Monthly Archives: January 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship With Giada DeLaurentiis

My mother hated cooking. She appreciated fresh, seasonal foods. She eschewed pre-packaged fair. But having to take the time to put together a meal? Not her favorite pastime.

And young, budding feminist that I was? I thought I hated cooking, too.

But I loved food. I loved a fine meal at a restaurant. I went to Paris in my twenties and like Julia Child, I fell in love with the fresh, yummy, out of this world produce, fresh cheese, steaming baguettes,  perfectly cooked beef, aromatic chicken. I’d go on, but I’m trying to stick to my New Year’s resolution.

It wasn’t until my late thirties that I actually started trying to recreate the wonderful food I’ve eaten abroad or at fine restaurants. My best teachers should have been my grandmothers. But when they were alive I’d sit in the kitchen keeping them company while they cooked but didn’t really pay much attention to what they were doing. I was above domestic pursuits.

Now they’re gone. And I needed teachers for my new found interest in creating fine cuisine. So I turned to television. The Food Network. The Cooking Channel. Ina Garten. Ellie Krieger. Nigella Lawson. Even Paula Deen. (in moderation, of course)

And Giada DeLaurentiis.

I love Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Love it. From the first time I watched one of Giada’s shows, I was drawn in. And when I’d try her recipes and they came off without a hitch? I was hooked.

Slowly, she’d start to annoy me. Shaking her hair over the food. Every tightly fitted top showcasing her perfect, perky breasts. Clever camera work sneaking shots her of cleavage. And the way she pronounced: mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano.

Oh sure, she was born in Italy. But she moved to the states when she was 7. And every other word out of her mouth is as American as can be.

It annoys me. And I have no idea why.

Try saying “And then you top it with some fresh mooootsarayla and a little bit of basil” with a straight face. It just sounds weird.

I love her recipes. I love the tips and tricks I learn from her. I hate her hair shaking-cleavage showing-Italian accent for certain words-television persona.

I confess. I both love and hate Giada.

(Please excuse me while I duck for cover. I think hear the chef-haters police at the door.)


Filed under Completely Random, Observations

And Here’s The Post Where I Offend About Half Of My Readers Or (More Succinctly) Put Your Damn Handheld Electronic Away!

(Just warning you ahead of time. If you are brave enough and are willing to take a hit to your parenting skills…read on.)

We were attending the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby for the first time. My boys were excited. We had worked  4 long weeks getting their cars ready. The excitement in the air was electric.

At least I thought the hum I heard was excitement. But it wasn’t. It was from this:

And from this:

And from this:

Oh, sure. There was a little bit of this:

But it was mostly this:

For the record, I am not a Luddite. I’m not as up to date on the latest technology as I was when I was teaching, but I am not afraid of techie things. We have our televisions, our DVRs. I have an iPod and my (new!) laptop computer. (The boys play on our old dinosaur. As it should be.)

But I believe there is a time and a place for everything.

Now, I admit. Way back when. When cell phones were first in vogue, I would cringe when I’d hear one ring  in public. I’d glare at the offending chatter. Now? I’m used to it. In fact, I’m known to chat with my daughter while perusing the grocery aisles.

But I never talk on the phone while I am: in a restaurant, in the grocery line, or in a doctor’s waiting room. If I need to make a call, I step outside. Period. End of story.

Oh sure, I’ve been known to entertain myself with Angry Birds while waiting for a doctor’s appointment (sound off, of course). Or play solitaire on a long car ride. (Not while driving, of course.)

So, I will say it again. There is a time and a place for everything.

The kids were the worst offenders. Parents using these handheld babysitters to keep their kids quiet so they could visit with other parents. Or so they could just sit there and stare into space uninterrupted. But some of the parents had their own manners to check. I witnessed one parent, sit in the back of the room, messing around on his iPhone while his kids ran back and forth to tell him how they placed. Pathetic.

At an event. A family event. When kids are supposed to be cheering for each other. Scoping out the cars and getting ideas for next year. Or, what a novel idea, how about watch your own car at its appointed race time?

I only have one thing to say.

Put those damn electronic devices AWAY!

(Oh. And how do I know I’m offending about half of you? Because that’s how many kids were playing on their iPods and Nintendos during the races. Fifty percent. Twenty five kids were watching the races and cheering each other on. And twenty-five kids were huddled over screens.

Not siblings. Other scouts.

I was appalled. Can you tell?


I feel so much better now. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.)


Filed under Soapbox

Beware The Hungry Bull Frog

Just a little Youtube humor for your hump day! Happy Wednesday!


Filed under Completely Random

Jane Jonesing Jeans. Suffers Sticker Shock.

I enjoy a good episode of Extreme Couponing to get my saving juices flowing. I’ve read a Dave Ramsey book, watched Suze Orman a few times and listen to Clark Howard’s advice regularly.

I enjoy a good sale but I don’t plan my week around them. I clip a few coupons, as long as we already enjoy the product. I have a list of when “Kids Eat Free”at local restaurants on my phone so if we’re out and about we can take advantage.

I think of myself as your run-of-the-mill bargain hunter.

I hate clothes shopping so it’s a good thing I prefer classic styles that take a while to become outdated. For example, the jeans I’m wearing at this very minute are almost 10 years old. Ralph Lauren. Talbots. L. L. Bean. Gap. Just a few of my favorites. Since the fashion police aren’t knocking on my door and my 19-year-old daughter hasn’t said anything (yet) it’s probably safe to assume that I look OK.

I’m also a very patient person. With a fairly organized closet. It doesn’t bother me in the least to wait until the end of the season, buy clothes at least 50% off and store in my closet until next season. Which is what I do. Often.

So often, in fact, that I can’t believe anyone actually buys clothes at full price. And the full price usually shocks me.

Like this article, seen on Yahoo, about the best jeans to flatter different body types. Great tips. Before and after pics I can relate to.  But the prices? Are you kidding me?

NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans) $120

Earnest Sewn Classic Boot Cut $198

White House Black Market $78

Even the Gap $70 and Lee Jeans $54 surprised me.

I buy Gap and Lee jeans. I’ve never paid more than $40.

I’m in shock. I had no idea this was the going rate. After seeing the flattering styles and great before and after pics I actually started considering updating my wardrobe.

After seeing the prices?

No way.


There’s no need.

My readers just see me from the waist up.


Filed under Completely Random, How We Roll

And This Is Why I Will Never Go On A Cruise

You know how some people are irrationally afraid to fly? No matter how many statistics you throw at them about how safe our airline industry truly is, how statistics show that you’d have to fly every day for 19,000 years before you’d have a fatal crash, they’d still be terrified to fly?

That’s me. Only with cruises.

I can not imagine that being trapped on a huge petri dish, floating in the middle of the ocean, miles from any civilization can be considered relaxing and fun. Tiny cramped quarters, bumping into the same people over and over, with no Starbucks in sight? Not my idea of a good time.

My husband has even dangled a Disney Cruise over my head. In a weak moment, I checked it out. Disney nut that I am, I considered their 3 day cruise. For about 32 seconds. And then I came to my senses.

I’m well aware that my fears are irrational. I’m sure I could find website after website spouting statistics assuring me how safe it is to sail the wide open seas. That Norwalk virus is not just contained on cruise ships.  That I won’t be robbed, bored or stuck eating with strangers. It will fall on deaf ears.

Every cruise disaster, I read or watch unfold with wide eyes and my stomach doing flip flops. Like a train wreck, I can’t look away. And my fears are satisfied.

Do you know what song was playing at one of the ship’s restaurants when the Costa Concordia’s hull split open?

Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from the 1997 blockbuster movie “Titanic.”

I’m not kidding. Look it up. 

And this is why I will never go on a cruise.


Filed under Observations

Is God On Tebow’s Side? And The Other Team. Do They Just Not P(r)ay Hard Enough?

More than 40% of Americans think that divine intervention can be attributed to Tebow’s success.

Listen, I’m glad the man has faith. Wearing it on your sleeve, or your face as the case may be? More than I do, but everyone has a right to shout out what they believe.

But seriously people?

Don’t you think God has more important things to do than help a man and his team win a football game?

(As Yogi Berra said, “Why don’t you just let God watch the game?”)


Filed under Because I'm Curious, Deep Thoughts

Underweight. Overweight. I Still See Fat When I Look In The Mirror.

I’m not thrilled with my post-baby body. Who is? Well, maybe the models and actresses with trainers and vegan diets, but not most of us. My issues about my body are nothing new.

Nothing new.

And that’s what’s pathetic.

Growing up, I remember my parents watching us carefully. Portion sizes. Types of food we chose. Commenting on the other “chunky” teenagers out there. They meant well. And it was all ironic coming from my mother – a nurse who struggled with her own weight. But I suppose she was worried we’d turn out like her.

When I was in my teens I was so thin my parents took me to the doctor. They thought I was secretly bulimic. They knew I ate. What they didn’t take into consideration is that I swam 2-4 hours a day on a competitive swim team. The doctor assured them that I was healthy with an enviable metabolism. Sure, I could stand to gain a few pounds but that will come. (And oh boy, did it come.) But even with that experience, my sister and I would compare our thighs.

“Look how mine jiggles,” she would say. “I’m fat.”

“No,” I would counter, “Mine jiggles more. Look.” And I would prove that I was fatter.

In my twenties, my now ex husband (and I’m embarrassed that I’m admitting this) would actually wrap his arm around my waist, making sure he could get his fingers all the way around. I knew what he was doing. He was making sure that I was staying thin. I dreaded wearing a bathing suit, certain that everyone could see my (non-existent) pooch or my thunder thighs. I was actually told by a doctor that my body fat percentage was too low to get pregnant (we were struggling to start a family) and I still looked in the mirror and saw fat.

And then menopause hit. Early. Age 35. And I started gaining weight. At 40, because I was peri-menopausal and my body fat percentage was now optimal for pregnancy, I got my surprise miracle baby. I gained almost 50 pounds during the pregnancy and only lost about 30 after he was born. Now, when I look in the mirror, I pinch way more than an inch in way more than one place. And I think, I’m still fat.


I see pictures of myself when I was younger and wonder how in the world? How in the freaking world did I ever think I was fat?

But I did.

Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so fat if I’d had an amazing mother like this one with this amazing response to her 7-year-old’s statement that she thought she was fat. I actually teared up with joy and longing and love.

(Please take the time to read this post. Simply amazing. And may you never, ever, ever look into the mirror and think “fat.”)


Filed under Lessons Learned, Moms, Motherhood