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Norman the Cosmic Cheerleader

Ana believes Norman was just what the ladies needed to lift the ladies' spirits.


I am a bit depressed as I write this. I made the mistake of watching the “fight” episode again. I feel kind of dirty or perhaps unclean is a better word. Akin to what I assume the morning after a “one night stand” might feel like -- like doing the “walk of shame” with remnants of last night’s makeup and a rumpled sequined gown at 7am. I can only imagine what those who were more directly involved are feeling. No one in this group is entirely without blame, because we all know that action and inaction can be equally egregious.

The devastation that hurricane Sandy left in its wake is a sad reminder of all the things in life that we cannot control. What we are able to control are our own actions and behavior, and yet we do not. What’s worse is that I am finding it difficult to remember the happy and cohesive moments (yes, we’ve had them) because the ugliness seems to permeate most of my memories. As a mother of girls, I like to envision a world where women can foster real relationships without experiencing feelings of jealousy and misplaced anger; a world where mutual respect and support is the rule and not the exception. I think we can all benefit from focusing on that sentiment, myself included.

“Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?”  -Confucius

I wrote my last blog right after Sunday’s episode on the rush of pure adrenaline and a real desire to put a lot of the nastiness behind me.  But I am still saddened by the lack of authentic camaraderie coupled with the desire to either create or perpetuate conflict that we as a group have exhibited. Sadder still are the unresolved issues that exist among many of us today and the knowledge that it is unlikely to change any time soon. This week we saw a very emotional Lea. Despite our differences, watching her suffer for her dog, Leroy, really broke my heart. Lea is one tough cookie and to see her fall apart the way she did was yet another reminder of the things in life that a fat checkbook or a perfectly taut ass can’t fix. It was a fitting opening to this week’s episode, and a virtual slap in the face to those who were salivating at the thought of witnessing the aftermath of the lingerie party. Don’t get me wrong, there was fallout, a lot of it, as you will undoubtedly continue to witness in the episodes to come.

On a much much lighter note we have Norman, the Cosmic Cheerleader. Repeat after me “Aay E E Ah Oh Oh OOO” and Bingo was his name-o. Talk about bringing levity to a situation! Lea is either as kooky as Norman or perfectly brilliant for asking us over for an aura assessment or color reading or color coding or whatever.  I know I felt better when I left.  I always feel better when Elsa “elevates” with a partner. I could write an entire blog about Elsa and would still not do her justice; with “Mama” (I can call her that) seeing truly is believing. 

No Negative Energy for Lea
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Another commitment prevented me from attending Lea’s gala, but the event and the ladies looked equally beautiful. I am glad she was able to raise money for a worthy cause. 

Marysol and I had a chance to visit before we went to our respective events. It was nice to spend some time alone with her, since we rarely have the opportunity to catch up on each other’s ever-evolving personal lives.

It is difficult for Marysol to discuss her relationship with Philippe.  It was a reluctant separation for lack of a better term; a separation borne out of an inability to coexist rather than an inability to love. It is sad to see a friend rationalize doing something that she is so clearly not ready to do. I hope she does some serious soul searching before she leaps into the divorce pond. It’s pretty shallow in there. 

Filing for divorce has been a bit of a challenge for me. Twenty-three years is most of my adult life and the prospect of doing this “life thing” alone scares the living crap out of me. But I understand that holding on to someone out of fear or force of habit is not fair. My separation has been particularly challenging, because we didn’t completely separate. There is more proximity than is probably healthy. The fact that we still work together doesn’t help matters either. It has been a real struggle for me to cut the proverbial cord. It is a difficult topic for me to open up about. But, as you will see as the season progresses, there is little one can hide from the camera when genuine feelings are involved. Starting over at this point in my life is daunting, but like a modern day Mary Tyler Moore I think I’m “gonna make it after all…”

I apologize for the “Debbie Downer” tone of my blog this week, but it is an honest reflection of how I am feeling at this point.  As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts with me. Recipe of the week:

Cuban Style Chicken Soup (for the Soul) (from my book Sabor! A Passion for Cuban Cuisine, Running Press Hardcover 2008, Paperback 2012)

Serves 6 to 8

4 chicken breast halves, Bone in, skins removed
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt, plus more as needed
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup diced white potatoes
4 ounces angel hair pasta
Pepper to taste
Lime wedge, for serving


Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Add the chicken breasts, garlic, bay leaf, and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for at least 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through and opaque.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Discard the garlic and bay leaf. Reserve ½ cup of the hot stock and dissolve the tomato paste. Set aside. Transfer the remaining stock to another container and allow it to cool completely.

Heat the olive oil in the same pot used to make the stock. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the potatoes and the tomato paste mixture, and the stock. The stock should cover the vegetables by 3 to 4 inches. If the stock is too low, add more water.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 40 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the bone and tear it into pieces with your hands or a knife. Add the chicken and the pasta to the stock and stir to incorporate.

Bring the soup to a boil again, consequently, reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes or until the pasta is al dente, stirring it occasionally. Turn off the heat and season. Add a squeeze of lime before serving.Buen Provecho!

Until next time,

Crying and Feuding
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Note: I cannot provide an exact calorie count for these recipes because a nutritional testing lab must do that for accuracy. I can provide a range per 12oz serving of the soup: 170-220 calories.
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