Archive for December, 2011

The Same Love

Posted: December 24, 2011 in Love, Thought of the Day
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The same love can leave you breathless in ecstasy and take your breath away in pain

The same love can send you soaring to the stars or drive you to the edge of ever after

The same love can promise you forever or give you less than half of that

The same love can speak softly from the heart or speak without thinking at all

The same love can heal all the wounds or leave you with nothing at all

The same love…the same love


Please comment freely

It's Not a Tattoo. It's Art

Original and designed especially for my sister and I who met for the first time a short time ago and decided to boast matching foot art. Some day we shall visit Italy and savor olives and cheese while sipping wine under a bella luna in our barefeet

Seriously!?! It had to be the chicken. I mean come on an egg can not create itself. And on top of that an egg would have to be incubated to become a chicken. Right?  I used to live on a ranch and learned that an egg that sits for any length of time without a little tlc from a willing hen becomes rotten? It just isn’t feasible to think the egg came first.

To appease you skeptics lets just say for the sake of argument that the egg came first. Where did the egg come from? Did it just mysteriously appear out of thin air? Poof!!! “Let there be egg.” And there was egg :p ?

While it’s true that this is a controversial issue for many I opt to believe the chicken preceded the egg. I think I just exposed my inner realist. Ha! Don’t tell anyone.That being said let us move on to the real question. Which of the two would you choose to make yourself a yummy sandwich?

There are an unlimited number of great sandwich recipes in my pantry:


  • BBQ chicken with lots of sauce on a sweet soft French Roll
  • Chicken with cranberries, stuffing and mayo on Sliced White Bread
  • Bacon, chicken smothered in jack cheese on warm Focaccia Bread
  • Chicken, red onion, avocado and mayo on sliced Sour Dough Bread
  • Grilled Chipotle chicken with lots of chedder cheese on Garlic Bread
  • Chicken Parmigiana and melted Mozzarella on Panini  Bread with olive oil and balsamic for dipping
  • Chicken salad on Whole Wheat or White

Egg (stick with me now…don’t run off for a snack yet!) 

  • Fried Egg with American cheese on Sliced White Bread
  • Egg salad on Sliced White Bread
  • Scrambled Egg with Bacon on Sliced White Bread
  • Egg and Tuna Salad on Sliced White Bread

Oh my! A little boring. But, are you noticing a trend here!?! There are a variety of things you can do with Chicken and a very limited and boring number of fun and interesting sandwich recipes using Eggs. This brings us back to the original topic. Chicken or Egg? Don’t be chicken to walk away with a little egg on your face. Gotta love chicken!

  1. Don’t fall in love. True love brings true HEARTACHE.
  2. Don’t veer from the recipe. The cake will FAIL.
  3. Don’t leave the store without that really cute purse. When you go back for it it will be GONE.
  4. Don’t EVER dry shave your legs. You will CRY.
  5. Don’t post that really good essay you just wrote on the other class website trying to kill two birds with one stone. Someone will plagiarize it and you will end up defending your greatest WORK.
  6. Don’t forget to have a spare key made for your car. You will pay many times more for a LOCKSMITH.
  7. Don’t leave the toilet roll empty when you are finished. You will be the next one back and CURSING yourself.
  8. Don’t buy that package of Oreos at the grocery store when you are depressed. You will eat the entire thing and feel WORSE.
  9. Don’t miss the opportunity to tell your family you love them. Some day you will WISH you had.
  10. Don’t forget to come back and read my next blog. It will make you LAUGH.

Steak on Saturday nights! Sounds good doesn’t it? A trip to the most famous steak house in town for a delectable dinner so Nana could close the kitchen and take a much needed rest on a Saturday night. Warm sour dough bread wrapped in white linens snuggled into woven baskets with slabs of cold, creamery butter in a silver bowl as its companion awaited our indulgence. This would be followed by juicy melt-in-your-mouth rib eye steaks, mounds of ravioli, perfectly cooked green beans and pot shots at the staff. On a light note the sundaes were great!

Nana would begin her Saturday night out routine early in the day and in a somewhat predictable manner. Since the house was always thoroughly cleaned on Thursdays, the only thing she needed to focus on was getting herself ready for that night. It started with a leisurely cup of coffee with biscotti, an hour of tv aerobics, and a quick sweeping of the front porch. Next she and mama rounded-up us kids up for the more important stuff. Two errands. Shopping and the beauty salon. We knew better than to complain or she would snap a twig off of the old weeping willow tree in the backyard and give us a gentle swipe across the legs as she herded us into the car. Complain? Not on your life!

Our first stop, a saunter through Joseph Magnins with a lovely purchase from the saleslady whom I believed to live there since she was ALWAYS at the counter to bid nana an over-rehearsed “Have a happy day”. Did she know something about our Saturdays? Hmm, obviously she didn’t. I’m thinking it had more to do with her commission. The next stop was for nana to wrap her already well coiffed self into strict order at Bella’s on 6th Avenue. Nana’s hairdresser Isabella was indeed very pretty and did the same for her clientele. From her perfect eyeliner to her high-heels she had a way of turning my already pretty nana into a raving beauty with her handy tools, brushes and hair products. In awe, I knew that one day I too would be her client. Then it was back home for hot bathes, dress in our nice Saturday duds, and then wait for grandpa to get home and whisk us off to eat.

Grandpa took pride in his bride of 30+ years and she loved that he did. He loved carrying her on his arm knowing they didn’t get any prettier than her (or spicier for that matter).  He was an extremely hard working man who kept a rigid schedule. Always up before sunrise and home before sunset. He took very good care of his family including us grand kids who had moved into his home at his prompting when mama and daddy separated. He wanted us there with him and it was the best feeling in the world. Being wanted, loved and well cared for made for a sturdy and happy life. That’s not to say he didn’t have expectations for us. He did. And was very rigid on how they were carried out. We never questioned him! We did just so. Oh but how we loved him for his strength and direction. He was an entrepreneur and taught us the game just as planned. We were a tight family because we played by his rules. His long arduous work week always ended in our Saturday night outing. Any physical expense it may have cost him to shower and get ready we were all there together walking to the car like little soldiers headed for the steak house.

As I look back to those nights I feel confident in saying the restaurant scene was always somewhat rehearsed because somehow it always played out the same. We were always greeted by the same Greek Goddess who no doubt only moonlighted as a hostess on Saturday nights in her gold lame and stilettos to get my grandmother’s goat. Then off to the table we would go. By this time I would have heard a snicker from behind. Nana was somewhat (okay, very) jealous of other women smiling at grandpa or saying hello to him by his first name and would never let it go until addressed. Not a good way to start dinner but weekly non-the-less. Next was the waitress. Her “hello” to grandpa along with a gentle pat on the shoulder was certain to more than raise my grandmother’s eyebrows and cause pointed darts to fly in his direction instantly. How we continued to share family dinners at the steak house week after week still amazes me. Grandpa would sit there and smile while nana made certain that everyone within hearing distance knew good and well how rude and inappropriate the staff were. Her biggest complaint being that they new her just as well as him, but never even attempted to greet her in such a comfortable, shall we say, fashion. As an adult I can’t imagine how or why they did this week after week? Perhaps this explains why I very rarely eat out! Mystery solved.

The sun is shining through the gray clouds. I love it. After all, we are in sunny California. The sun is supposed to shine. Right? Some people think it’s always beach weather and that Hollywood is right around the corner. Not always so. I spoke to a friend who lives in another state the other day and has never been to California. She asked if I had been to the beach since returning to California. Although it might be tolerable there, I would rather venture that one hour drive when I know without a doubt I can lay back in the soft, warm sand without inhaling a salty, mouthful of the gritty stuff. Winter in central California doesn’t typically inspire a trip to the beach. Oh, how I look forward to a ride to the coast when the weather warms. Soon, I tell myself, very soon. Perhaps only one more month.

A brisk walk has been on my agenda all day. I must fulfill my need for the outdoors before sunset, which is about one hour away. It was in the 50s today. And, a faint southerly breeze reminds me that summer is still but an illusion. And, it’s not an entirely pleasant wisp of wind, since the town I live in is surrounded by dairies. Lots and lots of cows. I would venture to say there are no less than ten of them within a five mile radius of my home. So, regardless of the country beauty that surrounds our housing development, the scent of the cow poop shall be a contender for my attention as I vigorously stroll the avenue. I am happy to say this scent is in no way toxic.

As I set out with my little dog on her leash in one hand, and a doo doo bag in the other, I surrender myself to the exhilaration of the moment. A half block away I turn the corner which leads out of the neighborhood and onto a paved path that is flanked by freshly plowed fields with old redwood barns. There is also a creek and barren trees that have given way to the wind and list to the south. I feel their pain.There are more clouds rolling in from the south-west that are darker than those through which the sun currently peeked. Perhaps there is more rain on the near horizon. Not a bad thing, I think as I walk vigorously to combat the chill.

In the field across the street are prolific patches of lush green weeds everywhere the tractor could not reach, and inspired by the recent rains followed by spurts of warm, nurturing sunshine. As I look a little closer I spot a culinary treasure! The wild greens I grew up eating every year during the spring. Mustard greens! I get excited, pick up my pace, and decide I will return with a knife and bag to gather some for dinner.

As a child I had the unique opportunity to eat many things that the kids down the street never knew were eatable and did not particularly like. The mustard greens were one of these. My grandfather, a first generation Italian-American, plowed fields in the early spring and brought bunches of them home for dinner. Although, Nana would usually cook them, on occasion he would take on the responsibility. He was gruff and extremely down-to-earth in all aspects of his life. Including his cooking. His preparation of the greens was basic yet delicious. After he boiled them he would fry them with bacon and garlic. I too will pass on the grand tradition of teaching my sons the art of cooking from what the earth so willingly provides.

Once I reach my intended destination, and turn-around point, I realize I must hurry. I feel the threat of an impending down-pour, yes, it begins to sprinkle. As I turn back I am treated with a spectacular sight. The sun has graciously provided me vivid purple reds as she makes her decent in the west on the fair side of swaying palms. Tonight the sun will set and lure the willing eye of every artist and picker of wild greens. I shall return to pick them tomorrow.

In all fairness, although true, I feel my post “Flight 4476” was a little harsh. Perhaps I was blunt and somewhat lop-sided in my observations of Grand Consumption. I have had the “Grand” pleasure, pardon the pun, of meeting some really cool people here. Let me just say they are the exception to the norm. I will call them “my friends” since they have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome throughout my visit and to some degree have allowed me the splended opportunity to consider a return visit. I shall certainly miss their hugs and smiling faces. By the way…they are not missing teeth or laden with oxygen masks.  I will speak of two of them in no particular order of relevence and may embellish just a tad. Enjoy!

One of the most enjoyable and unexpected of my new friends is a woman who is in her 80s named Jule. Her daughter and son-in-law, Peg and Mel, asked if I would like to take a ride over with them to visit her. She lives alone, in a beautiful house, with the exception of her pal Louie. Louie is a well-mannered yet loud macaw. Jule is really quite gorgeous and must have been a looker in her day. At first glance I thought her to be fragile and perhaps reserved. I would soon learn otherwise. She wears her hair in a shiny silver bob, and her face is as fair as porcelain. When she smiles she lights the entire room. Her voice is sultry, and her first words to me were astounding and spoken in a clear and concise manner. “Do you play Wii?” she asked me. Well, I never had and for a brief moment I endured an overwhelming feeling of culture shock. I was about to be led into an area of technology I hadn’t yet explored, and by a woman who should never have known that such a game even existed. Wow, I thought…I want to be like this woman in my golden years. Her unexpected invitation lent me the opportunity to induldge in an abridged recollection of my far-from-ordinary grandmother (of whom I shall soon write). The result of the game? Well, lets just say she beat my pants off with finesse and style while Louie cheered her on!

Another of my new acquaintances is a 65+ woman named Nan. Nan is a hoot! This woman is an old farmer who does not mince her words. She was raised in the back country of “Grand Consumption”. After high school she left the confines of her home in the sticks to complete flight attendant school in Denver. It’s amazing that her family had allowed her to go so far from the farm to pursue such a worldly career. Her straight forward, gruff personality is contradictory to such a pursuit. Well, as it turned out, she was called back home by her mama when she broke the news to the family that her graduation would take her on to a career in New York. Thank god she did, as Nan would not be Nan had she moved away from the outskirts of the “Grand” valley. This warm-hearted woman has an opinion and voice that warns in advance that she is a person to be reckoned with. She means well, and seems to know what she’s talking about. What a joy to listen to her speak. She has some of the funniest and most unusual expressions I have ever heard. She once referred to a hard-headed friend of hers as being “tougher ‘n bowled (boiled) owl”. And when speaking about preparing dinner she refers to a kettle as a “kittle” neither term of which I have heard lately. “A’m gunna put on a kittle of beans for ‘eem”. Another of her very common oddly pronounced words is “him”. In fact, now that I think about it, many local-dwellers have the same habit. They NEVER pronounce “him” as ole’ Merriam Webster would have suggested. It’s always “eem”. Well, Nan is one woman I will never forget. When I said my goodbyes to her she had tears in her eyes and said, “You need to take ‘keer’ now”.

As I reflect back on my visits with people like Jule and Nan I will always remember them as people of the “Grand” valley. Yes, although there are a tantamount number of odd people ever-so-present in “Grand Consumption” there too are real treasures.