Sunday, September 30, 2012

Good Time Saturday!

Had a terrific Saturday, really nothing like the usual.  Well, except for the trip to the Recycle Center - a necessity for a West Coast mentality.  (Our other option is to load the car full when we drive to Southern California and then send it all down the recycle chute at the apartment building.  Well, maybe just the once - OK, we have done this three times already.)  And we did start the day at the Y, just like every Saturday, with John swimming laps and me on the treadmill reading yesterday's book.  But then we really got crazy and headed to WilliamsSonoma to look at juicers.  John is a dedicated juicer and uses a Jack Lalane juicer, which is really engineered for only about 100 uses.  A casual juicer would have this until they sent it to the Goodwill.  That day would probably be the day that they tried to juice broccoli, and thought an apple would be enough to mask the taste.  But John juices every day he's home, which means he currently has to hold the lid on while feeding vegetables into the tube.  We have a month at the most to wait for WilliamsSonoma to put his dream juicer on sale.  But first we needed to pre-shop to discover which juicer is his dream juicer.
We went to Utica Square, where the fancy store are.  They even have a Saks, where I popped in to check out the Holiday shade of Chanel nail polish.  I want it - they're out of it.  But the tester was the best orange/coral shade and I'll have it eventually.
And then we strolled, passing all the stores, taking pictures of the wooden statues, and had Starbuck's tea and Key Lime Pie and Italian Creme Cake from my new favorite dessert place in Tulsa, Queenie's.  Good Times!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Highclere Castle - The Real Downton Abbey

I read this book today, intrigued by the promise of the story of "The Read Downton Abbey" and wondering how much Lady Almina would remind me of Lady Cora Crawley, as played by Elizabeth McGovern.  It all seemed a bit too good to be true, althought we were .assured that it had been carefully researched by the current Countess of Carnarvon, the family that owns Highclere Castle, the setting for the PBS TV series, Downton Abbey.
Toward the end, we were told of the widowed Almina remarrying Ian Dennistoun, the ex-husband of one of her good friends, Dorothy Dennistoun.  And then it was mentioned that there was some kind of a court case that carried on for years between them.  It was the court case that caused a law to be passed that divorce preceeding would never again be reported in the news.
But the book really only promised the "Real Downton Abbey", not the real story.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another Food That I Never Heard Of. No Wait, Shouldn't That Be "Another Food Of Which I've Never Heard"?

Here's something interesting I found at the Deli in the grocery store - Oklahoma Caviar.  What's in it?  Black-eyed peas, red onions, sliced Spanish olives, Jalapenos, yellow bell peppers, and an oil-vinegar dressing.  Just add a sandwich - delightful!
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a long history with unusual foods - having French grandparents and a long time subscription to Sunset Magazine, plus a collection of cookbooks that weight more than a car, has insured that I at least recognize even the trendiest new fad foods.  For example: Think Yerba Maté is new - we have had a gourd and weird silver stir/straw/infuser for over 40 years old.  (I was thinking how odd my choice of words was, specifically "insured" and cookbooks weighing more than a "car".  And then my phone rang, a phone call from my daughter telling me that her car had been hit by the woman who has the parking space next to her.  But then I remembered that I have very good insurance on her car, and gave her the State Farm agent name - so it'll be all right.  So back to food writing.)  Anyway, I love to visit the Purple Pig, a Tapas Bar in Chicago, where I was introduced to Farro, a grain much like wheat, that was done with a roasted winter squash, in a sort of small salad.  I Googled for recipes, and found a Vegan blog, Flora Foodie with a recipe for Acorn Squash Stuffed With Farro.  I love vegetables and often read vegetarian blogs for recipe ideas, so I added this one to my list.  I might have glanced at the picture of the cute blonde writing it - did not recognize my niece, Leslie (the one I wrote about who passed the California Bar last November).  In my defense, it is a tiny picture and she has a different dog than I'm used to seeing her with.  Some days, I just feel clueless!   

Oklahoma Has Varmints, Too

  A couple of my favorite blogs post pictures of the protected wild animals that mess up their gardens.  Faux Fuchsia and Red Cardinal both have a plague of Bush Turkeys wreaking destruction on a regular basis, and just recently, Patricia of Red Cardinal had a Possum visit because she had unknowingly provided its favorite food, purple pansies.  I know how these gardeners feel, since in Seattle we were plagued with Raccoons, who burrowed under freshly laid sod night after night, never giving it a chance to root.  While I'm not surprised to find Raccoons are also here in Tulsa, and half expected to find it on the menu, I was surprised to find this flock of Canadian Geese.  The main problem with Canadian Geese visiting your yard, is the massive amount of goose poop they leave behind - and this stuff is slippery.  Think axle grease level of slippery.  Isn't Oklahoma home to thousands of hunters?  I'm told these Geese are delicious, by the bye.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Decent Food? But Why?

Look at the dinner I made tonight - Baked Fish with Lemon, Cauliflower and Butternut Squash (the queen of all Winter squashes) - sprinkled with a bit of shredded Cheddar,a baked Sweet Potato, a Green Salad, and a bowl of Peaches and Raspberries, with a cup of Tea.  I know, I was going to keep eating junk until John got home from his business trip. I guess I am just incapable of going without a decent meal for more than 4 days.  I know, I'm disappointed in myself too.
And I have no excuse - this had nothing to do with health.  As a matter of fact, I went to the free health screening put on by the Tulsa Department of Health at the YMCA today and got perfect scores in everything.  I was very pleased with myself and joked it up with the nurse who was explaining all the results.  One test was new to me - they measure your waist and your hips and come up with a ratio to decide how healthy you are.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have an abnormally (at least I think it is) large waist, and I said to the nurse that I was always worried about it being a health concern.  But my ratio was excellent, so I said I guessed the big hips were what saved me.  As we were already laughing about it, the nurse said how nice it was to be saved by having a fat arse.  And then we couldn't stop laughing.  Did you know that low Triglycerides are associated with low stress?  Yes, mine are pretty low.
Oh, before I forget, I tried a new fish today, Basa, (on the plate above) and had high hopes for it based on the name, even though the fish guy went out of his way to explain that this is a mild flavored fish and was not "firm flesh".  What he should have said is that if you want Cream of Wheat Cereal that tastes like it was stored next to the Fish Sticks in the refrigerator, this is your fish!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Can I Please Get My Iced Tea Without Sugar? Please?

Is anyone really interested in the small cultural difference between Oklahoma and the West Coast?  It's the main question I'm asked in both places.  I end up talking about difference that are huge in every day practice, but just sound kind of silly.  For example, in the locker room in OK, everyone is pretty well covered up.  Anyone with a hidden camera in that locker room would die of boredom.  Lots of women dress in the toilet stalls - ick!  While in the locker rooms in Seattle, flashing naughty bits was the norm.  There was only one day in the locker room at the Washington Athletic Club, (the Club where I met my husband), when everyone was covered up, possibly due to a faulty thermostat.  And you might wonder how I can remember such an obscure bit of trivia?  Well, it's because this was the day that a couple of senior aged sisters came in pushing their father ahead of them in a wheel chair, and announced that "Dad just wanted to see the women's locker room!"  On any other day, the shock of all those naked females would have killed the 90+ year old man, but I have always wondered if he knew that.  Suicide by pulchritude?  And I must apologize for the use of the word, "pulchritude", which almost violates my rule of never using a big word when a small one will do just as well.  I say almost, because nothing else had the alliterative appeal or made the phrase as tidy.  But my point, and I do have one, is that every single day in the locker room, I have to juggle my towel and shimmy into my clothes so that I can fit in here.  I never could have appreciated how these tiny differences add up without this move.          

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Anyone Who Knows Me, Knows That I'm A Social Eater

This weekend just reinforced what I have always known - I don't really enjoy meals by myself.  I should explain - I took John to the airport at 6am Saturday.  He had to get set up for a huge trade show in Las Vegas.  He'll be gone all week, which I am quite used to.  But being gone all weekend is not something I'm used to.  So I have been at loose ends, especially nutritionally.  You might think this type of ennui could be overcome by liberal amounts of comfort foods - but that would involve putting all that effort into preparing - and most comfort foods take lots of time.  Fresh baked bread, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, homemade macaroni and cheese - none of these are quick and easy.  So I've come up with my own category - Pouting Food.  That's right - I've spent this weekend pouting and found the right diet to enhance the experience.
First step is to forage through your refrigerator and eat anything chocolate you can find.  Thanks to my sweet daughter, I have (had) two bags of Ghiradelli Squares, one assorted flavors and one all dark chocolate.
When that gets old, drink some milk right out of the carton.  (This is surprisingly difficult for an adult to manage, and since the object of this way of eating is to make everything as easy as possible, this step should be modified - I guess you could drink wine right out of the bottle.)
At some point, your stomach may need more than chocolate.  I've added my favorite yogurt, Vanilla Cinnamon, Orange flavor in The Greek God's brand.  (Not readily available, but worth searching for.)  And toast with the last of the cherry jam from France and a Banana Split with America's answer to Nutella, a Chocolate Peanut Butter spread.  For everyone on the West Coast, I am sorry to have pictured Blue Bunny Ice Cream, since you can't get it there, and it won't mail properly, but it is Absolutely Fabulous!  (Remember French and Saunders comedy?)

Thank goodness tomorrow is Monday and I'll find someone to go out to lunch with,  Otherwise, I think I'd starve!  (Definitely I'd be nutritionally compromsed.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just When You Compliment Her On Her Comedy, Meryl Streep Does Oklahoma Drama

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't think I look like Meryl Streep.  But I am always relieved to get back to Oklahoma, where no stranger ever asks me if I am her.  When I am in Southern California, a couple of times a week, I have to tell someone that the real Meryl Streep would have a much better trainer and dermatologist.  So what is all over the Tulsa World paper tonight?  A new movie being filmed in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, called August: Osage County, produced by George Clooney, staring Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Sam Shepard, and (you guessed it) Meryl Streep.  Rats!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Granola Bread And Cherry Mash Bars - Breakfast Of Champions

One of the things I really missed while on the West Coast was the Cherry Mash Candy Bar.  So I ran out and picked up a few - after I finished the small stash I had in the door of the refrigerator.  And I found this scandalously expensive loaf of Granola Bread.  Now, doesn't this bread look healthy?  Perhaps even healthy enough to counteract those Cherry Mashes?  I hope so.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Yes, I Really Did Order The All-You-Can-Eat Rib Special

Had dinner tonight with my friend Jane, the Mah Jong teacher and math professor, who I hadn't seen since getting back to Tulsa.  She asked what I was in the mood to eat, and I said, something you can't get in California - Oklahoma food.  She was raised in the Panhandle, that intriguing bit that makes the state look like a skillet that you could just grab by that handle - and came up with this place right away.  Legend's Bar-B-Que and Steak Joint, with the motto "Smokin' The Competition".  And it just happened to be all you can eat rib night.  Which meant that it was cheaper to pay for all I could eat (4 ribs) than to just order the 4 rib dinner.  Same amount of food - just a dollar less.  Now, honestly, if someone hadn't recommended this place, would you chose to eat here?  (And in a rare fluke, my picture has actually made the building look better than in real life.)
All over the news - the reporting of how angry the British royal family is over the pictures of a topless member of the family.  While I would like to be sympathetic, I just can't help being a little practical here.  If your new in-laws insist on the wearing of tights (we would call them panty hose, I believe) at all times, what made you even consider sunbathing topless?  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I wish I had a picture or two of my body from back in the day when I had it.  I mean, there are no immodest pictures of me anywhere, so I have no proof.  So maybe in 30 years after having 3 or 4 kids, the young royal will take secret pleasure in the fact that everyone knows how great she once looked.  Just saying.  Bright-side and all.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hatch Chilies

 Anyone who knows me knows that I love Chilies.  Some more than others.  And this is not a macho thing - I'm OK with the heat, but it's the flavor of the variety that does it for me.  So I was pretty excited when I found Hatch Chilies from New Mexico at my Tulsa Whole Foods.  I had picked up some at the Whole Foods in Irvine, California, but didn't expect to find them here, as experience has shown me.  The Whole Foods in Tulsa may be the greatest thing in Tulsa, but it is less than half what a Whole Foods store is on the West Coast.  And not only did I get Hatch Chilies, but they had Chicken Chorizo too - what could I do but a Chili Chorizo Omelet.  With a side of figs and raspberries.

 Do you cook on a gas stove?  In Southern California, I do.  And I forget how difficult it is to cook on an electric stove.  Getting the butter properly foamy for an omelet is nearly impossible.  In the time it takes to take the picture, foamy turns into burned.  And your omelet turns out a little rustic - but it was still delicious.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Deserted Okra - Or How To Grow Your Own Swords

I was in Southern California for over a month and left my garden patch on it's own.  Actually I told all the other gardeners to help themselves to all the okra they wanted.  The okra that is left on the bushes seems to have changed from food to weapon - or possible some type of loofah.  Suffice it to say that this is some tough okra.  But pretty.
The leeks are doing quite well and will be starring in next Sunday's Quiche Lorraine or Vichyssoise - or maybe both.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

List Of States? Do You Have One?

Brown Mansion in Coffetville, Kansas?  Amelia Earhart's birthplace in St. Joseph, Missouri?  How did I end up here?  I got back to Tulsa Tuesday night and John had a business trip that involved driving up to Omaha the very next morning.  So I went with him, even though the trip would have to be all about business, barely slowing down to get a few pictures of places I hope to eventually see close up.  And I finally got to cross Nebraska off my list of states.  (Doesn't everyone have a list of states that they still need to visit - and landing there in an airplane doesn't qualify?)  I have driven through all the states bordering Nebraska, and now I've done Nebraska, too.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Mother's Email, Copia, And More Movie Discussion

My mother sent me this cute email, which would have been a comment, if she figured out how to comment.
I still don't know anything about blogging, but I discovered by reading yours that I lam not the only person who could live without reality TV.  I don't even know the names of most of them, but I did watch Dancing with the Stars for a while--until they seemed to forget or change the meaning of "star".     That's when I found out what a kardashian was.   It appears that Bruce Jenner was good at doing some things, but picking wives was not one of them---remember the first one.  I think she wrote a book, a real ego trip book.  Anyway, thanks for letting me know that there are other people out there who do not watch reality TV.  I have discovered a new PBS show that I like called A Taste of History.  The chef cooks in old iron pots hung in fireplaces and other such historical situations.  He is on just before the Julia Childs reruns.  I still regret not making it to her 90th birthday party at Copia, but I'll settle for making it to my own.  I am beginning to understand my sister's addiction to qvc.  She likes to have it on because everyone is always happy and upbeat because they are selling things that everyone will want.  I am always happy when I watch it because I discover a lot of really great things that I CAN live without.  Enough rambling. I have to go find my cat and assure her that the Air Show at Mather will not last forever and the planes are not going to actually enter the house.

Most of this is self-explanatory, but Mather is an active Air Force base about a mile from her house.  Copia is a place I've been meaning to write about - a magical place that is now gone.  A celebration of food and wine, located in Napa - nonprofit, and my mother was a founding member.  (Meaning that she sent her check for a senior membership before they even opened their doors.)  That's where they invited that Blogger Julie from the movie to go.  Pretty funny if both my mother and she showed up at the same place.  And yes, using the "F word" to describe cooking from her book would have upset Julia Child - heck, it even upsets me just imagining it. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Who Knew Meryl Streep Would Be A Perfect Julia Child?

I guess I'm the last person to see the film, Julie and Julia/, but that's what I did this afternoon.  That was half fabulous movie and have inane protracted whine.  Is it necessary to designate which is which - OK, I'll give my opinion - the Julia Child part of the movie was terrific.  It made me wonder why they even added the other part, which I will fast forward through the next time I watch this.  Actually, if they rereleased this as just Julia, I'd have to own it.  I liked it that well.  But not to be confused with another movie called "Julia" which Meryl Streep was also in.  The Lillian Hellman smuggles money to aid her girlfriend Julia fight fascism story.  (She must have been in her 20's, since I was in my 20's when I saw that movie.)  That was back in the days when just having Meryl in the cast told you that the movie would make you feel bad before you left the theatre.  When did Meryl Streep turn into a "feel-good" actress?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Do I Believe In Feng Shui? Even I'm Not Sure!

Some one who I know actually knows the stuff, told me that for a bedroom to have proper energy, the bed must never be positioned in such a way that you can see out the door.  This was pretty interesting to me because I have always liked to be able to see out the bedroom door when in bed.  And so I've spent my entire adult life out of Feng Shui for at least 8 hours a day.  Apparently, it doesn't matter that these 8 hours have been spent sleeping - no, one third of my life has been spent this way.  So why do I sleep so well?  Does my curly hair confuse the energies and deflect them?  Does being left-handed switch the polarities?  I mean, I really want to believe in Feng Shui.  And Astrology.  And Psychics.  And Mediums - no, not Mediums, that too creepy.  But definitely Psychics.  And that Astrology stuff is right far too often.  I have been know to correctly guess a few people's signs based on traits assigned to specific birth dates.  Spooky!  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

TV - Part II

As stated yesterday, everyone who knows me knows I like my TV.  One of the nice things about TV, is that when John and I are in different towns (which happens quite often, given the amount of travel he does for work), there are a few programs that we both like and know we will both be watching.  Rather like what Elizabeth Barrett Browning expounded on in one of her Sonnets From the Portuguese.  Or as Fievel, the mouse in An American Tail, sang about so eloquently in the song, Somewhere, Out There.
So anyway, tonight I turned to NCIS, perhaps the favorite program of our shared viewing list, and there was something political, with the First Lady, who is definitively not Gibbs, on instead.  Oh well, maybe it's just delayed.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sanity Reigns!

I like TV - but anyone who knows me knows that I don't watch Reality TV.  I don't know who the American Idol is or how they pick them, I don't know the first thing about Survivor except for a social evening with friends that degenerated when the host brought out his Survivor audition tape and played it numerous times.  And that Jersey Shore - Fugeddaboutit!  How about those West Coast favorites? - I know they have glossy black hair and the oldest one preys on young basketball players, but that's enough information for anyone on the Kardashians.  (Whose names, amusingly, Autocorrect wants to make "Guardianships".)  But my point, and I do have one, is that just recently the city of Los Angeles refused to let Kim Kardashian have a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Finally some sanity!  Yeah!

Happy Labor Day! *Boredom Alert - Content May Put Non-Family To Sleep

My doctor guessed the days my sons would be born on.  This is more amazing if you realize that he didn't just use his doctor chart and give me that day.  My oldest was born on Memorial Day - that is the old date when we used to celebrate Memorial Day before we became focused on 3 day weekends and made all Memorial Days on Mondays.  With my daughter, (who was to be our third son, named Cameron, but decided to throw us a curve by being a girl) he mentioned Labor Day.  Good day for labor, don't you think?  (He laughed.)  When I checked the official charts for predicting the date of birth, I found he had added 10 days to that date.  But like I said, he was just guessing.  And he'd been my doctor for over 15 years, so we had a trust thing already.  And he'd been right on the date for the older two.  And doggone it, late on Labor Day, labor started.  What he hadn't known when he met me at the hospital, this wasn't going to be an eight hour labor (which has now been redefined as "short labor", having seemed very long compared to a mother who had all seven of her children in less than 16 hours total - the last two in half an hour from first tiny contraction to second twin emerging).  So Amanda was born two days later, on a day that will never be Labor Day as long as they insist on picking the day to insure that three day weekend.