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Day 181: Hunger + Food Network + Too Much Time =

6 Jul

Yeah…ok, I’m a foodie.  I watch a lot of food TV,  I get excited by new restaurants and new foods, and I am super experimental in the kitchen.  Anyone who’s ever eaten dinner at my place can attest to this (curried goat anyone?).  It’s just the way I am and how I was raised.

You see, I come from an entire family of foodies.  I grew up on Julia Child and Jeff Smith.  I was always encouraged to try strange new things.  My family always put interesting meals on the table.  I was the 5 year old who’s favorite food was lobster!

Being a foodie can be a bit of a problem though…You see, when I’m hungry and have too much time on my hands, I end up with this…

an unbelievably ridiculous amount of sushi!

Yeah….it’s a sickness really.  I just couldn’t stop myself from slicing and rolling.  I made all this rice….and then there was the fish….and before I knew it, I was 6 rolls in with sliced salmon sashimi on the side.  Waaaaaaaaaay too much fish for just 2 people!!!!

But look how pretty!!!!!

YUM!!!!!

I’m rather proud of my sushi rolling abilities!  😀

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Days 155 – 158: Of blogs and other things

13 Jun

Blogging is a funny thing.  It’s a lot like keeping a diary, except everyone in the world has the key.  I pour my heart and soul into these pages and give others a glimpse into my quirky little life.  I like having a venue to make my thoughts and beliefs heard.  However, unlike a real diary, I have to be careful with what I post.

Everyone these days is internet crazy.  Between Facebook, Twitter, BBM, and all the other social media out there, words can circulate like wildfire.  All it takes is one picture, one joke, one misstep and your peace can be destroyed.  Take this whole Anthony Weiner thing, for instance…  So the guy sends some nudie pics to women he met online…this is nothing new.  People do this all the time.  They have cyber relationships and sexting and all that fun stuff.  Being a politician doesn’t make it any more wrong than if he was Joe Shmo the office clerk, but it does mean that he’s got more to lose.  And that he’s being watched more closely.  He got caught, and now he’s royally screwed.  His life and career will never be the same, all because he snapped a picture of his junk and put it on the internet.  Serious lack of judgement…

You don’t have to be high profile to have this happen to you either.  I read somewhere that infidelity is on the rise as a result of social media sites.  People think that the computer screen offers them privacy.  They can do things through the screen that they wouldn’t normally do.  However, Big Brother is always watching…

Let’s take my blog for instance…I’ve shared my life and views with you all for over 5 months now.  In that time, I’ve posted about politics, religion, society, relationships, culture, etc. in addition to the art and laughter that is this blog’s focus.  I’ve touched on controversial issues, and I’ve tried really really hard to not dig my own grave.  I won’t lie…I seriously censor my posts.  Each of my more serious entries has gone through several revisions before I deem it safe enough to publish.  It sucks, but it must be done.

I wrote a very long and very eloquent blog post earlier.  I read and reread it, each time coming to the same conclusion…It’s un-postable.  It really sucks, but what can I do.  As passionate as I feel about some issues, it’s best I keep them to myself.

That being said, on to the giggles!

Friday, I made an awesome dinner.  It inspired this giggle…

Yum!

This was a modified Rachel Ray recipe for pineapple hominy stuffed avocados.  I used mango and shrimp instead of the pineapple.  It was deeelicious!

The next giggle is a headband I created.

pretty!

I don’t know what it is about these headbands that I enjoy so much.  I love them!  This will look fabulous with my grey skirt…

The piece de resistance of today’s list of giggles is my new handbag!  A while ago, I posted about my experiments with woodburning.  Did it ever pay off?!

Ta da!

This is my wine box purse!  She’s burned into the front of the box and painted in watercolors.  I glued pearls around the edge and on the face of the box to add a little sparkle.

and the back

I used an embossed paper and ribbon to cover the back and sides of the box.

and the inside

I lined the inside of the box with shell pink paper and fabric and put a little pocket in for lipstick and goodies.  I’m very proud of my new bag!!!!!

Last, but not least, is today’s giggle.  It needs no explanation…

 

Days 141 and 142: Animalistic tendencies?

29 May

I didn’t giggle yesterday.  😦  I was a bit upset and just couldn’t focus on blogging.  However, I more than made up for it today!

I took Scottie-boy into Manhattan today for a culture filled birthday extravaganza.  Honestly, as much as I b!tch and complain about living in NY, there really is no place like it.  There’s just so much going on all the time.  Sights, smells, sounds…..it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes.  Still, you just can’t beat NYC for culture.

Hubby’s birthday present this year was dinner and a show.  I got an awesome deal on StubHub for Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.  Weird name, I know…but it was truly incredible.  I’ve never seen a play like this before.  I just can’t stop thinking about it.  It didn’t hurt that the title role was played by Robin Williams either…

RAAAWWWWRRRRRRR!

The show isn’t the only part of my day that left an impression.  We had THE most amazing dinner before going to the theatre.  Scott is a taco freak.  He always begs me to cook, bring in, and/or go out to Mexican food.  I, on the other hand, can pretty much take it or leave it….more often than not, I leave it.  This time, I gave in.  I made reservations at a place called Toloache in the theatre district, and it turned out to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had!

It was gosh darn pretty too!

Everything on Toloache’s menu sounded delicious.  Instead of ordering entrees, Scott and I decided to order a bunch of small plates and have “Mexican tapas!”  I’m not going to go into detail about each and every selection (I’m not a food critic after all!), but there is one item that I absolutely have to share.  Today’s giggle: chapulines tacos!!!!!!!!!

What are chapulines, you ask?  They are toasted grasshoppers!!!!!!!

Yum!

Yeah, yeah, yeah……I know I’m a bit more adventurous than most, but this was still a stretch for me.  I mean…..they’re freakin’ bugs, for goodness sake!  Creepy, crawly, scary little bugs!!!!  I don’t eat bugs….that’s something my cats do.  However, someone apparently thought that these critters were worth putting on a NYC restaurant menu, so…..I had to try them.

Here they are in taco form.  The tacos has lettuce, onions, chiles, and guacamole in addition to the grasshoppers.  Honestly, they looked innocent enough at first glance.  The chapulines looked more like walnuts than grasshoppers, which is funny, because they had a definite nutty flavor accented by chile and lime.  The texture was a bit unusual…..very crunchy like eating shrimp tails.  All in all, I have to say that they were pretty tasty!  Thumbs up for grasshoppers!!!!! (and for the tuna watermelon ceviche in the background of that picture….seriously delicious!)

So, what do you think about eating bugs?  Would you try them for a meal?  Would you eat them with an eel?  Would you, could you in a taco?  Or do you think it’s really wacko?

Dr Seuss I’m not…

 

Days 132 and 133: Traveler’s Anonymous

20 May

Lots going on….Let me sum up.

First of all, apparently tomorrow is the end of the world according to these crazies…  This has totally been the hot topic of conversation lately!  All  my students have been talking about it…7th graders are scared sh*tless, while 11th graders are hoping for a zombie apocalypse a la call of duty!  Insane!  I, for one, don’t think whatever divine being there is would let us lowly humans know if the end was near (or “nigh” as the crazy street corner people say).  Let’s think about this, shall we?  If you were G-d, and you were going to wipe the slate clean, would you let the creatures you were going to kill know?????  Especially if your whole point in doing so was to “save” the righteous and make everyone else suffer?!  I’d like to think that G-d, whomever he/she/it may be, would keep that information to himself.  Regardless, people have been speculating for hundreds if not thousands of years when the world would officially “end” and no one’s got it right yet.  Won’t these people feel real stupid when they wake up Sunday morning to find that all’s well?

Besides, I’m kinda tired of hearing this song….

So I’ve been working on a drawing based on this “end of the world ” theme, but I’m not ready to show it yet.  Later.

What I am ready to show is my lame attempt at culinary excellence!  I pride myself on being a world traveler.  Every chance Scott and I get, we are off to some exotic or unusual locale.  Unfortunately, cash has been tight lately…so we haven’t gone on many trips.  Instead, we live vicariously through TV personalities on the Travel Channel.  The only time I even turn on the TV is to watch reruns of Bizarre Foods or No Reservations!  Tonight I made a Bizarre Foods inspired dinner.

Some time ago, Andrew Zimmern took a trip down to Trinidad.  He ate all kinds of weird and crazy stuff there, but it was the “bake and shark” that really caught my interest.  I mean really…..who doesnt’t love a fried fish sandwich?!  I decided to make my own version tonight.

I followed this base recipe, but added my own twist here and there (whole wheat flour anyone?)

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

I made the fry bread from scratch, and it honestly wasn’t worth the trouble.  I’m not very good at frying things….I don’t do it often, so I don’t do it well.  In the future, I’d substitute pita bread and probably bake the fish.  The spices and marinade were delicious, as was my homemade coleslaw.

My mouth is watering...

I wonder if it was close to the Trini version…

Day 115:

2 May

I left the title of today’s post blank, because I can’t really find the words to describe how I’m feeling right now.  So much has happened in such a short time.  I’ve spent my day searching my soul for the meaning of all this.

So, in case you didn’t know…Osama bin Laden is dead.  That’s all fine and good, I guess.  I mean, he’s an evil mass murdering psycho right?  And he’s responsible for the deaths of all those innocent people on 9/11.  And a dozen different countries have been searching for him for almost 10 years…He had it coming to him.

What I’m having a hard time with is the way my fellow Americans have reacted to the whole thing.  Everyone’s gone all red, white, and blue.  People who were complaining about Obama and the U.S. government yesterday are waving flags and dancing in the streets today.  It just seems so twisted.  How angry were they when citizens of other countries celebrated the bombings on 9/11?  How are we really any different?  Violence may sometimes be a necessary evil, but it’s still evil and should not be celebrated!  I’m glad bin Laden can’t kill any more people, but I don’t need to stoop to his level and celebrate death!

Anyway, so this whole thing has been eating at me all day.  I swear, if I hear “Proud to be an American” one more time, I’m gonna puke!  I’ve always been proud of my country, but right now….not so much.  I’m rather ashamed by my compatriots’ disgusting behavior.  Embarrassed, is a better word I think.  Now, I understand why so many nations hate us….. As a whole, Americans can be pretty insensitive.

Since I was feeling down and frustrated, I decided to compile a list of inspirational websites for today’s giggle.  I know it’s not all artsy fartsy, but it made me feel better about myself and this great country.

1.  100 Thing Challenge – I came across this site today while searching for ways to downsize my life.  I’ve just got so much stuff and nowhere for it to go!  This guy basically challenged himself to downsize his life to 100 things that he really couldn’t live without./  How amazing!  I’m sitting here staring at my gnome collection, Scott’s movies, the kitchen appliances that live above the refrigerator, and all the random clutter about my place and think…..what if?

2. The Happiness Project  – This fabulous website is actually a companion to the book I’m currently reading by the same name.  I have yet to formulate a solid opinion about Gretchen Rubin’s approach to a happier life, but I’m inspired by her dedication to her project.  What is My Daily Giggle but a happiness project of my own?

3. How Do I Love Me – Sign the pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days.  What a wonderful idea!  I signed the pledge…did you?

4.  Beliefnet – This is  a great all around inspirational website.  While I tend to stay away from the religious side of it, I really appreciate the inspirational stories and articles, as well as the humor and comments from real people.

5. Heal Your Life  – Like beliefnet, it’s chock full of self help articles and daily affirmations.  It’s given me several great ideas.

Well, there it is….my inspirational list.  Let me know if you follow any of my links and what you think.

Lastly, Gratefulness.org…..I’ve lit a virtual candle dedicated to all those people who’ve needlessly lost their lives, as well as those people who won’t allow themselves to really live.

Day 109: 29 before 30

26 Apr

Today was a very very very hard day.  I attended a friend’s funeral this morning.  I was touched by the service and more than a little surprised.  Funerals are usually very solemn and understandably sad affairs.  I can’t say that’s true about Mary’s funeral today.  I went into it tearful and mourning the loss of a dear friend.  I came out of the funeral uplifted and joyful for the rich and beautiful life that she led.  It really got me thinking…

What would they say about me if I were in her place?

Morbid thought, I know…but valid I think.  What kind of life have I led?  What impressions have I made on this world?  What would I want people to say about  me????

Honestly, I don’t have a clue what people would say.  Does it really matter all that much anyway?  People could remember me for all the wrong things, but that shouldn’t stop me from living my life to the fullest.  One thing I have to say about Mary…she was a fiery right up to the end.  She made plans, she had goals, and she made things happen.  It’s time for me to take charge of my life and follow her example.  It’s time to really start living.

Today’s giggle is list of 29 things I’m going to do before I turn the big 3-0.

  1. Learn to needle felt.
  2. Take a yoga class.
  3. Take a belly dance class.
  4. Learn to make hard sculpted art dolls, including the joints.
  5. Organize my art supplies.
  6. Reduce my collection of crap (books, chachkas, files, kitchen gadgets, etc.) by at least 30%
  7. Take a trip somewhere…..anywhere…..anywhere but here.
  8. Create a series of artwork based on a single theme.
  9. Dance in the moonlight, preferably somewhere without anyone watching.
  10. Help a stranger.
  11. Get a new tattoo.
  12. Plant an indoor garden.
  13. Refinish my coffee table.
  14. Repurpose IKEA wardrobe into a storage cabinet.
  15. Deep clean the inside of the oven…I mean really get in there and scrub!
  16. Create a household cleaning schedule (and hopefully stick to it).
  17. Visit every lighthouse on Long Island.
  18. Go camping.
  19. Read a book on spirituality.
  20. Take a meditation class.
  21. Reboot my Etsy site.
  22. Finally buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it.
  23. Get rid of every item in my home that is stained, has holes, chips, rust, or is otherwise disgraceful.
  24. Use the cast iron dutch oven that I got as a gift years ago.
  25. Hang shelves above the computer desk.
  26. Compile a book of my favorite recipes.
  27. Sew new pillows for the couch.
  28. Make and keep the dreaded eye doctor’s appointment.
  29. Finish at least 1 of my knitting projects.
So there it is.  That’s my plan.  They’re small goals, I know, but small is good.  Besides, it’s the little things that count in life.
To paraphrase the wise Dr. King, “It’s not how long you live that’s important, but how well.”

Day 102: L’chaim! Wait…..no…I mean L’ham!

19 Apr

For those of you living in a culturally challenged bubble, tonight is the second night of the Jewish celebration of Pesach or Passover.  Basically, Jews everywhere celebrate a moment in history that happened over 2000 years ago.  In a nutshell, Jews were slaves in Egypt.  Pharoah decided to kill little Jew boys.  One little Jew boy, Moses, escaped death by being dumped in a river by his obviously well-meaning but judgement-challenged family only to be found and raised by Pharoah’s daughter.  Moses grows up, discovers his Jewishness, and leads his people to freedom.  Miracles abounded, and Moses (aka Charlton Heston) even got to part the red sea and drown a bunch of Egyptians.  Woo hoo!  Great holiday!

I don’t mean to be cynical….well, okay…yes I do.  I’m all for celebrating freedom from oppression, but the details of the story just never sat quite right with me.  While I was born and raised Jewish, I never really subscribed to the whole thing.  I’m a firm believer that every person should try to find their own spiritual path, whether it’s the religion they were born into or another they’ve come to love.  Personally, I like my religion cafeteria style.  I pick and choose what I want to believe from the many cultures and religions of the world.  Consider it a safeguard against all that “my G-d’s the only G-d” business.  If I believe in a little of everything, I can’t get stuck on the wrong side of the pearly gates/reincarnation/what have you.  Besides, there are a few common threads that weave through all of the world’s religions.  I consider these commonalities the basic rules to live by, not what a couple of old men decided to write down a couple thousand years ago.

That being said, I do identify myself as being culturally and traditionally Jewish.  I celebrate the important holidays and observe the rites and rituals that suit me.  My family has always gotten together for a traditional Passover sedar (loooooong dinner where we retell the above mentioned story along with singing and lots of drinking) on both the first and second nights of the holiday, but not this year.  This year, we had a sedar of convenience the weekend before Passover actually started, leaving me with nothing to do during the holiday itself.  I decided that, if I couldn’t have a traditional Passover sedar with the family, I would have an anti-traditional sedar at home!  My new holiday: Porkover!

What is Porkover, you ask?  Let me show you!

yum!

This is my Porkover table.  There is no sedar plate symbolizing all the hardships of life in slavery.  Instead, the centerpiece of the table is a gigantic platter overflowing with pork.  Instead of traditional passover foods like gefilte fish and matzo stuffing,tonight’s meal consisted of food as far from kosher as possible.

oink oink

The star of the show was a apricot and mustard glazed ham.  The crust charred a bit in the oven, but it was sooooooo delicious!  Did I mention the ham came free with a $100 purchase at the supermarket?

mmmmmmmmmmmmm

As a side dish, we had baked celery root with bacon, olives, and parmesan.  This was my first time cooking celery root (aka celeriac), and It is definitely my new favorite root vegetable.  Granted, it’s one of the only roots I’ll eat…It tastes almost exactly like artichoke hearts.  You must try it!  I got the recipe here.  It didn’t quite slice the way they said it would, but it was fabulous none the less.

Lastly, what sedar would be complete without wine?  Forget Maneschewitz concord grape!  Tonight’s wine was made by a company called “The Dot”  I’d never tried this label before, but Stew Leonards gave it a nice writeup, so I decided to go for it.  The variety was Austrian Pepper/Gruner Veltliner.  I can’t even tell you just how good this wine was (is…I’m enjoying a glass as I write this).  The wine is crisp, light, and definitely spicy on the finish.  It paired fabulously well with my Porkover meal.

And yes, I put the box of matzo on the table purely for sh%ts and giggles.

L’chaim!

Days 95 and 96: In bloom

13 Apr

This time of the year is my absolute favorite.  Spring is everywhere.  While I’m not a huge fan of rain, April showers bring May flowers, and those flowers are already in bloom.

I’ve always been amused by the meanings people bring to certain flowers.  Red roses stand for love.  Daisies mean innocence.  Orchids are exotic beauty.  Who decides this stuff anyway?  I mean really…I’m a big fan of finding symbolism in everyday life, but a rose is a rose is a rose.  It’s no more lovely than many other flowers.  In fact, it has thorns for crying out loud!  Shouldn’t a rose stand for “look, but don’t touch?”

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I tend not to buy into popular thought on these (and most other) matters.  I have my own symbolism that serves me just fine.  To me, roses stand for conformity and unoriginality (is this even a word???).  People give the gift of roses not because they want to, but because they think they have to.  To me, lilies will always stand for death.  Just the smell of lilies is enough to give me funeral flashbacks.  And sunflowers…..well, they have a rather special meaning for me.

Sunflowers are the botanical version of someone I knew long ago.  He was big and goofy, sunny and happy…I loved him more than I can possibly explain.  For this reason, I regularly place sunflowers on his grave.

This coming July is the 10th anniversary of Steve’s death.  This past decade has been hard on me, but I’m making a go of it.  I’ve tried my best to move on and live as he would have wanted me to.  I married a wonderful man who is sympathetic and understanding.  I would, however, be lying if I said I never thought of the past.  I’ve decided to commemorate this morbid anniversary with a sunflower tattoo.

Now, I’ve been messing around with designs for a few years now, but I’ve never come up with something I liked enough to permanently ink on my body.  Yesterday, I drew a design that I’m really truly loving.

Ta da!

It’s been a real challenge for me to draw something that maintains the big goofiness of the sunflower without being horribly clunky and awkward.  I like the femininity of the swirl and leaves balancing the hugeness of the flower.  It needed some refining though…

Today, I brought this baby into Illustrator and messed around for a while.

all cleaned up

So here it is all clean and crisp.  I got rid of the extra doodads and lines.  I think it’s much better simpler.  Time for color…

There he is all colored and pretty.  Obviously, I would want my tattoo to have some gradation instead of the flat colors… What do you think?  I’d love to see/hear what other people have done in the way of memorial tattoos.  Share in comments!

Day 92: Walt Disney I am not…

9 Apr

What a day it has been!  Scott and I were all over the place today.  We started at a craft fair in the park and ended up randomly walking around Queens.  (I ❤ bubble tea!!!!!)

There was this psychic lady at the craft fair doing palm readings for cheap.  Now, I don’t wholly subscribe to that psychic business, but I do believe it keeping my mind open to all possibilities…so I sat down at her table and had her read my palm.  Boy, was that interesting!  She told me all kinds of things about my past, present, and future that were surprisingly accurate and rather scary.  She knew I was creative and work well with children.  She told me exactly how many times I’ve been in love.  She told me about children and career and a change of address in the near future.  It really was fascinating.  Honestly, I can’t stop thinking about it.

I’ve read palmistry books before and could never figure them out.  There are just so many variables that it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate reading without years and years of intense practice.  I can’t imagine how that lady found all that info in the palm of my hand, and I know enough to take her predictions with a grain of salt.  Still, it was a fun experience!

After what the psychic told me, I decided to be super creative today.  I tried my hand at animation!  I have decided that while the end results are amusing, the process is just so terribly tedious that I can’t enjoy it too much.  I did get a good giggle in watching it though.  Check it out here:

http://www.miniclip.com/sketch-star/en/animation/8084855/tiger-roar

Let me know if any of you make an animation too!

Day 91: A bowl full of sugar makes the day brighter!

8 Apr

It’s been a long time since I went to a ladies night.  I used to go back in the day, but being married and all…I just want a quiet night with the hubby.  Tonight was different.  I got myself all dolled up and met the girls in town for an evening of drinking, talking, and…painting pottery!!!  Yes, I said pottery.  It was ladies night at the local pottery studio.

Let me clear something up.  This isn’t Demi and Patrick in Ghost kinda pottery.  There’s no wet clay involved.  There’s really no mess at all.  Everything is already bisque fired and waiting to be glazed.  Think of it as plastercraft for adults.  After picking out our chosen vase, bowl, what have you, we sat down at a table with our wine and snacks and glazed the pottery.  It was pretty amazing.  It totally brought back my ceramics painting party days…I chose to spiffy up an adorable little sugar bowl with lid in a stained glass style.  I did take pictures, but they’re on my friend’s camera, and I haven’t gotten them yet.  Don’t worry though, I’ll update with before and after shots ASAP.

Have a great one!

UPDATE!

I finally got those pics I took.  Here’s what it looked like before firing.

outside

inside

I got the call today (4/18) that the bowl is ready for pick-up.  I can’t wait to see the finished product!  I’ll post pics when I get it.  🙂