Category Archives: entertainment

Dear Tom, tourists bug the hell outta me.

It’s like… You’re slamming on your brakes in the middle of the road because???

Or… You’re stepping off the curb in front of my moving car because???

Or… You’re swinging open your car door on this narrow busy main street because???

Tourists. Learn to drive. Learn to park. Learn how and where to cross the street safely. Put down your damn cell phone.

I try to be patient. I do. But by the fifth or sixth example of Darwin-Award-type behavior in a single trip to the grocery store I’m about fixin’ to assist you in your quest to win that award. 🙂

I promised Ray a post.

Now that I’m actually mobile and engaged in life once again I have many, I promise!

This is the merely the first!

Now… I am off to make certain I’m recording CBS Sports and the 4th night of the PBR World Championships. Ride ’em, J.B. Mauney!

Advertisements

Dear Tom, I’m a changed woman postop.

Texas Woman Wakes From Surgery With A British Accent

No, she’s not me. But I woke from surgery a different person.

I’m scared, Tom.

I no longer like chocolate. Can’t stand the sight of it nor the smell of it.

lindt

This is serious.

Do you understand what this means?

This means that after a life-long love affair with chocolate, as in chocolate has been the only sweet thing I like– I. Now. Hate. Chocolate.

You know what’s even scarier???

I’m craving vanilla ice cream. I’ve despised (yes, despised) ice cream in every way, shape or form, my entire life. I’ve refused to eat it. I’ve hated the taste, the texture, the creaminess, the sweetness…I was the only child I knew who hated ice cream. I’m the only adult I know who hates ice cream.

But that’s no longer true. Just this past week I ate my first ice cream sandwich – vanilla ice cream between two oatmeal cookies – and it was amazing! I mean, it was astounding.

I woke from surgery with a vision of an oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwich, a gourmet confection I’d once glimpsed in the freezer section at the neighborhood market. An ice cream sandwich that previously held zero interest for me. As soon as I got home I begged my husband to go buy one.

Bi rite ice cream sandwich

This is it.

Wait… here’s the conversation:

“Please please please go to the market and buy me an ice cream sandwich, the gourmet kind in a single-pack, wrapped in cellophane– vanilla ice cream between two oatmeal cookies.”

Oscar, staring at me: “You don’t eat ice cream.”

Me: “I know, but I want one.”

Oscar, still staring at me: “But you hate ice cream.”

Me: “I know but I really really really want one of these ice cream sandwiches.” I showed him the picture.

Oscar, skeptical: “Where does a store keep ice cream?”

Me, trying not to laugh: “Honey, think for a minute. Where would a store keep ice cream?”

Oscar: “Uh, where it’s cold?”
Me: “Yes. Now where would it be cold in a grocery store?”

Oscar: “I don’t know.”

Oh Tom… You have no idea what I’m dealing with here.

Me: “Honey, when you get to the store, ask someone.”

Oscar made a halfhearted attempt to find the ice cream sandwich I wanted but he failed because he refused to ask for help. Instead he bought a box of It’s-It which I couldn’t eat because It’s-It is covered in chocolate.

It's it

So I sent my best friend on a mission to seek out the perfect ice cream sandwich. She found one. And it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted. I want more!!!

This is so bloody weird! Even weirder? My lactose intolerance seems to be a non-issue.

I’ve lived my entire life with lactose intolerance. Even as a baby I couldn’t tolerate dairy-based formula. My parents had to start me on solid food at three months of age because every formula that went in came back out within a minute or two. (My mom wasn’t the type to nurse a kid.)

Out of the blue I’m eating yogurt, ice cream, and drinking milk.

Holy crap, Tom! What in the world is going on???

Oh, and by the way~

Happy Independence Day! Yay America!

fireworks

For the first time in my life I’m eating ice cream on the Fourth of July! XOXO! Julia

 

Dear Tom, Spring has sprung!

You’ll appreciate the fact that I’m already using produce from my garden.

Asparagus – oh yes – for weeks now.

Last night I harvested arugula, cilantro, baby garlic, and my secret green – wild stinging nettle. Love stinging nettle!

20160323_182920

Stinging nettle. Great green, if you know how to use it.

20160323_1829100

Cilantro, arugula and baby garlic.

I harvested and washed the young greens. (Always wear gloves when picking nettles. I just covered my hands with a dishtowel and tossed them directly into a glass bowl of hot water – nuked them in the microwave for 90 seconds and voila! No sting. Nettles are better than spinach. And they are super healthy. They have a delicate flavor. Always pick before they bloom.)

Then I chopped everything coarsely and stuffed it all into my food processor, along with maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of black pepper and 1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. Because I wanted the pesto to be shiny, I added two raw egg yolks. (Just me. Feel free to leave out.)

I cooked up a box of pasta and opened a bag of frozen baby peas. Dumped the peas in a big mixing bowl, dumped the hot pasta plus three scoops of boiling pasta water on top of the peas and then stirred in the pesto.

20160324_114543

Later I’ll add some additional salt and Parmesan cheese to taste.

Yummy spring pesto pasta! Welcome to springtime in California!

XOXO! Julia

Our Own Alan Rickman Memorial Film Festival!

We own so many of his movies we plan to host a family Alan Rickman Memorial Film Festival.

No matter the role, hero, anti-hero, villain, Alan Rickman was always compelling, never less than stellar. He stole ever single scene he was in.

Our collection:

Romeo and Juliet

Die Hard

Quigley Down Under

Dogma

Galaxy Quest

Love Actually

Sense and Sensibility

Truly Madly Deeply

Something the Lord Made

Bottleshock

Close My Eyes

The January Man

Judas Kiss

The entire Harry Potter series

Some of my faves:

Dear Tom, New Year’s Wishes…

1. Wish you were here.

2. Wish (and hope and pray) 2016 will be a whole lot better than 2015 has been. Not just for me and for those I love, but for the entire world.

3. Wish I was drinking. (Pity I’m not much of a drinker.)

4. Wish good things for all my family and friends and, yes, even for complete strangers.

5. Wish Vikings, Game of Thrones, and Orphan Black were already here!

And I do have a few writer-ish twitter-ish people to thank– You, Ishbel, your wonderful children and grandchildren (Marie has been a most dependable touchstone!), my doggie muse, Jake, Stephane and My French Heaven, Jaye, Penny, Lawrence, Annie, Stephanie, Anita, Tina, Marylin, Steven, Mat, Sandra, Lex, Greta, Roberta, Alicia, Passive Guy, Ray, Tim, the Iowa Hawkeyes, the San Francisco Giants… plus anyone and everyone I may have forgotten to mention.

To 2016 and new beginnings– Let us see if an even number can trump the odd 2015!

2016

Dear Tom, I don’t see the point…

2015 has been exhausting, both for me, personally, and for our nation and our world. I’m plumb tuckered out.

I’m tired of blogging – an exercise which I suspect means little these days.

I’m tired of the publishing wars. Legacy publishing versus indie publishing versus far too many authors I know who are now poor as church mice, homeless even- authors who once upon a time, as in three or four years ago, made bundles of money.

Now me, I’ve never made bundles so I’ve never spent bundles. As they say– don’t give up the day job. Oh, a couple years ago, 2010-1013, the world was a much different (and more hopeful) place. I made a bunch. I sold lots of books. The life of writing was good and I felt inspired to write more and more and more.

These days, not so much. In fact, I find myself less and less interested in engaging the market, i.e., readers, and I have little interest in promotion. To be honest, I find it hard to muster the energy. Attempts to engage, attempts to promote, don’t sell books anyway. So engagement, just like blogging, is another exercise in futility.

But what about that pot of gold, you ask? What about that lightening strike? The newly discovered land? Well, I ain’t holding my breath. Never have.

You know, I’ve read those books – the strike it rich quick books – those books that have caught fire, those six-figure signings, and except for the very first book in the Hunger Games series, those six-figure books bored me to tears. Whatever it was about those books that caught fire did not ignite the fires within me. Couldn’t even make it through the first five pages of a couple of them.

BORING…

More and more I find myself buying nonfiction and re-reading my old favorites in the fiction genre.

But do I plan to quit altogether? Quit writing? Huh. Good question. Maybe. I’m working on a short story as we speak. I have a re-release scheduled for February or March. I have a number of books in the queue. Maybe I’ll finish them, maybe I won’t.

Regardless, I am convinced I’ll be appreciated after I’m dead. My stuff is good. Someday someone will realize it.

In the meantime:

I’m busy with family and friends. I’m traveling. I’ve got bushels and bushels of lemons to juice for lemon curd. I have to figure out how to halter break my steer, Hank. All in all, while my appreciation and affection for the beauty in life continues to grow, my attachment to the publishing world diminishes.

And I’m okay with that.

I miss you. 2015 was a sucky year for you and your family. They lost you. I lost you, my dear dear friend.

I look forward to 2016. The number fifteen has always bothered me in any case. I think it’s a bad luck number. 2015 has been proof of that for so many people.

Anyway, I’m tired– was up the entire night with a sick dog. No, not a kid although I did have a couple kids home– a sick dog. When I say the entire night I mean exactly that, the entire night. Oscar slept through the whole thing. But then that’s typical for Oscar. He sleeps the sleep of the dead. I wake if a neighbor three doors down drops a pin. Onto plush carpet.

The best blog around? The one worth reading? Marylin’s – Things I Want to Tell My Mother. Her recent post is frame-worthy: The Gift of Words. Go read it, you’ll love it.

All right, Tom, maybe I’ll re-watch the genius Big Bang episode (The Opening Night Excitation) and go to bed!

I love you, Tom. Here’s to the approaching New Year.

XOXO! Julia

 

 

Dear Tom, I’m sorry I haven’t written but I’ve been busy going insane.

First off let me say this – it is no fun, as in zero fun, to drive to the Oakland Airport and back four times in ten days, San Francisco and back three times in ten days, and get an injection of radioactive shit, be forced to drink three liters of water in three hours, and then lie flat on your back on a hard-ass plastic table, not moving, for an entire hour, while the bones in your foot are scanned. (Both of my feet were taped to a plastic form so I couldn’t move them if I’d tried.)

You know, I used to model, as in life-model for art classes. You would think the hardest thing was being naked in front of like forty people. Nope. The hardest thing in the world was not moving. That was super hard. And if you have one of those drawings of me stashed away, please keep it stashed away. In my defense the money was really good. And I had bills to pay.

On the bright side my youngest DOES NOT have lymphoma- yeah, been dealing with this, and it has been confirmed~ I am, as I’ve been saying all along, a super taster.

Brain

Oh, I’ve also been doing stuff with books, lots of stuff, which makes me think I should quit writing altogether and take up painting. Again. I like painting. It’s messy good fun. And I won’t have to think about the bazillions of awful books sold every single day while my amazing books sell one or two copies a month.

So yes, she DOES NOT have lymphoma. Scared the crap out of us, as you can imagine. But I got to sit in a Radioactive lab, as in I was the only person, place or thing in the room not encased in lead. Even the syringe used to inject the radioactive substance into my vein was encased in lead. But we know I’m a super taster because… well, I have said it for years. Cilantro tastes like chlorine gas. Arugula makes me vomit. The tap water tastes like penicillin mold. Raisins taste like poison. That wine tastes like creosote and sweat. (This is supposed to be a good thing?) Ladybugs are bitter when you accidentally ingest one. The dog’s feet smell like popcorn. The cat smells like bacon. There’s a skunk five miles away…) Anywhooo… So Debbie, as in her name was Debbie and I really liked her despite her lead get-up, started an IV. (A feat in itself. You try starting an IV wearing lead gloves.) She said, “All you’ll feel is the IV. You won’t feel a thing with the injection. You won’t get sick. There are no side effects. You won’t even know I’ve injected it.” Thus she injected it. Within a second of the injection, I said, “Ewwwwww. That’s not true. There is a side effect.” And she asked, “Oh? What?” And I said, “That injection tastes like the inside of an old tuna can dipped in garlic.”

And she said, “Huh. So you’re one of the one-percent who can taste the radiation.”

Ha! Again~ Brain

Perhaps I can get a job tasting for radiation.

In the meantime it’s fall, which means harvest. So…

Yesterday I used the last of the beets, the last head of cabbage, and some of the potatoes to make borscht – with beef. No, I didn’t grow the beef. My daughter did.

Today I’m pulling the skins off the mucho tomatoes I harvested to make tomato sauce to go with the eggplants I harvested so I can make eggplant Parmesean. And I have been ordered by my children, yes, my children still order me about, to make both chocolate croissants and a Coca-cola cake. Yep. There is such a thing as a Coca-cola cake. And I have been ordered to bake one as in this afternoon. The croissants I’ll freeze raw so they can bake and eat as desired. But since one of the children DOES NOT have lymphoma I will bake and freeze and can and sauce whatever she wants. And I will do it with gratitude in my heart.

Oh, about the books… What books? Who has time for books???

XOXO! Miss you, Tom. My thoughts are with Ishbel and your kids and grandkids. Julia