Monday, February 27, 2006

Que Excitement! (Or a Good Photographer is Always Prepared)

I don't like to make two posts in one day but this American Moron has something to say. First my house was surrounded by 5 firetrucks. I felt like Alice Kravitz peering out the window trying to figure out what was going on. I did overcook my steak but did one of my neighbors actually notice that? As I was home alone I figured I better check from the outside that my house wasn't on fire. No it wasn't. Oh well, I figured the local firemen were just...meeting. On my corner. I commenced to watch tv. After awhile I remembered I had to get laundry out of the dryer and I headed for the barn. When I opened the front door the first thing I noticed is what looks like fire on the windows of the little house. I had already forgotten the firetrucks I had seen earlier. What is wrong with me? Before I can even process it all I am surrounded by firemen. I suddenly realize that the chicken house that is maybe 40? feet away from my home was completely blazing. I have no idea how long that thing is but it is long. The firemen tell me the smoke is blowing my way and to turn the heat off because that will suck it right in the house. I look up and see the darkest mass of black smoke I have ever seen heading my direction They are standing at the corner of my house and periodically checking the freaking temperature of it w/their hands. Reassuring, let me tell you. Naturally John is not home. When the hurricane came and knocked down all the trees I was here alone also. The saddest part is Johnny, who loves a campfire is not home either. I run for the digital camera. I can't get it to focus...

What the heck!? I keep trying but I can't do it. Beautiful shots of the firemen silhouetted by the fire are passing me by. They are checking the temperature of my home again and yelling out for the hose. Suddenly they are spraying the corner of my house with the firehose. I have John on the cell who is mad that anyone is touching his house. I remind him its just water. I remember the regular SLR and I get some shots but that does you the reader no good. I decide to try the digi one more time. Oh dumbass...I have it set on macro from all the damn pictures of pictures I was taking for myspace. Well all the good shots have passed me by. The fire is petering out but here's one anyway...

Lame I know...

Bummer. How often does the opportunity to take pictures of a blazing fire come along?
Actually, around here there is a chicken house on every corner that needs to be burned down. Next time I will try to be better prepared.

My Space

My new addiction is my space. I had certainly heard of it but never had any interest in it. While I was checking out the web page of the band Lower Class Citizens (they are friends of Taylor and Michaels and John and I are friends of their parents) I stumbled upon my space. You have to click a link on the Lower Class Citizens site to listen to their music (excellent) and it takes you to their band page on myspace. Under the friends comments section I saw my little Taylor and I clicked on her name and "VOILA!" (you know who that was for) I arrived at Taylor's page which was very cute. Then I thought I would surprise her by making a page for John and I and then leaving a comment with some parental advise. It turned into this monster that I spent all weekend working on. It takes me hours to figure things out on the computer. My background alone... So after all that I go to her site. Armed w/the thought that she will be so surprised to see a comment from Mom and Dad and our picture on her hip page, I go to comment and it won't let me. She has to accept my request first. Bummer! All that work. No sneak attack! The good news is that just anyone can't go on her page but the bad news...

I am still waiting to be accepted......

Friday, February 24, 2006


With the closing of the Globe Theater I was able to acquire a few things that I have been coveting, in some cases for years. The print above is by the artist Ann Zahn. She has a studio in Bethesda. I admire all her work and I am very interested in her medium which is etching, woodcut, lithography and linoleum cut. I know nothing about any of those but apparently she learned about printmaking at Montgomery College. I am always in the wrong place at the wrong time. I guess I will sit around here and wait until a class like that comes around here. (sigh) The print above that I bought is her tribute to the artist Arshille Gorky (an Armenian artist) and his famous painting titled The Artist and His Mother, 1926 -1935 . Gorky is known as an abstract expressionist artist so this is unlike most of his paintings but I love it. Ann Zahn's beautiful interpretation is as close as I'll ever get. I have never been able to find a print of the real one.

I also got this beautiful terrarium which I have an orchid in for now while I consider other ideas. Feel free to suggest some. I bought a smaller white one...

and these two glass containers which I considered using as terrariums as I tend to get obsessed with a subject but I guess I will not.

So any ideas?

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I received a card yesterday from a former beach bum friend of ours, Mrs. Kraft. She enclosed pictures including this one of her and Lisa.

And this one of John and I at the very beginning. Bad, bad 80's hair on me but look at that John.

She said she doubted we would ever meet again since the beach has passed her by. She can't bear it without her wonderful husband. I hope that's not true.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I just got the new Sergio Mendes CD at Starbucks. You can get it on Amazon though. Go to this Amazon link to listen to some samples of it. Members of my clan will remember Mas Que Nada from his Brazil '66 years. It's on this CD only the Black Eyed Peas are featured on the song. Fun. So many good artists are on this CD. Lots of Will.I.Am, Erykah Badu, Q-tip, John Legend, India Arie and lots of others. I can't get this one out of my car CD player.

Check out the this link for the Elizabethtown Soundtrack. I saw the movie the other night and the soundtrack was "dank". The movie was... cute. A movie that I really loved was A Love Song for Bobby Long. John Travolta and Scarlett Johanssen. Really, really good movie. Go rent it. It takes place in New Orleans and the soundtrack for this film sounds great also.

Is anyone watching Dancing with the Stars? I would go on that show in a second if only I were a star. Lisa and Louie were robbed. The whole part about fan base and the fans voting off talented dancers is whacked. Jerry Rice should have been voted off. He's too stiff. Why doesn't he feel guilty about that?

How about Grey's Anatomy and Boston Legal. I discovered these two shows when I was obsessively watching channel 7 during the holidays so I could see Michael's greeting from overseas. Meanwhile friends were spotting him on channel 6 YET channel 7 had called me and told me to watch! THANKS FOR THE EXTRA HOLIDAY STRESS!

Back to the shows...William Shatner and James Spader are so good on Boston Legal I am totally addicted. It takes me back to when Taylor and Michael and I had that subsidized housing, roach infested apartment and we would all be in bed together watching L.A. Law. (They were actually sleeping not watching as they were babies.) Good times.... And that Patrick Dempsey on Greys Anatomy. He is not the only reason I watch though seriously. It's a very good show.

On to scents. Ever since Carla gave me (yes Carla again) those great Voluspa candles for Christmas all my other candles seem... just cheap. The scent that these candles emit is so luxurious. Sorry I have no link. Maybe Carla will comment.
And finally, did you get Girl Scout Cookies this year? I am enjoying the new Cafe cookie. Great with tea.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


A certain person I know re-gifted a professional waffle iron this Christmas. Oh we laughed about it, didn't we? If it was still unopened in my pantry next Christmas I would re-gift. Well while I was in NYC Taylor came to watch her siblings and took the thing right out and raved about the PERFECT waffles she had made.

Last Saturday morning I thought, "Hmmmm.....could it work that well. Maybe I should try it. After all, when was the last time I had waffles? Why not? How hard could it be?" Dear re-gifter, it couldn't have been any easier!

There is a scoop that gives you the exact amount of batter to pour on. You pour, shut, turn and wait. When your waffle is exactly (and I mean exactly) right it will let you know with a pleasant "DING". You open....

and "Voila!"

Pretty good. Pretty, pretty, good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Listen up Taylor. Tonight's dinner received Lisa's highest compliment. "That was DANK. "
According to Websters dank means : Uncomfortably damp; wet and cold. That does not describe my dinner. Yet DANK is good to Lisa and her friends. Slang.
This recipe came from Sue. She gave me some ham and this idea.

Melt about 3/4 of stick of butter in a pan. A little olive oil. As much or as little garlic as you like. Chop some red pepper in thin strips or little bits (which is what I do to sort of camouflage it from Johnny). Add a bag of fresh baby spinach (or 2 depending how much you want). Saute it all. I decided to add some lemon juice. Half a lemon. Then I think about a cup of cream. Then I decided to add wine. Maybe a 1/4c. white. I played a little with the thickness of it adding little bits of wine. Then I added grated Parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour it over cooked Gnocchi. It's in the freezer section. Oh and I added just a pinch of nutmeg. Oh right and you have to add the ham. Duh. And do that before you add salt. Your probably all thinking, "Wow that recipe is so organized she should write a cookbook." Anyway it does taste really awesome.

Monday, February 13, 2006


In the spirit of 'get your own happiness' I planned a trip for John and I to NEW YORK CITY to celebrate my birthday. In the past we have stayed at the Waldorf Astoria but when I went to make reservations I couldn't believe how their prices went up so instead I booked us at the Millenium Hilton . I must say, I was worried because I can be a little uptight about my hotel rooms and I had never stayed in the Financial District but no worries. We really lucked out because for some reason they weren't busy and we were able to check in early. Our room looked exactly like the one on their home page and we loved the Financial District. Now we were a little surprised when we opened the curtains in our room. As you can see in the photo we looked right down on the WTC site. Hmmm....

But we had a great view of the Hudson River.

So after John unpacked his bags (umm...who puts there clothes in the drawers when you are only there 2 nights?) we ventured out into the city!

First stop...Lucky Brand Jeans Store in Soho because the birthday girl needed some new jeans. And so for the next couple hours we shopped in Soho, the Village, canal street (I wasn't prepared) and then back to Soho where we stumbled upon Balthazar! Yes, that's right the same Balthazar where Carrie and the girls from Sex and the City had trouble getting a table to sit at and drink Cosmos and eat the fabulous food that Martha Stewart is always raving about. Yes my friends that Balthazar . As it was around 2 p.m. I kind of thought we had a slim chance of getting a table. I was right! It was every bit as good as everything I have ever heard. We ordered a glass of wine and John had the Grilled Chicken Paillard salad w/roasted tomato and Parmesan and I had the Grilled Brook Trout over a warm spinach, walnut and lentil salad. Dreamy.... We got our check and a signed copy of their cookbook...

Eventually we got back to our lovely room where I went over all the "leads" I had for dinner. I always save recommended places from In Style Magazine for future trips to NYC. Strip House was one of those. It was right in the Village and plenty of stars had made the scene. We called to see if we could possibly get in and yes they could give us a table in the lounge..."Take it!" I say to John. "Gisele prefers the dimly lit bar." Let me tell you, we were not disappointed.

We started w/Cosmos natch...

John ordered the Strip Steak because when he asked the waiter what would be better the strip or the tenderloin he said "'s a clue. The place is named STRIP HOUSE." Ummm...okay. I ordered the tenderloin. 'Cause whatever...I can't eat a whole big ass steak. John also ordered the fries because the article recommended them and I got a side of creamed spinach because the waiter recommended it and I do love spinach.

Then another Cosmo...

I must say this was THE BEST food I ever ate. We enjoyed every bite. I wish I had taken a picture of the food. The fries came in a silver bowl and my spinach in a cute little copper pot. Way too much. Next time I would order one side and share. It is definitely a share size order. Of course I don't like fries and John doesn't like spinach so...

John goes to the men's room and because we want you to share everything w/us....

I didn't have to go. Sorry ladies. I did ask the bus boy to take a picture of the cooks in the kitchen. He obviously didn't understand me.

Well, even though we were stuffed we couldn't leave without ordering the 24-layer chocolate cake. Of course a certain someone didn't think to ask for a candle but whatever.

It was huge! I had a couple bites and John had more than a couple and then we wrapped it up for a midnight snack later.
On our way home we saw a DSW. No biggy for the rest of you but we live in Worcester County so we had to stop. I found a pair of really cool Chinese Laundry shoes and John comes around the corner w/the biggest grin on his face and a box of SALE WORK BOOTS!!!!! Oh my god! Could it really be true? The only thing that makes John happier than a piece of chocolate cake is SALE WORK BOOTS. We were quite a piece down the road when I asked "Hey, where is the cake?" That's right...John left the cake right where he found the boots. We tried to tell ourselves we didn't need the calories


John goes to the gym and I order a pot of coffee and lounge. Sorry...I did not come to NYC to workout.

It looked like it was going to be a nice day.

Today we had tickets for the 2:00 showing of The Pajama Game starring Harry Connick Jr. so we were in a hurry to fit stuff in before then. We shot up to Zabars and then went to the Chelsea flea market. The Chelsea flea market is kinda gone. There is still stuff there but the main flea market has moved to Hell's Kitchen. So now it's the Hells Kitchen Flea Market One of my favorite stalls (and actually I can't remember if this one was in Chelsea or the new place) is this one with metal furniture. They sandblast all this ugly painted stuff. I love it but where would I put it?

But we got nice magazine rack.
After that we dropped everything off at the hotel and we were off to see Harry! We were a little early so we were on our way to the lounge on the 5th floor when we ran into Carla's friend Megan Lawrence. She plays Gladys in the show. She was very sweet and talked to us and let me take her picture. She was great in the show. Very talented.

We had met her on another visit to NYC w/Carla, Scott, Rita and John when we all went to see "Urinetown". Great show and she was fabulous in it. Of course she didn't remember me from that time and didn't know who the hell I was and I had to announce I was Carla Della Torre's sister. Like Rita when she saw Harvey Keitel in the Manolo Blahnik store I wouldn't have said anything if it weren't a friend of the family. John would.

The show was awesome. Harry's voice was like "butta". I loved the set design and was totally entertained. It really was a fabulous show. Go see it!

So after the show we did more shopping. My wonderful,wonderful husband never complains. And he handles all the wild-ass cabbies beautifully. I wish I would have taken a picture of the cab riders rights posted in the cabs. I have none of those rights I assure you. A cab driver who is polite and courteous? and doesn't speak on a cell phone? and obeys traffic laws? AN ODOR FREE CAB? I always feel like I am on an amusement park ride.
Anyway I did try on a lot of jeans because that was my mission. We went back to the room and I had hoped we could eat at the infamous
Odeon where in the 80's the SNL gang and others used to eat and party. It was very close to us in Tribeca. We called and got a reservation for 9:30 which was fine w/me because I needed a nap. It was hard to wake up but I wasn't going to wimp out while I was in NYC. So off we went to another great dinner at a great spot. I got my ticket too.
When it came time for dessert we just couldn't think of anything we wanted except that damn chocolate cake from the night before. So hey! why don't we go back and get a piece to go? We tried to get a cab but due to the rain it wasn't working. So what the hell...John gets us a town car. I like this guy. Later back at the room...

Oh yes we did!

Day 3 sadly checked out of our room and then took one last spin around NYC. We had to make a stop at Grays Papaya where they serve the best hotdogs in the world. A visit to NYC would not be complete for John w/o stopping here. We shopped some more and then ate some more. Our favorite pizza place in the city is Angelo's. Okay, now we can go home. Or should I say now we have to go home.
Mary Della Torre

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