Monday, July 30, 2007

A Delicious Weekend

"There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful
woman man in the act of cooking dinner for someone she he loves."
Thomas Wolfe

"How can people say they don't eat eggplant when God
loves the color and the French love the name?"

Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet)

"Vegetarian - that's an old Indian word meaning 'lousy hunter'."
Andy Rooney

"Tis pity wine should be so deleterious,
For tea and coffee leave us much more serious."
Lord Byron



"Sadly, I've never come across a single quote about spaghetti squash."
Liz




"So incredibly weird, but so incredibly delicious."
Liz, again

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
Harriet Van Horne



"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."
George Bernard Shaw


" Leave the gun, take the cannoli."
The Godfather



"How far that little candle throws his beams!"
William Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice



"And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make
two ears of corn, or two blades of grass...

... to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before...

...would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to
his country, than the whole race of politicians put together."
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Phallic Object Friday

You know, I've discovered that sometimes it's better to just let the phallic objects come to you. True to form, I waited until the last minute to find something appropriately juvenile for today's post, which left Washingtonian and Vegetarian Times as my only available magazine choices.
Both are disappointingly free of sausage ads.

I thought Washingtonian might be the best bet of the two, so I thumbed through it and really studied the ads.

No sausage, but there were plenty of ads for

jewelry stores:



cosmetic dentists:



plastic surgeons:








(okay, there are lots more but I have to draw the line somewhere)

military academies and other boarding schools to which you can send your children:

and divorce attorneys:

The other Most Frequently Spotted winners were day spas, restaurants, and high-end furniture/kitchen & bath stores.

I felt that this must say something about DC, or at the very least, the readership of Washingtonian. But then I realized that I'm a reader of Washingtonian, a subscriber, even, and therefore I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable right now.

So, uh, I'll just distract you with this:


This is a phallic as it gets today, folks.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Because it's been far too long since we discussed phallic objects

But before we delve into Phallic Objects, you know how sometimes I get obsessed with a particular song or album and I listen to it over and over until anyone within a 5-mile radius wants to murder me?

Please tell me to stop playing I Saved the World Today. I want to live.

And yet nothing will stop me. So let's move onto to the topic you really want to discuss:

This is an ad that's part of the new Hillshire Farm campaign. It was published in People magazine and I took a picture of it. The new slogan is "Go MEAT!"
I guess the meaning can be twofold. First, it could be an urging to bypass vegetables, fruits, whole grains in favor of meat. GO MEAT, you crazy vegetarian hippie, GO MEAT!
Second, it could be just a general exclamation of appreciation. GO MEAT! We love meat! Yeaaaaaah, MEAT!
Whatever its intended meaning, I was stunned when I saw the ad for the first time.
Am I a twelve-year-old boy at heart? Do I just need to get my mind out of the gutter? Have I read too many books about subliminal messages in advertising?
Please tell me I'm not the only one who sees it:


You know...

It.

I have to say-- that is one very strategically-placed sausage.







What must you all think of me? And yet I could not resist.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Cops and Bloggers

Last Sunday afternoon I made my usual trip to the farmer's market. Driving home, I turned onto the main street that runs through my neighborhood. I stopped when I saw a cop car sitting in the road ahead of me.

If he'd been pulled over to the side of the road, I would have passed him. But he was smack in the middle of the right-hand lane, motor running. So I waited. And waited. When he still didn't move, I inched closer to his car, thinking perhaps he hadn't seen me. No way was I going to illegally pass a cop car on a residential street.

He looked at me in the rearview mirror, took a second look, then put his lights on.

My pulse quickened, but I stayed where I was. My vivid imagination allowed me to suppose that he might be in the middle of a dangerous operation. Maybe an escaped felon was lurking in the condo development across the street! Maybe the cop was trying to protect me!

Suddenly he stuck his arm out the window and tersely motioned for me to pull in front of him.

Oh, great. He wasn't looking for an escaped felon, he was freaking pulling me over.

Crap.

As I slowly passed him on the left, I saw him shaking his head like I was an idiot. Was I supposed to have known to get in front of his car in the first place? I was mystified.

His lights were still on, so I pulled over on the side of the road and waited, my heart hammering. I thought back to my last ten minutes in the car and knew I hadn't been speeding. Was my inspection overdue? No. Had I changed lanes without signaling? No.

What the hell?

I waited in the bright sunshine and flashing lights for him to approach my car. Curious neighbors turned to look as they drove by. My face was one degree away from bursting into flames.

After another full minute, he pulled up beside me. I rolled my window down.

"Are you okay?"

Was that sarcasm in his voice? Um, yes. Definite sarcasm there.

"Uh... what?"

"You're just sitting there."

I stared blankly.

"I motioned for you to go around me," he sneered.

My voice returned. "You put your lights on! I thought you were pulling me over!"

He snorted, then leaned toward me and shook his head oh-so-slowly and deliberately, as though I weren't capable of interpreting normally-paced nonverbal communication.

Stared at me.

"Well," I said finally. "I'm not just sitting here for the fun of it."

"Well then," he replied. "I guess you can go."

So I did.

What, had his wife left him that morning? Had his house burned down? Had his winning lottery ticket sunk to the bottom of the Potomac?

The world may never know.

So tell me-- if a cop car is stopped in front of you and he puts his lights on, is that the universal signal for pass me? Did I miss that part of driver's ed?

This morning I saw that cop again as I was leaving my neighborhood. I gave him the finger.

(very discreetly and under the dashboard, of course)

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Licking my new camera is probably unsanitary

Comcast was supposed to come to our house yesterday between 2 and 5.

(you can already tell that this won't end well, can't you?)

(see also: Comcast, KILL)

So Mike left work early so he could be home by 1:45. Guess when Comcast came? Go on, guess!

That's right. Never.

(How did you know? You all are too smart for my games.)

Mike called them, waited through the requisite 10 minutes of "Your call is very important. to US! Please keep. HOLDING! and a representative will. ASSIST you!", and was told by the very assistive representative that the technician didn't come because he called our house and no one was home.

Mike scrolled through the Caller ID log.

"He called the house at eleven thirty."

"Right. Since no one was home, he cancelled the job."

"I wasn't home at eleven thirty because I was at work. I was at work at eleven thirty because you told me yesterday that our window was two to five. But I did leave work early so I could be home BY TWO."

Iamverysorrysirdoyouwanttoreschedulefortomorrow?

Sigh.

We also scheduled a guy to come out at 8 a.m. tomorrow (yes, that's a Saturday morning we're talking about) to give us an estimate for continuing our hardwood floors throughout the upstairs. I hate carpet anyway, but the fact that my allergist also thinks that no carpet is a good idea gives me all the more leverage. It's my health we're talking about. Good health is priceless.

As I wait at home for another visit from Comcast (or not), I'm playing with my new toy. So wee, but so capable! It came in the mail on Wednesday and I immediately started testing it on the dog.

Here's a better video of Alex doing his commando crawl. My videos will henceforth be complete with audio, thanks to my new love. You might want to keep a trash can nearby in case the sound of me baby-talking with my dog makes you hurl.

(Him's so sweet! Oh yes him's is!)

Happy Friday, everyone.



Commando II from Liz and Vimeo.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Denying My Inner Pacifist

I was all set to begin this post by talking about how nonviolent I am, so nonviolent that any spiders found in my house are caught, rehabilitated, and released into the wild, so nonviolent that I inspired Operation Rescue Stupid Trapped Bird yesterday, but then I booted up my PC and discovered that the Internet was down again and I told my dog, "I AM GOING TO FUCKING KILL COMCAST."

So, um, next topic?

Besides Comcast, the only thing that gets me murderously angry is some of the drivers in this area. My feelings about them have been well documented on this blog. But can I tell one last story?

(okay, we all know it's not the last story. But humor me, m'kay? It's so therapeutic, dumping all my shit on you guys.)

I was driving home from work on Friday evening and had just turned onto the main street in my neighborhood. I saw Mike with the dog, talking with a neighbor. I waved and continued down the street.

Suddenly, squealing tires drew my attention to the rearview mirror. I noticed a silver car rapidly approaching me from behind. Rapidly as in way too fast for a narrow residential street. I watched, stunned, as he passed me on the left and continued racing down the street with a huge, stupid grin on his face.

I almost followed that motherfucker, because I know that street comes to a dead end. I was thiiiiiiis close. I had all kinds of rapid-fire visions of what I would do to him, starting with his balls and my lug wrench.

There are so many kids and pets in our neighborhood. And they play in the street! And apparently I have crowned myself the Queen of Neighborhood Asshole Watch and think I am Tony Soprano!

I didn't follow him. Hands shaking on the wheel, I forced myself to turn off onto my own street, where I snaked around the neighbors' kids on my way to my driveway. Then I went in the house and threw my work bag against the dining room wall. Then, after a few minutes and a few sips of wine, I very calmly walked down the street and wrote down his license plate number.

Now I feel all peaceful-like again.

You know what else makes me all peaceful-like? Chef Anthony Chittum. How I love him. He used to be the executive chef at Notti Bianche in DC, but moved to Vermilion in Old Town, Alexandria a few months ago. We tried Vermilion on Saturday night and it mouth-wateringly delicious. I swear I will follow this man to the ends of the earth, so long as he doesn't move to Minnesota.

Highly recommended. Get the scallops as an appetizer, the cold sweet pea soup, and the sablefish. If you're lucky, they might treat you to dessert and espresso for your seventh wedding anniversary.

Why are you still standing there? Aren't you hungry? GO!

(what, do you want me to attack you with my lug wrench?)

Edited to Add:
Hey! I forgot the third thing that makes me murderously angry: animal abusers. I wouldn't mind introducing Michael Vick to my lug wrench.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Oh my GOD

My office is on the top floor of the building and it sounds like there is a bird stuck between the roof and the interior ceiling tiles.

I've heard it chirping continuously for the past two hours and I'm sick over the thought that it will perish there.


Guy: Facilities Department, can I help you?

Liz: Bird!

Guy: What?

Liz: Bird! Stuck in ceiling! Ohgodhelp.

Guy: Did you fill out a request form?

Liz: STUCK IN CEILING!

Guy: We'll be right up.


Add to my bird-related trauma the fact that I went out on my patio this morning and found a wee baby bird, dead after falling from its nest atop one of my deck posts. I had watched the mama build the nest using fibers from the coconut liners in my window boxes.

All I need now to jack my trauma level up to MAXIMUM is to run over a puppy on my way home from work.

I'll be back tomorrow with happier stories, including one about our latest activity: stalking a local chef.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Then and Now (and Then, again)

My dad recently sent me this picture of me as a baby. I find it a slightly disturbing. Don't I look like I was abandoned on the set of Fiddler on the Roof*?


Golde? Tevye? Anyone?


I know I hinted that I might post a picture of my sister and I posing bikini-clad on my father's boat and looking like wet, dizzy goats, but I just can't. What if I win the title of Miss New Jersey someday? Then you could blackmail me, and I'd be known throughout the country as Miss Wet Dizzy Goat, and I'd have to be interviewed on the Today Show by Matt Lauer.

So instead, here's a picture of my sis and I in Florida, looking like relatively normal human beings. She's on the left.

She never actually consented to appear on this blog, but I did send her an email full of very tiny typeface that declared this an opt-out deal. If she doesn't want to be on my blog, she has to tell me, otherwise her consent is implied.

She works with lots of lawyers. I'm probably screwed.

(Just remember, K- I didn't post the wet, dizzy goat picture, or the one of us sticking our tongues into a jumbo-sized glass of wine. Love ya lots.)

*The only musical I actually enjoy.


Edited to Add:
Here's my sister and I as kids. Same as before, she's on the left:

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mmmm...

You know what's really fun and attractive? Having a ten-in-a-row sneezing fit while you still have a mouthful of wet, freshly-chewed high-fiber cereal.

At work.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Hot Damn! Not everything you read on the Internet is true!

But this is!

So yesterday Mike and I went to see Food, Film, and Friendship, Italian Style at Lisner Auditorium. We were a good 2-3 inches shorter by the time we got there, as it was hot as blazes and we melted slightly during the short walk from the metro.

The program was supposed to be a lively discussion with Marisa Tomei and Italian chefs Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich about Italian food and the role it plays in cinema and popular culture in general. We were especially looking forward to what we anticipated would be a good, humorous banter between Tomei and Batali.

The moderator, Jim Bohannon, was clearly having an off-day. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt because it's hard to believe that a professional radio host who makes his living by interviewing people could be such a dud on a regular basis, but seriously-- I think my 4-year old nephew could have done a better job.

Is it possible for a "lively discussion" to come to a screeching halt before it's even really begun? Bohannon started with Tomei, asking her two questions inspired by what turned out to be misinformation from the Internet. Either he's responsible for shabby research or some underling is going to be applying at Ruby Tuesday's this week.

Anyway, I don't want to go on and on about him, but Bohannon really seemed to do his best to keep the "lively" out of the "discussion". It was painful.

Next!

The description of the event said that it would be highlighted by video clips. The only clips they played were in the very beginning, as they were introducing the panelists. Later, as Bohannon was awkwardly asking the celebs about the 10 best food moments in film, and I kept waiting for the screen to lower.

We're talking about that food fight scene in Fried Green Tomatoes... let's see it! I silently urged, but to no avail. The celebs half-heartedly replied that the Fried Green Tomatoes scene was not a shining example of food in film. Bohannon gave up after mentioning just one more film, and the remaining 8 are still a mystery to us all.

Grade: C-. But Mario is really funny.

The day improved with a stop at Lindy's on the way home, where we ended up drinking beer with another couple that had been at the show. The wife and my husband instantly bonded over their very obviously Italian last names. You know, I'm only gradually coming to understand the way a shared ethnic background can spontaneously turn a stranger into a friend.

When Mike and I bought our house over four years ago, there were multiple bids on the house, two of which were higher than ours. I waited, without much hope, for word from our realtor. When we found out that we got it, I was stunned.

"But why?" I asked the realtor. "Why would they accept a contract for less money?"

"Look at the seller's last name," Mike pointed out. "He's Italian!"

I snorted. As if.

On closing day we went for our final walk-through, and met the seller for the first time. He shook hands with both of us and then clapped Mike on the back in a hearty half-hug.

"I'm glad it's going to a paisan!" he declared.

My mouth dropped open and Mike raised his eyebrow at me.

What do I know?

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Multiple Choice

This morning’s alarm shattered a dream in which I was desperately trying to scream at someone who had wronged me, but I couldn't because my mouth was stuffed with lettuce.

(and if you want to pile rage upon rage, try playing Yo Mama while scarfing the biggest salad you’ve ever seen.)


What does this mean?

a) Mike and I recently went to the farmer’s market and bought staggering amounts of kale, arugula, and spinach.

b) I’m growing weary of all the asshole drivers around here.

c) You're not an asshole, though. I’m sure you're fabulous and are not one of those people who graduated from Fuck U and plays Hot Wheels on the highway.

d) I am feeling hindered by my vegetarianism.

e) Okay, I’m really a pescetarian (since I eat seafood), but no one knows what that means.

f) And even when I think I’m keeping it simple by saying I’m vegetarian, someone asks, “But you eat chicken, right? No? What about turkey? No? What about the sweet, tender brains of live baby lambs?”

g) I want to sleep with my father.

h) I want to sleep with a bunch of romaine.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

There's sand in my toothbrush

Last weekend my brother, his girlfriend, and their dog picked up a rented minivan in Manhattan and drove to our house. We jumped in with our dog and we all settled in for a lovely 12-hour drive to my parents' house in Florida.

My sister, apparently the only one who has any smarts, opted to fly from New York to Florida. Her feelings: "I don't think I want to start my vacation with a 16-hour minivan ride."

That was before she knew about the travel margarita machine. We ran out of tequila somewhere in South Carolina.

Kidding! There were no margaritas, just straight tequila shots.

Kidding again!

The truth is that there was lots of dog hair, soy crisps, and Johnny Cash and Run-DMC. And a fun moment when the minivan completely lost power as we were barreling down the highway at 75 mph.

Power? Power is for wusses.


When we stopped to put air in the tires, Alex and BB took over the front seat. Here they plot to hijack the minivan as my brother looks on, completely unaware of the impending insurgence.

Do you have the keys?
No, I thought you did.
Shit!


Anyway, we arrived safely and only slightly rumpled.

The majority of the week was spent engaged in various water sports, as my parents live on the intracoastal waterway and have two boats and lots of related toys. My shining moment came when I was the only one to spin 360 degrees on the Hydroslide board while being pulled behind the boat. No one managed to capture this on tape (I can't imagine why the Fox 5 helicopter wasn't there), so you'll just have to take my word for it that I was an awesome badass for five seconds of my life.

Alex sort of had fun...





...until he cut his pad on an oyster shell and had to wear a wee bandage for two days.


We even went swimming with the dolphins at Marineland. It was really neat. I think I'm going back to school yet again so I can become a marine biologist.


I think they should put this picture in their brochure. I am
clearly a beacon of light in the dolphin conservation movement.


I might put up some more pictures in the next post. There's an especially great one of my sister and I trying to pose like nautical sex kittens on the front of the boat while actually resembling wet, dizzy goats.

Anyhow, it was a really fun week, and the first time in years that my family has been together in Florida. I've probably mentioned that although we never lived there as a family, Florida always felt like home. It was the one constant as we moved all over the country, and we all have lots of special memories of being there.

Naturally, this visit sparked yet another round of the fabulous, mind-numbing game of Should We Move to Florida?

But I think I'll save that discussion for another time. My head hurts after hours of perusing real estate publications.

Let's just say that I could get used to wearing my flip-flops every day.

Do I get a vote?


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