Carol Scudder

Open To Stuff....

Crank call .... #LoveWins #BigotsLose #MyMarriageIsSafe !!

Peter just called me - he's out on tour so, you know, hasn't been home much lately. Then I nearly fainted, because he yelled into the phone. "I want a divorce!" "What??" I asked him why, and he said - "Because Gay People are getting Married - DUH !!!! That makes our marriage invalid!!!" -- but something about the call was funny. So I said, "... wait a minute ... you don't sound like Peter ... who is this??" -- Then I figured it out. It was Rush Limbaugh - Donald Trump ... and Sarah Palin. They sounded drunk, and were giggling and shushing each other. Then one of them - Limbaugh, I'm pretty sure, started to cry. He mumbled through tears "I have feelings for Antonin Scalia. I really love him! He has such beautiful eyes ..." At least I think that's what he said. It was hard to hear.  Then Sarah punched him in the arm and said "Shut Up fatty fathead! She's gonna know we're fakin'!" I recognized her voice of course. Then Trump made some kind of growling/fart noise, and I heard his hair moving (his hair is never really still - it's always slightly moving, like seaweed) so - I knew I was right. "Hey Sarah! Congratulations on your upcoming grand-baby!" I said, "You must be so exc... " But she hung up before I could finish. OH well. I'm glad Peter isn't divorcing me because of marriage equality. 
And - I hope Bristol Palin won't have trouble keeping up with her busy "Abstinence Only" speeches schedule because of this new baby. I'm sure it'll be adorable! - (If it's a girl ... they're going to name her Thunk. Pogg if it's a boy. Thunk-Pogg if it's gender neutral or any other variant. )

New Year's Resolutions - finally!!

So - here we are. In the middle of 2015 - And I just really got in the mood for the whole "New Year's Resolution thing". I WAS going to do it when the actual "New Year" started - like ... Jan 1st (or by Jan 10th ... you get a 10 day grace period I think - or - if you're Catholic - you can hold out and fold it into that whole "Lent" thing" as in "I will give up being fat for Lent!" - or - "I will give up being lame for Lent!" - etc.)

But I'm not Catholic so that's not what I did. Here's what I did.
I knew I needed - and wanted - to make not just one, but SOME, New Year's Resolutions. I came up with some ideas. "Resolved" to do them. And then just went and did something else and never looked back. Until now.
May!! May 23th actually (WTF???) But hey - we're not even 6 months into the year yet! So if I just make them Mid-Year's Resolutions instead of New Year's Resolutions, I'm not late at all, I'm early! Yeah!!!

Here we go.
I resolve to lose some weight and get in better shape! - yes - that "ye olde chestnute". I've made this even more achieveable by actually gaining some weight since Jan 1st - but lately - over the last 2 weeks, I have lost 4 pounds. (and no - I did not have a stomach flu) - so "check!" - weigh-loss get healthier thing -begun!!

Next up - I resolve to  tidy-up my apartment!
started yesterday - using that Japanese Kon-Mari method -
from what I understand so far (I'm reading the book) - it involves keeping only objects that "spark joy" - and when you throw things away you "thank them for serving their purpose" and tell them that now "it's time for them to go". Also - we don't use that scary "O" word or the "C" word - organize! shudder. clean! gasp.  I'm just "tidying up"! So not scary!! In theory!!

I resolve to write on my blog more - I'm doing it now!!

And finally - I resolve to: get a handle on my finances and do more for my acting career including try stand-up or something like that?? also get that damned podcast up and running!! and finally -  find some pajamas I actually like!

I believe the last one - the pajamas - might actually be the most difficult. Because everything is suddenly made of that hideous "cotton-knit" or "cotton-knit-blend" "crappy t-shirt" material"!!! Because it's cheaper than good old 100% cotton "lawn cloth" - "broad cloth"? - "not crap cloth"? or whatever they call it.  And that "crappy t-shirt" material doesn't work for gals who are larger than a "D-cup" - or have "curves" or have any "just plain actual fat" - because that "crappy t-shirt" material clings to everything and looks - well - crappy.

So yes  - there they are. My Mid-Year's Resolutions. I feel good about them (except the pajama one) ... because I just kinda snuck up on em' by not declaring them until after I'd started doing them.Yay!

Happy New Year 5 1/2months in!!! And don't be afraid to set your own Mid-Year Resolutions now!!

John Boehner - Drunk Diary - Friday, July 11th

John Boehner shuffles into his study; home from a long, depressing day at work. He pours himself his 12th drink of the day. (Johnny Walker Black, neat, then sinks into his favorite chair. He places his iphone on the end table and hits record.
"July 11, 2014 - Boehner here. Nothing much new. Suing the President. Which, yeah ... some people might call "new", but it's not. It's just a continuation of the general demeaner of what we've been doing all along. It's our mission. Our Modus Operandi. Our "Flag" around which we must rally. Not because we want to, but because, like all good soldiers, we have no choice. And people wonder why I cry.  
(he sinks deeper into his chair, moaning, head in hands as his shoulders start to shake. Tears come, then stop suddenly, as if too tired to continue the journey down his face. He sits up a little straighter and sips his drink.
 ""Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!" I know!! We said we'd do "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!" God I want to do "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!" But just like how you have to prime a room before you paint it - prime a pump before you pump it - prime an eye-lid before you put make-up on it (... according to my wife. I don't know about things like that, except what I hear from my wife.) Anyway. We had to focus on first things first. And the primer our national eyelid needs is to make sure that President Barack Hussein Obama fails. "Fail! Fail! Fail!" Before "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!"
And we've done pretty well making him fail - or almost fail - or at least not make as much progress as he could have.
And believe you me, if we could have gotten Bin Laden safely out of there before those Navy Seals got to him we would have. Obama should NOT have that notch in his belt buckle! But - you win some you lose some and he won that one.
And he's had a couple of other "wins" too. Like passing that damned ObamaCare even though we did everything in our power, and I mean everything, to stop it. And we're not going to stop trying to stop it by the way. No matter what. And let's see ... what else ... well he got reelected! That's a "win". Damn it. Goddamn, frickin' lily-livered-loser prep-school-pooper-scooper Mitt Romney. Mormon! Moron! Mormon Moron! I coulda won that election if they'd let me run. I didn't really say I wanted to run but nobody asked me either and they shoulda asked me. And I woulda, coulda, wanna wanna ...
He stares into space, not crying exactly, but making a sound somewhere between a mumble and a sigh. Wistful, then angry, he jerks upright and drains his glass then refills it.
You think I like this shit? I don't like this shit! Trying to make the President of America fail? That doesn't even sound American! I've always supported the other Presidents. Even when those Presidents weren't Republican. Or even if we didn't exactly "support" 'em. Jeezus. We've never attacked a President the way we're attackin' this one. Rachel Maddow and all those other liberal Lucys and Larrys have been sayin' it all along! Hey! Score! You Got it! We're out to make this guy FAIL. We want to wipe that smile off of his handsome bi-racial Muslim-even-if-he-says-he's-not-either-way-it-doesn't-really-matter-we-still-hate-him (but not because he's black) face!
Reasonable moderate son of a bitch! ACH! Compromising! Always compromising! My God! He modeled his stupid healthcare thingie on our ideas! He thought we wouldn't have the nerve - the temerity - THE BALLS to oppose our very own ideas?? Don't underestimate us you friendly frickin' bastard. Do not. Underestimate us Smiley Smilington ... with your pretty wife with her gorgeous arms and nice personality. Goddamn it.
OH my gosh we hate him so much. He is so, SO bad for America!! What's so bad about him??

OH brother! I can't even remember because there are so many BAD THINGS I can't even keep up with 'em! I don't even have time to answer you, ya see?? Trust me. He's a stinky stinkeroo! ... and I'm a drinky drinkeroo - a stinkeroozy drinkeroozy ... he mumbles again, tries to get up but falls back into his chair. 
God he's a handsome frickin' friendly moderate Benghazi bastardy bastard.  Bastardoodleydoodoodleydoo Cacadoodley doo. Caca doo Benghazi ... Boehner's head drops down to his chest, he snores, softly.

"She Will Be Missed ... "

Governor Mike Huckabee, Biblical literalist and host of the new Fox ultra-fundamentalist game show "I'll be Damned?? Oh no - YOU'LL be Damned!", reasserted this morning that he was not a "hater" - and has nothing against gay people. "It's not my fault..." he added, "... that the gays are just really very High-Level Sinners® whose sins cause God to rain down his wrath in the form of mass shootings, floods, earthquakes and all sorts of other things, possibly including global warming if I were to believe in that which I do not."
He then expressed regret (but did not apologize) for stoning his wife to death last night, after catching her at Red Lobster, wearing a polyester blend and eating from the Endless Shrimp® menu.
"It's God's law, not mine..." he said, shaking his head. When asked if he couldn't have just cut off her hand or something, he replied, ruefully, "I wish ... but that's just not what the Bible says."
By all indications, his wife, also a staunch Biblical Literalist - supported his decision, and even helped him gather the stones.
"She was always one to help ..." said Myrtle Parks, a childhood friend who attended the stoning, "... and quite the Bible-reader too. Don't know how she managed to forget the part about not eatin' shrimp and the blended fabrics thing.  It's right there in black and white!"

Oven Hash! (for Special Breakfast!)

I love breakfast. Dinner too. And I'm not opposed to lunch either now that I think about it. But this is about breakfast. Sunday breakfast, which at our house we call "Special Breakfast".  Here's what we had today. (and no - I didn't take a picture of it ... this time)  

- Cold smoked salmon (from Acme, our neighborhood smoked fish place) - European Cornbread (not like American cornbread, more like a tangy sliced peasant loaf with cornmeal in it) medium boiled eggs (simmered for exactly 6 minutes, whites are set and yolks are runny) spicy roasted tomato salsa and oven hash.  

Oven hash is my new "discovery".  Born of dieting - trying to find a new way to make a successful breakfast potato-y dish with lots of flavor but not lots of fat.The trick is to use just a little potato - and fill in with other wonderful root veg and non-root veg.  too, adding them in "shifts" - starting with the potato. It's EASY - and so good. 

Here tis' -
Oven Hash  - (feeds two or three or maybe four people - depending on how much they eat!)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees -
Cube two medium potatoes, whatever kind you have (I used one yukon gold and one "rose gold" (an heirloom potato with rosy hued flesh) you'll want about a 3/4 inch dice (can be bigger or smaller if you like - the smaller you but it the faster it will cook. Keep that in mind). When oven is hot - toss the potatoes with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and salt and pepper. Then put on a rimmed baking sheet and pop into the oven. (note the teaspoon - you've got to be careful with the olive oil if you're watching your calories - you want enough, just not too much. Also - most people use too much oil when they roast veg. It makes them greasy. Stop it!)

From here on, it's pretty free-form, depending on what root vegetables you have. You can add a sweet potato - parsnip - carrot etc. - I used one largish turnip and 4 small purple carrots - cut about the same size as the potatoes. Toss those with a teaspoon or so of olive oil and salt and pepper -
after about 10 minutes (You'll be able to smell that the potatoes are cooking, even though they're not done yet), add the turnip and carrot (or whatever other root veg your using) to the baking sheet.
Then you're going to add some softer veg - in this case I added half a chopped fennel bulb and medium bell pepper, cut about the same size as the previous veg - also tossed with teaspoon or so of olive oil, salt and pepper. (You could also add mushrooms, green beans, chopped kale, broccoli, celery, onion - pretty much anything you want. Really.) - LET'S REVIEW. The potatoes cooked about 10 minutes before you added your other root veg - at least 10 minutes more have passed since you added the root veg. Pull out your baking sheet and toss the potato and root veg around. They should be starting to brown, and also to release pretty easily from your baking sheet. If that's not the case, then put them back in for a while. (When things are cooked enough, they release - when not, they don't.)
OK - so once your turnips and potatoes are releasing from the pan and seem closer to ready but not done yet, you'll add that "softer" veg. Put back in the oven, and let the whole thing cook for at least 10 more minutes, maybe more. The softer veg won't get "crispy", but it will start to brown, and become tender. You want it to be browned and caramelized in spots. The whole thing takes about 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning - add salt, pepper or fresh herbs to taste. Add some grated cheese if you want. (not a lot - just enough to make it "fun") and put back in the oven until the cheese melts. And that's it!
It's as good as any fried breakfast potatoes, home fries, hash browns, etc. with way less fat and cals. - it's hard to say exactly how many cals, as there's so much variation. But I ran it through the calorie counter I use on and it's 176 per serving for 3 generous servings. Less if you use more turnip and less potato, or a little less olive oil - or have smaller portions ... right?

It's time ... almost.

As I write this, my sweet orange kitty Eric is dying. He'll be gone sometime between now, and four days from now - either because he's slipped away on his own, or because I have taken the final step and put him to sleep. I feel a little silly calling it "put to sleep" - but don't like the alternative "put him down". I could keep searching for other ways to say it, but think I'll just go with "put to sleep", which is what we called it when I was a kid. I knew then, and know now, that it is an act of mercy, for everyone involved really. Not something to be rushed into, but also not something to put off for too long once the time is nigh.
My husband and I took him to our vet, Dr. S, a couple of weeks ago, because he'd just gotten so skinny, and wasn't eating well.  Dr. S is a gruff, no nonsense man, like a thinner Wilfred Brimley, with sad eyes, framed by heavy, dramatically wrinkled lids. If he thinks that what you just said is kind of stupid, he doesn't  hesitate to tell you. But he's also given to displays of unexpected sweetness, saying things like "Cats don't worry or care so much about living here on earth, not like we do, and soon his little spirit will go off to kitty heaven and he'll be waiting for you when you get there."
An x-ray showed a mass. "It's pretty hard..." Dr. S said, gently probing his belly, "... and that's not a good sign, not good at all."  It was sort of near his bladder, from what we could see. Hard to tell exactly without doing a sonogram and/or exploratory surgery, which would cost $300 and $600 respectively. We don't have the money for either of those things right now, not really. I mean REALLY not really. We do not. So lucky for us, Dr. S didn't think either of those things were really worth doing. He winced when I asked about chemo or any kind of treatment, or maybe trying that exploratory surgery, to see if there was any chance of removing it.
"You need to think about how much you want to put this 15 year old kitty through." he said, not unkindly, but not all "comfort and roses" either. It was more like a little shake, to bring me to my senses. He said we could give him subcutaneous fluids to get him re-hydrated and see if that helped his appetite perk up and to call in a few days to let him know how Eric was doing. So, we took him home, did the fluid thing, and he did perk up, a little at least.
But soon he seemed to be losing ground again. When I took Eric in for another check-up, about two weeks later, he'd pretty much stopped eating, barely a tablespoon of food a day, if that, for over a week. He'd lost another pound and a half, a lot for a cat. Dr. S looked at me, sighed a sigh containing all the final sighs of all the animals he'd devoted his life and heart to, and said, "I think it's time we think about ending this for him. Are there people at home who need to say a final goodbye?"
I'm crying by now, of course. "Not really..." I say, "... my husband is out of town. He's on tour, and I'm by myself..."
He felt that I should take Eric home, spend the weekend with him. Then bring him back in on Monday. But then he realized that they wouldn't be in on Monday because of Columbus Day, and that he himself wouldn't be in again until Thursday - so - ugh. What to do?  I asked if we should do it "now, right now..." and he drew back, a little horrified, "No!"
He really, truly thought I needed to spend more time with my kitty. He wanted me to say goodbye. And I'm glad, but, it's also been a little torturous. I cried most of the rest of the day on Friday - managed to stop crying and go to work on Saturday, but only by banning all thoughts of Eric entirely. When a co-worker started to tell me about her cat's minor stomach ailment I mostly just nodded, "uh huh..." Another co-worker joined us and chirped, "They're like our children aren't they?"
I extricated myself from the conversation without anyone noticing, and made it through the rest of the job, a cocktail party for 55,  in tact. But now here I sit, at my computer, writing this essay about my dying cat, free to cry as much as I want. And because I'm also an actress, I just looked at my crying face in the mirror and thought, quite seriously, "I cry as good as Claire Danes don't I? I think I do." Thank you "Carol's Ego", for making Carol laugh.
Anyway, as sad as I am, which is very, that whole "they're like our children" business kind of bothers me. Because, I'm sorry, but they are not. Losing a pet, as sad as it is, can't possibly be like losing a child. I have nothing to base this on really, since I have no children. But I can do my best to put myself in the place of my friends who are parents. I can see the look in their eyes when they're simply showing me a picture of their child, and I can guess at the incredible pain I know they would feel at the loss of that child. I can't feel it, of course, but surely, the pain of losing a child, on a scale of 1 to 10 has got to be infinity. Beyond any conceivable scale.
The pain of losing a pet is more like losing a friend. I've lost a few friends, sadly, so I know what that's like. And that's what I'm feeling now, with Eric. He's been a good friend. And yes, a bit "child-like" in that he's an innocent little creature that I agreed to take care of. He's always been a snuggler. He's always gazed into my eyes, purring like mad, reaching out his paw to touch my face, like a lover, or yes, more accurately, like a little child, motivated by all that is good and makes life worth living; the pure pleasure of connection. He drinks my bath water for Christ's sake! Hot bath water, even it's got soap or bath oil in it, because it's mine. That's how much he loves me. So I get it, I get it when people say "they're like our children" - I just don't buy it. And I don't need to say that to justify how sad I am, which, as noted, is very. I know that when Eric finally goes, I'll cry some more, and yes, I'm crying now, but I'll stop soon enough. In a day or two at most. I'll always miss him, but it won't be a wound that never heals. Closure is possible with the loss of a pet, and even with the loss of a friend. But with the loss of a child? I don't know if closure ever comes.
What I hope is that Eric will last four more days, until Thursday, so that I can take him back to Dr. S, to have him put to sleep. But I'm not sure he'll last that long. Dr. S wasn't sure either, so he gave me a syringe that I can give Eric myself if I feel the time has arrived before Thursday. He showed me where to inject it, behind the last rib, into his side. Oh my god. Jesus Christ. I don't think I can do that. I don't want to do that. Please tell me that I don't have to do that.
And that's were I am now. Waiting. Waiting to say goodbye to my sweet kitty friend. And looking forward to the closure that I know will come, with time.

Ted Cruz, Mastermind of the Government Shutdown (in his own words)

(interview, already in progress) ... So Paul Ryan runs into my office screaming, "He's not budging. YOU SAID HE'D BUDGE!! But he's not!! He's not going to defund Obamacare! And he won't fix the budget!! And he won't do any of the other stuff YOU SAID he'd do!!!"
"Calm down Ryan!" I said, "There's no crying in Congress!" (except for Boehner, ha ha). 
But - he just kept crying so I sent him out to get some air. Therefore, I'm afraid you'll just have to hear from me, Ted Cruz, Mastermind of the Government Shutdown. Yes, yes, please write that down. I'd like you to write that every time you write my name. Ted Cruz, Mastermind of the Government Shutdown. Thank you.
Wait, what did you say?? Did you seriously just ask me what is wrong with Obamacare?? Well, it's worse than slavery! It's like nine hundred nuclear bombs covered with AIDS! That's what's wrong with it! It's like something the Nazis would do! And Hitler, you know? Have you HEARD of Hitler? You're actually asking me how it's like Hitler? Well how is it not like Hitler?? That's my question to you! Can you answer that??
OK - I hear you speaking, saying things that sound like ways you think Obamacare is different from Hitler, but you might as well be speaking in some kind of foreign language to me because it doesn't make any sense and I'm not going to discuss it anymore. Next question.
What still needs to be fixed in the budget? Did you just ask me that??? Well it's too big!! Duh!! You certainly wouldn't run your household the way we run this government. Can you imagine?? Borrowing money from China to buy things for your family? Like, say you had a young son, a toddler perhaps - and you needed, of course, to buy him things, like medicine, and clothes, and toys; I guess ... though I'll tell you, and this is true, kids are usually pretty happy with a box. That's what I get my kids every year, for birthdays and Christmas too. I go to all the big toy stores and snag some really good boxes, right there in the dumpster, in perfectly good condition, usually with pictures of toys right on them and  I give those boxes to my kids instead of toys and they're happy as can be! OH sure they whine about it at first, "But Daddy! Our friends get the actual toys! Not just the boxes!" But then when I explain to them the fiscal sense of my giving them free boxes, instead of paying good money for toys, Chinese toys that are very likely covered in poison and poop germs, well, they stop crying and sit down with those boxes and have a ball. Kids love fiscal sense! It makes 'em feel safe! Why the Democrats don't want their kids to feel safe I couldn't tell you, but they don't, which is why they reject the laws of fiscal sense. And why they don't understand that we need to run the government like a household. "But our government's not like a household Congressman Cruz!" people say. "Yes!" It is!" I say. End of discussion. 
Do I know economists disagree with me on that? Well I guess if I believed in economists that would mean something to me, but you know, I might as well believe in The Tooth Fairy. Economists are just like scientists. They believe all this mumbo jumbo based on research and stuff, and they've got charts and graphs that they CLAIM show facts and stuff, but the real deal is this ... God tells me what I need to know. End of story. I get a message from God, and I get that message pretty much every hour on the hour, and that message is this. "Ted! Don't cave. Don't listen to 'em. Don't let that bastard win!" That's right. God, speaking DIRECTLY TO ME, refers to President Obama as a bastard!! Listen, I wouldn't believe it if I didn't hear it myself, every hour on the hour, but I do. I tried to record it on my iphone, so I could play it for everyone in the world, but - of course, you can't capture the voice of our Heavenly Father on a worldly mobile device. And I was arrogant to think I could, so God took me down a peg for that by giving me a pretty mean case of diarrhea! Now a lot of other Reps got it as well and they think it's because our Government Shutdown sent all the staff home from the Congressional dining hall meaning we had to prepare our own grub and somebody (I'm looking at you Boehner!) probably didn't wash their hands properly after going to the bathroom. But - well - I don't know - even though other people got it too, I still think my diarrhea is special and was sent from God. And as far as I'm concerned, what I think goes, know what I mean? I don't need to "listen to other people" or "weigh the facts" or "learn from history" or any of that. I've got me, myself and I, and, of course, Him, and those are the only Facts that I need to weigh. So here's the deal. God says "Ted Cruz! Mastermind of the Government Shutdown! That bastard cannot win under any circumstances!"
His words - not mine. So, even if everything ends up getting destroyed to achieve that, well, as we all know, God has destroyed things before. So - if he wants to do that again, through me, then I, his humble servant, have no choice in the matter. Because God hates that bastard Obama! It's not up to me, and Amen to that! Because that would be a lot of pressure! And I probably wouldn't be up to the task IF it weren't for God guiding me: Ted Cruz, Mastermind of the Government Shutdown.
End it like that, if you don't mind. I just love the way that sounds you know? Oops! I've got to run to the bathroom. If you'll excuse me.

What I did yesterday? Forget it.

Well - that certainly didn't work. Me writing a daily blog entry called "What I Did Yesterday" - as a ploy to get myself to write more - or write period. I've really fallen off the old bandwagon. Way off - and neither the "wagon" or the "band" is anywhere in sight.
Fine then - that wasn't the answer. And there will be NO series called "What I Did Yesterday". And no one will mind. I'm sure.
I do feel like writing again though - and so - I will. And we'll see how that goes.
This time I'll keep in mind that my schedule is weird - odd-ball - unpredictable; so for the foreseeable future, anything like regular "daily" writing isn't likely. Or - maybe it's the "publishing" part that's the problem/challenge - maybe that's what's really getting in my way.
Maybe instead of feeling I need to publish something every day (even if it's just on this wee blog that pretty much nobody - except you two ;-) - actually reads at the moment, I can just write, and publish once or twice a week?
It's the publishing part that takes so long after all, the editing, the "finishing" part that one must do before hitting that little "publish" button, that is what can take so long!
So - maybe to 'write' every day - but not to have to 'publish' every day - is the secret to getting to a place where I can actually write and publish more, rather than these little flashes I have every few months - that disappear the second I get busy with too much work, too much running around, or too much whatever else.
(e.g. at the end of June this summer - I was suddenly hired to do a play - a challenging, funny, thought-provoking play, going to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a whole month! It was an adventure to be sure - and I'll write about that next, as best I can. (though I may need to hire a lawyer - or a body guard - or something - ha.)
It was a trip, in more ways than one.

What I did yesterday - the day before that, and the day before that.

I done got behind here.
Cuz I got a wonkity schedule and I jus cain't always git it all squared away and get all of everythin' I wanna do done. You ever been thar??
I'ma bettin' that ya have.
And I ain't got much time today neither, so's I'm gonna do this at a bit of a clip.
Startin' with Monday - Not much to say about that - so I'm not going to dwell on it.
(A cop out!! I know!! Call the cops.)
Tuesday - went to therapy. I probably do have stuff to say about that ... but I don't got no time to get into that now - so - I ain't gonna say nuthin' about that either.
(Withholding! I know! Or is it resistance ... Call the therapy cops and ask them why don'tcha)
Then I went to Trader Joe's - which I love. And bought stuff I like to buy there - like wine (great prices! and no - I'm not talking about $2 buck Chuck or that cheapo crap. I'm talking nice bottles that are $15 to $20 elsewhere and $10 to $15 there - and you  know - other great stuff they've got there. Their toilet paper. (I like it! Don't know why really) Kind bars (good price point) Organic Celery! (great price on that!) (Brie Bites! Perfect for diet's - portion controlled goodness 'on the go'! - etc.
Then I did a very large party - I was a KA (kitchen assistant) and it was on the water (on the shore though - thank God - as I don't like to work on boats!) and it was gorgeous! And nice weather! and it was stressful - high pressure! But  went great - and the food was great - like really great - etc.
OK - Wednesday. Yesterday - got acupuncture! For nagging knot of pain in shoulder/upper back that continues to plague me - (Acupuncture is included in our health plan! Which is so great! + a free mini-chair massage from the massage/yoga guy at our "health collective" - Yes! We have a health collective!! And it's great!!) - then I went to Macy's - quickly - to see if they had one more shirt there like the other one I got that I really liked. It had a peplum waist, and that is what I should wear almost all the time for my body type - that's what I've learned lately about dressing -- but - they didn't have another one. That's OK
And there was a lady there who was an  "out-loud shopper". Which means that she narrated everything she was doing, VERY LOUDLY, as she walked around the store. "Two for $15.99!! That's a good price that's what that is!!" She declared at the top of her lungs. "I'm gonna get six of 'em!" Then - "I don't like them "boy" lookin' shorts for MY underwear - No I do not!" "I don't like them high cuts either. I like me a hipster brief! Ain't none a' them on sale?" "Can't nobody help me in this store?" "Don't nobody work here?" "This here is a good price too. I'ma get me six a' these here."
And so on. And - she had a young child with her, her grandson I'm guessing, who kept running away.
"Why you keep runnin' off Peewee!" she shouted.

"I know why you run off Peewee ..." I thought to myself. "Run Peewee Run!!"
And that's it - for now. :-)

What I did yesterday ...

Yesterday was Sunday - and the living was easy. Relatively easy anyway. But for the pain. the nagging constant pain in my back (upper left - sort of under the ol' shoulder blade and up over the top of the shoulder). An awful, self-massage-resistant knot that will not go away.
I remembered my friend Mary recommended a massage place, around the corner, that she said was pretty cheap and very good. I put it off for another hour or so, just to ... I don't know, suffer more?
Then I called. AND THEY ANSWERED!!!!
"Hi, I was wondering if you've got time for a one hour massage today, like ... within the hour?"
I think I sound desperate, and it's kind of embarrassing.
The woman on the other end, or was it a youngish girl? ... hesitated a moment.
"OH NO! Oh no..." I shrieked silently to myself, "... what if they're all booked!???"
Then - happily - she said, "Maybe ... 6:00pm?"
"Yes! Yes. That's great, thanks."
Oh my god! Relief. Now I'd just have to wait two whole hours, and I'd be in, Flynn-like.
I used the time to straighten up the apartment and lay on the floor hugging my knees to my chest, and to enter the calories I'd eaten so far into the calorie counter website and figure out what to have for dinner, and how many calories that might be.
Then - before I knew it,  I was lying on a table wearing only my underpants, face-down under a sheet with my face in the hole-thing you put your face in when you get a massage, John Tesh-ish music playing softly, and the massage therapist arrived. God love her. I pointed out the spot that hurt the most, hoping that this wouldn't be just the usual, sort of "general" massage, but that she would truly, sincerely, address my knot.
Well. I'm happy to report - that she addressed the hell out of it.
I have never experienced a massage exactly like this one. She was psychic. Or more specifically, her fingers were psychic. Or maybe she had X-Ray fingers. I don't know. I just know she was all up in there, working the hell out of my whole shoulder carriage, both sides, but with special attention to the sorest side. Climbing on top of me, elbows, knees, her head maybe? I don't know. But I didn't need to know. This woman had a plan. She knew what she was doing. What truly blew my mind though, was the way she attacked me armpit. As a way to get to the underside/backside of my shoulder? Mashing, digging and probing around in my arm-pit as if it were a drain and she'd just dropped her wedding ring down it.
"What is she doing?" I wondered, alarmed. "Is this a Lymph thing? A Qi thing? An Exorcist thing?"
It hurt. It hurt so much I almost asked her to stop. Almost. But I didn't. I rarely do. Because, nine times out of ten, whatever they are doing, no matter how much it hurts, seems like something that should, no must, be done. I trusted her and was willing to let her hurt me however she saw fit. And sure enough, at some point during the arm-pit thing, I felt some release. And relief. Not cured. Not gone. But better.
One time - years ago, I got a very cheap Chinatown massage, on a whim, and it hurt - a lot, and I finally DID tell him that he needed to "do less". It didn't work though. I thought he was going to crush my skull, or maybe tear off my arm and use it to pry my other arm off. He had no plan. He did not know what he was doing. Maybe he didn't even work there. I was sore for days afterwards.
Yesterday, as I was having that great, and surprising massage (arm pits!), I thought of my mother. Not because she loved massage, but because it would be so completely surprising to her that I, or anyone, a woman especially, would do that. Take ones clothes off and lay under a sheet, while a total stranger touches you for an hour? With oil? And sometimes it's a man instead of a woman??! Incredible. Unbelievable. Unfathomable! I like to imagine that she can see me, from her special place in heaven (the kitchen, if they're lucky). And that she thinks it's cool.  An exotic adventure. Something that takes balls. Like lots of things I've done, move to New York, acting, cooking for money, the whole thing. I like to imagine her watching me at an audition, or on a set, or getting a massage, or searing duck breasts for a  dinner for 20, or running down the subway steps and catching that damned train. And I imagine she's smiling, her eyes crinkling up at the improbable stuff this daughter of hers has done. And I know there were times that her back hurt like heck. And I'm sorry that she couldn't have gotten a massage, but ... that's OK. I'll just take her to mine.

What I did yesterday ...

Yesterday I slept too late. Late for me anyway. I woke up initially at 6:30am, but that was too early, considering that I'd gone to bed after 12:30am the night before. I need at least seven hours of sleep - maybe seven and a half - though seven is fine, really. But - it was kind of hard for me to go back to sleep. I finally did, but then I didn't wake up until 8:45am. I hate that. I have friends who consider 8:45am early though - and a couple of friends who regularly get up at 5:30am (and not just because they have kids - they just LIKE it) - so - I guess it's all relative really. I, personally, like to get up around 7:30am. That is my ideal.
Then I had tea - watched NY1 (favorite news channel) and ate one of my favorite breakfasts: 1/4 of an avocado, mashed with a little salt and lemon juice then spread on a piece of toasted Ezekiel bread , with 1/2 ounce of goat cheese, an over-medium egg, 2 ounces of smoked salmon and a small salad of arugula and grape tomatoes with olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice.
Somewhere in there I came up with this idea to write "What I did yesterday..." - so I did that, yesterday, for the first time. (this being the second time - for those following along at home)
Then I went to work.
A wedding - Indian Muslim - in a gorgeous party space in Brooklyn that used to be an old bank. Back when people had money and banks looked like a cross between a palace and a very large, well appointed mausoleum. Not like now - when a new bank is indistinguishable from any other business: Charles Schwab, Edible Arrangements, Super Cuts ... only the presence of fruit on skewers, ribbons and baskets or barber chairs and scissors make one discernible from the other. Old banks are uplifting. New banks are depressing. No one will ever have a wedding in a new bank.

I was in the kitchen at this particular wedding, so didn't get to see much of it. The people I saw on my way downstairs to the bathroom were strikingly beautiful, as a group, and they seemed to be having a good time. The music was unusual, a live string quartet playing hits from the 60's through 90's, in Muzak fashion, like what they played in the dentist office when I was a kid. "Benny and the Jets" for viola and violin. And this wedding - being Muslim, had no alcohol. NO ALCOHOL. I was released before it ended, but I'm thinking it didn't run late.
I've worked other weddings like that, with no alcohol. One in particular I remember, where I was on the floor, not in the kitchen.  A white couple, very Christian, from the Midwest. They'd moved here for work. She wasn't "un-pretty" - just very plain. She wore no make-up - a very simple, unadorned, long white dress and had her hair up in a "banana clip", as if she were just running out to the store for a quart of milk, rather than about the get married.
He, on the other hand, wore a Prince Valiant hair-cut - very precise, a simple, light colored suit with slightly larger than usual lapels, a tie I can't remember, eye-liner, mascara and blush.
They toasted with Twizzlers which were placed in glasses on all the tables. It wasn't yesterday, but I remember it like it was.
Back to yesterday. I came home on the G train, operating with delays due to track work (so it took an hour) had a snack and a glass of white burgundy, watched a little TV and was then saddened to learn, via Facebook, of the death of Jean Stapleton. I loved her.

What I did yesterday ...

Hi - I'm trying something new. It's called "What I did yesterday". In an attempt to make myself - cajole myself - insist to myself that I write more I'm going to write "what I did yesterday" and put it on here - every day. I suppose it's possible that I might miss a day here and there - but I'll try not to. And if I do - I guess it will be a special feature called "What I did for the past 2 days" - which isn't as good a title. (I'll still write other stuff too and hopefully, writing "what I did yesterday" will help with that as well.)
I predict that this will take off like a "house'a'fire" (an expression that people who've actually had their houses catch on fire do not care for) - and that readers will soon flock to find out - yes - "what I did yesterday".
Here goes:
Yesterday I got a manicure and pedicure and let me tell you - things are not going well for Reese Witherspoon, but I couldn't really find out why, exactly, because someone tore out the key page with the info (probably someone working for Reese) (I know it involved alcohol - and some poor decisions) Also - Jason Sedeikis and his new girlfriend went to Hawaii and kissed a LOT, and she loves him because he "can actually 'see' her." Kim Kardasian bought an ... $8000 crib and a $17,000 stroller and has gained a lot of weight, especially in her face. And there are women who's entire days seem to revolve around exfoliating. (these women also buy skirts and tops in the $300 to $700 range - sometimes just to wear to the beach)
I also had to go back to a catering company I'd done prep for the day BEFORE yesterday - because I'd left my knives there and needed to go get them. And - I spoke with a young couple - black - "middle-class or at least they went to Catholic school" looking - maybe 16 or 17 - native New Yorkers (I think) - who were trying to decide if they should go to Coney Island or Brighton Beach - as they'd never been to either. (yes - you can be a native New Yorker and still not have gone to Coney Island - but - they could also have just moved here from New Jersey - or - maybe they were from the Bronx. I don't know - but they didn't seem like tourists). I mention their race because I think it is relevant to their reaction to me, e.g. when I first started talking to them they looked a little wary, or surprised, or both - this could just as easily have to do with their age though, since they were so young, and I, in their eyes, probably seemed very old - or maybe just irrelevant. (I remember this from my own youth - when people over 35 or so just weren't ... relevant.) Never the less, I was sitting right next to them (elevated platform on the F/G train - Smith and 9th Street) so chimed in that they could go to both - as Brighton and Coney were basically right next to each other. They asked what was the difference - and I said that Brighton was very Russian - with a lot of Russian people - and that Coney ... was not. They seemed genuinely delighted by this news - as if they'd never imagined that there were actually people - from Russia - here - and that they had their own beach no less. Then I came home - made dinner (whole wheat pasta with chicken and greens) watched TV and went to bed.

A Thing for Spring

Sometimes in New York City you have one of those days where negative thoughts come into your head and there's nothing to be done.
 "F#%k you!" I think, when the subway conductor thanks us for our "patience" until our delayed train moves again.
"Patience?" I silently shout, "We're stuck on the train you moron! Patience has nothing to do with it!!"
Then later, when I can finally leave the train, "Oh Jesus! Seriously?" This because the person ahead of me is on crutches - or very old - or both, and they're in my way!
Or, "Crap!!" as I spot the harried Mom, preparing to struggle up the subway stairs with her baby/stroller/giant bag. "I don't have to help her ... " I hiss in my head. "I helped somebody yesterday - isn't that enough??"
Or other times its just a random torrent of vitriol. "This sucks! This s#%t sucks! F%#k this s%#t AND f%#k you too buddy and your little pig nosed baby or dog or whatever the hell that is!"
This all happens quickly, seamlessly - like liquid. Liquid feces I guess. Bad liquid, suffice to say.
Sometimes I'm not really concerned about it. I might even laugh at myself. "Criminy Carol, lighten up!" - ha ha.
But other times - it's a little alarming.
What is all this negative energy I'm spewing out doing? Is it creating MORE negative energy? Probably. Are other people doing it too? Probably. What would happen if suddenly all my thoughts were out loud and not just in my head. What if everyone's were. Would it be a chorus of "F%#k you's!!" that would swell into something with it's own unique beauty? A punk rock Gregorian chant?
Or more like "Music to Kill By - Satan's Greatest Hits! Vol. I".
Or would it be all pillowy, meandering day dreams,  random grocery lists, errands "to do" and done - with only my shrill and hateful thoughts stinkin' up the joint.
I don't know. But I do know it's not the thing for Spring (or any season, really) And here's the cure - I think.
It's something I started doing shortly after I moved here, when I first noticed those rotten little "thought bubbles" popping up. I would look around at my fellow travelers - on the train - on the street - wherever - and silently wish them luck. If I happened to make eye contact or not, either way,  I'd look at someone and send this mental message, "Good luck sir" or "Good luck ma'am" or "young man" or "young lady", whatever seemed to fit. And a wave of peace would wash over me.  A little space would open in my collar bone, allowing a tiny beam of light to peep through. Not enough to blind anyone or wreck an airplane - not like a laser pointer - just a warm little beam.
It was  - in short - a very noticeable change. And I started to wonder, "When I'm thinking all those mean things - does that have a physical effect on me too?"
It wasn't one I was particularly aware of - just a kind of tight, stony feeling. Which is, not that I think about it "an effect".  It was just hard to notice until I switched the "F%#k you's" to the "Good Lucks". 
Well. I totally forgot about that yesterday, and I spewed mental curses left and right, willy-nilly, a hateful mental drunk on a bender. And I just want to say, "I'm sorry New York City".
And "Good luck to you sir - madame - young lady - young man" - and to all who eschew those labels too.
I'm turning a new leaf for Spring. Or pulling an old leaf out my spiritual sweater box. From now on - until I forget - that friendly little leaf will be my touch stone.
Ah! my collar bone  just opened up! Just a little, letting out enough light to get through the day, the night, and so on. Yay Spring!

Make this: Broccoli children will eat!

I made this for a job a couple of nights ago - for 15 people (used 2.5 bunches of broccoli - should have used 3. Everyone raved about it. After the plates were cleared, the nanny (for two of the three toddlers at the table) ran into the kitchen and said "You've got to tell me how you made that! Maxie's never eaten broccoli - but he ate two servings of that!"
I gave her this recipe.
Children - will eat this broccoli.
Adults will to. 

Roasted Broccoli

1 bunch broccoli (though you might as well go ahead and get 2 - or 3 - because this is so good)
extra virgin olive oil
salt - pepper
fresh lemon

heat oven to 475
wash broccoli and cut florets - not too big - not too small - you know - medium-y. Also - if you're lucky enough to have broccoli with stalks - peel them - putting them on your cutting board and running a sharp knife - like a good paring knife - around them - laterally, e.g. "sideways" - like they are little logs and you're peeling the bark off of them. Then cut them into chunks about an inch or so - again - medium-y (they're pretty if you cut them on the bias - e.g. "at an angle".
toss with olive oil - 2 tsp - 3 at most (really - TEASPOONS - not tablespoons) - will be enough for one bunch of broccoli - add salt and pepper - but not lemon - not yet.
Put on a flat baking pan - like a jelly roll pan - and make sure the pieces aren't too crowded. They need a little space between them - don't let them be all piled up like puppies.
Put in hot oven - and wait - when you start to smell it - it will smell like you are cooking broccoli over a campfire (kind of) - then take the pan out and toss the broccoli around a little. Put back in the oven. Keep an eye on it (with your nose) Once you get used to this method - you'll be able to smell when it's ready. The goal is for it to be tender enough to chew - a little more tender than "crisp tender" - but not "smoushy". It should have some black/brown - caramelized spots and the ends of the florets should be getting a singed look to them. Once that has happened - but not until it has happened - it's ready. Adjust seasoning - adding more salt as needed - and spritz with fresh lemon juice. DELICIOUS!!

Make this: Potato Cauliflower Puree

Yes yes - this idea basically came from The South Beach Diet - a diet I've never been on, will never go on and don't particularly care for (though it's better than it's greasy, grouchy older brother The Atkin's Diet - also known as "The Bacon Diet" or the "You don't look so good are you feeling OK? diet").
I hope I'm making it clear that I don't advocate a low or no carb "life-style". (life-style? Really? Is it a "lifestyle" ??? Next thing you know they'll want to get legally married!)
BUT seriously - this recipe is very good. I make it a lot. It is easily variable (try it with turnips! Or parsnips! Sweet potato! And so on) it can be rustic - or fancy. And - it's NOT "no carb" anyway - since it's got some potato in it. But because it's "low-carb" - it's got way less calories - and you can eat it - and enjoy it - and save your "carbs" for some good whole wheat bread - brown rice - quinoa or whatever.
Potato Cauliflower Puree

1 large head cauliflower - creamy white or light yellow - with no spots if possible.  (about 2 pounds)
1 or 2  russet - or yellow potatoes (just not the waxy red ones) (about 10 or 12 ounces - tops)
low fat buttermilk OR low fat milk - 1 or 2 cups (buttermilk is better)
extra virgin olive oil
salt - pepper

Peel potatoes then cut into biggish pieces. . 
cut up cauliflower - also in biggish pieces - discarding leaves.  Put potatoes in a medium pot with water and salt and bring to a boil (make sure the pot has room to fit the cauliflower too) - once boiling - turn heat down to medium and simmer for about 8 minutes, then add the cauliflower. Simmer until the potato and the cauliflower are completely tender - easily pierced with a paring knife. Drain - then place back in the empty pot. Put the pot on the flame, shaking, briefly - just to dry everything off. (careful not to scorch it) - start adding the buttermilk (or regular, low fat milk) - start with 1/2 cup - mashing with your potato masher of choice - and continue, adding more buttermilk as needed until you have the consistency you want. If you want a very smooth puree a "stick" blender comes in handy - or - put the mixture through a ricer. Add a tablespoon of butter AND a tablespoon of good olive oil. Or - just add one of the other, though I like the combo. If it's a special occasion and you're not watching calories so closely - add a little more. If you are watching calories - you could even get by with a little less.  You could also add a little low-fat sour cream or creme fraiche - or even a little heavy cream (as little as a 1/4 cup will make a big difference). A dash of freshly grated nutmeg is good in this too, plus fresh ground pepper - white pepper if you don't want it to show. Reheat gently over low flame - or keep in a low oven - covered - until ready to serve.
* This is really an "al gusto" recipe - the amounts of liquid, fat and salt you add should be to your taste. Even at it's most ascetic - with the least amount of added butter or oil - this recipe is still delicious. I served it to my brother - who loves all things caloric - and he was shocked that it was mostly cauliflower AND and that it was so lean. Shocked I say!

makes about 8 cups - about 90 calories in a cup if you use the 2 tbl. of oil and/or butter - and don't add the cream.  I'm not 100% sure of the amount here - as it's hard for me to know exactly how big your cauliflower and/or potatoes will be - but - err on the side of making extra. It makes good leftovers - and is easy to turn into a little cream of cauliflower/potato soup!

Hi Pope Benedict? It's me! Sarah Palin!

Hi Pope Benedict? It's me! Sarah Palin! You're probably surprised to hear from me ... what? I'm sorry I didn't get that? OH - Oh right you're not Pope Benedict anymore, it's ... it's what? In Extremis? Extrictus? I'm sorry - jeez - your accent is stronger than Todd's mornin' coffee! No offense. Pope Emeritus - got it - Anyway - I heard about your quittin' and all, and I thought I should give you a call, cuz I'm sure, I mean I'm really really sure cuz I know from experience, believe me, that you're gettin' flack, major flack, for "quittin'". Right? I mean I know I did. Major. Flack. Like nobody every quit bein' a Governor before? Seriously? Well I'm pretty sure other governors have quit - I just haven't had time to look it up. I'm not a big "reader" - ya know? I've got bigger fish to fry! And catch! If I wanted to go fishin' - which I don't, but I could if I wanted to. Or huntin', which is also fun. Anyway - I don't know if you're into that stuff - huntin' n' fishin', but that's one of the major "benny's" of quittin' your job. Now you've got TIME to do stuff, ya know? And you're welcome to come with me like, whenever, seriously, cuz I'm very religious, as I'm sure you know, so I totally admire ... excuse me? Omigosh. Really?

It's Sarah. S-A-R-A-H, that's my first name, and  P-A-L-I-N. That's my last name. From Alaska ... in America. Alaska, America. Right. I ran for President ... I mean Vice President (kinda the same really) ... with a Mr. John McCain? Back in 2008? Wow ... this is refreshing, I gotta tell you. It's been a loooong time since I had to explain who I was! Yes! Right. Yes - Sarah from Fox TV. That Sarah. I'm so glad you were watching! Who knew! - Um - no. I didn't quit there, they ... um ... well they let me go! Go figure. Coulda knocked me over with a salmon! I'm tellin' ya, I didn't see that comin', at all. Anyway. People have been giving you flack right? That's what I heard.
Right. I heard they were all like "... that hasn't happened in 600+ years blah blah blah" Listen. I get it.  I mean if being Pope is anything like being Governor of Alaska - and I know it's different, but it IS a management position right? I mean there's more to runnin' Alaska than people think. It's pretty big. Very cold, slippery - lots of slips and falls happening - so law suits out the yingyang, beggin' your pardon. Not to mention Russia, just sittin' there starin' at us all the time, 24/7, so on and so forth. So - all I'm saying is - I feel ya. Time to MOVE ON. So think about this. Two words: Reality. Television.
Since Fox cut the cord I've been thinkin' about gettin' into producin'. And I thoughta some ideas for you! Seriously. Sit down. Here goes.
Cookin' and food shows are HUGE - so - first idea: "Pope Culture!" You - Ex-Pope - open an Artisinal cheese and yogurt shop behind the Vatican, you could call it,"Cheeses of Nazareth!" or "Cheeses Loves Yogurt!" ... and then just all the funny, day to day stuff that happens with that, ya know? Or  - "Pope Corn Wars!" You - the Ex-Pope - judging competitive pop-corn making competitions. Sounds boring, I know, but with the right music and "crazy" contestants? Genius. And I predict "popcorn" is the next "cupcake" OK? So you'd be on the cutting edge of that. Or - and I really love this one:  "Undercover Pope!" The one and only Ex-Pope, you - goes undercover to see what Priests are doing when they think they're not in front of the Pope - or Ex-Pope ... at the end you take off your wig and fake mustache and everybody cries! or laughs! - or gets arrested! Not you of course, just them. And that's just the beginning - there's all kinds of cool judgin' work you could get - or forgivin' stuff - like a great big dramatic show called "The Confessionator" or "Project Stairway to Heaven!" or somethin' - for people who just never really felt "forgiven" enough with a plain ol' priest - you could really - really forgive them - Ex-Pope style. Seriously, I've got A MILLION ideas. And you'll be surprised how quickly people stop talkin' about the fact that you "quit" whatever - seriously. Nobody talks about me hardly at all anymore, which is, you know ... what I really wanted in the first place. And why it's important for me to "get my name back out there!" Yeah! It IS like being reborn. I mean, just between you and me - The Catholic Church has seen better days - but Reality TV? You betcha. Bigger than ever. Sure. Sleep on it and we'll talk ... what was that? Red shoes? Heck yeah! You can have a new pair every day as far as I'm concerned!

Oh my god seriously ...

SERIOUSLY!!!! Oh my god.
I've got too many things to write about.
Here's the thing ... (by the way - Alec Baldwin totally stole that from me. I say it all the time - write it ALL THE TIME - it is MINE and it should be the name of MY show not his. I will begin legal action Monday morning -  head's up Alec!)
Meanwhile - HERE'S the thing(s). Random things that bother me. Willy Nilly. Such as ... 
~ Ladies? When did we give permission to the sleepwear industry to stop making pajamas and nightgowns out of crisp "flattering on everybody" and totally comfortable (woven) cotton and to start making them out of crappy "not really that flattering on anybody" and not really that comfortable (knit) cotton jersey?
I did not give such permission. And neither did you. They just started doing it - slowly - then not so slowly. And now it's done. I used to be able to reliably go into TJ Maxx - Belks (in NC) - Filene's (RIP) - lots of places - and RELIABLY find some very cute little pajamas - crisp cotton - ankle length pants with a little ruffle and a baby-dollish (but not in a stupid way) sort of top - for around $30. Now it's all T-shirts and T-shirt material. Pilling-prone, sag-prone jersey bullshit. Sorry for the cursing. But that's what it is. Jersey. Bullshit. Cheaper to make I guess. Well fine. No! Not fine! That's not what I want to buy! Aren't they interested in making something I may want to buy?? Doesn't anyone else miss the crisp cotton??? The jersey holds heat!!! IT HOLDS HEAT!!! And it looks terrible without a bra if you're over a C cup. And believe me - it's been a loooooong time since I've seen my old friend the C cup. So screw you sleepwear industry. Get the flu and die. (except the workers who make the stuff - it's not your fault - don't get the flu, or die.)
~ Moving on. For Christ's sake grocery stores - high end - low end - middle end - ALL OF YOU. Stop freezing your smoked salmon then putting it out thawed thinking I won't know that you froze it!!! Stop it!!! I KNOW OK?? You're not fooling anybody!!! You are ruining the texture AND the flavor - but mostly the TEXTURE. You're making it mushy and too salty - not buttery and rich - MUSHY!!! SALTY!!!! And gross. You are RUINING your product!!! Then selling it to me - who is totally unaware that you've ruined it! If I knew then I WOULDN'T BUY IT. And I WON'T be buying it again!!!! Not from you - that's for sure! If you want to sell ruined smoked salmon then say so, "Ruined Smoked Salmon" $2 a pound - right on the package. So everybody who loves Ruined Smoked Salmon can keep buying it (for a more appropriate price) and people who prefer un-ruined smoked salmon can make an informed decision. Have you ever tasted it?? - to see if freezing it makes a difference?? WELL TASTE IT!!!! See???? It tastes like crap. Just stop it.
~ And - cooks in restaurants from all over America - PLEASE stop putting weird stuff in your collard greens. STOP PUTTING WEIRD STUFF IN YOUR COLLARD GREENS!!! Fresh collard greens, properly cooked, don't need buckets of balsamic vinegar - Worcestershire - Liquid Smoke - chipotles - anchovies - ketchup - sugar - maple syrup - MAPLE SYRUP???? - agave - sultanas - verjus - 112 cloves of garlic - cacao or curry paste. They really don't. THEY DON'T!!!.
Sure - Put a little garlic or make a simple broth with a smoked turkey leg or a ham hock - and an onion - JUST AN ONION and simmer the greens in that - or just put an onion on top before you slow cook them with a piece of smoked ham, or without - or saute them with a little garlic and a little chili - and fine - put a little A LITTLE vinegar. lemon or hot sauce at the end - or better yet - let the diner do that themselves. Because they taste good like they are - all you have to do is get out of the way. Get out of the way - and put down that fish sauce, pickle relish and vanilla extract!
~ And in closing - step into the freakin' car on the subway - STEP IN!!! And get out of the freakin' door and close your legs, move over and take your bags off of the SEAT!!! And stop shambling down the street 3 abreast,  talking on your cell phone at the top of your lungs and look where you're going and take those ear phones out of your ears so you can hear me asking you to GET OUT OF MY WAY you dopey blank-eyed "knit cap even in the summer wearing" id-i-ot!!!!! YES YOU - with the horn implants - and also you - wearing that "JUICY BITCH" T-shirt giving your toddler Cheetos and blue juice - and you too Hedge Fund Harrison, you perma-smirk poo-headed economy destroying pock mark. All of you. I am watching you. And will continue to watch you until I decide to turn away. At which point you will cease to matter. As if you already haven't. Ceased to. Matter.  So there.

Remembering Gene

I don't remember exactly how I met him. I don't remember the day, the words, the circumstances. I mean I kind of know, I know we were in Wilmington NC, during the mid-80's; a magical time in downtown Wilmington that was, like all truly good things, too good to last.
I have other friends who's "first moments" I remember, but not many. I remember my friend Marlisa walked up to me on the church playground (we were 15 years old, and I'd never seen her before in my life) and declared that my skin was "... so peachy! Your skin's like a peach!!" I liked her immediately. (I'm a Leo - we like compliments).
But Gene - or Eugene, as he called himself back then. I just don't remember. 
I wish I did. Because on Wednesday, January 16th 2013, he died. Passed away. Succumbed.
Whichever phrase you choose, it's all the same really. He's no longer here. No longer in his body. No longer available for those giant bear hugs, raucous laughs, cutting insults (to others, thank God - strangers who cut him off in traffic or people who's politics appalled him) or the excessively excessive meals - parties - perfectly prepared cocktails - expertly made beds, gorgeously designed gardens, paintings, rooms, quips, stories, general hilarity, and the lesser known, quiet, thoughtful, generous, frankly heartfelt moments of conversation. Not just "talking", but a genuine exchange of ideas. He was interested in what you had to say and trusted you were interested in what he had to say. He wanted to know about your family, friends, history, passions and trusted that you wanted to know about his. He was right. I did. So that guy - that man - that friend. He's gone.
And of course (CLICHE ALERT - because it is so undeniably true that there is nothing original to say about it) - We are all going to die.
We know this. Not as kids so much, or teenagers, I mean we get the basic idea, its just so abstract. Even if a child loses a parent or sibling, it's still hard for that child to grasp the concept as it applies to self.
It's more like "... yes yes ... I'm going to die. I get it. Now what's for lunch."
And I believe that "yes ... yes I get it" attitude continues until one is around 40.
By then - give or take 5 years - you've lost some people. Parents. A close friend or two - or three - maybe more. Maybe a sibling, taken too soon. It's always too soon if someone is under 80 (and people over 80 would probably bump that up). But yes. You're over 40 and people are starting to go at what seems like quite a clip. So you can't ignore it anymore. You try. But you can't. And that's where I am now, five days out from my friend Gene's death. And ... I don't care for it. That's about all I can say about it. Without cursing.
I knew him for about 30 years. And though I can't remember the moment I met him. I remember a lot of other moments. I remember cracking up - and cracking him up. I remember he and I being hired to cook for two nights for KoKo Taylor "Queen of the Blues", who was performing in a club downtown. We made fried chicken, collards, black-eyed peas, pork chops and so on in a generous friend's kitchen. She was a vegetarian, and says that to this day, that was the only time she'd allowed meat to be cooked in her home. I remember his "white trash/frozen food party" where he and his friend and roommate Steve served huge martinis in iced tea glasses and swept around their nearly furniture-less - painfully cool -  historic district apartment passing silver trays of Gino's Pizza rolls as if they were fois gras en croute. I remember having dinner at his parent's palatial southern home - trying desperately to keep up as they poured me cocktail after cocktail, and throwing up later before stumbling to bed "drunk as Cootie Brown" - as Gene would say - did say - often. I remember his mother, Marion, an elegant woman in her 60's by then, washing the car out in the yard in shorts and her bra - something he said no other woman in the neighborhood would have done, but that she did all the time. Meanwhile - his father, Robert, also elegant, with a very "country club" demeanor - was in the house, polishing the chandelier.
Later, long after we'd both moved, me to NYC, him to Charlotte NC, I'd spend the night at his house whenever I got a chance. He would make me a lovely dinner - or we'd go out somewhere fun and fabulous.  Then we'd stay up late-ish with a nightcap or two - or three - talking, not laughing so much then, as late-night was the time for those quieter conversations. Finally, I'd slip into a bed, beautifully  made with sheets and a comforter with Oprah-worthy thread counts. In the morning he'd pad into my room around 8:30am (he'd been up for two hours, at least) with a full silver tea set - perfectly brewed Earl Grey, cream and sugar and announce that he'd be serving eggs, livermush (it's a southern thing) and fresh biscuits shortly.
He taught me about Yma Sumac, Peggy Lee, and "cocktail jazz" - and reminded me that I loved old country, gospel, James Brown, Beethoven and Mozart, and that they could, and should, all be played at some point during any given day, preferably all mixed up together.
Having these memories helps. And just because I don't remember "the first time we met" ... well, it shouldn't really matter. But see - I didn't know he'd be gone so soon. And - well I just think I should have realized.
I should have known he would die. I should know that everyone, including me is going to die, and thus should make a point of remembering every single blessed thing - from first thing to last thing to all the things in the middle. And I should catch and hold all those things as if in amber, so I can lay them all out and look at them whenever I want to. We all should. Except we can't - because if we tried that's all we'd be doing. Like constantly taking a picture with your cell phone instead of just "being" there. So ... what should we do? Both I guess. Take a few more pictures than you think you need. Jot down a few specific memories in a journal. Then put it all down and just enjoy the real thing. Don't be so quick to let go - but don't keep trying to hold on either. It's that blasted moderation again. Something Gene would have none of. Ah well. Cheers old friend. You were the kind of person who makes one dearly wish for an after-life. There is one right? And you'll be there ... right? God, I hope so.

Revamp - Reboot - Retool - Repeat - and Happy New Year!

OK - It's 2013!!!!
And I'm starting a revamp - a reboot - a retool - for the New Year.
For one thing - I'm doing a "Health Thingie" - like ... an actual organized one - I'm part of a "program" - that shall remain nameless for now - as I had to sign a confidentiality agreement. Seriously.  But screw it - I'll tell you what it is. Myself, Queen Latifah, Kirstie Alley, Terry Bradshaw, Marie Osmond, Charles Barkley and Bruce Vilanch are being sent to an island with nothing but forks, one box of matches, a cross-bow and a case of Sensa©!
No - that's not it. It's better than that. And involves no travel. Which is fine, as I'm in the mood to stay home anyway.  I'll tell you about it later, in dribs and drabs - and will report on "how I'm doing" from time to time - here. Anyway. It starts Monday - Jan 14th. What what? That's right - Monday.
also -
I'm reengaging with my blog. This blog. Deluxe Rice. And ... adding a food element.
So - I'll write and publish on it more often (more that every 2 to 3 months??? However will you manage Carol???) (Shut up)
and - those postings will often have to do with food - and cooking and other food related stuff. As well as my 'thoughts and ramblings' on current events. I will somehow - somehow - try to make that "work". Not even in quotes. But actually make it work. Non-ironically.
I'll also be working on - my interview podcast idea - splashing into the voice-over pool - and acting that isn't just about auditioning for commercials. (though I'll totally take more commercial auditions too - so - let's keep those coming in Universe, 'kay? - and let's book a bunch of 'em! Woohoo!!!! And now - let's go! All Skate!