Galileo says: if you put down the camera, you could pet me with that hand...
The White Bean and Sage soup is fantastic, super simple and hands down my favorite soup to make. It goes like this:
2 Cups Diced Onions
1 Cup Diced Carrots
4 Garlic Cloves, Pressed
1 Tbs Olive Oil
15 Large Fresh Sage Leaves
6 Cups Cooked White Beans (if using cans--about 3 cans, reserve liquid from canned beans)
3 to 4 Cups Veggie Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
1) In soup pot, saute the onions, carrots, and garlic in olive oil on med-low until onions are translucent. Stack the sage leaves and cut into thin strips. Add sage to vegetables. Add cooked beans and 3 cups of vegetable stock, bean-cooking liquid, or water. Continue to cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup is hot and simmering.
2) Ladle 2/3 of the soup in blender in batches. Puree until smooth and add back to pot. Thin soup with remaining veggie stock if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I also add fresh rosemary with the sage a lot. And I have adapted it into a better blended, less liquid state to make white bean puree, which is fantastic on toasted bread.
The Pureed Vegetable Soup may be even easier. I like to roast vegetables in the winter months. Lots of them. I cut up as many root vegetables as I can find, toss them in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and Herbs de Provence. Roast in oven at 350 ish for 30 minutes ish, stir on occasion.
The vegetables are great just like that, but you can make a double batch and puree half of the roasted veggies in the blender with some veggie stock and you have instant soup. Almost as fast as ordering from the Chinese place. But, alas, no fortune cookies.
The good things you have heard about the new Jay-Z cd, American Gangster, are all true. It's many kinds of retro fun, references from the orginal gangsters of the 20's, 30's, 40's, heroin superstars of the 60's and 70's, and the Sugar Hill Gang 80's. A lot of the lyrics feel heavy, feel dark. New York film noir of music. And then the retro riffs threaded through, lightening everything up. And a soupcon of misogyny. It is important to not forget the bitches.
The story behind the album, is that Jay-Z saw an early screening of American Gangster and was struck, not just with the tale of Frank Lucas, but the parallels to his own past, and his love of rapping about drugs in general. I guess that shit impresses Beyonce, so keep on keeping on
Most importantly, it has a good beat and you can dance to it.
A good vacation is always enhanced by top rate traveling companions. For Maui, here is the cast of characters:
Karen, primping in paradise
Me, making random tourists take my photo
Maui, like most things in life, is best described in lists of small, connected, observations:
1) In Wailea, if you want the local valets to respect you, you need to roll up in your rental car, cranking the new 50 cent cd from the crappy stereo.
2) When on an all day scuba diving trip, it is best to wear five times the amount of sun screen you think you need and then reapply every 2 seconds. Am I right Trish, or am I right?
3) If you drop off your friends for their all day scuba, skin burning trip at 7:00 AM, you can get to Hana and back by 2:00 PM. Regardless of what the concierge and tour books tell you. It is important to get the other cars on the road out of the way so you can drive as fast as you like.
4) The seven hour round trip to Hana also includes stopping twice to take pictures, once for a leisurely breakfast and a short hike in the sacred pool area above Hana.
5) Mai tais are best when you float the dark rum on top and decorate the glass with a fresh flower. Of course, it is hard for the mai tai to be bad.
6) Pineapple tastes better when you make Karen cut it the fancy catering way.
7) The appetizers at Wolfgang Puck, Maui, are better than the entrees.
8) You are never going to figure out how to work the surround sound in the condo, so please don't waste precious vacation time attempting it.
9) They do make hula outfits for chihuahuas; don't give up until you find one.
10) Before you go to the beach, paint your toe nails bright purple. It will help you feel more tropical.
Here is Ms. Fondue is her hula girl costume:
I looked all over Maui for a dog hula costume and couldn't have been happier with it. I got a regular sized one for myself, but didn't want to get upstaged by Fondue, so I went western.
It is hard to be a man in a house full of bitches. Poor Lolita. He spent almost ten years as my only pet, and now not only has another cat, but a crazy dog to deal with. This weekend he found his out. I left the door open accidently, and he went for freedom.
I got a call from a good friend of mine. The news was not great. The news was awful. A mutual friend of ours, Lydia, committed suicide early, early yesterday morning. Alisa (the friend that called), Lydia and I went to grade school together in Philadelphia and then all to the same high school. I cut out and headed to California a few months later.
Lydia and I have not been the best at keeping in touch. She came to California a few years back and stayed with me for a week. That was great. Then last year, we got back in touch again. She sounded amazing. Her life was exactly what she wanted. She had fallen in love, gotten married, and was about to have a baby boy. I was so happy for her. Lydia was someone you liked and someone you wanted everything for. Almost as much as you wanted it for yourself.
Then a few months ago, her life went 180 on her. She was splitting from the dream guy, he had taken custody of their son and she had not been able to see the baby in over four weeks. And then sometime this weekend, she had enough.
A couple weeks ago, I had this dream. In this dream a friend of mine (not Lydia, a different friend) came to me, sat by the edge of my bed, and told me she had killed herself. Outside of novels, foreshadowing can just be a bitch.
So, let's raise our glasses to Lydia. Let's hope she can now find peace. In her honor, I will share some of my favorite memories of her.
- The girl could sew. 8th grade, home economics, I am struggling with putting my shitty, purple apron together. Lydia is across the room, sewing a dress with pleats.
- She knew how to accessorize. During her trip to California to visit with me, she bought about six pairs of new shoes. Obviously, the girl had her priorities in order.
- She was smart as hell. I remember this even during grade school. She just knew things. Full of culture and random facts and handy to have around.
- Lydia was goofy. Half the time she came across as somewhat loopy, but she was just a sharp girl that didn't always advertise.
In summary, she was pretty, nice, smart and complex. She was a good person to have in the world. It sucks that she no longer wanted to be in it.
While I am freaking out by the idea of having to deal with 10 more cats (plus a chihuahua, ay dios mio), I am very excited about the idea about getting to wear Prada while cleaning the 12 litter boxes.
*the thing with Salon links, like my link above, is you first have to watch their 'ad of the day' before you get to the actual article link. Click the next, watch the ad, enjoy the magic. Unless you are me and you just pay them their annual blood money for premium log-in service so that they will just leave you alone already. I am here for all your tech support needs.
* A guy asks me out to dinner. Says, "Can I take you out?". Vetoes the place I suggest for a place three times as expensive. Asks to split the check. I am not one of those girls who reads 'The Rules', I am feministy, I do not follow traditional gender roles. I just think that whole thing could've been communicated differently. That's $45 I could've spent on strippers.
* Same guy, at said dinner. Asked what books he has read recently. Says, "I don't really read books, I have a hard time finishing them." That is not something you say to an English Major. He might as well mentioned his love of taking sex tourism vacations in order to meet young boys. I glanced down at my plate and attacked my overpriced (but tender, so tender) chicken mole.
* Then he mentions that he did, a couple years ago, manage to get through 'The Tao of Pooh'. A book with slightly less words and pages than 'Goodnight Moon'.
*That same night I come home to a frightening email. Another guy. I read the words no woman wants to hear (or see typed). "I'm really into soft rock." Aren't rocks, by definition, supposed to be hard? I bet it is easy to cheat when challenging this guy to rock-paper-scissors. 'Scissors cut rock. I win!' Envisioning a life chock full of Kenny Loggins' songs. I clutch the chihuahua to my bosom and cry.
And yes, you want to know about Maui, of course you do. It was wonderful. Wailea smells like plumeria, Hana smells like guava, and Kihei smells like surfers and mai tais. More to follow once I get the pictures loaded...
When, I showed how upset I was at the prospect of washing the same sheets twice in one day, Fondue responded like so:
A tiny dog, named Fondue, encounters the ocean for the first time while camping in Big Sur.
"Oh, what is that? It is so magnificant. I must hike down, must get closer. It's smells fishy, heavenly. Oh, birds. Soft, soft sand. Wait. No! What is this? I hate when my paws get wet. This sucks. Let's go home to the kitties now."
- (things my dog tried to eat)
- Toothbrush, while it was still in my mouth
- Beloved silver, sequined votive holder
- My aunt's cosmopolitan (drink, not magazine), I don't know how many sips it takes to get a chihuahua drunk, but she was sipping for a little while before we realized it. Of course it was hard to tell if she was running around in circles and nipping at the other dogs because she was drunk or because she is just plain crazy.
- Long overdue library book, mmm the sweet taste of the new Murakami novel.
A few weeks back, Rachael was sick. And Rachel was out of town. What to do? Sometimes during this time I would go to a dinner party and half the people there would not have my name. I was very confused. I was worried about the Rach(a)el to non-Rach(a)el ratio. I was worried the balance of the very universe would be jeopardized, that the fabric of our very lives would be torn in unrepairable ways. I needed to get us more Rach(a)els.
So I did what the kids do. I got on My Space. I created a profile, complete with a chihuahua picture and got to work. I searched for my high school best friend, Rachel. And I found her. And this weekend we met up for coffee. She's great. She looks good, she is Buddhist, she has fantastic tattoos everywhere, she is doing something with her life. All these things are wonderful on their own. Even better all together. And down right miraculous if you went to our high school. I'm just saying: ghetto. So, I have a new Rachel. A new, old Rachel. My scarcity issues are in check once more. The life fabric is untorn or maybe just torn in repairable ways. The universe is saved.
Let's give it up for the Germans y'all. I experienced Schadenfreude and then learned the word all within 15 minutes. Where does one go to learn such wonderous, worldly, words? One goes to Avenue Q. I went to the play on Tuesday with Leslie and we had a blast. The puppets were great, the songs were great, it was applicable to our lives and cutting edge (well, cutting edge if I was in New York and it was five years ago and I was 23). The best part was the 'Bad Idea Bears' these two cuddly, pastel colored faux Care Bears that give you the worst advice ever.
"What are you doing Princeton?"
"Don't look for a job, go get some beer"
"Better get a case instead of a six-pack, it's a better value and you don't want to waste money"
Yes, yes. The Bad Idea Bears are brilliant. They say what I say, but in higher, cuter voices. The bears' greatness was followed closely by schadenfreude and best of all, the song about schadenfreude. Maybe I'm just a sucker for high-brow culture, but I can't stop singing it.
Now, minutes before the puppets explained schadenfreude, I experienced it. The universe, she knows what she is doing. Here is how it went down. Funny song, funny puppets, funny song, funny puppets, intermission. Y'all know it gets rough at intermission. You have 15 minutes to grab your five pre-ordered gin and tonics, go the bathroom, and eat an overpriced bag of m&ms. So, I don't fuck around. When the lights go on, I am off and knocking people over to get to the drink shelf. I am all business.
So, I'm at the Orpheum. I have my drinks in hand. I head to the bathroom. From the top of the stairs, I look down and see this long line of men. Shit. If there are men waiting in a bathroom line, that means the women's restroom is going to be at least 20 times worse. Shit. Shit. Shit. But wait.
Wait. I make it all the way down the stairs and see that there is no women's restroom line. Let me break this down for you:
1) really long line for the men's restroom
2) no line at all for the women's restroom
First I looked around for Rod Serling. Then I was overtaken by happiness. Happiness that comes from a bad, bitter place. Happiness that comes from watching boys fidgetting in the bathroom line. Schadenfreude.
T.v. has been letting me down. I thought t.v. liked me liked me. Lately, I have been feeling cheap and used. And not in a sexy, role-play way.
I normally don't watch t.v. in the morning, but I was desperate to get the visuals from last night's 'Man Whore with STD' episode of Dr. 90210 out of my head. I should've stuck with the man whore. There I am drinking coffee watching Michael Vick give the lamest apology ever. Dog fighting is bad? Seriously, that is what your publicist and manager have helped you come up with? That is not going to stop Peta members from making you their prison bitch for the next 1-5 years. News flash, the following are also bad: genocide, floods, and super low-rise jeans that don't hide your muffin top.
Luckily the universe is about balance. On the plus side of things: pina coladas, making love at midnight, and whiskers on kittens. Let's hear it for the kittens for keeping order in the world!
- Buttons off of my hand-made raggedy andy doll
- cat poop
- my work badge
- my laptop power cord. Let's talk about this one for a bit. What that means is I am sitting on the couch watching educational t.v. ('Rock of Love'?, The Two Coreys'?), and then my laptop goes ZUZZ. I look down and see a tiny dog with chocolate colored eyes staring at a power cord that has bite marks on it. The dog is fine. The power cord is dead (chihuahua: 1, working from home: 0). It gets worse, of course. The next morning at my job at the HR Farm, I have to call IT and tell them. "Hi, yes, my dog ate my power cord." "Yes, I am sorry. Yes, I will keep her away from the new power cord when I get it. Yes, and the laptop. Yes, and the blackberry. Yes, and the badge."
- my MAC lipgloss
This goes way back. Kindergarten. I get the worst case of chicken pox ever recorded. I am out of school for ever. The day I come back? Picture day. Now most parents read the mail that the schools send home. Not my momma. I show up to class, still scratching, wearing overalls, and find out it is picture day. It is important to know that I was not a big fan of the overalls. I would cry and mope whenever my mother dressed me in something that I thought looked like 'boy clothes'. The overalls were, hands down, the worst of it. Kittens, when I say I was born femme, I mean BORN femme. It's picture day. I'm in overalls. I am barely un-chicken poxy. You can see the misery in the picture. It's palpable.
Things today, not much better. I just started working at the HR Farm. And I love the HR Farm. But, sometimes they push me. I get to work; No warning. I get an email saying they are going to take my picture today.
Surely, now that I am grown-up-ish, picture day should not be as bad. No. Not true. You should know what I'm wearing. I'm wearing a light blue and orange top that frankly looks like a smock. Remember in grade school when you wore the arts-n-crafts apron so you wouldn't get your clothes dirty when you finger-painted? It looks like that. All my outfits can't be winners. So, I'm in an apron, with a messy (not on purpose messy, but due to me being lazy messy) ponytail. And they insist on taking my picture. They will not be talked out of it.
I pretend to finger comb my hair; I put on lip balm and then snap. Picture taken. I don't know how bad it looks. Normally, I would get picky, insist on seeing it, reshoot if needed. Not this time. I mean, how good could it get? The only solution is to figure out a way to replace the photo with my Glamour Shots from the mall.
That's Galileo (Lil' G). She is head of security at my house. Don't be surprised by her innocent look. If you come to the door, she will growl at you. She is just that brave. She rests all day on the pillows so that she can protect us all at night. Before she came to the household, my only protection was Lolita. Which is to say, not much protection at all. Lolita will let you break in, Lolita will show you where extra keys are hidden, Lolita will help you load the stereo in your car, you just have to pet him. He is what is called easy. Also called slutty, but that would be rude.
Last night the orange kitty from across the street wandered into the yard. Thankfully, Galileo was on duty and on top of it. She went to the french doors. Growled and hissed and made the mmmmwwwwrrrrrw sound until the orange kitty left. Lolita, in his non brave way, noticed I was awake and tried getting petted instead of trying to help protect us all. Fondue kept sleeping.
No, I do not like being woken up in the middle of the night by the mmmmwwwwrrrrrw sound, but when I finally fell back asleep after tossing and turning for an hour, I never felt safer.
I hear your cries. I have created a blog for you. Just you. Only you. And those other people, but ignore them, this is about US.
Now you no longer have to wonder how badly my dating life is going, what trouble I have gotten myself into, or what my dog has tried to eat. Now you can read all about it.
I think this finally proves how much I love you. Please stop sending all those flowers.
I try to be an adult. I progressed through different levels of pets. Goldfish, lovers, cats. I'm not doing so great at the dog level. I cut myself slack when I first found Fondue. I didn't beat myself up for forgetting to feed her on occasion or even when I completely forgot I had a dog and just stayed at work until midnight. All those times. After all, I was new to the dog world. And she found me. I didn't go looking for a dog. Surely an adjustment period is understandable.
Thing is, here it is seven months later and the dog still suffers. Yesterday, for example, I forgot that my aunt who normally checks in on the dog mid-day was working. So I didn't come home for lunch. Nope, I went to Target at lunch, just to browse the Libertine collection and see if there was anything new worth buying. Then I stayed at work a little later than usual. Then I went to the gym after work for my 20 minute power workout (people, you don't get abs like mine without putting in the time). So, um, I show up around 8:00 to find one excited, annoyed chihuahua and two pissed off cats that look like they had been chased and nipped all day.
Also, today I dropped two chocolate chips down my shirt while eating at my cubicle. Then when I was fishing them out, two of the sales guys walked by. At that point I started randomly typing on my computer to look busy. I'm not sure what this story has to do with the dog either. Sorry.
I think we were all hoping I had learned my eHarmony lesson when I could not manage to spell my name correctly. Alas, kittens some lessons must be learned over and over.
Some lovely man has patched his way through my drunken personality profile and seen me for the diamond in the rough that I truly am. It was that or the fact I managed to slap up the hottest picture of myself that I could find to compensate. A good photo angle and a tub of liquid eyeliner can do wonders for a girl.
eHarmony makes you work for love. For someone like me it seems like a lot of typing just to pretend I have morals. You have to send questions and answer questions and all this other bullshit until you can finally type a proper email. At this rate I won't get laid until I'm 70.
Alas, not all of us are equipped enough to use computers for grown up conversation. I managed to type some crazy epic email. I was just being all stream of consciousness and was totally going to edit. Totally going to go back and make it look, well, coherent. Until.
Until in mid sentence, I accidentally sent it. My good friends at eHarmony only allow controlled communication. What does that mean? It means I couldn't send another email saying "oops, typeing is haard for me, sorrry ;)" It means, it was sent out and I had to just deal with it.
I know that it might be best this man sees me in all my glory now. But really.
My life is an edgy, badly written episode of "I Love Lucy". In my circle of friends I would love to be thought of as the sexy one, the fun one, the smart one. There is to be none of that. I am the goofy one.
It starts with a beer or two. I have no tolerance. I drink the beer and decide to get myself up on eHarmony. Sober this has never appealed to me. I think I'm a better fit for those personals on Nerve or The Onion or a phone number written in eyeliner on random bathroom walls. These mainstream dating sites get all insistent that you use your actual age, which severely cuts into the barely legal action I am gunning for.
So, I get myself up on there and start answering the questions. I type. I save. The next day I notice that I have spelled my own first name wrong on the profile. Not only is it a common name, but if I get in a bind it can be easily found on my driver's license, library card, in the bible.
Then I can't change it. I have to write a gdamn email to eHarmony asking them to correct it. Asking them to please correct the spelling on my common, easily spelled first name. Because I just couldn't get it right the first time.
Those poor guys that see my profile and want to date me. How could they possibly know what they are getting into? God knows what that so called personality profile says. I'd be amazed that I got anything correct on there.
If I said it once kids, I'll still say it again: Don't drink and internet date. Just. Not. Worth. It.