Stories

carkeys2.jpg1) You can’t find your keys
           Don’t worry about it, no one can ever find their keys

2) You can’t find your cell phone.
           Don’t worry about it, no one can ever find their cell phone

3) Your daughter calls and tells you they’ve just called her from the deli to say you left your cell phone there. And you had no idea it was even missing.

4) You have two things in your hand, a dirty napkin and a wallet, and you throw your wallet in the trashcan.

5) You walk into the bedroom and realize the dresser drawer is open.
           This is a bad sign. There’s a cure. Retrain yourself to do things in a different order. Open the drawer. Take the sweater out. Shut the drawer. THEN put the sweater on.

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olympics2012I’m pretty ambivalent about the Olympics. I watched the opening ceremonies so that I could hear the announcer say “ceremony” the British way, and because I love a good national spectacle. I was thrilled to hear Branagh recite Shakespeare, I am always teary when I hear the opening strains of “Jerusalem,” and I admired the man-made Tor that acted as centerpiece to Danny Boyle’s history of Great Britain.

He lost me somewhere around the Industrial Revolution hand jive, and I was kind of skeeved out by the childrens’ nightmare sequence with “Tubular Bells” and a gigantic baby; taken as a whole, the idea seemed to be that children were tucked into bed at Great Ormond Street Hospital by smiling, dancing doctors and nurses and then abandoned to nightmarish characters from literature until they were all saved by a fleet of Mary Poppinses. Presumably the Marys speared Voldemort, The Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook, et al with their proper British bumbershoots and eased the minds of all of us who associate “Tubular Bells’ with Linda Blair’s green and rotating head.

But I digress. My problem with the Olympics has nothing to do with its location (a place, frankly, that I would rather be than where I actually am) and everything to do with sports-related media. If a person is interested in watching Olympic coverage during prime time, which is the only time we watch television in this house, one is necessarily watching network coverage. Network coverage is kind of like “American Idol” with contestants who swim, vault and run. Favorites are cultivated, highlighted and vignetted; we are basically fed everything we need to know about who will probably win, who we should like, and why.

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pastaitaly.jpg“With all that great food in Italy, how do you guys stay so thin?”

This kind question came during a book talk we gave last Monday night in Holbrook, New York – at the Sachem Public Library. It was very generous of the questioner to include me in the “thin” category along with Jill, but indeed I still wear the same suit size I did back in our L.A. Law days twenty-some years ago. I’m not thin, but at least I’m not any fatter than I was then.

We answered her by pointing that Italians don’t eat much processed food and that makes it much easier to keep our weight down over there. But of course it’s not just what they eat that allows them to maintain una bella figura, it’s also how much they eat – or how little, I should say. Italians don’t pile it on like we tend to do over here. A bowl of pasta is not intended to fill you; it’s to prepare your mouth and stomach for your second course.

This truth was driven home dramatically a little later in the evening.

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thecampI'll never forget my first trip to Maine. My husband (then boyfriend) spent his boyhood summer's at his family's camp on a lake. Driving from Chicago to Bangor every August with his dad, they'd meet up with his older brothers along the way to this sweet spot right at the water's edge. It's nothing fancy. Hasn't been updated or changed in any major way since they bought it over 35 years ago, but it satisfies my basic requirements for "camping." It has real beds (no sleeping bag on an air mattress or cot for me) and indoor plumbing (you can't drink the water but that's a small price to pay for being able to pee inside). Electricity is also key, but up until a few years ago and the invention of wireless HD receivers there was no phone service or television. This was and is a place to get away from it all and reconnect with nature 24/7…whether you want to or not. We spent our first few days hanging about on the dock, reading and listening to the baseball game, occasionally taking a dip in the clear, shallow water. Nothing too strenuous. We were here to relax.

That he was bringing me to this place 6 months into our relationship was important. He had family who lived up there I was meeting for the first time. His Aunt Dot and Uncle George also had a house on the lake, about a 1/2 mile down the dirt road. Their place is much larger than ours and is more house than camp. It's two stories with several bathrooms, laundry facilities and cable TV. So when they asked us to dinner, after a few days of "roughing it", we were thrilled, though I was a bit nervous. He'd never brought a girl to the lake before. I wanted to seem cool and interesting and fun. So I suggested we take the canoe over to their place instead of walking. I thought it would be nice to get a little exercise and a funny story to tell our friends back home that we canoed to dinner. Fueled by a few beers, the lovely view and gross naivety, we got a better story than we bargained for.

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pulledpork.jpgIf you want to entertain high on the hog and go hog wild then – in fact – why not go hog wild and pig out high on the hog!

Seems elementary!

The only other declaration that generates as much gleeful excitement as “T*O*G*A!“ is “B*B*Q!” – especially if you bring in the best meats from the great BBQ states of Texas, Tennessee and the Carolinas! And, that is exactly what we did for a season farewell dinner last week in Palm Beach.

Our Menu:

For appetizers we had pulled pork sliders, brie and mango quesadillas, and Virginia stone milled grits “martinis” with Charleston style shrimp and Andouille Sausage.

Our buffet consisted of Blackened Catfish; Florida style BBQ chicken; BBQ Brisket of Beef flown in from Railhead BBQ located in Fort Worth, Texas; BBQ Tennessee pulled pork and ribs, flown in from Corky’s in Memphis, Tennessee; sweet potato fries, home made black eyed peas, grapefruit and avocado salad with poppy seed dressing, Jalapeno cornbread and biscuits. Whew!

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