HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Now that the girls are older, we got to sleep in a little on Christmas morning. Once awakened it wasn’t long before the aroma of Santa’s White Christmas coffee and monkey bread filled the air. The only thing missing was the chill. It was hot. I much prefer a little nip in the air for Christmas day but our sub-tropical climate was having none of that.
Presents were opened, breakfast was served and The Christmas Story played on a continuous loop on the TV. It was a glorious morning.
My SIL and BIL came for a simple midday meal of Paula Deen’s standing rib roast, mashed potatoes, salad and Parkerhouse rolls. The roast came out of the oven. My Harley Stud whipped the mashed potatoes after I seasoned them to perfection (IMHO) and I didn’t forget and burn the rolls. My SIL and I were happily chopping veggies for the salad while everyone else readied the table settings. I’m really quite the whiz with my beloved Wusthof Santoku knife. Unfortunately I’m also quite the motor mouth when there is someone there to listen. So as I regaled my SIL with some silly nonsense about so and so, I got a wee bit carried away while chopping the romaine and almost whacked off the end of my thumb.
After quickly inspecting the damage over the kitchen sink, it was determined that a trip to the Emergency Room was in order. MHS and I instructed the family to carry on with dinner and off we went to find a good seamstress.
The woman at the registration desk in the ER asked me to state my name and my problem. As she searched for any previous record of me in the computer, I assured her that I have never been treated in that facility. That’s when she said, “You’re 49?”
I swear to God, if she had said, “You look tired” after that, I would have slugged her but I wouldn’t have been surprised. Defensively I replied, “Why! Do I look older?” She quickly responded with, “NO! You look much younger. I was questioning if this could even be you.”
As it turns out, while I’ve never been treated at that hospital, I do have my mammograms at a women’s center nearby that is owned by the hospital, hence my info in the system.
And that is how I found my new best friend. Yes, I can be bought and flattery will get you everywhere. I love you, Ms. ER Reception lady with all my heart.
But I digress. Two hours later, I’m called back to see the doctor. I’m asked several times to verify that I am in fact Smart Mouth Broad. It seems that another patient answered to my name when I wasn’t listening and caused the medical professionals some confusion as to why her thumb wasn’t bleeding. Nevertheless, they treated her anyway as I waited and waited and waited. No worries though. I had the forethought to bring the DS so MHS and I could play Sudoku while we waited. Well, MHS played while I learned the art of thumbless texting, tweeting and facebooking.
MHS was at my side the whole time but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t get the hot doctor, right? Where was my George Clooney? I mean if a girl has to go to the ER on Christmas day, doesn’t she deserve a hot ER doc? Just sayin.
Apparently not because hot he was not. But he was nice and apparently adequate to the task at hand. (pun intended) After being asked for my pain level on the scale of 1-10, 1 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, I answered with a very brave “2, maybe 3.” Don’t you hate that question? I realize it has to be asked but do they really expect an intelligent answer? Like I have the concentration to sit and flip thru my entire life history of pain to compare it to the pain I’m feeling right now. Well, there was that time I fell on my head while turning a back handspring in the gym in 1977. Do we really want to go there? Because anyone who knows me knows how I can go on and on. Let it suffice to say, “It hurts, dammit! Let’s get on with it.”
But it really didn’t hurt that bad………………………….until he got out that leetle needle to numb it. I’m fairly certain doing the whole procedure sans anesthesia would have been preferable to the pain and suffering encountered at the mercy of that tiny little needle. While he stitched me up, he proceeded to give me instructions on the care and keeping of such a wound. He mentioned something about the fact that it look “a little blue” already and “it might not take.” What the….! Excuse me, could you repeat that? “Yeah, it might not take in which case we’ll refer you to a surgeon who will TAKE IT OFF and it will heal from the inside out.” Huh? At that point, I figured the less I knew the better and I changed the subject.
“Is there any reason I can’t go to a dinner party tonite?”, I asked. To which I was told to PARTY ON. We were expected that night at our dear friends, Miss Lolly (of the DAMN WARM CIDER fame) and Wolfgang’s for dinner. Sadly, by the time we got home, Daughter #1 wasn’t feeling well and I was pretty much spent from all the excitement. I called Miss Lolly with our regrets and we made raincheck plans. We spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching movies and drinking wine. Party on, indeed!
So…………………………………….how was your Christmas?
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Our dear friend, Beth, has post up today that will touch your very soul. Please visit her and if you find it in your heart to send a card, please do. I did. And if you link the post on your blog....even better. Let's make this precious child's dream come true. We can make a difference.
Here in SMBland we are readying ourselves for the big night as most of you who celebrate Christmas are. We host an annual Christmas Eve Open House. We never invite anyone until the last minute when we realize that we've totally taken for granted that everyone just knows that they are invited. Fortunately, that is the case. Our friends and family have come to depend on it as what they do for Christmas Eve. We love it. We play games, eat, drink and be very, very merry.
Sometimes, we have carolers who must sing for their supper. Sometimes someone will bring a guitar and the kids will recreate past performances of dance or chorus. We never have a plan. We are never organized. And it always goes off without a hitch. God, as they say, is in the details and we leave them to HIM.
But the first thing we have to do before any party prep is done is to go to Miss Lolly's (of the DAMN WARM CIDER fame) to serenade her with our very special birthday song as we do every year. We dress like elves and sing to the Christmas Eve birthday girl on her doorstep so passing neighbors can laugh and point. And it's getting late now so we better get going.
As we prepare for our little soiree tonite, I wanted to stop to wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! May the joy of the season take hold of you and never let you go. And if you're in the area, please stop by.
Love, Hugs and God bless you all!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
There’s a little game I like to play with myself. I love to try new and interesting dishes at a restaurant and then go home and try to recreate them. Sometimes I start by trying to recreate a dish but over time it continues to evolve into something completely different.
Years ago I was with a group of friends in South Beach and we dined in a restaurant whose name I can’t remember but what I do remember was the pasta dish that I ordered. It was angel hair pasta with a pink champagne sauce. It was a tomato cream sauce made with champagne. Having more of a beer budget, I substituted wine for champagne and I came pretty close to the original. This dish and variations of it such as added spinach and mushrooms were served on a somewhat regular basis at the SMB house.
Some time later, I came across a similar dish that “kicked it up another notch”. Oddly enough, I discovered this culinary concoction in the cafeteria of the hospital where I was working. We were fortunate to have a chef who worked nights at a local 5 star restaurant and days at the hospital.
***Side note*** The chef was once caught stealing food from the hospital pantry and fired. The doctors circulated a petition and forced the hospital to rehire him because his replacement was no match for the culinary genius of our little thief.***
So………anyway………….once the new spicy dish was repeated a few times, I asked the chef what it was called. He said that loosely translated, it was “angry pasta”. It was a tomato cream sauce made with ham and crushed red pepper. I revised my old Champagne Pasta to include the ham and pepper and my family loved it. Over time, I’ve completely omitted the wine from the recipe. I love to cook with wine but in this case, it didn’t really add anything to the end result. It’s become my signature dish. My girls both know how to make it now. Yes, even D1 who hates to cook.
My dear friend, Beauty, called me this morning on my way to work asking for a vegetarian recipe. I suggested Angry Pasta with spinach and mushrooms instead of ham.
She knew exactly what I was talking about as anyone who has spent more than a few days at my house has no doubt been served Angry Pasta. As I was telling Beauty just how easy it is to make, it occurred to me that I should post the recipe. I haven’t posted a recipe for a long time and with all the shopping, decorating, cookie baking and eggnog drinking going on around the world, don’t we all need an easy recipe to feed the troops and move on to the task at hand?
I actually have two versions of this recipe. The easy one and the even easier one. It is the even easier version you will find below. If you’re interested in the easy version made with cream and canned tomatoes, you can email me at email@example.com. I’ll be happy to share it too.
ANGRY PASTA (My mother, Lucy, preferred angel hair pasta and she referred to this dish as Angel Hair with an Attitude)
1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce. I prefer Barilla 5 cheese but any red sauce will do.
2 jars alfredo sauce.
1/2 to 1lb. deli ham julienned (cut into strips). Be sure not to use a sweet ham.
parmesan cheese to taste
crushed red pepper to taste
1 lb pasta of choice prepared al dente. ( I prefer penne. )
Prepare the pasta as per the package instructions.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a pan and heat. This will make more sauce than necessary for 1 lb of pasta. You can freeze the rest for the next time or make 2 lbs of pasta for a crowd. If you want to make less, just be sure to use two parts alfredo to one part tomato sauce.
Serve the sauce over the pasta. Add some garlic bread and a salad and you are good to go. You can’t get much easier than that without ordering take-out.
This dish isn’t exactly what you’d call diet friendly but it is very good and it is the season to celebrate, right?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A friend of mine who had a birthday yesterday mentioned a gift certificate she received for her birthday. This instantly brought to mind a disaster that I experienced when purchasing a gift certificate from this very same company. I asked my friend if she received the online version of the gift certificate and if so, did she have any problems with the process. She confirmed that she did receive the online GC and that she has purchased and received several gifts in this format and has never had a problem. She assured me that if I had any problem with this company that I should take it up with customer service because their support is top-notch.
Yeah…………..about that…………………..in my experience………….not so much.
I have the sort of job that often finds me doing personal errands for my boss. Earlier this year, I purchased an online gift certificate from a well known online company (who was dubbed Glamazon.com by my favorite comedian, Mike Birbiglia) as a gift from my employer to her 12 year cousin.
***I’ve linked the story here but since many of you won’t click to read, allow me to summarize: MB had a bad experience with a television purchase which was only resolved to his satisfaction when it was revealed that he had a blog which is read by “millions”. The company made a one-time exception to their policy as long as he didn’t mention their name in his blog………….hence……Glamazon.com. It’s really a funny story if you have time to read it.***
So, as I was saying. I purchased the gift certificate for the cousin. A week or so later, I received an email from the cousin’s mother saying that there was a problem with the GC. I called Glamazon.com and was told that the GC was already redeemed. However because it wasn’t issued to me, she could not tell me what was purchased with the gift certificate or where the item was shipped. I was told the cousin would have to call to get that information. The cousin is a 12 year old girl who was easily overwhelmed by the situation but she gave it the old middle school try anyway. She was told that because the GC was purchased by someone else(me), Glamazon.com could not give her any information about what was purchased with a GC that was issued to her and emailed to her email address. I could go on and on about how many calls were made to Glamazon.com to resolve this matter but in the end I had to get the cousin’s Glamazon.com account name and password and with both her account info and mine, I was finally told that while they couldn’t tell me what was purchased, they could tell me that it was shipped to ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ in Maine.
No, that wasn’t really the name but there were so many letters that I lost count and I would challenge any one of you to pronounce it. Because I’m thorough, I made sure that the cousin didn’t know this ABCDEF……(his nickname).
Once again, I called Glamazon.com to inform them that the cousin did not know the person to whom the item was shipped and clearly the GC # had been stolen. I was told that would have to be handled by another department and I would hear from them within 48 hours.
A week came and went without a word from “the special department”. Several calls were made to Glamazon.com in an effort to resolve this disaster called a hundred dollar gift certificate. In the end, I turned to Bank of America, who was the issuer of the credit card used to purchase the GC. The amount was immediately credited to our account pending investigation into the case. A month later, I was informed that BOA agreed that fraud had been committed and the case was closed.
The moral to the story, folks, is go ahead and get that GC online if you dare but if I were you, I would choose to have the card actually sent snail mail instead of an e-certificate. Jane assures me that she has never had a problem but if that were to happen to me again, I could not be held responsible for my actions in a court of law. Justifiable rampage, I’m sure.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Or these bags…..
or even this bag………. (although I really like this one and it does deserve some discussion.)
Today is the 20th anniversary of my 29th birthday. ACK!
I awoke this morning once again to find my permanent luggage right there on my face. It was my birthday wish that they disappear. I was pretty certain that they were a 40th birthday gift. I clearly remember waking on that particular date to find what I believed to be a new development. And I was NOT happy about it either.
But before you get all weepy and go out shopping for sympathy cards, today there is good news! It’s a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! I was going through some old photographs and made an amazing discovery!
I won’t bore you with all of my baby photos
All this time, I thought the bags I was carrying were a sign of aging. Now doesn’t that shine a different light on the subject? These darn things are a sign of eternal youth.
So there you have it. I may be a bag lady but I’m a very young, spring chicken, bag lady, dammit!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Dear Center of my Universe,
Even though you give me the same thing for my birthday every year and I love it, don’t get me wrong; it would be nice if the package from the White House Historical Association wasn’t still on the counter when I get home from work. After all, you could break with tradition and get me a gift card from Starbucks or a trip around the world. One should never assume.
If you will make this very small effort to keep the mystery alive, I promise to act very surprised when I open my gift. And please know that the delight will be totally sincere because even though I know what’s in that package, I’m still very excited.
I love you with all my heart and soul.
*** Note ***
It occurs to me after reading some of your comments that I may not have made myself clear. I am not unhappy with the gift or even suggesting that he add more to it. I'm only requesting that he not leave it on the counter when he brings in the mail.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Knowing that I have the occasional longing for a life that includes more seasons than summer and well….almost but not quite summer, friends from Indiana like to tease me when the flurries arrive.
Today on my way to work, I received this in a text message from Beauty with the caption, “Don’t you miss this?”
About an hour later, I received another picture from The Saint and The Biker Nazi’s #1 Son.
Between you and me, I do miss it. Those first few snow flakes always set my heart aflutter. The promise of a snow day teasing me with ideas of reading a good book under a handmade afghan on the sofa. The luxury of an unplanned break from work or school. Yeah, I miss it. I do.
So I responded to my friends taunting. After all, they should have the pleasure of knowing that they did it. They got to me this time.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
It’s easy to get caught up in the joyfulness of the season. The lights, the cheer, the music, the gifts, the shopping, the Damned Warm Cider and let’s not forget the cookies. Never forget the cookies! But there are many who are suffering. There are those for whom the holidays only serve to bring to light all that is missing in their lives. The holiday season is heartbreaking for some.
Let us all remember to include a random act of kindness during this special time. I encourage you to reach out and touch someone. Visit the lonely. Feed the homeless. Do something that touches your heart but more importantly, someone else's. I guarantee that your holiday will be richer for it.
I know it's early but allow me to be among the first to wish you and yours a blessed holiday season.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
So I searched and I can’t find it but I could have sworn that I told you about the Damned Warm Cider last year.
Have you ever had one of those moments when something catches you completely by surprise and suddenly you’re laughing hysterically and no one else has a clue what is going on?
Last year on our return home from our annual trip to the Mouse House for the Very Merry Christmas Party my dear friend, Miss Lolly, was entertaining me with a story about going for a urine test for a new job. You’d really have to know Miss Lolly to appreciate the story and that will have to wait for another day. Miss Lolly’s story reminded me of the first time that the Pediatrician wanted a urine sample from Daugher #1 many years ago. I began to tell Miss Lolly, Daughter #2 and CinDEErella my tale.
Daughter #1 was two years old and at the doctor for her checkup. The nurse came in to take her temperature and then proceeded to explain to D1 that she needed her to go into the restroom with me and tinkle into the cup.
D1 immediately protested. “You tinkle in the potty. You drink from a cup.”
The nurse patiently explained to D1 that she needed her to tinkle in the cup so it could be tested to make sure that she was healthy. Again, D1 insisted, You tinkle in the potty. You drink from a cup.”
The nurse tried again saying, “I need you to tinkle into the cup. I will take the tinkle and test it to make sure that you are healthy.”
D1 looked at the nurse very sternly and said in her best grown-up voice, “Trust me, I’m healthy.” Let us not forget that she is the daughter of a smart mouthed broad.The nurse eventually caved and handed the cup to me. "Try to get her to do it at home."
I was never one of those mothers that let their kids do whatever they wanted. I forced them to take icky medicine when necessary, pick up their toys, use their manners, etc. But you can't make a kid pee in a cup if they don't want to. It's just not going to happen and I said as much to the nurse.
After listening to my story Miss Lolly laughed and said, “Did they at least give her a cup that looked clinical?”
“Oh no!”, I said, “They gave her a cup that looked like what they give you at Williams and Sonoma to sample the warm cider.”
“Ewwwww! I hate that damned warm cider!”, Miss Lolly cried.
I began to laugh. We were all laughing but after everyone else got out their giggles, I was still rolling. I couldn’t breath. Tears were streaming down my face. It went on and on. They were all looking at me like I was nuts. It was embarrassing but I was still laughing so hard that I couldn’t explain. By the time we reached home, I was just beginning to recover.
You see, just that week I had been in Williams and Sonoma and sampled the warm cider. I thought it was very good. Being Williams and Sonoma, they had a lovely gift presentation. They had mugs, cinnamon sticks, mulling spices, and the cider. I bought the whole kit and kaboodle. In fact, I thought it was perfect gift for a few of our friends, Miss Lolly and her family being one of them. How the heck was I to know? Isn’t it unAmerican to hate warm cider. I was so proud of myself. I thought I had the perfect gift. I confessed my sins to Miss Lolly and then she laughed so hard that she cried too.
Of course I found something else to give Miss Lolly & Co. And we had a very special beverage with all the fixins at our Christmas Eve Open House. And it was known from that time on as “The Damned Warm Cider.” Everyone loved it. (with a little spiced rum)
And now for a little Christmas Cheer: My favorite Christmas decorations
“I may be rushing things but deck the halls again now!”
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Today was one of “those” days. And it was long. As a music lover, I often relate the highs and lows, ebb and flow of my life to lyrics in a song. This was the little ditty that came to mind on my drive home from work today:
Thank goodness I work from home on Fridays.
And now for a little Christmas cheer: Tonight we are offering the famous “Damned Warm Cider” and homemade shortbread cookies. Please feel free to add a little spiced rum from the cabinet just above the stove for some added warmth. Now I’m wondering if I ever told you the “Damned Warm Cider” story? I can't find it in my archives. Anyone? This memory loss crap really bites! Now come on over and join me on the sofa.
“Haul out the holly! Put up the tree before my spirits fall again.”
As you can see, this is the ornament from 2003. Isn’t it fun? This delightful illustration of a child’s joy at Christmas was designed to honor the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant 1869-1877.
Inside this booklet you will find all the Christmas details for which a history geek could ask. Tales of Mrs. Grant’s generosity and kind heart, a mini bio of the president and a description of the social life in the White House during this age of Industrialization will keep you riveted. *cough* Well, I love it anyway.
Now, where’d we put that bottle of rum?
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
While the rest of the world was beating a path to the mall and doing their part to boost the economy this weekend, we here in SMBland stayed home to deck the halls. Friday morning found MHS in the attic handing down boxes to the assembly line that was Daughter #2 and me. (D1 had to work) By Sunday evening, the explosion that I affectionately refer to as the Christmas bomb was nowhere in sight
as long as you don’t notice the boxes in the hall that are still waiting to return to the attic and every ornament, Santa Claus and string of garland were all in their place.
I just love our Christmas decorations. I love pulling into the drive after my long commute from work to see the lights on the tree shining brightly through the window. I love every single reindeer, snowman and nutcracker. Many of my decorations were given to me by my mother and now that she is gone, they give me even more pleasure as I remember her with a smile.
Several years ago My Harley Stud began a new tradition. I am an American history geek and he found the perfect gift for me. My birthday is in December and every year he gives me an ornament from the White House Historical Association. And when I’ve been a really good girl, I get two. Each year the association commemorates an American President and a Christmas story during their presidency. The ornaments are packaged in a beautifully decorated box, come with a wonderful history lesson and are some of the most beautiful ornaments I’ve seen. I look forward each year to sitting down and reading all about my new ornament. Truth be known, I usually reread each ornament’s story every year. Yes, I am that kind of history geek. You know the one that has to read all the plaques in the museum because I’m afraid I’ll miss a detail. This special interest of mine has served me well in all trivia games and when playing couchside Jeopardy.
Because I’m the kind of
geek enthusiast that is just certain you will be bored to tears just as excited about my ornaments as I am, I thought I would share them with you. Because that’s the kinda girl I am. *wink* So pull up a chair, grab yourself some cookies and a cup of hot cocoa (Kahlua optional) and let’s take a look at the first ornament I received from MHS several years ago.
This is the special commemorative ornament that celebrates the White House.
There’s four pages of fascinating White House history inside this little booklet. Notice that the sandstone to make the ornament comes from the very same Virginia quarry that produced the sandstone exterior walls of the White House.
The North Facade of the White House
And this is what it looks like on the tree.
Want some more cocoa?
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Four score and seven years ago, I did a photo-shoot for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law photographers. It was the era of big hair, parachute pants and scrunchies. My naturally thin and limp hair was permed and poofed to unbelievable heights never again seen since that decade.
My Harley Stud was cleaning out his old car the other day and came across this photograph. He apparently kept it in the car for quick reference should he momentarily forget what I looked like. He made it a point to show everyone in the house the picture so we could all remember a time when I was wrinkle-free and ever so much thinner thanks to a J*zzericise career.
My Daisy, my father’s new wife, said, “Who is that?” I raised my eyebrows and gave her “the look”. “Is that yooooouuuu, Smart Mouth?” After a few more looks back and forth, she conceded that indeed she could see a bit of me in there.
Daisy showed the picture to Daddy, who of course knew me then so he recognized the image as me immediately and followed with…….”Oh yeah, Smart Mouth used to be really thin. She even had to drink beer to keep weight on.” Yes.I.Did. I told my father I “had to” drink beer. I guess I could have drunk milk.
Later, the photograph was shown to my niece, Smart Mouth in Training. She carefully inspected the image before her and looked me square in the eye and said, “Wow, Aunt Smart Mouth, you used to be pretty.”
I think I’m going to start drinking beer again.