Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Have I mentioned that Rebby and I are having a Cleveland getaway weekend this weekend? I don't think I have. I am super excited about it....bed and breakfast with a jacuzzi tub, pillowtop 500 thread count king sized bed, champagne and chocolates, 3 course gourmet Saturday at the West Side Market, dinner at The Flying Fig, cocktails at the Velvet Tango Room.....maybe some Rock and Roll Museum, maybe some Modern Art or Ancient Art, maybe some thrift store scores....Ethiopian? Puerto Rican? TEA CURED BACON!?!?!? Dang.
I just added a bunch of Cleveland links to my del. icio. us so you can see what all I'm talking about. I am seriously thinking maybe we should also go to a drag show, since it's in the neighborhood and I haven't seen a good drag show since P-Town.
Mostly we're just getting away and treating ourselves to a little luxury.
I'll take lots of pictures!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hee hee.
I made that.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Statement of President Obama on the 36th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.

On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

President At Work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This is cool. Wordcloud from the inaugural address.

I am already enjoying my new birthday president immensely. Thank you, United States of America, for the great gift! I've wanted one for the past 8 years and I finally got one. Apparently he is already doing stuff that he said he would do. Already! Like day #1! Also, check out if you haven't already. The civil rights portion is particularly awesome.

In other birthday news, I am spending the day preparing for a glamorous birthday cocktail party this evening. I spent a lot more money than I expected to last night at the grocery store getting snacks and mixers. Lordy, soda pop is expensive, even store brands! I thought all that HFCS was supposed to be cheap. Of course, I also got a lot of fancy foods to go with the cocktails. Since my visit to the Baltic region this summer I am all about cocktail seafood. It's gonna be a nice spread. I am also making sure there is vegan stuff because at least one vegan is supposedly coming!
I had been lamenting the lack of cocktail swords in this post 9/11 world, but then this morning at about 5am I remembered that last Christmas my siblings gave me a pirate themed gift basket which was lined with literally HUNDREDS of cocktail swords! And luckily I saved em. So the olives and onions and cherries and citrus peels will have a safe perch after all.
Speaking of pirates, J* sent me the COOLEST pirate birthday card! Thanks so much! I am totally putting it on the wall in the pirate bathroom. And oh yes, I'll be taking lots of glamourshots tonight! xoxo
OK, time to get going on the last minute party clean up and citrus wedging. Hope you all are enjoying my new birthday president as much as I am!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Last night I had a dream that I was kinda buds with Troy Polamalu. The setup of the dream was that I was at his place to interview him for something, but we were already acquaintances because he really liked eating at the Quiet Storm. There was some kind of thing going on where he was trying to get a bunch of special commemorative Sports Illustrated magazines for me to give out to the staff, and when he was making the call he launched into this flowery speech about the fundamental decency of my character. Awww.
So here's the thing: he has never actually been to the Quiet Storm. We have to fix this in the off season, somehow. Wish me luck.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What a beautiful man.

"Football, in general, has it backwards. They think this inner anger, this hatred, is what drives football and becomes the physical aspect of the game. But love overcomes all things. My love to glorify God through my playing will far outweigh anybody's hate for me." -- Troy Polamalu

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Good News!
Rebby fixed the pipe problem! (with a little help from some friends.)
I had a fun day at work today!

Hee hee hee.
The only thing sadder than having to call the plumber because your upstairs bathroom pipes are frozen (on a Saturday) is finding out that your awesome Australian plumber has moved out of state.
Aroo, aroo.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


BlixaKuchen!, originally uploaded by alienspice.

I made a cake for Blixa, only a couple days late.
this is a very blurry cameraphone photo of it.
It is a delicious German Chocolate Bundt Cake with streusel in the middle and coconut and chocolate chips all over it's glaze.
Yes, I realize that German chocolate has nothing to do with Germany, but I would hope that Blixa would like it anyway.

Hee hee hee.

Football fever is upon us, my friends.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Blixa!!!!

He's 50 today.

Also, yay Steelers.
Also, Golden Whoever told all those normally beautiful ladies that asymetrical was the way to go should be fired from their jobs. Tina Fey, Susan Sarandon and Selma Hayek were all fabulous in dresses with TWO sleeves. And Sting....what happened? He appears to have fallen into a vat of grecian formula.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hi. Let's talk about music.
I've been sort of voraciously consuming new music lately since getting my new computer, since downloading/burning/transferring is once again simple and quick rather than a cause for fasting and prayer. I've recently discovered or rediscovered some amazing things that I want to share. I'm sure there's something here for everyone to enjoy.
First off, Blixa. The Nick Cave video collection really threw me into a bout of Blixalove, and I've spent the past few days listening to his gutteral german growl and shriek. And then sometimes he sings in English. I downloaded the last couple of EN albums which are stylistically very different---right now I'm listening to Jewels which is more like the early very industrial stuff than anything they've done recently. I was just saying that I prefer the more recent ambient stuff but now that I'm listening to crashing I can't back that up. I love them both, differently. I guess the best way to put it is that the ambient stuff (like Tabula Rasa and Alles Wieder Offen) soothe me and make me feel calm, while the industrial crashing stuff makes me want to MAKE MUSIC. Seriously, right now I want to go into the basement and start banging on stuff. Can't wait for the Dead at 24 reunion tour, baby!
So besides Blixa, the other big discovery I've made recently, thanks to emusic, is The Fireman. This is Paul McCartney's electronica side project (please meditate on that sentence for a moment) which he does with the bass player of Killing Joke. Yes, you read that right. And, it's been going on since 1993. WTF?!? How do I not know this? I'm really indignant about it. Someone should have told me. And also? It's GOOD. I didn't download the whole album yet, (the newest one is called Electronic Arguments, named after a line in a Ginsberg poem. Again, WTF?!?! McCartney reads Ginsberg?)but the first song and the last two are really rockin my world. I am going back for more as soon as my credits reset.
And then, there's this fabled Dreamland album by Robert Plant. Jennie told me about this at the Robyn Hitchcock concert, and I didn't believe her because how could it be that Robert Plant put out a covers record and I didn't hear about it? So I went searching on the internet and I swear to god, neither the emusic site nor wikipedia mentioned it. So i was thinking she was really crazy. But then she got it for me for Christmas, so now I have it to hold in my hands. Robert's version of "Morning Dew" is almost as creepy as Blixa's (see how I tie it all together? supergenius, I tell ya) but I am still undecided about his version of "One More Cup of Coffee." I hated it the first go round, but liked it more the second and third times I listened to it. I think it's a grower, not a shower. ;) I am also undecided on his version of "Song to the Siren" because he says "unfold" instead of "enfold." This is obviously a stylistic choice, and if we ever have tea I am going to ask him about it. But it kinda pisses me off, because it sounds stupid to me and ruins an otherwise very gothic mood. The rest of the record is full of winners, especially "Darkness Darkness" and "Red Dress" which appears to be an original. And also---his guitar player used to be in The Cure. WTF?!?! I am excited to spend more and more time with this record.
A couple more recent faves courtesy of emusic: She Keeps Bees, Noze, and Gudrun Gut.
Tell em I sent ya.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!
I am so excited about this year! Even though things are off to a rocky start in the middle east (I have to say that I can't help blaming Joe Biden just a little bit) I know that this year is going to put the world on the right track, finally, after a long time. That feels good.
Personally, the holidays have been a whirlwind. Work has been off the chain busy, and I have been in the thick if it all but two days since Christmas. Tuesday I took the morning off so I could go in the evening to do cooking for the New Year's Eve special dinner, and Thursday I was off so I could spend the day cooking at home for friends. It's been wonderful and thoroughly exhausting. I cannot wait for my actual day off tomorrow!
So let's go back to Christmas for a little recap. I finally gave up waiting out the rain and headed to Dormont in the wet, trying to juggle an umbrella, a backpack, and two big Whole Foods bags full of presents (wrapped in garbage bags) It was akward, but thankfully I didn't have to wait long at all for the bus and then I was dry all the way to Dormont. When I got to Dormont I was super bummed to find that it was several degrees colder and several knots windier, and also that they had the toll booth open, which meant that I had to walk basically an extra block in the rain after paying the toll outside. (normally when I get off at Dormont I pay in the train and then walk right over to my dad's street. not this time)
Bro was wrapping presents, dad was playing computer solitaire and watching the news, and I dropped everything and poured myself a large glass of wine. (Dad likes to buy big bottles of yellowtail reds, and I am the only person in his life who drinks them. So there is almost always a half full bottle on the counter when I arrive) We chatted a bit and I put my gifts under the fiber optic christmas tree and then pretty soon after Kyle left to go do multiple family Christmases, and it was just me and dad. I will admit that I was a little nervous about this, but it was nice. We talked and watched some FoodTV and then dad made dinner(pork chops! remember this and bagged salad. Dad told me that FarmAid keeps sending him emails and he feels bad about buying bagged salad but "you can't get fuel perks at the farmer's market." ouch) and then we drank some more drinks and drunkenly filled stockings and watched Leatherheads. Which was a good movie. Of course, we had to call Kyle to figure out how to work the DVD player. Somehow, despite all the multitudes of remotes in that house, it is necessary to physically change the channel on the television from 179 to 3 in order to play a DVD. This was not intuitive. But we got it going and watched the movie (it was nice) and then watched part of Willie Wonka (on AMC, with commercials, lame) before I was too sleepy. Which had something to do with it being one million degrees on Christmas Eve, I think. I slept with the overhead fan on all night.
But the Christmas miracle is that I slept in until like 9am! woo. And even then I was only awoken by the sounds of pigeons roosting in the closet. (they weren't actually in the closet, it just sounded like that) I got up and let the dog out and made some sweet, delicious coffee and set out the Christmas cookie trays. And tried to find some good Christmas morning TV, but it was rough. I ended up settling on TVLand which was having a cool Christmas themed show marathon. I got to see All in the Family, a couple episodes of the Jeffersons, some Sanford and Son, and Green Acres. Now there's a show! I wonder if I can get it on DVD? I vaguely remember it from youth as being about the tension between the country husband and the city wife, but I didn't remember that there was also the subtension about the rest of the community trying to be more citified while the citified man tries to be more country. It was fascinating.
Also, dad and I played scrabble. I won. I did not cheat.
Soon enough it was time to start cooking the dinner, and that turned into a production. We put out veggie trays and cheese and crackers, and then we did a chicken, a pork roast, taters, three kinds of veg, stuffing, and rolls. I think that's it. Kyle and the girls and the nephews and Ron all came and we went right to the table, and then after dinner it was present time. I was really happy that most of the present time for the kids happened elsewhere, so I didn't have to think about the mountains of toys. The mountains of toys always depress me a little. This time I only got to see a minute portion of the mountain, and it was extra nice because Tristan is old enough now to really show appreciation for gifts. Brady on the other hand was way more interested in doing interpretive dance with the broccoli florets. Priceless. I got lots of new glassware, including some actual martini glasses which have served to bring martini drinking back into my life. (vodka only--gin has still not come back into my life. But maybe now it will!) Also got some really nice bowls for soup parties, and some beautiful wrought iron candle holders for the wall, and a rolling stone calendar and a Macy's gift card. Huzzah! A great haul. Both of the boys got really into the finger lazers that rebby and I found at the Shadyside toy store. Tristan put on his superhero cape for a minute, but Ron seemed to like wearing it more. Hee hee. We got lots of family pictures and managed to all squeeze under the tree and use the timer on Stacy's camera to get a group shot. Yay! Then Stacy and Brady brought me home (with a stop to feed the kitty.) Hooray for Christmas!
Christmas was followed by a weekend of working really hard for 10+hours a day, then falling on the couch in exhaustion. I think I might have played a few games of Mah jong Solitaire, but I can't be sure. I was in bed before 9pm. It was rough, but so exciting to see people loving our food and visiting from afar.
Sunday night rebby came home from Ohio with her haul--a new stockpot! a dehydrator! two new sheet sets! We totally felt like we are an old married couple with all these house presents. But seriously, they are the best kind. Monday it was back to work.
Tuesday was shopping, and then in to work to prep for the NYE dinner. It had been an off the chain day and I was so thankful that I missed it because really, I had just been through four of them in a row. So I settled into the chill evening kitchen and made little individual pineapple upside down cakes in muffin cups, and a butternut squash, sundried tomato, and sage bisque, and savory roasted mushrooms to mix with seitan and place in puff pastry shells for seitan wellingtons, and sliced the potatoes for vegan scalloped potatoes. Oh, I also candied my walnuts for the pear, cranberry and walnut salad. I worked from about 4 to about 9 when rebby finally got home from her job and came to pick me up.
Wednesday (new year's eve) was snowy and wild. I got a lot of stuff done for the line all day, and then about 2pm I switched back to dinner prep. Everything turned out fab, despite the last minute push and craziness that always accompanies a special dinner. I think I finally got out of there about 5:30pm, right before Jilly started serving the dinner. The place looked lovely and I heard later that the dinner was a huge success! Yay.
Meanwhile, rebby and I cancelled our plans to go to Mallorca for new year's eve/anniversary dinner because we didn't want to chance driving to the south side in the snow. So rebby got a nice skirt steak and made dinner for me! With broccoli and roasted taters. So good. We had some cocktails and almost, but not quite, stayed up to midnight. Hee hee. It's been a couple years since we've seen the new year ring in.
Then it was New Year's Day, and we had all kinds of cleaning and cooking to do! Rebby mostly handled the cleaning part, and I got busy in the kitchen. Posole, Italian Sausage and Lentils, Hoppin John and Collard Greens, and rebby did the Pork Roast and saurkraut(homemade!) and mashed potatoes. I also put out a really nice Scandinavian Fish Smorgaasbord with mustard and dill pickled herrings, shrimp spread, tuna in olive oil with lemon and capers, and lingonberry jam and cream cheese and pickles and olives and carrots and celery. With dark pumpernickel and rye krisp. I have to say that might have been my favorite part of the whole spread! I could eat tuna and cream cheese on pumpernickel for days. In fact, I still have another can. It might be my new thing.
So everything got done and then it was time to wait. Right around 5:30 guests started to arrive, including some folks I had never met and some I had not seen in a while. People tore into the food and made lots of yummy sounds and it was just great. We ended up having around 10 people and lots of good conversations and laughs and fun. The night ended with everyone crowded around the laptop watching the videos "shreds" series of videos, where some guy gets concert footage of guitar gods and plays his own soundtrack to them. Pretty humorous. So most of the guests left in a big heap, and then merely minutes later a friend who has been in Chicago all year showed up, and then rebby and I had an hour or so alone with her. That was nice, though I felt bad that she missed everybody else!
So that was New Year's Day. I spent it in the way I love to spend my for people. Yesterday was back to the busy kitchen, and Jilly made a staff change that while difficult, was all for the best. The atmosphere is going to be so much more positive now, and everyone seems to be on board for a really stellar year! We've got lots of exciting plans and lots of catering gigs and lots of energy, even though we've all been working like dogs for the past week. Hooray! Today I get back in it for one more day, and then tomorrow rebby and I have the day together before she heads to Chicago for a week for work. During which time I hope to get our AMAZING PLAN FOR THE NEW YEAR in motion. It involves charts and grids and Paul Stanley motivational posters. I can say no more.
Hope your new year looks full of excitment too!