B and C are for Bike Week and Classic Cars

Once in a while there is an advantage to procrastination. Sure. I need to double up on the posts to catch up (I mean that literally. A lot like this post), but it also means B and C can be about what happens when Bike Week and Cruisin’ on Central collide. Not literally, though. There was already enough traffic, smoke, screeching, and police presence.

Yesterday, I did something that made no sense to me. I trimmed my hair into Bettie Page bangs and took the train down Central Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona. I had no idea why. I had no idea where I was going. When the Park Central Mall stop was announced, I could hear a roar of an engine. Looking up, I saw one, then two classic cars driving by. My sleepy brain awoke and I realized what was going on. There was a second’s hesitation, then I was out those train doors and on the platform.

If you love cars, then you can imagine the euphoria I experienced when I smelled the air. Or, it may just be the engine fumes were getting me high. After all, it was starting to remind me more of sweet perfume and pine, rather than motor oil, after a while. Either way, I was  a little girl running around complimenting the cars, taking their photos, and asking about their stories.  I took one photo of a gorgeous green Ford when her owner asked if I wanted to have my photo taken, too.

 

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One older gentleman kept riding around on his motorcycle. In a crowd of happy people, he was the happiest.  He stopped ahead of me and I said to a guy standing by me, “I really want to get a picture of that guy. He’s the happiest one here.” So, my wish was nearly granted. Only Harry (because that’s his name) said, “You don’t want a picture of me. My face would break your camera. How about you take a picture with the bike?” He steadied it, helped me on, and he and the other guy (his name was Larry. I couldn’t make these things up) tried to get me to make a mean biker face. It obviously wasn’t working out.

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Especially, when I was so giddy happy about the atmosphere. Being about to sit on that vintage racer bike (Look on the side and it says Manzanita Raceway Phoenix, Arizona) made me giddy as can be.
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The happiest place on earth is supposed to be Disneyland. To me, it’s a car show. I have, yet, to come across a car show where I didn’t see people smiling and happy to talk about what they love.

Classic Cars are like people. Not just because I compliment and talk to both. But, any car or person who has been around for decades has stories to tell. The cars that are highly polished I love to look at, but when I can’t touch it or it has to be gently handled with a soft duster, its beautiful, but not what I want.
My favorite car was this Caddy. 12417900_10154115142471477_938625279794665445_n

Rugged with potential, but not highly polished or untouchable. In fact, it’s perfect, as is. If I had the money, I would buy it right now. You can tell she has a personality. That’s best part. Perfectly imperfect in every way.

For more photos from April’s Cruisin’ On Central visit my Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/magicquillinc

 

 

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A is for Arbuckle

Ask people, these days, who the great comedians of the 20th century were and you might get answers like Dick Van Dyke (this will be under D), John Belushi, Lucille Ball, or other names we recognize from reruns of movies and television shows.

When I think of great comedians, I think of Sir Charles Chaplin (true story, I thought “the Little Tramp” was repulsive growing up. It was Robert Downey, Jr.‘s portrayal of Charlie Chaplin that got me interested in Charlie Chaplin. While not the most moral fellow, I appreciated him so much.), Buster Keaton, and Roscoe Arbuckle.

The sad part is Roscoe Arbuckle‘s life was brought down by Hollywood’s first scandal that was not his doing. When he was just starting to get his life back in order, when he died in his sleep.

Roscoe Arbuckle had a sweet and comedic presence that makes me think of the Silent Era’s John Candy.

Enjoy one of the most adorable tributes to Roscoe Arbuckle and his dog, Luke. This is the video that made me love bully dogs.

 

 

I is for Iceberg

On this date in 1912, the RMS Titanic set sail on her Maiden (and ill-fated) voyage.

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“I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern ship building has gone beyond that.”
-Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic

“We do not care anything for the heaviest storms in these big ships. It is fog that we fear. The big icebergs that drift into warmer water melt much more rapidly under water than on the surface, and sometimes a sharp, low reef extending two or three hundred feet beneath the sea is formed. If a vessel should run on one of these reefs half her bottom might be torn away.”
-Captain Smith, Commander of Titanic

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“I enjoyed myself as if I were on a summer palace by the seashore surrounded by every comfort. I was up early before breakfast and met the professional racquet player in a half hour’s warming up prepority for a swim in the six foot deep tank of saltwater heated to a refreshing temperature.”
-Colonel Archibald Gracie, Titanic Survivor

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“The history of the R.M.S. Titanic of the White Star Line, is one ofthe most tragically short it is possible to conceive. The world had waited expectantly for its launching and again for it’s sailing; had read accounts of its tremendous size and its unexampled completeness and luxury; had felt it a matter of the greatest satisfaction that such a comfortable and above all such a safe boat had been designed and built- the “unsinkable lifeboat”- and then in a moment to hear that it had gone to the bottom as if it had been the veriest tramp steamer of a few hundred tons; and with it fifteen hundred passengers, some of them known all the world over! The improbability of such a thing ever happening was what staggered humanity.”
-Lawrence Beesley, Titanic Survivor

H is for Healthy Eating

Last week, I had a last minute assignment to interview the owner of a Cyclo Vietnamese Restaurant for Valley Lifestyles Magazine. It was a pleasant surprise when the owner insisted I have dinner. What came out of the kitchen was a small sampling of the available cuisine. This included one Vietnamese Egg Roll, one Spring Roll, and Black Pepper Shrimp on grilled bread. Plus, two sauces. One for the egg roll. One for the Spring Roll.

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Since I had never eaten Vietnamese food before, I didn’t want to look too foolish trying to figure things out. “It’s okay. This is our first date,” Justina Duong said, as she told me how to wrap the mint and lettuce around the egg roll, then eat it like a burrito. Yes, it was all delicious. My favorite was the black pepper shrimp, with its garlic and tang of cilantro.

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As I mentioned, the portion was so tiny, yet I was full when I finished. I was happy that dessert was nothing more heavy than a creme brulee. This has re-instigated my interest in cooking. I hear so many times how large American portions are. Yet, so many of us overfill ourselves. There may be something when it comes to ingredients. The number of taste sensations and flavors in that small meal were enough to convince my tummy it was definitely full. I don’t believe it had much to do with the champagne I had, either. Although, that did make the meal feel even more elegant.

By the way, the German champagne Phillipe Prie’ is now my favorite champagne. I have never tasted another alcohol beverage that was so smooth and didn’t ‘bite’ me when it got to the back of my throat.

What are your favorite healthy meals? How do you cook to get the most flavor, yet maintain portion control?

A to Z Challenge: D is for Dog

It has been over three years since my family met Molly. Six weeks after our Labrador mix was killed by a car I was wishing for a dog when my son looked into the back yard and told me a white dog was in our back yard.
White dog? The only white dog I knew had been buried in our backyard for weeks. He better not be running around back there.
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Wandering around in our back yard was a happy dog, who ran to me, as if I had just let it out to use the bathroom. “Hello. I’m the dog you ordered.” She was very happy to come in. Even when the maniacal stuffed animals that looked like my cats, launched themselves at her, in defense of our home, she was still happy.

We took her around the neighborhood to ask people if they knew her. Except for one neighbor, who said, “She’s a pit bull. That’s why she has been bothering my dog.” the other neighbors only commented on what a beautiful dog she was. We posted fliers around the neighborhood. At 7 months old, this hyper, yet loving dog became ours.
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So is the story of Molly. She is sweet, but can be a handful. There are pluses and minuses. I am sure no other dog would put up with the over smothering my children lay on her, yet it would be nice if she didn’t enjoy the challenge of jumping fences.

Meanwhile, she and the cats never got along. The cats now think they are living in the lap of luxury, as they enjoy their own apartment in my office. Proof that when you wish for a dog, be sure you are specific about what kind of dog you want.

To Miss Molly…
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E is for England

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Recently, I renewed a long distance love obsession. Ever since I was 13 years old, I have had a fondness for England. I used to think I wanted to visited Manchester, because I liked the Monkees and Davy Jones was a former resident. I taught myself to sing by listening to music from the British invasion. It was years later when I had to untrain myself to NOT sing with a British accent.

I have a habit of picking up accent, anyhow, so it shouldn’t have surprised me to find I had been carrying around a little bit of the British accent in my regular dialogue all these years. This has made for many moments of family laughter (I wasn’t part of the actual laughter, just the source of the joke) when I pronounce words so differently from an American. It was only a few months ago, when my younger boys posted their Lego creation videos to Youtube that distant friends began to email me and ask why my children had slight British accents. “Have you met their mother?” I asked.

The accent has only become worse in the last month, as I discovered The Bay. It’s my favorite radio station. I stream it all day when I am online. By evening, I not only have my times mixed up, but cannot shake the Lancaster accent. The best part? It not only feels so much more natural, but people can actually hear me. You have no idea how many times I am sure I am screaming far too loud and people ten feet away think they MAY have heard a breeze blow through, but they aren’t sure. It’s a strange thing to suddenly be heard.

But, I got a little sidetracked. It’s not all about the accent. It’s about the beauty and the history. What a laugh it was (this time I get to laugh) when I realized Lancaster is not far from Manchester. It looks like my heart has always been set in that area.

Which is why I have announced that despite my currently being a struggling, starving writer, I will live in England when I turn 50. Only 10 1/2 years to go. I have said it. It will be done.

A to Z Challenge: B is For Baking (Tasty Tuesday)

What are your favorite baked goods? Are you thinking of cookies, brownies, breads? The scent of baking always means home. As I study the culinary arts, my children love to find new things to bake. It started with my teenage daughter. First, her father introduced her to the creation of No-Bake Cookies. A recipe he had spent most of his youth making for his family. The cookies never really cooled off before the cookies disappeared of the wax paper. This is the same phenomena that happens when my daughter makes them. The cookie torch has been passed and all my husband has to do is buy the ingredients and say, “I want some cookies.”
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I know that has nothing to actually do with baking, but that was the start. Since then, our house has had cookies, breads, cupcakes, and cinnamon rolls created by my daughter.

It’s my 10 year old son aka The Performer (you may hear of him a lot) who is currently in love with baking. He made pretzels one day, because he found a recipe on the Internet and thought they would be good. He regularly asks to make cinnamon rolls, and more recently he has started making baguettes, by following The Food Nanny’srecipe. They are all really good, too. No help from me. Just him reading, measuring, and adding a lot of love. That is the most important thing about baking. That, and eggs, butter, flour…and heat.

The day he saw a talk presented by The Food Nanny she said, “The difference between a house and a home is how often the oven is used.”

My son turned to me and excitedly said, “We have a home!”