Category Archives: memories


My hubby is a die hard Bruce fan.  I mean the kind that will travel (within reason) to see more than one show on a tour.  In fact, we’ve got tix for both LA and San Francisco this tour already.  While I may be a Jersey Girl born and bred, I was unfortunately born a couple of years too late to worship at the pulpit of Brother Bruce.

In my defense, I was a freshman in high school during the Born in the USA heyday.  And well, let’s face it, that was such a commercial pop album that it’s not like it did much to turn me into a fan, especially considering I was already experimenting with Brit pop and the new wave scene (like any good, big-haired girl from Jersey in the 80’s!).  From there we had Nebraska and Atlantic City and all those depressing albums.  Me, I’m more of a River fan.  If you want me to enjoy Bruce, then give me the classic Bruce.

I’ve seen him three times since hooking up with the hubby and let me tell ya,  he puts on one helluva show.  I’m just not a die hard fan – much to the dismay of his online Bruce Fan friends.  No really, when the “Bruce folks” (as they’re referred to) talk about the hubby’s wife (being me) the first question asked is if I’m a fan.  Then comes the let down that I’m not only not a fan, but I’m a Jersey Girl.  Yeah, I’m a total disappointment to that group.  Luckily, they still love me, hubby included.  Of course, I’m sure he’d much rather I didn’t sing along to Brother Bruce at a full out scream, but hey, that’s half the fun for me (don’t ask).

So my point to this Bruuuuce post…why is it that my hubby, the guy that’s actually in the music industry and gets 2-25 CDs delivered a day (yes, a day!), had to have me run out to Best Buy to pick up the latest Bruce album today – the actual day of release?  Should I even mention the fact that he’s had a bootleg pre-release for a couple of weeks already? Eh well, it’s not like I had something better to do between loads hanging out at the laundromat today.

Recalling Childhood Memories Through Food

When I’m sick I don’t tend to get whiney and whimpy. I’m more than able to take care of myself. But I do tend to crave food from my childhood. Sadly, this can be a challenge as I either can’t get the foods since I’m not in Jersey or because I never learned how to cook or bake our Hungarian specialties (and in my childlike, bastardized Hungarian, I only seem to mutilate the words, so I can’t even google the recipes – trust me, I’ve tried). Well, as luck would have it, last night we decided to go to one of the local (major), Jewish deli’s, Jerry’s for some chicken noodle soup.

Imagine my surprise when along with our pickles came pickled green tomatoes!!! Dude, I was totally craving these just the other day wondering where I could find green tomatoes so I could try my hand at pickling. Granted, they weren’t quite like my grandmothers (far too much vinegar, and too hard), but it worked.

I also lucked out and remembered that Jerry’s has stuffed cabbage on the menu! Again, not nearly as good as my grandmothers (a bit too dry and sweet), but damn, it hit the spot. I mean, I haven’t had stuffed cabbage in close to 20 or so years. FWIW, the chicken noodle tasted just as good as my grandmothers (especially once I loaded it up on salt – one of the few things outside of eggs, fries and enchiladas that I will salt). Totally grubbing food. And the cherry vodka, cherry coke was kickass as well – and no, my grandmother never made cherry vodka cokes (she was a screwdriver kind of gal!)

As we perused the menu, I got excited once again thinking that I might have some apricot hamantashen (YUM!). Only I recalled the state of the bakery counter and realized that along with all the other traditional Jewish cakes and pastries, due to Rosh Hashanah, they were sold out of everything. Even today, when I sent the hubby back for still more chicken noodle soup, I asked about the hamantashen and nope, all out of the apricot, but I didn’t feel like prune or poppyseed (but I did get some chocolate rugalah as a consolation prize). I’ve got to search this out further though, as I probably haven’t had hamantashen in over 20 years since my grandmother couldn’t make it nearly as well as her mother or her sister, she never tried (and instead excelled at another kind of cookie that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of).

I was basically raised as a Catholic girl eating Hungarian ethnic foods – I know nothing of my mother’s Irish or Scottish heritage. I realized, after visiting Jerry’s that it really doesn’t matter much if one is Polish, Chechz, Hungarian or any other Slavic-Russian state, it’s all pretty much the same food and the same terms, just slightly different recipes. In fact, it’s not so much about being from one country or another it’s all pretty regional. Funny how out here in CA (or I’d guess anyone not familiar with the eastern European communities), it’s really just all considered “Jewish” food regardless of nationality.

EIther way, it was a nice way to indulge in some comfort food from my childhood. And dammit, I’m going get me some apricot hamantashen before the month is out! If Jerry’s is out, I’ll try Art’s or Canters. Worse case, I’ll hit up every Jewish bakery on Fairfax. Now that I know it’s not just a Hungarian thing, I’m sure I can find it.

Here’s a photo of the apricot hamantashen – though in our family it was made in a thin, “bowtie” shape and dusted with powder sugar.

Now can someone please tell me what the poppyseed “strudel” thing is called (though I liked the prune one better). And if anyone has any idea how to make Hungarian Chicken and Rice (with paprika) I’ll be your best friend forever and ever.

This is the Life

Ah. Hanging out on the beach. Taking pictures. Sitting poolside. Catching up with old friends. Reading good ‘ol girlie magazines. Truly, this is the life. I think that the only thing that could make this better was if my good friend would partake in some poolside adult beverages with me. A cold glass of wine, or a fruity cosmo would really hit the spot.

Really though, if I couldn’t get her to drink after nearly two years in Junior League (the wine with everything group), then I doubt I can convince her to try it now while we’re catching up. But hey, we’re still having fun and that’s what matters. And since I don’t think I’ll be heading out to SXSW in March, it might be a while until we meet up again.

So here’s to friendship and a night away without our men!

Singing Waiters? Could be Fun.

It sounded like a good idea at the time. In fact, I even enjoyed the first couple rounds of happy birthday (especially how they changed up the song for different tables). I even considered bringing my friend to Miceli’s for her birthday in a couple weeks. It could be fun, right?

Once they sat down and the piano and drums and starting singing show tunes, well, that was just a bit much for my tastes. And when our waiter wasn’t around to bring out our food while it was still hot because he was singing. Or when he brought out our salads after our entrees. Or how the music was so loud that we couldn’t even talk to each other. Well, let’s just say that it quickly stopped being fun.

Maybe I just don’t get it, but if you’ve got two locations and you brag that you’ve been in business since 1949, why does the food suck? It’s kind of hard to mess up Italian food. But when you charge the prices that you charge, and you brag about your history, is it just too much to ask for food that tastes good. Or service that doesn’t kinda suck? Maybe add on some extra busers or runners so the food actually arrives hot and the entire table isn’t left with empty glasses. Maybe apologize and offer up a free round of coffee or something when you deliver three late salads.

Next time, I say we head out to one of Mario Batali’s places instead. It might be loud, but I hear it’s good. And they don’t have singing waiters.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat

Oprah must be running repeats of the Secret or something as I’m getting most of my visitors from “Oprah” or “100 Day Challenge” search terms. I wish I had a better tracker so I could get more information, but oh well. Something to work on, right?

Happy Weekend Everyone! And please, feel free to say Hiya!. I don’t bite. And I’m pretty cool chick if I do say so myself 😉

A Thought About Thoughts

I found this in a friend’s journal a while back and had been holding onto to it knowing that when the time was right, it would touch me.

“It isn’t the things that are happening to us that cause us to suffer, it’s what we say to ourselves about the things that are happening. That’s where the suffering comes from.”

Now I don’t, by any means consider myself to be suffering or even to woe is me, have suffered. Looking back, even through the stumbles, the challenges and the losses, I’d never say I’ve suffered. I don’t have any regrets. I figure that life is what you make of it. As far as I know, I might not be the person that I am if I hadn’t experienced all that I have; the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows. But strangely, this weekend at book club (The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard) this message reached out to me on some level.

I lost my mom when I was young. I’m sure it was a very painful experience. In fact it must’ve been painful enough that I’ve blocked out 6 or so years of my childhood (3 years old through to 3rd grade). But I can also honestly say that I really didn’t miss my mother all that much. I mean, I’m sure that I did miss her, just in ways that I didn’t realize at the time. But really, it’s hard to miss something that you never had, you know? I really don’t believe in a heaven or a hell, I strongly believe that my mother has always been a part of my life and was and is always with me.

I honestly believe that I am the strong, nurturing, caring, confident person that I am because of my loss. I’m sure, that while I may not remember my early teachers, I can remember the impact that my teachers had on me during those years and they’re influence is one of the reasons that I went into teaching. I’m also fairly certain that I went into the mental health field because I wanted to be able to help people to help themselves. I don’t want anyone to ever think that they can’t overcome anything that life throws at them. There’s just no need to suffer when you can create whatever life you want.

So instead of focusing on the challenges and stumbling blocks that life throws your way, take a moment to see the opportunity. There is power, much power in both your thoughts and beliefs. So think it, believe it and be it. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather think myself in a happy, joy & love-filled place than think myself in a place of pain and suffering. Choose wisely and don’t be afraid to help yourself (or to ask for help) in creating the life that you want for yourself.

Wow, this went to a totally different place than I had originally planned to go. Guess I had something on my mind afterall. There just might be an edit waiting to happen in here so don’t be surprised.

One of the Cool Things About Living in SoCal

A while back, the hubby and I were driving back from brunch and took a different, more scenic route home through the hills. And as we were twisting and turning along, admiring the houses, I scream “a Frank Lloyd Wright house! Turn around!!!” Thankfully, my husband, does on occasion listen to me. He turned around at first opportunity and let me oogle it for a few minutes.

The hubby was cute though, he looked at me, all confused and asked me how I knew it was a Frank Lloyd Wright house. I explained that I had seen one of his concrete block homes before and I noticed the National Registry plaques. I get the same way when I notice some Green & Green’s. I think he sometimes forgets all the art appreciation classes they make elementary teachers take – LOL.

This is the Alice Millard House, “La Minatura”* (built in 1923). It was his first concrete block house. It wasn’t the one we saw driving in La Crescenta (see below for that one). I do know where this house is though (not all that far from a slew of Green & Green Craftsmans).

This is the one we saw while driving – James Daniel Derby House* – built in 1926 (according to the National Registry)

* these are not my photos – I told myself that I’d go back with a friend (and I did), but I never got around to taking my own photos, we just did a drive-by.

Now I Remember – Damn that Bristol Farms

I hit up Bristol Farms this weekend and while almost falling for the succulent $6.99/pound cherries, I was reminded of this post I wrote up last August. Somethings never change, I guess…

I know the experts say that you shouldn’t go grocery shopping hungry. Well, whatever you do, DON’T go to Bristol Farms hungry!!! In general, that place is pricey. But man, when you add hunger into the picture it’s just crazy expensive!

Doesn’t help that at lunch time they have samples of all sorts of goodies out and about; cheese, turkey AND egg salad sandwiches, fig spread, sausage, pastries, crackers and dips, you name it! I went in to take my JOLT picture for the 26 Things and ended up with $25 worth of crap! I picked up some croutons (um…I don’t really like croutons!), a bottle of Boylan black cherry cola (yum!), a bottle of black tea with ginseng and honey, a pineapple coconut muffin (so good!), an oatmeal scone for the hubby (I’m such a good wife – or would that make me an enabling wife?) and a cup of iced coffee (to have with my muffin).

But hey, it could’ve been MUCH worse. I tasted some bing cherries so I thought I’d pick up a bag. They weren’t the sweetest, but they were still tasty and you guys know how I love me some cherries! So I get to the check out (after also picking up a Domino magazine – yeah, I needed that!) and get all rung up. Um…the cherries are $24!!!!!!! WTF?!?!? I ask if I’m reading that correctly and she tells me that yes, they’re $8.99 a pound. So apparently, those tasty and PLUMP cherries in the pre-packaged bag weighed 3 freakin’ pounds!!! Hello…it was a smallish bag!!!!

Needless to say, I left the cherries behind. I may be a cherry slut (make that a cherry-less slut – ha!), but I just can’t permit myself to spend $24 on mediocre cherries. Just think what I could buy at a farmer’s market for that price!

The moral of the story, stay away from Bristol Farms unless there’s a special occasion or you need a yummy hostess gift. I knew I should have gone to that soda store in Highland Park instead! Come one, if it’s good enough for the Food Network, it’s good enough for me.

The funniest part of this to me was the response I got from some random guy…”Maybe you should get some psychological help. Just a suggestion.” I guess he just didn’t get it. Oh well.

Thursday Thirteen – Chicago, My Kind of Town


1. hung out at the ultra-hip, über-trendy hotel lobby, feeling way out of my element
2. walked around Navy Pier
3. ate Chicago deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Due (Uno was too crowded)
4. took the L
5. rode the Metra
6. visited with friends
7. hung out in the suburbs with friends
8. visited the Marshall Fields flagship store
9. had some caramel and cheddar popcorn at Garretts
10. tasted a Chicago Dog
11. got blissed out and pampered at Bliss
12. took tons of photos
13. admired the architecture

Thursday Thirteen – About Me

1. I’m a Jersey Girl, born and bred, though you’ll rarely catch the accent.
2. You will generally only hear the Jersey when I’m either very drunk, very excited or very emotional.
3. I left Jersey when my family moved to GA my sophomore year in college.
4. The Atlanta, GA area is still my favorite place to live though I wasn’t nearly as social as I’ve been while living elsewhere.
5. When I was an undergrad, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be an elementary teacher or a DJ.
6. I decided to go with being a teacher, but man do I miss being on air, even now, nearly 20 years later.
7. I taught 4th grade for 3 years in inner-city, Atlanta.
8. I pretty much hated teaching there – mostly due the lack of administrative and parental support and the lack of respect from the overall student population.
9. But I love the teachable moment – just not the lesson plan, teach the test sort of thing.
10. I went from teaching to working in the mental health field.
11. I’ve worked closely with substance abusers, domestic violence offenders and the developmentally disabled population.
12. While I enjoyed working with the developmentally disabled population the best, I also don’t feel like I was able to directly help my clients enough, yet often felt drained at the end of the day.
13. I still miss working with people to help them to get educated and to make positive changes in their life.