Seriously in need of a nap

January 28, 2009

I am tired.

-I am tired of facilitators that can’t actually facilitate.

-I am tired of being talked over by every old white man sitting around a conference table

-I am tired of having my thoughts or ideas discredited because I am lacking white hair or outdoor pluming.

-I am tired of the whole room turning to me in unison whenever it becomes apparent someone will need to take meeting notes.

-I am tired of being called honey, sweetheart or dear by people I am not living with, drinking with or related to. 

Quite frankly, I am absolutely exhausted.

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Humble Pie

January 24, 2009

-I am humbled by the gift of friendship; by the easy laughter,  smooth conversation and sensation of being completely accepted.  I am humbled by a gift from a dear friend who gave me something so thoughtful and so generous, so kind and so clearly evident of the depth in which she knows me.

-I am humbled by manual labor.  I am humbled by the people who do this work day in and day out in the snow and the wind and the cold without the luxury of five days at a desk to rest their sore backs and heal their wounded hands.

-I am humbled by a friend who choose to bring a child into this world and now waits patiently and lovingly for the infant to arrive.  I am as humbled by her certainty as I am by her calm and I am humbled by the mother I know she will be.

-I am humbled by the man who stood in front of me in line at a market last week and waited with his head high for a manger to re-try a benefits card that would not work. I am humbled by the sack of milk, bread and cheese he was determined to bring home to his family and  I am humbled by my inability to find the best way to help him while I waited and did nothing.

-I am humbled by my husband whose reservoirs of hard work and patience show no visible end.  I am humbled by his enthusiasm to wake up and work the 6th and 7th day of the week and I am humbled by the absence of one word of complaint.

What humbles you?

I know it has been a few weeks since I have posted a five ingredient recipe but I have not forgotten about them.    I made these a few weeks ago for a dinner party at a friends house and they were a big hit.  They seem to go with all the snow we have been having this winter. 

dessert

1 package chocolate covered cherries

1 pt vanilla ice cream

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted as pkg directs and cooled

1 cup semisweet chocolate

3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream

Place chocolate-covered cherries about 5 in apart on a baking sheet lined with non-stick foil or wax paper; freeze 10 minutes.  Remove ice cream from freezer to soften slightly.

Press a scoop of ice cream over each cherry.  Return to freezer for 20 minutes.

Put coconut in a medium bowl. Remove ice cream from baking sheet and roll in coconut, pressing coconut against balls.  Freeze balls on lined sheet 30 minutes.

Place semisweet chocolate in a saucepan over low heat until melted, stirring continuously.   Add cream and stir to combine.

Remove balls from freezer and drizzle with chocolate sauce or serve on the side.

Hi honey, I’m home.

January 21, 2009

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I like to think of myself as a pretty modern woman.  I have a post graduate degree and a job I love.  I did not change my name when I got married* and I still have my own checking account. However, today D and I were talking about something involving money and the new house and it occurred to me that in a lot of ways, our relationship could not be any more stereotypical.  For example:

1) I do the cooking and D deals with the money.  I know that if I sat down with all the financial stuff I have the mental capacity to figure it out.  I also know that if D sat down with a box of rice and read the directions he could steam it with some success**.  But, neither of us bothers because we both know the other one is happy to do it. 

2) I do the cleaning and D deals with the cars.  As you may remember, mechanics make me cry and car talk*** gives me a migraine.  A clean bathroom on the other hand is virtually free and always makes me happy.

3) I buy the cards and gifts and D does all the assembly.  I am happy to report that in my life I HAVE managed to assemble a few things but when it comes to anything from Ikea or directions bound in a book…it is D 100%.  On the flip side, I don’t think D knows what a hostess gift is, let alone where to buy one, where we keep them or when it is appropriate to bring it along with us.

4) I buy the groceries and D takes out the trash.  Yes, I know that I am capable of taking out the trash but it smells and I don’t like it.  And in a pinch D can run to the market and get something I have forgotten but it usually ends with a phone call that goes like this.

D: I can’t find Thyme

me: Are you in the produce section?

D: Yes, it is not here.

me: Go to where the carrots are, not the bagged carrots the fresh carrots.  Now go to the left, it is in a clear package marked fresh Thyme.

D: Why do you always send me for the hidden stuff.

me: D, it is not hidden.  It is thyme. 

5) I print out the directions and D does the driving.  I do not think I need to expand upon this. At all. 

*Ok, to be perfectly honest the reason I did not change my name is because I have just been too lazy to go down to social security, wait in line, change it, change my credit cards, change my license and spend three years correcting people about the pronunciation of my new name.  It really has nothing to do with being forward thinking or independent at all.

** To be fair, D generally cooks for me once a year.  He might do it more but I insist on hovering and reminding him that the All-Clad pans are NOT non-stick and I will kill him with my bare hands if he does anything to hurt them.  People heal, All-Clad is lifetime investment.

*** Click and Clack are the exception because Click and Clack are hilarious

Interview

January 20, 2009

I know these interviews have been popping up on various blogs.  Since the format asks five questions and my dear friend Carmen was kind enough to send me five good ones, I thought I would give it a try.  Here are the rules if you want to participate.

1. If you want to participate, leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here goes:

1) What made you start a blog?

I worked with a number of people who were all writing really neat blogs.  Every once in a while when my friend Mike and I were together and I was going on and on about something he would say “Dude”  (because that is the very mature way we talk to each other) “You have GOT to start a blog”.  I am a huge list maker so the idea of writing in strictly a list format seemed appealing and I gave it a shot.  I think I might do it for a year or so and then maybe move on to something else.  I’m not sure.

2) If you were in a deserted island and could only bring one person with you, who would that be? (you can pick someone you do or do not know)

Wait.   How do I know the person I would be pick would want to spend their life on a deserted island with me?  Can you imagine?  One minute you are going about your daily life and then BAM you are zapped to a deserted island because someone picks you as their ONE person on a blog interview.  That’s a bad day…

3) If you were only allowed to read ONE more book before you died, which book would you pick?

Tough one.   I would probably pick “From the Mixed up Files of Mr. Basil E Frankweiler”  It is s children’s book about a brother and sister who run away from home and live at the metropolitan museum of art.  It is the first book I remember reading and being completely taken with the story and the characters.  Not only did it start my love affair with the written word, I truly believe it is the reason I pursued the museum field as a profession.

4) If you could go back in time and re-do something in your life, what would that be?

Unfortunately, this is an easy one.  In the winter of 2004 a good family friend was killed in Iraq. I had just been given my first major promotion at a new job and the week of the funeral I had a series of meetings scheduled with my Vice President and some board members and I did not go.  I told myself that the funeral would be packed, the family would not even know I was there and I did not need a religious service to pay my respects.  The truth was, I choose work over doing the right thing and being with the people I love.  I have never forgiven myself for making that cowardly decision and every time I see his brother my heart aches for knowing that I was not there on a  day he needed the people he loved the most.  It  was a heard lesson but I know I will never, ever, make the same mistake again.

5) What would you tell your 10 year old self if you saw her sitting in front of you right now?

That it will get better.  That some days it will feel like it has gotten so much worse but, through the heartache and the heart break and the worry it will get so much better.  Oh yeah and to STOP grinding your teeth, because some day you will be paying for your own dental work and new teeth are not cheap.

After a long day at work and a nice dinner out with D, last night I sat down to watch some brilliant television programs.  Since I only watch things that are meaningful and educational (lie, lie, total lie) I put on a Top Chef and an old Real Housewives of Orange County* and prepared to be entertained.  I don’t know how many of you watch programs like this, or will admit to watching programs like this, but if you have seen any reality t.v. at all…you know the drill.  Which brings me to the following.  If you ever plan on going on a reality t.v. show, you might want to refrain from doing this five things:

1) Cheat on your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancee or spouse.  Why? Because their is a 100% chance that the minute you start messing around, hooking up or ‘inocently’ snuggling on the couch…it is going to make national television.

2) Say things that are racist, homophobic, bigoted or just plain stupid. Why?  Because the moment you utter something that is going to offend someone or make you look like a moron…it is going to make national television.  And, just in case we did not hear it clearly, they will put it in type at the bottom of the screen.

3) Take your clothes off, mock strip or run around naked.  Why?  This too will go on national t.v. and trust me…those blurry ‘modesty’ bars are just not as modest as one might think.

4) Get into any sort of physical confrontation.  Why?  Not only will they put this on national t.v. they will play in over and over and over again.  They will put it to music, they will play it in slow motion, they will play it backwards and forwards and backwards again.  People will be able to analyze the way you throw and upper right cut to Ozzy intros for years to come.  

5) Be a total drunken mess….every single day.  Why? We have all been total drunken messes.  In fact (due to the evils of cranberry and vodka) we have all done some fairly stupid things we would rather forget that somehow a more sober friend has caught on still film.  This happens.  But, when they show you on national telivision dunk out of your mind week after week, you begin to get a reputation.  Perhaps this is the reputation you want now, but some day you may actually want a job.  And think about it, would you ever hire Ruthie from the Real World to manage your 401K? 

*Yes, I know this show is terrible and if you want to judge me for watching a bunch of self centered spoiled obnoxious silicone filled and botox injected women run around making utter fools of themselves week after week you can.  But, it makes me happy and I don’t judge you.

iLove

January 13, 2009

As aforementioned, I have been in the market for an iPhone.  After thinking it over and hearing nothing but great things from iPhone owners I finally got one.  Here are five of my observations so far.

1) Being an iPhone owner is a little like owning a Jeep Wrangler or having a sports car with roof racks.  It puts you in a  little club.  You see other iPhone owners and you instantly know you have something to talk about.  You share secrets, advice and  info on the best apps to down load.  I have an uncle that I have probably said…literally 10 words to in the last 6 months.  Last night, he heard I got an iPhone.  The conversation went something like this:

me: oh, hi Uncle G

U.G.: M said you got the iPhone. You are going to love it.

me: oh, um, yeah.  I am still trying to figure it out a bit.

U.G.: Turn off the Fetch New Data.  Did you turn that off.  It is a battery killer.  And make sure the Brightness is set at auto.  Is it set at auto?  Those are the biggest battery killers.  And make sure you have the blue tooth off unless you have a blue tooth on.  Do you understand?  Now go to your apps.  No, don’t browse, it takes forever.  Go to search.  Get Urban Spoon and the Weather Channel.  You have to have them.  Don’t get anything about traffic, the map function has traffic.  No, you don’t need to down load the map function it is on the phone.  Go back.  Now…

This went on for literally 20 min.  I don’t think I have spoken to this man for 20 min…in my life. 

2) When you get your iPhone the magic iPhone people transfer all of your all of your old phone numbers to the new phone.  This means, you are going to have a lot of numbers you have not used in ages; ex friends, ex boyfriends, friends ex friends and ex boyfriends.  When you go to delete these numbers from your contacts list it is VERY easy to accidently call these people so BE WARNED.  No one warned me and I will let it be known that a whole bunch of one ring and hang up calls went out along the eastern seaboard last night.  Oops.

3) When you have an iPhone it is no longer your private means of communication.  It sort of becomes communal property.  People see it and want to touch it, play with it, try it out.  I could be annoyed by this but I remember the week I spent in Seattle on my dear friends S & B’s iPhone NON STOP.  So, sorry about that guys.  I totally get it now.

4) Since the iPhone can become communal property, you might want to think seriously about having your e-mail just ‘pop up’.  If your private e-mail account is Hottiestar32@whatever.com or if you are getting e-mails about your strip club frequent customer card…you are going to want to think twice before handing your iPhone over to your mother in law or your boss.

5) Having an iPhone is a little like having a small child around.  Is the iPhone safe?  The iPhone can’t get too hot or too cold. Make sure the iPhone is in its little protective sleeve.  Is the iPhone wearing its rubber jacket? Have you moved the iPhone out of the reach of the cat? Don’t leave the iPhone unattended in the bathroom.  Granted, the iPhone does not wake you up screaming in the middle of the night…but it might call your ex when you are trying to erase the number and no matter how many times you explain it, that is painful. 

Thanks again to my iPhone focus group.  You guys rule.

Please ‘splain…

January 8, 2009

Can someone please explain to me…

1) Why a hospital bothers making my appointment for 7:45 am if they have no intention of seeing me until after 9:00.

2) Why they insist on playing elevator music in the waiting room.  Everyone knows that the reason they get away with playing elevator music in elevators is because you only have to listen to it for 3 minutes.  Over an hour of hearing these tunes while to watching the clock tick by 78 times could prompt someone into a murderous rage.

3) Why the exam rooms are set at a balmy 57 degrees.  For what I pay my insurance to pay them (and then what I pay out of pocket myself), you would think they could afford to turn the thermostat up a few degrees.  In case they have not noticed, those johnny’s are not designed for warmth.

4) Why the gurneys are always set directly under the spot lights.  “Just sit back and relax”, she says. Well, I will do my best but with the spot light in my eyes and the temperatureset to ‘frozen tundera’, it is not all that relaxing of an experience.  How about a warm blanket and the sounds of the shore?  A soothing lavender candle maybe? 

5) Why the radiologist can not find the decency to come into the room to talk to me.  I have waited over an hour listening to horrible music while freezing my butt off under an interrogation lamp and you can’t find 45 seconds in your horribly busy day to come in and say “things look ok, we will see you in 6 months”.  I hope you are a patient some day, really…I do.

Getting Personal….I guess

January 5, 2009

Last weekend I had lunch with the fabulous La Petite Belle and while we were catching up on odds and ends, she mentioned that I don’t include a lot of personal details in my blog.  I don’t know that this is something I do intentionally, mostly I don’t think my life is very interesting or that anyone cares that much about what is going on.  My blog tends to focus on observations, interactions and things that can be tied up in a list format.  But, to update you on a few things, here are five personal details about my life right now.

1) D and I closed on that house on Dec 29th.  Although the house is going to be a ton of work we are extremely excited.  It was built at the turn of the century (19th, not 20th) and has some wonderfully charming details. 

2) To chronicle our progress on house work I am starting another blog.  This one is mostly for our friends and family but I am happy to share the link with any of my usual readers who may be interested.  Please send me an e-mail at: ifihadtopickfive@live.com if you want it.

3) For thous of you who read this blog entry, and are wondering about the status of my health or have sent e-mails inquiring, thank you for your thoughts and concern.  I have been following up with my appointments and test reguarly (even though I think I outlined five perfectly good reasons why I did not want to) and so far, everything looks good.  I will do my best to keep you updated. 

4) I am thinking of getting an iphone…actually I think I am getting an i phone.  I self identify as being completely inept with new technology so this is as surprising to me as it is to you.  But as you may remember, my phone is shot and after consulting some friends who have an iphone and love it, I thought I would take the plunge.  A special thanks to this blogger for being a part of my iphone focus group and answering 47 ridiculous questions and 18 ludicrous ones. 

5) My birthday is rapidly approaching….and I hate my birthday.  It is not that I am all bent out of shape about my age; it has been a wonderful year and numbers don’t generally stress me out.  I just don’t really have great birthdays….or at least the bad ones seem to out weigh the really good ones.

The first time I had these, it was at an overly chic NY Bar Mitzvah in the mid 90’s.  They were delicious and it only took me about a decade to realize that the ingredients were fairly obvious and they could be re-created in my home with out a full catering staff or the religious right of passage.  Since then, I have made them for a bunch of gatherings and took them to a wonderful get together Wednesday night.  They look way fancier than they are and taste great.

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new potatoes (smaller is better)

sour cream

scallions or chives (either works, go with your preference)

caviar (again, go with your preference)

cracked black pepper

Roast potatoes in a 350 degree oven until cooked through*.  Remove and cool completely.  Slice potatoes in half.  Cut the bottom of the potato so it will lay flat.  With a small spoon or a mellon baller, scoop a small section from the cut side of the potato.  Place cold sour cream in a pastery bag or a plastic baggie with one corner cut.  Pipe sour cream into the small hallow in the potato.  Top with caviar, cracked black pepper and scallion.  Serve cold.

* I like to do this the night before to before to be sure the potatoes are nice and cold.  It also always takes longer to cook the potatoes than I think it will, so don’t leave it until the last minute.