New Years Eve Dinner Party - The Menu

I've been preparing since yesterday for a New Years Eve Dinner Party that we are having tonight.

Here is what's on the menu:
Spinach Bruschetta with Pesto Shrimp
Beef Tenderloin Filets w/garlic spinach & balsamic reduction
Roasted Potatoes w/bule cheese & chives
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap-Pecan Crust

Made the Pumpkin Cheesecake last night since it has to chill overnight and if I don't say so myself - DAMN - I'm good. This girl can cook. Here is a pic of the final product:

Gotta get back to cookin' & cleanin'. If ya want the recipie, drop me a comment and I'll zap it to ya or pick up the December Issue of Cuisine At Home (it is not in the online version).

P.S. Terri - I told you that you shoulda come this weekend. I'll have to come up with another menu to razzle dazzle you and my main man Joe with. Hmmmmm. What shall whip up?

Happy New Year - "It's a New Day"

I think this song from Patti LaBelle sums it up for me....Happy New Year..."It's a New Day"
Seems my life is finally coming together
Feel so good, don't think I've ever been better
It's clear to me my future will bring
The peace I've been longing for is mine forever more

It's a new day
Open my eyes and my path is clearer
( New Day )
Pushing ahead till my goal gets nearer
( New Day )
Spread my wings
I'm doin' things my way
It's a new day

Wasn't sure where I should begin
Couldn't tell my beginning from the end
For every door that closed a window opened
Been 'round the world and back again, it starts from within, yes

It's a new day
(A new day)
Open my eyes and my path is clearer
( New Day )
Pushing ahead till my goal gets nearer
( New Day )
Spread my wings
I'm doin' things my way
It's a new day

I'm excited for the things ahead of me
I decided I can make it on my own
Embrace the good and bad and let go of the past
I'm loving what's inside of me, yes, yes

It's a new day....


Erin's 24th Birthday

My daughter, Erin, celebrated her 24th Birthday on Friday at Station9 in DC. We had a great time, met a wonderful photographer - our new personal paparazzi -and drank our favorite drink - "Goin' Postal" till we were stooopit. Luckily we had Ron with us as our designated driver.

Here are a few pics from the evening...more later....


Jeff Dunham - Achmed the Dead Terrorist

CreoleInDC (or is it SIP) has introduced us to getting "Banned" for stuff that comes to her inbox...all kinds of crazy and hilarious stuff. I've been "banned" once for pilfering some gumbo (it was YUMMY!). Well, today was my first instance of having to ban someone...

I got this one in my inbox from my BFF Pattey....

Now that I am off the floor from almost bursting a kidney, Pattey - you are banned! Stop the Madness.


What a Day!

The Steptoe Clan had a wonderful Christmas Day! We all got up, shook that morning face off and took our annual family photo. Erin decided that this year we should all have Christmas PJ's for the photo and a new tradition in born. We then made CinnaBuns and Mimosa's and toasted the day and the blessings from the past year. We had to sneak Cara downstairs so she wouldn't see her loot in the living room - cause her stuff was just too big to wrap. Stuck a bow on it and set it up in the living room.

We opened stockings and then exchanged gifts.

After we opened all the gifts in the sunroom, we went over to my mothers MTV crib (yeah, see pimped out her apartment - it is THE Hotness) and opened presents from GMa Sandy. Why did she have snowman peeps? Cara had to immediately shove 2 in her mouth.

Back over in my kitchen, Ashley fixed eggs and sausage for breakfast and everyone started either putting together (Dora Vanity), setting up (Gaming Laptop) or charging (Razor Phone) their loot. Jordan hasn't come out of his room since shortly after breakfast. Charlee took a nap clutching her phone and Cara proceeded to give everyone a new hairstyle with the tools on her vanity.

We went over to GMa Willie's for presents and dinner around 3pm. I got GMa stuff that she really needed but wouldn't ever purchase herself...a new phone (the one she has shorts out) and a DVD Player. I had to set everything up for her prior to going home and I had to write out step by step instructions, tape them to the DVD, and walk her through it so she could play her movies. She's got all these movies (the woman loves the TV) and nothing to play em on. Go figure. She's rockin' now.

We came back home and watched Eastern Promises on DVD in the home theater. Popped some popcorn, hit the recline button and pressed play. I was amazed I stayed awake but the movie was rather intense and graphic at times (particularly the huge fight scene in the steam bath). After the movie, Ron and I collapsed in the bed...Ron was snoring in bout 5 seconds....I caught a head cold & cough and nursed myself to sleep with some The.ra.Fl.u. Still got the cough this morning and my throat is killing me but I think I can stand an outing with the kids at the mall...if I can find a place to park.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.


Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of our
Friends and Family a
Merry & Blessed Christmas.

Christmas Eve With Girlfriends


So Why U Trippin?

On the way back from a party last night (WONDERFUL FOOD & it was great to see people we had not seen in a long time), Ronnie Bear and I were talking about the death of a (alleged) friendship and I was going on and on about how the last couple of incidences that happened just solidified my theory that after all this time, we all were never really friends - that it was a business relationship - a relationship of convenience & proximity. I was telling Ron how disappointed I was; that I (we) had vested so much of ourselves in the friendship only to find out that it was all a lie. It was always a one way thing and as long as we (Ron & I) were doing what the other couple thought we should be doing, they way they thought it should be done - then everything was A-Okay. WTF?

Ron and I NEVER treated any of our business partners/downline that way and to this day still don't. Life happens to people. Life sometimes gets in the way of "building the business" and people come & go. People find other ways to make their dreams happen that work better for them. GOOD FOR THEM. We are rooting for you and want a seat at the celebration. That is the ultimate goal, is it not? Well, for some, the only way to make your dreams come true and become financially independent is the way they have been doing it for the past 15 years+. I figure that after doing the same thing over and over and getting the same damn results (no growth to speak of), that you would move on. Nope. Just keep doing what your doing and it will eventually pay off. Lunacy.

Anyway, after Ron and I stopped the lunacy because we found a way to make our dreams come true a different, more reliable way....well, people changed. Suddenly, we became persona's non gratis. Hmmmm. No more social events, no more phone calls, no more nothings. When we did see our old "friends", we were treated like an inconvenience...at worst, like a bad customer. I could be all just my imagination - "Ya know they are all so busy." Yeah, well, no matter how busy our other ventures have made us, we always find time for the things & people that really matter to us.

So, I'm grumbling in the car about what I've considered that last death knell of the relationship and Ron doesn't say much. I stare at him while he's driving (he is soooo handsome, looks yummy...oh, I digress) and ask him why none of this seems to bother him at all.

He says, "Baby, nothing that they have done is out of character at all. Over the years, I have watched what they have said about other people that have left or stopped doing the business. I always knew that it wouldn't be any different for us. What makes you think that you would be any more special? What makes you think that if they talk about the lives, common sense and character of other people that have left, that they would do any different for you."

All I could say at that moment was "WOW, let me absorb that bit of perspective."

Ron says, "That's why I seem indifferent. I'm not surprised at all by the change in relationship. I'll start being suspect, when all of a sudden they DO start calling, coming back around and wanting to be with us."............"So, baby, why are you trippin?"

Ronnie Bear don't say much (most of the time) but when he does....Profound.
I'm sooooo over it.


Mommie Has a Blog

My mommie has finally joined the great blogosphere! How I got her there is beyond me since she can barely program her cell phone....Why did she buy this new fangled, high speed phone with email & Internet capability to only use it for emergencies - AND a bluetooth headset - Go figure...

Anyway, she has joined the family. I'm sure her stories are gonna be hilarious cause she is part of the Steptoe "WE KNOW DRAMA" clan. Take a moment to drop by and welcome her to the family.


Hangin' with Mini-Me

Ron and I went to Cara's "special" school for her class' Holiday Party. "Special" I say because Cara goes there 4x/week from her home school for speech theapy and language development. When we took custody of Cara-baby, she was 18 months old and barely spoke. It didn't get much better as the year progressed. She sounded like she was underwater. One of her teachers at Bro.ok.field Chri.stia.n Acad.emy recommended that we have our peditrician evaluate her because she wasn't forming words correctly. Several evaluations, hearing tests, tubes in her ears social workers later and now "special ed" - we have a child who won't shut up. Blessings all around.

Cara was so happy to have "mommie & poppop" in her class. We made snowflake rubbings, snowmen from stickers and frosted & decorated a snowman sugar cookie - THE highlight. Check out the pictures....

A Little Christmas Message

I received this message from a company my husband and I do business with and thought it was relevant as I send out a lot of messages to my "distro" lists, friends and family over the holiday....

We have a list of people we know, all logged in our computer,
And now at Christmas time we have gone to take a look.
And that is when we realize that these names are a part,
Not of the computer they're stored in, but of our heart.

For each name stands for someone who has crossed our path sometime,
And in that meeting they've become the rhythm in each rhyme.
And while it sounds fantastic for us to make this claim,
we feel that we're composed of each remembered name.

And while you may not be aware of any special link,
Just meeting you has changed our lives, a lot more than you think.
For when we do a Christmas E-mail that is addressed to you,
It's because you're on the list of people we're indebted to.

And whether we have known you for many years or few,
In some way you have been a part of shaping things we do.
And now that Christmas has come, we realize anew,
The best gift life can offer is meeting people like you.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Question for the Blogsphere - Is it Ignant?....

You get a store gift card from your boss for Christmas. You know he expensed it on the company. You go to the store and use it to purchase gifts for other people in the family. Is that ignant or a prudent use of a "bonus" from your company?


Winter Wonderland Event

Usual Suspects (both male & female) come one, come all. If you would like to be included on the invite list to this event in Washington, DC drop me a email and I will send you the complete details. I look forward to meeting more of my blogsphere family...holla!


I Elfed Us!

...and you can too. Check out the Steptoe Elf Dance. You know I must have WAY too much free time.



The USUAL SUSPECTS Christmas Party

I had the most awesome time at my 1st ever USUAL SUSPECTS event. I have never been in a room with so many dynamic, awesome black women in all my life...that can also cook, bake (or shop) & drink wine with the best of 'em.

I didn't pull my ziplock of the fantabulous jerk chicken...when Monnie was crackin the whip, I was looking in the other direction. Oh, and guess what...I'm killing another bowl of the gumbo girl. Yep, I went in the pot...am I banned?

I thought the bags & bags of cookies I brought home would last forever but the kids (both big and small) started consuming in great quanitities. BACK AWAY FROM THE COOKIES. I've already put my traveling mani/pedi set in my tote - thank you Sissy - for my jaunt to the nail salon this weekend.

I am SOOOOOO looking forward to the next event! Thank you, Monica for being the Hostess with the Mostest.


Bakin' Cookies

Today I baked cookies with Cara. I've never seen a little girl have so much fun. I picked up that pre-cut cookie dough sheet with Christmas trees stamped in the dough. We put those on the sheet first and then took the remaining dough and rolled it back out to use some cookie cutters that my mother gave me (letters, stars, angels). We spelled out Cara's name and made some stars & angels. Jordan took some pictures on his cell phone....

After they came out the oven, we decorated them with some frosting & sprinkles...and Cara promptly ate three in a row.
I never did this with Erin. We adopted Erin when she was 9 and it was a long struggle to keep her on the straight path after being bounced around from mother, to grandmother, to great-grandmother, back to mother and around the block again. Erin turned out okay, but some of the girlfriend-mother-daughter stuff went by the wayside (no time to be girlfriends) as Ron and I struggled to raise a woman. Now we have Cara and these fun things just hit me and it is as much fun for me as it is for her. It cracked me up to see her run into Ron's office and practically shove a cookie in his mouth saying "Eat it, Daddy." The moments memories are made of.
As I was thinking about Christmas memories, I remembered a time that Ron and I went to Williamsburg Virginia during the holiday season and ate in the King's Arms Tavern. We had the most AWESOME Rice pudding with a custard sauce over it for dessert there and we begged to get the recipe. They gave it to us and I made it for Ron every holiday for years and then I just stopped. Don't even remember why. I dug out my cookbooks in search of the recipe and found it. I made him a big ole batch of King's Arms Raisin Rice Pudding
4 eggs ------------------------- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c sugar -------------------- 1 tsp butter, melted
2 cups milk -------------------- 1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups cooked rice --------- 2/3 cup seedless raisins
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 quart casserole dish. Combine eggs, sugar, and milk and beat well. Fold in the rice, lemon juice, vanilla, melted butter, nutmeg and raisins. Pour into prepared casserole dish and put dish in a pan of boiling water (DO NOT SKIP OR RICE WILL GET REALLY DRY. TRUST ME). Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes or until custard is set.
Custard Sauce
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch (Arrowroot works better - no lumps)
2 c Light Cream, divided
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
Dissolve cornstarch (arrowroot) in half of the cream. Beat egg yolks until light, then combine with cornstarch mixture. Heat remaining cream, taking care not to boil, and add sugar. Pour cornstarch, egg yolk mixture over hot cream & sugar mixture. Return cream to low heat and continue to stir and cook 5 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened. Add vanilla, blend thoroughly and cool.
You are going to love it.
Are you making holiday memories this season?


I AM LEGEND - The Remake


I AM LEGEND vs. The Omega Man
It was not until about 10 minutes into the movie that I realized that there was something vaguely familiar about I AM LEGEND. Then all of a sudden it dawned on me that this was a remake of the movie The Omega Man....almost to a tee. I don't remember how many times I've seen that old sci-fi classic. It was a fun and campy kind of sci-fi movie and I thought Charleston Heston was great as usual.
Anyway, I immediately come home and looked up the Charleston Heston version and low and behold I learn that all the versions are based on Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend, "a story about the last man on earth who spends his days and nights battling vampires, all that’s left of humanity after a devastating plague. (The story has been filmed twice already, namely as The Last Man on Earth in 1964 and the Charlton Heston-starrer The Omega Man.)"
We enjoyed the movie/remake but I knew what was going to happen right up to the very end. There weren't many (if at all) new twists, so I was kinda disappointed with the movie.


The Good Wife's Guide

This was an actual article in Good Housekeeping (Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May 1955) - written to give the house wife (a woman who works in her home...and as far as I'm concerned...that's some hard azz work) some "tips" on being a good wife and keeping a happy home. WOW! I got to thinkin...(I know, it's dangerous)...what if you have a house husband (a man who works in his home...like I do) HMMMMMM.....

1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for [her] return. This is the way of letting [her] know that you have been thinking about [her] and are concerned about [her] needs. Most [wo]men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially [her] favorite is part of the warm welcome needed.
- I got nuttin when I got home...dinner WAS NOT READY!...and I was hungry.

2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when [s]he arrives. Touch up your makeup (your 'fro), put a ribbon in your hair (put some cologne on) and be fresh looking. [S]he has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
- Damn skippy...I had just been with a lot of work people I don't want to be around. UGGAAAH! He was wearing a sweatsuit and didn't come out of his office. HUMPH!

3. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for [her]. [Her] boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
- Nothing AGAIN! He was not a little gay or even interesting. He was in the same place that I left him...holding his crackberry. My boring day in the hospital was not met with a lift. HUMBUG!

4. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your [wife] arrives.
- The house-keeper did it for him. He did start a load of laundry.

5. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper etc and then run a dust cloth over the tables.
- The house-keeper did this for him too! He did take out the trash & brought the mail in.

6. Over the cooler months of the year (like now) you should prepare and light a fire for [her] to unwind by. Your [wife] will fee [s]he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for [her] comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
- No fire, no nothing. But I can't say that he doesn't cater to my personal comfort. He does treat me like the Diva that I am, but I not quite sure about that "immense personal satisfaction" thing. More like resigned "If mama's happy, everybody's happy" HMMMMM...

7. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to was the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and [s]he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of [her] arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacum. Try to encourage the children to be quite.
- Okay, I gotta give this one up. He did pick Cara up from school and immediately put her in the bath...to buy him 30 min of peace...but he did it. He even put the rascal to bed while I hung out over on my mom's side of the ranchero. DAMN.

8. Be happy to see [her]. - Again...Okay...he seems to always be that way or is it the look of "it's cheaper to keep her"? Another thing that make ya go HMMMMMM...

9. Greet [her] with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please [her].
-I've never seen him flinch. He's sincere - mostly.

10. Listen to [her]. You may have a dozen important things to tell [her], but the moment of [her] arrival is not the time. Let [her] talk first - remember, [her] topics of conversation are more important than yours.
- Oh Yeah! He listens...hearing is a whole 'nother matter. I pointed this tip out to Ron and he responded with "Huh?"

11. Make the evening [hers]. Never complain if [s]he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand [her] world of strain and pressure and [her] very real need to be at home and relax.
- I've never heard a word of complaint out of him...of course, I rarely ever go anywhere without him unless it is some work event. I'm not sure if he understands my "world of strain and pressure" though.

12. Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquillity where your [wife] can renew [herself] in body and spirit.
- Well, I know my home is a place I love to be, but I doubt that it is Ron's GOAL in life. He provides the means to the ends. That's good enough.

13. Don't greet [her] with complaints and problems.
-That's not a man's (or my man's) style.

14. Don't complain if [s]he's late home for dinner or even if [s]he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what [s]he might have gone through that day.
-BULLSHYT. I double dare ya to stay out all night without so much as a by your leave. Better be on a business trip...use that damn crackberry to dial some digits. This game works both ways. It wouldn't cross my mind to do such a thing.

15. Make [her] comfortable. Have [her] lean back in a comfortable chair or have [her] lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for [her].
- If he gets me to lie down in the bedroom...well, imma be comfortable alright. UMMM, probbly with my clothes off. He could be more diligent about pouring me a glass of wine. He knows I NEED it.

16. Arrange [her] pillow and offer to take of [her] shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
- HMMMM....in Ron's eyes, that would all be considered foreplay. If he starts messing with my pillows and removing my shoes and speaking in a low soothing voice, he's got plans...

17. Don't ask [her] questions about [her] actions or question [her] judgement or integrity. Remember, [s]he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise [her] will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question [her].
- Does it count that he doesn't question my judgement or integrity on the 200th pair of shoes that I bring through the door or that dress I "just HAD to have?" Oh, that's right...he had NO RIGHT to question me. HA!

18. A good [husband] knows [his] place.
-Right behind that crackberry, bringin home the bacon & getting the job done...Just as he is! Make it so Number One!


JibJab: The Steptoe Family Snowball Fight

The Steptoe Family Snowball Fight

Non-Crappy Starring You! eCards on JibJab

JibJab: Santa Clause

Santa's ticked off. You would be too if you had to make and distribute toys to billions of people, PRO-BONO. Check out an oldie but goodie from JibJab.com


Happy "Getting Separated" Anniversary

Exactly 1 year ago today, I was "separated/not-retained" at P.fi.zer. It's still the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Enclosed is my post from that day 1 year ago.


I have been blessed this past year. New position at Sch.er.ing...Ron's business is going VERY well...Celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary...20th Reunion...Jordan made the honor roll....Cara is speaking much better now. Wow!

Just when you think a door has been closed, God opens a window. Happy "Getting Separated" Anniversary to me.



There are SOOOOO many times that I just sigh at the ignant sheet that people say and do and today was just another one of those days. This time they went from just ignant to a full blown IDJIT.

A fellow alumni from West Point died on the 29th of November. As the Chairman, Communications for the Association of Graduates Diversity Leadership Council, it was my job to send out the notification to the distribution list for the funeral of one of the Long Grey Line. One of "us." I send out the news and I get an email back from another grad that said he no longer lives in Texas (where the funeral is being held) so remove him from the distribution list. YOU IDJIT. You don't have to live in Texas or anywhere else for that matter to want to hear about a fallen comrad. Nobody asked you to go the funeral, IDJIT. We were just sending out a communication. There ain't that many of "us" who graduated from the damn place. Whether you knew the deceased or not, you could at least have a moment of silence for one of the Corps that has gone home. IDJIT. IDJIT. IDJIT. Anyway you look at it.

Whatever. I deleted your IDJIT AZZ from the distro list. NO MORE JELLO FOR YOU!

35 Minutes Later....

...Ronnie Bear was out of surgery. Whew that was quick. I go back downstairs to the recovery room and this is what I find....a man stoned on anesthesia. He was all slurring his words, falling back asleep, talkin' crazy and stuff. It was trying not to laugh but then he actually asked me to take his after picture for the blog. The nurses and I were chuckling the whole time as Ron tried to "pose" for the picture.

Ron was just pitiful. We were all trying to get him to sit up to get dressed and he wouldn't stay awake. He would just fall over. Hilarious. ...And the whole going to the bathroom think was a scream. I'm in the bathroom with Ron and he just standing there with his head up against the wall. He fell asleep again. I had to yell at him to get him to wake up and focus on the job at hand...cause it wasn't gonna be me cleanin' up the pee. Finally, he said he didn't have to go so we just got him back dressed and sitting in a chair. The whole procedure only took about 30 minutes but it took us another hour and half to get Ron coherent enough to get him in the car to go home.

I tried to take a picture of the shards of bone that they took out of his knee...one almost the size of a quarter. It didn't come out very well on my phone substituting for a camera, but it will have to do. The doctor was amazed that there wasn't more damage to the knee and cartilage. Ron will make a nice recovery...if he ever wakes up. I can't wait to hear the sniveling when he has to start his exercises.

Knee Surgery

Ronnie Bear had to have his knee scoped and cleaned out. Poor boo-boo kitty. He started whining last night about the pain (Baby, they haven't done the procedure yet- get a grip). Lord have mercy. I'm sittin' in the waiting room waiting for them to be done putting his knee back together again - should be about 40 mins. till he is in recovery. I had to pry his "crackberry" from his hands. (No baby, you can't take it with you into the OR). Here he is in his cute little surgery outfit. I just love the bonnet....

He was trying to emphasize all the "dire" warnings and didn't want me to run off to the bank. HE HE! I'll just log on sweetie - no worries.


Christmas Decorations

Me & Mommie LOOOOOOOVE us some Christmas. We are decorating and light fanatics. We spent all this past week getting up our decorations and lights up around the house and outside - cause they HAD to be up before the Army-Navy Weekend. We have a few odds and ends to do. I think mom is going to put out some of her Fontanini pieces.

Here are a few shots of the trees...Yes, I have 3 trees not included GMa's tree. Tonight I'll take some pictures of outside.

Humiliation - AKA - THE BEAT DOWN!

Despite the absolute HUMILATION Army suffered at the hands of Navy, we had a great time at the tailgate, game and later at an after party en mi casa. A bunch of people came over after the game and we ate, drank and told lies - uh, I mean stories. We even had a bunch of midshipmen and cadets over late last night. They were very polite about rendering a beat down.

Right now as I type, Grandma Sandy is fixing panny-cakes & sausage and I'm mixing up mimosas. It was a great Army-Navy Football Weekend.