Monthly Archives: March 2014

Pizza time

The title of this blog illustrates the broad selection of topics I’ll write about it. I think I’ll go ahead and talk about pizza today. First of all, I don’t have a favorite type of pizza. I like N.Y. style thin, Chicago pan, wood-fired artisanal – even those individual English muffin pizzas we made with our childhood friends during sleepovers.

As for toppings, I’m a meat and cheese girl. I do not like green/bell/sweet peppers or onions on my pizza. (I don’t like bell peppers at all.) Tomatoes, zuke, squash, artichoke hearts are ok pizza veggies. I would rather have pepperoni and sausage with double cheese.

My favorite meat and cheese pizza: Chicago stuffed pizzDSC_1067a with sausage, courtesy of Giordano’s on Rush Street. Uno does an ok deep dish, and there’s one right down the street, but it’s not Giordano’s. We have a tradition with Giordano’s and Chicago: Our first meal in the city will be at Giordano’s. The picture on the right is from our last trip to the Windy City, circa December 2011. And look at it… Wow! That’s some good-lookin’ ‘za. And no normal person can eat more than two pieces. Seriously.

For all the folks who say you can like either New York or Chicago style pizza, I say, bologna! It’s like saying you have to choose between apples and bananas. They’re not even the same. I’ll take a cheese or a cheese and pepperoni slice of New York thin pizza. Served with a little grease and some extra napkins. Fold it in half and enjoy! You don’t eat a slice with a knife and fork any more than you eat deep dish with your hands. The extra bonus from that slice: a slight garlic scent that sticks with you for the rest of the day.

A tasty wood-fired pizza has a nice char on the bottom and a couple of big puffy spots in the dough. I don’t care for the “less is more” method of topping these pizzas, since I think “more is more” with pizza toppings. These fancy pizzas are more like decorated bread than pizza. Sure, you can get some great combinations of pancetta and fig and arugula and fresh mozzarella, but if you’re jonesin’ for pizza, it will not satisfy.

We make pizza a lot at home. My husband makes the dough and we both choose toppings. I like pesto, chicken, provolone and thinly sliced Roma tomatoes. I like banana peppers, Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami, soppressata and crispy bacon too, but the pesto and chicken has been my preference the last few times we’ve made it. Sometimes I put sauce on my homemade pizzas, but I make killer pesto and keep it in the freezer for times like this.

So for those who choose only one type of pizza, whatever floats your boat. I see no reason to pick just one when there are so many tasty options.

Can we talk?

“Never talk about politics or religion.” I’ve heard that before, and I’m pretty sure that rule is for someone else. Why not talk about politics or religion? I thoroughly enjoy a spirited debate on a complex topic. I don’t mean flinging around sound bites or emotional crap. I’m talking about a well-thought, fact-based discussion.

In a civilized society, shouldn’t we be able to discuss abortion without slugging someone? You hate “Obamacare,” yet you can’t explain to me what it is – exactly – that you hate. The Second Amendment means anyone can have any kind of gun they want, and I’ll shoot ya if you say otherwise. There are very few absolutes in life, yet each of these three topics will illicit completely vehement responses. But what is the truth? What is the reality?

In reality, abortion is legal in the United States. Citizens have a Constitutional right to own guns. And the number of uninsured Americans is declining because of the Affordable Care Act. Those are truths. Our feelings on these topics will vary, but they, too, come from truths.

I believe abortion is very personal. It’s my own business whether or not I obtain an abortion. It’s not my business if you do. That’s my truth.

I believe in the Constitution. I believe America is a great – THE great – country. I don’t own a gun because I don’t want to own one. I believe I have the right to shop at the  mall or have a drink at the bar without wondering if the guy next to me is carrying a firearm. I have the right to feel safe. I’m smart and I allow our law-enforcement agencies to do their jobs. That’s my truth.

I believe Americans must be educated and healthy in order to compete in our global marketplace. The Affordable Care Act is making it possible for more people to access health care. I look forward to a time when more people have access to quality education. That’s my truth.

So if you want to talk, let me know. It doesn’t have to be a debate, but if it is, bring your “A” game.

Once again

It is Saturday night. It’s late, and I’m ready for bed. Instead of blowing off my blog post, I am here to say… I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m not able or willing to give some kind of pithy observations on the day. I’m tired. My husband was out of town for four nights, and he’s back now. I want to go to bed. And I’m sleepy. I’m done. G’ night.

Rock-star parking

The parking lot at the Hyde Park Plaza Kroger is awful. Anyone who has ever been there will agree with me. I believe in giving props when appropriate, so I must share today’s experience. It was NOT awful. In fact, it was good. It was so pleasant, I’m dedicating this blog post – number 15 of my 30 posts in 30 days goal – to the experience.

The Kroger at Hyde Park Plaza is a big store, but it’s not huge. The parking lot is an adequate size, but I think the spaces and lanes are smaller than normal. Whatever the cause, navigating the parking lot and parking the car is a challenge. In fact, I don’t like to go there purely because of the parking lot. But… there’s a liquor store inside, so we must make some sacrifices.

I drive the circuitous route required to get to Hyde Park Plaza from my home in Mount Washington and grit my teeth as I turn into the parking lot. I turn left, into the third lane of spaces. I can see there are a couple of spaces a few cars down, so I’m optimistic. Then I see it… Just past the two handicapped spaces… A space… For ME! I take it and dash into the store.

The inside of the store isn’t much better than the parking lot. It’s busy and looks old. (Think Acme #1 in Akron.) But I scoot through the checkout lanes, into the liquor store, pay and exit in record time – even after pausing to tell the cashier I have rock-star parking. Right as I get into my car, the car opposite me pulls out. I pulled through – sighing with relief there are no parking vultures cursing at me – and leave.

Immediately, I looked at the clock. In and out in less than 15 minutes. An experience worth remembering. “I remember that time I found a parking space at Kroger…” Just call me a rock star.

Creative juices

Crayons… paper… fabric… yarn… beads… Possibilities! I’m a craft-y person. I sew and knit. In fact, I’m sewing new pillows for my sunroom remodel right now. Part of being crafty is necessity. If you’ve ever looked for a plain blue pillow – just the right shade of blue – you know what I’m talking about. And when you find the perfect pillow, is it the perfect price? So, I tend to make my own.

I love to prowl the aisles of Jo-Ann Fabrics. The Crayola section, the thread display, the hundreds of quilting fabrics draw me like a moth. I touch everything. And I want all of it! I got spoiled by the selection at the Akron-area Jo-Ann stores. Those stores are huge! The nearest store of a decent size is 20-30 minutes from my home. I was in the neighborhood yesterday, so I’m in business now.

Sometimes, like with my sunroom project, my creativity is heading toward a specific purpose. Other times, I just need to know I have the creative resources around me. I told my husband – a man who loves a hardware store – that Jo-Ann is my version of the hardware store. Everywhere I turn, there’s something I need. (Hubby’s definition of hardware store “need”: If I don’t have it, and I want it, that means I need it.)

I’ve found a couple of things on Pinterest, but most of my sewing and art projects come from my head. I’m a very visual thinker. If I can envision how something is supposed to look, I can doodle it out and put it together. That’s how I ended up making pillows, window curtains and shower curtains. That, and being able to sew a straight stitch and a buttonhole.

Writing this, it occurs to me that my sewing machine came from Jo-Ann in Hudson, Ohio. So I guess I should thank Jo-Ann Fabrics for helping keep the creative juices flowing.

Self-esteem

Have you ever noticed that nobody really has good self-esteem? I mean, sure, some incredibly small percentage of people really feel good about themselves, but besides those people? The people who think they’re all that… not self-esteem. That’s arrogance. Those folks have the best (fill in the blank) money can buy. They’re important – just ask ’em. And they’re busy.

I’m not saying all busy people are arrogant. Obviously not. In fact, I’d say most of those really busy people have fairly low self-esteem. Saying how busy they are, emphasizes their importance. And if you say you’re not busy… ooooh. Are you unsuccessful? Because if you’re not busy, you have lots of time. And only unsuccessful people have lots of time?

I have average self-esteem. I know I’m smart, but what if the next person is smarter? Self-esteem is tied to emotions. I can logically know I’m smart, but I can’t help but feel something different.

I believe self-esteem is a myth, in that we’re supposed to strive for this really positive opinion of ourselves. We are what we are. If we are honest and kind and thoughtful, we should feel positively about ourselves. We shouldn’t believe we are better than anyone else, but we should be ok with who we are. We can CHOOSE to be ok with who we are.

Peeps

What is it with Peeps? They’re sugar covered with sugar. They taste like sugar. They are colored with crazy strong food coloring. I think the white ones may even have food coloring. They’re too white to be natural.

I like them, but I never eat more than a couple from any package. I buy them for my nieces and nephews, though. It’s kind of my signature thing. Aunt Stacy brings Peeps. It’s a lot easier to do it now, since there are only two or three months of the year Peeps aren’t “in season.” I remember, back in the day, when you could only get them at Easter…

At Easter, it makes sense to call them Peeps. Little chickies make a peeping sound, and we know spring is all about baby chicks, bunnies and all kinds of farm animals. It always throws me a bit when I see jack-o-lantern Peeps. Oh, I still eat them, but they’re not real Peeps.

The ones I love

It’s late, and I am ready for sleep. But I am thinking of all the love I have in my house right now. Besides my dear hubby, I am lucky to have a super special sister/friend and her two young ‘uns in the house. These three are family, and I love them all oodles and bunches and gobs. Just ask them. They’ll tell you.

I am one lucky woman.

Sundays

What is it about Sundays? They always feel slightly… “off.” Sunday is not a weekday, but it’s not part of the weekend, either. It’s the “pre-week.” Sunday is the day we compare our schedules, grocery shop and check homework – all things that point toward Monday.

I always thought I was alone in my Sunday funk. Turns out, it’s a real thing. From an old New York Times: “It is Sunday afternoon, sometime past 3 o’clock. The weekend hourglass is spilling its treasure. Only Sunday night remains before the Monday-morning blahs – return to the office, school or work. Imperceptibly at first, then unmistakably, there is company. The Sunday blues have dropped by for a visit… It’s the flip side of TGIF…”

The Huffington Post says the Sunday blues are real.

“The phenomenon is a real one – 78 percent of respondents in a recent international Monster.com poll reported experiencing the so-called ‘Sunday Night Blues.’ And a whopping 47 percent said they get it ‘really bad.’ In the U.S., that number jumps to 59 percent.”

How has Sunday gone from weekend to pre-week? By Wednesday, we’re already primed for the weekend. Some of start our weekends Thursday night. Lots of folks go out or make plans to go out after work Friday. Even though Friday is technically still a work day or school day… it’s FRIDAY! We’re all so excited. TGIF! We begin winding down as soon as the end of the week peeks around the corner.

Saturday is our day of freedom – even if it includes picking up dog food or dry cleaning. It’s the day we go to the park, the car wash and the mall. One week is behind us and the next one is far, far away. Until we wake up Sunday morning.

My pre-week is well on its way.

Saturday night

A good day that would have been better without this spring cold. Yes, I’ve decided it is a spring cold and not allergies. Either way, it’s a pain in my butt nose. My eyes, nose and ears are running. My sinuses and my neck are swollen. And I’m totally sleepy and tired but not really able to go to sleep.

In my effort to keep to my 30 blogs in 30 days goal, I’m here. But not for long. I think I’ll slather on some Vick’s and crawl under the covers. G’night!