Menu Plan: November 1 - November 7

Hopefully everyone has enough candy that they won't run out tonight for Trick-or-Treating.  It seems like there are hundreds of kids stopping by our house on Halloween.

Several years ago our neighborhood tried to move Halloween to Saturday because it fell on a Sunday night and therefore a school night.  All the crunchy-granola earth mothers in the neighborhood claimed that the kids would be out late and wouldn't be productive the next day at school.  Oddly enough, it recently came to my attention that my small southern hometown has Halloween on Saturday night if the 31st falls on a Sunday because Sundays are church nights.  Yet again, here I am in the middle, neither in the Jesus freak camp nor the crunchy-granola earth mother camp. 

Believe it or not, there are some of us who attend church regularly, eat and grow organic food, and send our kids out in costumes soliciting the neighbors for HFCS-GMO-and-sugar-laden handouts even when Halloween falls on a Sunday.  Once they return with pillowcases full of candy, what to do with that ADHD-inducing booty?

Maybe I can find a way to use it in desserts.
  • Monday
    • Breakfast:  banana-nut muffins
    • Supper:  corn pudding, creamed spinach, roasted pumpkin (it's MFM after all)
  • Tuesday
    • Breakfast:  cereal (as usual since Mr. Gaelic has early morning meetings every Tuesday)
    • Supper:  chili, rice, and toppings of cheese, onions, jalapeños, sour cream
  • Wednesday
    • Breakfast:  sautéed apple slices, cinnamon bread
    • Supper:  scalloped ham-and-potatoes, green beans, glazed carrots
  • Thursday
    • Breakfast:  bagels, cream cheese
    • Supper:  veggie and alphabet-shaped pasta soup, homemade bread
  • Friday
    • Breakfast:  soft-boiled eggs, toast
    • Supper:  shrimp étouffée, rice, salad
  • Saturday
    • Breakfast:  bacon, eggs, grits, toast
    • Supper:  pizza for girls, Mr. Gaelic and I are headed to a Murder Mystery party and are to take a dessert (this might be where the extra Halloween candy gets used if a good recipe can be found)
  • Sunday
    • Breakfast:  pancakes, sausage
    • Dinner:  chicken and dumplin's, kale, stewed tomatoes
Yep, not a lot of desserts served at chez Gaelic.  That's why the kids hoard their candy stashes.  But if the candy is not all eaten by Christmas, out it goes.  Yep, they actually make it last that long.


It Was a Dark and Blonde-ish Night

This one time, at band camp . . .  Wait.  Let's start again.

Last night after dropping off one daughter at a babysitting job and returning to find the other daughter and her friends prepping for the football game, it was supposed to be a relaxing night in.

The agenda was full of ideas:  a quick catch-up with certain friends who were online, a really long decadent bubble bath, a cup of hot apple cider and a new book, a lap for Thing 1 and Thing 2 to take turns warming.  Ah, bliss.

But Murphy's Law kicked in.  Flip on the computer.  Log into the various mail accounts.  Suddenly all the fire alarms in the house go "beep" once then the house goes dark.  Immediately, the generator next door clicks on and starts humming away.  You should see the size of that generator.  It's big enough to power the entire block.  But no!  If this was grade school, their report card would say, "Doesn't play well with other." 

A quick visual check outside confirms that the whole block is without power.  Lovely.  Somebody has to report the outage.  In the past, it's been that the neighbors assume someone else reported the outage.  But what's the power company's phone number?

That's okay.  My web browser is open.  I'll just look it up online. 

Ever have one of those blonde days even if you've got more red in your hair than blonde? 

It took me a few "Why won't the page load?" before realizing that the modem, which is plugged into an electric outlet, doesn't work if the power is out. 

Good thing the rest of last night's agenda could be accomplished sans electricity.  Bubble bath by candlelight.  Cider heated on the gas stove.  Reading by candlelight.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 on either side of me like anchors trapping the warmth under my blanket.

Ah, bliss, after all.


Déjà Vu All Over Again

It's the '80s all over again.  Leg warmers.  They're back in fashion.  And not just for ballet.  Although Maeve wants a burgundy thigh-high pair for ballet.

When we were in Massachusetts for Parents' Weekend, leg warmers were at all the local stores.  Maybe it was just in the colder climes of the United States.  But that's how trends go.  They start in one area and spread everywhere.  Soon they'll be spotted on women in southern California.

Please, please, please, oh ye fashion gods.  The '80s were good on the first go 'round.  We don't need a second go. 

Colorful corduroy slacks embroidered with palm trees, or ducks, or NCAA football team insignia are still in style at your local country club.  Worn by men, mostly.  Pink and green are still hanging around the club as well.  If you segregate yourselves behind guarded tennis courts, that's one thing.  But please don't bring back the other street wear from 30 years ago.

Just say no.  No to parachute pants.  No to ripped-neck sweatshirts.  No to fingerless lace gloves.  No to anything that hearkens back to Cyndi Lauper, or Irene Cara, or Madonna circa "Like a Virgin". 

Fashion.  Movies.  Books.  (The Official Preppy Handbook, anyone?)  Is there no originality in anything anymore?


And the Answer Is . . .

Was Tuesday’s blog a bit of light-hearted fun? It was for me. Here, as promised, are the answers to the movie quote quiz.

1. Gone With the Wind, Clark Gable as Rhett Butler
2. The Godfather, Marlon Brando as Don Corleone
3. On The Waterfront, Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy
4. The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale
5. Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine
6. Sudden Impact, Clint Eastwood as ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan
7. Sunset Boulevard, Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond
8. Star Wars, several references, one was Harrison Ford as Han Solo
9. All About Eve, Bette Davis as Margo Channing
10. Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle
11. Cool Hand Luke, Strother Martin as the Captain
12. Apocalypse Now, Robert Duvall as Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore
13. Love Story, Ali MacGraw as Jennifer Cavilleri Barrett
14. The Maltese Falcon, Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade
15. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Pat Welsh as E.T.
16. In the Heat of the Night, Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs
17. Citizen Kane, Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane
18. White Heat, James Cagney as Arthur ‘Cody’ Jarrett
19. Network, Peter Finch as Howard Beale
20. Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine
21. The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter
22. Dr. No, Sean Connery as James Bond, and other references by other actors
23. The Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale
24. Sunset Boulevard, Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond
25. Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding, Jr. as Rod Tidwell

How did you do so far?

26. She Done Him Wrong, Mae West as Lady Lou
27. Midnight Cowboy, Dustin Hoffman as ‘Ratso’ Rizzo
28. Casablanca, Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund
29. A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan Jessup
30. Grand Hotel, Greta Garbo as Grusinskaya
31. Gone with the Wind, Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara
32. Casablanca, Claude Rains, Capt. Louis Renault
33. When Harry Met Sally, Estelle Reiner as a customer
34. To Have and Have Not, Lauren Bacall as Marie ‘Slim’ Browning
35. Jaws, Roy Scheider as Martin Brody
36. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Alfonso Bedoya as ‘Gold Hat’
37. The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator
38. The Pride of the Yankees, Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig
39. Field of Dreams, Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson
40. Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump
41. Bonnie and Clyde, Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow
42. The Graduate, Walter Brooke as Mr. Maguire
43. Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine
44. The Sixth Sense, Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear
45. A Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski
46. Now, Voyager, Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale
47. Shane, Brandon De Wilde as Joey Starrett
48. Some Like It Hot, Joe E. Brown as Osgood Fielding III
49. Frankenstein, Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein
50. Apollo 13, Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell

Wow! Casablanca shows up on the list a lot.

51. Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood as ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan
52. Jerry Maguire, Renee Zellweger as Dorothy Boyd
53. Animal Crackers, Groucho Marx as Capt. Geoffrey T. Spaulding
54. A League of Their Own, Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan
55. Annie Hall, Diane Keaton as Annie Hall
56. Psycho, Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
57. Wall Street, Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko
58. The Godfather Part II, Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
59. Gone with the Wind, Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara
60. Sons of the Desert, Oliver Hardy as Oliver
61. Scarface, Al Pacino as Tony Montana
62. Beyond the Forest, Bette Davis as Rosa Moline
63. The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock
64. Dr. Strangelove, Peter Sellers as President Merkin Muffley
65. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes
66. Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston as George Taylor
67. Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine
68. The Shining, Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance
69. Poltergeist, Heather O’Rourke as Carol Anne Freeling
70. Marathon Man, Laurence Olivier as Dr. Christian Szell
71. The Jazz Singer, Al Jolson as Jakie Rabinowitz/Jack Robin
72. Mommie Dearest, Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford
73. Little Caesar, Edward G. Robinson as Cesare Enrico ‘Rico’ Bandello
74. Chinatown, Joe Mantell as Lawrence Walsh
75. A Streetcar Named Desire, Vivien Leigh as Blanche DuBois

I’m seeing lots of repeat offenders on the list.

76. Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator
77. Soylent Green, Charlton Heston as Det. Robert Thorn
78. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Keir Dullea as Dave Bowman
79. Airplane! Robert Hays and Leslie Nielson as Ted Striker and Dr. Rumack
80. Rocky, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa
81. Funny Girl, Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice
82. National Lampoon’s Animal House, John Belushi as John ‘Bluto’ Blutarsky
83. Dracula, Bela Lugosi as County Dracula
84. King Kong, Robert Armstrong as Carl Denham (the original)
85. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Andy Serkis as Gollum
86. Dog Day Afternoon, Al Pacino as Sonny Wortzik
87. 42nd Street, Warner Baxter as Julian Marsh
88. On Golden Pond, Katharine Hepburn as Ethel Thayer
89. Knute Rockne, All American, Pat O’Brien as Knute Rockne
90. Goldfinger, Sean Connery as James Bond (and other references)
91. The Naughty Nineties, Bud Abbott as Dexter
92. Caddyshack, Bill Murray as Carl Spackler
93. Auntie Mame, Rosalind Russell as Mame Dennis
94. Top Gun, Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards as Lt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell and Lt. Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw
95. Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams as John Keating
96. Moonstruck, Cher as Loretta Castorini
97. Yankee Doodle Dandy, James Cagney as George M. Cohan
98. Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle
99. The Wizard of Oz, Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West
100.Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson

The blog title was a corruption of “Shall we play a game?” from WarGames, James Ackerman as Joshua. And the second to last sentence was a song from Annie, Aileen Quinn as Annie.

However, after introducing Maeve to the depravities of the Rocky Horror Picture Show last night (bad Mommy), I really wish these lines had made the list:

It’s just a jump to the left,
And then a step to the right,
With your hands on your hips,
You bring your knees in tight,
But it’s the pelvic thrust,
That really drives you insane.
Let’s do the Time Warp again.
Let’s do the Time Warp again.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled workday.


The Bait and Switch

Yesterday's blog was a Movie Quote Quiz.  And I promised you the answers in today's blog.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I stumbled upon an article in The Telegraph.  The Telegraph, for those of you don't know, is a newspaper from London, England.  Notice that this news hasn't hit any of the major American media outlets.  Yet.

The significance of this, and the reason why today's blog won't include the answers (check back tomorrow for the quiz answers), is that the Telegraph is reporting on something that I blogged about last week, the upcoming vote in southern Sudan.  As some commenters pointed out on my earlier blog, Sudan isn't as rich in natural resources as Iraq or Kuwait.  The article says that southern Sudan actually produces 480,000 barrels of oil a day.  A day!

That could be its saving grace.  Either because of the oil in southern Sudan or because the United States wants to avoid another Rwanda (I'm betting on the former), the State Department formed the U.S. Civilian Response Corps, which is currently building a large presence in southern Sudan.  They are there to "observe, report and monitor".

As I mentioned in my earlier blog about southern Sudan, the Anglican Bishop of Sudan spent time at our parish when he was just a priest from the Diocese of Renk in southern Sudan, before he became the Bishop of Renk and then the Bishop of Sudan.  Now the Archbishop of Canterbury warns that the world risks "sleepwalking" into another disaster like Rwanda. 

It's amazing to me, and a very sad indictment of the world, that it could be southern Sudan's oil reserves that save its people, rather than humanitarian concerns of saving lives just to save lives.


Do You Want to Play a Game?

I’ll give you a quote from a movie; you tell me the movie.

1. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
2. I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.
3. You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.
4. Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
5. Here’s looking at you kid.
6. Go ahead, make my day.
7. All right, Mr. DeMille. I’m ready for my close-up.
8. May the Force be with you.
9. Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.
10. You talking to me?
11. What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.
12. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
13. Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
14. The stuff that dreams are made of.
15. E.T. phone hom.
16. They call me Mister Tibbs!
17. Rosebud.
18. Made it Ma! Top of the world!
19. I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!
20. Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
21. A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
22. Bond. James Bond.
23. There’s no place like home.
24. I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.
25. Show me the money!

Need a break? Ready for another round?

26. Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?
27. I’m walking here! I’m walking here!
28. Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’
29. You can’t handle the truth!
30. I want to be alone.
31. After all, tomorrow is another day!
32. Round up the usual suspects.
33. I’ll have what she’s having.
34. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.
35. You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
36. Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!
37. I’ll be back.
38. Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
39. If you build it, he will come.
40. Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.
41. We rob banks.
42. Plastics.
43. We’ll always have Paris.
44. I see dead people.
45. Stella! Hey, Stella!
46. Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.
47. Shane. Shane. Come back!
48. Well, nobody’s perfect.
49. It’s alive! It’s alive!
50. Houston, we have a problem.

Okay, they’re getting a bit tougher. Still got it in you to keep going? Good.

51. You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?
52. You had me at “hello.”
53. One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.
54. There’s no crying in baseball!
55. La-dee-da, la-dee-da.
56. A boy’s best friend is his mother.
57. Greed, for lack of a better work, is good.
58. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
59. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.
60. Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!
61. Say “hello” to my little friend!
62. What a dump.
63. Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?
64. Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!
65. Elementary, my dear Watson.
66. Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.
67. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
68. Here’s Johnny!
69. They’re here!
70. Is it safe?
71. Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!
72. No wire hangers, ever!
73. Mother of mercy, is this the end of Rico?
74. Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.
75. I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

We’re in the final stretch.

76. Hasta la vista, baby.
77. Soylent Green is people!
78. Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
79. Striker: Surely you can’t be serious./Rumack: I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley.
80. Yo, Adrian!
81. Hello, gorgeous.
82. Toga! Toga!
83. Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.
84. Oh, no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.
85. My precious.
86. Attica! Attica!
87. Sawyer, you’re going out a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star!
88. Listen to me mister. You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t you forget it. You’re going to get back on that horse, and I’m going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we’re gonna go, go, go!
89. Tell ‘em to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper.
90. A martini. Shaken, not stirred.
91. Who’s on first.
92. Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, no about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac…It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!
93. Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!
94. I feel the need – the need for speed!
95. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.
96. Snap out of it!
97. My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you.
98. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
99. I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too.

And last,

100.I’m king of the world!

How’d you do? I’ll tell you tomorrow. After all, the sun’ll come out tomorrow. Bonus points for today's blog title and that last sentence.


Ashes to Ashes, Mortar to Dust

I was alone as I approached.  Where I stopped there were what looked like the remains of a campfire near my foot on the sidewalk.  First, there was just me.  Then another woman, then a third woman and her two dogs, then a fourth woman.  We stood and tried to come up with new adjectives to describe how we felt.  Devastated was the consensus word.

Before us was the front wall with its steep pitched point topped with an ironwork cross.  Above the patterned bricks was the rose window.  Or where the rose window should have been.  Yet we were held back by yellow Police Line tape.

When a historic church burns in America, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is called in to investigate.  The vehicles were visible between two other buildings.  A lone police officer sat in his cruiser watching us.

We stood silent taking in the unimaginable.  The slate shingles still covered bits of the roof.  But over 80% of the roof was gone.  Replaced with the skeleton of blackened rafters. 

Journalists somehow manage to accurately and vividly describe the aftermath of such a fire.  But like a surgeon who won't operate on a family member, it's difficult to put words to the emotions that welled up in my chest and brought tears to my eyes.

The doors were always unlocked.  Finola would walk to the chapel after school to practice on the beautiful pipe organ.  For organ aficionados, it was a tracker.  Even worse, it was a Fisk.

As I stood looking in complete dejection, I wracked my brain trying to remember whether the Pascal Candle was always lit whenever I would pick up Finola after practice.  Maybe the chapel had knob-and-tube wiring that finally gave out.  The thought of someone carelessly tossing a cigarette or match or anything into a plastic trash can crossed my mind but I couldn't entertain the thought without a sick feeling coming over me.

Many were the days that I'd sit in a quire stall listening to the last practice piece as the cleaning ladies polished the pews with oil until the wood glistened.  I'd read the inscriptions below the stained glass.  Or the exhortation above the altar.  "Go ye into the world and preach the gospel."

A church is gone.  The church will survive.  A church is a building.  The church is the people.  The church community is strong, with deep roots and branches that stretch around the world.  Graduates have gone into all corners of the world.  The Good News is that no one was hurt. 

The Good News is that even a horrible fire of a beloved chapel cannot extinguish our hope and our love and our communtiy.  Even in ashes, the chapel brought together four strangers on a beautiful fall day. 

Observations from the Road, Part Deux

When I told an old friend that I must learn to tolerate I-95, he quipped that the I-95 corridor is intolerable.  He's right.  But here are my recent observations to help along the way to tolerance.
  • If you notice the beautiful stars as you drive along, look again.  They're airplanes.  The light pollution makes seeing stars impossible.
  • If you fondly remember the Burger King onion rings from when you were a kid, don't order them at the service areas.  There's more breading on the onion rings than actual onion in the rings.
  • Speaking of fast food, McDonald's appears to be the crème de la crème of fast food.  At least it's consistent in its awfulness.
  • If you're travelling non-stop between Washington, DC, and Boston, Mass, you're going to hit rush hour at some point during your drive.  Books-on-tape or shuffle mode on the iPod helps with the slow traffic.
  • If you have a fender bender because some doofus didn't stop in time to avoid smashing into your rear bumper, for God's sake, do NOT get out of your car.  (I observed this happen in the middle lane.  At night!)
  • Connecticut State Troopers drive black Ford Taurus unmarked cars.  And they can haul ass.
  • Speaking of hauling ass, there are two type of motorcyclists on I-95.  Cruisers who wear half-helmets and jean jackets but generally follow the speed limits; and squids who wear tinted-visor full face helmets and leather jackets but delight in going in the triple digits or popping wheelies at 80 miles per hour.
  • To cut down on the stress associated with I-95, opt for the Merritt and Cross Parkways in Connecticut if at all possible.
  • If you happen to find yourself in New York City and need to head northeast towards Boston and points in between, do NOT take the Cross Bronx Expressway.  Head west on 57th to the Hudson Parkway and follow it north.  You won't believe you're still in New York City.  In fact at points you'll swear you're in upstate New York.
  • There is no good food to be found at any of the service areas anywhere along the I-95 corridor.  This may sound radical.  But . . . Print out a coupon for discount parking (Icon parking has good specials) in New York City, drive into the city, and eat a decent meal while you wait for the traffic to let up.  I know this is contrary to my last blog about the I-95 corridor when I said to avoid New York City at all costs.  (So I must be a radical because driving in New York City traffic doesn't bother me.)
  • Not all Starbucks are created equal.  The one on East Putnam Avenue in Riverside, CT, may not be the easiest on-off or even have a drive-thru, but it's a pleasant break if you can figure out how to get into the parking lot of the strip center.  Hint: from the I-95 off-ramp, go straight through the traffic light and bear right into the parking lot.  The Starbucks is towards the far end of the strip center.
  • Most non-service center Starbucks have the best restrooms because most of them have seat protectors in the restrooms.
  • Not all GPS's are created equal.  Make sure your Bitching Betty has the most up-to-date maps loaded or else you might be in the left lanes when you should be in the right lanes. 
  • If there's no blinking yellow light for your EZ-Pass lane and you planned to use your EZ-Pass because you don't have any cash, you're SOL.  Because it wasn't an EZ-Pass lane after all, but a Cash-Only lane.
  • Toll booth attendants have no sense of humor.  If you ever find one who does, be nice to him or her.
  • When you're at the last service center in New Jersey to fill up with the cheap gas, go for the lane with no cars.  People either don't realize the hoses are long enough to reach to the other side of their cars or they don't want the hoses draped over their vehicles even if it means not waiting in line for gas.
  • Believe it or not, there are lots of deer within grazing range of the guard rails.  There was one nibbling on the grass just on the other side of the guard rail in Massachusetts while 18-wheelers and sports cars went roaring past her.  Be careful.  Especially in southern New Jersey at night.  There were herds of them.  Let's talk about re-introducing the grey wolf to southern New Jersey to help control the deer population.  But that's a blog for another day.


Vote for Freedom, Vote for Democracy

Very rarely do I venture into the realm of politics on my blog.  Mama always told me there are some things you don't discuss in polite society.  These are politics, religion, and sex.  Seeing as how I've violated her proscription on religion and sex on these very pages, let's go for a troika and blast the politics taboo as well.

Here's the background.  Several years ago, a young priest from the diocese of Renk came to our parish as a home-away-from-home parish while he was studying at seminary.  Renk is in Southern Sudan.  He brought with him stories of genocide, Arabic north against the native African south (mostly indigenous Dinka), Islamic north against the traditionally Christian south.  This was before Darfur.  This was before George Clooney and the world wanted to help.

Our parish partnered with the diocese of Renk to build schools, buy a seed drive, establish a health clinic.  Our parish became a refuge for the Lost Boys and Sudanese families driven from their homeland by rape, murder, slavery, hunger, and war.

In the almost 60 years of Sudanese independence, almost 40 of those years have been engulfed by Civil War.  There is a current peace agreement between the north and the south.  On the 9th of January 2011, the southern Sudanese will vote on whether to remain part of Sudan or become an independent country.

No, we can't vote on that referendum.  What we can do is urge our Senators and Congressmen to support southern Sudan's efforts to create a new nation.  The Sudan Peace and Stability Act of 2010 offers American help to achieve the goals of the peace agreement while holding southern Sudan accountable. 

There is a real chance for peace.  At the same time there is a real threat that Sudan could erupt into violence along the lines of Rwanda.  Will we stand by and let another Rwanda happen? 

Regardless of whether you, like I, consider the southern Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ, I would hope that we all agree that killing another human being for the simple reason that he or she is of a different tribe or ethnic group is wrong.

That's why you're getting a twofer blog today.  That's why I'm urging you to stand for peace, freedom, and democracy in a part of the world that has been suffering for so long.  That's why I'm asking you to ask your Representatives to support the Sudan Peace and Stability Act of 2010.

Peace be with you.

Blue Funk Railroad

To stave off anyone's future concerns, my upcoming lack of blogs has nothing to do with yesterday's funk.  Mr. Gaelic left at an ungodly hour this morning on a business trip.  I leave tomorrow morning heading to Finola's college for Parents' Weekend.  My laptop is staying home. 

No blogs for the next few days (unless I sneak some time on Finola's computer).  The days will be jam-packed with campus events and lots of sitting-so-close-that-I-embarrass-her time together.


May I Have Some Cheese with My Whine?

One little glimmer of hope. With all the rejection letters that keep flooding my inbox (Did I mention that one day two weeks ago there were four? In one day!), there was one that wasn’t quite a rejection. It stated that my application was being reviewed and a list of candidates to be invited for interviews would be forthcoming.

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles. It wasn’t a rejection!

Because of the type jobs I’m applying for, the application process is an online ordeal that averages four hours per application. There was one 24-hour period that produced five submitted applications. After that my average has been only one a day. Mind numbing is one way to look at it.

Rejection can be difficult for even the most chipper of people. After so much hard work, receiving that many rejections at a time really gets a person down.

It’s that blue funk that makes me want to complain to my closest friends. But even my closest friends need a break from my whining. The willpower not to dump on them so much has kept me from signing onto chats recently, or picking up the phone and scheduling a coffee date, or just dropping by to say hello.

They support me and care about me but I don’t want to always be the taker. They have their own problems with jobs, office politics, children, significant others, extended families. I want to be there for them to open up to and dump their junk on.

My heart may be willing but my mind is wandering. You know, that fuzzy focus that comes with the blues, the reds, and the pinks. Anything deeper than an elevator speech and my mind can’t follow past the first floor.

Hopefully my hiatus won’t permanently damage our relationships. Maybe I should copy-and-paste this into an email and send it their way. It may help explain why I never call, I never write. But it doesn’t excuse it.


Whoever Heard of a House Without Things?

It was the photo on the animal shelter website that won me over.  He was perfectly black.  Black cats hold a special place in my heart since The One Who Came Before was also perfectly black.

He had a sister and the pair couldn't be separated.  She was black and white like a Holstein cow.  No matter.  He was black.

But that was false advertising.  It wasn't until the adoption was finalized and Thing 1 and his sister Thing 2 were part of our family that we found out he wasn't perfectly black.

Thing 1, all male cat that he is, sports a white bikini.  One white patch between his front legs and one white patch between his back legs.  When he's sprawled out in the floor for a good long stretch, there it is.  His bikini.

Thing 2 doesn't mind that Thing 1 wears a female version.  She prefers to run around the house like a little nudist.  Somehow, someway, Thing 2 must have opposable thumbs because she manages to get her pink collar off about once a week.  The search for the collar ensues while she prances around nude for however long it takes us to find where she hid it.

That's a quick synopsis of our Things.  Whenever they do something amusing (or exasperating) they'll make an appearance in the blog.  But for the most part, their antics are mostly conventional:  lying down on the newspaper you're trying to read, walking across the computer keyboard before you've saved your document, sleeping between your legs at night so that you can't roll over.  And either showing off his bikini or wandering around the house naked.


Menu Plan: October 18 - October 24

Sorry to disappoint but there will be no menu plan nor accompanying grocery store trek this week.  Mr. Gaelic is heading off on a business trip on Wednesday.  I leave on Thursday heading toward New England for Parents' Weekend at Finola's college.  Deirdre and Maeve will be more than likely ordering take out from the neighborhood Thai restaurant.  Deirdre has them on speed dial on her cellphone.

The next time Mr. Gaelic leaves for a multi-day business trip, the menus for the week will include plenty of cruise food.  Until then, it's just "fend for yourself" week around here.


The Naming of Gaels

There has been an uptick in the number of readers on The Writer's Kaffeeklatsch recently.  It's about time to reintroduce the main characters and the bit players around here.  This is where a disclaimer needs to be.  Although many of you know my actual identity, I write this as an anonymous blog to keep Internet stalkers at arm's length. 

First off, we are the Gaelic family because of both my husband's and my combined heritages.  We both have roots that stretch back to Scotland and my roots go into Ireland.  But we're also continental as well with French (me), Dutch (me), German (both), and Swiss (me).  So far my genealogy research hasn't turned up any other countries.  Not even that Indian princess that almost every American family claims to have hidden away in their ancestry.

Me - I've never referred to myself as anything other than Mrs. Gaelic or Mom, Mother, Mommy, or Wifey.  If I ever decide to give myself a name on here, you'll be the first to know.

Mr. Gaelic - My husband and father of my children.  I've never called him anything except Mr. Gaelic.  And yes I refer to him as Mr. _______ sometimes around the house, just because.

Finola - My eldest daughter who is currently in her first year at university in New England.

Deirdre - My middle daughter who is a handful.

Maeve - My youngest daughter who just became a teenager.

Now the bit players.

Flannery - Mr. Gaelic's older sister.

Colin - Mr. Gaelic's younger brother.

Mr. Boss - Mr. Gaelic's boss.  Wow, I was so original there.

Facebook Former - My former boyfriend prior to dating Mr. Gaelic.

My mama - My mother.  Duh.  She passed away in 1993 from a brain tumor.

My daddy - My father.  Ditto.  He passed away in 2008 from congestive heart failure.

Those are the folks that have been mentioned in more recent blogs.  There are sure to be other folks that I'll write about and "name" at the time.  If you couldn't tell, the names have been Gaelicized to protect the innocent.  And the not-so-innocent.

Now, getting back to my "name".  Suggestions anyone?


The Handwriting on the Squall

I'm not a doctor.  And I don't play one on TV either.  But from my handwriting you wouldn't know that.

Once upon a time, I had beautiful handwriting, if I say so myself.  But something happened on the way to the forum known as the Internet.  I, we all, forgot how to write by hand.

When does anyone write anymore?  My grocery list was even generated on the computer using a menu planner program.  Until the other day at a church meeting when I was taking notes by hand.

Looking down at my own chicken scratch, it hit me.  I've forgotten how to write!  How many times have we heard, "if you don't use it, you'll lose it"? 

Are we all destined to a Morlock fate?  With the increasing popularity of email instead of letters, e-readers instead of books, and texting instead of talking, are we on a path to a silent social degeneration that science fiction writers like H.G. Wells wrote of in the late 19th century?

In the quest for technological advancements, what are we losing in the process?  Call me a luddite.  But this girl refuses to be an Eloi.


The Mines are Alive with the Sound of Music

I don't watch TV.  But yesterday was an exception to the rule.  I just had to see the last miner emerge from his home tomb of the last 69 days.  Joy!  Elation!  They're all safe.  Except for possibly the one whose wife didn't meet him at the surface because his mistress did.  Boy, did he look unhappy to be freed.

For one of the few non-TV watchers in America, I can fake my way through it pretty well.  Sue vs. Shue?  The Situation got the boot?  It's mostly through an osmosis process known around the world as "reading my Facebook feed". 

To know who Sue and Shue are might put me into the Gleek camp were it not for the fact that I've never seen the show, don't know when it comes on, much less what channel.  But you'd think that I live with a house full of Gleeks.

Before Finola went away to college, her study habits included doing homework while having clips from Les Mis, Rent, or Jesus Christ Superstar playing in the background.  Her interest in music was reflected in 13 years of piano study, 3 years of pipe organ study, and a legacy of introducing Maeve to Avenue Q.

Last night as I was watching the repetition of the Phoenix being lowered and raised through that 22" hole, music from Rent and Les Miserables floated in from the library.  My mind knows that Finola is not in the house.  But I turned around to look, half expecting to see her at the desk doing homework.

Instead it was Deirdre.  Listening to the music that her older sister loves so much.  Either Finola's choice of music impressed Deirdre enough so that she enjoys it or Deirdre misses Finola and can't or won't consciously acknowledge it.

Either way, it was quite nice having my own personal Gleek fill the quietness of the waiting time while each miner was hoisted to new life.


Sex, Beer, and Rock & Roll

Oktoberfest!  Prost!  The first Oktoberfest was 200 years ago yesterday.  Time to break out the brats, the wursts, and the beer. 
One good thing about sending my daughters on German-language exchange trips is that they come home having, legally in Europe, tasted good beer.  That's good because, when they come home and are offered typical American beer, they turn up their noses at the colored-water that passes as beer in America.
Now, just in time for Oktoberfest, one brewery has come out with limited-edition beer bottles that reveal special designs under black light.  If you're lucky enough to visit the select bars (I couldn't find a list of which bars) in Hotlanta, Beantown, the Windy City, Vegas, L.A., Miami, NYC, Palm Beach, Philly, San Diego, San Francisco, or Washington, DC, and you order yourself a Heinie in an aluminum bottle, be sure to ask the bartender to flip on the black lights.
But be careful who you're standing next to and just how low-waist her jeans are.  It seems that some women are getting black-light-only vattooes.  Really, now!  Who has a black light in their bedroom? 
The last time I saw black lights anywhere was at Wetlands, a club in TriBeCa that also had a Fisher Price Chatter Telephone on the bar.  That was a great place to see uber-talented musicians start sets around midnight and play until 4:00 a.m. at times.  R.I.P. Wetlands.
But I never ever heard a good German drinking song on the Wetlands stage.  Without jumping on the next Lufthansa to Munich, does anyone know where I can find a good German band?


Burping Abba, Father

If your kids are of a certain age, you will undoubtedly remember the book "Everybody Poops".  It explains that pooping is a normal part of life.  It's a must-read for parents with children of potty-training age.

Someone needs to write a book called "Everybody Burps".  Burping is also a normal part of life.  Granted, most times we try to stifle the burps.  Yet in some countries burping is considered a sign of appreciation to the cook, so I've heard.

My drink of choice is water.  Not just plain, flat tap water.  I like my water with those sparkly effervescent bubbles.  Seltzer.  Soda water.  Fizzy water.  Call it what you will, but it's easier for me to down my eight glasses of water a day if there's a little fizz.

Drinking carbonated drinks, even zero-calorie good-for-you fizzy water, causes bubbles in the tummy which come out as burps.  Unfortunately, my burps come out as vowel and consonant sounds.  Something along the line of ahh-BUH.

My kids were the first to mock the spoken burps.  I would burp ahh-BUH, they would repeat back "Abba".  It spread to Mr. Gaelic who takes a more literal translation to my burps.

Invoking a paternalistic view of family life where even the wife refers to the husband and head of the house as Father, now whenever I burp, rather than repeat "Abba" or console with a "Bless you", he answers with "Yes, dear?"


A Month of Birthdays


5 - Maeve, 13
9 - John Lennon, 70 (as if that tidbit had managed to escape anyone's attention)
11 - Deirdre, 17
12 - Colin, 46 (Mr. Gaelic's brother)
13 - our proposal anniversary and marriage renewal (not a birthday, but still)
20 - Viggo Mortensen, 52 (be still my beating heart)
26 - Jaclyn Smith, 63 (she was the Angel I most wanted to be)
29 - Kate Jackson, 62 (my second favorite, I didn't want to be blonde)
31 - Juliette Gordon Low, 150 (because where would we be without Girl Scouts and Girl Guides)


Menu Plan: October 11 - October 17

Food porn.  Staring me right in the face.  Lying smack dab in the middle of a half-price table at Barnes & Noble.  And I couldn't pull my eyes away.  Thoughts of lovingly placing the same dish on the table for my family kept me gazing at the cover photo.  My mouth watered and my mind raced taking mental stock of all the necessary ingredients and whether they were on hand at home.

At the early morning farmers' market, we scored Brussels sprouts, onions, baby red potatoes, an end-of-season casaba melon, a pound of free-range bacon, a pound of buffalo stew meat, and a free reusable "green" bag from a political candidate that we can't vote for because he represents the county and not the city (weird jurisdictions mean that our cities and counties are entirely separate as opposed to other states where cities are in counties and under both jurisdictions).  At the meat co-op, we bagged up three broilers, three stewing hens (the layers that are past their laying prime), two packs of pork ribs, three pounds of bacon (I forgot I had ordered bacon), and our Thanksgiving turkey (frozen, but I didn't want to run the risk of their selling out). 

The meat co-op is all free-range, grass-fed meat.  Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs.  Sometimes they work with neighboring like-minded farmers to supply duck, duck eggs, lamb, and rabbit.  The co-op delivers every eight weeks, so stock up.

Then there are the last of the backyard crop.  Carrots, onions that didn't "bulb", and a few beets. 

Do I have enough to put together that gorgeous food porn I coveted?  Let's try.
  • Monday
    • Breakfast:  oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar
    • Supper:  meatloaf (need to use the ground beef in the freezer to make room for the turkey), creamed red potatoes, green beans
  • Tuesday
    • Breakfast:  cereal (early morning meetings at the Company don't allow time for more)
    • Supper:  Peruvian stew with buffalo meat, hearty home-baked bread
  • Wednesday
    • Breakfast:  English muffins, fig preserves or tupelo honey
    • Supper:  baked mac & cheese, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cornbread
  • Thursday
    • Breakfast:  melon, Greek yogurt
    • Supper:  candied sweet potatoes, orange beets, creamed spinach, homemade dinner rolls (save half)
  • Friday
    • Breakfast:  baked apples, toast
    • Supper:  moules (mussels) à la marinière, french fries, salad, baguettes (gotta have something to soak up the broth)
  • Saturday
    • Breakfast:  pancakes, bacon
    • Supper:  Maeve's birthday party (finger sandwiches, carrot and celery sticks, cake, and homemade lemonade)
  • Sunday
    • Breakfast:  bacon, eggs, grits, toast
    • Dinner:  coq au vin, quinoa pilaf, salad, dinner rolls (saved from Thursday)
So coq au vin isn't quite the food porn I drooled over.  But most of the ingredients are readily available from what's on-hand.  And I don't have to buy a new cookbook for one food-porn recipe.


Hit Me with Your Breast Shot

Homecoming at the local high school was last week.  As part of the Leadership Club, Deirdre chaired the dance committee.  Yet she still participated in the other activities during the week leading up to the game and the dance that night.

Some of the girls in Leadership decided to cheer on the football team at the game by painting their midsections (between sport-bra and waistband levels) with the letters of the high school mascot.  You've seen guys at football games with letters on their tummies spelling out GO TEAM or some variant thereof.  Except these were all girls.

I didn't think much of it; in fact, I thought it was a cute idea.  Until I saw a picture of the girls in the Leadership room before the game. 

I have to hand it to them.  They know what Awareness Month October is.  And they even captioned the photo appropriately.  But when four of the girls (with Deirdre as the "S") spell out T-I-T-S and file the photo in the "Save the TaTas" album on one girl's Facebook page, I have to wonder if they spelled that out while in the stands as well. 

Nah, I would have known about that when the vice principal called to have me come pick up Deirdre from the game.


Makes No Mistakes

At age 26, one of my best friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. At age 35, the first of my high school graduating class died of breast cancer. At age whatever-we-are-now, there are three others fighting the disease.

Used to be that the C-word was whispered in polite conversation. My mama always lowered her voice when speaking of cancer, mental illness, or divorce. At least she acknowledged them. The things that were never spoken of were politics, religion, and sex. And money, who had it and how much of it they had.

I see postings on my high school friends’ Facebook pages offering prayers for their health in dealing with cancer. Or financial trouble. Or relationship trouble. And yet I’m puzzled.

These are the same people whose Biblical-inerrancy, ham-fisted, God-is-always-right theology drove me away from my fundamentalist evangelical upbringing.

Really? God makes no mistakes?

So, all these loving, caring women were destined to suffer agonizing treatments and, for some, death? If God is really the omniscient puppet master of the universe who makes no mistakes, then why do we walk 30 miles every year or don pink shirts to race for a cure? If it was meant to happen, shouldn’t we stand back and let God’s will be done?

Or is God the Great Watchmaker of the universe? I’ve been reading too much Kierkegaard. Which reminds me . . . [Finola, if you’re reading this, which ancient or medieval philosopher are you studying currently?]

Is all life really suffering? Wait, I’m getting my religions mixed up.

This is one of those great conundrums that remains with me as I continue on my pilgrimage to a better relationship with God.

Where do you fall in the great debate? Did God create the heavens and the earth and step back to see what would happen? Or does God orchestrate every action from who gets a cancer diagnosis to who gets shoved into a gas chamber? Or is it something in between? And if it’s something in between, how and why does God make His choices? Is that what 1 Corinthians 13:12 was alluding to?


Ready, Willing, and Table

When the boss invites you to join him and his wife for a play, you don't say no.  When your husband calls to tell you of your evening's plans, you pull out the theatre-ready dress and heels and meet him downtown. 

Mr. Boss is the managing partner of Mr. Gaelic's Fortune 100 employer.  He regularly entertains clients which is how we came into the picture.  A client cancelled on him at the last minute.  Better than letting the seats sit empty, he offered them to Mr. Gaelic.

Mr. and Mrs. Boss would meet us in the theatre lobby 15 minutes before curtain.  Why so late?  Mr. Boss had to assist his daughter's hockey practice.  To have Mr. Boss apologize to Mr. Gaelic for not being able to take us to dinner beforehand was quite humbling.  Knowing that the big boss still makes it home to help with hockey practice is priceless.  The Company really tries to be family friendly.  And usually succeeds.

Not having dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Boss just meant that Mr. Gaelic and I would have a table and a conversation to ourselves.  Dinner and a play.  Not bad for an impromptu evening out.


The Road is a Jealous Mistress

This weekend is a motorcycle rally in North Carolina. There’s this one stretch on U.S. 129 that cuts its way through the southern Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. 318 curves in 11 miles! Any stretch of road that has its own map with the sites of fatal crashes (31 since 1995) is not for the faint of heart.

Two months ago, Mr. Gaelic received my blessing and encouragement to go. Now into my second full month of a paying job search, that blessing seems like a bane to me. The job outlook is becoming quite discouraging.

Discouragement comes in the form of multiple rejection letters. On a daily basis. Up to four rejection letters in a single day. Working the till at Barnes & Noble is beginning to look appealing.

To keep the discouragement at bay, Mr. Gaelic offers hugs to take the edge off those rejections. With his absence, no hugs for the good part of a week. He needs his personal time for recreation from his demanding job. My neediness shouldn’t impede his needs.

I realize that I’m being childish in wanting him to scrub the ride and rally. It’s just damn hard getting psyched to send him away. Like finding a job to pay for college, it’s something that I’ll do because we’re family.


Mental Post-It Note

Note to self:  If one of your hometown friends is a politician in the minority party and is arrested on trumped up charges, do not under any circumstances comment on his Facebook status, picture, or link.  The updates from subsequent comments will flood your email inbox faster than the winner at the Daytona 500 and with more mail than Santa Claus gets in any given December.


Remembering the Sabbath

Isn't Sunday supposed to be the Christian Sabbath? Whatever happened to those Blue Laws? In my hometown around the time of Reagan's first election, the First Baptist Church led an opposition to repealing the Blue Laws. Who would dare work on a Sunday? Only heathens.

These days most Blue Laws have gone the way of the dodo. Kids today don't know what a dodo is much less what Blue Laws were. Are we any better for it?

In my younger days, to say that someone couldn't go to the grocery store on a Sunday was ludicrous in my mind. No one should be punished by God's Laws if that person didn't even believe in God in the first place, much less those of us who believe in God but still need a quart of milk. After all, a quart is too much to borrow from a neighbor. There are limitations on the amounts of groceries one can borrow from a neighbor before one should just hightail it to the store.

Those olden days are much missed. Things were slower; or so they seemed. People used to actually talk to each other; rather than communicate online to someone sitting in the next room. Meals took longer to prepare than it takes a car to drive from Window #1 to Window #2.

In today's fast-paced world, remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy can be a challenge. (Whether the Sabbath is Saturday or Sunday is fodder for another blog entirely.) We Americans seem at best conflicted and at worst ignorant when we extol the virtues of a Yankee work ethic but forget that the Puritans insisted that all work cease on the Sabbath because a good Sabbath made a good Christian.
Of course it was easier to keep the Sabbath in Puritan days when the church was the law of the land. In today's America, whose church would be the law of the land? My cousins' fundamentalist church that doesn't allow women to wear jewelry, makeup, or pants?
Just as a person's relationship with God is a personal one, keeping the Sabbath should be personal as well. Let the heathen shopkeepers open their stores but let the observant Christian decide whether to patronize a store on the Sabbath. Let the sports fields be filled with youngsters and their balls, and bats, and sticks, and nets, but let the observant Christian decide whether their offspring will join a team with games on the Sabbath.
With all of the Biblical instructions for the Sabbath, both New and Old Testament, keeping the Sabbath can actually be interpreted in myriad ways. One of those ways, even with the blessing of a priest, could be forgoing a church service in place of a drive in the country with one's spouse.
In the fast-paced world of modern-day America, setting a day aside that is different from the others can mean spending a precious few hours alone with a husband or wife who puts in ungodly hours trying to keep up with that Yankee work ethic. Maybe the Gaelic family is the modern-day equivalent of our Puritan ancestors.


Menu Plan: October 4 - October 10

What heathens we are!  We skipped church today.  But our priest gave us special dispensation last night at a cocktail party raising funds for a new piano for the parish. 

Mr. Gaelic was away on business this week.  It was also Homecoming week at the high school.  Deirdre was out every night as she was on the Homecoming committee.  Friday night started the weekend with a bonfire at the high school which we were informed not to go to.  Instead we headed next door to our neighbor's impromptu art gallery. 

He's a closet artist and finally decided to show his work by turning his living room and dining room into an art gallery, complete with a tended bar on the front porch and signage with prices for the artwork.

The weekend continued early on Saturday with our First Annual Muffins and Mugs party.  Everyone was instructed to bring their our mug.  Our homebaked muffins included regular, blueberry, blueberry-corn, orange, lemon-poppy seed, bran, apple-gingerbread, banana-nut, carrot-raisin (using carrots from my garden), and chocolate-chocolate chip.  Following our Saturday morning party was our neighborhood art festival.  Then a quick shower before the cocktail party at the former ambassador's house and a stroll around downtown near the river.  We still had to stay up to make sure that Deirdre got home safely from the Homecoming dance.

Thinking back on it makes me tired.  Which is why we slept late, skipped church (with our priest's blessing), and took a car ride for two in the country.  It was heaven.  We rode through beautifully cool backroads stopping for things like farmers' markets and scenic overlooks.  Now I need to work the fruit we bought into our menu.  At least as afternoon snacks or in Mr. Gaelic's lunchbox.
  • Monday
    • Breakfast: baked apple
    • Supper: spaghetti, sala
  • Tuesday
    • Breakfast: cerea
    • Supper: pinto beans, risotto with peas, baked acorn squash with maple syrup
  • Wednesday
    • Breakfast: cinnamon toas
    • Supper: baked eggs, toasted baguettes (use only half a loaf), mesclun salad with pears, walnuts, and goat cheese
  • Thursday
    • Breakfast: cream of wheat (okay, okay, I know that's a brand name, but I was raised calling it that just as I learned Kleenex instead of facial tissue and Vaseline instead of petroleum jelly
    • Supper: lentil soup, fresh home-baked bread
  • Friday
    • Breakfast: toast, fig preserve
    • Supper: tuna casserole, salad
  • Saturday
    • Breakfast: whoopie waffles
    • Supper: cassoulet, baguettes (other half of the loaf)
  • Sunday
    • Breakfast: sausage gravy, buttermilk biscuit
    • Dinner: roast chicken, potatoes Anna, broccoli
Did you notice that I used the apples and the pears from the farmers' market?  They don't call it Home Economics for nothin'. 


Pickled Ballerina's Feet

With my current job search bullying my dance craze to the backseat of the bus, attending ballet class has taken a nosedive.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are my buckle-down-and-just-do-it days to work on applications for the entire "business day".  Mondays and Wednesdays are spent doing my other full-time occupation of being a housewife.  Believe me, if there were any way possible, I'd keep my current job.  But it doesn't pay enough for college tuition.  In fact, monetarily speaking, it doesn't pay at all.  Except in the love and affection of my family.

That leaves Fridays to relax into a physically exhaustive exercise routine.  My only ballet class of the week these days. 

My ballet teacher is a wonderful woman.  She danced professionally from age 16 onward.  She was a Rockette at one time and danced in Sweden for a while.  Now she teaches ballet to pre-schoolers through pre-pointe.  Plus her adult class, her gal pals.

She's somewhat eccentric in certain ways.  She refuses to see Western doctors until she can barely walk.  She drinks Listerine before class every day.  And recently she's taken to drinking water mixed with cider vinegar. 

She's also gotten on the green bandwagon by buying a metal water bottle to carry her vinegar water.  Apparently, she just bought it.  At my last class I walked in and found her swearing about how her bottle had leaked all in her bag.  Both pairs of ballet slippers were soaked.

But she had nothing else to wear and, with her gnarled feet from years of pointe shoes, she won't dance barefooted or sock footed.  She just squished her way through class, leaving puddles where she stood too long while mentally choreographing each piece. 

The good thing about ballet slippers is that, even after all the blood, sweat, and tears, they still smell like leather.  Rule Number One in ballet is never to wear your ballet shoes anywhere but in the studio.  So they're not on our feet for more than a couple of hours at a time.

Still.  One has to wonder how the vinegar will affect the suppleness of the leather and thereby a dancer's ability to arch her foot.  Inquiring ballerina minds (me) want to know.


The Voice that Launched a Thousand Shivers Down My Spine

The topic of my blog a few days ago was my current crush.  Here is an example of my voice crush.  Close your eyes and just drink in the rich baritone.  Actually, given everything about Mr. Stewart, he ranks up there with my other famous crushes – Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman.  Okay, so I like older men.