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To Beet Or Not To Beet?

11 May

33643771-parsnip-on-the-boards-vegetable

It’s time to decide whether to join a community supported agriculture (CSA) for when black thumb takes root and flourishes in my little garden the way it has for, well, ever.  For all the years.  And while I assume that it’s tough being an oddsmaker in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, I can pretty much guarantee that here in my garden, it’s Black Thumb to win with Tomato Blight to place and Gardening Is Like Setting Dollar Bills On Fire to show.  (And they’re off!)

It’s not an easy decision given that I still have parsnips from last year’s CSA in the bottom of the vegetable drawer which, while a testimony to their freshness, are also an indictment of my family’s (and friend’s and relative’s as well as complete stranger’s) eagerness to work with the parsnip.  (Side note: this is also a testament to my mad refrigerator cleaning skills in that cleaning the refrigerator makes me angry.)

There’s a reason you don’t see bookstores with parsnip sections.  Bookstores are rare enough; but a bookstore with a parsnip section?  Never gonna happen.  The parsnip is the Jim Gaffigan of carrots (big and pale) and even though Mr. Gaffigan has written two books (including “Food A Love Story,” that practically wrote itself and includes such prize-winning sentences as: “[t]here’s never a strike at the Cheesecake Factory,” and “the Waffle House vibe feels more like that of a halfway house or a mobile home than an actual house,”) he remains an acquired taste.  Unless Starbucks introduces a Mochaparsnipaccino (“freshly-dug parsnips layered between Columbian roast coffee and FairTrade Peruvian coco.”  Venti, $7), the parsnip and the bookstore shall never intertwine.

Joining a CSA also means that every Tuesday from June to November the seat belt warning will continually chime because the passenger seat will be so weighted down with vegetables, other than parsnips, that the on-board computer will assume I have an unbuckled teenager sitting beside me.  It’s usually during potato and onion weeks when this happens although occasionally the chime stays on when I am merely transporting grapes (also known as cases of wine).

Of course picking up the cabbage and kale (so very much kale) from a “drop off” adds a certain mystique to otherwise boring (and often gassy) produce.  Also it’s fun to ask the intern if this is the good s*** that you talked to the “grower” about and, also, is it seedless?  (Because sometimes the jokes are just for me and I often dwell in Greenwich Village circa 1978 in my mind- when I’m not sleeping.)

Sleep rock thy brain.  (Hamlet, Act III, Sc. 2.)

Pickers, Pumps and Pride. (And the lack thereof.)

20 Jan

christian louboutin pump

Surely people know that if they show up for a live televised event they may end up actually appearing on TV, right?

And I’m not just talking about the folks who show up for “The Antiques Roadshow” wearing Tommy Bahama shirts and Capri pants.  Together.  With Teva sandals.  (Because they obviously don’t care about the cameras.)

Oh, PBS, there are times when I’d rather watch “Joe Bonamassa: Live At Royal Albert Hall” again than suffer through the fashion wreck that is The Roadshow.  It was hard enough watching host Mark Wahlberg receive hair transplants only to have him return as Mark Wahlberg, host of “The Antiques Roadshow” (albeit hairier).

(Question: why do the appraisers feel obligated to tell people what might have been “if these pieces were in perfect condition” or “if you had the original box” as it is of little consolation to hear that your toy appears to have been “well-played with” when your cousin down the street received the same Tonka truck for Christmas and is now the proud owner of a time-share in Key West?  Here’s a tip: let’s have the toy appraiser dress like the furniture guy, the furniture guy stop getting so damn excited about Cabriole legs and the jeweler surrender his pinky ring.

Oy.

Moving on to “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”.  Is it possible that the host is convinced that the flavor of stringy meats improves by yelling?  Why else would he yell so much?  And, my stars, the amount of stringy meat that man eats is a lot.  Maybe he’s yelling because he’s about to have a coronary event.

“I’m Guy Fieri and my face is as red as my Camaro!”

Have a salad and chill out, Buddy.  While it is true that I’ve never had salad that tasted “off the hook,” I’ve also never worn sunglasses around the back of my neck or worn flip-flops into a commercial kitchen.  So there’s that.

Less yelling and a little more attention to wardrobe please.  (PS: your hair is as fried as the food you eat.  Less yelling and some conditioner too.)

Now “American Pickers” has completely ruined the word “bundle” for me.  A bundle implies comfort, warmth, and snuggles.  Jesus was wrapped in a bundle for Christ’s sake.  Those guys are as authentic and sincere as Chris Christie at a salad bar. (A salad bar located in the basement of a LGBTQ Unitarian Universalist Church just past the GWB, that is.)  To The Pickers, “bundling” is a way to pay less for more stuff.  It’s the opposite of commerce and I’m not even sure it’s a real verb.  You don’t see me down at the Food King haggling with the manager to lower the price on my Oreos, wine coolers and Vogue magazine just because I’m purchasing all three.  (And really I’m only there for the wine coolers.  The other items are to make me appear less pathetic.)

So the Little Picker, the guy shaped like a poundcake, now his method is to downplay the value of an item by losing the part of his brain that is responsible for vocabulary.  “How much you want for this dusty thing here?” he asks, while pointing at a vintage neon jukebox.  “It’s old and what are those dirty, round things there inside it?  Records?  How much do you have to have to let something like that go?” he’ll ask while the Angular Picker keeps uttering random numbers while touching different items like some sort of weird Lumosity game.

Here’s what I would tell Little Picker: “Zero.  I don’t have to have anything for the jukebox because I don’t have to let it go.  I let you in here because a lady from your office wouldn’t stop calling me.  I’ll tell you what I do have to say though: wear a clean, unripped t-shirt when you call on people.  You’re on television for crying out loud, Little Picker.”

Finally why, oh why, do people on “House Hunters” think that it’s okay to lie on the seller’s bed with their shoes on?  And sit in someone’s bathtub with their shoes on?  And stand in a stranger’s shower stall with their shoes on?

When did we become such a shoe-loving nation and why wasn’t I consulted?

I have shoes (and coordinating bags) for all occasions including, but not limited to: television appearances, readings, open mics, television appearances, Christian Louboutin store openings, television appearances and television appearances.

And now that you know what not to wear on television, I’m sure you’re ready for television too.

(Did I mention that I am available for television appearances?)

“MACBETH” Act 4, Scene 3, Line 141*

8 May

blog image hamburglar

(* “Tis hard to reconcile.”)

Spouse said the  funniest sentence.  Or, rather, half sentence.  More like a fragment, really.

He began with: “when you reconciled the checking account…” and that’s all I heard.  I don’t know what he said next or what point he was trying to make because I stopped listening to him and started listening to my own brain as it began asking questions too.  Questions like: “reconcile?  Who uses a word like reconcile and what does “to reconcile” truly mean?  And what, if at all, does “reconciling” have to do with my accounting?  And why does Spouse keep staring at me like I, in my grip, doth the key to Heaven clutch?”

Note that I distinguish between “my accounting” and “my accounting thereof” because “my accounting thereof” is a phrase that I often use when answering Spouse’s more specific questions like: “what did you do with the money I already gave you?”  Answer: “you mean those few dollars that I took from your wallet?  A, you gave me nothing- I took those dollars and B, we are done talking about money, your wallet and my accounting thereof.”

Conversely, “my accounting” is how I would answer a different question like if Alex Trebek were to say “this person totally knows for whom the caged bird sings,” I would buzz in with: “is it Maya Counting?”

(I doubt that Alex Trebek would ever use the word “totally” but you can’t be sure.  Mr. Trebek has done some wild stuff including chasing down hotel room burglars in the nude.  For the record, Alex Trebek was naked.  I’m sure the crook was, at least, wearing a mask.)  Notice how I put my answer in the form of a question, though.

As for my personal accounting method, well, that’s what the ATM is for.  You go there and ask it for money.  If it says no, you keep working down until you hit a number upon which you both agree.  If it tells you to come inside, leave.

As for Quicken?  Until I met Spouse, I was pretty sure that Quicken was one of Santa’s reindeer.  Speaking of Santa (thereof), only 220 shopping days until my birthday.  (But really aren’t they all shopping days?)

And as for reconciling and such?

I keep telling Spouse that in order for a reconciliation to happen, a break up must first occur.

And that I can do.  

That Spouse.  He sure is funny.

Why The Los Angeles Dodgers Must Lose

16 Oct

blog image j geils band

They took the Dodgers out of Brooklyn.

Then they took Don Mattingly.  (Doesn’t his last name sound like a delightful adverb?  “He loved her mattingly.”  Of course he did.  He’d be a fool not to.  Who is he?)

They then put Mr. Mattingly outside amid palm trees, where all sports are meant to be played, tanned him up and made him look good.  (Side note: I have seen Don Mattingly in person and that tan helps.  August 1997: Spouse, Boy and I all attended Don Mattingly Day at Yankee Stadium.  I know it was 1997 because The Boy was in utero and has had a fear of heights ever since- we didn’t exactly spring for the baseline seats.)

Also, a person can’t get to Dodger Stadium unless they need to get to the LA Costco.  Then it’s nothing but clover leafs and traffic jams until those inexpensive paper goods are a vague memory and you’re left feeling dehydrated and sore and you didn’t even do anything.  (Side side note: I once left the east coast and headed west returning later intending to save enough money to fix my car, buy a pair of Doc Martens and move to Albuquerque.  (This was well before “Breaking Bad” so not only to I get style points for the footwear, I also get premonition hipster points on the nod to Albuquerque.)  Before I could get out-of-town, love happened and here I am with Spouse, Boy, NY and all the black clothing a person could ever want in sizes ranging from “happy/thin/in love” to “winter/carbs/pale.”)  As for mass transit, Los Angeles has a system second only to Paris, London, Japan, China, India, Mexico, Chicago, Boston, DC, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Chile and walking in a group.

Celebrities go to LA Dodger games.  Yes, celebrities go to NY Yankee games too but they don’t wear khakis with pastel sweaters knotted around their shoulders (I mean you Dustin Hoffman, Monday, October 14).  New Yorkers wear coats and hats and mittens sometimes; and they’re cold and (often) wet and tired of spending $10 for crappy beer but at least they’re there to root and fight and WIN!  (Mostly fight!  Especially in the seats I can afford.)  New Yorkers do not attend playoff games to be entertained or distracted from the so-so reviews of their directorial debut (again, Mr. Hoffman and “Quartet“).

Finally, if Los Angeles wins, St. Louis loses.  And that would leave Missouri with only the St. Louis Rams (who last won an NFL championship in 1999) and the St. Louis Blues which is a hockey team so no one cares.

Can’t we just let St. Louis win the NLCS until the Phillies return next year?  (Additional back story: the author was born in Pennsylvania.)

Oh, the Cards can’t win The Series.  Detroit must win the championship.  The city needs our help.  Imagine waking up each day knowing that the last wonderful thing to come out of Michigan, besides Eminem (scheduled to appear on SNL on November 2), and Jack White (frequent Colbert Report guest) was The J.  Geils “Live Full House” album and I’m pretty sure that I’m the only person who bought it.  I feel you Detroit.

Won’t you help a city like Detroit and root for the Tigers?  With your help we can bring back this city where the trees are the right height.

I did my part when I bought the J.  Geils, again, on CD.

What can I say?  “First I Look at the Purse” (Robert Rogers/Smokey Robinson) is a classic.

We’re Back! (PS: there is no “we.”)

3 Sep

blog image jim gaffigan

Following our busiest summer EVER (what with the book tour to Paris and all- more about that later), FA&S is pleased to announce that we’re BACK!  With even more of the sarcasm you’ve come to expect (and love).  Mostly love.

Here’s a quick run-down of what to look forward to this fall.  (Note: due to time constraints such as feeding The Boy, conversing with Spouse, disagreeing with Spouse and ultimately no longer talking to Spouse, FA&S is simply TOO BUSY FOR FULL WORDS AND SENTENCES just now.)  And yet, somehow, we have plenty of time to type in ALL CAPS.  Go figure.  Until then…F.U.

“You leave me little notes on my pillow. I told you a hundred-and-sixty-eight times I can’t .. stand .. little notes on my pillow! ‘We are all out of Corn Flakes.” -F.U.  It took me three hours to figure out that ‘F.U.’ was Felix Unger!” ~ Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.”

See, we don’t always abbreviate, only sumtmz.  (PS: there is no “we.”)

FYI, here’s how our summer went (also, there is no “our”):

ALB to CDG.

UTI– best place to get a UTI?  Paris, France.  30 minutes and $3 later, antibiotic drugs delivered to my apartment;  I felt like Jim Morrison without the bloat.  Ego, yes.  Bloat?  Non.

POS– as rust eats away at the tailgate of my little red car, we head south on the

GSP to

NYC

and

LBI while listening to

NPR and, of course, the sounds of The Boy whining and Spouse yelling while stepping on an imaginary brake pedal that doesn’t exist.  Why anyone would need to brake while driving on a highway is beyond me.  With so many lanes to choose from, just glide over to one that you like better.

IRS– just when I thought summer vacation was paid for, a FY2012 adjustment shows up.  (Ended up at DQ for Blizzard Therapy.)

KGB– killer ground bees.  I didn’t die but my arm swelled up like Kathleen Turner’s head on steroids.  Not a good look for her, a horrible feeling for ME.

M.E.– because that’s who was attacked by the bees and that’s who is entitled to high drama (and eggplant parm) until the swelling goes down.

W-E-D- as in “til death do us part.”  As in, the average life span of a pioneer was 40 years.  “Death” was lurking around every corner in the 1700’s.  From bad squirrel meat to well, good squirrel meat, “death” was a just part of your first marriage.  Well anyone can honor a commitment like that.  (Side note: “W-E-D” begins with a “W” and contains three letters.  As does “WHY?”  Just an observation.  You’re welcome.)

WTF– which, until recently, I thought meant “with the fries.”  I now understand why friends would often text “?” to my answers.  Like when Harry texted: “ordered burger medium-rare and it’s burnt, wtf?”  And I replied: “enjoy the f- especially steaming hot with a little vinegar and cracked pepper.”  Or when Lucy wrote:  “wtf!  At Costco and they sold out of toilet paper!”  To which I replied: “I hope they’re warm.”

Oh, and about that book tour of Paris.  Well, in June, I did visit the City of Lights where I was, again, treated to the sounds of The Boy whining and Spouse yelling (plus bread, wine and cheese.  And wine.)  Also, I read a book on the flight over.  Hence the book/tour.

The book was Jim Gaffigan’s “Dad is Fat” but I think it still counts.  Also, I figure that the only way I will ever have a book/tour of my own is by linking words like “book” and “tour” and “me” into sentences and then releasing that energy into the universe.

And I’m pretty sure that I have the “ME” part down.

Plus, I’m certain that Mr. Gaffigan appreciates the plug.

Until L8R.

A Recipe for the Blues

24 Jun

tanqueray-gin-290x290

To one woman, lady, baby, girl, babygirl, corazón, or loverman add

another woman, lady, baby, girl, babygirl, corazón, and/or loverman.

(For a spicier version definitely add another woman.)

Sprinkle liberally with action verbs like:

drinkin’, cheatin’, lyin’;

leavin’, stayin’, cryin’ or

workin’, beggin’ and dyin’.

Introduce a level of complexity by adding an activity such as:

“aggravating”

“mistreating” or

“getting your ham bones boiled.”

Add optional ingredients to further customize your recipe.   The following have resulted in successful outcomes: peaches, pork chops, wine, whiskey and Tangueray.

When your mix is complete, place it on a mode of transportation-preferably a train.  But not just any train- the  midnight train is best.  You may substitute a morning train or the more generic “night” train but avoid scooters, Smart cars and Rollerblades as results cannot be guaranteed.  In a pinch, you may also utilize an old pick up.  Or walk.  With no shoes on your feet.

Ride the train to: Georgia, Chicago, Kansas City, Memphis, St. Louis, New Orleans or “The Crossroads” where, upon arrival, you will regain your mojo and take it back to the bridge.

Garnish liberally with an “oo-ee”, “uh-huh,” “boom boom boom boom” or “alright” and top off with a question or two such as: “can I get?” or “do you feel?”

Blend until smooth.

Serves one.

Life’s Essential Hardware

8 May

blog image vitamix blender

Because life can be difficult to navigate, make sure you have at least one or two of the following in your survival kit:

earbuds:  they don’t even have to be connected to anything as we have become so used to people saying “what?” we rarely speak anything profound on the first round.  I usually start with a throw-away like “how’s it going?” and then transition into “your foundation doesn’t match the rest of your skin and so your face looks like it’s made of plastic.  You’re welcome.”

Earbuds are also useful while at the gym- as long as there are cords hanging from your ears you don’t have to speak to anyone and, if like me you are determined to learn a new language, you will appear smart and fit as you repeat French phrases aloud while rowing.  Or is it Rueing?  (Ah, my first French pun!  Je suis wicked awesome.)

wristwatch:  I think some people (mostly nurses) use this to tell time if they cannot find their cellphone and a resting pulse is needed.  Also a useful prop when you need to disengage from an in-person conversation because your once mellow resting pulse has been elevated by a close-talker and/or Jehova’s Witness and serenity must be restored now.

cellphone: a camera/music/internet device that also makes phone calls when absolutely necessary.  (Define necessary, then define absolutely.  Then know that I will never call.  Ever.)  Conversely, once you have a cellphone, people can find you.  Any time.  And they will.  Technology is a two-way street, my friend.

computer, laptop, tablet: another music/internet device that, in addition to above, displays bigger pictures of kittens, cute babies and cake box recipes from friends of people who I sort of know.

Vitamix blender: that resting pulse isn’t going to lower itself; a healthy diet is important.  Besides, the Vitamix is the only blender with a motor powerful enough to grind left over chocolate Easter bunnies and ice into a delicious smoothie.  A delicious, nerve-calming, endorphin releasing tonic.  (Fruit is certainly an option but why would you when Bailey’s contains both calcium and whiskey?)

electric car windows: see April 24, 2013 but know that the basic premise is closing the window to avoid conversation while deflecting blame.

hammer, scissors, duct tape and beer: because Spouse says he will fix it and he means to fix it but, next thing you know, three years have passed and living with a busted armrest is a way of life.  The hammer, scissors and duct tape will hold it together.

The beer is for him.

He married a shrew.

A shrew who rarely needs to rest her arms anyway.  What?  I’m Serena Williams now?

And it’s not like I go around waving all friendly-like at people.  Ever.

Why would I do that?

Worst Breakup Ever

20 Mar

blog image apples

In a previous life I was a good girlfriend.  Until.

At the risk of sounding Taylor Swift-ish,

He bored me.

Maybe it was one too many stories about the Long Island Rangers, muscle cars or seeing REM live before they “were” REM, I don’t know.

Perhaps it was how he told the stories- quietly, with little voice modulation or plot development, while driving- a “perfect storm” of slumber.  Anyone would fall asleep under those conditions.  Dane Cook lighting firecrackers while on espresso would fall asleep under those conditions.

He even suggested that I had narcolepsy for crying out loud.  Narcolepsy!  Me!  Queen of the mosh pit!  Because it couldn’t possibly be him, right?

And so I snapped.  Yes, I was young and crazy and mean (and, also, a Queen).  But I was certainly neither young nor crazy enough to stay in a relationship based primarily on restaurant openings and movies when life, living, was calling.  As for mean…

Who can say?  I knew that I was done and that another Bombay Palace or Rambo: First- Second-How ever many- Blood was not going to save us.  I just didn’t tell him.  Until.

Somewhere on Route 18, between New Brunswick and East Brunswick, I saw the parking lot lights of the grocery store in the distance and, simultaneously, the light.

Hold on because things move quickly from here.

“Would you mind stopping at the Food King?” I asked, “I’m really craving fruit.”

Never let it be said that he wasn’t a gentleman; he offered to stop at the diner but I insisted that an apple from the Food King was what I needed RIGHT NOW.

“And you can just wait here in the car.”

Wrong?

Here’s how I know it was right: after sneaking out the back of the store and walking the remaining 4 miles home, I ate that apple.

It was delicious.  It tasted like a new beginning.

Karma and The Golden Globes

16 Jan

blog image golden globe

Re: Karma.  Don’t you love when this happens to you:

Six years ago, Spouse met a Guy on a plane.  The Guy was like any of us- fumbling through life, drinking cheap wine and waiting for a sign.  Well, he was like any English major I’ve ever known, anyway.

Lacking either a plan or money, The Guy moves to Paris, marries a model, has two kids, moves to Australia then returns to the US whereupon his wife opens an Ayurveda smoothie/pet spa and becomes “the” darling of the Los Angeles Ayurveda-celebrity-pet-smoothie-spa set while I’m still trying to complete a bathroom renovation and get my now six years older car to pass inspection.

And it’s not that we don’t appreciate Ayurveda pet smoothie bars in upstate NY, it’s just that we prefer whole milk all the time.

Fast forward to Sunday night when, while channel-surfing, Spouse spots The Guy at The Golden Globe Awards.  The Golden Globes which, I suspect, have little to do with either geography or transition metals but seem to attract a tanned, relaxed, champagne-sipping crowd.

“There’s The Guy!” he yelled.

“That isn’t fair!” I cried.

And by “that,” I meant “life.”

And by “isn’t,” I meant “is not.”

And it’s true: life is not fair.

Never was, never will be- it’s just that being reminded stinks.

But, like good luck, justice and sweatpants, karma also has an ebb and flow.  (Well, maybe not the sweatpants.  There’s no excuse for sweatpants.)

So, occasionally, when all my pontificating and prognosticating, all the contemplations and reflections on living that I have blathered at my kid (ad nauseam- just ask him and hold for the eye roll), the advice, the pep-talks, the verbiage in/verbiage out, the blow-hardness of my very existence, all of it, comes back at me with the force of a statuette to the face and the kid asks: “What?  He looks like a nice guy.”

I remember that karma works.

And I love when good karma happens to me.

Here’s Where I Answer My Own Question with a Question

9 Jan

blog image christina aguilera

I just completed the online Jeopardy! contestant test.  Because, why not?  See, that right there was a question- I’m a natural.

To be honest, my goal is simply to make it on the show.  I don’t need to win.

I just need a (very) public forum in which to air some grievances.  For example:

my first answer, no matter what the question, will be: “what is we all think you’re pedantic, Alex?”  Because we do.

Following that comes a series of horribly mispronounced French words (“what is Aw Revoyer?”), a bunch of answers in which the word “and” appears in the middle of the word (like “sandwich,” “mandible,” or (this hurts) “funnyman Adam Sandler”) and then a big finish where I constantly phrase my question-answers like this: “is it Meredith Vieira?” instead of asking: “what/who is Che Guevara, Geraldo Rivera, Christina Aguilera or burnt up hair?”

Should I accidentally press the buzzer, my plan is to answer in one of two ways: “What is Camembert?” or “Who is Fat Pete from up the street?” because Camembert sounds classy and Fat Pete is a real person.

Now about those grievances.  Depending upon the scores going into double Jeopardy, my plan, if I’m losing, is to reach into the annals of marital strife to discuss some spousal issues that we never seem to have time for while in the same time zone.  Maybe Spouse would be more willing to listen if the whole country were listening too.

If the category is “Movies/Cultural Events that You Have Ruined for Me” the answers are as follows: “What was Lyle Lovett circa 2010?” (food poisoning),” “What was Joe Jackson at the Beacon?” (club too crowded, music too lame), and “how did you ever convince me to go see “A Prairie Home Companion”?” (duh).

If the category is a cute one, like “He Said, She Said,” my answers are this: he said, “What can I say?  Dinner’s fine.  It’s good.  I’m just not a big cabbage eater.”  To which she replied: “Why is nothing I do ever enough for you?  I slaved in the kitchen all day!”  Both of which begin with a question, BTW.

When I’m winning, the strategy is as follows:

Daily double: bet it all.  You can’t lose what you never had.  (Thank you, Sting.)

Audio/video daily double: answer with “what is Duran Duran?” because it sounds like a foreign country (Papua New Guinea), it might be a foreign food (Gado-Gado) and it is most definitely a poser band from the 1980’s (like Sting).

Erie Canal is also a good bet in most categories.  Don’t ask, it just works.

Finally, after the break, when Alex makes unnatural small talk with the contestants, don’t be surprised if he refers to me as a philanthropist/ski ball champion from Fargo, North Dakota who once shared a bathroom with Sir Bob Geldof because one of those things is true and Sir Bob Geldof has not stopped calling me since.

Okay, that last bit is a lie.  Is it wrong to try to make the moment last?

Survey says no.

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