Friday, May 24, 2013

Dance This Mess Around

It's easy to forget, you know? To forget the life you lived, the lives you led, before all of...this (waves hands dramatically, for effect.)

You were once something before you were mother, wife, girlfriend, woman.
Once, you were a girl who thought The Red Hot Chili Peppers were THE sexiest rock n' roll.
Beebopping along corduroy corridors. All curly hair and thunderous Doc Marten three-hole-steel-toe shoes.
Much later in this story the leather wears through and you proudly wear that patch of steel on your toe like a badge of honor. Fuck. Yeah.

You were once a girl who memorized the soundtrack to, and most of the dialogue from The Commitments AND Singles almost simultaneously. They are interwoven in your head and sometimes overlapping.

You were subversive by singing NIN songs aloud on the bus. But, sneaking off to Brooklyn for your first tattoo was set to a Beastie Boys soundtrack because of course it was.

And you WAITED IN L.I.N.E to see bands. Good bands. Bands who played instruments and then sometimes wrecked those instruments. Or also maybe just were awesome and loud. And sometimes you weren't, maybe, too sure who they were. But they had that one really cool song and, well, everyone else was there. Plus, you know, in like a week that cute guy is totally going to mention he was here and it would be sew kewl if, you know, you could say you were here too. Also? These shirts are pretty dope. I think I'll hang on to this one for, like, fifteen years.

You remember every painstaking second of intense timing it took to create The Best Mix Tape Ever. Hours of cigarettes and package-store beer bought on the way home from another night of night shift. It must have taken two weeks to get it just right. Because, see, you have to be very precise in the songs you chose and when you chose to play them. Then you have to edit them together like stitching quilt squares, on that janky, old dual-cassette boom box you used in the living room. That was back in the day you didn't have a TV. Before it was cool not to have a TV. You made everyone listen to that damn thing, over and over again. It was The Best Mix Tape Ever, for sure.

Once you were a girl and you took walks, on purpose, in the rain. You ate pints of ice cream on the porch steps after prom. And you felt a million feet tall singing along in the living room's full length mirror. Rock on with your awkward white girl dance skills.

You were that girl and then that woman who loved a man, became a mom and found this box of cassette tapes in the closet.



Friday, March 29, 2013

But I Play One On TV

Having a child has given me a convenient excuse to just settle into my addiction to television. Before this I sort of dabbled in it, teetered on the edge of addiction. I watched a little too much, with too little discretion. But I flatly refused to get attached to anything too serial. I didn't watch Lost, I didn't get all up on BSG or any of those other shows that required you PAY ATTENTION to every single thing in every single episode. There were a few seasons of 24 that I enjoyed, mostly because it was a social event. But I even managed to avoid the bulk of the reality and competition programming that were the zeitgeist for so long.

I can probably trace this addiction back to The Simpsons. That's the only Must See TV I've ever really had. Novelty shows have come and gone, most of them in the sci-fi/fantasy realm. Twin Peaks was great for thrills and head scratching for a season. There was that show American Gothic, Seinfield is way more of a must now, in syndication, than it was for me during it's first run. I went years and years without a DVR. People had no idea how I managed to do it. I just didn't have appointment TV, until now.

As soon as I got pregnant I got a DVR. That was pretty much giving in to the inevitable I think. Do you know how much a babysitter costs? And my husband works a lot of nights so it's not like I have a lot of free time to flit about town, sipping at the nectar of various mixologists. Or even getting out to the movies, or a coffee shop. TV is totally my new best friend.

And I hate it when we fight. This weekend, for example. TV, what the hell were you thinking scheduling the season finale of Walking Dead on the same night as the Season Premier of Game of Thrones? And in the same weekend as the new Doctor Who series starts up AND Orphan Black premiers on BBCA? Gah! Don't you know my father-in-law is visiting? And he sleeps on our couch?! PLUS the NCAA tournament is this weekend so my husband has HIS sports he needs to watch. We are coming dangerously close to the scheduling conflict error screen here people. This is living on the edge!

What's that? The made for TV movie of Stephen King's Under The Dome is on tomorrow as well? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Gaawwwd TV you are such a jerk. Where am I supposed to fit THAT in?

I don't even know what I'm doing, sitting here writing. I should be trying to finish watching last week's Syfy Saturday night movie (Chupacabra vs The Alamo, starring Erik Estrada thankyouverymuch) or any of the 5 episodes of Justified I haven't had a chance to catch up on...perhaps an episode of Lost Girl or Being Human that I'v been stock piling since their new seasons began uhhhh 11 episodes ago. Gah, 11 episodes of Being Human? I may have to send both my husband and child away for a weekend just so I can power through those.

And this doesn't even take into account my guilty pleasure programming - that would be your Castles, Boneses, NCISs and CSI (only the original and I think it's been on hiatus for a couple of weeks.) Those shows I mostly reserve for when I'm suffering from insomnia. It's not like I really care what happens, and the plots are usually pretty thin. It's easy to fall back asleep to those shows. OK I still kind of have the hots for Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal 4EVA!)

I also watch Criminal Minds which I stumbled upon after realizing I had literally seen EVERY episode of Law & Order in existence and I needed something to fill that procedural void. The problem with Criminal Minds is that a) Shemar Moore is too hot for my own good and sometimes I watch it only to see if he's going to a) take off his shirt or b) beat the crap out of someone because those two things are kind of equally hot. Also I tend to get caught up in their story arcs. Right now I NEED to know who the F it is stalking the team. Seriously. TELL. ME. It's not the same since Paget Brewster left though. She was the best of their rotating brunettes. I miss you Prentiss.

Remember when TV was simple. There were 5 channels. There was a single season that ran from September through May or June. You would get pissed off when your show was pre-empted by a Presidential Address or a sporting event, or maybe a Breaking News Story would interrupt one of your stories. But that was it. Now we have mid-season breaks. Mid-season replacements. Fall Season and then Spring Season with different line ups. We have networks pulling shows 3 episodes in....or letting them linger well past their expiration date, stinking up the airwaves. Jumping the dead shark, as it were. We've got them moving shows around so I don't even know where to find Happy Endings anymore and ...wait, what? It's on right now? Craaaaaaaaaaaaap.

It's too much. Oh man, I didn't even tell you about all the shows I save to watch on Hulu.

Hello, my name is Jen. I'm a TV Addict.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

This is a Blank Page

This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. THIS is not a blank page. THIS IS not a blank page. This is NOT a blank page. thisisnotaBLANKpage. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This. Is. Not. A. Blank. Page. This is not a blank PAGE. ThIs Is NoT a BlAnK pAgE. This is a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page.

She stared blankly at the page.
She stared at the blank page.
She started on a blank page.
The page was glaringly blank.
She had no fear of the blank page.
She would show the blank page no fear.
She stared staringly at the blankly blank page.

Thisisnotablankpage.Thisisnotablankpage.Thisisnotablankpage.Thisisnotablankpage.

Dude, this page is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo blank. Look at all of that space. Void. Devoid. Ovoid? Ovid. Oblong. Obtuse. Optometrist. Eyes checked. Mic check. Check. Check. Is this thing on?

Don't look away. You may become distracted by something as insignificant as the luster of the knob on the bedside table. It could really use a polish. It's from Ikea, it doesn't need polish. Stop procrastinating.

This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page. This is not a blank page.     smudge on the screen.     This is not a blank page. 


If this WERE a blank page, hypothetically, if we were counting pages as blank or unblank, then how did you get all the way down here? Huh? Thisisnotablankpage. Thisisnotablankpage. Thisisnotablankpage.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

18 Weeks

So this whole baby thing is really happening. There have been a few times in the past months that I thought maybe someone was wrong, or maybe it was all a dream that I would wake up from or a joke but this morning I felt the tell-tale bubbly movements in there and I know that it's real.

It was 6:15am and I had just hit snooze. The cat came in to see what the hold up was and decided to snuggle in for a few minutes if I wasn't going to be feeding him right away. He climbed in under the covers and curled himself up in a ball against my stomach and started purring.

For the past week I've been laying quietly at night and in the morning, putting the TV on mute and thinking little baby thoughts at it in hopes that I would feel movement and apparently all it needed was a cat because all that purring set off a flurry of movement. And then the cat freaked out and left, so maybe he felt it too.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Great Pets

Some nights I come home and I look forward to a time when we have no cats.
Or at least cats that shed and shit with less wild abandon than the two we have now do.

Don't get me wrong. I love my cats. They are a fair representation of their owners: aloof assholes and insightful comforters in turns. And my home has always had cats, and sometimes a dog. I like pets but MAN these two are...suffering some sort of moving related trauma that is manifesting itself in the worst possible ways. Or they have simply matured into furry assholes, I'm not really sure.

Beatrice has claimed not only the bathroom but also the living room as her territory. This leaves Jabber stuck in our wee tiny bedroom and the corner of the kitchen where his water bowl sits. He doesn't even like that water bowl. When I get up in the mornings he is sitting beside it, glaring at it with complete contempt. If he could open the fridge and pour himself water from the filter into a proper tea cup he would be happier I think. He is a pris and a puss and easily bullied by Beatrice who has always been a bully, even when she was small enough to fit into my pocket.

It would take a really, really big marsupial to fit her in a pocket now, the fatass. We have taken to calling her Meatloaf behind her back because, from behind her back, she resembles one. But with evil eyes, that are mirrors into an evil soul. If it were up to Queen Bea every piece of paper or clothing that was left draped on a chair or on the floor would belong to her and her alone. The sweater I was wearing that I abandoned on the rocking chair? Hers now. The sports section The Husband is trying to read? Hers now. The desk chair no one has sat on in a half hour? All for Bea to sit on and not for you. She doesn't care what you thought you were doing, all your things are belong to Bea. End of story. It's no wonder that Jabber has created a fortress of solitude within our closet.

It's hard to believe that Bea is now 12 and who the hell knows how old Jabber is. He came to us with his (dumb) name and his age a mystery. We used to think he was really young but we're beginning to suspect he is actually an old man. We could probably take him to a vet but he's not sick, we don't have the money and the anxiety of the car trip and the waiting room would probably kill him no matter what his age.

Eventually, these two shall pass and I will be sad, probably for a long time, but I wont miss the smell of the liter box or being woke in the middle of the night because there's a cat trying to climb across my face and onto my pillow. Nope, wont miss that at all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Some Things

Riiiiiiiiiight. So about that whole I'm totally going to post more often thing I maybe hinted at a month ago. That didn't happen. But it still could.

But right now I got nothing.

That's not true. I got something. Some things. Little things though, nothing all that earth shattering or transformative.

I have, for instance, that I've been thinking lately that the best way to eat a bagel really is straight out of the oven. Barring getting one from the baker's oven, a frozen bagel defrosted in the toaster oven set to "bake" for about 7 minutes is pretty freakin awesome. Toasting really doesn't do a bagel justice. I had maybe forgotten what a bagel - crusty on the outside and deliciously warm and soft on the inside - can be. But I rediscovered it last week and now I am much more excited about the rest of the bagels we have in the freezer. They aren't New York bagels. They are actually really (really) good bagels from...uhh well its a store in one of the suburbs. I've never been there. But they have a booth at the farmer's market in Daley Plaza on Thursdays. They've got a really good deal. I think it's a bag of four bagels for $1.50. But I don't work in that neighborhood anymore so once we eat our way through the stash in the freezer I'm not sure what we're going to do.

That's the other thing I've got. A new job. It is a very good thing. That is all I will say about that here.

We push our clocks back an hour on Sunday and I'm wondering if, in this age of social networks, I should bother with my annual email. And if I do send the email does that absolve me from having to make it my status for the day on Sunday? Or should I do both? Why do I do this?

I'm a little strange I think sometimes.

I'm making a conscientious effort to invest myself in some sports this year. Honestly I really don't care all that much about any sport. If I could never watch another sporting event ever again I would be OK with that. But I have this husband you see. And also these friends...Many of whom find sports to be an integral part of their lives to some extent or another. So, you know, I do my best to know a little bit about a bunch of stuff - sound bytes from Mike & Mike or something I read somewhere, caught on the news. And I watch the important games - playoffs and bowls (OK, maybe just the Super one.) But they are not making it easy! The sports seasons used to be far more delineated than they are now. This week we have football, baseball, basketball and I'm sure there's a soccer game on somewhere that someone is watching and will be talking about this weekend. It's really making things difficult for me. For example, I knew that tonight would be all about the Hornets game. I was prepared for that. But then, when I mentioned that there's a new South Park on after the game I was told that after the basketball game there's also a freakin' World Series game on! This was never meant to happen. (And also I know it's the Yankees. They have like 26 titles, give me a break already.) You try to be a good wife and show a little interest, you give that inch and they want 120 yards. It's not right. Attention all of you various sports franchise things: Go back to the way it was when I could get at least a week of non-sports related prime time television watching in between seasons.
Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Integrity Sauce

For someone who actually likes to cook, living with a professional cook can be frustrating at times. Sure I really appreciate the fact that when The Husband says he's got dinner/breakfast/midnight snack taken care of I know it's going to be damn good. But once in a while I gotta flex my chops in the kitchen. Because while I don't have many, I worked hard for the kitchen skills I do posses. And I can fucking cook, thank you very much.


So last week I made a dinner party. I needed an excuse to have people over to the new place. And, collectively, we needed an event to bring us all together and tip back a few cocktails before the Size 8 show. I decided to challenge myself culinarily (i maybe just made that word up) and promised everyone a homemade Italian feast. I planned on making a sauce with homemade meatballs, and The Husband and I spent a day making Italian sausages to thrown in. And because when I say I'm going to do something I have, on occasion, gone a bit overboard, I busted out the Play-Doh play station looking pasta attachment that came with our KitchenAid to make my own spaghetti.

Way back when I was what we would now classify as a "tween" I stumbled on the pasta press my mom had hidden in a closet full of other stuff that all, in turns, fascinated me. But when I found that I made pasta my project of the moment. It probably didn't last longer than a weekend because it was not easy work but I am at least familiar with the process. I made the dough a few days ahead of time to test the machine and froze it for the time being. On Saturday I gave it a little extra love and started throwing small balls of dough into the machine. Once it got going it was fun singing along to Magnetic Fields songs and rolling out linguine dough.




I made the meatballs from an old, family recipe. Rolling them out and smacking them into shape to the tunes on Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted. I have to say they turned out really well.



I threw the sausages we made previously into a pot to brown.



When they were uniformly crisp and beautiful I traded them out for the meatballs and turned those until they were patched with crunchy spots of crust. After both the meats had been cooked there was all sorts of delicious debris at the bottom of the pot. I threw the herbs in on top of all that to toast and then The Husband advised deglazing the pot with red wine. So I threw a good cup of an open bottle in there and scrapped up all the lovely bits and stirred it all up.

A word about the herbs. For a week The Husband and I had been debating the merits of my planned sauce. A friend of ours who does not eat peppers or onions was joining us and I was, therefore, planning a sauce without onions. To The Husband this idea was sacrilege. How was a sauce a sauce of any merit without onions in it? And what did I mean there weren't any onions in the meatball recipe? I was determined to prove him wrong. This could be good, hell it could be delicious, without any onions. And hell no there aren't any onions in my family meatballs!

The flavor base for the sauce would come from a whole head of roasted garlic and as much basil as our floundering little plant would yield, which turned out to be quite a bit. I harvested some leaves from the oregano plant and threw put that in with a bay leaf. That was pretty much it. It was a smokey sauce with just enough sweet to temper the crushed red pepper in the sausages.






I didn't take any pictures of the pasta because by that time I had an audience of dinner guests and it was cooking faster than I could get it all in the pot. It turned out to be a pretty skimpy batch. For the first time in my life I underestimated how much of something I would need to feed people! But the noodles themselves were light and fluffy. They were without much of a texture, acting more as a blank template for the sauce than as a substantial part of the meal.


In hindsight, and as mentioned by a few of the guests, it was probably not the best idea to fill everyone with pasta no matter how light it was and then troop us all off to catch a bus and see a show. But there was coffee and dessert (monkey bread is from the devil) and more coffee. When we arrived at the theater there was a bar in the lobby so we had another drink. We were in fine spirits when we sat down to watch the show. In such fine spirits, in fact, that after the show we all decided to go out and get another drink at a familiar bar in our new neighborhood. After the first beer the day's work in the kitchen started catching up with me but I hung in for another round before we left the party peoples and made our way back to the house.

I have to say I am so excited about how that all went: the new place, the back porch, the food the company, that I'm going to have to do it again soon. Or, um, as soon as I can. Which might not be until November now that I've seen what October is going to look like but eventually at some point I'll be busting out the pasta maker again and reinterpreting the meaning of integrity with some sort of tasty, delicious sauce. Maybe next time I'll do it without the garlic.
Ha. Not likely.