Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Gatekeeper

Blake and I brought back a sinus infection (for Blake) and the stomach flu (for me) from our Thanksgiving vacation.  Our suitcases remain unpacked, we're still slowly recovering and we're missing our family, friends and the fun time we had in Utah. 

Later this week I'll get to the wonderful food and the 23 people we had at Thanksgiving dinner, but until I've transferred all the photos onto the computer and found a few minutes to write, I'll leave you with this photo of my family's cuddle-worthy dog, Noosa.

Noosa is 9 years old, arthritic and getting grey, but she still vigilantly guards the door any time she sees suitcases.  I love that dog. Hope to see you again soon, Noosa.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm probably the only one who thinks this is funny:

Lately I haven't been able to get enough Linguist Llama.  For all you other linguists out there, check it out.  You won't regret it.  For all you non-linguists, well, you probably won't like it and may regret it.  Who knows, it may even cause you to question my sense of humor and re-think our friendship.  Then I'll regret it, too.

You may have noticed that I tend to verb nouns, noun verbs and create all sorts of hybrid/non-existent words in between.  I've said it before: I'm a linguist and I do what I want. 

If you're like some of my non-linguist professors (what's with subtracting points for a nouned verb now and then?!) and you don't believe me, here's Linguist Llama to add his (her? its?) stamp of approval:

You can't argue with that face.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weekend Tamalada

Until last week I never knew there was whole word devoted just to describing a tamale-making party: tamalada.  Thanks to my friend, Anna, I am now enlightened.  I am also now the proud owner of a freezer full of hand-made tamales. 

We got together a group of adventurous and epicurious souls at Anna's house on Saturday and set about making 350 (!) pork and chicken tamales.  None of us had attempted tamales before, but we came armed with spatulas, mixing bowls, and pre-assigned portions of the tamale.  Mine was a tomatillo sauce (which, incidentally, ended up taking me 3 hours to make...yikes!). 

We took over the kitchen and dining room at Anna's, banished her husband and boys outside to jump in the leaves, and organized an assembly line of sorts: unfold husks, mash masa onto husks, spread sauce onto masa, put mean over sauce, fold, tie, put in pile according to spiciness.  It was quite the process. 

It took us 4 hours to put together 350-ish tamales.  That meant I'd been on my feet cooking/preparing for seven hours that day and my back was completely spent. 

I didn't know cooking could be so painful.  When I got home, I took two Advil and complained the rest of the evening about my aches and pains (poor Blake!). 

53 tamales in my freezer = a lot of easy meals for the next couple months.  Not too shabby for a Saturday: a freezer full of dinners and a sore back.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Secrets

Here's a secret that I'm ashamed of and proud to admit at the same time (kind of like my need to trim my eyebrows on a weekly basis): I am sometimes too cheap even for flea markets.

There.  It's out in the open. 

Take these vintage pool balls, for example:

I took this photo at the Brooklyn Flea a couple weeks ago.  I've been looking for something to put in these glass lamps for a while now.  I wanted something that would add color and visual interested to our mostly muted bedroom.  Vintage pool balls seem like just the thing.  I was hoping to take them home with me until the scraggly, bespectacled hipster running the booth told me the price: $3.00 each or 2 for $5.00. 

Picture my triumphant smile turning instantly into a frown.

I left without them.  But never fear, I found a large supply of vintage pool balls on ebay.  The best part is that they're $9.99 for an entire set.  That's like 1000% cheaper than at The Flea. (Pardon my math.  I exaggerate when I'm excited about home decor.  You can ask Blake.)

So that's my secret. It pays to be cheaper than a flea market.  It also pays to keep my eyebrows trimmed (so I don't look like this guy) - but that's a story for another time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

At long last.

I've been looking for a hard-bound copy of My Name is Asher Lev - my favorite book - for over 10 years now.  I've searched high and low for a copy.  When I did actually find copies they were way out of my price range (being that it hasn't been printed in hard copy for a really long time).

I almost cried for joy when I struck literature gold on Saturday at the book sale at our local library.  We had wandered in to the basement of the library on my way up to find a copy of this month's book club book - The Alchemist.  And it was there, in the depths of library basement, after looking at every book on the fiction aisle for an hour, that I found it.  High on a shelf in the top corner.  At last.  My Name is Asher Lev.  And the price?  $1.00. 

It was serendipity!  I snatched it up and protectively (greedily even?) carried it around with me while Blake and I each collected a rather embarrassingly high stack of books. 

Over the next hour we filled an entire moving box with beautiful books for just $29.00 (!).  We picked up beautiful leather-bound copies of Virgil, Frost, Anderson and Hemingway along with newer (almost untouched) copies of Dan Brown, Michael Lewis and Cormac McCarthy.  The pretty books complete our living room bookshelves where we can enjoy their beauty and the recent best-sellers reside in the library where they'll become tomorrow's metro/commute entertainment. 

But my favorite?  It's up in the top corner of the shelf: a reminder of where I found it.  And though the spine is rather plain, I think it's the most beautiful of all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NYC Hallow-eat'n

 Last Saturday we took a quick over-night trip up to NYC with Whitney & Rob and Logan & Janelle to see the sights, and more importantly, eat the eats.  Our whole trip, after all, was planned around food.

Early Saturday morning we piled into the family-sized SUV (generously lent to us by Whitney's parents) with a big bag of Trader Joes' treats and high spirits.  After making a quick stop at Chez Mac for some hash browns and egg mcmuffins we were on our way.

We may have made a wrong turn that took us trough Philadelphia and we may have gotten caught in a full-blown blizzard, but we adventurers were not discouraged. 

Our first stop was Grimaldi's in Brooklyn for the perfect slice.  I'd never been to Brooklyn before and was excited to spend some time under the snow-covered Brooklyn bridge.  The best part? The horrible weather was fabulously timed: no line at Grimaldi's! 

We gobbled a large pepperoni and a large garlic-and-basil and rolled off to SoHo to shop.  The miserable weather turned New York into a ghost town.  Well, as much of a ghost town as I've ever seen it.  Everyone was safely staying indoors.  After soaking our clothes freezing our hides off for an hour or so we decided to call it quits and go check into the hotel. 

Janelle snagged us a wonderful deal on a nice hotel in Midtown. It was perfectly located, very clean, roomy, and...freezing cold!  The heat was broken for the entire hotel!  I would have never thought that possible for a nice hotel...but alas.  Blake came to our rescue by finagling free hot coco, extra blankets, and a $200 credit to the hotel's restaurant - free of charge to compensate for the frigid temperatures in our rooms.  So that night we merrily drank our free hot chocolate and then dined like kings at the buffet the next morning.  (Thanks, Blake!)

We spent more time drying off and thawing out after a delicious Mexican dinner at Dos Cominos and then went to sleep fraught with anticipation for the next day, which promised to bring with it more sunshine and less/no snow. 

Sunday was chilly, but with clear and sunny skies.  We shopped and photographed around the city for several hours before heading to the Brooklyn Flea (a longtime dream of mine) where we, you guessed it, shopped some more. 

All this shopping was followed by more eating.  Specifically, lunch at Dumont Burger (after unsuccessfully trying to get into Pies n' Thighs...next time!) and then a quick stop at Dewey's before wistfully heading back to DC.

It was a grand (fattening) weekend.  Here's photographic proof:
 Above: 1. The Adventurers brave the blizzard.  2. A view of the NJ turnpike in the blizzard.  3.A clear, sunny view of the NY skyline on our way to the Brooklyn Flea.

Above: 1. The perfect chocolate bar at Dewey's.  I couldn't agree more.  2. Chocolate by the Bald man in Bryant Park.  3. The perfect slice at Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge.  4,  The Adventurers at Dumont Burger in Williamsburg.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Buy your own Beyonce.

One of my favorite blogs of late is The Bloggess.  Yes, she's irreverent, but she's oh so funny. 

While we were at the Brooklyn Flea last weekend I couldn't resist taking a photo of these horrific metal donkeys which were somewhat reminiscent of Beyonce on what has become my favorite blog post of all time.  Lucky for Blake I bought neither these nor a slew of new towels.  In fact, I left completely empty-handed.

However,  if I were to buy one I'd buy the red one and name it Melvin.  Yes.  And Melvin could stand guard by Blake's clubhouse.

Hello, Melvin.