oh happy day!

I have been very into watching Secretariat recently.  ** As a side-note, I can watch the same movie over and over again ~ for days, sometimes weeks on end (Field of Dreams comes to mind). ** But, to the point, there is something so uplifting about the story of a woman who believed in her gut instinct and knowledge, and fought tooth and nail without much support, to fulfill a dream.  And what a reward at the end of it all ….

The story of Secretariat is remarkable, and to this day, he is considered one of the best athletes that ever lived.  It’s incredible, really.

Watching the recreation of the Belmont Stakes of ’73 in the movie, I can’t help but feel my heart flutter with excitement as Secretariat rounds the final corner, and continues surging for the finish line.  His time and margin of victory, to this point, have never been matched. No one has even come close. If nothing else, that’s amazingly impressive. 

(** For anyone who feels that movies gloss over reality, and paint prettier pictures than actually existed – which is more often than not, true – you should check out the words of Penny Chenery’s youngest son here.)

That’s the thing about sports ~ and any kind of sport, really.  The wonder it inspires in those of us who aren’t amazingly skilled, to watch those who are excel in ways that sometimes defy imagination.  It’s breath-taking, adrenaline-pumping … one of life’s daily miracles.

Speaking of miracles … another movie that I have over-played is Miracle, the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team and -this is shocking, I know- the end of that movie (real audio from the actual game) gives me shivers.

Do you believe in miracles?… YES!” Thank you Al Michaels, for one of the best sound bites in the history of sports.  Not just hockey.  Sports.  Full stop.

Sports’ triumphs, often depicted in movies, can lift a country during a time of need (Jim Braddock, The Cinderella Man, Seabiscuit in Seabiscuit), support civil rights (Mohammad Ali, Ali) embody the morals of a people (the 1980 U.S. hockey team defeating the Soviets at the height of the Cold War, Miracle), reinforce womens’ struggle for equality (Penny Chenery, Secretariat)really, do any number of things. Including uniting a group of people, and teaching us to believe.  Because sports exist in black and white, as so little else does in our ever-evolving culture, and in times of trial, or worry, having answers gives people security.  Sports give people hope.

Sixty minutes.  One team wins, one team loses.  And that depends on the level of performance and strategy during those constantly ticking seconds.  Trust me, after this past Super Bowl, I’m intimately familiar with how important those 60 minutes are.

Nine innings. Eighteen holes.  Mental toughness.  Physical skill.



At the end, the score says what you accomplished, and it’s either good enough, or it’s not.  There is no middle ground.  It’s refreshing.  It’s a relief.  There’s a finality that is comforting to sports.

I am a big fan.  Clearly!

That’s why it’s such a bummer I’m not better at them!  However, Shaun T. and I once again had a fairly successful workout.  It was the “bad workout” (aka, the one the always summons the Doozer)and not only did the Doozer not arrive, but I felt really good about my progress.  Truth be told, I’m nervous to admit that – for fear that tomorrow, I will crash and burn.  Ah well, we will see.

I feel it's important that you all meet Shaun T., too. Say hello.

He’s smilin’ because he loves it! (If you ever endeavor to do the workouts, you’ll find that pretty funny).

Last night’s WeHangsDay was a doozy.  Our friends’ surprised John with a bag full of great BBQin’ loot to celebrate his 30th.  I’m a little jealous, I have to admit!  And dinner was great ~ pork tenderloin on the grill, mango salsa with a kick, and mushrooms (need I say more… really!), tomatoes, zucchini (mmmm….) and cauliflower on the grill.  Yum.  And … pretty good for a person, if I do say so myself!  We also enjoyed some very delightful vino (keep an eye out for it on ‘in vino e verita’).  All in all, a slice of perfection.  Thank you, Man Cave.  😀

Also, they brought me back a present I have to share as soon as the camera is charged.  Everyone, please wait with baited to breath to meet Jorge Dos.  Adventures to follow.  😉

Tonight, because I’m a socializing diva (ha!), our neighbors came down to dine.  We served white wine (obv!), baked salmon with an avocado cream sauce (told you I can’t resist that little green fruit), fresh broccoli from our landlords’ garden (totally flavorful ~ muchas gracias to our lovely land-people!), and little red baby new potatoes boiled and served with a drizzle of EVOO, salt and pepper.  Here’s how I did it ~

~ First, I filled a saucepan with water and added the potatoes (baby red bliss).  I brought the water to a slow boil, and let them cook happily away while I composed the rest of the dish.  I checked on them periodically, and when they were soft (I tested by poking with a pointy knife), I pulled them off the burner and let them sit.

Meanwhile …

~ I separated the huge head of broccoli into bite size pieces, and then put them on a foil covered cookie sheet, sprinkled a little sea salt and EVOO and then popped them into the oven which was preheated to 375 for about seven minutes (note: when the broccoli starts to make audible noise from sizzling, it’s done  ~ there were some crispy bits, but that added to the deliciousness).

~ Next, my fresh salmon filets.  I seasoned with salt and pepper and a little white wine.  Then, I baked them at 375 for about twelve minutes ~ the flesh had turned a nice light pink color, but the fish was firm to the touch.

~ While the fish cooked in the oven, I quartered two avocados, and with a whisk, smashed them up with two dollops of mayonnaise, some S & P, and a splash of soy sauce.  Pretty much guacamole ~ only this time, I had a heavier hand with the mayo.

~ When the salmon was plated, and the avocado cream sauce plopped on top, I drained the potatoes, and drizzled them with EVOO, salt and pepper and some parsley flakes (green is such a lovely color … oh wait, that’s right, it is my favorite!).

I also braved making angel food cake to serve strawberry shortcake (for John’s b-day I used store bought ‘dessert cups’ and I was not a fan).  Even angel food cake from a box is challenging.  Just FYI.

my teeny work station

Either way, it was pretty good (sans burnt bottom).

A triumph Mrs. Cratchit! A triumph! (I will use this many times, so it’s probably a good thing to advise that this expression will make frequent appearances).

I love dinner parties.  If only I could afford to entertain every day …. Ahhh.


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