Friday, February 27, 2009
I have no idea what the plan is for the rest of the weekend, but I'll try to keep you posted.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
- take a sleeping pill
- read my book about the Stasi
- listen to the new episode of This American Life
- drink a can of ginger ale
- pass the fuck out
I've only been to New York once before, about four years ago. It was during the Spring and it was beautiful. Every time I've checked the weather report during the last week-or-so, I've kinda ignored the numbers ominously staring back at me. You see, I'm a Southern California girl. This means that temperature in the low-60's is really cold. It means that all my coats are for aesthetic reasons only. I don't even know how to comprehend how cold it's going to be in New York this weekend. Thirty degrees? I don't get it. What do you mean when you say I should bring a pair of thermal underwear to wear under my jeans? Does this mean dresses are out of the question? Of course, this has all led to me severely overpacking. Such is life.
Anyway, I'm really looking forward to my little vacation this weekend. I'll be in Brooklyn, which I've never seen before, and I expect to get into all sorts of trouble. I'll try to keep you posted.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Yes, I do think she's gotten increasingly annoying in recent years, but I remember a time, back when 30 Minute Meals was in its infancy, when she reminded me of a babysitter you would have begged for. One that actually made you glad your mother was going on yet-another fucking date, and who knew not to stir your goddamn "fruit at the bottom" yogurt before giving it to you because that was your favorite thing to do.
Moving on. Also, as someone who was new to cooking, someone who had once accidentally used olive oil when baking cookies and had yet to master the delicate art of not-burnt grilled cheese sandwiches, Miss Ray's simple recipes and perky attitude helped me overcome my fear of cooking to become what I am today: a semi-competent cook.
Oh, and also? This chili.
I've been making this chili for years now. Being a Rachel Ray recipe, it has a stupid name, but it's by far the best chili I've ever had. There isn't any meat in it, but I'm a dedicated carnivore and I've never missed it. I usually make a batch to last me the week, and by the end of said week, after having eaten it for lunch and dinner five days straight, I never want to see this chili again.
But then, much like dating musicians, a couple months later you forget why you ever swore it off in the first place. It's also incredibly cheap, which I'm sure can somehow be incorporated into that "dating musicians" comparison, but I'm not going there cause I've got class, if you can believe it.
Starting with chopped garlic, a jalapeno, a medium onion, and a red and green bell pepper. Once I used only green bell peppers because they cost like half as much as red ones, but it didn't taste as good. The ethnic market down the street from my new apartment sells the red for super cheap though, so Vons can SUCK IT!
Next, lay one half on its side, and slice all the way through from root to the cut end.
Alright, so throw all that shit into a deep pot with two tablespoons of olive oil, and let the veggies soften for about five minutes.
Uhhh, have you met me? I use beer.
a can of diced green chile!!! Better still:
So yeah, the reason I don't hate Rachel Ray is because of this chili, mainly. You can find the original recipe (with its stupid name) here.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Do you remember what it felt like when you first discovered that there was a life away from your parents? When you first realized that you weren't a child anymore? For some of you that may have been later in life - in college or when you got your first car and had that taste of freedom - but for me, because I was a latch-key kid with a wild imagination, I experienced that when I was 13. I couldn't have picked a better (or worse, more likely) person to expose me to that life than Barbara.
I remember straddling her as she lay face-down on her couch one afternoon. We had ditched class like always, and her single mother was at work. She wanted the word "Love" carved into her back, she told me as she held a lighter to a razor blade to disinfect it, before handing it over to me. I pressed as lightly as possible, barely drew any blood, but I remember thinking how stupid she was for doing that. She was the dominant one in our relationship though, more of a boyfriend to me than a friend, so I didn't tell her this.
That's a whole part of my life that I'd like to forget. The girl I was back then is a stranger to me now, and when I see girls who are the age I was when I did those things I'd like to forget - the drugs, the sex, feeling invincible - I'm always shocked at how young they look. It doesn't jive with the image I had of myself back then.
Underneath the large tattoo on my leg, now covered by a Japanese flower, are her initials. With a safety pin and Indian ink, we carved each other's initials into our legs at the height of our friendship, which not long after came to a screeching halt over a guy.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
So, I know Domestic Tuesdays is starting to look more like the Trader Joe's Power Hour or something, and I don't want that to be the case, but I buy almost everything there. Sure, you can buy sausages and zucchini and dill and polenta at any old grocery store, but why would you when they're so freaking cheap at TJ's???*
Chop zucchini in half, lenghtwise and diagonally down the center, and cut each half into two so you have matchstick-like-pieces...I don't know, this isn't rocket science. Chop the shit out of a couple cloves of garlic...more if you don't plan on getting laid that night, and lets face it, you probably won't.
So the polenta comes in this weird, kinda gross tube, encased in plastic. When you cut the top off the plastic case this water comes SHOOTING OUT into your face. So be careful. Anyway, slice that shit up. I usually like about two slices per sausage.
So salt and pepper both sides of the polenta, and then throw those fuckers into a pan on medium heat along with the sausage. Leave them alone! The polenta will get all crispy!
Next add about half a tablespoon of fresh dill, some salt and pepper to taste, and at the last minute, a squeeze of lemon.
This is stressful, huh? Lets take a quick break to compose ourselves...
There, that's better.
Once you've browned the polenta and sausage on both sides and the sausage(usually about ten minutes total), you're ready to eat!
Your friendly cook...calm and collected.
Can I take a quick minute to bitch about how much I HATE blogger and its fucking spacing issues?? Does anyone else have this problem? My posts take three times as long to finish when you factor in all the time I spend fixing the eight spaces that somehow appear between each paragraph, and the amount of acrobatics needed to fix them. Don't even get me started on the fucking uploading photos issue I have, what with the bullshit Html codes and, again, spacing. Hate.
So there, right? A pretty exciting day for a girl, no? But wait, it doesn't stop there. The Huffington freaking Post reposted the story! My mind? It's officially blown. I think it's a good thing that the link from my name on that site goes to This Recording instead of this blog, as it gets kinda personal here and the Internet?...well it can be a mean place, as I learned yesterday.
I stupidly read a few of the comments, before swearing that off for the rest of my life. I've got it good here at this little blog of mine, with its small but regular group of readers. If anyone who is an asshole reads my blog, well they don't bother commenting, and I appreciate that. The comments I get here have been nothing but friendly, so I was a little unprepared for the faceless commenter's that came out of the woodwork yesterday to insult something my best friend and I did one afternoon when we were bored, something we came up with while we were drinking one night. Here are a few of the choice comments, then I vow never to read them again:
"You see? This is why other countries hate us." - Actually, I think other countries hate us because of our foreign policy and the incompetent president we've had for the last eight years...but maybe you're right, maybe they hate us for the McNuggitini. Sheesh.
"I find it strangely ironic and a bit of a let down that this wonderful concoction was invented by a couple of skinny hipster women. I was hoping for some real authenticity here. Le sigh." - Alie and I both agree that part of the charm of the McNuggitini is that we're skinny bitches (as one commenter put it, "you think skinny women don't pig out? If I want to, I could out eat many of my fat friends"). Also, the whole concept behind the photo shoot is that we dressed classy and made it a "bored housewives" kinda thing. Jesus, un-fucking-clench.
"What annoys me is that girl that doesn't close her mouth in any of the photos. I fucking hate that." - Fuck you!!! I have a JAW MISALIGNMENT you fucking ass. That means I can't comfortably rest with my lips closed. *Ahem*
"I bet this is some kind of viral ad." - bwahahahaha. Oh Christ, if you only knew me you'd know how ridiculous that idea is.
Anyway, even though I suddenly have about triple my normal amount of readers due to this sudden and unexpected event, expect The State That I Am In to continue like normal...meaning embarrassing incidents, exboyfriend stories, and feeding sand to little kids. Expect a Domestic Tuesday post later today.
P.S. A McNuggitini video is in the works, and should be completed soon...oh yes, a VIDEO.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
- peeing with the door open
- not having to justify or be embarrassed about sleeping til noon...then taking an afternoon nap
- passing out on the couch and maybe or maybe not drooling on decorative pillows
- talking in all manner of idiot baby-talk to your cat
In the mean time, here's my latest piece for This Recording:
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I've started taking walks when I get home from work. A couple miles on well-trafficked streets around my neighborhood before the sun has set with my white earphones tucked in my ears, but not turned loud enough that I couldn't hear someone approaching behind me (can't be too cautious).
When I got home from work tonight, I threw on my exercise clothes; black track pants, my light blue Dengue Fever t-shirt with a ratty black zip-up sweater over it, and old Adidas sneakers that do more harm than good to my arches and knees. I uploaded the newest This American Life onto my iPod, dodged icy looks from my cat, who was upset that I was leaving again after a day of being away, and walked out into the dusky evening that was buzzing with the sound of the adjacent Hollywood freeway.
When Ira Glass started to explain the premise of this week's This American Life, my mouth dropped open and I literally felt giddy with excitement. I felt like I had won the lottery. Basically the entire hour, which normally features three or four segments on a theme, was to be devoted entirely to the story of a boy who was kidnapped in 1912, and the story surrounding his disappearance and the subsequent solving of the case some 90 years later.
I said "no fucking way!" aloud - I'll admit to you. I've always had an almost obsessive fascination with vintage crimes, especially cold cases. Up until about two years ago, when I ceased having a television in my life, I had seen every single episode of Cold Case Files on A&E. I bookmarked websites that had stories of vintage murders and kidnappings, read every James Ellroy novel, and poured over books with black and white crime scene photographs at my favorite used book store.
When I got close to the corner of my block, where I turn up the street and make the mile-long trek to Vermont Ave., I realized I was going to hit the corner at the exact moment that another walker would. We glanced up at each other and both did a double take. He was wearing black track pants, and the wires from his headphones were bright white against his ratty zip-up sweater. He didn't look like the type to get much exercise - not that he was out of shape - but he was kind of a rocker, really, and I wondered if perhaps he just needed to have that feeling of being free after a long day in a air conditioned, pristine office, like I did. We awkwardly smiled at each other, both realizing that we looked like a matching pair of salt shakers, his and hers, and I slowed down a little so he would be ahead of me. I wasn't interested in him, mind you, I just love little coincidences like these.I crossed the street so we wouldn't have that awkward experience of me catching up to him and attempting to pass, only to find that he walked just as fast as I did, and we walked like that the entire mile; me on one side of the street, him keeping pace on the other. If anyone driving by noticed us, they probably assumed we were a couple that had gotten in an argument and didn't want to walk together anymore. I wondered if he was listening to last Sunday's episode of TAL as well, and thought about shouting that question to him across the busy street, but I didn't. When we hit Vermont, we went in opposite directions.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
My mom tried to argue with me when I decided to end the relationship, basically saying that I need to find someone who can provide for me and give me the things I want in life, which for some reason she believes to be a house and babies. Where she got that idea, I have no idea as I've expressed very little interest in either. She used a girl friend of hers from high school as an example; she lives alone, has only her dog to come home to at night, lives a selfish life because she only has to worry about her own well being, "...and she thinks she's happy!" my mother exclaimed incredulously. "Ummm, doesn't that mean she is happy?" I asked.
In the two months I've lived in my new apartment, I don't think a day has gone by that I haven't thought to myself or said aloud "I'm so fucking happy here," or some variation of that phrase. I love being alone all the time, with only my cat to keep me company. I have been depressed lately, though, so I saw a therapist for a couple sessions recently and she suggested that perhaps I have PTSD from living at my old house, ya know, the one across the street from where people kept getting shot? I really wasn't too depressed before that, before I started having to duck behind furniture somewhat frequently, so I guess that makes some sense, although it sounds a bit too dramatic for my taste.
I'm so happy in my apartment now, though. So happy with everything being in its place, everything being MINE. I hate thinking about what my life would be like had I not found this apartment; this perfect little cubbie that I really, really lucked out on. When it comes down to it, I'd rather be alone and think I'm happy, then do something for the wrong reasons and not be happy at all.
Monday, February 9, 2009
- That my purse is going to get stolen. I know this is something that I should be aware of and take some basic precautions to avoid to from happening, but I'm overly paranoid about it to a point that I almost always have my purse either looped through one of my arms, even when I'm sitting, or have it touch some part of my body so I know it's there, like when I put it on the floor beside my feet at a restaurant.
- That I'm going to have a seizure in my sleep, and since I live alone, no one will be there to call the paramedics and I'll wake up dead. See, this one isn't as paranoid as this actually happened to me once (just the seizure part, not the being alone and waking up dead part). I had a seizure in my sleep when I was a kid, and woke up a couple hours later in the hospital. Luckily my sister and I shared a bunk bed, so she ran into my mom's room and shouted "Mom, Georgia's having a cow!!!" (we were big Simpson's fans at the time) To be honest, I've always been a little bitter that I was too unconscious to enjoy my only-ever ride in a ambulance...also that they had to cut my hair-wrap out to give me a CAT scan.
- That I'm going to be alone forever and ever.
- That I don't mind that I'm going to be alone for ever and ever.
- That my ass will always look like it does right now.
- I'm never going to be able to confidently and proudly answer the question "What do you do for a living?" I know this can be remedied with, like school and/or time and effort, but it's so much easier to just believe that you're destined for, ya know, more. It also doesn't help that most of the people I know who are doing something they're confident and proud of, are not very happy either. Unless I can answer that question with "Lottery winner" or "Professional hanger out at my house and cook and clean all day", I can't imagine what I'd do that I'd be both proud of and happy with that are at all attainable.*
*This is fucking bullshit. I would be happy and proud of being either a school teacher or a writer, both of which are attainable, but both of which also seems so far out of reach that I'm scared to admit that I want them. This is where my guilt kicks in.
Friday, February 6, 2009
*vomiting is optional...I think.
-I'm single again. Can I get a talking-about-this-right-now "pass" please? There's no drama, it's just sad and sucky. Expect ruminations about why I FAIL at relationships next week.
-I always love when other people do this, so I'm going to, at the risk of alienating my male readers, list some beauty products I can't live without. Sorry guys, next time I'll post a list of my top 10 favorite photos of boobs or something.
Spray and Play by Big Sexy Hair is probably my most embarrassing, yet most loved, product. To be honest, a somewhat toned down, less stiff version of Drew Barrymore's hair at the Golden Globes is what I usually go for:
and I know everyone thought she looked bananas, but I thought she looked super hot! I think that "kinda crazy but really fun, Elizabeth Taylor back in the day" look is the business. Here's a photo of me rocking that look:
After I curl my hair, I just spray the ever-loving hell out of it with the Spray and Play.
I've been using both these eyeliners for over a decade. I love a thin line of eyeliner above my lashes and don't feel made-up without it. Loreal Lineur Intense liquid eyeliner has the best staying-power of any liquid liner I've used, and it's really easy to apply because the brush is awesome. Almay eyeliner isn't liquid, but it goes on really easily and also stays put and doesn't smudge. It's also "self sharpening" so the point never dulls.
If I could, I would hug DHC Concentrated Eye Cream. I started using it when I was staying with my mom a while ago (um, she didn't know I was stealing it, so if you're reading this mom, I never used it) and I couldn't believe the difference it made on my "smile lines" (aka crows feet). It's a little on the spendy side but one tub of it has seriously lasted me a year. I love all DHC products (which you can only get online), and they always send you catalogues with free samples of all kinds of fun crap.
4.Like most girls, I've tried about 800 different kinds of pressed powder, but in the past five years, I haven't strayed from Physicians Formula: Powder Palette Multi-Colored Face Powder (in translucent). It takes away all of that annoying shine, doesn't look like you're wearing a layer of make-up, and I rarely have to touch it up during the day.
I've mentioned these razors in the past, but they're worth mentioning again because they're THAT good.
Curel Ultra Healing Intensive Moisture Lotion - oh my holy hell this stuff is AWESOME. The only problem is that they don't have any version with SPF in it, but I'm willing to overlook that and stay out of the sun because it gives me the goddamn softest skin I've ever had. Seriously, touch my ass...go ahead, don't be shy! I know, right? Softest skin EVER!
Okay, your turn. What are you "can't live without" beauty products/tips?
Thursday, February 5, 2009
They're visiting from San Francisco for the week, my ex boyfriend and his new girlfriend, and something I bought off the Internet accidentally got shipped to their address, my old address, because I hadn't updated my account in so long. I swear it wasn't intentional. He was going to stop by my house to say hello, and drop off the package while he was here.
I couldn't ask him "is she with you?" when he called me from the car, on his way. What if she was sitting next to him and heard that? Granted, I didn't really give a shit what she thought about me, but I'm not in the business of hurting people's feelings, and "dramatic ex girlfriend" isn't a role I want to play, having encountered them in the past, myself. It's not that I "hated" her...okay, maybe I did just a little, but really their whole relationship just didn't sit right with me. I was glad he had someone in his life, as the thought of him being lonely makes me sad, but I didn't want to have anything to do with it.
There's drama there, you see; I didn't like her way back when, when she was dating a couple friend of ours in some kind of threesome attempt, and I had heard the story of how she had broken things off with them in order to be with my ex boyfriend, not long after he and I split up. The couple, who's wedding my ex was in, won't even talk to him now, which I think is a little extreme. But I digress. So fine; they can have their little relationship, but please don't shove it in my face. Especially when what's being shoved in my face (her insanely pretty face) is kinda hard to deal with.
He ambushed me a bit when he called from outside my building and asked, "Is it okay if she comes in with me?" Fuuuuuck. "Um, I'll let you decide," I said in quivering voice before I hung up, but then immediately called back, cursing my "do the right thing" conscience, and inviting her in. It was awkward at first, frighteningly so, but calmed once we all had a drink in our hands and we ended up talking for over an hour. Things from the past got casually sorted out, and the tension was all but gone by the time they left.
I know I should have this huge sense of relief, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, but I don't. I'm still as sad as I was prior to their visit, as I have been a lot lately. It's not directly related to them, but I'm sure one of my many layers of melancholy has their name on it. I guess the thing I can take from it is that I'm glad I faced my fears, got out of my comfort zone, because it proved that everything works out fine in the end. I think sometimes though, like right now because I've been kinda depressed lately, sometimes I like having things to focus all my anger on...to have that feeling of being wronged, as unhealthy as that sounds.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I almost always have a package or two of Trader Joe's fresh ravioli in my house (except for right now, cause I'm broke as fuck and surviving on possibly-salmonella-laden peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. Glamours.) You can get packaged ravioli and tortellini at almost any grocery store, but as I've said before, I hate supermarkets. At Trader Joe's, it's in the refrigerated section over by the hummus and all that crap. Although it's not stated on the package, as long as you make sure you throw it in before the expiration date, they freeze really well and can be thrown right into boiling water from the freezer.
My favorite way to prepare this is to make a brown butter sauce that has about eleventy hundred cloves of garlic and some dried herbs thrown in, and then to toast a slice of sourdough bread that's been covered with yet even more garlic and buried in freshly grated Parmesan (which are three things I always have in my house, no matter how broke and dying from salmonella I am). I know the garlic is a bit much, but remember, I am frequently alone lately and my cat doesn't care how much I smell as though I'm trying to ward off vampires, so long as I keep sneaking him bits of pork products every so-often.
So last week I decided that I'd make this, my signature weeknight dish, and show all you darlings how you, too, can fool everyone and make it look like you know what you're doing in the kitchen! But I fucked it up! Can you believe it???
It started well enough; I added a big pat of butter to a warm pan while the ravioli hung out in the water.
But it's more likely that the next step was the fatal one. I normally use fresh chopped garlic and dried herbs (or fresh if I have it, which I usually don't), but this time I figured I'd throw in those awesome-in-all-other-instances pellets of frozen herbs that Trader Joe's carries. I've used them in soups and that sort of thing with great results, (and also I like that they look like the frozen worm pellets I once feed to the fish at an office I used to work at) but this time when I threw them in they got SUPER ANGRY and LOUD and sizzly in the hot oil and butter. Like, arm-burn-sizzly.One thing that scares the shit out of me and makes me panic is really loud sizzly sounds when I'm cooking, which I know is dumb and I'm trying to overcome that but I never professed to being anything more than an amateur, ya know? Anyway, within a matter of minutes, I was left with, not my usual caramel-colored deliciously decedent sauce, but a slick black tar-like substance that tasted very much like asphalt.
Fuck. I didn't know what else to do as the ravioli was ready and I didn't have another pan to start the sauce over, correctly this time. I remembered the can of pasta sauce I had so it was with relief that I threw that into a sauce pan and gave it a taste. Oh shit. It wasn't "pasta sauce", but "tomato sauce", which is very different.
Oh hai, I'm trying to sabotage you.
But this is where my inner Domestic Bitch took over, cause I went into manual and added all the things I had put into the far-from-successful previous sauce; two frozen cubes of garlic and one of basil, a few shakes of red pepper flakes, a good amount of dried oregano and a couple pinches of that Herbs de Provence that I stole from the grocery store a while back.
When I tasted it, I was pretty fucking happy with it. I threw in the ravioli and a can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans) that I had rinsed. Next I covered the plate with Parmesan cheese because everything in the world tastes good when covered in cheese, and, this next step is vital so pay attention, I poured myself a glass of wine. I actually even used the real wine glass that had been left in my apartment by the girl who lived there before me, instead of my usual vintage tumbler with "Mom" written on it and tiny stars surrounding it. I know, I'm super grown up and what-not.
Monday, February 2, 2009
I was happy to say "yes". I could hear the relief in my mom's voice and it made me feel good to be able to help. Our Hanukkah party was the following week, and I knew I'd get praise from my aunts for helping out.
I showed up a half hour early to the little beauty shop where my grandmother has been getting a shampoo-set and manicure every Friday since I was a little kid. I came in and said my "hellos" and smiled as my grandmother, tiny and adorable at 97 years old, showed me off to her friends (two of whom I'd also be chauffeuring home).
I had some time to kill as my grandma sat under the dryer, so I strolled up Pico Blvd. heading in the direction of a corner bakery. I bought a loaf of challah and a cherry hamentash (a yummy Jewish cookie), the latter of which I planned to share with my boyfriend later that evening.
When I got back, the ladies were just ready to leave, and I pulled my car around to the front of the store so they wouldn't have to cross the busy street. A dark cloud was already crossing over my mind, furrowing my brow, as the logistics of how my grandmother's two 80-something-year-old friends were going to climb into the back seat of my compact two-door Jeep Cherokee just weren't coming together. I hadn't thought of that earlier, when I was basking in the praise of the good deed I had agreed to do. This is a back seat that's difficult for even some of my young and virile friends to conquer, and sometimes requires a bit of acrobatics to achieve. What the fuck had I been thinking???
It took about eight tries for each of them, slowly bringing one arthritic leg up into the car, grabbing onto something for leverage (while still clutching her purse, which she refused to unhand), attempting to pull herself up and into the car while not mussing her newly coiffed shampoo-set on the roof, failing, then trying again with the other leg, failing, and finally succeeding by backing up from a seated position on the floor of the back seat, then ungracefully and awkwardly pulling herself up into the seat. Then it was the other one's turn.
Oh dear god. I was sweating, apologizing, holding my hands up to my mouth in horror and shaking my head at the absurdity of the situation. I was going to kill these women, I knew it. They had survived a childhood in Eastern Europe where they had to flee their homes because of Jewish persecution, a difficult trip to America, the Great Depression and world wars, childbirth and decades of taking what life threw at them...and now I was going to kill them by forcing them to heave themselves into my Jeep.
My grandma and I kept exchanging horrid glances and I'd mouth "I'm so sorry" to her over and over. After about 20 minutes of this, my armpits damp with sweat, we had somehow managed to load everyone in and made it home, whereupon the evacuation took about half the time that the load in took, as everyone kinda just fell out of the car onto me as I apologized and silently swore to myself that I'd never get this old. My grandma took me to lunch after that, after I'd almost killed her two best friends, and she honestly seemed a little amused at the whole situation while I sat in horrified silence.
When I got home I sat on my couch and replayed the situation, then ate the entire hamentash in two minutes flat, and followed it with a two hour nap. I deserved it.
One of the woman, Leah - whom my grandmother has known for decades longer than I've even been alive, died last week. I can't help but think that I'm partially responsible.