Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rant and Rave Wednesday

Wednesday, July 28, 2010....

Any readers following me on a regular basis know if it's Wednesday, it's time to Rant and Rave about the past week. Without further adieu, here are my Rants and Raves from the past several weeks:

Rave: The new season of Mad Men started up.

Rave: There has been a slight break in the weather here. It is still hot and humid, but not as unbearable as it was last week.

Rant: I invited my dad over for lunch on Sunday for 1:00 p.m.. While chatting with hubby at 9:20 a.m. (he was in kitchen and I was on computer), he's like your father is here and I was like ha, ha (my dad is known to show up early) and when he opened the door and I heard my father's voice, I was like 'Oh Shit' -- I wasn't dressed and wasn't quite unprepared for him. Hubby and I planned on running some errands before he came. My dad's only comment was "I know I'm a little early". A little early??? Hello? Try 3 1/2 hours early. Wonder what he considers to be very early.

Rave: Caught up with some friends for dinner Monday night. One I hadn't seen in over a year.

Rave: A very fun food pantry dinner party last week.

Okay, that's it for me. I would love to read any Rants and Raves you want to share? Just click on the linky thing for anyone that wants to participate in Rant and Rave Wednesday -- or leave them in the comments section here. Please, please be respectful and do not use the linky thing if you are just promoting your blog (yes, this is another Rant of mine).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rant and Rave Wednesday

Wednesday, July 21, 2010....

Any readers following me on a regular basis know if it's Wednesday, it's time to Rant and Rave about the past week. Without further adieu, here are my Rants and Raves from the past several weeks:

Rave: Great day in NYC on Saturday.

Rave: Another Food Pantry dinner tomorrow night with good friends.

Rant: I'm living on the set of Disney's Bambi 2 (I added this in for people who might jump to the thought that this may be the name of a porn movie). I was having issues with Woody in my garden, but he invited guests: Bambi, Thumper, Stupid Ass Squirrel (SAS) and both Chip and Dale. Chip and Dale are not the offenders, but SAS has gone after the tomatoes - he pulls the green ones off the vine and takes 1 freakin bite. He thinks it a nut and then when he discovers it is not, he leaves the tomato on the ground. Bambi ate 1/2 the tomato plants and squash leaves and Thumper the rabbit, the Brussels sprouts and squash blossoms. Like a crazy woman, I caught the squirrel in the act and chased it away earning the title crazy squirrel lady.

Rave: Melatonin. I posted something about insomnia several weeks back and many said to try melatonin. I had heard it was good from several others and thought I'd give it a shot. It doesn't help me fall asleep faster, but does keep me in a nice uninterrupted sleep once I do fall asleep.

Rave: If you haven't voted for LiLu for MTV TJ (see left hand nav bar icon) please do so. MTV is taking votes until tomorrow afternoon and wouldn't it be great to see a blogger fulfill her dream.

Rave: Loving my writer's workshop. I'm learning so much from the moderator (English professor) and pushing me to do more.

Okay, that's it for me. I would love to read any Rants and Raves you want to share? Just click on the linky thing for anyone that wants to participate in Rant and Rave Wednesday -- or leave them in the comments section here. Please, please be respectful and do not use the linky thing if you are just promoting your blog (yes, this is another Rant of mine).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A HUGE Pet Peeve of Mine.......

Tuesday, July 20, 2010....

I know I typically rant and rave on Wednesdays, but there is something that just bugs the crap out of me.

When I call to talk to you, don't ask me about other people you're too lazy to call -- especially if you know my relationship with that individual is strained...

Don't expect me to share all details of my life if you're not willing to tell me anything about yours. Seriously, I'd be happy to share the details of my life with you if a) you were willing to listen; or b) willing to have a two-way conversation and tell me anything that is going on with you.

There. I'm done.

Oh, before you tell me to confront this person, I have. They know it, but think it's excusable behavior. I almost believe they think it charming.

Monday, July 19, 2010

An Excellent Saturday.....

Monday, July 19, 2010.....

It's been awhile, but Saturday was the perfect day. I headed into NYC with YogaGirl, and my gf, A, for dinner and a Harry Connick Jr. concert. I should have known the day would be great when we had no problems zipping in via the West Side highway. In fact, we got in earlier than expected allowing us to have some outdoor cocktails.

We had reservations at Jonathan Waxman's restaurant, Barbuto, and we easily agreed why he was on Top Chef Masters and well respected from the other contestants (but I'll get to that a little later).

First, we stopped at some bar in Chelsea and had the most refreshing summer cocktail outside -- it had blueberry Smirnoff vodka with lemonade topped with Presecco and fresh blueberries - a wonderful and refreshing summertime drink, but I imagine dangerous since they went down easily.

After 2 cocktails, we headed to Barbuto, but stopped along the way to give our opinion to a bunch of groomsmen asking us who was the hottest in their tux -- I lost count, but I'd say around 8 cuties all just loving to flirt with us and bridesmaids giving the dirty pout face to them for flirting (definitely opposite their counterparts). The guys were definitely funny and an interesting NYC sight.

We got to Barbuto, a little early, but were seated right away. Both Jonathan Waxman and his cookbook were out in plain sight. Because I was buying his cookbook (thanks YogaGirl), Mr. Waxman came to our table, introduced himself and signed the cookbook. I have promised my gf that one month I will cook every course from his cookbook for my Food Pantry dinner.

The restaurant is a very casual place with large garage door type window walls allowing staff to create indoor-outdoor seating. Jeffrey (world's most fabulous waiter) made great recommendations. My gf and I started with tempura fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with zucchini risotto on a bed of roasted baby corn and argula. Yogagirl had some sort of salad and trusted Jeffrey's recommendation about the gnocchi.

He assured me they wouldn't be heavy and they weren't. They were light and amazing. My gf had lamb and Yogagirl had his signature roasted chicken -- every dish was out of this world. I had fresh fruit for dessert and my sister and gf had homemade Italian chocolate pudding which I believe had hazelnut in it. Jeffrey was kind enough to put a candle in my gf's for her birthday. Combine great food with 2 bottles of white wine from Umbria and great conversation and you have the perfect meal.

All the food was amazing, and I didn't notice until telling my husband the next day there wasn't any salt or pepper on the table. But everything, I mean EVERYTHING, was perfectly seasoned. Unlike our last experience with a Top Chef restaurant (Craft can't hold a candle to Barbuto)we were able to have an entire tasty meal and were not given a muffin on the way out.

After a FAB-U-LOUS dinner, we hopped in a cab and headed to the Harry Connick Jr. concert on Broadway. There was a 15 minute intermission, but he played for 2 1/2 hours having special guests sing and play with him. Years ago, I saw his dad sing with him at Tanglewood and got to see him sing again. It's obvious where Harry gets his talent because his dad can bring down the house. Other special guests included his daughter, Kim Burrell and Lucien Barbarin (amazing trombonist) who played with Harry. Even his youngest daughter, Charlotte, told a joke to the crowd.

At the end, he brought the crowd to our feet and everyone was clapping and having a great time, and, if anyone has been to a HCJ concert, there was some definite ass shakin (a definite trademark of his, if not, it should be).

The whole day was amazing and very much needed. I can't wait to cook from Jonathan Waxman's book for friends and will play Harry while cooking to remind me how fun I had Saturday, July 17th in NYC.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Question of the Week....

Thursday, July 8, 2010....

I've decided to make Thursdays my "Question of the Week" day because I always have questions and am always interested in people's answers.

This Week's Question is: When was the last time you faced and conquered your fear that was within your control?

Some fears you can control, some you can't. When diagnosed with cancer in 2004, I had a fear of the outcome and I did what I could, but had no real control of the outcome.

It was at this point I realized I wanted to control the things I could because I hated feeling powerless. Basically, I didn't want the fear to control me, but me to control it.

Since 2004, I've t some of my fears (e.g., firing a gun) and my conjured up vision of what it was going to be like wasn't even close to the reality of doing it.

Last night I faced or embraced another fear. I joined a writer's group. I've had a fear of writing for others (yeah, I know I have a blog, but I don't face anyone and read my words out loud), always second guessing my abilities and assuming it's not good enough.

I'm glad I went. It's a small group and the moderator is interesting, but the feedback was incredibly helpful and, contrary to what I envisioned, I didn't suck. However, I will admit, years of drafting/amending legal documents does change how you write fiction. I have to shift gears, but it was good to hear that my structure was good, character was one they were pulling for and they were curious to see what happened next.

Whatever happens I know I needed to do this. It will force me to stop making excuses and give myself permission to just write no matter the outcome.

So....When was the last time you faced and conquered your fear that was within your control?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Time Machine.....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010.....

Recently, I reconnected with some friends from high school. On the way home from dinner I was talking with one of my friends (I drove) about how great it was to see everyone. It was just the 2 of us in the car and she said "No one has changed. Everyone is pretty much how they were in high school."

Initially, I agreed, but now I don't. I think if you don't want to see how people have changed, well, you won't.

For instance, we have a friend who can be extremely passionate and even animated with her hands when talking. Some may perceive her as being impatient because she can go from 0 to 50 in about 10 seconds. However, she's probably one the most patient people I've met. She works with special needs kids in the public schools and I think that requires a boatload of patience. I know I couldn't handle what she does.

I think people perceive me as laid back -- a go with the flow type person, but that is far from the truth. I'm a Type A personality who expresses it in a Type B fashion. However, I know I'm not the same person I was in high school. Cancer changed a lot of the way I make decisions or approach things. It's changed my priorities.

As far as my other friends, well, the ones I keep in close contact with are a work in progress. I see them spring boarding off who they were when we were kids into a different person today.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Having the Last Word

Monday, July 5, 2010.....

I believe it's human nature for people to have the last word in any heated conversation or argument and I think it starts when we were kids. Seriously, I remember babysitting and putting my neighbor's son to bed and he just kept screaming and throwing tantrums because he wanted me to know he wasn't happy with me. I quickly realized, if I tried to quiet him down, he'd become twice as vocal. I guess you'd say this is when I learned the power of walking away.

As an adult, I've sometimes forgotten this lesson, but recently remembered how valuable it is to walk away from a situation. Actually, this is the 2nd time I can remember where the desired result was far more important than getting in the last word.

The first time was shortly after my separation. I reconnected with someone from my childhood. He found me through (prior to facebook), and we started exchanging emails. The emails were comforting at the time and I was surprised at all the stuff he remembered from our childhood.

What I did was selfish. I found comfort in emails with a married man. I thought them to be only words exchanged by friends. It took months for me to see the email exchanges probably meant more to him and let's just say our last exchange of words wasn't an exchange, but just an angry man trying to get my attention and get me to interact.

At the time, I was in therapy and discussed how uncomfortable I was with the situation. My therapist told me not to respond, but knew I was the type to respond if someone was hurting. She also told me most people need to have the last word. Funny thing is that I knew if I responded, he take it as a positive sign -- possibly thinking they'd be more to this friendship and there wasn't.

So, I stopped all communication and walked away because my desired result was more important than getting in the last word.

Fast forward.....

It's been years since the desired result is far more important than getting in the last word. But it recently happened again.

When I first separated (note: 1st year after my separation/divorce, I approached life differently. It was harder for me to make decisions and appreciated strong personalities in my life) I formed a friendship with a person who is an amazingly strong person. She knows who she is, adventurous, intelligent, but can also sometimes be an unknowing bully or refuse to hear a person if their thoughts/opinions/needs differ. I was amenable to her suggestions of what to do, where to go, etc.. To this day, I appreciate her being there for me. However, most everything was on her terms and my voice somehow got lost. I approach things differently and I'm not sure if she heard me or could understand me, but her solution to my problems wasn't how I operated.

It's no secret that being unemployed has been a hard struggle for me the past 2 years and when I'm stressed or depressed I retreat. I pack up the troops and stay to myself. Others need people around. I respect that. But that is not me.

My friend needs people around her and was worried about me. For awhile, I felt smothered with phone calls from her and just stopped answering the calls. Finally, I sent an email to apologize and explain how I operate when stressed. This was in February.

Last week she responded to my email. For the most part, it was a sympathetic email except for one line. One line where she turned my situation around and made me feel guilty for how I handle stress. She likes to have friends and family around and for years went through a difficult time and I was there to listen.

I'm annoyed and just want to scream: MY STRESS, MY DEPRESSION ARE NOT ABOUT YOU.

I had YogaGirl and another gf read my original email and her response to see if I was nuts for overreacting. I thought about writing back and allaying her fears that it wasn't her, that she is a great friend, but I thought screw it (okay, after several people told me to walk away). I realize my first email clearly explained how I stay to myself and it wasn't personal and she just needs to read the email again. I also have to wonder, why did it take her 4 months to respond. Clearly she received an email from a friend in pain and instead of sending a short note the NEXT DAY to say I'm sorry you're struggling, just know I'm here if you need me, I got crickets.

I don't think explaining it again will change the situation. I think it will just open the doorway to a relationship where someone doesn't get me or want to because I handle things other than the way she would, so I'm just walking away with no last word.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Question of the Week....

Thursday, July 1, 2010....

I've decided to make Thursdays my "Question of the Week" day because I always have questions and am always interested in people's answers.

This Week's Question is: Would you let any animal lick food off your fork or spoon and then continue eating using that same utensil?

The other night, I had a gf over for dinner and a movie. There was a scene where the woman fed her dog ice cream off her spoon and continued using the same spoon to finish up her ice cream.

I wondered how many people do that. I loved my cat, but always waited till the end or portioned off the food onto a separate plate for just her.