Friday, August 29, 2008

A Week in the Life of....

I've had a pretty good week. I started by taking last Thursday and Friday off work (and Monday too!). On Friday afternoon, I suddenly realized I felt more relaxed than I had in a long time. I definitely needed several days of unstructured chill time.

Friday night Bill, Tom and Tina and I went to the Demolition Derby at the Cummington Fair. I filled my belly with hand cut french fries and pulled pork before we made our way up the hill to watch the derby. It was awesome.After the first big crash, I was totally desensitized to automobile violence and loved every minute of it. Tina and I ran reconnaissance missions for mini-donuts, fried dough and cotton candy between heats. And a tiny little slip of a girl won the whole thing! I'm not sure why that felt so inspiring, but we celebrated with her as she danced a victory dance on the roof of her tattered car. Tina has more photos here.We wandered around the late night fair grounds a bit before going home.

And Bill ate Jack's Buns....The whole time we were at the fair we were all a bit twitchy because of the lack of cell phone reception. We waited with baited breath on the way home for signals to come back, expecting important text messages. We needn't have worried though. Early the next morning - 3:13am to be exact - I got the text message from the Obama campaign telling me he had wisely chosen Joe Biden as his running mate.

On Saturday, after a trip to the Northampton Farmer's Market for corn and lots of tomatoes, my parents arrived form Vermont to celebrate my birthday. There was champagne and Mom brought Red Cake. This is a family tradition. We always have Red Cake on our birthdays. It's an old recipe also known as Red Velvet Cake (anyone remember the armadillo groom's cake in Steel Magnolia's?). It's a big pain in the ass to make and my mother threatens that each one she makes will be her last. But we continue to demand them and she continues to make them. I have even demanded them on my brother's birthday on years when he couldn't make it home (I always call and tell him I have done so and that it tasted delicious....).

Sunday was beautiful. Several months ago, when the Tanglewood schedule was released, I mentioned to friends that the BSO was performing Beethovan's 9th symphony on my birthday. Darling GL offered to make the arrangements and planned a perfect picnic. It was great! Lots of friends and my folks. Pimm's cups, more champagne, cupcakes, tomatoes from Tom and Tina's garden and lots of other yummy stuff. My camera batteries died after I took one photo. But Traci has more.
From left to right, that's Pete, my dad in his vacation hat, Tom (who isn't really glaring I don't think), my mother and Andre's laptop (isn't that paper done yet Andre?).

Monday was another relaxing day of doing not much of anything. I made lots of tomato sauce from the case of bruised tomatoes I picked up cheap at the Farmer's Market. I make my Uncle Andy's recipe which is easy and yummy. In the midst of winter it tastes like summer. I froze some, but it didn't make as much as I would have hoped. Not enough to get me through the winter. So if anyone (and you know who you are) has excess tomatoes, I'm happy to take them off your hands.

GL came over for pasta Monday night. We interacted on the internets with Bill (who was streaming video of himself live from Denver) until it was time for him to head into the convention floor. (In fact, we all interacted lots with BillTV this week, but he wouldn't do the chicken dance for me.... I guess I can understand that he didn't want to embarrass himself in front of the rest of the important people in the media tent...) After a few glasses of left-over box wine from Tanglewood, Traci, GL and I all got misty-eyed during Michelle Obama's speech.

My evenings this week have been consumed by the Democratic Convention. The Clintons, the Bidens (Beau and Joe) and even John Kerry gave terrific speeches. The highlight, of course, was last night. Northampton Dems held a party at Paradise City Tavern. (Traci and I were delighted to find that they now have Blue Bird Bitter on tap. I adore this beer - I could drink it all day.)

Traci and Eleanor waiting for the show to start.

First there was Al:
And then Barack gave the amazing, inspiring speech we all needed.
There was happiness....
There were also photographers and reporters everywhere. See that guy behind Andre?

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Omnivore's 100

Original with wikipedia links (for things you might not know what they are....) is here.

Here’s what you to do:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison (I grew up in Vermont it was occasionally unavoidable no matter how much I objected to eating Bambi)
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (Copying Traci I'm saying the fried Alligator I ate in New Orleans counts. Tastes like chicken...)
6. Black pudding (Ugh)
7. Cheese fondue (a family tradition on Christmas Eve - with champagne)
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses (I need to try this stinky cheese!)
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes (my idea of heaven is a plate full of these with some basil and balsamic)
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (I know it's wrong, but yum)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (no, but the scotch bonnet hot sauce they serve everywhere in Barbados is one of my favorite condiments ever....)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (hate them)
29. Baklava (there's a little greek deli near my house that makes the best...)
30. Bagna cauda (never even heard of it before, but I would eat this in a second)
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (I've had clam chowder in a regular bowl. Does lobster bisque in a sourdough bowl count?)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (Katy's favorite cheer-me-up drink... besides a martini....)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (have had these separately, but not together. need to try this.)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (dudes, we had this party in college where I made 10 flavors, it was crazy...)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (nope and I'm not gonna either)
43. Phaal (no, but I totally would if someone wanted to challenge me)
44. Goat’s milk (I like it best in cheese format though...)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (if someone could just get me one of these bottles I'd be happy to try it. More than once if neccessary.)
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (I really don't understand the hype here.)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini (see Root Beer Float above...)
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (I totally would eat this, it sounds disgustinglicious)
60. Carob chips (but why do that to a perfectly good cookie?)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian (no, but I was just reading a recepie the other day for Durian Ice Cream that was intriguing.)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (mmmm Cafe Beignet on Royal St in New Orleans. Best. Breakfast. Ever.)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini (but not together...)
73. Louche absinthe (see 45 above...)
74. Gjetost, or brunost (not a big fan...)
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini (mmm lovely. Brunch anyone?)
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Not bad. 65 out of 100. I'm fairly adventurous with food I think. And I'd try almost all of the other 35 things. But I'm not eating bugs.

Seriously Pottery Barn?

I've searched the entire site and it seems they decided not to use one of the photos from the latest catalog on the website. It is that dumb. It is a large photograph of a barn from the "Pottery Barn Art to Collect" series (hear the dripping irony in my voice there?) hanging off the front of a book case. The book case is full of books that you cannot get to because of the large photograph in the way. It doesn't matter though, because the books are all turned spine in. You would never reach for one of those books because you can't tell which one is which. Why would anyone keep a large bookcase full of books they weren't going to ever need access to? Are they ashamed of what they read, but want people to see that they read lots of books still?

Then there is this makeshift coffee table:Please can someone tell me why you would want to do this? The chances that you could get 6 stacks of giant art books to all be the exact same height are slim. You would drive yourself nuts trying to make it work. And what happens when some kid (or me) accidentally bumps that bowl of candles and spills hot wax on the expensive art books? Or a glass of wine. Or someone puts a sticky juice box down on your favorite book of Mapplethorpe photos? Seriously Pottery Barn?

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things I like in the latest catalog. I would die to own this quilt (and the bed it is on...). And the Halloween cocktail party stuff? Yes please. I'll take it all.

I'm also curious about the wall covering in this photo. It appears to either be letterpress letters mounted on the wall or some sort of reproduction of same. I love it. But what a lot of effort it would take to get one paperclip out of those heavy glass jars. Just because it looks good, doesn't mean it's functional Pottery Barn.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More days that I missed

National Martini Day (June 19)

National Tequila Day
(July 24)
National Scotch Day (July 25)
Really, I don't think it's wise to have these two days back to back. I may be happy I missed them and didn't feel compelled to celebrate both.

National Rum Day (August 16) - didn't so much miss this one as accidentally celebrate it on July 26th...

And there is still time to get in on National Whiskey Sour Day (August 29) and National Marshmallow Toasting Day (August 30).

I'll be skipping National Créme de Menthe Day (Sept 15) but you can count on a large celebration here on National Complaint Day (February 6).

That's enough... knitting soon. I promise.