Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's what's inside that counts

Sometimes a hamburger is just a hamburger - your basic weeknight meal from ground meat seared to your personal preference of doneness placed on a bun and served with sides.  And that's pretty much what I served for last night's meal.  Sort of.  I'd like to say that the meat was something more exotic than that of the bovine variety in the 85/15 fat range (any more and it's greasy any less and the burgers are dry IMHO) but it was indeed cow.  I wanted to try something a little fun though so after adding some seasoned salt I took half of one patty and made it flat and took a slice of cheese and folded it into a small pillow and stuck it in the middle and then from the other half of the ball of meat I made another flat patty for a top - basically sandwiching the cheese inside and then smooshed the edges down so the cheese wouldn't ooze out.  I know this is certainly not a novel idea, but it was pretty cool for the kids to see.  One point I'd make is that pan frying seemed to work better at keeping the cheese inside rather than the George Foreman (it oozed). 

I made Pretzel Buns to serve it on

NOW one point on this - they are a major PITA!  Lot's of fussing and futzing but hey, they were really good (so I heard - again the no wheat thing!)

I have a great breadmaker so I used it for the dough part most of the way. 
1 1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 T of warm milk
4 cups of flour
1 package of yeast

let the machine work for at least 30 minutes set to dough cycle

cut your blob into 12 equal balls and roll out onto about 2 oiled cookie sheets then oil up some plastic to cover and then cover with a towel.  Let them rise again in a warm place.  About 30 minutes or a little more.    Heat up a big pot with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil with 1/2 cup baking soda.  Take the buns - only a couple at a time and boil for about a minute - turning them with a slotted spoon.  When they are all done and well drained - REGREASE your cookie sheet and put them on this pan and salt with kosher or sea salt and bake at 350 until they look done (about 8-10 minutes but your mileage may vary).  DO not over bake them - they aren't as good.

I made baked homemade potato chips (thinly slice potatoes on a mandolin -  soak in water  - drain and bake at 400 until crisp)

Salad and you are set to eat!  I ate my stuffed avocado burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf and as per normal made a huge slippery mess of it - but it was worth it!  Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

And God said let there be . . . .

Okay so I don't even remotely connect myself with the big YHWH but there is just something in creating out of seeming nothing that is so so satisfying.  Making dinner.  Something yummy and belly filling and salivation inducing out of mere ingredients that makes me feel superhuman at times.  AND MOM SAID LET THERE BE DINNER AND IT WAS GOOD!!!! 

okay down off the cloud now.  but really it's like that at times.  Only with LOUD music, wine and YES blood, sweat and sometimes tears.  Dinner doesn't just pop out of my ass (though nights I really would like that - okay maybe not the ass part unless it lifted and liposuction and de-stretch marked a bit) it's work folks!  Thank YHWH that I'm not a 40 hrs plus a week mom!  Okay so my work is sporadic and only nights and weekends, but feeding is feeding.  It's gotta happen unless you are pulling the super lazy night and doing the frozen pizza deal.  So tonight was CREATION!!!  I started with a bit of an inspiration and did the improvisational JAZZ all over it. 

Tonight's menu was as follows:
Jazz casserole - that's lame how about Miles Meat? -

1 chopped bell pepper
1 chopped onion
1 bulb garlic chopped (ie 10 cloves - yeah a lot)
1 huge splash of evoo
brown that all nicely and remove
1lb ground turkey or beef (I did turkey)
brown in the pan that had the veg
remove to a casserole dish where you put half the meat and half the veg
make a roux in the pan with 1/2 stick butter (you could do evoo) a sprinkle of flour whisk like mad and 1 cup HOT milk.  when this thickens - add on top of the meat and veg casserole dish. 
Add some cheese
then other half of meat and other half of veg and then top with cheese.  Nuke for 3 minutes to melt cheese.

Crazy zucchini and chili sauce

take a green zucchini and veggie peeler and make peeling strips into a pan - do the whole freakin thing.  Chop some mushrooms, celery, onion peppers - whatever you have into this pan with a bit of oil.  steam, cook fry away - when it's about 10 minutes into it dump sweet spring roll chili sauce (about a cup) into the pan and cook for at least 10 more minutes.  Serve with casserole above!  It really was good.

Stuffed acorn squash

8 oz mushrooms chopped
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped tomato
3 smashed garlic cloves
1 cup celery
dash of salt and pepper
fry up in a bit of evoo (extra virgin olive oil)

1/2 cup of white rice (cook in a cup of water if you don't have any already cooked)

in the mean time take an acorn squash and stab it with a knife - yes cruel but necessary.  Nuke for at least 6 minutes.
when mushrooms are done split squash and scoop seeds out.  mix up mushrooms mix and rice and 1 cup parm.  Put half squash into casserole dish and fill with mix - NO IT WON"T FIT - so let it spill out and over.  Top with red pepper flakes and more parm and Nuke for about 5 minutes. 

Enjoy.  This is one meal that uses the microwave a lot.  While I don't really like it - it allows me to do dishes before dinner - thus saving the after math.  Just try it - experiment - though mere men can't taste the nectar of the gods you never know what you can do!  Maybe the stars will align and it will all be good.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Epic Fail? or not.

For me, cooking is more than just a full belly.  More than just happy faces on the family and friends.  And food is also a HUGE can of worms and they may or may not taste good.  I love to cook for people - any people who will indulge my experiments.  My ex was not so big on those experiements.  Today, I'm a different girlie and a very very different chef.  I actually know a thing or two after all my trial and errors - and just learning to trust my gut was the biggest!  But honestly tell me how many times it took to make the light bulb?  It's in the 1000's that dear Edison experimented!  For me it's not the light bulb - it's FRIED CHICKEN

Okay so I'm in the South.  The Northern South but it's still THE South.  I Live here.  They have accents and all.  It's the south!!!  I'm in heaven.  Cheap chicken to experiment with.  One batch was soaked in buttermilk ALL DAMN NIGHT and another batch in pineapple, cilantro & coconut milk.  Okay so I won't share nasty details of the not pretty pot + oil okay a lot of oil + heat thing (let alone the grease smell that I swear won't ever come out of my HAIR) ..  Let's just say I need a better ventilation system and cast iron.  That's all there is.  End of story - Sadly I have no recipe to share but no one died of salmonella poisoning either.  I am nothing if not responsible.  Undercooked chicken is not cool!  No one ate bad chicken but I'm not satisfied enough with the recipe to share AGAIN.

It did end up working okay, but not to my liking.  It wasn't "hmmmm, I'd totally do this again," but more like -  "Dear LORD in Heaven this sucked and I wouldn't do this again if a Popeye's was in driving range."  BUT my dear Hubby assures me it was good fried chicken. Again the getting laid bias - but well I actually tried it (minus the skin) and it was actually pretty good.  So I can make grits and fried chicken.  Holy hell - I'm almost Southern!!!!  Um well, I think we actually always knew I was a closet case.  Just never knew which closet.  Now we know.

I will actually share a recipe when I know it's easy.  And I can explain it.  In English.  Though my Spanish is getting better. Como no?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Some like it HOT!!!

Okay I am a girl at times (other times I am a WOOO - man!) AND WHEN a girl -  I tease.  Calamari and shrimp are for another day and another budget.  I promise :D  TO-day and today's dollars are on chicken.

Can I just jump in here and say my freakin fingers are burning?  Yes - actually burning.  Because I am a dumb ass.  I know all the rules I know how to handle hot peppers - but do I listen?  Apparently not.  OMG my hands are on fire.  There's a reason capsasian is a controlled substance.  It will hurt you.  I am glad I'm not a guy and have to touch parts to pee.  It wouldn't be pretty.

OKAY now.  So tonight we are having "Chicken with 40 garlic cloves shoved up it's private parts" - yeah I cleaned it up for the internet.  And pineapple salsa that will "burn your freakin hands off if you are dumb!" 

So the drill is to find a decent chicken.  This really requires a good free range or good quality chicken in the 4 - 6 lb range.  I'm not usually a chicken prude but when you are doing something that highlights the chicken more than the ingredients you need something that lived a fairly clean life.  Preheat the oven to 400.  Take said carcass and wash it - okay DUH should be understood but please.  WAAAAASSSHH the heck out of it.  and then do as follows.  IF you have a beer can chicken cooker get it out.  IF not.  Get out the center of your angel food cake pan or springform pan or if none of them are in your house get a can - soda, beer, SOUP CAN - WHATEVER and empty it.  I put my chicken on a spring form cake pan center.  IN a roaster.  I put a soup can up the center.  I really hope I'm not confusing the hell out of you - if so ping me and I'll fix it in person.  But in the soup can I put 2 cups of white wine and 20 cloves of garlic (okay so 2 cups of wine don"t actually fit but the rest just became sauce.  In the roaster around the chicken that is standing on it's butt upright - looking all - "hey, I'm tough" I added mushrooms, more garlic (like 2 full bulbs - about 20 cloves), chopped celery, onions, zucchini,  carrots, and some water.  I salted and olive oiled the standing bird a bit and then stuck it in the oven.  Peek occasionally but 1 and a half hours were enough for this bad bird. 

for the pineapple salsa - I served this with rice and torilla chips
1/2 onion
1/2 can chopped pineapple - chopped finer
1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers chopped fine (gloves are amazing for the intelligent cook)
1 chopped tomato
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 t salt
let this brew sit a bit and then enjoy.

when the chicken is done take it from it's perch and rest a bit.  Don't ever cut into hot meat right away.  Resting will ensure good flavor and juiciness.  But what's happy in the roaster can be turned into gravy.  Get the veg out carefully and then set the roaster on the stove and just put a tad of corn starch into it and wisk and then add some water - more than you think - still wisking away.  it WILL thicken.  after about 3 minutes it should be lovely thick brown and yummy.  turn off the heat and have some dinner.  I made instant mashed potatoes and fresh snapped green beans to augment the chicken.  Enjoy.  The salsa was hot.  is hot.  my hands are hot.  hmmmm.  Roger . . . .  . . .

Friday, September 24, 2010

kiss my *&%$

Okay that actually was GRITS.  Remember Mel's Diner of the 80's TV fame.  Flo, saying "Kiss my Grits!"  In that high pitched Texan Drawl.  That - to me was the E - PIT- ome of the SOUTH!  Well now, I had me some grits.  Me, a northern girl.  Me.   And they came from my own personal hand (or pan as it were).

I lived with a real live southern lady (I won't call her a belle cuz she'd punch me :D) for a number of years and studied her profusely - so I think I had the SOUTHERN thing in hand.  But Grits, they eluded me.  Until I moved here.  Virginia that is. Wisconsin - via (illannoying) to Virginia.  and suddenly - I CAN make me some grits!  No capitol letters needed.  I can make them.  Now, maybe baby don't have much back - but she can cook!!!  umhmmm!  (sorry I work with some sweet sistas who love me up some.) 

Okay really it's another language.  here.  it is.  ifs yous in - yous in.  I did learned how to speak efficiently and properly to THE BACK OF THE F"N ROOM!  ask anyone in my way  - I got some lungs - but here there is a protocol and form and it's respected.  I get respect.  Finally - I get earned respect.  But it took the south to teach me. 

It's complicated here.  You want to understand our f'd up country? Come live here.  Come here with an open mind and open to issues.  You will be rocked.  You think politics is cut and dried? just a little "he said/he said?"  Live here.  You think cultural differences are easy? - again live where YOU are the minority in your own freakin country!!!  It will blow your mind!  We are not living in Mexico, or Korea but most folks here speak both Korean or some level of both Spanish and Mandarin or Korean dialect.  Do you?.  YES ENGISH should be the first language spoken here.  But IT"S NOT!!!  Reality -  all you Hispanic haters.  They out number us and shocker here - THEY ARE BILINGUAL!!!  Are you?  didn't think so!

Sorry didn't mean to bust your cool.  It's good.  That is really how the south rolls.  They are cool (except when today it was 103 - yup it's Sept. 24)  I like it here because my nature is here.  I feel I was meant to be here.  I never felt that way ever before.  I was born in WI - loved Texas and Key West but VA makes me feel good.  VA feels more "home" than Wisconsin ever did.  Oh Maybe a move to Hawaii is in order . . . . okay kidding - no one would ever visit then . .. . oh wait? it's HI we'd never get them to LEAVE!  Okay SORRY back on task.

The cooking - so I made this Coconut dessert that frankly underwhelmed me.  I need to play and tweek more.  Roger (he'd eat a boot if I said it was tasty) can't be my guinea pig.  It was gluten free but not lactose.  Thank God for Lactaid.  I will try again tomorrow.  I hate sharing my failures but it can't all be good (heck even Mel burnt things now and then!)   I experiment because I love it.  Tomorrow will be better.  And it will involve calamari and shrimp.  Yes it will by goodness.  Yes it will.  No grits though.  They were good.  But not that good.  I'm northern by birth and grits are - well, southern.  and corn is one thing I eat on the cob. peace out.

So can a Northern Girl make Grits? Hell yah.  It's all in the attitude.  And butter and stirring.  Tell me it's not ALL in the butter and stirring!!!!  cuz it is.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's all about SEX!

Yes, yes it is.  Okay before you shield your innocent - or in the case of anyone named Richard - not so innocent eyes - it is all about sex.  I have been clearly watching too many House reruns cuz "golly did you notice that slight misdirect as I lured you in" as Hugh would have said.  Tonight it was all about sex.  Female.  I worked tonight at the Community Center and if you really believe that the world was just some billion year old random chance experiment by monkeys and a typewriter you really are an idiot and deserve to endure a life in perpetual blindness and bitterness (oh sounds like someone I am related to) "don't worry I'm praying for your sorry butt!" but the collision of estrogen, God and a very very misguided 24 yr old was NOT my dear friends random chance.  It was in fact . . . wait for it . . . . GOD.  Who created sex and there we have it - back to the beginning.  Where there actually was a garden and two perfect people before it literally all went to hell.  okay you get it.   So tonight at work was something amazing.  Women of faith (I do really hate that cliche but it fits here okay) giving life experience of the best kind (you know the dirt on what really goes on when you hit the ripe old age of 40 and have some junk to account for) telling her straight on.  It's going to be a hard road for her and she already has two children.  God is good and that may be all the time but stupid is as . . . . and we all know life is hard but it's harder when you are - that's right.  stupid.  Her choices.  I got to share some stuff.  And it meant something.  My experiences meant something.  AND here's where it gets deep.  My sharing was not to change her because she's going to make her own choices.  I shared because I can.  And really I like this girl.  Misguided - seriously seriously misguided.  But again WAIT FOR IT . . . not my personal problem.  She's on my prayer list - but I don't own her.  WHEW!  Hey Kristen - maybe there's hope for my Boundary Issues after all. 

So where's the food?
Um well, since I worked tonight dinner was crap.  Frozen pizza and canned mini ravioli for the kids (yup I rock the Super MOM thing) I experimented and sadly it was crap too so really I won't share the garlic/red pepper/tofu SUPRISE with you since I could barely choke it down and I was starving.  I also thought about a "better than sex cake " since well I did sort of tease you with sex (course don't all women do that - you know - tease thing?) And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. . . . .  

did I just end with a Beatles quote?  yes - yes I did.  go figure.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Build your own or why Rachel Ray sucks!

Okay - I know that I tend toward the misogynist men in life.  My favorite TV  shows are House - and vintage CSI - LV only for Gill Grissom ( okay so Nick was eye candy but hey shoot me) so clearly I love men who hate women or at least some women.  Tony Bourdain hates RR.  I never really wanted to just because he did - until I actually watched her suck on TV and actually made some of her suckage (yes that is a noun). 

Mis en plaz

Money is tight in the Howard/Sullivan house so though I wanted to make good quality burgers on the grill I knew that I would not be able to afford the big ticket crazy sirloin and even then I could only do enough to feed everyone but me.  SO here I am the "thinking outside the box girl" ohhh RR said that chickpeas made great veggie burgers.  I'm in!  I love hummus - I love garlic - I freakin love pretty much every mediterranian (yeah I flunked spelling) thing on the earth but her burgers were HORRIBLE.  Horrible.  horrible.  INEDIBLE HORRIBLE.

Now dear reader don't dispair we had a back up plan - I am no one if not a girl with a plan and PLAN B -   so I ate the kosher hotdogs that Dear MIL had forgotten about and were about to perish (not a happy death I might add) and salad.  CERTAINLY I did not starve and if worse came to worse there was really good dinner from last night. 

But my kidsand family got really great burgers with all the fixings (pickle, onion, tomato, lettuce, garlic, mushrooms and about 45 kinds of mustard! etc) and if you think they used any of it you are smokin crack!!! LOL!  These are the kids who eat to live not vice versa.  I'm okay with that.

But suddenly MOM decided tonight DESPITE MONTHS OF THE CONTRARY that she doesn't like burgers though ever other time we have made them she's HOOVERED them like nothing.  I have decided that cyanide may fix me so that I don't have to be 93 and mess with people but not today.  Though I've heard it tastes of almond.  And that is good.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Almond eyes

What can I say about the almond that has not already been WIKI'd to death .  . .  All I know is there is a smell that puts me over the edge and almond is that smell.  When I had a hunch that Roger was going to ask me to marry him in Vegas on May 2, 2008 I knew that I needed a special dress that only I could sew and a scent that only Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab from California could produce.  It was called Eden and smelled of almond and vanilla and was heavenly and intoxicating.  Sugar and spice - okay you get it.  so almond is the thing to catch the conscience . . . well, king or not it's a great smell and taste.  Almonds are really diverse in recipes as far as they can be additives or the full on deal.  Roast them whole (cheaply) then dip in dark chocolate and they rock (um hello Kisses with almonds!) or put them in the classic green bean almondine they are so clique it hurts me.  But since my former sister in law was once all about the Amaretto (cheap crap not even DiSarrono) apparently it's a popular flavor. 

Tonight I made a smattering of dishes to please my 93 yr old Mother in Law.  She finally got that I was fixing several things at once because I could heat one oven and make 3 nights worth of dinners with the same chicken.  Don't know if garnered any respect but really I am not trying to earn respect from her since I don't deserve it from her.  She and I have not had the day to day for the number of years for me to get that and frankly I don't know if I even want that.  My former MIL is an incredible woman and I love her forever and always will.  When I die and/or Jesus blasts the earth with HIS awesomeness  I will get to sit in the courtyard and chit chat she will be one of the first folks I look up.  BUT my current MIL is someone on my prayer list since she and Jesus are not so tight.  I gave her a Bible and she pretty much chucked it back at me.  So anyone who reads this and likes to pray - add Mary Pabst.  She's not going to heaven as I and my Bible see it.  I'm glad I'm not the reader of hearts but Jesus is not her Savior nor Lord so you do the math. 

BUT that said - she's in my house for today and I'm praying for her old soul.  and other 40 yr old souls that fathered children I might know.  and other's named shall we say Rick who's with a lady named Sherri . . . oh Lord I pray for a lot of people :D

Chicken Casserole that's been changed since this recipe is from the freakin 40's
3c cooked chopped chicken breast
2 c thinly sliced celery (super thin - aka oblivion chop)
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds.  Toast them yourself when you preheat the oven - thank me for the smell later!)
2 T grated Onions
1 c mayo NOT MIRACLE WHIP trust me later
touch of lemon juice
1 chopped can of water chestnuts

mix this mess into a casserole
add into the top before adding to a 450 oven
1 cup cheddar cheese and 1 cup smooshed potato chips
have fun cuz it rocks
so bad for you but as a dinner it could be worse...  enjoy

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dessert - kicken it old school

Now I'm a simple girl - okay that's crap - I'm screwy as hell, but dessert has always perplexed me a bit.  I either completely overdo it and make something that could give all of Texas diabetes, or it's boring,  staid and frankly a bit plain.   So in the next few weeks I vow both to myself and others to find something that can excite the senses or just reawaken those we haven't paid much heed to lately.  But that's not what I'm doing today so there . .   

Nope today is my MIL Mary's "coffee cake"  This a vintage recipe filled with fat, fat -  oh and fat, but probably pretty tasty if I could try it.  I like the addition of cinnamon to the basic recipe.  I did not do the nuts because - well, I don't have any and my kids are not wild about them.

Oven to 350.

1 white cake mix
1 box vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sour cream

mix this like mad and pour HALF of the batter into a greased pan - personally I used a bundt pan.  Top this half with 1/4 sugar and 1 t cinnamon.  Spread this around a bit.  Pour the other half on top and add another 1/4 sugar and 1 t cinnamon.  bake until a cake tester (aka wooden skewer) comes clean - about 40 minutes.  Cool and either flip onto a nice cake plate or just grab a spoon and tuck in!!! 


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Ooooh and since I felt the drive to cook for something like 3 hours this evening - Yeah I'm a freak - It's a gift.  I also made this tapenade that reminded me of this little restaurant that my first husband and I frequented in Eagle, WI.  They served this amazing bread with this "stuff" on it that was a revelation to the uninitiated.  It was basically an olive "paste" and I use all these quotes because I don't actually have that recipe but I do have the stuff that I made tonight that frankly I would lick out of an old shoe (okay if the former owner had no fungus issues) if it was on the menu.  I kind of made it up from a taste memory - I'm working on memories right now - so here it is:

Tapenade Ala Memorio
3/4 a can of black olives - pits removed (the other 1/4 needs to be wrestled from the gapping maw of my daughter Trinity before she gets sick)
1/2 cup green olives with pimento ( I hate pimento unless finely chopped so feel free to get onion stuffed)
2 T of capers
2 T dijon mustard (feel free to drive up to any fancy car and ask for it)
2 big cloves of garlic
now - use that fancy slap chop that some jerk told you to buy - okay I use mine every freakin day - it's fantastic and no knuckles busted in the process.
That my friends is it - can be served on crusty bread (how I miss thee oh gluten) or just shoveled in via a celery stick - enjoy.  Really good with a warmed sandwich on sourdough - served on a hubcap is awesome!!!

Pears - of the Orient

If you never tried an Asian Pear or Apple Pear as some know them by - you are missing out on a yummy little number!  My dad has an Asian Pear tree in his yard in Wisconsin and on his last visit her to VA he blessed me with a bag full of not quite ripe pears!!!  Well - they are now ripe and ready for action.  I have plans to can the vast majority of them since I personally can't eat them fast enough and I hate to waste them on my kids except in small doses until I know they like them and won't just chuck them into the school's garbage can!!  Tonight though I am going to do a little something special for desert and see what it gets me :D 

Asian Pears in Cinnamon Honey sauce

I peeled and sliced fairly thickly 4 pears
These brown so fast once peeled so if you want to do this ahead you need to have an acid (lemon juice) or fruit fresh

The dip is yogurt about a cup (greek or regular plain yogurt you drained in cheesecloth overnight to remove the water)
1/4 honey
1 t good quality cinnamon
a dash of vanilla
mix like mad
before serving add a sprinkle of chopped almonds
dip away.  If the pears are wet the dip won't stick so dry slightly with papertowel.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

protect the young!!

Yeah - you might want to.  Okay - when don't you want to protect those less tainted by the stink of life?  really?  If you don't want to shield those lessor then yourself - seriously - get out of my air space because I have no use for you.  I don't limit this to age - intellect also factors in - but certainly on a very very sliding scale.  I am in the process of completely reinventing myself.  Not because I "don't know who I am" or any such complete whoo ha!  I am completely in touch with Miss K and know who and what she wants to be a happy healthy girl - and yes it involves sex and wine and rock and roll !!! oh and motorcycles are nice too :D muscles cars make me happy as well.  but really truly this is about doing our due diligence about our young.  I am truly sorry on this one folks - it's not sassy nor smarmy nor snarky - just really honest.  I was abused by a trusted family member and it really made a crazy train wreck of my life.  I went on and such but am a bit of a train wreck?  ummm yeah.  Did it make a big mess?  YUP - but do we move on - ??? hell yeah!  we move on and have kids and are way the hell smarter because of it.  There are creepy pedophiles around every damn bush and they look and act like normal joes because they are - but as someone who survived - they are not.  And I am so glad I am not God because there would be burning hot pokers that I could just throw at random.  Oh well - I know who did this to me and would never ever trust my child to anyone - even family.  Sad.  But.  I am the sadder but wiser girl.  to quote a show tune.  How apropos. of nothing. not a show tune.  but true.