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Maureen is my older sister. I have just one older, then three younger, not to mention Pat, my older brother. So that puts me almost square in the middle of six. How does that actually work when there's an even number?

Today is Maureen's 63rd birthday. My, oh my, does that sound surreal or what? I can still remember our four bedroom home at 3216 Montclair Street where we shared a bedroom. Pat had one, we had one, of course our parents had one, and then poor Carol, Nancy and Lisa had to share the other one. Because Maureen is five years older than me she obviously went through everything way before me. I can still  remember asking her questions at night while we lay in bed before sleep like, "when did you get your period?", start shaving your legs?, wearing deodorant?, liking boys? That sort of thing. (Please forgive me male readers!) She was only too happy to explain the intricacies of growing up.

It wasn't until I was very grown up that I discovered that both of my parents were on their second marriages. It was a well kept secret. I guess I'd have to ask Nancy how it came out that both Maureen and Pat were not Tom Price's children, instead, they were fathered by Tom Malloy. So, in reality, she's my step sister, but Lord knows, I've never thought of her as such.(Since I wrote this my friend Karen was kind enough to point out that Maureen is my half-sister--duh!) She's my sister and I love her.

The last few years have not been kind to Maureen--she not only lost her long time job, but she gained Parkinson's Disease. And then there was last year's stroke. Medications are doing wonders for her tremors, and she's on something or other to minimize her stroke risk. Still and all, it's a lonely life for her these days. Don't get me wrong, she's wildly popular with friends, but most of them work. Days can be long.

This morning I had a dental appointment, scheduled for a filling because Karen, my hygienist thought I might have a cavity. Fortunately, that was not the case, leaving me out and about early. After stopping at Clemons' Produce, I called Maureen around 9 to wish her a Happy Birthday. How about a movie Maureen? Sounded good to her.

When I got home I found out movie times, calling her for input. She'd not seen The Help and neither had I so after picking her soon thereafter we went to Fashion Square Mall, which is dying on the vine by the way. Turns out the first showing of the day was only $4.50 a ticket! Good grief! I bought the medium popcorn--$5.00. We both mostly enjoyed the film. I will tell you that, despite being raised in the South, although Florida hardly qualifies as it is mostly Northern transplants, I can't think of anyone I knew who had "help."

From there we went a few blocks to the Steak and Shake. Maureen enjoyed a Mocha milk shake with her burger.
I am so hoping this next year will be a huge improvement on the last few!

While at Clemons I bought some discounted tomatoes and cilantro for salsa. Today let's talk about the red kind of salsa. Discounted tomatoes Gail? Why not when you're going to be roasting them? Which is what the recipe from the Flying Biscuit Cafe cookbook calls for. I was planning on including the recipe but, as they say, a picture tells a thousand words:
So here's how I started with all the goodies in the pan. After both broiling and roasting, here's what happened:
Nicely scorched. The cilantro got a good chopping to be added after this step:
You may be well aware that some jalapenos have big heat, while others seem to have little. Mostly it seems to do with the smaller the pepper the hotter it is. Not so in today's batch--the jalapeno was big, the salsa, way hot! Where is Bruce when I need him? Why, he's in Massachusetts, that's where he is. On to New Jersey and Maryland this week, returning home Friday afternoon. I'll have some kind of treat for my heat loving husband when he returns!

Because of the show, he put off traveling until this morning, working from home yesterday from dawn to dusk. Maybe later than dusk. Anyway, although I was fully prepared to make dinner, I thought if I got him out of the house, he'd quit working. He agreed. We decided to go on a recognizance mission to a nearby Thai restaurant, maybe some place Matt might enjoy during his visit home next month. Chai Thai, about two miles from the house, was our destination.  Last weekend, I heard a piece on the radio from our former newspaper food critic, that it is quite tasty. As well, my friend Pam, told me it was great, although she was concerned they might not make it because there were few people dining there during her visit. Well, she was right on both counts. Only one other diner and excellent food. Bruce was initially skeptical, however, once the food came, he was sold.
Even the Thai beer was fine by him. He ordered the Thai Basil hot, not Thai hot, just hot. Totally yummy. As you can imagine, the food in the forefront was MORE than enough for two or three meals for me. I'm going in the kitchen momentarily to heat some up for my dinner. The server/owner was indeed very pleasant and when I asked about the lack of folks she said you can't find a seat during lunch time. Very good news that they are doing just fine.

Tomorrow, we'll talk green salsa.

Until then,


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