I Just Drove Back From Baltimore And Boy Are My Crab Cakes Tired

It was a big meeting full of blowhards. Of which I am one.

Early arrival the evening before meant time to scope out the local crab cake scene. Had two giant and delicious ones at a modest family restaurant attached to a Ramada Inn. Then came a group dinner at a fancier well-known crab house where the crab cakes were just as big but even more delicious and more expensive.


Not enough room for the side dishes. A single crab cake took up all the dinner plate real estate.

Since this was a business dinner, I had to stay sharp which means I had to forego my customary bottomless martini glass. So in summary: Crab cake levels are up; cocktail levels are down.

Speaking of shellfish …
Without confessing too much about my customary television watching habits, let’s just say that I became familiar with the bombastic creations of Sondra Celli through the American version of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. There’s one particular piece that I cannot stop thinking about and that is the Lobster Dress that she made for Miss Maine to wear in the 2013 Miss America pageant.
sondra celli lobster dress miss maine

“We really went to town on the shoes. We wanted people to see them and have a heart attack,” said Sondra Celli, the Boston designer who outfitted the sea-inspired look

Love at first sight. What you can see of the ensemble here is most enchanting – the big ruffled skirt, the bead work on the bodice  that has not just rhinestones but real shells and clear acrylic beads that look like water droplets, the headpiece that looks like a live lobster tangled up in a net with shells and seaweed, the sandy-bottom lighthouse heeled shoes … It is not an exaggeration to  use the word fabulous here. Click the pic to get a real eyeful. But! You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Look at the back:


The lobster tail train is created with boning and wire bends and folds like a crustacean. “We went to bed dreaming … ‘What can I do to this to make it look like a gown?’” said Celli. And this is her genius. Most people would look at a gown and think “What can I do to make this look like a lobster?” Sondra’s looking at a lobster and picturing it as a gown.


 My favorite part is the tail fins that drag on the floor. You can see them better in B&W:
bw tailfins
I’m past the prime ballgown-wearing stage of my life but I’m telling you right now, if I should ever go to a  pageant, a ball or get up on stage for anything, I am going straight to Sondra Celli for something outrageous and blingy. Like, I could be a big sparkly pieorgi or maybe a Meyer lemon tree with Christmas lights embedded in the train and a tiara made of fragrant and shiny green leaves and blossoms. Something that reflects the inner me. Maybe something queen-like done  up in shimmering  aqua and adorned with  ice cubes and my golden hair is done up to resemble twisted lemon peel.

! ! !

Now that it seems safe to assume that my little lemon tree has survived the neglect and torture of its early days with me, I am totally focused on its upcoming move indoors for the winter. I assure you that I have read every word the internet has to offer on how to be a successful steward of a container-grown Meyer Lemon Tree in Garden Zone 7A.

Take what you know about how thoroughly I can obsesses about vintage cocktail glasses or bedside table lamps and apply that to lemon trees and you will know what the last few weeks have been like around here. The decision about which citrus fertilizer to use was agonizing enough but when it came to choosing a new pot, I was practically paralyzed with indecision.

After a week+ of back and forthing, I finally settled on a 16″ lightweight stylish lime green creation. Because of the no-frills way I was raised, I was a bit uncomfortable with the design and had some lingering doubts about if I could live with something that was fancy instead of strictly utilitarian. So I took the pot out on the deck to place it next to the lemon tree for further consideration.


And it’s not bad but it’s also not final. I might still go around to a few places today to see what other options I have. But the pot is no longer my main focus. When I leaned down next to the tree to set up the pot, what do you suppose happened?

I won’t make you guess. The answer is I almost died.


Dudes, it’s the first flower bud.

Then They Came For The Mr. Bubble

… and I did not speak up because I don’t use Mr. Bubble. Anymore.

a study

It’s the age-old struggle for cultural dominance between Mr. Bubble and Calgon Ultra Moisturizing Bath Beads.

Again with the stupid mothers and their stereotypical parenting wisdom. Now the mothers are trying to spend their valuable “me time” bathing the children in the family bathtub. How stupid are the mothers who think that one-on-one time winding down from the busy day and gently setting the example for life-long daily hygiene habits is actually “better” for the family as a whole.

Do the stupid mothers not realize that they could make better use of their time money energy and focus by having their own relaxing soak instead of  catering to the hygiene needs of children every night? Children who are very likely to complain about bath time, having to use the SpongeBob shampoo because the stupid mother found replacing the empty Disney Princess shampoo was a disproportionate burden. And do children really need  daily bathing? Where is the research group investigating the protective benefits of retaining a nice thin layer of body oil for two or three days.

It may be time to brainstorm more creative solutions for bathing the children. Perhaps we can consider the very successful model of mobile dog grooming vans and institute community Wee Ones Washin’ Wagons to roll through the streets. No prior commitment necessary – just run out and stand at the curb with your money in your hand whenever you hear “Splish Splash” playing on the next block. That would be far more convenient than filling your own tub with warm bubbly water better used for your self. The Washin’ Wagons could discount for multiple children  hosed down at the same time – very economical and time saving.

There’s also the environmentalist-endorsed green solution of letting them stand out in the rain for a while. Could the schools shower the kids? This might go a long way towards releiving classroom over crowding. Keep them on the move between shower cafeteria and seats and you can enroll more children with less resource expense, except for the soap. Without creative solutions like these, suggesting that the stupid mothers strive  good mothering, stable families, and the ideal of the healthy, productive citizen by bathing their children individually in the home will do little more than increase the burden so many women already bear.


Related: To quote Little Miss Righty: #singletear or How A Professional Internet Complainer Takes Her Ball And Goes Home

First They Came For The School Lunches

and I did not speak up because I didn’t buy school lunches. Then they came for the mothers…


This could have been an entirely different blog post if they had titled the article “Study find that home-cooking disproportionately burdens High Powered Executive Business Women.” I could have gladly agreed with that.

Stupid mothers! First you can’t even figure out what to feed your kids to keep them from becoming obese and now you have to waste everybody’s  valuable time “… preparing meals, only to be rewarded with family members’ complaints — or disinterest.”

Why even bother? The future is now! Why don’t we just have communal town suppers? Or maybe wait for the healthy food trucks to come rolling down suburban streets? Stupid mothers, you can save your  time money energy and focus by letting someone else worry about what your family members should eat and how it should be prepared. Someone who knows better than you, stupid mothers. Someone who will select, cook, deliver and monitor your family’s intake. Never mind who the recipients of these services will be or who will pay for them. That’s not the point.

And now that we’ve got the from each according to his ability part down, we can all move on to each according to his need. Phase III coming soon to a family near you:  How Much Food Does Grandma Really Need Anyway?

Footnote: Mothers with a Princeton and Harvard education who cannot figure out what to feed two little girls are not included in the definition of “stupid mother.”

My Lemon Tree Grew Two New Leaves So Now I’m Obsessing About Whether I Should Prune It Or Not

Actually, I am being modest in my achievement and confessing my ineptitude at the same time.  And yet, my little lemon tree  survives.

And why wouldn’t it survive?  On the plus side:

  • it gets plenty of sun
  • it has elbow room and fresh air out on the deck
  • it is the recipient of my intense  love vibrations every morning as I sit out there with my coffee

But why would it survive? On the minus side:

  • I left it in the attractive burlap and ribbon it arrived in for a week unaware that it was swathed in thick smothering plastic under there
  • It rained and poured for the first few weeks that it was outside, causing the leaves to spot and yellow
  • it falls over every time the wind rises about 5 mph. the potting soil is very light so it doesn’t take but a puff to blow it down.
  • every time it falls over, the potting soil falls out.
  • once I found potting soil on the deck steps so I think it went for a little trip.  Sami had already set it back in its place and I didn’t really want to know if my beautiful little lemon tree rolled down the steps so I never asked about it.

So after all these disasters, I took the following steps:

  • I pulled the plastic off of the pot
  • I moved the little tree under the gazebo when rain was predicted
  • I clipped off the sad spotty yellow leaves. They smelled lovely.
  • I asked Sami to lash the pot to the deck rail with twine

And lo and behold, the little tree is surviving. I want to say thriving but I know the leaves could be more green and glossy. But even so, it’s about 10″ taller than when I got it, its growing sideways as well as upwards and new shoots are coming off of the main trunk. I consider that a triumph.

But now I have to start worrying about bringing it indoors for winter. I’ve got a nice place with southern exposure picked out where it will get maximum sunlight. All I have to do is push the dining room table over about a foot. [But that's okay because we aren't going to be using the dining room table anyway because it will be the winter roost for my chicken planters. I'm going to set them in a plastic boot tray on the end of the table nearest the window.]  And of course, I’ll have to look into a grow light and some citrus fertilizer. Maybe some citrus potting mix so I can put it in a nicer bigger pot.

But what about the question of pruning? I kind of want it to be abundantly overflowing the pot, because “abundant overflowing” is my personal gardening style , or as Sami calls it “You can’t even walk on the sidewalk and the sprinkler heads are covered up”. What’s your point, Sami?

Anyway, bushy shrub form or trimmed back topiary? Topiary sounds so wrong but look at this unpruned bastard:



That’s not mine it’s a stock photo but it’s totally representative. Apparently these are happy little flourishing plants if you don’t challenge them by giving them all the things they don’t want- overwatering, wet feet, strong winds, getting the dirt knocked off the roots, rolling down the steps… They bear so heavily that the branches need support. I don’t really want a sprawling short little thing so I guess topiary it is. Now I have to start researching grow lights, citrus food and special potting soil.

I really think this thing is going to make it. I attribute that to my love vibrations.