Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stir Fry

On Thursday, I think, I made a stir fry. Green and red peppers, portabella mushrooms, zucchini, snow peas, chicken and tofu all seasoned with ginger, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and garlic. A good helping of veggies.


Some time in the past week I made a quick dinner: sauteed spinach with garlic and cumin over thick spaghetti with good parmesan cheese slivers.

The Things I Can Do

Last week I roasted another chicken. This time its herb component was a mix of sage, thyme and rosemary.
The next day I stripped the carcass of all remaining meat morsels and put it, along with another carcass C. had in the freezer, into a stock pot. I stocked the hell out of it, making an extremely rich and chickeny broth. To this broth I added smoked sausage, okra, diced tomatoes, a bit of spices and rice. This was a nod to the concept of gumbo. And you know what? It was quite good. Whenever I make something without following a recipe I am prepared to be unimpressed but, well, this time around I was impressed...with myself...because it was so freakin' good.

I Cannot Defend Myself Against the Overwhelming Cuteness

It's like fighting off a colony of red ants at a picnic when you have sugar all over yourself...or something equally terrifying though, in this instance, measured in cubic cuteness. See more here.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I just finished reading Martha Tod Dudman's book Black Olives. The book is not about food. It follows the thoughts and actions of a woman who, while near the olive section in her grocery store, sees her recently ex boyfriend. She then flees the grocery store, having not spoken to him in 9 months, where she sees his car. In the face of all logic or self-preservation she impulsively gets into the back of his car. The book is less about the current action of the story (he comes out, starts driving, doesn't notice her, drives around, returns home etc) as much as it is a rumination on how the woman, Virginia, got to the point where getting into his car seemed like an okay thing to do...except the book makes her not seem crazy, she is as amazed, astounded and terrified by her actions as the reader is.

It is a break up book. I found it a bit hard to get through. If I read for too long at a time I'd start identifying too much with the character though there were a number of huge differences between us: age, location, duration of relationship etc. This is, of course, the wonderful thing about find yourself, occasionally, reading the words and feelings of others and finding them eerily similar to the thoughts in your head that you never say out loud to almost any one. Or that's one of the things I find wonderful about fiction.

I kind of wish that this book had veered more towards the absurd. The premise is good but I don't think it went far enough. It's sad. I think it's supposed to be a bit empowering at the end but, well, I think it's just sad. It is also scary to think that no matter how old you are this shit sucks.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Poll

Hello blog reader. You may have gotten here because you google searched 'funky sock exchange' or 'homemade calzone' or 'smartest people at bard' but regardless of how you got here I encourage you to participate in my "What Should I Do" poll.

I will quickly give you one to two reasons why each of these options are on my poll. I hope that you will give me your opinion...but don't cheat, no double voting.

1) I am already in Bloomington, it is cheap and not without a modicum of charm.

2) Atlanta is in the south, relatively warm and not so far away from my parents.

3) Philadelphia is a city with relatively reasonable rent rates and I have a friend or three there.

4) The Mid-Hudson Valley region is exceptionally pretty and close enough to NYC that I could see many a friend on the occasional weekend.

5) My parents live in a small town and would not make me pay rent.

6) Holes are dark and cold. Shivering could be good for one's constitution.

Keep in mind that I would need to find work. I have given up, a bit, on finding meaningful/hip employment, but I would still need to find a job that paid a decent salary quickly.

So vote away and any additional notes you might have please leave them in comments form. Thanks for being the temporary boss of my destiny!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Friday Night Pizza

On Friday night C., T. and I sat out on their porch and drank beer or wine while enjoying the relatively warm weather. C. and T. played a little catch. I ordered a pizza.
The pizza arrived c/o Mother Bear's and had banana peppers and pepperoni as its toppings. Quite good, quite good.

Tomato Sauce

Another night I marinated some ground beef and made hamburgers. They were good, though I forgot to take photographic proof. I had a bit of left over beef and decided to make tomato sauce. Italian sausage, green olive marinated ground beef, garlic, bay leaf, chopped onion, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and a modicum of spices and voila! The best sauce I've ever made.

Death Mask

Casper is alive and well but the other day I came out of my den of job searching and saw this scene. It reminded me, for some reason, of turn of the century death photographs I saw lo' these many years ago in a photo history class.

Macaroni with Chopped Salami and Cherry Tomatoes...and Cheese

The night or two after we returned from the east coast i made a little dinner from what was lying around. The title says it all, actually.

A Week Behind Ish

These were taken in Western Maryland...or West Virginia...roads carved out of rock and all that junk that makes you think about the pioneering spirit of Americans...or not.

Many hours later we stopped for dinner at McDonalds. I had chicken nuggets. It was about an 11 hour drive and I'd have to say we watched about 8-10 hours worth of the television show Bones...this was after 6-8 hours on the way. I love Bones. Handsome faces and shitz.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dinner c/o Suporn's

After the zoo we drove back north to Suporn's Restaurant. I've had many a meal with many a person at Suporn's. It's in a funny little set of shops in Wheaton and has been serving tasty food for more than ten years.
All of us, well maybe not the five (four?) year old, had Thai iced tea. I'd never had it before but was definitely pleased when it arrived. Dark red in color and topped with half and half it is super sweet and earthy at the same time.
We shared an order of chicken satay that was, after a number of disappointments in Chicago, quite good. The chicken had a little taste to it, the peanut sauce a little spice etc.
I had the Tom Kha soup. Or Tom Gai Kha. Something like that. Satisfying.
After much internal debate I decided to branch out from noodles or soup and ordered the duck salad. Very pretty to look at and with enough morsels of duck to satisfy me.
Satisfaction is pretty nice, no matter where you might get it.

The D.C. Zoo

My friends A. and R. and their kids A. and S. arrived later Saturday and after a quick potty break we all got into their car and drove down to the zoo. I can't remember the last time I went there. My father and I once biked down there when I was little. The prairie dog exhibit is smaller and not in the same place as my memory wants it to be. The prairie dog below was bellowing in this photograph.
Hippos can make very large splashes when they play with very large balls.

I would like to be a seal or sea lion.

Funny Food and Good Weather

On my last full day in Maryland I awaited the arrival of some old friends. While I waited I took advantage of the lovely weather and substandard turkey I bought earlier in the week. I sat outside and read The Blind Assassin for the second time....That Margaret Atwood, she sure knows how to write a book. Other books I've read lately? Waiting by Ha Jin, White Noise Don Delilio, Conception by I forget, Family and Other Accidents by Shari Goldhagen, a slew of Deborah Knott mysteries by Margaret Maron, Body Surfing by Anita Shreve, another V.I. Warshawski novel by Sara Paretski, hmmm I think there are others.
Though I can't see it myself I know that in the photograph below there is a fox.
It is not warm in Indiana. Yesterday it was sort of warm but today it's just cold. I don't like it. I've started to apply for jobs in Bloomington but I'm also wondering if this is the best course of action. Confusion abounds. Maybe I should finally move to Philadelphia (I've talked about it for nearly five years) or back to the Mid-Hudson Valley region (so very pretty). But then I could move anywhere. It's a matter of what kind of job I want. Is it about having the right job or being in the right place? Working, of course, with the assumption that I couldn't possibly have both.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Foxy Fox

Can you believe it? I was sitting on my neighbors absolutely amazing back porch when I saw this foxy fox trot right past me! Then I ran inside the house and scrambled from window to window trying to get a shot...then out to the front porch, leaning at funny angles and trying not to spook the little guy. In my bare feet I walked a ways down the hill and took this, the best photograph, before he had enough of my ridiculous behavior and jauntily went deeper into the woods.

I like foxes.

Hot Dogs on a New Old Deck

The night I got back from New York, I returned back to the 'hood and contacted R. R. was the older sister of G., a boy I grew up with. She was five years older than us, I think, and when we started kindegarten she was the patrol that safely shepherded us across the street...from her family's driveway to the bus. There are photographs of G and my first day of school. We are too cute, small with backpacks stuffed with air and excitement but not so much with books. R. was also the cool high school girl with boyfriends parking their cars by our mailboxes (we lived about one minute away from each other, walking) and leading roles in all the high school plays. I went over to their (she's married now and has bought the house from her dad) house and we drank beer, smoked a cigarette or nine million and shot the shit. It was funny being in her house since it is also a house full of memories for me. Watching Mac and Me in sleeping bags, an unfortunate incident involving G. and I, a sled and R. pushing a little too hard...and a tree, the laundry shoot in their parents' room, accordions (for some reason) know lots of random snippets of kid time. Any who. We had fun chatting and R. declared me not weird and invited me to a party at her house a few days later. I went and there was cheese and chips and whatnot.
A beautiful golden retriever/black lab mix named Jack. I didn't get a good photograph but let me tell you: he is a handsome son of a bitch.
There was a fire that, when left alone for awhile, provided excellent embers for hot dog cooking.

And there were plenty of condiments to put on the hot dogs. Like chili, sauerkraut, onions and other things too.
It was very nice of R. to invite me. You never know whether having some shared history will translate into an ability to socialize. I'd say that, in this case, the shared history did its job. I hope I didn't bore the party-goers with my never ending litany of "I remember". Eh, even if I did there's not much I can do about it now:). Thanks to R. for being so welcoming.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Dog Walk Loop

There was a dog walking loop we would take with our Spring Spaniel Sam. Starting with the house then on through the woods, through a park, past some things and home again.
That murky, silt-ridden water used to be less-so. And at this spot, with the bridge over it, the water was deeper than in other places along the creek. In the winter it would freeze and the I. boys and R. would skid across it. I'm not sure I did. I can imagine myself imagining myself falling through the water. Deep wasn't that deep, really, four feet or was Maryland so the water wouldn't be as cold as the Arctic...and yet I was the kid who pictured herself falling in and getting hypothermia? I don't remember a timid childhood. But we all have our timid moments, don't we?
The creek's flow used to be substantial. Well, that's an exaggeration...there were no dry puddles trickling to the next deeper was all one fluid thing. Farther down there was a bit of a slide. The I. boys and I would strip down to basics and slide down it. See? I wasn't scared of going down a rock slide into a pool (maybe 1 foot really). Below is the house my godmother lived in when I was little. It has fallen on hard times. I should buy it. Except I have no money. I got a creepy feeling walking by it, like scary men were camping out in it...I do have a paranoid streak...but it was the perfect den of shelter for bums and mass murderers: Away from things a bit, very little traffic.
This bridge used to be wooden and crumbling. Now it is concrete and metal.
There is a reason to take photographs of all things you remember and find matter how small the memory or simply never know when it might get destroyed. This concrete foundation has a little bit of my brain space. I can't tell you why but I took a few photographs of it anyway.
This loop, or the first part, was also the way to walk to our pool. As a kid I would always stop at this stump, get on it and say something...some little nursery rhyme about underpants I think...then jump off it. I liked doing that. I wonder when I stopped.
McKenny Hills. There used to be playground equipment here. Old school stuff, all metal and begging for the broken arms or strangled necks of schoolchildren. I fully expected to see this equipment and to play on it to the best of my adult ability. Unfortunately all traces that it ever existed are gone. There weren't even dried out yellow spots of grass where the structures' shadows blocked the sun. Boo.

Duck, duck, goose!
Down these stairs was another abandoned bridge. I didn't go down them because I didn't want to see any changes.
Even the swimming pool is different. The outbuildings are the same but the pool itself is not the pool I learned how to swim in. Grrrrrrr.