Friday, August 27, 2010


Call it Karma... a co-inky dink... devine intervention... or just plain surprise... but I believe deep down in my soul that if you are a good person and do good things, then good things will happen to you. However... I also believe you have to help it along. Sitting in a dark room all by yourself not making contact with the outside world will not help you get what you want... well, unless you WANT to be in a dark room all by yourself.

Sometimes I seem to stick my neck out just a bit too far. Yesterday was one of those days. I read an article in New York magazine about Barnes & Noble founder Len Riggio and his arch nemesis Ron Burkle. Author Andrew Rice asks the question in big bold letters if they are the only people in America who still want to own a mega-bookstore. I couldn't wait to go on the website and answer... " I do! I do!" I'm comment #10.

It is very rare that I comment on an article on the web. I will comment on someone's facebook wall. I might leave a comment on someone's blog... but I don't comment on articles. One reason is that if I wait long enough someone else will leave a comment exactly like the one I would have, so why bother? Who reads those comments anyway??? What's the purpose? Despite my misgivings I was compelled to leave a comment this time. Type, type, type... send. Done. I sat back and let my mind wander (we creative types do that a lot... at least that's what I keep telling myself). I wondered what it would be like if Mr. Riggio (or more likely a staff member) invited me for a meeting to discuss the book industry and the direction it is heading. I have a few creative ideas... but surely Mr. Riggio has a highly paid staff to think of the same things... right? Right?

Back to Karma... I put my thoughts and 'energy' out in to the world. Maybe Mr. Riggio will pick up on it, maybe not... but he'll never know it's out there if I didn't at least cast the first stone.

So... in honor of Karma... I have made a line of bracelets to wear and show off that you 'believe'. Besides... they are just too pretty NOT to wear. Below is a picture... they are available at my bookstore... Chicklet Books and my etsy store at Wear them to remind yourself to PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. What goes around really does come around... as long as you do your part to help.

These wrap bracelets are made using 100% silk that has been expertly hand dyed in luxurious colors. The Karma ring is 24K Antique Gold bonded to solid copper. A real quality piece. I scoured the market for these particular items and put them together myself. Only the best would do! Feel free to leave a comment, suggestion, or question.

Now... go out there and do good things!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blueberry Scones... YUM!

Last week I received an email from a friend with a link from America's Test Kitchen attached... for Blueberry Scones. The email read... "If you are planning on coming down to the shore this weekend, I would like these".  What it really should have said is... 'If you are coming down let me know so we can go shopping and bake these together'. OK... now you're talkin'.

I read the list of ingredients, and watched the video. Knowing that the kitchen was not as well equipped as mine for baking (I'm a frustrated pastry chef at heart) I packed things like a rolling pin, micro plane, baking sheet, cooling rack and all of the dry ingredients. Thank heavens I didn't need my Kitchen-Aid mixer! We shopped for the rest of the ingredients and went to sleep while visions of blueberries danced in our heads. Like little kids on Christmas morning we couldn't wait to get downstairs... to start baking! But first... coffee. Then... CBS Sunday Morning Program. OK... NOW can we bake????

As far as I'm concerned the only 2 programs worth watching on television are America's Test Kitchen and Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. Wait... and The Big Bang Theory... so I guess that's 3 programs. Sunday Morning is so peaceful and educational. The closing segment is always a calming view of some beautiful part of the world. It puts me in a happy mood... all is right with the world. I remember years ago when by brother, Les watched this show I thought it was the most boring show on Earth... that only old people watched that show. Well... I guess it's official... I'm old.

America's Test Kitchen is my number one all time favorite cooking show. At first I thought the host, Chris Kimball was joking by wearing a bow tie... however it really does fit his personality. Hey!!! I just noticed that my 2 favorite shows have the hosts wearing bow ties... hmmmm.... I wonder what THAT is all about? Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory would probably wear one too if he had to dress up. I guess I like nerds. Any way... America's Test Kitchen's recipes ALWAYS turn out EXACTLY like they should. Their kitchen crew tests everything in so many different ways, then explain to you why it didn't work and what needed to be changed to get the result they wanted, so you don't have to experiment. I have learned so much about the 'science' in cooking. Molecules, gluten, fat, starch, you name it... I'm learning it.

So... we made the scones. I did things I never have done before to make these. The blueberries had to be frozen... so you didn't end up with Smurf batter. The butter was also frozen, then grated like mozzarella and put back in the freezer. Everything had to be keep cold... and you had to work the dough quickly so the butter wouldn't begin to melt... that's the secret to flaky pastry apparently. Rolling the dough into a log shape with frozen blueberries in the middle was the most difficult step. The little critters kept escaping and rolling onto the floor... but enough stayed put to make it worth the effort. FINALLY.... TA-DAH!
My First Ever Blueberry Scones!!!
The pastry part was flaky and delicious... with a hint of lemon. The flavor lingered well after the last crumb slid down your throat. At first we thought they needed more sugar, but then realized that would make them taste more like a muffin... and besides, there was a sprinkling of sugar on the top... that was enough for a scone. Perfection! Add a cup of coffee... and yummy scrambled eggs with ham, peppers and onions... and you really have to wonder why people eat brunch out on Sundays. They are missing the whole point of  'and on the last day he rested'.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What was I thinking????

Just when I started to feel that I had all my ducks in a row... WHAM... a goose waddled in and caused chaos. Here I was... going through life thinking that I had hit rock bottom and was working my way back up to a respectable level. My bills were getting paid and I was quite pleased with myself. I was working on my quilt, weeding my front yard, mucking out the disaster known as my house and feeling good about the new life that was just ahead.

Last Sunday a friend called saying 2 tickets to see Rufus Wainwright just fell in his lap and wondered if I wanted to go along. Not having a clue who Rufus whatever his name was I answered emphatically, "YES". So now I had to step up the pace for the day and get moving faster to finish all of my errands so I could go to the concert. I jumped in my car to go food shopping and.... NOTHING. My car wouldn't start. The battery worked fine... but then there was just this sad little 'click'. No cranking of the engine... no roar. Uh-Oh. This doesn't sound good.

As it ended up... my friend was able to come get me and we made it to the concert in time. 

BUT... my car was dead and I had no money or credit cards to my name. I can't live without my car. Seriously. I feel it is a part of my body. It is my 'safe space'. My car and I have done so much together. It reliably got me to the hospital 3 times a week to visit my husband who was over an hour away from me... for 4 years. My car got me safely from New Jersey to Kentucky so I could work at least twice a month for 3 years. It makes sure I get to my mom's at the Jersey Shore whenever she needs me. It has been my office, my kitchen, and my bed many times. The heater has also been my hair dryer!!! (Did you know that if you turn your car heater on full blast the front of your hair will be dry in 15 minutes.  Hmmmm... maybe someone should design a car with a fan in the headrest so the back can get dry too.)

Emergency!!!! Emergency!!!! Someone call AAA!!! Get a mechanic quick! We have a patient in CARdiac arrest!

As I nervously waited in the dealer showroom I ran through my head all of the possibilities ... and wondered how I would pay for this. I looked up with concern in my eyes as the mechanic came in to break the bad news. My car needed a new starter. "How much will it cost?" I asked sadly. "About $600", he replied. GASP!!! Where oh where will I get $600 I wondered. 

At this point I decided to call my daughter and ask to use her credit card. THAT moment was really ROCKBOTTOM. I'm the MOM! I'm the one to run to when you need help... it's not supposed to be the other way around. All in all I am happy that my children are well adjusted, doing well, happy and such... and I am glad I can fall back on them and know we are family and are here for each other when needed the most. But seriously... it was one of the worst moments in my life.

Happy ending... the car is recovered. I have my wheels back... now I just have to figure out how to pay my daughter back :-)

I really, really, really, hope that THIS was as far down as I have to go. I can still see the daylight... so It's not  so far down. Right?