Wednesday, February 25, 2009


This year I worked on my Birthday. That was the "Day From Hell" that I wrote about in a previous blog, the day I remarked that there are "days better spent under the covers"..THAT DAY..

I worked, because I need to work any time I am called, which is "SO NOT HAPPENING" this last MONTH...Now Ladies and Gentlemen, for my next trick, I shall fall apart, right in front of your eyes!

Honestly guys, I won't go on and on about this for too much longer, but I really don't know how other people cope in this situation...One would think..."Oh well, this would give me so much time to do the things that I normally don't have time to do, like clean out the closet, or catch a movie that I've wanted to see"..etc..etc...

Why isn't that working for me? I am like a LIVING ZOMBIE...

A ZOMBIE that stays up until 3 in the morning and gets up at 1100..

A ZOMBIE that "sighs" a lot, and literally has no interest in cooking dinner.(If I have not mentioned it previously, I have an almost 18 year old son. He has a MORE than passing interest in dinner!)

YEP..just your average, ordinary know the type..

Maybe your last "blind date" comes to mind, or perhaps your High School Librarian..Maybe even that odd looking neighbor down the street...
Forgive me in advance, if you are an attractive High School Librarian.
Sorry, but if you had seen my school's Librarian...
We really weren't sure that she wasn't already buried somewhere, and only came out during the day so that she could frighten us with the DEWEY DECIMIL SYSTEM!

Speaking of ZOMBIES, I DO have a TRUE and RECENT story, that I simply MUST share with you..

When I was visiting Boston a few months ago, before I became the tragic ZOMBIE that I am today, I was having literally, THE TIME OF MY LIFE!!!! I was by myself on vacation for the first time in my life, (this was a planned trip, to prove to myself that I am a "big girl", and can go somewhere I have never been before, by myself, and have a blast), which I did...Of course I did it in TOTAL LUXURY, but the point is that I did it!
I had many things planned, but one thing I really wanted to do, was to visit SALEM for the day....It was in October, right around Halloween, and the absolute BEST time to visit...

One thing that must be understood about Salem, is that even though some of their attractions are a bit "Disneyesque", it actually is a place where people live and carry out their lives. Not so very surprisingly, an impressive number of people/families who reside there, are "WICKENS"...

I first came in contact with a "Wicken" and her "Wicken" family, when I took care of a memorable patient a few years ago...She was in the hospital where I worked, for about 3 or 4 weeks, and I was one of her Clinical Therapist on the days that I was scheduled...

She shared with me the Wicken history, belief system, and so on...I found it to be fascinating.....It was a definite "Lifestyle", and all of her daughters followed it as well....(Did I make sure that I had all my hair when I left the room? But of course!)

Having had that experience, I was somewhat "Wicken Hip" when I arrived in Salem. Our bus driver, who lived in Salem, said that there was a very large percentage of those living in Salem that were Wickens, and added that there were some that were a little "out there", and believed that they were the kind of Witch that could cast spells...etc.

I loved my time in Salem, as it is such a quaint and interesting little town. I went from various candle shops to book shops, and visited a lot of "specialty" shops, where they would read the Tarots cards for you or even "cast a spell" for you...

T'was a bit like being at a Baskin Robbins store...You should have seen the list of spells available...So many spells, so little time...Reminiscent of all the many flavors of ice cream..How I didn't partake truly amazes me to this day...(Honestly, it was just a little MORE than tempting.)
I mean REALLY!...All those Delicious Spells to pick from....ANY girl would have found it hard to walk away empty..My head was spinning. The possibilites were endless.

I fantasized about ordering the "Special Of The Day". Wonder what that would have been?
In my mind, I'd hoped it would be something like the "Make George Clooney Love Me More Than He Loves Himself" Spell (1/2 price first Wednesdays/month until close)

Yeah..we'd just see if these "witches" really knew their stuff...
If they could have conjured up that one, they'd have been lookin' at a HUGE TIP...
That's Right...I'm talking at least 40 percent...(plus I might of converted, who knows?)

Well I did not end up partaking in the "Black Magic," because I've never been really positive that it's not real, and I'm really a chicken ----
Not that I'm opposed to a quick fling with George, real or not real...

I mean it's GREAT to fantasize about George Clooney, but how long could you really expect to satisfy one of those Hollywood Hounds,(and a confirmed Bachelor at that?)
Besides, I know myself, and BOREDOM would set in quickly, especially if I had a Man that checks himself in the mirror at least twice as much as I do.

I once swore that I'd never visit a Divorce Lawyer again..naw..too risky. I abstained.

About an hour before it was time for me to head towards the boat that would take me back to Boston, there was a rather startling overhead announcement in Salem Square where I was walking about...


It didn't take another announcement for me to quickly hop off the street and find a park bench right up front...
As always, I wanted to be able to see everything as close as possible..
I noticed that no one else came to sit up front..They hung back behind me, even the teenage boys...
Nobody wanted a front seat, how odd...
This is GREAT, I remember thinking...I have this ALL TO MYSELF!
It occured to me that they were all a bunch of "chickens"..
Like the kind that pass out in a haunted house...
like the kind that think that the Boogie Man exists...

As I write this, I am not sure that I can really convey what happened there. I highly suspect that it is something that most will laugh off, and believe me that's what I tried to do, what we ALL tried to do in the beginning anyway.

Soon, in the distance, heard but not seen yet, were the sounds of shuffling feet, as they dragged on the cobble stoned street...
Suddenly around the corner they turned onto the least 500 "Zombies" that walked...together..
They were so close to me that I could have touched them...
I hoped that they would not notice me...
I wanted to move but I was frozen...

At first I thought...Wow...these guys must have hired a makeup artist and clothes designer from Hollywood! This looks better than Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Video!

Actually the entire parade made "Dawn of the Dead" look like a Sesame Street presentation.

I remember trying to smile and make myself laugh...trying to make light of it...have some fun....Remember to breathe...You're the one that just HAD to sit up front...Grow up...You're so silly...Isn't this fun, why it's not everyday....

Along with the "Recognizable Zombies", was a curious group of young girls that walked amongst them...I felt myself shiver..
Impossible not to notice them, with their white plastered faces and red stained eyes...Looking as though sleep was something in their past, and living was as well..

Holding each other's hands, they walked together, like those who have always known one another..Wearing similar dresses that appeared to have seen the Turn of the Century, they carried their tattered, pale parasols...

Little girls that were more like "dead dolls," with their darkened lips and heavily "rouged" white powdered faces...
They lowered their heads and looked only at each other with barely detectable smiles.

The film, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" instantly came to mind..(If you have seen it, I speak of the scene where Bette Davis, as the child sings "I've written a letter to Daddy"...)
If you don't know that, then remember the two little girls that stood in the Hotel hallway that were already dead in "The Shining"...
The ones that scared "Danny", the boy who just kept say REDRUM...

One could faintly hear what sounded like echoes of a kind of eerie giggling that can only come from a group of little girls..

little girls that delight in the sounds that will haunt you...

little girls that now have nothing more to do...

Like the doll that you sat in your rocking chair, that day after day was content just to stare at you in silence...
With eyes that seemed to follow you about the room...
The one that sometimes scared you in the dark
The doll you hid under the clothes in your closet..
Hoping she would stay there....

I was so close to them and yet I couldn't detect the location of where this unsettling sound was coming from.
NOT their faces, or their tight and rigid throats..
Wearing lifeless expressions and staring only at each other or straight ahead.
Their faces revealing distant lives that had moved on, yet they still moved quietly amongst the living..

Distant.. Dead.. Disturbing..That's what I remember...That's what I can't forget..

As always, I digress...(and this time in a BIG WAY...sorry, think I needed to get that story off my chest, as they say...)

I believe I started out by mentioning Birthdays didn't I?
How in the world does one get so completely off track?...Oh yeah, that's it...I feel, act, and look like a Zombie, and that led me to my experience in Salem, with the real, um, "dressed up" Zombies..

Ahh..(the Zombie exclaimed with a sigh...) SO MANY stories to tell...AND SO MUCH TIME IN WHICH TO TELL THEM...

Birthdays...I was one of the lucky ones...My parents made sure that our Birthdays were special...Cakes were a big deal...

I remember a "Cinderella" cake" on my 8th Birthday...I still have the "carriage" off of the top of the cake.(YES, I still have it!)
Not sure what happened to the Fairy Godmother.
She never showed up..
Maybe I keep the carriage in hopes that she still does someday..

Our birthdays are still made special today...The whole family used to go out to a very nice dinner, followed by cake and presents at my Parent's home.

These days, taking EVERYONE out for a nice dinner has become astronomically expensive. Only the Birthday person and their immediate family are taken out, followed by a loving card that contains the Birthday Check. (This is one of my favorite "family traditions", as it SO SOFTENS the blow of aging yet ANOTHER year...Yep, I'm all for it!)

One thing that I will always remember, is that not so long ago, when my sweet Mother was still cooking, she always made sure to make people their favorite cake, or at least she always did with me.. ( I am the baby, and ALWAYS will be...I INSIST!)...I ALWAYS wanted something the rest of the family could have cared less about...I ALWAYS wanted Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Icing...( don't ya just love to say "Icing" instead of "Frosting", it's always sounds so much yummier to me...)

My Mother had a "secret" to her moist and delectable cakes...Not everyone HAS this secret, and Ya know what? I like you guys so much, I'm going to share the recipe with all of you! Yeah, that's right...I may be a ZOMBIE these days, but I'm a generous one, By God!

This recipe can be done for either a yellow cake or a chocolate cake...Actually, as I peruse the recipe, it could probably even be done with different cake flavors, as long as you somewhat matched the pudding....I'm just not sure that the "Cook n Serve" type pudding mix comes in that many flavors....Well, here's the recipe


1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake mix

1 envelope Dream Whip (find this in the baking aisle)

1 SMALL box of "COOK N SERVE" vanilla pudding mix (NOT INSTANT)

4 large eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

(For chocolate dream cake, use a chocolate cake mix and a chocolate pudding mix)

Beat all ingredients in a large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just to moisten, scraping sides of bowl often.

Beat on medium speed 4 minutes.

Pour into 2 well-greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans (at least 1 1/2 inches deep>)

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers come out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pan on racks, then remove from pans.

Cool completely on wire racks.

Frost as desired...

Notes (inevitable from me, right?) Okay...Big things...If you are like me and have the dark, treated "non stick" pans, you still grease and flour them, and always cook 25 degrees lower than a recipe says...For this recipe, it would be 325 degrees...If you have aluminum pans, cook at the temperature the recipe posts...Also, check around 35 minutes...You don't want a cake to overcook...Last but not least...Resist the temptation to do "Jumping Jacks" in the kitchen while baking....Cakes don't appreciate that...)

Frosting is up to you...My Mother always used a chocolate butter cream frosting, but a chocolate fudge one, a 7 minute one, a chocolate cream cheese ( that sounds good, doesn't it? )...Let your imagination be your guide...


SECOND NOTE: Lately when I bake a cake, I play with my "decorator set" and it is totally fun...Sometimes it comes out looking like something a 6 year old would do, but hey...that's why you only share it with the family, who tend to forgive you for the appearance and just enjoy the cake!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Newly discovered film, dreams of glamour, and a cocktail recipe to go with it all...

I am, have been , and always will be, a huge film fan..Fan of current and old films (love the old ones), and it is always surprising for me to discover a film that I have not seen or heard of before...

This would be the case of "The Pumpkin Eater". This classic English film starring Anne Bancroft, Peter Finch, and James Mason, was made in the early 60's. A serious black and white film, depicting a couple trying to survive an unsatisfactory marriage, it is certainly one of the best of that genre. What a delightful surprise to come upon it! Come to find out, it won the Cannes Film Festival for that year...If you love Anne Bancroft, which I always have, you simply must try to get a hold of this film. In MANY ways, it reminds me of my favorite writer/director Ingmar Bergman, except it's in English! Oh how I love discovering a new film that completely absorbs me from beginning to end...Such a pleasure!

Speaking of pleasure, and adding a bit of fantasy to it, have you ever wanted to live in another time just because of the times themselves, or the fashions, or just because of the overall ambiance? I ALWAYS have...I have been in love with the most glamorous times in our country, since I was a little girl...For me, of course, it's always about the "look" and the "mood"...Mostly what I have picked up in old movies, where everybody has money, and everyone looks fabulous...By the time I was 10 years old, I fantasized about looking like Joan Crawford (in her youth!), or Rita Hayworth...I wanted the pouting huge red lips, the slim suit with the padded shoulders, the nylons with the black line up the back (that probably had to be constantly straightened...shh...I'm fantasizing!), the long dark red nails, the fox trim, and the cigarette smoke exhaled from my mouth, nose, and seemingly everywhere (I did not say that any of this was politically or in any way CORRECT...they just didn't have to care about that back then...It's probably why their skin was so very silken...they just didn't worry so much about EVERYTHING!)...
Anyway, there I am with my "coiffed" hair, (did you see Kate Winslet's hair at the Oscars? Not a hair out of place...that's "coiffed")...I digress...So there I am sitting at a fabulous Art Deco kind of bar, in one of those big round velvet booths, waiting for my date (that has an uncanny resemblance to Clark Gable...well, maybe it IS Clark Gable..) my smart velvet suit with the large gold buttons and enough shoulder padding to make me a threat to anyone standing next to me on the subway, a cute little velvet hat to match, big gold button earrings (not pierced of course..heavens NO!), white gloves (take them off in the bar? Absolutely not..they go with "the look"), and of course my long red nails, silken skin, and big pouting red lips, where the long swirling design of smoke exits from...My date is late, and the waiter asks me if I want a "Cocktail" (no, not a "DRINK"...ladies like this were ALWAYS offered "Cocktails")...I, of course, reply yes, and he asks me what I want...I answer, " Oh, I don't know..One tires of Martinis..Oh, just bring me something that you think would be best..." "Yes Madam, I know just the thing.."
He returns with a wonderful Cocktail, that he calls a "Fog Cutter"...It is delicious..
Well, maybe I cannot recreate this fantasy, but I CAN make a "Fog Cutter" Cocktail, and so can YOU!

1 1/2 ounces light Rum
1/2 ounce Brandy
1/2 ounce Gin
1 ounce Orange Juice
3 TBLSP Lemon Juice
1 1/2 Teasp. Orgeat Syrup
1 Teasp. Sweet Sherry

Shake all ingredients except Sherry and strain over ice into Collins glass.
Top with Sherry...don't stir
Makes one Cocktail
Enjoy (even if you ARE in a jeans and tshirt!)

Monday, February 23, 2009


How about, more than likely, NEVER...(don't think I want to anyway...) I don't like being told what I cannot do. I don't like things to control me...(sounds like a typical child, don't you think?)
So, case in point...I am ALLERGIC to cats...I have always known this. Problem is, that I adore all animals, and Do Not Like, nor will I ACCEPT the fact that I am allergic to cats.
A friend of mine, has both a dog and cat. Yesterday, my precious friend took me to Brunch, and we spent a little time at his place. I always "make" over the dog, and sometimes over the gorgeous cat that sits on the couch and "glares" at me, because he wants me to "make" over him...Many times I have picked him up. I love this beautiful black cat, and have bought him a "cat toy", and have gotten on the floor to play with him..I remember that my friend laughed and laughed, saying that the site of me on the floor playing with the cat was hilarious...Of course, I KNOW that this is always a mistake, allergy-wise, but it always seems worth it at the time.
Yesterday, before we went to brunch, I looked at him, and he glared back with a "hurt" look, but I did not touch him. After brunch I lost my will, and picked him up numerous times, and he was so happy to be loved, that I probably even "nuzzled" my face on his a bit...Why must I continue to practice foolish behavior..( it certainly feels "beyond my control" at times)
Needless to say, I was gone for about 2 minutes, when my bottom lip started swelling (attractive, eh? Hey, by the time it was all through, I could have given Anjolie Jolie a run for her money in the lip department!)
I woke up this morning with a sore throat, woke up all night with sinuses draining...BLECH!
Ya just gotta wonder about yourself sometimes....(not for too long though..)
IN THE END....I DON'T CARE....I STILL LOVE "KITAY"(Pronounced "KI-TAY") that's not his real name, but I have always called him that in a certain "voice", and he comes right to me, waiting to be picked up, nuzzled, and adored...
Speaking of Brunch, we had the most sumptuous one at a place I have not been for years, though still small, intimate, and interesting (great menu and "people watching extraordinaire"), and overall just a quality dining experience. Brunch menus can get a little boring, with the same things on every menu in town, but Parigi's has some very tasty items that I have not seen elsewhere...Sure they have Eggs Saudou, which is what my friend had, but there was not only Hollendaise, but also a wine sauce on it...Very delish...I had a lobster "knuckle sandwich"...(gotta love the name)..."Hey what'd ja have to eat today?" "Hey wiseguy...ask me again, and I'll give ya a knuckle sandwich!"...(I'm sure that I must have gotten that from an old James Cagney tough guy film from the 40's....Used to love those...still do!)...Yep, you just can't beat Sweet Lobster Meat, some type of delicious white cheese, tomatoes, and a sauce, all grilled up on some fresh baked bread with a side of avocado and tomato salad....Bloody Mary's? But of course, and we agreed with our server, who claimed them to be "The Best in Town"...I don't know about you, but the quality of the Bloody Mary, speaks volumes to me about brunch...Feel the same way about Tex-Mex food and the quality of the Margarita..Wish I could overlook sub par cocktails, or anything for that matter, but it'll NEVER HAPPEN....Reminds me of what I have said, a million times, and in a million places...People who settle for less happily, and subscribe to "denial" as a way of life, are a lot happier than I could ever hope to be...If you expect near perfection, you dearly pay for it...Just the way it is...and the way I am, as well.....