Comfort food for the body and soul.

I’m Italian, and well as any good Italian woman knows, the best way to a man’s heart is through is stomach. Right? Well maybe 😉

I grew up watching and learning how to cook while standing on a kitchen chair, stove side right next to my nana. While holding onto her apron strings I would taste off of her wooden spoon. I also learned from my mom as well, but we all agree, I cook more like my nana with some influences of my mom sprinkled in. That’s not saying my mom doesn’t know how to cook, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. She’s amazing in the kitchen! I just I fondly remember the rare occasions when my nana was healthy enough during my younger years and she was able to walk, cook, play baseball, learn how to ride a bike at 72 years old, and enjoy the things she loved. As she got older she suffered from dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease,  and multiple strokes that would later paralyze her. So the strong, independent woman who taught me how to play baseball in the street, and how not to take shit from anyone, became the woman I would soon care and cook for. I cherish the memories, all of them, good and bad.

IMG_6883So when my mom knew I was going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner last week, before I left the house she tucked in a little keepsake for me to take. I saw a little blue and white checkered piece of material sticking out of the bag I had my stuffing mix and apples in.

“Hey, mom what did you put in the bag? ”

“Well you’re going to be cooking so I wanted you to have a little something of nana’s with you while you were doing it. Just make sure you dance with the turkey before you pop it into the oven, oh and clean it real good too with plenty of salt.”

I admit I teared up a little. I knew my mom had some of my nana’s aprons saved over the years, and there were many different kinds. Ones that just went around her waist, some that were around her neck and waist with strings to secure them, and ones like this above that were more of a duster apron with snap buttons down the front. I kissed mom, thanked her, and was soon on my way.

When I got to Dave’s house he had a puzzled look on his face.

“What’s this for?” Holding up the apron as he was helping me unpack the groceries.

“That right there, is a piece of history!”  I went on to explain the story of my nana, her aprons, and how I learned to cook.

I didn’t wear the apron while cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I set it on the chair at the kitchen table, and nana had a seat with us on Thanksgiving. She was there in spirit, as she is always with me, but to have a piece of her around was extra special. Her apron is still on Dave’s kitchen chair, just as it is in the photo.

I haven’t decided what I am going to do with it. Should I hang it up? Should I put it back in the drawer at my house? Should I use it? Should I make it into something else? The possibilities are endless, but knowing I still have a little tangible item of hers, besides her wedding band and engagement ring, is comforting.

So this past Sunday while we were cooking dinner, and I had the pot of sauce simmering for 4 hours on the stove, Dave asked if I learned how to make sauce from nana or mom. Again I told him it’s a little of both but mainly nana’s sauce. And yes it is Sauce not Gravy! One of the age old debates among Italians lol. Gravy is brown stuff you put on meat, and sauce is that gold standard simmered for 4 hours minimum of decadent tomatoes and wonderful herbs and spices. That’s sauce baby. I guess you could call a meat sauce gravy if you want, but if you invite me over for pasta and gravy I’ll assume you’re serving some brown gravy with it and I will kindly pass 😉

While sitting down for some homemade chicken cutlet parmesan, I had a small container of extra sauce set at the table. Dave put the tablespoon into the container and it wasn’t moving.

“What the heck is in this stuff?” he asked with a chuckle.

“Well, hun that’s what sauce is all about. The thicker the better. You know it cooked for a good amount of time and all the flavors are perfected. You wont find that in any store bought shelf stable jar sauce for damn sure!”

That right there is stick to your ribs, 4 hour cooked sauce, with extra love added in. You can’t buy it, you can only get it if someone cares enough to put the time and effort into it.

Damn, I must really like you, D.H. 😉  you’re one lucky guy that I put this much love and care into all I do, but it’s all worth it to me, because you do that and so much more every day as well.  Full bellies, full hearts!

Mangia!

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A to Z Challenge. P is for Pluviophile & Pluviculture

I’ve always had a love for rain.

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For as long as I can remember, I loved hearing the sound of the pouring rain outside my window. As a young child, any fear I had of ~ Keraunophobia ~ was soon dispelled from a sweet story my mother and grandmother would tell me about bowling.5891feca6d09c3d52fbcf678f13be543

I remember as a child, maybe in kindergarten or elementary school, I had a bus driver who was a member of the local Native American Tribe that lives in our community. I can’t remember his name, but he was always so sweet and nice to the kids on the bus. Sometimes we would sing songs and he would always make the short trip in to school very fun.

One day it was pouring raining outside. I was probably the only kid that wanted to jump in the puddles and boy was my mother annoyed. I was going to get my clothes wet, dirty, and possibly catch a cold from being so wet.  

When the bus pulled up in front of the house this day and the door opened, my bus driver asked me what my name was. I laughed and said, “You know me I’m, Paula. You pick me up every day” He laughed and said “No, you are Spring Rain, one who beckons the rain. That is what I’ll call you from now on. You can do the rain dance.”

This was probably the coolest thing for a 6-year-old to hear!

“I controlled the RAIN”

I loved the rain, and now I had all this power. Ok maybe I was a little ahead of myself, at the time, but it really is a wonderful memory to have.

Give me a rainy night, with a warm blanket, my squishy socks, a piping hot cup of tea, and I am a very happy content girl.IMG_3025

Listening to the sound of the rain, especially during a storm, is quite soothing. It relaxes me, puts my mind at ease, and really quells my spirit, especially if I’m having a stressful day. If it’s not raining outside, I use my phone app for ambient sounds and always set it on thunderstorms, heavy rain, rain in the woods…Now that is peaceful!! The sound of the rain hitting the tree limbs, rushing over the leaves and crashing to the earth below. Just the thought of it has me wishing for a rain storm…We did get a few sprinkles earlier yesterday, and I was able to get some pictures of my favorite flowers (daffodils) with some rain droplets. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Pluviculture to take care of 😉

Please check out yesterday’s A to Z Post, for the OPEN HOUSE Blog party, Share a link to your blog or favorite post from your blog, and join in on the shenanigans. It will be open for a while. 

Today’s A to Z Challenge post is brought to you by the letter P. P for ~

Pluviophile~ A lover of rain, someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days

Pluviculture~ The science of making rain; or schemes for inducing rain.

Don’t you forget about me….

Thirty years ago, 30 years ago, damn I was only a kid.

One of the greatest movies of my generation was released, 30 years ago this week~ The Breakfast Club! And tomorrow, today, would have been John Hughes 65th birthday. 

IMG_3608Last night I was driving home on the LIE (Long Island Expressway, for those not familiar with the acronym) and I was listening to my favorite rock station, The Shark. I knew the song, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who was singing it.

Don’t you forget about me, don’t don’t don’t don’t, don’t you….. forget about me….

It’s in your head now too isn’t it?

Oh boy you’re so lucky you weren’t in the car with me, windows cracked open just a bit (it’s freezing cold out here mind you) but I had the tune cranking on the stereo, and the louder the better. I needed to know who was doing a cover of the Simple Minds classic. I Shazamed the song and found out the group was called, Life of Agony. Fantastic cover in my opinion. You should check them out, I won’t share a YouTube video, not sure if I can do that on here, but I’ll let you do a little work, it’s worth it.

IMG_3609So there I was, cruising the LIE, just rocking along to the tunes, and it got me thinking. Wow, growing up in the 80’s was pretty damn awesome. Good music, movies, you name it, it was good. Ok I’m about to sound old now, but seriously those were the good old days.

I remember wishing I had detention after watching the movie, only wishing that detention would turn out half as good as their day. I mean the whole dynamic, the story line, it was in-depth and had so many relevant topics, some that honestly maybe I didn’t even realize at the time. But still to this day, 30 years later, I will stop to watch it when TBS is airing it, or pop in my dvd on a cold and stormy night. Just to feel that sense of nostalgia. Yeah the good old days.

Who would have thought, The Criminal, The Jock, The Basket Case, The Princess, and The Brain would end up the way they did. I sure didn’t, and I’m also sure I wasn’t alone in that thinking. And let me just say, Judd Nelson, ohhh swoon. I had such a crush on him, and also one on Anthony Michael Hall as well. Two totally different ends of the spectrum. The Bad Boy and the Brain. Best of both worlds perhaps? I don’t know.

The John Hughes collection of movies, including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, you get the point. Yeah they defined my generation. Good, bad or indifferent, they really were, and in my opinion still are awesome movies. Classics now, or maybe beyond a classic.

Apparently for the 30th Anniversary it is returning to theaters. Now that’s a movie I want to see on the big screen. I just might take myself. Check here if it’s playing near you.

breakfast_club_l30 years later, and these last two pictures are from my favorite scenes. Clair and Bender are saying goodbye, she takes his hand opens it, palm up, and places her diamond earing inside and closes his hand.

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Yeah that pretty much sums it up. 🙂  Don’t you forget about me, don’t don’t don’t don’t, don’t you….. forget about me….

The story of Valentines Day!

I remember sometime back when I was a kid, maybe fourth grade or so, we had a class project to write the story of Valentines Day and how it came about.

My imagination would run wild back then. I wish it was as clever these days, to think the thinks it used to think 🙂 but alas it’s now the mind of an older woman, who reminisces of the yesterdays. Ok now I sound really old, that’s not me, but still the stories I would think of then were from the mind of a child, untarnished by reality.

My story of Valentines day went something like this.

In a land far away, there were two question marks, separated by an evil queen. Left alone, on opposite sides of the land, and in constant search for their other half. The Evil Queen made sure they never were to find each other. She did all she could to stop them.

They roamed aimlessly, and with such sadness, never having felt love in their lives. Knowing deep down inside, something was missing, not quite right, and nothing could heal the hurt within them. They would see others so happy, and full of life, yet they knew they were different.

Random times they would cross paths, but never at the same time. A week apart, a month perhaps, always on the right path but never the right time.

Until one day, the sky seemed to clear and the birds were singing their song much more vibrantly. Each of them noticed this, because everything around them was always so quiet and dark. They started to wander off their normal path, in search of the source of the melodies.

That is when the lovebirds appeared, perched atop a tree branch.

Rosy-faced-Lovebird Never had they ever noticed the colors of the sky, the sun, the leaves. Everything was clear, and beautiful. Within that moment, their eyes met and they soon realized, it wasn’t the love birds that made them feel alive and happy, it was seeing each other for the first time.

They finally defeated the Evil Queen and found one another. The question marks embraced and that was when two became one, and love overtook the Evil Queens kingdom.

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A side note. I searched the internet for a mirrored question mark (?) the only thing I could find was a special character (¿) obviously the two placed together would not a ❤ make. But an internet search found that lovely little picture of two mirrored question marks, making the shape of a heart.

A new view

When people leave

they leave a mark

a mark so indelibly clear.

Profound!

I wonder if they truly know

the full extent

of their imprint

on the ones

they leave.

Do you ever wonder

what was left behind?

Do you ever think

how much they changed?

Do you ever realize

the full impact of your

existence?

And now lack of.

But with every one that leaves

they shape and mold the other.

Weaving their inner workings

onto the others soul

for a lifetime

of memories

and visions to hold.

Visions

pure and true

although clouded

still achievable

but from a

new view…

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Lazy Sunday, warm tea, squishy socks, and The Golden Girls :-)

IMG_3025It was a lazy Sunday here at home, and boy was it perfect weather for it.

Rainy, dreary, dark, and gloomy. I loved it!

The sound of the rain makes the perfect accompaniment to keeping cozy with some hot tea, and warm squishy socks.

You’re probably asking yourself   “Self..what is she talking about? Squishy socks? They sound so, so squishy.”

Ahh a favorite of mine on cold winter nights, or in this case, rainy days. Squishy socks, as I have so affectionately called them since first slipping my little piggies into a pair, are simply a pair of soft microfiber or chenille socks.

Yep what you see there is me sporting my newest squishy socks, and to top it off I received not only squishy socks, but also squishy arm warmers and a squishy neck one to boot for Christmas from my Secret Santa.

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Oh yes there exists more in the world beyond just squishy socks.

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

Couldn’t wait to tear into the box, mind you, my secret Santa gift was shipped from Japan!! That explains the arm and neck warmers, which by the way are ahhhhhhmazing.

This is coming from the girl who hates turtle neck sweaters and scarfs, but I’m loving the neck warmer. Comes in very handy on the blustery cold days and nights.

But tonight it was me, a cup of licorice peppermint tea, my socks, arm warmers, and my beloved Golden Girls.

I swear these episodes, which I know almost by heart by now, never seem to get old or lose their entertainment value.

This last one…Blind Date.  It’s thought-provoking, poignant, and yet hilariously funny.

Blanche : Girls, quick, I need some advice. 

Sophia : Wear half as much makeup and twice as much underwear. Take it as a standing recommendation. 

And the laughs just keep on coming. I laugh constantly and am reminded of nights watching with my Nana when I was younger. Whatever ails you in life can be solved over coffee/tea, great friends, and… Cheesecake.

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No cheesecake tonight, but some really fantastic Italian Gluten Free cookies. Found them on my shopping trip yesterday. They remind me of cookies my Nana would make when I was younger.

It was a lovely treat!

Not overly sweet, or grainy, like most gluten-free treats, but with great flavor. Don’t judge me on the shredded packages haha, they aren’t resealable, so I popped these lovely gems into some zippy bags for future Golden Girl marathon watching.

Also spent some time participating in the #SundayBlogShare on Twitter today. Can I just say, awesome bloggers, and some pretty interesting pieces I came across as well.

As far as rainy, dreary, dark, and gloomy Sundays go…this one turned out pretty good 🙂

Those are my Random Musings and Wanderlust for today. 🙂