You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

Today, on a social networking site that shall remain nameless, I was tagged for a me-me by 2 different friends. As near as I can tell, in the blogosphere, a me-me is a sort of chain request for some type of personal information, in this case “25 Random Facts About Me,” usually with some sort of forwarding instructions, in this case “tag 25 of your friends” who are then supposed to post 25 random facts about themselves and then tag 25 of their friends, and so on and so on, sort of like a very bad 1970s shampoo commercial.

Since we are becoming so intimate and cozy here, you and I, dear readers, I thought perhaps I would share the “25 Random Facts About Me” with you so you could get to know me a bit better, you know, as a more 3 dimensional (dementia-nal?) person, rather than only as the one-dementia comedic genius you have come to know and love here.

I won’t make you come up with your own 25 things but I will ask you to tag 25 of your friends – with this blog address and a fair critique of how much you enjoy (or hate) reading it…….

25 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I have no middle name.
  2. I lived in Rome, Italy for 20 years and speak Italian like a native Roman but have no Italian ancestry.
  3. I can also speak Italian like a hood. This can be useful sometimes. Like when your purse is being snatched, or you are about to be ripped off by a cab driver who thinks you are a tourist.
  4. I learned to drive in Italy but didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 19.
  5. I ride a Honda Nighthawk 650 motorcycle, although it is now disabled and sitting in my garage.
  6. I was painfully shy as a child.
  7. I am a dog person and will most likely always share my life with at least one dog until I die or become a drooling diaper wearing vegetable (you know, whichever comes first).
  8. I am an only child with 3 half brothers, 1 half sister and 2 stepsisters (my parents were very, very busy)!
  9. I am still friendly with every guy I ever dumped with whom I had a serious relationship.
  10. I am a self-taught cook very much influenced by living in Rome, and am unable to follow a recipe without modification.
  11. I am terrified of commitment. Even committing to this blog makes me sweat.
  12. I never played with dolls as a child. 
  13. Guilty pleasure: I am a courtroom drama junkie and love Law & Order (all of them), and read any Grisham like it’s the bible.
  14. I love living in Maine and don’t know why I didn’t move here sooner.
  15. I’ve seen the Rolling Stones live from either the first 10 rows or backstage 5 times.
  16. I quit cigarettes in 2006 after smoking up to 2 packs a day for 33 years (and deeply loved every single cigarette!).
  17. I still miss living in Italy so much it hurts, even after 25 years.
  18. I never learned how to ride a bicycle.
  19. I love the TV show “House,” and think his character was based on me. Except I’m not a guy. Or a doctor. Or living in New Jersey. Or hooked on Vicodin. And I don’t know anyone named “Cuddy.” But then, who does?
  20. I once saw Frank Sinatra perform live.
  21. I once saw Elvis perform live in Vegas. Before he supposedly died.
  22. I don’t remember where I was when Kennedy was shot but I do remember where I was during the moon landing (oddly, I was in Maine!).
  23. I’m a bear about my privacy and my “personal space” and  guard them both fiercely (which makes the idea of a blog even more frightening!)
  24. I am fascinated by accents and dialects.
  25. I love to entertain at home and love cooking for company.
My Honda Nighthawk 650, gathering dust.

My Honda Nighthawk 650, gathering dust.

 

There you have it.  25 random things about me.  Now, remember.  Your job is to go tell 25 people how much you love this blog and twist their arms until they subscribe gently suggest they check it out and see if they like it too.

Advertisements

Today I’m celebrating arriving at the big ol’ round number of 500.  500 what you may ask? 500 non-automated hits (actual viewings) on my blog! I have no idea if that is good or bad in the scheme of things because I have no idea what the scheme of things is.  

Hmm, you can probably tell by that last sentence that I wasn’t an English major in college, but this is Onlyinmaineland, and I’m writing in Onlyinmainelandese. Since I don’t see any nuns walking around with rulers, I figure I can get away with ending as many sentences with prepositions as I care to.

Since I’m so busy celebrating, I really have no time to post. I’m attending a giant party (in my head) where the missing marching band, ticker tape parade and Miss America waving from the back of the pink convertible from Tuesday’s post all showed up to celebrate ME!

Sorry, Rochelle, guess you weren’t enough of a draw.

I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

OK, so the “name-the-cow-and-oar-on-the-roof-of-the-lobster-shack-photo” contest is over. Actually, to be precise, it was over in the middle of last night, at 12:01 AM.  

The number of entries was so small that I almost hesitate to end the contest, but I have a feeling that extending it won’t encourage any additional entries, so why keep the suspense going? After all, I wouldn’t want any of you to keel over from sheer excitement. That wouldn’t do. There are so few of you dear, loyal readers already, if you started keeling over, where would I be with my lonely little blog and no readers?

So without further ado….

 

Honorable Mention goes to Rhonda Berg who, while she had no entry for naming the photo, had the best explanation for why the oar and the cow on the shack, which I will kindly reproduce for you here instead of inserting another annoying link back to the original post (one per post is probably enough, but don’t hold me to it):  

“Why the cow? Clearly, if I need to tell you which shack is my shack…well, it’s the one with the cow on it! The oar? That worked at first until all the shacks got oars!”

I think I love Rhonda. She gets it. And therefore is most likely a Mainer.

Moving on with the prize distribution:

Last Place goes to Dublin16 for her entry “Bob,” pronounced “Bahb” if done properly with a Mainer twang. Dublin is fortunate there were so few entries.

Third Place goes to Nancy J. for “High Beef.” Pronounced “High Beef.” I already love Nancy, she’s been a pal for almost 20 years (yikes!).

Second Place goes to Rochelle for “Steak Oar Lobster” because both the oar and the cow figure in her entry.  Rochelle is one determined lady and she was going to win at all costs.

Luckily for you all, I’m afraid of the sight of blood, soooo (drum roll please………)

 

THE WINNER IS:

"Oar steak is on the house"

"Oar steak is on the house"

ROCHELLE!!!!!!!! (Cue marching band, ticker tape parade, Miss America waving from the rear of a pink convertible…..)

Hey! I SAID CUE THE…..what? Someone goofed? No band, no parade, no Miss America? I’m furious. Apparently if you want something done right you have to do it yourself.  

Folks, I apologize. Unfortunately, I am informed that due to a slight budget miscalculation, there will be no marching band, no ticker-tape parade, and no Miss America waving from the rear of a pink convertible.

Next time we’ll try to work out those kinks ahead of time. Of course I might be inclined to increase the budget a tad if more of you cared to add your comments to my posts. How else would I know that you are out there?

My sister-in-law, bless her, makes her own homemade Limoncello. Something to do with alcohol, lemons and a back porch – I don’t want to know. What I do know is that she gives it away generously and it is delicious.

I’m really not much of a drinker (I’d rather “spend” the calories on food) and so I have developed a little drinkie recipe with the Limoncello that allows me to hang on to my glass, sipping, for a good long while without having to pour another to keep up.

I offer you this quickie cocktail recipe in lieu of the beef-barley soup recipe you would have gotten today had things gone as planned. I know that a quick drink recipe is a poor substitute for a delicious fully homemade beef-barley soup recipe, but the result is just as flashy, and a lot less work on my part while I recover from my injury (I’m pleading “the foot“).

Ingredients:

Cast of Characters

Limoncello Cocktail: Cast of Characters

1 part Limoncello,

Ice,

1 part cranberry juice,

And about 2 parts soda water.

Optional Garnish (looks nice in a punch-bowl or pitcher): any citrus fruit slices – lemon, lime, orange – leave the peel on.

I’m sure you’ve all noticed that that Limoncello bottle is almost empty. That’s how good it is. I serve this cocktail with appetizers any time I have guests for dinner and it is always a big hit. More importantly I hope my dear sister-in-law in Maryland, who should be reading this, notices how empty that bottle is (not so subtle hint-hint)!

Method:

Mix all ingredients together, serve.

I know that may be too complicated for you but try to follow along. Once more:

Mix Limoncello and ice in appropriate receptacle.....

Method: Mix Limoncello and ice in appropriate receptacle.....

Start with a glass (for one serving) a pitcher (for when your 401k bottoms out) or a punch-bowl (for when the end is nigh).  As you can see here, my 401k has bottomed out.

Add Limoncello.

Add Ice.

This is where it may get dicey so watch closely…..

Add cranberry juice to Limoncello and ice mixture....

Add cranberry juice to Limoncello and ice mixture....

Add Cranberry Juice

Just look at that color!

And now for the grand finale…..

Add soda and citrus slice garnish to Limoncello, ice and cranberry juice mixture....

Add soda and citrus slice garnish to Limoncello, ice and cranberry juice mixture....

Add soda and citrus slice garnish to the mixture and stir.

Taste, and adjust to your liking.  Then, keep tasting.

Ooops.......(*burp*)!

Ooops.......(*burp*)!

Until the glass/pitcher/bowl is empty.

Now that you know how to make it, you can make more!

Enjoy, but please hide your car keys before you play with this stuff. It tastes harmless, goes down like spring-water, and packs one heck of a whallop.

And I need you back here tomorrow for my next post (after I recover from sampling the recipe….)

I know I promised to write an epilogue to yesterday’s post but I was too busy stocking provisions for the blizzard that was clearly coming my way, based on the prediction of, if you recall, fair weather with a side of alerts.

My “From away/Mainer” dictionary apparently needs tweaking, as it full-on failed me this time. The weather was none of the above. It was just grey and COLD. Like in the single digits cold. Instead of the usual “one inch” of foot deep snow, we got NO SNOW. And now, after yesterday’s pointless flurry of activity, I have a house unnecessarily full of food and firewood – which, now that I think of it, can never be a bad thing.  

Today was going to be day 2 of delicious beef-barley soup making for Monday’s blog post but the beautiful giant beef bones I had bought on Thursday just for photographing and posting said soup recipe, mysteriously went bad – very bad.  So bad that they were actually stinky when I went to start the soup yesterday afternoon. Which means no soup post tomorrow. Even worse, (for me), no delicious hot soup for the next few single-digit-cold days. Since I did something very stupid yesterday to my right foot during my marathon survival-preparedness exercise, I’m not about to trek out to the market for more soup bones today just for you guys – even though I love each one of you loyal, forgiving readers with all my heart, because another trip to the market would be redundant – did I mention that I have a house full of food (except soup bones)? So while I will eventually be adding a few recipe posts here and there….you’ll have to wait until I get back on my feet (foot?) and out to the market to get a peek at my yummy beef-barley soup recipe. And I’ll have to come up with some other clever subject for tomorrow’s post.

So this entry? Not really a post, more like a litany of excuses……..

OK, I promise that this isn’t going to be a “weather blog” but you gotta go with what’s out there, you know? There will be all sorts of other stuff, I promise, just not today.

This morning, before getting dressed to leave the house, I checked my usual internet weather feed….

 

Today's local weather forecast....

Today's local weather forecast....

So far so good right, “Fair,” “Sunny”….But WAIT! What do we see there up top in red? Does that say “SEVERE WEATHER ALERT?” Why yes, I believe it does. What severe weather could be in store if the powers that be are predicting “Fair” and “Sunny?” Conversely, if they know that severe weather is coming, why aren’t they predicting “Severe Weather” instead of “Fair” and “Sunny” with a side of alerts?  

I hear that a side of alerts is always good with katsup, but I digress.

Moving right along, curiosity and common sense had me immediately clicking on the appropriate hot button which yielded this bit of no-longer-surprising news:

 

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT!

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT!

I say “no-longer-surprising news” because after living here for 2 and a half years, I’ve already figured out how they manipulate their weather findings

To recap:  According to the prediction, today’s weather is going to be “Fair” and “Sunny” with winds topping out at 18mph but I should watch out for 35mph winds and snow so thick, it’s going to reduce visibility to half a mile?????  

How much snow?  

Only an inch, of course!

I’ll write an epilogue for this tonight when I’m snowed in under a foot of the stuff…….

In Maine, if you weren’t born here, you are not from here. Period. No exceptions. And if you aren’t from here, you are “from away.” Which is about the worst thing you can say about anyone. “Oh, her? She’s from away!!!” And them’s fightin’ words! Luckily, if you are from away, you don’t know that them’s fightin’ words. And you can go blithely about your business completely unaware that you are cursed with this terrible affliction.

While being “from away” can work in your favor to excuse a whole bunch of faux pas and other mistakes you might make in trying to survive the environment and carve a niche for yourself in this incredible place, you need to know, up front, that you will never, ever, “fit in.”

I first learned of this “from away” phenomenon the summer I moved here, at a funky homemade ice-cream shop on a quaint cobbled street in town. I had ordered some orgasmic concoction that was one of the house specialties, and after eyeing the unending selection of toppings, asked for sprinkles. At which point the lady who had just been served ahead of me turned away from eating her cone, drew herself up, looked all the way down her nose at me (again with the nose!) and said “You’re from away!” with some indignance*. As it turns out, in Maine, “sprinkles” are called “jimmies” and THAT’S what had given me away. Not my New York accent. Not the lack of LL Bean labels on my city clothes, or the fact that I was carrying an umbrella (because in Maine, umbrellas are for sissies and California. In Maine when it rains, you need GEAR).

 

Outed by sprinkles!!


*In case you think I am completely off my rocker (and you may not be too far from the truth), I am fully aware that “indignance” is not a so-called “real” word. But I defy you to argue credibly that it doesn’t fit here. Plus, this blog is my own little fiefdom and “indignance” is a word in Onlyinmaineland if I say it is. Don’t say that you weren’t warned!

My first year in Maine I was forced to return to California for business in early February. Since long term airport parking for 2 weeks was actually cheaper than cabbing it to the airport, I chose to leave my car at the indoor long-term lot while I was gone.

Flash forward to the day after Valentine’s Day, 2 weeks later. I returned from California to my trusty Subaru in its spot on the 3rd floor of the indoor lot (did I mention that this lot is indoors?) at the airport and this is what I found:

 

Sometimes, it snows indoors......

Sometimes, it snows indoors......

Yes, my car was covered in snow. You will note that the part of the car that is covered with snow is not the part facing the window. The snow-covered part of the car, the rear, was on the aisle side! And by the way, in case you think that the opposite side windows were right behind me letting snow in, there were 6 aisles of cars between where I was standing taking the shot and the other side of the garage behind me, the equivalent of 2 full city blocks away. The drive between the aisles had actually been plowed (yes, plowed – with a truck, not blown with a blower) leaving mounds of snow at the ends of each aisle. The bottom of the ramp tower, a spiral car ramp housed in its own tower which was completely closed off to the outside, also had a big pile of unsullied snow on the floor at the bottom.

I’m thankful that I had the presence of mind to at least take this photo. Because I’m pretty sure that although you will all turn out to be very loyal readers who will return to this site daily and leave all sorts of clever comments – daily, I know that I’m still new to some of you, and you wouldn’t have believed me. Those of you who know me and my family’s own named-after-it scale of exaggeration, definitely wouldn’t have believed me.

As an added bonus to the big pile of snow between me and the driver’s seat, my car was completely out of juice because some nimrod had left the dome light on (now who would do that?). I was able, with the last few ounces of power left in my less than trusty cell phone, to call AAA for a jump – which it took them well over an hour to deliver. Since my flight was the last arrival before the airport closed for the night and the sidewalks were rolled in, there were no Samaritans around to help (all Mainers are good Samaritans – I think it’s genetic. Had there been anyone around at all I not only would have been given a jump but a full tune up and a lube too, no doubt!).

By now I was freezing my toes off, because although I had left my parka in the car when I left on my trip, I was dressed for California winter weather (75 – 95 degrees) and not wearing any long underwear, heavy clothing or appropriate foot gear (like socks!). As you can see by the trampled (all by me) snow next to the driver’s side door, I did a lot of trekking back and forth in said snow trying to keep warm and get the blasted car – and heat – going…to no avail, leaving me still freezing cold but with the added benefit of soaking wet feet. The delightful “breeze” (as they call it here) coming through the open window was, well, less than delightful. Luckily the AAA guy showed up before I needed an ambulance so all was well and luckily I got to keep all of my toes. I wasn’t thinking too clearly by time he arrived but was compus mentus enough to ask how it is possible that cars can get covered in snow from the inside side of an indoor garage…

And the reply was, of course:  “It snowed.” Silly me.

lobster-cow1

 

OK, there really is no correct answer. This “building” is a lobster shack at the local port, the cow is plastic (at any rate it wasn’t mooing at the time) and the oar is there for….what? Effect? Steering? Not a clue. Since I’m such a crappy photographer I didn’t know that I should have gotten more of the surroundings into the shot for scale and context so I’ll have to spell it out for you: This shack – which is about the size of your average single outhouse – without the front porch – was completely surrounded by 15 foot tall stacks of interlocking pier parts that had been hauled out of the water for the winter along with a whole mess of lobster traps and buoys.

Heh, buoys. That word always makes me break out in peals of laughter, I don’t know why.

OK, moving forward: I cannot find the words to describe for you the putrid stench of rotting seaweed, urchins, lichen, lobster, lobster poo and god only knows what else (wait, maybe it WAS an outhouse. For cows? Like, “Gents,” “Ladies,” “Cows?”) coming of of those pier parts. By the way, not bad for a cell phone shot, huh?  

Sadly, the cow, the shack and the interlocking piers no longer exist (ah, gentrification development in the name of greed progress, so sad), so those of you planning a pilgrimage, stop packing now. The smell still lingers, however, like a ghost, unwilling to leave for its journey to the so-called Other Side.

I feel terrible (not) that I cannot provide you all with an explanation of how and why this particular cow came to be up there on that particular roof or what purpose it served or what it symbolized, or how it survived the brutal Maine winter gales coming off the water. So, to placate my readers and avoid having to face what would surely be an angry torch-bearing crowd a la Frankenstein, how about a naming contest? I’ll leave the contest open for a week, ending at 12:01 AM EST on next Tuesday 1/27/09. Winning entry will be posted below after the deadline, as soon as I get around to it. Entries received after the deadline will be ignored. Unless I really, really like it. Because here, in my own little world, I am the law. Enter as many times as you like, one entry per comment (tricky aren’t I?). Only entries submitted as comments to this post will be considered. Since I am the sole judge and I am a merciless god on my own blog, there will be no disputing the arbitrariness of the rules, or the choice of winning caption. The entry with the best caption for this photograph gets…..the satisfaction of knowing they are the cleverest among the 2.5 of you that aren’t too chicken to actually show their avatars and leave a comment – and me.

Good luck to you all!

Today, we innaugurate this country’s first African American president and I am proud to be a witness to this historic event.   

Today, Democrats regain control of the White House.

Today, the phrase “YES WE CAN” will be on everybody’s lips.

Today, George Bush leaves the presidency with an approval rating of 22% while Barack Obama assumes the presidency with an 83% approval rating.

Today, I think somewhere a pollster is unemployed, or 5% of the population approves of them both!

I will be glued to my TV set for as much of the day as possible.  

There will most likely be a bottle of champagne involved.

Where will you be and what will you be doing on this historic day?