Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Here Are Five Things

I've always wanted to do:

1. Have children.
2. Drive across the United States.
3. Make a really good flaky pie crust.
4. Live in London.
5. Read War and Peace.

Found in my bag:

1. Wallet.
2. Haddonfield Adult School Flyer.
3. Chanel lipstick(s).
4. Mirror.
5. Pen.

Found in my wallet:

1. $63.00.
2. Expired Macy's coupon.
3. A blank check.
4. An Amtrak receipt.
5. A receipt for a "secret sushi" lunch at Fuji. (Secret Sushi is when my girlfriend Lisa and I meet for lunch, spend way too much and don't tell our husbands. Guess the cat's out of the bag now!)

I'm currently into:

1. Knitting for a friend's baby-to-be.
2. Dolcetto d'Alba.
3. Perfecting my cookie competition recipe.
4. Lots of library books.
5. Exercising maniacally.

Monday, November 26, 2007

For the third year running, my good friend Lisa and I are engaged in a cookie contest. We formerly had only one category – “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” – but have now expanded to it to include a “Best All Around Cookie.” For the contest, a bunch of us assemble in her super duper gourmet kitchen with several ovens, a Wolf range with six burners and enough counter space to draw and quarter a couple of cows. It’s a great kitchen to cook in and to just mill about in. So anyway, there’s a few of us who compete, but none so keenly as Lisa and me.

I have won “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie” two years running now through no fault of my own. I’m an underbaker and I use Ghiradelli chips, which the *judges* appear to like. The bragging rights that go with winning this extremely informal award are worth it alone. I torture her all year! But it’s good natured. Lisa’s my cooking pal, someone I speak to nearly every night as we are both whipping up dinner. We compare notes, take each other leftovers and have a great thing going in this department. We joke that everyone is lucky to know us, but secretly we really believe it.

Anyway, I’m mad obsessed with winning “Best All Around Cookie” and Chris tells that he thinks I am too competitive. It’s fun for us! Lisa likes the competition as much as I do and I don’t think it’s competitive in anything but a really fun way, although I do think she may have been taken aback when I mentioned bringing my potential entries into my coffee group for them to try. Chris kept saying “Can you believe she has a focus group?”

My friend Joanna also thinks we’re too competitive. She’s the type who helps her opponents with their questions in Trivial Pursuit. That’s just wrong.

I grew up competing, playing games, racing each other across the length of our swimming pool, seeing whose test grades were higher and so forth. It was all in good fun. My mom and dad really fostered this in us and I grew to enjoy it. If you’re going to play, you might as well win. My parents never let us win anything as kids, not monopoly, cards, dominoes, scrabble (which I am crap at by the way) or anything else.

But if you’re going to compete, you also have to be willing to lose from time to time. I just lost a fifty dollar bet about a song lyric. Ironically, it was Lisa’s husband Mike to whom I lost. Go figure.

I’m fairly easy going. I think that I play with and share with others well. I have a lot of friends most of whom get a kick out of competition. But I do wonder why some folks get unnerved by a competitive nature. Do you?

P.S. The contest is December 8th. My entry is French Chocolate Macarons as suggested to me by my friend Mia. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We’ve had a great time these past few weeks entertaining in our home. Whether it’s just us with Lisa and Mike and their two Australian Shepherds or a big party full of half the town, the two of us really enjoy having the house full of friends and kids and dogs and lots of laughter.

Saturday night a week ago, we had our friends Tara and Will in from London, and in honor of their visit, we really threw a kick-ass tapas party that didn’t break up till four a.m. I think it’s one of the best parties we’ve ever had (right up there with the Good Friday Bonfire, don’t ask) in terms of an interesting mix of people, good food and good booze. It was chilly outside and we had a blaze going in the back yard and people were going in and out between the tapas, the keg and the fire, the crisp smell of which lingered in the air. It really was a good night with no sour notes as far as I am concerned. I whipped up a lot of varieties of tapas and some of my pals brought them as well. Maria brought her amazing homemade truffles which were so good that Dan was making them for himself on Tuesday! Lynne brought gorgeous and very elegant looking canapés. Lisa put together shrimp in a garlic sauce and Suzanne and Mike both brought their special sangria renditions. There was a really nice spread of things to eat. Our neighbors strolled in very late in evening formalwear and started hammering at the keg beer and the tapas. It was a fun night. On Sunday, Chris, Will, Tara and I all cozied up in the living room and ate the leftovers while we had more wine. It was nice for me as I hadn’t spent much time with them before and I enjoyed getting to know them better.

Three days later, we crazily hosted fifteen family members for Thanksgiving and it went off without a hitch thanks to the help of both of my sisters and their daughters as well as my cousin Julie’s partner Delores who fits in better with my mother’s crazy Italian side of the family than with Julie’s WASPy and very proper side of the family, of which my dad was a member. But both sides blend really well and the conversation flows very well.

Since Friday though, we’ve been doing some major league chilling plopped on the couch reading and watching movies. It’s been a great little respite for both of us but I am getting a bit antsy today to go somewhere or cook something. The Eagles play tonight and we’ll wander over to the Evans’ to watch them get pummeled by the Patriots – not sure what the afternoon holds.

All in all, a fun and somewhat exhausting few weeks – a great start to the holiday season here!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Would it help if I said I constantly think about blogging? No, I didn't think so.

I sit at the computer for a silly amount of time most weekdays, but I rarely can get the energy to blog. Gah. if I can exercise 5 or 6 times a week, which to me is human torture, I ought to be able to blog.

Will and Tara will be in from London for the weekend and we are having a party on Saturday night. At first, it was going to be a small gathering of friends, now it's a full blown party. Oh well, ought to be fun. There ought to be about thirty people in attendance - a nice mix. I feel sort of bad that I cannot invite everyone, but the truth is that party throwing with homemade food is a big job and if I don't pare the guest list, I won't have fun because it will be too much like work. Problem is that everyone in this small town knows everyone and word is probably out. Oh well. Some folks I like an awful lot but do not socialize with them in their homes or in ours, but I still enjoy their company and they mine. I gotten over my need to be on everyone's list. I absolutely understand that there is a line that must be drawn when it comes to issuing invitations. Cut me out by all means! But I am a good guest it must be said. When we were young and full of mischief and fun, Peggy and I called ourselves the "party savers" because we thought we livened up any event and truthfully we did, and we still do. But I don't mind getting axed at all! Axe me if you must.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is in three weeks. We have a rather large group coming to our house and I need to get cracking on a plan. I should make up the menu, make a list of groceries and a strategy list. Go ahead, laugh - it works!

We're also having a small tapas party the Saturday night before Thanksgiving when Will and Tara roll into town from London. I haven't seen them since their wedding in Dublin, but Chris saw them recently in London. I am looking forward to it. We're also planning a quiet night alone with them at Fuji.

Really trying with the blog entries. Got content, now I need meaning...