Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Phony Facebook Friends

facebook, originally uploaded by benstein.

Since I'm nosy by nature Facebook has been a brilliant way to take my character flaw to the next level. I love checking up on old friends, looking at pictures and posting brilliant little nuggets of wisdom periodically. I don't like all the wacky farm and mob games on there but I deal. What I can't cope with are "friends" of mine trying to sell me stuff or trying to advertise their stupid company. Now I don't mind if someone has a business and sets up a Facebook page to advertise or to interact with their customers - in that businesses name. More power to 'em. Go get 'em 21st century business guy.

What I do mind is when someone uses their personal account to bombard all of their FB friends with promotional crap. This was supposed to be a social network right? Not a billboard for your crappy tchochkies. If I want to be a fan of your store or service I'll do so. If we're FB friends I'm looking for shots of your family on vacation and an occasional amusing/interesting link to a newspaper story. I don't want to buy your stuff and I don't need to know how much your business has grown. Don't make me un-friend you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm Gonna Party Like it's 1999!

"I think you're 20-something"

This is what my son said to me after I asked him how old he thought I was. His sister piped up at that point:

"No, I think you're 40," she said with a devilish smile.

"No Elizabeth, Daddy's not 40. He's definitely 20-something."

At this point I was playing it close to the vest. The 40 guess rattled me but I stayed cool as a cucumber.

"OK Joey - 20 what?," I asked.

"Ummm...I think you're 26."

"Yeah Daddy, you're 26," his sister chimed in as a consensus was quickly reached.

I didn't dispute their conclusion. I certainly have the mentality and maturity of a 26 year old (if not much younger. Read the name of the blog people!)

What does this story teach us? Well, I guess it shows that young children have no concept of time. It also shows that my kids must be blind! Now, I look pretty good but 26 is a number of years (and pounds) ago. I guess I should revel in this inadvertent compliment. I have my kids teenage years ahead so I'm sure compliments moving forward will be few and far between. For now I'm gonna party like it's 1999 - when I was actually 26!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

In The Name of Love

My wife has give me strict instructions that I am not allowed to blog about her job. A reasonable request for sure but I think I can skirt around that guideline and still make my point here.

I can't believe the news today...So my wife rocks in the corporate world. She's the Bono of HR. She's so awesome that her career has allowed one of us (me) to stay home with the kids. A dream both of us had way back before we even had the little darlings. Actually she had them. I hate when guys say "we" had the kids. Not anatomically possible. Anyway, I'm sure both of us would have envisioned my wife home with the kids in that dream scenario back then. Nevertheless, here we are.

Now that we've gotten to this place we're both adjusting to our new roles. Me as the primary care provider and chief boo-boo kisser and my wife as super-executive able to lead high level conference calls in a single bound (or something). I think there are times that we'd like to swap jobs but I don't think there has ever been a time (yet) that we've regretted the decisions we've made to get us here. We've been so blessed to find this town and have the experiences we've had along this wild journey. Who knows what the future will bring but the present is pretty darn good.

I promise to blog something a little edgier/angrier next time. I know it's not exciting reading when someone blathers on about how great their life is and how much they love their family, but you know what - I do and I will. The people closest to you need to here how valuable they are from time to time. I just thought my wife warranted a virtual fist bump for the amazing life she's provided for her peeps. She's the front man in our band these days. I'm happy to be the rhythm section.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Shave and a Haircut ... Holy Cow it is Two Bits!

When I lived in a major metropolitan area I got my haircut in a lovely men's salon. It boasted a TV at every chair, a cigar humidor and even ice cold draft beers for those who needed a mug of courage to get through their monthly trim. Consequently my haircut ran me $35 (tip included) every time I went. I accepted this as the cost of not looking like Frank Zappa.

Imagine my delight when I went to my "Village Barber" in our new town and discovered that the cost of keeping me looking pretty is a mere $10. Yup. 10 bucks! Look out Clooney because the J-Man might get trimmed little more often. So what if they only they only have 1 TV and I can't smoke cigars or drink beer. I have hair that grows as fast as a fertilized Chia Pet so I am saving my family tons of cash. Penny candy costs $2.00 these days for God's sake! I'm gonna squirrel away that $25 in savings per cut and I'll have a Caribbean vacation saved up in no time. Barbados here I come (perfectly coiffed I might add).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beet Stems Part Deux

At the risk of boring all 8 of my readers out there I will blog yet again about beet stems. You can't stop me. It's my blog and I'll bore if I want to, bore if I want to.

So my loving wife is out of town on business and I've been left to my own devices. Very dangerous. So what do I do while the cat's away you ask? I think of new and creative ways to pair seasonal ingredients sourced from my local farm and try to get my kids to actually eat them. I am so out of control! Did you think I was going to say throw a kegger or something?  I'm nearly 40 with 2 little kids. I think not.

So tonight was a success. Pictured above we have the aforementioned beet stems - stir frying in some olive oil at high heat with fresh local garlic, not local salt, not local pepper and not local orange juice. I live in Connecticut people - cut me some slack. I would so rock the kitchen if I lived in an area with a longer growing season. Anyway, once we let that sizzle for a while we added it to some sectioned fresh orange and red onion. Garnish with a sprig of local purple basil and viola!

Would your 7 year-old eat that? Mine did. Take that "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook writer woman who is or used to be married to Jerry Seinfeld. I don't deceive my kids when it comes to cooking like she recommends in her stupid book - I include them in the process - they see where the food comes from, how we prepare it - and it gets them interested in tasting it. What I don't have to do is try to trick my kids into eating a vegetable or a fruit. Do I really have to fashion eggplant into meatballs so that they'll eat something good? My Mother did that with me but I was a pain in the ass. I don't blame her for duping me. I ate butter sandwiches and apples almost exclusively until I was 16. Desperate times called for desperate measures.

It helped that I was gullible and trusted my Mother implicitly. That bond of trust was broken once I uncovered the truth. It took me an embarrassing number of years but eventually I realized that there was a reason why my Mother's meatballs tasted like no other - it wasn't that she was a great cook (which she is) it was because she was totally screwing with me! I'm glad she did. The challenging dishes she put in front of me as a kid opened me up to a whole beautiful world of cuisine that I'm just beginning to discover.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Suck It Bobby Flay!

I must have too much time on my hands these days because when I had a full time job and had to cook dinner, I was never struck by the beauty of what I was actually cooking. These are beet green stems. In a bowl of cool water shimmering in the late afternoon light they were amazing. People say that you eat with your eyes - I now I believe them. We also made some grilled strip steaks along with fried zucchini blossoms dusted with Pecorino Romano cheese. Unfortunately we ate the steak and zucchini so fast that I didn't get a shot of them. Just trust me - it would have made Mario Batali weep. Yeah - you wish you were at my house tonight. I am officially obsessed with cooking fun, seasonal stuff. It was so great to see my family devour what I made tonight. I can't think of anything that gives me a bigger kick than watching the people I love enjoying a dinner I prepared for them. It's my Italian heritage - I love to feed people.

Dinner tonight (and many nights) required me to go to my local butcher and my local farm. I'm just so jazzed to be living in a place where I have access to such things. People are so in tune with what's in season and what's good to eat right now. I suspect it's because there are working farms in the area that actually grow stuff - not just give pony rides. People around here really respect where their food comes from and that has profoundly affected the way I cook. Maybe we shouldn't be eating peaches and plums in the middle of winter. Asparagus is in season? - let's think of new ways to prepare it. I'm sure Chile is a beautiful country but why do we need to ship their fruit here? Maybe if we ate more seasonally we'd all be better off - the earth and us. I'm just sayin' - let's respect the ingredients people. Listen to Mother Nature - she talks a lot of sense.