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Frustration gets the best of me.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (for pure convection, adjust accordingly; I used 310 F on convection). Grease cookie sheets, or line them with parchment paper or use a Silpat (which is what I did).

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.

Mix the sugars and butter just until thoroughly mixed, then add egg, yolk and vanilla and mix until creamy. Add the sifted ingredients and mix until just blended.

Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks, then drop dough 1/4 cup at a time on a cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart, and bake for 15-17 minutes. Leave them on the cookie sheet to cool a bit when removed from the oven (this is important… they fall apart if you move them too quickly). Once they cool a few minutes, remove the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Or eat them right away, with milk!

Hair Ordeal. Part 3

So here I go again.
In limbo waiting for the next hairstylist to drop into my lap.
I'm thru with hunting. I am beyond frustrated.

About 3 or 4 months after my class reunion, I was getting anxious for a new "do".
I mentioned this to Julie and she told me she needed to try this new place that was in town. ( Her town, not mine. We live about 20 min. or so apart.) Scott's HQ Salon.
She tried it. When I saw her hair I thought it was the BOMB!!! :-)
I thought that I could give that guy a shot with my straight, fine, boring hair.
When I called, I of course wanted to be seen that day or the next.
Scott said he didn't have any openings, but one of his gals did. Ana.
He promised she was great.
Boy was she ever!!
She asked me what I wanted to do. I told her to have fun. I wanted it shorter and I was bored with the color. The rest I left up to her. This is before.

And this, my friends, is after! My hair has NEVER been this cute! This is "Rena worthy" hair! ( great friend who always has great hair dos! )

Ana, you are amazing!!
So I've been to see her a couple of times now. I'm still in that 4-6 month mindset.
My hair still rocks. I think it was about 3 or 4 weeks after one of my visits to Ana, some lady came up to me as church was being let out. I have no idea who this woman is. We have a very large congregation. I hardly know anyone. :-)
Anyway, she came right up to me and said, "I just had to tell you that I just love your hair! Everything about it, the cut the color, everything!"
Wow! That really made my day!!! I thanked her a few times I think!

I was pleased to know that after 3 weeks, I could still style it so it looked great!!
So you'd think my story was over. That would be too easy.

My little family was visiting Julie's family and she said, " Oh yeah, Scott's HQ is moving. Well at least Scott is." Something about the rent being increased.
I just about freaked out. No no no no no!! This can't be happening!!!!

She said that he was taking one girl with him to the new place where he would be renting a chair for awhile. She wasn't sure, but thought it was Ana.
I just called today and left a message to find out for sure. I may be needing a hair cut in the next 2 or 3 months and I'd just like to know.

So when I find out, you'll find out.


My Hair Ordeal. Part 2

So off to Illinois I go!!
I dread looking for new stylist!!! I had last seen Cindy in April. Just before my wedding.
Now keep in mind that I am used to going every 6-8 weeks.
That would put me somewhere in June.
Well, by the time I came to terms with the fact that Cindy's schedule ( now Tuesday through Thursday ) and my weekend trips of Friday through Sunday were never going to accommodate a hair cut. I decided to start looking for salons.
Did I mention it's October? 6 months!!! not 6 weeks! I have been living in "hair hell"!

Well I found this nice little shop up in Antioch. I drive to Antioch for church and Keith's brother and sister in law live up there. It's a really quaint little downtown area.
I went in thinking I want to have a perm so I can grow it out. Then I wouldn't need to come in so often. Which would work out especially well if this gal turned out to not be so great. I hate telling stylists that I want a perm. You'd think you were asking them to
give you a mullet!
So I just kept my mouth shut about that and told myself to let this gal do what she thought was best. Well to a certain dollar amount!

So after looking at my hair and touching it she suggested a texture wave.
Texture wave? What on earth is that???? Some new fangled thing?
So I asked her if it was anything like a perm. She leaned over and whispered " we don't call them that anymore." It was sort of like we were at some big soiree and she was instructing me on who to talk to and who not to talk to and that I shouldn't belch in public.

I was relieved though. She actually told me that I should get what I wanted and I hadn't even told her!
Sweet! Things went well, she was fun and my hair looked great!
I booked a trim for December.

I was in the grocery store when they called to confirm. But they told me the name of
some other gal. I said no, not Summer ( or what ever they said) but with Lisa.
Well, Lisa was no longer with them. Kill me now! I found a great stylist right off the bat and she was ripped away from me just like that??? Forget it!!

I told the gal on the phone I really wanted to see Lisa and as that wasn't going to happen I cancelled my appointment.
I wasn't able to get any info on where she went or if she was even doing hair anymore.
I was bummed!

Well it's February. I get an email. It's from Lisa! She's opened her own shop!!
I booked right away! If you remember, it had been October since my last cut. I was doing better, 4 months instead of 6.

Again, fabulous job. I booked another appointment.
I called in March to see if I could change my appointment around a little.
They were glad I called. Lisa was no longer there. Well they said a temporary leave of absence.
I calmly cancelled my appointment and sat at my desk, dumbfounded.

I needed to get in before Easter. The good news is I was headed to Green Bay and I'd be there on Thursday before Easter. I called my mom to see if she could bribe Cindy to get me in that day.
We have a winner folks!! 3 pm!! I think she normally leaves at 3, but I can't say for sure. Yay yay yay!!

So I'm good again for awhile til I find someone else!!

I was introduced to a colleague of Keith's the summer before we had Josh.
Julie. She had just had a baby in March. Her first as well.
Julie and her hubby and Keith and I got together a few times.
Julie's hair is always awesome. So I asked her where she goes. She told me his name is Alex. I'd never had a guy do my hair before. Can't hurt right? I mean really, what could be worse than "bomb scare hair"?

So Julie and I booked back to back appointments. Our hubbies were home with our boys. We were out doing girly things. It was like heaven!

Alex did a super job!! Oh and that guy at the shampoo bowl? He really knows how to massage a scalp!! Bliss!!!

I continued to see Alex. By now I'd gotten used to going about 3 times a year.
Alex moved from his current salon to one in Barrington. That's about 30 minutes from my house, but so is everything else. So I headed out to Barrington.

It's July. I need help!!!

Alex saves the day!

And I'm good again for awhile. I called him in August and told him my 20 year class reunion was in September and I want it colored and highlighted or whatever. I just wanted to look great! He told me that he'd call me back the following week to book it.
Never did.
I was bummed again!! So I didn't nothing exciting with my hair for the big event.
Keith and I actually left early. Very early :-)

So back to square one finding a stylist.
I guess I should stop now and give you a part three soon!!

Yes, the saga continues!

My Hair Ordeal. Part 1

Ages and ages ago I was referred to a stylist by a friend. Cindy at the Haus of Hair.
She was great! Although it was 90's hair, not a lot of flair needed.
Anyway, I always went in, got my hair cut, colored or permed ( I know you
are laughing right now, who gets perms? I did! ) and then booked
my appointment for 6 or 8 weeks out. ALWAYS. If you didn't, you
had a difficult time getting in before it was shaggy looking or your
skanky roots were showing.

I'm not sure what transpired, but one time I didn't make that appointment.

Of course, I decided I was having a "hair emergency". Which for me means I am
frustrated beyond belief with my hair and I need a change. NOW!
Well it was Saturday afternoon. Not too many places open and if they are, not for long!
Cindy works Tuesday through Friday. No chance of getting in there.
So I opened the phone book to see what was at the closest mall.
Master Cuts and Regis.
I hemmed and hawed then finally went with Regis because in Green Bay ( at the time anyway) they had a reputation for being the best. Master Cuts I hadn't heard anything of so they lost.

Turns out there was an opening and I snagged it! Sweet!!

The gal who I was scheduled with brought me to her chair. Sort of in the back and hidden from view of the mall. Great with me. Although I could have people watched during my appointment, I didn't need anyone staring at me while I was getting my hair cut.
That was all I could let someone other than Cindy do.
I felt sneaky for scheduling with someone else. I was so loyal to Cindy!
So about five minutes into my haircut, the stylist tells me that she is in a hidden chair
so no one sees that she is working. Something about losing government money because they think she isn't working.
Seriously??? You tell people this?? What if I was working for what ever government
office or department that was sending you this money? Geesh lady... close your mouth NOW!!

I just nodded my head and said it wasn't a problem. In my head I said, " Just quit the chit chat and get this hair cut on the move!" She had a difficult time cutting and talking at the same time.

She went on to tell me that she and her hubby or boyfriend or whatever were going to declare bankruptcy. They had just bought a whole living room set at Montgomery Wards ( this tells you how long ago it was!) and made a payment on it. She seemed to think if they had "intent to pay" they wouldn't get it taken away. I have no idea.
What I did know was that she should shut that mouth of hers. Oh, and get on with my haircut!

I think she finally caught on that I wasn't the most talkative type.
You all know I am, but I either couldn't get a word in edgewise or chose not to.
I can't remember that part.

I do remember what happened next. Between the mirrors I saw a mall guard come up to the desk and start chatting with the receptionist. I remember thinking that nothing changes. When I worked at the mall downtown, the guards always stopped by to chat.
Nice job, huh?
Apparently this wasn't the friendly chit chat I assumed it was. The receptionist came over and said we needed to vacate the mall as there was a bomb threat. What???
BOMB THREAT????? You've got to be kidding me!!!!!!
I looked in the mirror and guessed this stylist was about halfway done. UGH!! Now what?
Well, the manager of the shop said they were going to conduct their staff meeting in the parking lot. The stylist says, what about my client?
Bring a chair, cape, water bottle and scissors. We'll do it during the meeting. In the PARKING LOT.
So you remember that part up there where I said I didn't need anyone staring at me
during my hair cut?
Well in the parking lot, I didn't just get stares, but cat calls and jokes. It was so great!

Oh and did I mention it was windy? Not just your casual breeze, but hey, I think there's a storm moving in kind of windy. Mind you I can't see what she's doing. There isn't a mirror in this parking lot.
A little bit later the stylist asked her boss if she had to charge me. Thankfully she said no. I thanked them and took off for my car as fast as my legs could take me there!

So you know Cameron Diaz's bangs in that scene from Something About Mary?
That was exactly like mine were! Oh man!!!
I couldn't cry for laughing, but oh, I wanted to cry!!!
I looked up at Heaven and thanked God for his sense of humor. This is what I get for
not booking in advance, huh? :-)

After I got home and saw the mess that was my hair and made my mom check out the back, I knew what I had to do.
Sunday I called the salon and asked her to finish my cut. It was choppy and wild and well, not a finished cut.
So I went in. Same girl. Same chair. Whatever. Just fix it.

After a minute or two I hear the dreaded phrase, "I'm just gonna change this in the back" which translated means, "wow! I really messed this up!"
I just sat there in silence. I think she got the idea.

Needless to say, Tuesday I called Cindy and scheduled an appointment.
When I came in for it I told her all about the fun I had.
I completely learned my lesson!!

I continued to go to Cindy for all my styling needs and always booked my
appointments in advance. She even got a few clients that I referred her way.

Three years ago this past May, I got married to the most wonderful man!
Small problem is that I had to move away from Green Bay and Cindy.
It's a three hour drive. Initially, I thought, " why not just stay with Cindy? I'll be back here all the time!"
Yeah right!!

Part 2 continues with my search for the perfect stylist in Lake County, IL.
Stay tuned~

Fourth of July Treats!

Here's what I'm bringing to the party tomorrow!
I have to tell you, one of my favorite kitchen gadgets is
my pastry blender. I use it for so much more than I thought I ever would!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!!!

Apple and Raisin Crisp
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped ( you bet your booty I skipped this! )

4 pounds pippin or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 1/2 cups golden or brown raisins ( I love to use Craisins instead!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 9 x 13 1/2-inch glass baking dish.

For Topping:
Mix old-fashioned oats, brown sugar, all purpose flour, ground cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Add unsalted butter and rub into mixture until coarse crumbs form. Mix in chopped walnuts.

For Filling:
Combine sliced apples, raisins, sugar, fresh lemon juice, flour and ground cinnamon in large bowl. Mix well to blend. Transfer apple-raisin filling to prepared dish. Spread topping over. Bake until topping is golden brown, about 55 minutes. Serve crisp warm with scoops of vanilla ice cream.