What More Can I Say?

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Try as I will to make myself believe that Valentine’s Day is a Big Deal, I cannot do it.  I understand that it’s a holiday and that it’s based on love & friendship.  Love is good.  Friendship?  I’m all for it.  

And  I get that many people think that it’s the most romantic time of the year.  I’m happy for them.  Enjoy.  

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But to me it’s just another day in the middle of February– and a good excuse to buy a pretty bouquet of red/pink/purple flowers.  And maybe eat some expensive chocolates.  Nice things to do, but not all that compelling.  

I don’t have any specific reasons why I feel indifferent to Valentine’s Day, but I do.  So instead of pretending otherwise, I’ll just end this Valentine’s Day post with the wisdom of Eeyore.  I think that he sums up my thoughts beautifully.   

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“We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”

~ Eeyore 

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Speaking Of Archetypes

“If you can’t say something good about someone, come sit next to me.”

~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth

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‘Tis the season of… meeting and socializing with lots of different, unique people.

So we’re sitting at home discussing where we’ve been and Zen-Den, who is not at all fluent in archetypes because he did not major in English in college, asks me:  What’s up with X?

I explain to him that she considers herself to be a Possibilitarian.  That it’s an archetype.

And he counters with: that’s the most ridiculous term I’ve ever heard– you mean, someone who doesn’t actually do anything, just talks about what is possible?

I tell him that’s the gist of it–  someone who focuses on aspirations.  Who thinks and talks about what might be.

A dreamer with a fancy vocabulary.

He nods in amazement.

Then Z-D, who doesn’t usually drink very much, asks me:  Do you suppose if I drank more alcoholic beverages more often I could call myself a Chillaxatarian?

I tell him that I’d refer to him as such.  And that he could definitely get X to refer to him as such.  And that by doing this he’d have his own, very special, archetype.

A goofball with a bottle of beer.

He nods his approval and then wanders off to the frig to get something more to drink.

And so, with that, a new archetype was born.  One that encompasses all that is relaxed and beer related.  One that you know is bound to be popular.

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Hallelujah and pass the brewskis, there’s a Chillaxatarian in our midst!

Yesterday’s Turkey Is Today’s Soup

My mother was a very good cook.  Not a chef mind you.  A cook.

I have her cookbook of all sorts of practical, yummy recipes.  Mom got most of her recipes from magazines and from the newspaper– then tweaked them.

Here is one of Mom’s recipes.  I have no idea of the original source, but do know that this makes a very tasty, rather healthy soup.


Split Pea Soup With Ham & Turkey

2 carrots (or more)

2 celery stalks

1 medium size onion

2 small turnips (or use cabbage)

1-16 oz. package of dry green split peas

2 Tablespoons salad oil (or less)

1/4 lb cooked ham, diced

2 teaspoons salt (or omit entirely)

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon cumin (more or less depending on preference)

8 cups water

1 lb cooked turkey cut into 1/2 inch pieces


1.  Dice carrots and celery.  Chop onion.  Peel and dice turnips (or chop cabbage if using that instead of turnips).  Rinse peas with cold water and discard any stones or shriveled ones.

2.  In pot with salad oil in it– over medium heat– cook carrots, celery, onion and turnips (or cabbage) until tender crisp.  Stir in peas, ham, allspice, bay leaf, cumin and the water.  Over high heat cook to boiling.  Reduce temperature to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

3.  Stir in turkey.  Cook 10-15 minutes longer to blend flavors.

Makes 6 main dish servings (huge) or 8 soup servings (normal size)


[FYI, when I make this recipe I use cabbage, half the recommended amount of salt, and triple the amount of cumin.  But you do whatever suits your fancy.]

[Also, in recent years I’ve made this soup substituting leftover rotisserie chicken from the grocery for the turkey.  I’m sure that Mom would approve.]

Something Fun To Do

Go here.  Fill in the empty block with words.  Make your words meaningful, if you so choose.  And when you hit your 100th word, you’ll get your very own cute kitten photo!

[Hey!  I didn’t say this was something valuable to do, I just said that it was fun.  And if you’re not the one cooking dinner, what else have you got to do?]





Autumn, Attitude Adjustment, And Ambush Journalism

Here’s what I’ve thought about this week.  Brought to you by the letter “A.”

•  Loving.  Now that it’s mid-autumn, the leaves on the trees behind our house are at their best.  In fact, this year, the wettest year ever on record, the trees look stunning.  There are more show-off colors among the leaves–shimmery gold, crimson red;  less dreary colors like rusty orange & dried-up grayish brown.  Amazing, really, how letting go is so pretty.  A lesson for all of us who hold grudges and keep objects long after their usefulness has passed.  Move on, people.  Let it go.


•  Laughing.  I’ve always been one to drink whatever alcoholic beverage is set in front of me [the exception being rum which I hate].  I loathe being perceived as fussy.  Yet, thinking back about our very social summer, I’ve realized that the parties/dinners/events where I had the most fun were the very ones where I did not drink any wine.  At all.

This got me wondering why I even drink the stuff to begin with.  I don’t like the taste of wine all that much and it often makes me itch.  What I decided is that I drink wine because I have this notion that it is good for me.  And I drink wine because I am polite.

My logic– such as it is— goes something like this: in the Bible, Jesus made wine and the party continued.  So, by drinking the stuff without complaint I don’t offend Jesus & I’m not a party pooper.  In theory, this seems like a win-win. But in practice it just sets me up to do something I don’t really want to do– which is drink wine.

Pity Jesus didn’t turn the water into a fifth of bourbon– or a few bottles of beer.  Then I’d have no problem at all.


•  Learning.  I was watching CNN the other morning.  The conversation was about “ambush journalism.”  I’d not heard of this term before.  It means that through deception and aggressive behavior a journalist inserts himself or herself into a situation hoping to provoke controversy by launching into a series of challenging questions. Apparently, some guy did this with VP Biden earlier this week, and Biden refused to take it.  Biden fired back with: “Don’t screw with me.  Let’s look at the facts.” 

Politics aside, I’m with the VP on this one.  Hassling people is not a substitute for journalistic inquiry;  it’s just stupid, attention seeking behavior.  In fact, it seems to me that if journalists want to continue to have access to our political leaders, then they need to grow up, use some common sense & not engage is such antics.  Bad dog, no biscuit.


Revisiting A Tribute To The Victims Of The 9-11 Attacks

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers joined together for a tribute to the victims of 9-11.  Each person paid tribute to a single victim.  The intent of this project was to honor the victims by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.  

I first posted this tribute on 09.08.06.  I’ve adapted it for this blog using different photos, the one link that still works, and one new link.  The essence of what I wrote remains the same.   


Tribute To Maria Rose Abad

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Maria Rose Abad was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1952.  She studied sociology at Queens College and hoped to be a teacher.  However, a different career path opened up to her and she went to work in business.  At the time of her death she was living in Syosset, N.Y., and working as Senior Vice President with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, investment bankers.

Maria Rose married Rudy Abad, her best friend, in 1976.  The two of them liked to travel the world.  She liked to read books– lots and lots of them– according to Rudy.

On Tuesday September 11, 2001, Maria Rose was at work in her office located in the south tower of the WTC.  When United Airlines Flight 175 hit her building, she phoned Rudy to talk about what had happened and to tell him that they were waiting for the fire marshal to take them down to safety.  That was the last time he heard from her.

She is among the confirmed dead.

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As a surviving spouse of a 9-11 victim, Rudy was eligible to receive monetary compensation for her death.  He couldn’t decide whether or not to take the money, but eventually he did decide to take it.  And then he did something incredible with it.  He shared it with the world.

As a tribute to his late wife’s memory, Rudy created The Maria Rose Abad Village in a poverty-stricken area of the Philippines.  He used his part of the compensation to have 46 houses and a preschool built in Tondo, a suburb of Manila.  And today, thanks to his generosity of spirit, a few more people on this earth have a better quality of life.

He is among the confirmed angels on earth.

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[Added 09.13.11 -Yesterday while reading some blogs I found the current link to Project 2996.  Click here to be connected to it.]

Red, Wet & Blue

Our Fourth of July weekend was rainy, damp, humid.  No picnic in the park.  No day at the zoo.  No baseball game with fireworks afterward.  Instead, we had a weekend that only a mold spore could love.

Not. Too. Exciting.

So having nothing festive and fun to do, Zen-Den and I decided to be very grown-up and act like serious homeowners.  First, we super scrubbed the kitchen— oven, cabinet doors, pantry, freezer, granite counter tops.  Granted the kitchen wasn’t particularly dirty to begin with, but I have to admit that it’s amazing how shiny it looks now.  Clean and inviting.  Quite the happy space.

Then Z-D painted the sitting room— aka the un-bedroom.  After much debate about what color to put on the walls, we chose a very pale shade of gray that reads slightly blue.  Combined with the room’s white trim, this shade of gray creates a relaxing and easy space.  Rather like being inside a cloud.  Airy.  Filled with possibility.

And that, kids, was our weekend.  Not the traditional sort of Fourth of July celebration that we all know and love– but a practical use of our time.  Which, God willing the creek don’t rise, means that next weekend we can have some fun.

Let’s hope, shall we?