Friday, March 30, 2012

When Dreams Collide

Giant, razor-sharp, jagged teeth...wrapped around my head and sinking in deeper and deeper....

The ferocious lion had me at it's mercy, and I was struggling with everything I had to escape the jaws of death.

And then I woke up.

Seriously. This is the freakin' nightmare I woke up from this morning, with my heart pounding and palms sweating...I really, really, really thought I was a goner.

I was the kibble for some random King of the Jungle, and it wasn't pretty.

(Maybe this was Karma calling for eating Kangaroo the other night? Surely not. Right??)

So tonight, I was describing my frightening dream for my family...going into vivid detail of just how the sharp incisors felt, sinking into my vulnerable skull.

A bit later, Hubby wants to share HIS dream from last night, and he begins by saying, "My dream was just bizarre. All I can remember is, I was eating raw meat in MY dream."


HE's eating raw meat? While I'M getting eaten by a lion?


I think not.

I looked at him in shock and horror, after I put 2 and 2 together, and shrieked, "You must have been BITING me in your sleep last night!!!!"


"Seriously!", I begin..."think about it! Why would I dream about getting eaten by a lion? At the same time, YOU'RE dreaming of eating raw meat??!!"

He blinks for a second, and then cracks up laughing.

"We seriously need to think about putting a video camera on ourselves when we're sleeping," he concludes with a sheepish grin.

I think not.

That would be even scarier than the actual dream.



Thursday, March 29, 2012

Black Gold & Texas Tea


I've been SUPER busy lately, what with all of this packing things on my truck, in anticipation for our big move to California.

Oh. Wait.

You haven't heard? We're moving to California?

Let me back up.

The other day, while doing one of my endless shuttles of Daughter-to-the-Orthodontist (I could do this drive in my sleep, I kid you not), I made a side comment that I was getting low on gas...which led to me debating, with myself, naturally, on whether I should stop then and get gas - and pay an exorbitant price - or gamble, wait a day or two, hoping the price goes down - but knowing that most likely, the price would shoot up even more. What to do, what to do?

Oh, come on. You've all had that debate, yourself. I'm not the only one.


I digress.

So, as I'm mumbling about "do I? Or don't I?" with regards to getting gas, my 12-year old Daughter pipes up.

"Oh, HEY! I almost forgot to tell you something!!!"

Well. She was so excited, that my first thought was perhaps she'd been awarded a full scholarship to college, or something. Hey. I can dream, right?

"What?" I asked, all hopeful.

"Gas prices are going to come DOWN!" she announces, and then sits back, all smug in her assuredness.

"What??" I asked, with a bit of disbelief.

"Yeah," she continues..."I was talking to Alison on the bus, and she said that her mom said that someone told HER that they're going to get OIL out of our lake and that's going to make the gas prices come down."

"WHAT??!!!!!" I shrieked. (Am I sounding like a broken parrot here, or is it just me?)

Now. Remember...we DO live on a lake. Lake Winnebago, to be exact...a community consisting of 1.9 square miles of land and .4 square miles of water. Really. Look it up on Wikipedia.

Yup...we may be small, but my teeny, tiny little lake is going to solve the national gas crisis. According to my 12-year old daughter and Alison.

Well...who knew? That we were going to be millionaires?

So, naturally, when my kinfolk heard, they told me California is the place we oughta' be, so I'm loading up our truck and we're moving to Beverly.

Hills, that is.

Swimming pools. Movie stars.

Black gold. Texas tea.

You all come back now, ya' hear?


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport

True confession time.

I am allergic to beef.

Now, think for a minute. I live in Kansas City - the home of the stockyards, as well as the famous Kansas City strip, being allergic to beef here is akin to growing up in Louisiana and being allergic to shrimp.

It's practically a sin.

I've dealt with my "disability" over the years by becoming what is known as a flexitarian - eating more plant-based meals and less meat. My "meat" is normally chicken, fish, pork, turkey or venison...and its worked out fine.

However, a new culinary experience the other night has me seriously considering becoming a kangatarian.

Yup. An actual word.

A kangaroo-based diet.

Sunday night, Hubby and I went to a French bistro here in town, Le Fou Frog, which is considered by some to be the best dinner in Kansas City you could possibly have.

Drinks were up first, and I couldn't decide between the chocolate martini or the chocolate raspberry martini. If you can read the descriptions of both, they both sounded equally tempting. I ended up choosing the raspberry chocolate martini.

Now...this was a fantastic drink. I mean, LOOK at it! It's a thing of beauty! However, if there was raspberry in there - I never tasted it. I'm going to assume that the waitress and/or bartender neglected to add the raspberry.

Do you see raspberry? I don't. Didn't taste it, either. Oh well.

On to the appetizer...we ordered the "fromage" - or cheese assortment. The waitress asked me, "Before I bring this, is there any cheese you don't care for?"

I just laughed. Lady - if it's a cheese? I like it. Bring it on.

The cheese tray was a thing of beauty...and it tasted as good as it looked. Yummy.

So, after some delicious soups, it was time to choose an entree. Here was a picture I took of their fish menu:

Normally, I'd go right for the salmon...but the red snapper intrigued me. I was leaning towards it, when I glanced down and perused the "meat" menu:

And there I saw it: Kangaroo.

Say what?? REAL kangaroo? Like the hopping, with a pouch kangaroo?

Waitress said, "Yup. A real kangaroo."

Okay. Really? How often do you get an opportunity to taste kangaroo? And knowing Le Fou Frog's reputation, I knew it would be good.

So I went for it. And here it is:

The kangaroo was simmering in a demi-glace of nutmeg, cinnamon and other sweet spices...and it was succulent. It was a tender meat - with a richness that I normally don't get to experience in my flexitarian diet.

Later that evening, I was all worried that I had perhaps eaten something rare and endangered, so after doing some research, I found that kangaroos are considered healthy, extremely low in fat, good for your heart & cholesterol, and organic.

Hence, the growing movement - especially in Australia - of kangatarianism.

Pretty cool.

My recommendation? I would definitely go back to Le Fou Frog - it is always in Kansas City's Top 10 restaurants, and it was easy to see why.

And I would definitely order the kangaroo.

Now. If I can just get raspberry with my chocolate, I would be a very happy girl indeed.



Monday, March 26, 2012

Lucky 13

I really had no intention of every marrying again.

I had done it once...struggled with it for twelve years...decided it wasn't for me...and was happy in my newfound independence as a single mom of two young boys.

I enjoyed my freedom, my independence, my growing strength as I made my own decisions and pursued the passions that made me happy.

And then I met Michael.

Within four months of meeting him, I followed my heart, and found myself married, once again, and here we are - thirteen years later and still going strong.

Michael saw what I needed, and he's always been so good at letting me be the type of person that I need to be - strong, independent, quirky, adventurous, passionate - and he's never tried to stifle my dreams in any way. He lets me grow. He lets me breathe.

He gets me.

He also spoils me rotten, which is kinda' cool, but leaves me feeling a bit guilty sometimes, as that nagging little voice inside my head will sometimes say, "You don't deserve this."

Every morning, he'll have a coffee cup and my breakfast bar waiting for me at the coffee bar...

He'll have the daily newspaper waiting for me beside my bedside, so when I wake up - I have my morning reading at my fingertips....

He'll have my towel and my robe all nice & toasty in the towel warming drawer...

He knows my love for all things chocolate, so he keeps me stocked in delicious nibbles...

He'll sit back and enjoy the ride when I want to drive really fast in my Mustang, letting my hair go all wild and crazy...

He'll have flowers delivered for sometimes no reason at all...or sometimes for the best reasons...

Every night, he whips up a delicious glass of cold, chocolate milk and brings it to me, wherever I've landed for the evening...

He makes me laugh. He makes me think. He challenges me. He encourages me. He supports me.

He's a keeper.

I love you, sweetheart.

Happy 13th wedding anniversary...and here's to many, many more.



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great Balls of Fire!

Last night, there was a whole lot of shakin' going on.

It was one of those evenings that just...shines. Sparkles. Resonates. Impresses. And leaves a lasting impression.

Hubby and I gussied up a bit and then headed into the "big city", downtown Kansas City, to attend a show at the brand new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

This building is brand spankin' new, and man, does it impress.

The "backside" of the KPAC

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the building is absolutely, stunningly beautiful - no matter which direction you see it from.

The "frontside" of the KPC - or the lobby side

The parking garage, located under a grassy lawn in the front, is beautiful in itself...with light features, as well as beautiful music piped in. Once we made our way to the lobby, we were both in awe of the architecture wonder that surrounded us...indulge me as I take you on a short, photographic tour of the lobby from various vantage points, as Hubby and I scurried from corner to corner, trying to take it all in:

At some point, we attempted to take the inevitable self-portrait, without much success...and to our delight, an usher immediately ran over and offered to take our photo:

Seating soon began for our show, so inside we went...we were there to see "Million Dollar Quartet" - and this show absolutely DELIVERED.

If you've never seen this show - stop what you're doing right this minute, find out where the nearest showing to you is, and immediately get tickets.


It's THAT good.

It's a toe-tapping, dancing-in-the-aisle trip back to rock 'n roll's birthplace, to the magical evening of December 4, 1956...when four of rock's eventual legends, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley, all found themselves at Sun Records.

The iconic photo taken from that evening

True story.

What followed that cold, winter night in Memphis was a jam session like no other...and this show recreates the magic from that evening.

The actors were AMAZING. If I didn't know better, I would have thought they were using pre-recorded tracks of the music, because that's how GOOD the actors were when singing the songs. And not only did they have the voices down, but they all had the iconic mannerisms, twitches, movements, etc that made these rock 'n roll legends...well...legends.

I really thought I was watching Elvis, and Jerry Lee, and Johnny, and Carl up on was fantastic.

A two-hour intermission...and by the end of the evening, the sold-out crowd was on their feet for the last four numbers, giving the actors a standing ovation that they were due.

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE, it was good!

A great a great venue...with a great date for just doesn't get much better than that!



Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Look of Love

Hubby and I have several furry children in our house, along with all of the non-furry children.

Our furry children aren't really good for anything - except for a few laughs every now and then - but we love them anyway and continue to put up with their existence in our house.

Wait. Maybe we've got it backwards.

Anywho. Moving on.

Romeo, our tuxedo cat, has always been the Master of the House, and he lets you and everyone else know this in no uncertain terms.

This is ROMEO'S world, dammit, and don't you forget it.

King of His Domain...

Over the years, we've resigned ourselves to the fact that Romeo really only has two different expressions, or "looks", if you will, that he bothers wearing.

The first look is the look of Pounce...this is when he is ready to go into full attack-mode on something, whether it be animate or inanimate.

He will give the Pounce look to anything that invades his personal space - it's his own personal alarm system, warning the invader that it is about to be...well...pounced upon.

Which is supposed to be a scary thing, but we just laugh.

His second look - his favorite, without a doubt - is the look of Indifference.

Yes. The look of Indifference is pretty much on Romeo's whiskered face about 99% of the time. He wears this look well, and although I'm sure it's supposed to send a message, we just laugh.

Poor Romeo. He really doesn't get much respect around here.

So, imagine our surprise, upon returning from vacation last week, that our dear Romeo has now mastered a third look. Yes, our normally Indifferent cat has now developed a look of, what can only be described, as Adoration.

What the hell?! Where did THIS look come from? This is definitely a new look for him, and well...rather unsettling for us.

It's like the cat woke up one morning last week, and said, "Hey. I know it's been six long years...but I think I kinda' LOVE these people here. Wait. I DO. I DO love these people!"


My daughter was on the sofa the other day, and Romeo jumped up and practically molded himself to her face, showering her with kitty kisses and purrs..."Oh, I love you! I love you! I love you! I can't live without you, non-furry thing!"

Fortunately, our other cat, Juliet, is easier to read.

She has only ONE look - and it is the look of Arrogance. little Diva, Juliet. You will never see a look of Pounce, or even Adoration on HER face. Ever.

How DARE you give attention to a computer...and not ME? I come FIRST.

No indeed.


As it should be.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Private Lessons

Times have certainly changed since I went to college.

Back in the Dark Ages of the 80's, I traipsed off to school and while choosing my electives, I picked from such exciting classes as "Disco Dancing" and "Archery" and "The Modernization of Women."

Fun stuff, I'm tellin' ya'.

Not really.

The most exciting class I took was "Psychology of Human Sexual Behavior" - which was probably more exciting on paper than it was in real life. Boring lectures by a boring professor...droning on all afternoon in the heat of a summer afternoon.


All lecture and no videos - what was with THAT?!

So, imagine my shock today while sitting and chatting with a girlfriend about college classes being offered in this day and age.

I hadn't seen Pam in quite some time, and we both have sons who are freshmen at college. She was telling me what classes her son is taking this semester...

"He's got a history class, a math class, and an English class...." she begins.

"Very similar to what MY son is taking, too," I replied, nodding my head.

She then said, "Of course, he's got his private sex lessons."


Say WHAT?!


Although I didn't communicate verbally - as I was rendered speechless (which, if you know me, you know that doesn't happen very often) - I guess my shock was evident in my bulging eyeballs and agape mouth.

I'm not sure what was shocking me more...the subject matter of the class, or Pam's very calm mentioning of it to me.

His own mother.

Oh. Wait.

"SAX lessons."

Private SAXOPHONE lessons.

Amazing what a difference one little teeny-tiny vowel can make.

When she realized what I THOUGHT she had said, we both busted a gut and laughed and giggled and shrieked until we cried.

It puts a whole different spin on a Liberal Arts degree, doesn't it?!



Monday, March 19, 2012

Kickers & Squawkers

Every now and then, I like to think that I am a unique and talented person...not that I then go and develop a big head or anything, but in reviewing things that I can offer and contribute to society, I'd like to think that I am...well...special.

And on Saturday, flying back to KC from Ft. Myers, I was reminded, once again, of just one of my many unique talents.

Ready for it?

I have an AMAZING ability to choose a seat on an airplane that will ALWAYS turn out to be the absolute worst seat on the flight.


How cool is that?!

I frequently fly Southwest, as they meet my needs (needs being cheap and free baggage) - and if you've flown Southwest, you know that you are not assigned a seat, but get to choose one upon boarding the plane.

I can be the first person on the plane - or the last person - doesn't matter - and I will inevitably choose the seat that will be in front of the Child From Hell.

And I use that title in a loving way, of course.

The child behind me will always have legs just long enough that they reach the back of my seat...and the child's legs will always be very restless, causing the child to kick and bounce...for the entire length of the flight.

Turbulence is bad enough...but to have the added bonus of a constant, "Thump, thump, thump, WHACK" in the small of your back for an entire afternoon is just...lovely.

And for some bizarre reason, I've noticed that "Damien" always has parents that are totally oblivious to his behavior. They never seem to notice that their precious little angel is doing an annoying kickboxing number on the seat in front of them.

And if it's not a kicker that I have behind me, it's what I label the Parrot Child - or the squawker. The child that lets out an ear-piercing squawk or scream every 2.3 me a mini-heart attack and adding to my ever-increasing grey hair count.


This is one of those talents that I wish I didn't have...sigh...but one must learn to live with the gifts that God has given us...and so I Keep Calm and Carry On.

With a little help from some handy little Valium pills.



Friday, March 16, 2012

Pieces of Paradise: Norman Love Confections


Even back to the Aztec days, when the priests presented cocoa seeds as offerings to their gods, people knew that there was something special about chocolate.

I've ALWAYS known there's something special about chocolate. Yup, I'm pretty sure that even in the womb, I was nudging my mom through the umbilical cord with urges for chocolate.


Back in January, I wrote a blog post entitled, "Living in Paradise" - and it was about a recent Consumer Reports article that ranked the best chocolate in the country.

The #1 chocolatier in the country is Norman Love Confections...and it's located right here in Ft. Myers.

Here's an article about Norman Love getting #1. Apparently, for the SIXTH time. SIX times. It must be pretty darn good!

Norman Love is located about a quarter mile from Fenway South, which is where we spent the afternoon yesterday, watching a bit of it was only a logical procession to leave the game and head straight to Norman's.

Because I swear to you, I could smell that chocolate while at the ballpark. Really.

Baseball and chocolate within 1000 feet of each good can it get?

So, we went first to the actual chocolate & pastry shop, where we were greeted by these little heavenly delights:

Oh, the decisions...I really wanted to say, "One of each, please!" - but that would have been gluttonous. Right?

What to choose? What to choose? TOO MANY CHOICES!!!

So, I settled for an even dozen...and oh, the joy of picking & choosing & pointing, while saying, "Oh, that one, please! And THAT one, too!"

There were also some delectable pastries in the window, and I apologize for my poor camera skills, as it was hard to get the perfect photo that did these babies justice:

Are these not beautiful???

After reluctantly leaving the chocolate & pastry shop, we walked next door to Norman's Artisan Gelato Shop, where we indulged in a little gelato:

What made this visit even more special (besides the wonderful, creamy gelato, of course) was meeting Norman Love himself. He was there, behind the counter, and he talked with us for about 10 minutes about his background, his passion and how it all came together for him.

My kids and I felt like we were in the presence of royalty - and in fact, I gushingly said to him, "You're like a rock star! In chocolate!"

As I gushed, Norman blushed. Maybe I did pour it on a bit thick - but how could I not, as I was savoring the Cannoli-flavored gelato?

Eventually, it was time to go - and Hubby pulled me, kicking and screaming, from the shop.

But I'll be back. Oh yes. I'll be back.

In the meantime, always keep a smile on your face, a rainbow in your heart, and some chocolate on hand.