Archive for the ‘Top Ten Lists’ Category

I love Napa. I was lucky to grow up there. Even though I don’t live there anymore, it’s still home. I visit friends and family there when I can to get my “Napa Fix.” So much has changed over the last few decades, yet it feels exactly the same to me whenever I go back. Once I drive into Napa and see the mustard growing in the vineyards, I know I’m home.

When I was a kid, all the tourists passed by the actual city of Napa and headed up valley to the wineries. They missed out on a lot of cool stuff. Now they flock to Downtown Napa, with all of its new restaurants, wine bars, boutiques, hotels and a bustling riverfront. But there are so many other beautiful places in Napa. Just drive away from Downtown in any direction and you’ll see.

I can’t wait to go back. Besides, I’m overdue for some malfatti. Which brings me to my Top Ten List.

Top Ten Ways You Know You’re a True Napan:

10.  You snuck into Kay-Von Drive-In in somebody’s car trunk. Or you snuck in under the fence. Or you simply paid to get in by cramming as many people in the car as you could.

9.  You call the country club the Country Club. (I don’t know what the “Silverado Resort and Spa” is … )

8.  You have your own personal Rebob story. It probably involves either one of your friends trying to scare the crap out of you, or you trying to scare the crap out of one of your friends.

7.  You cruised the “J” on Friday and Saturday nights, and waited all year for the big Cruise Night. And you found your friends somewhere along Jefferson without the help of cell phones.

6.  You went to the Big Game every year at Memorial Stadium, and your life depended on who would win.

5.  You headed to the Lake many summer weekends in an overcrowded car stuffed with friends, Doritos and beer, blasting AC/DC and Journey all the way. Or you went up with the family in your station wagon. And you saluted the Old Man With the Pipe on the way up.

4.  You walked Downtown on the weekends and met up with friends (usually at the Clock Tower — officially known as the Paul R. Gore Clock Tower. Paul was the Dad of a few of my high school friends). You probably grabbed something to eat at the Woolworth’s counter, or at The Fox & The Grapes, or at the deli next to Mervyn’s. You stopped in Partrick’s Candy (now Anette’s) to smell the chocolate. You browsed Brewster’s, Mervyn’s, Merrill’s and Carithers. Sometimes you’d see a movie at the Uptown, when they had intermission and cartoons, too. You hurried past the Connor Hotel, but slowed down at the deserted Fagiani’s long enough to peek through the front door window. If you dared.

  “Napa Clock Tower” by Will Murray (Willscrlt) is licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0-US

3.  You know the exact two spots in town to pick up malfatti. And you likely took a big pot to the back door of The Depot back in the day to pick some up from Clemente and his family.

2.  Depending on which generation you fit into, you either partied at the Tucker Bag and Rainbow Bridge or you hit Alfredo’s on Tuesdays for Nickel Beer Night. And you probably hit whatever incarnation the popular Downtown hotspot was at the time (either The Oberon, Main Street Bar & Grill, or Downtown Joe’s). Maybe you played volleyball at Tom Foolery. You probably even stopped in Henry’s … if you were in-the-know.

1.  You know the difference between a Napan and a Napkin. A napkin, by definition, is “a square piece of cloth or paper used at a meal to wipe the fingers or lips, and to protect garments.”  ‘Nuff said.



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Photo by Duncan Hull

Photo by Duncan Hull


Most kids these days love to use the phrase “Old School” in reference to something from their younger days. Sorry kids, the real “Old School” relates to my generation (you know, old people who went to high school in the late ’70s and early ’80s), and I don’t really want to share it. Maybe I’m getting cranky. I mean, Marcia Brady just turned 60 today. Have some compassion.

Let me school you on “Old School.”

These are not appropriate “Old School” phrases:

     Dude, your Xbox is so old school!

     Remember MySpace? OMG – SO old school, right?

     Check out these old school Pokemon pogs I found buried in my closet!

These are appropriate “Old School” phrases:

     That Cheech & Chong album is so Old School!

     Remember ‘All Skate’ at the roller rink? Man, Old School.

     Look at these Old School Roller Coaster shoes I found buried in my closet!

So kids, you should probably invent your own nostalgic phrase. And don’t even think about using “Back in the Day” either. Here’s a little list to help you determine whether or not you should use the phrase “Old School” to reference your glory days.

Top Ten Experiences That Allow You to Use the Phrase “Old School”

10. You owned at least one album by Parliament, Journey, The Commodores, AC/DC or The Bee Gees.

9. You watched “American Bandstand” or “Soul Train” – or both.

8. You wore painter’s pants and stuck a comb in the back or side pocket.

7. You wore Dittos (girls) or Angel Flights (guys) to dances.

6. You saw the original “Star Wars” and “Friday the 13th” in the theater.

5. You played Atari Pong on the only TV set in your house.

4. You remember when microwaves came out.

3. You watched Michael Jackson on TV when he still had an afro.

2. You know all the lyrics to “Rapper’s Delight.”

1. You cruised your town’s main drag in your friend’s Pinto while listening to an 8-track tape.

If you can identify with any of these experiences, you can safely use the phrase “Old School” in your vocabulary. If not, the only time you should probably use it is when calling me an Old School Crybaby.

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Remember how I actually wrote about (and made) Big Mac Casserole because so many people were searching on that term, and then found my blog? Yeah. Good times. Well, there are still people searching for it, cuz “Big Mac Casserole” shows up in the blog’s search terms like every week. Sometimes every day. What is wrong with these people? It always cracks me up. So I decided to check my “All Time Search Terms” to see how many times people searched on “Big Mac Casserole” and then found my blog. Guess what? People out there searched on it 363 times. That’s 363 houses I never want to have dinner.

So, the list of search terms I found made me laugh out loud. Seriously. I can’t believe the things people search on, and stranger yet, how those terms led them to this blog. Some of the searches were so crazy, I just had to share. Here’s a sampling of some for your reading enjoyment:

Second only to Big Mac Casserole is the search term:

beer can hat

Weighing in at 88 searches. Speechless.

In third place, at 71 searches:

gourmet top ramen

And I thought my Mom was the only one who knew about that Asian sensation.

The rest of the searches fall below a dozen each, but all deserve Honorable Mentions:

cheerios casserole

lucky charms casserole

fruit loop casserole

Well, there’s obviously a lot of stoned college students looking for midnight snack ideas, which leads me to another semi-popular search:

food hangover

Or how about:

vomiting face

Looks like there are several foodies out there:

chicken cacciatore with beer

Yeah, that’s the only way to stomach the chicken cacciatore I’m familiar with.

outhouse casserole

That’s fair.

donny osmonds favorite casserole

Oh, whoops, that may have been my own search.

olympia beer casserole dish

And that would be searches by my family members.

This next search term is one of the strangest ever. I still don’t know how it led to my blog:

colors of the early 60s

Have colors changed since the early 60s?

stories of when I was 13 me and my sister and cousin played I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

Apparently there’s Internet access in prison.

dead dad

I love zombies

mom dressed me as a girl for Halloween

Yep, definitely Internet access in prison.

taller than grandma

daughter taller than me

younger sister outgrew me

Can’t we all just get along.

babies picking their butt

I’m still trying to figure out which tags I’ve ever used that led them here.

scary pitchers

What? Did they mean “pictures?” Oh wait, I know … it’s the dreaded powdered milk pitcher.

are you supposed to chew oyster shooters

And the answer is “No.” I hope they learned that from this post.

tag line for nightclub

Be my guest! Friday Night Casserole sounds like a great idea for a meat market.

awesome book titles

Hey, Friday Night Casserole is already the name of an awesome book-in-progress. Get in line, pal.

dog food snobs

Well, that’s certainly not right. If they’re not gonna eat dog food, they’re certainly not gonna eat anything I write about.

satan casserole

Welcome! You’ve found the right blog.

soggy cake

disgusting casseroles

Again, welcome! I think you’ll find what you’re looking for.

yankee doodle dandy casserole

That’s just the fanciest name for a casserole yet. But I don’t think they found what they were looking for.

And probably my favorite search ever:

can you profit from 70’s casserole dishes

From my experience with this blog, I’d have to say that’s a definite “No.”

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Sometimes I want to write about something that has nothing to do with the ‘70s, or yucky recipes, or what Jay’s eating, or anything to do with casserole or food of any kind. So I asked my boss if I could blog about something else once in a while. She said, “Sure, go for it.” She’s pretty cool like that. So I decided to list my Top 10 Pet Peeves. And here they are.

My Top 10 Pet Peeves:

10.          Women who fan themselves with their hand to try to prevent themselves from crying.

9.            When I’m standing in line at the grocery store, and a new cashier arrives and says “Can I help the next person in line?” And the person behind me rushes over to the new line. And the cashier helps them. I’d really like to kick both their asses.

8.            When contestants on “The Price is Right” seek advice from the audience for some dumb game that has nothing to do with anything but sheer chance.

7.            That every realtor in the universe puts their photo on their marketing materials. Why would I care what a potential realtor looks like? Now, a photo for a potential doctor or day care provider — that would be nice.

6.            When the car in front of me hits their brakes … then their turn signal.

5.            When men say “that chick.” Um, she’s not a chicken, dude. And you’re not 16.

4.            When I have a few spare hours to watch TV, I can find at least three movies starring Steven Seagal, and at least two reality shows starring Vanilla Ice – yet nothing with Meryl Streep.

3.            People who don’t say “Thank You” when you hold a door open for them.

2.            Idiots in the theater who talk during movies. Just … shut … the … hell … up … already.

And my Number One Top Ten Pet Peeve is

1.            The phrase “Pet Peeve.” It’s just silly.

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I thought I’d start a series of Top Ten Lists about ‘70s stuff, because the Top Ten thing just hasn’t been done enough. (Who is this David Letterman you speak of?) Of course, on my Top Ten Lists, I’ll offer a little explanation, because, just like when I’m talking, I can’t seem to shut up.

Here’s the first one.

Top Ten Worst Things About Being a Young Teenage Girl in the ’70s

10.  Swim Caps

We had to wear stupid white, tight rubber swim caps in pools – even if our hair was shorter than the boys. And trust me, those things pulled the hair out of your head when you tried to take them off.

Pretty, isn’t it?

from http://www.allswim.com

 9.  Tube socks

They never stayed up.

 8.  No such thing as backpacks for school

At least not for us cool kids.

On Mondays I carried the following to school in Junior High (yes, we walked):

Two or three textbooks, Pee Chee folders, Purse, Bag Lunch, Clean Gym Clothes, Flute, Tennis Racket

On Fridays I carried the following home from school in Junior High:

Two or three textbooks, Pee Chee folders, Purse, Dirty Gym Clothes, Flute, Tennis Racket

And if it was raining, you had to juggle your umbrella with all of it. Hopefully you had one of these fancy things:

umbrellafrom –  http://www.modcloth.com

 7.  The gym clothes

In Northern California, they were light blue polyester shorts and striped t-shirts … I may throw up just thinking about them.

 6.  Perverted Teachers

Not that there weren’t great teachers. But there was always at least one creepy teacher. Shudder. (Teresa Z – can I get a witness … )

 5.  Being on Restriction

It was real. And it sucked.  No fancy AM radio. No TV with all the glorious 7 or 8 channels to choose from. No phone. And it typically lasted for one or two weeks.

 4.  No curling irons or blow dryers

At least not in my house. I do remember using pretty pink hair tape to keep my feathered locks in place overnight.

 3.  Chores … without brothers

In my family, the four of us girls had to do boy chores along with our girl chores. Like mowing the front and back lawn. You’re welcome Dad.

 2.  Rationing telephone time

First of all, the one phone in the house was usually mounted on the kitchen wall (at least ours was). So when you finally got your allotted half hour to use it, everyone could hear your conversation. And sometimes your friends weren’t home when you called. Or they were on restriction and couldn’t come to the phone. And sometimes you had to get off the phone because one of your parents was stranded with a flat tire somewhere and had to make an Emergency Breakthrough with the help of the Telephone Operator to try to talk to the other parent at home. And great, there goes your half hour.

And finally, the number one worst thing about being a young teenage girl in the ‘70s:

 1.  Waiting three days for your favorite song to come on the radio

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