Thursday, May 27, 2010

Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

No, this not that t-shirt, that talks about Texas Tech, A&M and Texas. Anyone remember that one? This is a chapter in Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al. Here we goooo..

The Good:

In February, Robert and I were invited to an Italian themed dinner party. We were making individual pizzas. I volunteered to bring the dessert and I thought it would be cute to bring a fruit pizza because it was easier than tiramisu and it still went with the theme. Little did I know that this would cause a movement, yes, the Fruit Pizza Renaissance has began in Dallas and cannot be stopped. I have now made this fruit pizza 4 times. People are requesting for it, begging for it, it is their lifeblood. Okay, maybe not. But, once you’ve had it, you want more. It’s good. Here was our last fruit pizza made for the season finale of LOST. Robert did all the fruit work, I couldn’t have done that. He is a fruit pizza artist.

 Here’s the recipe courtesy of

Without further ado, I now bring you…

The Bad and The Ugly:

In life, you win some and you lose some. Last Thursday, we lost.

We recently purchased the Bobby Flay grilling cookbook above and have been so pumped up to try some fun recipes on our little grill. We decided to try a cod filet with a honey citrus marinade and grapefruit orange relish paired with grilled sweet potato fries with a cranberry bourbon glaze. This took a trip to the grocery store and liquor store, a whole lot of chopping, zesting, boiling and finally grilling. We sat down to the finished product and the fish is fishy and the sweet potatoes were hard. Robert tried to bite the sweet potato and says, “these are raw”, then goes for the fish and says, “this isn’t good, should we go get a pizza?” THANK YOU GOD  was all I could think when he said that.  I had tasted the meal and I couldn’t have eaten it, but felt bad because we both put so much effort into it. So bad that I’d actually already choked down a whole sweet potato fry out of denial that this meal was, in fact, NOT good.

There's our bad meal, pre tasting it.

Into the trash goes our meal. It’s an accomplishment for me to finish a meal and to just throw it away is sort of sad. It’s like you’re admitting defeat, but there was no choice here, it was just BAD.

I suppose I can say it was a learning experience to ease my pain from losing. I learned that: a. I don’t like cod and b. bigger sweet potatoes need to be boiled and grilled longer than the recipe calls for.  Ppffffttttt.
This defeat also made me grateful I live in this century and decade, because guess who saved the day??

 $5 hot and fresh. You couldn’t run and pick up a pizza back in the day of the pioneer woman (not the blog, but the REAL pioneer woman – of course, those ladies did laundry by hand, and Lord only knows what else…I digress.) Onto my praises of Little Ceasar’s, though greasy and sort of ugly, it still allowed us to have an enjoyable meal, even though we are losers. Proving to us once more, we can’t judge a book by it’s cover. The cod was pretty, but bad and the pizza is sort of ugly, but delicious. Food for thought, right there. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bachelorette Season Six: The limo pulls up and Ali meets the men….

I do not want to watch The Bachelorette. I know I could be doing something more valuable with my Monday nights, such as: attending philanthropy events like Adrienne and Kyle (see Adrienne’s facebook), reading to the blind, donating blood or maybe even just switching to the History channel, BUT, alas, I cannot calm this urge that lies deep inside of me that wants Ali to find love. So, I will tune in faithfully every Monday to see this journey and here exclusively on pppffffftttttt you will find the Scarff recap of – The Bachelorette Season Six……hold onto your seats, this is going to be one wild ride.

Right off the bat, I want to say that durning the last season of The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love, I waivered on my feelings about Ali. I liked her, I didn’t like her, I liked her and then finally didn’t like her. When they brought her back on the “Women Tell All” episode, Robert and I thought she was getting off on the fact that she was “America’s Sweetheart” after she was so upset about chosing her job over Jake, then regretted it, but Jake had already lost his virginity to Vienna, so he didn't care about Ali anymore and she had to live her her decision. Gulp. Almost like, real life! Ahh! (sidenote: Robert and I are really critical, especially Robert. The man gets mad at the Horns if they are winning but not “playing well”. Men. Pppfffftttt. Haha.) 

Back to Ali, Monday’s episode left me liking her. True, I did feel some intense third party awkwardness for her during some of her introductions with the guys, but for the most part, I found her to be kind towards every guy, well spoken and basically just cute. Her hair extensions are working for her, she had that California girl tan and she looked comfortable in her dress, which is key.  

Now, onto the guys. Whew, we’ve got some doozies that I’m excited about this season.  Weather guy from Houston, entertainment wrestler from Canada, just to name a couple. The antics they pulled out to get Ali to remember them were impressive. Lots of props. A rose, a paper rose, some guy welded something in a little box? They even used the limo as a prop. One jumped out of the sunroof, another went out the opposite door and jumped on the trunk of the limo. The limo driver has got to be rolling his eyes at these idiots. I would say the gold medalist of props was the guy that made the scrapbook. I think he even beats out the guy, who I already predict will be the token “funny guy”, that broke out a tune on his ukelele. It was exhausting to watch these guys pull out every stop so they could stick on Ali’s mind. Roberto, the spicy Latin from South Carolina defintely scored with the salsa dancing (no prop needed) with Ali and received the ever-so-covetted, First Impression Rose. Yes, I will capitalize that.

This isn’t as fresh on my mind as I’d like and I wish that I had my initial feedback to everything, woke up Tuesday morning ready to go. I didn't get there, so, with the help of, I’m going to give you some lingering thoughts on Ali's suitors…

Here we have Craig M. I can’t tell you too much about Craig M. except he’s definitely a prick. I will say, I appreciate the “call it like you see it” way he says things.  About the guy that made the scrapbook, Craig M. says, right in front of the guy, mind you, “If I was a girl and a guy made me a scrapbook, I’d think he was gay.” Okay, it wasn’t that verbatim, but pretty much. It was mean, but really funny. Robert and I immeadiately rewound this, watched Craig M. school the scrapbook guy again and both hoped that Ali would keep him around andddddd she did. Thank you producers or Ali or whoever was responsible for keeping the prick around for sheer entertainment, can't wait to see what he'll say next. Oh and he was also already making fun of the weather guy. Hey, Craig M., you met these guys 5 minutes ago, maybe just keep your opinions to yourself?

Here we have Frank. Frank is the guy that tries way to hard. You know that annoying person at work that is busy when there’s nothing to do? That’s Frank. When he talks to Ali the first thing he says is, “I’m a risk taker.” Are you Frank?  CALM DOWN.  

Here we have Hunter. I mentioned him earlier. He is the token funny guy with the ukelele. For all of you Bachelor devotees, when I say he is the Bob Guinea of the show and you will get it. He’s comic relief. The guys like him. Ali will like him. Will he get the final rose? No, but we all appreciate the funny guy. Thanks for rolling out Hunter.

Here we have Kacey. Kacey is the psycho and also needs to see a speech pathologist (I'm sorry, he does!). He is taking this all a little too seriously. It doesn’t help that the editing of the previews for the future episodes make him look like he slits his wrists. Oh Kacey, don’t do it, go home and get on, you’ll be fine.

Here we have Roberto. This one was a wild card for me and Ali totally threw me for a loop when he got the first impression rose. It made me like her more because I felt like she was really picking who she liked the best and not the guy everyone would expect her to. Plus, he seems very genuine and sweet even though he's sporting a necklace. Good choice, Ali. I’m going to say, Roberto will be in the top three. My humble prediction. 

Here we have Justin. He is the entertainment wrestler and the meathead that will be lifting weights and making protein shakes. The men voted that he was the guy that “wasn’t here for the right reasons”. This is revealed and Ali was forced to choose for him to stay or go. Ali chose for Justin to stay and Justin or Rated R (his wrestler name) stayed.  I smell trouble.

Here we have Jonathan. He is a weatherman in Houston. He is the cheeseball. He is super nice, but in the words of Jenny Hoge, “Alexis, you can’t like someone just because you think he’s nice.” Ali, I hope you have a Jenny in your life to tell you this.Ali will feel bad when she lets him go, but she shouldn’t, he’ll meet female cheeseball and they will live happily ever after and have cheeseball babies.

I’m excited about this season and could go on about some other interesting chaps that are trying to woo Alli, but I just leave it with these fellows for now. Any info/opinions you want to send my way are much appreciated. I love when someone “knows” one of the contestants. Also, Entertainment Weekly usually has a great recap (last season they also had a blog that Chris Harrison wrote) of each episode. I haven’t read this weeks yet, but if you’re really into it, go there…it’s where you’ll find real writers J.

Until next week…don't stop believing. 

p.s. This inaugural post is dedicated to the man, the myth, the legend, Chris Harrison. Where would we be without you? We sure wouldn’t know that, “Gentlemen, this is the final rose.” Thanks, Chris for just being you. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Déjà vu

Today, I found myself at Kinko’s and had a flashback. It was kind of great though because the flashback was of the first day of my internship in New York during the summer of 2005. I can’t believe that was FIVE years ago now. On the first day of my internship, I wore heels to work, on the subway, walking to the office the whole nine yards. I thought it was what you did in New York. That’s what Carrie Bradshaw does. Well, I was schooled in that by the intern from Long Island. True New Yorkers wear tennis shoes to get to work and heels when they get to the office. One of the many things I was “schooled” in that summer. The first real thing I was asked to do that day was to go to Kinkos and make a ton of color copies of some “up and comers” press packages I was going to put together, I think it was Alexis Bledel (Alexis and Alexis, well, OMG!). I know Kanye’s “Flash-ing Flash-ing Liiights Liiights” was going through my head when I got the assignment. I thought I was so Hollywood making a press package in my heels and business clothes. Ppppfffftttttt. This feeling quickly faded when I somehow didn’t have enough money for a cab to get back to work and found myself completely lost in ruined high heels and aching feet with a box of copies. Somehow, I surrvived and made it back.I remember being so relieved to be back because there literally was a point where I feared I was going to be roaming the streets for hours and that I would be the intern that failed her first task and dissapeared. That would have been weird. Even for me. I also remember thinking how awful that task was. No wonder they sent the intern. Kinko’s was packed and frustrating and everyone was rude and I almost cried. Still, I savor the memory. It was me and the city fighting it out together and we prevailed. I love when people personify New York. It’s so appropriate. I would not be the same person without that summer and that city. We had a three month relationship, me and the city, and it changed everything.

I’m going back there in 10 days. Baby, Boney, Teri and I. That’s Robert and his parents and me on a three day adventure NYC vacay. I can’t wait to be there with my husband. I can’t believe he lived there for 3 and a half years. The building that I interned in, he worked there too, not at the same time, but still, kind of crazy right? Spring and 6th….. Maybe, we’ll have time to snap a pic in front of the building. Maybe that’s a little much?

post script: I’m stilldoing the same things I was as an intern. Running to Kinko’s! Awesome!

Cheesey POP Music Break!

WARNING: This contains Amy Grant.

This was one of my favorite songs when I was little. I loved it with a passion. Almost the same kind of passion that I loved Whitney Houston, but not quite. Chelsea and I got in a fight one day because I was singing it too loud in the car. Chelsea told on me because she couldn't hear Amy singing the words over me. Just let me sing, Chelsea! Let me sinnnnnngggggg!!!!!

Twenty years later and this is what Amy is up to these days. She has this below Christian tune out. I also think she's married to Vince Gill? Anyway, I took a break from Kidd Kraddock this morning and found myself listening to this song.

I've heard it before, but today, it made me tear up a little. It reminded me that God doesn't want this perfect-looking, religious person to call out His name that can't admit they need Him, but He revels in just us, "the mess we are" humbly crying out that we need more than this world can offer in our lowest times and highest times and all the times in between. Thank you, God, for always being more and always satisfying like nothing else can.

Best Forward I've got in a while.....

In case you're looking for ways to be cool, you are in luck because The Huffington Post has provided you with: The Definitive List.

Here's what they say...

Finally, the definitive list. A much needed guide to how to be cool. Let's take a look, shall we? Grow facial hair? Check. Helmets? Obvi. 360s? Like anyone would be caught dead doing 180s. Let's see let's see...hang out with Steve? Who the eff is Steve?!?!? Steve Jobs? Steve Buscemi? DJ's boyfriend in "Full House?" We want answers!

Here's the list: 

You had me at Irony. LOL. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I’m not sure if I have one?  Figuratively speaking.

I found myself in two separate conversations last Saturday and Sunday that have left me wondering why I say things or rather, don’t say things. My problem seems to be the act of disagreeing. I don’t like to disagree with people to the point where I actually LIE.

Example One: I was talkingto a friend about a mutual real estate broker we both know. I happen to think this paticular real estate broker is one of the few, stand-up, ethical brokers out there. This isn’t the norm in the commercial real estate biz, it’s can be cut throat and mean – which is why I’m so good at it (not.). Anyway, this broker came up in the conversation and my friend was saying that the broker basically sucked and I found myself agreeing. Why did I just go along with that? I disagreed inside. I thought my friend was wrong, but instead of voicing this, I just agreed. It was easier, I guess? Easy way out instead of saying what you think. Am I still in middle school? I might as well be!

Example Two: We were at dinner at Pappasito’s last night with Robert’s grandma, aunt and uncle. The topic of flan came up. Robert’s uncle said, “I could eat 5 flans, I love flan.” Then, Robert’s aunt, point-blank asked me, “Do you like flan?” I reply, “Oh yeah, I love flan. I love all desserts.” I do NOT  love flan. I hate flan. I HATE FLAN. Why couldn’t I have just said, “No flan just isn’t my thing.” I just agree/LIE.

(I'm just not a fan of you, flan, I'm sorry. Good grief, I'm apologizing to a picture of flan.)

I don’t think I always do this especially with my close friends, I’m not afraid to disagree, so therefore, don’t be afraid that I’m lying to you when you ask me if I like your new shirt/hair/boyfriend. It’s just in the heat of the moment when I want to just please someone instead of being myself that I find myself without a backbone. In retrospect; it kind of grosses me out. I wouldn’t want someone to agree with me, just to agree; therefore, I am going to be aware of my ailment and take steps to find my missing backbone.

pppffffffffttttttt. Wish me luck with this! 

Friday, May 14, 2010


It seems like we've been celebrating milestones as of lately..................

 Sarah closed on her first home. It's a buyers market!

Matt Colter turned 30...good-bye twenties! Helloooooo 30's...... (Strueber will be 30 almost a year before me...can you believe it??!!!)

Robert and I celebrated our first married Cinco de Mayo. HUGE milestone. (note his expression of utter euphoria)

 Jenny is graduating with her Masters on Saturday. Hoge M.D. 

Grant got married. Congrats, old friend!  

The thing about milestones is that they don't happen every day and what makes them worthwhile and special is having the people that you love to share it with.  Thanks for sharing your joy with me, my friends!

The case of Public vs. Private

Last week, I was driving to work listening to the radio. I’m probably the last person that listens to old school radio stations besides senior citizens. Don’t most do a cd, iPod or XM radio these days?  To further convey to you how cool I truly am, I was listening to KISS FM 106.1, Kidd Kraddock in the morning. Robert has never even heard of that radio show, confirming to me that is really is THAT dorky that I listen to it on the daily. Rhonda, I know you won’t judge me. Everyone else, probably will, that’s okay….

Onto the subject matter -

Soooo, I was listening to Kidd Kraddock and randomly they are interviewing Michael Lohan. Lindsay Lohan’s dad. At first I thought it was a joke, but as the interview went on I realized it was indeed, the real Michael Lohan. He’s  going “public” trying to get Lindsay help because he claims she’s killing herself with drugs and alcohol, on top of this, Lindsey’s little sister who is 16, Ali, lives with Lindsay and he is trying to get her to go back and live with her mom, Dina (Mary Green’s icon/muse).  And today, I was again listening to the radio and Linsday is $23,000.00 behind on her rent and is about the get evicted. Lindsay Lohan’s life is like Hati/Katrina/Iraq – disaster.
During the Michael Lohan interview, Kid Kraddock, the hardcore journalist that he is, asked Mr. Lohan why he feels that it’s necessary to involve the media in trying to contact his daughters. Mr. Lohan claimed that he can’t go to a court house or a lawyer’s office without photographers following him, in addition, when he has tried to communicate privately with Lindsay, but, she tweets horrible things about him, so he has to retaliate through the media. What a mature way to handle things, Mr. Lohan and Lindsay.

And you thought your family had problems.

(She peaked here. And the original is way better. I'm mean?)

Oddly, this Lohan conflict made me think:  What are the things we keep private and the things we are okay with being public about?

There seems to be an influx of public information that used to be private. Technology has allowed us to let others know what is going on constantly, little things, big things. We probably all know far too much about people we haven’t spoken to in years due to facebook. I love/hate this, a weird tension has formed within me. I hope I’m not alone in this. I love seeing what a good friend is doing on a Saturday that I wouldn't have known if it wasn’t for “Mobile Uploads”, on the other hand, when I’m scanning through an album of someone I scarcely know it causes me to question where I fall on the loser meter or the creepy meter. Very high some days I have to admit.

And then there’s Twitter, I don’t do this, but, if you go to, you can see what the stars are tweeting. Why does anyone even what to know that? The internet has done a magnificent thing in connecting us, but also has caused the phenomenon of everything immediately becoming public knowledge.  Does this benefit us as a society? Are we too busy catching up on everyone else that we forget to just catch up with ourselves?

Back to the Lohans….why do I even know about what’s going on with them? Shouldn’t this just remain private? Twenty years ago when she couldn’t “tweet” and he couldn’t get paid by selling a tabloid a story, I wonder if they could have worked it out. In 1990, unless it was going to be in the newspaper, there really wouldn’t be a way to make a big public scene about it. Maybe, back then, just maybe, they could have kept the family drama private and there could have been a different outcome of their whole predicament.

This is extreme but sometimes I worry that the increase of constant communication/publicizing is going to be the demise of real relationships (i.e. the crackhead Lohans). Robert and I talk all the time, obviously, we live together, we’re married, and  I have the need to tell him every thought and feeling I have. Poor guy. BUT if we didn’t WANT to talk to each other I feel like it could be avoided. He could be on his lap top all night and I could be on my blackberry. Plus with the television on, each of us could totally fold away into our own worlds. It makes it easy to keep everything inside and not have to talk about life’s unpleasantries. (I think I made that word up?) Life, as great as it is, has bad days, negative thoughts, frustrating feelings which when we mask, will always somehow blow up in our face and when your married, it means it will blow up in the other persons face too.  Messy.

You have to talk things out and share your lives, the daily drudgery, stupid stories, funny stories, pointless stories; it’s what weaves a couples’ lives together. I would say this goes not only for couples, but friend and family relationships too. Technology makes more communication possible, I can bbm Mary and text my mom and we stay connected, but also I probably go longer without having a real conversation with them because of this. Once again, love/hate this.

On the flip side, what are we more private about?

I have a friend that is in my Bible study. Her name is Sally. Sally’s mom has this talent of what I’d guess you’d call teaching?  Through the years she’s put together series of Bible studies and our Bible study has gone through a couple of them. She has a way of putting together these legit studies with a mixture of real life examples and how scripture and God apply. I’m trying to remember the titles of her studies…I think one was called “Praying Through Your Emotions” – which was so good for me…talked about anger, depression, happiness, ect., another study was “Stranger than Fiction” – which talked about those weird crazy stories in the Bible (actually, we havne’t gone through that one yet.) There was another on the book of Ecclesiates which was a doozie- just talked about what in the world life is really all about.

The point I’m making is that Sally’s mom is always leading something, counseling people that sort of thing and surprisingly Sally told me she just led a Sunday school class to a class of young couples about blogs. Has anyone noticed that everyone that has a baby has a blog? I could name 5 off the top of my head without even thinking. I don’t think it’s a bad thing and I don’t think Sally’s mom did either. But, she pointed out in her blog study that these blogs can give you unrealistic expectations, like movies and love stories. Being a parent is not always a joy and changing a diaper doesn’t always feel like a gift from God, as these bloggers sometimes imply. 

Blogs, status updates, tweets- they suddenly have become a way that we can compare ourselves, not saying that we always do, but it's bound to happen. Keeping up with the Jones, but on steroids, you know? 

We can be so public about the good, but so private about where we struggle, even with those closest to us. We’re so busy trying to put on a good face and be the quintessential (fill in the blank) because everyone else is according to their blogs and public outcries, we all of the sudden have these unrealistic standards of where and what we should be. 

I don’t think our parents had that sort of pressure on them. We get online and see what’s up with everyone and sometimes these quesitons run through your head…. Should I be married? Should I travel more? Should I go out more? Should I live in a bigger house?  Should I cook that? Should I wear that trendy shirt? Should I write a book? Should I start a blog? I mean, my mom and dad at my age were married, worked, came home, had dinner and maybe watched tv. I actually have no clue what they were doing, I think dad had just got out of rehab, so whatever, call us the Lohans, but I think you get the picture of the difference I’m pointing out between those baby boomers and us.(**I love my dad, he is seriously my hero and mean no disrespect to him in that historical Neal family reference.**)

Where’s the point here? I’m not sure. Elementary aged kids have cell phones now. Will my kids have iPads in preschool and have facebook accound by age 8? Where are we going here? We don’t know, we can’t even guess and that’s okay.

Someone once said this to me about New York City, “It has the best of everything and the worst of everything.” So true. I find, that’s also how I feel about the internet. Best of everying, get online donate to a charity. Worst of everything, has anyone heard of f***book, yes it exsists.

So, I guess it’s up to us, our own free will to use it for good or bad. I know I’ll still read status updates and either laugh or want poke myself in the eye and I know I’ll keep reading the blogs, baby or non-baby and enjoy them. But, I also want to be able to tune it all completely out and just be the flawed human that I am and know that I exsist even if I didn’t have a facebook account or a blog. Does that make since? At all? Sort of? I’m not even sure it does. Does anything make since? Rarely. That’s why pppppfffffffftttttttt is such a necessary word ……..

Tgif, friends.