Monday, July 31, 2006

This Chambermaid loves room service



Wow, it's hot here. Supposedly with the heat index, it's 110F degrees outside. That means it's very humid & people look like they're melting on the streets. Cooper and I were out early, but finally decided to pack it in when it seemed like folks were starting to get cranky. The good news is that we happened to pass by Garrett's popcorn shop just as we were wrapping things up. Garrett's is a tiny little storefront on Michigan Avenue. I don't know how long it's been there, but it's a Chicago institution (my opinion) that offers plain, cheese, and caramel popcorn. Or -- the secret mix: the cheese/caramel combo! It might sound odd, but it's really good! The salty-sweet thing. People love Garrett's so much that they will stand in line for over an hour to buy it. I know, I've done it. It sounds stupid, but it happens. So today, I got a jumbo bag of the mix to take back to the hotel, much to the delight of Troy and the boys. The last time I had Garrett's popcorn, I cracked a tooth. My dentist told me that popcorn is "a dentist's best friend." Well, you can see that incident did not deter me; I could not resist. The best part is that, because it's so damned hot here, there was no line, no waiting!
Back at the hotel, I decided to chill, and ordered up a late lunch. Now, I love hotels -- especially old-style hotels with charm & an interesting history. When I first started college, I declared my major as Hotel & Restaurant Management and had fantasies of working my way up to general manager of a great hotel. But that's another story. This hotel, The Ambassador East, houses The Pump Room, an old-school bar & restaurant with wood-paneled walls covered with black & white framed photos of celebrities of all sorts. Actors, singers, comedians, I think there may even be a puppeteer. And Booth 1 is thee table. Robert Redford & Paul Newman stayed here during the filming of "The Sting," and Redford reportedly returned to The Pump Room every day for lunch of a ham sandwich & a Pilsner beer. So, today, faced with a late-lunch room-service choice, I thought I'd follow Bob's lead, but since there is no ham sandwich on the menu, I ordered the Pump Room Club Sandwich. That's ham, turkey, Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, bacon, and mayo on whole wheat bread.
Let me tell you something: it was THE BEST club sandwich I've ever had in my life! No exaggeration; it was perfect. And I didn't even care that I wasn't eating it seated in Booth 1.

Garrett's popcorn

Grandma's 85th birthday!



What a nice party! Everyone was there -- Grandma's five children & their spouses; her grandchildren (Troy's cousins are great!) and great-grandchildren. Extended family, girlfriends, boyfriends, neighbors, friends. It was wonderful. Grandma is so cool, I love her, and she was her usual gracious, funny self. Troy's Aunt Tina freaked when she saw Harry, and is convinced that he is her dad, reincarnated. She said he recognized her. Hey, who am I to argue? He is the only one of my children who is really into puzzles...just like Grandpa was. Troy's brother was there with his awesome gf, Kyra, and we had a lot of fun catching up with everyone. Troy's Uncle Teddy and his partner, Joe, are caterers and did an amazing job! Everything was top-quality. They had a buffet set up with pulled-pork sandwiches, baked beans, corn-on-the-cob, cheesy smashed potatoes, fresh mixed fruit, green beans, potato salad, bratwursts, Italian sausage, hand-ground beef hamburgers and cheeseburgers, chips, and a HUGE dessert table. Rugelach, cream puffs, sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, eclairs, and a beautiful tiered birthday cake that they had made by pastry chef Laura Cid-Perea. Laura worked at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago until venturing out on her own. The cake she made had a lot going on: chocolate cake with a layer of raspberry jam, a layer of chocolate fudge, and a layer of cheesecake, with fondant icing and elaborate flowers decorating the whole shebang. For once, I let the boys go berserk and eat as many desserts as they wanted -- they were thrilled. Grandma loved her necklace, and despite all the guests, we were able to sit together for a little while and talk. As I looked around at everyone, I felt encouraged about my life with my sons. It's not always easy, but a time like this where you see everyone together, laughing and enjoying each other's company, it feels very rewarding and heartwarming to be a part of such a family celebration.
p.s. Don't tell Grandma I've got her pic up on "that internet." She thinks the www is connected with the end of the world.

Article on Chicago pastry chef Laura Cid-Parea for you foodies

The brothers got no game.


Look at Harry and Griffin trying to have a nice chat with these little ladies who were at Grandma's party. Griffin's doing all the talking, and clearly not impressing the girls, who would rather be tending to their slightly frightening dolls.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Super-Shopper!




Cooper is a good little shopper. We spent the whole afternoon walking around, beginning with a breezy stroll along Lake Michigan, and then visiting shops on Chicago's "Magnificent Mile," a.k.a. Michigan Avenue. In search of a gift for Troy's grandma's 85th birthday tomorrow, we wanted to find something special. Even though it was about 99F degrees and the humidity felt like it was at 95%, we swooped in and out of Bloomingdale's, Marshall Field's, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Burberry (side-tracked!), and Lord & Taylor. Tucked away in a corner of Marshall Field's, we discovered a tiny outpost of the famous La Brea Bakery, Nancy Silverton's awesome bakery in Los Angeles. I had a really good chicken salad sandwich that consisted of shredded chicken dressed with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette & combined with kalamata olives, shredded Napa cabbage & radicchio. Who knew this was here?! Who knew Nancy had outposts? That's so cool. Chicagoans are lucky. Cooper had a chewy wheat roll and some milk, and scoffed at a kalamata olive I offered. Then we hit the street again, and found a beautiful crystal necklace for Grandma. I hope she likes it. Tomorrow is her big party, with her five children in from all points of the U.S., along with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She's never seen Harry or Cooper, and I feel very excited for this reunion, especially as Harry looks very much like Grandpa, who was her lifetime love and passed away several years ago. I think it will be really nice for her to see that resemblance. I love her to bits and can't wait to see her.
I must commend Cooper -- he never complained and was a pleasant & cheerful shopping companion all day. He especially loved the cab ride back to the hotel. Check out the t-shirts I got for the boys. I will bribe them to wear the bottom one.

Nancy Silverton's sandwich book

Morning in Chicago





Had a pleasant little diversion this morning as Harry and I went out on a search for some strong coffee (for me; strong whole milk for Harry), and stumbled upon a farmers' market! It was bustling with an array of people, from post-class yogis to grannies with little dogs. We found a chewy sourdough boule & some just-sweet-enough banana bread; and a double cappuccino for me. I didn't buy any tomatoes or cherries, but this is the time in the Midwest where the season is bursting with them, plus the first of the corn-on-the-cob. Ah, summertime. It makes me think of all the books I read when I was growing up, where girls spent idyllic summers out on kindly aunts' farms, drinking homemade lemonade, swinging on tires, and wading in cold bubbling brooks. That never happened to me, of course, which probably has something to do with why I am not a summer person. However, I do enjoy being in this city -- the people are sweet and there's a lot going on. Cooper and I are off to shop for a birthday present and look for a good indie bookstore. Troy and I have settled on the Divide & Conquer Plan for the day.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sky hag!

Having four children subjects me to comments from strangers, and the remarks I hear are, generally, either very positive or very negative. The very positive tend to include a note of empathy. Today, I was subjected to the Flight Attendant from Hell. Her attitude towards me had nothing to do with the boys, who were well-behaved throughout the flight. She zeroed in on me from the second (no exaggeration) I boarded. I set my carry-on on the floor in front of our seats while I buckled the boys in, and she curtly informed me that it would have to go into an overhead. Did I know that? Um, yeah. Just getting situated. Then as she was demonstrating the oxygen mask, she looked at me, flashed a fake smile, and asked, "Are you gonna keep trying for a girl?" I chuckled, feeling slightly off-guard, and told her that no, I was not. Throughout the 2+-hour flight, she was like a walking FAA rulebook, ready to jump on me with a citation. She started making me nervous. Troy set up the laptop for the boys & played a Spongebob dvd. Shortly thereafter, she was at my side, asking, "Will you be taking any more flights today?" I said no. She replied, "Alright, because if you were, you really should have headsets for them." RIGHT!
I turned around in my seat to look at Troy and roll my eyes. He said, "She's a beyotch." Then he told me he heard her when she walked by and commented to another flight attendant: "If you have that many kids, you should have a nanny."
WHOA.
What is it with a female like this who lashes out and slaps a judgment on you without having any clue as to what you're like; what you're all about; and who you are?! I was really taken aback. By this point, I was riled and ready to let her have it the next time she came around. So of course, she didn't come around again. The boys are good. They weren't screaming, they weren't crying, they weren't throwing food. They weren't bothering other passengers, they weren't roaming the aisles. That is not to say that they are perfect little robots -- we KNOW this -- but rather, that they weren't running around like hooligans and therefore incuring her wrath towards me. It had nothing to do with them except for the fact that there were FOUR of them. And whatever that meant to her, she felt she needed to lash out at me in that disgustingly & cowardly passive-aggressive fashion that is the hallmark of the insecure. The other flight attendants were perfectly nice, helpful, and kind to all of us. No complaints. One was telling me that our flight almost didn't get out because they didn't have enough crew, but at the last minute, they found someone who could work the flight. It was my in-air nemesis! Apparently, our flight would have been delayed interminably had they not added that one crew member. So, in my mind, the quick calculation was: hmm, fate...stuck at the airport for hours, or endure her?
Of course, I'm glad we were able to take off on time, and that we got to our destination without any hassles, save for her. And yet, it serves as a reminder that throughout life, we usually have more than a couple potential paths of destiny. There's fate, and there are choices -- and thank goodness! I hope some day that flight attendant realizes that we don't all have to be alike, and learns to view differences in women as interesting, not threatening. And I also hope that tonight, or tomorrow, or some day soon, there's a kid on her flight, and he has the stomach flu, and he projectile-vomits alllll over her. And some of it gets on her mouth and she has to wipe it off along with her fake smile!


p.s. No, I'm not writing to the airline's corporate HQ about her issues. I'm too tired from raising 4 boys. Hey! I should get a nanny!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hideous kinky!


Another entry in my "Life is Weird" file. This morning, I was drinking a cappuccino while the boys were doing what it is they do. My four-year-old was playing with a cat toy on the floor, chattering to himself, and suddenly said, "Hideous kinky! Hideous kinky!"
HUH?
"Hideous Kinky" is a good book written by Esther Freud. Semi-autobiographical, it tells the story of two very young sisters, Bea & Lucy, who are taken by their hippie Mom to Morocco as she searches for meaning in life. It takes place in the 1960's. The Mom is exploring Sufism and following a man; the girls are normal little people who quickly find the adventure tiresome, and simply want a stable life that includes school. The title refers to two random words the sisters hear somewhere along the line. They like the sound of both words, especially put together, and "hideous kinky" becomes their sisterly code to mean nothing and everything, as well as some English they can shout out in a foreign environment when they probably just don't know what to say.

I read "Hideous Kinky" several years ago, and can recommend it. There's also a movie that's well done (follows the book), starring the beautiful Kate Winslet. The book has yet to be unpacked in this house, so is still in a box somewhere, and my son doesn't watch TV, only Spidey & Brady Bunch dvds, so I'm left really wondering why he said, "Hideous kinky!" and where he picked it up. It's things like this that make me feel like a sociologist in my own home. Maybe young English-speaking children are tapped into some universal language development brainfeed, and "hideous kinky" is one of the entries. Or maybe he learned it from Kevin.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mediterranean fish dish



I've become a real fan of simply prepared fish, and this is one of my favorite sauces to go with just about any fish. This evening, I had some red snapper fillets and loads of red peppers & tomatoes. So here goes: you chop up the red peppers & tomatoes, and throw them into a sautee pan with some olive oil and a little sea salt. I also had fresh thyme on hand, so I added that. Next comes a pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you're into very spicy food), and a very generous splash of orange juice. (If you had oranges, then you could just chop them up and toss them into the mix.) After everything softens a bit, lay the cleaned & salted fillets onto the mixture, splash with white or red wine, and then flip and cook until done. It takes only a few minutes on each side. I served these w/rice tonight. Potatoes, of course, also would go well. Ah, and the final flourish, as Mr. Bean might say, was a drizzling of this top-notch olive oil that my thoughtful hubby picked up this week during a pit-stop at Williams-Sonoma. My Greek step-dad ate fresh fish, rice pilaf, and salad about twice a week, and when I have this healthful Mediterranean-inspired dish, I always think of him and smile. (He'd wince at my choice of basmati rice, I'm sure, but so be it.)

Bombe diggy



On a whim, and without consulting a recipe, I decided to make an ice cream bombe/sort-of Baked Alaska. I used Haagen-Dazs strawberry & mango ice creams (inspired by Kelly-Jane's recent homemade sorbets), layered and frozen in the pudding mould DG sent me. I have made ice cream and I prefer the taste of H-D b/c it seems creamier and less-sugary to me than my homemade ice cream. And so that's what I buy. I made the meringue just with egg whites and sugar, and piled it on. Now, I set the oven on broil, and realize that I should have preheated it on the bake setting at 400F probably. The broiler got it too hot on top and didn't evenly brown the meringue, so I had to pull the bombe out as it was before burning the top. This is what it's like to cook with me. I've never been a patient person and I'm also not detail-oriented. Add four children to the equation, and you know, sometimes "good enough" is good enough for me. It was not perfect, but it was very, very good to eat! It's a really nice summery treat, and although I served it forth, for no apparent reason, at 3:00-ish, of course it would make a very pretty dinner dessert. Well, you know, if you made it properly.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How boys pack




The boys are excited about our upcoming trip to Chicago. This evening, I passed out their duffel bags and they began packing.
In the first picture, you can see that Harry's going for the pure action-figure bag. That's really all he feels he needs. And he's right: I'll supply the food, drinks, etc. He's all set.
Next is Griffin's bag. He is bringing action figures + a police car. I really don't have anything to say about that, except that I'd rather be packing one than pulled over by one.
The third bag belongs to Wyatt. Being the eldest, he has been around the block enough to know that he needs not only action figures, but also socks, shorts, a shirt, a comic book, and money. He is the one who is truly prepared. He'll be forking over a couple bucks to me at some point when I need cash for a bottle of water in the airport, I can predict it.
Cooper is a non-packer, and he's sleeping right now. We'll just have to remember to bring his blanket.

Tut tut, looks like reign.


The Chambermaid will be visiting Chicago this weekend for a very important birthday bash; lots of deep-dish pizza; and a glimpse at the treasures of the Egyptian boy pharoah, King Tutankhamun.
And lest we forget, momentarily blinded by the glamour of Tut's riches, Chicago's Field Museum is home to the very large, very stunning T-Rex, Sue. We last saw Sue about three years ago. I'm sure she hasn't changed a bit.

I love true Chicago-style pizza! Therefore, the plan is to eat at a different pizzeria each night we're in the city. Last time, we went to Gino's East, Pizzeria Uno, and Pizzeria Due. I'm not adept at describing or critiquing food, so the summary was something like: "favorite;" "2nd favorite;" and "still really good." The judging is super-loose, as the bottom line is that it's all good. When people talk about the world's best breads & crusts, sometimes they'll mention "something in the water" or an elusive variable in any given city that makes a particular food special, for example, Brooklyn & pizza & Paris baguettes. It is this way with Chicago deep-dish pizza. I've eaten "identical" pizzas at the Pizzeria Uno franchises outside of Chicago, and it's just not nearly as good as what you get at the original venue. Maybe it's the water, the pans, the ovens -- I don't know, but there's something different, and it's delicious & worth the trip. I think that's a good thing.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Life is weird.


There's that expression about how if you didn't laugh, you'd cry, and maybe it's a tribute to my dark sense of humor that I can appreciate the bizarreness of the phone call we got tonight. A family friend, Maureen, who is charged with selling my Mom's house, left us a message. Her son, who is a well-regarded chef in Charleston, will be paying a rare visit home this September. She and he offered to host an open house for all the local real estate brokers, wherein Greg (Maureen's son) cooks and they all eat and take a stroll around the house, familiarizing themselves with the property. It's Southern hospitality and from a purely unemotional standpoint, it's not a bad idea. From my perspective, it is surreal.
My Mom was a great entertainer, and a fantastic cook. All my life, our house was filled with people from around the world, always gathered to eat platters upon platters of food that she made herself that rivaled the finest restaurant fare. She was so open and giving and generous. She loved Maureen's family, as do I, and there is no doubt in my mind that she would think this was not only a clever idea, but that she would welcome Greg into her kitchen and have a fun time with all the realtors. That is how she was. And therein, as they say, lies the rub. I'll definitely give the okay for this "party" to be held, but I don't know if I'll have the heart to attend. If I do, in honor of her, I will be gracious and not glum. Life is so strange, and I'm trying not to cry. I'm sure Greg will dish up some good chow, and I could probably talk Grandma Betty into showing up, and maybe even Maureen's lovely daughter Meagan, both of whom I adore. I would love to set up Meagan with my brother-in-law. Last time I saw Betty, with her showgirl-red hair, was at my Mom's wake, where she said something comforting to me in her New York accent, and slipped me an Ambien, bless her.

Honey, I think I may have a problem.



As addictions do, this one snuck up on me. First, the seemingly harmless Tupelo, followed by some orange blossom, a little lavender, and the wild Alpine summer flowers. It's all so dreamy! Next, I got into some black sage from Savannah, harvested only every four years because of the amount of rain needed to grow the black sage, which I had never even heard of. Not long afterward, I found myself ordering organic New Zealand Manuka, and then my friend, DG, sent me a bewitching jar of dark "Forest" from the honey boutique Les Abeilles in Paris...amazing. Looking back, it all happened pretty fast, and I pinpoint the real tipping point as the day I dipped my spoon into the Italian chestnut from Abruzzo. I was semi-shocked, and kind of swooned. Intoxicated by its intensity, I knew the mild Tupelo would no longer be strong enough for my taste. It's not like I'm embarrassed to say it, but I do feel slightly strange, especially confessing that a couple of weeks ago I hit the hardcore Tasmanian Leatherwood...unfiltered. I don't want any kind of an intervention, and I won't make any joke about being BUZZED, but you should try a little spoonful of some of these boutique honeys and join me in the den.
Les Abeilles
Savannah Bee

Eureka!




I haven't been cooking for a while, but suddenly & inexplicably hit the kitchen yesterday with ideas and motivation, so thought I'd lay it on you while I can.
My suggestion for Sandwich of the Week is this yummy Scandi-inspired compilation of multigrain bread; butter; gravlax; cucumber; and lemon juice.
I also made gazpacho; white bean dip with pita chips toasted w/sea salt & herbes de Provence; and fresh basil & sundried tomato ricotta-stuffed shells.
Bon App├ętit!


The recipe for the White Bean Dip is in Giada De Laurentiis' first book, "Everyday Italian."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Fifth Son


I feel like Kevin and I are getting closer ever since I bought him that mug. Last night, Griffin and I were talking before bedtime, and Kevin joined us, so I was able to learn a little more about him. I was surprised to hear that he likes haggis and broccoli. I was not so surprised to learn that he's not afraid of anything -- not even Goosebumps "Cry of the Cat," which is a really scary dvd that the boys are not allowed to watch. His birthday is October 100. He's kind of funny, too. When I said, "Goodnight, Griffin. Goodnight, Kevin." and Griffin said, "Goodnight, Mom. Goodnight, Kevin." -- Kevin said "Goodmorning." We all had a laugh, and then he bid us a good night. Even the invisible ones know not to push me.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Ad-dressing of Cats

Again I must remind you that
A Dog's a Dog -- A CAT'S A CAT.
-T.S. Eliot

Friday, July 21, 2006

What's in a name?

One of my sons has an imaginary friend. He's really low-key, never a nuisance. Sometimes he's here, mostly he's not. Today we went to a toy store that had loads of personalized bits for kids, but, alas, nothing with the names of my children. I felt kind of bad. I didn't think their names were that far-out, but apparently, they are. So I bought a mug for Griffin's invisible friend.

Why this man lives in L.A.


My friend Sarah was really keen to visit Croatia this summer on her Euro tour, because she believed that Croatian men are "hot." While the rest of us were skeptical, Sarah held fast to her belief, and only, apparently upon arrival yesterday, did the realization dawn that all Croatian men do not look like Goran Visnjic. But the beaches are supposed to be really nice, and I'm sure the seafood is amazing! Poor Sarah -- come to the States next summer, we've got hot guys waiting to meet you.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Roundabout story of a lasagne


My first "real" job out of college was working as a writer for a man who was a complete character. I idolized him and his wife, who was a columnist for a big paper & would say things like, "You'd be surprised what a good shoemaker can do." (!) They left me stunned with their sophistication and witty repartee. They had a Golden Retriever, Max, and I would occasionally & happily dogsit/housesit for them, which I found completely glorious since I was broke and living at home, and they had four things I loved: a dog; an espresso machine; a kick-ass sound system (of course, Bosslady owned an Edith Piaf cd -- wha?!); and a loose supply of Haagen-Dazs (usually macadamia brittle -- something I would have *never* thought to buy). During one of these house/dog-sitting adventures, I discovered the cookbooks of the Mistress of the House. James "Beard on Pasta" was one of them, and to my 25-year-old mind, it seemed thee height of extravagance to have a cookbook JUST ON PASTA! I never forgot about it, and many, many years later, I acquired a copy. There is a recipe inside for a Basil Lasagne, which has just basil-flavored ricotta tucked into two layers of noodles. I resorted to this once when I had company coming and few ingredients on hand, and it was light and yummy. Very simple.
So here it is again, light and summery, with the simplest sauce of San Marzano plum tomatoes imbued with a couple cloves of garlic and some good olive oil.
James Beard is dead; and the couple I thought had it all, is divorced. But we still have lasagne, and boy, is it good!

p.s. Tony Bourdain says Beard was reportedly kind of a prick.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Flippers


Sometimes it is so gloriously quiet here, and I am completely appreciative, especially having moved from a house that was on a crazy-busy road. Last night was one of those still, quiet evenings, and we spotted a pair of dolphins swimming by. You can hear this distinctive "whooosh" sound as they surface and blow out air (or whatever it is they do -- don't ask me). They arc very gracefully and can swim underwater for long periods of time, and you just hope you can catch just one more glimpse of them before they disappear. It's an astounding sight, very beautiful and mesmerizing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The heart of medieval Provence


I've wanted to visit Aix-en-Provence since first hearing about it in my mid-twenties. Founded on the Roman road Aurelian Way, Aix is the cultural and historical capital of Provence, the city of 101 fountains. This summer marks a great celebration of the life of Aixois Paul Cezanne, with an exhibition that is supposed to be fantastic. We'll be meeting up with my friend, Terry, who has lived here for years, to shop and enjoy some leisurely meals. I must also confess I'm wishing for a little romantic magic to be sprinkled in the direction of my mother-in-law, and have put Terry on the case. Cannot wait!

Monday, July 17, 2006

France & my Mother


My thoughts are starting to turn toward my trip to France, coming up mid-August. Wyatt's new passport arrived, and with luck, mine will this week. We're going to Paris and Aix-en-Provence, and will be there August 20, which will mark one year since the death of my Mother. The origin of the trip is slightly convoluted, but it has mainly been rooted in my continuing desire for escapism. All I can think of is going to Notre Dame on the 20th, where I want to sit quietly and reflect on this past year, and light a candle for her. It is my most-important task. The rest -- the sightseeing, the eating, and shopping, is all secondary to me, although it is a priority to make sure my son and mil have a beautiful experience. I am not a religious person, nor am I even particularly spiritual, but I feel compelled to make this gesture of remembrance for the most important woman in my life. She was Greek Orthodox, and their mourning tradition has it that you wear black for a year, and have remembrance services and markers throughout the first year and especially on that anniversary. It has been a complete struggle to get through this year, and as August 20th approaches, I think about what lies ahead. How will my life change now? For so much a part of 2005-2006, I have been simply hanging on. My cherished family physician counsels me that I am taking two steps forward and one step back. This, when I told him I felt like I was taking one step forward, two steps back. He thinks I'm making progress. And yet, just today, I stood and stared at a stack of ham for minutes, as I paused in making my son a sandwich, because I remembered how my Mom made him his first-ever ham sandwich. She was babysitting him, and he was two years old. She took a picture of him sitting in the high chair, a perfect, quartered ham sandwich in front of him. At the time, I thought, "Hm, I never thought to make him a ham sandwich." And today, well, you can imagine what I thought.
Well, so maybe after Notre Dame, Wyatt and I will go get a ham sandwich together.

You go Gayle.


Omg, being famous must just totally suck. Look how annoyed Oprah and her friend, Gayle King, look in this picture. It's like: okay ANOTHER stoooopid question from some press idiot. I guess, after being harassed by rumors for years now, they've simply come out and said -- as clear as can be -- WE ARE NOT GAY. But here's the quote I love, from Gayle:
"The truth is, if we were gay, we would tell you, because there's nothing wrong with being gay," says King.
Nail on the head. Now let those ladies get back to shoe shopping. I think it's nice that they call each other all the time and check in. I know I do with my best friend and I did all my life with my Mom. And none of us are gay. Just lucky.

It's not a canoe, gf.



So Troy insisted on taking a reluctant Ilana kayaking. You could tell she really wasn't interested, but she decided to be polite and nice to Troy, so said, "sure, sounds good" or something like that. And then as he was putting the kayak in the water, she confessed that she doesn't like boats and she doesn't like ladders!
They launched successfully, and even with a big-booty Labrador parked in front of her in the kayak, she did well and even managed to take some good pics on her excursion. Here she is trying to be cheery about the loading, despite her apprehension. As they left, I made sure to yell, "Look out for the gators!!"
(No, she didn't believe me. I don't think.)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A beachin' day.


Went to the beach today, which I was DREADING, b/c I'm not really into baking in the sun. But it was really cool b/c we stayed in the water the whole time, and the water was the perfect temp. The sand was like sugar and everyone was laid-back and happy, despite there being a massive crowd. The best thing about the beach is the way it hits you like a tranquilizer. You know, I'm usually relatively hassled about "outings," and yet, sitting there in the surf, leisurely digging my hands into the shells and fine sand, and listening to a far-off band play while the waves broke, I realized that the pay-off was definitely worth it. Afterwards, we hit a local Mexican joint and had a carbfest, and then topped that off with the best gelato -- Baci for me, mint chocolate chip for the boys, and lemon for Ilana.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I get Thailand!


Poor Wyatt. He's been trying to wrangle in people to play RISK, with no takers. Finally, he just decided to invent a new version of the game, and here is Winter, our Siamese cat, investigating. In the end, he wasn't all that interested, either.

Happy Birthday, M


Troy's mom turned 67 yesterday, and came over for a birthday dinner celebration. Since I've lost my cooking mojo, crabcakes & sides were bought at Whole Foods. We thought it'd be funny -- and it was -- to put trick candles on her birthday cake.
She's a good sport. (You'd think she'd know by now not to trust her son.)