Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

What is with all this originally posted business?!

Well, let me tell you – it is A LOT easier to delete your whole blog than you think!!! Yes, indeedy!!! In trying to re-vamp this blog in the hopes of showing how it really reflects the all the random nuttiness inside of me, I, in one of my more classic A.D.D. moments decided (in a bad way) to do way too many things at once…and wandered the mouse over "Are you REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY SURE you want to delete the email address linked to this blog and everything associated with it (meaning the blog istelf) Forever, EVER? Forever EVER?"

Then clicked "YOU BETCHA!" without even looking...not my wisest moment.

So the originally planned: "Welcome To My New Address - Thanks For The Casserole" blog has turned into one big, giant OOPSY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In one of my brighter moments, I remembered that I had saved all my posts elsewhere on my computer and after some wrangling, I'm up and running again!

So, Welcome!!!

I guess as long as this only happens once every four years…?

Meanwhile, Back at the Empire State Building…

(originally posted 02/27/08)

Peer pressure. I don't care what your mamas told you: it never gets old. You never outgrow it. I don't care how cool you think you are, or how secure you think you are or how aloof you think you are. It's always there. Looming. Taunting. Killing your calves.

No, no, no…your Holsteins are safe…

I'm talking about the ones between your ankles & knees. THOSE calves. Write this down in your collective diaries – no pen? I'll wait…no really – you'll want to commit this to paper, I promise. Ready? OK – I've been working out. VOUS?? Oui, moi!! And not just once to say I'd done it & thought it overrated, but on a rather regular basis!!

I know! It's Cuh- RAZY!! Previous to this current bout of mental illness the most exercise I got was walking from sofa (living room) to fridge (kitchen) to refill the wine glass which on a good day merely negated the caloric intake.

But now, my uh, "friends" have gotten this WACKY idea in their heads that this activity called "working out" would improve the weight loss experience.

Improve? I'm pretty sure they are using that word pretty loosely. Today after our workout my whole body felt like green Jell-o melting in the sun (The green was an alien reference – as in "I'm such an alien to this world of exercise!") and I'm sure I won't be able to move at all tomorrow.

Huh?? Oh!!! You caught that…."OUR" workout…yeah…well, this is where the peer pressure comes in…unless guided by the gentle hands of those around me, I'd be sitting around like Jabba the Huttress waiting for my froggy lunch to be brought to me…

And wouldn't THAT be pretty???

So even though this exercise thing is certainly not easy, I must sum up by saying:

free gym at work membership? (did my lazy ass mention that?) Free
water, towels, gym locker, shower? Free
making sure you don't embarrass yourself in the gym alone? Priceless

Oh yeah. And I'd better lose some damn weight.

Desperately Seeking Jane

(originally posted 02/21/08)

Flattery is the sincerest form of imitation…wait…or is it the other way around? What is it about seeing, hearing, watching, reading something that someone else has done really well that makes us think that we can master it just as easily, if not more easily than the master him- or her- self? How many times have you heard this one: "My KID can do better than that!" Yes, your little Jenny Genius probably could…but then if that were the case, you wouldn't be going to work tomorrow, you'd be out exploiting your child on Oprah.

Not-so-slightly-veiled immature neener-neener aside, I've just re-read (for the umpteenth time) Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice and I wonder (amazement, not curiosity) at the complexity of this seemingly simple story. Good people are good – simple, clear, easy. Bad people are bad, but not so prematurely defined: reasons are given, excuses made, but in the end, overall verdict: not-so-good. Humor and tragedy are played out in the seemingly simplest way possible. And I think, as we all have at some point, I can do this! I can say "not very pleased" to mean "really pissed off" and I can make the cruel and mean look silly and ridiculous if viewed with a clear heart…but no. Within the space of an hour a girl that never left home, never experienced ¼ of the things in life that women of HER time, let alone mine, have experienced, a woman that died at the age that I am now has left me awkwardly flailing in the ditch of the English language, drowning in banalities, grasping desperately for a metaphor that hasn't been already trampled to death. Well done, her! Back to short, witty…uh…written…um…things for me.

Perhaps if I wore a muslin gown instead of a fuzzy robe & bunny slippers?

Be Still My Heart

(originally posted 02/14/08)

I just received the BEST Valentine gift a gal could hope for…from the man of my dreams…my heart's all a twitter and I think I may be a bit faint! He's come back into my life after so many years and as much as I wanted to be angry for making me wait so long, I understand, and when I see him, the years seem to have washed away in a blink.

Be still my heart - Indiana Jones is back. And I am enraptured again. I just watched the trailer and I am pretty sure I'll be watching it over and over all day long…

Happy Valentine's Day, Indy…welcome back!

The Grass is Brown All Over Town

(originally posted 02/13/08)

I know. I have no room to speak. I have no right to complain. I should shut my cake hole or better yet, use it to loudly thank the goddesses that I actually have something to celebrate on the Relationship Holy of Holies.

I honestly debated whether I should post this at all. Would I be struck down by mysterious and unearthly forces? Or human ones? That is yet to be seen...I actually felt guilty writing about the flip side of this evil holiday…YES! I said evil. There. It's out. I say this loudly to you all! Valentine's Day SUCKS!!

Don't hit me with cherry filled candy and black roses. I get it! The only people that are allowed to bitch are those that can rage against the heavens (and its corporate sponsors here on earth: Hallmark, Godiva, every South American rose farmer and Jared's) that they have no one to impose this 'holiday' upon – no one to impose it upon them. And I've been there – truth be told more often in my life than not.

Remember kindergarten when you had to send a valentine to everyone in your class? First grade, too? But then by second grade, something happened. Most teachers felt that you had developed friendships already and besides, parents do most of the work, so why torture them, too? But you fill out your 30 valentines because YOUR mom said that it wouldn't be nice if some kids didn't get any. Then you realize the next day that only two other moms besides yours felt that way. Which sucked. Because you only got those two valentines in your little doily decorated pouch. Then you realize in your 7 year old horror that you are expected to gloat in the lunch room so you fake an asthma attack so you can go to the nurses office instead. Which really sucked. And you panic every year thereafter. It's not always about not gettin' the love, though.

Sometimes love comes with a lot of expectations:

What about those poor gals ('cause let's face it – how many guys complain about being ignored on Valentine's Day?) that have to cajole their man into celebrating? Or the ones that get a small teddy bear holding a heart that says "Luv ya!" purchased with reluctance at the last minute at (insert gas station here)? Or the Really Nice Gal with the Evil Bay Mate? Our R.N.G. gets some flowers sent to work – she beams – so happy! But then Evil Bay Mate gets a HUGE bouquet from P.W. Boyfriend (and we all know that the W stands for 'whipped') who has to mortgage his house to pay for them. R.N.G. gives a watery smile & compliment (because she's Really Nice) and also because E.B.M. is gloating like the evil bitch she is…then giggles dismissively and pretends to be oh-so-sweet about the teensy bouquet sent with love and a human budget but she's really just a bitch and not-so-secretly happy that her man is more whipped than R.N.G.'s. "Ah! Mah! Gahd! And he's taking a second on the house and we're going to Santa Barbara for the weekend and he's treating me to ALL the spa services!!! Isn't he just the most whipped of all??" Yeah. Gag me. Call me when you're divorced. Better yet? Don't.

Here's a few for the gentlemen…how about those $400 dinners that cost $39.95 every other day of the year?? Or the $150 flowers that cost $12.99 February 13th or 15th? Or the $99.99 necklace you bought at Jared's but because commercials suck, she knows exactly how much you paid for it? And GOD FORBID you come over with just a teddy bear holding a heart…

And the evil high water mark of all…dreaded by both normal men and women alike: The Engagement. Every gal secretly wants it – every man secretly dreads it…is THIS the year? No? Maybe next? Or with the next guy? EVIL, I tell you! EVIL!! I'm convinced that this holiday has mutated into something meant to make you feel inadequate no matter WHO you are.

Expectations and commercialism have absolutely killed a little holiday that I believe that was started with noble intentions – tell someone special in your life – no matter who that is – that they are special. That's it. No flowers or stuffed animals or cards or dinners or any of that shit. Just an honest heart-felt word or two. Or action. Or anything. You feelin' me?

Most importantly, Love yourself – in the end that's the only thing that matters…

Oh Look! A Hen!

(originally posted 02/07/08)

I love to cook. I love to eat. The combination of the two is extremely dangerous to my waistline. It's a good fight – and one that I tend to often lose…thank VISA for late night diet medication commercials!!! "Melt the fat away while you sleep! Diapers not included; serious side effects may include…" Uh….I'm no doctor, but my guess would be that the new necessity of night diapers might be included on the list of "serious" side effects…

Sorry…I'll move along…

As a foodie, I've always been disappointed that the elite and ubiquitous "They" have said for years that I live in a city void of cuisine. How could they?! Los Angeles? Void? The land of Tommy burgers, Gloria's tacos, and Stan's donuts? These are local joints that will never get a Michelin star, but have kept locals standing in line for decades. This is good stuff, people! OK – perhaps up until recently we may have had only one Food Network star open a restaurant here – but you gotta admit, Wolfgang Puck is one hellauva "only one" kinda guy…Spago, anyone?

But the gourmet tides, they are a-turnin'! As much as I love Mario Batali, I'll not sing his praises here tonight – that's another entry - I'm here to talk about my newest and previously mentioned addiction: the food at Craft, Los Angeles – specifically the pan roasted Hen of the Woods mushrooms.

For those not yet aware, Craft is the Garanimals of fine dining. I say this because every dish mixes and matches with every other dish on the menu. Perfectly and yummily – is that a word? All menu items are ordered high-end family style – that's right – you share – something many haven't felt comfortable doing since grade school. As a result, every dish should be (and is) harmonious with every other dish, so all guests in your party enjoy a cohesive dining experience. It works. Really freaking well. Master Genius Chef Tom Colicchio has converted me…mushrooms were the enemy from my earliest memory – more on that later – but he has, in one magic moment, changed my palate forever. This exquisite dish of mushroom, garlic, shallots and thyme is burned on my brain and taste buds so completely that I make it at home – acceptably, but not perfectly – at least twice a week. In the wild they look like little chicken feathers. So Pretty!! My guess is this is where the name originates??

If I may say, eating them is to-die-for goodness! I'm a bit of an obsessive food geek, so you'll notice, but trust me on this: if you live anywhere near a Craft restaurant in this country – go quickly towards the light. You will be rewarded. If not, the recipe can be found online…hunt it down! You'll be so happy you did!

Off to the kitchen…

Spelling and Grammar and Diction, Oh My!

(originally posted 02/06/08)

Dating: How hard can it be? A boy meets a girl and voila!! Nature has built a primal urge right inside us – like a teensy auto-pilot – that screams "reproduce!!" and once it goes off, you'll have a hell of a time putting that genie back in the bottle! I've come to discover, though, that it rarely says "…and once I've knocked you up, let's hope you turn into Kathryn Heigl and we'll get married and I'll be dopey but devoted to you for the rest of my natural born days". Um, no…

There was a time that I was intimately acquainted with what it is like to not date in LA –but this is not that story and I'm no expert. If you want to REALLY sink your teeth into single, check out one of my favorite blogs over there to the left – your other left – there you go… "Dating in LA and Other Urban Myths". It ROCKS, y'all! Check it out!

Today's rambling is about the other side of the dating coin:

Some people really do get to date in this city: A good friend of mine has gingerly dipped her toe back in the dating pool after a very long relationship and marriage. And being unsure of how to dip, she thought, as we all do at some point in our single lives, "online dating…is it for me?" So she gave it a shot.

A quick lesson to the single gentlemen out there that are considering, or have already subscribed to, an online dating service: It is super easy to not date you when you can't compose a literate sentence.

"Whatever do you mean? I can write." Yeah, no. You can't. Or maybe you are doing your best and that just made a whole lot of women's jobs a whole lot easier! Just pay a bit of attention – HOW you put yourself out there is just as important as your photo. Seriously. Sure, we know you lie about your age – that's a given. We love your big strong guns…those arms can hold us for whatever reason (PMS counts – get used to it), and those eyes could melt chocolate in the wintertime. Your hair, those tats, a torso that goes on for days...whooo doggy! But please, please do a re-read before you click "send":

"There" is a location – "My pickup is over there."
"Their" is possessive – "This is their hemi."
"They're" is a contraction – "They're a nice couple."

All gals like a guy that can communicate with them in writing – you don't have to be Shakespeare, Shakespeare, but you'll have a better chance getting a gal's phone number if you can ask her for it without making her decipher what you're (a contraction v. possessive: which is 'your') trying to say. And use Spell Check, for God's sake!

Just a thought…

Jerusalem Artichoke Man – Bless You!

(originally posted 02/06/08)

Thank you, Jerusalem Artichoke Man at Whole Foods on National and Barrington in W. Los Angeles! Thank you for restoring my belief that people really DO care out there…that they take pride in their jobs – or – hell, just pride in being a good person. Thank you for being SO DARN NICE! And I didn't even get your name. Shame on me.

For all of you out there that read this (Whole Foods Manager – nudge, nudge) I walked up to a man in the produce section of aforementioned store this evening and asked if they had Jerusalem artichokes. I am newly acquainted with their nutty goodness and wanted to try making them at home like I've had them at my new favorite addiction: Craft Los Angeles.

…ahhh, Craft…the mind wanders, the mouth waters, the wallet runs and hides…talk about a fast track to Ruin – I've decided the fastest way to financial ruin for me is to become intimate with every menu item on Chef Tom Colicchio's fantastic menu…and of course I can't go alone! My friend and coworker willingly gets dragged along with me, having recently decided that she possesses the Thomas' Guide and Speed Pass to Ruin – check out how fun the road trip can be on her blog over there in my favs: Because Life is Too Short. Polish off those Louboutin's & get hoppin'!

Anywho…back to Whole Foods. NOT ONLY, did Wonderful J.A.M walk me over to where they were, when I ashamedly admitted that I didn't even know what they looked like, he pointed my ignorant self right to them. I thanked him profusely and went on my way. I finish my shopping – telling myself on every aisle that I need nothing more than eggs. Period. OK – and MAYBE something meat-like for dinner - <sigh> OK – and Hen Of The Woods Mushrooms (don't worry boys & girls, I'll tell you ALL about those soon enough). But that's it! Nothing more! So I scurry over to the checkout line and I hear, "Miss? Miss?" Clearly the person is calling to someone else because I haven't been "Miss" in YEARS! But vanity grabs me and turns my head. I look over and who is walking up to me with a big box in his hands?

Jerusalem Artichoke Man.

He said that after I walked away he went to the basket where said root veggie was and noticed that they weren't very fresh, so would I prefer to pick out some new ones from this box that had arrived today but not been put out yet?


When was the last time that happened to you??? Me? Never.

What a nice guy. Thank you!!!

Traffic Rules Are For You, Too!

(originally posted 02/05/08)

Being new to this whole "blog thing", I don't really know if there are any rules…I'm consistently told no, but, that could just be people being funny…I'm told I can say whatever I want – talk about things that are of global or local or no importance whatsoever…the one thing I have to remember is to just do it.


This sounds all well & good, but then I peruse some sites that have interaction between fellow viewers…discussions, I believe they are called…or forums – and people "post" their thoughts in a conversation-like-way. So here's the thing I've noticed: someone posts a question or observation and then the Old-Timers With Attitude lambast the poor git for not knowing that waaaaay back in January 2005 the EXACT SAME {emphasis theirs} question has been asked AND answered in the XYZ forum and would you PLEASE take the time to memorize everything there ever was to know about our site before bothering to set your damn newbie opinions in our range of vision!?!

Then the poor newbie skulks back into the corner, contenting himself or herself to just reading posts instead of actually having the freedom to participate in this brave new world. These O.T.W.A. are the cyber-equivalent of every jock and cheerleader and bully and smart-geeky kid and elitist jerk that ever picked on another person. And let's face it folks…I wear glasses. Please don't hit me.

So, if I post a thought that has been posted a thousand times before, frankly, I care, but not that much. Turn the page, change the channel, go outside and play…just don't be mean about it. Or I'll take my toys and go home. I will! And who knows? I may actually say the same ol' thing in an amusing and fun new way! Something that'll make you say "hmmmm…." (see? I knew you saw that one coming…)

That being said:

To all you George & Jane Jetsons out there: you do not drive in space – you drive on the road – with other people – near you – separated by a teensy bit of fiberglass, so please, in the gentlest terms possible: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!!!!!!!!!! Put down the phone, mcmuffin, razor, mascara, vibrator and DRIVE!!!!

Everywhere around the globe we must pass a test before we are allowed to operate a vehicle. We aren't allowed to chuck those rules out the window like so much Styrofoam once we do. We need to obey them the whole entire time we're behind the wheel. Novel, I know. The road, as we may all recall in our driver's ed. classes, belongs to everyone. Defined by Webster's New College Dictionary, "everyone" means "every person". All of us. Not. Just. You.

So please – a little awareness that you are playing with others would be appreciated.

Drive safe & have a nice day!

Keeping up with the Joneses

(originally posted 02/04/08)

I can hear my mom's words ringing in my head as I stood in the kitchen – shocking pink lipstick in one hand and gangrene blue eye shadow in the other – "If everyone jumped off the Empire State Building, would you jump, too?" OK – in fairness to her, the "Blind Hooker with the D.T.'s" look I had going on was probably not what my mom expected to see when she turned to look at the fresh face of her 15 year old daughter, but all my friends were wearing makeup and I wanted to, too! What Mom actually was seeing, in her defense, was completely frightening: garish makeup-face and a gray & green polyester 2 piece ensemble hanging on a late-bloomer figure. Together. In the same fashion statement. Talk about groovy, huh?!

What? Polyester was never cool? Really!? Never? THAT'S embarrassing…

Anyway…I digress (you'll get used to it, I promise): back to the Empire State Building…for the record, I didn't jump – I walked straight to the bathroom (after much mother/teenage daughter debating, arguing, temper tantrum-ing) and off with the makeup. For those keeping score – Mom won. For pretty much ever. I have a drawer full of un- or slightly-worn makeup, and not to allude too directly to a certain defunct cable show, but I could own real estate for the amount of unused makeup I've purchased over the years. Not a lot of real estate – and honestly not anywhere I'd like to live, but real estate nonetheless. Who else is with me? What gal doesn't have a ton of colors and shades that look fantastic under the glittering fluorescent glow of the department store or Rite Aid counter but when you get them home they look like a kindergartener's Easter project??

Where was I? Ah, yes…New York. It usually takes me years to embrace what others do in a moment – most of my friends had makeup at 13 - I just got an iPod – and only because it was a gift – and the only thing I load on it is videos; computers? Aren't those for work and online shopping? I DO have a cool cell phone, but only because Man O' Mine would no longer be seen in public with me if I carried the monochromatic-screened portable brick around so he bought me a new one with colors and lights and a fancy ringtone! Txt msg? RU Nuts? LMAO!! (ok – you got me - I really get into text messaging – it's so clever the way you can say almost anything in 160 characters or less!)

Which brings me here, ladies and gentlemen…The Blog. When I first heard of this mysterious new devise I thought another celebrity couple broke up and this is how the press was naming the untimely demise. But then I heard about this gal that writes about her cat…everyday. And another randomly discovered blog talked about how fun and exciting lasagna in a crock pot can be!! (LOVE my crock pot, btw), and then a coworker told me of another coworker's blog. And he is FUNNY! Then a friend of mine started to blog. And she's freaking awesome! Then another! Soon I was surrounded by bloggers!! And dammit, I wanted to blog, too!

So come along with me on my long jump off the Empire State Building…have some wine! Who knows where the fall will land us, but it'll be a hell of a trip!