Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On a different Page?

I've been noodling lately that perhaps George the Elder and I ought to start watching our waistlines. You know drop those 10 pounds or so that have stealthily crept up on both of us over the last several years. Was imagining that we should start a Mediterranean Diet or some such nonsense.  But over the last two weeks, it's become obvious that perhaps George the Elder and I might not be on the same page.

Behold.  The last three cookbooks that George the Elder has added to his vast cookbook collection....

Donuts.  Milkshakes.  Ice Cream.  Nuff said.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Two Teens and the Art of Thank You

I'm certain that I've mentioned this before, but George the Younger and Henry share a birthday.  No, they're not twins.  No, they are also not biological siblings (unless by some incredibly weird coincidence their birth mother moved countries and changed nationalities between one birth and the next - doubtful).  No, we do not celebrate both birthdays on one day.  Yes, we do a birthday-palooza kind of thing that spans across two days.

Day One = celebrator #1 selection of birthday dinner and dessert.
Day Two = celebrator #2 selection of birthday dinner and dessert.

All presents are opened on Day one.  It would be cruel to have to wait 24 hours for your presents just because it wasn't "your year" to eat first.

This year we decorated mightily and left those streamers and balloons up for the whole two days.  For those of you who know me - - this was torture!  But, a shout out to my favorite place to buy stuff, "Target!"  Adored the little "party set" with streamers, balloons, and banners!  All for some ridiculously low price of "who-cares!"  You can leave out the sparkly confetti next time.  Confetti is only used by stupid people who want to clean it up out of their homes for the next decade.  I'm just saying.

This year means we transition forever in to no-longer-having-a-less-than-teenager-in-our-lives.  Henry 13.  George 15.  Next birthday = potential driver's license.  Time is marching on.  and on.  and on. 

Henry is Celebrator #1 in 2011.
Dinner:  Porcupine Balls (not from real porcupines)
Dessert:  Creme Brulee

George the Younger is Celebrator #2 in 2011
Dinner:  Shannon's Island Pork Tenderloin
Dessert:  Classic Baskin Robins Mint Chip Ice Cream Cake

Just a couple of observations re:  dinner and dessert selections;

  • Henry chose Creme Brulee this year.  He is getting to be the King of unique birthday dessert choices.  Last year we did Boston Cream Pie.  This year we had to buy a blow torch.  Having now used a blow torch, I believe that there should be an entire cookbook dedicated to cooking things with small hand held fire makers.
  • Creme Brulee is tasty.  It has a couple of problems when used as birthday cake.  One: inserting candle into recently bronzed sugar is impossible.  Two:  Do not try to light candles with blow torch (even though it's going to be right on the counter calling to you).  Candle Wax burns much more quickly than sugar.  A lot more quickly.  Puddle of blue wax on top of beautifully browned sugar is not aesthetically appealing.
  • George the Elder was personally insulted that George the Younger chose one of Shannon's recipes for his birthday dinner.  Historically, George the Younger selects some pasta dish made by Dad.  George the Elder took his decision personally.  Dad did, however, choke down the delicious Island Pork Tenderloin while nursing his broken heart.

Shannon came to celebrate again this year.  HURRAH!

I try to make the boys write thank you notes for the gifts that they receive from others.  They've been writing these a few years now.  First we started them off with the fill-in-the-blank variety.  You know:

Dear ____,  Thank you for the _____.  Love, _______

They used a template that looked just like this and had to write them out as soon as they could manage it - - 5ish, I think.

This morphed in to a more sophisticated template of:

Dear ___,  Thank you for the _____.  It was the perfect gift because _____.  Love, ______

These days, there is no template.  They are simply reminded over and over and over and over again to write their notes.  Saturday, I finally got out their notes out of the boxes, placed them on the dining table and announced that NO-one was doing NO-thing the entire weekend unless the damned notes were done.  Amazingly, faced with missing fun-with-friends or just sitting on the couch watching Mythbusters - - the notes were written!  Huzzah!!!

[SPOILER ALERT:  If you are my mother, my sister, my father-inlaw or my daughter and do not want to read your thank-you note PRIOR to receiving it in the mail in two short days...STOP READING RIGHT HERE.  If you are not my mother, my sister, my father-in-law or my daughter, please continue reading to get a glimpse of what years of thank you note writing has morphed in to...]

Remember, the template is:  Dear X.  Thank you for X.  Insert personal sentence regarding the gift or that person.  Love, X....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hello Sailor.

And, nothing says "old lady" quite like no lips at all....

My grandma used to always say that putting on a little lipstick would make everything better.  I thought she was speaking metaphorically.  A little lipstick = a happy day.  Turns out that she was actually simply articulating an indisputable truth of the aged.  A little lipstick = bona fide visual lips.  Nuggets of wisdom by older women are usually a little tricky that way. 

Perhaps the metaphor aspect was just an illusion. A happy coincidence to lure you dreamily in the harsh reality that lies deeeper and darker.  I mean at any age a women could have a happy day without lipstick.  And they could have a happy day with lipstick.  It's just that as you get older, without the lipstick other people have no way to know you are happy because they are entirely unable to discern whether you are smiling or not.  They cannot see your lips. Because they have merged seamlessly into your face.  So, OF COURSE wearing lipstick makes everything better.  Or something like that.  Whatever.  What I'm getting at here is that I have no lips and I feel like my Grandmother didn't exactly spit it out that without lipstick you have no friggin lips at a certain age.

Of course, "I have no lips" is simply figurative.  I still have some lips.  If I had no lips I would have nothing to apply lipstick upon.  What I have are reduced-mostly-invisible-to-the-naked-eye-50+-year-old-lips.  The kind my grandmother doubtlessly had when she spoke her words of "wisdom."

Something must be done.  What I need to do now are two things.

  1. I must now never leave the house without lipstick when doing any activity that does not require a leash, a dog and a baseball hat.  I fear that should I do this, I may find myself in a matter-of-life-and-death situation where only I have the information necessary to stop the tragic death of a child - - and the only person capable of physically saving the dying child is a deaf person who can only read lips.  In a face devoid of readable lipage - - the child would certainly perish.  I can't have that on my conscience.  (And yes, if you are paying attention I am clearly going to accept that risk while walking the dog.  I don't know why.  Just lazy I guess.)
  2. Go and buy some better everyday lipstick.  This, sadly, requires a visit to the make-up counter.  I detest the make-up counter.  All that youth with all that make-up spackled on - judging us old folks with wrinkles and aversions to 27 individually applied layers of water-proof mascara.  It's hellish.  But, I need some "normal lip color."  Dismally, I suspect that this not an available shade choice:  Normal Lip Color.  Instead, I will be forced to consider and slog through various varieties of berries, a smattering of spices and most likely a standard fruit or two before , finally, in utter frustration I just roll-over and buy what the lady says looks good.  Subsequently, I will discover that I hate it.  This will happen while I am driving the car and pull down the little mirror at a stop light to apply slightly more "Dazzling Berry" to my non-existent lips and I will notice that in the light of day the color makes my lips look like semi-dried earth worms instead of lucious berries.  But I will wear it because if not children could die and all that.  Sheesh.
 Oh yes -- and that last thing - - I will now begin reciting the  lie wisdom-of-the-aged to all my younger relatives - - daughter, cousins, nieces - -

"A little lipstick makes everything better"

Let's see how damn long they think it's simply a metaphor.... 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Emmy's 2011 - better late than never....

Watched the Emmys the other nite.  Of course I did.  Sucker for those awards shows and all that I am.  Set the DVR, planned pick-ups and deliveries of two teenage boys to coincide with the viewing.  Even set the DVR to include the pre-show red carpet so I could check out all that glamor, all that glitz, all those poor fashion choices.  Best laid plans and all that.

Thanks to the poor sportsmanship of the network (not to mention the 49'ers and the Cowboys) seems that there is a definite heirarchy to what American wants to watch.  Red Carpet vs. sweaty large men pushing and shoving each other in to over time.  Me?  I'm for the red carpet.  The rest of America?  Heavily padded freakishly large men and a ball.  I lost.

Still, when I'm wrong I say I'm wrong and 20 minutes in to the truncated version of "Red carpet by Fox", I sadly admitted that the network was absolutely right in their  choice.  I didn't have a single clue who Fox's red carpet announcers were, and worse - - they were horribly bad.  Were they behaving badly because they also felt usurped by the game coverage?  Who knows, but I am SO glad that I was in the position to fast forward.  Yuck.  20 minutes of nuttin honey.  Disappointment.

So, on with the show:
  • Jane Lynch was an adroit host.  Thought she'd get a little more "Gervaise", but heard that the network pulled in her reigns a scosh in rehearsals.  Too bad.  She can be very funny with the right material.  Given a little more leash and I think she would have been fabulous!
  • What was with the cut-down-to-there dresses this year?  Julie Bowen (modern family), Anna Panquin, Kristin Wigg, and yes, even the daughter from modern family (Ariel Winter) was showing was too much of her tender 13 years.  And, while Julie Bowen claims that she just naturally has the figure of a 14 year old - - I still think a couple o'snickers bars a day ought to help with the bony-breast plate thing she's got going between her wee breasts.
  • What in tarnation was Julianna  Margulies wearing?  Resembled a mid-century lampshade with a pleather diner bench skirt. Tragic.  And I LIKE mid-century.  Just not furniture as clothes.
  • Dear Zooey Deschanel - - Did you miss your prom as a child?   And I might suggest that using the ribbon from your last year's xmas gift from your mom might as a belt not have been the best choice no matter how "recycle/reuse" you were going for.
  • It it probable that many people had to run to look up the word, "grandiloquent" used in Julian Fellowes acceptance speech.  If you were one of them, be aptly forewarned.  Only brits can say that word and not be considered total knobs.  Same with the word "dodgy." Oh and the word "knob."
  • Did Guy Pearce borrower Martin Scorses' glasses?  The proof in in the photos....

  • Who doesn't love the song Hallelujah?  Sung by 4 Canadian tenors.  Teared up a little at all the Moms we lost this year. 
  • Whether spur o' the moment or planned far in advance, the contestants for the lead actress comedy were spot on and jeepers they are all funny.  I was kinda hoping Melissa would win.  And so pleased she got a tiara.  Who doesn't want a tiara?  I don't watch Mike and Molly, so  I like to pretend she was winning for Gilmore Girls.  I was in love with that show.  I watched all 7 seasons in the year that Big George was working in London and we were stuck in Germany.  Kept me away from the schnitzel...
  • And last, for those of you, older than say 20, who were totally perplexed by the musical number of the night starring Lonely Island and Michael Bolton......the one that included a somewhat terrifying mommy-make-the-bad-men-stop segment with William H Macy....  I have a 15 year old that explained it all to me.  Here is the Lonely Island video upon which the farce was based.  This doesn't explain away the lap dance for William H - - or the "for everyone who's had sex in the last millennium", or the "better with three" parts - - but it helps.