Happy Halloween!

 

 

Just for you – a little Halloween Auto Art…

 

 

And…

 

 

And finally…

 

Hair

 

 

Last Saturday night, Mister and I attended a grand party. And though it wasn’t a costume party, I felt like doing something a little different with my appearance. Simply wearing make-up was a change of pace, as I usually don’t wear any. But that wasn’t enough. I don’t know what possessed me, but I pulled out dusty canisters of hair products and went to town.

 

By the time I was done, I had used 5 different products and my hair was a glittered, shellacked, Hunger Games-esque up-do. It was only for giggles, but it was kind of fun.

 

At the evening’s end, I was too pooped to shower, so I went to bed with my immobile do and thought nothing of it. When I woke the next morning, Mister started laughing. My hair hadn’t moved one iota during the night. As I had a Rock Camp brunch to get to, I decided to just leave it and headed out the door.

 

I didn’t get home from that brunch until nearly 5 pm. I considered just letting my hair ride, to see how long it would take for the do to crack. But Mister was getting freaked out, so I scrubbed the product and glitter from my scalp.

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve put that much time and goop into my head. (I felt like the ghost of my ’80′s self!) And while I don’t want to do it on a regular basis, it sure was fun. For a couple of days. I won’t be forgetting it any time soon, either. Glitter is on every surface of our home.

Brussels Sprouts Salad!

 

 

I love Brussels Sprouts. Not everyone does, I know. So if the hair on the back of your neck is standing up, at the mere mention of the little green orbs, this probably isn’t the recipe for you. On the other hand, if you’ve wondered just what the heck to do with them, or you’re already a member of the Brussels Sprouts fan club, keep reading, friend.

 

One of my Rock Camp buddies made a beautiful and simple salad of raw Brussels Sprouts leaves and lemon vinaigrette last Christmas. It was an eye-opener. Raw Brussels Sprouts? I had no idea. But once I knew, there was no turning back. My mind began wandering. What else might be possible with the raw vegetable? This salad was the result of all that wandering and wondering. Here’s what you’ll need…

 

 

Raw Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, Feta Cheese, Olive Oil, Dijon Mustard, Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey, Lemon Zest & Juice, Salt and Pepper (not pictured)

 

 

Clean the Brussels Sprouts. If you’ve purchased a stalk of Sprouts, cut each Sprout from the stalk.

 

 

Cut the thick bottoms from each Sprout. Then peel the outer leaves away, revealing the lovely, green, inner leaves.

 

 

 

Rinse and drain.

 

 

Discard trimmed bottoms and outer leaves. (Note: I let this particular stalk sit in my fridge a couple of days beyond what I had originally intended. So I ended up peeling away more outer leaves than I’d hoped. In this case, 1 stalk yielded 4 cups of cleaned Sprouts.)

 

 

With the slicer wheel in place, add the cleaned Sprouts to a food processor and cut them all. Alternatively, thinly slice each Sprout by hand.

 

 

Place the shredded Sprouts in a large bowl and set aside.

 

 

Cook Bacon, and drain on paper towels. Mmm, Bacon. When cool enough to handle, crumble the Bacon and sprinkle over the shredded Sprouts.

 

 

Sprinkle the Crumbled Feta over the Sprouts and Bacon. Set the bowl aside while you make the Vinaigrette.

 

 

Zest the Lemon…

 

 

then cut it in half and juice the Lemon. Always zest first! I’m just sayin’ is all.

 

 

Combine the Lemon Zest & Juice with the Olive Oil, Vinegar, Dijon, Honey, Salt and Pepper. Whisk until emulsified.

 

 

Pour Vinaigrette over the Sprout mixture and toss until thoroughly combined. Serve immediately.

 

 

That’s it! Brussels Sprouts Salad is a beautiful fall dish and a grand way to eat your vegetables. Personally, I love it with a big old steak. But it’s pretty swank on its own, too. Give it a try. Raw Brussels Sprouts. Who knew?

 

Here’s the printable…

 

Brussels Sprouts Salad!
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Brussels Sprouts Salad is a beautiful fall dish and a grand way to eat your vegetables. Personally, I love it with a big old steak. But it’s pretty swank on its own, too. Raw Brussels Sprouts. Who knew?
Ingredients
  • 6 c. Uncleaned, Raw Brussels Sprouts (should yield 4 to 5 c. Cleaned Sprouts)
  • 6 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ c. crumbled Feta Cheese
  • ½ c. Olive Oil
  • 1 t. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 T. Honey
  • Zest & Juice from 1 Lemon
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Instructions
  1. Clean the Brussels Sprouts. If you’ve purchased a stalk of Sprouts, cut each Sprout from the stalk. Cut the thick bottoms from each Sprout. Peel the outer leaves away, revealing the lovely, green, inner leaves. Rinse and drain. Discard trimmed bottoms and outer leaves. (Note: In this case, 1 stalk yielded 4 cups of cleaned Sprouts.)
  2. With the slicer wheel in place, add the cleaned Sprouts to a food processor and cut them all. Alternatively, thinly slice each Sprout by hand. Place the shredded Sprouts in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Cook Bacon, and drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, crumble the Bacon and sprinkle over the shredded Sprouts.
  4. Sprinkle the Crumbled Feta over the Sprouts and Bacon. Set the bowl aside while you make the Vinaigrette.
  5. Zest the Lemon, then cut it in half and juice the Lemon. Always zest first! I’m just sayin’ is all. Combine the Lemon Zest & Juice with the Olive Oil, Vinegar, Dijon, Honey, Salt and Pepper. Whisk until emulsified.
  6. Pour Vinaigrette over the Sprout mixture and toss until thoroughly combined.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

Standing on the Corner, Suitcase in My Hand…

 

 

Yesterday morning, after posting about the passing of Hal Needham, I had no idea I would be facing news of the loss of Mr. Lou Reed.

 

I was on my way to a Rock Camp brunch. Baker Jen was driving and one of the riders in our car had just read the news. As she climbed into her seat she told us, “Lou Reed died today. He was only 71.” We were going to a goodbye party for one of our brilliant volunteers, as she’s moving to Austin, Texas. The weight of saying goodbye to one of our own was already heavy enough. The news of Lou Reed’s death was an unexpected stun.

 

Many of us talked about Reed’s passing and more than once we spoke of how happy we were that he’d had love in his life over the last few years. (Reed was married to musician and performing artist Laurie Anderson.) Again and again, we said how young he was. Over and over, we expressed our sadness at the loss.

 

Speaking for myself, I am still trying to process my feelings. I won’t lie and claim to know every song or every detail of Lou Reed’s or Velvet Underground’s career. What I do know, what I can sing to myself in my sadness, is enough to fill my heart. And for that, I’m grateful.

 

While at brunch, I spoke to my dear Rock Camp buddy, Chaska. During this past summer’s session, she loaned the movie 20 Feet From Stardom to me and we shared heartfelt discussions about it. As we talked yesterday, I told her how I’d been thinking about the part of the movie when one of the back-up singers tells how Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” features the line “…and the colored girls go…” The back-up singer said how empowering that line was, as it truly expressed the strength and truth of just how important back-up singers’ contributions were. I was fighting back tears, and Chaska held on to my hand. I didn’t have to cry. Chaska knew and understood what I was saying. She, too, was terribly moved by that movie. I daresay she, too, has been moved by Reed’s music.

 

I understand that as I progress along life’s timeline I am going to face more and more loss. Someday, that last proverbial breath will be my own. But the intellectual acceptance of this does absolutely nothing to blunt the shock of these losses. And while I know that I will eventually process the death of Lou Reed, today I have not. I am still stunned. I am still sad. I am still hearing the opening lines to “Sweet Jane.” And I am picturing Mr. Reed standing on the corner, suitcase in his hand…

So Long Smokey, So Long Bandit

 

 

On Friday, Hal Needham – director of “Smokey and the Bandit” – passed away. He was 82.

 

I quote “Smokey and the Bandit” more often than I can tally. It is one of my faves and probably always will be. I even have a childhood memory of the movie: while riding around in the back seat of the car with my family, we spotted the big rig driven by Jerry Reed in the movie. It was parked outside a gas station in the middle of Nowhere, Georgia. I’ve never forgotten that sighting, or the exterior of that old filling station, with its peeling white paint and scrubby trees.

 

While Mr. Needham surely contributed far more to the world than “Smokey and the Bandit,” it is that contribution I shall always remember.

 

So long Smokey. So long Bandit. So long Hal. Rest in peace.

Primo Party Night

 

 

Today is the Saturday before Halloween. And you know what that means: Primo Party Night.

 

It’s been yonks since Mister or I have gone to a costume party. Non-costume parties, yes. And those parties are great.

 

But I have to admit I sort of miss the costume route. The brainstorming for costume ideas. The acquiring and making of the costumes. Everyone else’s costumes. So much creativity and humor!

 

Then again, I sort of don’t miss the costume route. The brainstorming for costume ideas. The acquiring and making of the costumes. It can be fun, sure, but it can also be exhausting.

 

No worries tonight, though. It’s Primo Party Night. Hope yours is amazing. I’m hoping mine is, too.

BBC News’ “In Pictures”

 

 

I have a particular page bookmarked and visit it regularly.

 

BBC News has a section – “In Pictures” – and it features a lot of different arenas. There is always a “Day in Pictures” section, and there are several other topical sections as well. Those can be pretty cool. But my favorite section, without a doubt, appears at the bottom of the page and is called “Your Pictures.”

 

Here’s how it works: a topic is provided by BBC News and readers submit their own photos, in hopes the pics fit the topic. (The subject changes every couple of weeks.) It can be highly interpretive, and sometimes it just blows my mind. Some of the submitted photos are beyond fitting. Some are magnificent art.

 

Like I said, I have this page bookmarked and visit it regularly. What an awesome resource for online photographic art. I highly recommend it.

An Awesome Read

 

 

I just finished reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. I’ve known about this book for about 15 years or so, but only now got around to it. Better late than never.

 

I’m a big Anne Lamott groupie. Traveling Mercies left me crying so many tears of joy that I eventually placed a box of Kleenex on top of the book, so as to remember to have the tissues handy. I’ve read a couple of other Lamott books, and I’ve never – not once – regretted the investment of time. I’m not saying you’ll feel the same way, mind you. I like feeling good after reading, and Anne Lamott’s prose tends to have that effect on me. That may not be what you look for in a book. And that’s okay.

 

But here’s the thing about Bird by Bird. Yes, I got a lot out of it as far as ideas and guidance for writing are concerned. But friends, I got so much more out of it where life is concerned. Each time I closed the book, I felt like some secret had just been revealed to me and that there was a new opportunity for me to somehow be a better version of myself. I realize that’s a great big giant statement. And I sincerely feel it in my soul. I can’t explain it any more honestly than that.

 

I will (probably) never meet Anne Lamott. But I don’t have to, for I have her books. The world has her books. And I am so grateful – to me – for finally taking a little time out of my life to read Bird by Bird. Really – better late than never.

Melodrama at Whole Paycheck

 

 

I was at Whole Foods the other day, and while I patiently waited my turn at the meat counter, I witnessed one of the best grocery store scenes I’ve encountered in ages.

 

There was an elderly lady at the counter. Let’s call her Gladys, shall we? So Gladys was accompanied by her young, Latina caregiver. Let’s call her Juana, shall we? So Juana was just minding the shopping cart and not saying a word. Gladys was talking enough for both of them: “I said I don’t want you to wrap the chicken in that paper! I want it in a plastic bag, then wrap it in paper!”

 

The gentleman behind the counter nodded and said, “So sorry – I didn’t hear you say that.” He then proceeded to wrap her purchase per her instructions. While he did that, Gladys berated him for not listening to her in the first place. And then another butcher approached the counter, and Gladys asked him something about where a particular employee was, inquiring as to whether or not it was his lunch time. This new butcher dude, with a straight face, looked at Gladys and said, “Are you asking me out for lunch? Because I’m married! You’ve got to stop trying to go out with me! I’m not available!”

 

Y’all, Gladys was about to have a conniption fit, and she was just beside herself. “I am NOT asking you out! I have never! What is wrong with you? My goodness!”

 

At about that time, the original gentleman behind the counter returned with Gladys’ purchase. Gladys looked at him and desperately pleaded, “Tell him I didn’t ask him out!”

 

The original gentleman looked at Gladys sideways and said, “It sounded to me like you did ask him out.”

 

Gladys’s head almost exploded and she was screaming, “You’re loco! Loco, I tell you! You’re loco!”

 

Juana – remember Juana? Gladys’ caregiver? Clearly this wasn’t Juana’s first rodeo, as she stayed quiet the whole time, guarding the cart. When Gladys finally turned to Juana, she just pushed the cart down the aisle, awaiting instructions.

 

I had turned to pretend I was looking at something other than the spectacle beside me, and was trying with all my might to hide my laughter. Once Gladys had ambled away, the other butcher dude asked if he could help me and our little exchange began, sans humor.

 

I don’t know about that elderly lady’s inability to take a joke, and I did feel bad for her (a little), but I was also happy to see the employees entertaining themselves while at work.

 

Of course, the unsung hero in all this was Juana. I cannot imagine how much screaming she must hear while at her job. To her credit, she has managed to learn to tune out melodrama. Even if only while at the market. It all counts, you know.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Hall-o-Giving-Mas

 

 

The other day I was at a hardware store and spotted a Christmas tree decked out in Halloween decorations. I didn’t have a camera or a phone with me, so you’re just gonna have to take my word for it.

 

I’m happy for the onslaught of holidays, but how about we space them out? You know, the way the calendar intended?

 

That’s all I’ve got to say about that.