Wednesday, February 27, 2008

welcome to the world, baby girl!

I got a new niece last night! Kaitlyn Rose Keenan, 9lbs, 1oz. I hear that she has lots of hair, and looks like she's already three months old. And beautiful.

I'm going to WV next week for a couple days, and can't wait to meet her, and to see her big sis, Savanah. I haven't seen any pictures yet, but I'm chomping at the bit.

I'm really, really grateful to my brother and his wife for giving me these gals. While I'm not interested in having any for my only self, I love being an aunt.

This isn't an actual photograph, but rather my guesstimate of what she probably looks like all swaddled up:

Monday, February 25, 2008

someone is a bad blogger

I'm not naming names, but someone forgot their camera all weekend, and thus did not capture a bunch of deliciousness. Someone will just have to describe, and hope for the best.

I hope you all had a nice weekend. I was feeling pretty low energy, but I still managed to pack a lot of activity in. Friday I was dogsitting Zeke, and we made a quick-but-delicious dinner of some frozen cheese ravioli's I'd picked up on the way home at Groceria Italiana. I used to get these raviolis a lot, but hadn't in probably a couple years. They're so good! And, so easy, and it feels like a very comforting home-cooked dinner, even though it requires very minimal effort. You select your flavors (I got one box of "cheese" which was a ricotta-herb filling and one box of "artichoke-gorgonzola"). Then you just preheat your oven, spread a little sauce on the bottom of your baking dish, put the ravs in (still frozen), then cover them with a mix of half sauce/half water, cover them with foil, bake them for about 45 minutes, take them out, sprinkle on a little freshly grated parmesan, make a little garlic bread (I used a Mancini braid loaf, also sold at Groceria Italiana), and enjoy. Yum!

After my belly was full I went to the Queer Songwriters Night, where I was emceeing the show as MC SweetE! The music was fantastic, I had the best seat in the house (on a couch in the front row with Barbara, Mags and E-dawg), and I got to make some announcements, tell a few stories that I hope were funny, and generally have a great time.

Saturday I hit OUTrageous Bingo with Barbara, Jr., Kramer and Kara. And, none of us won a g-d thing! I wasn't even close this time. Yet, it was still a heapin' helpin' of good clean fun. Afterwards, we went to Cattivo for a celebratory birthday drink with my pal Nicole. We got some pizza and fries, and they were really good. Plus, there was a fry-eating showdown between Barbara and Kramer, and that is some good entertainment!

Sunday was a day of rest. We had Barbara's mom over for brunch, and I made the cornmeal biscuits with veggie sausage gravy, and Barbara made some fried potatoes with spinach. And, the K-Bear found his new BFF in Barbara's mom. When she came in I was still cooking, and she sat in the living room. Within a minute, Caleb was on her lap. I think they both were charmed by the other's company. And, it was pretty adorable. In other dog news, I'd left a bag of stuff on the counter on Saturday night, and Barbara's dog, Mama, decided to help herself to two sticks of butter. Ouch.

We spent the rest of the day watching Harold and Maude, hanging out at the book store, and having an L-Word marathon while eating leftover biscuits. (I'm typing this while eating leftover biscuits, too).

Some of my co-workers at my current job are planning a little lunchtime shindig on Friday as a send-off for me. They're putting together a band to play a little tribute! So far I think there's a bodhrán, a sitar, a saw, a recorder, a fiddle and a singer (and possibly a bottle of whiskey). I love it!

Friday, February 22, 2008

ev-er-ry daaaay is like Friiiiiiiday!

Okay, so every day isn't really like Friday, but I am totally jazzed that today is!


Last night I met up with friends Beth and Alan who have volunteered to help me build a website for all the queer goodness stuff. It's gonna be so cool! I'm hoping it'll be ready to launch in a couple months, and then all my wildest dreams will come true. Totally. Also, Beth greeted us with a bowl of warm stew, perfect for a winters' night. She said it was an Anna Thomas recipe, but it's not in my (original) copy of The Vegetarian Epicure. But, it was delicious. Chock full of turnips and parsnips and mushrooms and brussels sprouts (my favorites!) and a lovely broth with a little sweetness from some wine and molasses. It was fantastic. I brought a loaf of really crusty, hearty multi-grain bread from Allegro Hearth and some grape leaves. Alan brought vegan chocolate chip cookies (also very yum!).

The weather outside is frightful, but I'm hoping that all will still be delightful for the weekend. Tonight is the Queer Songwriters Night, and I'm emceeing--MC SweetE in the house! I'm still trying to fine-tune (er, come up with some) funny banter, info about the performers, etc. If you have suggestions, send 'em. And, if you're in the 'Burgh, come on out! It's guaranteed to be a good time with Garrison Starr, Joey Murphy and Autumn Ayers performing.

Saturday morning I'll hit the Strip for a little Cafe Richard action, Saturday evening I will be getting my BINGO on (and winning One...Million...Dollars!!). Sunday morning I'm going to reprise my cornmeal biscuits-n-veggie sausage gravy for Barbara and her mom. Sunday evening I'll make some sort of dinner, but it is TBD at this point.

It's going to be a good weekend. I hope yours will be, too!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

smooth sailin'

I had this fantasy that after I gave notice at my current job that it'd be all smooth sailin', and that I'd just be taking long lunches including cocktails and lots of laughter every day, then I'd come back and take my afternoon nap. I'd make my rounds chatting with all my work-pals and reminiscing over old times. I'd probably come in late and leave early. There would probably be lots of gifts and balloons and cake, especially cake. Homemade, even.

But, you know what? It is nothing of the sort! They are working my little fingers to nubs trying to squeeze out all they can from me while I'm still here, and additionally, I'm training my replacement which takes up a couple hours each day, which in turn makes me busier the rest of the day. What the bleep?!

I guess the upside of this is knowing how much I'm Truly Needed and such. (Bah, humbug to that!)

But, anyway.

The weekend was fab. Friday I got to meet up with my old therapist (whom I *adore*) for a drink after work. She was in town for just a few days, so I was really touched that she made a point to see me. I wish I could keep her forever and ever.

Then I just laid low the rest of Friday, and hung out with my gal for a bit when she stopped by after work. I made us tofu sandwiches (that I forgot to photograph; a theme this weekend, I'm afraid). But, it was whole wheat toast, fresh baby spinach, grilled onions, mayo, mustard, and some tofu that I sliced thinly, and grilled in a hot pan with a generous couple squirts of Bragg's liquid aminos. Yumtastic. I think I'm going to make that again for dinner tonight...

Saturday I hit the Strip in the morning for my (near weekly) dose of Cafe Richard's fabulously fluffy and delicious quiche. I asked what the veggie quiche of the day was, and the fella said "salmon and goat cheese". heh. But I went with the other vegetarian selection--wild mushroom and onion. Not quite as amazing as last week's wild mushroom and spinach one, but close. And, I got some mini tarts--coconut and lemon, and some big beautiful butter croissants.

I ate the quiche right away, but tucked the croissants into a bag with some water for my road trip with Barbara--all the way down to Canonsburg! We were looking at antique toys and general kitsch. After poking around in nostalgia for a few hours we'd worked up an appetite and wanted to quench it old-school style. So, we searched for a diner, but the closest we came was King's. We ate some food that was too 'eh' to recount here, but a good time was had nonetheless.

That evening we hit Operation Sappho to both Break It Down and Shake It-Shake It on the dance floor. Right before we headed out they played "PYT"!

Sunday morning we hit up the Square Cafe for brunch, then did a couple hours of babysitting for her adorable niece, then kicked it at my house for Sunday dinner and an L-Word marathon. I made a quorn roast, fingerling potatoes with butter and parsley and some steamed asparagus. It was a little boring, but tasty and totally homestyle. Of course, I again forgot to photograph it.

But, here's a little picture of the K-Bear and Mama (pronounced with a European inflection) kickin' it, for your viewing enjoyment:

Friday, February 15, 2008

valentine's day: the worst of times, then the best of times

Woo buddy, yesterday was a big day all around. I accepted the new job, broke the news to the current job. I (finally) started my period. I had a headache all day. But, I sure was looking forward to hanging out with my gal last night. So, I left work a tiny bit (like, 15 minutes) early, but then had to wait almost 40 minutes (in a poor choice of not-warm coat) for a bus that actually had room to pick me up--only to get back to my car, and find that I was completely lodged in sludge, and someone was parked about two inches behind me and I was stuck. So, I walked up to the RiteAid to get salt, only to find that they were out of salt. I called Barbara (PYT!) in near-tears to come save me with copious amounts of salt and a shovel. Of course, right after I called, the person behind me pulled out, but she'd already left. So, I waited, and nearly was stuck again. But, then she came. And, even though I didn't need her assistance anymore, I still was feeling frustrated and frazzled, and seeing her was a huge relief.

So, I got back in my car, and sped off to get home, wrap up my little valentines for my valentine, get together the stuff for our fab dinner, pack up the car and the K-Bear and bust a move to my lady's abode. But, as soon as I got on the parkway, it was stopped dead. I sat in traffic for another half hour or so, and finally made it home (did I mention I'd had to pee super-badly since I'd left work?), and realized I'd started my period. And, then the cramps started kicking in earnest--no more messing around. I popped some ibuprofen, gathered up the goodies, and went on my way. But, I had to stop at the Uni-Mart on the way. At which point I slipped on some ice, and fell in a cold, wet puddle, and soaked my pants, longjohns and unders to the skin. So, I turned around to go home and change again, and called Barbara with an update. At which point she offered to order dinner in for us so we could just relax and enjoy one another's company once I (finally) got there. Which was a wonderful and thoughtful suggestion, and the perfect thing for that moment.

Finally I arrived and fell into her lovin' arms, and everything was suddenly a-okay again, all right with the world.

I haven't had a valentine in years and years and years, and had gotten to the point where I thought it was just a silly and frivolous thing and not worth nothin'. But, now it's my new favorite holiday. I know I am gushing. I might even be making you gag. Well, too bad, so sad! I [heart] my valentine!

We had some delicious pizza, she doctored up the salad she ordered and made it delicious, we had a little champagne, and exchanged our valentines while the K-Bear and Mama (her dear dog) flirted and exchanged their own valentines (they both got one another dehydrated chicken breasts!). We watched Lost. We gazed into one another's eyes while expressing sweet nothings. She rubbed my neck and shoulders. The world was my oyster.

Mama's coquettish look:

K-Bear's love-me-I-am-vulnerable look:

Plus, she made the cutest valentine package Of All Time! Remember when you were a kid in grade school, and you decorated your special valentine box for the big valentine exchange? She made one! The cutest one ever! And, it was chock full of the sweetest and most thoughtful things in town.

This is how we roll on Valentine's Day:

I love that girl.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Okay, I'm busy as all get-out today, but just wanted to stop by and share my big news! I've just accepted a new job! And, it's moving closer to what I want to do when I grow up! I'll be managing the delivery portion of the catering division for a local restaurant and catering group that I love--several of their chefs/restaurants are very into sourcing lots of food items locally and seasonally. I like it.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say their name, but it might rhyme with migMurrito. So, I'll be working with food and catering and making more money, and being more challenged, and mixing things up, and the best part is that I get 50% for me and a friend at any of their restaurants. I expect this to increase my popularity by 50% as well. Let it be so.

Happy Valentine's, y'all! Barbara (aka PYT) and I are making a little dinner in this evening, so I'll report back tomorrow--on the food, but nothing else 'cause it's just nunayabidness.

Have a good one!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

officially winter

Okay, so we've been playing at winter here for a while--some cold, some flurries, our winter coats and hats and gloves. But, it finally hit for real. The roads are bad, and intermittently scary, there's real snow (I think I had about 5" at my house by yesterday afternoon). I even got to leave work early yesterday! What does all this mean to you? It just means that I'm planning on using it as an excuse for not blogging for a few days. That, and my uterus has been playing games (not fun games) with me for nearly a week now. I am a cranky, bloated, tender, crampy, uterachey, crompy monster. But, that said, I'm real glad to be back to bloggin'!

First of all, the vegan-flavor cupcakes for Kramer's birthday celebration. I ended up making a sort of "almond joy" type of cupcake. I made the coconut cupcake recipe from this blog. As for the frosting, I made a chocolate-almond flavor, and I just kinda winged it like she suggests. I used powdered sugar, Earth Balance, a little hemp milk, some cocoa, some vanilla and almond extracts, and just kept beating it and tasting it until I was happy with it. Then I topped them with the toasted coconut and slivered almonds. They were yum--and cute! Here's a close-up, and one of Kramer blowing out her candles.

"blow like you've never blown before"

Also, Taste of India was pretty tasty, but I don't know if there's a place that can unseat Udipi from the top seat in my heart for Indian fare in the 'Burgh.

Saturday Barbara (PYT) made a little light dinner and hung out and played Skip-bo with me while I complained about my uterache. Obviously, I am a big bowl o' fun around this time of the month!

Couscous with garlic and veggies:

The next morning we made a big breakfast, and it was magically delicious! Sunday Brunch is my favorite meal of the week. She made her famous tofu scramble and some veggie sausages and coffee. I made some roasted dill potatoes, peanut butter-n-jelly french toast (from a recipe that came from a kid's cook book that my brother and I had when we were little), and some fresh-squeezed oj. So tasty and perfect for a chilly morning.

Sunday afternoon we went to a Baby Party. It was for her niece Violet's first birthday. However, I mistakenly thought that it meant [Dress Like a] Baby Party, and showed up in a diaper and bonnet. Boy, was that embarrassing for the first meeting with her extended family!

[Just kiddin', folks. It was a really cute baby party with delicious cake, and hilarious baby antics.]

In other news, my sandwich addiction this week is egg salad with fake bacon. I had an "Egg Salad BLT" at Hoi Polloi last week, and had been thinking about it since. Also, E-dawg and I had been talking about subbing all or most of the mayo in egg salad for greek yogurt, and then Heidi posted another egg salad recipe a few days ago. So, I gave that a whirl. I used 4 eggs, 1 T. mayo, 2 T. fage 0% greek yogurt as the base. But, it just was a little too tangy, and not enough mayo-y for my liking, so I'll likely switch back, or at least flip-flop the mayo to yogurt ratio. So, to off-set the tanginess I added some minced sweet gherkin, some parsley and salt and pepper. It was good, but not perfect. Adding the fake bacon helps, though.

Night before last I threw together a pasta dish with broccoli and a bastardized alfredo-type sauce. I didn't use a recipe, just threw some stuff together--a little half and half, a little marsala, a little parmesan, a little freshly grated nutmeg, a little garlic and onion, a little butter, some salt and pepper. It turned out pretty good!

Tonight I'm doing some shopping for tomorrow's valentine's dinner with Barbara (aka PYT). I'm going to try the recipe that's on the cover of the new Vegetarian Times magazine for a vegetable wellington. Sounds deelish!

Friday, February 8, 2008

the city looks like it's been sprinkled with powdered sugar

I like this kind of snow. Everything looks lacy and beautiful, but it's not painfully frigid, and the roads aren't bad. I approve. Let it be so. This weekend is supposed to get uber-cold, but I have lots of chillaxin' planned with my gal, so let it snow, y'all!

I actually had a comfort-related close call this morning. I woke up to a chilly apartment, and discovered that while the furnace was kicking on, no air was blowing out. This is what qualifies officially as A Bummer. Luckily, it wasn't too terribly cold, and I was able to get my landlord on the phone at the cracka. I just called my upstairs neighbor, and it's fixed! The heat is on!

And, now I can't get this song out of my head:

Other contributing factors to me feeling like the heat is somewhere on the horizon is that I just scheduled my annual girls' beach trip with my peeps! We've been doing this for years, and it's my favorite week of the year! Unfortunately, I'll have to leave a couple days early, but I'll still get in some great time with my beach babies! Woot!

Here's a few of us:

Tonight is Kramer's b-day shindig. I made some tasty vegan-flavored treats, but I can't tell you about them until Monday 'cause I want them to be surprisy.

Have a fab weekend, my peeps! TGIF!

p.s. this has nothing to do with anything else today, but it's amazing. Check it!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

the daily news

First of all, it's Kramer's birthday. Not just any birthday, either. This gal is entering her dirty thirties! She's been celebrating for days, and has some more to come. As part of the festivities, I will get to check out a new (to me) Indian restaurant, Taste of India. That is always a good time. I might even make her something tasty and vegan-flavored (her favorite).

She looks pretty good for her age, eh?

for Kramer:

In other news, I met my pal Alan last night at D's. I hadn't been there in a while, and it was pretty nice. I had a super-tasty beer--Rodenbach Red Bach, a cherry Belgian beer. Super-delicious. And, for dinner I went with the Big Ben (as a veggie dog)--it was ridiculously huge and messy, and very tasty in the trashiest sense of the word. Yum. Also, Alan gave me yet another mix. This guy is like a machine! I am rocking out, courtesy of him, right now!

In other unrelated news, another Re-pube down!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

sometimes you just gotta have it.

And, "it" means a veggie reuben. Sometimes I get on kicks of these babies, and nothing else will do the trick. I made one for dinner. I made one to bring for today's lunch (but accidentally ate it for breakfast). I want another right now.

Now, you may remember the Veggie Reuben-Off 2007 that Kramer and I conducted (sorta) a few months ago, which ended up in me taking some tips from her, and incorporating them into my own veggie reuben recipe to create a SUPER REUBEN.

But, anyway, I didn't have any green peppers or mushrooms, and didn't feel like messing with sauteeing the onions because I just wanted to Get It Into My Belly, so I went with the Kramer recipe, except that I added cheese (gruyere) and used sourdough bread. It was phenomenal. My mouth literally just started watering thinking about it.

See for yourselves:

In other, unrelated news, I am back in the Hillary camp after being Obama-curious for a spell. Of course, I'll vote for the Democrat, regardless of who gets the nomination, but after talking with some pals (thanks, E-dawg and Jr.) and reading a lot, I'm back in Hill's camp.

Monday, February 4, 2008


My people, I hope that I am coming to you on this Monday afternoon following a wonderful weekend for you. Mine was splendid. I spent lots of time with my Number One Gal (aka PYT, aka Barbara), checked out gay bingo for the first time (it was OUTrageous!), and did lots of good eatin'. I still think I need one more day (at least) for it to feel like a real weekend, but still. Good times.

When I was in middle and high school I used to play bingo with my Granny B on occasional Friday nights. She is a bingo fiend, and actually goes on bus tours around different states to get her bingo on. And, she's a winner. So, even though it might not be in my blood (she's actually my step-grandma) I thought I'd gotten in some pretty good early training. I'd been planning to check out the gay bingo for the past couple of years, and it just never seemed to come together. But, this week it did. My pal Jr. and I got there early, and were in a bingo frenzy right outta the gate. We bought extra packs of tickets going in, multiples of every special, a ridiculous number of 50/50 raffle tickets, and lots of snacks. And, then we ran into some other pals--E-dawg, Nat, Heather, Jess, Adele and Janice--who got randomly assigned to our table, and so we were convinced that was an auspicious start. E-dawg won a cool $50, but alas, Jr. and I struck out. However, on the final special, I was working 18 cards at once (which could potentially and literally make one crazy) and then I was one number (N46) away from winning $1000. I almost puked. And, then, seemingly in slow motion, the caller called out Forty-freakin'-seven. One number away, and all was lost. Several people then called a joyous "BINGO!", and it was all over. I left considerably poorer (I'd gone a little overboard because I was convinced there was no way I'd lose). But, it was a really great time, and I'll be back. I've already made a table reservation for next time (six open spots, gals-about-town, just sayin'!).

Otherwise, I had a bonus breakfast on Saturday at the Original Pancake House (aka OPH, pronounced "oaf"), which is my secret shame and favorite chain, largely because they have fantastic grits. It's hard to find grits in the 'Burgh, and they do them right. I tip my hat to their grit-maker extraordinaire. Delicious. However, when I force-fed some grits to PYT, she scrunched up her face (and did a dance, shook a little...).

We also brunched on Sunday at the new Dozen Bake Shop. Outstanding! I had the Southwestern Strata. Divine. For real. I love this place. Really cute, great food, really nice staff. Kudos!

And, yesterday evening I finally got to try Udipi Cafe! I've been hearing of this place for a long while, and it was definitely deserving of the talk. So amazing. PYT's Aloo Gobi was the best I've ever had. I had a dish with "tantalizing gravy", and it was, it was.

Okay, let's do this thing again tomorrow, whatcha say, peeps?

Friday, February 1, 2008

superbowl! right?

Yeah, I actually didn't know this was Superbowl weekend until I caught a couple minutes of the Today Show this morning. I know the Patriots are one of the contenders, and the other...the Giants? Maybe? Right? Hey, if it's not the Stillers, who cares! Am I right, or am I right? But, if you are watching, and searching for some healthy snacks to serve, I just saw this post on Mighty Foods.

In other news, I'm really, really glad it's Friday. Not that this week has been particularly taxing, I just LOVE the weekends. As the song goes, I am workin' for the weekend.

I don't have any particular crazy plans this weekend, just hanging out with my gal, possibly sleeping in and/or napping, maybe wandering through a museum, and definitely brunch with the gang at the new Dozen Bake Shop. Hells yes. I cannot wait for this! As you all know, I adore Dozen Cupcakes and the owner, James (I want him to be my new BFF), so I know the bake shop will be fantastic. I stopped in a couple nights ago for a small treat to take to PYT, and the space is really cute and open. And, I can now vouch for the macaroons and milk chocolate cupcakes. Yum!

Anyhow, sorry this is a boring/short post, but have a great weekend, peeps! Mwah!