Happy Birthday Jack!

Guess what everyone, it’s Jack’s birthday today!

This was Jack after his very first bath, all fluffy and smelling like vanilla shampoo, replete with a Halloween scarf. Aww!

Meg remembers the trip she took to the shelter; she wasn’t too optimistic about a dog. She has previously adopted Cujo and returned him pronto after the vet sternly said the dog was insane and not to keep it.

When the family arrived they saw this little face, and Jack was twirling a little blanket around in the corner of his kennel, nicely staying out of the fray and hoping his charms shined compared to the other barky dogs:

After a walk around the dog trails, they were smitten with Jack and they brought him home:

Jack instantly took to his new doggy bed:

We had to teach Jack to fetch a tennis ball because being stray in San Antonio, Texas didn’t exactly mean play time:

Soon winter was upon us and it turned out that someone just loved the snow:

That someone was not his family, but at least Jack turned the tundra into a fun adventure!

He made friends with other dogs in playgroup:

Spring came and Jack played Warren Beatty in Splendor the the Grass:

He rooted for his favorite baseball team:

Why Jack let them implode in September I don’t know. Maybe because he spent too much time frolicking at the beach?

As the family looks back upon their year with Jack, it brings a smile to their faces and joy in their hearts; they were clearly matched up with the perfect dog!

Good boy, Jack!

P.S. Here is the reluctant Halloween devil:

I Can’t Help Myself Friday. Trick or Treat!

Halloween is upon us, and you know what that means. Lock your doors and shut off all the lights.

Actually, Meg isn’t mean, she just lives on a long dark road that no one is intrepid enough to walk down. She sort of enjoys kicking back with the glass of wine and not having to face the biting wind while handing out Snickers bars. She has no desire to scare trick or treaters, either, cause you know, wearing yoga pants and no makeup might result in:

Apparently Snooki is one of the more popular characters this Halloween, but what could be more frightening than to hear her tweets read aloud?

Looking for a quick zombie costume? This one already comes with its own set of crystal meth teeth.

Do you think Frankenstein would run from Bank of America, just like he did from the villagers?

I’m confused about Ann Coulter’s cross. Isn’t she a vampire?

This week we are going to end with Jimmy Fallon, doing a Occupy Wall Street rap:

Will Wall Street be handing our tricks or treats this year? I say get ready with your rotten eggs!

A Feel Good Bucket List!

Over at Mama Kat’s, you had the option last week of writing about 22 things that you have never done. (And presumably want to do). This week, the tables are turned and people get to write about 22 cool things they have done. Meg is loving this option! Here goes:

Saw the Northern lights over my house when I was 10.

Drove my 6th grade teacher’s Corvette down the street.

Lived through the disco era and enjoyed it.

Sailed on an America’s Cup boat in Newport R.I.

Nicknamed a character on a soap opera and had All My Children use it.

Ordered my dinner using French in Montreal.

Climbed an old clocktower, flung open the trap door, and rang the bells at 1:30 in the afternoon.

Flickr image courtesy of awrose

Hiked in Acadia National Park and dined on lobster rolls afterward.

Rented a Mustang convertible for a vacation!

Swam in an ice-cold swimming hole in the White Mountains on a dark summer night.

Swooped over Sedona in a helicopter.

Sailed over Napa Valley in a hot air balloon.

Sang “These Boots Are Made for Walking” on a karaoke dare.

Got my kicks on old Route 66.

Drove down the Pacific Coast highway and saw the cliffs of Big Sur.

Walked the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

Sat on a solitary beach in Nantucket at sunrise.

Stared at the Chrysler building in New York all night from my hotel room.

Hit the famous blues clubs in Chicago for a fun-filled weekend!

Drove through the Painted Desert.

Watched a sunset at the Grand Canyon.

Drove on the sand dunes at Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod.

This exercise was so much fun! Of course, now I have an incurable itch to travel somewhere. Actually, make that everywhere!

Do you have a cool bucket list of things you’ve done? Write about it!

How To Travel the World for Free!

I’m sure that got your attention, right? Meg often has dreams about travel; she has been to tropical islands and white sand beaches, she has criss-crossed Europe on trains; recently she landed in Vienna and had a fabulous time! (Meg remembers her dreams so well that they have the ability to leave her in a very good or bad mood, depending on how the REM sleep goes).

Last week Meg and her husband attended a wine tasting; the evening was for the benefit of their sister town in Reading, Kansas, which was devastated by a tornado last spring. They went and had a good time, won a raffle for Bruins tickets, and came home wondering, “where the heck is this town in Kansas“?

Meg clicked on her trusty Google maps and checked it out:

She pondered the tiny town and how isolated it seemed in the prairies of Kansas; she started clicking in each direction on the map to see what the closest big city was; it turned out Topeka was about 65 miles away. Meg and her husband wondered what life would be like out there, so they decided to find out the nearest place for residents of Reading to pick up a pizza:

15 miles on the interstate to Pizza Hut.

That got Meg to Googling unusual and interesting maps, and she came up with some fun stuff that entertained her and sent her imagination on some interesting world travels:

Ever go on vacation with your parents and see the destination as less than desirable? Meg LOVES how this map depicts a teenagers angst! She also likes how Angry Birds is listed on the map, are there iPhone’s planted in the forest?

Want to know what your state does well? Meg is happy to see she’s in land of college graduates. She has to admit she’s a little concerned about Kentucky; best armed? Against what? People stealing the moonshine?

Meg is thinking she’ll be in France sometime next year for the 25th anniversary. What could be easier than using France as a subway and landing in various vineyards? It gives her a whole new way to view France and it’s cute little provinces!

Want to take a trip to Manhattan and visit the iconic sites of famous songs? I think I’ll pitter patter schmatta on 7th Ave next time I go! (Rolling Stones, Shattered).

Meg finally looked at a map of her own stomping grounds:

She loves living near a large city 14 miles to the South, with a never-ending expanse of ocean to the east. As much as she likes to wake up and think she’s not in Kansas anymore; Meg is comforted to see where she lives, she is fortunate to have the beauty of the sea, the mountains and abundance of history so close her her home.

And she loves herself a good map, no matter how handy the sultry GPS is when it speaks. Her husband may be in love, but Meg is only in like with the device so far.

(Thanks to Cupcake for the reminder how cool maps are!)

I Can’t Help Myself Friday. Can’t Touch This.

No, I’m not breaking out the MC Hammer pants this afternoon, but perhaps the Republican candidates for President should, as evidenced by their most recent debate in Las Vegas!

I mean, Michele Bachmann looked like she was straight off the cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band:

I continue to be baffled by Herman Cain’s 999 plan. The pizza king’s plan seems more of a 666 scenario to me.

But the best exchange was when Mitt Romney went all mano a mano with Rick Perry:Let us get another perspective from my fake husband, Jon Stewart:

OMG, should we call their Mom’s and tell on them? And Meg loves how they bandy around the term “illegals” as if they aren’t people, but just a commodity to exploit. I’d love to ask any candidate if they regularly stay in a big name hotel where immigrants aren’t employed there. Because I’m sure they are in the kitchen washing dishes, re-stocking your clean towels, and pouring you a glass of ice water at mealtime. And you douchebags don’t even notice! Some are on a path to citizenship, and although some might not be, you a-holes like to lump everyone together and think a double-fortified wall is a great solution. I don’t exactly think George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were doing stuff like this:

Meg expects a full on brawl before the whole GOP nomination process is over, but she is confident one man of proverbial steel will stand head and shoulders over them all when the election is over.

And you can’t touch that, GOP.

Wednesday Potpourri for $600

Meg decided this post was worth 600 bucks for sharing a really great fall recipe with you today!

Sick of the same old boring chicken dishes? Meg is, and she decided to replicate (meaning follow the exact instructions) for this pork saltimbocca recipe which she had this summer while vacationing in Maine:

Melissa Kelly’s Pork Saltimbocca
Serves 4
2 pounds boneless pork loin, cleaned and cut into 3-ounce medallions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
3 sprigs sage, chopped
½ cup Madeira wine
1 cup chicken or pork stock

Gently pound medallions into scallopini. Heat olive oil over high heat. Dredge pork in flour you have seasoned with the salt and pepper. Place pork in pan, being careful not to crowd. Brown well on first side, turn, cook for 10 seconds on the other side. Remove pork from pan and repeat with remaining pork. Once all of the meat is browned, add 1 tablespoon butter to pan. Once the butter foams. add mushrooms and cook until they are softened. Add sage and then deglaze with the Madeira. Cook the wine down in pan until it has evaporated. Add stock and reduce by one-third. Add last tablespoon of butter and swirl in to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add pork back to pan. Serve over a bed of mashed potatoes, wilted spinach and a thin slice of prosciutto.

Meg served the dish with this squash:

It’s a delicata squash, and it’s brilliant because you can roast it with the skin, which is perfectly edible. Try it this way for something new and different.

Yesterday Meg had a number of interesting customer service experiences. She had to call National Grid because they want to inspect her had meter. So OK, she’s been putting that one off for awhile, but she called and was put through at least 12 separate voicemail prompts. She’s not kidding, and then there was the wait time. Meg finally got a time slot, in which the beaten down phone person was like “well, we can call you 15 minutes ahead, but if you don’t pick up right away we just go to another appointment and then if you don’t answer a second time we cancel it and blah blah blah. Meg was all like, “OK, then how is that helpful? If I have to wait here for 5 hours then who really cares if I get a call? Why don’t I just fucking wait and not be bothered with the call?” The f-bomb part was a bubble over her head but she thought it, and then Twittered it:

To her surprise, she got a response from National Grid asking if she needed help and they would give Meg’s feedback to the right people. I love it when social networking uses it’s power for good!

In another customer service experience, Meg was trying to get her 10 percent off at Talbots. On your birthday month you get a little gift card, and it didn’t work on her on-line order over the weekend. So she called to get it applied, but she ended up speaking with cartoon character Peggy Hill:

That’s right, Meg talked to Peggy for a good 15 minutes, trying to figure out how 10 percent of $149 dollars equaled 8 dollars and change. She implored Peggy to run that math and Peggy put Meg on hold three times, all the while shouting “JEEPERS CREEPERS WHAT IS GOING WRONG HERE?” That was Meg’s first clue that this woman was not a resident of the Northeast, where you would never hear those two words in a sentence. Peggy finally remediated the problem, but it took a damn long time and there was talk of Meg actually CALLING BACK again, and this is when mankind went down the tubes completely.

She hopes those pinstripe pants are worth it when they arrive.

It’s a dog eat dog world, people. During a recent championship Scrabble Tournament, one opponent demanded the other be strip searched for the letter G.

Meg can only imagine if that letter was the coveted X.