Blender Mishap

images-1So yes I’m on vacation but I drove 100 miles home yesterday anyway, for two meetings, one to be held at my house at 6:30 and another to be held at somebody else’s house at 8:00, both for the sake of this organization of which I am currently the president.

I scored some pizza and salad to serve to the people coming at 6:30 and while they ate, drank and talked I slipped into the kitchen to prepare the food I had offered to make for the second meeting at 8:00: a plate of fresh sliced peaches and two small bowls of luscious jewel-toned raspberries, with, I had promised, fresh whipped cream on top.

It was no problem arranging the peaches on a pretty plate.

And let’s face it there’s not much you can do to a raspberry to make them any more perfect..

Like these perfect rubilous orbs resting on somebody’s windowsill.

berries in the bowl
berries in the bowl

So all that was left was to whip the heavy cream… BUT ! I should maybe add that I had also driven into the city at 4:00 to see my doctor  and had also stopped at the wine store to buy a nice Chardonnay, so I was pretty wilted by the time I got home at 6:20, mere  minutes before my guests would arrive.

I bolted up the stairs and changed quick into this  navy dress with white polka-dots that I’ve owned since the mid 1990s, fluffed up my already fluffy hair…

me at 5 with my problem hair

…and went down to whip the cream.

But they were already here, all those guests! And I couldn’t find one of the beaters for my hand-held mixer! And I HADN’T chilled the metal bowl the way you’re supposed to do when you whip cream! So I dumped all 16 ounces of that pale velvety butter-fat into my blender and pressed ‘Puree.’

It looked pretty good, actually, but it needed just a little more whipping. Plus, I noticed, it had stopped churning and most of the already-thickened cream was stuck to the sides.

So I did what you’re never ever supposed to do: I opened the lid as it churned on and inserted the tip of a soup spoon to oh-so carefully liberate the cream from the glass sides – with the result that the blades hit the spoon, which SHOT out of my hand and up in the air while at the same time showering three cabinets and the whole of my dress with tiny white dots.

I came out onto the porch with the drinks a few minutes later.

“There was a small explosion in the kitchen,” I said.

My guests looked over. “At least you’ve got the right dress on” they said and went back to their socializing.The lesson I took from all this? what happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen. Just keep bringin’ on the food. 🙂

Herb Alpert knows what I mean
Herb Alpert knows what I mean

Another Day Another Fire


So I was excited, see, because I got such great flowers – plus FOUR gorgeous pots – for my birthday. The pots came  from our niece Joanie Marotta, 23 next month, and they were so pretty I decided to bank them all together on the kitchen counter  by ‘all’ meaning One, the begonia and calla-lily plants, from my two girls who we mistreated in childhood by sitting on the low ends of  their see-saws so they could never get down see above ha ha; Two, the lovely purple blooms from Dodson who is like son to us and his bride Veronica; and Three some basil which I bought so the cats could have some normal greens to nibble on after they got totally drunk eating a catnip plant

… and snapped the picture – AND was just congratulating myself on having such a fine eye and being such an altogether awesome person when I noted that my coffee was no longer hot. Well, the carafe is metal I reasoned and so put it on one burner for the quick fix; then forgot it and wandered to the other side of the kitchen to check on the cat’s food when whoosh! Another FIRE AT THE MAROTTA HOUSE which smelled really awful the way burned plastic does natch but LOOKED so great I almost took a picture before extinguishing it.

I did extinguish it first but here’s the aftermath.

Funny, right? Stalactites coming down even!


Finally just for more beauty is Joanie, as pretty as the little crocuses with their pointy bishops’ hats just now trying to struggle up through the snow:


So Enjoy the Day and remember: everything is funny til you die (and then of course there’ll be jokes at the funeral.

Come on Baby Light My Fire

lady-by-fireSome things about this season I KNOW I won’t miss. Couldn’t think straight the whole time. Made mistake after mistake:

+ Sent out 300 letters about my new book, forgetting to write what the darn thing cost with the result that 300 people shrugged and tossed it, whimsical sample chapter and all.

+ Lost car keys. Lost treasured piece of jewelry. Lost credit card (briefly: turned out it was inside my bra.)

+ Made holiday card at very last minute using software definitely not yet mastered with jarring result that the many photos in it are so small family members look like wee homunculi, tiny-headed leering gremlins.

On this card included one highly comical picture of youngest kid, scored from one of his friend’s Facebook page. “This is why I won’t ‘friend’ you!” kid cried in exasperation when he heard. (He still has not seen the thing.) Feel hot shame as a result; realize I’ve been exposing this kid to the public gaze for 24 long years.

+ Let sole cheap candle in whole house burn down to the cheesy wood-sleigh candle-holder cradling it. Look up to see small conflagration on living room table, yelp, “There’s a fire!”, thus waking dormant mate who jumps up, blows on it (which even I know is wrong.) Run to kitchen, get bowl to smother it, success! On second thought should have grabbed handful of flour, my fave tool for quenching kitchen fires because you get done and hey! there’s your gravy!

Yep, one thing you learn over the holidays is how to save time.

Quick last thought maybe not a bad one:

+ Take candle-lighting kitchen matches and set fire to the all 250 holiday cards, thus killing two birds, one stone.

So Joy to the world y’all. Now where did I put that that EGG NOG?

You Think You’re a Saint but You’re Not

An Essay in Pictures 

When we got to Venice we were fresh from a visit to Padua and the cathedral shrine to St. Anthony who met St. Francis and demonstrated ever after in his life the power of that man’s example. There, in ancient glass cases, are St. Anthony’s lower jaw, teeth and tongue, the simple tools he used to spread the message relayed to him by one who heard it from one who heard it from one who heard it from One who, going back a good bit, said He heard it from His Dad.


What I learned about Anythony in Padua I know I will never forget. But it was his mentor St. Francis I was thinking about as I stood in front of St. Mark’s in Venice the other day. They say the birds flocked to him for his loving heart. They flocked to me for my chunk of bread. One minute I was just standing there, looking around at the brave people who would take some bread, hold it aloft and immediately be as covered with pigeons as the statue of General Patton there by the banks of my favorite River Charles.


Maybe I can be brave like that, I thought. So I crouched down and they climbed all over me.

Images of the REAL moment, when I looked like a living aviary, are missing and why? Because the person in this world who knows best how far short of sainthood I fall was laughing so hard the camera shook and the pictures came out blurry.