Monday, November 30, 2009

Top five reasons to never, ever forget your camera in Vermont






Plus two photos I took when I was there:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I don't know how they did it

Finished making somewhere between 150 and 200 pirogi. It is a lot of work. I'm fine doing it a couple of days a year; I even enjoy it. But I am grateful for feminism and that it's not 1859, because g-DAMN. I didn't even have to plant the taters myself or make the sour cream or cheese. Or forage for the mushrooms. Come to think of it, if mushroom-foraging was my responsibility I'd probably already be dead, along with several family members. Due to mushroom misidentification and all.

Anyhoo, Walnut stopped by and I cooked her up a few and then sat and chatted with her while she ate them. She was asking about restaurants nearby; takeout, mostly. I had to tell her that unfortunately I almost never eat out. Even when I had money I cooked at home. There are many restaurants within walking distance of my place that I've never been to, and I've lived here nearly half a decade now.

Anyhoo, happy Thanksgiving, all! I'm off to NH tomorrow to share my pirogi love with a very deserving crowd: my sweet, crazy family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Number Two

I was complaining to McMumsy about my dress options for Dr. Moo's wedding. They include brown, brown, and brown. (We haven't been able to find a suitable green dress in shade, length, or style.) "Boooooo," I whined. "I'm going to look like a giant piece of poo."

"Well my dress is brown," McMumsy responded. "However, it has gold trim." This last bit was added with a hint of condescension/pomposity.

"Harrumph," I said. "You're going to be a better-looking piece of poo than me."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Polack pirogi factory

Tomorrow I begin the holiday pirogi-making extravaganza. I have had no work and very badly wanted to begin the extravaganza today, but a, what I really need to do is get work, so I made some headway there, and b, you can't start more than two days before you plan on eating pirogi if you want fresh pirogi.

This year I'm making three filling: mushroom, kapusta (basically kraut cooked in pig fat), and potato/cheese. Tuesday I make all the fillings, which takes hours. Wednesday I make the dough and roll and stuff the pirogis, which also takes hours.

Thursday I eat the pirogi. As do many of my family members. I'm going to try and get enough made for Christmas Eve and for passing along to friends. They freeze well. (Pirogi, not friends.)

It frightens me a little what a Polack I'm becoming. Like PolackPappy, I leave a lot of the lights off and if I need to go into a dark room for just a minute, I bring a flashlight rather than turn the lights on. Like the Babcia I buy things at Goodwill, and bake a lot of stuff, and put a lot of stuff in the freezer. These things used to piss me off when done by the aforementioned people. Such weirdos! I thought.

And now I am one.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Break

I just did a nifty meditation from Mayor Stabby McCheese. So I'm feeling good. Does watching three straight hours of Project Runway counteract that? I'm about to find out.

In other news, boy could I use a book deal. And a million dollars. No, make that a billion dollars. And a good-lookin' floor-length forest green formal gown.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Now where was I...

I'm now bored with writing about my weekend, so here's the quick wrapup: Sweaty yoga/Indianfood/breakfastout/StarWarsconcert/crepes/visiting.

Last night I checked out another 12-step meeting, mostly because I was listening to an old Fresh Air podcast and a guy was talking about how he finally managed to shut his monkey brain the eff up with the help of a 12-step program.

At the meeting I went to, I heard a lot of stuff I could identify with, as usual. What I didn't hear was a lot of strength or growth. I'm not going to give up on the 12-step stuff but what I need is to hear from people who are progressing in life, not dog-paddling around in a murky puddle. It's like the dark, sad parts of me came out and sat around with the dark, sad parts of other people and we were dark and sad. There was stuckness and gloom.

I don't want any more stuckness and gloom.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Le Busy Part Der

OSB drove down on Friday with the children she had for JoyceFrances and I. JF and I had resolved not to tease OSB quite so much and managed to hold off for quite some time. But then OSB was picking up sandwiches with my child E while JF and I were in my apartment with her child L. And we decided something needed to be done about L's frizzy hair. So JF put lotion in it and then I got some barrettes and put those in. Then JF and I put barrettes in our hair, too, like freaky triplets.

(Of course OSB noticed immediately, just like she did the time when we swapped all the drawers in her kitchen and the pictures on her walls around when she was out getting pizza. That woman has an eagle eye.)

This was following another delightful visit to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. L, who is 20 months and a firecracker, took to launching herself full-on at the glass display cases with a SMACK! of her chubby hands. It was hilarious. Meanwhile, E, who is 3, looked concernedly at the taxidermied creatures and asked "These are stuffed animals, right?" And I happily told her they were. Later she kept insisting I lift her up to check out this big creepy live centipede, but it was lunchtime and there was a cricket innocently hopping around. Still, I managed to avoid a harsh lesson about the realities of nature. Like a poopy diaper, this is something I as an honorary auntie do not have to deal with. And amen to that.

More tomorrow...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Le Busy Part One

I did probably a month's worth of socializing between Thursday night and Sunday afternoon. I'm splitting up the stories.

Sooooooooo Thursday early evening JoyceFrances and her husband arrived; we chatted a bit and they headed out to a concert while I went to see Henry Louis Gates speak at Harvard. He joked that while at the White House he told the cop's kids he'd get them into Harvard but that what he didn't tell them was "Only if your daddy doesn't arrest me." And he cried over his mom. The talk was held in the Sanders Theater, which is old-school Ivy League, all dark wood with sculptures and phrases in Latin everywhere. Sorta churchy.

It was part of a program run by the Cambridge library called "Cambridge Reads." The city just opened up a new library. A library which cost 91 million dollars. Yesterday I ran by a sinkhole on Brattle Street, which is in Cambridge. Make of that juxtaposition what you like; I have not yet formed an opinion.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pie Update

It tasted more of ginger than guilt.

Thank goodness.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mmm...pie

Not much work this week, which is frightening. Finished up today's projects, then decided to bake a pie to deal with my anxiety. Raspberry-ginger-apple-brown sugar. I kind of winged it. Though if I'm being honest it's really an avoidy-flavored pie because I am avoiding updating my Linkedin page and checking out Web sites so I can drum up new business.

I did use a crust recipe for my Avoidy Pie. From Martha, natch. Pate brisee is what it's called. I did not chill the flour, though. Or the sugar or the salt. Which is why I will never be Martha. I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants spur-of-the-moment Avoidy Pie baker.

I hope my Avoidy Pie tastes more of fruit than of guilt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In which I am violated by a magic toilet

Ran into my first Toto on Saturday. Oddly enough, in an off-the-grid house. Of course, this was no feelthy hippie off-the-grid abode. It was more the wealthy boomer type. I had heard about the potty from Dr. Moo, who told tales of it freaking her out by opening whenever she walked by. And I held my pee the entire four-hour drive in anticipation.

OK, no I didn't. And my first pee was in the regular, downstairs loo. 'Cause it's tacky to ask a gracious wedding shower hostess "Where's that fancy terlet I've been hearin' so much about?" right when she opens the door. The couth route involves waiting several hours, then asking your sister, who's peed in the magic loo before, if it's OK to use it.

True to form, the potty opened its mouth as soon as it saw me. I dropped trou, had a seat, and did my business. Number one only, of course! Because I have Klass. Then I turned to the wall-mounted control panel and started pressing buttons. And got a surprise.

Off-the-grid houses have hot water on demand. Hot water on demand takes awhile to heat up. But this was the Rolls-Royce of toilets, top-of-the-line, with water pressure to match. My, ahem, lady apples got blasted with cold water and I nearly shot up off the seat. I pressed each button in turn, trying varying degrees of pressure and oscillation. And it was...interesting. Then I dried off my business, but the dryer smelled weird, bad weird, so I quickly shut it off.

Coincidentally, one of the books I took out of the library this week is all about sanitation, and there's a chapter in there on the Toto. It makes the interesting point that in fact trying to remove dirt with a piece of paper is much less effective than using water. And you can imagine what dirt is a euphemism for.

Potty on!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Vermont stories

Drove with M, the co-valedictorian from Dr. Moo's eighth grade graduating class to Addison County this weekend for Dr. Moo's wedding shower. Highlights:

* Stopped for directions at the Halfway House, a diner on 22A in the town where the shower was being held. It was their month in a naked calendar fundraiser so I had the distinct pleasure of viewing both the clothed front and the naked behind of the lady cook at the same time.

* Even with the directions I got from one of the locals at said diner, still had to pull out the Gazetteer to find the place. While pulled over to look at Gazetteer, M and I realized we were surrounded by calf igloos. We shrieked, grabbed our cameras, rolled down the windows and took pictures while yelling "cows! cows! cows!" Doing this in a car with MA plates is pretty bad but NY plates would have been worse.

* While on a walk at twilight I spooked a turkey out of a tree (possibly, though I think it also could have been an owl) and checked out a dead pheasant in a ditch. The pheasant was very pretty. It looked to have had a Hollywood death, but more film noir than horror. There was no blood, and it was rather artfully crumpled.

* Passed a border patrol roadblock on 89 on the way in and then got stopped by one on the way back. We were nowhere near the Canadian border. Apparently my car looks sketchy, but I don't, because we were asked to roll down our windows and produce ID but as soon as I asked what for, the officer asked if I was a US citizen and I said yup and we were waved through. I am glad I look harmless, because I am in fact harmless. But my car has gotten pretty messy. It reminded me of the time I got pulled over in Auburn NH many moons ago, back when I kept a really messy car. The cop who stopped me shined his flashlight in my back seat and said it looked like Jimmy Hoffa could have been buried there. FYI, if you try and google border patrol roadblocks in NH and VT you end up on some sort of Free-Stateresque site where debate the usefulness of openly displaying their weapons when they come upon them. Delightful. Also, there was a truck pulled over by the BP and there were agents swarming it like bees. I've never come across such a thing before. The whole experience was alien, and a bit creepy.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Whii!

I tried out the Wii for the first time last night and it is awesome. Also hard. It kind of feels like gym class, in that I suck at it and feel embarrassed. But unlike gym class, the Wii is something I can get better at.

In yoga class today I did one of the same poses I did in Wii yoga last night. My yoga teacher even looks similar to the Wii yoga teacher, who I called Brad spontaneously. But the similarities end there, because Brad is a little bitch.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Neighbors

My friend Walnut is most likely moving in to a place right up the street from me. I still get to keep Miss Scarlett, but now I can cross Mass Ave and be at her place, with sundry goodies made using Miss Scarlett's mechanical wizardry, in minutes. Also, the apartment has a working fireplace, so there will be burning. Safe, controlled burning.

Walnut is one of my oldest friends. Our "meet-cute" was freshman year of high school, in English class. I think it might have even been first period. Anyhoo, we were told to go partner up with someone as an icebreaker and a lovely lady with long brown hair wearing a long-sleeved shirt and skirt she'd tie-dyed herself came over and said hi.

It was one of my first experiences meeting a peer who was unique, smart, and kind. We were, and are, kindred spirits.

No babies were harmed in the making of this video.

video
This is Rachel Zoe. She's expanded her empire to the East Coast, where she now styles babies. The part you can't hear in this is where she announces her genius idea to manufacture actual penguin suits in place of tuxedos, which are sometimes called penguin suits.

Ah-mazing.

(Sorry about the sideways thing. Couldn't figure out how to fix it.)

Monday, November 02, 2009

Hippies R Smart

It was the last farmers market in Union Square this past Saturday and I made a bittersweet trip there with a new friend to enjoy my love/hate relationship with community.

Drumlin Farm has a stand there, and they have by far the most spectacularly beautiful and tasty veggies. Plus lots of varieties of things, like this wacky cauliflower. Plus, very good-looking hippies. One of them has been recommending slicing kale into chippish pieces, washing and drying the cps, then very lightly oiling and salting them, and baking them at high heat for five minutes.

I finally tried this yesterday, using what I think is dinosaur kale. And then again today. And my kale supply is rapidly dwindling. Because crunchy salty kale is so delicious! And very low-cal, because you need just a half-teaspoon of olive oil for a good two cups of chopped kale. You just massage the oil into the leaves. The only hassle is that the "chips" need to be in a single layer on the cookie sheet, so it can be a little hard to sate a new-found kale-chip desire fully.

Also? The kale smells like marijuana. It smells a lot like marijuana. Not while it's cooking, just when you slice it. I googled "kale marijuana" but didn't find anything about kale smelling like marijuana or being a good way to cover up the fact that you are growing marijuana, so I'm at a loss to explain the aroma.