Thursday, July 31, 2008

Up And Running

We're finally up and running.

And I was happy to see Deetsa from deetsasdiningroom had stopped by and tagged me for a meme.

I really enjoy reading her blog as it is about two places I've always admired, British Columbia and France.

And to me that's the best thing about blogging, getting to know people from other parts of the world and discovering new things. And it sure sounds like Deetsa enjoys some beautiful scenery and some fantastic food in her part of the world. Thank's Deetsa!

So here goes ...

1. Last Movie I Saw In A Movie Theater?
"Sex and the City"  I only make it to the movies about once a year.

2. What Book Are You Reading?
I enjoy the classics. I devoured A Moveable Feast in a day. And now I am relishing For Whom The Bell Tolls. I had forgotten what a foodie ol' Hem was and never realized the symbolic references of food in his stories. No one gets to the gut of the matter like Hemingway. And I appreciate the fact that he doesn't glorify food, he simply reminds us of what it's like to be human and eat.

3. Favorite Board Game?
Clue. By far the best board game of all time. But I must confess, I didn't play many board games growing up because my theory was "the reason they were called board games is because I got bored playing them."

4. Favorite Magazine?
I'm a sucker for all cooking magazines, especially Cooking Light, Cooks Illustrated, Southern Living, and Midwest Living. Also, I have been known to pick up a Victoria and Cottage Living once in a while, especially autumn issues.

5. Favorite Smells?
Bread baking, garlic, coriander, fresh green onions, a crackling fire in the fireplace, lilacs, my sons burr head when I kiss him, and that wonderfully unique smell of burning jack-o-lanterns on Halloween.

6. Favorite Sounds?
I like Deetsa's previous post of Real church bells. That's a good one. Also my husband's voice, my cat purring, my son's classical guitar, my daughter's sweet voice, my son's voice. But most of all, I love Silence.

7. Worst Feeling In The World?
Not being able to help when someone I know who is hurting, hungry, or in need.

8. First Thing You Think of When You Wake?
Wow that was a quick night.

9. Favorite Fast Food Place?
Hmm ... that's a tough one because I really don't eat fast food. But I do like Chipotle Grill and Panera Bread once in a while.

10. Future Child's Name?
My children are grown and we certainly have no plans for more, but I do have a few names in mind for cats: Percy, Henry, Piero,Violet and Chloe.

11. Finish This Statement—“If I Had a Lot of Money,"
I would travel the world.

12. Do You Drive Fast?

13. Do You Sleep With a Stuffed Animal?

14. Storms—cool or scary?
Having spent my entire life in Kansas and Oklahoma, I would have to say both cool and scary.

15. What Was Your First Car?
A Ford Pinto

16. Favorite Drink?
Coke, wine and tea.

17. Finish This Statement—“If I Had the Time, I Would…"
Go to college.

18. Do You Eat the Stems on Broccoli?

19. If You could Dye your Hair Any other color what would it be?
Probably the blond it used to be when I was four years old.

20. Name All the Different Cities In Which You Have Lived –
Oh, I lost track.

21. Favorite Sport to Watch?
Iron Chef

22. One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You
She visits my blog, and that is nice. Also she likes the movie Sense and Sensibility, and anyone who enjoys this type of movie is a friend in my book.

23. What’s Under Your Bed?
Dusty Rubbermaid storage boxes with old wrapping paper and junk in them.

24. Would You Like to Be Born As Yourself Again?
Apparently no one else was up for the job the first time around -- so if I had to do it again, yes, I'd be a 'born again me.'

25. Morning Person or Night Owl?
I'm typing this at 2:00 a.m. on a weeknight ...

26. Over Easy or Sunny Side Up?
    Eggs? Bleh! 

27. Favorite Place to Relax?
At home. With a book.

28. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?

29. Of All the People You Have Tagged, Who Is the Most Likely to Respond First?
Not sure, since this is the first time I've ever done this.

I'm tagging:

Hungry Passport at who has a great blog with lots of useful and interesting information that I really enjoy reading.

Also, Rowena at who is in Italy and always a delight to read.

I am still new to this blog world and each of their visits have meant a lot.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dell's Eulogy

This past week we lost a dear friend.

Mr. Dell Personal Computer passed away after a brief but sudden illness. He was ten years old. That's about one hundred PC years to you and I.

Mr. Dell - or Model T, as my kids fondly call him - was a loyal and trusted servant, always there for me, from online shopping to food blogging to catching up on email, he never let me down.

Until this year, when he became slower than molasses in January, and hummed like a radiator, even then he still hung on.

May you rest in peace, Mr. Dell, your warm, inviting hum and soft alluring glow will be missed.

Note:  I've wriggled a laptop out of my kids' hands in order to issue this post. Future postings will resume next week, when Mr. Dell's newfangled replacement arrives in a box.

May he last as long as the previous one.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I Own The Purse

We were on vacation. My husband, our two teenage kids and myself. It was an enjoyable getaway, perusing the craggy streets of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. But I was becoming irascible. It was hot, my feet were hurting, and throughout the entire trip, my husband and my son kept asking me to carry things. It started out innocent. A simple request to hold some sunglasses or concert tickets while they roamed freely like hippies at Woodstock. Meanwhile, I was getting more and more bogged down and more and more grumpy.

Now, over the years, I have become accustomed to being the family pack mule. Once a woman carries a kid in her stomach for nine months ... well, there's always something to carry. But my husband and son kept asking me to carry more and more stuff. To the point where my purse was overflowing and it was the gosh-damned hilliest town on planet earth and we still had a lot of walking to do. So I was beginning to resent the fact that two healthy, capable men expected me to carry all their shit. What am I, a Sherpa? Allergy medicine, cameras, batteries, souvenirs, sunglasses, maps, pamphlets, water bottles, doggie bags, tickets ... you name it, I carried it, uphill, both ways, in ninety-degree heat, over one shoulder like a billy goat leaning to the right for most of the trip. I carried their stuff. Why? you ask.

Because I own the purse.

To understand this story, you must first understand the purse. A purse is not just an accessory like a belt, or earrings, or shoes, casually discarded at the end of the day. A purse is an extension of oneself. A true part of our being. Like marsupials, we women were meant to carry things. And through some sort of chimera-like, capitalistic evolution, we developed an alternative pouch, a womb called the purseA much more fashionable and autonomous reservoir, which may be discarded and upgraded each and every season. It's very practical. And yet, very primitive.

So hopefully you will understand why, on this last leg of our summer Griswald vacation, before leaving the hotel, with my head sweating, feet aching, and a purse that weighed about ninety-eight pounds, I went berserk when my husband casually asked, "Hey can you put these Rolaids in your bag?"

"So that's how it goes! A long time ago I carried your two children each nine months in my belly and now for the rest of our lives you expect me to carry your stuff!"

He gave that where-the-hell-did-that-come-from look. But I was onto something. I suddenly had this epiphany and it all went back to that Da Vinci Code thing ... the womb being compared to the holy grail ... my marsupial theory ... and the real reason why women love their purses so much ... we were meant to carry things. It's in our genes. So I crammed the Rolaids in and drug my ass up another hill.

Unsurprisingly, throughout the remainder of our trip, I began to notice women and their purses. Like cars, they do tell a lot about ones character. First, I saw a fashionable woman with a plausible looking knock-off standing in line at a fancy gift shop. She was the superficial type, shopping alone, probably nothing but credit cards and cash register receipts in that purse.

Next I noticed a simple black purse whose owner was super-model thin and wearing lustrous red lipstick. I imagined her to be carrying her ID, that same red lipstick, and a twenty dollar bill, hidden, just in case of emergencies.

Then there were the gals like me. Who had been declared the family pack mules, schlepping fourteen pounds of crap, uphill, in the heat of June, looking like a frump, cursing the very deign of feminine existence. Needless to say, I was ready to ditch the purse.

Until unexpectedly, in a store window, the clouds parted, a light shone and the weight of my burdensome baggage lifted. There it was, the perfect purse. A brown leather carry-all, not too big, not too flashy, perfectly perched high upon a dusty retail throne, just waiting for it's one true owner. It was then I discovered the true power of allurement. For somewhere upon the top of great mountains a purse store must exist. How else could one explain trekking such distance? Entranced I gravitated toward the purse and practically wept. It was then my daughter, in a purse-like trance of her own, approached and said, "That sure looks like you mom." And I thought to myself, well, if you're going to be the one carrying things, you may as well do it in style.

Dedicated to my son and husband for whom I shall always carry things. And my daughter who loves purses almost as much as she loves soup.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What People Eat ...

I am fascinated by other cultures and what they eat.

I received these pictures in an email some time ago. Also it is pictured on another blog and several other places on the Internet. I think they also appeared in Time magazine, but I am not sure.

 It is just so interesting that I had to share.

Notice the size of each family, the cost of their food, and the type of diet each family consumes.

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week $341.98
(Sadly, I am not surprised by this picture, it is a typical diet of most American families. However, I do see some meat on the table, so it appears that they do prepare some of their own meals, which is better than many American families who eat fast food every single night of the week.)

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

These pictures are from a book called "Hungry Planet" by Peter Menzel. The photography is his. Please view more at his site: