Sunday, November 30, 2008

Harry Connick Jr......

Sunday, November 30, 2008.....

AWESOME is the only word to describe my experience at the concert.

My sister is a member of his fan club so we were able to score 5th row seats and sat behind his friends and family. This included his kids, wife and actress Bernadette Peters. I haven't a clue how old Bernadette Peters is, but she is definitely one of those people that is much smaller and younger looking in person than on camera.

Harry started with one of his classic Christmas tunes and throughout the evening, incorporated some of his famous New Orleans numbers that I've seen him play over the years. Highlights was seeing him sing with his daughter (Kate) and play with this great musician he always plays with whose name escapes me (yeah, I know, I suck for not being able to give kudos to a great musician).

He was an engaging performer with the audience. He talked about his wife and it was interesting to see her getting into his music, taking pics of him and his kids standing on their chairs clapping for him at the end of the performance. You might think they'd take his singing for granted and not appreciate his talent, but so completely opposite.

I was fortunate enough to sit so close, but unfortunate to sit next to the drunk woman who'd scream on the top of her lungs (50% in my ears) causing the reaction of Harry's entire family to turn and stare over my way several times throughout the performance. Harry, himself, looked over and even mentioned the word "security" at one point throughout the performance.

My sister, the world's biggest fan, couldn't be happier. If you have a chance to see him, do, it is worth it.

I will be inviting two guest bloggers for my next entry to help capture our experience at Craft restaurant. Let's just say, there is so much to comment about our experience that it deserves its own headline....and....I didn't want the wonderful experience we had at the concert to be muddled in with our comments about Craft.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Official Start of the Christmas Season....

Saturday, November 29, 2008.......

Today marks the official start of the holiday season for me. Today, I'm going into NYC for dinner and to see Harry Connick Jr in concert to promote his new Christmas CD and have only two words -- Woo Hoo!

Typically, I trek into NYC for a play and a great dinner with my sister and a friend several times a year, but limited funds curtailed these outings for me. My sister, huge fan of HCJr, purchased tickets for us to go.

I've seen Harry Connick play many times over the years, but have to admit, I always associate him with Christmas music. To me, he rivals Bing Crosby (White Christmas album) that played constantly in my parent's home as a child.

I've haven't heard his new CD yet, but can't imagine one bad song. Great music coupled with 4th row seats, this will be a very fun concert.

Dinner, selected by all of us, is at Tom Colicchio's restaurant, Craft. We're all Top Chef fans and curious to sample the food and experience created by Tom.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Reflection of a Thanksgiving Tradition

Friday, November 28, 2008.....

Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. I do admit that I miss calling my mom and asking her what the giblets look like. For the past 12 years, I've hosted Thanksgiving and make my own stock. The recipe would call for the neck and giblets, but I'd always confuse them with the heart. Mom, always cooking up all parts of the bird for herself to eat would reassure me every year that I had selected the right one.

This year, I figured it out on my own. I had to. This year my mom is in a nursing home with Alzheimer's.

It's odd the traditions you pick up. Whether serving bread stuffing without mushrooms, a five course meal or who carves the bird, everyone seems to embrace traditions. Other than having a turkey at Thanksgiving and French Canadian stuffing being served, there are very few food traditions. I think my personal tradition was making the call to my mom every year.

The day was nice and we added a new person to the table. My family did not scare him off so he'll be back for Christmas.

I hope that everyone had a great day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Did Something Stupid

Wednesday, November 26, 2008...

I'm unemployed and bought a meat slicer. Why? Good question, but am extremely excited over the purchase (actually, I will use it).

I love kitchen gadgets and wonder if there are support groups for people with too many cookbooks or kitchen gadgets/appliances. If so, my sister says I need to join.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My 10 Favorite Guilty Pleasures....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008....

Andy, author of, asked other bloggers to give a little info about them so he can get to know his readers better. So here are My 10 Favorite Guilty Pleasures:

1. Older Lifetime Movies. Not just any Lifetime movie, but the older ones. Ya know, the ones based on a true story involving murder of a family member. Some great ones include Judith Light using arsenic, Meredith Baxter Birney portraying the bitter wife killing her ex and ex's new wife and Valerie Bertinelli ones.

2. Not Going to Church. I was raised in a very strict Catholic household. Recently, I haven't been to church. Oh hell, who am I kidding, I haven't been to church in years and believe the last time I went, it was for a baptism or funeral. So why do I feel guilty? Two words. Catholic. Guilt.

3. Caller ID. Need I say more.

4. Cell Phone Reception. Great way to get off the phone when the conversation is tense or boring. You mention that you're going through a rough patch; or pretend you can't hear them.

5. Google Search. I love to Google people. If you haven't and own a computer you're either a) too young to understand the value of this; or b) lying.

6. Pizza Delivery Place. I live in the burbs and 2 minutes from a pizza place, but will order from another and wait 45 minutes if I'm too lazy to get into car to drive the 2 minutes.

7. Convincing My Ex that it isn't Healthy for Women to Change a Cat Liter Box. I never explained the circumstances as to the why it wasn't healthy, but for 12 years until we divorced, I never changed a box.

8. Realty T.V. Shows. Really. Who doesn't love a great trashy reality show?

9. Listening to Others in Restaurants. My sister is much better than I am at this, but you sometimes hear the greatest stuff.

10. Stealing the Good Pillows from Hubby at Bedtime.

In Spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008.....

Everyone needs a chuckle around the holidays to relieve the stress. My friend forwarded this joke and I thought I'd share.

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Friday Night Jazz

Tuesday, November 25, 2008....

Friday night, I invited two friends over for dinner and then headed to a quaint inn to listen to a jazz quartet. Our friend's quartet was going to play and I was excited to hear the music.

Most jazz performances I've seen promote the piano, but my friend is a drummer so I was curious to his selections. In addition to the drums, he had a vibraphone, guitar and bass player (is jazz really jazz without the bass?).... In addition to some amazing music, it also proved to be a good night for conversation and people watching.....

Best Line of the Night goes to my girlfriend who rejoined the dating scene last year after a long marriage. For many that have rejoined the single world, it is much different than when we were in our early twenties.

Dating in your late thirties requires a passport because most everyone has a tremendous amount of baggage. I have to admit, I was fortunate with my hubby, but did meet and date a few zingers.

In addition, you can now date a person you met online. For some reason, many people believe that one is allowed to check their manners the moment they start checking their account.

I digress, but background info is sometimes necessary. My friend has met a lot of men online and offline, dated some, but no spark. She'll date for a bit, take herself off the market for a few months and then try again. Currently, she's not dating. However, I wasn't sure and asked "So, are you dating anyone?" -- her response "I'd rather go to the gym than date". I laughed and said "are you at the point that you'd rather watch water boil than date" -- her response was yes.

Best People Watching of the Evening.....Same gf notices this woman watching the band wearing the queerest smile on her face. She leans over and whispers, she's either in love with one of the band members or is on some really great drug.

From that point on, I could not help but glance over at her every now and again. Each time, the grin was there. After we got past the grin,we noticed her dinner mate was considerably older and then began to speculate if date, work partner and how well hung he might be.

I know real mature, but haven't you ever gone to a restaurant or bar, seen an interesting couple and write their screenplay in your head?

The couple left and although we tried convincing our other friend to go ask them our questions (our bribe was an expired Victoria Secret card, a Home Depot gift card with $2.92 balance and an Italian deli club card)she wouldn't. Dang my friend for having social manners.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Comments I Don't Need to Hear Checking Out.....

Thursday, November 20,2008.....

The other day, hubby and I went to Linen's & Things because they are going out of business and I needed a household item. Linens & Things is this store, not sure if outside CT, but they sell towels, linens, kitchen gadgets, etc.... Of course, we went in for one item, purchased several others and forgot to pick up the item that brought us in there (yeah, yeah, we went back the next day).

We were checking out and the cashier comments on my item, the Xtreme Scumbuster. I was very excited about my purchase, but the cashier basically mocked my purchase. She went on and on how they have a gadget for everything and remembers when cleaning gadgets first came out. I was polite and didn't say anything. I thought if I turned my head and looked at the items right in front of the register she'd get the hint and would stop. I was wrong. She still had a captive audience. My hubby.

She explained how her mom used to buy a different gadget every week and eventually they ended up in the closet. Okay, so your mom had a gadget issue. She went one step further when placing my Scum Buster in the bag, she said that within one month my B&D Xtreme Scum Buster would be found in my closet never to be used again.

Hello? Did I ask for this woman's opinion? I think not.

I've never encountered such personalized help and hope I never do again. Personally, I am still very excited about my Xtreme Scum Buster and am glad she's not their spokesperson.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday Drama....

Monday, November 17, 2008.....

It's not even Thanksgiving and the drama has started. Actually, it started a few months ago, but my sister has now included the whole family into it.

Several months ago, my sister decided she didn't want to host Christmas. She's done it for years and it has been a tradition since she was married and her ex did the cooking. I host Thanksgiving, love to cook and entertain, offered to host, but never has she taken up the offer.

This year, I think she decided to be true to herself and admit that she doesn't want to host and made that declaration in an email several months earlier. Actually, her email stated that we go to brunch and buy my father's meal and then return to her home for dessert and presents.

Personally, I like traditions and wanted to celebrate in my home. So, I sent the email stating I was going to host a brunch in September. This is when the drama, or dictating, started. My sister and I had not spoken for several months (a whole different story) and go to dinner to bury the hatchet. During the course of the night, it was brought up how I needed to assign people items to do or bring to the brunch. I believe I responded that I really didn't and her response was stronger and bolder that I needed to.

My other sister emailed and asked what to bring and I said dessert. I don't make desserts and entrust others with making something I couldn't be bothered doing. The rest of the meal is going to be a breeze. I have all this great pottery, Christmas plates (another story) and Christmas linens. I'm good to go. I'm excited about hosting and never really stress (unless 5 people try to come in my kitchen --- it's too dang small).

The other day, I called my sister and she mentioned how I missed a couple on the evite, but I really hadn't as I asked people to forward to others who I may missed. It was at this point that she brought up dessert at her house again. Personally, I just don't have it in me to deal whatever reason she needs to have dessert at her house, but think it STUPID. Seriously, you want to pack up 12 people to travel from one house to drive 2 miles to have more food there. The same people will be there. It isn't a new crowd.

I'm baffled as to why? I really don't know why. She has now sent an email to my sisters and her friend to get their buy-in. Luckily, my sisters can't follow the logic either.

Why, if you give up the holiday, can't you let the other sibling just host? Why would a person feel the need to orchestrate an event they wanted nothing to do with?


Friday, November 14, 2008

Food Network Brain Cramp.....

Friday, November 14, 2008....

The FN used to have this game show when it first aired and I can't remember the name of it and loved it.

The concept was that 2 people were contestants and they were either friends or spouses and they had certain ingredients to cook with and had a 30 minute cook-off. The contestants acted as sous chefs to area restaurant or famous chefs in NYC. It reminded me of an Iron Chef America for the layperson.

Does anyone remember the name of the show and why it got booted off?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Top Chef Challenge

Thursday, November, 13, 2008.....

I'm a Top Chef fan and have been since Season 1. However, I always wonder, will they run out of challenges?

I've come up with one that combines a growing movement with food and would be one of the hardest challenges I can think of. Preparing food discovered on a Freegan outing.

This year I was introduced to the Freegan lifestyle, not by experience, but by watching Oprah. I can't explain it, but after seeing an episode on Oprah, the Freegan lifestyle was thrown in my face through documentaries and articles.

For people who may not know what a Freegan is, let me describe a Freegan as simply as possible. It is a person who has adopted a lifestyle that recycles everything that another may have thrown away. This includes clothes, furniture and FOOD. I commend Freegans for grasping the concept that Americans waste so much and want to recycle what we can. There are tag sales, swap meets and giving away furniture or clothes to friends or family. However, I draw the line with food.

I can't imagine preparing any meal from food that I climbed through a dumpster of dirty diapers for. Maybe it is just me, but the thought makes me squeamish (ask my sister)and a part of me believes that it is stealing food from the homeless that have to do this to survive.

However, imagine if Padma came out and told the contestants that for today's elimination challenge they were going to drop them off in a neighborhood and they'd have to create a 3 course meal (one course must include a protein) for the judges.

I really, really hope that the individuals at Top Chef responsible for creating the challenges have enough ideas and never have to resort to this.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Six Weeks....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008.....

Yesterday, I was at WW meeting when the leader talked about making pledges to ourselves during the next 6 weeks, a.k.a. The Holiday Season... Holy smokes, when did that creep up on me?

I can't believe that in the next 6 weeks I'm going to finish wedding thank you notes, mail out Christmas cards, create a Christmas letter, host Thanksgiving, host Christmas brunch, shop (okay, on a very limited basis), decorate a tree, rake all the leaves off my lawn (looks like a blanket of leaf snow at the moment) and stay on plan.

I think the Holiday miracle, is not the birth of Jesus, but being able to be nice and smile to all the pushy people I will encounter in the stores. I also wonder why during the Holidays, when it is to be the happiest of times, brings out the worst in people?

Personally, looking forward to hosting both meals because I like to entertain. I know I will finish the thank you notes, rake the lawn and decorate the tree, but I may ditch the cards and letter as I've done so in years past. However, I am always a hit or miss on birthday and Christmas cards and like to keep people guessing.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Interview with Company from Hell....

Monday, November 10, 2008.....

I had a great weekend, but before the weekend, I interviewed with a company that I wasn't really excited about and I'll refer to the company as the "Company from Hell".

Company from Hell is HUGE, but not for me. I am not swayed by interviews where the person brags that he gets responses to his 2:30 a.m. emails from colleagues in the US his friend convinced him to check off 100% travel and how it would never happen, but now is commuting to another state on a weekly basis for his job.

After 40 minutes of listening to how wonderful the Company from Hell was, I got to answer his 4 questions and, if time permitting, I got to ask a few questions. However,there was an absolute stop at the top of the hour. I answered his questions, but when I asked about particulars about the job (that would require a 80 mile commute) he didn't have any. frustrating.

The best part is that the Company from Hell was a prior client of mine and I knew all about them. I'm also at a point in my career where I know to research the employer before the call - Hello? 101 Basic Interviewing Practices. It was a shame he never heard of the concept because he didn't even take 5 minutes to look at my resume prior to the call and it was obvious.

According to him, I spent a lot of time in sales (which I haven't) and he glossed over that my experience actually pertained to the position I was interviewing for.

Friday, I sent a thank you note and received a prompt notice from the HR person that, although I was great, blah, blah, blah.

Oddly enough, totally relieved. I have tremendous Catholic guilt and if offered the job, I would have taken it and been miserable.

I guess I do have a guardian angel. I have an interview for another company this week and am excited about doing my due diligence on the company and brushing up on an industry I left many moons ago.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Food Like Mom Used to Cook.....

Thursday, November 6, 2008.....

I didn't think it possible, but last night I cooked a meal that brought home memories of meals my mom used to serve......It was HORRIBLE.....

The joke about my mom and her cooking is that she thought it to be the best food EVER! She cooked one dish, Glob, which my sister loved and I'm still wondering how to this day. The meal's ingredients were ground hamburger, box of frozen veggies, rice, soy sauce, water and cornstarch (the cornstarch was necessary to thicken up the water and soy sauce to make a faux gravy).

Other choice meals included codfish cake casserole (canned codfish, boxed mashed potatoes and wheat germ to sprinkle on top for health reasons) or hot dog-potato casserole (hot dogs, cut up potatoes and cheddar cheese soup). She never cooked the potatoes first. The hot dogs would dry up and shrivel because she kept the casserole in too long to cook the potatoes; or the hot dogs were fine and the potatoes were undercooked.

Last night, my meal, could be added into mom's collection. The meal consisted of some meatloaf recipe I found on-line (aka Worcestershire sauce burger), freezer burn green beans and undercooked salt potatoes. The best part is that my hubby didn't say a word until I said "do your beans taste really funny?" He was a good sport by being polite. However, once I opened up the door, funny comments came through the door freely.

Best comment from hubby: "If you wanted to go out to dinner, why not just say so. Did I really have to suffer?"


Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Wednesday, November 5, 2008....

It's been 26 weeks and I just had to file for emergency benefits. Can I just comment how much that sucks!

If I chose to be unemployed that would be one thing, but I didn't. First, it was the summer and postings were scarce due to summer vacations and then the market crashing.

I interviewed for positions that have now been placed on hold. I've applied for positions that my skillset could be transferred, but companies don't have to settle anymore so I doubt they'll call. I've even applied for far reaching positions that I'm not qualified for, but thought what the heck.

I was talking with a friend the other day, who is also unemployed, and although I wish he wasn't, it is nice to talk with someone that understands what you're going through. I never imagined I'd be out for this long and never thought I'd be in the mindset to jump on the first offer that will come my way. Unemployment can be paralyzing. I try to remind myself that the time I have can be treated as a gift, but some mornings I don't see it that way.

Many of the positions I'm applying for I don't want. I have an interview with a company tomorrow that I'm not thrilled about. The company was a client of mine so I know how they operate and the position would require a daily commute of 80 miles one-way. I've been there and done that.

I am torn because there is a part of me that hopes to get the job and part of me that prays something better comes along.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Tuesday, November 4, 2008.....

Yes I voted. However, I want to see if my humor is a bit sick or what...

This morning I was talking with a friend who often drops off the face of the earth when dating someone. It is always the same, he falls in love in a nano second and tells me she's the one and six months later the relationship is over. I always remind him that I thought this one or that one was THE one...he's quick to say, I never said that, but knows better.

Today we caught up on things. I asked if he dressed for Halloween and he said no, he went to a Coldplay concert. I asked what was the girl's name he went with because no straight guy would go to one. He mentioned her name and said he's been dating her for 3 months. I said, oh....that explains why I haven't heard from you sooner. Seriously, he's like some of the girls I remember from high school that dumped all their girlfriends once they started dating someone.

We went through the particulars and when we got to her age I found out there was a 12 year difference and she was 29. This would never have phased me, but he usually dates older women and comments that he would NEVER date a woman under 37 because they have a lot of growing up to do; or he'd never date a woman without kids, but clearly does.

I pointed out that when he got his license, she was heading off to kindergarten. He pointed out that when he was flying planes for the Air Force she was 10. I then made the remark, "just think if you dated her then you'd be considered a pedophile and now you're legal to date her".

He laughed. My husband was a bit in shock that I said it. Personally, I thought it was funny. Still do. Does that make a bad person?

I think if he hadn't pointed out the Air Force tidbit, I would have never made the comment, but the flow was there and I went for it.....

Monday, November 3, 2008

Saturday Night...

Monday, November 3, 2008.....

This past Saturday night, my friend offered to take me out for a belated birthday dinner because it is a tradition of ours. I wanted oysters and martinis and she knew of this great place that I hadn't gone to.

I love new places and since the place is always booked she wondered if I'd be okay eating at the bar. I was fine with that because sometimes it turns out to be the best spot in the place. Particularly for people watching. Saturday was no different.

The bartender was very nice and they had a great piano player playing old Sinatra type tunes on the piano. However, I didn't think that we'd be the people to watch.

We had just settled in, taking our first sips of martinis when this older gentleman plopped down next to my friend. My friend is always attracting men and many times I just ignore them because they turn out to be annoying (note: desperate men are scary to watch in action). This case I couldn't. I was dragged into the conversation.

I want to note the following of this man so you understand just why I wanted him to go away ---

1. He had too much to drink. He came over because he was interested in my friend's Cosmo. He had claimed he never had one and was curious about the taste;

2. He thought he was hot stuff for a man that had been married close to 40 years and his son was 43. I think he asked us several times if we could believe that he was only 67. Personally, I thought mid-seventies.

3. For a man who bragged about divorcing his wife after many years of marriage because he finally came out and admitted he was gay, he resembled a "straight dirty old man out on the prowl" (more on that reason in a moment).

4. I could care less that you married a woman from a prominent American family. If you have money, don't tell two women, "I just closed out my bar tab, but if you ladies buy me a Cosmo, I'd love it." Ummm...think again. My friend put it nicely by stating "If you have all this money, shouldn't you be buying us drinks."

Lucky for us, he finished his wine. He got up to leave, coming behind both of us to say goodnight. He first mentioned that he was going to get in his Mercedes (woo hoo -- again, like I care) and then kissed us on our cheeks. I'm okay with that. However, what he did next, I questioned his declaration of "I'm gay" -- he turned my cheek and before I knew it, tried to tongue me. Eeewwwwwwwwwwwww...... I did not see that coming and when he tried for another, I just faced the bar. Hello? Don't you get the clue when a person pulls back and quickly wipes their mouth they have NO INTEREST in receiving another kiss.

I have to ask, is he gay when sober and hetero when drunk???

After he left, we had a great meal and then saw Changeling which was a great movie. I'd recommend it.