Wednesday, October 31, 2007

cuteness for cuteness sake

I don't think I've ever put up a picture of the China-Bear. That is crazy! Here's my #1 girl!

You can't see her gorgeous blue eyes in this picture, but they never photograph well, especially now that she has cataracts (she's 15 1/2 !).

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

do not defy me!

Happy Halloween, my peeps! I hope that you're all having a spooky good time. Send me pictures of you in costume. It makes my day! Don't you wanna make my day? Do not defy me!

Actually, the title of this post is dedicated to Hurd. A few months ago we learned that Ryan Adams was coming to town, and quickly made a plan to get tickets on the opening sales day, 'cause sitting up front is where it's at (like when we were in the fourth row to see Neko Case a couple months ago). So, on that day I went on the interweb to check on tickets, and evidently there'd been some jacked-up iTunes pre-sale, and all the set-of-two tickets up close were long gone. So, Hurd suggested we split up and each get our own tickets. Which didn't sound as fun to me, but still. So, I got mine, and then had to harass Hurd for two months to get her ticket while she repeatedly defied me. Guess what? She had a sucky seat. Moral of this story? Do not defy me. You got it, peeps?

The show was kinda 'eh'. Or rather, I was just not feelin' it, so I listened for about an hour and fifteen, then busted a move at the intermission. (Hurd had left way before this after texting me a bunch of times to say how sucky her seat was, how sucky the sound was and how much she hates Ryan Adams--see moral of story, above)*.
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Before the show we went to Spice Island. (I cannot stop. I don't wanna).
This is what a Plateful O' Love (aka java fried rice, vegetarian with tofu, eggs okay) looks like:
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A Hurd got the fried tofu with peanut-chili-lime sauce (this is what I got when I deviated from the JFR one day last week. It's tasty. I mean, it's no JFR, but still).
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I thought JFR was the Love Of My Life. But, then yesterday everything changed. I'm pet-sitting the menagerie that I sat for a month or so ago, but last time one of the dogs went with the owner. I'd met him before, but hadn't had a chance to spend some quality time alone with him and/or show him off everywhere I go. All that has changed. He's in the pack I'm watching this time, and I'm in love--LOVE! His name is Emmett (actually named after Emmett Honeycutt from QAF!) He's a tiny chihuahua (he can stand on my hand!), he's cuter than a pile of buttons, has a winning personality, and the China-Bear (my cat) didn't even hate him! I think I have to keep him. I cannot let him go. I was actually late for work this morning because I couldn't bear to leave him. Look how tiny (my finger is there for scale)!
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Here's a picture with Emm and some of the other kids:
Ripley (dog) and Macy (cat). You can't really tell in this picture, but Macy has the shiniest coat I've ever seen on a cat:
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Cricket (I like to call her Crickers. She likes it.):
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There's also an iguana, but I didn't take her picture (sorry, Drake).

In other news, I had lunch at Bangkok Balcony today. I used to go there a lot, but hadn't been in quite a while. But, I got the see-you noodles with tofu today, and it was spectacular. Like, perfect. Peppery, lots of broccoli, lots of tofu, and those glorious broad, flat noodles. Dang. So, so, so good.

Tonight I'm going to Spell--a Halloween party featuring RuPaul (!!) that's a benefit for Persad Center. Any of you going, too? Richard is making another appearance. Watch out!
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*I know a Hurd is gonna lose her mind when she reads this. I'd just like to remind her, and you all: Nothing good can come from defying me. Just sayin'!

Monday, October 29, 2007

ps. it's my power month and i ididn't even know!

Your Birthdate: April 10

Independent and dominant, you tend to be the alpha dog in most situations.
You're very confident, and hardly anything ever shakes you.
Mundane tasks tend to drain you - you prefer to be making great plans.
You are quite original. When people don't "get" you, it bothers you a lot.

Your strength: Your ability to gain respect

Your weakness: Caring too much what others think

Your power color: Orange-red

Your power symbol: Letter X

Your power month: October

sweatin' to the oldies

Peeps, it was an action-packed weekend. I mean, I am a celebrity, after all. Speaking of, my celebrity status did not afford me a life of recognition and luxury as I'd hoped. In fact, it was pretty anticlimactic. But, I know you have it in you. Here's the plan, next time you see me, you should and then all will be forgiven, k?

Saturday I hit two Halloween parties--one at the Haunted Cafe of my friends Sandra and Jessica, and one at Cattivo (where I was supposed to be a celebrity--judging the costume contest). I was, as promised, Richard Simmons. See?
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and, check out these moves!

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and, these!

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and, these!

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and, then later that evening when Richard was partied out:

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Good times. That was a fun and comfortable costume. I like. I heard that Richard was me on Saturday (we celebrities like to do that). I hope there are pictures.

Last night I met a Hurd out for dinner and a movie. We got some food at The Library, then caught the PILGFF closing film, Itty Bitty Titty Committee.

First, the food. It was the first trip to The Library for both a Hurd and I. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, because even though there was a definite library theme, the actuality was more sports bar (complete with drunken Stillers fans, tvs and loud music). So, they get an 'eh' on atmosphere. The menu was pub-grub. There weren't a ton of vegetarian options, but I settled on the portobella sandwich. Even though I love mushrooms, I'm kinda tired of seeing the portobella sandwich on the menu as the token vegetarian offering. But, it was good. Like, really good. The mushrooms were really nice, tender, and subtly balsamic. The roasted red peppers were sweet. The boursin cheese was melty and plentiful. And, the cilantro sprouts were a nice touch. I got sweet potato fries on the side, and they were tastilicious, too. All-around, surprisingly yummy!
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The movie was fantastic! Super-cute dykes, a womens' studies crash course, hot sex scenes, and very low on the cheese factor, but very high on the awesome factor. Plus, afterwards there was a cheesecake hangout thing (at, um, The Cheesecake Factory, which unlike the movie, is very high on the cheese factor). Our end of the table tried Pineapple Upside-Down, Vanilla Bean and Raspberry-Lemon. All incredibly delicious.

Tonight I have a date with a Hurd again. We're having dinner at Spice Island (okay, I practically live there. so?), then going to see Ryan Adams! That is the way to handle a Monday.


Friday, October 26, 2007

now, that's good friday.

Okay, it's not actually Good Friday, but all Fridays are good in that they're the kick-off to the weekend. I'm so ready. Waking up this week has been really tough. I've snoozed for over an hour nearly every morning. It's just too hard to get up when it's dark outside, and kinda cool. That's perfect sleeping weather, and it's just sick and wrong to squander it. Of course, since I don't have to work tomorrow, I'm sure I'll be up at the cracka with no problem. That's how it works.

I just tracked down some spirit gum (necessary for affixing my chest hair for my Richard Simmons transformation), and I have the Bedazzler ready to do some serious bedazzlin' tonight/tomorrow. Now, I just need some pink tights. Actually, I wish I could find a whole-body pink leotard. That'd rock. Except when you have to pee, then it'd probably suck. Unless it came with an ass-flap like the old school longjohns. Anyone know any place in Pittsburgh that sells full-body leotards for chubby ladies at bargain basement prices?
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I've also always secretly wanted to be Slim Goodbody for Halloween, and if I happened to find a full-body (with or without ass-flap) pink leotard this time, next year I could dress it up to be him. And, I could use the same wig as for Richard!
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Just sayin'.

K. Thanks for the feedback yesterday on my quandary. I'm gonna let these go, and then next time I'll give up the goods about my meals out. I did have some good food yesterday. Mags and I went to lunch at Spice Island, and check it out--I actually got something other than java fried rice! I went for the fried tofu with chili-peanut sauce. Yum. And, at the farmers market I picked up some potato-n-cheese pierogies for dinner. Holy cow, those are so good! They're from Gosia's Pierogies in Latrobe. I signed up for their holiday list (they'll be taking holiday orders, and making a delivery to the 'Burgh some time in December). If you're interested in getting on their order list, check them here:

Gosia's Pierogies
Terry and Jan Smith-Rawecki
75 Pauline Drive
Latrobe, Pa 15650

Or, just come to the Bloomfield farmers market on Thursdays. The farmers markets are going away soon! They end at Thanksgiving! And, so does my CSA! That's merely a few weeks away. It's so sad! It breaks my little heart! It makes me wish I were in Barbara Kingsolver's family, and I'd been farming and canning and storing all spring and summer so that I could reap the bounty of my labors with local foods all winter. Yinz guys should read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Such a fantastic book!

K, folks. Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

a quandry (and some other stuff)

Folks, I'm having a quandary.

I've eaten out the last two days. One meal was 'eh', one meal was kinda grody. Normally I'd just spill the dirt, but a couple weeks ago I mentioned a dish I had at a local restaurant and got some immediate feedback from a member of the staff and the owner. Now, I don't want to trash anyone or their business or hurt anyone's feelings (and frankly, I've seen the stats on this-here blog, and while there seems to be a loyal following, it's definitely not reaching all of Pittsburgh or anything). So, how do I approach this? I really just want to relay my honest experiences about food--the good, the bad, the ugly. So, how do you navigate the public v. private? I can only imagine this won't be the first or last time this may come up since Pittsburgh's not so big, and I know a lot of peeps. I appreciate any feedback. Cripes.

In other news, I ended up skipping the film on Tuesday. It was so rainy and grey and I had some netflixes, and that made me just wanna hang out on the couch, watch, read, and cuddle pets. But, there are definitely more films I'd like to see this week. There are two womens' movies tonight, the local shorts tomorrow, Nina's Heavenly delights (the first line of the description is "Calling all foodies!") and Itty Bitty Titty Committee. And, in addition, a couple of friends have shows this weekend. And, there's the Halloween parties, too. Eek! And, all this is counterbalanced by my intense desire to hibernate as much as possible. What's a girl to do? I'm gonna have to make a list of the essentials vs. non-essentials. Shite.

Speaking of friends' shows, check 'er out!

Friday, Oct. 26, 6:30 p.m.
Jen Lawton (ek's note: Jen Lawton = "Junior"!): Cities
Coca Café 6:30pm - ?
3811 Butler Street, Lawrenceville
Some booze will be provided by the artist-on-a-budget, but more always keeps the party going! Please feel free to bring a bottle to share.
Final Fridays on Butler Street

Shop. Drink. Eat.

Mark your calendar for "Final Fridays," the final Friday of each month, featuring festivities from 7 to 11 p.m. on four fabulous blocks of Butler Street in Lawrenceville.

"Final Fridays" is a great opportunity to make an exciting evening of Lawrenceville activities. Whether you're shopping for yourself, your home, or just looking for some great entertainment, there are plenty of choices. Visit cool Pittsburgh boutiques and galleries, including La Vie, T's Upholstery Studio, Pavement, Divertido, SUGAR, Accessorize, Elisco Advertising, O'Bannon Oriental Carpets and Elements.


Sunday, Oct. 28, 8:30 p.m.
The Sunday Night Hayride
Howler's Coyote Cafe
4509 Liberty Ave. (Bloomfield)

FREE! No Cover!
FREE vegan buffet - 8:30
Beagle Brothers - 9
Jenn Gooch (ek's note: Jenn Gooch = "The Gooch") w/guest John Carson - 10

The after-work plan today is to hit up the Bloomfield Farmers Market. I'm on the hunt for brussels sprouts, figs, pierogies and a slice of blueberry pie. I also usually run into some lesbians there, too. That's not what I'm on the hunt for (pipe down, wiseacres!), but it adds a nice je ne sais quoi. You feel me?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The rain is like a baptism upon my car.

(Do you know that quote?)

I like rain. I like it especially when I'm on the couch, under an afghan (the blanket, not the countrymen), reading, snoozing, watching teen movies. Now, that is a good time. However, that is not what my day is about today. Instead, my day was about a ton of traffic, getting re-routed all over creation on my way to work, and pumping out expense reports. Eh. But, I am going to see the Women's Shorts at the Film Fest tonight, and that's a good time!

In other news, I saw this little dealie on the Pittsburgh Women's Blogger site, and it's interesting, but I don't really understand how they calculate this. But either way, I'm pretty much rich.

My blog is worth $6,209.94.
How much is your blog worth?

I did not cook last night because I was attending this really cool women's discussion group thingy. Really nice--great conversation, good eats, good times. But, I'm gonna have to feed myself this evening. I think I'm just going to make a tofu-veggie stir-fry. I think I'll use the leftover vinaigrette that I made for the fennel relish as the sauce, maybe with a little more ginger. Dang. I want that right now. But, instead I have a Campbell's Classic Tomato soup-at-hand to microwave. Harumph. And, I want a Dozen cupcake. Or, a dozen cupcakes. Either one (or both).

The Richard Simmons costume is slowly coming together. I still need a pair of pink tights (for under the shorts), a pair of tube socks (but Kramer thinks she has a pair I can use), and I need to bust out the Bedazzler to make it all fabulous (oh my god, that site is frightening!). My best costume to date was a couple years ago when an ex-gf and I went as John Waters and Divine. Since she is not a fan of mine anymore, here's a slightly altered image of the awesomeness:
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Isn't that the best EVER???

I showed that to a co-worker last week, and he made me a copy of the film Lust in the Dust, starring Divine. It was absurd. I loved it.
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Monday, October 22, 2007

a world without mondays

That would be the kind of world I'm talking about. Why am I up at the crack of dawn, happily, on the weekends, but it feels like serious, potentially fatal, pain to have to wake up on Mondays? The only explanation I can think of is: speed of light vs. speed of heat. Which doesn't, actually, make me feel any better at all.

I skipped the North Side farmers market on Friday since I was going to the one in the Strip on Saturday, and assumed I could get my brussels sprouts there. But, no. Not a single brussels sprout to be found in all of the Strip District! What the hay-ell? So, no sprouts for the potluck. I was flailing about trying to find a substitute, and saw some big, beautiful fennel. So, I made a slapdash fennel relish. Here's what I did. It was really tasty. I took a 'before' picture (but left it at home), and forgot to take an 'after'. (slacker!). All amounts are approximate:

Roasted Fennel Relish

-2 big bulbs of fennel (with some fronds, for cuteness)
-1 large onion
-olive oil
-sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Chop the fennel and onion into chunks, and mince a few tablespoons of the fronds to add for looks. Toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet for about 40 minutes or until really soft and starting to brown, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime make a vinaigrette with:

-the zest of one orange
-the juice of half an orange
-splash of white vinegar
-1" piece of ginger, grated
-1 t. honey
-some canola oil (2-3 T.?)
-sea salt and pepper, to taste

When the fennel and onion is done roasting, gently mash a little (just a little bit!) with a fork, then stir in just a tiny bit of the vinaigrette (save the rest for salads or whatever). The orange and ginger is really subtle. Very roasty and delicious. It would be great for Thanksgiving or something like that. I served it with slice of baguette, but go crazy with other serving ideas.


I still have another fennel bulb. I might make some soup this week. If it ever stops being 80+ degrees and gets down to the business of being fall!

Otherwise this weekend, I attended a couple events for the Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. E-dawg and I went to the VIP Opening Reception (we're VIPs!), but didn't get to stay for the movie (other plans). It was really nice. Yummy hors d'oeuvres and it was fun mixing and mingling. Then I went to see Good Dyke Porn/One Night Stand on Saturday night. Awesome, but weird. I mean, it was straight-up porn, and I was watching it (in its entirety) with a roomful of friends and acquaintances and strangers. Odd. I'd like to have a copy of One Night Stand for my only self. Just sayin'. For, like, research or some other plausible excuse. French, genderbendery, nekkid. Hott.

I'd love to see ALL the films in the festival, but realistically that's not going to happen. But, I'm hoping to see another four or five. Fun!

ps. I'm still not a diva. Eff divas.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I served with divas: I knew divas; divas were friends of mine. Ehrrin, you're no diva.

Okay. So, I tried with the Diva Cup. Twice. Sorta half-heartedly. Day 1 and EK is not the happiest girl, and even less so whilst trying to jam a little cup into her virginia. You feel me? So, strike 1, Diva Cup, strike 1. On the upside, my friends were spared the potential task of fishing 'er outta there for one more day.
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In other news, I am a celebrity. For real. Believe it. Let me know where to send your 8x10 autographed glossies.

No, really! I got asked to be a "celebrity guest judge" for Cattivo's Halloween Witches and Warlocks Masquerade Party on the 27th! (beware, there is scary music on that last link). So, come out that night! Judging is at midnight, but I'll be there a littler earlier so's I can check out everyone in their fabulous get-ups!

I just finally signed up for a blog counter thingy. And, it's so much more than that! It tells me not only how many people have visited the ol' blog, but from what countries, and all kinds of other fascinating stats (don't worry; it doesn't identify you). It's so interesting! You may know that I love a spreadsheet. This is like the bestest spreadsheet ever--especially 'cause it's about me. I wish I'd done this when I first started this blog! For you peeps with blogs/sites, check out Google Analytics for the instructions for how to generate your own reports.

Okay, okay. To the eatin'.

I'm attending a potluck on Saturday evening, and it has a "harvest" theme. So, I'm going to make a brussels sprouts dish. I'm thinking of this one from Food & Wine magazine:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Brown Butter

* Vegetarian

"This is where I like to use Thanksgiving cranberries," says Dean Fearing, who mixes them into the maple-butter sauce topping his brussels sprouts. He roasts the sprouts to bring out their nutty sweetness. "This dish turns a non-brussels sprouts lover over to the other side," he says.

* 4 pounds brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
* 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 pound fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
* 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
* 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
* 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
* 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
* 1 large shallot, minced
* 1 teaspoon chopped thyme


1. Preheat the oven to 400°. On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, toss the brussels sprouts with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the sprouts are tender and browned in spots.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, ginger and orange zest. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cranberries break down and thicken, about 10 minutes.
3. In a medium skillet, cook the butter over moderately high heat until deep golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the shallot and thyme and stir into the cranberry sauce. Transfer the butter to a bowl, add the brussels sprouts and toss. Season with salt and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The cranberry brown butter can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Gently reheat the butter before tossing with the brussels sprouts.

Just need to remember to pick up some oranges and thyme. Actually...hmmm...I'm concerned that the butter will coagulate while sitting on a serving table. Hmmm... Okay, I might have to wait on that particular brussels sprouts recipe, and just do them up roasted, as is my usual custom and like I did them last week. Or, maybe I could also add some roasted garlic and toasted pinenuts? Or, some toasted sesame seed oil, toasted sesame seeds and lemon zest? many varieties to choose from!

Oh brussels sprouts, how I love thee! I love their adorable tender tiny cabbage bodies! If I were going to make a doll out of a small fruit/vegetable (a la Nowlze), it would be a baby brussels sprout. And, while googling away, I found that you could also make a home for your brussels sprout with duct tape (and also use any leftover tape to get rid of your warts!
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In other news, the Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival starts today! E-dawg and I are going to hit up the VIP Opening Reception, but she's not going to stay for the film, and I may not either. [Dan mentioned getting together with some friends for a possible bonfire, but I'm also tuh-ired! My uterus demands regular naps (and lots of Java Fried Rice, but don't say that out loud or I won't get any rest until she gets some!)]. And, I'm going to the late film tomorrow night, One Night Stand. It's supposed to be a dirty, dykey, tranny, genderbendery delight! That is up this guy's alley. It's made by Good Dyke Porn (can't link to that right now, if you know what I'm sayin'), so that's a harbinger of good. And, afterwards there's a Girls' Night Out party at Cattivo. I like it.

Uh-oh. UPDATE: a co-worker just walked by and asked if I wanted to have lunch at Spice Island Tea House (home of Java Fried Rice). I think my uterus emailed him when I wasn't paying attention or something. Either way, hells yeah.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

my stomach dances to the sound of piccolos

I did indeed check out Piccolo Forno last night, thanks to E-dawg's recommendation. But, I didn't end up trying the dish she had with sage butter (spinach ravioli), but rest assured I plan to go back another time to check it out!

We started with the Crostini di Polenta which were baked polenta squares each with their own topping--a gorgonzola sauce, roasted cherry tomatoes, and the menu says the third is mushrooms, but I'd nearly stake a pinky finger that it was actually an olive tapenade. The presentation was rustically beautiful with slivers of artichoke hearts and kalamata olives liberally and artfully sprinkled on the plate. And, it was a large plate, not that we wasted any!

For dinner I had mushroom crepes in the "canneloni style". They were good, but I felt like they were missing something. They were really heavy and rich with a boatload of white cream sauce. I'm thinking maybe less sauce, and some kind of acidic inclusion? But, still really good.

Then dessert was limoncello gelato. Whoa. For real. This was gorgeous and delicious! I love lemon desserts, and this one is maybe in the top three. So amazingly good. Creamy gelato with candied lemon (in limoncello!) within and scattered about. So fantastic. My mouth just literally watered thinking about it.

Oh, E-dawg. You steered me right again. You are the wind beneath my wings.

In other news, I always wonder if, when I have a specific food craving, it's related to specific nutrients my body needs. I used to get spinach cravings all the time. I don't so much anymore, but I do still love spinach. Now I want a spinach salad right now...

Anyway, I stumbled across this interesting article, "The Science of Scrumptious", while perusing one of the food blogs ( in the roll (see the blogroll to the right). The blog is really interesting too. A Lucid Spoonful here. Check it out. I just joined this Foodie Blogroll a few days ago (created by The Leftover Queen, and I haven't been added to the list yet, but will be soon. I'm trying to check out each one in the list. There are tons!

And, now an unrelated update as of three minutes ago:
My Diva Cup will be making her maiden(head) journey this evening. Wish us both luck! (if it gets, um, stuck one of you earth-lovin' hippies all high on reusable menstrual cups is totally in charge of fishing it out. i'm looking at you, Ani and Kramer. fyi).

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

speed of light vs. speed of heat (duh).

I’ve still been in a state of feeding frenzy over the veggie reubens—specifically the Keenan/Kramer Hybrid Model. And, it seems that my post about said veggie reubens created a small stir amongst my loyal readers. Since the potluck-slash-Reuben-Off was canceled last weekend, we’d left everyone high-n-dry with no access to the melty, gooey, tangy-golden goodness that is the Veggie Reuben (hallelujah!).

I’m pet-sitting Zeke for a few days, and I adore his house. Like, not just like it as friends, I like-like, no love-love, this pad. And, it’s way more spacious and accommodating than my lil’ apartment, so I tend to have a friend (or five) over when I’m there. Zeke loves the extra attention (and the higher probability of people-food scraps). Plus, E-dawg just lives about a block away and Sandra and Jessica are just a couple blocks the other. Beleza is two doors down. The park is two blocks away. I LOVE it there. I love Zeke, I love the house, I love the neighborhood, I love the neighbors. I want to either become Zeke’s live-in nanny or make a serious bid in taking this place (and this dog) by way of coup. Squatters Rights!

Anyhow, the perfect locale intersected with the perfect sandwich last night. Zeke and I entertained Sandra, E-dawg, Kara, Kramer and Mags (and Jessica for a few minutes, right at the end). I made up a big ol’ batch of Veggie Reubens and an even bigger batch of roasted potatoes and carrots (yellow fingerlings from the co-op and some redskins and carrots from my CSA). And, we complimented that with some fantastic sparkling pear cider and sparkling spiced apple cider (thanks, Kara!). And, followed that up with some brownies (from Allegro Hearth Bakery) and cupcakes (new flavors from Dozen just released—check the new menu here; we had Bananas Foster and Dark Chocolate). All in all, a lovely autumn dinner with pals. In fact, it was so good that I completely forgot to take pictures for this-here blog. I guess you’ll just have to get in on the next dinner to see it for your only self.

One of the highlights was when Mags explained how she is able to use her bare hands to adjust logs in an open fire, remove items from the oven, pass her fingers through a flame, and cut hot sandwiches in half right out of the skillet. This special skill has earned her the titles of “She-Who-Touches-Fire” and “Asbestos Hands”. When asked to explain How She Does It, she looked at us frankly, and gave us her scientific explanation: speed of light versus speed of heat (with an implied “duh”). This explanation included the indisputable fact of how you can watch your fingers pass through the flame of a candle before you feel it. After being subjected to loud guffaws and merciless ridicule, Mags decided that we just don’t have a firm grasp of thermal dynamics. Like, it’s sorta a World Is Round vs. a World Is Flat debate. We just don’t have the vision to grasp Speed Of Light vs. Speed of Heat.


The party broke up early since Kramer just wouldn’t stop talking about needing to leave. Sheesh!

Tonight I’m heading out to dinner with my good buddy Dan (who’s visiting from L.A. ooh la la!). I’m not sure where we’ll go, but I’m lobbying for Piccolo Fornosince E-dawg gave it a rave review last week. She talked about some kind of ravioli or gnocchi or something in a sage brown butter. I love sage brown butter. I don’t know if it gets much better than sage brown butter. Will report back!

Monday, October 15, 2007

better (sorta).

Okay. Back from the depths of despair.

The last couple weeks, er months, have been tough. I've been pretty depressed, and just sorta let everything go--the healthquest, my apartment, etc. Sometimes I have bouts of depression that just sort of take over my life for a while, and this has been one of those times. I even had a panic attack last week (or week before?), that totally freaked me out. So, I took off work on Thursday and Friday, and just stewed in my shit, slept, watched bad movies, avoided interaction. Saturday and Sunday I still hibernated, but did a huge cleaning of my apartment. It's not perfect, but now I wouldn't be horrified if someone stopped by. That feels good.

I'm always so embarrassed to tell anyone about feeling bad. Even though every other commercial on television is for some antidepressant, and everybody and her brother has a therapist, there's still a stigma. And, it's not really acceptable to call off work for mental illness, so then you have to lie and pretend you have the flu or whatever. Blah. Anyway. The fog seems like it may start lifting. Baby steps, right?

But, since I haven't checked in with you peeps for a while, I have done some cooking. E-dawg stopped by Zeke's house for dinner last Wednesday (it was his birthday!). I just made some pasta with marinara (I must confess, I used a jar of tomato sauce from WF, that I doctored up with some sauteed garlic and onions and spices), some roasted green beans, some crispy mushrooms and some baguette toast with brie. Tasty.
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This weekend I had a huge craving for veggie reubens. Kramer and I were planning our reuben-off-slash-potluck this weekend, but then she, Mags and I just weren't feeling up to a party, so we called it off. But, my stomach was having none of that. So, I stocked up on supplies to make a master version of the reuben, fusing the Kramer/Keenan styles into The Best Veggie Reuben On Earth.

The fixin's:
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The goods:
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That's rye bread, Minerva swiss lace cheese (oh my god, this is good; got it at the co-op), fakin' bacon, sauteed green peppers and onions (I like to use mushrooms, too, but didn't have any on hand), sauerkraut and russian dressing. That is some good comfort food.

And, my favorite veggie is now officially in season! I stopped by the farmers market on Friday, and was delighted to find brussels sprouts! They are the pinnacle of the intersection between adorable and delicious.

First, I trimmed them, made a little X in the bottom, and put them in boiling water for about three minutes (then a plunge into some ice water after and drained), then sliced them in half, and roasted them in the oven at 375 for about 25 minutes (stirring twice) with a little olive oil and sea salt, then grated some parmesan cheese over them when they came out of the oven. And, while I was doing that, I roasted some potatoes (the "confetti" baby potatoes from Trader Joe's with yellow, redskin and purple babies) with some parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.

before (the sprouts had been boiled, but not baked at this point):
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It was a comfort food bonanza. In fact, I even had grilled cheese with Campbell's tomato soup yesterday.
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Tonight is the "Queers: They're What's For Dinner!" dinner at the Gypsy Cafe. They always have tasty grub.

In other news, one of my bestest friends, Dan, is visiting this week from LA. I could definitely use the pick-me-up. He is one hilarious mofo. Good times. (and, thank goodness my apartment is clean-ish!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

eat your vegetables.

Folks, I'm plumb-out of inspiration lately. I've got a case of the blahs. But, this helps:
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I'm planning on being Richard Simmons for Halloween. Maybe. But not in the "outfit" above. And, if I can find some shorts (I hate shorts). But still. What are you going to be?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

plug it up. plug it up.

You may remember the "Plug It Up" chant from the movie Carrie. A couple years ago I was complaining about starting my period the moment I pulled into NYC, and my friend B-dub immediately starting chanting that. Hi-larious. So, now I often think of him when I am contemplating plugging options.

And, I have been (contemplating) since I made that post about (the evils of) O.B., and so many of you commented with your own thoughts on O.B. or other plugs. So, I went with the Diva Cup, and have received it via mail-order, along with a pin for my jacket that has a flower and the word "diva". I'm not so sure about the pin, but I have a good feeling about the cup. Will report back whenever that time comes.

That's all I got today, folks. Have a super Tuesday!

Monday, October 8, 2007

it's only Monday for the unlucky among us.

Even though I totally think that Columbus Day is a sham, I sure wish I had the day off. Hurd has the day off. I wish I were a Hurd.

But, the weekend was nice. I spent it in the company of my good friend Zeke (pet-sitting). And, Friday evening I checked out Gist Street and a drag show at the Eagle. Good times!

Saturday morning e-dawg and I went to the Strip where I picked up some heirloom tomatoes (Blackberry Meadows), shittake mushrooms (Mushrooms For Life), a turnip green pie (Najat's), a asparagus-feta quiche, a chocolate-banana tartlet and some croissant (Cafe Richard). Saturday evening I went to a non-discriminatory dinner at Cambodican with a group of people that had been involved in the transinclusion side of the recent debate (as an alternative to the CTN event). We had a lovely dinner, and I really liked the food. Believe it or not, I had a fried rice dish. And, it was *tons* of food--I got two more meals out of the leftovers!

Sunday was pretty chill. I got up, took a long walk with the Zekester, got coffee from Beleza, went to my house and watched a movie (Puccini For Beginners), took a little nap, another walk, then kicked The Gooch's ass at Scrabble. The Gooch and I met up at the Quiet Storm. I heard that they had a new menu (to be released today), so was hoping for a preview, but didn't see one. But, you can go here today for the scoop. I'm a little worried, though, because I ordered their mac-n-cheese last night, which I've had there before and liked. But, yesterday it looked icky, and tasted even ickier. I almost-never send food back, but I had to return it. The server said they changed the recipe. All I can say is: change it back! That was a big bowlful of bummer.

I didn't bring my camera to the dinner on Saturday, but Emilia snapped a picture of my dinner with her phone. I don't know if you can make it out, but it was good!
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Friday, October 5, 2007

housekeeping light

First things first, I got some spammy-ass comment the other day, so I changed things up so that you have to enter some code to prove you're not a bot. Hopefully you're not actually a bot, and won't mind this minor inconvenience. (But, if you are a bot, I'm sort of jealous--not that you spend your days spamming, but just 'cause being a [ro]bot sounds like fun. For one, you could dance like a mo-fo. Personally, I enjoy dancing like a mo-fo).

Can someone give me the definitive answer on a grammar question I constantly struggle with since I'm quite addicted to parentheticals? So, when you're ending a sentence--especially in a series of sentences--inside a set of parentheses, where does the punctuation go? What if the parenthetical is a question, but the sentence as a whole is a statement, of vice versa?

Okay, anyway. I'll wait for your answer while I continue about my blog post, and, will, abuse, commas, as, is, my, custom, and, will, not, care.

I was planning on posting yesterday, but took off at lunch to go to Pitt to attend the PA HB1400 hearing, and decided to stay and take the rest of the afternoon off. It was really interesting. The gist of the bill is that it will include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the language to prohibit discrimination for employment and housing. Luckily, in the 'Burgh, we already have that language, but most of the rest of the state does not. The committee requested more personal stories (of instance where discrimination has occurred based on these factors), so if you have a story, please share. Rep. Dan Frankel is sponsoring this bill, so I'm guessing his office would be a great place to send that, as well as to your very own personal legislator. Take action, peeps! It's important! Even if you don't have a personal story, please express your support!

In other news, I just was able to catch up with one of my favorite ladies on the planet, via the telephone, a couple days ago. Schwatts is one of my dearest friends, if not the nearest. She currently resides in York, PA, and recently started a personal chef business there: Dish! And, she's already super-busy and pretty much taking York by storm. So, I'm going to visit and volunteer as a sous chef for a couple days next month to get a taste of the Day In The Life of a Personal Chef! And, I get to have some Schwattzie-time. I can't wait!

Oh, and here is a pic of the Squash Spice Bread that I made the other day. It was very, very moist (like, puddin') and not very sweet, but good. But, I think it was especially wet because I used some water in baking the squash, and then didn't drain it after. I liked it, but next time I'd remove more of the moisture from the squash (or, um, just cook the squash like the recipe says to), add a little more sugar and a little dash of cloves. Or, mix it up entirely, and use some Indian spicing. Hmmm...
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Guess where Mags and I are going to lunch today! Guess! Okay, here's a hint. It rhymes with Brice Bisland Bea Bouse. Say that three times fast. Again! Again! Okay. You can access the menu here, 'cause they don't have their own site. Hello, Brava Bried Brice.

Also, TGIF, my peeps! That is what I'm talkin' about! I'm headed to Gist Street and then a drag king show at the Eagle. And, I'm dog-sitting my special little guy, Zeke, this weekend! And, Sunday is the return of the epic battle: EK vs The Gooch in: Scrabble Smackdown! Weeeeeeeeekkkkkkkeeeeeeennnnnnnnddddd!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

hamsters know what's up

E-dawg and I checked out a new (to us) restaurant last night--Rivas Restaurant in Carnegie. It's the first time I'd had Nicaraguan food, and I really liked it! It's similar to Mexican food in the spicing and ingredients, and WAY better than the stuff that Kramer and I got on Sunday. I wasn't too crazy about the chips (too thick and hard) or the plantain tostones (greasy, not much flavor), but the main dish I got, Gallo Pinto con Queso Frito, was really yum. It was sorta like a fried rice kinda thing (and you know how much I like a fried rice kinda thing) with rice, beans, pico de gallo, onions, green and red peppers, and these little planks of fried cheese (I thought they were tofu at first). They're BYOB (but, we didn't B), but they have a bunch of non-alcholic different drinks that they make there. I got the strawberry lemonade, and E-dawg tried the peach lemonade (both super-good!). I proclaimed mine so delicious that I was fantasizing about installing one of those drinking tubes that hamsters use beside my couch, kept full of their strawberry lemonade. Like, this:
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It's the night of the queer book club tonight--i.e. one of my favorite nights of the month! We read Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz. It was interesting, but could've done without about 350 pages (out of 542 pages in total). By the end I thought I was going to freak out due to the same stories being repeated. repeatedly. and then repeated again. It was a test of endurance.

Anyhow, you may remember that book club is also a foodstravaganza. I think I'm going to make Squash Spice Cake (recipe from the current Vegetarian Times). I baked the squash this morning, so I should be good to go. I don't have spelt flour, so I think I'm going to try a 1:1 mix of whole wheat flour and unbleached all-purpose (I love whole wheat flour!).

Serves 8

Butternut squash purée adds flavor while replacing some of the eggs and fat in this quick bread recipe. Spelt flour imparts a fine-grained texture, but all purpose flour will work just as well.

1 medium butternut squash, halved
and seeded (1 1/2 lb.)
1 Tbs. maple syrup
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. chopped walnuts, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup plain (unsweetened) soymilk
1 Tbs. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Place squash halves cut-side down on baking sheet. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until soft. Cool. Scoop fl esh from skin, mash with maple syrup, and set aside.
2. Coat 8- x 41/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Combine spelt flour, sugar, walnuts, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in large bowl. Lightly beat eggs in separate bowl. Whisk in oil, soymilk, and vanilla until smooth. Fold squash into liquid ingredients with spatula. Stir squash liquid mixture into flour mixture.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbs. walnuts. Bake 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes on wire rack, then unmold and cool completely.


I'll try to remember to take pictures to post tomorrow. I think my squash is big enough to make two loaves, but I didn't weigh it. So, I'm going to weigh myself, then step back on the scale with the squash to see if it's a three-pounder. It's huge; I had to use two baking dishes (one half in each), so I think it will be, but I'm horrible at guessing stuff like that. Will report back.

Monday, October 1, 2007

week, weekend, what's the difference?

I'm feeling surly this morning. The transinclusion debate continued hard-n-heavy over the weekend, and continued to devolve further into nastiness. It's wearing me out. Right now I feel like saying "eff it" to the list, calendar, events, the whole shebang, and cap it off with a big ol' "EFFFFF YOOUUUUUU!!" (including appropriate hand gestures) to all the haters. I won't, but that's what I feel like doing. I'm just really profoundly saddened that this (queer women's) community isn't what I thought it was. My sails = no wind.

I also wrapped up my two-week pet-sitting gig last night. Two weeks was a long time. I'm really, really, really glad to be back home, and back in the lovin' arms of my K-Bear and China-Bear. Going back and forth across town every day got to be a drag. Actually, I got home last night and unloaded all my stuff (clothes, books, food) that I brought back home from the pet-sit house, and realized--to my hearty dismay--that I'd left one item there, and it was an item that I definitely needed. My book for the upcoming queer book club discussion on this Wednesday. And, I hadn't finished it yet (and still have about 200 pages to go!), and was planning on reading it last night. D'oh! So, I hauled my ass back across town, grabbed it, then back again, cursing all the way.

But, I did have a nice happy hour(s) on Friday. I realized that it was my last day of being in an apartment where I could saunter right down the street and do happy hour at a gay bar, so I convinced Kramer (so hard to twist her arm!) to come along for the happiest of hours at 5801. There we ran into a couple of gals that I'd met a time or two, and they sat down with us, and we had a swell ol' time for a couple hours chatting, then they left, and E-dawg rolled in for a bit, then Hurd and Kara. Good times. My happy hour ended around 11-ish. Then, I checked my email to find it full of hate. But, I already talked about that.

Saturday I met up with E-dawg for a bit at Cafe Richard in the Strip, then went home to nap and get ready for The Gooch's cook-out. The shindig was super! It was chock-full of good potluck grub and nerdy (in a good way) artists. I talked about evolution, religion, the nature of the human experience, personality profiling (Myers-Briggs style), and heard a dramatic reading of a children's poem called "The Gooch Machine". Fun.

Sunday Kramer and I checked out Oh Yeah! for some "breakfast ice cream". Mine was squarely in the 'eh' category. (I got extreme vanilla ice cream and added the "mixins" banana, pineapple and coconut). It was runny and melty, and just not very good. I threw away most of it, and then realized I could've bought two pints of Ben-n-Jerry's for what I paid for that. So, if I'm in that 'hood I might go back for coffee (their cappuccino is delicious *and* fair trade), but probably not for the ice cream.

Then, we hit up The Waterfront--one of my least favorite places on earth. But, I needed a new belt (mine disintegrated last week) and a white bra. I ended up with much more than that, but it wasn't really painful at all. But, lunch was. We were trying to think of some place that had vegan offerings (for Kramer), and didn't suck (for me. heh.). I thought about a Mexican restaurant I'd seen in Squirrel Hill on Murray. So, we checked it out. Cuzamil, a couple doors down from Sree's. It wasn't good. I got huevos rancheros, and was very underwhelmed. Kramer got the veggie fajitas, and pronounced them 'eh'.

Strike Two! I hate that! I paid to eat out twice yesterday, and both were sucky! Bummer!

I have Mondayitis, and I've got it bad. Is there any hope for a cure?!