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