Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Time To Eat The Donuts

Living in Massachusetts puts me smack dab in the middle of Dunkin Donuts central, where home to the corporate donut and coffee conglomerate can be found right here in Canton, MA. Today, Dunkin Donuts boasts over 8ooo franchises in 30 countries, with about 5800 locations in the USA. Not bad for a little donut shop that first opened in 1950 in Quincy, MA by a man named William Rosenberg.

The Dunkin Donuts I speak of today is not the modern day Dunkin Donuts that "America runs on", but the one of my childhood. Last night, I saw their new TV commercial, which hails quality family time spent enjoying luscious donuts together. It made me think of my late, beloved Grandfather. Being the last in a line of five, I was not yet of school age and the only one left at home every morning when my Grampa would come and visit us armed with a box of Dunkin Donuts. Come to think of it, I can't ever remember a time when Grampa didn't come through the door carrying the pink and white donut box. It was our morning ritual. Sticky, sugar covered Jelly donuts were my favorite as a kid, with a "honey dipped" or glazed donut running a close second. Grampa and I would sit at the kitchen table, he with his coffee and me with my milk, eating, talking and enjoying the moment together. Those were some of the happiest times of my life and I adored him.

Grampa was truly my best friend. He would watch me every morning while my mom would go run errands for an hour or so, and I harldy knew she was gone. After our donut, we would do fun things like wash pennies. Grampa would get a can of Comet, a bowl of water and an SOS pad. He then would take a bunch of pennies and change from his jingling pocket and it became our mission to get them as shiny and clean as possible. The pennies, almost always revealing the most dramatic change. Of course, Grampa let me keep all the change when we were done. Those days for me, came pretty close to perfection.

I thought about my children's grandparents and how on a Sunday morning visit they occasionally arrived carrying a pink and white box, much to my children's delight. I thought about the kids, after an early morning game or a school hour dentist appointment, requesting a stop at "Dunkies" which always resulted in a purchase of multiple chocolate frosted donuts which then produced multiple smiles. The TV ad had done exactly what it was intended to do. It evoked an emotional response to the national brand and it's signature product. Knowing what we know about nutrition and food additives today, it probably puts the donut on the "top ten worst food violators" list for sure. But somehow I think the reward of an occasional donut with the kids outweighs the risk.

Dunkin Donuts just may have got their money's worth with this latest ad campaign. When I go to visit my brother and his kids this weekend, you can bet that as I walk into his house, I'll be carrying a pink and white box.

Monday, March 30, 2009

For Troll

For those of you not familiar with my blogger friend Troll, today's post is dedicated to his passion for a magnificent creature whom he hails as, "the greatest athlete of all time."

Sir Troll, author of the thought provoking blog, The Troll Report where, "The Troll-In-Chief maintains the right to rant about putrid rap "music" rave about new culinary concepts and write brilliantly about all sorts of interesting stuff.", extols his wisdom daily to us mere mortals who had not the benefit of being reared under a bridge, as he did.
I consider this post my penance for "tricking" (as he described it) Troll into thinking a previous horse related post on the Daily Dandy was my birthday tribute to his favorite subject. Ever true to Chef Troll and to my word, allow me to tell you a story about a horse.

Thirty-nine years ago today, on March 30, 1970, a bright red chestnut colt with three white socks, was born in Virginia to a mare named Somethingroyal and the great racing stallion, Bold Ruler. Born and bred to race, "Big Red", as he was dubbed, spent his time as a yearling, still unnamed. It would take 11 submissions to the Jockey Club by the Meadow Stables secretary, Elizabeth Ham, until a name Ham picked herself was approved; Secretariat.

He entered into his horse racing debut on July 4, 1972 at Aqueduct. Although he went in as a favorite, he ended up finishing fourth in the race. It would only take Secretariat eleven days later to become a champion. He then won the next 5 races in a row, including three important stakes races for a two-year old, his only other defeat as a two-year old, coming in a disqualification in the Champagne Steaks at Belmont. Those seven magnificent victories in nine races that year resulted in his being voted Horse of the Year.

The world soon had a new superstar and Secretariat mania was everywhere. Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated all featured the horse on the cover the same week. Major talent agencies booked Secretariat appearances as if he were a top box office movie star, but at the time no movie star could match his fan appeal.

"This red horse with blue and white blinkers and silks seemed to epitomize an American hero,' said owner Penny Chenery."

Then, and just as his legend was hitting a fervor peak, he solidified his unmatched champion status on June 9th 1973, when he became the first horse in 25 years to win the biggest contest in all of horse racing; the Triple Crown. In true legendary form, he not only won by 31 lengths, he shattered the previous record held by Citation's 1948 Triple Crown. So impressive, so dominant was his win, it is documented;

"It was so big, even the widest angle of the CBS camera covering the stretch run could barely show Secretariat in the same shot as the next-nearest horse, Twice A Prince. As Charles Hatton wrote in The Daily Racing Form, "His only point of reference is himself."

In a most memorable career that lasted a mere 16 months, the great Secretariat won 16 times in 21 starts, finishing in the money in every race except his first; his career earnings totaling $1,316,808. By his retirement in 1973, he had won back-to-back horse of the year awards.

"As former Pimlico general manager Chick Lang said, "He looked like a Rolls-Royce in a field of Volkswagens."

Listed by ESPN at number 35 of the 100 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century, the highest of the three non-humans on the list, he will always be remembered as one the sports greatest, his name synonymous with horse racing.
The superstar athlete was euthanized on Oct. 4, 1989. Upon his death his owner remarked, "He wasn't just the greatest horse I ever had, he was the greatest horse anybody ever had."

Both this article and this contributed to this report.

Friday, March 27, 2009

PMS or Pretty Much Sensational

Frankly, I'm in a bit of a mood today...and I like it.

I can't say exactly why; (probably because my lower back is sore and I'm craving chocolate), but it could just be the influence of the moon's rising sun or some other crap like that. When I'm feeling like this it's not necessarily a bad thing, and by that I mean I'm not bitchy in a nasty mood kind of way. It's more like I have an edge about me. A razor sharp edge that somehow works in my favor.

No, today I feel good. Almost too good because the mood inhibitors are giving me a swagger. I very rarely get like this, but when the mood strikes, I feel compelled to go with it. I'm liking the reflection I see in the mirror and that nasty old bitch is liking me right back. This is the kind of feeling that could get me into trouble. Of course, the trouble I speak of would never happen because I'm far too smart and far too old for that kind of stuff, but no harm in workin' it, if you know what I'm sayin....So I'll wear it today as my badge of courage.

It's reflected in my attire: slimming designer jeans: check. A tight fitting top that accentuates my womanly assets in all the right places: check. Hair and make-up; done just so: check. My sexy recessional purchase wedge shoes I told you about: check. (yeah, today was just the day to break those babies out) The complete view from behind: check plus! (at least in my mind)

I was thinking this morning about an exchange I had with a guy I knew in high school. His name was Rick and he was the leader of the "Stoner crew". They were the tough guys that nobody messed with, and were just dangerous enough to stay away from. Rick and his crew held court out in the shared smoking area outside our school. I was a part of the "coolie crew" or the jocks as they are called, and we were on complete opposite sides of the social spectrum. For some reason, Rick took a small liking to me. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that I was never easily intimidated by him and that I never cowered to his bullying, always quick with a smart ass comeback to his domination tactics. Regardless, our social groups co-existed in that tiny area with minimal interaction.

One day Rick decided to make a proclamation, in front of his friends and mine when he announced to everyone, "One day, Candy (insert my last name here) I predict you will be starring in a ZZ Top video." Everyone sort of just laughed slyly and I'm sure I threw back some quick, sharp comeback because at the time, as I was only slightly familiar with ZZ Top and their music, my being a "pop princess" and all and I was more than a little annoyed at his suggestion that my life's ambition would be to star in a music video. It wasn't until later that I realized that Rick had paid me the highest form of a compliment in his world.
I never forgot it, and on days like this, I recall it to memory. A visual aid to explain my swagger, so to speak.

So take this as my offering to go and get your "swagger on". I hope it inspires you to put a little bit of that sometimes necessary edge in your step.

And God help My Guy tonite, cuz it's date night and after all that has been said here today, HELL YEAH, you can bet I know how to use them!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Today I Celebrate You

Today I celebrate you because 13 years ago today, at 9:10 am you came into my life and made me complete; all 9lbs. and 11 oz's of you. Although I never found out that You were You ahead of time, I already knew when You arrived that You were You. My response to, "It's a boy!" was, "Yes, I know".

Today I celebrate you for the years of joy you have brought me. Your kind heart and your tender ways make me proud each day to call you my own.

Today I celebrate you for having goals and dreams. As for your dream of one day becoming a Longhorn, I will do whatever I can to aid you in achieving that goal. So if I push you to work to your potential in school, please know that together we share in those victories; each bringing you one step closer to the school of your dreams. I won't let you down, ever. I will be here to remind you that if you give up your dreams, you have nothing.

Today I celebrate you for each of the special gifts you have received from God. That at 2 years old, when the world came calling, we watched you swing a golf club in awe and we traveled around the country sharing your unique story. I celebrate that through the years, as you remained top dog on the course, you watched the others around you getting bigger and better, till one day they caught up to you. I watched you lose with dignity and work harder to maintain your edge, learning at a young age that perfection is not a constant, but a gift to be valued. Hard lessons for a little boy to swallow, yet you maintained hard work and dedication as the key to your success and that humility keeps you honest.

Today I celebrate you for your love of the underdog and your stubbornness that usually finds you on the unpopular side of an issue. Your ability to maintain your stance when opposed never ceases to amaze, infuriate and inspire me.

Today I celebrate you for your athletic prowess. It is true, that if it involves a stick and a ball, you are in. It is so much a part of who you are, that as an infant you would instinctually put your beloved "blankie" on the floor and hit plastic pacifier out of it, as if they were golf balls buried deep in a bunker at Augusta. I celebrate along with you when you raise your stick on the ice after scoring a goal and that you picked up a Lacrosse stick for the first time this year and yet you play like you have been playing for years. I celebrate most the enjoyment of watching you experience your love of the game; any game, as long as you can somehow be a part of it and I share in your pride when grown men marvel with envy at the beauty of your golf swing.

Today I celebrate you as my protector and friend. The one who quietly watches over me when things get tough and would give me the last piece of bacon on his plate if I asked. When My Guy is out of town, I know that you quietly watch out for your sister and I, as you assume your position as man of the house.

Today I celebrate that although you will always be my baby, that you are no longer a baby at all, and already almost as tall as I am. That you are growing and changing into a man before my eyes, yet you still allow me to hug and kiss you just as I did when you were little. Thank you for allowing me to shower you with affection, somehow knowing that I may need it more than you.

Today I celebrate you; my son, my life.

I love you. I cannot thank you enough for the gift of you.

Happy Birthday

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Internet Sensation Syndrome

Have you seen this?

Neil Berrett, 23, of San Fransisco, used a sheet cake to present to his boss as his letter of resignation.

Dear Mr. Bowers:
During the past three years, my tenure at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard has been nothing short of pure excitement, joy and whim.
However, I have decided to spend more time with my family and attend to health issues that have recently arisen. I am proud to have been part of such an outstanding team and I wish this organization only the finest in future endeavors.
Please accept this cake as notification that I am leaving my position with NWT on March 27.

W. Neil Berrett"

Berrett posted the picture on a Flickr photo-sharing site, which was then picked up and posted on the pop culture web site Boing Boing. The story then went on to become a sensation on foodie blogs and was picked up internationally by the Norwegian Newspaper Dagbladet and the Telegraph of London.
Berrett's Flickr page received over 200,000 visitors since the story broke and according to reports, some of the visitors were inquiring about how to apply for his old job. He even received a "lighthearted marriage proposal".

This got me thinking about the Internet Sensation Syndrome. Because of the media attention caused by Berrett's "sweet resignation", I wonder what other possibilities lie ahead for Mr. Berrett and if Mr. Berrett realized that his creative thinking could have possibly changed his life. In this media age, where fame is fast and fleeting, what other avenues could his new-found fame lead Berrett down?

Berrett reportedly quit his job to pursue his dream of becoming a professional photographer. Since a photo started it all, is there a dream job as a photographer waiting for him at Cuisine Magazine? It certainly gives him a jump to the head of the line with prospective employers. Will he meet the woman of his dreams? Sweet, thoughtful, optimistic and easily accessible, Berrett has unwittingly positioned himself to be open to offers. Will cake companies and bakeries realize the potential of an untapped market and begin a new line of resignation and resume cakes? Will they pay Berrett big bucks to be the spokesperson? Only time will tell as the offers come pouring in.

Berrett reported that his boss was "surprised" by his resignation but that eating the cake seemed to improve everyone's mood. One thing's for sure; he "raised the bar" when it comes to leaving your job on good terms.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Today's Special: Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi have taken their place amongst gourmet foodies as their pasta of choice and, believe it or not, they are not difficult to make. The key to these "pillow soft" gnocchi is to knead the dough as least as possible so that they do not become tough and "gluey".

This recipe comes courtesy of Saveur Magazine and are the brain-child of chef Barbara Lynch of Sportello Restaurant in Boston.

1 lb. russet potatoes (about 2), unpeeled
1 1⁄4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. truffle oil
1 egg, beaten

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. (I used 3 potatoes, as they weren't large in size)

Drain the potatoes and set aside to slightly cool.

The potatoes will be soft enough to peel the skin off easily.

The recipe called for the potatoes to be worked through a "food mill or a potato ricer", but I used my food processor, being careful not to "over process", then transfer onto a floured surface.
Sprinkle the flour and salt over the potatoes and mix together with hands.

Forming a mound with the dough, create a well in the center.

Add the truffle oil and the egg into the well.

Gently knead the dough together to combine, adding a small amount of flour when dough becomes sticky, until your dough is complete. Do not over knead.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Roll the dough to a 1/2" thick and cut into 1/2" wide strips. Roll the strips between your hands and the floured surface to form ropes, then cut the ropes into 1" pieces.

Working with one piece at a time, roll it down the back of a small fork so that the tines of the fork make ridges on the surface of the dough. This is important to help the sauce "cling" to the cooked gnocchi. Transfer rolled gnocchi to the floured baking sheet. When complete, cover with a kitchen towel and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Bring a 6-quart pot of salted water to a boil and add gnocchi cooking until they float; about 2 minutes.

Barbara's wonderful recipe calls for a delectable cream sauce with green peas and Chanterelle mushrooms (which I bought) and I HIGHLY recommend (see recipe link above), but of course, the crew at my house put the kibosh on the sauce the second they heard the ingredients. I had to go for my quick, famous old stand by, marinara sauce.
Gnocchi is so delicious, it can be served with any type of sauce; bolognese, marinara, pesto, pomodoro or whatever you like.
I chose a quick marinara so that everyone would be happy.

If everything goes as planned your dinner should look like this:

And if you are as good a chef as I think you are, when dinner is over your dish should look like this:

Thank you to Saveur Magazine and Sportello's Chef Barbara Lynch for the recipe for gnocchi-my favorite pasta. Rest assured, I will complete the recipe the way it was intended to be served eventually.
Better yet, I will take a road trip soon to experience your dish at Sportello and to thank you personally.

Good luck bloggers! Bon Appetit!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Be Quiet Enough To Hear God's Whisper

This post is not intended to inspire a religious debate about theory or beliefs, rather than one woman's observations about a ritual that was once a big part of her life.

I decided to go to church yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised when the entire building did NOT disintegrate and fall to the ground. That a large, dark, black, rain cloud did not suddenly appear above the church and that lightning did not strike me down, as I feared it would.

Let's just say that I haven't been to Sunday Mass in a few years, so the fact that I decided to go at all came as a complete surprise to me. I casually threw out an open invitation to come along to the family at breakfast, but was looked upon with horror. Somehow I knew this was going to be a solo mission.

Inspired by my Jewish girlfriend, who (she is dating a "Christian") called me Saturday to tell me that she had gone to Mass and "liked"it, it led me to think about what there was to like at church. Armed with this piqued curiosity, I went to Mass like the "masses" in my town who attend regularly. Upon entering there was music-beautiful, joyous music and singing. Parishioners are invited to join in the singing, as the page number for the hymn is posted for all to see and the hymnal books are at arms reach to your seat. Immediately I was struck by the calm and the quiet. Despite the fact that people were singing and little kids were crying and screaming, I felt a peaceful calm wash over me.

After much sitting and standing and the reciting of prayers that I once had commited to memory, the daily sermon began. It was quiet and I was calm, and had a relaxed feeling I had not experienced in a while. I was at ease and it felt good. I prayed to myself, I sang, if I wanted to, I listened to the sermon, if I wanted to, and took from it what I felt was important and I kneeled before God.

Seated behind me were an elderly couple who hardly registered on my radar until the time came for the ritual offering of peace. As I turned to offer my hand, I witnessed them turn to each other and say, "I love you" they then sealed it with a small kiss. I offered my peace, and turned back, my heart filled with the love I had just witnessed, my smile impenetrable.

I left Mass feeling calm and at peace, resolved to TRY to come back once a week. I decided that church will be that one thing I do for myself. A time for me to collect my thoughts and reflect upon what's next. A time free from cell phones, text messages, computers, email and TV. A time free from screams of "MOM" and barking dogs.

A time for me alone, to experience peace. A time of quiet reflection in my head, where only I can judge and seek answers.

Friday, March 20, 2009

So Long Sucker!

Since today is officially the first day of Spring and winter is now in our proverbial rear view mirror, here is a little ode to what that nasty season is like in my neck of the woods. Eat my dust Old Man Winter!

Forget Rednecks .......here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about New Englanders...

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in...New England

If someone at Home Depot that doesn't work there, offers you assistance, you live in...New England

If you've had a telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you live in...New England

If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of New Hampshire for the weekend, you live in...New England

If you know several people who have hit a deer w/ their car, you live in...New England

If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, you live in...New England

If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in...New England

If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both doors unlocked, you live in...New England

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in...New England

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you live in...New England

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you live in...New England

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you live in...New England

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you live in...New England

If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you live in...New England

If you don't think twice about cutting someone off to get in or out of a Rotary and you enjoy it you live in...New England

If you find 10 degrees 'a little chilly', you live in...New England

If there's a Dunkin Donuts on every corner, you live in...New England

If you actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your New England friends & others, you live or have lived in...New England

Happy Spring Y'All!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Access Dee-nied

Teens have a crazy way of letting you know they are the master of their own universe. Sometimes they even make a lot of sense. Case in point:

Frick comes home two days ago all giddy and happy. She's got that certain glow about her and she's ready to talk. I, of course, am completely thrilled and open for discussion on the topic of this newest source of her happiness as she shares with me the vital details; his name, rank and serial number.

How exciting for her! The good feelings seem to be reciprocal and youthful infatuation takes it's natural course. It would seem only logical then, that I inquire casually about her "new friend" yesterday. Right? Wrong.

ME: So, how are things with So And So?

HER: (silence)
(This is never a good sign)

ME: Did something happen?

HER: No, but I do not want to talk about it, so stop asking me all the time.

ME: Umm, I just asked you once. How does that suddenly become all the time? Besides, you were the one who was doing all the talking the other day and now the topic is off-limits? I'm confused.

HER: Exactly.

ME: Exactly, the topic is off-limits? Why is it that you can willingly share information with me but the second I inquire about it, you abruptly clam up and deny access?

HER: How about I let YOU know when I want to talk about it?

ME: (pausing for a moment to search for the right response) Well, who died and made you boss?

Did I really say that? Yes I did and I'm not proud of it. I fell victim to the oldest trick in the book. The role reversal swap. I knew she had me so I just walked away. What more could I say?

Schooled by my own child.

Access completely dee-nied!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seriously Dude, What Were You Thinking?

I just need to know. Dude, what were you thinking?

Sorry, but I just don't get it. See, one of sports biggest superstars, (not one of my faves) but a superstar nonetheless, was shown photographed like this in the current issue of Details Magazine.

WTF IS THAT? Are you kidding me?

This is the same guy who, just a few months ago, was caught in a big media frenzy for lying about baseball's carnal sin; steroid use. Yeah, A-RIOD lied about using steroids and he got busted, but we aren't talking about that now. Today we are talking about the higest paid player in baseball and the spectacle of that photo above.

That is not fashion or art in my book; that is just plain WRONG.

Please tell me he's not that self centered or that stupid. The way I see it, unless he went to school to only eat lunch, A-Rod had to know he was going to take a serious lashing from his Yankee teammates.

"What was he thinking?" mused one anonymous teammate.
Another wanted to know if Rodriguez realized he was being photographed, and was surprised when told it was a professional photo shoot. Most just shook their heads or shrugged, with a couple saying you’d never see them in similar type pictures. One Yankee said: "Don’t worry, we’ll be sure to make fun of him for it."

Even his teammate was at a loss to explain this asking, "Did he realize he was being photographed"?? Maybe it was E he was taking instead of steroids, because from the looks of this photo, A-Rod needs to get a room with himself.

Seriously, I don't want my son to see this photo. This is a complete embarrassment to the sanctity of athletes everywhere. I am a woman who loves sports and I have a deep appreciation and respect for the dedication and committment an athlete posesses. But this stunt raises the bar and now all bets are off.
When I see stuff like this, it makes me want to hurl. Hard.

I know that because he is a Yankee, I should at least be reveling in this latest A-Rod spectacle. Sadly, I cannot. Regardless of his unfortunate choice of teams, today I see no pin stripes or red sox.

Today I am embarassed as a sports fan. Plain and simple.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Small Town Murder

March 16, 2008.
Man fatally stabs Grandmother in Weston, MA.

(NECN: Brad Puffer, Waltham, Mass.) - A murder has shocked people in an affluent Boston suburb. A Boston man is charged with stabbing his grandmother to death in her home in Weston, Massachusetts. 22-year-old James Clark appeared in Waltham District Court today to face murder charges.
Clark is now charged in the murder of his 80-year-old grandmother, Eleanor Clark. Police say Clark stabbed his grandmother inside her Weston, Massachusetts home Sunday evening. It is the first homicide in Weston in more than 3 decades.
"There was an altercation there which resulted in James Clark stabbing his grandmother to death," says Gerry Leone, Middlesex DA.
Clark visited his grandmother’s house Sunday afternoon. He later showed up at a neighbors house with blood on his hands.
"The trail of blood led to the next door neighbor’s home. The neighbors learned that the trail of blood was from an injury to James McGuire Clark’s hand. He went to his neighbors house and said he had suffered the injury in a home accident.
District Attorney Gerry Leone says after being treated at a hospital, he showed up at a friend’s house, and apparently told them what happened.
"After telling his friends what happened, they called 911 to a report that a crime had been committed."
Clark appeared in Waltham district court Monday with a Shakespeare and Co. T-shirt and a bandage on his right hand. Prosecutors say Clark is a citizen of the UK but has been living in the US since he was two years old, most recently at a halfway house in Boston. His mother recently moved back to England.

What's going on in my little town? First, torrid and steamy stories of extra-curricular sexcapades with the service tech and now this? Let's just say the "joint is jumping". Talk of the first murder in 33 years sent this small community abuzz yesterday, with TV news trucks sprinkled all over town.
The Daily Dandy roving reporter spoke to neighbors who stated that James M. Clark, a drifter from Dorchester, was well known in the neighborhood and "seemed like a nice kid".

"I drove bye the house last night around 10pm and saw lights on in the house, " the neighbor said. "I thought that was a little late, you know, unusual for her, but I dismissed it."

Apparently, James Clark stabbed his grandmother to death after an altercation with her in the kitchen of her home. Police found the bloodied body of Eleanor Clark under the kitchen table in the breakfast nook with multiple stab wounds on her neck and face; her throat had been slashed. A bloody folding knife was found on the kitchen table and police then followed a trail of blood to the next-door neighbor's house. James Clark told the neighbor he had cut his hand slicing fruit in the kitchen, and the neighbor then drove him to the hospital for treatment. Clark then took a cab to a friends house in Newton, where he apparently confessed to the murder and a 911 call was made to police by his friends.
Clark told police he was "sorry for making them look at his grandmother like that and then requested that police give him a gun so he could shoot himself." Clark is in police custody and on suicide watch.

It's unsettling to think that less that 3 miles away from where my children sleep, a horrific crime like this took place. The Daily Dandy roving reporter will keep you updated on the latest on the story.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jazz Is The Order Of The Day

Since Jazz is the Daily Dandy theme today, remember this?

I couldn't help but remember this while sitting in Boston Symphony Hall yesterday.

An Afternoon Of Jazz

I got an unexpected treat yesterday when my BFF called and asked me if I would like to join her to see Wynton Marsalis at Boston Symphony Hall. Being a blues gal myself, I was happy to oblige, as Jazz runs a close second to my love of the blues. Somehow I knew this had the makings of a great afternoon.
We entered into Boston's storied Symphony Hall, where music's finest artists have showcased their talent for decades. Mr. Marsalis proudly proclaimed Boston's Symphony Hall, "the greatest hall in the country" to the delighted packed house.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis did not dissapoint. The 15 member band, including Mr. Marsalis, put on a show to remember. Yes, these boy's can blow! The afternoon's program, which was announced from the stage, began with wonderful, soulful renditions of everone's favorite nursery rhymes. Beginning with "Old MacDonalds Farm" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to a swinging rendition of "It's Not That Easy Being Green"with the afternoon's only vocal accompanyment.
Who knew that childhood nursery rhymes could sound so hip and so smooth!

The knowledge of these Doctors Of Music shone through in every piece performed, each one arranged by a different and talented member of the band. After a brief intermission from the first act, the band came back to perform a solid blues piece,"Blues Walk", which literally brought a tear to my eye. Mr. Marsalis noted that the piece performed was their best, perfection. "It don't get any better than that," he said. "Like the Blues, it arrived perfect. We can only add to it."

The afternoon was capped off in a jammin' style with the crowd erupting after each master had showcased his craft in a solo by demonstrating a complete command of the instrument they posessed. The result was some of the finest display of Jazz mucisians I have ever seen.

The crowd was then treated to what seemed like an impromptu encore, with Mr Marsalis, accompanied by the piano and bass, playing a rockin, swingin Jazz piece while he walked the stage, engaging the audience to their feet. The music so fine, the tune stayed with me for hours afterward.

There is no better was to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Boston. If you have the opportunity to catch the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis I highly reccommend you do so. You won't be disappointed.

I give it a Daily Dandy two thumbs WAY UP!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

NSFW Friday Part II

(NSFW-means Not Safe For Work)

So I just got back after a long day and I checked my email. A friend of mine sent this to me and I laughed so hard, I just HAD to share it with you.

Listen closely. This is the funniest thing I have seen/heard in a long time.

Oh the irony...I'm still laughing.

NSFW Friday

(For those of you who don't know, NSFW means Not Safe For Work)
Hi ho peeps! I've got a crazy day today so I gotta be brief and get right to it.

This is definitely NSFW!!! and something I was thinking about posting a while back but never got around to it. Who knew Eddie Murphy was a clairvoyant?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ode To The Snooze Button

Mr Snooze Button, my friend, how have you been?
I'm relieved that you're back, for you allow me
to stay in the deep slumber I'm in.

It's still dark and I fear I'm not ready to rise,
still you warn me of the dawn of the opening of my eyes.
You keep watch over me and give me more time.
So I ask you, is another 9 minutes that much of a crime?

See, it's my internal clock, not me, that's all messed up inside,
And between the kids and the dogs, I've got no where to hide.
You feel my pain and you've got my back,
"Work with me," you say. "and I'll keep you on track."

Lazy mornings of late, are our secret; yours and mine.
And you never do judge, stating our arrangement is fine.
So what if I use you much more than I should?
I'd do the same for you Mr. Snooze, you know, if I could.

You're loyal and punctual and I like that in a friend.
You don't rush me, you nudge me and you never pretend.
So I thank you for giving me total waking satisfaction.
It's much nicer, than say, a jump out-of bed kind of reaction.

To you, I give credit for a pleasant transition into my day.
I can start out stress-free, though it never seems to end that way.
Take care, till tomorrow when begin our morning dance,
for as long as you're there, I've got more than a fighting chance.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Recessional Economics

I know we are in a recession and on the verge of the worst economic climate in decades. I am also fully aware that since I am currently unemployed in said recession, I certainly have no business spending money frivolously. But could you really look at those babies above and blame me for bringing them home and calling them my own?

Since I made the purchase while implementing recession-like strategies, I figure I did a good thing. OK, so they weren't on sale, like the rest of the shoe department was, but are you going to hold that against me? I mean, I didn't buy the other two pairs I wanted that were on sale ALSO. This is a giant step for me.

No, I implored the shopping "love it law", which clearly states: "The final decision on a purchase must hinge on whether or not you "love it". There is to be no grey area here. You either love it or you don't buy it." These were a no brainer.

Cuz, you know, I need them...I need them to wear with my jeans. The multiple pairs of jeans that I have that are too long and need a heel? And I need them to go along with my 6,473 other pairs of shoes that I have in my shoe arsenal. And they are sooo pretty. Just because the economic climate is all gloom and doom, it doesn't mean I have to look the part. Look good, feel good; I always say.

So what if they were more expensive then the two pairs I wanted that were on sale, combined. Again, I didn't buy those too, so I made out better in the big picture. Maybe I am finally growing up and learning to budget my money more effectively. It's possible.

Or maybe I just won't eat for a week to justify this purchase. I could stand to loose a few pounds anyway.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Desparately Searching The Dog Whisperer

My dogs suck.

There, I said it. I love them very much and really wouldn't want to live without any of them, but sometimes I feel like they rule my life. I have 3 dogs too many, and they most certainly subscribe to a "pack" mentality because they gang up on me regularly.

They know that I am a sucker for a cute face and they work that fact to their advantage.
Lets take a look at the three of them individually, and by order of age.

Amos-Amos is the black and white Jack Russell Terrier. Amos was a stray that My Guy got at a local dog shelter seven years ago who was severely abused. We aren't quite sure of the exact age of Amos, but the vet has "guess-timated" his age around 12 or 13 years old. He had been adopted by families twice, both times he was brought back for biting and nasty behaviors. He also had severe hip problems, from being abused, and was on the block to be put to sleep. When My Guy saw Amos, he was told that Amos was un-adoptable and to take him out of consideration. Of course, after playing with him for a bit and then taking him for a walk, he pleaded with the powers that be at the shelter to adopt Amos, exclaiming that this was the only dog for him.
He went through a vigorous adoption process and was cleared to adopt Amos on the condition that he would give Amos the proper surgery for his hips and because My Guy was a single man at the time and could devote his full attention to Amos's needs. Needless to say Amos is a different dog today than he was seven years ago. He came to live with us; myself, my two children and my two dogs, 3 years ago. Amos adjusted to family life and the rest of the dog pack beautifully. So much for the opinion of the "powers that be" at the shelter. He is a very intelligent dog and very intuitive and is the best cuddler in the world.
Amos is the true alpha of the pack. Boss Hog of all the other dogs (and sometimes me) for sure, and a mama's boy. As I type this, he is "allowing" me to share my desk chair with him. He has 80% of the chair, allowing my ass the remaining 20%.

Jingle-Jingle is the fawn pug and the only female dog in the pack. Miss Ming, as she is affectionately known, is 6 years old and is the sweetest, little pain in the ass dog ever. She snorts, farts, snores and sheds. Jingle has to be on top of me if I am sitting on the couch watching TV, god forbid any of the other dogs get closer to me than she does and she is a little spitfire. She takes no crap from any of the other dogs and will let them know if she has reached her limit with them in no uncertain terms. She is an excellent watch dog, but will bark at the slightest thing and loud and often. This, of course, sets off a chain reaction of the other two, which leads to a cacophony of endless dog barking. She is also the trash queen, as she sees any unattended trash barrel as a new world which needs exploring. Of the three, I have to say that Jingle is the most disobedient, yet the lowest maintenance dog.

Buddy-Buddy is a 5 year old boxer and the star of The Daily Dandy Post's entitled, "See Buddy". Buddy is a love, but he is my problem child. Spastic, mischievous and supremely energetic, Buddy gets into trouble, A LOT. But with a face like that he regularly gets away with it and he knows it. Garden hoses, potted plants, basketballs, newspapers; anything out side is free game to Buddy. If for some reason the garage doors were left open, Buddy will drag out hockey bags, golf balls, tools, trash, shovels and anything else that strikes his fancy. He lifts his leg wherever and whenever he sees fit, and this includes inside the house, and he is a slobber-er. Yup, long drool threads that hang from his jowls, threatening any outfit I,or anyone in the house is wearing. Buddy is sweet and plays stupid, but he is much smarter than he thinks we think he is.

My dogs have their own staff. I'm not kidding here, Buddy and Jingle go to Doggy Day care on Mondays and Buddy occasionally works with the trainer there. Amos used to go to work daily with My Guy, but because he's now a family dog, he's "semi-retired" opting to stay home with the pack more often than not. They also have my cleaning girl, who stays with them when we travel and tends to them daily.

None of this seems to be promoting changed behavior. The dogs will listen to My Guy first, he is the true alpha, but when it comes to me, it's like they got my number. They'll behave for a little while and then they'll just do what they want anyway.

Someone please get me The Dog Whisperer stat! As I type this they are barking incessantly at a woman walking a dog down the street-inside the house! AHHHH!

Cesar Millan, TV's self proclaimed dog psychologist says:
"I rehabilitate dogs. I train people." - Cesar Millan

I need a people trainer ASAP.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Daily Dandy Public Service Announcement

It's spring ahead Daylight Saving Time! That special time of the year when the loss of one hour of precious sleep kicks you right in the a**. I've put together a list of helpful tips and things to watch out for to get you through the next few days.

Drag your butt out of bed.
Yes, it's dark when you wake up now. No, the clock's not wrong. You still need to get up for work. The bright side to all of this is that spring is here!

Eat breakfast.
Even though you feel like you could crawl back into bed and sleep for a few more days, eat a proper breakfast to provide fuel for your busy day.

Drive safe today.
Studies have shown that the Monday following the spring Daylight Savings Time change, has seen a 17 percent increase in motor vehicle accidents. Sleep deprivation is the major contributor resulting in the statistical increase. Do your best to be sharp and focused while driving today.

Avoid Cranky people.
Watch out for serious crank pots today. Everyone's snooze button was working overtime this morning, so expect unusual irritability while people re-adjust their bodies bio-rhythms. Not the best time to ask for that raise or an extra vacation you've been longing for. Wait a week or two.

Stay on schedule.
For the first few days of the time change, I find myself looking at the time and thinking to myself, "but it's really an hour earlier". This causes me much confusion and chaos inevitably ensues. Better to stay the course.

Pick the kids up on time.
Now that the time change is in effect, the kids soccer, lacrosse, baseball and softball practices can take place later and at the outdoor facilities. Don't be that mother sitting at the middle school waiting to pick up your child while your child is waiting to be picked up across town at the field. Make sure you get THAT e-mail today.

Limit your caffeine intake.
Thinking thoughts like, " the sun is still out so I can have that extra cup of joe" may work against you. Consuming caffeine later in the day is sure to wreak havoc on your already readjusting sleeping patterns.

Enjoy the extra hour of sunlight.
Fire up the grill! Nothing says spring and summer like the smell of burgers cooking on the gas grill. The best of spring is yet to come.

Get your sleep.
As I said before, stay on schedule. If bedtime rolls aroud 10 pm or later, don't kid yourself into thinking it's really 9 pm or an hour earlier. Stay the course because either way you pay. And when the clock strikes 6am the clock strikes 6am.

It's a harsh reality.

Happy Daylight Saving Time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Desperately Dirty Housewives

I have led a sheltered, sheltered life. Now bear with me here for a moment and you will understand what I'm getting at.

I stopped by the local quick-mart yesterday to pick up some milk on my way home. The gas station/mini mart is located on the main thoroughfare, no more than .5 tenths of a mile from my street, smack dab in the middle of two affluent, suburban communities. I stop in there regularly; to get gas and last minute items and the staff and I are on a friendly, first name basis. We always take a few moments to chat about daily events, and often times they will share a story or two about what goes on in the quick-mart. Yesterday the story was focused on the amount of condoms that are sold in this particular store. The owner asserted that of the four mini marts he owns; this particular location, by far, out sells the others in condom purchases. He added that the purchases are made mostly by women-who appear to be just like me, apparently-and by that he meant your ordinary, every day mom.

Another staff member then proceeded to tell me about these same suburban women; the ones buying the condoms, propositioning him for a little discreet, extra-curricular activity,*wink, wink*. Now they had my attention. We then discussed it a little more. They said well dressed men in business suits also make numerous condom purchases and we all marveled over the frequency of this taking place in an affluent community such as ours. Who'd have thought? Interesting. Wealthy, successful business men and their lonely, neglected wives.

On my way home, armed with this new revelation, my mind went directly to a memory of a similar sort. About 5 years ago, I was waiting at home for a service man to come to turn on my irrigation system. This is a twice yearly appointment, and the homeowner must be present in order for the service tech to have access to the pump located in the basement. The company always give you a 3 hour window for the arrival of the tech. My window was from 9am to 12. I jumped into the shower sometime close to 9, and sure enough, I heard the doorbell just as I was getting out of the shower. I quickly threw on my bathrobe and slippers, wrapped a towel around my head, and rushed to the door.

I told the tech he was welcome to come in and go find the pump in the basement on his own, but that I would just need a few moments to get dressed before I could show him. The tech immediately put up his hand, beating a hasty retreat from the door and said, "I'll do what I need to do out here first. When you're dressed you can come and get me and I'll come in." OK, fine. I get dressed and go find the guy and walk him down to the basement to show him where the pump is. He then says to me, "I hope I didn't offend you by being short with you earlier. It's just that I have learned the hard way never to enter into a home when the lady of the house is dressed in a bathrobe."

Really. Forever the journalist, I pressed him for more information.

"You're kidding me, right?" I said.
"I wouldn't kid about that," he replied.
He proceeded to tell me the stories about how more often than not, the robe and the towel quickly drop to floor. He said he could write a book about the propositions he's received over the years and that despite his warnings, some of the younger guys he works with have actually messed up their relationships over their indulgence in this offer of an"afternoon delight". I was speechless.

Let me go on record here as being fully aware that this could take place anywhere in the US of A, and it is certianly not limited to affluent communities. I just need to wrap my brain around the fact that it actually does happen in real life and not just in Hollywood.
I have lived a sheltered life, for sure, because this stuff never ceases to perplex me. The service guy? The UPS man? The plumber? Not to imply that there is anything wrong with any of those professions. I just don't equate an afternoon quickie with my major kitchen appliance being returned to working order.
I just don't get it. And I'm glad I just don't get it.
Herein lies the point-these women "just aren't getting it" so they're getting it when ever and where ever they can, on the sly. The allure of the forbidden fruit.

This is just one woman's opinion is all, and to each his own, whatever floats your boat and every other seemingly appropriate cliche. I just think there needs to be some sort of connection, chemistry or history before engaging in the act. Call me old-fashioned, call me a prude even, all I'm saying is that I just think there are better ways to float that personal boat, if that's what you're looking for.
It certianly gives new meaning to the job title, service man.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Since the temperatures are still frigid outside, I thought I'd give you something to warm your heart today.

If this doesn't tug at your heartstrings, I don't know what else will.

ps-I'm a boxer mommy too!!! Awwww..good boy.
Editors Note: The words above video to "rate and comment" were not added by Candy's Daily Dandy and are no way intended to beg you to comment here. Just incase you were wondering.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

June Cleaver I'm Not

Let's face facts here. June Cleaver, I'm not. That dream died right along with the dawn of the new Millennium.
I realize that I am the mother at this address and that I am currently unemployed, but there has got to be more to my life than providing sustenance for my family on a daily basis. Doesn't there?
What, do you ask, was the catalyst of this epiphany?

It's all THEIR fault.

Those little babies above are causing quite a stir lately at the Daily Dandy headquarters.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we? I get up every weekday morning, bright and early with Frick and Frack, before school. My Guy is the "official riser". He then wakes me from my peaceful slumber and either he or I wake the children for school. I have always got up with my kids, gave them breakfast and sent them off to school. Even when I had a live in nanny. No exceptions. To me, it is right there in the Mom's handbook under job description. As first one up, it was and still is, my job to get breakfast ready for everyone so that we can maximize those precious early morning minutes before the school bus. Some days thing run smoothly and some days; not so much.

Since I am an early riser in general, getting the kids breakfast and off to school is like second nature to me. Usually breakfast amounts to nothing more than a choice of a toasted bagel with cream cheese, cereal, fruit or instant oatmeal. No big deal. Frick and Frack are certainly old enough to get their own breakfast without assistance from me, but I am present nonetheless.

Recently, I got a coupon for the cinnamon buns and bought them so that I could serve them for breakfast. I decided to surprise everyone one day a few weeks ago and got up a half hour early, so that I could bake the buns and have them ready for the morning rush.

Big mistake....Huge. They were a big hit. Great, right! Wrong.

The result has been a unanimous mutiny at the breakfast table, when cinnabons are not present. I have made them once more since that first morning, which is obviously not good enough. They (and this includes all of them) have even thrown in the occasional remark, "sure would have been nice to have fresh, hot cinnamon buns this morning". Like I'm friggin June Cleaver or something.

The tasty little morsels take 18-23 minutes to bake, then must cool for a few minutes before adding the frosting. Completing this process requires that I rise 30 minutes earlier that the rest of the household so that they will be ready and available for breakfast. Now I don't mind the occasional 5:30 wake-up, but on a daily basis? They are out of their freakin minds.

Despite the fact that consuming that amount of sugar and preservatives daily would not be prudent or healthy and that I have pointed this fact out on numerous occasions, the cinnabon controversy continues here. I have created a breakfast monster, with zero support from My Guy, as he is a card carrying member of Team Cinnabon.

Is this not a modern world we live in?

Listen Beaver, June got breast implants and botox and has a part time job at the mall. It's not all about you people any more. You, Ward and Wally are on your own in the morning because June has a life and a book club and a gym membership . Get over it and get your own God damn breakfast!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Todays Special: Chinese Fortunes

This is my new favorite thing.

It's a little gold Chinese fortune cookie that opens up and holds your favorite Chinese fortunes for safe keeping. You know, the really good fortunes that you get at the Chinese restaurant and you keep because you truly believe in it's wisdom or it's prophecy of your impending good fortune.
Usually, I keep the good ones in my wallet, but now I have this shiny little number to house all of my pending good fortune. I bought this at a cute little boutique that was having another one of my new favorite things-a 75% off sale! I ended up getting it for a few dollars.

When I got home, I emptied my wallet and purse of the saved fortunes and found that I had been carrying 10 small pieces of paper around for years.

Some of my favorites:

"There will be many surprises; unexpected gains are likely."

"A dream will always triumph over reality, once it is given a chance."

"Wise men avoid troubles while fools search for them."

"You will enjoy good health, you will be surrounded by luxury."

"The small steps you take will ultimately bring you great fortune."

"Many a false step is made by standing still."

Now go to your wallet and pull out your fortunes and share their wisdom here. Have any of the fortunes come true?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Insert Foot In Mouth Here

It always happens...karma, never one to be fooled, usually steps in and kicks you right in the butt when you least expect it.

Last month My Guy and I were sitting at the dinner table with the kids discussing his recent stint at jury duty. We talked about what it usually entails-wasting an entire day doing a whole lot of nothing-and the duties that befall a juror, if you are chosen to actually serve on a jury. The kids had a ton of questions about the kind of jury trials you could serve on and why. We gave them the whole "it's your civic duty" speech and explained how our legal system works and how in the end, some people's fate lies in the hands of a jury made up of their "peers".

The kids were a most captive audience. They asked questions about how one gets called to jury duty. They wanted to know about murder trials and armed robbery trials and the like, and were facinated by the fact that ordinary people would be responsible for a defendants fate. We talked about the OJ trial, a perfect example of how 12 ordinary people had their lives turned upside down for many months because of their "civic duty".

We told them that while all that trial stuff sounds glamorous and somewhat exciting, usually jury duty amounts to nothing more than a day wasted, spent sitting in the court house in a room with lots of strangers, waiting to be called for a trial. More of a supreme inconvienience than anything else, and that jury duty, for most people, was not looked upon as a favorable task.

Then I did it-I committed the biggest karmic error....I matter-of-factly said, "I used to get called for jury duty a lot when I was younger. I must have completed more than my share because I haven't been called to jury duty in about 10 years."

Of course, it should really be of no suprise to me or anyone who is reading this that this arrived in my mail on Friday afternoon.

I should have kept my big mouth shut.