Have you ever been involved in a verbal confrontation and, after it was settled, thought about the perfect comeback? Of course, we don’t ever do that because that would be stupid. If we counter with the best comeback one day or even one hour after said confrontation, that person would now think you were even more inept than before. Not to mention, “crazy.” I’m the worst at comebacks. But afterwards, I. AM. AWESOME. I keep these little snappy retorts on file just in case the need to use them in the future ever arises.
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A couple years ago I wrote an article that I often still hear about today. It had to do with my tendency to take down names...in sharpie. I'm not sure when or the how the practice first started, but at some point in my life my Oprah inspired gratitude journal went to hell in a hand-basket.
I live in a home that is all about justice. Maybe it's because we're lawyers or maybe it's just in our children's DNA, but nothing gets done in our house that doesn't involve negotiation, reward or retribution.
A feeling of both melancholy and excitement prevails in the Kane household as letter after letter arrives for our oldest, from colleges near and far. As I watch her open each one, I distinctly remember being her age, knowing very little about life, yet believing I knew everything.
I'm not sure if I should be offended or rejoicing, considering I've just been disinvited to my son's soccer tournament. Our youngest has been playing soccer since as far back as my 40 something year old brain can remember.
With the recent return of Will Ferrell's scotch-drinking Anchorman character, Ron Burgundy, this is the perfect time to explore the basics of Scotch. Once referred to as "aquae vitae" or "water of life," scotch is simply malted barley that is distilled in Scotland in column stills or in pot stills.
By Angel Kane
With the holidays soon approaching, I've been seriously considering starting a charity. It's been on my mind a lot lately as I've noticed many who are in dire need of help. And this charity would be like none other!
Now, for starters my charity won't be giving out books, blankets or baked goods. In fact, there are those of you who may scoff at my "so called" charity, but as I always say...or more to the point...sometimes say...or if I'm honest, for the first time today, am finally saying...to each his own!
So the spark was lit for my charitable organization over Labor Day while spending a long weekend at my brother's home. Stumbling over Baby Einstein toys, my sister-in-law's golden retriever and a stack of recyclable magazines, I found my way to the sofa on an early Saturday before anyone was awake. With a mug of organic coffee in one hand (I know! Can you say Generation Y!) and the remote in the other, I hit....Power.
Nothing, other than a blue screen. I hit Power and then On. Nada.
Power, On, Menu.
Power, On, Menu, On and then a few wacks on the sofa.
For the next hour I pushed every button on the television, the remote, as well as every other remote I could find, working myself into a frenzy having missed much of the Saturday Today Show.
My brother was the first to get up, probably because after an hour, I started texting him like only a sister can do "Get UPPPPPP!! Emergency! Emergency!!!"
"What's the emergency?", he said, like a guy who had heard his sister's cries for several decades and guessed my 911 was either I needed shampoo or wanted him to run to the nearest grocery to get me real coffee.
"Don't look at me like that. This one is for real. Your television won't turn on. I tried everything. I even went upstairs and tried the television in the playroom. You need to call the cable company asap.
"You got me up at 7:30, on a Saturday, for that. I sometimes forget how much I hate you. There is nothing wrong with the television, we gave up cable a month ago!"
"What? You gave up cable? Why, did you lose your job? Mom is going to kill you."
"No, I didn't lose my job! We decided television was taking up too much of our time. It was bad for us."
T.V. taking up too much time? T.V., bad? Immediately, I understood the code. WE had nothing to do with this. This had Erica written all over it.
The reason for the long haired golden retriever that keeps Brody sneezing and itching every time we visit.
The reason for the stacks of recyclable paper products, plastics and cans that cause my kids to second guess the Kane family mantra - We Don't Recycle.
The reason for my constant weekend headaches caused by drinking her organic, caffeine free coffee-like substance she passes off as the real thing.
"Are you serious? What is wrong with you? What about your kids?"
"Erica says television shows just make you brain dead and they shouldn't watch them. We read and play outside instead."
And just like that I heard my calling. Erica and all the other Ericas of the world were slowly destroying the simple joys of life we were raised on. So for Christmas this year, my brother and his children will be the first recipients of my newly formed charity.
"I'm getting you cable for Christmas!" were the words I texted him the other day.
"Right, is that because it's your turn to come down here for the holidays?", he texted back.
Well, they do say charity starts at home...
By Angel Kane
If you were to look up the word uptight in the dictionary, there by the definition would a photo of yours truly. And, in that picture, I'd be sitting in a perfectly proportioned square box.
Oh, how I love my box where everything is just how I like it. Nothing out of place, everything color coordinated in muted colors, elevator music playing in the background, putting on my comfy socks on a Friday night, right before sitting in my comfy chair with a good book beside it.
Being as uptight as I am (and proud of it) you can only imagine that when my someone tries to dismantle my box, I don't take it well.
So a while back, Brody came up with the brilliant idea that I should apply for a spot in a local organization that does quite a lot of good for the community. He, himself, had participated in it years before, and he'd wanted me to join for some time. The organization, while a worthy one, required an overnight retreat of its members, where I would not know many of the other participants.
It also involved a bus ride, where it's common knowledge, at the end of which you will be required to tell the entire class what you learned about your seat mate. It required a personality test where your entire personality is dissected and discussed. It required countless interactions, games and discussions with those I barely knew. And it required my sharing a room with someone I had never laid eyes on.
For many years, for these reasons alone, I said No way! That box sounded noisy, messy and way too close for comfort for me.
For one, when I'm on a bus or plane I read, I don't talk, and just in case you try to engage me, immediately upon sitting down, I put on my earbuds and hoodie (the international language for "leave me alone"). I don't need a personality test to tell me all the ways I'm controlling and crazed. And I don't play games because I can think of 101 things I can clean with the time it takes to play an entire game of monopoly or bunco. (Plus the fact that when I have won, I have yet to win anything of substance.) But the number one thing I dislike more than any, any, anything, in this entire world, would be sharing a room (i.e. my box) with a complete stranger.
But for some reason I won't ever be able to fully explain I finally agreed to attend. All I can think of is that there must have been a slight opening in that box due to the fact Becky had just finished asking me to drive to East Nashville with her to have our chakras read and while trying to wrap my head around that crazy thought, Brody had snuck in with this one, which on it's face seemed less uncomfortable.
So last week, I did all sorts of things I never thought possible from my little box.
I made a new friend on a bus. It was slightly painful at first, mostly for her, because she seemed to be one of these people who can talk to anyone. I completed a personality test - that at the end of the day - found me to be judicious and competitive, which are nice words for controlled and crazy. And I played games which weren't so bad except I missed every ball that was thrown at me, which tends to happen when your hands are crossed in front of you. But most importantly, I shared a room with a complete stranger and she didn't kill me in my sleep nor did she steal from me.
My stranger roommate was very, very nice. A former model and diamond broker who now works for a local non-profit, she kept her side of the room neat and tidy, let me shower first and actually went to bed before I did. As potential psychotic roommates go, she was a good one, although the diamond broker M. O. had me worried there for a minute.
When I returned from the retreat, I was met by both Brody and Becky who seemed so very proud of me for stepping out of my box.
So much so, I found it quite annoying. "I'm not completely anti-social," I told them both. "I talk to people every single day of my life and lots of people like me." "Sure they do," both said in unison while trying not to laugh. But I must say, that evening, upon returning home, there was nothing I wanted to do more than put on my comfy socks, sit in my comfy chair, and read about the virtues of properly aligning frames on a gallery wall. While that other box wasn't as bad as expected, there is simply no place like home...especially when it's a perfectly proportioned square box. To read more of Angel and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com or www.wilsonpost.com.
You and Tequila Make Me....
In this blog I usually espouse different grapes and grains. But this weekend turned into a time to reflect upon that perennial plant of peril, blue agave and it's product, tequila. I have been known to enjoy the occasional margarita, or a shot of tequila. So, this weekend when my gracious host/paddleboard wondergirl offered me her special drink, I couldn't say no...it's called manners! A cold margarita with crushed ice after a long paddleboard ride in a shady cove sure sounds good. I peruse the ample liquor cabinet on the house boat and quickly realize that these folks take their tequila seriously. This is not just a once and a while type thing. There were atleast four different types of tequila decorating the shelves along with a large bottle of Grand Marnier. The margaritas made in a traditional way in a pitcher with lime-ade were strong. I told my friend that she should be looking for 100% agave anything else was pretty much not really tequila. Agave is a succulent plant similar in looks to a yucca or aloe plant whose favorite habitat is the desert. Lucky for me she had some El Ultimo Reposado which tasted great in the perfectly mixed cocktails replete with shaved sno-cone style ice.
The original margarita was actually called a “daisy” and was simply made with lime juice, sugar and tequila. If you have never tried a margarita this way, I encourage you to do so. The fresh squeezed lime juice is great. Again look for 100% agave when purchasing tequila.
“Now tequila may be the favored beverage of outlaws but that doesn't mean it gives them preferential treatment. In fact, tequila probably has betrayed as many outlaws as has the central nervous system and dissatisfied wives. Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, crema de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard god who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!” -Tom Robbins Still Life with Woodpecker
Saturday night in Shady Cove around the dinner table with Don Eduardo Anejo and an open bottle of Jose Cuervo and the conversation turns to tequila again. What does anejo mean? It's been aged in the barrel longer than the reposado which is typically aged from 2-11 months in our margaritas from earlier. I encourage my friends to smell the cuervo after smelling the Don Eduardo and we all agreed it smelled like sugar. Cuervo is classified as a mixto tequila meaning it has atleast 51% blue agave the remaining parts are aften such items as cane sugar, caramel color, oak flavoring extract and glycerin. So we left the Cuervo alone and drank the Anejo which is made for sipping as it has been aged in oak barrels atleast a year. And the result was still dancing at the tiki bar next door where tequila was certainly betraying some outlaws.
This time of year lends itself to tequila with the long hot days of Summer coming to an end. We will be wearing our hats, ponchos and mustaches on October 25th at Sammy B's for the first ever but much talked about Market Basket Tequila Tasting. We like tequila year round in this town if you havn't noticed! We plan on having several big name tequilas such a Herradurra and Don Julio as well some beautiful craft tequila you may have yet to encounter. Sammy B's Tex Mex appetizers will not disappoint. The cost for the tasting is $20.00 and reservations can be made by calling the shop at 449-7115.
If you don't like Rye you just haven't meant the right one.
My Favorite Season
Oh, how I love fall- it just doesn’t get much better! As we find ourselves on the edge of this favorite season, there are so many things I want to do. Cleaning out the closets, preparing my garden for a long winter’s nap, and decorating my home for approaching holidays are top on my list.
Today the fall issue of Wilson Living comes out, and in my column, Celebrate Home, you will find some ideas on preparing your house and family for fall. As a little bonus, I created some fun subway art to print and display in your home! See the link at the end of this post.
And as we head into the fall and winter months, what subjects would you like to see discussed here? This is your blog for your magazine Wilson County, (and surrounding counties now!) and we want you to be a part! (Yes, YOU!) So let’s have roll call- if you read or subscribe to this blog, comment below and let me know what you would like to see!
I will also be happy to answer any questions you may have. The ladies of Wilson Living have lots of things in the works, and we want you to be a part of it! Happy Fall Y’all!
So as I sat there listening to my son’s 5th grade teachers welcome all the parents to Back To School Information Night, I thought this year was destined to be like all the others: struggling through homework, studying for tests and working on class projects.
And as I watched these two women excitedly expound upon the virtues of field trips, flash cards and fabulous educational apps, I was just about to zone out when I heard one of them say, "And we are going to try to NOT send homework home, especially not math!”
By Angel Kane
Wilson Living Magazine
School starts tomorrow and for the first time in many years, I'm rather melancholy about it.
Most years, I'm glad to return my kids to school. And I don't mean just glad, I mean ecstatic, overjoyed, beside myself with overwhelming happiness that I am no longer "Julie, their summer Cruise Director" planning one fun and exciting experience after another so that they won't be.....that word that shall never be spoken again! You know the one...don't say it, it's forbidden!
This year, however, our Madi will be a Junior and the college talk has begun, which means soon she will be leaving us for her own adventures. And honestly, its not about Madi leaving that has me down, it's that, as I told Brody,
"She is the child I practiced on. Remember when I fed her too much and she almost chocked to death? And then I gave her bangs that took years to grow out when all the other little girls had long hair with bows! Not to mention I've never been her class room mother - ever! And last year I made her join the soccer team to bolster her college applications and she had her tooth knocked loose! She is going to look back on her childhood and remember me as a horrible mother."
To which my always agreeable hubby added, "you also forgot to pick her up at school, what was it twice, I mean who forgets their kid? Wait you just didn't forget Madi, you forgot all three of them, didn't you?"
But all hope is not lost. (And for the record, I didn't forget to pick them up, I was just running late...from Nashville.)
What is clear to me, is that I need to reform my image. You know, rewrite history. If Anthony Weiner can run for Mayor after his texting scandal and Martha Stewart can serve jail time and follow her incarceration with a Prime Time Christmas Special, surely I can become supermom in the next two remaining years.
So, in an effort to replace her memories (and those of her siblings while I'm at it) I pledge to do correct my wayward ways as follows:
1. I will not forget to pick you up from school. Not even once, because that is wrong and also because it seems to be that one thing you guys bring up over and over and over. I get it, you get out at 3 and I will be there. What you get out at 2:50? Well, therein lies the first problem.
2. I will make your school lunch for more than just the first week of school. This will, obviously, also entail my going to the grocery on a regular basis which is really a huge thorn in my side but I completely understand, after 10 years you can't eat one more chicken nugget. Have you tried Chick Fil A nuggets, though, because those are soo good? Ok, no - you are right - make your lunch - done!
3. I will no longer let my son wear girl shirts to school. Apparently boy polo shirts button up on one side and girl polo shirts button up the other - who knew - well apparently most of the 4th grade boys did last year, so this year - no girl shirts!
4. I will not forget to wash your tennis, soccer, cross country, football gear every single night - twice - on HOT! Because throwing them in the dryer for a ten minutes with a dryer sheet and then Febreezing them is not the same... even though it kind of is.
5. I will not wait until the last minute to work on your/my Tennessee Project because all that yelling is bad for everyone. Additionally, I will start building that wigwam at least two weeks early so I can order all the necessities and not end up supergluing sticks and leaves to an old, plastic piece of tupperware the night before it is due. Because that not only gets you a bad grade but more importantly allows That Mom (you know the one) to make a better grade than me/you!
6. I will remember to sign your agenda book/permission slip/sports waiver and won't encourage you to forge my name when you call me from the school office. Because the Principal has an odd habit of putting me on speaker and also because your Dad's signature is much easier to replicate.
7. If there is a short period (promise, it will be short) where I can't make your lunch and you have to eat cafeteria food, I will remember to put money into your lunch account. Because it's embarrassing not only for you, but for me to get that call...day after day. And while part of me thinks it's character building, your Dad doesn't think it's funny.
8. I will encourage you to attend all practices even if that means I will spend every single day of this next year waiting in my car or sitting in the bleachers for hours on end. One, because I love you and two, because I have a feeling your Dad is keeping a file on me and I probably need to step it up.
9. I will remember that it's important that I get your teacher a Christmas gift, a Teacher Appreciation gift, a Valentine's Day gift, and an End of the Year gift because when I/you get that last tardy before Saturday school begins, she just might be "resting her eyes" as you slip into the room at 8:05.
10. I will do my best to not look absolutely pained as I sit through your Christmas, Chorus, End of the Year, School Award Program...because you/I worked hard for that Flutophone award, just as hard as that kid who has won every single other award for the last 10 years. Just as hard!
To read more of Angel or Becky's Columns go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com.
In 2008 I took a last minute trip to Napa with a friend. By some sort of stroke of good luck we travelled down a dusty path to Ehlers Estates. I had never heard of these wines, being new to the wine business. In addition, they aren't exactly taking out full page ads in wine spectator. So, after doing the big name wineries cliche thing we were pleased to find the historic stone winery that is Ehlers. I didn't buy a whole lot of wine on that trip, but the most expensive purchase of wine that I made was at Ehlers. This bottle was their flagship silky smooth cabernet called 1886. I knew at the time that I could not purchase this wine in TN.
I was very excited when I found out that one of our smaller distributors had picked up the Ehlers wines. I am pleased to announce that we now sell the cabernet franc, the merlot , 120 over 80 Cabernet Sauvignon and yes, their flagship, much beloved by me, 1886.
But, you see there is so much more to this wine. The founder of the winery, frenchman and philanthropist, Jean Leducq began buying up parcels of land in St. Helena in 1985. In 2001 he combined the original 14 acres and historic stone winery along with an additional 40 acres that composes Ehlers today. The best part of this wine, aside from the fact that it is organic and biodynamic is that all of the proceeds of the sales of this wine go to a nonprofit organization that funds heart disease research. In fact,Vanderbilt received two million dollars last year from the Leducq Foundation.WOW. The wine is amazing, the people who make it are conscious about our environment and about the greater good of the human race. Not to mention they operate out of a gorgeous old stone building that was erected in 1886 by Bernard Ehlers! And to think I had no idea back in 2008, I just liked the wine. I hope my customers choose to try this wine. It is sure to astound the palate. The 1886 is filled with notes of plum, black cherry, violets and cinnamon. Petit verdot adds a whisp of blueberry. There is just a touch of merlot blended in to warm up the middle. The finish is long and strong.
This year we were fortunate enough to bring in the highly sought after Petit Verdot in addition to the rose'. Both wines were out of sight literally and figuratively!
I will be back at Ehlers in October! I plan on representing Lebanon well! We are excited to have such a strong relationship with these producers!
Malbec Throwdown We had a lovely French Malbec blend at dinner two nights ago on vacation that was the inspiration for this blog and consequential “Malbec tasting throwdown”. I have had many Malbecs from Argentina and surprisingly few from France where Malbec has its' beginnings as a lowly blending grape. Times have changed and Malbec has come into its own, the shining star, premier grape in Argentina, particularly Mendoza.
The grape was first introduced to the region in the mid 19th century when provincial governor, Governor Domingo Sartiena instructed the French agronomist Miguel Pouget to bring grapevine cuttings from France to Argentina. Argentine Malbec wine is characterized by its deep color and intense fruity flavors with a velvety texture. While it doesn't have the tannic structure of a French Malbec, being more plush in texture, Argentine Malbecs have shown aging potential similar to their French counterparts. The Mendoza region is the leading producer of Malbec in Argentina with plantings found throughout the country in places such as La Rioja, Salta, San Juan, Catamarca and Buenos Aires.
In France, Malbec has an identity crisis. It traditionally was grown in 30 provinces, according to the Oxford Companion to Wine (a.k.a. “The Great Big Book of Everything”). And it had almost as many names. In the Loire Valley, it is known as cot but plays second fiddle to Cabernet Franc; in fact, maybe fourth fiddle, behind Gamay and Pinot Noir as well. Its most hospitable ground is in Cahors, midway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, where it traditionally was known as auxerrois, an unfortunate name that can only be pronounced correctly when coughing up a hairball. Although the grape orriginates in France under several names, Argentina is foremost and reknown for Malbec. The country grows 70% of the world's Malbec. So the winemakers of Cahors responded to Argentina’s success by embracing “Malbec” as the name of their grape and displaying it prominently on the label. They also have increasingly bottled their wines as 100 percent Malbec, though the appellation laws allow some Merlot and Tannat in the blend. The same thing has happened with Chardonnay. As a result of this new marketing emphasis by Cahors, we have a wine throwdown of sorts.
On beach vacation with a friend (who certainly loves a good throwdown) we bought a couple of bottles. This is a tremendously fun way to explore wine. The french wine is a Kermit Lynch wine, a Cahors consisting of 80%Malbec and 20% Merlot. I was not sure about it the first time I had it and figured a second time would seal the deal, good or bad. The Argentinian wine from the well-known Catena family of wines. Both wines were the same price, $15.99. Argentina tends toward a polished New World style, with new oak prominent to varying degrees and what I call “disappearing tannins,” by which I mean you can sense them in the inherent structure of the wine but you don’t necessarily feel them on your tongue and teeth. My friend preffered the wine Argentina citing the cherry properties. The French expression, on the other hand, is more earthy. The nose had the barnyard thing going which I loved while my friend disdained. New oak is not as prominent (and I hope the vignerons of Cahors don’t change that). The flavors and textures are a bit more rustic and chewy, and they often get even better a day or two after the cork is pulled. Cahors somehow combines a hint of Bordeaux-like class (the Atlantic influence) with the ruggedness of warm-climate wines from the Mediterranean. So, basically if you like a “New World” feel to your wine, an Argentinian Malbec might be for you. The Cahors is for a French wine lover, someone who appreciates a more “Old World” style wine.
Malbec makes a very food-friendly pairing partner with its concentrated black cherry and blackberry fruit components, fig-like flavors mocha and mineral notes along with a unique gamey quality that often rolls out with smoke, pepper and tobacco spice. From roasted and stewed beef or game to braised lamb, sausage, mushrooms, and spice-laden sauces, Malbec has the versatility and spice-affinity to handle a stunning array of food combinations and ethnic cuisines.
By Amelia Hipps-Political Contributor for Wilson Living Magazine
Ward 2 Councilor Fred Burton, who had been a “present, not voting” for the past several meetings finally voted in favor it, along with Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino, Ward 4 Councilor Joe Hayes and Ward 5 Councilor Tick Bryant. Ward 1 Councilor Lanny Jewell was not there. The lone no vote came from Ward 6 Councilor Kathy Warmath.
While passing the budget on first reading is a good step in the right direction so the city can move forward, here are a few takeaways that I hope the council and mayor will remember going into the next fiscal year.
- Have the finance department generate monthly reports of revenue and expenditures. At one time, this was done. It made for a lot of colorful exchanges between then Mayor Don Fox and then Ward 3 Councilor William Farmer. Regardless, the point is the reports gave the council, everyone in city government and the public a fairly up-to-date status of the city’s finances. This should be implemented as soon as possible.
- Review and modify the retirement benefits policy. Currently, if you work for the City of Lebanon for a minimum of 10 years and are employed at the time of your retirement at age 65, you qualify for lifetime health, life, and vision insurance for you and your spouse. It’s a sweet deal. However, the minimum number of employment years should be lengthened to at least 15, possibly 20, for all new hires beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Current employees should be grandfathered in to be fair.
- Increase the amount employees must pay for health insurance. Earlier this year, I was called on the carpet for suggesting employees pay the full percentage increase in their premiums. That may be too much, but at least 25 percent of the increases should be passed on to them. The $40 for individual and $160 for family coverage currently being paid is way below what employees in the public sector pay. And, yes, many of those make on par what city employees do.
- Remove health benefits for city council members. Technically, city council members are part-time employees. Therefore, in my opinion, they should be treated like part-time employees and not receive health insurance benefits. Nor should they be entitled to life-long insurance benefits after serving only two terms.
- Assign each councilor as a liaison to a department and/or line-item expense. If this were done, as Ward 3 Councilor Rob Cesternino suggested, councilors could keep their colleagues informed each month as to how the departments are doing. In addition, come budget time next year, they would have months of tracking data and information at the ready.
- Present the budget figures in a way that the common person can understand them. For the past several years, we’ve heard each year that $2 to $2.9 million out of the “rainy day fund” (money from the sale of the electric company years ago) would be needed to balance the budget. However, each and every year the city has managed to balance the budget without using anywhere near those amounts – if at all. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never understood this type of budgeting.
- Use the “rainy day fund” for one-time capitol expenditures and pay it back over time. I wrote about this the other week. Using the $9 million in this account to pay for things like infrastructure improvements (roads, drainage solutions, sewage and water lines, new vehicles and equipment, sidewalks, etc.) is a wise use of the money. It’s the way many households improve their property. They save the money to repair the roof, add a room or remodel one. Once it’s done, they start putting money back into the savings account for the next project. Someone please explain to me why this can’t be done at the city level.
If the city leaders would take just these seven steps, I think next year’s budget process could go a lot smoother and quicker. In addition, I think the City of Lebanon would have seven, better-informed elected officials representing us, which in turn should mean better-informed citizens come election time.
Only time will tell if I’m correct or not.
By Angel Kane
Wilson Living Magazine
On my travels this summer, I read a lot. And I mean, a crazy lot. If you own iTunes stock be ready for a huge upswing in value because I downloaded almost a book a day.
Those around me all read fiction. Brody is a big Harlan Coben fan and the girls love trilogies.
Back in the day when I read fiction, I'd turn to the end and read the conclusion first.
I know - right - HORRORS! Oh please, get over your judgy self!!
I'm not about to invest three hours on a book only to find out that the main character dies in a fiery crash or worse yet, he disappears, thereby causing me to have to buy yet another of this author's books, to THEN find he dies in a fiery car crash!
When we first married, Brody found my reading the end first to be a serious character flaw, claiming I'd hidden a terrible secret trying to trick him into marriage. Then came my wiping the fog off the mirror by hand and squeezing the toothpaste from the middle, and you would've thought he'd been deceived into marrying a transvestite!
In an effort to save our marriage, I gave up reading fiction and bought separate tubes of toothpaste but I still wipe the fog off the mirror, because, seriously, "I ain't got time for that!" If you have time to wait while fog dissipates from your bathroom mirror - then I guarantee your baseboards are filthy!
So, back to my books, since I graciously gave up fiction, I now only read biographies or financial or political books, because the end is a given. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not sitting on the beach reading books about the life of Lincoln, I definitely spice things up with some "D-List" memoirs.
And like all summer reading lists, once read, you are expected to write a report on what you learned, so here goes...
One of my favorites this summer was by Jen Lancaster, who lived her life as directed by my all time idol, Martha Stewart, and then wrote about it. At one point,
she chose to NOT follow Martha's directions on how to properly de-yolk an egg, before dying it, facing utter disaster. Her AHA moment came when she realized "there is no benefit to blazing your own trail, when the perfect path already exists!"
This morsel was a much needed eye opener! Most things have been done people. I mean you can try to reinvent the wheel but I promise you, round is the way to go on wheels, so if you need to know how to cook something, build something, or clean something - just ask Martha.
"When life hands you lemons, grab yourself the nearest bottle of vodka and make yourself a cocktail." This little nugget came from Brandi Glanville's biography. Now there are two types of women, those who watch Real Housewives and those who simply don't admit to watching Real Housewives, so I'm pretty sure you all know her.
Alcohol is not my thing but I find this gem to be golden! It's not about the vodka, its about the lemons. Life will hand you all sorts of lemons, but lemons are an opportunity - you can make a cocktail, you can make lemon ice box pie or you can make a good old fashioned lemonade - just never, never, eat a lemon without adding a ton of sugar to it.
"If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but you think it's a pig, then it's a pig." This came from Katie Couric's book wherein she asked various prominent people to impart their wisdom. Per Gloria Steinem, go with your gut.
I should do this more, in fact, as I explained to Brody on our last leg of the trip, "When we get home, I'm going to listen to my gut and only do what I feel like doing." Thereby causing my defogger of dreams to impart his own wisdom, "Well, I hope to God your gut is telling you to get back to work or else you and your gut are going to be walking everywhere, after they come pick up your car."
No wonder Gloria stayed single for so long!
"When in doubt, order the hamburger," that one is per my favorite late night comic Jimmy Kimmel.
I find this to be so profound, I might just put it on my tombstone. How many times have I been faced with either the fish or pasta, when I should've just ordered the hamburger? You can't go wrong with plain and simple - ever!
And I saved one of my best books for last. Larry David is the genius behind Seinfeld and is not only hysterically funny but also a truth-sayer.
Larry relays to...
"Always - always - no matter what the circumstances - I don't care if you won the lottery - curb your enthusiasm. Nobody wants to see you jumping up and down - acting like an idiot. Nobody! Unabashed displays of enthusiasm are as off putting as watching a couple make out in public. Do you think Anne Franke appreciated it when Miep Giez, the woman who hid her, paid a visit, then couldn't stop yammering about how beautiful it was outside? 'Oh my God Anne, what a spectacular day! I took a hike, played with my dogs and just got back from swimming!' To which Anne replied, ' with all due respect Frau Giez, I'm glad you had fun. Now do me a favor. Shut the hell up and get out of here.'"
Clearly, have truer words ever been spoken? I mean, I know you went on a trip, but do you have to post it all over Facebook?
Okay, so obviously I should've read Larry's book before posting my 1021 vacation photos, but if it makes you feel better, I gained 10 pounds!
That's my lemon, now to find the Splenda...
By Angel Kane
Wilson Living Magazine
July 4th is always a big holiday at our house. We start with a late afternoon BBQ of burgers and hot-dogs, followed with Brody and a few other Dads shooting off fireworks while the Moms and kids all Oooh, Ahhh and scream "Neill, get back!!", over and over.
This year, however, we will sadly be missing all the festivities as we are out of the country. And nothing makes you appreciate America more...than not being there! So, in honor of July 4th and all things great about America, we Kanes have compiled a list. It should be noted that as I'm typing this column, Brody and the kids are still shouting out things to add to my list, however, since Telling Tales isn't up to two full pages just yet - I'm going to stick with the ...
Top Five Things Americans Do Better
I don't know who invented the ice cube but I've got a hunch it was an American! That's because, in Europe, ice is basically outlawed. No matter what the drink, be it a Coke or juice, every drink is served a few degrees cooler than room temperature. It's become my "thing" to ask for ice, which is usually met with a sneer, followed with "No Ice, ... sorry!" But I don't believe any one of them are truly sorry. For one, their tone clearly indicates otherwise, but mostly because, seriously, how hard is it to freeze water in an ice cub tray?!! No, after two weeks of practically begging for a cold drink, I'm convinced whoever did invent ice somehow insulted the entire continent of Europe and his product has been permanently banned.
To that end, as soon as we land, I'm finding a Sonic and ordering the biggest cup of crushed ice that they sell. Actually, I'm going to order three, one for each hand and one just to stick my face into!
The Big Cup
While we are on this topic, let's talk about their big cups or lack thereof. So, I know most Europeans are thinner than us, claiming it's because they walk everywhere. Well, they are liars! Their lack of weight gain is the direct result of the fact that they can't drink their calories, like we can. And that's because every cup here is tiny, from my morning coffee to my evening Sprite, their cups are basically shot glasses. I'm certain I could make millions here by opening a kiosk serving only ice in big cups! I'm not kidding, they may have given us democracy, but once I give them ice in a big sonic cup, we're going to be even. In fact, at that point, I'm thinking they owe us!
Okay, I'll admit, I'm not the best driver, but these people over here...they really, really, really can't drive! It's as if they get in their cars each morning - with one thought - I'm going to run Angel over! And, who knows, maybe they heard about my "ice thing" and are really gunning for me. But I'm guessing I'm not the first westerner to ask for ice, so I'm hoping it's not personal. Driving here is definitely at your own risk, so is crossing the road or even walking down the street. At this point, I've seen my life flash before my eyes so many times, I no longer fear death.
How is it that the women over here can wear the craziest outfits and look positively posh, but if you saw me wearing the same thing, you'd call Brody to tell him "she is walking around Walmart, wearing tights, wedge heels, a jersey dress with holes cut into it, a leather satchel and a scarf. I'm sure she's had some sort of mental breakdown, come get her quickly." Whereas you can spot the Americans, here, from a mile away. We are the ones in shorts, tank tops and our $5.99 flip flops! And while the natives do look 1000 times more fashionably forward than me, they also look HOT! So hot that I want to cry out "Hey people, ice, big cup, lose the scarf!" I mean its July- who wears scarves in July!
They charge one Euro ($1.40) to use their public restrooms and some of them consist of nothing but a hole in the ground. When you enter the "water closet" there's usually a rather large woman sitting there, smoking, as she takes your money and hands you a tiny square of toilet paper. And let me tell you from first hand experience, there isn't any amount of my precious American hand sanitizer, that I lugged all the way over from the U.S., that can fix this mess!
So on this greatest of American holidays, when our country celebrates it's independence, we Kanes are immensely grateful...more grateful than we've ever been before, that our forefathers won that war! Because I've seen what life would have been like had they not, and believe me, while we would've all been incredibly thin and stylish, we would also be unbelievably hot and thirsty and I'd still be "holding it" until we could get home!
To read more of Becky and Angel's columns go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlviingmagazine.com.
By Angel Kane
There are a lot of things people might call me, but one word I will never be called is adventurous. And over the years, I've come to realize that being unadventurous is deeply seeded within my DNA.
Never has this been more obvious than the last week while vacationing with my parents and brother. As I type this article this morning, I'm sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean. My entire family, including myself, my parents, my brother and his family, Brody and our kids are spending two weeks together in Greece.
In anticipation of our trip, my parents, brother and I did what any normal person would do: got shots, checked the various world weather radars and compiled the statistical safety data of the numerous planes we would be traveling on. Then we registered with the American Consulate and updated our Wills.
Ironically we each did these things separately, without consulting the other, which we thought was just hilarious, as we compared our research in detail before boarding our 12 hour flight.
There are two non-blood family members traveling with us on this trip - Brody and Erica, my sister-in-law. They don't find our antics amusing.
Therefore, after picking out all the possible terrorists on the plane, we let them sit closest to them - I mean if these terrorist-like looking people don't scare you - you have nothing to worry about.
Although Greece isn't officially a third world country, I'm a firm believer that any country where they don't serve soft drinks WITH ICE, has got to be on some sort of United Nations hazardous travel list of some sort. And don't even get me started about the shower heads that are not mounted to the walls. I have permanently injured my neck from just one week of holding the shower handle with one hand while trying to shampoo with the other.
If I knew to whom to write a strongly worded letter about these issues, along with the lack of dryers, air conditioning or internet, I'd do it. But only once my feet are firmly planted back on American soil, because I'm 110% positive that I would suffer some major atrocities if they locked me up in a foreign prison.
The island we are staying on is simply gorgeous with steep gravel roads carved out of the side of the mountains. I've taken to closing my eyes and muttering prayerful gibberish to God on most of our days of travel. Just ask my husband how enjoyable that has been for he and the kids.
So, it would be just my luck that as we were traveling on one of these steep gravel roads, with a donkey on one side and a looming cliff with the ocean on the other, I would hear a loud POP and then smell something burning.
"What is that? Did you hear that Brody? Something is wrong with the car, pull over, pull over!!!"
"Where exactly do you want me to pull over?" he answered back.
I could read my obituary now, "The Kane family plunged to their deaths over a cliff in Greece, the donkey survived."
They tell me that my gibberish got louder and more frantic and although I remember none of this, and would deny it to any PETA official, at some point I demanded my husband run the donkey over!!!
Finally, we made it down the cliff to safety, only to find that we had lost power steering, a belt had snapped and and by now, the car was engulfed in smoke. My brother's car had been in front of us and my parents' behind.
We all got of our cars and my blood-family rushed over.
"Geez, I really thought you might go over the cliff," cried out my brother. "Your car was smoking all the way down that hill."
My parents were openly weeping.
Brody rolled his eyes, "the only reason that car was going over the cliff, is because I was this close to making a sharp turn into the sea to put us all out of our misery!"
My other non-blood relative, Erica, was rolling her eyes as well.
If I were an adventurous sort, I would have told both of them to...., but tomorrow we are kayaking around the island and I'm going to need their upper body strength to make it safely back to shore.
But once my feet are firmly back on U.S. soil, well, let's just say the letter I plan to send to each of them (as well as the rental car agency and the Greek Road Commission) will be very, very firm indeed!
To read more of Angel and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com or www.wilsonpost.com.
Summer jewelry is fun and colorful. Taking center stage this summer is brightly colored resin jewelry. This is not the Lucite jewelry that was worn in the 1970’s, it has texture, finesse and style. Not sure how to wear color? Add it with your accessories!
Resin is available in a wide range of designs that incorporate durability and chic functionality. No worries with metal allergies! Casual to formal your resin pieces will be well worth the investment, they will have longevity.
Resin is available in a wide array of fashion accessories such as earrings, necklaces, link bracelets or bangle bracelets. Think about layering your bracelets with non resin pieces. Mix your colors and have fun with the different textures.
Resin is my go to accessory this summer. Wearing two necklaces and a scarf, link bracelet with a bangle, stretch and metal and then you can incorporate your earrings. The combinations are endless. Enjoy the fun of the mix and match, enjoy the bright colors and most importantly enjoy your accessories!