Monday Musings: On inherited talents and hilarious TV.

Good Monday, all.

It’s a new year, and I haven’t gotten any better at this blogging thing. I tell myself it’s because I’m too busy or not disciplined enough. Turns out, it’s my parents’ fault. Procrastination has always been my greatest talent. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

tulips

I hope you all had a happy, restful, joyful, chocolate-ridden Easter. The no-sugar cleanse starts tomorrow, right?  Something about spring — the appearance of budding flowers, bright strawberries and spindly asparagus, and the weather turning (hopefully staying!) warmer — makes me think more about light, healthy eating. Jessica sent me one of her handy meal plans, but I just need to get on the ball. See “procrastination,” above. Continue reading

Monday Musings: On pollen, tragedy and rubbernecking.

(I know it’s not Monday, but let’s just pretend it is.) And I won’t wish you a happy Monday, because it wasn’t.

But, first.

When I lived up north, I forgot about the dust cloud of pollen that envelops our southern cities for a couple of weeks in the spring. I’m lucky that I’m not much affected by it, but I can imagine the agony of those who are during this time. It’s just inescapable.

That fine, yellow powder is a blanket over every outdoor surface. Our cars turn yellow, our wipers work overtime and pollen crust clings to the sides of our windshields. The air hangs heavy with it until a soaking rainstorm comes along to wash it away. Then we’re left with the chalky remnants along street drains and sidewalks.

Even Oliver isn’t immune. During a walk last week, he was just rifling along, nose skimming the grass. Then I looked down and saw this. Pollen nose.

Oliver

As we all are, I’m just stricken by everything that happened in Boston yesterday. But, at the same time, not surprised. Is that just the world we live in now? One in which I’m desensitized to violent news or the prospect of terror events in America? That’s the shocking part. And it scares and saddens me.  Continue reading

Monday Musings: On childhood, book movies and gelato.

Happy Monday to you. I’m back with more random, wacky things on my mind.purple_flowers

Finally (finally!), spring weather seems to be breaking through. This weekend down south was only slightly cool but gloriously clear and sunny, which does loads for my mental and physical health. Don’t mind me while I go roll in the warm grass like Oliver does, reveling in spring. I just wish we didn’t go straight from freezing to sweating this year.

I finished reading Divergent, by Veronica Roth, this weekend. Have you had the pleasure? It’s great. Really creative and suspenseful, and I highly recommend it. It’s of the same genre and post-apocalyptic undertones as the Hunger Games series. And therein, I guess, lies the scary part. These books are for young adults — meaning pre-teens and teenagers, right?. Books about killing and war and sex, even. Hey, when I was 15 I was reading questionable things too. But more like romance smut from the vaults of Danielle Steele and Judith McNaught. Not dark, violent books about evil people who want to take over the world. I’m just sayin’.

Speaking of books, it’s starting to bother me when a popular book that everyone’s read becomes a movie. Think Gone Girl or Fifty Shades of Grey. It seems a waste to recreate a story that everyone already knows. To me, it destroys the magic, replacing all of the imaginative visions I created with Hollywood’s interpretation. And it becomes so much more about who’s going to be cast than about the words or the work. I prefer when an obscure book becomes a movie — think Perks of Being a Wallflower and Silver Linings Playbook. Then I can read the book to fill in details. But I suppose my definitions of “popular” or “obscure” are relative.

Mad Men season 6 premiered last night. I’ll tell you how it’s gone for me by the time you’re reading this. I watched it live, but also recorded on my DVR. I will spend all day today reading through the TV writers’ and fellow viewers’ analyses. Then I will watch the whole thing again tonight or later this week with fresh eyes. Because it’s visual literature, remember? I know, obsessed.

Have you tried Talenti gelato? You can probably find it in your supermarket. All I have to say is this. Salted Caramel gelato with chocolate-caramel truffles mixed in. I have no other words.

Have a good week, all.

Monday Musings: On Springing forward, Nutellagate and Gatsby.

Good Monday to you. Here are some of the random, wacky things on my mind this week:

nutella

Whew. I missed last week’s Monday Musings, something I swore to myself I wouldn’t do. But I was getting our new blog, Culinary Cousins, off the ground. If you haven’t, come visit us over there. I’d love to know what you think.

The time change last weekend wasn’t as painful as others I remember, though I dread any moment that wrests precious sleep from my cold, tired, weary hands. But with added sunlight comes the prospect of warmer weather — it was even in the upper 70s this weekend in North Carolina! Nothing like turning on both your heat and your air conditioning in the same week.

Did you hear about Nutellagate at Columbia University? Those student hoarders are after my own heart. Nutella is just about the best thing ever invented, so I don’t blame them one bit.

When I was in high school, I hated English class. That may be surprising given my love of words and reading. Mostly I hated the way we had to analyze and dissect everything to death. It totally took the fun out of it. One book to fall victim to that was The Great Gatsby. How I hated that book, with a passion. I thought the characters were annoying, and I couldn’t relate at all. Plus, my teacher insisted everything had to mean something — those eyeglasses on the billboard were looking down on everyone, or whatever. Can’t they just be eyeglasses on a billboard? Can’t I just read it to enjoy the story? Sheesh. Well, I read Gatsby again for one of my book clubs in anticipation of the movie’s release in May. This time, I couldn’t put it down and was captivated, especially since I didn’t remember what happened. My, what changes with age and experience.

You know, I often stare at my rasceta. And sometimes I use a zarf. I try to avoid snollygosters whenever possible. I bet you do too

Have a good week, all.

Cooking Spree: Pork and Pineapple Sliders

This week I scored a coup at the grocery store. Spring has definitely sprung, because in addition to the inch-thick layer of pollen on my car, my sniffly nose and the unexpected, stifling heat (in March!), fruits and vegetables are becoming plentiful again!

Here’s another confession: until this week I had never in my life purchased or cut a fresh pineapple. I know, it’s a little shocking. But maybe I was intimidated by that thick, ugly, prickly outer layer, or maybe I just never wanted to bother with all the peeling, chopping and coring. But, oh, it is worth it for a taste of that sweet, juicy, freshly cut fruit.

Pineapples are not usually the cheapest fruit option in the produce section, and that’s probably another reason I’ve resisted buying them. This week, though, they were on sale 2 for 1, which allowed me to practice my pineapple excavation skills and to experiment with how to use up all of that good fruit. One person can eat only so much pineapple, you know.

In the freezer, I already had one of those packaged, marinated pork loins. And I discovered that a slather of ready-made barbecue sauce on soft bread with slices of pork and pineapple creates a few small bites of heaven.

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