Friday, February 27, 2009


The best part of the great reducing? Cheating.

Spinach with avocado and yellow tomatoes. Green and fatty. I like it, I like it!

Caramelized onion, butternut squash, sage and goat cheese galette. F*ck.

Mushrooms sauteed in sweet vermouth. I die.

Steaks. Rare.

Afterward, everything seems bathed in lovely. Even Geodesic Gnomes.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Today's Times has a fascinating article about humans and their pet monkeys. More importantly, it contains one of the most horrific sentences I've ever read:

"On one occasion, they got in a wrestling match, and Higgins put one of his “steel-like fingernails” through Bob’s scrotum. "


something odd

is happening with my pussy willow. It's still lovely:

But it's developing nubbins that look suspiciously like pollen:

Is that what's happening? Is my dining room table about to be covered in pussy willow pollen? I was led to believe that these pussies would behave until I was ready to dry them. Any suggestions from you florists out there?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Today I almost took holy communion just so I could have a mid-morning sip of spit-riddled wine.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

gonna make you sweat

Since n.o.c. and I have made gym-going a priority, I thought I'd share a bit about my exercise regimen.

First off, I think you should know that my gym locker room always smells of babies and formaldehyde, like some macabre perfume made from the fetal pigs I dissected in high school, a hint of powder, and a touch of something spicy, like cinnamon. And yet I still go, because I am dedicated.

The locker room has several mirrored walls, and since we don't have a full-length mirror in our apartment, I often begin my time in said locker room with an inspection of the day's outfit. Note: it is a terrible f*cking idea to inspect an outfit after you have spent the whole f*cking day wearing it. For example, today I wore a pair of pants that I thought were serviceable, if not exactly chic. According to the mirror, however, the fabric sags in the ass and billows oddly around my thighs, so it looks like I'm wearing a filled diaper beneath an ugly pair of jodhpurs. This makes me very sad, since the only thing I strive for professionally is to have a coveted wardrobe.

I spend much of my gym time avoiding people. I am horrified at the thought of encountering one of my students while I'm in a state of dishabille, so I generally try to put on my workout attire without getting undressed. This often begins with my shoe-shod foot becoming tangled in my workout pants and ends with my arm trapped inside my sports bra. Occasionally a tumble is involved.

I also avoid other teachers. I once made the mistake of speaking to a colleague of mine (who is bat-shit crazy) while she was lolling along on a stationary bicycle, and now she stares scarily at me from beneath her electric blue eyelids and sparse, mascara-caked lashes and asks if I'll be at our place later. For some reason, she feels compelled to keep her "exercise" habit a secret, so she usually asks me this through clenched teeth in the manner of some inept secret agent.

But I digress. After exiting the locker room, I search for celebrity gossip magazines, since I can imagine no worse fate than an hour with only my thoughts to entertain me. Magazines procured, I choose a treadmill, avoiding those sandwiched between stinky people, fit people, or people who grunt unnecessarily while running.

Then I run. I flip through my magazines. I think about dinner. I think about having a cocktail. I think about how, according to some very unflattering photos, I appear to be thinner than Jessica Simpson; I think about this because I am shallow and an ass. Then I think about how happy Paula Deen looks and wonder if I should just step off the treadmill, eat some delicious deep-fried butter, and call it a f*cking day.

I'll let you know.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Scrabble Life Lesson #1

With letters like these:

You are not going to win. You may heckle the victor:

You may throw fancy chocolates into the cocktails of your opponents:

You may pursue any number of fulfilling, creative alternatives, but you are not going to win.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

i don't hate it

Speaking of purchasing prints, I have resisted this one for a long time:

First off, the message seems far too too for me, if you know what I mean. I'm just not into that sort of heal yourself bullshit. Secondly, it has been featured in every home magazine and on every design blog, and I'm sure that it's already gathering dust in perkily decorated apartments the world over. And yet... There's just something about it that I love.

Here's a bit on the poster's history, from

"In the Spring of 1939, with war against Germany all but inevitable, the British Government's Ministry of Information commissioned a series of propaganda posters to be distributed throughout the country at the onset of hostilities. It was feared that in the early months of the war Britain would be subjected to gas attacks, heavy bombing raids and even invasion... The intent of the poster was to convey a message from the King to his people, to assure them that 'all necessary measures to defend the nation were being taken', and to stress an 'attitude of mind' rather than a specific aim."

Let's get this straight. The Nazis are gearing up to f*ck the British eight ways to Sunday, and the King comforts his citizens thus: "Right-o! We may be facing a spot of bother with some bloody rude Germans, but the important thing to remember is not to get too chuffed. Chin up!"

THAT is what I love about this poster. It is not the breathe-deeply-and-respect-your-inner-boundaries tripe of modernity; rather, it is a testament to all things completely, ridiculously, and fabulously inadequate. The next time something horrendous happens - say, for instance, you are being crushed by your ceiling and your giant, naked upstairs neighbors, and you're trying to dial 911 with your single unbroken tooth - take heart! Triumph over any situation simply requires your placid perseverance. At least you've finally gotten to meet the neighbors! Stop sniveling and buck up, sport-o!

My copy should arrive next week. I can't wait.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

retail therapy

I recently purchased this print:

That's right, it says, "Bacon is like a little hug from God." I think the print is quite fetching, but I do wonder if it might be a portent of things to come. What do you call a diet-inspired impulse buy? Can anyone think of a good Sniglet?

Speaking of Sniglets, we played a rousing round the other evening. We'd all had one of these - a rosemary manhattan:

So we may not have been our cleverest. But what we lacked in wit, we made up in artistry:

Friday, February 20, 2009

sour grapes

I miss my old liquor store; they always described their wines in vivid and compelling ways. "Tastes like grape jelly." "One evening, I drank four bottles by myself." "Good with bacon." "Will get you laid."

I think of this because I've just returned from a wine shop here. The sales boy - I say "boy" because he could not have been more than twentyf*ckingtwo - managed to be simultaneously obsequious and condescending, which made me want to do violent things. Here's a snippet of our conversation:

Him: You look like a lady in need of my assistance! Choosing a good wine can be overwhelming, and, since we don't sell anything that comes in a box or with a handle, I can understand that you might be confused.
Me: Well, I'm looking for a wine we had last night... It was French. A grenache something or other."
Him: It was probably a grenache-shiraz from Australia.
Me: No, it definitely wasn't from Australia, and I don't really care for shiraz.
Him: Right. Why don't you taste this Australian grenache-shiraz. I'm sure it's very similar to the one you enjoyed.
Me: Keri likes free booze.
(He pours a glass for me and one for himself)
Him: slurrrrrrp. ftttt-ftttt-ftttt. garglegarglegargle. Mmmmm, this wine really features the softness of the grape. Very nice body.
Me: Bleech! Yack! Plah! This bilge tastes like batteries! It just burned off my taste buds!
Him: You've got quite the palate! You're referring to what we call the acid of the wine - technical term. Is this not just what you enjoyed last night?!
Me: This is urine.
Him: Aren't you funny! It's ninety percent shiraz, so the acid is very bright. Can I interest you in a case?


In an effort to make myself feel more sophisticated, I may have gone overboard with my purchase of forty-seven stems of pussy willow. Now the apartment is simply rife with double entendre.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Big Bang

About once a month, we're awakened by the amorous activities of our upstairs neighbors. I haven't met them, but judging from their thunderous love, I imagine that she delivers refrigerators without a dolly and he mixes cement with his penis for a living. You know how in Jurassic park people can tell when the T-Rex is approaching because the water in their glasses starts to quiver? Well, that's how we know they're getting down to business time. Then the whole building starts to tremble, and we're transfixed by our undulating ceiling for the next 27 minutes. I don't know where they found a giant, squeaking, spring-loaded metal bed frame, but they did, and I guarantee that they have knocked its traumatized headboard through the plaster and driven its quaking legs at least half an inch into the hardwood. Good for them.

In other news, we had a little bit of wine and a litte bit of rye this evening. Yaymen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

kitty makes three. at least until she sees us as passives and eats us.

Since we are as yet unfit for children but looking for a bit more responsibility than my cacti require, we've decided to adopt a cat. Here's the description of the cat that the gentleman from the adopt-a-bengal agency initially recommended:

Mali - 5-6 yr old, BST, female, altered. Growls at all other animals, will chase and fight with those that she sees as passives. Talks a lot. Hides for up to 4 months when introduced to a new home. We would recommend you keep her isolated for at least a week.

This man should not be in sales. I told him that Mali might be more cat than we can handle, and he seemed genuinely confused.

At least my cactus continues to flourish, brazenly and out-of-season:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Rog-isms, part II

Today I realized that children are basically bush-league adults deemed too delicate to be the recipients of your actual opinions. This revelation has not been conducive to generosity or wit, so I'll once again exploit The Rog and his endless supply of clever. Special thanks goes out to my little brother, Keb'm, for his very helpful contributions.

The Rog-isms, part II. Sorted thematically for your convenience.

Having to do with hair or fur
  • Like a hair in a biscuit. (Apply to anything unwanted.)
  • Fine as fur on a frog's butt. (Very fine. Sometimes foot is substituted for butt. Depends on the company and your fondness for alliteration.)
Having to do with the probable outcome of fisticuffs
  • You'd rather sandpaper a wildcat's ass in a telephone booth than mess with me. (An obvious reference to physical prowess.)
  • I'll slap the taste out of his mouth. (Never seen this done, but does the threat not terrify you?)
  • I'll kick his ass 'til his nose bleeds. (A vivid mental image.)
  • I'll stomp a mud hole in his ass the size of Texas and walk it dry. (This denotes a serious and prolonged ass-kicking.)
Having to do with things being good
  • My mama's biscuits are so good, if you put one on top of your head you'd beat your brains out with your tongue trying to get to it. (Clearly, very tasty.)
  • Aw, man. It was killer. (Not one of the most clever, but useful in innumerable situations.)
Use discretion as you add these to your repertoire. For instance, using an aphorism from the fisticuffs section with your students is generally frowned upon, no matter how appropriate it may seem at the time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Great Reducing and One Last Hurrah

n.o.c. and I have been reducing. We've reduced our carbon footprints, our consumerism, our time on the internets, and, most recently, we've decided to reduce our waistlines. We're a small people, but we've noticed a gentle and insidious thickening that is most upsetting when accompanied by the general doughiness of February. Heretofore, n.o.c. has ridiculed all slimming activities, scoffing at actual portion sizes and holding fast to bizarre, fatty theories about food and health. He has actually claimed that the consumption of Chipotle burritos has salubrious effects on the lungs, and he has touted the digestive properties of sausage. However, after a few disconcerting incidents with pant size, I received the following email:

According to a calorie counter I found online, I had 839 calories worth of drinks last night. Add that to the 459 calorie piece of pie I had yesterday a.m., and you're talking about a completely superfluous 1300 calories on a random thursday, for no good reason. A chipotle burrito has 1170 calories. How am I not 350 lbs?

He's a changed man. Two weeks ago, he wanted to eat a deep-fried, cheese-stuffed, bacon-topped hamburger; this week, I had to pull him away from the diet drugs at CVS. "It's just caffeine," he mumbled sadly.

Our strategy is simple, if sad and boring. We will only drink three nights a week. (It pains me to write that.) We will eat less cheese and bacon. (Pains me even more to write that.) We will continue our gym regimen, and, with luck, we will be more attractive than Our Favorite New Englanders by the time we go to the beach with them in April. The goal is not simply to look good; the goal is to look better than our friends. (That would be the gauntlet.)

BUT, before we began in earnest, we decided to have one last hurrah with Our Favorite Baltimorians. Their house (a whole house!) is fabulous, with a much-coveted amount of square footage.

The dining room:

They have the coolest shit. Like urns full of wind instruments:

One of the more colorful instruments:

And collections of heads:

Dinner was slap-your-mother good. Beer-braised brisket, Deborah Madison's leek and goat cheese galette (Make this. Immediately.), and beet salad with tarragon, followed by wine-poached pears in cardamom cream:

After dinner, we bid adieu to the joys of life with a Satie's Gymnopédie No.1. Lovely.

I promise not to bore you with tales of deprivation. Just know that if I seem to have a bit less happy, it's probably because I'm hungry and in need of drink.

On another track entirely, I forgot to mention the best part of my recent Professional Development Bof*ckingnanza. Toward the end of the day, things got touchy-feely, which, as you probably know, makes me want to gouge out my eyes with a dull spoon. The indisputable highlight came when we were asked to reflect on a teacher who "touched our lives," AND THEN THEY PLAYED "UNFORGETTABLE" WHILE WE "REFLECTED." There really are no words.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

On a going-forward basis

n.o.c. and I are a little delicate this morning (as Auntie Mame would say, Mommy's hung), but I'm also recovering from yesterday's professional development bof*ckingnanza. Corporate speak makes me murderous, and I feel the need to air a few grievances. I refuse to "reach out" to anyone. I will not "circle back" or "close the loop." I will take no "action steps," and I will pay no mind to our "dotted-line relationship." What the f*ck do people mean by saying these things? Do they think they're being more clear? Clever? Inventive?

I am going to take my tender head out into the world, and I WILL have happy, dammit, but NOT on a going-forward basis.

And happy valentine's day. I'm giving n.o.c. a fistful of Advil.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Check my green thumb.

When I was small, I spent most of my days with my Aunt Susie. She wasn't actually my aunt (her father's third cousin's niece married my grandmother's father's wife's ex-husband's best friend, or something like that), but she made miniature layer cakes just for me and peeled my grapes, which, by the by, is still the standard by which I judge someone's affection. (n.o.c. best get to stepping.) Anyway, my favorite room in her house was her front parlor, which I cleverly dubbed the "soft room," since it was carpeted and had fancy, plush furniture that no one ever sat on. The doors were kept closed, and the room stayed a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house, so that's where Aunt Susie kept her Christmas cacti. They were enormous - prehistoric, mythic in stature - draping long-legged and tentacle-y over shelves and tchotchkes. I was always amazed by the annual profusion of gaudy, highly suggestive blooms produced by plants that were usually pretty homely.

Two years ago, I acquired Christmas cacti of my own. They were in bloom when I got them, so I can take no credit for that, and I fully expected them to commit suicide after the holidays. Amazingly, they survived the year, and even more amazingly, they bloomed this Christmas. (Sorry about the poor picture quality; these pics were taken pre-blog.)

Now here we are in February, and I'll be damned if the red one isn't having another go.

This flower is practically indecent.

Maybe little dear is being cheeky and blooming on Valentine's Day. Or maybe it's for President's Day. This cactus clearly transcends my arbitrary notions of what a Christmas cactus should do.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm a baller.

First off, I loathe group activities - team sports, book clubs, committees, exercise classes, standing in line, riding in a car with someone I don't like, having more than one voice in my head, etc. Being part of a group makes me feel nervous and obligated. I'm bound to dislike someone or something that's said, and then I will be unhappy and unable to leave. Secondly, I am terrified of having things thrown at me. I blame this on my brother and his penchant for launching projectiles at my head in order to showcase my terrible reflexes. For someone who's fairly coordinated in other arenas, my catching-things reflexes are laughably slow. Perhaps I shouldn't spend the first three seconds of response time contemplating how best to hide, but whatever. I'm good at other things.

Yesterday, I played a game of basketball. That's right, I participated in a team sport that involved catching things, AND I did this in front of an audience. It actually wasn't terrible. I didn't really interact with others; I just pretended that they were little, mobile basketball hoops with agendas. I caught the ball, I bounced it up and down, I threw it at the big hoop. It didn't go in, but it didn't airball, either. All in all, pretty solid, I thought. But today... At least fifteen people have stopped me to comment on my performance. "You were the best!" "You were hilarious!" "SO funny!" "OMG, I was dying!"

Maybe it's to do with this spunky little kick that happens when I throw. Maybe my cuteness was overpowering. Maybe you shouldn't skip down a basketball court. Maybe losing track of the ball while you're dribbling just isn't done. Maybe it was my sleeveless Orange Crush t-shirt that n.o.c. bought off a homeless guy in San Francisco. Maybe it was my argyle knee socks. It's hard to say.

Nonetheless, I think I've been sufficiently adventurous for 2009. If you need me, I'll be alone, surrounded by soft, stationary objects.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Do Pardon the Intrusion

Today, I received this:


I am sorry to encroach into your privacy in this manner, I found your email listed
in the Trade Centre Chambers of Commerce directory here in Japan, I find it
pleasurable to offer you my partnership in business, I only pray at this time
that your address is still valid. I want to solicit your attention to receive
money on my behalf. The purpose of my contacting you is because my status
would not permit me to do this alone.

I only pray at this time that your address is still valid!!??!! This email is one beseeching sentence away from being good dialogue for a Keira Knightly film. I miss the old days, when spam was about p3n1Le 1mpl4ntS and h0t S3x.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Edgecomb Pottery

I love pottery. I f*cking love it, and if this revelation makes me a fusty old marm in your book, well then, as soon as I steep my Darjeeling and wrap myself in a quilt, I will have no more to do with you. I particularly love Edgecomb pottery from Maine, and, over the weekend, my duo of Edgecomb vases became a badass trio.

The original pair:

One, a gift for myself:

And the other, a gift from the lovely Martini:

Now joined by this pimp ice blue number from Our Favorite New Englanders:

In other news, we recently watched Man on Wire, which was phenomenal. While unbridled enthusiasm generally gives me the whim-whams, Philippe Petit was just impish and ingenuous enough for me not to hate him. Or maybe it was the rarity of his "coup" that saved it for me. I mean, when was the last time you did an almost impossible thing simply because it thrilled you with its beauty? I'm not pointing fingers - I won't even bake cookies if I'm not assured of adoring and wildly appreciative consumers. Just saying.

Monday, February 9, 2009

An excellent new phrase

Ginned up - v. to incite, to stir up; adj. excited, hot to trot. As in, "It's not like I was ginned up to eat the whole basket of duck fat fries, but that didn't stop me." Or, "I ginned up my students with a fascinating lecture on the origins of the Buddhist stupa."

A spiffing good time

We had a water main break near our apartment, so I began my Monday by bathing myself with a washcloth dipped in sparkling water. I don't just look good; I feel good.

Thankfully, my weekend was fantastic. For those of you who may be wondering how best to achieve an awesome weekend, I've compiled a list of awesome-weekend ingredients with helpfully illustrative photographs. Results may vary.

1) Do-it-yourself leg o' mutton sleeves. Go ahead - fashion is your b*tch.

2) Ridiculous ginger cookies. You can eat as many as you want, because ginger has soothing digestive properties. Brilliant!

3) Scrabble on your vintage turn-table board. Preferably with a furry brown letter bag and a cheat sheet of two-letter words, both made by your very crafty grandmother. Remember: people who are fixated on winning are generally compensating for something.

4) Sherry. People don't drink enough sherry.

5) A sausage breakfast so good, your vegetarian friend eats it all before you get to take pictures. Sausages! Sausages!

6) A cute little Monkey.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Rog-isms, part I

I am from the South. The deeeeeep South. How deep, you ask? Let's just say that I knew what the bole weevil was before I knew that states existed north of Virginia. When I'm away from the South, I can get quite nostalgic. Not for the South, exactly, but for the South as I imagine it - a quiet, dusty place filled with gentleman drunks and women who know how to perspire with dignity. The real South, the modern South, bears little resemblance to my imaginings. For example, my trips home inevitably begin with a stop at one of the forty-seven Super Walmarts littering the short stretch of interstate between the airport and my parents' home. Once inside a Super Walmart, I will inevitably witness a haggard woman screaming sloppily at her brood of snaggle-toothed children because they ate all the cheetos before she had any. She will then throw the empty bag on the floor, because it is nonsensical to pay for an empty bag. I'm not being snarky; I have seen this happen.

BUT, if I can weather the sprawl of the mega-stores and the charms of their patrons, I will eventually arrive at my parents' home, where porch swings and southern charm can be found in abundance. And it is here that I'm privy to one of the South's true delights - southern aphorisms by way of my father, whom we call The Rog (pronounced: Rodge). The Rog has the best one-liners - always spot-on, delivered with panache and aplomb. Here's a shot of me (terrible) and The Rog dancing in the woods, drinks in hand. We are a talented people.

The Rog-isms, part I

  • Shaking like a dog trying to pass a peach seed. (He uses this to great effect in mixed company.)

  • Grinning like a possum eating shit out a broke fruit jar. (I'm not clear why this makes the possum happy, just know that it does. Also know that the preposition "of" is unnecessary.)

  • Like a greasy string out a cow's butt. (An unsettling way to describe ease or speed.)

  • Like a rat on a cheeto. (Denotes enthusiasm. I have now mentioned cheetos more than once in a post. What does this say about me?)

  • Man, it's dry. If you took all the rain we got, turned it into gasoline and put it into a pissant's motorcycle, he wouldn't make it half-way 'round a BB. (He delivered this flawlessly. It was incredible.)
Use these as you will. They are best said after a few cocktails and with a bit of a drawl.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Get on the bus!

Plant okra, not enmity: