Monday, January 31, 2011
But this isn't a food post. The food was great, don't get me wrong, but my mother pointed something out during dinner and after that we were all just transfixed.
Sitting behind our table in one of the booths was a couple. They were probably in their mid to late 50's and simply judging from their appearance, I would say, on the upper portion of the income scale. After ordering the wife reached into her purse and removed a bottle of Antibacterial gel that looked way too big to fit in her purse to begin with(Hello? Mary Poppins!!!). Both her and her husband partook of the clear fluid and copiously smeared it about their hands and forearms.
Now I see that all the time. People carry those bottles around like the plague has returned. What commenced from that point was a ritual, that I almost have to assume is repeated every time this couple eats at a place that isn't their own dining room table.
Once her hands were sufficiently "sanitized", the wife began wiping down the flatware. I have also seen people do this in restaurants, not horribly uncommon. What struck me as odd, is that she wasn't using the napkin (which was white, and obviously freshly laundered) she was using towelette wipes she had brought in her purse. She then reached across the table and proceeded to perform the same ritual on her husband's knife and fork.
I thought, "Oh wow…that's a lot to go through for a night out. But it wasn't over yet! Once their drinks arrived the exterior of the glasses were treated to the same loving wipe-down as the flatware. I couldn't wait to see what she was going to do to the plate of food once it was set on the table.
No luck there, when the food arrived, they grasped their "sanitized" flatware and dug in. The highlight of the entire Circus Act was when the husband asked her to pass the salt. She paused, reached into her bag, grabbed another towelette and picked up the salt shaker, like it was a rotting piece of flesh, and passed it to her husband. Of course, it was very important that she turn the shaker just perfectly so that he could also grab the "towelette protected" side of the shaker.
Now, I'm not one to poke fun…alright, you got me…I am SOOOOOO totally one to poke fun, but while this was all very involved and well thought out; I am finding some holes in her sanitizing logic. First of all, what about the inside of the glass her drink came in? I'm surprised she didn't ask the waiter to bring it over before filling it to apply her chemical wash to. My other problem is her total disregard for the plate her food was sitting on. That plate could have been face down on a counter that was wiped with a wet rag. A wet rag with that had no disinfectant on it! GASP! THE HORROR!!! Not to mention the fact that if she was so concerned about the cleanliness of the salt shaker she could have quite simply brought her own packets of salt.
I appreciate, especially during Flu Season, that people feel the need to take a little precaution. HOWEVER, antibacterial wipes and gels are not going to protect you from the Flu or SARS or Herpes. The Flu is a virus, not a bacteria, so that wipe, with it's ability to stop 99% of bacteria ain't gonna do squat! At best, those wipes and gels are going to protect you against a sinus infection…maybe. It troubles me that our society, or a group of it, have become so obsessed with germs.
Germs are good. I love germs. Germs keep my immune system pumping. Germs make sure that it's harder for nasty germs to get to me.
My Hubby chastised me for making fun of the OCD folks. But I really don't think that was the case here. I have seen a lot of OCD behavior and this didn't quite fit the bill. It was almost there, but not quite. I think this poor woman is a victim of the internet. I think she has spent far too much time "Goggle"ing sites that instruct her to do these things when she eats anywhere but her own kitchen. I think if she was truly OCD she would have brought her own flatware, glassware and plate. If being sanitized were such a concern, I think an OCD person probably would have checked out the bathroom, which is always a good indicator of how the kitchen looks. I think she also would have been more concerned about her burger which she ordered medium rare. AND, I think a truly OCD person probably wouldn't have eaten out to begin with.
Lots of things just didn't "Gel", so to speak.
Friday, January 28, 2011
"What happened on Tuesday?", you ask. Well, on Tuesday my new bar stools were delivered from The Room Store. Tod helped me pick these out prior to Christmas, but they were on back order. So exactly one month after Christmas they were finally delivered. Here they are…
I have real stools! Prior to these I had some "el cheap o" metal and plastic ones from IKEA that weren't that comfortable to sit on for any period of time. Just ask Tod, he can attest to that. They looked great and completely fit into my "Modern Meets Antique" decor but it was a situation where "Style Before Comfort" didn't really work.
These, with their sturdy wood frames and cushy leather seat…well you can sit on these for hours! The Hubby spent his entire Snow Day yesterday working from home on one of these stools and never once complained about being uncomfortable.
Oh, and that is my Full Bar in the background…that's going to get a post of it's own at some point in the future. I should probably dust it first.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
A few years ago I discovered this little gem
The Beaujolais-Villages by Georges DuBeuf. I am a red wine freak. This one encompasses everything I love about a red wine. It's not too dry. It's fruity without being sweet. It doesn't taste like mud, which is often the case with a Merlot.
It also led me to this wine
The Beaujolais Nouveau, provided by the same vintner. Much more fruity and a much lighter taste than it's Villages counterpart.
Both of these wines can be hard to find. They typically come out in October of every year and by the end of February they are gone. So I highly recommend buying them by the case. I typically get 3 cases of each to last me the year and still by July I am trying to account for every last drop of it.
It's the Life of a Lush…don't judge.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
|Time exposure taken out my back window. Yes...it's night.|
Snow and I have always had a love/hate relationship...
I love how clean it makes everything look.
I hate how the salt and cinders spread on the road dirty it up.
I love how it feels falling lightly on my face.
I hate how it feels sliding down the back of my neck.
I love that, because of it, I usually get to work from home.
I hate being cooped up in the house.
I love that it makes me drive slower and appreciate what's around me.
I hate that other people drive like maniacs in it.
I love standing out in it late at night. Everything is so quiet.
I hate the noise the snow plow makes going past my house.
I love that it reminds me that I live in an area with seasons.
I hate that cold seasons make me grumpy.
I love how it sticks to the trees.
I hate how it sticks to my shoes.
I love watching Molly burrow in it.
I hate having to towel her off when she comes inside.
I love watching out the window as The Hubby shovels it.
Hmmm, can't think of a "hate" for that.
How do you feel about snow?
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I live in a church, yep an honest-to-god church. Lots of my friends and family get quite a kick out of the least religious person they know living in an old church. Trust me, the irony isn't lost on me.
Six years ago, when I began house hunting, I sat down and made a list of the things I was looking for in a house. I wanted an open floor plan, lots of windows and hard wood floors. That being hammered out I began searching with a realtor. Not living in an urban area I was having a hard time filling my list of requirements. We don't have old warehouses here turned in spectacular loft condos. So, I started looking at old gas stations, old banks, even a few old warehouses. Then one day my realtor came to me with a church. I thought, "Really? Are you out of your mind?" We went and looked at it and I was hooked. It was amazing, but way more space than I needed and a little out of my price range for the amount of renovation it would need. That church is now a coffee house, a much better fit.
A few months later one of my coworkers pointed out an auction listing to me for a church just across the mountain from where I was currently living. My friend Philip and I went to take a look at it during the auction preview and I again fell in love. It was the perfect size, a nearly 100 year old little country church, previously owned my 2 german women who taught dance in it. The interior was in good shape and largely untouched in terms of any renovation. Before I even left the preview I could see in my head exactly how my house would be.
Auction day came and I was really nervous. There were about 80 people at the auction. A lot of them were there for the small items being auctioned off first. but I did spy a few inspecting the building and it's foundation. That scared me, if someone other than me wanted it...how could I win? I had gleaned from an inside source/friend of mine what the minimum the owners will willing to accept and really was only prepared to go 5k over that. Would I go 10K just to get it? What if the bidding went higher than that? Would I be prepared to throw it all on the line to "win" my dream house???
Once all of the smaller items were auctioned, bidding opened on the property itself. The auctioneer opened the bidding at the minimum and I waited a moment to see if anyone else's hand went up. No ones did, so I raised my hand. At which point every set of eyes in the room were suddenly focused on me. I don't know if they thought I was crazy or suspicious of my intentions. Thankfully, and some might want to say through divine intervention, no one else bid. The auctioneer tried, with all his might, to get a higher bid, he went on and on, and finally left the podium to confer with the owners to see if they would accept the minimum bid. At that point I suddenly realized, none of these people watching were here to bid on the property or if they were the minimum was too high for them. They all just wanted to see who was crazy enough to want it!
The auctioneer returned and opened the bidding once more. At this point I was about to lose control of all bodily functions. But still no one outbid me. Finally after what seemed like hours and I'm sure was only 15 minutes, the Auctioneer pronounced the property "Sold, to the only bidder". Then I did lose control, not of all bodily functions, but at the very least my voice. I screamed, yes I screamed, probably like a girl and grabbed my realtor and hugged him and his associate. I couldn't believe I'd just bought a church!
This church. World, meet my house. House...world.
What followed, aside from all of the auction folks wondering if I was going to bulldoze it, was 6 years of renovation. I am happy to say it is done now...mostly. There are a few little touches to follow, but the major work is out of the way. Just in time for it's 100th Anniversary in 2015.
So, through this blog, I am going to take you back in time to some of the projects and headaches along the path to where it is now. If any of you work for HGTV talk me up :-)
Monday, January 24, 2011
Last night while I was at the grocery store ground beef was on sale. Knowing that my stock of pre-browned beef was getting low, I grabbed one of those huge 3 pounders and made my way home. I decided to brown half of the beef for future use and the other half I decided to make into meatloaf.
Meatloaf mechanics are pretty basic. You need meat, spices, something gooey to stick it all together and something to add as a filler. Luckily I had eggs in the fridge (almost out of date, but still good). That gave me my goo. Spices also were not a problem, always a lot of those on hand. I had to go to the pantry for the filler. Flinging open the doors I found I had no bread crumbs, no saltines, no stuffing mix. I started to panic a little. You have to put something in meatloaf of a fiber-ish nature or it comes out rock hard like a giant loaf hamburger. There was cereal, but I didn't think Crunch Berries were the way to go. Triscuits? A little too fiber-ish. My eyes came to rest on the box of Wheat Thins Ranch Flavor. Hmm, filler and spices all in one? I grabbed my trusty rolling pin and pulverized the crackers right in the bag till I had a nice fine crumb.
Into the bowl with everything, and then comes my favorite part of meatloaf, getting in there with your hands and mushing (no technical terms in Off-The-Cuff Cooking™) it all together. It reminds of making mud pies when I was a kid. Some people will tell you not to mush your meatloaf too much when mixing. I find the more you mush the better you incorporate your ingredients and the more even your meatloaf turns out. I mush my meatloaf within an inch of it's life!
Another great debate then begins. Should I throw it in a loaf pan or mound it on a flat baking pan? I can go either way on this one. Mounding provides more crusting, if you like that sort of thing. I went with a loaf pan on this occasion, thereby allowing the meat to cook longer in it's own juices making a moister loaf. I also thought the Wheat Thins might need a little more juice to "sog up" than say saltine or bread crumbs might. The "sogging" of the fiber element is very important in meatloaf. If your fiber element doesn't "sog" then you wind up with grainy meatloaf...ick.
Into the oven it went. OMG, I forgot a sauce! Out of the oven it came. Back to the Pantry I went. Saucing a meatloaf is another opportunity to add flavor. You can go the gravy route, the tomato sauce route, ketchup is often a favorite. Once I even used a sour cream sauce that created a Stroganoff Meatloaf...yummmm! I opted for the ketchup, into which I mixed a healthy amount of garlic powder. I then spread that mixture thickly on top of the loaf.
And back into the oven the meatloaf went. Now lets talk about baking. My general meatloaf rule is 350 degrees and a half hour for every pound of meat you've used. That is my rule for the loaf pan. It gets trickier when you mound the beef on a flat baking pan. Depending on the height of your mound you may need to increase or decrease your baking time. Meatloaf really isn't meant to be served rare. or even medium well. A meatloaf should be done, as in cooked through. I use the convection setting on my oven in order to insure that the top cooks evenly and the bottom doesn't burn. I checked on the loaf about 25 minutes into it cooking and noticed that the sauce wasn't cooking up, so I switched the oven over to broil for a couple of minutes to get the sauce bubbling.
Once done, I removed it from the loaf pan and allowed it to rest while I microwaved some veggies. It's important to let it rest for a few minutes. You'll get less breakage when slicing a rested meatloaf than if you try to slice it hot out of the oven. Here is my rested meatloaf.
I love how the sauce caramelized on the top. Also note the consistency in the "grain". That comes from all the mushing. So here is the final plated dinner. I opted for green beans as my veggie. The Hubby loved it and Molly wanted some too. She really is my true gauge. If she doesn't want a bite then we probably shouldn't be eating it either. And yes, I like a lot of real butter on my green beans...don't judge.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Now before you label me a hater, here me out. I love the presentation of sushi. The colors and the rolls, something about it speaks to me from a design sense. I think it is the texture and the idea that most of it is raw that bothers me. I have found some flash-fried sushi rolls that I have enjoyed immensely.
But sushi got me to thinking. Why can't you have normal everyday American food presented as sushi?
Thus was born my dream...Soo Shee! - American food in a sushi presentation.
To give you an idea what I'm talking about here are some pics of things I've found at other venues, and some things I have created on my own.
So there you have it. I dream of a world where traditional food items are bite sized and incredibly delicious. For my next tests, I hope to try Soo Shee Mac & Cheese, Soo Shee Eggs Benedict, Soo Shee Pork Roast and perhaps Soo Shee Banana Split. I'll keep you updated on my progress.
Oh, and for copyright and patent sake...
Steal my dream...and I'll cut you :-) No really...with a dull knife!
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Sorry folks. Posting when I am on the road for work isn't going to be as regular as when I am home. I never promised to be a daily poster.
After a 14-16 hour work day, the only thing that is happening in my life is food, copious amounts of alcohol and then tortured sleep.
On the up side. The posting frequency is a really good way to tell if I am home or on the road.
Monday, January 17, 2011
A lot of the time, I just get to notice some the simpler things in life. Today, my job consisted of driving a van around to various hotels in the Walt Disney World complex delivering things. At all of these venues I invariably wound up in their bathrooms, who knew my pee was on such a tight schedule. I think all the coffee helped.
What I noticed is that each hotel had a different kind of soap. One would think that all of the Disney properties would use the same soap...BUT NO! At The Dolphin Hotel, the soap is blue and rather harsh on the skin. I was putting on lotion before I was out the door. The soap at the Bonnet Creek is a creamy white, and quite luxurious, but it had a horrible scent. I think they were trying for lavender and took a wrong turn towards Freesia...ick! The Contemporary Resort's soap smelled like sea water, and it too was very harsh.
My favorite soap of all the ones I sampled today was at The Coronado Hotel. It was creamy and smooth, very little scent and it left my skin feeling soft and supple for a long time after using it. So Disney, if you're listening, start using that soap at all your hotels. I need to ask my contact there is they can tell me if it's a brand name the commoners can purchase.
I am sorely disappointed with many of the soaps available for purchase these days. Too many choices and none of them deliver on many of their claims. So tell me readers, what is your favorite soap? Do you prefer a bar? or something liquid in a dispenser?
Friday, January 14, 2011
Cards, presents, cake...bring em on! Just so you know, I prefer cards with money in them. My cake of choice is yellow cake with white icing, and presents should be within the $40-$100 range.
With that out of the way I would also like to announce that I am using the occasion of my birthday to officially launch this blog endeavor. It's my present to myself. Lots of people like to use their birthdays as a time to reflect on the past year, to beat themselves up about what they haven't accomplished or applaud themselves for what they have. I am choosing to use this day to start something anew. Something that I hope I will still be doing next year this time and for many years to come.
I'm not fooling myself into thinking that my blog will change the world. In fact, I'm don't think my blog will change anything...except perhaps myself. I have always believed that change is good, no matter what the change. So if one person reads what I have posted here and is affected by it, for the good or the bad, I will consider it a worthwhile undertaking...even if that one person is me.
So, enjoy and please feel free to comment (I LOVE IT!) Many thanks to Kim, I know she doesn't like to hear this, but she has been my inspiration for this and for that I am truly grateful, no matter how much we disagree on things. Kisses darling.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Well gentle readers, there is one major difference in the 2 of us. I make no secret of what I do, when, where, and with whom I do it. I hide very little, much to the dismay of many people. My partner, my friends, even my coworkers are aware that my relationship is an open one. As I said to my dear hubby when we were first getting serious, "I am a slut. I was a slut before you met me, there is very little to suggest that this is going to change without a major act of Congress or a shift in the globes rotational axis."
Now people will scoff, "Well an open relationship is the same thing as cheating!" They would be mostly correct, but there is still one major difference. The lies. Cheating involves lying. In order to cheat effectively one must lie to their partner about. The deception is what makes it cheating. Now I know of many relationships that call themselves open and still lie, or simply don't mention the folks they are fooling around with on the side. For some open relationships that works. What it really comes down to is the initial agreement. I myself will not make an agreement to an open relationship that does not include full disclosure. But many consensual open relationships exist that thrive on one or both of partners not being fully cognitively aware of exactly what the other is up to, but yet are completely aware they are indeed up to it.
I will be more careful in the future when dealing with scandalous or sensitive topics to also include my motivations and prior viewpoints so as to avoid and backlash and judgmental finger-pointing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the feedback...I live for it! I just prefer it in the comments section :-)
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I don't mess around with those I know to be married or otherwise in a relationship. It comes down to hypocrisy for me. I don't live in a state where my partner and I can be married. So it bugs me when a person who can take advantage of the benefits and commitment of holy matrimony choses to step outside of that bond to find, for lack of a better word, sex. It especially bothers me when it is a supposedly straight man stepping outside of that bond to have sex with other men. To me that is the ultimate hypocrisy.
Recently, while I was traveling for work, I received a response to one of the postings I post in the local area via CraigsList. The responder was one of my coworkers, a married with children coworker. He doesn't know he was responding to me, of that I am 98.5% sure. In a nut shell, he was looking for sex. Sex with another guy...me (not knowing it was me).
I responded to his post mainly because I wanted to make sure he didn't know it was me and was just playing some sort of prank. He replied, confirming that he had no idea it was me and at that point I broke off the conversation.
Now I am torn, certainly there is no way I would ever have relations with this man. That would break my Golden Rule. But his hypocrisy burns in my blood. I want to tell everyone about his "secret". I want everyone to know what a sleazy slime he is. I want his unsuspecting wife to know about the dangers he is subjecting her too when he travels. The poor wife never knows...until it's too late.
What would you do? Would you tell? Would you keep his secret, but let him know you knew his secret? Would you keep your mouth shut and never speak of it to anyone?
I really don't know which choice I plan to make. I do know I will not be deleting those emails anytime soon...especially the one with his very clear shirtless face picture.
I mean, when you only have one moral you have to always be prepared to play in the mud.
I know I can't wait for the return of Glee!!! It really has become the only show I feel I just can't miss watching. There is something about the combination of the characters, the story telling and the music that I just hate to miss each week.
The return of V has also sparked my interest. I watched the first season and have to say that I was a bit disappointed in it. Usually, unless a new show grabs me by the throat within the first 4 episodes, I let it fall to the wayside. I stuck through V for the entire first season and at the end of it I still wasn't exactly sure I would be back. The second season is off to a bang and has totally made up with me in regards to the season one pitfalls. I am most excited that Jane Badler who played Diana in the original miniseries is now appearing on the show. You can't ask for a better 80's bitch than that! I mean, Joan Collins never ate a Guinea pig!
I also have what I call my "Staple Shows"; Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, and Brother's & Sisters. These are shows that if I miss an episode or 2 I'll live. I enjoy them, but because of their "Soapy" nature, you can miss a few and still be up to date. I could miss 5 episodes of Brothers & Sisters and be just fine. It has been in danger of falling off my schedule for quite some time now if it weren't for Sally Field it would have been gone a long time ago.
As for my comedies, I only have 2. I am enamored with Modern Family and Cougar Town. Lot's of people didn't give Cougar Town a chance. I encourage those folks to give it another chance. It has evolved into an ensemble comedy that is completely different than it's meager beginnings.
My most eagerly awaited premiere of the winter season is, of course...
Now, I hate reality shows. I hate competition shows, but I LOVE THIS SHOW!!! You can have your Top Model, your Top Chef, your "Top" anything. All I need is my RuPaul. I am amazed by this show and now it's "sister" show RuPaul's Drag U. There is nothing more humanizing than taking a bunch of men who enjoy dressing up like women and throwing them into a competition to become the world's next Drag Superstar. It's got everything, drama, tears, and most of all Fabulosity! The competitions are fun (a Scarlet O'Hara themed, make an ensemble out of curtains) and I get goosebumps every week when I hear RuPaul utter the words, "And now...it's time...to...lipsynch for your LIFE!"
That in a nutshell is my TV life. Pretty darn good for a guy who doesn't own a TV set or have cable installed in his house.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
My newest favorite thing is....
The New Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cup!
The thing is...I'm not sure I have one. I mean, I like to write and people say I'm good at it, but is that enough? I like having people read what I write, if they would. I LOVE having people comment on what I write...will they ever? Will I be able to keep coming up with ideas for posts?
So I don't think it comes down to motivation. I think it comes down to fear. I think that if I start another blog and take the time to put it all out there, that no one is going to read it. Let alone comment on it...which, did I mention, I LOVE!!!
I guess really, I'm waiting for the universe to give me a sign. For someone to say, "Oh would ya just do it already! Quit your whining and start writing."
Well, what do you know...I'm 2 posts in already.
Let's find out!
I haven't officially decided to begin this endeavor yet. So let me know what you think of the idea in the comments.