Monday, June 23, 2008

Lifetime Movies

I know that this borders on an obsession, however, I feel as if there are some interesting feminist gems to be mined from LMN. Last night, for example, I watched, with my beautiful stepdaughter an older lifetime movie--The Eyes of a Stalker. This older film, I thought it was definitely from the 80s, but actually it was made in 1995 has a very classic, more formulaic structure than many lifetime movies. In this film, a young college girl is being stalked by a professor, albeit a pseudo professor, who is described as a "wily legal consultant" whatever that is. He hangs around the courthouse and campus offering people advice on how to use the small claims courts--(Everyone keeps saying, 'Hey Dr. Prime--I took your small claims class a couple of semesters ago!' What?!) At the beginning of the movie, the viewer is told that two years prior the heroine's father died, leaving her and her mother (who is a judge) to cope with life together.

So far, look at the elements: 1) The heroine (Beth) begins the movie as a ninny basically, but by the end of the film, thanks to the supportive relationship she has with her mother, Martha, who is formidable and the struggles she goes through, she becomes empowered and determines to make the stalker stop ruining her life.

2) The men in the film--her father, by all accounts a real prince, is dead. Her love interest is a jerk for a lot of the film and is always acting like Beth has brought the stalker upon herself. Stephen the Stalker is a "smooth" weirdo who is, in my opinion, very well cast. The only other male character is an old wizened PI who Beth's straightlaced mother initially resists but eventually comes to trust. Essentially, none of the men in this movie can be trusted, except for the most seemingly untrustworthy one--the PI.

3) May I venture to call this a Lifetime network Bildungsroman? The trajectory of the plot--young kid who learns some valuable lessons and becomes a woman certainly seems to qualify.

One interesting moment is when Martha tells Beth that she can't believe she is hanging around with the PI, and Beth says that he is "nice". Martha tells her that this is her problem--she is too nice for her own good. The interesting point about this encounter is that both women learn from each other--Martha learns eventually to overcome her prejudices and stereotypes, and Beth learns that she needs to toughen up a little.

To me this is exactly the kind of film that one expects Lifetime to make. It is much harder for me to categorize some of their other movies. I mean, why are women so interested in really sick crimes, and the aftermath of such crimes? (Eg Amber's Story)I guess there is something about what women relate to and the unimaginable but it is less obvious why these movies belong on a television station dedicated to women. Same with the movies where a women is the mayhem-maker, (eg the Trophy Wife's Secret). What fuels these kinds of fascinations? It seems to me that Lifetime producers thought that they would be making more movies like Eye of the Stalker and fewer movies like the Trophy Wife's Secret or that crazy one I reviewed previously about the cheerleader turned porn star. Man as enemy seems more like what you would expect all Lifetime movies to have as a common theme, but surprisingly, lots of times this is just not the case.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Dinner last Night

Okay, actually this is dinner last week but it was really good.


4 cups uncooked medium egg noodles (about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced onion
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 3/4 pound)
1 1/2 cups refrigerated sauerkraut, drained
1 (12-ounce) package chicken apple sausage (such as Gerhard's), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup sherry

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain and set the noodles aside.
While the noodles are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and caraway seeds, and cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Add apple, sauerkraut, and sausage, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and sherry, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes. Serve over the noodles.

4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups noodles and 1 cup sausage-apple mixture)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 445(29% from fat); FAT 14.5g (sat 3.4g,mono 6.9g,poly 3.3g); PROTEIN 20.1g; CHOLESTEROL 114mg; CALCIUM 31mg; SODIUM 1118mg; FIBER 9g; IRON 4.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 59.9g

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 1999

It was so good however, that Clancy and I ate it all, it is supposed to serve at least four..or two in our house.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dinner Last Night

I am sick of eating horrible food. For the past several months, I have been dieting wildly, trying to lose the last ten stubborn pounds of baby weight. Somehow this meant that I should only eat 800 calories a day of Lean Cuisines and soup...And then I would break my diet and pig out. I plead with Clancy not to cook, because I knew that I would eat too much because it is always so good. So I finally gave up. I have lost in the end probably 5-6 pounds. Not too many to go.

I have been cooking all week, which has not just benefited me but P. and even M. as well. And, I have been able to cook delicious things really fast, which is a requirement for me since I work all day. It is amazing what you can do in 20 minutes, and a simple home cooked meal makes everyone in my house happy.

Here is what we had last night:


Use any variety of fruit preserves if you don't have cherry on hand. Serve with egg noodles tossed with chopped fresh parsley.

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
4 (4-ounce) center-cut boneless pork chops, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cherry preserves
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon bottled ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World)
1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper; add to pan. Cook 4 minutes on each side; remove pork from pan.
Combine preserves and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Add preserves mixture to pan; reduce heat, and cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Return pork to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

4 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop and 2 tablespoons sauce)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 275(26% from fat); FAT 7.8g (sat 2.6g,mono 3.4g,poly 1g); PROTEIN 23.5g; CHOLESTEROL 67mg; CALCIUM 19mg; SODIUM 453mg; FIBER 0.1g; IRON 1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26.8g

David Bonom , Cooking Light, MAY 2006

I cooked up some couscous instead of egg noodles (although I do passionately love egg noodles) and made a simple green salad and it was done. For the salad dressing, I added a splash of the delicious chimichurri my brother and his fiancee brought back to us from Argentina and the salad was totally transformed from something ordinary into something extraordinary.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Outsider Art

By Minnie Adkins

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Etsy Purchases

M. & P.'s Room Redecoration

We recently painted M. and P.'s room pink and hung a pretty little chandelier. Now, I have to figure out if I should take the time to wallpaper the back of their closet door. (It will look cute, but our landlord won't like it, which leads to the point that we rent, and do not own our apartment...which makes me feel so torn about wallpapering my own closet, for the same reasons.)

And I have this horrible storage problem on my hands. Why do small children have so much stuff? And, because of my horrible internet shopping hesitations, I can't find a good solution. So, for the moment all of their stuff is living in Z.'s room. Why is it that I can't make internet purchases?

On the other hand, I made my first purchases from Etsy, so wish me luck! Etsy has all kinds of wonderful handmade things. I ordered some lovely art and a pair of unicorn bookends.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fun in Austin

Clancy and I had a long weekend in Austin, and I had a great time. I reconnected with my good friend Ted, who had Clancy and I over for a delicious dinner at his and his boyfriend Joel's amazing house, went antique shopping all over town and drank too much several nights in a row. Plus I fit in a trip to Neiman Marcus Last Call where I bought some new adorable True Religion jeans that are already falling apart.
I purchased a lovely danish mid century candleabra, I will post pictures later.

I really missed my babies, though. P. split her lip open yesterday. We were shopping later, and I looked at her, and she looked so sweet and sad. She was cradling a baby doll, and her fingernails were all caked with dirt, and then she had a river of snot falling down her nose, and a gigantic fat lip. I don't know if she will ever look like such a toddler again.

Back to Austin, I think if you visit, you ought to eat as much Tex Mex as possible. I ate twice at my favorite taqueria Chango's where they make the flour tortillas right before your eyes and douse the burrito with lots of delicious homemade salsa. And I had margaritas at Guero's where they make the best margarita in the world. I don't know exactly how they do it, but the lime juice is somehow not too tart and the tequila is not overpowering, and the cocktail has no real sweetness.

Clancy and I also went to Zoot, where we had our first date, but I was so drunk that I can't properly review it, however I was not all that impressed with the food. I faintly remember some only half good rabbit sausage. It tasted kind of like they were competent sausage makers but you could tell that they did not make sausage for a living.