The Wine Incident of 2007

Last night, Handsome and I were sitting in the game room, on the great, big comfy sofa, watching a movie. An action-adventure movie, in 5.1 Dolby surround sound, on his big-screen TV.

And suddenly the evil, treacherous, bad guy came out of nowhere, slamming into the car window in his (soon-to-be failed) attempt to kill our hero, Bruce Willis. (The bad guy should have known that he couldn’t kill Bruce, but I guess he didn’t read that part of the script.)

Anyway, the attack was so sudden, so unexpected, such a surprise (at least to me) that I nearly jumped out of my skin. Which meant that my glass of wine really did jump out of its glass. Into my face, onto my sweater, all over my blanket, over the back of the couch and onto the floor behind me. Can you imagine?!?!

At least we had a good laugh while we cleaned up my mess.

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New Year’s Resolution #1

Experience fewer flight delays this year. (Of course, this requires the cooperation of the airlines and the weather.)

My final flight of the year was scheduled to leave Seattle at 11:00 AM. We didn’t leave till 12:45 PM. Which would mean that my connecting flight would be arriving in Austin about the time I touched down in Dallas. The only good news was that my connection at DFW was delayed three hours – so I didn’t miss my only way home. Thank God for small favors.

This comedy of errors and weather has been consistent for me ALL FREAKING YEAR! I cannot remember the last time any of my flights departed or arrived on schedule.

It all started in February when the snow and ice delayed my flight so severely that Handsome and I had to miss our connection to Maui (!!!!!) and spend 8 hours in LAX – which is quite possibly the worst airport on the planet. We lost a whole day of swimming and sunbathing. Wah!

Then in April, the security line was so long in Sea-Tac that I actually missed my flight to Austin. By about 1 minute. The plane was still parked at the gate, still attached to the building. But they had only just closed the door and refused to let me on. I actually cried right there at the airport in front of God and everyone.

At Thanksgiving, my connection was so tight that I had to hijack a golf cart for the 10 minute drive (the walk would have taken half an hour). The nice lady dropped me off at my gate as they announced the final boarding call. Then we sat on the tarmac for two hours. Houston was experiencing lightening storms and the whole airport was shut down. But at least I was on that plane!

Every single flight to anywhere outside the state of Washington included a 1-2 hour delay. Weather, mechanical problems, more weather, security checks, so many problems. It just wasn’t my year for air travel.

But, I’m hoping 2008 will be better. Here’s hoping the universe cooperates with my resolution.

Happy Solstice

Today is the shortest day of the year and marks the turning of autumn to winter. The upshot is that we’ll start (slowly) to have more daylight.

This never seemed to be a big deal to me until I started spending so much of my time above the 45th parallel, in an environment that is generally grey and overcast. I have learned that eight measly hours of sunlight just isn’t enough for a girl raised in the South. We need sunshine and lots of it.

And on top of all this, I’m flying home early tomorrow morning where we get ten hours of sunshine on the shortest day of the year. And where, even in winter, the grey skies are few and far between.

So, today I celebrate the solstice. Thank God for Texas, and here’s to more sunlight!

Sudden Realization

I don’t know why it’s taken a lifetime of reading to realize this, but it’s true. I love the happy ending.

I like romantic comedies and cowboys riding into the sunset. I like it when the crime gets solved, the bad guys get what they deserve, and the good guys live happily ever after. Or at least to fight the next set of bad guys who will also get what they deserve.

And I only like scary books and movies when the heroine* gets to kick butt and win the sexy guy.

*Yes, I said heroine. I’m a bit of a feminist at heart. And like any neo-feminist, I like pretty lingerie, never having to lift anything heavier than a champagne flute, and polite gentlemen who open doors. And of course, I admire dangerous women who can take care of themselves and still win the heart of the tall, dark, and handsome man.

Gifts of Christmas Past

I was reading over at A Girl and A Boy about memorable Christmas presents, and Leah asks the question, “What was the best gift you ever gave and/or received?”

Well, let me tell you about that.

Nearly a decade ago, I bought Handsome a trench coat for Christmas – about two weeks before the big day, actually. It was long and water-resistant, warmly lined, and had a leather collar. It was (and still is) beautiful. The store wrapped it for me in a huge box with a big ribbon. I hid it under the bed.*

Christmas Eve rolls around, and he’s dutifully loading the sleigh for our three-hour trek to our family’s houses. It was also one of the coldest Christmas Eve’s on Texas record. He carried four loads of luggage and presents down three flights of exposed stairs. And the super-warm trench coat was still in its box, under the bed. The poor man was freezing.

And I could do something about that! So, as he enters the apartment for the final time, I’m beaming in front of the fireplace with a giant box. “I thought you should open this one now,” I announce – beaming proudly at the surprised look on his face.

Only, once he tore into the package and pulled out the coat, he was no longer surprised. He looked a little pissed. Oh sure, he loved the coat, but “I could have used this an hour ago. You mean while I was freezing my butt off, you had this here the whole time?!?!”

He still wears the coat, and he loves it. He has used it every winter since then. And, he reminds me every year of what that perfect present cost him.

I still think it’s pretty funny.

*It turns out that “under the bed” is a great place to hide things from Handsome. He never looks there. Sneaky, sneaky me.

Half a Bag of Spinach

Earlier this week, we all tried our hand at Nutmeg Spinach. But we still have half a bag left over. So here’s what I came up with:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. diced prosciutto (they should sell this in your grocer’s deli, but you can use a couple strips of chopped bacon if you can’t find it)
  • 1/2 lb. quartered crimini mushrooms (or white, shitake, or oyster mushrooms – up to you)
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, cut in 1-2 inch lengths
  • 2 diced Roma tomatoes (or other sweet tomato)
  • half a bag of spinach (we hate to waste food)
  • cooked pasta (I used campanella, but orichette, penne, bowtie, or other shaped pasta will do the trick)

Begin by sauteeing the prosciutto in a little olive oil until you can smell it – delicious. Add in the mushrooms and asparagus, continuing to saute until they’re nice and tender, about 10 minutes. Quickly add the tomatoes, spinach, and pasta. Stir it all together until the spinach is just wilted. Take it off the heat*.

For seasoning, use a little pepper and basil. If you’re feeling wild, add some fresh chopped garlic along with the tomatoes and spinach in the last step. You won’t need any salt with this dish as the prosciutto (or bacon) will be enough.

Serve warm with fresh parmesan cheese and the beverage of your choice.

Buon Appetito!

*I’m not using exact heat measurements here, because I cook on a gas range. Always have. By my guess, we’re at a little less than half-flame. Enough to work quickly but still not burn the food. Use your best judgement – you know how to cook on your stove.