Ce Soir ou Jamais

tonight I write...or never

Sunday, November 27

The Happiest Place on Earth

Sadly, I am not referring to Monkey Hill. Of course, it's Disneyland!!!! We're booked for January during a time when school is not out of session. We will have the parks to ourselves! Last time we went (in 2003), we stayed across the street from the park in one of the good neighbor hotels, but this time we are going to stay in the Disneyland hotel. Only because of the POOL. *I* really wanted the Grand Californian-rooms have bunkbeds, the hotel has a spa, and it is more convenient to getting into the parks- but I was outvoted. My husband's inner child tells him that his down time at Disneyland is to be spent splashing near skull rock and going on a jungle cruise. Me, I am hoping to swap potion recipes with the Evil Queen, or hook up for drinks with Maleficent.

Friday, November 25

Stuffed Portrait Friday

It's SPF turkey style!

This week:

*Something or someone that/who makes the dinner
*The dinner
*The aftermath

This was the first year in many where I did not host. Thanksgiving is the one day of the year that I look forward to feeding many and thanking them for their friendship. NOT ONE person could come for dinner. NOT EVEN MY HUSBAND. But, I am not bitter. No, not at all. I am thankful that I did not take the day off before turkey day to cook (what I usually do) instead, I slept in till close to 11am yesterday! I was lazy! My daughter and I watched movies, then I did take some time to prepare one dish to bring to my friend Kathy's house. She and her husband took pity on me and invited us to spend the afternoon with her family. I did bring maple glazed acorn squash which, while being very tasty, did not look very good. To my benefit, there is no photographic evidence.

So you wanna see some pictures, eh? Here is the turkey:

Here's something that makes the dinner:

I have complete oven envy. But I shouldn't feel sorry for myself since the oven I have is rather nice and IT'S THANKSGIVING! I should not be feeling sorry for myself when there is so much for which I am grateful!!

The aftermath? A lovely dinner had with my dear friends and their family members who are just as lovely, and the feeling of happiness and gratitude for all that I have.

Wednesday, November 23

I heart advertising

"Mommy! Mommy! I just saw something on TV that I know you would love to have and we could use it together! It's called the Real Meal Oven!"

"Uh huh."

"Yeah, it's really cool! It's an oven and you can make whatever you want whenever you want! Snacks, pretzels, *cake*!"

"Um. Yeah."

"So, Mommy, can we get it?"

"Darian, we already have a real meal oven."

"We do?!!"

"Yeah. It's upstairs. It's called The Kitchen."

Tuesday, November 22


*Having your carpets cleaned then the very next day your big dog has an accident which requires nose plugs, industrial waste containers, and a shovel.

Sunday, November 20

My boys

Yes, that is a fairy princess doll that Ellie has. It's his special toy. And Dexter is never without his neckerchief. I love them both so much!

Saturday, November 19

Mmmmm...meatloaf sandwich

Food Snob

Please remind me: never, never, never again order seafood at a 'chain' restaurant.

Last night, with a few hours to ourselves while our daughter prowled the zoo with her girl scout sisters learning night survival skills, we headed out to the theatah for some culture. Yup, we drove south toward strip mall heaven to the cinema with 16 screens and an endless sea of parking. We were set to view, no not Harry Potter, but Walk The Line. I am reminded over and over again to Fandango, but we thought we'd take a chance (at the high school dance) and hope that the 7 o'clock show was not sold out, being that Harry Potter was on just about all the other screens. Alas, no tickets for the Bo couple, so we swam through the sea of SUV's to the island of chain restaurants, one being Newport Bay. We'd never been, but being as we were cold and hungry, decided to give it a try. It was either there or Claim Jumper (which a visit there is another tale in itself.) This restaurant is billed as being local (many locations in Oregon) with a listing of 'fresh catches', so I thought, 'Great, I can get a piece of salmon and visit with my husband.'

There is a reason that my husband orders a burger at a place he has never been to; hesitant to try anything billed as 'Fresh'. He is a true seafood snob. Growing up in the Pacific NW, he is used to dining on catches brought into a restaurant that day from a local boat, or purchased from the local fishmonger. I, too, have had my tastes refined with living on the Chesapeake Bay for half my life. Last night's offering was probably the biggest disappointment in the decade plus that we have been dining out together.

I ordered crab and shrimp stuffed salmon, after choosing the appetizer of hot crab and artichoke dip. We were very hungry, each of us only having had breakfast that day, so we downed the chips and dip quickly, not taking the time to truly dissect that this appetizer contained entirely too much mayonnaise and salt. We waited patiently while our dinners were being cooked, our waitress letting us know that the entree I chose took just a bit longer to prepare than the other dishes. She made it sound as if I had ordered the chocolate souffle and every morsel would be well worth the wait. Twenty minutes later our food arrived and my face fell upon viewing. Salmon is supposed to be pink, not yellowish cream with an undertone of grey rose.

I went to take my first bite, asking my husband, "Can you find the salmon? It's hidden in a thick soup called the garlic lemon butter sauce!" I dipped my fork into the fillet, watching it then fall apart, oozing sauce and showing it's innards creamish grey pink, the color of being completely overcooked. Now wonder it took so long to prepare! They left it in the oven about 15 minutes more than they should, then tried to cover up the fact with ladles upon ladles of sauce. The crab and shrimp stuffing? Lots of cheese and shrimp bits! Our waitress returned to our table to ask how the meal was, my husband smiling with a mouth full of bacon and burger.

"Honestly, this salmon is completely overcooked. It's overpowered with this sauce and I have to say that I'm really disappointed with this meal."

"Oh, I am so sorry! This happens to be one of our best dishes and I recommend it to all our guests. You know, it is prepared in a lemon butter sauce."

"Thank you, yes, I know that it is supposed to prepared with sauce. Not soup. And look-the salmon is practically white and grey from the middle to the bottom. This dish has been overcooked."

"I can take it back and have another dish made for you. Would you like a burger?"

"No. You know, I had to wait 20 minutes for this dish, so I will just finish the vegetable. Thank you, though."

I took a bite of asparagus. Yes, I know. Asparagus. It's not asparagus season and I could taste that this vegetable had been prepared from frozen. I decided not to point this out to my waitress who most likely would not know any different. After all, it was obvious her eye was not trained to see at a glance if pink seafood was just that. Instead, I dipped my fries in the buttery soup. The manager of the restaurant then came to the table to say she was sorry and to offer any dessert on the menu on her! Wee! Dessert! Thanks, but I didn't have a hanker for a hunka mud pie; I wanted to enjoy some salmon.

I ended up paying the entire check, $17.99 for my plate of previously frozen and overcooked food, grumbling the entire time that management should have offered to comp the uneaten dish, rather than replace it with burger and cake. I decided not to fight it, instead, will never bring my business back to that establishment. I must have been in a low blood sugar fog to begin with, because if I were a chef in the northwest, I'd want to prepare seafood here, here, or even here.

My husband adding insult to injury with a 'See, this is why I always order a burger at a chain restaurant!'. Next time we are at Red Robin, I will remember this!

Tuesday, November 8

I'm a GENIUS!!!

When Darian gets off the school bus, which lands in front of our house, and I am not standing in the yard with the dog, waiting, yelling at her to put on her coat, she knows to run next door to the best neighbors ever as Mommy will be home momentarily. Yesterday Mommy was not in the yard, listening to the dog bark at the other mom with a dog who waits for her child, and thus Darian ran directly into our neighbor's house. Even though Daddy was home and the door was open and she could have gone into her house. But no. She wants to move in with the neighbors and this gives her yet another reason why they should adopt her.

Upon arrival at our neighbor's home, Darian was instructed to please call her Daddy to let him know where she was. She was very excited and said, "OK, BUT, first I have to show you something! It's going to make me a GENIUS and my daddy will want to order it for me and I have to show you so that I can tell him all about it!"

She pulls the scholastic books order form out of her backpack and begins to peruse the books. "I know it's here and it only costs like a dollar so Daddy will order it for me! It's how to make me a genius!" She continues to look, then spots the book, showing my neighbor. "Here! This is it! The book that will show me how to be a genius! Look- the Genius book!'

My neighbor looks at the page and smiles. "Oh, Honey. That's not what is says. This is not a book about how to be a genius; it's a book about setting records. You're looking at the *Guinness* Book of World Records. It's *Guinness*, honey."

Guinness. Genius. Coach. Couch. Darian *is* her mother's daughter.

Sunday, November 6

The new man in my life

My husband has a co-worker who volunteers for Pasado as a rescuer. On her days off, she flies down to NOLA to help reunite animals with their owners, and care for the animals who are still homeless. A couple of weeks ago, my husband somewhat jokingly said, "If you have a golden retriever down there without a home, I'll take him." She thought he was kidding as I am sure she has heard all the trials and tribulations of living with another rescued dog, Ellie, but then said, "We do have a golden retriever without a home. Do you really want to adopt him?" Without hesitation he said Yes, then phoned me just to make sure it was kosher. How could I ever say no?

At midnight last night (this morning!) Dexter walked off the plane to be greeted by one of his new family members. Upon arrival at Monkey Hill, he immediately tried to befriend Ellie- who peed all over my leg and pooped on the floor. The cats ran for cover while he walked over to give me a hug. Dexter is a proper southern boy. He is kind and caring, says please and thank you, and calls me ma'am.
"Ma'am, I don't know anything about these *organic* treats. Y'all got some tater chips?"
This morning while making coffee (we didn't get to sleep till after 4:30 this morning as we chatted about our lives in between belly rubs), Dexter asked if I could make him a mint julep. Maybe later, my friend.

Dexter is very happy to make his new home in Seattle. He is an extremely affectionate dog, not realizing his 65 pounds, and thus likes to sit on laps. He cuddles in bed and pays no mind to Ellie's growling. For what he has been through- 5 days swimming through the flood~fending for himself before being found, losing his home and owner, then being kenneled for close to 2 months, he is a well adjusted canine. And *very happy* to be living on a hill.

Welcome to your new home, Dexter!