Momma’s Having a Hot Flash

Wine ordering websites need to come with an R rated warning.  S e r i o u s l y

After 10 minutes on wine.com, I need a room and a vibrator to go with my cigarette.  Who writes this stuff?

“Effusively juicy, rich and concentrated, showing plenty of snap to the crisp and well-spiced flavors of wild berry, dark currant and plum tart. Orange-infused chocolate notes linger on the exotic, mocha-filled finish.  There is real mineralite within this bouquet that, returning after 30 minutes, offers alluring ocean spray scents rolling in off the ocean.  It clams up a little towards the finish, shuts the lid tight and consequently there is the sensation of less persistency here compared to the Taylor’s or Smiths. But the Big Johnson has a knack of filling out with bottle age and becomes both gentle and generous with the passing years.

Somebody pry my fingers off that Johnson and bring me a towel and a cold compress.

 

Harmony

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Bright blue, blinding cotton-candy skies shifted above me, demanding sunglasses.  A light, cooling breeze drifted across my forehead as I navigated a Kevlar clad canoe around the rocky outcrops and pebble beaches of the Michigamme Reservoir on an eighty degree June day. 

 

 

 

 

It was a day when the sun’s rays beat the waves into submission and they penetrated my bare shoulders until my skin emitted a summer, smoky smell.

 

 

Way up in a solar glare, birds with wing spans of four feet soared this way and that on the breeze; hang-gliders!  Deer, driven out of their grassy beds by mosquitoes, stood in the open, at the water’s edge, quenching parched throats with long, protracted sucks as though through straws.  Bees buzzed in the wildflowers and jumping frogs escaped from shore.

Harmony.  The swift, silent canoe blended into nature’s scene and through its silent glide, it afforded me the opportunity to observe nature undisturbed.

It lifted my soul as we (my faithful dog, Remi, and I) paddled from island to island one glorious afternoon last year.

 We began the trip together in the canoe.  

She sitting forward and not a jiggle.  I paddled.  On this day, though, it occurred to me to experiment with the dog by pulling up to a beach, off loading her, and then resuming my paddling to see what her reaction would be.

Harmony.  As I maintained a distance of about ten feet from the shoreline, she continued to run along with me, happy as a clam. 

 

We were both confident in this new endeavor and the resulting partnership was fun. She proved herself a true athlete, climbing cliffs and swimming in bigger water, next to the canoe, when we had to get to another island.  I marveled at her busy feet, stroking to an internal count, underwater. Her gait was steady, confident, and strong.

We traveled in silence, each under our own power.  We were a team.  We were on an adventure.  We learned to trust.

Harmony.  A very special day for both Remi and me.

 

Riding the Rails

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I discovered the joy of riding the rails last summer in Alaska, truly the last frontier.  The last train I had ridden on was a commuter in Chicago that hustled me from preppy Elmhurst to the skyline of the Magnificent Mile, reuniting me with my steno pad as I spent another work day, single in the city, transcribing shorthand as an executive legal secretary–only a buzz away by Intercom–in my heels and fitted skirt.

 

In Alaska, instead of clothes flapping on lines strung across every back porch from here to there and seeing blurred humanity whizzing by at 50 mph, I saw purple mountain’s majesty and crystal pure ponds with a hues that stole my heart, one click-clack at a time.

 

The Alaskan Railroad passes through the wilderness, where all roads end and moose begin.  Whistle stops happen:   homesteaders stand at any point along the track and flag the train to a halt.  These pioneers clutch babies and bundles as they hop a ride to town for supplies.  Sometimes they have to strike a camp along the rail, waiting for the next train.  It could be days.

 

My favorite part of the trip was discovering the “in between.”

To get from one train car to another, you exit the first on a bridged walkway,  over the massive linking sections, to the next.   It is a pause from here to there on the way from “saw that” to “what’s next.”   There are half walls to keep rubbernecks from spilling out.  There is no glass or wind protection above these walls, so sticking one’s head out is mandatory (if you are me!)

 

Some destinations on our trip required a five hour train ride.  My mom and I enjoyed the perks of white glove dining in the dining car, the splendor in the glass dome observation car, and we sank, with smiles, in the reclining seats in the passenger cars.  Among the creature comforts were big tables for snacks or card games and little bistros where a mug of hot chocolate went a long way.

Me?  I spent the whole time, hogging up my spot on the open rail, in the “in between.”

 

 

Killer Cucumber Dill Dip

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Making this at Easter time brings a burst of spring zest to cabbage tongues; tongues soured by a long winter’s fill of crock pot soups and stews.  Try it and you’ll be planting spring bulbs the next day.

Ingredients:

1 – 8 oz. light cream cheese, softened

1 cup Hellmann’s light mayo

2 medium cukes–peeled, seeded & chopped

3 tbl. sliced green onions

1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

3 tsp. snipped fresh dill or 3/4 tsp. dried dill weed

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions:

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and mayo until smooth.  Add rest of ingredients, cover and chill for one hour.  Serve with Wheat Thin crackers.

Next Day Converstion:

Fabulous with grilled chicken on flatbread, in pita bread, or rolled in a tortilla shell.

The Confession

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“Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have been with a loose girl.”  The priest asks, “Is that you, little Joey Pagano?”

“Yes, Father, it is.”

 

“And who was the girl you were with?”

“I can’t tell you, Father. I don’t want to ruin her reputation.”

“Well, Joey, I’m sure to find out her name sooner or later so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?”

“I cannot say.”

“Was it Teresa Mazzarelli?”

“I’ll never tell.”

“Was it Nina Capelli?”

“I’m sorry, but I cannot name her.”

“Was it Cathy Piriano?”

“My lips are sealed.”

“Was it Rosa DiAngelo, then?”

“Please, Father! I cannot tell you.”

The priest sighs in frustration. “You’re very tight lipped, and I admire that. But you’ve sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months. Now you go and behave yourself.”

Joey walks back to his pew, and his friend Franco slides over and whispers, “What’d you get?”

“A Four month vacation and five good leads…”

Simply Too Cute

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Sixty six shelter/rescue puppies will race back and forth between the gridirons and some will score as they take part in some friendly canine mayhem.  Once they literally poop out, more than 20 kittens will put on a feline half-time show.  Sideline reporter “Meep the Bird” will return to tweet live updates throughout the game.  Hold on to your lug nuts, it is time for the (epic) 10th Annual Puppy Bowl and Kitty Halftime Show!

If you won’t be among more than 100 million people in 198 countries watching the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos battle for the sterling silver Vince Lombardi Trophy, there’s another competition that I wholeHEARTedly recommend.   Gwamma and I are GUILTY of recording past bowl games and watching them together as a salve to hold us over until the next game.  Tune in on Sunday, Feb. 2 (Ground Hog Day!) at 3 pm (ET and PT) on the Animal Planet TV channel LIVE from Animal Planet Stadium.  Tailgating highlights from the barking lot high to follow.

Don’t miss a slice of  kitty halftime heaven during the Denver/Seattle Superbowl–switch over to Animal Planet, where Internet-famous feline Keyboard Cat will be tickling the ivories during the Kitty Halftime Show.  Another Interweb sensation, Lil’ Bub, is scheduled to perform but is “iffy” because he was just busted at the border for 2 kilos of catnip hidden in his suitcase.  The canine cop that busted him will be honored right before the game whistle blows.

Whoa. And if penguin cheerleaders and a parachuting cat aren’t enough to persuade you to touch that dial, then think about the hamster announcers, seated in the cockpit of the blimp, hovering over the field.

It’s an afternoon of scrappy puppies, their real time stats, and the potential for high-speed collisions, rollovers, and maybe even biting.  “Accidents” may happen in the end zone, but none of those boastful touchdown displays.

Puppy Bowl X brings viewers a loveable lineup full of terrier tackles, touchdowns, puppy penalties, fumbles and Fido first downs.  The referees ARE zebras.

To cool off, there will be some good shots of thirst quenching, overlapping tongues, and puppy feet tumbling into the water bowl, courtesy of the underwater puppy cam.

Among the starting lineup:

Twelve week-old Labrador Retriever/Sato mix Artemis, who “goes nuts for cat videos.”

Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle mix Bach (14 weeks), who “thinks Mozart is overrated.”

Spaniel Cody (12 weeks), who “thinks fatherhood has mellowed Kanye.”

Bassett Hound Lily (13 weeks), who “tries not to step on her own ears.”

Siberian Husky Suri (14 weeks), who thinks “they should cut Miley Cyrus some slack.”

Nobody keeps score, but an MVP is named (that’s Most Valuable Puppy). If prior years are a guide, all will be quickly adopted from their shelters or rescue organizations. 

Hey, pass the popcorn.

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