My oh my, sweet strawberry pie!

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This week I finished reading Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything, in which the penultimate (that’s right bitches) chapter is dedicated totally to pies. Coincidentally (...or not!), I also visited the local farmers market, where almost everyone’s booth is overflowing with fresh picked Michigan strawberries. These two circumstances led to a most ambitious pastry endeavor: I couldn’t resist the idea of a perfect strawberry pie made from scratch.


Having never baked an entire pie before, this little project had the potential to be a giant ego shattering disaster. I’m happy to say, however, that it was not. My pie turned out beautifully (at least in my eyes, and mouth), but not without overcoming a few obstacles, such as the skin melting heat in my kitchen.


I started by cleaning my strawberries and mixing the dry ingredients, a recipe which I sort of made up from a few other recipes I had read. Berry pie filling is shockingly simple. Mine looked like this:


  • 5 cups fresh strawberries
  • ¼ cup and a tablespoon of white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


I mixed together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and didn’t coat the strawberries in it until the pie dough was made and laid out in dish.


I will admit that I probably read Steingarten’s pie crust recipe a solid 20 times. In “Pies from Paradise”, he describes his attempt at baking a flawless crust, which he qualifies as “flakey, airy, light, tender, crisp, well-browned and good tasting” all at once. After much research and much practice, Steingarten developed a nearly foolproof technique. And though I was super intimidated by his final method, I was (as usual) seduced by the idea of producing a completely delicious, bad-ass homemade treat and impressing the pants off everyone (remember the four different types of truffles for 30 people last Christmas?).


The instructions for the crust are at least seven pages long, and involve five simple ingredients: shortening/lard/butter, salt, flour, sugar, and water. Steingarten recommends using shortening because it seems to be the easiest, but I used cold butter because I couldn’t get my hands on any Crisco. I have a feeling that the butter is really what made the crust so delicious, but it’s also what caused the most problems for me, because did I mention that I chose to bake this pie on the hottest day of the year so far? In my apartment, without central air, the kitchen was no less than 90 degrees. Why would I do that to myself, you may be wondering. And the answer is simply that it is what happens when you are both a masochist and hedonist.


The crust making process went very well considering the conditions. Toward the end though, it started to melt...apart. But I worked quickly and patched a few pieces together to form the bottom layer. By the time I got around to the top layer (which was originally going to be one solid shell), the dough was so soft that I had to cut it into strips and go with an unwoven lattice top. At first I was disappointed with making that change, but it turned out just fine.


Following the directions in Steingarten's book, I baked the pie for a few minutes at a very high temperature. After checking to make sure that the it had begun browning, I turned down the temperature of the oven and let the pie go for about 40 more minutes.


When I finally removed the pie, I was very pleased with my creation. I was also devastated that I had to wait at least two hours before I could find out how it tasted. Patience is a foreign concept for me.


Ta da!


My pie, though it looks like a pizza in the silly picture, is scrumptious. Sweet and tart and gooey. I wouldn't say my crust met all seven standards of greatness, (flakey, airy, light, tender, crisp, well-browned and good tasting) but it was definitely good tasting, well-browned, tender, crisp, and light. Flakey and airy will have to be achieved somewhere other than my hellishly hot kitchen, but I have no doubt it's within my capability. The biggest challenge with this pie appears to be not eating it all immediately.

That's What She Said

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The Scene: Megan is making a strawberry pie in our hellishly warm kitchen. I am supervising with a whiskey sour. Megan has used some foreign kitchen instrument to bludgeon some sticks of butter into submission. She holds them up for my inspection.

Megan: Is this what you thought it would look like after I beat it?
Me: ......... That's definitely what she said.

I Want to Hold You, but my Hands are Tied

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Everyone at my office thinks I'm a kinky freak.

I was invited to a coworker's "Boudoir" shower being thrown by my boss-ladies, both hard women who I would never imagine having enjoyed sex, ever. So I was confused. This was their high class version of a bachelorette party, yes? That I could get down with. Bring on the midget porn and anal beads, the heavy drinking and scant clothing.

But I decided to play it safe. Body chocolate and bondage tape for the bride-to-be. I have to work with these people.

Fast forward to the party. The bride actually found me melting at a bus stop in the Chicago heat, clutching my now wilted and wrinkly giftwrapping job and the lusty contents therein. I was in need of strong drink after 3 bus transfers. She smiled politely and offered me a ride. We arrived at my boss's condo: very nice, clean, fancy. I was sweating balls and totally dishevelled and now completely horrified that I was doomed to hours of hanging out with people I'd already spent hours hanging out with. I added my gift to the pile forming on the table. I checked out the swag slyly. Sheets. Pillows. Cards in pastel envelopes.

Fuck me.

I buried my present amid the appropriate and clearly purchased-from-the-registry gifts. Immediately sought out a martini. Not gonna lie, it crossed my mind to just stuff that present o'mine back in my purse and leave. But a few drinks later I'd forgotten about the impending awkwardness. The hours passed and still no gift opening. Finally, I secured a ride home and rolled out early, throwing congratulations and well-wishes all over the place and certainly being more jovial than anyone there had ever seen me before. (Alcohol?)

The next morning I am of course at the office before everyone else, going about my business, when one of my bosses rolled in. She pointed at me, stonefaced, and said, "Where did you get it?"

"Whaaaa.....?" The horrors of what must have happened after my gift was unveiled begins to flash before my eyes. Wailing. Glasses shattering as they fall from scandalized hands. Children crying inconsolably.

She whispered, "The bondage tape."

Jesus Christ.

How come you taste so good...yeah...

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Last night I was seduced. It happened at about 5:30 in the little basement grocery store in Austin's neighborhood. I was mindlessly wandering the narrow aisles of the store, fumbling with my beer and waiting for Austin to choose her dinner, when I noticed that one of the pints of ice cream in the freezer was staring at me!

I turned to give it the "Hey buddy, I'm not interested in the cellulite and double chin you have to offer, so buzz off" look, when I realized it wasn't just any pint of ice cream. This guy was special. His name was Hä
agen-Dazs. Dressed in plain, clean white with a classic gold top, he was whispering something to me...

"5". Huh?

Yes, "5" he said. Five
what?

"Five ingredients!" he said. Just what I've always wanted in an ice cream! I took another step closer, examining this foreign pint of goodness, considering how perfect and pure my seducer appeared. It wouldn't take much for him and his five ingredients to seal the deal with me. And it turns out he knew just the right way to do it.

All of the sudden, I was face to face with the foggy glass, checking out the flavor selection. Now I don't usually go for
Häagen-Dazs, I try my best to remain loyal to my suga-daddies Ben and his pal Jerry. But before I knew it, H-D was offering me something Ben and Jerry never had.

Brown Sugar.


WHAT?! That's the most bad-ass ice cream flavor ever! Within about ten seconds I was walking with my new lover on my arm to introduce him to Austin. She wasn't entirely impressed. Brown sugar isn't her type. "Whatevs," I thought, "This is the beginning of a long and happy relationship".

We got back to apartment and I figured I would spare Austin the discomfort of watching me get down with my dreamy friend, and the added suspense could only serve to make that first touch to my lips all the better. Even at home later, I waited until Erin went to bed before I got cozy with
Häagen-Dazs. And then I did.

*********

So how was it? I know you're dying for the dirty details. Unfortunately, I must report that my new pint wasn't all I had ever dreamed of and more. Like most, he fell just short.

In regards to the "just five ingredients", this
Häagen-Dazs was more than satisfactory. The ice cream was creamy, but airy, just like American ice cream is made to be. It had a smooth and silky texture that's generally absent from other store-bought ice creams. It would be fantastic to see all ice cream available in this, its most simple and natural form; no need for all that chemical preservative junky crap (ahem, Ben...Jerry...)

It was the flavor that ruined it for me. It wasn't that Brown Sugar was bad, I think it's just that I was expecting a rich and almost salty brown sugar flavor. You know that sugariness inside a well-made chocolate chip cookie? Maybe it was brown sugar and butter flavor that I was anticipating. Instead this tasted like molasses ice cream, which...you know...ick. I only had a few spoonfulls, and fully intend to give it another whirl tonight when, perhaps, it will fall on a friendlier, less-discriminating palate. This also might taste nice next to a pie...maybe even a strawberry pie made from the 19 lbs of strawberries in my fridge...

Either way, the good news is that
Häagen-Dazs five™ is available in six other flavors besides Brown Sugar: Milk Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Passion Fruit, Coffee, Ginger and Mint. I can't wait to see which flavor beckons me on my next stroll down the ice cream aisle.

Notes on a bachelorette party

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This past Saturday we celebrated the end of my baby sister's bachelorette days.

There were raunchy gifts


Fierce Top Model poses

A drag queen or three

Some butt grabbin'

Drunken conversation & subsequent dancing with a middle-aged stranger

A spilled drink in a bridesmaid's purse

Improvisational pole dancing on the way back to the train

And, finally, a hangover.


Happy last night of freedom, sis. I love you enough to shove Advil down your throat and rub chapstick on your drunk-ass lips. You're welcome.

Wardrobe malfunctions

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...and by malfunctions I mostly mean malexistence. As in, lack thereof. Void.

I was a preschool teacher for one year. Last year, to be exact. And while it was a really fun, high energy, rewarding job, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted when I left. But the beating my closet took was worse than anything that was done to my poor little feelings. My clothes were pretty much entirely decimated by dirt, snot, all manner of non-washable art products (Crayola "washable" markers and finger paint can SUCK IT), blood, and the general grime that four-year-olds tend to collect.

I am not a fancy dresser. My greatest desire is not for Prada and Gucci or even Banana Republic and J.Crew to throw up their wonderfulness all over me. I am most comfortable in jeans and casual shirts. For my current [office] job the dress code is business casual, so I can even buy nice t-shirts and wear them with dress pants to work and nobody gives me the side eye. Due to the severe decline in my wardrobe options after last year's devastation and a lack of funds now, I am caught in a pretty awful cycle: I buy a few [cheap] items as we can afford them (or as the special occasion dictates) and am then able to retire some of the limp and stretched out pieces that I've been suffering for months, only to overwear and overwash the few new items, which fast replace the wilted ones it feels like I finally just got rid of. It seems that faded, misshapen, and hapless is my current style and I frankly couldn't be sadder about it.

What to do, friends? What to do?

Last week I came into a little money (bwaha, I feel very gangsta saying that, but really it was just a work award whose prize was some cash) and I would like to use part of it to bulk up my closet. Out with the faded and in with the fashionable! And the not-too-expensive! Because it wasn't THAT much money.

I think that with some careful planning regarding what to buy on the cheap and what to, shall we say, invest in, I can create a wardrobe that I am happy with, or at least satisfied.

Things Which Shall Continue to Be Bought On Sale and For Cheap:

  • T-shirts
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Summery skirts
  • Sun dresses
  • Cute accessories with which to glam myself up as needed

Things Which Shall Be Considered An Investment (shut up, Zack, I NEED IT):

  • Jeans
  • Bras
  • Dress pants
  • Nice dresses
  • Shoes
  • Work skirts that are more professional than summery skirts even though I wear them both to work
  • Dress shirts
I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, what are your shopping habits? Where do you skimp and where do you go all out? I'm very interested to compare notes.

TBR - Temporary Boredom Relief

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What’s your favorite...

Song:

A: This changes, um, quite a lot. I'll admit to getting REALLY OVEREXCITED to hear "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas recently.

M: This week it is "Can't Keep No Good Boy Down" by Parlor Mob. Thanks, Erin.

E: Changes all the time! Right now, can't get enough of "my mirror speaks" death cab for cutie; "shampoo" elvis perkins

TV show:

A: Oh man. I watch too much TV for this question. Currently addicted to True Blood, Weeds, Friends, Sex & the City, and The West Wing (not necessarily in that order). In the fall this rotation will change slightly; Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice & House will replace True Blood and Weeds. I cannot believe I just admitted all that. Gah.

M: Currently, Weeds yo.

E: gah!! again, changes! "Weeds"; "Flight of the Conchords"; "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", etc

Movie:

A: Eh. No faves, just many many loves.

M: Pulp Fiction stands I guess.

E: fuuuuuuuuck. Probably "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

Store:

A: Tarrrrget. Also Old Navy.

M: H&M for clothes

E: H&M, mostly. though it's sucked for a good 6 months now.

Drink:

A: Cosmopolitan

M: Beer! specifically Bell's Two Hearted Ale and Goose Island IPA. YUM.

E: beeeeeeers. Whiskey sour!

Animal:

A: Mah babies! But mostly my dog

M: I want a little piggy

E: ducks, bitches

Pizza topping:

A: Pineapple or pepperoni, depending on my mood

M: B.A.C.O.N.

E: salami

What is your number one goal for this year?

A: Be a better person (that encompasses many smaller goals, you see)

M: Pick a @*&!$ing career path.

E: to make it better than it's been

3 things you can't live without:

A: food, family, friends

M: beer. food tv. my family.

E: good friends, good music, space to roam

Pets:

A: Arlo, Ella & Sappho. Also Shep, who lives with my parents

M: Not since the parakeets, Diego and Pierre. Teehee

E: none. frowns.

Nicknames:

A: Stee, Austie, Blondie

M: Meg, Megs, Megalo, Megalowski, Spin.

E: Farha, Bear, (sweet) E

Do you get most of your traits from mom or dad?

A: I'm told I'm a good blend.

M: I'm all kinds of Irish, thanks, Pop.

E: Dad for sure


In the last month have you...

Gone to a mall?

A: Actually, no

M: To the outside mall, yes. Inside mall, hell no. Disturbs me....

E: no!!

Eaten a box of Oreos?

A: Nope!

M: I choose not to answer.

E: no!!

Eaten sushi?

A: Do California rolls count?

M: Mmm unagi!!

E: no!!

Been on stage?

A: Yes, to receive an award

M: hells no.

E: no!!

Stolen Anything?

A: No, but not for lack of trying exactly.

M: Yes. Soda. Hahahaha.

E: um.....probably.


How much cash do you have on you?

A: $6

M: $11

E: $27

What did your last text message say?

A: "Good morning, I love you"

M: "haha that's good. who got mercied? and how old exactly would you say that magnavox is???"

E: received: "Who all is coming?" sent: "now we come"

What were you doing at midnight last night?

A: Sleeping

M: Changing the channel to Friends because I was still awake.

E: going to bed

What's a word that you say a lot?

A: I! Don't! Know!

M: Besides the best @&!$ing expletive ever, "ridiculous" comes out of my mouth a lot. It has surely lost its meaning in my conversations.

E: fuuuuuuck; jesus

Can you do a headstand (not using a wall)?

A: Absolutely not

M: Can you?

E: fuck no. I can try though.

Who would you like to see right now?

A: Zack

M: Frankie

E: we all know the answer to that one.

How do you want to die?

A: Quick and painless

M: unknowingly. And painlessly.

E: gloriously in battle

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A: Kind, generous, loving, patient, creative

M: HAPPY.

E: happy

What did you want to be when you grow up?

A: Veterinarian

M: I used to want to be an architect. Then I discovered that would involved like...numbers and stuff. Ugh.

E: ha. so many things....teacher, doctor, writer

What are your worst bad habits?

A: I have a quick temper but shut down toward the person I am angry with

M: Drinking, eating junk food, swearing...all cliches. I always leave the kitchen cabinets opened.

E: nail biting; penchant for being opinionated and snobby

Biggest regret?

A: None!

M: Being afraid of failure in various contexts and situations.

E: man. lots.

Do you have recurring dreams?

A: Sometimes, not lately though.

M: Yes, started when I was like 5. About driving my Dad's old car and not being able to control it.

E: not yet

Have you ever been out of the country? and if yes where?

A: Noooo (hangs head in shame and despair)

M: Just to Argentina. Aw.

E: lots of places in europe. it would be douchey to list. japan soon i hope!

If you could only vacation in one place out of the US for the rest of your life, where would it be?

A: Umm...I don't know because I haven't been anywhere else. Do I get to travel around before making a final decision?

M: Entrenched in my food book obsession, I shall say Italy.

E: french riviera

If you won the lotto, what would be the first thing you would buy?

A: A gorgeous home on the river in MN. Or some clothes.

M: A condo on the lake, bitches!

E: a big fucking vacation for me and my wolf pack

If your house was on fire and you could only save three items, what would they be?

A: My three pets (perfect!)

M: Ma silkies, a drawing of mine, and my computer I suppose.

E: this house? my journals, hard drive, roommates

If there was a hour extra everyday what would you do in that time?

A: Probably sleep.

M: Ideally? Work out. Duh. Realistically, I would surely spend it frivously on relaxing and doing whatever I damn well please.

E: probably drink, let's not kid ourselves
If you were given a thousand dollars and only an hour to spend it, where would you go and what would you buy?

A: Target. I would buy clothes and probably crap I don't need but am convinced in that moment I can't live without.

M: I would divvy that money up, $400 on clothes on State Street, $300 on kitchen goodies from Sur La Table, or somewhere comparable, and the remaining $300 would go toward a magnificent spread of special fancy foods to sample and cook with!

E: ikea! get a real bed!
If you could be immortal, would you? And if you would, you can chose one person to live eternity with you, who would it be?

A: I think this is a stupid question, to be honest

M: I would not choose to be immortal; scary as it is, there must be an end in site. But if I had to choose someone to be with, it’d be my brother Kevin.

E: oh.....dilemmas. yeah. maybe i would say yes to the immortal part. and i don't know if i've met who i want to spend eternity with just yet....i have time now, being immortal and such, to decide. I would have "forever young" as my ringtone and rub that shit in
If you had the chose to be a ghost, a vampire, or an elf which would you be?

A: Ghost! Or...Vampire! Or...I could see reasons why being an Elf would be cool! (Am indecisive).

M: Vampire. I got the skin tone down, yo.

E: vampire, hands down. ghost would be alright too; get my haunt on
If you had the choice to see the future, would you?

A: Errr. Maybe if I could selectively see. But then again, where's the fun in that? Life's messy and that's what makes it great.

M: Um no.

E: i think not.

You will fall on your knees from the cuteness

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My sister, the one who's getting married and leaving me in favor of southern California in a week and a half (and who can blame her?), is getting an adorable English bulldog puppy in July. And by adorable, I mean I want to shmoosh his little puppy face up against my face and maybe nibble on him a bit.

Introducing Biggie Smalls, the newest member of my extended family. In these photos he's about 3 weeks old. Scrumptious!


In search of a duvet cover (don't bother looking for a metaphor)

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It's been a rough seven days. Lots of feelings accompanied by lots of tears. What's left is a wake of used tissues and ice cream wrappers, an ephemeral shell of a person, and, surprisingly, a desire to shop like I've never known. What is it about being emotionally assaulted that leaves me itching to spend money?
I no longer possess the clarity to determine if I realistically need the items I'm in search of (or if I need them for anything beyond my own momentary well-being). Am I just looking to distract myself? Most likely. Luckily I can justify a few of my purchases with the knowledge that I've wanted (and maybe needed) these things for months, but never got around to buying them because I was otherwise occupied.


Item #1: Duvet Cover:
I bought a new bed at the beginning of the year, complete with new sheets and a new down-like comforter
. It was white. Then it lived on my bed for six months without protection. Now it is almost white. Almost. So I have spent the better part of the morning (!) looking for a duvet cover online. I'm not asking for much really. A simple, solid, reasonably priced cover available in an assortment of colors from which I can choose. Easy, yes?

Wrong. It seems that amongst all the Pottery Barns and Land's Ends and Targets and Bed, Bath and Bludgeon Me's, you should be able to find this most basic item. Instead, all I can find is an limited selection of hideous and hideously overpriced covers for my once pristine blanket.

Why is this so difficult? My request is as modest as it gets and it's 2009 for crying out loud. Aren't you supposed to Google anything and be able to purchase it in just a few clicks? Apparently, this does not apply to bedding. I suppose it would mean this particular concept of an item would have to be manufactured to begin with.

Maybe I'm being too picky, but it seems that what I want should not be harder to find than a Ruched 400 Thread-Count Floral Embroidered Organic Duvet available in each Cocaine White, Bone(r) White and Kiss My White Ass White. Seriously. I do not want leopard print cerca 1989. I do not want flowers that look like a freaking table cloth you'd find at a yard sale. I do not want stripes, not even monochromatic stripes. Is someone fucking with me?

Once I do manage to find a few companies that sell a PLAIN duvet cover, I'm left to eliminate by price. $150 for a blanket holder?? I mean, come on, it's two flat sheets sewn together for god's sake. Are you kidding me? (Sidenote: If I had a sewing machine and knew how to sew, you wouldn't be suffering through this post at all).


Now I'm left with very limited color choices. Why are solid duvet covers only manufactured in white, chocolate, hunter green, sage, red, navy blue and burgundy? Why? Why does everyone who owns a comforter want a goddamn ugly hunter green duvet cover? I cannot understand this phenomenon. The ability to see colors and connect emotions with colors is one of the greatest things about being a human. Why in the hell do we limit ourselves to effing navy blue and burgundy?!? WHY DO WE FORSAKE THE RAINBOW?!? What is wrong with us?

I finally weeded my way through Overstock.com and found a nicely priced duvet cover available in sage (ugh), navy (GRRR), taupe, hunter green (WHYYYYY), bone, white, and (gasp) RASPBERRY!!

Really?? Raspberry? Not red? Not wine? Raspberry. Yes! This is what I was looking for. An escape from the palette of 1990's Lazy Boy love seats. Triumph!! On to lamps!

Item #2: Soft Light Lamp:
Are you fucking serious? After all that, like I'm going to try and buy a lamp today.

And so help me god if the color of that duvet cover is even CLOSE to burgundy...

This is what adult A.D.D. looks like

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My attention span is short, folks, but I don't want to leave you hanging just because we been lazy 'bout postin' since Friday. So enjoy this list of Things I Think You Should Know, starring me (!) (and occasionally some other crazy people).

Since Friday I have:

  • Tried a fabulous new recipe in the company of wonderful friends and lots of laughter.
  • Been really, deliciously happy to see my husband.
  • Toured awesome local architecture and a street art fair. Was sad I could afford neither condo nor work of art.
  • Saw "The Hangover" which...honestly...go see it. Just go.
  • Found out that oh mah gawd Old Navy is having the SALE OF MY LIFE. And took advantage.
  • Drank copious amounts of beer and ate seriously spicy corn on the cob at the Printers Row Lit Festival. Books + Beer + Friends + Corn on the Cob = Happiness. (as if you didn't already know that!)
  • Comforted a friend with sympathetic words, a little laughter, GOBS OF CHOCOLATE, and a good old fashioned stomach ache.
  • Turned my air conditioner on and snuggled into my down comforter with my puppy dog. Awww.
  • Discovered that there exists a feasible if complicated mathematical calculation that says we won't be drowning in educational debt until we qualify for Social Security, which, WHEW. We have been concerned about that for some time.
  • Helped my sister nail down some important song choices for her upcoming (Really Fast Upcoming, GEEZ) wedding. I would link to the song(s) but I think she might want that to remain confidential, bitchez.
As I'm sure you'll agree, I've had a pretty good (with the exception of a few rough moments) couple of days. Which does nothing to explain why I can't focus enough to write a real post. But I provided all those nice shiny links for you to click, so get busy. Huzzah!

Perhaps a real post tomorrow. If I feel like it. Or you know...not.

Knockin' us back to the Victorian era

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Me hears there's something terrible a'brewing over at Fox. Go on, click that link. You know you wanna. It's okay, I'll wait.

*****

OH MY GOD, I KNOW RIGHT?!

Fox actually has a show in the works called I Married a Stranger, where a woman agrees to marry a man chosen for her by friends and family. Before meeting the dude. Ever. That's CRA-ZAY! There are six initial husband-to-be contestants (way too small a pool if you ask me), which the family whittles down to two. Both finalists (if you can call a guy about to marry some lady crazy enough to wed him blind a "finalist", but then maybe he's just as whacked?) walk down the aisle before one man reveals himself as the "winner" ("weiner"?).

This is most definitely an arranged marriage situation (ick). But isn't it also some type of long-term, one-john-specific prostitution ring? Assuming of course that Fox is paying the ladies to marry these strangers. Cause, you know, screwing your husband is an important part of marriage and all.

Ugh.

My heart hurts for these people.

I will so so SO be watching this.

The Crazy

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While we're sharing our sex dreams and posting pictures of our asses, I think it's time I made a little Internet Confession. Step into the Confessional, friends, and behold.

I have baby fever. Which shall heretofore be known as "The Crazy".

[Peeps one eye open] Whew.

Pretty much every time I see a human being under the age of, oh, twelve (because who wants an ucky twelve-year-old with attitude, blech!) I get all "OMG BAAAAYBEEE!" and Zack is all "OMG YOU'RE A FREAK ISN'T THERE A VACCINE FOR THIS?!"

Clearly we do not have similar feelings re: The Crazy.

While I am a steaming pile of hormonal mush, Zack's all responsible and adult and reminds me that we uhhhhh live in 680 square feet, dumbass.Which we do. So squishing even an infant in with us and our three (yes, three) pets seems crowded at best. Not to mention little details like Money! and Childcare! and School! and Newlyweds! and did I mention Money!

Seriously, though, you guys don't even understand. I don't WANT to feel this way. Logically, I comprehend how un-ready we are. But damn if I can keep from being a damn puddle every time a baby poops.

Aaaaawww BAYBEE POOPS. I mean...gross. Do you see? Do you see how this is not okay?

Let me also add to this list that very few of my friends have kids, are married, or are even really ready to settle down and start thinking about that stuff. Which, like, cool. Enjoy your twenties and do all that other junk when you're ready. Later. Except...could you talk Zack into a baby for me? I mean... What? Did I just say that out loud?

It's actually taken me quite some time to go public with this Personal Life Development. Mostly due to the fact that I know I am quite alone in my desire for a baby within my social circle, but also because...okay, COME BAAAAACK into the Confessional....

I've discovered Mommy Blogs. They are delicious. And I love them very much. Gah.

Wow, getting that off my chest didn't really make me feel any less lame for being addicted to mommy blogs. But...they are so witty...and funny...and amusing...and I just said three words that all mean the same thing.

In all seriousness, though, I have always liked kids and been good with them (former preschool teacher and oldest of seven, holler!). I feel like I'm SUPPOSED to be a mom. So I feel a certain bond, or kinship, or understanding with these women who are totally In Love with their kids. Sometimes I read their posts and am like "oh yeah, I totally get what you mean!" and other times I am like "wow, I can't even imagine what that must be like". But I know that someday, and someday soon, I'll be ready for it all.

And honestly, I just can't wait.

Off to Never Never Land!

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I guess I tend to think of myself as a couple of years younger than I actually am. When I hear something about 20-21 year olds, I empathize with them in ways that I don’t when someone mentions a girl in her “mid-twenties”. I’m constantly referring to senior year of college as “last year”, as in, in the last 12 months, even though it was a good few years ago.

In the ER this past summer, I was asked how long it’s been since my last tetanus shot.

“Ummmm....,” I shrugged, “Beginning of high school I suppose? So...5 years ago?”

And the woman just stared at me. “How old are you again?” she asked, incredulously.

“23,” I said, and again, she looked at me blankly, waiting for me to put it all together. Which I didn’t. (I may have been distracted by the fleshy tip of my finger dangling on a thread from its proper position ON my finger, but still).

“So...that would be...eight or nine years ago then?” she encouraged me to keep thinking.

Finally, “OH! Yes...eight years ago...eight years ago I started high school...Damn.”

I don’t know why I have such a mental block about aging. Or why I’m clinging to an age group that is no longer mine. Perhaps it’s because when I was a teenager, trapped in the daily suffocating HELL known as wealthy suburban high school, I wanted nothing more than to be 19-21. Why that age range I can’t say exactly, but it seemed to represent a freedom and control over one’s life without the responsibilities of actually being an adult. And looking back, that’s really what it was.

It’s not to say that my life is all that burdensome nowadays. I have my bills to pay and a few other grown-up obligations. But overall, it’s not too taxing and there isn’t anything tangible about 20 that I miss. Still I guess since I had dreamed and wished so hard to be 20, I can’t seem to grasp that I’ve passed it. What age do I want to be now? I don’t know. That’s why I’m so confused. And really, I am. Confused.

Just yesterday I was chatting with Erin about the fax machine in my office, which was teetering on the brink of death.

me: man
so i was all like, ‘too bad, fax machine is broken, lets just get a new one!’
but now i realize that means i'll have to figure out how to use the new one
ugh
i hate technology
Erin: me tooooooo
man, i thought i would be OLD when i started saying that kind of shit
but here we are.

Confused. What age am I? What age should I be? I have the sense of humor of a fifth-grader and a fear of technology that rivals my Grandpa’s. Identity. Crisis.

I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks. I’ve always been the baby in my class with the summer birthday, so for my friends, my anxieties over 24 are easily dismissed. They’ve already reached that age and don’t want to hear it. And really, to be fair, I’m not concerned about “being 24” and there being some social stigma that the best days are somehow behind me. I mean, that’s ridiculous. It’s more that I don’t know what to expect from 24 or where it means I should be in my life. Or where I thought I’d be at 24 because I never really planned for this. I fear the answer is that I should have a little bit more direction. Less floating. More focus.

Bummer. I guess well...that’s what makes it more fun to let my mind just pretend I’m still 20 and live accordingly in my own personal Never Never Land .

Who need sleep? I don't need sleep! I'm fine without slzzzzzzzz...

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I'm having sleep troubles! Of all things!

So Zack's gone and waaaaaah poor me, so lonely little Austin. But really, I've been pretty okay. No crying, no tearing of the hair or gnashing of the teeth. Gold star, right? Totally!

Except that I haven't had a good night's sleep in days and it's beginning to piss me the hell off. Because damn; I like sleep. And I sort of depend on sleep to get me through my eight hours of bleary-eyed staring at a computer screen, where I work and write my love notes to you, lovely Internet.

First thing's first. I am going to stop letting my damn cats sleep with me. They are annoying (ELLA) and needy (SAPPHO) and are only cute at 10:30 when I go to bed and they are curled up together at my feet but not so much at FOUR FUCKING O'CLOCK when they are JUMPING ON MY FACE. Because...well, because they are idiots. (Or maybe I'm the idiot. Yeah, that's probably it.) Anyway, the cats are officially Kicked Out.

Also, my subconscious decided to jump start an irrational fear that SOMEONE IS TOTALLY GOING TO COME IN MY SLIDING GLASS DOOR AND RAPE ME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT just as I'm about to drift off. From 34 stories up, they are going to do this. With their springy legs and Stretch Armstrong arms and Spider-Man abilities to climb up buildings and shit. Ha. But still, I stumble out of bed to close and lock my slider (which we rarely close and never lock) and am then awake. Wide Awake. Not anywhere close to sleep anymore. Shit. (Note To Self: Would be good if this fear made itself known before going to bed so as to avoid leaving bed to assuage it. Would also be good if you knew how to work the lock.)

And have I mentioned that I thrash around in my big ol' empty bed looking for a comfortable position? (Moment of Truth here, folks: I'll admit that being able to throw my arms and legs out with abandon was an appealing thought before Zack left...uhhh...not that I do that when he's there, no, definitely not). I spend a lot of time trying to figure out a way to be comfy. Which takes foreverrrrrr. All that flopping around is a really good way to wake oneself up. I should know.

Alright dudes, I am boring myself talking about this so I'm sorry I'm putting you through it, too. I'm going to go have a damn beer and shut my damn mouth. And then sleep. A lot. Weeee!

Klutz /klʌts/ [kluhts]

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Anyone who knows me knows I’m prone to injuries. Generally self inflicted, or a result of my own stupidity, I am constantly waking up with scrapes, bruises, splints, bandages. On any given day at any given time, there is something wrong with me. I’m not sure exactly when this ‘condition’ of mine began, but I think I can trace it back to my first couple of years of college when I began indulging in alcoholic beverages, the ones that impair your sense of balance and motor skills, things necessary if you want maintain the “wholeness” of your body.

Over the past few years, I’ve face-planted on my chin (my already scarred chin). I frolicked my way down a sidewalk where I fell on my ankle, severely spraining it and damaging myself for life. I’ve had multiple bruises the size of cantaloupes decorating my thighs and ass. And I deftly chopped off the tip of my finger as a birthday present to myself. My knees are permanently purple from bruises and scars (hardwood floors + vodka + dancing = wipeout). I walk around in jeans with rips on both legs. No point in getting new ones, it’s just bound to happen again.

Musing over this topic (I’m concerned because I’m more than due for an injury, it’s been a few weeks), I decided the best solution for me may be to look into a personal, well, bubble. Ya know, something soft and squishy to surround me and protect me from my environment (and myself). A mobile bubble, I imagine something of a clear beach ball, maybe? As I discussed this with Erin, I started to get really excited about the things I could do with my bubble. It would be endless fun, living in a bubble. Erin and I even came up with a list of fantastic activities I could participate in if I had my own springy sphere.


Things I could do in my bubble:

  • Float on the lake, or walk on water, if you will.
  • Roll down a giant hill.
  • Let Erin to take me to a Flaming Lips concert and have the audience pass me around over their heads.
  • Attach a parachute to the bubble and free fall off a building.
  • Be a toy for whales and dolphins.
  • Clambake the bubble!

But as were happily brainstorming the bubble list, things that I couldn’t do with in the bubble started popping up in the conversation...

Things I could not do in a bubble:

  • Ride an elevator, or any type of public transportation.
  • Lay down flat.
  • Enter a cave, go spelunking.
  • Be in the sun (lest you become a ball of fire, ant-magnifying-glass-style).
  • Approach cacti.
  • Climb the hill I want to roll down.
  • Go swimming.
  • Use a ladder.
  • Play hide and go seek.

It seems that perhaps the cons outweigh the pros of the bubble. But that might only be temporary. Who knows what injury is in store for me next and how imperative it will become for me to seek extra protection if I have any interest in seeing 30.

That's what she said!

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Time: The present (9:00 pm, Tuesday evening)
Setting: Where else? The living room.
Characters: yours truly and my trusty Fahrer-ha sidekick.

Stuffing my face with some lovely dark chocolate covered cherries (thanks Moz, Niki), I was overwhelmed by the sweet/tart combination.

Me: I thought this cherry mix was supposed to have like..almonds in it, or something. I really need some nuts to like..break it up!

Erin: BWAHAHA. That's what she said!

An Ode to Bacon

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I love bacon. Bacon bacon bacon. I love bacon on everything. In everything. Bacon by itself. Bacon with breakfast, swimming in syrup. Bacon in salads, defiling their purity. Bacon on a sandwich, delicately woven into a perfect bacony meaty patty. Bacon is a gift to humans, a salty, fatty delicious gift, and no one should ever refuse such a gift.



Lately, however, I’ve had to grapple with the idea of giving up meat. It’s that whole we’re-destroying-the-world-and-there-is-something-we-can-do-about-it thing. Read any article that’s serious about helping the environment and you’ll find that decreasing the amount of meat you eat has a more positive impact on the earth than recycling plastics and driving hybrids combined. And ya know, it’s good for your body and stuff too.

FROWN. But what about baaaaaaaacon? I’m the girl who on a recent trip to Vegas, where buffets rule, wanted nothing more than to stand in front of a giant catering tray filled with the fatty meaty strips. It’s all I could talk about. I can’t give up bacon. “Just say no” to bacon? HA! The mere idea of it is difficult to resist, and we’re not even talking rejecting it when the smell is wafting ever so enticingly from a nearby griddle. I mean, what chance do I really have?

Still, bacon-obsessed and forced to consider betraying my true love for reasons greater than I, an inner conflict rages over the thought of forsaking this porky delight. I feel guilty that I don’t even want to do it (sorry Mother Earth). And then that guilt mixes with the always present guilt of eating bacon at all (you know that’s why it’s so good). And the result is just one big guilty bacon mess that only makes me want to eat it all the more!

Sigh. What's a girl to do? Distraught that I may have to put an end to my bacon indulgences, I contemplated my problem on the train the other day, where it occurred to me that perhaps I shall bargain with the environment (Monty Hall was my child nickname).

“Earth,” I said, “I’ll (one day) give you beef, chicken, and all other pork products, but in return, you must give me bacon. A compromise, you see. Give up everything but bacon. How does that sound?”

And with that, the universe answered my question.
BACoN,” it said.

BACoN” here, “BACoN” there. It appeared written in light blue graffiti on the wall of two buildings I pass everyday. That’s right. Someone was speaking to me! Tagging walls with pork product pleasantries.
“Yes, Megan, of course you can keep eating bacon!”

So with that little wink from the gods, I begin my journey. Less chicken. Less beef. And enough bacon to keep my ass plump and porky.