Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thank*

In truncation-speak, that's Thanks, Thank-you, Thank-you-ma'am, Thankful, Thankee, Thankless wretch, Thankworthy, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiver, and that's all I can think of right now, Thankyouverymuch.

Thank heavens.

Ah. Well. Now you know what librarians do in their spare time.

Sweet potato pie. My family is from the South, y'all.


I’m a little late with my Thanksgiving Report. I know. Sorry about that.

So, yes. Thanksgiving! It was great. We had lots of friends and family over for dinner. They were thankful that I didn’t make them mince garlic. I have a tendency to do that to dinner guests.

Yes, I went into Fireworks and changed the name on
my place card from my real name to "Liz". Sue me.


I made garlic mashed potatoes. Twice. Within two hours. For the first batch I used Yukon Gold, and they came out way too sticky. Seriously- when you’re mashing your little heart out and all 75,000 potatoes are clinging to each other and climbing up the handle of the masher toward your hand like something out of a horror movie, your mashed potatoes have achieved world dominance and it’s best to just admit defeat and start over.

On the bright side, we will not need to buy spackle for quite a while.

So anyway, on Thanksgiving afternoon I made my sister go and buy another huge bag of potatoes (Russets, this time) and Potatoes: The Sequel came out just fine. Which, thank God, because I was wondering how I managed to screw up the least complicated dish on the menu.

Me, my pop, and my sis.
Sis looks babealicious. I look slightly dazed.


The Savory Bread Pudding was the crowd favorite. I tried to make it marginally less heart attack-inducing by using Egg Beaters in place of the eight required eggs. I also ran short on heavy cream and used a half cup of soy milk. Next time I’ll experiment with using a milk and half-and-half combo, because there will certainly be a next time. Everyone had seconds at dinner, and Mike almost sobbed when he realized that the leftovers would not stretch for days and days, as they apparently had in his dreams.

“Bread pudding.” he said sadly, staring into the empty dish. “Gone.”

And that was all he could manage, poor fellow.

The really nice thing about this dish is that you can make it a day ahead. I’ve decided that make-ahead is the key to my Thanksgiving sanity. This has probably been obvious to the world since the days of cooking the Thanksgiving rabbit over a campfire on the open prairie, but I guess I’m a slow learner.

While cooking the 2005 and 2006 Thanksgiving dinners, I had no fewer than five pots and pans bubbling and hissing on the stove, full of things that had to be cooked minutes before serving. And I only have four burners, so I have no idea how that happened—there must have been some secret Harry Potterish nine-and-three-quarters burner that materialized in my moment of need. I’ve been trying to find it again ever since.

Are there any rich people out there who have huge, gourmet kitchens that they don’t appreciate and rarely use? You know, the ones with Viking ranges and double ovens and appliances dedicated solely to ice cube production? Send your kitchen to me. I swear to God, every single overpriced stainless steel contraption will be worshipped and put to good use.

Apparently, what I lack in enviable appliances and counter space I make up for in tools. My sister dubbed me the Kitchen Gadget Queen. She enjoyed crowing, “Go-Go-Gadget!” every time I pulled out my nut chopper or immersion blender or avocado slicer.

That title can’t possibly be accurate. I don’t yet own a Corn Zipper.

Although I must admit that I want one. Very badly.



You are SO the Kitchen Gadget Queen. Nyah, nyah!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Nothing says family gathering like the Sears Portrait Studio.


I'm off for a few days to cook for my family, peeps. If you're interested in coming for dinner, you know the drill.


(knock four times, spin thricely, then yell, "I BROUGHT WINE!" The door will magically open.)


Thanksgiving 2007 Menu:

Turkey & stuffing
Savory bread pudding with mushrooms and Parmesan Cheese (for the vegetarians)
Garlic mashed potatoes
Roasted Brussels sprouts with cranberry brown butter
Cinnamon glazed carrots
Cranberries
Bread

A selection of homemade pies:

Apple
Sweet Potato
Pumpkin


Have a safe and happy holiday.


I'm going to be a live wire the entire time!
Holiday hyperactivity is my specialty!
Other dogs in the house! Turkey! OMFG!

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Friday, November 16, 2007

HA, HA, HA

Time: Thursday night, 11:45 p.m.
Place: Mike and Liz's bathroom.
Ooooh! Is something kinky going to happen?: No.


Mike has just helped Liz stumble sleepily upstairs after her three-hour snooze on the sofa.

Mike: So you missed some good 11 o'clock news tonight.

Liz: Darn! Was Jim looking good? (we love Jim Vance, a local news anchor)

Mike: Well, you know, I'm not really supposed to notice if another man is looking good, but yeah, he was looking good.

Liz: Oh! Was his earring in? Was he wearing a silver shirt under his jacket?

Mike: Earring was in. I'm not sure if the shirt was silver. It might have been pink.

Liz: So what's he ranting about this week?

Mike: Well, first he was disgusted that Lowe's was selling Christmas trees but calling them "Family Trees".

Liz: What?

Mike: You know, so as not to offend anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas but wants to have a Christmas tree.

Liz: Family tree? Family tree?

Mike: I know.

Liz: So if we want to buy a menorah for our house but we're not Jewish, should I expect the store to call them "Family Candelabrums"?

Mike: I know.

Liz: I mean, I'm an atheist. And even I call it CHRISTMAS TREE.

Mike: You speak the truth.

Liz: This is a really diverse area. The last thing I'd want is for people to feel offended or alienated. I'm one hundred percent fine with saying Happy Holidays, and with not forcing kids in school to sing Christmas carols. But family trees? It's too much!

Mike: Well, apparently Lowe's apologized and said that the printing of "family trees" was a mistake.

Liz: Oh, sure. It's easy to mix up the words "Christmas" and "Family". You know, because they're so much alike.

Mike: So there was a protest.

Liz: Someone felt the need to protest?

Mike: Well, which side are you on?

Liz: No side! God! Why can't we all just relax?!

Mike: (mouth full of toothpaste)

Liz: I want to move!

Mike: (spits) You know you're more prone to making rash decisions after you've been sleeping on the couch.

Liz: I don't care! I want to move to Europe! (pounds fist on sink)

Mike: Well, get this. The other news story was that in Australia, Santas are being asked not to say "Ho, ho, ho!" because it's too offensive.

Liz: How is that offensive?

Mike: Someone might hear "Ho, ho, ho" and think Santa is using the American slang for prostitute. They're supposed to say, "Ha, ha, ha!"

Liz: See? I hate this country!

Mike: That's happening in Australia.

Liz: Yeah, but it's because they don't want to sound like Americans.

Mike: Good point.

Liz: I'm going back downstairs! I can't sleep!

Mike: (calling after me) If you leave the country, who will brush the dog's teeth? Think of his oral hygiene!

Liz: Don't say oral. It sounds OFFENSIVE.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Today I Ate Part of My Sweater

Yes, it’s true. I was driving to work when I spotted a huge lint ball on my sleeve. I picked it off and tried to drop it on the floor, but a gust of warm air from the vent swept it directly to the sticky spider web that is my lip gloss. I stuck my tongue out to see if I could dislodge it, and before I knew it, it was sliding down the back of my throat.

Commuters everywhere were momentarily confused by the sounds emanating from my car, like, WTF? There’s a cat horking on the highway?

Eventually I had to surrender and just… swallow. I felt sick until I realized that it wasn’t as bad as swallowing a gnat, which I’ve also done on several occasions, and so I cheerfully resumed my parroting of Bill Redlin.

In other news, last night was the season premier of Project Runway. Anyone see it? Upon glimpsing Elisa’s completed dress, I told Mike that the model looked like she was suffering from rainbow diarrhea. Later, in a moment that proves that Heidi Klum and I are practically twin sisters, she said that the model looked like she was “pooping fabric”. See? I mean, maybe Heidi’s assessment was a bit classier, but it was still the same assessment. Clearly I’m MUCH more like Heidi Klum than Tori Spelling.

SPEAKING OF WHICH. Yesterday that SAME WOMAN came back to the library and made a beeline for me.

“I can’t get over it! I still think you look just like… like… oh, shoot. What’s her name?”

I crossed my eyes in what I hoped was an expression of confusion.

“Don’t you remember when I told you that you look just like that celebrity?”

“Uh..."

“TORI SPELLING!” she shrieked suddenly.

What could I do? I shushed her.

(more quietly) “I told you that you look just like TORI SPELLING!”

“Oh, right. Ha ha.”

“So, seriously? No one has EVER told you that before?”

“You are seriously the first and only person to tell me that, ever. Aside from when you told me last month.”

“Oh my God.” She studied me. “I don’t know what it is… the hair? The body shape? Or maybe it’s… you know.”

At this point she actually cupped her own breasts.

“Uh, well, thanks for…that. I have to get back to work now.”

“Okay. Bye, Tori!” she called cheerily.

I tried to jam my fingers into the electric stapler, but my fingers wouldn't fit. I'll bet Heidi Klum's wouldn't, either.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Writing Assignment #2:

The Thing I Don't Get

The thing I don't get is when someone asks me a question at the reference desk and as I'm in the middle of providing the requested help, he:

a) takes a cell phone call
b) starts a lengthy conversation someone nearby
c) starts a lengthy conversation with himself
d) starts a lengthy conversation via text (OMFG)
e) wanders away to do something else

Understand: these things do not occur during a time when it might be appropriate to quickly multi-task. They occur while I am speaking. While the words of helpfulness are still exiting my mouth. The words, they float uncertainly for a moment, and finding no welcoming receptacle, pop like soap bubbles.

This species befuddles me. Are these the Millennials I've read so much about?

I used to politely but firmly interrupt and ask, "Do you still need my help?" Now I simply move on to the next person, or return to whatever I was originally working on, and wait for it.

wait for it...

wait for it...


Ah, here it is:

"Uh... so... what were you saying?"


And this is the thing I don't get.

Your turn.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Unleashing the Ignoramus Within

On Saturday Mike and I attended a theme party. Italics are required because I can’t utter "a theme" without thinking of that scene from A Christmas Story in which Ralphie’s teacher announces dramatically, “Boys and girls, I’m going to give you an assignment. I want you to write… a theme.”

Yes, Mike and I attended a party that had… a theme. The theme was The Princess Bride. Everyone was supposed to dress up as a character from the movie, although some people cheated and dressed as “directors”. Whatever.

Big fat cheaters.

Mike dressed as Wesley. He had everything he needed for the costume already, from the flowing black shirt to the lace-up black boots. And a black bandana, because every reputable rock star has one, natch.

If Mike was going to be Wesley, I had to be Buttercup. Except that I had nothing even remotely Buttercuppish, save for a pale complexion and blonde hair. Mike went to a costume store on the day after Halloween and scored me a costume for half-price. Which, awesome! Except that it was a Sexy Pirate costume. Or Dirty Slutty Hooker Pirate, depending on your perspective. I held the 2 ounce garment against my body and gave Mike a dubious look.

“This doesn’t really look like Buttercup’s costume.”

“Well… maybe you could be Buttercup unleashing the pirate within.”

“Uh…”

I see where he was going with it, I really do. The top had these billowy sleeves that were reminiscent of Buttercup’s outfits. And it was 50% off, and I was desperate. But the 3-inch skirt on the bottom made out of nearly-sheer polyester? In November? I had to politely decline.

Instead, I wore a drapey red sweater (since Buttecup’s dress in most of the movie is red) and a big pin that said I HEART WESLEY.

(Big fat cheater)

I was a spectacular failure at this party. Not because of my costume, but because, as Mike puts it, I am the only woman on the planet who doesn’t like The Princess Bride. There were all these games and movie-related jokes that went right over my head. It felt like sitting at the kid’s table on Thanksgiving, hearing the adults roaring with laughter and wondering, what’s so funny?

Whatever, I just loaded a plate with cheese and crackers and whenever someone said something I didn’t get, I muttered, “You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Everyone seemed to think this was hilarious.

Tonight our flooring guy is coming to the house to do another round of measurements for Project Upstairs Hardwood Floors, and to dazzle us with an array of carpet samples. We decided to keep but upgrade the carpet on the two stairways, mostly because our dog rounds those corners at breakneck speed and I don’t want to have to pay for broken doggie legs.

My knowledge of carpet is only slightly higher than my knowledge of The Princess Bride. Any recommendations? (and if anyone starts a Princess Bride quote-off in my comments section, prepare to die, is all I’m sayin’. This blog supports When Harry Met Sally quote-offs only.)

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Writing Assignment #1:

The Place I Would Least Like to Visit on Summer Vacation

The place I would least like to visit on summer vacation is Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ve never been there, not even once, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. This is because Las Vegas is everything I hate, and more.

  • Crowds
  • Gambling
  • Blinking lights
  • Late nights
  • Drunk people
  • Buffet dining
  • Fake Italy

Actually, with the exception of Fake Italy, the above characteristics also apply to The Other Place I Would Least Like to Visit on Summer Vacation, which is a cruise ship. While it’s probably unfair to hate Las Vegas without the benefit of first-hand experience, I am 100% justified in hating cruises because I’ve been on one.

Things I Dislike About Cruises, In Addition to Above Items:

  • Sitting with and therefore being forced to converse with strangers at dinner
  • An extra charge for every God-blessed item or activity you can imagine
  • Drunken, sexually suggestive games that masquerade as “Poolside Activity Hour"
  • Is the floor tilting because I’m on a boat, or because I’ve had three Cosmos?
  • Tiny cabins with no windows
  • Crowded pool

And this is why Las Vegas and a cruise ship are the places I would least like to visit on summer vacation.

Your turn. No fair saying something like, "I would least like to visit South African hyena territory during a prey shortage while wearing bacon socks." I think we can all agree that bacon socks make traveling less enjoyable.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Two Steps to a Successful Marriage





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Monday, November 05, 2007

I got out of bed early to write this lame post

Life has been busy lately. I'll work a full day today, then teach a class from home tonight. And so it will continue until the week of Thanksgiving, when the "work" will morph into the dusting of spare rooms, the making of multiple trips to the grocery store, and the ironing of tablecloths. Yes, we are hosting again this year. This will be the third year, so I guess it's officially a tradition.

I've always been more of a morning lark than a night owl, and now that it's dark by the time I leave work, I seem to be falling asleep earlier and earlier in the evenings. Poor Mike. He could almost relive his bachelorhood, if only he could pretend that there wasn't a wife-like woman asleep on his couch.

We broke down and put the flannel sheets on our bed yesterday. You know it's time when you start grimacing as you approach the bed, anticipating the icy shock. Last night Mike and I gingerly slid under the covers with gritted teeth, then slowly relaxed, uncurled our toes, and sighed, "Ahhhh."

The way I felt when I woke up this morning must be something akin to heaven. Thick Flannel Sheets + Cushy Pillow Top Mattress = Lovely. Seriously, I think I dreamed that I was sleeping in a cozy nest of warm marshmallows. There is something to be said for icy sheets, though. They make it much easier to drag your ass out of bed when the alarm goes off.

Now that you're fully informed about the nature of my winter season bed linen preferences, I have to discuss the last episodes of The Sopranos. WARNING: if you are one of the last people on Earth who has not seen them yet (and don't feel bad; I was in that club until just a few days ago), stop here.

Why didn't you guys TELL me that Christopher dies? And Bobby! And Sil! Okay, Sil wasn't actually dead by the last episode, but it seemed to be heading that way. And I loved Sil, with his perpetual sneer and his aubergine suits. Oh my God, I almost had to take a day off work to sort through my feelings about it.

And the very last eipsode: WTF? I mean, seriously: what's up with that tortuously abrupt ending? We stared at the black screen, mouths hanging open, waiting for the next scene, or the epilogue, or something. And finally, reluctantly, we turned off the television and held each other, because it was over. It was all over! I'm getting a little weepy just thinking about it.

At least it provided Mike and I with three solid hours of lively conversation, as we love to analyze everything and I'm pretty sure that by the end of 180 minutes we had arrived at absolutely no conclusion whatsoever, except: WTF? Oh my God, the guy who went into the bathroom! And Meadow couldn't park her car, what does that mean? And they were sharing onion rings! And the Journey song! And the Boy Scouts at the back of the restaurant!

Yes, I definitely need to take the day off.

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