Elton John, Weather, and Oops! There Goes The Last of My Sun

 “Don’t let the sun go down on me”…

album-elton-john-greatest-hitsI can hear those words now just as I heard them during the summers of my childhood blaring out of the community swimming pool loudspeakers. I haven’t heard them in a while. Those old Elton John lyrics are running through my mind this morning.  Southern Oregonians this last week experienced a beautiful week of sunny weather in the high 60’s to mid 70’s.  It was a definite precursor to the wonderful sunny and dry weather we usually enjoy during our summers.  Contrary to popular folklore, not all parts of Oregon are soaked in rain most of the year.  I live in one of the sunnier regions.  Less populated for sure, but it’s worth the wonderful warm dry summers and mild winters and the year round outdoor activities we enjoy. 

sunshineblogaward1 This morning, however, the weather abruptly changed.  Lower temps and some rain welcomed me upon waking.  I figure now is probably as good a time as any (and probably long overdue) for me to reveal my last three picks for the Sunshine Award.

There is one particular blogger I especially enjoy.  She’s the first I check on my iPhone, when I do have time to check and won’t risk being interrupted.  She’s an excellent writer and she’s set the bar for me in writing, blogging, and enduring all of life’s craziness in stride.  Hopefully a stiletto adorned stride, but in stride none the less.  She’s an amazing person and if it fits within the parameters of the Sunshine Award to receive it twice then BigLittleWolf at Big Little Wolf’s Daily Plate of Crazy gets it from me for sure!  C’mon, she should win the award for her blog title alone, but read her stuff.  She writes daily and it is never the same ole, same ole.  I love this woman.  

Next on the list is a fun foodie mom with a big blog I like to visit called, The Kitchen Witch.  She cracks me up and, well, one of these days I’ll try one of her recipes…maybe.  Those burgers she had posted today looked pretty delish.  I’d rather use her personal chef services but, well, post divorce finances and all, I’m going to have to just suck it up and learn to cook.  Ugh.  But seriously, go check her out if you haven’t already.  The picture on her blog is hysterical! Are you kidding me?  Who would think to do that?  Props for that!  I think TKW already got this award from someone somewhere but WTH she’s getting it again.   

The third source of sunshine for me on this day (oh, my the sun really is coming out again!) is a new blog for me.  Not a single mom blog, but definitely a fun read is Gabrielle at The Wifey Blogs. She’s funny, and takes me back to the days when my own children were young.  She’s starting out on some amazing adventures in her young married life and you can read about it all at her blog. She’s also got an amazing blog roll so when you get done reading Gabrielle’s stuff you can go visit the many other amazing bloggers she’s listed there.  I intend to do just that, even though for me it could take thousands of years and cost millions of lives.  

So, that wraps it up for the Sunshine Awards, for me, anyway.  Whew! Now, blog friends and award winners, go spread your own bit of sunshine by awarding this award to ten other bloggers of your choosing.  I look forward to visiting you and those wonderful sunny bloggers you pick.  Enjoy the sun while it lasts! 

What’s Cooking & Other Kitchen Games

emeril1_t290 I’m pitching a reality TV show idea to Hollywood.  This show would feature any number of really excellent cooks (Rachel Ray, Paula Dean, and, ooh la la Emeril (Bam!) to name a few) who would come in to the studio kitchen and attempt to teach me how to cook. I would then attempt (keyword: attempt) to make the dish or the meal, right there on national television.  It’s a bit like Julie & Julia because, of course I would be attempting to imitate a great cook, but it would also combine elements of some other reality TV shows like Survivor.  The audience members getting drawn to sample the finished product (would they be the contestants or the judges?) would be the ones trying to survive, of course.  The name of this new reality TV show?  You guessed it, “How To Screw Up A Really Great Meal”.  I can hear it now.  The studio audience applauding, the cameras swing into action panning the audience, lights go up full, the musical score plays and the announcer’s voice belts out my cue to go onstage, “This is How To Screw Up A Really Great Meal with your host, The Wild Mind!”  The crowd goes wild, because they truly hope that this episode will be the one where I finally pull off an edible attempt.

Sigh.  One can dream.

fantasy cook off Hell’s Kitchen

Truth of the matter is, I’ve never been comfortable in the kitchen until recently.  Growing up in my home, for me, and learning to cook with a dad who was first, an excellent cook himself, and two, anal retentive about leveling off every single cup, tablespoon and teaspoon.  Now, that’s not such a bad thing, but something happened between my father and I in the kitchen every time he tried to teach me a recipe that led to him getting frustrated with me and me in tears about it…or angry.  My memory of the experience is a bit Hell’s Kitchen-esque.  The result?  I gave up trying to cook.  By the time I really needed to cook to feed a family, there was no way on God’s green earth I was going to ever measure up to my, then, husband’s mom’s cooking or my now deceased father’s ability to measure and scoop so succinctly, so again, you guessed it, I gave up and quit trying.  I mean, who really enjoys slaving away for a couple of hours after a long day at work only to be greeted with criticism.  Throw the poor cook a bone and at least affirm the effort. Those of you wonderful family members out there who suffer in silence and still muster the lie, “It was great honey!” and manage to choke it down anyway, are to be commended.  You will soon be dining like kings instead of ordering out take-out. Anyway, enough of my deplorable kitchen issues. 

Cooking isn’t rocket science

One thing my dad did tell me was any fool who can read can learn to cook.  In fact, his attitude was that if you can read you can teach yourself to do anything and by the time I left home for college he’d proven that theory on a number of things in his own life.  It was pretty amazing.  So, while our father-daughter bonding kitchen experiences are less than ideal, my dad set a pretty great example in a bunch of areas. Learning things you have no clue how to do was one of them.

So, with that example, and with the added incentive that my poor children are starving, I’ve decided to, finally in midlife, do something I’ve really always wanted to do, but have never really made a commitment to doing.  I’m finding that cooking is a lot more fun than I expected. 

j0426457Since being single, I’ve found out that there are also many, many men who are not only great handy men, but they are skilled in the kitchen as well.  This leads me to think that gaining some kitchen knowledge might be a lot more fun than I previously thought.  After all, there’s a lot of fun to be had using hot pads, an egg beater and real butter.  Accompanying the meal preparations with a fine bottle of wine is a nice touch.  Later in the evening the adventurous cooking couple can advance to serving each other cocktails such as Sex On The Beach or Screwdrivers.  But for those, who like me, are uncertain of themselves in this new domain, I’d like to suggest these simple steps to enjoying a wonderful culinary experience. This is a combination cooking experience for beginners and a party game.  It is a versatile recipe.  Feel free to experiment with your own combinations and techniques.  As you gain confidence and skill, I’m sure you, too, will be able to develop your own personal culinary style.  If you’re more adept at the culinary arts maybe you could leave a comment and share what variations on this recipe you’ve tried. 

Recipe For Kitchen Success

Ingredients:

2 nicely shaped ripe oranges, one ripe but not over-ripe banana, saucepan, oven with working heat controls, 1 very flavorful Kielbasa, seasonings.

Instructions:

Step One:  Carefully and slowly, peel the oranges

Step Two:  Gently squeeze the oranges

Step Three: Savor the oranges as you simmer over a low heat and season to taste.

Step 4:  Continue savoring and simmering while stirring occasionally.

Step 4:  While simmering the oranges over a gradually increasing heat, peel the banana

Step 5:  When the oranges, banana and oven are fully heated…

Step 6:  Play Hide The Kielbasa

Enjoy!