My Love Affair

I have ended my love affair, that is my love affair with cookbooks and recipes. I have in my possession at least 40+ cookbooks and that doesn’t include the loose recipes or magazines I collect and hold onto because something interesting caught my eye. I love to cook. I like the idea of making something for someone else that they will enjoy and relish. A tasty morsel that will linger on another person’s mind or taste buds. I can cook off the cuff but when I really want to do something special I use recipes as guides. Sometimes I follow them to the letter other times not.

When I cook, often I don’t even taste my own creations. This is especially true if it is any meaty dish other than fish. I don’t eat meat but that doesn’t mean I can’t cook up something scrumptious for others. This weekend I decided to cook up a storm. I don’t know why, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner. After making several large dishes, which are happily stowed in my freezer I decided to vet my overstuffed cookbook bookcase. But before I could do that I had to thumb thru the dozen or so cookbooks I got from the library. I set out with new rules and new attitudes. If I knew I wouldn’t try the recipe in the next 2 weeks I wouldn’t bother keeping it. This worked well for the borrowed books. Only 3 were worthy keepers. One on Chinese cooking, another on fish and lastly entertaining suggestions. I even limited myself to no more than 6 recipes from each book.

Next onto the the loose recipes. I happily whittled these down from 400 to less than 70. These seem to make up the bulk of my everyday cooking ideas and inspirations.  I was on a roll, next I quickly discarded the Eating Well, Food & Wine and Vegetarian Times magazines after reviewing the dogeared pages. In the end only a few items were kept.

Here I sit only half elated. I am now looking at my books…and seriously wondering if I should give them away. Some I haven’t opened in years and still a few I have never even used. This will be the harder task and I will leave it until tomorrow when I hope sleep will recharge my bunny battery.

My love affair with cookbooks is officially over. Although, I still have several cooking magazine subscriptions I will remember my rules before ripping out any more trophies. And today I vow to not purchase another cookbook!  Excuse me now while I modify my Amazon Wishlist.


I guess I just don’t really look around when I go down the feminine products aisle. I just go there to get my routine stuff, so I was taken aback when I was at the pharmacy and looked around to see these. I’ve never seen them before and I tried not to read anything into their proximity to several Durex boxes.


Annoying Habits

Does your spouse or loved one have any annoying habits that just gets under your skin? If your like me there are probably a number of habits they have that just get on your nerves, even though you love them unconditionally. You can guarantee my blood pressure goes up with 2 of his more famous habits.

Bad Habit #1 – Pile Creation and Proliferation

BozoBoy has the terrible habit of collecting and making piles. Piles of unopened and opened mail and magazines, along with receipts  appear in different parts of the house. In the living room, on the dining room table, in the family room and beside his bed. His desk is his 1 sanctuary. At the beginning of our marriage this caused several yelling matches…me asking him to ‘clean up’ and him accusing me of making the piles to begin with (and losing papers he had put in a *special* place). Now I just give him until the end of the week and then ask him, politely to put it on his desk if he hasn’t had a chance to sort things out. BUT it still annoys me…when I get the mail, I sort it right at the dinning room table and put in the recycle bin that which is trash, collect my address labels to be shredded and anything I want to keep and go and put it on my desk to review later. I just don’t get why this is so hard! But it is a minor issue and I have learned to let it go.

Bad Habit #2 – Bad Hand Gestures While Driving

Driving along and someone cuts or pulls in front of you, drives erratically or tailgates you. How do you react? Raise your hand if your a beeper. No, maybe you are more sophisticated and ignore them entirely. Perhaps you are the person I am married to, the hand gesturer.

Let me preface my complaint by acknowledging that I learned to drive rather late in life (23), but over the last 10 years I have never been in an accident or been pulled over.  I have moments of road rage too. I am a beeper and but a little quirkier than you might expect, if you do something I consider dangerous and continue to stay in front of me I will continue beeping you. I have been known to keep my hand on the horn for more than 2 or 3 minutes. I am working on being more forgiving but I like life and I want you to think about that.

I am not married to any ordinary guy. No, he has elevated gesturing to an entirely new level. Be assured that if you get on his bad side while driving you will receive the “wanker” hand gesture. Wanker is an English term in case you were wondering.  Generally, I cringe when this happens because it is doled out without discretion, old, young, man or woman.  I keep my eyes away from the target and begin to sink down into my seat (which is damn near impossible when you are  nearly 6 ft.).

These are rather mild annoyances to live with and certainly aren’t the only petty items that come up but generally we are big picture folks and rarely argue about the small stuff. Just on my mind today.

Morning Routine

On good mornings here is how I start my day:
– iPod gently awakens me at 5:30
– Spend 30-60 minutes on treadmill
– Take a long, hot shower
– Dress and do my hair
– Prepare lunch
– Breaka
– Out the door by 8:10

The t.v. is on and at any given time it is tuned into Morning Joe on MSNBC, Mike and Mike on ESPN or the Today Show on NBC. I’m not a big news watcher but I enjoy the format of Morning Joe, the interviews and the chemistry between him and one of the other co-hosts (Mika). Mike and Mike is just funny sports guys chatting.


What’s your commute like?

Mine is rather predictable. It takes about 20 minutes and that is when it is busy. I can usually get to the office in 15. I only use back or local roads, never having to adventure on 495 or 270.

I carpool with BozoBoy, we work about 2 miles apart, which is great. We enjoy the time together. And as crazy as our schedules get we still manage to survive with only 1 MINI (;~)) car. We’ve been a 1-car family for the last 2 years but this is nothing new. In the past 11 years we have been a 2-car family only a total of 3.5 years. We don’t set out to be a 1-car family, just seems to end up that way and I have to admit it works well for us. I don’t have a hybrid and yes our car could be classified as a sports car…but with only 21,000 miles over 3.5 years and fill-ups occurring only once every 2 weeks I think we are doing the right thing for us. If we have kids we may have to rethink our car choice…but I wonder since folks overseas seem to manage in small vehicles.


I love my car! But on our recent vacation I fell in love with a new car…a BMW 1 Series. I know nothing about it but I loved the look of it. If we did buy another car I would consider this. Pity it isn’t coming to the states.

BMW 1 Series

Inspired by a True Story – Part 2

Check out Inspired by a True Story – Part 1 first.

For 30 years, I have felt the constant pressure to answer these questions, to push forward the truth that others want to hear to help appease them and allow them to attach a label to me. Often, I feel ashamed and saddened that I have defined myself, a complex individual, in a one-sentence personal tag-line that purports to represent me in my entirety. And although, I have always felt conflicted it has only been since, 9/11 that I have been thinking more and more about this “labeling,” this “identification” and I have been wondering, perhaps I am doing all a disservice by answering these questions. I have started spending more time reflecting on my life and the indulgence of these ‘ignorance lessons’ I have given over the years. My reflection has been growing more intense, as I consider the prospective of starting a family. The constant categorization that so seems to be a part of American culture, more so than other places has warped my mind. I am never quite at peace inside this shell. I flash to my earliest memory when I truly knew I was different but I wasn’t able yet to determine why. I recall coming home excited to tell mom that I had figured it out! I knew what I was…”Mommy,” my six-year old voice squeaked “I figured out what I am!”

My mother with the softest brown eyes, who awkwardly looked down at me says, “What do you mean, you’ve figured out what you are?”

“I’m an Indian!” I shout with enthusiasm. “I saw a picture in a book today that showed an Indian with a pilgrim and it looked just like me. The same color skin, the same braids. That’s what I am, an Indian.”

You see, I think I have it all sorted out. I am just beginning to understand the concept of God and the aspect that he creates all life. And the babies he creates come out as all kinds of colors with all kinds of looks. I know nothing about genetics, so this is how I compensate to help me fit in. At six I realize I need answers because the questions have started and up to this point I was just saying I was ‘brown” and assuming that was satisfactory.

“Your not an Indian,” her remarks shatter the excitement that was brewing in my chest.

And before I can ask her more she moves away dismissing this entire conversation and never revisits it again. She never applies labels or tries to categorize me but neither does she attempt to help me with understanding what I am or how I fit. Perhaps this is because of her divorce and my father’s absence throughout my childhood. Truthfully, I am not so sure she could answer the questions that live in me.

When I reminisce about this conversation, it has taken on a more humorous view as the years pass. It does epitomize my quest for answers. It accurately reflects the fact that I still don’t know who I am. I know I am an American but what is that given our need to label one another; African-American, Irish-American, Arab-American…what is it to be just American.

When I think about parenthood it with the eyes of a colored woman, in an interracial marriage. I think about how I will react if I drop them at school and everyone thinks I’m the nanny because we look nothing alike. I understand what it is like to be judged based on your surface appearance. I’ve been mistaken for so many different ethnic groups (Spanish, Brazilian, Indian, Native American, Lebanese…the list goes on) that I used to feel embarrassed and frustrated, now I find it flattering. That I, so resemble so many ethnic groups that for the most part are reaching out for a fellow countrymen, a connection. This camaraderie that seems to resonate with my looks makes me feel good but it doesn’t help to understand my place in America and America can be cruel and ignorant if you are different.

Wheaton Regional Park

I had never been to the Wheaton Regional Park before, even though it is only about 10 minutes from my house. I was most struck by the size of the playgrounds. I live near to Sligo Creek and Beach drive so I am fortunate to have a number of  trails nearby. But those playgrounds were the largest collection of playground equipment I have ever seen in 1 location.  I am going to try and make it to Brookside Gardens this year for their garden of lights, which I have heard is worth trying.

Wheaton Regional Park Map