Wednesday, February 27, 2008

There's No Crying At Work!

The job has a learning curve, as is expected with anything new. All in all, it's good. I really like the people I work with; they are smart and funny - quality people. It's fast-paced and time flies. It's interesting.
All of which leads me up to this little gem: today the inevitable happened. I had a meltdown at a meeting. I had messed something up that was brought to my attention, something I thought I had done right. Add that to the ongoing stress of just not knowing what the fuck anyone is talking about most of the time, and I couldn't hold it together anymore.
In my defense, this was minor in comparison to meltdowns of yore. I recovered rather quickly. The episode also had the unexpected result of everyone else coming forth with war stories of their own from their first weeks.
What can I say? I am not impervious. I am human. I am sensitive, and that's sometimes a double-edged sword.

The smoke in the halls is simply overpowering tonight. I can't believe the city allows this to go on. Everyone passes the buck. The Dept. of Health washes its hands with the City Solicitor who just sends a threatening letter? How does that help us? Mayor Cicilline, why won't you help us? Stop the 520 Club from killing your citizens!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mourning the Loss of a Memory Card

I am an utter idiot.

It what turned out to be a fruitless attempt to change the setting on my camera to one resulting in less than the current 20 minute per-picture uploads to Flickr, I managed to erase every last megabyte on my memory card.
Gone is any evidence of trips taken in the last 2 years. Bye-bye beach on Puerto Rico; ciao, Roma. Adios, Mexico; so long Little Compton, with the moon rising out of the ocean every night. Farewell brain of Steph.

See you later, alligator. After a while, crocodile.

I am an utter idiot.

It will be a very long time before I am over this one. I take photographic memories quite seriously. I have bins of negatives from my early days in the game. Decades of memories. This feels like the past 2 years went up in smoke. It will not be easy to move on from here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Breakfast of Champions, In A Flash

I frequent The Bagel Gourmet on Brook Street, and today, since our water was shut off from 9-11 am, I had the pleasure of bringing the Dinnerman there for a quick breakfast.

The place was hopping when we arrived, as it usually is. Open from 6:30am to 10:00pm 7 days a week, this place thrives with offerings of standard breakfast victuals as well as Mexican food offerings after 10am. Today we split an enormous breakfast burrito with bacon: a flour tortilla filled with egg, fresh onion and green pepper, black beans, cheese, and meat of your choice, or not. We chose bacon. Served with a side of fantastic salsa - kind of orangey-red, semi-spicy, just enough kick. You can ask for the bottle of hot sauce, which gets around the place more than the hands of the clock on the wall.

The Bagel Gourmet offers what are in my opinion the best New York Style bagels in this area since Barney's. My faves include such varieties as sunflower, onion, egg, and salt. I buy a dozen, cut them in half, stick them in the freezer. I am a working girl now, after all. Not sure how I feel about that yet, but that's how it is.
Their Mexican food is a bonus: delicious and enormous burritos, soft tacos, fajitas.
You can get breakfast sandwiches on bagels, rolls, or wraps all day. Their chicken salad is amazing. They offer tuna, turkey, ham...all the standards. There are a bunch of muffins, croissants, and sometimes cinnamon buns for sale. Cookies too.

The coffee is awesome as well. The variety of beverages is endless (think Vitamin Water, standard softdrinks, Naked Juice, Nantucket Nectars...).

They also mix up many different types of cream cheese available by weight (1/4, 1/2, 1 lb): jalapeno, veggie, olive, lox...etc.

Go. Eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Cash only. Next to a store that has an ATM.

Please enjoy!

Lunch Among Giants

That's right. Lunch at Mike's today. Who do you suppose were at the next table?
Johanne Killeen and George Germon. Owners of Al Forno.

We knew they were regulars, but we hadn't seen them there before. Who even knew they were in town?

We arrived when they were already on to espresso, so I regret that I cannot report on their menu choices.

Last week I had the seafood diablo, and the Dinnerman had the delicious veal cutlet...preceeded by the ubiquitous calamari, which rivals any we've had in Rome.

This week we started with the most tender and fresh smelts I've ever tasted, in addition to the not-to-be-missed calamari. We had Kenny with us so it seemed appropriate to get more than one appy.

I was so sad that they were out of the baccala with polenta, my favorite dish. I decided on the stuffed squid, and I was not left wanting: 2 tender bodies with a bready stuffing, accompanied by a plethora of rings and tentacles perfectly cooked (in red wine?) over a huge mound of linguini in a quasi-red sauce. Enough food for 6 people, it seemed.

The Dinnerman had his old standby favorite default meal, that he no doubt wishes I would make at home (I've tried, for the record, and failed miserably. Will try again): veal and peas. So tender, in a red sauce, side of cavatelli.

Kenny setted into the sole francaise. Two delicate fillets, lightly egg-battered and fried, lemon wedges, side of roasted potatoes, peas and carrots.

Mike's Kitchen is where I want to eat every Saturday afternoon from today until the end of time.

The three of us continued the afternoon with a drive through the ghetto, and a stop at the liquor store.

I finished up some laundry and we watched Erin Brokovich on tv. My dad told me I reminded him of her with my crusade against the cigar bar downstairs! Ok then! Bring it on! I do have an edge to me.

While folding whites, I had the privilege to witness the neighbors playing what appeared to be tennis on their wii. Oh, the joys of condo living.

Then The Dinnerman and I played a bit of Scattergories, which we found is kind of lame with only two people.
Anyone want to come over?

(Category: Things you keep hidden that start with "A": Is it frightening that we both came up with "ass cheeks"?)

Tootles, my peeps. We're one day closer to springtime...and my birthday!

Friday, February 22, 2008

This is Living?

Apologies for my lengthy scarcity of late, my peeps! I've been quite the busy bee.
Not much new to report, though I do have a job now, which in part explains my absence.
In what I've come to know as the usual song of life, everything has changed yet nothing's changed at all. I am working, ever so busy adjusting to a new rhythm in my days. I haven't had much time to cook. In fact, last week I didn't cook one thing, unless you call toasting bagels and microwaving hot cereal cooking. In that case, I cooked every morning.
There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day. I don't know why we feel the need to lead life at this pace. It doesn't seem natural to me. I mean, think about it. If you get up, go to work, then to the gym, then home, then shower, then dinner, and just wake up to do it all is that living life? It seems more like life is taking you for a ride. Maybe that's the appeal. People don't want to have time to think about anything. Fill the day with business so you don't know what it feels like to be alive. There's no time!

Anyway, I'm glad it's Friday. And I'm extra glad I am getting a much-needed massage tomorrow. So far, that is the only plan for the weekend. I'd like to keep it that way.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Combos Really Cheeses Your Hunger Away!

Wow. I have such a knack for remembering old jingles. And annoying people by singing them at the top of my lungs. I've surely missed my calling.
Here, have a gander:

"It's the creamiest, the dreamiest Velveeta Shells and Cheese! It's the creamiest, the dreamiest forget the powder please! Only we taste like this (eww!) Velveeta makes it the creamiest! Velveeta Shells and Cheese."

"Cheese filled Combos! Combos really cheeses your hunger away!"

"Oh oh oh ice cream and an oreo's the creamy crunchy chocolate oh oh o-r-e-o...keeps ice cream from gettin' lonely oh oh oh the one and only..."

I have so many guilty pleasures this is sure to be old news to those who know Steph, but oh boy, I'm glad someone invented Combos. In my life these hadn't surfaced in a while.
They are so good. They bring me back to 1985, when I was a mere lass of 12. Or more recently to 2002, when Lisa Marie ate them routinely for lunch at work. She would sneak me one when no one was watching.

Trans-fat laden, with an aftertaste that can be described euphemistically as "chemical", Combos are decidedly not health food. No matter. They are part of the context that made me me. Part of my DNA practically, along with Circus Atari or jelly shoes, or getting my period for the first time while downing a bacon double cheeseburger at Burger King on a rainy day.
Like ribbon barrettes or Guess jeans. Pink, purple and green color combinations. Parachute pants. Scratch and sniff stickers. Strawberry Shortcake and Hello Kitty. Friendship pins. Duran Duran. Almost Home Cookies.

My. Childhood. Compressed. Like the cheesy filling of combos.

Extruded into a cheesy or a pretzel-y shell. I'll crunch on either, thank you very much.

Monday, February 4, 2008

When the Man's Away...

...the lady of the house will eat salmon. Broiled, with mushrooms, over and over again, just because she can.

And she'll stay in bed till 10, luxuriate around the house wearing next to nothing, keep no semblance of a schedule, spin, drink, watch figure skating on tv instead of the Superbowl - do all else she can to really live on the wild side this week before the new job starts.

The Dinnerman is living it up in Honolulu. Oh, it's not a vacation, but it's still Hawaii. He says he likes the music there; apparently it's been soothing to him, which is always good. Those lap steels always sound nice. Good twang.
Hope he got himself a good lei, and that he brings me one or two nice ones when he returns.

So I'm here in Rhode Island. Where we're one month closer to spring, now that it's February.
And you know what? I'm falling in love with my home.

On another note, last week we went to the much-heralded Gracie's, and all I have to say is - meh.
Not so much. Prickling with pretense, Gracie's left us flat, and hungry.

Providence has great Asian food, perhaps with a rather gaping hole left by the need for great Japanese. We also seem to have the bases covered on great mid-range and rather casual places, like Parkside, Madeira, Mike's Kitchen, Zooma, Venda's cafe, L'Osteria, Julian's, El Rancho Grande, Wes's Rib House, even Al Forno and Bacaro.
But with the high end fancy shit? Here it's just one vacant facade after another. It's all a ruse. You know, the way the Chinese learned pair skating by watching videos of the Russians?

Local 121 and Gracie's really let me down. Just sayin'.

(Above image is credited to The Food Pornographer -