Posts Tagged ‘super bowl’


Well, the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos are warming up to make some Super Bowl history. Tickets are going for as much as $7,000 for the choice seats, and as low (if you consider it low) as $3,000 for the nosebleed seats. At that price guaranteed my face will not be captured on the stadium camera. Whoa. Up until the last few years the Super Bowl passed without much fanfare for me other than enjoying the delicious food available at the myriad of Super Bowl parties I’ve attended. For some reason, perhaps self defense, several years ago I found myself sitting in front of the TV with Rick on a Sunday afternoon watching whoever was on the field. Being a curious being by nature, before long I was asking why this was happening, or what that penalty meant. Over time I began to notice without asking I knew what was going on and actually had begun to be familiar with players names and nuances of the game. Oh-oh. Now I have not gone so far as getting a paint roller and decorating my body or dying my hair to support my team (the 49ers) but I do look forward to Sunday afternoons to see what they’re going to do once they’re suited up. Along with Rick I suffer their defeats and cheer their successes. This year proving to be more the former than the latter for our Bay Area team.

Rick of course could coach the team far better than those actually paid to do the job. I know this because he says so about fifty times whenever they’re screwing up. Sometimes I become involved in appreciating the color combinations of the uniforms (for example I like the lime and blue of the Seahawks). When I admire such things out loud he throws me a look like “you are such a girl”. Why yes, I am, thank you. One day I got to commenting on the various sizes of behinds facing the screen and he simply threw up his hands and rolled his eyes. What?

The amazing salaries these athletes command blows my mind. I can see the logic, however, in gathering all the goodies while they can. The tremendous beating applied to their bodies during every game cumulatively amassed over the years must be painful when it catches up with them. Also, they live with the knowledge that one bad tackle or fall could result in the end of their career leaving them to fall back on hawking insurance or staring dreamily at the model most likely decorating the other side of their bed. As they probably net more in one year than most of us do in a lifetime I am not going to worry about where their next hamburger is coming from any time soon.

It’s not a game for lightweights. I heard a commentator say the other day they are taking the edge off of the game with all the restrictions imposed to prevent or at least diminish player’s chances for head injuries. At one time players hit the field with leather helmets and far less protection so I would suppose it might feel that way to those longer in the tooth. No matter how protected these players are the chance remains for injury or long-standing health problems. I would assume players signing up are either intensely passionate about the game or what it will bring to them financially to play it.

Sometimes when I watch how the players behave on the field it is reminiscent of boys in elementary school. Football seems to bring out the child in the man with all the posturing and dancing going on when a touchdown is made missing only the “neener neener” to make the picture complete. All the testosterone and team rivalry mingling on the artificial turf makes it not surprising fights break out and an extra elbow or unnecessary kick is thrown in on occasion once a player is down. The exchanges going on between the players when in formation waiting for the play to begin might be an interesting share. Somehow I don’t think they’re exchanging recipes or asking one another how the wife and kids are doing.

The fans are fascinating as well. Rain, snow, heat, or hail the sit in the stands faces painted, team colors displayed, beer in one hand rubber hands covering the other. If their teams is doing well they’re fully engaged and if they suck they’ll let them know that as well.

Since our team will not be represented we will be on hand to watch those who are stuffing ourselves with chile con queso at half time and cheering loudly along with the rest of the nation. When life seems to be full of chaos it is nice to see one thing still on track.

This soup is an easy meal to make, and truly is a meal in itself only needing a nice hunk of crusty French bread to round it out. Note: You want your veggies fully cooked but not mushy.

Tuscan Cauliflower and Potato Soup

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage, hot
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic minced
3 medium red potatoes cut into large chunks
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Asiago Medium cheese
2 cups baby spinach, stems removed and broken into pieces
1/2-1 tsp. black pepper depending on taste
Salt as desired

In large skillet cook sausage, onion, mushrooms, and garlic until sausage is no longer pink. Drain on paper towels.

Place potatoes in microwave and cook on high for 4 mins.

In large pot cover cauliflower and potatoes with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until vegetables are cooked but still slightly firm.

Add sausage mixture and continue cooking for 6 mins. Whisk in cream and then add cheese. Cook and stir until blended. Add spinach and pepper (I add more pepper if needed) and cook until spinach has just wilted. Taste before you salt as cheese will add salt to pot.

Serve with additional cheese if desired.

Serves 4

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Photo by Susie Nelson

Photo by Susie Nelson

The big game is over. The chicken wings have settled nicely on my hips and traces of deviled egg linger on my game shirt. Another football season is essentially laid to rest. What a game it was. Seattle literally took the ball and ran with it, leaving the Denver Broncos to dust themselves off, practice sticking their chins out and wonder what the heck just happened.

There were too many cringe worthy moments to list in one short blog. At some points I found myself shading my eyes with my grease smeared fingers, finding it too painful to watch the screen. From the first snap to the seemingly endless beating throughout the game, it almost seemed as if Denver was thinking, “Oh, did you want this ball? Here you go.”, and handed it over.

Got me to thinking it must be horrific to find yourself at a huge game like that and unable to perform. Once a mindset is established and you’re tumbling in that whirlpool of mistakes, it is difficult to right yourself and find your center again. In this case, finding the center simply never seemed to happen for Payton Manning. Ugh. Then you have the morning after, with all the newscasters ripping you to shreds and newspapers publishing the routing. Time to paint on a fake moustache and move to Mozambique.

I don’t know about you, but when faced with someone having an embarrassing moment, I find it difficult to look. Perhaps it is because I find myself constantly involved in something mortifying so can easily whip up some empathy for others in the same position.

In the 1980’s I attended a work-enforced class on communication. Each class was broken up into groups of about thirty. The company, a huge campus type corporation numbering about 5,000, was seeking to bring all its employees up to speed on public speaking and interpersonal relations. It was a misery. Seeking to mesh the different groups together we were separated as best as possible from our immediate work groups and comfort zones and tossed in largely with people we didn’t know, making an uncomfortable situation much more so.

On the first day we were broken up into pairs. Our first assignment was to stand facing one another. One was “yes” and the other “no”. Yes began by quietly saying just that, to which no was to respond in kind. All good. Then, yes was to take it up a notch and get slightly more forceful and louder to which no would respond. In the end thirty adults were standing in a conference room screaming yes and no at one another and watching blood pressures soar. I must admit it was an interesting experiment in communicating with one another. It didn’t matter what we were saying, it was how we were saying it. I found by the time we were asked to cease and desist I was thinking about jumping my “no” in the parking lot after class and beating her about the head with the manual.

On the second day of five, we gathered in front of the instructor who was now armed with a video camera. Oh, goody. It wasn’t enough we had to humiliate ourselves, now they were going to capture the moment in film. Definitely, I needed to hone up my resume. Told to get in a long line, one at a time we were asked to run up in front of the camera and make total asses of ourselves. Sounds easy, yes? We’ve all done it a million times without even trying. Funny how difficult this becomes with thirty eyes watching you and a camera rolling. Gave me some understanding of why actors make the big bucks. Vice presidents were hopping around like bunnies, district managers pulling at the sides of their mouths while sticking their tongues out, and HR guru’s making pig faces. I wish I had sneaked a camera in myself that day, there was big money to be made.

Once we had suitably humbled ourselves, we were taken to a local mall by bus. There we were asked to stop people passing by and ask completely ridiculous questions with obvious answers, like “have you seen my shoes?”, when they were settled in quite nicely over our socks on our feet, or approach the cashier at McDonald’s and order won-tons with a side of shrimp fried rice.

It was five days I wish to forget. I learned as the end result of my time there, though something might feel horribly embarrassing at the time it is occurring,  in the scheme of things it’s but a grain of sand in a massive litter box of human error. The mantra with the instructors was, “what’s the worst that can happen”?  I never utter those words, there’s usually a natural disaster immediately following. After completing the course, I did find I could speak more comfortably in front of large groups of people without having to picture them all naked, not always the best way to proceed.

Thinking back I remember some embarrassing moments I shared with other humans. There was the gentlemen who taught an afternoon seminar I attended on fund raising with a sheet of toilet paper plastered to the seat of his pants. A young woman who walked through a huge room of fully occupied drafting tables with a toilet seat cover and her skirt tucked into her nylons. Certainly as evidenced by this blog, I’ve got stories of my own to tell.

In my twenties my husband bought me a new car, a Toyota, Corolla. My commute took me about an hour and fifteen minutes from home, so in an effort to make me road ready in an emergency we had a weekend short course on how the engine worked, changing the oil, and finally changing a tire, something I’d never done before. Fine, but aren’t men for that?

Back then I showed up for work in the morning in a dress or a suit and heels. Women didn’t have the choices they have today. Pants were only allowed in coordinated pants suits, the worst fashion statement since Nehru jackets. At any rate, after work I was on the middle leg of my trip which took me through an industrial area. As if preordained my left rear tire blew. Limping to the curb, I surveyed the damage and popped the trunk, thinking “I’ve got this”. Ah, pride does goest before the fall”.

In heels and a fitted skirt it was significantly more challenging to get the jack working, maintain some decorum, and remove the flat tire. Somehow I did it, attracting a lot of attention from passing traffic. Placing the new spare where the blown tire had been, I turned to retrieve the lug nuts. The car, seeming to sense this was not going to end well, removed itself from the jack and captured the brand new tire hostage as it leaned on one side slicing a large gash in the rubber. Sigh.

A truck driver pulled over behind me. Scratching his head (why are people always doing that in my presence?) he approached me cautiously, at first standing and staring at the carnage without speaking. Finally he asked me what I thought I was doing. Hmmmmm. Well, obviously I’m changing a tire. In the end I learned a good lesson. If you do it wrong the first time, you won’t be asked to do it again. Haven’t changed a tire since.

I got this recipe from a southern cookbook my mother brought back from her visit to Savannah. How I would love to go there someday and see that irrepressibly romantic city for myself.  This reminds me a bit of a poor man’s pecan pie. Particularly delicious warmed with a large helping of freshly whipped cream and a dusting of powdered sweet chocolate.

Cobblestone Pie

1  8″ pastry shell, unbaked
1 ripe banana, sliced thin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 6 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping
Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice banana. Place of bottom of uncooked pastry shell.

Combine sugar, flour, butter, eggs, vanilla, pecans, and chocolate morsels. Mix well to blend. Turn into unbaked pastry shell on top of sliced banana. Bake for 35 mins. Remove from oven and coat top with caramel ice cream topping. Serve with whipped cream.

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