Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Solar Panel Roadways

Please watch this slick, hip video. This concept is incredible:  To have roads set with solar panels which will spur the creation of a new industry allowing our country to move towards a self sustaining future away from oil, natural gas, and coal.  I watched this video several weeks ago and wanted to share my thoughts and concerns.



I would love to see it happen but I feel it would take such large scale investment by the government. It would create thousands of jobs but the initial investment would have to be incredible. And although it is a great idea, it gives no specifics in terms of start up costs or total costs on the large scale. One has to remember though that most of the great inventions started small through prototypes by someone with an idea, passion, resilience, determination, and focus.




I am concerned though, with the resulting future effect on the construction and infrastructure industry.  Yes, we would be creating a new industry but we would also be ending another. Families with breadwinners who have worked in not only these industries but also for oil, natural gas, and coal companies for generations would be severely impacted. How would their livelihoods be affected by this new industry? Would they be trained to compete in the new one?

The Solar Roadways campaign on Indiegogo.com (link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways ) ended on June 20, 2014 with over $2,200,000.00 raised. If you are interested in learning more beyond the videos and information presented, it seems like they are readily accessible. I wish them the best of luck. It is such a great idea and I am glad to see they are getting financial support for research. Our country needs to start thinking outside the box for our future energy needs.


Friday, June 20, 2014

London Broil

A nice cut of meat!
Marinade used was Lawry's Steak & Chop
This blog post is not so much about one specific recipe as it is a memory of a favorite family meal. London Broil was a special "staple" within my family. We had it at least once a month. Mom and Dad rarely bought steak but they did treat us to London Broil.

Mom would season it up and pop it into the oven. I remember Dad taking it out, letting it rest, and then slicing it up on our large wooden cutting board with the longest knife we owned. He would slice it so very thin, the more tasty rarer pieces in the center. We three kids would fight for the crunchy charred ends. Sometimes, he would sneak us a piece before we sat down to eat.

YUM! Came out perfect!
I use several different approaches to seasoning my London Broil. At the very least, you should always salt and pepper the meat to enhance the flavor. Sometimes I use a homemade or store bought seasoning rub. Other times, if I don't have too much time, I will use a quick marinade such as Lawry's Steak & Chop 30 minute marinade. I also like the flavor of marinating it for a couple hours just with a robust Italian dressing.

Lastly, if I am feeling adventurous, I will make up a marinade with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, onions, and various seasonings including salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Sometimes I add in a bit of mustard to spice it up. There are no specific amounts of each, I just eyeball it. After poking some holes in the meat on each side, I then coat it completely with the mixed marinade and spices and let it marinate in the fridge for several hours. 

***Bloggers note: I normally use a 2-3 pound London Broil.
London Broil cooked medium, not too shabby!

When I am ready to cook, I cover my broiler pan with aluminum foil for an easy clean up.  Preheat the oven on high broil for about 10 minutes with the rack in the middle. Once heated, place the broiler pan in the middle rack and cook for 7-8 minutes. Flip the meat, brush the top with a little more marinade if you have it and continue to cook for less than 8 minutes for rare, 8-10 for medium rare, and 10-11 for medium. If you cook it for anything longer than that, the London Broil may come out medium well to well done. And remember, the longer it cooks, the less tender it will be!

When the cooking time is up, take out the London Broil and allow it to rest for at least 5 and preferably 10 minutes. This is very important as it allows the juices to be evenly redistributed throughout the meat. With the sharpest knife you have, slice very thin at an angle against the grain. This is done because if you slice it with the grain, it will result in long stringy muscle fibers making for a tough chewy London Broil. Slice it against the grain and it will be far more tender.

As you can see, London Broil is actually very easy to cook. Just don't overcook it, no one likes to chew on shoe leather. So what's left? Don't forget to pair your London Broil a veggie and a potato as Mom taught you.  And ah yes, don't forget a nice glass of your favorite red wine.



Saturday, June 14, 2014

Easy Parmesan Bread Recipe

Ingredients are ready!
My Mom's pasta sauce could not be beat. Unfortunately she did not create a recipe card for it, but every time she made it, it came out incredible. It was always a favorite requested by us kids for special occasions like our birthdays. And like a truly good pasta sauce, the spaghetti leftovers were even better the next day. I remember waking up on a Saturday morning as a teenager with my brother Adam and sneaking a spaghetti breakfast.  I have tried to replicate my Mom's sauce and it comes out good but never seems to be like hers. I just don't have a jar of "made with Mom's love" lyin' around!

Just waitin' for the oven to heat up.
We always had a loaf of crusty bread with the pasta. She would heat it up in the oven, then slice it up, plop it in a wicker basket covered with a cloth napkin and onto the table it went. Mom found THIS particular recipe in her later years and swore by it as an easy tasty recipe for Parmesan bread.

I made a pasta dinner the other night and finally made the recipe for the blog project. The bread was crispy crusty good with melted cheese and seasonings on top. I couldn't have just eaten that for dinner! Afterwards, I had mentioned to John that I wondered why Mom hadn't made this recipe when she had us over for dinner. He stated that he specifically remembered her making this for us and that I was just being dopey. After that, I felt better about it, but kinda dopey nonetheless.

Sooo good!

Parmesan Bread by Abby Deeds

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup soft margarine
1/2 tspn Italian seasoning (I used way more than this because I love these herbs. I used 2 tspns.)
1 loaf of French or Italian bread, cut in half, cut lengthwise, so that you have 4 pieces. (I picked Italian bread because according to John it would be sacrilegious to use French bread with Italian seasoning.)

Heat oven to 400'F.
Mix cheese, room temperature margarine, and Italian seasoning.
Spread on bread.
Place on cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10  minutes or until golden brown.
Sliced and serve.

Variation:  add minced garlic.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Victorian Poems Found

Butler's New American Practical Arithmetic
I seem to be going through a phase of where papers are literally falling out of books. Why can't it be hundred dollar bills? Heck, I'd take tens or twenties at this point. If you remember, just the other week a suicide note fell out of a vintage book that John had bought me and I wrote a blog about it: http://frazzledatforty.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-suicide-note-from-angie.html .

Well last week, John had bought a raggedy 1881 arithmetic book at a yard sale. We were looking at it trying to decide whether to keep it or sell it and out fell two Victorian era poems. It's such a cool experience when something unexpected like this happens. (Although I am still uneasy about the suicide note falling out of the other book.)  

Two lost poems found. 

The poems are not long, just four lines each. They are sweet, but honestly nothing spectacular. Though this doesn't diminish their beauty from a bygone era. The paper is yellowed, and each written in pen and ink. John and I estimated their age to be early Victorian based on the writing style and look of the paper. We believe they were written by a lady as they are reminiscent of the small poems women wrote for pleasure in their free time.

Who was the writer of these short gems? They must have been of some value and meaning for whomever wrote them, tucked them away for safekeeping.  As with the note from the earlier blog, I felt obligated to share them lest they be lost and never seen again.


"February's Garden"

Her garden, February plants
In beds, like brilliants bars,
Upon a field of fadeless blue,
She sows bright stars.


"Christmas Birds"

Dear little birdies, on dear little wings
Hop about chirping, such dear little things
We can't sing carols I just heard one day
But don't we look like Christmas
This Christmas day.

*Bloggers note:  The word "like" before Christmas was crossed off with pencil at a later time. I opted to include it.




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wisdom from a Frazzled 44 Year Old

"Waiter, there's a fly in my glass, no there really is!"
I am turning 44 today. Multiply that by two, you get 88. When I turned 40, I figured I was at the halfway point of life til 80. I think 88 is one of the last reasonable ages I could live to, so technically I am at or over that halfway mark. Getting older is an eye opening experience as you realize that time is limited. So G-d damnit, you might as well start enjoying things while you are here and start having some fun!

Getting older also means taking care of yourself. When we were younger, it seemed that most of us worked out to look good. We felt invincible, immortal. As you get older, health issues crop up. So these days, working out to be healthy is just as important as looking good. And a shit load of eye creams help to.

Remember when we used to think how strange it was when our parents were in their 40's? I thought they were so ... OLD (shudder). And here I am, 44.  Little did I know that I would be so satisfied at this age. You develop a sense of calm. No more 20 or 30 something drama. No offense to to my younger friends but things seem to be clearer the older you get.

I would love to look younger but I have earned each of these grey hairs and battle scars. They represent the wisdom gained. Give me younger looks but I never wanna be a 20 year old kid again.  I wish there were a pill for the looks of a 20 year old coupled with the wisdom of a 40 year old. That would be just perfect.

I thought this week about what advice I would want to pass on to others as I enter my mid 40's. Not to bore you but I hope you find some of it enlightening. Here are some of the things I have learned and practice in no particular order:

Find a couple of people that you can really laugh with and laugh often. And screw those so called laugh lines. Those are wrinkles that I want.  One of my proudest feats is that I can make my sister laugh so hard she runs for the bathroom and I am proud of that.  (Sorry big sis, LOL.)
"So, as I was saying ..."

Invest in family and close friends.  That's where it's at, kids.

Learn about your family history, it's fascinating.

Try to find someone special to spend your life with. It makes it so much more worthwhile.

Try new things: sports, food, drink, just different experiences each week!  I know it is so cliche' but "Get out and live a little!"

Take funny photos of yourself.

Don't sweat the small stuff. Another cliche' saying I used to loathe but it is so true. Someone running late doesn't ruin the evening. If you overcook the brownies, move on. "Put the lawn off until tomorrow. Enjoy life today." -Abby Deeds (my mother)

Dance and sing. Even if you are horrible at both. I am awesome at ONE of them.  Just sayin'.

Be self-deprecating and be able to laugh at yourself.  HELLO?  Have you read my embarrassing blogs?

Don't take yourself seriously.  I am a goofball through and through. It keeps me young.  I am (THANK G-D) still getting told I look in my mid thirties. I will take it!  I will take looking 39!

See the world, or at least your state or country. I am still amazed that I meet people who have not traveled outside of their hometown or county.   There is just so much of the world to see.

Asking directions.
Tell your siblings, your parents, your kids, your spouse or significant other, and your friends that you love them often.  It's not creepy. Trust me. They need to hear it.

Focus on fostering close friendships with a couple of friends rather than trying to be close friends with everyone. I am finally learning this.  Although I love all of you!! ... (read my blog)

Pay good deeds forward, practice mitzvahs. Google it my Gentile friends.

Find G-d or a higher power to help give you strength.

Follow your dreams.

Everything in moderation ... except smoking. You need to stop that ... NOW.

Read often, I don't care what:  magazines, books, journals, Penthouse Forum. Just make sure you exercise that MENTAL muscle.

Get a pet. It will reduce stress

Get a plant and try and keep it alive. It will reduce stress.  (My sister found bamboo finally. She can't kill it.)

Get a signature drink, it will reduce stress.  I love a good gin and tonic.

Saving shopping malls with a friend, one retail shop at a time.
Stand up for yourself and what you  believe in.

Enjoy nature, the arts, museums, food, drink, live music, and sex ... or at least 6 out of the 7, your choice.

Get a hobby and I don't mean basket-weaving.

Enjoy old movies and listen to the music you grew up with.  It will take you back and smile.

Now growing older does not mean you outgrow bad habits. I know I am snarky and sarcastic. I know I talk loud. I know I sometimes interrupt. I sometimes think I am hilarious and then realize I am not. I tend to monopolize conversations. I am overly moody. I AM trying to get a handle of these bad habits and think I will have each of them under control by the time I reach 88.