Monthly Archives: August 2011

Discourteous Richards: Always Alive & Well in NJ

I love to drive.  I own a BMW for Pete’s Sake.  They say it’s the Ultimate Driving Machine – and it is.  I love to maneuver up the Garden State Parkway sans traffic, put the petal to the metal and enjoy the ride.

With the top down, my IPOD at full blast I am unstoppable until I am hindered by none other than the Left Lane Dick.

The discourteous Richard:

  1. has no idea he or she is an idiot retarding your progress.
  2. has no clue that it is the law in NJ to keep right and pass left.
  3. is from New York or Pennsylvania – notorious Left Lane Dicks.
  4. is hanging in the left lane on purpose because he or she really is a douchebag.

Nothing makes me road rage more than a taste of a left lane lagger.

I have a 20 minute drive to work door to door and I find myself losing my mind as I try to fly up the highway.  I tailgate.  I scream.  I swear excessively.  I hand gesture and flip the bird.  I drive with my knee.  I pull up next to people and actually yell at them.  I cut them off.  I lose my mind!

When one of my road adversaries gets cocky and thinks he can scare me by tailgating my pristine automobile, I look in the rear view mirror, gesture to him to come closer, swear a few times, then slam on my brakes.  He usually backs off.

I’m tired of being strong-armed by stupid men and women on the road.  I drive like Mario Andretti – not a typical chick – no offense to my gender or any other but STAY OUT OF THE LEFT LANE!

Even if I’m passing on the left doing 95 mph and someone wants to go faster, I move it on over because that’s the way it should be.  Bottlenecking every single lane of the Parkway does nothing but create traffic and cause road rage.

Don’t we have enough of distractions on the road?  We need eyes up our butts and are distracted by screaming kids (not me), loud music, rubber-necking, LLDs and now the GPS.  It’s always so confusing.  It should stand for Go Ahead And Piss Me Off System.  It finds new ways to screw me up while I’m driving but I have found a new use for it.

I Spy.  Remember that game?  You tell me.  What do you see in my picture?  At least it’s good for amusement purposes.

So with all we have to worry about while driving, I wish we could get rid of the Left Lane Dick and push him into extinction because no one should be held back by a jerk off.

You can use that advice in life too.  Good luck.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010. Re-published 2011.


Quaking & Shaking at the Jersey Shore

August 23, 2011

Around 2 pm this afternoon 5.8 earthquake hit Virginia and we felt it all the way up the east coast.  Living in New Jersey most of my life, I never felt an earthquake like this.  Buildings were evacuated and airports closed.  It was crazy.

I am an earthquake virgin!

I just got back from the doctor’s office around 2 pm wielding my antibiotic and anxious to eat some lunch so I could take it.  I’ve had a massive sinus headache for 4 days.  It’s better today but yesterday I wanted to jump off a very high building.

I popped leftover Chinese in the microwave, made some iced tea and sat my butt down on the couch to hoover my fried rice and General Tso’s Chicken.  I turned on HSN – I can’t shop but I can dream.

All of a sudden I heard clanging and the couch started moving back and forth underneath me.  I got off the couch exclaiming, “What the fuck was that?”, then sat back down but it was still moving.  The whole house was moving!  The chandeliers swaying, the dishes in the curio rattling and my cats looking startled didn’t know what was happening.

I dropped my food on the counter and ran outside because I thought something had fallen on my house.  The last time the house shook is when my neighbor Carmine accidentally blew himself up with a propane tank for the grill (he’s ok – thank God).  This was worse.

My neighbors also ran out of their house, shocked by what just happened.  Together we surmised that it must have been an earthquake.

I called the non-emergency police line to report it but they sounded overwhelmed but had a sec to confirm that it was indeed and earth tremor.

Everyone is ok.  No damage here – but to my ego.  I’m nauseous and frankly a little freaked out inside the house.

I know my friends in California are probably laughing at me but when you’re not used to the earth-shaking under your feet, a general sense of malaise and utter shock is ever-present.

I learned a few things from this experience:

  1. I am a pussy.  My ego is bruised.
  2. I am a terrible cat mommy – as I abandoned my babies in the house.
  3. I could never live in California!  There goes my dream.

Did you feel it?  Where were you and what were you doing?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

My Most-Visited Post: Losing The Ones You Love

I was just reading through some of my older blogs, trying to avoid cleaning up the kitchen, when I came across one of my first “from the heart” posts.  On January 3, 2010, two hundred and fourteen people viewed Losing The Ones You Love.

Today I decided to re-blog that post and also include all of the original comments that both friends, family and readers made that day.  I read each and every comment and really appreciated all of them.  They way you all opened up was wonderful and cathartic for me.

Grief is a terrible thing.  It’s stressful, sad, happy and so many other things.  It helps to read about others who are or who were in the same situation as you.

I’ve lost so many people in my family but losing my mother was the most grueling, tragic and heart-breaking of them all.

If you have a sensitive side like me, get your tissues out and read.  Whether this post makes you cry, remember or realize the joy of life and living while it’s here, or even if it reminds you to make that call or visit before it’s too late – then it has accomplished something.

Losing The Ones You Love

Hi everybody.  I was originally going to talk about addictions today but I’ll put that on the back-burner for another day.
My friend Vicky who just joined Facebook, after months and months of urging, posted a comment that made me think of my mom. A memory, a good memory, that I suppress along with a host of others.

She wrote, “Were your ears ringing Christmas Eve night?  We were in church – Silent Night was playing and I was remembering how you, your mom , Jules & I would go to midnight mass- I shed some tears.”

Well that did it.  The tears welled up and I started to cry.  Thanks Vick.  Then I started to think about how shitty the world is without the people I love.  I have lost a lot of people to death.  It’s not at all comforting but we all have to deal with it eventually.  It made me think of my mom’s death and how I can’t watch movies or TV shows where someone s dying, is in the hospital, has cancer, etc.  I think they call that TRANSFER.

In case you didn’t know my mother, her name was Phyllis.  Phyllis was a pip.  Funny, strong and definitely outside the box.  She was a straight shooter – so if you didn’t want to hear the truth – you shouldn’t have asked her for her opinion.   Everybody loved mom.  Even when she tried to run them over with her car – but that’s another story.

My mom Phyllis died of sepsis at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair in 2005 after fighting cancer for 24 years.  Twenty four years!  That’s amazing to me.  When I think about it, I don’t know if I could be that strong.  Radiation, chemo, chemo, radiation and finally chemo – once per week for the rest of her life.  She went into remission twice but it always came back.

She tried to refuse treatment, but the doctor fought with her to keep her alive.  I never really realized HOW SICK she actually was.  Maybe I was in denial.  Her personality was so effervescent, it never clicked.  When I look at photos of her right before she died, I can see how debilitated she became.

I remember the last time that she went to see Dr. Lee and she told her how far the cancer had progressed.  She hoped that she would go into remission again, but that didn’t happen.  It seems like yesterday.

I was waiting for my mom and dad to come home.  My Aunt Mimi was upstairs and I was in the basement cleaning poop off the dog’s butt.  I heard the door open and my aunt say, “How did you make out?”  The next thing I heard broke my heart in half.  My mother was absolutely hysterically crying and sobbing as if she couldn’t believe that she still had, at full force I might add, this cancer that was NOT going to go away.

I didn’t know what to do.  I wanted to run upstairs and hug her with all my might but I too had started sobbing and I wanted to stay strong for her.  So I finished up with the dog, choked back my tears and slowly went upstairs.  There were no words.  I couldn’t say anything to her that would help, so I just hugged her and hugged her and hugged her.

She died in a semi-conscious state while my dad, my cousin Elaine, my husband John and I were all with her.  She opened her eyes to look at every one of us – I was the last one.  I held her hands and said, “Mommy, I love you.  I don’t want you to go, but if you have to, it’s ok.”   My mom closed her eyes and the doctor came rushing in.  We asked him why he rushed in and he told us that her heartbeat just slowed significantly.  I told him that I told her that it was alright to go and he told me that it was the best thing I could have ever done.

I still question that decision.  Fighting with my selfishness and my selflessness.  I don’t care how old you are, you always need your mother.  Losing people you love is difficult.  You miss them so much but hang on to the memories.  I suppress.  It doesn’t get any easier but it gets easier to deal with or to hide.

Shortly after she died my husband said to me, “Jacq, some day you’ll talk about her and laugh.”  That may be true, but how freakin’ long does that take?  Does anybody believe that?  Is it true?  I still cry everyday.  The holidays are the worst.  Thank God I still have my dad and he’s healthy and doing well.

If you knew my mom and have a good memory of her, please post it.  If you didn’t know my mom and you have a memory of someone who you loved and lost, please post that too.  As much as I don’t like to depend of people, everyone needs someone to lean on, a shoulder to cry on and someone to help you through the worst times and the best times of your life.

Comments Below…

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.  Republished 2011.


Hey Jac,

Unfortunately, I didn’t know you mom, but she sounded like an amazing and strong woman. I read you posting today and I found myself sitting here crying myself,…and laughing. My mom died very suddenly 2 years ago today. I think it is sort of ironic that you wrote this posting today because I was just sitting here thinking about how there couldn’t be anyone in this world who understands how it feels to lose their mother, besides someone who has lost their mother….

My mom called me January 3rd at 8 am and asked me to drive her to the hospital because she had a stomach virus and was in so much pain. Josh and I picked her up and took her and after hours and hours and hours in the ER, they finally moved her to ICU, where she passed minutes later. It was such a shock for someone who was never sick and who never complained about anything. She ended up having a serious issue with her pancreas which shut down many of her other organs. My mom was the most selfless woman that anyone could ever meet. She would honestly give you the last dollar in her wallet if you asked her. She did anything and everything for the people she loved. She made everyone feel comfortable even if that meant that she would be without something…or anything.

I remember sitting in the waiting room after I watched my mom go into complete cardiac arrest, surrounded by family and friends and thinking that I would never, ever be able to sleep, eat, love, laugh or live without my mom….my rock. I remember going home with my Dad and sister and brothers and sleeping (well not sleeping) on the living room floor, night after night after night….and just tossing and turning. I could not find happiness in anything….the holidays are still extremely hard. My sister and I cried through the planning of both of our weddings, and every other joyous occasion that my mom should be here for. We got totally jipped!

Some days are def. better than others, but I agree, every day is still a struggle. I miss her every single day. It sucks that my children will never get to meet such an awesome lady. My Mom was the kind of person found humor in the littlest and silliest things. Honestly, that’s what gets me through the hard times. I too find humor is simply stupid things….and when I do, I think of her and laugh…

Eventually I was able to laugh again, live again, love again. But every day I miss her.

Thank you for posting this today. :) You don’t know how much your story helped me.

I actually remember you talking about your mom in class. It was evident that you two were close but I think you wished that you could be even closer. As an only child, you knew that you had to be there for her through all her treatments and always had to be strong for her. I remember you showing us a picture of your mom one of the times she was in a bit of remission and her hair had started to grow back a bit. Strange that I remember that, but I do… possibly because I lost my grandfather freshman year of high school? I don’t know. It’s been 12 years since he passed now and I think about him all the time. My family talks about him a lot and we laugh, sometimes so hard we are crying. Then later, I sometimes cry just because I wish he could be here to witness us laughing at him 12 years after he’s been dead. lol, It’s definitely hard to lose someone, but if you stay close with your family and keep the memories of her alive, a part of her stays alive. I can still picture my grandfather sitting in the living room and his reactions to things as I’m sure you can your mom. Keep her alive in your heart and embrace the memories.

I never met your mom! I did have the privilege of talking to her on several occasions! I felt has if I had always known her! And you are right about one thing! If you didn’t want an answer to your question then don’t ask it! I have tears in my eyes as I am writing this to you! What a great wonderful woman! My mom is a lot like yours…pulls no punches…if you don’t like what she has to say don’t ask.

I don’t ever think you get over losing a parent. I know for Jeff it still haunts him….being only is always there. I can see Cameron at Tony’s visitation and my dad taking care of him. I guess we think that our parents will live forever! Yours does in your cooking and making the dishes you grew up with….mine too! I lucky I still have my parents and they are in good health. I know that I am going on and on but I don’t seem to be able help myself! Your mother loved you and always wanted the best she could give you. She also knew that you were very special and had so much talent! Be proud! You come from tough stock! And Just remember a cousin in law in Arkansas loves you!!!!

Jackie, I have so many memories of your mom, but I was so young when I knew her. She always invited me in for a visit when I would walk around the corner to see if you were home. I also remember this one time you were teaching me how to twirl (I wasn’t very good!) and she stood on the steps and watched looking so proud of you! They all seems to blend together in my mind from one visit to the next. but I was always happy to see her and she always welcomed a tiny drop in visitor from around the corner.
I just had a funny thought…..I was at your house and we were talking about boys and I was reminiscing about my first kiss. I remember your mom knew his family and was giving me the lowdown on his siblings and I remember being mortified that I shared that story.
Hi Jacq don’t know how to start but here goes… your story brought me to tears i lost my mom in 2007 after suffering for ten years from alzheimer’s, it was and is still a struggle but i move on for her, she would have wanted it that way. My memory of your mom happens to be with my mom! Our football games you twirling and me in my tiger outfit they never missed a game and the cheered for us like crazy!!! Still could see them up there in the bleachers soooo proud of us.. it just isn’t right that he takes the good ones, sometimes i wish he took another mother one that doesn’t have a daughter, some girls don’t even get along with there moms he could have taking one of them right? But i guess he needed them, but they are together again watching us from above and cheering us on together again…..sorry for your loss xoxo
Hi, Jacqui!

I got chills reading this. I can tell your mom was an amazing and feisty woman. I guess that is where you get your spunk from. Although her battle with Cancer was a long road I am glad she was able to give you 24 more years of memories to hold on too. Your statement that said, ” I don’t care how old you are, you always need your mother. ” is sooo powerful. My biggest fear in life is to not be there for my children. I always pray for God to keep me here long enough to have my children be able to be independent of me. But like you said, no matter how old you are you always need your mom.

I just lost my friend Diane to Cancer this past Christmas Eve., 12-24-09. She also battled for a long time, close to 10 years. Her children are young adults and I am sure the holidays will never be the same for them.

I also did loose a parent too. My dad! But I was only 3 years old. I really don’t have ANY memories of my dad and that can be really painful too. It also explains why growing up for me was so hard. I did luck out though because my mom re-married and I do consider myself lucky enought to have had two dads. I am glad you still have your Dad also.

I am sure the holidays will never quite be the same but I hope your pain lessens as the years pass. Four years is only a short time to loose someone you have loved for a lifetime. I am sure you will keep your mom alive in memory and by living your life by being a reflection of her. Keeping you in prayer!


I read your blog about Phyllis about an hour ago and I had to give myself some time to think.

I will never forget her the few times I spent at your house with you and your incredible twirling awards and trophies!! I remember her yelling JAQUI be careful in there! you and she were quite a pair!

Like me and my mom.. I miss her soo much Jaqui, It’s is close to 15 years and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. I understand your saying you surpress your memories cause I do too. I have to if I am going to continue with my life, it’s still painful for me to think about her. but I didn’t start this to talk about my loss, I wanted to share a memory of your mom .

Remember when we were in girl scouts and we went camping? Carols cabin and we were scared shitless!! I remember this one particular night we were sleeping on the floor and each one of us kept having to go to the bathroom, it’s really kind of silly but she said something like” Boy, what does everybody here have a leaky faucet?? well needless to say we all thought that was the funniest thing we ever heard! Just the way she said things was funny.

I remember the last time I saw her, it was in the “old” Brookdale Shoprite, she was wearing a bandanna on her head and she was telling me how she beat the cancer! I was so amazed at her strength, I remember going home and telling my mom (who knew your mom pretty well), That I was inspired by her courage.

It is true that our parents live on through us, but I still wish every day I could see my mom and dad here on earth even just one more time. I do have faith that I will see them again, however, you never stop wishing for one more.
God bless you Jaqui and keep your faith!

Hey Jac,

Now I’m crying after reading what you wrote! My mother and I just went to see the Radio City Music Show today and I’m so glad we did now! Anyway, I do remember your mom, I remember going to your house, and what I remember was that when you were punished and it was your mother only home, she would let you go out anyway, but if your mother and father were both home, you were really punished!!! I always remembered that, I thought it was funny!

Hello my friend,

There are sssssooooo many emotions I have after reading this blog. First off, it sucks losing anyone, especially a parent. It really is hard to move forward and enjoy life in the same manner. It definitely changes things. Your emotions are in turmoil and it is hard to put everything into perspective.
I have found, since losing my dad 23 years ago and my husband 12 years ago (those being the most tramatic to me), that everytime I start to get a little down, or find myself feeling sorry for myself, something happens or I hear of another person’s struggles and it reminds me that I have a lot to be thankful for.
I do tend to talk about that person, in a funny or positive light, if I am feeling down, and it reminds me that we were able to share a lot of wonderful times and although the time we shared may have been too short, it was great while it lasted.
I know that this may sound like a big fat cliche’ but it has really happened to me over the years.
When you are ready, you will speak of your mom in a way that makes you happy.
I am absolutely sure that when that time comes you will remember some hysterical stories. She was a pip, just like you said. She was always there, sick or not. She never missed anything or a trick for that matter. She had a heart of gold and was always there to lend a hand. She was a mom that was involved. There aren’t a lot of kids that can say that their parents were there for them. You can! You might not have liked it at the time, but looking back I know that you are glad now.
Jacqui, my friend, someone very wise told me that it would take 5 years to wake up from whatever funk I was in to realize that I was actually in a funk. I thought, yeah right. They were right! The day WILL come when you will realize you have been here, but not really here. Trust me! And when that time comes and you want to tell stories, I’ll be ready to listen. I can always use a good laugh, and cry, for that matter.

Ginamarie M-S | January 15, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Reply |Edit

I did not know your mom passed. I am soooo sorry. I will always remember your mom. You’re so right- she was a pip and a definite straight shooter- not unlike my mom. That must be why they liked one another. Your blog made me cry. I lost my grandmother to cancer years ago and it will always stay with me. I never in a million years thought my grandmother would not be at my wedding or not be around for my children. I remember when she was in ICU and I held her hand with tears in my eyes and told her she didn’t have to fight for us. I just didn’t want her to suffer. Just last month, her son, my Uncle Frankie passed- he too of cancer. It was terrible. I was by his side when he passed, as was most of the family. I miss him so much. We take people for granted- especially family- sometimes, thinking they will be with us forever. Don’t take anything for granted because none of us is promised tomorrow.


I am reading through ALL of your blogs and I have to say your write beautifully!! I had to comment on this one about your sweet precious mom!!! I loved that woman!! I will never forget how she helped me on my wedding day! I like you know the feeling of losing my mom and to not have my own mother there with me on one of the most special days of my life was hard. I wouldn’t have had any other person in my life in the room with me that day! I remember when we got to the church she stayed in the back and helped me with my veil and train. She was one of the most wonderful people I ever had the honor of knowing. The way she made us laugh will never be forgotten. She was the true definition of a angel on earth!!!

Love this post, it really made me remember about my mother too. She passed away 4 years ago and I still think of her every now and then. I’m sure it’s difficult for everyone when they lose their parents, mothers especially.

Stay strong. I’m sure she’s in heaven watching you (:

PS. Interesting blog you have here. Will link you!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.  Republished 2011.

My Favorite Summer Memory

When I was a little girl, Mom, Dad and I used to live in a 3 room apartment above my Aunt Mimi and my Nanoo in Nutley, NJ. We had no air conditioning so the porch was the only way to keep cool on hot summer nights.

There was a couch-like swing and a rocking chair where my grandma used to sit and rock for hours. I remember laying on that swing every night while my family told me stories – real and imagined.

It’s 40 years later and I’d give anything to sit on that porch, and fall asleep on that swing and listen to all the good people in my life who are no longer of this Earth.

Life was so simple back then. Sometimes we need to step back and take another look, so we can not only cherish the past but embrace it in the present.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.  Republished 2011.

Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Wednesday night I made a delicious Chicken Saltimbocca and some couscous cakes, but the dinner needed a summer salad to top it off.

I had a half of watermelon in the fridge and tomatoes and fresh mint from the garden.  I cubed up the watermelon (2-4 cups), chopped the tomatoes into pieces (2-4 different tomatoes) and threw them in a bowl with 1/4 c – 1/2 c diced provolone, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, gray salt and maybe 2 – 3 tablespoons of chopped mint.

I made a dressing out of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of sugar and a good drizzle of honey.  Pour the dressing over the salad and stir – adjust salt and olive oil to taste.

It was the perfect blend of sweet and salty, and took the meal to a higher level without competing with the flavors of the main course.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Botox, Fillers and Plastic Surgery: Out of Control

As against plastic surgery as I am – who knows what I’ll do in the future.  Although both of my parents aged gracefully, I’m not sure that I can do the same.  Thank God I have good genes – my dad looks great at 84!  I hope I can do the same without the help of “plastic”.

25 years old 

44 years old

Botox, filler and plastic surgery seem to be out of control in both Hollywood and real life.

What are these people thinking?

In the process of searching for photos of stars’ befores and afters, I found this great site LIFE.COM.  Check out this gallery – it’s an eye-opener.

TMZ has some winners as well.  Absolute train wrecks!

Celebrity Plasticpicks has yet another variety of star surgery.

Here are some of my favorites (she said facetiously) from Plastic Sergeant:

Donatella Versace

Pricilla Presley

Lara Flynn Boyle

Nicole Kidman

Joan VanArk

Courtney Cox

Besides Joan Rivers and Jocelyn Wildenstein, who is your favorite plastic no-no?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

What Lies Beneath: A Repost

Every time I watch that episode of Sex & The City when Samantha is giving a speech about cancer and rips off her wig to reveal her much shorter mane beneath, I think about the first time I saw my mom with no hair.

Every torn off wig in that episode makes me relive the moment which had to be so much more horrible for her than it was for me – but it didn’t feel like it at the time.

My mom was always so confident and not at all into that vanity shit like I am.  She went out without her boobs, without her wig but with her dignity that she always maintained.

One night we were all sitting around the table bullshitting about this or that.  My mother was notorious for her hot flashes as long as I can remember.  Cancer made them even worse and covering up her head added to her internal fire.

Anyway… she said to me,
“Jacq.  Do you mind if I take this frigging thing off my head?”

I said to her,
“Of course not Ma.  Take it off.”

She reached for her turban and unraveled if from around her head and hung it over the back of the chair.

As I looked at my mother I immediately started crying as my eyes filled up with tears and my heart broke for her.  It broke into a thousand pieces.

She asked me why I was crying and I said sobbing,
“Oh Mommy!  I’m so sorry you have to go through this.” 

I couldn’t imagine the pain of looking in the mirror at a bald head.  The pain of going through CANCER and all the rotten stuff that goes along with it.

My mom was stronger than me.  She never looked at it as pain, just a temporary setback of sorts as she energetically  plodded through her sickness and took everything as it came.

When I find myself upset, I pray to HER to give me the strength that she had.  HAS in Heaven.  I’m sure God is putting her to work doing what she does or maybe he’s just letting her rest for a while.

I any case, I hope she knows that she has always been an inspiration and a role model for me.  I hope that kids todays will realize how great their parents are before it’s too late.

I know that my mother knew I loved her but I regret so many things every single day of my life and I hope that she can forgive me wherever she is.

I hope she knows that sometimes I didn’t show my emotions (my defense mechanism) but I was with her every step of the way from North Junior High School when she found out she had the disease to Mountainside Hospital, 28 years later, where she left us so she can finally have some peace.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.  Republished.

A New School Year = A New Hairstyle

A new school year is around the corner, and since I haven’t managed to take off any of the weight that I gained – 30 pounds, a new hairstyle seems in order.

I’ve been teaching for almost 15 years and my hair has gone from brown to blonde, short to long and big & poofy to flat.

Since “retro” hairstyles are the buzz I decided to rock a 1960’s modern Bardot.

The Modern Bardot

I think I can pull it off – although it may come out more like the original.

The Bardot

All this hair-talk makes me think about all the hairstyles I rocked – or didn’t rock – in the past 44 years.


1960's into 1970's


Late 1970's - 6th grade

Early 80's

Late 80's

Early 90's

Late 90's

And then we’re into the 2000’s – crazy.

The Perm

Blonde & Flipped

A little darker



The Present - Flat

My least favorite was the perm.  I liked all the other styles.  They were decade appropriate.  I had so many more doo’s over the years – but this post would be too long.  Stay tuned for part two!

What’s your fave?

What are some of your best and worst hairstyles?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange

There are some great recipes in Bon Appétit‘s May 2011 issue.

Since I always gravitate to Italian food this month’s article called Maximum Emilia was a godsend.

Bon Appétit May 2011

I came upon a recipe for Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange – and even though I doubted the flavor combination – I decided to try it out since I had all the ingredients in my fridge.

The end result was a creamy (but not heavy), delicious pasta with wonderful flavors like salty prosciutto and the sweet orange which seemed to dance on my tongue and interact beautifully.

Here is the recipe via Epicurious.  Let me know how you like it.

Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange  Bon Appétit | May 2011

by David Downie

Two seemingly disparate ingredients pair perfectly in this brightly flavored and creamy sauce.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


12 ounces egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1″ pieces
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente, about 2 minutes for fresh pasta, longer for dried. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.

Add reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest, and cream; bring to a boil. Add pasta; cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and divide among warm bowls.

Are there any flavors that you thought wouldn’t go together but were pleasantly surprised when they did?

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

My Early Morning Rant… And It’s Only Tuesday!

Last night I had terrible insomnia.  Without the use of much-needed Benadryl, I watched TV until I miraculously drifted off to sleep.

At 3 am like clockwork, my bladder beckons me and I roll out of bed, eyes half-closed, dragging my feet, but managing to step on my poor, little kitty Tia pretty damn hard.  Why the hell was she sleeping on the bathroom rug?

As usual 4 am comes early when you have a noisy husband who hates that his wife is home on vacation for 2 months in the summer.  Bang, bang, clack, crash, grrrrind, slam…. and he’s off… and I’m getting up to pee.

I rolled back into bed and Peaches joined me – she must have been looking out the front window.  I called for Tia – the poor kitty I crushed this morning – but she didn’t come.  I heard noise so I naturally assumed she was locked in somewhere.

Sure enough I open the guest room and smack her with door as she was eager to escape.  Poor Tia!

Now I’m really up.  Bailey is not even up yet!

I turn on Clean House: The Messiest Home in America – because frankly, there’s nothing else on at that time of the morning.  Maybe I’ll get motivated.

Oh yeah – let me text John and let him know that he locked the cat in the spare bedroom!

I thought I heard the phone, so I send another text and sure enough… he forgot his phone.  Great way to ignore me for the day!

Well, I might as well get the hell out of bed and make coffee.

As I reached the top of the stairs I noticed that the front door was left ajar once again.  I swear someone is going to come and kill me some day!

I also saw my tennis bag thrown on the floor of the foyer but no tennis racket (I guess that’s still in the car) – he must have taken MY car!

Yep.  The car’s gone and I can’t play tennis without my racket!

Oh well. I’m over it… until I open the fridge and realize that his lunch is still there but my marinating tortellini salad, that I made last night for company today, is gone.  I hid it in the fruit bin too!  So I guess I have to cancel my plans.  So annoyed.

MX@@#r F@@@XX!!!!!!!  XXXOOO@@XV!!!!!!

It’s only 7 am and I’m already pissed off!

So after all that ranting, here’s my recipe for Tortellini Salad.

Jacqui’s Tortellini Salad

1 lb tortellini, cooked and cooled
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small garden pepper, chopped
a sprinkle each of gray salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, ground coriander and salsa seasoning 
extra virgin olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Stir well.  Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

Serves 4-6

It’s easy and tasty, so enjoy!

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.