Friday, February 6, 2015

Encyclopedia of Me - C (Stacy)


Photos courtesy of: Pixgood.com;
 therangeplace.forummotions.com; arts-stew.com;
harryconnickjr.com; pri.org; gateplay.com; eatingwell.com
Chicago/Peter Cetera – My all-time favorite band growing up. To this day, the sound of their brass section combining with their electric guitars and drums and Peter Cetera’s unique vocals can take me back and give me all kinds of warm and fuzzy 80s memories (I think Chicago 17 is the soundtrack of the 80s for many of us). I have always been a huge fan of voices with that quality that Peter Cetera’s has – a higher man’s voice that’s kind of raspy/kind of clear, and one you can totally pick out in group and recognize in about one note (other voices like this for me include Sting’s, Adam Levine’s, etc.). My mom used to call him “lockjaw” because of how he looks when he sings. Mark and I listened to a lot of Peter Cetera during our dating years and newlywed years especially. I introduced him to a lot of Peter Cetera’s stuff and he got all the CDs, so we have two copies of some of them. Our wedding video of pictures of us set to music has this song on it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRuhR5_wtUw) as well as a few others. The summer after my freshman year at college, I got to see Chicago in concert (post-Peter-Cetera-as-lead-singer) with my best friend growing up (Cathy!) and a friend of mine from high school. The crowd had such a mix of ages! There were older people there, middle aged people, and young people. This group has been around a long time and spans generations. I was hoarse the next day – we had a great time.

Harry Connick, Jr. – This is the other side of that tape that is the main soundtrack of our relationship. If Chicago is Side B, Harry Connick is side A. I may have introduced Mark to Peter Cetera, but Mark (and my freshman roommate in college) introduced me to Harry. Oh, Harry. Dreamy Harry. You should really read my introduction in this post here, because it sums up my early love of Harry quite well (http://sushiandpizza.blogspot.com/2010/05/i-love-harry.html). The soundtrack for When Harry Met Sally reminds me of our early dating years. Harry is another singer we listened to a lot while dating and as newlyweds. Truth is, we haven’t ever stopped listening to Harry (or Chicago and Peter Cetera). We own most of Harry’s albums (and there are a lot of them!) and we love them all for different reasons. While his big band stuff is my all-time favorite stuff he does (well, that, and his piano playing), I’m a huge fan of his funk album, “She.” Funny story. When I went to that concert in college (referenced in that link), I fully expected Harry in a suit leading a big band. When we walked out in black leather pants and a t-shirt, I thought it was a gag. Then they played funk all night. I had a really great time and tried not to focus on my slight feelings of disappointment at the lack of big band music. Funny how that album has grown to be one of my favorites. Mark has seen him in concert. I have seen him in concert. And we’ve seen him in concert together (at the Newport Jazz Festival). We’ve also met him! We all went to Bethlehem, PA for a book signing where he visited a local book shop and signed his Happy Elf book at Christmastime. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, but we were so excited to meet him and he was great with the kids – way more interested in talking to them than to us. Another song on our wedding video is “I Could Write a Book” by Harry Connick, Jr. (as referenced in our previous Encyclopedia of Me post). Love Harry!

John Cusack – There is a running joke that he is at the top of my laminated list (Friends reference) and Mike King has teased me that John Cusack is listed on there all 5 times. So many of my friends don’t get it, but I don’t care. I loooooove John Cusack. My heartthrob from the 80s. Yeah, yeah, I know. He wasn’t ever considered a “heartthrob” by traditional heartthrob standards. I know. But he’s my kind of cute. I’m not into the Channing Tatum types – to me, they’re the equivalents of the female Sophia Vergara types (interestingly enough, a type that Mark doesn’t find attractive either). It’s too . . . much, too on the nose. John Cusack is tall, dark, handsome (in my opinion). I love his character in Say Anything – so sweet and kind. Kind of geeky and awkward, but good. The best friend type, you know? I follow him on Facebook – he is crazy smart, involved, and an activist. I love that. He writes for the Huffington Post and is choosy about his movie roles. He backed away from being type cast as the romantic lead all the time and has done such a variety of things. He cares about films and he eschews the Hollywood lifestyle. He spends more of his time in Chicago than Hollywood and kind of always has. He loves his sports teams. He has an easy manner, a great voice, and a laid back personality. Wait? What’s this you say? Oh, so many qualities I list here are qualities my husband has? Why, yes, maybe that should say something – tall, dark, handsome, sweet, smart, politically active, a best friend, and passionate. Must be my type. :)

Catan (Settlers of Catan) – This is my favorite board game. I love playing it. I enjoy all the versions. I love getting together with friends to play it. I like that every time we play, it’s different. Just writing this has me wanting to play right now. I love the strategy of it. I love that it’s both competitive and cooperative. We’re big fans of tabletop gaming, especially European-style board games. This one is so cool, because the board is different every time. This and Ticket to Ride are two of the first of that style games that have gotten us into collecting and playing LOTS of these kinds of games. We watch Wil Wheaton’s “Tabletop” show. We play games together as a family. We play with friends. We do game nights. It’s no exaggeration to say that we play games quite often. Reading and writing are big around here. So are games. You know how Kate is always writing stories? Well, Max has been playing and designing games since the age of about 3 (not kidding). I have pictures of him as a toddler collecting parts of different toys and sets and creating games out of them with the various pieces. We love games and Catan is one of my very favorites.

Cookies – Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m more about salty treats than sweet ones. I don’t really have a sweet tooth and I much, much, much prefer savory food to desserts. In fact, I’m often frustrated at restaurants, because so many of them serve big, huge desserts and I mostly want a small taste of something sweet (I like that some places are now offering dessert “shooters” – a few bites in a small shot glass, much more my size). So I prefer food food. But if there’s a sweet treat that I really like, it’s cookies. To be fair, I also love donuts. But let’s focus on cookies. I grew up eating mostly store-bought cookies, my three favorites being Chips Ahoy (my very favorite), Oreos, and Nutter Butters. I didn’t grow up in a home where cookies were homemade. My mom is a great cook, but hasn’t ever enjoyed baking. I remember that once in a blue moon, she’d make homemade peanut butter cookies and they were really good, but that was a rarity. We were all about the store-bought cookies. I remember we had a lazy Susan in one of our cupboards where we’d keep our cereal boxes as well as our cookie jar. It is a cookie jar that our family continues to use today. My mom gave it to us when we got married and I love it. It has a screw-on top and it’s made of plastic. It’s OLD and has an avocado-green (or it was at one time anyway - it has faded) lid. The golden-line design on the front is mostly worn off, but we don’t care. It houses our cookies. We do a mix of store bought and homemade, though we mostly make our own cookies (I now prefer homemade to store bought). When I went to college and lived in apartments, I had roommates who would bake cookies and I was entranced. They always smelled so good and I was amazed at how delicious homemade cookies were, especially chocolate chip ones. After our freshman year of dating, Mark sent me MANY packages of homemade chocolate chip cookies. He knew I loved them, so he’d bake for me in California and package them, lined with paper towels, and mail them to me in Massachusetts. I loved getting them! At Christmas time, I love getting trays of lots of different kinds of homemade cookies – what a treat! Mmmm, homemade cookies. Kate has been baking most of our cookies for us since the age of about 11. I love when she gets in the mood to make cookies! Some of our favorites include Extraordinary Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips, and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Mmmmm.

Cooking – I really enjoy cooking. Mark enjoys it. Kate enjoys it. Max enjoys it. Quite honestly, most of the cooking that happens around here, happens as a group. We all help chop, saut√©, stir, cook, bake, set the table, etc. I think we’re quite a team! Between all of us, food gets made, the table gets set, and everyone thinks of things like seasonings, serving utensils, drinks, etc. It’s awesome. We like ethnic foods and we like to eat healthy, too. We’re not super strict about it or anything, but in general, we try to avoid preservatives, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, etc. We cook a variety of things, rather than the same old thing all the time. Most of our meals are not your typical. We rarely eat the same thing twice in a given few months (to clarify: we eat leftovers no problem – in fact, I *hate* food waste and “hate” is not a word I use lightly. It really bothers me to waste food. Mark dubs me “The Queen of Leftovers,” because I can take a variety of leftovers or little bits of food and create some brand new, totally different, delicious meal out of it all. So what I mean by this one is that we rarely cook the same thing twice in a few months’ time). We love to try new recipes and play with them. We love good food and get bored by “regular meals” – we hardly ever eat “normal” stuff like spaghetti, mac-n-cheese, meatloaf, etc. It’s not that we refuse to eat that stuff – it’s that we’d rather eat other stuff. We eat a wide variety of foods. We often eat vegetarian or seafood meals. We’re not opposed to eating meat, but we don’t eat much of it. We like to “eat the rainbow” (making sure to get a variety of natural colors in our diet- it helps you get variety and different vitamins). A few years ago, I gave Mark a surprise gift of an all-day cooking class with a professional Mexican chef and that was really fun. He and I took a cooking class together this past fall at a local kitchen gadget shop – we learned all about Indian cooking. We love our new house – the set up is such a joy for cooking! In fact, since moving here, we are cooking at home far more and eating out far less (in the farmhouse – the kitchen is the farthest room away from everything, whereas here it is open to the living room, and at the farmhouse, the kitchen would get VERY cold in the winter and VERY hot in the summer, often forcing us to eat in the living room, order in, or eat out). Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE to eat out, too. Probably one of our favorite hobbies - along with books and games - is eating out, but we do love to cook. We are very lucky that we get to eat all of our meals together (we have our own business and we homeschool). Our lunches are usually simple – quesadillas or lots of veggies and hummus or fruit smoothies or salads or green smoothies or soup and sandwiches. We participate in a CSA and use the organic veggies in our meals. We often use leftovers for our lunches, too. Just for a totally random example of how varied our foods can be: yesterday for dinner, we had a variety of new recipes and old standards on the table for dinner (think Bento Box): Edamame, sticky rice, browned, Thai-stuffed tofu (filled with veggies and spices like red cabbage, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, carrots, etc.), Korean potstickers (like mini egg rolls filled with cabbage, onions, tofu, spices, etc.), sushi, teriyaki sauce, sriracha sauce, cauliflower pakoras (Indian-style), and roasted carrot fries. I’m not saying that kind of meal is typical around here – but it’s typical in that it’s atypical: every day is different! Thankfully, no one is picky. We all love to try new foods! We all pitch in. When Mark’s really busy, I cook. When he’s really busy, I cook. We all help out. We play with spices. We make things up. Cooking is fun!

So, here are other C-words that I thought of but will throw in this additional paragraph, because that seems to be how I do these things. I love castles. Hat tip to Max for coming up with this one for me. In Portugal, one of my favorite activities was exploring and hiking Lisbon’s beautiful castles. Like I said in the first paragraph, my best friend growing up is Cathy. A quality I appreciate is compassion. I love getting comments on my blog. And we’re big fans around here of Calvin and Hobbes. We read it, we share it, we quote it, we’ve watched documentaries about Bill Watterson, Kate owns the entire collections, Max reads them all the time. Such a great comic! Oh comic! I love comedy. Sit-coms are my favorite kind of TV show. I love to laugh.

6 comments:

The Magic Violinist said...

John Cusack was so funny in "Say Anything." :) I'm curious to see him play other roles.

Crap, I forgot Catan! I guess I'll have to mention it when we do "s." :P

Ooh, "comments" is a good one! I should've put that one down.

Ha, all of us at least mentioned Calvin & Hobbes. ;)

Dr. Mark said...

You know what I love about your encyclopedia posts? I feel like I get a whole journey with each item. I hear why you picked the entry, and then a bunch of other details about tangential topics. I haven't read it yet, but I imagine that's a lot like Bill Bryson's At Home.

We have SO much to do, but now all I want to do is bake cookies and play Catan while listening to Chicago, Peter Cetera, and Harry, right before watching a Cusack flick. What have you done?!

Great post as always. It's fun to take a trip down memory lane each time you post. Another cool thing? Our experiences are increasingly shared the older we get. It may be an "oh duh" thought, but my Before Stacy time is shorter and shorter than my With Stacy time, and I love having so much in common.

Jimmy said...

Chips Ahoy! Always has been my favorite cookie. I love store bought cookies, too, and would choose them over homemade cookies. Nilla Wafers and Ginger Snaps would be on my list.

I guess I'm not a huge Peter Cetera fan, but his duet with Cher is good, even if it proves I'm old and sappy.

Boquinha said...

TMV, I loved watching that with you. And I love that we all love Calvin and Hobbes.

Mark, thanks for that comment! That's so nice. :) I love that we share experiences together. I love being us.

Jimmy, oooh, I am not a fan of ginger snaps. And old and sappy is good. :) No shame there.

Emily Foley said...

I don't love cookies unless they're warm from the oven.

Peter Cetera reminds me of my childhood, so much. My brothers and sisters blasting it on their walkman on drives to the cabin or Utah.

I like cooking when I don't have to. I'm so sick of making dinner. :)

Boquinha said...

Emily, I hear that. I get tired of making decisions about what to eat! Sometimes nothing sounds good!