Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rest in Peace, Tiger

Today our sweet cat Tiger left us, just as suddenly as when she adopted us 12 years ago. She showed up in our backyard, a tiny stray kitten looking for a home.  She brought joy to our lives, an unexpected addition to our family that immediately made it seem more complete.  We will miss her sweet meow and the pitter patter of her tiny paws.  She was always so small and delicate, yet she had a fierceness and independence about her that made her name all the more fitting.

Rest in Peace, my little Tiger.  Mommy will miss you so much.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Review: Reese's Peanut Butter Oreos

Regular readers of this blog know that one of my favorite things to do is try out new and interesting food products, and then review them.

So....imagine my joy last week when I stumbled upon this little beauty: Oreo cookies with Reese's Peanut Butter creme filling.

Of course, for purely scientific purposes, I immediately purchased them and brought them home for a taste test.

The verdict: they're FANTASTIC--the best "Limited Edition" flavor I've tried thus far. They're the perfect balance of sweet, crunchy, chocolately, peanut-buttery goodness.

My only criticism: They're not Oreos.

I can understand that Nabisco wants to increase their market share, and introducing a variety of flavor options is a great way to do that. But for so many people, myself included, Oreos were and always will be synonymous with a white creme center sandwiched between two chocolate wafer cookies.

It's a shame these are considered "Limited Edition" and that Nabisco felt the need to fall back on the Oreo name, because I believe these cookies would sell well even if they were a completely different shape and had a different name. Yes, they're THAT good.

The filling tastes exactly like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and the peanut butter in particular is smooth and creamy and not the least bit grainy, which is the fatal flaw I've seen in other peanut butter cookie products. There's a perfect balance between the amount of chocolate creme and peanut butter creme, and they taste equally good eaten as a whole, or split apart and eaten creme first. I even tried eating just the peanut butter side, and then the chocolate side--still great.

Hopefully, Nabisco will wise up and make these a permanent fixture in their stable of cookie offerings. Until then, I'm going to have to stock up on these and keep them in the freezer for a rainy day. Or any day, really.

Final Recommendation: Drop whatever you're doing and GO GET THESE. You won't be sorry.


Celebrating Posthumous Birthdays

Today is my Dad's birthday.  If he were still alive, he would have turned 83 today.  But alas, he died 9 years ago. The picture you see here is of him blowing out the candles on his 74th birthday cake.  We didn't know at the time that it would be his last birthday that we would be celebrating together, which makes this photo one of the most special that I have of him.

Sure, I would have loved to have seen my father achieve the milestone of 80 years, continue on into his 90's, and maybe even more.  He would be turning 100 on March 22, 2032...but I know that he never will, and I've accepted that. I don't necessarily like it, but that's just how it is.

Which is why it drives me nuts when I see the media touting someone's 100th birthday, only to find out they've been dead and buried for years. Case in point: on March 5th of this year, Google put up a tribute graphic on their homepage to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen noodles, on the occasion of his 105th birthday.

Now, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who loves instant ramen more than I do, so I'm totally on board with celebrating Mr. Ando and his brilliance. But the simple, undeniable truth is, he died 8 years ago, at the ripe old age of 96.

So why are we celebrating his birthday as if he's still accruing them?

Don't get me wrong--I believe that a person's birthday, whether living or dead, is absolutely a cause for celebration.  Too often, we focus on the day a person died, when that was actually just one day over the span of their entire lifetime.  It makes so much more sense to celebrate the day they were brought into the world, marking the exact moment when they began interacting with others and making their mark in this lifetime, for however much time they were given.

But this nonsense of counting the years after the person has passed on--that needs to stop. What could possibly be gained by memorializing the things that a person never had the chance to experience? It is a waste of time and energy to commemorate what a person "would have been."

Today, I celebrate my father for everything that he was: a loving, kind, generous, brilliant, talented, funny, wonderful man.  And though I can't help wishing that he were still here to blow out his candles, I'm truly grateful to have had him in my life for as long as I did.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Coping with Sudden Loss

There's a tragic story dominating the news today: popular Eyewitness News reporter Lisa Colagrossi, died suddenly from a brain aneurysm last night. She was 49 years old.   This morning, my Facebook news feed is filled with postings about her, with many friends expressing shock and sadness.  My heart goes out to her family, especially her two young sons, as they struggle to accept this sudden, devastating change in their lives.  Even though none the friends who are posting about this loss knew Lisa personally, they are frightened and saddened by her loss, because through her on-air reporting, she appeared in their living rooms and was a part of their lives. 
Unfortunately, this type of sudden loss is not as uncommon as we'd all like to believe it is.  This past Wednesday, a 47-year-old police officer named Brian Beutel collapsed and died while attending a charity fundraising event.  He was a father of 5 young daughters, and by all accounts, was a loving, kind, unselfish person who gave generously of his time, and devoted his life to serving others. 

And on Tuesday, a young woman named Tham Truy Nyugen was killed while walking on West 12th Street and 7th Avenue in New York City.  There were very strong winds that day, and a large piece of heavy plywood from a nearby construction site came loose and hit Ms. Nyugen in the head, fatally injuring her.  She was only 37 years old, engaged to be married, her wedding just 4 months away. 

These out-of-nowhere deaths are a sobering reminder that life is fleeting, and the only thing you can count on for sure is that there are no guarantees on how much time any of us has left to accomplish the things we want to do. 

So please, take a moment to pray for the families of Lisa, Brian, and Tham....and then, take a moment to think about all of those things you've been putting off, things that you've been meaning to get to "when there's time." And I don't mean chores around the house, either...I'm referring to the things that bring you joy, like having lunch with a good friend you don't see that often, or treating yourself to a much-needed day at the beach, or letting the laundry sit for an extra day while you take your kids to the movies. 

Embrace and appreciate each day, because each one we get is a gift.