Glaring Questions on Daytime TV

#1: Did I miss the invitation to that party where they hand out diplomatic immunity like it’s candy on Halloween?  For that matter, this whole immunity thing seems to pose a very serious security issue. After hours of reruns of NCIS, Castle, CSI, Law & Order and Criminal Minds, it is abundantly clear that too many crooks have diplomatic immunity these days. . . it almost seems like a prerequisite for status as a diplomat. Concerning.

#2: Why do the Spanish Channels always look more interesting? I swear, the people are cooler, the colors are brighter, the news is more interesting. . . what the heck? Even commercials are more profound.

Why do I only speak English and French?

I even think the trashy talkshows look fascinating! Sometimes I put them on and just enjoy trying to decipher the gossip. . . somehow it’s more interesting and less obnoxious than the English-speaking counterparts.

#3: Who is buying all the jewelry, snuggies and housewares that are keeping informercials in business for HOURS of tv time? I mean seriously!? Where do they all go? Do the people that sponsor these shows also produce Hoarders?

How many knives can one person even need? (Even if they are available NOW for three easy payments of $29.95 a month?)

Okay: The Snuggie is essentially a backwards bathrobe, people. It’s not that earth shattering. Although it has EXTREME potential for Harry Potter Theme Party costumes, it should probably not be purchased for its sleeved-blanket capacities alone)

#4: What’s up with Soap Operas and Medical Anomalies? How much amnesia is really out there? And what about the excessive number of emotional, I-thought-you-were-dead-all-these-years Reunions? Does no one bother to verify actual death before assuming their loved ones are gone?

This isn’t even mentioning the other random and scary things that crop up. . . often amongst doctors!

I think Soap Opera Medical schools seem pretty darn dubious and might need some higher standards! And that’s not even touching the field of counseling and psychology, for crying out loud.

#5: (Last, but not least…) How do archaeologists and and animal trainers get funding to film all the digging and prowling that gets airtime? Truly, for every hour of HD leopard rehabilitation and every session debating which weapon bashed the unearthed indian skull there are HOURS or filming, editing, and production.

We’re not even talking about National Geographic programming or PBS. . . these are just your run-of-the-mill basic cable channels. . . Not that it’s really that bad, in the grand scheme of things, but I do find myself wondering how they came to be, don’t you?

So, there you have it. Those are the Daytime TV inspired Musings of my mono-induced “taking it easy” morning television experience. On to marathon-watching all those Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons my sister dropped off last week. . . or maybe re-watching BBC’s Pride and Prejudice for the 6th time this month. Oy.

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Belated Independence

Where did July go? I know, I know, it’s not over just yet, but I am shockingly behind myself on practically every front, which would be woefully embarrassing if I lacked a reason, but (thankfully?) my excuse is as timeless as a tacky 80s flick. Yessiree, I got mono.

Before you ask, NO, I have not been kissing anyone suspicious OR interesting. Unless you count the highly slobbery kisses I got from my one-year-old niece at a family reunion in early June.

I’ve learned, though, that you can’t let a little mono get you down. . . I mean, HEY, what’s a little four-week fever? Glands are just glands, even when they’re huge. You’ve got to keep living your life, right? At least, that was my reasoning for making the 7 hour ride to New York and hosting an impromptu Fourth of July Party for my parents and co. SO, without further ado, it is with belated excitement that I share my Independence Day Undertakings!

First up on the docket? Some DIY decor! 

These tea lights and bouquets were a cinch to make and looked so sweet scattered about the picnic! I just put some star-shaped stickers on old jam jars and rustled up an old can of white paint. With a few hours to dry in the sunshine and a couple of citronella tea-lights, theses star candle-holders were a perfect accent to the red polka-dot ribbon I found for 50 cents in a discount ribbon box. . . right alongside the navy ric-rac I used on the flowers! With a handful of small flags, a bouquet of baby’s breath and a few more jam jars, we were in business!!!

Done Decorating? No way! As cute as the candles and nosegays might be, we needed a little more clear communication of what exactly was being celebrated. . . armed with cardboard, a paintbrush, a stencil and a few colors of acrylic paint, my mom and I took inspiration from Etsy and did our part to let our Freedom Flag FLY!

Next up? Food Preparation!

Cold Fruit Stars and Stripes made with a star cookie cutter, watermelon, blueberries, frozen grapes and bamboo skewers!

Nothing makes for tastier summer desserts than no-bake treats! Piping cheesecake into these strawberries was quite a bit easier than pie (or at least easier than cheesecake) and then all there was to do was top it all off with fresh blueberries! This dessert presented beautifully . . . with Strawberries and Cheesecake for all!

The next dessert might be my favorite yet! I am an unabashed rice crispie treat addict, but the trick to this stacked Snap Crackle Layer Cake is making them with extra marshmallows, which you should probably do anyway, because it makes them so gooey and delicious! The reason why it is ESPECIALLY important with the cake is due to the servability . . . nobody wants to try to hack apart a brick of rice crispy treat! Extra marshmallows keeps the whole thing gooey and highly cuttable.

Our only baked treat was this luscious vanilla cake, made from scratch and chilled before it was covered with whipped cream and berries for a token representation of Old Glory. . . which is highly fitting considering how glorious it ended up tasting!

Not Shown: Heavenly Chicken Speedies, Enormous Hot Dogs, Deviled Eggs, Red White and Blue Coleslaw and Blue Chips with Salsa! Guests all contributed to the spread and we enjoyed some incredible potato salad, Tasty Quinoa and Flavorful Greens!

The only other true prep remaining was a chilly beverage to cool our guests down in aperitif! In keeping with our colors of the day, I whipped up a blender full of Strawberry Daiquiri, stuck marshmallow halves to the inside of serving cups and handed these lovely drinks out with blue straws to top them off!

Since our Independence Shin-Dig lasted the better part of the day, I kept our final crucial piece on standby for when the gigantic bonfire we had planned died into a manageable blaze for s’mores!

All in all, it was a pretty hot party if I do say so myself, although maybe it was just my steady temp of 101.4!

To tell the truth, the best part was just enjoying the fruit of all preparation with friends and remembering that we were not just celebrating an opportunity for good food and friends, but something of much greater significance. Although the freedom we celebrate is nothing to be made light of, it seems fitting that we make a true celebration of the fourth of July as a tribute to our Great Country and the gift it is to be a citizen living with the degree of Freedom we enjoy. But I digress. Leaving my patriotic soap box behind, I hope you all enjoyed the fourth as much as I did! Any fun traditions out there? What did you do to celebrate?

If “Ifs” and “Buts” Were Candy and Nuts . . .

. . . We’d All Have a Hell of a Christmas!

Has anyone else hear that expression? My grandmother used to say this to me when I was a kid and I recently threw it out in a conversation only to find that not a soul knew what on EARTH I was talking about! Suffice it to say, I metaphorically launched my way into a self-discovery epiphany. It turns out I am living a bizarrely anachronistic life. Let me explain.

Lets imagine you find yourself walking down the crowded hallway of Middle School in Anywheresville, USA during dismissal.          (Not your favorite fantasy, maybe, but work with me.)

To you, even if you’re only a few years past it, this is a strange new world. Nauseating amounts of smart phones extend from every hand, you might hear scandalously unfamiliar words like “sexting” bandied about and you would probably find yourself appalled at the get-ups some of these kids have the audacity to call clothing. . . and the scary come-back fads you thought were finally dead. Now as these short little gremlins mill about to the sound of Ke$ha and GaGa leaking out of earbuds and eensy-weensy speakers, lets say you try to strike up a conversation. I promise you, it wouldn’t matter how young and up-to-date you are, if you made a joke you might make with friends, referred to your favorite TV shows or even talked style with any of these kids, you’d be way over their heads in content and the proverbial sound of crickets chirping might just overwhelm you internally. Unless you’re Demi Moore, there is just no surmounting the age gap. THIS, my friends, is being out of your niche. None of your upbringing or life experiences prepared you for this moment and if you draw on any of them, you will only prove that you are woefully out of your depth and you just don’t fit into this scene. . .

(If you are mentally flashing to Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, Good Job – you’re  getting the picture!)

So now that you know what I mean, take that feeling and apply it to me but with a funky twist. Apparently, based on my upbringing, I am culturally familiar with certain things that went out of the lexicon decades or even CENTURIES ago. Teaching high school has taught me a lot, but it’s thrown into sharp contrast how random my background knowledge is. SO, with only this much ado (since it’s already been a bit of setup) I would like to share with you:

10 Things I Always Thought Were Common Knowledge But Apparently Aren’t.

1.) Every Expression I Use.

The Other day I told someone I was waiting on tenterhooks and they looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve had to take quite a lot of time to interpret my English. Apparently the expressions I use are a little dated!

2.) Punch and Judy

I always thought Punch and Judy were part of the common knowledge lexicon. Who hasn’t heard of the little puppets who spend most of their time beating eachother over the head? Apparently, though, Punch and Judy origins are in the early 1400’s! What’s worse, when I finally looked it up, I had been arguing their relevance to this era and I may never live down making a cultural reference that precedes my era by 5 centuries 

3.) “Doing it Yourself”

Last week my roomates watched me wash walls, spackle, sand,  tape off  and paint the livingroom  a lovely green. THey are both capable, wonderful women who handle immense responsibilities on a daily basis . . . but every time they walked through and saw another step of the process they were in awe. After hearing “I could never do something like that!” and “Wow, Ab, You’re so intense!” countless times, I realized that people actually don’t know how easy doing things yourself can be!

4.) How To Follow A Recipe.

If I had a nickel for the number of times I have heard people say “Oh, I can’t cook.”, I would be a wealthy woman. I just don’t understand! Recipes are practically the only necessary savvy. If you can read, you can cook.

5.) Cat’s Cradle 

Okay, I guess I can see how this is a little obscure, but it’s not unheard of, right? I am no cat’s cradle expert, but I can make at least 5 or 6 basic set-ups…

6.) Why and how to wear a Petticoat.

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I adore my petticoat and wear it frequently, but get the mickey taken out of me regularly for it. How do you explain to people that some dresses and skirts need a petticoat to look their best?

7.) How to be a Thrift/Secondhand Shopper 

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8.) Classic Fairytales

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Little Red Riding Hood, The 12 Dancing Princesses, Anything from books by Andrew Lang! These stories are the broad base of a whole world of imagination and whenever I spend time with kids I am downright appalled by how little kids know the stories that are the bread and butter of my childhood!

9.) Specific Names

Call me crazy, but apparently I have developed an extensive vocabulary of the random! A few examples which leave people calling me quirky when I talk about them in regular conversation:

Milk Glass

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Bloomers

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Dutch Ovens

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Cameo Brooches

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10.) Curling Hair with Hot Rollers 

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I do it. It works. What’s the big deal? Aren’t there other people that use hot rollers on a daily basis?