19 March 2004


What do Irish folks traditionally do on their holiday? Drink!

What do Italian folks traditionally do on their holiday? Eat a fattening pastry!

I dunno about you, but of the two unhealthy alternatives, I'd rather take the latter. :-)

All joking aside, I remember doing St. Patrick's Day things at school. We learned to do Irish jigs in gym class and they were usually featured in a St. Patrick's based assembly that included songs like "Danny Boy" and "My Wild Irish Rose" (which I ended up playing for the organ recital in fifth grade). My favorite "Irish" song, however, was the rollicking "McNamara's Band." I loved the sound of "Hennessey Tennessey tootles the flute."

"Our" holiday, however, was today, which is St. Joseph's Day. It's not a Holy Day of Obligation, nor is it celebrated with parades. However, there is one tradition: the zeppole. Take a pastry shell and shape it like a hollow doughnut. Fill it with yellow cream. Top it with piped white cream in a ribbony flow. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a zeppole. They are unapologetically rich and are still eaten despite Lent and fasting, to celebrate the foster father of Jesus. No one knows what rich pastry has to do with St. Joseph--but hey, enjoy!

Seriously, I've never been all that much of a zeppole fan because I never liked yellow cream. I would avoid the cream puffs from the Italian bakeries for that reason. The only bakery in town that made cream puffs with white cream was Bob Carol's bakery out on Oaklawn Avenue, so I enjoyed the very occasional visit immensely.

I was amused to notice, however, that most of the zeppole recipes I found on a short web search were more like doughnuts. I believe that is the Sicilian version of the pastry; they are made differently all over Italy. Or the filled ones are a specialty version that only bakeries have the patience to make. Certainly a pseudo-doughnut is a lot easier to cook than a filled pastry shell!

17 March 2004

Wearin' O' the...Green?

I'm wearing red, actually. I'm Italian...Friday's my day. More later...

Birthday Dog

Sometime at the end of May in 1998, after the death of sweet, laid-back Leia, we went to the Cobb County Animal Shelter and found a shivering fuzzy brown three-and-a-half pound puppy. She had big liquid eyes and was shy, so the name "Willow" from the Buffy character suggested itself immediately (this was before Ms. Rosenberg turned from shy geek to überwitch). They told us she was about 10 weeks old, so we counted back and declared her birthday to be something we could remember, hence the St. Patrick's Day date.

Please be assured we aren't having a canine birthday party for her, complete with doggy buddies in party hats and a special dog ice cream cake as I've seen done. Wil is spoiled in ways, but she's still a dog, and she doesn't get party hats or cuddled and called "little sweetie doggums" or the equivalent. James won't even let me buy her reindeer antlers. :-) She has to "make do with a Christmas bow.

She probably will get a nice Little Champions packaged dinner tonight--and as always wolf it down in ten seconds and then look eagerly for more.

I was thinking about the birthday party thing with some amusement because one of the guests yesterday on Dr. Phil was a woman who claimed she felt like her husband loved his dog more than her. He comes home from work and, although wife and baby son are sitting right there, the first one hubby goes to greet is Lola, the lab/pit bull mix. He snuggles with Lola in bed instead of his wife. Plus, the wife is pregnant again (so I guess there are some times Lola isn't in bed) and her nose is so sensitive that all she can smell is the dog in bed. (Dr. Phil has a beagle and part of the conversation digressed into what it was with women and the smell of dogs.)

I don't have to worry about Wil in bed; I'm allergic to her so she's banned from the bedroom. Seeing how she sleeps, though, I wouldn't want her there anyway; she'd hog the bed and make sure she got a pillow! James does greet her first, but it would be hard not to: she's usually been staking out the door for an hour waiting for him, giving deep sighs when the next car down the street isn't the truck, and is scrabbling at the glass when he enters.

Over the years, too, we've joked about changing her name. Sometimes we'd like to call her "Hilary Booth," because she's occasionally a demanding little bitch. Lately, though, she's turned into "Teeny," the little girl who always bedeviled Fibber McGee. When Wil curiously sticks her nose into something, we can almost hear her saying "Whatcha doin' mister? Whatcha. huh?"

I figure if Wil could talk she'd either sound like Marian Jordan doing Teeny or Josie Lawrence of the British version of Whose Line is It Anyway.

14 March 2004

Setting Sail

The Bradford pears are in full bloom now, big egg-shaped tree bodies covered with white blossoms as if they were wreathed in snow. Some of the forsythias, brilliant yellow against the still-emerging lawns, are already leafing. We've had the grass cut for the first time this year already.

I wish the Bradford blossoms were snow...it's already too warm.

So we're setting sail from Holiday Harbour, sheets abillow with the March wind. We'll be checking back from time to time on holidays and family celebrations...in the meantime


06 March 2004

Time to Go Into Mourning...

The trees are starting to bloom. The forsythia has green shoots, pale green is showing on the Bradford pear trees, and other trees have red buds and leaves. Some of the azaleas are even blooming.

Plus this week it was 70°F here almost all week. The moment it got warm, my nose stuffed up, my sinus headaches started up, and tonight I had a coughing fit. How can I help being so negative about a season that makes me feel so wretched?

Plus last night the first mosquito of the year was buzzing around the den. Gah.

Too bad I can't just block my nose up and enjoy the colors of spring: the bright yellow of the forsythias, the snowy white of the Bradford pears, the pinks and reds and purples of the azaleas, the red buds of some of the trees, the moony glow of the white dogwoods. At least it's going to go back to being cool at night again, at least for a while. The tropical nights are the worst. I can stand almost anything as long as it's cool enough at night to sleep, and the daytime sky remains a heartbreakingly beautiful blue.

It's when the horizon turns yellow and scummy and the air is too humid to breathe that I want to hibernate until better weather comes...