Friday, November 30, 2007

Hello Again

Greetings Loyal Readers-in-Waiting. I apologize to those of you who have been checking in only to see nothing new posted on my little blog. I have been absent for a couple of reasons. One is that I've been busy with many other very little things not worth mentioning here and the other reason is that instead of writing in the evening, I have been indulging in the review of the entire six seasons of Sex & The City. (I think that there are six seasons... I am on season two so far.)

Before I wax not-so-poetically about S&TC, a few words about the picture of your BloomingtonGirl at left. I have my new arm warmers on - they go all the way up to my elbows (under the shirt) and they are as cozy as cozy can be. I absolutely love them. I can type and operate the mouse on my laptop and my hands stay warm. Yummy. And, as you can see, I have cut my hair off once again and I have to say that I feel like myself again. I did try to grow my little locks out, with a view toward having a different, perhaps more feminine look. But, one day, even as the growing was going quite well, I woke up and decided that it just wasn't worth the effort I had to put in to actually blow-dry my hair. Granted, it took less than five minutes to perform this little beauty task, but it just felt like a complete waste of time for me. And besides, I just looked so GENERIC with my little soccer mom "do". So, I called my hairdresser and I got a sign from above. She had a rare cancellation the very next day. In I went and out I came - myself again. It is a complete freedom to have short hair and I enjoy it every day. That said, I must mention here that when I told a few people that I was getting my hair all cut off again, their reaction was "Aw!", in a tone of disappointment as if to imply that they were sad that I was going to make myself homely again in their eyes. I didn't say anything but I sure did notice. The best thing was, though, that I didn't care at all. It is nice to be 45 and not care quite so much. Perhaps by 50 I won't care at all. Won't that be freedom?

Well, I am off to bed to watch my once-a-day episode of S&TC and then to read a chapter of The Omnivore's Dilemma aloud to my husband. (One might say (correctly) that he is very spoiled, but I must add (also correctly) that he deserves it.) But, back to the book itself. I think that it should be required reading for anyone who eats.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful...

that I can go to bed now.
More tomorrow on our wonderful Thanksgiving. For now, here are some pictures.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oops! The Gravy Angst Fairy Makes Her Annual Visit

I hope that this is not an indication of how my cooking will turn out tomorrow. This is a photo of what were supposed to be roasted turkey giblets and vegetables for making turkey stock to be used in turkey gravy. Loyal Readers, I kid you not when I say that I followed the recipe to the letter, except that I removed the pan from the oven 20 minutes before the specified time. Granted, the recipe did mention that I would need a backbone and all I had was the neck and the gizzards and the (I think) liver. But, still, it shouldn't have turned out this TORCHED!

So, giblets ruined and no turkey stock on the near horizon, I needed a Plan B for my gravy. I am serving eleven tomorrow for Thanksgiving...six adults & five children.

As in all times of need, I went to my Oracle - in this case Cook's Illustrated online - and searched for "make ahead gravy". I recalled that earlier this week on Yahoo a recipe was highlighted for said "make ahead gravy" from Cook's Illustrated. The claim was that the gravy "had been taste tested over 40 times" - whatever the heck that means. (One person, 40 times? 40 people, one tasting? One person, 40 times making the gravy and tasting each batch...who knows?) But the bottom line was that this recipe was perfect for my situation. It did not require any turkey parts or turkey stock AT ALL.

Well, I made the gravy and am here to report that it is pretty damn good. It doesn't taste like turkey gravy, but good money says that if I slip it into the mix of freshly roasted turkey and all the trimmings, nobody will be the wiser. Well, except my husband who just tasted it and suggested that if we put some "good strong turkey drippings into it" it would be okay.

He has this gravy thing, this high standard of gravy that trips me up just about every year at Thanksgiving. When we lived in Fairfield, I just bought the gravy at Hay Day and thought it was pretty good. (I didn't realize how disappointed my husband was, suffering in silence, longing for gravy made with actual pan drippings...) I know that the admission that I purchased ready made gravy may shock some of my Loyal Readers, given that their BloomingtonGirl is such a From-Scratch Cook. But, for those of you not familiar, Hay Day (now Balducci's) wasn't just a run of the mill grocery store. It was, for lack of a better word, gourmet.

But still, you may wonder why BloomingtonGirl didn't just make her own gravy. To be completely honest, gravy has always intimidated me. I just am afraid of it. All the last minute de-glazing of the roasting pan and then (worst thing of all) having to use the tricky fat separating measuring cup thingy. I just don't want to bother with it. I don't want to get all sweaty, leaning over the pan right before we are to sit down for an elegant meal. Last year, my friend Jenny rescued me from my gravy anxiety by showing up and taking over the gravy duty. This year, she is selfishly spending the holiday with her father in Alabama of all places, leaving me without a gravy sous chef. (I might take her off my Christmas Card list for that.)

Well, would you look at the time? It is 10:40 PM! I've been cooking all day and all of the sudden, I am beat. I am off to bed to read a little and moisturize my tired and dry little paws.

More tomorrow on my cooking progress.

Keep your fingers crossed for my gravy adventures.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oprah Wisdom

While waiting in the check-out line at Kroger today, I had some time to check out the headlines on the latest tabloids (my guilty pleasure!) and some headlines on the not so tabloidy selections such as "O" Magazine, the bible for Oprahphiles everywhere. I am not one of the faithful and if anything, Oprah annoys me. I admire her fashion, of course, and I have to admit that some of the articles in "O" are actually intelligent. But that said, she does annoy me. I just don't get why an Oprah endorsement will lead millions of people to run out and buy whatever it is that she is (ostensibly) having. And, while we are on the topic...the photo shoot of her opening her school in Africa was extra annoying. She was dressed to the nines, all done up like she was going to high tea with Brooke Astor. (Well, when Mrs. Astor could go to tea, that is.) C'mon Oprah. Tell your stylist to dress you more appropriately for these events. But, as I used to say, I digress...

Back to the checkout line.

On her magazine this month was an interesting teaser:

"What to Eat So You are Never Hungry Again!"

I didn't have time to page through the magazine to find out what food indeed had this kind of miraculous appetite suppression power. Alas, the cashier roused me from my magazine cover reading stupor with "Do you have a Kroger Plus Card?"

But, though I didn't get to find out what the magic bullet for obesity was, I was able to come up with one of my own. The only thing I could think of was any kind of fatal poison. One shot and your appetite would be gone forever. There is no way any other substance can live up to that claim.

Off to watch our latest Netflix selection. Oh boy, Oh boy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Art, Music & Beauty

Your BloomingtonGirl has found three new things to be completely excited about. The first is pictured at left. The photo does not at all do this amazing piece of art justice, but it will have to do for now. You are looking at a 4 foot square piece made entirely of 78 rpm records that have been (obviously) cut into squares. Brad Fugate created it. It is big and bold and looks - if I do say so myself - just amazingly great on our living room wall. I love it every time I walk by it and it makes me happy just to look at it.

Another new passion of mine is Amy Winehouse, a 23 year old Brit who is an incredibly talented vocalist and an incredibly tragic mess. Think Billie Holiday mixed with Janice Joplin and some Diana Ross thrown in. You Tube has lots of videos. Check her out. Her music inspires me to write a screenplay using it as the soundtrack. Of course, I probably never will do that, but it might get me to finish a short story I've been working on sporadically for the last two years. Who knows. Anyway, I am blown away at her talent and at how messed up someone can make his or her own life.

And my third new passion, though passion is actually a strong word for something so little, is Clinique's Perfectly Real Makeup Foundation. I got a sample of it when I ordered my (now former) favorite tinted moisturizer from Sephora and even though it did not seem to be my color, I tried it on. I became instantly beautiful and radiant. Tomorrow, I shall purchase a bottle of this magic lotion.

In other news, I have been busy making preparations for Thanksgiving Dinner. I am trying to get completely organized ahead of time and so far, so good. Jack is put out because the only other kids coming are girls, but I imagine he'll get over it and behave nicely. But if not, he just won't get any pie.

Bye for now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Too Busy

...to properly respond to all the comments that my little "I Hate People" post evoked. But, I will. So, stay tuned.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Hate People


Well, not all people of course, but it would be fair to say that on some days, I could send at least half of them into some kind of extra-planetary exile and not give it a second thought.

Today's lucky winner of the trip to the far reaches of the galaxy was the completely clueless mom who was seated behind Chris and me at Jack's piano recital today. Her husband had set up his tri-pod and video camera on the end of the second row and she had seated her big fat stupid butt on the last seat in said row, directly behind not only Chris and me but two quite elderly people who can ill afford to catch the upper respiratory disease the clueless mother was providing for anyone in proximity. How so, you ask? I'll tell you. The clueless mom had brought her toddler, who, though well dressed - always reason for your BloomingtonGirl to give a benefit of the doubt - coughed continuously as if she was trying to, well, you know, HACK UP A FREAKING LUNG! The mother sat there with the consumptive babe for the entire hour, no matter that her (completely lacking talent) son played fourth in a line up of approximately twenty kids. For some reason, she felt compelled to remain in order to spread more of her daughter's germs hither and yon while other kids, complete strangers to her, no doubt, played their little hearts out. Not only was this child spewing virus on every surface within ten feet of her wet infected mouth, she was making continual noise, which, was very distracting to anyone who was trying to at least feign interest in the musical pieces played by the sweet, albeit not so gifted, students.

And, to add insult to injury, this pour little kid made a rather odoriferous mess in her diaper about fifteen minutes before the conclusion of the recital. The mom either didn't know or didn't care and the result was that the many people right next to them were treated to the unpleasant eau de poop that resulted.

By the end of the recital, I had decided to speak to the clueless mother and point out the errors of her ways to her. Alas, however, my husband beat me to the punch, mumbling something to her (in medical-speak) about her daughter spewing micro-droplets all over and how it would be a miracle if we didn't all get sick.

Part of me felt a little bad about things getting unpleasant, but the larger part of me thought that this woman deserved more than that even. I wanted to shake her and tell her to get clue, that when attending a music recital of any kind (or an event at which people were in close proximity) she should dedicate herself to the greater public health and leave her consumptive child at home.

In other news, I have had several inquiries about what I have been up to since I have not been fulfilling my blogging duties over the past period of time. Well, Loyal Readers who asked where in the Sam Hill I have been, I thank you for noticing my absence. I want to reassure you that I am not going away forever. I have just been extremely busy with two things that take up most of my time when Jack's in school: Cardinal Stage and obsessing about the many many pounds that have found their way to my midsection.

I had planned to write more, but, to be completely honest, my eyelids are getting heavy and I think that it is time I hit the hay. We had a little bonfire on our patio this evening (we have a fabulous fire pit that we don't use nearly enough) and sipped wine and roasted marshmallows with another family. Between the wine and the delicious fresh cold air and the relaxing flames hopping around, I am, in a word...pooped.

So, I am off to read The Omnivore's Dilemma, the content of which is worth an entire post, believe me.

Good Night, Oh Loyal Ones. Thanks for not giving up on your BloomingtonGirl.