photo friday: what the?

28 Aug
Oh, you know, just monkeying around in the kitchen.

Oh, you know, just monkeying around in the kitchen.

Sometimes (re: frequently) I come across photos in my files that make me think, “Now that looks like fun!” (re: Why the hell did I take a picture of that? What the hell was I doing?) This is one photo that definitely fits that bill. There’s a strong chance I snapped this while I was making some sort of zucchini-infused baked good, as evidenced by the grated zucchini photos that followed this one in my files, but really, your guess is as good as mine.

I am astounded, sometimes, by my lack of awareness of what goes on in my kitchen in relation to the things created by…me.

I hope, at least, that whatever I was making turned out well.

zen and the art of closet maintenance

26 Aug

You may remember, back in June, when this happened:

Mother shit, this has been wreaking havoc on my life.

Mother shit, this has been THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE FOR MONTHS NOW. 

I am…huh. Well I’m not happy, or sad, but I’m not indifferent, I’m just, well, I guess I’m just reporting with confused and pained and shit-happens emotions that this mess has not yet been remedied. For those of you keeping track, yes, this disaster originally happened in June. It is now late August. And that is a long time to live with such chaos in this bootbox of a condo.

I actually went out and bought a closet organizer from Home Despot soon after disaster struck. It’s a lovely organizer, with lots of bars and things upon which to hang my and Swede’s clothes, and racks to store purses and other such items.

Since its arrival, said lovely organizer has made a wonderful home for itself propped against the wall in our front hallway. I look at it fondly every time I enter or leave our home. Sometimes I even give it a pat on the top of its box and wish it a good day as I toddle off to work.

I’ve had incredible intentions over the past couple of weekends while Swede was out of town to install the organizer, but my follow through leaves something to be desired. I went so far last weekend to move the mess from our bedroom to the living room, now that our foreign exchange student has departed. I did this with the intention of clearing out the closet space completely so I could buckle down and organize the shit out of the organizer, and use power tools, and build things and….yeah. I don’t actually know that power tools are necessary to install this organizer, but a girl can dream.

But before I could get so far as to even threaten the closet menacingly with a power drill, I was talking with my friend LP and telling her how I’d moved all of our clothing into the living room, and I was going to install the closet organizer, and then, while everything was out in the open, purge my clothing supply like a motherfucker. At which point LP suggested I purge before I install the closet organizer, because once it’s ready to go, she pointed out, I’ll want to fill it, and I probably wouldn’t end up purging as many items as I should.

Blew. My. Mind.

So I started purging, tossing shirts and dresses and a couple of pairs of pants and even a pair of shoes, but then Swede got home, so while I finished the purge, I (again) never got around to installing the closet organizer. Nor have I moved our clothing back into our bedroom. It’s still in the living room.

And these assholes have decided they like it that way.

Quit looking at me, Tall Lady. You left your shit here, and now it's mine.

Quit looking at me, Tall Lady. You left your shit here, and now it’s mine.

It is not my fault that you put your clothes within reach of my napping. Also, that dress behind me is ugly. What were you thinking?

It is not my fault that you put your clothes within reach of my napping. Also, that dress behind me is ugly. What were you thinking?

Instead of getting into heated debates with the jerks about how I put my clothes there for their comfort, I’ve decided to use this turn of events as motivation to get the damn closet organizer installed in the damn closet.

Now. If only I could find the power drill.

photo friday: no, thank you

21 Aug
HFS, this stuff is awful.

HFS, this stuff is awful.

Swede and a friend got it in their heads recently that we should all get together and drink Malört.

I’m pretty sure they were drinking other adult beverages when they came to this decision, because there is no way a rational, sober person would not only come up with this idea, but also think it is one upon which he should act.

But get together we did, and the Malört was poured out, and we all did a shot and it was as terrible as you think it will be. Why someone once acted on the idea to distill liquor whose main ingredient is wormwood is beyond me, but my guess is that other adult beverages were involved in that decision as well.

If you’ve never had Malört, the best way to describe it is as a taste combination of:

  1. The most bitter cucumber peel you’ve ever eaten
  2. Acetone nail polish remover
  3. Aquanet hair spray

And honestly, that’s kind of handle-able. It’s the fall that will kill ya. Immediately upon swallowing the Malört you’ll feel a burn in your chest, and you’ll think, “Okay, that wasn’t quite as bad as I was expecting.” And then 90 seconds later there’s a follow up burn that you certainly weren’t expecting, and you didn’t even know it was possible for your sternum bone to spontaneously combust, but there it goes, and holy shit, should someone call an ambulance? There’s a bit of concern that your body has just imploded in revolt. Once you’re reasonably sure that you don’t need emergency help, everything does settle down. But then you’re left with a lingering, non-negotiable taste of dirty, spoiled…I don’t even know. Gym socks? Rhubarb? Soiled felt from a seat on the red line?

Chugging water doesn’t help.

Diet Pepsi doesn’t help.

The only thing that appears to help is another adult beverage, preferably one that is not foul. The only problem is that the adult beverages are what started this whole episode to begin with.

So probably your best bet is to run, if Malört is ever mentioned in your presence. Run far, far away, and don’t look back.

Just be careful that all that running doesn’t further fan the flames of your spontaneously combusting sternum.

from the file pit: chocolate poundcake

19 Aug

Welcome, friends, to the second recipe plucked from the obscurity of my messy, messy recipe files. I’d like to begin by telling you that unlike the Rocky Road cake, where I could harbor a guess as to how the recipe came to be in my clutches, today’s recipe for chocolate poundcake? I have absolutely no idea. It’s handwritten, as you can see—and yes, that’s definitely my scrawl—and in classic McPolish style it has very few actual instructions. Your guess is as good as mine as to where I dug this one up.

Very detailed recipe, folks. Very detailed.

Very detailed recipe, folks. Very detailed.

Seriously, do I have an aversion to instructions that I don’t know about? It’s entirely possible, and something I will have to think about at a later time. Maybe. But today, right now, at this moment, instructions are inconsequential because what’s important is that this chocolate poundcake is delicious. I’m declaring it a winner (Of what I’m not sure. The file pit? My tastebuds? The entire Chicagoland area?), and a repeater recipe for the following reasons:

  1. It’s stupidly easy to pull together, few directions or no.
  2. It has a lovely, deep chocolate flavor.
  3. Butter.

If I had to add a fourth reason it would be because I can make this cake in bundt form, rather than loaf form, and let me tell you something about loaf form that you probably already know:

I DON’T LIKE MAKING LOAF THINGS.

EXCEPT MAYBE MEATLOAF.

(SERIOUSLY, I LOVE MEATLOAF.)

(THE FOOD, NOT THE ENTERTAINER.)

Loaf-type baked goods hardly turn out well for me. They’re either raw in the middle, burned on the top or bottom, and in general are a disaster. And not even a good disaster that I could take and reformat into a delectable treat. Loaf-style baked goods, with the exception of mini-loaves, are just a straight-up shitshow for me, more times than not. 

But bundt cakes?

Now you’re speaking my language!

If, for some reason, you’re not into bundts (Why? What could you possibly have against bundt formations? Is it the hole? Do you not like the hole in the middle?) but you like chocolate poundcake, my suggestion to you is to suck it up, buttercup, and make this cake anyway. And then, to save yourself the misery of having to look at a bundt cake (Is it the fluted sides?) or eat a bundt cake (Okay, now you’re just weird) once it’s cooled you can chop it up and turn it into some sort of trifle. Because this cake would make for an amazing trifle layer. Slap gobs of whipped cream in between the layers, perhaps douse the cake with Kahlua or amaretto, maybe toss in some fresh berries, whatever you have on hand or whatever’s in season, you know? Go to town, have some fun, let it all hang out if you really can’t stand a bundt cake. Or even if you are a fan of the bundt cake, this trifle idea might still have legs.

DSC_0340

Seriously. How can you not love a bundt?

I really don’t think you can go wrong either way.

photo friday: not one care

14 Aug

It is often hard to catch a good photo of Lady Gaga Halloween Cat, as she is more than a little camera shy. But here I think I’ve managed to really capture her essence, which is basically, “If Fat Cat wanted the bigger basket instead of having to stuff himself into the smaller one, he should have gotten here earlier.”

And how do you feel about the fact that those baskets are supposed to hold our possessions and are not actually for your napping pleasure, LGHC?

“I give no fucks.”

Go away.

Go away.

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: august 2015

12 Aug

One:

About a month ago, I and 5,692 other drivers in the express lanes were racing down the Dan Ryan like bats out of hell—as you do—when traffic started to slow down considerably for no apparent reason—as it does—until we got to a point where I realized there was, in fact, a reason we were all inching along the expressway. I looked to my right to see a car absolutely engulfed in flames on the shoulder of the local lanes.

Yes, Chicagoans. Great idea. Let’s all drive sloooooowly—nay, come to almost a complete stop—while passing a hulking, metal inferno that could very possibly explode at any moment. Well done. (golf clap)

A+ for you guys.

Two:

I can’t wear black pants and any kind of white top together. I just can’t. And it’s such a drag! There are oodles of cute white tops out there, and black and white is a classic color combination for a reason (it’s attractive), but I can’t bring myself to make it happen. I spent too many years as waitress, where black pants and a white shirt were requirements. There were entire summers when that’s pretty much all I lived in. So I’m sorry, you guys. I just can’t do it. And don’t even get me started on tuxedo vests.

Three:

In my Tuesday morning boot camp class at the gym, our trainer often likes to end the class with the “Superman” exercise, where you lay on your tum and raise your arms and legs in the air—like you’re flying, Superman-style, but sadly without the tights or cape. It’s a great exercise, apparently, for your back and core, but let me tell you something else: It has made me seriously reconsider what I would want my superpower to be, were I to choose.

I had generally always said flying as my superpower of choice, because just think of how much money you’d save on plane tickets! And how much time you’d save not sitting in, ahem, traffic jams going past cars engulfed in flames!

Sadly, I have very little core and upper body strength, and while doing the Superman exercise in class last week, I realized, “Mother shit, there’s no way I’d be able to fly five feet without falling from the sky from exhaustion.” I could maybe make it to the coffee shop around the corner from us. But I wouldn’t be able to hold my body like in the proper position for terribly long. I mean, I guess I could go with the Wonder Woman style of flying, because she’s more slanted rather than completely horizontal when she flies from what I’ve seen, but I don’t get the sense that she went very far with her flying—if you’re flying on an axis, you’re really going more up than you are over, right? And there’s nothing up that I want to get to. Over, yes. I want to get over there. So slanted flying doesn’t seem like the best course of action to take.

So.

Teleportation it is.

Four:

A few weeks ago, Swede was in a rush to get out the door and forgot to put Juniper in her crate. When we came home later that afternoon, we found this:

Dead Pillow

Poor couch cushion. You never stood a chance.

 While it was a disappointment that the couch cushion was now scattered all over our living room in fluffy bits, it wasn’t a terribly big surprise—the dog has had a vendetta against this particular cushion for quite some time. That cushion? Had it coming. Sadly what it had done to incense the pibble we’ll never know, as the cushion took the reason behind the feud to its grave.

Now that the couch cushion is good and gone, Juniper has set her sights on ridding the household of ALL insolent and offensive soft surfaces, including, but not limited to: the pillow in her crate, the other couch cushion, and her biggest whale to date, our bed:

 

It’s only when the bed is stripped of all the sheets and mattress pad, when it is completely bare, that Juniper will attack what she thinks is the awful-terrible-no-good bed, and try and give it the what-for. Again, the reason for this new enmity between dog and bed is unknown.

But frankly I wish they would just reconcile because the bed is the only nice piece of furniture we own.

photo friday: what (a start to) a weekend

7 Aug

WWDTM at night

Last weekend was a big one for Summer in Chicago–Lollapalooza invaded the city, and along with it billions of people jamming out to their favorite bands.

I, being as easily annoyed by crowds as I am, spent most of the weekend on the far edges of Grant Park if I even got remotely near it, listening to Lolla from afar, and that was just fine by me. If you can think of a better way to hear Sir Paul McCartney rock out Hey Jude and Let Her Be than on a boat in the harbor where the acoustics are wonderful, then please, do tell me. Because so far that’s the best way I’ve discovered.

Anyshoes, what was even more exciting for this NPR nerd was on Thursday night while stages for Lolla were still being set, and sound checks reverberated just a field away, Swede, our foreign exchange student Emily, and I went to a live taping of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me in Millennium Park. This was Swede’s and my third taping of the show, and while it could not have been a more beautiful night, and while there is something to be said for packing a picnic with a couple bottles of wine to take to the taping, and while it felt like just the most lovely soft city summer night experience, there is something to be said for the indoor tapings. For one, you can see the panelists and their expressions up close. And for two, you can buy stuffed Carl Kasell dolls before the show.

And who doesn’t need a stuffed Carl Kasell doll?

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