Annoying loud dates next to you.

The last few times that Chris and I have gone out to eat (whether at a nice restaurant or a quick happy hour), the party sitting next to us has been obnoxious. Usually what happens is we are sitting there enjoying our dinner and partway through a new party sits next to us. At first it is fine. It is like a blind date, you are not sure what to expect. Will they be soft-spoken or annoy the crap out of you?

Lately, they have annoyed the crap out of me. Mostly when they are loud. I do not need to hear your life story. For example, just before the New Year, we went out to one of our favorite restaurants and partway through a man and woman came and sat right next to us (yet there were other open tables). The woman was obnoxious (to say the least). We could not help but listen to their conversation as it was so loud we could barely hear each other talk. I thought it was the strangest date. She seemed much older than the man she was with and he kept saying, “No, eat what you want. I am not hungry.” Which made me think maybe he could not afford dinner? At the very last minutes before they leave we learn that he is the son, and she is the mom. Wow. Very shocked after hearing so much of their conversation, and yet putting all the pieces together it actually made sense.

Another time, a few months ago, we had an amazing night out. The food was great, but the group that sat next to us near the end of the meal was beyond rude. Gratefully, we were almost done with dessert and, as soon as we could pay, we got the hell out of there. If they had not shown up we might have stayed a while longer. We did not let it ruin our evening, but I sure cannot forget the high-pitched sound of that woman on her birthday.

I do often wonder how much self-knowledge people have about themselves. I know at times alcohol can play a part in the volume of someone’s voice, yet sometimes I think that people are just all around obnoxious. They have no knowledge that they are yelling and that other restaurant guests around them are giving them death looks. The hard part for me is that all I want to do is go off on them, but what good would that do? If I was not so frustrated I might actually say with poise: “Could you keep it down, I am sitting two feet from my husband and I cannot hear him, yet I know all about the amount of wine you drank at your book club last night and how much your friend hates his brother. However, I cannot hear my husband as we brainstorm about redoing our backyard.”

If we could only be more aware of our surroundings, those around us, and how we show up in the world. Ah, what we learn from the parties that sit next to us in a restaurant… never a dull moment.

Who will win?

Each year Doritos has a contest for the best ad to air during the Super Bowl. (See my blog last year for the “Finger Cleaner.”) Individuals can submit their own Doritos ad and Doritos will select 10 finalists that are put up for a vote leading up to the Super Bowl. Think American Idol meets chips. While I am a lime chip girl, and rarely eat Doritos, I am always curious about what clever idea someone will come up with each year. I always have a good laugh. My favorite finalist this year is “Selfish Sneezers.” Maybe because it is spot on for what a bunch of guys would do in order to make sure no one touches their stash.

X

“Middle Seat” is a close second. Can you believe that first prize in the contest is a job at Universal Pictures plus $1,000,000? Does that make you want to start your Doritos video for next year?

Random recipe: Pumpkin + Sage + Goat Cheese Fettuccine

I am a sucker for goat cheese, pumpkin, and sage. I found a recipe that combines all three things. We tried it. Amazing taste, with just a few tweaks. First, I hate having a heavy meal where I feel like I ate a brick a few hours later. There are three things I would change about this recipe:

  1. Use spaghetti or a small round pasta (such as a Campanelle) in place of the Fettuccine. The Fettuccine is too thick and heavy that it makes you dread continuing. When I eat pasta I want to crave it and ask Chris if there is more. Next time we make this recipe it will be with a lighter pasta.
  2. The sauce was too thick, so make it a bit more liquid by adding more heavy cream. Trust me on this.
  3. Last thing. Forget the last step to add the fried sage. It didn’t do anything for me. There is already sage cooked into the sauce. The extra on top is not needed.

This recipe is not hard. Chris said it takes just as long to boil the pasta as it does to put the sauce together. 15 minutes max (just as the recipe says).

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Fettuccine Alfredo with Crispy Fried Sage [Closet Cooking]

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes Servings: 2

A quick and easy creamy goat cheese pumpkin alfredo with crispy fried sage.

6 ounces pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
1 tablespoon sage, sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 handful sage leaves

  1. Cook the pasta as directed on the package.
  2. Melt the butter in pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the cream, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, parmesan, sage and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
  4. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, let it turn a light brown, add the sage and fry until crispy.
  6. Serve hot over the pasta garnished with more parmesan and crispy fried sage.

The voice inside of you…

I have always been a fan of Shel Silverstein.

Little did I know as a kid that Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout was a hoarder, but somehow she scared me enough to take the garbage out. Even when taking the garbage out at our house meant opening up a peach colored wooden long trunk outside our maintenance shed that sometimes was home to raccoons. If you were not careful when you took the garbage out and you opened the lid you would see two eyes and grey, black, and white fur looking back at you. Who knew taking the garbage out was such a scary thing.

So when I was reminded the other day of the poem: “The Voice” by Shel Silverstein it brought back memories:

The Voice

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

I only wish it was more popular to little children (girls especially). We all should teach kids early on how to listen to their own voice, so it does not take them so long to find it. It took me until I was in my early twenties in college. If I had parents, teachers, and family find unique ways to teach me that no one can decide what is right for me, I might have found that strong voice earlier.

Just as it might be hard for adults to continue to find their voice, it can be even harder for kids (but it does not have to be). We all need to listen more. We need to be quiet more. The voice inside you is there.

Happy belated 3rd Birthday, random olio!

Every year I seem to forget my birthday (not really) but I am fine to let it pass by. This past week was CRAZY and I completely looked past the fact that January 8th (last Thursday) was Random Olio’s third birthday. It is hard to believe that I have been writing every weekday for the past three years.

There have been many times over the course of the year where I have questioned whether I should keep posting a blog every day. I contemplate the time it takes to brainstorm, be inspired, write, edit, write, edit, and sometimes throw stuff away. In the end I do it for you and I do it for me. Random Olio makes me think outside myself. I have to be “on” for work in a certain way each day. Random Olio is the outlet that allows me to put myself out into the world with my ideas, inspiration, and questions. It has nothing to do with being “on” at work, but instead allows me to be free and speak what is on my mind. I wonder at times if I did not write if I would be consumed by work or if in some ways my voice would be quieter.

Thank you to each and every one of you that takes the time to read Random Olio. With close to 800 posts in 3 years, I have had a lot to say. While I do not know how long I will continue, I appreciate each day and post you read and commented on. Keep coming back, tell me what you think, and speak your mind.

Happy Belated 3rd Birthday Random Olio!