Saturday, December 20, 2014

A San Francisco State of Mind

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers!

If you are a regular reader of "The Lam," you may notice that my posts have not been as frequent as usual.  It's not that my adventures have slowed down - as I have been to Houston, NYC, Budapest (twice!), Vienna, Bratislava and San Francisco in the past 2 1/2 months; it's that I have been steering my energy to short term goals.  

I started a rainbow striped girlie journal back in May 2013.  (The cover of the journal is so ridiculously more suited for a 6th grader than a woman of my "advanced years.")  For my mental health and stress level, I do my best when I write every day - it's like an unburdening and a soul lightener.  Whether it's a blog post, a heart felt note to a dear friend/loved one or a journal entry - I just do better spiritually and emotionally when I spend time writing.  

But since May 2013, I haven't been dedicating much time to journal entries and frankly I was tired to still be writing in the same darn rainbow striped girlie-looking journal for sooooo long.  I was determined that I would have the journal completely filled before 2015.  I would NOT be welcoming the new year still writing in this darn girlie journal.

So I set a goal for myself to finish writing in all the pages of the "never-ending journal" before 12/31/2014.  And then each day I wrote ... and wrote ... and wrote.  I will admit that some of the writing occurred while I was binge watching five seasons of "Friday Night Lights."  When I watched the first episode I thought "Why was this show so popular?  I'm bored.  I don't like football.  Blah blah."  But by the second show I was hooked and then the BINGE began.  

And on December 7, after many hours of writing and many episodes of "Friday Night Lights;" I finished that darn journal before my deadline.  Mission accomplished!

At the same time I was doing my "Million steps in 100 days challenge" - which I also completed and am very happy to have stay focused on my goal and met the challenge!  Another mission accomplished!  

One more area that I have been paying more attention to is my lack of reading.  I love to read but again it's another area that I have been neglecting.  I set a small, achievable goal of reading 12 books in 2014.  I have read 16 so far.  Bam!  Another goal met!

I suspect the year 2015 is going to be a continuation of setting short-term goals for myself, staying focused and achieving everything I set out for myself.  It may sound boring, but to me it is pretty exciting!  However it means less time working on LilyOnTheLam, so forgive me my lack of blog posts lately.  I have photos for about 200 blog posts but not a lot of time nor motivation to write them.  Perhaps in 2015?

I have had the great fortune to have spent some time in San Francisco lately for another project I am working on.  It is a place near and dear to my heart.  I spent a lot of time in Northern California in my early 20's due to having two relationships who lived there.  Had the real estate market prices not gone through the roof, I probably would have moved to San Francisco when I turned 25.  However instead I chose Los Angeles - because it was significantly cheaper and warmer. 

San Francisco has always held this optimistic, lovely, "young love" vibe due to the experiences I have had there in my oh so long ago youth.  It's magical to arrive in the city and still feel that sensation after so many many many years.  (I am 912 years old now, you know.)

This week has especially been "San Francisco on my mind." I had some extra time while I was in San Francisco, so I leisurely walked around the Haight - taking it all in (and I don't mean taking in the secondhand pot smoke - which was impossible not to inhale).  

This store in the Haight always makes me smile when I see it ... for purely egotistical reasons.

I enjoyed remembering the first time I walked around Haight-Ashbury and how "small town Middle America" I felt.  I am much more "worldly" now and yet there still is some level of touristy-commercialistic-anachronistic-otherworldly haze around the Haight that I still adore as if I still had wide, bright eyes.

I was also excited to see that one of my favorite NYC store "Kid Robot" has a store in San Francisco as well.

When I returned home to "my other city by the bay," Tampa Bay - I attended a concert featuring two of my favorite San Francisco bands-- Matt Nathanson and Train.  It was a nice way to end my San Francisco trip.  Mary Lambert and the East Coast Inspirational Singers also performed at the concert.  A fantastic concert.  I have seen Mary Lambert perform before, but it was my first time seeing East Coast Inspirational Singers - and they were FABULOUS.

All in all it's been a wonderful week.  As we approach this holiday season, I wish all the best of peace, joy and happiness to you all!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Happy Tuesday! You're Ugly!

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers:

I find Top Ten lists about cities to be somewhat random, arbitrary and usually incorrect in my humble opinion.  For instance, Tampa is supposed to be the number one city for singles in a certain age range.  But if I ask my single friends about this, they scoff ... the dating scene here is not the best ... and certainly not "number one."

But when I saw this article stating that Tampa residents are hotter than Orlando residents, I just had to laugh and say facetiously "Oh of course that is true."  It's easy to agree with some of the "proclamations."  

I have a lot of friends in Minneapolis and according to the article, Minneapolis people are even more attractive than Tampa people.  (Whaaaat?  Noooo way!)  

I expect I'll get some Christmas cards that say "Merry Christmas, it is empirically proven that we in Minneapolis are hotter than you ... and a Happy New Year!"    

Tis the season to brag!  I hope they at least send me a candy cane with their bragging.      

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Foiled By The Hungarians and Why Michelle Pfeiffer is An Alien

Hello My Wonderful LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers!

I am back!  I have been in Austria, Hungary and Slovakia - working, eating EVERY pastry in sight and carrying on conversations in part German, part Italian, part French, part Hungarian, part Russian and for some reason really broken English!

Between working and eating, I hopped a train and spent a day in Bratislava.  Being in Central Florida, it takes me a good five hours to leave the state - so watching 2 episodes of Scandal and 1 episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta on my iPad and I go from Budapest to Bratislava?  Sounds pretty good to me!  

By the way, my fellow passengers were intrigued as I watched Nene Leakes preparing for her Cirque Du Soleil Zumanity emcee role in Las Vegas.  I was like "People, Apollo Nida is being sentenced to jail!  I have to watch!  And why are you watching over my shoulder?"  (I could throw in a piece about why did Apollo get 8 years and Joe Giudice of Real Housewives of New Jersey get like half of that ... but I don't want to start a war with any Bravo TV reality fans!)

Anyway, reality TV watching aside ...  I am happy to be back on U.S. soil - and my 900 cats are happy I am home as well.  The first night I slept 10 hours straight without stirring.  I woke up to find myself completely surrounded by cats.  If I had slowly stood up there would have been a perfect body outline of me done in cats.  OH MY GOD:  "CSI: Cats" has been born!  Forensic kittens solving crimes!  Mid-season TV replacement Spring 2015.  Watch for it!

I actually tried to post on my blog from Hungary but my computer kept picking up Google: Magyarorszag (a.k.a. Google Hungary - Hungarians are actually known as Magyars, which I prefer name-wise.  There's something very Genghis Khan about it.)  Anyway Google kept turning my Blogger links into Hungarian and with a belly full of Palinka (Hungarian fruit brandy) and pastry, I just had no patience to be blogging in Hungarian!

So with an almost three week lag, I am BACK to blogging American-style.  No more foreign Googles, googling up my links!  

I have so much to write about - and let's be honest here, I still haven't written much about my LAST trip to Hungary.  Nor my trip to Minnesota before that.  I have been busy, people!  But I needed to "break the ice" and make sure I had some posts for November 2014.  Can't miss an entire month!

So I dedicate this first post back from Europe #2 to the blog Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies.  I do this because as I received 2 weeks worth of held mail, I had Entertainment Weekly's Reunion issue and this picture was inside ...

From Entertainment Weekly

A reunion photo for the cast of the movie The Fabulous Baker Boys - Beau and Jeff Bridges and of course Michelle Pfeiffer.  I dropped the magazine and said out loud to my 900 cats: "Good lord, how does Michelle Pfeiffer still look so good?  She has to be like 80 now.  What the hell?"  (OK she's 56 years old, but jeez she doesn't look it at all.  Is she killing young virgins and bathing in their blood?  Impressive!)

Which looking at the picture reminds me of the one and only time I have ever met Michelle Pfeiffer.  And by "meet" I mean sat 3 rows ahead of her at Baz Luhrmann's "La Boheme" on Broadway.  I was discreetly posting Facebook status updates before the show began when I kept noticing patrons popping up like Prairie Dogs with excited looks on their faces.  (Don't ask me why I capitalized prairie dog - it just seemed appropriate.)

Finally after the 800th Prairie Dog popped up, I turned around to see what everyone was staring at.  Three rows behind me (6th row) were Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, Bruce Springsteen and his wife Patty and David E. Kelley and his wife ... Michelle Pfeiffer - who had slunked down in her seat and was hiding behind her program.  (My spell check says slunked is not a word - well it is now.)

Now I loves me some Michelle Pfeiffer, but I wanted to say "Honey, you're sitting next to Bruce Springsteen and Steven Spielberg - there's no need to hide behind your program!  Not all of the eyes are on you!"  (Which by the way, Bruce Springsteen was standing up without a care in the world.  He might as well have held a sign that said "Hey, I'm Bruce.")  

But I have to say in Entertainment Weekly's reunion photo for The Fabulous Baker Boys - definitely all eyes are on Michelle ... just like they were for the movie (in my opinion!)  So maybe hiding behind her Playbill program keeps wrinkles from forming on her face.  Whatever you're doing Michelle, just keep doing it!  (Young virgins, beware!)

With winter approaching, it has actually become quite chilly in Tampa.  I am nursing two blisters on my right foot that I received from wearing super cute tall boots for 12 miles as I tromped around Slovakia.  (Yes, I sacrifice my feet for fashion.  I'm female!)  

And it rained yesterday in Tampa, so instead of going for a long walk to burn off all the European pastry calories-- I headed to the Casino and won $144 on The Walking Dead slots.  (I gave part to the Salvation Army, part to Publix's Thanksgiving feeding people in need campaign and I kept some of the winnings for myself because hey, I'm not a saint!)  

As I inhaled cartons' worth of second hand smoke in the casino, I felt like the klassiest dame in the joint!  Oh gambling and people in stretched out polyester, so glamourous!

Before I went on my latest European odyssey - I ran into a friend of a friend who was with some other people.  I was talking about my European and Asian work trips and one of the people I did not know looked at me and said, without sarcasm or bitchiness: "You are amazing and have a fascinating life!"  

As I try not to pop my blisters and am surrounded by snoozing, content cats; I laugh and say - "Yes, I am amazing and have a fascinating life!"

Thank you for stopping by, my amazing readers!

Friday, October 31, 2014

There's A Schweine in my Schnitzel: International Pig Week Continues! Clearwater, Florida

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers:

Happy Halloween!  Welcome to DAY FIVE - and the last installment of LilyOnTheLam's first ever INTERNATIONAL PIG WEEK.  I chose today's porcine-themed blog subject in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Vienna, Austria.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, from the Pierogi Grill & Deli in Clearwater, Florida, USA ... the Schweineschnitzel with Pierogi ...

Also known as pork Schnitzel with mushroom gravy with a side of caramelized onion topped pierogi.  

It is heaven with mushroom gravy.  Crispy, crusty, breaded pork cutlet in a savory, not too rich mushroom gravy with Pierogi Grill's awesome pierogi.  This is not a meal for one with a light appetite.  It is stick to your ribs all day and all night food.  I highly recommend you plow some fields before you have this dish!   

If you are a regular reader of LilyOnTheLam, you will know that I adore Pierogi Grill and Deli ... and not just because I am part Polish.  (Although maybe 72% because I am part Polish.)  I also love their Eastern European deli where you can find products you would not normally see on your American grocery shelves.  Such as:

Instant cappuccino mixes in hazelnut, rum, brandy and cherry flavors!  The next time I go to one of my fancy friends' houses and they ask me what I'd like to drink; I plan on turning my nose up and requesting "a brandy-flavored instant cappuccino, please."  

Then I plan on looking shocked, dismayed, disappointed and judgmental when they woefully admit that they don't have any.  

I will then hand them a map to Pierogi Grill & Deli and I will whisper "I can wait while you go buy some."  Then I will stare at them intently until they depart.  Friends are so much fun!

I read in a tour book that schnitzel came into being when "back in ye olden days," the rich would actually coat their meat with gold flakes.  (My sister and I ate our body weight in gold flake decorated pastries at the Leela Palace in New Delhi, India.  If you're ever looking for the most amazing hotel to stay at - check out the Leela Palace!)  

Eventually either people went poor or the poor wanted to imitate the rich and voila, we now coat our meat with bread crumbs instead of gold to make schnitzel.  

I have no idea if this is a true story or not, but I love the concept of it.  I have this vision of me sitting on top of a solid gold throne demanding that my pork cutlet be coated in gold!  
I've been known to have a little Marie Antoinette in me and not just because I am delusional and bound for a beheading.  

I can't think of a better way to end International Pig Week (and to celebrate my upcoming trip to Austria!) than with a quality schnitzel.  Is Pierogi Grill's schnitzel as good as ones I have had in Germany or Switzerland?  No.  But it's pretty decent for Florida.

If you're in Clearwater, Florida, check out the flavored instant cappuccinos and the schnitzel at Pierogi Grill!