It is spring where I live which means there is snow on the ground and several more inches threatening this week. This time last year it was 80 degrees and sunny. Two weeks ago it was 65 degrees and sunny. Mother Nature is obviously menopausal.

As I drove my daughter to school she and the car pool kids were complaining about the weather because its almost spring break etc, etc, etc. I told them I remembered many an Easter Sunday with snow on the ground when I was a kid. Part of that is the magical liturgical calendar, which I am sure is calculated in a sub-basement of the Vatican using the phases of the moon and cast chicken bones, and part is global warming which causes the lake effect snow by us.

When I was a kid every Easter we would get a new dress, hat, gloves and Patten leather shoes for church. Invariably the dress was made out of some sheer material with cap sleeves guaranteed to leave you with goose bumps the whole day. Even the leg wear was thin – ankle socks with lace rather than tights.

My brothers on the other hand got a pair of dress pants, long sleeve button shirt, jacket and tie. They were warm, we were cold. And so began the lessons of women needing to suffer to look beautiful.

As I was relating the unfairness of the Easter clothing to my captive car pool audience I remembered the purse we would make in Girl Scouts every year. First we would spend several meetings crocheting a square. The square would then be made into a tube by lacing a piece of ribbon along two edges, with another ribbon laced through the top to create a drawstring. We would then cut images out of magazines and decoupage them them to plastic margarine tubs. Once the tub was sufficiently decorated and dry, we would punch holes around the edge and use another ribbon to lace the crocheted tube to the tub.

Found this on Etsy. Mine never looked this good.

Needless to say the kids in the car thought this was hilarious. I tried to explain that it was the 70’s and we decoupaged everything, but I guess you had to be there. I just found the instructions for Margarine Tub Purse in the 1972 edition of a “Polly’s Pointers” column. I was not the only one subjected to this craftiness!

This endless “craft project” produced what was now called a purse, intended to be used for church on Easter Sunday. A purse just big enough for some folded up Kleenex, some money for the collection plate, and a lip smacker. Bonne Bell Lip Smackers was a home town company and a big craze for a while. Originally they were as big as glue sticks & with a hook and a cord so you could wear it around your neck. Orange Crush, 7-Up and Strawberry were my favorites.

The smell of Spring.

No this is not a blog post about President Obama’s attempt to re-frame his “late to the party” support of Gay marriage.

Although I am happy that the President publicly endorsed gay marriage, I think it’s a crappy circumstance of politics that we expect every decision to be a static reflection of a public persona. Stop and think for  minute – what if you were held to all the opinions you vociferously expressed twenty years ago? I like to believe that my thinking has not only evolved but become more sophisticated and nuanced, but what do I know. Continue reading

On of the sucky things about work travel is the often crappy food that goes along with it. Some people just don’t know how to host.

When I have visitors for my work they get decent food at a nearby French, Brazilian or Italian restaurant. As I type this as I am enjoying a Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sub and a Diet Coke. Which is a major step up from the gelatinous cream of potato soup I had for lunch yesterday. It jiggled and reminded me strongly of Campbell’s condensed. There were no can lines like you get with the Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, but I would have bet money on that being a canned soup.

On the upside of work travel is the cable. Last night I watched snippets of Dodgeball, Mr. and Mrs Smith, Rachel Maddow and several sitcoms I couldn’t name but could identify by the laugh track. Don’t they ever freshen that laugh track? I swear its the same one they used for Happy Days.

The show I stopped on was a chef competition featuring Micheal Symon. The chefs literally sweat as they race the clock, interspersed with quick cuts to pre-taped interviews with contestants and judges. Its weirdly formulaic and the whole thing signals ahead of time who will be cut and who will win. At least to me. My husband will usually get irritated when I predict the outcome of movies, but I maintain that they always give you signals and clues to read if you pay attention.

This episode Michael Symon was cooking and the judges and fellow contestants were gushing about his skill and cooking genius. I beg to differ. They need to give Symon a basket with no meat in it and see what kinda crap he comes up with.

I have this negative opinion because of a visit to one of his restaurants a while back. My boss, who I think is a fabulous and kind person, always takes our “team” out for an annual dinner to celebrate another year of success. This event is not tied to a holiday or season but is more likely to strike her when we have just finished one of our major annual projects.

2011 was a Micheal Symon restaurant. I am a vegetarian and have been for a very long time. This is not something that necessarily affects the choice of restaurant. Usually its not a big deal, I have a few glasses of nice wine, whatever. This time it mattered. Symon is the king of meat. He puts bacon, or some other flesh, in every freakin’ thing he cooks. I figured I would be having the classic vegetarian a meal of Wine, Bread Basket, Mixed Greens and Dessert. Perfectly fine, done it a million times before at special events.

The first course was just silly.

The apple goat cheese salad I ordered had apples and beets sliced so thinly I could not poke them with the tines of my fork. I had to fold them over twice so I could stab it. Three insanely difficult bites later, I was done with my salad.

The entree will forever stick in my mind as one of the most disgusting meals I have ever eaten.

Steel cut oats cooked in red wine with root vegetables that consisted of one half of a sweet potato and two carrots. However they had cooked it the oats ended up like a slimy quasi-risotto and the whole effect was vaguely dog vomit in the middle of an over sized white bowl. I choked down half of it.

I can’t really say I was disappointed because I didn’t expect much, but I was kind of amazed that anyone would bother to put this nasty mess on a menu. It’s was more like an insult – “get outta my restaurant you stinkin’ vegetarians!” – than food anyone would deliberately choose to eat.

By the time I got home that night my stomach was growling so I had a bowl a cereal. If given the choice in the future I would take Jimmy John’s over Michael Symon.

I realized the other day how easy it would be for the CIA/FBI/KGB/TSA or any other acronym to break me and extract any and all information they desired.

I lost my keys.

Not really lost, I knew where there where. They were 500 miles away from the city I was in. 500 miles away from the car I need to drive, the office I need to access and the desk drawers I need to open.

I also discovered that no service is capable of shipping a package on a Saturday after 3:00 pm for less than $1,000. No shipping on the Lords Day. No kidding.

When I found out the keys were missing, I wanted them sent next day air, so I whipped out my iPhone and started calling Fed Ex and UPS to rectify the situation. I discovered that no one ships on Sunday. Really. One service rep told me I should have had my emergency before 2:30pm on Saturday if I expected to receive a package on Monday before noon.

Who knew emergencies could be scheduled.

The shock of multiple people telling me I could not have my keys until Tuesday tipped me into feeling completely helpless. I could do nothing to fix this problem it was officially Out of My Control. I was suddenly living in some bizarre, third-world country where I could not mail a package over state lines on the weekend!

I felt sorry for myself for about two hours and then figured out how I could cobble together what I needed until the keys arrived. And here I am. In my office with access to my files and all my usual work stress.

I am sure there is a life lesson or a metaphor in here somewhere that I should be paying attention to. I will figure it out once my keys are in my hand.

Today’s Croan is “It still looks good to me – you don’t need a new one.”

Went pillow shopping today even though the old pillows are not worn out, they’re just uncomfortable. But they are still good.  This is actually a knotty little problem given I just threw out my childhood pillow last year. I’m over 40. Martha Stewart would be having kittens. She recommends new pillows every three years. As if.

Waste not, want not drives me to keep the old (not quite garbage yet) pillows and use them on the attic guest bed for kid sleepovers. The attic is the repository for many “it’s-not-broken-enough-to-get-rid-of it-yet” items because they are still good. For something. To someone. Eventually.

I am far from turning into a hoarder but my parents relentless “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without” crap is not terribly in sync with my now middle-class suburban existence. So I recycle & re-purpose. 21st century consciousness rather than depression-era reflex, but I still know which charities take donations of wire hangers & want the plastic bags from Target.

Many of my impulses in this area are furtive, because, like I said, the suburban landscape is not one of need. So I have a rain barrel and grow my own tomatoes, and then buy my suits at Nordstrom. Thats a long way from the sale rack at Zayre’s.

And the pillows feel great.