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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-04-11

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Morning

Hello, gorgeous.  It's been a while.

What's that? You want me to devour you? You want me to become lost in your sweet, sweet layers?

Don't mind if I do.

Just don't tell my husband.

We'll keep this between the two of us.

Until he smells you.  And then the jig is up.


Friday, April 16, 2010

A Tale of Woe and Triumph

                     The Girl Creative

Hey all!
It's finally Friday!


Today I'm participating in Company Girl Coffee over at Home Sanctuary (great place, great friends, and Rachel Anne is a genius in so many ways!) AND New Friend Friday over at The Girl Creative (love, love, LOVE this blog, and I'm always looking to make new friends and find great bloggers who I might not ordinarily visit!).

So, how was your week? For us, this has been a good but challenging week.  Seems like the week is usually challenging, though, so I don't see why this should be any sort of surprise.  However, good things have happened!

After a tremendously stressful experience with RD on Tuesday, I emailed Rob's brother and asked him to come over tonight so Rob and I can have Date Night again (it's been a few weeks).  I knew after that morning's hijinks, my poor husband needed something to look forward to.  So we're going out tonight! Hooray!

Now, I'm going to share a story with you which is pertinent to tonight's events and which is also pertinent to the best thing that happened to me all week.  It is a tale of heartbreak and woe, and anyone here who used to be a child (duh) will feel my pain, I'm sure.  *deep breath*  Here goes.

Did you ever have a favorite toy? One which your existence just totally revolved around?

For me, it was Barbie.  Also, to a lesser degree, Jem and the Holograms (anyone remember them??).  Let's just say dolls in general.

I loved my dolls.  They were beautiful, they were fashionable.  They had pretty hair and perfect faces.  They always had some awesome backstory, too.  For instance, Jewel Secrets Barbie had three different parties to attend on the same night taking place in, like, Paris, London and NYC (yeah, let's not go into the logistics of that backstory...I was a little girl and didn't know any better), and she needed three different looks for each party.  So you could change her outfit accordingly and change the color of the jewel in her necklace.

That's right.  I actually remember that.  That sort of total recall can only be attributed to one thing:

Utter, life-scarring horror.

See, when I was 9 years old or so, my Dad decided that it was time to do a pre-Christmas purge of all broken and unused toys.  I was completely unaware of this activity, as was my brother.  My Mom was at work so she, too, was blissfully unaware that her husband was throwing away her children's very childhoods.

He threw away all of my dolls.  Every single one.  He didn't think I played with them anymore.  And I'm pretty darn sure he took them straight to the incinerator because I would have known they were missing in time to save them from the garbage can had he not done so.  He also tossed out my brother's action figures and (saddest of all) a stuffed pig our Babci gave him.  Our Babci, who had died years before.

I cannot describe the feeling.  The sense of loss.  I was devastated.  So was my brother.  And I have come to believe over the years that had I been able to outgrow Barbie in a healthy and timely way, I would not be so in love with Barbie today. 

As a joke, for my 21st birthday my whole immediate and extended family got me nothing but Barbies and Barbie accessories.  I guess I'd been complaining enough over 12 years that they figured they'd throw me a bone out of compassion.  It was hilarious! I don't actually play with them (anymore...we did pass a few nights with Barbie back in college), but I do have a small collection.


My brother called me in a state of shock to tell me that he was at Target, and guess who he was holding in his hands?

He was so happy for me, which was so sweet of him.  How on Earth I didn't know they rereleased Peaches n' Cream Barbie is beyond me.  Maybe because I'm 30 and have, like, other things to do.

She was my most very favorite doll! So this discovery was the highlight of my week! I don't think you have to guess who will be purchasing her after dinner tonight!

ME! That's who! I hope to gain a sense of closure after this and be able to put the horror of the Great Barbie Purge behind me.

I also hope that you'll all still want to be my friend after reading this insanity.

Have a great weekend!

Oh, and in case you haven't done so, check out my blog renaming contest.  It's not strictly a contest in that I don't actually know what I'll be giving to the person whose idea strikes my fancy the most...but I would love any and all feedback! I'm going through some growing pains at the moment and am wondering whether my blog name fits my blog.  So check it out!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

M is for Memory

I know I usually try to be upbeat for Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday, but today's subject touches on something that's held a lot of significance for me lately.

My name is Jennifer Ann.  I am the oldest of 4 children.  I changed the diapers of 2 of those children and have been privileged enough to watch them grow up (as opposed to having grown up with the other one).  I was raised in Philadelphia and now live in New Jersey.  I am married to a man named Robert and have been for 1 1/2 years.  I have worked for the same company for just over 6 years and know my job very well. 

That is who I am.  At least, a part of the big picture of me.

So what if I didn't remember any of that? Would I be any less "myself"?

I've been giving a lot of thought to memory lately.  As in, what makes memory, how is memory processed and stored, and how we recall our memories.  Pretty high-level stuff, as I'm sure you'll agree.  Of course I'm not working on these concepts at a high level.  I'm no neuro-specialist (though I wish I was!!).

When you think about it, you realize that everything we do every day is based on a memory of something we've done in the past.  We know what day it is when we wake up in the morning because we remember the day before.  We know how to bathe because we've been doing it for ourselves for most of our lives.  We dress, we eat, we go to work or work in our home, based on memories of past experiences.  Of course none of this is going on at the conscious level, but deep in our brains, little messages are being shot out in all directions.  "Make a left turn here".  "You are putting laundry in the washing machine, here's how to make it work".  "Press this button to watch TV". 

When you get down to it, much of life is lived on the subconscious level.
It's really a miracle, isn't it? All of the ins and outs we're not even aware of.  We learn over the course of our lives that our memory is reliable (well, most of the time for most people - birthdays and anniversaries notwithstanding!) and that we can depend upon it to get us through the day-to-day.

So what happens when the memory we've come to depend upon fails us?

More importantly, what happens to "me" when I can't remember "me", or I remember a different version than the "me" that exists in real life?

What makes me who I am if so much of who I am is based upon memories of myself? What happens to my world if I see it through false memory?

What if someone were to tell me tomorrow that all of my memories of today and yesterday and weeks ago were false? Would I believe them? How could I? I mean, this is my memory.  The one I've depended upon all my life.  How bizarre that must be.  I can only imagine that it would be like some sort of sci-fi in a world by yourself.  The twist ending where the audience realizes that the protagonist's world isn't the "real" world.  In this case, though, the movie would go on and on.
These are things I think about lately.  I think about them a lot because I'm watching it firsthand.  It doesn't get easier, and as I've said on numerous occasions, "The brain is a mysterious thing".  It truly is.

Jenny Matlock


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Addiction

Hello, everyone.  My name is Mrs. Jen B.  And I'm a Starbucksaholic.

What leads me to this conclusion, you ask?

Because it's darn near impossible for me to steer clear of Starbucks, that's what.  It's like a tractor beam pulls me in every time I pass it while rushing from one train to the other during my morning commute and only the very strongest burst of rarely-used willpower (or "oh crap I'm gonna be late for work if I stop") can keep me away. 

Even still, I only go if I have the time between trains to do so, and only if there's next to no line at the counter.  Now, anyone who's ever been to a Starbucks at 8AM knows that it's rare to find a counter with no line.  It's even more rare for me to have the time between trains to stop.  Therefore, if I have the time AND there's hardly any people waiting?

Well, it was meant to be, friends.  Consider me caffeinated.  Who am I to fight fate?

Of course, it's been fated that I patronize Starbucks for the past several days.  And each time I go, it's been fated that I purchase a grande, iced, non-fat no-whip dark cherry mocha.  Swoon.  Can I just tell you how amazing this is? If you haven't had one yet, I have to ask you - nay, BEG YOU - to stop what you're doing right this very second and go purchase and then consume one.  You will thank me.

Yesterday, after several such visits in a row, the girl at the register told me I should get a Starbucks card, which is really just a giftcard but you can keep reloading it and earn points with your purchases.  Her reasoning behind this offer? "Because you're here, like, every day".

I was shocked for a second there, and my inner-Jen argued with her.  "Not true, barista.  Not true.  I know I'm memorable and all that because I'm that person who waits until I'm at the register to start fumbling around for my money, thus holding up everyone else and probably making them curse me out because they think I can't hear them with my earphones in but joke's on them because the music's turned off, but...Not true!".

...Okay, maybe I do go there a little more than I should on my limited budget.  But certainly not daily.  Still, this kindly barista opened my eyes to my true predicament.  I am an addict. Oh, the shame.

I mean, really.  If I'm truly looking for caffeination, the Keurig coffee maker at the office should do the trick.  It's coffee, it has caffeine.  It will probably taste okay.  It will achieve the same goal that a certain overpriced cup of absolute deliciousness will.  And I don't have to pay for it.

But let's not kid ourselves here.  It's not the same.  It's not.  And it never will be. 

Starbucks, you have me where you want me, you evil genius.

So what did I do in light of this revelation? I got the card, of course.  Might as well earn points if possible, right? Plus I figure, this will keep me honest about my coffee budget.  I'll only load a certain amount of money on at a time and when it's gone, it's gone, until the next time I load.

So ha-ha, Starbucks.  Take that, I say.  I can, indeed, control your hold over me.

*slurp slurp*

Oh, I almost forgot! Check out my blog renaming contest! Not as cool as some of the other contests out there in blogland, but important to me nonetheless!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Cookbook Lovin'

I love cookbooks.  Don't you?

Well, maybe you don't.  And that's okay.  I love them enough for the both of us.

I have a few favorites in my collection.  Like, books I've carried around and read as if they were texts.  Plus there are a few finds that I've picked up in thrift stores just for the heck of it.

Where it all began! I was so happy to find this in the thrift store - I think I picked it up for 35 cents or something equally ridiculous.  I have loved looking through this so much - some recipes really take me back to a certain time and place, whereas others remind me of how timeless a good, simple recipe can be.

This is another amazing, amazing thrift store find - the ORIGINAL Weight Watchers cookbook! I just had to buy it! I can't say enough how amazing this is.  It features the original rules, including the utter absence of what we now refer to as 'healthy fats'.  It was a very strict guideline - eat this much of this, that and the other thing, and NONE of all of this...and you'll be thin! Hey, it must've worked for enough people - they're still around today! I had a blast looking through this one but have not cooked any of the recipes inside. 

This was an impulse buy on our last vacation.  I have yet to try any of the recipes, but I think it would make a certain husband of mine very happy if I did!

As much as I can't stand her overuse of cleavage (call me jealous - I don't care), some of Giada's recipes resonate with me.  Certainly not the 'pasta with butter and parmesan cheese' recipe (seriously, THAT'S in a cookbook??? Well slap a hat on me and call me Chef).  But many of the others are just great.  And she does make a good point - in order to eat pasta and still stay slim, just eat less of it.  Italians often eat pasta as a first course, not by the plateful.  What a strange concept for me.

I'm always looking for a reason to cook pasta or look at pictures of pasta or even THINK of pasta.  So this was a much-appreciate bridal shower gift!

Nigella.  My soul sister.  We are truly kindred spirits.

Drool.  The photography in this book is gorgeous.  Her Moonblush Tomatoes changed my life.  I love her.

And the granddaddy of 'em all...

Gosh I love this book.  I cannot express it clearly enough.  I'm serious when I say that Boeuf Bourguignon has changed my life.  (*Note to self: Make Boeuf Bourguignon very soon*) I was looking through this one earlier tonight for some inspiration - I think I'm going to try the Queen of Sheba cake this weekend.  Wish me luck!

So what about you? Do you have a favorite cookbook?


Monday, Monday...

Hi friends! Happy Monday!

Yes, a total contradiction most of the time.  Believe me, I know it.

I have a post(s?) planned for today, but two quick things to mention before I totally forget:

1) In case you missed it, I announced on Friday that I'm holding a contest for renaming my blog.  I've gotten some amaaaaazing feedback! Seriously, y'all are genuises! Read about it here.

2) Don't forget to pay me a visit over at Our Krazy Kitchen! You might recognize today's recipe, but I'm certain that you'll love exploring the site.  These people are incredible!

More to come!

Have a beautiful day, friends!