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Archive for the ‘Products and Reviews’ Category

Buckets for the Cure

I’m over at Hot Mom Reviews today, talking about Buckets for the Cure, a new KFC program benefiting The Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Come on over and find out what it’s all about.  See you there!

Cool Hand Luke’s – an Un-Solicited Review

Last night my husband and I ate at Cool Hand Luke’s Steakhouse/Saloon for the first time.

Mainly because we got a gift card for Christmas, and we’re cheap frugal, but that’s neither here nor there.

Within two minutes of walking in the door, we were seated at an enormous booth, big enough to seat six.  Which was awesome, because we were on a romantic anniversary date and were able to share one side of the booth without feeling like we were packed in like sardines.

Our drinks arrived quickly – a full glass of tasty Pinot Grigio for me, a humongous, frosty mug of Bud Light (draft) for Jeremy.

Soon after, our salads, baked beans and sourdough rolls arrived.

The ranch dressing was so incredibly creamy, it completely made up for the plain, iceberg lettuce salad.  The sourdough rolls had been brushed with butter while still warm, and were crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, just how I like them.  I let Jeremy have one, but only because it was our anniversary.

And the baked beans?  Let me just tell you – I am not a huge fan of baked beans.  But these were delicious.  I avoided the jalapenos, left whole just for that purpose, I assume. 

Also, thank you, Cool Hand Luke’s, for serving the baked beans in a little separate pot, because I would have been less happy with my food if it had been served with baked bean liquid all over the plate. 

Smart thinking!

Finally, on to the main course.  I ate every. single. bite. of a 10 ounce prime rib. 

Wonderfully seasoned, perfectly cooked – medium, the way I like it.  I didn’t lick the plate, but only because there was a little girl sitting at the next table and I didn’t want to teach her any bad manners.

On a side note, I loved the dark cloth napkins – perfect for a place where paper napkins just wouldn’t have held up.

I was less than enamored with the garlic red mashers, but that’s not Poor Luke’s fault.  It’s mine Kimberly’s.  I love Kim’s mashed potato recipe so much, all others are tasteless in comparison.  I need to just stop ordering them in restaurants, because they’ll never measure up.

Jeremy had Tri-tip and french fries, which he let me taste.  Because, you know… 10 ounces of my own meat just wasn’t enough.  The fries were very tasty, especially dipped in the ranch.  Jeremy said the tri-tip was good while it was hot, but not so much as it cooled off.  He thinks it’s because he ordered it medium-well, instead of Medium.  Totally his fault.

We also ordered a side of shrimp, which had been forgotten somewhere along the line, and so to make up for us having to wait, they tried to comp us our entire meal.

The whole, delicious meal, people.  All. of. it.

Which, hell no.  We are cheap frugal, but we’re not about to accept a $50 meal for free just because of some late-arriving shrimp.  Especially not when the restaurant was clean, well designed to allow for a romantic date or a family meal, the food was beyond delicious and the service was stellar: from the hostess desk to the server, to the bussers stopping by to pick up dishes we were finished with. 

We let them comp us the $5 shrimp, but left a 32% tip.  And I ate the shrimp for lunch today.  YUM.

Overall Review:

With a stuffed, round belly and a loosened belt, I give Cool Hand Luke’s *FIVE* big belches.

*Just in case the title wasn’t clear enough: This was an un-solicited, un-paid review.*

Forget Diamonds, Coffee is This Girl’s Best Friend

I’ve never liked coffee.  I don’t like the smell, or the bitter taste, or the way it sometimes gives me the trots.  So whenever I’ve needed a little pick-me-up, I’ve relied on Pepsi or Tea.

Only, these days Pepsi tastes like crap and upsets my stomach.  And Tea – well, Tea is fine when you’ve had 8 hours of sleep and need a little boost to get going.  But if you’re like me, and haven’t had a decent night of sleep in over 16 months, drinking Tea is like throwing a thimble of water on a roaring fire.  It doesn’t do a damn thing but piss off the fire, where fire = me.

Over the past few months I’ve tried experimenting with other energy drinks, but they either make me so jittery that I fit right in with the crank heads at Wal-Mart, or they have so many calories that I can’t eat for the rest of the day. 

Enter Starbucks with their non-trot inducing, non-stinky, non-bitter, fairly low-calorie Vanilla Frappuccino, available at every store in the country (and elsewhere in the world, I’m sure).

 
Oh, Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino.  I cover you in lipstick-laden kisses, if only so that no one else will try to drink you and face my wrath.

Since I’ve “discovered” coffee, I’ve been more productive, more patient, more attentive, more loving and, well, more awake, obviously.  In short, coffee makes me happy.  I’m sorry if I’ve ever rolled my eyes at you for saying that.  Forgive me, for I knew not what I was missing. 

The best part, I think, about my new best friend is that I can buy a case or a carton when I shop and then I don’t have to wait until I leave the house to have my pick-me-up.  I can drink it right at 4:30 am, when Blythe typically wakes up for the day, or I can drink it at 7:30 am, when my husband earns bonus points by letting me sleep in.  Sure, I’m still dead tired by 8 o’clock in the evening.  But I don’t have to fight the urge to rip my loved one’s heads off all day.

And that, my friends, is as close to perfection as I can get at the moment.

GARDASIL: To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate Against HPV

* It took me 11 months to get up the courage to write this post.  So if you need to be judgmental – fine, but keep it to yourself.  I’ve judged myself enough for all of us, thanks. *

I talk a lot with other parents about the woes we will face as parents of teenage daughters.  Often, the new vaccine GARDASIL comes up and we discuss whether or not we will vaccinate at the suggested age of twelve. 

There are many parents out there who plan to refuse the vaccine, stating that they will teach their daughters about abstinence, and therefore their child will not need it.  Further, I’ve heard that giving them the vaccine against HPV will give girls a false sense of security about sex in general.

Anytime I hear these arguments, I want to say a lot of things but mostly I want to tell my story.  But I don’t.  Because it’s painful and personal and I’ve spent a lot of years trying to get over the way it made me feel about myself. 

But it’s time.  My hands are shaking as I write, and I know that I’ll hesitate before hitting “publish”.  If my story helps convince even one parent to vaccinate their child, however, it will be worth it*.

———–

When I was twelve, I was raped by a friend’s older brother. 

It was on a cool, crisp winter day during Christmas break.  A day that started out like any other for a girl in that wonderful stage between playing with dolls and wearing make-up.

The end of the day showed a different person, one who didn’t feel she had any choice but to go on with life and pretend she hadn’t been raped by an 18 year old man while her friend laughed from the top bunk. 

In my 12-year-old mind, I couldn’t tell my parents because they would never look at me the same way again, would stop loving me, or find some way to blame me for what happened.  In short, everything would change.  I wanted to hold on to the hope that despite what happened, I would still be the same young girl I was when I woke up that morning.

My parents knew something was wrong – but I wouldn’t talk to them.  They sent me to see a psychologist who, for lack of any concrete information, determined that I had an unhealthy fascination with black people (and by the way, you spell quack Q-U-A-C-K). 

Over time I learned to wear the face of a normal person.  I also decided that it was better to give something away than to have it taken without permission.  During the ten years that followed, I made a lot of choices, both good and bad.  Each and every one of them was shaped in some way by what happened to me that day.

As a teenager, I finally told someone – my best friend Rachel, who continues to be one of the rocks I lean upon for support.  As time went by, I told a couple of boyfriends, my husband.  Eventually, my mom.

I’d like you, please, to imagine you are my mom for a moment.  Listening to her grown daughter tell her what she went through at the age of twelve.  What she continued to go through on her own, letting one incident that she had no control over shape who she became.  Imagine how my mom felt, wishing that somehow she could go back in time and make everything alright.  Understanding her daughter in a whole new way.  Wishing she could have been there to hold her daughter close and tell her that a mother’s love is forever.

Now imagine that, instead of sitting on the couch in my mother’s living room, we’re sitting together in a cold waiting room.  Holding hands and talking about the future.  I look to her and confess the secret I couldn’t tell her for fifteen years.  

A nurse calls my name, and my  mother leads me in to have my first round of chemo, because I’ve got cervical cancer.  Already, doctors have removed my cervix because, despite yearly pap smears, the cancer was already at stage 4 when they caught it.  I’ll never be able to have children, but hopefully I’ll survive. 

I don’t have cervical cancer.  I was lucky I didn’t contract HPV.  The man who raped me robbed me of so many things in life – fortunately, my health and my ability to have children weren’t one of them.  Please don’t leave your daughter’s future in the hands of luck, when you can take it by the horns with a simple vaccination. 

Sexual activity, at any age, is not always a battle of abstinence versus promiscuity.  Most rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.  The rapes of young girls are especially under-reported because they are children dealing with something most adults can’t handle.

Don’t be the mom holding her daughter’s hand in the waiting room, please.  Unless she’s twelve, and you’re waiting for her GARDASIL vaccination.


I am all for a parent’s right to refuse vaccinations.  My own children have not been “fully vaccinated” according to standards because I exercised that right.  However, if the reasons for refusing the GARDASIL vaccination are purely because a parent believes a child will abstain from sexual activity, I disagree – heartily.

Ode to a Turkey Pot Pie

Ode to a Turkey Pot Pie


*, **, ***

Oh what could be better
than a Turkey Pot Pie
for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

(Minus the pounds
it so lovingly deposits
on my hips.)

Elusive frozen pot pie
with your one hour bake times,
I avoided your siren call.

With my own two hands,
in half the time,
for years and years and years now.

But what did mine eyes see
in the frozen entrée aisle,
waiting for me?

Marie Callenders, with her fancy ways,
created a “poofy pocket”
for the microwave.

Pot Pie,
Pot Pie,
my Turkey Pot Pie.

I love how you sigh
when I poke your crust
with my fork.

For what could be more appetizing
than a delicious, flaky crust and
a creamy, veggie filling?

No trip to Mimi’s,
no dough on my hands.

Just a pop in the microwave
and a fork.

Heaven.

————

What’s YOUR heavenly food?

————

*     This fabulous plate is only $2.50 at Target!
**   But is not microwaveable.
*** And also serves as proof that children’s plates don’t have to be tacky.