Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In a big pot, saute a couple carrots, dices, some minced garlic, and a couple of potatoes in olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Throw in some hot Italian sausage - about a pound, either links or loose meat. Cook over medium-high heat until the meat is browned. Add a head of fresh escarole, chopped. Add more salt and pepper.
Then fill the pot with water and add a pound of lentils. Add more salt, but not too much! (Helpful, no?) Bring to boil, lower heat to simmer and cook for about an hour to an hour and a half. Turn off heat.
Remove sausage links if you used them, and chop. Return to pot. Add a dash of cider vinegar. (I like a dash of vinegar in my soups - just a dash - so you don't really taste vinegar. I find it just lends a balance to the flavors. But then, I am not exactly normal.) Adjust seasoning.
Top with grated Romano cheese, and enjoy! It will taste even better the next day for breakfast.
Case number one: This is good coffee!
So spoke DD this morning after taking his first sip. The secret? I replaced our usual Starbucks or Coffee Exchange espresso roast - which sells for $8.99/lb and up - with, brace yourselves, people, Stop & Shop brand espresso roast, for $2.49/lb.
Case number two: This is good cereal!
So spoke DD yesterday morning after taking his first bite. The reason? I replaced his usual favorite, Total - which sells for $4.99/box - with Stop & Shop brand Honey Oat Clusters with Almonds, at $2.29.
A fantastic, full-bodied Catena Malbec finished our feast. Or so I thought, until Dr. Dinnerman requested some of my famous stove-popped popcorn.
Over the years, I've seen many powerful, effective, otherwise articulate people rendered mute and dumb - reduced to primal, unintelligible babbling - by the thought alone of my popcorn.
And it couldn't be more simple.
I used to use a big pot, but now I use a small pot with a handle. It makes the perfect amount. And doesn't require opening the drawer to get the potholders out. I'm all about saving a step.
Turn the burner on, coat the bottom with extra virgin olive oil (it makes all the difference, I tell you), add kernels, cover, shake in a circle, pour in a bowl when popped. Add a sprinkle of kosher salt, serve to your subjects, and watch the magic...
I really enjoyed House last night, as well as what little Nip / Tuck I saw before falling out of consciousness atop the Dinnerman on the couch. Post-prandial parasympathetic bliss...
This morning began with us watching the maniacal squirrel couple as they took running leaps from our balcony (3rd floor) onto our Blue Atlas Cedar. Gotta love 'em. They eat our weeds and peer at us nervously. They are nice to have around, in the absence of real pets - you know, the furry kind that sleep on your bed with you.
The rest of my day has unfolded rather painfully. I am suffering from aches and exhaustion, no doubt a result of that blasted Tdap vaccine I endured yesterday. This too shall pass. Because I always try to focus on the positive in a situation, I will note that I did not pick my face at all today, because it hurts too much to lift my left arm.
Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of your Wednesday, people! In case you want to know, tonight I'm roasting a chicken with carrots and potatoes, hot peppers, and, just because the Dinnerman loves them so, whole cloves of garlic.
Monday, November 26, 2007
So I ask you, which came first, the feeling or the events? Where's the cause, where's the effect? How much of our destiny is a result of what we "put out there" into the universe with our thoughts?
Here's a smattering of my Monday.
The pharmacy lost my prescription. (Rite Aid, do you lose anyone else's prescriptions? Or just mine? I mean really, this is the 3rd time you've done this to me. 3rd time! By the same person! Lady, how do you keep a job? You are so out of it, all the time. Someone, please, help me fix the injustices of the world. I'll say it: it's not fair. It's just not fair.)
Then the power went out in the grocery store. Not for just a second or two, either. It stayed out. It happened just before I could ask someone to slice me some cheese. And we were all ushered out of the building.
The gym called - the spinning class was full. Now, I know they fill up, and that's fine. But when I sign up online at the very start of the 24 hour period which the rules state is the acceptable window during which one can sign up, I shouldn't get the boot. It's evident what's happening here. Either there is extreme disorganization or people are signing up earlier than is rightfully allowed. I realize it's the Monday after Thanksgiving and everyone is feeling over-stuffed. But dammit, I wanted to spin. And say what you want - I should have been in!
I know, I know. I sound like a whiny bitch. In the grand scheme of things, I have nothing to complain about at all! I have it easy. I really do. I recognize I have nothing to complain about at all; I am blessed. I am very lucky. I am loved, I have my health, I have my mind, I have so much. I lack for nothing. I am very aware of my good fortune, the luck of my lot in life - it's all more evident and plain this time of year.
But sometimes, a girl's gotta vent.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Some days, I churn 'em out. Push 'em out, shove 'em out, waaayyyy out. With no effort at all.
Other times, it's painful. The muse is not there; but I persevere. Actually, today is the first day I persevered. Usually I save it in the dank, dark, cavernous recesses of my mind for another, more fertile day. But today, boredom and feelings of inadequacy took hold, and I forced it out.
Victory is mine!! Victory, over me!
(Well, somebody somewhere won something...everyone gets a trophy!)
So I was heartened by the Dinnerman's tales of his day. Apparently it didn't go much better than mine. He was not in a good humor come 5 pm when he arrived at the door.
Apparently, he was assaulted with stupidity. As he put it, "I went through this day not wanting to be there at all, feeling that I could put my head through a windshield and still do this!
I was reminded of Will in Good Will Hunting, burning the math problem while Jerry fell to his knees to save the paper, 'Do you have any idea how easy this shit is for me? Do you know how hard it is for me to watch you fumble around with it and fuck it up?'"
Nothing was interesting, necessary, or remarkable. It was all boring bullshit, resulting from the laziness of others.
"I saw a woman with a fucking buttocks abscess! I could sustain massive head injuries and still take care of this shit. I mean, what am I, making widgets? Am I making widgets, Steph? This is what I trained for! Unbelievable."
I guess that says it all; I have nothing more to add. About the butt abscess, that is.
Meanwhile, I am still fighting the good fight against the smoke in my building. Bob the Builder is doing his thing again too (next door neighbor, who has a penchant for inappropriate hammering)
Look, I know it's a full moon tonight. We'll try again in the morning.
Ok, gotta go. I think my Chinese is here.
I've been to Cleveland 3 times so far, and although each visit took place in a different season, it was hot and sunny for the duration of my stay. Locals say that's not a true reflection of Cleveland's climate, but hey, maybe the city was showing off for me! It certainly worked. I'm a big fan.
My most recent visit took place in early October, 2007. We left a hazy, hot, and humid heat wave in Rhode Island and arrived 2 hours later in Cleveland to a more intense version of the same. On the way to the hotel (Intercontinental this time. It's usually The Baricelli Inn, but we couldn't pass up a free room!) we hit a bit of "Tribe Traffic", as that night was game 2 of the Yankees-Indians Championship series...the night of the midges, remember?
We settled in, took a bath, had a drink at the bar (awesome Maker's Manhattan), and took a cab to the place we spend every first night of every trip to Cleveland: Primo Vino.
Robert Fatica and the Dinnerman have cultivated a close friendship over the years. There have been many evenings of great food and wine in the cozy downstairs dining room with the horseshoe-shaped bar at this cornerstone Italian restaurant in Cleveland's Little Italy.
The wine list is amazing - a giant tome with one of the most extensive selections of Italian wine that I've seen anywhere, Italy included. We sit at the bar. As Robert has inevitably spread the word of our pending arrival days in advance, once the wine starts flowing, friends drop in for some sustenance and conversation, and the night goes on under Robert's gracious and capable guidance. It's comfortable. I've met some of the kindest people on my trips to Cleveland, many of them at Primo's. It's like coming home. Except nobody cooks for me at home.
The naked peppers (long hot peppers stuffed with what seems like a mixture of cheese and ground chicken, and doused with olive oil) are a must, as is some form of antipasto, and definitely something liquid and Tuscan, and then something liquid and Sicilian.
The Dinnerman is known for attracting a crowd and for closing the place down, and this night was no exception. We ended up taking it down the street to a bar. This is where my recollection of October 5, 2007 ends. (It was October 6th by then, anyway.)
Thursday and Friday may be nights for Primo Vino, but Saturday is for The Baricelli Inn.
Where do I start? What can I say?
Again, it's where we go on every trip to Cleveland. It's usually where we stay.
Housed in a big beautiful turn-of-the-century mansion turned B&B and restaurant on Cornell Road (at Murray Hill Road...walking distance to Mayfield Road, the "main drag" of Little Italy) , The Baricelli Inn is where chef Paul Minnillo has his way with us. And we love every minute of it - every taste, every sensation.
The Inn has 7 spacious guest rooms on the second and third floors, all eaves and angles, at once comfortable and elegant. I learned a bit of history from The Baricelli's website (http://www.baricelli.com/). The mansion was built in 1896 by Dutch architect John Grant and later sold to one of Cleveland's first physicians, Dr. Giovanni Baricelli. He and his wife, Madame Baricelli, were prominent civic leaders in the University Circle Community. The Minnillo family purchased the property in 1981 and renovations were completed in 1985.
Since my trips to Cleveland have all happened under clear, warm skies, my dinners at Baricelli have all been enjoyed in the outdoor patio area. It's so relaxing out there, by the statue of some stone saint. Always, we start with cheese board. It was here that my cootchie of curd was popped, so to speak. My love for all things stinky and runny began in this very courtyard. It happened on a big board, featuring a wide variety of cheeses of all kinds, bloomed in the Inn's own affinage cooler. Alongside the cheese were grapes, raisin toasts, walnuts, and water crackers. Yummy. Oh, my.
On to the latest meal. I had an heirloom tomato salad to start, followed by the grouper with lobster mushrooms and Ohio sweet corn, perched atop string beans in a rich butter sauce. This was such a voluptuous dish - every bite of the snowy white grouper and chewy dense mushroom, speckled with the sweetness of the corn kernels in that velvety sauce. I hope it makes its way onto the menu again next summer. It was a winner, and I ate every bite!
The Dinnerman began with a small order of the pappardelle with rock shrimp, chanterelles, and garlic. This was delicious. I got a mere taste, but it lit up my mouth (my mouth had a good time that night!) . The Dinnerman polished it off with vigor.
He then proceeded on to the a special of lamb shank with couscous. The couscous was served room temperature so as to preserve the chew. Sorry I can't remember more details, but I didn't get a taste and it disappeared rather quickly. It arrived at the table with the giant shank bone sticking up in the center of the plate, very phallic, very Bacchanalian. Very well enjoyed, very gone, very fast.
I know we had a lot of wine. At one point Robert dropped by, and ordered yet more wine. Forgive me, as I am so terrible at remembering specifics about wine (once I start drinking) unless I write them down. I do know the Dinnerman ordered an Amarone, which was my favorite sip of the night.
And we had dessert too. Sorbet, and a white chocolate pumpkin layered concoction, all expertly done, a veritable gilding of the lily.
Lisa, Paulie's lovely wife, was busy making the rounds that Saturday night. And a busy night it was. The weather was warm, the Indians were hurting the Yankees (Jesus hates the Yankees!), there was some comet or something scheduled to pass by in the heavens, I had my favorite man next to me, eating fantastic food, laughing, talking...what more can a girl want?
Paulie is so funny. He's always got a story.
*They're going to try to stop me from serving of fois gras? "Fuck that! They can't tell me. I'll serve it. I'll go to jail."
*Planning a recent trip to Dublin, he phoned Bobby Flay for restaurant recs, after seeing a show with Bobby in Ireland. Bobby told him, "Paulie, I don't know where to eat in Dublin! The only time I've ever been there was for that show!"
*Paulie is out and about as a celebrity chef too, most prominently of late for Continental Airlines. He regaled us a story of when he was cooking for a cruise line, and the ship's kitchen was stocked with (gasp) canned asparagus..."What the fuck is this shit? I can't cook with this!!!"
*Paulie can be relied upon for restaurant recommendations in any city on earth, and he never steers you wrong. Going to New York? Lupa for lunch, A Voce for dinner. Rome? La Campana and Al Bric are not to be missed.
*We had the good fortune to be in Rome last June at the same time as Paulie and Lisa. Paulie called the Dinnerman, they made plans for lunch at La Campana and Paulie said, "Bring your credit card, because I'm not drinking shit!" That lunch lasted 5 hours. Paulie and Lisa had to go straight to their dinner reservation. We collapsed in our hotel, and watched The Hoax in Italian.
So, this got away from me a little. (No, really? How unlike you, Steph. You're always so focused!)
Apologies for any macerated details. The Dinnerman and I send our love to Robert, Heidi, Lisa, and Paulie. Thanks for the memories, Cleveland and not - past, present, and future.
12511 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
The Baricelli Inn
2203 Cornell Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
Phone (216) 791-6500
Fax (216) 791-9131
Just returned from the gym after attempting yoga for the first time in a couple of years...not so much! (traffic wasn't bad, though)
I must say, all these emails begging for more blog entries - I'm flattered! I have fans.
I am now Google-able. Just type in "what steph eats"!
The Dinnerman is stuck at the hospital on this beautiful sunny Saturday.
We ate turkey soup for brekkie. With habanero peppers in it, because we do that kind of thing.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thanksgiving woke me in a variety of ways; I never saw it coming. One minute I'm dreaming about climbing a giant saxophone in Central Park, the next thing I know I'm upright in bed, babbling to the Dinnerman about whether or not to make soup, which stuffing recipe to follow, do I stuff my own shells or buy them pre-made, how many orange side dishes to cook, and will Kenny like it? (Yes, but what if he doesn't like it? What if he won't eat it? It's Thanksgiving! I must feed people too much food! What if there's not enough food?)
Mind you, we're talking about preparations for a dinner for 3 - The Dinnerman, Kenny, and me.
I confess, I was left alone in our bed with my madness at least once during my pre-dawn hysteria. The Dinnerman fled to quieter quarters in the small bedroom. I was abandoned and cold in high-threadcount cotton, a victim of my own devices.
A dinner for three. Only two of whom are not me. The Dinnerman and Kenny. In typical Steph fashion, I made the world end. And as usual, it was all well worth it.
The Dinnerman came home around 2:30, and we sat around drinking Maker's Mark on ice, nibbling on cheese and olives, listening to his eclectic/diverse/whacked-out iPod while the turkey roasted, filling the house with the aroma that we've grown to expect and thus find comforting on Thanksgiving - that of turkey roasting.
We had an arugula salad with shreds of romano, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Then, we moved on to the stuffed shells with pork and sausage in the gravy. (Earlier in the day, the Dinnerman's mom asked him on the phone if I had bought the shells or made them...I, in the midst of a kitchen frenzy, and after explaining in detail to the Dinnerman how I made the shells, with visual aides and all, spouted out, "I made the fucking shells!" - he told her that I made the fucking shells...now I am elected to make the fucking Christmas shells)
Then Kenny came over, and we feasted on the typical turkey meal. Yum.
Too. Much. Food.
We digested on the couch while watching Vanilla Sky, one of our favorite movies of all time.
I wanna wake up!!!
Will I attempt this again? I will tell you in another life, when we are both cats.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
He is, in fact, half Italian, as am I.
He is a quarter Irish, and, well, you know the rest.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
In the days approaching this fourth Thursday in November, people all over the US can be found flitting about, procuring provisions for ingestion and imbibement.
It's a concentrated madness. The craziness of Thanksgiving is not spread out over say, the week that spans Hannukah or Christmas/New Year's. It's not experienced in the same relaxed way of summer as that of the other, arguably most American of all holidays, The Fourth of July.
No, Thanksgiving is not conveniently located on our calendars. It happens at the end of November. November is the month where, in Rhode Island anyway, it always seems that the weather changes abruptly from balmy and autumnal to harsh, cold, wet, and windy - wintry.
Before we can enjoy T-day, so much must be forced into line. There are exams to be passed at school; dinners to be planned, shopped for and prepared; grudges to be set aside; plans to be made on how to commence preparation for the advent of the December holidays, in all their materialistic glory. (Oh, and don't forget about the valium to be swallowed, the bourbon to be drunk.)
And that's part of the problem, no? As Andy Rooney pointed out Sunday night, Thanksgiving is too darn close to Christmas.
I mean, I'm still stuck at the beach. It's the last week of August in my heart right now.
Admittedly, I have trouble moving on in life. But why is Halloween through New Year's always such a landslide? I've been on this planet for close to 35 years, you'd think I would have caught on by now. You'd think I'd be able to successfully brace myself, protect my psyche from the way time passes us by. On the contrary - each year finds me closer to unravelling completely into nothing but a threadbare spool of what Steph used to be. Amen and pass the vitamin H.
Thanksgiving is also so laden, weighed down with tradition. This is a good thing, inherently, but in practical terms it all adds up to a lot of pressure. How can your dinner live up to that of those who cooked before you? Will your parents be happy the first year you cook, or will they compare your dried out turkey with the idealistic turkeys of their youth? It doesn't help that the airways are infiltrated with a zillion recipes and cooks these days either. And Rachael Ray's mug on my Wheat Thins just makes my skin crawl, even though I really like The Rache. Let's just order a pizza already. Believe me, it's an idea that's been put on the table.
Alas, this year I'm cooking, as faithful readers of my blog already know. (Do I have any faithful readers? Any readers at all? I know what my cluster map tells me, but I'm not sure I believe that I'm really that big in India and Spain...)
An abbreviated feast, for the Dinnerman and Kenny. Dr. Dinnerman has to work, else we'd be with his family.
I know the meal I will make will be good - superlative, even. But it won't be the same as what we've grown accustomed to. And Oh My God, that's what Thanksgiving is all about.
Enjoy yours, in whatever way it happens for you this year.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I've been enjoying the dance competition above all others today at the Cup of China, which is in sharp contrast to my normal hierarchy of pairs (even though none of today's pairs wow me in the least - my interest is a hopeful layover from my love of the days when Gordeeva and Grinkov ruled the ice - they still do, in fact, rule the ice!), ladies, men. The reason for my sudden change of heart? Belbin and Agosto, who usually bore me.
They skated a romantic, dramatic, not-overdone, all dressed in black instead of flowing colorful handkerchief-laden outfits program to a dynamic piano piece by Chopin, my new classical interest, for the moment upstaging Mozart and Beethoven, who will always have top spots in my book. Belbin and Agosto said that it was about love, pure love, before all the other stuff gets in the way to complicate and compromise it, and turn it sour. (Picture is not of said program.)
So, good job, Belbin and Agosto. Love the new program, choreographed by their coach Igor Shpilband.
In other news...
1) I've been making unorthodox breakfasts lately, like kale soup and boiled carrots yesterday, and last Sunday's vegetable soup with curry. It's great to have a warming bowl of soup on a cold morning, and we all know the Dinnerman could always use more veggies.
2) Kenny brought us a huge "turkey tray" of spaghetti with red clam sauce last night, and it was soooo gooood. It was lovingly prepared by his mom, as a favor to his Auntie Walmart, for whom The Dinnerman ordered a jar of ibuprofen cream. In lieu of money we wanted food. So good.
3) What are you all doing for Thanksgiving? The Dinnerman has to work, and Kenny is supplying vegetables so I am cooking for the two of them, and whomever else wants to drop by. Just the breast though, and a myriad of sides. We really don't care for the dark meat, and I don't feel like dealing with a turkey carcass this year, truth be told. (Plus, I've been enduring the likes of, "Steph, make the tits! the turkey tits!'') I'm also doing a cheese board, an arugula salad, and stuffed shells with meatballs, sausage and pork in the gravy.
4) Dr. Dinnerman worked today and came home with the sniffles. I fed him tea and vitamin C, then ordered Chinese food from our favorite take-out and delivery place, Shanghai. Shanghai is great - really consistent, fresh, and quick. I will talk about it in detail one of these days, I promise. For now, gotta go. The Dinnerman is enjoying me tonight. And he's hungry.
Happy Thanksgiving Week to all! I will give you more words before Turkey Day, rest assured, but I just wanted to get that out there.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I made a great rosemary and thyme pork roast last night, with roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic, and jalapenos. Dr. Dinnerman loved it. Roast pork makes him, er, shall we say, quite amorous. He is powerless over the pork. (I know, that just doesn't sound right...he is powerless over the roast pork, ok?)
Fleming's tonight, and it was great. Too expensive, but great.
Cigar smoke still permeating my home and suffocating me and the Dinnerman; gonna get the media involved. Details to follow.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
So, what did we eat last night?
Pork, The Other White Meat?
The Incredible Edible Egg?
Beef, 'cuz It's What's For Dinner?
Cheese, Glorious Cheese (so scrumptious and luscious)?
No, no, no and no. It was cod.
Cod fillets, in foil packets with garlic, lemon, olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper on the grill. Grilled habaneros on the side.
Served with a salad, this is one of my favorite simple meals. The Dinnerman would disagree, thus my pork and potatoes plans for tonight.
What are you eating?
The Dinnerman is not a native of our fine Ocean State, and he has lived in several other places in this country before fate brought him here to me. He has decided that Ocean State is quite an inappropriate moniker, and that The State of RI and Providence Plantations should be known as the Fuck You State from now on.
Once the idea had been presented to me that people here in RI are largely rude, mean, stupid, and full of themselves, I became a keen observer of local behavior, and I've started to compare every other place I visit to my home.
Here's my conclusion: people are nicer elsewhere. Even in big cities with reputations for meanness such as Boston or New York, the people are kinder and nicer than people in RI.
Perhaps it's a function of RI being so insular, so parochial, so set-it-its-ways, so provincial. People usually don't leave. They're born here, and they stay. If someone lives in Woonsocket, it's unlikely that he or she will drive to Providence for any reason, even though Providence is a 20 minute car ride away.
And if not necessarily nicer elsewhere, then at least smarter in general. That counts for a lot, in my book.
You see, once there was a great little bar called Steam Alley in the space now occupied by the 520 Club. It was very low key, had pool tables, foozball, a jukebox, basketball, and air hockey. It was very relaxed and casual. It was comfortable. And best of all, as is the law now in Rhode Island for bars and restaurants, it was smoke-free.
To say I hate cigarrette and cigar smoke would be nothing short of a vast understatement. I abhor it. I have always felt this way, all my life, even during the brief period of time in college when I tried to smoke cigarretes myself. I couldn't do it.
My mother smoked Winston's for as long as I can recall - from the time she was a teenager until she died of adenocarcinoma of the lung at age 48. I recall feeling suffocated with her ever-present stifling second hand smoke all throughout my time with her. It never was something I could get used to. It never bothered me any less.
I hate feeling like I can't catch my breath. I remember one time when I was about 11 years old eating dinner at a friend's house and feeling like I couldn't breathe - I couldn't get air in my lungs. My friend's mother kept asking me, "Stephanie, are you all right? Are you having trouble breathing?" and I kept saying I was fine, I am fine.
I am sure my lungs have been damaged, and it really pisses me off. Even now I can feel it - it's a rare day that I feel like I can breathe easily.
So, there is a very good reason why cigar and cigarrette smoke wafting up into my home from some asshole who opened a club most probably as a write-off and playpen for himself and his wise guy friends set me off. It lights a fire in me.
I'll bet he had some lawmaker who owed him a favor arrange for him to obtain a fucking permit for smoking. Presumably it's because he also sells cigars. I say, fuck that! This is home to many people and we should have more of a voice than one streetside bar, as collectively we own more of the building.
But someone let this happen. Looked the other way. That's the way things work here. Not that someone as unimportant and unconnected as myself could ever prove it, but it really is Soprano-esque here in RI. Shit like this happens every day.
I feel as if I am under siege in my own damn home. My home!!! Your playpen, but MY HOME.
And the condo board is useless and impotent; it's president doesn't even live here - how invested can he be?
I am all riled up about this because it strikes a nerve with me, because noxious fumes from second hand smoke negatively affects one's health and the value of property, because I feel trapped in my own home, because I feel powerless, and because I know very well how slowly anything changes around here unless you have political power.
I'm mad as hell. I want to live in a house.
I mean, this stuff is absolutely ingenious! It's crazier with each episode. In the beginning, it was Julia and Sean; then we find out it was once Julia and Christian, a union that produced Matt; then it's Julia and Ollie who is really Olivia; then we're back to Julia and Christian going at it in the sack!
Remember Kimber early on? She was so together, so cute! Now she's all strung out with Matt and a baby? WTF? I recall back when she was an innocent blow-up doll.
Lady Cha-Cha lips, the hottub shitter, hymens popped by horseback riding, Rosie, I mean, even that they are now in LA!
I love it, keep it coming.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I have a biology degree, which I chose to acquire because at the time I wanted to go to medical school. I still do, but now realize that that's really not cost or time effective.
So, I am searching for something that allows me to utilize my crazy talents, live my life, and feed my soul.
I am very creative, as you can see. I am musical, good with words, organized, meticulous, and I think outside the box. I am supremely sick of seeking employment. I'd love a book deal.
But, in the mean time, I can write! I can type...I can sing, I could learn to dance...I can cook, clean, do laundry...
(You see, I hope, that this is somewhat "tongue-in-cheek" - some people just can't understand my humor)
So, I sent my resume to this job posting on craigslist today, for an "assistant to the editor" position.
And I got this email response:
"Hi Stephanie, I don't see a natural connection between what you have been doing professionally and this position. Could you tell me more about why this interests you, Jim"
To which I replied:
What I have been doing professionally is really not a reflection of what I thought I would do, or what I've wanted to do. I sort of "fell" into my previous jobs, which largely as a favor to a friend in need. It snowballed from there, and I stayed way too long. That's the short version of the story.
Perhaps there's not much "natural" in the way I have approached life, but then again, maybe it all translates into a bizarre journey anyway, no matter your plan. I think I have stifled my creative side over the years. I chose biology as a major because, at the time, I wanted to go to medical school. I no longer want that.
I have always had an affinity to the printed word and image. Long before I was drawn to anatomy, I was sucked in by photography. I write. I sing. I play the guitar. I am both left and right brained.
I don't know, maybe I don't fit the mold. But that's what makes me special.
I am also a stickler for correctness in the printed word. I cannot read anything without analyzing it grammatically and fixing typographical errors in my mind. That's me.
I am looking for a good fit - a position in which I can thrive, grow, and shine. If I wanted to simply earn $10/hr I'd get a job at the Shell Station on Wickenden Street, which gets robbed with regularity. I'm not that desperate yet, due to the kindness and generosity of my binky (and not the kindness of family, or strangers).
Best wishes, and sincerely hope you find what you're looking for.
Thanks for reading, people. It will all work out, I am sure.
Hope you have a memorable Tuesday evening.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
It was the next to last day of our Italian escapade, and well, let's just say that while the local wine was great - ok, exponentially better than just great, but hey, I am trying to type here while the Dinnerman is giving a real-time narrative of Kurt Browning's Gotta Skate VII in the background ("oh, Steph, they showed Sasha Cohen* and she looks like she finally got her boobies" and "Irina Rodnina, why isn't she on?") - so cut me some literary slack, people.
Ahem...ahemmmm...where was I?
...although the local wine was a constant trickle of seductive superlatives down my esophagus, one's palate can become clouded and dulled by too much of anything, Brancaia, Solaia, and Sangiovese included.
It was time for some good old Kentucky bourbon.
Trouble was, it seemed that bourbon was not much of a focus in Italy. There was plenty of Jack Daniels and Jameson's, but none of that small batch hand-crafted elixer of the gods in the square-ish bottle with the red wax seal that we've come to know and love oh so intimately - Italy seemed bereft of Maker's Mark.
Oh, Maker's Mark. You are so nutty, toasty, delicious, effective in your role in my life - you comfort me in my time of need. Whether I have you on the rocks with a splash of ginger ale or Coke, or neat in a little bitty glass, or swirled into a Manhattan - you complete me.
So we stumbled upon this fantastic bar in Rome, and were struck by some things:
1) The "proprietor", Giovanni, spoke perfect English with no accent. He is Roman-born but lived for some years in Canada. He's a total cynic, with a dry wit and a laser eye for the female form. Giovanni's nuts were very fresh (come now...they're peanuts, people - crunchy, succulent in-the-shell peanuts).
2) There was Maker's Mark on the shelf.
3) There were vulgar sayings all around, written in random places.
4) There was Maker's Mark on the shelf.
5) The bartender, Paulo, took such pride and care in making every drink perfectly. I have never tasted a Manhattan so delicious, so expertly made. He did this thing which I swear looked like simply swirling ice cubes around in a glass with a long spoon before he even added any ingredients. I just didn't get it, but it worked.
6) There was Maker's Mark on the shelf.
7) The music was awesome - quite an eclectic mix. Think Tom Petty mixed with Wolf Mother and Lit, plus a little U2 and Zeppelin for old times' sake**. Close your eyes, imagine Giovanni singing along.
8) There was Maker's Mark on the shelf.
9) The place was packed, with a lot of Irish-looking, English speaking clients who were laughing and drinking and making merry.
10) There was Maker's Mark on the shelf, and in my glass.
Via Tor Millina 32
*Sasha, you look fantastic. I mean, damn girl, you finally look like a woman, and you skate with an ethereal glow, like an Angelic Gumby (that's a compliment). You are by far the most talented skater in the universe, and I am your greatest fan. I will come to see you in a city near me with Stars on Ice this upcoming season. You're beautiful, and I love you!
**Grammatically, how do you make that possession work? If it's singular, then it should be "old time's sake", but how can you base any kind of quantification on only one time? If it's plural, shouldn't it be "old times' sakes"? Someone help me here - grammar police? Help!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Kenny is funny as hell, and the trade-off of the Ibuprofen cream for the spaghetti and meatballs is imminent. It's going to happen. This week. The cream is in, and Auntie Walmart has been notified. She's on it. The wine has been purchased by Dr. Dinnerman, in anticipation.
Kenny's mom went to a function tonight at a certain local country club, where you apparently don't get served big platters of food. This translates into not getting enough food (anathema amongst local Italian-Americans, myself and Dr. Dinnerman included), so it's imperative for one to arrive in time for the "hors d'oerbes" (hors d'oerves, in Kenny-speak...I love you Kenny!). Hope it can happen, though it may involve rousing someone prematurely off the couch (Kenny's dad, from what I can tell). Keep me up to date.
Kenny brought me some huge-ass carrots and onions tonight. Seriously, these carrots are the size of my tibias (which are the size of large zucchini, for those of you who have no idea what a tibia is...but hey, you can Google too, no???). The onions are the size of my breasts (ok, maybe not...I'm not that well endowed...a more appropriate comparison may be cantaloupes?)
An additional thought with regard to the Providence Oyster Bar rotten oyster experience:
If you are an establishment which has the words "oyster bar" in its very denotation, you better not let a rotten one slip by the goalie. Just don't let it happen. Sheesh.
(Can I not let this go?)
They're re-routing traffic around here as part of the damn "I-Way" bullshit experience. I'm not good with change, so I'm not happy about it right now. I may or may not come around.
But, sometimes something happens that hits you a little too close for comfort, and, well, you just have to let it out, dammit!
Three little details make this rather negative experience ok to talk about, in my mind:
1) I've eaten at this place many many times over the past 5 years. Many times. And I've loved it, every time.
2) This is my Dr. Dinnerman we're talking about. My Dinnerman - 'nough said.
3) This matter was dealt with in a rather cavalier fashion by our waitress. Not adequately handled.
Here it is: Dr. Dinnerman ate a bad oyster at the Providence Oyster Bar this afternoon. Like, rotten bad. Ammonia-smelling bad. Yeah.
The waitress apologized, and said she'd take the oysters off our bill. She took exactly 2 of the 8 oysters off the bill. Thanks so much for that.
Fortunately, the Dinnerman has the means by which to procure certain antibiotics as a rather valiant effort to ward off any potential gastrointestinal symptoms. Fortunately, the man has a stomach that produces more than its share of acid, which can't be good for pathogens.
And if things get really messy, I will be his Florence Nightengale at the bedside.
A prayer for Dr. Dinnerman. Yo.
If a woman's home is an "open house", a place where people can just drop by, drop in, 24/7, with anyone coming and going at any given time day or night, then rest assured, so is her vagina.
If a woman's home is off limits to "drop-ins" and "drive-bys", then rest assured, so is her vagina.
Personally, I don't do "drop-ins". You can try, but even if the sky is falling odds are I won't open up.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I've no doubt that people notice and comment on mine, which aren't exactly inconspicuously in hiding or anything. So, I feel no guilt talking about boobs residing on other bodies.
I love boobs. I think they're wonderful. I'm not a lesbian, though I tried to be once (it was a phase!), but dammit, while I am hot-to-trot for the (preferably large-and-in-charge) body of a man, I do harbor an enduring appreciation for the female form.
Just rode the elevator with the girl we refer to as "Boobs" (not to be confused with "House Music" or "Titsie"), and it was a wild ride, baby.
Have a Happy Thursday Evening, Folks! Fondle some Boobs!!! Even if they're your own!!!
(Oh, come on! You all know I'm merely articulating that which you all think and do not say! Loosen up people! Touch a nipple or two! The world will be a better place. And trim those ass and nose hairs, while you're at it!)
(How could a night away from me provide any living creature anything but angst, emptyness, and longing???)
He said no, but all I heard was a girl walking into Utrecht who said, "I do!"
Sorry honey. Can't spare you one.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
How contrived it feels then to write these words, "Brighten Your Dark Day With a Cheery and Simple Arugula Salad, The Perfect Prelude To Pasta", but write them I have, because they contain the truth.
Take a bunch (or a bag if you're like me) of arugula, toss with a little bit of hazelnut oil (it's a bit pricey, but well worth it. Hazelnut oil lends a subtlety and delicate nuttiness to this salad, though good olive oil works too. I go both ways...with this salad, I mean)
Shave some pecorino romano cheese and squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top, kosher salt and pepper to taste, and there it is!
It also works with feta or any goat cheese, and you can gild the lily by topping with toasted hazelnuts, but this salad is so quick, refreshing and easy no matter the variation, and makes a perfect little plate before the pasta!
(Got to call the dentist...I am staring at a piece of me in the form of a tooth as I type this. Here we go - taking a shot at Wednesday...)
Monday, November 5, 2007
1) If I make a gravy that simmers all day on the stove, I can't eat it that night. It's not just because the flavors develop the longer it sits, and all that jazz. It's that I actually get bored by it, as if by being around it all day smelling it while it cooks causes me to go on gravy related sensory overload, and I just have to stick the whole pot in the fridge and not think about it again for 24 to 48 hours.
2) If I write something, and go back immediately or very soon after to read it, I just want to delete the entire thing. This is probably why I have destroyed most of what I've written over my lifetime. It's like I don't want to be reminded of all the shit swirling around in my head 24/7, that I can never escape. It's too much to look at it on paper as well.
I guess I get tired of myself. Maybe I'm interesting to others, but I live in my head all day every day, and I get sick of it. I mean, how is this stuff interesting to me? It's the buzzing in my head; it's nothing new or noteworthy. It's like I get "Cushlash" (Cushlash...Cushlash... Cushlash! Cushlash! Cushlash!)
3) I don't like when it gets cold and I don't like it when darkness falls early. I don't like it, I don't like it, I don't like it at all!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Re: Pollution - 3 Different Kinds
November 4, 2007
Hi Beevis and Butthead,
I live with Dr. Dinnerman in unit xxx in This Big Building. The Dinnerman owns this unit.
I am writing to tell you that since the opening of the Sexy New Club in the space which used to house the Cool Old Club, there has been an extremely strong and noxious cigar smoke odor in certain hallways of the building. Specifically, the smoke has been coming up the stairs that front on Front Street near the entrance of the Sexy New Club and continuing all the way down that second floor hallway inside the building. This smell was overwhelming just now, at 6pm on Sunday November 4th, as I walked down that hallway to the trash chute. Since the Sexy New Club just opened and is not currently busy (judging by the paucity of people there as I looked through the windows), presumably this air pollution will only get worse as their business picks up, if nothing is done about it by management. Perhaps they need stronger mechanisms of air filtration in place?
I think you would agree that we as we residents should not have to be subjected to this air pollution in our hallways, through which we cannot avoid walking.
On another note, I wanted to bring to your attention some noise pollution which I have experienced on 2 occasions from the brick workers in the courtyard. On Friday afternoon, November 2, 2007, there was loud country music playing right outside my window, along with continuous loud yelling by the people working on the side of the building. I did not say anything then, but I was disturbed as I was trying to work on my computer at home at the time, and the music was very loud (and very country).
Today, Sunday, November 4, 2007, I came home from breakfast around 9:30am and was met with even louder talking, yelling, and music, this time coming from men on a scaffolding directly outside my windows. This is highly inappropriate for a Sunday morning. It's one thing for this kind of noise during business hours, but inexcusable on a Sunday morning. After about 2 hours of this, I went out on my balcony and asked the guys if they could keep the yelling at a minimum (as The Dinnerman was on a work-related international telephone conference and was having trouble concentrating with all the noise). I was essentially met with disrespect and arguing. I told them that I understood they had to make noise, and it wasn't the noise of them doing their job that was disturbing, but rather all the yelling and lewd comments directly outside my window for hours on a Sunday morning.
They quieted down somewhat, but why is this necessary? Why do we have to put up with this? Why isn't the management company handling these types of things? Why isn't there someone paying more attention to this type of thing so we as residents, paying high fees, don't have to? It is quite frustrating.
Also, last week there was air pollution in the form of a strong natural gas smell in the mail room. I called the 24 hour line and got the answering service, who told me that they were essentially waiting to see how many calls they got from This Big Building before acting on it (calling "Chumley"). I don't know about you, but when I smell natural gas I don't get a peaceful easy feeling, and I think it's responsible to call the gas company or whomever. This is why we have a management company. If I owned a home, I would make the call myself. Long story short, I had to call 3 or 4 times before anything was done about it. It shouldn't have to be this hard! Especially with something as potentially serious as a natural gas or other combustable leak. I mean, if it's a question of bothering "Chumley" or maybe blowing up, it should be a no-brainer, right?
It turned out to be an issue with the furnace needing to be reset, but at the time it was rather disconcerting to say the least.
I appreciate your attention to these matters.
Your Greatest Fan
*Note: Names in red have been changed for privacy purposes.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
(For the record, that's not what's happening here at the Dinnerman Homestead. No, today we went out for our usual late Saturday lunch, and then rented some DVD's. We were very happy with our lunch, which was at one of our favorites, 7 Moons, but that's another blog entry or two. We were less than satisfied with our options for movie rentals however, as the one we have been trying to see for months, since it had been piped into our hotel room in Rome back in June in Italian, which has just been released on DVD in the States, presumably in English, The Hoax, was out of stock at the local Blockbuster. Can't win 'em all, as they say. Sometimes you can't even join 'em. I roasted a chicken last week, on a rather warm day. Close your eyes and make believe if you must. Allow me to paint a picture in your mind!)
I have been roasting chickens for years, with less than consistent results. I've tried spatchcocking and marinating, stuffing, pounding, massaging, rubbing, you name it.
I finally discovered nirvana in a fit of laziness and exhaustion. With poultry, as with many things in life, simplicity has proven to be superlative.
Steph's Roasted Chicken Method (yes, there is a method; it's not only
Kosher-salt a broiler/fryer chicken (3-3.5 lbs), let it sit for a few hours in the fridge, and then blast it in the oven under the broiler (center of the oven) for about 20 minutes, or until the skin starts to turn brownish. Then turn the convection oven on to 425 degrees F. If you don't have a convection feature, I recommend raising the temp to 450. Leave the chicken in for about 35-40 minutes more, and then let it rest upon taking it out of the oven. (You mileage may vary with regard to specific timing, and I will warn you against eating raw or undercooked poultry. Wow, my first disclaimer. I must really want that job as a legal secretary.)
If you desire roasted carrots and potatoes with your chicken, simply cube about 3-4 potatoes, cut up the same number of carrots, throw in some whole garlic cloves, add some jalapeno chunks if you like, toss with some EVOO, kosher salt, and rosemary, and roast on a cookie sheet about a rung or two beneath the chicken. With the convection oven, this vegetable melange is done in the same time as the chicken. If you don't have a convection oven, well, you're on your own with the timing!
Cook a chicken on a cold November day. And let that chicken sing its own song.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Lately, Kenny seems to have been trying to reinvent the English language.
Here are a couple of examples:
"Growing up on a farm, my mom was a real country pumpkin."
"My father had to have a colonostopy and they said his intestines were all inflated."
Kenny also has the gifts of pantomime and storytelling. His habit of peppering his narratives with random utterances of "Uh-oh!" has rubbed off on The Dinnerman and me.
I had marinated a flank steak in olive oil, chili paste, and tandoori seasoning that I had, er, borrowed from Mo. (Hi Mo!)
I let this sit in the fridge for a couple of days, though one day or even overnight would be better than nothing at all.
I just threw it onto a screamin' hot (!) grill for about 4 minutes per side for medium rare (it was pretty thick). Slice against the grain and eat with grilled hot peppers and a salad.
I took a picture, but it's stuck in my camera. Tech support!
I wanna wake up!
I can make Naked Peppers that would bring a whole village to its knees
I can clean up your beer spills and your plate-fumbles in the blink of an eye
I can cook up a gravy so delicious it'll make you cry
Cause I'm a woman! W-O-M-A-N...I'll say it again...
(Dr. Dinnerman had given Kenny some Ibuprofen cream to try, for his aching back. Kenny is afraid of pharmaceuticals, so he re-gifted it to his Auntie Walmart, who experienced relief so great after rubbing it into her arm that she spoke to God on The Dinnerman's behalf, right there from her bathroom.)
Even blasting Mozart can't drown them out!
It makes me want to shout, as Dabney Coleman's character did in the beloved and classic film Tootsie,
"Jesus Christ, can we get a little more hammering in here!!!"
Yesterday I did shout some profanities at them out the window, I admit; all they did was laugh.