Bikini on my mind

It's single digits outside for over a week now. Earlier in the week we were way below zero. It is officially WARMER in Russia. And they're knee deep in snow, which makes the freezing temps easier to bear. Yesterday we got excited over snow flurries, but they didn't stick around. Further up north they did, but not around our area. And, in my book, this sucks. If I have to wear two pairs of pants and three shirts, double my kid's coats, and deal with a frozen car that decided to complain about the temperature, at least I want to be doing it in a foot of snow. That way, when I wake up in the morning, I will have the pleasure of investigating the tracks my four-legged neighbors left in my backyard while partaking in my morning tea. All I see now if dead grass. Same view as when it was over 100F. Um... no... not into it anymore...
Time for some retail therapy.

I was feeling like a white bikini. Don't know why. I bet I saw one in SI Swimsuit issue a year back and it's been lodged into my brain ever since. The white part I can't explain. The bikini part – I can. Two years ago we vacationed in Miami South Beach. It was a family vacation with Danny (who was 4 at the time) in tow. We were in heaven. My husband and I were thoroughly entertained every day by people-watching and spoiled by hotel staff (Lowes Miami Beach is the place to stay) and my son chased after a Brazilian model with long brown hair and floss for a bikini. I brought way too much clothes and one piece swimsuits. Big mistake. Huge!

I was miserable. Not that my suits were not cute, they were, and they were covering and tightening and lifting in all the right places. All the wrong things when you're in SoBe. You see, SoBe beaches are topless. And pretty much all of Florida beaches are full of Europeans that don't wear much on a beach. Any beach. Men wear tiny Speedos, most of it covered by a very large (and hairy) gut. Women of all sizes wear dental floss. The ones that one wearing one piece suits (like me) are from Midwest USA (also me). So after spending a week observing, and sweating since I stuffed myself like a sausage into a Donna Karan slimming concoction, I started thinking that maybe it's time to wear a bikini. Again. I used to wear them BD (before Danny), but AD (after Danny) I switched to a community-pool-mother-appropriate wear which is a one piece suit that covers as much as possible from waist down.
Then, my best friend came to visit from Russia last summer.

And knocked some sense into me. When we went to our community pool to lounge around while Danny was having his swim lesson, she looked at my one piece modest number and said: "Why?" She was wearing a two piece ruffled bikini. "What is this? No one wears this in Europe," she commented. After she left, I spent the rest of summer thinking about what she said as I observed ruffled black and brown full-coverage numbers in the pool. And promised myself to buy a bikini. Which I did last week.

It's white and made out of triangles and straps. They're much thicker than dental floss, don't worry. It was waiting for me in my mailbox when I went to get Danny from school. I sat in my car, badly parked (who can park on a curb?), with my buttwarmer on high and heat blasting, all bundled up, unwrapping the package and investigating tiny pieces of bright white fabric. It was frozen, like the rest of my mail. I tried it on as soon as I got home (it warmed up in my purse)... I look extremely European!

Now, if only my treadmill would just arrive already...

Friends with Ham Bones

I love split pea soup. My mother-in-law turned me on to it years ago. On Christmas, she makes two hams, I get one of the bones to take home for soup. I'm the only one that eats it in my house, and I usually take my time and enjoy it in piece and quiet.
Recently, before Christmas, I mentioned my pea soup addiction to a dear friend Vicki. She said that next time they get ham for dinner, the bone's mine. Today, I get a text "I have a ham bone for you." I get really excited. But, I am assuming it would be a small package that I can just shove into my purse to take home. After all, that's what I've been getting for years: a foil-wrapped package the size of an orange and a grapefruit stuck together. It always left my in-laws house in my purse. Then, Vicki arrived.
The bundle she was carefully carrying was large, heavy, and wrapped in white plastic bag. Vicki's tall and a sharp dresser, today being no exception as she was head to toe in bright kelly green. Well, half of her was covered by the large white package. This was quite a sight. I waved to her across the store's floor (I was ringing someone up) and she brightly (and loudly) announced that the package was my ham bone, with some 'extra meat' on it because her husband was very generous when he was packing it up. She said that it's soup AND dinner.
I peaked at it when I was getting ready to go home, oh boy! This was not some spiraled ham with a small bone, this was half a pig! I carefully carried the bundle to my car, placed it on the passenger seat, and took extra care driving so my precious ham bundle would not fly into the windshield. I plotted menus on the way.
First I thought of a ham, italian sausage, broccoli, pasta dish because I was already defrosting sausages at home. Then, as I was getting close to Trader Joe's, I remembered that on New Year's Eve we had a ham and caramelized onion pizza, so I decided to make one from scratch. I also grabbed broccoli as well, since I had a feeling this is at least two dinners + soup.
When I got home and unwrapped my treasure, as a very puzzled husband looked on, I found the largest ham piece I ever saw. And somewhere, in the middle of all the delicious meat, was a bone. Will have to get the large soup pot out for this one!
We named the pizza Victoria. It is white sauce base, with caramelized onions, cremini mushrooms that I browned first, basil, lots of ham, and swiss and gruyere cheeses. Two slices and I was done!
Ham pizza
For tomorrow I'm still feeling like a pasta dish (so much for attempting to diet). Bone went into the freezer, as I still have to get the soup ingredients. Plus, It'll be my end of the week treasure.
I'd say that this is a very nice way to start off my birthday week, thank God for friends with ham bones!