Archive | November, 2010

oh give thanks

24 Nov

Tomorrow morning I, along with The Swede and one of my brothers-in-law, will be lining up with a bunch of other jive turkeys to run an 8K in Lincoln Park.

If I survive, my Thanksgiving blessing will be thanking the sweet Lord above for that fact alone.

If I do not survive, you’re welcome to my helping of the pork sausage stuffing.

Unless I decide to come back to haunt you and snatch that helping of stuffing away into the ether that is The Other Side.

I have no one to blame but myself for these Thanksgiving morning shenanigans, because it was my idea (being that I was like, “Oh, right. I said I’d run a 5, 8, and 10K this year. Huh, the year’s almost over. Better get on that shit.”) and I fully expect that at some point The Swede and my brother-in-law will both point fingers at me and say, “This was a stupid idea, do you know we’re missing the Macy’s Day Parade?” But then The Swede will remember that he hates those Macy’s bastards as much as I do, so he’ll eventually forgive me. I’m not so sure about my brother-in-law.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Interwebers. If you’re traveling, travel safe. If you’re visiting family, remember to play nice. And if you’re eating, eat slowly, and wear expandable pants.


22 Nov

The Swede, his roommate and I decided to go in together on a full share of a CSA this fall. It started in the beginning of October, and now every Friday a basket full of farm-fresh produce is delivered to The Swede’s doorstep.

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! When I talk about…um…produce …things!

For anyone who’s ever participated in a CSA, you know very well that it can be fun (finding recipes to cook new and funky vegetables that you otherwise never would have tried), but it can also be holypantsFRUSTRATING (getting the same new and funky vegetables week after week because, Hey! They’re in SEASON! And that’s the POINT of a CSA!) (GAH!) Our shares have been dominated by leafy greens and incredibly phallic-looking turnips, which we’ve been pretty decent about eating in a timely fashion. Well, the greens, anyway. I will sautee the shit out of greens in a little olive oil and garlic and toss them with some pasta and waah-laaah, dinner! Or lunch! Or whatever! The turnips, we’ve found, are great when mashed in with potatoes, and, according to The Swede’s roommate, very tasty when roasted. And even though we’ve eaten quite a few of them, the refrigerator is still overflowing with the damn things. It’s like when we put them in the crisper drawer they take full advantage of their phallic shape and just start multiplying in there.

Turnips: the rabbits of the vegetable patch.

But whatever, we eat them. And we like them.

One of the really great things about a CSA is that since the veggies are picked on the farm LIT-trally that day, they last a shit of a lot longer than veggies you buy at the store. Which is both good and bad, really. Because if you’re having a crazy week where maybe you’re not eating at home a lot, no problem—they’ll still be good when you get to them a week later. But on the other hand, those motherfucking eggplants mock me every time I open the refrigerator. Jerks.

(Did I just call an eggplant a jerk?)

(Yeah. Huh. Sure did.)


In those first few halcyon weeks of the fresh farm produce I still had enthusiasm and ideas for eggplant. They might jeer at me now, but there was a time. Oh, yes there was a time. There was a time when I had the upper hand, me vs. the eggplant. I wasn’t worried about the eggplant.

It was the tomatillos that gave me pause.

Especially after three weeks of more and more of those suckers sitting in the bottom of the produce basket. The three of us would just sort of look at them quizzically, trying to drum up something to do with them that didn’t involve making them into salsa verde. We talked a lot about the tomatillos, and half-heartedly I researched recipes for them, but ultimately, those little green buddies got thrown in the fridge with the other vegetables. And most of them are still sitting there.

Unlike the eggplants, however, the tomatillos do not mock me. They simply stare back at me, saddened as to why we won’t eat them.

They are sad tomatillos.

(Which is nothing like a sad tomato, in case you were wondering.)

(And you probably weren’t. Because unless you are The Swede or Beh-Beh, you are not even going to get that reference.)

(Moving on.)

The few that have been eaten have been eaten by me. Because I (wait for it)…slice them up and sautee them in garlic and olive oil. And then (wait for it)…toss them with pasta. And maybe some (waaait for it)…chicken.

What? It’s not my fault that God created the amazing taste sensation that is pasta with chicken and sauteed vegetables. You got a problem with it, take it up with Him. In the meantime, it’s my go-to dish with just about any vegetable you can think of.

In fact, just the other afternoon, after a breakfast of half of a colossal Boston crème donut and a pastrami, provolone and egg bagel sandwich, I was craving something somewhat more…grounded in health, and cooked up some whole wheat pasta and spying the tomatillos looking up at me pitifully from their spot on the shelf, grabbed a handful and set to work peeling the papery wrappers off a few of the little guys.

And they were sad tomatillos no longer.

In fact, they were quite happy.

And I was quite confused.

(Which is not all different from my usual state.)

Because tomatillos sauteed in olive oil and garlic and tossed with whole wheat pasta and some parmesan cheese? Is delicious. Like, really good. The tomatillos are tangy, and they were cooked to the point where they were soft but not mushy or slimy. The tang melded nicely with the zing of the parmesan cheese, and the pasta, well, pasta is always delicious, I don’t think I need to tell you that.

(Or do I?)

(Okay, fine. Pasta is delicious.)

Why hadn’t I gobbled up this dish many moons before? I mean, I had done this in the past, and I seemed to remember enjoying it, but…but…why had I let the tomatillos loll about the fridge for so long? I ignored those delicious, delicious green babies, and for why?

I don’t have a good answer for you, Interwebers. All I can tell you is that you should heed my words, learn from my mistakes.

And don’t fear—or pity—the tomatillos.

photo friday: state edition

19 Nov

Today’s Photo Friday is brought to you by the letters C and T.

Which stand for “Chicago” and “Thanksgiving.”

WOO WOO! Thanksgiving! In Chicago! I didn’t get home last year for Turkey Day, so I’m extra thrilled to be going this year.

Particularly because not going home last year means I didn’t get any pork sausage stuffing.

Which makes me a sad panda.

And kind of an angry panda, too.

Well, no, not angry. More like lamentable.

Why? WHY??? did I not make myself some pork sausage stuffing in the last 12 months? WHY?!


Mom, I hope you make an extra pan. Maybe you could make some for me to take back to DC with me, too?

It’s just a suggestion.

I know I normally don’t post on Saturdays, but check back tomorrow when I’ll have a new Cake Slice Bakers post up. THAT’S TWO FOR TWO, MY BITCHES! I’m on a freakin’ roll here with the baking, people. A ROLL.



17 Nov

The fun thing about taking pictures….well, actually, there are lots of fun things about taking pictures. I think, anyway. Some of you might disagree. Some of you might think there are many fun things about calculus. Or crocheting. In which case I would have to disagree.

But frankly, we’re not talking about you, we’re talking about me. And I think there are many fun things about taking photographs.

Are we all clear? Good.

Now, I don’t normally enjoy having my picture taken, which is why, for the first eight months of my nephew’s life, for example, I have 1,782 photographs of the little chicken nugget on his own, or being held by one or both of his parents, or his grandparents, or his Bitches of Eastwick*, or…you get the idea. And out of those 1,782 photographs, there are approximately five of him with me. I don’t think I photograph very well, so I’m pretty okay with all of this. I’d much rather take photos of others.

But then you have some time to kill while your main squeeze is off running through the streets of Chicago with 45,000 other people, and while Chicago architecture is lovely, there are only so many photographs you can take of it before it could all be made out of marshmallows and cheesy poofs for how much you care to look at another g-d building.

At which point it becomes time for self-portraits.

Which is where the fun comes in.

Like with early morning light, that makes you look gargantuanly tall, with legs as long as stilts.


And then maybe you move over to The Bean, which you surprisingly have never actually visited.

And you start snapping away, being careful to remind yourself that no, you really do not look like that in real life, that in fact buildings cannot bend like that, lest all the little papers continually fly off of the office workers’ desks.

Nothing would ever get done with buildings that constantly tipped papers from the inbox to the trash can! Though maybe, in some cases, that might actually be helpful to an office?

Hard to say.

But I will say this: taking photos is fun.

*That would be the term I used to describe my two sisters and me, because “aunts” just sounds so boring. And let’s face it, we can all be a little bitchy sometimes. But please keep in mind I love my sisters very, very much, and use this term lovingly and jokingly and okayfineyou’renotbitches,I’mtheassholehere.


coach in bronze

15 Nov

I hadn’t visited Notre Dame’s campus in a couple years. In fact, the last time I was there it was covered in two feet of snow.

(About which I didn’t care for two reasons: A) We got seats in the press box, and 2) I was leaving for Maui the next day.)

(And yes, please feel free to reach through your computer and punch me in the ovary right now. Rereading the above parentheses I realize how, just…WOW…snooty? Full of first-world problems? Like an asshat? Like you want to roll your eyes and chant, “Wah, wah, wah, poor little middle class white girl” at me? that sounds.)

ANYWAY, the point is campus has changed a lot since I last went to a game. There’s a whole new bookstore and Eddy Street complex that wasn’t there before (and to those of you who aren’t familiar with the Dirty B, I may as well have just said, “Kerflerganstaagen Bop!” for all that makes sense.) The interlocked ND made out of flowers is gone. There are more buildings.

And statues.

New statues.

And not just statues of saints!

I like this one the best of all the statues they’ve added over the years. Probably because Lou has always been my favorite coach.

And because I think the artist got a terrific likeness of Lou. Though it’s hard to really duplicate the magnitude of awesomeness that are Lou Holtz’s coke bottle-like glasses into statue form.

I wonder if these little guys are rubbing Lou’s foot for good luck? Or maybe they are just patting him on the foot to say, “Someday I’M going to have a bronze likeness out of Notre Dame stadium, too.”

Yeah, it’s gotta be that. God knows the Irish have got very little luck this season.

a day late, but here’s a dollar

12 Nov

Sister #3 bought me booze when I was underage, and is the whole reason there is a story about me that ends with the nickname, “Little Miss Vodka Pants.”

But that’s another story for another time.

She recently invited herself along on a trip to Rome with some family friends, where, I learned through Facebook, she may or may not have given some nuns a What For about bathroom line cutting.

And let’s face it. Sometimes nuns need to be given a What For. They’re not saints, you know. Nuns are people too. Holy people, but people nonetheless. And my sister? Apparently she has no problem reminding them of the fact that other people have to pee, too, and just because you’re in a habit doesn’t mean you get to go to the front of the line. (It’s not like they had one of those Super Awesome Passes like at Disney World that lets you go to the front of the ride lines. Last time I checked, the Vatican did not work like that.) This is one of many reasons why I love her so much.

Happy birthday (yesterday), Sister #3. If you were here, I would hold your drink while you went to the bathroom (because I know how much it wigs you out when people bring their drinks into the bathroom), and then when you came out I’d hand it back to you, and I’d buy you a gyro after and say, “Happy birthday. This is beautiful, is it velvet? I love you very much.”

can you really fall down on the job if you didn’t know what the job was in the first place? or: the book list

10 Nov

So hath ended my 2009-2010 reading year. I fear I have failed in some respect, clocking only 22 reads over the last 12 months. In actuality, that’s pretty good, but in my head, and because of years past when I’ve gone bonkers with the reading and booked anywhere from 40 to 50 books, 22 is meager.

Though in my defense, this year’s list contained a LOT less uber-fluffy chick-lit, and not NEARLY as much YA lit as in years past. (Which is a shame. I really like YA, and I think it’s important to read, even if I am 31 years old. I’m young at heart, okay?) (OR SOMETHING.)

One year I remember I tried to put a goal number on my reading list, something like 100 books. Which, for This Girl, is incredibly insane. That’s over a book a week. And I don’t read that fast. And I don’t really have that much time. I know some people who can accomplish this with FLYING colors, and I am A) Way fucking jealous of them and 2) In awe of them, and III) Did I mention way fucking jealous? Seriously. Do you not sleep? What’s the trick? Because I would totally give up sleeping in favor of reading, so long as I could still function and not be the Bitch Queen From Hell as a result.

Plus, setting a specific number on my book lists made me dread the reading more than anything else. And that was just not acceptable. Reading has always been my escape, my first true love, and to have it then feel like something I had to do to reach some arbitrary number? Egads. No thank you.

Needless to say, that was the one and only year I ever set a number goal for myself.

Though obviously, my mental faculties have not quite caught up with the realities, hence why I feel kind of bad that I only ready 22 books this year.

Excuse me while I go have a talk with myself.

<Listen, Self: 22 books is nothing to shake a stick at. How many times have I told you that numbers are just numbers, and they don’t really mean a whole lot. Books, your bank account—well, okay, those numbers actually mean something, but you know what I mean—or when you get on the scale, or the speed limit. All of those numbers mean nothing, because what’s important is how you feel. So don’t let 22 get you down, okay? Did you enjoy the books you read? Good. That’s what counts the most.>

I’m back.

And without further ado, and if you’re looking for something to read, here you go. The BY* ’09-10 list:

Year Four of Books

Books Read Between November 13, 2009 – November 12, 2010

  1. Fool – Christopher Moore* (Brilliant, as per Moore’s usual)
  2. Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer (Don’t judge me)
  3. Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer (See above)
  4. Knitting Under the Influence – Claire LaZebnik
  5. This is Where I Leave You – Jonathan Tropper* (LOVED this book, excellent dialogue)
  6. Drink, Play, F@*k – Andrew Gottlieb* (Funny, in a dude way)
  7. Twenties Girl – Sophie Kinsella (A very light, easy read)
  8. Killing Bridezilla – Laura Levine
  9. Forever – Judy Blume* (Yes, I’ve read this before, but it was a long, long time ago, so I’m totally counting it as a new read.)
  10. Everything I Needed to Know About Being A Girl I Learned From Judy Blume – Edited by Jennifer O’Connell** (The essays are good, but they start to sound the same after awhile. However, there are some really standout ones. To be expected, I guess.)
  11. The Inn at Lake Devine  – Elinor Lipman* (I really enjoy her writing.)
  12. The Brightest Star in the Sky – Marian Keyes* (She really hasn’t written anything I haven’t enjoyed.)
  13. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows*
  14. Dune Road – Jane Green
  15. Dearly Departed – Elinor Lipman*
  16. The Way Men Act – Elinor Lipman
  17. PS, I Love You – Cecelia Ahern* (The movie SUCKED, I mean, absolutely AWFUL. But the book? Definitely a good read! Totally different from the movie, but be warned that you will probably cry and/or tear up a bit.)
  18. Best Friends Forever – Jennifer Weiner** (This was an audiobook that I listened to driving from DC to Chicago. I really enjoyed it as an audiobook, but I’m not sure I would have liked it as much reading it. It was a well-read tale and listening to it was a joy, but there’s something about it that I think lends it to listening rather than reading.) (If that makes any sense at all.) (Probably not.)
  19. The Ramen King and I – Andy Raskin* (Kind of disjointed, but a good and interesting read overall.)
  20. The Help – Kathryn Stockett** (A good, quick read, and intriguing, but it didn’t change my life.)
  21. The Alphabet Sisters – Monica McInerny*
  22. Cocktails for Three – Madeliene Wickenham


** Recommended with reservations


Now. Anybody have good suggestions as I kick off this year? Leave them in the comments, and if I read your suggestion, you’ll get a gold star. Bonus points if it’s a YA book. Double awesome bonus points if IT’S A JUDY BLUME BOOK.


*Book Year