Monday, December 31, 2007

H.A.S., #6: Countdown...

Savenor's: Our local fancy market

After prying ourselves out of bed, P and I spent the majority of the morning trying to put together our New Year's Eve menu. We are staying in, but going all out. Here's the menu we are working with now:

  • Golden Oyster Bisque
    (served with Veuve Cliquot)

  • Roast leg of lamb with browned yogurt-mint sauce
    (with a Lengs & Cooter shiraz)

  • Asparagus, either roasted or steamed, drizzled with truffled olive oil, sea salt, & cracked pepper (thanks, H!)

  • Creme brule (I'm cheating here, they are in the freezer), with warm berries and mint
    (Think we will break out the Sauternes for this one...)

After setting the menu, it was off to Savenor's and the Wine & Cheese Cask to get our ingredients. They are both just around the corner, and they had everything we needed. We even got a "free" Savenor's tote bag for our ingredients since we purchased over a certain - undisclosed - amount of money.

Now, the Veuve is chilling, going to get going on the marinating, table-setting, etc. Plenty of time...
PS - At ALV's suggestion, I will try to get some of our recipes linked up to our menu...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

H.A.S., #5: Holiday Redux, Part I

M&D celebrate NoCo Christmas
Merry Christmas, and happy anticipation of New Year's Eve tomorrow! A lot has happened since H.A.S. #4, so it will most likely take me a few posts to catch up. I thought I would start with part I of our grand holiday tour of NY State...

Part I: The NoCo (North Country, for the uninitiated)
Every time I take P to Potsdam, I promise him we will do all these cool NoCo things, like, go to Canada, and to this bar called "The Lounge," or just "Lounge." It's a fantastic place located next to a Chinese take-out place and a retirement settlement, but I'll get to that later. Anyway, I can honestly say that I was successful this time! P had some true NoCo adventures.

The day after arriving in Pdam, we hopped in the car with my parents for an afternoon trip to Ottawa, our closest major city. What fun it was! We had some tasty Vietnamese soups and noodles for lunch, then walked around the Byward Market picking up various cheeses, pastries, and pates along the way. It was damp and chilly, which made each little shop we popped into seem extra cozy. We ended the day at a comfy, warm pub for a pint with my parents. I had a half-pint.

L has a half-pint with the parents

P in a foreign country.
Doesn't he look happy in his natural habitat?

Other adventures included drinks with friends C&A at Maxfield's, stuffing our faces at home with my parents (400 grams of Canadian-imported pate down the hatch), and a particularly fun visit to LOUNGE. Now, Lounge deserves a post of its own, but I include a picture here of native Pdamians and P enjoying Lounge. It is no longer a mythical place for P, but a fantastic reality. We. Love. Lounge.

V, P, L enjoy LOUNGE,
lit by the heavenly glow of Labbatt's Blue...

During our stay with my parents we ate, and ate, and ate. In addition to the aforementioned pate, we had homemade spaghetti and meatballs, pork tenderloin, cornish hens, baked ham, multiple cheeses, cookies, baklava, a Christmas pudding from Harrods that I lugged back from London with me, wine, wine, wine, a delicious dirty martini (or two)... the rest is a blur.

Here we are post-feasting, wearing our Christmas Cracker crowns....

Christmas morning was truly lovely. We had lots of snow out the window, a twinkling tree, faux-log burning in the fireplace, and pretty presents for all. Then, of course, we had breakfast (Pannetone, eggs benedict, coffee...). You would think that we are quite large people, but I think we only gained a few pounds. We eat like champs. Need the food to beat the NoCo winter.

The day after Christmas leads to Part II: Victor, or the great tour of WNY. Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

H.A.S., #4: Let it snow...

Let it snow: Storm #1, University closes! Adult snow day!

The good ol' days in the northeast have returned. Not yet officially winter, and we have already experienced two major(ish) winter storms. For the past several years, global warming has afforded us quite mild Decembers. However, this December refreshes my childhood memories of trudging through snow, having enough snow to tunnel through and build forts in, and snow that stays on the ground for a long time rather than falling and melting within hours. I was beginning to wonder if those memories were just warped by childhood perception and not the way winter really used to be. Guess I remembered correctly.

This past Thursday, we had a city-stopping snowstorm that even closed the University. I got to go home at 2pm! P got stranded and it took him 3 hours by foot/bus to make it home. I was cranky waiting for him because I wanted to be enjoying my extra hours in my cozy home with my husband. Winter is tough, but I have to say, there is something truly wonderful about watching snow swirl outside your window while you are sitting by the glow of your Christmas tree, drinking hot cider or tea.

Snowstorm #2 (or, technically, a Nor'easter) is still blowing as I type. P and I had a lovely Christmas brunch planned with our friends C&M. They got stuck and couldn't come, Boo! However, the upside is that all the hardwork P & I did yesterday to prepare for our foiled brunch resulted in a a very romantic breakfast for the two of us....

Storm #2: Canceled holiday brunch turns to
romantic holiday breakfast...

Do you like my holly berry accents to our table settings? I was so happy to be using our shiny new silverware, pretty plates, new FRENCH linen napkins (Thanks, Uncle Don! You have such good taste.), and best of all -- champagne glasses. If you haven't figured out by now, I am a fiend for champagne, especially when you get to drink it in the morning. Decadent! We had delicious mimosas with my carefully planned menu:

  • Strata with ham, mushroom, and onion
  • Overnight French Toast with brown sugar coating, and topped with pecans and triple sec-spiked whipped topping
  • Canteloupe with mint (forgot to serve it, but it would have been perfect)

Finish with some good Christmas CDs, candles, and mimosas -- fantastic!

Needless to say, minus two people, we have tons of food to hold us through this storm and a major present wrapping marathon today. We have some mindless movies to keep us busy, eggnog, cider, hot chocolate -- we'll be set, if not a few pounds heavier by the end.

Christmas is getting near! I realized yesterday, that as an adult, the day is not so important anymore as the lead-up. Relishing the holiday season as a whole can be wonderful. I am looking forward to going home to my parents at the end of this week. They have instilled in me some wonderful holiday traditions, including special ways to count down throughout Advent. I picked up an Advent candle to share with P when I was at Westminster Abbey.

Counting down... this candle is from Westminster Abbey

Five days until we head home for the holidays! Until then, I leave you with a picture of P and I on a sleigh ride. Everyone should take one at least once.
Sleigh ride... lovely photo courtesy of Daria!
I am going to finish my mimosa now, and start with the wrapping. More to come....

Sunday, December 9, 2007

H.A.S., #3: Full on, holiday... go!

P decorates our exorbitently expensive tree!

Mania! I am in the throws of full on holiday go-mode! Love it. I must admit, there was some anxiety brewing when I took a second to think about my newly complicated gift-buying scheme this year, my 5 (count them -- 5!) work holiday parties (two of them potluck), and massive amounts of driving that will be involved in our major family holiday tour. However, now that I'm in the holiday groove, things are good....

I've just recently returned from merry old England, where they are truly Christmas obsessed, in the very best way. I have to say that no less that 3 fireplaces within 600 sq ft started me off in the holiday way. The first hotel I checked into had a roaring fireplace in the lobby, and also one right behind my chair in the dining room where I ate my $30 cereal each morning. This is truly the land of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. I even smelled them roasting just walking around among the holiday shopping. I swear! Fantastic. It was all very A Christmas Carol except it was like the end when Scrooge becomes happified and is in the spirit of things.

Chestnuts! I swear!

One thing that I have been particularly obsessed with since reading all my British children's Christmas books, imported for me from Canada, is the Christmas hamper. They are decadently displayed in all store windows, and you can even order a thousand pound (as in pounds sterling = $2,000USD!) hamper from Harrods. I enthusiastically rambled on in hamper rapture to my boss day after day in London. On the final day, while wandering the glittering displays in Fortnum & Mason, he finally said to me -- "so, you want a christmas clothes hamper?" I was devastated. This whole time he thought I was on a great quest for a container to hold my dirty clothes.

Yesterday, P & I made a "donation" to the school across the street to purchase our very lovely 6' Christmas tree. Lovely! We decorated while listening to Christmas tunes and drinking eggnog liberally mixed with rum. I passed out promply at 9:30 and was put to bed. Late onset jetlag I think -- I was asleep by 8:30 the night before.

Cheers! Eggnog + rum = happy Christmas to me!

The upside of this is that I awoke at 6:30am this lovely Sunday morning. I watched the sunrise by the light of my Christmas tree, then went to work on a batch of toasted pine nut biscotti. Delicious! I prepped the coffee pot with a mix of freshly ground Sumatra and Bourbon spiked coffee (a cultural gift!), and flicked the switch when I heard P start to stir...

Progress has been made: gifts have been bought, biscotti baked, and decorations decorated. More to come!!!!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Deep thoughts...

I have been tagged by my lovely friend C and charged with telling you: "7 LOVELY random and/or weird things" about myself. I had an interesting time trying to think of things, so here are my deep thoughts.

1. If I could have a dinner party with any people living or dead, my group would include the Dalai Lama, Martha Stewart, Julia Child, Christoper Walken.

2. I like it when people have flowers in their bathroom.

These flowers are in my bathroom...

3. Along with the flowers, I also have a Mississippi snow globe in my shower. It was a cultural gift from P.

A cultural gift from the South...

4. I have a birthmark on my right knee that I think looks like a clown wearing a beret or a maple leaf. Until today, I thought it was on my left knee.

My knee, my right knee...

5. My husband makes me food when I'm too hungry to make food for myself.

Lucky me...

6. I like things with penguins on them.

My socks with penguins skating...

7. One time I took a studio art class in college and we had an assignment to draw our hands. The teacher looked at my drawing and told me that there was something very strange about my drawing and that the hand I drew looked like a monkey hand. He then had me hold up my hand, looked at it awhile, then said: Oh, your hand actually really looks like that.

It...was...a... MONKEY PAW!

Hope this has helped you gain a little insight on my life. Thanks, C...

Friday, November 9, 2007

H.A.S., #2: Oh, Joy!

Sharing the Joy...
Essential for a proper Thanksgiving feast.
Thanksgiving is stressful for many people, and was for me, too, until I decided that I would become a permanent hostess at home and never travel for T Day. Ever. Again. Much better! Granted, I am in a lucky position where P and I can see both of our families around Christmas, so there is less pressure on Thanksgiving.

Being a bit, er, anal, for lack of a better descriptor, my first crack at hosting Thanksgiving involved many revised shopping lists, a spreadsheet, a food-prep and cooking timeline, post-it note tabs to mark important recipes in my FAVORITE cookbook, and a formal menu in a separate Word doc. Keep in mind, this was a totally normal Thanksgiving spread, I just was determined to get it right.

Tabs: proper preparation is important...

I believe P surveyed my pre-cooking organization and dubbed me the "Thanksgiving Nazi," but all turned out well, if I do say so myself. I think this year marks the 3rd or 4th "L&P do Thanksgiving." The only think I can't get quite right is that 4pm dinnertime that people seem to shoot for. I seem to get dinner on the table around 6:30. The first time around this prolonged preparation resulted in me, my two roommates at the time, my two friends, and P consuming 12 bottles of wine between noon and 7pm. Good times. My one roommate actually ended up taking a nap before dinner. Or perhaps it was in the middle of dinner...

Anyway, our digs are considerably more cozy in our new apartment, so we really only have between 2-4 very exclusive spots available for guests. I think we're hosting the same two we had last year: My co-worker/friend M, and our half-Canadian friend, D. Anyone who knows me knows I have a bit of a Canadian fetish, so I especially like hanging out with D. He is amazed with my Canadianness. But! I digress...

I will save my menu selections this year for a future post. As I mentioned in H.A.S., #1, I can go on about this stuff forever...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm Old Fashioned...

Good ol' Old Fashioned...

I was preparing to post Holiday Anticipation Series, #2, but got caught up in a rant to my poor parents about how my totally great, really challenging, and all around cool job is making me unhappy. Well! We know what that calls for -- a lovely thought. Or, a good stiff drink.

I love a classic cocktail, and have recently been shaking/stirring and calibrating some durn good manhattans, martinis, dark'n'stormys (not all at once) in my home kitchen laboratory. Tonight called for an Old Fashioned. An old fashioned is just beautiful in its simple alchemy. Sugar, two dashes of bitters, bourbon, orange peel, and a cherry if you're feeling crazy. So few ingredients, but an amazing and delicious result. I like to use raw sugar in drinks because I think it adds a little complexity.
Mmmmm.... better already.

Coming home

Exhibit A

What a crazy fall this has been. Between me and P, I think we have had somewhere around 11 trips between us. I think this is part of the reason I'm looking forward to the holidays -- time off!

P has a tradition of procuring "Cultural Gifts" for me when he travels. Some of these have included: a pickle in a can from Germany, a Mississippi snow globe, and a Chipper Jones bobblehead from Atlanta. Perhaps more enjoyable have been Swiss and German chocolates, hot sauce, and interesting post cards. Now, he has taken travel rituals to a new level. Exibit A, above, is a "Welcome Home" shrine he created for me to arrive to after a trip. Here is a close up of the note he included:

Exhibit B

Flowers to make me smile, bourbon to take the edge off, and Pirate's Booty to make sure I am not cranky. What a guy. I'm off to NYC tomorrow, the same day he returns from his great adventures in "The South." I'll have to think of something to leave him to welcome him home in my absence. Ideas?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Holiday Anticipation Series, #1

Anticipating Christmas back in 2006...

Many people complain that as soon as Halloween candy goes on sale November 1st, that everything Christmas hits the stores, too. I, however, am not of this mindset. I love the anticipation and celebration of this season, and it helps me get through those first few months where it really starts to get horrifically cold. Instead of thinking: oh god, it's cold, my nose is gonna freaking fall off; you instead think of: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and jack frost that is only nipping at your nose, not freezing the blood in your capillaries. See? This season puts together in our minds warm interiors, and outside winter wonderlands, sparkly things, food, friends, family, and, oh yeah, baby Jesus -- what more could you ask for?

So, anyway, I especially enjoyed my first post-Halloween trip to Target yesterday because the store is filled with Christmas dish towels, Christmas trees, things that smell nice and Christmasy. Predictably, I bought 4 seasonal smelling candles [P: How many candles to you have in the line up (before you buy 50 more - I could hear it in his head)? L: Look, I am not addicted to heroin, I don't smoke, so there are a lot worse things I could be buying.]

I realize I'm completely passing over Thanksgiving here, so promise to force myself to cover that territory in #2 post of this series. I've just ordered myself (and for P, too) a real, honest-to-goodness roasting pan (with rack!) so that this will be the first year that we will not have to use one of those disposable aluminum pans. Last year we poked a hole in the bottom of the pan accidentally -- not good for keeping the smoking oven factor down.

On this note, welcome to my "Holiday Anticipation Series" of posts. I can/will go on and on about this stuff. I wonder what I'll write about in March...

[Note: While I am all about the sensitivity of "happy holidays," I hate that it's become unnatural feeling to say "Merry Christmas," even to someone else who you know celebrates Christmas. When I say "holidays" in this series of posts, I mean CHRISTMAS, DAMMIT! Of course, I hope everyone enjoys their respective holidays.]

Beautiful breakfast

Berries, brown sugar, and walnuts...

This is a photo of my breakfast this morning. I'm not sure it looks as good here as it did sitting on my counter with morning sunlight streaming in on it. I love steel cut oats. They have the coolest texture and kind of "pop" in your mouth. P's mom introduced me to the berries and walnuts on top. Very delicious, but I have a horrid sweet tooth and still need to spoon some dark brown sugar over it all. Well, actually, first the oatmeal goes in the bowl, then the brown sugar, then berries, walnuts, then milk. Organic milk. I am freaked out by hormones in meat and dairy lately, so only drink very expensive hormone free milk. It comes in a pretty blue carton, so that coupled with no hormones is worth the extra moolah.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gamine, Beguine, Tagine!

I like to take photos of my meals with my cell phone...

It's been awhile, and what do you know -- without my regular blogging of happy thoughts, my angst has definitely increased. Correlation? Yes. Now to prove cause and effect by finally writing another entry. We'll see if things start looking up!

I like to take picture with my cell phone of the meals P and I prepare. I have several tiny square-photo masterpieces of all sorts of tasty dishes. In this post, I will use some SAT words, share a favorite recipe, and, most importantly, reflect on a tiny lovely part of my life -- food.

The words I've chosen to title this post, make me happy, rhyme, and could potentially describe a day cooking in my kitchen. Let's start backward from "Tagine."

I love my tagine. It is a beautiful blue, my mom gave it to me as a pre-wedding present, and it inspires me to cook Moroccan food while listening to "Rock the Casbah." By the way, a "kasbah is like a walled city-type place. Or a big fort-ish area.When "Rock the Kasbah" ends, I try to find some other North African or French music to inspire.

Beguine: a vigorous popular dance of the islands of Saint Lucia and Martinique that somewhat resembles the rumba. American French béguine, from French béguin flirtation. Got that? The kitchen music can sometimes inspire dancing on my part.

As for Gamine, I'm going with Miriam Webster's second definition: a small playfully mischievous girl; rather than the first of : a girl who hangs around on the streets. Although I have been seen out and about Haggerty Road in my day. In any case I'm a gamine in the kitchen. That's a noun, right?

Finally, in my tagine pictured above is a delicious lamb stew-type dish (ok, it's also called a "tagine"). It has honey, prunes, saffron, all sorts of good stuff. It is also, and perhaps most importantly, very easy to make. Check it out here. I actually also have Cooking at the Kasbah -- it has beautiful photos, and contains recipes I can actually make, which is good for building confidence in the kitchen...

Ok, off to think happy thoughts for the rest of the day.
PS - pictured with my tagine is a very tasty cucumber lemonade gin martini. Delish! Seriously, the cucumber lemonade mix is worth $4.50 and there are lots of other tasty flavors, too!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lovely shower, lazy day...

Tiny Ladies... you can hardly see us!
At the Roycroft Inn

This past weekend P & I drove out to western NY so I could attend a baby shower for my oldest friend. I have know A since she was born (I only beat her t0 the world by 6mos, so that's saying a lot), and now she's about to have a new family member. Don't know if it will be a little guy or little gal... [By the way, I love the word "gal," I've been using it a lot lately. I think Esther is influencing me.] The shower was really lovely. Just a pleasant afternoon sipping mimosas, eating chocolate cake with blue icing. La- la la- la la dee-da.

We then returned to A's supercute house, which was filled with one of my favorite things (about which I have posted at length)- nice smelling candles. I want to be A like I want Martha to be friends with me. Husband T kept the wine flowing and fed us cheese. It was so wonderful to just cuddle up on the couch to spend time with good friends.

We then ate real Buffalo wings and pizza. Ugh. I hate myself. Well, no, I don't, it was good, but I can't eat like I did in college, that is for sure.

Ladylike post-Buffalo Wings...

The only thing missing was M down in FL! We missed you, lady. P always tells me how much happier I seem after spending time with these girls. I think we need to move closer together.

Until our next meeting!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Winning is Fun

I like to win, although I won't admit is when we're about to sit down to a board game. Oftentimes, I don't play games at parties because I hate losing, and don't really enjoy just playing for the heck of it. This is in conflict with my self-image as a non-competitive person.

However, one thing that allows me to play without losing even if I don't win, is the business card drawing that you find all over the place: at restaurants, stores, spas, etc. I drop my card with abandon. First because I love, love business cards, and secondly because you can't beat playing and not losing even if you don't win. ESPECIALLY when you do actually win.

This has happened to me on two occasions so far:

1. I won 2 free burritos (I graciously gave one to my co-worker).

2. I just recently found out that I have won a private wine tasting for 10 of my friends at my favorite wine store in town, Best Cellars. 3 Reds, 3 Whites, fun times.

So, Cheers to me. I win without being competitive and get to make others happy as well. 9 friends, to be exact.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A very fall weekend...

Let's go for a hayride! A wonderful hayride...

This past weekend was the first weekend that really seemed like "fall" to me. It was so hot on Friday, then Saturday was cool and cloudy - I wore a green sweater with a hood and jeans; fall clothing makes me happy.

P and I also went on a fall family outing, complete with hayrides, pumpkins, apples, cider doughnuts (a new, and EVIL delicacy for me - note: they are "fried in grease."), geese, frogs, mud, little kids, and runny noses.

I've been pretty focused on doing some apple picking this fall and so far my plans have been foiled. I was set to pick this weekend, until I showed up at Smolak Farm, and saw some lovely bags of pre-picked apples already waiting for me. Suddenly, it seemed much more convenient to purchase my expensive apples sans manual labor, but thought, no, I must Pick Ur Own Apples.

However, much to my chagrin/delight, the trees had been picked clean already! I was free to buy apples for $7.95 and not feel bad for not picking them myself.

P & I spent all of our money here.

This purchase was followed-up by a hayride through the pumpkin patch with my new sister-in-law, husband, and 2 new nephews. We thought it would make a stop in the pumpkin patch, but it went right through, dropping us off at the bottom of a hill and leaving us to walk back to the patch. A thinks the patch was pre-seeded with pumkins from other places. Ha. She was worried S & D would want enormous pumpkins, but luckily, they only wanted ones they could carry themselves. I just saw here that they had pumpkin ice cream for sale. Probably better I missed that.

Yesterday, I put my fall fantasy of baking my (pre)picked apples into full effect. I made a huge pot of spaghetti and meatballs and sausage (mom's recipe + dad's amount of wine added) while P and our friend M were on a man date at the movies. When they returned to the apartment, I was peeling and chopping apples -- I looked very Martha, I'm sure.

Love you, Martha...

I've been obsessed with the idea of eating apple crisp with tawny port, thanks to Karen McNeil and my Wine-a-Day Calendar; I got my wish. And, I have leftovers so I can re-enact for the rest of the week.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Happy Birthday, Lovely Lady

This is my Aunt Mar, and it's her birthday! Happy Birthday to you.... I've been so lucky to have Aunt Mar in my life -- as is everyone who knows her. To make this photo happier, what could be better than an armful of (well-behaved) babies. Baby Brady, and another random baby that I don't know.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lovely Granny

This is my lovely Granny, Elizabeth. In this picture we are at my rehearsal dinner, which was a bbq picnic in a park. There was a very nice pavillion overlooking the lake, a beautiful sunset, and many great friends and family members.

Granny hasn't been feeling so great lately, so I've been thinking of her a lot, sending lots of love. If you leave her a good wish in the comments, I'll let her know... Feel better!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Corner of Happy

This is my wedding bouquet! I display it in a lovely blue vase that was a wedding gift from my good friends, Dave and Julia. The vase was made in VT where we got married, so that makes it even more special. It is sitting on an embroidered piece that my Aunt Mar got for me from the German Market in Chicago. It was around Christmastime, I think.

To add to the happiness, all of this is perched on our wine cabinet, also a wedding gift, which is full of wine that we received as gifts from several different people. It makes me happy to look at this little corner and see so many tiny bits of love all together.

Found it...

To prove that I am not as shallow as the first few list items I have mentioned might imply, I am including here my actual answers to the questions I was asked.

1. What is important to me?

Close friends
Making people happy, comfortable
Helping people
Cheese, wine
Nice beds
Nice hotels
Security – financial, job, personal
My dog
My job
Treating myself every now and then: massage, etc
Entertaining friends
Trying to be a good world citizen, being as sensitive as possible to issues/people
Small things for the environment

2. What do I hope for, dream of, or wish to accomplish in my lifetime?
To be fluent in French
To live abroad
To have a family and a job and not have to compromise
If I have kids, make sure they spend some time living abroad
Travel to many countries
Have a house with a yard
Live in VT
To be independently wealthy
To have own practice or flexibility in job
Help Pete write his screen play
Write something of substance that is actually good
My sister to be normal and to have a good relationship with her
My brother to be happy
To take care of my parents if they need it
To have a comfortable retirement
Have a regular dance partner, perhaps compete

3. Are you living your life accordingly?
So, this is the "shocker" question that is supposed to make you reevaluate your life. It wasn't enough to make me move to Italy for 2 years as it did for my officemate, but I have taken some small steps to make sure I elevate the importance of these things in my daily life, and make sure they don't fall to the wayside when I'm "too busy." All in all, this was a really useful tool, I think.

So far, I've taken a French Class, kept reading books in French, have actively read about wine, and attended tastings, and will soon go to a private tasting and hope to take some classes. We'll see how I do on the other items. Many of them are just matters of educating myself more, so totally doable! I like lists, so I'm going to start checking things off...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Easy to Love

Ah, Esther. For me, watching Esther Williams movies is akin to two glasses of wine drunk very quicky, or perhaps 1/2 valium. These movies will seriously smooth out your brain waves; total escapism to another time. You have to love movies that are described using adjectives like "swell" and "wacky."

My new husband was so wonderful as to gift me with a set of Esther's first four movies from 1944 including: Bathing Beauty, Easy to Wed, On an Island with You, Neptune's Daughter, & Dangerous When Wet. The best thing about these movies is you don't even really have to watch them to get the full effect. They can kind of be on in the background and you can wander in and out of the room and get a little dose whenever you like.

The other day, my boss mentioned to me that he had taken his two young daughters to the community pool, and was trying to explain through demonstration who Esther Williams is. I excitedly told him about my gift, and then paused for a second to think whether or not it is wise to reveal to your boss that you have an EW addiction. I quickly decided it was fine, since he had first told me he was pretending to be her. I offered to lend him my movies, er, for his daughters, and brought them in the next day.

They LOVED the movies. Not just the girls, but my boss and his wife, too. In fact, he told me that they watched two of the movies back to back in bed one morning. He then asked if they could keep the set for another weekend...

I'm starting to go into withdrawl, so hopefully I'll get them back soon.

The List

So, I have a terrible tendency to worry and stress, and generally work myself up over small things. I'm not sure this is apparent to people I don't know, but the internal result is not so nice. Since I've been way too lazy to go to the gym of late, I've decided to find another way to perk myself up. After all, there are lots of things I like and that make me quite happy.

A few (or maybe several) months ago, my officemate at the time gave me a little test. She told me to take 2 minutes to make a list of all the things in life that are important to me. [Me, writing the list.] Then, she asked me to look at that list and ask myself if I am living my life according to that list of things I deemed important.

Of course, I'm not quite sure where the list has gone to. More and more frequently, I find that I am inclined to organize first and think later, as my husband can attest to ("Where did my coffee mug go? I set it here on the counter just a minute ago." - I'm sure I put it in the dishwasher 30 seconds earlier). This leads me to believe that this very important list is on a flash drive in my apartment (or in my black work bag, not sure which).

I do recall several items on that list: family, French, cheese, travel, nice hotels, cashmere. I'm sure there were more meaningful things on the list like job security yadda yadda, the list brought to light the fact that I just really LIKE a lot of stuff, and wouldn't it be nice to make sure I appreciate those things and make sure I incorporate them into my everyday and share them with those I love. Whether they care or not.

This brings me to this first blog post. We'll see how it goes. I will either get terribly addicted to this blogging biz (although at this moment I write, I'm the only one authorized to read it), or I will give it up in a few weeks. I have tried keeping journals before and they usually lasted an entry or two, then I would realize I wasn't being honest about my feelings in my OWN journal, so, in effect, was lying to myself, which was pointless.

This is an attempt at a different approach though. It will be an experiment to see if blogging is something else I can add to the happy/important list (champagne was also on there, or it should be). Instead of starting a journal to pour out the stress of the day, I will try to come here to think lovely thoughts and reflect on happiness.