Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The Spread: Hoppin' John, collard greens, bird (I'm sorry, bird.) winter blend vegetables, homemade gravy, mashed potatoes, baked sweet plantains, Brown n' Serve rolls, iced chocolate cake, and NY style cheesecake.
The Folly: 100,00 Pyramid on DVD- guess who won? You give up?! Surely you jest. Well, okay... The Pubescent One and I kicked their cheating (I saw some timer shaking going on) high-on-glucosides-and-tryptophan-heckling-festive asses. Who's your momma?! Tries to curb enthusiasm.
A Fascinating Fact: Morningstar Farms bacon strips have single-handedly restored my faith in the possibility that soul food can be cardiovascular-friendly. The greens, the Hoppin' John-slap yo' momma mouthwatering good madness!
In short, once again- late or not, we've put the fun in dysfunction! Until next time...
Friday, November 28, 2008
I spent about 2 hours hurling expletives and dusty boxes around the garage last night. The search is on for all of the necessary accoutrement to this year's Gimme Gimme Giftsmas tree and other holiday decorating hi-jinks. (I will be neither outdone nor beat to the punch by the neighbors this year. Isn't that so, Joe?) We, well okay, I've decided on silver this year. It's been a couple of years since I've done the silver theme. Hallmark holiday whore that I am, there are far too many decoration-filled boxes to sift through, deeming my mission to corral only those items which are silver an arduous task at best. But, silver it must be. This is in part due to the desire to employ the tree topping duties of the esteemed, Edna the Giftsmas Cat.
I still remember the day I found her on a blistery Black Friday afternoon in NYC. (see paragraph one) Alone, sitting misplaced amongst the tumult of the Macy's department store toy section. She lay there, a tad battered, bent and looking quite odd. I picked her up gazed into her slightly crooked ominous eyes, shook her (I also smell everything, don't ask.) and straightened her snowflake wielding paws. All the while wondering, "what the hell"? Then, I turned her on her head revealing the "clearance" sticker just then, the store's in-house PA system sounded. A clerk, with an acute sinus problem said, "Take an additional 25% off all clearance items..." Say no more, Edna is coming home with me. I bustled through the crowd; Edna tucked firmly under my arm, defense elbows akimbo, all you weak and otherwise unawares, "outta my way"! You'd have thought I stole her! Thinking back, I'm not proud, really I'm not, well, maybe a little. Laughs.
Well, that's where it ends. We made it into our taxi and she's been family ever since. Much like any family member during the holidays, she's been met with mixed reviews. What do you think? Do you have an "Edna"? Yes, it's time to resurrect Shutter Click & Chat. This Sunday 11/30, show me something only you love. Yeah...nods and claps like the contestants on the Family Feud, I think this will be a good one!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I'm up and about making phone calls. I'm getting the dish on the feasts everyone is serving up on their good dishes. I'm chatting with old friends, and new friends, near, far, and true friends. I spoke to my sister and uncle and mother today. I hugged my Guy and kissed my cats. I am not celebrating today, I am the celebration. Life is a celebration, thank you for sharing in it with me. Every comment, every cackle-yes, even you lurkers-I feel your presence and I am grateful. Happy Thanksliving!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thanksgiving in our home is a time for family, reflection, conscious dining and slowing it down with or without the aid of tryptophan. This year however, we are moving at a much faster pace than we'd like. A pace all too familiar to many who are also chasing bills...er I mean the American Dream. In short, Favorite Guy must work. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but my dinner puts me in the kitchen anywhere between 8-12 hours. There is just no way I'll sit idly by and watch my tasty morsels inhaled; seductive flavors slaughtered by the mangling of hasty mastication. Oh hell no! We'll just wait.
In the meantime I've been getting busy in the Test Kitchen employing my down home southern roots in the veganizing of what I call my "wounded soul-free soul food delights". I just put my foot in a pot of black eyed peas! Yes, my foot and not the pig's. They are amazing! The Test Kitchen recipes will be transcribed from food stained scrap paper scrawlings for your pleasure shortly!
Have a peaceful pleasant holiday.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
(a) Fiction book
(c) Non-fiction book
(d) A fourth book of your choice from any genre
Explain why the books are essential reads in no more than 30 words per book.
Fiction: The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd-This book broadens parameters and redefines the meaning of family in ways that are both enlightening and entertaining. Plus, it's set in South Carolina.
Autobiography: Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia (Erm, memoir, autobiography...semantics!) Like this adolescent aspiring Zen Monk, I had aspirations far beyond those of the typical adolescent and, parents far beyond typical Earth dwellers.
Non-Fiction: The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion- Joan explores love, friendship, symbiosis and grief in this novel in a way that is so raw and naked. This is pure emotive porn for the psychological voyeur.
My Choice: The Intellectual Devotional: As a child, the dictionary was my bible. As an aspiring adult, this book, an empty journal and a black pen with a comfort grip is all I (currently) need.
I chose these books namely because they flew under the radar. I hold a special place in my heart for the classics, but my right hemisphere can't help but carve a niche for the trendsetters. I'm also going to tag a few folks, cause I'm nosey:
1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Link me for giving it to you.
3. Link the originating post here.
4. Pass the award on to five more deserving people.
5. Post these rules for your recipients.
And here is where I (per usual) bend 'le rules'. I'm nominating one blogger; Ms. Bar B. of A Place of Comfort. Ms Bar B. regularly spins tell-all tales of life's perfect imperfections.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I cut my hair (about 2 inches) with my craft scissors, two mirrors and a 12 oz bottle of beer. I haven't straightened it all out yet...I'll keep you posted.
I designed and created so many pieces of jewelry for Crafeteria 3 that my fingers were swollen and burning.
I watched enough Forensic Files, Snapped and Cops for a few lifetimes. During which time I realized how depraved the world really is. (We don't watch much boob tube here, thankfully.)
I learned not only was George Washington a liar and a cheat, but his wooden teeth-well, they weren't all wood; some were that of slaves and, animals. Um yeah George was a scary dude.
I saw the movie Trauma. A story of a man who awakens from a coma and can't decipher what is real from what isn't. It was traumatic and I am still trying to decipher the plot! But, Colin Firth has now made his way to my list of under-weight (by my standards) studmuffins and cool points go to the director for an interracial romance that wasn't purely sexual.
I bought a pair of $1 shorts and $15 yoga pants that fit like a great lover.
I ruined Jordan's life again, and Joe helped! Yay! Or, "whatevs BFD".
Lupe got a new coat, it's houndstooth and just what you'd expect to see in Forest Hills, around the first of the month when the seniors come out for half-priced lunches and slow walking on a busy city street.
I explained to Yael that not all married gay couples own horses like Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. I'm not sure why, but she was certain that our friends whom she lovingly refers to as, "The Husbands" must own horses since, like Ellen and Portia they do not have children.
I discussed "Indians" (Native Americans) pilgrims, genocide, slavery and the holocaust with my grandmother. Grandma is a scholar but a grandma first, "Child, it pains my heart to think how they did them people. Oooh Je-sus." She is seriously the best.
I'm sure I've missed some stuff. You see, it certainly wasn't a dreadful time, but I'm glad it's over. And you, "how you doin?!"
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
My days have endings with no beginnings. I need restoration. I need a cleansing breath, a clean slate, an empty list and bright eyes. I need to awaken to a sunrise, an endless sky and an empty page.I deleted my blog because it is yet another measure of a life already in progress; a chart of a path already taken, a path which seems to begin in the middle of a mediocre day.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This week I am introducing some new lessons, one of which is long division. Can I just tell you that long division has never been as long as it's been this week. I have had to break these problems down into so many steps, that I can't even add anymore. I realize that I am completely devoid of sense when I operate at any speed less than warp. It's as if any semblance of logic and order spills out where there exists little or no acceleration. Ack! I'm powered by centrifugal force!
This would explain some other recent issues; sewing is one. Surely, I should not apply Danica Patrick like force to the pedal. Especially, when I have no idea what the hell I'm doing in the first place! What's a girl to do to slow down? Does anyone else have this problem?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The pillows which will display chokers and necklaces were sewn by me (Pauses for applause) on the evil Singer with gifted fabric from a dear friend who knew I'd have use for several yards of her company's "free, ugly samples." (Note: "free, ugly" supplies of any sort is an oxymoron.)
Creating something new, from something old makes me feel warm and giddy inside. How about you; what did you do today to make yourself smile?
Monday, November 17, 2008
Want to be winner? Drop a comment here. You don't have to check out my breath taking jewelry designs on Etsy or book a cheap flight to my Crafeteria 3, craft fair debut or even follow this blog; packed with sweet morsels for your mind, body and, spirit. Just leave a comment. One comment, on this post and, you're entered into a drawing to win a fabulous, one of a kind, original "Peace 2008" bracelet. This 7.5" pure raw brass design has been masterfully embellished with Indian glass and assorted new and vintage findings. It's quite lovely, I must say.
Fine print: This drawing is not open to you (Yes, I reserve the right to be childish.) if your opinion regarding Santa Claus in this thread differed from that of mine on page 3. Strictly coals for you! The drawing will be held on December 5th, ensuring that I have something other than Crafeteria anxiety to post about. I am an expert planner, indeed.
God On Trial is a made for television screenplay set in WWII Auschwitz where imprisoned Jews put God on trial for breaking his covenant with them. It aired on Sunday at midnight, of course I watched with the Favorite Guy. For those of you who may not be in the know, Favorite Guy is a believer, and I believe one can not know. You can imagine this makes for interesting family room fodder. We seem to be on the same page with the film, however. We found it conceptually stimulating and well depicted. Giving exception only to the portrayal of the quasi-angry, blasphemous scholars and the ending, which I will not reveal. Even if you're not into theology, I'd recommend it for the multifaceted historical accounts of God's judgment, and the philosophical aspect of the film overall. The DVD is available for purchase here. Merci, Yvonne!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is my favorite commercial! I can so totally relate. While it may be difficult to believe, I wasn't always the refined, exemplary model of style and poise that I am today. Long ago, even before the time of the Favorite Guy there was a special someone who brought color to my awkward adolescent days. Whether that color was an attribute of her buoyant personality or, our royal blue eyeliner, matching mascara, and Wet & Wild iridescent hot pink lipstick, deliberately escapes me right now.
Christina and I have been friends for over 25 years. We've outgrown slam books, DIY hair and eyebrow fiascoes, and pranks involving large Chinese food orders for delivery to the neighbor's house. Don't be fooled, we're no less prone to acts of impropriety. This picture was taken at a Mexican Bar & Grill, it's our version of the Table Tango. Music was supplied by the in-house Mariachi band, per my request. We would've actually danced if we could stand! And you, what do you like to do with your friends?
Shutter Click & Chat 11/23: Blogger's Choice!
This is a great opportunity for all of you lurkers to join the fun! Yeah, you!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Oh and one more thing, Joe and I have been at it, in front of the television again. Do you know that men wear corsets? They most certainly do, and I'm not talking svelte, effeminate men either-think Norm or Cliff from Cheers in a corset, coming to a town near you. Hmmm, wait til I call my grandmother.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
After our lesson for the day was complete, Yael buoyantly burst from the "hot seat". I thought to myself, "Wouldn't we all be so much better off, if math was poetry"? And then, I remembered this poem and the genius of Shel Silverstein. His work is timeless and ageless. I was probably about Yael's age when I learned this poem in school and it's even funnier now!
And then I took the quarters
Just then, along came old blind Bates
And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
And then I went and showed my dad,
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Spinach & Lentils
1 cup lentils
1/2 white onion sliced
6 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk sliced
10 oz package frozen spinach
14 oz vegetable broth
10 oz water
1 tbs Herbes de Provence
2 tbs vegetable oil
fresh ground black pepper
Saute onions, garlic and celery in vegetable oil until crystallized. Add lentils, vegetable broth, water and Herbes de Provence. Bring to a full rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. Thaw, strain and add spinach to mixture, simmer an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat top with fresh ground black pepper and serve alone or with Jasmine rice (shown) or french bread.
Hey, what's that on the rice? Shredded carrots for texture, just as tasty with diced cucumber or firm tomato slices! This recipe usually calls for twice the onion and cumin instead of Herbes de Provence, give it a shot for some variation. Serve the variation with Jasmine rice or Naan.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Perhaps it is because I used to get scolded for it in my youth, (my grandmother believed my cackling to be unladylike) I just don't laugh as often as I should. What's most unfortunate is that I am damn funny, surely I should be reciprocally entertained.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
The next hurdle in the phase, portion control. I have no concept of portion control. When you grow up in a Southern home you've had enough when you lapse into a post-gluttonous haze. Then, and only then is grandma happy. Grandma is, well a grandma, Bingo arms and house coat hips are what authenticates them, at 35-not so much. So I did some research and figured the best route for me to take is the Optimal Illusion route. Quick and easy, you simply eat your main course on a salad plate and stick to the pyramid guidelines 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 meat/protein, 1/4 grains/starch.
Last night, I made whole wheat penne with a Florentine sauce and added fresh grated Parmesan. Total calories in a 6 oz serving: 350. Of course I missed my usual fist sized serving of toasted garlic bread and wine, but I was satisfied and it was significantly less food than I'd normally serve myself. Conclusion, using a salad plate for the main course creates the optimal illusion; mind over matter.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday evening, I had a lavender and jasmine tea foot bath while perusing this month's issue of Real Simple magazine, washed my hair, moisturized and massaged my scalp in a delicious herbal blend of sweet almond and tea tree oils.
I'm still in shock at how quickly these years have gone by. Yes, even with our fair share of hormonally charged days that seemed to go on forever. I've thoroughly enjoyed every minute!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I've studied this election more fervently than any other political event in my immediate history-meaning anything that a grade and subsequent scholarship weren't riding on. There were moments when this election turned into a study of myself, family, and friends. There have been many an anxious evening. There have been many moments of doubt, self-doubt, doubts about justice, equality and supposed freedoms.
Have I always been supportive and faithful? Absolutely not. There were times when I felt I'd flee, which is so unlike me. There were times when a win appeared at some deep subconscious level as a loss with a title and a ribbon on it. Fear. Legitimately so in a campaign where I found myself so frequently checking and double checking facts. Could it be? Maybe. Perhaps, the historical racial construct of the America I know has made it near impossible for me, a black woman, to believe in the possibility of a black president?
So divisive, all of these thoughts, these beliefs, these ideas and ideologies. And, then comes hope-the final divide and the fatal chasm of fear that separates those who have none and those who do, like us. The Mercado Family proudly supports the Obama Family, yes we do.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
This month I have made a few changes. I am planning all of my meals for the week, in advance. There I go planning again. And, I have joined a diet journal swap. Yes, I will document each day's triumphs, areas for improvement, meals, things I've learned, and funnies. There are always funnies to be had where reduced caloric intake meets increased physical activity. See, that's one right there. This, my friends, is going to be interesting.
I'm working out the details of how I can post my meal plans and recipes for all to access without going completely crazy. Methinks I'll need the Favorite Guy's help...stay tuned. And you, how are you this fine Fat Tuesday?
Monday, November 3, 2008
“I love cats because I enjoy my home;
and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Gratitude-when I think of things of which I am most grateful, nothing surpasses my marriage; the beginning of our story. Above are photos of mementos we've collected and stored in the trunk displayed in the first image. 1991: Our wedding guestbook. Left to right: Crab fossil from our first (and last) child-free vacation; symbolic as Joe and I are both Cancers. 1992: a lock of Jordan's hair from his first haircut over the bathroom sink. 1999: a love letter from my favorite guy on our 8th anniversary. Yes, we still write to each other; e-mail, text messages, cards and more. 2000: The cake topper I created for Yael's first birthday cake.
There are so many more cards, letters and other pieces of our history in the chest. Memories of times that were not always easy, but always worth it, and for this I am forever grateful. And you? Who what are you grateful for?