Farewell soft pillows of my body!

I’ve always imagined that I look peaceful and sweet when I sleep.

Like a dainty little goddess floating on a sea of pillows.

Of course that was before The Swede took a picture of me sleeping on New Year’s Day and shared it with me.

Furrowed brow.

Bundled in blankets.

Pouty lip.

Not exactly the picture of sweetness and light I was hoping for.

Lately, I’m unimpressed with all pictures of me.

There’s just a little too much round and not enough angles.

But that’s on remedy, since my Medical Weight Management program starts today.

Nothing like going on a 960 calories-a-day diet to make a person slim down post holiday season, eh?

Sadly, I am fearful I will lose my butt and my boobs in the process, but it’s something I must live with if I want to be healthy.

Farewell soft pillows of my body.

I’m gonna miss you!

Would you like SAUCE with that?

Something I noticed when I was in Sweden is that the Swedes like sauces on their foods.

Virtually everything I ate had some sort of accompanying sauces to go with it.

When I ate steak and mashed potatoes artfully arranged on a plank, there were several sauces to go with it.

My favorite?

Svamp sauce.

Yes, indeed.

SVAMP sauce.

Ok, so MAYBE it was mushroom sauce but I loved the name of the sauce.

The next morning, after eating SVAMP sauce with steak, I had breakfast and The Swede was kind enough to let me sample his favorite – a tube of pinkish caviar sauce which he squeezed like toothpaste ALL OVER HIS BREAKFAST.

I’d like to say “yum” but I believe my reaction to tasting it was to look for something that could replace the flavor in my mouth AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

After tasting the caviar paste, I was obsessed with it however.

So when I came across THIS display of tubes of sauce in the grocery store, I had to stop and examine them.

The tubes had a millions different flavors – shrimp, caviar, salmon. . .even DEER!

I was amused.

Then I walked around the corner and found EVEN MORE TUBES!

And that’s when I realized that The Swedes really do love their sauces.

Hollandaise, béarnaise, crème anglaise, beurre blanc – the French have NOTHING on the Swedes!


The Swede and his daughter made room in their house for me during my visit to Sweden.

It was very thoughtful of them to accommodate me for a whole week while I immersed myself in all things Swedish.

As a thank you, I took them to the smörgåsbord at The Grand Hôtel in Stockholm – a beautiful waterfront hotel located in between the Royal Palace and Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s Old Town).

What can I possibly say about the smörgåsbord?

It was mind blowing.

First of all, there were lots of fish dishes, from gravlax (salmon) to poached cod to smoked sturgeon.

The only gross thing I ate was a slice of homemade sausage that tasted like armpit.

Everything else was scrumptious!

They made these little egg cups with caviar on top that were TO DIE FOR.

I think I ate three.

The Swede’s daughter ate four.

I washed all my food down with two glasses of champagne and the only downside to The Swede driving us into Stockholm is that he wasn’t able to enjoy champagne with me (the drunk driving BAC limit in Sweden is 0.02, a quarter of what it is in the US).

It was a pretty amazing night and a wonderful meal with outstanding company and I will treasure my memories of it always.



FIRE in the hole!

I’m not going to put any of this in perspective for you so that you can be as unsuspecting a victim as I was.

The Swede and his daughter took me to a market and they each proceeded to fill a bag with at least a kilo of sweets from the bulk candy bins.

They bought everything from chocolate to salted licorice to candy.

We got back to The Swede’s house and I was in the kitchen chopping onions when The Swede walked up to me and stretched out his hand.

In his palm was one glorious, chocolate truffle, dusted in even more choclate.


I gobbled it up.

And that’s when I learned my lesson.

Because I wasn’t eating a chewy, delicious morsel of chocolate.

Oh no!

I was eating a Chili Kugler spicy chocolate.

On a spiciness scale of 1 – 15, this was rated a 15.

Now, you might think it was mean of The Swede to trick me like ths.

But actually he warned me about it earlier.

I just forgot in light of our recent trip to the candy aisle.

So there I am, slurping water from the kitchen faucet, begging The Swede for milk with drool pouring off my throbbing tongue.

The good news is that all was no lost.

The Swede and his daughter and  had a rip roaring time watching me slowly recover from my spicy adventure.

But let it be known that when The Swede says he has a spicy treat for you, HE MEANS IT!


I’m trying to talk The Swede into letting me take him and his daughter to the smörgåsbord in The Verandan at The Grand Hôtel in Stockholm.

It’s billed online as “the best smörgåsbord in Sweden.”

And it seems like a quintessential experience we should all have in Stockholm.

I can’t help but think of my foodie sister Lisa, and how much she would TOTALLY LOVE going to the smörgåsbord with me.

When we went to Scotland a decade ago, she practically LIVED at the restaurant The Ubiquitous Chip.

Some of her foodie ways have rubbed off on me.

I mean, I like eating street food and café food as much as the next person, but there’s something about having tables of colorful food options that just gets my blood pumping, and my juices flowing.

Check out some of these pictures:

The trick will be taking public transportation or a taxi to/from their home to The Grand Hôtel so that I can share a bottle of champagne or snaps with The Swede.  Sweden has some pretty strict drunk driving rules (BAC 0.02%) so we’ll have to plan for that.

What better way to thank The Swede and his daughter for accommodating me than to take them to The Grand Hotel?

I sure hope they like it!

Easy access

Every Monday, Tejas cooks me dinner.

But last Monday, I cooked him dinner because he donated his fish and crab from our fishing trip to me.

I made the tastiest, flakiest, fresh, crumb-coated cod filets you can imagine which I served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans dressed in a lemon and mustard sauce.

It was delish!

While Tejas was there, I took the opportunity to show him some of the stuff I’ve acquired for my trip to Sweden – specifically my boots.

He encouraged (forced) me to try them on to make sure they fit okay.

And they did.

Then he proceeded to give me unsolicited advice.

Something along the lines of: SLEEP NAKED WITH THE SWEDE.

At least that was his suggestion when I told him I was planning to get a nice, comfy yet sexy nightgown to sleep in.


Sleep naked?

There’s another person in the house.

I always wonder what I will do if someone walks in OR if I have to evacuate the house because of a fire or carbon monoxide, etc.

Sleeping naked is not my forte.

If you’re worried about easy access, a nightgown usually hitches up around the waist providing absolutely NO PROTECTION against the onslaught of man.

But then, I came across THIS PAIR OF PAJAMAS on CafePress and I said:


I had to have them.

Sweden AND hockey?

It’s The Swede’s dream.

So folks, I opted to pick not the sexiest pajamas nor the ones that provide the easiest access, but I certainly have selected a popular option.

Sweden and hockey, folks.

There in lies that man’s heart.


I love to camp, which is ironic considering my parents never took me camping.

My father actually thinks it’s a ridiculous past time.

Little does he know.

My first camping trip was with my friends Albert and Barry and my then BFF (now sister-in-law) Robin when I was in college.

I got busted for posing topless in the water, I remember.

In any case, I’ve sold my tent trailer Dolly so it’s time to pull out my super big Insta-tent Pete for UnSCruz.

The one thing I’ve never mastered with respect to camping is how to keep it cheap.  I know camping is SUPPOSED to be cheap, but somehow I always fall woefully short of it.

For instance, I have $567.89 worth of groceries in my Safeway online cart [the one thing you should know about me is that I don’t go grocery shopping myself if I can help it].

That’s for 3 – 4 people and includes a case of beer, 750 ml of single barrel whiskey, 750 ml of fine rum, 3.5 L of vodka, 3.5 L of gin, and a 3L box of red wine.


It also includes dinners of steak and potatoes and spaghetti with meatballs in a homemade pasts sauce.


It’s because I have all this time on my hands to plan things out and work on them.

And as if the food and drink isn’t enough, I’m planning a little surprise for my campmates:

A Bloody Mary bar with all the fixings!

But why stop there?

I figured out I could also make Aviator cocktails, Gin fizzes, Mimosas, French 75s, and Screwdrivers with just a few extra ingredients.

Have you heard of Amarena cherries?

OMG, they’re heavenly little spheres of happiness and make a delicious finish at the bottom of an Aviator cocktail!

Of course, all these cocktails require accessories:

  1. Measuring glasses
  2. Bar spoon
  3. Cocktail glasses (acrylic)
  4. Champagne flutes (acrylic)
  5. High ball glasses (acrylic)
  6. Plates and bowls to put the fixings in
  7. Tray for display purposes
  8. Stainless steel cocktail shaker
  9. Skewers
  10. Ice buckets


To the tune of $327.85 in my Amazon basket.

Of course I haven’t BOUGHT anything yet.

I’m waiting to see if my inner Martha Stewart/ Type A/ Overachiever settles down a little.

It also occurred to me that I could go to Goodwill to get all my accessories.

But that would require me to shop.  In a store.  In person.

And we all know I JUST DON’T DO THAT!

Camping at Stanislaus with my friends and my dog Mac (RIP sweet boy)


Chew something!

I am on a diet.

I need to be on a diet because I’m on medication that causes weight gain.

Frowny face.

My weight wouldn’t be a problem if only I’d exercise more.

But I’m basically a lazy woman who hates to sweat.

I also hate it when I’m out of breath.

And my heart rate soars to 180+ when I work out WHICH I CAN’T SUSTAIN.

I blame my mother for my food issues.

She told me that as an infant she had to stuff the bottle in my face right after she shoveled food in it or I’d scream.

I can totally see this behavior in me as an adult – shoveling in food followed by a big swig of booze.

Not healthy.

Not a good habit to develop.

Needless to say, I’ve given up drinking as much as I used to in the past.

And for this my liver THANKS ME!

It’s been two days and I’ve lost 4 pounds.

Which isn’t THAT big a deal because basically I can SNEEZE and lose 4 pounds.

But it’s progress in the right direction.

So wish me luck and cross your fingers hoping I’ll be successful on this liquid milkshake diet I’m on.

Lord knows how much I’m craving to CHEW SOMETHING!


P.S. I totally cheated last night when I licked a serving spoon full of peanut butter clean. . .

Wine tasting in Paso

Yvonne and I went wine tasting in Paso Robles on Saturday.

We took a leisurely drive from her home in Salinas to Paso Robles Saturday morning, checked into our hotel, and vegged for a few minutes before stepping into a luxury Escalade with our driver Melanie, whose job it was to squire us around town while we sipped wine.

We never got drunk but I certainly drank my limit in wine.

To note: we stopped first at J. Lohr, my family’s winery. When my parents invested in the winery during the 80s, they put us in a luxury bus and drove us down to tour the winery and estate. They even let my 16 year old sister and I drink wine, so I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for J. Lohr wines.

wine tasting

It was Yvonne’s VERY FIRST TIME wine tasting and she did great: swirl, nose, examine, swirl, nose again, sip, swallow.

The wines were delicious and I waked away with 4 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Then off to Le Vigne, which I found out is pronounces LEUH VEEN YAY.

wine tasting

More delicious wines and we got a cheese pairing there too which was AWESOME!


Eberle next. Their symbol was a great boar which reminded me of this artwork on the playa in 2016.


boar2It was time to enjoy some food, and the outdoor grill at Eberle served up delicious tri tip sandwiches, perfect for absorbing alcohol.


Our fourth stop was Sculpterra, and they had delicious wines along with amazing sculptures and artwork. I adored the mermaid sculpture out front and had a good time checking out all the other artwork there as well as their wines.

img_0927 img_0932


Finally, off to Tobin James, which was quite honestly, a little like walking into a rowdy bar in the wild wild west.


Their serving room actually is a historical stagecoach stop and has all the feels and character of a western-style saloon.

I promptly walked in, spotted the old taps, and asked if they served beer.

The woman across the counter rolled her eyes, sized me up, and said, “We serve WINE here.”

Properly put in my place, I could only mutter, “But I saw the taps. . . “

And we were off tasting wine at Tobin James.

We returned to our hotel room and grabbed the essential après-wine tasting activity. . .




If you were a man, you’d get lucky tonight

racletteThis past weekend, I went wine tasting in Paso Robles with Yvonne, Tejas’s new lady love.

We spent Friday night at her home in Salinas and she cooked a magical meal for me – raclette with preserved meats, pickles and potatoes.

First, we started out with a bottle of champagne that I brought.

Then we moved on to grapefruit/gin cocktails followed by a lovely bottle of sauvignon blanc.

So it’s a foregone conclusion that I was a little lit for the dinner.

Have you ever had raclette?

Imagine gooey cheese melted on a grill until all its cheesy goodness is ready to pour over a plate of potatoes, pickles, and charcuterie.


I took one look at Yvonne and said:


And I meant it.

Yvonne laughed her head off.

There must be a direct correlation between our stomachs and our sex drive because mine went into overdrive.

The alcohol didn’t help.

No it did not.

So, now I know why La Fondue charges as much as it does to serve you a cheese fondue that you have to cook and serve yourself.

You’re pretty much guaranteed to get laid.

Make a note all of you folks out there struggling to get a piece.

An amazing dinner is AWESOME lubrication!