Meal (aka Beef with or without Bacon)


imagesI really find his writing of the recipe the most rewarding part of this.  Based on his estimate of my abilities seen late in the recipe, I did not try it. But I will, sometime soon and will post my results.  Please give it a try yourself! He doesn’t say if the meat is cut up or not, I’m saying yes, but I would imagine not cut up is possibly OK. Use your judgment!


beef with or without0001

Rainbow Diner


ImageNeeded to write a restaurant review for Writing class.  Here it is.

Rainbow Diner

Because I had to drive to Maryland Wednesday afternoon for a seminar on Thursday, I invited my husband to take me out to lunch at my favorite Wilkes-Barre restaurant: Abe’s Hot Dogs on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre. Advertised as “The One and Only,” it is at the center of a great, long-time debate over which is “The Real Abe’s,” or “The Best Abe’s,” and after sampling all of them in the area, I say this Abe’s is the best. What makes their hot dogs the best? I’m not sure, but I’ve heard it’s the Berk’s hot dogs. And of course there’s the great chili sauce. That, however, is an essay for another day.

With ominous skies upon us, we were happy to find a parking spot right in front and we stepped from one of the worst blocks in Wilkes-Barre into a wonderful slice of Americana. A warm welcome from one of the owning brothers stationed, as always, at the sizzling grill, and the woman who always stands besides him, made me quickly forget the drug and crime-infested South Main Street. The diner-style booth seating, the chrome-plated circular counter seats, and the type-written menus take me even farther from 2012 Wilkes-Barre to what feels like 1964.

A young friendly waitress greeted us before we were fully seated and we gave our order without looking at the menu: Two “with” for Chris, and one “no onion” for me, a bowl of bean with bacon soup for Chris, and a cup of vegetable noodle for me, diet coke to share. Most times I treat myself to a 25-cent bag of Wise chips, but Chris and I are locked in a fierce weight loss battle, which I’m sorry to say, he is winning, so every chip makes a difference.

The food was presented in less than three minutes during which time the owner and his sidekick greeted another six or seven diners, and sent another four or five on their way with to-go orders.

As always, the hot dogs were perfect: hot, just the right amount of chili sauce and yellow mustard, and a great steamed bun. Chris thoroughly enjoyed his bean with bacon soup. My vegetable noodle soup was so-so; it seemed that the carrots were canned and, while piping hot, the soup was a bit bland. I know. Was I really expecting a great vegetable soup at a hot dog joint?

We were out the door in less than 25 minutes, without feeling rushed, and in fact renewed a friendship with “Bob” who was getting 10 “with,” to go for his work crew. Our total bill, including tip was $10. Even better than the food at a great price was the chance to spend time with the best looking attorney in Wilkes-Barre.

After a rain storm blew through, I got on the road. As I gunned it up the on-ramp at Blackman Street, I was greeted by an incredible burst of sunshine, blue sky and a a rainbow breaking out from behind the clouds, as if had been tucked away waiting for its grand entrance. As I marveled at the spectrum of the rainbow, ,I marveled at the full spectrum of my lunch date. The sights, the sounds and the smells of great food, the warm feeling of great company, all tucked away in a dingy old building in the scariest part of town.


A love note and English assignment all in one!


This week, in my English class (core requirement) among other things, we had to make observations of two things, people, occurrences, whatever, and write a paragraph about each one.  I decided to watch Chris sleep, because over the last 15 years, I’ve marvelled at the fact that he bounds out of bed every morning, not a hair out of place. I am presenting it as part of his Valentine’s Day Present to the man I refer to as……

Perfection Personified

He’s amazing. He looks perfect even when he’s sleeping. I wonder if he knows how lucky he is? I’m talking about Christopher J. O’Donnell, the man to whom I’ve been married for the past 15 years. In those years, I have witnessed morning after morning, him rising from bed, not a hair out of place, looking, shall I say it again? Perfect. As I observe him sleeping, I see why. He doesn’t move. He lays in a very organized fashion (like he does everything else in life), on his left side, and just sleeps. No tossing, no turning. he just sleeps, and he has a teeny little smile the whole time. What is he smiling about? I can only guess it’s because he’s married to me! I try to see if I can get some movement. I delicately cough. Nothing. I cough again, not so delicately. Still nothing. I turn on my reading light. A slight stirring, “Everything all right?” he asks, not quite awake, and not moving. “Oh fine,” I say. And so he stays throughout the night. I know, I checked at 3:00 a.m. As the alarm sounds at 5:30 a.m., up he gets, fully rested, looking perfect, ready to take on the day.

Observations of Christopher J. O’Donnell, February 8, 2012.

Good news.  Got an A on my toilet paper essay, and “Memorable Moments.”

Not posting while in school…Well maybe my toilet paper essay


ImageOK, I’m staying away from the Internet while in school, as I need to Focus, Focus, Focus, or as Evan says “On task, Mom!” I know, so what was my excuse for Feb through August of last year, after getting off to such a great year with the year of the hat?

The biggest issue is that most pictures of me with my great hats looked horrible! I have my pride! Not much,as can be seen on the latest Sundays with Shivstopher which incidentally is getting on the web via the shoemaker’s elves. As you know, I’m staying away from the internet while in school.


But, it occurred to me that I could just post my essays from my writing class. This one is responding to assignment to write about “Offensive TV Commercials.”    

The most offensive TV Commercial – By Shivaun O’Donnell – Jan 30, 2012

     Unlike much of the world, I actually like television commercials. In fact, I vividly recall   when I was 7 years old hearing my father bemoan commercials, and I said “I like commercials!” Surprised, he asked why, and I replied “How else would people know what to buy?”  I really did see commercials as something to make life easier for people. I loved the wonderful people living wonderful lives in their wonderful cars solving life’s problems with wonderful products, often accompanied by a wonderful jingle.  The jingles alone made life worth living:  “You can take Salem out of the country…But….you can’t take the country out of Salem!” 
            Even as I’ve gotten older, and I realize life isn’t always so wonderful, or easily solved by a jingle, and how hard it is to ‘kick the habit and join the unhooked generation,”  I still like commercials, mostly because they’re an example of the creative process at work. I think of the ad people sitting in their brainstorming session coming up with the ideas, and it makes me enjoy the funny ones, or the ones that tug at my heartstrings, and even the medication commercials with 25 seconds of warnings in a 30 second spot. So, for me to not like a commercial is really saying something.  
            The way I feel about the Charmin Ultra Strong commercial is beyond not liking.  I hate it! In fact, it all but causes me to curl up into a little ball with a feeling of near hopelessness about the future of society..  The commercial features a mother bear inspecting her young son’s behind to see if there are ‘“pieces left behind.” To ensure there is no confusion for viewers, the commercial shows the baby bear’s behind with several scraps of toilet paper remaining from an apparent unsuccessful wiping. Still didn’t get it? “Sorry son, but you still have them,” she scolds.  ARGHHHH!!!! 
             To me, this commercial represents the total debasing of society, displaying a complete lack of dignity where nothing is private or off-limits, not even our bathroom challenges.  It’s ridiculous and offensive on a number of levels.  First, commercials usually reflect some sort of reality, a common practice. Are parents doing this on a regular basis with kids; looking at their butts saying “Let me see if you pass inspection?” How did this idea even come up?  I can only imagine the brainstorming session in this ad agency. Second, it’s just plain gross to actually refer to the the tail end of what used to be perhaps most private of private activities. Why can’t they just say “This is the strongest toilet paper ever,” and leave it to the viewer to decide if he or she needs it?  Finally, as we slide down this slippery slope I can’t help but wonder: What’s next? Actually documenting the wiping process as it’s happening and all the glory of what comes before that process? Or perhaps discussions on the city streets  regarding bowel irregularity from a once respected movie star like Jamie Lee Curtis? Oh that’s right, the Activia commercial features that.
            The Charmin Ultra Strong commercial so infuriated me that I wrote to the manufacturer, Proctor and Gamble,  to tell them how offensive I found it, and as a result would not buy the product, and would advocate to sell our stock in Proctor and Gamble. 

             I got a response back.  “Dear Shivaun, Thanks for contacting Charmin. I’m sincerely sorry to hear that you find our Charmin advertisement offensive. We rely heavily on consumer comments regarding our advertisements, and feedback like yours will help us decide how to approach future advertising efforts. Please be assured I’m letting our marketing team know how you feel. Thanks again for writing.    Shoranne S. Charmin Team” Next stop, Dannon, makers of Activia!Image

The case of the mysterious shirt



Well I needed to do an official ‘post-campaign clean-up’ of the Mariner so Evan could borrow it and I came upon this shirt. 

I guess the shirt itseld is not mysterious but the presence of it in the ‘way back’ of my car is.

It’s a size large. I thought maybe it belonged to someone who walked in the St Patrick’s Day parade with us but after asking a few peeps doesn’t seem to be.

Please help solve the mystery.

An honorary entry



Well the last picture COD took of me looked sooooo unattractive that I couldn’t bring myself to post it. However the other day someone walked in to Odyssey Fitness (you know, NEPA’s fave fitness center at 401 Coal St in Wilkes Barre) with a wonderful hat. Sort of similar to mine from other day.

I asked if I could snap his photo for my blog. He agreed. His wife was there and said in fact she bought if for herself but it didn’t fit so he offered to take if off her hands. How”s THAT for a husband.

From Christmas 2010



I had another post planned for today but since it was 15 degrees when I left for work I figured I’d don this number from my wonderful husband Christopher J O’Donnell, Esq.
given to me this past Christmas.

In keeping with the new tradition of a funny story about the hat source. The other morning I came strutting into the kitchen in my morning splendor and reminicent of that Lauren Hutton commercial from days gone by, posed and said dramatically “Don’t hate because I’m beautiful”

Not glancing up from his paper he deadpans “That’s not why I hate you. “