Monthly Archives: June 2019

Sliding Doors


Click here for the MOVIE TRAILER OF SLIDING DOORS

Sliding Doors is one of my favorite movies. As soon as I saw the trailer above, back in 1998, I knew I had to see it.

I went to the movies alone and armed myself with a jumbo popcorn slathered with extra butter, a large coke, and some chocolate covered raisins.

Gwyneth Paltrow played Helen, a London advertising executive. After she gets fired from her job, she devastatingly walks out of her office and plans to go home via subway.

And then fate kicked in, and two side by side scenarios emerged.

In the first scenario, Helen squeezes her way into the subway train just as the sliding doors are closing. Too bad for her, because, she comes home and finds her boyfriend, Gerry (played by John Lynch), in bed messing with another woman. Heartbroken Helen leaves Gerry, eventually finds the love of her life, and lives happily ever after.

In the second scenario, the sliding doors shut in her face, and she misses the train. While hailing a cab, a mugger tries to run off with her handbag, and she falls, hitting her head. By the time Helen arrives home, the other woman is long gone. Gerry continues to cheat on Helen, and poor suffering Helen lives a miserable life.

I was recovering from my own misery; a harrowing and heartbreaking familial divorce, so I found the movie sadly relatable.

What if I had never moved back to New York? What if I never went to that stupid party? What if I said no instead of yes? What if I decided to go it alone and have the baby anyway?   

As the movie tracked through both storylines, I had no idea whether Helen got on that train or not.

But I was rooting for Helen. I was silently praying that those sliding doors shut right into her face. I was crying throughout the entire movie while shoving handfuls of overly buttered popcorn with a side of chocolate raisins into my mouth.

My tears weren’t for Helen; they were for me.

Because I had been the leading lady in my own version of Sliding Doors.

Haven’t we all?

The theme song Thank You from Sliding Doors

 

Championship Brisket

This past February my husband and I drove several hours with our grandsons to Lake Placid for the 2019 ECAC Hockey Championships taking place at the famous Herb Brooks Arena.

Cornell was in the finals against Clarkson, and it was EXCITING!

After trying time and time again to score on Clarkson during the second and third periods, Cornell sophomore forward Tristan Mullin tied up the game up with 5:41 left in regulation.

The crowd went nuts.

The Cornell fans were jumping and screaming and ready for OVERTIME!!!!

I was in my glory, bear-hugging my husband, and looking forward to creaming Clarkson…

…Until the grandsons tugged on my sweater while moaning that they were tired and wanted to go back to the hotel.

What????????

I tried everything in my power to talk them out of wanting to leave, assuring them that they were going to regret their decision.

I offered them hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels, ice cream, tablet time. You name it, I bribed them with it.

Until they started to cry.

So, what choice did I have but to take the boys back to the hotel?

As we were leaving, the Cornell fans were shaking their heads in shock. “YOU’RE ACTUALLY LEAVING?” several asked in astonishment.

Trudging back to the hotel, people who couldn’t get tickets were hanging around the arena, listening to the game on their phones, while I made one last-ditch attempt to convince the grandsons to go back.

Forget it. They were determined to go sleepies.

When we got to the room, they collapsed on their beds and were sound asleep in minutes.

Me? Not so much.

It was early, and I didn’t know what the heck to do with myself.

I didn’t want to turn on the lights or the television for fear of waking the boys, so I started combing through my phone for something to do.

When in doubt my go-to phone fallback is not Facebook or Instagram.

It’s looking up recipes and then mixing and matching them to come up with my own personal spin.

So, here I was in the dark, with nothing to do.

What better way to spend my time but to look up brisket recipes?

In between writing down a combination of recipe ideas, I was getting a play by play update from my husband via text.

Text from Hubby: Galajda [the Cornell Goalie] just left with a knee injury! The net pushed on top of him from behind, and the idiot officials never stopped the play! I wish you could see this craziness.

My reply: Yeah, okay, thanks. Why don’t you rub it in?

Then I scribbled down a killer brisket rub I found.

Text from Hubby: Turns out Galajda might have also injured his neck while trying to lift the net off his back! McGrath replaced him with just 3:47 left in the game. The Cornell section is going insane!

My reply: I’m going insane sitting here in the pitch-black combing through brisket recipes.

Hmmm, add a little dark sugar to ramp up the gravy flavor.

I was furiously writing down my brisket ideas as my husband continued to furiously text.

Text from Hubby: Clarkson just scored 14:36 into the extra period, That’s it. They won 3-2. What a rip-off. So unfair.

My reply: What’s unfair is I’m stuck in this hotel room looking up freaking brisket recipes. And I’m getting hungry. Can you bring me back a hotdog?

The next morning, the boys wanted a blow by blow description of the game.

Really????  NOW you’re interested in the ECAC game of the century?

While my husband told them about the game, I told them about my search for the perfect brisket recipe, which I was going to name in their honor.

Then we packed up and drove several hours home as the boys exclaimed how they couldn’t wait until they came back for the championships next year.

Yeah, okay, as if I’ll drive a gazillion hours to look up brisket recipes next year.

I missed the most exciting hockey game of the season, but I was able to cobble together one heck of a…

ECAC Brisket Recipe
1 Brisket roast (4-5 pounds with at least ¼” fat all the way around.)
1 Pound bacon (or 1 pound turkey bacon marinated in ¼ cup Olive Oil)

Rub:
1 ½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For later use in the gravy: 2 cups beef broth, ¼ cup cider vinegar, ½ cup dark brown sugar

Mix the rub ingredients together and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place the oven rack in the upper-middle position.
Poke holes in the brisket with a knife and then rub the brisket with the mixture.
Place the bacon crosswise in a broiler-safe 9 x 13 pan. Do not use glass.
Place the brisket fat side down on top of the bacon.
Place the rest of the bacon crosswise on top of the brisket.
Tuck any loose ends of the bacon under the brisket.
If using turkey bacon, pour the remaining olive oil into the pan.
Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 5 hours.
After 5 hours, take the pan out of the oven.
Remove the foil and then set the bacon aside and carefully turn the brisket over fat side up. Then place the bacon back on top of the flipped brisket.
Replace the foil and return to the oven.
Turn the oven off and leave the brisket in the oven for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, pour the juice from the brisket into a large saucepan.
Remove the bacon from the brisket and discard.
Add the beef broth, vinegar and dark brown sugar to the saucepan.
Heat and simmer the gravy until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add the sauce to the brisket and place it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, take the brisket out and remove any fat on the top.
Reheat at 250 degrees for about 1 hour.

In case you want to see the ECAC Championship craziness

Beach Body on Demand

As a result of my recent complaining to my daughter that my weight was creeping higher and higher, she set me up with a fitness app.

For just $99 per year, I am now able to stream hundreds of workouts on my television, phone, or computer.

My favorite workout is called the 21 Day Fix.

My streaming trainer Autumn’s favorite thing to say while I huff and puff:

“You give me three weeks; I’ll give you the body you always wanted.  And it will get easier, I promise.”

Sorry Autumn, but it’s going to take way more than 21 days to fix what I did to myself.  And I’ve been hanging in there with you for 40+ days now, and it’s NOT getting easier. And BTW, I’ve lost two puny pounds.

The best part of Autumn’s routine is when she shouts 3-2-1 nicely done.

But I keep on trying. Because what’s the alternative?

So, every day, I force myself to stream the 21 Day Fix and jump around my bedroom as best as a 66-year-old can.

The only results I’ve seen so far: My knees are killing me, I have a crick in my neck, and a non-stop Charlie horse in my abdomen.

Last week my abdomen hurt so bad I looked up the symptoms of a hernia.  I was sort of hoping I had one so I could quit working out.

Okay, I did lose those two measly pounds.

Until this year, when I would hear my friends complain about their muffin top, I didn’t know what that was.

Oh, but now I do.

The first sign of that belly blob over my jeans caused me to bolt over to my computer and type in Muffin-Top.

Yep. I have the muffin thingy.

According to the Urban Dictionary: “Muffin-Top is a word used to describe the unsightly fat that bulges over the offender’s waistline.”

OFFENDER?

Dang. Who knew?

First thing I did after reading the Urban Dictionary was to throw out all my below-the-belly-button pants, jeans, and leggings.

Next, I ran out and bought a bunch of mom-type lower body clothing.

Then I turned on my television and slogged through another Beach Body workout with my new bestie Autumn.

I so wish that exercising was as easy as eating.

My Grandmother’s World War II Home Front Job

In the late 1930s, my grandmother Mammy (pronounced MayMe) came to Bridgeport, Connecticut from Caribou, Maine as a single mom in search of a better life for her and her young daughter.

Soon after she arrived, millions of unemployed Americans went to work to make weapons of war, many of whom were women.  My grandmother was one of them.

She had a 3pm-11pm shift at Remington Arms boxing bullets on an assembly line.

She had other jobs as well—at least three or four at the time, but Remington was her bread and butter.

Remington Arms was a sprawling 73-acre manufacturing complex on Barnum Avenue in Bridgeport and was among the biggest munitions factories in the world, employing over 17,000 workers and producing tons of ammunition and weapons each year.

For women like my grandmother, the war brought enormous change in American women’s lives and was a crucial step on the road toward equal rights.

Before the war, women were second-class citizens and were unfairly discriminated against in the workplace. World War II was first a stimulus, and then became the model for women like Mammy and solidified their place in the job market.

I’d like to think that my grandmother’s experiences helped to lay the groundwork for the women’s movement in later years. And I know for sure that her experiences in the factory and her work on the assembly line helped to shape the way she raised me.

Whenever Mammy spoke about her work at Remington Arms, she recalled it fondly. While we never spoke of her job in terms of whether her work helped the democratic cause, she always spoke of her pride in the work she did, including the enormous amount of overtime she booked, week after week, month after month.

For Mammy, her job at Remington Arms was a vehicle for lasting change and offered her hope for a prosperous future. It altered her thinking about who she was and gave her pride in what she had accomplished during the war.

As a result of her work boxing bullets, the American dream was more than wishful thinking. It was finally within her reach and had become her goal.

World War II was the catalyst for change, and America was undeniably transformed by the end of it.

And so was Mammy.