Tales From A Hungry Life

November 24, 2016

10 Reasons to Be Grateful This Thanksgiving

by Maria Schulz

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Did you know that being grateful is actually good for you? There’s scientific proof that being grateful can have a dramatic impact on your life—keeping blood pressure low, making your immune system work better, and helping you get more sleep.

That’s good news, because Thanksgiving Day can come with its own stresses. Maybe you’re having a big crowd over and you have a million things to do. Or, maybe you’ll be a guest and some of the folks you’ll be seeing annoy the living daylights out of you. Plus, with all of the food being served, this holiday can wreak havoc on your health.

Everybody loves roast turkey

Everybody loves roast turkey

So…instead of focusing on the things that will drive us crazy today or make us fat, how about finding things to be grateful for? Here are some suggestions.

Family can be fun

Family can be fun

  1. Family

Sure, not everyone is blessed with the perfect family. But come to think of it, is ANYONE? Find me the perfect family and I’ll show you a pack of Yetis with the same last name. Sorry, folks—this mythical family doesn’t exist. We humans are imperfect and tend to get on each other’s nerves. Still, there are ways around this. Is your wacky, forgetful mom bringing her world famous mashed potatoes to the table? Be grateful. Is your annoying, messy, but somehow-still-lovable son home from college? Be grateful. Is Uncle Harry smoking his disgusting cigar outside—and keeping his shoes on his smelly feet inside? Be grateful. You get the idea.

Get out there

Get out there

  1. Friends

Some of us rely on the kindness of friends to make our holidays special. Maybe your family is a pack of psychos or they just live too far away to spend the day together. If you want to spend it alone, that’s great. However, if you are miserable because you feel you’ve been rejected by humankind on this day of thanks, accept an invitation to dinner with your stand-in family—your friends—or go help others at church, a soup kitchen, a nursing home, etc. Don’t just sit there like a Debbie Downer crying over your sad, tiny bird. Get out there and mix with people. You’ll be glad you did, even if those people are watching an awful lot of football.

Don't be that friend

Don’t be that friend

3. You woke up today! Hey, if that’s not a reason to be grateful, I don’t know what is. Be grateful that you’re up and about. Go participate in a local Turkey Trot. Go to church. Smile. Today is a gift. Treat it that way.

Run, run, run

Run, run, run

4. You’ve got all of your marbles. Metaphorically speaking, that is. And if you literally can’t find your pack of marbles, I’ve got good news for you: you can go online and score a big Black Friday deal on some new ones.

I've got a lot to be thankful for

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for

5. Your kids gave you one of those “I’m Grateful For” Turkeys with wonderful things written on all of the feathers. Somehow, you managed to score ahead of the dog, the iguana, and a pack of Legos. Be grateful.

6. When all the cooking and eating is done, you can watch football. Or the dog show. Or you can watch the parade while you cook. The point is, you can do whatever you please. If you have to work today, make plans to celebrate tomorrow or Saturday or whenever you can be surrounded by those you love or at least like enough to challenge to a wishbone-breaking feat of strength.

Or you can make your own "I'm grateful for" list

Go ahead, make your own “I’m grateful for” list

  1. There’s pie! Apple, pumpkin, blueberry, lemon meringue. Why wouldn’t you be grateful?
Best Ever.

Best Ever.

  1. NETFLIX! If watching sentimental movies or football is not your thing, go for Breaking Bad or Orange is the New Black. Turkey-binging and Netflix-binging. Perfect together!
Red, white, and imperfect blue

Red, white, and imperfect blue

  1. We are Americans. We live in a country that is not perfect, but it’s our country. The Bill of Rights lets us practice our beliefs, pursue happiness, and complain thanks to Freedom of Speech. We aren’t perfect and we’re able to say so. That’s a pretty amazing unalienable right and I’m grateful for it.
Plus you can read whatever you want

Plus you can read whatever you want

  1. Laughter is free. Yes, your family and friends may do things that annoy the stuffing out of you. Grandma may eat food off your plate. Your best friend Gerry may bore you with endless football commentary. Your beloved dog may have just barfed blueberry pie all over your rug. So what? Chances are your Thanksgiving Day disasters will live on in infamy. Today won’t last forever, and those people and pets who are driving you crazy won’t be here forever either. Be glad you’re where you are right now and laugh as much as possible.
the muppet movie

They look happy

Here’s a bonus reason to be grateful today: even if you’re watching your weight, dessert on Thanksgiving is MANDATORY!

Where have all the cookies gone?

Where have all the cookies gone?

Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon clove

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pure pumpkin

1 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove together. Set aside.
  3. Use mixer (on medium) to beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla.
  4. Turn mixer to low and add pumpkin. Slowly beat in flour mixture until dough forms. DO NOT OVERMIX!
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Use a medium cookie scoop (or a teaspoon) and drop scoops onto baking sheet, two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges start to brown.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool.

Enjoy!

So many reasons to be grateful

So many reasons to be grateful

So, what makes you grateful? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving treat? What was your worst turkey day disaster? Please leave a comment. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

May 26, 2016

When Driving With Teenagers…

By Maria Schulz

As a mom, I’ve played many different roles: Chef; Laundress; Bottle Washer; Maid; Gardener; Entertainment Coordinator (think Julie from the Love Boat); Procurement Specialist; Captain of the Cheerleading Squad; Disciplinarian; Hand Holder; Head of Emergency Medical Services; Fashion Police; Emotional Support Services; Godzilla Rampaging Through Tokyo; Drill Sergeant; Attorney; Dog Walker; Head Coach; Executive Assistant.

My childhood limo

My childhood limo

But by far, my favorite job has always been Chauffeur.

When my girls were little, they loved listening to music in the car and singing along with me. They enjoyed my witty repartee with their little friends and they laughed at all of my jokes. They danced to songs with me and laughed when I belted out the words to all of the songs they knew.

Twilight-zone-the-monsters-are-due-on-maple-street

Oh…the horror!

But then…they suddenly morphed into teenagers. Enter hormones, lightning-fast mood changes, and constant, inexplicable, irrational thought processes. Too young to drive and too old to be happy having me in the car, it was the perfect storm of angst and outright anger.

That's one angry bunch

That’s one angry bunch

Were you always one of those parents who looked at teenagers and said, “Oh, my little Sally/Richie would never act like that!” Did you look at befuddled parents of teens and shake your head in silent disgust? Now that you find yourself the parent of a teen, do you wonder how you landed in this foreign land, filled with strange beings that sort of look like you? Did you ever think you’d be a source of embarrassment…just like your parents? Geez, if you didn’t have a license, your kids might not even find a use for you.

For those of you who have not yet had the joy of experiencing this phenomenon first hand, don’t worry (too much). This startling transformation can be dealt with, but only if you have a road map, a sense of humor, and a thick skin. In the interest of helping you weather this particular storm, I’m going to give you a Master Class in Parenting/Driving With Your Teens. Think of me as Oprah, only without any money and certainly without any clout.

Welcome to my Master Class

Welcome to my Master Class

15 Things to Remember When Driving With Teens

  1. For the love of God, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING!
  2. While you’re at it, DO NOT EVER SING!

    Sing it with me one more time!

    Sing it with me one more time!

  3. Please, please, please…do not try to interact with your teen’s friends. That’s like, AWKWARD! Just because they don’t make you wear a uniform, that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to certain informalities.
  4. If Elle King comes on the radio, do not show a car filled with teens how cool you are by singing X’s and Ohs. This is definitely NOT COOL. When in doubt, remember Rules #1 & 2.
  5. Likewise, NEVER, EVER share funny little tidbits about your past dating life. Like, EWWWW! #DONTGOTHERE
  6. If Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake starts playing on the radio, DO NOT ASK your teen’s friends if they know how to twerk
  7. And please…do NOT EVER offer to show them how to twerk

    This is what your dancing looks like to them

    This is what your dancing looks like to them

  8. If a new guy or girl gets into the car, DO NOT EVER ask them “where they see themselves in 5 years.” LAME!
  9. When someone you interpret as a gawky teenager whizzes by on his skateboard, do not make chit chat by saying “Hey, who’s that man child riding a skateboard?” Like, he’s Hunter, only the COOLEST BOY in the ENTIRE 12th grade! DUH!
  10. When your teen puts on a 90s station and he/she and his/her friends start taking about how great that era’s music was, NEVER exclaim: “Oh yeah, man. It was great—AND I WAS THERE!”
  11. If and when you offer to drive the neighbor kids to school, please don’t forget they’re in the back seat and start driving away before they get out of the car
  12. DO NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, yell out the window as your teen walks away: “I LOVE YOU!,” “HOPE YOU HAVE A SUPER DAY,” or “MOMMY/DADDY THINKS YOU’RE THE GREATEST!”
  13. There are some things you should never do. NEVER, EVER reenact the scene from Wayne’s World where they rock out to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody…even if it’s just the two of you in that car

    Party on, Garth

    Party on, Garth

  14. Restrain yourself from beeping, waving, or stopping the car to greet and chat with passing teachers, principals, priests, nuns, parents, relatives, friends, or classmates your teen would rather die than be seen with (basically, that means anyone). NOT COOL!
  15. Always remember: you can drop your teen off at the mall, at school, or at any fast food joint they like, but NEVER at the front door. And if anyone asks, YOU DON’T KNOW YOUR TEENAGER!

Recipe:

Eating Well Frozen Mochaachino

Low Cal and Delicious!

Low Cal and Delicious!

Here’s a great alternative to Starbucks (since you’re not allowed within a thousand yards of it anyway). This low cal, low fat frozen drink rings in at 127 calories (instead of 270 for a small mocha frappuccino) and gives you just the jolt you need to deal with your teen and keep a smile on your face.

So, Hungry Lifers…has your teen ever been EMBARRASSED TO DEATH by the very sight of you breathing? Are your kids too little for you to believe any of this? Have your kids grown out of this phase? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!

February 3, 2016

It’s Groundhog Day All Over Again

by Maria Schulz

You BETTER NOT see your shadow!

Good news, everyone: a number of rodents, a.k.a. “Groundhogs,” have spoken their weird groundhog language, confirming that they did not in fact see their shadows. So we’re NOT going to have six more weeks of winter! Whew.

Unfortunately, I’m not as delighted as I expected. Even though I wake up every morning praying: “Please no more snow. PLEASE NO MORE SNOW,” I also realize that I’m about 10 years behind on my goal to weigh less so I look good in a bathing suit. If spring comes early, I’m in trouble. But then again, what good will six weeks do for me?

Six weeks isn't enough

Six weeks isn’t enough

Despite Punxsutawney Phil’s proclamations, I know in my heart of hearts that he’s probably not telling us anything weather related. If his translator really spoke “groundhogese,” he would probably declare to the crowd:

Things Phil would like to get off his chest

Things Phil would like to get off his chest

“Phil says get lost!”

“Phil wants to know WHAT THE HELL YOU IDIOTS WANT, anyway.”

“Phil says his name is really Florence.”

“Phil says that he comes from Iowa, and no, he will NOT predict the outcome of the presidential race for you.”

“Phil thinks Donald Trump is really Staten Island Chuck in a wig.”

Whatever it is that Phil is trying to tell us, I’m afraid that my delight in learning that he was shadow-less this morning will be short-lived. No sooner will I be getting my shorts and tank tops out of the attic then there will be a raging snow-storm and I’ll have to break out the shovels again.

I think I can ride today

I don’t see my shadow either

Yes, I’m old enough to remember that February is the month that blizzards like to call home. The fact is, you don’t even have to be that old. You could be 2 and have fond memories of being buried in snowdrifts just last year.

One of my favorite snow memories comes from high school, approximately 300 years ago. I was in the 10th grade, and for some reason, I ignored the blizzard warnings and went into school. About ¼ of the way through our day, as we all stared out the windows, we realized that it looked like we were attending school in Siberia.

Such a troublemaker

Such a troublemaker

Being rational folk, everyone (teachers and students alike) began to panic at the thought of being stranded in school with…each other. Eeesh, perish the thought. So we all began to gather our things and get ready to rush out into the snow.

It was sixth period, and I had stayed behind to help my English teacher, Mr. Reines, gather some of his lesson plans together before we left. He began to fret that by staying behind to help him, I had put myself in danger (the snow was really piling up) and I wouldn’t get home all right.

Past car rides with Mr. R

Past car rides with Mr. R

“I’ll drive you home,” he said to me. “It’s not safe for you to walk all that way.”

“No thanks, I’ve seen how you drive. I’m better off walking.” I replied, in the obnoxious way of the beast known as the teenager.

“Seriously, you’re going to freeze out there.”

“No, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I like the snow!” (This was possibly the last time those words crossed my lips).

So long, Crabby

So long, Crabby

I waved goodbye, much the same way that Brisbane (of Little Rascals fame) waved goodbye as he said “So long, Crabby!” to Mrs. Crabtree. Mr. Reines drove off, and I walked the opposite way towards home.

I had never been out walking in the eerie quiet of a major snowstorm. It was peaceful, beautiful, and just a little bit creepy. The streets of my neighborhood were blanketed in pristine white snow. For great stretches of time, the only things I heard were the snow crunching beneath my boots and the sound of my labored breathing as I got farther away from school and yet no closer to home.

Selfie from that day

Selfie from that day

It began to occur to me that I would be home by now if I had just let my teacher do something nice for me. Instead, I might just be found in a few months frozen in a block of ice. The worst part of all? Mr. Reines would forever know that he was right and I was wrong.

Occasionally, the quiet would be shattered by a gang of screaming teenaged boys that would run by, throw snowballs at me, and latch onto the bumper of the odd passing car. But mostly, it was a pleasant walk, filled with thoughts and dreams that included dozens of inches of snow so school would be closed all week.

Am I home yet?

Am I home yet?

By the time I crossed the threshold of my house, my hands, feet, and nose were frozen solid and it took a few hours to crack the snow off my eyelashes. Still, I remember that walk fondly, even if I did look like a Yeti by the time I got home.

Did I mention that it was April? I bet that ba$t@!d Phil predicted an early spring that year too.

Recipe:

Healthy Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe from Good Housekeeping slashes the fat, sodium, and calories so you can have your pot pie and eat it too…plus (maybe) fit in that bathing suit if spring ever actually arrives.

It's made with phyllo...it has to be good

It’s made with phyllo…it has to be good

So…what’s your favorite Groundhog Day story? Do you have any fond winter or snow memories? Which comfort food recipe is your favorite? Please leave a comment and let us all know.

December 9, 2015

12 Christmas Wishes

by Maria Schulz

News flash: There are just 14 days left to shop for gifts. In the spirit of impending doom that this revelation brings to me, here are the things I wish most for this Christmas.

Wait! I'm not ready

Wait! I’m not ready

12 Must-Haves on My Christmas Wish List

  1. Time: there is never enough of this. I wish there was a gift card.
  2. Perspective: Cards! Gifts! Parties! Wrapping! Every year I get overwhelmed, yet somehow, I manage to get it all done without the world crashing to an end. I have to slow down, breathe, and keep things in perspective. As the Grinch realized when his heart grew 3X larger, “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.”Grinch
  3. Patience: lines are not a good enough reason for my head to explode. A few minutes of quiet reflection never killed anybody. I will stand there and smile. Or at least just stand there and not cry.
  4. Cheer: Just once, I would like to be one of those smiling people who walk around saying: Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Good to see you! I do live in New York, so that might be a bit of a struggle. But anything is worth trying once!
  5. Smiles: like the flu, smiles are contagious. Plus I read that when you smile, you trick your brain into thinking you’re happy. It’s a natural upper.

    They look happy

    They look happy

  6. Energy: as a child, I could walk up and down Bell Blvd., searching for the perfect gift. Now, I click on “buy now” and feel exhausted
  7. Wonder: remember when it felt like Christmas would never, ever, ever get here? Fourteen days was an eternity. I wish I could feel that way again.
  8. Joy: there was nothing better than the first year I had enough babysitting money to buy gifts for the people I loved. Now, I dread shopping. I want to banish my inner Ebenezer Scrooge and all that Bah Humbug. Deny thy father! Refuse they name! Okay, so I’m getting my English Lit all mixed up. You get the drift. I’d rather be more like Scrooge when he wakes up on Christmas day and joyfully buys toys for the Cratchet kids. I’ll get to work on that.

    Gifts!

    Gifts!

  9. Comfort: I will donate gifts to a very worthy cause—The Lexiebean Foundation, which collects gifts every year for a party they hold in honor of their pediatric cancer patients and families.
  10. Peace: I will pray for the day that we never have to worry about another senseless shooting
  11. Respect: that goes for everybody, including myself.
  12. Kindness: ‘Cause that’s what Christmas is really all about, Charlie Brown!charlie brown and linus

 

Recipe: Egg Nog

 

I’d go for the cooked version, but hey! Live on the edge if you must.

Cheers!

Cheers!

So, Hungry Lifers…what do you wish for this Christmas? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks, and Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Good to see you! Now…that wasn’t so bad after all.

January 28, 2015

Welcome To My Snow Coma

by Maria Schulz

The last few days around here were filled with dire warnings about the blizzard that was on its way. The meteorologists got so excited, they even gave it a name: Blizzard Juno. I don’t remember anything but hurricanes getting names when I was a kid. My how times have changed. I would’ve loved that a hundred years ago! Believe it or not there was a time when I thought that there was nothing better than a blizzard. That was back in the day when I could look forward to things like:

Gene Gene The Dancing Machine & Chuckie B dance!

Gene Gene The Dancing Machine & Chuckie B dance!

  • No School: who doesn’t like a snow day when they’re a kid? I loved being able to sleep late, watch The Gong Show at 12:30 pm, and not even have to run back to class before I found out who won the “unusual prize” of $516.32
  • Making a snowman. My kids had a snow man kit that they loved that included a corn cob pipe, top hat, jaunty scarf, coal eyes and a fake carrot nose. We made a game of finding sticks that could double as arms, preferably with twigs that resembled fingers. Of course, when I was young, no one that I knew had any such kit, so our snow men usually wore whatever hat we could lay our hands on, a bubble pipe, button eyes if we could in fact find any, and any old rag that could double as a scarf. We couldn’t even find sticks that resembled arms, much less ones with twig fingerssnowman
  • Sleigh riding, minus the sleigh. We barely had a hat for our snow man, much less a real, unbroken sled. Garbage lids worked well, and so did the broken sled that you couldn’t steer or stop in any way. What were those cars doing out anyway?
  • Bumper jumping: since I’m a good girl, I will say that I never, ever went bumper jumping. That’s mainly because my mother filled my head with lots of stories about those “bad” kids who latched onto a bumper and promptly got trapped under the back of the car, only to meet their sad, sorry deaths. When I was young, I bought this, because I believed everything my mother told me. However, as I got older, I realized there were lots of stories about girls being dragged to their deaths whenever they were doing something my mother didn’t want me to do, including riding a motorcycle, roller skating while tethered to the back of my brother’s bikes, or bumper jumping. But there was a “bad girl” in the grade below me that wrote dirty poems on the bathroom stalls, mouthed off to the nuns, and was a champion bumper jumper. Kathy H, you live on in my memory for your incredible bumper jumping skills and your suicidal tendencies when it came to the nuns. Brava!football
  • Touch football, or on really icy days, full contact football. My favorite games had rosters that included Jude, Cindy, Louie, Paul, Joey, Chris, me, and our next door neighbor, Anthony. No one expected me to be any good, because after all, I was short, fat, and a girl. Cindy got a pass because she was pretty. I shocked everyone because I could catch and run…especially since I was the only one smart enough to wear snow boots. My legendary touchdown run from the corner of 214th street to the lamppost in front of Mrs. McG’s house still makes me wonder why my football days are over
  • Snow Angels: watch me! Watch me! I can lay on this here cold, freezing snow, wave my arms like a lunatic, and when I get up, it will look just like the Archangel Gabriel (there’s a little Catholic schoolgirl humor for you). Which, by the way, was my second miracle! Could sainthood be far off for me? For those of you who read this blog (besides my father), you may recall that my first miracle was surviving Catholic school to begin with. And by that, I mean mainly not getting decapitated by the nuns with their samurai swords, err, yardsticks
  • Watching out the window for the first snowflakes to fall, singing: Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
  • Hanging out in my Mick Jagger loving friend’s room, listening to Sympathy for the Devil. Or Mother’s Little Helper. Or 19th Nervous Breakdown. Or Brown Sugar! At other friends’ houses, it might be Jessie’s Girl, Church of the Poison Mind, or Time Warp from Rocky Horror Motion Picture Show. We had to stay inside because we were too old to make snow angels or go bumper jumping…even though that’s what we would’ve really liked to do

    He's got the moves like Jagger

    I’ve got the moves like Jagger

Unfortunately, my last few days passed in a “The Blizzard is Coming! The Blizzard is Coming”-induced coma that included:

Such a troublemaker

Such a troublemaker

  • A raging head cold, body aches, fever, and nausea that made me really cranky and in no mood whatsoever for bumper jumping
  • Eye-balling all the trees in my yard, and praying that none of them would make a midnight visit upon my head while I slept thanks to the predicted 50 mile per hour winds
  • Snow that managed to be powdery AND weigh about a ton when you had to shovel it Also great for walking your dog in case you want to lose him/her in a snow bank

    Think happy thoughts

    Think happy thoughts

  • Visions of no electricity for another 3 weeks dancing in my head
  • Fears of ending up stranded in my car on the side of the LIE under an avalanche of snow when my office refused to close early and I had to drive home in white out conditions
  • Days and days of gearing up for the HISTORIC SNOWSTORM that necessitated getting all of the milk, bread and eggs we could stuff into our carts…because, as my husband said, we desperately need it for our Emergency French Toast

    Once more, with feeling

    Once more, with feeling

  • Standing by the window saying, “Blizzard Juno, Blizzard Juno…wherefore art thou, Blizzard Juno?” I have to tell you, it’s loads of fun living with an English major
  • Cabin fever/real fever dreams that had me dancing to Mother’s Little Helper, Church of the Poison Mind, and Jessie’s Girl. Hey, some things never change.
Perfect for snow emergencies

Perfect for snow emergencies

RECIPE: EMERGENCY FRENCH TOAST!

Actually, this is just a simple French toast recipe from Robert Irvine that I found on Food Network, but I thought my husband’s suggestion was a great one. Use the eggs, milk, and bread you’ve got to make any snow day fun again.

FYI: Snowmageddon has come and gone, and we are all safe and sound. Here’s a big shout out to my DH (darling husband, not designated hitter) and my DD (darling daughters) for taking care of me while I was sick. Now that I’m better, I just want to say: I’ll be outside with my football and snow boots, if anyone wants to play.

So, Hungry Lifers…what’s your favorite snow day memory? How much snow did you get? Did you have your Emergency French Toast? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!

July 16, 2014

My Farewell Tour

by Maria Schulz

Every once in a while, I hear on the radio or on television that someone is about to launch their very own “Farewell Tour.” Those someone’s have included Cher, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Motley Crue, Kiss, and even Dame Edna. I think the farewell tour I was sorriest to miss was Dame Edna’s, since I probably would’ve been laughing all night long.

dame edna farewell

Once you hear that someone is doing a farewell tour, it’s kind of a given that…well…we’re saying “farewell,” “sayonara,” and “goodbye forever!” But the funny thing is, most of them just don’t retire. I think Cher has had 7 or 8 farewell tours alone, and I distinctly remember hearing about The Rolling Stones’ first farewell tour about 25 years ago.

So you know what? I think it would be really cool if I could have my very own Farewell Tour. Don’t let the fact that I’ve never had a Welcome Tour, or even a “Who the Heck Are YOU Tour,” bother you. I have big plans! I think it would be great fun to travel the world and be fawned over and wished well. So are you ready? Let’s go.

11 Things I’d Do On My Farewell Tour

1. First off, I’d call the “sultan of sequins, the rajah of rhinestones,” Bob Mackie (yes, he’s still alive! I checked). I want him to create a stunning series of gowns for me, all of which will make me look as tall as Heidi Klum, and possibly, make me look just like her too.

I think I could pull this off

I think I could pull this off

2. If I could really have my way, I think I’d like to hire Heidi Klum to play me on my farewell tour.

3. While Mr. Mackie is at it, I will ask him to design a full-feathered headdress for me, because who says Cher is the only one who can rock that look? Especially if I have Heidi Klum playing me.

3. In the event that Heidi Klum refuses to return my calls (and this one is a distinct possibility), I need a backup plan. So, because I want everyone to think I’m amazing, cool, and possess super powers, I will hire Pink to teach me how to do those crazy ‘suspended 50 feet up in the air cage gymnastics’ routines that she does at her concerts.

How hard can this be?

How hard can this be?

4. Whether or not I actually do those gymnastics on my tour will depend on what I just ate for dinner and if I feel like it. Consider it a game time call. Think about it, people: I am NOT IN FACT a super hero, just someone trying to make my farewell tour a little bit more interesting.

5. I want the same people that worked for Motley Crue, Alice Cooper and Kiss to create a descending platform for me that explodes with fireworks every night. If it’s good enough for Kiss, it’s good enough for me.

Simple and classy

Simple and classy

6. I would like to get makeup tips from Kiss, since I know how hard it is to look good onstage under all those lights, and I have never been very good with makeup anyway.

7. I fully expect to be showered with all kinds of gifts as I make my way around the world. I think it would be fun to feel like a living legend, just like Derek Jeter. I will stand there humbly, bowing my head a little, and graciously shaking hands with the unwashed masses while I accept expensive cars, benches made of baseball bats (I think I’d rather they be made out of White Castle boxes), and cold hard cash…because unlike Mr. Jeter, I am not a millionaire.

Great for my garden

Great for my garden

8. Since the 5 living members of Monty Python’s Flying Circus are currently doing live shows for their own farewell tour, I will ask them to drop in. They can bring along their special guest, Stephen Hawking, if they must.

IFC & BAFTA Host Monty Python's 40th Anniversary Event

I will gladly say, “NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!” and be their Honorary Minister of Funny Walks. I am also proud to pop out of a refrigerator wearing a pink suit and bow tie, while singing “Just remember that you’re standing/on a planet that’s evolving/revolving at 900 miles an hour…”

I hear they’ve dedicated this new body of work to their dear departed co-Monty Pythoner, Graham Chapman, who died of cancer in 1989. So what do they call it in his honor? “One Down, Five to Go!” How I love their sunny optimism.

They are going to make a movie from all of these live shows, and I can’t wait to see it. Eric Idle has already proclaimed it a must-see worldwide event, and he is proud to call it “pretty filthy and disgusting.”

9. Of course, my Farewell Tour must go to London, Paris, Prague, Lisbon, Los Angeles and Manhattan, but definitely not the Hamptons on a Friday night. Why? Because I don’t want to:

  • Run into Alec Baldwin, his wife/ex-wife or children, or any photographers that he might be trying to strangle or beat up
  • Get stuck behind the Hampton Jitney in the HOV lane on the LIE
  • Deal with the traffic on Rt. 27

10. I want to tour places like Rome, Rio de Janeiro, and Mexico City in the “Popemobile,” because I know that Pope Francis isn’t using it these days and I figure people will come flocking out to catch a glimpse of me.

I’ve chosen these three locations because I’d really like to see them without having to figure out new subway maps; I think the food would be excellent; and I could use a deep dark tan. Plus I’d like to hit some ancient ruins and maybe go to a beach party if possible.

I promise to wave

I promise to wave

Once I’m out and about in the Popemobile, my new fans can bring me all sorts of goodies like that bench made out of White Castle boxes; create videos of me that talk about my latest miracles (come on, I survived Catholic school…I must have at least 10 or 12 miracles in my back pocket); and shower me with cash gifts. See #7/Derek Jeter, above.

11. Of course, I’ll hit all of the Late Night TV shows. I want Jimmy Kimmel to know that I’m open to participating in any skit he wants, as long as I don’t have any prior commitments to Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

By the way, I heard that Stephen Colbert helped some author go from having sold maybe three books to about three million books. I have one message for Mr. Colbert: MENTION MY BOOK!!! I’M MORE THAN HAPPY TO GO FROM SELLING 3 BOOKS TO 3 MILLION BOOKS! There’s even a signed copy in it for you, S.C., because I’m generous that way.

Now available on amazon.com

Now available on amazon.com

I also hope to get on The Chew, The View (I hope Whoopi and I don’t get into a fist fight), and maybe even Rachel Ray. I can use some of the recipes from my book to make Torrone, Arroz con Pollo or Root Beer Floats.

Whew…all this planning is making me hungry.

Gourmet Root Beer Float

Gourmet Root Beer Float

Recipe:

Root Beer Floats

This is a gourmet recipe, which seems a lot like the ones we used to make that were anything BUT gourmet. But what the heck—let’s get fancy! Use your favorite root beer and ice cream, and make it a party.

So, if you could plan your Farewell Tour, what would you do? Would you agree to pop out of a refrigerator and sing The Universe/Galaxy Song? Do you like Root Beer Floats? Please leave a comment below and let us all know. Thanks!

June 18, 2014

Best and Worst Advice From Mom & Dad

by Maria Schulz

Since Father’s Day just passed, I noticed a lot of articles about the great advice that Dads share with their children. One article offered a sampling of the best advice from Dad and another one discussed all the ways that Dad’s advice inspires kids to do their best. Of course, Moms are also well known for their sage advice.

So what was some of the best advice I ever got from my Dad or my Mom?

How do you spell that?

How do you spell that?

When my brothers and I wanted to do something that was forbidden but that our friends were allowed to do, my father would say:

“What’s their name?”

We would reply with their name.

“So tell me,” my father would say, “how do you spell their last name?”

We would spell their last names.

“How do you spell your last name?”

We’d spell our last name.

“Your family name is spelled differently than their family name. We don’t do things like those people do. Sorry if you don’t like it. Just remember who you are.”

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

When someone was mean to me, my mother told me: “Don’t feel bad. They obviously aren’t smart enough to treat you the way you deserve.”

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

If you had the awful, terrible, bad luck to get caught in a lie, my father said: “Don’t lie to me again. Take your lumps. Lie again and you’ll be in worse trouble.”

Take your lumps

Take your lumps

My mother used to tell my twin brother and me to never, ever, EVER pick up a hitchhiker when we were old enough to drive. So imagine our horror when she pulled over to the side of the road and picked one up! The kid got in the car and said, “Oh hi Mrs. Lagalante.” And then my mother browbeat this kid for the entire ride, telling him how he could’ve been killed and that she was going to tell his mother. When he got out, we started to yell at our Mom. “You said to never, ever, EVER pick up a hitchhiker!” And our mother looked at us and said, “Sometimes, you have to know when to break a Never, Ever, EVER rule.”

———————————————————————————————————————————————————–

When I asked if I could go to a party on my first ever date, my father gave me permission to go but put the fear of God in me by saying:

“So where’s the party going to be held? Give me the address.”

“Why?” I replied.

“Oh, I might go out for a walk that night and stop by.”

OH NO OH NO OH NO, I thought, but I tried to be cool.  I replied, “Okay, I will get you the address.”

I gave my father the address and went to the party. I spent the entire time not really paying attention to my date because I was so worried that my father would burst through the door like the prophet Elijah. Nothing will keep you on the straight and narrow quite like the prospect of your father showing up at a party with your friends.

Let's party

Let’s party

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

After hearing my parents get into a huge fight, I was sure that they would end up divorced, and six-year-old me would have to leave my brothers and go live in an orphanage. When my mom tucked me into bed that night and I told her my fears, she burst out laughing. “Aren’t you mad at Dad?” I asked. “Nah,” she replied. “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

The year I graduated from college, my father held impromptu interviews with me so I could keep from getting flustered on a real interview. I made a lot of mistakes, but when I was done, he told me: “It’s just a conversation with another person. Smile, answer the questions as honestly as you can, and make them laugh if possible. If they don’t like you, that’s their problem and you’re better off not working for them.”

———————————————————————————————————————————————————–

While shopping for wedding dresses, my mother never lost her head. “Just pick out the best looking dress you can afford,” she said. “You’ll never wear it again, and your kids won’t want to wear it either.”

Her mother and my mother have very different priorities

Her mother and my mother have very different priorities

When I was freaking out over the last minute details that I thought I had to get just right for my wedding, my father made me sit down on the couch, and told me:

“Just remember. Your wedding day is supposed to be meaningful and fun, but in the end, it’s just a party that lasts a few hours. Focus your energy and attention on the marriage. That’s supposed to last forever.”

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

As my mother descended into her Alzheimer’s haze, she would occasionally have very lucid moments when we would have long talks. One day, she said to me, “I know you’re worried that I’m suffering, but don’t. What I have isn’t like cancer; I’m not in pain, and nothing hurts. Oh, it bothers me that I can’t remember anything, but you have to remember that in a few minutes, I won’t remember that anyway.”

Sort of like this.

Sort of like this.

Here’s the worst advice they ever gave me:

Dad:

“So what if you’re allergic to red dye–go ahead and eat those cherry ices. Hives never killed anyone.”

—————————————————————————————————————————-

Mom:

“Just smile and be pleasant to Sister Felicity. She’ll forget you’re there.”

—————————————————————————————————————————

Dad:

“Run down that gigantic hill! You won’t get hurt.”

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Mom:

“You should tell your teachers exactly what you’re thinking.”

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Dad:

“It’ll be fun to share the basement with two homeless girls whose own parents disowned them. They can be like sisters to you!”

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Mom:

“Make sure you tell your father how much you enjoy his cooking. That way, he can do it every Sunday.”

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Recipe:

Apple Turnovers

There was nothing quite as amusing as the Sunday afternoon marathon that was known as my father’s day to cook. I wrote about this in my book, Tales From A Hungry Life: A Memoir with Recipes.

 

Now available on amazon.com

Now available on amazon.com

One of the less successful dishes he made was apple turnovers. I think he left them in the oven while he struggled to complete the entrée, and we ended up with apple burnovers.

Try the recipe above and see if you will have better luck. You won’t be sorry– this classic treat is so delicious with a cup of coffee or tea.

 

Delicious!

Delicious!

So, what was the best advice your parents ever gave you? The worst? Do you like apple turnovers? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!

June 11, 2014

Dog Tales

by Maria Schulz

While browsing the internet the other day, I came across an article called  “8 Wonderful Dog Stories.” I also found another article about a cat that saved “his” little boy from a dog that was attacking him.

Hero cat

Hero cat

I was astounded by the heroism of these dogs and cats, but it got me thinking…. What exactly does my dog do all day?

A Typical Work Day for My Dog

4:45 a.m.: start hitting Maria in head with toy or paw

5:00 a.m.: lay crying in hallway because you’re awake, so that means everyone else should be too

6:10 a.m.: Jump for joy when Maria finally comes out to get breakfast and open back door

6:12 a.m.: finish breakfast

6:17 a.m.: find Maria and start hitting her with paw again because she’s asleep for some reason

6:18 a.m.: lay crying in hallway

6:20 a.m.: start bleating like a sheep

6:21 a.m.: jump for joy when Maria gets up again

6:30 a.m.: park yourself next to Maria as she makes lunches. Cry often, in case she forgets to share the turkey with you.

7:15 a.m. : jump for joy as you go out for walk

7:30 a.m.: say hello to neighbor dogs, and then try your best to run away from neighbor dogs

7:45 a.m.: make sure you sniff every lamppost and hydrant

7:55 a.m.: Is today garbage day? Recycling day? The Raccoons Made a Mess Day? Oh joy, there’s food and garbage on the ground. Hooray!

8:15 a.m.: when you get home, throw up somewhere because you ate garbage off the ground

8:20 a.m.: crawl into your bed, drop from sheer exhaustion, and rest for the next 10 hours.

Where's the turkey?

Where’s the turkey?

Basically, she’s got all day to save the world. Hasn’t she heard about all those dogs that are saving seizure victims and rushing into burning buildings? Or even that cat that saves children from marauding dogs?

But what does she do? She sleeps all day, with occasional breaks to guard the house and bark incessantly, until late afternoon. Why? Because she wants to eat dinner, walk the streets, meet up with her doggie friends, and check if there’s any garbage on the ground.

I make fun of my dog a lot, but she brings a lot of joy into my life. While some days are less joyful than others thanks to her uncanny ability to wake me in the middle of the night and eat garbage off the ground, she is mostly a good girl.

We got her following the death of our old dog, Cokey. That chocolate Labrador was so smart, she could’ve balanced our checkbook if we would’ve  let her. We got Cokey when she was 6 months old, on a 103 degree day. You never saw a dog so happy to run and run and run…even in the middle of July.

Cokey waiting for us to throw the tennis ball

Cokey waiting for us to throw the tennis ball

Cokey had tons of boundless energy and she could’ve used a pot of coffee and a couple of packs of cigarettes to calm her down. To keep her happy and out of mischief, we took her for hour-long walks in the mornings and at night, bookended by stroller walks with our little kids and tons of play time in the yard chasing her beloved tennis ball.

In her prime, Cokey couldn’t wait to meet her friends at our local field, where she and her pal, Honey, enjoyed a good solid hour of running or scattering the geese on “their” field.

See how they run

See how they run

But time passed, and our dog started to slow down. She and Honey still wanted to walk up to the field to play, but then they would lay down and watch the younger crowd of dogs run for a while.

That beloved chocolate dog got a face full of salt and pepper fur, and she began to limp a lot. The hours that she slept grew and grew, until we finally had to beg her to go for a walk. Eventually, her running days ended after she tore her knee, and her boundless energy did not return. Her friend, Honey, passed away, and we suddenly realized that time was not as endless as it had once seemed for our dogs.

A true beauty

Honey. A true beauty

Eventually, Cokey left us too…and in those first horrible days after she passed, I doubted I would ever get a dog again Why? Did I need the endless worry and responsibility that comes with loving another creature? Why put myself in the path of the sadness that comes along with losing another pet? Been there, done that. Did I need to do it again?

At first, I said no. But then I realized: loving our pets made us better people. It’s helped us make new friends and gave us a glimpse of  unconditional love. It taught our children compassion, and showed them how to put another creature’s needs ahead of their own.

My first doggie hero

My first doggie hero

To quote the 80s country music star/pop crossover artist Ronnie Milsap (and how often does that happen?): “Even though I lost you girl. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Sappy, but true…and at least I didn’t quote Christoper Cross’s “between the moon and New York city” lyrics from his theme song to “Arthur.”

Two weeks to the day that Cokey went on to join Honey at that field in the sky, we brought Trixie home. Her paper name is “Maria’s Winter Sunshine,” because she made a bleak time in my life so much brighter.

The years have flown by, and my dog is now about to become a senior citizen. I see her body changing, and realize that she is starting to slow down a bit. I’ve learned to accept her changes and limitations. I understand them, because we’ve grown older together.

Let's play

Let’s play

No, she doesn’t run into burning buildings and save people from roaring fires, or warn me that I’m about to have a seizure, or even do much besides take me for a walk every day and get me out to play.

But maybe she saved me after all.

Recipe:

Roast Turkey

Everybody loves roast turkey

Everybody loves roast turkey

There are few things that make my dog happier than a roasted turkey. Follow this recipe for a moist, juicy bird that you (and all your pets) will enjoy.

So…what’s your dog/cat tale? Which one of your pets was your favorite? Does your pet love roasted turkey? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!

May 21, 2014

The Pursuit of Art

by Maria Schulz

The other day, I was sitting at my desk when I overheard a conversation between two co-workers. They were discussing the author, Stephanie Meyer, and her Twilight series.

Are you a vampire?

Are you a vampire?

Neither of them were big fans, so they were talking about what a stupid story line the books had, how ridiculous they seemed, the fact that all that glitters is not vampires, and more. This lead one of them to finally ask:

“If you could write a series of novels that made you MILLIONS, but they would be ridiculed and mocked by many…WOULD YOU DO IT?”

I immediately jumped out of my chair and said, “I’M IN!”

Another writer chimed in, “Me too. I’m too old for art!”

The fact is, I’ve lived in penniless obscurity for way too long. Bring on the book tours! Bring on the movie offers! Let me hold GIANT royalty checks in my hot little hands!

 

A great thinker

A great thinker

Please, please dear God, let me argue with the movie producers over casting choices. George Clooney or Jon Hamm? Sandra Bullock or Cate Blanchett? If Robert Pattinson says he absolutely refuses to play the lead in my movie if Kristin Stewart is cast as the leading lady, sorry babe—but you’re out. Oh, I can’t wait until all of Hollywood is fighting to get a part in my book-turned-movie.

Just wait until the Academy Awards! I’ll get my own stylist and wear a stunning red dress by Prada that makes me look 100 pounds lighter as I sashay down the red carpet. Joan Rivers will try to make fun of me and I will come back with a witty remark on the spot (instead of the next day, while I’m crying in my Chunky Monkey ice cream) that will simultaneously cut her to bits and make her my BFF. Every reporter there will say things like: “Writers don’t usually get invited to these things, but that’s MARIA SCHULZ!”

Take me home

Take me home

Oh, but there I go again. Dreamers gonna dream.

The writer’s life can be frustrating. You spend years in college learning how to write, reading the classics, and contemplating the world’s beauty and all of its compelling ideas. Then you graduate…and you learn that the workplace doesn’t care about the classics (Homer? You mean Homer Simpson?), or that you were President of the Great Reads Society. So what if you are a creative problem solver and big thinker? What were your grades in Math and Science?

You go out there and search, search, search for any job that will let you write. In the process, you get a lot of jobs that teach you the joys of filing and typing.

D'oh

D’oh

When you go to cocktail parties, people first ask, “What did you major in?’ and later the question will change to, “What do you do?” When you answer, “English,” or “I’m a writer,” they look like they’ve got GI distress. Most people will let it just pass, like gas pains. But some people will ultimately say:

“What? Why be a writer? You’ll never get a decent job!”

But to a writer like me, you might as well say: “Why do you keep breathing?”

This kind of interaction happens early and often, until you can’t imagine writing like Dorothy Parker or Ernest Hemingway. Why not settle for Stephanie Meyer or E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey)? Why not take the BIG money, trips to Cannes, share cocktails with Robert Redford at the Sundance Film Festival, and score millions of dollars when your characters become immortalized as Barbie dolls?

I can see myself now: absorbing all the criticism, playing with my new Barbie dolls, and happily cashing the checks.

Let's play

Let’s play

I did learn a long time ago that “success” as defined by others isn’t really what drives me. It’s the need to create that drives artistic types forward, even when criticism is probably waiting on the other side. That fundamental need is something I live with, and something I noticed in my mother when she was afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

To keep Mom busy, we signed her up for an Alzheimer’s program that let her pal around with others who were in the same boat. They sat in a circle and: talked about current events (always heartbreaking, since these once bright, intelligent people couldn’t remember any president past Ronald Reagan), their favorite TV shows (The Golden Girls was always the right answer), and ate a snack of cookies and milk. The day was long but enjoyable, in my mother’s words, because no one would get angry with her for forgetting anything since they were just like her.

photo-64

By far, my mother’s favorite activity was arts and crafts. Most of the projects that she attempted were not good. It takes a certain amount of skill to throw a vase, pitcher, or statue, fire it up, and then paint it.

But somehow, even though my mother couldn’t remember who we were all the time, or who she was some times, she always remembered the artistic streak that lived inside of her. That streak drove her to create little treasures that she would bring home for us.

photo 2

I still have the blue vase she made, as well as the white milk jug with the blue and green polka dots. My daughter has a blue glass slipper and some statues of a little boy and a little girl who, when placed right next to each other, look like they’re kissing.

When Mom first brought those treasures home, I hated them. At that moment, I looked at them as examples of how far she had fallen. But my mother, in her Alzheimer’s wisdom, saw it as an expression of what she could still do, and not an expression of all that she never would.

photo 1

I can still learn a lot from her.

Recipes:

Pasta Primavera

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/pasta-primavera-recipe.html

 

Delicious

Delicious

Spring is a time of hope, and this recipe is just the fuel you need to keep those creative juices flowing.

So Hungry Lifers…is cashing in on your dreams a sell-out? Would you be IN? What’s your favorite springtime recipe? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks.

April 23, 2014

In the Lion’s Den

by Maria Schulz

The other day, I saw an article about a family that got caught in their burning car while visiting a drive-through safari.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/471357/Family-flee-burning-car-to-face-safari-park-lions

Family Fun Gone Wrong

Family Fun Gone Wrong

Not only was it terrifying to think about getting caught in the lion’s den like this family, but it also made me remember the time it happened to me.

Um…WHAT???

So here’s the story: my very best friend in THE WHOLE WORLD invited me to tag along on a family fun trip to Jungle Habitat on her birthday. The temperature that day was close to 100 degrees, but I didn’t care. My own family never went on trips like this, because even they didn’t want to drive through a jungle safari with 9 people jammed into a car with all of the windows shut and no air conditioning. My bestie (let’s call her Juliette Moynihan) and her family had air conditioning in their station wagon. So off we went on our adventure.

Hot, hot, hot

Hot, hot, hot

It was all very exciting…at first. Mr. and Mrs. Moynihan were laughing and chatting. Juliette and I were doing Mad Libs and giggling over our idiotic responses. Her older sister, Maeve, was busy using her instamatic camera to take pictures of anything that caught her eye. Even Juliette’s little sister, Jenny, was playing quietly and for once, not crying.

We saw the giraffes and the elephants, and even enjoyed the monkeys who scampered across our car as we drove slowly through the “jungle.” That air conditioner was working its heart out, and just as we entered the lion’s enclosure, it began to give out.

Safaris are fun...right?

Safaris are fun…right?

“Maureen,” Mr. Moynihan said, as he pulled the car over. “Did you put water in the radiator like I asked you?”

“Joe,” Mrs. Moynihan said, “You can’t expect me to do everything.”

“Damn it Maureen! The car’s overheating! Did you throw a few gallons of water in the back of the car?”

“Well? Did you?” Mr. Moynihan said, turning a scary color that was somewhere between fire engine red and Barney the Dinosaur purple.

“Girls,” Mrs. Moynihan said, “did you to put the water jugs in the back of the car like I asked you to?”

All four of us shook our heads. I watched Mr. Moynihan; I thought it was a distinct possibility that his head might explode.

“I have to turn off the air conditioning.” Mr. M. said. “Let’s open the windows.”

As we cranked the windows open, I read the nearby signs that said:

Uh oh.

Uh oh.

WARNING: this is a lion enclosure. You should NOT OPEN YOUR WINDOWS. In the event of an emergency, stay inside your vehicle and WAIT FOR THE PARK RANGER.

Juliette’s parents continued to fight over whose fault it was that we were now stuck in the middle of the lion’s den with no clear way to escape certain death. They could not stop screaming at each other, and their voices seemed to carry across the New Jersey “savannah,” alerting every animal within a 2-mile square radius of our dilemma. Now, little Jenny got so flustered by all the screaming that she decided to scream and cry too. Meanwhile, their older daughter was hanging out the back window, running through film and flash cubes, and saying things like:

“Here kitty cat! LOOK THIS WAY!”

Juliette sat looking at the diary I’d given her as a birthday present. She opened it and started writing. I was wondering if her first entry would be:

Today is the day I will be eaten by lions!

Or

The Last Will & Testament of Juliette Moynihan

As for me, I had already calculated that unless God and/or the park rangers showed up soon, I was going to end up as lion food. The Moynihans were all tiny, skinny little things, and they would run much faster than I ever could. My only hope was that the lions would get to Mr. Moynihan first, because he would still be screaming at Mrs. Moynihan and maybe I could get away.

Run, run, run

Run, run, run

But let’s face it…there was no way I would ever be able to climb a nearby tree to get away. If I tried to run to safety instead, I’d most likely get a cramp in my calf muscle or a stitch in my side, and within seconds, the lions would be sharing my carcass with all of their friends.

I was not ready to die! I hadn’t even eaten lunch yet. I never got to have my final meal! I could feel panic closing around my heart with its Vulcan grip when the voice of God rang out in my ears.

Actually, it was a park ranger in his Jeep.

“Miss,” he said to Maeve, as he walked to the back of the car. “You shouldn’t be hanging out that window. You could get eaten.”

Maeve clicked away. “I’m taking photos of the lions.”

“Yes, well,” he said. “Shut the window now.”

He walked up to the front and leaned in. The Moynihans stopped yelling.

“Is there a problem, officer?” Mrs. Moynihan said.

“Yes. You need to get out of here.”

“We can’t.” Mr. Moynihan said. “Our car overheated.”

“IT’S NOT MY FAULT!” Mrs. Moynihan roared.

What seemed like an eternity later, and thanks be to God/the Park Ranger, it took a few gallons of water and a park ranger escort to send us on our way again.

I have never had so much fun with a friend’s family before or since.

Recipe:

Delicious

Delicious

Last Meal Ribs

http://amazingribs.com/recipes/porknography/best_BBQ_ribs_ever.html

Nothing says: “Last Meal” like getting stuck in a car in a lion enclosure. This recipe looks like an excellent choice for a final meal—give it a try and see for yourself.

So Hungry Lifers…did you ever get caught up in a friend’s family drama? Did you ever visit a lion’s den? What would you choose for your last meal? Please leave a comment below. Thanks!

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