January 16, 2007

Punctuation Nerds, UNITE!

Ever since I rejected the cliched Dilbert calendar and purchased my Eats, Shoots & Leaves desk calendar for my cubicle, I have been treated to daily dose of commentary on punctuation. Yep, I pretty much love it! Here is today's entry in riddle form, which I was just tickled by:

Every Lady in this Land
Hath 20 Nails on each Hand;
Five & Twenty on Hands and Feet;
And this is true, without deceit.

(Every lady in this land has twenty nails. On each hand, five; and twenty on hands and feet.)

Your nerdliness

January 10, 2007

No More Cheezy Poofs!

Garrett's parents are in town for about 3 weeks, and I was pretty excited to have a little "me time". For some reason that statement gives me visions of recent Britney Spears photos and smacks a little too much of self-help books (which kind of makes me wanna puke in my mouth a little) but I assure you I was just looking forward to concentrating on the minutiae of my daily life that I often put off because when presented with the 2 options, Garrett is ALWAYS more fun to hang out with.

I found that my first response to having some extra time to myself was to resort to my secret single girl style of grocery shopping. A couple days after his parents arrived I found myself at Trader Joe's with a cart full of single serving frozen foods, boxes of ready made pasta dishes, things I would never buy if I knew Garrett would be coming over (hello, garlic fries!), and of course a bunch of crappy junk food that I planned to use only to assuage my sorrows on the nights I would be forced to watch TV alone with a cold spot beside me on the couch where a certain someone usually sits (read: dunkers, won ton chips, mini peanut butter cups, and veggie chips...ugh!) You shut up! I can hear me getting fatter too and I don't need your judgmental glares exacerbating the situation. I thought it was AWESOME planning.

Yeah, so it turns out not so much. You see, said trip to Trader Joe's set me
back well over $50 and 3 days later with the prospect of having Garrett come over for actual dinner, I was forced into the realization that I had no actual food. Nothing to prepare, nothing to turn into a meal, and nothing to be the least bit healthy and/or nourishing (unless of course your kind of nourishing involves chips named after vegetables, containing no actual vegetables, and for the record, mine does not). I prefer to actually have tasty vegetables and a nice selection of meat and poultry at my fingertips, so it should be no surprise that I was thus, disappointed and in somewhat of a state of panic.

Thinking about what I had in the fridge, and imagining what economical things I could purchase to make a normal meal meant that I would ultimately have to go to Safeway and get MORE groceries! Are you kidding??? I thought I spent more money shopping for food for two, but clearly when I plan to eat for one (or more appropriately when I eat for lonely) but that's clearly not the case. The upside was when I realized that I could probably cook Garrett anything and he would eat it, and that made me feel somewhat relieved. I love that my boy has an appetite, because there is really nothing I relish more than cooking up a feast, though I must admit I wish he wouldn't tell me that everything I make tastes great, because I know this can't possibly be the case. Exhibit A - the dinner I cooked last night. YUCK! Bobby Flay I am not, and unfortunately I can still taste the combo of mint, cilantro, and vinegar that went horribly wrong. OH GOD AND PEAS! There were peas, too. VOMIT! It was just so bad. Although who am I kidding, it's incredibly endearing that most of the time (I hope) he is probably telling the truth with these wily compliments of his, and if he's not, well then I say --nice job going back for seconds, babe. It really lends authenticity to this little vignette you are performing for me where I make wretched food and you pretend to like it so as to not hurt my feelings. You know I love you for that, right? But, I digress. Basically all this thinking about singles versus couples and their food choices made me contemplate how my relationship has definitely affected the evolution of my cooking skills.

You see, I basically spent a good portion of my life knowing only how to boil water. And not in that cute way that Tyler Florence and that spritely blonde chick do it on the Food Network. You know that show called, aptly, "HOW TO BOIL WATER" where in the end it never fails that they come up with like an entire beef roast with the appropriate accoutrement, and then serve up some fruity cream cheese tart for dessert? Yeah, my water boiling days were nothing like that. Anyway, for most of my life cooking was never this ultimate skill that I wanted to perfect. I swear to you I only began to learn out of necessity, and even then I rarely practiced it because we all know how depressing "Cooking for One" is, so living that lifestyle was never too high on my list of priorities. By the way, in my poor mother's defense, this was not for her lack of trying, as growing up she was constantly trying to teach me these skills in sustenance that I would surely need to know, and as usual, my stubborn self just turned my nose up, and I therefore remained culinarily challenged for many many years. It wasn't until 2002 that I finally had a come-to-jesus moment with a box of Pasta-Roni, and I don't really think things have been the same since. I'm not saying I haven't consumed boxed pasta since then(see above story about Trader Joe's), I'm just saying it is no longer a part of my regular kitchen rotation.

I have to admit though, that for many years I think that I felt that cooking was sort of this anti-feminist skill acquision. Girls I knew who liked to cook were the same girls who fantasized about what their wedding dresses were going to look like or what they were going to name their children when they were born. I have never been that girl. Frankly, if I ever do get married, I fantasize about eloping in a pair of sweat pants from the GAP and a hoodie that doesn't make me look fat somewhere where corking fees don't exist and red wine comes out of a fountain right next to the Mikuni dispenser, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, I never took the time to learn to cook, because it has always screamed of feminine oppression. I feared that having this skill-set would mean I was stuck constantly taking care of other people's needs, and then on top of it(eek) HAVING TO DO THE DISHES! The thought of myself barefoot in the kitchen was enough to make me want to eat freeze dried foods out of pods for the rest of my life...without using filtered water!!!!!

Somewhere along the line, however, I realized that cooking a nice meal, was a nice thing to know how to do. I always liked having friends over and it seemed to only get better if I could have them over AND we could eat. I know, SHOCKER! I also realized that cooking appeals to that part of my brain that loves a challenge, and what could be better than achieving your goal -- and then getting to eat it? Not much, I tell you. NOT. MUCH. It's ridiculously satisfying, really, even when you have to touch slimy ligaments and bones. And above and beyond even that - how great is it to be able to make yourself anything you could possibly want, regardless of time and place. Eggs and potatoes at midnight is pretty empowering. Not the least bit oppressive as I once thought. Oh how I mourn those years -- all that pasta and foods from a box. I shudder...

When Garrett and I began mealing together, it just got even better. Cooking for him is something I LOVE doing. Not only because of his appetite, adventurous spirit when it comes to food, or his complimentary phrases (ok so it might be for the phrases), but because for the first time in my life I feel kind of nurturing. I haven't spent my whole life having those traditional girl-thoughts about motherhood, nesting, or being a wife, but that doesn't mean I don't have the desire to care for someone else and provide for them something that is tangible and full of love. Cooking for him (and with him, since I've said time and time again that he is the best sous chef in town) has allowed me to express that little nurturing voice that I do actually have inside me, and for a long time I hadn't really had another person so deserving of my nurturing. Now that I think about it, it's kind of nice, actually.

And besides, most of the time (HALLELUJAH!) he does the dishes.

January 04, 2007

Miami Vice: Very Official Movie Review

Oh my god, so this blockbuster.com thing rocks my world. I love this free trial thingy, cuz I'm watching movies like a mad woman and when they are crappy I don't even feel bad because I'm not paying for them. Big ups to my cousin Jim for the clue-in on what a mega scam this is. Speaking of terrible movies (and by terrible I mean TOTALLY AWESOME)...I watched Miami Vice last night. Well, most of it. Have you seen it? The dialog is PHENOMENAL.

Here is my favorite scene (to give you some context, this scene happened right before Colin Farrel muttered, "If they didn't do time with us, they ain't doin crime with us") I took the liberty of copying this snippet from IMDB for your reading pleasure. I think it really sums up how intelligent this movie is

Det. Ricardo Tubbs: [Crockett is holding a live hand grenade] I'm gonna tell you what's gonna happen. People are gonna come in here, and you know what they gonna say? They gonna look around and go 'Oh ah, hell. That's some crazy motherfucking wallpaper, what is that? Jackson Pollock?'
Det. James 'Sonny' Crockett: No, viero. That was José Yero. Got splattered all over his own wall

Nice use of popular culture art references to put the fear of god into a druglord (Jose Yero), dontcha think? (yes, please note that does say Crockett is holding a live hand grednade), but it sure does also show their softer more intelligent side for all the ladies watching. To say "look at me ladies, I know art". Date movie anyone????

I'm also now quite sure that I totally understand the mechanices of a Ferrari's paddle shift since I saw close ups of it like 5 times with the Miami skyline behind it. I felt like I was in a Sisqo video a couple times, and really how often can you say that a movie transcends art forms like that??? Not too often, I bet. On top of all that, there were some interspersed soapy tits with really great synthesized music in the background. Now that's quality. I also enjoyed this line:

José Yero: I like you. You are tough. But I didn't like your partner. [shows Det.James Crockett]
Det. Ricardo Tubbs: Do you wanna fuck my partner, or do business with us?

I mean...hello??? You tell em Jamie Foxx (with 2 X's) WORD!!! (Although frankly I don't really prefer Colin Farrell with a semi-bleached blond mullett either...so I feel Yero on that one)

I would recommend this movie to others.

January 03, 2007

I resolve to be resolute

So I have decided to make a New Year's Resolution. I'm not necessarily anti-resolution, I just don't generally don't make them specific to the beginning of the year because I'm pretty much a fan of setting goals all year round. This year, however, in an effort to make my progress more measurable -- resolution -- I plan thee.

Obviously I have long been a lover of books, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten my degree in English, and it is one of those passions I just can't shake. I love to read books, read about books, read about people who read books -- I'm sure it's unhealthy, really. But since I graduated, I have been less committed to my reading than in the past, and that totally bums me out.

For three years in a row (2000-2002), I resolved to read a certain number of books. First 30, then 35, then 40. Not only did I achieve those goals, but I recorded their titles, authors, and my general opinion or interesting thoughts I had on each. It was fun to look back and see what I read, or how my life was influenced during those specific times. Then I went back to school. Obviously in college I wasn't doing a bunch of "reading for pleasure" per se, although clearly what I read was pleasurable to me. And logically, immediately after I graduated, all I wanted to read was brain candy. I can't tell you how many books with hot pink covers I devoured like bon bons on a sunny afternoon. It was wonderfully sinful, but then I slowly realized that I needed to actually challenge my brain a little bit for fear of the "use it or lose it" philosophy on life to which I wholeheartedly subscribe. Last year I adopted an "every other" rule to my hot pink reading; however, I still found myself consuming less than nutritious literature. I mean I even purchased, completed, and file away on my bookshelf a "novel" by James Patterson...and counted it as "non-hot-pink". Yes, let's all just have a moment of silence.

Another disappointment was that I picked up and put down more books than I completed. Now I'm not one to condemn putting down a book that you are just not interested in. Sometimes we just don't click with books, or sometimes we just don't want to work to read (though I think working to read can be enjoyable) and that is just fine. But this past year I definitely just got lazy. I'd pick up a book, and halfway through it just put it down -- Books I enjoyed -- Books I was intrigued by. And for no good reason.

Anyway, with that I have "resolved" to recommit to my reading, and I think the beginning of a new year is a perfect time to make that goal. Not in a crazy marathon training kind of way, but with the following goals in mind:

1. Read more regularly.
I always love "having a good book." Whether I am reading every night before bed, or whether I am stealing moments here and there to get in a few pages, or whether I am spending an entire Saturday afternoon involved in a totally fictitious environment, I am going to make a marked effort to always have that available to me by making sure I am always actively engaged with at least one book.

2. Pick up a few of my abandoned books.
I can think of at least 3 books that I picked up and put down last year that I'm still dying to finish up. I'm determined to find out how they end, as surrounding myself with this lack of resolution is horrid! I have a wealth of books sitting on my bookshelf that I was interested in once, and I hereby commit to being interested in again. I'm going to be all about the finish this time.

3. Get back to the library.
I can honestly say I think I fell in love with Garrett a little bit when he first
shared with me his utter displeasure the day the Carmichael library closed for its renovation/remodel. I LOVE THE LIBRARY! And finding a partner who appreciates this is fabulous! Besides at the rate I purchase and store books I don't read, it is probably good that I start doing some borrowing otherwise I might need to rent a small storage space for my unread books. And what better way to keep it "timebound". See...keeping the end in mind.

4. Aim Low.
Ok not really. What I mean is that I could probably aim for 40 or 50 books this year, but in an effort to make my goals realistic and attainable I am resolving to FINISH 30 books this year, and keep an active record of it. I miss doing that! So I'm going to, damnit! Besides, if nothing else, maybe it will give me something more interesting to talk about here than the minutiae of my life, my recipes, and my horrible tv watching habits.


2006: A Retrospective

What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
Began a job as an underwriter

Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did set some goals this year that I acheived, and I will definitely be doing that again this year. I'll share some shortly.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my good friend Angela from childhood. How weird is that? We've known each other since WE were practically babies. Oddly enough though, it just seemed right. And what a cutie is Garrison!

Did anyone close to you die?

What countries did you visit?
No countries -- although I did get to visit the great state of Iowa for 12 whole days, and frankly it felt like another country at times!

What would you like to have more of in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
Routine. God, am I so boring??? Don't answer that.

What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 17th -- it was my first anniversary with Garrett...and I sure do like that boy.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Starting over at a new job and being successful at it. Previously I had spent 6 1/2 years at Peet's so it had been a long time since I had to acclimate to a new work environment.

What was your biggest failure?
For the first time in my adult life, staying in good health -- and boy was that scary!

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Two odd illnesses never before encountered -- in May I had migraines for 10 days. It was my own personal apocolypse. I also had a gnarly kidney infection in September that made me realize how grateful I am for those cute little organs when they work in a pain-free manner.

What was the best thing you bought?
Suits. How great is it to be able to wear nice clothes to work???

Where did most of your money go?
Debt. BOO!

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Grey's Anatomy. And that, my friends, is how you know I am exceptionally lame :)

What song will always remind you of 2006?
I am ashamed to admit this, but I think it will be anything by E-40

Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier. I have a great job, time invested in a wonderful relationship, I'm more on track financially, and I had some really fun experiences.
b) thinner or fatter? Wow...I'm TOTALLY fatter. Awesome. I was just deducing this while getting dressed this morning and noting that all my pants have mysteriously become shorter...or, perhaps, have I become wider?? hmmm.
c) richer or poorer? Richer. Please note, however, that this is probably the only time you will hear me using the word "richer" in reference to myself.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Keeping myself physically healthier (ie: stressing less, exercising more)

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Getting all wound up! I realized this year -- in a somewhat epiphanous manner -- that I create stress in my life just to feel the release that the acheivement brings. I know, I'm wily like that

Did you fall in love in 2006?
Yes (Cue the sappy music)

What was your favorite TV program?
Barefoot Contessa, Project Runway, Grey's Anatomy

What was the best book you read?
How sad, I can't even remember.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins' Rabbit Fur Coat (and since I didn't actually procure that cd, I feel bad listing it as a "discovery" but I think since I discovered Rilo Kiley on my own I can at least take partial credit, yes?)

What did you want and get?
A feeling of contentment with my life. Really feeling comfortable with being a work in progress.

What did you want and not get?
A Le Crueset Dutch Oven. Trust me, I'll live. I'm content with my cookware being a work in progress as well.

What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn't see too many that moved me, although I have to say that the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice which I re-watched this year, still holds as one of my favorite movies EVER. Seeing the Kiera Knightley version was a bit of a disappointment.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28 this October, and I spent it eating the most delicious food at a restaurant called Latitudes with Garrett and seeing Little Miss Sunshine. Couldn't have been better.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
It was satisfying.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
How about things that don't make me look like a pregnant heiffer...It was very Paris 86.

What kept you sane?
Who says I've been sane?

Which celebrity/public figure did you enjoy the most?
All of them. I love celeb trash!

Who was the best new person you met?
How about people? I continue to enjoy all of my new coworkers that were in my training unit. I was pretty lucky!

What is a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006?
That patience really is a virtue, that with commitment just about anything can be accomplished, and that sometimes you just need to bite your tongue.

I Love a Full Moon

There's nothing better than coming in to work in an outfit you already hate, and spilling coffee down the front of you 42 minutes into your 8 hour day. I can't wait to see what the rest of the day holds...


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