Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

The Chef and I are making lasagne for some New York friends today, but to all the family and friends we can't hug on this wonderful day, Merry Merry Christmas!

If you're at home today, feel free to check out my friend Megan Kamerick's radio show from Alberquerque. It's at Kunm.org and starts at 3:30 EST.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An IM snapshot

typingelbow: omg. john just did something crazy.

brandito: what

typingelbow: he walked into a Christmas decoration store and spotted a little dog standing at the owner's feet.

typingelbow: The owner says, "Can I help you sir?"

typingelbow: John says, "How much for the dog?"

typingelbow: "Er, the dog is not for sale."

typingelbow: John turns and leaves, saying, "I'm out."

brandito: don't you wish you could have seen that?

typingelbow: oh god yes. i don't think i'm quick enough, but if i'd been there with him, i hope i would've said, "But I want a PUPPY!"

typingelbow: you know, in a voice that says "I should be wearing a helmet right now."

Monday, December 10, 2007

An update on my holiday checklist

-Make a gift list and start shopping.
-Ask rest of family for gift ideas for Dad, since he only ever asks for socks and underwear.
-Drink copious amounts of eggnog and/or mulled wine.
-Hang stockings by the chimney with care – well, by the sofa, anyway.
-Decorate tiny Christmas tree.
-Pick tree needles out from under fingernails.
-Wrap Christmas presents.
-Curse the clear tape’s mother for sticking to everything but the wrapping paper.
-Tear the house apart looking for a gift I hid from the Chef (and myself).
-Realize that I left that particular gift on the store counter two weeks ago. Go back and get it.
-Contemplate buying the cat a Christmas collar with jingly bells, then decide against stripping him of his dignity.
-Watch It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown and the animated version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Still Yet To do:

-Surprise the Chef with bushels of mistletoe in the apartment.
-Read the Christmas story from the old book itself.
-Watch It’s a Wonderful Life.
-Finish Christmas cards.
-Mail presents and pack a suitcase for the post-Christmas holiday bash at D.J. G-mom’s house in Tulsa, Okla.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Goodbye, NaBloPoMo

It's probably just coincidence, but as I sat down to write my "Thanks for playing, NaBloPoMo" post (one day late), a particularly poignient lyric floated off iTunes:

Look who's telling who what to do,
Kiss my ass, GOODBYE!

Thanks for the kick-start, Ben Folds Five.

Anyway, so National Blog Posting Month is over. Except for two stumbles, I managed to post on the blog every day in November. Although there were a few days when I didn't know what to write, I definitely enjoyed the exercise. And I feel like I kept up with my friends and family better this month because we would call each other to talk about the day's post.

I plan to ride the NaBloPoMo train again next year, and I'll try to post more often during the rest of the year, too.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Reader discretion advised

I was perusing my favorite movie-review site, Pajiba, today when I clicked on one of the clips the site had posted. Usually, these are trailers for upcoming movies or funny YouTube videos of celebrities acting dumb. I didn't realize that I had stumbled into the worst public service announcement ever until I actually had to bite back a scream in my cubicle.

The PSA opened on a pretty female cook in a restaurant kitchen. She's busy prepping for service, and she paused to show off her gorgeous engagement ring while mentioning that she's going to get married this weekend.

Then she says something like, "But that's not going to happen, because I'm about to have an accident." She does the air quotes with her fingers when she says the word accident.

The camera angle swings around to show her full body in the galley kitchen. As she leans over the stove to pick up a huge stock pot of boiling liquid, she says, "It's my fault really. I should have cleaned up the grease myself."

That's when I noticed the dark puddle on the floor, a split second before she steps in it, falls backwards and dumps the entire stock pot of boiling hotness on her face. She screams horribly as the other cooks run over to her and yell, "Call 911. There's been an accident."

The last shot of the ad is of this woman's face melting off her head. More screaming.


I actually broke into a cold sweat when I watched the clip. I started to heave in my desk chair and was immediately angry... At the Canadian Workplace Safety folks who came up with such a horror flick. At my cherished Pajiba for not warning me about what I was going to see. (They gave no indication at all--just dropped the clip into the text like a trailer for this weekend's best flick.)

I sorta panicked and called the Chef to tell him to be careful at work today. I know that makes me a crazed dork, but I just had to call him in the kitchen. Gah.

No, I'm not posting the link on the blog. You can hunt it down if you need to see it. Blech.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Slathering my face with diamond dust

A few weeks ago, someone gave me a handful of product samples for some skincare line I didn't recognize. Now, I buy enough cosmetics and beauty fluff to get more than my share of samples, so I didn't think much of these little bottles. They were a little bigger than your typical samples, at about .5 oz each.

I tried the skin creme first. It was the biggest of the three bottles, so I assumed it was hand cream. It went on thick and absolutely melted into my skin. I've been drenching my hands in it daily.

Next, I tried the face cream. I was wary, since my hormones think I'm still a teenager (fucking adult acne). But this stuff didn't disappoint. I started putting it on every night before bed, even though it smells a little like the inside of an old woman's handbag. It was lovely, so I started using the eye cream, too.

Tonight I realized that I'm addicted to all these lovely products, and I looked them up on the Internet to see where I'll have to go to find some more once the well runs dry.

I lost my marbles when I figured out that this stuff costs about $200 an ounce. AN OUNCE!!! TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS! I've been plastering a freaking car payment to my face every night! Go see for yourself by clicking here.

Clearly, the cat needs to take on a job to pay for my habit.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Observations while jogging this morning...

This run seemed less violent than the last one. I guess the new sports bra is working.
This morning, I managed to haul my sizable behind around a 1.76 mile loop at a nearby park. I used the 20-minute trip there and back as a warm-up and cool-down, which will hopefully help ease the aches over the next few days.

Now, if I could just convince myself to do this three times a week. Then, I could eat what I want, within reason, and still wear all my clothes.

I'm popping some Advil now, and I should be over enough of the soreness to run on Friday. Y'all are hereby invited to hound me about jogging on Friday. A little nudge, you know?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Icicles in Brooklyn

Our heat has been off for about two days now, so we're using every excuse to keep the oven warm. Today, I made two batches of cookies and two pizzas (Ronie's Southwest chicken recipe). Tomorrow night, I'm seriously considering making beef stew, which is a six-hour process, just so we won't freeze while we wait for the handyman to come by on Tuesday.

In the meantime, John and I might play rock-paper-scissors to see who has to get into bed first and warm up the icy sheets. If I lose the draw, I might plant my hairdryer next to the bed. When I was growing up in my mom's house, my room was the last one on the circuit to get any heat. I could see my breath in there on really cold nights. So, I got into the habit of sticking the hairdryer under the sheets for a few minutes, while being careful not to let the sheets get sucked into the hairdryer vent. In no time, the bed was toasty, and I'd burrow down in the blankets and lock the heat in.

At least I've got a secret weapon until Tuesday.

The photo edition

We finally got some film developed... Here, you can see John's five-head as he sips a spiked pina colada at the West Indian Day parade in our neighborhood this summer; John and I at the U.S. Open for his birthday celebration; He in a fabulous new beard; and the view from our apartment on a rainy day.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Go Hogs Go!!

I never learned all the words to the Razorback fight song, but today I belted out all the words I knew (and some I made up) while the Hogs went to three overtimes to beat LSU for the BOOT.

So sweet.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Thankgsiving memory

When I was a little kid, my family would always descend on my grandparents' house for Thanksgiving. Grandmother would spend two days cooking a dozen dishes for everyone, and she'd always have a few more things to do when we arrived. So the rest of the adults hung out in the living room, watching the parade or football, while Mary and I set the fancy dining table and Grandmother cooked.

Anyway, about 10 years ago, I wrote out a Thanksgiving memory for Grandmother. Although it sounds a little flowery now, it still paints a picture for me. Here it is, as I sent it to her then:

"The table was set. A rich lace draped over the expansive oak
table. Dangling folds of the cloth flirted with the thick bayberry carpet
under softened lights and glowing candles. A spray of long lilies opened
above the table, and eight full settings with Wednesday's polished silver
saved each guest's reservation.
Platters of spinach and cheese casserole, sweet potatoes, and
French rolls surrounded the settings with bowls of ripe olives, tomato
aspic, and dressing. Another leaf in the table provided room for the
Grandmother's voice roamed the kitchen as she pulled a pecan pie
from the oven. Stuffy from the work, the kitchen harbored the scent of a
holiday. Setting the pecan delight close to a chilled key lime pie and a
pumpkin pie, she spoke louder as the whir of the can opener produced the
cranberry sauce. With the ease of years of practice, Grandmother
persuaded one of the kids to put the sauce on the table while she got the
butter out of the refrigerator. Never missing a beat of the conversation
with her scarcely seen son, she shooed the cat from the dining room while
magically creating room for the bowl of cranberry sauce that balanced
precariously on the edge of the feast.
Seven people trailed into the room, commenting on the food and the
cat, who watched form the staircase. While everyone settled into their
seats, the children struggled to remember all of mom's Emily Post
After grace, clattering utensils began the indulgence. Diets,
popular in the family, drifted, forgotten. Issues and trifles of daily
family life slipped under the lace linen, and before everyone reverted to
their usual directions, the family came together.
Such a feast could only last in memory. Hugs and thanks given,
the family separated again. Over the years they came together again, but
the times together dwindled. After the hostess retired to Florida, the
apron she wore hung, forgotten.”

While D.J. G-mom did return from Florida, and I’ve enjoyed many more holiday moments with my family, those early Thanksgivings will always be bright memories for me. I hope that John and I can create some moments like that for our family some day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Pumpkin Cake how-to

This is the recipe I used for the Pumpkin Cake that D.J. G-mom suggested. I haven't tried it yet, but I already heart it because the baking made the apartment smell amazing for hours last night. It serves 16 to 20 people... or 6, if you're serving Butlers.

What you'll need:
For the Streusel-
1 C firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 C butter, room temperature
1 C chopped nuts

For the cake:
1 pkg. of moist yellow cake mix (Oh, Betty, you make my heart sing!)
1 can (16 oz) solid pack pumpkin (I messed up and used pre-mixed pumpkin pie filling. We'll see how that goes.)
3 eggs
1/4 C butter, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. For streusel, combine brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives. Stir in nuts. Set aside.

3. For cake, combine cake mix, pumpkin, eggs and butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes.

4. Spread half the batter into ungreased 13"x9" pan. Sprinkle half the streusel over batter. Spread remaining batter over streusel. Top with remaining streusel. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An informal poll

It's two days before Thanksgiving, and I haven't even bought the pecans needed for the Texas Pecan Pie recipe I'm making, let alone started my Christmas shopping. And my family is bigger than ever this year... there's a lot of shopping to be done!

How are you guys doing this year? Are you already finished shopping (ahem, Mary B.) or are you putting those lists off until after the turkey sandwiches are gone?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Plugging away at blogging

Some days, I can't think of a single thing to blog about.

Other days, I have plenty of ideas, but I'm unsure about sending them out into the ether. At these times, I'm usually feeling protective of whatever subject has sprung to mind, and even the idea of seeing the words floating on the screen are too much.

Today, I've got too many ideas that aren't ready to be aired. I'm sure they'll surface before long, but I'm just not done processing them yet.

Thanks for understanding.

In the meantime, I am thinking over dessert ideas for Thanksgiving. Brandi and Megann have invited us over for Turkey Day, and I'm in charge of the pie brigade. I'm thinking of making pecan pie and a pumpkin cake recipe that my grandmother said she would forward to me.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pretend this was for Saturday

(Editor's note: Sorry, NaBloPoMo organization and esteemed readers. I just plum forgot to blog yesterday. I was very very busy being lazy. But I'll pick back up like nothing happened, and we'll see this National Blog Posting Month thing to the end. Yeehaw!)

I watched Beowulf last night, and I've got to admit, it was amazing. I wasn't expecting much, since the trailer looked awful, but.... Wow. It was exhilarating and beautiful. At one point in the movie, I felt myself blushing because a couple of the animated characters are insanely sexy. Cartoons, people! Sexy! I'm turning into a Japanese teenage boy, even as we speak.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'd call him Leon

OMG. Our neighbors got a new dog. It's a solid black French Bulldog named Napoleon. I want to hug him and kiss him and call him GEORGE!!

Wonder if they'd let us dog-sit...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Full-body traction anyone?

My grandparents had a rule that they would use on each other to keep the family running smoothly. It's a simple regulation, but if anyone broke it, they would call foul immediately.

The rule is this: You only get seven minutes of whining a day. Any more belly-aching than that, and you're just wallowing. So shut it.

Grandmother still enforces this one on the family, and it's safe to bet that she's pulled it out on a few crybaby strangers from time to time, too.

With that rule in mind, I will not go into great detail about how stiff my legs are or how I had to use my arms to lower myself onto the toilet today. No. I will instead pop my Advil quietly, chase it with a handful of olives (washed down with vodka) and quit bitching.

But tomorrow's a whole new day with seven more minutes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

And I ran, I ran so far away

I finally went for a jog this morning.

Now my legs are jelly. I may have to hire a tow truck to get me out of bed tomorrow morning.

I blame this group for making me run so far, so fast, so fabulously. I found them through Dooce, and I am addicted to "I'm Not Gonna Teach Him How to Dance."

Great running song... hopefully it will motivate me to get my stiff ass out of bed tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The rain dance worked!

Sit back and bask in my glow of excuses:

On the way home last night, I was psyching myself up to go jogging. I was on the subway, hurtling through a tunnel beneath the East River, when destiny intervened: my iPod's battery died. Suddenly, I had two choices. I could either go home alone, wrestle into my workout clothes, and go running in the chilly dark with no music to keep me going. (Barf!) Or, I could get off at the next subway stop, kiss my husband hello, eat Brooklyn's best mac-and-cheese and have a couple of killer cocktails. (Yay!)

As I dabbed away a spot of cheesy goodness from my chin, I thought, "Well, I'll just go for a run in the morning. Early."

But at 6 a.m., the rain was coming down hard in Brooklyn. I'll try again Wednesday morning.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I hope it was a good party

Two items of note today:

1. Someone in West Palm Beach, Fla., has gotten ahold of my credit card information and spent $325 on booze at Winn-Dixie. It was charged to the card I used before I changed my name... Apparently, cutting up the card isn't enough. I should have canceled it, too. But my bank doesn't seem too worried, so neither am I.

and 2. I promised myself that I would go for a jog after work today, since the diet isn't going too well without exercise. But, man, just the idea of searching for my old athletic bra sounds tiring, much less wrangling the girls into it and actually running down the street. Blech. I'm going to try to talk myself into it on the subway ride home.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


The Chef and I started watching The Sopranos today. Disk one of season one.

I can see that we're going to get sucked into this series for weeks, just like we did with Six Feet Under, Deadwood and Veronica Mars.

When I told The Chef that I was going to blog about Tony Soprano, he said, "Be careful what you write about. Don't get us whacked."


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday night in Fort Greene

I am sitting outside a diner in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, because it's the only place in the neighborhood offering an unlocked Airport, and my dinner host's Internet connection is down.

The Chef is smoking a cigar with the boys, hopefully savoring the hearty thanks he received for cooking a wonderful meal, while my hosts, dear friends Keith and Beth, are entertaining their other guests.

A line of white trailers are lined up in front of the diner that is supplying my Internet connection, and I'm pretty sure that means that I'm blogging from a movie set. Maybe Sex in the City, although I heard that the Coen Brothers were filming in Brooklyn now, too.

Anyway, I'm only blogging in the cold because I want to make it through NaBloPoMo without missing a day. I've already discovered some joy from making myself blog daily, and I don't want to break the chain yet.

Until tomorrow....

Friday, November 09, 2007

Overheard at Rodeo Bar in Manhattan

Drunk suit: Where's the urinal?

Southern belle:
Honey, this is the girl's bathroom.

But... where's the ... (staggers)

Hon, this is the cowgirls' room. The cowboys' room is out there.

(sways dangerously and stares at the sink)

Out there. Get out. Cowboys over there!

(Drunk fumbles out the door, past the men's room and up the stairs.)

Belle: Y'all weren't kidding about those margaritas. Dang!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A yummy snack

Step one
Mix the following in a bowl:
- 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (Use lowfat, if not full-fat for this mix. The fat-free kind doesn't pull its weight here.)
- 1 cup of salsa (Garlic-roasted Green Mountain Gringo is my personal favorite jar salsa.)

Step two
Turn down the lights. (The dip looks vaguely regurgitated, but trust me, the flavor is worth it.)

Step three
Eat with salty tortilla chips.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A letter to me

I'm prone to earworms, and I've had one particular song bouncing between my ears for a few weeks now. It's a new country song called "A Letter to Me," by Brad Paisley. (Don't tune out yet, Mary B. I won't make you listen to the actual song.)

Anyway, the song is basically a letter that the singer would write to his 17-year-old self. One of the best lines is "Have no fear, these are nowhere near the best years of your life."

It made me think about what I would say to my 17-year-old self (pictured), so here it is...

Dear Elisabeth,

You won't believe this, but this is a letter from your future self. No, really, it's me, er, you, at age 29. You can tell that it's me because we're the only ones who know about the list on your closet door that names every outfit you've worn, in order, for the last six months. You started it because you didn't want the other cheerleaders to call you out on wearing the same bright green Girbaud jeans twice in the same week. Believe me, now?

I'm writing to you to offer a little advice, gleaned from surviving another 12 years or so:

Let go of your hangups about your "gut." You are gorgeous, and there will always be skinnier, more petite girls around you, so just enjoy what you've got. Rock your legs in short skirts as often as possible, honey!!

Also, don't let those high school teachers get you down! Being a nosy busy-body fits right into your career path. Soon people will be paying you hard cash to mind other people's business! Don't ever be afraid to challenge the rules and ask more questions.

Tear your sister away from the video games and sneak her out of the house for some fun. You may not believe me now, but she'll soon become one of your favorite people in all the world, a true friend and confidant. Might as well get an early jump on the sisterly giggles.

So, I know that you just got your first taste of heartache. Unfortunately, it won't be the last. It's bitter and it sucks, but it will not crush you. And believe me, all the sadness you encounter is worth it. I don't want to give too much away, but a broken heart actually helps you figure out who you are and where you belong. (Clue: it ain't Woodhaven Drive.) Plus, your husband turns out to be hot and more loving than you could imagine.

However, on the heels of that first broken heart, you recently rebelled a little and bought your first pack of cigarettes. You're still barely inhaling now, and it wouldn't be a big deal to drop the habit at this point. Please quit now, or you'll get stuck on them. In fact, by the time I'm writing this letter, you've been smoking for a dozen years. Nothing good has come from any of those smokes, so do us both a favor and put them down. Now. Never touch them again. Thanks.

Just one more thing before I go... enjoy the ride. You will be part of some truly wonderful moments, and there are some major blessings in store for you. Remember to be careful of other people's feelings, especially with the folks you don't particularly like, and stand up for yourself when it's time.


Elisabeth at 29

Oh, and P.S., Don't let the blueberry champagne fool you, rebound romps are always a bad idea.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Splash of fashion

Last year, I bought a pair of fun black tights for $3 at Daffy's discount store, and yesterday I discovered them on the bottom of my underwear drawer. I've gotten tons of comments on them today, not to mention more than a few outright stares on the subway.

My friend Hilpot says they make my legs look tattooed.


Monday, November 05, 2007

A bad day

Violence in the workplace is a very serious, very bad thing.

Unless it's good.

Link via Neatorama.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

On a 25-hour day

I am taking full advantage of the extra hour in the day... I got up late this morning (still in Jersey, since Dirty Bingo ran a little long last night), and I'm going to bed a little early. I know that the Chef and I won't always get to snuggle down in a quiet house as often as we'd like, since he is probably going to start working nights again soon.

So I'm drinking in every moment today.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Dirty Bingo on a cold day

We're headed over to John's Grandma's house for macaroni and pot roast, and then we're coming back to Aunt Diane's for "Dirty Bingo." Although it sounds like a game I played in college, I'm pretty sure we'll all keep our clothes on.

John and I went to Costco to buy the gifts we needed for Dirty Bingo, and it was my first visit to that store. It was like a warehouse of impulse buys! I found myself wanting to fill my cart with cases of cookie batter, tomato sauce and cartons of half-and-half. The store had everything! But you couldn't buy just one of anything. Every item was sold in a bundle. I showed as much restraint as possible and only bought 15 pairs of rainbow socks, a case of Orbitz Sweet Mint gum and a red sweater. I could've happily gone crazy in there, though. There's just something about 32 Diet Cokes for $8...

Friday, November 02, 2007

It's meatball time!

The Chef and I are lucky to have some of his extended family living near the city. We've got dozens of grandparents, aunts, cousins and longtime family friends all cloistered together near the Jersey Shore.

We squeeze onto a bus at Port Authority and head for the Jersey compound about once a month--or whenever I feel the need for a series of big bear hugs and/or a large meal of spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni with garlic and oil, and pot roast (yes, I mean all three arranged on a plate at the same time.)

There's not a quiet person in the bunch, except for the Chef, and everyone shouts over everyone else, no matter their moods.

We're heading out there tonight to hug John's Grandma's neck and sneak a beer with Grandpa Fred. I wore my bright blue Converse low-tops because he always tells me that he loves them. I'm sure I'll be full of meatballs and macaroni by the time I blog again.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Items on my desk

Of course, now that I've committed to blogging a fresh post every day, I'm drawing a blank about what to write. So here's a list of the stuff on my desk:
- a coffee mug full of my favorite pens; black and blue Bics that never gunk up and allow me to write fast, a bunch of red Pilot razor point pens, a pair of scissors, one mechanical pencil, a perfect nail file and one folded paper fan that brings out my Southern accent when I use it.
- two dozen half-used spiral notebooks, including one that's just for phone messages
- red and yellow post-it flags that I use obsessively
- at least 250 unfiled business cards
- two pictures of the Chef and I, smiling all goofy
- various doodles from phone conversations that ran too long (see picture)
- a half-full bottle of olive oil
- two paper calendars; one from my purse and another that stays at work
- a 20-year old Canon calculator that is yellowed with use
- a dozen reference books; everything from Webster's dictionary to Zagat's last five surveys
- a foot-deep stack of read newspapers
- and one bamboo plant that needs to be sprayed for spider mites

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

National Blog Posting Month

What, you want more? Just wait until November...

I joined NaBloPoMo with the aim of posting a new blog every day in November. Who's with me?!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I went swimming this weekend, for the first time since the wedding. I eased into the cold pool and my goosebumps gradually faded as I kept moving. No one else wanted to swim in the chilly water, especially since the October winds were blowing.

But I couldn't pass up the chance to flip and curl and swish underwater. At first, I could barely swim half the distance of the pool without surfacing, gasping for air. But after several hours of playing, one breath was enough to take me the length of the pool underwater. It's so peaceful to swim to the bottom of the deep end, turn over on my back and look up at the sky. I hold my nose so I can stay down there longer. When my air is gone, I crouch on the blue pool floor and leap toward the surface.
Underwater, I feel slender and graceful. I can stretch in any direction or just float with my head back and arms out. The fish have got it good.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

E-squared on the subway

E-squared on the subway
Originally uploaded by typingelbow
Last weekend, my friend Emily and John's friend Sean came to visit us. Emily is my oldest friend, and every time we hang out, no matter how long it's been since we actually hugged, it's like she's just dropping in from across the street. Even though we live incredibly far apart now, I never feel the distance with her.

This summer, Emily served as my maid of honor, a job she's had to fill for several friends, and she struck up a friendship with Sean, one of John's groomsmen. He's a college buddy of John's, and it was fun getting to know him over the long weekend.

The four of us ate our way through the city, since that's how John and I like to show off New York. But it was more interesting this time because Emily is the pickiest eater I've ever known, and Sean is a human vacuum. She won't eat anything green, leafy or mushy, and Sean likes to eat pre-hors'devours and double desserts with every meal.

We made the most of their four days, though, eating pizza, pasta, olives, hot dogs, cannelloni at Emilia's in the Bronx, fresh bread, ice cream, sorbet, cupcakes, Katz's pastrami sandwiches, oysters, carpaccio, brunch at Craft, and anything else we could fit into our mouths. We washed it all down with copious amounts of red wine, limoncello and a little sambuca.

If we hadn't walked all over creation while they were here, I'm pretty sure that Weight Watchers would have revoked my membership for good. What a lovely weekend! (There are pictures at Flickr, if you wanna see.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My first memory

My earliest memory is about my dad teaching me how to say my name.
We were in a sunny, yellow bedroom. He was sitting on a bed with a white bedspread, leaning over with his face close to mine.
He would say my name with long syllables, E-Lis-A-Beth, and I would repeat it back to him. I must have been having trouble with it, because it seems like he kept saying it slowly for me, over and over.
I was probably just one or two years old, and I have no idea which house it was... maybe on Faulkner Street in El Dorado.

What's your earliest memory?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Manning the fruit stand

I was standing outside with a buddy today when a short man walked over from his fruit stand.
"You stand here? I will be back in one minute. One minute."
"Okay," I said.
"Poor guy must have to pee," friend said.
So there we stood. No one stopped at first, and we were looking around for the little guy to return when a suited fellow picked up a banana and looked around for the owner. No sign of the fruit man, so I walked over and took his 75 cents for a banana and a nectarine.
Suddenly, everyone on the block wanted to buy fruit. In three minutes, I sold two pounds of cherries, another banana, two grapefruits and an apple -- $10 worth of fruit! (Not counting the tall guy who swiped a lychee.)
Behind the crowd, I saw the fruit guy running back to the stand. I was happy to see him, since he didn't give me any change and one of the cherry-buyers only had a $20.
But it was a fun New York moment! I'll keep it in mind as a back-up career.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

iPodding the subway

On my way to work this morning, I had the best string of happy songs come up on my iPod's random. Check it out:

"Beatnik Beach" - The GoGo's
"Tribute" - Tenacious D
"Gideon" - My Morning Jacket
"Holla Back Girl" - Gwen Stefani (this song will never get old for me.)
"What it Takes" - Aerosmith
"File Me Away" - Badly Drawn Boy

What a great way to start the day!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Pictures from the professional

I've been a wife for six weeks. Yay!
Click here for further evidence that my face was near implosion from smiling so much.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A prayer for the prevention of back fat

God, please make sure you keep making hot, chocolate-glazed donuts, the most fabulous food on Earth, so that I don't have to eat the ones I see today.

I started Weight Watchers today. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rainy Sunday

Red beans and rice on the stove.
Cornbread in the oven.
Rain on the fire escape.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

What's that roaring?

I work in midtown Manhattan, and as I was closing up my computer last night, I heard thunder that didn't stop. When the horns started honking outside, I got up to see hundreds of people running up Third Avenue, weaving through standstill traffic, yelling on their cell phones and looking back over their shoulders at the sky.

I headed outside to ask a few questions, mainly, "What is that roaring?" It sounded like a tornado had hit Grand Central and just stayed there.

By the time I got outside, there were fewer people running and more people standing around, trying to find out what happened.

"Some rocks crashed through my bosses window," one woman said.

"I heard it was the Chrysler Building," said another.

Finally, someone from my building said that her husband had called from Grand Central to say that an underground transformer had blown up. At that point, I went back inside to e-mail The Chef , in case he was worried because he couldn't get through to my cell. That's when a buddy at work told me about the four-story geyser of steam and brown water that was spraying up out of the intersection of 41st and Lexington.

I had to go see. I was relieved that this wasn't terrorists trying to interrupt my commute. It was a freak accident--a New York Event, like the blackout or the rockslide that took out part of the West Side Highway last year.

As I got closer to the site of the explosion, the roaring grew louder. At 42nd St. and Third, I snapped the first picture. I took the second at 41st and Third. Watching the steam pound out of the street was surreal. The ground shook, and people were shouting over the noise.

Now this is where my ambulance-chasing genes come in. The police were starting to cordon off the surrounding blocks, pushing people back and telling them to go around. I had started walking across town to catch the West side train home, when I found a plaza alleyway that lead to 41st, between Lexington and Third. There were no policemen blocking the way, and I knew that I'd have an unobstructed view of the geyser at the end of the alley. I hesitated--what if another explosion went off? What if more debris started falling? In the end, I decided to go because there was scaffolding around the building at the end of the alley. I figured it was designed to catch hammers and large men if they were dropped, so it would probably protect me from the fist-sized chunks of pavement that had fallen when the geyser started.

I shot the third picture from the alley, a half-block from the geyser. There were a few people standing under the scaffolding, just staring at the steam. We couldn't talk over the deafening sound, and I saw that the windows in the building across the street were rattling with each billow of steam that poured out. It looked like most of the intersection had been blown away by the force.

On the radio this morning, I heard that the city is checking the air around Grand Central for asbestos. That thought never occurred to me, so hopefully nothing will come of it. (Update: no asbestos in the air.)

It was a sight to see... something I never imagined I'd witness in the city. I can't imagine having something like that happen in the street beside me just as I'm heading home from work. Now it may be a while before I stop thinking about that possibility.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My wedding day

The first question that people asked me when I got back from my honeymoon: "So, how was it?"

"Amazing," I say.

They look at me expectantly, waiting for more details, and I pause. It's been nearly a month since I married The Chef, and I haven't been able to find a quick phrase that sums up the day.
I mean, the folks who are inquiring are just acquaintances, and they don't really want to hear five hours of details about how the dress was perfect, but my slippers got covered in mud before the ceremony. About how we forgot the programs and the hotel's air conditioning went out the night before the wedding, but neither John nor I sweated those details. About how I danced with my husband for the first time at the reception, as well as my dad and my new nephews.

So, if you're just mildly curious about the wedding, feel free to check out now. Here are the pictures from the beach-house rehearsal party. Here are the actual wedding day photos. And here are the honeymoon shots. You are free to go, and thanks for stopping by.

But if you want the nuances (Hi, Mary Ann!), I've got plenty to share.
Here's a timeline for you:

Wednesday before the wedding: We've just settled into our seats on the plane, and I'm reading a men's magazine that features a big article about The White Stripes' new CD, "Icky Thump." The Chef leans over to tell me that Meg and Jack White are on our plane, and we spend the rest of the flight spying on the rock'n'rollers as we go back and forth to the bathroom.
After we land, we head for the car rental place, and they're having a special on convertibles. For just $200 extra for the week, we can rent a CONVERTIBLE VOLKSWAGON BUG. I leave John to haul our two 40-pound bags and run outside to lavish the car with hugs and kisses. It's cream colored with a black ragtop. (A little backstory: I once seriously weighed the choice of either A) moving to New York City, or B) buying a VW bug convertible. It's my dream car.) We had to lower the top to put the luggage in the back seat, and we squished the dress to get it in the trunk, but we rolled off the lot with lots of happy squeals.

John's folks live about 35 miles from LAX, so it took us about two hours to get to their house, thanks to rush hour. We learned a quick lesson about putting on sunscreen anytime you even think about putting the top down, and I earned the first (of many) weird tan-lines for the wedding. I saw John's childhood home for the first time; a big two-story house that felt surprisingly welcoming. There were dozens of pictures of the whole family on the wall by the stairs, and it had two sunken dens that I could totally imagine running around in as a kid. I met John's brother, Michael, and sister-in-law, Kelly, that night at dinner. They have two sons, Michael, the ringbearer, and Ryan, the petal launcher.

Thursday and Friday: We went to the courthouse to get the marriage license in the morning. There was a Hawaiian wedding party going on at the office, complete with about 10 large people dressed in lais and grass skirts. The bride and groom were sitting in front of their license official, while their whole family stood around taking pictures. Now, I am changing my last name, and I had read on some wedding site that I would be able to sign my new name on the wedding license and that would be the legal start of Elisabeth Cordova. But no. My license woman told me to sign my old name and said I would have to change it weeks later with Social Security and the DMV. I was so disappointed that big fat tears were rolling down my cheeks as I signed the license. Lord knows what that woman thought... maybe that I was doing this as part of an arranged marriage. Gah. It was the only time during the whole process that I cried from stress.

Mary B. arrived that afternoon, and the fun started. I introduced her to John's big Italian family that night, and she handled the whole thing with humor and poise, even when John's aunt told her that every John in the family had married a Mary until now and asked her if she secretly had her eye on The Chef. Good lord.

On Friday night, we had a big dinner to introduce our families. John was out at his bachelor party, and I was a little nervous about unleashing everyone together. It was the first time that my dad had met anyone from John's family. My Uncle Chuck kept everyone entertained at one end of the table, while my dad and John's dad made friends at the other end. We had a grand time.

Saturday: We had a rehearsal in the morning, and things started to seem real. We were discussing how to walk and where to stand, and our preacher, Jung, helped in that area immensely. After that, we all loaded up into cars and drove out to the beach house. Tamekia and my soon-to-be-nephews rode with me, and the trip was uneventful except for one near mash-up where I almost rear-ended groomsmen Sean's sportscar.

John's friend Gary cooked a feast for everyone, and we ate very well. It was so wonderful to see all these different parts of my life together, in one place. My dad was talking to Alex and Shaun, my friends from England. John's New Jersey aunts were chatting up Tamekia and Emily, from Little Rock. And right in the middle of it all, my NYC buddy Roi was rocking everyone out at his pop-up D.J. booth. It was surreal. When we were leaving, I kissed John good-bye and told him to meet me at 5 the next day.
"I'll be the one in the white," I said.

After the beach house, I crashed Brandi and Megann's room for a little pizza party. Tamekia, Mary B., Emily, Mike, Megan and Sean were all there. It was nice to have a few minutes to hang out with my friends alone, but I left for bed pretty soon thereafter.

Sunday: I slept soundly and woke with a big goofy grin on my face at about 9 a.m.
I was bunking with my maid of honor, Emily, mom and Mary B., and we started out slow. Room service and a luggage rack for hanging the dresses. Emily ironed all the gowns, and I handed out bloody marys to anyone who needed it. By 1 o'clock, we started getting dressed. The photographer got there at 3 and took lots of photos of me and the girls. Emily's heels sunk into the mud during the first shots outside, but she was a very good sport. After we'd been shooting for a while, Mary got me to laugh by singing "Somebody's Getting Married" from the Muppets Take Manhattan.

Back inside. It's 4:30 p.m. People are sitting down in the hall downstairs. The air conditioner had died Saturday night, so the girls and I are all standing very still, trying not to sweat in these heavy, unbreathable dresses. Mine weighed at least 20 pounds, even before I started sweating. No one is saying much of anything, so I break into song. No, seriously.... "Here I Go Again." Everyone knows this song, and we all join in for a full verse and chorus. I tell them that it means so much to me that they're all there, my sisters and friends, my mom. They tell me to shush when I start to cry, and then it's time.

We pile into the elevator, and when we walk through the lobby, there's just my dad and the two little boys there. My brother walks my mother to her seat, and then the girls disappear one by one. We nudge the boys into the hall, and then it's just Dad and I.
"Are you ready, baby?"
"Oh, Lord. Yes."
Blur. Trying not to cry. Grinning bigger than my face can hold. There's my girls, all lined up. John, looking at me. Dad gives John my hand, and I forget to kiss him on the cheek.
Jung talks.
The musicians cue the hymn, and John leans over to say, "By the way, I forgot the programs."
I giggle. "How are they going to sing the hymn?"
"We made copies of that and handed it out."
(The crowd is singing.)
"I just thought I should tell you about that."
Me, laughing, "Oh, it's fine. But you're not whispering."
"No one can hear us over Jung's singing anyway."
Jung looks up at us, and we giggle.

When John finishes repeating his vows, I jump up and down a little, huge dress and all. I make my promise, and we trade rings and a kiss.

Blur... dancing. laughing. toasts. more dancing.

The last dance. Roi plays a John Legend song, and John pulls me close. We keep our foreheads together, just touching. People crowd around us and blow bubbles over us while we dance. It's magic.

A few hugs and we leave the party. Walking out of the hall, alone in the lobby, everything is tingling... I've never felt so special, so beautiful, so happy, and it's all just a start. I walked out of that wonderful party on the arm of my husband, and that is a bigger blessing that I could've imagined.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I do, too!

I promise to give a full account of the wedding and the weeks surrounding it, soon. Until then, here's a snapshot from the front row of the ceremony.

Thanks for the picture, Dad!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

My dance card is full

So much has been happening that it's hard to know where to start.
We moved. The Chef and I put our stuffed one-room apartment into brown boxes, drove 15 minutes from the river and flung everything into a two-room flat on a fourth floor. Our little penthouse is longer than it is wide, and sunlight streams into the bedroom, no matter how many curtains we hang.

Some friends are coming over for dinner on Sunday, so we'll probably spend most of Saturday unpacking and cleaning.

Also, the wedding is just a month away. Four weeks. 30 days. I am so very ready to get on the plane, hang my dress in a closet, buckle up and hold John's hand through the takeoff. Not long now!

I'll try to post more often, but honestly, I won't get back to regular blogging until after the honeymoon.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Silence is golden

I have been utterly showered with love and well wishes from all of my family and friends. The wedding is just two months away, and I've had so much fun with everyone in Jersey and Arkansas that I actually squealed my voice away.

I've been whispering for four days now, and I'm trying to shut up long enough to let my vocal chords heal. If you know me, you that "quiet" and I get along as well as The Pill and antibiotics: we just don't work together.

I'm hoping this attempted silence will work out, because I really miss being able to talk normally. The outlook is grim, though, since John just had to tell me not to read these words aloud as I type them.

Update: I went to the doctor yesterday about this, and she said, in her crotchety, no-nonsense voice, that I should not strain my voice. (!) Gee, ya think?!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Go, Panthers!

The Dillon Panthers on Friday Night Lights went to state in the season finale this week, but the best news about the show came for Coach and the gang on CNN.

(No, I don't plan on dedicating all of the Typingelbow blog to Friday Night Lights, but this show rocks!)

And the Fug girls agree with me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Smack for television junkies

Friday Night Lights is the best show on television, and if you're not watching it, you're missing a phenomenon along the lines of My So-Called Life and Six Feet Under.
FNL is light-years better than the awful movie of the same name, and the show is about so much more than football. It's small-town living brought to life by smart writing and wholly endearing characters. I want to be Tami, the mom, when I grow up.
Doubters, when you finally Netflix the first episodes, you will want to ram your head into the television for not watching it live and possibly helping the show win a second season. (The show is on the ropes for renewal, and if it gets killed, I'll have to order some Prozac to get me through the worst of the grief.)
You can watch all of the episodes for free here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Birthday Week

I don't know when I became a birthday princess, but I have celebrated my birthday (the ides of March) for at least a week at a time for as long as I can remember. I know that a few other people would rather run a marathon with a sweaty goat strapped to their back instead of making a big deal out of the day they were born, but I just seem to sprout an invisible crown during the week around my mom's Labor Day. This year was no different, although I didn't put on any big parties.

Instead, The Chef took over the birthday duties, coming up with a birthday banquet (homemade fried chicken, mac-n-cheese, and cobbler a la mode) that came complete with purple tulips and a shiny birthday banner. Plus, he indulged me with a dance party AND a teary viewing of Steel Magnolias.

I am so spoiled!

Maybe I'll throw a party next year, in honor of the big 3-0, but it would be hard to beat this kind of attention.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The ball, it is rolling

I got the first wedding reply card in the mail this morning. It's from two people I don't know (yet), and they both want chicken.

And, it's Birthday Week. We celebrated Birthday Monday with Taco Night. (Yes, I'm in love with an incredibly talented chef, and I still looooove Taco Night.) A present arrived from my mom for Birthday Tuesday, so the week is getting started right.

Three cheers for Birthday Week! (and turning 29!)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Little Rock, here I come

I just made my first major flub of the wedding planning.
I woke up productive this morning, so I've been working on printing invitations. As my printer turned those out, I decided to multi-task and book a flight for the shower in Little Rock. As I was clicking BUY TICKET on Expedia.com, I thought to myself, "This seems familiar."
Turns out, I had already booked a ticket directly through an airline.
I called Expedia, prepared to grovel and plead for the sake of my wedding budget. But they just let me off the hook--canceling the flight and refunding the price of the ticket and the booking fee. They are awesome!

There are lots of new pictures up at Flickr. Check out The Year of the Boar and Christmas with Mom and Mary.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Maybe it was the two beers I had during the red-carpet walk, but I belly-laughed during Ellen's presentation. She was understated, but very funny.

I like watching the Oscars at home. It lets me ask out loud, "Why the hell did Jack Nicholson shave his head?" and "How many birds died to create Penelope Cruz' dress?"

John's asleep (it's after 10 p.m.), but I think I'll beat his Oscar predictions. We're tied with eight awards announced. Come on, Pan's Labryinth!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Scrooge Cordova

Scrooge Cordova
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
You might think that this scrunchy faced guy was scowling at me because it's President's Day, and I'm only now getting around to posting Christmas pictures. But really, he's just irked that I'm sticking my camera in his face to get a better picture of his eyebrows.

The Chef is going to look just like this guy in 47 years. Cool hair, huh? There are more pictures from Christmas in Jersey on my Flickr page.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


On my way to the subway every morning, I am always careful not to remove my purse from my shoulder because every time I do, my iPod sends a little shock through my headphones. Usually, I just hear the crackling in my ears, but sometimes, the earbuds actually zap me a little. It doesn't matter whether my iPod is in my coat pocket or my purse, I get popped with a little static electricity on a regular basis.
Brandito doesn't seem to think this is normal, but I can't be the only one, right?

At least I don't have it as bad as this guy did.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ganging Up on the Sun

Forgive me for being out of touch this last week or so. The Chef's parents came into town, and we've been squealing about the wedding. We're full-on planning the details now.

I have been blissfully ignorant about this process and had no idea that so many decisions go into each part, even a simple invitation. Apparently the font on the invitation -- just the style of the type! -- tells the wedding guests volumes about your wedding. Like traditional or contemporary; hors d'oeuvres or sit-down dinner; ball gown or Daisy Dukes.

I know squat about fonts, except that I think the one I'm using here has serifs.

Anyway. About the title of this blog...

While I've been running around busy, I've discovered a new favorite band: Guster. Their CD, Ganging Up on the Sun, makes me 10 kinds of happy and I've listened to nothing else for two weeks. The Chef gets credit for discovering this one.

This is the way I hear Lightening Rod:
Standing on a building
I am a lightening rod
and all these clouds are so familiar.
Decending from the mountaintops
the Gods are threatenting
but I will return an honest soldier.

Steady on this highrise
like every lightening rod
and all these clouds are boiling over.
Swimming in adrenaline,
the sky is caving in.
I will remain an honest soldier.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Yum and hmmm...

The house smells like crab boil tonight. The chef is making spicy crab legs and red potatoes with Reese's seasoning with fried chicken on the side. I think he'll fit right in at Mardi Gras next year.

I hugged a friend from New Orleans this week, and she says the city is a little scary for the first time. Although New Orleans has been violent before, she says it just feels more random these days, from break-ins to murders.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Winter is back

As I was walking home from the subway stop on Wednesday night, I realized that winter has finally settled in here in the city. I had been feeling a little light-headed, so I stopped by the bodega to buy a snack that would get me home. I picked out a little box of edamame (salty green beans that are fun to munch) and headed down the block.

I had gone maybe four streets over when the pea pods started getting crunchy. They had started to freeze in my hand.

Eep. How long until Spring?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Matt Kennedy Gould beats smarty pants films:

"We need to send Walk the Line and American Psycho back."

"But we haven't watched them yet."

"Yeah, but there's only one more episode of The Joe Schmo Show on this disk. Do you want to wait three more days before we see the finale?"

"You've got a point."

Monday, January 08, 2007

I haven't even written the date yet...

The year is already getting away from me. I haven't blogged in a coon's age (NYer translation: a very long time). But I've got lots of stories to tell and pictures to share about the last couple of weeks, so hang tight for just another day or so.
See you soon!