Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Joy and I would often stop at a Dairy Queen either on our way to or from my brother Patrick's apartment when we lived in Maryland and we would occassionally hit them up when we visited Kansas too. We enjoyed ourselves a Blizzard. Wifey was in to the randoms like Banana Creme (vs. Cream) Pie and I was in to the traditionals like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Oreo Cookies and extra fudge sauce (don't knock it until you've gotten brain freeze from it).
Long story long, it has been YEARS since I partook in Dairy Queen (three or so, to be exact) and I might have blissfully gone through the rest of my life without having it again if it had not been for Joy having a "I want dessert" moment the other night.
I won't blame her. It has been warm here. HOT, you might say. Highs in the 80s. Lows in the 70s. Humid. Polleny. Spring-is-herey.
I was more than happy to get in the car and get her something to follow dinner with. I drove the Dairy Queen. Saw the drive-thru line. Thought about calling the Blizzard run off and then figured - what the heck - I'll go inside.
And there, as I waited in the equally long line at the counter, I saw the "Take Home Freezer." That frosty tease of a three-door display that rivals only Friendly's in terms of the sheer volume of ways a company can flavor, combine, form, package and market frozen dairy products (Watermelon Roll, anyone?), I saw it. Out of the corner of my eye. There, on the far right and in the back. Just one box left. But an important box none-the-less for, becaues of that box, I am pleased to make a formal announcement.
I found the "Offical Snack of Sean Amore's Summer, 2009." The DQ Fudge Bar. At only 50 calories and with zero grams fat, three grams sugar and four grams of protein. I can feel okay about having one every few days - even with the $7.50/box price tag.
That's right. A frozen snack that even a calorie-counting, dessert avoiding, sugar fearing, post-gastric bypass patient like me can openly enjoy DOES exist. It is there. It is available. And it comes on a wooden stick and it is DELICIOUS.
I highly recommend picking up a box, if you have a summery itch to scratch. Yuhmay!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Robert Downey, Jr. (and I am NOT a band wagon jumper here) is probably my favorite actor of all time. He can do funny, serious, sad, upbeat, musical and mayhem. He can do 80s, 90s and now. Artistic film. Blockbuster. And he's done it all despite (and while) being a complete disaster over the course of his life.
He's got stuff together now. Onward and upward, etc.
And that is something I can root for. Something I DO root for. Something I live and breathe and eat and drink and sleep.
The fact that this movie allows Downey to be the guy helping guide someone out of and along the abyss is just too good for me to miss.
PS - Download the score. Beautiful music. I. Can. Not. Wait.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
That's right. For those of you on "the coasts" - if you are looking for Sweeden, only smaller, you are going to have to chart a course for Kansas.
I'm not one to really know the subtle differences of European cultures.
I know the Crepe is French. I know that pasta comes from China (with credit to Italy) and I know that the Nazis were German. I know that my favorite Communist of all time (Olga) comes from Russia and I know that Big Ben chimes in London.
The rest is all just European Pops and Buzzes perpetuated, as Tom Friedman would likely agree, by the introduction of the Euro, an increasingly blurring line between cultural and national roles and heritages and a growing appreciation of the "finer" things that any given culture has to offer by the neighbors, fans, enemies and competitors of that nation.
I don't understand European fashion. What is up with the shoes the men wear and the armpit hair the woman grow? (DISCLAIMER - I am speaking in broad, stereotyped brush strokes here for the sake of showcasing me as an idiot, not to put down the Europeans) What is up with the every Parisian I've ever met speaking gooder English than me and every Italian I've ever met either being drop-dead stunning or, uh, not at ALL drop-dead stunning? What is up with the dual rise of majolica as a pottery glazing technique that is "uniquely" Italian AND "uniquely" Portuguese? What is up with how good Portuguese food is?
I have a point, I hope.
We walked around Little Sweeden for about 90 minutes. We stopped in shops. We posed for pictures with the Dala Horses that dotted Main Street and we perused the art galleries. All while smelling the delicious cuisine coming out of the restaurants, cafes and shops and all while enjoying the authentic Sweedish music being pumped in to the streets (literally) from the light poles along main street.
Finally - we had had enough. We had to eat (well Gamma and Gampa did, Ava wanted to go to the park and Joy was anxious to go to the bathroom). We settled in to one of the restaurants on Main Street and ordered the buffets - all around.
I went up and perused the offerings. LOTS of starches. Lots of soups. Lots of mystery gravies, sauces and desserts. Some pasta. Some beef. I grabbed three ounces of the beef, some cheese, two slices of cucumbers and headed back to the table and pondered what it means to eat "Sweedish" food.
Three foods come to mind . . .
1 - Sweedish Fish. Loved 'em. Used to eat them by the box. The Sam's Club sized box, to be specific.
2 - Sweedish Meatballs. Never really got in to them. Not sure why not. They have all the things I should love about a dish.
3 - Hot Dogs. They sell them at the cafe in Ikea. I just said I don't like Sweedish Meatballs. What else would I eat when I went to the home furnishing superstore?
More than just Sweedish foods, I pondered how the various cuisines of Europe might either further, or minimize obesity and how it is that Europeans, as a whole, have such smaller waist lines and healthier lifestyles despite the Freidman-supported influence of American culture on the continent.
Anywho - deep thought abandoned. Ava was dipping her cucumber in gravy and mushing crackers in her hands. I had bigger problems than worldwide obesity and cuisinal influences throughout Europe on my hands.
PS - Full disclaimer. I am an idiot. I called Imp at the office to see if I could bring her back one of those tasteful "__________ Parking Only" signs or "___________'s make the Best Coffee (and Lovers)" mugs that they sold in the gift shops and - when she informed me she was partially Norweigan, I asked, sadly "That is Norway, right?" Uggh. Tom Friedman is laughing at my expense right now. Again. Bastard.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
We put the beer and wine in the snow for Christmas Eve dinner (not enough fridge space for all that boozy goodness) and we each open one present on Christmas Eve.
We never spend New Year's Eve as a full family (bad luck, I guess).
We get "love you" notes from Mom on Valentine's Day.
We used to have "lamb cakes" for our respective Saint's Days (my father still gets one on St. Joseph's Day).
We eat Easter Pie. What IS Easter Pie, you ask?!
Well . . . Easter Pie is an Italian tradition (at least a tradition for the Anthony Amore of Italy family - the rest of you Italians might well be scractching your heads and asking what the heck I'm talking about - you non-Italians are probably surprised we don't use pizza or pasta for every meal (smile)).
My father carried the torch from his father and, in our generation, Ryan is the steward of the Easter Pie tradition.
From his earliest days at St. Bonaventure, Ryan would come to DC to spend Easter with his brothers (and hords of other admirers) to hone his skills as a pie-man and to carry on what is probably his favorite Easter tradition.
I would have full-blown Easter Pie "parties" during my DC days. 15, 20 pepole would come to the apartment. We'd spend the day grocery shopping, drinking and baking and then everyone would eat a big slab of Easter Pie and every drop of booze in their system would vanish and they would be sober again.
Easter Pie, you see, is SERIOUS business. Each pie has (and I may be exaggerating here) five dozen eggs, three pounds of cheese (one pound of each of five cheese varieties), four pounds of various meats (all of which happen to be salted, cased and/or tubed (not a drop of organic, free range chicken breast to be found in these pies), a half-dozen spices, three sticks of butter and a flaky, store-bought crust to enclose it all.
I would estimate that the average Easter Pie partaker consumes about 750 calories per slice - and we call you out as a coward if you eat less than one slice.
When I lived with Ben in DC he once ate 1/4 of a leftover Easter Pie out of sheer boredom. And couldn't get off the couch for three days (insert blasphemous Jesus resurection joke here).
I used to LOVE Easter Pie. Love it. I would whoop up on it at the table, eat a little more while I was doing the dishes adn I was the first one to microwave a slab while everyone else was trying to sleep off their first round of heavy, heavy tradition.
I would eat Easter Pie for every snack, meal, nervousness breaker and boredom killer until the pie was gone.
I haven't had Easter Pie in four Easters though. The last time I partook was a particularly stressful day for me. We had Easter Pie at Patrick and Joyell's apartment. Joy and I were prepping to move to Connecticut and were waiting for Ava to be born. Joy was working on a movie so she couldn't go and I was very sad to be alone, tense and with my brothers and some friends for what I knew would be the last Easter Pie I ever enjoyed as a "local" (and, without my knowing, the last time for several, several years). I think I ate three slices. And took home leftovers that I ate on the drive back to Baltimore.
I don't miss Easter Pie. I don't. I still eat eggs and/or Egg Beaters. I put a little cheese on them. I will mix it up with some turkey bacon or turkey sausage every now and again. I leave out the butter and the pie crust.
Life goes on. Food is not as important. I don't miss the misery of a slice of Easter Pie and a half bottle of champagne.
I do miss my brothers and the tradition though. I miss the time with them. I miss Ryan's excitement for pies (he called me twice in the days leading up to their celebration at Patrick's house to share the joy) and I miss that I'm no longer an active participant in the TRADITION of Easter Pie.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Take heed, people.
Don't let looks and general appearances fool you. Strange is not always a negative adjective and surprises can come from anywhere! Watch this whole video.
The best seven minutes you'll spend with Simon Cowell as long as you live.
Enjoy the chills. Get inspired. Give people a second chance - or a FIRST.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
After dinner we all just sort of sat around and talked. Four generations of strong women in the house was quite the thing. Grandma Timmermeyer went ahead and schooled my father and the liberation she feels since leaving the Catholic Church after 56 years of going every Sunday (take THAT Knights of Columbus).
Saturday, April 11, 2009
One problem. The dinner part. Too late. Too stuffy. Too formal. Too late (smile). I have a solution only a fairy god mother could offer. LUNCH theater.
We have a place right around the corner that caters to the Toddler Theater Set with kid-friendly productions of their Disney favorites proceeded by an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch. That only a kid . . . and comfort food lover . . . could love.
So. We lunched with Cinderella and her ugly step sisters today. We (and by "we" I mean everyone at the table but me) enjoyed boiled hot dogs with steamer-table hardened buns. Soggy french fries. Bland macaroni and cheese and some sort of apple/mystery fruit sauce (it was pink(ish)) and I-don't-think-they-were-100-percent-all-natural-white-meat chicken "nuggets". And a sugar cookie.
I'm not complaining. I'm really not. The whole thing was not for me. This is part of parenting. You do what makes your kids happy (and Ava, who got a chance to wear her Easter Dress a day early, was in HEAVEN). She nibbled at the food. She laughed and sang along with the cast of the show. She wanted to wait in line to get Cinderella's autograph. The production itself was great. The cast was talented and funny and the atmosphere of the place is fun, fun, fun.
Anywho - Lunch Theater. Try new things. Be a well rounded perosn. The lunch part might not exactly fit your post GB lifestyle but the rest of it (time with you daughter, wife, parents and Cinderella) will fit you like a glass slipper. And you can enjoy some egg whites in a whole-wheat wrap when you get home.
Friday, April 10, 2009
WEDNESDAY - Gampa Amo had his first "potty" experience with a 2 3/4-year-old girl. He did quite well and has been Ava's favorite potty-partner ever since. Insert my sigh of relief at having a few less daily trips to the bathroom with the Princess of "Will I or Won't I Go" here.
THURSDAY - Rice Krispie Eggs were made. They are like Rice Krispie Treats - only shaped like eggs and covered in chocolate, frosting and sprinkles (because regular Rice Krispie Treats are just not sweet (or messy) enough. I realize my parents are "those" Grandparents who delight in hopping the kid up on sugar and then washing their hands of the energy burst that follows. I can't wait to be a grandparent!
We took Ava home. Gave her a nap and then headed over to Gramma and Grampa Terry's for dinner - the girls enjoyed mashed potato beaters . . .. . . my Other Mother's birthday celebration (I won't say how old she is but she's one year short of being eligible for many senior discounts and 11 years away from full social security benefits). Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you . . . . . . and for some egg dipping/glittering/stickering/foiling/smashing/dyeing MADNESS! All the kids (even those of us in our 30s) got involved! Joy's Grandma Timmermeyer (Great Mo Mo) is in town for Easter so we enjoyed seeing her too (and hope to see a lot more of her as the weekend progresses).
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Life with Ava, school, work, family, fun, sleep, errands, chores, challenges and TV shows we truly adore watching make that difficult but - God love her - Joy has really put her proverbial nose to the proverbial grind the last few months and has really made this house spectacular. There are still lots of things she wants to do and I have no doubt she'll get them done and we'll have this place exactly as we want it by the time Ava is a teenager (give or take).
Joy is a person that really enjoys her home. Wants it to be warm and bright and stately and yet approachable. She wants everyone to feel comfortable. To be "at home" in our home - if that makes sense.
I'm not a "decor" person. I don't care about colors or fabrics or styles (our home, I'm told, is French-Country-Cottage-Chic but I have yet to ask what that even means). I don't want people to roll their eyes or feel awkward about my home but I don't truly care what they think of the place or if they want to stay just long enough to deliver our UPS package or if they want to spend weeks at a time under our care. It is what it is . . .
But - like with many of the things in our shared life - we (as a couple, so I can "we" speak here) tend to default to the person who is more gracious in any given environment so our home is all about comfort and making pepole comfortable and happy.
Enter Joy's latest purchase (and the point of this post) . . . our new kitchen table/island/work station. Wifey went out and hooked me up! She bought me a Boos Block to encourage my budding interest in cooking and making our small and sorta' dreadful kitchen something that feels right and that we can be proud of and make great meals in!
I was soooo excited! And then I got scared.
Island height work stations mean just one thing . . . stools. And stools mean just one thing . . . horrible and unspeakable discomfort and misery for fat people like me. Oh no! So - I tried to play it cool and sort of "felt Joy out" on her intentions for stools.
"Since ths is just a temporary solution in this kitchen I'll probably just find the cheapest stools I can," she casually stated.
So - I went to work Friday morning not really knowing what to expect when I got home. I was sure that it would be "okay" but I was not looking forward to it. I would have to sit on a stool - my large, bulging butt hanging off every side of the circular pedestal atop the thin and surely rickety legs.
I walked in the door.
"They look (LOOK!) great," I faked.
"Have a seat," Joy implored.
And I did. I sat down. On the stool. My butt FIT on the seat. No drooping or hanging or oozing of the cheeks. No discomfort. I sat. And sat. And sat. Didn't shift my weight. Talked to Ava. Talked to Joy. Enjoyed a glass of water. Just sat. Chatted. Laughed.
I was sure these "ah-ha" moments of post surgery life were long over . That the journey had ended.
Then I sat on a stool and had myself a moment. A moment of comfort. A moment of being at home in my home.
Wifey knows exactly what she is doing, once again.
Smart woman. Wonderful woman!