its moons. (Nice friendly visitors, though.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Great Lipstick From CVS

Nuance Salma Hayek Color Vibrance Lipstick Paprika

And why is there no picture of this fabulous lipstick? I wasn't feeling well enough to take my own pictures, but no problem, since I knew there would some on the CVS Pharmacy website. Imagine my surprise - when I searched Google Images for Salma Hayek Lipstick, it auto searched for the most popular parameters and brought up dozens of pictures of Salma Hayek Breastfeeding. Eeeek!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Favorite Small Oklahoma Town - Claremore

Spent another pleasant afternoon in Claremore. Had lunch in this old mansion and bought an Ann Taylor skirt and a brand new Baekgaard orange leather purse at the Goodwill. Then drove north on Route 66 to check out the "World's Largest Totem Pole". (Bigger isn't better when it comes to Totem Poles.) Got a drink at the Sonic Drive-In before heading home. It was "Happy Hour" at Sonic's and the Limeade was half-price - less than a dollar. Good times!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Am I Just A Whimp? Or Is Zumba Really, Really Hard?

Zumba was torture set to music - great music to exercise to, though. But it was still better than watching the end of Oklahoma, the musical. I got to the point where they sang the Ohhhhhh Oklahoma! and then I was done. I didn't want to watch Rod Steiger do bad stuff, which was obviously coming. My husband got up this morning and told me that if I was planning on turning it back on to see the end, he would be at the dentist, since a root canal would be more fun. And yet he can watch John Wayne in the same old movies every day. That's what I get for marrying a straight man!
Oh, and I am going back to Zumba, but I will be looking for Silver Zumba, the Senior Edition.