Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Tuesday Thoughts

Thoughts:

  • A couple of Mondays ago, it was my birthday. Whoo! When you're my age, birthdays aren't very exciting. And sometimes, you just don't want to acknowledge them because they make you think too much about your mortality.
  • That being said, if it must be acknowledged, no better way than with lots of treats and delicious food. 
  • Birthday weekend kicked off with an Apricot Cup, Pepperoni Roll, Lady Lock, and Yum Yum from Bethel Bakery.
  • Then there was a Capicola-Spinach-Mushroom Pizza on Saturday. 
  • Sunday, SP made me Sourdough Crumpets for breakfast and Braised Lamb Shanks for dinner.
  • On my actual birthday, we got take-out from Arlecchino. I had my usual Veal Scallopini with Crab and Lemon, served with salad and pasta, and for dessert Raspberry Tiramisu.  
  • The rest of birthday week was leftovers. Very yummy leftovers.
  • The weekend before my birthday was a return to Broadway Shows and that was a bit stressful. Everyone had to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination so I'm not sure how it could be safer but it was still kind of nerve-wracking to be in the Benedum with all those people, some of them insisting that they could let their nose hang out of the mask. Sigh.
  • We went out after the show with some friends. We went to Bridges & Bourbon and sat outside. The rain held off long enough for us to enjoy an adult beverage and some snacks. SP & I shared a Grilled Cheese with brie, arugula, caramelized onions, and fig spread. Fancy grilled cheese. It was lovely to sit and chat with friends we hadn't seen in nearly 2 years.
  • In other news, I've been really congested so I decided to again try a neti pot. Night #1 went OK. Night #2 did not go so well as I ended up with a terrible nose bleed. I blew my nose after the water drained out to be sure I got all the snot and bam! Worst nose bleed I've had in ages. It took nearly 20 minutes to stop. I am cautiously and optimistically sticking with it in hopes that it'll clear out my constantly allergied up & congested nose. For now I'm only doing it every 3 days or so. 

What We're Cooking & Eating:

  • Braised Lamb Shanks
  • Meatloaf with mashed potatoes & roasted cauliflower
  • Chicken & Herb Risotto with Asparagus
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Frozen Ravioli with Jarred Sauce. Meh.
  • Desserts: Smiley Cookies, Bethel Bakery, Raspberry Tiramisu, Halloween candy, homemade Chex Mix

What We're Watching:

  • Army of Thieves (movie, Netflix). The safecracker, Ludvig, from Army of the Dead is the star of this safe cracking spree. Enjoyable. 
  • Red Notice (movie, Netflix). The Rock. Ryan Reynolds. Gal Gadot. Light. Funny. Definitely fun and what we needed with so much serious TV and so much serious news in the real world.
  • Dopesick (Hulu). The finale is tomorrow. I'm hoping it ends on maybe a bit of an uplifting note? Cause, gosh, sadness and anger are what I usually feel when watching. Great show, just, ugh the Sackler Family, and the FDA and government and just all of it is so infuriating.
  • Succession (HBO). The most recent episodes have been better although dad is still a jerk and the kids are still idiots.
  • Holiday Baking Championship (Food Network). From the Halloween show right to the Thanksgiving & Christmas one. Sometimes the one judge seems mean, but I'm not the one eating the food, so... maybe it's deserved?! The yule logs looked yummy. I love yule logs. 
  • When it was Caramel Week on the British Baking Show, I felt for them because I despise trying to make caramel. Those chocolate covered cookie/caramel things looked awfully yummy. Then it was Free From week and I wish Freya could've been there. Those poor "sausage rolls." Gross!
  • Squid Game (Netflix). We watched episode 1. We'll watch it, we're just not wanting to marathon it. We both knew the premise of the show but somehow, episode 1 got to us with its... brutality? 
  • Capitani (Netflix). A detective show, from Luxembourg. So far we're enjoying it. It's not quite as good as the British shows like it, or the Nordic ones, but still an interesting cast of characters. Plus, I need to know what's up with the glasses.
  • Still watching The Rookie, John Oliver, SNL, food shows on PBS (Cook's Country, America's Test Kitchen, Milk Street), Ina on Food Network has new episodes, and while we don't plop down and watch entire games, we are watching Pitt & Steelers football. YouTube TV has a great feature. If you add the game to your library, when you go to watch it, even if it's still in progress, you have an option to watch a compilation of key plays.  

What I'm Reading:

  • Full Black, Black List, and Foreign Influence by Brad Thor. I'm reading these a bit out of order because some of the wait times are pretty darn long. I haven't enjoyed these as much as the previous books and I'm not sure why but I'll keep reading the series.
  • The Sisters by Claire Douglas. It was good. A little icky. A little creepy. But it held my interest.
  • Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas. This one was good, too, and I couldn't put it down. I was so sure about the dad being the culprit and never suspected who it really was.
  • Murder on Brittany Shores by Jean-Luc Bannalec. I'm enjoying these even though I'm not sure I find the main character that likeable. Also, he seems to figure out the murderer with information not really given to the reader-? When the murderer is revealed, I always feel like, oh? Uhhh, OK-? 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

October Thoughts

Thoughts:

  • I haven't written since early October, so instead of Thursday Thoughts, it's more like October Thoughts.
  • By choice (maybe fear? worrying too much?) we are not back to living life like normal despite being vaccinated. This weekend will be a big test. Will we really make it to the Benedum Center for our first Broadway show since Feb. 2020 and the start of the 2021-22 Broadway Season? Or will coronavirus germs scare us into hiding at home in our protective bubble? Stay tuned.
  • We are 95% sure there will not be a post-show dinner. Good heavens - dining inside? Not sure we're ready for that.
  • SP survived 2 major surgeries in the spring, did all the physical therapy over the summer, and then barreled into more health crises in Sep/Oct. Sigh. Even if we felt OK eating indoors, I'm not sure we would. His doctors are adjusting his immunosuppressant meds and he's had several procedures to try to diagnose the latest issues. More tests coming, pending insurance approval.
  • For me, October was when I finally saw the doctors I'd been ignoring/video visiting since early 2020. I also went in for my first vision exam in 3 years. 
  • This week we had a chance to briefly visit with our oldest niece. She graduated college in May and is off to Ecuador in a few weeks. She'll be there for 3-4 months. We're excited for her. 
  • It's Halloween weekend! We don't have kids. Our street is too busy so we don't get trick-or-treaters. But we always get a bag on candy anyway. Just in case. 

What We've Been Eating:

  • Chicken Marsala
  • Shrimp & Spinach Risotto
  • Slow Cooker Lemon Oregano Chicken
  • Salad
  • Smoked Pork, Mac & Cheese, Grilled Green Beans
  • Dessert: We made French Silk Chocolate Pie
  • Dessert: We baked Vanilla Apricot Cookies
  • Dessert: Store bought Chocolate Wafers, Halloween Candy
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Saturday Takeout/Delivery: Vocelli pizza, Downey's House

What We're Watching:

  • Dopesick (Hulu). Great cast. Interesting show. Anger inducing show. Makes me want to force the Sacklers to snort Oxy and see what happens.
  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu). Ended with them solving Tim's murder, of course. What a great first season with a cliffhanger ending for season 2!
  • We watched Dune (movie) on HBOMax. We really liked Part One and now we have to wait until Oct 2023 for Part Two. I haven't read the book or seen the previous Dune movie.
  • We also watched Black Widow (movie) on Disney+. It was fun.
  • Minari (movie). This was excellent. A little slow, and sad, but so good. I knew Glenn from TWD was in Minari but I didn't recognize him at first!
  • Halloween Baking Championship ended. We were a little surprised at the winner, but they all made amazing cakes in the finale. And baking with black garlic? I'd just give up before starting!
  • Maid (Netflix). At times a tough show to watch but overall quite good and also did a good job of showing someone really trying but getting stuck/blocked by the difficult system.
  • Succession (HBO) is back! Daddy Logan is still a big jerk. Kendall is still a big druggie. Shiv and Roman are still too chickensh** to stand up to daddy even though they desperately want to be the one in charge. I hope things change a bit, soon, cause right now it's more of the same, which is OK because it's been 2 years, but...
What I'm Reading:
  • Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. At least I had the book and meant to read it but somehow didn't find the time in 3 weeks. So I returned it and re-requested it.
  • Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas. Terrific read. I couldn't put it down. It did a good job at making me second guess who had fired the shotgun. This was my first Claire Douglas book. I requested another one. I decided to read them all so I requested the first one she wrote. I think Then She Vanishes is the most recent. They're not a series, at least I don't think so, but it's an easy way to keep track of which I've read/not read.
  • Enemy At the Gates by Kyle Mills. The newest Mitch Rapp book by not Vince Flynn but the guy who took over after Flynn's death. It was better than the last one.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Thursday Thoughts

Thoughts:

  • Last Friday we had food delivered form Zoup for dinner. I had the Baked Potato Soup and it was good. What I really enjoyed was ripping apart my chunk of bread and swiping it through the soup. SP had Seafood Chowder.
    Clam Chowder in Soudough Bread Bowl at Buena Vista, San Francisco, July 2016
  • That is one of my favorite memories/favorite things to do in San Francisco and Monterey - order the Clam Chowder in a bread bowl and rip apart the bowl. When I was a grad student, it was a great & not too expensive way to have a super filling dinner. Now I just like ripping apart the sourdough bread bowl and making sure each chunk is thoroughly dunked in chowder. Dippy bread. So good. Also, I usually can't finish it.
  • Saturday we got take-out from Jade Grill. I got Shumai, which I enjoyed a lot, and Combo Lo Mein, which was very good. I like that the meats and shrimp are not overcooked. Much as I enjoyed the food, it did, as all Chinese food does, leave me feeling bloated and somewhat sick and gross in my belly. But at least the food was tasty. SP had a soup and an eggplant dish.

What We're Cooking:

  • Homemade Sloppy Joes
  • Dirty Risotto (sausage, mushroom, red pepper)
  • Dessert: No baking, just Halloween candy, old ice cream 

What We're Watching:

  • The Chestnut Man (Netflix). We finished this and it was really good.
  • Maid (Netflix). We've watched only the first episode but I think we'll stick with it. 
  • Thursday shows are back! Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy. I'm not sure what I think yet but I hope Meredith doesn't go to MN. I like the return of Scott Speedman as Meredith's love interest.
  • Speaking of Scott Speedman, his previous show, Animal Kingdom on TNT, just finished its 5th season. The 6th season will be the final season. Smurf killed his character Baz on the show back in season 3, but the season 5 cliffhanger was Baz's wife's body being found where Pope buried it. That could make season 6 interesting if there's anything that links back to Pope.
  • The new usual weekly shows: The Rookie, Great British Baking show, Only Murders in the Building.
  • Food shows: Halloween Baking Championship, Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, Milk Street.

What I'm Reading:

  • Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. I've been going back & forth on whether or not I want to watch the show on Hulu. I've enjoyed other books by Moriarty so I decided to read this one and then decide. I think I will give the Hulu show a try. Masha is nuts! I can't believe what she did to the guests, all in the name of helping them! 
  • I started Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen. It's very good. It's set in 1619 Germany and is about what happens when a woman is accused of being a witch and then everyone slowly turns against her and starts telling [untrue] stories of her witch behavior. I'm about halfway through the book.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Thursday Thoughts

Thoughts:

  • Super early morning doctor appointments stink especially when it has finally cooled off and the house gets cold overnight so you have to get up in a dark and cold house. 
  • On the bright side, we were out so early we saw the sunrise and we got donuts at Better Maid Donuts.
  • We got the Halloween decorations out last weekend. The house is now full of pumpkins, ghosts, skulls, etc. I love fall!
  • Tomorrow is October. How did it get to be October already? 

What We're Eating:

  • Grill Rotisserie Chicken with baked potatoes and green beans or broccoli
  • Dessert: Halloween candy

What We're Watching:

  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu) had a great episode this week - completely silent except for one line of dialogue. It made me remember the Hush episode of Buffy. 
  • The Chestnut Man (Netflix). We enjoy the Nordic crime thrillers on Netflix. This one is set outside Copenhagen and even though we need to pay attention and read subtitles, we're hooked. We've watched 2 of 6 episodes. The murders are gruesome - I have to look away. The Chestnut Men are creepy-cute. I think it's based on a book so I might have to read the book now.
  • Great British Baking Show (Netflix) is back with Season 9. Last Friday was cake week. The gravity defying cakes are always fun. It's like you have to be an engineer plus baker plus artist!
  • We watched Cruella (Disney+). We both enjoyed it much more than we expected. Emma Thompson and Emma Stone are fantastic.
  • We tried What We Do in the Shadows (FX). SP really likes it. Me, not so much. I just couldn't get into it. So it's on hold but if he wants to watch without me, he can.
  • We also tried When They See Us (Netflix), about the Central Park jogger case. We don't plan to watch past the first episode because it outraged & upset us so much. I cannot believe how those cops badgered and bullied those boys into confessions without their parents around when they were underage. I wanted to scream and cry and punch the TV. 

What I'm Reading:

  • The Other Passenger from Louise Candlish. Kept me hooked - I couldn't put it down, wondering who was the true mastermind and who was being played.
  • The Night Singer from Johanna Mo. I let this sit until the day before it was due and then started, thinking I'd never finish and it could not be renewed so why bother starting BUT I quickly got hooked and I spent nearly the entire day at the kitchen table reading as fast as I could read to find out what really happened to the 15 year old boy and to find out more about Detective Hanna's past on the island. 
  • The Apostle and The Last Patriot from Brad Thor. Both good.


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Thursday Thoughts

Thoughts:

  • It's finally cooling off a bit and starting to feel like fall. I am ready for it! 
  • Last Saturday we actually ate at a restaurant instead of getting takeout. Of course it was a 4:30 pm dinner, outside. We ate at Park Bruges. I tried the meatballs for the first time and they were delicious. Plus, they came covered in gravy, and with fries on the side, so I made gravy fries - YUM! We shared a yummy grilled peach salad and SP, as usual, had mussels.
  • Monday we got takeout from Aladdin's. I got the Sfiha Platter (pita stuffed with spiced ground beef, tomatoes, pine nuts and a salad) and we shared a Fatayer (spinach & feta stuffed pita). SP had a chicken rolled pita.

What We're Cooking/Eating:

  • Chicken Stroganoff from the most recent issue of Cook's Country
  • Crab Cakes and Baked Tomatoes
  • Dessert: Raspberry Shortbread Bars but with half raspberry and half the homemade peach-bourbon jelly

What We're Watching:

  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu). Every time the new episode ends I immediately want more!
  • Sex Education Season 3 (Netflix). This show still makes us laugh. I hope there is a season 4 because we enjoy it so much, but I'm not sure how it could keep the core group together after what happened in season 3. 
  • Halloween Baking Championship (Food Network) is back. We both love Halloween so we really enjoy watching this competition to see the Halloween creations. 
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine ended and I thought the finale was excellent. What a great show!

What I'm Reading:

I read the last four Lighthouse Mysteries. There's only eight so I guess that means I read #'s 5, 6, 7, and 8: Something Read, Something Dead; Read and Buried; A Death Long Overdue; and  Deadly Ever After. I'm impressed that after only 8 books this cozy mystery has people moving on in life, moving out of the book, moving forward. We're not 28 books in with the characters at the exact same place in life as in the first book.


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Thursday Thoughts

Thoughts:

  • It's the middle of September and it does not yet feel like fall. This makes me sad.
  • In spite of wanting it to be fall, I am annoyed with all things pumpkin spice because the PSL hype starts in mid August, way too early.
  • The MTV VMA Awards Show was last weekend. Every year I feel older and older and more and more out of touch. Who are these people? What the heck are they wearing? What the heck is that music - is that even music? 

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:

  • Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu). This was good but also sad and infuriating. Izzy was such a brat. Mia was awful and a **it stirrer. What she did to the Ryans - ugh!. Bebe was awful, too. She abandoned her baby and the baby got terrible frostbite and the county services couldn't find the baby's mother but she thinks she should get her back just because she happened to luck out and find out who was adopting the child? And then what she did at the end. Awful. Elena's kids? Spoiled, entitled brats without a clue. How did we not see a single Richardson in jail at the end?!
  • Wellington Paranormal (HBOMax). We just got caught up with the most recent 2 episodes and I think there is 1 left. The haunted car one was fun.
  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu). I hope we find out who killed Tim. Three more episodes. I like that we learned about Tie-Dye Guy this week.
  • Halloween Baking Championship is back! 
  • John Oliver is back!

What I'm Reading:

Magazines. I might be ready for fall but I was still not thrilled that one food magazine that just arrived was all about Thanksgiving. Too soon!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Thursday Thoughts

Thoughts:

  • I forgot about the blog. For 3 weeks. Oops. I've had other things on my mind, other things I've been doing. Plus, we haven't been as interested in trying new dishes for dinner. We've been making the same old summer meals. They're yummy, just not new & exciting. Nothing to blog about.
  • It's been, what, a year and a half of COVID now? Even though we are vaccinated, SP's surgeries & recoveries kept us at home until mid-August. Even then, we've not ventured out much. We have no desire to eat indoors. It's been quite hot this summer, so outdoor dining isn't too appealing. On Saturdays we get take out for dinner and I try to post on Instagram. This past weekend was Cafe io. I still love the Monster Grilled Cheese. 
  • This means I've forgotten how to dress, do make-up, and style my hair. After all the days of sweats and/or pajamas, even jeans feel too restrictive and dressy! 
  • As for my hair. I have been getting it colored and cut every 6-7 weeks, but since we rarely go anywhere, I don't have to do much. I wash it, blast it with the hair dryer, and then hide the flyaways and frizz under a bandanna. Actually having to do my hair is such an ordeal. That's probably why twice in the past month I've grabbed the wrong bottle and hair sprayed my hair as I flat ironed. Ugh. Such a disgusting mistake. My hair felt so gross. I can't believe I was so stupid. I even said to myself, hey, pay attention, don't use the hair spray with the flat iron this time. But no. I looked directly at the bottle and said, oh yes, this is right! And then as I finished the very last bit of flat ironing and reached for the hair spray, only then did I realize I was not using the heat protector stuff. My poor hair.
  • I went to Paige Dairy Mart for the first time in August! I had a Twist Cone. It was a wonderful treat. I haven't had a twist cone in ages. Maybe not since my teenage years.
  • We also got ice cream at Sarris. I hadn't had their ice cream in about 10 years! I got the rainbow sherbet in a waffle cone but plopped in a bowl because it was hot and I figured I wouldn't eat it all. I was right. It was delicious. SP had the same thing but with Peanut Butter Cookie Dough.

What We've Been Eating the Past 3 Weeks:

  • Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with rice & broccoli
  • Smoked Burgers with Burger Sauce, cheese, tomato, letttuce
  • Pasta Salad
  • Tomato Tart with garden salad
  • Lamb Burgers in pita with feta, tzatziki, tomato, lettuce
  • Grilled Apricot-Mustard Chicken with grilled potatoes & grilled green beans

What We've Been Watching:

  • Beckett (movie, Netflix). This was pretty good. Beckett was like the Energizer Bunny and after all the injuries he sustained, well, he should've not been able to move half way through the movie! But he did! He got the bad guys!
  • Agatha Christie's Crooked House (movie, Netflix). I love mysteries. This was good. Glenn Close & Gillian Anderson are wonderful.
  • Spenser Confidential (movie, Netflix). We couldn't decide what to watch and this looked like a good choice for how we felt. A little mindless but not too mindless, action, laughs. Fun. Based on the Robert Parker novels about Spenser & Hawk, which I read up until he passed away.
  • Sweet Girl (movie, Netflix). Jason Momoa running around Pittsburgh kicking ass? Yes, please. Jumping off PNC into the river? Yes, please - though that seems like he would be dead not continuing on his revenge quest. But who cares, it looked cool!
  • Money Heist S5 Part 1 (Netflix). We love this show! We watched these 5 new episodes in 2 days and now we must wait until Dec. 3 for the final 5 episodes. Ahhh! And why did (person) have to die?!
  • Post Mortem: No One Dies in Skarnes (Netflix). This was an SP pick to watch and I was skeptical but it ended up being great except for some gross gore in parts.
  • Only Murders in the Building (Hulu). Steve Martin, Martin Short, Selena Gomez in a comedy about 3 building tenets who are crime podcast fans trying to investigate/podcast about the murder in their building. We watched the first 3 episodes last night. It's funny and new episodes are released on Tuesdays.
  • Wellington Paranormal (HBOMax). Still funny.
  • The Chair (Netflix). This Sandra Oh show is terrific! We laughed a lot. Her daughter is a hoot, too, though I also wanted to smack the brat at times! I know, no one spanks their kid these days. But good grief she was not well behaved at times.
  • Bobby & Giada in Italy (Food Network). We really enjoyed these 4 hour long episodes that premiered first on Discovery+. They spent a month back in Fall 2019 filming in Rome & Tuscany. So much delicious food like gelato, pizza, pasta, lamb, meats, cheeses. Makes me want to be on a food vacation!
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC). We have always enjoyed this show and will miss it when this 8th and final season wraps up. So far, they've been doing a great job of moving the characters to the ending and bringing back/ending the more prominent recurring characters throughout the past seasons.

What I've Been Reading:

  • Death in Brittany by Jean Luc Bannalec. This is the first in a series I decided to try. Another French detective one, like the Bruno books I read. These ones are good, too. 
  • The First Commandment by Brad Thor. The next in the series and still enjoyable though the more I read, the more I think I've actually read all the Brad Thor books...?!
  • The Coldest Case by Martin Walker A Bruno Mystery. The latest Bruno adventure. It was good, maybe a little formulaic. I hope they don't get too similar.
  • Something Read, Something Dead by Eva Gates. Cozy mystery, still holding my interest.
  • The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole by Joanna Carl. I've been reading this cozy mystery series for a while. This is the latest in the series. It was a nice, light, quick read.