Thursday, June 26, 2008
So Summer is here, whoopee. Yeah, we'll be talking about that fine subject soon. Anyway, the more things that can be cooked outside of my highly temperature sensitive kitchen, the better. We took our Columbia Pike Farmers Market tomatoes and some less-than-local peppers and got them all nice and roasty toasty. Then I mixed them with fettucine, garlic, olive oil and sauteed onions, threw in the local basil from the market and yummm. We had just enough fresh parmesan to grate over the pasta. It was even better the next day.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I'm all for things that do what they're supposed to and hotlines of all sorts probably fall into that category. I've only called one in my life and it wasn't for this subject, it was in the pre-Internet world and information was a wee bit scarce.
Anyway, I stumbled onto this story today about the 1-800-SUICIDE (yeah, really no way to abbreviate that) hotline that is facing a bit of a financial crisis. Check it out...
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Jac was a man with a mission this morning. Since there's been this tomato salmonella issue his craving for a bright summer tomato has gone unmet for a few weeks. Last night he told me that Virginia tomatoes had been deemed safe and that we could get some this morning at the Columbia Pike Farmers Market. Naturally for Jac this meant being ready to shop when the clock struck 9 so he could get first dibs on the tomatoes. We got tomatoes, more cherries, and some super fragrant basil. I might even be able to convince him to have pasta for dinner. There were a few strawberries there, but they didn't even make the photo array. They had the most lovely pickling cucumbers, but that's a country weekend thing for me and I don't know when the next river weekend will be.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I am sitting in mama magniferous' hospital room while she sleeps off her pain meds. Lexi and Kirby got pretty cozy recently in the dog bed of their visiting dog aunt. I can't say that the hospital lounge chair is cozy, but there have been worse. At least this chair lets you get into a semi-reclined position. The ventilation systems squeaks incessantly like it needs a good dose of WD-40 and it's all the more annoying because really, how much do you wanted to be reminded about the air circulating through all these hospital rooms?
I managed to park in the relatively near by restricted parking garage today. The usual parking dictator was not there. I think he has it out for me. Perhaps he somehow knows that everyday I come here I have a bag loaded up with laptop and lapdesk and work and such that it would be unpleasant to lug several blocks from the alternative parking garage. So then he exercises all the power given to him by the parking authority. It is a cruel, cruel world sometimes.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
If you've been around here a while you know that mama magniferous has been ill pretty continuously for the last 13 months. Two weeks ago she had her "last" surgery. Of course two weeks later, just Sunday night, she developed a monster infection and had to head back to the hospital. She's doing better now and I remain extremely happy that good drugs like antibiotics exist and sometimes work.
So anyway, no exciting cooking or even knitting going on here. I have been working frantically to land a big contract and then spending whatever time I can up in Baltimore with mom in the hospital. Sometimes visitors heading into the parking garage (which is already a block from the hospital) are waived off to go to the back up garage. It's happened to me two days in a row and I'm having visions of banana cream pie on the attendant's head. Anyway, when you have to go to the satellite lot it's gonna be a little hike to the hospital.
So I realized I needed a bit of sustenance not only for the trek, but also for the 6 hour shift in the isolation room with mama magniferous. That's when I decided to see if the Famous Lexington Market was famous or infamous. It's funny because it's a place that's still clearly doing business, and it hasn't become a tourist trap. I'm guessing neighborhood folks go there. I can imagine that it once was a bustling market with all sorts of exotic things. It still has everything from pork jowls to faux Fendi but it's got a definite air of mall food court going on. Fortunately, this particular morning that was just fine with me, an Auntie Anne's pretzel sounded heavenly and when I spotted Berger's cookies, well, I was really in Baltimore.
We had Berger's cookies all the time when I was little. They sold them at High's. My dad was a big fan and some Friday night's he'd seek them out. With three Berger cookie lovers in the house they didn't last very long.
Only, here's the thing. I always thought they were "burger cookies" because they are chocolate goodness atop a white cookie and I thought they looked like an open faced hamburger. In fact, there may have been times that my sister and I doubled the Berger's to make them "burgers". So the last shred of childhood disappeared from my life today as I made the connection. Anyway, the Berger cookies were just as good as I remembered. I introduced them to Jac and made clear there was lore involved and I think despite that there is half a "very rich" Berger cookie sitting on the kitchen counter. Oh well, he took me to the Weenie Beenie or Beetle Wagon or whatever in his hometown and I was afraid to even have grilled cheese. I guess that's why we met as adults instead of 8 year olds.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I got home on Friday and turned on the TV to see this ironic and amusingly phrased headline. Alas, the White House was only without power for a short time and the President had a back up generator so he never had to go in search of power.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
It's been a whirlwind day in the city. We went to two grocery stores. In one of them I saw a nun totally decked out in full habit which I haven't seen in the wild in a while. Our family nuns are a bit more fond of jeans shorts.
We went to the new Pie-tanza in Falls Church. I had a secret hope that perhaps the Chuck-E-Cheese romper room atmosphere didn't make it all the way to Falls Church, but sure enough we had a kid-filled adventure. I love that pizza, I'd pay double to eat it in an adult dining room. I know eventually we'll want to eat with kids, but there's nothing about Pie-tanza that suggests it should be like feeding hour at Mommy and Me.
I went to Ross because I have lost my coin purse and I am absolutely devastated about it. I'm annoyed because it was the ultimate change purse. I'm annoyed at the possibly 80 cents that went missing. I have no idea when or where I lost it. So I went to Ross against my better judgment and turned on my heel when I walked in and there were well over 30 people in line for the checkout. Insanity.
We hit the good dog park, which is really an inadequate moniker. It is the best dog park. It has the best dogs. It has the best stuff. It just generally rocks the dog park world. We took all three dogs currently under our roof, which included the parents' unsocialized senior shepherd. She had the time of her life. She only tried to eat three dogs.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
80,000 South Koreans showed up today to protest their government's decision to resume importation of US beef. (They'd stopped during that whole mad cow debacle.)
When I woke up to the image of 80,000 people alternating lights and signs in harmony over an import. Man, those people are so lucky they haven't had our president for eight years - can you imagine the size turn out they'd have for that protest? That is some people caring about an issue. They're approximately as passionate about the importation of beef as Portlanders are on a 90+degree day about Barack Obama swinging into town. And oh the coordination. They can rival those Chinese prison dance videos on Youtube.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
A couple more house guests have arrived here in the form of John and Abagail Adams. We wanted to see the show when it was on that high-falootin' cable, but now we can have historical political marathons whenever we want since the DVD set arrived from Amazon today.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Yes, it's been a few days since I've been here. I've actually been typing my little fingers off but more of my time has been spent playing WordTwist and writing proposals than I'd volunteer. Last week my mother had her last surgery hopefully ending a year-long saga. She is doing remarkably well and is on the road to recovery, but much of my week was spent sitting in a hospital room which is remarkably light on blogging fodder. When I got home from the hospital the only thought in my head was "must shower gnarly hospitalness off of my being"! I also did little cooking, thus blank blog.
This weekend the heat set in. Our teeny, tiny, itsy bitsy house somehow manages to have an undersized air conditioning unit and a Rube Goldberg system of ducting that results in a faint whisper of cool air that immediately dissipates from the Swiss cheese walls whooshing past the mice trying to get outside where it's cool. Have I mentioned how much I hate summer? If Jac weren't such a good Southern boy, I could see myself living in the upper reaches of Canada - or anywhere really where 82 degrees is news.
We had a visit from my sister and her husband on Adoption Weekend. We've had a spate of new dogs joining the family lately. They had searched high and low and found their perfect pooch hundreds of miles from home so they had to go get him! Fortunately our little hovel lay directly in their path. We're also watching my parents' wild old German Shepherd for a couple of weeks while mom recuperates. The newest dog is as sweet as can be. I was amazed at how well our new formed pack of dogs and cats got on. I really think they do better in numbers. It feels a little oddly quiet with fewer dogs and people and no hospital duties today.
I watched the Hillary speech when she finally got around to showing up on Saturday. I really feel for her. I am sure her turn in the White House has been her vision for many, many years. She is extraordinarily driven. To have those dreams dashed when she was always "the presumptive" must have been devastating. But amen to that being over for the rest of us. Uh oh I think I have a geek analogy.
More than a year ago I started yearning for the Treo 800. I had a Treo 700w, a sort of revolutionary device for non-Blackberry users. It did everything your Palm Pilot could do AND it was a phone. But the thing was a brick - no a stack of bricks. I still marvel I was able to lift the thing. So the pursuit of the 800 began. I scoured the web for images and news. I'd study any leaked image. I heard some rumbling about an upcoming iPhone but it was completely impractical for me - the network was too limited - I couldn't use that at the river. Plus it was expensive and it just wasn't to be. So I followed the 800.
Until, suddenly, last fall, after maybe 11 months of waiting for the 800, after way too many illnesses and tedious days I threw caution to the wind and plunged into the iphone world. Now, the 800 is actually truly on the way, it'll be here soon the new leaked images promise, but oh how ancient that device looks to me now. It aged another decade today when I caught a glimpse of the next hot number, iPhone 3G.
So anyway, yeah, Hillary = Treo, Obama = iPhone. Total gamechanger, makes you forget there was a before. 07.11.08 11.04.08 mmmmm.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
It's hard to know where to start with Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull because I think I'm pretty prone to start sounding like a blithering idiot.
On Sunday afternoon the storms moved in and we lost power. After more than an hour we decided there might be something more interesting to do than ass-sitting. I suggested checking out Indiana Jones (I hate that if I said Indy that a race could be associated with the word rather than a global archaeological ass-kicking.)
I loved that the plot was no more sophisticated than its predecessors. Everything is so focus-grouped and ubercrafted these days that it's just a little relaxing and refreshing.
I dig that the hero is an aging Boomer-type. He wasn't de-aged. He wasn't over-aged. He was just his present age.
All the essential Indy scenes were there in their glory: nasty bugs teeming all over, dark caves full of spiderwebs and decaying corpses, mummies, snakes, dramatically collapsing structures requiring fleet footwork to get out before the last crumble, crazy car races, wild weapons, goofy accents, random minor subplots, ahhh Indy.
I dig that introducing a 3rd Jones man wasn't done elaborately. He was front and center, the subplot was pretty clear. The surprise was reserved for his mother.
Oh my gosh the thought that they could bring back Karen Allen who had just gone on to live a normal life and have her reprise the heroine role, almost astounding. First, the 70's and early 80's allowed for an Ivory Girl kind of plain prettiness that's unpopular today. So not choosing to update the style of the heroine was a bold, good move. Next, she went on and lived a normal life which meant she wasn't Botoxed, pilated and snippet to bits. She looked like she should be with someone who looks like Harrison Ford in the real world. Astounding.
But even better, I loved that Karen Allen and Cate Blanchett had smart, logical, plausible, valuable roles in an action movie. Here's where I have to explain that I'm about as un-quota-ey, non-feminista (not that there's anything wrong with that). I just want the story to dictate, not the cast. But it's so refreshing that the story could find roles for an ensemble cast where everyone brought a value and we get to have tough Marian Ravenwood being a general badass and Cate Blanchett's Russian villian. She was the boss, she was super smart, she had special intuition, she had drive and mad fighting skills, and the power she really sought was knowledge. Yum, scoop me up a bowl of that.
There's an under-riding message that fighting your enemies can consume you so that you can't even see how you have become obsessed. Of course those who seek to steal or horde treasures always get their due. And messing with the land or history can be a fast path to your own destruction.
Perhaps best of all though, the movie was true to itself. It was Indiana Jones of the era of the first series of production. It was a movie I'd want to take my kids to, and as a kid, I could see myself lining up at the discount theater over and over to see Indiana Jones get the girl, the kid, and the prize.
That is what we call good times people.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Forget Amazon, they may have a paperback re-print available in 3-5 years. Overstock said they had a few left but it would take an eternity to get here and cost a fortune. Barnes & Noble, no dice. When I went to Borders today the guy laughed and said they are so sold out they're not even taking orders for more.
And yet I suggested Jac try Target while he was there on the off chance that a book of 340 pages with no photographs might not be a hot seller there. Bingo! The literary ghetto my friends, we have found it and we are reveling in it.
Monday, June 02, 2008
It could just be me, but it feels like tomorrow should be Friday.
Today I woke early after way too little sleep to drive to Baltimore to wait while my mother had what seems like her hundredth surgery in a year. (This should be the LAST one.) Surgery took twice as long as expected in part because the last (Dr. Asshat) doctor left his car keys, spare pennies, and sunglass case in there. At least he had the good sense to take his bolo tie out. Grrrrr.
We sat in a beautiful atrium all day. It was sunny, almost like being outdoors. Only here's the thing, as Jim Gaffigan says, I'm indoorsy. One hint of sunlight and my skin turns Burnt Red Peanut. So after 8 hours of broasting (it's a thing, trust me and Whitey's) we got to go see mom for 15 minutes in Recovery. That's when I put on a sealed plastic gown and gloves. Then we went into the small, warm room, and I wedged in between the equipment, the bed, and Eggy.
That's when I started to think, hmm, this is a familiar sensation, what happens when I feel this way, ah yes, I think I am about to faint. I got my ess together and ended up crouching in the corner of the room instead of collapsing right on my mother and all those tubes. This put the crack nursing team (seriously, great) into high gear and before I knew it I was being ushered into a lounge chair plied with ice water and topped with the best feeling cold towel in the history of towels. "She's really diaphoretic... Yeah she's not going anywhere right now, she's really diaphoretic." I have to remember to look that up, I thought.
Anyway, then I was fine and the mini-visit was over. When you rebound from feeling very suddenly ill you can be astounded how good you feel. Over the weekend I had one of my too typical sinus attacks and the moment the meds kicked in I thought I heard angels.
So, now it's late in the day and it feels like a week has gone by.
Diaphoretic = really sweaty in doctor. I'm so glad there's medicalese to mask the horror of being called a sweat ball across an ICU floor.