Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heard It In A Love Song...

The CD player in my car is broken, so I’ve been listening to an “oldies” radio station on the way to work. I like to sing along, as I know most of the lyrics to almost every song, and belting them out helps me vent my road rage. It’s amazing how quickly and thoroughly music can transport me to another time and place, make me smile, laugh out loud, or even bring me to tears.

Have you ever noticed how many songs are written about love? Looking for love…falling in love…being in love…fighting for love…losing an old love. Why are hundreds, even thousands of songs written about love? And I’m not talking about the love you have for nature, mankind in general, your kids, your dog, or Ben and Jerry‘s...I‘m talking about THE love.

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? I do. And though it‘s long since ended, a certain song always reminds me of that love…fresh and innocent…pre-expectations and baggage. The melody creeps up on me, slowly exposing those emotions from the past that I keep so safely tucked away, hidden even from myself. Suddenly, all of the neatly stacked memories come tumbling down on my head. I remember exactly how I felt the moment I fell in love, and the despair I felt when it was over. Tears sting my eyes and a lump forms in my throat, as I search for an explanation for why something that began with such promise had to end. Then the song is over, the feelings of loss and regret fade away, and I’m back to the present, where only a lingering twinge of sadness remains.

John Lennon once wrote, “All you need is love.” But love isn’t only what we need…love is why we’re here. According to The Bible, our purpose for life on earth is to go forth, be fruitful, and multiply. Oh sure, we can do that without love. Check out any bar on Friday night. Believe me, it’s done!

But, to live life without love? THE love? I don’t care if you’re the happiest, most successful, self-confident, financially secure person in the world. You may have great friends, a fabulous career, and plenty of money, but without love, something is missing. I’m not just talking about love for nature, mankind, etc. And I'm not talking about sex, although there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. I’m talking about that, and more. I’m talking about THE love...lover, friend, companion, confidant, ally, soul-mate, partner in love and life.

I’m talking about the guy who holds you at night and tells you not to worry because he’s there for you. And he is. The one who rubs your neck when it hurts. The one who washes the dishes for you after you’ve cooked his favorite meal. The one who brings you flowers, just because you love flowers. The one who shares his hopes and dreams with you, and who cares about your hopes and dreams. The one who can’t imagine a future without you by his side. The one who tells you everyday that he loves you, even though he knows you already know. The one who doesn’t keep score. The one who slow dances with you barefoot in the dark. The one who sees all of the hot babes prancing around out there, but chooses to make love to only you, because he thinks you’re the most awesome woman alive.

The reason so many songs have been written about love is because love makes life happen! “Love makes the world go ‘round.” That’s just the way it is...and that’s the way it will always it or not. Is love really all you need? We need food, clothing and shelter. We need a clean water supply. We need health-care. We need cell-phones. No, seriously, we do. But these are material things…tangible things, We need them to exist. But love! We need love to really live! Love is a song, written from the heart , dedicated to life with THE someone who makes your heart sing. Love is...a feeling. And, “Oh, what a feeling” it is!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pranzo Stile Italiano (Lunch Italian Style)

It was a beautiful Spring day in Florence, Italy. I was on my way to the Galleria degli Uffizi, one of the most fabulous art museums in the world, where I planned to spend several hours viewing breath-taking Italian Renaissance masterpieces like Botticelli‘s “Birth of Venus” and “The Annunciation” by Leonardo da Vinci.

I decided to eat lunch first, and stopped at a tiny but charming café near the museum. Although I was hungry, I wasn’t in the mood for pasta or anything too heavy. My waiter suggested proscuitto with melon and mozzarella.

Thus, began my love affair with a traditional Italian appetizer/first course that I consider to be the perfect light lunch! It’s a classic flavor combination. There’s something about the sweet juiciness of the melon that wonderfully complements the salty porkiness of the proscuitto. Throw on some fresh mozzarella in the mix and you’ve got a dish that is insanely divine!

This is one of my favorite recipes for proscuitto, melon, and mozzarella. Try it with a sparkling glass of Italian Prosecco.


1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves plus sprigs for garnish
1 medium shallot, quartered
1 small (about 2-pound) cantaloupe, halved crosswise, seeded, cut into 6 wedges, peeled
6 small fresh water-packed mozzarella balls or one 8-ounce ball, drained
6 thin slices prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise, gathered into ruffle
6 8-inch wooden skewers


Using on/off turns, puree olive oil, 1/3 cup basil, and shallot in processor until basil and shallot are finely chopped.
Cut each cantaloupe wedge crosswise in half. If using large mozzarella ball, trim and cut into 6 cubes.
Alternate 1 melon piece, 1 piece ruffled prosciutto, 1 mozzarella ball or cube, 1 more prosciutto piece, and 1 more melon piece on each skewer. Can be prepared 2 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 15 minutes before serving.
Arrange skewers on platter. Drizzle with basil oil and sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Garnish with basil sprigs.

Serves 6

Buon Appetito! C

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pearls of Wisdom, from a Wise Old Crone...

Next month, I will have a landmark birthday. Sixty. Do you want the bad news first, or the good news? I'll give you the bad news first. Sixty. The good news? The Early Bird Special at IHOP. Senior discounts at The Kimbell Museum of Art. Another year closer to receiving the Social Security and Medicare that I've been paying for my entire adult life, assuming that my erratic (definition: deviating from the usual or proper course in conduct or opinion) lifestyle will allow me to live that long. The respect of the younger generation, who now consider me to be a mature, sophisticated, woman of the world...a wise old crone, with all of the answers to life's most baffling questions. Questions like, "is it better to be aged like a fine bottle of wine or a good, stinky, French cheese than to be young and hot?"

The answer? "Yes and no." At fifty-nine, I'm more intelligent, more intuitive, more interesting, more focused, and less of an emotional hot mess than I was at twenty. I'm more confident, more content, and less reactive to criticism. I can take what life throws at me now on a daily basis with minimal drama. There are people who would laugh at that last statement, but only the ones who weren't around for the circus that was my life at twenty. I've come a long way, baby....

But...and it's a big life is more than halfway over. Actually, closer to two-thirds over...possibly three-fourths over...hard to know. Had I not been the partying, live-for-the-moment, sugar junky, meat-eating carnivore that I was for the first fifty-nine years of my life, I might go with slightly halfway over. Whatever, I could die tomorrow eating greasy onion rings, drinking sweet tea, and texting while driving to work.

The truth is, I do mourn certain aspects of the loss of my youth. I miss jumping out of bed in the morning and being able to stand up straight immediately. My hair is turning white with alarming speed. I gain weight when I look at food, and I look at food a lot. The frown lines between my eyebrows need spackle. I actually saw my tricep fluttering in the wind while I was driving with the window down. No, aging is not for the faint of heart.

I have learned a few things though, and I would like to share with you these pearls of wisdom that I have gleaned so far from my stint on Planet Earth...

Learn the difference between cautious and fearful, relaxing and boring, organized and anal, and curious and stupid.

If you see something beautiful, interesting, and/or profound...stop...and really look at it. You might never see it again.

When you think your life is boring, get over it. Life is never boring...You're boring. Turn off the TV, get up off your butt, and DO something.

When someone criticizes you...before you get angry, pout, or run out of the room crying...really think about it. Was their criticism valid? Maybe it was, and maybe it wasn't. But don't just go with your knee-jerk reaction...think about it. You might learn something about yourself.

To quote Woody Allen - "Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon." So stop sitting around feeling sorry for day you'll wish you'd made better use of your time.

Life is a thousand times more bearable if you can laugh at yourself.

Unconditional love, and tolerating abuse from a loved one, are not the same thing.

Self-love and narcissism are not the same thing.

Don't ever think because you are able to talk, go to work everyday, make money, and worry and obsess about life, that you are smarter than your dog.

A kindle will NEVER replace a book.

When you travel to a foreign country...dine on their cuisine, try to speak their language, wander off from the tour bus, and immerse yourself in their culture. If you can't do that, you might as well save your money and go to Branson, MO instead.

And last, but not least...when you look in the mirror every morning...regardless of whatever age you are at the moment...regardless of the laugh lines, the gray hairs, and the flabby grateful for what you have...what you know...who you are. And Love life. Love others. Love yourself! Be curious! Be adventurous! Relish your life with wild's all over much too soon!

I'm off to IHOP! C