Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Books and Cooks: Shopgirl



My appreciation for Steve Martin goes way beyond his "wild and crazy guy" days. He authored one of my favorite screenplays, Roxanne, and he's well-known as a thinker and writer in addition to being an actor and comedian. Shopgirl is a snack of a book, but there's a lot of flavor in these 40,000 words.

What I found most interesting was the balancing act he managed between the observatory tone and intimate information provided about the characters. It was an interesting way to experience the book, I must say. Some in the group felt that it was unfinished, as if Martin really wanted to write a longer book, but didn't. Some of the story threads wrapped up quickly or frayed into nothing. Overall, I didn't find these to be huge problems. It was a fun, light read at a time when I can't stuff anything more serious in my head, aka Testing Season.

A note about the food: since Mirabelle works at the glove counter at Nieman Marcus, what better to bring than the infamous $250 Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe of urban legend fame? I didn't bring those--I brought my own secret recipe chocolate chip cookies, which were developed from studying several recipes, including the aforementioned urban legend. Rich cookies. Gooooooood cookies.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chili Princess!

Today the church hosted a Geezers vs. Youth Basketball game and chili cook-off to raise money for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I did a new variation of my white chicken chili, and it placed third! Not bad for something I threw together this morning, huh?

Here's the recipe. You need a big Crock Pot for this one.


1 rotisserie chicken (I used a Publix Mojo flavor--garlic and lime)
1 small onion, diced small
1 can roasted garlic chicken broth (use additional broth if you want it thinner)
2 cans chopped green chiles
6 cans Great Northern beans, undrained
1-1/4 T cumin
1-1/4 T oregano
1 T cayenne pepper
1 t garlic powder
juice of 1/2 lime

Pull all meat off chicken and shred in crock with two forks. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Saute onion and green chiles until onion is transparent. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Combine onion/chili mixture, beans, spices, and lime juice with chicken in Crock Pot. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or until heated through. Garnish with tortilla chips, pepperjack cheese, sour cream, onion, etc.


Friday, February 23, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List


That's JI-mon HOHN-soo to you. Rawr to me. He is the first African (born in Benin) male to be nominated for an Oscar (Best Supporting Actor, In America), and he's up for another for Blood Diamond on Sunday. Hot and talented. Quite the combo.


Everybody says this will be Scorsese's year for an Oscar. He's like the Susan Lucci of directors now. I think what happens is the Oscar voters think, "Everyone else will be voting for Scorsese, so I'll vote for X," and it pulls enough voters off for someone else to win. He's visionary, all right, with the OCD that goes with it. Ever seen his commercial for film, when he goes into the drug store to pick up his birthday party pictures? According to him, that's veeeeeeeery close to the mark. Must be interesting to be Martin.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Told Ya So.

HB 941 was withdrawn before introduction today. Its companion bill in the Florida Senate, SB 334 was tabled by the Education Pre-K-12 Committee with a tied vote (3 Yeas, 3 Nays).

Could they talk to some teachers before ruling by fiat? Or is that just too much to expect from our so-called "representatives"?


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Not Something SENSIBLE

So I stumble across the text of a bill filed in the Florida House today, and discover that someone (namely, Rep. Heller) has finally seen the light. Or something.

It's the Public School Education bill, HB 941. This one, though, does away with the onerous and bass-ackwards A through F school grades and instead would group schools into performance categories: Improving, Maintaining, and Declining. And schools like mine with a huge number of poor kids starting behind--and staying behind--the educational 8-ball wouldn't maintain permanent residence in the "school grades" basement if they're showing improvement across the board, which our school has been doing consistently.

Common sense at last! Whatcha wanna bet some idiot kills it?

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List


Since I'm in military mode, I have to go with Mark Harmon this week. I know, I know, his show is called NCIS, which is Navy, but there isn't much hunky Army beefcake to choose from on the airwaves these days. Mark is some hunky beefcake. He can be forgiven for playing a squid.


I have to admit, Conan's grown on me. He can be so annoying, but you have to admit there's a mighty quick brain under all that red hair. And I loves me some quick brains.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What I Saw at the Deployment

Early this morning--and I mean early: from one to three a.m.--mom, sis, and I went on base to see baby bro off to his third deployment to the mideast. Ft. Stewart, GA, is the home of the Third Infantry, so there's a lot of coming and going in the Hinesville area. When you add the quartermasters, MPs, artillery, etc. that accompany the "Rock of the Marne," that's a lot of soldiers.

It was cold and drizzling, so the group huddled together. A fenced area surrounded their personal rucks; the other duffels and packs had been loaded on separate trucks and already rested in the belly of the transport. I met more MPs from bro's squad. Met some of their families. One man is leaving a wife and seven kids stateside. Another has two small boys who were clinging to his hands nearly the whole time. Young men, probably not much older than my students, held onto girlfriends wrapped like Velcro on their ACUs. We laughed, we traded stories, we remembered what it was like to be family, and close.

And then the buses arrived. The soldiers lined up, put on helmets and body armor, fell into companies and squads. Mothers and wives cried. Fathers encircled daughters with comforting arms below steely-eyed glares. Sons matched the stoic expressions of their parents. Families stood more closely together, trading assurances and comfort.

They marched by in a column of digitized camo, men and women headed to the mountains of Afghanistan from the pinewood flats of south Georgia. They know their jobs. They nod as they pass, acknowledging the tears and blessings. They drive off for long flights, stops to pick up more men in green, and uncertainty.

What I didn't see: Representatives, Senators, or cabinet members. Not a damn one. Do you think if they were standing in the cold for their own family time, sending a son or daughter off to war, we'd have something else to do early in the morning on Valentine's Day besides weep and pray for those we love?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Train Wreck in Progress

chez mimi hasn't had cable for a while, so holing up in a Hinesville hotel room while prepping baby bro to go off to war--again--provides the perfect opportunity to see what I've been missing.

Turns out, not much. And yet I end up watching several episodes of one particularly icky train wreck, Bravo's The Real Housewives of Orange County. The tagline: Where the bodies are fake, but the diamonds are real.

I tell you what, these women may have more money than God, but you couldn't tell it from how they're living. Spoiled kids, broken marriages, too much surgery (no natural breasts that I could tell, and all five of them and at least one daughter have the same nose), too much bleach (must, must be blonde). Scary.

One positive, though, I've gleaned from all this. My life may be messy, but it's nothing like what's on this show. There is a God, and He loves me.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

I love Sundays. Something about clear skies and church bells just does it for me. Today, we're spring cleaning at chez mimi. Well, dregs-of-winter cleaning and mucking out, to be completely truthful.

Completed already today:
  • Scrubbed floors in den and kitchen with favorite household toy
  • Swept laundry room (found a dog's worth of fur and dust, thank you)
  • Wiped down everything in laundry room
  • Found missing screwdriver set from utility drawer--this is what happens when you stack things on the dryer and they start breeding
  • Washed and folded two loads of towels
  • Washed and folded two loads of clothing
  • Threatened children with bodily harm unless they put those clean clothes I spent all that time folding (I hate to fold) away properly
  • Ironed shirts (I actually like to iron--you can see progress as it occurs)
  • Fixed the dog's collar--he'd caught a jump ring on a pillow and was dragging it around the den looking confused
  • Threw out stuff (cannot deemphasize the importance of this action)
Off to bake banana bread and then make lasagna for dinner. Am I Suzy Homemaker, or what??

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List


Thomas Gibson can play bad (Far and Away), good (Dharma and Greg), and serious (Criminal Minds). He doesn't have to play at being hot, though. Rawr.


Stephen Spielberg is a visionary and a genius. He's provided us with iconic heroes (Indiana Jones), iconic action (Jaws, Jurassic Park), iconic childhood (E.T.), and watchable Tom Cruise (Minority Report and War of the Worlds). Plus, he's an eloquent spokesman for American history (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List). He's so well-read and thoughtful, it would be an honor to share dinner with him. He could bring along his wife, too. Kate Capshaw's pretty cool herself.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Fins to the Left!


Caught the middle concert of Jimmy Buffett's "Blink and You Miss It" Florida mini-tour tonight. Two and a half hours of Parrothead madness. Lucky for us, he was dowsing the deep waters of the catalog. I heard things I haven't heard him play in years--"Floridays," "Son of a Son of a Sailor,""One Particular Harbor," "Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit," and "The Weather Is Here--I Wish You Were Beautiful," to name a few --along with the concert requisites: "Volcano," "Fins," "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "Pencil Thin Mustache," and the National Anthem, aka "Margaritaville" (you gotta wonder how sick of that song he must be). He finished with an acoustic encore of "Tin Cup Chalice." I am one happy Parrothead!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List


Love that voice. Just love that voice. The bod ain't bad, neither. Sam's one of those who just improves with age. And he's a smart one, too. I'll bet he has a very, very large bag of tricks.


Another great voice, with plenty of smarts behind it. And he's a writer, so I'm guessing between current affairs and his love of history, dinner would be thought-provoking.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Good Golly, Miss Molly

This morning's paper brings the sad news that Molly Ivins has died. This is one woman who knew how to have fun and tell everyone else about it. Whether skewering Texas politicians or the President--her favorite Texas pol to skewer--she was usually on target and a howl, to boot.

It takes guts to keep on keepin' on with inflammatory breast cancer, but Molly Ivins wasn't one to lie down and feel sorry for herself. Right up until the end, she was giving 'em hell and hollering for the rest of us to get off our sorry butts and do the same. What better memorial than to follow her advice?

Find your passion--Texas pols, education, global warming, people who don't use turn signals, developers--and do something about it. Thanks for the lessons, Molly, and for the laughs.

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