Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Well, finally I'm starting to feel much better so was able to drag my out-of-shape self to the spa again. I went for a swim and pretended like I was Michael Phelps. Which mainly meant that I made my usual, leisurely lap from one end to the other, and, while resting, allowed myself to feel a great sense of satisfaction.

My favorite Olympics Moment (TM) was Usain Bolt winning the 100 meter dash. You've gotta see this clip (I mean, it's 9 seconds, you've got time). The guy breaks a world record, running 100 meters in 9 seconds. Around 8 seconds, he looks around and sees that he's got in the bag, actually slows down a little bit, and sails through the finish line like he's not even tryin'! Then, he keeps on running until he finds his mom, and hugs her and everyone in her general vicinity. All this he did after (seriously) downing an order of chicken nuggets and with an untied shoe!

In other news, Oh. My. God. My blog was on Apartment Therapy!!! If you don't know how utterly huge this is, I may be married to you. Turns out my boss is friends with one of the writers there. Bummer side note is that I scrambled to look at my Google Analytics, which I haven't paid any attention to lately, and it turns out some of the code must have been broken, because, according to G.A., I've had no visitors at ALL since like, May.

It's Back To School season, and it's reminding me of... well, me! When I was a kid, I used to get super-anxiety before that dreaded First Day of School. It usually involved some crying and a little bit of puke. That carried on, I hate to tell you, even to my grad school years. Well, by then less puking but still a few tears. Probably a lifetime of the First Day of School jitters could have been at least slightly lessened if my kindergarden teacher had not been an absolute monster who sent me to the principle because of my incessant sobbing! Mrs. Whatsyername, I curse your name forever! But, Principle Whatshisname is a prince among men, who I will never forget.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bon Giorno

I've been thinking about my trip to Italy when I was 17 - right out of high school, I returned home with our exchange student and spent the summer with her. Oh boy, did we have fun. I need to start brushing up on my Italian again. I'm going to teach M how to say Amore mio, sei molto bella. Baciami! When I was in Italy, my friend and I used to say really stupid things to each other in crowded places, like, Hai un'infezione vaginale and Hai un piede deformato* because I stepped on a bee when I was there and my foot swelled up to three times its normal size and I couldn't even put on my shoe. Now I need to learn how to say more sophisticated things like Vorrei ancora una bottiglia di vino rosso, per favore and Desidero fare l'amore voi.

Coincidentally, this weekend I stepped on a bee in the garden and the first thing I thought of was that damn Italian bee. Now, wouldn't you know my foot is starting to swell up?

Here's a blast from the past:

*"You have a club foot".

Thursday, August 21, 2008


It's finally tomato season and M and I are over the moon because we love nothing better than eating tomatoes for every meal of the day. Bruschetta is a long time favorite around here, but we also discovered another recipe that we love. We had it first at this great new restaurant in our old 'hood. It's called panzanella. It's really simple to make and you wouldn't believe how good it is:

5-6 slices of slightly stale-ish baguette, cubed
2-3 tomatoes, cubed
1 cucumber, cubed
about 1/4 a red onion, sliced very thinly
oil and vinager (I like about a 4 to 1 ratio)
throw everything in a bowl and pour the vinegrette over - wait about 15 mins for the vin. to soak in.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Free stuff

Oh, boy! I just got a nice little box full of Obama buttons from Move On! They're giving away free buttons (including free shipping). If you make a small donation, you'll get even more to share with your friends, which is what I am going to do! I like the designs, the graphics are really cool.

I hope all my Agoraphobia readers in Indiana are going to vote democrat - I'll be so proud if my home state goes blue this year.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tropic Thunder

Just got back from seeing Tropic Thunder - it is really funny, and really smart. It's like a satirical comedy, lampooning various Hollywood-type genres (the war-pic, the I-Am-Sam, the Eddie-Murphie-in-a-fat-suit/fart joke, the energy-drink pusher, the gay priest) while posing as a stupid genre movie. Robert Downey Jr. was terrific as the Russell Crowe-like method actor. His character kept talking about the craft of acting and the importance of connecting with the audience on their own level - too hilarious. That man's a genius. But the absolute best was Tom Cruise as the studio exec. with these ridiculous, hairy, meaty paws and forearms. I'm not kidding, Tom C. is worth the price of admission. I think this is his Pulp Fiction.

BTW, there's been a fair amount of talk about the film's use of the word "retarded", and I think that's good. It's a word I really hate and when I hear it, you bet my hackles go up. Ben Stiller's character is an actor who played a mentally disabled person in another movie called "Simple Jack". The use of the word "retarded" and Stiller's character's performance illustrate how ignorant so many people's (and a number of movies) perceptions are of what it is to be mentally disabled. I did not think those instances were about being cruel or offense to the mentally disabled themselves, and, believe me, I'm pretty damn sensitive about the matter.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie a few months ago, I couldn't believe RDj was wearing what looked for all the world like modern-day blackface. That risky move is so interesting - it's offensive, and in a way it's kind of a brilliant example. In one scene I'm sure you've all seen from the trailer, RDj's character says, "What do you mean, 'you people'?" and then the actual African American behind him says, "What do you mean, 'you people'?" Capturing the black experience (or the mentally disabled one) is not done by playing a role, or putting on make-up, or spending time in that world, it's living it, your whole life.

So, I'd recommend it. It's a very clever movie. (Also I'd like to thank Ben Stiller for the joke in the title for us grammar nerds!)

Big news: M and I booked tickets for our 10 year anniversarymoon. We'd been planning on going to Paris, but prohibitively high ticket prices and the lure of going somewhere neither of us had been before led to a slight change of plans: Florence! Oh, I'm so excited! It's going to be amazing!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Olympics

I was banning the Olympics for a few days (as any reasonable person would do out of opposition to China's flagrant human rights abuses), but, I can't ignore it's siren call any longer. And what happens but I turn on my television but there's synchronized diving (who knew?)! I like it when the Olympics are all about cross-cultural experiences and our world community and celebrating skill. I love watching people hug and get excited, but I hate to see them lose. Aside from people losing, there's a few other lame things about the Olympics in general and the Chinese Olympics in particular which I just don't have the extra energy to grouse about right now.

I'm finally starting to feel better, and it's seriously like a weight has been taken off my shoulders. My big hope is that I'll be 100% better by the weekend so I can go to the beach. For the past month, all I've done is sleep, drag my ass to work, and had only three fun activities: M took me to Wicked, I had my bookclub, and we went to a matinée of Batman. Everything was fun, but I did hack and cough through all of them. Wicked was really incredible - great production. I liked Batman. Ledger's performance was amazing, as everyone's saying (I think we're all obviously paying more attention because the poor guy died). My favorite parts were where they drove around on Lower Wacker. Each of those scenes were not unlike all the times I have driven on fairly outrageous bit of infrastructure myself.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's In My Garden/Lungs?

Another visit to my dr. revealed that, best case scenario, I have Bronchitis. She also had me get an xray and some blood tests - if those turn up anything weird, I'll find out Monday. So, probably what happened is I got a bad cold, which turned into a sinus infection, which turned into Bronchitis, which, hopefully will turn into a beautiful flower and we'll all live happily ever after. After looking at some images of what my bronchial tubes look like, I now understand why I'm so GD tired all the time.

I've been so depressed over my current health state that I broke down and bought what might be described as a self-help book (although I noticed the section of the bookstore was labeled "Psychology.") There was, I'm not kidding you, a dude curled up in the corner of the "Psychology" section, weeping.

I know everyone's missing the "What's in My Garden" entries of last year. I never thought it would happen, but I can identify just about everything in the yard. I never thought I'd be the kind of annoying person that was all, "Look at my liatris!" And "My coleus just isn't doing well this season" but, it turns out I am. There are two mysteries outstanding, however:

This one grew out of nowhere and overshadowed my delphinium, which really annoys me. I think it's going to get the boot because it's just not wowing me and it's too big. Does anyone know what it is, though?

This vine-y thing grew right out of our compost pile - it reminds me of our cucumber, but the leaf is different. I wonder if a vegetable is going to start growing out of it. Anyone have any guesses what it might be?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

whatveI, whatveI, whatveIdone to deserve this?

I'm going on now my third week of debilitating illness. My dr. told me it was a sinus infection, but after finishing my second round of antibios with little change, I have to wonder if that's correct. I'm going back to her tomorrow for another diagnosis. And more medicine.

Being sick like this again, aside from being a major pain in my ass, effing up my b-day month, getting in the way of my work and life in general, is really stressing me out. After The Great Crap-Up that was 2007, I get really anxious whenever I get sick because I don't want to go through all of that again. There's for sure no such thing as karma. I've figured that out.

Oh well.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sweet Corn!

Over the weekend we had a rousing book club (with the biggest turn-out yet!) and then we went to M's Granny's house to celebrate his mom's 60th b-day! M's gran lives in a tiny town in Indiana where a local farmer plants a couple of rows of sweet corn for the community. She said you find the spot by "trial and error." I said, "What's the 'error'? A farmer chases you with a shotgun?" But, she never laughs at my jokes. We drove out and picked some corn and my boy fixed it up Grandma-style. Now we wait until the middle of winter to consume it and dream about these halcyon days. Camilla's magical recipe goes like this:
slice the corn off 16-20 ears. Melt one stick of butter in a heavy saucepan. Mix in corn with approx. 1 cup water. Cook for approx. 20 minutes. Cool and freeze. It's heavenly.

M's gran is a master of self-denial. Aside from telling us she had no intention of eating the tupelo honey we ordered for her because it was "too good to eat", she pulled out this never-before-used "amazing new invention" from around 1945. She told us it had been in her drawer for over 55 years, but she's never used it. M gave it a go with the corn (but it turns out he preferred to use a knife too!)