Tag Archives: friends

because packing is for suckers

7 Mar

So I’m moving.

Have I mentioned that?

Back to Chicago.

I’m actually not sure that I have, because it’s all happened quite quickly, so if I hadn’t told you before, my apologies. I think I packed my brain away in one of those boxes over there. I hope I remembered to wrap it with protective newspaper like I did with my teacups.

On Saturday I had some big plans to get more boxes and pack up more of the massive amounts of stuff I had no idea I accumulated in five and a half years or could actually fit into a studio apartment, but there you go. You think you’ve been living in a small shoebox that can’t hold more than a few books and a pot or pan or four, and then you discover that you’ve been living in what turns out to be Mary Poppins’ carpetbag. Excuse me while I move my coatrack and potted fern.

But my plans were thwarted—ah, gee, damn, pisser, because I do so love packing so much—when what I thought was going to be a break for brunch and a movie with The Swede turned into a wine tour party extravaganza complete with The Swede, my girlfriends, and a rented pimped out SUV.

Packing could wait. Virginia wine country could not. And neither could making a few more memories with my DC family.

 

 

 

 

the missing piece

22 Dec

The girls and I, we have this…thing…that we do. At a typical Tuesday Night Dinner, there is so much chatter that is just so loud and all over the place, so many topics that need to be discussed, so many quotes that need remembering, that we take to the whiteboard.

We bought it years ago, and it’s come in handy more times than you would think. It’s true. By the end of the night it’s covered with quotes, crossed out discussions, doodles and drawings. And it usually stays that way until the next Tuesday Night Dinner, when I erase away the quotes so we can start anew when the girls walk in the door. But not before jotting down whatever is on the board on a piece of paper for remembering the good times at a later date.

For example, from one TND, I laugh my self silly at: “I think it sounds something like: ‘EngeMnnnnnMeh-Mehhh….” I laugh because I love my friends, and I laugh because I love our good times, and I laugh because I have no fucking clue what this quote was in reference to. But it was obviously funny at the time.

The whiteboard, when not in use for a TND, stays at my house, with the collection of various colored dry erase markers, and in a perfect world, I would remember to bring it with me whenever the five of us get together to record more hilarity that we won’t understand later.

But this isn’t a perfect world, so last week when we were tremendously busy stuffing our faces and embarrassing our waiter at Woodberry Kitchen, we had to make do with what we had, and I jotted down quotes and notes on the back of a pilfered specials menu Lindsay had tucked in her purse.

By the time we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant, that skinny piece of paper was filled, filled with memorable sayings (to us, anyway), most of which wavered on vulgar, a few that may have been prosecutable, and all of which were inappropriate.

We wished our waiter well, and thanked him profusely for putting up with us. He smiled and nodded, and I dare say he will never have another table quite like ours. Though hopefully he will get to know us a little better, and maybe even become part of our group, because I left a note on my receipt telling him that two of my friends thought he was cute, and wrote down their numbers.*

As we drove away from the restaurant, fat and happy, I informed my friends that I’d left their numbers on my receipt. They of course flipped out until I explained that yes, I may be an asshole for doing that, but hey, that’s what makes me fun. I think they may forgive me by our next Candles & Prayers outing, but in the meantime, I distracted them by reminiscing our notable quotables from the evening, and they sat back, content, letting a split second of silence come over the car. Until I broke it by staring intently inside my purse then asking:

“Umm, you guys? Who has the paper with all the quotes on it?”

And mayhem broke loose once again.

We debated calling the restaurant, to see if they’d mayhaps saved that piece of paper when they were clearing the table. We went through the pros and cons of our waiter reading what we’d written. I say he’ll be impressed and find us funny and witty. And therefore he will definitely call their numbers. The girls could do little more than cover their eyes and shake their heads.

But I still have faith. It’s been a week since our visit to Woodberry Kitchen, but I’m thinking that our waiter is just playing hard to get, and is pondering our witty and inappropriate quotes, trying to decide which one he really appreciates the most. I’m thinking that it will be the, “There is pork juice on my knee” quote that will really seal the deal for our waiter, will really show him how great these girls are, and how lucky he’d be to date them.

I’m expecting him to call one of the girls any day now.

Aaaannnny day now.

 

*No, I’m not kidding.**

**What? He was a cute guy. I would have left my own number, but I have a feeling The Swede would frown upon me doling out my number to other guys.

 

candles & prayers: the eating

15 Dec

Once the choir has died down, and the carols have ended, and we’re able to get Scalzo (known in some parts as the Mayor of Loyola) to stop glad-handing and schmoozing with students and alumni and get her to put her coat on and actually out the chapel doors, it’s time to eat.

To be honest, it’s rarely ever not a time to eat, but on Candles & Prayers day, eating is a big part of the ritual. We start the day at Miss Shirley’s for a late breakfast/lunch.

Then there’s the hangout time at the student union on Loyola’s campus, while Scalzo rehearses with the rest of the choir. New this year! Starbucks on campus. Very exciting. There’s also crossword puzzle-doings while in the student union, which doesn’t have anything to do with food, but it certainly works up an appetite.

And then there’s the whole, ya know, reason for the season and all, what with the candles, the prayers, the songs, more prayers, a Christmas tree, presents for needy kids, more songs, some sing-a-longs, and then it’s over.

And then.

THEN.

It’s really time to eat.

Every year we pick a new restaurant to try. Last year it was Clementine. The year before it was Rocket to Venus. The year before that it was a wine and cheese reception on campus. And the very first year it was Papermoon Diner followed by drinks at The Belvedere Hotel’s 13th Floor.

But this year.

It was the fifth anniversary of our C&P excursions. So it had to be special, of course.

Which means that there’s no shame in making dinner reservations in August.

Which is what we did

For Woodberry Kitchen.

If you live in/near Baltimore and you like good food, you just fell out of your chair at that last sentence.

If you don’t live in/near Baltimore, and could give a crap about food, you probably have no clue why other people might have just fallen out of their chairs. Was there an earthquake or something in Baltimore? you might be asking.

No. Not unless you mean the earthquaking of my soul.

Okay, that doesn’t even make any sense.

Woodberry Kitchen is a restaurant in Baltimore. Kind of near the Hampden area. It’s been popular since the day it opened, a runaway success. Getting a reso there on short notice is fucking near impossible, especially if you have more than four people in your party.

Hence why we made our reservation back in August. We just wanted to be sure. (Also because last year we had a snafu with a certain restaurant that shan’t be named, that I’ve tried to go to a couple different times, but keep getting the shaft.)

You’d think, after stuffing ourselves on grits and pancakes and eggs and bacon and grilled cheese and whathaveyou at Miss Shirley’s, we wouldn’t even be hungry for dinner. But bear in mind, dear Interwebers, Miss Shirley’s was seven hours prior to dinner.

And that’s a long time for this crew to go between feedings.

Woodberry Kitchen was bustling and busy and just….swamped…the minute we walked in the door. We got drinks at the bar, then waited for our table to be ready, happy to wait, seeing as how we showed up 15 minutes before we were due, and our cocktails were so lovely. In actuality, we waited another 15 minutes past our reservation time, which normally would make me furious*, but which this time I barely noticed, and things were handled so smoothly that I would have even waited an extra 15 minutes after that.**

Crab pot. Pumpkin flat bread. Both arrived at the table almost immediately courtesy of the restaurant, along with another apology from the staff—manager included—for making us wait past our reservation. It was so well-presented, well-handled, and then turned out to be so delicious, we all knew at that point we were in for a treat that evening.

We ordered. Insane amounts of food—roasted pork shoulder, rockfish, spelt noodles, steak—and two bowls of popcorn. (Yes, they have popcorn on the menu. And it tastes like each kernel has been individually buttered and salted to the perfect amount.) (Great, now I want popcorn. AGAIN.) Our waiter was incredibly patient with our gaggle, even though we made him blush a couple of times with our bawdy tales and aptitude for yelling out incredibly appropriate things like, “It’s okay! We can have sex and I won’t hold you to it!” just as he approached the table to see if we need another round of drinks.***

(The answer was no, we didn’t.)

(But we ordered them anyway.)

My friend Linds and I ended up splitting an entrée. But before you go thinking that I’m one of those girls who’s all, “Oh, I’ll just have this half of a carrot and one grain of rice, gee, so delicious I’m full!” bear in mind that the entrée we split was a 22 ounce strip steak on half a garden of roasted vegetables.

A food runner elegantly presented us with the dish, plated in a thick crockery baking dish, a chunk of herbed butter (presumably) melting deliciously on top.

“This is Ramseys,” he told us. “He came to us earlier this week.”

The girls and I looked at each other, then at the food runner.

Oh my. He was serious. This steak’s name really is (was?) Ramseys. File away another string of love in my heart for Woodberry Kitchen.

Not the best picture, the lighting was for shit.

He took Ramseys away, explaining that they were going to slice it up in the back—easier for us to split that way—and it would come back out with the rest of the entrees. When our waiter later came back to check on how our entrees tasted, I replied, “You know, his name may have been Ramseys, but tonight his name is Delicious.”

Dessert is another story. Five girls, five different orders. Almost—but not quite—one of everything on the dessert menu. It was gluttonous. It was unnecessary.

It was wonderful.

I regret nothing.

I will never be the same again.

Candles & Prayers may never be the same again.

But if you’re going to do it up, do it up big.

Ramseys, I loved you. Every bite of you.

Amen and hallelujah.

 

*Listen: I worked in the restaurant industry for 15 years, and I can be pretty lenient when it comes to a lot of things, because you just never know what’s going on behind the scenes and in the back of the house. But typically one hard and fast rule I have is if I make a reservation at your restaurant, and I am not seated within five minutes of my arrival, I’m going to be PISSED. Why the fuck did I bother to make a reservation if you’re going to make me wait anyway? Unless Jesus Christ Himself is the reason for the delay, I don’t care. Just fix the seating issue and fix it fast.

**Okay, maybe not 15 minutes, seeing as how we were getting pretty hungry, but at least another 10.

***I read these things that I write and I realize that it’s astounding that—TRUTH—we have never been kicked out of a restaurant.

 

candles & prayers

13 Dec

Last Friday was our annual Candles & Prayers excursion.

It’s actually Lessons & Carols, but way back when we started going, when it was just something we did that year, before it got to be the yearly event involving massive amounts of food as well, before it got to be five years in a row that we did all of this, my friend J could never remember the name, tripped it up, and always referred to it as Candles & Prayers.

Which makes sense, when you think about it. There are candles. There are prayers. (Both spoken and sung.)

It has since also been referred to as Candles in Paris, as my friend HO misheard me when I said Candles & Prayers.

Pre-concert, as the choir rehearsed

Candles & Prayers, Lessons & Carols, Candles in Paris…whatever. It’s probably my favorite holiday-related tradition I’ve established since moving out to DC.

Other favorite traditions include the Falltacular, Crab Days, Tuesday Night Dinners, Sunday Family Dinners, and shopping at the new Wegman’s.

People have commented to me before that my friends and I seem to do an awful lot of things in the name of “tradition.” I blame J. That girl is always looking for an excuse to throw a party and/or eat food.

Not that I’m against any of that.

What?

Never mind.

All you need to know is that I’ll tell you more about our C&P excursion throughout the week.

And that I cried during the Ave Maria.

It’s not my fault I’m a sap.

Okay maybe it is.

Don’t judge me.

itinerary

7 Sep

Two of my college girlfriends came into town this weekend for a visit. It had been awhile since we’ve been together, the three of us. And never had we all crammed in my tiny apartment for a weekend, though in truth the most time we spent there—besides sleeping—was Sunday night. I made dinner and we drank wine and vodka.

And then one of my neighbors came and pounded on the door around midnight.

I’m guessing we were being a bit loud.

So we did what any group of mature, 31-year-olds would do, and went dead silent, not moving a muscle, looking at each other with wide eyes every time the person tapped the door knocker insistently, trying not to laugh. Eventually the person left.

I’ll be sending flowers and chocolates to everyone in my hall this week.

Before the girls got into town a rush of ideas floated around of what we’d do to entertain ourselves throughout the weekend. Enjoying a semblance of order and list-making, I put together an itinerary:

The (very, extremely, incredibly) loose (like, hooker loose) Labor Day weekend itinerary:

Friday, September 3:

7 pm(ish) – Anne arrives, waits for Blue to pick her up at airport, Strz  = happy

10 pm(ish) – Noons arrives, waits for Blue to pick her up at airport, Strz + Benz  = super happy

11(ish) – wine, cheese, and other snacks on roofdeck. Much talking and ruckus to ensue.

Saturday, September 4

??? – Wake up, pancake breakfast

??? – A run/walk/stroll down by the Potomac OR eating another pancake and giving exercise the finger.

3:30 – ND/Purdue kickoff and gamewatch, probably at TownHall, so long as they still run their cheap beer special

7:30 (ish) (or whenever game ends) – dinner at Luigi’s

Post-dinner – monuments at night

Sunday, September 5

???  – Brunch. Restaurant TBD, but most likely one with unlimited mimosas and/or bloody marys. Possible choices include Mad Hatter, Vinoteca, a few others

Post-brunch – wine tasting in Virginia. Wineries to include Chateau O’Brien, and Alpen Vines (or something like that…I have it written down..somewhere…)

Post-wine-tasting – Sunday dinner, roasted pork loin, more wine, and chocolate stuff

Monday, September 6

Molly drives Noons to Reagan ass-early. Strz = sad

Molly drives Benz to Reagan not-so-ass-early. Strz  = sad

We all let our livers recover for a week.

I’m happy to report that for the most part we followed said itinerary, though we changed Saturday’s pre-game activity from a walk by the Potomac to a walk around Georgetown, because that’s where Georgetown cupcake happens to be.

And maybe red velvet and salted caramel cupcakes were calling our names.

Maybe.

Either way, we definitely gave exercise the finger.

Ah, just like college.

photo friday: pets

16 Jul

I’ve missed the last two weeks of Photo Fridays, and for this week’s theme, yeah…I don’t really have a good photo to show. The theme is pets, and though while in my recent life I did once have a pet, he has since passed on.

I miss you, Igs.

ANYWAY, so in place of a photo about a pet, you get a photo of a cake and a story about the woman whose cake it was, and her former pet.

As you may know, my best girl Mare is a funeral director. (See: slightly twisted, yet incredibly tasty and awesome cake at her rehearsal dinner.) She comes from a funeral business family. She also married a funeral director. Basically, it’s one big happy dealing-with-dead-folks family. Good times.

Back when she was in dead school, Mare lived in a cute little apartment that happened to be near my office. To save myself from an insane commute I’d occasionally crash at her place and we’d drink our faces off and eat pizza.

PS—remind me to tell you the story some time about how I once made her laugh so hard she barfed up a pound of Lou Malnati’s. One of my prouder moments.

So this one time, I’m over at Mare’s place, and she’s…doing I have no idea what, futzing around in her closet or something, and I’m aimlessly wandering around her bedroom picking things up on her dresser and putting them down, jewelry, knick-knacks, photos, and I notice a photo of Sammy Kravitz, Mare’s dog that she had in high school.

“Aw, Mare, this is a great photo of Sammy!” I said, picking up the photo. It was a photo box, and I twisted it around to see if there were more photos of Sammy on other sides.

“Yeah, that’s Sammy,” Mare replied.

“No, I said it’s a good picture of Sammy,” I restated.

“Yeah, and I said that is Sammy,” she repeated. I looked at her dumbly. “Sammy is in the box,” she said, nodding her head toward the square in my hands. I looked down at it, semi-grossed out, but more just what-the-fucked out.

“What?”

“Yeah, I was home a couple weeks ago and I saw that sitting on my parents’ entertainment center,” she explained. “It’s been sitting there for years and I never fuckin’ noticed.”

“Sammy’s been dead since we were in high school,” I said.

“I know!” Mare said in disbelief.

I quickly put Sammy back on her dresser and backed away. “I think I’m just going to…go..in the other room,” is probably what I said as I scuttled into the living room.

The moral of the story: be careful what you pick up on your best friend’s dresser, because pets are family,  too.

See what other Photo Friday participants are blogging about today over at Calliope’s blog! Probably something a little less…well, less.

What?

Oh, whatever. YOU have a best gal who is a funeral director and let’s see what stories YOU come up with.

Heh.

the only kind of horse i’ll ride

8 Jun

Quite a few years back, the magazine I worked for sent me out to Colorado to do a story. It happened to fall at the same time as Captain Deb’s spring break from law school, and Nebraska being a mere 8 hour drive from Denver it was quickly decided that she’d come hang out in the Mile High City with me.

Someday when you’re older—and when Captain Deb’s stomach can finally handle it*—I’ll tell you all about the Happy Hour That Was at the hotel bar, which was spurred on by the female bartender who claimed to speak six languages, had just moved to Colorado from Amsterdam, and had been part of the Israeli army. That night’s ending involved a karaoke bar with a trio of casino developers, slushy purple cocktails, outside urination, and harassing an old college friend via cell phone.

We sweated through a visit to Red Rock the next day, and after driving in looping, winding circles around the bases of mountains it was somehow decided that we should go horseback riding. We called a number we’d seen and were told by a cowboy to “Come on down off that mountain,” so we did.

Captain Deb happens to be a very experienced rider.

I am not.

Everything was going well as we plodded along on our horses with about five or six other riders. The pancakes and eggs we’d had earlier at IHOP and the fresh air seemed to be quashing the last remnants of the beer fumes that mingled with the slushy purple cocktails.

And then, for no apparent reason, my horse went apeshit. She took off running, having decided this plodding along bullshit was for the birds, trails were for sissies, and oh! Hey! Look! A stream! Let’s go there.

I frantically semi-flailed about, yelping and trying to slow the horse down, trying to get her to rejoin the group, trying not to fall off my saddle. The woman who was leading the ride just sort of watched me, then pulled another Budweiser out of her saddle bag, shrugged, and popped it open as she and the group just sort of stared at me. Captain Deb, for her part, was doubled over on her horse, cackling.

You know what’s a good way to take your mind off how much you drank the night before? Gallop along on a strong-willed horse with a mind of her own when you have precious little riding experience, and are a control freak who can’t figure out the slightest idea how to soothe an out-of-control situation with one of God’s noble beasts. Or go whale watching. But that’s another story for another time.

That episode didn’t stop me from getting back on a horse again, so to speak. A few years later Captain Deb, Everyone Should Have A Julie, and I went on a morning breakfast ride through trails in Wyoming, on horses that didn’t have strong wills, and we didn’t pass any tempting streams.

But that was it. After that, I decided that horseback riding really just wasn’t my thing. When my family and I were in Hawaii two years ago, my sisters and brother-in-law all went on a horseback ride through the lush landscape of the island. My other brother-in-law and I watched Monday Night Football in the hotel bar.
This weekend, though, this weekend proved a great return for me to horseback riding.

I think I’ve found my niche.

See? I’ve mastered it!

I’ve never felt better about horseback riding.

*I’ve been forbidden to ever tell Captain Deb what exactly she consumed that night.