Rain Etiquette

We have experienced an unusual amount of rain in the last couple of weeks across the country.  Many of you have lost your homes to these storms, while others have had lost loved ones.  I pray that each day life gets easier for you who have suffered such great loss.

In light of these tragedies, my topic today seems quite insignificant yet I have been compelled to write about it each day I leave my home and face my fellow sidewalk citizens in everything from a light sprinkle to a downpour–rain and umbrella etiquette.

I live in a city where there are more people per sidewalk inch than anywhere else in the U.S.  Most days I wish to simply teleport to my destination and home again so I do not have to fight the masses.  This wish is particularly true when it is raining. I have observed four different types of humans while walking in the rain.  Which one might you be?

First there is the “I am very important and very impatient” person.  He cannot stay with the pace of the others who are also walking to a destination (or else they would be tucked away somewhere dry).  He has very important places to be and the slow, elderly woman in front of him is ruining his day so he surely must pass her while knocking out three oncoming humans with his shoulder, pace and umbrella.  His world will certainly end if he doesn’t get past all of these slow people around him.  If only he could see the value in not disrupting another person’s day with the eye poke from his umbrella, or the fear they will have when they see him coming quickly towards them with his umbrella tilted forward as if he were a charging bull.  Stay with the pace, sir, listen to the sounds of the rain, the city.  You just may be amused with what you hear.

The “only human on the planet”, the second of these humans, always makes me smirk and occasionally laugh out loud.  She doesn’t notice anyone or anything around her.  She walks in the middle of the sidewalk and is indignant when you don’t move to accommodate her.  She closes her umbrella and shakes the rain off of it, never once recognizing that she just gave you a bath.  She pushes through crowds knocking over those in her way.  She occasionally likes to talk on her phone while walking quickly in the center of the sidewalk while dangling her umbrella over her shoulder.  When it falls off her shoulder and catches the handle of your bag, it clearly is your fault for being too close to her.  I am not sure there is any hope for her.  I am not sure I have any advice for her except perhaps to hire a driver.  She will never learn.

Thirdly, is the “ginormous beach/golf course” umbrella carrier.  His vessel of choice could be used to keep a small nation dry and has no place in the city.  Period.  End of discussion.

Finally, there is the single file walker who is very aware of her surroundings and lifts the umbrella when the oncoming person is at eye level with the umbrella tips.  I love her.  She is orderly and considerate.  Something each of us (myself included) could use a healthy dose of now and then.  She steps to the side where others are not going to be impacted by her umbrella shake prior to entering her destination.  If no such place exists, she discreetly closes her protector and tucks it away neatly to be dealt with later where she will not give someone the second shower of the day.  She stays with the pace of the people around her and does not shoulder check nor bag check those coming in the opposite direction.  She is Mary Poppins–practically perfect in every way. 

Again I ask, which of these species are you?  Next time you find yourself in a crowd with rain, think about your umbrella behavior.  With the right choices, you may be lifting a dark, dreary day for a total stranger.  Isn’t that lovely?

Be good to one another.

xo–me

 

 

 

 

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Happy Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day, a day to celebrate the great dads in the world.  I want to salute one of the great fathers I have been lucky enough to know–my brother Garnet.

As many of you know, Garnet is Daddy to one son, William.  I remember when Garnet called to tell me he was going to be a father.  I was in Vegas with my guy and his family.  I was driving down Las Vegas Blvd. and saw the phone light up.  Garnet rarely calls and he knew I was away that weekend so I knew it was important.  I broke the law and answered the phone while driving.  I won’t ever forget the excitement with a small dose of anxiety in his voice when he said he was going to be a dad.  He was proud, I cried and I almost crashed that car.  Kidding but I don’t really remember driving through the intersection to the hotel.

Young William came to us a bit sooner than the doctors would have liked.  I was fortunate to be on the east coast traveling when he came.  When the nurses were told I was in from LA for just one day, they sneaked me into the NICU to hold him.  I looked up through the window and Garnet was beaming.  He was a Dad.  He was nervous as anything about this teeny little human that was now his responsibility but I never saw his feet touch the floor that day.

Hard to believe that five years have passed and that little baby is now a young boy.  Garnet has ushered him through many life lessons in those five quick years, including ones I am sure Will wished he didn’t have to learn.  I think the greatest lesson Garnet has given him is the lesson of ignorance while Daddy was fighting to live through his brain cancer diagnosis.  He and Trish never told Will what was truly going on, just that daddy had to go to see the doctor.  I will never forget the walk through the NIH hallway with William asking G about this and that inside the hospital.  Garnet, less than 24 hours post brain surgery, never missed a beat teaching him about the nurses station and all the rooms. When Garnet came home post surgery, Will could see daddy’s boo-boo but never thought twice about it and moved on to playing.

Garnet never stopped playing with Will.  He never stopped teaching him through actions and discipline.  They never stopped creating great memories and good times. He never stopped doing what he intended when Will was born–to raise a child through love, laughs and lessons, ready to face the world.  He never stopped being Daddy.  I know there will be a day when Will will know the truth and it is my hope that he will appreciate this great gift.

Happy Father’s Day!

xo–me

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Chicken Pizza

Chicken PizzaThe title of this post is a bit misleading, I must admit.  The first time I saw this dish, I thought it to be a pepperoni pizza.  Upon closer inspection, I realized it was chicken parm without the pasta.  I was floored.

This dish came into my life at a restaurant on a Tuesday.  My dear friend was visiting from LA and was meeting colleagues of ours at a restaurant close to my apartment.  Knowing I would not join if the restaurant was downtown, I think Allison chose this location on purpose so I would have zero opportunity to beg off.  Girl, you know me well.  Anyway, as our meals were being served, I looked at her plate and said “I thought you were having chicken parm?”  She too was confused and before we could say another word, the waiter said “That is the chicken parm.” Upon closer inspection, we realized they had taken the chicken breast and pounded it to a round pizza crust shape.  Genius!

Below is my attempt to replicate the dish at home.

Ingredients:

2 medium chicken breasts
mini pepperonis
flour
oregano
1 egg
breadcrumbs
shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c. red sauce
salt

Preheat oven to 350. 

Whisk eggs with pinch of salt.  Set aside.  Season flour with a pinch of salt and place in a deep bowl.  Place breadcrumbs in a third deep bowl. 

Take chicken breasts and pound them with a meat tenderizer to a circle shape.  Keep in mind a shape like a mini pizza while you are hammering away on that breast.  Once you have obtained the shape, pat dry before covering in flour.  Then dip generously in the egg, allowing excess to drip off.  Finally, smother it in breadcrumbs.  

Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes until done.   Remove and pour heated red sauce on top, covering entire surface.  Toss mozzarella generously.  Dot the area with pepperonis and sprinkle with oregano.  Return to oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. 

Serve immediately.

Because the breasts are so thin and oven temperatures vary, please keep an eye on the breasts while they are in the oven.  Don’t want to burn those beauties!   I do not specify amounts of the various ingredients here because you should add each ingredient to your palate’s choice.  I love cheese so I will go insane on the shredded mozzarella.  Mounds.  Those of you avoiding carbs, this is a great way to convince yourself that you are indeed having pizza.

The shape of the breasts make this a fun dish to serve to your guests.  Keep ‘em guessing!

xo–me

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Blind Man Walking

My ears still workAs most of you know, I live in the heart of Manhattan.  I spend a lot of time observing behaviors of thousands of people trying to move within a small space of sidewalk every day.  Literally thousands.  One can imagine the amount of both good and kind behavior as well as bad and unseemly.  Today I need to speak on the bad and unseemly.

Last week I was walking through a very busy intersection.  Intersections in Manhattan often remind me of two sides of a medieval battle where each warring faction lines up on each side of the street, waiting for the white walking human sign to illuminate.  This night was no different.  It was just a bit after six which meant most people were heading out of their offices and to dinner, the train, the gym, home, or anything else one can imagine. The two sides of the streets each had its own mob of humans.  Once the light changed, traffic stopped and our walk sign lit up.  After barreling through the oncoming mob, I got to the other side and noticed a blind man walking with a cane.  I see this more frequently than I ever imagined and each time my heart swells with pride that these strangers are so strong that they can maneuver through this city.  Truly amazing.

I digress.  So I am on the other side of the street and notice a blind man with a cane stepping up onto the sidewalk and he proceeds to walk straight into a young woman carrying what appears to be a piece of art in a cardboard box (narrow, almost flat, perhaps 18 x 24).  His cane has tapped around her so he does not realize she is there.  She can clearly see him but stands there in his way without moving.  He walks into her again and tries to get around her.  She just stands there, like a deer in headlights not knowing what to do. He speaks “Excuse me” and she just stands there.  Frozen.  Unable to move.  Unable to speak.  He walks into her yet again and this time is able to get around her.

Either she has never seen a blind person before or she is simply ignorant.  Many of you will write to me and comment that perhaps she thought standing still was the best way for him to gracefully make his way around her.  I had thought that as well.  The first time.  But after the second and the third, I simply think she was so absorbed in her protecting her piece of art, she forgot to be humane and kind.  I also wondered if there was a language barrier as I do live in a city with many languages.  No words were spoken from her mouth.  It was a very uncomfortable moment to witness and it took all I had not to pull her aside and hopefully teach her about the importance of being kind to those who have less than she.  And by saying this man had less, I am simply speaking to his eye sight.

Some may ask what I would recommend one doing in this situation.  Speech is the best course of action when in the company of a blind person.  Their sense of hearing is much stronger than yours or mine and is your best way to communicate.  Imagine that, communication on a busy street in NYC.  I can only hope.

Be good to one another.

xo–me

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Blueberry Cobbler

Yes, making blueberry cobbler out of season is a bit odd for me to recommend.  I try to utilize fresh ingredients where and when I can so blueberries in the fall is unusual.  Why this post is the exception to the rule is 1) I love blueberries and 2) I froze many quarts of blueberries in May while they were in season.  Yay for freezing for the fall and winter!  With that said, today I made a delicious blueberry cobbler for the doormen in my building.  Seriously, you think I can keep these delicious treats in my home for me?  I would look like Mama Cass if I ate every last morsel of the treats I bake.

This recipe came from the lovely set of encyclopedias I bought several years ago.  I have enjoyed exploring the recipes of yesteryear and this one is no different.  It’s very simple and a good recipe for first time bakers.

Ingredients:

Filling
2 c. blueberries (thawed if you are using frozen berries)
few grains salt
sugar
1 egg, well beaten
butter

Batter
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 c. sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 425.  Add salt and sugar to taste to berries.  Add egg and spread in buttered baking dish.  Dot with butter. 

Cream butter.  Add sugar gradually and add egg.  In separate bowl, mix and sift flour, baking powder and salt.  Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture.  Cover berries with batter and bake for 30 minutes.  Serve warm. 

I dotted the blueberry mixture with close to a quarter cup of butter because that’s what I have learned from Paula Deen.  I also generously sprinkled the top with sugar before I put it in the oven.  Don’t forget whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

xo–me

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Cherry Socks

Over there on the right hand side of this page is a list of sites I love.  Go ahead and look, I will wait for you…

Find it?  It’s a short list of sites I am confident in sharing with you as I know you will have great satisfaction with the content.  Today, after many months of silence, I am back to my site for a myriad of reasons but the first one is to share with you the Cherry Socks site.  It’s written by a very creative, uplifting and thoughtful woman.  She is able to find meaning in many of life’s worst moments.  I find her posts cheering, funny and always inspiring.  She has given me many tips on how to better my home, my life and my waistline.  She also happens to be my sister (in-law but who cares about the fine print?).

Just as you check in with me daily, I hope you will add her to your list of sites to visit.

xo–me

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Beef Noodle Casserole

Even though we stopped exchanging gifts a few years ago, I was surprised to have a few ‘stocking stuffers’ from my guy this year.  Many stocking stuffers are nail polish, lip gloss or the like.  All great treats in their own right.  But mine were custom tailored to the things I love.  I got this which is now sitting on my nightstand.  Yes, I am a 10 year old boy at times. I also got a lovely collection of vintage Pennsylvania cookbooks.  I was overjoyed when I was reading them because of all the unusual recipes and what many will feel are old-fashioned methods of cooking and baking.

As I hunted for my first recipe to try, I found myself entranced by the Favorite Recipes of Pennsylvania Meats.  It appears to be a fundraising tool but does not say from whom it was purchased.  The publishing date is MCMLXV or 1966.  I thought I would begin with something simple and not too unusual like jellied veal loaf.

I chose this simple ground beef noodle casserole.  It’s a great dish that can be quickly prepared on a school night.  The leftovers also reheat quite nicely.

Ingredients:

1 med. onion, chopped
butter
1 lb. ground beef
1 8-oz. package noodles (I used egg noodles)
1 Tbsp. salt
1 can tomato soup
1 sm. can mushrooms (I had fresh and chopped 6)
1/2 lb. American cheese, grated (I used cheddar and mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 350.  Brown onion in butter; add beef and brown.  Cook noodles in 3 quarts salted water until tender.  Drain; rinse in hot water.  Add to meat.  Add remaining ingredients except cheese.  Mix and place in greased casserole.  Top with cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes. 

Mrs. Bert Wynn, of Rebersburg, PA contributed this recipe.  You can add other vegetables like black olives, broccoli, zucchini and many others.  If you have a large family, I suggest doubling the recipe so you are certain to have some leftovers.  This is one of those dishes that tastes even better after an overnight refrigerator session.  My guy gives the best gifts.  Enjoy!

xo–me

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