Wednesday, July 24, 2013

For what it's worth.

We race through Logan Airport.

We trip old folks that walk too slow.

(we hastily apologize to said old folks)

We work two back-to-back 12 hour days without complaint.

We pack until 1:00 and then get up at 5:00 and race the sun to Midway.

We get on flying death tubes, and irrationally cold buses.

We eat questionable sandwiches and ration warm, stale water like we're stranded in the Sahara.

(the second bit wouldn't be as necessary if someone could manage to remember her water bottle. whoops).

We do whatever it takes, and it has never not been worth it.

I'm coming for you 02564. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shiny happy people.

Today, I #treatyoself-ed to the extreme.

I bought a brand new laptop.

I spent way too much on it. Although, not as much as I could have - because sometimes knowing everyone pays off in the best ways.

And I wish I wasn't as excited as I am. But it is literally perfect. Its light and fast and oh-so-shiny.

I've loved the almost-seven years I've had with Bunny the original verybest Macbook but she now is on her very last legs and so, like the terrible person I am - I put her out to pasture. She'll live on my desk and be useful for when I need to look at old pictures or find old documents or do other old things. Sorry, old girl, you're old.

The past few months have been chock-full of new things. New wallet. New dresses. New yoga. New babies. I'm trying really hard to enjoy new things and not feel bad about enjoying them. I deserve nice things and I'm going to work really hard for them.

Starting with this sweet, sweet baby who is in desperate need of a name.

Monday, July 22, 2013

TYOE: New Orleans

All of my previous New Orleans experiences involved my numba one stunna T-Bone. She drove me around, introduced me to all the best food and people, didn't get to mad when I straight up stole said peoples' mardi gras beads in a drunken, kleptomania-fit.

Boyfriend and I have spent a lot of time sharing cities with each other this year. Except mostly, he's been sharing the cities of his childhood vacations with me - and now it was my turn to do some sharing. The problem was, I had had so much fun (read: to drink) and T had been such an amazing hostess, I could barely remember where things were or what they were called.

Luckily, she was able to drop the perfect amount of knowledge for a quick weekend trip.

If you're going to go to New Orleans and not have a car, you either have to resign yourself to many expensive cab rides, looooong trips on the trolley (and buses), tons of walking, or just staying right where you are (wherever that might be, which is probably the french quarter). Our trip included all of the above. We probably would have done a ton more walking, but late June in New Orleans is decidedly not walking weather.

Actually, to be totally honest, June in New Orleans is kind of miserable all around. I'm sure its better than August in New Orleans, but we spent most of the time feeling dizzy - unable to imbibe liquids in the quantity that we were sweating them out. I knew what the weather would be like going in, but it is made much worse by the lack of car. You find yourself outdoors much more often when you have to wait for cabs and buses. Lesson learned.

We did have fun. And we did exactly what we said we were going to - which was eat, drink, and relax without feeling the need to do anything.

What we did:

Walked around the important cemetary. For about 30 seconds. The dead were probably sweating too, and we didn't want to be around when their sweat mixed with our sweat and they reanimated.

The Nola Brewing Company all-you-can-drink-shit-show. I don't know if that's what they call it, but that is what it was. And as it happened immediately after Commander's Palace, we were a hot mess. What Nola Brewing Company Beer lacks in interesting flavor profiles it more than makes up for in giving out as much as you can drink in souvenier pint glasses.

A ghost tour. Boyfriend's one request. It was later in the evening, once the sun had set, which made it delightfully psydo-spooky and was a much cooler option than a mid-day tour of anything.

Sat by the pool. Mariott, your pool deck in New Orleans is gross. I will still sit there because I cannot resist a pool deck, dirty towels and empty beer cans be damed.

Walked around the French Quarter. Of course we did. We're tourists. We had fun buying art and trinkets but found ourselves quickly out of things to look at. You need about 2 hours to explore enough of the french quarter to feel satiated. Any more than that and you're wasting time.

What we ate:

Commanders Palace. Three martini lunch If you go to Commander's Palace for dinner you are doing it wrong.

Felix's. Our sweet friend Sunshine said it was one of her favorite places and it was still open at 11 p.m. and not too far from our hotel. They probably were not the best po'boys in the city, but they were exactly what we needed, which was fried food and mayonaise.

Ruby Slipper. We were in a bad way our first morning there, and Ruby Slipper made eggs, served them to us, and made us happy. It was not a game-changing brunch but it was pretty freaking amazing. And, for as close as it was to the french quarter, not too touristy (at least, I don't think so, I was hurting pretty bad and not up to my usual quota of people watching).

Central Grocery. Touristy? Sorry. I am Not Sorry. I would eat a muffaleta from here every day if I could get away with it. Gimme all your olive tapenade. Now.

Boucherie. TBone took me here the last time I visited her and I was itching to go back. We messed up on getting a reservation and terrified that they might not seat us, I made Boyfriend get there half an hour early to make sure we were the first people in the door. He was not happy about this, because it required us standing outside with no greater purpose than looking pathetic so we would be allowed in to eat. Consider it worth it. We tried to eat outside our comfort zone, which was fun and delicious. But really, the reason for the season was the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. I wanted six orders for me. And then I wanted to eat the rest of Boyfriend's order.

Cochon Butcher. We got these sandwiches and then walked around in the hot, hot nola sun for another three hours before we ate them and they were still crazy delicious. I can only imagine how amazing they would be if they didn't have to swelter before being eaten.

New Orleans Original Daquiris. Okay, not food, but so delicious and untouristy. Worth venturing beyond the french quarter if you are feeling so bold.

Creole Creamery. Dear New Orleans: it should not take a trolley, a bus and a 10 minute walk to find some ice cream. Seriously, you are a million degrees at 9:30 at night. There should be ice cream on every street corner. Work on this. That being said - if this is going to be your only ice cream, way to knock it out of the park. A perfect cold good-bye to a hot, hot weekend.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

with silver bells & habanero peppers, part 2

I still have a garden! I will make it through the summer or die trying.

The good news!

We have...

For the record: I way over-edited the images from the last garden post. And immediately I decided I hated them (but had done too much work to re-do the post) - so these are completely unedited, with the exception of the captions (which I did on Over). My strawberries are that gorgeous.

The bad news!

I'm struggling with the rest of my flowers. My lobelia, once a gorgeous globe of blue & white, is now just brown. Perhaps its because I didn't de-bud it fast enough and now I cannot catch up. Or can I? If I were to take off all the dried out buds, would it stand a chance? Because I'll do it. I have some free time.

My gorgeous dahlia that has already had it's own blog post and half a dozen photo shoots seems to be fresh out of buds. sadtrombooooone. I keep watering in the hopes that it'll bloom again, but it is making no promises.

My bell peppers are either the slowest maturing plants ever, or they are not going to make peppers. I cannot tell. I'm not giving up on them yet. But their buds are small and they don't seem particularly interested in blooming.

Things I'm learning!

Stop being so gee.dee impatient with the strawberries, son. They have to be total ripe before they taste like anything but sour death fruit.

This Chicago summer has been brutal. My once-a-day watering might not be cutting it. I'm going to kick it up to two days while I can but I'm nervous about how the plants going to fair while we're out of town.

Cucumbers were a bad choice. They need to be able to run free and cannot be contained by a window box. I'm getting these tee-tiny baby cukes, which are worth the cost of the plant in adorableness but I'm nervous that they are not going to get much bigger before they die.

Basil goes in EVERYTHING! And if you can't figure out how to get basil involved, make pesto! And if you're bored with pesto, add an avocado and make creamy pesto! But you will always have more basil and it will never ever die.

Banana peppers don't taste how you think they taste until you pickle them. So, get on that! Pickle some peppers, peter piper. (I am so scared of canning that even though I've bought the cans, they might never come out of the box. Luckily, the internet has some fridge canning options that I'm going to try out with this first batch).

Also this!
Years ago my friend told me that when a woman turns 30 she has a baby, buys a dog, or starts a garden. I'm noticing a lot more veggie-pics these days. -- (posted by a friend on facebook.)

Monday, July 01, 2013

The babes of summer.

I really, really like babies. Always have. It comes from having lady parts, being the oldest of a whole gaggle of cousins, and general enjoyment found in nurturing and small victories (please note: any one of these qualities individually or all three together do not necessarily make a lover of the babies. I'm just saying it worked out with my particular chromosomal make-up).

Before this year, babies were something that grown-ups had: my aunts, my parents' friends, my very, very old and mature older cousin. The people who were my age who had babies were so far removed from my day to day life that they felt like foreigners that I just observed through the window of facebook.

During my recent sojourn into unemployment I got hooked up with some amazing baby-sitting jobs. Truly, the kids I spent time with were some of the best companions I could have asked for during this very strange and out-of-character time in my life. Not only did they provide moments of humor and pride, they also gave me a peek into what parenthood might be like (obviously, not completely as their parents always, thankfully, came home, but like a tee-tiny peek). For some reason baby-sitting at the age of 28 made parenting seem like a much more real concept (rather than something that people have done when they have given up on their own lives and so need something to occupy their time).

This experience coincided nearly perfectly with the announcement that two of my favorite humans were incubating two of the newest, greatest members of the human race right there inside them. The wait for these babies to incubate has seemed nearly endless, but now, some how, it is ending and within the next week or so these babies will be real humans, rather than just cute-in-theory parasites.

The excitement I am feeling about these two amazing events nearly makes my lungs explode. I cannot wait to be a part of these two new lives that are justabout to start. Both babes have lucked out in the amazeballs parents department but I am on the edge of my seat waiting to be a source of entertainment, love, and poop removal for these two.

This excitement-beyond-excitement has brought the real notion of parenthood into incredibly harsh perspective. With so many parts of adulthood (read: marriage) it has always felt like something that I would probably not be good at, I'm too selfish, too greedy, and lack the patience needed to read "Elmo's Big Day," four hundred times in an afternoon.

Now, I know that I could do this. I could be a parent, but the question is - do I want to? Do I want to be responsible for a real, actual human being? Would I set way to high of standards for her as person and me as a Mother? Do I want to give up a life of fancy restaurants and frolicking about the country like IDGAF?

I honestly do not know. But its something on my mind, Internet. And in this breath before the most-exciting-adventure thus-far in adulthood comes before me, I get to take a moment and be so thankful that I know two great women who are going to jump in both-feet-in-the-deep-end and tell me how the water is, before I have to make any choices.

To being a loving by-stander and hander-of-burp-clothes in this next adventure of life!

TYOE: New York

The whole time we were in New York over the weekend, there was a little voice inside my head just repeating, "this isn't your city. This isn't your city," the voice hurt my heart as I had to accept that it is telling the truth.

New York was my city. It was mine. mine. mine. for the last year of high school as I planned to make it my home, and the four years I lived inside its harsh and overwhelming boundaries, and even after I moved away for the longest time - it was the city of my soul. 

And now? It's not. It's a city I love and will always cherish as a part of my story but it is not my city anymore.

That realization was a cloud over the gorgeous sunny weekend. It was like spending the weekend with an incredible attractive ex. I spent so much time and energy picking it apart so I wouldn't feel so bad about it not being mine anymore.

That being said: we had a super fun weekend. It was a weekend of firsts for me which is always a nice surprise from somewhere you have know for so long. 

What We Ate:

'wichcraft. I am a huge fan of Tom Colicchio from his lovable but tough turn as the Tim Gunn of Top Chef. But I had never eaten any food he created (designed? managed? idk). And the results were a little disappointing. Maybe we should have gone to Colicchio and Sons and gotten the real deal - but seriously?! It's a sandwich, it should be fool proof. And it was just kind of bland. It lacked (as they say in the biz) a strong flavor profile. Would I eat it again? Sure - but only if there was some sort of apocalypse and I had no access to any other sandwich option on the island of Manhattan.

L'arte Del Gelato. Gelato on high line park. I gotta hope this is what heaven is like.

Yankee Stadium Brother Jimmy's. gimme all your fried pickles. And I will eat them. And I will be mostly content.

Nathan's. Did you know the coney dog has nothing to do with Coney Island? It's cool - you'll still be happy with your chili cheese dog. 

El Salvadorian Truck Food. The Red Hook food truck party means business. It is for the real hipster food truck snobs and it is amazing. We got a sample platter with all the sides, plantains, paposas and a tamale and it was a delight. 

Old School. Brunch is the best worst thing that ever has happened to me. Easily my favorite meal but the one that requires the most logistical planning. My hatred of waiting for food makes it such a challenge to have an enjoyable brunch experience - luckily this place had no line and no wait and that gave it enough points to make up for the fact that they didn't understand Anniebelle when she requested "toast." Seriously?! Hipsters.

Milk. The cereal milk milkshake was so strange, but I do not regret it. Two days later I still don't know how I feel except, ok.

What We Did:

High Line Park. Oh. Like when your ex gets an amazing hair cut that changes their whole face and makes them indescribably sexier. The High Line Park is the stuff of my dreams. Everything about it makes me love it a little bit more.


Yankees Game. My first Yankees game! It was a baseball game. Over priced everything. Hilarious people watching and some out of tune singing. And they won! Which is always a good bonus. Plus on the ride home, we were idolized by some sweet lady from back-water Texas. She was so impressed we could live in a place where we traveled underground all the time..

The Mermaid Parade. So fun. I love a good meaningless excuse for adults to dress up. 

The NDI final show. When I think about what I really, really want todo when I grow up - being a part of this organization is near the top of the list. The show was the perfect way to spend a very hungover Sunday afternoon.

I love New York so much, and I am so happy that we got to spend a great weekend. I am so thankful to sweet Anniebelle for being an amazing hostess. I cannot wait to repay the favor and show her around my new mainsqueeze - Chi-town.

She's pint-sized and amazing.