Saturday, November 27, 2004

Matriarch Pie

Thanksgiving was nice. I ate a lot. Drank more. Red wine, white wine, beer, vodka, eggnog, cheap champagne...

However, as I read in a young fellas blog just recently, only kids and losers talk about their drinking habits:

If someone is overly showy and proud about his love for drinking or his great drinking escapades, then is it likely that he is a new drinker and is a loser. Our fathers are the most hardcore seasoned drinkers. They don't ever bother to talk about drinking.

A person can't really argue with the subtle truth to this. But, I digress.

I was surprised by the low level of commitment that was expected of me this holiday. “Just bring a desert” they said. So I brought a buttermilk pecan pie. It’s sort of a custard – butter, eggs, sugar, pecans and buttermilk. Totally delicious – despite the blasphemous frozen crust.

This year was different from other years. This year the honor of holding Thanksgiving exchanged hands from the Fiancé’s Mother to Auntie Velvet. This is because the Fiancé’s mother is going to inherit the honor of hosting Christmas which was long held by her own mother. Auntie Velvet usually holds the less prestigious ‘Christmas Eve party’ which will eventually be thrust into my hands as the newest female member of the family.

Despite only having to contribute a pie, I know it isn’t long before I am expected to take part in hosting a holiday celebration of my own. The highest honor a woman of this family can receive is to host Christmas day. It requires weeks of planning, cooking and decorating. In addition, she must put up numerous family members for days for traveling to attend the celebration.

The second place holiday is Thanksgiving. This also requires much planning and cooking, although the decorating is somewhat less intense and the hostess can assign food items for the guests to bring.

Third place, Christmas eve, is sort of a grooming holiday. Christmas eve is the pre-Christmas bash for in-laws who are going to other homes for Christmas day. This is the holiday where the hostess begins to accumulate Christmas decorations, and becomes the expert at serving Hors d'oeuvres and light dinner. A few presents are opened and there are many libations.

Because I am not married into this family yet, there is still no expectation for me as an adult. No one will hand me the Christmas eve baton until at least next year and even then I may not be deemed ready to start on the long track to the position of Matriarch. Frankly I'm relieved. I don’t mind enjoying the benefits of being the kid well into my 20’s.

Just hand over the wine to this loser and I'll supply the buttermilk pie any day of the week.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Puttin' on the Ritz

This morning when I came to work The Big Boss and her Partner in crime Business announced that the three of us were playing hokey and going shopping at the ritziest mall in the Detroit area. I was then handed an envelope with my Christmas bonus inside. Cash.

I can't really say no to that, now can I.

I never feel totally comfortable in Madison Avenue stores. I really have no business being in those establishments and the attention the clerks lavish upon me makes me wonder if I look suspicious.

For example, I was in Neiman Marcus enjoying the exquisite tactile experience of petting a pair of bizarre fur boots. While I was vaguely wondering “if I walked through the snow and these boots got wet, would they smell like dogs?” yet another clerk hustled up to me to ask if I was finding everything. It makes me paranoid that I look like a thief and don’t realize it.

I also tried on a gorgeous fox trimmed coat that made me look entirely like a silver screen movie star. Truly, I looked like a million dollars. However, there’s nothing like the skinny clerks at Sakes to make you want to swear off brie and crème brûlée forever.

(Like that’s ever going to happen)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Tip #48

If one happens to find a sticky spot of dried mead on the floor, Perrier is actually a pretty good way to remove it.

Just another hapenen' tip from your gourmet beverage girl.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

This is not a eulogy.

I should follow up here and mention something about my friend who was recently diagnosed with lymphatic cancer before I put this subject neatly away.

He is of the live fast and die young variety and true to form, today he has taken a plane to the Philippines to live out the rest of his time. There he will eat strange foods, drink copious amounts of alcohol, fight in the streets and love many women.

It's unlikely I will hear from him again.

Much love always Mike. You will be dearly missed.

Drink of choice: Sapphire and tonic
Trademark fight solicitation phrase: "Ahhhh...My sweet prince."
Choice in women: Dark and fast

Thursday, November 18, 2004


my friend has has lymphatic cancer. only 12 to 18 months left. he is only 25 for god's sakes. what the hell? it makes no sense to me. so young.

god damn, what the hell is going on that a 25 year old kid gets cancer? what is going on in our environment? what is going on? he was going to be in our wedding. now we have his most sacred objects because he isn't going to be around. i am drunk and confused.

i feel so sick.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Cake and mead - update

Just an update on the latest pleasures:

The cake lady adores the trade idea. I'm going to survey her customers this week, do the research and finally put together her website. Wow, her cakes are good. She is an awesome designer when it comes to the display but the best part is that her cakes don't taste like a sugar cube. Dig it: chocolate layer cake soaked in kahlua with ganache filling and delicious swiss meringue buttercream frosting. It's the ideal combonation of flavors, moist chocolate, coffee and cream. Yeah. Now wipe the drool off your keyboard.

We racked the mead last night. Siphoned off the delicious top layer, leaving the spent yeast yuck at the bottom. It is perfectly clear and has the beautiful gold color of chardonnay. We poured a glass of each (mead and commercial chardonnay) and we couldn't tell the difference just looking at it. It could be a little drier for my taste, but it's still aging. It's got a sparkly effervescence to it, and you can certainly taste the hint of grapefruit we added. It really is scrumptious.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Garden work

Last weekend my fella and I worked in his mother's garden preparing it for winter.

She has the most beautiful garden. I don't think I have the sort of command of the English language required to describe it. Here is a taste. Stone steps. Dry riverbed. Herbs. Ornamental grasses. Flowers. Bird houses. Vines. Fruit trees. If fairies existed, this is where they would build their metropolis.

The temperature was mild and I helped to clean up here and there. She would point with a rake and tell me which plants to cut back, which to pull out. I started to understand her methods. Depleted tomatoes and vegetables are composted. Woody stemmed plants are cut back in anticipation of the new growth in the spring. Leafy, viney plants remain because over the winter they make good dirt. She says "dirt" rather than the term "soil" because she's not a stuffy lady. "Dirt" she says and crinkles her nose, indicating that it's stinky and organic - and therefore good for her purposes.

The knees of my pants were wet from kneeling in the lawn. My hair was whipped and knotted from the wind. The air was clear and mild, and towards the end the owl made it's self known. I found myself at peace.

Here again

It’s been a while and, as cl puts it, I think I’ll blame it on the depressing election.

The election was depressing, but I also found it cathartic in a way. There was all the build up; the debates, the forwards, the yard signs, the bumper stickers. It’s enough to give anyone hypertension. Honestly, there is a part of me who is glad it’s over. All that's left to do now is bend over and watch the retarded cowboy mess with our lives for four more years.

I recall the same feeling of catharsis when the troops moved into Iraq.

For weeks before we attacked them, I listened to NPR all day, checked the BBC religiously, debated with some friends and family members. I went downtown to chat up the protesters. I was upset. I felt we were wrong. I felt like there was ultimately, very little I could do. And as our troops held there on the border of Iraq, I think the nation's stress level peeked. And then - Bush finally gave the command (from so far away) the knot in my stomach loosened. God help me, it loosened.

It’s really amazing when we step back and look at the situation. We are a fundamentalist Christian country at war with a fundamentalist Islamic country. And we’re supposed to be freeing these people? What the fuck?

Tell me please, Mr. President, how many more times durring this administration will I have to endure catharsis.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Life and longing

Tired, so tired. I haven't worked like this since I was in college.

When I was in high school, I couldn't wait to ditch my idiot classmates and get on with college. Surely in college people would be open minded, interesting - educated. But no, I met bruisers, greeks and stuffed shirts in training.

Yes, there were those golden few individuals that I fell in love with. The spontaneous, the original, the literary...but I knew for sure that when I finished college and got out of the business school, things would be different.

When I wormed my way into my first job at the ad agency I was absolutely thrilled. Finally! Creatives, designers, directors and even writers. ::swoon:: People who would be open minded, interesting and educated! But again, no. Again I didn't fit in.

(perhaps due to the fact that the people in high school were the same type of people in college and were the exactly the same type of people in businesses, eh?)

Where are those great lots of people who know what they're talking about and care about something? Am I in the wrong country? The wrong walk of life?

No, It's probably my fault that I find the masses nauseating. There is about 3% of the population I enjoy, but obviously this isn't the case for everybody. Is there some sort of training manual out there someone would be kind enough to recommend? Something that could tell me how to play nice with others. Something that would show me how to discover the pleasures of talking to colleagues. Something by Dale Carnegie perhaps?

Or maybe I should just fuckit and work until I die like everyone else.